The Love Farmer by Joe Janicki

Relationships are what we make them. There is no prescription. And every relationship is different. They all consist of different formulas of chemistry. Regardless of age, gender, or class, we will build relationships with people we feel connections with. As the connections get stronger, relationships become more serious, and the ones with the weakest connections may fall away. But there are a select few that grow stronger, and those relationships will last a lifetime.

A while ago, I heard a character in a movie say, “Find someone that makes you happy, and never let them go.” I have incorporated this principle into measuring my relationships. I ask my girlfriend, “Do I make you happy?” While I am on vacation with a couple of buddies, I ask “Are you guys happy?”

For me, happiness can be defined by little things, such as do I make my friends happy? Unfortunately, I think a lot of people mistake the word for something else. I live in Orange County, California, and people here have a reputation for valuing possessions rather than the people who have the possessions. For me, joy is the definition of happiness, and that joy is only derived from taking pleasure in everyday interactions with those in my life. And when another person and I are enjoying each other’s company, I know we have a true and established relationship. We give and receive gifts of memories, bliss, and affection. I must share the experiences and the emotions of those moments in order to bond with that person, because a relationship is constructed from the gift of happiness. Continue reading

The Name Game by Lisa Montagne

A sneak peak at Archive 405 Vol. 3: The Relationships Issue

What happens when you can’t remember a person’s name? The Name Game

I’ve been told that if I want to figure out my stripper name (and who doesn’t?) just use my childhood pet’s name in combination with the name of the street that I grew up on. The result: Kitty Rowland. Not half bad. If I wore the right outfit, some people might buy it if I introduced myself with “Hi! My name is Kitty Rowland.” The truth is, though, that even if my name were Kitty Rowland, it would not be any easier for people to remember than Lisa Montagne.

According to psychologist Jeremy Dean, there is research confirming that remembering names is difficult for everyone. Jill Speigel, author of How to Talk to Anyone About Anything, says that “everyone struggles with remembering names. When we first meet someone we’re taking in so much visually and emotionally. They say their name, but it’s up there floating in our heads.” Speigel adds that many common names, like Chris, Joe, Jill, or Amy, all “tend to blend together.” As a result, while we may recognize a person’s face the next time we see him, his name has taken a low priority in our brain’s information processing system—which is, it turns out, completely normal for just about everyone.   Continue reading

Suburbiaville by Kyle Cabrera

Suburbiaville by Kyle Cabrera

Every time I think about the events that led up to the last time I saw Martin I become sick.  Now that I am an adult I know why it happened, but when I was a child his disappearance left me confused.  In history class, the week before he left, our third grade teacher was lecturing about the Second American Civil War.  Most of our history books cover the Second American Civil War extensively, but little is said about the first American Civil War, except that it ended in a tie inspiring a brief period of compromise.   Our teacher stood in front of the class and asked if anyone knew the names of the two armies that fought each other.

“Us,” a student replied without raising his hand.

“Yes, and who do you mean by us?”  The teacher replied.

“The Tea Party,” he said confidently.

The teacher smiled.  “Does any one know the name of the army that fought the Tea Party?”

A boy in the front raised his hand. “The blue-bellies.” Continue reading

My Own Personal Tina Fey by Lisa Montagne

My Own Personal Tina Fey by Lisa Montagne

This was originally written for “Talking Out My Pie Hole” @ lisamontagne.com, and it was featured on boomerreviews.com.

|September 9, 2013

Throughout my life, I have been told that I resemble various actresses: in the 80s, it was Sally Field; in the 90s it was Julia Louis-Dreyfus (something to do with the big 90s hair); in the early 2000s it was Megan Mullally as Karen Walker on “Will and Grace” (please note that I am a generous—and not a mean—drunk); and for the past four or five years, it has been Tina Fey. I admire these women immensely; they are all smart, talented, sassy, and pretty in the kind of way that gets the blood of pasty-faced nerds flowing. I am happy to be compared with these women; I wouldn’t mind being any one of them, especially Tina Fey. She has many impressive talents and accomplishments, all wrapped up in wit and wisdom, but I especially admire her for pulling off kissing Paul Rudd on the big screen in a 2013 rom com—that was truly inspiring. If, as a woman who came to be a movie star late in the game, she can get hired to play the love interest of such a yummy cutie-pie as Paul Rudd, then I feel as if I can do anything. Continue reading

The Multi-Tasking Dancer by Lisa Montagne

The Multi-Tasking Dancer by Lisa Montagne

This was originally a guest blog at atomicballroom.com.

By the same author: “5 Reasons Everyone Should Learn to Dance”.

The other night, on a pleasant summer evening in Southern California, I was out social dancing at a Swing event. There was a wealth of lovely, willing leads. The band was exuberantly playing some loungey swing classics, like “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Mack the Knife,” and “Something’s Gotta Give”—then, suddenly, like an unexpected but welcome cool rain, there was a Waltz.

A male Swing lead, a long-time acquaintance of mine, looked at me and said, “What the heck is that?”

“That, kind sir, is a Waltz,” I replied with no little amount of enthusiasm. I waited expectantly, but he just looked discouraged, tinged with a trace of disgust, and he walked away. It was like when my grandmother used to shake her head in exasperation at what the world was coming to when Madonna pranced around in her steel-studded underwear. Continue reading

GITMO: A National Pastime by Kyle Cabrera

With the crowd rallying behind him, Obama walks out to the mound to pitch a faithful ninth inning. This has to be one of the toughest walks of his career, I’m sure, because after pitching a perfect game for eight tough innings, he must close the game strong on the issue of Guantanamo Bay. In the bottom of the eighth, he struck out three of the GOP’s players, including power-hitter John McCain, and the GOP is beginning to look as if they are unable to compete with this contender. Continue reading

Did Snowden Really Surprise Us? By Kyle Cabrera

The American public has long been intrigued by whistleblowers, not just because of the information they provide, but also because Americans usually root for the under-dog and have a fundamental, if sometimes naïve, belief in fairness. In the past, the public was typically shocked and dismayed at what its government did in the dark.  However, as we enter into a more digitalized world where people like Wikileaks’ Julian Assange can post classified documents in an open forum, Americans have more or less become used to the fact that our government does things that we don’t know about.  And, so did Snowden really surprise us? Continue reading