Dr Strangedate, Part 4: The Groupie and One Drink Disasters.

After the general disaster of my first OKCupid date, I decided to be a little more cautious. I wasn’t going to fall into the same traps I found myself in on that first experience. I would get to know the prospective date before agreeing to meet. At the very least, a week of phone calls and emails would be my rule.

Sifting through their site is a challenge. You can never search very close to home, they only allow you to search at a minimum of 25 miles. So instead of all local singles, I would end up with a handful of people in my area and the rest would all be from the North Shore and Boston area. This was a little frustrating at times, but I figured at the very least the site was helping me expand my horizons. Foolishly, I was still under the impression OKCupid had my best interests at heart. Oh, I was so naive.

I quickly broke my own rules by agreeing to meet for drinks with someone after only one email. A pattern emerged rather quickly with the “meet for drinks” dates. Starting with a casual response to my ad and quickly suggesting we go for a drink, somewhere in the middle and neutral. And since most of my matches showed up from the North Shore and Boston, even meeting in the middle was a bit of a hike. But all of these meet and drink dates ended the same: going our seperate ways, both dissatisfied with the experience. I was always early, waiting at the bar. I could always recognize the date from their entrance: standing in thedoorway, scanning the room with an expectant smile. Then, they saw me….and one of two things happened: an outright look of “ewwwww” or that pained, forced smile, the kind you reserve for your Uncle when he tells a raunchy and inapropriate joke at a funeral.

A couple went so far as to make eye contact with me but quickly look away and rush out the door. One even texted me after dashing out the door, explaining that she couldn’t make it to the restaurant due to her inability to get a babysitter. I messaged back “Do you live in the parking lot?” She never got back to me. One woman I met for dinner in Newburyport, which is actually rather close to me. We had great conversation, a few drinks and even some dinner. I thought we were having a lovely time. At the end of the meal, she gave me a big hug and when I suggested getting together again, she started laughing loudly. “No thanks, I think I’ll pass!” There was a distinct tone of “ewwww” in her voice.

During all these disastrous little dates, I had met a woman on the site that I thought I had connected with. Her name was Emily and she grew up with the same crowd I hung out with: punk rocker kids hanging in Harvard Square. Yeah, I used to be one of those punks, black mohawk, combat boots and trenchcoat, the whole halloween costume, just lounging around Harvard Square. I have always lamented the fact that I lost touch with all the great people I used to know back then, not to mention all the bands I counted as friends. And it turned out, Emily knew all the same people! She was like a lost connection to my forgotten past. I was dying to meet her but I decided to wait. We talked, emailed and texted for almost two weeks.

Her favorite restaurant just happened to be my all-time favorite place in Boston. The Border Cafe on Church St. was just beyond my favorite movie theater to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show (which you can read about in an older post about my adventures in the square https://glassowater.wordpress.com/2008/08/03/im-a-rocky-horror-fan-or-lets-do-the-time-warp-again/ ). I had been dining there since the day they first opened their doors. Anytime I find myself in Harvard Square, you can usually find me there at some point. It all seemed so perfect. We were so alike. What could possibly go wrong?

I planned the day according to my previously established rules. Instead of meeting her outside the city, we decided to meet at the restaurant. This gave me a plausible excuse to disapear if I had to. We had spent 2 weeks chatting, so it was well established we had much in common. Our activity together was dinner at our mutual favorite restaurant of all time followed by Newbury Comics and other such window shopping activities, with a trip to Faneuil Hall planned for the latter part of the day if time allowed. I had planned the perfect OKCupid date. Right? Escapes routes, mutual interests, lots in common, what could go wrong?

I waited in the bar at the Border Cafe, watching the door. It was a cold and blustery February day in the city. Emily knew how to make an entrance: the door blew open and she swept into the room, a flurry of flying scarfs, her long coat billowing in the breeze. She took off her woolen hat to reveal platinum blonde hair streaked with purple. Scanning the room, she found me immediately and smiled. Not a forced smile, but a genuine giddy smile. And holy crap, she was so much cuter than her pictures suggested: big smile, beautiful eyes framed by librarian girl glasses. I was won over in seconds. She came running up to the bar and gave me a hug and smooched me on the cheek.

Wow, this was starting out well…..

We sat down for dinner. I immediately start talking about music. I figured this was a good place to start since we both loved music so much. I start mentioning all the bands I used to know, the people I hung out, the guys at TAANG! Records who used to have their office in the square, bringing up all the little connections I knew we had. She smiled and laughed as I talked about the old times. Finally, I asked how she met everyone from these bands, people I called friends back in the days of the old punk scene. Her response? “Oh So-and-So? I fucked him.” She then proceeded to recount, in rather colorful and descriptive language, all of her sexual conquests. “I sucked his dick, fucked that one, had a three way with them”… I quickly realized something: she wasn’t a friend of any of these people, she was a professional GROUPIE!!  Her list didn’t end with my friends, oh no. She started to recount, in graphic detail, every band she has gone back stage and serviced over the years. I was a little horrified. Is this really dinner conversation? Telling your date that you screwed, sucked and cornholed your way through all their friends? What would the future hold for such a coupling? Every time she said she was going to a concert, do you sit home with a portable STD testing kit so you can swab her and run some tests as soon as she gets home?

Once The Groupie got a foothold in the conversation, she never stopped talking. The rest of dinner sounded like this:

“Me me  me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me…. you? Me me me me me me, etc”

I could not get a word in edgewise. I felt battered into hanging out with her because there was never breathing room for me to object or to implement my escape plan. At one point, we were standing on a platform waiting for a train and as it approached, I seriously considered just leaping in front of it just to make her shut the fuck up! Finally, outside Faneuil Hall, I got a moment to myself, texted a friend to call me. We faked an emergency and said our goodbyes. She kissed me on the cheek, saying it was nice to meet me. I dashed off for the Goverment Center T station, but first I made a quick stop at CVS. Alcohol swabs were on sale that day…

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Dr. StrangeDate Part Three: Attack of the Dates From Hell! Act 1 – The First Date

When I started this adventure with online dating, I went in with hopes high. I expected to have fun and put aside any of my previous impressions, doubts or fears. I went into the experience with an open heart and an open mind. I truly believed that opening up myself completely to the experience would allow me to meet people I would normally never meet in my little life. To accomplish this, I adhered to one simple rule: say yes to everyone. Anyone who caught my attention, yes. Anyone who wrote me back, yes. Anyone who suggested a date, yes, yes, yes! I wasn’t going to deny myself any opportunity that may present itself. As it turns out, when it comes to online dating, perhaps a bit more selectivity was in order. Perhaps a bit more caution on my part could have saved me a lot of time and trouble. This was definitely not one of my smarter moves in life.

From the very first date, I had worries about my approach to this online dating world. After posting my profile, the first person to respond was a woman calling herself CoffeeGirl. Is it bad that I remember her handle and not her actual name? After only a few email interactions, she suddenly asked me to come spend the day with her in Boston. And by sudden, I mean after only two emails. “Let’s get together this sunday!” I have to admit, I kinda liked her style. She was approaching this dating thing in much the same way as me: dive in head first and get the ball rolling. No pussyfooting around with emails getting to know one another. Screw that! Let’s just go out and see what happens. I said yes to the date and we met up in South Boston after a big snow storm.

I had a bad feeling from early on that sunday. I called her asking for directions. “What the fuck? You don’t have a gps?” Sadly, I only had a phone with text capability. I had yet to graduate to the smart phone. “Oh, by the way….I shoveled out a spot for you to park in, so you better appreciate it!” I don’t know if you have ever been to South Boston, but there seems to be this big to-do about shoveled out parking spots. Aparantly, there is a neighborhood watch system to make sure nobody steals anyone’s shoveled out parking spots. And woe to the person who does. From my vague understanding of it all, I guess somehow, Whitey Bulger finds out and puts a hit out on your ass. Something like that.

I finally find my way to her house and that oh-so-coveted parking spot. She met me at the curb. I’m not one to judge someone on looks, so I usually try to look beyond that initial first impression. Not to mention that these modern websites almost require you to post a picture of yourself. What they should do is require you to take a picture right when you post your profile because, I’m sorry, she looked nothing like her picture. Straggly long straight hair, kinda blown back from her forehead, a weird puglike nose I hadn’t really noticed in her profile pics and an oddly shaped body that, at first, gave the impression that there were various large root vegetables fighting for space under her clothes. Her voice was gravelly and nasal all at the same time, an effect that I had hoped was just a bad phone connection before but now, hearing her speak in all her unfiltered glory, I realized that’s really how she sounds. “Hi George!!”

From her house, we caught the T (Boston’s Transit system) into Boston and literally wandered aimlessly. No plan, no goals, just wandered in the cold and snow. The only true goals we had were find lunch and then find dinner later on. She was perfectly happy to wander the city, as was I except for one thing: I was rapidly running out of conversation. Turns out, Coffeegirl wasn’t much for arts, music, politics and all the stuff I love. She loved sports. Sports and nothing but sports. Nothing turns me off faster than someone who is one dimensional and CG was quickly proving to have a one track mind. And as I ran out of conversation, I realized to my horror that I was trapped in the city with her. Even if I had made a run for it, for the life of me, I could not remember which T stop was hers. I was stuck. After grabbing some excellent sushi, the one high light of the day, she insisted we go to one of the bars near TD Garden to watch the Bruins and play pool.

Me…in a sports bar.

This woman really knew nothing about me. Nor did she care. Nor did she know what city she was in because it turns out, she was not a fan of the black and gold, no, no. She was a huge fan of the Flyers, the team the Bruins were set to square off with that evening. That’s right. I know you are probably way ahead of me but yes, she wanted to go to a Boston sports bar in the heart of the city and scream and cheer for the opposing team. As you can imagine, this went over spectacularly well with the locals in the bar. Not only did she scream at the tv, badmouth the Bruins loudly and basically make an obnoxious ass out of herself, but she cursed out many patrons of the bar. She even went so far as to call an entire pool table of people a bunch of Bruins loving pussies. When I noticed the the locals starting to circle us like wolves around a wounded deer, I suggested we head to another bar and thankfully she agreed but not before some parting insults to the Bruins fans in the room. I basically had to shove her out the door before the the crowd started lighting torches and took chase after us.

After watching the final minutes of the game in a bar many blocks away, I suggested we hop on the T and head back. She agreed. I felt this great sense of relief as the train pulled into our final stop. Turns out, if I had decided to run and hop on the T, all I had to do was wait for the final stop on that line and I was there. Oh hindsight….

We made it back to her house and as my car warmed up, we sat on the couch. The silence was deafening. I was scouring my brain, trying to find something to say, some way to end the night that didn’t give the impression that I had a miserable day. And really, a day in Boston, even with odd company, is still a good day in my opinion. We had seen a good chunk of the city, Boston Common, had some world-class sushi and window shopped on Newbury street. So despite the fact that we would never have anything beyond this date, it had really been a good day. And just as I was about to say all that, she kissed me. A big sloppy, bit drooly, kiss. Not much surprises me but I have to admit, that kiss was a huge surprise. Not just because I wasn’t expecting it, and really, let’s face facts here, I had no attraction to this woman at all. No, I was surprised because she was so bad at it. I would have thought that she would have one thing she would be good at, her special talent that she thought could save the day or the date, as the case may be. Sadly, no. I didn’t pull away or avoid the kiss, that’s just rude, darnit. But wow, what gave her the impression that this date had been a success? And who taught her that kissing with your teeth was a thing? What the hell? I’ve been known to bite a lip now and then, but she went for the full on bite like she was chomping into a good ear of corn. And ladies, pay attention to this little tip: it’s not attractive at all to make loud slurping noises during what should be a simple kiss and then drooling so much that I worried about back wash getting on my shirt. Just saying.

We said our good nights, promised to stay in touch (yeah, right) and I headed home. On the drive, alone with my music, I reflected on the day. There was certainly quite a bit to process but I boiled it down to this: Those 8 hours of my life taught me a few valuable lessons. First, get to know the person better before agreeing to a date with them. Second, have a plan, an activity, something neutral and fun you can both agree on and enjoy. And third, perhaps the most important lesson, ALWAYS have an escape plan. You never know when things may turn sour and you need to make a hasty exit. There is no shame in retreat, especially when your date is annoying the hell out of you or possibly endangering your life.

There were many dates after this first date, each with their own lessons, but this first one set the bar for my experience with online dating and sadly, what followed set that bar lower and lower. More to come in the next installment.

Dr. StrangeDate or How I learned to worry (really really worry) about online dating…

“Just do it!”  they said. “You’ll have fun!” they said.

There are times in your life when a plan, totally unencumbered by the thought process, has turned out to be one of the best decisions you have ever made. Many times in my life, I have said “fuck it!” and gone with the flow. I embrace that sense of freedom as much as possible since my work life leaves very few options for me. Lately, it’s been the little things, the small choices, that have been the best decisions. Go out for karaoke and laugh at the amazingly bad singing and maybe even sing a little badness myself? Or stay home and be bored, along with the tv and my cat. Small victories in my life like choosing to go out have made it all bearable. But in January of 2011, I embarked on something, it turns out, I should have thought a bit harder about: online dating.

I know so many people who have had success with the online dating world. My best friend from college met his wife through yahoo personals and that was after he had assured me such things never work! But despite his apprehension, he met the love of his life and they have been married almost 10 years now. Simply incredible. So why not me, right? I mean, you read about this every day and in theory, there is nothing really different about the “boy meets girl” idea that online dating brings to the table. You meet, date and perhaps find more. Simple right? As it turns out, nothing is ever that simple. Especially for me.

A quick re-cap: In december of 2010, I was dumped, via email. I was crushed and an emotional wreck. A perfect state of mind to be in to start dating again, right? Well, my friends thought so. In fact, as soon as I made it known that my heart had just been excised from my body and pounded into a fine pulpy mass, my friends were on me to get online. Harmony and Steph were the first to step up. “We didn’t like her anyway! Join OKCupid! It’s free and we have made a few friends through that site! What’s the worst that could happen? Just do it!! You’ll have fun!”

At first, I rejected the notion. My past experiences with the online dating scene ended badly. But that was almost 10 years ago. Surely things have changed…right?

So, reluctantly, I posted my first personals ad on OKCupid.

Selling yourself is a tricky notion. As a car salesman for the past 14 years, I’ve learned that nothing is more off-putting than someone who brags too much or is too aggressive or even worse, obviously saying what they need to say to get a sale. “Sure, I come with a leather interior and a kickin sound system, now what can I do to get you to buy this today?” The notion of the overly obvious and aggressive salesman has never been my thing. I prefer subtlety and humor, honesty and integrity over false promises and over the top salesmanship. I have never been one to oversell something that could easily be sold on its own merits.

So what were my merits? How do I start selling myself? Do I mention I love to cook, paint, work with bands, write this blog? Do I go into detail about how I’m a loyal friend, that I love easily and forgive unconditionally? My travels? The music that moves me? How the hell do you fit all this into a personal ad without boring someone to tears with what appears to be an essay!?? As it turns out, I shouldn’t have worried about it so much. In fact, in hindsight, I’m quite convinced I would have gotten the same results with half the effort.

To be continued…..

What happened to this year?

I wish I knew what to say. I wish I had some good excuse. I wish I had a good reason for why I haven’t been writing. Something juicy and spectacular that took me away from this blog and into my own little private version of heaven where everything was so wonderful, fantastic and amazing that such trivial earthly concerns like a blog had just fallen by the wayside. I want to be able to say that was true. But it’s not….

The truth is, well…the truth is depressing and boring and incredibly dull. I had my heart shattered. My dreams wrenched away from me. Any other good cliches? Feel free to chime in.

The truth is, I’ve felt lost for most of the year. Not sure what to do with all these feelings that were never going to get resolved. I couldn’t face reality, always believing I would somehow get another chance to prove myself, another chance…a fair chance…something. But in reality, she was long gone.
She convinced me there was a chance. I fell for it, over and over. Even though now she is far beyond my reach, she still made me think there was some sort of slim possibility. And even though I knew she was moving further and further away from me, I held onto that thread. I was a kite, buffeted by the wind, drifting higher and higher as the one who held the string shrank into the distance, not letting go…

I don’t believe there was any real malice on her part. I believe that she, like me, can’t let it all go. We were such great friends for three years of our lives. Saw each other through some interesting times. She had a lifechanging event that freed her to be herself and have the life she so richly deserved. And me, well, I fell head over heels in love. More deeply and passionately than I had ever had before. For the first time in my life, I was willing to change everything for her. I was willing to risk it all: career, life, family and friends. All of it was on the table and I was willing to move heaven and earth for her.

The problem is, I had blinders on. I never realized she wanted out. Long distances doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. Instead, the distance creates a void and, as my luck would have it, she found someone else. I don’t blame her for not telling me. I think she felt sorry for me.

So just after Christmas, I found out the truth.

I should have just walked away then. So many things I should have done… Instead, I held onto this hope. A stupid foolish hope of a hopeless (or hopeful, as the case may be) romantic. So began months of back and forth. We would talk off and on, she telling me she misses me and misses what we could have been. Meanwhile, she moved in with the new man, got engaged. No matter how much my heart was ground into dust, I kept going back for more. And it’s been the same all year: misses me, wishes she had given me a chance, but still moving forward with the new man.

And I know what you are thinking: “George, you are an idiot. Get out there and start dating.” I have tried. I even went so far as to try online dating and trust me, I will share those disastrous tales later. But, no matter how much nudging I did, no matter how much reality was presented to it, my heart wouldn’t budge. I was still in love.

I want to move on. I want to be an active participant in my own life instead of this weird holding pattern I find myself in. Like a kite, circling, spinning, drifting in the breeze and unsure of how to cut the string.

Recovering Nice Guy…

My friend Shawn Benoit wrote this piece and I just had to share. I’m not sure I could write this any better. Edit: Ok, Shawn admitted to not being the author, but still, quite good, if a little cynical.

“What Happened to All the Nice Guys?”

I see this question posted with some regularity in the personals section, so I thought I’d take a minute to explain things to the ladies out there that haven’t figured it out.

What happened to all the nice guys?

The answer is simple: you did.

See, if you think back, really hard, you might vaguely remember a Platonic guy pal who always seemed to want to spend time with you. He’d tag along with you when you went shopping, stop by your place for a movie when you were lonely but didn’t feel like going out, or even sit there and hold you while you sobbed and told him about how horribly the (other) guy that you were fucking treated you.

 At the time, you probably joked with your girlfriends about how he was a little puppy dog, always following you around, trying to do things to get you to pay attention to him. They probably teased you because they thought he had a crush on you. Given that his behavior was, admittedly, a little pathetic, you vehemently denied having any romantic feelings for him, and buttressed your position by claiming that you were “just friends.” Besides, he totally wasn’t your type. I mean, he was a little too short, or too bald, or too fat, or too poor, or didn’t know how to dress himself, or basically be or do any of the things that your tall, good-looking, fit, rich, stylish boyfriend at the time pulled off with such ease.

 Eventually, your Platonic buddy drifted away, as your relationship with the boyfriend got more serious and spending time with this other guy was, admittedly, a little weird, if you werent dating him. More time passed, and the boyfriend eventually cheated on you, or became boring, or you realized that the things that attracted you to him weren’t the kinds of things that make for a good, long-term relationship. So, now, you’re single again, and after having tried the bar scene for several months having only encountered players and douche bags, you wonder, “What happened to all the nice guys?”

Well, once again, you did.

You ignored the nice guy. You used him for emotional intimacy without reciprocating, in kind, with physical intimacy. You laughed at his consideration and resented his devotion. You valued the aloof boyfriend more than the attentive “just-a-” friend. Eventually, he took the hint and moved on with his life. He probably came to realize, one day, that women aren’t really attracted to guys who hold doors open; or make dinners just because; or buy you a Christmas gift that you mentioned, in passing, that you really wanted five months ago; or listen when you’re upset; or hold you when you cry. He came to realize that, if he wanted a woman like you, he’d have to act more like the boyfriend that you had. He probably cleaned up his look, started making some money, and generally acted like more of an asshole than he ever wanted to be.

 Fact is, now, he’s probably getting laid, and in a way, your ultimate rejection of him is to thank for that. And I’m sorry that it took the complete absence of “nice guys” in your life for you to realize that you missed them and wanted them. Most women will only have a handful of nice guys stumble into their lives, if that.

 So, if you’re looking for a nice guy, here’s what you do:

 1.) Build a time machine.

2.) Go back a few years and pull your head out of your ass.

3.) Take a look at what’s right in front of you and grab ahold of it.

 I suppose the other possibility is that you STILL don’t really want a nice guy, but you feel the social pressure to at least appear to have matured beyond your infantile taste in men. In which case, you might be in luck, because the nice guy you claim to want has, in reality, shed his nice guy mantle and is out there looking to unleash his cynicism and resentment onto someone just like you. If you were five years younger.

 So, please: either stop misrepresenting what you want, or own up to the fact that you’ve fucked yourself over. You’re getting older, after all. It’s time to excise the bullshit and deal with reality. You didn’t want a nice guy then, and he certainly doesn’t fucking want you, now.

Sincerely,

A Recovering Nice Guy

Moments of Joy and Other Sublime Silliness

adult-disguise

I have been feeling way too adult lately.

Deadlines. Meetings. Quotas. Bills. Taxes. Registration of my new car. Spring cleaning looming on the horizon.

It’s all been adding up to a whole heck of a lot of stress thats been bearing down on me for the last two weeks. I need a reason to be happy.  Surfing the blogs the other day, I came across the beautiful Miss Shepherds entry and felt a little inspiration. My mind started it’s own list of natural highs and moments that bring me joy.

1. Walking along the beach on a warm night, my toes sinking into the wet sand, the waves around my ankles.

2. Lying on the sand on a summer night, listening to the beat of the waves.

3. Making an elaborate meal for my friends when they are down.

4. Planning and cooking a huge meal for an event (Thanksgiving) and having it all come together perfectly.

5. Sinking into the couch on a cold day, wrapped in a warm blanket with a huge mug of coffee and a stack of dvd’s.

6.  Stealing a few minutes on my break to drive down to the beach and watch the waves for awhile and let my mind decompress a little from the stresses of the day.

7. Planning a road trip with my fellow ‘road warriors’ to see the bands we love.

8. Having a total geek moment and walk into a comic books store and talking all things X Men and Dark Knight and all things in between with fellow recovering geeky nerds like myself. Once in awhile, the nerd has to be let out!

9. Walking through the toy section at Walmart and seeing all the neat and highly detailed toys, secretly wishing I was a little kid again….

10. Picking up a book I haven’t read in a long time and falling into it’s pages like putting on an old sweater: comfy and warm.

11. Losing 8 hours of my life wrapped up in a video game. I realize some would see this as a waste, but sometimes getting lost in a little fantasy land is what my brain needs. And before you say “Go read a book”, I do read darnit and nothing compares to seeing your character run through that fantasyland and directing the action yourself. Don’t hate. 🙂

12. Having some song from the 80’s pop on the radio that I haven’t heard in a long time causing me to dance joyously. Melt With You and Rock Lobster are two songs that always make me giddy.

13. Having the lead singer dedicate her next song to me. I always get a little weak in the knees when that happens.

14. Being a dj and playing the music I love and actually having listeners. I truly miss this. When I was a dj at Keene State, I loved knowing people were listening.

15. Music Geek moment: going into a record store and ending up in a conversation with a total stranger about whether Trent Reznor sold out, or if the latest Ani Difranco album rocked or sucked or who was on tour and what shows we have been to, etc, etc, ad infinitum.

16. The smell of fresh brewed coffee.

17. The smell of my kitchen when I have been cooking up a storm.

18. The smile of a stranger who caught me glancing their way.

19. Playing with my camera and photographing the little things in my life.

20. Giving and recieving a hug when I least expect but when it was most needed.

21. When my rockstar friend tells me I’m one of her favorite photographers. I’m humbled that anyone would consider me a ‘photographer’, but for that to come from my friend who has been through professional photshoots for magazines and her own promotional work, I think I must have blushed three shades of red. Makes me want to take photography a little more seriously….

22. A moment of silence with friends. Not an uncomfrotable silence, but a sort of silent soldarity where there is nothing to say and we are content and comfortable with each others company and don’t have to fill each moment with talk.

23. Seeing a band for the first time, the thrill of hearing new music and a new voice.

24. The smell of laundry fresh from the dryer.

25. A clean house.

26. Getting in my car, loading up on music or books on cd, hot cup of coffee in hand, picking a direction and just going. No destination, no cares, no worries. Just me and the car driving as far away as possible.

27. The experience of a ‘destination’ restaurant. Picking a cuisine or restaurant from a review either online or on a Foodnetwork/Phantom Gourmet/Travel Channel reccomendation and going for their signature experience. I have a list a mile long of everything from greasy spoons to haute cuisine that I want to experience. Anyone up for a little road trip???

28. Sucking out a flush or a straight on the river and cleaning out my friends at the poker table when I was sure I had made a mistake by going all-in on Jack/Ace suited. Yup, I play way too much poker…..

29. Waking up to find my cat nuzzled into the crook of my arm.

30. Las Vegas! I loved that town when I visited in 1999 and been dying to go back ever since. I felt like a kid in a candystore there! A very adult candystore, but nonetheless….

31. Holding hands with someone for the first time, that fumbling of fingers and palms, finding how your hands fit together.

32. A first kiss, melting into each other for the first time.

33. The unspoken dialogue of eyes and movement, knowing someone so well that you know what they are thinking without ever speaking a word.

34. Hugs that linger and last too long, conveying more in that moment than words can capture.

35. WordPress Geek: Checking my stats and seeing what people are reading…I do this all the time. Makes me smile to see what people like.

36. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate.

37. Going to a wine tasting and being suprised by some obscure shiraz,  merlot or pinot noir that I had never heard of.

38. Catching up with an old friend and laughing about how much time has passed and how old we are getting.

39. Realizing how much your friends and family really care about you.

40. Successfully writing out 5 more moments of joy than Pam. (Couldn’t resist putting a little competitive spin on this)

The Only Thing I Read in the Local Paper (A Bit of a Rant)

The Portsmouth Herald is a friggin joke.

There, I said it and I’m not taking it back. Pardon me while I go on a rant here.

I don’t care how many ‘awards’ they win, their news coverage is atrocious. I like a good hard news lead in. Thats what captures my attention. A good solid headline to grab hold and make you want to buy it. I’m a big believer in the all but forgotten integrity of the printed word, the news reporters out there investigating real news, solid stories that grip your imagination and inform you not only on the big headline, but the minutiae of the story. I used to read the paper every day…but never the local paper.

The Portsmouth Herald has been a joke for years now. I can’t count how many times it has let me down. No lie and I’m definitely not making this up, their idea of news has verged on tabloid / Access Hollywood style. Lots of flash that quickly runs out of gas. Who cares if some consenting adults are having sex parties at their private residence? Did you really need to do an investigative report on them and name them on the cover of your newspaper? What kind of Puritan shaming was that? And on a day when we had major flooding in this state, your choice for a headline was a cat stuck in a tree?? Really? That was the hot button topic of the news room? And anytime anyone local does anything, you seem to think it’s front page news! On a day when the US reported the hugest job loss report in ages, your cover story was a human interest bio on a mentally challenged man who was finally getting his first job?

Sidenote: I have nothing against the mentally challenged individual, he’s actually a really great kid and everyone who lives here knows the guy, and yes, as a community, I’m sure we are all proud of his accomplishments. That aside, how is that a front page story when SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much more is going on in the world??? HOW???????

So on princicpal, I refuse to spend a dime on their paper. But what I will do is check out their web page. For such a total wreck of a newspaper, their website is quite well designed and thought out. The emphasis again is less on hard news and more on human interest, dining, local music, theater, arts and opinions and that I can handle because when I’m on the web, I can surf past the BS, find the stories and articles I want and not feel like I got ripped off for 75 cents.

One of my favorite articles caught my attention a few years ago and I have been a fan ever since. Single On The Seacoast is Heather Mackenzies view on the dating scene here in the lovely state of NH. Her opinions are witty and her attitude is quite jaded and thats probably why I love her writing. She always finds a way to sumarize everything thats wrong with dating, self image and attitudes and put a hopeful spin on it. I like that. Finding a small shimmering bit of hope at the bottom of the dating well. She gives me a little hope that maybe it’s not all as bad as I think. Maybe there is a way out of this dating hell I’ve been in for so long.

So despite all my protestations, despite my rant about the lack of “hard news” in the Portsmouth Herald and in spite of myself, I’m  going to a news website for the one thing I hate about the actual newspaper: FLUFF. Human interest, editorial, columnist FLUFF. And I love it. I go back each week for her latest article…..

Guess I’m getting soft in my old age…. 🙂

Here’s a link to her latest article:

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20090129-ENTERTAIN-901290321