Thursday, November 16, 2017


I haven't bern sleeping well, lately.  I'm blaming my shifting work schedule, which has me closing the store and working until 11:15 or 11:30 at night three or four nights a week, but also opening the store at 6:45 a day or two a week.  It's pretty regular that there's gonna be a night or two where I'm going to get four or five hours under the best of circumstances.

I closed Tuesday night, and was off Wednesday.  I had trouble sleeping that night, but was able to get a little back since I didn't have too much to do. 


But there's a bit of an oddity tonight.  Easily explained, but giving me the willies nonetheless.

I still have Dad's contact info in my phone.  We've given up that phone number.  We did that back in the summer.  I feel like his number's since been reassigned.  While helping Shyam find her phone last night, I dialed it so it would ring.  After she found it, I must have brushed my finger up against Dad's contact tile, since I still have it in my speed dial.  This was at roughly 10 PM last night.

I got a phone call at 3:37 AM this morning from Dad's phone number.  I answer, but the caller hangs up.

Like I said, a hypothesis other than my Dad calling from the other side is pretty easy to come up with.  I called that person accidentally, and hung up, possibly after they'd gone to bed.  Perhaps they're an early riser who decided a little payback was in order.

Still.  It weirded me out enough that it kept me up.  I read a bit, and decided to blogamathing about it.

This is a tough time of year at work.  Kinda stressful, with bodies being out.  Having weirdness abound isn't my cup of tea, right about now.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Fifteen years ago, I started this blogamathing.  I don't post here nearly as often, but I occasionally pop an odd thought or two.  I am still amazed by the people it's introduced me to, and the friendships it's helped me forge.  I am thankful for the laughs, for the thoughts.

It's been a tough year.  Lots of adjustments.  Dad passed back in the Spring, and that's still a rocky road.  He was one of the blog's biggest fans.  Many of the jokes that showed up here were ones he passed along.  He was a funny guy, and he was one of the people I looked to make laugh, from time to time, with what I wrote here.

Shyam and I moved in together.  That's been relatively easy, though having lived by myself for more than a decade has made me have to adjust certain routines (farting) and habits (more farting).  It's been an internet adjustment, as we went a good part of the year without anything but what internet our mobile phone providers gave.  What we have now is still not great, but it's better than what we had. Hoping the effort at bringing high speed to the rural areas via Volunteer Electric bears fruit some day.  (We're not all that rural, by the way.  We're two telephone poles away from being able to have Comcast.)

Still, I get to live with these goofballs, and I've enjoyed that..

I continue to work like a botard.  We've been short a couple key people at work this fall.  (Fuck cancer, by the way).  Finding two days off in a row is a rarity, here lately.  And being a manager short means picking up more closing shifts, which leaves me punchier than normal, since I also end up with a couple opening shifts.  I'm 40, now, and I can't afford to be losing any beauty sleep, folks.

Still.  We find time to do stuff.

Came in seventh in a Chattanooga City Trivia contest yesterday.  Probably could have done better, but talked ourselves out of a couple answers, and didn't bet enough on the final question.  Still, we crapped the bed at our last City Finals, so we're happy to have played well, even being short a body or two....

Well, now you're up to date on the news from Lake Wobegon, my home town.  Thanks for continuing to read, folks.  I'll keep posting here, from time to time.

Thursday, November 09, 2017


I think I finally found that thing to knock the theme song from WKRP in Cincinnati out of my head.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Random Thoughts

First day off after a stretch where I worked 31 hours in a 51 hour period.  Don't ever go salaried in retail, folks.  We've got a couple of key component folks out sick.  We could cover it if one were sick.  Both is a stretch.  While you can make the argument that perhaps, as a company, there should be a body or two floating around to help in such situations, in a publicly traded company, stockholders don't like paying for possibilities.

I'm worn out.  And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about how the next couple of months, traditionally the busiest and most difficult of the year, are going to go.  We could get one or both people back soon.  We could also get them both back after the first of the year.  Hooray


The Knoxville Ice Bears have their regular season Home Opener tonight.  Shyam and I gonna head up.  The Ice Bears have a new coach, Jeff Carr.  Excited to see a new look for the team.  The SPHL has been moving away from the Enforcer-heavy style that's been the norm for the league since its inception.  The league's everything but publicly stated goal is to eventually become part of the official feeder system to the NHL.  There's been a change in stance on fighting, including longer penalties and suspensions for instigation, the goal being making the league a more palatable place for NHL clubs to send prospects.

The Ice Bears seemed behind that curve, especially last year.  I'm not generally a "Fire the Coach" guy, especially the unaffiliated minors, but Mike Craigen seemed unable or unwilling to adjust.  The product on ice last year was one that was slower than other clubs, and one that seemed lacking in fundamentals. 

Interested to see if Carr brings a more interesting product to the ice.


I re-read Jurassic Park this week.  Read and listened.  It popped up for cheap on the Kindle a few weeks back, and then they said you could add the Audible version for cheap as well.  Blew through it in just a couple or three days.  Still a lot of fun.  I'd give the book an 8 or a 9 out of 10.  Just a great romp.

And, as great as it is, I think I still like the movie better, which is something of an accomplishment.  The movie manages to streamline the story a bit.  It manages to merge a couple characters that really are redundant, and it gives Ellie Sattler more to do, making sure the story isn't much of a White Male Fest.  It also manages to give dimension to Ian Malcolm, whose philosophy in the book grows tiresome, for me, even if I tend to agree with much of what he says.  I tended to append any statement he made with a stoner "Maaann...."

Still, the movie did cut out a couple of the best sequences from Crichton's book....the raft and aviary scenes where Grant and the kids are trying to get back to the compound are some of the book's tensest moments.  I was always glad to see Jurassic Park III finally bring the aviary scene to fruition.

Re-reading this one has gotten me curious about re-reading The Lost World, and perhaps watching the movie again--a flick I disliked enough that I haven't watched it since its release a couple decades ago.  The book had a handful of pretty intense scenes, even if the resurrection of Ian Malcolm felt pretty cheap at the time....


I'm also about to finish Bill Bryson's Life and times of the Thunderbolt Kid.  Troy sent that one to me, and I'm enjoying the hell out of it....

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Somebody's VHS collection ended up at the Goodwill the other day.  And in 1997, their collection was On Point.  Some good stuff there.  A real film buff.  I wander in there once every week or three to look at books and movies and such, hoping to find something like this.  I think I actually gasped aloud.

I think I owed it to 1997 me to buy that copy of Meet the Feebles.  I was in the midst of a mini-tour of Peter Jackson's stuff, after having watched Heavenly Creatures in a film class.  I knew I'd dug The Frighteners (which my roommate had seen in the theater, but I had not until it popped up at Videoculture).  I'd watched Dead Alive and Bad Taste.  I'd run across people talking about Meet the Feebles, but had never even laid eyes on it.

Videoculture was a minor haven in college.  Lots of good stuff.  Not just porno, though there was that.  A good little video store, staffed with a couple of true film geeks.  It was a fun place.  I've spoken about it before, and when I did I was pointed in the direction of the Videoculture Store on Amazon.  The former owner still owned a bit of the stock, and was selling it there.  I bought a copy of a Leningrad Cowboys tape that I'd rented from them.

I've digressed.

Anyway, in the midst of that Peter Jackson frenzy, I was heading to Videoculture three or four days a week to see if Meet the Feebles was in.  It wasn't.  Until it was.

I watched it.  I liked it, but not in a way that I becoming a frothing maniac about it.  I think I've watched it once since then.

But, I did gasp when I found it at the Goodwill Monday. 

I do have a VCR, but I'm not sure if it works.  I'd have to give it a test toast before I decide to try my 49 cent copy of Meet the Feebles.

Also pictured:  Enemy Mine, another flick in the vein of Hell in the Pacific or Red Sun.  Fun flick.  I like the movie, and the cover.

Friday, October 06, 2017


I might have decent internet again.

We'll see.

Update:  Yeah.  I've got internet.  It's not too quick.  May not be able to stream too much.  But it'll do for what ails us....

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Thoughts from the Ass End of the Night, this day, 5 October, 2017

Insomnia night.

The cat keeps using me as a leaning post while it licks its arse.

I have had mostly closing shifts for three weeks. I open tomorrow. My alarm will go off in 78 minutes.

Yesterday was the seven-month Mark since Dad's death. It still hurts. I miss him fiercely. I couldn't figure out, for a second, why I'd pre ordered both the hardcover and editions of Stephen and Owen King's Sleeping Beauties. Then I remembered that I'd pre ordered the hardcover to give to Dad for Christmas. So. That was a minor mind fuck.

Due to vacations and people being out sick, I'm working 15 of 16 days. And I'm in a mini stretch where I'm working 40 hours in a 74 hour stretch.

Maybe that's where the fucking Insomnia comes from.

I will miss the bulk of Hysterics at Eric's, a gathering of current and former bloggers due to this work stretch. I'll make it for evenings, but open every morning, so I can't stay late.

I've been lucky most years.

Monday, September 25, 2017

A thought

Flag waving Nationalism and the marginalization of "non-Patriots" are benchmarks of Fascism.

Be a patriot. That's fine.

Demanding that people act any specific way is not.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Reads of 2017

Big changes and whatnot.  No internet, yet, at the new Casa de Big Stupid Tommy.  Comcast, that beautiful multi-billion dollar media conglomerate, can't find it in its capacity to move a transmission line up two telephone poles.  So, we're in the process of finding an alternative.  We've gotten a digital TV antenna, so we've got Jeopardy (important) and all the Andy Griffith and Mama's Family re-runs on MeTV (even more important) that you could ask for.

There's been lots of reading.  Up to mid-May, when the move was commenced, I was averaging three or four books a month.  A bit low, for me, early in the year, but it's been a tough year.  "Real life" and all that.

Still, here's  a quick listing of what I read or listened to during the first half of 2017:


Shardik          Richard Adams
Post Office           Charles Bukowski
TV: the Book        Alan Sepinwall & Matt Zoller Seitz


TheYard            Alex Grecian
The Lost Sun          Tessa Gratton
The Immortal Irishman       Timothy Egan
Norse Mythology            Neil Gaiman
Gather Her Round          Alex Bledsoe


The Yiddish Policemen's Union            Michael Chabon
Fever Dream              Samanta Schweblin
The Dragon Factory           Jonathan Maberry
Carrie                   Stephen King
Masters of Atlantis             Charles Portis


Rusty Puppy              Joe R. Lansdale
The Cubs Way             Tom Verducci
The BFG                      Roald Dahl
Moby Dick                 Herman Melville


The Dreams of Cardinal Vittorini             Reggie Oliver
Station Eleven                 Emily St. John Mandel
Stay Crazy                    Erika Satifka
Anansi Boys                Neil Gaiman


Bird Box            Josh Malerman
Ghost Road Blues                Jonathan Maberry
Brimstone                Cherie Priest
All Quiet on the Western Front              Erich Maria Remarque
Hillbilly Elegy                  J.D. Vance
Gwendy's Button Box            Stephen King & Richard Chizmar
Double Wonderful             John Swartzwelder
Bunker Hill                Nathaniel Philbrick

Currently, I'm in the process of finishing Robert Conquest's The Great Terror, which I've muddled through.  It's actually the first book in a while I've had to set aside because it was affecting my state of mind. Nightmares, to be sure.  I can't leave it be, though.  Fascinating stuff, that look at the horrors of Stalin.  It gave me nightmares.  I should finish it in the next week.

I'm also listening to Salem's Lot, as my work commute.  After re-reading Carrie, I got it in my head to work back through King's work.  It's a minor project that should last me the next decade.

Sunday, June 04, 2017


Moving sucks.

Working with a skeleton crew at work sucks. (Come to work, America).

Other than that, life is good.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Random Thoughts

Busy couple of weeks.

There was Predators playoff hockey.  Tickets were bought early in the morning (like, 4:45ish) after the Predators swept the Blackhawks.  I'd never been to an NHL playoff game.  The energy was amazing.  The Predators won 2-1, and would go on to win the series last weekend to hit their first Western Conference Final.  They won game 1 against Anaheim last night, which was a nice way to start vacation.

Vacation week.  Finishing the move, which has become a much longer process than either of us might have thought.  We wanted to get this done in March.  Dad's passing put a hitch in that.  Then, her busy season started a week or three earlier than it usually does, thanks to unusually warm temperatures.  We were busier than anticipated (and a little more shorthanded) at work.  My landlord has been cool about this.

We'll finish up with the heavy stuff this week.  My smaller stuff is already over at Shyam's place.

Part of the moving has involved these guys:

They're old Pepsi standees we used at Halloween several years back.  I liked them, and kept them.  Used them a couple years to decorate, but for the most part they stayed folded up at the back of my bedroom closet.  I'm giving them to a buddy later this week, but I've left them set up in my living room.  No less than three times have I come into the house and nearly had a heart attack because of these goofballs standing there.

We wandered out to Guardians of the Galaxy, volume 2 this week.  It's only the second movie I've gone to see since Dad passed.  And it's the second (Logan, being the first) that involved a lot of father stuff.  There were a few tears on my part.  That's just me.  I'm a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general.  Big mark, me.  So I can forgive a lot.  But I liked this one on a lot of levels, the same as the original Guardians.  Largely because it isn't as beholden to the continuity of the other works, and it just does its own thing....

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Movie Meme Thing

Brain's fried.  Long couple of days.  Just a movie meme that's been passed around ye olde Facebooke:

Movie I Think Is Underrated: STRANGER THAN FICTION
Movie I Think Is Overrated: GLADIATOR
Favorite Action Movie:  PREDATOR (lately, leastways)
Favorite Drama: 12 ANGRY MEN
Favorite Horror:  ALIEN
Favorite Disney Movie: ROBIN HOOD
Favorite Fantasy Movie: THE DARK CRYSTAL
Favorite Science Fiction Movie:  THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
Favorite Animated Movie: THE IRON GIANT
Favorite Superhero Movie:  THE INCREDIBLES
Favorite Musical:  ANNIE
Favorite Bad Movie: NO HOLDS BARRED
Childhood Favorite: THE GOONIES
Favorite Franchise:  STAR WARS
Best Trilogy:   The Cornetto Trilogy
Guilty Pleasure: THE POSTMAN
Favorite Director: The Coens
Favorite Actor:  That's tough.  Woody Harrelson?  John Goodman?
Favorite Actress:   Holly Hunter?  Catherine O'Hara?
Favorite Movie This Year So Far: Lego Batman
Movie I Have Recently Seen:  Carrie (2013)
What I Thought of It: Not bad.  Uneven, but big props to Chloe Grace Moretz for hitting a lot of the right notes in that one.
Favorite Movie Of All Time: STAR WARS

Monday, April 24, 2017

Three Years

"Are you kidding? You've obviously not read my book I Make More Data Driven Decisions in Professional Learning Communities before Lunch than Most People Make in One Semester. Which is not surprising. It was hideously researched, grossly inaccurate and ineptly marketed. Still, it sold 7 copies in my Amazon Kindle Store, so feel free to use me as a source." ---me, in a FB conversation three years ago.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter By the Numbers

Tired, Big Stupid Tommymaniacs.


Pretty weekend.

3 9+ hour shifts in 49 hours.

44,300 steps taken in 49 hours.  According to my app, that's about 23 miles.

Went to Welcome to Night Vale at the Bijou in Knoxville.  If you get the time, I recommend it....

I opened this morning.  We had Easter at Mom's.  Was tough, without Dad there.  Had an emotional moment this morning, when I started thinking about it.

 Friday morning, the Easter Bunny visited Mom's house.  He knew that April was coming up with my nephew after church on Sunday.  He created a scavenger hunt, of sorts, in amongst the other Easter Eggs.

The Easter Bunny was proud of himself....the hunt was a hit, apparently....

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Going Down to the Hardee's for some Pussy

I found this in my drafts.  I'm tired as anything.  I don't get it, either.  Good night, folks.

Harlan County, Kentucky, couple arrested for sex in public in Hardee's parking lot.

"I guess that gives new meaning to the saying 'I'm going down to the Hardee's for some Pussy,'" he said, the leer evident without my even needing to turn to look at him to see it.  I could feel it.  Its greasy essence nearly prompting me to turn on the defrost.

"That's not a saying," I said, regretting evening dignifying his statement with comment before I got past the second T.

"It's a saying."

"No it's not."

"It's a local thing."

"We're from the same town, Ricky."

"Yeah, I've been around longer, though" he said.  He puffed out his chest.

"I don't care how old you are.  Nobody says that."

"Yeah they do."

"Who says that, Ricky?  Who the fuck says 'I'm going down to the Hardee's for some Pussy?'"

"Lots of people.  It was our class motto when we graduated."

"You didn't graduate."

"Got my equivalency."

"Your class motto was not 'I'm going down to the Hardee's for Pussy."

"Some Pussy," he said, putting respectful emphasis on the words.

"That wasn't your class motto."

"Yes it was," he said, rummaging around in his pocket.

"No it wasn't."

We stopped at the light going up Depot Hill.  The light was green, but a bus from First Baptist was turning left.  We waited, so that the senior spares and pairs could make it to Classic Lanes for their 9 AM league.

"Why isn't there a turn lane?" Ricky said, and then "Look."

"I am looking."

"No," he said, holding his phone out to me, "look!"

I looked at what he was holding out.  He'd pulled up a picture on his phone.  It was Ricky Scott minus 30 years of drive-thru, male pattern baldness and Busch Light.  His silver tuxedo brought out the strawberry in hair that still more strawberry than sand.  He stood regally, green eyes bursting from his freckled skull at his good fortune.

"Who's your girl?" I asked.  She was actually quite pretty.  I was impressed at 1986 Ricky Scott's good fortune.

"Fuck the girl," he said, "look at the backdrop."

I did, or at least I tried, but before I could take in the orange lettering on a red backdrop, a horn tooted behind me.

"Shit," I said, realizing the church bus had turned and I was impeding rush hour.  I dropped his phone into the seat between us.

"Did you read it?"

"Read what?"

"What's on the backdrop?"

"No," I said.  "I'm lead car in a 3-car parade."

"The back drop says "Going down to the Hardee's for some Pussy."

"No it does not."

"It does," he said, trying to retrieve his phone, which had slipped into the crevasse made between the seats by his belt buckle.

"Yes, Mark, it does.  Shit."


"Can't reach my phone, asshole."

"It's not my fault."

"Yeah it is, Orel Hershiser" he said, continuing to dig while I pondered his choice of epithet.

"How did your class motto become 'Going down to the Hardee's for some Pussy?'" I was regretting my investment, but we had 20 miles before getting to Hannah's, and if I was lucky, I could distract Ricky before another Steve Miller classic came on the radio, and he needed me to turn it up so that I could have hearing and sanity obliterated by Jet Airplane.

"Well," he said, rooting still with his left hand.  He'd managed to push past his wrist, a quarter way up his left forearm rooting underneath my seat, before he continued:

"One day, when me and your Dad were in high school, we were getting ready for homecoming."