Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The First Date Was A Success, Now What?

I personally believe I'm not only good at first dates, but also second dates. However, I can't say my track record is the best beyond that. I have been on several dates with people that I later didn't get into a romantic relationship with. However, I knew I had to improve on my second date skills if I were to improve my love life.

The getting to know you phase in a relationship or romantic encounter is awesome. Many of us, do not start showing our true selves until the second, or even the third date.

You definitely want to go more extravagant date wise. If you did dinner for the first date, go to a nicer place, and even budget for a movie. You can then see how cool the opposite sex is with you in an intimate setting.

This date should preferly not be at the home, or around too many close family or friends. You are still trying to feel this person out, see how they are. This is the time to learn their long term and short term goals, their feelings regarding sex and marriage, and even what else interests them.

Creativity is fine for the second date. A play, a concert, or even a festival would be nice. Walking and talking can build the chemistry further, and it can ease the tension.

Finally, the date is over. Unless you established it earlier, I wouldn't try for a nightcap just yet. Simply give that person a gentle hug and kiss on the cheek, forehead or the lips. You can do more if both of you are feeling it. However, take your time.

That being said, if they are interested, date number three should not be far away. And unless both parties are celibate, sexual feelings should be expressed in some form at this time. Aggression is not necessary, but the other person must establish that you are very attracted to them and this is more than a friendship. The second date usually starts determining whether you're going to be friends, enemies, or potential mates.

Most of what I said can be applied to a third date, and I may write another piece about the third date. Just keep in mind the second date needs to be good and relaxed. It's similar to a second interview for a job. You're trying to close the deal. To achieve more, you naturally must do more. Also, show that you will continue to do so throughout the relationship with each passing date.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Helping Guys Break The Mid Year Dating Slump

Ok its the middle of the year. Summer is in full swing and the 4th of July is about a week away. Fellas, I feel your pain. You're in a rough patch right now, dating wise. Some of you simply go on dates every weekend but can't find a steady woman. Others of you have it so dry that the last hot female you saw was Scarlett Johanssen in The Avengers. I've been there, have the T-Shirt, and have broken free numerous times. I'm going to help you all do the same.

1. Re-evaluate your standards

I'm not saying don't go for the hottest female in the room.  Just keep your options wide open and find a more well balanced chick. Think Coming To America. You want a woman of Shari Headley's stature, that can think and carry an intelligent conversation.

2. Change of venue/city

Often going to the same places will get old. Gas prices are currently low and it is vacation season. Therefore, venture out to surrounding cities and places. Try concerts, festivals, even yard sales and shopping malls. Go to places you have never been to find females. You will be suprised at the qualities.

3. Know yourself, your interests, and love them.

Self confidence and love is a must. A woman can smell insecurity and fear. Therefore, know your interests and strengths, and capitalize on these. Find common ground with other females, use this to your advantage, and you will find its easier to converse with them.

4. Don't be Every Man, but be well rounded.

It's true women have a lot of layers and seem to want everything. For you bad boys, showing some sensitivity wouldn't hurt. For you nice, shy guys, speak up! If you're feeling a woman, make small talk with her, assert yourself, and show how manly you are.

For all men, bragging isn't necessary. However, show some of the things you can bring to the table such as a stable job, healthy physique, good manners, family values, etc. Women tend to want a good hearted man who is like a chameleon: can express himself well when defending her, in the bedroom, taking care of home, and just being a regular guy. Be yourself, but don't become one dimensional.

5. Laughter Is Good.

One need not be a Mike Epps or a Chris Rock. However, a sense of humor is important. Be able to laugh at yourself, and even be honest in expressing certain views. Truth is often stranger and more humorous than fiction.

6. Go Beyond Sex and go for intimacy also.

Sex, money, etc are all important in any romantic relationship. However, scale back and don't always make it your mission to get the drawers or goodies. Show some patience, let her encourage it, and focus on intimacy. This will often separate the good women from the fast women and dirty butts. Trust me fellas, if she's worth it, everything will come, including sex. Women just don't need for that to always be your number one mission. Think about how often women get offered sex daily. You must separate yourself.

I hope I can help some of you fellas in need find someone to at least hang with for the rest of the summer, and on into the fall when its cooler. Just be easy, take it one step and day at a time, and don't try too hard.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Friends Can Be Lovers, Really?

Yes it is possible.

There will be many out there that will tell you friends cannot be lovers, and vice versa. It is not easy, and requires a special connection between the two parties, but it can happen.

First, each person must know their role. Feelings can get wrapped up easily and you have to balance them and balance them well. Agendas and long term plans should be thrown out the window.

Also, have a strong foundation. Life does go on for grown folks after the loving is over. These friends can help make you a better mate, tell you where you went wrong with them, and how to improve. It's almost as if you are practicing for the big game.

Also, to reinterate, you are adults, NOT teenagers. You should not burn bridges with that person unless things were really bad. Most things can and should be forgiven.

Recognize the new status in the ex-lover's life and accept it with grace. Do not relive it, and give them their space.

Ultimately, you can be lovers and friends, but not always at the same time. You will usually transition to one or the other, but not both. Going back and forth is also confusing and hurtful. Once you have taken that step, you must either date, get married, or stay friends. Adults don't play around forever. It's fun for a while, but it does get old.

So again its possible for friends to be lovers and lovers to be friends. It is a different type of friendship that requires a different type of effort and emotion. Maturity and mutual respect are required.

Finally, do not get so hung up on expressing yourself to your friend. If they do not understand and stray from you, they really weren't your friend, or at least the type of friend you needed. Ladies and gentlemen, life is short. Go for what your heart desires!

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Top 10 NBA point guards currently

The NBA Finals are in full swing and this has prompted several discussions. One heated one occurred during the Eastern Conference Finals between the Heat and Celtics. Rajon Rondo had a monster Game 3 and an overall monster series. This prompted some fellas to hail him as the best point guard currently in the NBA. I cannot place him there. However, here's my current top 10 rankings for NBA point guards.

1. Chris Paul.

CP3 is still head and shoulders above every other PG in the game, especially in the clutch. He has several assists, steals, and even rebounds. He instantly elevated his game when he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers and played with rising power forward Blake Griffin. CP3 is now part of a team capable of making a deep playoff run year in and year out.

2. Derrick Rose

Many may criticize D Rose for his injury this season. However, with him, the Chicago Bulls were dominant, and have earned back to back #1 seeds in the Eastern Conference, unheard of since the Jordan days. He is simply a player, period. He has proven each game why he was the #1 pick in the 2008 draft and once a league MVP. He is simply a dominant player and a difference maker.

3. Deron Williams

Deron suffered this season on a sub-par team. However, he is still young, and is capable of great things on the basketball court. He is still a dominant, prime time PG. I do not feel he is washed up at all, and that the Nets will add more players around him to improve him and the team.

4. Rajon Rondo

I feel this is a fair place to rank Rondo. Boston's Big Three of Garnett, Allen, and Pierce have made him into a top-tier point guard. However, he has delivered this season and during the playoffs. He now can score, as well as dish assists and steal. He's also a good leader, which the Celtics will need once the Big Three is gone.

5. Russell Westbrook

Many are probably scoffing at this pick. However, Westbrook has been a force since his UCLA days. He paired with Kevin Love of the Timberwolves to lead the Bruins to consecutive NCAA Final Fours. Westbrook then gets into the league, pairs with Kevin Durant, and perfects an up tempo offense that is impossible to stop and a nightmare to defend. I feel Westbrook has earned his respect, and will continue to do so as an NBA point guard.

6. Tony Parker

He is a more seasoned player, but is still an awesome shooter and defender. He can run with most of the younger, faster NBA guards. He is often overlooked, but always respected as a fine PG and player. The Spurs haven't won four championships because of Tim Duncan alone.

7. Ty Lawson

This is another PG that played at a high level in college (UNC), winning a national title. He fits well in Denver's system as he can score from inside and downtown, dish the ball to Nene and the other stars, and has high percentages in free throw shooting. His team is rebuilding, and he is an awesome cornerstone to build around.

8. Mike Conley Jr.

This guy has personally suprised me. He has proven in his five seasons that he can play with and against anyone. He has helped make the Memphis Grizzles relevant. You cannot discount his team, teammates such as OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay, and Marc Gasol, or his coach Lionel Hollins. I feel he is a good building block, or great trade bait for other teams. He fits well in many systems.

9. Stephen Curry

His stats may seem inflated due to the bizarre system Golden State runs. However, Stephen has performed well enough over the years to show he's more than a shooter, he's also strong as an overall player and role maker. He had the general management of the Warriors ponder between trading him and veteran Monta Ellis. I believe the system has definitely helped Stephen, but he would be good without it. He is small for an NBA guard and has weak ankles. However, you won't find too many players with his natural stroke or heart.

10. Jameer Nelson

He is surrounded by shooters and an awesome center in Dwight Howard. However, watch his game, and he really makes things happen for the Magic. He will play for a different coach next year now that Stan Van Gundy is gone. However, he, Howard, and Turgolu, among others, need to be kept if the Magic want to be a threat in the Eastern Conference.

I feel in a few years Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, John Wall, and even Kemba Walker can reach this level. However, this is where I rank the current top NBA point guards. Some I expect to remain the same, others will improve, and the rest will fade.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Father Figure Profiles

I profiled several father figures last year that have helped shape and mold me into the person I am. Many of these men could be featured in the classic father film Courageous. That movie raised the bar for how fathers and men should behave, especially when facing adversity. Here are two more father figures that have helped in my journey.

Tom Sansing

Tom is the former owner of Papa G's Restaurant in Blacksburg. I'm friends with his two oldest children, Thomas and Bryna. Heck they are all like family to me. I attend birthday parties and other functions they have, in addition to being a regular at their restaurant. Tom possesses the gift of gab, and has offered me much encouragement and motivation during my adulthood. He lives up to his nickname "Papa". I feel I can go to him when I'm happy, sad, angry, or whatever. He has a huge heart also under his yellow shirt (insider) and no nonsense demeanor. He has successfully worked for himself for over 20 years and has an awesome relationship with the town of Blacksburg. Tom is definitely a model of consistency.

Dale Gould

I reconnected with Dale earlier this year. He was actually friends with my former stepfather, but we have been able to stay in touch. He is knowledgeable, understanding, giving, and realistic. He always opens the right arm of fellowship to me and makes me and my own feel special. He treats people like human beings, and typically acts the way he wants to be treated. Dale is a straight shooter like myself who raised three sons, one who is not his biological one. He is simply a joy to talk to and hang with. I feel I learn a lot from him and gain a lot of inner strength and courage.

Happy Father's Day to these men, and to all father figures!

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Seven Nifty Father's Day Gift Ideas

Father's Day is coming soon. Many buy their fathers and father figures a variety of gifts. The most common are dinner, ties, and even pipes, tools or other male things. Here are seven nice ideas for gifts to give to your fathers.

1. Grill/Smoker

There is very little question that men like to grill, especially around this time of year. This is a gift that works especially well if you have a few siblings. You can pitch in and buy him something nice to grill on. Better yet, buy a smoker to add on to his current grill. He can then have more versatility when cooking for larger crowds.

2. Wallet

Inexpensive, yes, but hard to go wrong with. All men need a good wallet, and its often hard for them to let go of their old, reliable one. You can help make this decision easy for him with a nice, leather wallet.

3. Blu-Ray Player

These are becoming more popular and have basically replaced DVD players. Best of all, regular DVDs can be played on this platform. Therefore, your father can play their favorite classic DVDs, and the latest ones in HD. He deserves it.

4. Car detail.

Yes your father can probably wash and detail his own vehicle, just as your mother can cook and clean house. However, your dad deserves a break with a top notch detail job. Many folks like to detail cars as a side hustle. Purchasing a car detail for your father can essentially kill two birds with one stone.

5. Weed eater.

It seems many families, or men, do not have a weed eater in their garden tool collection. You can change this. This way, your daddy doesn't have to depend on a neighbor or relative to trim the hedges or perfect the lawn.

6. Cologne/Body Wash kit with nose hair clippers and facial hair clippers

I must admit, this gift here is one I would love to have for any occasion. It is an all purpose gift, straying away from your father's favorite bottle of cologne. Plus many stores, such as Wal-Mart and Walgreens, are selling them right now for $30 or less.

7.  Sporting event tickets

Baseball and NASCAR are still in full swing, and football will be beginning soon. Make that investment and buy dad single game, or even season tickets, to see his favorite team play. It is intriguing, for example, how many Dallas Cowboys and Chicago White Sox fans have never seen their teams play in person. I'm sure many fathers would appreciate this gift.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Seven Places I Wish Had Home Delivery Service

Income tax refund season is here, meaning more folks will be dining out, at least for a short period of time. Delivery service has changed our dining habits, especially when gas has been at peak prices. Pizza and Chinese places have been delivering for years. I'm not sure why most other places will not deliver. Here are seven places that I think should offer delivery service.

1. Zaxbys

A special shout out to my lady friends LaSandra and Avella for inspiring this topic. They are Zaxby fiends and for good reason. This restaurant has delicious food, healthy Zalads, and always a good special shake. It would be awesome to have that delivered to your door.

2. Cookout

This is my new favorite fast food joint. You can get a full meal for $5, plus they have a variety of shakes, one for every day of the month, and half the next month. You can also skip that annoying drive thru.

3. Chick Fil-A

They have awesome food, especially the chicken sandwiches, and some of the best customer service you will find anywhere. I could only imagine their delivery service would be top notch. You cannot order on Sundays of course.

4. Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell

I combine these two because they are all owned by the same company that owns Pizza Hut, and Pizza Hut delivers. Taco Bell has a lot of cheap and sometimes tasty food, especially the Doritos Los Tacos. KFC always manages to stay relevant in the chicken game. You know you want 10 tacos and 11 herbs and spices in a giant bucket delivered to your door.

5. Waffle House

The ultimate late night spot would provide hash browns smothered and covered to those wanting a late night treat, but not willing to leave the house. Also, perhaps you had a house party and you're too drunk to drive there. Either way, Waffle House would further maximize their business if they would do deliveries.

6. The local Mexican restaurant

I'm actually surprised many Mexican restaurants do not deliver, especially since more people are embracing the cuisine, especially locally with Broncos and Santiago’s. Obviously you wouldn't be able to deliver margaritas. Dishes such as Tex Mex Nachos and Pollo Fundidos would somehow taste better with home delivery.

7. Subway

It's a good way to eat fresh and healthy. You would have to order at least two five dollar foot longs, and maybe some cookies for delivery to be made. However, it would be worth it. Sandwich trays could also be included in the package.


So what other places should offer home or workplace delivery service?



Monday, June 4, 2012

Book Review: Iron City Strangers

I recently finished a very good, suspenseful novel entitled Iron City Strangers. The author is Peggy Lutz-McDaniel, a rising star who is from the same hometown I am, Blacksburg, SC. She uses the town of Blacksburg as the backdrop for her books. Iron City Strangers is definitely a winner and a must read, especially if you like suspense and plot twists.

The main character is Maggie "Mags" Callahan, best-selling author and owner of the local bookstore, The Book Nook. Blacksburg, normally a quiet town, is suddenly filled with different types of turmoil and crime. The first part of the novel deals with some bank robbers. The second part deals with a man who has been running all over the South abducting, raping and killing young women. Between a clever FBI agent and a overimaginative writer and store owner, Mags' world is suddenly turned upside down. The Town of Blacksburg is suddenly different for better and worse due to these newcomers.

It is a good quick read also, under 260 pages. I literally could not put the book down the last 100 pages. I looked forward to every plot twist, detail, and the development of each character. The town is portrayed so vividly as well. Lutz-McDaniel wants her readers who aren't from Blacksburg to feel like they are there.  The book also has a very rich and unique Southern flavor, even emulated through the characters in their words and sayings. Two of Blacksburg's biggest events, The Iron City Festival, and The Ed Brown Rodeo, are also highlighted. Blacksburg natives can also read with a sense of pride and appreciation for their hometown.

Lutz-McDaniel shows in Strangers that life in a small town is not always slow and boring, especially when outsiders come into the picture. All of the details, plot and storyline are very realistic. It is difficult to predict the outcome or the ending. You may find yourself rereading to gather pertinent details.

I would highly recommend that anyone of mature age, PG-13, read this novel. It promises to grab you and leave you wanting more. Book clubs, or those in need of a good read, look no further. Iron City Strangers will deliver.

Lutz-McDaniel's newest novel, and her previous works, can be found at your local Barnes and Noble, amazon.com, and lulu.com. Also, visit her site, http://www.scgritsgal.com.

I only look forward to what Mrs. Lutz-McDaniel has for us readers next. I feel she has gotten the attention of the literary world and deserves recognition for her work. Go out now and purchase or download this exciting, thrilling book! You will be glad you did.

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