Archives for January 2015

Dad’s Dilemma

SEX SELLS (Girls just wanna have fun)

I want to make a funny comment about the picture except I can’t get beyond feeling like I am the cow and not the bull and getting rammed from behind isn’t just painful, it is humiliating.

Humiliating because I feel like everything I have tried to do to fix the current mess I am in has fallen short and that is a bitter pill to swallow.

Men are socialized to provide and protect and when you feel like you are falling short of your own expectations it is a rough moment.

I say moment because I know I’ll find a way out from under and will walk in the sunshine again but some moments last a minute and other moments are endless.

The joy of being intense and a writer has its price.

Sometimes it as easy to imagine doom as joy but life has taught me to focus on the upside and not the negative. The blog has been a big help, just reading some of the recent posts helps lighten the mood a bit.

Dad’s Dilemma

Except the lighter mood is broken by multiple concerns.

There is stuff going on at my son’s school that has me worried. An issue that verged on being described as bullying had disappeared but seems to have cropped back up and the big guy  is miserable.

He told me today he feels like he can’t trust anyone and it broke my heart.

This hiccup in his life isn’t news to me. I have been aware of it and have done my best to help him navigate a path through it but I intentionally took a low profile.

I worried about whether getting more involved would make it harder for him and because he seemed to be dealing well with it I stayed in the shadows.

But today changed my mind, I am going to dig into things and see what I can do to get the administration/teachers to help.

*****

It kills me to hear him say no one has his back, mostly because that is precisely how I feel now.

Got a slammed with a bunch of crap a while back but didn’t freak out because I figured I just needed to buy a little time and it would get sorted out.

Except it has taken longer than I ever could have imagined and I find myself worrying that I was wrong about hitting bottom.

We might not have hit it yet.

Need to see a doctor and a dentist but gave up my insurance to save a couple of bucks. At the time I was certain it wouldn’t be an issue, I’d just float for a bit and then everything would fall into place and I would go.

Except it hasn’t worked out that way and now I am wondering if stress is causing some issues or if some issues are causing issues.

stars

John, Paul, George and Ringo are singing about one sweet dream coming true today and I am thinking it is a message from parts and places above and beyond.

It is black as pitch here so it should be easy to see the stars but part of me isn’t convinced the twinkling lights above aren’t from someone slamming my head into a wall.

Part of me wants to go to war, part of me thinks now would be a fine time to find a man to fight.

Somewhere inside my head there is an image of me walking into a saloon in a western and ordering a whiskey that I’ll barely have time to finish.

‘Cuz some dude will bust a chair across my back or break a bottle over my head and learn to his chagrin that instead of knocking me out he just pissed me off.

I’ll take on anyone and every one who wants a piece and it won’t end until I can’t stand any more. The calvary won’t come to rescue me because I am the stranger and the stranger walks alone.

Except I’ll skip the bar and settle for working on the heavy bag and lifting weights. I can still bring it hard and it won’t hurt as much in the morning.

Even better is being able to sleep in my own bed, I have no desire to wear a pair of silver bracelets.

Deep In The Heart Of Texas

Gene Autry is singing about the stars at night and I am thinking again about my apartment in Texas and the life I had there.

More and more I am convinced that going back will make some things better and some things harder.

Part of dad’s dilemma is figuring out the most effective and efficient solutions to the challenges we face based upon little information and a lot of go with your gut feeling.

This parenting business isn’t for the faint of heart.

Water Won’t Extinguish This Fire

intimacyfixed

There are no coincidences because what you see, hear and do are part of something greater than us. It is tied into something larger that can be described as both mystical and magical.

Don’t ask me to explain this because I can’t tell you how or why. All I can say is that I know because I have experienced it. I have seen it. I have lived it. I have been there and that is all the proof that I can provide.

It won’t be enough for some of you. It won’t be the kind of thing that you can accept because you can’t buy, touch or taste it. Actually that is not true, you can but only if you open your mind and let your soul seek its match.

I know this because for the longest time I didn’t do it. I spent years not buying into it or believing that it could be real. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to because I did. I desperately wanted to believe that this thing was something tangible. Because I just knew that if I could feel it in my hands and see it with my eyes it would prove that there was something to this dream I had once lived.

You see I fell in love with a girl and I loved her fiercely. I loved her madly. I loved her passionately. I loved her in every way that the poets wrote of, spoke of and dreamed of.

I loved her with all of my heart and all of my soul. I loved her desperately and somewhere in that madness I lost her.

Some of you can’t feel what I am saying. These words have no meaning to you. They are figments of imagination that you can’t feel, see or taste. So they never grab you. Your heart, your eyes and your mind are closed to them.

I can’t fault or blame you because I used to be like you. I used to look at this sort of writing and roll my eyes because I didn’t know. I hadn’t seen. I hadn’t felt it.

But that was long ago. That was in the time before I became who I am now. That was before I understood that love is a drug that can make you soar to the highest heights and or drop your ass into a pit so dark and dank you can’t remember what it felt like to see sunshine.

Some of you are nodding your head. You don’t even realize that you are doing it. You aren’t even aware that your pulse has quickened and you can’t see anything other than these words and even those are growing faint.

That is because we are running with the moon you and I. We are partners on a journey and you want to know more about my story because you hope that maybe it holds some sort of key insight to your story.

You want to know about the girl I loved and what happened to her. You want to know if there is hope for us because if there is hope for us there might be some for you.

The thing that is ever so interesting about this is that I haven’t given you much in the way of detail. You haven’t heard about how we met in the most unusual way or how crazy it all was. You don’t know how it is we fell in love. You wonder if I am exaggerating or maybe you don’t.

Maybe you know what it is like to have that kind of passion where you can’t stand not having that person in your life because there is a gaping void that aches and burns without respite.  Maybe you too were surprised to discover that the kind of crazy love you experienced the first time you ever fell in love could come back. Maybe you were shocked by the passion and overwhelmed by the loss of the friendship that you had.

Because that friendship threw you for a loop. It wasn’t just about love or lust. You liked them as a person. They filled the gaps and made you believe that you could be more than you were. They made you believe that all that hokey stuff you read in cheap paperbacks or saw on television might be based in reality. You understood that you could be naked in every possible way with them and be confident that they would caress your soul and cradle your heart.

It doesn’t have to be a dream. You don’t have to keep running with the moon. You don’t have to feel that enormous sense of loss or wonder whether you can ever love and be loved like that again because if it happened once it can happen again.

There are no coincidences. You can live your dream. You can find a way back. All you need to do is let go, submit to the reality of the possibility and accept that there will be opportunity.

It is not poetry or fiction. It is reality. It can’t happen on its own but if you ask and if you believe you will find the answer. You don’t need the old gypsy woman to sell you Love Potion number 9.

There are no coincidences.

Because I found you again.

depth of love
But I didn’t know what it meant to ache until I lost you.

I ached and ached and ached, lived alone and apart trying to figure out what happened.

We stole fire from the gods and I danced and dodged the lightning bolts without fear or reservation because I had complete trust in you and in us.

I knew if I fell you would be there but I never really worried about falling because every time I ever had I jumped right up and resumed the dance.

Until it happened.

You left.

And then I who had won every battle I had ever been in, climbed every mountain and figured out the answer to every challenge sat against the wall in the dark trying to figure out what the fuck had just happened and how I could have been so damn dumb.

Took me a while to sort through it all and figure out what had happened.

Days turned into months and I wondered when I would shake the images of you from my head. Told myself I had been through heartbreak and that it would pass.

Then I woke up one day and felt better than I had in forever. Felt like a weight had lifted and I smiled because I figured I was back.

Figured that time had passed and I was good again but things weren’t exactly the way I thought or expected.


“In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along”
And So It Goes- Billy Joel

My seventies girl once told me that she thought that most of my music sucked. I laughed and said seventies girl sucks too. She tossed her hair back, smiled and turned towards the sea.

We sat in silence and watched the waves roll in and out. As we sat there, our fingers intertwined I felt our souls smile and let my mind wander where it would.

Water gives life. It also takes it away. Wind and waves. I told her once that I could see how the ocean could become my mistress. The sounds of the sea called out to me and touched the wanderlust within. She took her hand and turned my face towards her and stared into my eyes.

I knew her thoughts before she spoke them and promised to take her wherever it was I went. “You are the song of my heart and what happens to you happens to me.” A soft kiss graced my lips and we sat again in silence.

We who had never known such happiness never knew that one day we would know such sorrow. It had seemed impossible that two people could meet under such circumstances as we did and not end up together. Signs and symbols serenaded our souls healing the scars of the past and opening up opportunities of the future.

Her presence made me stand a little bit taller and made my muscles a little bit stronger. In turn I taught her to relax and let another carry the load. Her burden didn’t have to be borne alone and when she finally let go I carried her effortlessly.

We were partners. We were friends. We were lovers. It is hard to write these words, ‘we were” when my heart says that they should read “we are.

Sometimes I head to the beach again and think of the days when we sailed together. The sounds of the sea call out to me and I think of that day when I spoke of my mistress the sea and wonder if perhaps the time has come to set sail again.

I stand alone on the beach and watch the waves roll towards the shore. I wonder about what lies beneath the surface and absentmindedly turn towards you but you are not there. A wistful smile works its way across my face.

Had you been there I would have mentioned the tsunami and how incredible the power of the ocean is. I would have talked about the secrets that it keeps and how amazing it is that one moment the sea can be calm and the next it is raging.

Water gives life. It also takes it away. Wind and waves.

The contradiction of the water as deliverer of life and death would have made for a great conversation. It fit us, this contradiction. We who “were” or perhaps one day “will be.”

“So I would choose to be with you
That’s if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break”

I Found You Again

Somehow when I thought you had left my life forever I found you again.

Even now I am not sure how it happened. I remember being swept overboard and being tossed around by the waves, saltwater blinding my vision and choking the life out of me.

I remember sinking beneath the waves exhausted and spent but not quite dead.

The sweet siren song of the ocean depths called out to me and I almost answered but that fire in my belly wasn’t extinguished and the fight hadn’t been beaten out of me so I kicked my way back to the surface and fought the waves until I could fight no longer.

Found a piece of driftwood and held onto it and let the current take us where it would. Looked up at the sky and found our stars and our moon staring back at me and thought I heard your voice.

Thought I heard you calling my name and promised I would find you again.

Felt like a fool but figured if I had nothing but time to float I might as well find ways to occupy my mind so I closed my eyes and looked for my center.

Found you waiting there for me, took your hand and heard you promise to take it again if I could find you.

Opened my eyes, shook my head and swore I wouldn’t let the sun beat the sense out of me and floated some more.

Days turned into months and the current moved our life together further away until it felt so distant I wondered if it had been a dream.

It felt impossible to believe that what I remembered was anything more than a figment of my imagination. As the months stretched into years I convinced myself that it wouldn’t matter if I found you again because it had never been as good or as pure as I remembered it to be.

That made sense to me and I figured it would to you as well. Practical and mature people would recognize how absence makes the heart grow fonder and figure it to gloss over any challenges we had once faced.

Reality was what I should be looking at and it was clear I wasn’t because I knew that two people couldn’t be as my memory showed we were.

And then lightning struck and that puckish rogue life sent me out to sea again.

It Wasn’t Supposed To Be Like That…Or Was It?

The same water that had sent me overboard and tried to drown me so many years earlier did it again. Somehow I was swept overboard again and forced to fight the waves but this time there was no siren song trying to lull me to sleep.

This time surprise was replaced by anger and I was too fired up to anything but find another way to swim to shore.

And that is when I found the biggest surprise of all…

You.

You were there. I saw you but you didn’t see me.

Watched you walk across the room and was amazed by how hard it made my heart pound. After all this time and all these years nothing had changed.

And then I understood what Rick meant when he talked about all of the gin joints in all of the towns in the world.

It felt like dawn broke inside my head and the sunrise melted all of the doubt that had lay in the shadows.

Wind and waves had forced us apart and now they had brought us back to the same place, but not quite together.

Not together because you didn’t know I was there. Didn’t feel me staring at you or see me try to melt back into the shadows because I felt like I was back in high school.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We weren’t ever supposed to have found each other the first time, yet we did and we felt the chemistry between us almost immediately.

We weren’t supposed to lose each other yet we did. In some ways it felt like it happened as fast as we had found each other.

And yet just when I thought it was nothing more than a memory the wind and waves swept us back together in the same place and I began to believe that maybe there was more magic in the world than I had once believed.

garden
I didn’t plan on thinking about you. Didn’t expect to see your name show up on my phone or on Facebook.

Never expected any of it, don’t care if that sounds like a convenient truth or coincidence because it is mine.

But nothing about us was ever conventional, traditional or based upon the things you see on television or in movies. It was unlooked and unsought for but it was the most remarkable and real experience.

And because life had taught me that sometimes the smartest thing you can do is open your heart to chance it happened.

Chance turned into possibility that morphed into opportunity.

So the unexpected meeting led to a meal that was never supposed to be more than that. It was going to be a quick hello and goodbye.

It was going to be the closing of a chapter and a chance to move on.

Except I found you again.

It was chemical.

Your scent wafted over and I felt something click and shift inside.

So did you.

We fought it for a bit because it seemed like the appropriate thing to do but if life has taught us anything it is that plans don’t always go as expected and that water can’t extinguish some fires.

Our heads went one direction but our hearts went another. They seized the moment and though I can’t confirm it I think our souls did a little dance and nothing was ever the same again.

Some People Take Blogging Too Seriously

stupidityIf ever there was a day when I wondered if a career in misanthropy would have been the smarter choice today would be that day.

Now I could tell you the sad and sordid tale about why I thought about whether I could effectively change someone’s attitude by slapping them silly and or slipping a butter knife between their ribs but that would make you question my sanity and why would I want to do that.

I’d rather send you over to read about my battle with Santa Claus and the drunk clown on It Should Have Been On YouTube.

Or better yet you can listen to the podcast below and hear my recollection of tales of being a father and uncle and the funny questions children ask.

Some People Take Blogging Too Seriously

When I first posted that podcast I got a comment about it being strange and an email saying I laughed too much and that blogging should be serious.

I may have suggested he was a man in dire need of a plumbing adjustment or given some other cheerful response, but I don’t really remember.

What I do know for certain is that today has sucked and if you don’t have fun you won’t last as a blogger. I am also confident in saying that bad days require copious amounts of humor so I am taking my own prescription.

It is also one I have prescribed for my 14 year-old son and his moody teenage blues.

Most of the time that dear lad of mine is a happy-go-lucky fellow, but the normal rigors of middle school magic sometimes drag him down.

We have dealt with bullying, too much homework and an assortment of other issues so I am ready for some peace.

But something tells me hormones and puberty are going to impact that.

Did I mention the joy of his almost 11 going on 30 year-old sister discovering that he has hair all over?

That was one time I sided with him about the need for her to knock and wait for a response before entering.

Anyhoo since there are boundaries in blogging we’ll leave that as it is and focus upon more interesting topics such as is there is limit to human stupidity.

Sadly I think I agree with Einstein.

The People We Meet Online

people
I don’t know when Leon Noone stopped commenting on my blog but I know that I noticed it.

For a while he was a regular fixture here and someone who I looked forward to seeing.

Maybe it was because he seemed like this warm, affable fellow who was filled with all sorts of interesting quotes or because I thought he was a sharp man I could learn from.

Most of our exchanges were in the comment section here or elsewhere around the blogosphere but every now and then there would be an email and  a promise to look each other up should I be in Australia or he in the states.

It never happened, we never did grab a pint together or get a chance to connect in person and I am sorry for that.

Every time I look at the quote in the photo above I smile and I think of where it came from.

It was part of a comment he left on Mean Girls Come From Mean Moms. It was preceded by “Take care Jack. That 5 year old horror will grow up to be somebody’s teenage daughter.”

I almost led with that part, but I didn’t want people to think Leon was a mean man so I saved it.

Truth is I don’t really know if he was. A person can be anyone and anything online, but I really just don’t believe Leon was a bad guy.

And now I found out I won’t ever get to make that decision from personal experience.

Readers Come & Go

During my time as a blogger I have had a series of regulars that read and comment here but there are very few that have been around since the start.

I don’t know about any other bloggers but I would guess the old timers have similar experiences to mine.

People come and go and you don’t always know why.

There have been a few times where I had it out with someone and they stopped because they didn’t like my politics or were offended.

My best guess is others may have been bored or found other places that they got more out of and moved on. That is ok, when you are busy you have to make choices about how and where to spend your time.

I noticed when Leon stopped coming around because his comments were usually well thought out and often witty but I didn’t write to ask why he wasn’t here because I figured it was his business.

The People We Meet Online

It took a long time before I met any of my online friends in person.

There wasn’t any particular reason for it other than for a long while I saw my blog as nothing but an online journal. It wasn’t until I tried to monetize it and started thinking about using it to get work that I really thought about connections with people.

I feel sort of foolish writing that because it sounds not just obvious but silly.  What can I say, sometimes I am slow on the uptake but the good news is once I catch on I am pretty damn fast.

Anyhow that is not the point.

I would have liked to have met Leon and now I won’t.  But I think he would appreciate the sentiment.

And since Leon and I liked to exchange Mark Twain quotes I’ll close this post with some in his honor

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

“Go to heaven for the climate and hell for the company.”

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

― Mark Twain

Here is to you Leon, may your friends and loved ones be comforted and forever retain warm memories of you.

Your Social Media Blog Is Still My Favorite Cure For Insomnia

Do people think about what they read and write.

Do people think about what they read and write.

Editor’s Note: The more things change, the more they stay the thing. Three years ago the blogosphere echo chamber put me to sleep because of the junk that was being spewed out. It happened to me again today which is why I am running this post again. See the end for a second comment.

Mom always said I shouldn’t post anything that I am unwilling to say in person. It is good advice but I think she forgot that I had my filters surgically removed.

Yeah, I am the guy who is willing to look you in the eye and say “”Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.”  That is because a bunch of you suffer from the same myopic view of the world that Vizzini did.

Remember him? He was the guy from The Princess Bride who used to shout “INCONCEIVABLE” because he couldn’t believe that someone as smart as himself could be outwitted.

“Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”

Vizzini’s failure to conceive of the man in black’s ability to outwit him is the source of his death. It would be obnoxious and rude for me to use the names of the bloggers who remind me of Vizzini so I will refrain.

However I can assure you this is not a case of me making anything up. I am not exaggerating my distaste at all.

That is because some of you write these “how to be an expert blogger” and or “how to become a social media expert” posts that make me want to hit myself in the head with a baseball bat.

Sycophants, Followers and Likes

There is no single path to social media success and there are no shortcuts. Unfortunately some of you have forgotten the difference between having real discourse in your comment section and that which comes from having 3000 sycophants leave nuggets of gold like “you are so smart” and “great post.”

It is not hard to game the system. You can buy followers, fans and likes. It is not hard to run contests and giveaways that generate hundreds of comments on your posts.

But that doesn’t mean that you are wearing anymore clothes than the emperor.

Substance and Success

When I read one of these how to become a better blogger posts I look for a number of things:

  1. Substance- Are you part of the echo chamber parroting old ideas or are you offering something new.
  2. What Is Your Definition of Success- Are you talking about generating revenue? Book deals, Pageviews, Users, comments etc. What is your goal and what is your plan for achieving it?
  3. Who Are You Writing About- Does your post consist of a hundred “I think this” or does it include others in it.

A reader once complained that I update too frequently and told me that no one had time to read all of my posts. It was an egocentric view that never took into account that what worked for them might not work for others.

A blog should be updated as frequently as necessary to satisfy the writer and their readers. That means the number will vary from blog to blog. No one is holding a gun to anyone’s head. If they don’t find value they can go elsewhere.

Value is subjective. When I read posts about becoming a better blogger I want substance. I don’t want to read something about providing great content.

That is not just because I have been doing this for almost nine years but because it is obvious to everyone including the rookie bloggers. Write about useful plugins or great sites to get pictures and you lend weight to your post.

Tell us what your definition of success in blogging is and you’ll have happier readers because they will know whether they are in the right place.

Passion and Personality

You can write about the same topic as everyone else but if you don’t put your own voice into it you hurt your blog. When there is no passion or personality in a post it shows. Don’t be a sheep.

Don’t be Vizzini. Put yourself into the post and stop worrying about whether people will like it because some won’t. They will hate your writing because your words grate on their nerves.

Others will love you.

This is ok. It is natural. It is normal.

Have fun Storming The Castle

More than anything else, have fun with this. Let go. Be willing to push the envelope. Tell people about how their last post is like the worst sex they have ever had.

It started out with such good potential and left you feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied and wondering how they managed to talk your pants off.

You Rush A Miracle Man, You Get Rotten Miracles

Blogging is a marathon and not a sprint. Don’t worry about hitting a home run with every post. Just do your best to provide good content consistently and don’t fear to make mistakes.

And then one day you can share a snarky post in which you announce that your traffic has quadrupled since you received that obnoxious and myopic email from the person who said you update too frequently.

Stay tuned because the greatest blog post ever written by a dad blogger who writes about social media/sex/business/fiction/SEO/IBM/Intel/Steve Jobs/Brad Pitt/Ehud Barak/Bicycles/Movies/Disneyland/Richard Nixon/Triberr/Twitter/Men Who Bake and how I wanted to be Steve Austin the Bionic Man is coming soon.

P.S. There is another 150 words written in invisible ink. Members of my fan club can read those words with by using the secret glass that came with my 8×10 glossy.

The big distinction between when I published this post the first time and now is that you have to work twice as hard to get comments on a post.
Some of that is because the conversations are taking place on multiple platforms and some is because the repetition and lack of original thought is killing the desire to have a conversation.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?