2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

 

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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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

2011 – Time to make the resolutions…..

Originally I posted this as a note on my Facebook page but I gotta start this blog somewhere, so here we go:

I’m hoping for some changes this year. I need to improve my health and think about the future. In the past, I’ve set up unrealistic goals for myself and restrict myself to unliveable ideals. This in turn sabotages my best intentions, rendering the concept of a resolution to a temporary condition at best. I find myself discouraged and falling into old patterns before the year is even 2 months old. So this year, I’m going easy on myself in a way. Going to concentrate on things that are good for my physical and mental health and work on baby steps and only give myself a couple huge goals. And even those are pretty tame. This is not to say I’m not going to challenge myself. But I think I need to do this in small steps to achieve any kind of success. Otherwise, I’m doomed to failure again and again. So here goes:

1. Eat healthier – Yeah, I know, an old stand by…but I think I can do this. I know how to cook and I know how to make yummy meals that are lo-cal and quite tasty. That said, I will not deny myself entriely. Denial leads to failure, failure leads to bingeing, bingeing leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to… oh wait, thats something else.

2. Do not ignore temptation – You heard me. I will not ignore some deliciousness that someone has made for me. In the past, when I have denied myself something, it always backfires and I end up on a binge.

3. I will bring food from home ever day to work – Not only will this save me money, but it will eliminate some of the temptations I run into at work (boss buys chinese/pizza/subs, burritos from Loco Coco’s Tacos).

4. I will not beat myself up if I forget to bring some lunch and I do go out and buy a buritto.

 

5. I will go to the gym 4-5 times a week – This one is admittedly hard but I have some compromises that will make this easy. The gym is not always Planet Fitness, it’s wherever I can find time and get some sort of work out. Whether it be a hike, a walk on the beach (or a run, more on that later) everything where my heart rate gets elevated will work towards this goal.

6. A suit – This is one of my big goals for the year. By late spring, I want to buy a suit, something I’ve always rented but never owned. I think by then, I could rock a little tailored menswear.

7. Warrior Dash – Ok this craziness was introduced to me by my good friend Pam Shepherd. It’s not a marathon or triathlon but it is just as insane. Check it out http://www.facebook.com/WarriorDash copy and past the link if it doesn’t work. This is some crazy silliness that sounds challenging and a lot of fun. I’m hoping to be in shape for this for one of their fall events. Or something similar.

8. Running – I hate running. It hurts, I always fall because I’m a little clumsy, but dammit, I’m going to incorporate this into my workout even if it kills me. Ok, maybe not, but I need to get myself up and outdoors more often and this is a perfect way to do it.

9. Pedometer – Keeping a pedometer on me will keep me honest with my day to day fitness.

10. Rely on my friends – Listen to them more often, especially when their opinions differ from mine. I could have saved myself a boatload of heart ache this past year…

11. Never quit – I need to reach these goals, and I think all of these steps are attainable, but I have to remind myself: Never Quit, never give in to my self doubt and have faith in myself and the love in my life from friends and family to get me through this and achieve these goals.

12. Be a little more sociable – Yeah, I know some people have been pestering me to go out more and my problem has been my bed is just way too comfortable on most nights. I am going to change that. You will see me more, but at the same time, hopefully less of me too. 🙂

13. Travel – Going to plan a few trips this year. Need to get ot beyond New England for a bit. Thinking California or Washington DC or maybe visit family in Indiana or Montana. Course, I could always get my passport and travel to Toronto to visit some friends there. So many choices.

14. Writing – Going to try to spend more time writing. I know it’s been a while and this is a hard routine to work into again, but writing a little something every day is a workable goal.

15. Painting – Yes, I’m going to do it. Going to actually start painting again. I’m all set up, new paints are ready.

So thats it. Those are my goals and resolutions. What do you think? Attainable?

Ah 2009, you will be missed….

Why hello! Fancy meeting you here. I know it’s been awhile. I have no excuses. I wasn’t sick, there were no major catastrophes either meteorological, financial, familial or sociological. Let’s just call it what it is: I’m a lazy ass.

Since June, I have been writing and keeping notes on life, but to be honest, I really haven’t sat down in front of the computer to bring those thoughts to a public forum because, well….I’m lazy. And even with some gentle prodding from other bloggers (Cas, Allison, Romi, Pam and Natalie, to name a few) I just couldn’t find the motivation. The computer screen had become another blank canvas for me.

Let me explain: In the spare room in my house, there sits a canvas. About one year ago, I set it up on the easle, broke out some paints, poured myself a huge cup of coffee, set up some music and I went in with every intention to start….something. Unfortunately, when I sat down in front of the canvas, I realized I had no idea where to begin. All I saw was white. No direction, no thought, no emotion. Just a blank field of white. I remember sitting there for several hours, listening to the music, sipping my coffee. Nothing changed. I got up, shut off the music, put away my paints, shut off the light and left. Every few days, I would wander in, stare at the canvas again. I don’t know if I was looking for divine inspiration but the motivation was eluding me. I couldn’t even get started. The canvas sat on the easle for 6 months before I finally gave up and put it away. And I think I did the same thing here.  I gave up.

This past year has been a wild roller coaster ride of emotions. I worked 2 jobs for awhile which nearly drove me insane. I travelled to Texas, fell in love and had my heart broken more than once. (That story is still on going and I definitely plan to write about that at another time…there may be a happy ending to that tale). 

2009 was a year of being caught in an emotional holding pattern. Afraid to move forward, refusing to go back and no chance for finding some firm ground to hold on to. I felt like my life was circling the airport, waiting for the word to land and finally find some peace.

I saw my best friends lose their jobs and I realized I was more worried for them than they are. They are happy and content with their lot in life. Found myself wondering: why wasn’t I? Could I be so centered and happy if life threw me a curveball like that? I can’t even be happy with my life as it is.

My mother’s health improved as mine kinda deteriorated a little. Nothing to worry about, but certain things in my life that I put on the back burner were becoming more and more of a problem. Stress from the two jobs, lack of sleep and a chaotic life had sent my blood pressure through the roof, resulting in some weight gain, lack of motivation, etc. Since losing the second job, my health and outlook has improved. I’m on a more positive path to wellness and health. By the way, I have stories to tell about that second job…..

It wasn’t a year of all doom and gloom, however. Amazing friends, loving family always make everything easier. I recconnected with scores of old friends from high school through Facebook. This strange phenomenom seems to be the norm for almost everyone. People reaching out across the internet to find each other once again. I love it. I love seeing what other people have done with their lives since the hellish days of Winnacunnet High School.

Music once again dominated my life with shows all over New England. Some I worked for the band, others I was there just to support the music. I fell in love with Pandora and LastFM, both introducing new music into my life while reminding me the of the joys of my musical past.

There was amazing food and food that should never be mentioned again! I’m looking at you, chicken fried bacon! The Texas State Fair may classify you as food and you may be delicious, but you are sooooooo wrong! Wrong on every level that is wrongness.

So many more things I could mention here, but I feel I have prattled on long enough. So without further ado, here is my official list of New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Find a healthy weight. (you’ll notice I carefully avoided the cliche of  “lose weight”)

2. Let my heart heal. Allow myself to finally just get over the hurt and find the happy again. Love has entered my life, crashing in, demanding and I want to explore this without the regrets and hurt of the past.

3. Yard sale!!!! Yes, I’m finally going to have a yard sale. I’m working on minimizing in my life (read: cutting out the unneccessary crap) and the first major hurdle will be to have an epic win of a yard sale. Need some books? Come talk to me, I’ll hook you up….

4. Take a real vacation. Ya know, one that involves real rest and peace…maybe camping on a lake someplace….

5. Spend more times with the crazy people I call friends and less time with the computer.

6. Paint. I bought a new set of watercolors, some good quality paper and a few new brushes. Now, just need to get my ass out there and do some real work. Watercolors are not my normal medium, but I figure trying something outside my comfort zone may motivate me more.

7. Finally commit to blog all the stories I have rolling around in my head and incomplete here in my drafts.

8. Finally read the manual for my new camera and figure out what it can really do rather than just winging it all the time… 🙂

9. Appreciate my mom more and remember to tell her I love her every day. It’s tough taking care of mom, this is not how I pictured my life to be, but she is my mom and my responsibility. Sometimes I feel burdened and sometimes I wish my life were different, but she needs me and this is what I have to do.

10. Find some peace and contentment, the kind we all dream about….

So Happy New Year everyone! Kiss 2009 goodbye and bring on 2010! I can’t wait…..

Delayed

I know I haven’t been writing. I have alot on my mind. There are things I need to get off my chest and events in my little life that I need to write about. Amazing people, road trips, beautiful music and incredible friends, all have permeated my life for the past few weeks. Been having such a good time that I completely forgot about this site.

But soon, soon I will sit down and commit thought to keyboard and share some of the things rolling around in my tiny little mind. Right now, I’m full of the wonder and awe that the people in my life have graced me with. The love I have felt over the last few weeks from the people that matter to me has been overwhelming.

The delay is over. The thoughts are organized, the photos have been transferred to the computer. Now all I need to do is type…. soon.