Monday, September 30, 2013

66 and 96

Got the final "Cubs Lose" text of the year yesterday, while I was out helping Shyam at the spring.  Not a surprise.  Happy that it's the last one of the year. 

Another shit season.

Sveum got shown the door today.  Never considered it much his fault.  Not that he's a good manager.  I don't think Sveum's cut out to be a manager.  I don't think he was the right fit the last couple of years, even if his job wasn't to win, but to teach the youngsters.


2008 seems like a long fucking time ago.

It's been a big 5 year long disappointment, since 2008.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: Pumpkin Smoothie

A few weeks ago, while making my twice-yearly trip to the Wal (hyphen) Mart to buy the motor oil I use in the truck, I wandered past an endcap display with blenders.

Now, mind you, I'd been looking at blenders.  Pricing.  Reading reviews.  Believe it or not, your old pal Tommy is something of a good comparison shopper.  I know how to do my research, even if such research ends with my deciding "I don't need no fucking blender."

Well, apparently, that sentiment goes out the window when faced by the low, low price afforded by paying employees the minimum wage and benefit packages allowed by law is staring me right in the face.

I ain't proud, but it is what it is.  I am tempted by low prices, and by catchy names.


My blender isn't the best of the lot, but for the price offered, and the amount I'm actually looking to use the thing (which will eventually come to be once a day for the first week, thrice a week the next, twice a week the next three weeks, and then only when it snows 2.5 inches in my neck of the woods and I've cultivated non-yellow snow to make Snow Cream).

So.  Fair to middling blender with an AWESOME name.  Low, low price.

Anyway.  I've used it more than I'd have thought.  Lots of smoothies.  Fruit.  Some veggies.  Lots of kale.  

I'm not sold on all the health benefits those who tout kale as the second coming of Vegetable Jesus, but I find it tasty, and a fine source of fiber.

"Very fine," Tommy says, as he nods and winks at the computer screen, now his conspirator.

Anyway.  In researching smoothie recipes online I ran across pumpkin smoothies.

Pumpkin smoothies, I say to myself, sound delicious.  And perfect for me!  I'm as white as a rumble between the Ku Klux Klan and the cast of the Andy Griffith Show in a snowstorm, so you know I'm all about the pumpkin flavored stuff.  Pumpkin coffee.  Pumpkin cake.  Pumpkin hamburger.  Pumpkin beer.  Pumpkin band aids.  Pumpkin apples.  Pumpkin Pierogi.  I'm there.

So.  I used a recipe that looked good, being that it was the first I came to when I googled Pumpkin Smoothie.

I am sad to report that it was something of a failure.

In fact, I struggle to find the words to describe this concoction.

Monstrous.  Vile.  Evil.  Loathsome.  Despicable.  Disgusting.  Tumor.

I know tumor is not an adjective.  But I imagine that the resulting sludge is probably what you'd find on the inside of most tumors.  

That's right campers.  When you make that recipe?  You're making cancer.  And then you're drinking it.

My attempt at this smoothie resulted in a glass of puss-colored foulness that I believe would be more appropriately used in Hell giving enemas to genocidal maniacs.

Of course, I should note that I didn't have Pumpkin Pie Spice.  I had ginger and nutmeg, and a little cinnamon.

Maybe I should have used a little more cinnamon.

Monday, September 16, 2013


My role today is that of counter balance.   Today I act as Yang to the workout crazy Yin. For all those on the Twitter & on the Facebook who need to let me know what day of the Insanity X Workout they on and how many steps they took at work, and how many pieces of kale they ate for dinner, this is my response:

Tonight, I ate a 16 ounce bag of shredded
Mozzarella & Provolone cheese straight from the bag. Then I fell asleep on the couch watching an infomercial about a Weedeater that I was watching because I was too lazy to go across the room to pick up my remote control.

Thank you and good evening.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Thoughts, 12 years after...

Twelve years ago, this morning, I was pouting a bit about having to come back from vacation.  It had been a good one, including a trip to DragonCon (that may have been my last where we went and stayed all four days).  I'd eaten breakfast while watching SportsCenter, and that show had rolled around to the point I'd started watching, so I flipped through channels for a little while.  I rolled across Nashville's NBC affiliate and saw one of the World Trade Center towers with a gaping hole.  My first thought was that they were promoting a new movie of some sort on the Today Show.

That misunderstanding didn't last long.  I flipped to a couple other news channels, and saw the same images, from different vantage points.  I was watching as the second plane flew into the second building.

I called my Dad.  He was watching in the waiting room of a dentist's office, where he'd had an appointment that morning.  I told him that I loved him, and to give my love to Mom.

I worked at a donation trailer, that day.  The person scheduled to work had called in the previous evening.  I listened to the day's events on the portable radio at the trailer.  Even though I was nowhere near New York, and knew no one having to live those horrific events personally, it still ranks as one of the most horrible, surreal days in my life.  I can't imagine having to live that tragedy close in.  I admire the strength of those who have gone through such, and come out stronger on the other side.


I post this every year.

There are two passages I always key in on.  The first:

The reason we were attacked, the reason these people are dead, these people are missing and dead.  They weren’t doing anything wrong, they were living their lives, they were going to work, they were traveling, they were doing what they normally do. As I understand it (and my understanding of this is vague at best), another smaller group of people stole some airplanes and crashed them into buildings. And we’re told that they were zealots, fueled by religious fervor… religious fervor. And if you live to be a thousand years old, will that make any sense to you? Will that make any Goddamned sense?
I still think about that.  And I still get frustrated and angry, sometimes.  Zealots, fueled by religious fervor.  No.  Never a lick of god damned sense.

(In all things, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Shinto, Democrat, Republican, Mets fan or Anti-Soccer, I have always believed that your belief system is simply a window dressing, and it just comes down to whether you're an asshole or not at heart).

I like Dave's bit.  I like the simple expression that none of this makes any sense.  I'll always admire him for that.  For not giving into the all too human need to act like You Know What the Hell is Going On.  For having the strength to go out in front millions of folks, and say that none of it will ever make any sense.  For perhaps suggesting with the statement that it's lunacy to try to find logic in it at all.

The other passage, one that I have come to key in on in recent years more than the previous one:

There’s a town in Montana by the name of Choteau. It’s about a hundred miles south of the Canadian border. And I know a little something about this town. It’s 1,600 people. 1,600 people. And it’s an ag-business community, which means farming and ranching. And Montana’s been in the middle of a drought for… I don’t know… three years? And if you’ve got no rain, you can’t grow anything. And if you can’t grow anything, you can’t farm, and if you can’t grow anything, you can’t ranch, because the cattle don’t have anything to eat, and that’s the way life is in a small town. 1,600 people.
Last night at the high school auditorium in Choteau, Montana, they had a rally... (home of the Bulldogs, by the way)… they had a rally for New York City. And not just a rally for New York City, but a rally to raise money… to raise money for New York City. And if that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the… the spirit of the United States, then I can’t help you.
I still like that.  I like that very much.  The story of Choteau, in and of itself, yes.  But also the sentiment that despite all that sadness, despite all that anger, there's more than a thread of optimism to grab on.  That we can come together.

Dave's comments come days after the attack.  When the twin towers were still a smoking pile of rubble.  When it would have been all to easy to respond with anger.  Yet he chose to close with optimism.  I admire that.

(He's not the only one, I should add, who did so.  He's the one who did it, though, in a way that resonated with me).

This day will likely never dim from our memory.  It is is vital.... that we not forget that in the face of disaster, we came together as a people to heal, to grow.  Faced with negativity, remember that we responded with positivity.


I also post this every year.  These are a few of John Hodgman's comments at a literary reading.

There's a lot of good here, and I recommend you read the whole thing.  I make myself re-read it a few times a year, usually when I find myself complaining about everything.  Especially the last few lines:

...if art cannot contain or describe this event, and if for now the suffering is too keen to be alleviated by parable… if stories are for the moment not as critically needed, as courage, as medicine, as blood, as bacon, they can at least revert to this social function. As time goes on, this will all pass away into memory, into a story with a beginning and a middle and finally an end. And that transition from the real into fable will bring its own kind of comfort and pain. Now, though, we may gather and distract one another, take comfort in our proximity, and know that we are, at this moment, safe.
And lastly:

I am only humbled: to be here, to be alive. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Listens, this day 10 September 2013

I should probably just change the name of the blog to Shit Tommy Listens To Over and Over Again.

I'm writing.  It wasn't good today, but it was about 2000 words.  I have a project that's starting to come together.  Feels alright.

Anyway:  Here's what I listened to:

"Dog Eat Dog"            Weird Al Yankovic
"Whiskey in the Jar"        Brass Knuckle Therapy
"Pour 'em Kinda Strong"        Corb Lund
"Undone--the Sweater Song"         Weezer
"Ol' Blue"            The Dillards
"I Spoke as a Child"          Todd Snider
"The Outsider"         Shooter Jennings
"I Can See for Miles"          The Who
"Mariama"        Toubab Krewe
"Rehearsal"           Old Man Markley
"John Saw that Number"        Neko Case
"Holy Roller (Hallelujah)"      Portugal, the Man
"Redemption"           the Dex Romweber Duo
"Philadelphia Freedom"         Elton John
"The King of Copenhagen"         the Mahones
"Hotter than Mojave in my Heart"        Iris DeMent
"Desperado"           Alice Cooper

Sunday, September 08, 2013

A Brief Note on Camping

Camped, this weekend.

And by camped, I mean put a tent out in a campground, and then proceeded to follow my three-year-old nephew around for 24 hours to keep him from peeing on things.

I don't know how many times you need to be told not to pee on the red cooler, but judging by my nephew's responsiveness to the admonishments, it's at least seventeen times.

Seriously, though.  If there's a kid who's embraced the idea that, as a man, the World is his Toilet, it is my nephew.  Oddly, he is one that fights having to go the bathroom, unless it is suggested that he may pee in the grass.  Shyam and he were engaged in a fine game that involved her blowing bubbles and he popping them.  Despite the fact that he was visibly, physically uncomfortable, he kept with the game of popping bubbles until it was said he could go pee.  Which he did joyously, though a little wary that Shyam would be blowing bubbles in his absence.

A good weekend.  My sister, the nephew, Shyam and I loaded up and wandered up to the Chilhowee campground, surrounding Beeyooteefull Lake McKamy.  Tremendous weekend for it.  Warm, verging on hot during the day, and cool at night.  Clear as a bell both days, which says something, considering the quickest way to end a drought in my neck of the woods seems to be handing me a tent and telling me to camp someplace nearby.

Also?  Complete lack of crowds.  Shyam chalks it up to this being the weekend after a holiday, and I'm not one to disagree.  We found a walk-in site on the B-Loop.  We had neighbors on the other fork of the walk-in, but they were like us--just looking for a quiet place to hang their hats for an evening.

There was swimming.  And hiking.  And a brief moment where we thought Duke, my sister's dog, who also camped with us, might try to eat the man who was emptying the trash bins for the park service. 

It was the second time this summer we've made it camping.  Which is good.  It used to be a regular outing, whether it be with family or friends.  Then both family and friends started having kids, and for some reason weren't willing to drag a 3-month-old out into the woods for an evening.  Some of the kids are getting older, so hopefully we'll start making the pilgrimage a little more regularly...