Archive for June, 2005

I finally met my cyberstalkers. We’d been talking by email for a few weeks and Egg1 finally suggested we meet on Saturday.

I talked to a few friends beforehand about their experience with relationships that started on the Internet and I must say it didn’t bode well. I have nothing to lose though.

Jason: You’re shit was hilarious. Why don’t you start your own blog and just tell funny stories about all the random shit you used to do? I would pay to read it. When are you coming down to Altanta to visit?

I must say that I was apprehensive. I played tennis Saturday morning and was all pissed off after I lost so I came home and took a 3 hour nap till 3 in the afternoon. At that point I really hadn’t decided whether or not to take them up on the offer….after all, its pretty weird on the surface.

So in order to help myself make a decision I started drinking and playing video games well into the evening…..under the logic that by the time 10:30 rolled around I would decide to go or be so drunk that it didn’t matter to me whether I went or not.

After a solid 6 hours or so of drinking by myself and whipping everyone’s ass on the internet at Tiger Woods 2004, I was definitely ready to meet a few overweight heifers and close the loop on my cyberstalker drama.

I finally showed up at Egg1’s house after getting lost several times on the way and finishing a bottle of wine. I’ll save the rest of specifics of the story and play Q & A with myself.

Did they weigh 300 lbs?

No, their combined weight was not even 300 pounds.

What did I learn that evening?

Men are good for three things: 1) Opening things (like mason jars or something) 2) Math…specifically geometry and 3) Installing things.

Tequila is fun to drink and I like hanging out with strangers. It is very liberating.

A kitchen is no good place for a teepee.

Some people really are nice for no good reason.

What did the girls do for a living?

Well….I asked this question several times and the only thing I really remember is that they staple things together. No wonder they think my blog is interesting.

What is my opinion of cyberstalking?

I think everyone should be stalked at least once. I explained to them that the whole experience was fun and interesting and that I owe them one for all the faux drama and intrigue.

People pay a lot of money for fun and interesting. They both expressed uninterest in their current job (imagine that) and said they want to do something different on their own and even offered a few ideas on what that might be.

I have an idea too. They should go into business together running a Stalking Service®. You pay to be stalked because it is better than another night of Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network.

You take an online survey and then are matched secretly to stalkers who have similar interests….then you get to lay clues about each other. Maybe it is something like a present to a friend on his/her birthday….they don’t even know that they’ll be stalked. Its like the movie The Game with Michael Douglas except more harmless.

You think I’m kidding and that its a stupid idea, but actually I’m not and it would work if someone were crazy enough to do it. What do you get for the friend that has everything???? Their very own stalker. How thoughtful!

My first business ideas are free. I charge a consulting fee for any subsequent advice though.

Was there a personal connection to me somehow or was this truly just a fluke?

There actually was a personal connection, although I sort of promised not to reveal it publicly. Publicly to who was my question to her. I am not aware but of a very few people from high school that read this website….even fewer that would care. However, a promise is a promise.

And for anyone out there from high school trying to guess…you’ll never guess. I never even knew her really.

Anything else to add?

I’m glad I asked….contrary to all my preconceptions, they are both perfectly nice and I think I will see them again until they figure out that I am really the one who is a complete whack job. (I think though that if they haven’t figured it out already from reading this website that perhaps I can keep them fooled for a very long time.)

So what’s the catch?

I don’t know. Maybe there isn’t one? Stranger things have happened.

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My desk at work is a disaster. I have to remind the nice Mexican lady who cleans the office not to touch any papers that are not all the way in the trash can….even though they might look like they are supposed to be thrown away and have no apparent order.

My room growing up was a disaster. My car right now is a disaster. I have never been able to keep things neat. My brain is not so orderly. It works all at once, and in a bunch of different directions.

And now someone has taken the time to vindicate the messy for their seeming disorder.

The higher the salary, the messier the person: 66% of Americans making $35,000 or less per year are self-described “neat freaks,” whereas only 11% of those earning above $75,000 claim the same.

The more educated tend to be messier with only 16% consider themselves to be neat. For those who did not finish college, this number increases to 29%.

You can bet I will be committing these statistics to memory. And just for the record…..Mom, I told you so.

Now if only my income will follow suit.

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I played putt putt with some folks from work today. It was pretty fun. I liken my work to summer camp for adults with money and cars. All young people work at my office and we actually have a company cafeteria (with free food) so everyone checks everyone out at lunch. We don’t have lockers, but work is sort of like classes. I can say that High School would’ve been a lot cooler had we all been making a salary at the time.

On the way home I stopped by this large liquor store in hopes that they had some good stuff that I don’t have at my crappy little shops in Smyrna. This is the first place (other than a bar) I’ve been in Atlanta that sells Belhaven Scottish Ale and I even managed to pick up a bottle of Marques, a red wine by Concha y Toro that I used to drink when I lived in Chile. It was a lot cheaper in S. America.

I guess I’m writing tonight for three reasons. 1) I read this great article about Happiness (one of my favorite and most amusing subjects), 2) I got a random email that seemed to fit with what I was thinking about the article, and 3) Jeff Harding found me on IM and wrote something that fit in as well.

I’ll post it all here and make everyone listen to me ramble. After all, it is MY website.

Here is the email I got today:


You don’t know me and I know only what you have written. I’m not even sure why I’m writing you, it just feels the right thing to do. When I read you entries I somewhat feel relived that I’m not the only wacko out there. What is it with us people who think too much and try so hard to find a meaning in all this. I moved from Belgium 5 years ago to the US and now I’m almost 2 years in Venezuela, leaving all my friends and family.

But my problem is that I wasn’t chasing a dream I followed my husband who works for a big US company. And there you have the problem, I have days of doing nothing, trying to figure out what in gods name I want to do with my life and he is off working 70 hours a week. Some people know what they want to do, what they want to become when they grow up. I feel I’m still growing up and I’m 35. There is so much out there, so many choices, how do you make the right one.

Maybe you’re right when you say that you always have to think how a decision will influence you life and the person you are. It’s weird, I should feel lucky, I life in a nice country have a lot of money and time to do whatever I want and yet it’s not enough. What enough is or should be I don’t know. All I know is that I want to pack my bags and leave for who knows where. I keep on fighting with my balance in life.

When I read you chicken and egg story I laughed and cried at the same time. This is exactly what I mean but why do so many people have no clue what you’re talking about. On the other hand I do believe that everything happens for a reason and that you should try to learn as much as you can, so maybe it’ll get better over time. I don’t think I ever find my answers or reasons for living but I hope with some insights from other persons, like you, it will become a little clearer.

Thanks for writing the way you do,


Hmm….I don’t often give advice, as I’ve said before here. I am going to make a few comments though because it borders on what I was thinking about anyway…..take it for advice if you like.

One line at a time:

“…I somewhat feel relived that I’m not the only wacko out there. What is it with us people who think too much…”

A) I am not a wacko. I have never molested any children, nor do I feel the need to self-mutilate. B) I used to think too much, but now I drink so that I don’t have to think too much. You might want to consider my solution as well. Belhaven Scottish Ale is a wonderful beer, although I’m pretty certain they don’t have it in Venezuela. I’ve heard through the travel grapevine that Polar Beer is very good in Venezuela; I’ve never had one.

“..leaving all my friends and family.”

That is never a great decision if you are prone to overthinking. Friends and family are important for sanity. I seem to be a callous bastard and so am able to bear long periods away from mine….but I miss them all the same.

“.. I have days of doing nothing, trying to figure out what in gods name I want to do with my life and he is off working 70 hours a week…”

2 comments here.

1) Watch “Lost in Translation”. It shows so well how odd life can become when you are far from your roots and you don’t really have anything to do.

2) I have found this to be very true from years of experience: If you are doing nothing, then you will certainly question what you are supposed to be doing with your life. That is a given. Doing stuff doesn’t necessarily give your life meaning, but it very much does postpone the question.

“..There is so much out there, so many choices, how do you make the right one..”

Hmm…I’ve said this many times, have argued over it, and occasionally get flamed on it for my moral relativism: There is no right decision for your life, only a firm, wholehearted decision.

“..and yet it’s not enough. What enough is or should be I don’t know. All I know is that I want to pack my bags and leave for who knows where. I keep on fighting with my balance in life..

What!?!?!?! I can’t even link to the number of times on this website that I’ve commented on that very topic. I could’ve written that very same thing myself and not known the difference.

I can only say that with me I’ve come to take it for a personality trait. That is who I am: It will never be enough, and I will always fight that wanderlust. Those two are tied together somehow but that is another conversation.

“ maybe it’ll get better over time. I don’t think I ever find my answers or reasons for living but I hope with some insights from other persons, like you, it will become a little clearer..”

For me it gets better because I get more tools to deal with it; I do not believe it gets better in any absolute sense though, at least for me.

As for the “reason for living” question: I don’t even think about it that much anymore. It has been largely a waste of effort in my life. I never figure anything out. I just become confused on a higher level.

As for the “insights” from someone like me…..I agree with that one pretty much, although not because it is me. It always helps to know that you are not the only person on the planet.

Thanks for writing the way you do, Micky

Hey, thank you. I found your letter so nice that I put it on the website and thought about it for a good long while. And I always respect people that recognize good writing (wink) =)

On a similar front…

I also just got an IM from Jeff tonight. It appears he is going to Prague to teach English for a year. I met him a few summers ago at Rockmont when I was a counselor and water ski instructor.

He is a truly nice and kind person; you don’t meet many of those, and I meet even fewer that would want to be friends with someone like me. I definitely have a dark side, and I never really got that sense from him. That is admirable.

kelliottdykes: Prague for a year sounds great. It rolls off the tongue

W DoubleO Ten: yeah man… I know this will sound weird, but I doubt I’d be doing it had I not met you

W DoubleO Ten: you inspired me to do it

W DoubleO Ten: I only have disagreed with one thing really. I told you I had the desire to travel, but not the personality to do something like that.

kelliottdykes: Someone once asked me what I learned while I was travelling.

kelliottdykes: I didn’t have a good answer for a while.

W DoubleO Ten: you said it would just be easier to change my desire than to change my personality and go. But I think I’m going because it will force me to change. Does make sense?

W DoubleO Ten: I’m reading

W DoubleO Ten: keep typing

kelliottdykes: But over the years it has come down to two things.
W DoubleO Ten: which are?

kelliottdykes: one of which applies directly to you

kelliottdykes: and it doesn’t just apply to travelling, it applies all the time…you just realize it when you travel

kelliottdykes: “You change someone’s life forever every single day.”

kelliottdykes: What you said makes absolute sense. I commented on that on my website the other day. The decisions you make cause a string of events that change you forever; they make you become a different person. I think its good to consider that fact when making big decisions. You seem to have come up with a good one.

W DoubleO Ten: see.. that’s what I’m talking about

W DoubleO Ten: I know… I’ve been telling people about it, too

W DoubleO Ten: man.. I should roll to ATL and visit

W DoubleO Ten: I’ve got a friend I need to see down there, too

W DoubleO Ten: I love your website, man

kelliottdykes: please do come visit

W DoubleO Ten: I swear… you should get something published

kelliottdykes: I don’t think I have the desire to stick to the poor, starving writer gig long enough to catch my break.

I think Jeff has just made the most extraordinary decision of his life. It will make him another person. There aren’t many decisions that you can say that for in such a big way. It is so freakish what can happen if you put yourself in the right circumstances.

I never realized what an effect we have on each other until I started meeting people abroad, spending a small amount of time with them, and then moving on to the next place, never to see that person again….or so I thought.

What effect can a few days walking around Salzburg together possibly have on someone I invested so little energy in? A lot.

I eventually started hearing from some of my brief travel partnerships again. They’d find me by email or I would see them again when I passed through their hometown.

It was bizarre the things they’d say. They’d latch onto some comment I made that I never even gave much of a thought to and tell me how much it affected them or caused them to make such and such decision. I’ve even heard the phrase “…and it changed my life” a few times.

Here are two great examples tonight.

All this relates back to me too. I’ve been thinking about travel, happiness, and the decisions I make.

A) I’ll be traveling to India with work in the Fall for about 5 months. I’ll be talking more about that later.

B) Happiness……hmm. It is one of my pet concepts, and I will say that I’d never really considered in this way before……the difference between getting what you want and being happy.

I always figured the two were very similar, but not necessarily. From my Microbiology days back at Clemson I had long connected that natural selection doesn’t care whether or not we are happy; thus we are not necessarily genetically engineered for felicity.

Nature only cares that we survive and reproduce…..misreable and alive is better than happy and dead.

Also, “happiness” has many shades and meanings. Getting what we want does not mean we will be happy with it. In this sense I think we need to be saved from ourselves if we really desire happiness (which is another conversation altogether).

People want a house, a nice car and the 4 dollar bag of potato chips instead of the 99 cent bag of Lays. Every piece of research I’ve looked at though says getting those things doesn’t make us any happier.

Even lottery winners show no long term increase in happiness (just a short term spike). Thus what we are really looking at is a genetic, inborn, baseline level of happiness…..past that we have only a small amount of control.

What I’m speaking of might be called the kind of happiness that one equates with contentment or satisfaction.

There is also the kind that we equate with general feelings of happiness. We get these by doing things we like to do. I like to play tennis. When I play, I am happier.

Now we see the issue: If I am chasing the car, which is something I want, then I cannot chase tennis at the same time, which is something I like. They tend to crowd each other out. Which one makes me happy?

Well…the tennis most definitely. However, the things I do to chase the car are likely the most productive and disciplined…which would also be traits that might’ve cause my ancestors to survive where others were killed….perhaps because they were out playing an ancient version of tennis.

So…..our bodies are telling us two different things (and actually many different things). Which do we listen to? Which is right?

I go back to the earlier statement: Nature never promised us happiness, nor does evolution dictate that it is always desirable: A misreable, living depressive beats out a happy dead man anyday.

Now I go back to an even earlier statement: I used to think too much, but now I drink so that I don’t have to think too much.

I would finish with an overall statement about how life is good in spite of and because of everything, but I won’t….I will just say:

We are not born to be happy. Your baseline level of happiness is largely genetic, quit worrying about it. Your decisions set in course a sting of events that you don’t control but will shape your personality, and finally….I suck at Putt Putt, believe wholeheartedly in vacations from myself, and will be staying at this 5 start hotel in Delhi for the next 5 months:

Oh yeah, I would like to say hello to my two new friends. I think you two are great and although my roommate thinks you’re a bunch of whack-jobs….I think you have incredibly good taste 😉

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I found some of this pretty funny to write. It is also pretty neat how much of something that happened a few months ago you can remember if you really try to relive instead of just recall facts.

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