Have a child? That’s pre-first date info, not post.

I went out on a date last night.  I had a fantastic time.  The date lasted from 7:30pm until 2am.  On top of that, the girl lives two-hours north and we met in the middle, West Palm Beach, so it was an hour drive for me.  I normally don’t date girls outside of my local area, but I had a feeling about this one.  That feeling was right.

Today, we spent the day text messaging back and forth, even setting up plans for next weekend.  There was a lull in the messaging during the afternoon and around 7:30p, I received a text from her telling me that she just sent me an email on MySpace.  I thought that was a little weird and kind of felt like she was going to tell me that she wasn’t that interested.  So, I got home and fired up my Mac.  Here’s what the email said:

“I know I mentioned my psycho roomate and my black lab but I failed to tell you about my two tropical fish and my son. I thought you knew but you never asked last night so I am guessing that this is news to you. I don’t hide things about myself so I wanted to be up front.”

She wants to be upfront?  Really?  I had always thought that upfront means that you tell people something at the beginning, not after the fact.  Not only that, but I had ASKED her if she had kids in some earlier emails (that I’ve subsequently copied and pasted back to her in my reply) and she joked that she had multiple kids from multiple dads (she’s quite the jokester, hence why I liked her).  However, she never mentioned that she had a son. Not once.

I’m seething right now.  Understand, this is not a judgment on her having a child.  This is a judgment on her not telling me about it until AFTER we went out.  I liked her, I really did.  But, she lied to me.  What else is she hiding? 

The old saying of ‘lucky in life, unlucky in love’ was invented for me.  I love the life I lead, every part of it. I just can’t find anyone to share it with.  And, as it turns out, when I do, they take a dump on my face.

How living in my condo has made me stupider

For those of you that don’t know, I moved into a new condo in April of this year.  When I say new, I mean both to me and that it was newly constructed. Called ‘The Radius‘, it is located in the heart of downtown Hollywood, right on Young’s Circle.

When I first saw it, after I moved in, and even to this day, I find this building to be incredible.  It is impeccably maintained, offers a wealth of services and amenities, and is pet friendly, so I was able to keep my dog, Penny.  For all of that, however, there is one fatal flaw.  One flaw that I am afraid is making me stupider.  The included internet service is horrendous. 


Common in large condominiums such as this, a contract was signed to a provider who offered the services of TV, internet and phone in one package.  The company that was contracted in this case, MDU Communications, provides DirecTV and internet to each unit in the building, whether you want it or not.  Due to this contract, no other provider can be brought in to service individual units, regardless if the owner wants them or not.

Now, to be completely honest, I couldn’t care less who the provider is.  I’m not a big TV watcher and the difference between DirecTV and Comcast Cable is negligible.  All I was really concerned with was the internet. As you can imagine, I’m a bit of a power user.  Previously, I lived in a building that was built in 1960 and serviced by Comcast.  The average download speeds in that apartment was around 3mbps. That’s three-million bits per second.  In the condo I now live in, which was built in 2006, my average download speed is 750kpbs.  that’s 750 thousand bits per second.  Millions. Thousands.  How big of a difference is that?  At 3mbps, a movie rental from Apple is ready to watch in less than two minutes.  At 750kbps, that same movie rental takes over an hour before it’s ready to watch.  As you can imagine, anything more than surfing basic websites and sending email (without attachments) is painful.

And here’s the part where it’s making me stupider.  I used to wake up in the morning and, instead of reading a newspaper, get my news from the internet.  I could watch video clips, listen to interviews, see pictures of the latest events all in a fast and efficient manner (and no ink on my fingers).   Now, watching a webpage slowly load is the most maddening sight in the world. Forget video clips.  After waiting five minutes for it to start playing, it goes for 30 seconds then stops for another minute while it buffers.  

It’s because of this that I go into work unprepared to discuss the issues of the world with my colleagues. I’m asked if I’ve seen this or what’s my opinion on that, but I can only shake my head and say I haven’t seen it or I don’t know about it. It’s sad.

It’s funny, you don’t realize how much you lean on a fast connection to the internet to enhance your daily life.  It’s where we bank, shop, book travel, learn, laugh and even fall in love.  Try living with out it for eight months.  You’ll find, like I did, that a big part of your life is missing.

Best News of the Week – Obama 52%, McSame 43%

There’s a new poll out, taken by the Washington Post and ABC News.  In it, 52% of those polled support Barack Obama, while 43% support John McCain.  I would suggest reading it, but here’s a few key points:

“The poll found that, among likely voters, Obama now leads McCain by 52 percent to 43 percent. Two weeks ago, in the days immediately following the Republican National Convention, the race was essentially even, with McCain at 49 percent and Obama at 47 percent.”

“As a point of comparison, neither of the last two Democratic nominees –John F. Kerry in 2004 or Al Gore in 2000 — recorded support above 50 percent in a pre-election poll by the Post and ABC News.”

And this about Palin:

“…reaction to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, has cooled somewhat. Overall, her unfavorable rating has gone up by 10 points in the past two weeks, from 28 percent to 38 percent.”

Even more importantly:

“Independents, key swing voters, now break for Obama, 53 percent to 39 percent, reversing a small lead for McCain after the Republican convention.”

Finally, the crux of what this election is going to be about because guess what, it ain’t getting any better:

“In the new poll, voters once again gave Obama higher marks than McCain when it comes to dealing with the economy, 53 percent to 39 percent. Two weeks ago, Obama’s edge on the question was a narrow five points, his lowest of the campaign. Among independents, Obama’s advantage on the economy — now 21 points — is greater than at any point in the campaign.”

Again, read the article and, even more importantly (if you can), DONATE.  Everything helps and the minimum donation is $15.  I donate every week.  I think we need a change. Don’t you?

McCain’s economic advisors

I found this interesting blog post about who’s advising John McCain on economic matters. It should come as no surprise that it’s a bunch of fat-cat stiffs.  From the article:

Doug Holtz-Eakin source

Holtz-Eakin is a formerly respected academic and government economist who has been reduced to making distortionaryarguments to paper over the massive deficit black hole McCain’s tax cuts would create.

Arthur Laffer source
Laffer is the originator of the Laffer curve, the fringe view that claims government revenue increases when tax rates are lowered. There is zero empirical evidence this is true at current tax rates. McCain has repeatedly said that he believes this foolishness, but Holtz-Eakin has said (also repeatedly) that McCain does not.

Phil Gramm source
Gramm is a lobbyist who was vice president of one of the investment houses most heavily implicated in the mortage industry scandal. As a senator he pushed for the banking deregulation that contributed to the current crisis. See more here.

Kevin Hassett source
Hassett has been widely ridiculed for writing the book Dow 36000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market in 1999, predicting that the Dow would hit 36,000 within five years, if not sooner.

Donald Luskin source
Luskin has been repeatedly named the Stupidest Man Alive by Brad Delong. See here for an example. I can attest based on my own interaction with him a few years back that in addition to being not the sharpest tack in the box, he is also an extremely unpleasant person.

Nancy Pfotenhauer source
Pfotenhauer is a pure distilled product of Koch Industries, an oil company which funds much of the right wing message machine. See here for details.

Carly Fiorina source
Fiorina was spectacularly fired from her previous job as CEO of HP. According to the Times,

… Republicans say Ms. Fiorina is using the McCain campaign to rebuild her image after her explosive tenure at Hewlett-Packard. They also say it is hard to see why a woman widely criticized for mismanaging one of Silicon Valley’s legendary companies is advising and representing a candidate who acknowledged last year that he did not understand the economy as well as he should.

Regarding Fiorina, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, the senior associate dean for executive programs at the Yale School of Management, says “What a blind spot this is in the McCain campaign to have elevated her stature and centrality in this way. You couldn’t pick a worse, non-imprisoned C.E.O. to be your standard-bearer.”

It’s an interesting read.  Seems like we’re on the brink in the country and McCain is putting his faith in the people that helped get us here.


So, I’ve been on eHarmony now for a month or so (for those that don’t know, I’m single) and I have to say that in all of my year’s experience of online dating, this has been the most laborious, annoying, testing, arduous, trying, interesting experience I’ve ever had.  

To start, and we’ve all seen the commercials, you need to fill out this exacting questionnaire that takes nearly an hour.  Now, I don’t want to sell this thing short, it does a pretty good job of fleshing out your true personality, but it’s a huge pain in the ass.  Not only is it long, but it’s one of those psycho-babble tests that ask you the same question four times, but phrased differently, to see how you answer.  Plus, everything is that ‘agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree’ -type of question.  However, after getting into the actual system, that part now seems to be the most enjoyable.

Once you’re in, eHarmony sends you your matches.  Supposedly, these are put together by their algorithm and are your ‘soul mates’. You have a choice to either start communicating with these ‘matches’ or close them out.  When closing, you’re given a list of reasons to choose from of why you’re doing so.  Most women choose ‘other’ (I would assume that most men do as well).  I however, try and actually choose a reason thinking, just maybe, that the system will use my choice as a way to tweak their algorithm to present me with better matches in the future. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the case.  I’ve chosen ‘no photo in profile’ about 20 times, yet it still presents me with matches who don’t show a picture.  As an aside, I think that they should change the reason from ‘no photo in profile’ to ‘what have you got to hide?’ or ‘seriously, how ugly are you?’

This brings me to another point:  who in their right mind is choosing to date someone without a seeing a picture?  I mean, do blind dates really a) happen and b) work?  I understand that looks aren’t everything, but seriously, take a picture and put it up. However, don’t, under any circumstance, put up a picture of yourself with a better looking friend.  That’s an instant buzz kill.  I can’t speak for other guys, but if I see two girls in a picture, I want to date the better-looking one.  

So, once you start communicating, you’re taken through a series of ‘guided communications’.  Like the first step, you’re presented with a list of questions to ‘send’ the person and they can either choose a pre-canned answer or write one in.  Obviously, everyone is on their toes (or at least should be), wondering what the questions they send and the answers to those questions say about them (is it better to go bowling, shopping, to a club, or to the opera? Personally, I like to bowl AT the opera).  Anyway, this process goes on and on with ever-increasing freedoms on the communications.  Eventually it leads to what they call ‘open communications’, which is their fancy way to justify charging you $60 a month to send someone an email.

What I do want to point out and, in truth, was the onus behind this post, is a process they call ‘Must Haves / Can’t Stands’.  They give you a list of about 60 items and you have to pick 10 that are deal-breakers, either for or against.  These range from how someone acts around people, to how tight they are with their money, to how important attractiveness is.  So, being the guy that I am, a few of my must haves were about sexual freedoms and attractiveness.  The key to this whole thing is being honest (or so I thought).

In step three, after you’ve started the initial contact and sent some questions back and forth, you send your Must Haves/Can’t Stands (MHCS). With my original set of MHCS, I got to stage three with four different women, but it stopped there.  This made me think that I was focused too much on the physical, so I adjusted them to put less emphasis on looks and sex. What do you know, the second group of women to receive my MHCS proceeded to step four.  However, the question remains: am I cheating myself.

If I went through this list of MHCS originally and the ones that I found to be important were physical, obviously, that matters to me.  So therefore, women who view this list and find it to be a turn-off should, theoretically, not be for me.  That being said, what if the turn-off for these women was not, in fact, that sex and attractiveness was important to me, but that I chose to focus on it?  On the flip side, am I cheating the women who I’m now continuing to communicate with because they don’t know my ‘true’ side?

I’m scheduled to go out on a few dates with the women from the ‘second batch’.  I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes.