“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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“The List, Version 2.0”

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Back in 2010, I crafted what became known as “The List.” It was a simple collection of ten or so rules I put in place in case I would ever consider getting into a relationship. The rules seemed common-sense to me (“must have a car” and “must have a job”) but some met with quite a bit of negative feedback (“must not have kids”). At that time, I made no attempt to explain my rules, unless I was pressed into doing so.


Even though I have removed myself completely from the dating scene until at least August of 2019, I am going to create a new “List.” I’m sure it will be very similar to the previous version, which has been lost over time, but I feel like now is a good time to do it, since I am clear-headed and have 11 months to make it into “law.”

So, I present to you, The List, Version 2.0:


RULE 1 – MUST BE SINGLE

This may seem a little over-obvious until you understand what I have dealt with. I’ll give a perfect example. In 2006, I met a girl I took a liking to, she was cute, intelligent and had a great sense of humor. The first time we went out, she told me she was divorced and gave me a little insight into her life. A week later, she told me she needed to be “honest” with me and announced that she was separated, not divorced. A short time later, she told me she was not exactly separated, they were still living together to “share expenses.” I cut my losses at that point and found out a few weeks later they were expecting their second child. Fortunately, I had never laid a hand on this girl.


RULE 2 – MUST HAVE A JOB


Just suffice to say I have had enough experience dealing with good-for-nothing, worthless, jobless, hopeless, penniless pieces of garbage. Period. If you can’t support yourself, you need to find a way to start doing so, not expect some guy to do it. Especially if you’re toting around numerous children. That’s trashy. No decent man is going to walk into that kind of a situation. At least not knowingly.

RULE 3 – MUST HAVE A CAR

See rule 2. I see relationships as a 50/50 proposition. If you can’t come and see me as often as I come and see you, it’s suddenly a 75/25 proposition. And that doesn’t work for me. I also have no desire to run a taxi service. If I did, I’d be an Uber driver.

RULE 4 – NO CRAZY EX’S

If your ex is going to show up at the house with a gun, or follow me or threaten me, he’s just begging to get his ass kicked and I have no desire to be staring at assault charges. I am not taking hold until your ex has let go… and you have let go of your ex. In 2006 I met a beautiful woman who worked at a local hospital.  One day, her ex-husband showed up at the hospital and proceeded to bust the windows out of her car.  That’s not going to work for me.  My ex’s are left in the past, where they belong. I do my best to completely forget I ever dealt with any of them. If you’re still hung up on yours, then you need to get over it, or you guys need to work things out and get back together. Just keep me out of it.

RULE 5 – NO MULTIPLE BABY DADDY’S

If you’re in your 30’s and have more than two kids with more than two guys, you are not relationship material, you are community property. No man wants to introduce a woman like that to his friends. Especially if her reputation proceeds her. No man wants to get laughed at because his woman has been everybody’s woman. I am not making any open-ended judgments here, just keep that away from me.  I am not going to date a woman I am ashamed of being with.  That’s absolutely ludicrous.

RULE 6 – MUST BE LOCAL

I’m not doing long distance. Period. It’s not even up for debate. If you don’t live within a reasonable distance, don’t even flirt with me. If it takes an hour or more to get to your house, I see no reason to even give that a consideration. I’m too needy. If I am in a relationship, I expect to actually SEE my woman. Regularly. Not once a month or even once a week. You can’t get to know someone well enough barely seeing them to know if the relationship can go forward. Long distance does NOT work.

RULE 7 – MUST PASS MY BACKGROUND CHECK

If there is a chance we are going to start seeing each other, I’m going to do some investigating. No one wants to go into a situation completely blind, and I always like to see what someone’s reputation is like on the street. Admittedly, I have found out that people don’t always like to tell the truth until it’s too late, but I’m still going to see what your reputation is like. No one wants to date the Whore Of Babylon.

RULE 8 – MUST BE CLEAN

This covers a multitude of areas. No STD’s. No arrest record. No drug use. Must bathe. Must keep your house clean. I’ve had enough dealings with trash to last me a lifetime and I don’t want to deal with it any longer. And I never will again. So if you can’t keep yourself and your home clean, and you can’t stay out of jail or off drugs, piss off. I’m too many levels above you and it’s not going to work out. Find someone who is more on your level. The jails are full of meth-heads you should hit it off with.

RULE 9 – YOU MUST ACCEPT ME FOR WHO I AM

I’m 41 years old and I’m not changing for anyone. I love watching baseball and smoking cigars and time spent by myself. I like to sleep in my own bed, alone or otherwise. I don’t use drugs and I don’t waste my life in bars. I’m a bit of a “geek” and proud of it. I’m not going to alter my life for a woman. I’d rather be alone and do what I enjoy than be with someone who can’t accept me for who I am. Non-negotiable.

In closing, if you are able to jump through all nine of those hoops and we have a mutual attraction and compatibility and you’re single in August 2019, then we’ve got a good foundation for a potential relationship. If you come up short in any way, then I wish you good luck in your future endeavors and hope you find someone more compatible with you, because I’m not. And at my age, I see no reason to settle for less than I deserve. I’ve spent far too much of my life settling when it comes to relationships.


Thank you for reading. God bless, and have a great day.

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.

I’m tired.

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I’m tired.

I’m tired of being tired.

I’m tired of watching my life float away as I brood over the unfairness and misery I have dealt with in my life.

I’m tired of being 80 pounds overweight and feeling like a big, fat fuck.

I’m tired of not pursuing my passions.

I’m tired of people not respecting my boundaries and decisions.

I’m tired of feeling like I’m in a haze all day and laying awake all night.

I’m tired of the overwhelming humidity.

I’m tired of thinking too much.

I’m tired of not feeling like me.

I’m tired of arguing.

I’m just tired.

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.

The Experience Of Love…

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This is a difficult piece to write, but timely, given the fact that it has been the topic of many recent conversations.  Not in specifics, but in the generalities of love.

I have, however, put this blog together in my mind a thousand times.  As I talked with people who tell me they have experienced love, I find it not only fascinating, but I also find it to be baffling.  And I wonder what’s wrong with me that I’ve never been able to experience these feelings with anyone.  It’s like someone is speaking Greek.

Now, when I talk of “love,” I am referring to the love of a boyfriend to a girlfriend or a husband to a wife.  Not love of family, of children or of parents, or even the love of a good friend.  I am talking strictly of love with no prior, or no blood, connection.

This idea amazes me because not only have I never experienced feeling that way about someone but no one has ever felt that way about me.  And that’s the part I had so much trouble understanding.  Love has to be a two-way street.  No way around it.

So as I have talked to others about their concepts and experiences with love, I realize I have literally never experienced this emotion.  Or really anything close to it.

I spoke to someone recently who said when you’re in love, you never want to leave the side of the person you are in love with and when you have to, you cannot wait to return.  You swell up inside when you see them.  You can’t stop thinking about them.  In a way, they become your life.  Or, they become the most important thing in your life.

First, to address “never wanting to leave the side of the person you’re with.”  I can say in all honesty I have never been around a significant other for more than 48 hours at a time and by then I was ready to get away as fast as my feet could carry me.  I believe very much in the old saying, “familiarity breeds contempt” because it is so easy for me to just get literally sick of someone to the point I don’t care if I ever see them again or not.  I can honestly say, in every long-term relationship I have ever been in, all I could think about was getting away, putting distance between us and showering as quickly as possible.

I can’t imagine being around anyone 24/7 and actually wanting to and anyone actually wanting to be around me that much.  The closest I ever came to that would have been in high school, and that was more that she wanted me around to keep an eye on me.

Next, to address “when you’re away, you can’t wait to return.”  I don’t think that far in advance.  If I’m going to be away, I’m away for a reason and that reason will be the point of my focus.  I’m certainly not saying I haven’t looked forward to seeing a woman or two or ten in my time, but I am saying that I’ve never been in a situation where I couldn’t wait to see a woman again.  No woman ever held my interest to that degree.

This idea may have been more of a byproduct of marriage than anything else, and since I have never been (nor ever will be) married, then it doesn’t apply to me anyway.

Next, to address “you swell up inside when you see them.”  I don’t understand that at all.  I do understand feeling panic, nausea, aggravation and stress when seeing someone, as I have experienced every one of those with various women over the years.  I guess you could also say I understand the opposite, because I have felt deflated at seeing some girls.

I have felt a feeling of joy and pride when I see my son, so I am assuming it is some kind of offshoot of that feeling.  I just can’t imagine feeling that way about a woman.  Wow.

Finally, to address “you can’t stop thinking about them.”  I have experienced this, but I am pretty sure its in a totally different context.  I’ve cried, I’ve been sick and I’ve been in a state of almost catatonic depression and been unable to think about nothing else than a few women I have known, but I am pretty sure that doesn’t count.  I think this was meant to say that love means thinking nice thoughts about someone, not “I wish you would go away and never darken my life again,” because that one is consistent for me.

I have had dreams about girls while I was dating them, and that stretches as far back as I can remember, but the dreams themselves were usually based on my getting away from them, so I think even subconsciously I was working from that depressed point of view.  These dreams usually involved me being in a “last man on Earth” type of scenario, which meant the women in question had basically disappeared and I was unable to find them.

Now, understand, I am not saying in any way that love isn’t a real experience and maybe it even lasts a lifetime.  I’m not trying to put the concept of love down, or say it doesn’t exist.  I’m simply saying it has never existed for me.  All of this is completely and totally off base with me.  I have never experienced any type of feelings even close to these.

I’m also not saying its not feasible that I could “fall in love” in the future, but at this point, as jaded and disinterested as I am in this whole thing, as well as the fact that I make myself as inaccessible as possible, I think the odds are greatly in my favor that I will never have to deal with this kind of thing.  But, there’s a chance I could be wrong.

For those who have experienced it, I’m sure love is an amazing thing, because it sounds like it would be.  I just don’t think its for me.  I like to think of myself as the ultimate lone wolf, and I’ve always felt that way.  I’ve been anti-marriage all my life.  That will never change.  I can’t imagine being married, but I guess if you actually were in love with someone who was in love with you, marriage would make sense.  I don’t see it.

So, going forward, I am happy just to feel the love of friends who care about me and family that I still have contact with who care.  It could be worse.  It’s not like I’m an island unto myself or anything.  And as the popular saying goes, you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else, and I’m still kind of working on that part.

And if I never experience what its like to love a woman and have her love me in return, well, I guess that was just God’s will.  And I certainly would not question that.  If a couple of years down the road I meet a woman who fits the bill, then I would be open to it.  I’m not ready to call it a day just yet, though I am for the rest of this year.  And if I miss a chance that comes along in 2018, well, that’s on me.  But I think everything happens for a reason and if I’m supposed to be with someone someday, it will work itself out.

Peace.

Relationships: An Outsider’s Perspective

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As I was visiting with my mom a couple of days ago, she broached a subject I was hoping we would not have to discuss:  Relationships.  The reason I hate discussing this with her is that I don’t need to be reminded that my taste in women is atrocious and that every time I have been in what would loosely be termed “a relationship,” I passed up a lot of better options to settle for far less than I deserved every single time.  I know all of this, and have to live with it, but she feels the need to remind me.

But this discussion was different.  It wasn’t about my poor choices and stupid mistakes of the past, it was about the future.  And I had not given much thought to the future.  I have been living with a day-to-day perspective throughout 2018, and the idea of thinking a day or a week or a month ahead isn’t something I had been doing to any extent.

I have, however, discussed it a bit with my two closest confidants at times.

The last time I was single for an extensive period of time, I had a list of rules to help me weed out the losers from the potential winners.  It wasn’t the type of rules that most people think of (specific height, weight, hair color, etc.) but was more guidelines to separate the trash from the treasures, i.e. “must have a job,” “must have a car” and “no crazy ex’s.”  The kind of thing a nice, middle-class girl should have.

The problem with that kind of thinking is that I looked past the more obvious points I should have been considering, like “is this someone I can stand being around for more than a couple of hours?”  Or, “is this someone I could marry in the future?”

To make matters worse, I not only totally disregarded those obvious questions but threw my guidelines away as well and settled for everything I never wanted.

This time around, I’m smart enough to put everything into perspective.

To put it a little more simply, as I said to one of my confidants a couple of days ago, “I want a woman I can’t live without, not a woman I can’t live with.”  Which means I not only want a woman who fits the obvious prerequisites (mutual attraction, mutual interests, etc.) as well as my own personal requirements (the aforementioned job and car, etc.), but also now fits the questions I should have been asking all along.

Obviously, this is going to thin the herd down to pretty much nothing.  And I’m OK with that.  Because at this point, at 40 years old, I shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than I actually want, and I am perfectly and totally happy as things stand.

So, I sat down again with mom today and said “at this point, given everyone I have met and where everything stands, no, I’ll never be in a relationship again.  Granted, that could change tomorrow depending on who I meet, but right now, no.”

If I don’t see a future with someone, I’m not going to waste the present on them.  It isn’t fair to me and at my age, I’m ready to either settle down with someone, or settle down alone.  And since I am living pretty comfortably right now, I see no reason to change that for someone unless she is going to be a permanent part of my life.

I wish everyone would adopt my philosophy, as a lot fewer bad relationships would result and the dramatics that result from those bad relationships wouldn’t happen.  Of course, I realize some people thrive on bad relationships, as a way of getting attention online or from friends.  Realize that this isn’t healthy or good for anyone.

I am going forward, alone or not, the wheels will roll.  If there’s someone out there that is my “forever,” then eventually I’ll meet her.  If not, I’m going to be happy and enjoy my life anyway.  I don’t need anyone to completely me, I’m a complete person, as is.  But I am not closing the door to anything that may develop down the road.

There is White Sox baseball to watch, fine cigars to be smoked, excellent food and whiskey to be consumed and life to be lived.  And that’s what I’m doing.  I’m not settling for less than the best in any facet of my life going forward.  Ever again.

Peace.