Prelude to a 5 Year Meet-aversary

On October 8, 2012 I laid eyes on Shelly Drymon for the first time. Yesterday was our Five Year Meet-aversary. Life is Good.

It was not love at first sight 1,827 days ago. Maybe there is such a thing, but I have never experienced it. [I have however experienced “lust at first sight”….and I still do. Shelly is OK with that. Me too. 🙂 ]

It didn’t take me long to become smitten with Shelly. I’m pretty sure that it took her longer to fall for me.
She was exactly what I was looking for:
1. A Playmate. Someone to do things with.
2. What Jackson Browne sang about in “The Pretender”:
“…I’m gonna find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we’ll fill in the missing colors
In each other’s paint by number dreams
And then we’ll put our dark glasses on
And we’ll make love until our strength is gone…”

Shelly and I met at a site called OkCupid. I have archived the profiles that we had there 5 years ago. (I might even share mine here someday. Maybe not.)
She says she can’t remember what she wrote, but that she has changed a lot. Shelly’s right; she has. In reading my profile again from five years ago, I don’t think I have changed all that much. But I’m probably the wrong person to judge that.
Our personal situations were quite a bit different then than now.

Shelly had just returned from a sabbatical in Colorado, learning a lot about herself and appreciating herself and her independence. There was the fellow down the street who had been her lover before she headed to Golden. She didn’t have plans to jettison him or have him or anyone else as a one-and-only.
Shelly had a job, but she wasn’t sure what would be paying the rent and buying the coffee in the future.

I had been seeing a lot of a woman who lived 40 miles away. She had been a good listener and had given me some good advice since the time we met a year earlier. When T. and I met there was lots of drama in my life. She helped me deal with that. T. & I had a lot of fun together…especially when we were naked. But she wanted a commitment, and not only wasn’t I looking for one, there were just too many differences in our interests.
I had gone on the “playmate” quest again, without telling T. When I came out of the MudLounge that night 5 years ago I had a couple of texts and a voicemail from her. I lied to her about what I had been doing. I didn’t like doing that. But I knew that I needed to move on with someone new…and so did she. (T. was married a few months later…)

I am 14 years older than Shelly. I hadn’t yet filed for divorce from my wife of 38 years when we met. When Shelly & I met, I hadn’t spoken with my ex since two days before I drove away from Tampa 16 months earlier. We still haven’t spoken. (It’s complicated.)
My age and my marital situation were problems for some of the people I “met” online. Fortunately Shelly gave me a chance. I’m lucky.

I’m pretty much an open book, and my OkCupid profile described my perspective on life and living, although it did not mention my continual quest for revelry and the high life. My profile did include my favorite line from my favorite movie (“get busy living, or get busy dying” from Shawshank Redemption) and my favorite line from a genius who should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (“enjoy every sandwich”…the wisdom of Warren Zevon).

I’ve got lots of “favorite Shelly stories.” I’ll share two of them.

1. I think it was the third time that we saw each other. We were going on a picnic at Fellows Lake. I wasn’t half a mile from the apartment, headed to pick her up, and a text from Shelly came in. The text was NOT meant for me.
“I’m going on a picnic at Fellows lk with this Steve fellow. I hope he doesn’t turn out to be a jerk!”
I was only a few blocks farther on when the “Ooops…LOL” text hit my inbox.
I laughed as I drove north on Fremont. We laughed when I got to her place. We laughed about it again yesterday, 5 years on.

2. Yesterday she gave me this card. I melted. I laughed. We hugged. It pretty much sums up where we’ve been and where we are.

I am one lucky guy. I’ve partnered up with someone who loves me in spite of all my quirks, someone who will let me be me, and someone who knows that when I sing along with Band of Horses on “No ones gonna love you” that I mean it….and vice verse.

I’m a very simple guy.
Sometimes things are pretty simple:
Tell the ones you love how you feel.
Don’t be stingy with your hugs.
Henry James said it best: “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”

Be. Just Be.

I was a troll…

Sgt. Joe Friday apparently never said it, but this piece will be the Jack Webb version: “Just the facts, ma’am.”
{Apparently he did often say: “All we want are the facts, ma’am”and sometimes “All we know are the facts ma’am”}

It was the years 2000 and 2001.
It was the years of the presidential election that was decided by the SCOTUS.
I had a new job.
It was my last W-2 job.
I received mail in Tampa.
I reported to two people: one in Virginia Beach; the other in Parsippany.
When I wasn’t in one of those two cities, I was sleeping in a hotel somewhere in the lower 48, unless I was lucky enough to be working from my home office.
I was racking up LOTS of frequent flyer miles and hotel points.
I had lots of “alone time” in hotel rooms.

The job required me to be on my laptop, in a meeting or on the phone…or a combination of the three…six days a week…minimum.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve written that I used to “work hard and play hard.”
This new job required a significant amount of the former.
The Yahoo message boards provided much of the latter, i.e. play.

Long before 1996 when Warren Zevon sang “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” that was my lifestyle.
Up with the sun…or before.
Seldom in bed before midnight; usually not until 1 or 2.

Lots of those nights in 2000 and 2001 I was online for work purposes until god knows when.
There is a good chance that I would also be having some evening and nighttime fun, anonymously jousting at the “fact-free droolers.”
By 9 o’clock every evening, sitting in a hotel room or on those nights when I was lucky enough to be home, I became “Wet Willie” online.

Pretty much everyone on the message boards was anonymous.
One of the most obnoxious, and fact-free, regulars went by the moniker “Labrat.”
Like many of those online today, the Labrat and many others were prone to spew “alternative facts.”

I have always had some pet peeves, with bald faced lies, hypocrisy and willful ignorance at the top of the list.
When I caught the Labrat in a blatant lie about his military service, allegedly serving in a unit that wasn’t even in existence when he claimed it was and was never assigned to the base that he claimed, I pounced.
My online moniker changed from Wet Willie to “Labrat_the_Liar.”
Many an evening I gave the cretin hell, with a link proving that he was a Liar.
He wasn’t the only one to get nailed by one of my profiles for posting lies and bullshit.

The Internet has changed a LOT in the last 17 years.
Read “Why we’re losing the Internet to the culture of hate.”
The “online disinhibition effect” has unleashed hatred.
Today’s trolls say they’re doing it for “lulz” which often goes beyond poking and jousting to threats and harassments.

I said I was living in Florida at the time, right.
It was my second time living in that flat, humid, critter infested, loony tune electing swamp land.
{Floriduh does have some great beaches…winter beaches.}
It was like living in the Northwest back in 1980, and once again people who didn’t live there made “when is it gonna blow?” part of the conversation.

2017 looks like a powder-keg to me.
Too bad there aren’t do overs.
I understood why someone would not vote for Hillary Clinton.
I will NEVER understand why anyone thought that he who shall go down in history as 45 would make a good president?!?

What is even more puzzling is why people still support him?
They’d get Pence out of the closet and into the Oval Office with both the House and Senate jettisoning the thin-skinned, incompetent G&S in Chief.
That’s “Grifter-and Snowflake in Chief.”

In 2000-2001 I was more of a pest than a troll.
Today I’m still a bit of a pest.
Sometimes I do cross the line…and I feel awful when I realize that I had spewed (and probably started a firestorm) on a friend’s thread, rather than on a news feed.
When I started this blog a friend told me (and I’m sure that other friends hoped it): “please don’t get all political!?”
Well, my friend didn’t get her wish…

Hang on.
It’s gonna be a wild ride.

Until then: Be. Just BE.

Thinking about firsts…

It’s the end of something. This is the last day of 2016.

I’m looking back for a bit, while focusing on the future.

I’m thinking about some firsts.

1. The first time I stepped foot in Oregon.
We had driven a 2 car VW caravan from Washington, MO. Heading for Corvallis. Hoping she would be accepted into grad school at Oregon State. I had no plans.

There are some stories there, but here’s what happened the first time I ever touched terra firma in the Beaver state.

The first sounds I heard: “Stop!! You can’t do that…”

All I was trying to do was pump gas. I’d been doing it for years. It was illegal in Orygun that Sept ’76 day. It still is. (I got a gas station story from NJ…the other state that bans self pumped gasoline.)

2. The first time I got “throw up drunk.”
It was homemade wine. It was in Monett. I could take you to within 100 yards of my first ever technicolor yawn. I remember lots of that night, before and after the puking.

3. The first…and only time…my ex saw me throw up drunk.
I could take you to the toilet in the house where I wretched and she laughed. I drove by that house at 402 Center street in Farmington 2 days ago.

4. The first time I was at the Rock House.
I’ve written about that before. It’s in the archives somewhere.

5. The first time I heard Bob Walkenhorst and Jeff Porter of the Rainmakers at The Rock House.
Ditto. It’s in the archives.

6. The first time I had sex with the woman I love.
What happened in A-306, stays there.

7. The first time I heard one of my life mottos.
It was Oct. 2, 2002. I was in an oceanfront room in Virginia Beach. There was one guest on Letterman. After the show a friend and I had an online chat about that night.
The motto: “enjoy every sandwich”. My version: “enjoy every bite of ever sandwich.”

The entire quote from Warren Zevon: “You put more value on every minute, you do. I always thought I kind of did that. I really always enjoyed myself. But it’s more valuable now. You’re reminded to enjoy every sandwich and every minute of playing with the guys, and being with the kids and–”

Sounds like a plan.
Thinking about other firsts too. More than just these 7. Some behind me. Some ahead. Looking forward to a kick ass year in 2017.

Be. Just BE.

Heroes and Villains

I’ve had had a few “heroes” in my life. Not so much anymore. I’m old now, but I do still have a hero or two…in addition to the fellow whose picture just took that “place of honor” on FB once again as my Profile photo.

Many of my childhood heroes were sports figures, and most of them are gone. RIP to Mickey, Stan the Man, Muhammed.

Some of my heroes were politicians. Rest in Peace JFK, Martin, Bobby…and now Tom is gone.

There were a few others in both categories.

Some of my heroes touched me and millions of others with their music. We keep losing them, but thankfully their music lives in.

One night many years ago on a phone call, my friend Gray asked me who I’d like to see in concert. Someone I’d never seen before.

I had two quick answers: Marvin Gaye and Roy Orbison. Gray was surprised that I immediately named a couple of dead guys.

I never had a chance to see Marvin. None that I know of anyway.

For some reason that I don’t remember, I did NOT go see Roy Orbison at the Schnitzel on October 22, 1998. Roy had made this fantastic come-back. He had dubbed himself “Lefty Wilbury” in the super group The Traveling Wilbury’s. Roy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 1987. Lefty Wilbury was quoted as saying “It’s very nice to be wanted again, but I still can’t quite believe it.”

I couldn’t believe it when his gig at The Schnitz ended up being one of his last shows. He was dead 40 some days after he left PDX. The man with the magical voice was dead at 52.

The lesson I learned from that: YOLO.

If you’re my friend, or have read any of my ramblings, you know that Warren Zevon is one of my heroes. This excitable boy still gets fired up when listening to Warren’s songs. Like Roy Orbison he came back from some valleys. I can empathize with that.

My twist on what Warren said that night 14 years ago, when he was the only guest on the 10/30/2002 David Letterman show: Enjoy every bite of every sandwich.


None of these folks have ever been my Facebook profile picture. The only other “hero” that I’ve ever had as my Facebook profile picture is my Mom.

At some point in my career at Arthur Andersen, I was picked for some personal profile piece in a AA&Co publication. One of the stock questions was to name a hero. When I named the guy who is my current FB profile pic, they wouldn’t use it. I honestly didn’t expect them to…it hardly fit the Firm’s image. (See “The Lone Ranger: Part One”)

So I settled for Warren Buffet, instead of my real hero: Alfred E. Newman.

His motto has been mine since I picked up my first Mad Magazine as a 7th Grader at Reed Junior High here in Springfield, MO.

“What, me worry?”

Before the series started I told the wife of my best friend in Oregon, who is a lifelong Cubs fan and who bleeds blue, how I’d like to see a couple of things go.

“I want to see the Cubbies come from behind with 4 in the bottom of the 9th. And I want to start partying in earnest at about 8 pm the night of the election when the flimflam fascist gets BURIED!!”

Joyce wanted a sweep by her Cubs…and a win of any degree of magnitude on Tuesday.
The 7th game starts in a couple of hours. The election is in 6 days.

The world will go on no matter who wins tonight in Cleveland. It’s just a game.

I understand why many people want the system blown up. I wish I could vote for Bernie a second time in 2016. There are a number of “outsiders” who have run successful businesses and never filed for bankruptcy or stiffed contractors and employees. They also don’t randomly grope women “because they can” or do deals with mobsters and Communists. They may not be George Washington…but their pants are NOT constantly in flame from bald face LIES. They also know about The Beatitudes.

The world will go on no matter what happens next Tuesday. I have faith in our system of checks and balances.

But thinking of what the future could hold, it’s hard to eat and keep a sandwich down sometimes.

Things happen…that’s all they ever do. Hoping for some good things.

You are what you listen to…

I have an addictive personality. I’ve known it for a long time. One of my grandfather’s died from alcohol poison before my parents had their first date. I’ve put lots of liquor into my body over the years. When I’m in a bar, which isn’t often, I still like a “George Thorogood trio” on occasion. The person behind the bar never knows what I’m talking about until I say “do you know the song ‘one bourbon, one scotch and one beer’?” They always do…or at least they say they do. My reply, as recently as a couple of weeks ago, is “line ’em up.”

But this isn’t about that type of addiction. I’m not gonna go on about marijuana not being a gateway drug, or how insane our drug laws are either. That is for another day. (But it would be nice if those people who want to be inaugurated on 1/20/17 would have a clue about the failed “war on drugs.”)

This isn’t about alcohol or drug addiction. This is about an addiction that I am proud to have.

I am addicted to music. I can’t play an instrument. I can’t sing. I can’t dance. But I can listen. And I can feel.

You are what you listen to meme

I’ve seen a meme or two online that say “you are the music you listen to…” Most of my Facebook status posts, unless I’m chronicling a trip and/or posting photos, have typically been composed of three components: (1) an “editorial comment”; (2) a copy&paste of some lyrics; and (3) a link to a youtube video of the subject song. Oftentimes I will also write that the song is “on repeat.”

Sometimes I’ll listen to the same song over-and-over-and-over-again. I’ll do the same thing with some albums. I’m not just addicted to music. I get addicted to certain songs. It’s been like this for as long as I can remember, but my addiction does seem to have gotten better since I moved back to Missouri in 2011.

Note: I did NOT say about my addiction “it does seem to have gotten worse.” I’m thinking that this addiction to music in general, and to having songs “on repeat” in particular, has been a very good thing…for me anyway. Maybe not so-much-so for Shelly, or for the people in the apartments surrounding ours. To the latter I say “sorry…not sorry.”

The majority of the songs that I put “on repeat” are ones that have lyrics that say something to me….but not always. Some of the repeated songs are “personal”….i.e. the lyrics really hit home; some are political…some are not even remotely political; some lyrics are “deep”…some are a bit sappy; some are NOT in the least bit personal…i.e., the lyrics have no relationship to my past or present.

If the “you are what you listen to” meme has more than a grain of truth, then my repeat tunes must really say something about who I am. Or maybe not? You tell me.
I listen to lots of music that has been ripped to my laptop, listening on a little set of Logitech speakers. I have a saved setlist called “2015 repeats.” These 25 songs were released in 2015 and are ones that I have had “on repeat.”

In the spirit of “Desert Island Discs” I have picked only 10 of those 25 repeat tunes, and include the name of the tune, the artist, the album, select lyrics, and {comments} which will be set off in those squiggly brackets. At the end of this document, there is a link to each a version of each of these 10 on youtube.
“Things happen” by Dawes; from “All your favorite bands”

“I could go on talking
Or I could stop
Wring out each memory til I get every drop
Sift through the details…

…Let’s make a list of all the things the world has put you through
Let’s raise a glass to all the people you’re not speaking to
I don’t know what else you wanted me to say to you
Things happen
That’s all they ever do..”

{The title of this song is the title of my blog. If this song was NOT one of my repeats, that wouldn’t make much sense, eh? Things happen, but that is song not being here would be ridiculous…}
“I can’t think about it now” by Dawes; from “All your favorite bands”

“All these backward glances putting me in danger
Of forgetting how to turn myself around
It’s just that time just keeps on slipping through my fingers
But I can’t think about it now…”

{That’s the tagline of my blog. Why is this song on my repeat list? I can’t think about that now…duh.}
“Take a picture of this” by Don Henley; from “Cass County”

“The years went rushing by, in the twinkling of an eye, we rolled with the changes.
Our life we knew was gone…
…Yeah that’s a suitcase; yeah that’s a ticket for a plane
There’s no one here to talk to, no reason to remain…
…Take a picture of this, this is me leaving
Take a picture of this, this is me walking away…”

{2011 didn’t play out eactly that way, but other years did…I’ve got the pictures to prove it.}
“Praying for rain” by Don Henley; from “Cass County”

“Some people pray for victory
Some people pray for peace
Some people pray for extra time
Some pray for sweet release
Some pray for health and happiness
For riches and renown
But none of this will matter much
If the waters don’t come down
I’m prayin’ for rain…”

{I’ve had several chances to see The Eagles. I always passed. I’ve never had a chance to see Don Henley solo. I’d never pass on that…}
“When you’re smiling and astride me” by Father John Misty; from “I love you, Honeybear”

“I’ll never try to change you
As if I could, and if I were to, what’s the part that I’d miss most?
When you’re smiling and astride me
I can hardly believe I’ve found you and I’m terrified by that…”

{Shelly and I have shared a smile while this song was playing; and repeating. Sometimes while vertical; sometimes while horizontal.}
“I’m not gonna miss you” by Glenn Campbell; from “I’ll be me”

“You’re the last person I will love
You’re the last face I will recall
And best of all, I’m not gonna miss you…”

{One evening, after visiting my Aunt Billie earlier that day, I saw “I’ll be me” for the first time. It’s a great movie about a great guitar player…and more. I miss my Aunt Billie. I miss being able to laugh with her.}
“Nobody really cares if you go to the party” by Courtney Barnett; from “Sometimes I sit and think, and
sometimes I just sit”

“…I wanna go out but I wanna stay home…”

{Succinct. And this sentiment falls under “things happen.”}
“Late to the party” by Kacey Musgraves; from “Pageant material”

“And who needs a crowd when you’re happy at a party for two?
The world can wait
Cause I’m never late to the party if I’m late to the party with you”

{Nobody really cares if you go to the party. Especially if you have your own. 😉 }
“Biscuits” by Kacey Musgraves; from “Pageant material”

“Mend your own fences and own your own crazy
Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy”

{I developed a taste for biscuits and gravy after leaving Floriduh in 2011, when the only crazy I had to own was just my own. Go figure….}
“Die fun” by Kacey Musgraves; from “Pageant material”

“We can’t do it over
They say it’s now or never and all we’re ever gettin’ is older
Before we get to heaven, baby let’s give ’em hell
We might as well
Cause we don’t know when it’s done
So let’s love hard,
Let’s stay young
Let’s love hard, live fast, die fun..”

{I now have another mantra. I’ve tried to live Alfred E. Neuman’s “what, me worry?” since I was a kid. I’ve been trying to enjoy every bite of every sandwich since I saw Warren Zevon’s last appearance on Letterman on October 30, 2002. Then of course there has always been “Sex, drugs and rock-and-roll.” Now I’ll add “love hard, live fast, die fun..”}
That’s the 10 songs released in 2015 that I have listened to the most. If “you are what you listen to,” what does it say about me? (Maybe it says that living in the midwest again has turned me into a bit of country music fan, or at least a Kacey Musgraves fan, and an even bigger Don Henley fan…)

Other artists with 2015 releases that didn’t make the cut of my Top 10, but who were (and still are) on repeat:
Florence and the Machine
Leon Bridges
Mark Knofler (an oldie with a new release)
Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats
Van Morrison (ok…so that’s another oldie….but “The Essential Van Morrison” was released in 2015. And there is LOTS of essential music on that double album!!)

Andy Borowitz….well, not really.

Here’s the background to the following: a few e-mails in a thread preceded the e-mail below, starting with some Facebook status posts by Andy Borowitz pasted into my originating message….sent to my friend to give her some laughs as she recuperates.

Primary topic of the thread: terrorism….foreign and domestic, her health, my health.
Auxiliary topics: her TV viewing while recuperating (including TMZ Live), the American Taliban, candidates for POTUS, “radical Islam,” “well-regulated”

the thread was getting too serious, and requiring too much thinking!! so I sent the message below….

From: Steve Weiss <>
To: a friend <—>
Sent: Friday, December 4, 2015 2:35 PM
Subject: Re: andy borowitz…

too much politics….it’s giving me a headache!!

can’t do anything about it anyway.

but i do have a few minutes of fun each day jerking people’s chain on facebook, and pretty much all of it is politics related. i like to hit people with facts…occasionally i’ll poke and prod. yesterday i was referred to as a libturd. i chuckle thinking about it…all i said was “so that’s what ‘well-regulated’ means, eh?”

i’m a binge watcher…or a binge listener. usually it’s the latter. the latest album by dawes has been playing a lot this week. two songs in particular are my favorite from their latest CD…since i’ve been back in springfield they have become one of my favorite bands.

{the e-mail included links to “things happen” and “i can’t think about it now”…see “Never use a big word…” for active links…}

binge watching usually involves dvds on loan from the library, with shelly here too. (unless we’re house-sitting for someone with netflix or an ‘on-demand’ service.)

i’m a believer in what norman cousins wrote about laughter. i can watch seinfeld repeatedly. ditto andy griffith. we recently binge watched 2 seasons of ‘game of thrones’….not a whole lot of chuckles there.

we started season 1 of “breaking bad” earlier this week. shelly had always turned up her nose when i asked her about it, so i finally went ahead and put it on hold. she didn’t expect it to produce any laughs, but we both find parts of it hilarious. i watched most of the first 2 seasons when I was still in Floriduh, but only an episode here and episode there after moving to mo.

i don’t think i’ve ever watched a complete episode of tmz…but i do stop sometimes when i’m channel surfing and watch snippets.

so this:
stay away from “news.”
watch/do more things that make you laugh.
read when you can.
move around some.
if you’re moving to music it’s even better.
listen to music.
(lots of it for me….)
keep in touch with people that matter to you.
hug ’em when you see them.
tell the ones you love that you do.
(in your case, several of the above apply to your boys…) [Note: the “boys” are her 2 rescue dogs]
be. just be.

take care. get better. hello to —. laugh a lot.



my friend replied: “Ok…well, I love you, and, you make me laugh! Thanks for being my friend.”

from me: “back at you. and thanks for having my back.”

I left something out in the e-mail to my friend:

Life is good. Enjoy every bite of every sandwich.

Be.  Just BE.