All Around Great Guy

Well, what does one say? Let's see:

Something's at the edge of your mind
you don't know what it is
something you were hoping to find
and you're not sure what it is
then you hear the music
and it all comes crystal clear
the music does the talking
says the things you wanna hear

I like music. All kinds. I grew up in my early years on old country (Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, et. al.). When we were very young, we would all pile into the station wagon, and just go cruising around the 610 Loop in Houston, us kids laying in the back looking out at the stars and stuff, with that music playing on the radio. I will still stop channel surfing for a good old country song. Then, in jr. high, I mellowed out. Air Supply, Barry Manilow, Gino Vanelli, the old Hall & Oates. Like, you know, just chillin' stuff. That was VERY hard stuff to try to sing to when your voice is changing, let me tell you! Then, the rebel years. You see, some of the soft-rock was done by bands that had some harder stuff - like the Eagles, or Styx. So I would listen to 95.7 KILT (it used to be a competitor to 101.1 KLOL before it was country, for those that remember), and it just kinda rubbed off. The first time I heard Tom Sawyer (Rush) it was like a drug. Just imagine the intro synth riff - like falling backwards into a 50' vat of jello and slowly sinking to the bottom. But I digress. From there it was a short step to the harder stuff - AC/DC, Nuge, Van Halen, etc.

and they were dancing, and singing,
and movin' to the groovin'
and just when it hit me,
somebody turned around and shouted
'play that funky music, white boy!!'
(Wild Cherry)

It was almost trite when I got the 1st guitar. My poor parents. Luckily, it was just a phase. Unluckily, I haven't outgrown it yet. That fascination with hard rock lasted me well past my high school years, and into the Air Force years. The whole glam rock thing ( starting with Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, then Bon Jovi, etc.) was fun, especially since it was so easy to play. I actually started taking learning to play seriously, scales, reading tab, listening to some advanced players (Joe Satriani, Alex Lifeson, studying blues like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, learning technique, etc.). At one point, I had over 100 albums, and 500 cassettes, with classical, pop, country, hard rock, easy listening, etc. in it. They slowly drifted away from me in one fashion or another. Then, in the early 90's, I moved to Tuscaloosa, AL. There were only soft POP and country radio stations. After a few months of withdrawal, it started to grow on me. Alan Jackson, George Strait, Reba McEntire, etc. It was much easier to play and sing that stuff, since I have a kinda deep voice. Then, when I came back to Houston, it all came back to me. I even got into 'young country'. It is nice to have such a variety of music to listen to. My cup runneth over! Now, my CD collection is growing, finally, again, and has Matchbox 20, Alanis, Shania, Clint Black, Garth, VH, Travis Tritt, Rush, Eagles, 70's stuff, 80's stuff, etc...

And when my mind is free
You know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue
The guitar's comin' through to soothe me
Thanks for the joy that you've given me
I want you to know I believe in your song
Rhythm and rhyme and harmony
You help me along - makin' me strong

Oh, give me the beat, boys, and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away
(Dobi Gray)

Songs touch me. I am so amazed when I hear a song that so expresses what I feel. It is like a validation - Yes! I am not the only one who feels this way! And it just keeps coming. There was a time (when I was much younger, of course) when I was afraid that all of the good songs were written. I mean, how many ways can you say the same thing? But, new artists, new bands, new songwriters continually find a way to reach out and express those feelings in a new way, with new words, and new music that never grows old.

A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I
(Pink Floyd)

OK, you drug it out of me. I am a closet geek. I am outing myself. I love to learn stuff. I am the type that can read technical manuals. I read so much about music theory. I also have read alot about computers. Funny, I do not like to combine the two (music and computers). But I actually read those big thousand page books about computer programming. It did me some good, I am a lead developer for an oil and gas automation company, so I must have learned something.

I also like to just read for fun. I somehow remember my first 'real' book as Robin Hood, by Howard Pyle, way back before 1st grade. It was what I thought of a the 'true' story of Robin Hood at the time. I liked those kinds of stories - it made you think there was SOME good left in the world, and that character mattered. Of course, I got into the Hardy Boys, and then science books. I remember trying to make sense of atoms and dinosaurs and stars and planets back in elementary school. But, slowly and surely, I drifted to the sci-fi/fantasy genre. It just made sense to me. I got into the Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and was estatic when I "discovered" the 'John Carter of Mars' series, too. I was hot-n-heavy into those types of books for quit a few years. Then, much like in music, I found it. Tolkien. What a world. A whole history, legends, lifes, a real world! There was so much detail! You could get lost in a story like that, and I did. But I wanted MORE. I started looking for deeper books, with more conflicts. So I found the Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever series. Talk about dark! But that set the tone of my reading material for some time after that. Then, I did a 180, and got into the light (hearted) fantasies of Piers Anthony.

Since I became an adult, my tastes has diversified some. I have read a few good biographies that caught my eye, and some non-fiction history. I got into Anne Rice on Halloween one weekend on temp duty in Laredo, and have followed Lestat since then. Even got into her Sleeping Beauty series, which was quit interesting, for those with open minds, and an inclination towards discipline. Stephen King, of course, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, some of the more thought provoking horror stuff, the kind that really brings you into it, although I tend to like King's movies now better than his books. But the Dark Tower series is very good, if you can stay with it. It bogs down sometimes, but it is interesting to see him try to bring his cosmos together. However, I still tend to prefer the fantasy genre the most. I am waiting (perpetually, it seems) for the next Robert Jordan book to come out. I like the Terry Pratchett books for a quick, light read, too. I can even get into a good detective novel, if it is not too trite.

You know, I can look back and see a consistent theme in most of the books I read. The protagonists are all good people, deep down. I like the ones where good people are put into extraordinary situations, and have to draw on hidden reserves in order to get through them. It gives me inspiration in my personal life. Whether facing a madman bent on destroying the world, a psychotic killer chasing you across the USA, a devil bent on revenge against the ones who invoked it, or your own personal demons, there is a strength in being a good person. Plus, a good mystical sword helps. And a big busted woman in scanty clothes. For moral support, you understand.

Is anybody going to San Antone
or Pheonix, Arizona?
Anyplace is alright as long as I can forget,
I've ever known her
(I forget)

When I was younger, I could not wait to get out of Houston, and see the big, wide world. So, I joined the Air Force. They sent me to San Antonio for 6 weeks basic training, Biloxi, Miss. for 6 months technical training (Ground Radio Specialist Technician), then back to San Antonio. I got to see some of Texas, but never left the state. 200 miles from home for 3 years, 8 months, & 29 days. So, I got out and came home.

I have gotten to see a little bit of the wide, wide, world of the oil & gas industry. Of course, there are the years in Alabama. But, once I moved back to Houston, I wasn't here 3 months when they sent me to Argentina. A nice long flight to Buenos Aries, and I met my host there. I was carrying some software that we had sold, and the customs agents would not let me through, and pretended (I think) not to speak English. An international airport in a major city of a large country that did not have any customs agent that spoke English. yeah, right. Anyway, they let me leave my stuff there, and go meet my host. He came back to the customs area, and spoke with them for awhile. He ended up paying some duties and getting the stuff through. I noticed they shook hands when the transaction was complete. I found out later it was the passing of a bribe. What quaint customs (sic) these countries have. Nice introduction to the 'official' way of doing business there. Anyway, I ended up having a pretty good time there. I went to Commodoria Rivadavidia, way down south. It was my first time to see the Southern Cross. Awesome night skies there, without city lights to overpower the view. But I was still a stranger in a strange land - I did not know enough Spanish to order a pizza. I remember trying to get them to understand 'Marlboro'. It was like a comedy sketch. "No, MAR -REL-BO-RO". Although I did not realize it, apparently I have a 'Texan' accent, which amused them to no end. I guess the boots, the duster, and the hat also gave it away. Luckily, I have since given THEM away. They called me Texas, and Butch Cassidy. When my stay ended up extending over the Easter holiday, I was left in B.A. alone for 4 days. It was wonderful. I would just get out of my hotel and start walking, watching the people sampling the food, listening to their voices. It was neat. Then, I had to make a trip to Neuquen. We flew in the smallest plane I had ever rode in, up to that time. I could not sand up straight in it, and I mean it was about 5' standing room in the cabin, maybe 10 seats, 5 on each side. That was another lesson in different cultures. The town we stayed in only had dirt roads. It was a 3 hour drive to get to it, on what I first took for a wash-out, but turned out to be a very long dirt road. The hot water heaters for the houses were tanks that were mounted on the roofs, letting the sun heat them. I had the most interesting food there. I just did not ask what it was. I think it was better that way...

Life is not tried it is merely survived
if you're standing outside the fire
(Garth Brooks)

I got to go again, when it was their summer. It was nicer the 2nd time, even though I was eager to get back home. It was December here, and there was a very special woman I wished to make sure and get home in time to spend Christmas with. But I still got to see some nice things.

I have also been to the Great White North - Canada (hey guys - take off!!). Lake Zama, Alberta, north of High Level. I think it was fairly close to the Artic Circle, maybe 100 miles or so. All I know it was COLD! I stayed in a small town, more like an oilfield camp, with nothing much to do except read. But, I DID get to see a wolf. What a moment. He was standing in the middle of the road. I stopped my truck, and got out - very slowly, of course. I wish I had my camera with me. It was a dark gray wolf, and the road and surrounding area was covered in white snow. It was a beautiful animal.

Hey ain't it good to know
that you've got a friend
when people can be so cold?
They'll hurt you and desert you
oh, they'll take your soul if you let them
oh no, but don't you let them

You just call out my name,
and you know wherever I am,
I'll come running to see you again

Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
all you've got to do is call
and I'll be there, yes I will
You've got a friend
You've got a friend
(James Taylor)

I have known some great people in my life. Some still touch me, if not every day, then often enough.

Watchin' girls go passing by
It ain't the latest thing
I'm just standin' in a doorway
I'm just trying to make some sense
Out of these girls passing by,
the tales they tell of men
I'm not waiting on a lady
I'm just waiting on a friend
A smile relieves a heart that grieves,
remember what I said.
I'm not waiting on a lady,
I'm just waiting on a friend.
Don't need a whore, don't need no booze,
don't need a virgin priest.
But I need some one I can cry to,
I need someone to protect.
Ooh, making love and breaking hearts,
It is a game for youth.
But I'm not waiting on a lady,
I'm just waiting on a friend.
(Rolling Stones)

Big (his nickname for his self - we won't go there) (he calls me 'King', and I have to say 'it's good to be the King') is my best guy friend. I do not think there is anything he does not know about me. It is funny sometimes, but we do not allow each other to lie. We have no problem telling the other "bullshit!". We have seen the other go through some of the roughest times, and it is good to have a rock to count on. Once or twice a month we meet at Hooters (for the wings, of course), to update each other on what's going on in our lives, give advice, ignore the advice received, laugh at the result of the last time we ignored it, and just let it out. He and his wife are now expecting a baby. It is exciting to me, as we have both other talked about how great it would be to be a father, having a young mind to mold into a good person like us, teaching them about life. Of course, our fantasy is more like a 'Lifetime' TV special than I am sure reality is, but we both know we would be good. Although, when he told me he wished we could both be fathers at the same time, it did make me sad. He wanted to be able to share the trials of having a pregnant wife with me. We have shared quit a bit. It is strange, we have led such different lives, and yet, we have very similiar things and events happen in our lives. It brings us closer.

Ooo, you make me live
Whatever this world can give to me
It's you, you're all I see
Ooo, you make me live now honey
Ooo, you make me live

You're the best friend that I ever had
I've been with you such a long time
You're my sunshine and I want you to know
That my feelings are true
I really love you
You're my best friend

My other best friend is a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent woman. She has gotten closer to me than any other person besides Big. She opened up a side of me I never knew existed. She drew me out of a shell I placed myself in, trusted me and allowed me to explore some very deep aspects of myself. She learned a lot about herself, too, and was not afraid to share it with me. That trust, and ability to share, allowed me to open up to her, to let her see more of me than anyone else in my life. Profoundly is a great adverb to use when talking about how she has touched me. She has had such an impact on me. I am worried about how we can maintain that closeness, as there is a distance between us, and I do not know if such depth can be shared in such a situation. On one hand, I believe that somethings should be reserved for someone closer than a friend. On the other hand, hey, I'm selfish. Sometimes it scares me to think of loosing that, of 'watering down' our relationship, sometimes I get so angry at myself, sometimes I get mad at her, often I feel guilty about asking her to be that close to me, and sometimes I am just sad. We have both had other relationships during our friendship. Somehow, we still turned to each other for much support and encouragement. But it is good to be able to have such a close friendship with someone like her. Isn't it interesting that same sex relationships do not have these kinds of problems? Then again, they often do not have these kinds of rewards, either.

you are the bearer of unconditional things
you held your breath and the door for me
thanks for your patience
you're the best listener that I've ever met
you're my best friend
best friend with benefits
what took me so long?
(Alanis Morissette)

I have thought alot about relationships, friendships, lovers, etc. I guess, to me, the hallmark of true friendship is honesty, trust, perseverance, and compassion (not necessarily in that order).

I can find a lover, I can find a friend
I can have security until the bitter end
Anyone can comfort me with promises again
I know, I know

When I'm deep inside of me, don't be too concerned
I won't ask for nothing while I'm gone
But, when I want sincerity tell me where else can I turn?
Cause you're the one that I depend upon
(Billy Joel)

A friend will tell you what they feel, even if they know you won't like it. And a friend will listen to you, HEAR you when you pour your heart out. What they tell you will be from their heart, because they know they do not have to hide it. They will care. That is what it boils down to - they will care. A friend should not be afraid to talk to you about their feelings. If you have to put up a block to 'protect' yourself, well, you should really stay on the sidelines. What is the point in maintaining a stoney-faced distance? If you are not going to be a friend, you only hurt yourself and others by faking it. Reach out and touch someone else. Let yourself be touched.

if you're lost, you can look and you will find me
time after time
if you fall, I will catch you, I will be waiting
time after time
(Cyndi Lauper)

And a friend will accept you, even if they do not think the way you do. Now, that does not mean a friend won't have a different opinion about what you do than yourself. And I do not feel it is the role of a friend to quietly sit by and watch someone spiral down into a destructive pattern. But, you have to keep a perspective of what your feelings are, and what your friend's feelings are. What's good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander. It is a duty of a friend to knock some sense into you if you need it. A friend should be able to tell you, 'if it was me...'. But a friend should also say their piece, and then you both move on, without anything being held against anyone. I mean, different people have different feelings. It's not like we are all saints or we all have the world figured out. But you do not hold a friend's mistakes or advice or feelings against them. Within reason, of course. I mean, I would find it hard to forgive a friend who got pissed and shot me. But, you know, we are all human. You HAVE to keep that context.

Your true friends come first. You have to let them be happy, give them room, let them fly. Otherwise you're just a selfish jerk. And, not only do you have to let them be happy, but you have to BE happy for/with them. It should be obvious that a friend is going to feel unhappy if you are. That will cause a strain on a relationship.

Look, I understand too little too late
I realize there are things you say and do you can never take back
But what would you be if you didn't even try
You have to try
So, after a lot of thought, I'd like to reconsider
Please, if it's not too late
Make it a ... cheeseburger
(Lyle Lovett)

Perseverance. I guess if you have read this far, you at least have some stay-to-it-iveness (hey - poetic license). How do you measure that? Doors do not always open overnight. Some have many locks and bolts on them, that take a very long time to learn the combinations. You have to try. It takes more than a short time to create the type of friendship that will last. It is so easy to have fun for a few months. But a friend is a friend because they have been there in good times and bad. A friend won't leave you high and dry when you need them. Or worse, only come around when they need you. I have been on both sides of that equation, and have lost good friends from a lack of commitment, both mine, and theirs. You live, you learn.

I laugh, I love, I hope, I try
I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry
and I know you do the same things, too
so we're really not that different, me and you...
(Colin Raye)

I have been told that compassion is not possible when you have not similair experience to draw upon, but I vehemently disagree with that. I have been told about things I have never experienced, but have felt them, in my heart and soul. I have cried with my friends over losses I have never known. I've gotten excited hearing a friend recount a wonderful experience. How can one read a book, or seen a movie, and not feel the conflict of the characters? Are we just the audience? Who has not heard a song that made them cry? The key to sharing is in the expression of the emotion associated with the thing being shared. That sounds so clinical. But, who is not touched when someone pours their heart out, and you can feel the emotion they are feeling, love, fear, hurt, joy. If someone trusts you enough to open themselves up, to expose themselves to you, how can you not open your heart back up to them, and let their emotions inside? If not, be honest, at the very least.

Given that true intellectual and emotional compatability
are, at the very least, difficult,
if not impossible to come by,
we could always opt for the more
temporal gratification
of sheer physical attraction.
That wouldn't make you a shallow person,
would it?
(Lyle Lovett)

Do you mind if we talk about sex?
I didn't think so. First off, lets just have a moment of silence to acknowledge the grand design that led us to be able to enjoy that wonderful sensation we affectionately named an orgasm.

Ok, now that we have that behind us, lets move on. Just kidding. Where does sex fit in? How do you talk about it without being vulgar? How do you find that balance between Dr. Laura and Howard Stern? Can you have too much sex in a relationship? Can you have too little? Can two people be happy in a relationship with an inequality in sexual drive? Can you have sex without a relationship? (that was rhetorical). Can you have a relationship without sex? (so was that). When does a healthy libido cross the line into obsession? Should it be the starting point of a relationship? Or maybe the culmination? What do you give up? What do you hold back? Is it easier to match sex drives first, and then work on the rest? Or do you find the rest, and hope the sex drives find some sort of compromise later? What happens when there is an inbalance? What is fair? And how the hell do you talk about it?

The truth is out there, Scully...

If you have been reading along with me, you probably know what I will say already. Yes, there is a balance. I think two people should be aware of what the other expects sexually before making a decision about a relationship. I have seen many, many relationships ruined because of unfulfilled expectations, for both men and women. Whether we admit it or not, it is important. I think the worst compromise is when two people shut themselves down because one is 'uninterested'. Notice I said 'one'. If both have no interest, and they find enough to fill their lives without it - more power to them. It is funny, but often I think it is not a lack of interest in sex itself, but a lack of interest in their partner. Given that, I also think it is a responsibility of that person to take stock of their commitment to the other person. Now, I am not saying 'give in' and let the other use you as an object. That is a disservice to you and your partner. No, but you do talk about it. You figure out what the issue is. You find a way to deal with it - as a couple. If you are in a relationship, and sex is an issue, it is NOT a personal thing - it is a couple thing. If you are going to close up, then you should not lie and pretend. In the same way, if one person has a much higher focus on the sexual side of the relationship, they should understand that they have the same responsibility to talk to their partner. If they feel they cannot be happy unless they are receiving more sex, and they feel it will lead to extra-relationship sex, then they need to evaluate what their level of commitment is to that relationship.

shove me in the
shallow water
before I get too deep
(Edie Brickell)

That's all easy to say, but I am living proof of how hard it is to practice. So far - I am unsuccessful. Obviously, if I am 32 and single - again.

I know it sounds like I am pontificating, but I have been on both sides of this equation, and have not always made the right choices. And, I have paid dearly for those choice I did make. Life is hard, and full of hard choices. Where am I at now?

I am just a new boy
stranger in this town
where are all the good times?
and whose gonna show this stranger around?
mmmmm, I need a dirty woman
mmmmm, I need a dirty gal
(Pink Floyd)

Well, I like sex. A lot. I mean, I could spend the rest of this page talking about how much I like sex. No - you do not understand - I REALLY like sex. I don't think I can tell you how much I like it here. All kinds of sex (hetero only, please). I like exploring my sexuality, trying new things, learning about myself. There is so much that can be done, so many things to discover. You just have to use your imagination. And boy, do I have an imagination! Does it cause problems? You bet! I tend to be agressive. I also like to use imagery and paint pictures with my voice. You can do so many things if you use your mind. It is not a myth that the mind is the most erogenous zone. Mind you, this is not all the time. I mean, there is a time and a place, right?

I do not think sex makes a relationship. I do not have a problem having sex without a relationship (I'm neither a prude nor a slut). But I do think a true committed, romantic relationship includes sex. I think there is only so far you can go in a relationship without sharing that most intimate of secrets. I myself have found it is much easier to expose my feelings after I have exposed my sexual nature. Not always. But I have made connections that lead to a much more intense emotional and intellectual sharing when the freedom of sharing a sexual relationship is experienced first. Maybe I am wrong for that. But I can share so much more if I find someone that can accept me sexually. It is much harder for me to try to find someone to accept all that after the rest. I think it works being up front about things like sex. That is the bond that lets two people have a common, secret, intense side to their relationship. There has to be something special with the one you are committed to. There has to be something shared that is shared with noone else, something that you share with only that one. What are the things that you can share so exclusively? Feelings? This rates very high on that list, but it is not unreasonable to think there are things you may only share with a close friend that you do not always share with the one you love. Although it would seem that a good relationship there is nothing you wouldn't share. Sometimes, you need to talk to someone else, especially if it is about the other person. Hopefully, it is a precursor to talking about whatever the issue is with your partner. When you can trust someone enough to be honest in bed, when you work on that part of your relationship and can be understanding, you have, well, you have all the things I mentioned above. (notice how smoothly I brought the whole relationship themes from above into that?). And, I think that is a very good foundation for a relationship. Is it the chicken or the egg? I do not know. But, you can't make an omlette without it.

'cause what I'm doing must be wrong
pouring my heart out in a song
owning up for prosperity
for the whole damn world to see
(Rod Stewart)

So, what is there to life? Wake up, go to work, come home, eat. Go out with friends on Friday night. Meet someone to have fun with. When do you settle? When is it enough? When do you sit back and say, 'well, I guess that's as good as it gets?' I just cannot imagine settling for that that. That may mean I am doomed to a never-ending search. I have given up a few dreams in my life, and I still feel the hollow longing inside of me. Who can turn that off, and live with it? I can understand sacrifice. Believe me, I have made my sacrifices. I have given up everything to persue my heart. And, I have certainly lost everything - more than once. When is it perseverance, and when is it stupidity? If the end result is the benchmark, then I must be a nominee for the award for stupidity, if not the winner. But, you know, dammit, I tried! If I had not tried, I would be forever wondering, second-guessing myself, worrying about what I might have missed, where my life might have gone. By pushing myself, by taking those chances, I know more about myself than I would have ever learned taking the easy way. It just gets SO frustrating. Not many people are willing to go that route, and gain that knowledge. It is easier to just take the hand that is dealt you than to learn to deal. Then, you end up dealing to others. It is hard to find someone willing to share the cards, cut the deck, and remove something other than their socks when they loose a hand. I guess it all boils down to: if it's worth having, it's worth fighting for. But, to be satisfied, you have to have a partner willing to fight the good fight with you.

Then again, maybe it's just me!
(Noel Henderson)

oh, the red strokes
passions uncaged
thundering moments
of tenderness rage
oh, the red strokes
tempered and strong
burning the night like the dawn
(Garth Brooks)

'... no, sir, you came here for an ARGUMENT...'

So, what do you think? And why? What brought you to this point, to make you think that way? Click on the GuestBook on the left page, and start a discussion. Flame me. Yell at me. Tell me how sappy this was. Tell me what an All Around Great Guy I am. Should I loose the goatee? Just DON'T SIT THERE, pretending you have no feelings, like you are some detached observer, untouchable, like this world has no effect on you. That, my friend, is an ex-parrot!

And I have seen my share of long nights
And I have told my share of lies
And I have run into the darkness
When I saw the look in your eyes

But if the night didn't lie in the darkness
Then the daylight would be hard to find
And if the truth didn't turn to a weakness
I would have never have spoken my mind

And if the stars didn't shine on the water
Then the sun wouldn't burn on the sand
And if I were the man you wanted
Then I would not be the man that I am
(Lyle Lovett)