Category Archives: Girl troubles

More losses, more gains

You’ll be sad to know I don’t have a girlfriend, but delighted to hear I’ve met a bitch… oh cripes, I, I, I shouldn’t have said that, I’m, er, not a bally idiot like Trump — ho no, I’m far more sensible and cultured than that comedy politician!  Oh, too late — yaroo, I’d better scarper before they give me the cane…

(Yes, that was a vague attempt at a BoJo impression — be thankful it’s as political as I’ll get tonight!)

I’ll keep using this meme until I’m forever not alone!

My latest attempt to get a girlfriend proved to have been doomed from the start: even though I met her through a dating app, it seems that “date no.3” was actually “friendly meeting no.3”, and she’d never been actually dating me in the first place… despite all she’d gone through to get together with me (such as walking all the way down to Trafalgar Square to join the homeless-helping event I was part of).  She was happy for me to kiss her on both cheeks, but when I tried to kiss her on the mouth, she suddenly realised I’d been going for her all along, instead of regarding her as yet another “friend who is a girl”.

I know I’ve said in the past that men and women can be “just friends”, though also that I hate the limiter “just”, as though the only people I’m allowed to be in close platonic relationships with are those not of my sexual preference (or who are, but I don’t fancy them).  However, I really wish I didn’t keep making more female friends, and could actually, y’know, find one special girl and get some action without having to pay for it through anything other than the long, hard journey to find her.

(Uh huh huh huh, “long and hard” — hey baby, wanna see my, uh, journey?)

However, I’ve still got hope that my efforts will bear fruit, and my mother’s inspired me in that respect.  No, I’m not being a mummy’s boy here, and indeed tend to go precisely against her advice (especially in political terms) out of lingering teenage parental rebellion — it’s something she achieved, after I helped her get that far through simple support… and, of course, a desire for her to achieve it because I’d benefit as well.

Best dog ever, mk.2!

Yes, you’ve guessed: finally, we have a doggy in the family again, for the first time in 20 years!  Twice I came down to visit my folks in Worthing during my two weeks off work, and while the dog we met at a rescue centre during my first visit didn’t seem appropriate to us (more interested in fetching a tennis ball than being petted), it was when I’d returned to London that she told me she’d just met another dog at the centre, which had liked both her and my grandmother — and indeed, the latter had become so willing to accept a new dog that she paid herself!

Of course we’ll always remember Scraps and the other dogs we’ve known in our lives, but who have sadly gone walkies in Doggy Heaven, but it’s time to move on and make the most of our new little friend, a Chihuahua named Lola, who insists on rolling over and having her tummy tickled at every opportunity (even grabbing your hand with her front paws and pulling it towards her).  She won’t play with toys (yet), but my folks are happy to have her as an affectionate lapdog anyway!

I’ve been through worse problems with getting a girlfriend over the past few, er, decades (which I summarised earlier this year, and probably a few times before that), but I’ve made it this far, and at least I’m still getting first dates (on the rare occasions I match with a woman who isn’t in Hong Kong or Taiwan) — maybe, just maybe, my onscreen age starting with a digit higher than 3 isn’t causing me too many problems?  I know I’ll need to continue taking the advice of my dating coach (online session on Tuesday), but if my love life has been just as frustrating as my mother’s attempts to gain canine companionship, perhaps someone special is going to appear just when, er, someone else turns out to be fun but unsuitable, just when all seems hopeless?

— — —

Just so you know, other losses and gains during my birthday fortnight include my weight heading back down towards 13 stone (something which hasn’t happened since 2018, when I was in hospital), my lamotrigine twice-daily doses going up towards 200mg, and my achievements in Assassin’s Creed III increasing (finished!) but my patience decreasing when it comes to 100% sync in each mission… and the Liberation mini-game greatly increasing the number of error events and decreasing the reliability index of both my computers (to say nothing of not actually using “the cloud” to store savegames, for no reason!).

There have also been some great additions to my stockpile of possessions: not only did my mother get me a collection of the classic comic strip Invasion 1984! (which was published at the time my grandmother taught me it was the year 1983), but I found the first eight seasons of Red Dwarf on DVD in a charity shop!  I’ll be back to commuting to and from work next week, so I’ll watch those smegging gimboids instead of reading on the Tube, and at night I’ll be enjoying the comic strip that predated Independence Day by over a decade — and since I just finished Stephen King’s The Wind Through the Keyhole before returning to work, it seems like a good time for a change.

It’s almost as though I’m returning to school (or university) in the autumn, after a summer break, ready for a new phase in my life… or it would be if the weather hadn’t sucked so badly that my shoes got soaked taking our new dog walkies in the park, and coat weather having already arrived!

Dave-ros Loves!… unrequited

Tomorrow I’ll learn something from “Polish female best friend”: not whether or not we have a romantic future together, but whether there was a chance of it at any stage.

I’d been trying to meet her somewhere other than a group event for a few weeks, in the hope that I could tell her that, while not certain, I may have had some kind of feelings for her that weren’t purely platonic, but she’d been too “busy” to meet me for so much as a drink, and I wonder if she knew my plan and was keeping me at bay…

And now, just after Midsummer, she’s told me that she’s just gotten a boyfriend — and she’s going on a trip with him, so it must be serious rather than a mere fling.  The fact that she only told me when I asked her to take a walk in the park with me, because I had something to tell her (not medical, though my broken heart may count), makes me wonder: was she waiting for an opportunity to let me down gently, was she entirely unsuspecting of my feelings and telling me as a friend… or, worst of all, had she felt something for me but given up in despair?

It’s coming up to 24 years since I first decided to come out of my shell and put myself on the market, and over 23 since my first, futile attempt to ask out a girl at school in early 1996, with the girls in my year group (to whom I always felt like a kid brother) advising me to wait, because “there’ll be lots of nice girls at university”.  There weren’t, just a lot of drunk birds who disdained me, shy girls who were afraid of me, and decent, confident girls who were already in relationships — and the one cute girl who showed interest in me, was part of a quasi-Christian life-controlling cult (little more than Christ’s Taliban), and likely trying to lure me into their clutches, as another unwitting convert…

(I think she escaped, as she said hi to me a few times over the following years… and then in the early 21st century, I saw her on Newsround talking about cyber-bullying — maybe she took them down a notch!)

Of course, there was that one brief romance in September 1998, which I have no doubt happened to me because I was in the USA (only in America could I get a girlfriend!), and another brief attempt to date a sorority girl, who had herself initiated things — though good job we didn’t sleep together, as she may have been technically underage in federal terms!  This despite the fact that she was already smoking and drinking (so kissing her was like drinking beer from an ashtray), whereas the “one” had been a non-party animal, just my type.

In any case, nothing else happened during my undergraduate days — despite me wondering, naively, whether a girl often dismissed as a “bike” by other blokes in our Geology class might be interested in me, simply because I wasn’t like the other blokes, and treated her like a human being (when I got back from America, she’d graduated and was in a relationship).  I was clumsy and socially inept in those days, hence driving away a beautiful girl in my dance classes, a situaiton which got worse when she moved into my hall of residence, and refused to meet my eyes!

Needless to say, nothing happened while I was living with my folks for three years in dismal Worthing; I tried to use a dating service (on paper, the Interthingy being dial-up and non-portable at this stage), and I tried to ask out a girl at work, but… no.  My friends at a local astronomy society even tried to matchmake for me, only for the lady in question (in her 30s when I was in my mid-20s) to be a “born-again Christian”, and not really my type at all!

As I’ve doubtless said before, I made several female friends when I came to London as an Astrophysics postgrad, including “female best friend” and “other female best friend”, who were like sisters to me (or so I assume, as I’m an only child), and whose friendship kept me going over the following years, even if blokes such as the one later known as “good housemate” accused me of “letting the side down” by not scoring enough!  Oh, there was a pretty girl in one of our classes (who came to London just for that one each week), a fellow vegetarian with whom I seemed to have a rapport, but somehow we never got together — though one evening, I invited her back to my residence flat (the others keeping away precisely for my benefit), and was at least able to make her a drink of hot chocolate…

(In Aztec times, that would have counted as a proposal of marriage!)

Nothing else really happened in the 2000s; I made Japanese female friends late in the decade, as I studied the language, but for the most part, imōto no onaji, and one I fancied quickly started ghosting me — and another, who I saw many times in early 2011, turned out to only want me as a tomodachi, not a kareshi.  Going to Japanese meetup events certainly helped me get out there and socialise, but not find ai, so sabishiteita… go on, look them up in Google Translate!  Actually, don’t, it’s never quite right — they mean “like little sisters”, “friend”, “boyfriend”, “love” and “I was lonely”.

I tried getting into the dating scene via these newfangled websites in 2010; Match.com was almost completely useless and expensive, and the others only vaguely adequate.  My first date since 1998 was an unmitigated disaster (we barely spoke, and she left politely — did she whisper “loser” under her breath?), and nothing else seemed to work; indeed, there was a speed-dating event which “good housemate” happened to attend as well (in his case due to boredom), but I was shy as hell there, and one hot but loudmouthed babe told him (while feeling him up in public) that she thought I was a “creepy weirdo” who was “following her around”!

No wonder I was contemplating grim endings in late 2011, eh?  At least I got through that, and an even worse beginning to 2012, but the rest of that year was no improvement in dating terms, despite my usage of dating sites: an English girl who seemed to like me, but went off me when she found out I was a Doctor Who fan; an American girl who insisted on a phone call first, which apparently made her realise I wasn’t the one; and a Korean “friend” who bossed me around, and actually told me off for not being attracted to the woman of my age with whom she’d tried to set me up!

Things changed in 2013, when a new dating site meant a number of women asked me out, building my confidence; my many near-misses since then have been mostly chronicled here in this blog — especially in 2016, though I omitted to clarify that the young mother in Oxford did get in touch with me again, to tell me she was seeing someone else.  I did mention that the cute Indian girl with the American accent ghosted me after two dates, but it was something that could have gone serious that led to a real breakup, almost exactly 18 years after that one romance in Michigan (and without even getting to “third base” this time).  Still, that year was better than 2014, and certainly 2015 (almost exactly four years ago) — and most of all, late 2014 and early 2015, when my anxiety was at an all-time high.

(Blimey, I’ve used that same depressing image from Evangelion in a hell of a lot of blog posts, haven’t I?)

However, one failed attempt I mentioned only fleetingly at the time occurred during my American camping trip in 2013: as well as fancying one of the under-21 Danish girls (and, as is always the futile way, fantasising about her), I grew to like another European woman in her mid-20s, feeling jealous that she seemed to be close to one of the under-21 Danish guys; it was in Las Vegas when she finally admitted she had a boyfriend back home (despite having kissed the Danish boy that evening. almost as though she wanted a fling, just not with me), but even then, I somehow held out hope, and took her aside at our last campsite, to try and tell her how I felt… only for her to know full well in advance, and (as I put it before) let me down gently.

I wonder whether “Polish female best friend” regards me as, while certainly a friend, not a “real man” — remember me dating a thirtysomething back in 2013, only for her to finally admit she was seeing someone else, and that I was immature?  By coincidence, both contacted me via the Meetup.com site, because we were in the same shyness group… well, I’m sure the new one wouldn’t be impressed by my video games addiction, or laugh at my phone sound effects — but don’t worry, I’ve accepted she’s not “the one”, and thus reinstated Roger the Alien singing “No-o-o-o!” as her text message notification.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse on Monday, though… well, actually they improved a little, and gave me hope for the future.  Remember the first time I mentioned “M.” back in late 2017?  Even if she’s off the market now, and “S.” hasn’t texted me since early 2018 (perhaps due to me texting her too much, or her being driven away by my dizzy spells), and I haven’t seen “C.” at the Castle in ages, there’s always, er, the first “M.”, who turned up at the first salsa class I’ve been to all year — and she’s still fly, got it goin’ on etc., and was equally happy to see me for the first time since, well, around the time in December 2017 that I wrote that post!

I’m also using dating apps, for all the good that’ll do (either show my age or pay a monthly fee) — but at least I’m trying again (and have somewhere new to use that “Maybe baby” sound effect, if it doesn’t make me cry).  Something has to change: I’ve never been in love — unless you count unrequited love, in which case I’m the world’s biggest gigolo…

— — —

Most appropriate at this time would be “To Binge”, the Gorillaz (feat. Yukimi Nagano) song which, with the rest of Plastic Beach, we played on the minibus as we approached Las Vegas during that trip, the girl in question having invited me to sit next to her — and while I don’t know for sure how I’ve felt about “Polish female best friend”, who knows: one day it could have been like this, though perhaps that’d be even worse…

(Note that while 2-D is singing, the lyrics were written by Murdoc the green-skinned evil Satanist bassist and manager of the band, so imagine him finally admitting to poignant emotion for a woman, instead of his usual sadistic triumph!)

May’s tears

(No, I’m not talking about our soon-to-be-former Prime Minister — I’ll try to keep politics out of this post!)

It doesn’t happen quite every year, but it’s not unusual for me to develop a certain depression in late May — it happened in 2016, before that in 2015 and 2013 (the latter having the same date structure as this year), and judging from my diary, it happened even as far back as 1992 and 1995 (in both cases, just before half-term)!

What is it about this exact time of year that causes the same problems?  Especially considering how lucky I was in mid-to-late May last year*, getting something nasty out of my head (the symptoms of which first clearly manifested in late May 2015), and living to tell the tale (and with the same number of marbles as before, or possibly slightly more).  I felt no depression back then at all, and only my inability to sleep through the night in June made my summer less than pleasant!

(* Damn, I should have proof-read that post-op blog post, or hired someone to do it for me!)

In May 2013 it was partly post-holiday blues: I still remember walking into the courtyard at the hotel where my group had first assembled, and feeling a pang of sadness that our adventure was over — and, of course, coming back to work in the same office as the overly-loud “annoying woman”, and feeling like my supervisor was threatening my job if I didn’t cheer up, made things worse.  However, it was mainly down to my innate inability to find a girlfriend, and even as I worried about my future career or how to pay the bills in May 2015, that issue came to the fore once again, as a girl I’d met at yoga mysteriously failed to appear when I’d hoped she would (and that was a prelude to a girl at work seeming to like me and then suddenly ghosting me).

So it’s been this May: almost right on cue, on Wednesday the 22nd, I felt a return to my days of serious depression; though fortunately it only lasted a day (or possibly a morning), it reminded me of the bad times in my life, which I’ve been chronicling in this blog in the naively optimistic hope that someone will read and be inspired to carry on with life.  Fortunately “boss lady” was off that day, or she might have called me out on being somewhat cold and withdrawn (except when I managed to pretend to be cheerful), or hiding in the toilet and almost crying to myself (at one point listening to the poignant Gorillaz song “Empire Ants” again), as I brooded on… things.

What things?  Well, naturally the old “girl troubles” surface again: it occurred to me that I hardly ever hear from “Polish female best friend” these days, and although it could be largely due to her heavy workload, I can’t help but consider the fact that she’s not “into” me, if she ever was, and perhaps even going off me as a friend.  I know I’ve been searching for someone since 1995 (and going on about it here since 2012), and that apart from that one special girl in America and a couple of 2016 possibilites here (both in late September), I’ve never been in anything even remotely resembling a relationship; however, thinking (however naively) that she might just be “the one” helped me relax for the first few months this year, not obsessively saying yea or nay to the 21 women I’m offered as matches in a certain mobile app.

(Actually, the main reason I stopped using that app for a while was having coughed and snotted almost constantly since Christmas Eve, though that sounds more like an excuse!)

I’m back using that app now, and already making contact with the fairer sex (and yes, I’m using Quagmire soundbites for the app’s notifications), but if there’s one thing that’s tired me out over the past six or seven years, it’s the dating scene, and an endless sequence of first dates.  Forget what I said before: I don’t want to sleep around (or build a harem), I want a long-term monogamous relationship with one special woman, even if we’re not “perfect” for each other — because my life is otherwise good at the moment, and I once promised in these pages that I’d stop writing this blog once things are perfect.

Okay, my life’s not that good at times: I’m still having trouble adjusting to a new housemate, “best mate’s” other best mate, moving in to replace the bloke who replaced “drummer-trucker” (who I also mentioned in an emotional May post in 2017).  At least I’m able to have conversations with him now, and when the Aussie moves out and he takes over the big room downstairs, he’ll hopefully stop creaking the floorboards right next to our dividing wall when he gets up in the mornings.  There’s also the fact that everyone seems to be SLAMming the front door these days, in some cases even when coming into the house…

Perhaps it really is just the time of year (the onset of summer and increasing temperature) that sets the scene for my depression, and specific events, even trivial little things, which trigger it — thus last year’s surgery and recovery took my full attention, and thus prevented me from becoming depressed.  It gave me an excuse to duck out of the dating scene for a bit, and of course to stay home, let my folks take care of me (for a while), go for walks and pet dogs, and play video games during what would have been working hours.

(But oh, how frustrating completing the original StarCraft was — the sequel was a lot better!)

Of course, there’s also the possibility that the “space invader” itself caused my depression and anxiety over the past few years, increasing during the summer as it heats up (and women wear summer clothes)… but that’s just scaremongering, because aside from occasional issues likely resulting from medication side effects (and the scar feeling sensitive in both sunlight and cold air), I’ve got my head together.

Might as well say it’s something to do with the anniversary of my computer du jour dying on 24th May 2011, an incident which left me feeling ill… as though I’d developed a stomach ulcer?  Or is it just because I always seem to get a cold at this time of year, and end up with mood swings from cough remedies…?

All I’ll say is, I got over it in record time this year, and won’t be depressed on the second May Bank Holiday, unless something really goes wrong — so let me get some sleep, please!

As one illness leaves…

Yes, it’s that time of year again!

Don’t worry, I’m not reverting to my old “mind static” condition: despite some recent minor bouts, it’s clear that, thanks to medication, I’m doing fine now in that aspect of my life, and my healing process is effectively complete.  Although I’ve got a “second opinion” coming up, I hope no further treatment will be necessary any time soon!

But I can’t help wondering whether the elimination (or at least effective control) of that form of epilepsy is what’s brought back a couple of older problems, which I haven’t really experienced in any significant way since the end of 2016, when “mind static” erupted in force — indeed, it’s like I’m back in mid-2016 again, when I had similar issues

A couple of weeks ago, for example, I came down with a familiar old feeling: depression.  It actually reminded me a bit of 2011, at least around the same time of year: not the full-blown suicidal despair I felt on “Twelve-Twelve”, but I felt miserable.  It may have been at least triggered by “boss lady” moving me and a teammate who isn’t my senpai across the office to empty seats, so that the rest of my team (including senpai) could train up two developers joining us, without having to walk over to their distant seats — not only am I now away from the lads, but I’m sitting in the path of TWO aircon units, just when the weather gets colder!

I spoke to an HR lady at work, who tried to help me with advice and reassurance, but perhaps I also felt a certain despair regarding my love life, or eternal lack thereof.  Although I still occasionally get dates through a smartphone app, still I seem to be getting nowhere.  If I had more money and didn’t feel like I should be saving up for emergencies (medical, familial, Brexit-related etc.), I’d have paid my dating coach for a proper set of online classes, to build up my confidence…

But even then, I wonder if I’d have the energy and enthusiasm, as I seem to be enjoying my nights in all over again — even though I’ve resumed climbing, I seem to be only going once in a while, preferring to stay home for dinner, TV and video games.  Last week I was out three nights (once to help the homeless, once for a date that didn’t work out, and once for personal training), and since I’m back to full-time at work, but have an hour’s commute each way (well, 45 minutes, but close enough), I worry I won’t have any time to myself, to relax!

Snot stage coming soon… uh huh huh huh, “coming”!

Still, my room’s getting cold again at this time of year (maybe I should move my computer desk away from the window, since it’s not summer any more?), and that’s not the only cold I’m currently suffering from.  Yes, that old viral condition has returned with a vengeance — just a sore throat for now, but it’s very likely to be in the “three days coming” stage, and so will get worse before it gets better, no matter how much water (and Lemsip!) I drink.

It’s worth noting that, after my serious brain condition started at the end of 2016, I seemed to become almost immune to colds — aside from a very short-lived one in January 2017 (I’ve never gone through the stages so quickly before!), and a lingering cough at the start of this year, I seem to have been entirely free from the symptoms.  Was the cranial situation suppressing them, I wonder?

I’ll just have to hope that the coming week is an improvement — which it may be, as we’re apparently escaping the cold weather for a while — but I’ll have to be careful: “boss lady” had a word with me about being too “abrupt” with people, and while she’s sympathetic when it comes to my medical situation, I’ve certainly had trouble in the past when suffering from cold symptoms (it may be one of the reasons she told me off in January 2016, and I nearly failed my probation!).

Being afraid of losing my job, and livelihood, is something I definitely don’t want to experience all over again, even if it demonstrates that I’m over “mind static” for the foreseeable future.  However, I have to go back to living with my folks in Worthing (again), at least it’ll mean we can finally get a dog… and they certainly cheer me up when I’m down!

And if I do have a cold, I’ll have an excuse not to see my personal trainer TWICE in one week (having just seen him on Friday), and can stay home every evening, playing video games (including a couple of sequels I’ve never played before — Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and, thanks to my mother, StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void)!  That’s if I can even make it into work, of course, but I’ll have no sick leave (until November, my third anniversary), so here’s hoping it won’t be necessary — I want to be helping my colleagues out full-time, not convalescing all over again.

Most hopefully of all, “best mate” will be back from his current job in Luton on Tuesday, and will take me to dinner at Nando’s — some spicy food would certainly help with my cold symptoms!

Getting lucky (with apologies to Daft Punk)

Sometimes, public transport issues seem to work in my favour — or, I get lucky despite serious issues.  This weekend I’d planned to visit my folks in Worthing, to drop off an expensive present I’d got for my grandmother, so I wouldn’t have to bring it home in two weeks’ time, just before Christmas itself; however, I suddenly thought of a present for my mother, but too late to actually buy it before my journey.  It occurred to me that I could always travel down to Brighton, buy the item in one of the shops there, and get a bus back home; I’d done this before in 2014, and I had a return ticket left over from last time I travelled, that I could use to get back, instead of buying a whole new open-ended return…

(I’d used that return before, but hadn’t had it marked or taken off me!  Yes, I’m happy to rip off Southern — who isn’t, considering how much they rip US off?)

…so imagine my surprise when I discovered that there were no direct trains to Worthing on Saturday, and my plan thus made sense anyway!  Admittedly, it’s not as lucky as that time in November 2006, just after I’d moved to Caledonian Road, when the exact weekend I’d be bringing loads of my stuff up to London in a removals van started with a strike at Victoria station, and so I was able to travel down to Worthing for free instead of buying an overpriced single (which has always cost almost as much as a return), but it was still pretty sweet, and so conveniently timed that you’d almost think it was scripted.

Okay, PC World (named and shamed) didn’t sell the thing I was after, so I had to resort to a shop that my mother hates, and even then, they were out of the more expensive versions of the item I wanted to get; and fine, the train journey to Brighton, albeit cheaper, took as long as a normal train journey to Worthing anyway, and the subsequent bus journey took over an hour on top of that — no, never mind the bad luck, all that was just payment for my good luck!  Like the opposite of Christmas 2015, when my final journey down to Worthing could have been a nightmare, but somehow I was lucky to find the path of least resistance through it all…

I must have been lucky to choose this weekend for my flying visit to Worthing, as it meant I avoided some very low temperatures in London, and the first significant snow I’ve seen in the capital since early 2015!  There was actually a difference of about 9 degrees Celsius (about twice as much in Fahrenheit) between Worthing on the south coast, and the north of London, and no snow where my folks live (but some strong winds on Sunday morning) — which also means my mother’s lucky, as there shouldn’t be any ice for her to risk slipping on.

And considering the snow in London, I was lucky to get a train back up that wasn’t delayed (aside from a short pause outside Victoria) — and maybe the eight-minute wait on the Northern Line was my “bad luck” fee, but otherwise I’ve had no trouble getting back here.  Indeed, what seemed to be forgetfulness before turned out to be fortuitous: last time I was in Worthing, I left behind a pair of boots my mother had got me in a sale in October (non-leather, another sign of good luck), but if I’d brought them up to London before, I wouldn’t have thought to wear them down to Worthing this weekend (it being mild on Saturday), and so wouldn’t have been able to wear them back up, and crunch safely through the snow in the streets here!

One bit of bad luck, and possibly a failure to “get lucky” in a sense closer to the one Daft Punk were actually singing about, has been the serious problems the London Underground’s been suffering today — never mind the Northern Line, which was actually getting back to normal when I got on it: had the Metropolitan Line been running, I may just have been able to drop in on one of the four potential girlfriends I have in my life now — and since she’d used the phrase “Netflix and chill”, there was a chance…

No, I’m not making stuff up — amazingly, after decades of nothing followed by a few years of numerous first dates that seldom went anywhere, and absolutely no instances of “getting lucky” whatsoever (unless you consider “dodged bullets” to be lucky, of course), finally this seems to be the year my romantic life begins!  They’re all in potentia at the moment, as nothing concrete has happened with any of them yet (technically I’ve not even made it to “first base”), but in each case I’ve not managed to drive her away just by being myself, and feel an emotional bond — with a possibility for something meaningful and long-term.

Oh, you want a list?  Well, in approximate order of meeting, we have:

  1. M, a statuesque African-American girl I’ve seen at my salsa classes since 2015, who likes my humour and happily hugs me every time, with kisses on the cheeks; she’s never mentioned a boyfriend, and has given me her phone number.  Yeah, this sister might be more of a “sister” in the relational sense of the word, but I still hope I’ve got a chance with her (and no, not for the ulterior motive of moving to America!).
  2. C, a cute English glasses girl with whom I’ve climbed a few times since 2016 (sometimes I’ve been lucky enough to go to the Castle when she’s been looking to top-rope), who really seems to enjoy my company, and is a great climber herself.  She’s never mentioned a boyfriend, and I’ve been too cowardly to ask her out, or even flirt (in case she mentioned having a boyfriend) — but next time I see her, I’ll try!
  3. S, a classy English brunette, with whom I connected via a dating app late last year, but still stayed in contact with this year, when I finally got to meet her for dates.  Things were a little stilted last time, and I’ve never had the courage to flirt, but she still seems to be interested in meeting me, and despite gaps between text messages, hasn’t starting “ghosting” me like so many other connections.
  4. M, a strawberry-blonde Polish vet, who messaged me via Meetup a couple of weeks ago (she was interested in coming to the “helping the homeless” event in Shy London), and who has met me a couple of times already; even though she’s the one I’ve known the least amount of time, she’s the one who I seem to have the best chance of (if you’ll forgive the bro-ish chauvinism) gettin’ some action with…

(And if the fourth one’s name started with “E”, I could list their initials as “MCSE”, singularly appropriate for an IT geek!  Ha ha, no?  Oh, please yourselves!)

I won’t lie, there are also women at work that I like — but even though one of my IT teammates met his wife in the company (which is why we always give her preferential treatment), I’d be too nervous about asking out any of them, as doubtless it’d be a failure and I’d be humiliated among my colleagues.  If a young lady asked me out, that’d be different — I’m always happy if a woman makes the first move, this being the 21st century and all (and I was asked out loads of times in 2013, which was nice) — but I won’t worry about it, because I’ve already got four possibilities, unlike all the women whose phone numbers I got only for them to either “ghost” me after one or two dates, or turn out to have boyfriends already.

In any case, this Friday I’ve been roped into coming to the Christmas do after work, when I’ll have to be careful in case someone I don’t like gets drunk and propositions me… but luckily, “best mate” wants to go to Winter Wonderland that evening, so, much like that day in summer 2013 when I was at a “singles event” whose female contingent were all much older than me, I’ve got a way out if things become uncomfortable…

Never gonna give her up

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Yes, it’s a “girl troubles” post — would you rather I went on about Gwar? Well, tough!

In case you hadn’t noticed, it was Valentine’s Day yesterday.  As a child, I just thought it was nauseating romantic drivel that only stupid people cared about (couldn’t they see that girls were yucky?), but as a teenager, I came to think of it as a gigantic middle finger directed at lonely people like me, as I had no girlfriend, and was therefore a loser, of no value.

As an adult, I find it a combination of both: yet another Hallmark holiday designed to sell garbage to stupid people (surely you should do it every day of the year, not just once?), while at the same time making lonely people like me feel like there’s something wrong with us and we “deserve” to be alone.

Oh, don’t worry, I didn’t just sit at home grumbling after work: I went to a Japanese meetup event (for the first time in months), with “best mate” and one of his work colleagues as wingmen, and managed to talk to a Japanese girl for a while — but two things scuppered my efforts to get a date: she’s only in this country for a short time longer, and the incessant noise and overcrowding in the venue meant I couldn’t stay for more than an hour and try with anyone else.

(Sorry, but no amount of “man up!” or “but normal people do it!” could ever convince me to somehow enjoy being in loud, cramped pubs or nightclubs — I simply don’t like it, same as I don’t like broccoli!)

However, that wasn’t what cheesed me off yesterday, and left me overthinking this morning at work to the point that I had the idea for this blog post; nor was it another one-off date that went nowhere on Saturday (at least that gave me the excuse to go Pokémon-hunting in Camden Town).  No, it was a female work colleague (on whom I have a secret crush), in a lift with two other people, making a comment yesterday that I imagine she thought was humorous, but which actually upset me more than I wanted to admit to myself at the time.

I guess it shows I can still fret about trivial things, but it really got to me when, out of nowhere, she said I should enjoy Valentine’s Day alone, in a “relationship” with myself (no pun intended, I hope!).  I hadn’t even had a conversation with her about my dating experiences, and if she knows anything whatsoever about my love life, it’s from overhearing me talking to my boss in the past — so what prompted her to say this to me?

In a way, it almost felt like womankind had finally found the courage to nominate someone to tell me personally to “stop trying” and get out of the dating scene — not because I’ll meet “the one” when I least expect it, and thus need to take it easy and get on with living my life, but rather because my search is somehow annoying and offensive to all females everywhere, and women would be a lot happier if I were celibate and not bothering them.  In other words, I should put their collective comfort above my own desires.

You’re right, I’m ludicrously paranoid — but it’s a feeling I’ve had before (as long-term readers may remember), and continue striving to overcome: that “only every other bloke in the entire world” should be allowed to find a girlfriend, and I’m somehow supposed to be different, and not even try.  Well, that still ain’t gonna happen — if I’m somehow annoying womankind as a whole simply by searching for someone special, I say GOOD!

ts_lw

Of course, when 2010 rolled around for real, she was still just a kid — dammit, why must TV lie?!

Yeah, you heard me, women of the planet Earth: you will never, ever convince me to stop trying, to lay down all my hopes and dreams, and resign myself to a pathetic life of male spinsterhood.  Maybe I’m naive to assume that my ideal woman exists, somewhere in this world of billions, but I’m nonetheless determined to find someone who makes me happy, and there are only two ways my search will ever end: in success or with my death.  Giving up is not an option, because why should I accept my lot in life is to be alone when no-one else does, and neither is “settling” for someone with no real spark between us (which wouldn’t be fair to either person).

I still need to change, but solely in terms of confidence and self-esteem.  The women I met who liked me at first but instantly went off me after I admitted to being a Doctor Who fan, or that I went climbing with my mother — or simply upon seeing me in jeans and a T-shirt on a first date (which I prefer to keep casual) — are the real losers, undeserving of any regret on my part.  I see no reason to give up the things I enjoy (any more than I did back in 2013) or act like a cash machine in a suit, and what I really need to do remains finding that one, special woman who would love me because of who I am, not in spite of it.

So, womankind, you have two choices: you can either help me find the right person (as was done for Howard in The Big Bang Theory), or you can assassinate me — and if you choose option no.2, do your own dirty work instead of trying to drive me to suicide by making me feel hopeless and worthless, as it feels like society as a whole has tried (for the crime of being a guy with emotions about anything except football).  I gazed into the abyss back in 2011, and the abyss blinked first — and so, barring terminal illness, there is absolutely no way I will ever  contemplate that course of action again (readers already have my word on that).

All right, that’s far enough — I know I’m making a fuss about nothing, stop complaining.  In the real world, there’s no female equivalent of the Borg Collective; all women aren’t automatically conspiring against me or making a concerted effort to convince me to stop bothering them entirely (though I hope I’m not personally on any of those “avoid dating these awful men” websites).  It’s all nonsense, but you know by now that I need to write posts like this in order to get these stupid feelings out of my system and vow to keep striving — as hinted by this blog’s subtitle, it’s catharsis that keeps me alive…

— — —

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that the girl of my dreams would be a fellow unrepentant geek, rather than a boring “normal” person.  She’d like video games and sci-fi (or at least not begrudge me liking them), and she’d be intelligent and worldly-wise… in short, she’d laugh if I gave her this meme-inspired Valentine, instead of sneering at me or going “whaaat, I don’t get it?” (though I admit it’s over 10 years old now!):

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(No, I didn’t create it myself, but props to whoever did — for great justice!)

2017 starts… ambivalently

ss_ffI’ve got good news, after a long period of keeping on keeping on: they’re increasing my pay at work — and not just by a “cost of living” increase, but by a couple of thousand a year, backdated to October!

It seems the recent reappraisal of pay rates at my employer has worked in my favour, and now I’ll be on £26k p.a. instead of less than £23k (with all the same benefits as before — for one thing, they’re paying for my new glasses!).  My boss was in my corner for this process, and naturally I’ll be eternally grateful to her — not just for the added moolah, but also for not firing me last January!

Obviously I’ll wait until I see it in my bank account before I get complacent, but the backdated pay (along with the money I’m owed for my December overtime) will mean I can buy myself a new 1440p monitor, and give (not sell!) my old one to my mother; the overall increase means I’ll no longer feel like I have to space out paying for my personal training sessions, or somehow give it up entirely and exercise on my own initiative (what a ludicrous notion!).  I’ll even be able to save up for a proper holiday, perhaps even outside Europe…

Of course, this leads to a certain compulsion: I feel I must defy the Tube strike on Monday in order to journey to central London for my job, instead of taking the day off.  I wouldn’t say the place would fall apart without me for just a day*, but I reckon anyone who can be there ought to at least try, just to keep things running — especially Citrix, as a lot of people will undoubtedly be working from home!

(* Obviously I know my own worth, but it needs to be said that some staff members are a lot happier when I’m in the building — presumably because I deal with all the little problems, while my teammates work on the bigger projects)

beavis_christmas_carolOn the other hand, I’m still not having any success finding a woman: I’ve just had two dates on consecutive days, and both have been one-offs that have not led to anything more.  As far as I’ve advanced emotionally over the years I’ve been writing this blog, I still feel down when this happens — indeed, even more as the big four-oh approaches in the autumn, and I wonder if I should even bother trying after that point (since I’m so shallow that I won’t ever be happy “settling” for an older woman, except maybe Courtney Cox in Cougar Town).  After all, it’s not just women who face ageism in the dating game… maybe I should use some of my newfound wealth to see my dating coach again, for the first time in three years?

Mind you, my gloom is nothing compared to that of “best mate”, whose car (to which we always refer as a name similar to “Batmobile”) conked out while he was on the M6, driving back after visiting his family in Ireland over Christmas.  He’s in a bad way now, as not only was the journey back to London horrendous (he nearly needed a third tow truck to get his car all the way!), but there’s every possibility he’ll need to buy a new vee-hickle, and while he can afford to do that, it’d cut into the money he’s saving to become a homeowner.

(Maybe I shouldn’t tell him I dreamed last night that we’d been driving up a hill when he’d hit-and-run a pedestrian, and I had to convince him to turn around and go back…)

Even if he does pay for a new car, he still might end up getting his own place sooner than I thought (with family help), which would leave us with the prospect of needing to find TWO new housemates this year, neither for desireable rooms (his is always cold, while the former drummer’s is a box room).  It’d be like late 2011 to early 2012 again, as I might have to find somewhere else entirely to live — and I doubt somewhere even further away from the centre would be cheaper, or even warmer!

And, just to rub salt into the wound, he’s considering Greenford — a miserable dump that I would call “a wide spot on the Central Line” (easily the worst Tube line, except maybe for the Bakerloo) after personally experiencing it in September and October 2014, as you guys may remember ($DEITY knows, I’ve tried to forget!).  Am I going to lose touch with him, like I lost touch with “good housemate” (who I’ve barely spoken to in years)?  At best, will it be like when he lived in Willesden and had to drive over here when we went to the cinema or otherwise hung out?

Remember in 2012 when I posted about “potholes on the road to happiness”?

Never mind 2015 or 2016, this really seems to be the long-awaited rerun of 2012: I’m getting mo’ money at work (albeit this time permanently, instead of for helping to cover maternity leave), but potentially losing a close friend from my household and facing upheaval.  Believe it or not, it happened in 2007 as well: I went up in the world (from Scale 2 to Scale 4 during one of Camden’s endless reorganisations), but it was a bitter consolation after “female best friend” moved out, having never really settled into that pad on Caledonian Road.  At least she stayed local until she went to Sheffield in late 2008… but it was hard to get to see her after that, and of course then she met her future husband, and I felt like there was no place for me in her life any more…

(And worst of all, we never got to watch the second season of Space Battleship Yamato together!)

Am I now discovering a five-year, or even ten-year cycle in my life (major life changes), to go with the four-year (specific events) and three-year (emotional states) cycles I noticed before?  Or am I just down because it’s a dismal, cold January, and that’s getting everyone else down as well?  Will this be “my” year, or is the money just a consolation before I get fired?  Will I go through the worst “girl troubles” of all time, the final end of my futile efforts to get laid, or will I have another chance with an American girl (like the one I never even met face-to-face in mid-2012), and this time actually get it right because of all the confidence (and muscles) I’ve built up?

Yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t do these “then and now” attempts to figure out mystical cycles any more, but hey, it gives me something to post about here, doesn’t it…

This sucks

lonely_shinjiI thought I’d have good news for you next time I wrote in this blog, and indeed that I’d be able to start bringing this blog to a close, as I’d have finally conquered depression once and for all, by the simple expedient of getting a long-term girlfriend, or at least some action, and thus proving to myself that failure isn’t the only option.

But no, my journey’s not over yet: although I had two lovely dates with a really sweet twentysomething, who actually described me at one point as “too good to be true”, and was even going to take me to the cinema tonight (hey, girl power, right?), it all went wrong when I kissed her passionately… because she’s realised she doesn’t feel “that way” about me and only wants to be friends, despite how enthusiastic she was before.

This is one of the worst quasi-breakups I’ve been through, because I didn’t feel at any stage that I was “settling” for her (like a similar situation in 2014 when I actually cheered upon receiving the breakup text), and actually genuinely liked her and found her attractive.  Okay, she wasn’t a slender, blonde American, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned during the course of my search, it’s that I like all manner of hair colours, body types and ethnicities/nationalities, and even girls with glasses!

(About the only thing I can’t stand is facial piercing… hmm, I should invest in stainless steel before saying that, I expect sales to go up!)

I’ve learned something else, and that’s that blokes still treat me like their kid brother: a married man at work, an amiable “Lahndanner” in my team, felt the need to advise me on the whole matter, about getting back on the horse and putting my face out there, etc. etc.  As you know, I tolerate this for the sake of the advice-giver, because he needs to feel like he’s making a difference — but I still think that we, as a society, need to stop trying to cajole people out of depression and either help them (with genuine comfort) or just step back and let them ride it out.

Yes, ride it out — I’ve been going through this stuff too much to truly believe I’ll always feel so desolate or make drastic plans (unlike in 2011), and while Monday night was almost sleepless and full of cursing, by now, Wednesday evening, I’m over her — albeit fed up and in no rush to try again (especially with women who don’t initiate any conversation and have to have everything dragged out of them).  I know I’m not bipolar, I just react to negative events with negative emotions; oh no, does that make me… normal?!

It’s been hard to draw something positive from this experience, as even the girl telling me she thought I was handsome (no-one younger than me has ever called me that before) has to be suspect if a kiss could cool her ardour towards me.  I don’t think she was consciously leading me on: I think she was lying to herself, trying to convince herself that she liked me “that way”, because she was impressed by my devotion to improving my health and career chances, and intellectually considered me the kind of “catch” she was supposed to want.  If so, better to end it sooner rather than later, as even I know romance can’t be based upon a lie.

(Unless it’s me lying about my age, of course…)

Being dumped after two dates by someone I actually liked certainly sucks, but it doesn’t help that three other things, all related to the word “cold” (making it worse than another early entry in this blog), are making my life suck even more at the moment, with no prospect of a quick resolution:

  • got_wicIt’s cold, winter is coomin’, yeah, we know — and no sign of an Indian summer;
  • British Gas (named and shamed) still haven’t fixed our hot water after five visits, and the heating doesn’t work at all (lucky I kept that electric oil heater);
  • I’m (wait for it) coming down with a cold, already in the runny nose stage, though fortunately I don’t have to let the blood donor people know, and the donation I made last week doesn’t have to go to waste.

These things in isolation would be annoying enough, but everything happening together is making me unhappy… but I don’t think turning 39 at the weekend will make anything worse, as after all, it’s just a number — and if I can still somehow get dates with twentysomethings (instead of having to settle for women older than I feel), I still have hope of finding someone a while longer.

Plus, I’ll be going to Worthing for my birthday: a chance to see my folks, pick up Doom, and relax in anticipation of another week off work (to be mainly spent playing Doom)…

The journey continues

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I’ve never read it, but I read the Wikipedia article, so that sort of counts… right?

Sorry I haven’t written anything in ages; to be honest, I was thinking about stopping this blog entirely… but I pledged that would only happen once I’ve sorted my life out, and despite the improvements I’ve made, there’s still a way to go — especially in one area I’m sure you’re sick of me going on about…

All right, so I’ve finally broken into IT and have a job I enjoy (which perplexes my teammates!), with prospects for the future.  And yes, I’m more confident and comfortable with myself than ever, to the point that the depression and self-loathing which plagued me in 2011-2012, and the pessimism and anxiety I felt in 2014-15, seem like bad dreams from which I’ve awoken.

However, I still need to create a proper future for myself that doesn’t consist of renting and playing video games — which means getting a mortgage before I’m too far into my 40s (which itself might be difficult, thanks Brexit).  And, of course, I’m still searching for true love (or at least someone to make out with), as I have been since even before leaving home in 1996.

(And no, I won’t stop going on about this topic unless and until I achieve a result more positive than first date after first date — if you don’t like it, either stop reading my blog entirely, or get me laid.  Your choice!)

However, I think recent events (including today) have brought me to the understanding that I no longer regret “becoming heterosexual” when I was 18, or all the adventures I’ve had as a direct result of my search — such as going to university, going to Michigan, going to university again, going to the western USA, going to Meetup.com groups… these things may not have happened solely because I was chasing my libido, but it was certainly a driving force in not just sitting around in Worthing watching Doctor Who videos for my entire life.

Indeed, I no longer regret the events of the past few years, because even through the bad times, I’ve felt more alive than in the previous few years — and I don’t regret starting this blog, because setting down my feelings and admitting how bad things got in late 2011 meant I was able to weather the (perhaps worse) storm of late 2014 without contemplating suicide.  I’m glad I’m still alive and able to experience new things — and if I’d given in to my darkness, I’d definitely never be in a position to find someone.  Dead men don’t get laid, right?

I’m even glad to still be going on dates that don’t lead to anything significant: I don’t regret going to London Bridge (a less logical place than R’lyeh) a few weekends ago, only for the young lady to take one look at my outfit and groan “oookay!”; nor do I regret spending a Sunday going for a walk with a cute woman who had a cute dog, who seemed to think afterwards that she wasn’t what I was looking for (that’s a new one on me!); nor do I begrudge paying the Tube fare for going to meet someone today at Waterloo who seemed to think we should have chatted through the dating app more before even thinking about meeting in person, as I wasn’t really her type.  In each case I’ve been comfortable in myself, and it’s really been the woman who’s failed to realise how awesome I am (except in an “I’m sure you’ll find someone special soon because you’re so lovely” kind of way).

Actually, I find myself wondering whether, like the (ahem) protagonist in The Missing Piece, I’d stop enjoying my life so much, and having all sorts of adventures that take me to new places, if I found the woman of my dreams and settled down to raise a family with her.  I know I shouldn’t assume that having a family with kids would mean I could no longer do any of the things I like, or that I’d have to stop being my quirky and eccentric self and become an utterly serious adult who never has any frivolous “me time”, but society seems to think all “real men” should strive for this, and derive pleasure only from either seeing their kids grow up, or watching their sportsball team win.

I won’t say I’ll never change, but if I finally find a woman and the experience changes me, that’s very different from me changing myself to conform to what society thinks I should be, as some sort of precondition of finding someone — that I’m somehow “wrong” as I am, and that I need to become someone completely different before I can even think of so much as hooking up.  As a great sailor once said, I yam what I yam — and, as I’ve known since my search began (and as I’ve probably said in this blog before), I need to find someone who likes me because of my whimsical ways, not in spite of them.  If one day I put away childish things for a higher calling (such as becoming a father), so be it — but until then, I intend to continue doing the things I enjoy, and looking for someone with whom I can enjoy them.

But oh, I hope I find someone significant soon, because all these one-off dates that don’t even lead to a kiss are really starting to grate…

May I get depressed again?

lonely_shinjiI know I said I wouldn’t do it any more, but I feel I must drone on about how things right now compare to similar times in my past, because I’ve been feeling a little down this May, and I have before — it’s almost like clockwork…

Maybe it’s the changeable weather of this time of year that accentuates any unhappiness I already have — things that would otherwise merely perturb me.  I remember one Friday in mid-to-late May 1992, indeed, when I had a miserable time, despite it being a Friday before the half-term holiday!  Somehow too many damn things went wrong that day and I couldn’t concentrate, and got more and more wound up by petty little things; the strange thing is that I was happy at this school (we were about to move to Worthing, so I was making the most of it), so this brief bout of depression really stood out.

Something similar happened in 1995, during a school year I’d actually found pleasant — so it can strike even when I’m in familiar surroundings, with good friends, and enjoying what I’m doing.  May and June being exam months in full-time education certainly doesn’t help the situation: there was a particularly bad Astrophysics one in 2004 that almost made me give up, and there was a near-disaster in 2011 when I forgot my passport for my first A+ exam, though it turned out all right in the end.

Many times I’ve caught cold in May, too often for it to be a coincidence: 1993, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2015 (with colds in June occurring in 1998, 2002 and 2014… yes, I’ve been checking my own diary).  You may remember my theories in these hallowed pages that depression could be a forewarning of an incipient cold, or that alternatively it might weaken the immune system and allow an existing cold virus to take hold…

But I think we all know the real reason I’ve been down this month, much as in previous Mays since at least 2010: girls.  Yes, I’m really sick of having to bring up this subject, but it’s a part of my life and something which matters to me, and until I resolve this matter one way or another, I’ll continue to feel down whenever I have an unmitigated failure.  This week I connected with someone in that dating app and almost immediately (as in, within 15 minutes) arranged to meet her for lunch, as we both work near Oxford Circus; it seemed to go well and we parted on good terms, but despite writing to her I’ve heard nothing back, and it feels like yet again either I did something wrong that she didn’t deign to tell me about… or someone’s whispered lies about me into her ear, like they’ve done to many other women who liked me.

(Well, what would you have me believe — that there’s a “stop Dave getting a girlfriend” conspiracy, or that single women in general are the kind of jerks who don’t even bother to reply “sorry, I’m not interested”?  So what if they’d feel bad letting me down — I feel worse not knowing what happened!)

It sucks that I can be getting everything else in my life right (I’ve passed probation at work, and am still enjoying what I do… well, mostly!), yet this aspect continues to confound me — my repeated failures still make me feel like it’s “too late”, that I’m too old to be as inexperienced as I am, and that society as a whole judges me to be either a pathetic loser or a dangerous deviant, who needs to shut up and stop trying.  It’s like being where I am makes it impossible for me to move away from that spot, almost by design (a bit like clamping a car that’s parked illegally), and that it’s somehow my fault for not “being normal” early enough in life.

Still, I need to remember the lesson I learned after my American holiday in 2013, when I not only got depressed over girls (both the young ladies on the trip that I fancied were in relationships already, though one still had a fling with a younger man in preference to me), but I also caught a cold.  Even though I had bad post-holiday blues (as I’m sure you remember), I finally realised that there’s nothing wrong with me being heterosexual: it’s not like I’ve committed a crime by wanting to find someone, and I’m not some kind of desperate weirdo just because I feel disappointed now and then.

And so it is today: despite another failure, I’m not going to give up my search, and I’m not going to let yet another “ghost girl” bring me down for any length of time, because she’s just not worth it.  There’s no damn time limit, and I don’t have to give a f*** what society thinks of me (especially the worthless society of this dreadful country — more than anything I want to leave England forever), because frankly I’m better than that.

And moreover, I don’t want to feel bad for feeling bad, like I’m wasting God’s gifts by not forcing myself to be cheerful, or remembering that other people have it worse, or any nonsense like that: everyone gets down now and then, and the important thing is not to revel in it, but to get through it by whatever means, and look forward to the next thing that cheers you up.  On that basis, over the long weekend (when I’ll be staying with my folks), I’ll see about reintroducing an old “Dave-ros Lives!” institution that’s been too long absent: the “Cool Things” post…