Friday, December 29, 2006

Technology Update

Maybe I am wrong, though I seldom am, but it appears to me that the current trend in technology is for someone to come out with two "boxes", one for home use, and one for portable use. I am not sure why this hasn't come to pass yet, but I would very much like for this to happen, even if it means a monopoly by some MicroMacVerizon or AppleSoftCingular conglomeration.

My home iBox would be my computer, music player, video recorder, television and photo editor all in one handsome package.

My iPort(able) would be my phone, music player, camera, GPS and "palm" style organizer.

The key to this "all in one" philosophy would be in service and support. In order for the iBoxes to really work, they would need some incredible tech support performing both house calls and places where you could drop in with your iPort for software updates and total replacement in the case of accidental jamming or jellying of the contraption. As much as we rely on these devices, one could not go without for very long while your iBox or iPort was "in the iShoppe".

I think there are some folks out there that have really come close to hitting this mark, armed with Treos and iMacs and such that really perform many duties. I don't know if it is a money thing or a coordination / initiative thing that lets these techno'nauts excel in this regard. Me? I come to technology in drips and drabs and as such, I have many boxes. I may have too many boxes. I may be the ugliest American in the world, complaining or commenting on how much duplicity I have in all the incredibly high tech devices I have in my Batman-esque utility belt. Now, based on previous posts, I am looking at the new video capable iPod with a covetous eye. Like bringing any new member of the family home, we need to have a round table discussion with the rest of the "team":

"Alright all you little boxes...we are about to get a new member of the family, so make some room, and lets figure some things out.

Okay, you....phone, front and center! That's right, super LG camera VZ MP3 playing GPS capable mini computer gaming console..guess what...you are a PHONE! All I want out of you as we move forward is more talky, less nonsense. No more Sims2, no more bad camera play, no more video capture. Be a phone, a glorious, wonderful phone!

You...digital camera....time to take up the slack. You have always been clear in your purpose. Take the pictures, mighty but dainty shutterbuggy....be more present, and the rewards shall be yours.

iPod Shuffle....ah, you plucky little chewing gum sized music delivery system. How we have had our fun, playing everything from Robert Goulet to Nelly to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Once more with Feeling" to the Pyrates Royale in a random playstyle sure to give a saner man fits and / or convulsions. You will be missed. Perhaps the Goodely can take you under her wing, or at least stow you in her pocketbook, to be whipped out and brandished. No more Snoop Dogg...prepare for Hair, Janis Joplin and Norah Jones. yes, your musical terets will continue, but in a compleatly different bent.

Okay, do we all understand our roles in the Grande iScheme? Do I understand it all?

Does anybody?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Who would have thought it?

But I have $150 to spend, and no idea of how to spend it! Its crazy, I know! I have spent twice that amount drinking at Faire, you would think it would be easy to dispose of $150 at the mall of all things.

I received this gift card at Christmas this year, and am unsure of what to do with it. As it is, I feel like I received tonnes of new stuff this year, and even treated myself to a few new things above and beyond the holiday season.

Sure, there is plenty of stuff we "need", but since this is a gift card, I feel like I am cheating the gift giver out of getting me something this year if I use his present to buy kitty litter and tube socks. Who knows, maybe that's a really good gift for some folk. I feel almost obligated to use the card to get myself something kinda frivolous and cool. Some thoughts are:

I gave my brother a swanky video iPod for his 40th birthday and he loves it. Immediately after I gave it to him, of course, the evil nature of sibling rivalry reared its horrible head, and I wanted one too! Did I just create my own sibling rivalry hoops to jump through? Maybe. So the iPod is like $250.00, so I would have to pitch in an extra hunski and then attain renewed sibling parity. Well, apparently the video iPod is kind of a money sucker as well. Movie videos apparently cost MORE to download than to purchase at the Target ($14.99 for Pirates II online, and $12 at Target) and television shows I couldn't be bothered to watch to begin with would cost me about $34.99 for the privelage of watching them on my iPod. From what I gather, you also cannot "burn" a dvd that you already own to your iPod, as you can your CDs....maybe I am wrong. Wait, I will check with my tech guru...

..alright, apparently you can do it, but it cost like $30.00 or so for a program. Alright, enough on that.

Our XM radio just got jacked from my car by the silliest of all theives, considering one phone call to XM rendered the unit useless. So I could get a new XM unit, which I will ahve to get anyway, and perhaps upgrade to a portable XM unit that also plays MP3's like an iPod. No video, but also no other extra expense.

Back to the iPod, i could just get the Nano, pay my $150, and be done with it....nice and simple.

I could buy new dress shirts.

I could get a puppy.

I could..I could...I could...

I could absolutely fillet the person that gave me the gift that keeps on chewing on the back of brain in the form of a gift card....when you care just little enough to throw money at a problem.

maybe I will just wrap the card up, and give it back to him next year! :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter Solstice

Today is the shortest day of the year, the longest night. Were I a poet of some kind, and not some hack wannabe wordsmith, I would have better imagery to bring to you regarding the importance or significance of this planetary event.

But, ya know what folks? The recent go around with Giggles imparted to me something quite profound, to some obvious, that I will relate to you. I had to question how I viewed science, religion and God in the last week or so, as we were contemplating terminating our pregnancy. Sorry TAC, I still am cautious about using some words, so just erased "abortion" from that sentence. I did just add it here though.

And just like how I, and most folk, give importance and weight to words, so do we as humans indulge in the sometimes selfish luxury of assigning "meaning" and "cause" to things that "just happen".

Diseases just happen. Sunshine just happens. You just "happen" to find ten dollars in your jeans pocket. Good things happen, and bad things happen. They don't really "mean" anything other than you have to deal with them.

Winter Solstice is the shortest day, and the longest night. Like all stellar phenomena, many folk in history assign "meaning" to this event, like its a time to celebrate, a time to fear, or a time to atone for past sins or plan for future joys. I am sad to say that it really doesn't MEAN anything. Its just something that happens. There is no God out there looking to punish or reward me for being good or bad, No Jolly Fat Man handing out presents (except my dad), and no all encompassing "Fate" that is directing me through this life so that "Karma" can be fulfilled.

All of that seems rather dour, of course. People have been searching for the Meaning of Life even BEFORE that great Monty Python joint of the same name, and here comes Robbyblog (right down Robbyblog Lane) to tell you yet again that there is no meaning to it.

Well, I still believe (and encourage you to as well) in a meaning to my life, but not the random events IN my life. Treating people well and being kind is still its own reward, and not some way to keep a cosmic scorecard. Being a jerk, well, that engenders its own penalties without worrying about whether the Universe will mete out its judgement against you. The Universe could care less.

So although there is no "meaning" to why Yahweh has decreed that we must live in a long darkness on this day, I will still use this night as a marker and a checkpoint to take a look around and perhaps usher in a time of dedication for me to my friends, my family, and my family to be. Work, you are still out of luck. :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I stared into the Abyss...

..and the Abyss crawled into my lap, and tweaked my nose.

Hello everyone, it sure has been a long time temporally and a long way metaphysically from the last time I posted. Maybe it is my new glasses, maybe it is a new late thirties growth spurt, but I feel like a new man. Tall, pretty and capable.

What happened, you may ask? Well, a few weeks ago, we found out that our unborn baby has the Spina Bifida. Basically, the baby has a hole in its spine, and a bunch of neural networking is hanging out of there. Said hanging pulls and puts some pressure on the brain, and pretty much scares the little baby Jeebus out of yours truly.

We talked before we got pregnant, the Goodely Wyfe and I, and I remember stating, and her hearing, that having a child with special needs was my worst nightmare ever. I can be honest with you that even though I have been around handicapped kids and adult enough in my life, they always scared me, gave me the wigguns and even creeped me out. Here I was now, faced with the idea that I would be the parent of a special needs child, one that could be in a wheelchair for the rest of its life.

Yeah, see that? "Its" life. I tried to distance myself, considering the options that were before us. The doctors, counsellors, specialists, ministers, family and friends all were sympathetic and supportive in what we now faced: Would we terminate the pregnancy, or would be continue?

I sincerely hope that you never have to face this decision. If you do, let me know, and I will tell you how it went for us. I will not relate now however, the things that were said, the tears that were shed or the heartbreak that we went through to get to where we are now, as we have made our decision, and are going to move forward into the future confident that the decision we made was the right one.

Papa don't preach, we are going to keep our baby! :)

Giggles may be born without the ability to walk, but (s)he will still be born, loved, cherished and respected as the wonderful little bundle of joy that (s)he is. It wasn't an easy decision, and it won't be easy to be special needs parents, but then again, from what I understand, it isn't easy to be any kind of parent.

I guess what tipped the balance was a little girl we met named Brianna, a toddler with Spina Bifida similar to what Giggles is diagnosed with, who was able to use her wheelchair at age two, was cheeky, all up in our faces, delightful and positively engaging and precious. If the Abyss was my fear of not being man enough to care for a special needs child, Brianna pretty much let me know that she would like to be my friend, if not my daughter, and that if I hung out with her for just a few minutes more, she would love me.

Yes, Giggles may not walk like you or me, but (s)he will certainly be able to play games, go to the renaissance faire, sing with pirates, climb with her Aunty Hulahoop, eat dirt and cuddle at night. Forgive me if the blog here becomes a bit "spina bifidacentric" as we move forward, but obviously, its going to be on our minds quite a bit in the future.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

They just don't make enough....

Christmas lights to satisfy me! Great googly moogly, I have like a thousand up already at the ole Clutterhut, and I show no signs of stopping. Hopefully, I can get some photos when it is all said and done. I know, I am always promising photos, and so far....zippy.

If you need me, I will be festively festooning foliage for freedom! Alright, for the holidays, but that didn't work with my alliteration.

Oh, hey, I was thinking as I was stringing and restringing lights yestereve...how about we all try to borrow a tradition from another land, and incorporate that into our celebrations? You wacky Jews, go out and hang some pretty lights, and I will learn some of your songs and get a (watch this goy spelling) manorrah! I think I will see how the Chinese and the Muslims celebrate this season, and try to bring all that together. Couldn't hurt, and perhaps it will add even more facets to our holiday jewel!

Not a sermon.....lol

Monday, December 04, 2006

Family, the Great Equalizer.

How can I have so much fun with so many people that I have so little in common with?

It was an amazing Thanksgiving this year, so amazing that it is taking me this long to actually post about it. The charge and buzz surrounding the carving of the turkey and the enjoymentof the marshmallow mashed sweet potatoes at the small and intimate gathering of thirty three or so screaming EyE-talians this year was due the following day's planned trip to beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada.

That is correct, faithful reader, (and I thank the faithful out there what bear under the strain of my very inconsistent updates) we went to Las Vegas for the second of Cousin Jeff's bachelor parties on Black Friday. It was an incredible trip, and so much fun to laugh and giggle about in front of our wives and girlfriends at the dinner table. Our spouses and significant others trust us, of course, but at the same time, what is the fun of being naughty if you aren't perceived as being more naughty than you plan on being? We snickered, sniggered and giggled like conspiratorial jackals in some animated movie.

The trip itself was inspired. As the seven of us boarded the plane, I took a look around at this motley of fools and started thinking, dangerous, I know, but the thoughts came nonetheless. With the exception of Cousin Marc, who was my friend before he became my cousin, I really doubt that any of us would have met, let alone become close enough to travel together without having our grandmother's uterus in common. I know that any group of men can get together in the cause of the bachelor party and have a really good time without knowing each other, but here were six guys that, no matter how much we kid each other and make fun of each other, these guys HAD MY BACK no matter what. We were all aware of each other, and meeting up, tracking each other down and playing together came so naturally and effortlessly that you would have thought we had been doing it for thirty or forty years. Oh, wait, we HAVE been doing this for thirty or forty years.

Friends and lovers come and go, but it seems that the power of this particular family binds us all together with commitment, intention and heck, yes...even love. The best part of the trip for me was having the Big Dinner at a Maggiano's in Las Vegas. yes, maybe i travelled a few thousand miles to have dinner with my cousins in a chain restaurant in a shopping mall, but to be honest, I would travel much farther, and at greater expense to be in a shabbier location, as long as I could share the table with this fine group of men, all of which I have so little in common with, but love so much.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Leaving, on a Jet Plane

or "picking through the bones of your friends"

A dear friend of mine is moving this January. Not just "moving", but "selling all my stuff, packing up the wee bit that is left and going to LONDON ENGLAND for 6 years" moving. It is a very big deal, and has set me teensy brain train all uncoupled, with each car heading down different tracks. I am not sure if all the bridges are out or not, but seeing on how we are rapidly hurtling to the end of this metaphor, I will let it rest and get on to the post:

It has been an amazing process to participate in helping my dear friend move away from me. I know the world is small, and that he will be back, and I will go there, so it isn't a "loss" of friendship that has me shaken, and stirred. It is more the idea of the grand adventure that has me dreamy and a little sad. He is embarking on a voyage of discovery, or renewed possibilities, of vast untapped potential. It is very scary, but also very amazing.

As the Goodely and I talk about the future and the Giggles, I am getting closer and closer to the early arrival of my mid life crisis. The conversations that we have sound more similar to "This is the first day of the end of your life" than talk about new horizons and new frontiers. Maybe it is the Pinot VERY Noir talking, but I cannot help but look around me and feel that I didn't "make it" as successfully as I might have. Taking stock is ne'er a good thing for me to do, but watching a good friend, one of my closest, embark on this "restart" of his life has me doing more introspection than is comfortable.

Then again, when "I looka round the round world" (Elwood!) , I wonder if one of the main things my friend is off in search of isn't precisely the thing that I have. We talk of resonance, of belonging, of security and happiness. The Traveller has told me that he just doesn't resonate with Washington DC, he feels unsettled and square peggy here. I, on the otherhand, feel quite at home here, and VERY at home with my Goodely Wyfe, my friends and my job. I have been very successful in that regard. Sure, Robbyblog, you say that on the shining crisp and clear sunny day today...lets see what you post the next time it rains!

So many notions, the next of which is this: I went through the Traveller's belongings, and took the stuff that interested me the most. We stood in his house, drank his Scotch and all the while the Traveller was describing his belongings and how much he wanted me to have them. I knew then that I would not be in his house again, not sit by his fire, not live there for a fortnight during the Time of Darkness. He has some awesome stuff, rest assured, and I filled my car with his things, but it was a bittersweet pillaging. My hesitation was obvious at the fore, but the Traveller then told me, "Who better to have these things? Who else will appreciate and love them as I did (and may still do)?" In my mind's eye, I also thought of myself as Steward for the Traveller's things..that although he is leaving, some of his belongings, charged with his energies, will still remain here, grounded and useful.

After all, who else is going to appreciate all the rennfaire garb, swords, bows and a 200 volume Dungeons & Dragons collection more than me?

Hmm....more than me and all of my friends? Ha!

So, to The Traveller.....Goddess grant you speed, luck and may your road bring you all the health and happiness that you can stand. Take us with you, as we hold that part of you here in our hearts and souls. We love you, sir.

/cry

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lifetime....

I have reached the coveted Lifetime Membership in Weight Watchers, having lost some 30 pounds, and keeping it off for the maintenance period of six weeks. All told, it has been about 20 weeks of intent and determination, but then again also fun and hijinx along the way. A big "Thank You" goes out to all those folk what helped me on my journey to a fitter, happier, more vain Robbyblog....vain so much so that he posts nude photos of himself on his blog:



Not too shabby for a 38 year old married guy. If I keep this up, I think Santa will have the much sought after "visible abdominal muscles" for me at Yuletide.

Friday, November 03, 2006

While the Wyfe's Away....

The Wyfe Shall Play?

Apparently, a "professional convention" involves going to seminars, two or three parties, then going out to dinner at ten o'clock at night! Go Goodely, Go!

Here is my Rockstar Wyfe, earning a $100 bet by dancing on the go-go platform. Ladies and Gentlemen, fold up those dollar bills!



Look at her go!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The High Brrr Nation.

Hello folksies!

Here we are, in the final days before the big Halloween Party at the Clutterhut, and then we face the long dark of winter. I think my blog is getting fairly repetitive, as we revisit different themes at each of the seasons.

Each year, I picture myself hunkering down and hiding for the months of winter, doing some reading, and basically taking myself out of the game to relax and regroup. As my majestic "now how the hell did he get to be college aged" younger cousin is fond of saying, "Oh yeah? How's that working out for you?"

I am happy to report, that it never works out well. I have plans for every weekend well into January, and as that is where my calendar runs out, there is no reason to believe that this trend won't continue. I am running roleplaying games for my friends, going on a "formal dress" trip to see Casino Royale (hmm...maybe the Commish will let me borrow a tux?) and going to Las Vegas with the Cousins for yet another bachelor party for Cousin Jeff.

December and the related holidays have me booked for party after party (with subsequent after parties?) with friends and family. Hmm...maybe Febrary will be a good month to hunker way the heck down. Then again, I was hoping to have a formal masquerade that month.

I guess I will hunker down after Giggles is born (furious wood knocking noises follow) and in the meantime, keep making with the frenetic social circling. See you all soon!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Best. Pub Sing. Ever.

I have returned from the last night of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and let me tell you, it was a great one! I couldn't have asked for a better day, nor a more magical ending. Did I use "nor" correctly? I have been dying to for days. Well, that and other grammatical sticky wickets aside, let me see if i can sum up a very, very nice day.

For one, it was supposed to rain. Didn't! The sky was lovely, the temperature delightful and the breeze just enough to let you know the end of faire was nigh. Did I use "nigh" correctly?

I went on my own. From what I have told everyone, being alone makes me sad. I tend to hole up, and peek out at the world from deep in my trapdoorspideresque lair. I wandered a bit, stopped by to see my new friend, listened to her play the dulcimer, sing this incredibly lovely gaelic song, bothered her a bit at work, then went on my way to occupy my time. Well, apparently I am enough of a regular at this place where I don't really need to make formal arrangements with people to have a good time. From merchants to jousters, from friends and family, I wasn't alone for very much of the day at all!

In fact, I was so not alone that I found myself caught up in other peoples agendas, and saw the festival through their eyes. I shopped for clothes, did the archery (why have I never done the archery before? I love the archery!!) and bought a rose for someone, which I really never, ever do (see, "new friend" above).

I had a very good time learning and laughing with all of my new tour guides that day, but when it came time for Pub Sing, I stamped my little foot, and said "Thats it, this is where I will be!". Pub sing was wonderful. So many great performers, so much evocative music. It was so easy to get all hypnotized by everyone on stage, the are captivating and alluring. I got hit on by women on all sides, which was lovely and reaffirming, and was swept up in the whole emotion of the end of faire. They closed many times, a few times with different versions of the gaelic song that the above mentioned new friend hawtness sang at the start of faire. Very Alpha-Omega-ey.

I cried, but just enough. One of my most favourite quotations is from Gandalf, which I shall butcher for you now:

"I will not say 'Do not weep', for not all tears are a sorrow."

And though a lot of those Irish pubby songs are pretty sad and sentimental, I cried just for the beauty of them, and not because I myself was sad. I am sure I might have been sad had I not the big Halloween Party on the horizon, or my trip to Vegas with the cousins, or any of the thousand points of light that I have in my life right now to be happy about. yes, Faire is over for this season, but it will be back again before I know it. My life, however, is moving along at a wonderful pace, and I thank all of you for that.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Start Spreading the News...

I don't know how many of you we told, or who we haven't told yet, but Talley and I are now going public....we are pregnant again!

That's right, true believers! Not just that any old run of the mill "just got knocked up" pregnant either. This one is the full bore, IN THE SECOND TRIMESTER and looking good fetal cluster residing comfortably in my wife's snuggly womb.

We beta test named "her" Giggles, even though we don't know the sex yet. I fully intend to find out, and tell everyone, but the Goodely doesn't want to know yet. Of course, I don't intend to tell her, but discretion of any kind has ne'er been my long suit. After all, when we are out shopping, and I see one of those little crushed velvet dresses at Christmas time and start bawling, I might reveal my hand there. If it is a girl, that is, which would be loverly.

So, cross your fingers, friends and lovers, we have just six months to go until our due date of April 28th. If the Goodely can hang on to the baby for a few extra days, she can give birth on her birthday of May 1, and wouldn't that be something nice?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The most perfect day, ruined by drink.

You can look through my blog and find many happy references to my multitudinous experiences with alcohol. Yesterday, unfortunately, was not one of those occasions.

It all started out happily enough, at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, where many of my happy drinking stories tend to begin. I am not sure what happened this time, what cosmic cocktail concoction cleverly combined was the source of my curtailed festivities, but everything was going just fine, when "wham!", it did seem as if everything alcoholic I had ever imbibed surged up into my brain at once, and I was rendered compleatly unable to function at all.

Getting drunk is fun, getting this drunk ruined my day. I was out with my best friends, on a perfect day, in a land of merriment and festivities, and I had to be taken home early by one of the aforementioned friends before I embarrassed myself further. I had many plans for that day, many maidens to woo and court, one pyrate lady to moon over and many friends to connect and reconnect with. I was able to satisfy little of my agenda for the day.

Sure, I have been staggeringly drunk before, but not too too often at the expense of a continued good time. I usually have reserved the worst of it for "after" the fun and frivolity, not cutting it off right when it was getting good. It is times like this when a man such as myself takes stock in his actions and choices, holding up the mirror to himself, probably a bit too critically, and make some rash and overblown resolutions about moving forward.

Well, I am going to do my best NOT to judge myself based on this incident, but just be a bit more guarded as we move forward. I have learned many things in the last few months about myself, about having discipline, and about my own worth that will help me to move forward. I may not have a full blown "drinking problem", but yesterday I did indeed have a "problem with drinking", one that i do not wish to repeat in the future, but being the flawed man that I am, I most likely will. With any luck, it will not be for some time. Bitten yet again, mayhap I shall be a bit more shy.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Halloween!


Hey gang! Come and check us out for the Annual Halloween Party! Tell your friends and loved ones....as we love meeting new people, especially in costume!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Shadow of my Former Self

How are you, Blogosphere? Me? I am doing quite well, thank you very much.

I have reached my goal weight at Weight Watchers. You are reading the words of a 169.2 pound man, and opposed to the "tickling the beanbag of 200 pounds" man what started typing notes 15 weeks ago. It has been a wonderful journey, and I am very proud of myself for being on this end of my weight loss.

Let's face it, I have NO DISCIPLINE of any kind. This was an amazing journey of discovery for the RobbyBloggy, as I do not compleat projects and seldom do I attain goals. I wonder what else I can do?

Well, Small Press Expo is this weekend, the place where last year I vowed that THIS year I would have a table, and be selling my self-published comic book. That goal, well, it didn't turn out so great. What Weight Watchers has taught me about myself though, is that there is no need to give up those goals. Just because I never lost weight before didn't mean that I couldn't do it now, so just because I never published a comic book doesn't mean I can't now.

um...right?

I'll post some nudes when I get some free time! ;)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Lon Goverdue, Fishmonger Extraordinaire.

Whew! I am a little surprised that we have come through unscathed, happy and hale. Like Bilbo said, "I feel like too little butter, spread over too much bread."

Well, this buttery hobbit had all the butter needed to cover the gluten laden goodness that was this weekend. The extended dance remix started out poorly, resulting in both me and the Goodely having to take Friday off, but all that ended well as well (as well as well) and we spent the rest of Friday cuddled up on the sofa watching Deadwood. The series is amazing, the language foul, and the experience of the cuddle wonderful and warm.

Saturday dawned early, grey and rainy. It also dawned without my active spectating, as I slept in until 11am or so. Upon rousing my sleepy form, I went about chores and tasks around the Clutterhut in an attempt to get it ready not only for my parent's imminent arrival, but for the big Hallowizzle as well. The Goodely tells me that i accomplished quite a bit, but I am having a tough time seeing it, there is still SO much left to do!

With so many unfinished chores to attend, there is only one thing for us to do...throw a dinner party on Sunday for 6 or 7 of our closest friends! And therein finally lay the point of the blog entry. We were terribly unprepared for this party, but rallied, and made a good showing of it. We roasted a lovely chicken, folk brought desserts and wine, and we had a lovely, lovely time. If you wait until you are ready for any of the fun things in life (dinner parties, marriages, children) you will NEVER do them! Do you think I actually have a handle on this giant halloween party I try to throw every year? Heck no....but I do it anyway, because, well....why not?

Sure, we ended up dirtying every plate, serving dish, glass, silverware and bakeware that we have in the house, and my kitchen currently looks like Bag End "before" the dwarves actually washed anything, but that is a minor price to pay to be able to look out on a full table, and see all those smiling faces looking back at me and at each other. It was wonderful, I impress upon you to try it sometime. It need not be fancy, just gather some folk around you to huddle up against the shorter days that are a comin'! Even small magic like a casual dinner with friends is, well...magic to be treasured.

Here's to doing it all again next week!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My Head is Filled with Flapping Crows....

How do you do it?

How do you keep all your relationships, bills, careers, emotions, thoughts and abilities straight in your head? I feel like mine is fit to bursting.

Some of it is media input. I have headphones on most of the day, am running a few IM chats, creating 3d models on the computer, and keeping (most of my) clients happy.

I have so many different personas....husband, boyfriend, architect, dwarven hunter, victorian aged game master, son, pirate, blogger, lover, friend, etc.

I live a full life, so full such that I am fit to burst. But, at the same time, I am loathe to cut anything out of my life. I want to be all of these things to myself, and I want more and more. I am in the midst of a growth spurt, where my current metaphysical meatsack cannot hold all the juicy liquid center of amazement that I have to offer to myself and the world.

So I need a way to add more, and keep it all straight (sorry, forward!) in my mind. I am going to look into the meditation clinic around the corner, as I find therapy to be no good for me, simply stirring things up and around for almost no reason whatsoever. I do not need to stir things up in my mind, I feel the desire to organize and store, such that I can easily access any of the different sides to my personality easily and sanely.

What do you do, people, to keep your head(s) on straight?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Y'arr!


Well, it would seem that the pirate weekend at the Renaissance Faire was a big success. I am just here to try to post photos, so lets see how it goes!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Happy 44 Hours?

Was that all it was?


My goodness, it was quite a spin, wasn't it, me boyos? I left work for Happy Hour at about 5 pm on Friday, like most of the workforce in a nation seized by terror, and yet did not return to said safe and happy domicile until 11 am on Sunday morning! What am I, back in college?

Well, it sure felt that way, as a small hordeling (moblette?) of my college friends were in town for some big trip or another. Some of these boys I haven't seen in 10 years, some in 15. When planning my little trip to hook up with them, I left everything open, and figured I would get there, chat a little bit, find we had grown too far apart, and head back home, a little sad, but still alright.

Well, true believers, get on the phone right now and start tracking down every maniac you ever went to school with, because in doing so, you will ensure yourself one of the times of your life! We fell right back into old (terrible) habits by night, and by day we talked about every topic on the planet that you could think of.

Washington DC is so wonderfully conducive to ths kind of activity. Again, we spent the days visiting monuments both inspiring and mortifying, and by night, we celebrated our own lives and accomplishments.

Yes, accomplishments. For although we did not fight any of the Great Wars, or dedicate a nation in perpetuity at Gettysburg nor did we ratify anyone's Constitution, still, we had accomplishments. We made a connection in this world to each other, one that has stood a test of time, and had reunited US to a common purpose. What higher goal can there be on this planet than to make a bond with another human being, no matter how much you differ in mindset, energy, interests, whatever? It was amazing to see this energy in action, feed it, watch it grow beyond yourself, beyond the Irish Car Bomb and the random flirty skirt.

We drank, we did little dances, we celebrated marriages, mourned divorces, told our stories over and over again, and sang loudly and into the night.

We were friends, nay, we were more than friends, we were brothers in the true spirit of the word. Thank you gentlemen, and I am looking forward to doing this again in another fifteen years. Perhaps sooner.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Fight the Power (of words?)

So, we all kind of know that words have power, and that the pen is mightier than the sword. We also kind of know that there are "good" words and that there are "bad" words.

For Example:
Good: Perspicacity, Fellatio, Snuggle, Flapjack, Rockabilly
Bad: Nigger, Cunt, White Trash, Fuck, Wop


I imagine that there was some reaction in you to both the "good" words and the "bad" words. Perhaps some kind of visceral response, conjuring various images in your mind. What I mean to ask you is this: how many of those images were of tasty snacks?

Hopefully not many. Yesterday a lovely young lady sent me an IM asking "Do you know what White Trash is?" I thought it was the set up for a joke, and I braced myself for some low brow humor. It took be by surprise, as low brow is in no way how I would describe this particular friend. She is of the highest of all brows, so what gives?

Upon further conversation, I finally grokked that she was simply asking if I ever had the snack treat called "White Trash" before, which is apparently some form of white chocolate covered trail mix. I wasn't sure how I felt about all of this, and I still don't, hence the blogging. At first, I was a little bothered by the fact that there was a common usage for what is essentially a racial slur against whitey. I mean, it isn't like I am going to locomote across to the local purveyour of tasty comestibles and procure myself a satchel of "Spicks" or obtain for myself in moments of hunger some Swedish Fish and a modicum of "Chinks". Here was further evidence that it was "okay" to denigrate white people, to the point of naming snack treats with racial epithets.

Then I remembered a recent cocktail party that I went to, where another good friend and frequent Robbyblog poster was furthering his campaign to "Take back the C-Word", and had convinced his friends that cunt was just another word, and could be used freely and even jovially. I still cringe whenever I hear it, and can barely bring myself to type it, but I think it is important to the post. That particular word holds lots of power for me, and no matter how much booze I had in me, I couldn't bring myself (regardless of the prodding) to liberally shout "Hey Cunt, can you play that George Washington Video again?". Somehow it just didn't seem right. :)

But again, do the words have the power. It was only MY giving the words White Trash power to be (see, I even capitalized them!) a racial slur that kept my usual witty IM banter from flowing freely like a mountain spring. Did I, happy go lucky Robbyblog, bring that hate to the table? Maybe there is some reverse engineering that can be done with words like this. If we can take "cracker" from being a term to describe a cheese conveyance to a racial slur, can we go the other way with White Trash (capitalized this time for the brand name)? Perhaps if there was a Nigger candy bar, or the Wop became a new dance craze, those words would cease to have negative connotations for folk, and be reintroduced to our society as the harmless words that they actually are.

After all, ANOTHER of my internet girlfriends said that if there was a snack called "Cunts", she would eat a dozen.....or something like that.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Frrrrrrrrunkus!!

Don't judge a blog by its title, I always say. Is that truly what I always say, or is that just what I say when I have no pithey title for my entries?

Regardless, I have some news and updates. First off, the farm was the absolute treasure that I hoped it would be. M&K have the most lovely 250 acres of land you have ever seen. I successfully cleared my head, and, well, successfully "reconnected" with the Goodely (wink, wink...nudge nudge). All of this was seriously overdue, but all paid back with interest. It was a little tough to return to the Clutterhut that is our own domicile, but I have returned with a renewed sense of domesticity and perhaps some housework initiative.

In other news and updates, I have lost 20 pounds on weight watchers, thus reaching my 10% goal. I weigh in at a lovely 175.5 pounds, and have set my new goal at a muscular 170. I feel the beginnings of the daffodil bulbs of my abdominal muscles ready to poke through the heavily laden snowfall that is my last remaining belly fat at the fist signs of fitness spring. Even if you discounted (which you better not) all the health benefits of this huge undertaking, the psychological implications are even more relevant and helpful to me.

I have learned, in this arena, discipline without sacrifice. I can watch what I eat, and not feel like I am "giving up" anything. This is an important lesson, as I always saw any attempts at discipline (except yellow, of course) involving nothing but sacrifice and giving up things that I enjoy. This is not the case in the Weight Watchers, and I have had Guiness, Cheesecake, ice Cream, etc. yum, yum, yummy yummy yum yum yum!

Also, finishing anything or sticking to a plan of any kind has never been my long suit. I like to think that this makes me dynamic and multifaceted, but mostly it makes me sloppy and ill-initiatived. Well, look at Bob & Lorraine's youngest now....20 frickin' pounds, bitches! That is no small amount of sticktoitiveness, if you don't mind my saying. (which you better not).

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Have Cramps..

..no, wait....I feel cramped! That's what I was trying to say.

The Goodley Wyfe and I are off to K & M's farm in The Pennsylvania this weekend, and I was trying to noodle through why giving up the BCDFAMTTRFS (Big Crazy Drunken Flirty All Man Trip To The Renaissance Festival Saturday) for this trip wan't bothering me at all. The BC....RFS is a huge affair that we look forward to every year, but somehow, I am not put out by missing it. I know a huge part of it is that the Goodely and i haven't spent much quality time together this season, and i miss her terribly, but there was something else.

I think I got a part of it this morning. I am looking forward to some wide open spaces. All of my recent activities of going to house parties, gaming, gaming conventions and the Renaissance Festival are always filled to capacity with people and things. I love people, I love the crush and the bustle, the bustling crush. there is nothing quite like knowing that hundreds and thousands of people who share your interests are all around you, supporting you and in their own way loving you.

My house is small (but lovely)and quite cluttered to the point where I was going to name it the Clutterhut. It is comfortable and cozy, with no space unused or wasted, but still, it is a Small House. Suziehulahoop, hawty mommy extraordinaire, lives in a doublewide...probably the crampiest of wee spaces, but her double is sited on a beautiful vista near Yosemite National park. Sitting on her deck, one can see...well, as far as the eye CAN see. The view from my porch, yard, window, desk, whatever..is at the most a hundred or so feet.

I still work in cubicle hell. There is nothing redeeming about my space at the office. I have no window, there are walls all around me. I am in a little cell. When I went to Taliesin, to see Frank Lloyd Wright's workspace and office...I had to go "Oh, yes, there is an obvious example of why this man is such a genius" as his workspace was beautiful, open, breezey and spacious. I do not know which was chicken or egg, his studio or his designs, but they had to have gone hand in hand.

Thus, the call to the beach..and the beach in winter. Thus, the call to the mountains, and all their splendour, and thus.....the call to the farm.

K&M's farm is lovely, spacious and grand. I am looking forward to steeling away just before dawn for a bit of a naked hike through the rolling fields and dew kissed grasses. Just to do some quiet sitting somewhere with a view of, well...nothing will be most pleasant. I long to try to fill these wide open spaces with my energy, sending my love out to all those domestic and abroad, and to those who are domestics, and to those what ARE broads.

I am kicking it Green Acres style, faithful reader, so enjoy a pint or seven at the Festival for me, as i will return to you soon, hopefully larger than life itself.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Back to School

Do we even notice anymore that the kiddies went back to school this week? I remember we went back on September 9th or so, but it seems that here in the Metro DC area, everyone went back today, the 29th of August.

I notice the traffic, of course, and the school buses, and that everyone is back from vacation. But is there excitement? Is there the dread that came with counting down those last few days before school? None of this, of course, had anything to do with actual studying or learning. I had no interest in school, and never did a single bit of homework. How Bob & Lorraine managed to turn a blind eye to that I have no idea, but pirate style, they sure did. What I liked about back to school was that I felt special for that week, and the focus was on me and my brother.

I got a new haircut.
I got new sneakers.
I gots new notebooks.

Yes, yes, there goes my typical American consumerism rearing its ugly, soul gorging head, but still, there was something in the smell of new shoes and notebook paper that plays off Reptile Robby brain that said new horizons were, well....on the horizon.

Don't get me wrong, school was a bucket and a half of suck for me. I was smart, goofy looking and played Dungeons and Dragons. As you can imagine, my initial forays into the education systems were a special kind of horror. Heck, we didn't even get good alternative music until I was 16.

But still, there was anticipation. Maybe this year it would be different. Self delusional maybe, but ever hopeful for that future. More likely than not, the new school year meant that I could bring my Dungeons and Dragons character back out and we would begin playing again in earnest.

So now, the Purple Worm has turned 180 diggities, and my summer vacation was spent playing Dungeons and Dragons, and my "school year" is set with renewed work "stress" (I don't really stress over work, there is just more of it) with everyone coming back to town. Just to make it feel like back to school though, I think I am off to the supply closet to get a new notebook and some supplies.

I wonder if our supply closet has sneakers and haircuts, too?

Monday, August 21, 2006

I Love Drinking!

First, a Spam Haiku:

"her knees--a bit of muslin torn initiative
predictable of Ahm,
men had given me; but just scissors"

...but just scissors indeed.

Okay, on to the point. I love drinking. For those what know, my father battles alcoholism, rather unsuccesfully, currently and for all his life. At times it was very, very terrible, at times, it was like background noise. You would think with this ever present symbol of the evils of "The Liquor", that I would either practice temperence or be a raving alcoholic myself. Well, raving I may be, but this time for the joys of drinking and how wonderful it can be.

My weekend was liberally peppered than lightly grilled with drinking throughout. The lovely L----- went out for happy Hour drinks on Friday to start things off. How wonderful it was to chat, discuss matter of all degrees of import, from not at all to nigh-all encompassing, but getting a bit more loose and relaxed with each drink. Bless you, lady liquor (snoogans)!

Saturday night found us playing silly card games with a delightful younger couple that we know. Well, A------ and I surely separated the "designated drivers" from the "do not operate heavy machinery crowd" in short order, by skipping meriily with garlands of flowers in our hair past beer, wine and mixed drinks, and going right for shots of the heavy stuff as we played the silliest of silly games.

Sunday too, we had different folk over to play different silly games, and I started drinking when the first guest arrived. I think it relaxed me, loosened me up, and chased away the pregame jitters that I usually get.

Alright, I am not saying here that I need to be drunk to have fun, but heck, I like drinking while I am having fun. So far, things are good, and we don't have the telltale signs of "a Problem", regardless of how many extremely assertive gay men I give my hotel keys to. I also feel like I have enough folk around to set me straight if it does become a problem. Until that day, come along and bring some ice cubes, as my scotch is getting lonely.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Renaissance Man

And no, this time I am not talking about the sultry Voice.

I mean to say, this is the time when we all look forward to the Maryland Renaissance Faire. I simply get giddier than Aunt Nancy at a Frank Sinatra concert when I think about how much fun this event is.

For those of you that have never been to a Renaissance Faire...tsk tsk. The trumpets blare, the gates open, and you are transported as much as you like to a romantic version of the Renaissance. People are in costumes, merchants are selling their goods, wenches are wenching and dancers are dancing the forbidden dances.

The Maryland Faire is especially wonderful for this reason: Who know's why (I assume the Govenor?) but the official state sport of Maryland is indeed, jousting! That's right, jousting! What this means for you and yours is that the knights in full armor on their fabulous and thundering steeds are doing this "for real, and for keepsies". It is an awe-inspiring spectacle to see gigantic armor clad warriors duking it out, well...Duke of Earl style to win the round, and some maiden's favour.

Oh, and the maiden's favour indeed! Did I mention the corsetted bosom's? No? Silly me. Fabulous corsetted bosoms as far as the eye can see. For the ladies, we have handsome and buckswashing lords all partaking in gentlemanly behavious and practicing the Art of Courting such as you have only read about in novels with Fabio on the cover.

SuzieHulahoop will be happy to tell you how much she enjoys the axe throwing side attractions, the general boozing, and the lovely and sometimes touching Pub Sing. I will tell you how much I love all the different people I can be at just this one faire.

I go by myself, just to pretend I am back in that day, and to be the Calm Spectator amongst the throngs. I go with my Goodely Wyfe, to have a special date, and treat her like the Queen (and sometime like the wench...snoogans) that she is. I go with The Boys. Ah yes, I go with the Boys, to do oyster shooters, hang out in the Wine Garden, and sharpen up my flirting skills on the giant whetstone that is everyone else there that is also "in on the joke". I go with family and friends, to be their Guide through the ages, escorting children and adults, dressed in costume or not, through "my world".

But I go....I go and go and go. You should too. Please come and dance, drink and make the Merry with me.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Flit flitter flit...

I am fortunate enough to be quite a social butterfly. My calendar books up months in advance, and I am frequently running from one event to another...

AND I LOVE IT!

Thank you all so much for wanting to include me in gaming conventions, family visits, reunions, fairs and festivals, weekend getaways, romantic rendevous (exclusive to the Goodely, naturally), and just casual lunches and drinks with friends. It has been an amazing roller coaster thus far, and I hope we never stop.

Our most recent trip was to GenCon Indy, the big gaming convention of the year. Thousands of people came together to experience "fringe" or "undeground" geeky pastimes. I don't know what your social strata was or is, but many of these folks (including myself) did not look like the fringe of anything!

It was amazing. Certainly there were folks from my herd of geeks, dorks and nerds, but there were also families, senior groups and hordes of "cool kids" running around playing games. We play constantly when we are are born and start life. We are encouraged to "Go play" by our parents. Somewhere though, we begin to stop playing. "Stop playing and do your schoolwork" "Stop messing around with that game and do the dishes" become the new buzzphrases.

Of course schoolwork and clean dishes are important. Far be it for the Robbblog to advocate a bunch of simpletons running around with a sink full of foul dishware. All we are saying here is that playing is JUST AS IMPORTANT as all the serious stuff.

Stop reading, and go play! When you do, give me a call, and we can play together!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Spam Haikus

I am double dipping today, make sure you look down for the "My Birthday" post below!

F*ing Narcissict!

I am pushing my birthday notification down because my spam mail has taken on a new and interesting persona. Beat Poetry.

I have changed my Outlook at work to show a preview pane of my mail below the Inbox. They tell me this is bad, because technically, the programme is opening up all the mail in order to show this preview. If a spammer knows you are opening the spam, they will send you more, yes? Well, that's alright, as I can ignore it all pretty easily.

Or can I? The latest round of spam seems to include some wisdom of the music of the spheres attached to the offers to make my mortgage smaller and my penis bigger, two things they should be selling to my Goodely Wyfe, as she can most benefit from both of these offers.

But no matter! Read from the spams I have received today:

"the immediate vicinity of successful camp.
was beyond scarf my capability.
from our would "apartment,"


...from our would apartment indeed.

And this gem, the legend of bill Caspak

"bill Caspak harbored instruction
bow in upon us. The man above
so far as we know, wedding at other times. There was"


There was? There was, indeed.

I hope I get more of these gems. They make me smile, but then again, most everything makes me smile on my birthday (another shameless plug).

Its my Birthday!

Huzzah!

Here I am, dressed to the eights (nines and tens I will save for the apres work party) and sitting at my desk at work. Work, work?! On one's birthday? Yes gang, I am at work on my birthday, but to be honest, this is where lots of my friends are, and a very social arena for me to engage in fivolous gladitorial combat.

The members of the Dream Pod (my little cubicle enclave) and I are off to the Diner fairly soon to have a little "Robert's Birthday Edition of Going to the Diner." For lunch, a good friend who is not a coworker and a good friend what is a coworker and I going out to lunch. This evening, another group of wonderful and beautiful people are coming to my home to play, perhaps unknowingly, a silly game called Munchkin. Today will be a good day. I will also be staying up all night to play video games, as I leave at 5:30 am tomorrow for GenCon Indy. Since someone else is doing the driving, I might as well sleep the whole way!

I get frequent comments like "You are 38? I thought you were much younger!" and I always say thank you in return. I wonder though. Is it my youthful appearance? Is it my low threshold for joy that incurs this feeling in others? Is it my lack of accomplishments in my work and financial stability that brings these comments about? The Chief Financial Officer of our firm is also 38. He is a good natured happy man with a nice house, a great job and his two daughters are beautiful.

I have to remember the words of the great Ty Webb when he was asked about not keeping score by Judge Smails.

Smails: "Well, Ty, how do you measure yourself against other golfers?"

Webb: "By height."


So yes, maybe the CFO is also taller than me, but in some ways that is just as arbitrary a measurement as money, children or position in a firm. He may be taller in these ways as well, but I would imagine that I am wider in many others. I am thankful today that I don't have much more time than right here, right now to do the reflections on this day, and this year. I am smart, pretty and tall, and about as accomplished as a fella can hope for.

Thanks for coming by, and perhaps wishing me well. As we all move forward to "whatever comes next", we can do it happy in the knowledge that we move from a place of "exactly where we needed to be" to "exactly where we were supposed to be going", regardless of who stands taller or shorter, wider or thinner, along the way.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Strictly Speaking...

I am not a very strict person, and do not work well with very set schedules. However, I am always fascinated by the regimented and by the well planned amongst us. I make every effort to be on time to the best of my ability, but I also like to ebb and flow when and where I can. Spur of the moment indulgences and flights of fancy make me very gleeful in my daily life.

Have I mentioned the restlessness and the theory of balance that I think is the underlying theme of my whole existence? it is good to touch back on that from time to time.

STOP READING IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED BY TALK OF A SEXUAL NATURE!!!!!!

Getting that out of the way, I mention all this because I find myself on a strict ejaculation schedule this week. The Goodely Wyfe and I are back in the saddle of artificial insemination, the IUI if you remember previous posts. Part of the process is to very closely monitor her Season Cycles and determine when her eggs drop, so as to plan the best time for insemination.

My role, as we have discussed earlier, is minor in scope but major in implications. I currently carry a virtual doctors' writ for intercourse with said Goodley Wyfe, to take place upon the 2nd of August. Should all go well, I have another official Writ of Masturbation for the 4th of August. This is all very funny, as anything that is rather awkward tends to be.

The toughest part of the "procedure" isn't rallying the necesary spontaneity required for "forced" copulation or the yen to masturbate in a clinical cubicle, it is actually the lonely and dark spaces in between each of those events, where I have to abstain. Now, as we all know, abstinence, and the spelling thereof, has never been my long suit. Add to this how devilishly handsome I have been looking lately coupled with the fact that I am losing weight at a wonderful rate, and you see my dilemna! I can't keep my hands off of myself!

And why, I ask, would anyone? Our arms are this length for a darned good reason, people..so we can get ourselves off! In the bedroom, the living room, the restrooms at work. In the car, on a boat, in a bus, on a yak! Go boys and girls, go and enjoy yourselves! I would like to say that as you do, please think of me, but for some of you, that might make your genitals cringe like a frightened hermit crab pulling back into its shell. All I can say is that as I face the long dark of a full 48 hours without bonking the bishop, I encourage you to use this, my dearest sacrifice, as payment for your sins, allowing you to recognize how precious a gift self stimulation is. Go forth into that gentle night, dear readers, and with a cry of "This one's for you, RobbyBlog!" enjoy the wondrous gift of your own body.

Do this, in memory of me.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

From the blog that dares to ask:

"Is it okay to stare at a hot woman's heiny when she is working the Stairmaster in front of you?"

These and other hard hitting investigations to follow. Needless to say, the above rhetorical rhetoric implies that I am back in the gym. I loves me the gym. I am doing the cardio, which basically means wheezing and sweating, but also catching up on some light reading. Current book: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I read it months ago when it came out, but burned through it so quickly to find out "who died" that I remember very little of the actual book.

I start with about a half hour on the treadmill, a half hour on the elliptical and a half hour on the exercise bike. On the treadmill and the exercise bike, I can read, and be gleeful. On the elliptical, I cannot read my book, as all of my limbs are a pumping away, thus allowing my mind, and apparently my eyes, to wander.

In my efforts to not paste the young lady's derriere with my ocular focus, I started daydreaming and looking around the gym. I looked at the bank of televisions mounted just a little too far away for me to read the closed captioning, but the point of the current commercial ad was clear. The new notebooks were coming out!

Forget the notion that it is far too early for that kind of thing, as I have already seen fall fashions and Halloween supplies in the local stores. No, dearest reader, remember that we were daydreaming, and my mind immediately wandered to one of the lifelong regrets of my adolescent life. That I had never owned a Trapper Keeper notebook.

Oh, how I longed for the Trapper Keeper. Its minimal amount of paper, its multicoloured folders, its trapping and or keeping prowess would surely turn me from the disinterested unfocused geek that I was into the most amazingly smart and handsome MAMS (Man About Middle School) that I wanted to be. But alas, it was not to be.

Everyone had Nikes, we had Pumas, everybody had Levi's, we had Wranglers, everyone had these big fat plastic combs. I didn't even know where you could buy them. They were ridiculous times, but ooooo...how I wanted that notebook.

And then it hit me. I currently don't have the best of anything in the material, consumer arena. I do, of course, have the BEST Wyfe, and the BEST friends ever. Sorry to disappoint, but my Wyfe and friends are red-hot, and yours ain't doodly squat. Returning focus on the material, I don't drive a swanky car, live in an expansive demense or own the bleeding edge technology. I look back on my upbringing and the travesty that was visited upon me by not being able to have the Trapper Keeper and it hit me like a thunderbolt.

Son of a Gun, not having those things actually BUILT CHARACTER!!!

Jerks! How dare they! It dawned on me that I didn't need multi coloured folders and binders to organize my life, that I currently don't need the latest phone, camera, printer or Mac to get things done. Maybe they taught me to be a low expectation having slacker, but maybe they taught me to be happy with what I do have. Its was tough to think the final ramifications through, as that spandex bouncing bottom before me coupled with my imminent blackout from energetic elliptical exertions kept me from doing much soul searching, but there you go. Think about this one yourselves.

Oh, and Dumbledore dies at the end of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. So there.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Chrononaught has Returned

And he is safe as houses.



The reunion was an amazing success, from this writers' perspective. Friday night found us driving the almost eleven hours to Rhode Island in relative comfort and ease, arriving at 3:30 a.m. or so. Yes, there was some snarkiness, but the Goodely and I had kind of a rough week, so there was bound to be trouble double.

With that behind us, and checking into the recently flooded but still mouldering smouldering Nicholson Suite at the The Shining hotel, I found myself awake at 7:30 am or so, no alarm necessary thank you very much, so much was my excitement. I rushed to Cousin Marc's room, where I played with his kids and tried to rush everyone out the door as soon as the Goodely Wyfe arrived, following in the trail of kicked up dust and mold that was all which was left in the wake of my rampant enthusiasm.

Well deserved, by the way! The events were wonderful, and varied. I have the feeling of Saturday being one of the longest days of my life, but long in a fun, fun way!

The main point I want to get out here today is not how swanky my college got (it got WAY swanktified) or how beautiful and underappreciated by me at the time the surrounding towne of Bristol, Rhode Island is. No, what I really want to get out is something that comes at a good time for the RobbyBlog. The reinforcement of the subtitle of this very blog.

"An ordinary life well lived."

This point was really brought home in my response to the obvious question that I really had no preparation for, but should have assumed was coming.

"So, Robert, what have you been doing for the last fifteen years?"

And I just kind of looked blankly back, all puppy style, with no answer.

No, I haven't climbed the Matterhorn or created my own earthship rammed earth tire house or have been published in any periodicals. Yes, I have seen the Grand Canyon, the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica, and went on a double date with the Pidgeon Sisters to San Francisco. I have fallen in love, the most noble of all goals, and have passed through times when I thought that love was lost. Yes, I have held the hearts and hands of many people during periods of intense mourning, the most shocking of course being the death of the three year old son of one of the aforementioned Pidgeon Sisters, and the most touching and sad being the passing of their Grandmother. I have met wonderful people, stars of stage, stars of their own personal limelight. I have performed, spectated, and lived...well.

To sum up an ordinary life well lived over the course of a decade and a half cannot happen over a hotdog and a beer at the reunion picnic. It cannot be quantified or qualified at the fancy dinner, nor can it be related to folks during barhopping to Gillary's. All one can do is kind of nod, give a wry smile, and reply with a simple,

"Oh, you know, about the usual stuff, and yourself?"

And with that, you kind of realize that this person across from you has been on their own amazing and varied journey through the ages. They have also loved, lost, explored both outside and in, connected, been disconnected and has been a part of all the life changing events that you have been through. You then form a silent connection that bonds you together again.

And guess what? On some level, this person across from you took YOU with them on their journey, just as you took them on yours. You don't travel Spacehip Earth alone, you take everyone you have ever met with you. I took some physical objects on my journey, of course...Richard's bowtie for example and the kind words written down by Chris in my final crit. I also took Mike's (Frank's) amazing and open friendship, Ron's brusque honesty and the support and kindness of my entire graduating class. I didn't realize that until I saw them all again. I feel a bit of obligation to them, as I move forward now to the next decade and a half. They have a bit of me with them now, a clearer, more updated piece of me that they will think about from time to time as they live their "ordinary" (I say extraordinary!) lives.

Remember this when you reconnect with people, and also when you meet them for the first time. On some level, they will take you, and their experience of you, with them on their journey through time and space. What kind of companion do you want to be for them? I know who I want to be, and I enter this next phase of my life with renewed vigor to be that person for you all.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Time traveling Yet Again...

I have this friend, let's say for the sake of anonymity, his name is Cavid Dopeland. Cavid is a great guy, I love him to death, and he is one of the most serene and "hep cat" like characters I have ever met. He might be the last person in the world to tell you how cool he is, but that puts the cool factor up a few notches, doesn't it?

Cavid spends a lot of our time together walking down memory lane, reminiscing if you will, about things that were done, things that could have been done better, and things that were also done better but not quite as better as the other things that were done slightly better than not done at all. Kickboxing, ever heard of it?

I think about Cavid as I ponder this weekend's activities. I am going to my (gasp) 15 year College reunion. Now, like the "so hip you can hardly see his pelvis" (1) Cavid Dopeland, I also like to reminisce, but my stories are typically from the recent past, and anything referenced to college or before is coloured with "oh, one time, a thousand years ago in college, we..." and whatever comes after. Add to all of this the fact that I never go back to ANYWHERE that I have made connections for any reason, and well, you can see where I might have some bittersweet anticipation or even anxiety about this trip.

All at once, I am H.G.Wellsing it through time and place in the old gooey mass that is my brain. I see college as being SO long ago, but at the same time, the lessons I learned there (all out of the classroom, btw...I barely graduated! ssshhh..don't tell anyone) are still so vital and powerful in me that the slightest hint of association brings forth the emotions and impressions of that time so powerfully, I feel like that same young 20 somethings screwball kid that I was at the time.

Do the math, as in a few weeks I will be a 38 year old screwball kid still trying to make his way in this crazy mixed up world. Do I really want to tour the campus where I loved, laughed, cried, created and hacky sacked my way through 5 years of my life? Do I want to do all of this with the Goodley in tow? She is by far the best thing that ever happened to me, but she happened after this era of my life. I get the impression that I will be acting like a tourguide for her and for my Cousin Amy (now married to an ex college buddy) as we walk through a section of the museum of Robbyblogs' life. How much will I leave out? Those of you that know me understand I have almost no discretionary prowess, and then again, why would I leave anything out? Certainly I cannot be blamed for "grabbing two cocktail waitresses and pulling a Fredo" (2) while at college, as I didn't even know that the concept of the Goodely Wyfe existed. But we shall see what stories are told and when.

I know I never told you all about my Chicago trip (which was fabulous, thank you very much) but I will try my best to let you know how the reunion goes. I am sure, like everything else is life, it will go much better than I expect. One day, I will actually expect things to be great, and they will be, and on that day, I am buying the drinks!

(1) Douglas Adams, Zaphod Beeblebrox referring to himself. Other appropriate quotes include "I am so cool, you could store meat in me for weeks.", and "I find cooler things than you in my breakfast cereal."

(2) Was this Vince Vaughn from Swingers? Referencing of course, the character Fredo from the Godfather

Monday, July 10, 2006

Men, you really have to love us...

The Goodely Wyfe had a little party for all her young and hot coworkers this weekend, and we all sat and drank and ate and chatted on the Front Porch. I capitalize that because it deserves it. The Front Porch, or Frontizzle Pozizzle, as the kids never say, has become our favourite place in the house, and was lovely and wonderful as one could imagine.

But I am not here to talk about the Front Porch, but more about something that was said and discussed ON the Front Porch. We had just finished eating, and one of the young lovelies said to me, "Robert, the burgers were excellent, thank you!" To which I promptly replied "You are very welcomed." As my usual polite knee jerk reaction.

But then I paused, ever so slightly, before launching into the following diatribe:

"You know, we men really have got it going on. Seriously, all we do is make a big, big deal out of the easiest and most innocuous tasks imaginable. What, grilling and minor home repair and fishing are so difficult? My dear, I will have you know that my Goodely Wyfe wrote the recipe, went to the store and bought ingredients, mixed, spiced, mangled and separated each patty into precise 1/4 pound portions, each one then hand crafted, lovingly, using the finest Old World Craftsmanship before placing them on a plate, wrapping them with plastic, and chilling them until go time. Speaking of go time, she also came in, told me when it was time to light the grill and when we should eat.

For my part, I basically went into the yard, slapped them onto the grill, and played with my dog for a little while. After chasing the stick, I went back, flipped said patties, and played with the dog some more. After that, the Goodley came back out with a new plate, I scooped the patties off the grill, and she took them inside. For this, my major part in the procedure, you thank me?"

Yes, I do talk a lot, frequently all at once, and perhaps I had prepared this speech while I was playing with the dog, but the point is clear. Grilling, regardless of what has been told to any of you by anyone, is probably the easiest thing in the whole wide world. So is minor home repair, but after any "typical" male does something like wave a chicken breast at a grill or replace a light fixture, we strut and crow like we just untied the Gordian Knot or beat Stephen Hawkin(g)s in Suduko.

And you know what, ladies? You had better darned well offer up the proper level of over exaggerated praise for your mighty fire cooker and home repair barbarian. There is so little left for us "typical" men to actually conquer that should the little victories not be praised mightily, it could lead to things like Corvette convertibles and hootchie mommas. Save us all the embarrassment, would you please?

Not a sermon, just a thought.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I have joined the crew of the S.S. Weight Watcher!

Ahoy me hearties!

I have signed up with the Weight Watcher's organization in a further attempt to curtail my policy of ever increasing global expansion. The little old lady that set me on my first steps was delightful, helpful and heck, she even guaranteed success, so you can't really sneeze at that! I was going to make her sign that guarantee in blood, using her "real" name, but she seemed like such a decent sort, I will reserve such dire and arcane methods for another time.

So, dear readers, and those who know me, see if any of this sounds familiar: They gave me a rulebook, a sheet of blank lines where I have to create a resource allocation system, and we have weekly meeting to discuss how the system is working. I felt like we were gaming! It was all too familiar, and fun to try to "break" this game system of caloric intake.

Honestly, I thought at one point if I could add a helping of green beans, I could then take the third level of the Dietary Fiber Discipline, allowing me to attain the Status of "He Who Still Eats Bacon", a coveted position in the milieu, to be sure. I am fully immersed in the 24 hour / 7 Day Diet LARP with thousands of people all across the country.

The system, of course is unfamiliar to me. "Cooking" even something as simple as a smoothie resulted in our kitchen looking like the vanilla banana version of a Jackson Pollack painting, were Mr. Pollack also a speed freak. Sealing gasket? Who needs a sealing gasket? Apparently we all do, at different times, one of those times being, of course, during the creation of the smoothie. The maintenence and structure of our Kitchen is a responsibility which falls squarely on the sturdy but shapely shoulders of the Goodely Wyfe, so I hereby apologize to her for the devastation I suspect is only just beginning. Perhaps I will master the blender...perhaps not.

Bringing lunch to work is going to be awful as far as I can tell, as previously my lunch hours were wondrous culinary adventures of shopping, frivolity and spending. Obviously my waistline and bank account will benefit from restraint, but restraint has never been my long suit, and staying in the office to eat my little sandwich just doesn't seem like "me". Perhaps I can knock back my sandwich and go sit in the bookstore or something. We shall see.

I make no mention of alcohol intake at this time, as I can't bring myself to...to...please, just read on, and leave me with my grief...

So there you go, the lazy days of my hummy summer with be played against the counterpoint of baseline control of fat grams and food point allocation. With any luck though, I will be raking leaves in the Fall with my shirt off, driving the neighborhood Goodleys wild with my new physique. One can only hope!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

You have to keep them isolated....

Hi!

Some amazin' things are going on recently in our urban social development. I am sure this is not an original thought, but take a look at this. The proliferation of MySpace and blogging across the interents has grown like a wild west gold panning town, with folks scrambling all over each other to share their innermost secrets, thoughts dreams, etc., all anonymous givers of information across the technoverse.

Meanwhile, in the real 'verse, folks are withdrawing more and more into themsleves, and cutting ties with real human beings all over. I see it everyday. The iPod re-revolution of the Walkman has brought back the microcosm of armoured personal space, surrounding us with a very visible white cord and headphones license to ignore everyone around us.

I see it in the housing designs and model homes, how we provide in our "dream" houses all the things we used to leave the house to do. Home theatres, bars, basketball and sport courts, pools. These were once social events that we would go out into the world to perform, and now, we can do it all from the comfort of our wombs. I mean homes.

I am one of the biggest culprits in the withdrawl from the real world. My favorite videogame is called World of Warcraft, and entire interactive alternate reality where I have friends, relationships, chores, parties and other vents without ever actually interacting in Face Time with another human being. Its positively amazing.

Please...suprise someone on the streets today. Make that eye contact, say "hello" with your best jaunty smile, and see if you can, for just a moment, make a wee connection with the physical and social world. I really feel that like the Butterfly Effect, just this one little gesture can have major rippling effects, socially, physically and financially. Friendlier neighborhoods attract folk, and the property values will go up just from smiling at your neighbors. Good thing too, as those home theatre wombs don't come cheap.

See you in a week!

Robbyblog

Monday, June 26, 2006

Well, I am feeling much better, thanks...BUT..

It's been a rough time for our little Robbyblogger. I feel like I am becoming a Grump, in that all of the things that give me joy are also tempered with frump, fef, and hurrumph noises coming from yours truly. I get mad at little babies being born, I have problems with the silliness of Spamalot, I get prickly in my social interactions on my World of Warcraft video game..and well...heck. It seems like everything bothers me.

I am off to a gaming convention in a few days, and I have to say that I am not all that enthused. Maybe this lowered expectation thing will allow me to relax and enjoy it more. I hope so. I would hate to think that I was on the slippery slope to "Grumpy Old Man" hood. I am far too young and handsome to be a grumpy old man.

What to do? I would love to get into a detox program for life right about now. Maybe being out and about with friends this upcoming weekend will afford me the psychiatric feeding that I need to reset the spiritual tripometer. I wil interact with hundreds of people this weekend what have no idea that I am appraoching 40, with no kids, faulty credit and weak resolve to improve. This weekend I will be a vampire lord, a magician, a card game player and most importantly, a good friend and companion to some of the finest folk imaginable.

It all starts with a trip to see the SuperDuperPuperman movie. I saw a special about Supes recently, and why he has always been such an icon for America. One reporter put it such that we can all identify with Clark Kent, and wish we could see more Superman time. This weekend will be my Superman time. When is yours?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

An Open Letter of Apology to my Nephew, Jackson.

Hello Nephew.

This is your Uncle Robby here. I am truly sorry and not a little bit ashamed of my feelings today when I heard that you were born, healthy and hale, and smooth as silk. I had been thinking about you for a very long time (to be honest, I thought you would be a girl) and was anticipating your arrival with bated breath, happiness an joyful expectation.

Imagine my surprise when the news of your arrival brought not the above said mentioned happiness, but almost unendurable pain. I cried, I raged with silent screams and felt not a small amount of outright animosity towards you, your mom and your dad. I will say now that you are very lucky to have them as your parents, as two more loving and faithful people i have yet to meet, but even with that, I raged against them, and against you.

I am so sorry, little Jackson, that I could not open my heart to you immediately on your arrival. Please know that this is just a temporary thing, and I just need some time to get used to the idea of you, and re-used to the idea that I still do not have a child of my own. It hurts, little babe, more than I can put into form here.

The guilt that I feel creates a spiral of sourness that I cannot escape from right now, because what right do I have to deny you and your new family every erg of positive energy that I can muster, especially after what your mom went through with her last son. There is no one on this planet more deserving of a beautiful baby boy like yourself than she is. Not even me. Not even her sister.

So, although my heart is not joyous, still please know, dear nephew, that it is 100% yours, from this, the first day of your life, to the very last day of mine. I pledge my loyalty, my strength and my love to you always. Even if my angst is in the way I am still very pleased, very honoured, and very proud to be your Uncle Robby.

Forgive me.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Yes,

It was a year ago today that I started the Robbyblog. I am averaging a post a week, which really isn't all that bad, especially when you compare the frequency to things like, er....flossing.

Looking back at the blog, we have had some really good times, and some really sad ones. I thank you all for reading and keeping up, and taking this little journey with me. I am not sure if we learned anything or grew even a little, or if we were just killing time together. Sometimes though, time needs a killin', so I consider it all an accomplishment.

I am surprised to come to this anniversary without the usual pledges to post more, be better, faster & more as time goes on. This bloggy is working really well, gives me an outlet, and a chance to flex my literary muscles. I think those muscles are called the flactoids, but I am no doctor. Hitting a milestone without "rededicating" myself to change it "for the better" by redoubling my efforts is a pretty significant thing for me, and I am quite proud. Maybe other things in my life are just fine as well the way they are, without my mucking about in them like a hippo with an overactive pituitary gland in the marshes of Louisiana. Muck muck muck.

Again, thanks for hanging out, checking in and leaving a comment or two. Let's see what the next year brings!

Robert

Monday, June 19, 2006

One of the Little Secrets

It isn't like the Goodely Wyfe and I are using Ricky Ricardo beds, but we have fallen into a habit this year of taking separate vacations. I know we didn't plan it this way, but here we are.

The GW is off to California to visit her sister, who is due to pop a baby any second now. In fact, was that the splash of the embyonic waterfall I hear? No, no, just the pipes again. Oh well, I shall have to wait a little longer for my niece or nephew to arrive. Not much longer, but still.

At the same time that the GW is warming up the birthing pool and limbering up her diaper changing form, I am off to the DjorkFest, or the GeekCon, or whatever the fine folks at the Origins Gaming Convention are calling it this year. Eight or so of my like minded friends, and a few thousand of my like minded peers will be convening in beautiful Columbus Ohio for a coupla-two-three-days of gaming, costuming and various discussions of everything sci-fi and fantasy. This will be a great time for me, and would have been a horrible time for the Goodely.

Would I have enjoyed a trip out to California to see the new (hawt) mommy and her offspring in beautiful panoramic "please come romp naked in me" fields of their homeland? Yes, most likely, but mere seconds after the baby comes? Hmmm....let me get back to you on that.

So there you go...we take separate vacations. Nothing wrong with that, but there seems to be a slight disconnect in my mind about it. It seems that the things that The GW and i have in common are becoming fewer and fewer, with maybe television, sex and eating being our common denominators. Our other interests are so divergent, but at the same time cross pollinating. Would the Goodely have been inclined to treat herself to a marathon of Firefly while I was away on business were it not for me? Would I ever had read any bok what didn't have vampire sex in it if it weren't for her?

Enjoy, my Goodely Wyfe, enjoy your sister time next week, as I will most certainly enjoy my Boticellian Klingon babes, dice rolling, and the geenral stank of the geeky unwashed. Ah, its better than new card smell, which, by the way, you wouldn't even had known about were it not for me.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"The end of an error...."

That title line made me laugh, as typed by my cousin Michael over the IM. What he meant, of course, was "End of an Era", and by that, he was talking about Memorial Day Weekend.

We celebrated Memorial Day Weekend 2006 (MDWy2k6) recently as we have every summer for many, many years. The whole crazy family trots down to my parents house at Long Beach Island NJ and celebrates life, love, and most importantly, Gramma Torre's birthday. This year the little scamp turned 95, a date celebrated by her statement "I am so ready to go!".

I have heard her say this before of course, but this time, it was pretty final. No, dearest compassionate reader, she is still with us, hearty and hale, but what has fallen under the chopping block is the big Memorial Day Weekend celebration.

My parents are tired, my gramma is tired, and it is finally time to put this kid to bed. Its a crazy, crazy weekend, and we always have a blast, but enough is enough, and it is time to stop partying like a teenager, buckle down, and admit that we have beat this dead horse into the ground like an over zealous carny pounding the stakes for the big top.

Okay, who is writing this blog? Of course this isn't the end! Hang up my bang up? No way! Just like it is now up to my generation to shoulder mighty burdens and responsibilities, it is also
our responsibility to take the fun and exciting things that we like to do, and continue to do them, bigger, better and more good naturedly self destructively than ever before! How can I possibly get through a year without:

1. Being intergenerationally drunk at 9:30 a.m.
2. Actually talking to teenagers and finding out that I am still "Cool Cousin Robert"
3. All night all male cousins trip to Atlantic City
4. Sharing Hot bagels, hot coffee, and dvd cartoons with my cousins' children.
5. Buying gigantic sunglasses part in an effort to reinforce #2 and part to stare at bikini babelettes on the beach.
6. Needing a vacation from my vacation.

This tradition wil live on! Mothers, keep your sons and daughters locked up, for come MDWy2k7.....its all about the Cousins!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Technological lifespans...

I am outliving technology at a rapidly and increasingly disturbing rate. Many years ago, when we were first trying to get pregnant, my parents gave us a video casette recorder. It was an amazingly compact piece of equipment that we used once or twice, then left in the closet. I know where it is, but I imagine it is as outdated as last months' newspaper.

Unlike last months' newspaper, however, I have no idea how to recycle these fringe items of technology. It seems an anathema to just chuck an old laptop, computer, video camera, cell phone and now digital camera out on the curb. Is it just me? I have thousands of doallars (at time of purchase) worth of computerized whoodigy woodigy laying about The Estate Home, all gathering dust and completely obsolete. I woud do the eBay, but frequently the cost of shipping the item is going to be more than the "worth" of these items.

Yes, I have owned my camera for four years before getting the dreaded Canon E18 error mesage. I hear it wil cost more time and money to fix it then get a new one. My television remote control doesn't work on the television anymore, and thus we cannot put it on channel 3 to play dvds or videos. It isnt a problem with the remote, its a problem with the television itself. Off the television goes! Bye Bye!

So perhaps you can all come over to my house, hold my hand, and together we can load the station wagon up with all this "junk" and take it to the dump. I will be hard pressed, however to part with my top of the line laptop and desktop though.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Ah, the give and take.

I would like to think that the Goodely Wyfe and I have a successful marriage. July 4th we will celebrate, what, 8 years of this, and the future looks pretty bright. We have had our laughs, and also weathered our storms.

Eight may not sound like a long time, but it isn't like we have settled into a routine of mutual co-dependency or a comfortable rut that we can while away the years within. These first 8 years have been years of constant growth, constant change and constant adaptation to each other's changing personalities and interests.

The secret to our success, you ask? Well, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we don't really have all that much in common when it comes to our interests. On a fundamental level, we are very much the same, and see the world through similar lenses. What we choose to look at, howe'er, is a as different as midget vampires and the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.

That's right, dear reader, prepare to eat your hat with green eyed jealousy once you take fully into your cerebellum how I plan to spend my weekend. I am off to the land of wooly sheep, and sheepy wool. Ah, there may e'en be the rare llama, or perhaps a brace of alpaqua. Yes, dearest, dearest reader, this video game playing science fiction enthused djork loving cyber vampiric architect is off to the farm to take in the sights, sounds and dare I say smells of all that is the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.

"But Robert, for the love of the jumpin' Jeebus, why?!?", I can hear you ask, incredulous that this fantastical farm foray forms frivolity for folk. Why aren't you just whisking her off with some of her like minded friends to trip the yarn's fandango?

Well, the easy answer is that I love this woman with all my heart, and will do pretty much whatever she asks me to (boom chikka wa waa nonwithstanding), but more significantly, because this is something that she is interested in, and wants to include me in her joy. I am not going to look at yarn and sheep, no, I am going to look at yarn and sheep through her dazzling eyes, share in her wondrous smile, and feel her enthusiasm.

Hell, it beats mowing the lawn.

No, really. This is the give and take that may seem like a chore to some, but is an opportunity for growth and change in our relationship. All kidding aside, I am going with an open heart, a quizzitive mind, and hopefully the wonderment of a 7 year old. I intend to partake in free demos ('aven't gotten paid yet, don'cha' knew?), pet the sheep, llamas, etc., ask lots of questions, and will most likely end up with a t-shirt or mug or something, because to be honest, that logo is really cool.

Yes, I will be distracted, my mind will wander, and I will be grilling my share of fetching yarn spinning-maidens, but my main focus, my devotion, will be for the woman that was silly enough to decide that I was worth spending the entirety of her interesting and many faceted life with. Honestly, faced with the enormity of such a wonderful prospect, this really is the least I could do.

Baaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!