Friday, January 28, 2011

25 Years

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Them: "It's January, right?"

Me: "Yep."

Them: "Then why the damn hell am I still working 13 hour days like it's Christmas?"

A telephone conversation between me, and another manager.

Eh. It's the same old story. Working like a botard. 12 hours days, plus a 40 minute commute each way. It's not leaving much time for anything else. I'm writing in what spare time I can grab. Which is small. Especially considering the amount of time I put into my Pro Wrestling Scrapbooks.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Beard Re-Run

I still keep some manner of facial hair. I've got the "Evil Spock" going right now though I've tinkered with going clean shaven. I'm turning 34 in a few weeks, and I've got gray hairs all through my beard. What is that happy crappy all about? And I'm not nearly as smooth as Walt "Clyde" Frazier. I'm afraid if I used that Just for Men junk, I'd end up somehow dying my entire face with the beard dye and I get accused of a month-long publicity stunt that comes in extremely poor taste.

Anyway, this was written five years ago, and much of what I say still stands true. Many of the people I see 3-6 times a week in my job? Wouldn't immediately recognize me if I were to shave my beard.


Last October, I was on vacation. My buddy Steven and I wandered up to New York to see baseball's Hall of Fame, and just, you know, not work for a few days.

Well, I decided that something I didn't want to do if I wasn't working, was shave.

Shaving's a hassle, in my book, and possibly dangerous to me. I'm not coordinated, and I can't think of much that I do more dangerous that wake up, and while still groggy, scrape a razor sharp pieces of metal across my face. I'm lucky I haven't sliced off my nose.

So, while on vacation, I did not shave.

When I returned from vacation, I also did not shave.

Being male, I grew hair on my face and (in an instance not unlike when Pinocchio realizes that he's a real boy) I realized that I had a beard.

So. No shaving. I do groom the thing. I try to trim it, and I manage to pick most of the food that falls from my mouth out of it.

I think I look fairly dapper.

I may be wrong. I probably just look like a guy who hates shaving.

Either way. I think I'm cool with it.

Anyway. There is a fringe benefit I've found.

People who know me solely by appearance (i.e., customers) don't know me. In the past three months, people that I have seen shop in my store on a weekly basis will have to ask a question or get some other sort of assistance (more often than not, it's some short person needing help getting something from a shelf), and after the transaction is complete, they'll say "Are you new here?"

"No," I'll say. I'll explain how long I've been there, and that maybe I've been working night shifts, or something along those lines.

But these are people I see on a weekly basis, and they don't recognize me.

It's the beard, I think. That, and the fact that I've let my hair grow out a bit more than I have in the past few years. Usually, I'll stick with a buzzcut, or something fairly close to it. But I've let my white man's afro grow out a little bit, too.

So, I have longer hair and a beard than a lot of people who have previously seen me remember.

This has convinced me that I could probably embark on a crime spree. I'll shave my beard, shave my head afterward, and nobody would know that it would be me perpetrating the misdeeds. Because they wouldn't be able to recognize me.

"The guy who robbed us had a beard. And an afro. That guy had no beard, and no afro. Completely different guy."

Nobody would ever know. Except me and my sevens of readers.

You guys wouldn't rat me out, would you?

There are a couple of lawyers who read this. Would the "No Beard/Different Guy" defense stand up in court?

What if I could prove that with a beard, I am in fact a complete different person than I am without?

I ask only because I've really been wanting to knock over the Hardee's I pass on my way to work. Out of spite, mostly. And I don't think I'd steal money. Just steak biscuits.

What if I said I'd give the steak biscuits to the poor?

Except for the couple that I'd eat.

Poor people shouldn't eat my steak biscuits.

Anyway. Just something to think about.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Listens, this day, 16 January 2011

Came home. Wrote for a while. It's harder to write after a shift at work. It feels mechanical, and forced. But, somebody said something at work that got me to thinking.

Anyway, here's what I listened to:

"When the Lights Go Out" The Black Keys
"Here I Go Again" Roger Alan Wade
"Nobody Told Me" John Lennon
"Hoboes Are My Heroes" the Legendary Shack Shakers
"Working for the Lord" The Blind Boys of Alabama
"Coming Down the Road" John Mellencamp
"the Facts of Life" The Blanks
"Lucky Ball & Chain" They Might Be Giants
"Cecilia" Simon & Garfunkel
"Time" Ozzy Osbourne
"Carries On" Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
"I Feel Alright" The Damned
"We're a Happy Ramily" The Ramones
"Never Gonna Stop" Rob Zombie
"Delia's Gone" Johnny Cash
"Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" (Live) The Waifs
"Love at First Sight" John Mellencamp
"Debbie Gibson is Pregnant with my Two-Headed Love Child" Mojo Nixon
"La Bamba" Richie Valens
"Scatter the Mud" Eileen Ivers
"Whoomp! There It Is" Tag Team (Don't download when you've been drinking, folks).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

More Random Thoughts....

Well, it's been a snowy week in my neck of the woods. Between 8 and 10 inches of the snowy stuff fell late Sunday night. There may be locales that can take that kind of snow without blinking too hard, but southeast Tennessee is not one of them. We've wandered through a week with roads snowy, then icey. Schools, and most non-essential fuctions, were cancelled in most districts the whole week. Yours, truly, spent the bulk of it at the grocery store.

I was off Sunday night, so I got to see the situation fall. I spent the evening watching episodes of Battlestar: Galactica and watching my Twitter's feed and Facebook friends. I watched as friends south and west of here started seeing snow. Mississippi was first, then Alabama started mentioning it. Huntsville & Atlanta both noted, with Chattanooga & Nashville mentioning it soon after.

My brother-in-law mentioned that he though it'd be funny if we didn't get anything. I mentioned that it was already heading our way. Within minutes, he noted that it was snowing, and hard. Not long after, he mentioned he had 3 inches out in the yard.

I'd say it was about 1 in the ay em that snow started falling in Athens. Give or take. I'd wandered out to the truck to find a CD, and to see if it was snowing. It started snowing light flakes while I was out there.

Since I didn't have to be up in the morning, I went in, found my boots and took a small walk in the night to take a few pictures. Just a note: To know how hard the snow was coming, it took me ten, maybe fifteen minutes to get dressed, find my gloves and camera, and by the time I got out there, it had already snowed an inch, or so.

One last note: Indulge a snowtard. We don't get a lot of this stuff in this neck of the woods. I can't remember the last time we had a snow that lasted 5 days, like this one....



The flash reflected the falling show. In some places, there was enough light to take a decent picture....the snow adds a nice ghostly quality in some of them. This is the foot bridge to Veteran's Park.


Same bridge, no flash


The Veteran's Memorial, at 1:15 or so in the snow.





Sunday, January 09, 2011

Random Thoughts, this cold Sunday morning....

Hello, and welcome to a very chilly Sunday morning in this neck of the woods. Just a few random thoughts and updates in the life of your pal, Big Stupid Tommy, none of which are long enough to warrant a post of their very own.


It's my first two-day period off without obligations in a row since early November. Sometimes these droughts come, but this one was a little tough to swallow. The holiday season came and went during that time, and I got a bit burnt out on the whole process (the whole process being work, holiday obligations and everything involved with the 3 holidays that fall from late November through December....)

So, the next couple of days are quiet days. Going to catch up on a few chores around the house, unless I want A&E knocking on the door asking if they can film my hoarding intervention.


Wandered out to another Knoxville Ice Bears game last night. It's one advantage to working closer to Knoxville. At least it's not out of the question to get up to a game, at a decent time. (Though yesterday's adventure in trying to leave my store, with people hollering questions despite my having my coat and hat on? Trying, and perfectly indicative of why I need a couple of days off. We're a grocery store, not an Emergency Room.)

The Ice Bears won, 4-2 in a game I'd call a bit chippy. Can anybody say Game Misconduct? Just hope that the SPHL refs aren't moonlighting cops. If you get mugged, they might just kick you to help the mugger out....


New Year's Resolution: Beer a Week

One New Year's Resolution for 2011 involved trying a new beer a week. Week one brought a bottle of Old Fezziwig Ale from a Sam Adams holiday sampler. Not bad, but not good either. Smells great, looks good. A little spicy, but it's got a caramel-y/nutmeg-y thing going on that just wasn't my cup of tea. It's a little too sweet as beers go, for my taste. Drinkable, but I'm not going out of my way for it again.


New Year's Resolution: Restaurant a Month

Another New Year's Resolution was to shake up where I'm eating, and try a few new places. The easily achievable goal of 1 new (to me) eatery a month. Got January in early, as my friend Shyam and I wandered north to Knoxville on a snowy evening. We caught Irish Times in Turkey Creek, which sets up as nice an Irish Pub atmosphere as you can in a strip mall bounded by Hobby Town USA and a Karate school on either side. The Guinness was tasty, as were the bangers and mash, though at the end of the day, the pricing's a bit much for what is little more than bar food.


Also took in The Fighter, which was strong, with good performances from Melissa Leo (especially), Amy Adams and Christian Bale. Poor Marky Mark seemed a little overwhelmed at times when it involved emoting somewhere beyond dull apprehension. That said, I'm not sure the real Micky Ward would be able to emote well beyond dull anything.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sibling Rivalry: The Continuing Back to the Future Debate

My sister and I have been carrying on a civil Messenger debate on the physics and ramifications of Time Travel in the Back to the Future movies for quite some time. In a war like this, there are no winners.

April: The jennifer in Back to the Future is a different actress from the Jennifer in the later movies.

Tommy: Yep. The one from the first one's Mom was dying of cancer. She couldn't shoot the second two movies, so the second actress (she's the chick from Adventures in Babysitting) took the role. [editor's note: Yeah, I know it's Elizabeth Shue, but there was beer and my brain kept saying Elizabeth Banks, and I knew only that Elizabeth Banks was wrong].

April: I now realize the fault in timelines for Back to the future. The Second one really shouldn't have happened, as the new 80's Biff was a the 2015 they travel to would've been rewritten regardless of what Doc saw.

Tommy: You might be right. I've had a few, but I can currently find no flaw to that thinking.

Minutes later....Tommy: Wait...Doc doesn't travel to 2015 until after Marty has returned from 1955.

April: Ooh. Good point.

Tommy: It's a good thought though. Using my argument, Doc's very presence in 1985 when he says "where we're going, we don't need roads" altered the timeline. The future he left might not be the same when he returns.

April: True.

Tommy: Biff saw him travel back in time. Said "What the hell is goin' on here?"

April: That's my thoughts on it, and in fact, by taking Marty and Jennifer, he's changed it already. Really, all he had to do was give Marty a warning, as the future is constantly changing.

Tommy: I agree.

April: We are two relatively intelligent people, and we could be discussing China's influence on our econpomy, or comparing their rising middle class to our shrinking one. Yet we are discussing 1.21 jigawatts.

Tommy: You spelled economy wrong.

New Year's Resolutions

Just a few New Year's Resolutions. Trying to make it fun this year. I don't generally make them, and when I do, like most of us, I don't keep them. Outside of my 2001 resolution to stop handling snakes for religious reasons, last year's "No Fast Food" lasted about three months (tough to keep for my work schedule, but I did eat less fast food last year than in previous years--still working to keep it to a minimum).

Anyway, there are a couple involving discipline:

1.) Make time to write. I don't know why this involves as much discipline, considering there's not much that makes me feel more like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing when I'm writing well. But, laziness is a tempting beast. I did a good job of setting up a routine from July through October or so. I wrote more sporadically in November and December, due to my work scheduling turning asshole for the holidays. I'm making an hour a day to put words on paper, right now.

2.) Make time to read actual books. I've read less in the past couple of years than just about any time in my life. I'm spending too much time goofing off on the computer. That last sentence isn't necessarily the goal, but I figure it's been the big time-consumer, for what would previously have been used reading. I don't have a number goal in mind as a finish line, necessarily. That said, to completely contradict my previous sentence, I'd like to read 50 books this year.

3.) I want to find a new restaurant to try every month. This is brought on by a couple of things. First, I enjoy finding new places, but time being what it is, I wander toward the familiar. Wanna try to wander away from that in 2011. Once a month.

4.) This might be the most ambitious one: I want to try a new beer a week in 2011. Just something that popped into my head at work yesterday. I try new beers pretty regularly. Don't do it at a pace of 1 a week though....