Shaken Not Stirred

Thursday, April 27, 2006

What Happens at the Gym, Stays in the Gym

I've recently been talking to more people at my gym. Since it's basically my only social outlet, except for my phone calls to my friends, I've started conversing more and more with some of the people there.

The other day I was talking to one of my really good friends Simi (a great friend from my undergrad stint at West Virginia University). I told her how pathetic my social life has become, and that aside from studying and talking on the phone with her and other study pals, there really wasn't much going on. She suggested going out. I told her that I could, but that going out would only make me neurotically anxious about not studying and that the guilt I would feel the whole night would just put a damper on the evening.

I then said I had a social life in blogging, which is true. I like coming here to talk and to read about other people's lives. I love the comments I get from fellow bloggers and leaving comments about their posts too. It makes me feel less like a recluse.

About the gym, I've gotten to know several people there. Yesterday, one of the girls I met there suggested that a big group of us go out. I know that she and I talked about everything under the sun while working out. We talk to another group of people too and for the last thirty minutes of my gym time, this group of ours gathers around the water fountain and shoots the shit. So she suggested that we go out. I told her that I would be up for it.

I'm just wondering, will we be able to carry on conversations outside the gym? Does our relationship go beyond just cardio, upper and lower body reps? What would we talk about outside the realm of rubberized flooring and mirrored walls?

It just makes me think of those people that you sit beside in class, the guys you talk with until the professor arrives, for a whole semester and then never see again. But during that semester you learn about their whole family, the fights with their boyfriend/girlfriend and roommate issues. But when class gets out or is over, you don't have their number, and no way to get in touch with them. And then when you do see them, it's awkward and you just kind of nod and keep walking.

Does what happens at the gym only happen at the gym cause you are trapped in there with no one else to talk to?

Monday, April 24, 2006

When You Call, Just Say "Hey"

One of my favorite nephews (he's the son of my cousin, but because of an age gap, was told to call me Uncle) is now a freshman at an Ivy league college--studying of course to be a doctor. I am floored that he had grown up so fast, it seems like yesterday he was teaching me about dinosaurs and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I remember when he was in grade school how he would take a flying leap whenever he would see me, sit in my lap and tell me his newest discoveries--whether it be a new dinosaur or comic book.

When he first came home for a break, he told me all about his new life. His first college keg party, showing up for class hung-over and wearing the same filthy clothes he wore the night before. He talked about running out of money and having to endure dormitory food because he had eaten out every day for two weeks after receiving his allowance. He hated sharing a bathroom (after having his own when his parents designed their home years ago) and worse yet bedroom space. But he had made a life-long friend with his roommate, who bonded with him over a fifth of tequila and a pack of Camel lights.

The thing that impressed me was this boy managed to still get a 4.0!

While he was telling me all this, he remarked, that it was kind of silly to call me "uncle" since he was practically grown-up. He said, he felt we've moved on from Uncle-nephew and were now more like friends. I agreed and said you can call me anything but "asshole", to which he remarked "that's my favorite card game".

His parents reprimanded him when at the dinner table he asked Angel to please pass some dish. I wondered how his father didn't hurt his neck spinning so fast at the sound coming from his son's mouth. His mother's jaw hit the table and her eyes fell out of their socket. He was told to respect his elders and that he would never be too old to call me uncle.

When he recently came back for Spring Break, he seemed a little solemn and a bit distant, not only to me, but everyone around. I thought it was part of the "finding himself" process. He was going thru the dark phase of college life. He was brooding and quiet, pensive and never smiled.

One night during dinner, he quiety left before touching any food on his plate. Since my family is huge, no one really noticed that he left. I excused myself from some irrelevant banter and went into his room.

I asked him what was the matter and he replied that his girlfriend had recently broken up with him. He said the long distance was no longer working and that she hooked-up with some guy in one of her classes.

And then his tears started to fall and he hugged me. He said he didn't understand what the big deal was and why he felt like crap. And then he said it all sucked and he thought the pain was going to go away weeks ago, but it still hadn't. After he poured out his anger and his sorrow, he got tired and sleepy.

Before he drifted off to sleep, he said, "This is why I have to call you uncle huh? You can still make everything better".
I told him he could call me anything but asshole.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Religion, Race, Creed

I saw a billboard today advertising a real estate agent. The catch this woman had was she was the Christian realtor. I'm a Christian, but I would never discriminate a realtor based on their religion. She actually placed on the billboard that Christians need look no more, she was the "Christian" realtor they were looking for.

Is this a major selling point?

I have nothing more to say on this topic.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Be My Friend

There has been a recent surge of sites that people can join to either meet people or to get reaquainted with old friends. Every now and then I will get an email from an old acquaintance who had my email, but never used it for anything but forwarding jokes/Chicken Soup for the Soul stories/and an occasional 'how you doin', asking me to join a site like Hi5, Friendster, Myspace or someother cyberspace rolodex. I joined a couple: Friendster and Myspace, because at first it seemed interesting, but now is just a pain. For instance, on my one cyber rolodex, it started out as a way to keep in touch with certain people, but I've realized is just a popularity contest for other people. I have friends of friends, and neighbos of friends asking me add them to my list. I don't even know these people!!! And for some reason they want me on their list.

I added some of them in the past thinking they would become an asset or some sort of networking contact, but nope, once I added them, nothing became of it. I never heard from any of them again.

I have some friends who have like thousands of people on their friend's list. They just keep adding people that see their profiles on-line and ask to be part of their collection of "friends". One of the sites even has a profile rating, based on your picture, your status and the amount of person's who check out your profile. How damaging could this be to some high school adolescent going thru the pubertal changes or a high school misfit who wants to meet friends outside their already terrible social life. They come to a place that offers some anomininity, only to be rejected based on their profile/pic/bio.

One of my friends was cyberstalked by a person on her list. Nevermind that she posted pictures of herself in a bikini. I wondered why she would do something like that, but her profile became one of those highly rated and she just kept adding people for the sake of adding them. She was soon getting proposals from guys that had picture perfect profiles that claimed these coiffed, buffed, fluffed and puffed men were models. My thoughts were, if they looked like that, they certainly wouldn't need a site to sell themselves. They would just have to walk into any people crowded venue and begin the pick-up lines.

I'm wondering how long the fad of friendship sites is going to last. And who takes the time to maintain these sites. For now, my rolodex has remained pretty dormant. I must not have an interesting enough profile to buzz others my way. But then again, I've got my real tangible friends, who I can just reach out and touch anytime I want to.

P.S. And then there is that darn

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Someone Else is Afraid of the Dark

Besides Armaedes(or Dirk the Feeble--as we now otherwise know him. You know the way Prince became a symbol) there are other people afraid of the dark. On the show Ellen, nevermind why I was watching it, Hillary Duff admitted to being afraid of the dark. To help her overcome her fear, Ellen gave her this nightlight that had fur and pictures of Ellen on it. I'm not so sure that it would make me more fearful to turn off the lights and see that shining from a corner or exacerbate the worse of nightmares.

This brings me to my point. It was because of this episode of Ellen that I've decided to admit my fear of the dark. This "fear" went on for the better part of my childhood and even manifests itself today. I can only watch scary movies with other people--the more the better, and only if I'm not staying at home by myself. I watched the movie "The Ring" and I don't know why, but that image scared the excrement out of me. The other movie that still scares me, "White Noise". Maybe "White Noise" was so scary because Michael Keaton was it's star, but now I can't fall asleep until all appliances are completely turned off, including my computer.

Last night I had a nightmare. In my dream there was gore, darkness and bludgeoning. I can't remember who was being bludgeoned or who was doing it, but I woke up whispering and crying out to the villains "where is your heart" in a stacatto-like rhythm. My heart was pounding out of it's chest and I was frozen for a few moments. I could feel my whole body depolarizing before I caught hold of myself and realized it was just a dream. I reached for the light switch, turned on the light and brought my mind back to safety and serenity.

I fell back asleep this way, in the glowing light. My safety blanket.

P.S. I would like to thank the mrs. for the CD that she made for me. I got it yesterday and it's got great songs on it!!! She took some time out from her busy schedule to make it and it's greatly appreciated!!!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Another WTF moment:Another Reason to Never Forget Your iPod

I know that most of my latest moments have happened at the gym. There's a perfectly good explanation for this. I'm taking my boards in May--everyone say a prayer for me, and I need to lose about 20 pounds. Because of the fact that I have to be in study mode for the next couple weeks, I've cut down my social time--either I'm at a desk reading and perusing review books or at the gym working off the stress and fat. Well my latest WTF moment just happened at my last trip to the gym.

Once again, I had forgotten my iPod. This sucks for me, because the music that is usually playing is this funk that I cannot not get into. It is that wanna be pump me up, get grooving and moving music. When I'm done with my weight routine and on the treadmill, I usually like jogging to either Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw or Billy Currington. Yeah, I know it isn't really exercise music, but it helps me get to that five mile mark (3 jogging, 2 fast-walk).

Anyhow, I ended up on the treamill beside the stationary bikes. This treadmill and the stationary bike face one of the weight machines. There was one guy on the stationary bike and another one using the weight machine. The guy on the stationary bike whistles to catch the attention of the guy on the weight machine and begins to speak to him.

"Como estas?" said the bike guy.
The guy on the weight machine turns to look over his shoulder, realizes the bike guy is talking to him and then points to himself for verification.
"Yeah, how you doing?" bike guy said.
"Fine" said the weight machine guy.
"Just bought a place down in Costa Rica and I'm practicing my Spanish" said bike guy.
"Oh" said weight guy.
"Do you speak a lot of Spanish?" said bike guy.
"Nope,I took French as an elective" said weight guy and then turned to join his buddy.
"Hmm, I thought most of them knew how to speak Spanish" bike guy said to me.

WTF? I know that weight guy was of Spanish descent. He looked Puerto Rican, but that was no reason for bike guy to assume anything.

It reminds me of one time I was traveling back from the Philippines. I remember handing my passport and carry-on to a security check lady in one of the Philippine airports. She said something to me in Filipino. I looked at her and said "Come again?" I guess she didn't get it cause she repeated herself, or said an entirely different sentence, would not know either way. I again looked at her dumbfounded. She sat there waiting for me to respond.

I then said, "I have no idea what you just said".
She replied, "Oh sorry, I assumed you understood" and then asked me for permission to open my carry-on.

Why do people assume that just because you are part of a certain ethnic group that you speak the language too? I speak zero Filipino, much less understand it. The weight guy in the gym may have been of Puerto Rican descent, but it didn't necessarily mean he could speak Spanish.

It's gym conversations like this that make me regret I forgot my own tune-out music.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Country Roads, Take Me Home

On American Idol last night, one of the contestants sang "Country Roads" by John Denver. Yes, I watch American Idol and I do love country music. So Tuesday night's episode was a treat, American Idol with country music.

When the first contestant started his rendition of "Country Roads", I was excited. This songs holds many many memories for me. First of all, the West Virginia University marching band always started off football games with this song. I loved going to my alma mater's football games! And I would especially get excited when the band would play snippets of the song throughout the game.

Secondly, the song reminds me of the roadtrips my family would take when I was younger. We would either go to Ohio, to visit family friends or to New Jersey to visit my mother's sister and my father's colleagues. On our way back from these trips, it never failed, "Country Roads" would play on the radio. It was always about an hour after we crossed the West Virginia border. Being in isolated sections of the state, country radio stations were our only stations of choice. Either due to the popularity of the song or the fact that we were indeed in West Virginia, we would hear it at least one time before we got home.

I remember thinking it was good to go on vacation, but it was also great to be home. I've never felt so comfortable and warm as I do when I see that "blue ridged mountains" sky-line. It was always dark when we got home. But the song of the crickets and the smell of honeysuckle and my mother's rose garden embraced me. It always whispered, "welcome home, we missed you".

P.S. I threw up a little at the cheesiness. Barf bags available upon request.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I'm A Little Bit Country....I'm A Little Bit A.D.H.D

I have no idea what is wrong with me. My focus can change on a whim. I can concentrate for a good while on one topic and then get a different topic in my mind and I'm completely thrown off the first topic for a good while. For instance, if I'm working on one project, but I suddenly think of another, I'll start the other and then try to work on both of them at once. It ends up being unproductive for both since time and effort is split between the two.

In undergrad I was involved in so many clubs and organizations that my weekly schedule was full. If one of my friends asked me to join their organization, I was the first to sign up. I was involved in everything from charitable works, volunteering at the hospital to social clubs. It kept me busy and probably out of trouble (drinking/partying).

My mind can quickly switch between topics of interest too. In church a few weeks ago, I was listening to the sermon, when I suddenly saw a bug in this lady's hair in front of me. Suddenly the priest's voice became muffled (you know like in the movies when a character goes into thought or daydreams). I found myself watching this bug and it crawled in and out of this lady's hair. She had sober-eyeballs white hair and the bug was black so it stood out.

I kept watching this bug cling to one stand and watched it swing, much like tarzan through her hair. Once it fell and landed on her back, the priest's voice came back in loud and clear and I was once again transported back to mass. A few moments later I noticed that it had made it's way back into her hair and once again the priest's voice drowned out.

Around communion time, it fell off her body completely and I realized that it was my row's turn to get into the communion line. I had no idea what the day's reading was about. I didn't even hear the priest's sermon, the interpretation of the bible reading as it relates to today's moral battles. All I remember about that day's service was this bug held my attention for a lot longer than it should have.