Hello, yeah, it’s been a while…

Last post: October, 2011.

Yikes.  I really gave up on this place, didn’t I?

At least this is still here.  I somehow managed to keep it alive, even though I haven’t posted anything.

So I guess my first question is, what’s the purpose of having a blog anymore, especially if you’re an independent, personal blogger?  Blogging is very different today than it was in 2004, when I first started blogging.  Back then, it was the “new thing” that everyone was doing.  This was pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter, heck even pre-MySpace.  There were no Social Networks around to keep everyone connected.  They were in development, to be sure — I think Friendster was just starting out at the time (remember that?) — and old-time bloggers will remember Tribe, which was a very early precursor to all that came later.

When Facebook started, you had to keep your posts to the (fairly common) standard of 140 characters, just like Twitter.  However today, you can post full articles.  Most bloggers prefer to do their blogging on Facebook– it’s easier to maintain, all of your readers are already “friends,” and you don’t have to republish anything.  The drawback, of course, is that you can’t attract new readers from outside your friend ‘circle’ unless you make your posts public and hope that it gets shared to the point it goes viral.  It’s a rare thing, but it does happen from time to time.

I decided to use Facebook in this way for the last year.  I grew tired of having to bounce back and forth from platform to platform when I wanted to get long-winded about something.  My friends who read this blog (there aren’t many of you left) will probably back me up when I say I let my long-windedness fly free on Facebook lately, and that’s exactly why.

But all the while, I thought about my lonely blog, sitting here, still getting hits (occasionally) and waiting for me to come back and write again.  I tried to restart it a few times.  I currently have seven draft posts that never made it past the third or fourth paragraph sitting my in my drafts folder.  Titles included:

  • Dusting it off
  • Re-Launching… AGAIN.
  • I still own this blog.
  • What Whitney Meant (started right after Whitney Houston died)
  • Back on the wagon (about starting back at the gym)
  • 2011 – A Better Year (a year-end post that got way too long-winded, so I gave up on it)
  • 41 (about my 41st birthday)

So I guess I didn’t completely abandon this blog– I just never really got through a post to get it going again.  I’m hoping that I finish this one.  It’d be nice to hit “publish again.

After I lost my job in July, I figured it’d be good to restart the blog so I could write out my frustrations and feelings.  Or just have a place to let my creative juices flow again.  Didn’t quite pan out that way at the time, but now, six months later, I need it again.  So here we are.

So where will we go from here?  Hard to say.  Now that the writing cherry has been popped (sorry for the visual), hopefully ideas and words will flow more freely.  I’ll take less space on Facebook and more space here, and simply express myself.

And hopefully, I will figure some things out in the meantime.

Oh, by the way… Happy New Year!

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Missed connections – years apart

Missed ConnectionsIn the past few days, I’ve had a couple of missed connections return into my life after many years.

The first was a guy I talked about in a post on this blog, and in my brief life as a podcaster. We met at a bar and hit it off great. We were going to get together for a date, but one roadblock came up after another, and we never did go out. We did remain friends though, and he ended up in a relationship.

A couple of days ago, I found that old podcast file and listened to it again. First, I thought how glad I was that I didn’t continue as a podcaster— It really wasn’t my forte. But second, I got to wondering about this guy and what was up with him.

The next day… the VERY next day… he signed up for an audition with the chorus.

Now is the universe telling me something? I don’t know. But I’m interested to see what happens here.

The second missed connection was a guy I met on gay.com many years ago. He lived in Chicago and then moved to Hawaii for a while. I found him recently on a, ahem, gay-related site, and we chatted and texted back and forth for most of the day. We might be getting together soon.

What’s with all these years-apart missed connections coming back into my life? I’m intrigued by this latest universal intervention. We shall see how it all plays out.

Farewell, Grand Viagra!

It’s been a great run, but this week I decided to retire my little white putt-putt– my 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara, lovingly known as the “Grand Viagra.”

I got the Grand Viagra in 2006, shortly after my dad died.  My old car took a dump and became scrap shortly after his funeral.  When my cousin’s grandma died later that year (my long-time readers — all 2 of you — will recall that 2006 was a terrible year for my family), I had to rent a car to come home for the funeral.

I bought the car from my co-worker, and it was in really great shape when I got it.  But I am tough on cars, and this one is no exception.  The fact that it had a manual transmission probably didn’t help matters.  I can ride a clutch like nobody’s business, and I wrecked two on this car.  Maybe I never learned how to drive a manual correctly– but two clutches in the span of 5 years is a lot– and a lot of money.

Still, the little Grand Viagra was a great car.  I loved that it was a mini-SUV– mini enough that it could fit into tight parking spots that you would never have thought it would fit into.  It transported tons of camping equipment and even my bike a few times; and I don’t know what I would have done without it when I moved last year.

But time took its toll, and earlier this year I did a bunch of major repairs that probably cost more than the car was worth.  Last week, the final nail was tapped– the “Service Engine Soon” light came. on.  The damage was somewhere in the $800-900 range.  I decided that it was time to retire the girl.

I’ll still have the car until I find something new, so I can use it– for what it’s worth– as some sort of trade-in.  So tonight after work and the gym, I will pick up the tired old girl, drop a few gallons of gas in her tank, and drive her home, where she will sit and wait for the day when I either decide to trade her in or sell her off; only being moved for street cleaning and to avoid tickets for being abandoned (they do that here in Chi-Town, you know).

In the meantime, I’m a total public transportation guy.  Which is probably a good thing.  I needed to start being smarter about that anyway.

Snowy car

My car in a huge hole!

Autumn street

Progress Report #1 – One Month

This Friday marks one month since I started my return to the gym.

And so far, it’s been going pretty well.

I think I could be doing better, though.  I’m only going about 3-4 times a week, and that’s good for now.  And I only started weights in the third week, after meeting with the trainer.

However, last week was a complete washout.  I fell ill with a mild case of bronchitis, and that put the kibosh on any gym activity.

But today I’m ready to get back on the horse, so to speak.

I’m not noticing any physical changes yet– although the second time I did my upper body routine, I did like the way my arms looked. 🙂  Let’s hope that continues to improve.  I’m tired of having needles for arms.

AND– the last time I weighed myself, I noticed I had dropped about 7-8 pounds.  THAT felt great!

But– it’s all relative.  I just have to keep it up.  And I will.

Today will be cardio.  Tomorrow will be lower body and cardio.  Thursday I’m going to attempt getting up early, and will do upper body.  Friday will be cardio and whatever else I need to do… or am able to do.

Thanks for all the words of encouragement… it means a lot!!

Justice Served

One of my last posts on my blog before it was shut down and subsequently moved here told the story of the break-in that occurred in July, where someone stole my computer and camera and ransacked my apartment.  Back then, it seemed highly unlikely they would ever find who did it, and certainly unlikely they would ever find my things that were taken.

I’m happy to report that at least 1/2 of that scenario proved to work out for the best.  I got a call in about mid-October from the detective who said they caught the guy and arrested him based on the fingerprints they found on my window.  Upon his arrest, they questioned him about my break-in and many others in the area, and he admitted to many of them, including mine.  I’m not sure of the tactics they used to get that admission, but it didn’t matter to me.

The detective told me the guy’s name, and of course I didn’t know who he was… but of course upon hearing his name I built this profile of what he looked like, what he acted like, and who he was.  Call it what you want– I think everyone does it.  We immediately assume that someone who does something like this is a big, mean-looking guy, maybe in his mid-20s or 30s, and strung out on drugs or booze or whatever.  I was afraid to see him; afraid to face him, because I didn’t know what the outcome would be if I did testify; and I sure as heck didn’t want some big ol’ moose knowing my name and address and coming after me if he was set free.

The detective also told me they were having a hearing in Municipal Court to determine if they had enough evidence to prosecute him.  I was asked to testify against him, where I needed to say simply that (A) I did not know him – I didn’t; (B) I did not give him permission to enter my apartment – I didn’t; and (C) I did not know anyone who would give him permission to do so – I didn’t.  After a few days of deciding if I wanted to go through with all this, I decided it was worth it, and made plans to attend the hearing.

On the day of the hearing, they called the guy into the courtroom.  He was in jail, so they brought him in from a rear entrance.  I kept hearing this tinkling sound that I think was the keys they used to unlock the door, but to me they sounded like chains.  I don’t know why that affected me so much, but it gave me a chill.

Then they brought the guy out, and I was shocked to see that he was this scrawny kid; maybe 5’7″ at the tallest.  They brought him before the judge, and he asked him his name and age.

He was 17 years old.

I never expected the reaction I had.  It wasn’t anger or disdain, and it wasn’t hatred toward him.  It was actually forgiveness.  Yes, I wanted him to pay for what he did to me– and, as it turned out, to many others– but I also realized that I had to forgive him for doing it.

I looked at his face, and I saw an emotionless, empty soul.  He looked lost and forgotten.  There was no family in the courtroom to support him; no friends or any support system whatsoever.  The kid was alone.

Call me a bleeding-heart liberal or a compassionate wimp; but I felt sorry for the kid.

I answered the questions that were asked of me and went into another room while the Detective gave his answers.  After a while, the attorney returned to the room and told me that they were proceeding with his case — the judge felt they had enough evidence.  So I left.

Walking out of the courthouse, I felt mixed emotions– a slight sense of vindication, but then a sense of sadness.  I didn’t know what would come next for this kid, but surely his life is forever changed because of it.  Whether that has any type of good effect on him or not remains to be seen… but I played a part in what will happen to him.

In any case, he won’t be on the streets anymore, and I can live my life a little better knowing that.

Now I just have to replace some of my missing things!