February 25, 2007

Live-Blogging the Oscars

9:38 pm - Leo and Al Gore just left the stage. Come on - how can you not like that guy? Humor, humility, passion, brilliance... People make fun of him because he says things like he invented the internet, which is silly, but he, along with Bill Clinton, is absolutely directly responsible for the financial atmosphere that supported the explosive growth of the internet and the economic boom of the late 90's. Invented, no - but he can certainly take credit.

10:47 - Bring it. I have never felt so strongly about a candidate, or potential candidate, as I do about Al Gore. I have scores of reasons why he is exactly what the nation, and the world, needs right now, and lucky you - you're gonna get to hear all about em over the next few months... :)

Quick Prediction

I still haven't gotten around to writing up my Presidential predictions, but before Al Gore sweeps through the Oscars tonight, I'd just like to say - if Inconvenient Truth wins best documentary, he will be able to ride a wave of free publicity through the fall, and enter the race then, with both street cred and money-raising abilities fully intact. If he also wins the Nobel Prize this October, what a resume...

Combine that with a public that will be exhausted by Hillary and Barak slogging through the summer slugging it out, and the ability of the press to finally expose that Obama has little substance and Hilary is just unpleasant on so many levels, Gore can ride in as a White Knight - Anti Bush, whom everyone can get behind.

When things are bad, we like to remember the last time they weren't and try to recreate those circumstances.

Gore 08.

More later...

February 23, 2007

The Lady in the Green Coat

Riding home on the N tonight, I looked up from my magazine to catch the eye of a pretty woman in a green coat. She smiles. I smile back. Hmmm... I wonder...

So for the next few minutes, I try to catch her eyes again. Each time, a shy, hesitant smile. Doors open, people come in, the bustle of the car, and I inch closer. She's hanging onto one of the center poles. Now I am too. I catch her looking at my magazine; she catches me looking at her eyes (they match her hair, a deep chestnut). More awkward smiles.

A few more stops before the end of the line. Is she getting off here? No? Ok, great - then go. "Do you have a pen?" I ask her, innocently. She does, and fishes it out for me. Her hands hold my attention, graceful fingers rummaging through her purse. More opportunity to really see her - her neck, long and pale, her ears small and tightly wound, and when she looks up, her smile again, reaching up to her eyes. I quickly jot my cell phone number on a corner of my magazine, and rip it off - putting it into my pocket. I hand her back her pen.

We talk. She's an actress, the Oscars this weekend, the movies she hasn't seen. "Which stop is this?" she asks me. "30th" I reply, "Which stop is yours?"

"Astoria Blvd." That's the next stop. I look into her eyes. and hold her gaze for a second.

"My name is Dan. Here's my number. You should call me. We can take in some of those movies you haven't seen yet."

Her eyes register her surprise. Already I know that her eyes are the key to her, like a poker player's tell - her eyes reveal her whole story. "Oh!" she stammers. "Ok..."

The train slows abruptly, and we shuffle and shift to regain our balance, but she's out of balance. Looking at me. The doors open, and she doesn't move. "Thank you" she stutters out. "Your stop - " I gesture to the door. "Okay..." And she's gone, but she's looking back.

She may not call. She may not care. She may be married. But right now, she's turned on, and so am I. It's been a few years since I felt like that, like I used to feel in college, like I did when I last owned my masculinity, before the slings and arrows of outrageous dating, job, disappointments. It's been years since I put myself out there like that, confident in what I have to offer, knowing that I'm bringing "man" to the party, and what are you bringing?

An hour later my phone rings. Her name is Katie. She wants to get coffee next week...

Dan's back.

February 21, 2007

Better the second time around?

I haven't written much about Sara, the woman I was dating while I was dating Amy, except to mention that we had ended things in January after only a few weeks, and that my experience was that of being jerked around a bit. Whether it was due to miscommunication (I know, that's a running theme) or age-differences, or flat-out incompatibility, Sara and I weren't working, and it was a healthy break at the end there.

Until she called me on Valentine's Day when things changed - not because it became unhealthy, but rather because we ended the ending and are back to being again.

I wasn't surprised to see she had called and left a message, as I somewhat expected that we might stay in touch after a suitable time has passed. When I returned her call, I was expecting a friendly "how have you been" conversation. What I got was much more fun -

"I know what you think about how we were together, but here's why you were wrong" was how she started out - or something similar, I'm paraphrasing a bit. She then proceeded to lay out why I had misunderstood or otherwise mistaken her intentions and actions, she told me about how I had baffled and confused her, and how she agreed we weren't so good together, but that we could be, and what did I think of that?

Well now, for those of you who don't know me, there is little that is more likely to impress me than when my lady stands up to me. I know I can be overbearing at times, and I always fear that I might disempower my partner. One of my favorite exes was never more attractive to me then when she was telling me off, because I appreciate the strength and bravery that letting someone have it requires - especially someone with whom I'm in a deeply personal relationship.

So I was impressed, and moved by Sara's reaching out to me to tell me why I was wrong, and I let her know it. And I suggested we get together again but not as a date - we should try to just be together - and see how it goes. I think the "dating" was part of what was messing us up, and she agreed. Then she let me have it some more - what was I willing to do differently this time, what was I willing to commit to, to make it worth her while?

So then we haggled. It was fun, and funny, and absurd, and yet meaningful and deliberate and intentional in a way that I enjoyed. At the end of a two hour call, we had come to an understanding: we would stay connected no matter how uncomfortable things may become - we'd not pull away, hide out, or play small, but rather dig in and get to the heart of whatever happens between us. No sulking, no playing games, no second-guessing... Alright, bring it on, I'm in.

We had our special time together last Monday - a nine hour date, in fact. She came over, we talked, I took her to my favorite neighborhood Greek place, we watched a movie together, and we had a great time together. Was there still some misunderstandings, absolutely. She oftentimes says things that I'm sure she doesn't intend to be off-putting, but are (like "wow, you're so much thinner in this picture!" instead of "this is great picture of you") but I'm sure I do something that annoys her as well. I can't imagine what that could be, but if history teaches us anything - and I think it does - I'm sure I will if I haven't started yet.

So Sara's back in the picture, and who knows what will happen next. She's a quirky one, that Sara is. Next date - Saturday. Of course I'll let you know how it goes...

February 12, 2007

Lincoln's Birthday Update

April 19 - May 19
Changes in your working environment could result in a rise in your income, dear Taurus. You've been working very hard in order to advance yourself in this regard, and are likely to continue to do so indefinitely. Your natural communications skills continue to serve you well, and your physical energy is likely to be stronger than it has been for a long time. The only downside: very little time to yourself! Hang in there!


Sometimes my horoscope nails it.

Okay, first of all, Monday night TV is the fricking greatest. If you're not watching Heroes and Studio 60, I don't even know what to say to you. That's like saying you don't want to eat an entire pizza; I understand the words themselves, but they don't make any sense.

I have to say I didn't expect Nathan to be Claire's dad! That was a total no-way moment last week. This week's whole deal with Jessica and the cop and everything - sweeeeeet.

In other non-sequitur news, this looks frickin' AWESOME. How much can't I wait for March 9th when this bad-boy opens? Oh my ass, this movie looks so amazing...

And how was Miami? It was great. A wonderful conference, though the weather - not so much. It finally got warm the very last day I was there, and I ended up with about an hour by the pool in the sun before heading out to the airport.

What? This isn't the news you're looking for? You were expecting maybe an update on the Amy situation? Yeah, I bet you are...

Ironic the way life takes different directions. Less than three weeks ago I was faced with a particularly vexing problem: I was dating two women, and perplexed at how I would handle their respective Valentine's Day expectations. Two days prior to the big day, however, I find myself completely free for the Hallmark Holiday.

Yup, it will come as no surprise to some of you that Amy and I split up. Last week. And I fully expect to hear about how my expectations are unrealistic, and how I can't handle women as they actually are, due to my issues with how I want them to be. Blah blah blah... While all that's valid, and certainly the one thing all my failed relationships have in common is me, I wonder why it's so revolutionary that I don't want to settle for merely ok? What's with all the enthusiasm for me to get over my desire to find a truly excellent match?

Here's my angle - I'm very happy being single. I've always said I'd rather be single than annoyed, but that's only the first of several "I'd rather be single than" statements I can rattle off. I've got a terrific life, great family, wonderful friends. I've got a job I love that's demanding and wonderful. I make a great salary, and I've got no one other than Visa I need to answer to. So if I'm going to choose to be with someone, to willingly take on the responsibilities of being a partner to someone, it will be because someone truly special has reached me in some truly special way.

It'll be for a person who provides something terrific, a person who brings something to me and my life that I'm missing, and for whom I can do the same. In short, she's got to have the qualities and personality that I'm willing to exchange my autonomy for. And if she doesn't, or if she doesn't in a way that suits me, then why is it so surprising that I'd want to move on?

That being said, let me be clear - Amy was wonderful on many levels and I'd recommend her to any of the single guys in my life. Becca was pretty impressive as well, as were many of my exes - that's why, save for one or two, I still count amongst my friends a significant number of those significant others. Some of my favorite people are my exes; they weren't bad or wrong - they just weren't the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life committed to.

I had to look closely at that last week, and unfortunately so did Amy. In addition to the minor misunderstanding we had two weeks ago, we had another just like it last week. At the root of our trouble was her assertion that I wasn't overly interested in her. She said "I have your complete attention when we're together, but when we're not, I have this feeling that you could take me or leave me." And I had to admit that was true. Amy was great, and I enjoyed her company immensely, but I didn't crave it. I didn't require it, and I wasn't looking for opportunities to augment it. When we had a free weekend, my idea wasn't to spend the that time together, and when I had someone cancel for dinner, I wasn't calling her to see if she was free.

So we broke up. That's what two people should do in that situation, no? We were doing fine, but I didn't think it would grow or deepen. I considered the possibility that at some point in the future I would feel more strongly about her, and weighed that against our ages and the likelihood that I so drastically misunderstand myself that what I feel at 3+ months won't be indicative of what I'll feel later on. Could I be wrong? Of course I could be. But the alternative is a tepid relationship, and I'd rather be single than in a tepid relationship.

So go ahead - flame me. Tell me all about how unrealistic my expectations are, tell me about how I should be just fine having a relationship that's just fine. Or tell me how it's all my fault, which may or may not be true, but doesn't improve how I feel about her or us. Or do as Michael does, and congratulate me for reaching my monthly quota of making some single woman cry (cruel, Michael, very cruel).

At the end of the day, I need to be able to look into her eyes and tell her that I love her, and mean it. And if I can't do that, the reasons why not aren't nearly as important as the hypocrisy of pretending otherwise. As far as I'm concerned, every relationship but the last one will end, so why should it be so shocking when one does? Isn't it much more startling when one doesn't?

I'm single again rather than in a doomed relationship. And that's yet another thing I'd rather be single than...

February 05, 2007

Live-blogging Miami

Yes, I'm the guy the flies to Miami the day AFTER the superbowl...

First time here... reminds me a great deal of LA - palm trees, a large hispanic population, and a lot of pink and pastel colors... Weather's actually somewhat chilly and cloudy, all that rain you saw last night on CBS has left the area cool and windy. I'm hoping to bust out my thong and hit the beach at some point, but I may not be able to if it doesn't warm up. That would be a tragedy for everyone nearby.

So many fun responses to my last post. Apparently you all expect me to be impartial or something... or at least some of you do. I have no idea why you would expect me to do something as unnatural as that. I've got skin in the game, people, and I've got certain expectations as well. One of them, and a modest one, is that I expect people to communicate with me as well as I like to think I communicate with them. Apparently many of you believe that may be unrealistic of me, but I won't pander to the lowest common denominator.

I recently broke up with a woman I was seeing because she was playing games - I'd grow interested, she'd grow remote. I'd back off, she won't leave me alone. I start paying more attention to her, she'd get distant again. I'm 37, and even when I was 27 I didn't like messing around with crap like that. I don't ask too much from a partner, but don't fuck with me, ok? You like me, terrific. You don't, I'm fine with that too. But I've always said I'd rather be single than annoyed, and though that's kept me single, I'm an optimist at heart.

So ya, I was pretty annoyed at being held to expectations that Amy wasn't holding herself to. And I happen to have a blog to vent through, so lucky me. And lucky you!

February 01, 2007

How Quick Bright Things Come to Confusion

Apparently sometime last Monday night during a lovely evening with my current ladyfriend Amy, we had one those conversations that make trouble between men and women.

Not a conversation about whether something makes her look fat, or whether someone is prettier than she is, actually I've never gotten burned by those stereotypical Hollywood examples of male blundering. No, this time is was one of those conversations that mean one thing to a man, and another to a woman -- or to be more specific, that meant one thing to Dan, and another thing to Amy. I refer to the plans which she felt we made, and I felt we merely discussed, regarding this Thursday night. Plans which I promptly forgot about and which she coldly reminded me of when I -- thinking I was being a terrific gentlemen -- just called her late Thursday night out of the blue to say hello.

"So whatcha up to?" I asked.


"No? No plans for tonight?" I reply, still blissfully unaware of the danger before me.

"I thought *we* had plans" she returns.

This was met with silence from Dan, who's furiously rewinding his mental videotape back through our earlier exchanges.

"We did?"

The only plans I knew of for Thursday were drinks after work with my volleyball team, a lovely fun few hours from which I was heading home when I decided to call.

"Ya, drinks with your volleyball team, and then I was going to stay over."

More silence from Dan...

Let me jump ahead for you, so we can get to the heart of the matter. At some point on Monday, likely just before or just after we engaged in a particularly lusty reunion after having not seen one another for about a week, I suggested that she join me on Thursday evening, then come back to my place so that she can leave from here for her flight from LaGuardia Friday morning. I do now recall that conversation - I don't deny the facts of the case. The ambiguity comes afterward. Did we, or did we not "make plans."

I am of the opinion that we did not. We talked of it, certainly, but concrete plans were not made. We merely discussed it as an option that was available to her, should she wish it. She is of course of the opinion that we did.

Here is my evidence that she in fact knew that they weren't concrete:

From Tuesday afternoon, when we had our last email, to tonight, when I discovered the error of my ways, we hadn't had any contact - no emails, no calls, nothing. This is not the behavior of two people who have plans with one another.

If she fully expected that we were doing this thing which she felt we had committed to do, and we hadn't been in touch for nearly 48 hours, why didn't she call or email me? I mean, clearly she was waiting for me to call or email her, and I didn't, that's why she's upset with me now. Thursday rolled on, yet no contact from Dan. She feels I blew her off, and I don't think that's fair.

A person who has plans they care about with another person takes responsibility for making what they want to happen, happen. When two people have plans for which they have not gotten specific, don't they get in touch to finalize them? I contend that she was more interested in proving her point than she was in our plans, because if she really just wanted to see me and had no agenda, she would have contacted me.

Much like when I got blindsided after my ski trip, I think she spent the entire afternoon looking for evidence that I had forgotten about her, that I wasn't thinking about her, that ultimately I didn't care about her. Evidence which I of course provided, by not calling her sooner and not remembering our plans. A more accurate way to interpret my behavior would have been to assume that Dan had either forgotten, or didn't realize we had made an actual, committed date, but that wasn't where she decided to take the train of thought.

Had she been gracious in that way, and contacted me today, we might have had a friendly conversation that would have gone something like "Oh ya, you want to come tonight? Terrific - let's meet at 6:00. Yup, I totally forgot, but I'm glad you called."

Instead, we have a disappointed, frustrated, and angry Amy, and a frustrated, disappointed Dan. Amy gets to be right about how wrong Dan is, and Dan gets to enjoy knowing that a woman he likes will spend the next week or so thinking about how he let her down. Wow, everybody wins in that scenario. Congratulations!

How did it happen that there is 100% responsibility on my part to know what she's thinking, and zero responsibility on her part to know what I'm thinking?

Had she checked in with me, rather than whatever story she's making up that was confirmed by my failure to call, she would have learned that it was just a misunderstanding which doesn't mean anything other than at the time we were discussing it - which is not the best time to have a fellow's full attention in the first place - I felt it was left ambiguously.

I feel that today she was more interested in nailing me than she was in being gracious and great with me. Had she been, we would have enjoyed a lovely night together but instead she's going away mad, and I'm going away feeling like I've disappointed her tremendously.

Have I ever mentioned that the quickest way to get a man to bolt from a relationship is the feeling that he has disappointed you?

When you help your partner win, you both win. But Amy wasn't interested in helping me win with her - she was interested in being right about however it was that I was wrong. She was proving a point, otherwise she would have checked in with me, and now she thinks her point is proven. I believe this was a poor method of determining what I am thinking, because not only is everyone left upset, but whatever conclusions she's drawing from this experience are not accurate.

It's been my dating experience that women often eschew the simplest and most effective method of determining what the men in their life are thinking:

Just ask them.