Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How Dare You Sing?!

True story.

So, I'm sitting in church on Sunday (an unnamed Sunday to protect the innocent Sundays (mmm, Ice Cream sundaes)) and as many churches do, the service began with worship. For those of you who consider yourselves among the unclean masses, worship is basically the singing part of the service. At our church, normally there are five songs in worship (they change each week) and we do contemporary as well as some hymns. Anyway, I'm just beginning to get the pipes cleaned out and my groove has entered that area where I'm sure God is listening to me. Suddenly, the dude behind me raises it up a notch....yeah, God's gift to singing is really getting into it and the volume is as loud as the pitch is awful.

No, sorry, that's what the folks in front of me are thinking!

Ever have this happen to you?

I know I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but for some reason I still try. I will find a bigger bucket if I must. I am definitely in the 'joyful noise' category. I've been told that I "blend well" which, I think, comes from my habit of doing impersonations. If someone is singing next to me and they sing well and strong and they aren't in the habit of straying into octaves that only dogs can hear, (that's a lot of implied 'ifs') I can sing pretty ridiculously ok. That said, if the people around me aren't solid or confident, my singing is going to be awfully horrific. I'm the guy who American Idol judges would laugh at, the one that Simon would have overused the word 'really' upon. As in "Really? That was really one of the worst, really awful auditions we've ever really and truly tried to stop listening to. Did you really think that was worth our time? Really?"

Being that guy makes the following admission even worse... When the person behind me is loud and flat, pitchy, or in an octave outside my comfort zone, my groove is gone. I actually get a little ticked off (yeah, I know it's an awesome church attitude) because I can't enjoy the song I am butchering. This got me to thinking... Am I ruining someone else's worship experience? I clearly need a checkup from the neck up. Doesn't one of those songs go "how can I keep from singing?" I'll tell you how.

...And it's not just at church that I am a singing snob.

It's my car, my radio, my music, and I'm driving...I'll be doing the singing. I'm a truly horrible person. I will turn on a song that I like to sing and provided I feel comfortable with you...I'm gonna belt it out. I reserve that right. Nay, I hold the exclusive rights to that right. Now rapping on the other hand, I will gladly share the mic. The kids and I will perform "In the End" by Linkin' Park and it is straight up dope. (Somewhere, their eyes are rolling) If I don't want you to sing in my car or I don't want to hear you sing in my car, I'm likely going to turn up my radio...a lot. I already know I'm a horrible person and I feel bad about that, but feel free to tell me again...I might hear you over the radio. What?

Sing in my office? Fortunately, the business place is not a location where people often sing. It's not that they don't truly desire to sing. I do remember one particular morning when I arrived a little early. I thought that someone was playing some Dana Owens, only to find my co-worker belting it out. I truly didn't mind that.

Sing in the shower? Growing up in a house where the parents were from a more frugal time, showers were encouraged to be less than a song length. Music playing in the bathroom was not something that I grew up with. Pish-posh you say, music isn't necessary to sing in the shower. Well, in my world, unless you're singing Hey Mickey, music is extremely mandatory. By the way, you can thank me later for the ear worm!

So, are you truly horrible like me or are you a good singer?


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Best Friends and Best Men

I think I'm a pretty decent dude. I might go so far as to say I'm a nice guy. Some would say I'm a good guy, and on some trips into the self-centered moral high ground, I might consider myself a better man than some...

Nothing says PANIC like
alcohol and a microphone

But for a limited time, call now and you can enjoy a ground breaking opportunity with me as the Best Man.

For a low, low price.

Void where prohibited, some exclusions may apply, does not include shipping and handling.

Act now and we'll throw in a peeler, slicer, corer absolutely free.


I don't know how it happened, nor when, I'm excited to say I'm someone's best friend. Though, even this is a limited time offer.

How could it be limited? What Ginsu refund madness is this you ask?

You see, I have had best friends, but I can't honestly remember being told that I was someone's best friend. Sure, I'm "one of" people's friends, even "one of" a few people's best friends, heck I'm even a few people's "dog," "homey," and lest not forget "boy (blue)." Guys don't refer to ourselves as BFFs and using the term "besties" is worthy of a junk punch. (Though when the autocorrect just tried to change that to "beasties" that was kinda funny)

Do any of those references make anyone feel special? I didn't think so.

There is something about a friend saying those magic words..."Dude, you're my best friend...would you be my best man?"

Ladies, sure there is something awesome about a wedding proposal, but I have to say being asked, nay recognized, as Best Man material is also out of this world. But in a way, it is bittersweet. It's an epic downgrade, it's a demotion, it's like a breakup!

You see, when Jay's Ramblings met Lainey's Life Lessons, you could say that Jay's Ramblings went out of his Mynd. Yep, I'm the old dog watching his owner play with a new puppy. I've been demoted to "my best guy friend" or "my best friend that I'm NOT married to."


(Lainey, don't read anything into the "puppy" metaphor!)

I wouldn't have it any other way. If he didn't commit his entire being to make this woman happy, he wouldn't have been my best friend. I'd have had to kick his butt.

So, apparently I have duties (he said "doodies" lol) that are not limited to:

1. The Bachelor Party - a night of debauchery never before seen by the groom to be. Really I just said that to make lurking Lainey a little crazy. In reality, he doesn't want strippers and having been to a few BPs with strippers, I'm ok with that. The untouchable hot chick (you can hope she's hot, but THAT apparently ISN'T a rule) who does a crazy sexy dance (again, apparently NOT a rule) in a sausage-fest of your friends...is generally awkward. There...I said it.

2. The Wedding Toast - this is really tasty with a bit of strawberry marmalade. Being the tremendous wordsmith that I am, I should have all the ladies crying and all the men laughing. Knowing me, probably the opposite will occur. Seriously, Lainey is actually a little scared of me with a microphone. She should be. She embarrasses easily and turns lovely shades of red. She does this when people say nice things about her in public, so be afraid Lainey...be afraid!

3. Paying the Preacher - who knew? I don't know what the going rate for a "hitchin'" is these days, but I'm sure I will have plenty of singles...since we didn't see the strippers.

4. Holding the Rings - there are two rings, I have two hands...coincidence? I've got this one covered.

5. Returning the Rentals - say what?! I've got to hang on to funky dance sweated clothing? I feel like "I've still got that smell in my car" is going to be my new phrase. You know that "wedding cake and bad dancing sweat" smell. Fortunately, Teen Wolf and Shaggy who will apparently have to be less wolfy and less shaggy are ushers. Lainey was so crazy thinking they could just wear suits...haha. Leisure Suit Larry and Casual Guy Friday aren't going to look the part. (Yes, Princess Sassy Pants is the flower girl)

There are a myriad of cool things aside from those listed, such as signing the marriage license, that I get to do. I think heading up the band of miscreants to "decorate" the groom's vehicle is going to be cool, memo to me... eat a few cans of soup or perhaps drink a few cans of beer...and obtain twine.

These all pale in comparison to the granddaddy of them all...

Be afraid, be very afraid....with ear plugs.

So, who among you has been a Best Man or Maid (Matron, sadly I put Megatron) of Honor? Any advice?


Monday, January 14, 2013

The Friend Zone

Image courtesy of wikihow.com

An all too common scene in a typical high school: Boy sees girl, boy asks girl out and then it drops..."I like you as a friend." Perhaps you'll hear its slightly more negative cousin "I don't like you like that."

In either event, the boy has been put in the friend zone. The thing is, for a girl, the friend zone is a holding pattern, the outer marker of "are you willing to get to know me, be affectionate towards me, take it slow." It could also be girls' idea of a way to say they aren't interested...at all.

For a boy, it is purgatory. There will often be a lot of prayer and discussion to get out of the friend zone. Seldom does a boy take up residence in the friend zone. He simply moves on. He has plenty of friends who won't have sex with him. Oops, there I said it. Boys want sex. I'm sure there will be arguments made that girls like sex just as much as boys, but I don't think I am stretching to say that girls want the cuddle after the sex to feel connected. Boys just want to connect to feel connected.

Am I oversimplifying? Probably. I'm not trying to come off as a pig, rather I want to be helpful. Show you a little of the dark closet we have between our ears.


Image courtesy of wikihow.com

Boys have two classifications for girls... sex partner or friend. Oh, sure if a boy ends up with a girlfriend, he will appear to have more girl (pause) friends, but those two groups are maintained. You might even be convinced of the friend zone, but its more a "when" rather than an "if." Of course, boys think it would be great if the girl they want to have sex with will also be cool and fun to hang out with. A friend is someone he wouldn't sleep with. Sorry.

Now Hollywood will have you disagreeing with me. I think of Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years, she was the "friend" but if you think for a minute Kevin wasn't angling for that kiss from the moment he heard about kissing, you're wrong. Now, Some Kind of Wonderful is one of my favorite movies of all time and in that one the guy realizes he wants the friend, but Watts played by Mary Stuart Masterson wore the pants in that relationship. The upshot is, unless there is some serious transformation or time apart, a guy isn't going to pull a girl out of the friend zone. This is important and I will come back to it.



...Time Passes...



As men, we've learned a few things. Sex isn't free. Again, I don't mean to sound like a pig, but as men, we realize a few things. A. There is more to life than sex and B. unless you are Brad Pitt, you're gonna have to work at a relationship to get it.

There isn't anything wrong with this admission. Truly stepping out of ignorance or naivety, women know when they are worth the effort. They want to be worth the effort. They know that much of the work is done for the prize. Oh sure, men will lie about doing work for the sex and women will let them lie. It's how the system works.

We haven't changed at our core and more than likely, neither have the ladies. In an affair, a guy who has been cheated upon will almost always ask "did you sleep with him?" while a woman will ask "do you love her?" Does this spell out each's priorities clearly enough?

There isn't anything wrong with it.

Now to my point that I made as a comment in my post Powertools, Relationships, and Soulmates. Though initially we hope to, men don't expect to be retrieved from the Friend Zone. We have a very limited understanding of how that might work, and frankly it is scary as hell.

Remember earlier when I talked about the two kind of girls for a boy. It isn't much different for a man. For a single guy, there are still women they'd sleep with and women they wouldn't. The women they'd sleep with might be friends, but likely for the reasons noted above. The women they wouldn't sleep with are either not thought of at all, or they become friends. They are funny or intellectual or they watch enough sports to serve as an honorary wingman or drinking buddy. Unless as noted above some serious transformation occurs or the "friend" becomes the aggressor, a guy isn't on his own going to decide "gee, we are awfully compatible...maybe we should kiss or sleep together." Or perhaps alcohol...


So with that in mind, men will feel that after long enough in the friend zone of a woman (who is available to have slept with them, ie: not in a relationship, etc.) they are automatically in the second of their own categories. They are the friend she won't "sleep with" or in women's terms ever want to "take the relationship to the next level."

For guys, anything beyond friendship at this point is like being in a foreign country. They have no idea what the rules are, or whether they speak that new language. They'll mistake the green light for, well pretty much anything else and as they've been rejected once before by this girl wonder if they should chance a second likely more painful rejection.

I know what you're thinking...all guys want the one thing, sex. I said "long enough in the friend zone" AND that's usually really short if the guy is a pig and only after the one thing. So he HAS stayed and they ARE friends, so he likely isn't a pig. He's accepted that they are friends. And what do guys do (or more importantly NOT do) with Friends?

So, to answer Jessica of Single Motherhood Bliss, the green light may not be enough. A conversation that goes something like this may have to happen:

Girl: how would you characterize our relationship?

This is a great starter because the answer is probably going to be expected. How could it be anything other than "friends?" (Question mark inside or outside of the quotes is intentional)

Girl: who's idea was that?

Another question she should know the answer to, but it will crack the ice for the guy.

Girl: and are you comfortable with that?

The last two questions could be reversed, but you're indicating that there may be a change to the situation.

Girl: I'm not necessarily going to do this, but if I were to take off all my clothes right now... How would you react?

Now here is where it gets interesting as the reactions you get could be all over the place, including...

1. "Are you drunk right now?" This answer belies my theorem above.

2. "Are you serious right now?" Same with this answer.

3. "You're making me uncomfortable." This answer could go either way. Girls, you may be in HIS friend zone or he may be uncertain if you are serious or he may have a chubby.

4. "Shouldn't we kiss first?" I'm sure you'd be delighted to get this answer and the romantic man will perhaps give it. (Men, take note of any comments)

5. "Do it and find out!" I really hope this isn't the answer, but it might be ok depending upon the guy. To me (a romantic) this says, "my patience in your friend zone has paid off...finally. Hit it and quit it time!"


So hopefully, I've entertained you and maybe given you some insight. This isn't a roadmap for guys on how to escape the friend zone, but hopefully it has given the ladies some idea of why we are the way we are.

That's what HE Said. (I'm happy to link to any SHE Said answers)


My good friend Jewels weighed in before she even knew I was writing this, check her out at http://accordingtojewels.com/5-sure-fire-ways-to-land-in-the-friend-zone/


Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Everyday Gollum


Did I mention that my Shaggy is precioussss? Yes, I'm living with my very own Gollum / Smeagol at my house. He is pretty dead on with his impressions and unlike Andy Serkis, this Gollum lives in Suburbia and walks among the people!



When I discussed this little project with him, he was overjoyed at the prospect of going viral like a flu bug in a preschool on finger paint day.

What would an "Everyday Gollum" look like, act like, and do during a regular day? Besides referring to himself in the third person, here's what we thought...

What day doesn't start with a visit to the local Starbucks to order pretentious coffee....

This IS the grunge look!


Even the best coffee isn't helpful in finding your way, Gollum checks his GPSssss.

Smeagol is so lost...


Are you having a rough day at work? Here'sss a little Officssse Sssspace for you.


So, Office Etiquette is difficult for poor Gollum as you can see.


Don't get us started about our job precious and the awful hobbitsss we deal with..


Perhaps you're ready to order some lunch?


Someone giving you a bad time? Give 'me a little Samuel L. Gollum!


After a hard day at work and dealing with the Ogres and Witches, even Gollum needs to hit happy hour and chase a little tail.


As you can imagine, even the most clever line doesn't win over the ladies when you're sporting a greasy comb over. Sometimes holding the ones you love whilest singing a gentle lullaby is the only solace.


Yesss, folkssss, WilyGuy has hisss very own precioussss. He isss willing to share, unlike mean Smeagol.

Got something you want to hear? I'm sure he's up for it. Lets keep it relatively clean. One request per customer, though if you want to contribute to buy him the "One Ring," I'm sure he wouldn't say no to preciouss. (PayPal address available upon request)



This will be more fun than asking Siri "Who's your daddy?" Speaking of which...



We love the Dude Writessss. We mustn't share the Dude Writessss. We will share the Dude Writessss if we are left alone with the precioussss.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Power Tools, Relationships, and Soulmates

Recently, I read Priced Out of Relationship Market, an older post from my buddy Angie at Angie Uncovered, which as it turns out was a response to a post on Single Motherhood Bliss entitled He's Just Not That Into You. Well, you might want to read them to catch up.  Both are very well written and offer an interesting perspective.  I felt the need to comment on both and in doing so, I felt as though I had more to offer on the subject.

Both of these ladies have come to seemingly the same conclusion and that appears to be that in making themselves stronger in the wake of failed relationships, they have come to not need a man.  Now, the after effect of living in that mode is that they realize that they don't need a man, but perhaps they want one.  Here is the interesting part, those two pieces of the puzzle wage a war and make it difficult.

Here's the thing, men and women aren't all that different. Men have long been chastised for wanting a lady in the streets, but a freak in the bed.  "Men are pigs" that way.  Frankly, the ladies aren't too much better.  It's been said they want a sensitive man, but seemingly all they want to flirt with are the bad boys.  Whatever happened to the knight on the white horse?

He's a Prince AND he irons!
Photo courtesy of http://thestar.blogs.com/royals/
As Jessica states,
There seems to be this general agreement that there are far more good women than there are good men. And that women just need to "be strong" and hold out for her "Prince Charming".
Haven't we all heard a similar description in that wonderful word that stirs in us such hope when we are young... Soul-mate. (Wait for the collective sigh...)  As we get older we either convince ourselves that such a thing exists and that we have "settled" or we find said soul-mate only to discover that they're broken.  Either scenario is painful and almost impossible on your partner.  We ask the questions should we continue to look around quietly to find our "true" soul-mate or how could our soul-mate let us down?  I've got better questions for you...

When did relationships become disposable?

When did "life is too short" become a reason to stop working?

It seems that men and women alike turned a blind ear (huh?) to "Sickness" and "Poorer" and "Bad Times" when we prattled off our wedding vows. Perhaps you chose to write your own vows because you didn't like the above words or "obedient" and your new and improved vows sound like something Yanni would put to music.  Why should I use my Mom and Dad's vows, you ask?

Here is a news flash to all those reading this...we don't live in the fifties anymore.  We can't live in the stereotypes of the fifties either.  Women are much more powerful, men more sensitive, and children frankly are far less naive.

He's soon to be off to work, she to tend the house.
Photo courtesy of fmwf.com

Women aren't expected to cook, clean, and look pretty and nothing else.
Men aren't expected to earn the family living, keep the family budget, and make all the decisions.
Men don't have to be the rescuers.
Women don't have to be the nurturers.

Are you scared?

Here is what I know.
I am as comfortable reading a book, writing a blog, painting a landscape, or planting flowers as I am watching a ballgame, listening to music, playing a sport, or mowing the lawn.

I am as adept with an iron, a skillet, a mixer, and a blender as I am with a drill, circular saw, sander, or chainsaw.  They are ALL power tools.

I don't open the car door or hold the mall door because you are incapable or even because I like to, but rather because I am thinking of you all the time and it is a simple way to show it.

I cook, I grocery shop, I do laundry...some would say my Mom raised me right.  I would say that like Angie and Jessica, I have been trained not to NEED a woman for my survival.

I believe the key to friendship, companionship and relationship is finding someone who makes your life complete.  That's code for find a person who doesn't mind doing the things you find "icky."

I realize that in reading the above, many of you will have determined that I am perfect (for your mom) but I'm not.  Can I clean the tub? Yes.  Do I clean the tub? Not as often as I should.  I like doing laundry including folding, (except the ridiculous silky underwear that never stays folded, so I stopped wearing it) but I HATE putting it away.

I'm drawn to strong women and I believe I understand why.  I hate confrontation.  I'm more likely to break up with someone over a text message because I still like them too much to see the look on their face.  I hate delivering bad news or asking for better service.  I bend over backwards to give the benefit of the doubt.  I am simply not aggressive.  I can't take a punch, but if you miss, I probably won't miss.  I seem drawn to women who see injustices in my life and can be passionate about not allowing them to continue.

I like spontaneity despite lacking it almost completely. Despite scheduling "spontaneous time" from 6-7PM every Tuesday, I seem to fail at achieving it. Women who are more spontaneous frustrate and please me at the same time.  I enjoy being pulled out of my schedule for things I wouldn't normally do.

I think Angie sums it up nicely, saying
I see the way my daughter's boyfriend/fiance takes care of her. More than that, I see the way she lets him take care of her. I also see the way she bakes him cakes, listens when he wants to talk, and hangs out with him while he kills zombies. Will she discover that she doesn't "need" him to take care of her? When/If she does... will she be wise enough to let him take care of her anyway?

Indeed a fine question to be asked of man or woman, boy or girl.  I suspect a lot of that depends upon whether she needs to kill her own zombies.  I say find a girl or a guy with whom you can use the power tools together, which includes the mixer, iron, and assault shotgun.

I haven't been seen in these here parts in a while, it might be they need to remember me.  Lots of great writers hang out at Yeah Write and I hope you think I am one of them!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What About Bob?

Imagining Myself With a 'Fro
Anyone who has read my blog, well... at all...know of my borderline obsession with Bob Ross.

He puts me to sleep with his friendly trees and big ole mountains. His voice from my DVR puts me at ease when the real world is kicking me in the nuts. This tall afro'ed white man is my personal sandman.

Heck, I even imagined what it would be like if he had done tattoos.

Recently I decided I needed to know if it was the voice, the painting, or both. I embarked on a journey, on the Internet, to find a certified Bob Ross instructor to be my guide on this bigger quest. Well, that or teach me to paint.

"Northern Lights" is an awesome painting.

My journey lead me to Barb Powell, Hobby Lobby in Hagerstown, MD Chambersburg, PA, and the above painting.

I know you can't imagine that little old brilliant with the words me could be equally awesome with pictures, so...I took pictures. (Or you can check out the student art on Barb's site where I am number 519 (you can hit Prev and get there from the beginning, I think)

I hope you enjoy this:

Started with a Black Canvas
The dry black (pre-painted) canvas is the start and we added "liquid clear" to get it as Bob would say "wet and slick and ready to go." You might be able to see the colors that were added to the darkness to create the "curtains" for the Northern Lights

After putting on the under colors, I started the curtains
Curtains were then drawn using white paint, as you can see the colors in the background are beginning to alter it.

Curtains "drawn" and Mountain Begun!
As the curtains are drawn up, you see the Mountain take shape. It was certainly "Big" and likely "ole" but I realized quickly that moving a mountain takes a lot of practice. Fortunately, Barb was very helpful in my work with the knife. FYI, the mountain is made using "Mountain Mix" which is the "Mother Color" used for a number of other items as well. I may have to order something like the Bob Ross Joy Of Painting Series- Mountains 3 Dvd Collection in order to get better!

Thanks Barb for the help getting over the Mountain!
My first foray into the trees was far enough away that you can't tell how nervous I was. You will note that all the trees have a "friend." Some of the bushes do not, but they're prickly personalities really.

"Happy" Trees with "Friends"
The trees and bushes are made with "Dark Black"....umm, what? Exactly. I suppose if you use the light black, it doesn't show up or some would foolishly call it "grey." I'm looking forward to next time using the light white, however.

Finished and Framed
Surprisingly, one of the most difficult decisions was how I would sign the painting. As I am not fond of making curved lines, I thought SDJ would prove frustrating and annoying. My nom de plume here is WilyGuy, but my usual WG, though less strokes, was still quite curvaceous. I went instead with my "family name" not that anyone actually calls me J4.

Thanks Barb for your brilliance and more importantly your patience! Along with your comedic sidekick, Woody who gave me continuous encouragement from his spot in the back, I would not have made it without you both. Thanks to Vicky with the wonderful water and beautiful Unabomber cabin, being able to look over your shoulder from 2 tables back and watch you work was inspiring. To my fellow mountain virgins, Katie and Emily, I enjoyed our conversation and you made it really easy to not feel too intimidated.

If I had more than "Start a Bucket List" on my bucket list, this would certainly have been on it. CHECK!

I should probably have waited until the New Year, then I could have said this was a New Years Resolution, but since you know I rarely make those, I suppose I won't.

Dude Write

Have you been over to Dude Write yet? Some really funny writers hang out there, who happen to be Dudes.

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