Tuesday, December 31, 2013

T'was The Evening Before New Years

(A poem by Jaclyn )

T'was the evening before New Years, and all through the land
The people were deciding, what would be their plan.
To ring in the first day of one year and of the other, the last
How to open their hearts to tomorrow and how to close doors on their past.

Some people have decided, to just stay at home.
Maybe to hang out with their family, or just be alone.
Others have great plans for parties big and beautiful.
Still others will be making lists of their resolutions, funny and useful.  

There will be those celebrating for all which they are grateful.
While some will be full of resentment, their hearts jealous and hateful.
Most people will resolve that this year they will do better,
Though not everyone will follow through that promise to the letter.

Some people will languish on their deathbeds, ill and diseased,
Some people will carry on unmindful that their lives are full of ease.
Wounded souls will be nursing themselves, broken hearted,
Loved ones who are far away will be mournful that they’re parted.

Tears will be shed for the dearly beloved laid to rest,
Hope will triumph as brand new life is birthed replacing death.
First eager steps will be taken, towards a future fresh and bright,
And final grim steps draw forward to pinch out fated light.

As the green orb completes a revolution of the glowing sun
Another year takes inventory of painful and wondrous deeds done.
The twist of time, a plodding slur of flurried speed
It waits for no man so they say, and this I do believe.

Soon then the shadowy carousel, ticks by the fateful hand
The bells peel the melody of midnight across the darkened land
Sparks fly. Colors flash. Lights twinkle and then fade to black.
Our minds look to the future, with just one more glance back.

May our generous ideas be hastened and evil designed be foiled
Let our compassion run swift and our anger cease to boil.
Can our hearts swell with a symphony of earnest brotherly love,
Thinking of not only self-improvement but lifting those below you, above.

May you conquer every obstacle and with every challenge succeed.
Question questionable authority, yet accept acceptance that you need.
Lastly don’t be too hard on yourself or others, or give up without a fight.
Be the champion of honor and always do what’s right.

But try to enjoy yourself and cherish that the morning will dawn warm light
So Happy New Years to all, and to all a safe night!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Raising Boys and the Men They Become

Life: Live Every Day With Honor (and fun!)

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations http://amzn.to/18Phfvv

An excellent way to live life.   

Religion is optional. Honor is mandatory.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Relationships: How Well Do I Know Thee? Let Me Count The Ways...

When it comes to getting to know someone, time is your friend.

And as tempting as it might be to rush things while the glow of "we just met" is floating you a foot off the ground, don't. That glow will eventually fade. The beer goggles will come off. And unless you like terrible surprises, you should probably make sure you really know what you're getting yourself into.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Opinion: Making Thanksgiving For Everyone

Thanksgiving is considered an American holiday. And many would argue it's one tainted by a less than honorable past. In light of how "breaking bread" with the local indigenous people who essentially helped the first Pilgrims survive the harsh winter in a new land, and they later turned around and nearly drove them to extinction (along with the herds of buffalo), it's easy to see how some people fail to find a reason to celebrate the national holiday.

BUT, I honestly think that we can salvage the holiday and even make it go international.

Of course, we will need to separate it from it's checkered past and scrape away the fluff and commercialization that often gets attached to any reason for retailers to make a buck.

If you get to the root of the holiday, and really think about the name, what you get is something the entire planet can agree on. We all have reasons for "thanks giving". That is, reasons to be grateful for what we have, who we are and for being alive. And that's not just limited to America.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dating: Clever Profile: Zombie Dating Method

Everyone loves to laugh. And smile. Just read the first few lines of roughly 85% of the on-line dating profiles out there and they will tell you so themselves.

But it takes a little more ingenuity (and finesse) to have the kind of humor that gets the people who are reading your profile laughing. That's when you know you have a real comedian on your hands.

While there is nothing wrong with writing a standard profile, some people find they get more attention (or attention from different viewers) with a different tactic. If you're witty, timely, clever and honestly amusing, you can never go wrong with humor.* (only try this route if what you are writing won't come across as crazy or plain dumb.)

As someone who helps people write their on-line profiles, and as someone who has browsed hundreds of profiles over the years looking for an actual relationship, every now and then a really entertaining profile jumps out at me. One where the author of the profile has a funny style... and I mean that in the best possible way.

Just a few days ago, I stumbled across this profile and found it entirely engaging and wonderfully creative.  I messaged the guy and asked if he minded if I posted his profile on my blog and he agreed. So for your viewing pleasure, have a look-see:

(Click on the picture to enlarge it.)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dating: Scary People: Beware the Online Creep!

I don’t normally do this. I don’t usually share private content of letters of people who write to me, or reveal who I’m talking about when I describe a dating situation I’ve had in the past.

But I think this joker needs to have the cat let out of the bag about him. Because clearly he’s not the kind of person who knows a) how to respect a woman b) understands that “no” means “no” or c) recognizes that when you are rejected, you don’t persist (especially in a creepy and gross way.)
I am not including the first two exchanges, mostly to protect this guy’s privacy to some extent, because he included his full name in the message; and partly because I already deleted it.  But it went basically like this:

Message from SharingWithU: Hi, my name is……. But you can call me what all the other ladies call me Mr. Creepo. =)

Message from Me: Ummm, is that a joke? Or does that line actually work with women?

The rest of the message is below:                                                           


I think the timing of this coming on Halloween is pretty weird. Turns out there are more things to be scared of at Halloween besides teenagers in masks.

I guess I don’t need to tell this guy he’s a creep, he introduced himself that way.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dating: Crazy, Funny, Cool: What's Really Weird or Normal Anyway?

We all love to laugh. We're born seeking enjoyment from life and wanting to share it with those around us.

Certain kinds of humor seem to be nearly universal. And certain people are really good at making people laugh. Some people have made entire careers from it.

But not everyone likes the same kind of funny. We even have labels to help distinguish between the kinds of funny. There is goofy, silly, nerdy, dorky, campy, slapstick, screwball and just plain weird, to name a few.

But how do you find someone who shares your humor? And how do you show your sense of humor without coming on too strong or scaring away someone who appreciates a different kind of humor than you?

There are a few simple ways with on-line dating to show your inner comedian without blowing your chance with someone.   

Monday, September 30, 2013

To Ink Or Not To Ink. That is the Question.

Gone are the days when tattoos were the trademark of rough gang members, criminals and social deviants. Gone also are the days of their one honorable tribute exiting on the living canvas of sailors and servicemen. No longer can they be considered a sign of involvement with a specific culture or organization.

Over the last few decades a steady increase in ink has been showing up on the skin of popular sports figures, celebrities and even professionals. It seems every year the nature and location of the tattoos become more daring and prominent as well.  

The average citizen has taken note. You can scarcely go anywhere anymore without seeing a tattoo not just peaking out from under the sleeves of people, but front and center on their chests, necks, hands and faces. Ranging from the to the curiously clever to the seriously bazaar, tattoos have become more detailed and impressively realistic. 

Whether as a way to express their personality, pay homage to a loved one or event, tattoos are showing up on all adult age groups, races and genders. Once considered a bad idea committed in the recklessness of ones youth, tattoos are now making their appearance as accessories to be acquired at any point in your life.

Soon it may be the only people who's tattoos won't be obviously displayed, are military personal.
New Army Regulations on Tattoos are being passed down that could restrict the location and content of permanent skin art. While some think it's a push to impose personal preferences on a new generation of military, others counteract that in keeping with a tradition of professionalism, tattoos should be limited to areas that can be covered by normal clothing.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dating: Writing That First Email Message

There are about a dozen ways to screw up your first contact message to someone on an online dating site. Since you only get one first impression, you definitely want to make it a good one.

The Rule of Five are a good way to get your message responded to, instead of deleted. 

More to follow....

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I'm the Poster Child for Speed Dating

After just over six years of online dating, I now pretty confidently advertise myself as an expert on creating online dating profiles. 

You can learn a lot in six years and being the kind of person who likes to share, I've started helping other people do what I got really good at.

In addition to the free dating advice I give here on my blog, for a small donation I offer 30 minute phone consultations where I ask questions, give suggestions and help people create (or redo) their online dating profile content.

Here are a few of the comments I've gotten from people I've talked with or given written suggestions to:

"Thank you for the good advice :)" - Mike, 32

"Well I def use your help on here cuz I wuz really thinking about deleting my profile." Deuce, 30

"Thanks for the advice! I'll get working on it. I will take you up on the pictures too. My self-portraits are good for nothing!!" - Tom M., 31

"Thank you so much for your input :) I would like to get some new pics." -Dave, 38

"I will take the time to really read what you have to say and take action. Thanks again I appreciate the help!" -B, 29

"Well thank you very much for taking time to actually read through my profile and give a very detailed answer! It is greatly appreciated. (I) will surely take your suggestions and put them to use!"
-Chuck, 36

The people I've helped in the online dating community are not the only ones who apparently think I create good dating profiles. Speeddate.com evidently agrees. In fact, they're using the profile I created back in 2010 to advertise their dating site!

Click here to see the ad for yourself! 

While I never really did much with the speed dating account, they're not far from the truth with the idea of "speed dating".  That is, quickly narrowing down who you're interested in and who just isn't a good match. No one wants to waste a full day (or even a few hours) with someone they have no chemistry with, nothing in common with or worse, with someone who they feel lied about who they really are or what their intentions are.

I always suggest people screen the person they're talking to online. And that is why I consider meeting someone for the first time off a dating site, NOT a "date" but in fact a "meet"; why I believe there is a difference between "hanging out" and "dating", and that you should talk on the phone before you meet someone. In addition, I strongly suggest a few basic rules for meeting people online.

"Meets" should be at the kind of location that allows them to be short, casual and in very public places. Not only does this prevent things from getting too awkward if the two of you decide quickly that you're not interested in each other, but it allows plenty of time for you both to meet more than one person in the same day.

Let's be practical people, if you're a working person, with hobbies (and a family!) you're going to need to make finding the love of your life somewhat efficient. 

It's a bit like folding laundry while you watch a movie or cooking dinner while you watch the news. It's just practical to multi-task, stream line your day and take advantage of what little free time you have.

But don't take my advice...wait, DO take my advice. After all, I'm an expert. Just ask Speeddate.com! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Dating: Safety First! How to Scam-Proof Yourself

With on-line and international dating becoming a fairly common practice, and most people having their private information easily accessible on online social networks, it is becoming easier to be scammed. Aside from a few pictures, a self-description and a few written conversations, how much can you really trust someone you only know in the virtual world?

Because you don’t know who they are or what their real intentions might be, always make safe choices that protect yourself and prevent someone you don’t know from becoming your responsibility or a liability. 

Until you have met, gotten to know and developed trust over time with someone, they are a STRANGER. Always keep that in mind so that you don't give them more trust than they have earned.

NEVER: Agree to meet someone who won’t talk with you on the phone before you meet them. If they claim to not have a phone they can certainly borrow a friend or family members, or go buy a cheap one. If they claim to have lost or broken theirs, say you’ll wait for them to get a replacement and then have your conversation. Don’t accept collect calls. That’s a really tacky way to start off getting to know someone and should raise a bunch of red flags about their stability and tendency to be a leech.  

NEVER: Share personal information with someone you’re just meeting. Information like your driver’s license number, social security number, bank account information, life insurance information are none of their business. If they ask about those things, you should be suspicious! 

NEVER: Give in to their sob story and wire them money. There a lots of programs out there to help people who need financial help. You can point them in the direction of one of those websites and tell them you’ll offer them moral support. If they make no attempt to help themselves, they’re just looking to use you. You want to find someone who will become your partner, not your dependent right?  

NEVER: Let someone know exactly where you live until AFTER you have met them and have gotten to know and trust them. If it doesn’t work out with them, you don’t want them following you home anyway.

NEVER: Agree to pay for someone’s plane/bus/taxi fare if they are coming to meet you. They might take your money and you’ll never hear from them again.

NEVER: Agree to let someone pay to fly or taxi you out to meet them. You will be utterly at their mercy. You should never meet someone where you both know they have the upper hand.

NEVER: Agree to let someone stay at your house or plan to stay at their house. They could seriously injure, rape, rob or kill you.

NEVER: Agree to do sexual acts with each other. You don’t know if they are sane, safe or healthy.

NEVER: Agree to meet anyone for the first time if either of you have children with you. They are after all, still a stranger. Stranger danger…remember?

NEVER: Agree to meet anyone for the first time at a hotel, apartment, house or secluded location. They may be a sick, demented psycho path. 

NEVER: Let someone talk you into agreeing to do an activity you don’t feel is safe or that requires a trusting relationship. Sky diving, deep sea scuba diving, and private plane rides are excellent third or fourth date plans. THIS is just a first “meet”. Remember the distinction. 

There are many ways to do background searches on people to find out if they have a prior history of inappropriate behavior or criminal activity. You can often just run a Google search on their full name and find out at least if anyone online has posted a complaint about them.

The point of meeting someone online is to bring together like-minded, similar intentioned people for their mutual benefit. If at any point you ever feel like things are too strange, the person's story doesn't add up, or your gut/ intuition tells you things aren't right, bail! Get out of the situation, cut off contact and tell the person you're not interested in any further contact. If you don't think they will like being told you don't want to talk to them anymore, simply ignore all their calls and messages. They should eventually get the hint.

If you feel they aren't respecting your wish to stop communicating, many sites offer you the ability to "block" a specific person's messages, many phones allow you to "block" phone numbers. If it comes down to it, you can file a police report of harassment and /or stalking behavior. This will allow you to file a restraining order against the person and have on record that they have a history of bothering you.

If you're looking for a movie that covers one possible "worst case scenario" of "What could possibly go wrong?", Check out Birthday Girl.