About me

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As defined by my occupation, I am a computer technician. I also love life and have a restless curiosity about new things. I am constantly amazed by the insight and creativity of others.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


There are two definitions of the word "asylum" that come immediately to my mind:

asylum - a shelter from danger or hardship
asylum - a hospital for mentally unbalanced persons

In a few weeks, my apartment is destined to become one, or perhaps both of those things because, due to financial and other considerations, my ex will be moving back in with me for a time. To be certain, this is neither a reconciliation, nor a (re)marriage of convenience, but rather a backup plan that was to be used in the event all else failed. Unfortunately, all else has failed.

When we parted, some three and a half years ago, we thought it would be for the best if we each go our separate ways while maintaining a friendship. We figured that we would offer mutual assistance and make the parting as amicable as we could. After all, why throw away a 20 plus year relationship because the marriage failed.

Of course, things didn't work out quite that way. (Do they ever?) While I was able to make a fairly clean break, after a period of intense emotional turmoil, it hasn't worked out so well for her. She has since been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder as well as Complex PTSD, both of which are long standing issues from her distant past, that have become debilitating due to being left undiagnosed and untreated for such a long time. In addition, there is the battle against alcohol abuse that we both fight on a daily basis, and finally, she suffered back and knee injuries, after being physically assaulted in 2011, leaving her physically, as well as mentally partially disabled. She is doing her best to overcome some terrible circumstances in order to regain her independence, however she still needs my help... A LOT. We are waiting for her to get disability benefits so she can get back to living on her own, but it's taking forever and we have had to hire a lawyer to help us. We are hoping for a positive outcome by year's end.

I will confess to being a little nervous about doing this. Even though she is doing very well with medication, and counseling, and we have known each other for over 20 years, there are still the memories of how it ended the last time. There are also the outstanding issues that broke us up to begin with, and perhaps a bit of left over hurt. (We have been trying our best to tread softly around those things) Not only that, but we will be moving into a new and more expensive apartment in order to make enough room for both of us, and that alone will be kind of a big thing.

In spite of being somewhat anxious, I think I'm doing the right thing. It's one thing to talk about “being there” for someone, and another thing to actually “BE” there when they are running out of options. Let's face it, friendship is easy when things are going well, but the true test of any relationship happens when things go wrong, and even though I am making myself vulnerable by opening my door, she is likewise making herself vulnerable by trusting that her time with me will be peaceful, and secure.

We have been talking things through and even though neither of us thinks that this is an ideal solution, we are both willing to try to make it work. Only time will tell if we've made the right choice.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The day I almost went sailing... or... Down to the sea in Schtick

I'm trying to add new things to my life, so when I was offered an opportunity by my ex, who lives on a 27 foot sailboat to learn how to sail, I jumped at the chance. Well, it was really more of a half-hearted hop, but I said OK, and was eventually even able to work up a bit of enthusiasm for it. Of course, my ex knows nothing about sailing either, (she only lives there) but has a friend who was perfectly willing to teach us, so we all decided to make a day of it.

Now, when I use the expression “learned to sail” I'm using it very loosely. There was indeed a boat with sails on it, a teacher guy who was more than willing to show us what to do, and two eager students, but any resemblance to the actual unfurling of sails, wind and spray in the face, or hoisting the mizzen mast and the doing of other such nautical stuff, stops right there. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy myself, or that I didn't learn anything, it just didn't happen as planned

When I arrived at the marina early that afternoon, my ex and Rick our instructor, were already there preparing for the day. Apparently, there's a bit of prep work that needs to be done before heading out. It's not like jumping into the car to go to the store. You have to DO stuff first. Preparation seems to entail a lot of tugging and pulling on ropes and cables “securing” stuff, and saying “Mmm Hmm” a lot. There's also a fair amount of profanity involved as boats also appear to have a lot of tight, dark and wet places that are full of sharp and pointy things. I can now understand why sailors have a reputation for swearing like, well... sailors.

Among the things checked was the “bilge pump”. As it turns out, a boat really needs one of these because, as Rick so seriously intoned, “All boats leak”, and as I watched water pouring out of a hole in the back, I could see that this boat is a particularly good example of that. I've heard boats described as “Holes in the water that you fill with money”, and now I can better understand the analogy. If the bilge pump should ever stop working, nature which abhors a vacuum, will proceed to quickly fill that hole up for you, leaving behind nothing BUT water... Really bad if you want to go sailing, and even worse if you happen to live in said former hole in the water.

… And all this time, I thought that a bilge pump was just for when you flushed the toilet and that was what removed the physical evidence. Little did I know that the “Head” is nothing more that a bucket with a toilet seat on it and (so I was told) the one who filled it up, was the one who had to empty it (A process that I'll not describe here) Needless to say, this was one lottery that I refused to win... I held out all afternoon!

As is turned out, we never did get the chance to go because Rick cancelled the whole thing. He said it was because “the engine won't stay running”, and I was like, “Huh?... wha?” It's possible that I might have been missing something here but I thought that the main thing about sailing was, you know... wind. If you need a motor, what are sails for? Maybe the object is to drive out into the bay and hoist the sails so you can say “HEY everybody... LOOK! I've got a SAILBOAT!”. Anyway, I didn't bother asking because I didn't want him to go all Captain Hook on me or something, because by now, he was chest deep in possibly gator infested waters (Well, that's what the sign said) trying to fix the engine.

Here is where more of that sailor type swearing comes in. I've worked on cars for years and I know that when you drop a tool, or part, it falls down and rolls underneath to the furthest, and dirtiest place that it can, but at least, your can crawl under and get it. Not so in the water, if you drop something there, that son of a bitch is gone and you ain't never gonna see it again. The only thing left to do is to drive down to the marine store (no engine, remember?) and get a new bolt, or tool, or whole new framis, or whatever the fuck that thing was. Not only that, but by the time you get back, you know that goddamn alligator is liable to be around there somewhere. By now, he looked about ready to take swearing to a whole new level. I thought he might confront the Almighty directly. I could have just seen him looking up to heaven, in quivering rage, with raised fists and screaming “Bring it motherfucker!!! Show me what you got!!!, but since yelling, swearing and parts fetching was not only too much work, it was also potentially very expensive. We decided to get beer and food instead.

So now, with the motor now declared temporarily dead, we just sort of hung out, and enjoyed each other's company on a really nice day. It didn't bother me at all that we never left the dock. It was a beautiful day, the company was good, there was beer and food, and I didn't have to shit in a bucket.

This puts me in mind of a similar thing that happened a long time ago. It was the time that I went “flying” with my uncle. Only this was up north, where I stood out in teeth chattering cold all day while he swore, and struggled to bring his recalcitrant Cessna 195 to life. (Sailors and Pilots seem to possess the same basic blasphemous vocabulary) By the time he was finally able to coax the plane out of it's winter coma, the weather had become even colder, and there was a storm coming in so we called it a day... And, as everyone knows: “It's better to be on the ground, wishing you were in the air, than in the air, wishing you were on the ground.” (I read that somewhere)

That last bit had nothing to do with sailing, did it? Anyway, we will try heading out again as soon as the engine is running. He said by next weekend, although I think that's about as likely as seeing Jesus in boxing gloves.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Quiet Carnage

I was cleaning my apartment over the weekend and could hardy believe how bad the place had gotten in just a little over a week. Considering my work schedule, in combination with general laziness, it's little wonder that the place went from a reasonably comfortable living space to total wreckage. All it takes is a little neglect or lack of focus, and before you know it, you turn around and the place is almost uninhabitable.

It's the same with life. It's easy to fall into a pattern of neglect and complacency until one day, you take a long hard look, and you can clearly see the carnage. All of those things left undone, opportunities missed, wrong turns, failure to plan properly and time wasted... probably that most of all. It takes years to get that way, and it happens quietly, with the rot slowly and insidiously settling in almost unnoticed. Initiative, imagination, and creativity can dissipate over time, leaving dreams and plans in hollow ruins, while papering them over with the false and brittle facade of contentment.

The realization may come slowly, like the morning sun burning through fog, or it may fall suddenly, with sleep depriving ferocity, like some dark epiphany in the middle of the night. No matter how it manifests itself, be it a still small voice or clap of thunder, it is a message that must be acted upon.

I have had my moment of enlightenment and in a sense, it's one reason for this blog. It is tacit acknowledgment that things are not as they should be and it's time to move in a different direction. By putting things down in writing and in plain sight, It becomes a daily reminder to myself to move forward. In addition, a blog will help me to develop my writing ability, and give me the chance to explore a different way of communicating, while hopefully opening the door to new interactions.

I am trying to incorporate new and different ideas into my daily life in order to jump start creativity and initiative while at the same time, trying to break some of those bad habits that I have allowed to linger and cause damage. I am also slowly but surely attempting to do new things that will stretch the very limited boundaries of my comfort zone.

John F. Kennedy once said: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

It is time to start looking to the future again.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Friend Zone

I think you know how it goes. There's a special someone that you've been crushing on for like, EVER. We're talking here, about a someone who is smart, funny, has a great personality, and sexy as hell to boot. Not only that, but there's actual communication between you. You can banter back and forth, make each other laugh, share inside jokes and secrets, and may even flirt a little bit from time to time. Still, no matter how close you become, it never manages to get past that platonic phase. Deep down, you know that the two of you will never be more than "just" friends. You may even consult with your besties about your unrequited love but all they can do it look at you, with pity in their eyes, and announce in death's own voice; “Whoa, dude... You've been FRIEND ZONED!” (Cue the scary music)

What to do? I mean, it's a disaster, right?... Or is it? Could it be that rather than being the end of something, it could be the start of something else? I personally think it can. Let me explain.

I've been there. I've been “friend zoned” a few times now and I'm OK with it. Being just friends might not have all the fun and thrills of a romantic encounter, but now I have the chance at something that to me is just as substantive and perhaps longer lasting.

When I start to crush on someone, I do so for a reason. She is attractive to me and has qualities that I want to be around. She is someone that I can look up to for her mind, personality, cleverness, and just overall wonderfulness. I love hearing from her, and enjoy spending time with her. Even though she doesn't see me through romantic eyes, I still enjoy doing those little things that can make her day a little brighter or picking her up when she's feeling a bit down. I love it when I can make her smile, laugh, or just feel a little more special than she did before.

So, you may be wondering, what's in it for me? A lot! First of all, having an amazing friend makes me feel better about who I am. (I know, sounds selfish, right?) Her very presence in my life makes it brighter. Having this very special, crush worthy friend, who appreciates me for who I am, values my input, and cares enough to share her thoughts and time with me, makes me feel better, smarter, sexier, and more clever than I really am and I revel in it.

Secondly, I can learn from her. I see those admirable traits, that I find so lovely, and I find myself wanting to become more like that myself. In addition, I am drinking in different ideas and perspectives, and learning new ways of interacting with the world. Over time, I believe that my relationship with her will make both of our lives, a richer, and more varied experience.

I have been friend zoned by several marvelous women over the years and I have discovered that, as much as I may have wanted it, I didn't need to have a romantic relationship in order to care deeply and I came away with what I hope will be warm and loving friendships that will last for a long time.