Relationships

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Seven months ago, I wrote what turned out to be a somewhat controversial blog entry, titled “Relationships: An Outsider’s Perspective.” It was met with a good deal of negative feedback, and I was branded as being jaded and pessimistic.

Perhaps I was. So I decided to revisit the post and see if any of my original thoughts had changed. I figured after more than half a year, it was time.

To be honest, not one thing has changed in my mind.

Around that time, a good friend told me to be careful with being single, you can get used to it really easily and fall into a routine you can never get out of. I agreed, having had an extensive run as a single man in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

I cannot say one bad thing about that period of my life. I was as happy as I had ever been. I did what I wanted, when I wanted. No one else’s opinion mattered. My time was my own. Admittedly, I pissed away a number of years of my life, but is time spent happy really being wasted? In my opinion, time spent miserable is time wasted.

Since 2005, I’ve spent all but two years being absolutely miserable.

I spent a happy 2010 and a happy 2018 but other than that, the only enjoyment I got out of life was time spent with my son. The rest of my life, I flushed.

As I look back over my life, I don’t see how kowtowing to someone else’s wishes 100% of the time, being places I didn’t want to be and doing things I didn’t want to do was benefiting me in any way. Add to it the fact that I felt like a human ATM machine during all those years, I not only lost any enjoyment I had in life, but I had also lost my self respect.

This brings me back to another previous entry, written just over two months ago, “The List, Version 2.0.” This covered the prerequisites I would have for a woman if I ever decided to try a relationship again. As I look back over it, again, nothing’s changed.

I am putting all my faith in 2019. If a relationship is part of that, so be it. I’m not closing myself to the possibility in any way. But I also need to be convinced that being single is inferior to being in a relationship. And time will tell if that turns out to be the case, or not.

I need time to put a buffer between myself and the unhappiest decade of my life, and I’ve got a good 11-month start on that. But I can’t say that one year is enough.

It could take another ten years for me to put the past decade behind me.

However it shakes out, I’m going to be happy again, like I was 20 years ago.

And for the time being, that’s going to be as a single man. And that’s non-negotiable.

Peace.

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This Has Been A Great Year

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Over the past few weeks I have read a lot of posts online from people complaining about what an awful year 2018 has been. That lead me to write this, because I can honestly say this has been the best year I have had since 2010 and one of the top three years I have had in the past 15 years.

I’m not saying 2018 has been perfect, by any stretch. January was somewhat disastrous for me but it was also a cleansing moment. I lost my son for the time being but I also eliminated a lot of negatives from my life. I started being able to sleep again, and I was excited for baseball even though I knew the Chicago White Sox were looking at a long season of losing. By the time Spring Training rolled around I was starting to really feel like my life was on the upswing. And after the previous seven years, I was definitely ready for it.

For the first time in my life, I managed to watch every Chicago White Sox game this year. All 162 regular season games and every Spring Training game that was telecast. My only regret is not playing more MLB The Show on the PS4, but hopefully 2019 will be the year I can remedy that.

I was able to reunite with a large number of friends I had not been allowed to talk to in a number of years and met a ton of new friends. I am thankful for all of them. They helped make this year extra special for me.

There were setbacks, including my severely sprained ankle, the fact that I didn’t get into better shape but I am still down 20 pounds from where I was in January. I met a few people I would have been better off not knowing but I can’t complain about those little life lessons we all need to be taught. And it had been a long time since I had an extended run as a single man. The world has changed a lot in the past seven or eight years.

I am ready to take the next step in my life. I am going to begin taking online classes in physics, engineering and mathematics, which I wish I had done 20 years ago but I spent too many years not using the intellectual gifts God had bestowed upon me. Instead of learning and doing the best for myself, I flat-lined and spent my time with people who were not only not on my level intellectually but I lowered myself to that level as well.

I had planned to do my Alfred Hitchcock reviewing project this year but I’m going to put that off to next winter, I want to focus on my online classes and finally watching the complete original Star Trek series this winter. I started on it last year and watched the entire first season and massively enjoyed it, and I still have two seasons to go, as well as the original motion pictures and the animated series as well. I can’t wait.

Most importantly, it’s time to take this broken-down, past-it’s-prime body and turn it into the body I had when I was 22 years old. And there is no reason I can’t, the only thing standing in my way right now is me.

One of my few regrets in 2018 was not getting back into my cigar hobby early enough, I pissed away months that I could have spent enjoying cigars before I bought a new humidor and restocked it. But, now they have months to season and should be ready to smoke next spring. I can’t wait.

As good as 2018 was, and it was great, I think 2019 could be the best I’ve ever had. While my Amazon store is doing the best business it’s ever done in the eight years I have had it, I want to expand it and make it even better. I would also like to get a new job in addition to my Amazon store. I would love to have as much to do as possible to keep me busy in 2019.

I also want to start attending Minor League baseball games again in 2019. That has been one of the highlights of my past summers and it’s time to do it again. I needed the year away to kind of cleanse the memories of the past but now that the slate is clean, I will enjoy getting back into it again.

Life is what you make it. I did a damn good job making 2018 one of the best years I have had in a decade and a half. Here’s to a better 2019.

Random Thoughts…

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Random Thoughts

  • I am in the midst of a mid-life crisis. I spend every day in a mild state of depression as I look at myself and wonder what I did with the past 41 years. With the exception of baseball, I have basically failed to pursue any of my intellectual passions. My love for history (both world and American) are well known, as are my love of science (especially physics and paleontology) and politics and mathematics. Now, suddenly, my mind has become a sponge and my thirst for knowledge is unquenchable. I study all I can, all the time. I even listen to YouTube programs about physics before I go to sleep. Why didn’t I have this desire 25 years ago?

  • I am finally learning that it doesn’t pay to carry a grudge, no matter what has been done to you. Not only because I saw what happens to other people who have been wronged as they make complete asses of themselves on social media and that is the only recourse they are getting, but because I know now that carrying a grudge is a one-sided situation, because the person you carry a grudge against may not care at all. Especially when the person in question is a psychopath.

  • In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going to start watching every existing Alfred Hitchcock-directed film (I have all of them in my DVD collection) and I have yet to start on that due to my horrible time-management abilities and lack of focus. So I am trying very hard to get that started this week.

  • I also need to take better care of myself physically. Between 2010 and 2017 I fell apart both mentally and physically and now that I am completely on the other side of that mentally, and have wiped my ass of it permanently, it’s time to fully put my body back together. I know I’ll never be as fit as I was at 22, but that’s my goal. I can’t believe I even made it to 41 years of age, to be honest. From the time I was 15 I always said I would never make it to 40. I never knew at 40 ½ I would be reborn and have to basically start over, but here I am, ready to go.

  • Finally, I am thinking about getting a new job. I have been self-employed for the past 11 months and while I enjoy it and I am financially secure, I am also bored out of my mind and couldn’t imagine spending another 20 or 30 or 50 years like this. Or, maybe I’ll just take this opportunity to start taking some classes in some of my preferred subjects that were neglected for so many years.

Top 5: My Favorite Everything… Revised

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This entry is a revised version of a previous entry, from January 2018. This was just for fun, to see how many things had changed in the ten months since the original entry. New additions to the list will be marked with a (*). Enjoy.

FAVORITE MOVIES
Back To The Future
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Return Of The Jedi *
First Blood
The Lady Vanishes *

FAVORITE BOOKS
The Art Of The Deal
The Catcher In The Rye
The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin *
Moneyball
Think Big And Kick Ass *

FAVORITE COLORS
Black
Blue
Silver
White
Gray

FAVORITE ACTORS
John Wayne
Brad Pitt
Harrison Ford
Joseph Cotten
Gene Wilder

FAVORITE ACTRESSES
Sharon Stone
Uma Thurman
Julie Newmar
Kim Novak
Grace Kelly

FAVORITE SUPERHEROES
Batman
Superman
Captain America
Spider-Man
Wonder Woman

FAVORITE VILLAINS
The Joker
The Red Skull
Lex Luthor
The Penguin
Mandarin

FAVORITE FRUIT
Pineapple
Apple
Banana
Grape
Watermelon

FAVORITE VEGETABLE
Corn
Potatoes
Green Peppers
Tomatoes
Hot Peppers

FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVORS
Rocky Road
Chocolate
Neapolitan
French Vanilla
Coffee

FAVORITE MOVIE CHARACTERS
John Rambo (First Blood)
Sam McCord (North To Alaska)
Marty McFly (Back To The Future)
Catherine Tramell (Basic Instinct…  Hey, that’s what got me through puberty)
Han Solo (Star Wars series) *

FAVORITE TV CHARACTERS
Jack Tripper (Three’s Company)
Perry Mason
The Lone Ranger *
Paladin (Have Gun – Will Travel)
SpongeBob SquarePants *

FAVORITE TV SHOWS
Mystery Science Theater 3000 *
Alfred Hitchcock Presents *
Three’s Company
The Lone Ranger
Perry Mason

FAVORITE CANDY
M&Ms
Whatchamacallit
Snickers
Rolo
Hershey With Almonds

FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
Longhorn Steakhouse
Denny’s
Chili’s
McDonald’s
Burger King *

FAVORITE MUSICAL ARTISTS
AC/DC
Megadeth
Hank Williams, Sr.
The Beatles
Judas Priest *

FAVORITE WEBSITES
Facebook
iFunny
YouTube
Wikipedia
Amazon *

FAVORITE SONGS
“Sin City” by AC/DC *
“I Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles *
“Angry Again” by Megadeth
“How About That” by Bad Company *
“Hysteria” by Def Leppard *

FAVORITE VIDEO GAMES
MLB The Show
Batman Arkham series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES trilogy *
Super Mario Kart *
Grand Theft Auto III *

FAVORITE BOARD GAMES
Monopoly
Life
Chess
Scrabble
Yahtzee (which doesn’t technically have a “board” but it makes the list anyway)

FAVORITE SPORTS
Major League Baseball
Minor League Baseball
NCAA Baseball

FAVORITE BASEBALL PLAYERS (ALL-TIME)
Frank Thomas
Bo Jackson
Jose Abreu
Pete Rose *
Mickey Mantle *

FAVORITE YEARS OF YOUR LIFE
2010
1995
1987
2018 *
1998

FAVORITE SUBJECTS FROM HIGH SCHOOL AND/OR COLLEGE
History (high school)
Journalism (high school)
Criminal Law (college)
Business Law (college)
American Civics (high school)

FAVORITE CITIES
Chicago
Los Angeles
Phoenix
Las Vegas
Pittsburgh

FAVORITE BEVERAGES
Coca-Cola
Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey
Folgers Black Silk coffee
Ocean Spray Cran-Grape Juice

FAVORITE CEREAL
Apple Jacks
Cap’n Crunch
Frosted Flakes *
Cocoa Pebbles
Quaker Old Fashioned Oats *

FAVORITE CARTOONS
Looney Tunes
South Park
Beavis and Butt-Head
SpongeBob SquarePants *
Scooby Doo, Where Are You?

Peace.

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” – Alfred Hitchcock

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Those that have known me for any appreciable length of time know that I have been a fan of the works of Alfred Hitchcock for nearly 30 years. I was first introduced to him via Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes in the fall of 1991, when my mom invited me to watch an episode and I was instantly hooked. In the years since, I have acquired nearly never episode of that program plus all of his surviving feature films.

I actually began taping Alfred Hitchcock Presents the year I discovered it, on VHS tapes, as they aired on Nick At Nite. In 1998, I re-recorded every episode that was shown on TV Land. Finally, when the program was released on DVD, I was quick to purchase every season that’s been released. I am still waiting for the release of the final season. I’m not sure why every other season was rushed to release except that one.

As for his feature films, AMC ran a marathon in 1999, the 100th anniversary of Hitchcock’s birth, and I filled as many VHS tapes as I could with those films. The ones that weren’t shown, I would try to find at my local movie and music stores.

Then, in 2010, I purchased three studio-release boxed sets, as well as a $5 Walmart boxed set that featured mostly silent films from the 1920s. The few films that were not included in any of these sets, I purchased on individual DVDs.

I have 54 feature films and 229 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents in my collection. I plan to watch ALL of them over the next five months or so. While I have, more than likely, watched every episode of the TV program over the years, there are still 10 or 12 feature films I have not seen, even though they have been in my collection for a number of years. This has been a dream of mine for some time. Now it will happen.

In addition to watching, I also am planning to rate each film and TV episode through my IMDb account. I have done this previously with the 1950s TV series State Trooper and with the first two seasons of the original Star Trek series. I think it will be fun to look back on that as the years go by and especially when I watch a film over again.

This little project has literally been something I have been desirous of doing since at least 2005. I knew it would be a winter project, since my summer nights are taken by Chicago White Sox baseball games. I also knew it needed to be done at a time when I would have absolutely no outside distractions on a nightly basis.

My current thought process says I would like to watch three films per week, which will take 18 weeks if all goes as planned. I would also like to watch roughly 10 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents per week, which would take roughly five months, and I would finish up right in time for MLB Spring Training in 2019. I do worry about burnout, though a few years ago I watched every episode of The Lone Ranger during the winter months, 221 complete, and never suffered burnout. And could have watched more.

I have printed out the title of all 54 feature films and will be cutting them out and putting them in an old cigar box and will draw a film out and watch, that way I’m leaving which films I’ll be watching completely to chance. I don’t want to just jump in watching my favorites (i.e. The Lady Vanishes, Rebecca and Psycho) all at once.

Oddly enough, the oldest surviving Hitchcock film, titled The Pleasure Garden, is one of the few I have not seen before. It was not included in any of the boxed sets. Released in 1925, I was able to secure a DVD copy from Amazon at a reasonable price. Apparently, it is now out of print because it is no longer available on Amazon or eBay.

I am looking forward to this project. It is many years in the making.

Below is my collection.

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A Perfect Day

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In what may be the most rare happening of my life, today I had a PERFECT day.

I know that sounds corny and far-fetched, but today was one of those days I dream about and have never experienced.  Oh, I have had good days and fun days but never had a day where everything just fell into place and nothing bad happened the entire day.

I woke up and soaked my sprained ankle and then headed out to have breakfast with mom and dad, our Sunday tradition of biscuits and gravy with a side of hash browns and sliced tomatoes, grape juice and coffee.  Everything done to perfection.

That was followed up with CBS Sunday Morning, and then mom and I watched the Howard Hanna Sunday Showcase of Homes, and then we watched my all-time favorite Bugs Bunny cartoon, “Hillbilly Hare.”  Then I came back here and watched Meet The Press and read up on and posted all of the latest Chicago White Sox news.

Today was #HawkDay, as the Chicago White Sox had a special ceremony paying tribute to longtime play-by-play announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, who is retiring at the end of the year at the age of 77.  I was anxious to see the ceremony as well as the final game of a three-game series between the White Sox and the Boston Red Sox, who had split the first two games of the series.

So, I selected a cigar from my humidor (an Espinosa Especial No. 5) and took my usual seat at the picnic table with a cold can of Barq’s Root Beer and my tablet.  Loaded up MLB.TV and watched the ceremony and the first six innings of the game while I enjoyed what may have been the finest cigar I have ever smoked.  Perfection.

Once I finished my cigar I moved back inside and turned the game on TV on the patio and had a slice of lasagna and then soaked my ankle a second time.

The White Sox won in easy fashion, 8-0.  Hawk was joined on commentary by former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, which was a real treat.  They will be calling a second game together, against the Chicago Cubs in the Crosstown Classic, September 23.

When the game ended I enjoyed some pizza and then decided to have an Alfred Hitchcock mini film fest, so I watched “The 39 Steps,” long one of my favorite Hitchcock films (probably third behind “The Lady Vanishes” and “Rebecca”) followed by “Under Capricorn,” which I had never seen before and is one of the rarest films in my collection, I had a terrible time finding it when I built my Hitchcock film collection.

And now, I’m ready to turn in.  If this was the only perfect day I ever have in my life, I’ll take it.  I never had one before, but if there’s another on in my future, it would be greatly appreciated.  I’ve known misery and I’ve known happiness and today was happiness at it’s absolute zenith.

Thank you for taking the time to read.  Not an earth-moving piece, just taking an opportunity to put on record the fact that it is possible to have a perfect day.  Even someone as damaged as I am.

God bless.

Single. Staying That Way. No, You Cannot Change My Mind. End Of Discussion.

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Recently, I announced my decision to take myself off the dating grid for at least a year. I was at the breaking point trying to explain to women that I am in no position mentally to be involved in a relationship at this time, or to date anyone exclusively, or even once, for that matter. The past has not been kind to me and I needed time to lick my wounds and let them heal before I even considered trying dating or a relationship again.

This decision has been met with ridicule and “threats” of “I’ll be the one that can make you change your mind.” Therefore, I felt a public service announcement was in order, because sometimes you just can’t get through to people by normal means.

First, let me explain what brought me to this point. I recently got out of a situation that was so rancid and repulsive that I sincerely thought it was going to be the death of me. The physical and emotional toll were heavy. I put on 80 pounds through stress eating, my hair was falling out, I was sick all the time due to my immune system not functioning properly due to stress, I had stomach ulcers, I had the shakes, I couldn’t sleep, my eyes were constantly twitching and I was suffering from severe migraine headaches that lasted for hours. All things considered, its a miracle I am alive.

So, to every woman in the world who isn’t married or engaged or spoken for, no, I have no interest in dating you right now. It doesn’t matter if you’re the lowest form of scum or the most beautiful woman in the world. The answer is no. Period.

Part of this stems from the area in which I live. I live in north central West Virginia, and its just as bad as the national media portrays it. A large percentage of the women here are literally disgusting. I’m talking toothless, cockeyed, covered in meth sores, living in run-down shacks, tripping over rats and carrying who-knows-what kind of STDs.

And most women in this area seem to “recycle” boyfriends, i.e. they make a habit of just trading boyfriends around and infecting each other. That kind of thing makes me sick to even think about and totally turns me off to ever putting my hands on another woman. Thought I would have definitely made an exception for the girl mentioned earlier.

I also refuse to do long-distance relationships because, quite honestly, they’re ridiculous. Why would I want to “date” someone I never see? I’m way too needy for that.

Yes, I have myself in kind of a catch-22 here. I don’t want to date any local trash but I also don’t want to date anyone who isn’t local. Do you see the pattern here?

I don’t want to date.

I want to spend the rest of my summer enjoying myself. Watching baseball. Working. Smoking the finest cigars. Going for drives. Upgrading my office and doing work on my PC and my gaming systems. Working on my baseball card collection. As well as things that are a little more simple, like I want to spend some time not being miserable.

During the month that I was talking to the flake who ghosted me, I legitimately thought I might be able to be happy again with a significant other. I’m not sure how that happened, or why I would have thought something so ridiculous at that point. But now that I know better, I know better than to let chance have the opportunity to do it to me again.

Everyone should make themselves happy before they even consider making anyone else happy. I know at this point that I have been so disconnected from myself for so many years that I just need some time to get used to being myself again. Doing the things I have always loved but couldn’t do. Just being me and not having to do for anyone else.

Now, I need to say, this is not about selfishness. I think that down the road I’ll be a better man than the man I am now and that will, in turn, be better for whomever I eventually end up with, whether that’s next year or a decade from now. At this point, I’m a broken man and I’m not going to be good for anything to anyone. Who would want that?

In closing, I want to reiterate that no, I will not be changing my mind about this decision and no one on this earth is going to tell me what to do when it comes to my dating and social life. It’s not up for debate. It’s my life and I’ll do with it what I want. No one is going to change my mind or make me alter my plans. Only death can do that at this point.

Thank you for reading and God bless.