20 reasons I was single in my 20s, plus a few more

During my senior year of high school, I started compiling a list of things I’d love to have in a mate. The list started with broad characteristics that were must-haves. Things like Christian, patient, good listener, thoughtful. Had the list stopped there, that would’ve been great. It’s smart to have some sort of criteria when seeking a friend for the end of the world. More specifically, a best friend to spend the rest of my life with. But the list didn’t end there. It went on. And on. And on. A total of 45 things I wrote down that defined who it was I was looking for. No prob. No prob? Yeah right… no wonder I’ve been single for so long!

I don’t think there’s ever been a woman on earth that could measure up to that list.

I might as well have created her from a computer, like these guys did. But Kelly LeBrock aside, this “perfect girl” isn’t out there. A girl I was dating years ago surmised that (and this is as we were breaking up) I’m looking for someone just like me. Mostly because of how and when it was presented, I became defensive. But she was right. Now comparing her comments to the list from high school, I’m about to blow your mind, so make sure you’re sitting down for this.

The list isn’t who I was looking for, the list is who I wanted to be.

Booya. Mic drop. You’ve been served. Insert any other overused phrase here. Even as I sit here typing I’m looking at this decades-old list and it’s blowing my mind. All these things I wrote down are either characteristics I already have, or ones I’m striving towards. If there were a girl out there that had all these qualities, I don’t think I’d fall in love with her. I think I’d be super jealous of her!

Then it makes sense that what I’m looking for in a mate now, now that I’m in my 30s and so much wiser and so much more mature, are much less specific. Less specific and not about me!

I look forward to finding this person. That is, if God’s ideas for me include a woman that can put up with a guy who made a list in high school of 45 things about her that’s really about him but at least he didn’t try to make her on a computer but maybe that was only because he didn’t know how because he was more into playing sports than computer programming.

-Out of the Wilderness

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It Must Be That Time of the Month

I seem to be suffering from monthly “man stuff” today, but it’s definitely from unnatural causes—ahem, fantasy football. It’s funny and slightly disturbing that the start of the week can be so negatively affected by something this trivial—ahem, losing at fantasy football. Like, if I won this week’s matchup, all would be right in the world; I have a good job, good friends, two fun dogs, a couple of dates lined up, and an exciting week ahead. But when I lose, it’s just icing on the cake wreck; the world is falling apart, my job is difficult, my friends are lame, my dogs disobey and so do my dates, and this week’s outlook is boring with a chance of heavy disappointment. All because I didn’t start Dwayne Bowe and now—ahem, I’ve lost 4 games in a row.

This “man stuff” stinks sometimes. Period.

my life is just like this cake.

Why I Like Tim Tebow and the Little Drummer Boy

Tebow after whipping Florida State in 2009

Tim Tebow is not someone I should like. Before he was the poster-boy for media scrutiny, before he donned a Denver Broncos jersey as their quarterback, before he and his mom appeared in a Super Bowl commercial, he was a Florida Gator. And where I come from, it’s great to be a Gator hater. I’ll even avoid picking up NFL players who went to Florida (or University of Miami for that matter) on my fantasy football team.

Just like country singer Blake Shelton, I listen to Christmas music year-round so a few days ago “Little Drummer Boy” queued up in my iTunes. The song lyrics are about a young boy approaching the baby Jesus. He doesn’t have any gifts to bring him, the newborn King. So what he gives is the only thing he has: the ability to play drums.

“Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
on my drum?”

The story goes on with Mary approving his request so the drummer boy played his best for Jesus. At the end of the day, isn’t that all Tim Tebow is doing? He puts on his pads. He laces up his shoes. Then he goes out and plays his best for Jesus. I can support a guy like that, Gator or not.

Then He smiled at me, me and my drum.

Four Days of Vacation: A Thanksgiving Story

I drove down to Florida Wednesday afternoon to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I’ve realized over the past few years that usually my “vacations” are always fun, but more exhausting than my “real life.” This trip was no exception. Here’s my family.
At first I was worried about traffic because the day before Thanksgiving is busy on the roads and highways. You know it’s true. Just outside of Nashville was bumper to bumper on Interstate 65 heading south. That cleared up rather quickly and it was smooth sailing all the way to Birmingham, Alabama. I made it through the city fast enough, but then all I saw were long lines of red lights. Makes me thankful I have a Droid with Google navigation. I avoided 90% of the traffic by splitting off to a side road.Saved me at least 30 minutes. From there on, traffic was smooth, though there were more cars than usual. I can’t say enough about 5-hour energy drinks. I’m the exception to the rule that soda or coffee or cold air or music will help you stay awake. But the 5-hour energy drinks? Work every time. On this trip I brought 2 DVDs with me so I could listen to them through the car stereo. The first was “Fast Five.” Lots of action, I couldn’t follow the plot (probably because I was busy, you know, driving), but all in all a good movie. The 2nd movie was “Trespass” featuring Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman. For a movie I had never heard of, it was pretty good. Much easier to follow along with because there wasn’t a terribly high amount of locations or details. It didn’t do well in the theaters, probably because there was practically no promotion for it. Those 2 movies, along with the 5-hour energy drink made the trip easy, even with the heavier traffic.

The trip took 8 hours and 15 minutes, which was not what I was expecting given that it’s the day before Thanksgiving. I thought it would take over 9 hours. When I got to my parents house, there were a few people still awake. After a little bit of visiting, we all went to bed.

Thursday:
Thanksgiving day. First I went to the dog park with my 2 dogs, my parents dog, 2 of my nieces, and my brother-in-law. We spent about 2 hours in the park, first letting the dogs run around in the fenced-in area, then taking them out on a trail for about 30 minutes.

Our big lunch was scheduled for early afternoon, so once we got back, it was almost time to eat. The meal was very good. My favorite this year was the cornbread stuffing with turkey gravy poured over it. Then we watched NFL football for the rest of the day. AT 1145 that night we went to Target to take advantage of their black Friday deals. Mistake. Remember how I was excited that I avoided the long lines of traffic on the highway? There was no avoiding long lines at 1230am in Target. I made it to bed by 130am.

Friday:
Went to play disc with my dad and brother-in-law. We didn’t have legitimate discs, so we used ultimate Frisbee discs. Not nearly as effective as discs made for golf. On the second throw of the first hole, my Frisbee hit a tree and shattered into 3 pieces. My dad and I shared his Frisbee and we finished 14 over. My brother in law finished 5 over. A disappointing result for me personally, but it was fun to play. On the way home, we stopped by Play It Again Sports and picked up a black Friday deal on disc golf discs… Saturday, it’s on! Later Friday afternoon, I recorded the cutest video of all time. Check it out here:

Friday night we celebrated my oldest sister’s 40th birthday. To surprise her, my parents set up a dinner at the restaurant inside the Florida State football stadium. Needless to say, my sister was completely shocked and giddy. A stretch H2 Hummer brought us there. So this is how it feels to be a famous person. The birthday party was awesome, had great food, great speeches, and my sister had a great time. We had the limo till 930pm so we rode around town then ended up back home about 945pm (not sure how much that extra 15 minutes cost, but oh well! P-Diddy wouldn’t complain, so I won’t either).

Saturday:
Another round of disc golf, this time with legitimate discs. Muuuuuuch more effective and resulted in more fun for all 3 of us. My brother-in-law won again, finishing at… oh I don’t remember, but he won. We got back to the house in time for the OSU/Michigan game. My sister and I drove quickly over to my 100-year old grandmother’s house to visit with her for a little while.

We couldn’t stay long because my sister and her family were leaving town that afternoon. When we got back to my parents house, we saw OSU lose, then watched Alabama beat Auburn. My sis and her family left and I took my dogs to the dog park one more time. Then at 7pm, game time. FSU vs. UF and the Noles won with ease. A good end to a good weekend, if you ask me.

Sunday:
130am, I’m in the car on the way back to Nashville. The 2 movies I got for this trip were “Hall Pass” and “Rango.” I couldn’t even make it half way through Rango, so I can’t recommend it. Hall Pass was ok, a little more raunchy than I expected. I laughed a few times, but only because I really like Owen Wilson. I’ll say this, the movie helped me stay awake, but would I rent it again from Red Box? No. I made it back to Nashville in time to go to church that morning then catch the afternoon NFL games. I took a fantastic nap and the dogs behaved quite well, even though they were cooped up inside because of a cold and rainy day.

Monday:
Back to work with some of my favorite people!

Here’s one of my beagles chasing a rabbit… enjoy!

Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Game Shows

This summer has blown by faster than a hummingbird’s eyelid. Actually, that kind of sounds like the name of a race horse…

“…coming around the outside and moving into 1st place ahead of ‘My Other Mustang Is A Car,’ it’s ‘Hummingbird’s Eyelid.’ I tell you what, folks, ‘Hummingbird’s Eyelid’ is as fast as a Tennessee summer.”

See what I mean? Even the horse announcer guy agrees this summer has gone by fast. Evenso, I’ve had time for the typical summer activities- the beach, weddings, and travel. I was hired to shoot video for two weddings, here’s a glimpse at both.

I have a new travel companion now, a beagle/blue heeler/lab mix named Asia. She’s a handful, with a personality quite the opposite of my first puppy, Piper. It’s fun to watch the two dogs play together, although I’m still relatively new as a dog owner, so I wonder if it’s playing at all. I see their teeth a lot. Piper has giant ears. Asia has icy blue eyes. I hope they become best friends.

For the first 7 months of the year, a friend of mine used the spare bedroom in my house until the house he bought as a short sale was renovated enough for him to live in it. Having a roommate again after living alone for 5 years was interesting. I knew it would be tough, but he was a great roommate and gave me room and time to adjust back to “roommate life.” I’m happy for my friend and his new house. I like having my space back but I will neither confirm nor deny that I, again, walk around in my underwear.

A long time ago in Tallahassee, Florida a friend of mine introduced me to contra dancing. I wouldn’t go at first, because let’s be honest, would you? After giving it a try, though, it was a lot of fun. When I moved to Nashville, I found where the contra dance was and went a few times. It wasn’t the same so I stopped going. Well, this summer I picked it back up again and it’s a lot of fun. Not the normal crowd I hang with, but that’s part of why I like it.

About a month ago I tied a hummingbird feeder outside my kitchen window. It’s fascinating to watch the birds extract the juice from the feeder. They’ve become a favorite of mine as of late.

I’m excited about how this year will finish. I’m looking forward to college football, NFL football, more dates, and playing with my two dogs. When Asia gets old enough, I’m hoping to become a regular at the dog park near my house. We’re probably still a month away from that.

A friend of mine keeps reminding me that I should try out for “Wipeout” so I’ll do that soon. Whether I win or not, I’d try to race as fast as ‘Hummingbird’s Eyelid.’

Sports, and Why Guys Like Them

Football. Baseball. Hockey. Basketball. Tennis. Soccer. Nascar. What do these sports have in common? There must be a winner. Of all the rules in all of sports (and let’s face it, in some sports there are way too many rules (yes I’m talking to you NFL)), requiring a winner is the single most attractive thing about sports. If you then connect this all-important rule to the male mind, it’s very easy to see why guys like sports. Because in a guy’s mind, there is order. There is a #1. There is a #2. There is a #3 and so on.Open up the passion for sports in a more broad fashion, and you’ll discover it’s more about competing than it is about the actual sport, though. My favorites to play are football and basketball. My favorite to watch is football. But my ultra favorite thing to do? Win. It can be pick-up basketball at the Y, it can be a 5K race or a race up the stairs. It can also be something as absurd as the Nashville Fantasy Bachelor League. Guys want to be #1. And when we can’t be, we cheer for a team we think can.

Lance Armstrong, Tour De France winner

A friend of mine is a self-proclaimed sports agnostic. He’s not against athletics, he’s not against athletes. But he is against those fanatics. If you’re interested, his thoughts on the subject are posted here. What I submit to him is the idea that sports should be viewed on a broader scale (like I mentioned, it’s more about competing).If my friend were to watch a football game the way he writes blogs, I think he may begin to understand. Yes, my friend is a writer. And before you say, “Well, no wonder the flower child doesn’t like sports! He’s one of those weirdo creative types,” you should know that he is an Alabama Crimson Tide fan as well (Now you have my permission to say it). His allegiance to Alabama is more for the sake of picking a side (Alabama or Auburn) than it is about actually liking the team, but hey, at least he’s aware that there are sides in that fight.When my friend writes, he spends time and energy making the delivery and presentation a top notch product. Why? It’s not so the reader will like it. It’s so the reader will like it more than anything else they read. When the Seattle Seahawks take the field against the New Orleans Saints they want to run the right plays and score points, but not just to play well. They want to win the game and be the best in the league. My friend writing to be the best and the Seahawks playing to be the best are the same thing.

Why guys likes sports can be summed up in four points.
Challenge. It’s exciting to push skills to the limit, and watch other people do the same.
Competition. An exciting way to measure talents, passions and skills.
Hitting. Guys like to hit things, or watch people hit things.
Hierarchy. There must be a #1. This idea is built into the male DNA. If you’re a guy, you are born with the desire to be king of the mountain, and have songs written about your halls. 

The Best of 2010

Last year welcomed a new blog into the world. Since the birth of ‘Out of the Wilderness’ in April, the site has attracted 26,604 views. The postings on this site cover everything from dolphins to Nashville to mustaches, Boney M, music, the power of words, ghosts, personality types, the BP oil spill, online dating, and much more. With all the variety of topics, though, the highest viewed posts are about the 2010 season of “The Bachelorette.” I posted a weekly review after each episode from the very first episode (meet the Bachelors) to the last when Ali picked Roberto Martinez over Chris Lambton. Curiosity about Chris drew in the most clicks among Bachelorette posts. However, the post with the most views overall will surprise you. It’s about a band called Boney M, international stars from the 1970s. Sadly, the male lead from the band died recently so searches for Bobby Farrell and Boney M have surged quite a bit since then. Without further explanation, here are stats from ‘Out of the Wilderness’ this year, in order of most viewed:

1. Boney M In A Green Taxi
views: 9,699

2. The Bachelorette, Chris L.’s Tattoo Pictures
views: 6,887

3. The Bachelorette Episode 10
views: 839

4. The Bachelorette, Chris L.’s Birthday
views: 448

5. The Bachelorette Episode 4
views: 412

6. Slept Like A Log
views: 376

7. About the Author
views: 252

8. The Bachelorette Episode 8
views: 163

9. Will You Accept This Prose?
views: 147

10. Where Are All the Men
views: 138

11. The Bachelorette Episode 3
views: 138

12. Music Roulette: 50 Songs In 1 Paragraph
views: 134

13. Popular YouTube videos
views: 120

14. Fantasy Football 2010 Draft Order
views: 112

15. Ben Wilder vs. Nick Shell: A Facebook Battle
views: 110