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Monday, September 30, 2002

Date update

Well, the lady in question for Saturday sushi had to postpone, as she's come down with some sort of virulent stomach bug, but she wants very much to reschedule, so I'm going to give her another chance.

I spoke on the phone with The Woman Behind Door Number Two for the first time last night, but I think we both were in a "yay, work tomorrow" frame of mind, so it wound up being a two-way job interview for the first few minutes until I got her to laugh a bit. We're meeting for coffee this Tuesday evening.

I also, out of the blue, received a response from my venerable Match.com profile Friday afternoon; Woman Number Three and I met for coffee yesterday evening, and had a nice little chat; we'll be meeting for dinner this coming Saturday (October 5th), and perhaps a jaunt by the Virginia State Fair.

...No, Bre'r Fox, don't throw me into that there Briar Patch! Anything but the Briar Patch...

%-)

-Rich

Friday, September 27, 2002

Cool Article

Sex, IQ & ET: How We Got Big Brains

Heh. Makes a smarter-than-the-average-bear guy feel pretty good about himself. :-)

Just for fun, here's another link: A Girl's Guide to Geek Guys

-Rich

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Pouring

It's fitting that today's a rainy one in Richmond.

I knew this would happen. No sooner do I get a date made for this Saturday than a dating service (non-online) that I joined a year or so ago - and that's been dormant and not referring anyone to me for months, by the way - sends me a letter about my new referral.

Literally the next day they send this to me. I'm looking for surveillance cameras. Someone in that tasteful salmon-and-ecru office is giggling at me right now. Hmph.

I dread these situations - much as it can feel muy macho to date two women at once, I stink on ice at it. I'll do intelligent things like forget which parts of my life story I've told whom (and mix up who told me what parts of theirs; "You mean you didn't get fired last week? Whoops, who else could I have been thinking of?"), and probably end up double-booking them through a brain-glitch some evening because I'm so happy to have females speaking to me at all.

Dammit. This always seems to happen, too. It's the third time in a year and a half - the minute I get some self-confidence women just converge on me, and then I wind up bobbling everything I've got in the air and ticking everyone off.

OK, people, help save yourselves from another year of me wailing, "wah, wah, I'm no good with women, I'm gonna die lonely and never have sex again."

What do y'all consider the right (and correct in terms of etiquette) course of action?
  • tell my new referral (who's probably been waiting just as long for her envelope) in some tactful way that boy, the timing's bad, but I just met someone and I prefer not to multitask; sure, I'll pay for your blown referral, but can I call you sometime if this one doesn't work out?
  • suck it up, rejoice in my newfound luck and magnetism and have a blast; also see what's "in" in Kevlar this season and invest in a security system
  • never call either of them, grab a stogie, a shot glass and a bottle of Wild Turkey, and thank my lucky stars I woke up before allowing women into my life again
  • move to Utah with both of them and try to find a county where they don't keep their law-enforcement too up to date
-Rich

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Cooling Down, At Last

I love this time of year, when the summer finally begins to leave, regular daytime temperatures get into the 70s, and chilly breezes with that leafy smell start up again. Ah, Fall.

I ask myself (the quintessential polar bear) several times a summer why I stay in hot, sticky Richmond year after year. Inertia is my best answer, followed closely by an appreciation for the history, sane traffic and slower pace that Richmond offers, but those reasons are all fading as I contemplate the world at large and rediscover what it's like to go an entire day without feeling hot and sweaty even once.

In particular I miss the ocean: hearing it, smelling it, feeling the crash and suction of surf around my feet. It's not like I can't drive for a few hours and hear Virginia waves, but despite not having grown up around water, my past visits have been on my mind. Not "beaching it" with suntan lotion and towel (that heat thing - still good, but not optimal), but walking in windbreaker and rolled-up jeans through cold surf and a stiff wind, with thunderclouds rolling in and a storm brewing... The majesty and caprice of nature, right there for tea. It messes with my head, and I love it.

...I remember in particular a Spring Break, and a house in what I think was Nags Head; it was a college thing, and as such there was all sorts of personal drama, but the image I've retained best is the beautiful panorama of an overcast, windy day when swimming was a horrible idea, and I took a long walk alone. Didn't have to speak for hours, and it was just me, the irritable ocean, and a screaming gull or two, flying nearly stationary and nearly inaudible in the wind. It was the totality of solitude, loneliness, potential, and a life barely begun; I came back with salt in my collegiate beard, jeans soaked to mid-thigh from the spray, numbness outside and fire inside, and a peacefulness of self that, I think, changed me for the duration. There was life before that, and life after that.

Anyway, that means I should probably head for the Massachusetts coast, but geez, they're all such socialists up there... ;-) Maybe the Maine, Oregon or Washington coasts, or even southern Alaska...

-Rich

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Update

Looks like we're on for Saturday for raw fish; phone numbers have been exchanged, and I plan to annoy her tomorrow evening. :-)

Crap. I need a haircut. And a car wash. :-)

-Rich

So anyway, I met this woman online...

And she and I are trying to make arrangements to meet for coffee and/or sushi later this week. E-mail is a clumsy, inefficient way to do these things. :-\ Nevertheless, we persevere.

I'm sure Acidman will have some choice words based on the whole 'online' thing (reference), but the good news is that unless she's been lying her posterior off from Day One (always a possibility, I admit, given the nature of the Internet) she seems to have her stuff together. She leads with "faith" and "morals" on her profile, which is why someone who's evidently quite the catch might not have been deluged off the dating-site scene yet. Seems like good long-term potential there, and she and I like many of the same authors and movies so far, so here's hoping.

-Rich

Monday, September 23, 2002

PromoGuy's Monday Mission 2.38

1. Do you like to drink warm beverages in the morning or do you prefer yours cold? Cold. Ice cold. Diet Mountain Dew with a Diet Coke chaser.

2. Have you ever been so upset with someone that you wanted to get revenge? What did you do? Or if you didn't, what would you like to have done? Nope. I try to blow my anger off quickly; that resentment stuff eats your soul.

3. Looking back, are there any opportunities you missed out on that you can see now but didn't realize then? Yep - almost too many to count (my general state of residence is cluelessness), but if I had it all to do over again, there's a certain woman I might have tried harder with, and one I should have done less with, both in college. It's not as if there's a cast of thousands there, either, so college pals will probably be able to figure it out.

4. Are there any clothes you refuse to throw away even though they don't (and never will) fit? Why do you keep them? Yup, I've shrunk out of a few pair of pants in recent months, and I'm definitely keeping them as a signpost of where I plan never to go again.

5. Do you have an accent? Are there any phrases or words you say that tip folks that "you aren't from around these parts?" Ah don't thank ah dew, but ah dew ketch maself sayin' "y'all" from tahm to tahm.

6. Are there any words folks misspell or incorrect uses of words that simply drive you insane? Homophone misuse. Confusing "they're" with "their" with "there" and similar. Too, to and two. And gratuitous, obvious misspellings that don't get caught like "teh" for "the." (Ahem.)

7. Are there any pet names that you like to be called? Any you don't? Do you (or did you) have any pet names for your partner? Jennifer and I called each other "sug" and "sugar" a lot, as well as "sweetie." I have no idea how I'll react to pet-names starting up again, though my actual pets get a lot of "bubba," "knuckle-pup" and "pretty-kitty." :-D

-Rich

Friday, September 20, 2002

Slack, Slack, I know...

Sorry, everyone. Life is going cool places. I'll be posting two "standards" today (though this post is marked Friday, I haven't published it until today).

1. Would you say that you're good at keeping in touch with people? Heh, any answer other than "no, I suck at it" will get me mercilessly flamed after the past few weeks. So, nope. :-)

2. Which communication method do you usually prefer/use: e-mail, telephone, snail mail, blog comments, or meeting in person? Why? Huh - fascinating question. It depends on the person, and the reason. I dislike "synchronous" commo (when both people have to be free at the same time, like phone calls or visits) for trivial things, because the setup is seldom easy in today's busy world, and there may be time-zones to take into account and all that. But nothing beats a visit or a phone call for catching up with a close buddy. I don't think I've sent a snail-mail letter in a year. My stamps are all two rate-hikes old, if that tells you anything.

3. Do you have an instant messenger program? How many? Why/why not? How often do you use it? Yep, I've got them all, but I generally don't turn them on because computer time == private time in my mind for the most part.

4. Do most of your close friends live nearby or far away? Far, far away. Chicago, New York, Birmingham, Philly, DC, Maryland, Atlanta. Nobody on the west coast yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are plans. Sometimes I think I personally keep United and Southwest in business.

5. Are you an "out of sight, out of mind" person, or do you believe that "distance makes the heart grow fonder"? Out of sight, out of mind. Period. Well, mostly.

-Rich

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Is it possible for things to be going too well?

Yep, I'm stuck without anything in my craw again. :-)

It's the weirdest thing - I'm doing work I enjoy, swimming for exercise, sleeping better and I haven't had really bad "brain buzz" for a few days now.

Sure, I could use a woman in my life, but there are good things about solitude too.

I could use more money in my life, but living simply has been very good to me of late.

Many are worried about the impending war with Iraq, but I believe it's for all the right reasons.

There isn't much on TV outside of football (and what football - Monday night made me proud to be an Eagles fan). But wait - that's a good thing too.

Sorry, everyone, but I'm at a complete loss for anything to complain about.

Well, my car's wheels do need realignment. :-)

-Rich

Monday, September 16, 2002

He's Back!

Hey, all. Sorry for the downtime, but life got in the way.

Last week was a crazy one, primarily because work mushroomed into an all-encompassing time-eater. An old project came back and jumped me, but as a result I'm now doing all sorts of yummy résumé-enhancing things, so I can't be but so put out. Besides, it involves new, shiny ASP.NET technology, and I do love playing with sparkly new things.

But this preoccupation with work made for a great excuse to grab some real alone-time, wherein I didn't feel the need to play to the blogging crowd, or voice any quasi-controversial opinions. It was good. I began reading a book or two, and did laundry, and other welcomely mundane things. Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. The trick there is distinguishing before from after. ;-)

Thanks to everyone who commented on the September-eleventh post; I really wish I had commented more, but the discussion stood on its own anyhow. Tomorrow I shall continue with things more mundane and yet interesting in that juicy bloggy way.

-Rich

Monday, September 09, 2002

September Bloody Eleventh

I find it truly amazing how people have a need to romanticize and beschmaltz the tragedy of a year ago this Wednesday. Perhaps I don't have the wiring to "get" the need for "closure," the need to sing, soulful and teary-eyed, as I sway and mourn with two hundred thirty million of my closest friends.

On the other hand, I didn't personally lose anyone in the attacks. I had two relatives in New York City on that day; both survived without injury, though one has left the city for good, as the pain from witnessing everything from less than a block away was too much for her. No problem. People for whom this was a nextdoor thing, or who lost someone dear to them, are not the target of this rant.

Thirty-two hundred (ish) dead. A staggering figure, and one for which we should be (and are) kicking posteriors all over the globe. I refuse to understand, however, how Myrna in Mifflinsburg, PA or Jessup in Podunk, Idaho are feeling more vulnerable, or as though they've lost some essential American innocence that they're still mourning a year after the fact. People claiming Post-Tramatic Stress Disorder who wouldn't even know about the attack if not for the evening news. These people are the ones I'm talking about.

Maybe it comes from being a white male of European descent, and thus (according to many) the perpetrator of all the ills suffered by the modern world. I'm used to other people, other cultures, other demographics hating and envying me and what those like me stand for and have accomplished. September eleventh for me was a confirmation of what I already knew: people out there hate Americans and want us dead. Not only that, but it stood to reason for me that if a sufficient population of nuts tried for long enough, they'd eventually kill a significant number of us. I'm even a Clancy reader, so it's not like the transformation of an airplane into a weapon was a new concept for me either.

Yes, to a largely metaphorical extent, we were all attacked on September Eleventh, 2001. Evidently there was a significant portion of rank-and-file America that was honestly surprised --depths-of-the-being-surprised-and-shocked-- by the attacks. Good on ya; sensitivity counts for a lot, and says a lot about the character of a person. America is a nation of big-hearted people. However, we're also a nation of people with a long, distinguished tradition of giving a big collective middle-finger to those who don't hold truck with us and the way we do things. The way to lift that finger is not to sob and sniffle and hold pageants and wail "poor us" a year after the fact if we're not mourning a personal loss. If you don't live in forever-scarred New York City, and didn't lose a friend or family member or co-worker, then guess what? Your duty --the best way to honor the murdered and their survivors-- is to lift that finger. Point your knuckles at Kabul and Baghdad and tell 'em they're number one. :-)

(I wish I had somewhere worth flying to this Wednesday, because I'd be on a plane - I understand fares are a steal. I've made three round-trip flights up and down the east coast in the past year. I'll be flying to Chicago this winter. I refuse to let deranged Arabs half a world away determine my morning shower routine, let alone whether I exercise my freedom of movement.)

-Rich

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Squeezings from a Stone

Strange thing, I've had little opinion to me the few days. Not depressed, or down; as a matter of fact I'm enjoying myself a fair bit, swimming at the gym and generally doing things around the apartment and hanging out.

So I suppose I'll just chat for a bit, rather than leave people hanging...

It's supposed to stay in the mid-to-upper 80s for the remainder of the week and the weekend, and that's a very good thing. Several days of civil temperatures are very much in order. Richmond didn't get nearly the amount of rain it wanted or needed from the big storm of the past week; mandatory water restrictions are all over now, despite the grass being lush and green -- it's odd and off-kilter.

I've acquired a few new neighbors in the course of general turnover around the apartment complex; some of them have brought indoor/outdoor cats with them, and now all the cars in the northern end of the parking lot are sporting cat pawprints on the hoods and windshields. Too funny. I also have a veritable receiving-line of cats to walk by every time I approach the apartment. Needless to say my dogs are in a constant state of near conniption these days as well, wanting to go on cat-chases every time I walk them. It's good for my back and shoulders, I suppose. :-D

In that vein, I may need new Flexi-Leads (retractable leashes, for the non-dogged) soon, though; my current ones are smelling funny in the wake of recent rainy walkies, despite my attemps to soap the nylon up and kill the smell. These Flexis have done their bit for king and country, methinks (they were well-used back in 2000); time to retire them.

I have also discovered a source for a hard-to-find plum wine and real Stilton cheese here in the Richmond area, as well. Combine that with some Ukrop's crostini and you've got some serious good eatin'. Yeah, I can be a food nerd, too, though I'm a rank beginner in some ways; most of my material and technique come from the Food Network.

Snagged my season tix to the 2002-2003 season of the Virginia Opera a few nights ago, too, so I am now officially "po" until the next paycheck. Still, this season's looking good (Wagner's Die Walkure, right here in the Old Dominion!), and the tickets are great, if I understand the description - just off center, two rows up from the front edge of the "loge," or front of the balcony. So - anyone in the Richmond area up for opera?

-Rich

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

My Top 100

1 I am six foot two inches tall.
2 I currently weigh 275 pounds.
3 My hair is brown.
4 My eyes are blue.
5 My eyes have gotten some great reviews from women.
6 I am rather furry, but the hair that's exposed tends to turn tastefully light in color.
7 People also seem to like my voice.
8 I've had several women tell me I should open a phone-sex line for women.
9 This is because I worked as a software support guy for four years and was frequently on the phone eight hours a day.
10 I wound up hating that job, but I've reaped the benefits from it ever since.
11 My shoes are size 12 wide.
12 My hands are nine and a half inches from thumbtip to pinky tip when I spread them out.
13 This hand measurement has increased an inch since I was in high school.
14 I love mint.
15 I mean I really love mint. My desk has no fewer than five tins of different sorts of mints at any given time. Peppermint is king, but spearmint and wintergreen will do in a pinch.
16 I'm also a big vanilla fan.
17 I can't wait for Diet Vanilla Coke to arrive so I can stop rotting my teeth.
18 Myntz Co. Makes a sugar-free VanillaMyntz mint. I should be a stockholder.
19 I have a love/hate relationship with caffeine.
20 I wean myself completely off caffeine about twice a year so I can sleep.
21 Penguin Mints each have the caffeine of a third of a can of Coke and are sugar-free. Again, I should be a stockholder.
22 Bawls is a guarana drink that has nearly twice the caffeine content of Mountain Dew.
23 A typical cup of coffee has more caffeine than a bottle of Bawls.
24 I like to know my enemy.
25 I don't particularly like coffee, though it makes a good after-dinner drink, and with enough stuff added (milk, sugar, chocolate, cinnamon) it can be pretty good.
26 If I could, I'd live every day from noon to 5 AM. Sunlight is overrated. ;-)
27 I'm a big fan of Daylight Savings Time as well.
28 I am divorced. This becomes less of a big deal every day, though you might not think so if you're a regular reader here.
29 I am a polar bear - I like cold, damp weather. Paradoxically, I live in Richmond, Virginia.
30 I like to use words like 'spiffy' and 'gracious' in everyday speech.
31 I think it's quaint. Many think it's weird. One person has begun to call me old. This will not change the behavior.
32 I'm a very quiet person, except when I'm around someone I like, in which case I don't shut up, even when I probably should.
33 I program computers for a living.
34 When I actually get to write programs, I really enjoy it.
35 I like gadgets and gizmos and fixing things.
36 Most of the lights in my apartment are remote-controlled. The utility of this is dubious, but at least I don't need to buy separate timers when I go on a trip.
37 There are so many fans and machines around me from day to day that silence is startling to me when it actually happens.
38 I really like the quiet.
39 I don't get enough quiet.
40 I like the noises of ocean waves and crackling fireplaces, too.
41 I don't get enough of those either.
42 My favorite color is blue. Somewhere between navy blue and royal blue.
43 I like to decorate (when I do decorate - heh) with maroons and hunter greens.
44 I live in my apartment with two medium-large dogs and a cat.
45 They do a lot to keep me grounded, but logistically I find myself with a lot of kid-like problems like needing to find a petsitter for trips.
46 A pair of wagging tails and goofy puppy grins can do a lot for you after a long day.
47 A kitty sleeping on your chest is a wonderful reminder that you're depended on.
48 A kitty sleeping on your chest is also an accident waiting to happen if she's a clumsy kitty.
49 Sushi is a clumsy kitty.
50 I grill a mean steak.
51 My ideal steak is done Pittsburgh rare. Charred on the outside, purple on the inside.
52 The only truly correct Pittsburgh rare I've had was at Gene and Georgette's in Chicago.
53 I have turned into a decent cook since turning single.
54 I seldom cook.
55 I have two pizza-delivery places and Chinese delivery on my home phone's speed-dial.
56 I'm also a fan of sushi - nigiri and sashimi.
57 Wasabi is good for the sinuses.
58 I like to sing.
59 I sing with an a cappella group named Impromptu.
60 Despite this, I listen to a lot of "hard pop" like Rob Zombie, Godsmack and Linkin Park these days.
61 I also listen to Rachmaninoff, Bach and Mozart from time to time.
62 Irish and other Gaelic music rocks my world.
63 My sister is a professional opera singer.
64 I have learned to like opera for its own sake.
65 I had season tickets for last year's Virginia Opera season, and am getting them for this season as well.
66 Yes, I'm straight.
67 I like girls quite a lot, actually.
68 I need to get better at expressing this to them.
69 If a woman murmurs in my ear I'm in deep trouble.
70 If she murmurs how much difficulty she's having with the database she maintains I'm in even worse trouble.
71 If she hums or sings to me it's time to call the National Guard, I'm in so much trouble.
72 I'm not in that sort of trouble nearly enough. :-)
73 The most trouble I can think of involves a campfire on a cool windy beach with storm clouds in the sky, and a long-haired woman in a heavy sweater humming and singing about unruly Irish databases in my ear.
74 I may require professional help. ;-)
75 Smooth vanilla ice cream trumps chocolate for me.
76 I really want to be a novelist.
77 I certainly write enough.
78 But it's all in e-mails and blog entries.
79 And top 100 lists...
80 I typically am in the middle of reading six or eight books at once.
81 Without finishing it, I can only maintain the context of a book for six months before I have to start over.
82 I have started The Lord of the Rings trilogy five times.
83 I have yet to finish.
84 Even as an (unabridged!) audiobook.
85 I find I type faster and with fewer errors if I'm listening to music - the more rhythmic the better.
86 I think it drowns out random thought-noise.
87 I often have trouble sleeping due to "brain buzz," when I can't stop going over stuff from my day.
88 Perhaps I should sleep with speed metal going.
89 Actually I think the dogs would kill me.
90 Or the neighbors would.
91 I like to exercise my subwoofer, you see.
92 I am thus fortunate to live on the ground floor.
93 I am fortunate in many ways.
94 Many new ways are blogging friendships.
95 Friends teach you things about yourself you're too close to the action to see.
96 I think Tripp has been trying to tell me this.
97 Tripp says I'm smarter than he is, and I won't question his judgment.
98 However, I think Tripp is wiser than me in many ways.
99 Though not all - he is a Democrat. ;-)
100 I have now completed a Top 100 List. :-D

-Rich

Monday, September 02, 2002

My Neglected Fans

Yes, yes, with all the human drama occurring on other sites and in grand volleys of instant messages, I have neglected my own space. I do not split my attention well.

Fear not, I shall be back soon enough with a not-at-all lemminglike Top 100 List, and more general opinion, so as to better irritate feminists and Generation Y-ers alike.

-Rich