Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The listens this day, 16 April 2014

Worked until 2:30 this morning.  Came home.  Didn't fall to sleep so much as plummeted headlong into it.  Your pal Tommy is a sleep sissy.

Made myself get up at 9.  It's too easy to fall into that 1 AM routine.  I'd like to wear those comfortable britches, but those comfortable britches don't work well with that routine that my Overlords demand, inasmuch as those other days where I gotta get my big ass out of bed somewhere in the neighborhood of 5:15.

Anyway.  Did find time to write this morning, as soon as I was able to jam some coffee into my gob.

And, I found a little time to write.  Got a story that I'm thinking of just throwing up for Kindle publishing, just to see what I can get out of that.  Just goofy shit.

Anyway:  Here's what I listened to:

"Polish Work Song"    Dex Romweber Duo
"W.W.J.D."       Axis of Awesome
"Sit Down by the Fire"    the Pogues
"Down to the Well"     Hard Working Americans
"God Fearing People"      JD Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers

(Might I pause here to note that I FINALLY got to see the Dirt Daubers live a couple weeks back?   This was the song, as performed by Wilkes with the Legendary Shack Shakers, was what turned me onto the man's work.  Both versions are fantastic.  Somehow, without the grunge and holler of the Shack Shakers version, this one hits the nail a little more on the head)

"More Pills"      Amy Ray
"Particles"     the Whiskey Gentry
"The Passenger"       Iggy Pop
"Pancho and Lefty"      Jason Isbell & Elizabeth Cook
"Sugar Dyed"     St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Ultimate Warrior

I guess you people really liked the Ultimate Warrior.  Every place I turn today, his death is being reported.  Trending on Twitter.  Top story on Facebook.  Play on the teevee.

Which is cool, I guess, because I liked the Ultimate Warrior, too.  I was glad to see him get recognition for the Hall of Fame this past weekend.  Sad that he's passed, but glad that he got to bury the hatchet with a few people he was holding grudges against.

Still.  Everybody's talking about the Ultimate Warrior.

I only bring it up now because before, every time I brought up the Ultimate Warrior in conversation, everybody used to laugh it off like I was making a joke, or tried to change the subject. Know this: I never joked about the Ultimate Warrior. Never.  He was pertinent to damn near every conversation (except when I brought him up when Steven and Janet were exchanging vows...I realize now that was inappropriate, and probably something I should have saved for a toast at their reception).

I say all that to say this: Did you know you're not allowed in several businesses if you're wearing Ultimate Warrior facepaint and ribbons? They kept saying something about "No Shirt" but that's silly, because the Ultimate Warrior didn't wear a shirt.

I'm never going back to that Big Lots.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Quick notes of Musical Interest

Wandered out to this month's Scenic City Roots show down at Track 29 in Chattanooga last night.  It's monthly (or so) show that features four or five musical artists.  Most artists can be grouped under an Americana umbrella, but there's been a little bit of everything in the handful of shows I've managed to make it to.

As much as we'd enjoyed the first few shows, we'd not caught one in a few months.  Work was mostly to blame.

We made it last night, though.  Was very pleased with the local offering, and I submit their kickstarter to you

Only four days left.  Jump on in there.  They do good work.  At least, they're on my radar, now.


Just putting my thoughts onto paper, here.

The city where I work, Cleveland, has 2 movie theaters, with 26 screens split between them.

Each of those screens averages 5 showings a day.

That's 130 slots a day.  (910 in a week).

Why do they show the same 8 movies between then?

Between them, there are seven showings of Non-Stop, a month old mediocre action-ish movie with Liam Neeson.

10 showings of Mr. Peabody and Sherman.  11 of God's Not Dead.  25 of Captain America.

I don't understand how that business works.  I'm not sure what kind of money goes into a showing.

But still.  Wouldn't it make good business sense to try showing something that your competition isn't?

Just kinda pissed that Grand Budapest Hotel isn't showing any closer than Chattanooga or Knoxville.

Pissed, but not surprised.

I'd be curious how many folks show up for those showings of Non-Stop.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Listens, this day, 27 March 2014

Wrote some.  Cleaned some.  Here's what I listened to:

"Cool Dry Place"    Travelling Wilburys
"Another Train"    The Hard Working Americans
"Crocodile Rock" (Live)     Elton John
"The Passenger"      Iggy Pop
"Falling Water"      Ten Bartram
"You Don't Love Me Anymore"    Weird Al Yankovic
"When Love was Young"      Iris Dement
"School Days Over"     The Chieftains
"Midnight Sun"    the Dex Romweber Duo
"I Found You"     Alabama Shakes
"Brain Damage"      the Waifs
"Map of the Problematique"      Muse
"Out of the Frying Pan (and Into the Fire)"      Meat Loaf
"Falling Corns"     Kukuruza
"Lost in America"        Alice Cooper
"I Remember When I Was Young"     Kukuruza
"People are Strange"     Echo and the Bunnymen
"Play the Game"      Queen
"Think of Me"      the Dex Romweber Duo
"Big Girls Don't Cry"     the Four Seasons
"Someday Believers"      Portugal, the Man

Monday, March 17, 2014

One St. Patrick's Day Thought

If you sunsabitches can co-opt Die Hard and call it a Christmas Movie, I will take The Fugitive as my standard bearing flick for all things St. Patrick's Day.

If they can dye the river green today, why can't they dye it blue the other 364 days of the year?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Random Shit

  • No posts regarding Tunica, though it brought a couple things worth mentioning.  First, we performed well, but weren't in the Top 10 at the end.  Somewhere between 125 and 150 teams there (I've heard 128, 135 and 149, and I didn't count).  We were 39th at the Final question, but bunched up with a bunch of teams within spitting distance of the top 5.  We missed the Final Question, though.  No worries.  Was a tremendous time.
  • Interesting was driving through Germantown and Memphis on Saturday, and thinking about turning on the AC, but seeing them laying salt down on the other side of the interstate.  It was warm enough that I'd wished I'd worn shorts.
  • One minor gripe?  The beer situation sucked at Sam's Town.  Now, I'm one of those beer snobs that seems to care what the stuff he puts in his mouth tastes like.  Now, I know it's Mississippi, but even in Mississippi you gotta find something in the craft beer range.  We had to make Heineken suffice for the drinking at the table.  Seriously, though.  Find something.  Sweet Magnolia is in Mississippi...that's just a hint....
  • Didn't do much gambling.  A casino is overwhelming, to me, I'm almost sorry to admit.  Too many lights, too many noises.  I'd say I'm like Rain Man, except Rain Man lasts most of the third act of the movie at a Blackjack table.
  • I did a lot of quality people watching, though.  Casinos are great for that.  Lot more camo on the floor at Tunica than I'd have thought. 
  • I guess here's as good a place as any to say that it's now officially jarring to go someplace where people smoke indoors.  As Micah put it, his room at Sam's Town smelled like they were sleeping in the back room of one of our Trivia haunts.
  • Woke up the next morning to begin the trek back to Tennessee, and wandered outside in a t-shirt.  34 degrees, and all that.  I think Mississippi forgot to pay their heat bill.
  • Wandering back toward East Tennessee, we passed the cold front somewhere around Manchester, TN, just after we'd stopped for gas.  In the 25 miles or so after Manchester, the temperature went up about 25 degrees.  When we got back to relatively lovely McMinn County, it was again up in the 70's.
  • We're looking for a regular haunt to begin playing Trivia again.  The rest of the team may try Tuesdays at Southern Burger Company in Ooltewah--I can't play Tuesdays, alas, owing to that the fate of the Free World revolves around my taking displays down on Tuesday nights.  I'm encouraging them to go play, though.
  • I haven't uttered the phrase "working like a botard" in a few months.  February and March have been much more pleasant than the previous four or five.  When it rains it pours, though.  Three of my grocery guys have either quit or put in notice the past couple of weeks.  Such is life.
  • Getting close to NCAA Tournament time, one of my favorite times of the year.  I think I enjoy the first Thursday and Friday of the tournament as much as any other days of the sporting year.  Hopeful that Tennessee will make it, though not counting on it.  Need a win in the SEC tournament, and probably 2 to cement it (especially since that second win would most likely be against Florida).
  • Another vacation begins this week.  Hoping to possible get out in time Friday to watch at least part of Tennessee beginning SEC Tournament play, that afternoon.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

People I share a birthday with

Today, I learned that I share a birthday with pitcher Justin Verlander.  I'm 6 years older, and he has roughly 88000% more pitching talent than I do.

I also share a birthday with Chelsea Peretti.  I learned this today, as well.

I also remembered that I shared a birthday with Kurt Cobain.  When he died, I remember that being the biggest thing I took away from his death, that we shared a birthday.  And every year, I tend to have a "Huh, I shared a birthday with him" moment.

And then I forget.

Other folks I share February 20th with, in celebrating trips around the sun?  Sidney Poitier.  Lauren Ambrose.  Rihanna.  Charles Barkley.  Lili Taylor.  Ron Eldard.  Cindy Crawford.  The late Robert Altman.
I will probably forget them too.

Such is life.  I'm getting older.  The memory is always the first thing to go.

If I had to guess, I think mine left somewhere around 2009.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Trivia Finals, and whatnot.

From left to right, Marc (the trivial gamesmaster...), and our team:  yours truly, Shyam, Micah, Michelle and Steven...

It's just bar Trivia.  But, we came out on top of a city-wide competition yesterday.  And we did it with the same group of goofballs that's been playing for the past four or five years together.

We're not a bad group.  When we play, we're competitive.  We win our share.  We also have weeks where the luck of the draw is against us.

I've been playing Challenge Entertainment shows for a while.  My sister, former brother-in-law and I started playing shows at Fox and Hound in Chattanooga a good long while ago.  We also picked up a game or two at the Hixson Buffalo Wild Wings (at the old location at Northgate Mall).   It might be as much as six years ago.  We did well enough.  We played in a city championship or two at the downtown Buffalo Wild Wings.  We had one year where we came in as high as sixth.  (As an aside, there was one city championship where I've come as close as I've ever gotten to getting into a fight with a stranger--a guy gave us his table, then changed his mind after all our party had sat was a sad state of events that was assuaged by our buying him a beer).

When the Beef O'Brady's in Cleveland started holding shows, I started playing with Shyam and Steven, as it was a bit closer and more convenient for everybody--and closer to work.  Of course, this was right around the time I got transferred north, too.  So, Chattanooga shows were 90 minutes away.  Cleveland was a little more easily made, if I was working that day.  It was there we started playing with a revolving door of Cleveland folks.  Steven's work schedule got difficult, so he stopped playing regularly.  Pretty soon, a regular core of me, Shyam, Michelle, Micah and our friend Jessie started playing there. 

Soon, Jessie moved back to Ohio, and Beef O'Brady's closed rather suddenly just before the winter final a few years back.  We didn't play as regularly after that. I started playing occasionally with my buddy Rob, who was back in the States for a while, up in Knoxville.  Our friend Danna played a couple times.  We did well enough to play in Knoxville's final.  Our friends Ryan and Shawn played with us, and there we did well enough in the first half to garner attention from the runners/proctors to make sure we weren't cheating.

After that, we tried making shows at a couple sites with the core group in Chattanooga, but it didn't work out as a regular thing.  Jessie came back to visit one week, and we decided to go play at T-Bones, a bar I'd been to once or twice before, but never to play trivia.

T-Bones became a regular haunt for a couple of years, owing mostly to it holding its Trivia Night on a night it was most convenient for all of us.  We qualified for a handful of trivia finals there, too.

Work schedules change up again.  T-Bones stops being as convenient a place to play.  I should note that Shyam and I live 45 minutes to an hour from Chattanooga.  That's not a horrible drive, but sometimes, when you've worked a 10 or 11 hour day, or are looking at the prospect of having to go to work at 6 the next morning, it makes Trivia at T-Bones a once-in-a-while proposition.  (It was very much why Steven has been unable to play for 3 years, or so).

Then, in late 2011, a Buffalo Wild Wings opens up in Cleveland.  Not long after, a game opens up there.  There, we start getting the band back together.  Our core group becomes the five people you see in the picture up above.

Let me pause.  There are other bar trivia games, even in Cleveland.  I've heard them played, but not joined in.  One in particular, at the Aubrey's in Cleveland wasn't very professionally run, and in one case had an incorrect answer as one of its answers.  I like the folks from Challenge mostly because I like Marc, the fellow who runs the bulk of the shows we attend, runs a quality show, and his group is a good bunch of people.

I also like that there's a larger event that the games lead up to.  It's nice to win a night's bar tab, or a gift card, or wings (we have a stack of wings certificates for BWW that have since expired), but the sports fan in me likes the idea of leagues and standings, and a championship at the end of a season.  Challenge offers that, when the other groups do not.

In the time frame we speak of, Challenge also grew larger in Chattanooga, and finding a venue that could host the top 5 teams of up to 5 people each from up to 15-18 locations got to be a bit difficult.  The downtown Buffalo Wild Wings at its old location could barely handle a group from about 7 or 8 locations.  The city final was played at the larger Bart's Lakeshore venue, but that stopped hosting, too.  The past handful of championships were played at the Honest Pint, downtown.

The decision was made to create a semi-final, simply to pare the numbers down.  (I'd say it ends up being win-win for Honest Pint, as well, as they end up have 3 shows with close to 30 tables on 3 otherwise slow(ish) times).  

Our first semi-final was last year.  And we didn't do well.  

We play for fun.  Same group of people.  Just a good time to go hang out with everybody.  If we win, we win.  If not?  At least we get to hang out with friends.

Still, we're usually competitive.  And we stank up the joint at our semi-final last year.  It was discouraging.

We had this year's semi-final last week.  My sister sat in because Steven couldn't get out of work.  We did well enough to make this year's final.

We wandered to Honest Pint yesterday.  It's always fun to play there.  Food's good--can't find too many places with a good Scotch Egg, and the Pimento Cheese Fritters?  Those are some good eating.

We played well enough.  I was feeling pretty good about our chances, until the reading of the scores in the second half--we found ourselves placed 20th out of 33 teams, or so.  Not in a horrible spot, but down from somewhere around 9th at the half.

The final question, in such games, is the clincher.  In this game, roughly 25 points separated third place from 25th place.  Lot of teams bunched up.  We, in 20th place, we just 30 points behind the first place team.  Indeed, nobody was running way with anything.  Still, I was a little frustrated because we'd had a handful of questions where we'd narrowed the answer to two or three things, and chosen the wrong thing to turn in.  

It's funny how things work out. 

The final question at these games is almost always a ranking question.  Either in terms of numbers, or chronology.  This week's question?  Put these in order from largest to smallest.  The choices:

Number of foreign language films to win a Best Picture Oscar
Number of years of Major League service for Kosuke Fukudome
Number of Grammy Awards won by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the recent Grammies.
Number of countries with territory on the Island of Ireland.

For me, I could ballpark all these number.  I think the middle two questions were trouble for a lot of the crowd, especially the Fukudome one.  For once, being a Cub fan comes in handy.

We turned our answer in, and bet the maximum allowed: 30 points.  Our thinking was mainly along the lines that the top 15 teams got to go on to Tunica to play in a regional final, and than in 20th, we were out either way.  Also, we were confident in our answer, and thinking that a lot of the teams above us would play it conservatively.

We didn't realize how conservatively the others would play it.

First, we had a tie-breaker question.  Tie-breakers are simply: guessing closest to a number to break a tie.  In this case, the total domestic gross for the 2013 movie Monsters University.  (Our guess of 325 million was closer than the team we were tied with--the first place team at the time.)

Of course, we couldn't be sure of it.  We didn't know if maybe a team below them had bet enough points to pass them.  Until we were announced as the winners.

Fun stuff.

It's nice to win a game like that.  Nice to beat a couple of rival teams, especially ones put together to make a run at this thing.  

We took home $400 dollars, which we split evenly among us.  

We also qualified for the trip to Tunica, Mississippi for the Mid-South regional finals.

(Now begins the fun part of all of our seeing whether we can get free from work--not a guaranteed proposition for any of us).  

Anyway, that show is in two weeks.  We'll see how it shakes out....

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Random Thoughts

I've been on vacation all week.  And given the snowy conditions, I just don't have strong enough a vocabulary to express just how glad I am I haven't had to deal with the nonsense of working a grocery store during a snow rush.

If you've ever had a delusion about people being kind and decent at heart, I invite you to stand in the front vestibule of a grocery store during a snow rush in a southern town.  There's rushing.  There's cursing.  There's no reining in that impulse to be a total asshole.  I'm not telling you it's mass insanity, you get the slightest hint of the hysteria that might grip a population should a major disaster befall the community.  I make sure to say southern town because I know it's not this way everywhere.  I know stores get a rush in other cities, but there's not the panic that's associated with it around here.  People stagger in wild-eyed from the cold, where they parked their SUV cockeyed across four spaces, and wander into the store, trying to keep a mental list of what they might need in the case of an emergency, and failing.

I'm going to make a brief aside here and say that, as a salaried member of grocery management with 700 things to do besides running a register, that if I'm working a register, and we're trying to get a rush of people out the door, the one thing that will bug me more than anything is when you do anything delay the proceedings.  These actions may include stopping to look for coupons, paying with a check, trying to decide which soda to buy, but more than any other, sending somebody back to look for something.  Inevitably, this is going to happen at the grocery store during a snow rush.  You're in the line that you've stood in for four people to buy your bread, Pop Tarts, lunchmeat, cheese, mustard, cereal, chili fixings, milk, eggs, Little Debbies, 3 suitcases of Natural Ice and 17 Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs when you realize that you forgot to pick up a can of Hartz Dog Milk Replacement for the pups at home.  It happens, and I accept that.  It seems to happen with every customer during a snow rush.

I dunno.

It's snowing today.  I look out my front window, and at 2:30 there's somewhere between a half an inch and an inch of snow on the ground.  We may get another two to four inches.  I told Shyam that I was starting to feel bad for the weathermen, especially if this had turned into rain and we'd gotten no winter accumulation.  I say that realizing that no matter what the weather conditions turn out to be, people are going to yell about the weathermen.

I was making smartass remarks during Channel 9's weathercast the other day, when David Glenn answered one of my smartass remarks by happenstance.  I made the joke that the Chattanooga folks are stressing over this weather system, and that it wouldn't surprised me much for Mr. Glenn to have jumped from my TV to pop me in the mouth.


Watching the Olympics during my week off, when I get the chance.  Men's Hockey started today, and I've been watching women's hockey, some curling and a bit of skiing.

Thoughts on curling?  I am mystified by the draw to it, and I say that not being immune to it myself.  Watching curling is a lot like watching bowling.  In theory, I think I can curl.  (Is that the right verb?  curl:curling::bowl:bowling?)  It looks like a game that would be fun, especially if there were beers involved.  And I've enjoyed watching it with a group before, usually when we've been drinking ourselves.  Watching it at 1 in the morning the other night, I was struck by how serious (like pro bowlers) these folks are.  To me, it looks contrary to the spirit of the game.  It's like an entire Olympic flight being made up of that one guy in the league who bowls a 120 every game but has all the gear and is really, really fucking intense about the game.

Except some of them get gold medals.

I've really gotten into the hockey, so far.  Saw the United States women lose to Canada today.  Saw a little bit of Sweden and the Czech Republic play as the men's side opened up today.  Looking forward to a few good games there.


Still getting used to driving a car.  Something I'm getting used to?  Assholes in giant SUV's and trucks that I can't see around when I'm backing out of a space.  Tough to swallow that I was an asshole in a truck just a month ago.

No leads from the Athens PD on that.  Discouraging.  I still hold out hope that they'll find the truck somewhere down the line parked in a parking lot somewhere where it's been abandoned.

Even a month after, I'm still realizing things that were in the truck.  Incidental losses.  My Yazoo Brew hoodie, a surprisingly warm and durable sweatshirt.  And Yazoo doesn't have anymore, at least during my last twitter conversation with them.  I lost a handful of CDs--a few Chieftains, a Frank Turner, a couple AC/DC.  I realized that my only copy of Ronald Reagan (Boston's Premiere 80's Pop Saxophone Duo) CD was in there, too.  They'll be easily enough replaced via download--a couple have been already, including the Ronald Reagan disc.  Still, aggravating.

Realized today that my big 24 ounce stainless steel coffee cup was behind my truck seat when it was stolen.  Wanted to used that for hot chocolate today.  Dammit.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Random thoughts.

Nervous this morning.  First day off in a few.  If all things go right today, I'll be picking up a new (to me) car.  Test drove a 2011 Camry the other day, and liked it.  Would like to get this done to move past this particular chapter.

No word on my truck.  Or the checks that were stolen out of it.  That's sad.  Just sad.

2014 hasn't been my favorite.  I'm lucky I have family and a girlfriend to lean on.  Friends have been helpful, too.

I'm tired.  I'll say that.  I was supposed to start vacation this coming Friday, but backed it up a couple weeks to have the time off for a couple other things coming up.

Right now?  I wish to high heavens I'd just kept vacation where it was.


I'm going to take a day, on vacation, to just sleep.  And read.  And then I'll take a nap.

No funny.  Nothing smart to say.  I'm just tired, folks.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

On feeling vengeful

Still thinking truck stuff.

I wonder if it would be any better in a world where we cut the thumbs off of thieves.

Or, failing that?  We had more hard labor camps out there.  

Bust up a few rocks.  

We have one of the largest prisoner populations in the world, per capita, in the U.S.  Why don't we have a few more things like the Pyramids, or Stonehenge, around these parts?

Failing that, instead of using taxpayer dollars, let's have a few convicts carry a few rocks to build some truly awesome stadiums?


Just hating people right now.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Truck Post

A couple days ago, my truck was stolen.

I woke up to go to work Friday morning.  I went outside to get into my truck, and it wasn't there.  I park roughly 12 feet from my door.  No truck.  Dumbfounding.  I think I even turned to make sure I was coming out of the right apartment.  Maybe to see if, perhaps, I'd left my truck on my couch.

There's an overflow parking lot behind the building, and on occasion I've parked back there.  I didn't remember parking back there, but it's been a busy week (maybe the busiest week in a while), so I wandered back that way to see if I'd parked back there but forgotten.

There was no truck behind the building, either.

Again.  Dumbfounding.

I called the police.  I called my boss to let him know what was going on, and that somebody else was going to need to open the store.  And I started to think of how this could happen.

I live in an apartment that is made from an old house that has been divided into multiple apartments.  I like it because it doesn't feel like an apartment, has high ceilings and is in what is typically a quiet neighborhood that is a combination of older folks and young families.

Sadly, a couple of bad neighbors have moved in lately.  Loud.  Lot of traffic in and out of the apartment.  And a tendency not to respect boundaries.  We have assigned parking spots.  These two neighbors in particular tend to ignore that.

A couple nights before my truck was stolen, I came home to find a black Kia parked in my spot.  It's a car I'd seen around, and one that's parked in my spot a couple times.  In the past when somebody's parked in my spot, I'd leave a note on the car, and generally it stopped.  That night, after I left a note, about 30 minutes later I heard a knock on my door.  I was preparing supper, at the time.  I turned down the stove, and answered the door.

"Hey, dude," said the guy who falls into every thuggable stereotype you can think of--medium height, buzzcut white guy with a black hoodie and pants around his ass, "are you Tommy?"


"Dude," which he said as if it were spelled dooood, "I was just carrying up groceries when I parked there."

"For 30 minutes?"

I receive "fuck yourself" looks on a daily basis.  Customers.  People who work for me.  I know what it is to get one, and I got one there.

He answers only: "Don't touch my car."

I answer:  "Don't park there, and I have no problem with that."

This conversation is the first thing I think of when I realize my truck is gone.

The Athens Police show up within a few minutes.  An officer gets out of her car, and before I can say too much, she asks "was it a tan Chevy pickup?"

"Yes, ma'am," I say, hopes up that, at the very least, they know where my truck is.  I was then afraid that somebody had had the truck towed for some reason (I should note, at this point that in the few minutes I waited for the cops, I also called my landlord to see if perhaps he'd had my truck towed).

She says that she'd happened to be driving up my street around 3 that morning, and and seen a guy outside my truck.  He was acting like he was fumbling with keys, so she didn't think anything of it.  Her description of the guy matches what I listed above.

I tell her that the last time I saw my truck was when I'd gone inside the night before.  I tell her of the conversation I'd had with the upstairs neighbor.  She takes all this down, and gets numbers for the landlords.

And here we are a couple days later.

It's a bummer.  On a lot of levels.

On the one?  This was my first weekend off in a while--the first not attached to a vacation since October.  In since August, I've had 1 weekend off.  I was excited.  In a good mood waking up for the first time I can remember in weeks.

A lot's been going on at work.  We've been working toward a re-launch since October.  In that time, we've also gone through an Inventory as well as the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays, each of those four involving increased workloads.  I've been putting in an average of 55 hours a week for 3 months, leading up to Wednesday's launch.  It wasn't all bad--I did get a vacation in December, but in the 24 days since that vacation, I'd worked 21 of them, with one of those days off being Christmas Day.  In a word, I was worn out, and looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

And I'll say that it's been that, still.  I have a temporary vehicle.  Monday, I'll call my bank and set up a time to talk about a car loan.  Wednesday is my day off, and I'll start car shopping.  I'm thankful for insurance, and thankful for my folks and my girlfriend who've helped more than I know how to say.  I'm thankful for co-workers, who were cool.  One lady, Evelyn, who works with me lives here in Athens, too.  She was on her way to work, but was nice enough to turn around to come get me.  Shyam came down to give me a ride home.

I feel especially bad for my boss.  As much as I've worked, he's worked more.  They've had him running all over creation, had him away from his family the week before Christmas.  For every bit of bullshit I've had to stomach in the past 3 months, he's had a double helping.  He was looking forward to his day off Friday (his first in several days) as much as I was my weekend off.  I hated calling him at 6 in the morning to tell him what was going on.

It was not without humor:  he says he took a minute at his house to decide whether I was messing with him or not.  He almost called me back to see, but decided against.

Anyway.  Thinking out loud?  I don't know if they'll find my truck.  I'm hopeful, because I like my truck.  I've taken good care of it for the past 8 years.  I'm hopeful that somebody just took it out and parked it in the middle of nowhere.  Thinking realistically?  I drive a truck that is the second-most stolen vehicle out there.  Even with near a quarter-million miles on it (yep...I hadn't checked in a while, but it was in the neighborhood of 240,000 miles), it's still a good work truck.  And if not that, I'd say it's still good for parts for some asshole who's willing to chop it.

Shyam came over last night, and I just went over the inventory of stuff I believe I've left in my truck.  Mostly small things.  I'd bought some fleece blankets that had gone on seasonal markdown last week, and there were two paper grocery bags full of them in the passenger side floorboard.  My red Yazoo beer hoodie, which I'd thrown in there as something to put on when the temperature wandered down to 3 degrees Tuesday.  A handful of plates--I have a bad habit of carrying breakfast out to my truck on a saucer or plate, and then putting the plate behind my seat to carry in when I get home.  They are typically forgotten, and they had been.  Various and sundry other items:  work nametags (which is something to take note of, because if my truck is found, my name is all over that truck in the form of nametags that have fallen between the seats), earbuds, phone chargers.  A had a few tools in there (nothing huge, but stuff like screwdrivers, pry bars and pliers), and the spotlight I was given as a gift several years back.

Eh.  Just writing to get this stuff out of my head.

I'll close that if anybody should see a silver-beige 2002 Chevrolet Silverado with McMinn County, TN plates wandering around--with a Decepticon Transformers decal in the back driver's side window, and a front driver-side directional  held in with speaker wire?  Call the Athens TN Police Department.  (423-745-3687)

I guess I should note that I don't write to accuse anybody.  I'm just writing what happened between a neighbor and me, and an odd coincidence that happened a day and a half later....

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The 2013 Read List

Way back in the year 2012, I made a resolution to make the time to read more in 2013.  I'd set a goal of 52 books in the year.  I felt like it was a good goal, and one that was doable.  I felt that if I'd dedicate the time I did to watching the same episode of SportsCenter three times in a row, I'd be able to mow through a few more books than I had the previous year, and easily. helped me with that.  My commute is about 30-40 minutes to work, so I end up driving a good bit of my day.  Instead of listening to the radio, I popped an audiobook in.  I listened to 18  books this way, including 5 or 6 pretty bulky, time eating listens.

Counting those listens, I either read or listened to 42 books this year.  Short of the goal, but better than 2012 by 17.  Progress was waylaid by work, more often than not.  June and July got busier than I'd predicted, and only read a couple books in that time period.  And from the middle of October forward, it's been craziness.  Not much read in that time.

Anyway, what I read in 2013:


The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien 
Under the Dome, by Stephen King
Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Gun Machine, by Warren Ellis
Star Island, by Carl Hiassen


Clementine, by Cherie Priest
The Passage, by Justin Cronin
Moscow but Dreaming, by Ekaterina Sedia


John Dies at the End, by David Wong
The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break, by Stephen Sherrill
Double Feature, by Owen King
Devil Red,  by Joe R. Lansdale


My Custom Van, by Michael Ian Black
A Clash of Kings, by George R.R. Martin
Civil War, by Stuart Moore


Nos4a2,  by Joe Hill
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris
Rythm Oil, by Stanley Booth
Intruder in the Dust, by William Faulkner
the Land of Laughs, by Jonathan Carroll


1775: A Good Year for Revolution, by Kevin Phillips
Joyland, by Stephen King
Wisp of a Thing, by Alex Bledsoe
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman


Power Moves, by Karl Welzein
The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker


Dreamland,  by David K. Randall
Finn, by Jon Clinch
Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies, by Chris Kluwe
the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Revolutionary Summer, by Joseph J. Ellis


Cardboard Gods, by Josh Wilker
Death by Black Hole, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
The Thicket, by Joe R. Lansdale


Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King
Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown
The Twelve, by Justin Cronin


A Storm of Swords, by George R.R. Martin
Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. by Rob Delaney
Swamplandia, by Karen Russell


A Feast for Crows, by George R.R. Martin
The Passing Stories, by Ferrol Sams

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


It's mostly a repository for the crap I've been listening to while writing other stuff, but this little blogamathing has been up and going for 11 years, as of today.



I had to have a talk with my blog the other day about the changes it's about to go through.

It wasn't an easy talk, considering I am much less mature than my 36 years would suggest.

Mostly it degenerated into the two of us laughing at slang words for breasts....