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Chasing The American Dream

August 28, 2005


Much to their credit, Billy Joe Armstrong and the boys from Green Day refused to cancel their concert due to Hurricane Katrina. I think they wanted to bring some good vibes to an area that sorely needed some. And so they did.

The concert opened with a favorite of mine, a band called Jimmy Eat World from my old homestead of Phoenix, Arizona. I’m always amazed at how apathetic the crowd is toward the opening band(s). J.E.W. garnered only a smattering of applause. They played stuff from their new CD including Work and played some standard favorites including Sweetness and The Middle. My only issue was that they only played for 35 minutes. They were brief, but they sounded great.

But the night and the crowd belonged to Green Day. The majority of the 20,000 who purchased seats never used them because they stood or danced throughout the show. The stage backdrop was fairly low key, a generic curtain, some scoreboard-type lighting, and the Green Day logo. B.J. came out in all black attire with a red tie. The band opened with an energized American Idiot. It was a sign of things to come. For the next two hours, B.J. ran around the stage singing, screaming, and pandering to the crowd with seemingly endless energy. The opening set was peppered with songs off the American Idiot CD such as Jesus of Suburbia, Holiday, Are We the Waiting, and my personal favorite Wake Me Up Before September Ends. In between other Green Day staples including Longview, She, Basket Case, and Minority, B.J. played numerous games with the crowd. He repeatedly pitted one side of the arena against the other in a HEYYY OHHH shouting match, stood on the stage with arms crossed until the crowd screamed loud enough, squirted the crowd with water hoses, feigned masturbation, mooned the front row crazies, and invited members of the audience to play drums, guitar, and bass.

The show was complete with multi-colored lighting and incredibly loud and explosive pyrotechnics (funny, I’m watching Green Day on the MTV MVAs as I write this). During the middle of the show there was an interesting change of pace with the band playing classics like Stand By Me and Shout. The encore included crowd favorite Boulevard of Broken Dreams and closed with the rock anthem, We Are The Champions. After the band members departed the stage, B.J. walked down the stage runway to sing Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) on electric guitar. As he was for the entire two hours, he was right on key. He thanked the crowd profusely and stood there soaking up the applause before running off backstage.

It was a great show. I often wonder why it’s so hard for the world to bottle the incredible innocence, happiness, togetherness, and closeness of concert goers and the bands they pay to see. These concerts seem like such a departure from reality because we so rarely see these qualities in our everyday life, and that’s truly a damn shame.

P.S. Congrats Green Day for winning Rock Video of the Year for Boulevard of Broken Dreams
photo courtesy of www.greendayauthority.com

August 26, 2005


I survived another one. I was lucky once again. Hurricanes can be like anything else in life. The first experience can be a scary one, but you learn and gain confidence with each subsequent event. I still remember my first hurricane. Cleo hit Miami in 1964 as a category 2 hurricane. I was only two, but I remember being scared shitless, huddled in our house, hoping the windows and doors wouldn’t break. I remember my mother telling me, “See, that wasn’t so bad.” I smiled and felt confident, even at two-years-old, that I’d made it through the big bad hurricane. Betsy hit Miami in 1965 as a cat 3 (hurricane terminology for us veterans). Betsy was bad, but I was less scared and more in awe of nature’s fury.

My next hurricane recollection was Hurricane Inez in 1966. We drove through the outskirts of Inez as we moved from Miami to Houston. I should have been scared, but I wasn’t. I guess I understood hurricanes and just marveled at the lightning, the sideways rain, and that certain noise that a hurricane makes as the wind blows 100 miles per hour.

And so it went. I’ve been through hurricanes in Houston and been through them again after moving back to Florida. The worst hurricane in U.S. history blew through Miami almost 13 years to the day. I was lucky once again. I lived 350 miles North of Miami at the time. But my mom was down there and she had me on the phone as Hurricane Andrew roared through Miami with winds gusts in upwards of 200 miles per hour. That kind of fury I’ve not experienced. I visited mom a week later and witnessed what looked like World War III. It truly looked like a war zone. Andrew is a big topic of discussion down here and probably always will be come hurricane season.

Last year, I think there was something like 12 hurricanes that formed within a two-month period. I think I prepared for four of them, of which, two of them came skirting by Plantation. It’s become routine now. Prepare, join the frenzy at grocery stores and buy your supplies, fill up your gas tank, that is, if you can find any, turn on the news, and wait it out. Katrina was supposed to be almost a non-event. A minimal category 1 hurricane. I’m sure you’ve seen the news stories today. You’d never know it was a minimal hurricane. I heard some pretty big crashes last night and walked around to find huge trees felled by ‘minimal’ winds. One poor soul, a fellow Plantationite, was killed by a fallen tree. So as I say, I was lucky once again.

I think most people are fascinated by thunderstorms and the like. Hurricanes certainly satisfy this curiosity. It’s hard to explain their fury. They’re fierce, but they don’t scare me. Experience, preparation, luck, and staying put have been a good hurricane formula for me. Play it safe people; don’t challenge mother nature.

For pictures of Hurricane Katrina, see the following links:


photo courtesty of WNBC6, Miami.

August 25, 2005


I think I mentioned to you recently that I signed back up at JDate and after only one month, I decided to cancel my subscription. Reasons why? Simple, really. One, the women I seem to be interested in ignore me, and two, the women I have absolutely no interest in bombard me with emails. Overachieving. I think most of us onliners are guilty of it. We try to talk to people that are probably younger and better looking than what we can give in return. I’m guilty. I’m friggin’ 43 with a receding hair line. It’s not likely a 31 year-old woman is going to respond to me because she sees ‘43’ and it’s all over even before she opens the email. It doesn’t matter how young I am inside, a number is a number. For me, I’m not looking for ugly women in their 40s. Can I put it more plainly than that? Yes, you can sing it Carly, “You’re so vain...” Women I try to contact probably think the same thing about me. And so goes the life of us online daters, and I’ve had enough. Vacation time, I as I said in a previous post. But on my way out the door, I’ve got two very different stories for you that represent what’s wrong with online dating.

Story one. A couple of months ago, I was searching JDate to see if anyone had viewed me lately. I’d deactivated my membership so it had been a while since I last checked. There were 10 or so views. Nine were the typical 40+ers trying to overachieve, but one of them caught my eye. She was 38, divorced, had a three-year old boy and she was quite attractive. She had a very down-to-earth profile and I became intrigued. I decided to gamble the $35 monthly fee for a chance to talk to her. So I signed back up and emailed her. I didn’t honestly expect to hear back from her, but she wrote back that same day.

She seemed very sweet and we got along quite well. We emailed daily or every other day. The only downside was the fact that her listed location wasn’t accurate in the fact that she intended to move locally toward the end of the year. Still, she was only two hours away. She was to be in town on business one weekend so we agreed to meet. That weekend came and went and I never heard from her. It turned out her mother was ill so she couldn’t make it. OK, fair enough. I continued emailing her, but as usual, it was always me doing the initiating. Her replies were reduced to only once a week. And then her once-a-weekers were reduced to quickies like, “Thanks for the email. Hope you had a nice weekend.” Ouch. That last email hurt. I suck at email interpretation, but it seemed to me something or someone else had grabbed her attention. So I wrote her one last email telling her that I didn’t want my emails to be a burden, and if she didn’t feel like responding to just flat out tell me. Well, I never heard from her again. I went basically from the penthouse to the outhouse for no apparent reason. POOF, she was gone. No explanation or anything. Punk’d.

Story two. My JDate cancellation hasn’t taken effect yet. Someone emailed me, and she said she liked my profile. She was actually attractive which again is quite a change from the normal dregs I usually get. So I was writing her back Sunday when she IM'd me. We IM'd for an hour or so. During the hour some red flags went up on my end. She was misspelling a lot of words. I asked her what she did and she told me she was a hairdresser (not that there's anything wrong with that). The biggest red flag of all was that she surprised me by giving me her phone number. I think she's like the third or fourth woman to give me her number upon first communication and it has always turned into a disaster. And this was no exception. She told me to call her tomorrow (Monday) so I did on my way home.

We talked for maybe 15 minutes or so. It wasn’t going well. I usually suck anyway when it comes to the phone. I'm usually 'well established' by plenty of emails by the time the stage two phone conversation takes place. Well anyway, it took about 5 minutes for me to know that this girl wasn't it for me. She came off as being very Jappy. Being the Jewish guy that I am, you would think I could handle that, but it’s a total turn-off for me. I knew I wasn't going to ask her out. So we're talking and then out of the blue she says, "Can you hold, I have another call." It surprised me at first because you usually hear that little click when someone has call waiting, but I didn't hear anything. I said ‘yes,’ and she came right back and said she had to take the call and that she'd call me right back. I never heard from her again! I was actually laughing to myself because that's a helluva move. I hadn't ever thought of that one so I give her style points for her creativity. Punk’d. I wonder if the online dating guru has experienced this move before?

August 24, 2005


"Walking on Sunshine?" I don't think so. It looks like I'll be spending the weekend indoors...

Oh, one other thing. The Green Day/Jimmy Eat World concert is Friday. They better not friggin' cancel it.


Yesterday was one of the worst days healthwise, I’ve had in quite some time. My experiment is failing miserably. It’s been four weeks since I’ve cut my jagged little pill in half and the after effects are scientifically amazing. I’ve been so darn tired. Tired beyond tired. Exhausted. So tired that I have to literally fight to stay awake all day long. And the headaches. Oh my. Last night I thought my head was going to explode. I thought I’d have to go to the ER and I really hate hospitals.

Clearly, this wasn’t worth it to me. My sister, a formerly in the nursing field, said these symptoms could last three months. Well folks, I’d had enough. I was tired of feeling so out of it 24 hours a day. I looked at it this way. What is so wrong about taking this little pill every day? I realized that I am imperfect. Well obviously I knew that beforehand, but you know what I’m trying to say here. My body isn’t functioning correctly and it’s time for me to fact the facts that I’ll likely need to take this pill for who knows how long, maybe forever? But I’m OK with it. If my brain is chemically imbalanced and this Lexapro rights the ship, then who am I to try to fight it. Does that make me any lesser of a person? Maybe to some it does, but to me it doesn’t. And I’ve got to live with it so I’ve made the decision to go back on the meds.

Today was a much better day. Is it all in my head? Could be, but I really don’t think so. I honestly felt less tired, tired still, but definitely less tired. And my headache was bearable and not forever pounding. So I look forward to getting back to ‘normal’ if there is such a thing. Sorry folks; I gave it a shot, but believe me, just accepting my imperfections and dealing with them medically shows me I’ve made strides in my life. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

August 22, 2005


I'm here to refute the statement I keep hearing from people. "You don't get out enough." I started thinking about that. Was it true? Well, I suppose we can always go out more than we actually have, but how much is enough? How many times? How many people do you need to meet before finding the right one? Who knows? It could be a million. Being a numbers guy, I decided I needed some self-statistics. So I did the Accountant thing and I added it all up. I must admit, the results were surprising to me. Note, these stats don't include the hundreds of women who have ignored me on JDate or match.com.

During the past year or so, I've asked 42 women out. Yeesh! Seems like a staggering amount to me. Out of those 42, almost half (20 of 42) actually agreed to go out with me. I thought that 10 out of the 42 (24%) could have been Miss Right. I guess that means that of those 20 women I went out with, I only thought half of them had the potential to be Miss Right. But I went out with all of them because it's not all about Miss Right. It's also about going out to meet people, learn what you like and what you don't like, have some fun, or whatever. Of course, nothing has amounted to any of them or I wouldn't be here whining about it to you on a seemingly daily basis. But as I look back at those 42, I ask myself if I still believe any of them *could* have been Miss Right. The answer? Three. Three out of the 42 or one out of every 14 women I meet, I think could be The One. Two of them I've written plenty about. The other one, I still wonder about. So what do you make of all this fuzzy math? If at first you don't succeed, try try again? I think my will to try try needs a vacation.

August 18, 2005


The drive to work looks different this week. I have a 40 mile drive which takes me upwards of 90 minutes. That in and of itself is enough to make one want to move closer to work, but that’s another story for another day. During those stressful 90 minutes, I take plenty of surface streets and various short-cuts, none of which work very well. But they do give me the chance to observe people, places, and things rather than just I-95, affectionately known as The Big Slab.

The streets these days are filled with children with backpacks, yellow school buses, school zone traffic signals blinking, crossing guards with day-glo gloves, and a ton more cars on the road. Yes, school is in; summer is over (not technically but you get the gist). The more I thought about this, the more it saddened me. I just recently read a post from Quotablex about her summer, too. The post and my commute got me thinking.

When I was in school, elementary or high school or even up to my sophomore year in college, there always seemed to be finite periods of time. Seasons perhaps. As kids, we looked forward to vacation times. Winter break around Christmas time, Spring Break in March, and everyone’s favorite, the long two or three-month summer vacation.

I loved summer vacation. Summer vacation meant visits from dad, longer days when the sun stayed out past 8 o’clock, July 4th fireworks, days at the beach, days at the golf course, Summer Camp, BBQs, and never having to wear anything but shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops. Summertime always flew by, didn’t it? How many of our great memories were from great times had during the summer? Jeez, the worst week of the year was that last week of summer vacation. All the fun coming to a grinding halt and more time spent shopping for new clothes and school supplies.

Yeah, back then, summer really meant something. I miss those carefree days. I even miss the actual feeling of looking forward to summer approaching. I don’t miss the disappointment of that last weekend knowing school was starting on Monday. Or do I? Nowadays, and really since my Junior year in college, it’s all been a blur to me because of work. Spring melds right into summer and before you know it, it’s Fall. Sheesh, I didn’t really realize summer was over until this week when all the school buses came out of hiding. And that’s what makes me sad. Seasons have no meaning anymore. Days go by, seasons change, but it’s all pea soup-foggy to me. It’s one long, continuous season. Sassy just wrote about being stuck in a rut. I made a comment that ruts are easy to get into and tough to get out of. I think I might be stuck, too. I need to find a new place to live, be excited about coming home once again, get off the couch, buy a heavenly bed or a reasonable facsimile thereof, finish my book, find a nice new friend to go out with and have some fun, or find a long-distance person willing to simply hang out here for a weekend. Something new, a departure from the norm, a new memory, anything to get out of the fog and out of the rut. (Yes, I’m aware of these sentence fragments. I guess it’s my stream of consciousness writing style. Sorry.) Where am I going with this life? Is someone going to eventually accompany me? Damn, everything’s so blurry. Even these damn meds are making my head blurry. Can I make it without them? I’m having doubts and this fuzzy feeling isn’t helping. I guess for now, my daily commute of snarled traffic jams and the herds of stop sign-flagged school buses are my reminders of how time used to be so clearly and wonderfully defined, shaped with great memories with little time for getting stuck in rutsville. I’d ready for a little clarity. Yeah, clarity would really help. Don’tcha think?

August 13, 2005


I’ve certainly had my share of near-death experiences. Have you ever wondered how you’d handle your own death or what your state-of-mind might be given the normal or perhaps catastrophic situation? Have your dreams given you any clues? Have you ever died in your dreams? I have; it was last night.

I have no idea what brought this on; or maybe I do? I think it was a combination of hurricane season, the release of the 9/11 tapes, and Amanda’s view of 9/11. Here’s what happened in my dream.

I was working in a conference room (similar to my current job) high atop a 115-story skyscraper. I know it was a major city, but it wasn’t New York. I had flashes that it might be Houston since I had worked in the tallest building in downtown Houston, but the news stations pictured that Chase Building still standing so it wasn’t Houston. There were a group of us in that conference room looking out the window and noticing a menacing storm approaching. As the storm rapidly approached, it got pitch black and the wind started howling. We flipped on the TV in the room (I have a TV in my work conference room), and turned to the weather channel. They said a hurricane was approaching…

From there, things happened fast. The wind was blowing seemingly 150 miles an hour. All of us in the room immediately became worried about the building withstanding such force. No sooner had we said that when we felt the building sway. We were startled. I think everyone yelled out sort of like one would when you’re in an airplane and you hit sudden turbulence. Again, it was as if things were moving in fast motion. The building swayed left, right, and simply snapped. I vividly remembered this free fall. At that precise moment the building snapped on that third sway, I thought to myself, “Dude, you’ve survived many close calls in your dreams, but you’re not gonna survive this one.”

And there I went. Flying down to my impending death with no way out. As I ‘floated’ down, my mind was incredibly at ease. There was no panic. I was almost laughing to myself at such a ridiculous way to go. I was wondering when exactly I was going to die. Was it going to be on the way down from lack of oxygen or something or was it simply going to be the impact. I don’t know the answer. As I spiraled downward, I was just thinking it was my time. Still no panic. I guess I was accepting my fate, who knows?

I think I passed out about 50 feet from the ground. The next thing I knew, there I was seeing the event happen on CNN. Someone caught the whole thing on video. It showed that the building didn’t actually snap from the upper floors, but it actually gave way near the bottom five floors. And this troubled the investigators. They all said the hurricane should have brought the building down from the upper floors yet it seemed the structure failure was from down below. They suspected foul play and quickly shelved the hurricane theory and now blamed terrorists for this horrible catastrophe.

During the newscast, as they panned the building, I kept looking for myself in the rubble, wondering if I was still alive somehow. I projected the general area I would have landed and intently watched the video looking for any signs of me. In my own mind, I really thought I was still alive in that rubble, yelling for help yet no one being able to hear me.

I awoke this morning at around 6:30 am because I had to get an oil change. I hadn’t even remembered the dream. It wasn’t until I was in Starbucks when I glanced at the morning newspaper when the dream hit me. My first thought was why I wouldn’t have been awakened in a cold sweat from this dream, especially after the fall? I have no answers to any of this. Do you?

August 11, 2005


I could have titled this post “48 Hours” just as easily because that’s how long it took me to restore my iPod songs to iTunes on my new laptop. This is one serious drawback to an otherwise near-perfect invention. I know we all love our iPods, but god forbid we change computers. Yes I’m technically challenged, no doubt about it, but Apple has made the transfer process much harder than it needs to be. Oh sure, I may have made what could have been a simple process into a convoluted mess, but the process itself, in my opinion and in my best Spock imitation, is highly illogical. The main difficulty is that Apple has decided that we can only transfer songs one-way, meaning we can only transfer songs from the computer to iTunes. Amazingly, we can’t transfer songs from our iPod directly to iTunes. Can you imagine how simple that would be? Yeah, take the iPod, plug in your USB cable and click transfer. Voila! But this is not the case, and so I hope my pain and suffering and lessons I learned will help those of you who may need to do this in the future. OK class, grab a pen and paper and let me see if I can recap the process for you.

The first thing I did was go to the Apple iPod website for help. I typed in my question, “transfer songs to a new computer,” and it spit me out a link to specific directions on how to accomplish this. By the time I read step one, I was already behind the eight-ball. So listen up, this is very important. You’ve got to copy your iTunes music library from your old computer to your iPod. You basically have to you’re your iPod into a storage device, copy the library file onto the iPod, and deauthorize the old computer. The instructions tell you how to do this. Unfortunately for me, I only did the deauthorize part and turned in my work laptop before doing the file transfer. Had I done this, then in theory, I could have copied the iTunes library file from the iPod to the new computer under the iTunes directory. In theory, but I wonder if it would truly work that easily because I eventually got there, but still had problems.

Once I realized that I hadn’t copied the old file, I located Apple’s customer service number and called for help. But I got no help. Apparently, I owned a Generation 4 iPod from HP which meant that Apple couldn’t help me. HP had to help me. So the guy gave me the HP customer service number to call. So I called and relayed my problem to the tech dude. But the dude said he couldn’t help me transfer my songs directly from my iPod to iTunes because Apple forbids it due to some copyright or privacy bullshit. He said he knew how to do it, but he couldn’t tell me. So he just told me to Google it and that I would find out how to do it.

So I Googled, and sure enough there were plenty of sites advertising that their free software could download songs from iPod to iTunes. So I did some clicking and researching. The main problem I was having is that most of the software was for Macs and not for Windows. It was difficult to find a program to work for Windows. Once I did, I read some reviews from users and they were, at best, a mixed bag. I’d now been working on this for five hours and was getting impatient. I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever see my 500 songs again. I finally decided to call CompUSA where I bought the iPod and ask them for help. The guy there told me he had some Windows software called Tune Transfer that could accomplish the transfer. It was only $19.99 so I decided it would be well worth it so off I went.

I got back home and was full of confidence, promise, and hope. I quickly lost confidence when I opened the software box. Inside the standard square-shaped software box, I found only a cheesy plastic tray containing a black CD jewel case with an even cheesier black and white label. It looked like some 13-year-old kid had put this together. I joke, but it’s probably true, ya know? But like they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

The instructions said the software would enable me to copy my songs off my iPod to any new computer. I mean, that’s why I bought it, right? But the execution wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I still thought I’d be able to easily go from the iPod to the new computer. Wrong. It’s never simple is it? My first conflict came right off the bat. It said I needed to connect my iPod, but if I did, I risked losing all my songs because iTunes kept trying to update my iPod to an empty library. Empty library = empty iPod. Good grief. So the software didn’t recognize that my iPod was connected and it listed no songs to transfer. I kept unplugging and replugging and I don’t know what I did, but it finally recognized the iPod and with a sigh of relief, I saw all my songs listed and ready to transfer. That was the good news. The bad news is that it didn’t recognize my playlists so I had to recreate all of them. I finally took a break after being at this for 12 hours.

The next day, I continued creating my playlists and then clicked the ‘transfer’ button and, lo and behold, the files were transferred into iTunes. Wow, I actually saw my songs. Wow, I actually played my songs! But one problem; the songs transferred, but the playlists didn’t. So I had to once again recreate all the playlists and copy/paste the songs into each playlist. Then I had to run through each of the 500 songs to ensure they were authorized to play and to restore the equalizer and volume settings that I previously had. Good grief. I finally finished up around 10 p.m.

This was an extremely frustrating process, but the bottom line is that I got my songs back. Whew! So if any of you need to do this crap in the near future, feel free to ask me for help. Or maybe by then, Apple will come to its senses.

August 09, 2005


So before this goes too far,
Let me tell you what you are.
You're amazing, I'm attracted,
But I'm terribly distracted.
And I'm trying to be verbal,
And I'm back into this circle.
Cause I just found someone special,
And that's really something special.
If you knew me,
Nice to meet you anyway…

Lyrics by Gavin DeGraw

I had been in 7th Heaven that night a year ago today. We were standing on the balcony a mere 20 feet from Gavin as he sang that song. As we listened to the lyrics, I looked into her beautiful blue eyes and said to her, “Whatever you do, don’t ever say those words to me.” She didn’t reply. Instead, CBG scrunched up her face as if to say, “That’s sooo not fair.” No, it really wasn’t fair because it really could have been her saying those lyrics to me...

This past weekend was a good test for me. There was not a lot to do and I had lots of time on my hands to think. That’s usually dangerous for me. If I survived the weekend, maybe I *could* finally be med-free? You see, that night was one of the best of my life. I had a long-anticipated ‘date’ with CBG. I just reread the chapter in my book about it. It grabbed my by the heart, made my stomach tense, made me sad, and made me happy all at once. I might as well finish up telling you the whole story.

So where did I leave off? Well, after we met at the doctor’s office, I sent her some
cookies, she told me she had a live-in boyfriend, I sent her some CDs, she sent me a surprise email from her vacation, and from there, all hell broke loose. We started talking on the phone and emailing throughout her vacation. A beautiful bond was forming between us. She traveled on to a medical conference where she was greeted with a deluxe bouquet of flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries.

We talked a lot about her relationship with her boyfriend. She loved him, but seemed unsure, unhappy, or unfulfilled. She even talked of breaking up with him. Maybe I came at the right time? I seemed to provide her what she was missing in her life. Yet, and rightfully so, she told me she couldn’t commit to anything until when and if we met in person. I suggested we meet for drinks and then go to the Gavin DeGraw concert. Before she returned home, she told me she’d think it over and let me know.

After she returned home, the inevitable happened. She told me she just couldn’t break up with him and that she needed to give him a chance to make changes. But she agreed to go to the concert with me so all hope wasn’t lost. Yep, I had one date to convince her that I was the one for her. Not too much pressure, huh?

I knew I might never see her again after that night so I did feel the pressure. She called me 10 minutes before our ‘date’ and told me she felt really guilty about going out with me and that she wanted it to be a ‘just friends’ thing and not a date. Wow, she really threw me. I was already starting off on the wrong foot and the ‘date’ or non-date hadn’t even started yet. I told here she was going to have to give me a little latitude because, after all, this was my one and only shot at this. I could have left the flowers in the car, but I decided to give them to her anyway. She was thrilled and not mad in the least.

We walked inside the bar/restaurant and sat in some comfy couches and talked. It was horrible. We were rehashing all the serious conversations we’d previously had and secretly I knew I’d lost her. I’d blown it right off the bat. Or so I thought. Gradually, things turned around. We joked, we laughed, we shared some wine and food and ended up having a really sweet time.

We went on to the concert where we spent the next four hours laughing, talking, and listening to the music. I kept not wanting the night to end. I was smitten. I thought she was, too but would that be enough to win her over? I walked her to her car where I surprised her with a trunk full of desserts. It was supposed to have been a little private beach party, but given her non-date request, I scraped the idea. Sharing chocolate mousse cake on her trunk at 2 a.m. was the perfect way to end our non-date. No kiss. I gave her a hug instead. Indeed, it was the last ‘date’ we ever had.

We went roundabout for the next seven weeks. I wrote her
poems and short stories, and saw her occasionally at our spot. I was losing the battle. I knew it; I even wrote myself a letter. Eventually she chose her boyfriend over me. Sure, I’m an idiot. I took a big risk and got hurt, but to me, it was worth taking the chance to find my Mrs. Right. I’ve only seen her once in the past year and that was a follow-up visit. We’re still friends, but she’s getting married in four weeks.

Man, I sure have writtten a lot of posts about her, haven't I? I promise, I'm done now. I guess it's my way of cleansing or processing all that's happened. And so this weekend was a time for reflection. I made it through. Sure I was sad and wondered what might have been if my timing, karma, or whatever was better aligned with the stars. I think I’ll always wonder. And, I think my head will always shake automatically anytime I hear Gavin sing,
“So before this goes too far, let me tell you what you are. You're amazing, I'm attracted, but I'm terribly distracted. And I'm trying to be verbal, and I'm back into this circle. Cause I just found someone special, and that's really something special. If you knew me, nice to meet you anyway...

August 07, 2005


You probably shook your head, laughed, scoffed, or wondered in bewilderment why I listed MTV's Real World in my list of 5 TV Shows I watch. I think it started when I was sick one weekend and MTV was running a Real World marathon of season six (Boston). I began watching it and some 20 or so hours later, I'd seen the whole season and was hooked. Since then I think I've seen eight of the ten seasons. I usually catch weekend marathons and, like Boston, end up watching the entire season in one weekend.

So why am I hooked on this seemingly juvenile reality show? I guess it's similar to why I'm not afraid to admit I listen to singers like Avril Lavigne or Michelle Branch. Sure they're attractive, have an overly 'poppy' sound, but they sing and write songs with meaning and issues I relate to. Real World is the same way. There are some catchy tunes along with pretty girls and hunky guys drinking, partying, blowing off work, fighting, etc. But there are often storylines and issues that are indeed real and close to home for me. And it may surprise you, but some of the cast members are quite intelligent and mature beyond their years.

In the current season (Austin), the cameras capture an emotional moment when Danny learns from his father that his mother has just died. Sure, I cried. If you've never lost a parent, I guess it's hard to describe that feeling when you've been told. I found this episode very reassuring as Danny's housemates tried to console him. One of them, Nehemiah, had something very profound to say, and it made me really think. He said, "A part of life that we have to accept is knowing that tomorrow wasn't promised."

August 06, 2005


I’ve been double tagged by Alyson and Alyssa. Sorry it took so long.

10 Years Ago Today I was living in Jacksonville, FL. I took a rare ‘me’ vacation. I went to Vegas for the first time. I read black jack books prior to the trip so I’d be ready to play. I ended up winning over $300. “Beginner’s luck,” my friends said. “Don’t ever come back,” they said. I haven’t since.

Five Years Ago Today I was living in Coudersport, PA. Home of Big Brother. I owned a small ranch-style house with 3 acres of land. Can you picture this big-city boy riding on a lawn tractor? Comical.

1 Year Ago Today Oh my. I was living in here in Plantation. It was one year ago that CBG and I started forming a wonderful friendship. {Sigh}

Yesterday All my troubles seemed so far away…

Tomorrow I might see a movie. War of the Worlds? Wedding Crashers? Fantastic 4? Anyone seen anything good lately?

5 Snacks I enjoy: Stacy’s Cinnamon Pita Chips (it may be the best snack of all-time), Reddenbacher low-fat Kettle Pop Corn, 1 million varieties of dry cereal (current faves are honey bunches of oats, and Kellogs’s Low Fat Granola with raisins)

5 Bands That I Know the Lyrics to Most of Their Songs: Beatles, Snow Patrol, Live, REM, Vertical Horizon

5 Things I Would Do with a $100,000,000: 100 million dollars? Set up a trust for Andy, take Andy on a whirlwind trip to see a game in every baseball park, help family, spend $$ advertising and publishing my book, figure out where I want to live and buy a cool house

5 Locations I Would Like to Run Away to: Napa Valley, Pebble Beach, Somewhere in Italy, Scotland, Oregon coast

5 Bad Habits I Have: can’t keep a story short, staying up all night, falling for the wrong woman, impatience. (OK. Who noticed I only listed 4?)

5 Things I Like Doing: going to concerts, writing, eating, attending sporting events, three-letter word, starts with S and ends in X.

5 Things I would Never Wear: clogs, bolo tie, speedo, t-shirts that are five sizes too small so I can show off my muscles (oh, forgot. I don’t have any to show off), searsucker suit

5 TV Shows I Like(d): Seinfeld, Survivor, World Poker Tour, Real World, Emeril Live

5 Movies I Like: Oh what the hell. Here are my top 10. The Graduate, Rain Man, Shawshank Redemption, In The Heat of the Night, African Queen, Garden State, Field of Dreams, Rear Window, any juvenile John Hughes Brat Pack Movie (16 Candles, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller), Die Hard

5 Famous People I would Like to Meet: “Mrs. Right,” Jack Nicklaus, Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, The NYNY blogging community (Stephanie, Heather, Esther, Amanda, Ari, Ken W, Jennifer, Bex, etc.

5 Biggest Joys at the Moment: My son, my iPod, my Blog, you (my readers), my car

5 favorite toys: iPod, cell phone, digital camera, laptop, lincoln logs (kidding, ran out of ideas)

5 People to Tag: This is purely optional, OK? Lots of you have probably already been tagged. How about some of you new commenters? ESS, Mari, Quotablex, Sassy, and Miss Happenstance.

August 02, 2005


Going to the doctor can certainly be a humiliating experience. Perhaps you women out there have had more ‘practice’ at it with the stirrups and all that. Generally, guys only have to get ‘probed’ once a year upon hitting 40. I suppose a year’s worth of peace of mind is worth the probing. I guess that’s the goal of the annual physical. Peace of mind.

A year ago, my mind was at war. I left home, separated from my wife, moved 2000 miles from Phoenix to Plantation, got a new job, was traveling 100%, was going through a divorce, missed my son terribly, fell in love, couldn't sleep a wink, aaahhh! What a mental mess. It took me a while to shamefully admit that I was having trouble handling it all. I wasn’t or hadn’t been myself. What to do?

My sister suggested I go to the doctor and talk about it. Reluctantly, I did. I took all the quizzes, answered all their questions, and was told I had symptoms of depression. A light dose (10 mg) of Lexapro and sessions with a shrink would make me feel better soon, I was told.

And so started my road to recovery. I won’t steal chapters of the book here, but I’ve made it back from hell. I’ve emerged a different, stronger, better person. So this year, I went into my doctor’s appointment with the intention to stop taking the Lexapro. I relayed how the whole year transpired and how much better I was feeling as compared to last year. The Physical Assistant agreed to wean me off the Lexapro. I’ll be med free in a month. I’m down to a half a little pill, jagged indeed, a tiny reminder of where I’ve been. Soon, the bitter taste of this pill and the bitter period in my life, will just be a memory and no longer a daily occurrence. To me, that’s worth a probe or two.

P.S. Why does the dental hygienist insist on us using a soft toothbrush? Why do they insist on us brushing softly and then proceed to take that god-awful scraper and pound the hell out of us like there’s no tomorrow? Odd, isn’t it?