Monday, August 30, 2004

Dear J5 Answers

I was really happy to get what I thought was a really rapid response from Sunday until today. The questions posed are great and vary pretty substantially. Please keep in mind that this is REALLY LONG. Far and away my longest post, so I hope that's ok, and I didn't bother to do spelling checks at all. I'm hoping I can live up to the expectations (be low, please be low) that you have.

Well time's a wasting, so let's get cracking.

Catt asked this question:

Why am I so addicted to blogging? It's not the actual writing and reading I don't think, but the community. Why is it that I feel this connection to several blog friends who are in reality complete strangers? When my family suffered a major blow last week, I didn't write about it on my blog because it felt almost too private to share (and some of my friends read me). Instead, I sought counseling (which was smart), but still felt the need to reach out to my closest blog buddy via email. I have normal friendships and an active social/personal life. Why this need to connect with a perfect stranger, though?

J5 says:

Well, Catt, I think it's important to remember that human beings (99% of them, at least) need social interaction. The beauty of the blogosphere, as it is, is that it's another venue for socializing that is seperate from the normal face-to-face interactions that our species has had for such a long period of time. It also offers a different way of getting to know people. The ability for one to craft, refine, and jettison verbiage out into the void for others to enjoy and indentify with is amazing and, in many cases, cathartic for both readers and writers.

As a reader, our lives are altered and subtly carved by the authors that we consume. I can think of several books I've read over time that have changed my viewpoints on topics as broad as life to as specific as clowns (Stephen King's It just poppped in my head). The difference with bloggers is that you can interract and respond to them, and vice-versa. You develop relationships with these people, so long as interest and diligence prevails.

I'm sure what I've stated so far is fairly obvious, but here is where I think people might separate a little with my viewpoint.

The unique thing about blogging interactions is that they involve a senseless interaction. When I say senseless, I don't mean without rationalization, but that you don't actually use any of your 5 senses in these relationships.

When you can smell someone, you can enjoy their fragrance or be repulsed by their odor. Maybe something about that smell reminds you subconsciously of something else. Maybe it reminds you of good things, or horrible things.

When you know someone in tangible life, you can touch their cold, clammy hands, or feel them shivering, or sense how fragile/strong their physicality is. You can hold hands, wipe away tears, spoon, and cuddle. You can touch their hair and feel the contour of them pressed against you, and you can hug them if and when you want.

When you look at someone, you can see their 3 dimensional image, the curves of their body, their weight and height and stature. You can drink in their beauty or be repulsed by disfigurement. You can like and dislike and judge by appearance.

When you listen to them, you can hear their voice, the inflection pattern, and how it interlaces with yours. They can have high pitched annoying voices, beautiful deep voices, great timbered voices, or they can sound like nails on a chalk board. They can sound intelligent, and they can sound clueless. Dialects, accents, and education can all be understood aurally.

Blogger relationships are based upon the emotional and metaphysical attachment that you have with others. The basically, by nature of the technology, circumvent all physically judgements and impressions immediately. The blogosphere allows, in a very unique way, for relationships to be created on the highest level of intimacy before you ever meet them. Think about it, all of your closest friends and best relationships have that quality of metaphysicality and emotion after you deal with the senses and the getting to know the person, and that's when the relationship becomes sacred. Those are great relationships.

And when you spend enough time learning about someone in blogland, you already have that relationship.

fda writes:

I have had a panic disorder and suffered from anxiety for about 5 years now. I go through small bouts of depression, and feel worthless more times than I feel good. Recently I have taking a liking to a certain man...more than a liking I would say, and things are great for us. I feel like I've attached myself though, I've become dependant on him to make me feel better about myself. I guess the advice I am seeking, if there is any type of advice one can be given for this sort of thing, is how do I still keep what I've got going with this guy--without being so dependant on him. Love is fleeting, and for people like me, the hurt dependancy is not something I wanted to burden him or myself with. I've tried cutting back time with him, but distance makes the heart grow fonder I've learned. Haha. I'm in a lose-lose situation I feel...last night was the first night in 3 months that I didn't speak with him, and I couldn't sleep. What's a girl to do...?

J5 says:

You're clearly going through a difficult time, because you've found a medication that works for you, and it's very hard to control that urge to induldge in it when it helps so much. What I think is truly impressive is your analysis of not wanting to be so co-dependent for his sake and for yours.

Panic disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression are very finely interwoven demons. I say this to numerous people who battle it, and they've heard it before, but there's an element of truth to it:

It's mostly in your mind.

Now, I know you're shaking your head and already being defensive, thinking that I have no idea how hard it is. Actually, I have a better idea than you might understand, but the point is you already know that there's something out there that isn't chemical that helps you. This wonderful man in your life clearly is helping you in a way that's either direct, indirect, or a combination thereof. What you need to think about is What is he doing that I'm not doing for myself?

Most likely, he's aiding you in changing your thought process about situations and life in general. He's affirming the fact that you're important, and that there's safety zone for you where you can always find solace. He's given you a glimpse into what it's like to be even-keeled, and that's amazing. Enjoy and revel in that, but use that impressive analysis of situations you clearly seem to behold, and turn it on yourself with objectivity and the intent of change. Don't fear that change, because with a disorder or two, change usually means for the better.

I would suggests analyzing with supreme objectivity frequently for a few days. Why do you feel this way? What trigger this reaction? Why am I freaking out? But avoid the cyclic mentality of beating yourself up about it, and truly find answers that benefit you and don't harm your state. After you've done this for a bit, begin to fight the thought patterns.

A brief little digression here for the sake of comprehension: The brain is, for the sake of simplicity, composed of neurons and synaptic connections. As you learn things and behaviors, the synaptic connections grow stronger electro-chemically, so that a charge is more likely to follow that path. For instance, if you smell a perfume and associate that with your mother for years of your life, whenever you randomly run into that perfume again, that pathway is strengthened and the memory is accessed.

Now, when you've suffered with a disorder for a long period of time, all of those pathways are strong. It becomes difficult to NOT react in that fashion to various stimuli. So when the time comes, and you react that way, you have to backtrack to the thought of the stimulus, and FORCE your mind to think a different and more positive way.

In these situations, you must start small. For instance, say for the sake of example you had a anxiety about spiders. First, you would reason, Why am I afraid of spiders? Next, you would run into one and have a panicked reaction. Then you would stop yourself, backtrack, and think, I have no reason to be afraid, I wonder what it looks like up close. Then, you would force yourself to believe that you're interested in how it looks, check it out, and then remove yourself from the situation before you can react negatively again. Praise yourself. Return to the situation in your mind and see it objectively. Rinse. Repeat.

It's a difficult process, but it winds up being effective as you use it on a day to day, subject to subject basis. Consider it like an experiment in mind control. It winds up being fun and beneficial at the same time.

I would also suggest that you get counceling to help you through this process, and maybe medication to help you through the initial phases, if you're not already in treatment.

Kate the Peon wants to know:

Dear J5,

Is it healthy to develop crushes on blog-friends, knowing you may never meet? I find myself constantly craving attention from a certain blogpal, and it seems as if the interest is returned. We've never met; live in different states; and are most likely quite different from how we view each other. Is this kind of fascination helpful or hurtful?

J5 replies:

A lot of my answer is in my response to Catt's question above, however, I'll try to tackle your last question separately.

Is it helpful? I think it can be, if it's opening a part of you that you tend to shelter or haven't fully identified with. It's nice to have those butterflies and feel envigorated again.

Is it hurtful? I think it feasibly could be if you develop too much of an attachment and it can't work out.

The truth is, this is a hard question to answer for two reasons: 1) I don't really know the nature of this "crush" and how it pertains to you and affects your daily life. I also don't know the amount of reciprocity those feelings are getting. 2) I'm wondering about the same question myself. I'll have to get back to you if I find the answer later.

Inanna is wondering:

Dear J5:

Although I've been told I have a great personality, I find it very difficult to "be myself" in social situations. I often feel like the third wheel and although I've been told I'm attractive, when I'm out, I don't really attract any attention. I feel like I'm overlooked all the time. How can I just "be myself" and if you were looking for a nice, good-looking, intelligent, single girl, where would you hang out??

I know the questions aren't supposed to be about you but was just asking your opinion on where the boys are...

J5 says:

Being yourself is sometimes an un-easy thing. Always the fear of rejection or humilation tends to pop up, and one will hinder themselves. I used to be shy, and learned that most people truly are themselves. Here's a path I suggest taking.

First of all, when you go out, remember that you have nothing to lose. You, as yourself, shouldn't fear being rejected by people who don't actually enjoy you, because hey, you don't want them anyway. So remember that you don't have to perform for anyone.

Secondly, overcompensate. Pretend that everyone else is shy and you have to set them all at ease. A good way to do this is throw a little party at your house, with groups that won't necessarily mesh at all. Work it out and make it happen to the best of your abilities. You'll find that it's difficult, but that it's actually a really fun exercise. I once threw a party with 7 girls I had seen recently, and 50 or so other people that didn't mesh. It was a hit, and I felt like a champ.

Thirdly, sometimes when you feel really uneasy, it pays to over develop who you really are. Sarcasm, overzealous cheeriness, and interest in people always pays off.

Fourth, once these things are worked and developed, you'll wind up finding that you don't even have to talk that much. People will wind up talking and coming to you. It removes the approach necessity, which is fun too. But to get here, you have to make sure you've approached many and put yourself out. It just gets easier.

Lastly, remember, who cares? You're out to have fun, and fun is for you. Others will join, or they won't, but in the end, you'll always enjoy yourself. And that's the trick, enjoy yourself, and everything else places last.

As for where I would seek a nice, good-looking, intelligent, single girl, I wouldn't have the foggiest idea where to start. Well, actually, maybe a library, the grocery store (puts me out to meet people), a bar that isn't a spectacle, a dance club, anywhere. Hell, I'd go to a gay bar to meet one of them. They're rare birds. The important thing is to meet as many people as I can, and if something falls on my lap, great. Also, having dinner parties, board game nights, etc., are great ways to get people to know each other, and have them bring others into the mix. It extends your knowledge, as well as possible playing grounds.

Just don't spend all your time looking for something that you may find within yourself.

Jay seeks an answer:

Is there an afterlife, and if so, what form does it take?

J5 steps on the soap box:

This is a great, but tough question. I just wonder how serious it was, but I'll answer it seriously nonetheless.

A wise man once told me that there are four things you need in life to be happy, and that the journey is trying to balance them all equally. These four things are:

1) Mental Health
2) Physical Health
3) The Pursuit of Knowledge
4) Spirituality

I think a quest for answers to questions like these is important. My beliefs range from parts of Christianity to Buddhism to Taoism to New Age to Science. I have a belief in something that's a super-consciousness, sort of like an overall energy of everyone's mind and soul. I consider that to be many things as one presence, that I call a god. I think the afterlife is generally what we hold it to be. How does this hold up in my mind?

When someone is passing away, they tend to see a "bright light" at the end of a tunnel and their life flashes by. This is a brain thing, neurons firing all over the place. Thus the science.

Christianity in that the mindset and some of the moral structure appeal and make sense to me. The teachings of Christ, no matter what your religion and if you believe he was the son of God or not, are amazing and truly inspiring.

Buddhism works in the one with nature, super-consciousness, possible reincarnation idea (I'm not wholly sure about multiple lives though).

New Age in the healing the body with the mind and the soul, and living a more simple, earthly, homeopathic lifestyle.

So yes, I believe there's an afterlife, but I believe it's beyond our comprehension. I don't believe in hell, because I think lessons learned in life have a ripple effect and teach everyone everything. Maybe we come back to fully learn, maybe we don't, but we all are intertwined. I don't believe that "God", however you define that deity, is vengeful or judgemental, but all loving.

I don't necessarily believe in any religion, because I think religion is a method of control and follows the old ideals of gathering a small community together for support and comfort. There are few small communities left. I think spirituality, and that identity, is very personal and that religious structure is there for solace and comfort as needed.

I'm gonna go hug some trees now, because I sound like a sally. But I think that's fundamentally what I believe from all I've read and pursued and learned in my time.

Kat asks:

Is there such a thing as fate, and if so, what does it have against me?

J5 says:

No, I don't think that there is such a thing as fate. I think that's largely a religious creation meant to control people into following a certain path. I think that life is full of signs and coincidences, and that it's important to watch for them and understand them as they come to pass. They're there to help you grow, thrive, survive, and be happy. Fate implies to me that we're locked into a path and there's no changing it. Signs to me mean you choose your path, but the optimum one is there if you look for it.

Or maybe fate is calling you to Connecticut, who knows.


Thanks everyone for your questions. I'm fully exhausted from my replies. I really hope they're helpful, but I hope they at least gave you some enjoyment at the bare minimum.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Dear J5,

I find in my daily life that I wind up giving advice to people pretty frequently. I'll get phone calls at all hours from people who think I have the answers. Apparently, they're satisfied customers, because I always get more phone calls from them.

I've also been curious as to what it would be like to have an advice column, because it must be interesting to get all kinds of mail. So here's the plan:

The first five people to either comment with or email me valid questions about life or themselves (not about me), will get a post dedicated to them along with the answers. I just figure this might be interesting, and everyone might learn something. Maybe I'll be really stumped too. The race is on!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Odd Searches

Well, it's Saturday night, so I'm pretty confident that most of you won't catch this until Monday. Currently, I'm laying in bed with my laptop, not feeling so hot, so I figured I'd just tell you about some of the funnier searches that have brought up this blog.

1) lost dog joke castrated blind one eye lucky
This was a search somebody did on Google (see, I'm on page two), which basically triggered the ...answers to the name Lucky article. This isn't a huge leap, it must have been someone looking for that joke.

2) upset queasy belly
This was another Google search. What's strange isn't that I'm listed (it basically lists the June archives), but that I'm ranked 5th on that search. Why would that be? Apparently I'm cornering the market on queasy stomachs. Good for me. Actually, one of Grife's articles was a contributing factor to that search.

3) dentures "Dolly Parton"
This was some crazy person doing a search on Yahoo. What the hell do these two things have in common? Apparently somebody thinks she's got more to her than what most people pay attention to. And yes, I ranked 15th on this search, because it brought up this article, which mentions both dentures, and, of course, Dolly Parton.

It's a strange world out there, and apparently, I have a blog that keeps it interested.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

J5's "Love" Poems Part I

Ok, some of you here requested, other's didn't. I'm not done yet, but I figured I'd throw the first few up, the ones off the top of my head. WARNING: Some of these are really crude, so turn back now for those who like my PG stuff.

Your flirting, warming, and I accept
Shave your back, and don’t get wet.

Anonymous you must stand
To protect us all and our great land
And on the streets clean up the mess
And then go home to wear a dress

Salacious tenacious, sensually you switch
But we all know… you’re just a bitch.

Shoe addictions and shopping sprees
You spend money like it grows on trees
To get a rich man to pay for these
You’d better get pads for your knees

The ladies swoon with your ingenuity
Too bad you need tweezers just to pee

Your splendor, wind, and I, the eagle,
I hope to God that you are legal.

On your beauty, I am stuck
Let’s get you drunk so we can _ _ _ _
Tahiti stories, smooth skin, grace
Here’s “mango juice” just for your face

"Love" Poems

I found these in my AIM away message folder. I had totally forgotten about them, and I think they're pretty funny. The wonder of cynicism!

These are entries to a competition asking for a rhyme with the most romantic first line but least romantic second line:

Love may be beautiful, love may be bliss
But I only slept with you, because I was pissed

I thought that I could love no other
Until, that is, I met your brother

My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife:
Marrying you screwed up my life

Of loving beauty you float with grace
If only you could hide your face

Kind, intelligent, loving and hot
This describes everything you are not

I love your smile, your face, and your eyes.
Damn, I'm good at telling lies!

My love you take my breath away
What have you stepped in to smell this way

My feelings for you no words can tell
Except for maybe "go to hell"

What inspired this amorous rhyme?
Two parts vodka, one part lime.

I see your face when I am dreaming
That's why I always wake up screaming

Roses are red, violets are blue,
sugar is sweet, and so are you.
But the roses are wilting, the violets are dead,
the sugar bowl's empty and so is your head.

I want to feel your sweet embrace
But don't take that paper bag off of your face

Source: Unknown.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Sociology of Blogging

A little while ago, I had someone ask me a really tough question, which segwayed into a multi-faceted discussion. The question was basically questioning the value of internet dating, but in the moment, I also brought up blogging. My explanation at the time was at best weak and at worst, added to the confusion. Here, however, I will take a crack at some of the questions I didn't have apt answers for, and some of the things that I believe are important sociological changes that are occurring due to our rapid advances in technology. Bare with me here, because this may be a long one.

Isn't it hard to understand people from typing?

Yes and no. From my experience, you usually understand the subtext of what someone is saying when the other person is more similar. Think of it this way: when you have a really good friend, sometimes you'll have an understanding of each other's thoughts without even speaking a word. I know that my good friend will have a certain reaction to something, and can almost hear his response in my mind, often when he isn't even around. Subtextual understanding comes from experience, commonalities, patience, and a little insight. Sometimes, I'll have commenter say something that I totally misunderstand, sometimes it will just be two words and I'm rolling around laughing at wasn't said, like a truly exceptional comedy routine.

Well, it's easy to lie on the internet, how do you know someone isn't lying?

You'll commonly hear horror stories about people meeting an internet date and finding out that person is nothing like their picture, and sometimes not even of the same gender. People have more paranoia about this than they do in face to face situations because they tend to think they can sense or smell someone who's full of something from a mile away. This also applies back to the idea of subtext, in that it's partially an insight or two and some caution, just like one should play it in face to face dating.

But blogging is different. As a blogger, one generally winds up developing some type of audience, either through a commenting section or from reading a central blog. A lot of the audience/commenters on this blog that are consistent tend to either be people I know in "real" life, people referred from my link in commenting on other blogs, or people who decided to add me to their blog list. You give, and you generally will receive, even if it isn't a one-to-one relationship.

This audience begins to have expectations of you, and also starts to learn about you, as a person, by the quality, quantity, and subject matter of your writings. I've seen everything from psychopaths to neurotics to people I wish I could share a beer with to moral beacons. There are informative blogs, funny blogs, serious blogs, dark blogs, morally devoid blogs, Iraqi bloggers, soldier blogs, inspiring blogs, perverted blogs, frighteningly intelligent blogs, and frighteningly bad blogs. I've seen bad grammar, bad punctuation, bLoGgErS tHaT tYpE cApItAl lEtTeRs eVeRy OtHeR lEtTeR (a HUGE pet peeve of mine, how do you DO that, and WHY????), grammatical perfection, spelling perfection, and people who will go around and quote writing manuals to demonstrate and point out errors. The really cool part about this world is that there is so much to access, and now with the random blog search bar on the top of every blog, it's really easy to just peruse.

As long winded as this section has gotten, what I'm trying to say is yes, you may be lied to, but maybe no more than what you would find at your local supermarket, on the news, in the media, or at a bar. You have to live your life a little out there, and the same applies in blogland.

I bet most of the people who blog are really weird, aren't they?

Yep. I'm a really wacky guy. In fact, most of the bloggers out there are really weird, and that's exactly what makes them interesting. Who wants to be typical anyway? The idea of blogging, much like the real world, is to make your mark and be an individual. Sure, there are those bloggers that may have social problems, but technology has allowed them to have an outlet. There are bloggers out there who are incredibly good looking, witty, funny, and amazing people that can't get dates. There are bloggers out there who cheat on their wives and write about it. There are also bloggers out there that are married, have kids, and write about their daily lives to have a record for those kids when they grow up. All walks of life make for an interesting medley. So if you're worried about weird and want to stick to conformity, watch your ESPN or CNN, do your 9-5, and don't spread your wings. Stick to what makes you happy, or find greater happiness by reaching out into the world.

What do you write about?

Typically, I try to keep my writings about happy stuff, and stay away from darker stuff. I also try to avoid the usage of naughty language, and don't really touch on sexuality as such. I'm basically a really PG blog, because I'd rather have it accessible to a larger audience. Plus, my Mom reads this stuff.

Do you actually have blog friends?

I certainly like to think so. Maybe even a fan or two.

So what's it like, having blog friends and doing that?

Mostly really nice, like a group of people who are somehow supportive and funny. Sometimes it's annoying trying to think of something interesting to write about, and it can't really be disheartening to be uninspired. My writing is more natural now, however, and I've found I have a literary voice. It may not be very loud, per se, but it's a voice nonetheless.

Are they a bunch of geeks?

No, but we geeks are a larger cross section in this social group than in most.

What if I want to start a blog? What are good tips?

Well, having taken my lumps, I'd say there are a few keys to creating a worthwhile and popular blog. First of all, pick an actually theme for your blog, and try to adhere to it as judiciously as possible. Some people talk about their jobs, some people talk about their industry, some of news in their area, etc. Personal blogs tend to not get the same amount of traffic, but they can also be some of the more entertaining ones. Some great writers are out there that just write about their day to day.

It's also important to have an easy to read design, and I would absolutely suggest having comments. Haloscan is what many use, although BlogSpot has commenting ability built in as well. Commenting is important because it makes you much more likely to want to write more, knowing you have an audience, even though the audience can be annoying or crazy sometimes. There are very few times I don't enjoy reading the comments, but even the negative ones are good sometimes too, at least in my point of view.

I would also suggest going around and reading other blogs, and commenting on the ones you find interesting. Inevitably, someone else reading the comments or the author will stop by, and your audience expands. It's the old word of mouth marketing technique that works best.

An important fact to remember, as well, is that you write for yourself first. Your audience comes second. Unless you're trying to do something to get a bigger audience, in which case it's totally cool to sell out.

Lastly, have fun, and write well. You may learn something about yourself. I've learned more about me and people in the world from reading and writing, and it's made me more prone to paying attention to the daily things that happen, because hey, you never know if you just experienced a great story.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Well Wednesday

Well, the weekend has arrived, and although I typically don't do much of anything on the weekends (I'm out and about during the week) I thought I'd share a little pic using this Hello program to upload.

This is a pic of me at the beach on Wednesday night. It was pitch black outside.

Anyway, earlier on, I had gotten an idea from a friend to go down to one of the local beaches and have a little BBQ. A town below me has a really nice beach, with concrete charcoal grills for public use. I thought it was a good idea, but I had a few things to take care of prior to being able to join.

Well, I called that friend and he had gotten to busy to pick up the phone, so I arranged some others to come down, and I went and got food, beer, and charcoal for the procession. We hung out there for hours, cooked food, and talked. I got on the cell and made a phone call or 20, and got some more people. It never got to be too many, but a little cycling in and out served for fresh talks and good laughs. I brought my fiber optic frisbee, so we could toss it at night, and my buddy, the idea guy, eventually came down and brought his acoustic, so we sang and listened and just all around had a great time.

I encourage everyone to try to do something light hearted this weekend. Consider it your assignment. Get a BBQ going, talk, laugh, and make sure to remember that people, moments, and good laughs are what get us through the day to day.

Have a great weekend everyone.
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Grass Is Always Greener

I went over to my Dad's house about a week ago to mow his lawn while he's in Florida with my Grandmother. The strange part is that he's been away for about two months and the thing is barely overgrown. I wonder if maybe one of his neighbors got irritated with it overgrown and decided to take care of it themselves.

As I'm going to work, I notice this hoodlum looking kid walking by, giving me the eye over. I say "Whaddup" using a familiar dialect of the English language known as Ebonix in order to retain my street status.

It's important to call attention to two things here. First of all, I grew up in NYC, so I learned how to mingle street slang with my education. It creates an interesting duality when you can say something like, "I had mad epiphanies last night, dogg. It was some seriously wacked out conundrum, but keep it on the DL." Ok, that was horrible, but you get the idea. Secondly, my father's house has been broken into and robbed a few times, which is weird because he lives in a good neighborhood, right next to a high school. Therein, however, may be the problem. So whenever I see a hoodlum lookin' fella around, I get my street cred and say my thing, kinda like pissing on the lawn to mark my territory.

So anyway, I'm just going about my business, in the middle of some grass with nothing around when something hurts. I figure, illogically, that something kicked up behind me, because it's not common to get random pains on the cheek of your ass. I'm also trying to play cool while this dude is giving me the eye. So I slyly give my rump a little bit of a rub just to take the edge off. Keep it cool, Johnny, keep it cool...

All of a sudden I feel a pain in my calf. What the hell is that? And then, the noise. That horrible, shiver-up-the-spine noise.


I let go of the lawn mower and swat by my head. BAM! Another pain in my leg, and soon, more and more all over my lower body. I yell like an absolute lunatic, barely registering the fact that the lawn mower has taken awhile to shut off, and that the hoodlum is looking at me in a way that says, I will NEVER walk down this street again. I'm tearing my shirt off while I'm running into the house. Unbuckling my pants. Bzzzzz. Bzzzzzz. Pinch. Pinch.

Now, I'm officially yelling. GODDAMNIT GET THE HELL OFF OF ME!!! Shoes, socks, clothes, all completely off. My dad, however, in the effort to conserve waste, has shut all the hot water off, and I remember this popping into my head briefly as I turn on the cold, COLD shower and jump in. All clear.

Visibly shaken, cold, wet, and violated, I walk downstairs and pick up my phone. "Dad, I'm not gonna get your lawn done today. I got stung by a few bees." He tells me about the Benadryl spray in the bathroom cabinet and suggests I might want to look into an application. I go in the bathroom, and hear the buzzing. "I'm gonna wait awhile, Pop, let things calm down. I'll call you later."

In that bathroom, flying around, is the one yellow jacket that survived my thrashing, slashing, and dousing of water. That one damned little thing. I grab a newspaper, roll it up, and I'm attempting to gingerly work my way in the bathroom. It lands on the wall cabinet, and I take a shot, but it flies up into the lights. Crack... fizzle... One light down, and I don't care. I wait, and wait, finally getting my moment to stun it on the wall. It falls to the sink counter. At this point, my nerves are done and now I'm pissed, because this yellow jacket is going to pay for all it's kind and all the hive. Whack...WHACK...WHACKWHACKWHACKWHACK Over and over. I think I swatted it about 20 times AFTER it was visibly dead. Huffing and puffing, I scoop it up, into the toilet and flush.

I win.

Well, I finally just pack up and go to the pharmacy, but I'm already limping and acting a little funny. Keep in mind, I'm not really allergic to stings, but I do have a little reaction. I ask the pharmacist for a recommendation and she cheerily comes out to show me, and notices I'm walking a little funny.

"Are you allergic to bee stings?"

"I dunno. I doubt it, I've been stung before, so I think I'm ok." This roughly translates to, "I'm an idiot and go looking for bees, just to have a little adventure in my life. I hate myself." I can see this registering in her eyes.

"Good luck, this should help."

"Do you have the spray kind?" I ask.

"Oh, um, sure. Right here."


I wobble away quickly, not really wanting to take the time to chat, pay for my stuff, and head over to see a friend at work. By now, I'm walking really funny, and I'm getting light headed. I walk up to the counter at the YMCA and say hello. She's working with another girl there, and the girl says, "Oh, as you were walking up, I was thinking either this guy is really stoned, or he's totally crazy." I've never met this chick before. I smile at her just because I don't really want to tell this stupid girl how Darwin postulated that she wouldn't breed.

I hang out there for a bit and head home, because I'm pretty woosy. I go to check the results of my battle, and find out I have stings numbering like so:

1 on the left ankle
3 on the left calf
1 on the right ankle
1 on the right calf
2 on my ass, 1 inch apart (these were the ones that swelled up the worst)

I had trouble sitting down for most of the day and night, but I managed. The worst part is, now that it's over a week later, I'm itching like a madman, and it just won't stop. I'm starting to wear holes in my legs. Ah, the joys of nature have taught me another valuable lesson....

THEY win.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Two Roads Diverged

I just wanted to let everyone know that Grife has moved on to a blog of his own, Beyond All o' This. Although he's busy and won't be able to add anything for a few days, go over and show some love for my buddy.

Secondly, some of you have astutely noticed the new banner and picture and redesign of this site. Yes, I made that flash and picture all by myself. Observe me beam with geeky pride... now.

I've also added a site or two to my list, so take a look to see if you're on there. If you're not, patience, you will be eventually.

I also recognize that I have been more than neglectful with new posts. I apologize for this, because I actually have a few on the back burner, still evolving, but I haven't really felt inspired or motivated for much as of late. Soon enough, however, you'll have fresh verbiage to parse over, so fret thee not.

Thanks for stopping by. Let me know what you think of the banner. I need ego stroking sometimes. Think of me as a dog that needs the occasional pet to continue his good behavior.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Is This Really Me?

The Playboy
Random Gentle Sex Master (RGSMm)

Clean. Smooth. Successful. You're The Playboy.

You're spontaneous, and your energy is highly contagious. Guys therefore find you fun to be around, and girls find you compelling. You have lots of sex, and you manage it all without seeming cheap or being hurtful. Well done. You probably know karate, too.

It's obvious to us, and probably everyone else, that you're after physical rather than emotional relationships, but you're straight up with potential partners. And if a girl you want isn't into something casual, it's no big deal. You move on. BEFORE sleeping with her. Usually. At least you try to. Such control is rare. If you're feeling unfulfilled, maybe you should raise your standards. New conquests will only be satisfying if there's a possibility of rejection.

CONSIDER: The Dirty Little Secret, The Nurse

I wonder if this is accurate. Try it yourself.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Poll Results

Ok everyone, here are the results, winners in bold with the number of votes:

Kiss Sleep With Throw Off A Cliff
Sloth 32 33 59
Celti 32 32 50
Fleece 29 30 25
Lovisa 44 42 30
Zelda 22 31 32
Leese 31 24 24
Aimee 29 26 23
Jenn 25 20 23
Kat 22 26 24

Total Votes 266 264 290

Kiss Sleep With Throw Off A Cliff
Jack 28 60
Jay 23 80
JP 15 7
AJ 5 10
Kevin 20 2
Johnny5 46 8
Dastard 26 83
Michael 43 8

Total Votes 206 249 165

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

End Of Poll Soon

Alright everyone, I've decided to shut down the polling after tonight (Tuesday), so if anyone wants to add any more votes, please do so.

Our regular programming will return after these messages.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Let's See What You Think Reloaded

Ok, so I've made the girls list (in absolutely no particular order). I had a whole set of criteria to make it democratic, and that generally held up, but I still had to make a choice or two. If anyone wants off and another wants to be on in trade, then just post for removal and the next to comment after if they want in is in. There were others I wish could've been included, but alas, I'm only allowed to give 9 choices. I'm sorry I couldn't add those that aren't on there.

Other than that, let the chips fall where they may! I'll call off the voting sometime next week and keep the results in hard print then.

Good luck ladies.