Who was your first crush? Mine was…

In reality, this post will most likely be about music. But I’m just going to keep on typing and see where it goes. So you had a crush, did ya? Well, who was it? Mine was an icon of the 80s and she’s still around, though she’s probably in her 80s now.

Before the big reveal, it was a song called “Iko, Iko” that’s sort of led to this post. The song (originally from the 60s) has been performed by a billion and a half people since then, including this fun and charming take from Sia:

Sia’s version of the song was used for a dance routine by my 11-year-old niece which reminded me to look up the song on Spotify. Well, I couldn’t find the Sia version… dadgum it! On the bright side, the billion and a half other versions are on Spotify, even one by my first crush… Cyndi Lauper. She made me want to swing from the chandelier.

Then it dawned on me why I like Sia. She reminds me of Cyndi. Their voices on “Iko, Iko” sound very much alike and something could also be said about their style choices, too. Time after time, their look is spunky, they like creative and colorful costuming. All things I gravitate towards. What can I say? I like girls who just want to have fun. They’re the greatest.

Sooo I’ve shown my true colors so why don’t you do the same? Who was your first crush and why?

-Out of the Wilderness


Better off in a pine box…

I was an 11-year-old living in Stafford, Virginia jamming out with my yellow Sony Sports radio_cassette_player_sports_1598016Walkman, probably listening to artists likely Wilson Phillips, Roxette, Janet Jackson, oh, and of course, Vanilla Ice, Ice, Baby, MC Hammer and his pants, and who can forget Milli Vanilli? All favorites with this Starter-jacket-wearing 6th-grader.

Country music wasn’t even on my radar in 1990 and I can’t say for sure why. Maybe it was a product of the environment, although I’d guess that there was a fair share of folks listening to country music in Stafford. Maybe not amongst my friends, though.

It wasn’t till 26 years later (gasp!) that I heard the song by Doug Stone that inspired the title of this blog post. That’s right, summer of 2016 and I was honestly thinking it was brand new. Hoping it was brand new. I guess I’m a crotchety old man now, now that I think country music isn’t what it used to be.

old-man That’s OK, though. Country music can only be as successful as fans will let it be, and right now fans want pop country. But soon enough fans will start craving something different, and artists will follow their lead. By the way, have you heard Jon Pardi, “Head Over Boots”? Sounds like old country and I bet there’re some crotchety fans really digging it.

Twelve million views and counting shows promise 😉 Check out the YouTube comments, as well, and I think fans are into this classic country sound.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep listening to Pine Box until I discover another song made two decades ago that I never heard because I was too busy playing Duck Hunt or watching Kevin Costner as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Roooooobbbbiiiiiiiinnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Out of the Wilderness


Bathrobes are amazing…and 22 other things I learned as a single guy in my 30s

Hi there and thanks for stopping by. As it says in the purpose of this blog, I write about a few parts of my life, one being that I’m single. So with that in mind I compiled a list of things I’ve learned in my 30s (and a few from my 20s) while not being married. This might apply to single women as well, but I wouldn’t dare assume anything about “the single woman,” which leads perfectly to the first lesson on the list…

  1. Never assume anything about women.
  2. When the tv show Friends originally aired, it didn’t mean anything to me. Now watching reruns in my 30s, I get it. And I can’t stop laughing.
  3. The woman is always right. And no, I’m not only talking about contra dancing 🙂
  4. There are certain songs that will forever remind you of someone you dated.
  5. Someone in your family will know of the perfect girl for you.
  6. If you try online dating, it might not be as bad as you expect. And yet, it can go horribly wrong sometimes.
  7. Questions about a girl you might ask in your 20s: Is she nice? What’s her faith like? Is she cute? What does she like to do? What’s her favorite kind of music? Does she enjoy the same things I do?
  8. Questions you might ask in your 30s: Is she married? No? It’s on.
  9. I’ve learned how to spot a ring from sniper distances.
  10. It’s perfectly OK going to the movie theater alone and what’s even better, you can see any movie you want.
  11. Dogs really can be your best friends.
    best friends
  12. It’s possible to not know exactly what Pinterest is.
  13. Something you might say in your 20s: “Wow, my co-worker’s 35 and not married yet? Hope that’s not me one day.”
  14. Something you end up saying when you’re single at 35: “35 is the new 25.”
  15. I could’ve married in my early 20s but I’m guessing I would’ve been divorced in my late 20s.
  16. It can be a little scary wondering if the girl I might marry one day is even in the same city as me. Same state? Same country? Has anyone ever actually found a needle in a haystack?
  17. According to a social experience performed by me sometime in 2002, you can wear the same clothes 1 or 2 or 5 days in a row, and no one will say a word about it. (Except for Rosemary, she suspected)
  18. I can cut my hair any way I want, and that’s kinda awesome.
  19. Married folks might read #18 and think, “Ew, gross.” But inside they’re slightly jealous. At least some of the married guys are. Right???
  20. Time by yourself can feel pretty lonely.
  21. Time by yourself can feel pretty incredible.
  22. A song you heard when you were 15 meant nothing to you. Hearing it again at 35, it rips your heart out.
  23. Bathrobes are amazing.

I’m sure there are many more, but I hope you enjoyed reading these 23!

-Out of the Wilderness


The Reawakening: Part 14

A plateau.


I got comfortable.

And that’s why I have this headache.
I guess I need to explain, don’t I?

In March it’ll be a year since leaving a full-time job in television. It had benefits and all! 🙂 But since leaving the comfort of salary and steady work and predictable schedule, I’ve started earning my wages in a few different ways. I actually look back the gigantic curveball of being laid off in 2015 and can’t help but smile. It woke me up or shall we say, reawakened me?

This year, 2016, is about a couple of things. One and the most important: live life to the fullest. And two: earn some money along the way. That’s why I was pretty pumped to add another job to my schedule. Back in November I became an independent contractor driving for Amazon Prime Now. If you don’t know what Prime Now is, think of it as combining Uber guy with pizza delivery guy.
It had flexible scheduling, decent pay, and let me drive all over town which is something I typically enjoy. Recently all this time in the car gave me time to listen to the same 9 or 10 songs over and over and over, because, ya know, that’s what I do. For instance “Pieces” and “Joy to the World” and “Into the Wild” …great songs that you should listen to over and over and over.

Now between afternoon naps I had video editing, dog boarding, writing, and Amazon. It was comfortable here. The routine became somewhat predictable. So you know what that means, right: Tectonic plates shifting! Comfort is becoming my enemy in the best possible way. This recent shake-up came in the form of an email from Amazon.

Hello Ben,
Regrettably, we are writing to let you know that, due to repeat violations of the terms and conditions you agreed to in the Amazon Flex Independent Contractor Terms of Service (“Terms of Service”), Amazon is hereby terminating your Terms of Service effective immediately. As a result, you are no longer eligible to participate in the Amazon Flex program.

Repeat violations! Wow. It makes me sound so sleezy! Like I just got outta jail but don’t know how to live “in this society.” What’s this Internet you speak of? Why isn’t OJ Simpson in the broadcast booth? Does Jeopardy still come on after Wheel of Fortune?

Back in March, I had known for a while it was time to part ways with CMT so being laid off was a relief, if that makes sense. But being terminated from a job I was enjoying and wanted to keep doing felt like a blindside hit. Unexpected and definitely unwelcome.

Later in the day after getting the email I called my dad. He’s a big time consultant with military stuff (I can’t tell you more or else I’d have to kill you), so I was hoping he could consult me a little more on how to handle the rocky road of self-employment.

Bam. Consulted.

I love my dad for his ambition, his knowledge, and his encouragement. My take-away from the convo, “keep moving forward.”

And now I’m not so upset. I would like answers from Amazon, sure, but perhaps it was only meant for a season. It was fun while it lasted but as my dad said, it’s time to move forward. This development has showed me that sometimes the unexpected happens. Self-employment can be tough, unpredictable. It has mountain highs and valley lows. But I wouldn’t want it any other way right now. It’s a journey I’m happy to be on and by keeping my eyes pointed up, I know I’ll be alright.

As for me, right now, I need to go get comfortable on the couch because Wheel of Fortune is on.

-O_t of the Wi_ _erness

Baby, You’re the One

If I can be transparent with you for a moment, being single in my mid-thirties is sometimes difficult. Granted, it’s been mostly my choice all along the way but the resolve to ‘not settle’ brings questions. Mostly the “there must be something wrong with you” kind. It can come from friends, parents, and especially the voices inside your own head! That’s why I’m thankful for 1. the Bible. For an example,  one of the most Godly guys to ever live, Paul, says that he hopes we can all be single like him. And 2. music. I recently remembered a song I loved in the mid-90s that is encouraging to me today, almost 20 years later. I may be single the rest of my life, and I’d count that as a blessing, but it would also be a blessing to find a best friend to share the last few years of my life (sarcasm… I hope I’m not even close to halfway!)… here’s the song:

I’d Give Anything To Do This

music_notes_hqyb_xlargeWhether I’m at work, in the car, at church, or sometimes even in my dreams, I hear people that are great singers. I fantasize every once in a while how it would feel to be like them. But so far in my 35 years, I have yet to sing a solo in front of a crowd, unless my line in the “We Like Sheep” musical at church when I was in 3rd grade counts. Maybe the director heard promise in my voice. To sum up my singing career since then, though, two words: unrealized potential. You’d think with all these producers in Nashville they’d know a diamond in the rough when they see it! I blame the industry.

-Out of the Wilderness

Music: How Do They Keep Us Coming Back For More?

Music has been around since the beginning of time. I can’t believe we haven’t exhausted all possible combinations of words, notes, and instruments. And you’d think after songs like

come out, everyone would just stop trying. “Ok, ok, they can’t get any better than that,” is what people would say. They’d pack up their instruments, tie them to an anchor and toss them in the ocean. Or melt them down and make vases. But no. All of the sudden another song comes out that takes the world by storm.

This whole thing baffles the heck out of me. Oh, gotta go. Time to ice my foot.