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Chasing The American Dream

January 31, 2005


ELO's Face The Music Album, 1975Featuring "Strange Magic" Posted by Hello

Oh I'm.. never gonna be the same again,
Now I've seen the way it's got to end,
Sweet dream, sweet dream.
I get a strange magic. (Oh, what a) strange magic,
(Oh, it's a) strange magic.
Got a strange magic. Got a strange magic....

If I had a basement, I’d be down there right now like one of those Macbeth witches brewing up some magic. I’ve sort of stumbled upon something. I suppose if I was more aware of myself and my surrounding I could have been a rich man by now. But be that as it may, I’m aware now and I’m going to make a fortune out of what I’m calling, Strange Magic. Pardon me while I give this batch a stir (everybody chant with me, Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and caldron bubble.)

This Love Potion #9 of mine is foolproof, ladies and gentlemen. If you don’t believe me, I will provide you with testimonials that will back up my claim. I think it’s the greatest breakthrough in the dating relationship arena since Viagra. I’m not going to sneak in any small print, so I’ll say upfront that there are major limitations to its effectiveness. First, the magic only works IF you’re having dating relationship troubles. Second, the magic only works on ladies. Guys, married couples, and currently happy dating couples need not apply. I’m happy and proud to tell you that this product/service is 100% guaranteed. If you’re not completely 100% satisfied, I’ll refund your money, no questions, no ifs, ands, or buts. Are you dying to get some? Great! So without further adieu, let me introduce my product/service.

Scenario one: I meet you I person.
Normally in this scenario, we meet in the normal course of life. For example, we could meet in a restaurant, or at Starbucks, or at a doctor’s office, or at a real estate office. Maybe we run into each other at work or at the leasing office? As noted below, maybe we meet online? Regardless of how we meet, the parameters are virtually the same. I meet you; I like you. I learn about you; I remember little things you tell me. Dunno why it happens to be the case, but you’re likely in our 20s and beautiful. And for some reason, you never have an issue with our age difference. And then I act. I send you a surprise. It could simply be an eCard or an email. But normally, I kick it up a notch. Since music’s my thing, I send you a CD or two or dozen. You are surprised! You’re blown away. You tell me it’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you. You tell me you feel very special and that even your boyfriend doesn’t send you little surprises. Uhh, say wha’?

Yup, that’s when I find out you’re already taken. But you proceed to tell me all of your boyfriend’s shortcomings. Most of the time he doesn’t pay enough attention to you, doesn’t make you feel special, doesn’t put you on a pedestal, etc. Oooh, I don’t know how to process that information. You don’t blow me off, you complain about the boyfriend, and you tell me how wonderful I am. And then I get trapped. I continue the pursuit. I actually think I have a chance since the boyfriend’s appears to be a slacker. More emails, more eCards, more gift surprises, more phone calls, more, more, more. Sometimes this leads to us actually going out. Is it a date? I look at it that way, but you look at it like friends going out. So we go out, but not before I take my Strange Magic dosage.

It begins to work. We go out. Drinks, dinners, concerts, it matters none. We have an incredible time. People observing us probably think we’re a couple. The vibes are seemingly there. My attraction grows. But yours doesn’t. You’re conflicted. You love your boyfriend yet you’re seeing, in me, all the things he’s lacking and you want him to change. Eventually we reach a crossroads. You decide that you love him too dearly, so you basically tell me “thanks for the memories.” Magic. Your struggling relationship grows by leaps and bounds and you become a super strong in love couple. You have overcome my meddling and your relationship grows so strong now. Strange Magic. Oh sure, I’m crushed as usual. The magic doesn’t work on me. I keep taking it, but no. It doesn’t even repair a broken heart. I analyze these situations and wonder why the hell I’m always second choice? I seem to provide you with that spark, that glint, that excitement. Yet the game’s the same, and you always go back to your boyfriend. That’s how Strange Magic is meant to work. It’s foolproof as I’ve said. A good and intelligent friend of mine finally told me why Strange Magic works. I never really questioned its effects (note, I really thought I knew the difference between affect and effect but apparently I’m not as smart as I think I am. I only got 10 of 16 right. I’m ashamed and embarrassed. Try it yourself.). She laid it out like this. She said, and I quote, “The problem is that those who are seeking the qualities you have to offer in another [person], already have their basic needs met by someone else. It’s like wanting extra frosting on your piece of cake.” She’s right. I’m the extra frosting. You’ve got frosting, it’s delicious and sweet; but you want more. And I dutifully and stupidly provide it until the Strange Magic kicks in and POOF! Relationship problems are over.

You don’t have to believe me, ladies. I’ve got countless references at your disposal. Let me know if you’d like to make an appointment. See the 1-800 number at the end of the post.

Scenario two: I meet you online.
You either find your way to my blog, or I find my way to yours, or both. We comment about each other’s posts and develop a nice friendship. Our friendship strengthens and grows. Eventually, we start to share some personal relationship information. There seems to be some sort of attraction between us. But at this point, I usually I find out that you’re in a struggling relationship, and you are at wits and end don’t know what to do. On extremely rare occasions, you decide the best course of action is to pursue me (and vise versa). If this is the case, please refer to scenario one. OK. That leaves us with this. I have an attraction for you, you’re having relationship problems, but you want to work it out with ‘him’ and not me so…you ask me for help.

You paint me the picture. You tell me everything that’s wrong with him, everything he lacks; you love him, but you don’t know what to do. Time for Strange Magic. A two-tablespoon dosage usually does the trick. Right into the old Starbucks iced coffee. I slurp it down. The effects are immediate. I’m transformed into this Dr Phil, Dr Ruth expert on relationships. I send you emails with my advice. I tell you whether to play it cool, play it aloof, play it hot, ignore him, yell at him, threaten to break up with him, etc. Of course the advice I provide varies based on your particular circumstance. Strange Magic, unbeknownst to you, begins to positively affect (did I get it right?) your relationship. You’ve listened to me. You’ve implemented my strategies. POOF! Relationship problems are once again over. You email me to tell me you’re in love, having sex, and he’s once again into you! It is, indeed, magic and it’s guaranteed.

The interesting thing about scenario two is that you know me and you know all my relationship failures. Why you would want to take advise from a complete failure is beyond me. But the magic works nevertheless. The other interesting thing to note here is that Strange Magic works on others but it is ineffective on me. I laughed when I saw this the other day. Have you seen previews for that new Will Smith movie called Hitch? Yeah, the dude’s a relationship expert for the guys. He gives them all the cool advise they need for dating. I’ve not seen the movie, but I guess his ‘magic’ works. But Hitch, like me, can’t impart his own advise on himself and he is a total relationship failure. I gotta go see that flick.

So what do you say, ladies? Are you ready to put all your relationship worries literally to bed? Why just as recently as yesterday, I got another scenario two report of another happy ending, literally and figuratively. Today, I got another report on the fact that significant progress was made on a relationship. And just last week, I had a combo scenario two/one situation which ended up in a total relationship revelation for the couple, and their bond is now stronger than ever! I’m a basket case, but that’s beside the point. The magic’s for you , not me. I’m so pleased my customers are happy! This shit works, I’m tellin’ ya. And if you don’t believe ME, ask for references. The tribe has spoken. Call 1-800-STM-AGIC. Phone operators are standing by.

January 30, 2005


$million movie Posted by Hello

I’m usually one of the last persons, if not *the* last, to leave the theater. I watch all the credits roll, see all the people involved in the making the film, check out the soundtrack info, and just squeeze every drop out of the movie that is humanly possible. But I couldn’t stick around for this one. In fact, I was the FIRST person to leave. As soon as I saw, “Directed by Clint Eastwood,” I bolted like a bat outta hell…

I am no match for movies anymore. I am a weak opponent. A pushover. You shouldn’t ask me, “Oh, how was the movie?” (note the correct placement of the ?) Why? Because I’m not sure I can give you an objective answer anymore. As you know, I cry a lot now. I’m OK with it and my manhood and all that shit. But these damn movies ‘get’ to me. Last week, I cried during “In Good Company” which was sort of a hokey movie. I liked it. See? That’s what I mean. I got emotional and it probably clouded my judgment, or lack thereof. Was it a good movie? It was a nice movie. But I think it’s safe to say it wasn’t Oscar material. I cried nonetheless.

I made up my mind that I want to see all the Best Picture nominees. I haven’t done this since probably ’87 or so. I saw "Sideways" back when no one ever heard of it. I loved it. It was bittersweet, but I didn’t cry. Tonight I saw “Million Dollar Baby.” My problem here is not being able to tell you about the movie because I don’t want to give anything away. I *will* say that I was paralyzed during the entire last hour. I could hardly breathe. I was having to take some major deep breaths. It was as if I, myself, was in a boxing match/bout, whatever. Clint hit me where it hurts me the most. In my heart. And yes, tears were uncontrollably streaming down my face even as I bolted out that door. {sigh}

I’m only now regaining my composure. Slowly. Movies are beating the hell outta me. Clint nearly knocked me out cold. This here writer wannabe has been beaten up emotionally for two years runnin’. I literally have no shot when I walk into the theater. Seems like they’re all knocking me down. But as I think through the cobwebs of my exhausted mind, I can conclude that Clint’s movie is, in fact, Oscar worthy. Bottom line? Go see it. So far, it's my personal Best Picture. And hey, if you don’t like it, you can think back to this post. Back here where I described the championship team of Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Hilary Swank going up against a weakened Plantation Todd. Clearly not a fair fight.

January 29, 2005


“Come on baby leave some change behind. She was a bitch, but I don’t care. She brought our food out on time, wore a funky barrette in her hair. Come on baby leave some change behind. She was a bitch. Good enough to leave some change. Everybody’s good enough for some change. The girl’s got family, she needs cash, to buy aspirin for her pain. Everybody’s good enough for some change. Some fucking change.” Waitress (1994) by Live.

With all due respect to Live lead singer Ed Kowakczyk, I’m not really sure if indeed, “everyone’s good enough for some change.” Right off the bat, my radar went up on this chick. She came to our table with an attitude. We hadn’t sat down for more than two minutes when she approached with her little pad and pen. “Drinks,” she blurted out? (by the way, can someone help me out with this rule, where exactly should the ? go in that previous sentence?. If I put it next to the ‘s’ in drinks, then I have both a ? and a , next to each other inside the “ and I know the punctuation is supposed to go inside of the quote marks…so which is it?)

Our table ordered two iced teas, one Diet Coke, and one water. She looked at us impatiently and asked if we were ready to order? Sorry babe, but I need more than two minutes to make up my mind. Feeling a little pressured the guys went ahead and ordered and when it got to my turn, of course, I wasn’t ready. Now, I don’t know if I said something or looked at her funny or what, but I pissed her off. I seem to be having that affect on women lately. So she gave me that arms-crossed, foot tapping, sideways look. I risked getting my head chopped off, but I asked to sub the bread on my sandwich for a wrap instead. Ooh, the look she gave me! I said I’d have the fruit salad as my side item and she made no acknowledgment that I’d even said something. She went right on taking the next order. Before she left, I apologetically asked her if I mentioned I wanted the fruit salad? “Yes.” And she was gone.

Gone for good, apparently. Our drinks never came. We gave her a good 15 minutes. We round-tabled the discussion as to who was gonna draw the short straw and have to get up, walk over, and ask the bee-ahtch where the hell our drinks were? I volunteered. We all know what kind of week it’s been for me, so I was already not in the best of spirits. I was ready to take her on. I was as charming as one could possibly be going on eight hours sleep in the past three days. Honestly, I was nice. I politely asked her if she’d mind getting our drinks? She was totally surprised and actually apologized before disappearing to get them.

I wouldn’t say the drinks arrived immediately, but she brought the out some five minutes later. There was only one problem. The large plastic cups all had that sort of steam-effect where you couldn’t really tell what was in them. They all had lemons and straws with the little piece of paper on the end. The point of the little piece of paper is to be able to identify the drink, no? Yet they all had the papers on the end, and it was virtually impossible to tell which beverage was which. Even the water took a few seconds to identify. She hovered over us as we tried to sort it out. Despite taking 20 minutes to get us the drinks, she made absolutely no effort to be either nice or apologetic. She fussed over separating the drinks and couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t decipher the tea from the Diet Coke.

She steamed away and shortly brought back our food. Zero banter. Just, the quick look at us. “Chicken salad wrap? Soup? Chicken Sandwich?” I felt like saying, “You mean you don’t remember who had what?” I refrained. We ate, and asked for our check. She brought it over and I made another mistake. My friend asked her for a to-go box. No reaction. I followed suit and asked her for a to-go cup for my tea. Hey, I need the tea to take my meds with. Shoot me! Jaysus, if looks could kill! She shot me a nasty look and without saying anything, left in a huff.

We never saw her again. She never came and picked up the tab, and she never brought out the to-go stuff. We had to ask another waitress to pick up the tab. I gave up on the to-go concept and just wanted to get the hell out of there and never come back. We discussed what kind of tip we should leave this girl. All of a sudden the song popped into my head, “da-di-da, everyone’s good enough for some change.” I don’t really think she was, in fact, ‘good enough’ but my friend decided to give her roughly 10%. $4 on a $34 tab. I think I would have opted for $3. Unless someone spits on my food, I don’t think I’ll ever actually stiff any waitstaff or server. But if anyone was deserving to be stiffed, this bitch was.

What makes people this bitter? For the life of me, I’ll never understand why people in a customer service-oriented job can have such a negative attitude given the fact that it IS their job to be nice an cordial to people. Anyone fitting the description of this bitchy waitress, do me a favor and quit your job and do something more suitable to your personality. Us customers will be a lot better off for it.

P.S. Special Happy Birthday wishes go out to an awesome blogger writer, Island Girl Amanda

January 28, 2005


A Visual.

Turn the clock back to the Wild West days. Picture a stagecoach and drawn horses merrily sauntering across the desert plains. The sun is setting in the burnt Orange sky. I’m wearing Cowboy garb, complete with boots, spurs, chaps, ten-gallon hat, etc. You have on one of those frilly white dresses flowing in the wind with your little white bonnet. Got the picture?

In the background we hear a whistle. Apparently, the 5:15 train is approaching. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a posse of desperados jumps the coach and holds us up at gunpoint. You know, like Jesse James or Billy the Kid. We’re good and screwed. Billy and Jesse want all of our money and jewels and their lookin’ pretty sideways toward you. They ask me for my gun, and I ain’t got much choice other than to hand it over. My mind’s thinking, trying to work out a plan to save us. You, being the brave and courageous damsel that you are, are not panicking and are not screaming. You’re kind of looking at me trying to figure out what I’m thinking in terms of escape.

The whistle is really loud now, ear-piercing as the long, long seemingly endless train whisks by. Just for a moment, the bandits are distracted by the train. And then we hear this WHHOOOOSH. We look over and there’s an arrow pierced right in the heart of one of the bad guys. And then we hear the rustle and war cries of the Seminole Indians as they come roaring across the plains on their horses.

Chaos ensues. The bandits turn their attention to the Injuns. Realizing this might be our only chance, I look at you and you look at me. We make a break for it. I grab your hand and we make a jump off the coach and head straight for the train. It’s kind of a bizarre looking train because the cars have these little red and pink hearts on them. But we can’t waste time thinking about that. We gotta focus.

We’re running hand in hand in an effort to catch the last car to complete this incredible escape. Your daily running work-outs are paying off because you’re able to keep up. The boxcars are flying past us, but if we time it right, we can catch the last car before it goes by…

We’re side-by-side now with the train. The chaos between the Injuns’ and the bad guys is long behind us. I make the giant leap towards the car and…WHEW!…I make it on board (it’s sort of like they say on an airplane when they say parents put on your oxygen masks on first and then take care of the kids after you have your masks on…so no, ladies and gentlemen, male chivalry isn’t dead) and do a nice 360 head-over-heels flip. Ouch.

So I’m on board this heart-spackled love train or whatever it is, and I desperately reach out my hand for yours. Your hand is right there and I go to grab it. You stumble a bit and I only get a few fingers as the train begins to pull away. You lost concentration for that split second because your internal courage left you for that moment because your mind was playing tricks on you. The right brain said, you can’t make it to that speeding train, you’ll hurt yourself for sure. Play it safe and stay here where you know for sure you’ll live. But your left brain said, c’mon girl you can do it! It’s right there a few feet in front of you…go for it!. You’re hand is now too far away to grab, but if you jump, I can catch you. I yell out to you, over the roar of the train, “JUMP, ALICE!!!JUUMMMP!!!”

BANG!!! I heard a noise. What the hell was that? It was a huge clap of thunder just outside my bedroom window. I wake up in a cold sweat. Jeez, what a dream! Damn, I don’t know what the hell happens in the end. All I know is that I am on board this train of hearts by myself, and I desperately want you to catch up to me, grab my hand, and make the jump into the unknown.

Thinking I must have taken too much Lexapro, or I’m just wackin’ out totally, I make an appointment with my doctor only you walk through the door. I do a double take as I flashback to this dream of mine. I’m somewhat confused, in a fog, and at a loss for words. Damn that Lexapro! My mind is spinning; it’s hard to focus and form any words. The only thing I can think to utter is…."So Alice, how did the dream end…….????????"

January 27, 2005


Shhh. Everybody be quiet. Freeze. Don’t move! I’m whispering. He’s here. I can feel it. He’s in the blog, amongst our presence. He’s reading my posts, your comments. He’s watching our interactions. He’s judging me, forming opinions of me. He’s making fun of me. Making fun of you. He’s clever, intelligent, highly educated, I’m guessing. He doesn’t understand why I’m here, why you comment? Why this ridiculous blog exists? Why aren’t any of us talking about Bukowski’s brilliance? Why are we wasting our time talking about silly shit like girls, dates, relationships, divorce, etc.? WTF is all this dear diary shit? Such drivel. Pure tripe. Shhh. If we’re real quiet and don’t comment or post, maybe he’ll go back home to his blog. I…I think he’s gone. Lemme check. Nope, no comments. He never leaves any comments. Yeah, he’s gone. OK. Coast is clear, you can all come out now…

I’ve been attacked pretty good here on my home turf. I don’t mind it, really. I’ve said all along that these anon bashers have their opinions as do the rest of us. There is no right or wrong, really. It’s all good discussion. It’s all fair, IMHO. All I ask is that you get in my face and tell me. Don’t be a chicken shit MFer with no balls and go make your comments on your own site? How am I supposed to have a logical discussion about it if I don’t know about it?

So I’m in this pissy mood for many reasons. Breakups, seconds, death moves, divorce, dishonesty, guilt complex, I could go on forever. I’ve been holding onto this post and decided I’m angry enough now to post it. I got a tip that someone didn’t exactly understand this blog’s purpose and said so on his blog. It’s interesting why someone would even ask what the purpose is? The purpose lies (or is it lays?) solely with each of us blogger writer hosts, no? We each have our own reasons for writing. Why would someone question why I write what I write? It’s like asking me, “why do you like chocolate?” Uhh, I don’t really know why just as I don’t know why I write what I write? I write about my life. It’s what I know best and occasionally, it is interesting. I’m no literary or political expert so I don’t write about that. THAT is not the purpose here. Hey, if you like to write about politics, or your life, or Ashley Simpson go for it! It’s your writing; it’s your own purpose. Why would I question why you write? Hey, if I don’t like it, I’ll leave.

Anyway, I went to his blog and checked it out. Twas true. Boy was I the fool. A few weeks ago, I made a sincere comment to him regarding a post not even knowing that the very post I was commenting on was about me. To find the post, go to the above 'blog' link to January 5th, Crisis of Faith. Read the post and then click on the title, Crisis of Faith. I have that Daffy Duck with the donkey ears feeling once again. I’m not here to badmouth him behind his back. He’s here and he’ll read it. Unlike me who had no idea his blog even existed. I already had my say about this on his blog. His comments to me?

“I think it’s amazing that you’re making this big a deal out of this. Remember, I’m a stranger. I read some propaganda you put up on the internet and the things you said were distasteful to me. I thought you sounded weak and conniving. That’s my opinion. I did link to your site to illustrate the point I was making. The whole “I’ve been had” routine is a little lame because betrayal doesn’t pertain to strangers. My reference to you was a funny (to me) afterthought and I did not intend to bring your world crashing down all around you.

Am I making too big a deal outta this? Yes. Is my world crashing down all around me? No. As I said, I'm just a little steamed right now so time to let some of it go. I do not plan on going back there to his blog. Note, I did go back there to get the link. Interestingly, he's written a post on a date he's had. Pretty mushy. Imagine that? But good for him. Hope it works out better than most of mine. And hey, write what you wanna write, I don’t give a shit.

People out there, if ya have something to say, jus’ say it to my face, will ya? Lemme have it. I always say, “be careful what you wish for,” so I’m totally expecting an onslaught.

January 26, 2005


Nope. Not a reader's poll as to who's gonna win Best Picture. I'm willing to bet you'll find that elsewhere in cyberblogspace.

Just in case you missed my comment back there on King of Pain, I applaud your creativity. I loved the suggested revised titles of my book. So much in fact that I'm opening up the floor once again for your input. Hey, it's Oscar, Golden Globe, People's Choice Award season so let's join in on the fun. Let's have our own award to hand out.

Here's the deal. Please tell me, now that you all know me intimately, what you think the title of my book should really be called? To the victor goes the spoils. I'm offering the winner a free copy of my latest CD compilation chock full of cool alternative tunes. And, the winning title will receive guest status right here on this blog. For one week, I will change the title of this blog to the winning entry (if I can figure out how to change the template).

For those of you who have already submitted, I am taking those selections into account. Limit two suggestions per reader. Be creative. Be imaginative. Be me. I am the sole judge and jury cuz it's my party and I can cry if I want to. It's pretty safe to say that I love music. Movies are good, too. I love the entries I've read thus far. Right now, the leading contender is "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here Comes Plantation." So you all have your work cut out for you. Good luck. Hmm, when should we announce the winning entry? Oscar night?

Thanks for your readership and support.
CTAD Management.

January 25, 2005


There’s only one other person in this world who knows the only other title I was considering for my book other than Chasing. Today, something happened to me that will make me seriously reconsider changing the title. Maybe it truly is my destiny?

There’s a little black spot on the sun today (that’s my soul up there.)
It’s the same old thing as yesterday (that’s my soul up there.)
There’s a black hat caught on a high tree top (that’s my soul up there.)
There’s a flag pole rag and the wind won’t stop (that’s my soul up there.)

I have stood here before inside the pouring rain, with the world turning circles running ‘round my brain.
I guess I’m always hoping that you’ll end this reign, but it’s my destiny to be the King of Pain.

BTW, I like the live Alanis Morissette version the best.


Johnny as 'Carnac' Posted by Hello

I'm sitting here typing away. Typing my next post. The Jay Leno repeat show is on in the background. For those of you non-night owls, NBC does a curtain call repeat after the usual rotation of Leno, Conan, and Carson Daly. Yes, lucky me gets to see another two hours of late-night TV. Yeah, NBC reruns the trio. Usually the Leno repeat is from a week ago which is good for me cuz I usually watch Letterman. But tonight's Leno is a repeat from the earlier show a few hours ago. It's a tribute to the greatest late-night TV host in history.

My post will have to wait a day. Yeah, this is going to be a sappy tribute to a great childhood 'friend' of mine. I grew up on Johnny Carson. Why this guy appealed to a 10-year old kid I really don't know? Or do I? His monologue was funny. His mannerisms and gestures were funny. His skits were funny. And his guests were funny, too. I mean he was genuinely funny. Natural. He seemed to me like a fatherly figure. A guy I’d love to meet.

I had a mini black and white TV in my bedroom. I’d turn the contrast down as low as it would go and still be able to see my late-night hero. That way, mom wouldn’t see that I had the TV on illegally. I watched him often and literally grew up with him for some 20 years. I learned all the characters. Carnac, Aunt Blabby, Floyd R Turbo, Karl Malden. I became familiar with his usual guests. Don Rickles, Buddy Hackett, Bob Newhart, Joan Embry of the San Diego Zoo. His sidekicks Ed McMahon and bandleader Doc Severensen. And who could forget all the great comedians that got their start on that stage? Leno himself, Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman, George Carlin, Drew Carey, Roseanne, Ellen, etc. Yeah, I’d watch Johnny and be LMAO night after night.

We all know he retired and has, for the most part, escaped the limelight. I’d say those of us who watched him regularly really haven’t lately placed much thought about Johnny in our heads. And now he’s gone, and all the memories come flooding back. I know Bob Hope’s tagline was “Thanks for the Memories,” but I hope Bob will let me use it one time for my childhood friend. The old TV clips are being played once again. And to this day, they are funny. I still laugh. I’m laughing right now watching Leno replay these clips. I’ve seen the clips a million times, and I still laugh some 30 years later. THAT’s how good Johnny was. I’ll miss you, old friend…

January 24, 2005


I forgot to mention for those just joining us that the subject matter was inspired by a readers’ choice straw poll. I'm to blame for the format. For some reason it was my choice.

Part one
Part two
Last of three parts

Two years later, the moves and the stress all took a toll.
Our marriage had deteriorated and was no longer whole.
Another lost job, back to the unemployment line.
A million jobs I applied for, rejected each time.

Then my friend called me and had some good news.
A job paying $80s, move to Florida if I choose?
The toughest decision I’ll ever have to make,
I had to leave home & my son, did I make a mistake?

The rest, as they say, is hist-o-ry.
The worst year of my life, 2003.
But little did I know, all that was in store,
Even worse than 2003 was 2004.

A dumpy apartment, no furniture in place.
I was losing my mind, what a basket case!
Then to the rescue, seemingly out of the blue,
came my biggest supporter, I’ll give you a clue.

The very same woman I spoke about above,
She came with encouragement, energy, smiles, and love.
We talked of the past and put it behind,
She furnished my whole apartment, she cooked, she was kind.

Now we talk daily on the telephone.
If there’s one thing I know, I’ll never be alone.
Thank you dear mom, for bailing me out.
I best move on now or my readers will pout.

Still, heartbreak, depression, I cried my eyes out.
But then I met ‘her.’ She was THE ONE, no doubt.
Happy and sad. The cycle never ends.
My new sabotage hobby? Pretty girls with boyfriends.

Kinky sex thoughts swirled around in my head.
Is this the strangest thing I have ever said?
Public sex in the subway? On a 50-foot sailboat?
Fantasies of girls putting hands down my raincoat.

But wait it gets worse, quick someone call Fear Factor.
Now I’m eating chocolate beetles off a John Deere tractor.
Another strange dream, a romantic trip to Napa Valley.
Great food, great wine, and a girlfriend named Sally.

Despite the dreams, “you’re OK,” shrink tells me in therapy.
“The worst is over, but you really need a hobby.”
“What are you you passionate about,”
shrink asked me one night?
I thought it over, and told her I loved to write.

So listen up y’all, I’m gonna keep writin’!
I know, I know. That prospect is frightenin’!
But my brain is too full; I need to unclog.
Thanks Urban Kvetch for suggesting a blog.

I’ve gained so many dear friends, so important to me.
I even met one in person, you know her as Greek Tragedy.
She was apprehensive. Meeting me alone.
This I described to mom on the phone.

“Sent her what? Are you kidding? That’s so bizarre!”
Yes mom. crunchy cheese doodles, make-up, sniffing glue and Twix bars.
Memories I know that I’ll never forget.
They’ll help me get through these times of pain and regret.

Divorce almost final. Another chapter to finish.
My motivation, my zest for life certainly won’t diminish.
Pretty corny this whole poem, it might be the last time,
I ever attempt to write strictly in rhyme.

Those are the highlights, but there’s so much more in between.
That’s why there’s the book, Chasing The American Dream.
Have I covered your requests, your topics? You are MY voice.
For this strange ride I’ve written for you called The People’s Choice.

January 23, 2005


SHE's just not that into you. Posted by Hello

I’m sure there aren’t many golfers out there, but this guy Jim McLean boiled the whole complicated golf swing down to 8 moves. If a golfer did something contrary to the 8 moves, he called it a ‘Death Move.’ Well, I just witnessed a ‘Death Move’ in the dating arena. I’ve gotten it fairly often. It took me a while to figure out the meaning, but I got it down now. Here’s the story.

I had a ‘first date’ last night. Stage 3. We had done the stage 1 thing quite well. Lotsa IMs and emails. It was all good. There was a lot of sexual innuendo as well. We progressed to stage 2, the phone call, and set up a stage 3 lunch date. The night before stage 3, I suggested perhaps we meet for the helluvit. She told me she had a friend over. Her friend apparently liked my blog so I just said bring her along.

So the three of us met and had a good time. Met at midnight and chatted for a couple of hours. It was very friendly. We held hands and arms, seemed comfortable. Playing in the back of my mind was all our previous stage 1 innuendo so the physical touching seemed to make sense. Then came the ‘goodbye.’ We sat in her car and I told her I’d see her tomorrow for our real date. I leaned over to kiss her goodnight and there it was. The DEATH MOVE. Instead of meeting my lips head on, she gave me the ol’ face turn, and I landed one smack dab on her cheek.

Now I’ve yet to read HJNTIY. You know, He’s Just Not That Into You. But guys out there, lemme assure you, if you get said Death Move then SJNTIY! As I said, it took me a while to learn what this Death Move meant. The first time I got it, I wasn’t sure it was intentional. I thought I got it because I surprised the hell out of my date (future post). Then, after a truly awesome date with her, I went to kiss her goodnight and surprisingly got the cheek again. That’s when I figured it out.

It’s a tough move to figure out. You always have to be prepared to receive it no matter how great the date is or how great you THINK the both of you are getting along. Thing is, I’m never prepared for it. I get lost in reality thinking everything’s going along so wonderfully. I’m not an overly aggressive person, but I am overly friendly, and perhaps overly affectionate, or overly sentimental. I give first sight hugs, goodbye hugs, and yes, first date kisses. But I only go for the goodnight kiss when I THINK there’s already a neat connection established. My intention isn’t even suck face. Sure, there’s that space issue. Perhaps a goodnight kiss on the lips is an invasion of space upon meeting someone for the first time. Perhaps a simple hug will do or the dreaded handshake. But IMHO guys, if you go for the lean over, lead with the lips, and get the Death Move, game over. SJNTIY.

So help me out before I further embarrass myself. Guys, what other Death Moves have you experienced? Girls, what DMs do you dole out to us guys to tell us SJNTIY?

January 21, 2005


Part one (click link)
Part two of three.

Sex is clumsy your first time around.
Sometimes you wonder whether to go up or to go down.
It was awkward, it was nervous, but this I must say,
We dated eight years and never went all the way.

After she graduated and left me alone,
These two girls from class called me on the phone.
They said I was hot, they wanted my bod.
Me? The skinny guy from class? The guy named Todd?

Yes it was true, easy pieces of ass.
But the loyal boyfriend with character decided to pass.
A rare opportunity gone by, every guy’s fantasy,
There were two of them and only one of me.

Can you readers believe that I am the worst?
Especially when you consider it would have been my first.
You guys already know about my streaks,
The throw up, the movies, the 28 weeks.

I know I know, 28 *months* was the tagline.
I had to say ‘weeks’ though. I needed it to rhyme.
My girl ended up dumping me after those eight long years.
“I’m marrying a doctor,” she said and left me in tears.

For the next few years I worked hard and made money.
Bought a nice car, nice clothes, but still no honey.
Then outta nowhere, I met this girl.
I had an instant crush on her so I gave it a whirl.

Eventually I offered her a romantic paradise.
Luxury, beaches, sailing. How nice.
Her role was Jeannie. I was her master.
The trip to St. Thomas was a fucking disaster.

She was bitchy and drunk and quite mean to me.
I made a big mistake, this was plain to see.
I treated her like royalty, everything I paid.
I’m such a loser, I didn’t even get laid.

After that mess, I was quiet as a mouse.
I had a new hobby. I bought my first house.
My real estate girl became my new friend.
Shh, don’t tell. You know what happened in the end…

The next year I met my bride to be.
We met at work and got married in ’93.
Our jobs were tough our boss was a jerk.
Bad to worse; three years later we were out of work.

And then came a miracle, our pride and joy.
Seven pounds, 12 ounces. Our new baby boy.
Small town, slow pace, a lifestyle change we did want.
We took a huge gamble and moved to Vermont.

Open a restaurant? Amazing but we did.
But 90 hours a week, and I never saw my kid.
Customers loved it, but the work was so tough.
After two long years, we’d had enough.

Time to move again and pick up the pace.
Time to get a job, re-enter the rat race.
We shared an upstairs. Her grandparents were our neighbors.
But I landed a cool job with the Buffalo Sabres.

The thrill was short-lived. We moved to P-A.
A decision I regret to this very day.
My boss was an ass in which no one could handle.
Ever hear of the name ‘Rigas’ and the Adelphia scandal?

Stress was high, the situation was dire.
Promises weren’t kept cuz my boss was a liar.
Luckily for me, an old acquaintance called.
I told him my story. He was quite appalled.

“Don’t sweat it dude.” I have a job for you.
Move 3,000 miles, that’s all you have to do.
A 50% raise, I took it on the spot.
Phoenix, Arizona where it’s 100 degrees hot.

To be continued...

January 19, 2005


Part one.

OK my readers. I’ve taken your ideas and concepts and Gazoo gave me an idea so I just went with it. Like it or hate it, I think I included most everything and then some. A slight, no make it, a huge departure from the norm. Without further adieu…

Sitting on a plane, heading for the ‘Big D.’
The fact that I’m even here is lucky for me.
That friggin alarm clock, 10 times I hit snooze.
Awoke from this dream, eek, I was covered in tattoos!

“Balls” written on my forehead, I just had to laugh.
Remind you of something? Garden State and Zach Braff?
And now I’m late, it’s 5:41.
My flight leaves at 6:40, miss it and I’m done.

In the car I flew in my Mercedes chariot.
Doin’ 85, not worried about the speed limit.
Boarded the plane at 6:07.
How I made it in 27 minutes? Divine intervention from the big guy in heaven.

So I board the plane and grab my seat.
Sit next to a pretty girl? Nah, just the typical deadbeat.
Just my usual luck. Jeez is *this* flight gonna be long.
His iPod is blarin’ Cheech Marin and friggin Tommy Chong.

What’s up with those lyrics? “Momma tryin to tell me how to live.
But I don’t listen cuz my head’s like a sieve.”
Shit, deadbeat’s talking to me. I say, “Hey dude I’m tryin’ to write!”
Get your nasty brylcream head outta my sight!”

Yada, yada, yada. On and on he talks about his drugs.
They make him abstract, creative, help him forget about his hair plugs.
“Dude, don’t talk to me on planes, or for that matter any place.
You’re invading my privacy. My own little space.”

“Stop tellin’ me your dirty stories.” What a womanizer!
What this guy needs is a mouthful of hand sanitizer.
Ugh. There goes the flight attendant. Their shtick is so well-known.
The cabin door’s closed. Turn off your cell phones.”

Here comes the meal. What an utter joke.
A mini bag of pretzels and a cup o’ Diet Coke.
I offer my snack to Mr. Deadbeat next door.
Hoping he’d appreciate it and bug me no more.

“Hey man, it’s cool. Want some drugs of mine?”
I just got a new stash. Canadian online.”
“Uh, no thanks deadbeat.”
I said with a forced smile.
“How ‘bout some Altoids, your breath’s so friggin vile.”

Good! At long last he’s fallen asleep.
I must write down this thought I had about marshmallow peeps.
But first a trip back to memory lane.
Must write about your requests or you’ll most certainly complain.

Born in ’62 in Atlanta, G-A.
Was there for six months and then moved away.
Miami’s the city where I spent my youth,
Where I got educated, learned to play ball, where I lost my first tooth.

Childhood was a bit tough, a bit rough, and sad.
I was only three when mom divorced dad.
A family needs a father, this I confess.
My sisters and I argued and teased, what a mess!

I studied hard, was an A-student in school.
Mom was strict. ‘No Bs’ was her rule.
Don’t get me wrong, she did her best.
But three divorces and her travel made for much unrest.

But through it all, I persevered.
College was next and it was freedom I revered.
My upbringing built my character though I didn’t know it then.
I look at life now, and where I’ve been.

University of Florida, blood, sweat, and tears.
It took me awhile, but I graduated in five years.
It was there I made the biggest mistake of my life.
No, I didn’t get a girl pregnant and make her my wife.

Rather, I switched my major in my Senior year
From writing to numbers. No career, I feared.
I went for practical over something I loved.
Writing’s not a career, if push came to shove.

Misguided thinking. I regret to this day.
Have I enjoyed my accounting career? No fuckin’ way.
But back to college for a moment, if I may.
I met my first girlfriend and fell in love right away.


January 16, 2005


It's been a short night. I've been up since 3 a.m. I got three hours sleep which is about two below my average these days. What woke me up? Well first of all, it was about 100 degrees in this roach motel. I had to get up and turn on the A/C. That consisted of opening the front door since the A/C unit doesn't work in this room. I looked over and saw my son sleeping peacefully away. There he was, mouth open, a slight snore sneaking out of him, hugging his baby teddy bear. {Sigh} What is it about kids when they’re sleeping? You just wanna immediately crawl into bed with them and give them a big hug.

I miss him. I can't begin to tell you how great it's been spending time with him this weekend (yes yes, I know all you Anon contrarians out there. I chose to leave, I'm a bad father, yada yada yada). This is my last day here before I go back. Perhaps that's what awoke me. I'm trying to cherish every minute with him for soon it'll be over. Thankfully, I'll get to see him in two months when he'll visit me for Spring Break.

So I’ve been trying to keep my mind off of leaving and the emotional heartbreak that we will both face in a few hours. I’ve been blogging for four hours, catching up with most of my blogger friends. Some of you I haven’t been able to reach thanks to this wonderful phone modem. I watched some new MTV show called ‘Boiling Point.’ It’s sort of a meaner spirited Candid Camera. If people are able to keep their cool within 10 minutes or so, they get $100. It’s quite funny actually and kept me entertained for a couple of hours.

I noticed my cell phone light was blinking. Hmm, a text message was left. Figures. I’m emotionally whipped right now. It was ’Demi’/DME/Doctor My Eyes. She was responding to a text I sent her a couple of days ago about my upcoming trip out here. She wished me luck and said she’s on a snowboarding vacation. Ah yes, I remember the good ol’ days when I’d know everything she was up to when she was on vacation. Damn this 5% of me that can’t get over her. I need to cuz it really *is* over.

January 15, 2005


I should have been happy, I suppose, sitting in that courtroom listening intently as my lawyer tore holes through her story and, most likely, her heart. I mean, after all, I had been waiting and waiting for this moment to finally arrive…

For the past 11 months, I’d been put through the emotional ringer as, I’m sure, she had been. But she had been aggravating me and disappointing me with her need for greed, her need to control my life, and her need to talk to me about my son like I was, myself, an eight-year-old. Initially, I handled this very poorly. I lost my cool, cursed her out on the phone, and was flat out rude. Perhaps, I was letting it all out after keeping it all inside for all those years. It felt good. But it wasn’t right. It took me three months to get my emotions back in check. Sure medication and therapy helped, but I realized this was not the image I wanted to portray, especially in a court setting. So I’ve just been taking it, internalizing it once again, and waiting for ‘my day in court.’

You see, my friends, the very notion of divorce sucks, plain and simple. And when you throw kids into the mix it makes it even more unbearable. In a perfect world, two perfectly reasonable and intelligent people who have lived together, shared lives, love, happiness, heartbreak, success, and failure, for the better part of 12 years should be able to come to an agreement. More times than not, they can’t. We couldn’t either. And so divorce gets nasty. We divorcees turn our cases over to the experts, the professionals, the lawyers.

And so as I listened to my lawyer on the attack, I got close to crying. I felt the tears welling up, but I had to focus, listen, and write comments on my legal pad. I had to concentrate on the task at hand. So I sat in my chair and wrote all the inconsistencies and falsehoods I’d heard. And when I took the stand, I’d sneak peeks over to her side of the courtroom, and she was doing the same.

Same facts. How can the same facts be turned into two completely different cases in which there is little if no resemblance? I mean think about it. Here you have two lawyers with essentially the same facts to work with, the same legal rules to work with, yet the cases presented to the judge are so completely and unequivocally different. Amazing. I’m making it a point not to divulge the private courtroom drama that unfolded. See? I am learning, aren’t I? But I do have to give you one ‘for instance’ that is sticking in my mind. Her lawyer proposed a stunning question to me. The issue at hand was reducing housing expenses. We had contended that my ex should not be able to live in a 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 2,000 square-foot house with a pool if she couldn’t afford to do so. This has been a major issue. I live in a crappy 1 bed 1 bath 800 square-foot apartment filled with hand-me-down furniture. I’m humbled and somewhat embarrassed enough as it is. My rent’s $840 a month. Yet I was on the recipient end of this mind-boggling question. Had I ever considered getting a roommate so I could cut my rent expense down?

I guess court rules say that I was supposed to answer that question with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ only. I knew I’d eventually get around to saying no, but I had to get my thoughts out first. I told her lawyer that I’m no longer a 21 year-old college senior, but that I’m 42 and feel deserving of having my own place, be it ever so humble. “No, I’ve never considered getting a roommate.” See what I mean? Same case facts, different interpretation. Her lawyer comes up with that unbelievable and unbearable scenario. And I guess the scary thing is, the judge could actually agree with that scenario. Lord have mercy.

On a separate note, I thought it was interesting that my ex knows precisely what I’ve been up to for the past year. It’s all there or should I say, it’s all here in the blog. In contrast, I have no idea what she’s been up to in her personal life. I don’t even know how she feels about meeting men or getting back into the dating arena as I have done. Obviously she’s got a child to care for which inhibits her time. Personally, I hope she finds someone. I hope she finds happiness. I’ve said previously that I don’t have time for anger and hatred anymore. This is the perfect opportunity to challenge the ‘new me.’ But I think I’m OK. Sure her lawyer beat me up, but that’s her job in this ugly process. Sure my ex wants seemingly every penny I have left after expenses. She feels in her heart that she’s right, just as I feel I’m right. And this inability to compromise and settle leads to the inevitable date in court and the personal attacks that come with it. Happily, we did reach a compromise on most of the issues concerning our son.

I’d like to thank my lawyer who I did a fantastic job for me. He worked hard, studied the case hard, knew the facts, the law, and all that kind of stuff. Sure he billed me for it, but I think he did so fairly. True, we may not ‘win’ the case, but more importantly, I think the true test is that I can call him my lawyer and I can also call him my friend.

Who won, who won already, you ask? It’s an old cliché, but no one really wins in divorce, do they? I think the answer is the lawyers won. Between the two of us, we’ve probably racked up over $25,000 in legal fees. Money that neither one of us has. Money that both of us will have to borrow in order to pay them off. Sure it’s conceivable that the judge will rule that I have to pay for her fees as well, but I really don’t think that’s reasonable. Why on earth should I have to pay for fees her lawyer ran up, in my opinion, unnecessarily? I think she created a paper chase; she thinks I didn’t supply her with answers. I say Tuh-MAY-toe, she says Tuh-MAH-toe. But for that and all the other divorce issues at hand, the judge will ultimately rule.

How will she rule? I think if you ask my lawyer and her lawyer, like the cases presented, you’ll get two completely different answers. Sure, I know how I want her to rule. I think my facts and how they were presented were the correct ones. I think, for example, the amount and duration of alimony we presented was reasonable. But I know the same feelings are shared by the other side. So how does the judge rule?

My guess? I’ve been thinking about it. I know we had a good case. I know my lawyer presented it well. I know in my heart that I can’t afford what the other side proposed in terms of alimony. The numbers just don’t add up. I’m a numbers guy. It’s what I do for a living. I’ve been charting every penny I’ve spent for the past year. There is no way I can afford sending $3,800 a month out West for alimony and child support. I think the judge will see that. I hope the judge will rule in favor of me, but realistically life after all is indeed a compromise, and I think her ruling will be no different. She’ll award me some things, and she’ll award the ex some concessions. Yes, I believe the ruling will involve some sort of compromise. A concept that had both of us had embraced, we’d might never have been awaiting this very ruling. Compromise. Another lesson learned and be put to good use as the chase continues.

January 13, 2005


Tourist season in Phoenix/Scottsdale means big money. Tourists flock in by the thousands for the good weather and are willing to pay the big bux for hotels, resorts, golf, food, etc. Having previously lived here for two years, I've seen hotel prices jump from $79 to $379 from Summer to Winter.

I had a choice to make. Pay the big bucks or go cheap. I dunno, I usually don't go for the cheap, but somehow I felt this trip was 'cheap' so I went for the cheap. I found a Ramada Inn for $54 a night. That's dirt cheap this time a year with emphasis on the word 'dirt.' I'm sitting in my room and I went around and noticed a few things. The bedspread was just plain nasty so I immediately and carefully removed it only to find a stained blanket underneath. It looked like blood stains to me. Totally gross. That got carefully removed as well. The bed sagged and was hard as a friggin rock. The pillows were flat as pancakes. The room was just plain dirty. Stains everywhere. Toilets and sinks rusted. The A/C didn't work, and the towels were like sandpaper. The so-called closet consisted of a dirty pole and a few hangars, no door. The 'Kleenex' and toilet paper? See 'towels' comment. The soap dish consisted of a triangular-folded Kleenex. When I got back to the room tonight, I was locked out. It seemed that annoying emergency latch or privacy latch got hooked on the door AFTER I left. How the hell does that happen? They had to call security to let me in. I guess the maid couldn't get in either cuz the room hadn't been cleaned. Oh well, you get what you pay for, right?

On the bright side, I've gotten to hang out with my son which has been totally cool. The tough part is leaving him each night, but tomorrow and Saturday he's staying with me so I look forward to that. I'm ready for battle tomorrow. My lawyer's excellent, I'm confident, I have no fear, and I'm bringing my 'A-game.' Interestingly, based on my review today, my little blog and all 37 posts will be accompanying me in court. Courtesy of the opposition.

Oh, I *am* working on the Readers' Choice post so hang with me. I think it'll be worth the wait!

January 12, 2005


Well, I leave for the airport in four hours. Wish me luck. Interestingly, spoke to the 'ex' tonight. She said she was nervous. I'm not in the least. In fact, I'm confident, and I'm ready for it to finally be over.

Tks again for all the Readers' Choice suggestions. I've got a tough assignment ahead of me. I plan on writing on the plane and am looking forward to the challenge.

January 09, 2005


OK guys (figurative term not literal). It's 4 am and I've been doing some thinking. And some calculating (I hope Robotnik knows I write conversationally and realize that not all my sentences are complete and gramatically structured per Strunk & White). I've been blogging for seven weeks now. To date, not counting this one, I have written 37 posts (forgive me, this numbers thing is the CPA in me). The subject matter breakdown is as follows:

Dating 11
About Me 10
Life Observations 6
TV/Music 4
Book subjects 4
Work 2

Although my book is obviously 'about me,' I have surprisingly and unknowingly written only four posts directly related to the book. When I started this blog, I figured I'd spend half my time giving you sneak previews. Hmm. Most of the stuff I've written is really post-book, time or chronologically speaking. Unless of course, I decide to include some of it, and I may just do that.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is that I've spelled out all I've written about thus far. You all know I'm going away next week for the Big D, and I'll have plenty to write about when get back. But for now, I was wondering what you wanted me to write about next? That's right, I'm calling it Readers' Choice. Majority rules although I'll probably only get three comments. So, what'll it be? Whatcha want me to write about next???

January 08, 2005


Somewhere on a deserted island far, far away, Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is having an interesting time playing with, cooking with, or eating whatever the hell is in my package.

Posted by Hello

Remember this tagline? “When it Absolutely, Positively Has To Be There Overnight®.” Apparently, FedEx doesn’t. My sister FedEx’d me a holiday package on 12/14/04. I still haven’t received it. I *do*, however, have enough of those little door stickies to wallpaper the bathroom. The main problem has been that I’m out of town Monday thru Friday and the original instructions said ‘signature required.’ Sticker #3 said ‘Final delivery, call 1-800…’ So I called FedEx and told them the story and told them I’d like to pick up the package. They informed me I couldn’t do this because their warehouse was a non-public facility with no customer service. Uh, so how the hell am I supposed to get this package, I thought? I asked if they could just leave the package without a signature, and they said ‘no.’ They told me only the shipper could remove those instructions. I hung up, called my sis a/k/a the shipper, and I gave her the scoop. I told her she had to call FedEx and change the instructions.

Later that day, I get a two-page email from sis saying how frustrated she was with FedEx. She got the typical voice response system which runs you around while all you want is to desperately talk to a human. She waited and waited, got bounced around from department to department, talked with a million people, and finally got a hold of someone who agreed to change the instructions to ‘leave package on back patio.’ Great, I was all set. Or was I? I was home for the holidays and expected the delivery. It never came, and I didn’t get any stickies either. What the????

I called sis who called FedEx again, and she went thru all the same rigmarole (hmm, always thought this word was rig-A-marole) again. FedEx claimed they had a bad address and couldn’t find my apartment. We confirmed that the address they had was, in fact, correct. Great. Package will be delivered. During the next week, more stickies, no package, more phone calls. They were still claiming a bad address! Once again, I confirmed the address. This week, I think it was Thursday, I got a call from the FedEx Ground Trace Department manager who informed me they were ‘having trouble’ delivering my package. The guy was very nice so I did my best to maintain my composure, something I’m not very good at with these types of instances. I relayed the whole story to him and he apologized. He said the driver was on is way, and I reiterated that I was out of town and that the driver needed to leave the package in my laundry room by the patio. Mr. Manager said he’d type that into the computer and that the package would be delivered soon (Thursday).

Yesterday (Friday), I’m doing my morning sit-ups and I get a call. I curiously look at my watch and it’s 7 am. A cheery FedEx girl informs me that they’re ‘having trouble’ delivering my package and that the driver is on the way and yada yada yada. Broken record. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was so GD mad, I just let this poor girl have it. She poured gas on the fire by arguing back. She flat out told me they couldn’t deliver the package without a signature and that I'd have to come pick it up myself. I argued that the said instructions had since changed which should already be reflected in their records. I also told her I already *tried* to pick up the package, but her wonderful company wouldn't let me claiming it was non-public. I told this idjit that a manager called me just yesterday and told me there would be no problem with the delivery. She then asked me the question I hate the most. “Who did you speak with?” I hate that fucking question. Once again, shouldn’t all that information be in their fucking computers? Shouldn’t they have a record of that phone call and all the previous bullshit I’ve already been through? Seems to me all this history should be available under my tracking number. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

But this chick, according to her, had no record of my conversation with the manager. Was she insinuating I was making it up? Perhaps, but it was clear I wasn’t getting anywhere with her so I asked to speak with her manager. I had to repeat the whole damn story again, and he too had the nerve to ask me who I spoke with? That’s when I let him have it. I flat out told him I didn’t give a shit about their policies and that I wanted him, as a manager, to make an executive decision to make an exception and deliver the package, period. He finally relented. He agreed the driver would leave the package in the laundry room.

About six hours later, I get a call from Manager #1, the guy from Thursday. He kindly if I got my package because his records indicated ‘no delivery.’ My face turned beet red. Since he was nice again, I didn’t give him ‘Angry Todd.’ Instead, I expressed my total frustration and exasperation. Apparently, his department was in Pittsburgh and the idiots I talked with in the morning were local Ft Lauderdale. He asked me *the* dreaded question, but I’d learned my lesson and gave him the guy’s name I'd spoken with earlier in the morning. I told him I was confused as to why the morning manager guy didn’t have a record of our previous conversation? He apologized over and over again. I told him once again that my sis cleared the whole ‘no signature required’ thing. I asked him if he had a record of her conversation? He said he did. The last call from my sis was on 12/30. Great. So I pleaded with him to have the driver leave the package in my laundry room by the patio. He assured me he’d make it happen. {Sigh}

I drove home yesterday with a little excitement knowing I’d have something to look forward to. I mean, getting a package is one of the coolest things, isn’t it? My two-hour drive got me home around 8 pm. I got to my door, and THERE IT WAS!!! No, not the package. It was another sticky which said “Final Delivery, please call 1-800…” After I let out a few f-bombs, I realized I would have to call FedEx once again. I didn’t have the energy and I still don’t. The only words that came to mind were, “What can Brown do for you?” Yeah, go UPS! I’m never using FedEx again. Ever.

January 07, 2005


I don’t know why, but I wanted to pick my favorites from each of our iPOD shuffle lists to see what it would look like. I’m sure none of us would agree on our top 10, but for what it’s worth, here are my choices in order of appearance. Once again, thanks to all of you. I thought I knew my music, but there is obviously much more I have to learn.

1 New Slang – The Shins posted by La Chat Noir
2 Learn to Fly – Foo Fighters posted by Plantation
3 Oliver's Army – Elvis Costello posted by Auf! Auf! Alexandr (LX Robotnik)
4 The Boxer - Simon & Garfunkel posted by Innocently Ignorant (Emily)
5 Mad World - Gary Jules posted by Island Girl (Amanda)
6 Yellow - Coldplay posted by Beyond Ridiculous (Catherine)
7 Rockford Files Theme - Mike Post posted by Anonymous (anti-robotnik)
8 Dog & Butterfly – Heart posted by Just Me, Myself, & I (Michelle)
9 Piece of My Heart -Janis Joplin posted by My Urban Kvetch (Esther)
10 Imagine – John Lennon posted by girl from Florida (late entry)

January 06, 2005


OK. It’s time to lighten the mood around here. I stole this idea from my blogging buddy La Chat Noir who swiped it from AnonymousCoworker who adopted it from Texas Biscuit. The idea here is to set your iPod on shuffle, hit the play button, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. Remember kiddies, no cheating! And now, my results…

1 Memory - Sugarcult
2 Stupid Girl - Cold
3 This is the Time To Remember – Billy Joel
4 She Hates Me – Puddle of Mudd
5 Learn to Fly – Foo Fighters
6 7 Nation Army – White Stripes
7 Sympathy – Get Up Kids
8 Strange Magic - ELO
9 Chariot – Gavin DeGraw
10 World on Fire – Sarah McLachlan

All in all, I fared OK. When I look at this list, I think it actually is a fairly good representation of my tastes although nothing from the ‘60s showed up. This was a rather exciting exercise. I was anticipating yet cringing between every song hoping that Dido didn’t show up. Did I just say Dido?

January 05, 2005


So there’s this Bugs Bunny episode where Bugs invites Daffy Duck over to stay for a week. All Daffy wants to do is stay inside and watch TV. The two of them are sitting there watching a game show. The object of the game is to see who, out of a pair of best buddies, can get to the TV studio and cross the finish line first. The winner receives “a million bucks.” The emcee announces that Bugs and Daffy are this week’s buddy winners, and the game is on. Before the emcee finishes his speech, Daffy is out the door in a flash and on his way to the studio. After a series of hijinx that rivals the Roadrunner and Coyote, Bugs and Daffy arrive at the studio in a virtual tie. Up the elevators they go, and they both sprint to the finish line. Daffy goes for the headfirst slide and at the wire it’s a photo finish. The special TV reply reveals that Daffy wins by a nose, err, by a beak. The emcee proceeds to show Daffy what he’s won. He’s won “a million box.” Much to Daffy’s dismay, the emcee goes onto explain that inside the huge box are one million little boxes. At this point, Daffy is so steamed that he interrupts the emcee to say that he’s very undeserving and wants to give his box to Bugs. The emcee then lauds Daffy for his generosity because inside each of the little boxes is a brand new $1 bill. The emcee then asks Daffy to say a few words to the audience, and when the camera pans to Daffy, you see Daffy with a big red face of an ass (donkey) saying, “hee-haw, hee-haw, hee-haw.” That’s about how I feel right now.

When I read the letter, two images immediately came to mind. Daffy’s ass face was the first image. The second was one of those old-fashioned turntables with an album on it and the needle bumping into the center hole over and over again ‘round and ‘round complete with the scratchy sound effects. Ya know, nobody likes to finish second, right? Second = disappointment. Second means you lost. We humans hate to lose, don’t we? Most of us are competitive and despise losing. Oh sure, we can be good sports about losing, and there are *always* exceptions to the rule. There are situations, say in the Olympics, where one is not expected to be highly competitive but surprisingly takes the silver medal. I’m sure, in this case, the athlete is elated to garn an Olympic medal of any kind. But if you take an Olympic favorite in an event and he/she comes in second, then the athlete is likely to be extremely disappointed if he/she comes in second. It doesn’t seem to matter if we’re golfing, bowling, playing crazy 8s or Scrabble, swimming, running a race, in a baking or beauty contest, on The Apprentice, or simply whether the person your seeing chooses someone else. Second sucks.

She called it her “break-up letter.” Now before I get into the specifics, let me reiterate what I said on my last post (28 Months)...

“Listen people, do not be mad at her. I’m not and it’s not my point to make her the issue of this post. She’s a great person, a sweet girl, a single mom making the best out of her difficult situation. I’m just spinning a tale of just how difficult it really is out here to date and relate. I find it hard to believe that, especially after this post, I might not ever see her again. It’s just that sort of uneasy feeling you have in your gut. We’ve all experienced that, right? And now what? Does it come down to the ‘being friends’ issue once again? Many questions to be answered. Many unknowns. Who knows, I may get to visit her although it just doesn’t seem likely? I’m never right about these things anyway so I guess I’ll just see what happens. “

A few points, if I may. First, I mean it. I’m not mad her so you don’t be mad either. Second, my gut was right. Third, the questions are now answered and there are no more unknowns. OK, OK, I’m getting’ to the point. The ‘no pic’ girl and I talked after she read both Greek posts (Greek’s and mine). She was still talking to me so that was a good sign, but the excitement in her voice was gone. As I said, she seemed distant. *Something* had changed. I asked her to think over the whole situation and she said she’d write me. And she did. Later that day, I received a three-page email. I’ll try to paraphrase the letter and give you some background.

During our time together, we talked about our previous JDate experiences. She told me about one guy, who I’ll call The Other Guy (TOG) who came from out-of-town to visit her twice. The first date was great, but the second date was a bit weird. So the hopes she had were tempered because the guy’s attitude had changed drastically from visit one. That’s about all I knew. In her letter she describes her ‘relationship’ with TOG. He kept pursuing her even after she and I dated. He sent cards, emails, and phone calls. He wanted a second chance. She was still confused. Then came our weekend which she described as one of the best she’s ever had. Still, she told me the whole New Year’s thing with Greek was sorta gnawing at her. After she went back home, she wrote that she and TOG started talking again and things were back to being nice and positive. She told me she missed him so off she went, daughter in tow, in the car for an hour-and-a-half drive to visit TOG for the weekend. They hit it off (no, they didn’t sleep together) and she was impressed he got along so well with her daughter (Meanwhile, I’m calling her that weekend, and of course I have no idea what’s goin’ on). They talked of serious relationships, kids, marriage, etc. He asked for exclusivity, but for many reasons (one of which was me) she couldn’t commit yet.

Then came the New Year’s question. About that time, I had asked her if she wanted me to come visit for New Year’s. Her response was basically ‘no’ because, among other reasons, she felt she was my second choice plus she wanted to explore the TOG relationship. So I was, in essence, her second choice, too. TOG had plans, canceled them, and went to visit her. They had an awesome time together (once again, I was calling her and had no clue to what was going on) so she decided to give him a second chance. She reiterated that her and I had a great and special time yet we agreed that there were no strings attached. That was certainly true. She then dubbed her letter as the “break up” letter. So there it was. She made her choice, and I finished a close second. But, of course, she wanted to remain friends. My specialty in life.

I explained my immediate reactions in paragraph one. I felt like an asshole for once again. I’m not at all comparing her to The Fool girl. That’s simply not the case. Yet, I felt so stupid or naïve because her was another girl spending time with a man, out of town, in her town, and I had no friggin’ clue. Daffy face. And to me, this seemed like the proverbial broken record I described above. The scenario keeps happening over and over again. Disappointments over and over again. That’s life and that’s dating. I realize that. She and I have talked since. It seems one of the keys was indeed the New Year’s plans or lack thereof. We both were second choices in each other’s minds. Second. No one likes second. She told me in addition to feeling like second place, she had a change of heart about me meeting her daughter so soon. Once again, I imaged the broken record. That sounded very much like the Building A Mystery Girl who was all fired up to meet me, made plans for me to come visit her, and then had a complete change of heart because she didn’t want me to meet her daughter so soon. Like I said, my emotions were not of anger, but of déjà vu.

I wish ‘no pick girl’ the best and wish her success in her relationships. Everything’s cool. I just feel stupid. I don’t hate her either. But now I’ve got this friends issue once again. Readers have already blasted me for doing the friend thing. And I’m the worst at severing relationships. The worst. Right now, I’m not sure what I’m gonna do? I guess for now I’m going to continue to focus on what I enjoy the most. I’ll continue to write and relate to you one guy’s view of the world and of life as he continues to strive for first place because, after all, second sucks.

January 02, 2005


The little fictional postman I call Gazoo who randomly pops into my brain made another delivery. I was doing my nightly two-mile jog when he put this thought into my head. As I ran, I thought about the risky posting concept and decided if I didn’t have a message on my cell phone by the time I got back, I’d go through with posting this idea. Well, I’m home (obviously), and there’s no message. (Note, this post was started yesterday. I got a message this morning, I made two calls and left messages, no return call…)

I told you before my life has been full of unusual streaks. Some are easy to publicize, like not seeing a movie for 7 years or not throwing up for 29 years. Some are, uh, a bit more difficult, a bit more embarrassing, and a bit more personal. But hey, it’s the New Year, right? Gotta forge on.

The Big D (Divorce) is complicated. I leave for Phoenix in 12 days for my long awaited trial. At this point, I’m not sure what issues are going to be dredged up? Many things went wrong between us. Or maybe, better said, many things were missing from our marriage. Among other things, over the years, we lacked common interests, common religion, we weren’t best friends, and IMHO she lacked passion.

Passion’s the subject at hand here. OK, now that I have everyone’s attention, I’ll carry on (wayward son). One parental mistake we made was our son's sleeping habits. In his early childhood, he had many fears among which, was the fear of sleeping alone. Being worried, first-time parents, we accommodated him by getting in bed with him until he fell asleep. This eventually led to spending the entire night with him. Ahh, I can see all the headshaking goin’ on out there. I know, big mistake. Yeah, in more ways than one.

So yes, our son became dependent on us parents. We ended up having to sleep with him pretty much until he was 7 years-old. Most of those duties fell to me. I’d be the one who slept with him because I’d go to bed earlier than the ex. So naturally, if I’m sleeping in said son’s bed I’m not sleeping in *our* bed. And if we’re not sleeping together than obviously we’re not doing other things together, right? Right.

Fast forwarding a bit, the last time the ex and I were together was for her 40th birthday. I could never have imagined it would be the last time we’d have sex. The date? 8/14/02. OK, now I can see everyone out there doing the math and looking at the subject title. Hold on and I’ll explain. I left home on 12/27/03 so you can see that it had been quite some time since we were together (16 months). Once our son got to sleeping on his own, we still rarely slept in the same bed. She’d claim the mattress bothered her, or I’d hog the bed or covers, so she slept in the spare room.

OK so now I’m on my own and doing this online dating thing. One of the biggest fears out there (seemingly) is that most guys are ‘players’ and just want one thing. I’m not one of those ‘player’ dudes and feared being labeled as such. So I had this dichotomy thing goin’ on. I wanted to be the nice guy that I am, but I wanted to be the Garden State, no fear, go-for-it guy as well. So for almost the entire year of 2004, I played the nice guy. I eventually convinced myself that there was nothing wrong with wanting to be with someone. I just thought, whatever happens, happens; and if it does happen, then it’s totally cool so quit worrying about it.

I met some amazing women this year, er, last year. Nothing happened and I was OK with it. I made many friends. I’m good at that, ya know. So fast forward to late November. I made a major leap of faith. I broke one of my picture rules and met someone having never seen her picture. She lived out of town and was coming in for a visit to her parents (Note folks, we’re NOT talking about Greek Tragedy here so everyone just relax). We agreed to meet and just have a good time. And we did. She was/is cute. We had dinner and dessert. Before I got out of her car (she drove to the dessert place and drove me back to the restaurant parking lot) to go home, I took a bit of a chance and gave her a quick goodnight kiss.

That kiss seemed to linger for both of us. During the next week, we talked on the phone daily. I told her about ‘the streak.’ It was once again approaching the 14th. That meant another month. Do the math yet? Yeah 8/14/02 to 12/14/04 is 28 months. Wow, that’s a helluva long time. Thing is, I’ve always had the passion. I guess Greek would call it Funnel Cake. I’ve just not had someone to share it with. Now while this was going on, I was scheduled to meet a JDater I’d corresponded with for four months. I considered the fact that the streak could very well end up there in the Northeast. Either way, I was cool with it. If it happened, great for us, if not, that would have been OK, too. Really, it would have been. Well, if you recall, that meeting never happened.

Then the ‘no pic girl’ and I got really hot and heavy on the phone. Phone sex? I suppose so. It’s all we could talk about. I think it had been a while for her, too. She was coming back to town and both of knew it *was* gonna happen. I fought guilty feelings. Feelings of acting like a ‘player.’ Feelings of, what happens afterward? Is this a one night stand thing? I wanted it to be special, not tacky, not cheap. Plus, my hand-me-down twin bed is not really conducive sooo, I got a nice room at a nice hotel for the special occasion.

The streak ended late nite/early morning on 12/19. We did just about everything and then some. Practically went through a whole box of you-know-whats in two days. We had a great weekend. How did we leave it? Well, it seemed inevitable that I’d come to visit her and we’d continue where we left off. Passion ruled. But right before she left to go home, she asked me a momentum changing question. “Got any New Year’s plans?” I gave her a non-committal answer which I know disappointed her especially after all the time we had just spent together.

That’s where Greek entered the picture because we had previously planned to get together for New Year’s (I thought) when she came down to Florida for her annual visit. And you all know that story now. And believe me, I felt guilty times 10. You also know that Greek left early so there was no New Years’ date.

After Greek posted and then I posted, I awaited the response. I expected anger and disappointment. She seemed cool with it. She told me we had talked about agreeing to continue to see other people and so on. Yeah, *seemed* cool with it, but I couldn’t see her face which I’m sure did express disappointment. I asked her if she wanted me to come up for New Year’s and all of a sudden, excuses were made. Legitimate though they may have been (working, no babysitter, whatever), I sensed things had changed. Days ago, there would have been nothing to stop us from being together and for me to make a visit up there and now, it was different. She seemed distant. I think the Greek thing hurt her; I can’t say I blame her in the least bit.

So it started with the no visit, and then the phone calls slowed, messages not being returned. A pattern I’ve recognized. Even when we last spoke, it seemed distant. She seemed distracted doing other things, and I didn’t feel like a lengthy conversation having just been on the phone for two hours with mother and son. Again, easy excuses but what are the under linings? Are we building a mystery here? Hmm, I’m not sure. I’ve only known her for 5 weeks. I feel like I’ve hurt her. She even mentioned something to the effect that, “You had me and now you’re moving on.” That sort of commentary really hurts cuz it’s the very image and reality I’m trying to avoid. Listen people, do not be mad at her. I’m not and it’s not my point to make her the issue of this post. She’s a great person, a sweet girl, a single mom making the best out of her difficult situation. I’m just spinning a tale of just how difficult it really is out here to date and relate. I find it hard to believe that, especially after this post, I might not ever see her again. It’s just that sort of uneasy feeling you have in your gut. We’ve all experienced that, right?

And now what? Does it come down to the ‘being friends’ issue once again? Many questions to be answered. Many unknowns. Who knows, I may get to visit her although it just doesn’t seem likely? I’m never right about these things anyway so I guess I’ll just see what happens. Regardless, I better go back and mark my calendar. Hmm, 13 days and counting…

January 01, 2005


Last of a three-part series.

This first date began way way back to the beginning when I first joined JDate in July. I pulled up my search criteria and there she was. Miss Popularity. Yep, she was the most popular girl in my region between age 27 and 39. It was easy to tell why. Attractive (of course), professional (attorney by trade), and smart (judging by her profile). She seemed to have it all, and so I decided I’d throw my hat into the ring.

We started off well. We had some nice banter going with IMs and emails. But I did notice something a bit unusual about her. Her answers were very short. One or two words, and she didn’t seem to laugh at any humor I threw at her. Her personality seemed ‘cold’ to me. I had two tickets to an upcoming Evanescence concert, and I wanted and needed a date. I had only known her for a few days but asked her to the concert anyway figuring no way in hell she’d agree to go. But much to my surprise, she said she’d love to go, but… Damn those ‘buts.’ But, she had other plans. I was after all, asking on short notice so I certainly didn’t expect a miracle. And I thought this was rather good news since she did say she would have gone despite having hardly known me.

A few days later, I told her the concert was great, sorry she missed it, and asked if she’d like to meet me at Starbucks for coffee (See? I was trying to play it smart and play for the conservative coffee meeting). Her reply surprised me. She said I’d have to come up with something better than that if we were to meet. Huh? I was honestly offended by her response. To me, I just wanted to us to meet. It didn’t matter what we did or where we met, but apparently it mattered to her. So I basically told her that if I was in a bidding war, then maybe I was not the right guy to participate. I didn’t mean any harm by the remark, but I clearly offended her. She got a little steamed, and I apologized for the unintentional insult. After that episode, she became non-responsive until she eventually told me she was not interested.

So I let her go, but kept in touch by randomly saying hello once in a while. I eventually got back into a conversational mode with her, and we were once again on speaking terms. She still showed no signs of thawing out of my perceived ‘cold’ personality. But then we got to talking about music, and she showed a little softness and warmth that I’d been looking for. I sent her a few links to a few songs. She particularly liked ‘Run’ by Snow Patrol. I then offered to make her some CDs with some cool music and she agreed. Ultimately this led me to asking her to another concert (the band “Live.”) I told her we’d go as friends and have a good time and listen to some great music. Simple. At first she said she’d have to think it over. I told her even if she hated me, she would enjoy the concert so why not just agree to go? She finally relented and agreed to go. I couldn’t believe it. Little ol’ me had a date with Miss Popular!

The concert was at a Hard Rock Casino & Resort. We agreed to meet there. I had low expectations because I was prepared for a ‘cold’ reception from this ‘Ice Queen’ as I dubbed her. But I had an icebreaker for her. I made her some more CDs and had them nicely packaged in one of those CD holders. When I saw her come through the door, she looked every bit as good as her picture. I gave her my standard hug greeting and gave her the surprise. She was very thankful and told me that was awesome of me to make her those CDs. I guess not all women are offended by a gift. She had a great smile, and we were off to a good start. We went to the café for some drinks and some appetizers prior to the concert. To my surprise, we had a really nice time. She actually had a very nice personality. The Ice Queen was nowhere to be found. She had a beer; I ordered a Long Island Iced Tea in her honor since that was her hometown. I think she liked that. Our waiter was a bit weird. He said he didn’t like chicken wings because he didn’t like to get his hands dirty. We laughed at this ridiculousness and ordered wings anyway. I liked the fact that she could get her hands dirty and lick the wing sauce off her fingers. Again, no signs of the Queen. I paid the tab; she thanked me, and we walked over to the concert venue.

The concert was awesome. We both loved it. Live only played for barely an hour, but they were great and were really into it. Before I knew it, the date was over. I asked her if she’d like a nightcap, but she said she had to work the next day and wanted to get home. I offered a ride to her car and she accepted. I pulled up to her shiny white Porsche Carrera. I told her she was a great person, and she said I wasn’t too bad myself. She kissed me goodnight and off she went. Gee, four hours went by in a flash.

I replayed the date in my mind on the way home. All in all, I decided it far exceeded my expectations. Or should I say, she did. I was glad she showed her personality, and I was glad she seemed to like me. Yes, this indeed WAS a good date! I looked forward to bigger and better things in the future. The date inspired me to write a poem. So I got home and wrote it. But that’s for another post…

So there you have it. The good, ’The Bad’, and ’The Ugly’. But you want to know something really unusual? That good date was in September. I haven’t seen her since. I had asked her out a few times without success. She finally admitted she was seeing someone but wanted to be friends. Ah, there it was. My specialty. Friends. I doubt I’ll ever see her again, and that’s too bad. We still email once in a while and I send her some music from time to time. In the meantime, ‘The Bad’ date and I have been corresponding frequently, too and are also friends. Weird, huh? It just goes to show you, I have a long, long way to go before I figure out this online dating stuff, if I ever do figure it out.