Dear Dream Reader…

So my assignment, which I’m late in completing, is to publish a post to my dream reader.

I find this to be a daunting task, as I’ve never had a “dream reader” in mind. I have certainly had posts that were directed at one person or another, but never really gave much thought as to who my ideal reader would be. My blog is so varied, I don’t think I could nail one down. It’s a reflection of my life, which is up and down, topsy turvy, and fast-paced.

However, as I thought more about it I suppose dating, and my search for “love” is a recurring theme in my blog.

So, I suppose this post will be in that vein. To that young lady, who would dare take a chance on a guy like me. Allow me to offer a few clarifications on who I am, what I want, and what’s going on in my mind.

hopeless_romantic_by_haleeelizibeth-d465bt8

First and foremost, I am a romantic.  I love romance. flowers, candles, handholding, kissing, cuddling… I love all of that stuff. Let’s stay in on a Friday night, cuddling under a huge blanket, watching a movie and sipping cocoa. Let me read to you, as you lie your head on my chest, and I play with your hair. Don’t be shocked if you wake up some mornings and find me watching you sleep. I imagine you look peaceful, and serene, and occasionally I went to take that in, and appreciate that beautify and serenity as a perfect counterpoint that the world presents to us everyday.

My-Best-Friend

I want us to be teammates, and best friends, as well as lovers. I think a key part of that is honesty and communication. I  want to be able to tell you anything and everything, and you do the same. I find in so many relationships, both mine and others, there’s so many secrets kept. Let’s not have any. Share your thoughts, hopes, dreams, worries and frustrations with me, and I will try hard to do the same. You have a crush on a sexy new guy at work? That’s cool. Come home and tell me all about it.  I’ll do the same when I develop a crush on someone at work.  Then we can use that fire, excitement, and tension to make our relationship hotter, which brings me to my next point…

anonymous-space-sexycouple-photography-sexy-love-photo-passion-love-pics-love-pics-meny-hot-amor_large

…I love sex… and you should too. I’m extremely comfortable in my sexuality, and yes, you should be too.  I’m extremely heterosexual, but I’m open to you exploring whatever it is that you feel you need to explore. I personally think that monogamy is an unnatural impulse at the least, and a time bomb waiting to happen at the most, but I have no problem being in a monogamous relationship, especially if it is for you.

You aren’t my first love. I have had several in my life before you came along, and I don’t want to have to lie to you about that either. I’d love to share some of those stories with you. I’d love to hear yours too. I wanna tell you about the women who broke my heart, as well as the lessons they taught me. All of those stories will have brought me to you.

I have tons of weaknesses. I have strange insecurities sometimes. I have quirks. I think life should be lived for joy, and passion, and not for money and security, so sometimes that brings a tumultuous nature to my life, and yes, sometimes I may need you to be a voice of reason and grounding, but sometimes I want you to push me…to live…to find my joy, and I want to share all of that with you.  I want us to push each other, to be better people, in all facets of life.

ROBERTO_CYBORG_ABREU_2009_BJJ_Championships

Finally, you have to enter into this relationship knowing that I have a mistress, and her name is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  She is beautiful and exciting, and she does many of the same things for me that you do. I’d love for us to all get together for a 3-way, but if you’ re not interested, know that I will give you both equal time.

And in a nutshell… that’s me. That’s us.

And to end this aimless diatribe, let me share two songs that I’d like us to dance to together sometime. Enjoy!
~ D

Greetings, Stranger

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This writing prompt comes courtesy of The Daily Post

You’re sitting at a café when a stranger approaches you. This person asks what your name is, and, for some reason, you reply. The stranger nods, “I’ve been looking for you.” What happens next?

The stranger sits down. He stared at me very pensively. He was pale, gaunt.  His clothing screamed of someone who wanted to blend in; blacks and browns. He wore penny loafers. I didn’t even know they still made penny lovers, or even more tragically that people still bought them. As I looked at the stranger, I could feel him searching my face.  His gaze was unsettling, and left me watching the condensation slide down my water glass in jagged little streaks.

“So… do we know each other?” I inquired in the most polite voice I could muster under the strange circumstances.

“No”

“Hmm… well would you like to tell me your name?”

“No”

The silence between us was now unbearable. For perhaps the first time, I truly met his gaze.

“Would you please take a walk  with me?”

“I don’t know you, you won’t tell me your name, and you want me to take a walk with you? Why should I?”

“It’s important. It’s desperately important.”

The earnestness of his words nearly ripped me from my chair. Every syllable dripped of desperation. He seemed harmless enough. I took a final drink of my water, and placed my money on the table. I followed behind the stranger as he ambled lazily towards the door.

As we moved into the twilight of the streets I took another look at the stranger. He didn’t quite look sickly. He looked like someone who had a massive weight  on their shoulders.

“So what is this all about?” My patience was waning.

“I’ll tell you as soon as we get to the park.”

I was very familiar with the nearby park. Only a block or so away. It’s the kind of park built on the edge of a forest preserve. Little play gym for the kids. Great place to walk a dog, read a book, or scope out the local divorcees on a Saturday afternoon.

I suppose I was so lost in thought, we covered the distance in what seemed an instant.

We sat at the far end of the park, near the corner.

I was full of anticipation as we sat down.

“So what is the big secret? I can’t wait to hear.”

“You probably could. I’m gonna need you to remain calm.”

As he said that, I hadn’t noticed the gun that he’d slid out of his pocket, and held lazily in his hand, lying limply on his thigh, dangling from the edge of his index finger. As my gaze dropped down, it took a few seconds to register. I finally looked up into his face.

“I have been hired to kill you.”

The words struck me like a slap in the face. It was hard to find my voice, and I immediately jumped to my feet.

“Sit down! Do not make this any harder than it needs to be.”

“Is this some kind of sick joke?

‘Sit down!”

“Or what? You’ll shoot me in front of all these people?”

“What people?”

And that was when the horrible reality of the situation stepped in, as I looked around…we were alone. This park, which during the afternoon was teeming with nannies, and overprivileged children in overpriced strollers…was empty.

It was at this moment my body deflated. An acrid taste entered my mouth, and my knees became rubbery. I had no choice but to sit down. My body was leaving me with no other option.

“Who would hire you to do such a thing?”

“I can’t tell you…nor does it matter.”

“Why?”

“Who doesn’t matter. As to why they want you dead. That information is truly not of my concern. You must have done something horrible.”

“How much? How much is my life worth?”

“$25,000 for you dead. $40,000 if I make you suffer,”

“You can’t do this” I pleaded, tears welling in my eyes.

“I’m sorry. But I need the money. I can’t imagine how you must feel.”

“You can’t do this. I’m a good person. I have a family. I’m a good person.”

“I hope that isn’t true. My conscience will have enough to bear as it is. I want to believe that you are a low person, deserving of the fate that is coming to you. Let us leave it at that.”

“Please…”

“We’re going to walk into the tree line. It will be quick.”

And with that, the person grabbed me by the arm and stuck the gun into my side. He led me into the tree line. It seemed in a flash we were surrounded by shadows, as the sunlight danced it’s last few rays across the tree tops. My mind was in a race. There had to be something I could do to stall, to buy time.

“How can money make you kill another person.”

“Because like you I have a family. They are in need. All this world truly cares about is money. I must provide for my family.”

After a few moments, we stopped.

“Kneel down please.”

My legs simply gave out under me, and I slumped to the ground.

“You’ll get caught. You can’t just kill someone and get away with it.”

The stranger walked around me slowly.

“Someone is going to hear the gunshot.”

“Unfortunately sir, I won’t be using the gun. My family has quite a bit of debt, and I am going to be needing the full $40,000.”

 

The End

Now? Later!

This prompt is from the Daily Post

We all procrastinate. Website, magazine, knitting project, TV show, something else — what’s your favorite procrastination destination?

Well, that’s kind of hard, because I have two favorite procrastination destinations, so I’ll tell a bit about both. 

The first one is an Argo Tea.  It sits right next to the Goodman Theater. There’s not a time I don’t go there in which I say to myself that I’m actually going to go to that theater someday.  I like this particular Argo Tea because it’s tucked away from the craziness of downtown.  It’s rarely crowded, unlike most of the other Argo locations downtown.  I always sit in the back, which further separates me from the hustle and bustle of the area.  I could literally sit there for hours reading, or writing, or playing online…although I rarely stay that long.  I love this place because it offers a breather from whatever I may be into, or whatever thoughts my mind may be hanging on.  For me, procrastination is often about peace….finding peace of mind. I love this place because that is what it provides.

My other favorite place of procrastination is quite possibly the polar opposite in its physical state, but it also offers a different sort of peace and comfort.  That place is Millennium Park, particularly the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The Pritzker Pavilion, is a sight to be seen, particularly at night.  They offer tons of free entertainment there.  Usually, when I go there, I could be doing something else. But, once again, it brings me peace of mind, especially the classical concerts.  Imagine sitting in a bowl with the city towering over you, and beautiful music surrounding you.  It is something to experience.

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Happy???

So, allow me to present you with a question:

What is the one word or phrase that immediately cheers you up when you hear it?

This questions comes courtesy of  The Daily Post, of course.

I sat here thinking for a few seconds on this question, and I really couldn’t think up an answer.

Well, nothing decent.

The first thing that came to mind was the scene in Full Metal Jacket, near the end of the film…

Animal Mother: Freedom?

[scoffs]

Animal Mother: You’d better flush out your head, new guy. This isn’t about freedom; this is a slaughter. If I’m gonna get my balls blown off for a word, my word is “poontang”.

 

But no, I’m not gonna equate “poontang” to the one word that makes me feel better.

A phrase?  Hmm…I really couldn’t think of one.  Can’t think of one. Even as I type this, no one phrase comes to mind that immediately cheers me up.

Hmm…Maybe “Jamba Juice”.

Jamba Juice always cheers me up.

Hmm…well, as I think about it, I’m sure it would be something related to Jiu Jitsu, because that is the one thing in my life I absolutely adore without reservations.

Hmm…maybe it’s “Shut up and train!”  Seems a bit harsh though.

Definitely something with training.  I truly love training Jiu Jitsu.

Anywho, what about you?  What word or phrase immediately cheers you up?

Daily Prompt: The Outsiders

Daily Prompt: The Outsiders

Tell us about the experience of being outside, looking in — however you’d like to interpret that.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us OUTSIDE.

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“And you
bring me to my knees, again
All this time that I could beg you please, in vain
All the times that I felt insecure, for you
And I leave my burdens at the door

But I’m on the outside, I’m looking in
I can see through you, see your true colors
‘Cause inside you’re ugly, you’re ugly like me
I can see through you, see to the real you”
~ Aaron Lewis/Staind, “Outside”

Sometimes in life, you find yourself on the outside of situations which you so desperately wish you could be on the “inside” in…be in the know, be in the center of the action, or be “the party” if you will.

I took the above picture at the Garfield Park Conservatory here in Chicago.  It was taken on one of the coldest days in Chicago history.  I love the GPC because it’s always tropical inside, and it smells fresh…I imagine that since trees create oxygen, that has to be a thoroughly clean air environment.  It’s so unbelievably pleasant.

The young lady in the picture is a friend of mine.  She’s an amazing woman, both mentally and physically.  When I saw the subject of this prompt, this picture came into mind.  This picture perfectly captures how I feel in relation to this young lady…like an outsider, observing something beautiful  and momentous as it moves about around me.

As breathtaking as her exterior is, she has an even more intriguing and captivating mind.  I often feel so much of who she is is guarded from the naked eye.  I feel that as we communicate more, I’m constantly learning new and interesting things about her.  But I’ve never felt like I’ve gotten to the core of who she quite is.  I suppose that is something that will come with more time.

Which I suppose makes me smile…because she is someone that I genuinely enjoy spending time with.   I think it’s very safe to say that I have a crush on this young lady.  Her smile, her eyes, her lips, her laugh, the looks she gives me when I offer her moments of myself, uncensored, and unfiltered…

…this picture and this young woman, at this juncture, is to me, the epitome of being on the outside.  I wish I were on the inside, but I suspect that I never will be.  That’s life sometimes.  Some of us will always be outsiders.  I’m ok with that though.  I’ve been an outsider a majority of my life, and I’ve learned to embrace that role with a smile.

But sometimes, we wish for something different…

…and in this particular situation, I would love to be on the inside.

My Precious

Daily Prompt: My Precious

Who is the person in your life who can do no wrong? Describe this person and tell us why you hold them in such high esteem.

Hmm…I thought about this for a while.  I don’t really have a precious.  In the past perhaps, but….life changes, things change.  I must admit that I miss that.  I miss having someone around who fits that mold…someone who can’t do any wrong.  I mean, of course anyone can do wrong. But, I interpret that as that despite what they may do, you could never get to that point of no redemption.

As I think about it, I don’t consider family in that definition.  Ultimately, I think family just fits that definition because they are family.  We forgive family despite the repeated f***ed up things they do.

I equate the above term and definition to someone that I suppose in some way you are in love with…or at least enamored with.  I’ve had those before.  Usually it was some female who in subtle…and sometimes very unsubtle ways treated me like s**t, but I can’t running back for more…thus, they could do no wrong.  It’s strange how that happens.  We often criticize others who do it, but most of us (not all by any means) have ran into that sad situation, where we let someone pee all over us, only to smile, nod and give thumbs up.

I recently was falling into that situation.  Young lady, pretty, interesting, I was very interested in…and yet, sometimes she seemed as if the possibility of a relationship might be there…and other times, not at all.  I finally told myself “I don’t have time for this” and just disconnected myself from things.  The saddest part of it all is that when it happens, you come out the far end of the tunnel a little more cynical perhaps.  While it’s not impossible to resist, that’s the easy route, and that’s often what happens.  So many of us use up our energy fighting countless battles day to day, we often simply take the easiest of roads when it comes to our emotional well being.  Perhaps it’s the fear that otherwise, the well will simply dry up.  There has to be an end right?  Nothing is infinite.

Wow, that was a really long explanation to say “I don’t have a precious.”  Does that make me sad?  Hmm….

Daily Prompt: Tattoo….You

Do you have a tattoo? If so, what’s the story behind your ink? If you don’t have a tattoo, what might you consider getting emblazoned on you skin?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us PERMANENT.
Courtesy of: The Daily Post

So yeah, I have a tattoo.  I have 2 of them actually.  however, if you look at them, it looks like one.  The artist for the second one blended them together.

The stories behind them are not too exotic.  Both tattoos are tightly linked to my life in the military.  So, I was in the Illinois Army National Guard…for 9 years.  In that time, I was deployed 3 times.  The first time we were going to Iraq, but at the last minute, our destination was switched to Germany.  The second deployment was very short, it was to New Orleans to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Finally, I was deployed to Afghanistan for a year (9 months in country, 3 months training).

So, my unit was being told that our destination was Iraq.  We were slated to train at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  Pre-deployment Army training sucks balls.  Necessary…sure.  But, sucks balls nonetheless.  It’s always hot, and you’re running around, simulating shooting, and bombs, and wandering around in the woods figuring out which way is up, and how many ways you can potentially virtually die.

So, towards the end of the training, they decided to give us a few days to wander off base and get a taste of normal life.  While I tried to hide it as best I could, I was really freaking out.  This was 2004.  This was a period of time when Iraq was a s**t storm, and soldiers were getting killed on the daily by IED”s (improvised Explosive Devices) and EFP’s (Explosively Formed Projectiles) were literally chopping soldiers in two.

Effects of an EFP on a Humvee

Effects of an EFP on a Humvee

So, when we got time to ourselves, I had a few things on my bucket list that I wanted to accomplish.  I was dating a beautiful young woman at the time, Mirinda.  She was super cute, very curvy, blond hair, deep blue eyes, beautiful smile.  She came up to see me.  First and foremost, I made love to her so vigorously, so ferociously…it was as if my life depended on it, or as if it were the last time.  Ahh…sweet memories.

Second thing was to get a tattoo.  I can’t even remember the name of the tattoo shop, but I’m sure if I were to google it, it’s still there.  Army towns change so little sometimes.  I bet there’s still a Ruby Tuesday’s there in town, the same hotels, the same pizza hut.  Fort Leonard Wood is a place suspended in time.

So I went in.  I had no particular tattoo in mind, I just know I wanted to get one before I died, and that that was a possibility.  So, I looked through their stacks of Flash art and saw a piece of tribal art.  It looked very similar to the symbol used by the band Slipknot.

Slipknot Symbol

Slipknot Symbol

Funny enough, for any of you who watch UFC fights, the fighter Brian Stann (a decorated marine) has the exact same tattoo I have on his back.

And so I got it.  It was quick fast, and in all recollection, I wished it were bigger.

Now, I received my second tattoo in Kabul, Afghanistan.  We were at Camp Phoenix.  We were in the process of out-processing from the country.  If you’ve ever been on a military deployment, you’ll know that out-processing is the worst.  That’s when you get all your shots, and paperwork, and everything updated, and checked to make sure it’s all right.  It’s a lazy time.  Lots of downtime, relaxing, movie watching, etc.

One of the guys in my unit, Rich, was a very accomplished tattooist.  He was a very interesting guy.  We shared very similar attitudes in some ways on American politics, foreign policy, etc.  He’d tease me about being an anarchist, or political subversive…but in many ways, he was too.  He embraced it just as much as he embraced being a soldier in battle.  He did both equally well.

During out-processing, he had done a few tattoos for guys.  We’d briefly talked about me getting one, but he’d then dismiss it with “I’m not giving you a tattoo you commie” and we’d leave it at that.

One day, we were both lying in our bunks, the barrack was pretty empty.  People were out and about.  Out-processing and packing was winding down, but it was cool inside.  Rich said “Hey, what are you doing?”  I said “Just watching a movie.”  He then said “You want a tattoo?”

Yeah!  And there it was.  I told him I wanted the word freedom.  I initially wanted it going down my arm from shoulder to wrist.  But then I thought that I’d be finishing school upon returning home and job hunting, so I went with something a little more inconspicuous…Freedom around my bicep.  He initially was going to do it in the tribal style that my original tattoo was in, but shortly after starting, he said “Dude, I got a great idea, it’s going to be a little different, but badass.”  I said “You’re the artist, go for it!”

He did the entire tattoo freehand, and then blended the two together.  It’s very well done, and I love it.  I want to get the rest of the arm done in a red and black American flag motif.  That arm is kind of my past, military, Honor, God, and country…all that stuff.  My other arm will be dedicated to my present and future.  Jiu Jitsu, and the mind, health, wellness, beauty and light.

That’s the story of my tatoos.

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“How is that even possible?”

The title of this entry is the question that laid before me.

I was sitting in an Argo Tea, one that I actually frequent.  I like the atmosphere, the drinks aren’t too expensive, and I can get work done, or thinking done, it’s an all around good place to be in my opinion.

I was sitting with an acquaintance, sipping my Green Tea Ginger Twist, talking about my joys of teaching when I expressed a sentiment that has gained traction in my mind in the last few days,

“I’ve worked for a plethora of companies and employers, and CPS is probably the most f***ed up boss I’ve ever had!”

and my acquaintance, Jules, whom I was actually on a date with, asked me, “Why is that the case?”

to which I replied, “because the school system is ran by people who have no background in education.”

“How is that even possible…Arne Duncan was in charge at one point right?”

Oh yeah, that’s right….Arne Duncan, the current Secretary of Education under Barack Obama.  Right…surely he has a background in education.

Well, before we address Arne Duncan, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane that will help us better understand the now…

Daily Prompt: Person of the Year

For today’s Daily Prompt, here’s the following mission:

You’re asked to nominate someone for TIME’s Person of the Year. Who would it be, and why?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BIG.

edward-snowden-ex-cia-worker-who-blew-the-lid-on-nsas-surveillance-program

 

 

Well I nominate Edward Snowden.  If you’ve been living under a rock, or blissfully lounging away on an island of apathy, Edward Snowden is the young man who blew the whistle on the potentially illegal NSA surveillance programs. If you don’t know what that is, Google it.  Basically, the NSA has been listening in on phone calls, emails, and pretty much any other kind of electronic communication at will, without any court approval or oversight.  The situation is so tenuous, the ACLU has sued the NSA over this program.

Mr. Snowden was working in this program, and he thought it was wrong.  He felt that the average American’s privacy was being invaded, and so he leaked the existence of this program to the press.

This man is a patriot…a real patriot.  We’ve become so removed from the ideals that fostered us as a nation, and that we often champion and discuss, but rarely put into practice.

If the people in charge are attempting to oppress you, or disparage your way of life, say something, and more importantly, DO SOMETHING!

I tip my hat to Edward Snowden.  I think he did the right thing.  The government will tell you that he endangered your safety, that he endangered national security, and that mining through every piece of information offered by a majority of citizens is completely ok….and it isn’t.

And telling the world about it is a threat to security.  That’s bulls**t. You government simply want to go unchecked in their ever expansive power.

I’m not some crazy anti-government person. I think the government, under the proper leadership has much to offer us, and is very necessary. I’ve also been an avid Obama supporter, and voted for him twice.  However, I think that he can be just as grimy as any other politician (can anyone say “Monsanto”?  I knew you could!).

However, I think the key to a democratic government is a transparent government.  And we haven’t had a transparent government in quite possibly my lifetime.  It’s been hijacked, hoodwinked, bamboozled, and led astray (Go Denzel!!!).  Mr. Snowden made our government a bit more transparent.  He pulled the curtain back, at least for an instant, to show the face of the wizard behind it, and how far he is willing to go in his pursuits.

In addition, I feel that Edward Snowden sheds light on the fabulous ideal on the idea that there are some measures that should never be undertaken, even in the face of better “security”.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  ~ Benjamin Franklin

What good is life if you’re living it in a police state?

I salute Edward Snowden, and he is my nomination for Time’s Person of the Year.  Thank you for all that you’ve done, and for putting your life and well-being in jeopardy for the rest of us.  Being a veteran, people call me a hero, but actually, you’re much more of a hero than I am.

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr. 

The Clone Wars

This is a response to today’s Daily Prompt @ The Daily Post. 

The question….

If you could clone yourself, how would you split up your responsibilities?

The world has become such an amazing remarkable place.  Think back to the early 1900’s, this question probably wouldn’t have occurred to the average person.  Move forward to the 1950’s, and this was the realm of the weirdest and most magical science fiction, the stuff that the strangest movies were made of .  Move forward to 2013, and this edges on the realm of possibility, with cloning becoming a worry of the courts, and not just the fiction writer.

If I could clone myself…wow.  Well, first, I would have one clone who lived close to my daughters, who could spend evenings with them, and weekends.  Someone who could show them all the things that I wish I could on a daily basis.  I hate that there is so much distance between us.

I would like a  second clone to explore higher monetary endeavors.  Maybe send him to law school, or to get a business degree.  I would aim him to make $100,000 a year…maybe more.  I never poised myself to be wealthy or rich, but I don’t think it was ever outside of my grasp to do so…I would push one of my clones towards those endeavors, see how I’d do.

Then, I would make a few clones to be hunters.  I would groom them to be hunters of people.  They would be fingers of vengeance, pulling together to be a fist to punch a hole in the heart of gangland Chicago.  I’ve always wondered what life in Chicago would be like if a true-life “Batman” existed in this fair city, to bring cold fear to the gangs of the city…if I could clone myself, I would find out.

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