Saturday, May 23, 2009

Simpler Summer times.

As school is wrapping up for my sons in the next two weeks, I take myself back to my own summer memories growing up in Morningside.
It was a neighborhood where everyone, every single kid, got along. It was The Sandlot meets Stand By Me meets The Wonder Years.

Whether it was a game of backyard football, or rigging up plastic sheeting to serve as a slip n' slide, a full day of playing army in the backwoods, or a night of kick the can or hide and seek, it was rare that there wasn't something happening in the old neighborhood.

I wish so much that my sons could have that same experience. But it is a different time indeed.

We didn't have cable TV, well maybe we did, but we barely got to watch it.

We didn't need to play video games. Granted, there were daylong Atari tournaments for sure, but it wasn't the same addictive quality that video games have over today's youth.

We didn't have sports practices and games, music lessons, swimming lessons, etc., etc., etc., stacking up on our daily summer schedule.

It is sad, really, to think that there was a time when we used to let kids wake up, and start an unknown adventure every day. Explore the woods. Pick up a baseball. Gather up change and walk to the corner store, Johnny's Market. Look for buried treasure. Go snake hunting.

I look back on those days as some of my favorite in life. Everything was so innocent. So pure. So right.


Friday, May 15, 2009

The Online Dating Scene: Top 5 Tips

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, The Hickey Date, I've had my share of online dating over the last 3 years since my divorce.

There are some very important tips that you should follow if you are about to venture out into the cyberworld of matchmaking. Here are my top 5 online dating tips:

5 - Never agree to go on a date with someone who has more pictures of their pets on their profile than of themselves. Let's face it...if they have that many pics of Fido, they are either a) a person who treats their pet like a child, a big red flag, or b) a person who looks worse than their drooling bulldog...a ginormous red flag.

4 - "That's an old picture of me. I don't look anything like that anymore." Um, hello? Then why do you have it posted? NEXT! People using old photos on their profile are either saying "this is when I looked my best, 6 years ago" or "I can't afford a digital camera or I don't have a friend with a digital camera, therefore, I am not worthy of your time."

3 - If you show up and you notice an Adam's Apple on Tiffany, you are fully authorized to fake a heart attack to get out of your date. This rule is recognized in over 36 nation states currently.

2 - Talk on the phone with your potential date before the actual meeting. I learned this the hard way. I had been emailing a woman that I seemed to be getting along great with, and we agreed to meet. We never spoke on the phone before that date. I showed up, and as she spoke, I could hear her voice combining one of Marge Simpson's sisters with Fat Albert. Do. Not. Want.

1 - Use creative wordplay on your dating profile to lure the women in for dates. An example: "Activities: Currently unemployed and staying home playing video games all day drinking beer" becomes "Economically self-sufficient man taking stock of his life and exploring his options." Or "Lazy fat guy seeks sugar mama" becomes "Artistic soul in search of a woman who has it all, but needs companionship and love." It's not that hard. Give it a try.

Happy dating!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reconnecting with my hometown, that SUX

There was always a little bit of George Bailey in me as a kid. I was convinced that I was going to leave my hometown and travel the world (and to a large extent, I have)...and never look back.

When people used to ask me where I was from originally, I'd say "Sioux City. A great place to grow up. And leave." I really am glad I had my eyes opened to how lucky I was to grow up in a place like that.

Then a funny thing happened. I grew up. Last summer I had my 20-year HS reunion, an event I was dreading in many ways. I was probably one of the few single members of my class for one thing, I figured. In addition, I didn't exactly have a blast at the 10 year reunion. You could say my excitement level about the 20th reunion was somewhere between getting a root canal or doing your tax returns.

But I went to the reunion, and surprise of all surprises, I had an awesome time. And I reconnected with people I hadn't talked to in years, as well as began conversations with classmates I never took the time to know back in the day. And that has continued over to the Internet through email and Facebook, as well as text messages and phone calls.

Over the last 11 months, I've been in Sioux City visiting family and friends more than I had in the previous 20 years since I left. I've talked with friends over a dog at Milwaukee Weiner House, or enjoyed a fresh out of the oven Jerry's pizza with my sons, and hearing them get excited when we go to visit my parents about the prospect of ordering "That one guy's pizza."

Every time I've been back, I have been lucky enough to hang out with people from my past, and found that it is easy to pick up where things left off, and reminisce about childhood and high school memories.

And now each time I pack up and head down to Siouxland, I think to myself, I'm going home. To Sioux City. A great place where I grew up. Period. Someone order me a Charlie Boy!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Here soooooeeeeeeey, sooooeeeeeeey!

I may just be too cynical to be cynical at this point, but I'm confused at what the big deal is about the Swine Flu, aka H1N1 Virus, and the hype surrounding it.
I like pigs. A lot.

There's bacon, and ham, and pepperoni. Canadian bacon, hot dogs (at least some part of the pig goes in there), and if you venture up into Canada, they even have back bacon. Pork chops, pork tenderloins, pork on a stick. *Pausing to wipe the drool off my keyboard*.

Not to mention my favorite pig, Floyd of Rosedale - a bronze statue trophy that the Iowa Hawkeyes and Minnesota Gophers play for each year. Ol' Floyd spends alot more time in Iowa these days. I guess pigs are more at home there?

Ok, but back to this virus. I seriously have friends who are freaking out about this, as if they are about to die. Now I know that you can't just scoff at the reports of a pandemic or epidemic, but at the same time, is it really worth the wasted energy to sanitize your entire house, dig a bomb shelter and put your kids in HazMat suits when you send them off to school?

I guess if I'm going to die, I'd rather have it be from a virus caused by making out with a pig then to have a man-eating pig eat me. It's also much better than falling off a 30-story building into a vat of acid. Or falling down a flight of stairs into a bed of steaming hot nails.

I guess my point is, while it may make sense to stay home if you don't feel well, and wash your hands when you are in public places, beyond that, if you are altering your life drastically, well, you are nothing but a Pigist. And I don't have any time for any more haters in this world.