Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Most Unusual Valentine's Day Ever

A few years ago I bought a package of personal training sessions and was paired up with a trainer named Jodie. Jodie was a great trainer. She always knew the right thing to say to keep me motivated, both when I was doing well and not so well. She joked around with me and in turn I dished it back to her.

Jodie was also fun to look at.

I thought about asking her out, but one day she casually mentioned a boyfriend. So I re-focused on getting into better shape. 

This particular package of sessions ran though February, and soon it was close to Valentine's Day, I had a training session with Jodie and she asked me if I had any plans. This particular Valentine's Day was in the middle of the week and I was single, so I had nothing special planned.

"What about you?" I asked her. She told me she was having dinner with her boyfriend at her place.

I kind of forgot about that conversation, until I was watching TV that Valentine's Day night and my phone rang. I looked at my caller ID. It was a phone number that wasn't programmed in, but looked vaguely familiar. So I answered.

"Hi, Phil?" says the voice on the other line.


"It's Jodie."

We talked for about 20 minutes. We laughed. We had some really great conversations during my training sessions and this was one of the best. And then there was that lull that inevitably occurs in every conversation, and my curiosity got the best of me.

" having dinner with the boyfriend?"


"Oh yeah, yeah," she said, "we're getting ready to eat." And this began the wrapping up of the conversation.

After that conversation, there was that part of me that always wondered if I should've pushed the envelope with Jodie and pursued something.

That said, only she really knows why she called me -- maybe she got into a fight with the boyfriend and everything smoothed over a few minutes later. Maybe she was just being friendly. Or maybe there was no boyfriend. Who knows? Certainly not me.

In any event, at the time my training sessions were about to run out and I was about to move from Connecticut back home to Massachusetts, and I've never been excited about the long-distance thing. We did stay in touch for a little while. But I'm a firm believer in destiny, that if things are meant to be they'll happen, particularly when it comes to relationships.

I woke up this morning and for some reason this phone conversation with Jodie popped into my head. Probably because it's almost Valentine's Day. Probably because I don't think I've ever told the story. I always thought was an interesting one. It's certainly not a Valentine's Day story I expected, even if nothing really happened.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Day My Twitter Surpassed My Facebook

My experience with social media follows a pattern:

1) I create an account with a social networking site
2) I sit on the sidelines and observe for awhile until I get a good feel of what it's all about.
3) Then I jump in with both feet.

It happened with Facebook -- I joined in late 2007 but didn't post anything to my Wall until January 2009 (first Facebook status update, 1/7/2009: "Phil is trying on his new boots"). A few months after that initial post, I created a Twitter account, sat around and watched what this microblogging thing was all about, and since then I've tweeted more than 10,000 times.

Once I started working each site in earnest, I picked up friends/followers. But since I found Facebook first, I always had more Facebook friends than Twitter followers. Until recently.

Over the past couple of years I've gotten into the habit of livetweeting TV -- mostly NFL football games and The Bachelor. This is not necessarily something I'm proud of (I guess maybe it's a creative outlet for my snarky side?), but it's caused me to gain a lot of new Twitter followers. And a few days ago my number of Twitter followers, for the first time, surpassed my number of Facebook friends.

For some reason this bothered me.

I had a tough time putting my finger on exactly why, but then I figured it out. Twitter is much more anonymous. While I can say that I've, at worst, held at least one conversation with virtually every one of my Facebook friends, many of my Twitter followers are people I don't know at all. And if someone wants to follow you on Twitter you really can't prevent it, outside of outright blocking them, which I've had to do from time to time because someone who followed me began posting very inappropriate tweets.

Sometimes I feel like Twitter is the casual sex of social media, while Facebook is more of a long-term relationship.

Now that's not to say Facebook doesn't have melodrama or awkwardness to it. Four of my Facebook friends are cats, and I have a handful of Facebook friends who, sadly, are deceased. Also I've occasionally defriended people on Facebook (not often; I can count the Facebook friends I've unfriended on two hands, and each time the offender did something that REALLY pissed me off. But there have been times when I've had to say, I can't be Facebook friends with this person anymore).

I also have some Twitter followers whom I would really like to get to know better. They seem like genuinely cool people. Often they live in another part of the country and it would be difficult to hang with them. Sometimes I wish I could be on Facebook with them too.

I do have some people with whom I'm on both Facebook and Twitter (and Instagram too, which I've also recently discovered).

Maybe that's what I hope for long-term -- a melting pot of my social media.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX Prediction

First of all, a couple of quick asides:

* Solid year for me picking games. I'm going to finish the 2014 season with a .689 (if I pick the Super Bowl incorrectly) or a .693 (if I pick it right) percentage. Not bad considering I was 13-19 after the first two weeks. Since then I'm prognosticating at a .731 clip.

* If the Green Bay Packers hadn't choked in the NFC Championship game, I'd be a perfect 10-0 in the playoffs. Thanks a lot, Packers. You suck.

Anyway, I've made a Super Bowl prediction each year since I started this blog in the fall of 2010. But I went back and forth about whether I should bother to make a prediction for Super Bowl XLIX, largely because my Patriots are involved. The Pats made it to Super Bowl 46 and I picked the Patriots, although conceding that it should be a close game that could go either way, and it was a close game that the Patriots lost, so I feel bad. Part of me wants to pick Seattle to win 73-0 to try and reverse karma. Part of me just wants to watch the game without feeling pressured to make a pick.

Injuries could be a factor. Seattle's secondary is banged up. New England's offensive line is banged up. After DeflateGate, Tom Brady's ego is banged up.

Like SB 46, I can see this game going either way. I can see the Seahawks riding the momentum of their last-second, come-from-behind win and cruising to a second consecutive Super Bowl win. I can see their defense giving Tom Brady and his banged-up offensive line fits. I can see Russell Wilson giving New England fits rolling out, much like the Ravens did in the AFC Divisional Playoff game. It's been a pretty exhausting first month of 2015 for me, and I feel like when I'm exhausted life has a way of piling on and making me even more miserable, and Seattle winning would be a tailor-made way of doing just that.

I can also see the Patriots shutting down Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the rest of the Seattle offense. After all this DeflateGate BS, I can see an angry Patriots team taking it out on the Seahawks tonight.

I'm 14-4 picking Patriots games this year. And I started the season 1-3 calling Pats games, including a head-scratching decision to pick them to lose to the Vikings, not sure what the hell I was thinking there. Since Week 4 I'm 13-1 picking the Pats; the only time I've whiffed since then was picking them to lose to the Broncos.

I'm 13-5 picking Seahawks games this year (including blowing it in the Weeks 1 and 2). One week, I not only correctly picked Seattle to win but also correctly picked the exact score.

Even though I'd rather not make a prediction, I feel like I have an obligation to make one.

This could very easily be the wrong prediction. But I'm a Patriots fan, first and foremost. I have to go with my heart.

Patriots 24, Seahawks 6.

LAST WEEK -- 1-1

SEASON TO DATE -- 184-82 (175-81 regular season; 9-1 playoffs)