Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween

Spent part of today wandering around and looking at the children dressed up in their Halloween costumes. They were, as always, absolutely adorable. It was also cute to see their parents joining in the fun by wearing costumes of their own.

Anyway, I hope you all had a great Halloween, that the ghosts and goblins didn't get you, and that you didn't eat too much candy.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Friday Night

Coming to the end of a long week. Usually, this is the time that I would reach out to the person I love and ask her to come out with me. Having dinner, talking about the day, laughing, holding hands, and sharing a few kisses and hugs, would go a long way towards putting the work week behind me and helping me focus on the things that are truly important. Later, I would hold her as we watched an old black and white movie on TV before falling asleep in each other's arms. Of course, there is nobody to do that with, so I'll have to improvise. I have some tentative plans for the night, but nothing that really excites me.

Oh, by the way, have a Happy Halloween!

Choose or Lose

Returning from lunch a little while ago, I noticed a street vendor advertising a "$5 Pashmina Blowout." I guess he has to sell his stock quickly make room on his table for the winter fashion line. He also made it a point to say that they were "real pashminas," subtly implying that the merchandise of pashmina vendor across the street - who was also selling them for $5 - was either imitation or inferior. He had a crowd at his table, and the other vendor had nobody, thus proving once again that the good advertising can be the critical difference between success and failure in the fashion industry.

Anyway, election day is just around the corner and the race is still very tight. One day Bush is winning, the next it's Kerry, and the next day it's too close to call. The only constant is that most people don't even know that Nader is running this time. Slate.com has a good article about called A Consumers Guide to Polls that explains the various polls and any bias they may have.

For what it's worth, here is how I see things shaping up. If the Democrats had a candidate that people could get really excited about, they would be running away with the election. They don't, so this election has come down to Bush vs. Not Bush, as opposed to Bush vs. Kerry. Consequently, I think the Democrats are going to have a hard time getting people out to vote, which doesn't bode well for Kerry. Bush supporters, on the other hand, fervently believe in their candidate and will do everything they can to ensure that his supporters get to the polls on Tuesday.

That's not to say that Bush doesn't have issues as well. His poll numbers are abysmal for an incumbent, and from what I've read, many of the undecided voters will make up their mind while they are actually in the voting booth. The latest news about the missing munitions in Iraq, along with the ongoing probe of the bidding process that awarded Halliburton the Iraq contracts are popping up at exactly the wrong time. Bush and his supporters are also in the troublesome position of defending the man who started a largely unpopular war, and who is heading up a relatively bad economy. More often than not, they point to his strength and willingness to stand by his decisions as evidence that he is, indeed, presidential material. Sure, but what if the decisions are wrong? For my money, they also seem to lean a little too heavily on patriotism as an excuse to re-elect the President. Disagreeing with the current administration - whether during a war or not - isn't unpatriotic. The freedom to do so is one of the cornerstones of our society. Besides, weren't the Republicans the ones who, a few years ago, spent billions of dollars trying to undermine Clinton? From what I recall, the argument at that time was that bringing the misdeeds of our leader to light was the most patriotic thing one could do. My how times have changed.

So what it comes down to is a choice between the lesser of two evils. So who am I voting for? I think I'll decide in the booth.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Office Space

What a day at work. Over the past few weeks, I've been able to concentrate again, so I'm making a lot of headway into the piles of work that engulf my desk. With any luck, by this time next week, I'll be able to get to my chair without using a shovel. In a little while, I'm off for some hard earned drinks. As you probably know, alcohol kills brain cells, and so tonight I am going to attempt to target the ones that hold some particularly painful memories. Before I can do that, there are the obligatory phone calls to return before I can enjoy myself. I have to admit that voice mail is one of my favorite inventions of all time. Don't want to talk to someone? Just wait until you know they aren't around and leave a voice mail. I think I've perfected that technique when it comes to the various employment agencies that contact me throughout the day. The key is to answer all of their questions in your response, and then ask them to leave any information that they have for you on your voice mail. Even better is the fact that I've convinced several that the only way to contact me is via e-mail. I wonder if I should begin to worry about the anti-social tendencies that I seem to be developing. Fortunately, I only use them on a small, yet persistent and annoying, sub-set of the people I have to deal with at work.

Right now, I'm just chillin in my office listening to music with the door closed. Before I got into HR, I didn't realize that there was so much paperwork to be done. I also didn't realize that this is the type of job that will make you hate people sometimes. I don't really mean that, of course, but there are some days in which people simply complain non-stop. Others try to use me as their therapist, and I have to cut those discussions off too quickly. It's not that I don't care....well, actually, it is.

I don't think I can do this job for more than another few months. Its just too draining. Besides, I'm taking stock of my life at the moment, and I think it's time to break away from the east coast and strike out for new and exciting places. I think I'd like to take a few months off and travel for a while. I don't imagine that I'll plan much of the trip - I almost never do - but I think I'll simply follow my heart and see where it leads me. I never got the opportunity to go away to college. I was too busy working two jobs and helping my parents out of debt while I went to school at night. By the time I got my associate's degree, I was in my mid-twenties. I got married shortly afterwards, not so much out of a deep and unabiding love for my ex-wife, but more because I wanted to help her out of an abusive relationship in which she was entangled, and to give her hope that she could have a good life. The marriage was a mistake, but it took me about eight years to realize that, and another two years to finally extract myself from her and my stepchildren.

That's all in the past now, though, and it's time for a new beginning. For the first time in my life, I'm excited about the things my future holds. I'm doing things I've always wanted to do, and I can already feel myself turning into the person I've always wanted to be. It's either that, or I'm going through an early mid-life crisis.

Okay, I'm off to the gym and to the bar. Or at least one of the two...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Airport Security

Every few weeks I take the shuttle from LaGuardia to DC for a visit to our office there. Like many others, I tend to cut it pretty close, and often have to hustle to get to the plane before they close the door. Last week, was one of those times. While I waited on the security line at Regan National, I watched as the man in front of me became increasingly agitated. The slower we moved, the more he sighed, fidgeted, and cursed under his breath. When his turn arrived, he hurled his shoes, jacket, and briefcase onto the belt to be scanned, and proceeded to walk through the metal detector. Something set off the detector, and so he was sent off to the side to be scanned with the wand. Of course, this only frustrated him more.

I went through security with no problem, grabbed my stuff, and got on the plane. A few minutes later - and just before they closed the door - the man who had been in front of me arrived on the plane. He was out of breath from running to the plane, and he was carrying his shoes, jacket, and briefcase in his hand. As he plopped into the seat across the aisle from me, he cursed airport security one last time, threw his belongings under the seat next to him, closed his eyes, and fell asleep for the majority of the trip. After an uneventful ride, we landed in NY. As we were taxiing to the gate, I heard him curse loudly. It turned out that he was putting on his shoes, and had just realized that he had grabbed the wrong pair at security.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Tuesday Thoughts

A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a friend about my blog. He asked why I post my thoughts publicly rather than just keeping a journal. I told him that I do both, but that the blog are my thoughts, scrubbed and modified for public consumption. After thinking for a moment, he replied that blogging seems kind of masturbatory to him. I'm not exactly sure what he meant, and I thought it best to change the subject pretty quickly. However, if he's right, does this make me an exhibitionist? Are the people that read this blog considered voyeurs?

Anyway, Halloween is just around the corner. A friend of mine considers this to be her favorite holiday, though I would put it second on my list behind Christmas. She makes it difficut to keep from getting caught up in her excitement - she's unbearably adorable even in ordinary times, and especially so when she is excited about something - and so I find myself giving her little Halloween gifts nearly every time I see her. Prior to meeting her, the only reason I looked forward to this holiday was to see the vampire movies that seem to spring up on every channel at this time of year. Ever since I was young, the thought of being Count Dracula has been kind of a turn-on for me. It must be something about having a woman completely in your control and filling her with passion and desire to be taken by you. Even now, I think that kissing a woman's neck is one of the sexiest things in the world. Mmmmmm..... Oh, sorry, I got lost there for a minute. It's okay. I'm back now. If you need me, I'll be standing under the ice-cold waterfall at the park trying to cool down.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Still Ill

Question of the Day
A disturbingly high number of people have asked me if I'm feeling ill today. I feel fine, so I'm not sure how to answer. The only thing that leaps to mind is "No. Unfortunately, this is how I look every day."

Random fashion tip for guys
There are certain times when it is not advisable to wear flat front pants.

Editor's Reply
Someone commented on an earlier blog entry and asked why I don't "hook up and have a baby with the woman I went shopping with this weekend." I responded in the comments section, but I feel obligated to reply in a more public forum to clear up any misconceptions that might arise in the minds of the approximately zero people who will read this.

First, we are just friends, and that's all either of us want to be.

Second, I don't want to have children for the sake of having children, I want to have them with someone I care about and want to spend my life with.

Third, and most importantly, I already know who that person is, and I am hopelessly in love with her. Even though times are tough right now, I have no desire to be with anyone other than her. However, she needs some time and space to work through some concerns she has, and prefers to spend her time either by herself or dong things with her friends. I spend most of the week trying to recapture her heart but rather than sit alone every weekend waiting for a call from her that won't come, I've been keeping myself occupied so that I don't think about her constantly.

I'd apprecaite it if you would refrain from commenting on how pathetic I am. Thanks. lol

Hike


This is where I'd rather be today. Tell me again. Why do I have to work for a living?

A Walk to Remember

I really need to start taking three day weekends as Monday mornings are even more painful than usual these days. When I was married, I liked to come to work. My weekends tended to be boring and full of disagreements and the office was refuge. After my ex-wife and I split, I volunteered to take care of my stepchildren. Sadly, this resulted in me being tied to the house each weekend, and it left me no time to enjoy myself and spend time with the people I truly wanted to be with. Since my ex-wife started taking care of her son again, I've found myself with a lot of free time, so over the past few weekends I've been keeping busy and enjoying the fact that for the first time in years I don't have to worry about being home to care for the kids. I'm still not doing the things I truly want to be doing, but at least it keeps me from sitting at home feeling sorry for myself, and wishing that I had been able to change things just a little more quickly.

Anyway, Friday night was spent relaxing and lounge hopping. Is that even the correct phrase? It doesn't sound laid back enough. I think it should be something more like "lounge tripping" or "lounging." Anyway, we started at the Kat Walk in midtown and steadily worked our way downtown making several stops along the way, including a cool place called Fuelray, before landing on the inviting velvet couches - and seeing some interesting things - in the back lounge of a place called the Fat Black Pussycat.

Otherwise, it was another fall weekend spend outdoors. . The weather was a little cold and damp, so we decided to forgo our climb and went hiking instead. It could not have been any more beautiful or tranquil. The fall colors were in full bloom, and the dried leaves crunched under our feet as we tramped through the trails. We met some nice people along the way, and shared part of the walk with them before we branched out on a more challenging part of the trail. The hike should have taken a few hours, but it took us a lot longer because we kept stopping to explore side trails, or to sit and talk and just enjoy the quiet and solitude of the woods. At the top of the hill, we sat with our legs dangling over the ledge as we ate lunch and admired the breathtaking panorama and the palette of colors spread before us.

Afterwards, we sat at a picnic bench to rest and talk for a while before the long ride home. During one of these conversations, we began to sketch out tentative plans to climb El Cap in Yosemite Park at some point next year. From what I hear, it's a grueling three to four day climb, and I'm not sure I'm anywhere near experienced enough to even think about attempting it. The fact that two climbers died in a freak snowstorm last week gives me even more cause for concern. That said, the thought of accomplishing a climb like that is appealing, and I'm going use it as motivation to practice climbing and to continue to get in shape. Between that climb and my plans to go to jump school and diving school in the spring, I'm beginning to wonder if I have some sort of death wish. More likely, this is just a function of me doing all of the things that I would have loved to do over the past ten years, but couldn't because I was busy taking care of my ex-wife and her children. I don't feel as if I have to make up for lost time, but I do want to enjoy the rest of my life and to see and do as much as possible. Its been a pretty rough few months, but thinking about being in the woods helps me to fight off the work-week stress. When I look at the pictures I took, I remember that anything that happens in the office isn't really important, and that sometimes getting away to take your mind off of things is the best form of therapy.

I also went furniture shopping this weekend. I'm moving to a new apartment in a few weeks, and I'm getting rid of all of my old furniture in an effort to completely close the book on my past. Because I don't trust my own taste - I often buy things only to wonder later what the hell I was thinking when I did - I took along a friend to offer advice and counsel and to provide a reality check against impulse purchases. She had her three year old niece in tow and seemingly every sales person who approached us felt obligated to comment on how cute "our daughter" was and to ask annoyingly intrusive questions about her before proceeding to bore us with stories about their children. More amusing was the fact that the male salespeople would ask about my "wife" or my "girlfriend" in an attempt to determine if we were together. When they found we were just friends, they would invariably spend the rest of the time talking to her and vainly trying to impress her by showing how good they were with her niece before giving her their business cards and thoughtfully writing their cell phone numbers on the back in case she had any questions for them. At least this left me alone to shop without worrying about them trying to force me to buy things I'm not sure I want.

It makes me incredibly sad to think about the fact that the odds are stacked squarely against me fathering any children. I love children and I always imagined that by this point in my life I would have two or three of my own. To fill the void, I like to spend time with my ever growing cadre of nieces and nephews. Because of this, I am pretty comfortable with kids. When people bring their children to work, they tend to gravitate towards my office and spend time in here playing with the toys I have, and telling me about themselves. Of course, you can't spend too much time with them as there is always work to be done (although I do tend to avoid a lot of it by IMing and Blogging every day) Besides, there is a fine line between being viewed as a nice guy who is good with children, and being the creepy guy who likes children just a little too much.

My little sister had a baby recently, which means that I'm the only member of my family who doesn't have children of his own. This leads to the inevitable question at every family gathering - "You are so good with children. When are you going to have some of your own?" I used to answer with "Don't be silly, men can't have babies," but now I simply reply "Looks like never." Fortunately, they tend to stop asking after they hear that.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Drawbacks of Fitness

I feel pretty good these days. I've lost the weight that was dragging me down a few months ago. My clothes fit better. I have more energy. I'm actually able to keep up with everyone when we go rock climbing, biking, and hiking. I'm able to work out longer and harder than before, and I can see my body starting to change for the better. In short, I feel about ten years younger than I did a few months ago. Of course, the down side is that I'm also about a hundred times hornier than I was before. Consequently, my "little friend" as I referred to him a few weeks ago, is like a newborn baby...up all night and constantly demanding to be fed. On the bright side, he's does function well as an alarm clock, beating me in the chest every morning and telling me to get my ass out of bed and do something that will take our minds off of sex. Jogging generally does the trick as it's tough to think of anything else when you are worried about passing out before you get back home. Sadly, its only a temporary fix. In fact, it's gotten so bad that the other day, I saw a dog in heat attach itself to someone's leg and start pumping frantically and I thought to myself, "you know, that's not such a bad idea."

According to the Kinsey Institute's FAQ, "54% of men think about sex every day or several times a day, 43% a few times per month or a few times per week, and 4% less than once a month." After reading this, my first question was "can you define several?," closely followed by "who the hell are the 4% that think about it less than once a month?" Those poor bastards. My best estimate is that I currently think about sex every eight seconds or so. This is clearly an issue, particularly at work. I'll be in the midst of a mind-numbing task, such as reviewing resumes, when my mind wanders off. Before you know it, I'll have scanned ten or twelve resumes and have no idea what I've read because I was busy fantasizing. It's a good thing I can close my office door as it isn't good practice for the HR manager to have an obvious bulge in his pants when someone comes in to discuss an issue.

The nights are the worst. My mind wanders off to a fantasy, and before I know it I can't think of anything else. I try to adjust myself to so as to gain a little comfort, but that only seems to exacerbate the problem. I turn on the TV, thinking that will take my mind off of things but, as is the case with late night/early morning TV, there is seemingly nothing on but soft-porn movies and Three's Company re-runs. (okay, perhaps I see these and find myself unable to change the channel, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.) I generally settle on Three's Company thinking it to be the safer option. Before long, however, I catch myself thinking, "Man, I could do some damage to Chrissy right now," or "I never noticed before, but Janet is looking pretty good in that tight sweater of hers." Geez, it gets so bad at times that I think "You know, I'd even try to tap Mrs. Roper if she were here right now."

Frustrated, I change the channel and land on an infomercial for the handy Orek Excel vacuum. Apparently, the suction is so great that it can pick up a bowling ball. Amazing! On a side note, did you know that there are a fair number of men each year who sustain penile injuries when using a vacuum cleaner in search of sexual excitement? Apparently, the injuries range from penile fracture to loss of the organ. Regardless, all I can think right now is "yeah, that's right. suck that bowling ball....mmmmmmm." You have no idea how long and torturous these nights are.

Earlier, I received a call from some friends of mine that are trying frantically to arrange a last- minute weekend trip to Miami. They've asked me to come along, saying that a weekend of relaxing on the beach and drinking all night is just what I need to reduce the stress I'm feeling. I fear it would only make things worse. I keep imagining having to keep running into the water in an attempt to hide my little friend's excitement from the world since he has a mind of his own these days and tends to pop up at inopportune times. It's like going through puberty again.

So why am I holding out? Well, first, I'm not a one-night stand kind of guy. Too many diseases and things out there to take a chance. Besides, there are some things in life that will always be worth waiting for, and I've found someone that's worth the wait for me....if the wait doesn't kill me first, that is.

Okay, I'm off to find a bucket of ice to dump down my pants.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Rejected

Yesterday, an applicant for a job here asked me to dinner. Now I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but as a general rule, it isn't considered good form to ask the HR Manager on a date as it tends to impact his view of your business judgment. I had to admire her nerve, though, even as I questioned her lack of taste.

With one notable exception, I'd always been fairly confident when it came to meeting women. There was only one woman who made me so nervous that it was difficult to speak with her. Even after I worked up the courage to ask her out - this after a week of running around like a teenager asking people to gauge her level of interest in me and making excuses to walk by her desk at every opportunity because I found her so beautiful that she left me weak at the knees - I was shocked when she said yes.

Normally, however, getting a date turned out to be a byproduct of casual conversation as opposed to an overt attempt to meet someone. The main challenge was always determining the level of interest of the woman with whom I was speaking. Was she just being polite and friendly, or was she really interested? Once the conversation was initiated, it was fairly easy to ask for a date. Even if she declined the invitation, I reasoned, the odds against seeing her again were astronomical given the number of people in NYC. Besides, being shot down often made for an amusing story. For example, one night I was on the LIRR riding home. There was one seat left, and it was next to an exceptionally attractive woman. I had recently become separated from the woman who is now my ex-wife, and hadn't asked anyone out for a while, but this seemed like the perfect opportunity. In general, between the clack of the wheels as they roll over the track, the loudspeaker announcements, the conversations that take place between friends, and the constant cell phone chatter, the train ride is fairly noisy. On this ride, however, it was eerily silent. I kept hoping that either the noise level would pick up or that the seats around us would empty so that I could talk to her out of earshot of others. Meanwhile, she stared out the window lost in her own thoughts. Time was running out as the train neared my station. I can't remember what I said, but I broke the ice with her and we wound up speaking for a few minutes before my stop. As I gathered my jacket and bag, I turned to ask her for her phone number. She spoke first, saying "Can I give you something?" I smiled and said, "Sure." She dug through her bag and I waited for her to hand me a business card or a piece of paper with her phone number. She looked me in the eye, smiled, and said "It's about Jesus" as she handed me an inspirational pamphlet. Never in the history of mankind has something designed to lift the spirits done so much to crush them instead.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Weekend in New England

Friday Night - Stuck in the office late working on the budget, I leave at about 7 p.m. I meet with some friends to watch the Yankee - Red Sox game only to find that it's been rained out. I'm not feeling all that well, and so this isn't all that disappointing as the cancellation will allow me to get home early and get some sleep in preparation for tomorrow's climb. Lots of drinks later, getting home early turns out to mean early Saturday morning, and I crawl into bed just before sunrise. There is just enough time to get 2-3 hours of sleep.

Saturday Morning - Turns out that - contrary to the advice I received last night - the alcohol didn't kill whatever virus I'm carrying. In fact, it only seems to have made it angrier. Then again, maybe it's just a hangover. I swear that my body actually creaks as I roll out of bed and prepare for the weekend. I get dressed, pack a bag, and head out. We drive up to Massachusetts for a climb. Just what I needed, a four hour car ride so that my body can be stiff in addition to weak. Why am I hanging out with people who are 10+ years younger than me? I just can't rebound like I used to. Several cups of coffee and a red bull later, I think I'm over-stimulated. The crash later should be interesting.

Saturday Afternoon - We hike through the mud and climb. The autumn leaves are past their peak up here, but the view is still spectacular from the top. We sit in quiet admiration for a while before we hike back down. Back at the base, the reason for the trip to MA is revealed. As a belated birthday present for me, we have tickets to see the New England Patriots play my Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon. I haven't been to a Seattle game in at least 20 years, so I'm excited as well as touched by the gesture.

Saturday Evening - The hotel has overbooked due to the Yanks - Red Sox series, so we are bounced to the Harvard Club where we are given rooms for the night. We dump our stuff and head out to Lansdowne Street to soak up the pre-game atmosphere. As the second inning begins, my friend disappears to use the restroom and comes back with tickets to the game that she obtained at near face value! Even better, it turns out the they aren't counterfeit. What a weekend this is turning out to be. We head into Fenway and to join the rest of Red Sox Nation (RSN) just as Boston mounts a furious - but ultimately futile - comeback. I feel like I'm watching a softball game as the Yanks rock every pitcher sent out to face them. Fenway is eerily silent in the late innings as the reality of being down 3 games to none sinks in. That said, I have to admit that Sox fans are much more good natured than Yanks fans about people rooting for the opposition. A few good natured taunts are directed at my friends they cheer for the Yanks, but mostly people are pretty nice.

Saturday Night - Back to Lansdowne for more drinks. Most are purchased by depressed Sox fans hoping that buying a drink for my friend will win her affection and allow them to take something good out of the night. Being the kind hearted person she is, she shares her good fortune with us, thus allowing us to drink for free - and further breaking the hearts of the men at the bar.

Sunday Morning - Awakened to the cries of "WAKE UP SLUG" as I am dragged out of bed and forced to work out. We begin with a jog, and I feel pretty good....for the first 100 yards or so. Then the familiar warning signs kick in. My legs feel like lead and my chest feels a little tight, but I keep going knowing that I've run through this successfully before. About two miles later, my friend stops, grabs my arm and asks if I am ok. I say I'm fine, but the worried look on her face tells me that I may not be doing as well as I think. Sure enough, a quick check of my pulse shows me at over 280 bpm, well above my peak heart rate, and I"m having trouble catching my breath. We wait until my heartbeat slows back to normal before heading to the gym. No sympathy shown there. Urged to make amends with my body for the abuse I've heaped on it all weekend, I lift more weights than I have in years. Its amazing that I can even lift my arms to type this morning.

Sunday Afternoon - Head over to Gillette stadium to tailgate before the game. Still nauseous from the workout - and excited about the upcoming game - I can barely eat. We head into the stadium where everyone in the immediate vicinity is informed that I'm a 'Hawks fan. This leads to quite a bit of abuse being heaped upon me as the Pats jump out to an early lead. Seattle storms back, and I can see the people around me watching to see if I'll taunt them the way they did me. Being outnumbered nearly 65,000 - 1 leads me to realize that discretion is, indeed, the better part of valor and so I keep my mouth shut. Good thing, too, as the Pats pull away in the end to win 30-20.

Sunday Evening - Back to NY. Stop for dinner and then stay to watch game four of the Yanks-Sox series. Yanks go up 2-0 early and 4-3 later and all you can hear is the cheers of Yankee fans. Question: Why do Yankee fans always refer to the team as "we"? If they are actually part of the team, shouldn't they be at the game? Tense moment and my phone rings. Who the hell could be calling now? Oh, just a text message. I quickly reply and get back to the game. The Sox pull even in the bottom of the 9th and win it in the 11th. By now, its after 1 a.m. and I need to begin the long journey home so that I can get up for work in the morning. Thank god for Starbucks...

Monday Morning - Sleepy, achy, and have a desk full of work. Big cup of Starbucks doesn't seem to be helping. Oh well, only four more days until the weekend....

15 Minutes

"I just need 15 minutes and I'll be ready to go again." zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz - lol

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Writer's Block

An acquaintance of mine read this blog the other day and sent me an e-mail suggesting that I convert some of my thoughts into longer essays and attempt have them published. I'd imagine that publishers are inundated with people who think they can write, but there is a huge difference between writing a blog, and writing to be published. Besides, if I am not disciplined enough to work a full day here - as evidenced by my ever growing list of blog entries - I'm certainly not disciplined enough to force myself to sit and write for a living. No doubt I'd be homeless within a month, begging for spare change so that I can buy time at an internet cafe to update my blog.

I tend to joke around a lot, too. About once a month someone says to me "You are pretty funny. You should try to be a comedian." I'm never quite sure if they are serious, or if they are just trying to get rid of me. But as is the case with writing, I recognize the difference between joking at work and standing on a stage entertaining audience of strangers. Besides, when you care about someone, you want to make them smile and laugh all of the time, so it's easy to be funny.

Oddly enough, the argument that most people make in an attempt to sway me to branch out is that I might become famous. The odds against that are enormous, but that isn't what holds me back. While the money that comes with fame would be nice, the reality is that I don't feel the need to be admired by a bunch of strangers. In fact, I'd settle for being liked by the people I already know - a feat more difficult than you might imagine.

Oh well, time to get back to preparing the 2005 budget. Budgeting is, after all, why I got into Human Resources in the first place. I also have a strange craving for chocolate milk. Geez, I hope I'm not pregnant.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Breaking the Rules

I'm having my typical work day today - chatting on IM and typing in my blog - when the Director of IT pops into my office unexpectedly to say hello. What the hell am I supposed to do now? I quickly close my chat windows, but much to my horror, they keep popping up as people continue our conversations. Not only that, but my laptop faces the window so he can see the screen in the reflection. In a panic, I strategically place my body between the laptop and the window, trying not to think about how awkward and uncomfortable I must look to him as I'm squeezed against my desk in the most unnatural position imaginable. I offer him a seat across the desk, but he wants to stand. While all of this is going on, I'm also in the midst of saving a blog entry as draft, and the damn thing keeps refreshing at 25% complete! To you and me, these are minor infractions that can easily be laughed off, but to an IT guy, it's equivalent to having the HR director walk into your office to find you feverishly conducting intercourse with a blow-up doll.

He reaches across my desk, and I think he's going to pull back the laptop screen. However, he stops just short and picks up one of my speakers. "These are really cool," he says, "do you think you can get me a pair like this?" So now I'm wondering if he is hinting at some sort of geek bribe like "Give me them to me, and I'll pretend this never happened." On the bright side, like a baby with a shiny object - or like a techie with technology - he's distracted. Thinking quickly, I capitalize on the moment by shutting down Trillian, closing the open chat windows, and minimizing Blogger just before he wanders around my desk to look out the window. I relax slightly and I breathe a sigh of relief at my narrow escape.

We talked for a few minutes about a work issue in his department. As he stood to walk out the door, he stopped, turned back to me and said "Don't worry about the IM and blog. I do the same thing sometimes." I smiled and admitted nothing as the sound of my career coming to a crashing halt reverberated in my head . Oh well, they had to catch on at some point.

Monday, October 11, 2004

And Now a Message From Our Sponsor

Throughout the year, I donate money to various charities. For a few reasons, I tend to give more to one particular charity than most - the American Cancer Society. First, a close friend of mine lost his mother to cancer about two years ago. Second, one of the sweetest women I've ever known is a breast cancer survivor - and it is in her name that I make my donations. The world is a far better place with her in it.

Once a year, though, I donate something more precious to me than money -- my time. As I sat collecting money for the charity this weekend, I couldn't help thinking that the world would be a much better place if everyone gave just one day a year to a cause that was important to them. Can you imagine how much collective good we could do? I mean, think about it. I spent just a few hours of my day helping out, and I still had time to go out to dinner and drinks with friends and see a great band that night, which left the entire day Sunday for rock climbing, hiking back down the mountain looking at the fall foliage (how beautiful is it this time of year?), and finding a new apartment (success!!).

Now I recognize that there are people who dedicate their lives to helping others, and I wouldn't dream of comparing my small effort to the things they do on a daily basis. All I'm saying is this. We constantly tell ourselves that there aren't enough hours in the day. We complain that time passes by too quickly. However, if we stop for a moment and think about how much time we spend watching TV, or going for drinks, or shopping for things we don't really need, or talking on the phone, we quickly realize that one day - even a few hours - isn't going to cause you to miss anything, and could make a world of difference in the life of another.

By the way, if you'd care to donate, you can do so at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/DON/don_0.asp.

Oh, NOW I Remember......

Thanks. I appreciate it - lol

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Politics of Ignorance

I'm not a political person by nature. That doesn't mean I don't try to stay informed. I read the paper every day, I watch the occaisional Sunday news forums...okay, okay, you caught me. I get all of my news from the Daily Show.

But seriously folks, as a general rule I stay out of the political debate. I have my opinions , but I don't feel the need to force them on others in an effort to sway them to share my views. Some of my friends are liberal, and some are conservative. From time to time I do enjoy asking controversial questions in front of people that I know have differing political views, and then stepping back to watch the fireworks. It's funny to see how people can argue Bush vs. Kerry with a passion that they can't seem to muster for anything else. You can't help thinking "I know you feel strongly about this topic, and I admire that more than you'll ever know, but your four year old son is drinking out of the toilet over there and you might want to take care of that before you launch into your spirited defense of the war in Iraq."

I say all of this because earlier today, I witnessed a group of completely ignorant people conducting a heated debate over the upcoming election. You can always tell the pseudo-intellectuals by the way they parrot the catch-phrases that they hear through the media. "HOW CAN YOU LIKE A FLIP-FLOPPER LIKE KERRY?" scream the conservatives despite the fact that when pressed, they can't name a single issue that Kerry has voted on, much less which position he took. "BUSH IS A FASCIST" shout the liberals, who probably couldn't define fascist if you gave them a dictionary and three chances to do so. What puzzles me more than anything is how so many people can remain undecided when the two candidates (yes, I know Nader is running - but he is about as relevant during his second run as Perot was during his) are so diametrically opposed on nearly every single issue. Consequently, "I'm undecided" has become synonymous with "I have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about and God help us all if I get near a voting booth this year."

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Autumn in New York

Manhattan seems to be the only place in the world in which you have nearly unlimited dining options, but still find yourself saying "there's nothing to eat around here." I was out to lunch with a friend this afternoon, and as we wandered around, we passed every option imaginable. Within one block there was Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Pan-Asian, American, Indian, French, Italian, Swedish, and Brazilian...and this list doesn't even include the myraid of fast food options like McD's, Wendy's, Burger King, Ranch 1, and Cosi. Despite the paralyzing list of options - or perhaps because of it - nothing grabbed our attention. There is always the old stand-by cobb salad, but I've eaten so many of them recently as part of my new fitness quest that I feel like Bugs Bunny.

About a block from my office building, there's a small park. It sits in a cut-out between two buildings, and it has a waterfall built along the back of an adjoining apartment building. (I sometimes wonder if the sound of running water relaxes or annoys the tenants. Then again, perhaps they've grown so accustomed to the noise that they don't even hear it any longer.) Anyway, we wound up walking over there. We each grabbed a glass of lemonade from the refreshment stand and we sat at a table near the waterfall. The smell of chlorine wafted through the air - something I'd imagine doesn't happen all that much at a real waterfall. Rather than talking, we just watched the water and became lost in our own thoughts. For the first time in the past two months, I felt at peace.

There is something to be said for spending time with a person with whom you truly feel comfortable. It's nice to be able to sit quietly without feeling alone, and know that the person you are with believes in you and likes you for who you are without making any demands on you. We wound up sitting there for nearly two hours before the sounds of construction on the building next door broke us from our reverie and reminded us that we should get back to our respective jobs. I walked my friend back to work and as we said goodbye, she gave me a quick, chaste hug, and told me that there is nothing wrong with me, and that I'm a very special person who deserves to be happy. I haven't spoken with her about any of my recent troubles, but she is the kind of friend that can sense when things aren't going well for me, and always seems to know exactly what to say to make things just a little better.

Autumn is a time of change. The leaves drop off of the trees, flowers wither and die, birds leave for warmer climes, and the days turn cooler. Some people find these changes, and the coming onset of winter, depressing, but today I felt a renewed sense of hope, with that came the feeling that the worst of the storms have passed. I don't know what the future holds for me, but I do know that no matter what it is, I'll be just fine.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Say Hello to My Little Friend

I'm curious to know how many men out there have named their penis. My guess is that there are a significant number, but that only their wives or girlfriends know what that name is. It's not something you'd announce at the gym, for example. "Wow, working out makes me horny. Little Fred was up and about the entire time!"

Until recently, mine didn't have a name. In fact, I hadn't given it any thought at all. To me, it would have been like naming any other appendage on my body. Do you name your hands or your feet? No. So why name your penis?

That said, I named him not too long ago at someone's request and I've noticed a change in my relationship with him since I've done so. First of all, we've grown closer and I worry about him as if her were a little person that I carry around in my pants. In addition, while he's always had a mind of his own, he tries to assert his independence a little more freely. For example, a few weeks ago, I watched a woman grabbing an extension cord in a store, and I could clearly hear him saying to me "That should be me in her hand! Look at the way she is stroking the cord." I turned away, embarrassed, and buttoned my suit jacket to hide his interest.

Lately, he's begging me to put out a personal ad for him. Not for me, mind you, just for him. He's also trying to convince me that I needn't worry about doing anything because he'll do the talking and thinking for both of us. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. What would the ad look like, though? So far, this is the best he's come up with. "Bald appendage seeks partner. Must like to have sex at least a few times a day. Rough is nice. Looking for someone who wants to be bad, and who needs to be taken hard and made to scream with pleasure." And that, my friends, is why I don't listen to him.

Anyway, he's my little friend and you'll need to treat him well. Understand?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

You Are Everything...

Have you ever known someone so special that you lose every thought in your head each time you look at them? Who can smile at you and make you feel as if you are floating on air? Who makes each moment with them precious, and each hour fly by in what seems like only seconds?

You may never see this blog, but if you do, you know who you are. I thank you for being a part of my life, and for the moments and memories that we've shared. You made the past two years more wonderful than I had any right to hope, and you showed me what it was like to love with abandon, and to open my heart to another. You are more wonderful than words can say - and "there is no word tender enough to be your name."