Saturday, September 30, 2006

More Dwight

More Dwight

This one's my new Windows startup sound.

In which we are easily distracted....

In which we are easily distracted...

A few years back, I worked for the folks at Goodwill. Toward the end of my time there, I supervised the donations trailers that you see in many communities.

I supervised a fellow named Greg. Greg came to work for me through the Goodwill mission, which was to help those with disabilities and disadvantages get training to move into the workforce.

At first glance, Greg wasn't a bad guy. A smaller guy. He had a quick, easy laugh. He actually took instruction rather well, and occasionally he would exhibit a scary, wicked, almost savant-like intelligence. I've written before how Greg picked up a Rubik's Cube, not knowing what it was, and in the space of less than a half hour, had solved the thing, thus besting me by several minutes, hours, days and years in that particular regard.

However, Greg had all manner of problems. He could read on a first grade level, on a good day. He talked a lot. Never shut up, in fact. In further fact, there was never air in a conversation with were lucky if you were granted permission to be a second participant. Beyond that, Greg had a passing knowledge of personal hygiene, though he did not practice those habits regularly. And he had a paranoid streak brought on by years of abuse that occasionally manifested itself in violent behavior, which in other situations had included the wielding of knives and (what was called) a half-hearted attempt to choke a sister-in-law to death.

All in all, a sunshiney joy to work with, and exactly the person you'd want on a staff that works with the public.

Greg was a source of torment for a couple of months. I couldn't leave him alone at a donation site, for fear that he'd lock himself in the trailer somehow, or wander off into the wilds of Smyrna and become hopelessly lost. My worst fear was that a customer would set him off, and he go to stabbing.

I thought I'd found an answer when I paired him up with a gentleman named Larry. I liked Larry. Easy going. Never called in sick. Came in, did his job every day and never complained. Interesting note about Larry that is neither here nor there: He stopped shaving when he got out of the Army, and didn't shave for 25 years after that--he had a great, bushy beard that reached halfway down his chest....

Anyway, I paired Greg with Larry. Larry was amiable enough about it, and he was big enough to handle himself if Greg went bugshit on him or a customer.

I should mention now that having Greg on my staff, while part of the mission of Goodwill, was entirely frustrating--as a patron of the mission, I had my hands tied as to how I could discipline him, whether I could fire him, whether it would be called discrimination if I found tasks for him to do mainly to keep him out of my hair....

And hindsight being what it is, I realize that I was doing precisely that last thing...getting Greg out of my hair so I could do my job--I probably can't justify throwing that raging bonfire of mental illness onto polite society and Larry like that to some. But then, throwing him on a guy like me, who was getting at the time $8.00 an hour was probably not the wisest course of action, either. So I've never lost sleep over it.

Anyway, pairing Greg with Larry had worked well enough for a week until one particularly busy Saturday. I get a call, and it's Larry.

"Man, you better come down and get Greg."

"Why?" I ask.

"Because I'm going to kill him if you don't."

I asked why, and all I could figure from Larry's frustrated rambling was that Greg had simply come into work wound up, took offense when Larry tried to tell him to do something, and it had gone out of control after that.

I drove to their site, and I found Larry there alone. And I found that I'd missed by minutes the very thing that is the subject of this post. Larry was haggard-looking. Worn out completely. I asked where Greg went, afraid that Larry had ended up having to lay the smackdown.

"He went chasing after a firetruck," Larry said.


"A fire truck went by, and Greg went after it."

He'd done so on foot, but it hadn't deterred him. A firetruck had driven by, lights ablaze and sirens blaring, and Greg had taken chase. Larry and I finished working the site the last half-hour it was open. I was getting antsy, wondering what I'd have to do, who I'd have to explain to the fact that one of my guys, he who was a raging cauldron of mental illness, had ran screaming into the wilds of Smyrna, Tennessee, chasing after a firetruck. Just as we were closing the doors to the trailer, Greg, looking completely spent, wanders up to the trailer, and flops down onto the steps.

As he rested, I had to sit and explain to him why we don't leave work to chase firetrucks, but I realized as I did it, that I might as well explain to the trees that they ought not drop their leaves in the fall. I got the mighty feeling that I was fighting a force of nature, and there wasn't much I could do about it.

Except file another in the continual forms to request that they transfer Greg to another department.

After that, I had to work Greg at the store donation site, where he could get constant supervision. It was there that I was witness to the very same thing Larry had seen. Greg and I were unloading donations from a lady's van, when a firetruck goes whizzing by the donation site, sirens calling, winding it's way into the neighborhood behind the store.

Greg literally drops the lady's donation on the ground--thankfully it was only a bag of clothes and not something breakable, like dishes--and goes sprinting after the firetruck, giving no mind to man, traffic or any other possible dangers associated with "roads..."

Well, the store manager tracked him down, brought him back. It wasn't long after that they managed to transfer him to a position inside, where he could work without distraction. He actually proved himself to be quite adept at working with the toys and other wares inside. He worked out of the view of the public, and out of the way of just about everybody.


I've said all that, to say this: With all my personal annoyances and misgivings regarding Greg, when he went tearing off after the fire truck, I felt a twinge of jealousy.

Last night, I was sitting out on the porch at a friend's house down in Chattanooga, and we heard the fire department--several trucks, sounded like--down on the highway, a few blocks away. My attention was drawn away from the conversation for several minutes, and I listened, and looked (perhaps a little too wistfully) in the direction of Dayton Pike.

(I should note that my sister's attention was likewise drawn--it probably runs in the family.)

But there was a small but very tangible part of myself that wanted to run like mad into the night after the firetrucks...see where they're going to in such loud fashion.

I know it's not "polite," or even "civilized." But it's there. My own personal Greg screaming to be let free.

Yep. Maybe one day I'll do a post about my weird fascination with garbage trucks, too....

Friday, September 29, 2006

This is a test. Only a test.

This is a test. Only a test.

This is a test. Your pal BSTommy is testing whether this sumbitch we call blogger is actually "working." Throughout the years of using said Blogger, there usually comes once every three or four months a day or two where posting becomes difficult. It's a minor annoyance. Certainly not worth punching holes in the walls, which makes explaining those holes in the walls all the more difficult.

Had this been an actual post, you would have found something slightly entertaining here. Perhaps a ruminition on wrasslin', or a thought on the Marx Brothers classic Animal Crackers, which he watched again yesterday.

But this is only a test.

And we never studied....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Youtube: More Dwight

Youtube: More Dwight

You know. In lieu of actually coming up with crap,

Youtube: Dwight

Youtube: Dwight

At some point midway through last season The Office hit my must-watch list. It's one of those rare shows that I made time to watch....

And you can credit Dwight with that. Steve Carrell's Michael Scott is great. Jenna Fischer is hella fine, and the rest of the cast is top notch.

But Dwight is absolutely the best thing to come across TeeVee in years.

New Favorite Snack

New Favorite Snack

I found these at a grocery store during my trip to Georgia.

They are awesome. They are God's own food.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

In case you can't read the text, which comes via my camera phone...They are Spicy Hot! Wasabi Peas.

Further reading will show you that they are wasabi coated green peas, they are a spicy hot snack and the are cholesterol free.

Now, I cannot vouch for their being cholesterol free. I'll take their word for it, and tell myself this is a touch better for me than cramming a bag of kettle chips down my maw.

I can, however, vouch for their being spicy. They are quite spicy. Especially if you gobble eight or 10 at a time. And they're that sneaky, Eastern spicy, which doesn't hit you like a hammer like most western hot sauces--the kind where you know rather instantly how much your butthole's going to burn in 18-36 hours. Rather, these are coated with wasabi, with that spicy that builds in your mouth, bit by bit, without you realizing it, until you've burned the tip of your tongue with wasabi chemical burns.

I've not investigated this, but I feel if my sinus problems persist this fall (and this being the capital of Ragweed country, we know they will), I think I'll try jamming a few of these wasabi peas up my nose, to see if we can clear some of that shit out.

Anyway. I recommend them. This being the only can I have, I figure I'm gonna have to look online now, or at a specialty grocery slightly better than the one I work at, to see if I can further obtain these spicy treats*.

*If there are untoward repercussions bathroom-wise, we will suspend further investigation into whether I can obtain these things or not...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fun with Youtube: Laughing my arse off

Fun with Youtube: Laughing my arse off

Kevin Smith had this video up on his blog. I've seen it before...was it an America's Funniest Home Video clip? Anyway. I've been laughing my evil arse off about it all morning.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thoughts on a Sunday Morning

Thoughts on a Sunday Morning

Well, it's been a rainy sumbitch the last few days down in my corner of Tennessee. Wandered to a cookout last night. It was raining when I got there, but it tapered off, and we were hopeful that rain would not dampen the festivities again.

Well, it was only a couple of beers into the evening that a thunderstorm that must have come out of the left quadrant of Hell wandered through, hurling plastic chairs, tearing tree limbs and generally making outside an unpleasant place to be.

Decided to head back to the house when the storm blew itself out. Just in time for a second round. Just in time for the power to go out, too. Is there an upper limit on how many times you'll wander into a room and try to turn on a light via the switch before you finally drill it into your thick skull that the power's out?

Slept like a baby, though. Opened a window, listened to the storms as they blew through. Beats the hell out of that Electrifying Thunderstorms CD that I listen to when I can't sleep. Need to get some of that on a nice 5.1 system. Tie in some intermittant fan action to simulate wind. Yeah. That'd be awesome.

Also, when I say I slept like a baby, I meant that I crapped myself at least twice, and woke up crying to be fed.


Word came down a couple days ago that the Cubs are moving their Double A affiliation to the Tennessee Smokies. Sevierville's practically in my backyard. Depending on traffic, the Smokies are about an hour's drive north of here, give or take. Definitely easy to reach provided I actually make it out of work by five.


Today? Thinking about taking in a flick. Black Dahlia is out, and I enjoy watching people hurt themselves, so Jackass 2 is possibly on the agenda. But today, I'm thinking I need a little Jet Li--I think Fearless is on the plate....

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This is What Happens....

This is What Happens...

This is what happens when the Cubs suck, the Titans suck and Tommy has to work like a botard, he doesn't have an opinion on any sort of world event, and he can't think of anything else to post on his big stupid blog.

Yeah.  Number Five

He posts pictures of clouds that look like "The Number Five."

Here was my exact line of thinking as I looked up into the sky:

"Holy Shit! That cloud looks like The Number Five. No one will ever believe that I saw a cloud that looked like The Number Five. I'll tell them, and they'll think it's simply a bullshit story. I wish I had a camera. Gadzooks! I do have a camera. On my telemaphone. I will take a picture of said cloud formation, and prove to those bastards that I saw this cloud that looks like The Number Five. I sure hope somebody put some banana pudding in the breakroom. That's never happened before, and that would be awesome. Even more than seeing a giant number posted by God in the sky, somebody putting free banana pudding in the breakroom. I sure wish they'd let me drink at work."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Those Editorializing Bastards at Subway

Those Editorializing Bastards at Subway

Added to the list of people I can do without:
  • Sandwich Artists at Subway who find time to condescend at the fact that I wanted tomatoes, bell peppers and banana peppers on my meatball sub. Please make my sandwich, as ordered. And without editorializing. If I wanted to put brake fluid and e coli on my sandwich, this is still Americaland, and I am free to make my choice without Wanda with the seven teeth curling her tongue in disgust through the gap between her lower canine teeth. Wanda, If you want to editorialize, please get a blog and do so in your free time. I'll even give you a title:


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Youtube: Church Bells

Youtube: Church Bells

Sunday morning is about the only time of the week where I am guaranteed not to have to work, so I've managed to hear the bells of one of the local churches near my home go off calling folks to worship every Sunday morning since I've moved in.

Every time I hear it, I think of this, the old Monty Python bit. Here, somebody's put in some Yu-Gi-Oh animations with it.

I don't plan on taking out the church bells with my own ballistic missile. I kinda like them, actually.

However, if they were played constantly, I might get tired. Or if they came on during football.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Coolest Name Ever

The Coolest Name Ever

Don't know if it was an incorrect spelling, or perhaps the wind shifting the letters on the marquee to the local theater, or even an intentional arrangement of letters, but the misplacement of a space in between words in the title of a movie releasing today has made for my having now seen the Coolest Name Ever.

If ever I need to change my name, for reasons criminal, heroic or boredom, I think my new name would have to be the same.

I would have to become: Grid Irongang.

And then I would be awesome.

I would have to change the name of the blog, though. And Big Stupid Grid does not have such a nice ring to it. So it would not be a decision entered into lightly.

Thursday, September 14, 2006



Finished work last night after midnight.

Starting work before seven.

Tommy needum sleep.

Preferably sleep that comes without that dream where I open the door to my truck and a writhing mass of snakes comes spilling out. Woke up out of that shit, fell back to sleep and went right back into that same dream.

Stupid scary subconscious mind.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Notes from the Interweb

Notes from the Interweb

No posting for four days?

Your old pal Tommy was kidnapped by howler monkeys. There were ransom requests, and a nice little hostage scene. Their problem was twofold: Nobody speaks Howler Monkey anymore, and in their frustration at that fact, they would simply start howling, and they would then have to flee the dog catchers sent after them by the great city of Metroplis. Late last night, I wanted to get back to my pad and start watching the second season of Lost on DVD, so I utilized my opposable thumbs and a set of nunchuks they neglected to take out of my back pocket, and made my heroic escape.


Went to watch the Cubbies lose to the Braves Saturday. Braves won that game, keeping alive some manner of hope that they'll leapfrog 5 or 6 teams (or however many are in front of them) to win the Wild Card in the National League. I can't complain much about the Cubs losing. More than anything, it seemed like a chance for the Cubs to get a look at Wade Miller.

Still. Went quietly ballistic when the Cubs made the decision to walk Tony Pena, Jr. to get to Braves pitcher Chuck James...when Pena is hitting a stout .143 and couldn't hit his way out of a paper bag. And he's only hitting a few points better than Chuck James. I'd have just taken my chances with Pena. Seemed like we traded an out this inning for an out the next.


I did manage to watch a couple of movies over the weekend. I liked both The Illusionist and Beerfest, which I managed to see earlier this week.

The Illusionist is a cool little flick. I saw it on the basis that it was starting at the theater when I got there. I might have waited for Little Miss Sunshine, but I kinda had to pee, and the bastards wouldn't let you into the restrooms unless you head a tcket. Plus, Ed Norton and Paul Giamatti both tend toward the quality flicks. I chose this one.

It's not a bad flick. My complaint is that as a misdirection-type mystery--you know how it's all going to end. I figured most of the flick out. Still, it's a wonderfully shot movie, and I think it's worth seeing on the big's one of those that will suffer from a smaller screen should you wait to see it at home.

Unless you've got one of those huge 60" monster flat-screen thingamajigs at your house....

Beerfest is fun effort from the Broken Lizard guys. Exactly what I needed in a movie. Lots of great stuff. Suffers a bit from the same thing the other Broken Lizard movies suffer's kind of skitty, and sometimes the spots between skits drag. But on the whole, it's a fun flick.

Plus, M.C. Gainey's bit early in the movie made me laugh until I cried....

Saturday, September 09, 2006



Well, my buddy Steven and I are wandering down to Atlanta today. It's the Cubs' only visit to Atlanta, and I figure I should go root them on in their quest not to lose 100 games this year.

There was a time the Cubbies would show up on Atlanta's home schedule a couple times a year. Makes me miss the days of 2 divisions, 12 teams in the National League and no interleague play.

Also makes me wistful for those days when the Braves, led by Dale Murphy, Bob Horner and Rick Mahler were reguarly struggling not to lose 100 games themselves, year-in and year-out. Those were neat days to head down to Atlanta for a weekend as a family. You could ALWAYS walk up and find some deal on tickets...2-for-1 general admission, and this is back when General Admission was $3 or $4. Occasionally, you'd find whole stadium general admission nights.

This is, of course, back before the Braves started their pesky habit of winning, thus making themselves a draw to fans....

The cheapskate in me misses those days.

I think I heard on XM that Wade Miller's making his debut this weekend...I think today, but I may be wrong.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

You May Call Me Vibrio Vulnificus

You May Call Me Vibrio Vulnificus

Just spent the last two days getting an edumacation on safe food handling. Learning little common sense things about how to handle other people's food. Not that I handle other people's food--as a rule, I try to do that very little. But I supervise people who do, so I had to take a two day seminar learning that I should do my damnedest not to pick my nose and then handle your food.

Or, should the need arise, I should wash my hands between the digging for the gold and the serving of your plate of hominy and cornbread.

There was a lot interesting, including graphic descriptions of why you don't want e coli, salmonella, shigellosis or Hepatitis A. In fact, if you looked in my text book, you'll find helpful little notes along side each of these gastrointestinal creepers that run mostly along the lines of "Would Prefer Not to Get This One." It's a nice thought, and it is certainly true, but it does little to separate shigellosis from cryptosporidium in your mind, especially when the other defining factor for most of these things is diarrhea, ranging from watery to extremely bloody.

However, there was a nice fascination with the word Vibrio Vulnificus, a breed of bacterium found in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and along the Atlantic and Pacific's generally associated with oysters harvested from warm waters from April to October. It's a neat little beast that, if ingested by those with liver problems, kills with ruthless can make the rest of us fairly sick, too (including the aforementioned diarrhea).

Mostly, it was the words "Vibrio Vulnificus." Which I wrote roughly 35 times on the margins of one of the pages while I failed, once again, to listen during a class.

I also made a very nice doodle of a little man in a dark trench coat and sunglasses, carrying an uzi, stating that he was, in fact, "Vibrio Vulnificus," and he was here to speak with you about the dog that's been crapping in his yard.

I'd show it to you, but I don't have a scanner or any of that nice 1990's technology to speak of, and the picture from my picture phone just didn't do that masterpiece justice.

So. You'll have to take my word for it. Awesome.

Much more so than a case of shigellosis, at any rate.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day

Labor Day

Just a thought.

This is the first holiday that I've had off of work in, well, I can't remember when.

But I think my brain doesn't get enough precious oxygen. It has something to do with that last part, where I can't remember. I may very well have had every holiday off. Who can really say?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday's Picture

Friday's Picture

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI've just spent the better part of 2 minutes laughing my arse off at this one.

Yeah. It's comic gold.

The look on the dog's face? That's priceless.

Y'all enjoy. Now I'm going to go out and enjoy the day....

In which we show some link love

In which we show some link love

A few links for your Friday morning:

Danielle's been blogging for Five Years. Five!!!! I'm not sure what the blog to people years ratio is, but I'm thinking that would make her blog roughly 290 years old.

Emily's got the Friday Fuck Off thread.

And from the pages of Discover, 20 Things you didn't know about Death, which included this joyous nugget:

"During a railway expansion in Egypt in the 19th century, construction companies unearthed so many mummies that they used them as fuel for locomotives"

Who wouldn't want that? To be part of progress?

Me? I'd liked to be paved into a highway. A really badass futuristic highway.

Or perhaps made into a billboard for a really cool restaurant. Or maybe a futuristic hotel.

But only so long as that hotel was advertising a really good price.

A-Team Re-Run

A-Team Re-Run

I was going to write a really cool post right here. Perhaps about watching Sonya "the Black Widow" Thomas mow her way through 62 Krystal hamburgers in eight minutes. But instead, I am filled with wonder and terror at whether the animal that's skittering across the floor in the apartment upstairs is a very small dog or a very large rat.

So. While I cower in terror in the corner between the fridge and the wall (I'd wondered what the space was for when I moved in--now I know), I'll just re-run a post from earlier this year, a pondering on The A-Team:

I've had the weekend off. Just had a couple days to kick back, take it easy. See, my birthday's Monday. Number Twenty-Nine. Took a little while to read a book, see a movie, think about where I've been and just where it is I'm going.

Whenever I get introspective, whenever I start thinking about life and waxing philosophic, whenever I just let my mind wander and flow over its natural course, wondering what just what exactly it's all about, I often end up wandering in the same maze of philosphical questions.

Just how much did it cost to hire the A-Team?

I've always assumed they were paid in cash, but I was never sure, since I never really saw money change hands.

Would their pricetag cost more or less if they actually shot at and hit the targets?

Why did B.A. drink anything other than something he'd poured himself?

What did Hannibal do to instill loyalty in B.A.? Especially considering how many times they pulled that sleeping-pill trick on the guy. Seriously. If anybody had reason to shoot a teammate in the stomach, it would be B.A. for that whole "sleeping pill/smuggle me on the plane" thing that happened, like, three times a season.

If there were a pie-eating contest among the members of the team, who would win? (I think B.A. is a natural choice, but Murdoch has a two-fold advantage...little skinny man's metabolism and the fact that he's howling mad, and therefore more willing to risk injury in the name of victory in a pie-eating contest.)

Did anybody really like Faceman?

And, lastly, in the fictional world of The A-Team, was professional wrestling real? Or was B.A. just a really big mark, and people are just too scared to tell him that it's predetermined? I mean, B.A. was friends with Hulk Hogan, and they had an adventure together, one episode. And B.A.'s at a match where Hulk's fighting Greg "the Hammer" Valentine (I think), and B.A.'s just eating it up.

Was even the Immortal Hulk Hogan afraid of what might happen if B.A.'s fantasy world, where wrestling is real and his friends don't drug him on a thrice-yearly basis, comes crashing down around his feet?

Were his skills that important to the team?

I dunno. If it's me, it doesn't matter just how strong he his, how scary his haircut is, just how well he drives that badass A-Team Van. I think if his grip and/or understanding of reality is that tenuous, he just might not be the guy I want standing next to me with an M-16. But that's just me.

Here's my's what I say to myself, to get myself to carry on through the day, sleep at night and keep my stomach acids from burning a hole in my gut: Maybe he owned the title on the van.

You gotta admit. That van was pretty sweet.

And knowing soldiers of fortune like I do, I know that you can't be effective soliders of fortune, without having a badass van.

And if B.A. owns the van, then I'm cool with his getting to carry a gun. It's simply the price you pay, for getting to ride in a sweet ride like the A-Team van.

Late Night Looney Tune Link

Late Night Looney Tune Link

From the Holy Crap files, skeletal reproductions of cartoon characters...

Via Boing Boing....

Yellow Light

Yellow Light

More fun at Youtube...Jim Ignatowski, and the yellow light: