Category Archives: bethemarriage

The Other Important Thing About Election Day

As you already know it is Election Day here in the US.; if you can vote, I hope that you have. I’m not here to say anything about politics. I’ve already had my say and cast my ballot. Like the rest of America I am now awaiting the results. Instead of adding to the political noise I’d like to share something that is important to me.

You may not know this, but my wife Nina and I met for the very first time on Election Day in 2006. I was a different person then but thankfully she was the same wonderful person than that she is today. I was in the process of rebuilding a broken life when we met but I must have done something right because we obviously saw each other again.

Here are four facts about that first meeting:

1. It was a planned meeting and I gave myself an hour to drive 6 miles to meet her. I did not want to get caught in any Election Day traffic jams.

2. Because Election Day traffic is not a thing I was very early, a fact that made me very self conscious, so…in a moment of questionable thinking I decided to hide in the bathroom until after scheduled meeting time. This means I made a fashionably late dramatic appearance…from the bathroom. Nothing says this guys a keeper quite like “I was just hanging out in the bathroom for 20 minutes.”

3. We had fun but she made it 100% clear that we were not on a date. I knew this and was fine with this fact.

4. We got engaged 53 days later.

This morning we celebrated our first meeting by going on a voting date.

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Me, Doing Stuff On The Radio

So remember a few weeks ago when i said i was going to be blogging regularly again? I meant that but out in the world events conspired against me, in a positive way. Basically my side project A Year of Billy Joel blew up, in a good way, and it’s been taking up all of my spare time.

Last night I was on WGN Radio discussing that project and you can listen to what I had to say here.

Thanks to host Bill Leff, his producer Dan and WGN for having me on. More to come here soon.

P.S. – My wife has something to say about what happened after the show.

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Dream Baby Dream

One time at a Thai restaurant I got a fortune cookie that advised: “Keep your expectations reasonable.” At the time I made a joke about it but I’ve eaten hundreds of fortune cookies and that is the only fortune I remember because it is only one that ever made me mad. I drove home from that dinner very angry with the cookie who reminded me that I already was keeping my expectations ridiculously reasonable, to the point that I was content with getting by: I had a job that was good enough, an apartment  where the best feature was its price and if I ever dreamed of bigger and better things I certainly kept it to myself. The cookie said to stay reasonable and I took that to mean I should aim low and try to not get hurt. By the standards I had set I was successful and safe but never very happy.

Several years ago I examined my standards for success and I wasn’t pleased with what I saw. I was being held back by my own low expectations for myself and what I was capable of. I began to make changes, tentatively at first, but slowly I began moving forward, gaining confidence and finally expecting more of myself. I began want more out of life and more importantly doing the work to get it. While this change was happening I was mostly keeping it to myself, sure I had dreams but nobody had to know it.

The first big test of my new and improved life happened when I met a girl named Nina. I knew right away that Nina was special and I wanted her to be a part of my life but had no expectation they would feel the same way. Still,  I was so committed to doing things differently that I took a chance and if you know me you know how things turned out (if you don’t know me I’ll fill you in at the end).

Since that time I’ve pushed myself even harder to live a life beyond reasonable expectations and in every way my life is better today than it was when I got that stupid fortune cookie. As a result I’m doing things I never expected to be doing and I’m happier today than I’ve ever been in my life. I plan to keep reaching and working for more but for this particular day I’m treating myself to something special. On the table beside me there is a passport and a boarding pass for a flight to Sweden with my name on them. For the first time in my life I am taking a trip overseas. I’m very excited because this is something I used to think I could never do.

Of course I won’t be traveling alone, Nina is coming with me.  At some point over the Atlantic Ocean the clock will strike midnight and the date will be May 10th. When this happens Nina and I will have been married for four years. Of all of the ways my life has changed, the best part of my life today is having someone I can live out my dreams with.

Now if you’ll pardon me, I have a flight to catch. See you soon.


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Two Photos From This Weekend

Nina and I, before the dancing started.

Am I being pushed out or pulled back?


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We Told You We’d Come Back For You

Remember the weekly chat show that Slackmistress and I used to do on Saturdays? You remember…the one where we told stories and occasionally sang songs. It’s called Be The Marriage (except in Japan where it’s called Man in Hat vs. Girl with Big Boobs) and it went away at the end of last year due to scheduling issues and a few holidays.  Well, it’s coming back again!

We quietly restarted our show last Saturday at a new time, 8:00 PM Eastern Time, 5:00 PM Pacific (you can do the math on the other time zones). We’ll be back this Saturday night at the same new time so join us. You can tune in live or watch archived episodes here.

You can also find some background info on what we do here.  We’ll see you on Saturday.


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A Reminder & A Holiday Story

Where You Wont Find Us (For a Few Weeks)

Due to family obligations and illness my wife and I have been unable to do our usual Saturday chat show for a few weeks. We miss it terribly but for the next few weeks we will be busy with holiday things so we’re going to continue our hiatus for a little bit longer. We’ll be back after Christmas with stories to tell and a few surprises. Thanks for being patient with us, we look forward to spending a Saturday night with you soon.

In the meantime, here’s a story from the first Christmas that Nina and I spent together.  It is about a party, a dessert and the dangers of setting expectations too high.

You Promised Us A-List Dessert

As soon as the invitations to our holiday party were out someone wrote us to say…”I’ll be there…and I’m making my world-famous brownies.”

My not as yet wife and I were not sure what to say. First, she had already planned several elaborate deserts and second, if these brownies were so famous, how had we never heard of them?

We tried the “Thanks for offering but your company is enough” approach but they insisted.  They made it clear that they would be insulted if we didn’t allow them to bring their “WORLD FAMOUS” brownies. In the days leading up to the party the legend of the brownies grew… “they were going to blow our minds with deliciousness,” they “were going to be the biggest holiday miracle since the baby Jesus.”  We got over ourselves and the fact that brownies didn’t fit into our meal plans…we were ready for celebrity brownies.

On the night of the party we wondered: will the brownies be using a car service? Will there be an entourage? What if these famous treats reject us? As these questions raced through our minds the brownies arrived but not in a candy limo like we had hoped; they arrived without fanfare in a disposable plastic container. Not the entrance we anticipated for brownies allegedly known the world over but maybe they were just down to earth celebrity brownies.  Soon we’d find out what we’d been missing.

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever had a world-famous desert sitting in your kitchen while you tried to eat dinner in the next room but it’s tough. We tried to entertain but all the while we thought “everyone will be so impressed when they find out what we have in the kitchen…those brownies you see on TV, the world-famous ones.” Sure, we had never heard of them but our friends must have. In between dinner and dessert and my not yet wife and I could wait no more, we broke off a small piece so as not to risk being consumed by their supernova of awesomeness and had a taste.

I asked:

“What do you think”
- “They taste like brownies”
“But famous…right”
-“No, just regular”

She was right, they were just regular brownies, but hardly world-famous. At best these were “well-regarded locally” brownies or “perfectly serviceable if you’re starving to death” brownies but not the mega star dessert we were promised.

We contemplated “forgetting” to bring them out but decided we had no choice, one of our guests had dedicated nearly 45 minutes of their life to making them for us. We were going to serve them even if they were clearly on the C-list of celebrity desserts.

The lesson here kids is simple: unless you’re asked to bring dessert you really don’t have to. If you come to our house, we’ll feed you. However, if you insist on bringing something, be careful not to oversell it.

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Those Lousy Bandits Better Stay Home

In exactly one week my wife and I will be going on our honeymoon, a mere two and a half years after we were married.  Originally we planned to head somewhere tropical but since we’d rather not go broke we decided to keep it closer to home. We then planned on spending a full week away from home but after the expense of traveling for my dad’s funeral we decided to cut the week down to four days (thanks dad). I’m not complaining about this, I’m happy to be going anywhere at all, especially after last night.

Last night Nina we were watching Confessions of a Superhero where SPOILER ALERT – The people who dress up as superhero’s on Hollywood Blvd are not Fortune 500 CEO’s.  At one point the Superman impersonator gets married; in costume (it was actually pretty sweet). As part of their vows, Mr. & Mrs. Fake Superman agree to forsake all others. This led to a dispute about our wedding vows, specifically if Nina and I vowed to forsake anyone.  We went to the wedding video to check and it turns out that we didn’t use the term forsake but we did vow to not see other people. I was very disappointed by this but not because I want to marry anyone else. I was disappointed because I was pretty sure that forsaking had something to do with me being allowed to wear a badge and carry a gun.  This is because I was only familiar with the term forsaking through the theme song from High Noon.  I guess vows or no vows; I won’t be named sheriff of an old timey western town anytime soon.  I guess I’ll have to come up with a new long-range career plan.

On the plus side, we’re going on out honeymoon next week, which, now that I think about it, was actually where Gary Cooper was supposed to be going before all of the shit went down in High Noon.  I really hope that bandits don’t show up and mess up our plans, we’ve already waited two and a half years.  Stay home bandits, we need this.


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My Wife Is Awesome

In case you haven’t noticed my wife has been knocking it out of the park even more than usual lately. While I’ve been aware of this, I’ve been so wrapped up in family business that I haven’t taken the time to make sure that everyone else knows it. I’ve known since the day we met that she is incredibly talented but over the last several months she’s turned it up even higher than usual with her work on Valemont, Woke Up Dead and an appearance at the 140 Conference.  While managing multiple projects she’s also been helping to keep me and my family together through a difficult time (by doing stuff like this) AND keep things running at home.

Check out her talk from the 140 Conference:

The final episodes of Valemont are up today and can be found here.

As for my wife she can be found working hard  today, as usual, despite feeling under the weather.  I am very lucky and very grateful to have her.

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What To Do Next

Over the weekend my wife and I took care of an important piece of business by getting back to our regular weekly chat show on Saturday.  This was the first time we had done one since my father’s passing so we dedicated the show to him and spent the whole time telling stories and celebrating the time we had together.  It was hard for me to get though but when it was done I felt pretty good.  Just like my father the show was funny, sentimental and sometimes filthy; if you missed it or would like to see it again it is archived here.

Thanks to everyone who watched and participated in this on Saturday.  I meant a lot to me and I’m sure my dad would have appreciated it too.

While I’m still adjusting to a world that my dad is not a part of I am doing my best to get on with things.  I looked at the calendar this morning and wondered where the last four weeks had gone. There is so much to do before the end of the year and I’m not sure where to start.  Between now and December 31 I need to:

1- Eat Less – Apparently mourning leads to overeating.  I spent the first 9 months of this year getting into better shape and the last month undoing a lot of that hard work.  The sooner I stop stuffing my face in the name of grief the better.

2- Stop Prefacing Stories About My Dad With “When My Dad Was Alive” – It’s probably understood that when I tell a story about something my father and I did, it happened when he was still alive.  In the event my father comes back as a vampire and we go fishing I’ll specify that he was undead when it happened.  Until then assume that all stories about us took place while he was alive.

3- Go On My Honeymoon – I got married to this girl in May 2007 and three days later we were on our way back home and getting back to work.  The plan was to go on a honeymoon the next year but financial issues made that hard to do so we put it off.  We felt we were able to do it this year and planned to take a week off to get away in December.  While my father’s passing has thrown a monkey wrench into our plans we are still going to get away to San Francisco for a few days after Thanksgiving.  It’s not a tropical island and we’re not getting away as long as we had hoped for but we’ll be together and we’ll see a lot of friends.  We’ll be in San Francisco 11/30 -12/3 if you’ll be there, let us know.

There’s more to do of course, like writing more, saving money and learning to dance, but this is a start.  The business of living has begun again.


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Reasons To Celebrate

If you’re keeping score at home today marks a very important anniversary in my life.  Do you know what it is?  If you guessed it’s the day I first saw a big dog and a little dog walking together (I love that) you are wrong but today is just as important.  Three years ago, on this day, I met Nina for the very first time.  It was not a date and she made it clear she had no intention of dating me but I wrote this the next day:

I met the Slackmistress last night. I’m not sure that I can describe her in a way that does her justice, because she’s just delightful. For a while I have read her site and been aware of her through the internet but that doesn’t come close to painting the picture. Imagine for a second that you’re a kid again and it’s a holiday. In the morning you see a big present with your name on it but you can’t open it until it gets dark so you wait all day and wonder what it could be. Well if when you open the present it’s everything you wanted and more, your present would be the Slackmistress.

We got married six months later.  That’s something to celebrate.

Also, Nina and I are bringing back BetheMarriage tonight at a special time to celebrate my dad’s life with an hour (or more) of toasts and tales like these.

Join us at 6pm PST (that’s 9pm Eastern)tonight for BetheMarriage: Remembering Dad of Boy.  It will be fun, we promise.


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