My first one-liner of the day:

"C'mon, Mom. You've been married to the man for 27 years now. Surely you know what his literary preferences are by now." - to my step-mom, in regards to what I should get my dad for his 55th birthday today (literary genre).

I decided to take another tack and focused on movies instead. "All right, then, what kind of movies does he like?"

"He's very fond of Clint Eastwood."

"Westerns?" I asked pointedly.

"No. More like Dirty Harry. One guy against impossible odds. You know. The good guy underdog that doesn't stand a chance but ends up pulling through. Drama and action."

"Ah-hah!" I exclaimed. "Did he see The Bourne Identity? If so, what did he think of it?"

"Oh, he liked it very much," my mom said. "He was really impressed with it."

That cinched it for me. Dad likes Robert Ludlum novels. There's not much I do know about my dad's personal preferences, but I can spot a person's literary likes and dislikes in a heartbeat. He's never explicitly told me that he likes Ludlum, but it just makes sense. "Well, from what I've heard, Robert Ludlum's book version of The Bourne Identity was somewhat different from the movie. I think that's what I shall get him. Thanks, Mom."

"You're welcome, honey. Love you! See you tonight at six. Bye!"

And that's exactly what I got for my dad. Six o'clock rolled around and when time came to open the presents, I learned that my instincts were spot-on. Dad used to read Ludlum's books voraciously when he toured a lot on the road. And he absolutely loved the movie. He was very pleased with the gift I gave him.

Terrible secret #201: I don't normally give presents to people because I'm usually very boneheaded at it. I've actually gone for years without giving gifts to my family members because, honestly, I don't know them as well as I probably should.

Bygones. Today I got lucky.

Tonight, while playing pool with toastido and another friend (whom I have been flirting with like a madman, which is more out of character for me than most things... especially since this person happens to be an 18-year-old girl and I'm 30... but it's fun to flirt and surprisingly easier these days), I met the new bartender at George's Pool Hall. A nice, slender, attractive mid-twenties woman. We got to talking for just the briefest of moments and I hadn't actually intended to strike up an honest-to-god conversation, but that's what ended up happening. She's a student at Watkins College of Art here in Nashville with an eye towards computer graphic design (which happens to be somewhat of a passion of mine as well). And that's what kicked off our conversation. I won't recount the entire thing, but it ended with her asking me for my number (the first time that's happened in almost 5 years, much to my pleasant surprise).

I haven't been on a decent date in quite a long while- much less seriously hit on by a member of the opposite sex. I'm not expecting anything (hell, I'm expecting exactly nothing from this exchange), but it was certainly a nice change of pace for a woman to take a somewhat active interest in me, to make a pass at me. I hope I played it cool enough for her to follow up and call me or send me an email. She seemed very interesting, to say the least.

Here's to hoping that more days like today are ahead of me. There certainly aren't enough of them behind me.