Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Seasons Greetings Joey Style (2008)

Happy New Years friends and casual readers! I normally start off this annual tradition with "Ho Ho Ho Holy Shit!" but I think it is time to retire that line, you can make your peace with that decision privately with copious amounts of "X-mas Cheer". So what has 2008 meant for me, for you, for all of us? In one word: Change. While trying to resist the urge to quote political slogans, it was an evolutionary year for myself, my circle, and the country. Lets begin...

[Thanks]

I usually throw out thanks to people who have helped me throughout the year and sometimes I feel like that is all people are getting from this little love note: I curbed it last year and it chomped me on the ass. Let them have cake:
* Thanks to my wife for marrying me
* Thanks to my parents and Allison's parents for making the wedding as stress free as possible. Weddings can be the source that start years of family strife, our parents could not have been any more supportive to us or each other, and I am glad everyone still likes each other.
* Thank you to my wedding party (Rob, Andrea, Bill, Amelia, Steve, Adriana, Anthony, Clara, Nate, Theresa, Sean, Amy, George, Ashley, Vince, and Kate); weddings are a total pain in the ass, and you all were great.
* Thank you to my cousin Anthony for coming over here and helping me fix and improve my house (I miss man day!)
* Thank you to Paul and Aimee Vedar; you two were our go-to friends the whole year, filling our house with company and laughter
* Thank you to Jack and Lorraine for guiding me through my big house purchases throughout the year and always making me feel good about what I did. PS - Jack thanks for singing at the wedding,

Lets face it, there are so many of you the helped us this year that this list can go on for pages. If you are reading this, you know me, and that means I am genuinely thankful that you are a part of my life.

[Personal Changes]

I got married this year and have owned a home for a full year. On the marriage front, honestly nothing has changed for us. We still enjoy each other 99% of the time and on that 1% - it something to laugh about an hour later. Marriage and relationships are what you make of it, and its been smooth sailing (all jinxing aside).

The house: This house has been a joy. Sure there has been a few accidental leaks, a drafty window or two, but overall, nothing major. Lets hope I find someone to redo the deck in 2009 (anybody know anybody???)

Career: I enjoy my job and hope like all of us, that the economy doesn't change that.

[Growth]

I am going to be 30 years old in 2009 which means that (if I am lucky only) one third of my life is over. This isn't a morbid thought, I have lived the way I wanted and I have goals that are keeping me going. When I reflect on some of the conversations I have had this year a common theme has sprung up: "I don't know what I want to do with my life".

I want to take a moment to address this concern coming from the almost 30 crowd:

Your life is happening every fucking moment. Your life is happening right now. A job does not define you as a person. Should you have a career? Absolutely. But if you don't have your dream job, you have 16 more hours in a day to define what your life is. If you are happy sitting on a couch watching TV when you get home and on the weekends, that is totally fine. If you don't like your lot in life and are just complaining about it (for years)...do something about it, and that starts with surgically removing the couch from your ass.

I am going to introduce a rude awakening to 30 somethings...
* We aren't young anymore
* Not being able to make decisions isn't cute, it is a sign of weakness and failure
* Think about what our parents were doing at 30 and try not to shoot yourself

Sorry to harsh the year end happy buzz. This has been brewing for a while and I feel that it needed to be said and this definitely was the place to do it.

[The Fall of America?]

I keep noticing more articles and books about how America is going to fail and how "it is over" and all I can say is "HUH?". I don't think the exiting administration did us any favors (I certainly was not a fan) and I am really unsure about how the new one is going to dig us out but... We are America. We are the people who buy the SUVs, the flat screen TVs, the McMansions on 45,000 a year salaries. Are we hurting right now? Yes. Are we going to roll over and die? Hell no. People need to feel the pain before the true change comes.

Energy

Don't get suckered by the tricks that are happening right now. Gas prices are low, but they won't be forever. Fuel and energy continue to be massive concerns and we shouldn't let up because somebody got us a 12 month reprieve. The automotive industry is hurting because they failed to innovate and bought their way out of a problem instead of fixing it. Lobbyist will only get you so far but you can't keep sweeping shit under the carpet, eventually you will have a shit pile.

This guy doesn't have all the answers, and he is looking out for himself first, but it is a good start:


Also, why aren't we doing this more: Fuel from Trash

Media

Our government failed us by allowing the American media system to be bought wholesale. How can a handful of men control all forms of news and print media in this country. There WERE laws against that. Now they create talking heads filling up hours of programming contradicting each other offering ungodly amounts of useless information. The true educators and visionaries are decried as wackos. In these dark times, think about how you get your news, think about who is controlling the mediums in which you get it. When Rupert Murdoch owns all the newspapers, tv stations, radios stations, and is trying to buy up as much internet properties as he can, can you be sure of the truth? With the death of the newspaper comes the death of true journalism. The internet may be freedom, but it doesn't have quality, ethics, and style. Hopefully it will be given time to mature before FOX buys up the whole WWW including the service providers (so they can block "undesirable content" from the main pipe).



If you can't get good information, you can't make good decisions. Any country is a collection of ideas, ideals, wealth, and people, along the way something is bound to go bad, but that is when you throw it in the trash and throw down a little baking soda.

[Challenge]

I am going to throw this out there. If you have been putting off taking up a hobby or learning a skill, do it in 2009. Don't wait. In 2008 I wanted to learn to be a real guitar player, I found a good teacher and took lessons, it was a lot harder than I thought but I keep going, embracing the failure. I also wanted to write more which is why I will always do a Sunday Leftovers in addition to whatever other inspiration I have (you can read it all at here), these things make ME happy. I feel like they are making my brain better and I will keep doing it for ME (If you enjoy my rants, awesome).

If you don't have any goals or new things you want to learn, volunteer. If you are too scared to start yourself, call me, I will go with you. The point of this challenge is that in order for something to happen to you, you need to do something, anything.

Also - I am announcing in 2009 The First Annual "La Macelleria Film Festival". Everyone is welcome to submit a short movie on any subject they like, the films will be premiered at the film festival which will be at my house at the JoeBQ in May 2009 at 8 PM (or whenever it gets dark enough to fire up the projector).


La Macelleria Official Web Site

[Closing Thoughts]

2008 has been a hallmark year for me. House, marriage, and thankfully no baby carriage (Happy Not-A-Father's Day). Moving into 2009, I plan to continue to work on being a better person as I think we all should. Nobody is perfect but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to reach perfection.



I am sure some of you reading this have big decisions coming up: Marriage, Break-ups, Houses, Children, Second Child, Career Changes. Breathe. Whatever you do, so it with respect to the people impacted by those decisions, do it with grace, and do it with fucking style.

Its easy to forget to think about what we are doing and why we are doing it. We live in a world where decisions and answers need to be made immediately; resist those demands. Going back to what I said earlier about not being able to make decisions, I want to add that you have to make good ones. I have said this before: Everybody knows that the right thing to do, we just choose not to listen to ourselves. Start listening.

When I was younger, my cousin Anthony used to "kidnap" me and we would spend the day playing video games at his mother's house. He used to have a printed sign on the door that connected his room to his sisters, it said "Don't Be Average". It always stuck in my mind, to try to do better than I thought I could. Over the years, I have used the line and have gotten shit (hi Drew) but I am saying it again... "Don't Be Average". When everyone is satisfied with just seeing the mountains, they never even bother to look at the stars.

I hope 2009 is better than anyone expected. I hope everyone is happy and healthy. I hope you do something to make yourself a little bit better than the year before.

Happy New Year
Love,
Joey


Bars & Tones from André F. Chocron on Vimeo.



[The best way to read this blog is at Joey's Blog]

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 07

Clear out all those X-mas leftovers friends, New Years is coming and you have old stinky milk. Welcome to this weeks Sunday Leftovers. It truly is a leftovers kind of day; my fridge is full of mashed potatoes, stromboli, eggplant parm, cheese, eggnog, and a variety of other things I should not be eating. Don't unbuckle your pants this week, its going to be a short one...

[X-Mas Eve]

For the first time I had my family and some of Allion's family together for the holidays, all at our place. I think it went very well, and I loved that everyone who came was able to make it. It was a nice mix of family and friends and I thought everyone mingled well. The house was packed with people, food, and booze. On a personal note, I was exhausted. It was unusually warm Wednesday night and my house 75 degrees with the windows open, with the oven on and me running around serving, taking out trash, and cleaning up after a 2 year old that likes to throw chocolate chips and a bearded scot that was encouraging him, I was a sweating mess. It took me two days to recover.

Would I do it all over again?

Absolutely - It was really nice to have a full house on X-mas Eve again, it remimded me of the old days at my Grandfathers'.

(I will just let me Mom cook EVERYTHING next time).

[X-Mas]

For the first time in years, I felt like I didn't get too crazy with the holiday. For most of my close relations, we just agreed to go out and enjoy each others company instead of filling up each others houses with stuff. It worked out well. I have to be honest with you, even though this was my first full X-mas in my house, I didn't get into the holiday spirit. The older I get, the more I think the whole thing is bullshit (the commercial and religious aspect of all the bundled holidays). When I have kids, I will change my tune to make sure they are happy, because X-mas is for kids, and for the adults, lets just enjoy the kids being happy.

That's all I need to say on that.

[Thai Food]

The holidays means getting together with your friends (which is my favorite part of the whole ordeal), this past Friday we went to my favorite Thai restaurant in Voorhees, NJ. I have been meaning to do a little write up on these guys for a while, and now is a good time. Som Sak on Whitehorse Rd is fantastic. I have been going there at least three times a month for the last few years (at one point it was almost every day). I don't have to even order anymore, the ladies see me and they just know what I want. They are the NICEST people and the thai food is outstanding. I have had the so called best in Philly... it tastes like trash compared to Som Sak.

We had a party of 8 on Friday and I called that morning to get it set up (the building isn't very big, so a party of 8 is a pain in the ass for them) - they just said no problem and got it done. As I said in other food reviews, don't take my word, go there and check it out - I have NEVER had a bad meal.

Som Sak
Echo Shopping Center
200 White Horse Rd.
Voorhees, NJ 08043
856.782.1771

[Weekly Rant: How to have class]

I am going to watch how I say this rant because this isn't my business, but it pissed me off none the less. I tried to write it out a few different ways, so I will come out with the simple truth: If you find yourself needing to end a romantic relationship, don't take the easy way out either over the phone or via text message, do it in person, give the person honest reasons and just have a little fucking class. Especially over the holidays. Especially if you are older than 21.

That is all.


[Conclusions]

Thanks for reading this week, please check back on the blog in a few days for Joey's year end post. I would like to leave you this week with an old school Ryan Adams song, it just seemed fitting....



For those on Facebook (I hate that it doesn't embedded)
Click Here

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 06

Howdy true be-loggers! Only a few days to go before X-mas, what shall we talk about this week to ensure we are staying on Santa's Good-List? Well I know one sure fire way to get on his good side... booze. We'll get to that a little later on.

[Ryan Adams & The Cardinals @ Camden, NJ]

On Friday December 19th Ryan Adams and the Cardinals played whatever the hell they are calling the Camden entertainment center today. I didn't catch the name of the opening act and it doesn't matter. The guy had a good voice and was an excellent guitar player, but his songs didn't go anywhere and he repeating himself alot. Moving on...

The crew got the Cardinals on the stage fast and for that they have my thanks. The boys stuck to their new material for the most part. The show opened with "Cobwebs" off the new album Cardinology. Most the new album got the live treatment. The highest compliment I can pay the band is that the songs sounded even better live. Ryan was LOUD on Friday and in between songs he fucked with the audience in his usual self-deprecating style. In his head, most of the people were there to see Oasis and kept counting down the songs until the brits were onstage. My favorite part of the night was a full on Cardinals version of one of Adams' older songs "Come Pick Me Up". The slide guitar player John Graboff is so good. He turns great songs into prue emotion.

Once The Cardinals left the stage, Allison and I got the hell out of there - no interest in seeing the Brits.

Thank you Ryan Adams for another great concert.


"SHOWTIME......" a documentary by RA from Wilson Wolf on Vimeo.

[Jose Pistolas]

On Wednesday afternoon, I asked Drew and Paul to go to a bar after work. Lately, my bar of choice has been Jose Pistolas. Its a beer bar and a damn fine one at that. The food is good and the service is with a smile. Before we got there, Drew was busting my balls about how I enjoy the owner/bartender Casey. Its true, I think he is a cool guy, but in defense of my bromance, he IS a cool guy. Drew was really on me; when we finally got there, Casey wasn't in yet. We had some beers (11% and kicking my ass). Eventually Casey showed up and it turns out that Drew and Casey are from the same home town. Well... suddenly the bromance moved on without me and Drew was all over this dude. I guess you have to keep tight with the home town crew...

Casey invited us to come in on Saturday for a beer tasting. Paul and I packed up the wives and took Casey up on his offer. We had several Christmas ales. My favorite was Troeg's Mad Elf, and I suggest you go out and try some (don't drive).

This place is by far my favorite bar and I suggest you all check it out, but not too much, because I don't want you taking my damn seat.

Jose Pistolas

[Casona]

After a nice afternoon at Jose Pistolas, the gang meet up with Kamran and Hiro and did dinner at Casona. Casona is a great Cuban restaurant in Collingswood, NJ. Allison and I have been going there for over a year and we have never had a bad meal. For those of you who swear by Alma de Cuba or Cuba Libre, try Casona: Its much better than both of those places.

Casona

[Tis the Season]

Thanks to the market meltdown, a staple in my gift giving arsenal has been retired: the gift certificate. Its impersonal and becoming more and more useless with all these companies going under. Cash is King. Amen.

[Egg Nog]

I am going to attempt to make this on Christmas Eve, I figured I would share:



[Conclusion]

Alright kids, thats all I got this week. Merry X-mas!
- Joey

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 05

Howdy True Be-loggers! Welcome to Sunday Leftovers. This week we will discuss The Felice Brothers, Don Rickles, I will be introducing a new feature called the Recipe of the Week, and whatever other random pieces of information I see fit to share.

[Music: The Felice Brothers]

The end of the year inevitably brings "Best of" lists. I don't know if it is becoming more frequent or I have become less tolerable of the list concept and its overuse, either way, I don't like them. I have been bombared the last two weeks and I have disagreed greatly with all of them...however, Aquarium Drunkard's blog turned me on to a band called "The Felice Brothers". They aren't perfect but damn it, they are pretty good. It is very hard to avoid thinking about The Band when I listen to them, but I think The Band is fantastic, so here is hoping these kids keep it together and keep getting better.



[Books: Rickles' Book]

Don Rickles provided me with some light entertainment this week. I picked up "Rickles' Book" at the library this week. I like Don Rickles and I think he is quite funny, but this book was phoned in. Rickles lived with his dear mother well into his mid-thirties (perhaps 40s), he overshadows this point by cracking jokes about how hard it was for him to find women to hook up with in the backseat of a car between shows, but I would really like to know why a successful comic never moved out. And when he finally got married, he moved right next door to his mother.

With his tame homelife, how did Rickles develop the cutting style he became famous for? He doesn't really say. He makes it seem like it happened by accident, but there has to be something deeper. The book, like many autobiographies by famous people who can't write, was written in short chapter form. It leaves you wanting more because each chapter feels like there is something left out.

Here is Rickles in his more talented line of work:



[The Universe]

Scientists seem to think that our galaxy might be much older than they originally thought. Instead of the expanding and contracting theory, there are some cicles thinking that the universe dies and then is reborn from the materials left behind.

Read the full articles:
http://io9.com/5108892/our-universe-may-have-been-recycled-from-an-earlier-universe

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026861.500-did-our-cosmos-exist-before-the-big-bang.html?page=1

So the next time you need to expand your universe, maybe you need to think about killing your current one.

[Recipe of the Week]

White Bean and Sausage Chili
Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 lb hot Italian fennel sausage links

1 tbsp olive oil

5 oz pancetta, diced

1 large yellow onion, diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 cups dry cannellini beans, rinsed


Spice mix:

1 tbsp finely chopped oregano leaves

2 tsp red-pepper flakes

2 qts (8 cups) chicken stock

coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste


Garnish:

sour cream

½ cup green onions, cut into long strips

½ cup fried leeks*


Method

Film a large stock pot with vegetable oil and place over moderately high heat. Brown sausage on all sides. Reduce heat to low and cook through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove sausage from pan and cool. Discard grease. In the same pan, add olive oil and pancetta. Render pancetta over low heat until crisp, about seven to nine minutes. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, five to six minutes. Add garlic and sauté until golden, about three minutes. Add remaining ingredients, increase heat, and bring to a boil. Dice reserved sausage and return to chili mixture. Lower heat and simmer until beans are tender, at least 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve each bowl of chili with a dollop of sour cream and some green onions and fried leeks. Serves 4 to 6.

*Fried leeks:

2 leeks (white parts only),

cleaned, trimmed, and cut

into fine threads

1 cup canola oil

coarse salt to taste


Bring water to boil and blanch leek threads for five to eight seconds. Strain and squeeze excess moisture from leeks, patting dry with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat canola oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add leeks and fry until they just start to turn golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt.

[Rant of the Week]

The last few days I have noticed two women at my gym and they are pissing me off quite a bit. One of them is sick with a terrible bassy whooping cough, its so loud I can hear it over my headphones. I noticed this woman on Thursday and again today, using the machines and coughing all over the place without covering her mouth. SO GROSS.

If you are sick and insist on going to the gym, cover your mouth and make sure you bring your own personal disinfectant.

[Conclusion]
Sorry kids, I am not feeling very inspired this week. I have a few ideas but they are still brewing, doing know what direction I want to take them yet, I guess that depends on how it all turns out.

Stay Warm
- Joey

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 04

Howdy true Be-loggers! This week I am going to cover some books, movies, and music; review the Pacquiao fight, and a slew of random topics in Sunday Leftovers.

[De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao]

Last night I went to the Landmark bar with Allison and our friend Paul, Aimee, and Mark to watch the fight. It has been a long time since I watched boxing but Paul had been talking about it all week, so we decided to go. The bar was packed but Paul managed to get a table right under a TV. I have always been a fan of the lighter boxers - they move faster and they seem less brain damaged long term. I didn't know much about Pacquaio but Paul quickly told me his background (a native of the Philippines which explains why Paul was going ape shit for the guy). There isn't much to tell with this fight. De La Hoya got demolished. Pacquiao ripped right through him. From what Paul told me Pacquiao has gone up several weight classes and dominated each time. De La Hoya dropped some weight for this fight and it cost him.

Click here to read a review: NBC Sports



For those reading in Facebook, here is the link:
You Tube Link

[Entertainment]

Books

I managed to read a book this week and it wasn't the "House of Mondavi" that my sister-in-law lent me. I went to the library and borrowed "The Monster of Florence" by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezzi. This book is about a serial killer that bloodied the hills of Florence from 1967-1985 and was never caught. The story shifts from the murderer to the writers and how they became a part of the story.

I was somewhat shocked that this story never really broke in America. Every time it started to heat up, there was a national emergency (the last break in the case happened during 9.11.2001). Almost every European knows about the "Monster of Florence". He is a modern day Jack the Ripper. The book was engaging and well written. The fact that both writers become main players in the murder investigation is absolutely insane. The book provides a glimpse into Italian politicals and social structures in the same vein as John Berendt's "City of Falling Angels" but much darker.

More information:
Dateline: Dateline NBC
Amazon: Buy It



Facebook Link: You Tube Video

I am currently reading the Don Rickles autobiography and then I will tackle the Mondavi book (which I plan on doing a whole piece on including adding the tour of the vineyard I filmed while there).

Music

I read an article reviewing a couple of new bands. The reviewer raved about a band called "The Duke Spirit". I snagged a couple of albums and listened. It wasn't good. Too much background distortion, it was just sloppy. I love female fronted bands but I don't like this mix of Jefferson Airplane and Brit-Pop. It has been a terrible couple of weeks for music and I am starting to go nuts with all the Christmas music.

Don't listen to me, make up your own mind:


Facebook Link: You Tube Video

Movies

Allison and I got a couple of blue-ray movies in the mail:

The Cronicals of Narnia: Prince Caspian - I don't know what Disney does with their movie formatting but the first of many annoyances was the aspect ratio of the movie caused there to be a letterbox. I hate letterbox when I have a wide screen TV. Moving past that, this movie regurgitates the last decade of British-inspired cinema. You will see traces of Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. As a result, nothing in this movie came off as fresh or interesting. The acting, visuals, and plotline were all stale and I was glad when it was over.

I do not recommend this movie.

Troy on Blue-Ray: When I saw Troy in the movie theaters I recalled liking it and thought it would be a good test of my home theater system. I must have selective memory. This movie is a long, self indulgent, snore-fest. Like Caspian, the aspect ratio of the film resulted in a letterbox in native settings. WHY! Once again annoyed, I continued watching the film, and watched, and watched and watched. I don't know how I made it through the movie in the theaters - because I must have gotten up at least three times for a pee break. Brad Pitt's acting is stiff and terrible, Eric Bana looks like a total moron in the period costumes, Orlando Bloom is... well Orlando Bloom.

This is not a good blue-ray movie to test out your system, it just makes all the CGI all the more apparent.

Two strikes on movies this week and I am out.

Video Games

Gears of War 2: Paul picked up where Vince and I left off. The game is excellent and the storyline is very engaging. We are on Chapter 4 and back underground looking for Santiago's wife.



Facebook Link: Youtube Link

[Economy]

Its official we are in a recession. No Shit.

Link: MSNBC

In these tough times, here are a couple of articles that can help you reduce you costs:

Cut your phone bill: LINK
What the Gas price decline really means: LINK

[Conclusion]

I hear Allison stirring upstairs so its time to spend some quality time with her. Until next time readers, stay warm and stay twisted.

How to make new friends.

Earlier in the week I created a blog entry detailing how to get rid of friends and flames; but in the ashes of destruction comes new life. In this blog entry lets discuss how to actually make new friends as an adult. A few years ago I read an article in a men's magazine (I can't find the damn thing!) stating that most adults in America stop making new friends once they hit 25 outside of major life changes like moving, kids, or a new job and even when they meet new people they don't consider them at the same level of friendship compared people they met years ago and don't talk to very much. I am pushing 30 and while I am blessed with many friends, I really can't think of a new friend of I have made in the last four years barring my new neighbors and we really haven't hit the going out phase (we are still in the "we should go out" phase). So how do you meet new people?

[Volunteer]

I think the best way to meet new people is to volunteer (for both friends and for dates). Think about it: These people are trying to make their town, city, or our world a better place, they have to be at least interesting enough to share a beer with. When I was single I use volunteered at the local animal shelter on weekends, homeless shelters, local educational events and I would say 70% of the time I would get a number. Besides the potential romantic possibilities, I met some cool people that were trying to make society a better place. This is a no brainer.

I would warn you that many volunteer organizations don't let you start helping right away. You need to fill out applications and probably need to wait a few weeks. I noticed it was especially hard at the animal shelters. I guess they get enough help. Also - if you are looking for a romance, homeless shelters might not be the best place because the whole situation is depressing and if you are looking for love after a long day of helping the helpless, well... that's pretty messed up.

Some links to local volunteer organizations (sorry this is South Jersey\Philadelphia-centric)

1. Philabundance: http://www.philabundance.org
2. Habitat for Humanity: http://www.habitat.org
3. Geeks Who Give: http://www.geekswhogive.org/
4. Gloucester County Animal Shelter : GCC Animal Shelter
5. PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society): http://www.phillypaws.org

[Take A Class]

A great way meet people who are interested in the same things and learn something new is to take a class. Here is a funny story (again in my single days): I took a cooking class to try to see if I could meet girls at the local community college, when I got to the class it was a total sausage party, so of course I dropped out. I think a lot of guys get the idea they can meet somebody in a cooking class, but I think it is all bullshit. Take a class you are interested in or something you really need to learn. Right now my next class idea is general home repair and maybe a landscaping class - who knows I might meet some cool people to hang out with now that everyone I know has kids...







[Have Kids]



Everyone I know that has kids (with the exception of Lisa) tells me that when you have kids and they are in school you automagically start becoming friends with all the parents. This sounds equally awesome and terrible to me. I don't know if "our kids go to the same school" is enough to sustain a friendship, but fuck it, I'd be willing to give it a try and so should you.







[Craigslist]




I read a funny article about a GQ writer who wanted to meet more black friends so he put an ad on Craigslist (article link: Click Here). While Craigslist is know for making different kind of connections, I honestly believe it could be a place for people to make legitimate connections. Just don't be stupid. Meet in public places and don't share your SSN or credit card numbers. And if they ask for your help to bury several large trash bags in the Pine Barrens say no, unless you are into that sort of thing.







[Join a Sports Club]



Sports clubs are a great way to meet new friends and get your ass into shape. It is almost a lock that people will want to hang out after practice or after a game. It might help to join with an existing friend because people usually sign up in groups, but honestly it doesn't matter. Just make sure you sign up for your right skill level. If you are on a good team and suck, you will not make friends.







[Religion]


I am not an organized religion kinda guy which is why I am doing this one last. If you are looking for God or for Jesus, maybe you can find a drinking buddy on your journey. I have a few friends that still attend regularly and they say there a few reasons why church isn't a good spot to meet people:

1. You already know everybody
2. People at church are already in cliques and stuck-up
3. Its weird to date someone from your church

I don't know anything about this stuff, so if those points are true, that sucks. Maybe you can try a new church? I went to my friend's baby's baptism and the people at that church were super-friendly. Actually it was more creepy-friendly... but creepy people need friends too!


I have given you six ways to go out and meet new friends. I am done. Now get off your ass and find a buddy. Seriously, this is how I am ending this article.

Love,
~ Joey :-)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How to Rid Yourself of Unwanted People

We have all been there, a friend or a "dating partner" is starting to wear out their welcome but out of respect for the good times you had, you can't end it. Fortunately for you my dear readers I am one cold-heart bastard. Eliminating excess friends isn't an issue for me, so allow me to teach you how to free yourself:

FRIENDS

Since I am married and have no intentions of being un-married (Hi Allison), lets look at something I have had to do more recently; ending a "friendship". This isn't a simple procedure because there are different types of friends ranging from good, but undependable to flat out asshole...

[The Asshole]

This is the easiest "friend" to rid yourself of because they really aren't your friend. To understand your "flush-point" (DEFINITION: The point where you are ready to rid yourself of the human skid-mark) you need to understand why you associate with this person. Most likely "the asshole" snuck in before your senses were fully formed: grade school and early high school. They probably had a rough home life which makes you look past some of their rough points.
**There is another option: The co-worker that you are forced to see daily so you try to make the best of it, but we will deal with that one last.**

What are the characteristics of an "Asshole" Friend? Lets review:

1. They are always against you/disagreeing with you
2. They never offer to help do anything they just take from the situation
3. You constantly ask yourself "why am I friends with this person"
4. When you tell them to not repeat something, that is the first thing they blurt out when they are "drunk"
5. They do things you know are wrong but you try to justify because "you are their friend, so they can't be bad people"


THE OUT: If you are reading this and have identified "the asshole" in your life, take out a piece of paper and write down every terrible thing that person has done to you. Next time you see them (YOU MUST DO THIS IN PERSON), review the list. Tell them that you don't think it is a good idea to continue the friendship due to them being a total piece of shit. If they hide behind their rough past... Boo Hoo. They have to get past that sooner or later.

Now if "the asshole" is a co-worker, you can't be as direct because this could mess up your work environment. ADVICE: Be very careful hanging out with co-workers socially, bring them in gradually and make sure you can trust them. You don't want stories from your personal life leaking into the office. Back to the plan: the strategy is the cold shoulder socially - stop inviting them out. If you had a go-between friend that continues to hang out with "the asshole" - cut them loose too: if this person is "the asshole" I am describing, the only reason the other person was hanging out with them was because you were. Once the asshole is on their own at work, things tend to work out and they will eventually completely drift away.

[The Downer]

At some point in your life you have had a friend that is never happy. No matter what they do, nothing brings them joy, nothing is ever good enough. At first, your reaction might be to help them find their joy. This is the right thing to do for three months (advice: urge them to seek professional help!). If the misery continues, don't go down with the ship. Cut them loose, set yourself free.

The dilemma is that "The Downer" isn't a bad person. They don't do anything to harm you or put you down. The issue is that you are spending valuable time and positive energy trying to help someone that doesn't want help: this is not a productive use of your time. Let me add that there are certain situations where you should extend the grace period for a much greater period of time (the three D's: Disaster, Death, and Divorce). There is a difference between a life changing event and a person's standard operating procedure. Know the difference.

THE OUT: Tell "The Downer" that their depression is contagious. Their misery is now your misery and you want no part of it. Suggest they get help and to call a few months of healthy sessions.


[The Cheapskate]


Times are tough and this is not about someone saying they can't go to the movies or go out to dinner because they can't afford it, this is about the person that does go out and pulls one of two moves every time they are in your company:

1. Short change the bill so you have to cover (and its not like they said "hey I am short, spot me")
2. Itemizes everything. Example: "We ordered 10 wings, I ate 3, you ate 4, three are left, I am only paying for 3).


THE OUT: This friend will only lead to bad places, easiest thing to do is to stop inviting them out, stop calling, and then wait for them to confront you. You might get off with them fading away or you might have the chance to tell someone to their face that they are a cheap bastard, either way, its a win-win.

[The Train-wreck]

Like the downer, the train-wreck entices sympathy from those around them. The train-wreck doesn't do bad things to you, they do bad things to themselves and you get caught in their shit-storm. A few examples are:

1. Calls you every night at 3 AM to tell you they aren't getting along with their crazy ex-girlfriend\boyfriend\tranny
2. Gets arrested for public intoxication or public nudity
3. Has ALOT of problems with their relationships and tells you everything OR the significant others starts to call you
4. Always has a Get-Rich-Quick idea and tries to get you to help them
5. Hard Drugs - enough said
6. Sexual Issues - if you know more about their genitals than your own, time to move on


THE OUT: While you are rooting for the train-wreck to sort out their lives, you can't get in the middle. Again I suggest a 2-3 month grace period and then cut your loses. This may sound cold, but life isn't that god-damn "That's what friends are for" song. You need to lay out how their problems have impacted your friendship and that you can't stand by and get hit with the shrapnel anymore.

Nobody is perfect, everyone is going to fit one of these profiles sometimes. The key is to not be that way most of the time. If you get a strong consistent whiff of one of these characters, cut them loose, you are doing everyone in your life a favor.




DATING PARTNERS


[SIDE THOUGHT: I want to make a quick note expressing why I think it is pretty messed up that there isn't a uni-sex word to describe people you are dating, besides lovers which just sounds creepy... that is all.]

Personally, I think ending friendship is easier then ending romance because if you are looking to get rid of a friend, they probably did something to deserve it, but with love, the person could be great, but just not great waking up next to every morning for the rest of your life. I did the serial dating thing for a few years and this is a quick reference on extricating yourself.

Although I don't think I should have to, I will note that if your potential dancing partner exhibits any of the traits I listed for bad friends, end it now. Go. I will wait.

[Physical Features]

Let's just get this one out of the way... If you go out on a date and for whatever reason didn't notice or overlooked a physical feature that is starting to turn you off, I suggest the following steps:

1. Really think about if this "flaw" is a deal breaker. Don't worry about being shallow because you are doing the other person a disservice by having one foot out the door. If the physical feature is a deal breaker, go to step two. If not, have a good time.
2. That giant pimple making you dry heave? No shame in that. Hopefully you are doing things early and it isn't complicated. Tell them that you don't think it is going to work out and you aren't developing deep feelings for the person. BAM! Done. UNLESS...
3. WHAT IF THE PERSON WON'T TAKE NO: I have experienced situations where I was honest without getting too negative on a person and they would not take no for an answer. Every few weeks I'd get a call asking to go out, etc. I would tell them I was seeing someone else (which was true most of the time) and they would still pursue. This is where you have to get brutally honest. Tell them straight up - the reason I don't want to be with you is because I am not attracted to you. That should just about do it. It hurts, but honesty is better more phone calls. If the calls continue, change your number (another move I used quite a bit).


[Not into the same things]

As John Cusack said in "High Fidelity", the little things matter. What music, movies, and books a person likes make up the foundation of their being. So lets say you have gone on a few dates and discovered they are into things you hate: Country music, Ann Coulter, Cats, Sarah Jessica Parker, bars called "Swanky Bubbles" - whatever.

Just tell them you have nothing in common. It sounds simple, but a very attractive person sitting across a table from you telling you how much they love Garth Brooks might be worth listening to for the chance to see just how attractive they are... but its not. Seriously. Trust Me.

PS - Don't ever tell somebody to "Have a nice life" when you are blowing them off, it really pissed them off... I learned that one the hard way (twice).

[Pets]

There is something about single girls and cats. It freaks me out. I don't like the combination at all. In my single days, there were a few situations where I was asked to come back to an apartment for a beverage, and then I would meet Fluffy or Mr. Twinky.

Here is what not to do: Wait until your date leaves the room and get the hell out of there. I have done that a few times... just left. Of course this leads to inevitable calls, and you can only ignore it for so long, so you have to take the call. In these cases I basically said whatever I had to to get them off the phone and never call back. In one case the girl said she was thinking about getting rid of her cat because men seem to hate them - that turned me off even more - no loyalty to the animal.

Seriously, if you are not a pet person and your date is, this can be a huge issue. Bring it up in light conversation within the first two dates and if you don't like what you hear - take off into the night Joey style.

[Race & Ethnic Barriers]

If you are 50/50 about dating outside of your culture. Don't. You need to be all in or all out. No need to pontificate on this one any further.

CONCLUSION

I am a firm believer in positive energy attracting positive energy, so try to set yourself up to be in a good mood and be around good people. Don't tolerate negative influences because it sours everything. You have to accept that you can make mistakes in choosing who you allow to be in your life. Once you get past that, it makes things easier when you want to get rid of them.

I am not endorsing whole sale destruction of a social scene but I am not saying it should never be an option. People have a little voice in their heads that tells them the right thing to do - you can call it a conscious, instinct, God - it doesn't matter, but it is there and we have done a great job learning how to ignore it. Listen to your damn spider sense next time you are thinking about asking someone new out to dinner.

Have a nice life!

PS - Tune in for the next post - "How to Meet New People".