Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Listening to You, I Get the Music

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The comment quoted below was probably posted in jest, but I can't pass up a Bowenian moment, especially since I suspect that the anonymous soul might be getting me back for some similar comments I've made on that person's blog. :-)

His eyes can hear
his ears can see his lips speak
All the time the needles flick and rock.
No machine can give the kind of stimulation,
Needed to remove his inner block.

Go to the mirror boy!
Go to the mirror boy!

-- The Who, "Go To The Mirror Boy", Tommy

And lo, a mirror reflected back unto me:


if you quote a band like 'vertical horizon' then you lose all respectability. perhaps this is where all your phoenix's anxiety comes from?

who's next? backstreet boys? brittney spears?

While I may have lost your respect, it is worth nothing that the purpose of this blog is not to earn respect. It is to chronicle a journey of differentiation. With that comes validation from within rather than from others.

I can acknowledge your distaste for my lyrical choice. I can even validate your sentiment that Vertical Horizon pales nowhere in comparison to other lyrical works cited in this space. But I will not allow myself to base my adequacy as a blogger upon how someone else feels about it.

Besides, it could have been worse. The runners up for that post were excerpts from "He's So Dull" by Vanity 6 and "Adult Education" by Daryl Hall & John Oates. ;-)

By the way, I've got a huge backlog of comments that I've been wanting to address, so there will be some posts on those in the days to come.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Feeling Nothing for Nice Guys

He's everything you want
He's everything you need
He's everything inside of you
That you wish you could be
He says all the right things
At exactly the right time
But he means nothing to you
And you don't know why.

--Veritcal Horizon, "Everything You Want", Everything You Want

I've seen the kernel of the quoted lyrics above appearing in postings lately.

Depending on which side of the gender gap you lie, the allure of the bad boy and the non-appeal of nice guy are a regret, a lament, or a mystery. The comments on these posts reflect that debate. Indeed, speculation has escalated to a highbrow art within the field of Evolutionary Psychology.

As one of those "nice" guys who felt passed over by members of the opposite sex many years ago, I spent a lot of time cursing the dynamic. With age, reflection, and reading many self-help books, I've come to believe that both men and women are responsible for its propagation.

In Passionate Marriage, Schnarch argues that people pick mates who are at the same level of differentiation. A similar motif may be found in pop psychology bromides like, "Water seeks its own level." If you're dysfunctional, you're probably attracted to dysfunctional people. You may not have the same kind of dysfunctionality as your partner. It may be complimentary like the classical addict/codependent pairing or the jerk/doormat matchup.

The matched dysfunction argument makes sense to me because if one person were to develop a higher level of healthiness over the course of a relationship, it stands to reason that the person would be less inclined to put up with the partner's static level of dysfunction. This is what you see when an abused person finally summons the courage to leave the abuser.

Now, given a person leaves an abusive relationship with an elevated level of healthiness, one might argue that the nice guy would be a more approprate match. Paradoxically enough, this isn't always the case. Dysfunction can be found in seemingly nice guys, too.

The problem lies in the use of "nice" to describe men who are not aggressive. In reality, there are at least two categories of non-aggressive men, passives and assertives.

Passives are really the male version of the Shrinking Woman described on Spill the Beans' blog. Rather than seeking validation from within, they seek it from women. At best, they are martyrs. At worst, they use deception to conceal their shortcomings.

Passive men wind up repressing their true selves, both good and bad. There's nothing genuine to really get excited about because all that passion gets bottled up. They trade the pursuit of happiness for the accumulation of resentment. Real intimacy can't happen because they won't allow themselves to be known.

As I confront my past and own up to my mistakes, I realize how my own passivity has contributed to dissatisfaction with life. I've learned to look upon my job search as an opportunity to tap into my own life energy, doing something I can truly be excited about. It turns out that not only have I sought dysfunction in my marriage. I've also merged it into my choice of workplaces.

As I improve my own healthiness, it's becoming easier to see the dysfunction and to summon the courage to change things in ways that I might never have entertained.

But, most of all, I realize that I shared the blame for the lack of chemistry between other women and myself. In the words of Iron John author Robert Bly, I was life preserving but not life giving. Or to take a line from that Jefferey Gaines song that I blogged on a couple days ago, "They’ve been suppressing their every desire,
They do nothing on a whim."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Accidental Submissive

I've noticed that my blog has been getting referrals from a website that links to several sites dealing with feminine dominants.

It appears that I've been added to the category of "Femdom Related Blogs", the heading of which includes the parenthetical note: "Includes blogs written by submissive men". I found it amusing, and I would love to know the decision making process that produced this result.

I guess it makes sense, considering how often I talk about normal marital sadism in this space and in comments on other blogs.

I feel like I need a testosterone transfusion right now. ;-)

Linking Desire out of Fullness to Heroism

Toward the end of December last year, I wrote a long post that quoted portions of Schnarch's Passionate Marriage (PM) (scroll down to the paragraph that begins with "But most of all, it will require me to change."). The excerpt uses the term desire out of fullness in discussing personal and spiritual growth. In other places, PM encourages the reader to view this growth as a process of heroism. Being a hero is also the topic of the Julia Grey essay that is linked from this blog's sidebar.

For a while now, I have held this belief that desire out of fullness and heroism are linked in some way, but I haven't done much journaling on what that link looks like. On the drive home today, I heard a beautiful song XM's Loft (channel 50). It was "Hero in Me" by Jefferey Gaines, which appeared on a self-titled CD release back in 1992. I found a lone website with the lyrics, and I'm quoting them here because they speak strongly to the themes covered in this blog.

He’s lived as long as he possibly can
Given the circumstance.
Because he’s protected himself from the world
He never gave it a chance, and he says

Here in my security
I’ve put a limit on my self-potential and my possibility.

She’s seen these walls and they never change
Everything’s in its place.
Her relationships so neatly arranged
Down to religion and race, and she says

Here in my security
I don’t make a move unless my friends approve, I do what’s expected of me.

And as I grow older, and there’s so much that I do not know…
I’m drawn to those who are older, and go where no one dared to go.

And I Sleep, and I dream of the person I might have been, and I’ll be free again
And I Speak, like someone who’s been to the highest peaks, and back again
And I Swear, that my grass is greener than anyone’s, until I believe again
Then I Wake, and the dream fades away and I face the day and I realize
That there’s got to be some hero in me, there’s got to be some hero in me,
there’s got to be some hero in me, there’s got to be some hero in me.

They’ve been suppressing their every desire,
They do nothing on a whim
She’s lost her sparkle and he’s lost the fire
Their future looks very dim, and I say

Here in my security
I’ve simply let myself go out, develop a cold dependency

And as I grow older, and so many places that I have not been…
Time is tapping my shoulder, I hope its never too late to begin.

And I Sleep, and I dream of the person I might have been, and I’ll be free again
And I Speak, like someone who’s been to the highest peaks, and back again
And I Swear, that my grass is greener than anyone’s, until I believe again
Then I Wake, and the dream fades away and I face the day and I realize
That there’s got to be some hero in me, there’s got to be some hero in me,
there’s got to be some hero in me, there’s got to be some hero in me

Some things are very clear from the text... not wanting to want, relying on others for validation, the desire to transcend one's limitations.

Sometime before the weekend is over, I will revisit a passage from this song and try to link it to some posts I've read on other blogs regarding the lack of spark that the authors feel for "nice" guys.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Guilt by Association: A Meme in Five Categories

Anais has tagged me with a meme, so I shall confess forthwith.

What is yours?
Explain yourself
Culinary: Spaghettios with meatballs and grated Parmesan cheese No one my age should really be eating Franco-American canned pasta products and enjoying it. I tend to overdose on the cheese to the point that it's more of a major ingredient than a garnish.
Literary: drawing blanks on this one I don't read a lot of fiction, so when I do, I'm pretty selective about what I'll read.
Audiovisual: any porn video where the starlet known as Flame gives a blow job I gave up watching porn videos over ten years ago as part of my recovery work, so it's been a really long time. But her saliva laden technique is a visual that might well be burned into my memory for all time.
Musical: Louise Hoffsten, "I Just Wanna Make Love To You", Knäckebröd Blues Bar none, the steamiest rendition of this old blues standard that I have ever heard. When I hear that whispering voice at the end, I give it 5 cold showers on the seduction scale, and a cigarette afterwards.
Celebrity: Lindsay Lohan I've always had a thing for redheads, and when the publicity posters for Mean Girls came out a few years ago, I felt like a dirty old man for the first time in my life.

Now I tag:-

Joe Flirt, Tom Allen, Samantha Jones, Spill the Beans, and Elise

to complete this same Quiz, Its HERE.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ghosts from Hobbies Past

Don’t your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine
It’s hard to tell the night time from the day

-- The Eagles, "Desperado", Desperado

I was sifting through some old files on my hard drive and turned up this scan of a photo I took over 12 years ago. Given the weather we've had of late, and the emotional state I have been in, I thought it might be worth sharing.

A pair of locomotives had detached from an eastbound train to pick up some cars on a spur. The building in the background once belonged to the Oliver Chilled Plow Works. Just past the signal bridge in the background was a building that once was used by Studebaker, but it cannot be seen in the lake effect snow.

To me this photo is a hauntingly frigid scene of determination in the face of isolation.

You can click the image to get a higher resolution version.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

V Day, D Day

And when all the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.

-- The Beatles, "Let It Be", Let It Be

Thirty-eight years ago on this day, I was born, and today was the deadline I had set for making a decision on whether this marriage was worth staying in.

Over the six months that I've had to ponder and improve my situation, the universe has acted in such a way to call my bluff. My employer's financial distress hasn't made things any easier. It's as if I am being backed into a corner, with some ominous voice in the background saying, "CHOOSE!"

Yesterday didn't make things any easier. I had an IM exchange with the CTO, who said that he has a meeting on Tuesday of next week with a guy who founded a company in the health care sector and is starting up a new company. He wants to demo some stuff I've been working on and wants it working by then. I told him that it might be questionable whether I can have everything working on the deadline, but I would ramp up the effort to do my best.

It's a pattern that I've seen several times before. They get a meeting set up with a potential customer and throw the development guys into a crunch mode to have something new for a demo. Oftentimes, not much thought goes into the content of the demo. The meeting happens, and nothing comes of it. We never hear about the customer again. The code is usually put together in such haste that it has little reuse value. This stuff is what eventually drove the second founder to quit at the end of the year. Unfortunately, the two founders left are the ones who do these sorts of things.

So, I will be in crunch mode up through Tuesday of next week. Hopefully by then I will have a more definitive picture of my job search. I have 13 active leads, four of which are local. I had a phone interview with another company in the Southeast yesterday, and on Thursday evening, I have a phone interview with another company in the Pacific Northwest. This one sells a lot of books.

Two things are very clear right now. The first is that while I will force myself to get through this crunch schedule, I don't have it in my heart to do this anymore. I need to get out of this job, and soon. The second is that I can't make a decision about my marriage until I know where my future paychecks will be coming from.

Things will probably be quiet in this space until the middle of next week, once the crunch deadline has past. After that, I will start a series of posts that will attempt to summarize the big things that I have learned from the crucible. With the job situation perhaps becoming clearer, I can make the decision with clarity.

It may not be today, but soon, there will be an answer. Let it be.

Some Advice from the Therapist

I talked with my therapist on Monday regarding the conversation I had with my wife last Friday. She said that I shouldn't read too much into my wife's words. There is a distinction between "do not want to" and "will not", even if there are tears involved.

She recommended that I speak with potential long-distance employers about what resources are available for getting families settled in a new area. If they have any kinds of programs for bringing a spouse in for a tour of the area, take advantage of it. In essence, make my wife an integral part of the decision making process. She said it was important to have support resources lined up before moving.

We also talked about another facet of my career search that I haven't articulated well with my wife. I've told her that my skill set is not in high demand here. Moreover, when recruiters have tried to make the case that I am willing to pick up new skills, the clients are adamant about having someone with no less than x years of experience with name brand technology y.

In order for me to become more marketable locally, I'm going to have to invest in some formal education and possibly vendor certification to convince these kinds of employers that I'm for real. Money and time commitments aside, one has to take a look at the return on that investment. This will migrate me from new technology development into custom application development. The latter of the two is arguably less value added and more likely to be offshored into the future. Bottom line: it does not make financial sense to invest in self-commoditization.

The therapist suggested I try to make this clear to my wife. She needs to know that although making the change might help me stay here in the short run, it entails risk because I might wind up being an occupational dinosaur. That's bad because it undermines my ability to provide for my family.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Clarence, If You're Out There, I Sure Would Like to Hear From You

I'm in a quotation heavy frame of mind, so I'll lead off one with another.
With the eyes of a child
You must come out and see
That your world's spinning round
And through life you will be
A small part of a hope of a love that exists
In the eyes of a child you will see

-- The Moody Blues, "Eyes of a Child", To Our Childrens' Childrens' Children

In that spirit, I today draw upon the writings of a 7 year-old philosopher queen.
I have been to where I am now many times, but I dont have anoufe money to afourd much money for the process, but I may be able to move the building matereals.

-- Iris über Alles, The Royalty

Where I Have Been

This blog is now closing in on seven months of existence, but the external forces that have been driving its creation date back years. Way back then, the questions were ill formed, my vocabulary for articulating them was limited, and the narrative was too murky. I had several false starts and misguided excursions.

One of those instances was near the beginning of 2000. I was in the crucible at the time, but I didn't realize what it was or that it was necessary. My wife was running out of patience with me after two years of therapy and indecision. She wanted to have children more than anything else, and my reluctance brought forth a mixture of melancholy and malice. She was verging on leaving. It was forcing me to self confront the fears I had about parenthood.

I had turned 30 the prior year, with a heavy dose of melancholy of my own. I was still beating myself up on having given up the pursuit of a Ph.D. about four years prior. We were about 3/4 of the way through a painful debt management program, a monthly reminder of how overextended we had been, and how far behind financially we were compared to our friends. We were still renting while many of our friends were already had houses. My wife wanted a house almost as badly as she wanted a baby, so I got my share of grief from my unwillingness to take on a mortgage in the midst of the debt reduction.

I tried to put a word on how I felt, and I managed to come up with the word futile. I didn't know about the notion of existential dread at the time, but I had read Eccelsiastes enough times to know how it felt.

I tried to address those feelings by drawing upon the character of George Bailey in the movie It's a Wonderful Life, a movie that I had watched several times and had just viewed a week or so prior.

I identified with Bailey strongly at the time... someone who had once had dreams of doing better yet always feeling like I had to sacrifice something for the betterment of others. And at this dark stage of my life, like Bailey, I felt like I was "worth more dead than alive."

One of the underlying messages of that movie is that the most meaningful things we do are not always the ones that get the most glory by society at large. We don't realize how important they are until we are shown what didn't happen because of our actions.

From this, I got a sliver of inspiration. Perhaps if one defined life as a struggle to defy futility, one could find purpose and happiness in that. I thought about writing an essay on it, but it was hard for me to build it into a coherent system of thought, so the words never made it to pixels. I tried talking with my wife about the idea, but it made her eyes glaze over.

The idea would eventually fade into the background. Looking back, I'm glad that I never wrote the essay because I lacked the emotional foundation (differentiation) from which to build real meaning.

Tell Me Once Again, Why Am I Here?
And so I face the wall
Turn my back against it all
How I wish I'd been unborn
Wish I was unliving here

-- Eurythmics, "Sexcrime", 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother)

And so at this hour, during some of the coldest days of the year, I find my soul standing on that truss bridge, eyeing the water below, cursing the dilemmas I face, wishing that the life that gave rise to them had never existed.

It is three days before I turn 38, and it signifies the end of that six-month countdown within which I was to decide whether my marriage was worth holding onto. This is my first two-choice dilemma. It is further complicated by a second dilemma, born from the uncertain future of my current employer. The search for a new job has reminded me of a horrible fact: my skills don't find much demand in the local job market, and there are many other places where they do, but they are far away.

The linkage between the dilemmas came into much starker relief on Friday night. The kids were away for a couple days with my dad and stepmom, and my wife and I had gone out to dinner. Somehow, we got on the subject of one of her friend's friends, who lives and works in Japan. This led my wife to bring up my own job search.

She said, "You realize that if you wind up getting that job with (the really big software company in the Pacific Northwest), you'll probably be subject to a non-compete agreement that might keep you from taking other jobs in the event that you're unhappy and want to move on." I said that such agreements usually apply only to areas where one's knowledge of a company's intellectual property could be used by a competitor. They couldn't ban me from writing code altogether. I said that if it came to a point where I did get an offer, I would make sure I knew what I was signing onto. I had done so in the past, and I wasn't going to stop doing it.

She then turned teary eyed and asked if there was some way I could ask them to set up the Far Far Away Lite situation. That is, I work longer hours for a shorter week and then come home for a long weekend. I told her that it wasn't likely with a job like this. Looking more distraught, "Couldn't you at least ask them?" She then put her cards on the table, crying and telling me that she did not want to move. She didn't want to be out there all alone, leaving behind her support network of friends (mostly other preschool moms). She also said that it would be my responsibility to break the news to my dad and stepmom, who would be devastated.

This was one of Schnarch's maxims playing itself out in full force (emphasis mine):
What's an example of a crucible in marriage? How about the fact that your spouse can always force you to choose between keeping your integrity and staying married, between "holding onto yourself" and holding onto your partner. These integrity issues often surface around sex and intimacy -- about what the two of you will and won't do together. They can just as easily arise over issues about money, parenting, in-laws, and lifestyle. The more emotionally enmeshed you and your spouse are -- fused in my lingo -- the more you will push this choice right down to the wire. Stay in the marriage or get divorced. The key is not to lose your nerve or get overreactive or locked into an inflexible position. I know that's tough when you think your marriage is about to explode -- or you're about to sell out your beliefs, preferences, or dreams. But it's actually part of the people-growing process in marriage. (Schnarch, Passionate Marriage, p. 47)

Schnarch invokes the phrase people growing machinery when talking about marriage. Sometimes, I wonder if that apparatus looks like a rack.

Our relocation conversation didn't get much past that point. I struggled to be permeable, acknowledging the anxiety she was facing. I told her that I was grateful for her being honest with me. I knew from my reading that in order for communication to be effective, the recipient has to be mature enough to accept the message. That didn't mean I had to give up non-local job searches, but it did mean that I had to suppress the reptilian urge to invalidate her feelings.

The only way I could see an employer agreeing to the work four long/go home for three option was through a short-term contract, where the services that I provided were of high enough value to include a big travel allowance. I don't know if that kind of setup exists, but it might be the best option in the short run.

I had a horrible time sleeping that night. I was stressing about the present and future. Even after budget cuts, we are barely getting by, and we're only a couple of incidental expenses away from falling really far behind. I work for an employer that is flying by the seat of its pants, and the only local jobs I can get interviews are short term contracts with no benefits or little increase in pay.

My wife doesn't want to upset her own world to make things better, so I am left to reconcile the unmet ends. In my gut, this feels fundamentally unjust. As I've mentioned before on this blog, I feel like there is no room for me in my own life. Yet, I feel like there is no recourse I could take that would not do damage elsewhere. Like the shivering Mr. Bailey, I find myself instead wishing that I was never born.

A Smoldering Wick Will I Not Snuff Out?

We spent most of Saturday taking care of errands and shopping. One of the errands involved getting my tires checked, because I suspected that at least one of them had a very slow leak. That involved dropping off the car and using the minivan to get around. We talked about possibly going to see a movie in the evening.

After the shopping was done and the car was ready for pickup, my wife dropped me off at the tire shop. She said she was going to run to another store to look for more clothes. I headed for home, stopping to get the car refueled.

About an hour later, my wife comes home. I have the movie times on the computer screen and read off what's showing at the theater for which we have some gift certificates. She comes back into the room and whispers into my ear saying, "Why don't you go to (the nearby bookstore) for about 45 minutes while I get something ready for your birthday present?"

I smile, and I complied. I knew what she was up to, and I was appreciative. After about 30 minutes of browsing in the store, I got a call from my wife on my cell phone. She asked me if it was hard concentrating and wanted to know if I was excited. Then she kicked into the unrealistic promise mode, saying that she wanted to have five orgasms and asked me if I was up to that. In reality, I knew she couldn't make it much past two, but that's how she is.

She then told me to head down to an adult gift shop (the kind that's caters more to the feminine demographic) to pick up some things. I asked her what she had in mind; she said that I should pick something out that turns me on, like edible undies. So I headed over to the store. I picked out the undies, but still had some money left over for . I was feeling orally playful, so I picked up a couple of packets of fruit flavored lubricant and some of that pop rock candy. The package advertised a list of suggestions for games that one could play with the candy. While I was shopping, she called me on the cell phone again to see if I was almost done.

I got home with supplies in tow. She was waiting on the coffee table, dressed up in some new lingerie. To the disappointment of the vicarious thrill seekers, I'll pan the camera away from the scene and fade out of focus.

Rather than spell out everything in detail, I'll give a cursory summary. She did get to two orgasms, one self induced with the toy, and the other wrought in the bedroom with a blend of oral and the toy.

We did use a few squirts of the canned whipped cream she had bought, but didn't use any of the stuff that I bought from the gift shop. She seemed to be in a hurry to get to intercourse after her second orgasm. Afterwards, she was pretty wiped out, apologizing that she couldn't do more. She said, "You know me, I talk big."

She told me that for future reference, she found it much more comfortable to fondle me because I was wearing pajama pants to bed. She said that it helped her to get around her "sensory issues" with touching my nether regions.

After an hour of rest from the first round, I tried to press my luck with a quickie. I knew that she wouldn't be there for a full blown effort. She agreed, but it was mostly her just lying there, so I wasn't able to really get anywhere, so I gave up.

On Sunday morning, I tried initiating wake up sex. It was the first time I had done that in almost seven years. That was responded with a "What are you doing?" That didn't get me anywhere, so I just gave myself a solo raincheck for the shower later on that morning.

I hear the voice of Michele Weiner-Davis in my mind, wagging her finger at me saying that I should "accept the gift of love." It certainly is more than what some other bloggers are getting. But on the other hand, I can't help but feel disappointed when there is overpromising involved. If I were to do something like this in any other area of our lives, I know she would feel let down.

At the heart of the ambivalence is what this portends. Is it an infrequent, unpredictable blip, or is it the sign of slow improvement? If it is the former, then I am just setting myself up for future frustration, but if it's the latter, then my disappointment seems awfully petty. With a huge deadline looming, I need to keep a level head, not too quick to invalidate my feelings of non-fulfillment, yet not willing to totally discount what may be a good faith effort on her part.

At this point, I'm inclined to think that I need to make my dissatisfaction known to my wife. It needs to be a serious, yet respectful discussion. I also have to be prepared for the possibility that she is not ready to receive that message, that she may respond emotionally and try to make me feel guilty for having those feelings. Holding onto myself means that I am willing to risk invalidation to disclose.

And so we come full circle, because my dilemma is complicated by the presence of two small children in my life, who deserve my love and my fullest consideration. I doubt myself, wondering if these thoughts of giving up on my marriage are just narcissism in disguise. The lyrics of the song that opened this post haunt me, reminding me that I am "a small part of a hope of a love that exists in the eyes of a child."

Since my life isn't directed by Frank Capra, I don't have the luxury of a divinely dispatched guardian to help me elucidate the cosmic truth from my confusion. Instead, I plan to talk about all of this further with my therapist tomorrow. Hopefully getting this down on pixels tonight will allow me to sleep more soundly than I have the past few days.

Monday, February 05, 2007

2am Joins John on a Schnarch Sex Quiz Meme

John, the author of Dad's Life, writes in a recent posting...
But recently I saw on another blog a reference to a quiz on his website to assess the sex in your marriage. I had to check it out. If you are interested, go here and check it out. Its a very short quiz.

I scored a 34. Right in the middle. I wonder how some of my readers would do!

OK, I'll play along

10-20 points: Sex is dead. Unless you're happy with your life as it is, you need to put serious time and effort into jump-starting the intimate side of your relationship. It's possible to revive your sexual connection, but you need to do something to "shock" it back to life again. This will take ongoing effort and collaboration with your partner, but take it upon yourself to get things restarted. The rewards are often well worth your time and energy. Couples who gave up on their sexual relationship long ago are able to breathe new life into it. Hugging 'till relaxed and eye-gazing out of bed (described in the accompanying Six Tips for Creating a more Passionate Relationship) would be good places to start. Whatever you do, do it from the best in you, and reach out to the best in your partner.

Here is how I answered. My selections are indicated with an "x".
1. How often do you and your partner have sex (on average)?
Not in the last year (1 point)
x Several times a year (2 points)
Once or twice a month (3 points)
Once or twice a week (4 points)
Four or five times a week (5 points)

2. What are the longest periods you have gone without having sex together?
7 months to a year or more (1 point)
x 3-6 months (2 points)
1-2 months (3 points)
2-3 weeks (4 points)
A week (5 points)

3. Just how passionate and erotic is your sexual relationship?
Sex is non-existent (1 point)
x Sex is passionless, mechanical, and non-erotic (2 points)
Sex is friendly but predictable and uninspired, lacking in creativity and spontaneity (3 points)
Sex is pretty steamy (4 points)
If it got any hotter, our bed might catch fire (5 points)

4. How much intimacy and emotional connection is present when you have sex?
Sex is an intense meeting of our minds and souls, and not just our bodies. (5 points)
Sex is a little personal, but much of "who I am sexually" never really shows. (4 points)
x Sex is mostly on trading orgasms. (3 points)
There is no joining. I spend most of my time fantasizing about other partners, or thinking about other things. (2 points)
Sex is non-existent (1 point)

5. Do you and your partner structure your relationship to avoid sex and intimacy?
We go to bed at the same time and use it as a time to connect including sexually. (5 points)
We go to bed at the same time and connect, but it rarely leads to sex. (4 points)
We go to bed at the same time, but there is no physical or emotional connection between us. (3 points)
x We go to bed at different times to avoid having sex. (2 points)
We sleep in different bedrooms or live apart much of the time. (1 point)

6. How often do you and your partner kiss during sex?
We kiss multiple times in almost every sexual encounter (5 points)
We kiss at least once in three quarters of our sexual encounters (4 points)
We kiss at least once in half of our sexual encounters (3 points)
x We rarely kiss when we have sex (2 points)
We never have sex (1 point)

7. Do you and your partner ever have eyes-open sex?
I and/or my partner sometimes have orgasms while looking into each others eyes. (5 points)
We sometimes make eye-contact during sex. (4 points)
We open our eyes, but never make eye-contact. (3 points)
x One or both of us keep our eyes closed during sex. (2 points)
We never have sex (1 point)

8. Do you and/or your partner have sexual dysfunctions (problems with lubrication or erections, or orgasms)?
Neither of us have difficulty getting aroused or having orgasms. (5 points)
I am (and/or my partner is) slow to arouse, but once we get started, we don't have any difficulties. (4 points)
One or both of us occasionally have difficulty with arousal and/or orgasms. (3 points)
x One or both of us frequently have difficulty with arousal and/or orgasms. (2 points)
We never have sex (1 point)

9. Do you or your partner struggle with low desire to have sex (before you start)?
x Almost always (1 point)
Usually (2 points)
Sometimes (3 points)
Rarely (4 points)
Never (5 points)

10. Do you or your partner have problems with lack of desire during sex?
x Almost always (1 point)
Usually (2 points)
Sometimes (3 points)
Rarely (4 points)
Never (5 points)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I Think I Know Where One of the Job Board Monkeys Went...

Looks like one of them moved from marketing to software development. My hunch is based on a bizarre job recommendation in a recent e-mailing. You be the judge.

The Job Search Continues

I've been accumulating a small pile of job leads for which there is some initial contact, perhaps followed by mutual interest, a phone call, and then silence. On Thursday, I took as step toward following up on them to see if they have gone dead or merely dormant.

One of them will make me wait, for the contact is out of the office until next week, so sayeth her autoresponder. Another responded the next day to tell me that I'm not sufficiently steeped in vendor-specific technologies to be a good deal for them. The others have gone unanswered.

On Thursday night came the second phone interview with the really big Pacific Northwest software company. The conversation went well, even if it demonstrated that my grasp of algorithms and data structures is not everything you learn in the classroom. He seemed fascinated with one of the projects I had busied myself at my current employer, and we had a good time discussing the architecture behind that.

On Friday, I reformatted my resume to reduce some gratuitous white space and refreshed the major job boards with it. It now converts to HTML and text much more nicely.

On Friday evening, I received an e-mail from the Pacific Northwest. They want me to come out for an interview. Surprisingly enough, my wife seemed excited about that one. I will be attending that one.

I haven't given up totally on the local job search. One recruiter with whom I met a week and a half ago has called me a couple times to tell me of some other places where he'd like to vet my resume, and I've given him my consent on that. I have two sit down meetings with other recruiters this coming week. I believe this will be the seventh and eighth such agencies I've talked to since September.

I also learned that my coworker who had announced his plans to depart has reconsidered. The CEO had a talk with him on Monday and said that if the licensing deal goes through, they would like to put him in a more "customer facing" role, wherein he would be sent out to the Bay Area to work on site with the licensee to oversee product integration.

I'm not sure whether they can follow through on that promise, but it's a win-win situation for him because he's currently unattached and it would give him a free ticket to the Silicon Valley. Later on in the week, he faxed the other employer to rescind his acceptance of their job offer.