Stupid Arguments

In recent years, thanks to a lot of very frank conversations with my wife I have found out a little more about the relationship dance. Often times it is not the action that is important, it is the intent and how you communicate that intent. We don’t have to always guess exactly what our significant other wants, we just have to want to make them feel special.

One of the most famous arguments, and to me most frustrating is “What are we going to have for dinner?” We have tried so many different ways of settling that dumb argument, but in the end as long as I continue to be both flexible, loving and not frustrated with her inability to just know what she wants (or me guess what she wants before she knows it herself) we are O.K.

I am the master of taking things personal. Using that same example I would see it as a competition. Hey I am “better” because I will eat whatever, I am the flexible one, I win. In reality I was not being the best I husband I could be in that situation. I could have been providing choices and enjoying the whole experience of picking something together. I could have been decisive and say, this is what I want tonight, or I really have a taste for this. Instead many times I would just trow my arms up in frustration and just give up. Dumb right? But so are any arguments when communication breaks down.

I am a firm believer that we all have pressure valves. We never argued about much, but for a bit we seemed to argue about that dinner thing a lot. That was a way for us to get frustration out. There are more constructive ways of course, but nobody is perfect.

Everyone talks about communication but nobody really tells you what it means. I have a simple formula for it.

If there is anything that you tell a friend and you end with the sentence “but I cannot tell X to Y because they will get mad, or won’t understand, or never listen,” then you are not communicating.

We all seem to get into this routine of thinking we know a person completely and know their reactions to everything. It is almost like we are in a game show like the newlywed and lose if we don’t know all the answers.

Guess what, though? That’s wrong! The best part about a relationship is having the room for the other person to surprise you. Hey you might have been married to them forever and they hate spicy food, but then maybe the one hundred time you ask they might be like, “you know what, let me give it a go.”

I am not saying that you should push every button that you know the other person does not like. I am saying don’t always assume the same response, don’t always try to guess what they would say. You may know them well and know 90% of the responses and be right… but what about that other 10%. That is what communication is about. Letting yourself be surprised by that 10% that is different from the same response as always.

I have done things in life that I never though I would. I am learning things about myself every day. A lot of it thanks to my wife. Are we perfect? No way. We still have our communication problems. I think is important to keep on asking questions, never thinking we know everything about each other. That keeps it fun, keeps it fresh.

Most important of all, make sure that you do communicate those things you think you can’t. Make sure it is at the right time and in the right setting, but say them. Your partner in life should be that person that you can share everything with. If you don’t feel you can, there is something wrong and it should be addressed.

Trust me, you will have a way happier relationship if you ask what the other person is feeling or thinking instead of assuming you always know.

The Day Has Come

F@ck ME!

So, for a long time I’ve had the feeling that knowing as many people as I do would get out of hand. I knew I would eventually forget who someone is and where I know them from. That has happened a lot since I turned 30 and having lived in 3 different states and all. 90% of the time they are from the motorcycle scene but I can place them pretty quickly even if I don’t remember their name.

Today was the ultimate though. On the elevator on my way down to lunch I went in with a couple of people. I recognized the voice of one of them. I know him from somewhere, but cannot remember from where. I remember the voice, I remember the face, but I cannot place him at all. Don’t know his name, don’t know exactly if it was from college days, consulting days… NO FREAKING CLUE!

Besides the fact that I feel old, not XO old, but still old… I have the tingling sensation that we would see each other a lot. We work on the same floor and even though it is different departments, I see people from that department all the time.

We did not get a chance to talk but he did recognize me and said, hey we should catch up. F@CK.

He was going to lunch with one of the “stoic Eastern European” people that work here. You cannot read them, they never smile… so I don’t have any way of getting information on what he does for the company.

I have pictures from our graduation and he was not in there, I know each one of the people there… including the guy that we never learned his name but we just called him Jeff.

Getting old sucks. I remember his voice clearly though, so it has to be someone that I spent time with either in class or at work. My brain just simply can’t place him.

The only other good thing is that he could be a friend of a friend or something. WHY CAN’T I REMEMBER?

Female to Male no Communication

I guess I will start with a disclaimer. What I say might come off as sexist, stupid or just plain wrong; but this is simply a brain dump from a couple of conversations and situations I have been dealing with lately. While some of it might also be related to my relationship with my wife, it is actually like 3 situations lately (from different couples) that has lead me to post this. I am hoping this is helpful to someone… and not just infuriating to the females that read this post.

The joke goes, there was a guy that figured out what women wanted… so what happened to him? He died laughing.

All joking aside, I have often said the following about women.

“Women want you to know what they want; not guess, but know. They will not tell you what they want because the moment they tell you, they don’t want it anymore.”

That sounds foreign to any male that reads it. Most of us don’t get that. We are almost not capable or rationalizing how someone can expect something without it being communicated. The female counterpart sees it completely different, they think their behavior, past experiences, Hollywood cheesy moves and “knowing” them should have made their wants completely clear to us, we are just too dumb to pick up on the “hints.”

I used to go crazy over that. I really did. It made no sense to me. So how do you fit a square peg into a round hole?

It turns out that most of the time it is delivery. How you deal with the situation might eventually make you seem pro at the game of life.

Women don’t necessarily want us to be able to forecast their every need… well at least the sensible ones. They want us to be able and willing to do those things out of our own accord and not because they asked us for them.

The first step is to discover how your significant other receives love. Is it gifts, is it words, is it physical affection, is it displays of compassion? What makes you endearing to them. Then do that often and not because you know they like it but because you enjoy doing it.

Let’s take getting flowers. If your woman loves flowers, enjoy the process. Get her flowers that mean something to her, or surprise her by getting her something in a color she likes. Maybe a flower that reminds her of a past trip or a past dinner. Maybe a flower that has an additional meaning or a little story. Being romantic is really not that complicated, just show some interest in the process and not just concentrate on the result.

The male is simple, we want food and sex. For the female it is way different. It goes beyond the physical fact that foreplay might prepare that area for action.

Sex to a woman is the cherry on top the ice cream, the ice cream is the dinner, or the phone call early in the day saying “Hey let’s get it on tonight.” To a guy, sex is the ice cream, the main event. We could give two craps about the cherry most of the time.

Finding that middle ground makes relationships a sundae or a banana split, LOL. Not making the effort in a relationship makes every time feel like you are eating McD’s soft serve.

I am not an expert, but I do think it is important to communicate. And well, this brain dump is what has helped me the most. I hope some of this helps others too navigate the weird dance that relationships can be.

Anime Introduction Guide

During my last visit to KC one of the many conversations that sprouted amongst people there was about anime. I love the fact that I have friends from so many backgrounds and with awesome hobbies. I was an anime freak at some point, and even thought I still follow one religiously (I watch it about an hour after it is released in Japan sometimes) I don’t participate in the community as much as I used to. I was at one time the Anime Society of Kansas City webmaster… but I was a horrible webmaster after I moved to Chicago so my friend Tim took the job over.

During the conversation my BFF asked what he should watch… and well, that is like asking a librarian what is her favorite book. But I promised to take on the task of putting together a little introduction to anime for those that don’t even know where to start. So this will be half introduction to anime, half pissing off anime fans because not only are they out there, they will think I am so wrong for recommending X or Y… you will see.

Before we get into recommendations lets talk a little about anime. Animation in Japan is a little different than in the rest of the world. Anime and Manga(comics) are consumed beyond the youth and into adulthood. While most kids stop reading comics at one point or another in their lives, Japanese animation continue well beyond that. That brings us to something you need to stay away from which is Hentai. A first time anime watcher can be discouraged from watching further anime because they encounter a movie that is geared towards adults with their own fetish. So basically people might expect skinemax level of entertainment and they end up with a very specific animated snuff film. It is like asking a person getting back into reading for pleasure to read Dante’s Inferno. When you are starting out on anime, don’t try to explore the adult world of animation first. I think you should learn a little more about the medium before you are grossed out by some monster with many many tentacles.

Now that we got out of the way, since most anime is geared towards an adult audience, it does not mean that all anime is XXX either. There are animated things for children, a lot of them will have adult themes. Furthermore there are animation geared towards boys or girls. That is probably one of the biggest differences we see, because even though a lot of comic fans continue into adolescence, there is really not much of a market for girls here in the U.S.

I could post a lot more about this subject, but I just wanted to give a little background as to what I was going to present. I am also going to cheat quite a bit and leave out anything that you would have to consume subbed. Not too long ago it was very challenging to get some series dubbed, and to purist it is almost sacrilege to present anime to someone in a dubbed form. Eventually if you fall in love with some anime I do recommend it watching it with the original voice acting, but to start out I think only looking at dubbed is fine. *Disclaimer* most of the ones I will recommend are my personal favorites. If you have better options, just leave a comment, don’t discredit my choices, just give yours :P

I am also picking films or series that are easy to find on streaming services or rental.

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Ghost in the Shell – Action – Sci-Fi

This film can be consumed in one afternoon. While I already loved anime before watching this, this one really cemented anime in my brain as entertainment beyond kid stuff. It showed me that animated films could have not just depth, but also deal with adult themes. A fun fact is that The Matrix owes a lot of its style and visual feel to the film.

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Rurouni Kenshin – Samurai

This is a series that will captivate you from beginning to end. The cool part about this anime is that even though it is turn of the century and very serious at times, it also gets goofy from time to time. There is a movie series associated with it called Samurai X which is a little drier than the anime, but still excellent. Its turn of the century Japan and the adventures of a Samurai that does not want to kill anymore. Along with it is a love story and tons of interesting characters. I find it to be a great introduction to anime because while not completely formulaic you can start to see the themes that are often used for a series.

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Full Metal Alchemist – Fantasy

I know that “brotherhood is out” however I love the original. The story of two brothers is told through their adventures as they deal with an ever changing world. Lots of mystery and fantasy mixed with loyalty and love for family. A great series that is not as long as Kenshin, but just as enjoyable.

Last but not least is, addict the special woman in your life to anime.

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Fruits Basket – Romance

While the series is a very girly series, it still has its moments of action. The story is good around a girl in distress and the Chinese zodiac curse. Lovable characters, easy to watch. I don’t like to talk about it much because it is so much more fun to discover things as you watch it.

Monday Ramble

- Today does not feel like a Monday.
- It feels more like a really weird Wednesday.
- I think a lot of people took the day off.
- The weekend seemed to have gone by way too fast.
- Trying another Indian Restaurant failed again.
- The bar is maybe set too high from our favorite place back in KC.
- I keep on saying that its the service, but that is not true.
- Food should not make you sick after you eat it.
- We are spoiled having a Colombian bakery to make up for bad food.
- Old posts seem to be getting comments lately.
- I want to revisit some of those posts.
- I make tons of simple mistakes when writing because I write too fast.
- I try to edit every post before I hit publish.
- If i edited everything to perfection I would never post anything.
- I actually have a day off mid week!
- Looking forward to the break in the middle of the week.
- I never realized how much I miss my good dentist in Michigan.
- At least we found an awesome ophthalmologist.
- KU graduate nonetheless.
- I did not set an alarm for this morning and still woke up in time.
- I went to bed kind of late too.
- I am still concerned that we might have to pay for the nice weather.
- I love being able to feel the sun on my face in the morning.
- I have not listened to podcasts in a couple of weeks.
- I guess it is time to start my podcast with DeGuia then.
- Thanks to him I am reading The Game of Thrones.
- So far so good.
- The Hunger Games movies comes out in March.
- My little niece wants to see it.
- It is interesting that she is old enough to enjoy things I like.
- She had no clue who Madonna was.
- We got into an e-mail war over Lady Gaga > Madonna.
- Madonna is def the chicken with Lady Gaga being the egg.
- Per DeGuia, Lil Kim is the chicken, Nicky (Manige?) is the egg.
- The older I get the more I like some country pop music.
- Dam you DeGuia, I also love me some Rockabilly.
- Nuke and I agree that youth is wasted on the young.

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