I Now Pronounce You


And You Thought I Was Gone Forever…

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on February 3, 2009

Hola kids. Yes I know it’s been …well…awhile. Glad to see Obama won. Good, good, and end of an error and all that. Did you have a good Christmas/Han…err…Chanu…errr…Jewish Christmas? Did you drink a lot on New Year’s Eve and wake up in a strange place?

What? Oh, you’re annoyed with me? OK OK, I get it. I know, I just disappeared. But you know, I never stopped thinking about you. OK, that’s a lie. I did. I got busy, man, what can I say? I’ve been tearing down and rebuilding and rearranging and renovating and just generally changing, baby.

But, here I am! And it’s been really, pretty amazing lately. And I figured that I had to come back and here and give you all the low down and put I Now Pronounce You to bed, once and for all. Yes, you heard me, this is IT, kids. It’s over. Done. Kaput.

You see, I started this blog for, well…you know why I started it. And then it just kinda became. It became cathartic and wonderful and terrible and cool and too much and not enough and…yeah, all that. It took over. And then it became a crutch. I’ve told you that without probably ever telling you that, but there it was. And I started saying “enough it’s time to getthefuckonwithit” and that’s exactly what I did.

I gotthefuckonwithit.

I started really living instead of just existing. Now, to a lot of my friends, this seemed to be exactly the opposite of what I was actually doing. Because, not unlike this blog, I just kindasortaprettymuch disappeared. Poof. Casper. Gone. I got emails and phone messages and all kinds of “wtf!?” smoke signals…but really, I just needed to disappear.

I started what I have taken to calling the “Quiet Phase” of my life. The GF and I have been quiet…we’ve been still…and we’ve been happy. Really, really happy.

So, not very long ago I found myself, in a true moment of clarity, realizing just how happy I am…how much I like being grounded, having newer and bigger goals and aspirations and caring about things that are bigger than just me….wanting more…and really getting why all the craziness that I’ve been sharing with you and living with begins and ends with me…

And why so much of the happiness that I have been experiencing begins and ends with her….

So on Saturday right after I dropped her off at the airport for her flight up North to get her little girl, I went and had and took care of a few things…and when she came home, tired from her trip with the little one in tow, ready for bed, I made us a fire and dimmed the light…I sat next to her and told her how happy I am when her little girl is with us, and that I think we should have a family…

…and that I think we should get married…

…and that I’m not saying “someday”…I’m saying I love you, and I don’t ever want to live without you…

…and I want to know, will you marry me?

beths-ring2

And she said yes.

It’s all full circle; better now than it could have been, but better for having gone through everything that got me here.

Thank you all for your kinds words over the time we’ve shared…your thoughts, advice (good bad or otherwise) and wisdom. This wasn’t ever quite what I thought it would be, but it certainly was more than I’d hoped for…

Be good to yourselves, take care of each other, and Go Yankees.

-Justin

How The Democrats Can (and Possibly Will) Blow This -or- How a Hard Core Democrat Lost His Faith In The True Blue Left

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on September 15, 2008

I know it’s been awhile, but….

My fellow Americans, for a few weeks now, since that fateful Friday that we as a nation were introduced to Sarah Palin, I have been railing in vain. In that time I’ve realized several things about not only myself, but my Party, and furthermore about my country. I’d like to share these things with you now. 

Most of what I am about to share is going to be uncomfortable for many of you. By “you” I mean left leaning Democrats with whom I have shared 4 elections as well as an ideology. It is because of the shock and bewilderment that I have found myself dealing with when I look in a mirror that its taken me this long to even share it with you. But, if you are unfortunate enough to share an office or apartment with me, you’ve heard this before. I’ve been babbling in half sentences and outbursts for weeks. Annoyed. Agitated. It’s taken me a while to nail it all down in what I’m about to lay out.

First, a little about me;

I grew up a New England Democrat. Pro Choice, Pro Government, Anti War, middle of the road on guns, no God in schools…all that. Dyed in the wool blue. Kennedy and Clinton. My mother is a true bleeding heart liberal. My father, interestingly enough, is a gun totin’, no helmet Harley ridin’ Republican with a ferocious Independent streak. He voted for Perot. The point is, I got a little from him, and a lot from her. Except when it came to that most American of pursuits; baseball. Mom liked the Sox, Dad the Yankees. It’s amazing to me they were married for as long as they were. 

I digress.

Where I break with party ever so slightly, is that I enlisted in the Army Corp of Engineers during the first Gulf War. Not a popular choice among Northeastern Liberals, I assure you. I have a very, very healthy respect for service; those who serve and the families that support them.

In a nutshell, that’s me. Got it? Good. Here we go.

My fellow Democrats, I have to ask. What is going on here?! Since that Fateful Friday, I seem to have completely broken ranks with the Blue Left, and I hardly recognize you anymore. And I am terrified right now, because I seem to be one of the only ones among us hitting that big red panic button, hitting it hard and hitting it often.

This thing is starting to really slip away, and I think I get why. And, it’s not some “vast right wing conspiracy” this time. It’s not them, my Blue brothers and sisters. Oh no, it’s us.

From the beginning, I’ve been worried about this election. When I looked at the field of candidates that were going to go and reclaim the White House for us after our new long National Nightmare, I had one thought;

After 8 years…8 LONG years…this is the best we’ve got?! Hillary Clinton, that guy that gave the speech at the DNC, and a bunch of also ran retreads…oh and Dennis Kuci…Cuchi…you know who I mean. This is it? I wanted to punch Howard Dean right in the face. 8 Years and this is all we’ve got?

My fear, right from the beginning, was that we were going to run either HIllary, a woman who so polarizes, whose very name brings up such disdain in middle America, that she’s a crap shoot…or Barack Obama, a man that we fell in love with after 1 speech and all said “That guy should be President”. My exact thought right then was, and this is a quote; “Meat for the Republican Grinders”.

She’s too polarizing and he’s too inexperienced, I thought. The Republicans and their Swift Boating, low blowing, no holds barred, nothing is off limits, Karl Rove lovin’ goon squads will chew them up and spit them out. It can’t come down to those two…it can’t. Not when there’s so much at stake.



Ahh, but then I realized something else; we’re the Democrats. The progressives. And I remembered something about us that made me literally shudder right down to my shoes; it’s the principal of the thing with us often times more than the reality. We fall in love with concepts, reality be damned. Gays in the military. Universal Health Care. Lyndon Johnson handing the South to the Republicans for Civil Rights.

It’s not that we’re wrong, it’s that we martyr ourselves over and over again for what we believe is right. The key word there being “martyr”.

Well this time we might have gone and nailed ourselves the cross (that doesn’t belong in schools) again. And if we have, we’ve done so at a terrible time. If we lose this, we have handed this country over to the Right with a bad economy, 2 wars, a Supreme Court ready for a makeover, and the world’s opinion of us at an all time low. We need, so very badly, for this 8 year run to come to an end. But what we’ve done is gamble on someone who is, I’m sorry to say it, far from a no brainer.


Now, I know that gets you all riled up. That you hear that and you’re ready to start spouting off all kinds of things that I myself might have said in other times and other places. But not now. Now is the time for all of us on the Left to swallow some bitter pills, internalize them, and get this back on track. 

Having said that, here are the things that have me ready to scream and ready to re-register myself as an Independent.

1) Barack Obama has “electabilty issues”, and that is NOT a euphemism for “I won’t vote for a black man”.

This is first and foremost on my mind, and something that you need to get straight right away. This racism card that you (and I say “you” because this is where I start breaking with the party…so this is you) keep playing whenever someone says they have issues with Obama is killing you. Are their racial factors in play? Of course there are…but if you’re so worried about it, maybe that should have come up in the primaries, not now. Oh wait, it did come up in the Primaries. Hillary and Bill both made references to it. But all the Left reacted in typical self righteous holier than thou attitudes and completely missed the point. The point was “this is going to be much harder than you think”. Not that an African American can’t or shouldn’t be President. But that just because you think a certain way, doesn’t mean the country thinks that same way. (Read that again, because it’s a point that I’m going to come back to a few times…go ahead, I’ll wait) Consequently, you are starting at a disadvantage, because no one says to a pollster “I won’t vote for a black man”.

Now, having said all of that…

He still has electability issues that have nothing to do with his race. He’s inexperienced for one thing. Like it or not, he’s one of the least experienced candidates to ever be nominated for President by one of the two major parties. That’s fact. He’s also a Chicago politician, which isn’t exactly an easy sell to the Heartland. And, like it or not, he’s made some shockingly bad gaffes along the way (his response on the Russia/Georgia issue far trumps Palin’s failure to articulate the Bush Doctrine) and has a history of associations that is going to simply explode any day now. Not to mention how many people he outright offended with his “clinging to God and Guns” and “lipstick on a pig” comments.

And before you say it, save it. Spare me the “he didn’t mean it that way” lines. That’s irrelevant and more than likely untrue. Stop kidding yourself. But either way, he shouldn’t have said it in this climate, and a better politician would never have used that line.

Furthermore, if you thought the “Swift Boating” was bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I said two weeks ago that within a month we would be besieged with commercials about Pastor Wright, Tony Rezko, and William Ayers (that one has already been made, I’ve seen it, and it ain’t good) that are going to make you want to take a shower.

These issues have nothing to do with race. They have to do with the man and the reality of modern elections. When you couple this with race, which it’s too late too cry about, you get an election that should have been a no brainer that is suddenly up for grabs.

I don’t know about you, but if I am watching John McCain’s inauguration in January, it’s not going to be one bit comforting that my Party was the first to nominate an African American for President. What I’m going to be thinking about is whether or not we would have been wiser to nominate the first woman, or if we should have just stuck with the “Status Quo” and won what should have been a gimme.

2) Get Over Your Holier Than Thou Attitudes, Stop Quoting the NY Times, and Start Seeing Your Country

All I’ve heard for weeks now if that this election is over. It’s in the bag, baby! Obama is going to ride in to the White House on a path of roses and the tears of overjoyed Americans…it’s DONE.


“But, you know the polls say this is like a 5 point race at best, right?”

Psssshaw! Have you seen the New York Times?!

Hear me now, my friends. PLEASE hear this…if nothing else, if ALL you take from this is that I’m a racist and a sexist, (which I fully expect to hear, by the way) just please get this;

The people in this country that elected GWB twice do not read the New York Times. They don’t read the Boston Globe, the Washington Post…none of that. STOP READING IT TO FEEL SAFE. I’ll let you in on a little (not so) secret; they said the same things in 2004. There was no way GWB could win, and even though John Kerry (JOHN KERRY?!) wasn’t the greatest candidate since Lincoln, he’s going to win.

How’d that work out for us?

It’s high time that we on the Left start realizing something about this country; you know that map that you all snickered at, the one that showed America as being a ring around Dumbfuckistan? Have you ever counted up the electoral college votes in Dumbfuckistan? Of course not, because you were probably too busy feeling superior. So, let me explain something; this idea that we have that everyone that doesn’t agree with us on Roe v. Wade, terrorism, the military, homosexuality, religion, and whatever other issue out there does so because they’re stupid and a red neck is both absurd and offensive. I’m not even one of them and I find it offensive. It also paints us as elitists who are out of touch.

Yes, out of touch.

You can say what you want about the Republicans, but saying they are “out of touch” with America is just plain wrong. They have their finger squarely on the pulse of the country…it’s just not squarely on the pulse of a hand holding the New York Times.

Now, I love the Times. I read it every weekend. But I read lots of things, and what I can say to you with 100% certainty is this;

If a race is within the +/- error margin, and you think it’s in the bag, you’re out of touch. Not them. You. You might not like middle America. You might not respect them. But they do vote. They also, as Sarah Palin pointed out in a move that showed she’s got her
finger on the pulse, “grow your food and fight your wars” and just because you think they are too dumb to “get it” doesn’t mean they are. And that attitude plays right in to the hands of the “Us v. Them” mentality that the Right has been using since 2000.

If nothing else, people, learn that…and while you’re at it, know this; our candidate should have been going after those people. Saying “I’m not the guy you put in to office twice” while insulting them for clinging to their religious beliefs and support for the Second Ammendment? That’s not a great approach.

Which now brings me to the big one…

3) Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin, holy CRAP what a choice, SARAH PALIN -OR- How Ya Like Me Now, Feminists?

Ahhh, that fateful Friday, when John McCain officially turned this entire election on it’s ear…I remember it so well. As I, like all of you, went online and started learning about the world’s most famous Hockey Mom, I became aware of the fact that I am not in lock step with my party anymore.

See, I immediately started wailing on my panic button. I turned to my good friend, Arjewtino, and said “this is a total game-changer, and I think we could be fucked”. It was all right there; so simple, so blatantly obvious, so ridiculously brilliant. But oddly, that’s not what I heard from the Left.

Pandering, that’s what he’s doing. Women should be offended.

Stupid, desperate choice.

She’s got no experience! A mayor in a Alaska?! Oh come ON.

Let me tell you what you aren’t getting with this pick…

You’re right, my friends. She’s no Hillary Clinton. She’s now the Hillary Clinton of the Right. What you seemingly have missed here is that all of the reasons that you hate her (and let there be no doubt about it, you hate her) are the very reasons the rest of the country loves her. And the more you hate her, and the more the press goes out and
digs up every irrelevant story there has ever been about her (“Did you know Levi used to date her daughter’s best friend, but cheated on her?!”) while giving Obama a pass, and the more you dismiss her, the more you are galvanizing her appeal to them. Keep belittling her, and you are only serving to strengthen her appeal.

Just as the Right did with Hillary, so you’re doing now with Sarah.

She’s one of them. She’s God and Guns, Pro Life, Pro Family, Pro America, Pro Small Town, Pro Union, Pro Everything that you look down your nose at and sneer…and when you do that to her you are, to the citizens of Dumbfuckistan, doing it to them, too. It’s Solidarity 101.

That’s what Sarah Palin means to and does for the Right. Not just the women, either. She’s a woman that a whole lot of men who would never vote for a woman will happily vote for, saying that she’s “different”.

The smart thing to do would have been to dismiss her with a comment about how surprising it is to pick someone with no experience, but good for the Republicans for being progressive…and then get right back on message. But oh no, that just wouldn’t do. Why? I’ll tell you why…the soft underbelly of this entire issue? The one that the Republicans and the citizens of Dumbfuckistan are just loving?

Sarah Palin exposes the hypocrisy of the Left.

See, the genius of this pick that the Left so callously dismisses is that Sarah Palin has single handedly made the Left act like hypocrites. When you say “she’s got no experience”, you are forgetting that Barack Obama had been in elected office for 20 minutes when we all decided (along with Matt Damon…are you really still watching that You Tube video? Matt Damon? Dear God) at the ’04 DNC that he should be President. Why? Because he was the kind of person you wanted to have in the office, even though he wasn’t qualified enough at that point. Sure, he’s got more experience now than Palin…but he doesn’t have much. He doesn’t have, say, John McCain experience.

Oh, is that not what you meant? Too bad, because that’s the logical extension of this argument.

Suddenly, the experience argument that you all fought so tooth and nail against before this pick? Now you are backtracking. You might not like it, but you are now railing against the candidate for Vice President for her lack of experience while the man running for President with her has it all over your candidate. Can you see how this looks to Dumbfuckistan now, let alone to the Independents out there? Let me clue you in;

If you’re an African American male Liberal Democrat running for President, experience is overrated.

If you’re a white female Conservative Republican running for Vice President though….well, just ask Matt Damon; she can’t possibly do the job! But to them, she is the kind of person that they want in the office, even though she isn’t qualified enough at this point. 

I’m not saying it’s completely valid. But it ain’t completely inaccurate, either. And if the shoe was on the other foot…

Which brings me to another aspect of this pick. “If the shoe was on the the other foot”, and a Democratic candidate was having to deal with comments like “her only qualification seems to be that she didn’t have an abortion” or “how will she have time to take care of her kids” or the opposition’s candidate was being given a free pass as a man, and your candidate was dealing with scrutiny at the level she is as a woman…?

You would be screaming sexism. Screaming it from the rooftops of the New York Times, shouting it on Oprah (where she would be an honored red carpet guest, btw) and hollering it on the Mall where you’d have a Million Woman March. But you’re not. In fact, you’re taking a great gleeful joy in it. The fact is that the Republicans have put a female on the ticket, which the Democrats should have done themselves, but because she doesn’t subscribe to your ideology on abortion, you’ve decided that she’s not a “real” woman on the ticket…so the rules don’t apply.

This makes me sick. It has all the hallmarks of Colin Powell having to deal with charges of not being black enough to be considered a “real” black candidate for VP. Or the way that you overlook or worse, outright dismiss the progress that Condoleezza Rice has made for both women and African Americans, because she’s a Republican.

You ought to be ashamed. You really, really should be.

The simple fact here is that there are a whole lot of hard working, professional women in the country who are Pro Life. That doesn’t make them any less of a woman, and no less deserving of respect. Sarah Palin is the only person in this race who can honestly say that she’s not a professional politician. She got in to politics for all the right reasons in the most text book made for TV story there is, and she’s a woman. That could have
been Hillary up there, and by all accounts now, it should have been. (Because really; Joe Biden? Yeah, that was inspired) But it’s not, so apparently the Left has decided that Sarah can’t sit at this lunch counter.

If Governor Palin doesn’t fit your definition of Feminism, so be it. But she fits a whole hell of a lot of other people’s in this country. And the women that she’s inspiring? They vote, too, and they can now lay claim to a role model who will push them in all the same ways and quite possibly more than Hillary pushed so many of you.

And if I sound like I admire her, it’s because I do. I don’t agree with much of anything that she stands for and I don’t like her politics one bit. But she is “Mrs. Deeds Goes to Town”, and she ought to seen for what she is; a strong, independent woman who wanted to make a difference and went out and did it. She didn’t wait for her husband or anybody else to do it. She didn’t wait for anything. She went out and did it her damn self. As a Republican. In Alaska. A beauty with brains in a male dominated party and a male dominated state steps out and kicks ass…and you hate her. Because she’s not one of your own, and she might beat you to the punch.

Wow.

Think about that the next time you talk about “electability” being a code word for something.

This election is doing exactly what so many people thought that it would. It’s making us examine our real feelings about race, gender, and religion. It’s making us question what makes a good candidate versus what makes a good President and Vice President. It’s making us question whether it’s about the best candidate or it’s about social change and challenging the status quo. What I don’t think that any of us saw coming was that the Republicans would do such a solid job of recognizing these things and reacting to it in such an effective manner. If you think that was dumb luck, you probably haven’t heard a word I’m saying…and I can’t say that I’m surprised. I think that I’m all done being surprised, really.

When my party becomes the one that needs to be reminded of the lessons we lecture others on and gets so taken off message by a political lightweight that we start falling behind in a “gimme” year if ever there was one, maybe it’s time for me to realize that what I am is an Independent. Maybe I, like many Republicans who felt displaced by the Neo Conservative movement in their party, actually represent the groundswell for a third party. Those of us that look at our own parties and say “what the hell is going on here?” might be better served by taking our ball and going home to try something different.

Because really, I don’t get this. I don’t get when we lost sight of the basics, lost touch with an entire segment of the population, and started looking down on so many people that make up our country. We are supposed to be the party that is better than the way we are suspending our own rules for people that don’t agree with us. We are supposed to be the party that really “gets it”.

So, keep patting yourself on the back for running Mr. Obama and being so progressive while you trash Sarah Palin. Keep shielding your eyes from the parallels with the New York Times and telling yourself that it’s in the bag. On the one hand, I hope you’re right because it’s absolutely time for a change. On the other hand, I wonder if we haven’t set ourselves up to get exactly what we deserve.

Every Year I say I’m Going to Europe…

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on June 26, 2008

…but I wind up going to Maine instead.

Tomorrow I leave for my yearly trip to Maine to see my family. You’d think that at some point this would become something of a norm for me…that the prospect of seeing Kid Brother, Super Sistah, and their three apple of my eye kids, my nieces (Who I’m not feeling clever enough to give nicknames to just now) would become …ya know…ho hum.

And you would be wrong.

I’m downright giddy about going, as I always am. I cannot wait to get there! And this year, not only is GF going (who i do have to find a new nick name for) but so is her 4 year old daughter. Her daughter is about the same age as my middle niece, so this trip is going to be all about the kids…family…small town 4th of July complete with a parade, hot dogs, swimming, chasing the dog, and allll that other stuff that I am enjoying more and more as I get older.

I guess that would be the other piece of my life that has changed; GF’s daughter. I’ve spent all kinds of time with the little cutie, and it’s definitely had an effect. When you’ve got a 4 year old in the house, the entire energy changes. When she’s here, it’s like you become an uber adult…but with a side of inner child. I’ll give you an example;

She likes to play the “I’m Really Fast” game. This usually starts with the announcement that, “I’m really fast”. She’ll then run right at me, hoping somehow to veer off at the last second and sail right by me in a blaze of 4 year old speed…

This of course, gets me to respond “No you’re not! I’M really fast…” which sends her running in a fit of giggles right at me, which ends with me grabbing her and turning her upside down and both of us laughing…

However, while all of that is going on…I’m also thinking, “Oh GOD please don’t fall in to the coffee table, because it’s actually rather solid and if you crash in to it we’re going to have to go to the emergency room I just know it and you’ll be crying and screaming and I’ll be hyperventilating and thinking that I’m a terrible person who’s never going to be capable of being a good dad which I’ve kind of sort of always known and you will prove to me in one fell swoop of a game of “I’m Really Fast” gone horribly, tragically awry.”

Phew.

See…child like bliss with grown up panic attacks.

At any rate, this trip will be 10 days of family, ages 1 to 80-something. And I’m going to cram in as many hugs, smiles, sea food, and games of “I’m Really Fast” as possible…cuz I won’t be back until Christmas. Then again, maybe I’ll spend Christmas in London this year!

Who am I kidding…

INPY’s 4 Steps to Changing Your Life

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on June 22, 2008

Hey, where the hell have you been!? I kid…It’s been awhile, I know. No no, I wasn’t incarcerated, in rehab, or abducted by one of my raging psychotic ex’s. There were no aliens, no excursions to South East Asia to hide out, and certainly no lengthy court battles. It was nothing like that. But, it was no less significant.

As I’d been documenting over the last year, things have been….well…pretty all over the place. From “I’m getting married!” to “I think I’m dying” to “What am I supposed to do now?!” to “Screw it let’s do shots”…then the “NGF to GF files” and…hey, what am I telling you this for? You read it, you know.

Somewhere in the last several months, I had this annoying little voice start whispering to me. I couldn’t really understand what it was driving at…couldn’t really make out its point. But it had something say, and it would not be denied. So, I did what I thought was the right thing to do and ignored it completely.

That didn’t work all that well.

Then I found myself thinking about all kinds of things. Totally random things. My not so great recent history. My good times. My bad times. My total disconnect with one side of my family and my overwhelming connection to the other. My GF. My ex’s. Basically…my life. But not in that “one aspect under a microscope” or the overwhelming “all at once without seeing anything” way. I mean, I was thinking about my whole life and how I got here. And what I want. And what I don’t want.

It was then that I heard what my little voice was saying;

“It’s time to move on. There’s more than this. It’s time”.

I don’t think that I wanted to hear it at first. But I started to realize, after a good amount of time spent mulling over all of the aforementioned crap that, by God, it’s true. There abso-friggin’-lutely has to be more than this. I mean, this has been fun, and therapeutic. And cathartic. This life I’ve been living? It’s worked for me for years. But suddenly? It’s not working anymore. I’m tired. I don’t feel fulfilled or fully utilized. And deep inside, I knew it. It’s just that the “deep inside” part of me knew it well in advance of the rest of me.

So what’s an old INPY that wants to learn new tricks to do?

Glad you asked. Here then, are INPY’s 4 Steps to Changing Your Life. Maybe these aren’t for you, and that’s cool. That’s why it’s not called the (INSERT YOUR NAME HERE)’s 4 Steps…they’re MY Steps. And since everyone always has either 3, 5, 7, 10, or 12…I decided to distill mine down to 4.

Here ya’ go.

1) Throw Away Your Crutches -or- Clear Your Head.

I cannot stress enough how important this one is…it’s #1 for a very good reason. For me to change, I had to really change, baby. I knew that I couldn’t really get on with it and turn my life in to the something new if I had the same old lifestyle. I also realized that every drink, smoke, or what have you that I put in to my body had a significant effect on my headspace and how I see the world…and consequently, how I make decisions.

Now, don’t confuse this with me being some sort of alcoholic or addict. I’m not, never have been, never will be. But you don’t have to have a problem with something for something to be a problem…or at least, detrimental. And that’s what I realized. Time to start fresh.

To that end, I haven’t had a cigarette since December. I haven’t had a drink in 2 months. I’ve had pretty much nothing but water/sparkling water/club soda and green tea in that time. The first week was no big deal. The second was nice. Even still though, I felt kinda like…well, how long will this last?

By the time that I got to a month, I started feeling completely, totally different. By 2 months? I couldn’t really fathom why I’d have another drink or smoke. Ever. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever drink or smoke. But try giving it a rest for a bit. Take 30 days and stay clean. Don’t drink. Leave your bong in your Super Secret Bong Hiding Place. Lay off the smokes.

Seriously, give it a whirl. You can always go back.

Oh, but for me? It wasn’t just 2 months of clean livin’ by not having any pollutants in my body. There’s more.

2) Get Thee to a GYM

About the time that I realized that I needed to do #1, I took a good look in the mirror. And I couldn’t really believe what was looking back at me. When the hell did I get so…fat?! I mean, look people, you can lie to yourself all day long, but the mirror? That isn’t going to fib for you. So, I made decision #2 and marched down to my local gym, Willpower. I met Will, the owner. (Get it…”Will Power”?! GENIUS!) And I said to him, “Just tell me what to do, and I’m going to do it.”

Here’s what he told me, and here’s what I do.

1. Hire our trainer, see him twice/week.
2. Commit to getting in here.
3. Change your diet.
4. Get plenty of sleep.

For the last two months, I have been in Willpower for an hour of cardio and exercise 5-6 times/week. I see my trainer, Kenny, at 8:00 PM Mondays and Wednesdays. I am in the gym at least 3 other times/week as well, usually at 5:30 AM.

I eat 5 small meals/day. I don’t eat things like white bread or white rice, let alone burgers or subs. I drink water like a fiend, never touch soda. I have a freezer full of skinless chicken breast and turkey in every form you can fathom. And I consume more fruit than anyone I have ever known.

In those two months, I have seen the following changes;

-I’ve dropped more than a full suit size, my pants don’t fit, and even my shirts look big.
-My energy level? Skyrocketed.
-My mind feels exponentially more focused.
-Effectively, everything is easier.

Not bad, huh?

3) Take Stock of What you Have

Most of us don’t really ever look around and say “wow, I’ve got some great stuff goin’ on”. We usually bemoan the fact that we don’t have something we want. (This is, I believe, the soft underbelly of the American Way.) Unfortunately, and almost by default, this means that we take a whole lot for granted.

Somehow when you’re in your groove, be it good, bad, or indifferent, it’s easy to do this. To overlook, or outright ignore, some very positive things. Or maybe not overlook and ignore, but certainly to undervalue.

Don’t do that. Look around. Be thankful.

I’ve got a GF that I love, friends that I am lucky to have, and family that I am so close to that I smile at the thought of them. I love my job, live in a great city, and am still young enough to have everything else that want with plenty of time to spare.

That ain’t doin’ bad, folks.

4) Take Stock of What you WANT-or- Set Some Goals

I don’t mean the “Soft Underbelly of the American Way” I-want-a-Porsche list. I mean, look at your life and figure out what you want for it. Then, do something about it.

I’ll give you one of the things that made this list for me; I have always been embarrassed by this and have wanted to change it…but somehow never got around to changing in my, how should I say it…in my fun livin’ years. See, I never finished my degree. It just never seemed that important to me when I was fresh out of high school and in the first few years of college, and when I dropped out and got out in to the work force…well, I did pretty well for myself without it. But deep inside me? That bugged me.

Last week I enrolled in a program to get my BBA finished and then roll in to an MBA program. I start in October. It’s going to take a few years…but it’s a goal I’m attacking with everything I have. And these days, that’s more than I’ve had in a long time.

That’s it. Maybe your read that and thought, “Ummm…DUH!”. And if so…well, the hell with you. Write your own list. But really, this is what’s been working for me. It feels like a new chapter, moreso than anything else that has happened to me or that I’ve done. I really do feel as though a page has turned and I’m off on a new phase. And it feels really, really good.

Oh, and don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t drink, or that if you’re not working out or doing anything else here that you’re somehow not getting it. In fact, as any of you who know me will attest; I don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone does with their life. If you’re happy? Go on with your bad self.

This is where I’m at, and it’s quite the new chapter. Granted, these guys keep calling me and begging me to go back to the old ways. Apparently it’s sent shock waves through their stock values.

Sorry lads. You’ll just have to find yourself a new spokesman.

I’m Moving, So It Must Be Opening Day

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on March 25, 2008

I am now close to finished packing. There are boxes, bags, and furniture all looking at me with that, “so, we’re going in the truck soon, aren’t we?” expression. They’ve been through this drill before. They know what’s coming.

So Friday is D-Day. I pick up the truck and load all this crap in and then, come Saturday, drive across town and unload it. The good news here is that I’m not a pack rat and I don’t buy lots of furniture…so it’s going to be a pretty easy move. From a 1 br apartment to a 3 br house is totally the way to go. Of course, the place will look empty for a bit but the stuff I buy to fill it up?

Delivery, baby.

So, I’m getting ready to say good bye to this odd little cave that I’ve called home for a year. The one that I moved in to a year ago…because I was bailing out of my place with exFiance. And what did I to to celebrate my move?

I took Arjewtino to Opening Day.

What am I doing this year to celebrate my move?

I’m taking Arjewtino to opening day.

Huh. I’m starting to sense a trend here.

What a year. From then to now seems like a life time…and even still I haven’t gone back and actually read the entire thing again to, you kow, relive it. I don’t know that I need to do that, really. I mean, I’ve got the t-shirt and the DVD.

At any rate, I pack the truck Friday, move it Saturday, then go to Opening Day Sunday…and of course, then the cable comes sometime between Monday and June, and he’s hooking me up with HD and the baseball package.

That’s right, the baseball package. Every team, every game, in glorious HD.

Anyone wanna come to the housewarming?

Synchronicity III and the I’ll-Cut-You-a-Break-if-You’ll-Cut-Me-One Shuffle

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on March 24, 2008

I’ve said it before. Twice, in fact. Sometimes things just…well they just kinda click in this lock step sort of Universe-winkin’-at-ya way. Like it’s saying, “Good move, kid”.

There was a bit of teeth gnashing over the past few weeks between NGF and I. Some territorial growlings and “don’t put your fucking shit there OR ELSE” barking. More than there should be, and it was a frustrating set of corners to find ourselves against, paintbrushes in hands.

Then there was a scare…NGF in the same hospital that I’d been in, just a year before. It was damn near an anniversary, and when I went to visit her, with the echo of our yelling still fresh in my head, I found myself scared, confused, and ultimately, shocked at just how reactionary I’d been. How much I’d decided to blame her for things that weren’t really her fault, or at least weren’t malicious, and how I’d known she was doing it to me, too…and how somehow, I’d blown right past all of that and found my car parked on “Fuck You Boulevard” …

And yet there I was, waking up behind the wheel and saying “what the fuck was I thinking”.

Maybe I needed to see her frailty. Maybe I just needed something to force me to get over myself for a minute. Either way, NGF admitted to the hospital because she was too sick to come home and having to stay there for 3 nights, 2 days?

That did it.

Since then, we’ve been talking. More important than that, kids…far more important than that; we’ve been listening.

Bad timelines. Unfair and unexplained expectations. Fear of abandonment. Standing RIGHT next to the door with your fingers squeezing the handle so tight that your knuckles start to cramp. Holding back and visibly hiding scars. Biting tongues and diverting attention. Deflecting.

These things kill. From the inside out.

But you can, with one deep breath and one open declaration shine a light that sends it scurrying. But man, you gotta be brave, and you’ve gotta want it. You’ve got to let go of all the unfair and dispatch the unspoken.

You also have to say, openly and with every intention of following through, I’d rather not do this than do it wrong. But you don’t say it like an ultimatum. The difference between the ultimatum, which has the implied next line of “So let’s call it a day and head to different corners”, and this is that here the next line is;

So let’s do it right.

Since then, there’s a page that has been turned. We’ve actually started to fire like cylinders in the same motor. Since then we’ve been a whole lot more real, and consequently, we’ve been a whole lot more in touch…and trusting.

And I dig living this way.

So enjoy my newest musical obsession. Which I found on an XM Radio randomly playing that I’d been ignoring all day, until I started thinking that she’s not NGF anymore.

She’s just GF.

Post Traumatic Relationship Personality Transformation

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on March 8, 2008

OK, so I lied. I told you that I’d write more and ummm…yeah yeah, I’m a bad blogger. So bad in fact that I was recently threatened with a petition if I don’t post something…anything

I don’t know if it’s that I have less to say, as well, have you met me? My mouth is rarely without comment. The time crunch? Well, that’s a huge part of it. It’s also that I started this blog for a specific reason, then it shifted, and now it’s all kind of sort of…well…dissipated. At any rate, I haven’t been putting (digital) pen to (digital) paper much of late for a number of reasons. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t had things to say. Lord knows I’ve got things to say, and today we’re going to get back on track.

So sit back and enjoy. After all, you never know when I’ll get around to posting again.

Now then;

There’s this odd phenomena that I’ve noticed in the dating world. I’ve seen it in myself and in women that I’ve dated, but until recently I’ve never really had that “A-HA!!!” moment. Now however, I see…oh do I see….

What is it?

Post Traumatic Relationship Personality Transformation.

PTRPT, kids. It’s no joke, and you or someone you love might well be suffering from it. What is PTRPT? Allow me to explain.

First, you have to start with the assumption (or in most cases, fact) that dating is a game of patterns. That we more often than not wind up dating people that are familiar for a variety of reason and find ourselves repeating the same sorts of situations over and over again. Where PTRPT fits in to this, however, is with one very subtle shift in that logic.

It’s not always the same type of person that we wind up dating, but it IS the same type of situation. That’s where PTRPT comes in.

Let’s say that “Bill” has always dated the clingy, needy type. He does this for a number of reasons. Maybe Bill craves the responsibility of taking care of someone. Maybe he likes weak women. Maybe a million things. Not so long ago, our boy Bill was dating “Karen”, and Karen was a classic case of what he knows and, as per usual it didn’t work out. But something about the chronicles of Karen was different. Maybe it was her, maybe it was timing. But for whatever reason, something about his failed relationship caused a seismic shift deep down in the tectonic plates of Bill’s world…

And now, X amount of time later, Bill is dating “Sue”, and in the middle of a fight he hears something that he can’t get his mind around. Something that can’t be true because it’s just so friggin’ absurd.

“Jesus Bill, you are just so fucking needy!!!”

Say what? Woman, have you lost your ever lovin’ mind? I’m BILL, BIATCH! I am NOT needy! I’m…I’m…oh shit.

How the hell did that happen? Better yet; what just happened?!

What happened is that you’ve just been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Relationship Personality Transformation.

I have seen this first hand, folks. Chances are, so have you. For whatever reason, a huge chunk of some aspect of your ex (or maybe an ex froma few rounds ago) has infected your Chi like a case of VD. It didn’t have any symptoms that you were actually aware of…it’s not something you chose…but there it is. You’ve swapped roles with someone that you couldn’t stay with and become that person…andyou didn’t even realize it…

And why exactly didn’t you relaize it? Because it all felt so damned familiar. The tension, the dynamics, the expressions? All the same. Only the roles have changed completely. Now you’re the needy one…or the angry one…or the cheating one…or whatever it was that you bailed on.

OR

Whatever it was that bailed on you. It’s not all a one way street here. Have someone leave you because you’re clingy/angry/whatever, and you might find yourself in a relationship with someone that fills your part exactly. In essence, you find yourself dating…yourself. How’s that for irony? Suddenly you find yourself saying the same lines that not so very long ago were directed at you.

Again, it’s all so familiar that you won’t catch this until it’s too late. In fact, if it’s PTRPT that you’ve got, by definition, you’re not going to realize it until after the fact.

Me? I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve caught myself realizing that “Holy Mary Mother of God, I’ve become HER”. Conversely, I’ve also sat there with my S.O. and listened to her talk about all the reasons she couldn’t stand her ex and thought “Hang on there..that’s YOU”.

So what exactly does that mean?

Well, the easy answer is that you’re a fucking mess.

I kid you.

Really, the honest answer is that you’re probably (1) not completely over your last relationship and, more importantly (2) in serious need of some self examination. Whatever has you repeating these patterns of dating the same person over and over again has now kicked it up a level and smacked you with PTRPT. It means you’re not getting something, and Someone somewhere is trying to tell you what that is.

Now, more importantly, how do you treat this phenomena?

Ahhh well, therein lies the rub, kids. Therein lies the God damned rub. See, it’s really so very simple that it’s almost absurd. It goes like this; what do you say to an alcoholic who wants to get well?

Stop drinking.

Sounds ridiculous, right? It ain’t. More often than not every other answer is some sort of BS way to prolong the issue and not really do anything. You have to STOP DRINKING.

Well, in this case, you have to STOP DATING. I know, I know, that’s not what you want to hear, but that’s the answer. What you want to hear is that there’s a pill or a class or something that will allow you to keep dating while working and blah blah blah.

That’s all BS to keep you tied to the drama that you love so much you’re getting creative with ways to experience it. Get out of the cycle, step away from the drama, and just be. Figure out who and what you are and what you want. Be a good Buddhist and just BE. In that stillness, of course, you’ll probably freak out a bit. You know what that is, right? That’s withdrawl and you need to fight through that shit. In the stillness that follows, you’ll start to see why exactly it is that you need the drama so much in the first place. You’ll start to see what you miss more clearly, and if you really dig a little in that space, you’ll see why.

And you’ll see why it sucks and why it’s so damned detrimental to you in the first place.

OR, you can just go date another clingy fucker while you shell out $150/hour for a half way decent shrink who will listen to you whine. Just remember that when you find yourself in that position that our boy Bill was in, saying “What the hell just happened”?

It’s got a name, and you learned it here first.

New Music for the (Tiny) Masses

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on February 9, 2008

From time to time I like to share what I’m listening to…and since I’m gearing up (literally and figuratively) to start playing and writing again, I went out and found me some new, shiny, badass band to inspire me.

Now, some of you may have heard of Porcupine Tree but I’m going to guess that most of you haven’t. They are the not-so-new darlings of the Prog Rock (Think Yes, Tool, Floyd, etc) scene. They’ve actually been around for quite awhile, but now you can’t pick up a (foreign) guitar mag without finding them all over it.

I dig it. I dig it alot.

Enjoy.

Fear of a Blank Planet

Lazarus

Don’t say I never gave ya nothin’.

My First Guest Post

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on February 5, 2008

My first Guest Post comes to you today, courtesy of Jess from What the Curtains. I love, love LOVE the way Jess writes, and here’s a good example of why…

When Mystery is More Important Than Knowledge

A few Fridays back, I watched the play Argonautika at the Shakespeare Theater. It’s a re-telling of the myth of Jason, his Argonauts and the Golden Fleece. The story is a hero’s journey set in motion because of a goddess’ rage. Hera, Zeus’ wife, doesn’t much like that King Pelius honors all the other gods but her. Pelius happens to be the uncle usurping what should rightly be Jason’s throne. So after a test of Jason’s heroic qualities (if the guy is willing to carry an old lady – Hera in disguise – across a river in a raging storm, he must be mythic material), Hera chooses him to unravel Pelius. She nudges Jason to travel to Pelius’ palace to claim his throne. The king, no fool, sends him to find the much-guarded Golden Fleece to prove his royal worth. Jason knows it’s an impossible mission designed to defeat him. But the possibility of success gives him visions of immortality.

The story echoes other ancient ones. Secondary heroes like Hercules join Jason. The Argo ship (built by Athena) wanders ashore on strange lands. Enemies are made and vanquished. Women are tempting and distracting. Men are lost along the way. When Jason finally lands in Colchis, where the Fleece is hidden, he needs the gods to help him steal it. So Athena and Hera convince Aphrodite to send her son, Eros, to shoot love’s arrow through Medea. The goddesses know such a shot will make Medea, the daughter of the king who claims the Fleece, so blind in love with Jason that she’ll do anything to help him. Medea uses her powers as a witch to kill her brother, conquer her father, and solve the obstacles that hide the Fleece so Jason can be more myth than man.

But there’s a problem. Jason didn’t get shot with the arrow, only Medea. His love isn’t constant or bound. When he later needs to claim a throne to get power, he divorces the ever-helpful Medea to marry a younger princess. But Medea doesn’t go quietly. She gives the princess a bridal gift of a poisoned veil that kills the girl. She murders the two sons she shares with Jason. She then flees and marries a king who protects her in a distant place. And it’s only when she dies and goes to Hades that she finally gets to marry the only man she actually chose to love. It’s Achilles, and their afterlife is more bliss for her than her un-chosen one was above the ground. Jason, whom the gods now ignore, ages with his sad fate wrapped around his ephemeral victories.

I recently read a book called The Paradox of Choice. It’s about how we now have so much to choose from in life in all areas that no selection seems better than the others and after we do choose we second-guess because all these other options are still available. Think of big-screen TVs, Mac gadgetry, cereal aisles and the people you date or don’t date. The reason why no decision ever seems final or fulfilling is because most people now have more power over the courses of their lives than they ever had. And instead of making us happier, the infinity of options make us wonder about the bliss that could be in the what-ifs that were once only our imagination’s figments.

The play and the book intertwine because they differentiate the way our lives once were and the way we live now. The myth makes something of Jason, not by his will but of his fate, set like a stone in motion by the whims of an emotional goddess. The myth makes a morality tale out of Medea for the way a god chose to bind her with a blind love that twists her life into possessiveness and madness. The arrow is hers to bear without knowing or wanting to be hit. The journey is Jason’s to follow without suspecting its predestined consequences will leave him loveless, childless, and ultimately crushed under the wreck of his own ship.

This is the difference between then and now. In ancient times, life was the whim and blame of the gods. Now we hold in our own hands the black, white and gray of the picture into which our days will develop. To take or steer from less-limited roads, to guess or second-guess, and to find meaning in the before or the after of decisions. To sample so much in a succession to shape the stories we become.

It’s like life is a magic trick of our own making. As J.J. Abrams talks about in this video, life and the people we meet in it are a lot like the mystery box his grandfather inspired him to buy as a kid. It’s just a simple box. But it’s taped shut. There’s no way to know what is inside. And because of the way time moves and the way we are initially secrets to one another, what someone or our days will become is as much a surprise as a fastened box. I suppose it is a choice to think there is adventure or failure inside there. The ancient story suggests there are always both. But it seems to me there’s wisdom when Abrams says that mystery in many ways is more important than knowledge.

Because mystery makes us face all the things that we must tangle with to evolve. At the edge of mystery are vulnerability, fear, and uncertainty. And inside the box could be love, wisdom or some other kind of light. The thing that gives me pause is that this journey is something so ancient. So stories like Jason’s and Medea’s survive because we mimic them still despite our less-divine freedom. And though the choice is more ours, the potential for transcendence is still here as then. The unknowns we hold in our hands still could be the happy beginning of Jason or the graceful ending for Medea.

At the play’s conclusion, each main character is revealed to be immortalized in the constellations we still learn in the night sky. It reminded me of hearing a late-night concert in London when the lights were dimmed and tea candles were set about the church in clusters. It looked as if the night sky had been tipped upside down with all those pinpoints of star-like light. And maybe the point of all these mimicked journeys through time is to repeat a pattern that makes us a bit more divine. To steal heaven when we touch qualities or make choices we associate with the height and distance of stars. This reach toward a riddle we may be instead of what we are known to be. And in those adventures toward love, wisdom or some other kind of light, we shimmer for a moment in time and outside of time, entangled and made one with all that was once before.

Superbowl Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on February 3, 2008

1) What a game. Seriously, that was just amazing. The Giants absolutely earned it. I kept thinking “there’s no way the G-men can hang on to win this game…” and “the Pats are going to erupt any second now.” It just never happened. Low scoring, hard nosed, amazing game, and my hat is off to an NFC East rival that I never thought I’d find myself rooting for…

But;

I now have decided that Bill Belichick is absolutely the biggest douche in all of sports.

There’s time left on the clock, Bill…don’t come on the field. Contrary to your belief, the game doesn’t revolve around you and you don’t get to decide when it’s over. Oh, and stick around for a few minutes there sparky. The only other player I’ve ever seen leave like that was…oh yeah, Randy Moss.

Bill Belichick; classless when he wins by running up the score and tries to justify it, classless when he loses and leaves the field when he decides they can’t win…so it’s over.

Congrats to the Giants. Simply amazing.

2) Eli Manning? Good for you. I read the New York newspapers regularly and no one takes a beating quite like Eli. That drive to win it? The way that he bought time on the last drive by breaking out of the grips of two Patriots to keep hope alive? The cool he displayed? That should get ‘em off his back for a bit. Oh, and maybe the “Eli Sucks” t shirt they are selling in New England will be revised?

3) Was it just me or were the commercials just …eh…?

4) Tom Brady is truly amazing. He just didn’t play like it tonight. In fact, the Patriots looked tired from the word “go”. Maybe the season finally caught up to them? I’mnot taking anything away from the Giants, but that team just didn’t look ready to go like they usually do.

5) So what’s the first company that’s going to scoop up the Mannings for a back-to-back Superbowl MVP ad?

6) It does kinda suck that we have to keep listening to the damned ’72 Dolphins for another year…but the Pats fans wouldn’ve been worse.

All in all, one of the greatest Superbowls I’ve ever seen.

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