6.30.2012

Two for Two

This is the second of two (possibly more) posts that I'm writing without actually having a connection to the interwebs. It's all good.

I'm sitting here at Brew-Stirs in the middle of the power outage...second night in a row. It's actually a little bit cooler here than it is in my house, and the beer is colder, that's for sure.

It's funny...there's a generator plugged in here to keep the jukebox and cash register going. Otherwise, it's tea lights and candles. It just makes me giggle.

And somehow I've kept enough charge on the iPad (I had it charged when I left work Friday) that I can still get some games of Bejeweled in AND write drafts of a blog post.

I really hope the power comes on tomorrow.

See....this is the kind of shit I could never really put on Facebook. This is me. This is the rambling Todd who just writes whatever the fuck is on his mind. And right now, I'm sitting in a bar...with no power. And writing a blog entry. It's goofy. And that's me. Goofy. LOL.


Today was kinda crazy. I had to go over to Lowe's and get a chainsaw. They were selling like hot cakes. They only actually had 3 left. All of them were Husquervarna. And I got one. And it rocks. I have the same brand lawn mower. And I have to say it kicked ass. The thing cut right through the fallen trees in my yard.

And I still don't have any power.

I'm a little buzzed. Heh. It's all good. Alright. I'm going to sign off right about now.

peace out.

-A.T.

 

6.29.2012

A Crazy Way to End The Week

I've had a few people ask if I'm going to re-enable my facebook account after a certain period of time...to answer that, let me tell you about a friend of mine.

This cat was way in to the book of face. He never really felt popular in high school (or since), so to re-connect with so many high school friends who thought he was now the shit was euphoric. And it just snowballed from there. He wasn't the best farmer, but by god he made his presence known in Farmville. And if there was a way to grow weed in Farmville and sell it in Mafiaville, he would have done it. He was that in to it.

This guy was hooked. He'd get up in the morning, check Facebook from his smartphone while he was taking his morning dump. Make sure he poked a few people before getting his shower. Poke a few more on the way to work. Then, he'd have to let the world know how well his fitness journey was going. He tried to quit a few times. Then people would throw guilt trips on him, not intentionally mind you. And he had such a hard time letting people down that he stayed on. Stayed hooked. It was killing him, but people didn't really know it.

There were a couple of warnings at work. The bosses told him to lay off Facebook. But he still couldn't give it up.

I felt bad for him. It really was, in many ways, an addiction.

It still is.

But I know for a fact that he's quit it.

It sounds kind of pathetic doesn't it?

I'm sure you're sitting there thinking that you don't know anyone like that.

But you do.

It's me.

That guy was me...is me.

The Facebook is an addiction for me. I know that now. I could go back to it. And I might make it, for a while...but I won't. It's not worth it to me. I have written more in the past 3 weeks than I have in the past 3 months.

It feels good.

And I'm glad I did it.

 

To those of you that followed me over here from Facebook and are along with me for the ride over here, thank you. I truly appreciate your support.

But know this...I'm not going back to Facebook. It's like telling the alcoholic that you liked them better when they were drinking...whether it's true or not...and you have to know...I'm not upset. I just can't go back. So...here's where I'll be hanging. Welcome. I can almost assure you that I'm more of myself over here than I ever was on Facebook.

And that's all I have to say about that.

 

And dude...this has been a fucking crazy week!

It's been almost 3 months now since I started the new job. And I still love it.

It was all going crazy today and I was smiling. I love my new job. :-)

Alright. I'm due for another beer (yeah, Brew-Stirs is still open with the power out). So I'm going to finish it. And when the power's on, I'll post this.

 

Have a great night!

-A.T.

 

They Won't Let You Kill The Laughter

So, I started this morning's post at home. And I was using the on-screen keyboard...actually extolling the somewhat limited virtues of entering any kind of information that way to the iPad...and then somehow the entry just went caput. Which was fitting, I thought. And served to simultaneously prove my point and annoy me slightly. 

In either case, the point is...if I have any writing to do that amounts to anything more than a paragraph, I'm pretty sure the on-screen keyboard on the iPad is not going to be my first approach to getting that information keyed in, but as I mentioned in the paragraph that pulled a Philadelphia Experiment, it will absolutely do in a pinch.

 

Dude....I'm going to count this as one of my almost best work days ever....the conversation went like this:

 

Boss: "Todd...remind me that in the next 4-6 weeks, we need to get you and Evan scissor lift training" (Evan's my new guy starting next week)

 

Me: You mean like the lifts with the basket and stuff like a warehouse thing?

 

Boss: Yes...

 

Me: OH HELL YESSSS!! THAT'S AWESOME!!

 

While we're at it, I'm going to see if I can get some forklift training in there, too...but I'm guessing, since scissor lift training is required for us to get a new store wired (yes, it's my team that does that when we open a new MicroCenter) and forklifts are not, that I'll only get one side of the awesome-coin flipped this round...but mark my words, I'm gonna get certified on a forklift. Believe that.

 

Again...just proof that this was absolutely the right job at the right time for me.

 

Holding steady this week at about 58lbs down. I'm guessing it's because of the Berry Weiss that I've had a couple evenings this week. It's all good though.

 

Next week starts the push-ups in addition to the bike. Gotta get that core strengthened back up. I'm kind of anxious to see if I actually have all 6 'abs' in my '6 pack' or if the plastic/re-constructive surgery in 1997 altered how those are going to look.

 

It sounds funny, but one of the reasons I want to get in shape so badly is that I want to get that ab definition...and I'm kind of hoping that I only have 1/2 of a six pack. Heh, yeah. I know. It's goofy. But no more goofy than drawing eyeballs above the scar of my surgery and making a face on my boob.

 

Yeah. If you see it, I'll just give you that little smile and say 'Yeah....that just happened' Haha..I'm sitting in the break room at work on my lunch right now just laughing.

 

I'm getting a few weird looks, but at this point in my life, I'm completely used to it.

 

And with that, I need to get back to work.

 

Have a fantastic afternoon!!

 

-A.T.

 

Feels like the first time

Hmmmm.... Not sure what just happened, but the entry I had typed just went the way of the dodo. Very odd. Not to worry. Sports fans, I'll wait until I get to work and give you a good and proper update at lunch.

Until then, have an awesome-sauce Friday!!

6.28.2012

New And Improved

Just a quick sidebar here. I can't stand when advertisers say something is "New and Improved." Because it's just not possible. Improved means that something existed that has been made better. New means it's something that didn't exist. So, you can't make something that existed better if it didn't exist.

Something may be Newly Improved or with New Improvements. Both of which imply that the item existed, but that there are additional features and functions which have been improved upon (which, in most cases, is what I think the advertisers actually mean).

 

That being said...I am an improving Todd. Actually in many ways, I feel like a new Todd. If I were not a new Todd, I would be an improved Todd, to be sure.

I'm down 58 pounds as of yesterday morning's measure. That takes me from 328.8 down to 270.5. I'm not going to lie...I'm pretty jazzed about this.

Other than that, life is good. The car is fixed (after a second visit. It doesn't matter why, I don't feel like re-hashing it). And Mom's home from the hospital and getting used to life post-op (which, is never easy...trust me...).

Life has been going pretty good. It's been weird trying to get used to having a daughter out of high school. I mean, she normally spent summers with her mom anyway, but it's odd to think that come Fall, it's up in the air as to what's going on. I think her current plan is work for a year or so and get $$ saved up for college.

 

On another note, as of today, I should be completely deleted from Facebook. I don't know if I'm going to get an email to that effect or not. I kind of hope I don't, that it just goes away. I don't have any plans at this point to go back. And to be honest, with the exception of a few people that I miss interacting with, I don't miss Facebook at all.

I have had some people tell me that they miss my inspirational/uplifting posts and they miss following my weight loss journey. And when they say this, I pretty much just point them to this blog and say 'It's just like Todd on Facebook, only real'

Because it is. On FB, I would find that I tended to be more passive aggressive in my comments...or post things that sometimes I didn't feel. If I was having a shitty day, I wouldn't usually come right out and say I was having a shitty day. Instead I'd try to find something uplifting to say and then feed off the positive energy of the comments. I think this is known as being an attention whore.

Once I figured out that's what I was doing (OK...once I actually admitted to it and realized I didn't like that aspect of myself), the choice to leave was pretty clean cut.

If you and I are friends, I will consider you my friend regardless of time, distance, or social media with which we interact, if any. We're friends. That's all there is to it.

If we were just friends on Facebook and that's it, then chances are you aren't reading this anyway and neither of us is the wiser.

Did I mention that I'm loving the new Todd? I have more energy and the day just doesn't seem like it's off to a good start unless I hit that bike for 30 minutes.

I'm planning on incorporating push-ups in to my fitness routine, too...and who knows, maybe (STRONG likelihood) do the Warrior Dash in August. It's something that I really kinda want to do just for me (even though a few friends are doing it too). One of those milestone moments.

Plus, it'll be a 5K (of sorts). I hate to run, but I like getting muddy....and fire. Fire is cool to jump through.

And just like that, lunch break is over.

I sincerely hope your day is bringing you so many blessings that you have no choice but to pass them on to others in your life, and that you bless them so much that THEY have no choice but to bless others.

It's pretty cool when that 'good thing' wave crests and washes over people in our lives.

Until later, peace out!

 

-A.T.

6.25.2012

Dive Dave Dive

And then they pressed the button on the thingamajig and dove.

Not sure why, two days in a row, Throw Mama From The Train references are floating in my head. I positively hated that movie. The only thing good about it was (I think) it was Mama Fratelli in the movie as Danny DeVito's mom.

Goonies never say die.

Was a good albeit a bit crazy weekend.

The coolest thing about the weekends now are Sunday evenings. Used to be, Sunday evenings would start the sense of dread. That 'oh shit, I have to go to work tomorrow' feeling. And now, Sunday evenings are chill. I like my job. Seriously. I'm not sure what kind of strings had to be pulled behind the scenes for the universe to deliver me to this place, but I have to say--worth every frickin' minute of the wait.

And with that I go now to shower. I'm a bit stinky after 31minutes on the bike. Who would have thought? It's to the point now where I need to be on that thing at least 25-30 minutes or the day just doesn't start out right for me. Crazy, I know.

But also kinda very cool.

Have a fantastic Monday my friends.

And remember, a writer writes!

-A.T.

6.24.2012

Sunday Funday

No photog gigs booked today. I've got a few hundred photos from this weekend's shoot to go through, though.

Laundry and some downstairs re-orging is on deck too.

**The preceding 'tell you the tiniest minutia of my life as though you care what I'm doing 24/7' was there just for those that have found their way over from my Facebook page (which, really, not too many people have).

Weds. or Thurs will actually be the 14th day, the day when the permanent deletion is supposed to take effect and there's no chance to recover anything from my previous Facebook life.

Or as I call it, Independence Day.

It's kind of funny. I'm writing more. Now, granted, I don't know if what I'm writing is more meaningful or any of that bullshit than what I was writing over on my FB profile or not. But at this point, I'm not quite going for quality. I'm just trying to get back in to the habit of writing what's actually floating around in my head and getting that out. I know there's another book in there somewhere and I need to get the writing chops back up so that it can flow out the way it needs to flow out. If that makes any kind of sense. Point is...a writer writes. (Thank you "Throw Mama From the Train").

I was talking to the neighbors yesterday after the anniversary party shoot and I got a good chuckle. I'm borrowing Dad's 300SE until my car is fixed. So, I get out of my car. I see my neighbor across the street and wave. Get my bag out of the car and head to my mailbox and grab the mail. My neighbor walks over to the fence and starts to ask what I'm doing getting in my mailbox. He honestly didn't recognize me! I thought that was pretty freakin' awesome. heh. And then somehow the conversation turned to quite possibly one of the best worst movies ever...

Death Race 2000.

If you have not yet seen this Corman Classic, then we're really not as close of friends as you think we are because I've owned it on DVD for nearly 20 years and have subjected all my friends to it at one point or another.

Anyway...go check it out. I won't say you won't be disappointed...but it's some funny shit.

AND (Darrin-pay attention)...apparently there's a Japanese rip-off of it that involves motorcycles. Pretty much the same movie except with motorcycles. I can't remember if I've seen it (or Darrin told me about it) or not. But...I have to find out about getting this thing. Because...well...it sounds as awesomely bad as the original (or maybe THAT one is the original, and Corman copied...who knows? who cares? I need to track it down).

I sense a movie night with the three amigos coming up if I can track that down (or if, as I strongly suspect, my man Darrin already has it).

So...yeah...that's about where we are this Sunday. I may or may not have thoughts plinko-ing around in my brain that need to be spewed forth here later today or not. We'll see.

Until then, have a fantastic Sunday Funday!!

-A.T.


(P.S. "Depeche Mode Radio" on Pandora is quite possibly one of my favorite stations).

6.23.2012

The Only Good Bug is a Dead Bug

This isn't going to be a terribly long post. Just really more of an aside.

I have to laugh every time I hear an advert on Pandora Radio..."Click on the banner to learn more"....

Every time I hear it, I immediately think of Starship Troopers..."would you like to know more?..."

Random, I know. But if you've seen the movie...and you listen to Pandora, you may now just chuckle every time you hear it too. The similarities are eerie.

You're welcome.

And There's Still One More Day!

This was going to be a post about how tragic the weekend turned. 

And then I got to thinking about what a tragedy really is. A tragedy is a parent listening to their hungry children cry themselves to sleep. A tragedy is the 'collateral' damage in a war zone. A tragedy is living your life without fulling understanding this world or your place in it.

These things are tragedies.

My little sob story of how my shoulder hurt from carrying my camera bag on a shoot for 3 hours last night or how my car is in the shop because the catalytic converter decided it was done working is not a tragedy. Y'all should slap the shit out of me if I ever get to the point where that shit bothers me. It's all good. you have my permission.

I've been blessed this weekend, truly. Friends of mine (who've adopted me in to their family), hired me to shoot pix of their friend and Special Olympiad. So, I went down last night for opening ceremonies and was just blown away.

I think I need to get my cameras in for service, though, because both cameras at various points in the evening had moisture in the viewfinder. Very odd indeed. It was in a word, humbling.

If you ever have any doubt as to what pure unadulterated joy looks like, I suggest you get to a Special Olympic event. You will see so much of it that it will overwhelm you. I guarantee you'll be changed.

Here's a quick glimpse snapped with the phone:



As I was leaving Jesse Owens Stadium, I saw this and had to take it-it seemed to match the beauty I witnessed on the field:


Needless to say it was a powerful event.

And one that made my shoulder hurt. Remember the 'not a tragedy'? Yeah. So, for Christmas via gift card I got the Tenba Response Large Shoulder bag (looks a little exactly like this):
Don't get me wrong. I really do love this bag. Although it took me over an hour to configure it how I wanted it and get everything in it, I still dig it. For shoots where I can set my bag somewhere, it's brilliant.

However, for shoots where I need to move around, all that gear pulling down on one shoulder gets to be a bit much. My shoulder was really feeling it last night when I got home. It really kind of reminded how for a lot of reasons, I'm a camera-bag/backpack fan. I have the Tenba Shootout, but it doesn't nearly come close enough to hold my kit.

So, after another 3 hours this morning at OSU shooting our Special Olympiad, I head to Midwest Photo Exchange. Don't worry, I had a helper this morning. My shoulder thanks you, Tom.

The plan was to hit MPEX, see what they had, then head over to MicroCenter and see if my employee discount got me a better bag of the same/similar configuration. I got to MPEX and the dude (I feel like crap for not remembering his name...but he's a huge Think Tank evangelist with guages, so he won't be hard to spot when I got back. But anyway, I was looking at the Tenba backpacks (I've given up on Lowepro and ThinkTank's are way the hell too expensive for the likes of me). Anywhoo...dude was like 'I really like Think Tank' blah blah. And I shut him down because the small ones which wouldn't even come close to holding 1/2 of my kit were easily $250+...way out my budget. Then he was like 'do you have a problem with used?' Um no..are you kidding me? I'm the thriftKing. I almost said as much, but then I realized HE probably didn't know that like say Darrin or Ian would.

So he shows me this used bag called the Think Tank Airport Antidote (version 1.0 I later found out). And it's complete, minus the laptop sleeve (found this out later too) for $99. This bag looked sweet. Dude said 'I was going to get this if it didn't sell'

I looked. I hemmed. I hawed. I did the mental calculations on where each piece of gear would go. Then I started playing with the zippers. Solid. Separate all weather cover. Solid. Straps for the tripod that you could  leave on or store. Solid. Hookups for a Batman style utility belt. Solid. SIDE handle for walking through airports like a carry on.

Sold. 

This bag is sweet as f**k. Not even going to lie. The Antidote v2.0 retails for $200. The main diff I can see is that there's a flap that closes over where the laptop sleeve goes. Not worth another $100 to me--besides, I didn't even HAVE the laptop sleeve...what did I care?

I'm gonna have to go back in and tell him he may have just converted me. I wore it to an anniversary dinner shoot tonight. It just felt good on my back. Very comfortable. And he showed me his bag today, which is several years old but looks new). 

And...I got everything in the bag...with the exception of the 500mm Mirror Reflex lens (which I only shoot moon shots with) and the 80-200mm Sigma that used to be Steve's. Well...not sure how often I'll be shooting with that since I got the Nikon version. And I have a separate lens bag for when I need to carry either of them on shoots. No harm no foul.

Not only that...but shit just makes sense with this bag. I had it loaded and configured how I wanted it in 25 minutes. Which, if you know me, 25 minutes to get a camera bag just how I want it is a record. Like a call Guinness record. 

This weekend has been full of some seriously good stuff.


The bag with my gear loaded. It all fits. And where it all fits makes sense.This bag is the shit.

Speaking of shit. 
My car's in the shop. I got an oil change yesterday which really has nothing to do with anything other than being phenomenally poor timing. Yesterday evening it sounds funny. I chalk it up to the synthetic oil.

This morning trying to get on to the freeway there is NO pickup. The thing revs and there's no balls to the acceleration.

I call Mike over at Boyd's. He's not working today, but calls the working manager and lets him know. I take my car over and they get it right on the lifts. 

BAMMO--catalytic converter is plugged. Needs to be replaced. Gonna be nearly $500.

Ouch.

So...yeah, that's crappy. 

But it's only Saturday and the weekend is going pretty well so far, actually. 

I shot an anniversary party this evening at Brio (And was fed) for good friends who are celebrating their 45th Anniversary together. 

They consider me family.  And it's cool.

Sure, there have been a few bumps this weekend. But they have been buried by the awesomeness that I've been showered with this weekend.

The weekend truly does kick ass.

Hoping yours is too.

Peace out, there's a stool at Brewstirs with my name on it. Catch you tomorrow.

-A.T.


6.22.2012

Photo Phriday

It's been a good week, overall.

Sure...Mom's still in the hospital (but I think she's going to get home today). And sure I've had to get up a couple times this week to do installs at work (which isn't really that big of a deal since I've been getting up around 5AM to ride the bike anyway).

But overall, a damn good week.

And now, some Photog-y Goodness for your Phriday.

These were also recently posted to my Instagram account, so you may have seen them there, too.

I'm a sucker for some wicked sunset pix. I think on my list of things to do this summer is find out some of the steps that are used in the Instagram app to get some of these effects, because I'm digging them.


Another local sunset...


If you popped over here from my now dead Facebook page, first off-hi. Second off, this is what Todd looks like now, minus the 55lbs he used to be carrying...


Yeah, I think it's pretty damn sweet, too. I'm going to need to hit the thriftstore soon. Next week should be 1/2price Wednesday (and coincidentally also pay week--win/win).

Speaking of winning, my daughter turned 18 yesterday. Not sure I'm quite ready for it, but I don't really have much of a choice, so, I just manned up and said 'Yup. I'm old' (well, AGE wise I'm not really old...and mentally I don't feel old...and physically I feel like I'm getting younger, but I just had my daughter graduate high school, so that makes me old...or something).

As is our tradition, we did our annual Daddy/Daughter birthday dinner. She decided to push the envelope a bit this year by introducing her old man to Korean cuisine.

The meal started off with some tasty dumplings...

This is my Bibim Bap...I'm not sure what all's in it, but if you add the red sauce (or Devil's Urine as I have come to affectionately call it, it's hot as f**k)....

You're supposed to just mix it all up...this is the 'pre-mixed up shot'...it actually tasted a lot better than it looks above.

One thing about Korean restaurants (I suppose) is that they load you up on sides. It's part of the meal. Jen said it was rude not to try everything. And between us, we did.


My favorite was the sampling of the Korean BBQ ribs. That's going to be what I order next time. Seriously good flavor.

And here's my birthday girl...18 and full of smiles to be having dinner with her papa...

Her plate was some dish I can't remember that consisted of pork, squid, and veggies. I tried a piece of the pork, but it was so infused with the seafood taste that I quickly regretted it. Jen loved it though, so that's all that matters.

And with that, I go to face the day.

Here's hoping your day is so full of blessings that you have no choice but to share them with others.

-A.T.






6.19.2012

#f**kingMondayonTuesday

It's kind of crazy these days. I come home convinced I've had a bad day...or in the moment of the day, it seems like it's shaping up to be a bad day. And then something happens. I can't explain what it is, because frankly, I don't know what to call it.

But as I'm sitting there trying to think of how shitty the day was, I get this calm. It's surreal, and it's really an almost imperceptible shift...but it's there. It's a shift to realizing that the day wasn't really bad at all. That the events of the day weren't really in and of themselves BAD...and my reaction to them, while not perfect, also was not bad. And it comes from the fact that the reason I'm actually frustrated (and that's too harsh of a word, whatever is one or two levels below frustrated--that's what I am)....but the reason I'm that is because I haven't done all I could to help people.

I was hired in to give our team a customer-centric focus. Something that I think I can do quite well after working for a company that provided software to help big companies provide excellent customer service to their customers. If there's one thing I know, it's customer service.

And that's what bugs me. I know what the right thing is...and I want to be able to do that--NOW. But there's a building process.

So...instead of getting frustrated that there's no house to walk in to, nothing but a pile of bricks, the shift happens. That almost imperceptible shift in to seeing the bricks as the chance to build the house that we want...instead of moving in to someone elses house.

THAT my friends, is as exciting as shit! And that's the reason that after 2 months at this job, I can honestly say that "Yes, I still love my job." To be instrumental in building a department that's going to wipe away all the years of bad taste that previous incarnations of our department have left in the mouths of the users in our company is an AMAZING gift.

Gift. Gifts are cool things.

But before I get in to that--Mom update.

I stopped on the way home today and visited Mom. That was not an easy thing to see...a child shouldn't see their parents in the hospital. It just fucks with the whole 'super hero' vibe that parents are supposed to have.

Wasn't an easy day of healing for Mom today. We chatted. Talked about what it's like to confront your own mortality (she'd had her moment this weekend, I had mine 15 years ago). If you have never been put in the situation of being told that if you don't do X, Y, and Z, you will die, then I truly envy you. It's a shitty thing to have to hear, regardless of what age you are.

She needs her rest, so I doubt I'll pop by until Thursday or Friday.

And the gifts of today just keep giving.

I stopped over at Katie and Davids to pick up some Sleepworks for my boss, and they had a surprise for me that totally caught me off guard. 2 coats and a jacket. And these were NICE coats. 2 leather jackets and 1 lined hoodie. Very cool. Two of the three fit now. One will fit by the time the weather cools down to the point where I will actually need to wear it. These are no doubt the nicest coats I've ever had and I'm pretty damn stoked.

Which brings us to now. Sipping on a Leinie Honey Weiss, writing this blog, and realizing that regardless of the shit that comes my way today, I am amazingly blessed beyond belief. Fantastic family and friends, and a job I love. Seriously, what could make this any better? Other than a bluetooth keyboard so I can hack away at this blog. Oh, wait. I have one of those.

A kick ass day indeed. Gonna finish my beer and call it a night.

Peace Outside.

-A.T.

Takes a Licking

It would appear that June is on target for some awesome things.
It looks like I've written more in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last 2  years. I don't think that's coincidence.

Mom's still in the hospital. Doing OK from what Dad says. Hopefully she'll be out Friday or Saturday at the latest. Still not sure what caused it, but we should know soon enough.

I'm a little off this morning. Had to change up the routine a bit to do some installs for work.

Oh, it's OK. I actually don't mind them. This job is still leagues ahead of the last one in terms of, well, everything.


Speaking of coolness...if you happen to be out and about near a place that sells motorcycles, or motorcycle accessories, you should check out June's issue of Thunder Roads Ohio Magazine.

Yours truly has about 6 or 7 pictures in there related to the Make It Fit Foundation Autism awareness motorcycle.

And the rumor is that I should have more pix in the July issue for Kip Meeks and Beckner's Custom Cycles. Still waiting to hear on that one.

It's been a pretty cool past few months, I have to say. The weight's coming off...and the blessings are pouring on. It's just pretty amazing to me how many good things are there (and have probably always been there) and that when I take the time to appreciate them, they come back to me tenfold.

OK--that bike's not going to ride itself. Heading out to face the day now.
Have a fantastic day, my friends.

-A.T.

6.18.2012

You Don't Have to Put on the Red Light

Snatch was a fantastic movie to bike to in the morning. The pacing was damn near frenetic. 30 minutes flew by when I was watching that. Part of it might have been Brad Pitt playing a Gypsy. The pace of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is not so conducive to the ride. Many of the same characters (or actors), but the tempo's too slow for a 'lose yourself in the movie' kind of bike ride. Still...it's been a while since I've seen it, so at this point I'm invested in it. May very well just pick a different movie to bike to tomorrow and just watch that one in the evening tonight as laundry finishes. We'll see.

Mom came through the surgery just fine and is resting now. Which is good.

And I'm ready to face the week. The weekend was good (too short, as they always are). It's weird having a job I actually look forward to. But the new gig is just such a job.

With that, I leave the three of you to your day.

Have a fantastic one!!!

-A.T.

6.17.2012

Days Go By

Reason #28 that I'm happy I deleted my Facebook profile: I can use song lyrics/titles as the titles for my post without starting some kind of cyber riot (ok..not that that ever happened, but hey-it sounded cool).


I found this super cool graphic doing an image search and when I actually went to the site before stealing the pic, I read the article that accompanied it. And it was pretty cool. I'd recommend it. Check it out here "5 Reasons Why I Deleted My Facebook Profile"

I was asked today if I have tried to go back to my Facebook page since deleting it. And the answer is-no. I can't. I have to resist that urge (although the urge hasn't really been there) for the next 14 days (Well, about 10 or 11 days now). If I click on my account (or an app that was logged in to my account), it will re-activate it. I'm sure it's their way to combat the 'I accidentally deleted my account when I was drunk and stupid' syndrome. But it's also kind of a sneaky way to have people click back in and get right back on the horse.

I don't see that happening for me. It's easy for me to see how better off I am without. Oh, and if you're curious--no, my deleting my profile was NOT some kind of statement or protest or commentary on my friends who still have profiles. It was ME choosing to delete it for MY personal reasons. Nothing more. Nothing less. 

It's gonna be nice to have a post where I don't bring that up anymore.

Switching gears....on to Fathers' Day. 

Father's Day kinda sucked this year, I'm not even going to lie. Oh sure, I got to spend time with my dad today.

About 4 hours as a matter of fact. 

In the St. Ann's Hospital waiting room. My mom's been fighting diverticulitis and there were issues. Without getting too graphic or anything, these issues led to her going to the Emergency Department yesterday and to them having to do surgery today to remove part of her colon to address the issue.

She's OK. Resting now and will be in the hospital for a few more days. So everything seems to be working out.

It was just a rough way to spend Father's Day.

Especially coming on the heels of having my daughter's graduation party yesterday.

I'm officially old. Haha. It's all good.

It was just one of those things, sitting there yesterday that I wasn't processing quite correctly. So...um. yeah. 

Words. Or something.

Overall, though, I would have to say life is pretty flippin' good right now.

Oh...and I got a new iPad case for Father's Day. It's one that I know Jen would have gotten for me anyway :-)

It was originally made for the original iPad, so there's no camera cut out on the back of the case. But that's OK. I can count on 1 finger the number of times I've used the rear camera on the iPad. I don't know much about this company. It seems like it was originally a high-end case (one that I would have never considered, had it not been on sale at Tuesday Mornings). But I like it. It looks like a 'Todd Case' (if such a thing exists).

Alright, I'm waiting now for this load of laundry to make it to the spin cycle, then I'm off to bed. Another day in the books. Another list full of blessings.

After all, that's pretty much what it's all about, huh?


Have a great night....sleep well...and don't forget to bring something back with you from Dreamland when you go. It can make all the difference.

-A.T.

6.14.2012

On Target

So, you may remember, I couple of days ago, I posted this-a list of my summer plans.

I'm happy to say the list now looks like this:



  • Revive the Blog.
  • Revive the Flickr Pro account and organize the portfolio over there.
  • Redo the TwistedZen.Com site
  • Set up a SmugMug Pro site for gallery/ordering
  • Remove photos from Facebook
  • Back up Facebook posts (hey...never know...there were some good nuggets on that wall from time to time)
  • Abandon (hope all ye who enter) Facebook
  • Write more
  • Shoot more
  • Rest secure in the knowledge that my true friends won't give a shit if I'm on Facebook or not.
Not gonna lie to you, it feels pretty damn good to be crossing that shit off. It's something I struggle with, finishing things I start. I'm trying to get better about it. I have books filled in various locations with lists of all sorts of designs and grand schemes...so to be able to cross things off my lists is a nice change of pace.


The weight loss is still going well (I haven't really fired up the #nomorefattodd blog yet, so I'll just throw an update here). I'm down 54lbs and healthier than I've been in easily 20 years. I know it has a lot to do with my eating, exercise and the Advocare products I'm using. It's been a nice triple threat to kill the fat and lazy Todd that was lurking around for way too long.

Alright, I should focus on getting to work (since that's what they pay me for).

More on this at the lunchtime break (perhaps).

Have a fantastic Thursday, all!!



6.13.2012

Weird Morning-Day 1

It's weird. I'm not even going to lie.

I woke up and headed down for the crapatorium, going through my morning ritual--which for the last well, probably years now, has included checking what's been happening on the 'Book.

And I looked at my phone and it wasn't there. No messages about how so and so had poked me. No little red circle with the white number telling me how many people thought I was clever. No blue square with the white 'f'. And it was fucking brilliant.

I figure it will take a day or two for people to realize that I've actually closed out my account. And another day or two for them to stop giving a crap.

I figure that the nature of the Face' is so transient anyway that things like this are only a little blip. People don't really remember who they used to read. If they do, even that fades.I'm not saying it's good or bad, it just seems to be how it is. At least that's how it plays out in my mind.

I do have a Wordpress blog started to track my weight loss journey. I've got some catching up to do to get it current, and that's cool. The hours that I would spend on the FB will be better spent writing, and actually telling my story in some kind of linear fashion (well, as linear as I've ever told a story, that is).

And maybe it will still inspire people. Maybe people paid attention--jotted down my email and my blog address. I'm not worried about it, honestly. I needed to do this. For me. I was spending too much time passively absorbing content that wasn't doing anything but giving me a temporary fix. A temporary escape.

Sounds a bit like drugs, doesn't it? Well, it is. Facebook is my drug of choice. For brief seconds on it, I can feel like a fucking king-like the whole world loves me. And then when people don't respond to the posts I want them to, or completely misread them, then I feel shittier than shit. Very much like a pattern of drug addiction.

I'm not stupid. I saw the signs long ago. I'm sure I posted about it. And people told me I was over-reacting. I wasn't. I know my nature. I know myself. And I knew what was happening.

Fortunately for me, iOS lets me uninstall facebook completely from my iPhone and iPad. UNFORTUNATELY for me, iOS6 that's on it's way seems to be tightly integrated to Facebook. Hopefully Apple is smart enough to give punters like me a chance to opt out of that integration completely. If not, maybe I'll give up the cell phone completely. Go back to a land line and an answering machine. Wouldn't that be a riot? I've thought about it. Seriously...who needs access ALL the time?? No one.

Don't worry...I'm not getting all Ted Kaczynski on you or anything. But when we get to a point where technology is so tightly intermeshed that we blindly accept it, there's a problem. The number of ads that we're exposed to in 30 minutes of Facebook time is exponentially greater than those on the same amount of TV. Don't believe me? Count them. Count the number of ad widgets on each page you view on Facebook for half an hour. Count the number of ads in a game you play on there. Count the number of posts on your wall from major corporations.

If you think Facebook is anything but one big ad delivery tool, you're fooling yourself. Google+ also has a high ad content. I would say of the big major players, Twitter is really the only one that's about content...people push what they want, follow who they want and the ads are a lot less. I'm sure they're there, I just don't notice them as much.

And so we are on Day 1 (well, day 2 if you count yesterday when I actually deleted the account) of the 14 day waiting period.

You have have to wait 7 days to get a gun...but you have to wait 14 days before your Facebook account is completely deleted. And all you have to do to cancel the 'permanent' deletion (which you have to confirm 3 times that you want to in the first place) is log back in any time in that 14 days.

I am guessing a lot of people get sucked back in that way. Delete the account from their PC then 'accidentally' log back in with their phone or some app that's Facebook enabled and bammo they're right back on the crack. Hopefully I took care of that. I uninstalled the one game I knew for sure automatically logged in to facebook and logged the others ones off before I deleted.

I just can't go back to that. To that online high school look at me I'm so fucking great thing again. I got sucked in. I started to think I made a difference, that what I said over there mattered.

And even if it did, it was so transient that if you found something inspiring on FB one day and wanted to see it again 3 days later, you'd never find that post.

Alright, enough of that. The sweat from the 30minute bike ride has pretty much evaporated and I'm off to get ready to face the day. Poke-free for the first time in years.

It sounds a bit silly, I know, but you have no idea how cool it is to me.

-A.T.

6.12.2012

The Rules (it's OK, there's only 2)

It kinda just comes down to this....

Rule #1: Don't take yourself so effing seriously.
Rule #2: If you are ever in doubt, see Rule #1.

14 Days to Freedom

I just submitted my request to delete my Facebook account.

There's a 14 day waiting period (in case you change your mind). I don't think I will. I think if I was going to change my mind about it, I would have chosen the 'Deactivate' option...it's less 'permanent.'

Honestly...there was just a little too much bullshit floating around on Facebook for me lately.

And, it's quite possible I had a mild Facebook addiction going on. At first it started out of boredom. But when it gets to the point that the first thing you do when you wake up...the first thing you do when you come home from work...then 4 hours later wondering where the evening has gone and all you've done is look at dumb ass 'magnets' with half shitty self-deprecating quotes...then its time to change.

My friends...my real friends (not my 'Facebook Friends') will know how to get in touch with me...call, text, or email me. Or make their way here.  And that's cool.

That's the way it should be. No one really needs to know that I just took a crap and lost 4 pounds.

If you want inspiration....come here...or hit up one of my other blogs (which will be getting updated a LOT more often).

I'd hate to think that the quality of my life will do anything but improve as a result of this change.

The downside? I'm gonna have a bitch of a time remembering birthdays.

:-)

-A.T.

Summer Gameplan

Here's the summer gameplan as I currently see it:

  • Revive the Blog.
  • Revive the Flickr Pro account and organize the portfolio over there.
  • Redo the TwistedZen.Com site
  • Set up a SmugMug Pro site for gallery/ordering
  • Remove photos from Facebook
  • Back up Facebook posts (hey...never know...there were some good nuggets on that wall from time to time)
  • Abandon (hope all ye who enter) Facebook
  • Write more
  • Shoot more
  • Rest secure in the knowledge that my true friends won't give a shit if I'm on Facebook or not.


And that's about the extent of it.

Have a fantastic Tuesday, and don't forget...


-A.T.Skaggs

6.11.2012

Running Away 2012 Style

I saw a facebook magnet (god, I hate those) that said 'Threatening to delete your facebook account is like running away was as a kid...you'll come back.'

And that's probably true.

I tried to ween myself off of it before.
I posted on Facebook all the time about it. Irony, that.

Even now, while I'm trying to move on, all I'm doing is fucking posting about it. But my time on there tonight was a lot less than it would have otherwise been.

I swear it's the fucking devil.  Or at least a demon spawn.

I think I need a whole chapter in my book on "God, the Universe, and Whatever Else Pops in My Head"* on how antiGod uses Facebook and other (anti)Social Media to lure us away from love in to apathy.

You see, the opposite of love is not hate. To hate you still have focus as much attention and passion, if not more, on your object of hatred than you do when you're in love. The emotional ties are actually stronger with hatred. They aren't opposites. No, love and hate are more like neighbors.

The opposite of love is apathy. When you no longer care about someone or something, you fall out of love with it. You fall out of hate with it. It ceases to have any concern or hold in your life whatsoever. Apathy is the true antiLove. But that's quite likely going to be a chapter in one of my next books, so I'll refrain from including it here.

Fuggnuts. Wouldn't you know it?I still didn't cut my hair.

I need to. Shit's long.

See what happens when I just start going all stream of consciousness on it without any concern for whether I'm going to run out of space to type? Yeah...strap yourselves in ladies and gents. This is the real Todd. Not that Reader's Digest Condensed version you've been getting over yonder in Zuckerfuckerland.

With that dear reader(s), I'm off to bed. I have some things to check on in Dreamland.

One of these days I'll dig in depth about what I mean when I say 'Dreamland'...or I could leave that for the book, too.

Either way, it's time for me to slumber now.

Peace out.
-A.T.












*I was originally going to call the next book "UGH: Unifying God Hypothesis" but I'm really digging the title,  "God, the Universe, and Whatever Else Pops in My Head" instead. I mean, it pays homage to one of my writing (style) heroes, whilst simultaneously giving the reader a clear understanding about what they will be reading should they crack the spine and actually realize that there are words within.

Prettyfuckingbrilliant if you ask me.

no, I know you didn't.

Oh...sometimes I swear. And stupid me, one of my facebook friends is actually a co-worker (not at my location, but for the same company)....oh...and another is married to my ...oh...never mind. This is part of who I am. I have to be honest and tell you now that anything you get on this particular blog would be no better or worse than you would hear from me if you joined me for a pint at my local watering hole.

In other words, this is the unfiltered (mostly) Todd.

You've been given fair notice. Hope that helps.

Heh. OK. Now I really AM heading up to bed.


FBDTX

Operation Facebook Detox is in full effect. I think I may have mentioned this earlier today. I am pretty sure I posted it on Google+ and Twitter, both of which are like the methadone clinic of the online social media realm...if for no other reason than yes, they too can become addicting, but the exposure to both (at least for me) has been nothing on the magnitude of FB.

 

And it's funny to me. No texts, no emails, no messages asking if anything's wrong. It's proof to the adaptability and inherent acceptance we all seem to have of Facebook. In that something changed, but people may not know immediately what changed, if they should worry about it, or if they should do anything at all, so we just carry on and proceed as normal.

 

I can't tell you how many friends I used to look forward to their status updates every morning and then they stopped. I can't tell you because I don't remember. It just becomes part of the scenery. And the new timeline and newsfeed bullshit is so buggered up that it makes one think they've lost their mind when they try to find anything anyway...so it's no wonder.

 

I give it until Wednesday before someone (who doesn't frequent this blog) says something. And maybe even not then.

 

It's cook though, this is the exact thing I need. I know this in my bones. The time and freedom that is going to come from making the break will pay out immeasurable dividends.

 

And who knows, I might even figure out that I can write again.

One can only hope.

-A.T.

No Magic Pill

What a difference 3 years makes.

Believe it or not, this is actually the same shirt. It was a little tighter in 2009 than it is now. And the only way I could wear it was the 'FatTodd Method' (which consisted of wearing a long sleeved Tee under a much smaller t-shirt...it worked, but I'm guessing I wasn't fooling anyone).

Two of my neighbors said the following to me:

"I saw you walk out to your car the other morning and I had to do a double take because I was wondering who that strange man walking out of your house was"

-and-

"You're looking more like the Todd I knew in HighSchool. If you had looked that when you moved in, I would have recognized you right away"

 

Both of these were amazing compliments...I don't know if they knew how much those two things touched me.

I'm down about 52/53 pounds now (depending on the day of the week) and still losing. The goal is to hit my target (225) by my birthday-5 months or so from now. And I have no doubt that I'm going to hit it.

I have some people asking me how I'm doing this.

  • It's pretty straightforward:
  • Advocare 24Day Challenge
  • Eating Right
  • Exercise
  • Continuing on some Advocare products
And that's really it. Now, I'm not going to go in to a commercial on Advocare (even though I think it's a great company). If you want to know more about the 24Day Challenge or the other products, just ask.

Point is, though, there's no magic bullet. Even Advocare isn't a 'diet' or 'program' per se. It's a lifetstye change. You're going to be eating differently...exercising...and in generally feeling more energetic and ready to face the world.

I started another blog (I'll post the link to it later) to cover the whole journey to a healthy Todd thing. For now, I'm just pretty much trying to get back in to the habit of writing something other than a superficially deep FB status.

On that note, I'm going to finish my chicken and brown rice and head back to work.

Have a fantastic rest of your Monday.

 

-A.T.

 

The First Step

The first step in solving a problem is admitting you have a problem.
Alright, I admit. You have a problem.

Oh, wait, that's not what they meant. Hmmm. OK.

So, basically I'm still pressing on with the Facebook de-toxing. The urge to post some smiley thing to pump you all up and get me feeling good for helping you feel good is very hard to fight. But it becomes less so when I actually sit and look at my motives for posting things like that.

Are the posts really for me, or are they for you?

Good question. The line's still a bit too fuzzy to clarify. So, until I'm sure why I'm posting, I'm holding off. I'll let the thoughts bleed over here. I'm sure there aren't 800+ people watching me over here, so it feels a bit safer somehow.

I think that if I really look at all the time I spent on Facebook and put it to good use...you know, re-designing the web site (as I'd been planning for the last 2 years)...or actually going out and shooting pictures of something, anything, it would be time better spent.

And, as odd as it seems, the laptop was another step in that.

I never turned the desktop off. As a result, it was always connected...always online. As a result, Facebook was instantly accessible.

Sorry for the ramblings about this, but you see, it really is kind of a beast in my life right now, and I feel that I really do need to break free of it at least on some level.

So--if that bugs you, stop reading for a while. Because this is the one place I don't really make any apologies. Well, this and the 4 other blogs I have scattered over the blogosphere.

But this is the main one...the random meanderings on my journey toward the twisted zen.

Hang on...the next few months are apt to be a bit rocky.

Please make sure your tray tables and flight attendants are in their upright positions, we're cleared for take off.

Happy Monday.
-A.T.

6.10.2012

Rydell Online

It's no secret to the 4 of you that read my blog that I'm still completely on the fence about the merits-vs-timesuck argument that is Facebook.

To be completely honest, I could take it or leave it right now.

I find myself sifting through the posts on my 'wall' thinking "man...when did we all slip back in to high-school??" followed with "do I really need to know that you painted your toenails a nice shade of burnt umber?" which of course leads me to "do YOU all really need to know that I rode for 30 minutes on the exercise bike this morning??"

If you're keeping score, the answers are "probably from the moment we all signed up for Facebook"...."no, I couldn't care less, but I'll click LIKE anyway" and "probably not."

So...what to do about it?

I had a little mini-experiment going. Starting Friday I posted nothing of 'real significance'...just some Instagram photos. I commented here and there and dropped a few random 'likes' in here and there.

And guess what, the world didn't end. Friends didn't revolt.

In fact, I would venture to say that we all have so much fucking white noise on our Facebook walls that it really went unnoticed by most.

And that's cool, actually.

See, I get a bit of a rush when people comment positively on my weight loss journey...but a part of me has always felt that it was a superficial reaction on my part.

I rationalized this by thinking 'oh gee...I'm inspiring people and blah blah'...and I may be. And that's cool if that's the case. Some days I don't know if I'm posting because I want to motivate and inspire people or I want them to tell me what a good job I'm doing. I'm keeping it real here.

But the fact remains that I'm getting fucking sick of Facebook. I think that writing more, in a medium that better suits my ramblings (like a blog or three) would be better.

In regards to the TwistedZen Photography--I don't know how much business I'm really generating from that page. I think the current plan of re-vamping the Online site and using a site like SmugMug for the business end of things will go a lot further than anything I did on Facebook.

So I think the plan is to let the Facebook wall peeter out on its own. As I post more blog entries, I'll guide people toward that. The quest for the biggest friends list (which unconsciously I know I did for a while) is through. I don't care about that anymore. Truthfully, I really don't feel like myself on Facebook.

It's crazy to say it, but I feel like if I'm having a shitty day, the last place I can post about it is on facebook (which used to be the FIRST place I would post about it). Now, to be fair, there haven't been too many completely shitty days recently..but I feel like Facebook is no longer a place for me to vent if I need to. No longer a place for me to just let loose. Like there's some kind of underlying expectation on there--whether or not that's fact or made up in my head I have no idea---but it's definitely steering me away from that thing.

I don't think Facebook is completely evil in and of itself. But it plays to peoples need to feel connected. And that's the trap. Because the LAST thing you are is connected on Facebook. Thousands upon thousands of people sitting at their computers or staring at their phones thinking that they are somehow all friends? It's ridiculous. The height of this is when you see 4 people sitting at a table somewhere, all on their smart phones, posting where they are, who they are with, and how much fun they're having...and then commenting on each other's posts. And I only point this out because I've done it. And later I'm like --"gee, how much more fun would I have had if we had the conversation in person??"

vent, vent, rant, rant, bitch, bitch.

Enough talking...er...typing.

Plan "Facebook Detox" seems to be a go. I don't think I'm going to get where I want to be in life if  hours are stolen here and there by that siren-song singing online (anti)Social Media service. I hope this means I'm finally tackling the narcissism on some level. At least as much as any of us can.

Those that know me...you know, my friends, already know how to get in touch with me (phone, email, know where I live). Those that are my 'friends' on Facebook will either lose interest, or follow my exploits over here....and that's cool too.

Either way I'm gonna slowly get that beast out of my life.

Happy Sunday, y'all.

-A.T.

6.04.2012

The New And Improved Writing Machine

The jury is still out, well, actually it hasn't even been sequestered yet as the closing arguments of the case are still being delivered. However, based on the stream of mumbo that precedes this sentence, I may have found an app that makes blogging on the iPad an enjoyable experience.

It's called Blogsy. It runs $4.99 in the App Store (you can search for it as easily as I can post the link for it) :-).

 

So far I'm digging it. I'm still getting used to using the external keyboard on the iPad (but I like it better than the built in keyboard).

 

So, I guess this is the start of something cool (all evidence in this post to the contrary). Yup. Working on getting back in to the writing groove again.

 

So, um. yeah. that's all I got for now. Lunchbreak would appear to be over.

 

Have an awesome-sauce Monday, yo.

 

-A.T.

6.01.2012

Waxing Poetic

I want to just take a moment and...well...gush a bit.

I mean, not grossly or anything, but just to pause and say that 'yes...there are times when shit DOES actually work out the way you hope it will.' Or 'Hey...life in and of itself is neither fair nor unfair, but sometimes when you do good things, then good things follow'

And that's pretty fucking cool to me.

Oh. If you're new here, sometimes I swear a bit.
It's not a big fucking deal. Mostly it's just for emphasis and shit.

So...where was I?

Oh, the good things.

Yeah. I'm going on nearly 2 months at the new job....and I have news for you---I still love it! I still think it's a fantastic fit for my temperament and I love the possibilities there.

And dude...that's HUGE for me.

I don't really know how much I bitched about my old job on this blog (I was pretty paranoid after some friends' blogs got trolled by their employers)...but...near the end, I really fucking hated that place.

A 6mile commute was torture.

Now, the 21mile commute is awesome. OK...traffic still annoys me...but the DESTINATION is so much better that I don't really mind.

I feel like I'm making a difference. I feel like I'm part of the team (and as Team Lead, actually given the reigns to lead). And...I have the support of my supervisor and the VP of my department.

What? Recognition?  Buy-in? Support? These are (or were) foreign to me.

So...I guess the gushing part of the post is this.

I'm so thankful for the way my life has shifted recently. Starting in November with getting on the Advocare 24Day Challenge and sticking with that to now be down 53.4 pounds. To the renewed self-confidence that led to me getting the new job at MicroCenter in April.

Blessings...Karma...Answered Prayers.

Call it what you will (all three are, in fact, accurate)...the bottom line is....I'm loving the life I'm living right now.

And for THAT, I am truly thankful.

-A.T.

Oddly OK

I should, by all accounts, be freaking out right about now. Most of my friends and even my daughter are kind of freaking out for me. Which i...