6.29.2013

Perfection at 33RPM

After a rocky start to the day (and I only say rocky because of the perceived strife in communicating with my ex. In truth, it wasn't bad...just not something I enjoy doing any more). But enough of that.

I think anyone with any kind of pulse on the weather could see that it was going to rain today. I was hoping to get all my running around done before it hit (but I still forgot to go the Post Office, so ...crap).

Fact: I love thunderstorms. It is also no secret that I love spinning vinyl. The warm sound from vinyl....the intimate connection with the music....I mean you can see the grooves where the sound is kept....you are holding that sound in your hands. The act of getting up after side one is over...flipping the record...gently placing that needle...hearing the distinct little pop as it engages. There really is no better way of hearing music, short of hearing it live. Truly. At least in my book.

That's the reason I was sadder than sad when, as I was packing, one of the RCA leads on my turntable got caught and tore. I was devastated. But I assumed I could fix it.

Today I did. It's hooked up. The Infinity speakers are also hooked up.

For the last 2 hours, I've been spinning vinyl on this chill Saturday afternoon.

When I started, it looked like this:

I really am taken aback by the beauty that sneaks up on me here. I mean, it's easy to see this as a second rate crappy apartment nestled in the 'ville. But fuck man...it's actually really beautiful here. I feel so calm and content when I'm home. And in my mind, it is home. I think that's really the key, isn't it. You know in your heart when a place is home and when it's merely a place you're living to pass the time. It's clear to me now which place was which (especially after visiting that other place this morning to pick up a few things that I didn't think I had left behind and found I couldn't really leave them behind).

So...a couple of quick cuts with the wire snips and some creative splicing with electrical tape, and the turntable was fixed. And I'm so happy.

Seriously happy.

This is my current Saturday view. The rain is falling outside. The debut Alabama Shakes album, "Boys and Girls" is on the turntable and the volume is a respectable din.

And my heart is happy. Seriously. I had forgotten how much I love listening to records. I can honestly thank my brother for that. We don't really walk the same path in life at all. But I remember...being 6 or 7 and he would let me 'sleepover' in his room. He'd make a little cocoon out of blankets for me on the floor. And he'd play records until the early hours of the morning (at least it seemed like the wee hours of the morning to my young excited self). Pink Floyd, Styx, Queen, Boston...the masters of rock. That's what my older brother fed my young ears. And I'm more grateful to him for that to this day than he could really ever know.

It's something I still love to do to this day. And I still have those albums (my own copies) that we listened to so many years ago. I doubt he'll ever make his way over to this blog, but if you do...thank you Steve.

And thank you Alabama Shakes for releasing the album most perfectly suited for vinyl that I've heard in quite some time. If you have a turntable that you listen to, you owe it to yourself to get this album on vinyl, because holy shit it's amazing. I stood in my open doorway, the rain coming down with the thunder and this album on the stereo....and it took me back...just took me back to that old mo'town Aretha meets Janis Joplin meets Otis Redding meets soul that's way the fuck ahead of its time. Yeah. It's that good.

The thunder really just adds that perfect vibe. I can't really put in to words how amazing this moment...this mixture of light and sound and environment and pure joy that I'm feeling right now...how amazing it really is.

The double edged sword of 'living in the moment' cuts deeply. The thing is...as soon as you step outside of yourself to realize that you are truly living in the moment (unadulterated bliss is the dead give away, btw), you run the risk of snapping out of the moment and starting to analyze it, instead of living in it. It's a slight risk. And only because, statistically, very few people actually live in the moment and even fewer still actually acknowledge that fact.

But when it happens.....when it happens.....

It's friggin' amazing.

That's about how my Saturday afternoon is going today. And it's amazing my friends.

Hoping yours is too.

-AT

 

6.28.2013

What's Up Doc?

I had my yearly physical yesterday. I had been joking on FB that it had been 2 years since I'd had my annual physical. Turns out I was wrong. Not only had it only been a year, but the day I scheduled it (yesterday) was exactly one year from the previous year's physical--to the day!! How about that shit?

She was happy with the weight loss. In fact she was a bit surprised at the transformation just one short year later:

How cool is that? Yeah, I thought so too. She's a pretty kick ass doctor. Still gotta wait for the rest of the bloodwork to come back, but weight and BP are down from last year. I suspect that the cholesterol numbers will be down, too.

She also re-checked my knee. Which almost didn't happen. Ya see, apparently there is some lovely douchiness by the insurance industry whereby it seems that if you schedule a doctor's appointment for a physical, you can't talk about anything other than things related to the physical. So...I wanted my physical and I wanted to follow up on my knee to find out what the next steps were. But if she had put anything about the knee on the code sheet (say, if she wanted an MRI on it), the insurance company would have refused to pay for the physical. So..I had to schedule another visit that is technically for my knee follow-up. She didn't think the MCL was torn, so she gave me some stretches and I scheduled a follow up for next week. I'm hoping for some good news. I'm missing my Hap Ki Do and Kickboxing. I feel at this point, I may have to be starting over..I'm hoping that I actually remember more than I think I do at this point.

Speaking of starting over...Got some tasty brews to have--Yum! No...I didn't really have anything to do with starting over, but there aren't too many segues that take you from doctor's visits and martial arts to craft beers sold at grocery stores.

I tried them both last night. The Head Hunter was hoppy as hell. It had a good flavor, but man was it hoppy. I'm not a huge fan of hoppy beers. I'm kind of a newb with beers anyway, so I'm not sure if that's just the way IPA's are or not. If so..I'm not sure how many more I'll be sampling.

The SUM'R beer was very tasty, though. I think it's one of my new faves. It's got a refreshing flavor and very tasty. I'll have to have a few more samplings of it to see my true take on it. My luck, I'll really wind up liking it just about the time it goes out of season. Gotta love those 'seasonal beers.'

Not much on the horizon this weekend. Chilling with friends....doing some writing....gonna finish getting the office unpacked and then I'll finally feel like this book in my life is well underway. Well...honestly, it's not going to feel like a completely clean break until the paperwork goes through. But the situation has been largely this way for several years. It doesn't really seem all that much different. Instead of sharing one house, now we're each living our separate lives under separate roofs. Makes some things easier, I suppose.

It's weird to look back at the situation, which is why I try not to dwell too much on it. I know that I'll probably work through some of the baggage via my writings...just to clear it out of my head. I'm not sure how you get over going from thinking someone is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with to feeling like that person would rather be anywhere other than with you (and feeling the same way, truth be told). I'm fortunate that things ended how and when they did. It seemed to follow my trend of peaceful divorces (Which I guess aren't really the norm). I probably just jinxed it. I'd be lying if I said I didn't half expect the other shoe to drop at some point. I think where I got lucky is when two people care(d) for each other, they really only want the best for the other person. And we were both big enough people to realize that neither of us were actually the best for the other person.

I'm not sure where that came from. Other than getting a text from her while I was writing this. OK...I guess I do know where that came from then.

With that, I'm done.

No, I mean with the blog. I've finished my lunch and I need to get back to work now. I leave you with photographic representation of what my brain looks like when I stop and think too much about shit.

Happy Friday and have an awesomesauce weekend, my friends!!

-AT

 

6.26.2013

Don't Kneed this Crap

The knee is still sore. I'm not entirely thrilled by the prospect of any kind of surgery on it if it happens to be torn (I'm hopeful that it's not). But Dad had a pretty good point "Pro athletes blow out their knees all the time and come back to their athletic careers. Why would it be any different for you?" FuckinA right, Dad.

So...that has me swimming with a certain sense of optimism. I'm also looking forward to the Dr. not recognizing me tomorrow. My last annual check up was over 2 years ago (I never really was very good at math). We'll see how it all plays out. Maybe I can capture her look of surprise. O_o We shall see.

You know what's weird? Stopping to think that the last time you saw someone will be the last time you ever see that person. That's a weird thought. The above picture is of wing-walker Jane Wicker (and her ex-husband) performing at the 2012 Cleveland National Air Show. The act was amazing. I was in awe and probably didn't get as many cool shots as I would have wanted. But I got some. And that's pretty trippy to me to think that I am looking at pictures I took and at the time, that person had less than a year to live. Sure...it's a dangerous profession she chose...but damn. It's still trippy.

I could get all introspective about how it teaches us to live each moment with relish and gusto and that we shouldn't put off til tomorrow what we can do today and blabbidy blah blah blah. But the point is...it doesn't really work in this example. Sure...for her if she knew she only had a year to live, things would have changed. But she was not a part of my life so I couldn't really say 'gee, I wish I'd spent more time with Jane' Because really, that's not the case. I mean, sure...it's a huge bummer. And I will miss seeing her at air shows.

What's the takeaway on this? Don't sit on the outside of a fucking air plane and you have a better chance of surviving.

That wasn't meant to sound as cold as it might have. I just think that people look to Death and expect it to be some great teacher. Death is a shitty teacher. The lessons from Death flood us while our bodies are so jacked up on other emotions that anything we would hope to learn gets written off as being from a time when we were 'emotional' and they eventually fade...not really sticking. Until the next time Death opens up the lesson planner.

Fuck that. Start living. Don't wait for Death. Grab life by the balls and forge ahead full throttle. You think Jane and her ex-husband knew that every maneuver could be their last on the planet? You're damn right they did. You think it stopped them from doing what they loved? Not even for a second.

THAT is the real lesson.

 

Speaking of lessons, looks like lunch is over. Just in time too. Dude from next door came over to scope out our vending machine. His 'Aww crap' reaction can only be attributed to the fact that the Double Decker Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie was sold out. That's ok, man. That shit has way too much cream. And the package doesn't pop like a regular sized oatmeal cream pie. Snack machine fail.

And with that, back to work. Peace out!!

-AT

 

6.25.2013

Put the Needle On the Record

 

I'm pretty pumped. I have one room really left to unpack (Oh you shut up...I know it's been 3 months since I moved). But it's the room that I will quite likely spend the most time in when it's all set up and dialed in. So, I forced myself to wait on it so I could get the rest of the apartment set up to my liking. And by to my liking, I mean, where shit fits.

But the room I'm pumped about is my office/studio. Once it's all set up, I'll be a creating fool (because you know...I'm only creative in one room of an abode...or something like that).

The album pictured is the debut album by Alabama Shakes, "Boys and Girls." I got it on iTunes when it came out and then picked this up at the concert last week. If you haven't heard it...do yourself a favor...get it. It's amazeballs. Or you can just wait until I get my turntable unpacked this weekend and come over and check it out at my place. I'm sure it's going to be in heavy rotation.

Speaking of rotation. Fuck my knee. Seriously. I want it to be healthy so I can get back in to kickboxing and Hap Ki Do. It's been nearly a month since I've been to class and it's driving me bonkers. I'm really hoping for some good news on Thursday when I see the doc for my annual physical that I haven't had in 2 years. I'm actually kind of excited for that. She hasn't seen me in 2 years. Last time she did, I was just over or slightly under 300lbs and still kinda of my old FatTodd self. So...we'll see if she even recognizes me (aside from not having been there for 2 years, that is).

It kind of raisins my brain bucket to think of having these random streams of (I barely feel comfortable calling them) thoughts flowing from my brain to the keyboard to here. And that someone actually reads them. Heck, I don't even go back and read them. Except maybe the posts about the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp...or the LMFAO saving my life thing. But in general, this is a clearing house. I gotta get this crap out of my head so the important thoughts (hey...you shut up, it could happen!!) have room to percolate and get ready to make their debut.

I'm not going to lie. My goal of trying to do more writing has caused me to seriously neglect my SongPop opponents. I may have to make some time for that soon.

And mac and cheese.

Because who the heck doesn't like mac and cheese? Especially Kraft macaroni and cheese with the nuclear orange powder which through some kind of weird processed food alchemy turns in to cheese. Or at least a watery orange paste that tastes like it could have been cheese...once.

And as it happens, it seems, we are all too quickly at the end of my lunch break (it's ok, you can breathe a sigh of relief...the inane ramblings are done for now. I promise that maybe tomorrow we'll try to get all deep and meaningful. Or maybe I'll post that new fart joke I've been working on.

 

vrrrrrrrrppppt.

 

Peace out,

-AT

 

 

 

 

PS...in other news. There's only one ant left in the ant farm, and I'm pretty sure he's not long for this world.

 

6.24.2013

What Did the Pink Panther Say When He Stepped On An Ant?

This AntFarm was quite possibly one of the coolest at-work Christmas presents I've gotten in a while. We got the ants (by mail) a couple months ago. This morning it looks like there's just one lonely survivor left. One lone ant...walking all over his dead ant buddies.

It's gotta be weird. One day you're following your ant buddy's scent trail tooling through a tunnel and the next day you're crawling over his dismembered body. I had thought about getting another batch of ants from Uncle Milton and dumping in to the colony. But then I got to thinking about it. And I know I'm probably putting way more thought in to it than the average ant would, but I got to thinking "What would it be like to be an ant (and I could probably have stopped with that thought) and all of a sudden you're dropped in to a bunch of tunnels that you obviously didn't dig. Would you treat it like humans do and figure that you just stumbled in to a really sweet deal on a furnished apartment? Assuming I got the dead ants cleaned out, would new ants know that there had been 15-20 ants there before them. Would there be ant ghosts? Would it be like that Antityville Horror?

Who the hell knows? I probably won't get new ants. I will probably put this down as one of those cool things I had and chalk it up to awesomesauce experiences on this terrestrial ball.

Took the shot above Friday night. I had come home from work and got cleaned up a bit and went out for an evening on the town. The evening consisted of meeting up with friends Uptown. Started on the patio at Jimmy V's and then headed over to Clucker's for some late night wings and a big ole frosty mug of Natty Light. I have to say that I feel like I missed out not hanging out Uptown. Thankfully I can remedy this situation due to my new life (living) changes. All is right with the world.

Except the next morning. Holy hell. Someone needs to remind me that things like Sriracha-Chipotle wings will burn every bit as much on their exit of my body as they did their entrance to my body.

Saturday night was also an evening of hanging with friends. Good food, good drinks good times. But not TOO good. I DID have to get up Sunday morning for a photoshoot. (Note to self: remind families that Innis doesn't allow pets if we do a family shoot there).

Apologies if this isn't quite as witty or thought provoking as previous (or future) posts. Sometimes I just write to clear shit out of my head. Sometimes I write to remind myself that I still can. It's fun for me. A way to clear out the cobwebs in my brain. And a way for me to pretend I'm actually having a conversation with someone else.

Not that I talk aloud to myself when I'm at home or anything. Or driving. Or anything. Because I totally don't do it that often.

OK. I do. I talked to Dad about this while we were at the Farm. I realize that I do this. I've done it for quite some time, actually. It started out as a way for me to figure out how a conversation with someone might go. If the outcome didn't play out well in my test-runs, I typically didn't have the conversation. It also helped me figure out what I actually hoped to gain by the conversation.

I realize that makes me sound a bit like a crazy person. And, truth be told, I'm ok with that. You show me someone who's completely normal and I'll buy you a lifetime membership to the Unicorn Petting Zoo. Ain't gonna happen. Normal is a myth. It's right up there with Time.

Alright..lunch time is nearly over. Funny thing, that. I was called out by a co-worker as I was heading to the breakroom. "There he goes...the lunchtime blogger."

Heh. Yeah. I kinda dig that.

Have an awesomesauce Monday my friends.

 

-AT

 

6.18.2013

Flatbread Pizzas of Awesomeness

This cooking for one thing isn't so bad, I guess. I'm trying some tasty, healthy foodstuffs. I can see where I could get stuck in the trap of always eating out, but shit. Who has the money for that? Yeah, not me.

So..try some yummy flatbread pizzas of awesomeness. 10 minutes prep (not including the oven pre-heating)...10 minutes bake time. And probably about 10 minutes of eating time.

A tasty treat from nothing to full belly in 30minutes or so.

Spray your cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray (I have a nice Olive Oil one I got from Aldi).

Pre-heat your oven to 400.

The assembly order (from bottom to top) is as follows:

  • Flat Bread (I use FlatOut whole wheat)
  • Pizza Sauce
  • 2 slices thin deli ham
  • Mozzarella shreds
  • Pepperoni
  • Sriracha Sauce
  • Spicy Pickles
  • Roman/Parmesan blend

Bake for 10 minutes or until everything is sufficiently melty. The non-sauced area of the flatbread will be very much like the cracker crusts.

 

It was delicious for dinner last night.

Enjoy.

And no...it's still not a cooking blog. But I blog about shit I like. I like to cook and I like to eat. Stands to reason that the posts will reflect that every now and then.

Have a kick ass day, my friends!!

 

-AT

 

No Kneed for 'I Told You So's'

I'm something of a stubborn individual. This may come as a bit of a shock to some of you, but it's true. So...waiting 2 weeks to go to the doctor for my bum knee was something of a concession on my part.

And the thing is...it doesn't hurt all the time. It hurts when I try to do squats or anything resembling the forms in Hap Ki Do.

Which is the only reason I went to the doctor. I figured that 'yes....it will eventually heal on it's own.' But damn...I don't want to wait. I haven't done kickboxing or Hap Ki Do for 2 weeks and my body is going through some withdrawals. It sounds funny, but it's true.

Speaking of funny....here's another 'first' in this time in my life (or any time, actually).

I'm at the doctor last night and she was testing range of motion in my knees and was trying to get me to relax my legs. Well...ever since I started this fitness journey 2 years ago, my legs have been beastie. She looked at me and said 'Are you a runner? You must be. Or some kind of athlete.'

And I laughed. I never...NEVER in my life thought I would be accused of being a runner. An athlete fits, I guess, given how often I was kickboxing (But I certainly wasn't ranked...or even have my amateur status). Don the Dragon Wilson...sport of the future...maybe you've heard of it?

I digress.

Back to the I Told You So's. I find it interesting that we as a society only tend to invoke them when people fuck up. You hurt your knee at the Warrior Dash? Told you so.

Yes. I did. But also completed the Warrior Dash. Every obstacle. Every foot of that course. Done. Finished. Did it. Write that shit down. Because I did it. Am I sore or hurt? Sure. But did I do something that 2 years ago was insurmountable to me? You bet your fucking ass I did. I'm not mad at the 'ITYSer's.' I get it. If someone cares about you, it's used as a way to express concern.

But the thing is...if I had listened, then maybe I would not have tried it. The Warrior Dash would still be on my FuckIt List as something I want to conquer. What then? Say I jack my knee up Kickboxing or in Hap Ki Do. Then I can't do the Warrior Dash. And it always stays out of reach.

I didn't listen. I felt the time was right. And I fucking went for it.

And I have to tell you something. I wouldn't change a single thing about it. It was exactly what it needed to be at the exact time in my life I needed it.

This knee thing is a temporary set back. I need to let my body heal. It's going to slow me down. And that's a good thing. Slowing down and taking some time to be still is vital to our survival. This past weekend in KY reminded me of that (weekends in KY always help me be still and find my center).

So...to the ITYSer's out there....thank you. I appreciate your concern and the fact that you are looking out for me...but if you see that look in my eye...you know the one that says 'I appreciate you concern, but I'm fucking going for this'....then you should probably hold your I Told You So in check. Because I'm on a mission.

NoMoreFatTodd is dead. And it may take some blood sweat and tears to bury that corpse, but that fucker's going away for good.

And now I'm going back to work. My lunch break is almost over and it's gonna be a busy rest of my day. Working and then heading over the LC to catch Alabama Shakes in concert. Can't wait.

 

Have a fantastic rest of your day my friends. And when you look back and realize your life has been filled with awesomesauce moments, I'll be there smiling and softly saying, "I told you so."

 

-AT

 

6.16.2013

The Nights Get Creepy On The Farm

I may or may not have had quite a bit to drink last night. There's a picture in a previous post of a bottle of Bulleit bourbon on the road. In that picture is about 2/3rds of a bottle. If I were to take that same picture this morning, there'd be about 1/3rd in the bottle. And that's ok. I had fun.

I decided, after Dad went away and after I had typed the first of what appears to be three blog entries last night, that I should take some pictures. Now...mind you I'm using a point and shoot camera, not my normal Nikon kit (which I have pretty well dialed in for nighttime photography). This point and shoot, to be fair, is a very nice camera that was a gift from a couple of friends of mine, so it's almost to the feature set of an SLR...so I was hopeful.

I did manage to get some shots of stars last night. I'll need to enhance the pix in Lightroom, but I was pretty pleased with the results.

I think the main difference is that I haven't quite figured out 'bulb' mode on this camera yet. But when I do...it'll be a pretty powerful force for taking the longer exposure shots.

I'm not sure when I went to bed. I think it was in the neighborhood of 2AM. I probably took 40 or 50 shots...maybe 10 of which will actually be good enough to post, but it was all about the process last night.

One thing I noticed...and the drink was draining was the fact that when it got dark, it got hella dark. There is no light pollution, because, well, there's no light.

And I noticed something else. The mind gets pretty funky in the absence of light. It was as though everything became more aware for lack of a better term. Noises and movement in the woods that could easily be explained away in the light of day were that much more ominous on a dark windless night.

I am constantly in awe at how much this place touches me deep in my soul.

This has been a fucking fantastic weekend. And the fact that I got to spend it with my Dad has made it doubly so.

After hitting the sack at about 2...I had a pretty peaceful slumber. Well...there was a weird dream about a Best Buy kiosk, my mom, and a missing suitcase and car that were inexplicably tied together.

But that's a story for another time. For now, it's time to finish up the last of the cold cuts, pour out our water, and pack up for the journey back to 'civilization.' And checking the calendar for when I can get back down here again.

 

To those that are fathers, enjoy your day.

Peace out.

 

-AT

 

Chicka What?

All I can say at this point is...thank god I can touch type. Because...well...I'm fairly inebriated. I've had the equivalent of 3 or 4 doubles of bourbon and 3 beers since we last met... which is to say since I wrote the last post. Which is really kind of a bagatelle anyway since both will be posted at the same time due to the fact that there is no internet service to speak of out here.

 

I've spent the last 2...or is it three hours taking night shots with my point and shoot house warming gift from Katie and David. To be fair..I say 'point and shoot'...but in reality...it's as close as Fuji comes to a DSLR in the 'consumer' arena. And it's a pretty kick ass camera. I just need to learn the quarks of it. That's all.

And for the last couple hours, I was trying to capture the stars. I'm way to fucked up to try to post any of them now. Irony again...because I will be stone cold sober by the time this post finally hits the airwaves.

Wow...I'm pretty much in a happy place right now. I have no pix from the last 3 hours at the moment. So this one will have to do.

 

This butterfly hung out on my shoe for no less than 20 minutes. I got some video of it too which I will be composing an original track for and making in to a short film.

But for now, I'm hitting the sack...because the spins are on their way. And that's not a good thing. Best to get to bed before they hit.

 

Peace Out

-AT

 

Musings From The Farm

There really is no place more magical on earth to me than my Grandparents farm. It's 10 acres near Martha, Kentucky. You take the big highway to the not quite as big highway to the blacktop road to the gravel road to the holler and you're there. I oversimplify of course. But that's actually one of the great things down here. Simplicity.

 

This place is my center. If you've seen my short film "My Father's Eyes" you'll get a sense of this. It was my get away.

It's been far too long since I've been here. In light of all the shit that's been going down lately in my life, I really needed to get back to my center. My place of peace.

This is that place.

It is the place I come to hear my ancestors. Yes, they are here. I feel them. I talk to them. They talk to me. They say hi in photographs. I can't really put in to words the joy that fills my heart as soon as I get on to this land. My heart knows it is home.

Doubly special is the fact that most often I make the trips down here with my dad. He's a pretty amazing man. I've grown to understand him more these recent years and can honestly say he's my best friend. And I can't really think of anyone I'd rather come down to the farm with (except maybe the Swedish Bikini Skydiving team, but that's a story for another time).

When Dad and I are down here together, the ancestors smile. We can feel them. There are many reasons for that, I'm sure. High on the list is that when this land (not the 10 acres my Papaw owned, but the 155 acres that was my Dad's Papaw's farm) was being sold outside the family, Dad and I were the only ones trying to fight it and stop it. To no avail, unfortunately. 155 acres that had been in our family since it was originally deeded back in the 1800's was, for the first time several years ago, sold to someone not in the Skaggs bloodline. It has since been sold again. It is our hope to one day buy it back and restore it to the Skaggs family. (For further details on that story, check out this film I made about it http://media.twistedzen.com/media/mfe_lo.wmv It's about 85MB, so you might need to right click and download it to watch it, but I think it gives a good understanding of the connection Dad and I feel to this land.

 

Random moment of song....

There's a tick on my Dick probably got'im when I peed

Guess that's what I get when my Dick's in the weeds

There's a tick on my Dick probably got'im in the bog

Guess I shoulda mentioned that Dick is my dog.


This is the song that popped in to my head when I was taking a shower tonight. Yes. A shower. This really was a weekend of firsts down on the Farm. We have running water for the first time since Dad and I have been coming here in the past 4 years. We have a refrigerator. We have a shower and a toilet that flushes (you don't really want to know how we handled that situation in the past).

It's been pretty fucking cool down here. I'm not going to lie.

And then there's been a few moments of sucks-balls.

The above picture is one such moment. Dad is sitting on the only thing that remains of his Mamaw and Papaw's house. See...my mamaw and papaw's house was my safe place to go. To get away from the shit at home. His mamaw and papaw's was too. That was my Dad's safe place. And it's gone. That was one of the casualties of the greed of my great-uncles. Nearly 200 years of family tradition shat upon for the measly price of $500/acre. Idiots. They'll never know the damage they've caused.

Dad and I know.

That's probably why we're so tight. We understand the importance of family heritage.

But I digress....the Bulleit bourbon will do that, I suppose.

Speaking of that...I call this one "Bulleit on the Rocks"

I don't normally put the watermark on the pix, but I don't want this one to get away and wind up in a Bulleit print ad without my consent.

I suppose it wouldn't really feel like a blog post if I didn't feel like I was rambling. I have about 50 more pix of this weekend so far, including a possible short film about a butterfly who was fascinated by my shoe. Not sure how much of that is actually going to make it to the blog.

I'm sleepy. And it's not that I'm tired per se. It's just that it's dark...like WAY darker than it gets in the cities. And it's so fucking relaxing out here that by the time 10 PM hits (especially without a TV, which we haven't had since we started coming down to the farm.

The sounds of nature are so soothing. Dad's in the next room sawing logs and I'm about to hit the back bedroom and to do the same thing.

Peace Out my friends,

-AT

 

6.12.2013

I'm Still Not Sure Quite What I Expected

So. Here's the thing. I had the Warrior Dash on my FuckIt List (it's like a Bucket List, but it's shit I want to do as a remembrance that I'm alive...not some checklist of shit I can do and then say 'well, I did everything on the list, time to die.' Fuck that).

When I put the Dash on my list it was for a few simple reasons. Beer. Viking Hat. Turkey Leg. Jumping through Fire. It sounded like a completely kick ass time.

And then the reality hit me. I weighed over 300 lbs and was entirely too flippin' fat to even entertain something like that. Whether I walked the course or not (which I ultimately did), it was 5K course. And someone of my fatitude should not even think about it. So I didn't.

For three years.

I almost did it last summer. I was flush off of the success of getting below the 300lb barrier and thought I could handle it. The only heat that had space left was on Sunday (Day 2), later in the day. I was urged by my friends who had done it the year before to NOT do that heat. "The water will be nasty and puke filled" was all the motivation I needed.

And then this year, around Black Friday, there was a Groupon to get the entrance fee for $45. So I signed up. And then I did something else...I opted to be a St. Jude Warrior (At the urging of friends. In addition to helping raise money for such a worthy cause, the thought of free food and a private shower at the end of the day was quite motivating and therefore my efforts weren't nearly as altruistic as they may seem. But I did manage to raise $410).

So. I'm signed up. And the people that I know are running a different heat. I had a few other friends that were going to come cheer me on, but life happens (And it's all good).

Which means one thing. It's what it was meant to be. Me and the course. Me digging deep. Me facing the fear of something so completely physical and outside of my comfort zone.

And I was scared shitless.

The good news is, I lived. Oh sure, I'm still sore and my knees still hate me. But I fucking did it.

And the philosopher in me just can't let it go. Can't stop thinking about it.

What was the end game? What was the Warrior Dash actually supposed to teach me about life? About myself? As with all things (it seems) I run the risk of over-analyzing. The Warrior Dash was no exception.

Digging Deep: One of the biggest takeaways was that I could dig deeper than I previously thought possible. I injured myself on the 3rd obstacle in (out of 12 or so). I kept going. I walked the rest of the way (which I may have done with or without the injury-not going to lie about that). So...yeah...I can dig deep (but digging out of mud sucks).


Pain is Temporary (but it lasts a hell of a lot longer than you think it should): Getting hurt on the third obstacle was not my intent. But ultimately it helped me slow down and go at my true pace. It also showed me things on the path that others where just breezing right past. Kind of cool for me. Sad for them. And yes, my knees are still screaming at me. But I'm pumping up the Omega 3's. We'll get it straightened up in no time flat.

 

What is your "Best" is only your best once. This one really could be it's own post (or book for that matter) and stems from a conversation that Dad and I had regarding what it actually means when someone says they 'gave it their best.' It's kind of a bullshit concept when you boil it down. But the fact remains--at the end of that run I had nothing left to give. It was all the energy/effort I had left in my body. Did I do my best? You're damn skippy I did.

 

Memory Lies This one is pretty straightforward and is related to other 5K events that I find myself looking at. Clearly my memory has blocked out the pain and is focusing instead on the fun I had. There is no spoon. Just glorious fun.

 

Fuck that Hill. Seriously. The course was at a ski resort. The repercussion is thus. All the uphill portions of the course were on ski slopes or cross-country trails. In case you haven't joined the concepts, it's OK. I'll wait. So...now you see? We were Running UP structures that were designed to be skied down.


The Obstacles were easy (relatively speaking)--The course was a bitch. I found that the obstacles that arose were easier to overcome once I saw in my mind's eye that I had already beat the obstacles. Good lesson for life, I suppose.

This shit sounded much cooler in my head when I was kicking the idea for this post around. Fact of the matter is I'm falling asleep. I'm sure there are some mashed repeating keys somewhere in this post.

It's all good. I'm going to bed now. Hopefully this nasty ass storm that we're supposed to get overnight won't wake me up.

 

Peace

-AT

 

Feeling a bit Flushed

In the men's bathroom at my place of employment, there are 2 urinals of the stand up variety (three actual commodes, but that's irrelevant for this thought train). Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, the pissers.

So, last night as I'm leaving I see the above sign on the other urinal. I think to myself, "Interesting. They must be doing some kind of porcelain bleaching thingy" Or whatever kind of cleaning requires leaving something untouched for long periods of time. The sign was still on that urinal when I came in today.

Later, I see the sign has migrated to the adjacent toilet. I'm the first to admit I do not have a degree in the custodial arts, but to my untrained eye, it just looks like the standard water is in that urinal. Which may mean one of several things.

Either there was some kind of super cleaner in there that has since been contaminated by someone's overeager bladder and flushed.

Or the cleaner is some derivative of iocane powder. Not sure on the likelihood of that since I have not seen any signs of the Dread Pirate Roberts on these shores.

Or, there never was a cleaner. Someone just decided to fuck with people. Especially in that 10:23 AM time frame when the first of the morning coffee is making its hasty exit from the bladders of the locals.

In any event, it's just kind of silly to make that toilet unavailable for the duration of a normal work day. If you did one overnight, do the other one the next night.

The other thing...I would have put the sign over the area where one actually needs to urinate (duct tape would have worked just fine to secure the sign). That would have secured the super secret cleaning agent much better than the honor system (there is no honor amongst the incontinent).

Not that that's out of my system...that's actually not the first thing that came to mind when I saw the sign last night.

The first thing I thought was "That's a lot like some people's minds. You've given them a way for them to normally get the waste out of their system (their brains) and now you've just taken it away from them. So all that waste has to just float around in their head until the terlet is cleaned."

Annnnnnnd. Just like that the train is derailed. There doesn't seem to be any kind of preservation to the train of thought once it gets derailed. The Princess of Snarkytown totally threw me off track*.

And...erm...yeah. I think that's my cue to head back to my desk. I think I hear a report calling me...or something.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*this reference was not directed at you. Well, it was directed at one of you that may or may not read this, but probably not the one who thinks its directed at them. It's for that very reason that I tend to not blog directly about people I know (unless I really don't give 3 rips what they think about me or have no major import in my life any more). I made an exception in this case, in what will no doubt go down in history as the Snarkytown Incident.

 

6.11.2013

The Myth of Cooking for One

Going on about 3 months now in the 'new' life. So far in to it, in fact, I can't even call it my 'new' life any longer. It actually gets closer to feeling like the life I should be living every day. Don't know if that means that I've been moving closer to acceptance or if I'm actually falling in line with the timeline that I'm supposed to be on in this lifetime. (Don't blame me, I've been watching Fringe a lot lately. But don't worry...I've known about multiple lifetimes for quite some time now).

There's a subtle irony in our culture. It's that of multiplicity. There is no recipe thus far that I've come across (with the exception of mixed drinks) that starts out designed for a single person. What this seems to mean is that the 'whole meal' is meant for more than one person. It's meant to be shared. That sharing with someone else makes things somehow complete.

If the lesson were that we are complete within ourselves, then every recipe would be for a single serving with some kind of scalable unit of measurement that could be incorporated when the meal was meant to serve more than one person.

I suppose it's the metaphor for life, isn't it? That we're not really meant to serve ourselves. Share the meal. Serve another.

It all sounds so nice, doesn't it. Meals made from scratch are meant to be shared. And maybe that's true.

How many 'prepared meals' (back when I was a kid we called them TV dinners...a story for another time)...how many of these meals are single serving?

Somewhere along the way, we went from home cooked meals that were meant to be shared with others to pre-fabricated meals of convenience that are meant to be consumed and easily forgotten. A source of (questionable) nutrition if you will.

I don't mind living by myself. Oh sure...ask me again in a year and we'll see what the answer is. But for now, it's what I need. I need to find myself again. I need to re-connect with the Todd that I used to be. I need to find that piece that I put up on the shelf and dust it off and see how the fuck it's doing. So...the living alone is fine.

It's the dining alone that's kind of a pain in the ass, to be quite forthright about it. I've often thought of just heading down to Clucker's or Jimmy V's many evenings, just for the interaction. I think the solution is pretty clear. I need to start having dinner gatherings. Or at least start having friends by.

 
This was tonight's creation. A crock-pot recipe of pulled pork (serves 4). A baked potato and salad. Funny thing about the baked potato...I made 3 of them. I figured I'd have one for lunch tomorrow and one for...what? Not sure. A dinner guest? I don't know.
I have a feeling I'll be hanging with my neighbors more. It's a good area.
As with most of the blogs I've posted recently (And by recently, I mean ever), what I started out writing is usually not where it wound up going. I have a well thought out path and something along the way as I'm typing takes me a different direction.
I guess that's to be expected when there are so many thoughts in my head fighting to get out.

 

I'm going to go ahead and apologize ahead of time. I have a feeling that increased writing is going to becoming part of my healing mechanism. I say this based on past patterns of behavior (I'm right now looking at a book shelf with over 1200 lyrics and songs that were written during the period of my first marriage...cathartic and somewhat terrifying at the same time).

So, I guess what I'm saying is that in the upcoming posts, there are likely to be a few turd burglars. I'm honestly amazed that people (a)follow and (b) enjoy my stream of consciousness ramblings anyway. But who am I to argue. To tell you the truth, I'd be writing this shit even if there were no one reading it. On many levels, I'm not writing it for you to take in as much as I am writing it for me to get out of my head.

What can I say? It's a damn sight cheaper than therapy (I should know...I've gone that route, too).

I think I need to put a fork in this one before it gets really off-course (too late).

Time to check on laundry and cue up the next thought sequences for another blotter test...er...blog post.

Until the next becomes the time before,

-AT

 

6.10.2013

That Thing From That One Place

We have recently passed the point in time indicated on Doc. Brown's time machine panel in the DeLorean. And I have yet to bump in to any flying, or even hovering cars on my daily commute.

Nor do we have anything close to a jet-pack. Oh sure, I'm sure the military does. But I'm talking about a jet-pack that is on the level of going to the department store and picking up a basic bicycle. There's nothing like that. And dammit, there should be.

I mention these things only in reference to that vague notion of 'the future.' (OK...that and I really do want a jet pack). The future right now is some bulbous entity...it's in flux, if you will (my BTTF reference was not wholly unintended).

I find myself standing at that point in life where my 'universal constants' are actually shifting. That is to say those items that regardless of what was going on in my life, I need only look at those and it became easier to be grounded. These weren't big things. No mind shattering quantum physics lessons. Just little things.

My address (what I considered 'home'....not always the same, but that's a post for another time). Neighbors. "Regular" activities. All little things that served as my 'universe' outside of things like 'work.'

I'm getting to know my new neighbors. Sort of. I'm really bad with names. And at 3 months out, I feel bad in asking. So I have to play that game where you hope it comes up in conversation. I miss my old neighbors.

Not gonna lie. I don't see too many prospects of chilling in front of the fire pit with my new neighbors. And given my ex-wife's proximity to the old neighbors, I don't see me going over there too often where there is the chance of her and I occupying the same event-space. Not that I feel any hostility toward her, I just don't want to be around her any more than I have to. Amicable or not, the relationship has ended. I don't know her any more. Even memories of her feel like a person that doesn't exist. Memories of my life with her feel like watching a TV show with not so great reception. I know the story...and the actors, but it's just getting fuzzy and I don't really feel like watching it any longer.

The address has obviously changed. What's funny is...had I been able to keep the house, I probably still would have been looking for a way to move. Near the end, as I was packing up, I realized that there was less of me in that house than I cared to imagine. Oh sure...my stuff was all over the place, but it wasn't me.I don't know if that makes sense or not. Near the end, packing up, I just had to get out and be done with it. I probably left shit behind that I should have taken, but I was just ready to be done with it. I never felt more like a stranger in my own home than those last 2 weeks. Hell, even the dog acted like he didn't know who the fuck I was.

That's some cold shit right there.

This part of my life I'm in right now...I believe the cave men called it 'transition'...is a weird one.

Things that used to be part of my regular routine (going to Brew-Stirs ever weekend, for example) no longer hold the same appeal. I still like hanging with some of the people there, but I find myself wanting to do so away from that location. It's too mired in the old me. And I'm not that guy anymore.

For all my big talk of taking the laptop (or iPad and keyboard) to Jimmy V's patio and letting the creative juices fly, I have yet to do so. Probably won't happen this weekend, but it will happen. My mind is starting to make the shift. Things in my 'new life' are falling in to place such that I no longer think of it as my 'new life,' but rather 'my life.' This is a pretty huge shift for me. I'm still going to struggle with it a bit, I fear. That is the lot of the philosopher's mind. To ask questions repeatedly...observing what causes the answers to shift.

I think I had a point when I started this post. Probably I didn't. But I may have.

With 20 minutes left in my lunch, I can either force something...try to sound all philosophical and wind up sounding pompous or douchey. OR I can fire up Words with Friends or Ruzzle (or Quizcross) and see what's shaking over there. (Filmdude71 is my user ID if you want to fire up some games).

Peace out,

-AT

6.05.2013

The Good, the Bad, and the What the F**k Just Happened?

This post will not be nearly as dramatic as the title might lead you to believe.

Sorry about that. Perhaps I should have left that disclaimer alone...let you float through this post and later realize that you didn't get any of what you expected. But that would be a little too much like life, wouldn't it? And what fun would that be?

It's funny, as I write this, I have no idea who will be reading it. I find myself, however, writing certain thoughts with the expectation that certain people will read them. Others I omit for the same reason. Which, really, is kind of bullshit.

I'm not saying I won't keep doing it, mind you. Merely acknowledging that it's a bullshit move on my part. And...meh. Whatevs. It's like those America's Next Top Whatever shows...where they have to make something to impress a pane of people that wouldn't look twice at them in real life. The fatal flaw that contestants have on that show is telling the judges what they didn't do or make. "Well...I was going to make this shimmering blue taffeta 7 layer wedding cake with candy cane surprise, but I was all out of unicorn farts and Josie wouldn't let me borrow any of her fairy dust." Rookie mistake. Now...no matter how fucking awesome your Red Velvet Elvis Blue Suede Cupcakes are, you'll never win the judges over because the reality is never as good as the build up. What's in the hand is almost never as good as what you could have had.

Almost.

Perception is a powerful drug. It hits everyone differently. Two different people could be standing next to each other in the same room with the same external stimuli, but as soon as they each take a hit on their own private stash of perception...BAM! All bets are off. They will both trip balls on reality...but the reality each one trips on will be completely different.

I'm coming to realize as of late that the 'could haves (could have been, could have done, could have said, could have blah blah)' are poison. If you get caught up in the could haves, then the memory becomes polluted. You forget the beauty of the sunrise.

Example. I walk out of my front door. I see a sunrise cresting through a rainbow. I am dumbfounded by the sheer beauty of the scene in front of me. Nature's perfect beauty on display for me. And I am warmed to the core by the serenity of it all. As I'm driving to work I start the CHSH (could have should haves). I should have taken a picture. I should have gone back in to get my camera while I had the chance instead of wasting all that time staring. If I had only done that, I would be able to preserve that image forever.

Now, in a very short order, my beautiful experience has been completely sidelined by all of the things I should have done to help preserve the memory. And I've lost the lesson.

The lesson of slowing down and being in the moment.

As someone with a photographic and philosophical bent, this is a very hard lesson for me to learn (and I still struggle with it), but I'll break it down and italicize it (if it's not important enough for italics, fugehdaboudit).

Sometimes it is more important to BE in the moment than to CAPTURE the moment.

Savvy?

Trust me, I struggle with this one on a daily basis.

It's not something that comes easily to me. Hell, I don't that many people that it does come that easily to. The constructs of this world make it so difficult to step outside of our own heads that it's funny at times.

Even now it's happening. I'm writing this and trying to feel all philosophical and shit...when all I really want to do is get down on this kosher dill pickle that I brought for lunch.

Damn. That WAS a tasty pickle.

Car explosions are cool on TV. But I bet if I were driving home and some old station wagon went all CHiPs on the side of the road, I'd probably pee myself. Just a little bit. And really, I think that reaction would be somewhat justified. Still....part of me thinks it would be cool as hell.

You know what else is cool?

I'll pause for a second to let you (a)insert your own answer and/or (b)try to second guess what I'll say is cool.....

 

 

 

Shit. I have no idea where I was going with that. I got sidetracked by some pita chips.

So...I have two choices. I can beat myself up over how I should have left both ear buds in and kept right on typing or finish these pita chips. Because I'm a growing boy.

Yeah, let's go with that one.

If you're a Pandora user, create a Smashing Pumpkins station. You'll thank me for it. Especially when "Tonight, Tonight" or "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" comes on. The rest of the tracks remind me of when 'alternative radio' didn't suck balls *.

Alright...I think it's time to post this shit and get back to work. I think I've successfully staved the flow of thoughts that needed to come out for now. I think I'm soon getting to that point where the writing is going to take over and I'll need to write and write. Clear some space out of my head. We're very close to that point.

 

But today is not that time.

 

Back to work my peeps. I'd like to thank the 6 or 7 of you for tuning in today.

 

-AT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I had a whole separate thread that almost stemmed from here about how 'when did sucking balls become a bad thing'? but I decided to let it go. Ironically as I was deleting that train of thought a co-working was talking about their dogs humping everything. I guess certain ideas just need to come out when they need to. OK. On that note, I really am going back to work now.-AT

6.04.2013

You Will Meet Yourself On The Road Coming Back

On the way home from the Warrior Dash on Saturday, I had pretty much composed this entire post (note to self, start carrying recorder, it's much too difficult to try to be insightful and clever this long after the original ideas were birthed).

What I love about the interwebs...or technology in general is that, as you're reading this, you have no idea that I started it last night...got too tired to finish it and resumed where I had left off the next day at lunch.

Well,...you had no idea until just now when I spilled the beans.

I am still recovering from Saturday's Warrior Dash. It was physically the most demanding thing I have ever done. Second, perhaps only to the rehab I had to go through after the complications from my open-heart surgery.

It was also, however, one of the most taxing things spiritually I have gone through in a while. Sure...there were other people there. At least 500 in each heat. And over 25 heats throughout the day. But I felt alone. I wasn't there with friends (although later I learned where some friends were hanging out and could have met up with them)....I didn't have anyone there that was rooting for me.

I didn't realize until later, much later that I needed to be alone. If I were caught up in the emotions of having people there, I would not have learned the lessons I needed to learn.

It was truly a race...a challenge against myself.

And it kicked my ass.

Many of my friends and family have said 'well...you finished it...that means you won.'
I posit that no, it does not mean I won. It means I finished. I was not competing against anyone but myself. Todd vs. Todd. In that scenario there cannot be a winner or loser. Either Todd finishes or Todd does not finish.

I finished. But the course won. Did it beat me? Not necessarily, but it beat the hell out of me. The course definitely had the advantage for the entire race, except perhaps before I started and didn't know what it was capable of. At that point, I thought I still had a chance of pwning the course.

Foolish mortal was I.

After hurting my foot on the first (or was it the 3rd) obstacle, I quickly realized that I would be walking the remainder of the course. I was disheartened by this at first. I soon came to recognize it as a blessing.

It's funny how many things I learned about myself. I learned that until about halfway through the race, I still cared what people might be thinking of me. This fat guy who was walking a race he had no business being in in the first place (I wasn't in a happy place for a portion of the race and slipped back in to FatTodd thinking....something about thinking I was going to die after climbing the 4 steep hill which serves as a ski slop in the winter months).

And then I as I was passed by a pack of svelte (gazelles?) runners, I noticed a butterfly pacing me in my walk. And then I looked around at the woods I was walking through. Sure, the path was muddy as hell, but the trees and nature all around were beautiful. I realized that I was seeing...really seeing something that many people in the race just passed by.

Their loss.

The walking prevented me from getting too winded. I wasn't ready or skilled enough of a runner to actually set a pace I could maintain. The forced walk helped with that.

And I stopped giving two shits what anyone thought. They had no idea what I was doing on that course. They had no idea what I have gone through in the last 2 years to even consider myself somewhat ready to face the challenge. They don't know me.

So how the fuck could they judge me? And more importantly, why on earth was I so concerned that they would be? FatTodd died again at that realization. I hope I won't be seeing him any time soon.

I finished the race. I walked a 5K obstacle course (or as I like to call it, Hell) in 95 minutes. I participated in and overcame every obstacle in my patch, including jumping through fire to get to the finish line.

If there's a more perfect metaphor for my life right now, I'll be damned if I can see it.

I'm a warrior.
And now for some random pix. I didn't have a camera that I felt comfortable taking on the course with me, so the shots are pretty much before and after I ran...er walked it.

This was pulling in at 12 to park.
They shuttled us from the parking (at Prairie Peddler to Clear Fork Ski Resort)

On a very special episode of Life Goes On...

Walking up to the main gate for the event.

Registration packet received!

Sporting my St. Jude Headband. In the St. Jude's hospitality tent.

This wasn't my heat, but this is the walk up to the starting gate.

And this is the finish. Which I saw about 95 minutes after I started. They are on the top 10 list of longest minutes of my life.
The flag at the finish.
This is me AFTER I washed off. Still muddy.

I am a survivor. And a warrior. Fuck yeah.

The bib and medal.

Free food in the St. Jude's tent. Yes, that's BBQ beef on my hot dog. Don't judge me. I just noticed the water was 'nirvana'...very fitting.

The free beer token/timing chip. I needed neither that day. I wasn't there to best a time and I gave the free beer away (something about dehydration and exhaustion).
The remaining shots are people I don't know and fairly random. Enjoy.



My last look before heading home.
I beat you, bitch.

-AT

Shakubuku Part Two: Eclectic Booglaloo

I posted on the book of face recently that I felt out of sorts. The gist of it being I couldn't decide if I was hungry, horny, or on the...