Tag Archives: Pay Attention

I (Heart) You, Babe

St. Valentine’s Day come round again, bringing with it the pure joy and sense of togetherness that is love.

It surely wouldn’t bring with it feelings of inadequacy, panic, anger, frustration, sexual frustration, crumpling under pressure, performance anxiety, fervent desire to be somewhere — anywhere — else. Surely.

Ha, don’t call it Shirley.

I’m not sure if it’s a difference between dudes and dudettes, but the men I know really have no special affection for Valentine’s Day. To us, it’s just a day where we used to get candy in school and (at least for me) that inadequate feeling when the only Valentines in your bag were the ones that got given out to everyone in the classroom.

Even when I ostensibly grew up, I never saw all that much reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I probably got it from my AlohaDoc, aka my dad.

I can’t remember how many times he told me the story of how, when he was a young dude himself, he used to break up with whoever his girlfriend was at the time right around the first of February. That way he didn’t have to go out and purchase a gift.

Women, on the other candy assortment, seem to love Valentine’s Day. I found this out during the first Valentine’s Day I spent with the lady who would become my wife, known to me then as She Who Must Be Having More Fun Than Anyone I’ve Ever Met Before.

We were about to swap presents when she said, “I love Valentine’s Day. It’s always been so special to me.”

At which point my heart crumbled to dust, sifted out my body and landed in a small, dry pile on the linoleum of her dad’s kitchen floor. Because, being an idiot, I’d managed to get her something remarkably unspecial. Heck, it was so unspecial, I can’t even remember what it was.

What I do remember is the look on her face, the sadness trying to hide behind a really bad poker face. I’ve learned since then. Valentine’s Day is a big deal.

Me? Still not so much. The way I see it, I would rather receive spontaneous recognition of someone’s love for me during the year than have one day where that display is mandated. I mean, is it really special when you’ve got to do it?

I’m not so sure about that.

Anyway, I don’t want to come off sounding all cynical and anti-love. I’m not. Well, not anti-love. I can’t help being cynical. I mean, after all, my eyes and ears do work and I pay attention to the world. How could I not be cynical?

But not cynical about love. Love is amazing. Love. Love will keep us together. It’s just Valentine’s Day I have a problem with.

That said, I still went out and got some very nice presents to hand over to my Sweetie. I’m not telling because she’ll probably read this before I have a chance to give them to her.

The hug’s going to be nice. As for anything else. . .

See you later, dudes.

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Too Much Time On Their Hands

Autocomplete can be a boon or a burden.

A boon when you can’t remember the whole words, but do remember the first couple of letters. A burden when you don’t pay attention and just click away and find you’ve clicked on something appalling by not checking, or sent someone a message about smelling delicious farts instead of smelling delicious tarts.

You know the sort of thing.

Well, anyway, the good folks at io9, motto: We Come From The Future, reposted an interesting little piece from The Land of Maps, a tumblr site devoted to — wait for it — maps.

What the map-loving pervs folks over at The Land of Maps did was type in “Why is [state] so. . . ” to a Google search box and then let the autocomplete gremlins take over from there.

What Google does, in its infinite wisdom (all hail our future overlords), is to complete the sentence with what its algorithms deem to be the most likely next word.

Renee Montoya let's you know that's a good Question as a DC Comics character.

So, for instance, when I type in “Why is  [North Carolina} so. . . ” to  the Google search bar, I get back the sentence “Why is North Carolina so cheap?”

Which makes pretty good sense, actually. Good question.

According to io9, there are only 19 states with unique autocomplete descriptions courtesy of Google. North Carolina is one of them.

These are the others.

Nevada: Empty

Wyoming: Windy

Utah: Mormon

Colorado: Fit

Kansas: Flat

Texas: Big

Iowa: Democratic

Missouri: Conservative

Illinois: Corrupt

Georgia: Backwards

Ohio: Important

Maine: White

Massachusetts: Smart

Rhode Island: Small

New Jersey: Bad

Maryland: Rich

Virginia: Strict

That's the USA I'm talking about, dudes, the United States of Autocomplete. Google does some funny things.Not all of them make perfect sense, but they certainly do feed into the sense of each state.

Didn’t know autocomplete did stuff like that? Well, welcome to the future, dude. We’re glad to have you here.

Or, according to Google autocomplete: “We’re glad to. . . be of assistance. Although, I’m not sure we really are.

It looks like we might have to consider making a new book because Google only gave us “A Dude’s Guide to. . . ” babies as the second choice. The first autocomplete choice? “A Dude’s Guide to. . .” manhood.

Aw, yeah. I can feel the manly manliness of my manhood already.

And you?

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Can You Hear Me?

Seriously, dudes. Just shut the mouths for a second. Stop talking and listen.

I know, I know. I understand the irony. Here I am, talking every day and never shutting up and I’m telling you dudes and dudettes to knock off the noise. I get it. Still, I think it’s pretty good advice.

See, I was reading an article on LinkedIn the other day. It was about a dudette who contracted laryngitis. She couldn’t talk at all. And this was a dudette who was never not talking.

In the article, she talked about how not being able to talk, once she got over the frustration, really enabled her to actually listen to the people with whom she worked. It was an (you should pardon the second sensory analogy dragged in here) eye-opening experience.

She found that, once she began to really listen, she began to make better decisions because she actually understood what people were telling her. The time spent listening to other people was useful, instead of a pause for you to breathe and to marshall your next seven points to talk over the other person.

It got me to thinking.

It seems like that, as parents, we do a lot of talking. I’m saying a lot of talking and mostly to our sons and daughters. There are all sorts of good reasons for that. Mostly because as young dudes and dudettes, they don’t have enough experience to say anything that will contribute in a good way to a serious discussion. Then, when they become teenagers, they’re just so obnoxious, no one wants to listen to them on general principles.


We need to close out yappers some time. Take the opportunity to really listen to what your son or daughter is telling you. Listen to her vocal mood. Is there something in the way he’s talking that says, “Good” wasn’t anything like that?

Listen to them talk and try to remember their friends’ names and relationships. This lets you be able to act specific questions about the correct kids. It lets them know we’re taking their lives seriously. Even if we’re not. Learn to echo back what they’re saying so they know you’re actually listening to them and paying attention.

Do what you tell them to do: Look at their face when you’re listening or talking, be seen to pay attention. Be courteous and wait your turn to talk. The important thing is that by listening to our little dudes and dudettes, we’re showing them the correct way to behave with other people. We’re modeling the behavior we want to see. Or, rather, to hear.

That’s all for me for today. I’m going to shut up now.

See? I’m doing it. I’m not talking. At all. Right after this.

Told you I–


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