Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A View of a Dust Up

This is going to be a quick post folks. I'm taking a bit of a vacation from the blog until the beginning of June. I'm taking down some old wallpaper that's hermetically sealed to my old ass plaster walls (it's on so tough, I have to take it down with a sander), and re-painting my dining room.

Here's something you won't learn watching the DIY Channel: If you hold that paper tiger long enough or inhale enough decades old flocked, gold foil wallpaper dust, you'll start babbling like the guy in this clip:

Do it yourself is great, but paying someone to do your dirty work is even greater. More later after the work is done and oh yeah, GO WINGS!

Labels: , , ,

Friday, May 15, 2009

A View of "...and nothing but the truth"

I invite you to check out "Rhymes With Orange" - a very funny and insightful strip by Hilary Price.
This comic and my adventures in online dating reminded me of those MadTV "Lowered Expectations" skits.
Click on the picture for one of the funnier clips.
A couple of posts back, I wrote about a buncha rules. Part of the post was about my attempts to get back into the dating scene. I included a portion of my online dating profile, which listed a sense of honesty as one my ideal man's must haves. My friend Blogs Browser, who always has some good insight, commented how that might be a turnoff for a potential date. "That thing of honesty is just a killer," he wrote. "It should not be in the profile. It should be presumed and so on."

It made me rethink my position. In many ways, he's right. A person should not have to say to another, "If you're going to be my friend, you have to be honest with me." That should be a behavioral given - something learned back in kindergarten right?

Not necessarily, and here's an example. In that post, I mentioned how one of my dates was with a guy who, as it turned out, was looking for recruits for a direct selling outfit to which he belonged. We met through an online dating site. His post mentioned nothing about recruiting. In fact, his post read a lot like mine. He was the pursuer, sending me a wink and a note first. In fact, I didn't see his profile until he sent me the note. We e-mailed each other several times for a couple of days, then decided to give each other a call. We talked several times for the remainder of that week. During our first conversation, he told me about the work he did with direct sales and gave a very brief sales pitch. I told him I wasn't interested and had no desire to sell. He said he understood and that it wouldn't come up again. On a later call, he asked if we could meet in person that weekend because I sounded like someone he wanted to get to know better. We met at a restaurant that Sunday evening.
We laughed, we talked, we flirted. It seemed like things were going fine until the sales pitch came up again. Again, I told him thanks but no thanks. Between my job, my volunteer work (both of which have non-solicitation policies), and my absolute aversion to selling, I just wasn't interested. Besides, if I ever wanted to go into independent business, I would work with my cousins who have a catering business rather than go to work for someone else. If I were go out completely on my own, I said, I would pursue my dream of writing. Direct selling was not the path for me, I told him. Ever.
Then came the million dollar jackpot question: I asked him point blank if that was a deal breaker. "Is the only reason you're seeing me tonight is to recruit me?"
No, he said. I think you're an attractive woman, he said. I want to get to know you better, he said. The topic didn't come up again for the rest of the night. We ended up spending about two hours at the restaurant, laughing, talking, flirting. The evening even ended with a kiss goodnight that he initiated, and a call to make sure I made it home okay.
He then asked me to meet him the following Tuesday. Sure enough, it was a recruitment meeting for his group. Keeping an open mind, I sat, listened, took notes, and watched the crowd through the entire meeting - about 90 minutes. When the meeting closed, I left.
"I thought this topic was closed," I said. "I'm still not interested. I will never be interested. This is not something I want to do, but I respect your passion for your work." I asked again if recruiting was the only reason he asked me out. I knew the answer at this point, but I was interested in hearing what he had to say.
No, he said. I think you're an attractive woman, he said. I want to get to know you better, he said. I thought you might change your mind once you saw this opportunity in person, he said. The evening ended with laughing, talking, flirting, but no kiss goodnight and a request for me to call him to let him know I made it home. Which I did and he kept very short.
Then I noticed that the frequent calls from my suitor changed to occasional text messages and maybe a call once or twice in a week. This was fine by me. The writing on the wall from this guy had said "she's a sales prospect" more than it ever said "she's dating potential." I also noticed the tone of the calls & texts went from "let's get to know each other" right into "how about a booty call" territory.
So I called his bluff. A couple of days ago, he sent a text that pretty much requested a one night stand. I texted back, "Okay. Name the day, name the date. I'm free when you are." His response?
"Ooh! I'm tellin' yo mama!" Just the answer you'd expect from a 40-something year-old man who asks for a no strings attached hook-up and gets "let's do it" as a response.
In my online profile, I say that I'm not looking for Prince Charming to sweep me off my feet, nor am I looking to marry. I'm just looking to date. A lot of time, both mine and his could've been saved if he'd just cut to the chase from the beginning. How hard is it to say this from jump:
"Look. I saw your profile online and was attracted. I'm looking for a no-strings attached arrangement. When we can hook-up, we can hook-up. If something else develops from this, cool. If not, cool. And, by the way, I have a great direct sales opportunity that I'd like to bring you into. Would you be interested in one or the other - preferably both?"
It's not hard to ask for what you want, especially if you're willing to accept that you can't always get what you want. Had this guy been up front from jump, he would've learned that I would've been okay with the occasional hook-up and not interested in the direct selling. If one had been contingent upon the other, then we'd be right where we are now - moving on and not hooking up.
That's an example of why my profile says a guy has to have a sense of honesty. It would be nice if one could presume it was there, but it's not always there. I suppose I could say "no games," but it's much more direct to say have a sense of honesty.
Plus saying "have a sense of honesty" is being, well, honest.
More later, and you can believe that. I wouldn't tell a lie. Especially on this point: Thanks for making me think, Blogs Browser. Your feedback keeps me thinking and on my toes.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A View of Maintaining A Healthy Level of Insanity

This "Pearls Before Swine" strip is apropos of nothing. I just think it's hilarious.

This is an internet classic, but I have to post this because this blog has been so damn serious lately.

How to Maintain a Healthy Level of Insanity

1. At lunchtime, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.

2. Page yourself over the intercom in your office. Don't disguise your voice.

3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask, "Do you want fries with that?"

4. Put decaf in the coffeemaker for three weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.

5. In the "Memo" field of all your checks write, "For Marijuana."

6. Skip down a busy hallway rather than walk and see how many looks you get.

7. Order a diet water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

8. Specify that your drive-through order is to go.

9. Sing along at the opera.

10. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you have a headache.

11. When your money comes out of the ATM, jump up and down and scream, "I Won! I Won!"

12. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot yelling, "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! THEY'RE LOOSE!"

13. Tell your children over dinner, "Due to the economy, we're going to have to let one of you go."

14. At the pharmacy, pick up a box of condoms and ask the clerk where the fitting room is.

More later, because they're coming to take me away.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A View of a Buncha Rules

Check out "Watch Your Head," drawn by Cory Thomas - it's one of my favorites.
Click on the comic for an intro to the cast of characters.

I've been trying to date again. Emphasis on trying. So far, it's been a bit of a comedy of errors. One guy seemed like he was into me, but it turned out that he was trying recruit me into some direct selling scheme. Another guy, with whom I connected through an online dating site, was great on e-mail and downright creepy over the phone. I've got profiles up on two online dating sites. Many have looked at it, but few have replied.

Perhaps it's because I have some ground rules. In my profile, I say a potential match should have a kind heart, a good sense of humor, an open mind, be intelligent, not be an ESPN junkie, and most important of all have a strong sense of honest. When I choose my ideal date's attributes, I say that the man should not smoke, not be in a current relationship or be "separated" (either you're married or you're not), and that I'm currently looking to date - not remarry. I didn't think I was asking for too much, but it seems I'm one of those females with a buncha rules.

I'm not happy with my dating life right now, but I'm not going to change what I want just to get a man. What will be will be. Until I meet the right person, I have my work, my family, my pets, and my volunteering - more than enough to keep me occupied and fulfilled.

Still, every once in a while when I'm home alone, I wonder about the rules I've set for myself, and the ones we set for ourselves. I wonder about the rules we set for relationships, for sexuality, for roles women and men play in our society. Take for example the rule that women need to preserve their sexuality, or that young women in particular should preserve their virginity lest they be labeled promiscuous or "slutty." I never understood the line of thinking that encourages males to have many partners and explore their sexuality because "boys will be boys," but castigates women if they do the same thing. Is the mindset that "good girls don't" healthy? And if "good girls don't," then why do we make sexual promiscuity so glamorous? Think about the images our celebrities - especially female celebrities - project. Look at a Beyonce or Ciara video, watch a show like "Dollhouse" (where a woman's memory is wiped so she can be made into "anything you want her to be"), thumb through any magazine and look at the advertisements. The conflict between being a "good girl" and being sexual (which is the equivalent of attractive in these ads) is a constant tug of war.

Jessica Valenti explores this dissonance in her book, "The Purity Myth." Valenti, founder and executive director of and author of "Full Frontal Feminism," believes that we are too harsh on women who are sexual and challenges the "lie of virginity." In the introduction of her book, she states that "(i)t's time to teach our daughters that their ability to be good people depends on being good people, not whether they're sexually active." She explores the current trend of purity balls (did you know that some of them are federally funded?), the pros and cons of abstinence only education, and how the sexual double standard is harming our young women.

I also thought about whether I'm being picky as a knee jerk reaction to the way my marriage ended. One night, I remember thinking that perhaps my ex cheated because I may have asked for it. Was I too rigid? Not good enough in bed? Too controlling? Not controlling enough? I fell asleep before I could let that line of self-doubt and self-pity run out of control. Still, if I'm feeling lonely enough, the question does creep into the back of my mind: Does a woman ever deserve to be cheated on?

Fortunately, there's a bigger and more sensible voice in the back of my head that answers that question with a confident and loud, "FUCK NO!" It is, however, a question that's come to the forefront lately because of the tempest in a teapot that is what I like to call "Jon & Kate Plus 8 Gate." Long story short: Boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy and girl have kids, girl wants more, boy goes along, boy and girl have a litter, boy and girl exploit their brood via reality TV, girl turns into diva, boy slinks out in the middle of the night with younger girl.

There's a lot more to this story than the snarky thumbnail I've written, but this is the gist of the story. The ugly part of this story is not the allegations of infidelity (though, if true, is pretty ugly), but the scuttlebutt out on the blogosphere that Kate Gosselin deserved to be cheated on by her husband Jon because of the way she treated him on camera. The idea that a spouse or partner deserves or earns mistreatment because of one's behavior is reprehensible to me. If there's a problem in a relationship, then you talk it out. Go to counseling. Try to find the root cause of the problem and work it out. Or leave the relationship - no matter how painful that initial breakup may be. Seeking comfort outside of the relationship, establishing another relationship on the side, well that's just cowardly. Kids runaway and hide from problems. Grown-ups deal with them and work them out. I can understand the temptation to say that, if someone is not being kind or respectful to his or her partner, they deserve the hurt that infidelity brings. Two wrongs, however, don't make a right. Bad behavior needs to be identified and corrected on all sides.

I do hope Jon and Kate are able to work out their problems, especially for the sake of their children. I also hope they work on this off camera and in private. I hope that, if Jon is having an affair, he makes a choice - either end it and return to his family, or choose the other woman and be as amicable as possible during the divorce. I also hope that Kate learns to work on whatever issues she may have to improve herself and her relationship. I say may have because most of what the public sees is on a highly edited "reality" TV show produced for maximum impact, ratings and entertainment value. The only people who know what is really happening are Jon, Kate, and the other woman. If they do divorce, I hope Kate will be as amicable as possible during the process. Their children deserve a domestic situation with as much mutual respect, love and maturity between the adults as possible to ensure their mental health and emotional stability.

Man that's a buncha rules, isn't it? More later, after I try to set up another online date for myself.

Labels: ,

Monday, May 04, 2009

A View of a Foul

Gone, but not forgotten. "Citizen Dog" is now defunct, but you can find repeats at
In high school, one of my classmates was a basketball player who went on to be a moderately successful NBA player and local celebrity after he retired. Everyone knew him in our school because he was being courted by all sorts of scouts and schools. He was a basketball star. He had the potential to be a good student, but opted to be as dumb as a post up. Still, he got a pass from a lot of teachers because he was a basketball star. He constantly got in trouble, but he got a pass because he was a basketball star. He got a complete free ride to a major university, where again got into all sorts of trouble (both legal and academic), but got pass after pass because he was a basketball star. As a pro, he got into legal trouble several times but never really got into serious trouble because he was famous. He's had a couple of successful businesses here in the city, but has lost one or two because of money troubles. He's got health issues now, some of which can probably be linked to a history of drinking problems.
Another classmate of mine was also a basketball star. I know he went on to a successful collegiate basketball career, but I don't know if he became a pro player. He attended my high school because it had a strong basketball program - and the school accepted him because he was an exceptional young player perfect for a school looking to defend it's state title. He constantly got into trouble because he was a Jehovah's Witness - my school at the time was a Catholic school - and he got into fierce arguments with our Intro to Religion teacher over the subject matter. Intro to Religion was a requirement for all freshmen, but the school decided to waive it for him after about a month of constant "class disrupting" debate. The school described it as "a recognition of freedom of religion," but many of us knew he would've been expelled had he not been a strong basketball player.
I've thought about these two men after reading stories about troubled high school student athletes.
The first was a story about John Wall, an 18 year old student and "one of the nation's top uncommitted college (basketball) prospects" facing a misdemeanor charge of breaking and entering an unoccupied home in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mr. Wall, a student at Word of God Christian Academy, was being pursued by a number of colleges, like Duke, UNC, and Memphis because of his athletic ability. While the charges may be problematic, some scouts believe this will not have a negative impact on his basketball career. The school declined to comment on his arrest or the charges against him, asking reporters to "speak with his mother."
The second story was about Jeremy Tyler, a junior from San Diego who recently announced he plans to leave high school, skipping his senior year, to play professionally in Europe. He plans to return to the U.S. in time for the 2011 N.B.A. Draft. He hasn't signed with a team yet, but several teams are interested. He's the first student to skip high school to play professionally overseas, but he's not the first prep to pro player. That path was forged by players like Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard. The N.B.A. passed a rule back in 2006 that established a minimum age for drafting players. It essentially makes a player attend one year of college before being eligible to play in the pros. Mr. Tyler has decided to go his own way and find away around the rule - seemingly with the blessing of his family.
The third story was about Renardo Sidney, a basketball All-American from Los Angeles, who had announced his decision to attend the University of Southern California (USC), only to end up signing with Mississippi State after USC rescinded its scholarship offer. Why? The school believed that the family was playing games with their money. The family, according to reports, "...moved multiple times and resided in upscale homes during Sidney's high school years; and steffather Renardo Sr. directed a club basketball team with financial backing that was unclear beyond a relatively modest shoe company sponsorship." Another source in the report said university officials felt the stepdad was expecting some form of compensation for his son to sign with the school. When asked to comment, the parents declined. Their lawyer spoke for them instead.
These stories bother me a great deal. Why would a young man with a promising future risk damaging his potential career by committing a crime? Why would a family willingly encourage a child to end his education? What kind of parent would use his child for his own financial gain? Or allow someone to use her child for personal financial gain? Why are we so willing to neglect the development of our children's character and integrity in the name of sport? Why do we not encourage the all around development of student athletes? Must the choice be academics or athleticism? Why can't it be both? How come our culture doesn't see the decisions made to promote sport over intellect in these young men, and the impacts of these decisions, as detrimental to their development? How come the families don't see this? Why are the adults in these situations not looking out for the best interests of these children?
I don't know much about basketball, but I do know a foul when I see one. More later, after a brief time out.

Labels: , ,