bRob the Romantic

Hi Webs -

I don't want you to feel sorry for me or anything but i did write this on Valentine's evening from the inside of an airport hotel room that smelled vaguely of oldness. I trust you're grateful I spared you all my Valentine's Day whinging on Valentine's Day proper, because that's the kind of thoughtful person I sometimes accidentally am.

As the snowpocalypse reigned supreme over in NC, my red-eye flight was delayed and I finally groveled my way into a ticket on Saturday morning.

via imgur
Which, if you do the math, leaves me in my airport hotel over Valentine's day. Being single on Valentine's Day is obviously not the most fun way to spend a holiday devoted to romance, and sitting alone in a hotel room spilling an ungodly amount of Thai food  (the lady offered me three sets of utensils. I'd probably find that amusing if it weren't such a cliche) all over the bed kind of exacerbates the whole ordeal.

After a lot of that ^^^ and about 3 hours of this  on repeat and just general all around self-pitying, I decided the best thing I could do to cheer myself up is to give back; giving back is so rewarding. Or so I've read.

In that generous spirit I have compiled some free romantic advice loosely based on a date I may or may not have had with Office Pervert, formerly know as OC for those who have followed along religiously.

How to Romance the Ladies, Probably

by bRob

1)  Practice saying "You look good" in a way that doesn't make me think you might have ladies' body parts stashed in your basement.

2) If a restaurant serves wine in a plastic glass, I promise you don't need to swirl and sniff before delicately sipping. That wine most definitely came from Wal-Mart.

3) Maybe don't hype up and make reservations for a restaurant that serves wine in a plastic glass.

4) Don't take me somewhere where your friend works and is going to make lewd gestures and point every time I turn around.

5) Also, if a girl does not seem to appreciate you staring at her chest, and if she's told you to stop grabbing/stroking her upper thigh ten times, the next best thing to do is not to grab her butt and yell "goosed you!"

It's my fault, really. I should have punched him the ninth time he grabbed my thigh.

6) Collecting pinball tables in your living room is not impressive. It's embarrassing and seriously makes me question your financial sense. And your sense in general. HOW old are you?

yeah no, not interested in seeing pictures.

stop texting me.

7) You: "What kind of Christian are you?"
Your gorgeous date: "Uh I guess I was raised Southern Baptist?"
You: "You might find this interesting. I'm going to the Vatican this summer."

Don't say that.

8) Did you just bring up marriage within a week of meeting me?

9) Know your strengths. If you take a sophisticated lady to an improv show, and if you aren't actually on stage, you are not a comedian. I cannot emphasize that enough. Do not try to be louder than the comedians. Do not get jealous and pout when I laugh at the comedians. They are funny. You are not. Deal.

10)  Because hope springs eternal and because i am a romantic at heart, i leave you with what highschool bRob considered the height of romance. Tip number 10 - just do this.

Oh, and here's one for the ladies: Drive yourselves. So important to have an escape plan.

I hope you feel a little loved today.


The 2014 Short List

If you follow my tweets and statuses religiously, which I expect you do with bated breath, you'll recall that I rang in the New Year in Vietnam (on Cat Ba island which is technically not in the gorgeous Halong Bay but kind of is).

Now that I'm back Stateside, I suppose it's time to formally kick off the new year on the blog. I should let you know, however, that I am relatively anti-resolutions. Not your resolutions, mind you; kudos to you for making plans and the like. I personally never have the wherewithal to stick to these sorts of things for more than five minutes. And there's this perverse part of me that bucks as soon as I feel like I have to do anything, so establishing resolutions is merely setting myself up for failure.

In fact, let's look at the picked-up and put-right-back-down five-minute activities from this past year:

1. Ukulele

At one point I knew three chords. Presently I couldn't even tell you the string names.

2. Cross-stitch

That was an adorable albeit bloody month.

3. Dragon Boating

I'm on the winning boat, at least.

4. Pie-ing

I'm going to try keeping up with this one. In fact, I need to recreate this Triple Berry Pie tomorrow for Grandma's birthday...

I want to be realistic and not over-commit in 2014, and I'm 3 times less likely to do something if I feel bound by obligation, so in lieu of a set of resolutions (ew), I have put together

My 2014 Bucket List
Doesn't that sound more fun?

1. Go to Jordan and visit Petra (maybe tour Iran as well).

Or tour Italy. Doesn't Cinque De Terre look so dreamy? 

2.  Start learning a new language...Chinese maybe? Or Korean? I feel like Mandarin would be more helpful as I grow my professional network (<<< dweeby)...but I think Korean might be easier on my linguistically-challenged brain. Do any of you-alls have resource recommendations?

3. Learn to speed read.

4. Actually sit down and watch these psychology lectures from Yale.

5. Learn how to properly contour and highlight my pasty, acne-studded face. I've tried looking up tutorials and the like but as soon as some girl pulls out 12 different makeup brushes and 17 different types of concealer and foundations, I freak out and go through this five-minute self-affirmation process about how beauty is what's on the inside or something.

6. Learn how to cook a few southeast asian dishes. I really do need to stop spending all my bitcoins on Thai food. 
JK. Don't own bitcoins. 
7. And on that note, try cooking some healthy dishes. Maybe one a month. Again, not trying to get carried away here on the self-improvement train...

8. Move out of North Carolina. Thinking Boston? Also thinking I need to buy a real coat.

9. Spend less money on books, not because I want to get fewer books but because I need to find better alternatives to spending too much percent of my paycheck on them. Fortunately I'm starting to use paperbackswap.com. Obviously I'm really excited about it, given that I've told everyone I know about this website approximately 10 times. I've already mailed out a few books and I've requested another.

UGH Is there anything better than getting books in the mail?? No of course there isn't, duh.

10. Maybe post pictures of Vietnam. Maybe.

I was going to add train for a half marathon to this list, but this morning I was unceremoniously chased down by a pitbull while soft-j-jogging, so bRob's gonna hold off on that....maybe "Get pepper spray" should be added to this list instead.

What are your goals/aspirations/bucket lists for 2014? And, if you're trying to learn something new, such as coding or a language or taking an online course, how do you manage that on top of your regularly-scheduled workload? I thought about trying to devote one hour each evening to learning one of the aforementioned topics, but I can already tell that's gonna be a bust...

Happy Belated New Year, kiddos.
- bRob

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