Saturday, May 9, 2009


"Where did you get that fancy Blogger template?"

I found it on Google, which is a popular Internet search engine.

"Is this the same Sean Hawkins from high school/college/Europe/who I met at camp/dated once/crashed my car/drank my last beer?"

Yep! Wasn't that awesome?! (But I'm not the one who built your patio cover. That is a totally different Sean.)

"How do you find time to write and run every day? You're lucky!"

I usually don't go to work until 10:30, and then I work until 6 without breaking for lunch. Mrs. Ditchman understands that the writing is important to me, and she gets a happier husband if she gives me some time for it. Same with the running. I find that I have more energy and a better attitude if I write and run every day or so. This enables me to accomplish more with my time, but between the business and the kids, there is barely time to watch an hour of Lost and Dancing With The Stars once a week. By the way, I encourage Mrs. Ditchman to play bunco, get a pedicure, eat Golden Spoon, and go to Jazzercise as much as possible. And, yes, I am the luckiest person you know.

"Who is Mrs. Ditchman? Isn't your last name 'Hawkins'? Isn't she your wife? Did she keep her maiden name or something?"

She is my wife. It's a pet name. Studies show that pet names are a sign of a healthy marriage. This seemed like the easiest way to go about having one.

"But why 'Ditchman'?"

On our honeymoon we stayed in a renovated turn-of-the-century bungalow on an old coconut plantation on Kauai. On the door of each cottage was a metal placard that had the name of the original family who lived and worked there. Ours said "DITCHMAN", the multiple meanings of which I find fall-over hilarious.

"I love it/hate it when you write about aluminum patio covers/your kids/the suburbs/Macs/running/movies/literature/history/pop culture/politics/God/Star Wars/the End Times. Why don't you write more/less on this?"

If I wrote less, I would get sick. If I wrote more, everyone would get sick.

"I was totally offended when you wrote THAT the other day. How could you?"

I try not to be insulting. I really do. I never want to insult anyone, or have to, as long as I live. As far as "offending" people, there's really only so much I can do about this. Everyone in life chooses what to be offended by from moment to moment. I know some people who are offended by everything, and I know some people who are offended by nothing. Generally speaking, those who are less often offended by things are happier, more mature, and have a more developed sense of humor than those who find themselves more often offended. It's true. Look around and laugh about it.

"You have a lot of opinions about things. I disagree with most of them."

Is this a question? If it's not a question, then it belongs on a post entitled TMST FSC (Frequently Stated Comments). Maybe next week.

"Why do you have so many dumb opinions about things?"

Everyone who is putting pen to paper and fingers to keyboard is stating an opinion, even (and sometimes especially) novelists and journalists. People with opinions will motor upriver to the source, (though sometimes they will take a wrong turn) and people without them will drift downstream without purpose to the unrelenting chaos of the open sea. It takes guts to have an opinion. Those who say they have no opinion are either apathetic, ignorant, or lying. Anyway, that's my opinion. Everyone reserves the right to change their opinion about anything at any given time, and should be respected for it.

"How come you deleted all your sidebar links?"

You know, I'm sorry. I was just trying to streamline things for the page at one point and I had so many people asking me why I didn't link them that it was just becoming overwhelming. If you post something that I find cool and that I think my readers will find cool, I will always link you. Please don't take it personally, but I try to create my own content. Perhaps in the future I will have one link to a blog of all my links. If it makes you feel better, I don't even link my own wife's blog. (Which, by the way, is http://themundanedetails.blogspot.com.)

"How come you turned off the 'Comments' functionality?"

Several reasons. Though I was initially a big proponent of the fun comments, I found that I was constantly checking back to the blog to see if I got any comments, and it started to rule my life. And then, if I didn't get any comments, I wondered who I had offended that day. So I just quit on it, and resolved that I was offending everyone every day. Yes, I am that insecure. I figured if anyone was so moved, they could just email me. The address is in my Profile. Also, I tired of the comment spam and those feckless, anonymous cowards who feel the need to be a heartless, faceless critical voice, like someone tossing a grenade out of the jungle.

"Wait a minute, do you even care what I think about you, or not?"

Of course I do. But I try not to. I guess it depends on how respectable you are.

"How did such a thoughtless dork like you end up marrying a beautiful woman, running a successful business, and having such cute kids?"

Again, I am the luckiest guy you know, but I suspect I'm not as thoughtless as you suppose. And I try to see the world through the prism of my blessings, and then build on that.

"Oh, please. I thought you didn't believe in luck?"

I don't, actually, but those who do would have a hard time with my theories on life, so I just simplify to be agreeable.

"I don't think you know anything about gardening."

Again, not a question, but you're on to me, aren't you?

"You seem like such a nice, funny, and intelligent guy. How could you vote for George W. Bush both terms?"

I vote for someone based on their principles, not their personality, and regardless of what the polls say. I didn't vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don't care if you're an actor, an a$$hole, or an optimist, I just want to know what you honestly stand for and whether or not we agree. I will accept the outcome of an honest election.

"How come you spell some words and vu!garities with $ymbols?"

To throw off the search engines, bots, and parental controls.

"Do you really think the end of the world is coming, possibly on December 21st, 2012?"

The end of the world comes every day for someone.

"How many hits a day do you get?"

Not very many, really. Google Analytics tells me that most days it's 20-30 "absolute unique visitors", usually peaking on Wednesday and Thursdays, (interestingly) and sometimes I break 100 -which usually has to do with you linking me. (Thanks! It's the highest compliment in all of Blogdom!)

"I'm that person who reads your blog every day in Carlsbad/Beverly Hills/Arizona/Thailand/Starbucks! Do you know who I am?"

No! Send me an email!

"You're an excellent/sucky writer! You should write a book/get off the Internet!"

I'm working on it.

"I went back and read one of your posts for a second time and it was totally different. What gives?"

I'm a big re-writer. I love to re-write. I find it easy and fun and I'll re-write anything and everything. It relaxes me, like channel-surfing does you. Sitting down with nothing and starting anew is difficult and painful. In a few days, all of these questions might be replaced by something unique, creative, thoughtful and brilliant! (But don't bet on it.)

"Whatever happened to 'The Suburban Conservative'?"

It was the project that broke this camel's back. I have too many projects! I may bring it back some day. Maybe today!

"Does the world really need more mouthy, beer-swilling, conservative Christians like you?"

Yes. Have them call me. I need someone to hang with.

"I don't get it. What is "the most significant thing"?"

Fifteen years ago or so I got sick of writing the same thing in my journal every day: "I'm tired... I'm bored... I'm depressed..." so I decided to record simply the most significant thing that happened to me that day. I would put some thought into it at bedtime, and sometimes it was a world event or a death or a nasty breakup, and sometimes it was a sunset or a profound thought or a comment overheard in a coffee shop. This eventually changed my perspective on things: items in life often indicated as "significant" aren't necessarily important, right, just, trustworthy, or true, and they're usually merely the most obvious or memorable quality of things, however manufactured. (Television news is an excellent example of this "perceived significance".)

Anyway, I came up with the seven most significant things in my life. In the midst of this pop world, they would be considered ironic, but in fact they are indispensably and truly significant, and the lack of the pursuit of any one of them on any given day makes me feel incomplete, (and I usually get a bad night's sleep as a result.)

They are, in no real meaningful order, as follows:


To say any one of them is the most significant would be overstating it, and if you've read the blog for a while, you know how I tend to overstate things. Anyway, that's the joke. And -except for the days when I am tired and bored and depressed- most of the posts fall into one or several of those categories. And "7" is a nice prime, biblical number.

But let me know if you have an eighth.


P.S. Someone suggested "Beer" as the eighth, and it was a terrific suggestion. But, after some thought, I realized it would conflict in a tie with "Wine", so they both hereby fall snugly under the "Passion" category.

Hope that clears a few things up.