Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"20 Minutes of Action.."

"I shuffled from room to room with a blanket wrapped around me, pine needles trailing behind me, I left a little pile in every room I sat in. I was asked to sign papers that said “Rape Victim” and I thought something has really happened. My clothes were confiscated and I stood naked while the nurses held a ruler to various abrasions on my body and photographed them. The three of us worked to comb the pine needles out of my hair, six hands to fill one paper bag. To calm me down, they said it’s just the flora and fauna, flora and fauna. I had multiple swabs inserted into my vagina and anus, needles for shots, pills, had a Nikon pointed right into my spread legs. I had long, pointed beaks inside me and had my vagina smeared with cold, blue paint to check for abrasions.

After a few hours of this, they let me shower. I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and decided, I don’t want my body anymore. I was terrified of it, I didn’t know what had been in it, if it had been contaminated, who had touched it. I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.

On that morning, all that I was told was that I had been found behind a dumpster, potentially penetrated by a stranger, and that I should get retested for HIV because results don’t always show up immediately. But for now, I should go home and get back to my normal life. Imagine stepping back into the world with only that information. They gave me huge hugs and I walked out of the hospital into the parking lot wearing the new sweatshirt and sweatpants they provided me, as they had only allowed me to keep my necklace and shoes.

My sister picked me up, face wet from tears and contorted in anguish. Instinctively and immediately, I wanted to take away her pain. I smiled at her, I told her to look at me, I’m right here, I’m okay, everything’s okay, I’m right here."

(full statement of the victim in link below)

I had a hard time falling asleep last night.  Generally, I drift off fairly quickly while watching Sportscenter on the couch, wake up a few hours later and head to my bed.  Last night I tossed and turned, the above statement of a rape victim playing over and over in my head and I couldn't shake it.  I had read something on Twitter on Sunday night referencing the case but wasn't familiar with it and didn't look into it further.  Monday, some articles popped up on Facebook, and I took the time to read them. 

I'm sure many of you have read the story by now.  On January 18th, 2015, a woman was raped by an All-American swimmer named Brock Turner at a fraternity party on the campus of Stanford University.  The unnamed victim had originally planned to spend the night at home, but decided to go with her younger sister to the party.  She was not a student at the university but decided to tag along since the party was ten minutes away.  What she encountered that night (and in the following year) is written in detail in the above link, but she was raped while being unconscious due to the amount of alcohol she had, and if it weren't for two grad students biking by, the story may have ended in an even worse way.  My goal isn't to tell you what happened that night.  In fact, I don't really have a "goal."  Selfishly, maybe I just wanted to write so I'd be able to fall asleep better tonight.  But I want to focus on the "punishment" and what is called "rape culture" in our country.  The maximum sentence for what Turner was charged with was 14 years in prison, prosecutors argued for at least 6 years, he received 6 months in jail and 3 months probation.

Although I have my views on many subjects, I generally keep them to myself, for several reasons.  One, I don't think people often care about opinions other than their own (funny, coming from a blogger...);  two, if someone disagrees, it generally turns into an online pillow fight where nobody wins and everyone looks immature;  and three, I'm not very smart.  Also, I'm not a good debater.  If someone disagrees with me, I may try to maturely argue my point very briefly, but I don't have much faith in my ability to change someone's mind.

Some topics, however, I feel should be so common sense that it actually turns my stomach how anyone can see it another way.  In just one day of reading articles about the case, I'm no expert on the case, by any means.  I'm going to go with the facts (what's a "fact" in the news these days?) as much as I can.  I'll list a few key points in this particular case to lay the foundation what I want to say. 

  1. Brock Turner was a white, male, All-American swimmer at Stanford University, originally from Ohio.
  2. Retired federal prosecutor Margaret M. Quinn blamed the incident on alcohol, saying, "There is no doubt Brock made a mistake that night - he made a mistake in drinking excessively to the point where he could not fully appreciate that his female acquaintance was so intoxicated..." We're only two bullet points in, and I'm already enraged, will comment below..  http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_29988209/excerpts-from-stanford-sex-offender-brock-turners-court
  3. Turner's friend, Leslie Rasmussen, said "I don't think it's fair to base the fate of the next ten + years of his life on the decision of a girl who doesn't remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him.  I'm not blaming her directly for this, because that isn't right.  But where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct every second of the day and see that rape on campuses isn't always because people are rapists."  Good grief..
  4. An excerpt from a letter Turner's father, Dan, wrote to Judge Aaron Persky (a former star athlete at Stanford University): "These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways.  His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve.  That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20-plus years of life... He has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of January 17th, 2015."
  5. "Rape culture" is defined by Emilie Buchwald in the book Transforming a Rape Culture as "A complex set of beliefs that encourage mail sexual aggression and supports violence against women.  It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent.  In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself.  A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.. In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable.. However, much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change."

In regards to the comment by Mrs. Quinn, the only mistake she mentions that Turner made was drinking excessively.  He didn't make a mistake by raping an unconscious woman next to a dumpster.  He was too drunk to notice his "acquaintance" (pretty friendly term for rape victim, in this case) was "so intoxicated."  So he was too drunk to notice that she was unconscious.  Now, I haven't blogged in quite a while.  But if any of you have read my posts in the past, I'm not exactly a ladies man.  I never got into the "get with as many girls as possible."  That's fine if guys do that, just not my thing.  Of the nine or so times I've had sex, give or take, my absolute main concern was whether or not I was allowed to be doing it, especially the first time with a respective woman.  Now, I know there's a happy medium there.  It's obviously not the sexiest thing in the world to be all "Are you sure?" "Are you sure?" but that's what I was concerned with.  I didn't want to overstep any boundaries, and very few times with me involved any alcohol at all.  Obviously, once you're in a relationship, there doesn't always necessarily need to be a verbal consent.  It's the ol' "one thing leads to another and everyone is okay with it" sort of attitude, which there's nothing wrong with, if both people understand it.  But if one of the parties involved is UNCONSCIOUS, there is absolutely no way to give consent.  It's not, "she didn't say no," it's, "she couldn't say yes."  Many people think it's always strangers that are the rapists.  The graph below shows otherwise.  A husband can rape his wife, a boyfriend can rape his girlfriend..

Ms. Rasmussen won't blame her directly, because that "isn't right."  Oh, it's not right to place the blame of a sexual assault on the unconscious victim?  Did the victim make all the right choices that night?  Clearly not.  But getting drunk doesn't deserve a punishment of rape.  It doesn't deserve waking up in a hospital, signing papers that say "Rape Victim."  It doesn't deserve having a doctor recommend you get re-tested for HIV because you were potentially penetrated by a stranger.  And being drunk doesn't excuse Turner either, not by a long shot.  I've been drunk hundreds of times in my life (sorry Mom) and I've maybe rattled off a dozen or so flirty texts that I've regretted in the morning.  In nearly 33 years.  Am I saying that's all that's allowed?  No.  If you're drunk and flirty and feeling it and everyone involved wants to take it that far, then go for it!  But the second anyone says "no" (or is unconscious, unbelievable that not everyone knows this), the deal is off.  We can all agree that sex is fun, right?  Isn't a large part of that fun being able to see the enjoyment and excitement that your partner is experiencing?  Trust me, I like an attractive woman as much as the next guy.  But sex with a woman that has either said "no" or couldn't say "yes" has absolutely zero attraction to me, and hopefully a large majority of the male species agree.  It's sad that it's not 100%.

I don't even want to dignify a response to Dan Turner's "20 minutes of action" comment.  That's dumb enough without any commentary.  But the only person Dan Turner seems to be worried about is his son.  "Broken and shattered HIM."  "HIS life will never be the same."  What about the woman who learned the details of her assault the same way I did, through an article online?  Who can't go on walks alone anymore?  Who has to sleep with a nightlight?  Who for three months went to sleep at 6AM because she didn't feel safe enough until the sun was up?  What about the victims' sister, who placed so much blame and guilt on herself that she couldn't keep up in school?  What about the victims' boyfriend, who has lost a large part of who his girlfriend was through no fault of her?  The victims parents, who had to experience what many parents would describe as their worst fear, their child being hurt with no way to help.  But Brock has trouble sleeping and can't eat steak anymore because his appetite has suffered..?

I'm not saying Brock's life is going to be unicorns and rainbows.  But it is his actions that caused the result. 

I've read a few comments and articles that enforce the rape culture definition.  I'm not a feminist, where the "rape culture" term gets traced back to.  I really don't even know what a feminist is.  I want women to be as successful as men.  I want them to have the same opportunities as men, to a logical extent (they shouldn't be in the NFL, because they would get destroyed, but a women's football league?  Perfect.)  It's not a rape victims fault that they were raped.  I'm so tired of society trying to find things to blame other than the person who committed the crime.  If you get your car stolen because your door was unlocked, it's not your fault, it's the person who stole your car.  If you get robbed because your window was open, it's not your fault, it's the person who robbed your house.  If you get your identity stolen, it's not your fault, it's the person who stole your identity.  There are things you can do to lessen your chances, and you should do them if it's within your capabilities. But if you do not, it's not open season on your stuff.  And that includes your vagina.  If it's "not manly" to have this view, you can add it to all the other "not manly" views I have and things I do.  I'll call it "common sense", "respect" and "not being a disgusting piece of shit."  To each their own.

What should Turner's punishment be?  No idea.  If a jury of 12 people finds you guilty for attempted rape, sexual penetration of an intoxicated woman, and sexual penetration of an unconscious woman, I tend to think it should be longer than 6 months in jail and 3 months probation.  If it was your daughter, sister, aunt, niece, girlfriend, wife who was the victim, would you "go easy on him?"  The judge said that positive character references written on Turner's behalf, such as the one given by Dan Turner, had factored into his decision.  His age, lack of criminal history and the role alcohol played were also factors.  So essentially, you get one free rape as long as you're "young" and "drunk" and your dad thought "20 minutes of action" wasn't enough.

God help us.

Only 8-37% of rapes result in prosecution, according to the Center for Research on Violence Against Women.  National estimates suggest for every 100 rapes, 5 assailants go to prison.


A friend of mine's mother was recently diagnosed with a large brain tumor, please click the below link if you have the ability to help financially.  Her father recently survived a major cardiac arrest where he was given a 3% chance to live, but survived (thanks God!).  They need $5,000 to help with medical bills and to add things to their home to assist with her needs.  So far they are at $1,480 in donations, any amount will help. It takes 2 minutes, just need a credit card or a bank account.  If you're unable to donate money, prayers help if you're a person of prayer.  Good, positive thoughts if you are not. Thank you.


Friday, December 28, 2012


This post is being co-brought to you by everyone in Minnesota who immediately forgets how to drive the second a snowflake hits their car, and the woman who purchased two tins of Grizzly Wintergreen in front of me at the gas station last week.

I probably use chapstick too much for someone who hasn't kissed a gal in 5 months.

Someone should tell every farmer in northern Minnesota that their barn is collapsing.

People who preach "staying positive" sure spend a lot of time complaining about everything.

Kristen Stewart gives me anxiety.

I prefer reading over playing video games.  What does this mean?

12:00a.m.: "I should go to bed."
2:10a.m.: "Fuck." - Me, every night

Al Lambert from "Step by Step" was the most underrated smokeshow of the TGIF era.

I'm single, so I'm allowed to say this: I've never seen anything as beautiful as a cloudless night sky in northern Minnesota.

How do guys that can't dance get girls to do naked things with them?

I love that my dad personally picks out jewelry for my mom every Christmas.  This year it was a blue pearl necklace, because her favorite color is blue, of course.  He and I also have a 15+ year streak going of guessing what's in our packages.  Something the size of a shoe box is typically a "speedboat" or "pogo stick" or something that makes just as much sense.  When we used to do gifts with our grandparents, he and I would guess things like "rollerblades" or "a snowboard" when they would open theirs.  Romance and wit runs in the family :)

My sex playlist:

"My Two Left Feet" - Erick Baker
"Sorry, Blame it on Me" - Akon
"Remember to Breathe" - Dashboard Confessional
"Why Do They Leave?" - Ryan Adams
"I'm In a Hurry to Get Things Done" - Alabama

When I was a lil' guy, my cousins bet me to eat an entire raw onion.  My reward: a beer.  Keep in mind, at this point in my life I hated beer.  The lesson, as always: I'm an idiot.  And don't give in to peer pressure.

My "sleep number" is 6 Bacardi Torched Cherry's.

So "The Vow" is about a woman falling in love with a tall, dark, handsome man twice? Sounds so unrealistic.  Where's the movie about the babe who falls in love with the 6'1" guy who likes pizza and blogging?

I used 4 different things as a napkin at Christmas.

Bringing gifts to the truck, I slipped on my pants and nearly tore my scrotum off my leg. #Rio2016

If a guy finds out he's "not the father" on national television, then starts dancing and chest-bumping other idiots, he probably should never be a father.

Heard a rumor on the radio that Ryan Reynolds may be in the Cities next week.  Probably gonna meet him and exchange "handsome tips".

My work Halloween costume this year.  "Slutty basketball player."

Following the lead of a buddy who stopped a police car in his gym parking lot to thank them for what they do, I saw two cops in Chipotle a couple weeks ago and thanked them.  For those of you who don't necessarily know where I'm from, a cop was killed in my hometown about a month or so ago, and I can't imagine the amount of stress and anxiety they go through every time they go to work.  Their families as well.  They don't get paid nearly enough for what they do and the risks they take.. I just told them that I was from Cold Spring and that I wanted to thank them for the sacrifices and risks they take when they go to work every day/night.  Small gesture, but it made me feel a bit better. (Side note: ignore the fact that my buddy was leaving a gym and I was inhaling burritos..)

My favorite is when guys tell me that my standards are too high, and then they drag home the annoying slut from the bar who can't read and proceed to pour her into their bed.  Congrats bro, you did the same thing two other dudes did last weekend.  Not for me.  A girl I know described me as "the exact opposite of Tucker Max, but with the same writing skill.. and you're better looking too." (I'll take it?)  For those of you who don't know Tucker Max, he's the author of "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell", "Assholes Finish First", and "Hilarity Ensues".  These books mainly depict his drunken adventures in college and trying to hook up with any girl who's still alive, only after ridiculing them and making them feel incredibly inferior.  These books are all best-sellers and made him rich, I'm sure that's all he cares about..

Recently, I posted an opinion of mine on Facebook regarding the elementary school shooting in Connecticut on December 14th.  It received a lot of positive feedback, so I wanted to post it here for others who didn't see it:

"I don't share my serious thoughts very often unless I'm passionate about the issue.  Here are a few things that fit that description: family, America, and innocent children.  I'm not political; my last three Google searches are 1. "Timberwolves TV schedule", 2. "Ron Pope lyrics", and 3. "Papa Johns".. I hate politics, and here's why: about 4% of people can speak their political views in a mature fashion.  After the tragedies that rocked Connecticut, America and my hometown of Cold Spring, there were several suggestions on how we can "fix" this epidemic.  Gun control?  Easier and cheaper help for those with mental health issues?  Ban violent video games?  I don't know.  I'm a man who owns a hunting rifle, has an anxiety disorder and played violent video games growing up.  Not once have I had the desire to harm anyone.  There are no blanket answers.  But through social media, and the "real world", I see people calling others "idiots" for their suggestions on how to make America safer.  I've seen people claim the president's speech was insincere and his tears were "fake."  Democrat vs. Republican.  Conservatives vs. Liberals.  Mere days after 20 children and 6 adults were murdered.  Is the most important thing being "right?"  Is the most important thing to you winning a pissing match on social media?  The most important part of the lives of 26 families were taken from them (December 14th).  I have views that differ from others.  I believe in God, that's a touchy subject.  I believe that I'll see the Vikings win the Super Bowl in my lifetime.  I believe it's okay to own multiple Taylor Swift cd's as a 29-year-old male.  Not everyone shares these views.  And you know what?  That's okay!  I will never ever mock or bash someone for their views.  Maybe that's the first step to "fixing" these problems.  Maybe we just start being nice to each other?  And if anyone tries starting a political rant on this thread, I'm deleting it, that's not the purpose.  Now, if you want to argue the best Taylor Swift song, you have my attention :)  God bless the families affected in Newtown, CT and Tommy Decker's family.  Be kind to each other, and let's figure out solutions as one group: Americans."

I'm going to add a bit to that.  It blows my mind how people immediately decide that they don't like someone depending on their political affiliation.  That is, without question, my biggest gripe about politics.  Even political ads are almost always 100% bashing their opponent.  I don't care what he or she sucks at, tell me what YOU'RE going to do and how YOU'RE going to do it.  Don't come out and say, "when he/she was in office, we lost 19 million jobs, blah blah blah", while the other candidate says, "well actually, unemployment dropped while I was in office, blah blah blah."  Both of you (hypothetically) have "statistics" to back yourself up, but obviously one of you is lying.  So, essentially, our job as Americans is to pick who we think is telling the truth.  It's hard to even vote based off of a politician's platform because you don't know if they actually want to accomplish this, or if they're just saying it to get the vote.  That's why I hate politics and don't really try that hard to understand it.

The next part of the argument is religion.  It really saddens me that religion and believing in God is so taboo in America in our era.  I know there are a lot of people who are Christians and God-fearing, but are reluctant to voice it because of the mocking and bashing of non-believers and atheists.  Which, again, I think is at the root at a lot of our issues as a country.  I'm not saying atheists are the issue, let me make that clear.  I'm saying the division of people who believe and who don't believe, and the amount of mocking and bashing that takes place only produces feelings of hatred.  Why can't I have my beliefs without seeing countless articles, tweets, Facebook posts, etc. about how crazy I must be for believing in a God?  I'm not writing articles, tweeting or posting about how sad it is that you think there isn't one.  It's none of my business.  I grew up Lutheran and was baptized as a baby.  I went to a Lutheran church through elementary and middle school, and was confirmed Lutheran.  Church was always boring to me as a kid.  I've written a bit about this before, but what got me interested in church and God again was attending my brothers non-denominational church on a day they had an incredible motivational speaker.  He related to me in that he kinda felt out of place growing up, dealt with some depression, and it moved me to the point that I wanted to find a church in the area.  After two years of going to church, I've been baptized again (wanted to make a conscious, adult decision to give my life to God) and I can honestly say that it's changed my life in such a positive way.  There is so much negativity in the world that it's just refreshing to get a positive message for an hour every week.  I'm not saying it's for everybody.  People have different beliefs, and there's nothing wrong with that.  We'll all be judged for them someday.  My belief is that there is a God, and I don't feel that I should have to apologize for that.  Regardless of your religious beliefs, I think this country would be a lot better off if we were more accepting of others opinions, without the initial argument being "you're an idiot" if they disagree with you.  If someones only argument to me is "you're an idiot, there's no way that's possible", I feel that I've won.  If I disagree with someone, I do it respectfully and as maturely as I can.  When it's over, I don't hate that person.  I think hatred and the fear of being ridiculed is a big part of many of our problems as a country, and world, for that matter.  In my opinion, we'd be a lot better off if we just accepted others and loved them..

Amanda Todd committed suicide on October 10th, 2012, as the result of bullying.  She was a 15-year-old girl from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, and her story has now gained worldwide recognition.  If you haven't watched the YouTube video she made about a month before her death, I highly suggest it.  I got teary watching it.  It's called "My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm", it's about 9 minutes long, black and white, and she tells her story with flash cards.  As a seventh grader, she had started meeting people online, including a man who pressured into flashing her chest.  Initially, she refused, but after a year she relented.  That man took the photo and, according to Todd, sent it to everyone she knew.  Because of this, she was subjected to bullying online and in school, causing her severe anxiety and depression, and to experiment with drugs, alcohol, cutting and an attempted suicide.  She was beaten by a girl at school who was dating a guy that had showed interest in Todd, and left in a ditch for her father to retrieve.  When she got home, she saw comments online like, "She deserved it."  "Did you wash the mud out of your hair?"  "I hope she's dead."  Seeing this, she said she "wanted to die so bad" and drank bleach, needing to go to the hospital to get her stomach pumped.  Students in her school would post pictures of ditches online, and suggest she "try a different bleach."  Eventually, she committed suicide because of the bullying.  I know she's not the first person to do this.  But one person who ends their life voluntarily because death seems favorable to living with the abuse? That's one too many. 

So many thoughts ran through my head as I watched her video, and then did a little research on the story.  I thought of how many times in my life have I made fun of someone.  How many times did I put someone down for the sake of getting a laugh?  How many times has someone gone home and cried because of something I've said?  I'd like to say that number is zero, but I'm not sure.  I may not have said things to someones face, but I've definitely done it out of earshot.  And I hate that I've done it.  I also thought about how I was bullied at times when I was younger.  Not nearly to the extent of Amanda Todd, of course, but it did happen.  Mainly acne-related.  I can recall being called "pizza face" on the bus.  This is embarrassing, but all through high school I used my sisters makeup before going to school to make the acne less noticeable.  I don't know if she knows that.  A large part of the reason I would wear a hat is because it covered up part of my face.  I had awful self-esteem, and it's still not the greatest. 

Just recently, for the very first time in my life, I asked a girl out face-to-face.  It was at church, and I had kind of planned on doing it the entire night (actually for a few weeks cause I thought she was cute, so I was trying to talk myself into the possibility that I might not die if I chatted with her).  Of course, I was drenched in sweat by the time I did it after church.  But Cute Church Gal (as she was known as to my sister before I found out her name) said "yes".  When we got coffee later in the week, I talked with her a little bit about my anxiety and depression issues, because ultimately it's what lead me to church.  I told her that, in a way, I think my poor self-esteem made my personality what it is.  I know I'm a good person who treats people right.  I think I can be funny and witty at times and make people feel good about themselves.  A lot of that stems from my belief that it's the only way people will like me.  I had such a negative view of my appearance, that I felt I needed to be nice and funny to have any chance.  So when I saw this story about Amanda Todd, it broke my heart a little bit.  There is no worse feeling in the world than to feel all alone, that you don't fit in anywhere, and that you have no one on your side.  To have that feeling be so strong that you decide to end the pain by ending your life.. it's just overwhelming to me.  I don't have kids, but when I do, I'm going to stress very hard the importance of treating others with respect and kindness.  I'm also going to let them know every day how important they are and how much I love them.  I don't want them to be on either side of a story like this.  I think the world would be a better place if more parents did that..

I've mentioned several times about how my best friend is my twin sister.  She knows things that no one else in the world knows about me.  She's been instrumental in helping me through my times of anxiety and depression, and she's encouraging in my effort to become closer to God.  Since we share the same birthday, we never get each other a gift or a card, it's just never been something we've done.  But in June, I wanted to let her know exactly how much she means to me, so I gave her a card when we went out to dinner with our parents.  Of course, it made her cry.  It also made her get me a card as well.  The next night that I worked, I came out to an envelope on my windshield that said "Dano" on it.  I knew it was from her, no one else calls me that, other than her friends who've just followed her lead.  I hope she doesn't mind, but I kept that card, and I'd like to share a little bit about what she wrote to me.  The message on the actual card is perfect, it reads: (Front) "Happy Birthday, Brother.  From Your Sister."  (Inside) "I'm thinking of the two of us and remembering everything we've seen and done, everywhere we've been, and all the things we've shared... Sometimes I took care of you, sometimes you took care of me, and it didn't matter who was older or younger, only that we were brother and sister... That's why on your birthday, I'm feeling lucky to have you as a brother - and every luckier to have you as a friend.  Love you."  She wouldn't have had to write anything, that sums up our relationship pretty well.  But she went on to write:

"Dano, so glad I get to share my birthday with someone as awesome as you.  I am not as good with words as you are, but I want you to know that you are, and will always be my best friend.  Growing up, we were not always the best of friends, but I am so happy we grew close like we are.  I know you felt like you didn't always fit in, but you did.  I know you won't believe me, but a lot of times I felt the same way.  I am very glad to see you are more outgoing the last couple times I've gone out with you - you have nothing to worry about!  You are the funniest, nicest, most encouraging and supportive guy I know.  It will all fall into place - you'll see!  I am always here for you with you need to chat about stuff and get it off your chest.  I will always have your back - you have a soft spot in my heart and I will beat up anyone who tries to hurt you :)  Seriously, when you hurt, I hurt - let's be positive!  I'm so proud of the people we have become and I am blessed to have the brothers I do and the parents we have.  Love you lots, Dano!  -Nik"

I'm actually tearing up a bit from that.. My sister is pretty f'ing cool..

Old school..

Earlier this year, a buddy posted this article that he had found online and I found it interesting.  It's titled "How to Be 'Manly'".  Here's the link: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/03/12-things-every-guy-should-master-to-become-a-real-man/ and the text:

How to Be ‘Manly’.

Written by Atalwin Pilon

1. Be fearless

Being fearless does not mean being without fear, being fearless means admitting your fears and going beyond them. A real man is not in denial of his fears, holding up a mask of invulnerability but is willing to face his fears and work on them. He has the courage to do things that frighten him when the situation calls for it. A real man knows that the path towards fearlessness is endless.

2. Be resilient

A man should be flexible and reliable at the same time. If necessary he can start all over again at any given moment. Whatever happens; his house was burnt down, his crop failed, he lost his job, his wife had a miscarriage: even if he has mourning to do he starts all over again. A real man accepts his fate but doesn’t become a victim of it.

3. Live, speak and listen from the heart

A real man doesn’t hide his feelings and intentions. He is not afraid to be gentle nor afraid to be sad. He is in touch with his emotions and is able to express them. He has the courage to live his dream and the space to listen compassionately.

4. Own your anger

A real man owns his anger. His anger has transformed into masculine compassion. He can be angry, strong, decisive and courageous. His anger serves his presence and the presence of others. It is not a humiliating or destructive type of anger. The latter happens when a man is a slave of his anger, that’s the anger of the coward trying to overcompensate his feelings of inferiority. This is just as sad as a man completely disconnected from his anger. He becomes emasculated and has no power at all. Other men don’t take him seriously. Women can smell immature anger and emasculatedness from a mile away and don’t find it sexy. Mature anger, on the other hand, is a big turn on.

5. Make meaning

Try not to become a man of success, try to become a man of value. Einstein said that. I think that’s true and important. If you fill your days with doing something that pays the bills but is essentially meaningless you are wasting your precious life. Yes, even if it pays the bills so handsomely that you can spend 2 months per year on adventurous holidays and eat in fancy restaurants, you are still wasting your life. A real man has the balls to travel outside his comfort zone to make a sincere attempt to contribute to mankind. He works for the greater good instead of for the sake of protection of his self image and clinging to the illusion of safety.

6. Own your edge

This life is a journey and we all are somewhere on our path. A real man is honest about where he is at in his development. He doesn’t pretend to be wiser or more evolved than he actually is nor does he shrink so that others won’t feel insecure around him. He knows his strengths and his weaknesses and not ashamed of either. That there is always work to do is a given to him. He knows where he has his work to do and is willing to listen and learn from those who have done that work.

7. Be vulnerable

A coward is always trying to hide his weak spots, a real man works on them. He is willing and able to reveal himself even in the midst of pain. He is vulnerable because he wants to be vulnerable. By opening up in every moment he is continuously practicing his courage. It’s his way of defeating his own cowardice.

8. Make love passionately

A real man does not hold back. When he makes love he opens up to all his rawness and all his tenderness and he gives his woman everything he has got. He does not shy away from intimacy. He can penetrate his woman so hard and deeply that she can feel that he is entering her soul. He aims for her heart. He makes her feel like a princess and a porn star simultaneously.

9. Practice a martial art

When push comes to shove every man should be able to defend his wife, children and honor. Just like we teach our children to swim to prevent them from drowning a man should know at least enough basic fighting skills so he can throw a punch in case of an emergency. A real man has spent enough time in a ring or dojo to ensure a deescalating presence. He does not panic, is not easily provoked and has some strength and skills.

10. Have a sense of humor (don’t take yourself so fucking seriously)

A real man can hold both the utter importance and the utter unimportance of life at the same time. He can see his own failures and flaws and joke about that. Since he knows his self image is just an image he feels no need to defend that image. He can uplift a tense situation with a joke but he isn’t the immature joker that abuses humor as a tool for escaping intimacy or sabotaging intensity. A real man has the capacity to light up the room. A real man embraces life.

11. Develop body, mind and spirit

A real man is devoted to the development of body, mind and spirit. Not to stay ahead of other men, not out of fear of being defeated, but because he has more to offer when he is healthy and present. Taking care of his body makes him fit and strong, taking care of his mind makes him clever and sharp, taking care of his spirit makes him wise, warm and compassionate. A real man knows that his body and mind are mortal but that the love he spreads during his life remains.

12. Be real

In the end a real man knows that he is just a guy. He does all these things because that’s what he is: a man. He likes hanging out with other men, he might drink beer during football, he loves his woman and he works wholeheartedly. Basically, he is just trying to do his best to make the most of life and is having some fun while doing that. His sweat is honest, his heart is open and his back is straight.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

january wedding..

This post is being co-brought to you by earmuffs and guys nicknamed "Smitty".

As always, please send me feedback if you'd like: dmblum33@hotmail.com

I recently spent a few days in Denver for work, from a Wednesday to a Saturday.  A few things from that trip stand out to me:

We were lucky enough to be staying in a Hyatt, so it was pretty nice.  The first night we were there, we went to the restaurant on the 27th floor, which was called Peaks.  The wall to the outside was all windows, so we were looking at the Denver skyline the entire time.  It was insanely gorgeous.  Like first date in a chick-flick gorgeous.  From our hotel, we could also see Invesco Field, which is where the Denver Broncos play.  We were encouraged to share rooms with one other person, and as an incentive to do so, they gave us each $100, because that's cheaper than paying for a hotel room for three nights.  The guy I roomed with refused to have the TV on when he was trying to sleep, and also thought the NBA team in Denver was called the Raptors.  (It's the Denver Nuggets.  Raptors play in Toronto.)  So that was an adventure.  I also learned that every man over 45 that's wearing a business suit is creepy and leers at young women.  Anyway, we did actually do some work there, and early on Thursday afternoon, I saw that I had a text from my sister that said "Give me a call when you have time to chat."  That's never good.  So, I took a quick break and walked outside to call her.  Knowing me better than anyone else on the planet, she starts the conversation with "don't freak out, everything is fine, but Dad had be taken to the emergency room in an ambulance today."  Of course it's always when you're across the country that kinda stuff goes down.  What happened was, my dad had felt a weird feeling in his ear the night before but didn't think much of it.  When he woke up on Thursday morning, he had a hard time keeping his balance and equilibrium, and was dizzy.  He later said he couldn't take much more than a few steps before he would fall.  He actually got dressed and in his car to go to work before he thought better of it and called in sick.  But he was getting progressively worse as the morning went on, so he called my mom at work.  She told me that his first words were, "I need help."  I know a lot of people think of their parents as being Superman or Superwoman and as never being vulnerable, that they can handle any situation, so hearing that gave me chills.  It still does just typing it.  She left work to come get him, and at this point, they still have no idea what's wrong, only that he can't walk and that he's really dizzy and off-balance.  On the way home, she called two of my aunts that live within a couple miles of my parents (no idea how she did this while she was driving, we literally have to write her instructions on how to use a DVD player) to see if they could go check on him to make sure it's not an emergency.  Neither of them were home.  She then called my dad back to see if he needed an ambulance.  Of course he said "no".  By the time she got home, though, he had gotten worse, and they couldn't safely walk him down the garage steps to get into the car.  So they ended up calling the ambulance, and soon after they got him all hooked up to the machines, they knew it wasn't anything life-threatening.  He does have a history of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and with the dizziness, who knew if it was a stroke or something like that?  It ended up being vertigo, which affects the inner ear and your balance.  He got medication for that and has slowly gotten better over the past couple weeks, although he can't hear anything out of his left ear, and the doctor says he might never get that back.  Which is weird, because he hears great out of his right ear for someone his age.  But he told me yesterday (his 72nd birthday) that he did some running in the back yard, just to see if he could do it.  And he could.  He has some appointments coming up that might be able to solve the ear issue, hopefully, and I was able to spend the rest of my time in Denver without worrying too much.  The other highlights?  Meeting a man named "Fishbones" and walking around the city by myself in the dark after a few cocktails in the hot tub and flirting with the red-headed sales girl at the t-shirt shop. ("Flirting" is the one where you try to be witty and charming and they refuse to make eye-contact, right?  Actually, she said she liked my accent, so I bought $60 worth of shirts.  The lesson, as always: I'm an idiot)..

Here's a picture of my dad at his 50th birthday party.  This look on his face is one that I'll always have in mind.  Such a contagious laugh.  Great man.  Per usual, our 60" HD television makes an appearance behind him. (He lost his left arm at age 19 in a farming accident.)

Don't give up on the people you love. Your patience and faithfulness may be just what they need.

I don't trust anyone who doesn't like country music.

Christian Ponder > Christian Grey

Winnie Cooper still attractive as of 2005, per "How I Met Your Mother".

I'm turned off by poor handwriting.

Few things make me prouder than the amount of people who tell me how sweet my mother is.  I kinda like her.

What's that Luke Bryan song where he mentions his truck?

Does that couple in the Cialis commercials finish their crossword puzzle or do they end up fucking on the porch instead?

Jennifer Aniston was cold a lot on "Friends".

Is Snooki's baby still alive?

How many times does your female neighbor have to lay in the hall crying before you call the police?  Asking for a friend (my roommate).

I like the episode of Pawn Stars where the guy is asking for $20,000 for his stuff but settles for 14 bucks.

I have a crush on Kelly Kapowski.

"Her face is the worst thing about her." - Me, drunk

Don't stumble over something behind you.

Regarding late night infomercials, does Colon Flow come with a free Sham Wow and Monster Ballads disc?

Don't waste your hurts. They're your credentials for helping others.

A couple weeks ago I went to see a good country music band called Maiden Dixie.  The next time they're in the area is November 3rd at Rollies, make an effort to go see them if you dig country music.  They put on a great show, and the singer/lead guitarist is a great guy, his name is Jesse.  I'll be up north deer hunting, so go take my place on the dance floor!

I recently visited my brother's families in southern Minnesota, and we went to my niece's soccer game in the afternoon.  During her game, her sister (pictured below) was on the playground playing with some kids she knew, and others she didn't.  She ran over to me to tell me that the boys were being mean, so I told her to ignore them and don't join them.  A few minutes later, I checked on her and she is standing in front of them, needing to look up because she's shorter, and she wasn't backing down an inch.  I could just picture her being like "hey, I don't wanna have to do this, but if you wanna throw, I'll throw."  She was just trying to talk nicely to them, and they ended up apologizing, but a part of me wanted to see her give them both Stone Cold Stunners.  Love that girl.

My niece on my shoulder, riding home from her sisters soccer game. This must be after she sang Bon Jovi's "Shot Through The Heart."  Cutest ever.

On the topic of visiting my brothers families, one of my favorite things to do is drive there alone at night and listen to my iPod.  They live almost 3 hours away, and it's time to myself that I can think, drink coffee and sing terribly to terrible music.  Something I got to thinking about on this drive down was how different I am than the "stereotypical guy".  In no way am I saying I'm better than the "stereotypical guy", we all know my insecurities.  I'm not sure what triggered these thoughts.  My sappy music probably helped.  The beautiful, clear night likely did as well.  But I remember glancing at the moon and thinking, "what I wouldn't give to be laying by a lake, looking at this sky with a girl that I'm in love with."  I think that's weird.  I don't think many guys think that way.  But I like that part about me.  I hear a lot of guys talk negatively about their girls, and whether or not they're serious or just trying to appear macho in front of their buddies, it's just not for me.  I can honestly say that the guys that I'm close friends with respect their girls as much on "guys night" as they do with her by their side.  And that's admirable, I think.  I've separated myself more from people that I'm not comfortable around.  Why bad mouth them?  It's not funny, it makes you look insecure, and if it's actually true, why are you with them?  I don't even talk negatively about girls that I liked in the past.  Sometimes things don't work out.  I still liked them at the time, and to my knowledge, none of them knowingly or willingly hurt me.  So you move on.  There's several things that I really look forward to when I find "her", but one big one is showing her off to the people I care about.  Having her meet my friends and family, and seeing them form relationships as well.  That's the kind of stuff I think about. 

What section does "never puked from drinking" go on my resume?  Accomplishments?

When I went to football games in high school, I spent about 5% of the time watching the game, 5% of the time walking to get food at the concession stand, and 90% of the time trying to find my crush and see if she was cold enough to wear the mittens I made in sewing class.  Chivalry.

I've been told several times that I "don't look like I'd listen to country music."  I have no idea what that means, but I think liking several genres of music makes people more intriguing.

Missed Connection: You were glancing at me in amusement on 35W a few weeks ago.  I was singing "Just a Girl" by No Doubt with accompanying air drums.  Contact me.

If the world ever runs out of water, it's because I order it every time I'm at a restaurant and never touch it.

Not my proudest moment, but I was recently showering at the gym when I heard a song for the first time that I liked, so I sprinted to my locker to get my phone and Soundhound it.  (p.s. the song was "Complicated" by Parking Lot Rockstar)..

They say Cancer men understand women better than any other sign in the Zodiac..

My mom always hounds me about how much money I spend on books, but she doesn't know that I've owned the same combination lock from the bike lock I got when I was 13 and rode to my little league baseball games.  The money I save on combination locks, I buy books with :)

For a few minutes, I'm turning this post over to a co-worker of mind that works at our Grove City, OH location. I met her a few years ago when I was out there helping them for a couple weeks.  She is the receptionist there, I thought she was pretty, so in a panic I insulted her sarcastically and then emailed her later to apologize.  We've remained really close since then.  Our friendship has become even tighter based on my recent efforts to become closer to God.  She also has a close relationship with Him, and we've used that to support each other in times that have been difficult.  Her and her husband recently went on a trip to Jamaica, and she told me about a specific event that touched her.  I asked her to write about it and how it affected her, and she did.  I'll post that below, but first I will give you a face to go with the story.  You can see why I needlessly insulted her to have a reason to follow up:

"Recently I spent a vacation week in Jamaica. I couldn’t wait to get there and forget my entire life here full of schedules, problems, and stress.  That’s their motto, you know - No Problem Mon!!

One of the tours we chose was a half day three stop bus tour that took us to an old church from the 1600 or 1700’s, a “basic” school which would be similar to our preschools- kids there were 3-5 year olds-and finally a plantation where they grow coffee, bananas, sugar cane,  pineapples, cocoa beans, etc and had some random animals. It promised a served jerk-chicken lunch and an exciting day. This tour wasn’t going to be as fun as our day at Dolphin Cove but we signed up anyway hoping to taste some fresh foods and take some cool church pictures.

The church was pretty cool. We took lots of pictures and nearly sweat to death in there. Next we went to the school. It was a simple rectangle building with wooden stairs out front with a high fenced in yard. The yard had all dead grass and there were a few used car tires laying out or sticking out the ground. This was the “playground”. We all gathered outside the front door to get some instructions and while we were waiting a little boy came out to wash his hands. There was a white bucket on the steps with a faucet attached. This little guy washed his hands off with the bucket water and hopped back into class. It was snack time! When we entered the kids were all sipping out of juice boxes and eating some form of Jamaican cheese its. They wear purple school uniform dresses for the girls and purple shirts with khaki pants for the boys. I have never seen so many gorgeous children in one room in my entire life. Each “classroom” was made by dividers because the school was basically one giant room. You could walk between the classrooms by walking past each divider wall. They had the little ones at the back and the 5-year-olds at the front. At first we just stared at the kids and they stared at us! They encouraged us to talk to them, take their pictures, hug them- but it just felt so weird like culture shock. They let tourists go in preschools-never would this happen in the US! I tried to ask the kids what they were doing at first but they were just busy eating their snacks and chit-chatting with each other.  I felt so overwhelmed that this was their classroom and  their school looked like a mini compound. Some of the boys started rough-housing and I thought, 'I better wait outside. This was cool, but it’s not for me.' I stood out there for a minute and I felt like God said to me “What are you doing out here? Don’t you know they need your attention? Tell them they are special”. I went back in the school and found a little group of girls spinning around in circles and running around the room. I asked them what they were doing and if they liked school. One girl looked up at me and said  “I want to see you”.  I wasn’t sure what that meant! She tugged on my shorts again and said “ I want to see you”. I promptly got down on my knees so that we were close to eye level. She locked her eyes on mine and just stared while she was sipping on her juice box. She told me her favorite color was blue and I was wearing a blue t-shirt. She started rubbing my shoulder to feel the fabric, seeming like she was breathing the whole experience in. I asked her the normal 5-year-old questions like does she like school, does she have brothers or sisters (which she had like 5) and what was her favorite subject. She liked answering my questions and I don’t think it really mattered what the questions were because we were just staring at each other regardless. I noticed the bow on her dress was untied and so I asked her if I could tie it. She said yes and when I tied it I said "there, now you have a gorgeous bow."  Other little girls started gathering around us. I think I was the only adult who was on the floor and I felt a little touch on my hair. I turned around to see about three girls staring at me. I said “you can touch my hair if you want.” CHAOS ENSUED. They all started running their fingers through my hair and petting my head. It was a little girl mob and it was awesome.  Somewhere in between I started getting hugs and I did not want to leave. Looking at their faces and telling them how beautiful they were was very emotional. They wanted hugs so bad. FROM A STRANGER! I could barely walk out the school door because they just kept hugging my legs and waist so I was hoping I wouldn’t trip and fall down on them! The teacher had to pull them off of me so they could sing a song for us called “Mango Time,” which was hilarious and adorable. I wanted to stay there for longer but we had to go. I’m so glad that I went back in that school. It made me wonder how many kids got hugs everyday or were told they were special. I’m glad I got to tell them. It really made all my "first world problems" seem completely ridiculous. The poorest of schools in the United States is not even close to the condition and supplies that that school had. Meeting those kids was the best hour of my entire vacation. I didn’t want to cry my eyes out in front of them although one other lady in our tour did. She didn’t  want to leave them either. Those kids growing up and being loved is what life is about. The fact that the buffet at our resort ran out of strawberry banana smoothies in the morning vanished from my mind! I heard one couple complaining that there "wasn’t enough alcohol in each drink they ordered" - never mind that the resort was all inclusive with four bottles of liquor in your room each day. Or the other couple who complained that it was "ridiculous to make a 'reservation' at one of the resort restaurants." Were these people out of their minds? Don’t forget how blessed you are, and that you have something to give that doesn’t cost a thing."

Other than just being really cool, I felt this Bob Marley quote went well with her story.  She could have stayed outside of the school, and ignore the feeling that she had to go back in and interact with the children.  She could have went back in and ignored the attention of those kids.  If she had done that, she wouldn't have felt the emotion and love from them.  She wouldn't have touched their lives, and they wouldn't have touched hers.  I love stories like that.  She's right, those moments are what life is all about.

I downloaded an app on my phone called The Chive, which declares themselves "probably the best site in the world."  I can't really argue.  They post a lot of humorous pictures, heart-warming pictures, and pictures of really hot every-day girls.  I'll give you a few examples:

One of the coolest pictures I've ever seen. A soldier returning home to his girl.
Good Grief.
This wasn't in The Chive, but it's me as a baby and I'm really cute!  Could use a smaller forehead, but beggars can't be choosers.

There's a presidential debate tonight, and as always, I have little interest in watching it.  Don't get me wrong, I understand the importance of politicians.  I just think 99% of them, if not more, are liars and crooks.  I know that America isn't in great shape right now, but is that Obama's fault, or is he trying to recover after Bush's mistakes?  I'm not smart enough to know, which is why I typically vote for the candidate that I'd rather have a beer with and appears most genuine.  All I want is for my family and I to have freedom, make a comfortable living, give my children a good, affordable education, get medical care promptly at an affordable price, and to have money to retire comfortably.  And maybe have enough coin on the side to spoil the future Mrs. on occasion.  If you can do that for me, let me know.  I'll write you in.

A couple recent text exchanges with my roommate:

We're clearly inseparable.

"Ladies men", you could say..

I wrote earlier about my visit to my brothers a few weeks ago, and I had a good conversation with my oldest brother, Bryan, when I got there.  I arrived around midnight on a Friday, which is fine since both of us are big night owls.  This night, I didn't have much of a choice since I drank about 5-gallons of coffee on the way down.  Anyway, we sat around watching Sportscenter for a while, and he asked me about my recent baptism.  I had been baptized as a baby, but I wanted to make a more conscious effort under my own will to do so as well.  The main reason I was visiting this weekend was to attend their church on Sunday, because the pastor was going to talk about his battle with depression.  My brother thought I would be interested in it with my past issues, and I did too.  But Friday night, he and I discussed several things: how I can use God to help me get through anxiety problems, how politics are moving away from how God wants us to live, abortion, gay marriage, why bad things happen to good people, how we idolize money, fame and celebrities instead of God, how it's almost taboo to talk about God to others now, etc. We even talked about how God is working with me to find the right girl.  If it doesn't work out with one, rather than beat myself up or think it was something I did, I just need to trust that it wasn't the right situation for me. I don't need to know the reason or think it was my fault, it just wasn't in God's plan. I'm not going to go deep into our conversation, because although it was one of the best conversations I've ever had, it was also personal. And I'm not going to beat people over the head with my belief in God, but I'm not ashamed by it either, because it's made me a much better person.  I'm still the same guy, sarcastic and funny, "sweet and romantic", I just have a better grasp of what to worry about and what to trust Him with.  A couple points I'd like to make though:

One, if you don't believe in God, or any higher power, that's your right and your business.  But I'd suggest reading a book called "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo.  His 3-year-old son died during surgery and went to Heaven, only to come back to life and tell his story about what Heaven was like, knowing things that a 3-year-old couldn't possibly know and hadn't been taught yet.  He met his sister, who had died in a miscarriage before he was born and his parents had never told him about.  He met his Grandpa and recognized him, even though his grandpa had died years before he was born.  Those are the only things I'll share, because I don't want to ruin it, but it is an incredible book.  Even if it doesn't change your beliefs, it's a phenomenal story.  I've borrowed it to several people, all of whom were deeply moved by it. 

Two, as I said, your beliefs are your business.  If you're a non-believer in God or any other higher power, great.  But here is how I would maturly argue that: let's put how the world began aside.  If you believe that we suddenly appeared on Earth, or something other than God was behind life on Earth, you're fully allowed to think that.  Put aside how everything is connected, the beauty of the outdoors, the machine that is the human body, etc.  Put all of that aside.  For the sake of argument, right now you don't believe and I do.  Let's pretend for a minute that you're right.  There is no God or higher power.  Regardless, I'm going to live my life with integrity, kindness, compassion and love towards others, honesty and altruism, to the best of my ability.  I'm going to treat people right, care about them and try to be a solid person.  I'm going to try to be as "God-like" as I can.  At the end of the day, if I'm wrong and there is no God, no Heaven or Hell, we end up in the same spot.  We're just tied.  Buried and that's the end.  But what if you're wrong?  You can't go back.  You can't change the person you were.  What if you're wrong?

As I do a lot of times, I'll close with some lyrics that I like.

"Overwhelmed" by Tim McMorris

From the first time I saw you
I knew that you'd be mine

And from the first glance you gave
My world it slowed, you stopped the time

And in that moment I could see all of the things that we would be
You were the girl I was waiting for, that I would ask to marry me

Like the beauty of the sun you light my life so I can see
You make me laugh and show me how, just how good this life can be
And in our moments filled with joy, is where I live, where I am free
Lay in my arms, I'll hold you tight, just like you like, continually

And I am, overwhelmed, by you
Am, overcome with joy
You've, taken me higher, and shown me what love can do
Where would I go, or be, without you

There's something in your smile that gives me strength to carry on
And there something in your words that lingers even when your gone
Oh I've dreamt, that a time like this would come, fulfill my life
Who could of known the one who'd bring it here would be my lovely wife

I could sing a thousand songs about you still that would not do
There's a million tiny things that make the things that you do, you
I wouldn't trade our time together, wouldn't trade for anything
Cause nothing else here in the world can bring the happiness you bring

And I am, overwhelmed, by you
Am, over come with joy
You've, taken me higher, and shown me what love can do
Where would I go, or be, without you

"I Do Not Love You" by Ron Pope

I do not love you for the way you kiss
Though your lips, they can put me at ease
And I do not love you for your sweet green eyes
Though I love when they’re looking at me
And I do not love you for the way your hands
Can touch me and quiet my soul
I love you for all of this and so much more

I do not love you for the way you dress
Though you do look so lovely tonight
And I do not love you for the things you know
Though I’ve always admired your mind
And I do not love you for the way I feel
That first moment you walk through the door
I love you for all of this and so much more

And all I know is you’re the part of me that keeps me strong
And what I want is for us to face forever
Standing up together, eyes turned towards the heavens, arm in arm

I do not love you for the way my heart
Seems to live somewhere inside your chest
And I do not love you for the way your arms
They can hold me until I forget
And I do not love you for the way you’ve been
Exactly what I’m looking for
I love you for all of this and so much more

I love you for all of this and so much more


Thursday, August 30, 2012

beautiful and lost..

This post is being co-brought to you by whatever "Honey Boo Boo" is, and sending reporters into the middle of hurricanes.

The last post I did received some feedback, all positive stuff about how my sharing my struggle with anxiety and depression has helped people, and also how I shouldn't change how I deal with girls.  Thank you to those who wrote me.  I even had a friend who I hadn't heard from in a while send me a message to say he'll always be there if I need him.  Guys don't generally do that, so that meant a lot.  Again, I love hearing feedback from people, so if you are affected by something I say or just find it entertaining (or horrible, whatever), let me know.  The easiest ways are through a Facebook message if you know my name, or send me an email at dmblum33@hotmail.com.

Average-looking smart chicks are sexier than hot-as-hell dumb chicks.  There's not much sexier than someone who you can share a conversation with on several topics and you can tell they're passionate about.  Looks are going to fade.  How you feel when talking to someone should be the main barometer.  Now, I'll be the first to admit that there has to be a physical attraction for there to be a romantic relationship.  Otherwise you're just friends.  But it's lower on the "importance" scale than several other factors.

Along those same lines, I'd like to go on record as saying Olivia Wilde is hotter than Megan Fox, in my opinion.  Of course all of this is just based off of appearances, acting and interviews on late night talk shows.  People may think I'm nuts, because Megan Fox has been voted Sexiest Woman Alive by several magazines.  But to me, Megan Fox seems a bit high on herself and stuck up, and maybe not the sharpest knife on the Christmas tree.  Olivia Wilde seems fun and silly, and she's able to talk about a bunch of different things and sound smart.  That's attractive.  And her eyes are like pools of sex.  That doesn't suck.

Never give up on something you really want. It's difficult to wait but it's more difficult to regret.

Jennifer Nettles has a gorgeous voice.

One of the coolest things you can hear is "I can't stop thinking about you."

Girls, if you tell us that you just got out of the shower, we picture you nekkid.  Also, if you're a complete stranger but look attractive, we do the same thing.  We're visual creatures, us men.

If depression had a sound, it would be me opening a bag of Doritos while watching "To Catch a Predator".

If I were a professional wrestler, my finishing move would be to force my opponent to drink orange juice after brushing his teeth.

I'd rather check my dad's prostate than listen to a half hour of 104.7 KCLD.

Recent quote from a co-worker: "Fuck, I'm not paying for your movie if you're not going to blow me," about a gal he was starting to see.  Oh.

Fuck, marry, kill: me, Channing Tatum, Robert Pattinson.  I do not snore, btw.

Ladies, if you keep chasing guys who don't give a shit about you, you'll end up with a guy who doesn't give a shit about you.  Don't be surprised.  Quit trying to be the one "good enough" to "change" them.

I don't always walk into doors, but when I do, it's because I'm looking at the butt of the hot girl walking by.

Remember Freddie Prinze Jr.?  LOL!

Most people stay mad at their alarm clocks for only a few minutes, but I come home from work and give mine a flying elbow smash from the dresser 10 hours later.

Yoga pants are the push-up bras of butts.

Yesterday, I flexed my bicep at a 65-year old female coworker and asked if it turned her on. 

My dad pronounces "wash" like "warsh" but he fed and clothed me for 18 years, so we'll call it a "warsh". #nailedit #dadslam

I injured my elbow doing jumping jacks last night.  When is the next Olympics?

Went to the Albertville mall with the family on Saturday, Mom's birthday is coming up so we all pooled our cash together to buy her a Coach purse (Dad might have mortgaged the house).  While there, I walked past an attractive blonde girl, and my gaze went from her face to her ring finger, THEN to her boobs.  I have no idea what that means, but it makes me very nervous.  She was probably a Scorpio or Pisces :)  (I'm a Cancer).  You know how much stock I put in Zodiac signs now since I'm the walking poster boy for male Cancer's.. Seriously, click this link, read it and tell me it's not me, for better or worse: http://zodiac-signs-astrology.com/zodiac-signs/cancer.htm

A couple Tweets from a coworker that I found interesting:

"Why do women always date the assholes before they 'settle' with who is actually the best choice anyway?"

"Women like to be put last, beat, cheated on, degraded and disrespected.  Then say 'where are the good guys?' Umm, look elsewhere than jail."

In a few weeks, I'll be shipped off to Denver, CO for work.  If you haven't read this blog for long, read what happens when I travel for work in this post from August 11, 2009: http://www.fluentlysarcastic.blogspot.com/2009/08/anything-but-mine.html

What society thinks an anxiety disorder is: Someone gets uncomfortable in certain situations: public speaking, driving, flying, etc. and it's something that comes and goes and doesn't really affect the day-to-day life.  Take a few deep breaths and everything is fine.

What an anxiety disorder is: There are millions of people who suffer from anxiety disorders, a lot of them have it worse than I do.  But here is what I experience when my anxiety is bad: it is physically uncomfortable to do anything.  Life is not enjoyable.  The only time I feel "normal" is when I'm asleep.  I've found out that most of my tension is stored in my upper back, so it becomes super tight and that causes headaches and pain in my chest.  My left arm and leg will tingle and I'll get dizzy.  My heart will beat so fast, and it will get hard to take full breaths.  I'm also a hypochondriac, so I am CONSTANTLY checking my body unconsciously to see if there's any weird pains.  A headache is a brain tumor, tingling in my arm is a stroke.  I am constantly thinking, my brain never ever turns off.  If I'm bored and alone, that's a bad spot for me to be in, because I think about negative things.  My last post included an episode in February that was pretty bad, and shortly after that I had a bad bout of depression.  I go out to my parents house on Sunday afternoons and eat dinner there, and my parents like to watch "60 Minutes" at 6:00 on Sundays.  I absolutely hate that show.  Almost every story is how other countries are preparing to bomb us, or how sugar now causes cancer, etc.  For someone who is a chronic negative thinker (which is all people with anxiety), that's scary stuff to hear.  Anyway, one particular Sunday night, I was laying on my parents couch trying to nap after dinner, and "60 Minutes" is on.  Of course, another one of their "end of the world" stories comes on or whatever, and my mind is just racing.  This was when I was still off my medication and had been in a couple month stretch of bad anxiety.  I was starting to become depressed, wondering if I'd have to live this way the rest of my life.  And this story on "60 Minutes" just had my mind snowballing in the worst way.  "I hate my job", "I don't have a lot of money", "I've never had a girlfriend, what the fuck is wrong with me?", "all my friends are either married or in a long-term relationship, where do I go to find a good girl for me?", "will the Vikings ever win a Super Bowl while I'm alive?" (kidding, but seriously..?)  You get the idea.  If it was a negative thought, I had it, and I thought there was no escaping it.  Eventually I talked to a good friend of mine who is a physician's assistant, she got me hooked up with a therapist and advised me to go back on medication.  You can go through the anxiety and depression thousands of times, you can know EXACTLY what it is, but each and every time, it's terrifying.  What if this time it's something worse?  What if this time it never goes away?  How can I possibly live like this?  It's so frustrating.  I can't use generalizations because I don't know how the majority of people are, but I imagine most people wake up with a sunny disposition and expect to have a good day, or something to look forward to.  When I wake up, the first thing I do is a mental checklist of how I'm feeling.  It's the first thing on my mind, unless I have a gal that I'm crushing on, then it's probably her.  Then I pray that "today is a good day."  Bad days are horrible, "good" days are spent wondering when the day is going to turn bad.  And that causes anxiety, and that causes the physical symptoms.  It's all intertwined and connected.  These are not exaggerations, or something that I'm saying to get sympathy or to have people look at me differently.  I have happy times, I have hobbies, I have passions, I have dreams, I have love for others.. but there are times that I've gone to bed wondering if I was going to wake up or not.  When I first noticed the physical symptoms in the spring of '06, I had almost stopped eating and became very skinny.  To the point where numerous members of my extended family at a wedding had commented on it.  Here's a picture from that time frame over 6 years ago, sickly skinny:

I recently read an article on Tumblr by a comedian named Rob Delaney, who wrote about his battle with depression.  As he says, the reason I post about my anxiety and depression issues is because it might help people.  It normalizes it and helps people realize that they're not alone.  Not that you want other people to experience the horrible things you experience, but you know that others have gotten through it.  A lot of my issue is that I'll put others happiness before my own.  In life.  At work.  Everywhere.  I'll suffer a little bit if it makes other people happy or makes them like me.  And that isn't healthy all the time.  Anyway, I was affected by his article, I'll post it for you to read:

On Depression & Getting Help

This was originally posted February 26, 2010.

I deal with suicidal, unipolar depression and I take medication daily to treat it. Over the past seven years, I’ve had two episodes that were severe and during which I thought almost exclusively of suicide. I did not eat much and lost weight during these episodes. I couldn’t sleep at all, didn’t even think about sex, and had constant diarrhea. The first thing I did each morning was vomit. My mind played one thought over and over, which was “Kill yourself.” It was also accompanied by a constant, thrumming pain that I felt through my whole body. I describe the physical symptoms because it helps to understand that real depression isn’t just a “mood.” These two episodes were the most difficult experiences of my life, by a wide margin, and I did not know if I would make it through them. To illustrate how horrible it was, being in jail in a wheelchair with four broken limbs after the car accident that prompted me to get sober eight years ago was much, much easier and less painful. That isn’t an exxageration and I hope it helps people understand clinical depression better; I’m saying that I would rather be in jail in a wheelchair with a body that doesn’t work than experience a severe episode of depression.

To clarify the timeline, I got sober eight years ago and my first episode of depression was seven years ago. I had been in talk-therapy with a psychologist for months and was getting used to life without booze. It’s my understanding that it’s not terribly rare for someone in early sobriety to get depressed. I started to exhibit the symptoms I described above and had no idea what was happening. My psychologist urged me to see a psychiatrist, as did my family, among whom alcoholism and depression are old pals, so to speak. Everyone wanted me to go on medication, except me. I felt that it would be “weak” to do so and that I could soldier through and get a handle on it. But everything got worse and it was terrifying. Most of my thoughts were telling me to kill myself and I began fantasizing constantly about suicide. The images of my head being blown apart by a shotgun blast or me swimming out into the ocean until I got tired and drowned played over and over in my head. My whole body hurt, all the time.

Fortunately, a tiny part of me recognized my thought process as “crazy.” I knew that if anyone other than me was describing these symptoms I would lovingly handcuff them and take them to the hospital and help the shit out of them, whether they liked it or not. So I tried very hard to step out of myself and look at the situation with a modicum of objectivity and “imagine” that I was someone who deserved help.

Quite literally I thought, “I don’t think anyone else would shoot me with a shotgun, so maybe, temporarily, I’ll postpone that and try this Lexapro that everyone who knows me is recommending.”
It worked. It wasn’t magical, but it addressed some chemical issues in my brain that allowed me, gradually, to feel better and actually experience my life. I ate again, slept again, got boners when I encountered attractive women, and made normal number twos when I went to the bathroom. I didn’t and don’t feel euphoric all the time or anything. I still get angry, sad, and afraid sometimes. But I also get happy, excited, and horny too. I experience the full range of human emotions, rather than just one horrible one.

Just under eighteen months ago, after a couple of years of both my marriage and my decision to pursue comedy full-time, I experimented with a lower dose of medication and had another episode. It was as bad or worse than the first one, but thankfully I had some idea of how to deal with it. This episode drove home the knowledge that, like alchoholism, depression demands respect and attention. Whether it’s a “good” thing or a “bad” thing, I cannot pretend to know, but it exists and it can kill you dead.

My psychiatrist adjusted my dose and I got feeling better over time. If you know me personally, all this information may surprise you, as I think I generally have a pretty sunny demeanor. For most of my life, I’ve been a happy, optimistic guy. But for whatever reason, I’ve had depression of a serious, life-threatening nature rear its head a couple of times.

The sole reason I’ve written this is so that someone who is depressed or knows someone who is depressed might see it. While great strides have been made in mental health over the years, certain stigmas still exist. I strongly resisted medication at first. But after having been through depression and having had the wonderful good fortune to help a couple of people who’ve been through it, I will say that as hard as it is, IT CAN BE SURVIVED. And after the stabilization process, which can be and often is fucking terrifying, a HAPPY PRODUCTIVE LIFE is possible and statistically likely. Get help. Don’t think. Get help.


I found a couple pictures of my family that I'd like to share.  They are on Facebook as well, so some of you may have seen them.  But I like to share them because they're the most important people in my life, and I look pretty cute in some of them:

My brother Bryan, me, my sister Nikki, my mom and dad in Duluth. My brother Steve wasn't along on this vacation. He'll be in the next picture.
My brother Steve, Bryan, me and Dad before golfing.
My niece Aubrey and I.  Ignore the hat hair, focus on her blue eyes and matching hat.  One morning she woke me up to say "I like Bon Jovi.  I hate Justin Bieber."  So you know she's a cool cat.

Sometimes I wish I could be an asshole so I could date cool, attractive chicks.  It gets old seeing girls with guys you know are horrible for them, and you wonder why they're together.  Recently someone told me about a couple he knows, where the guy gets abusive when he drinks.  He once pushed her across the yard at a bonfire they were at.  At that point, the girl should say "it's me or the alcohol".  If that's how you act when you drink, don't drink.  If people started telling me that I was an idiot when I drank, or I was abusive or mean-spirited, I'd stop drinking.  It's not that important to me.  Alcohol makes me a few things: happy, more outgoing, and more sexual.  You know, normal things.  I have never been mean or abusive to anyone, except people that were messing with people I cared about.  Then I turn into a different person.  But I'd do that sober.  I remember a specific event as a kid that relates to this in a way.  My sister and I had the typical brother-sister relationship while growing up.  We'd fight over everything.  She and I were downstairs at my parents, arguing about something.  She turned around to walk away, and I hit her as hard as I could with a balled up fist in her back.  It made a loud, hollow sound and she lost her breath.  I'll never forget what she said to me: "you're going to grow up to beat your wife."  That hit me harder than I hit her.  I went to my room, laid down and thought about that.  I vowed to never hit her again, and of course, no other girl.  Heck, I'm to the point where I don't even flirt with girls or hit on them because I'm scared I'll offend them.  I'll only flirt if I'm fairly confident they're into me as well, and even then, I tread lightly.  I can't imagine hurting someone that I "love" and being okay with it, acting like it never happened.
I think it's important to surround yourself with people who better your life.  Make you happy.  Make you think.  I think one of the worst mistakes you can make is pushing away someone who has your best interest at heart and is genuine.  Those people are so, so, so hard to find.  Maybe it's because I've been misled and wronged by people I've never expected it from.  People who have called themselves my close friends and claimed to care about my feelings.  Nothing hurts worse than realizing someone you trusted was dishonest with you.  So the people who you can completely trust, they need to be held on to.  It's cliche' but life is too short to spend it unhappy or trying to change someone into a better person.  Find a person who's good already and enjoy the hell out of them, in friendships or romantic relationships.  It's hard for me to understand how some people migrate to those who are clearly bad for them.  Everyone says they value trust in relationships, but then so many people spend time with people they can't trust.  Either they've been hurt so many times that they just think that's how it should go, or they brush it off as a "one time thing".  At this point in our lives, we are who we are, a person just doesn't suddenly change into a prince or princess.  I'm as guilty as everyone else.  I've spent time with people who I knew were bad for me and would likely hurt me, friends told me they were bad for me, so I know it's hard.  Some people are too quick to trust others.  In my case, it takes me a long time to trust someone, but when I do, I fully trust them.  I open up to them and tell them things I usually keep secrets.  If I've done that with you, I've thought you were special.  I don't put many people in that category.  Family, roommate, and a handful of others.  And if you betray that trust, you will have a very, very hard time gaining it back.  I've never been in love (as you know), so the worst pain I have felt to date is being betrayed by "friends".  Sure, I've liked girls, and had most of those "relationships" end quickly and poorly for whatever reasons, and that sucks, because I always throw everything into it and try too quickly to "fall in love" to see what that's like.  I've heard good things.  But one thing that I pride myself on is being a great friend, someone that people can come to for anything without worrying about being judged, or me betraying them.  I don't care what has gone on in anyone's past, if you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you. If I eventually decide that you have good character, I'll help you every chance I can.  I have friends who used to have eating disorders, they've been clinically depressed, they've had terrible breakups, drug or alcohol addictions, divorced parents, abusive boyfriends, cheating girlfriends... I can't relate to any of these things, minus the depression.  But I love helping people and making them see what they're worth, so I let them know that my door is always open.  Your past doesn't define you, and mine doesn't define me.  I used to be an acne-covered geek who wore sweatpants to school and yelled at my sister for drinking in high school.  Now, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone cooler than me, even if I don't believe that.  My parents are still together, I've never experienced love, I've never touched a drug.. but I have a way of putting myself in other people's shoes and empathizing.  If someone I care about is hurting, I hurt, and I think about things to say to them to make it better.  It's always important for me to let people know how I feel, and sometimes that gets me in trouble, because maybe it's too strong or too fast.  But I never want to be in a situation where I have to wonder if people knew how much I cared for them.  I love hearing people say they care for me and listening to me if I need to vent, so I try to be that person for the people I care about.  I like to give them all of the information up front, and they can do what they want with it.  Be with me or turn your back on me.  But if you turn your back, keep walking, and good luck finding someone as genuine as I am.  You will regret it..
I've seen this couple walking and holding hands many days on my way to work, and it always makes me smile.  I want that. 

If you want to get inside the head of someone, read the lyrics of songs that they like.  Mine paint me as a (surprise) hopeless romantic.  A few songs that I've been digging lately:
Erick Baker "Unbroken Promise"
Baby take off your coat
And I’ll loosen my tie
You are far too beautiful
For us to turn off the lights
Your December skin
And a trail of our clothes
You can keep your socks on
If your feet are cold
Your red wind tongue
My sudden loss of breath
You like the sound of my heartbeat
When you lay your head on my chest
But I don’t want to have to ask permission
Give me a chance
It won’t be perfect, just an unbroken promise from
An imperfect man
Erick Baker "Stay Awhile"
I won't be afraid of growing old
If I have you hand to hold
I'm looking for eternity
Will you find it with me
Please stay awhile
Show me how to smile
Please stay awhile
I am not a great man
But I'll give you all I can
I'll be the lashes on your eyes
Catch every tear that you cry
Let's fill this room with empty coffee cups so we don't ever have to go to sleep
Because if I close my eyes I fear tomorrow won't let this day repeat
My life's been filled with turned out lights and haunted by the hurt of closing doors
Let's turn the locks and lose the keys because I don't want them open anymore
I see you in an antique wedding gown and me slowly walking down the aisle
And won't you be the mother of my child
I can see you every time she smiles
I love your smile
So please, stay awhile
Please stay, awhile
Ron Pope "In My Bones"
I thought I saw an angel
Calling me across the yard
She said ‘baby, it’s been real
Now I’m gone’
I should’ve known much better
You can’t tame something that wild
When I asked her if she loved me
She just smiled

But it’s my fault
I don’t care
I can’t hate you if you’re not here
Once you go, never ever turn around
I have sacrificed and I burned
Oh, you gotta live before you learn
And I wanted the truth but sometimes the truth hurts

And my angel with her dirty wings
She used to make me smile
She kept all of her secrets locked inside
In a place I could not reach her
Though I tried with all my might
When I begged for something real she said ‘goodbye’

And it’s my fault
I don’t care
I can’t hate you if you’re not here
Once you go, never ever turn around
I have sacrificed and I burned
Oh, you gotta live before you learn
And I wanted the truth but sometimes the truth hurts

And I am sure it’ll be just fine
If I remember, she wasn’t ever mine
And I am sure it’ll be just fine
If I remember, she wasn’t ever mine

And the truth about the two of us
Is we don’t make no sense
When we made love, our love was just pretend
And now I’m trying to forget her
But I feel her in my bones
And I wonder if she thinks of me at all

But it’s my fault
I don’t care
I can’t hate you if you’re not here
Once you go, never ever turn around
I have sacrificed and I burned
Oh, you gotta live before you learn
And I wanted the truth but sometimes the truth hurts..
Spent last night at the gym and in the sauna.  Per usual, Cosmo was along for the ride.  "25 Sex Moves He Wishes You'd Do".  A few of my favorites (Nik, you can stop reading).  I'll put some of my own comments in (parentheses):
-Push me against the wall, then make me watch while you strip.  Once you're naked, start kissing me all over.  It's a hot build up.. 
-Midsex, while you're on top, make your way up to my head and kneel over my face so I can perform oral while you hold onto the bed frame. (note to self: buy bed frame).

-Dare me to get you wet in less than a minute.  Only dirty talk, no touching allowed.  When the time is up, grab my hand and put it between your legs so I can see if I "won". (If your hand is between her legs, you've at least made it to extra innings).

-When I'm giving you oral, put one hand on the back of my head and press me closer to you, and at the same time, push up with your hips.  It lets me know you're into what I'm doing.

-While we're having sex, look down and tell me how much you love seeing me inside you.  It's hot to know you like the visual too.

-During doggie-style, playfully turn around and say something like "Is that as hard as you can go?" Game on. (Wow).

-Lift your skirt, pull your panties to the side and bend over. (This one wins.  It wins everything).