Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kiss Them for Me

Hey Ryan I thought we left your SanDee* story with her saying - "we need to get a room."

Why do you have more kissing in the title you say?  Were you looking say for something more in the way of a WASP's "*uck like a Beast?"

Well let's just read ahead.  I started this post with the title "Love is the Drug and I Need to Score" but then changed to the Siouxsie and the Banshees lyrics above when I realized this needed to be a two parter.  I'll use that Roxy Music song later this week for part II, hopefully the story will live up to the title.     :)

That Souxsie song btw is apparently about a starlet (perhaps Jane Mansfield).

So the week after Sandee's illuminating statement we made plans to go to lunch at this little Country Store that I really like.  I had gone several times with Sandra and it was one of my last favorite places that I had not taken Sandee.  This place is an old country store that had been converted into an upscale wine and cheese shop along with espresso, bakery, and gourmet soups, sandwiches, quiche, etc.  It has a very nice picnic area outside near a creek but no indoor seating.  We were now in December so that could be a problem.  But then again it might be an opportunity because I was not really interested in an outdoor picnic!

The day that we were going to meet was looking absolutely dreary (based on checking the day before).  This was fantastic news, no chance of a nice walk tomorrow!  I took the liberty of making a reservation at a local hotel near our little Country Store.

I sent Sandee the following note:
"Since (the country store) doesn't have indoor seating I took the liberty of securing an indoor location with four walls and a ceiling at a location near(by).  That way we can have an indoor picnic if it rains, or even if it doesn't.

I hope that doesn't sound too forward!  Just wanted to cover bases and not be in the situation we found ourselves in last week."
I thought that communicated the right message in a genteel and polite way.

Unfortunately doing anything other than being completely direct always produced an erratic and/or unspecific response from Sandee.  She wrote back.

"So why would it be too forward of you to eat inside?? And what situation were we in?? I am so confuuuuused (happens alot)! And let's pass on the river...k?? :)

Well, guess I'll see you high noon tomorrow, duuude :) "

Christ why do I have to get involved with someone that has the exact same mindset as I do and is so great at playing stupid just like me!  Oh well, maybe that is why I was liking her so much, she did seem to be a female "me."

Well, at least we were meeting and she was not longer standing me up anymore.  In fact she was really quite the "on time" little girl, generally she was waiting for me on our dates.

Perhaps I should describe Sandee some more since I am a visual person like all guys.  I have to admit I have been trying to put my finger on who she looks like but she really doesn't look like any star in particular.  She is very beautiful about 5'4" with long straight blond hair and hazel eyes and in fact 43 as originally advertised on AM.  She is very petite, like Shannon but curvier.  Each woman I had met through Ashley Madison was quite attractive but Sandee was in fact the first that truly rivaled Shannon in the looks department, sorry I'm shallow that way.  But as for demeanor comparing her to Shannon was certainly the calm before the storm.  I guess if I have to give you a face it would have to be Terri Nunn from Berlin (at least this photo of her) but without the two-tone hair.  Wow, did I have a crush on her back in the day!  Did you know she used to date Richard Blade, the DJ from XM Radio's First Wave and once appeared in Penthouse magazine?

I love this girl's name!
Of course more than anything she did in fact look like that Canadian tri-athlete swim suit model who's photos she originally sent to me.  She could be that girl in about 20 years or maybe even her mom!

We met at our Shopping Center and drove off to the Country Store.  We made it to the store and looked over the wine, cheese, and gourmet stuff and then settled on two soups and some tea.  We took our stuff out to the car, hustling to avoid the rain.

Shy me had yet to make sure Sandee had a complete understanding of my plan.  I reiterated that I had an indoor picnic location in mind.

She said "oh yeah, where would that be."

Geesh, do I have to spell it out?  So I said "I got a hotel room."

She smiled a little sheepishly but said "you did?.....OK....., let's go."

So off we went.  It was a short 20 minute drive to the hotel.  We spoke about the area but did not talk about anything sexual.  We got to the hotel and I drove under the awning in front of the lobby.  Then it hit me - no wallet.  I had left it on my desk back at work.  I had stuck my brand new "mischief" credit card in my pocket.  Oh well, too late now I guess I have to hope the clerk doesn't care.  I did have my insurance card and car registration in my glove compartment and brought those in.

As I exited the car Sandee said "Ryan, you know you don't have to do this."

Hmm strange comment I thought; I responded "I want to."

Of course the clerk did ask for ID.  My heart was in my throat now!

Luckily insurance and car registration are acceptable forms of ID for hotel hook-ups in that particular county and she checked me in!    :)

Sandee and I drove over to our building and walked up and into our room.  Once inside I poured us each a glass of wine and we sat on the edge of the bed and ate soup and talked about nothing special that I can remember now.

How long is an acceptable amount of time to wait while you let a lady eat lunch in a hotel room before you start to rip her clothes off?    :)

Well I wouldn't rip her clothes off they looked too nice but I do wonder about these niceties.

After I ascertained that Sandee was finished with her soup I took it from her and set it by the TV.  Rather than sitting back on the bed I moved in front of her on my knees and put my arms around her and kissed her, moving my body between her legs.  After about a minute of very nice kissing I started fumbling with her belt.  She sighed but then said "I'm not sure if I'm ready for a home run."

Urrrrrrrrrrckkh (get it, that is the sound of a record scratch) Gulp!  That sucks!

What do I do now?  Tune in later this week to see how Ryan deals with extreme sexual frustration!  Or does he?  Surely by now you realize that nothing with Sandee is ever going to be easy.    :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How Do You Do? Mighty Pleasant Greatin'

Ryan's humble suggestions on how to enjoy your Disney vacation.

OK so you have decided to swallow the poison and take your family to Disney.  I know your kids are chomping at the bit to go as they dream of the perfect vacation.  But let me caution you to make some plans before you drop about $5 to $8K and come home with sore feet and a broken soul (not to mention the need for a vacation from your Disney vacation).  Trust me this advice comes from a guy that could have bought a Georgetown education with the $'s I've dropped at the Mouse Kingdom over my life!   :(

But as they say the memories are priceless!    :)

First, take considerable time to research the bajillion blogs about Disney and how to plan and make your trip better.  There are in fact some very good websites and blogs out there that can really help.

Like this one:

Second, consider these few tips I leave for you here.  I also wrote about Disney about this time last year here and here.

I.     Consider going during the off season or better yet visit Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

Disney's busy times are around Christmas, Spring Break, and through the summer.  And trust me unless you enjoy the sensation of being a piece of bacon in a frying pan, Orlando in July is not for you!

The perfect solution is to go "off season."  The slowest time is February but at that time even in Central Florida you may not be able to enjoy the pools.  October is the perfect happy medium.  The parks are not as crowded, the weather is cooler but still warm enough to enjoy the pool, and hopefully you won't have to dodge a hurricane.

A real gem is Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.  True the park closes earlier and yet Disney does not give you a price break and to stay at the party you will have to cough up an additional $60+. But it is truly a unique experience.  First, the last hour the park is open before the party starts is the one time that you can ride rides repeatedly without a wait.  Second, everyone tends to bring their costumes so it is quite the party and people watching opportunity.  Additionally there are some great shows that you will only get to see at this particular event like the Villains Dance Party mix and mingle show (trust me the villains are way more fun than those superficial princesses)!  Of course there is a spectacular Hall-O-Wishes fireworks show and finally a parade lead by non-other than the Headless Horseman himself!

II.    In fact do take a vacation from your vacation and take a day off from the parks to enjoy the resorts.

The average Disney vacation stay is 4 to 7 days.  Consider taking some time to rest in between those park visits.  You will walk about 10+ miles in a typical day at a Disney park.  And that is on top of standing in lines and perhaps lingering in the heat and sun.  I have gone through a lot of intense work-outs and nothing really wears me out like a day at Disney.

Given that I would never do parks on consecutive days.  To re-charge and maintain energy I would always plug in a resort day in between park visits.  Our family ends up enjoying the resort days more anyway.

       IIa.     The (moderate) resorts are worth it!  I say stay on property.  The rooms at Disney are not fantastic and no better than a Holiday Inn off property.  But the amenities including the pools and parties, etc make staying at a Disney resort worth it.  Now I would say the price of the Upper End resorts such as Wilderness Lodge, the Contemporary, and Grand Floridian do not measure out relative to value.  However, many of the amenities at the moderate resorts such as Port Orleans Old Key West, and the Wilderness Cabins really offer another complete aspect of your vacation.  The amenities do make the moderate resorts a good value relative to the rather sparse atmosphere of the Value Resorts.

III.   Disney's Boardwalk a hidden gem and way better than Downtown Disney.

I'll say it, Downtown Disney SUCKS!  It is poorly laid out, has no shade, and no experiential value in my opinion.  The restaurants are the typical resort-style eat-er-tainment venues such as House of Blues, Fultons, Rainforest Cafe, etc so they tend to be mediocre and over priced.

A fantastic alternative is Disney's Boardwalk.  It is much smaller but much less crowed and has a much better atmosphere.  Restaurants include more unique experiences such as the ESPN Club (yes, it's eat-er-tainment as well but I'm a guy), Big River Grille, the Flying Fish Cafe (very good), and the Seashore Sweets which is a real throwback type place.

But the real enjoyment for me is the street performers that are free.  Yes, you read that right - FREE (and at Disney)!  But more importantly they are really good.  My favorite is Brian Staron (see below).

IV.   Epcot is for food!

Soarin', the Test Track, and Mission Earth are great rides but make sure the kids allow you a chance to enjoy the food.

A lot of great choices in Germany, Italy, and France.  In England, the Crown and Rose does a wonderful job at replicating authentic British cuisine which means it SUCKS!  For a really unique experience try the Restaurant Marrakesh or Teppan Edo in Japan (with that fancy Japanese display cooking).  All things considered I like the San Angel Inn best (pictured above).  After a hot day it is relaxing to rest inside and enjoy the view inside the Mexico pavilion and along the Three Caballeros river ride.  The food is very good and moderately priced.  And more importantly you can get a Margarita and/or a Dos Equis which you need for sanity!

Oh, btw that Kim Possible World Showcase thing at Epcot is a real time suckage endeavor.  Make sure you understand the commitment before you start.  It is a great way to experience the park but you will be owned by it and it will interfere with you setting your own pace much like those character autographs.

V.    Remember this is supposed to be fun, don't kill yourself!

Don't try to do it all, as Scarlett says "tomorrow is another day."

But really it is ridiculous to expect to do everything at each park in one day.  And it is further lunacy to do the Park Hopper and think you can see all of the Magic Kingdom and then hop over and take in Animal Kingdom.  My suggestion, decide ahead of time your priority list, establish contingencies, and then do what you can.  You will kill yourself and create disappointment if you set expectations to do it all in one day.  In fact don't even try to go to the park at 8 am and stay until the end (you'll never make it).  Either go early and leave early or go late and stay late.  Believe me, after about 8 hours at the park that resort pool is going to feel orgasmic!

OK, that's it for now.  Remember my advice is free and well worth the price you paid!   :)

Author's Note:  The lyric title above is from Brer Rabbit's ode to politeness and civility "How do you Do."  My two favorite Disney movies are Peter Pan and the Sound of Music.  To me both are the archetypal children's movies reflecting the joy and wonderment of childhood.  Unfortunately you will really have to search to ever see the Sound of Music.  You certainly won't see it on the Disney Channel or even TCM or AMC.  It will never be out on a 50th Anniversary blu-ray edition, it's simply and understandably too controversial.  I can certainly understand the offense taken with the overly joyful portrayal of the Old South.  But do remember one thing, this movie was essentially the first time an African American actor (James Baskett) held a lead role in a major motion picture.  Mr. Baskett won an honorary Academy Award for his portrayal of Uncle Remus in the movie, the first for an African American actor.  So for all the inaccuracy in the depiction of a truly horrible time in American history do watch this movie sometime and simply enjoy it's celebration of kindness and caring and joy and wonderment.

Monday, April 23, 2012

She Knows What She Knows

So to keep with that kissing theme I started last Thursday how about we move onto that famous kissing song "Lips Like Sugar" by Echo and the Bunnymen.  Wow, I remember driving around with Renee once a long time ago in my car on our way to lunch somewhere and that song came on.  She started singing to it with her long dark hair blowing from the wind of her open window.   She was so hot; god I wanted her so bad.  I still wonder if I should have tried something.

Back in the day when those Indie bands still made those small 12" EP records Echo and the Bunnymen released Lips Like Sugar as a single along with their awesome cover of that Doors song "People are Strange" that was on the Soundtrack to the Lost Boys.  Oh those Late 80's college days gone by.....

The song "Lips Like Sugar" is about a very attractive and seductive woman that is a tease.  To date Sandee had certainly often played that role.  Would she continue to do that?  Would she up the ante?  Or might I just get lucky?

"She'll be my mirror, reflect what I am.  A loser and a winner, the King of Siam...."

Damn, that's a hot song.

Oh, back to reality.  Yes, so after that lovely wine date we followed up the next week with lunch and perhaps another walk.

Not us thus far  :(
I know, I know you're saying stop it Ryan if I want a "dime" store romance I can go to Rite Aid.  Of course my musing are free.  But of course you say the Rite Aid novel has a hot picture of Fabio with some big chested chic who's fleecy gown is blowing off in the wind revealing her cleavage.  OK, OK, I get it - you are looking for something HOT.  Let's see what we get today.

Well it started off as normal as all of our other dates.  We had set a standard of meeting at a Shopping Center parking lot or at this Country Inn and then driving together from there.  Today we met at the Country Inn and were going on a short drive to a diner I knew for lunch and then probably a walk.

Lunch went fine.  Sandee was starting to open up a bit about her life.

Her husband did seem like a controlling jerk.  He was in fact 12 years older than her as she previously told me.  But the +12 made him mid-50's instead of mid-40's as she originally implied.  In addition to being a jerk apparently he had let himself go as well, didn't do any housework, and expected her to cook for him every night, etc.  She said "we haven't done anything (sex) in forever."  She followed that with "he hates me" and that she thought he might be having an affair as well.  I told her we needed to get he and Shannon together, they would be one caustic couple.  She laughed.

After lunch, we had a lovely walk and spent a good portion of it holding hards.  Insert "puking" here if needed.  There was a brief kiss along the trail but time was getting a little late and I had to get back for a meeting.

So we drove back to the Country Inn.

I unbuckled my seatbelt and started to get out but lingered a moment to see what openings might arise.  Sandee said "you look hot, I love that tie," as she reached out to touch it and then softly patted it against my chest.  Yes, I have been known to be a bit reactive in the romance department at times enjoying the woman to make the first move.  Maybe it's just my ego (probably).

Regardless, I took that as the invitation I was looking for.  I moved in for a deep kiss.  After a few moments I kissed down her neck, over her shoulders, and onto her cleavage.  I also moved my hands that had previously been on her knees slowly up her thigh to her just between her legs.  Her hand slipped to the back of my head as she pulled me closer.  I gently pressed my tongue to hers and she pressed back even more vigorously.  She slid closer so that as we kissed our chests were pressed together.

And then she pulled back slightly and said the six most beautiful words in the English language "we need to get a room!"

Oh baby, you don't need to tell me twice

"Lips Like Sugaaaaahhhhh, Sugahhhhh kisses!!!!!!"

Ryan has a plan now and next week we are going to execute another indoor picnic!  Surely there won't be any more teases to this story!    :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It Started Out with a Kiss

This song by the Killers is somewhat of an updated version of Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out with Him?"  In my case I wouldn't be asking that of Sandee because I was in fact going out with her.  But from the outside looking in you might be thinking the thoughts of the writer of those two songs.

Btw, Mr. Brightside by the Killers was a local favorite in the Vegas Club scene in the early 2000's before the band signed with a UK Indie label.  It took off from there proving that not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.  Mr. Brightside was voted song of the decade by some radio stations in the UK and is one of the most listened to tracks since the age of on-line music.   As for that Joe Jackson song, I still always associate it with fond memories of summers out by the pool back in the day.

At this point I had been on Ashley Madison for about a year and a half.  I had probably written over 100 notes to various ladies throughout the Greater DC area.  Almost every time I wrote I mentioned going to and relaxing at a local vineyard for some wine tasting as a great date in my intro.  It always sounded like a catchy thing to write and I did in fact enjoy those vineyards in and around Loudoun County just about 40 minutes outside the Beltway (depending on traffic).  They are in fact a wonderful diversion from the city.

However, to date - and in spite of all the messages I had written, I had never actually taken one of my AM girls on a wine tasting afternoon.  Keeley and I had planned to meet at a vineyard over in Maryland but it never panned out.  We got sidetracked, I was not disappointed!

Finally that was to change.  The week after our kayaking debacle Sandee agreed to ride out to one of those vineyards, do some tasting, and take in those lovely fall views of the Blue Ridge Mountains!  This was perfect; it would be fun, romantic and I would be back in my element and I would not let the opportunity slip!

We met at a Shopping Center and then drove out to the country.  We first stopped at my favorite vineyard and did the whole wine tasting thing and then settled on our favorite and sat outside with our glasses and a nice baguette and some cranberry goat cheese.  The view of the grapes, the last lingering colors of the mountains were wonderful.  Sandee was getting a little silly; she is small and not a big drinker.  Or maybe I'm just that funny?  No, I think she was definitely "buzzed."

We left that vineyard and drove to the next town.  I took her by this little local co-op store that sells local produce, gifty stuff, and bakery items.  Our time was getting a little short so we moved on.

I took her to another somewhat smaller and secluded vineyard I knew of.  They have a particular berry infused wine I thought Sandee would enjoy.  We stopped by the tasting room and had a glass and I bought her a bottle to take home.  This particular vineyard has a nice pond by the tasting room with a trail to walk around.  We took a stroll and settled on a little bridge at the other side going over a little creek.  We lingered there and enjoyed the view and talked.  I moved my arm around her and she slightly nestled into my chest.

She did finally turn to me slightly and I moved in to kiss her.  She didn't stop and there for the next several minutes and in spite of anyone else who might have been around (I don't think there were though) we had a nice lip lock.

It was hard driving back to that Shopping Center and saying bye but I was sure things were looking good.  We planned to meet the following week for lunch and another walk at the lake.

"It was only a kiss!"

The Killers - Mr. Brightside:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'd Kind of Like to Be the President So I Can Show You How Your Money's Spent

Hey, It's Tax Day in America again - the ultimate Anti-Holiday!

The lyric title above is from "Why Can't We Be Friends" by the 70's power group War.  It was the title song of their album released in 1974.  The album also included that song "Low Rider."  Perhaps a better lyric from that song to describe me would be -

"Sometimes I don't speak too bright but yet I know what I'm talking about....."

I actually prefer Smash Mouth's version of the song recorded a few years back, proving they are more than the group that sang the Shrek soundtrack song.  I love the addition of the ska to the funk (almost a punk-funk or p-funk) and the accelerando and back!

Last year I wrote a speculative rant on tax day.  So with rage in my mind and that lyric above in my heart let's think about our tax dollars a little and what we should be doing!  Of course any rage I might express here is complete BS since I mostly tend to vote for those blue lefty dudes that supposedly want to raise our taxes.  Well, perhaps not mine since I fall just short of that "Buffet Rule" hurdle rate.    :)

But before I get to any potential points I might be making today let me diverge (perhaps within the next few lines you'll stop reading and won't discover I don't have any real points :).  To be honest I started this post probably 2 weeks ago when I was 1st lamenting over my taxes.  It just hasn't gone anywhere until today (well really yesterday - Monday).  As I started to drive to work today (yesterday/Monday) I realized I was getting major blockage on ideas.  I started to think about what a torrid pace I had been at with writing and decided I needed a break.  In fact I have already been thinking about how to blow off this summer; I mean take a pace and theme change like spend a few weeks just rehashing old stories.  Hey, even bloggers who don't collect any $'s off their page need a break, right?!  But this wasn't getting me anywhere, but it is therapeutic to bitch!

Anyway, so as I was leaving the neighborhood I turned on the radio.  Of course the radio had been left to Disney as usual.  I started to punch the button to switch to First Wave but heard the opening lines to that Jessie J song "Price Tag."  I really actually love that song, in fact I used it as the title lyric to my 100th post.

Then as I started listening and enjoying the song it hit me.  That song is kind of like a treatise on balance in life.  And I got to thinking this year I achieved almost the perfect balance on taxes.  I know you think that is stupid but for a guy that has an MBa and took tons of Finance and Accounting in college that is excitement!

Wtf does that mean Ryan and why should I care?  Well first, I only had to send the IRS a check for about $100 this year.  You see two years ago we got "boned!"  I think we owed just over $2,000.  That was the year Shannon was interim VP for her company so she made a "poop" load of money along with a fat bonus.  So the first thing you do if you don't want to pay so much in taxes is not make a much.  So Shannon didn't stay on as the full time VP thus dropping her back to the old smaller wage (good first step)!   :)

The other thing is that I went back to my I-9 and started getting more taken out.

OK so just on the chance that any of you are still reading after I filled your eyes with boring tax accounting here is the point.  Isn't life best when you have just the right balance.  Putting in just the right amount so that you don't have to pay too much more in or get too much back out!  I mean who wants to give the Fed an interest free loan?  Well, saving those receipts is a good idea as well so you can write off any and everything like business miles ("hey I though about work once and answered an e-mail from m I-Phone while I was at Disney so I can't write the whole trip off right").

Yeah, in life or relationships if you find yourself paying in and paying in more and more it's probably time to get out.  And if you are getting too much back then maybe you are the problem!

Yeah, take that on in life, Ashley Madison, blogging or whatever else you do.  Decide your price ahead of time and pay in the right amount and get the right amount back.  And don't be worried if you pay in just a little bit extra (say $100), you'll get it back somehow.  After all, what's $100 among friends anyway; I know Mr. Pres will spend it well!  Maybe he can use my check to finishing paying off those ladies in Cartagena, I'm sure those poor agents really needed that stress relief!    :)

Oh and after I finished listening to that Jessie J song I did switch over to First Wave and they were playing The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats.  So I got a two-fer!  Perhaps my next theme on here should be....

"And you can act real rude and totally removed, And I can act like an imbecile...."

Actually I am not sure if I have a whole lot of things to say about taxes but I will try to pick up on that theme of "why can't we be friends" and go off the deep end with some radical moderate ranting about politics.  Maybe if we could be radical moderates we could all be friends!

I guess I have two points and they both revolve around that War and Jessie J song.  First, while the our national debt as a % of GDP is the highest ever since WWII (about 65%) our net interest payments as a % of Federal outlays is smaller than at any time since WWII (about 6%) and has dropped significantly in the last two years due to very low interest rates.  So even though we owe a lot we are fairly liquid.  So let's just "be friends" and "slow down and enjoy right now."  'Cause things are never as good or as bad as they seem.  What we really just need to do is be patient and ride this thing out; it's going to take a while.  

Second point - don't be "penny wise and pound stupid."  Take a look at the pie chart to the left.  As you can see the big ticket items are social security, defense, and Medicare/Medicade with Safety Net programs a distant 4th.  So while I don't like sending $'s to countries that shoot back at us clearly foreign aid ain't the problem.  In fact saying we need to cut back on discretionary spending is like saying "I'm going to stop dropping those pennies into the Ronald McDonald House box at the Micky D's drive-through as a way to pay down my mortgage." The math just ain't there.

While the quickest way to cut the deficit is defense, remember those soldiers are part of that cost and they earn a salary and buy groceries and stuff with that salary.  And defense technology when not spent on $600 toilet seats is some of the best stimulus out there.  So do we whack into Social Security and Madicare/cade?  Sure, grandma has lived long enough maybe she should just move over and get on with dying.  Well, you'll probably think different if it's your grandma or if you are grandma.  So what is your second point Ryan sounds like you are a typical politician who doesn't want to cut anything; pay everybody off and get elected.  Well the bottom line is there is no quick fix and the fix is in fact in the harmony.  Let's peel back a little aid to Pakistan but be mindful that humanitarian aid may be a better key to Democracy abroad.  Let's let our inventory of bullets and bombs go down a little but let's keep up on technology so we stay ahead of the game and certainly take care of our soldiers.  Let's try to figure out a way to actually have "healthcare" that makes us healthy and not symptom-care that incentivizes reactive medicine.  Let's win on the margins, kind of like paying an extra $50 on your mortgage each month (it may only take a few years off the life of the debt but on the long term you'll save $1,000's).

In short let's pay a fair share but have a little harmony and be friends (and enjoy right now)!

So while I know it hurts to write that check to the IRS or look at your W-2 and see how much was taken out just remember to try to pay in what you take out and remember that song by War

..... the size of your tax bill don't matter to me "as long as we can live in harmony...."   :)

Oh, and take some incentive from our friend Donald here doing his patriotic duty as he sends off his taxes!

And if you are wondering why Tax Day is on Tuesday, April 17th this year, it's all do to Abe Lincoln.  Abe Lincoln apparently created the Income Tax (proving Republicans are bigger taxers than Dem's)  :) but also created Emancipation Day on April 16th which hit on a Monday this year when the 15th hit on a Sunday thus giving us 2 extra days to get that 1040 done!  Thanks Abe!

Doggon' it I made $3,001 this year; I'll have to file the long form!  :(

Thursday, April 12, 2012

No Money Could Save Him so He Laid Down and (Sploosh)!

OK I slurred the lyrics today.  A few weeks ago I quoted some Emerson, Lake, and Palmer lyrics for a Super Bowl food post.  At the end I mentioned their most famous song Lucky Man which is about some English nobleman that is apparently rich and good with the ladies.  The song starts by talking about him screwing all these hot noble chics in his feather bed and gold laced mattresses.  Sounds like a wonderful life until he goes off to war and gets killed for king and country.  Such a waste!

Well, I didn't decide to go off to war and get killed.  Let's face it, if I did how could I be writing this?

So our big question to date was, is Ryan going to be a Lucky Man?

But first the other day I said things could still get strange.  I bet you thought I was messin' with ya' and all the strange stuff was over.  NOT!  Let's just see now how crazy and strange things can get!

Remember how I said that Sandee wanted to take me kayaking and I said that I should do something she wanted to do to show her how open I was to things she liked.  Well, the day of our kayaking date finally arrived.  And here is the tale of that fateful day.  I would say think about that ELP song as you read this but the theme song to Gilligan's Island may be more appropriate!  :)

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip.  That started on this Potomac port abord a tiny kayak......

So first thing though - ladies raise your hands if you have ever had a guy make some suggestion because he was trying to show off that he knew something that he really didn't and it turned out to be a really stupid thing???  OK, now that all the ladies have their hands up let me get on with the story.

So on this particular Tuesday things were fairly slow at work in the afternoon and Shannon was out of town - the perfect recipe to get away.  Sandee wanted to go kayaking and I said yes.  She had told me of a place she usually goes that I did know of.  It was not too far away but a little further than I wished to drive.  I had a counter offer.  You see I have several friends who are fly fishermen and go to a particular spot on the river and it sounded so cool for me to say "hey Sandee lets go kayaking at Dam #2 we can drive right down to the river and shove off.  I'll park my van a little down river and drive us back to your van.  I'll even pack some more PBJ's."

Well what Ryan didn't take into consideration is that while a dam is a great place to fish and is also a great place to kayak if you know what you are doing, it ain't so great if you don't.  You see a dam stops the flow of water which means on the other side of the dam the water moves more quickly because of the pressure created by the dam (sorry more science, it always seems to get me in trouble).  For an experience kayaker this would be a more thrilling ride.  But for someone who is not experienced this is just not a good choice.

But I had commited to this and had even chosen the location so I had to "man-up" and go with it.  I surely didn't want step on my ego and admit stupidity!

So we shoved off!  And actually I made it out into the river and all was OK.  It was a gorgeous day and as we paddled down the river.

But a little further down the river we came upon an island.  Those islands also restrict the water thus creating pressure and thus creating white water which is not good for someone who doesn't know what they are doing.  Gliding past some rocks I got sideways and the rush of water started to push me where I didn't want to go.  I tried to reverse course but I overcompensated.

What happened next was like slow motion.  I slowly started to tip over.  I almost started to laugh, this was too funny.  It was almost like I was watching a movie of myself with one of those small cameras.

Over I went.  And then the shock..... COLD!!!!!!!

Jesus Christ it's 'effin November and I'm in the middle of the 'effin Potomac river and it's cold.  I flipped the kayak over but I quickly realized that I was not going to be able to get back in.  Sandee paddled over to try to help but there was no helping me now.  But it was OK, Ryan is a great swimmer I guess I'll just push this kayak to shore.

And then it hit me again - I am in the middle of the 'effin Potomac river, it's November, and it's cold.  Furthermore, great swimmer in a pool is one thing swimming in a river with a fast current is quite another.  I began to realize that there was now a quantifiable/non-neglible percentage chance that I would die.

How the fuck would I explain getting myself killed to Shannon!

Wait Ryan, don't be such an idiot why would you have to explain that to Shannon; you'd be dead.

It's because she is the type of woman who would find a way to raise me from the dead just so she could kill me herself!   :)

I floated down river a bit to get to a slower current.  I figured out that I could push the kayak ahead a few feet and then swim breaststroke up to it and then repeat.  And so that is what I did for the next 50 or so yards in the frigid Potomac.  The cold water was like a brick against my chest and I was certainly out of breath by shore.

Well I guess that's my workout for the day.  And no sex either I guess.  I wouldn't have pulled out my dick for anyone at that point.  Trust me after that frigid ordeal I was endowed like a Umpa Lumpa!   :)

That kind of looks like us!
So I finally got to land and we got back in our kayaks and shoved off again.  We thought about walking to a road and walking back to Sandee's car.   However, in case you didn't know the Potomac near DC may seem like it's in the big city but in fact there is some very dense forest and sheer cliffs as you go along.  Basically we were in the boonies as I heard banjos in my mind (but I was in no mood to "squeal like a pig!").  No choice but to move forward.

From this point forward there were no more rapids so we had no problems.  I dried out fairly quickly in the sun and was actually quite comfortable.  It was kind of funny and perhaps telling as to how things would move forward between us but we were both apologizing to one another profusely but also kind of laughing!

But then my next glaring error showed it's face.

You see river miles and road miles can be quite different.  Also, if you are not familiar with the Potomac it has some pretty big bends.  And those big bends can add a lot of river distance to a trip.  So even though you park your car (let's say) a few miles down the road.  It may take all day to get there by kayak.  So as the day moved on and we got past 4 pm I realized Sandee had a home deadline that was in grave jeopardy!

Finally something on our right side of the river began to look familiar.  We paddled to shore.  Luckily the good news was that it was a housing development that I was familiar with.  The bad news, we were still about 2 miles from my car and exhausted.

But luck did shine as I was able to flag down a nice man who agreed to take us to my car.

Once at my car we drove back to the kayaks and loaded them into my van and then drove to Sandee's van.

We survived!  I just wasn't sure what Sandee would think of me now???

I thought of me as a complete idiot!

Shannon's head would have exploded from anger over my actions had I been with her through such an ordeal.  Of course she would never be kayaking, she is more of a pleasure cruise gal.  But Sandee said she was surprised at how calm I was after all that happened.

I guess that is part of what makes this AM experience interesting; meeting people that don't react to things the same way your spouse does.  It's kind of hard to grasp after getting use to a particular reaction after 15+ years with a certain person and then experiencing a completely different reaction from another person you just met.

Oh well, as I got home that night I thought "this Sandee thing might have ended but I have one helluva a blog post now!"  But then again, I should probably have more faith in Sandee right!

Monday, April 9, 2012

'Cause When the Feelin's Right I'm Gonna' Run all Night

I am a pretty pragmatic guy and sometimes that can get very frustrating for those around me who want a straight up or down vote.  For instance when Shannon and I occasionally go to a fancy restaurant she will say how lovely the Caprese Salad was or what an excellent Creme Brulee they had.  She will ask me and I'll say it was OK but I'm not sure I'd go back.  Puzzled she will ask why (in her mind the food was excellent) and I'll say that I've had Creme Brulee at such and so and the bill didn't come to $150.  In my mind I'm always gauging the total (food and service) experience relative to the cost, etc.  I guess I value value over experience.  Yes, I'm not the perfect person to live with either.

Sorry, couldn't do the sock only pic
What does that have to do with anything though?  Well I think I told you Sandee liked cheesy 80's music.  One of those times I was telling old stories about myself I told her about seeing Bryan Adams in concert.  Now you young "hipsters" are saying "who cares."  Well first, I really went to see Inxs (they opened for him and they were awesome); and second, if I remember correctly I was going with a group that included some hot girls!  Surprisingly though, I really enjoyed Bryan Adams.  He had tremendous energy on stage, is a pretty decent guitar player, and did a few unexpected things like a Beatles montage.  The thing is pound for pound (and along with Inxs of course) it was the 2nd best concert I have ever attended.  Btw, the best I've ever seen was the Foo Fighters opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers (AWESOME)!  The worst - Matchbox 20.  All they had on stage was a big cheesy tie-dyed blanket behind the drum set and they basically went through their set like an album - completely pointless to pay to see it even if you are a fan.

So what's the point?  Sometimes you can be satisfied, maybe even delighted, with something that is surprisingly better than expected (Bryan Adams).  And sometimes that which you think you will likely enjoy you don't because they just go through the motions (Matchbox 20).  I could probably string that thought out on life or marriage but I better get back to my main point of today.

So how does this related to Sandee?  It doesn't, I was just like pawning off a quick paragraph on food and music on you before I get to the stuff you really want to read, call it blogging sodomy!    :)

Hey I bet you would never guess that I've seen Nellie and the St. Lounatics and Ludarcris in concert as well!  Oh well, those should be other stories, let's get on to Sandee.

So now that we have met Sandee surely our second visit involves sweat, multiple orgasms, tantric positions, and a cheap hotel room, Right?!

Not quite, I hate to tell you folks we are just getting started with this story.  And if you think strange has left the building just wait - we have plenty of silly, strange, crazy, and even scary events yet to come!

But first, upon leaving that little Country Inn we did tentatively decide to meet the following week.  In fact over the next three weeks we met several times.

For our next date we met to go for a walk in a local historic park; I packed some PBJ's and some other snacks (that's Peanut Butter and Jelly, not a Puny Blow Job - get your mind out of the gutter)!  It was a lovely day; sun still shining but the coolness of fall moving in.  Again, everything went fine.  Sandee did keep me on my toes and I was a little unsure if she was "digging" me so to speak.  In an e-mail the day before she had told me she was going to a museum over the weekend.  Of course, in making conversation I ask "so what are you doing over the weekend?"  She replied "are you kidding?"  Oh well, I guess I recovered enough for her to agree to see me the following week.

The next Monday we met and took a long walk along a nearby lake.   The following Friday we met for breakfast and then drove to this park I know that overlooks the Potomac.  To that point I had not really tried anything physically affectionate so I figured this is date #4 I better do something or this is going to friendshipville.  I did put my arm around her but didn't press any further though she did not shy from the touch.

The next Monday we met again for a walk at the lake - this was almost getting to be a routine.  It was very nice but I was worried that I was missing my opportunity.  I made myself be bold and assertive before and that is what had gotten me places.  Now for some reason I was going back to "nice guy getting no pussy syndrome."  I had to slap myself out of this or else I was sure to grab failure out of the jaws of victory.

But first, we had to this point only done things that I had suggested and she had mentioned several times now "when are we going kayaking?"  It was a big hobby of hers.  I had said that I had been kayaking before, which is not a lie I have been ocean kayaking twice.  However, I probably was embellishing for affect as I described it to her.

Regardless, before we do anything else I decided that I needed to do something she suggested.  I wanted to be the kind of guy that was willing to try things for her.  This might work.

At any rate, kayaking is great excise and likely to be fun.  What could possibly go wrong!

Also I did truly enjoy spending time with her.  She is quite easy on the eyes as they say and very fun to be with.  Yes, she had called me out on some things but she is a very kind soul.

Boy would I ever run to Lysette Anthony!
She was hot in Krull also!
This is actually a pretty good Ashley Madison song!

"It wouldn't hurt her if she didn't know, 'cause...
When it gets too much
I need to feel your touch
I'm gonna run to you
I'm gonna run to you"

Friday, April 6, 2012

Still in Peaceful Dreams I See the Road Leads Back to You

Master's Food - or Slow Southern Food

I do enjoy golf.  Smashing a small object is a great stress reliever and I always enjoy the outdoors.  I know this post is about slow things but my thing is golf does take too damn long.  I mean really at four hours even screwing starts to get boring and I want to move onto something else.

I'll tell you though I love to watch golf.  Well, actually that's not true - I love to sleep to golf.  Nothing is more relaxing on a spring/summer afternoon after some yard work than laying on the couch and turning on some golf.  The low, soft, placid voices of the commentators are like a mental Xanax!

So with the Master's coming up this weekend and in anticipation of a good nap on Saturday or Sunday afternoon I was thinking about something else nice and slow - Southern food!  And BBQ at that.  But first if you are having trouble sleeping click on the video below and snooze away.

So was that a good nap?

Did you know there is in fact a "slow food" movement.  Yep, there is a movement for everything now.

Slow Food - a movement to preserve traditional and regional cuisines and to promote and utilize underlying plant ecosystems for fresh and authentic ingredients.

For some better slow food ideas check out Suburban Mom's website, she is far more interesting.

Now onto Ryan's food.  Today's menu is:

Chipotle Cinnamon Smoked Pork Butt on a Grilled Onion roll
Citrus Jicama Cole Slaw
Fresh Peach Cobbler

If you need a beverage for that meal click on my Master's post from last year.

*  Note:  Just in case you were giggling that I was trying to coerce you into eating a pig's ass I am not.  The pork butt is actually the upper shoulder of the pig.  And if there are any vegetarians out there that are worried they will go hungry with this menu no worries I assure you the pig was a vegetarian so you are fine eating him!   :)

Smoked Pork Butt (note the real recipe is for 100#'s so I'm doing my best to adapt):
10# Smoked Pork Butt
1/2 Cup Lawry's Chipotle Cinnamon Rub
1/2 Cup of Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup Sweet Chili Sauce
1 Tbs Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Cup of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce mixed w/Tbs of water
Onion Rolls

*     Rub Chipotle Cinnamon Rub on pork until completely coated.
*     Cook pork butt at 225 degrees for 8 to 10 hours.
*     On the stove bring cider vinegar, chili sauce, pepper, BBQ, and water (and dash of pickling spice if desired) to a simmer.
*     Mop the pork butt with the sauce mixture periodically to keep moist.
*     Once cooked the pork butt should fall apart.  Mix in remaining sauce into pork and shred in a mixing bowl.  Make more sauce if needed and add to pork.
*     Keep BBQ warm in oven until served (at least 1 hour) in order to marry the flavors of the meat and sauce.
*     Toast onion roll on grill before serving.  Add BBQ to bun and serve with cole slaw on sandwich or to the side.

Citrus Jicama Cole Slaw:
1 Head of Green Cabbage
1/2 Head of Red Cabbage
1 Cup of Shredded Jicama
8/10 oz (1 can) Mandarin Oranges and/or Pineapple (1/2 can each if using both)
1/2 Cup of White Vinegar (Sub in Red Wine Vinegar if you want to spice things up)
This is Jicama btw
1 Cup  of Mayo
1/2 Cup Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

*     Clean and chop cabbage roughly into shreds.
*     Peel jicama and dice into small cubes.
*     Combine mayo and vinegar and stir until you get a smooth dressing consistency.
*     Add fruit, sugar, salt, pepper, and jicama and stir until combined.
*     Add dressing to mixed cabbage and toss until sauce combined completely.  Refrigerate and let sit until cool.  Taste and add sugar, salt, and pepper as needed.

Peach Cobbler:
8 Cups sliced fresh peaches
2 Cups of sugar (infused w/vanilla beans 1 day if you're fancy)
3 Tbs all purpose flour
1/2 Tsp of nutmeg
1 Tsp of Pure vanilla extract (don't fake it!)
1/3 Cup Butter (unsalted)
Pastry for Double Pie Crust
Vanilla Ice Cream

*     Bake peaches on low heat until slightly tender.
*     Pour peaches and juice into Dutch Oven and stir in sugar, flour, and nutmeg to peaches.  Let mixture sit for about 15 minutes until syrup forms.
*     Bring mixture to a boil in Dutch Oven and then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
*     Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter.
*     Roll out enough pastry dough to form into bottom of baking dish.  Roll out at 1/8th thickness.
*     Spoon half of peach filling into lightly buttered baking dish.
*     Top filling with pastry dough, and brush on a small amount of melted butter.
*     Bake at 475 for 12 minutes or until light brown.
*     Spoon remaining peach filling over baked crust.
*     Roll remaining pastry dough into 1/8th thickness and cut into 1" lattices.  Arrange lattice onto top of peach filling.
*     Bake an additional 15 minutes or until light brown on top.
*     Allow to cool and serve with Vanilla Ice Cream

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Um bu bu bum da de

Or Why can't we give love that one more chance

Btw, this is actually my 200th1st post!

Actually it is not.  I tend to write about 2 weeks ahead so Monday's scheduled 199th and today's scheduled 200th post were written a long time ago and scheduled in auto post.  I had purposefully held off on any TMI's or FFF's to time the posts accordingly as I was intending on making some goofy points (see my last post).  But I woke up this past Sunday and felt foolish (or maybe it was the fact that I love to post on Holidays because let's face it I'm foolish on most days) and could not hold off on writing that post thus making today's post in fact my 201st which is in direct contrast to the point I was trying to make Monday.  But two things come to mind:  1) who's counting and 2) I'm always contradicting myself anyway.

But it actually relates to my point today regarding blogging which I'll get to after I digress for a bit more.

First thing though the lyric title above is in fact from the Queen song NOT that Vanilla Ice song.   The Vanilla Ice song goes dot dah dah dah dah dah dah (it's not even close).  Although I do remember driving down A1A with Chelle back in the day!

I was thinking about Riff the other day.  I remember that he said the original concept for his blog was kind of a way to talk about his exploits to the guys and maybe share some best practices and some "how to's" so to speak.  But later he realized that women were really diggin' the blog.  In fact I am sure if you had gone through his followers and comments you would have found way more females.

So on another plane but along the same rationale I was talking to Kat about a blogging award.  I was going to nominate 6 but she wanted to nominate one of my six.  The 6th was the one male blog I was going to nominate.  So in the end I nominated all female blogs and she nominated mostly male blogs.  I chalked it up to us both being sluts and she concurred!   :)

OK, another dimension on these multi-planes of logic for which I promise to tie together at the end if you will keep following me.  So, since all these Sandee posts I've been chatting up a few 20-something bloggers.  Now, I say this in the most respectful way - to be honest I doubt any of this chatting will lead to any "hook-ups" over at the J.W. Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue.  Although if any of you are interested I could tell you about a great story about me and that property many years ago!  But my main point to this and the others above is that you never know where any of this will go.  :)

Oh wait 2 more things:

1.    One of my all time favorite movies is Less Than Zero, I've mentioned it a few times in my blog - the archtypal Gen X movie (a must see for all of us 30/40 somethings).  Within that movie is one of the greatest quotes of all time and I paraphrase a bit here "this road doesn't go anywhere..... that doesn't matter dude just that we're on it."

2.    Back to my Diversity Symposium from the other week.  There are 3 types of stress:  1) Inevitable stress (e.g. death and taxes), 2) imposed stress (someone gave it to you and you accepted it), and 3) chosen stress (and don't forget you chose it).  Try to make sure you don't worry so much about #1 (only worry about things you can control), avoid #2 at all cost (trust me it's no fun to step in #2 so don't choose it unless it will do something for you down the road which let's face it how often does #2 bring you pleasure :), and focus on #3 and more importantly why you chose it.

I'm not even sure it I know what I'm trying to say now????  Do you?

OK I think it is this.  This blogging thing is really fun.  But how to keep it fun and not flame out.  I see so many people try it and then they go "balls to the wall" with posts out every three hours.  Sooner or later they burn out.  If you look at my "play list" to the right you will see a pretty consistent, steady pattern.  Kind of like my golf game "dead, solid, perfect" and right down the fairway every time!  Ryan, that's bullsh*t your tee shots hook more then Heidi Fleiss and you believe a 3-putt is cause for celebration!  OK, so my point is I do enough to make it fun but not so much to make it homework.

So my points today because you know I always have to have bullet points:

*     Decide ahead of time what is reasonable and do that and no more.  If it's one post per week, per day, or per month do that and don't go over.  As Dave Chapelle once said "if it ever get's more expensive than the price you name - get out."
*     Keep it fun.  Even when you are writing about something painful make sure you are better for having told the story.  Poke some fun at yourself.  Chances are someone out there has a similar experience and you will be able to laugh or cry with them now.
*     Meet new people and put yourself where you don't feel comfortable - you may learn something.
*     Be flexible.  If you plan for your 200th post on Monday don't be afraid to do something different on Sunday if it tickles your funny bone.  Again, if you get inflexible you kind of get outside of the reason for blogging in the first place.
*    Comment on other people's blogs!  We all live for the mental candy of feedback.  And comments are actually a great way to promote your blog and further your on-line persona.  Actually comments and reaction to comments on his blog was one of the big ways that Riff interacted with his audience and thus one of the most poignant ways he achieved such success.

*     And most importantly when you are blogging make sure you don't feel "Under Pressure" but most importantly as they say in the song "give love one more chance!"

I'll get back to Sandee next week after a food post on Friday.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Everybody Loves Me Baby What's the Matter with You

It's my 2nd Ashley Madison Anniversary!
and my 200th post is marked down to 199 for one day only!

A few weeks ago I wrote a tribute to Riff Dog upon the apparent end to his blogging days.  I used the Don McLean American Pie lyrics "The Day the Music Died" as the post title, as it seemed so appropriate.

It got me to thinking about that album.  The funny thing is that famous song is not really my favorite on the album because it has been so overplayed.  That album contains so many great songs like "Vincent" (an ode to Vincent Van Gogh), "Babylon" (a traditional chant), and "Everybody Loves Me Baby."  Like the characters in "The Day the Music Died," "Everybody Loves Me Baby" is one of those songs where you can debate over what it's about.  Some say it's about America.  Others, and I agree, say it's about President Johnson (LBJ) who had so many landmark accomplishments such as Civil Rights and the Great Society yet left office in ill repute over his escalation of the Vietnam War.

Anyway, upon my 200th post and celebration of my 2nd Ashley Madison anniversary I find that song an excellent way to hammer out a good "whiney"post about my marriage and how I have come to this place in life.  Everybody needs a good whine every so often.  Unfortunately I don't have any cheese to go with this post (get it cheese with my whine) but here goes.

Btw, here is what I wrote on my 1st Ashley Madison Anniversary.  Go to my first blog post and you will see what I did on my 1st day on AM.

But Ryan I was counting, why celebrate your 199 post - what are you trying to feed us?  Oh yeah, well you know in my business marketing is very important.  I've gotten to the point where I can't stand to see something priced at say $1.42 or just $20, it irks me.  You see, I'm a slave to marketing and one of the biggest marketing tenants in retail is odd-even pricing.  Odd-even pricing says that psychologically customers will respond to a price of $9.99 better than $10.  Apparently it was originally a tool to make sure cashiers were actually ringing up sales and not counting in their heads.  But it became so prevalent that somebody attached a psychological term to it.  Anyway, since I was too lazy to crank out another post so my AM anniversary would coincide with my 200th post I just decided that visually there would be greater "perceived value" if my 2nd AM Anniversary/200th post post was actually #199.     :)

So on to my whine and cheese for the day.

If I was going to write a thesis for why I joined Ashley Madison it would be this:  "to refute Shannon's assertion that I am a complete ass and to validate Renee's assessment that I was indeed handsome, nice, and even charming."  Well, I guess sex was a big motivator too!  Kat wrote about types of affairs a few months ago - it was a great post (as is the case with all of her posts).

I am not sure what category I fit in.  I can't say I have had an affair of the heart but I am certainly not in this just for sex.  Yet, while I have had some emotional connections I am certainly not in it just for witty e-mails either.  I can get that from my wonderful blogging friends!  However while sex may not be all that's on my mind it sure does pass the time and keep other things off my mind!  Of course Kat and I have a running joke that I'm really just into this to see myself in front of the mirror (like the Pres)!   :)

So really what my relationship with Renee provided was hope.  Of course the President in Hunger Games says a little hope is good, a lot of hope can be dangerous.  So as I logged into Ashley Madison for that first time I was looking for hope.  And I guess I found a lot and yes it has been dangerous.  But also exhilarating.

So what to do with all that hope?  I was in a Diversity Symposium the other day and the speaker said "we are here but we want to go there, how do we do it."  We look for our "North Star."  She said "we find that through daring ingenuity where you are not afraid to fall."  I guess that could be a good analogy for Ashley Madison.

What she also said is that change is easy, if I give you $1 and you give me back 4 quarters we have change.  What we are really looking for is transformation.  Oh and of course desire, for without desire there is no transformation.  She also mentioned something about luck often being the intersection of desire and opportunity.  Yeah, all this stuff relates really well and does describe my transformation with the AM thing.

So anyway, we log onto Ashley Madison and find "an aspirational place to reflect and to dream and to transform."  For me it was very therapeutic to have an opportunity to be intentionally mindful of others in the pursuit of impressing someone else.  Unlike a bar and except for the profile description and photos we have no observable phenotype of the individual we are contacting at first, only their words.  And so we get a vision of who they are (if you are good at writing) or perhaps more importantly their vision of who they want to be instead of a hallucination (which is often a biproduct of being in a bar).

Early on in my AM career I did have fairly good success with just simply getting responses.  That positive mental feedback for being charming, witty, and interesting drove me to endeavor to be even more so.  And with most things in life success drives success.  The more creative I was the more success I had.  Additionally I found the more I was myself the more I was a success.

My first encounter with Alecia showed me that I am someone who can and should be desired by another.  And even more important I found again that great feeling when you desire another and want to be good to them and for them.

Sandra was such a friend.  She made me feel great about myself.  At my age being a "boy toy" is no insult - it's great.  I shared a lot with her.  I told her most of things I done wrong in my marriage.  It was odd to have someone sort of laugh it off as normal forgivable frailties.  Perhaps the things I had done in life, though bad, did not deserve Shannon's sentence of exiled for life.  Keeley made me realize that someone might be willing to go out of their way just to be with me and what a great feeling it is to want to risk something to be with another.  You are in fact most alive when those senses are sparkling throughout your body and you are bursting with anticipation.

And of course now I found Sandee (or rather last fall) and perhaps everything was about to come together. 

Yeah, I guess the best part of all this AM stuff is the people I have met and the affect they have had on me.  I can only hope my affect on them was OK but as that Clint Black song goes "I'm leaving here a better man."

So where to go from here and what to do with Shannon?

As I have said Shannon is a good mom and a gorgeous women.  Certainly someone worth trying everything to keep.  But in the end you can't make people love you and you have to be honest with yourself.  Obviously some things are not meant to be and that is when you have to move on.

So maybe it's a bit of a stretch to say "everybody loves me," but through all this I have realized I am a pretty OK person.

But in the end I am always about bullet points!  So here are my bullet pointed takeaways:

*     Ashley Madison is not for everybody in fact it is not for most people.
*     Ashley Madison is not the end result.  It is at best a guidepost or a North Star if you will.  The light that perhaps inspires you to transform to who you would like to be.
*     Ashley Madison is potentially a tool for self assessment and discovery.  You may find out that in fact you are a jerk!  And then again you might find out that you deserve better.  In the end you will get out what you put in as it is with everything in life.
*     Ashley Madison will get old quickly even for those who like the adventure.  Remember excellence is fleeting.  As soon as you have it, it is gone.   True excellence is fleeting and must be constantly pursued.
*     Like gambling never bet what you are not willing to lose for lose you surely will do in the end; like the Hunger Games the odds are never in your favor.
*     Use AM for healing and hope and pursuit of happiness.  But don't use it for a cure - it is not.
*     Use it to be excellent.  For as Ricky Bobby says "I get up in the morning and piss excellence!"
*     Use it to be more diverse and learn about others and how they got to their place.  Maybe you will understand how you arrived at your place.
*     Be responsible for your outcomes.  It should not be fun if others suffer for your enjoyment.
*     Use it to push you further along on your journey.
 *    Finally as Bill and Ted said "Be excellent to each other!"

And so Dear Shannon I say this to you:

"Yeah, everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?
tell me what did I do to offend you?"