Wordless Wednesday – Seoul, South Korea

Six years ago we were in Seoul, it’s a great city.

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Platonic Tater

I feel like this one is a companion to the first love one I posted recently. Lessons learned from a life in the friend zone.

In a recent post, I mentioned that most of my friends are women and that this has been the case for years. In a recent conversation with some of those friends, I mentioned that many people don’t believe that you can love a person of the opposite sex without being in love with them. These two things brought to mind the topic of today’s post. My long history of being in the friend zone and why that helps with my current relationships.

When I was in high school this was not a happy thing. No teenage boy wants to be the guy that girls want as just a friend. That was the story of my high school and early college life.  There were girls around me all the time, but they were all just friends. None of them had any romantic interest.  It sucked back then, but it did teach me how to have good, platonic friendships with women. I did not appreciate the lesson back then. No teen boy would. Of course, I was an awkward, plain-looking late bloomer, so the lack of romantic interest is not a shocker.

I think back to my work with a church youth group and think the lesson above helped me when teaching a Sunday school class of mostly middle school girls and also with the group as a whole.  I was able to work with them and relate to them because of all of the female friends I had in my teen years. It also helped that I was not the type of young, male adult that would inspire crushes. There was no fear that the work would get awkward because teen girls were in love with the awkward, plain-looking Sunday school teacher.

As mentioned before, I have a lot of female friends. Part of this is because I work in a field filled with women(not a literal field full of women) and part of this is because I am weird and not like a lot of men and have trouble with friendships with other men because of this. This is also helped by my early years. I learned how to be friends with and love women without falling in love with them. It also helps that the one weird woman who actually did fall in love with me knows that I love her and would never cheat on her. It also helps that no husband is going to think “I fear that my wife will fall in love with that weird, socially awkward, short, fat balding guy”

Anyway, the point of this rambling is that it is possible to have friends of the opposite sex. It is possible to love them without being in love with them and the earlier you learn how to do this the easier it is.

Humor at the Worst of Times

I wrote in the middle of the lockdown about how there is a time to laugh, even in bad times.

This is the four year anniversary of the death of my mom. TimeHop and Facebook memories are reminding me every day of her death and my travel home for her funeral. They are tough memories, especially at a time when I am already struggling. Today’s memory, though, reminded me that you can find humor even at the worst of times. The below photo and caption is something I posted while at the funeral home when I saw my niece’s kid in this position. She was not as amused as I was.

There is a time to laugh. Sometimes even when it is time to cry as well.

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What’s Good in Tater Town 10/18/20

Another week of not so good. Lets see what good I can find.

  1. Another win for the Ravens.
  2. The Braves series started out good and I have one more day before I’m done with baseball for the year.
  3. Dinner with my son.
  4. Saw some friends via zoom in an online training.
  5. Amazing Race is back in TV.
  6. My daughter has made it through 2 months back to college without any illness.
  7. Kentucky beat Tennessee in Knoxville for the first time since 1984.

That’s all I can think of this week.

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Two Times I Used Vampire Stories to Teach Sunday School

I was just watching Vampires vs the Bronx on Netflix. It’s kind of Attack the Block with vampires. I enjoyed it and would recommend it. While watching, I was reminded of when I used to teach middle school Sunday school at my old church. I’m not sure I was that good at it. I think they let me do it because I was willing and they didn’t want to find someone else. Maybe if they had known I used vampires to teach a couple of lessons they would have changed their minds. Here are the lessons:

  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer used to teach free will – Spike was a vampire who was in love with Buffy. Buffy was not in love with him. He got someone to build him a Buffybot. The Buffybot was programmed to love Spike and do whatever it took to please him. Spike thought it was a good idea, but soon realized that a robot programmed to love him was not the same as someone loving him because they chose to do so. I used to story to talk about why God created us to have free will. He could have made us bots who were programmed to love Him and do the right thing, but it wouldn’t be the same as people who loved Him and did the right thing because we chose to.
  2. Anita Blake – There is a series of books with the main character Anita Blake. There are zombies, vampires, werepeople, etc. As with most vampire stories, the vampires can be repelled with a crucifix and other articles of faith. In one scene, someone tries to use a crucifix to repel a vampire and it doesn’t work. It only works if the person is a person of faith. I used this to teach about how church, Sunday school, works, etc will not mean anything if you lack faith in God.

So, there you have it. The times I used vampires to teach middle schoolers about God.

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My Week in Book, Movies, and TV 10/16/20

I went back to verify what I wrote about last week because I was sure I talked about the movie we watched this week. I was wrong. I’ve lost all track of time. Here’s my week:

Movies – I can remember one movie we apparently watched this week even though I was sure I wrote about it last week. It was Hubie Halloween with Adam Sandler on Netflix. I was surprised when my wife said she was OK with watching it. She’s not really a Sandler fan. Sandler’s character in this one is a lot like The Waterboy. There are a lot of connections to old Sandler movies. Julie Bowen is back and her character’s name has the same initials has the same initials as her character in Happy Gilmore. There is an O’Doyle kid who is a bully and yells O’Doyles rule. Kevin James, Colin Quinn, Steve Buscemi, and Rob Schneider are all back. Ben Stiller cameos as his Happy Gilmore character. The movie itself was dumb, but fun. If you like Sandler and his friends you will enjoy it.

TV – The NLCS started this week, so most night we have been watching the Braves beat the dodgers. Wednesday night when the Braves were already down 13-0 by the time I had the time to watch I watched TV shows instead. Since my wife was working late, I watched The Masked Singer and The Weakest Link. Some days it’s nice to have shows like this to watch. Entertaining, but not anything you need to really focus on too hard. I’m trying to find another show to watch alone that will hold my interest. I watched the first episode of Veronica Mars yesterday, but my enjoyment of it was marred by constant texts about work when I was supposed to be off work. Have I mentioned how much I hate my job?

Books – I read two books this week.

Watching You by Lisa Jewell – I read this one for my mystery book club at work. It tells the story of an undisclosed murder, alternating between characters advancing the story to the crime interspersed with interviews with suspects and witnesses about the crime. I was wrong in my assumption about who was murdered and why. It’s always nice when a mystery fools me. It was well written and I enjoyed the characters and the story.

From the Grave by David Housewright – The Rushmore McKenzie series is another of my favorites. McKenzie is a former cop who quit so he could collect a large reward for finding stolen money. Now wealthy, he works as an unofficial detective when friends need help. In this one, his friend Shelby is at a psychic medium’s show when she says the dead man she speaks to keeps saying McKenzie’s name. The man is someone McKenzie shot and killed when he was a cop. He had stolen over half a million dollars and was on the run, when it happened. His son was arrested and sent to prison. The money was never found. McKenzie begins the hunt for the money. I enjoyed it. I love all of the characters in the series. They are fun and light. This one had the possibility of ghosts and such. That was new. I recommend the entire series.

On Deck – Any movie will again be a luck of the draw type thing. We will have Braves baseball, Kentucky football and Ravens football to watch. We still have some Fargo episodes, Swamo Thing, Next, Transplant and Coroner recorded. There will be a new SNL, Fear the Walking Dead and Walking Dead: World Beyond. The Conners returns this week. It’s nice to have some real TV again. I am about to start reading Half Moon Bay by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman.

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In Which I Embarrass Myself By Writing About First Love

Even though I hate the concept of naming days(hump day, Black Friday, cyber Monday, etc) I sometimes do share old photos on throwback Thursday. So, today, it’s a throwback Thursday post. I wrote it a few years ago but it is about middle school and high school me and my first love and the fact that I never told them how I felt. Enjoy.

So, Day 19 wants me to write about my first love. I’d rather not, but as I’ve mentioned before, I am very good at following orders. Even orders from a random writing challenge. So, I will write about my first love. It’s embarrassing because some people reading this might know who this is. It might be even more embarrassing because this person might read this. It will also be embarrassing because it will be poorly written. Spoiler alert: This is the story of unrequited teen love. Grab your tissues before you read.

So, I first saw the first girl i ever loved when I was in 7th grade. We had gone to different elementary schools, so this was the first time we had met. I cant say for sure that it was love at first sight(I do have one of those stories as well) but looking back it does seem that way. We were in the same classes, so I had the opportunity to get to know her pretty well. I was a very quiet kid with self esteem issues, so there was no way I was going to tell a girl that I liked her. I didn’t want to deal with the inevitable rejection. so, we became friends and only friends.

We moved on to high school. Eighth grade, I can’t say my feelings changed, but that is where the above mentioned love at first sight story happened, so there was another sad story of my really liking a girl without her liking me It was an ongoing saga of my school days. Anyway, high school. In high school I still had self esteem issues. I was not a popular kid. I was not athletic, attractive, etc. so I again assumed no girl could possibly like me. I’m pretty sure that was a correct assumption. I did have some good friends, though, and she was one of them. So, even when I was tempted to ask her out, I didn’t because I’m still 99.9% sure she did not feel the same about me. I made the decision that the friendship was too important to screw up so I didn’t open up.  This actually continued on in to part of college until it changed from loving her to loving her as a friend.

It all worked out, though. We both found our true loves and married other people. I didn’t ruin a friendship  by revealing how I felt. As I type this I realize that this sound like a story in one of those sappy books for teens. Maybe that’s why I like them so much.  You can all make fun of my sad little love story now.

 

Exploring Career Options

All of these look more attractive every day. I’m still working on #6 being an option.

I am contemplating my next step in life and exploring career options. Below are some careers where I think I might at least get a call back for an interview. It’s still iffy as I don’t seem to have marketable skills.

  1. The guy who scoops up roadkill – Bonuses: Outside work, multiple interesting lunch options, always a need for the position.
  2. Shoveling elephant poop at the zoo – Circus is no longer an option as they have retired the elephants. Too bad. I always wanted to run away with the circus. I might have if it wasn’t for all the damn clowns.
  3. Flagger Force – Outside work, but too much responsibility. Daydream too much and you might cause an accident. I’m not ready for that level of accountability.
  4. Spinning ad signs on the side of the road – Too clumsy and no rhythm. I would fail at this job.
  5. Putting flyers on people’s doors – Great for me as long as I’m not expected to talk to people. I’m all done talking to people. Bonuses – outside work, good exercise.
  6. Kept man – I’ve succeeded in the part where I find a woman who makes good money. I have failed at the part where I convince her to pay for everything while I live a leisurely life.
  7. Telemarketer – I’ve done this before and I didn’t suck at it but see above about people.
  8. Professional cheetah walker – I have the experience, but unless the zoo needs one it would require relocation to another continent.
  9. Professional blogger – If you are reading this, you likely know why this is not an option.
  10. Clown – I’m creepy and people don’t like me, so I’m almost there. This might be the winner.

Some of My Favorite Authors

I recently tried the “ask me anything” thing again here and once again got only one question. It was about my favorite authors. So, here is a small list of some of my favorite authors. And yes, I realize they are mostly white men. I have diversified my reading, but the ones below remain my favorites.

Stephen King – I’ve been reading King since I was a kid. The librarians at the small library at home were disturbed by my reading choices and tried to get me to go back to the childrens section. King is one of two authors who’s books I still buy. To make Christmas easier for my family, I get any new Stephen King book as a gift. It means I have to wait to read them. but it is worth it.

Christopher Moore – A long time ago I read Practical Demonkeeping and then forgot it. I saw it while shelving at the library and started reading it again. I realized it sounded familiar and then figured out I had already read it. I then read Bloodsucking Fiends and was hooked. His books are funny and he does a ton of research to get things right. He’s also a very nice guy. You can read more about my stalking of Chris here.

Robert McCammon- My favorite book ever is Swan Song. It is very similar to King’s The Stand, but I think a lot better. I was very happy when it made it to the list of top 100 books recently. I also loved Gone South, Mine, Boy’s Life and The Border.

Lisa Scottoline – I like her books, but I think she makes the list more for being such a nice person. Her books are generally about an all-woman law firm in Philadelphia with some stand alones as well. I love all of the main characters from the firm and am happy when another adventure arrives. Here is my story of meeting her.

Andrew Smith – My favorite YA author. He writes a mix of realistic fiction like Winger and books about giant praying mantises like Grasshopper Jungle with a mix of humor and humanity.

John Sanford – He writes two of my favorite characters: Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers. Even when the story is not as good as I hope, I love the characters enough to speed through them.

Michael Connelly – Another of my favorite characters: Harry Bosch. I love that Connelly let Harry age to the point that he is now retired and works cold cases with a younger detective. The series has not lost any quality as he ages and new people are added.

I’m sure I could add more, but how many favorites can I realistically claim?

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