Shaved Cat

Via The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Rare

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This is a photo from August 2009 of my former cat, Kihei. He was a Maine Coon mix with very long hair that would often get matted. He did not like it when that happened, and at one point it became impossible to brush out, and the vet recommended getting him shaved. At first it was a shock to him (and to me!), but soon he grew to like it, and it also helped him beat the August heat.

The Delusion of Luxury

Via Daily Prompt: Luxury

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I remember the first Olympics that I watched as a child. It was 1972. I was ten years old. We had an eighteen-inch black and white Zenith television. We had to adjust the rabbit ears each time we changed the channel, or when someone walked into the room. No remote control, of course. No DVR. No VCR. No streaming. After we turned it on, it took about a minute to warm up.

The Olympics were televised on a single channel, ABC, which was channel 6 in my home town of Philadelphia. It seemed that the entire two weeks was narrated by Jim McKay and Chris Schenkel, who, by the end of the broadcast, seemed like old friends.

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It’s now forty-four years later, 2016. I have a 56” high definition flat screen TV. A perfect picture with no adjustments needed. I have two DVRs, so I can record every minute of the Olympics and watch my favorite events. It’s televised on so many channels, I can’t even keep track: NBC, NBC Sports Network, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, and the Golf Channel. Apparently, there are eleven channels in all. Wow! This is luxury!

I sat down on the couch and brought up the cable guide, so I could decide what to record on the DVR, and it was overwhelming. There are approximately 356 hours of TV coverage per day, for 19 days, which, according to NBC, adds up to 6,755 hours of programming. Programming the DVR for the Olympics is not fun or relaxing. It’s even stressful! I sat for thirty minutes and programmed what I wanted to watch the first day, and I was exhausted.

I remember when I watched the Olympics in 1972, it was fun and relaxing. I would turn on the TV, which was set to channel 6 for two plus weeks, and the Olympics were always on. I remember looking forward to the next day to turn on the TV and watch more Olympics.

My whole family watched it with me. I remember sitting intently, watching and enjoying the events. Sure it was on a small black and white standard definition television that needed to be fine tuned, and occasionally had to have the vertical hold adjusted, but that was all we knew, and it didn’t matter. We thought it was awesome that the Olympics were happening in Munich, and through the magic of satellites, we were able to watch it in our living room. Awesome!

I remember the details of the events. I remember watching Mark Spitz swim freestyle, butterfly, and relay and win seven gold medals. I remember watching Olga Korbut win three gold medals in gymnastics. I remember watching the US men’s basketball team get robbed of the gold medal when the officials allowed the final three seconds of the game to be replayed–twice–until the Soviet team finally scored a basket and won the game by one point. And I remember the horror of the massacre of the Israeli athletes–the Munich Massacre.

Back to 2016. It’s now Monday, the third full day of Olympic events. I started by turning on the TV, to see what was on live. First I checked NBC. Men’s synchronized diving. Then I searched the guide and saw that the NBC Sports Channel was showing men’s weightlifting. I watched that for a few minutes. It was fine, but I had to check to see if there was something better. Because I can. I looked through what I had recorded and found women’s team volleyball. I enjoy watching that. A match can go on for hours and I find it relaxing to watch. I have fond memories of watching volleyball matches from past Olympics. So put down the remote and started watching. On the 56 inch high def flat screen TV. Luxury, right?

But, it’s not 1972 anymore. I couldn’t just watch the match. Not with my smart phone in my left hand, and my computer in front of me. Not with unread Facebook posts, text messages, emails, and blog posts. And I suddenly felt inspired to write this blog post to complain about it.

Now it’s two hours later. I’m caught up on Facebook. I’ve read all my emails. No outstanding texts. And this post is almost finished. And the volleyball match on my luxurious TV is over. I don’t know who won. I don’t even know who was playing.

I Just Need Someone To Love

I’m trying something new for my dating site blurb. Instead of saying that I like to eat vegetarian food and sushi, and that I enjoy yoga, hiking, long walks, and board games, I thought I’d try something different. So here it is. I’ll probably change it back tomorrow.

I get by with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends [1]

While this is true, and I am extremely grateful for my friends, I want something more.

I want somebody to love
I just need someone to love [1]

I see a lot of profiles that say something like this:

I am happy with my life, and I don’t need a romantic relationship. But, it would be a nice addition.

They say that a romantic relationship would be “dessert” or “icing on the cake” or “the cherry on top”. I don’t feel that way. For me, a romantic relationship, or what I’d prefer to call a primary relationship, is not dessert; it’s the main course. I want a partner who also wants a main course, who won’t think of me as dessert. I want to be the priority in her life, as she will be in mine. Friends, relatives, kids, they all have (or will have) their own families to keep them busy, who are their priorities. My partner is the person who will stand by my side through the remainder of my life, the person who will be there for me whenever I need her, the person who will always be available when I need to talk, the person who will pick me up if I fall. She will be my soft place to land. And I will be all these things for her.

Even though it’s likely been torn out and trampled on many times, as has mine, the partner I am looking for will be brave enough to wear her heart out on her sleeve, as I will with mine. She knows that it’s a big risk, but the potential payoff is what will make life worthwhile.

When we find each other, we will both want to say this:

You’re just too good to be true
I can’t take my eyes off you
You’d be like heaven to touch
I wanna hold you so much
At long last love has arrived
And I thank God I’m alive
You’re just too good to be true
Can’t take my eyes off you [2]


[1] Lyrics by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
[2] Lyrics by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

6009 Views

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My Match profile hit a milestone today. Six thousand women have viewed me. To be precise, six thousand and nine. Hitting the milestone made me decide to look at the profiles of the women who have viewed me most recently, pushing me past this milestone.

In one profile, S describes what she’s looking for with the following:
“I’d like a LTR with a kind considerate affectionate communicative gentleman.”
I find this interesting. I think everyone is looking for something like that. Of course, S and I are not a match. This made me wonder why we are all looking for the same thing, but none of us are compatible with one another.

I had blocked S’s profile earlier today, but I didn’t remember why. Since her profile is blocked from search, I was unable to go back and look at it. If I wanted to remember why I blocked her, I would have to page through all the profiles that I blocked, all 6,461 of them, find hers, and unblock it, so I could read it again. So of course, this is what I did. Luckily, they are sorted by profile name. Otherwise, it would have been a very difficult task. I found S’s name on the 55th page of my blocked profiles and promptly unblocked it.

OK, now I remember. She earns $150,000+ a year in her job as a lawyer. That’s the highest category, so it could be much more than $150,000. I am not in that category! She subscribes to two premium channels–both Showtime and HBO–and has a personal trainer. I remember how I felt when I first read her profile, because I began to feel that way again. I felt like she was above my paygrade. She would have a lifestyle and expectations that I would not be able to fulfill. I just wouldn’t be able to keep up with her financially. And I wouldn’t only have to keep up with her and pay my share of her lifestyle. I’d be expected to pay for it all. Because that’s the way it is.

Here is another one who made it easy for me to block her profile:
“If you are under 45, shorter than 5’11”, live farther than 50 miles away, and/or not in shape, I will NOT RESPOND and I WILL block you….no offense!”
No offense taken, and thanks for making my job easier.

The most recent woman who looked at my profile is D. She looked at my profile today, and she actually sent me a message. Her message was one of the best I’ve received. She mentioned things she liked in my profile, her words had a conversational tone to them, and she seemed very likable. But, she lives in San Diego, which is about ninety miles away from me, well beyond my range. In her own profile, she says she is looking for someone “within 0 miles of San Diego”. I’m not joking. I sent her a nice reply thanking her for the thoughtful message and wishing her luck in her search.

The next one who looked at me is C from Sherman Oaks. Sherman Oaks is in the San Fernando valley, about 70 miles from where I live. And her profile header says she’s looking for someone “within 30 miles of Sherman Oaks”. Another easy one to block.

Next was Ch from Berkeley. Berkeley is 422 miles away! And she’s “seeking men 60 – 80 within 50 miles of Berkeley”. This is discouraging.

When I was looking through my blocked profiles to find S the lawyer, I saw that there is a limit on how many profiles one can block from search on Match, and that limit is 10,000 removed profiles. Look for another blog post when I hit that auspicious milestone!

Epilog

If you are wanting to slap me hard for blocking S the lawyer, don’t despair. I reconsidered after re-reading her profile, and I sent her a message. Under what she is looking for, she included all income categories from $35,001-$50,000 all the way up to to highest $150,000+. So perhaps her expectations are not as bad as I feared.

How did all of you spend your 4th of July?

Lost In Translation

I just finished watching a movie called “Lost In Translation”. I had recorded it on April 13, 2015, during the time that I briefly had a subscription to HBO. I have a collection of movies recorded on my DVR. But, the hard drive is failing, and I can’t record new shows, so I will have to get it replaced with a new model.

Apparently, Cox has a fancy new model called the “Contour 2 Record 6”. It has snazzy new features such as “smart search”, which searches for shows that it knows I will like, and a voice remote that apparently I can have a conversation with. It will also stream recorded shows to my computer or tablet or phone, in case I want to watch a movie on a screen that is small, smaller, or smallest. I don’t have an Apple watch, but I’m guessing this DVR would let people watch a movie on a watch as well. Haha, watch a movie on a watch. Get it?

I spoke with a Cox rep yesterday, and he explained that they would have to send someone out to my home to install the new DVR, and normally there would be a $50 charge for that. But, since my hard drive is failing, they would waive the charge. And the monthly charge for the new DVR is the same as the one I have, so win/win. He asked me when would be a good time to schedule an appointment.

I asked him if I could transfer my recorded shows from my old DVR to the new one. He said no, but once I have the new DVR, my new recorded shows would be backed up in the cloud. So when the new DVR fails sometime in the future, I won’t lose my content when I upgrade to a yet newer DVR. I told him I’m not ready to upgrade just yet, because I have too many recorded shows that I have to watch. Here is a sample of what I have recorded.

HBO movies. This includes Lost In Translation, Identify Thief, Man Of Steel, Match Point, Argo (which I’ve seen but want to watch again), Jersey Boys, The Judge, and lots more.

HBO series. I have all six episodes of season three of The Newsroom. That’s the reason I subscribed to HBO. Of course I watched them all the day they aired, but I keep them in case I want to watch them again. I also have 31 episodes of Bill Maher. And 45 episodes of John Oliver.

I also have all twenty episodes of season one and season two of Better Call Saul, some episodes of the new Cosmos (which I still have not watched), all six episodes of the new season of the X files–another one that I watched the day they aired but am keeping in case I want to watch them again. And the big prize goes to The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. When he announced he was leaving, I started recording all the episodes. He’s been off the air for almost a year, and it’s nice to be able to go back and watch episodes that are new, to me. I still have 159 episodes of The Daily Show that I haven’t watched.

So, as you see, I can’t return the DVR, because I have a lot of watching to do! I don’t know how I’ll be able to watch all that content. I also have 500 movies on my Netflix DVD queue. I think I’ll have to take some days off of work. 😉

Which brings me back to Lost in Translation. I had never watched it, but I heard good things about it. And, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’ve had it recorded since April 2015, which, by the way, means that there was a good chance it was recorded before the hard drive started to fail, and it would be technically possible for me to watch it. I started watching it yesterday afternoon, and I just finished it today.

Capsule review: Entertaining. Interesting view into Japanese culture. Bill Murray played this old dude who, while in Japan, struck up a friendship with a young chick played by Scarlett Johansson. I looked up Bill Murray on Wikipedia and found that he was 52 when the movie was filmed, back in 2003. I am 54 now. So, I’m an older dude. 😦

When the movie ended, I felt glad that I had finally watched it, and I thought I would probably give it a four star rating. I usually rate movies on Netflix, because based on ratings, they tell me what new movies I will like. So, I logged in to Netflix, went to the Lost In Translation page, and found that I had already watched the movie back in 2004 (February 24, 2004, to be exact), and I had given it a three star rating. No recollection of that at all! You know what that means? After I watch everything on my DVR, and all 500 movies on my Netflix queue, there will be a whole collection of movies I’ve already seen that I’ll have to watch again.

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A Few Minutes With Steven

 

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A good friend of mine told me tonight in yoga class that she was reading my blog and that my writing reminded her of Andy Rooney. I take that as a high compliment. I’ve always liked and enjoyed Andy Rooney, and his segment was always my favorite part of 60 Minutes.

To be compared with Andy Rooney is not without its drawbacks. Although Andy had a wonderful sense of humor, he did like to complain. In fact, I think if you look up the word “curmudgeon” in the dictionary, you might find Andy’s picture.

I try not to complain, and I would like to see the good in every situation. A few years ago, I read a book called “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff… and it’s all small stuff”. I really enjoyed that book, and I think it helped me improve my outlook on life. I rarely read the same book a second time, but this one is on my list to do just that. In fact, it’s the only book on that list.

Although I’ve been trying to live my life not sweating the small stuff, there are some things that do get under my skin. Normally I try to keep them to myself, but in honor of Andy, I will share some of these things with my dear readers.

Number one is when people lie to me. This is my biggest peeve. Trust is very important to me in every relationship, and when someone breaches that trust, I never know when I can trust them again. People think I don’t know when they are lying to me. But most people are bad liars, and I think I know when they are lying most if not all of the time (though sometimes I don’t realize it until a bit later). Yes, reader, that means you!

Number two is when people hold others to an impossibly high standard, but don’t live up to that standard themselves–hypocrisy. We see so much of this in politics, and it really turns me off.

Another peeve of mine is something I see every day on dating site profiles. (I’ll bet you were wondering when I was going to mention dating sites! Can’t seem to keep that topic out of my blog posts.) Many women will describe their occupation as “Self-employed”. Why why why? I want to know what someone does because I want to know what interests her, what gets her creative juices flowing, what she studied in school. Self-employed can stand for almost any profession: lawyer, dentist, writer, psychotherapist, artist, masseuse, mobile notary, shop owner. And if it’s shop owner, what kind of shop is it? Restaurant? Gift shop? Adult toys? Why do so many of them just say “Self-employed”? How does that tell me what’s important to her? Why does someone who has her own business think that’s all she needs to say? You don’t see people who work for someone else describing their occupation as “Employee”, do you?

I thought I saw everything, but today a new eHarmony profile showed up in my mailbox. And guess what she put down as her profession! “No way,” I can hear you saying as I write this. And my answer is, “Way!”. Yes, she said her profession was “Employee”.

I don’t like it when a Netflix series comes out with a new season once a year, and has only ten or thirteen episodes. I wait a whole year for season two of Grace and Frankie or Better Call Saul, and then a week later, I’ve watched them all and I have a wait another whole year for season three. I know what you’re thinking: first world problem.

All of these things are really minor annoyances. Small stuff. I do my best not to let these kinds of things get me down, and I think overall I’m content with my life. And I believe so was Andy.

Scary Cabaret

I was ten years old when my parents took me to see Cabaret. It was at a movie theater that we had not been to before, the Hiway Theater, in Jenkintown, PA. I remember it being a long drive from our house.

I remember the movie, and I remember being scared when I saw the swastikas and the Nazis. When the movie was over, I was afraid to go out of the movie theater, because I thought the Nazis were going to get me.

When we exited the theater, it was pouring rain with lightning and thunder. As we were hastily rushing back to the car, lightning struck the ground, with an extremely loud CLAP, just a few inches from where I was standing. That was the scariest moment in my young life. If I had been a few inches in front of where I was standing, I would have literally been toast. Well, not literally. Literally, I would have been charred flesh. But it sounds better than saying I would have metaphorically been toast.

It was a long ride home in the rain. I remember walking into our nice warm house and feeling safe. Actually, it wasn’t a house. It was the second story of a duplex. But, it felt like a house to me.

That was a traumatic evening, and I still have a queasy feeling when I even see the name of the movie. I’ve never rewatched it. Some friends were listing their favorite musicals today on a Facebook post, and Cabaret came up a few times. And it brought back this memory.

As with traumatic events, I remember details of that night after we got home. We watched a baseball game on TV. Steve Carlton was pitching for the Phillies, and he won his 15th consecutive game, which was also his 20th win of the season. He went on to win 27 games that year, and the Cy Young Award, in a year when the Phillies as a team had a record of 59-97 in a strike-shortened season. This is a digression from my story, but an extraordinary feat that deserves to be remembered.

After the baseball game was over, we watched an old black and white movie called “The Bad Seed”, which was on the late late show. In the movie, an eight-year-old girl named Rhoda, played by Patty McCormack, murdered one of her classmates by kicking him in the head with the metal taps on her tap dancing shoes, and then drowning him. She did this because he won a medal for penmanship that she believed she deserved. Near the end of the movie, Rhoda’s mother threw the medal in the lake. Rhoda went to the lake to retrieve the medal, and she was struck by lightning and killed.

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I remember that night like it was yesterday. But I don’t remember what I had for breakfast today. Actually, I do remember what I had for breakfast today. I had a protein shake. Hey, breakfast was only a few hours ago, people!