Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Worst Blind Date Ever

Dear Reddit: What is your worst blind date experience? (self.AskReddit)
submitted 1 hour ago by myonkin

I chatted a girl up online for about a week or so, and things went pretty well, so we decided to meet up. I asked her out for dinner, and said that if things went alright we'd go grab a drink.

Let's just say her photo didn't match her appearance. Her excuse was that she had a crazy ex that was stalking her, so she used her sister's photo and name. HER NAME!!! SHE LIED ABOUT HER NAME! Anyway, come to find out through our "interview" that she was an only child. She didn't catch her slip up, but I sure did. She rambled on and on and on about crap I really couldn't have cared less about.

Then came the food. The waitress may as well have brought it out in a trough, as this woman didn't use her utensils. Did I mention we were at a steak restaurant? That's right folks, she picked her steak up and ate it with her hands. Let's not even get into the potatoes. It was the worst date of my life.

Here was this fat, disgusting, uninteresting "thing" with no table manners, devouring her food in front of me. I couldn't eat my meal. I told her I wasn't feeling well and that I was just going to get my food in a box to go and I'd eat it later if I felt better. Her response: "Would you mind if I ate it?"

You would think this person hadn't eaten in a week, as she proceeded to devour my dinner as well. She ate both steaks, both sets of mashed potatoes, all the bread, everything.

The waitress comes over and says "Goodness. When is your due date?" So she says that she is due in 2 months. WTF?!?!? First off, I couldn't believe the waitress asked then, but then was floored at the girl's response. Unbelievable.

Being the gentleman that I am, I picked up the check because hey, it wasn't going to pay itself, and I'd much rather fit the bill for dinner than go to jail. I kindly said it was "nice to meet you" got in my car and went to the bar.

She followed me. She followed me to the bar, and when I got out of my car proceeded to berate me over why I was going out instead of going home. Now she's calling me a liar in the parking lot of the bar I frequent, and my work buddies are starting to roll in. I never heard the end of it. I said to hell with this crap, got in my car, and drove the hell home.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Nobody knows what they're doing here.

From Alex Noriega's Stuff No One Told Me blog, Stupid Things I've Done For Love.  I've done a couple of these.

The most important lesson I've learned about love is you shouldn't force yourself to change to be more compatible with someone.  I guess there's a caveat because sometimes relationships change us for the better.  Maybe I should say instead: You shouldn't force yourself to change for someone unless it's a change you're willing and capable of making.  The bad changes are the ambiguous ones we don't see coming.  The changes that slowly suffocate you, as you're forced to deny your feelings, compromise your values, spend less time doing things that make you happy, or otherwise give up the beautiful things that make you you.  We've all done stupid things for love, but losing your sense of self is the worst one.

The other side to this coin is you can't expect anyone else to change for you either.  Does it mean we need to lower our expectations?  Or learn to settle?  Should we give up on relationships sooner if we're feeling unsatisfied, and wait for someone better?  Is what you see really all you get?  Why do I sound like Carrie Bradshaw all of a sudden?

I know there's a difference between 'relationship wants' and 'relationship needs' and you can't assume anyone will be a perfect fit.  I'm still working on this.

Lately, I worry that being single for so long has made me completely autonomous and undateable.  I also worry that constantly judging men by the quality of their online dating profiles is making me really, really shallow.  What if I've already rejected the love of my life because he gained weight in his late 20s and his eyes are too close together?  

Creepy robots.

IEEE Spectrum put together a cool article called Who's Afraid of The Uncanny Valley, which is all about creepy humanoid robots, including a cool slideshow sowing some examples of particularly disturbing ones.

Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro is especially well-known for his creepy humanoids.

The term uncanny valley refers to this infographic, which was first published in 1970 (the colored examples were added by IEEE).  I don't know what it is, but I just love the term 'uncanny valley' and the graph itself.  I feel like I could stare at it for hours.

Here are some decidedly cute robots playing soccer, as part of the RoboCup competition.  I love it when they fall down!  Aww!

More robots playing soccer on YouTube.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

This week I've been housesitting for a friend who has a cute place in the San Roque area of Santa Barbara.  Great big kitchen, big yard, perfect for a BBQ!  So I hosted a big shindig last night, which morphed into a going away party for another friend of mine.  It was a cool mix of people.  Every time I host a party I'm reminded of how much I love hosting parties.  Selecting music, planning the menu, arranging the appetizer spreads, even cleaning up the next day.

Among the empties I found this morning was a bottle of Kraken Rum.  I love the logo & bottle a lot!

After my trip to Puerto Rico last year I've been more fond of rum drinks.  We had a mojito station at the party and people took turns bartending.  I wrote out a pretty standard recipe from Webtender for people to follow, but there were several modifications including using champagne instead of club soda, and adding muddled peaches.  I probably spent most of the night picking mint leaves out of my teeth, but it was worth it.
2-3 oz Light rum, Juice of 1 Lime (1 oz), 2 tsp Sugar, 2-4 Mint sprigs, Soda water
Mixing instructions:
Lightly muddle the mint and sugar with a splash of soda water in a mixing glass until the sugar dissolve and you smell the mint. Squeeze the lime into the glass, add rum and shake with ice. Strain over cracked ice in a highball glass. Top with soda water, garnish with mint sprig and serve.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Odd indeed.

Jennifer Hagy's Indexed recent comic, "See Also: The Engineering Department."

There's a saying among women in engineering that goes "The odds are good, but the goods are odd."  Which means that although you're surrounded by men in your classes and at work, they're not exactly the quality guys you want to date. You could say engineers aren't the most socially adept.  Think Book Smart But Socially Retarded.  Think Dilbert, as an example.

Most of my ex-boyfriends were engineers. Although we had a lot in common initially, the relationships always ended the same way: too much conflict, not enough romance, and months and months of simmering resentment. I decided I was through with engineers after the last one.  Then I dated a carpenter with a literature degree.  It was brief, but it was awesome.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why yes, I am PhD.

This personalized sidebar ad for PlentyOfFish cracks me up.  I guess you can't ask for proper grammar on a free dating site.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's complicated.

I made a friend laugh when I told her I wouldn't 'friend' a guy on Facebook even though I'd been dating him for several weeks.  Just because I'm sleeping with a guy doesn't mean I need to see his old vacation photos.  Or vice versa.  There's boundaries, right?

I learned the hard way how humiliating it is to break up with someone in person and then again on your shared social media networks.  In Facebook, as soon as you list yourself as 'no longer in a relationship,' the sidebar advertisements are asking, 'Want to win back your ex?'  It's insulting. But the really weird part is YOU CLICK ON IT.  Because YOU ARE SAD.

Okay, when I said 'you' just then?  I meant 'me.'

Spending the past two years basically single has taught me how annoyingly shameless some people are about their relationships.  It's hard out there for the broken hearted.  F-book is especially rife with reminders.

Take the relationship status for example, which now includes the anniversary option.

Even if you're not married, you can inform your social network the precise day you two hooked up.

Who wants to know this?  Nobody.

It gets me thinking about things I don't want to be thinking about.  Like, what day of the week was that?  Were you drunk? What exactly does your anniversary mean?  Was it the first time you (a) made-out, (b) fucked, or (c) the day you had a heart-to-heart discussion in which you mutually agreed you were officially a couple? I'm assuming it goes in that order. Sometimes (a) and (b) happens at the same time and (c) never happens at all.  How slutty are you, anyway?

Then there's the F-book wedding announcement.

Am I obligated to comment or 'Like' when someone in my network announces their marriage this way? Am I an asshole if I don't?  Don't get me started on F-book babies.  Let's just say I make good use of my news feed settings to remove some proud mommies.  (Though it's the serial complainers who were the first to go.)

Look, I don't mean to sound like a total hater.  I still believe F-book is useful.  I use it a lot to communicate with friends, but I also understand why some people are jumping ship and deleting their accounts for good.  It can get downright exasperating.  It sucks you in because you're bored at work and desperate and then it's information overload.

I put effort into making F-book more usable.  Besides blocking certain people from my news feed, I'm also slowly extracting details of my personal life from my profile and updating less.  Do the secretaries at work really need to see my 30th birthday pictures or that I self-identify as agnostic?  I'm still listed as 'Single' and 'Interested in Men,' only for the benefit of single men who happen to come across my page and happen to care.  I imagine that once I'm actually in a relationship, in real life, I will remove that too.  No 'In A Relationship,' just a blank field.  It's nobody's goddamn business, anyway.  Man, does that make me sound really old?

I can't imagine how aggravating F-book would be if I was still in high school, when I genuinely cared about people I didn't even like, and worse, cared very much what they thought of me.  Here are a few actual status updates from an actual 19-year-old girl upon listing herself as 'in a relationship.'
  • I just want you to know, i've found a reason for me to change who I used to be, a reason to start over new, and the reason is you 
  • work until 10....missing the boyfriend way too much 
  • I'm here without you baby, but you're still on my lonely mind, I think about you baby, and I dream about you all the time 
  • I wanna be your everything
  • oh baby I need you now 
Does she realize her aunts and uncles read this stuff?  The internet is forever, people!  Keep your pants on!

(Thanks, D. for the submission)


Found this amusing video about proper bike locking techniques from Cranky's Bikes blog, which is a local bike shop in downtown SB.

Hal Grades Your Bike Locking from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Brett Domino and his magic keytar

These guys are amazing. I don't really know what else to say. Just watch for yourself.

I also highly recommend:

Thanks again, Doobybrain.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Midsummer Ex Comedy

I was biking downtown this afternoon and spotted an ex-boyfriend.  My actual interior dialogue went something like:  'Oh shit... Was that him with his new girlfriend? Whatever. She's really tall. She probably has man hands and a huge vagina.'

I don't know if that's the kind of 'positive self-talk' my therapist was referring to, but I rode away smiling to myself. That counts for something, right? It makes me wonder though, if inside every insult comic is just a really really insecure person.

I first heard of "huge vaginas" from a great scene from a great show, "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Wouldn't you love your friends to trash-talk your ex straight to their face like this?

Larry David is amazing.  I assume you remember Seinfeld's Man Hands?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

These are not the fish I'm looking for.

I signed up for PlentyOfFish.com last night. It's another free online dating service. Unlike OkCupid, which is cute, well-designed and full of fun quizzes, PlentyOfFish is really basic. Very basic. And ugly. Very, very ugly. Jenky even.

Seriously, who designed this piece of crap website? It looks like it was made in the late 90's. It's covered in ads, there's too many fonts sizes and colors going on, there's even animated GIFs.

I can't bear to do a basic search because most of the profile picture thumbnails are displayed with the wrong resolution so they're all stretched or squished and so small you can't even tell what anyone looks like.  Is it so hard to crop a picture into a square?  It's a square.

Furthermore, are those fucking Jesus fish in the fucking logo??  Ugh.

I will keep my profile up and possibly read any messages I receive, but I'm not going to put any effort into this site. I just can't take it seriously. It feels really seedy. It's like trying to pick up a guy at a dive bar. When I say dive bar, I mean a real dive, like the kind in small desert towns, full of professional alcoholics and convicted child molesters.  Not a divey hipster bar in Echo Park full of hot guys in plaid and a chillwave DJ.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


@DerekHousman: When filling out a dating profile, where do I write asshole? Occupation? Hobbies? Religion?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Book smart but socially retarded

This is a great article posted in the Huffington Post last year: Why The Smartest People Have The Toughest Time Dating

Dr. Alex Benzer, who also wrote Tao of Dating, explains why overly-educated people aren't necessarily adept at romantic relationships. "In fact, the smarter you are, the more clueless you will be, and the more problems you're going to have in your dating life," he writes.  I'm thinking to myself, "No shit."  Have you even met an engineering student?

It may be understatement to say I 'identify' with his list of reasons why smart people are romantically unskilled.  But It makes me feel a little better to think that the reason I'm so retarded around men is NOT because I'm an inadequate lover or a failure, but rather, because I have achieved so much else in life.

I constantly wonder if I should remove the PhD lingo from my online dating profile.  I feel like 'grad student' doesn't sound so bad, but 'PhD' might be especially intimidating.  Especially a PhD in engineering.  Snooze alert! Who has two thumbs and advanced to candidacy? ...Fellas? Anyone?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How To Make Love

Fantastic spoken word about doing the deed.

Ganked this from @SaywardRebhal