This is the fourth in my “With Music” series, where I capture moments in my life through a song. The others so far included a song by Ben Folds Five (you can read it here), Sheryl Crow (here), and the third was about one of the best songs ever by Beth Orton (here). Check them out! (After reading this one, of course.)
I never really liked Dean Martin’s music.
When I think of classic crooners, I always lean towards Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Nat “King” Cole. Bing had a nice jazz rhythm and friendliness in his voice, Frank was art (a unique and always beautiful combination of arrangement and voice), and Nat… Nat was the man. Smooth voice and a great jazz piano player. His album After Midnight might be my favorite album of all time. I can’t think of a week I had not listened to it all the way through at least once.
But Dean Martin?
Dean was silly, with his drink in his hand and a wink to the audience. You never got the feeling that the music really mattered to him, it was just another part of his performance, no more important than his suit and his cocktail.
And yet, Dean would begin to represent for my wife and me one of the happiest moments not only of our marriage, but our lives. Dean started each day of our best adventure, made us want to sing along. Dean equaled freedom and bliss. And if he was around today it would be hard not to give him a hug if I was to meet him (I’m assuming at a questionable and loud bar in Las Vegas).
See, Dean Martin and his ridiculous song about a moon and a pizza pie was the musical symbol for our two-week trip through Italy.
It’s all so freaking weird to consider, but it is true. Continue reading
My wife has this way of internally rolling her eyes, when she doesn’t want me to see she is rolling her eyes…. Yet, I still know she is doing it and she knows I know.
A lot of this eye rolling has been occurring because of another man. Well, technically, a band of them. For the last year I’ve regained my obsession with Dave Matthews Band and their music. The funny thing is this obsession was rekindled after a bad concert.
Yes, Dave Matthews Band is known for their amazing live performances, but my complaint was not with them. This guilt is all on the shoulders of the audience around me. During the show I almost wondered if my annoyance was because I am older and this is not a thing anymore (and really concert going can take a lot of energy). Nah. This ain’t on my shoulders. Honestly, the people around us were dicks.
There, I’ll say it again: “Dicks.”
Someone was selling beaded necklaces, another family was coming and going throughout the show (I think there were some drugs going on there), and a family sitting next to us brought their own bongos. Yes, you read that right- bongos. And of all of the members of Dave Matthews Band, Carter Beauford doesn’t need any drumming help. The man is freaking amazing.
Yet, ever since that concert I have not been able to stop listening to Dave Matthews Band. I listen to the music while I am getting ready in the morning, having breakfast, when I am driving the kids to school, and going for walks. Dave is there always, and it feel very natural. Like a friend, just hanging out, catching up on memories. Continue reading
Before I get to this week’s Flashback Monday (a classic old post that is collected in the new book ME STUFF, I did one last week as well about poisoning a professor which you can check out here), I just want to say something quick… ah hmm…
It’s only a few hours left to enter to win an autographed copy of ME STUFF!!! What are you waiting for!?! The link is at the bottom of this post! Hurry! Hurry!
Okay, I am done. Here is the beginning of a piece I am pretty proud of, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Vasectomy.” (Yup, you read that right; oh, and it also contains one of the most disturbing things anyone has ever said to me at a doctor’s office).
This was my end of the bargain.
My wife would have our two lovely children and when she was done I would go to the guillotine, as it were. I would be Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities, with both hands tied behind my back being led to my destiny while reciting, “It is a far, far better thing I do…”
That sounds strangely noble in theory, but in actuality, I must admit, with the birth of our second child I had been avoiding this doctor trip like the plague. I had postponed the visit two different times (scheduling then rescheduling… twice), but after a year, I was running out of excuses for myself.
On the day of the appointment, I was freaking out. I tried to explain this to my wife, but, as sympathetic as she tried to be, she didn’t get it. And comparing it to what she had to experience in the birthing of our children, didn’t help. Yes, I am sure birth is a bigger life changing, panic-driven, and painful experience. But for a guy, this is something. Yes, it means something, and it’s not something that can be easily explained, it’s in the gut, it’s in the animal part of the brain. It is part of what defines us as male. Hear us roar!
You can read the rest of this article here. Or, even better, you can grab a copy of ME STUFF which contains 40 editorials like this one and it is super cheap-o. The eBook version of the book is only $1.99 (here on Amazon) and in print for only $8.99 (here on Amazon).
I know my wife will forever love me because of a toe.
My wife and my relationship was always a whirlwind, definitely something that some of our more conservative friends and family would wonder about, never daring really to say anything to our faces (and if they ever did, chances are, we probably would have laughed about it later). Of course, knowing both or our personalities, it was not surprising that we would be so serious, so quickly. And in a matter of months, my future wife was living with me in an apartment in Los Angeles.
My wife and I are both from Michigan, but didn’t meet until we were both far from that state. Through a mutual friend we immediately hit it off, our personalities perfectly in sync (with enough sarcasm included for the spice). The passion and drive I have for my writing and literature, she is mirrored with her own artform, dance.
I’m one of those lucky enough to be married to my best friend.
Our apartment, our first home, was located in Koreatown, off of Wilshire, nearby the old Ambassador Hotel, which at that time was still standing, but a shell of its former glory. I used to explore the history of it online and tell my future wife about the celebrities that once walked its halls, performed, and partied. I always liked to imagine it filled with partying ghosts in that legendary Coconut Grove while a jazz band played. Some claimed to hear the band while walking past the building, but I never did sadly. I just found the empty and lost history of it fascinating. It could have been such a massive tourist trap if presented right, but no one seemed to care (Los Angeles was moving too fast to ever consider looking back) and today the building is gone. Continue reading
When you are growing up there is this myth we all buy into.
When you decide your goal, that’s it. Forever. Your life is locked in, congrats and here are the keys to your future.
Oh, if life was only that simple. Like a movie where the hero figures out their destiny and we know it is going to be okay. There is no conflict there after the decision. Bruce Wayne is going to be Batman, it is his destiny. So be it, here is the cowl, there is the Joker. Go to it!
Instead what I have found to be actually true in reality, for us non-superheroes, is that we decide every day, every hour what we want to believe is true, and what we want to hold us back. See, I’m not this person just because it is who I am, it’s also because I chose this. There have been numerous times I could’ve changed me, my life, but I didn’t want to then, and still don’t want to. The option is always there, it doesn’t go away. Frankly, most of the time, I like being me.
Yet, I still battle four thoughts, four burning questions almost every day. They can hold me back, make me question everything I have done in my life (from being a writer to a father to a husband to a human being), and sap all the energy from my system. It is not always easy to take them on, and sometimes I do lose, but they are always there. And I don’t see it ever changing. Continue reading
A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is published by Madison Street Publishing and can be purchased in print and as an eBook for only $3.99 via amazon.com here.
My wife doesn’t like to buy me presents.
This is not an anti-love or an anti-affection thing. No, not at all. This is because I am the King of Presents. Seriously, I could teach classes on the subject. I remember conversations, take notes, and buy things early when inspiration hits. And birthdays and Christmases, because of my mad skills, are filled with tears and exclamations of “How did you know?” or “How did you remember that?”
How did I remember that? I’m the King of Presents, that is how I remembered!
The fact is when it comes to receiving gifts, I try to make it easy for people. This goes back to a mistake by “Santa” when I was in fourth grade. I wanted a CD player, and by mistake the old man in red got me a tape deck. Since then, I keep a gift list up to date with ideas (which I forward to family members, including my wife, before every holiday) and I even highlight the stuff that means more to me that year (last year it was the new Indiana Jones blu-ray set). Yes, I go away happy with every holiday, but there are no tears, no surprises, and the exclamation is usually a nice “Thank you.”
It is one of the sacrifices of being the king.
So often when you speak to married couples you hear of the sacrifices that they have given for the sake of the marriage. Bad habits disappear, strange heirlooms from the past go into storage.
Luckily, for me my wife really married me for who I was and didn’t expect me to change…
She did want one thing.
My wife hates the music of Steely Dan.
“Reelin’ in the Years”
I grew up on the music of Steely Dan. My dad loves this band, I can’t remember a time really when Countdown to Ecstasy or Pretzel Logic wasn’t playing while he was working in the lawn or around the house.
Over a decade ago I actually got him tickets to see the band live. And when he injured his leg, I gave him copies of their entire discography to help pass the time. They have always been a go-to possibility around my dad and presents… Other than Steely Dan and the work of Kurt Vonnegut, he is difficult to shop for, to be honest. Continue reading
I’m in the midst of a Woody Allen summer.
Actually, it started as a W.A. summer, which meant my wife and I were able to re-watch all the Wes Anderson films we wanted, but since we were not able to get out for Moonrise Kingdom (finding a babysitter for two little ones like ours is always difficult) and I didn’t particularly want to see Bottle Rocket again, we are onto Woody Allen.
While others complain about the amount of reality shows and reruns on each summer, my wife and I have tapped into “summer theme watching” as an opportunity to explore the things we did not have time for during the rest of the year, our TV-watching bucket list if you will.
This W.A./Woody Allen summer is the third theme summer we have had, as corny as the premise of this all sounds—Does it make us sound like one of those overly cute couples that do everything together? We might be guilty of that in some ways.—the fact is it has been really great for us. Continue reading
Permanent Spring Showers
It probably all began far before the argument.
It might have even begun before the affair he had, no matter how brief it was. He wanted an excuse to end it, her mind cried at her. His penis only gave him the excuse he was looking for.
… The fact it was with one of her students was just the icing on the cake.
“How many times do I have to say I’m sorry?”
She turned back to him; it was the first time she even dared to look at him since he broke the news to her that morning before her flight. And yet all she could think right then was why did he have to chase her around the house in that old raggedy bathrobe? That damn old weather worn bathrobe he bought on their honeymoon. “God, help me,” she thought to herself staring at the pleading man, “he looks like a broken bunny in that hideous thing.” Continue reading
So I am still working to find a traditional publisher for the work. Yes, the grind continues…
I’ve seemed to have hit some roadblocks regarding agents. While the responses from agents who have read it to be very kind (for example, “well-written” and “captivating”) and all note that they think it will find publication and success, I have yet to get the gold; in other words, one that feels inspired to push it for that “success” and “publication.” There is one agency I still have my fingers very crossed about, but if I hear a negative from them, I plan to try a different route- going right to small publishers and indie presses. (Oh, and if you are an agent or a publisher reading this- I don’t bite, please contact me. Seriously, I’ll send you flowers.)
Anyway, to keep myself inspired for the possible hard work ahead, I thought I would share some of the book here, Chapter 9 from Part II; one of the big turning points in the book. Continue reading