Self-involved, but with a great taste in music

Friday, April 20, 2012

Curious Case of Cuddling

Funny enough, on the drive into work I was thinking I wanted to blog today. It may or may not have had something to do with entering/checking thousands of entries on a spreadsheet pertaining to altitude meters on a to-be commercial airplane ... or I just wanted to write. Some of both but more of the former. Around this time I was cut off for the umbillionth time and inspiration came to me just like that.

This post was going to be very, very angry. So of course I'm here to talk about cuddling.

Does it start with a question?

Would you like to cuddle?

Or something that happens organically, like the crusty crud on your inner eye when you wake? A friend linked this article as I started my day:

Seven Pets & What They Say About a Guy’s Relationship Potential

And, like any normal self-obsessed sociopath, I particularly paid attention to the part that applied to me.

#3.) If He Has a Fish Tank. He might not be very open about his emotions, and might not enjoy cuddling up with things . . . including YOU. On the other hand, he might just have allergies.

Now, I'm not going to lie, there aren't many fish that would survive in my existing tank, seeing as though I turned it into a terrarium on its way to being a bamboo green house. Regardless, I had a tank and I had fish and, after reading point 3 above, was I cuddle adverse?
My spiral of doing anything to avoid opening my spreadsheet and getting to work descended into deconstruction: what is cuddling? I'm not throwing on my Marlboro hat and eating rattlesnakes trying to tough my way out of even knowing what it is -- but what type of contact equates to cuddling.
Let's figure it out.

1. The Euro
Messy hair. Ambient light of morning sifting through scattered skies. Pellets of rain rapping against the roof and windows. Black and white filter, of course.
Skin on skin contact. Amorous. At peace.

This is probably how I think I look in the AM -- when it's probably more like JJ from Good Times.

2. The Opening Act

No need to dance around it, some people like to get close at night, others prefer the morning. Us guys will take either. What we're looking at to the left is step one of a multi-tiered process which sometimes ends up with the girl getting out of bed and starting her day or, just about every other time, the guy getting kicked out of bed while muttering to himself.

3. The Vale

A warm, mellow fire. Hot cocoa on the adjacent Michael Kors ottoman (picked up not on-sale). Pajama pants. A view of the cascading rolling hills covered ear to ear with soft flakes of winter. It's more of a gangsta lean into one another than anything. Perfect for talking about 401ks, moving into the suburbs for the kids' educational sake, and how Hyundai, no matter what the reviews say, will never touch BMW and Mercedes.

4. The Exit Row

First, how excellent is that photo? I don't normally like to rip things with watermarks, but either:
a. there is a mirror on the ceiling and he's trying to check her out
b. her elbow is lodged somewhere good for her, but not for him
c. he's thinking about where he left his pants and how long it'd take to get from here to the door.

This cuddle isn't one that is meant to last. One person is uncomfortable with the position, physically or emotionally. Maybe they'll find another position or maybe one will find their keys.

5. The Juno

It's kinda quirky, kinda cute. If you saw your friends doing this in the same room as you you'd probably note you've lost a little respect for them both, but, you might concede, they do look good together.

6. The Non-Cuddle

I'd like to argue that this doesn't actually count as cuddling. Sure, it has some of the trademark elements we've seen above: togetherness, physical contact, comfort (except for homeboy in #4), and serenity.

For me he is holding her. As a man, I like that. I think it's powerful and meaningful, rather than comforting and soothing. Not saying which is more valuable, but sometimes you want to hold a woman in a way that that expresses yourself with no words at all.

So where does Mr. Fish Tank sit on all of these... to be honest, I'm not sure. I doubt I'm going to roll into happy hour today and rock something like this:

But, with the right girl, chances are we'd probably find a 7th and 8th variation that would be our little thing. I wouldn't really talk about with the fellas at the pub. And, yeah, they'd be alright with that.

And if the guy in number 4 isn't happy to be there, I can slide in there for him.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


WTF is that??

I did a Google search for "baby wtf" and that's what I got. So touche, Google... you gave me exactly what I searched for.

As I sit here in the maternity waiting room I wonder about quite a few things. How life is going to change. What the new parents and new grandparents are going through. What utter pain and horror Heather is going through.

When I hear about something being difficult or painful I usually want to try it... to test myself to see how I'll respond.

Uh.... not this time. H -- you're on your own for this one.

I wonder about how life is going to change-- for the people involved directly and then the impact stemming outwards. I wonder about Zach and Heather's relatives sitting here with me and the emotions they are going through. I wonder about the lady at Babies R Us that sold me all this stuff because she totally wanted some Bu in her life. Sorry, but you're not the one. 

Leading up to this moment I was pretty worried about how I'd be feeling at this very moment. Certain emotions were a given. Excited. Curious. Nervous. Sadness. I knew I'd feel sad for the change that such a monumental change signifies, but I wasn't sure whether it would be a pulsating tremor that rocks my core or a fleeting concern that is washed away in the brilliance of a new life and added meaning to the world of myself and my closest friends.

Happy to report that it's the latter. I figured it would be. Figured it should be. Z and H are more than ready for this step in their lives and I'm privileged to witness it and support that in any way. Zach has always been the nucleus of our guy group in my opinion, but it's up to us (the other guys) to push and grind for the friendship and be accommodating to new situations... basically, to be a good friend. Should be able to handle that, I think. Been doing that for ten years now so it's more rinse and repeat.

And word is that we have crying!!! I'm glad I wrote that last paragraph before the kid was born... lol

And I'm off to uncle another kid. A BOY. Guy toys galore. SOOOOO EXCITED.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A birthing

How awesome is that? This boat propeller won't work when it's outside of the water so of course just toss some H2O in a tub. Brilliant.

Some big news in the friend department... arguably my best friend got engaged... so that makes my odds of picking up women at the bar better by one. ;)

And the other friend that could vie for that #1 friend spot is about to have his first child. Big days indeed.

Seeing people that I love and admire go through the process of a pregnancy/engagement has been interesting. A little scary and a little inspiring. Let's talk child first: a selfish side of me laments that I hardly see that friend anymore. That I sometimes even forget to offer to invite him out, that it's such a rarity to see him away from his home. But the other and, infinitely more interesting, part is the reason why these changes are impacting him so. He has a different sense of purpose, of priority, and already it seems like a faded memory when his wife and child weren't around to factor into his life decisions.

And because I'm the myopic self-centered type, I can't help but wonder if this will reawaken some stirrings inside of me for a family and the idea of building something of my own. Or maybe just being around this child will quell whatever notions may be lying (pretty deep, I'll admit!) underneath the surface?

Oh, and to get the that part above you'd hope that a commitment of some sorts is involved. But with the boring options out there that part seems even more absurd than having a child right now. Oh, look at me, the woman's dream -- a newly reborn commitaphobe. =P

Monday, May 2, 2011

Getting close...

I was talking to a close friend recently and he asked what I'd like to do. He was referring to my career, but I replied that I'd like to just sit and watch the ocean.

"That's it?"

That's it.

"You'd get bored."

Maybe, but then I'd move from a sandy shore to a rocky shore. Or to a balcony on the cliff side. And talking to you gets me bored. (kidding... I didn't say that [but is it true?!?!])

And since I did know that he was referring to my career I finished the thought; that I don't mind sacrificing the day-to-day for a bit of a payout. And I can't think of anything much more rewarding to take in the vastness of the ocean. Different times of day. Different seasons.

So maybe it's a bit sad/ironic that the marvels of the desert don't really do it for me. Hiking is okay, but getting to the top and seeing the dust bowl around me makes me go a big "eh". So I can admit I'm not this zen master that appreciates all nature... but my little slice of heaven would be a small room with a big window up in Oregon with books to read and time to write. There's a certain feeling that swells within me, an easing of sorts, like the reassuring touch from someone that you trust and admire entirely. And some lemon squares. Don't forget the lemon squares.

And when I do visit the ocean and I stare at the ebb of shore I feel like I'm doing something indulgent... but not wasteful or excessive. Rather it's just doing something for yourself that you know strengthens your resolve. Something reunites me with who I used to be. A simple, happy, quiet kid.

Monday, April 4, 2011

How does this work again??

Hello friends (yes, you two)... where did we leave off. I've been meaning to sit down and find some time to do a little writing but I've found it difficult to make time. Isn't that absurd? This post probably won't take but ten minutes from my "jam-packed" schedule, yet I couldn't find that time for the past X months.

There's never enough time =>

Some combination of fatigue, laziness, avoidance, and the like kept me away... but I think I'm past that now. That avoidance is probably the most interesting reason I kept away, huh? I agree. Let's explore that a little. Some may know this but I used to be pretty shy. Like nearly clinically shy. I wasn't a mute or anything like that nor would I hide in the shadows... more like very reserved and observational. Not in like a creepy way though, haha. I was blessed to have a great family but one thing I'd change is our internal communication. We didn't eat together and my father ruled the house with something akin to an iron fist... so everyone dealt with that in their own way. My brother, the eldest, rebelled by drinking, smoking, etc at a pretty young age. My sister was a social butterfly and she'd always bounce around from one friend's house to the next. Being the youngest I'd usually have to stay home and so I dealt with things how my mom would, which would be to stay quiet and to not make a scene. And I think that's stayed with me.

And to be honest, I think it's one of the things about me that I like most. I'll make an effort every now and then to vent and talk about the job or a girl or whatever... but when I'm trying to figure things out I usually roll up the sleeves, put my head down, and either push through it or figure it out on my own. (paul simon just came on... eh... ) So the last x months I haven't really wanted to document what's going on in my mind because I think it's been all over the place. And I don't think I really want to reflect on this particular period of my life. Not because I'm not having fun... I'll always manage to do that, but I'm at an impasse of sorts and I'm not exactly sure where I'm going from here. That lack of clear direction is unnerving.

And full circle we come. This is a blog. It's informal. And designed to be me being self-involved and petulant... so why not? This unrest might actually be interesting a couple of years down the road. Plus, the blog allows me a musical and sometimes humorous distraction from some things that I try to wish away.

Well, now you might be a little worried about JUST how much I hate my job. hahaha... not much at all.
I think there is a bigger issue at play that I'm not willing to address. I have a very usual relationship with my father and like my sister and brother, I revolted, just a little later than they did. After following his path for years... one day I just rejected it. And stepped off into another direction and that changed everything. I made a line in the sand and I forced him to accept it. And now he's aging. And out of the country and distant, but not due to his proximity. And I know that part of the reason I accepted this job and profession was to please him... make amends, because he is older.

But then again there is a reason why I'm not letting myself embrace where I am and what I do.
I genuinely do not want the life that he had. Even though he does have a badass son... what has two thumbs and rocks?

And I'm easing myself into the idea that the perfect solution probably doesn't exist right now... but if you apply yourself... and focus... and enjoy the unrelenting splendor of friends and family... that wherever you end up won't be so bad and you can always make another decision then.

And the mistakes... hey, I'm not so uptight that I can't laugh at myself. And I'll let you guys laugh at me to by cataloging conquests and failures here. I think I've missed rambling here and it's good to be back.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

For Us - The defense of a brat

Some things you just need to experience for yourself. You reach for the tea kettle and you’ve been told that it’s hot. You can see the thermal waves emanating off of the metal coils and a wave of heat envelopes your hand before you touch it. But you still don’t know JUST how hot it is. So you touch. You burn. You learn.

We all remember something like this. When we were young and more adventurous. When we did something just to do it, or out of boredom, or maybe peer pressure. But a motive underneath it all is curiosity. Will I burn as badly as others that have touched it? Will I be able to withstand it better?

And once you’re done with the experience you’re left with a welt and a better understanding of boundaries. Of what your body can and can’t do.

And these boundaries and rules… as much as these words engender thoughts of restriction, it’s these very things that provide structure and reason for some of us.

And, per usual, I’ll bring this to relationships. Do you remember the last time you were with someone and you had the thought “why am I being such a brat right now?” Sometimes it’s just a mood but perhaps it’s a desire to understand the boundaries of your relationship. When dating there are no certainties. No oath was made. No white dress and rice strewn about. Rather it’s a leap of faith. Actually, a leap of faith is perhaps easier – jumping off a cliff into the water below is significantly easier once your foot leaves the rock. In relationships it can be easy to give something a chance but once in mid-air doubt and skepticism can whittle their way in. 

When you make a commitment you sign off on a certain amount of risk. I’m going to pledge some amount of dedication to you and you’ll do the same to me. That neither party will head for the hills at the first sign of danger. But… what about the second? Third? And suddenly the once equitable relationship turns into a measurement of affection: are we both committed to the same degree? And when you want to see if someone thinks a certain way there is a thing that is often performed: a test.

And suddenly you find yourself being silent one day. Or you have the TV on ESPN all day even if you are dang tired of the same highlights over and over. And you start to gauge how much leeway you have. What can I get away with? How much crap can I throw out there before it starts getting thrown back at me.

Because you’re not looking for a permanent pass to be a punk… cuz that would mean you’d have to be ever-willing to do the same for them. And who wants to sign up for that? Instead someone wants the other person to rip up the test. Break it with humor or calling the person out for their BS.

And a line is drawn. And a foundation can be laid. And instead of a crumbling sand castle an actual structure of expectations and consideration is slowly built. So the next time you feel yourself clamming up and you’re looking for the other person to have the right answers, maybe you realize that you’re looking for more collaboration and communication between you and someone else. Or pull out that scantron and drill that sucker with a pop-quiz with the reassurance that you’re doing it “for us.”

When it's right, when I find her (I will), I hope to not worry about testing her. And if I can't help it, that I at least do so on a curve. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A few things I won't need to try to remember

This has been a very interesting year.

It's been unsettling. And at times rapturous. It's been time with close friends. It's been frantically dealing with bills and difficult decisions.

But one of the things that I'll take away from this year is the growth I've seen from so many people around me. People of different ages, different walks of life... so many people have seemed to "get it" this year.

Whether is be walking away from a bad situation.
Or getting yourself into a good situation.
Or hanging in there when the worst fears are realized.
Or letting yourself try something new.
Or not being unnerved by massive change.

I won't get too existential right now, but my theory on the meaning of life has to do with differences and challenges. That something placed the ingredients that ultimately produced us, insects, micro-organisms, meteors in the same universe and we're all supposed to mix somehow. That coexistence would be realized and balance formed. And the relationships we have with one another are an example of this effort to relate with others that have a different view and outlook than our own.

I'll look back at 2010 as a year where many relationships were established and some very rewarding bonds were cultivated further.

But how about some of the more tangible, memorable things of 2010?

Top 5 Movies

... Okay, not a great year for movies. These two get an honorable mention...

Comedy: She's out of my league
Horror: Paranormal Activity 2

But these are the only two that deserve to be ranked:
2. (500) Days of Summer* (not 2010, I know. But was viewed then)
1. Inception (best movie I've seen in more than a decade)

5. The Hunger Games (I did like it!)
4. The Road - I'm surprised by it's acclaim. The tone and mood is consistent throughout. So are the characters. Usually books/movies without character development don't fare too well, but this bucks the trend a little. I'm glad to have read it but I don't know it's something that I'll revisit again.
3. Number 9 Dream
2. Dance, Dance, Dance
1. Heaven's Net is Wide - I don't know if I have a writing style when I actually write a story, but if I do it's most akin to Hearn. While I loathe my writing often times I can't get enough of Hearn. Heaven's Net is Wide is a prequel to the Tales of the Otori books. I'm only about 100 pages in but it's already wonderful and I'll finish it before next week. It's a hybrid between young adult, japanese historical fiction, fantasy, and with a little romance. This is my favorite series.

Cloud Atlas has a good shot to dominate this list, but we'll see if I get through that before the year ends. I need to find it first...!

And in the coming days I'll pull together the 2010 mix cd with tracks that I discovered or that were shown to me in 2010.

I'm looking forward to sitting by a fire with some hot cocoa with a touch of Baileys... ahh... I adore this time of year.