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Chasing The American Dream

February 28, 2005


The Great GazooPosted by Hello

I was reading Aly the other day. On 2/19/05, she listed 37 topics she could be blogging on. I told her I didn't know how she did it? How did she think of all those topics? I told her I can't ever 'think' of things to write about. They just come to me out of nowhere. You know, my friend Gazoo zaps me. Well Aly, he's done it again.

Women have been on my mind constantly. I guess that's not unusual for a man, huh? Heck, I've been boring you and sniveling to you about my women woes forever and a day now. But hey, they are a huge part of my past, present, and (hopefully) future!

Let me ask you a question, if I may? Whether you're in your car or just walking around, do you often wonder what the hell those silly-looking runners/joggers, with their shorts, tank tops, and headphones, are actually thinking? They look so focused, serious, in form, striding away. What *is* going on in those brains of theirs? Here's the answer for *one* of those funky joggers.

I love my Sunday run. I take a special route through the beautifully landscaped area we Plantationers call Jacaranda. I put on my iPod and off I went. It occurs very often, Aly. I'm running, headphones are on, and then Gazoo taps me on the shoulder. Posting idea formed. Shaped during the run. Composed afterwards. That's the silly formula.

The first song I heard on my shuffling iPod was "Run," by Snow Patrol. My mind instantly flashed back to Alice. I've given you pieces to her puzzle. I'll soon get to the rest of the story in future posts, don't worry. "Run" was a song I gave to her along with "Somewhere Only We Know." They were our songs. Sadly, I guess they always *will* be because it's hard to erase and wipe completely clean the memories that go along with those songs.

Next, I heard "Favorite Color," by One Less Reason. This song came out right after Alice dumped me. "I will always love you, take the me out of you. A lot of people are going to be disappointed when they find out, I love you and I need you." How appropriate. I shook my head as I ran. It's as if the iPod had a mind of its own.

"All the Small Things," by Blink 182 came on next. I always laugh to myself when I hear the line, "Late night, come home. Work sucks, I know." So me, me, me. Next came "Shit Town," by Live. Another smile snuck out of my as I jogged. I always smile when I think about my date at the Live concert. Disappointingly so, I still haven't seen that girl since.

"All Apologies," by Nirvana. Unplugged. Kurt's anguish. No way I can relate to his. No way mine can measure up to his. But I've got my own nonetheless. I thought about all I've been through. A lot. All I've overcome mentally. A lot. The jogging part of my run was over now. It was time to walk the last mile home.

Heard "Statues," by The Rising. There are probably five people in the country who've heard this song and that's because I sent them my CDs. A truly beautiful song. It made me think of broken relationships.

Next came an 80s classic. "No One Like You," by The Scorpions. Although I've never done it, I imagined it would be a great song to make love to. The mind can go really crazy on this one. I guess they all flashed by my mind.

Remember my Tag music list? Remember what I said about "Tupelo Honey?" Maybe Esther *was* right?

I turned into my apartment complex just as Lindsey Buckingham started jamming on his guitar. I was thinking he is a very underrated guitar player. I dorkily started air guitarring "Big Love." Fleetwood Mac gets the credit, but it's totally a Lindsey solo. Great song. Maybe Esther *was* right?

There you have it. From the mind of a crazy headphoned-wearing jogger. Oh. The title. You wanna know who the girl is whose got those measurements, right? C'mon people! Get your mind outta the gutter. 38 minutes. 26.36 seconds. The jogging time on my dorky jogging watch as I walked in the door!


And the Oscar goes to...

66 votes and 0 comments gathered since Fri 25th Feb 2005:

(34) Never Mind The Bollocks, Here`s Plantation
(19) CinderFella
(7) Plantation`s A Series of Unfortunate Events
(6) Don`t Dream It`s Over: Life After Divorce

Congrats to Robotnik. Winner of my new CD compilation. Stay tuned as my little bloggie here will be transformed overnight to the new look and title. I've promised my designer that I would leave up the new look for two weeks.

Thanks for everyone's opinion and participation.

February 26, 2005


from the episode "Raincoats"Posted by Hello

There's an episode in Seinfeld where Kramer and Jerry's dad Morty decide to go into business together selling men's raincoats. Morty, before retiring, sold raincoats for 35 years. Kramer liked the 'old look' of the raincoats and thought the look was fashionable. So a partnership was formed in which Kramer would get a 25% commission for every coat sold. So Kramer takes the coats all around NY pitching the 'in vogue' coats. He finally finds a guy who will buy all the coats. So Kramer tells George all about the partnership and all the work he's done thus far. George asks how much commission Kramer's getting and when Kramer says "25%," George cries that Kramer's getting ripped off because he's doing ALL of the legwork. Kramer goes into his typical spaz routine and agrees with George that 25% is not enough because he *is* doing all the legwork.

Legwork is very important. Legwork comprises of accomplishing little tasks necessary to complete the big picture. Can't sell raincoats without customers. Gotta go round up some customers. SOMEONE's gotta do the legwork. But legwork can't work as a one-way street. There's gotta be reciprocation or the legman will get fed up and quit. Morty and Kramer disagreed with the percentage. Morty wanted 15% and Kramer wanted 35%. They settled on 25%. Do you think Kramer would do all the legwork for nothing? Yeah, no way.

Where the hell am I going with this? I'm about to tell you. I, like Kramer, am doing ALL the legwork lately when it comes this so-called dating game. The frustrating part is that there is virtually no reciprocation going on, and I am tired and worn out from it. I know I know, speak English, man.

OK here's the thing. I've had lots of IM, email, and phone call conversations with women online. The banter's good and friendships develop, right? It's even progressed to actual dates. But one day I realized that I was the one who always initiated the contact. These women rarely, if ever, even initiated a 'hello.' Why should I be the one to always be the initiator? Because I'm a guy? Personally, I like it when a woman shows some initiative, if you can call it that. I'm not asking that they initiate the actual date, a simple email "hello what's up" would do. So I decided I'd try a little experiment. I would cease and desist all communications and see if anyone would contact me. I wanted to know if anyone out there liked me enough and thought of me enough to say hi.

Survey says? No one has written. Amazing. Sure it may just be a SJNTIY thing. Whatever the case, I've decided to cancel my membership after seven months. I might go back, but I need a break. I guess the friends I thought I had weren't really friends after all. I'm OK with it because I'm tired of wasting my time with people who actually don't give a shit. Sure we're all busy, but that's a lousy excuse. I don't think a little reciprocation is too much to ask from the other side, do you? Of course if you're not interested even in friendship, then I guess you're just not interested plain and simple. Remember girls, communication is a two-way street. Besides, aren't you always preaching you WANT communication from us guys???

February 25, 2005


OK. It's Oscar weekend. Time to vote. I'm hoping my poll appears on the sidebar on the bottom {fingers crossed}. Thanks, GFF, for the idea. I think you can only vote once per day. Reminder, big stakes at risk here. The winning entry gets a copy of my new CD and a 'guest appearance' on this blogsite which I will have designed for me by none other than Island Girl.

Results on Monday.

Note: Do not worry. 'Chasing' is still the book title. Now that you all know me, it's sort of what the book *could* have been called or even a sub-title. It's all fun and games really. OK?

February 24, 2005


Doesn't it seem that the world is slightly off kilter these days? Maybe it's just me in my own little world, I dunno? It started with someone swiping my doormat. I didn't tell you, but about a month before that, I ordered some special Korean Chili Garlic Sauce for a salmon recipe I got from a local restaurant. It took me forever to find the sauce online. UPS delivered it but by the time I got home from being out of town, someone had stolen it. I can just imagine the look on the crook's face when they opened it up and probably said, "WTF is this shit?"

Anyway, last Friday my absentmindedness struck again. I left my pillow in the hotel room. Being a regular, I figured for sure, without a doubt, like no sweat, I'd get it back. I called the front desk and no one had turned it in. Now I can't imagine what anyone would do with a used, well-worn pillow with a yellow-checked pillowcase? What could the maids have been thinking?

I checked back in on Tuesday and still, the pillow had not surfaced. Tonight, my dependable front desk friend told me the pillow didn't turn up. She said it *may* even be in the same room being used by someone. Geez, when she put it *that* way, the more I think about it, the less I want my pillow back. Feeling a little disappointed, I got back to my room, fumbled with the key card as always (do those things ever work on the first swipe?), and opened the door to a furnace. Lucky me, the air conditioner wasn't working and it was about 100 degrees in there. I walked back to the front desk and had my friend follow me back to my room. I asked her if they had planned to convert my room into a sauna and forgot to tell me about it. She said she'd have maintenance look at it tomorrow and, oh by the way, they're sold out and I can't change rooms.

Frustrated once again, I turned to my saving grace. My computer. Time to blog. {Click} {Click}. Nothing. No high-speed internet. Hmmm. How about the wireless? {Click} {Click}. Nope. I called my front desk friend and told her I had no internet service. She said she'd 'reset' me. If she did, it didn't work. So I resorted to the phone modem. {Click} {Click}. Nothing. No dial tone. I stared at the phone ready to throw it through the window. I was fast running out of options. Hmmm. I looked around the room and found another phone. {Click} {Click}. Unbelievable. I got a connection. Blogged some and went down to do my 2-mile treadmill run at 1:30 am.

By then, there was another front desk person at the helm. I told him I was still having trouble with the internet and he said he'd 'reset' me. I did my run and came back to my room. {Click} {Click}. No high-speed internet. So here I sit typing this in on an old-fashioned phone modem. Totally frustrated by the little things once again. Life on the road sucks. I'm ready to go home.

But at least the night wasn't a total loss. I got to see a reprise of Sum 41 singing "Pieces" on the Leno repeat show. Great song. Check it out. And send me some good karma while you're at it.

February 22, 2005


Wanna get away???Posted by Hello
{click} to see ad.

Remember the TV ad? Lady at work sitting at her desk. She gets an email saying, "Sick of your job? Exciting New Offer!" She clicks it and launches the, "Congratulations, you've just launched the pink slip virus. Your office is now infected. Congratulations, Congratulations...?" Little pink virus screens then pop up on every office computer. Then comes the Southwest Airlines tagline, "Wanna get away?"

How about the one where there's a lady using her friend's bathroom. She stares at the medicine cabinet, thinks it over, and then opens it. She sees some mystery ointment, picks it up, laughs, and then attempts to put it back when all the shelves collapse in a heap making this huge ruckus. "Wanna get away?"

I had a training class yesterday. A good friend of mine flew down from the Northeast to train us on our expense and billing system. She needed a laptop for her overhead presentation. Why she didn't bring her own is beyond me? Naturally I volunteered my laptop. I was helping her get set up. Me being technologically challenged, I was having trouble getting her internet access. It took me a good 30 minutes and help from four people to finally get it. Yay. I was so happy to get it all hooked up.

I sat down and was taking some notes. I was looking down at my legal pad when I heard a commotion. Laughter. I looked up at the overhead screen just in time to see a vague image of an instant message which my friend quickly minimized to the bottom of the screen. I don't even know what it said, but there on the bottom of the overhead screen was the little blue IM sign flashing indicating I got a message from 'so-and-so' whose name could have been easily confused with a porn star. My friend compounds my problem by looking at me and saying, "You may wanna text your girlfriend and tell her to stop sending you IMs." Of course, by now, the whole class was laughing hysterically.

"Wanna get away?"

February 20, 2005


My dear blogging friend Allison has tagged me. Yay. She was tagged by my other dear blogging friend girl from Florida, who was tagged by yet another dear blogging friend Island Girl. And of course I'm choosing to play. Hey it's music-related. Was there any doubt?

1. Total amount of music files on your computer:
This may surprise you. It's only 631. I left most all of my 200 or so CDs with the ex.

2. The last CD you bought was:
I buy very few CDs. I'm a downloader. iITunes for the iPod. The CD I last bought would have to be the Garden State Soundtrack. I highly recommend it.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
Last song played during my 2 mile run was Semi-Charmed Live by Third Eye Blind. This is a great song when you're hitting the pavement. Four minutes never went by so quickly.

4. Write down 5-10 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you:
This question is the toughie. It was originally the top 5, but I couldn't narrow it down. I needed at least 10. I thought long and hard on this one. So many songs. I'm sure I'm leaving out or didn't even think of hundreds. How did I choose my songs? I read the directions for this question. I decided to do it this way. I based it on songs that mean a lot to me. Mean a lot because of a particular memory, a point in time, lyrics, Old Me, New Me, happy, sad, hopeful, etc. The common denominator is that every single time I hear these songs, I feel them deep within my soul. They move me. The lyrics call to me. I relate so closely to them. They are a part of me, and always will be. So in no particular order…

"Fire and Rain" by James Taylor. I've been listening to this amazing song for {embarrassed} 35 years. It so moves me every time. It's a song about highs and lows. JT's imprisonment, his strung-out girlfriend. I can so relate to his cyles. JT's determined to succeed though. My favorite lyrics? "There's just a few things comin' my way this time around.”"

"Closer to Fine" by Indigo Girls. Saw the girls in concert twice. Unusual for a guy to like these girls. Perhaps, but once again the lyrics and the harmonies move me. Another song about life. My favorite lyrics? "And the best thing you've ever done for me, is to help me take my life less seriously. It's only life after all. Yeah."

"Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters" by Elton John/Bernie Taupin. Vintage EJ is probably my all-time favorite music. Mom used to bring home these albums by this unknown piano player from the UK. I grew up on EJ. I could have picked a million songs of his from the early days. Why this one? Twofold, I guess. He sings of lawyers and bankers in the rat race never stopping to stop and smell the roses, to pay attention to whether it's even dark outside or light. I hate those people. I've worked with them for nearly 20 years. But EJ's thankful and so am I. "You stand at the edge while people run you through. And I thank the lord there's people out there like you. I thank the lord there's people out there like you."

"American Pie" by Don McLean. This one isn't about life. It's about the history of rock and roll including Buddy Holly's plane crash. All eight minutes and 38 seconds of it. If you asked me what is my all-time favorite song, this is probably it. No favorite lyrics because they're all equally related. I did my college term paper on this song. Got an 'A.' This song is simply a work of art.

"Yesterday" by The Beatles. Paul outdid himself. Even a bitter John Lennon gave him credit for this song. I too believe in yesterday. I wrote those very same words in my book of the same named chapter.

"Bleed to Love Her" by Fleetwood Mac. I'm sure heads are shaking here. Dunno. Lindsey Buckingham's vocals. So emotional. I desperately want to sing this song with someone in mind. Favorite lyrics? "Once again she steals away, then she reaches out to kiss me. And how she takes my breath away. Pretending that she don't miss me."

"Tupelo Honey" by Van Morrison. Ahh. George Ivan Morrison. Who *doesn't* like Van? I've given this song to the few loves of my life. Sadly, it hasn't worked out. I'm not giving up. I want to play this song for the woman I love and who loves me back. The ultimate romantic song. Fav lyrics, "She's as sweet as tupelo honey. She's an angel of the first degree. She's as sweet as tupelo honey. Just like honey from the bee."

"Catch the Wind" by Donovan. The last of the romantic tunes. This one dates back to 1965. D realizes his chances at loving this special girl aren't much. About the same as trying to catch the wind. Remind you of anyone? Lyrics, "When sundown pales the sky, I want to hide a while behind your smile, and everywhere I'd look, your eyes I'd find."

"Forever Young" by Alphaville. Gotta have a classic 80s tune, right? Lyrically beautiful and recently part of the Saturn advertising campaign. A simple message. I mean, who doesn't wanna be Forever Young? Shut up, Robotnik. Lyrics, "It's so hard to get old without a cause. I don't want to perish like a fading horse. Youth is like diamonds in the sun. And diamonds are forever."

"Caught in a Dream" by Tesla. Last but not least. The newest song on the list. Less than a year old. Title fits me, doesn't it? So do the lyrics. In fact, when my book becomes a movie, Matthew Broderick (who's playing me) will be seen walking to the parking lot after a date. Hopeful. Camera's fade back..higher and higher and higher, with this song playing in the background, "It's my life to live my way, so i'll keep daydream anyway. Who knows, maybe someday it will all come true, and i will get my way. And we will live as one. I'm caught up in a dream, I'm gonna wish for it all. No one is gonna tell me how, no way, this is my dream now. I'm caught up in what seems simply impossible. I ain't gonna change a thing. No way, it's my dream."

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?
Another tough one. Wish I could invite everyone. I'm gonna exclude all you great people who previously volunteered your iPod shuffles. I kinda know your musical tastes now. We've already seen Greek’s soundtrack. So here's who I'm inviting. The first invite goes to So Midwestern who's been with me since November and vice versa. We've become good friends. I sense she has good taste in music. Here's her chance to prove it. The second invite's a bit of a reach. I know she likes music and enjoys her iPod. She doesn't read this blog, I don't think. She probably doesn't have the time because she's a big-time blogger superstar. So Fish, if you have the time, will you accept this rose? My last invite goes out to a newish reader who's already received her fair share of criticism. I've checked out her blog. Seems we have a few things in common musically. I want to see what else makes her tick. What do you say Counselor JuRiScHiCk?

February 17, 2005


Why does it seem like life's down cycles seem to last a helluva lot longer than its up cycles? When you're down in those depths like I've been for the past, oh six years, you wonder if you'll ever climb out? This week has really been a struggle for me. Work has been totally unbearable. My one month assignment has turned into a one-year clusterfuck. I've been out-of-town for a year now. ENOUGH! I have given everything one guy can possibly give, yet no one wants to listen to me. My staff is now growing tired and irritable. I'm doing my best to appease them. My client has realized far too late how important Sarbanes-Oxley legislation is to public companies. So now we're having to cram about six months of work into two weeks. I hate being out of town. I'm tired of eating out. I'm getting fat. I'm not exercising enough. My dating pattern is a fucking joke. Right now my mom is 'visiting' me. Only I'm not home because of this fucking shitty job. She came last year and I spent her four weeks in Philadelphia, only getting to see her on the weekend. Who the fuck knew a year from then, I'd still be working out of town? Can you tell I'm a little PO'd? So once again, she's visiting for three weeks and I'll only be able to see her on the weekend. My son was supposed to visit me in three weeks, but I'm getting pushback and it's gonna cost me and arm and a leg to get him over here. Not *even* gonna get into *that*. I sent a good friend a Valentine's Day present. It was different. It was unique. It was late by a day, but logistically it had to be. It was overnighted on Monday. Arrived on Tuesday. Spoiled on Wednesday. Why? Cuz she was sick on Tuesday and didn't show up at work. She got it Wednesday. Too late. I'm meeting some really neat women. Problem is that they're either married, have boyfriends, or live a million miles away. Jdate sux. I'm getting hit on by 45-50 year-old-women who say they are 35. Uh, have you looked at your picture?

No, there's not much right in my life now. Sure this is a total lame, self-pity venting exercise. It's not designed to gain sympathy. I'm just venting cuz who the fuck else is gonna listen? I didn't even plan to write this, but shit just keeps happening.

The good news is that I do have a sounding board. You guys. My second family. I hope this post doesn't offend or alienate anyone. Sometimes we have to clear our minds. I'm done now.

I know we've had our disagreements on this topic, but one thing has been a constant for me. My rock. My companion. My voice of reason, love, anger, passion, happiness, and sadness. It's Music, of course. Tonight was a good nite for late nite TV music. At least for me. Sum 41 was on Leno. They sang "Pieces," Great song. And then I saw the Avril Lavigne reprise on Leno. She sang "Nobody's Home." Love that one too. Great lyrics on both songs. Go ahead and click the songs and listen for yourself. Dunno why, but I feel immediately better. Thanks music.

My blogger friend Allison has tagged me wth a music survey. I'm working on it now. Can't wait to post it. Stay tuned and sorry again for the rant. Hey Up cycle, I'm ready for you anytime...

February 15, 2005


"I'm an excellent driver..." Posted by Hello

It’s my second favorite movie of all-time behind The Graduate. I don’t know why I relate so closely to Rain Man. I think it’s because of his memory. People have often called me Rain Man. True, I do a pretty good Rain Man impression, but it’s really because of my memory. I tend to remember worthless trivia and minutiae like my phone number in Houston Texas some 37 years ago. {Rain Man accent…713.497.5148} Please don’t drunk dial this number or anything.

Anyway, I had a Rain Man moment at lunch today. I was talking with a guy I work with and the subject of age came up. I got around to asking him his birthday. He told me it was 10/13/58. I smiled. I asked him, “How much do you want to bet that I can tell you what song was number one when you were born?” He looked at me like I was out of my mind. I then gave him a little Rain Man, “’Course, the square root of 2,130 is four six *point * one-five-one-nine-two-three-oh-four….two-three-oh-four…UH_OH, 10 minutes to Wapner.”

He laughed and bet me five bucks. I told him the song, I believed, was “It’s All in the Game” by Tommy Edwards. I told him even if I missed it, I’d be pretty damn close. We got back from lunch and I looked it up. Bingo! Mystifying, isn’t it? Another guy I work with overheard the conversation and asked me what was his song on 5/28/65. Hmm, I thought it over. Three songs came to mind. Help Me Rhonda (Beach Boys), Back in My Arms Again (Supremes), and Help (Beatles). I went with Help. Missed it. Help was number one in September of 1965. Amazingly, Help Me Rhonda was #1 on 5/29/65 followed by Back In My Arms Again. Ticket To Ride (Beatles) was actually #1 on 5/28/65. All-in-all, still a fairly good effort. I have no clue as to why I remember stuff like this. It does seem to come in handy when I’m short on cash, however…

February 13, 2005


I drove back home on Friday night. Dog-tired. Long week. I drive into the apartment complex and there's not a parking spot to be had. Figures. I park seemingly miles away and have to drag my three bags to my apartment. I get to my door and discover something so totally unbelievable, mindboggling, and downright selfish.

Someone had actually stolen my friggin' doormat! It was sentimental to me. A hand-painted picture of a family of mini-daschounds. I used to have two. "Zeke" still lives with the ex. Now who the hell would have the nerve to actually steal something like that? I'm at a loss for words and disappointed in my fellow mankind.

February 12, 2005


So this piece of rope walks into a bar, sits down, and tells the bartender, “I’ll have a Jack & Coke.” The bartender looks up at the rope and is astonished! Bartender says to the rope, “Look dude, we don’t serve pieces of rope in this establishment!” Oooh, that pissed Mr. Rope off. He starts doing all these crazy gyrations, genuflecting, and twisting himself up in a bind. He grabs a straight razor and starts shaving himself. He stares at the bartender and says, “Piece of rope? I’m a frayed knot!”

Two hours of highway driving on Mondays and Fridays allows me much time to think. Perhaps, too much. I think about what I’ve written thus far in this here bloggie. I try to mix it up a little, keep you a bit off balance, all within the context of me simply writing for me. So I think about general topics and what’s going on in my life. Happenstances intercept my preconceived pattern. So I drive and I think. Rarely do I come up with anything good. It’s my pal Gazoo that’s the driving force of my creativity. He pops into my brain and jolts me with an idea or a concept, and I take it from there. Case in point, this post.

I’m doing around 82 in a 70 MPH zone on Interstate 75, and I see a State Trooper up ahead. OK everybody, what’s our knee-jerk reaction? Hit the breaks, right? Not me. Not anymore. I see the cars ahead of me, their taillights now illuminated, their rate of speed decreasing. I say to myself aloud, “get out of the left lane boys, I’m coming through.” For I no longer have time for fear. No time to be afraid of a little ol’ cop. I may be fearless now, perhaps to a fault, but I’m not totally stupid. My only concession is trying to get back to the right lane, the ‘slow’ lane. I speed past the trooper. It’s a scenario that’s repeated on average of about five times per trip. At the same time I’m passing my blue light friend, my mind conjures up an excuse or rather a story I may need to relate as to why I’m speeding. My story is an honest one. Yes I’m speeding officer, but I’m not being reckless and I consider it reasonable. I’ve been driving for 28 years and have never gotten a ticket. Give me a ticket if you must, but I’d really like to keep this streak going. I’m fairly OK at storytelling, no? Hmm, maybe he’ll buy it? I’m not very good at getting to the point however, but bear with me. I’m getting there.

The story to Mr. Trooper, my confidence, my living-on-the-edge attitude, and yes, my new driving pattern all coincide with the changes I’ve made within myself. I’ve talked about the Garden State-of-mind. Gazoo told me that an analysis and comparison of one’s driving pattern to one’s personality may make for some interesting writing and discussion points. Ahh, so that’s where we’re going! So let’s delve, shall we?

For the past 16 years, up until last May, I drove my baby. It (I don’t go for the personification of describing a car as a she), was the first car I bought on my own. A 5-speed 1989 Honda Civic. A fast car, it was not, conservative actually. A lot like I was back then. And I drove it that way, too. Hovering barely over the speed limit, worried about getting a ticket to ruin my perfect driving record. Like Rainman, I’m an excellent driver. At least I was back then. Playing it safe, driving in the right lane, totally a straight shooter. Ah, but that was the Old Me.

The Civic had 115,000 miles on it when I drove from Phoenix to Plantation. Like Cameron Frye of Ferris Bueller fame, I killed the car. That 2,500 mile journey was too much. I took it to a Honda dealer and got an estimate of about $5,000 to fix everything. The car was worth maybe half of that. I needed a new car, and I needed it soon before my baby totally stopped running.

Timing is everything. I should certainly know that. My timing with women sucks. But I digress. A good friend of mine was buying a new car, so I asked him if he wanted to sell his old one to me? He agreed. The deal was simple and done. For a mere $9,500, I was the proud new owner of a 1998 C230 Mercedes-Benz. My sentimental feelings for my Civic were forgotten in about an hour. Wow! I had a stereo AND air conditioning! And compared to my Civic, this car felt and drove like a race car.

I think the last of the Old Me went with my old car. With the new car, came more of the New Me. I’m driving faster, no fear of getting a ticket, driving more aggressively, more carefree, more loose, enjoying the ride, driving in the left lane, blasting my music, having a ball. Now I’m not to the point of reckless, but I don’t think my driving is necessarily excellent anymore. I’m accelerating faster and stopping shorter, cutting corners sharper, laughing at myself. Yes, this *is* the new me. And I’m willing to bet that for each of us, our driving pattern mirrors our personalities and approach to life. My particular patterns, old *and* new, match precisely.

Afraid? Not. I’m confident now. I no longer fear getting a ticket, or fear flying, or fear death, or fear pretty women, or fear dating, or fear courtrooms with bitchy divorce lawyers trying to intimidate me, or fear CFO’s/CEOs, or fear pissing off clients, or fear eating raw fish, or fear being intimate with women, or fear the unknown, or fear being alone. Well, maybe that last one is a bit of a stretch, but I *am* working hard on it.

February 11, 2005


Now there’s a question that can be debated until the proverbial cows come home. Hmm, off the top of my head, one could argue for the airplane, automobile, phone, TV, printing press, computer, steam engine, electricity, the wheel, DNA, or even The Pill.

All awesome choices. But my vote lies elsewhere. I first heard about it on TV. I said to myself, Wow, what a great idea. I wonder if it works? I wasn’t *that* anxious to try it out because trying it out would mean I’d have to be pretty sick.

About a week later (last week actually), a guy I work with became really ill. He could hardly get out of his hotel bed. Flu-ridden. I told him about the product I’d seen on TV and suggested he look for it. He found it, bought it, and a day later, was back to his normal rambunctious self. He said the product worked like a charm.

This week it hit me like a ton o’ bricks. Aches, pains, chills, sweating, all the lovely flu symptoms. Here was my chance. I asked my friend if he had any left. Luckily for me, he did. Take one every four hours. I did. I was cured the next morning. I’m in love. Not in the way I always pictured it. I pictured a smart, intelligent, funny, witty, attractive woman rather than a thin foil-packaged pouch with a mini-strip of medicine sealed within its folds.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you man’s greatest invention of all-time. The one and only Theraflu Thin Strip. Cherry Flavor. Fold on the dotted line, tear, insert strip on tongue, dissolve. Boom. Instant cure. No messy powder to stir and gulp down while plugging your nose. No horse pill to force down your throat. No nasty tasting liquid. All that shit is as out of style as the Beatlesque Nehru jacket now that we possess man’s greatest invention. The perfect medicine. That’s what’s so great about these Thin Strips. They are so easy to take, they taste pretty good, and they work like a charm.

I love these things. I’ve been telling everyone at work that they are, indeed, man’s greatest invention. I don’t wish ails on any of you, but if you do happen to catch a case of the flu or a cold, you simply *must* try these Thin Strips. I’ve had my share of gripes and bitches about products and services. It’s nice to share a success story once in a while.

Man's Greatest Invention Posted by Hello

February 08, 2005


"The Kiss Hello" Posted by Hello

It finally happened today. It was bound to happen. Hell, it lasted 11 months. Secrets have a way of catching up with you. You try to cover all the bases; you try to remember whom you said ‘what’ to. Eventually it all becomes a blur, worlds collide, and you get busted…

The ‘Old Me’ had himself a lot of rules. The New Me, as you know, has basically thrown out all of them. Occasionally, I run across an old one that still lingers. A few years ago, I was watching a Seinfeld episode in which Jerry was becoming frustrated with the ‘too familiar greeting.’ Every time he ran into Elaine’s chiropractor friend, she’ greet him with a kiss hello. Not just a “hello,” but she always had to kiss him. Jerry felt this was a little too personal, a little too familiar. In the same episode, Kramer thought it would be nice if all the tenants in the apartment complex had their picture taken and posted by the mailboxes so that everyone would know each other. Jerry was dead set against it, but Kramer snuck a picture of him anyway. After Jerry’s picture was posted, all the ladies in his complex were giving him the ‘hello kiss.’ Jerry was steamed. Aggravated. Everyone was too familiar and in his space.

One day, this all hit me. I was at Starbucks, a relative newbie, and they of course asked for my name. It caught me off guard. I froze. I didn’t like it, but game them my name because I couldn’t think fast enough. Then I heard a barista shout, “I’ve got a Grande non-fat caramel macchiato for Todd!” Oooh, that didn’t sit well with me. I thought, Why does my name have to be blasted out so that everyone can hear. What business is it of theirs to know my name? Why does Starbucks have to know my name? I felt like Jerry. This was just too familiar; it was in my space. And then I started noticing this ‘too familiar name trend’ elsewhere. Other walk-up, take-your-order restaurants, be it burger joints or bagel joints or whatever, would ask for my name. Then back to Starbucks. All these strangers wanted by first name. I decided, “ENOUGH!” No more name giving. I decided from then on, if I had to give out my name, I was going to be forever known as, you guessed it, “Jerry.”

As you all also know, I travel 5 days a week. For the past 11 months, I’ve been working in Naples, Florida Monday through Friday. And for those past months, I’ve frequented Starbucks an average of twice per day. When they first asked me my name, I gave them “Jerry” and it has stuck for 11 months. “Hey Jerry, how are ya? Venti Iced Coffee, Jerry?” I had to laugh. It *did* sound funny. I had become Jerry. The funny thing is that I pay by credit card and my name is on the card, but no one has ever questioned me about it.

I’ve made many friends at this one location. I befriended this one really nice barista girl. I had thought about sharing my blog with her, but wasn’t sure what her reaction would be. I finally decided recently to tell her about it. I gave her the address. She read. She commented. She asked me what was up with my name? She even apologized for calling me Jerry. I confided in her. I told her the story. It was our secret.

A few weeks later, I came into Starbucks for my nightly iced coffee. My friend was there. She smiled. She said, “Hi Todd.” Her barista friend looked at her quizzically. “Todd? His name is Jerry.” “No, his name is Todd.” And back-and-forth they went. I finally told her friend the story. I didn’t expect her reaction. She was totally upset with me for deceiving her. She hated Seinfeld, she hated me. There was nothing I could do to change her mind. My friend apologized to me, but I told her it was unnecessary. No worries…

Fast forward a couple of weeks. It was morning; it was time for my breakfast iced coffee. The morning crew was my favorite. We’d become really good friends. I walked in. My secret friend was working. Something was going on. Everyone was staring at me. I knew. I jokingly told my friend, “You told them, didn’t you?!” She smiled and said it just sort of happened. As Kramer would have said, “The cat is mmeeeeeoooowwww, out of the bag!” Jerry would have said plain and simply, “BUSTED!” They all took it well, but wanted to know one thing. Why? Why do they call me Jerry? I told them I had a deal for them. I told them they could read all about it themselves. End so, another Old Me rule went by the wayside. No more hiding. I'm more comfortable with myself now. Who cares about my name really? So here you go, my wonderful Starbucks crew. Welcome to my crazy world!

Your Iced Venti No Classic Iced Coffee friend,


February 06, 2005


Jennifer Jason Leigh Posted by Hello

I just yesterday told Gatsby that I never do the brain dump thing on my blog. Call me a liar GG. I had a most unusual Birthday. It was not a good one. Then I started thinking...

1. I was out of town all week. I got home expecting/hoping for a flood of birthday cards. I got one more than Charlie Brown got.

2. eCards are nice for day-to-day thoughts, Thinking of You, etc. But they should *not * be used as a substitute for a paper card. Guys out there. If you’re doing this, please cease immediately. You’re making it hard on the rest of us.

3. I *did * get a package slip and picked it up at the post office. A card and a beautiful Polo shirt. Loved it, but it didn’t fit. It was a medium and I’m a Large. I like looser fitting clothes. Don’t like tight.

4. I had neither alcohol nor cake for my birthday.

5. Wasted three hours watching The Aviator. Too long, too slow. Fell asleep. Reminded me of Citizen Kane for some reason. Kudos to Leonardo. Well-acted, son. Should have seen Meet the Fokkers instead. Could have used a laugh.

6. The ex is giving me difficulties. I’ll leave it at that.

7. My patterns keep following me. Am having trouble as usual.

8. Got lotsa b-day calls. But why do people who miss your birthday make up a million excuses as to why? Unless you’ve been hit by a Tsunami (shouldn’t really joke about that) or other natural disaster, or death in the family, what excuse could possibly be good enough to warrant missing someone’s birthday? Hey, if you forgot, admit it. It beats the hell outta makin’ up a million excuses, right? How long does it take to call someone? 30 seconds?

9. Received a drunk dial from an un-named person. The next day she didn’t remember any of the conversation or if she even called me. Bizarre.

10. Yesterday’s blog traffic was the lowest since pre-December. People, it’s OK to bug me on my birthday!

11. Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and I were born on the exact same day. For that reason, I’ve always had a little crush on her. Happy b-day, JJL.

12. I share my birthday with these celebrities: Hank Aaron (homerun king), Barbara Hershey (Actress), Corey Wells (Singer, Three Dog Night), Red Buttons (Actor). Not too thrilling.

13. The god-awful song, Peppermint Twist by Joey Dee was #1 on the Billboard charts when I was born. I missed Duke of Earl by a few days. Crap.

14. Flowers were part of my birthday. I won’t tell you if I got some or sent them.

15. Found out that the *IT* girl got engaged. Wonder why she couldn't tell me.

16. Ironic (Robotnik, if this word is incorrect, feel free to sub in the correct one). Last night on SNL, Keane sang our (IT girl & me) song, Somewhere Only We Know.

17. I think my last fun birthday was when I turned 18. Dad threw me a huge party at my favorite restaurant. All my family and my two best friends were there. It was awesome.

18. My birthday horoscope said, “You’re quite popular this year, so use the opportunity. Increase efficiency and production. Once you’ve got the routine worked out, the money will start rolling in.” Hmm, sounds to me like I better hurry up and get the book published.

19. I’ve spent my last two birthdays alone. Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

20. Thinking about skipping next year’s birthday. Is it a leap year perchance

February 04, 2005


I saw her. I grinned. I decided to play a game. I sat at the same table knowing I’d get her again. I made up my mind, I’d be on my best behavior. I watched her carefully. I was trying to read her face to determine what kind of day she was having? Facially, she appeared pleasant. “Hi guys, how are ya, drinks today?” Hmm, she’s in a good mood today. I asked her how she was doing? She smiled and said, “Good thanks,” like she was surprised someone would even bother to ask her. Off to a good start.

Drinks came timely and she took our order. We asked her how was the Tomato Basil soup? She rolled her eyes and said it was incredible. So I told her I’d have the combo based on her recommendation. Another smile. Her mood was completely different from last time. Food came out on time. The soup? Well, I’d say it was OK. A bit above average, but nothing spectacular. I didn’t bust her chops about it though. Anyway, I found out her name {Kim} so I worked it into the conversation. I told Kim to have herself a wonderful day. She smiled and said, "Thanks, you too." The tab was $30; I tipped her $6. All’s forgiven.

February 03, 2005


Good? I dunno yet. For the first time in nearly 12 years, ‘single’ and I have reunited. The judge has made her ruling. Subject to appeal, that is. And yes, that’s a distinct possibility. But it’s not me who’s appealing, and that’s all I’d really like to say about it for now.

In reality, I’ve been single for a year now. Sure a piece of paper was signed, sealed, and delivered making it official, but I’ve been living the single life as you’ve read. I don’t feel any different now that the paper is signed. But I wondered to myself just exactly how did I feel over this past 13 months?

There is one very big thing I noticed, at least for me, about being single. I’ve been through a lot of turmoil. I’ve clued you in on a little of it and will continue to do so over time. Burdens and stress can really kick your ass and wear you down. But here’s what I continue to notice about me. My happiness meter is driven by the relationships I am forming, growing, nurturing, or losing, or a total lack thereof. {80s flashback…Duran Duran is singing “Hungry Like A Wolf” on Carson Daly…why, I have no idea?}

When you’re married, you always have a fall-back. No matter how bad your day goes, you have your rock, your steady, to go home to and make it all feel right again. Now that I’m single, this safety parachute, has been cut and a lot of times, reunited feels like a free-fall. There IS no one to catch you when you fall. It’s a empty feeling. It makes me sad. It makes me unhappy. But then I may meet someone. Could be a simple start via email. Boom! Instant spark, and for me, instant happiness. Someone to share with, someone to laugh with, someone to vent to. And happiness continues to grow as the relationship grows. I’m so easy to please (IMHO). It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Emails, IMs, phone calls, dates, etc. It’s all good for me and it all makes me happy when I have it.

But relationships or perceived ones can get complicated. Strange Magic, Death Moves, Seconds, Mysteries, they all work against me and thwart my happiness. More often than not, it seems. Happiness turns into frustration and sadness. I’ve learned I can live alone. I’m OK with it now. But it IS empty. Having that someone in your life just makes you have such a positive outlook on everything. Bothersome things aren’t as such. Traffic doesn’t upset you as much, ignorant co-workers and clients don’t set you off because you’re happy. You’ve got someone and that rocks, doesn’t it?

Yes, the jury’s in in terms of the divorce, but it’s still out on my happiness. I continue to hope and remain positive. Good things WILL happen to me. I AM gonna meet that special someone that makes me walk on air, not have a care in the world, and have an everlasting glow about me. And isn’t that just the best? It is. I’ve had a great week thus far. Reunited and it feels so happy. I wonder why?

February 02, 2005


Well, I've cut the field of Oscar nominees down to 10. These alternate book titles were submitted my you, the best blogging audience out there. They appear in no particular order. I'm not sure what the rules are. Sort of winging it here, but I need your help. We need to boil this list down to three. And from there, a winner can be chosen. So cast your vote for the top three.

1 Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's Plantation
2 Plantation's a Series of Unfortunate Events
3 Very Little Sex in the City
4 Alone Again, Naturally
5 Don't Dream...It's Over: Life After Divorce
6 A Tale of Several Cities
7 I Can't Get No Satisfaction
8 Tears of a Clown
9 The Wind Cries Plantation
10 CinderFella