12.21.2013

Well, F**k a Duck

I'm not going to lie. I'm kind of annoyed that this post is even coming out of my brain...but dude. Seriously?? The Duck Dynasty dude is an idiot. But take a step back for a minute and chill the fuck out.

I'm sick of people blowing up the Facebook and Twitter feeds about First Amendment bullshit.

I don't recall reading about Mr. Duck getting arrested for what he said.  And I'm sick of  what  he said getting bandied about--it continues to propagate the hate. And that's just what he wanted.

Take a step back.

For one second look at the situation not the comments.

Let's change the script.

*******

OK. I've had time to sleep on this. I actually fell asleep last night while writing this and thus decided it was time to go to bed.

Here's the thing. There are some key points that bug the fuck out of me with this whole Duck Dynasty bullshit.

1. His First Amendment Rights were never violated. He was never arrested. The authorities never came to his house and detained him for questioning based on what he said in the interview. He was just 'suspended.' His bosses didn't agree with what he said and were, I'm sure, looking for ways to do damage control on his incendiary comments.  You have the right in America to say what you feel you need to say, however job security is not a right. If your boss wants to fire you for being a dick, hit the bricks, pal.

2. I'm annoyed with people using the Old Testament of the Bible to push their agenda of hate and exclusion and in the same conversation reminding people that Jesus died for their sins. Do you even know how fucked up that is?  Seriously?!? Old Testament has some harsh laws...and harsh punishments for disobeying those laws. And a large portion of America would be in some deep shit--especially when Red Lobster has their Endless Shrimp Buffet.  God knew shit wasn't working and people weren't quite getting it. So the story goes in the second half of the Bible, that he sent his son to die for everyone's sins FOR ALL TIME. Meaning you don't have to go back to the Old Testament ways!!! Get the fuck out of the Old Testament. OR, and here's a novel thought, if you're truly going to live according to the Old Testament laws then live by ALL of them.  See how far you get before you have to stone your neighbor or your wife to death. Seriously. It's a brutal set of laws if you actually read through it.

Stop using the Bible as a means to persecute. Focus on the main theme of the New Testament Love Thy Neighbor and you'll be just fine. I don't give a fuck if you believe in God or not--Love Thy Neighbor.

3. Reality TV is not real. I know I've said this before, but everything that happens on reality TV is scripted. If you think that the editors didn't know what kind of narrow-minded asshole Mr. Duck was long before the GQ interview, you're sadly mistaken. I would bet money that there is footage on the cutting room floor where he's saying worse. The difference is, they could edit it out.

And while we're on the topic of what he said...people, get over yourself about homosexuality. Please?

I'm not going to get in to the whole nature vs. nurture born that way vs. chose to be that way bullshit. Why? Because it doesn't matter.

It's love.

Love.

Read that again.

Love.

I'm going to put something in here from the Bible. Since so many of you claim to follow this book, you should be familiar with the passage from First Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 4-7:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I keep reading that and am hard-pressed to see where that only applies to male-female relations. If someone truly loves another person--let them. True love is such a rare and fleeting gift.

I wonder where we would be if more Christians actually started their day with this passage? If they remembered this with every interaction with every person they met. If they truly 'got' the memo of loving one another as Jesus loved them?

God or no God. Christian or not. Atheist or believer. If we all remember that loving one another, above all else, is the most important thing we can do in this life--we'd all be a hell of a lot better off.

And seriously...stop fanning the flames of the Duck guy. Giving him any more time in the spotlight and lending any more credence to his venom is only perpetuating the problem.

Have a kick ass day my friends.

Love ya!

-A.T.

12.16.2013

Yes, But Did You Have Fun?




It's human nature, I suppose, when mentioning that you traveled to a distant city to be asked 'That sounds neat--Did you have fun?.'

Especially when that city is some place like New York City (or in my case, Queens--which is close enough).

And I chuckle to myself when I hear this, because I know the person asking doesn't really mean anything malicious by it. And I also know that with very few exceptions, they don't really know what I mean when I say we 'cabled the new store.'

So I smile and say 'It was nice.'

But the truth is...in the 4 trips I've been here, I've only had one day 'off' where we weren't on the job site. So...I haven't really seen the city more than that one day. I haven't explored the ins and outs or local flavor of Queens at all, with the exception of the restaurants that are in walking distance to the hotel and the (friggin' amazing) Italian joint next door to the job site (Valentino's. On Kissena. It's amaze balls).

The other truth is that we work harder on these trips than when we're at home. At home a 10 or 12 hour day is the exception. At the job site, it's the norm. We have a set list of things we need to try to get done and a finite window. The hours are longer....the days are harder. It's not fun. But it's necessary.

Do I enjoy it? It can be very physical. It can be tedious. But at the end of the day I know that I'm doing my part to help open up a new store.  I've said it before, but this company is the best career move I've ever made. And it's definitely the move that my soul needed. From that standpoint, I enjoy knowing that this new store in Queens is going to have a piece of me running through it.

So...did I have fun? No. I worked. But for me fun is more of a state of mind. I'm a fun person. So...even in the mix of tedium and bullshit and dodging forklifts and elevator delivery men...I am a fun person. So, there is fun to be had.

This trip is especially difficult because of the temps.  There's still no heat in the store. And the work we have to do is intricate work that needs un-gloved fingers. Yeah. It's not pretty. And there's something about 25 degree weather with a biting wind that sucks the energy right out. But we're hitting our objectives, so that's good.

I get so off-kilter when I travel like this, too. I wake up and am slightly disoriented. Not sure where I am. I refer to the hotel as 'home.' "Let's pack up the job box and head home." "Todd--we don't fly home until next week."  "Home. Hotel. You know what I mean."

It's just a weird shift. I think my brain has the uncanny ability to adapt and assimilate to new situations and it locks things off in corners of my brain where I don't often look in the light of day. For example--marriage. To me it seems like at least 2 years or more since I was that married guy.  I mean, it literally seems like it happened to a different person. Like a different person lived that life and I just knew his story because I read the book or saw the movie or something. But in reality--it's only been 9 months since we separated and 20 days since the dissolution was final. And yet, the emotions that I feel about that time in my life are distant. They are the same sympathetic emotions I feel when I really buy in to a character in a movie. If I really identify with that character, I feel the things that the movie tells me they're feeling.  But at the end of the movie, I'm done with it.

Looking back on the 2nd marriage is like that. It would appear I'm just done with it.

And there's a weird one, huh? 2nd marriage. Yeah. Look...if we're picking out 'Friends' characters, I always saw myself as a mix of Chandler (Ms. Chanandler Bong) and Phoebe with a dash of Joey thrown in for good measure. Now it seems I'm one pseudo-marriage and dino-degree away from being Ross.

I don't really know what I'm saying at this point. It really is just mental diarrhea sometimes. I sit down and look up 20minutes later and there's a bunch of letters on the screen and I'm hoping among hopes that not only do those letters actually form words, but that somewhere in all the jumble there is at least something that someone wants to read. Some coherent thread somewhere that keeps your interest.

And if not, I'm sure there's something for you somewhere. The interwebs is a magical playground full of the collective knowledge of the human race. For better or for worse.


In case you don't follow me on Facebook (and no, I don't presume anything in this day and age), you might be happy to know that I decided in favor of actually putting up a tree. There was some annoyance getting some of 'my' Christmas decorations from the ex. And by 'annoyance' I mean that I forgot to take them when I moved out and had to actually ask her and wait on her to dig them out.  In any event. The tree is up. I can't wait to go home and put on the fake fireplace on NetFlix and watch it snow with my Christmas tree lights up.




Pretty, ain't it?

Alright...I need to hop off here. I have some kind of weird food coma thing going from dinner tonight, but that's a story for another time. For now, I leave you with the following:




I'm just kidding--I got nothin'.


Have a great rest of your evening. 

-A.T.


12.07.2013

Holiday Funk

I seriously don't know what the deal is.

I just feel kinda...'meh.'

Oh don't get me wrong...I have some pockets of joy and bliss. And those are increasing. But it's the rest of the time where the focus and 'joy' seem to kind of just get put on the sidelines.

Once I get in to the actual activity (writing...photography...editing), it's fine. I find the bliss. But I'm finding that getting to the point and actually making myself sit down and do those things that bring me joy is where I'm struggling.

I dunno.

It's just a weird time of year for me, I suppose.

I doubt I'll reference this one on Facebook.  So if you happen to stumble across my moment of doubt, you get the easter egg.


12.06.2013

No Time for Humbug

I really was on the fence about the whole Christmas Tree thing. And then one of my friends said something about liking to turn out the lights and just watch the tree.

And I got to thinking....'ya know....I like to do that too.' The scene in Christmas Story where they turn off the lights and just watch the tree kinda gets me every time.

So. Yeah. I stopped on the way home and got a 3ft, pre-lit artificial tree. And now it's set up.

As the snow was falling...the Fireplace was on Netflix....lights off...tree lit.

It felt very calm. Peaceful even.

And for nice little chunk of time tonight I forgot all of the other shit that's been swimming 'round my brain.

This would be one of those nights when I would walk to Brew'Stirs. I'd know it was going to be a dead night. I'd get to hang with my friends behind the bar. And the few tortured souls who braved the elements for a pint. And then when I'd gotten piss blind drunk, I'd stumble home and fall in to bed.

And wake up the next morning...or afternoon. And go on like everything was just peachy keen in the world.

Only it wasn't.

for the last few years, it was just the facade of being OK.

And maybe that's why I fought putting up a tree. Because that was one of those things.

I used to love to put up the tree. To untangle the lights...go through the ornaments...put everything on. I really did like that.  And then one year...I have no fucking idea where I was or why I wasn't home. But the wife already had the tree up. And then it became her Christmas tree. And every year after that I got more distant.

The tree still looked nice. It wasn't necessarily decorated the way I would have. But I did my part. I got the decorations down off the shelf in the garage. And when we were done with them and the shit was ready to go back on the shelf. I did that, too.

So...perhaps I have a few hurdles to overcome with the holidays.

Meh. It's all good.

And least, it will be.


Peace out, and stay warm this weekend.

-A.T.

12.05.2013

Why Bars Are Better Than Facebook

So...I'm reaching the point in the year where I'm getting fed up with the bullshit on Facebook.  When I find myself saying 'Lighten the fuck up people, it's only Facebook' more often than I say, 'wow...that's cool,' then I know it's time to dial my exposure down a bit. I don't think I need to walk away cold turkey like before, but I'm gonna be slowing my roll a bit.

As I was in the shower today I thought of two funny 'eCards.' One was just the phrase "Alcohol. The original Social Media." The other was a picture I took a while  back of shots all lined up on a bar and I would caption it "The original Friend Request."

Rather then re-hash all of my "Facebook is the Anti-social Devil" bullshit today I thought I'd switch gears (oh, don't worry, I will re-visit the irony of calling Facebook a 'social' network again in the future, but not just yet).

So...all the lines of the whole Bars: The Original Social Network theme, I thought I'd go in to why Bars are better than Facebook. You have to understand that I wrote this whole thing in my head this morning on my commute in to work and I'm sure by now I have forgotten most of what made me chuckle as I was dodging the idiots on the road.



You Control the Newsfeed

  • Wanna see sports only? Go to a sports bar. Upscale hoity toiletry? Yup, hit one of those bars with an accent in their name. Boobies? Yeah. They have bars for those, too. Easier than hiding the feed, just walk out, find another one. Some bars are a combination...the booby/sports bars have the best of both worlds, from what I hear.


No Annoying Ads

  • Ok sure...sometimes bars have vendors in that are hawking the latest pineapple daquiritaberry flavor, but so what? Normally that results in free drinks. And a lousy free drink is still infinitely better than no drink at all and a damn sight better than getting annoying posts about Bill Shatner's new Asteroid Watch. I'm fucking sick of that thing.


Your Privacy/Anonymity Is TOTALLY In Your Control

  • Seriously. There is no email verification. Only the bartender knows your real name, Mr. Sumner. Otherwise, be whoever the fuck you want to be. And, if you pay in cash, you are completely off the grid.  Chill by yourself...be a superstar named McLovin' on the dance floor. It's really up to you.  Not to mention you get to avoid that whole FB PhotoStalker phenomenon. You know the one. You friend someone and like 2 days later, pictures you posted 4 years ago start getting 'liked' with comments on them "Great shot!" ..."Love this!!" ..."Too funny"...."OMG.Me too!!"  Gah. Leave it be, brah.

Friends Are Mostly Temporary

  • We've all been there. In a DrunkBooking Moment (or maybe because we can't say no when there's more than 4 Mutual Friends), we friended someone and almost immediately got hit with that 'Oh Shit' moment. And of course if you unfriend someone then the monthly Backgammon Tourney at the Senior Center just gets awkward. At a bar you can be fierce friends until last call and then the next day (if you're lucky) forget all about that shit. And you always have the 'Wow...dude...you look familiar, but I was pretty wasted' defense when you bump in to the person later.
I had a few more ideas pop in my head about why bars are better....but really it comes down to one thing...

Actual Human Interaction
  • Oh sure...for all the drama that ensues when alcohol is involved, you are still actually interacting with someone. Having human contact. There is actually nothing more important in this world than that connection.
And that leads me back to the soapbox, I suppose. 

There are benefits of Facebook. I'm not going to deny that. My beef is that it's skewing our perception of reality and what a 'society' is. And it's taking personal responsibility out of the mix.

You can call someone a douchenugget on Facebook...turn off your PC and never actually see how that comment affected the person on the other end. And that's dangerous.  If you were at a bar and called someone an asshole (or the ever popular douchenugget), you would be forced to actually deal with their reactions. And in doing so, might bring home the fact that the person you're ragging on is actually just as fragile as you.  And that's a valuable lesson to learn. It's what makes us human.

That connection.

It's not there online. I'm sorry it's just not. Even with web cams and chat and Skype...it's still not the same. There's still a level of being detached.

And we're bringing up an entire generation of people who will stay at home, logged in with their 'friends' and think that they are being social and have absolutely zero people skills.

THAT'S the reason I get fed up with Facebook. I realize that my time online is getting sucked away from doing other stuff like writing, or hell, I don't know, even unpacking the one last room in my apartment (although I suspect part of that is because when I finally get unpacked, it will be real, I'll be fully engaged in the new life...looks like I'm adding that to my to-do list this weekend).

Unplug. 

Step away from your computer.

Take a walk down to your local pub (I HIGHLY recommend having a bar/pub within walking distance).  Introduce yourself to your bartender and ask for their recommendation.

Start a conversation.  Do  you know why a lot of bars have TVs? So you can make a comment about what's on TV to the person next to you and be as vulnerable as if you just started up a conversation out of nowhere. OK...that may not be the actual reason, but damn if it's not a a nice side-effect.

Have a drink and soak in the humanity.

You'll remember those moments long after you've forgotten anything you ever posted or read on Facebook. I assure you of that (well...actually, your mileage may vary in the remembering arena depending on how many bartender recommendations you followed in any given night).

And now in the ultimate act of irony, I'm going to be posting this link to my Facebook page.

How fucked up is that?

Yeah. Trust me...the irony isn't lost on me in the least.

Cheers!
-A.T.






12.03.2013

I'm Not A Policeman

OK...so I posted over on Facebook land this clip:

And I said in my status message that I had no idea why I posted it.

I lied.

I know exactly why I  posted it. It's the look on the kid's face.There's all this chaos going on around her...and she stands her ground once. And almost stands it a second time until she succumbs to the norm and follows the pack.  But even then, there's this kind of quiet resignation about the way she says 'Alright...'

And I guess that's how I feel.

It makes sense that my friends and family tell me that I'm better off on the path that I'm traveling. I get that. I really do. I mean, I understand why you all say it.

But it doesn't fucking help. I know you think it does, but think it through for a second.

I had a person in my life that was my best friend...that I was planning on spending the rest of my life with. And then...that person slipped away (I'm sure I slipped away from her, too, if I was ever that person to her).  And I didn't or couldn't stop it by the time I figured out what was happening.

It's still a grieving process, my friends. There was this person in my life. And now they're not there.

And there is a very distinct void.

And I'm trying to trudge on. I know it's for the best, ok? But fuckitall...I'm not a policeman. I'm a princess.

So to speak.

You know how  quite a few of you knew shit was going south? Maybe even before I did. And you didn't say anything. You were there supporting me. You realized that I had to come to that conclusion on my own or it wouldn't work.

This is the same thing.

You have to let me come to the carpet with my toy in my own time.

I'll get there.

I just have some shit to wade through first.

It's all good though. I know the direction I need to go. And I will  get there.

I am a bundle of raw, exposed emotions right now. And there are mornings....and evenings...and hours in between where it's taking every fucking ounce of energy I have to keep it the fuck together.

Angry? Fuck yeah. Sad? Damn straight. Deliriously giddy? Almost shamefully so. Denial? Yeah, it's there, too. Depressed? Probably--if you want get technical about it.   It's all part of the process.

And that's what it is, at this point. a process. I have to go through this to come out the other side. There's a better Todd on the other side. But you can't really just skip ahead.

Did you ever read one of those Choose Your Own Advenure books? You get to the end of a chapter...and you have a choice...and that takes you somewhere else. I will let you in on a couple of secrets in those books.

  • Reading them straight through, from cover to cover, will mess you the heck up.
  • The ending to the 'story' is never at the end of the book.  It's usually buried somewhere in the middle. 
  • The last page always said "The End?"  (OK...I quite likely made that last one up..but it should have, if it didn't).
I'm living one of those books. Hell, we all are.

The question is which page do we turn to next?


Bombs in the Bassbins

I need to take a week or two vacation. I need to head down to the farm. With my laptop...a decent set of cans, and the reference monitors.  Maybe a guitar and a mic. And I need to write (fiction/songs/poems) and I need to record.

I just need to see what comes out when it's just me. With no distractions for literally miles.

I'm not sure when this can happen. Perhaps next summer. Not sure. It may not happen until I get my own house built on the 1 acre my papaw left me.

In any event I know we're close. We're close to shit bubbling over the surface.  I know there are songs and works I that I need to write. I know they are just below...ready to break that thin film of dew that sits on the water at daybreak.

And yet, part of me wonders how much of that is the new normal.

It's still quite fucked up in my head...I'm not going to lie. It's not so bad that I would consider medication, because let me tell you...there was NO good that came from me being on Anti-Depressants. At least not for 12 damn years. The first six months or so, maybe. Until shit got stabilized all up in my cranium, but certainly after that it was a matter of convenience. It was easier not to feel the pain, so I stayed on the pills. Easier not to have the highs and the lows.

And in the process I lost me.

So...now...I feel like I'm a place where I can find me. And there's a good chance that part of me is kind of a selfish asshole. I'm not going to lie. There are times when I just shut down. If there's something I don't want to do, I just don't. If we were supposed to hang and I have it in my head that I need some 'me time,' then, I'll go for the me time instead of putting on the false front of hanging. Now...I know that sounds messed up. And heres the thing...if we did hang, it would be cool. But there are times when my brain just needs to chill. I need time in a quiet house.

I'm starting to realize that I haven't really had that since high school. There used to be a couple hours after school every day when it was just me in the house. And it was quiet. Or I was playing my music. And that was cool.

As soon as I went away to school, that went away. And I haven't really had it since.

Until now. I am quite honestly anxious for the winter time to pass because I really want to just sit outdoors at the picnic table in my courtyard and write. My place is back far enough from the beaten path that there are elements of it that feel secluded. And yet it's a 5 minute walk from Uptown Westerville.

It really is perfect for me.

And....yeah...I'm not really sure where I was going with this post. I figure part of me is writing it just to make sure that I write something every day. If what I write is shit for days on ends, somewhere in there I expect there to be a nugget of truth that can help you.  Whether it's a rant...or rave..or whatever. I know that at a fundamental level...I need to write. I need to chronicle. And a piece of me hopes that what I write will somehow live on so that when I come back in the next lifetime, I'll stumble upon these works and find myself identifying with them. I won't know right away that I've lived this life before. But a part of me will. A part of me will read these words and be able to see every nuance and know this life...this person...and know the heart of the man that is going through these trials and tribulations right now.

And admittedly, my 'trials and tribulations' are quite small compared to the injustices against the universe that are being carried out all over the world as I sit in my sheltered break room in corporate america banging this out. So in the grand scheme, it may not seem like a big deal.

And yet, it's what's on my heart.  Its where my thoughts are drawn. It is the center of my tiny universe at the moment.  And if my being open and honest about the shit I'm going through can move someone or help someone put their own world in to perspective, or better yet, document their own world...create something. Then I have come one step closer to fulfilling my life's purpose.

And I guess that's why I write...even when I know I'm only rambling, and it's quite likely shite.

Word.

Lunch is nearly over.  With that I take my leave.

Peace out!!
-A.T.

12.02.2013

Catalysts

It's weird, yeah? I'm sitting here....alone in my apartment.

I'm not going to lie. There were times in my marriage (well...both of them, actually), when I thought that I'd fucked up by getting married. With my first marriage, it wasn't so much the case because I've got an amazing daughter and there's not a single fucking thing in this world I would trade for that.

What's weird to me though, is that there were times when I would see this sort of 'alternate reality' version of Todd. There were a couple I was rather fond of. 

One was the scraggly haired philosophy professor that was walking across the quad at OSU on the way to his next class. Tweed sport coat with elbow patches. Well loved by students and fellow faculty alike. "Crazy" was used in a positive context when I was talked about.

Another was the author. I'd be sitting at the coffeehouse with my Apple laptop (it was a Powerbook in early visions of this reality), working on my latest mind-expanding novel. Metaphysical truths wrapped up in a fictional timeline that was non-threatening, but mind altering all the same. It was a small town. People walking by on the street would wave.  Again, I was known as the 'weird writer dude'...but it was ok. There was nothing malicious about the nick name.

A third was a rock star, jamming to sold out crowds. Rocking with other famous musicians...known or unknown, it didn't matter. That one was purely for me. Jamming up on stage is a drug I was first introduced to in 1991 and I know that at some point in my life I'll need more of that.

So...here's what's fucking with my head right now.  Amongst other things.

Simply this. 

Alternate reality Todd is becoming reality Todd.

Seriously.

So...after I moved my mom dug out this letter that the head of the Philosophy department at OSU had sent me after 2 courses there. On the recommendation of one of my professors, they would very much like me to declare my major as philosophy. It was a trippy letter and is currently hanging on my fridge. A reminder to me that there was a path...a clearly defined doorway to Alterna-Todd #1. And although I'm not a tenured professor, I'm sure there are those who see me as that philosophy dude (especially if you and I have ever had a conversation until the wee hours).

As for the Rockstar Todd....that's already happened. In 2008, I won a national contest. I won a VIP Package to the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. Four cities. Four bands. I was in bands with Dave Ellefson (Megadeth), Gilby Clarke (GnR), and Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple). In addition to jamming with and taking workshops from Kip Winger, Mark Slaughter, Mark Hudson, Earl Slick, Elliot Easton. It was fucking surreal.  We opened for Kings X and Extreme. And I played to sold out crowds at The Hard Rock (Vegas), The Fillmore (San Francisco), and House of Blues (LA). I look back and it's almost like it happened to someone else. I know that I'll be in a band again. It is like a drug. And I'm not ready to give it up just yet. Even if I'm just playing covers. It's just too much fun.

So....there's another Alterna-Todd that's slipped in to Reality Todd. If only for a week.

What about Writer-Todd? I just made my last payment on the MacBook today. I've upgraded it with an SSD drive, additional ram and just subscribed to Office 365 (not that I need MS Word, per se...just one of the word processors I'm used to). In other words, the laptop is primed for me to sit on the patio at Jimmy V's or out in front of Heavenly Cup and do my writing on weekends, evenings, and days off.

That's really the mind fuck of all of this.  The Alterna-Todds were more than day dreams. They were pieces of me that needed to come out. It's weird. It really makes me wonder how many more of the alterna-Todds that I've daydreamed about (and there are quite a few...some completely different, some that are just variations on a theme)...but how many of them are going to become reality. And am I looking at this all wrong?

Are these just spikes on my 'potential'...things that were always there...realities that I've tapped in to? If so...what is the catalyst? How close am I to being able to think 'well...next year I want to do XYZ' and have it happen? Have things just 'fall in to place' and suddenly I'm on this path that I've only ever considered a day dream.

And what is a day dream anyway? A dream you have when you're 'awake?' Don't even get me started on 'awake' and 'asleep.' It's not a normal point of view that I have on those two concepts. But that's OK. I've never been a real big fan of normal anyway.

Alright..I need to feck off. I've got some Alterna-Todds that I need to hone. I've got a couple jacked up books floating around in my brain bucket that I think need to see the light of day in very short order.

Peace Out
-A.T.

you're damn skippy I've got Pac-Man fever, bub!


12.01.2013

To Tree or Not to Tree

So...first Christmas alone in...well...ever. Even after the first divorce I had my daughter living with me,  so there was another person in the house. The decision to put up Christmas decorations was an easy one. She was a small child...I wanted to share the joy of the season with her. No brainer.

After this dissolution, though, I'm alone. Don't worry...I'm not lonely...well...not all the time. But there's just me here now.  My daughter is 19 and doesn't live at home anymore.  Christmas eve is always spent at my parents house. And I don't see any presents being opened here on Christmas day (unless of course I decide to get myself something and wrap it all up...but that would be weird).

I have a wreath on the door. That's pretty much for everyone else. Oh sure..I see it when I come and go, but it's mostly out of sight.

I guess my thinking is...I don't want to really be reminded of all the Christmasy things this year...and least not when it's just me here alone. When I'm out around other people, fine. That's cool. But I don't know...I guess I'm just not feeling it right now.

That doesn't mean I don't want my ornaments back that are still over at the ex's house. I absolutely do. I'm just not sure I'm going to put them out this year.

I'm still in the stage where processing certain things still seems weird to me. Not waking up next to someone I (used to) care about...not kissing them good bye or seeing them when  I came home from a hard day at work. And the Christmas decorations are one more thing on that list. One more reminder that in spite of my friends and family and the other wonderful people in my life....at the end of the day, I am living here alone.

That's not a bad thing. Believe me. I know that there are going to be some dark nights of the soul...some serious bouts of introspection and insight. And I'm looking forward to those.

Mostly.

Meh. It is what it is, I suppose.

And you know me.. I could be out somewhere...see a little table top tree and totally flip on the feelings I'm having right now and bring that shit home and go all Ghost of Christmas present on it....never can tell.

But for now, I think we'll just stick with the wreath on the door.

Peace out.
-A.T.

11.28.2013

Pulling a Macaulay Culkin

I think this is the first Thanksgiving I've spent alone.  Another first in a year of firsts, I suppose.

The plan was to spend Thanksgiving at my parents' house. My brother and his family and my Gramps were all gonna be there (actually, they were).

So...taking a step back. My mom had hernia surgery last week. And my Gramps has a very weak immune system. Practically non-existent.  And...wouldn't you know it,  I woke up with the mother fucking sniffles.

Normally I wouldn't think anything of it.  Take some zinc and make sure that there's plenty of tissues on hand. Might be allergies. Could be the beginning of a cold. Could be the tail end of one. Don't know. Like I said, normally I wouldn't think anything of it.

But I'm in a situation where there are two people that I love very dearly who could be in some serious trouble if I wound up getting them sick. It could kill my grandfather.

So...I dropped off the corn and the crockpot this morning wearing a surgical mask. And I picked up the rolls and dropped those off.

And I came home.

Like I said, it was probably allergies...but it wasn't worth it to me to take a chance.

So...spent the rest of the day at home. Cleaning a bit. Watching really bad TV (Sharknado...)...and some not so bad TV (Louis C.K., MisFits).

Dad brought a plate by not too long ago. So...Thanksgiving wasn't a complete bust.

And here's the crux of the day, I am thankful.

I am thankful for the people in my life that I care about.

I am thankful that I have a roof over my head.

I am thankful for this life I now find myself living.

And that's really what the day is all about.

Peace.

-A.T.


11.26.2013

Bang To The Beat Of The Drum


Chairs to you, mate.

No. I really don't know a better way to start a Tuesday post than throwing a pic and bad pun. It is, after all. as American as baseball and apple pie. In fact, if they could have figured out how to work it in, I'm sure that would have been on the bumper sticker, too.

Many of you know some of what I've been dealing with recently. The dis-illusion with and dissolution of the marriage. I would like to say that that's all behind me now, but I know that it's not. 

Oh sure, the court date was yesterday and I have the piece of paper that says this person is no longer legally connected to me in anyway. 

I have this dream that pops up periodically. It takes place after I'm a published (and consequently world-famous) author at some big soiree. The host would be all like, "Oh, hey T-Bone, there's someone I want you to meet. She just won a Tony, and it's weird--she has the same last name as you. Hey, Nancy...come here a sec..."

To which I can dryly say, "I think we've met." Then take a drink of my bourbon, neat, and casually walk away. 

I don't know what it means, other than a) I need to start writing and b) I better start getting used to drinking bourbon neat.  The rest of it is just underlying bitchiness, I'm sure.

But...it does point to one thing. I know that emotionally, it's probably not over. Yesterday was the first time I had seen her...talked to her..interacted with her face to face since March. I can tell you that if it's eight months before I need to do so again, it will be too soon. It's just odd. I mean....I'm standing next to this person that I was banking on sharing my hopes and dreams with and her sharing with me hers...and it was supposed to be a forever thing...and 11 years later..after 44 pages...$185...a 45minute wait...and 13minutes in front of a judge, it was over.

It felt like the person I was standing next to was just someone who looked like the person I fell in love with. Whatever chemistry was once there has since faded. And I guess I'm thankful for that. It would suck to end the marriage and still be pining for that person.

I am thankful, too, for my friends and family that have been nothing but supportive as I've gone through this. I don't know what I'd be doing right now if I didn't have that safety-net of love. Which, incidentally is the name of the first single of my upcoming album T-Bone Sings the Turquoises. The Turquoises are kind of like the blues, only with some lighter days thrown in the mix.  So, yeah, be on the lookout for Safety Net of Love soon. 

It's funny to me, too. I feel like a lab experiment or some weird spectator sport.  Like 

"OK...For all of you watching at home, Todd has just cleared a major hurdle. Bookmakers in Vegas are losing their shirts."  

"That's got to be uncomfortable. Do they have to pay extra for that?" 

"I'm not sure Cotton, possibly."

"Bummer. So, hey....they separated...they filed....He actually went through with it. What's next Brock?"

"Well, Cotton...now we wait. We wait for the dark night of the soul where this poor bastard faces his inner demons and see what shakes out."

"Exciting. I sure hope he writes that shit down."

"So do we all, Cotton, so do we all. OK...next up on ESPN8, the Ocho, we have the national Dodgeball finals from Vegas."

"Bitchin'."

"Bitchin' indeed, Cotton."

What? Are you telling me that I'm the only one that sees complete movie scenes in my head? Awake? Pfffft. Whatever dude. Besides...I've always been like that. I don't know. Maybe that's why I write so much. Maybe it's like I have to clear the mental DVR so I can get more scenes recorded to play back later.

Regardless of the reason, or questionable mental stability, I think that's about all the time I have for this lunch break.

Peace out my friends!
-A.T.


11.25.2013

Hardline on Dating (for now)

So...now that the divorce is final, I'm sure the question will come up from some well meaning soul at some point, "So...ready to get back in to the dating scene?"

And my answer will be straightforward and concise.

No.

I don't intend to date. I don't want to meet someone that I have to date. Dating sets all kinds of crazy expectations and weird social mores. Who pays for which meal...what are casual dates...which dates are romantic...when do you have to buy gifts...what date can you kiss on...how long before you call (or text) someone back...blahditty blahblah.

Forget that horse shit.

I want to hang out with people. It's not a date. We're hanging out. If we're hanging out at a movie and you want pop corn and I want Reese's Pieces...we get them. No weirdness.

Hanging out implies living in the moment. No foreshadowing of future events. If scratch an itch on my calf, it's just an itch. Not some ancient family way of saying we need to have kids and get a cottage in the country (that always involved elbows anyway). Whatever happens happens, and I'm cool with that.

I don't know where that came from...other than now that paperwork has been signed...shit's real. Ya know?

Alright. It's been a rather long and somewhat trying day. Time for bed.

-AT

Well What AM I Supposed to Be Feeling?


This was me driving home today. After the 'big event.' The Big Event, of course, being the Dissolution Hearing. The end of 11 years spent trying to build a life with someone. Well...at least 6 or 7 of those were spent trying to build a life together. The last years were spent trying to just co-exist in the same house.

I'm not really sure what I'm feeling. Or even what I'm suppose to feel to be completely honest.
Anger. Disappointment. Resentment. Relief. Elation. Satisfaction.

Who the fuck knows?

And in the midst of trying to wax all nouveau-angsty-philosophical just now, I'm thrown by the fact that my neighbor's washing machine is out of balance. And they wonder why there's water all over the floor down there.

Idiots.

I took today off work. I felt it best give the "Stepmom Incident of 2000" as it has come to be called. Drove home from the hearing and chilled. On deck today was laundry...grocery shopping...mindless Facebooking...and a trip to White Castles. Technically it's not part of the 24 Day Challenge, but I'll burn it off with some cardio and it'll all work out just fine. Don't you worry your pretty little head about it none.

Got my first Christmas decoration hung. I'll be working Friday and probably most of the weekend so the traditional hanging of the decorations after Thanksgiving likely won't happen this weekend. Meh. It's all good.

I'm basking in a flurry of birthday wishes from yesterday. The feeling of love and well being from my friends and family very likely acted as a shield against the cold indifference I felt this morning. Seriously. It looked like my wife. Sounded like my wife. But as of 10:01, she was no longer my wife.

It's for the best.

Which...to be fair is a bullshit phrase. Whether it's for the best or not, that phrase is usually uttered at the pinnacle moment when someone is going through some shit, the immediacy of which prevents them from seeing the long term picture. When you're in the midst of the short term pain and discomfort of a situation "It's for the best" seldom does more than indicate that the person saying it knows that you're going through some major shit and they wish they could help, but they don't really know how.

And that's OK.  Hallmark doesn't make a card for this.  "Dear Friend, I know you thought you were building a life together, and today you ended your marriage. All the best to you!"

It's funny to me, both the Judge and the court clerk said 'I wish you luck.'

What's that mean? What luck? Neither one of us is going to wake up down the road and pine for the lack of intimacy and having a stranger in our bed that used to be our best friend. It isn't going to happen.

And least not for me. I don't know her any more. And the unfortunate thing is...that always leads to the inevitable 'did I ever really know her?' line of questioning. Which, to be fair, never does anyone any good when you get right down to it.

At one time, I thought I knew her. I thought our hopes and dreams found mutual support.  At one time there was love. There was laughter.  And that's good enough for me. At the time, it was probably the right path.  Where it deviated, I may never know. But to spend my days second guessing it isn't going to do anyone any good. It's not like I'm going to go back and fix things if I suddenly did figure out where they went wrong.

Not gonna happen.

Dude...seriously...fix your fucking washing machine.

Alright...there's not really anything left to say right now.

For those of you concerned about my well being, thank you.  I'm fine.

It's for the best.

-A.T.


11.22.2013

You Must Be This Tall

So...it's Friday. My last Friday as a 'married' man. I use air quotes because I haven't felt like a married man in quite some time. But that's neither here nor there. Monday will be the last day married.

Let's try that again..

So...rolling in to this weekend I feel very much like I'm in line for the Roller Coaster. This is one bad-ass roller coaster. It kinda has me terrified and excited all at once. I rode a similar ride about 14 years ago, but for some reason that one seemed less....daunting.

I have friends who have been on this roller coaster. They assure me that I'll wind up just fine. I have other friends who have never been on this ride, can't fathom it , or have been thinking about getting a ticket to this ride themselves. Their assurances are equally positive, but less certain.

The time has arrived. When I leave work today I will officially be on the ride. I expect this ride to last all weekend and go through on in to Monday morning when I will finally be off of this ride and free to explore other attractions in the park.

I know there are going to be ups. I know there are going to be downs. And curves and loop the loops. What I don't know is how I'm going to actually process all of that this weekend as I'm going through it. I don't expect a complete meltdown by any means, but I know it's going to be a bit rough.

And that's ok.

It's just a ride.

It seems real, but as Bill Hicks reminds us...it's just a ride.

Best to just grab hold and enjoy it at this point.

 

Peace out,

-A.T.

 

11.21.2013

Motivation

Started the Advocare 24 Day Challenge Monday. Weighed in at 302 on Monday. This was down 28lbs from my original starting weight in 2011.

Today I weighed in at 298.

I felt the same elation I did so long ago when I broke the 300lb. barrier the first time. And I realized that it's not about comparing myself to anyone. It's not about being better than anyone. It's about living in the now. Yes, the last time I was on a scale, this was my weight. Now...in this moment, this is my weight. This is who I am.

By sticking true to my dreams and passions, who I am to be will emerge. By focusing on who I want to be, I will be trapped in a state of wanting. I need to remember to be. Just simply be. The person I am is who I am to be.

 

Sounds odd I know. I've been oddly reflective this morning. Class pictures are coming up tomorrow at KMA. I thought about asking Master Circle if I could attend (Afterall, I was part of the class for 6 months 2013). There is one problem. My Do Bok doesn't fit.

That's motivation.

I know at least part of the answer of when I will return to Hap Ki Do. In addition to when my flexibilty and stamina in my knee has returned, the short answer is 'when my do bok fits.' And that's cool by me.

I don't have much more to say today. I'm in a weird state of flux right now.

Birthday is Sunday. Dissolution is Monday.

Excessive partying is Saturday.

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

Peace out

-A.T.

 

 

 

11.19.2013

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...

OK...Not really 20. More like 2.  Actually, not like 2, it was 2 years. On November 14th, 2011 I started the Advocare 24 Day Challenge for the first time. I weighed in at 330lbs with a size 54 waist. And I have to say I was pretty miserable. The funny thing is, I didn't think  I was at the time. I thought I was happy with my body and the way things were. That is until I started actually losing the weight, getting healthy, and realizing that sometimes you don't have to be fat to be funny.

People thought I was nuts to start a diet so close to the holidays. But I knew the truth. Two truths, actually. The first truth is that it's not a diet. It's a lifestyle change. One that I've let go lax a bit this summer/fall.  Diets never work. Changing your habits and lifestyle is the only thing that really works.

And this was the first step for me.

The second truth I knew is a simple one regarding the holidays. If I couldn't make this lifestyle choice stick during the hardest time of the year (the holidays), then there was really no point in continuing down that road. I needed to prove to myself that I could do it. My birthday and Thanksgiving both fell in the middle of the 24 Day Challenge period. And with a few minor hiccups, I stuck with it.

I lost 16 lbs in the first 24 days. In the next 18 months I got down to 265. 65 pounds down from my starting weight. I was looking good, but more importantly I was feeling fucking fantastic.

I decided to tackle something on my bucket list (or as I call it, the Fuckkit List)--The Warrior Dash. A 5K Obstacle course on the slopes of Clear Fork ski resort. It was a muddy, physically demanding mess. I thought I was ready for it. I wasn't. Physically or mentally I wasn't. I thought that the 10 months of kickboxing and Hap Ki Do I had been doing 3 times a week would be enough to get me in shape to face the 'Dash.  I wasn't enough.

There were 12 obstacles on the course. I jumped off of the 3rd one and wrenched my ankle and knee. I wound up walking the rest of the course. And you're damn right I still went through every obstacle. I had come too far to turn back. I wasn't going to let the course beat me.

As a result of my perseverance, I wound up with a sprained MCL. Kickboxing and Hap Ki Do were on hold. At least for the next 4-6 weeks.

In July I tried to go back to kickboxing. I focused on my upper body and took it easy on the knee. I didn't mentally process that I hadn't gone this hard in 7 weeks. So I didn't think I needed to dial anything back.

I paid for it by jacking up my trapezoids. This resulted in another month or 2 of physical therapy just to get my muscles to the point where I wasn't waking up screaming in the middle of the night.

I haven't been to Kickboxing or Hap Ki Do since July. I have to be honest. I'm scared that I may need to find a different exercise of choice. I used to do 50-75 squats a session (it damn near killed me, but I did them)...now 2 squats has me almost in tears. The flexibility just isn't there.

I'm getting old.

Fuck that.

So. This journey started 2 years ago. I've come through some shit since then. And truthfully, there's still some shit on the horizon to go through. I have no misgivings about that.

But I started the 24 Day Challenge again yesterday. The timing is such that my birthday and Thanksgiving will fall in nearly the same place in the challenge they did 2 years ago. And that's ok.

I'm back in to cooking my meals. Cutting out the fast food that had someone crept in these past few months.

It's not going to be easy, but I'm going to get back to kickboxing and Hap Ki Do. Not this month. Maybe not next month, but I will make it back. Like before, I will let my body tell me when the time is right.

That's really the key to making this shift work--listening to my body.

I'm currently at 300lbs. It's not as heavy as I was before (thankfully), but I know it's too heavy for me.  I can sit comfortably at 250, maybe 225. But 250 definitely would work for me.

And I'll get there.

-A.T.


11.17.2013

Pumpkin Pie Is A Liar!

For years....YEARS...as in my whole life, I was under the assumption that pumpkin pie tasted like...well...pumpkins.  As a child I scooped out my fair share of pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns....the bitter sweet innards all goopy on my fingers.  And toasted pumpkin seeds? Fuhgedaboudit. You can keep them.

So...when I was introduced to the concept of a pumpkin pie several decades ago...my brain instantly said 'no way.' 

Fastforward to tonight. I'm almost 42 and a friend dropped off a pumpkin pie for dessert. I didn't have the heart to tell them that I didn't like pumpkin pie. So I told the truth--I've never eaten pumpkin pie.

Tonight I did.

Threw some whip cream on it.  And I made that face like I knew something was going to taste nasty. And I took a bite.

Damn. This is good.

Took another bite.

Yup--still good.

What the hell?!? This doesn't taste like pumpkin at all?!?  This is a creamy spicy blend of yumminess. 

I feel seriously betrayed. For reals. They should call this shit Harvest Spice Pie or something....

Had I been offered some Harvest Spice Pie as a kid, I might have given it a shot. But Pumpkin...ewww.

And now I'm sad. I mean happy and sad. Happy because I know now how wonderful Pumpkin pie is (I still think it should be called Harvest Spice Pie or something)....but I'm sad when I think of all the wonderful cooks in my family who made pumpkin pies that I passed on.

Given its yumminess, I can see now why my parents didn't enforce the 'you need to at least try a bite before you say you don't like something' rule with pumpkin pie. I'm pretty sure they wanted it for themselves. 

Now if you'll excuse me...I may have to go get another slice. 

You know...just to make sure I still like it.

-A.T.

I Should Be Sleeping

Sleeping. Or something.
I rolled back in to town last night. 10PM is about when I got in my door. Or somewhere thereabouts. And I was tired. Still am tired. Napped off and on all day. It happens after these out of town work things...my body says 'ok...you can stop pushing us to the limits now' and just kind of crashes. For some silly reason I thought I could avoid it this time. Not so lucky.

It's not a huge deal. Just makes the weekend seem busier. And the rush to get  back in the office on Monday a bit hastier. But I'll survive.

It's what I do.

Survive and adapt. Adapt to Survive. ATS. Adapt to survive. Andrew Todd Skaggs.

Somehow fitting I suppose.

Still adapting to this whole cooking for one thing. Most recently in the area of Concerts.

Movies are fine. For some reason, I don't mind going to movies alone. Never have. I think it's because when the lights go out, no one knows who you came with or not. And there's not the kind of shared experience of say...a concert.  I'm not quite up to going to concerts alone yet. And it's too bad..I've missed a few good ones. Blue Man Group....Pretty Lights...Justin Timberlake.  Thing is...I have been to a concert or two by myself. Most notably Foo Fighters last year. I went. And it was no big deal.  The wife stayed home. It was fine.

I don't know why it's different now. Other than the whole shared experience thing. When I came home from Foo Fighters last year, I could gush at how awesome it was and she could (I thought) be happy I had fun and share in my joy. But there's no one right now at home to do that with. And then there's the whole pre-concert ritual. The excitement that builds. The drive to the venue...do you play their new album or not? It's all part of the shared experience.

And I don't know that I want to do that by myself just yet.

There are still aspects of this life change that I struggle with.  Sure...the last few years were just the barest shell, but there were good times. Times when we did go to concerts together. The rush of the performance. It was good.  And it's not that I expect that again. It's just that I'm...meh. I don't know. I guess I'm just not ready for solo concerts yet.

In 8 days I will be legally single again. A two time divorcee. I'm not sure that there will be a third marriage or not. I don't want to be Ross. I always pictured myself more of a mix of Chandler (with a little Phoebe thrown in).

I guess if there's someone that I'm really dying to see (like if Foo Fighters come back this way), I'll get tix and go. Not sure if I'd get two and try to find someone to pick up the other ticket or if I'd go solo. I guess that would depend on the act/venue blah blah blah.

Some aspects of this process flat out suck. But that's part of it, I suppose. Adapt to survive.

or something like that.


Have a good Sunday. I'm off to edit a few photos, run some errands to my favorite computer store, and possibly do some laundry.

Peace out my friends, 

-A.T.

11.13.2013

Wired


"I'm going to help set up the new store..."

It's become my pat answer when people ask why I'm going out of town.

It sounds so glamorous. Like I'm jet-setting to far off locales like Baltimore and Queens (the only two places I've been thus far). 

And it's true. I do  actually go to the cities where the new stores will be. I'd have to, really.

But that's about where the shininess ends.  The hours are long. The job is physical. Manual...and at times mentally taxing and tedious. And so far I have yet to actually go back to a store I've set up. 

So, what the f**k does 'setting up a new store' actually mean?

So glad you asked.

I hang rings and hooks. I pull network cables. I drive a scissor lift. I'm on on ladders. I attached keystones to the ends of network cabl--

You know what?

This is boring. You don't care. Simply put, I have my hands on every single piece of network cable at that new store.  If there's something on the network at that store, or on the internet.  you can bet your ass that I busted mine for weeks to get it in place.

And it feels pretty fucking good when it all comes together, let me tell ya.


11.12.2013

A Sea Full of Virgins...

Sooooo....we're terminating cables and I've got my iPod going on it's one little 4 mm speaker and Styx comes on.  Come Sail Away.

If you're not sure, the lyrics (from what I've found on the googles) are as follows:

I'm sailing away
Set an open course for the virgin sea
'Cause I've got to be free
Free to face the life that's ahead of me.


For some reason today, however, I heard them as follows:

I'm sailing away
Set an open course full of urgency
'Cause I've got to be free
Free to face the life that's ahead of me.


And I have to be honest...that makes more sense. If he's got to be free, then it's an urgent matter. So it stands to reason that the course he takes would be full of urgency.

I don't know. For some reason that whole sense of urgency to get on with the next phase of life just resonated with me.

Wonder why.

Although to be fair..the sea full of virgins things has its appeal I suppose.

Bye for now,

-A.T.


11.08.2013

Holy F*ck You're Loud

Living alone these days (I almost typed "in solitude" instead of "alone"*)...anywhoo...living by myself, my house is quiet for much of the time I'm there. Unless I'm playing SongPop...or watching one of the 2 TV shows I watch on Network TV (or NetFlix)....point is, shit's quiet yo.

And I like it that way. One of the things I realized about my previous life was that there was always some kind of background noise...and not the good kind. It was the manufactured kind. And I could never get out of the way of that. There was always something on TV...or some video game noise. And I had to listen to stuff in headphones just to get my own background noise. It wasn't the silence I craved, but at least it wasn't that other junk.

So...I like silence. I like it when I can be still. When I can read, or write with nothing but the natural background noise.

I don't know that I'm necessarily sensitive to noise, but I know it affects me. I spent nearly 12 hours today on a construction job site. The BEEP BEEP BEEP of no less than 6 scissor lifts in a 30,000sq ft space with only limited access to the outside. I have to put in ear plugs within minutes of being there or it starts bugging the fuck out of me. Usually that's all it takes. I can muffle the din and get on with the job I'm there to do.

Imagine my surprise** when I leave my room to come down to the hotel lobby tonight to place an order for dinner and the noise in the bar/lounge/private-meeting-room-turned-wedding-rehearsal-hangout was louder by a shitton than the noise today at the construction site. I didn't necessarily want to be stuck in my room writing and what not, so I ate dinner down here.




The cacophony is nauseating at this point. Thankfully dinner is done. I can head up to my room. Do a little reading...a little photo editing...a little Words With Friends (or PoopScrabble as my friends call it).

I'm not going to get many posts in at lunch in the next week or so as I'm in Queens and lunch is really just a break, not 'Todd Time' like it is back home. Please bear with me. I'll post as I'm able.


Peace Out
-A.T.




*--I hate on cooking/shows where someone is judged for what they create when the contestant says "I was going to make so and so, but I didn't." Foo. The judges don't know what you were 'going' to do, let alone care. They only want to see what you did do.

**--Surprise was not the right word. The title of tonights post came courtesy of one of the first thoughts that left my head when I heard how fucking loud 30 people in a hotel bar can be.

11.07.2013

TNA from the TSA?

We live in a country where free speech is treasured above all, and yet as I write this,  I think there may be some back room conspiracy that's going to make my next flight hell.  I suppose it's possible. I suppose the asshat that sat in front of me from D.C. to New York with his seat leaned back just far enough that I couldn't use my laptop is working for the TSA is some capacity. I mean if the awards shows can have professional seat fillers, why not the airlines? "Hey...we need to make this flight look booked. Who do we have in DC? Bob? Great! Get him on the flight!"

I suppose it could be worse than having my knee in such an uncomfortable position that it's aching with 40 minutes left to go in the flight.

Admittedly, these are first world problems. Inconveniences really. But those things weren't actually the worst part of todays sojourn to the land of the Queens. What was the most annoying piece of today's travel actually happened in the good old Buckeye State.

I got 'pre-checked' by TSA to make sure I was in the right concourse I get it. No big deal. Understandable after recent events. I had tucked my shirt in for two reasons. 1. To keep my shorts up. 2. To avoid the awkward "Sir are you wearing a belt?" question.  I go through the scanner and they start to pat me down. Again, no big deal. The big guy was gentle. It was all good. Until I saw my outline on the scanner's monitor with an orange square around my belly.

"Sir, I'm going to need to pat down your stomach."

Are you fucking kidding me? My stomach? Dude...I get that I've put on weight, but there's no cache of munitions in there my friend. But it was a work trip and I needed to fly, so I rotated and proceeded to get my tummy patted.

I was resisting the urge to do the Pillsbury Dough Boy when his gloved hand ran the rim of my waist line. WHAT THE FUCK?  Dude...that's not patting down my stomach. That's seeing how loose my shorts are and you should at least offer me coffee or a scone first.

Of course my shorts are loose...my belt's off, dude.

I don't know what he was looking for. In my stomach or the belt line of my pants. I can only assume he was disappointed. Or maybe not.

Fuck. I don't know. It can't be an easy job. Especially when twats like me can fire off semi-sardonic posts about agents hoping to get lucky.

It was enough of a thing to make me think "Dude...just exactly what do you expect to find down there?"

I had to bite my tongue, but the first thought that came to mind was "Dude...WHOA! HEY! If you're looking for a dirty bomb, check the backside, because think that little pat down just made me shart a little bit."

But really, I don't think he would have thought it was as funny as I did.

And he's probably right.

There's really nothing funny about dirty bombs.

Or sharting.

Here's to you TSA guy.


Peace,
-A.T.

11.05.2013

Reality Is More Than A Ratings Game

I can't stand reality TV.
I'm probably not alone. And this is likely not new knowledge if we've been friends for any length of time.

I'll let you in on a secret...you may or may not know this...but Reality TV is more scripted and crafted than Pro Wrestling...and most 'serious' dramas on TV.

"But Todd...there's no scripts."

In some cases that's true. But here's how reality TV works....cameras run for HOURS. The editors and producers then go through all of that footage and put it together to tell the story that they want to tell. So, while it may be unscripted, but in no way is it cinema verite.

It's the next generation of fishing shows.

In a half hour fishing show, the host will catch fish after fish after fish.

Most of the time that is the careful editing of sitting 8-10 hours in the boat not catching shit.

"Reality TV" is the same way.

It's bullshit and it's dumbing down society.

People don't watch reality TV to feel better about the world. In most cases we watch because we want to feel better about ourselves.

"My life is fucked, but at least I'm not a hoarder..."

"Look at that poor dumb redneck fuck..."

Yeah. That poor dumb redneck fuck duck call maker was a millionaire before his family had a TV show. Now in addition to his duck call business he has a cut of merchandising rights. Pretty smart if you ask me.

And think about this. The time you spend watching reality TV, not only will you never get that hour back. But for that hour those poor slobs you think you are better than when you watch held you captive.

It's fucked up.

Turn off the TV. Read a book. Go outside.  Do something to be a blessing in someone's life.

That's reality.

11.03.2013

What is this "easier" you speak of?

This is going to be one of those 'armor comes off, and here's the wounded me speaking the truth as I see it'  kind of posts. Just warning you now. I'm sure I'll get back to my flatulent outlook on life and what not in the near future, but this one has to be expunged from my brain bucket.

Most of you know...I am going through a dissolution. It's like a divorce, only it's supposed to be more civil. As civil as the ending of a 'civil union' can actually be.  Anyway...after 11 years, we came to the mutual decision that the mortgage, splitting the bills, and the occasional hockey tickets were not really worth the misery that was afoot the rest of the year.

So...yeah...it is the best thing for both of us. Well...I don't know. It's the best thing for me. I don't really know if it's the best thing for her since we haven't really talked in years. But that's a story for another post. Anyway...yes....it's the step in the right direction...and it's something that is best for both of us.  And yes, I will be able to get on with my life and be happy.

All of those things are true.

What is not true is that all of those things make this process any easier.

They don't.

Will I be happier? Most assuredly.
Will I move on with my life? No choice in that matter, of course I will.
Will I grieve for an 11 year chapter of my life being unceremoniously closed? You're damn skippy.

I haven't been happy in the marriage for a long time, but that doesn't make this transition easier. It makes it tolerable.

Friends and family helping me through this makes it bearable.

But "easy"? That's a fucking pipe dream.

This all came up in a conversation I had over the weekend about why I stopped watching Breaking Bad. I stopped watching because I could see the series going to some dark places. So I simply stated that I didn't want to get emotionally invested in something that dark while I was dealing with the dark shit in my own life. To which they replied, "what dark shit do you have in your life...I mean, there's the divorce, but...other than that..."

To which I laughed. In my head I heard "other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

Other than that.

And then I realized something. Because the people that cared for me were rooting for me and supporting me this whole time and because I finally got my head out of my ass and did what was best for me...because of all of that, people think that this should be easy for me.

Yeah...not so much.

I'm not going to lie. I still struggle with the fact that someone who I genuinely thought was my best friend is no longer going to be a part of my life. In any capacity. That's kind of a kick in the teeth.

Because I know it was a long time coming...and because I have such a great network of people to lean on...the pain is less intense. It doesn't make it easier, but it makes it livable.

Day by day.

And after11/25, the chapter will officially be closed.

And with that I head back to housework and photo-editing.

Peace out!!

-A.T.

11.01.2013

What Goes Around...hey, apples are round...

It wasn't too long after the end of my first marriage that I stumbled across a co-worker who was looking to get rid of an old PowerBook. It was monochrome and horribly outdated even by late 90's standards. But it had a version of Microsoft Word on it that was close to the version of Microsoft Word 5.0 for Dos that I was running on an even older DOS laptop that had been gifted to me.

To say that I had been a Apple geek for a while was an understatement. The problem was...cost of entry. I had found (and still do) that the best bang for the $ comes from the PC side of the table.

But no matter. It was 1999. My first marriage was ending. I thought it a pretty fitting time to take stock in how my life (up to that point) had played out.

The end result wasn't pretty, but it was real. It was honest. And I think there was some actual real self-actualization bullshit that I got from it all. Others who have read it seemed to have gleaned some wisdom here and there as well, which is always cool. I mean, to be honest...I wrote it just to get the demons out of my head, but if it helped others, then bonus!

I banged that thing out on the PowerBook. I took it to work with me and had it set up next to my work PC. And any free moment I had, I was writing. To be honest, the book really wrote itself. I look back on it and don't really recall writing any of it.

Fast forward 14 years later. Another marriage ending (guess I didn't learn well enough the first time). And another shitton of thoughts and ghosts in the machine rattling around in my brain bucket. Time to exorcise those bitches.

As if on cue, I get a chance to get a MacBook. It's not the newest model. In fact it's about 4 years old. And I have to say...it's perfect.

And it all seems to fit. I was thinking it was just about time to start writing again...get that shit out of my head...and bammo...in my lap falls the catalyst to the opening the floodgates.

I gotta say that I'm pumped.  Clearly. Why else would I spend Friday night upgrading the RAM, updating the software, and getting my ducks in a row.

I think that's the end of the rambling for the evening.

I've got some writing to do.

Peace Out
-A.T.


10.30.2013

Adrift

Sometimes lately, I feel adrift on the waves of life. OK. That's not entirely true. I've had these feelings my whole life. Not constantly. And certainly not for most of the 12 years I was on anti-depressants (a story for another time). But no...there have been pockets in my life where there was a ...nagging. Like I know that while life may be good (or in some cases not so good), that there was more I was supposed to be doing.

I read a great blog post on writing. And owning up to being a writer. And it reminded me of the line in Throw Mama From The Train, "A writer writes." And I would agree with that. I like to tell people that I am a story teller. That I use whatever medium I need to use to tell the story...words...photos...music...lyrics... As long as I tell the story.

But I gotta be honest. I've always been a writer. I think the other stuff comes in to being because there are some things I don't quite know how to convey in words. Or because I have to have some kind of outlet. I don't know. I love writing. I love taking pictures. I love playing music. It's a connundrum.

Or not. Not really. I make some big lamentation...like Oh shit...I have to write...or take pics or play music to release the shit floating in my head. Like it's some big deal. It's not. It's really just how I'm wired. I think it does in some ways go back to the whole story teller thing. Words are definitely my first choice though.

There's just something so fucking sexy about the right combination of words. When you read it it just sends you to that place that's not of this realm.

I don't know that I've written anything quite like that. At least not lately. Unless you count that whole fucking sexy thing just now..because between you and me....meow.

I'm kidding. In case you haven't figured it out...this is one of my patented "I haven't written shit for so long that I'm trying to remember how to even present something cogent" posts. You can identify these posts by the lack of any real meat about my life at the time. Stories of an upcoming trip to NY next week...of my court date on 11/25...or whether or not I'm going to a concert next week on my own. None of these details are present. It's really all about how many words I can get on the screen before you, the loyal reader, turn away with a hearty, "WTF just happened?"

Lucky for you, my lunch break is over. So, you may not get to that point in this post. But on the next one, look out.

 

Peace out,

-A.T.

 

10.28.2013

F*ck That Wagon

I'm gonna jump past the weekend frivolities (of which there were plenty) and jump right back in to the meat of it.

F*ck the wagon. No, seriously. People talk about 'falling off the wagon' all the time. Generally it's in relation to some kind of addiction. And I guess that fits to an extent. I started the "No Morc

 

Alright. My keyboard is acting a fool. I'll come back to this shit later

10.16.2013

Cloudy With A Chance of Drunk

No. I'm not drunk at the moment. Ask me again in 5 hours. That could all change. Today's a pretty monumental day. It's been 7 months since I moved out of her house. I say her house not to be a dick, but because the house is in her name. Literally, it's her house. And there's all the metaphoric bullshit I could tumble in to with that reference, but really, what's the point?

Today I'm going downtown to file the paperwork. I think we finally have everything we need to end this shit. Our accounts will differ, I'm sure, they always do when two or more people try to recollect tragic events, but this day has been years in the making.

44 pieces of paper. Several notarized signatures. Several more just normal signatures. 8 paper clips. 2 staples. $175 bucks. That's what it takes to end 11 years of a life with someone. At least legally. The mental and emotional adjustments will take longer. Of that I have no doubt. I've lost my best friend. That's a statement of fact. No emotion implied there. Although, again, that loss happened years ago. We're just now getting around to facing that fact and taking care of the legal side of things.

Depressed? Probably. This is not the normal chain of events one expects to traverse in life. So, yeah. I'm a bit off of my game at the moment. Tie that in to the fact that I haven't been able to immerse myself in my normal exercise regime and I'm feeling pretty fucking bonkers at the moment.

You can keep your pills, though. I went down that road years ago. I was going through some shit and the docs put me on meds. What followed was 12 years of jumping from one happy pill to the next when the previous no longer made me feel 'normal.' Which, of course was a fucking joke. They didn't make me feel normal. They didn't make me feel anything--good or bad. When it got to the point where they were going to put me on a cocktail of anti-depressants because I wasn't feeling as happy as some chart said I should, I put my foot down. I had lost who I was. Fuck that shit.

Here's the irony, in looking back at this. The person I was that N- met and (presumably) fell in love with was the medicated-me. Shit started getting real when I got off the meds. The timing may or may not coincide with when (in my mind) things took a turn for the worse. Interesting, though. Here I was, happy as fuck to start feeling like my old self again...and the self she fell for was going away. No...don't worry...I'm not shouldering all of the blame for this, folks. The succes and/or inevitable decline of a marriage requires both parties. One person can't make it succeed....nor can one person cause it to fail. It just doesn't work that way.

Fail.

Funny word. The marriage evolved in to something that neither of us wanted. We were heading down a road that we both stayed on for far too long, possibly out of obligation. Actually.... I stayed on it too long. I can't speak for her. I don't know her anymore. I'm not sure I really did. And that's fine. That's what makes it interesting. It's what gives me dime-store fodder for this self-important and borderline narcissistic rant of a blog I indulge myself in under the guise of staying sane.

Sanity. That's a gem of a word.

I once heard it said that if you question whether or not you are insane, you aren't. To an extent I think that's true. In my case, though, I don't really question my sanity anymore. I know there are some bats in my belfry. And I'm OK with that. You can't be any sort of person that considers themself creative without falling somewhere on the crazy scale. My insanity isn't really the kind that is outwardly apparent. It's more subversive than that. I don't know how much I really should divulge. They are watching, you know.

I am adrift in some respects. My job is going great (Seriously...no bullshit. I don't think I've ever felt I fit in to a company as well since perhaps the first time I worked at MicroCenter in the early 90's). My place feels like home. I still have some unpacking/organizing to do, but it's my place. My personality is all over that som'bitch. Just emotionally there are some holes. There were things planted....things with roots. Things that I expected to grow and blossom. And those things had to be pulled from the soil. Now there are holes where those things were. I'll fill them eventually. I just need to tiptoe a bit for the time being so that I don't fall in to the holes.

The iPad is gone. I'm fully vested in the iPad Mini now. It's a better fit in a lot of ways. I'm still annoyed that the other one never made its way back home, but shit happens.

Alright...now I'm just reaching for shit. I think it's time to head back to work.

I will have to transcribe the new 'Who's on First' sketch that played out in my head on the way home yesterday using the concept of someone calling Tech Support and getting their password reset. Shit was cracking me up. I definitely have to share that one.

Alright...heading back to work, then downtown in 3 hours to get shit filed.

Peace out and Happy Hump Day...or Humpy Hap Day...or whatever...

-A.T.

 

 

 

Stuck

I'm going to off today's triumphant return to the lunchtime bloggy blog posts with a little haiku. This isn't a completely orig...