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."

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Thoughts from the Ass End of the Night, chapter 315, verse 6

Insomnia night.

I think my work schedule is contributing to this one.

I have to close a couple or three nights a week.  Store closes at 11.  I'm there until 11:15 or 11:30, usually, depending on how long the accounting close takes.  I'll get home around midnight.  If I'm lucky, I'll be in bed by 12:30 or 1, but sometimes it goes until 2 or 3 if I'm wired.

I also have to open a couple days a week.  On those opening days, I have to get up at 5:15 AM.

My boss used to have a penchant for the Turn & Burn shift.  I never understood it, but I had to ask him to stop a couple times, since a turn & burn usually means 6 hours of sleep only if I'm lucky, and it generally means 4-5.  It's doable, but as I get older, it just means I'm done for the night after a Turn & Burn, usually.  Work 20 hours in a 28 hour period, and then come home and crash.

Now, the solution is to put a day off between night shifts and open shifts.  Which is the best I can come up with, but that day after 2 or 3 closing shifts, knowing that you have to get up at 5:15 the day following, it can feel like half a day off.   Usually, I make myself get up at 7 after the closing shift, and that usually does the trick.  I forgot to set my alarm for Wednesday, though.  So I slept until 8:45.

Went to bed at 10.  Wide awake at 2:45, after weird dreams about camping with my friend Julie.  In the dream, it was just after the Superflu from The Stand had hit.


It's a weird new world without Dad.  We keep struggling to find the new normal.  I still call and check on Mom a bit.  I'm going over to mow a bit Friday, and take trash to the dump.

Went with Mom last week to Nashville.  She got to testify in front of a Tennessee Senate Committee about a bill that would seek to change the language used by Tennessee Donor Services contacts the next of kin of a family regarding tissue donation.  We consented to donating Dad's tissue, but the decision was made in time of duress and without our complete knowledge of what they were looking to harvest.  Even a few minutes later, it hit us that they couldn't be harvesting organs, since the body had to be kept alive for organs to be viable.

What the folks are doing isn't wrong, or bad.  It just wasn't made completely clear to us at the time, and that's what Mom and the sponsors of the bill are looking to clear up some of the language, and let the family of the deceased know in clearest terms what is being harvested.

Here she is sitting down to testify.  It was an experience watching that whole thing go down.  The chaos in suitjackets of people in the legislative plaza.  

I felt like the committee didn't give Mom and Sonny (the gentleman with her) enough time to speak their case, and there's a small part of me that thinks it was intentional--we were told those bills with witnesses would go first, and they did not....this bill was the last presented, and were rushed for time because the Education Committee was scheduled to take the room.  Mom did get to speak her peace, though, and I was tremendously proud of her.


It's been more than a month, now.  I've dreamed of Dad once.  I kinda expected to dream more of him.  I'm kinda sad about that, but then the one dream I did have him left me wrecked.

Part of me wants to believe that dreaming of somebody you lost is part of their coming to say goodbye.  Even pets.  I was told that when I was little, and it's something that I've held on to.

Part of me believes that.  Maybe a large part.

It might be silly, but I'm allowed to believe silly things, even if the other part of me believes it's just random firings in the brain during REM sleep.

I'd like to be able to talk to him.  One more time.  Hear him say "Hey, Bud."  Even if it were a dream.


Shyam and I did go to see Logan a couple weeks ago, and it was as good as advertised.  I've never been the big Wolverine fan that a lot of people are, despite years of X-Men fandom.  I've thought character overwrought and not nearly as interesting as people want to believe.  I thought he was most well done in those Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne years of Uncanny X-Men.


Still, the movie was quite good.  It had been spoiled for me, so his sacrifice at the end of the flick didn't hit me as hard as I was afraid it would.  I was more impacted by a scene near the middle of the flick.  Logan is carrying Charles up the stairs of the home they're staying in.  The charade they've taken is that Charles is Logan's father, an aspect of their relationship that gets touched on from time to time.  For some reason, when Logan was carrying Charles up the stairs, I started cryiing.

I haven't been to a movie by myself, yet.  He was my movie buddy, and we'd hit a couple a month.  Sometimes more in the summer.  It might be hard to go, for a little while.

I still haven't gone to see Kong: Skull Island.


Trying to make my work schedule comply with my desire to hit Marble City Comiccon up in Knoxville.  I don't think it's going to work.  We've got a floor strip, and the con won't open until 10.  I'm scheduled to go in at 12 that day.  Which sucks.

It's a small con, but usually has a good vendor selection.  Sorry I'm going to miss it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Some Days

There are some days I come home so tired.  That first week or two, it was every day.  It's still most days.  It is today, for sure.  It's normal, I understand.  That doesn't make it easier.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Music Challenge, Day 2

Almost forgot.

Day 2:  Name a Song you like with a Number in the Title.

There were a couple that popped up, but the one that gets stuck in my head:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Music Challenge, Day 1

I've seen this floating around on the Twitter, and I suppose I'll play along until I forget, or get bored:

Day One:  Name a song you like with a color in the title.

Today, I choose "Apocalyptic Modified Blues" by Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans:

I'd wandered across Corb Lund a time or two, but it was the inclusion of "(Gonna) Shine up My Boots" in the movie Slither that made me actually seek the guy out.  I like the way he makes lyrics fit together, and he throws a curveball from time to time....Apocalyptic Modified Blues being one of those enjoyable ones.....

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Notes from the Ether

I dreamed of Dad last night.  That after his heart surgery a couple of years ago that there was actually a clone dad that had been living in his place, and that was the one that was sent back after the surgery was the one that died a few weeks ago.

Thanks, Brain.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Favorite Movie, year by year

It's one of those things going around Ye Olde Facebooke....what's your favorite movie for each year of your life.

I'll have to Google a bit, but:

1977:  Star Wars
1978:  Animal House
1979:  Alien
1980:  Empire Strikes Back
1981:  Raiders of the Lost Ark
1982:  Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan
1983:  A Christmas Story
1984:  Ghostbusters  (just edging out This is Spinal Tap)
1985:  The Goonies
1986:  Stand By Me   (just edging out Aliens and Big Trouble in Little China)
1987:  Planes, Trains and Automobiles
1988:  Beetlejuice
1989:  Parenthood    (just edging out Tim Burton's Batman)
1990:  Miller's Crossing
1991:  Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1992:  A League of Their Own
1993:  Jurassic Park
1994:  The Shawshank Redemption
1995:  Apollo 13
1996:  Fargo
1997:  Contact
1998:  The Big Lebowski
1999:  The Iron Giant
2000:  Unbreakable   (just edging out O Brother Where Art Thou?)
2001:  Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
2002:  The Ring
2003:  The Last Samurai
2004:   Shaun of the Dead
2005:  Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
2006:  Pan's Labyrinth   (just beating out The Departed)
2007:  No Country for Old Men
2008:   The Dark Knight (but man, Iron Man and Cloverfield I like SO much)
2009:  Moon (I say this.  Lot of good in 2009, but nothing just JUMPED at me)
2010:  True Grit
2011:  The Raid: Redemption
2012:  The Avengers (but I love Cloud Atlas so much)
2013:  Gravity
2014:  Guardians of the Galaxy  (but Ex Machina is SO Good)
2015:  Mad Max: Fury Road
2016:  The Nice Guys

I can probably go back and look at this list tomorrow, and realize mistakes.....

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Apologies if the blogamathing has become Big Stupid Tommy Missed His Dad, but that's what it is.  

I miss him.

I've been working like mad.  Went back the Friday after the funeral.  Mostly to keep my hands busy.  We had a minor snow rush over the weekend (lousy Smarch Weather).   It was annoying in that way that all Southern overreactions to the threat of winter weather are, but it also helped a little to get moving and put my mind somewhere else for a while.

Little things hit me.  I went to Target this afternoon, and I saw the Blu-Ray of the Daredevil Netflix series.  I'd kinda chalked that one up as a Father's Day present for Dad.  Mom and Dad's house is too far out in the woods to stream too much (although with Verizon's shift to unlimited Data, that could change though that point's moot for Dad, I reckon).  Anyway, I saw the Blu Ray and I got the shivers, a bit.

The NCAA Tournament starts up soon.  We always watched that together.  It's going to be hard without him.

This morning at work, as I started checking the grocery order, I had to stop and take a few breaths.  I don't even know what set it off, but that feeling of missing the old man just hit like a hammer.

I call Mom a lot more.  Just checking in.  Seeing if she needs anything.  We've got another cold snap coming through tonight.  A hard freeze.  Just wanted to make sure she had enough firewood.

It's tough.  I miss the old guy.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Shuffling through....

Each day is a little different.  Each day I'm dealing with a different thing.

Today, I got really upset when a red truck the same make and model as my Dad's parked next to me at Lowe's.

The Memorial Service was yesterday.  It was a good one.  Got to see a lot of people that I hadn't seen in years.  Was surprised by the number of folks in my life who showed up.  It was overwhelming, to be honest.

Here's a picture from the receiving of friends:

We'd requested in lieu of flowers that a donation be made in his name to either E.G. Fisher Public Library here in Athens, or to the McMinn Regional Human Society.  Still, my work and my sister's work sent really nice arrangments.  Mom took them out to the graves of family members who'd died locally today.

Lastly, I posted this on Facebook, after the service, and after the dinner that the nice folks at Allen Memorial gave our extended family.  I wanted to post it here, because I leaned on a lot of you, too:

"Thank you. To all of you. This has been, hands down, one of the toughest weeks my family and I have ever gone through. The outpouring of support, though, has been nothing short of overwhelming. Thanks to those who were able to stop by this afternoon. Thanks to those who sent flowers, or food, or made donations to the Humane Society or the Library. Thanks if you dropped a note. Thanks for the hugs. Thanks if you made me laugh. Thanks for your thoughts, your prayers, your time.
You're a good bunch of people. And I can never repay the kindness.
Dad was a good guy. And that's the most gratifying thing: To hear the same from everybody. From his family. From his fraternity brothers who showed up. From the people that he worked with, traveled with. From his friends. To hear that they thought so much of the guy, calling him solid, kind, the genuine article, was an honest pleasure, though not a surprise.
We'll miss him. And we step into a strange new world without him here to talk to, to laugh with. I take comfort in knowing that I have you folks to travel with us into this odd place.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart."

Wednesday, March 08, 2017


That might be the last picture Dad and I took together.  It's a selfie I took last June when the Cubs were down in Atlanta.

Dad and I did a lot of baseball.  He was a Braves fan.  Even after they won in 1995, I'm not sure he's ever forgiven Lonnie Smith for his performance in the 1991 Series they lost to the Twins.

One good way to get him riled was to say that Dale Murphy didn't belong in the Hall of Fame.

He was a Cubs supporter, too.  That was because of me.  He always wished them well, and would cheer for them when they weren't playing the Braves.

He was happy for them and me when the Cubs won the World Series last fall.

Lot of baseball memories.

He took me out of school in 1992 to see a Braves playoff game against the Pirates.

He took me to Riverfront in Cincinnati in 1988 to see my first Major League game.  The Cubs won that one 4-2 in 11 innings.  I was eating a hot dog which popped out of the bun after the first bite and rolled down three or four rows in front of us.  He bought me another.

We started hitting Braves games pretty regularly in 1989.  It was a different world then.  Those Braves were lucky to win 70 games, and you could walk up to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and get a whole family in for about 16 dollars.

When I was going to school out in Middle Tennessee, he came out and we hit a Nashville Sounds game.  It was early in the season, and it was a cool week night.  There were maybe 500 people in the stands that night, and a knuckleball hurler was going for the other team.  It may have been Jared Fernandez, but the answer escapes me right now.  The knuckler was mostly working.  There were probably 50 foul balls into the crowd that night.

His birthday gift to me this year was going to be tickets to the Cubs and Braves in the new Stadium down in Atlanta this season.

Little things keep hitting me.  And the fact that we'll never go to another baseball game together was a big one.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Dad Movies

I was watching TV this morning, and an ad for Kong: Skull Island came on.  I started crying.

Dad mentioned wanting to go see it, when I saw him Friday morning.  14 hours later, he'd be dead.

I got a lot of my taste from my Dad.  For comedy.  For Science Fiction.  Mel Brooks.  Star Trek.

A few movie memories with Dad:

Return of the Jedi--Dad took my cousin David and Me to see this one in Bristol.   We liked it so much, we'd go see it again back home in Athens--and this was a time that we didn't have a lot of money to go see movies multiple times.

Secret of the Sword--I was crazy for the Masters of the Universe toys.  My sister went with us to see this one, because She-Ra was in the mix.  Dad hated this movie, but put up with my raving about it.  After I took Thomas to see Ratchet and Clank this year, I apologized for subjecting him to so many bad movies.

Rocky IV--We were visiting family in New Jersey.  Dad and I went to see this one, I think, because he was worn out on the in-laws.

Flight of the Navigator--Maybe the hardest I've ever seen my Dad laugh:  Kevin has just asked a man for change to use the phone when he lands the spaceship outside a gas station...Max sticks his head out the hatch to insult the man.  Dad nearly lost his mind.

Batman--I saw Batman in the theater multiple times that summer.  He went for a couple viewings.  It wasn't until later that I found out he didn't like the movie that much....Thanks Dad.

Joe vs. the Volcano--a family outing, and the only time I ever saw my Dad come close to a fight.  A guy backed up without looking, and nearly ran us all over.  The guy got out to holler at Dad, who'd pointed out the malfeasance.  The guy backed down in a hurry, when he got a look at Dad....

True Lies--Another good laugh from Dad.  He had the oddest damn fondness for Tom Arnold, but that's excusable for this flick.  It's a small line...Tom Arnold calls a driver "Fucker" and for some reason, Dad lost his mind again....

Star Trek: Generations--I didn't know until much later, he really wanted to go see this with me.  I ended up going with a group of friends the night it opened.  We ended up going the next weekend....

Return of the Jedi, Special Edition--My Dad and I went to see the Special Edition, where perhaps the only thing I like in Lucas' "fixes" are the looks in at the other spots in the galaxy celebrating the death of the Emperor.  I mentioned that the look at Naboo and Coruscant would be explored a little more in the prequel coming out the next year.....

Fellowship of the Ring--Notable for this occurrence:  In the middle of a crowded movie theater, Dad crosses his legs.  When he does, a lot of change falls out of his pocket.  It happens during a quiet part of the movie.  Change hitting concrete.  A lot of change.  Like, why is Dad carrying this much change?  While it's still quiet, he announces "That's Mine," as if a theater full of people is rushing beneath his legs to pick up change.

Slither--I'd moved back over to East Tennessee.  I was also having a very bad week--I'd worked a crazy amount of days in a row.  This was my first movie I'd been to see in weeks.  And a girl wouldn't get off her cell-phone.  This is probably the closest I've been to getting arrested....I told the girl to turn it off.  She cussed me.  She got cussed back.  Dad kept me from pulling the girl out of the theater by her hair that day.

2012--He LOVED disaster movies as much as I do.  I probably get it from him. We'd both been looking forward to this one.  It was disappointing to us both.  He described it as it being Christmas all day.

Star Wars: the Force Awakens--God he was excited about that one.  Again, he was a little disappointed that we wouldn't get to see it together--Shyam and I went to a marathon...he was invited, but he was in the midst of his hip troubles, and he knew he couldn't sit in a movie theater seat for that long.  He loved it.  We took Mom to see it on Christmas Day.

(I just started crying again when I realized he won't get to see how the saga will end up).

The Witch -- He didn't want to see this one, but he went anyway.  He ended up LOVING this movie.
Patriots Day --  The last movie he and I went to see.  We'd go to one or two a month.  Sometimes more.  This winter has been crazy, though.  And we didn't make it to much.  We did go see this one.  I was skeptical.  But it was one I ended up liking.

I'm sure that there's more to be said.  I'll think of something else.  I miss the old man.  I'm gonna miss going to movies with him.

Saturday, March 04, 2017


I lost my Dad last night.

I've spent a lot of today in a fog.  Two hours of sleep and a storm surge of grief.

I love you Dad.

Thanks for the sense of humor.  For the taste in movies.  For teaching me how to be a decent human being.