Sticking around a while


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(I almost regret drawing this now)

I haven’t written much here recently, mostly because I’ve been so busy.  My life seems to have been caught up in some kind of whirlwind that has been propelling it forward at 4x the normal speed.  So many good and bad things that it would take about five posts just to summarize it all.

That said, I have some good news to report.

After He Who Shall Not Be Named became president elect, it really felt like my country had suddenly become a place I was afraid to live in.  Not because I’m one of the many who are literally threatened by his proposals, I’m fortunate enough to have the ‘right’ skin color and gender, but because of the people who look like me that supported him.  And, would you want your tax dollars going to that asshole?

But it’s not just that.  For the past five months I’ve been working on a book about spirituality and life.  As an agnostic (basically someone spiritual without a specific religion), I became obsessed with writing something that would basically be a bible for people like me.  I was making a lot of progress and was really, really excited about where it was going.  It’s a totally new way of looking at life and death, at being open minded and appreciating diversity.  In a lot of ways it’s a really beautiful set of concepts that I think could unite people around positivity instead of dividing them.

The thing is, He Who Shall Not Be Named actively goes against every single part of my new ‘religion’.  Literally, point for point, that asshole violated every guiding idea that I came up with.  It’s all about truth, equality, and being accepting of those with differences.  Half the time he violated all of those in a single tweet.  That’s terrifying.

I couldn’t sleep the night of the election.  I was horrified.  Not only was this country a far, far scarier place than I ever imagined… A MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE VOTED AGAINST EVERY PRINCIPLE I HOLD DEAR.

I almost threw away my book, my cherished project.

I wanted to leave the country, after throwing up everything I had ever eaten.  I wanted to crawl in a hole in some far part of the world and hide, hoping the end of days would miss me.

That feeling lasted for two days.  I was shopping for cheap property in Canada.  Not kidding.  I’ve been to Canada a number of times, it’s a truly amazing place that deserves a lot more recognition than it gets.  I’d consider that an upgrade in almost every way.  Did you see how awesome they’ve been with the Syrian immigrants?  Makes me tear up.

But then I had this thought.  The only reason that He Who Shall Not Be Named got elected is because of fear.  A lot of people who are normally smart and kind allowed fear to blind them to the obvious faults of someone who never should have even been in the running for political office.  They allowed fear to mislead them.

Which meant, if I let fear of the future influence my decisions, I would just be promoting the same mistake.

So, instead, I decided to stay and fight.  Not with fists or even words, but with love and compassion.  I’m going to try to live up to my own ideals and continue to promote them.

I picked up my book and kept writing.  I also made a few phone calls to various charities to see what I could do to make the world a better place.

That’s where the good news comes in.

This week, I heard back from my favorite of the organizations.  Without naming them, they support a lot of people that have earned it and really need it.  They’d like my help organizing a new program to spread their message and raise funds.  I’m ridiculously excited because the program is really cool, the charity is amazing, and I’ll get to help out one of most deserving groups of people.

I guess the message is this, no matter how scary the world might seem, no matter how bad things look, it’s worth sticking around and standing up for what we believe in.  And every one of us, no matter our talent or ability, are still capable of improving someone else’s life and making the world a better place.

That asshole doesn’t represent me, what I do represents me.

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O.M.F.G.


I genuinely don’t know how to write any of this because, quite literally, the possibility never occurred to me… but somehow the unthinkable seems to have happened.  Not just unthinkable, un-fucking-fathomable.  You might imagine me perched over a type writer, fingernails chewed to the quick, trying to think of witty one-liners, but the truth is I just feel hollow.  Gutted.  It feels like this is all a form of mass hysteria, as though there’s still a chance to wake up in the morning and find out this all one sick dream.  Please, god, if you grant a single prayer in this poor agnostic man’s life, let this all be one really bad dream.

I would probably be crying right now if I wasn’t so fucking scared, and fear is barely winning the war over shame at this point.  I am so fucking ashamed of my country tonight.  And, as a veteran, I don’t say that lightly.

If this somehow isn’t mass hysteria, or a really bad dream, or a fucked up episode of Punked… all I can do is apologize to the world.  I am truly, desperately sorry that this shit is happening.  This makes Americans look fucking awful, I know.  I can only say that most of us are sane, decent human beings… or at least I thought so until today.  As cynical as I claim to be, at heart I believe the true nature of human beings revolves around kindness and generosity.  In my book, those are the core principles of humanity – kindness and generosity, especially toward our fellow human beings.  That something like this could have happened seriously shakes my faith in humanity, and that isn’t some blogger hyperbole.  Tonight is a night that needs no exaggeration.  Fellow Americans broke my heart in way I hadn’t thought possible.

I went to the polls, I held my nose and voted for the only candidate.  I did what I could, so I refuse to take a full portion of the blame for what’s to come… and there will be a lot of blame being thrown around in the years to come.

To the next generation, I apologize.  Shit just got a lot worse for you, I know.  Us parents, and our parents before us, had already done a pretty good job fucking up the world for you, I guess this is just the icing on the proverbial apocalyptic cake.  If we hadn’t left you with an impossible future before, it’s certainly a magnitude closer now.

At this late hour on the end of a psychedelic, bad trip of a day I’ll leave you all with one last, sad premonition: Unfortunately, my fellow Americans, almost all of us are going to live long enough to profoundly regret not doing more to prevent this from happening.

When it rains… pt 2


(You can read part one here.  Quick summary: I slept with my best friend, Stephanie, while she was visiting, might have messed up that relationship.)

After I broke up with Stephanie last year I realized I wasn’t in a place for relationships.  Mentally, emotionally… with the impending move and everything, I just couldn’t do it.

But I didn’t want to be celibate either.

Enter Jane. Continue reading

When it rains… pt 1


So, I’m not entirely sure how it happened but in a few short weeks my life went from simple, easy, and predictable to something very different.

I’m really tempted at this point to copy and paste some of the text conversations to illustrate what’s going on… but I’m not sure anyone would believe me.  Without understanding the backstory and the ladies involved, I wouldn’t believe it either.

Let’s rewind a few weeks and lay it all out in order. Continue reading

Just Another Night


So, I have a bunch of stuff I should probably write about, I’ve even started several posts, but I just had an interesting experience and I want to write about it.

Tonight was my first philosophy class.  Woohoo, I know.  It’s really cool that I got back into school.  Anyway, the class didn’t start until late so I didn’t get back home until late.

I pulled into my parking spot about ten o’clock at night.  As I walked toward the apartment building I noticed that there was a light on in the car beside mine.  It wasn’t a big light, it was almost invisible from outside the car, it was one of the little ones for the back seat in a sedan, but it was definitely on.

Now, I don’t know where you grew up, so what I’m about to say might sound weird, but in my home town if you see something like that you make sure to say something about it.  Where I’m from, a dead car battery is, no shit, a life or death situation.  And with the cold temperatures, someone leaving their headlights on (or dome lights, or whatever) can kill a battery way faster than you might think.  Sometimes it only takes ten minutes and the car won’t start.

But where I live now it’s definitely not a life or death situation.

I hesitated, I’ll admit it.  It was late at night, I didn’t know those neighbors, and most modern cars have circuits that will turn off lights before the battery dies.

((A quick side note: the reason I don’t know these neighbors is because they’re renters that just moved in.  That unit has a really high turn over rate.))

I only hesitated for a moment though.

Now, nobody likes having a stranger show up on their doorstep after 10 o’clock at night.  I know that.  I also know what’s worse than having a stranger show up after 10 o’clock is having a big, strange, white dude with a shaved head and tattoos show up.  (What made it slightly easier for me was I’d just come from class and was dressed nicely, a polo shirt instead of my usual black T.)

Another relevant detail, while we live in a gated apartment complex the neighborhood outside gets pretty sketchy when the sun goes down.  We all lock our doors.

So, with all that in mind, I struck a pose as submissive and apologetic as I could and knocked on the neighbor’s door.  This is America, I assume everyone has a gun.  And, honestly, I’m one of the most easy going dudes you’ll ever meet but if I was home with my family and some stranger knocked on the door after 10 I’d be tempted to answer with gun behind my back.  So, as the person knocking, I want to try and put whoever answers the door to ease as quick as I can.

A very cautious, young, black woman answered.  Now, I knew that the reinforced screen door (“bad” neighborhood) was locked because I tried to open it so I could knock when I realized they didn’t have a door bell, so I wasn’t surprised when she opened the inner door but made no motion towards the outer door.  Smart woman.

From her body language I’m sure she was alone.

I quickly apologized for interrupting her evening and explained that there was a light on in her car.  She looked like she was still in shock over having a white dude on her porch, either that or she thought I was trying to pull something over on her, so I ended up explaining the car-light-battery thing a couple times.

It was a very quick conversation.  When I was sure she understood what I was talking about I said good night and turned to leave.

I was listening for it, she didn’t leave her apartment to check the car until I was halfway to my place.  She wasn’t going to step outside until she was sure I wasn’t anywhere near her door.  Smart girl.

Now, part of me found this whole thing totally ridiculous and at the same time totally justifiable.  It’s almost hard to explain.

I was trying to do this family a favor… but I was scared I might get shot for being a strange dude knocking at night… and she’s scared because there’s a strange dude knocking at night.  (The Luis C.K. joke comes to mind, “Men are the worst thing that ever happened to women.”)

For both of our safety we have to do this established dance.  I make sure I leave at least an arms length between me and the door so I’m not in their face immediately, keep my hands visible, communicate clearly and make no moves that might be taken as too assertive or aggressive.  For her part, keeping a locked door between me and her, making sure she didn’t leave any openings or vulnerabilities, waiting for me to leave before opening the door, etc.

I mean, those are the kinds of practical precautions that I would teach my son or daughter – for both sides of the situation.  I did what I could to keep a potentially tense situation from escalating, she answered the door but took practical precautions.  It makes sense.

And yet, at the same time, it’s really kind of ridiculous that a two second favor requires that dance.  It seems silly but I can’t think of an easy alternative.  Ridiculous but justifiable.

Just had to share.

 

Shitty day


I’ve been collecting thoughts about grief today, writing down all the crap I’ve been through in the last two weeks.  Eventually that will be a post, probably, but I need to write about today… well, today.

Losing Georgia was, and to a large degree still is, devastating.  She was such a huge part of my life, every part of it every day, her loss left a huge hole.  I was seriously a fucking mess for the first week.  There was the whole roller coaster of emotion, my head was a pit, I could hardly get through the days.

My ongoing mantra was: It’s okay to be sad, just don’t let it control you.  (I’ve had problems with alcohol and loss before, I wanted to make sure I didn’t repeat those patterns.  And I haven’t.) Continue reading

A Little Tease


This afternoon I was at a coffee shop with a friend.  It’s a weekly thing we do, just to get together.

This week, at the table next to us was a beautiful, older woman.  Where we were, in that area, right outside the college, there are always a ton of young, hot women around.   Granted, she was a bit older than the usual college crowd but nothing that far out of the ordinary.  Both me and the friend are single but that’s not why we go there, it’s just a convenient location, it does make for fun scenery though.

This woman was one of those almost ageless types.  The kind where you have to give a generous range when trying to guess an age.  I’d have to say, somewhere between mid-40’s and early-60’s.  Seriously, it could be anywhere in those two decades.  Mature but hot and in terrific shape.

So, I kept half an eye on her while she was there.  I try and go for “appreciative of a beautiful woman” and polite rather than “leering” but it’s hard to judge one’s own behavior.  PG on the outside, whatever NC17 stuff is going on inside my head.

About half an hour after she arrived she opened up some boxes she brought with her.  I thought maybe she’d just finished some shopping and was looking at her purchases but then she started setting things up.  Some speakers, a little projector, a laptop.

She had even less technical know-how than I have, so I ended up helping her.  All the while I wondered why anyone would be setting up speakers and a projector in the middle of a coffee shop, but I put that question aside while helping her find outlets and the right cords.

Best guess, this woman was a little younger than my mom, probably early to mid 50’s, blonde, leggy, and attractive as hell.  She was wearing this sun dress that clung to every curve, and she had some nice curves.

We chatted a little bit, she was really nice.  I was tempted to put some moves on until I found out what she was doing…

With permission from the owners, she was showing an educational film about the wonders of having child birth at home… and those of use in that area of the coffee shop were warned that the film was quite graphic…

In a coffee shop.  At four o’clock on a week day.

Yeah, that’s a quick libido killer.

Me and my friend made some quick goodbyes and beat feet out of there.

Too bad, I liked her.  There’s just no way I could sleep with a woman who goes around to coffee shops and shows movies like that.  Nothing against the movies themselves, or the ideas behind them, but that’s just too much for me.

Gimmicky BS


I wasn’t planning on writing anything tonight but I’m so pissed off and disappointed that I needed to get this out before bed.

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it here but I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead.  It’s literally the only show I watch on TV each week.  Or, at least it was.

**Spoilers ahead, kind of**

This last season has been a fucking circus of shitty writing, bad directing, and idiotic characters.

What drew me to the show in the first place was the quality of the writing.  They didn’t play to the lowest common denominator, it was dramatic but also thematic and smart.  You cared for the characters, which was why you tuned in every week to see what happened to them.  And the characters were consistent.  They might make dumb choices sometimes but they made sense in that moment.

But this season they traded all the quality and smarts for bigger explosions and gimmicks.  Rather than the plot being driven by necessity (as it has been for much of the story, based around surviving), it’s being carried by supposedly smart survivors making stupid decisions and getting themselves into deep shit.  Over and over.

(A couple examples real quick.  Rick outsmarts and traps the Terminus gang that’s stalking them a couple seasons ago, fucking clever and unexpected.  But this episode walks over and over into a massive trap set up by Negan?  Or Daryl being stupid and suddenly losing all his ninja skills in the woods, getting caught by Dwight… twice.  How many times have these ‘badass survivors’ been trapped or captured this season?)

As fans, we already care about the characters.  That’s why we watch and why the show has been #1 for so long.

So, why have the producers and writers stooped to idiocy and cheap tricks?  Because the writing has gone so far down hill.  Good writing hooks an audience into the story and the characters, no tricks needed.

It reminds me of Jurassic World, which is really fucking sad (wrote a scathing review here).  If you take away the dumb decisions and you don’t have a story then your writing is crap.  Anything else is just excuses.  Sorry Gimple and Kirkman, but your explanations on The Talking Dead rang hollow and LAME.

Shit was bad enough with Glenn’s “death”, leaving all of us hanging for a month without knowing what happened.  Blatant emotional manipulation, intentionally bad camera angles and a poor explanation.

But this?  The end of this season?  This is fucking bullshit.  It’s gimmicky, cheap, manipulative bullshit.  There were two soft, fluffy, wussy episodes leading up to… what?  A mystery ending that won’t be resolving for six fucking months?  We deserve better.  This is not the show that most of us fell in love with.  They took a quality show with good writing, good ratings and reduced it some soap opera style, cliffhanger, #WhoIsIt bullshit.

If some other show did this than they’d have a massive, furious audience that would be leaving in droves, but because this show is already a behemoth they’ll probably get away with it.  That’s sad.  I really hope that enough fans are pissed that this cheap shit will stop… but it probably won’t.  Just like Jurassic World.

If this is what we have to look ‘forward’ to in Season 7 then I’m done.  There’s enough crappy programming on TV already, I don’t need this.  I never thought I would say it about TWD, but it’s rapidly joining the ranks of average, shitty shows… that I don’t watch.  It’s saddening, depressing and frustrating to see something so loved fall so far.

The cost of sex


When my last FWB, Jane, broke things off so she could do some “real” dating, I was happy for her but torn for myself.  I’m only going to be in my current location for about six months before moving a few thousand miles for work.  I’d already decided that dating was off the table, it would have just complicated things, but I didn’t want to be entirely celibate either.  So, should I get  back into the search for a new FWB or just lay off until after the move?

I was lucky with Jane, despite how short the fling was.  She was exactly what I was looking for, someone who knew what they wanted, were comfortable with the conditions, and was a ton of fun.

Knowing I was unlikely to get that lucky again, I decided to just wait until after the move.  It sucks but seemed like the best option for the time being.

Well, it’s gone surprisingly well so far.

Last night I was bopping around the apartment, getting some spring cleaning done with a spring in my step, whistling a tune and thinking that life was pretty good.  Looking back, I’ve gotten more positive improvement done in my life in the last two weeks than in the last six months.  Seriously.  I got myself enrolled in classes for my Masters, my apartment has never been cleaner, and I’ve even picked up the slack in my workout routine.

I’ve lost ten pounds in two weeks.  No shit.  And I feel great.  I’m less stressed, I’m happier, it’s like going on anti-depressants without the side effects.

All this got me thinking, was dating holding me back all these years?  Was the time, effort and money put into getting sex and looking for relationships actually detrimental to my quality of life?

The answer wasn’t obvious so I decided to meditate on it.  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Dating is a lot like going to the mall every day with a particular purchase in mind, but it’s never in stock.  Some days you see something that looks promising but it turns out to be the opposite but most days there isn’t even anything close.  It’s frustrating, it’s depressing, and generally going to the mall that day wasn’t worth the time or effort.  It’s like having a goal that is constantly frustrated and isn’t really achievable.

In other words:  Fuck yes, dating was detrimental to my life.

Why should I get back into that turgid pool after the move?  Why risk all the positives that I’ve gained?  Why bother when I’m happier without it?

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That’s when I decided I needed to write this post.  But not just that, I wanted to do some research to see if I could back up my opinions with facts.  I know I’m not the only one that’s decided he’s better off without dating.

Well, it’s surprisingly difficult to find studies on how many people stop dating and it’s affects on their mental health.  Most of the results were click bait titles like “Stop dating men in their 30’s who pop their collar” or other bullshit like that.

But I also found a few articles like this one:  http://elitedaily.com/dating/im-guy-stopped-dating-found-next-best-thing/954714/

The search also led me to a large online group of men who’ve also decided to give up dating.  While it didn’t have much in the way of statistics it had a lot of opinion pieces from guys who’ve come to the same conclusion as I have.  It’s called Men Going Their Own Way.  While some of their articles are a little weird, there were also some that I found quite interesting.  It’s always good to get a variety of opinions.

And that’s when I had something of a Eureka moment.  Over and over in the articles I was seeing the same things, the same stories, the same frustrations.  Men are truly f***ed in modern American society.  No wonder so many of them just decide to stop playing the game.

It’s not just dating, it’s society that puts a ridiculous amount of pressure on men to be successful, to fill certain roles, to shoulder the burdens of the world while being constantly harassed about not doing enough.  And we’re constantly told that we’re not good enough.

How is that fair?  It’s not.

Things have got to change and fast.

And you know who is the only presidential candidate standing up for men’s rights?  Who understands the difficulties and doesn’t put up with all the political-correctness bullshit?  Who isn’t afraid to point out when a woman is being a B****?

You guessed it.

Make America Great Again.

Could have been bad


So, I got a call from Cat the other day that was quite unexpected and could have gone very badly if our divorced relationship weren’t as good.

Before I get to what was said, I’d like to talk a little bit about her current husband.  I’ve been calling him Captain Awesome (CA), entirely unironically, for a while in my draft posts but for various reasons they weren’t posted.  He’s seriously an awesome dude and anyone who’s watched Chuck will get the reference. The kind of guy who’s so perfect you  want to hate him but is such a good dude you just can’t.  CA is tall, pretty in a way that sends women of all ages into a tizzy (seriously), successful, smart, has a bad ass job that more than compensates for his prettiness, and is exceptionally good with the kids.  Not only all that but he’s gone above and beyond when it comes to making sure I’m involved with the family, as well as being cool with me and Cat’s strange-but-friendly divorce.  I couldn’t have asked for a better dude to get added to the family and help watch over my kid.

Okay, on to the story.

Cat doesn’t typically call me, she’s far more of a texter or she’ll send a facebook update, so when I saw her name on the caller ID I was a little concerned.  What she said surprised me though.

“Sooooo, CA was just on the computer.  He noticed that your profile pic on Skype is not something kid friendly.  Do you know what it is?”

Ummm… okay.  I only use skype to talk to our daughter and to my mother, neither of which happens as often as it should, but the last time I’d been on the profile pic was an astronaut penguin or something ridiculous like that.  It was one of their default options.

But when I logged into my account I didn’t see a penguin, I saw a large cock that had just cum all over the hand holding it.  Yeah… not my style.  Not the kind of thing I’d have put for ANY profile pic, let alone one used to communicate with family.  And… it wasn’t my cock.  I was hacked.  Why, who knows?  At least there wasn’t anything too bad they could have gotten.

Thankfully, whoever hacked my account didn’t bother to change the password.  I was able to get in, change the photo and get a new password.

I told Cat, “Yeah, I didn’t put that up.”

She said that’s what she’d thought.  Apparently, when CA had shown her the image she’d laughed and remarked that it wasn’t mine.  As in, she looked at the photo on my profile and said that it wasn’t my cock.  We were married for ten years.

We both laughed at that.

Just take a second to wallow in the ridiculousness of the situation.  My ex-wife’s current husband found a cock shot for my profile pic and shows her, she laughs and tells him it’s not mine, then calls me so I can change it.  We’re not only cool with that, it’s quite humorous.

This is one of the reasons why I’m extremely appreciative of the relationship that Cat and I and Captain Awesome have.  What could have been an extremely awkward, uncomfortable, angry situation wasn’t any of those things.  It was like a very strange adult joke that we were all in on.

I just hope my mom didn’t see it, that conversation would be far less amusing.