Updates – May 2002

I can’t believe that I haven’t written here for almost two months! I have been extremely busy, so it’s time that I mention a few goings-on.

After a month of mix-ups and miscommunications, my desk is back on track. Chuck and I spent quite a bit of time this past Saturday getting a lot accomplished. I can’t wait to finish and get it home.

The new site is still in the works. I had to move some stuff around at home (i.e., moving the computer because I burned a wire in my heater), so my computer is now on the floor, and it’s difficult to use at the moment. But it is coming along, I have been rewriting some things, and I expect to have it up… hopefully before the summer is over. I have been adding photos to the new site, and I intend to add some other interesting items to the site.

In the last month, I purchased a new guitar and a new amp. The guitar is a Traveler Guitar, Speedster model. It’s pretty nice. I put the same strings on that I use on my regular electric. I bought it so I can practice in the office at lunchtime. It’s pretty small, so it’s fairly quiet. I also bought a processor to play around with different sounds and so that I wouldn’t annoy other people (via headphones). Two weeks later, my amp took a dive. I bought a new Mesa/Boogie F-50 combo. I plugged it in when I got it home, and it just wailed. It was sharp, responsive, loud, and wild… then I turned up the volume! I expect to get a new electric guitar within the next year… and you just may get a chance to hear some of my playing (I’m also looking for software). I haven’t stopped playing yet.

Speaking of playing, I played a couple of times with my good friend, Peggy Mueller. She plays the Steirische Harmonika (button-box, similar to an accordion or a concertina, but it sounds different and uses buttons instead of keys). I’ve had a blast, and I look forward to playing with her again. But unlike last time, I will be learning and practicing along with her CD.

I celebrated Isabel’s birthday yesterday. She turned three last week. Unfortunately, I felt really tired, so I was pretty crabby. I apologize to all of those that had to put up with me. But I also enjoyed watching my nieces eyes light up when I gave her a brand new tricycle.

Both jobs are going well. I have been extremely busy at the office, finishing both the last operating budget review and working on various other projects. I’ve also been busy working at the store. If the economy is improving, it sure shows at the store.

I don’t know when I’ll be writing my next update, but I will try to keep you informed as often as possible.

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Single and Looking?

Originally posted: August 2000

I initially posted this “snippet” in August of 2000. I’ve been through some changes since, but I’m still “happily single.” I’ve received a lot of inquiries about why I’m still single (as well as pressure from the parents about finding someone).

I have had some great things to be happy about being single. Let’s face it; many people out there have someone that cares about them, someone to come home to, someone to go see a movie with, or whatever else. Yet how many men actually do what they want when they want to? I learned long ago that wives make decisions regarding small things, like buying a new refrigerator, car, or house, while husbands make decisions on big items, like world peace, invading another country, etc. (and you wonder why I’m still single, right?). I’ll admit that being without a “significant other” does have some disadvantages, but there are many advantages to being single as well!

Let’s start with on some advantages of being single that I’ve experienced. To start, you may think you have someone supporting you, but my experience tells me that person is really more of a distraction. Your loved one is always on your mind. You wonder what he/she is thinking about, whether he/she will want to have dinner tonight, or whatever other thing you may worry about. When you’re single, there’s only one person to answer to: you! You know what you’re thinking, and you know what you want to do. This has allowed me to remain impulsive; if I want to see a movie in twenty minutes, or I suddenly have the urge to hit golf balls, I can.

Second, you don’t have to answer to anyone. When I was going steady with someone, I was under some scrutiny about what I was doing, where I was going, and whom I was with. I don’t do that now. If I want to stop at Starbucks after work for a cup of coffee, there is no one that will stop me. I can take a drive in the country without someone asking me why I disappeared for an hour, I can choose which movie I want to rent, and I can choose a restaurant that I enjoy rather than some restaurant that specializes in “mall food.” Another thing is that I can drink if I want to and not get accused of being an alcoholic. Believe me, having two or three beers on a Saturday night in a social setting spread over three or four hours does not make one an alcoholic.

Third, all of my money is spent on what I want to spend it on. If I want to buy a new guitar or a dozen new golf balls, no one is there to tell me that I’m “wasting” my money on such stupid things. I have my hobbies, and I’ll appreciate them the way I see fit. Also, I don’t have to buy flowers for someone who doesn’t appreciate them, as has occurred before. I totally dislike buying flowers for someone like that. If I’m going to buy flowers, it’s because I care, and I know the woman receiving them will enjoy them rather than giving me, “oh, they’re nice,” throwing them on the couch, and wanting to go to wherever it was we were going… sorry, bad experience.

Additionally, I can look at anyone I want without feeling guilty. I can say things like, “that woman looks nice in that outfit,” or “interesting how her shoes match her bag.” I can even look at certain magazines without feeling guilty (not that all of the women in Golf Digest are all that hot, but…). I’m a red-blooded male, and it’s in my nature to look.

Finally, I can remain mobile and flexible. If I want to move to another state, I can do so without worrying about the other person. I can move at will, and I don’t have to think about leaving someone behind (I will miss my nieces). I can even go on vacation without worrying about taking another person (that’s why I have a CD changer in the car). Speaking of driving in the car, I can listen to the music that I enjoy listening to rather than fighting someone over the radio (music is my refuge from the chaotic, hectic road… who’d think Metallica could do that for a person?).

Now I did mention some disadvantages to being single. First, I don’t have anyone to talk to. Although I have several friends, how many of them can I really pour my feelings out to? Well, how many that want to hear me pour my feelings out? Second, there are the hugs and holding. I think this is self-explanatory. Third, although some believe the guy should be the breadwinner, you still don’t have additional financial support. If I’m short on going to see a movie, I don’t mind sharing the cost or going “dutch” (although being the old-fashioned type that I am, I would insist on paying). Finally, there isn’t someone there to help with the household chores. One thing I don’t mind is making dinner, but I only cook for one and do my own dishes. And there are all those other wishy-washy things, like kisses, holding hands, staring into the other’s eyes and realizing what a lucky person you are, wanting so much to spend the rest of your life with… sorry, I digress again.

Now I’ve been on my own for a while. I have thought about whether or not I enjoy being single. Weighing all of these advantages and disadvantages leads me to conclude the following:

I’m impulsive: I like making decisions on the fly. Examples include going to see a movie, hitting golf balls, or just going out and taking a hike through the woods. I can do these at the spur of the moment.

I like to spend time alone: I like to make my own noise (what I sometimes call playing the guitar) and make my own decisions. I’m not saying that I like being alone all of the time, because I like social settings as well. That brings me to my next point.

I like being social: I do enjoy spending time chatting with others. I think people at work will vouch for this. I would also like someone to speak to at home, whether it is a roommate or a loved one. However, since I live in a single-room apartment, this can be difficult.

I’ve developed some of my own new habits: Living alone for over a year now, I’ve already found new habits (yes, they’re healthy ones) that I’m really fond of. Among these include, watching certain things on television (such as the History Channel and the Discovery Channel… sorry, no talk shows here), playing my guitar, and hitting golf balls at the driving range (excellent stress relief, I believe).

Let’s face it, there are advantages and disadvantages to being single. I like the fact that I don’t have to answer to someone, but I don’t have someone around to speak to. I like to discuss things, and I like to listen, but after hearing what some people have to say, I have also learned that ignoring people is not a bad thing. I have gotten used to being single, but now that I’m out of school, perhaps it’s time I moved on, found someone, and settled down. After all, being single can be a lonely thing, and once you find someone that you just “know” is the person you want to be with, you can’t stop thinking of her, wondering if she feels the same way, whether things will work out.

Take my word for it, I don’t know if I truly like being single, seeing how my non-single experience has been in the past. If it’s going to happen, it will. But it’s been fun so far!

Soapbox Quickies

These are just some general statements that I’ve either picked up or made up along the way. For those that are not mine, I’ve added the source from which I received it. I reserve the right to add more as I come up with more. Please remember, these are not meant to offend anyone, so if you’re offended, remember that:

“Everyone’s entitled to my opinion”
Bumper sticker, I think

General Statements

“Thwack!”

Social Statements

“I’m happily single.”

“You expect me to remember that? I forgot what I had for breakfast this morning, and I eat the same thing every day!”

“Brilliant… let’s ban smoking on a social level but legalize marijuana on the medical level. And can you say, ‘hypocrite?’”

“I’ll probably retire before I get married.”

“There are some things I want to do before I get married… improve my golf game, retire, become a rock star…”

“I’m so excited, I’m screaming inside.”

“Life is constant self-improvement.”

“I often wonder if a hundred years from now we’ll look back and say so and so was right about this or that… but I fear that we may still be as short-sighted and self-centered as we are today.”

“I was so pissed off, that I was dehydrated.”
Dodge Co. Board Chair Swain (a Republican)

“Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short …”
Thomas Hobbes, “Leviathan”

“Lincoln made himself dictator. I could see how right wingers would be very fascinated by how you could become beloved by everybody. National hero. Suspend habeas corpus. Do in the fourth amendment. Do all kinds of… freedom of speech; the first amendment. Shut down newspapers. I mean, every dictatorial thing you could do he did out of military necessity, which is written in the constitution. Others later, whom I shall not name, have invoked this and pretended that they were wartime presidents when they were not. The war against terror is like a war against dandruff; I mean, it’s a metaphor; it’s not about anything. The Civil War is a little more serious.”
Gore Vidal, the History Channel documentary: “Lincoln”

Animals/The Environment

“I love animals… they taste great.”
Bumper sticker

“I love animals, as long as they’re someone else’s.”

“I’d love to join PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)! When do we show up for the veal dinner?”

“I don’t have any animals… I’m afraid I’d kill a houseplant.”

Discrimination

“Next year, put up a holiday tree but let it stand naked – as a tribute to the people who won’t give up until they’ve ruined a holiday tradition for the rest of us.”
Green Bay Press Gazette – Editorial – 12/06/01 – In response to lawsuits against the State of Wisconsin over the holiday tree in the Capitol Building Rotunda

“Fundamentalists are the most dangerous people; they don’t know how to open their minds to other ideas.”

“I don’t know what’s worse, the people that want to declare a holy war on the rest of us that don’t believe in Islam, or the people that want to ban Harry Potter because he’s a wizard and yet somehow celebrates Christmas.”

Health

“I’m watching my figure… I’m watching it get wider.”

“If fast food is so fast, why does it take them forever to get it to you? How hard is it for them to grab a wrapped burger out of the bin and throw it in a bag?”

Technology

“I hate computers.”

“Computers are great, when they work.”

“When is this stupid thing gonna stop crashing?”

“Ah, to go on vacation. Just think, a week without e-mail, cell phones, or any other technological distractions. Trust me, I won’t miss it.”

“The day I have to program my computer to make it work is the day I buy a shit-load of paper and pencils. Screw that Linux stuff, I’ll stick with Windows for now.”
Response to a friend who told me how great Linux is because I can program it.

“You may be able to type code quickly, but I can type a formal letter in plain English so that people know that I ain’t as full of shit as you are.”
Response to a friend who told me I should learn how to type… when I already know how to.

“If I hear a cell phone ringing while I’m camping, I’m grabbing it and chucking it into the nearest body of water.”

“Interesting how we all value our privacy, yet most of us carry cell phones.”

War

“I’m a proponent of the crystal ball effect… if I know you can nuke me, and you know I can nuke you, what do you think are the chances that we’ll try to find a compromise?”

“Simplicity is best: It’s God’s responsibility to forgive bin-Laden. It’s our responsibility to arrange the meeting. Enough said.”
E-mail message from a coworker, 12/04/2001

Work

“My goal was to finish college and become a hard-working, humble civil servant. If that would’ve fallen through, I would’ve become a rock star.”

Kids

“Children are only as innocent as their parents.”

“I love kids, but I love them more when I can give them back to their parents.”
Author Unknown