Friday, December 9, 2011

People Don't Grow on Trees (An Embarrassing Email)

I got a link from my wife yesterday directing me towards some investment banker’s interesting scary email to a girl he just went on a date with.  I guess the short of it is, at the last minute, a friend canceled meeting this guy, Mike, at the Philharmonic, so Lauren ended up filling in.  After one date, this is the email Lauren received (NOTE: As a blog dedicated to writing, I’m going to highlight some awesome lines we could all use in our stalker/crazy-person related stories):

Hi Lauren,

I’m disappointed in you. I’m disappointed that I haven’t gotten a response to my voicemail and text messages.

FYI, I suggest that you keep in mind that emails sound more impersonal, harsher, and are easier to misinterpret than in-person or phone communication. After all, people can't see someone's body language or tone of voice in an email. I'm not trying to be harsh, patronizing, or insulting in this email. I'm honest and direct by nature, and I'm going to be that way in this email. By the way, I did a google search, so that’s how I came across your email.

I assume that you no longer want to go out with me. (If you do want to go out with me, then you should let me know.) I suggest that you make a sincere apology to me for giving me mixed signals. I feel led on by you.

Things that happened during our date include, but are not limited to, the following:

-You played with your hair a lot. A woman playing with her hair is a common sign of flirtation. You can even do a google search on it. When a woman plays with her hair, she is preening. I've never had a date where a woman played with her hair as much as you did. In addition, it didn't look like you were playing with your hair out of nervousness.

-We had lots of eye contact during our date. On a per-minute basis, I've never had as much eye contact during a date as I did with you.

-You said, "It was nice to meet you." at the end of our date. A woman could say this statement as a way to show that she isn't interested in seeing a man again or she could mean what she said--that it was nice to meet you. The statement, by itself, is inconclusive.

-We had a nice conversation over dinner. I don't think I'm being delusional in saying this statement.

In my opinion, leading someone on (i.e., giving mixed signals) is impolite and immature. It’s bad to do that.

Normally, I would not be asking for information if a woman and I don't go out again after a first date. However, in our case, I'm curious because I think our date went well and that there is a lot of potential for a serious relationship. Of course, it's difficult to predict what would happen, but I think there is a lot of potential for a serious relationship developing between us one day (or least there was before your non-response to my voicemail and text messages).

I think we should go out on a second date. In my opinion, our first date was good enough to lead to a second date.

Why am I writing you? Well, hopefully, we will go out again. Even if we don't, I gain utility from expressing my thoughts to you. In addition, even if you don't want to go out again, I would like to get feedback as to why you wouldn't want to go again. Normally, I wouldn't ask a woman for this type of feedback after a first date, but this is an exception given I think we have a lot of potential.

If you don't want to go again, then apparently you didn't think our first date was good enough to lead to a second date. Dating or a relationship is not a Hollywood movie. It’s good to keep that in mind. In general, I thought the date went well and was expecting that we would go out on a second date.

If you're not interested in going out again, then I would have preferred if you hadn't given those mixed signals. I feel led on. We have a number of things in common. I’ll name a few things:

First, we’ve both very intelligent. Second, we both like classical music so much that we go to classical music performances by ourselves. In fact, the number one interest that I would want to have in common with a woman with whom I’m in a relationship is a liking of classical music. I wouldn’t be seriously involved with a woman if she didn’t like classical music. You said that you're planning to go the NY Philharmonic more often in the future. As I said, I go to the NY Philharmonic often. You're very busy. It would be very convenient for you to date me because we have the same interests. We already go to classical music performances by ourselves. If we go to classical music performances together, it wouldn't take any significant additional time on your part. According to the internet, you’re 33 or 32, so, at least from my point of view, we’re a good match in terms of age.

I could name more things that we have in common, but I’ll stop here. I don’t understand why you apparently don’t want to go out with me again. We have numerous things in common. I assume that you find me physically attractive. If you didn’t find me physically attractive, then it would have been irrational for you to go out with me in the first place. After all, our first date was not a blind date. You already knew what I looked like before our date. Perhaps, you’re unimpressed that I manage my family’s investments and my own investments. Perhaps, you don’t think I have a “real” job. Well, I’ve done very well as an investment manager. I’ve made my parents several millions of dollars. That’s real money. That’s not monopoly money. In my opinion, if I make real money, it’s a real job. Donald Trump’s children work for his company. Do they have “real” jobs? I think so. George Soros’s sons help manage their family investments. Do they have “real” jobs? I think so. In addition, I’m both a right-brain and left-brain man, given that I’m both an investment manager and a philosopher/writer. That’s a unique characteristic; most people aren’t like that.

I’ve never been as disappointed and sad about having difficulty about getting a second date as I am with you. I've gone out with a lot of women in my life. (FYI, I'm not a serial dater. Sometimes, I've only gone out with a woman for one date.) People don’t grow on trees. I hope you appreciate the potential we have.

Am I sensitive person? Sure, I am. I think it's better to be sensitive than to be insensitive. There are too many impolite, insensitive people in the world.

I suggest that we continue to go out and see what happens. Needless to say, I find you less appealing now (given that you haven’t returned my messages) than I did at our first date. However, I would be willing to go out with you again. I’m open minded and flexible and am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I wish you would give me the benefit of the doubt too. If you don't want to go out again, in my opinion, you would be making a big mistake, perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in your life. If you don’t want to go out again, then you should have called to tell me so. Even sending a text message would have been better than nothing. In my opinion, not responding to my messages is impolite, immature, passive aggressive, and cowardly. I spent time, effort, and money meeting you for dinner. Getting back to me in response to my messages would have been a reasonable thing for you to do. In addition, you arrived about 30 minutes late for our date. I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if a man showed up thirty minutes late for a first date with you.

If you're concerned that you will hurt my feelings by providing specific information about why you don't want to go with me again, well, my feeling are already hurt. I'm sad and disappointed about this situation. If you give information, at least I can understand the situation better. I might even learn something that is beneficial.

If you don't want to go out again, that I request that you call me and make a sincere apology for leading me on (i.e., giving me mixed signals). In my opinion, you shouldn't act that way toward a man and then not go out with him again. It’s bad to play with your hair so much and make so much eye contact if you’re not interested in going out with me again.

I have tried to write this email well, but it's not perfect. Again, I'm not trying to be harsh, insulting, patronizing, etc. I'm disappointed, sad, etc. I would like to talk to you on the phone. I hope you will call me back at xxx-xxx-xxxx> (if it’s inconvenient for you to talk on the phone when you read this email, you can let me know via email that you are willing to talk on the phone and I’ll call you). If you get my voicemail, you can a leave a message and I can call you back. Even if you don't want to go out again, I would appreciate it if you give me the courtesy of calling me and talking to me. Yes, you might say things that hurt me, but my feelings are already hurt. Sending me an email response (instead of talking on the phone) would better than no response at all, but I think it would be better to talk on the phone. Email communication has too much potential for misinterpretation, etc.

Best, Mike
Bottom of Form

So which of the four guys above fits the narrative?  (I couldn't find any pictures without someone holding an animal)

It’s kind of funny at first, but then it gets a little scary, huh?  If Mike (if that’s his real name) just cut some of the repeating phrases out and cleaned up some areas, especially the bloated paragraphs, I think this would be a real winner.

I think Mike is a very unique character who writers can learn a lot from.  Even though we don’t have a picture of him, his dialogue alone paints a visual.  His harping on the same issue over and over tells us he’s desperate/obsessive.  And the fact that he can’t accept rejection tells us he’d never make it as a writer.  Can you imagine this guy querying agents/publishers and getting nothing but rejections/non-responses?

But there are some gems in this email that are worth using.  And Mike, as a character in a story, sounds very intriguing. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Disney and ESPN Protecting Child Molesters?

Up until today, I’ve kept away from topics regarding the news, politics, religion and other touchy subjects.  I hate fighting with others about personal opinions and mainly wanted to focus my efforts here on The Memory Eater anthology and writing-related tools to help authors polish their craft.

But alas, today I find myself conflicted over the hypocrisy I’m hearing regarding a topic I hold dear to my heart—children.  If where this is headed doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, by all means, stop reading now.

Molestation.  It’s the major theme in the novel I finished editing last week.  Having two young boys of my own (age 4 and 2 months), it’s something that angers and repulses and scares the living hell out of me.  It’s alarming to go search on Family Watchdog and see dozens of little dots pop up around your home—your kingdom—the place you hold sacred. 

If anyone has read my bio, yes, I’m a huge Penn State fan, and I love college football.  So the allegations of Jerry Sandusky molesting children over the years and using his power in an organization I hold dear along with using the Second Mile as a method to find and abuse children has me thirsting for justice.  I’m referring to the angry-parent kind of justice.

If you hurt children, or aid in hurting children, you’re the lowest of the low and should burn alive.

What am I getting at, and why am I writing this?  Well, ever since the Penn State scandal broke, and the way ESPN, among others, went after Joe Paterno’s jugular for “not doing enough,” it seems that ESPN didn’t do enough, either.

For the record, anyone who knows or knew about child molestation, whether it’s Joe Paterno or my neighbor, they all need to be held accountable.

To anyone who doesn’t know, within the last few weeks, a similar scandal has unfolded at Syracuse.  Longtime assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine is under investigation for the molestation of young boys.  No matter what way you look at it, it’s the same situation as Penn State’s. 

The short of it is: In 2002, one of the victims of the Syracuse scandal taped a phone conversation with Coach Bernie Fine's wife.  The wife admitted her husband’s guilt, so the boy took the tape to ESPN.  Mind you, this was 10 years ago.  ESPN, to this day, hasn’t done anything with this information.  

Why do I care so much?  Because ESPN with their affiliate bias and hypocritical opinions has ruined two things for me—college football and the trust that people with power will do something to stop evil.

In essence, what’s going on here is that ESPN used the Penn State scandal to boost their ratings.  But not only did they stop there.  The entire time they were vilifying Joe Paterno for not doing enough, they were doing the same thing by withholding evidence.  So is this entire molestation subject that’s taking the world of sports by surprise really about justice…or personal gain?

But…but!  What makes this even more sickening is that ESPN is owned by Disney.  The same Disney that invites you and your children to its magical kingdom.  Invites you to watch their fun-loving movies with your family.  Makes you believe there is still something untainted in this world.  Yet neither Disney nor ESPN has owned responsibility for their inactions.  If they believe, without having all of the facts, that Joe Paterno is more of a monster than Jerry Sandusky, and that Paterno “could” and “should” have done more, then why they aren’t they holding themselves to the same standards?

As an icon of family bonding, shouldn’t Disney at least comment on the situation?  Fire those who knew of this vile crime?  Unless, or course, we’re talking about a brand that is powerful enough to brush it under the table to save their products from any negative spotlights.  Like I said, I believe this is all about personal gain.  It always is, and I’m afraid it always will be.

Per a response I came across on a message board, Matt Norlander with CBSSports responded in an email why, he thinks, rivals aren’t pressing ESPN for answers:

"I think plenty have gone after ESPN over this, actually. And ESPN takes shots from everyone every day. When you're on top of the media mountain, that's what's going to happen. If you're asking why I or others at the blog haven't, to be frank: it's not a good look. ESPN is a direct competitor of ours, so we'd come of as petty and pious. We could one day make a mistake in news judgment too, so it's best for others -- fans, true media critics -- to judge ESPN. That said, again, I think plenty have gone after ESPN for its moral compass on the Syracuse case. I've even had a couple of tweets aimed that way, too. Just not the right move to pound our chest about it, you know?"

It’s not my problem if outlets can’t find their balls and put an end to this secrecy regarding child molestation—if you’re connected in any way to something this vile, you deserve nothing less than a public hanging.  Money or not, we’re talking children here.  CHILDREN!

For those who would like to help, or take a stance, I insist you head over to CNN, right here, and vote for a potential story regarding this Disney/ESPN story.  It’s my understanding that if the story gets enough votes, CNN will write up a story about it.  It’s the first of many steps that needs to be taken to hold everyone accountable.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

56 Horrible Gift Ideas for Christmas

Since Christmas is almost here, I wanted to compile a list of horrible gifts so Santa can make sure he doesn’t give me any of them.  Feel free to print this list out and mail it to the North Pole!

I always thought each banana in a bunch needed their own place.

This also doubles as a troll's finger.

The phone, not the man.

His brother got a 50" LCD TV.

Not only will this thing keep my kitchen clean, but it will also teach my boys portion control.

It comes with those three cubes of Sushi.

It's bad enough this jerk has his baseball cap set to molester mode, but now he's going to walk down the sidewalk and surf the net?

It's the teeth.

I see more puppet shows in your future.

The kneepads are a bit excessive.

Do not face toward your chest, face, privates or butt.

This thing actually has a soul.

They're the new tapeworms.

Now you can yell, "This coffee tastes like crap!" at the office and not offend anyone.

Yes, this is a stylish leather fly swatter.

And this is a deer's butthole doorbell.  Only if it were a cat's behind would it be purr-fect!

To protect men from women staring at their crotches.

My coworker has one of these.  She's also into oriental fans and doilies.

Can it remove skid marks?

Perfect for after you're done eating a cheeseburger or if you need an excuse to get out of sex.

I don't care who number 1 is, who the #$%@ is number 2?

I would never be offended if someone gave this to me.  I, too, want myself to look better!

Emo soap?

For those who want to reenact scenes from Alien and E.T.

Kid tears through gift.  Kid uncovers this movie.  Kid looks at dad with a big frown on his face.  Dad says, "You're welcome, son," and the kid says, "What did I do wrong?"

It's every expecting mother's dream to find out what their fetus tastes like.

You should see Woody's.

Super morbidly obese children with Linda Hunt's face who were just abused in the cheeks are so hot right now, that I bet you can't find one.

In the conference room, the lead designer said, "What?  It's half of an old race car."

Do Texans really think Santa has time to change into a cowboy once entering their state?

This is the scarlet letter for men.

"Give me one moment, please.  I'm pretty sure my credit card is lodged somewhere in my frog's anus."

'"Hey, Rob, you may be sitting down at your cubicle, but you're really working at an intense pace today.  If I had to guess, I'd say you're probably breaking 200 heart beats per minute."

A gift for the kids so they never underestimate a unicorn's strength.

It’s degrading for men to either give or receive this item.
Can you tell me the time and hand me a piece of bread?

I'm not putting a leaf that doesn't know what color it wants to be inside my body.

The other half comes with a knife-in-hand.

Nothing is more fun than a wedgie war!

This is safer than those metal rings.

Seriously, what kind of animal did these claws come from?

Not only is this a jolly candelabra, but it also serves as a loaf of bread holder and a naughty-person punisher.

Make your wounds even more attractive to wild animals.

Don't park within thirty-feet of this thing.

Now you can clean everyone's sidewalk.

And while you're cleaning everyone's sidewalk, your adopted baby will be cleaning your floors.

Told you that you were a cow.

Men in windowless vans are currently distributing these.

I guess this isn't a horrible idea, but do smokers really need to spend more time outside neglecting their work?

Surprise!  Don't worry, they're neutered!

This was the original design for the cloud enemy in Mario.

Push a button on their chests, and these things say, "COME HERE AND SHAKE MY HAND."

I'm not really seeing how carrying the cross is exercise.

The newer models come with steel plate lining to protect from clubs to the head by foreign guys on scooters.

You know, for those who don't have any.

Only because it's outdated.