Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tilting at Windmills

The expression tilting at windmills or more commonly, fighting windmills, is derived from the tales of Cervantes legendary Don Quixote and his delusion filled life as a chivalric knight doing good deeds for no other reason then the glory of it and/or the love of a woman who more then likely didn’t exist. The problem was that what he fought wasn’t real and those he helped didn’t need or want it. Most notably was when he told loyal companion Sancho Panza his intent to fight those “giants” only to have Sancho point out they were not giants but simply windmills. Undaunted and unbelieving, Quixote fought the hapless windmill to a draw. Tilting at windmills has since become a euphemism for anyone fighting an imaginary enemy or fighting for something that simply doesn’t exist. While most considered Quixote a fool there is something simple, noble and brave about him and his approach to life and what is important to him.

For the past several years I’ve been tilting at windmills more then I care to admit. I let my most endearing traits (at least I hope so haha), which are also my fatal flaws, of loyalty, friendship, and love cloud my judgment and led to me fighting my own windmills. And yes, despite the efforts of many of my own personal Sancho’s, I’ve continued to believe things to be what they aren’t, never were, and likely never will be. I’ve longed and wished and hoped and tried but no amount of wishing, hoping, or positive thinking could make my delusions a reality. Things simply are what they are and it’s high time I realized this. In life, quite simply, no matter what your level of loyalty, friendship, or love, if that isn’t returned, to some above average degree, then keep lining up those windmills for us to run headlong into. I feel like the fool that most people labeled Quixote but sometimes wonder if there isn’t something noble and chivalric about the way I treat those I care about despite the hurt that comes along with these feelings often not reciprocated.

I’m not saying I won’t still hope and dream. Hell, I’m one of the biggest dreamers I know and always will be. If we didn’t dream what would be the point of dragging our sorry asses out of bed every day? What I need to do better is separate truth from fiction, delusion from reality and those that truly care for me from those only capable of caring for themselves. I have often said if you lower your expectations you’ll never be disappointed. Well, that’s cynical even for me and I don’t want to live that way any more. I need to spend more time in the “real” world and less time in the hopeful, pretend, wish-it-could-be world. Mostly I need to be a better judge of people and situations. All that said, by and large I like myself, my set of morals and values so that’s not likely to change.

My name is Rich and I’m a windmill tilter. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing but for better or worse it’s who I am.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thank you for your (in)consideration

I’ve found lately I’ve been in a rotten mood and totally disliking people. I am often perplexed by the lack of human decency and consideration people have towards one another. All I seem to encounter are rude, self absorbed, selfish people. I know this is probably a bit exaggerated but it seems that way. From total strangers to friends and acquaintances it seems my tolerance for ignorance is quickly dissipating. I’m sure there are a million examples but I’ll just throw out a few;

1) In a crowded situation such as a bar, club, or street festival, a friendly tap on the shoulder and an “excuse me” is the universal signal for “I’m trying to get by” which, when the person doesn’t respond the 2nd tap and “excuse me” is closer to “let me get by you ignorant fuck”
2) When shopping for groceries a) get the hell off your phone b) don’t leave your shopping cart wherever the hell is convenient for you regardless of inconveniencing others c) have a purpose to your shopping and don’t stand in my way with your thumb up your ass d) if you used a carriage please put it back where it belongs NOT wherever you feel like and take up valuable parking space. This all goes double at any Whole Foods Market in greater Boston as I swear all the organic food makes the customers ruder
3) If you see someone waiting to pull out of a parking lot on a busy street, every now and then, let him or her in. Vice versa, if someone does this for you, a friendly wave is considered proper etiquette. If not, at least have the decency to get off your phone and drive with a purpose, not like an asshole.
4) Leaning on your horn in no situation does any good. It just doesn’t. I friendly tap on the horn to remind some ignorant that they have a green light works fine, unless of course they are on their phone in which case I say ram their cars!
5) Every now and then, ask someone, particularly someone who always asks you, how THEY are doing. Don’t call, write, text, etc only when you have issues. Almost everyone has issues just some don’t talk about them as much as others. Be pro-active and say, so, how are YOU doing now and then. You might be surprised how much you’d find out about someone. Nothing is more likely to wear you down then always being on the “listening” end of problems and never on the “talking” end (one of the main reasons I don’t chat on-line much anymore)
6) Please, please, please…get the hell off your phone! I mean, seriously, how many calls that people refuse to get off of are actually important? Beyond that, do you really think the rest of the world want so hear your one-sided conversation? Or be stuck next to you on the bus or train? In the seat next to you waiting to take off at the airport? Behind you driving while you go 5 miles an hour drifting from lane to lane?
7) Don’t show up to a store 5 minutes before closing. Period (unless it’s a liquor or beer store of course). For once, reverse the roles and imagine it was your job, whatever you do, and just as you’re ready to leave you have to deal with some dickhead who is now taking up “your time”. Well, guess what, when you show up at a store or business 5 minutes before close, that’s what you’re doing. Be considerate because honestly, your time is no more important then theirs

I’ve really been letting this stuff bother me lately. Maybe I’m too sensitive. Maybe I’m too nice. Maybe I should just start being more selfish, rude, self-centered, self-absorbed and simply only care about myself from now on like the rest of the world. Probably be easier but you know, I wouldn’t be me and I kind of like who I am

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wedding Day Blues

I have always loved weddings (especially if I know it’s not mine…*rim shot please*) and I attended one this past weekend that should have fallen into that “love” category but didn’t. My friend John, who I have known since high school but really, been friends with since post-college, decided to tie the knot! I was excited at the thought of a really fun wedding, as I would know a lot of people going. We have common people although except John himself and Marc, one of my best friends, most are acquaintances rather then friends. But still, after seeing everyone at the bachelor party I was even more excited. In addition they were having a bring your kids etc pig roast the day before your wedding which, if you know me, is more right up my ally. So, sounds like I’d have a great time, right? Well, yes, and, no. The pig roast, the wedding, everything was great but from the start until finish of the actual wedding I felt like a man out of place and totally uncomfortable with himself.

I was never relaxed and was pacing like, as Marc’s girlfriend Lisa put it, like a caged animal. I have some theories on my I felt like the party crasher who no one was quite sure was there but, honestly, I can only think of feeling like this once before and it was a wedding many years ago and, in some cases, the situation was similar.

1) Most of my best friends also at the wedding were IN the wedding. This meant I was part of the group at the reception early and was amongst couples and significant others of people in the wedding party. Again, this shouldn’t have bothered me as all were friends but was kind of a reminder of the only single person within our group not married or anything resembling that

2) It was an older crowd. By that I mean MY age or close. I was really shocked by how old all my friends had gotten in attitude if not physically. There were exceptions for sure but I was stunned that by 7:00 for a wedding reception that ended at 9:00 a 3rd of the crowd, and more importantly, more then a 3rd of the grooms wedding party was long gone before the bride and grooms last dance. There were reasons ranging from babysitters to physical ailments (and the Sox and Pat’s playing at the same time). I was not only there until the end but got home, changed and caught the 2nd half of the Pat’s game and was out until 2:00 in the morning!!

3) I felt like I was on the cusp. I am just on the fringe of regular friends with most of the people I knew (except Marc) whereas they’ve all been a tight group forever. Oh, trust me, I get along awesomely with all of them but again, just on the fringe.

4) I was traveling solo. I know I know, I always do but it is different when you’re going into this kind of environment. Something about showing up alone just kinda sucks. I could have gotten a ride but both people offering were people leaving early and I wasn’t comfortable leaving that early

5) I wasn’t drinking. Well, not really. I don’t get drunk and drive and since I was driving (see above) and the ride home was nearly 40 minutes, I was a good boy. Now, this doesn’t mean I need to drink to have fun but it certainly would have calmed my jangled nerves.

Honestly, the wedding was great. John was in his glory. Dawn looked Beautiful. The food was as good as I’ve had at a wedding. I met some new people and the weather was

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Private eyes, they're watching you...

I’ve had had people ask why my blogs are typically more of an Andy Rooney minute or Dennis Miller rant then an actual web log of my life. Well, the answer is twofold. First, I don’t find my day-to-day life all that interesting. I have certainly done many blogs about my life (turning 40, hot dog trip, etc) but over time have gone to my more familiar, less person blogs. I think the “I got up and took a shit today” and “work sucked today” blogs are boring and self-absorbed…well, I guess most blogs are but that’s beside the point. I guess I’d just as soon try and bring some of my (I hope) witty little observations on how I see things. That will continue to be my focus. If you really want to know more about my day-to-day life, buy me a beer, call me or simply ask, I’m not shy.

Now, the other reason is, as much as I will tell you as much as you’d like to know about me I’m actually kind of a private person. Stop laughing I’m serious. I feel like for parts of the last 10 years I’ve been living my life on-line. Giving out my phone number and address to anyone who’d ask, posting pictures of me and my family, giving out personal details I’d never have given away years ago. I didn’t care and I was comfortable with it. Well, it’s gotten scarier out there with stalkers, phishers, and identity theft. I had an incident recently, which many of you close to me know about where I received subtlety threatening phone calls. They knew little about me other then the floor I lived on and my phone number. It freaked me out. I took care of things on this end but started thinking about how much of myself I’ve left out there. Reading through my Myspace profile etc I realized that, given a little effort, a whole lot can be found out about me. So I’m making changes. I took my job info off my profile on Myspace and may do the same with schools. I’m thinking of making blog and pics private. It’s not fair to my family or me to leave stuff out there. I was also freaked to see how much private information my niece, whose profile is supposed to be private, left on hers and it certainly is NOT private but that will change. I’m not now nor have I ever been paranoid but there does come a time you need to smarten up.

My advice to you my friends? Look at all the places pieces of you are online. Google your name, email address, commonly used user ID’s. You might be shocked. If you think there’s too much info in the wrong places, edit it. Nothing more then your city or town should be associated with you. I’d take any specifics of my place of employment off anything (accept job search sites). This may also save you embarrassment if someone at work looks you up and you had something bad to say about him or her. If you want to blog about specific people or personal matters, make it friends only. I can tell you at least 2 times friends of mines blogs have caused them duress. If you plan to look for a new job and leave them an email address, make it a different one then is associated with your Myspace, Face Book, etc as many employers are (somewhat illegally) checking these things out. Big one…IF, in your younger days, or say, recently, you posted pictures that may be, how shall I put this…somewhat racy of yourself (yes, you can assume none of these exist of me…yuck) on like, Hot or Not, etc (not even sure if these still exist) I’d get rid of them and close my account. A little web admiration versus having this turn up at the worst time seems hardly worth the risk. From the time I started writing this blog take a look what happened to that girl from High School Musical. Not that any of us will ever be famous but look what it cost her. Bet in the long run it wasn’t worth it. And passwords? Hackers, even low level, don’t need no stinking passwords. Assume someone can get your most private stuff not on a high security encrypted (Amazon, bank sites, etc) site so be cautious.

I know this sounds crazy paranoid coming from me as I don’t typically sweat shit like this but I do fear we are all living a little more openly and a little less cautiously and leaving ourselves exposed to what could be bad. Really bad.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Taking the Hypocritic Oath

*This is another of the blogs I posted on Myspace around the time of my birthday when I was just raging against everything and getting shit off my chest. Enjoy

I'm going to tell it like it is when I tell you each and every one of us is a hypocrite. There is no getting around it. In fact, most people are hypocritical in some way, sort or fashion nearly every day. You shake your head at the ill behaved children at the table next to yours while out eating and then let your own kids run wild. You support your political party until as such a time as they support something that goes against you. You get angry when no kindly person will let you pull out in to traffic and yet when the opportunity arises for you to do the same you pretend you don't see them. Stop and think for a minute. You know it's true.

In reality life is hypocrisy. Nearly everything that happens in the course of the day we are hypocritical of or someone is hypocritical (or maybe just plain critical) of us. We go to church then lie, steal and do lord knows what else. We wear sealskin boots to a save the whales rally. We recycle everything paper or plastic in our homes and drive S.U.V.'s that get 1 mile to the gallon. There is simply no way to avoid it. We tsk tsk about our friends not visiting sick parents enough until we are in the same situation. We talk behind the back about the youngster showing up at work a wreck from drinking the night before and seem to forget all the times in the past (maybe even the present) we showed up in similar or worse condition. We are walking talking fleshy bags of hypocrisy.

I think where most of us are hypocrites is when it comes to relationships. Be it friends, family, or significant others we all say one thing then do just the opposite so often. How often does "til death do us part" actually hold up? We say, "I love you" and weeks later we aren't speaking. We say, "We'll always be friends" and haven't communicated in months. We'll never let a relationship stand in the way of your friends then we can't talk anymore because he/she doesn't like it and we can't find time for our best friends. We love being single and hate being tied down and checking in with someone at every turn then we can't make a move asking him/her. We are hypercritical (notice the spelling) about someone cheating on someone then turn around and do the same if it benefits us. You're even hypocritical about being hypocritical. We all know (or have been) the person who "hates people who drop their friends when they get in a relationship. I'd never do that" then, of course at the first opportunity does. Sorry people, in some way we're all guilty as charged.

The bottom line is life makes hypocrites of us all. Things change. Shit happens. Life changes and evolves so what was true yesterday may not hold up until tomorrow. There's no way around it. Being hypocritical is different then lying (a blog for another day) in that at the time you state something you likely think it's true. I'm not singling out any person or persons nor pointing fingers because if I were I'd be pointing in the mirror. You were happy being single until mr./miss right came along. You meant, "til death do us part" until you're spouse did something simply inconsolable. You meant, "I love you" until you realized you didn't mean it. You never thought you'd let a relationship get in the way of your friend but you did. You honestly thought having kids wouldn't change what you did and whom you did it with (this also probably falls into the ignorance category). You meant to be friends forever but both people's lives got too busy. A new job, a death in the family, a car accident, moving, marriage, divorce, kids, etc. Every one of these things can affect what was once true that no longer is. Very few people can truly live up to their word forever and honestly, can they be expected to?

I've tried hard to not be too hypocritical myself by trying to choose my words and actions wisely but like I said, shit happens. I have let friend's drift away on the one hand and on the other I told a girl to hit the bricks when I was to decide between her and my best friend. Sorry toots, no contest there. I am happy being single and will holler it to the heavens but I met someone who almost changed my mind. Almost. I've only said "I love you" to anyone once and meant it. Still do. I've said I'd take a bullet for a true friend and meant it. So, I'm going out on a limb. Mark this date and these words. I will most likely be single forever and am happy about that. I will never lose my friends over a woman. I will always have time for my friends no matter how seriously I get involved with anyone. I will never cheat on someone I'm in a relationship with. I will always be there for my true friends and family no matter how far we seem to have drifted and no matter what they need me for. I actually think I can do this (most likely as the first statement kind of negates the most of the rest) and if I can't, gentle readers, I want you to rain down upon me with great vengeance and furious anger

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I just need My Space!

Like most of you, I’m guessing, I’ve had a love/hate affair with Myspace. I’m kind of in the hate mode right now. For me I joined Myspace to keep in touch with a friend who lived a ways away (who I no longer associate with). Eventually, mostly through a shared love of the Patriots, I made some legitimate new, great friends. Most I have been lucky enough to spend time in “real life” with. However, between work and a lack of interest when I get home I simply haven’t been on much. Part of it is the petty and immature aspects of something I once loved. There is just something about Myspace that makes people not think about other people’s feelings in what post on peoples’ profiles or leave posted on their own. I know of at least 2 relationships ruined by Myspace (and one started just to show I’m not all negative) because of things left on profiles.

I will say that Myspace can be like many other aspects of the internet (instant message, chat rooms, message boards, gaming sites) in that people grow attached to one another and maybe sometimes think there is more to it then there really is. Misunderstanding, jealousy, and hurt feelings are all very common. There can be, so I’m told, nothing quite as bracing as to view someone’s profile that you think maybe there is sort of kind of something between you and you one day read “in a relationship”. Talk about a buzz kill. Anyway, after that entire preamble I present “things I don’t necessarily love about Myspace”:

1) The politics of top friends- You know that person hanging around in your top 8 that’s been there forever even tho’ you rarely speak? Or the person who you talk to all the time (talk=message etc) that you have trouble putting in your top 4/8/12 as you’d feel bad about bumping someone else. What about real life friends who are rarely on Myspace versus your best non-real life Myspace friend? It’s like the politics of wedding list cut downs and is not an easy chore

2) False “online now” indicators- you know, so and so is on-line now. So you send a message and wait and wait, keep reloading but nothing. You’re hurt, you’re despondent, you’re most likely pathetic and in many cases you’re wrong. That thing is about as accurate as a New England meteorologist.

3) Over Bulletining- You got that add as friend request, seemed on the up and up and it turns out they simply bulletin you to death. Promoting their website, forwarding every survey and joke, asking you to attend something. Hell, if I wanted spam I’d check my e-mail

4) More info then I maybe wanted to know bulletins- someone you think you know pretty well fills out one of those foolish surveys and you read it and are like, dang, I didn’t know that nor, in many cases, did I want to. This can be particularly dangerous if the person is/was close or an ex or worse, current. Some thing are simply better left unsaid. Then again, maybe they are dropping a hint…

5) Public displays of private thoughts in comments- I’m no longer a big commenter as the more and more I check out people’s comments on their pages I notice there is just too much stuff for the world to read that should probably be private. The potential damage can be amazing. Myspace is a strange sub-division of real life and sometimes people look at their Myspace peeps in ways that maybe even they don’t know. Sometimes there’s nothing so surprising when you go to someone’s page and read “had fun last night” from someone when they told YOU they stayed home or someone visits your page and reads, “I love you” from someone who wasn’t the person it was supposed to be…even if it was in a platonic, friendly way. I think you get the drift.

There are a lot more but you get the gist. Tell me, what do you hate about Myspace?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thank you for being a friend

OK, so I've been negligent in posting here so playing catch up with my last 3 blogs which I posted to Myspace:

Defining what a friend is can be difficult as people all have different ideas of what a friend is and how to be a friend. I guess the simplest definition would be a person who means a lot to you and vice versa but is not related to you either by birth or marriage. Well, that is not always true as I have sisters and a mother who are amongst my best friend's and, realistically, unless things have gone to hell, your significant other should be amongst your best friends. As someone mostly always single and likely to be, friends are very important to me. More important at this point then any relationship I might find myself in. This could change but I also think it's just what I'm used to as I'd at this point rather spend casual, fun, good times with my friend's then the awkwardness of starting a new whatever. Rather then go on a long boring rant I will use the ever popular list format to define what a friend is to me.

A friend is someone you would do anything for as long as it didn't go against your personal beliefs or morals. (And sometimes even then). To wit, a friend would never ask you to do anything that would compromise your personal beliefs of morals.

A friend is someone you think of during the course of every day somehow. You may not realize it but this is true. Nary a day goes by I don't have a thought, memory, or mind jog that doesn't remind me of one of my friends

Friendship, to me, is earned not just claimed. I've always hated how on Myspace you add "friends". To me you add people who may or may not become friends. I'm an easy guy to like and get to know and have an uncanny sense of people's true character but still, you need do more then know me to become my friend. I have people I rarely see who are friend's, people I see all the time who aren't and in a few, rare cases, people I've never met in the flesh (so to speak) who are.

A friend is someone who, no matter how long it's been since you've spoken or seen each other, you are never uncomfortable towards or at a loss of words with.

A friend knows when to talk, when to listen, and when to say nothing at all

A friend is capable of putting you in front of them when it is called for. A person who only needs someone when they are distressed or when it benefits them is a one-way friend. This is something I cannot tolerate. Life is give and take and being a real friend means you are there for your friends when they need you, not only when you need them. I absolutely hate people incapable of adding anything to a friendship

A friend would never lie to you even if it were "for your own good". That's a breach in trust and therefore breaking the friendship

A friend is like a husband or wife in that they are there for better or worse, through sickness and health and all that other marital crap

A friend would never let a relationship ruin a friendship. Period. It may be altered but never ruined.

A friend can say "I love (small L) you" without feeling stupid

Friendship and loyalty go hand in hand (see first statement)

Friends would put themselves in harms way to protect you. I know I always say I'd take a bullet for a friend and while I hope I never have to, I honestly think I would.

You cannot hold a long grudge with someone who is or was a true friend unless they did something completely egregious or physically harmful to you or your family. The way I figure is some small indiscretion, no matter how major it seems at the time, cannot undo what made you friends to start with

A friend knows what you're thinking or what your mood is without even having to ask

I could go on and on but won't. I guess my bottom line is it isn't much work to be a friend but to be a good friend takes some effort. We've all had selfish, one way, shitty friends and have all probably been selfish, one way, shitty friends. I've been blessed with some great friends. I realized this past year people I long considered friends really weren't as looking back over time they never once went out of their way for me and only needed me for their own ends. Fine, seeya, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. I also had acquaintances become some of my closest friends and have made several new friends. Life is just like that. A wise man once told me high school friends would always be friends by friends you make after would be friends for life. That hasn't been 100% true but has merit. I've come to realize my place in life is to be a friend and I think I do it pretty darn well. I might never be a great boyfriend, lover, husband, or father but to know I'm a good friend, faults and all, I can live with that!

Please excuse the lame...ok, I actually love it for it's lameness... Andrew Gold song in the title

Friday, June 29, 2007

An open love letter...

I'm not one to openly show my feeling or let them be known in general but things have been so weird lately I simply have to shout it to the world…


My life hasn't been the same since we met. It was just 3 years ago when your floor duster changed my life for the better. Since then it's been the Wet Jet with both the all purpose as well as hardwood cleaner to keep all my surfaces clean and fresh. Then came the Dusters with both standard and extended handles to get to those hard to reach spots. Then, out of the blue the floor duster with built in cordless vacuum. Simply heaven! You've done so much for cleaning challenged bachelors the world over with your simpler, disposable methods of cleaning and more importantly right here in my heart!

Now, I know you're saying Swiffer is a division of Johnson and Johnson or some crap but in my mind Mr. Swiffer is a congenial older gentleman in a lab coat with a beaker in one hand and samples of statically charged textile in the other. He is simply looking out for all of us who refuse to use buckets, dustpans, or clean standard off the shelf cleaning tool!

So thank you Mr. Swiffer and your brother Mr. Clean and your friends the Scrubbing Bubbles for making every trip to target exciting, my wallet a little lighter and for making me actually believe all your product make cleaning easier.

I love you Mr. Swiffer!