Monday, November 29, 2010

Clearing the (hot) air

It's well past time to clear out the desk drawer, clean out the cupboard, empty the trash can, etc. etc. etc.

*I took a trip to up to Orlando to visit my half-sister for my Saturday after Thanksgiving Thanskgiving. First of all, I'd like to thank Arcade Fire for making my three-hour trip go by rather smoothly. I'm not good at long car drives. My back gets tight, as does my neck. My leg grows numb and uncomfortable, my throat gets dry, but that band made it all disappear.

*Signs that I'm no longer in librul South Florida. One: Signs off the road promoting Gator Jerky. Tempting, but no. I hear it is high in sodium. Two: Vultures. Real vultures devouring some carcass. Truly spooky. Three: Bumper stickers attacking the socialist dictator that is Barack Obama.

*My sister Karen is big into genealogy. She's tracked my family back to my great-grandparents on my father's side, almost getting to the Civil War era. Unfortunately, those rubes in the Azores and Ireland did not keep great records so that's where the search has stopped.

My dad's father, Harry Soares/Sears worked in construction in Providence and had two wives (who both died in child birth) before meeting my grandmother, Della Joyce. Having seen photos of my paternal grandmother, I was not surprised to learn she was popular with the men back in the day. She had five kids with Harry, my dad being the last one in 1932. My grandfather died a little more than a year after my dad war born.

Della Joyce died in 1984. I had no idea she was alive when I was born. My parents never talk about her. Apparently, she was a tough, Catholic woman who grew up in foster care, which back then was ten times worse than it is now.

*On the topic of grandparents, I remember my elementary school making us write essays about our grandparents every year. I also recall hating this because I never knew any of my grandparents and had to choose another random relative. So I was born in 1982. In 1984, my dad's mother died at age 83. The next year, my maternal grandfather died suddenly on Christmas Eve. My mom was pregnant at the time and gave birth two days later. In 1987, my mom's mother died on Christmas day, two months after my sister LeeAnne was born.

Obviously, I have little-to-hazy memories of my grandparents. Though some of my first memories is of the chaos surrounding my grandmother's death on Christmas. I may have been at the funeral. Very hazy. Still, years later, I hate my school for that grandparents' essay circus.

*My mother's family has Nova Scotia roots, so I'm a bit Canadian. Explains my adoration for Kiefer Sutherland.

*On Saturday I wanted to watch the entire Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game. I've gotten into college football this year more than in years past. The atmospheres at those games, even on TV, drip with intensity and/or insanity. Unfortunately, my evolution into an 80-year-old man is moving steadily along. I could not stay up past 9 p.m., and it was not the turkey. My work schedule has me going to bed before most grandparents.

*On the 'I'm secretly and 80-year-old man' topic, I'm noticing more muscle aches than ever before. I need to stretch before any sort of physical activity. Before playing basketball now, I feel the urge to put on 1980s shorts while wearing puffy white wrist bands and bad-ass goggles.

*It's one month before Christmas and I have no idea what to ask for. Something with Tom Brady's name on it? A blow-up doll? I need some ideas.

*Here's one. The lone rock radio station is no more. I turned to 93.1 the other day expecting some Nickleback and "52 minutes of rock" that somehow was always - and I mean ALWAYS - at commercial anytime I clicked in, only to find "White Christmas." In its place is a 24-hour Christmas song station. Station manager Jeff Schaible could not be reached for comment.

*Here in diverse, heavily over-populated South Florida, there is not ONE rock radio station on the FM dial. Very sad. I really do need to look into satellite radio.

*Speaking of my Thanksgiving, it was rather pathetic. I worked with one other guy for the most part in an empty, eerie office. If you watched the Pats-Lions game, you saw some of my handiwork. When they told you to vote for the Phil Simms' Iron Man of the game, I was the one who did the poll. Also, when they pointed you to our website to watch the Chris Henry feature (which was legitimately good), I was the one who created the package. I hope you noticed, but you were all probably watching Cranston East once again beat Cranston West. It's like Ohio State-Michigan now, in importance and in competition (or lackthereof).

*Then I went home and ate frozen pizza before taking a jog in a retirement community. A dream Thanksgiving if you ask me.

*Rolling Stone has been sending me their magazine for some reason. I did not subscribe, but I won't complain. They keep sending me warnings. This is your last issue! Then I receive the next one. OK, this is the last issue. Then another one. We really mean it this time! It's quite a game of chicken. Sooner or later, I will lose.

*Quality magazine. Matt Taibi is great. But are they contractually obligated to write glowing features on Robert Plant and Bruce Springsteen every issue? From reading this magazine, one would think these guys come out with an album a month. And Bruce could burp into a microphone and read a script from Outsourced and RS will call it the greatest rumination of American desolation and hopelessness since John Updike put pen to paper.

*Lastly, am I bad person if I look down upon people for the TV they watch? If you prefer Outsourced to 30 Rock, I'm sorry, but I will judge you for it. If you laugh uproariously to Mike & Molly but think Curb Your Enthusiasm sucks, then I will give you the credulous Sears squint of dissatisfaction. We all like a certain trashy TV show or two (I watched the entire first season of Joe Millionaire), but if all you watch is reality crap or staid sitcoms, my tortured, creative side will rain judgement down upon you.

It's a serious character flaw.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Emo warning

If the dating life of Steve Sears was a television show, it would be funnier than Outsourced, canceled faster than Lone Star and match the disappointment level of The Office.

(Seriously, that last episode of the Office was one of the worst they have ever had. I don't think I laughed once. I hate when Jim and Pam are clueless. And I HATE HATE HATE how they always bring Michael out of the Dunder Mifflin office so he can do something excruciatingly stupid in front of a lot of strangers. That whole deal in the bus was predictable and deliriously unfunny. And after an all-time classic that was the Halloween episode, this was just sad.)

Don't fret. I'm not here to rage an emo, Simple Plan diatribe on the tragedies of heterosexual interplay. But I am here to make a Bill Simmons style athletic comparison, which will come at the conclusion.

Let's start with Lady No. 1. Around the beginning of September she contacts me online. We email back and forth for a few days. Then she disappears. This has happened to me a zillion times, so I was completely immune to such abandonment.

A week or so later, she emails back with the ol' 'it's been crazy' excuse. Whatever. She gave me her cell phone number. I sent her a text the next morning. Little did I know what I had just started.

Mr. Z.C. Hoss-man was visiting from out of town, so for the first time in a long time, I was going to be busy. So Lady No. 1 embarks on a torrid texting binge. "What's up?" every morning. Asking for status updates every two hours.

I played along as much as I could, considering I still had a flip cell phone and T9 texting. It takes ten minutes to say "hello" on those things. (I've since upgraded.) I told her as much, while also explaining I had a friend in town so it might take me a while to answer back. By 'a while,' I meant several hours. Keep in mind, I've been forced to wait days and weeks for responses. She apologized but didn't stop the mass deluge.

When I did respond, I'd get passive-aggressive answers, like "Nice to hear from you. Been a while."

Anyway, once the visitor left this humble state, Lady No. 1 and I set up a meeting in Boca Raton on a Monday. Time and place were all agreed upon the Saturday before. So I did not message her from that Saturday night through Monday. I drove up to Boca, found the bar and watched Saints-49ers alone while I waited.

Thirty minutes late and still alone, I texted her to see what was up. She answered back, "You didn't message me at all today so I figured you blew me off." I read it, smirked a defeated smirk, and immediately deleted her from my phone.

To recap, I blew her off by not keeping contact over the span of two days and not confirming something we had already confirmed. But she ignored me for seven says and that's OK. I'm a terrible person for not responding to 25 texts within minutes, she can wait a week.

Now on to Lady No. 2, which is a much more recent tale of woe. We started talking in late September. Same song-and-dance for a few days until -- POOF! -- she disappeared. I'm like Harry Houdini in this shit. I'm a paper shredder and they are ENRON financial documents. (Timely reference.)

Right before I'm to leave for my sister's wedding, she emails me. "Sorry it's been a wild week. I wasn't ignoring you ." OK, I'm forgiving (and not exactly full with other options.) So we message intermittently and set up a date for a Sunday, conveniently during the Pats bye week. What happens? She cancels the morning of.

Then I don't hear back from her for more than a week. I wonder what I possibly could have done the entire time. I didn't even get the chance to un-impress her in person. So, a few Saturdays ago I message her out of the blue just wondering what's up and actually get a response. We end up setting up another date, which she cancels again.

By this point, I'm getting the message, but I forge ahead anyway because I'm a putz. We try a third time, she cancels a third time. Then uncancels. We finally get together last Wednesday. It goes pretty well, but as I've learned the past two years, what I think means squat. It always takes me a while to get comfortable with people, so I don't expect some lame Jennifer Lopez movie moment when the leads lock eyes, the camera turns into a cloudy dream and soothing musics soars through the speakers. So yeah, I have a little wall around me when it comes to strangers. That's just how I am and have always been. I pretty much refused to talk at first to the kid who would become one of my best friend in Cranston. My two longtime college roommates can tell you their first impressions of me weren't great.

Having such a problem in the dating world is like a batter going to the majors who can't hit any pitches over 70 miles per hour and can't touch a curveball. Not good. The conversation goes pretty well, but not without some momentary awkward silences. Mind you, I had another date that went for four hours of almost non-stop spirted talk, and she still told me to take a hike a few days later. Anyway, it went pretty good. I waiting two days, called, left a message and hung up the phone knowing the battle was lost.

Again, I read the tea leaves a while back and still went through the motions. You never know, but it's been more than 24 hours without a response. I let her dick me around for four weeks and for what? Some sushi in Boca. The thing is, I always knew it was ending this way. After cancellation No. 2 I should have just scrapped the whole thing. I just KNEW the ending would suck, like any Mets fan feels in April.

If there was a scouting report on me for these first meet-ups, I don't know what it would say. At this point, I can't think about these nights rationally. I do know the first few days after these dates where I spend most of my waking hours thinking how I screwed this or that up are no fun at all. It's like being on Death Row. You know the end is near and you just want it to come already, and in the meantime you have nothing to think about besides your mistakes.

This brings me to my Bill Simmons moment. If I were a terrible Red Sox shortstop, who would I be? Nick A. Green? Nah, he had his moments. Edgar Renteria? He was awful in Boston, but obviously remembers how to play when he's on other teams. Julio Lugo? He was an affront to baseball, but he also has a ring. He'd be like Turtle from Entourage, who gets women only because he knows Vincent Chase.

So the only conclusion ... Cesar Crespo. A second baseman by nature, he played some shortstop in his Red Sox days. He batted a sparkling .165 in 52 games in the early part of 2004. An absolute black hole in the lineup. A testament to futility. (He also got a ring in 2004, but then again, who didn't?)

It's all fitting. Crespo is one of my favorite random Red Sox players of all time, along with Arquimedez Pozo, Reggie Jefferson, Jeff Frye, Tim Naehring and Jim Corsi. Quality company, I would say.

And I would take some serious 'roids if it meant I could hit .165.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Grinch

It should be well known I am a Halloween Grinch. I don't like dressing up. I did it as a kid because that is what society expected of me. And also, I wanted free candy.

Now I am an adult with a salary in the multiples of thousands and can purchase candy of my own volition.

Still, I don't want to deprive the little children out there some candy from a stranger. So it was with great shame that I had to ignore the knocks on my apartment door this Halloween.

Let me explain.

I've purchased candy a couple years here and never got one - not one - trick-or-treater. As a result, my abode was bereft of candy. Of course, precocious little children had to knock on my door this time, all excited to get some treats.

Me? I had to sit inside, mute the TV and sit in shame. Also, I had to root for the Pats silently on their final, game-winning drive. It was quite sad. Not cry sad, pathetic sad.

Thankfully, the apartment across the hall helped me out by graciously handing out some goodies.

All the while, the Halloween Grinch sat silent in his little cave.

P.S. Who told you the Giants were going to win the World Series??? I think you know the answer.