Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: August 2008

Songs that men probably should not sing…

Admit it guys… there have been time that you have been sitting at home, or in the car and a song has come on that you cannot help but sing along with… but is not meant for a guy to sing.

Unfortunately, I too am guilty of this.  There have been a couple times I caught myself, being a big fan of ABBA singing something like “Gimme Gimme Gimme” when it comes on the radio.  Granted… I will try, when I think about it, to edit the lines to say woman… so the result is no longer the “Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight” that are the real lines of the song.

There are many other songs that are like this.  Written from the point of view of the woman and sung by a woman, yet they are catchy enough that we all tap our toes and sometime sing along.

I was driving the other day and heard a guy in the car next to me singing Gretchen Wilson’s “Red Neck Woman”, and it looked like he was really getting into it, until he saw me watching him.  As I turned and looked forward again I heard his radio tune to a talk show and he was no longer singing.

Then there are the songs that guys sing when they do not know the meaning of them and the people that do sit, put their head in their hands and groan.  I used to have a friend that loved a song by the Kinks called “Lola”.  He used to say that it was a song that he would dedicate to his wife and reminded him of how they met.  This confused me, because anyone who really LISTENS to the song will realize that is about a guy’s first sexual encounter with a male transvestite.  When I explained this to him, he ignored me.  I am all for having the occasional romantic song in your life, but it might be a good idea to select one that you know the meaning behind.

Then there have been the times I have seen women singing songs that were meant for men.  Yes, ladies… you are guilty too.  Like a time I was sitting in a bar, out of town, having dinner… I noticed a young lady singing Dierks Bently’s “What was a thinking?” to herself and she was really getting into it, too.

Like I said… we are all guilty of doing this from time to time.  I know it will never stop and sometime we just do not realize that we are singing the song until you notice that people are looking at you like you like you just peed in the holy water at church.

So… keep singing… because the rest of the world needs a reason to laugh.

Confessions of a recovering nerd.

My name is Sam… and I am a recovering nerd.

Unfortunately there is no twelve step program for people like me, we simply learn that technology does not need us, we need it and it becomes a part of our lives. Sometimes a little too much a part of our lives. Some of us do find an escape.

I have decided to start a wood shop in my garage and learning how to make things with my hands and my mind. While I have not made anything yet, the fact remains that I have done pretty well just putting the stuff together in the way of tools and equipment. Now I am reading a little and learning what I need to proceed.

Obviously I still work on computers quite a bit, otherwise you would not be reading this right now. But I have learned to find a way to be a technophile and still enjoy life away from cyberspace.

A friend of mine, whom I have known since high school, is also a recovering nerd. He looks a little more like a nerd than do I, but he too have found a n escape from the PCs. He is about the closest thing to a master model maker that I can say I know. His house is full of models that he has built. At the time of this writing, I am trying to talk him into letting me post some of his pictures, but I am not holding out hope.

But at our core, we are still all nerds at heart. Nothing is really that bad about being a nerd… I was proud to have been one when I was in school… in fact about the only time I was not a nerd was when I joined the Marines. Marines don’t have nerds… don’t ask… they just don’t.

So… I am a nerd… a recovering nerd. I will never cease to be a nerd, I will only learn to take it day by day.

I have to go… I have to answer an email… oh…. uh oh.

Just because it fits… Observations from a Gym.

Since there does not appear to be any guides stating that I cannot talk about this and my gym membership did not include a Confidentiality Agreement, at least not that I am aware of, I fee pretty “OK” talking about this subject.

I recently started going to a gym. I did this mostly due to the wake-up call I received a couple weeks ago and shared with you all in the piece I wrote called “A Place in my heart.” Last night was my first time going there, and I will have to admit that it was not all bad. There were some things that I saw that I really need to talk about… let’s call it therapy.

Warning: Some of the following may be considered crass, rude, hostile or even just plain mean hearted… but I mean it in the most constructive way possible. Read it and comment on it, but consider yourself warned.

Many years ago I belonged to a gym here in Bakersfield named Bakersfield Athletic Club. I went pretty regularly until they were bought out by a place called “24 Hour Fitness”. To me, this was like finding out that my local Temple (Jewish) was being run by Saint Frances’ Catholic school for children with spastic rectal disorder. In other words, not a good thing. 24 Hour Fitness could ruin half off happy hour at the Mustang Ranch.

I digress… the above was not what I came here to talk about. What I really wanted to talk about are the items that people wear to the gym and some of the things you see in a gym. Trust me, they are not all good and some of them would send Freddy Kruger back to the pits of hell looking for someone to hug him.

First of, let me tell you how I dress to work out. It is a matter of utility for me, I am not there to attract the women, expecially since I have been off the market for almost twenty years. So my attire is usually a pair of sweat shorts and a heavy sweat shirt. Yes, I wear this all the time that I am working out, even in the summer. The object of doing a good workout is to sweat, right? For the ladies reading, I will call it “Glowing”, but for me, it is sweating.

I am also not there to have a discussion, so you will not see me chatting with other people. I just go in, get on the machine that I want to use and sweat away.

The reason I talk about what people wear to the gym is because while I am not not on the market and I am not looking for a date, I am also not dead. I will notice the ladies if they are pleasing to look at. Which brings me to my first point.

Ladies… just because you fit into the size 6 unitard, when you are actually a size 12, does not mean you SHOULD put it on. There are many reasons that you should not wear it.  I know that there may be something that tells you that this looks sexy, but that is the same voice that keeps telling you that one more banana split will not make a difference. IGNORE THE VOICE.  I have NO problem with large women and I have no problem with them working out.  I do have a problem with seeing things that are better left to someone else’s imagination.  I will end that portion of the topic with two words, and leave the rest to your imagination…  Camel Toe.

To be fair, I am not slender.  I am 276 pounds and most of it is in my ass and stomach, but you will never see me in the gym in bicycle shorts or a tank top.  Heck, even if I had a great body and was built like Bruce Lee, you would not see me dressed like that.

Guys… I have two issues to pick on with the guys who go to the gym.  There seem to be three types of guys that go to the gym… people like me who are trying to get our bodies back in some shape other that pear or “bowling pin”, who go in at regular times and work our butts off… hopefully literally.

Then there are the guys that seem to mistake the gym for a pick-up joint.  They go in and try and pick up on the ladies to see who might be available.  You guys are the reason that many gyms have created a “Ladies Only”.  These are the idiots that come in, find a machine next to a lady and start working out on it for no other reason than to chat it up with a person that wants nothing to do with you.

Then there are the muscle types… they go in and work for hours on the free weights.  You can usually tell these ones, because they lose their sense of anything but themselves.  when they walk around they strut, if they happen to walk by a mirror then they watch themselves walk past.  That alone gives me the creeps, because the way they will sometimes look at themselves, you start to wonder if they are have some weird homoerotic fantasy about themselves.

Now… I know that anyone reading this may stop and ask me about the issues that I have… and I do have issues.  I lack a great deal of self-confidence, I am ashamed of how I look, especially when I thing that I was once a Marine and did have a good body.  I am paranoid that others are watching me work out and whispering under their breath about me.  There… I am not perfect.  That being said, I do get out there and do the best that I can.  I am not getting any younger.

Please do not be offended by anything I have written about in this post.  I am venting about things that I think are silly.  You will have your own opinion, I am sure, but I am sure that there are things you can all agree with in this.  We have all been to gyms and seen things like this.  This is no longer the late 70s or 80s… there are no more Kelly LaBrock’s or Olivia Newton John’s bouncing around in leotards and leg warmers, images that filled the fantasies of many a young man, myself included, in those times…  I cannot speak to what you ladies reading this looked at and fantasized about during that time .  Two decades of gluttony have caught up with us all.

Now we see the gyms filled with people more like the Michael Moore’s and Rosanne Arnold’s trying to do the same moves, and it is scary.

Good Night, all… with all I have written I hope that you have no nightmares.

Things in life that I do not understand…

When I came up with the title for this post, I was thinking of all the fun things I could put on here that would rank as the things that I do not understand. The possibilities for humor in such a title are endless. I am not sure why, but then I realized that there are other things that I need to express that do not rank as humorous, but still fall within the scope of the title. And so I shall begin…

  • I do not understand how a person can abuse or exploit a child, for any purpose.
  • I do not understand how you can hate a class or race of people based solely on their race or class.
  • I do not understand why people believe politicians who have a history of lying.
  • I cannot understand what we think we can accomplish by not pursuing nuclear energy
  • I do not understand why people insist on talking on the phone while driving.
  • I do not understand why people still try to run from the law when it is almost impossible to escape.
  • I do not understand how people can still walk around with messed up teeth, when dental services so readily available these days.
  • I do not understand why, as technologically advanced as we have become, we still have wars and conflicts over theological issues.
  • I do not understand why, again… as technologically advance as we are, we still think that the color of our skin makes us better or worse people.
  • I do not understand why our government seems to exist solely for it’s own benefit and not for the benefit of those that it is supposed to represent.
  • I do not understand why a person working on behalf of the government, doing his job to protect the borders, can be arrested and jailed for doing his job.  While the person he tried to stop, who is an illegal alien with a know criminal past, is treated like a hero.
  • I do not understand how people who have the task and honor of putting their lives on the line for our country, in many cases, do not make enough money to make ends meet.
  • I do not understand why every TV show uses the same plots, just with a few different changes to make you think you are watching something different.
  • I do not understand how if a show like “24” is supposed to be about the events through the course of one day, why it never has a 10 minute period while Kiefer’s charactor is taking a crap.
  • I do not understand how a person’s life can be so boring that they need to sit and watch a TV program about several people in a house with manufactured issues with the sole intent on exploiting those of the others on the show.

…A Place in my heart.

So I had a scare last week…

The wife and I were walking through Sam’s Club, doing some shopping, when I started to feel a little flush.  I figured it was just the heat, so I toughed it out.  A little later I started feeling clammy and cold… then dizzy.  I told her that we had to leave.  She said she would pay for the stuff and wanted me to go out and sit in the car.  The rest of the day I was wiped out and exhausted, not able to do much more than watch TV.

The next day I went into the doctor, who did some tests, took some blood, ran an EKG and sent me home letting me know that if she found anything they would call me.  OK… that’s was fine.

The next morning I am at work, still feeling a little tired from the ordeal, when I get a call from my doctor’s office at 9:45 am.   They were calling to inform me that they had scheduled an appointment for with with a Cardiologist and the appointment was at 11am… in just over an hour.

Well… needless to say, this had me a little on the worried side…  When it normally takes a few days to get into see a doctor, the idea that they got me in that fast, and to see a specialist, was incredible.

So, with butterflies-a-fluttering, I went to the Heart Center here in Bako.  I did have to wait for a little bit, but when I went in, they did some more tests and put me on a “halter monitor” that would record my heart for the next twenty-four hours.  They also set me up with an appointment to do a stress test and a Echo Cardiogram.

So two worrisome days went by while I waited for the day to take my tests…  and then I went in.  The tests were pretty easy and the stress test, which should also be called the “lets see how out of shape you are” test, went pretty well.  It is a test where you walk on a treadmill until your heart gets to a certain rate, then they inject you with a radio-isotope that makes your heart more visible to their scanner.

In the end, it turns out that there was nothing wrong with my heart.  In fact, I was told that for a person with my weight issues, that I have a very healthy heart.  I was, however, advised that I need to lose some weight… quite a bit, in fact.

Coming away from this, I will take it as a “shot across the bow”, so to say.  A warning that I need to shape up and get my act together.  Who knows?  The next time I might not be so lucky as to have a little bit of exhaustion and it might just be the real deal.

Dances with Wolves

Yes… I know this movie is almost twenty years old at the time of this post, but there is something to be said about a movie that is so powerful that it can be relevant and emotional this long after it’s release. More importantly is the fact that this is a movie that causes one to review their own history. Michael Blake is a master storyteller and, in one of his few cinematic success’, Kevin Costner does wonders with the book… only changing the Nation from Comanche to Souix for the purpose of the story… it never quite explains why, so if you know, then please share.

If you have not read the book, I strongly recommend that you do. It is powerful, fun and heartbreaking. I do not care who you are, you will laugh and cry during parts of it. This book and “Bury my heart at Wounded Knee”, by Dee Brown, are the only books I have ever read that have truly made me feel any shame for the White/European History of the United States… I am sure that there are many more stories out there that I have yet to read, but at this time, those are the ones I have the most first-hand experience with. So if you, my readers, would like to challenge me on my assessment of those books… don’t, that is not why I am writing this. If you have a suggestion on more reading, then please share that with me and the other readers.

I have known several Indians in my life… I am sorry, but for the sake of this article, I am going to refer to all “Native Americans” as Indians. Please understand that I mean it with no ill will or disrespect. Of the ones I have known, I am always amazed at how they maintain an innate sense of pride and purpose. In light of what has happened to their people across the north and south American continents and even in the midst of the abject poverty some of them live in on many of the reservations that were and still are established across the country, they are still a proud people. They are the ultimate survivors when you look at them this way.

Unfortunately there are those that are leaving their culture, more interested in becoming part of the corporate America that seems intent on helping us all forget about where we come from and who we are. Assisting us into becoming a past-less people who are either ashamed of our past, too busy to worry about our past or taught that our past is in some way offensive to others. All of which are wrong stands to take.

My reason for taking interest in the Indians is more or less as a result of my mother, as most of my passions in life seem to have. She read a book, many years ago, called “Hanta Yo”. At the time I was not interested in this book, or the “Carlos Castenada” series that she was trying to get me to read. Then again, I was at that age where I rebelled against almost everything my Mother tried to get me to do. Later in life I picked these books up and read them. Deep inside I knew that my Mother and my tastes were close enough that I would like them and I did. As a quit addition, you can also blame Tom and Delores Laughlin for some of this. If you do not know the names, then you have never seen the “Billy Jack” movies.

I have never understood why we did what we did to the natives of this land. Yes, I understand it from the point of the historical Western Expansion and the Manifest Destiny philosophies. But there were many occasions where we could have lived together with no war and no killing, yet greed got in the way and we did anyway. I will not even start to cover the many treaties and agreements that we made and broke with the various Nations or how we manipulated the Nations that were already at war with one another into fighting harder. The fact that these Tribal Nations made war with one another also went against what I understood, growing up. They never taught that in school when I was young.

I remember hearing the stories about how the Indians were always peaceful and lived with the land. Schools had a tendency, at the time, to paint the Indians as this semi-docile group of backwards people that were completely overwhelmed by the white man’s war-like ways. When in reality, I learned that the various Nations had their own wars, treaties, trade agreements and cultural variations. They were truly several hundred nations… all unique and not all friendly towards one another.

Personally, I do not think we have made up for what we have done to the Indians, but then the questions arises… “How does one make up for near Genocide and striping a culture from it’s homes and history?” There is no way to, it just cannot happen. I think of the Indians whenever I hear Black people in the news talking about “Reparations”. When you look at what they suffered versus what the Indians suffered… there is no comparison. But there is also no way to repair this… only accept that we were very wrong in what we did and move on having learned our lessons and respecting the lives that it cost. Both those that were taken and those that never were as the result of what we did.

In the event that anyone might have read the wrong message in this article, please understand this. I am an American and I am proud of that. But as an American, I know that I can be proud of who and what I am, but not of all the history that lead me and my fellow Americans here. Our history does have several dark spots on it, but I challenge you to name one country that does not. We should respect the lives that were lost getting here as well, those of both “Sides” of the path. We are all human, and in the end, we all answer to the same Architect.

I like it in here…

I talk to myself.

I would like to think that we all do from time to time, personally I think it is healthy to talk to yourself.

I am pretty sure that I talk to myself more than most people that I know, however, and there are times that I have pretty good conversations with myself. Some of my best ideas and thoughts come from these conversations.

I would wager that my level of “self conversation” goes a little to far sometimes. I mean if you are having a conversation with a person and reach a point were the conversation goes south, you can walk away from one another. There have been several times where my discussions with myself have not gone well and I reach a point where I cannot agree with me, so what do I do? I cannot walk away from myself… I have tried to not talk to myself for a while, but that always ends badly. I thought about taking myself out to dinner once to make up for the argument, but that is always uncomfortable when you get to the restaurant. Especially when both of you forget to bring money.

Seriously, though… Some of my best ideas have come from talking to an empty room with a tape recorder going. It gives you a way to hear your ideas through another point of view. I have even gone so far as to video tape my discussions with myself to, afterward, view the process from afar. It truly can be fascinating.

Now… I am sure that there are those of you who are now saying something along the lines of: “OK… The Samurai has lost it.” No… I would say not. I know exactly where it is, but I just occasionally have trouble getting to it. I never put it in the same place twice and I do not always recall exactly where it was that I left it the last time I had it. 😉

I use talking to myself much the same way that Einstein used his mental simulations, to figure something out. If I am writing, it often helps to say the lines aloud to see how they will actually sound when spoken. When I am thinking about something, there are times that speaking about it as if you were discussing it with a person helps the thought congeal.

Then there are actually times that I do like listening to myself talk about something I know well. It makes me feel good, I suppose. After all… when I do that, I do have a captive audience.

All in all… I like it in here… and so do the rest of us!

Operators are standing by…

Effective about three weeks ago, the phone lines are now open.

You see… a few years ago I paid for an 800 number so that my family could reach me when they needed to without having to worry about long distance charges.  Well… to date, there have been no calls on that number except for a few wrong numbers and a cute Hispanic child that I could not understand and I had to send the message to my mother-in-law for translation.


The number has now become the “SamuraiMarine Blog Hotline!”

It is 877-282-3657

I am not always there to answer it, but I always check my messages.

Samurai’s “You Gotta See” Sites for July 2008

HERE – Is what happens when you do not remove the waypoints you create in Google Earth or Google Maps.

HERE – Is where you need to go if you are considering buying one of those “gas saving” devices on TV.

Escalator Spin – Guys… you want to get your wife out of the shopping mood fast… try this…

Condom Plant – A great gag for the person who has everything.

Mentos Booby Trap – From the same site as above.  The perfect trick if you have a workplace lunch thief.

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