A Blog About Nothing

Much like Seinfeld was a show about nothing, that’s how I feel today.  So I’m going to just sort of freely associate from one thing to another. It might seem like I have ADHD as I skip around. Before someone says something, I’m not poking fun at the condition. I know, I am fortunate to be able to focus without outside aid or prescriptions. Really it’s amazing that anyone can even be focused these days. There are so many distractions everywhere. Preemptive apologies, (see 3rd Sentence) for one. Truthfully I am not out to offend anyone so please accept this as a blanket apology for anything I might say to offend you in my following thoughts.

George Carlin was once commenting on States mottos on License Plates. NH has “Live Free or Die!”, while Idaho has “Famous Potatoes”. He said he liked to think America was somewhere in the middle of those  but probably closer to Famous Potatoes.

You know I didn’t spell out New Hampshire above because it’s to long. I know, don’t say it. But it switches my gears to the topic of abbreviations and or acronyms. Abbreviations such as NH for a state, or abbr. an abbreviation for abbreviation tend to make written words less cumbersome (although the word cumbersome seems cumbersome to some).  Acronyms can just make things insane. Not all to be sure, but many times, it just makes communication more cryptic than communicative. For instance if someone said “POTUS just got the SITREP from the FBI and CIA about the AMA‘s take on ED reported in an Op-Ed piece about CINCPAC and the effect it has had on NATO. You’ would say “Huh?”.  Translated The President of the United States just got the situation report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and The Central Intelligence Agency about the American Medical Association’s take on Erectile Dysfunction reported in a piece opposite the Editorial page about the Commander in Chief Pacific and what effect it has had on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Some of these acronyms have become synonymous with what they represent in their own right such as the aforementioned Op-Ed, POTUS and NATO.

I really only threw in one that was invented, which was done by the pharmaceutical industry. They love acronyms for disease. That way you don’t feel so bad about discussing it with your doctor. No one wants to say “I’m impotent!” so they gave it a longer name, Erectile Dysfunction. But wait saying your erection was malfunctioning still wouldn’t get you talking. Let’s just call it ED. Kinda like VD was short for Venereal Disease or Valentines Day which is when a lot of people got it. But even VD became too negative so it became Sexually Transmitted Disease or STD. For some reason the more words you have the less it stings, because it becomes more convoluted and even more so when they break it down to only consonants.

I’m sure a lot of these drugs help with diseases or their symptoms but sometimes the side-effects sound worse than the disease.  May cause explosive diarrhea and sausage fingers.  No thanks I’ll stick with the heartbreak of Psoriasis.

Psoriasis. It’s spelled with a P but it’s silent. Lots  of words and names like that. When I worked in Customer service and I had to spell out model or part numbers on the phone, I would use such words as a goof or to see if they were paying attention. “OK The model number is PEC27. That is P as in  Pneumonia, E as in Eugene,  C as in Czar 2 7. Got that? Good!”

Never really understood how I got into customer service. Oh wait I remember I needed the money. Not great money. But still, it was money. People always told me “Do what you love.” What I love is making money.  I have worked a lot of places some good some bad, and had some really crappy jobs too. But it taught me one thing. Treat the janitor the same as the CEO. Because no job is beneath anyone. If you’re out there making instead of taking hold your head up. I worked for a period of time at  FedEx Freight as a part time Loading Dock worker. One day we had a VP come in and tell us how he started where I and a great many others were and how he worked his way up. I know he was trying to inspire but I took it as “Look how great I am.” I said to the guys I worked with at the time. “Hey look at me! I started as a Driver Apprentice and managed to work my way down to Part Time Dockworker!” They knew what I meant.

So I’ve been carrying on here for a bit and I’m sort of out of Ideas. But it’s ok because for all I have written I really blogged about nothing which was my intention. If you have something to say about nothing, please feel free to comment.

 

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Resident Curmudgeon and Wheaton’s Law

Over the years the last 6 or 7 I have evolved into a Curmudgeon, a person who is always cranky, crotchety, or cantankerous. (That was a nice example of alliteration IMHO). It seems when you get to this stage you find yourself wanting to say Why in my Day!… you don’t always get  current cultural references like who’s in the hottest band and people don’t always get yours. The WHO? is usually the response, I get when I mention a band like Supertramp. Makes me feel like Andy Rooney. (Google him kids.)  I even have the eyebrows now, but I trim mine.  I guess I was always destined to become this . When I was a kid I said to a friend of mine “Your mom doesn’t like me much.” He said “No that’s not true but she thinks you’re obstinate.” I replied “Obstinate. I like it.”
It’s true. Sometimes I’m stubborn just to be stubborn and I still like it. Being a Curmudgeon is not really a bad thing even though the word sounds like it is. Are you a Republican or a Democrat? No. Third party, Curmudgeon.  I think by and large most of us are destined to it. After being on this earth for 52 years now my cynicism far outweighs my naivete. I’m older and I’ve realized time is a finite commodity.  I have no time for Bullshit. if that’s what your spewing peddle it elsewhere.I used to think had all the time in the world, so I used to have a high tolerance for BS. All kinds of BS, like Heinz Ketchup ‘s 57 varieties. For example you have Political Bullshit, which while politicians are spewing it out, it doesn’t have the artistry it once did. Whether it’s just someone’s alternative facts (See Trump Administration), or  that we must pass a law to see whats in it (See Nancy Peolsi on Obamacare). We see right through that crap now. Then there is your infinite layers of Corporate Bullshit. If you ever had a job you’ve dealt with it. “We’ve decided on a Paradigm shift with regard to how we deal with employee morale. Beatings will continue until it improves.” As we say in Jersey, “Yeah I got yaw paradigm shift Right Heea”.  “Remember we’re all on big family here. I am here for you. Unless of course you become a problem child then I’ll disown you.” Add to it DMV BS, Municipal and State BS. Another one that is a favorite, is dating and relationship Bullshit! Oh yes. I covered this in previous blogs see What is Love? or  Dating in the 21st Century. It’s endless (the BS not my Blog posts. I hope).
Actually after having looked back at some of my previous Blogs I see I have covered this topic before. I’m have not only gotten more cantankerous but also forgetful it seems. But I can’t help it I see more and more BS everyday and I just want to shout Stay off my lawn. Seriously as a wizened old man now, (You be the judge) let me say this. If you’re LGBTQ,Heteroflexible Heterosexual  pan-sexual, Sapio-sexual etc. African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, White, rich, poor, tall, short, fat, thin,  lean left, right, center, pacifist, feminist, apologist, communist, plagiarist or Methodist (See Mel Brooks  Blazing Saddles ). I don’t care. ( Think Tommy Lee Jones) Seriously I don’t care. I don’t care who or what you are. It’s your business not mine.
What I care about is if anyone directly effects my children (Hurt them you die) or ability to earn my living in a negative way (Get me fired you’re going down). The rest in no particular order: driving to slow in front of me, driving to fast, Same thing in the checkout line as far as going slow, check writers, The chatty person in front of me on any line, or near me in a theater, or next to me on a plane, screaming babies on a plane or anywhere else. In short the world would be a better place if we all try to follow, as I do, Wil Wheatons Law  “Don’t be a Dick!”
Click below for some delightful music.

What is Love?

I’ve been pondering this question for awhile. Probably my whole life but more so in the years since my divorce, and a lot more recently. Love, relationships. Do people want those things or do they just think they do? So many questions run through my mind. This may or may not make sense, because as usual I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way.

I don’t  speak for anyone but myself so here goes.

There are certain things you know but you have to really own to move forward in life. It took a long time for me to own these things. 1. I can’t make anyone happy except myself and only I can make myself happy. 2. You can’t change anyone except yourself. and 3. While I can’t change someone’s behavior, I can change how I react to it. I have lived the last 6 years owning these truths. There are good and bad things  that goes with these truths.

Probably the best thing to come out of it, I’ve discovered I’m really a great guy. I like me.  I know some people like me and some don’t and I don’t care because I like me. I am not trying to be arrogant Just I have a whole lot more self worth. Of course no one’s perfect and like everyone else I have warts and blemishes but I’m trying to work on those to my own satisfaction. I now have a very low threshold for BS which is good but can be a curse too. You see most times I detect BS because it is BS, but occasionally as wacky as someone’s story can be,it could be true and you could miss out if you dismiss them.  I have been on the opposite side of the misfired BS detector. Not much you can do.

I have  gone out with people or at least made some contact to see if there is a spark.  There have been some that it’s like a road flare and some are just wet twigs which aren’t even going to smolder. That’s all cool. But the thing is  How do you know what is lust and what isn’t. People say friends first then we’ll see. Guess what that doesn’t work. BS. I have been friends with women and guess what, they always would tell me what a great guy they met. Now if there is that spark of passion things can move along to being lovers and best friends but it seldom works the other way. Also so many of us  say no Drama please. Which usually means no drama from you but my theater company is all over this. Another one, No baggage! Baggage, your little red wagon, whatever name you choose, that is what makes us who we are. Baggage I have a friggin’ steamer trunk and so does everyone else my age.

This all comes back to our question “What is love?” More importantly what do I want. As I said our baggage made us who we are. Mine has made me cautious but impatient at the same time. Mainly I’m impatient as to how long do I need to be cautious. Do I want what everyone considers a relationship, really? Some things I know I want but have not been able to find. I want to be involved in someone’s life but not to the point where I’m “forced” to go to family functions. Emphasis on forced. I hate enforced fun. If someone has kids their kids are there own business. Meaning I’m never going to tell someone You spend to much time with them and I expect the same. No one is putting a wedge there. They can just get the hell out. Also I don’t do the change thing. I have been dressing this way for a long time. Don’t tell me what to wear. Don’t tell me what words you don’t want me to say. Essentially if you like me why are you trying to change me? Because I work a lot and have children I also can’t be with you in my every spare moment. However I will be there whenever I can and always when the chips are down. I am romantic  I’m 52 years old, but I can’t do the epic courtship John Cusak movie thing anymore. Orson Wells once described the main character in Citizen Kane as man who wants what we all want, love on his own terms.

I don’t think I answered any questions, sadly. I guess I’m an optimist because I still keep searching for the answer even though part of me thinks it’s in vain. More questions. Am I the only one who thinks this way? Should I stop looking because of all my time constraints? Am I even capable of a healthy relationship? Are my red flags accurate or am I sabotaging myself? If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

To find out the answers to these and other questions tune in again to our continuing story,  The Old and The Sedentary.

Dating in the 21st Century

Sounds a lot like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century or Duck Dodgers in the 24th and 1/2 Century but probably closer to Duck Dodgers. Recently I was telling a married friend of the trials and tribulations of dating in 2017 and she  said I should share it with everyone. Won’t hurt. Might help, and maybe give someone a chuckle. I haven’t written in a long while so I may be rusty.

Finding prospective mates is harder now. Most of the good ones are already taken and happily married. I don’t know about the rest of you but I had a lot more patience and understanding when I was kid too. Now, I try not to be too picky. Really the biggest requirement I have for dating someone is they are not batshit crazy. Quirky is OK, You know, Like Zoey Deshanel quirky not Lizzy Borden quirky.  My only other issue is families. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind them. However experience has taught me if you find a significant other’s family is nuts chances are she is too. Apple trees make apples.

The thing is, now in our online culture, even meeting is done online. It has it’s pluses and minuses. One plus is everyone knows why they are there. Everyone is searching for someone. One minus to this is some are Con-men or have some other nefarious purpose. For the most part though the biggest minus I come across is, I keep running into Batshit crazy. For example, I was speaking to a woman  on the phone. We didn’t make it to dating. That’s because she told me: “We were living in the end of days.” She also had a number of aluminum foil hat, conspiracy theories  as well.  One woman I dated got really angry with me over the fact I didn’t text her back immediately. I was driving to work.  In the course of my driving she concocted a whole series of reasons why I didn’t text her back except the real one. I told her I was driving, ’nuff said. She said I should have texted her that, it only takes a couple of seconds. Bear in mind we had 2 dates. Count them 2. I tried in vain to explain why I don’t do this. I ended it right there. She continued to text me after this several times before she got it.  

 

You can also run into serial daters. They just like  going out on dates. They have commitment issues. Serial daters love that phase of dating where everything is new, butterflies in the stomach, Magic kisses. Then they’re gone. I may or may not be afraid of commitment. But I’m not a serial dater. It sounds like too much work. Although I think I went out with a couple myself.For instance, I took a woman to dinner at a very nice restaurant.  Prior to this we had several conversations both text and by phone. Dinner went very well I thought. It was very much like our phone conversations. It felt very comfortable. When I leaned in to kiss her goodnight, she gave me the cheek.  Now I have no issue with that exactly. The issue I had been if you’ve spoken to me prior to this date. I was no different in person than on the phone. I did nothing stupid during it. So I assume she had no interest romantically, prior to the date.  I did not receive the courtesy of thank you, or even a text that said “I had a nice time last night but…”.

There’s another thing I see online, on women’s profiles. “Friends first” or “looking for long-term dating or friends”.  I never bought into that. We are on these dating sites for the same reason. We want to meet someone so we can get off dating sites. If you really want friends, wouldn’t it be a friendly gesture to respond to an email. Most don’t. But I get it. Woman are inundated with messages. So many they don’t read them all. Also I see “No Hookups! Swipe left if you want to hook-up!Etc”.  Then it says Long term or Short Term relationship. Would short-term classify as a hook-up? I’ve yet to see a woman who states on her page looking for a hook-up. The fact is we are all looking for a hook-up sooner or later. Oh yes, I know, relationship first, but then once that is going well, then there will be sex. From the woman’s perspective (at least what I’m told) you can’t have one without the other.  Otherwise whatever it is won’t last long. Actually that’s not true. No sex equals friend zone, for what can be infinity.  If there is not that spark and/or a make-out session on that first or second date it’s time to move along. Just as an experiment I might just put on my profile, “Open to LTR or Hook-up”

I’m not saying everyone was like this. I have met a number of very nice women, but for some reason, either chemistry, or our timing was just off, we just didn’t make a go of it. Then of course there are  the times you get friend zoned. That has happened more than I like to admit. You think I would have learned, but there was a 30 year gap between those occurrences. I think the 2nd time was tougher, because by then you know what you would like in a significant other, you find it, and because of inaction you lose it. It’s even more painful when you find out that early on they had that kind of interest in you. This is life, not Hollywood so you have to close that door and move along. Of course the romantic in me will always have that door cracked open just a little bit.

Now I’m no George Clooney but I’m not hideous either. For a man of 51 I think I look relatively good. ( I know what man doesn’t think that). I still have all my own hair with some grey. I have a spread  like so many my age do.  Other than that I’m funny, (which is good because women all put down “Love to Laugh”. Don’t we all?) I’m intelligent sensitive to others but still a man’s man.  I can cook, clean, do laundry yet I can still make household and automotive repairs.  That’s what I typically put down in my profile anyway. What I find amazing though is the Laundry list of qualifications that women list to date them. Height is one I see a lot of. No offense meant to short people, but I’m so glad I’m not short. It seems that this is a problem for a lot of women that are taller than average and /or like to wear heels. often wonder about priorities. “He’s 6’5″ and is an ax murderer? Cool I’ll wear my 5 inch stilettos. ”  I’m 5’11” and I have no issues with dating women shorter our taller than me. Seems everyone, men included are looking for Fit, Athletic, Active, No Drama, and no games. I have found that those who want no drama, and claim to have none of their own, create more drama for themselves than if William Shatner was performing,…. well,…. anything really. As to games, it’s all a game really. People say they want honest and blah blah blah… and no games. Guess what. Everyone is playing a game. Me I just try to keep the rules as simple as possible.

By the way, I’m not say’n. I’m just say’n. If you have a single female friend give them my regards and my phone number.

Tales From the DMV — I knew I shoulda taken a left turn at Albuquerque

Tales from the DMV! DUN DUN DUUUUN! First let me tell you today was the culmination of several trips this month to renew my CDL license. 1st attempt line to long. 2nd time the computers were down statewide. By my estimate there were at least 100 people waiting for them to come back up then wait […]

via Tales From the DMV — I knew I shoulda taken a left turn at Albuquerque

Tales From the DMV

Tales from the DMV!  DUN DUN DUUUUN!

First let me tell you today was the culmination of several trips this month to renew my CDL license. 1st attempt line to long. 2nd time  the computers were down statewide. By my estimate there were at least 100 people waiting for them to come back up then wait their turn. I was not one of them. Trip 3 was yesterday where after standing in  line to stand in line to speak to the receptionist, I was informed I must have my social security card.

I made my logical arguments to no avail as I do not typically carry that item on my person. I was sent to Window 8. Window 8 if you do not know is where they send troublemakers like myself. Oh yes I’ve been there before at other DMVs. It’s always the same number. I think it’s symbolic. If you lay  a number 8 on it’s side you have the symbol for infinity, which is how long you will be there, to infinity and beyond. When I was finally allowed to speak to (a supposed)Supervisor I pleaded my case using the simple fact that nowhere on the website or paperwork I’d been sent did it mention this requirement. It wasn’t in the pamphlet on the 6 points of ID that they publish and sent me. Regardless she insisted that for a CDL you must  have that and that things have changed since I received my CDL. “It’s the LAW. You can call Trenton if you like” she said.  What a counter punch! I mean no one wants to call Trenton. It’s worse than going to DMV in person. Trust me. I’m sure 9 out of 10 people won’t do it. Guess what? I’m that 10th person. I left there but not before exclaiming “What’s next Blood and DNA samples?!!” My equivalent of “I have not yet begun to fight!”

I’ll admit I was put off at first but this was battle. I already killed half a day at the DMV. What as a few more hours waiting in the black abyss of DMV hold?I called and surprisingly only waited on hold for 20 minutes. A young woman answered my calll. i explained the situation to her. Surprise number 2 She said “Your right. You only need it the first time you get a license.” Then asked if she could put me on hold. After a few minutes she came back and said that she called the location I went to and they confirmed to her what they had told me but another facility nearby didn’t require it and I should go there. Yes folks I responded the same way you all just did reading that. So I asked “Why does 1 do it 1 way and the other does it another. She said all DMV locations are different and so they can do that. I read that as she had just as much trouble trying to convince the person at the facility as I did. I thanked her and prepared for another round at the alternate location.

I went down there at about 2:00 pm and was greeted with a line with perhaps 100 people waiting and they were on number 114. I inquired with a man working there about ID and he confirmed the telephone representative had told me. I was happy. However in the next breath I was advise that I was welcome to wait but would probably not be seen by the end of the day at 5:30. He advised coming back in the morning. i decided to take his advice.

So this morning I got up at extra early so I could be there by 7 am. The doors open at 8am. I was the 2nd person on line at 7:07am. The gentleman in front of me had been there yesterday afternoon and was shut out by 5:30. By 7:25 there were 10 people in line. Then at 7:30 there had to be 50 people lined up. Finally at 8 they opened. I felt like I found a golden ticket in Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory. When I sat next to the gentleman who got there ahead of me there was another guy in front of him. I’m guessing he never left the night before. Do you know they only had one guy doing licenses for that entire crowd. I waited 30 minutes too get my license once inside. That’s about 6 an hour gang. BTW you are not allowed to smile when getting your photo. The guy in front of me had to do a retake. I had no such trouble. Apparently frowning is OK. Well anyway I’m good for 4 more years. Unless I lose it like I did a year ago but that’s a story for another day on Tales from the DMV.

Nourishing Mother

Been a while folks. What’s the title about?  Nourishing mother is the translation for the Latin expression Alma Mater. I never Knew why we called our school that but I think I may have an idea now.

I went to my Alma Mater, Saturday for one last look around. She is slated for the wrecking ball in the near future or so we’ve been told. First some history for those who don’t know about it. Don Bosco Vocational and Technical High  School was her name in 1983 when I graduated. It was an all boys Catholic High School founded in 1948 and run by Salesian Priests and Brothers, the order founded by St. Don Bosco. In 2002, due to dwindling enrollment and the high cost to maintain it, the School was closed. The Diocese of Paterson sold her to the city as it did with many other Catholic schools in the area due to mounting debt. She was re-named Don Bosco Technical Academy and serves as middle-school for the overflow of students at Paterson Public Schools Numbers 5 and 27.

History lesson over except for maybe my own which I will share. When I went to Don Bosco all those years ago I remember not wanting to go at all. My reasons at the time were clear enough, I thought, at least the ones I gave my parents, to no avail. Dress Code was number 1. I was a public school kid.  While I pretty much followed the rules, Catholic School rules in general and the Dress code in particular seemed draconian. Number 2 No football team. Football is really the only sport I follow. I wanted to play. and last but by no means least NO GIRLS! Okay let’s face it 1 and 2 were for the folks.  Reason 3 was really the primary concern of that Red Blooded American 13 year  old boy in 1979.  1979? Geez!

My father went to DBT, as we alumni affectionately call it. So did my brother but only for 1 year . Somehow he transferred himself out. Don’t ask me how. But because of this fact my parents were adamant that I attend DBT, no ifs, ands, or buts. As I remember it, at the time I hated going there. I always hated being forced to do things, still do.But with age comes wisdom. Looking back it wasn’t the school I hated. It was adolescence that I hated. Too old for some things, not old enough for others. Looking back I have very fond memories of those days. Even when things didn’t go the way I wanted them to, it made for some fun times and I wouldn’t change any of it.

Freshman year.Never was I more terrified than the first day of Freshman year in high school. Sure I knew some guys going here from grade school but friendships change. We were all in the same boat. We were all the new kid. It’s just I didn’t see it that way then. Met one of my best friends that day. Still friends 37 years later. Among the rules we had to adhere to was we must be clean shaven. Failure to shave at home could mean dry shaving in the Boys restroom with a rusty razor. Suit coat and ties were the order of the day as far as dress went. Corduroy was ok but Denim was right out. Got many a detention for my Denim jacket.

Fighting we were told would result in suspension. I get that now. They had a lot of testosterone to control in that school. I had a knack for getting into fights prior to High School. I had, by my count 3 altercations, while at Don Bosco. Never got suspended.  to be sure we were talked to about these things. But we were talked to as men not scolded as children. On one occasion a classmate and I had gotten into it and were rolling around in the mud. Some yelled Father Don (the school director)is coming. he was taking his dog for a walk. He asked “Were you two fighting?” We both said “No.” I added “He fell father, and when I tried to help him up I fell too.” without missing a beat Fr. Don said. ” I wouldn’t fight over here, because this is where I walk the dog.” He never said another word about it and we settled our differences without further violence.

I could go on with stories of those days but it would never end. I learned a great deal more than I thought I had at that institution. The schools motto was In Labore Virtu. Which is Latin for In Labor, Virtue. Or as my dad always said ” A man’s gotta work.” It’s true. A man does have to work. It doesn’t matter what he does for a living so long as a man does his best at whatever it is, so he can meet his responsibilities and obligations. Sure it sucks at times but there is a certain satisfaction in knowing you are paying your own way. That dress code we had that I despised, taught me how to dress in the working world. All those rules and requirements gave me the tools for dealing with the real world. As I said we were treated like men and as such we learned how to behave like men. We gave each other a hard time like all kids do but we also learned respect for each other.

I’m not saying all the Lay teachers and Religious were perfect. For the record I am not a bible thumper never have been. And I will say while I had no respect for some people, I had a great deal of respect for the dedication of others. Brother Oscar, Drafting. Father Tom, Electronics to name just two. I recall one of our deans telling one of my classmates he was lazy and would never amount to anything. I never liked negative motivation if that’s what it was. I can tell you this though, that kid who would never amount to anything, went on to be the most financially successful of all of us.  However from that dean I did learn. I learned what not to do.

Don Bosco really was a Nourishing Mother to all of us alumni. Sometimes we were taught gently and other times more sternly, but always with the purpose to make us into better people. We were taught skills to deal with the world. We were given a code of ethics and values to follow. Hopefully we are passing those things on to our kids. We left our Alma Mater as we did our parents long ago. We had to make a life for ourselves so we went out in to the world just as we had been preparing for all our lives. Now we try to do the same for our kids so they can make it on their own. but we will always keep teaching even when they are on there own. Just as my Alma Mater has taught me one last thing. I was saddened by the state of the school and it’s impending demise. But I was taught upon visiting, one last time, how much I really learned. Also how much I really appreciate all those people and the memories that were made there. Don Bosco Tech will never be gone as long as we remember it.

Ear worm: Time of Your Life Green Day