8.31.2014

Saved By Canadians

Today was the Annual Cleveland National Air Show. And out of the last 5 or 6 years, I've only missed one. My friend always gets a box every year (10 seats...show center--basically the first row you can sit in) and he, his parents and us go and have a blast.

Last year there were no military demonstration flight teams, so I didn't go. This year, though, THESE guys:





The Blue Angels. Yeah. In past years, I have taken my big camera kit and taken some really kick ass shots (if I say so myself). But I realized something (and it's something that I figured out after getting the Instax)--I got the great shot, but I missed the great day. The laughter...the jokes... the friendship building. Missed all of that in past years because I was always angling and aping for the 'perfect shot.'

This year, I only have 6 or 7 digital shots....with my phone. And over 80 instant photos. They're already in the photo album (you're welcome to come over and check them out sometime).  No...they're not award winning...or breath taking...but I have no doubt they will trigger memories of an amazing day.

An amazing day that started with a minor heart attack (no not really) after I got parked. I looked at the paper that the parking attendant handed back to me and found that he had kept the full ticket (not just the stub they keep when you pay for parking. The place I paid and the place my car wound up were roughly 200 yards apart. So...instead of driving back (it was a pretty good parking spot)...I walked.

I explained to the peeps in charge what had happened. And they couldn't find my ticket. Which meant...I was going to have a hard time getting in to the sponsor box area.  They found the stub from my ticket though, and said that would be good enough. OK. Groovy.

I started walking back and they wound up giving me a ride on the golf cart...which was even groovier.  I got back to my car grabbed my backpack with 23 spare film cartridges. And the duffel bag (not cooler) full of a case of water (which weighed probably...well...30lbs or so) and started huffing it to the gate.  Yes. You read that right. 23 spare cartridges of film. 230 shots..+the 10 that were already in the camera.

It seems like a lot (because it is), but to be fair...when I had my digital camera with me in years gone by, I would shoot 800+ (half of those during the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds). So, at the time it didn't seem like much of a stretch. I only used about a third of that, but I'm skipping ahead.

We all met up. There was much rejoicing (yay). I was happy to set that friggin' bag of water down. CJ's parents are awesome. They always make kick ass sandwiches. I basically know that I don't need to spend money on food. And I made sure no one had to spend money on water this year.  It's win-win.

Couple of high points:

  • Blue Angels
  • Harrier Jump Jet
  • Some amazing stunt flying
  • Dynamite Explosions*
  • Jet powered semi-truck
  • Jet powered bi-plane
Most of those speak for themselves. But I'll get to the explosions in a minute...but first....Canada. There's a (now) running joke about how close Canada is to the air port. Last time we were there, the F-18 fighter pilot that came in flew in from Canada...did his routine and flew back. It was nuts. So...we talked a lot about how you could see Canada...and how they could just pop over here. Which leads us to this. The * from above.

Dynamite explosions. First off...you have to wonder about Air Show personnel who let in an act with someone called "The Mad Bomber."  Seriously? Can you see where this might go awry?

Anyway, during one of the air demos, they simulated a bombing run. And the announcer mentioned that The Mad Bomber would be using 10 sticks of dynamite.

And he did.

And shit went boom.   I didn't get a pic of it. But...afterwards....a not so small fire broke out in the brush.

It was kind of crazy...but luckily they had a fire truck on the shore and he headed to put out the blaze.  Which was fine....until he got stuck.

Yeah. That happened about 2 something. I left at 6. He was still stuck when I left. It was crazy. But no worries...another fire truck came from the other side (we naturally assumed he was from Canada) to save the day.

Did I mention there was a Harrier Jump Jet? And did I mention how incredibly loud those things are??

This is when it was hovering up and down as though on a string. It was nuts.

And loud.

And amazing (it made me feel like a kid again, more on that later).

But it was really fucking loud.


This is the shot when it was coming in for landing.
That plane is one bad mamma jamma.

Somewhere along the day we discovered that Noelle had picked up a guard cricket. It watched her bag the whole day and actually went home with her. Despite Brian's best efforts to pretend to eat it.






I have one digital shot of the Blue Angels routine, too.
I didn't say it was a great shot or anything.

The only thing that really could have made the day any better than it was would have been if the Jack Link's sponsored Jet powered Bi-plane dropped beef jerky on the crowd.

That would have been epic. Well, another instance of epic in a day filled with epic. I don't think I laughed so hard, so often in quite a while. It was fun.

More fun that it would have been trying to get the shot. At one point during the Blue Angels, I was checking to see if I got a shot, Noelle nudged me and said 'stop looking at pictures...the show's up there.'

And damn if she wasn't right. I took some pix..and put them in my pocket as soon as they came out of the camera.

The sense of awe of watching an air show that I had as a kid came back and I was filled with a child-like sense of wonder again. Watching these men and women do things with machines that really shouldn't be possible.

And I got to see what is my all time favorite air show move...the Blue Angels Diamond something something. They all fly right at the crowd in a delta formation and they they all break off in different directions at the same time. It's epic. And so amazing to see. 


I thought it was going to be a crappy day. It was pouring down rain when I left Columbus. And rained a lot of the way home, too. But at the Air Show, the weather was perfect. The day was a blast.

It's funny. In the sponsor boxes on either side of us were photographers with big ass lenses (bigger than the ones I have). And I could hear the sh-lick sh-lick sh-lick of shutters in continuous/frame-burst mode during the entire show. And I thought to myself...they probably got some great shots.

But I had a great day.

I win.


And as I was getting out of my car and taking my bag in, I saw this on the front passenger floor of my car....





Ummmm. Hmmm.  Apparently they had not taken my full ticket. Hmm. Imagine that.

Alright...I'm wiped. Great days will do that to you, I suppose.

Goodnight my friends.


-A.T. 







8.28.2014

Progress

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man"
-George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

I don't know if this is progress or not, but I seem to have fully settled in to my new life. There was a moment earlier this week where I thought I saw one of my ex-wives in the new vehicle they had purchased post-divorce--and that was a good thing. There's always that 'what will I do if I see them?' moment (at least there is for me). And while it may not have been her, my mind is satisfied that it was. And that there was no long term weirdness. It's not that I want to see her-I don't. It's just that moment of 'if I do...what will I say.' And I concluded based on this glimpse, that I really have nothing to say. For me there is nothing unresolved. I forgive her. I forgive myself. That's it. There seem to be some minor lingering frustrations when certain things are brought up in conversation, but those will fade. That chapter, in so many ways, has closed. I look at the person I was and those 12 years of my life really look like I'm watching a movie of someone else's life. Which...is kind of fun, to be honest, because the movies I love the most are the ones where I can see myself as one of the characters on some level.

Is that really progress?

Don't know.  To be completely honest, with some of this shit I'm just looking at the day by day operations of A.T.Skaggs. And that's going pretty good. The new life is pretty well vetted out and has become not 'my new life', but rather 'my life.'

I'm in the middle of another Advocare 24Day Challenge. I was very successful with the first one I did--16lbs lost and I went on to lose nearly 70 lbs. I wasn't able to keep it off because of injury. But subsequent challenges had not equaled the success of the first one. And I realized it'd because I made little "allowances" here and there and didn't really stick to it the way I did that very first time.

This time I did. And I'm on day 11 and down 12 lbs.  I stuck to the no alcohol, no dairy things (those were my biggest downfalls). And today...on day 11....I ordered a pizza for lunch.

And it sucked.

I was so bummed. For 10 days I've been looking so forward to this pizza. It was going to be even more of a reward today given the chaos I was swimming through at work. First of all, they were 30min. late. And the wings were tiny. And the pizza was barely above lukewarm in temp.

In short....I would have done better with a frozen pizza.

I'm not happy.

The good side of it is, that while my thirst for pizza has been sated for now...it wasn't so fantastically good that I only want to eat pizza now.

I actually missed my tuna salad wraps after eating the pizza. 

And THAT is the shift I will need if I'm to get back down to my fighting weight. Missing the foods that make me feel good (not just the foods that taste good).

That is progress.

In other news, the novel is coming along, albeit slowly. More of it is written in my head now than in the txt file on the laptop. And that's ok. I have a feeling I'll be taking a few days off and just doing nothing but writing in the near future. Or my brain will make that shift and during every free moment, I'll be consumed with writing.

And I'm ok with that too.  In my mind, I am an author. A writer. A story teller. In my mind, anyone who reads my work will enjoy it and take something away from it. And maybe that's unreasonable to think.  To be honest, I don't care if it is or not. That's just my takeaway from all of this. Writing is a passion. A gift that was given to me. Whether it's good writing or shit writing, I believe that it touches people on some level. I don't think that's really arrogance, it's just what I believe.


Perhaps I am an unreasonable man.

Dude, I fucking hope so!

-A.T.


8.25.2014

Beats To The Rhyme

I was shoring up plans for the Cleveland National Air Show today and my friend asked me "so...what's it gonna be this year-a 10ft lens?"

I told him not quite likely. I may bring a DSLR, but I probably won't. I'm quite likely only going to take the Fuji Instax.  I explained that every time I've gone to this I have brought the big camera. Aside from the fact that I'm walking around with a bag worth several thousand dollars is the bigger impact--when I'm so focused on getting that perfect shot, I'm missing out on the event. I had fun the last few times I went, but I missed out on the moment. The joking around...the having fun...the deciding to feck off and go have a look around instead of having to be planted in my seat in time to get the really great shots.

And yes, I got some amazing photos.  But we'll see how this year goes.

I'm giving myself permission to live in the moment. To say fuck it to expectations, and to mostly be Todd this year and not The Photographer.

I'm not a photographer. I enjoy taking pictures, but I think if I had to make a living out of it I would truly go mad. Don't worry...I still love taking pix for me. My one on one time taking moon shots, or landscapes. Those are truly the moments that make me love photography.

If I could only choose between writing and photography, there would be no contest. Writing would win. Writing always will win for me. With photography I take one shot and people write their own stories-very few, if any, will actually see the story in my head or the real reason I shot the image.

When I write...I can paint a picture that will look different to everyone, yet everyone will know the story. And even the same person may see something different years later if they come back and re-read something I've written. It's in my blood. It's who I am. When I don't write something...anything...even these little fuckofframblings that I call a blog...I start to get edgy...snarky...I need the outlet. 

It will be weeks....months sometimes...between times I actually fire up the DSLR (the Instax is different, it's actually helping me live in the moment).

If you ask me the same question between music and writing...the decision will be tougher, but again....writing will win. I can write lyrics...poems...songs--even if I never play them. The words are always first for me.

I can't remember when that started, but I hope it's something I never forget.

Alright...now back to dial in to work to edit some crontabs, which my boss told me is just like writing. Not so sure I agree with him, but hey...writing is writing.

Peace out
-A.T.

8.21.2014

Perfection

Perfection is a fleeting and ever changing ideal. I find that when I say "I have found the perfect XYZ (backpack, messenger bag, ipad case)," that I really need to end that statement with 'for my particular and peculiar needs.' Because, really, your mileage may vary. The thing that makes something perfect for me might annoy the shit out of you (and the thing that annoys you might be just what I'm looking for).

 

And no, still haven't found the perfect messenger bag yet...but I have a few that mostly meet all of my needs for the particular situation in which I use them (yes, I have different bags depending on the situation).

As an update to the ClamCase port size issue...I did NOT find any extender (shame on you Apple) but I did find that the Polk Audio noise cancelling earbuds I got for travel DO fit quite nicely, albeit a bit snugly, but I can live with that. In fact, those would be the ones I would want to fit, since I'll be using the iPad when I travel in October. And it's nice to get a little longer charge than 4 hours. So...that actually worked out well. There's really nothing that I see as a downside on this case anymore. It has now moved in to the 'Perfect Case (for me)' category. Yay!

I may or may not have mentioned that I'm gonna be getting my D&D on with a few guys from work. I rolled my initial stats yesterday. I'm going with a dragonborn Monk. I haven't named him yet, but he's got a pretty decent backstory--so it should be fun.

The cold I've been fighting is on the outs, I think. That's a good thing.

I don't necessarily have much to add at this point other than Dad is down on the Farm.

Which is pretty much where I want to be right now.

Gonna finish up lunch and head back to work.

 

Peace Out!

-A.T.

Too Early For This Sh*t

I don't know why I put the * in Shit in the title but say it here. Doesn't make sense to me. But I do it anyway.

These are some of the trappings of thought that go through my head as the last of the NyQuil is wearing off. And I need to trim my nails. Typing or playing guitar with nails that are too long just doesn't cut it, it's annoying as shit. See? There I go again. Cue Whitesnake.

(pause...clip clip)

Much better. It's the pinky and the thumb that annoy me when I'm typing with long nails. And the middle and ring fingers when I'm playing guitar with long nails.

Now you know. And....(cue shooting star shitting a rainbow as it flies across your screen) "The More You Know..."

I could have gone with the GI JOE reference there, too...ya know.. 'Knowing is half the battle' but let's be honest....it's not really, is it? I mean....big ass guns are one half of the battle, and people willing to shoot them at each other are the other half.

So...thanks to not being on Facebook I have missed* two things. The first is hearing that Robin Williams' motivation for his self-offulation was likely induced by the knowledge that he had Parkinson's. My dad and I had a good talk about this. For a man as brilliant as he was to find out that his greatest tool would be slowly stripped away from him could definitely be devastating. I would like to think that if it were me, I could find some way to make it through that, but I'm gonna be honest...I just don't know. It doesn't change the fact that it pisses me off and that I still think suicide is the single most selfish act a person can commit, but...I get it now.

The other thing I missed* (or have been missing*) is all of those ALS ice bucket things.
Hey-have you been watching the ALS ice bucket dump things?

(blink blink) Um. No.

Well, did you see the ALS ice bucket dump and call out from (insert celebrity here) to (insert other 
celebrity here)?

(arched eybrow). Again. No. I thought my first "no" made that clear.

Well did you see--

Dude. No. I didn't see it. I have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. I assume it's a fundraiser of some sort based on the age old tradition of dumping the water cooler on the coaches head after the team wins the big game. I don't know exactly how that's supposed to raise money. Do they ask for donations based on the number of cubes in the water or what? Don't know. Don't care. This is one social meme that I am more than happy to be blissfully ignorant of.  It apparently has gotten so annoying, that a few of my friends have told me that I got off Facebook just in time and that they were considering letting their profiles go dark for a month until the whole thing blew over.

*miss/Missing. I use this term loosely. Or rather, ironically. I have not actually missed (or been longing achingly) for either of those things. Neither of those things are compelling enough reasons for me to return to the time/soul suck that Facebook had become in my life.

I am finding that small doses of Twitter, the methodone of social media addiction, seem to be ok for me. It's FAR less of a rabbit hole for me and much easier to regulate my usage. And it provides much the same useless, mindless prattle as FB did, only without much of the bitchy in-fighting.  @atskaggs71, if you are so inclined. If not-that's ok  too.

The cold has moved to the 'thanks, but I think we'll be going soon' stage. Which is nice. I don't like being sick. Although, I'm suspecting it did wonders for my 24Day Challenge because I really didn't have the taste buds or desire to snack as I normally would have. So, go Todd's Body....well done you!

I resisted the urge for Pizza last night. Mainly because there was no place to get Rofini's pizza anymore. But also because of the self-chastisement I knew would ensue shortly after consumption. I'm going to get through this next 20 days playing it by the books. On day 25, I'll have my pizza. And beer.

Speaking of beer, I should get ready for work. But first, this....

That's right. We got our tix. Steve and Dad and I are going to be dividing our games up this weekend. There are 7 home games and 3 of us. We are each taking 2 games and likely looking to sell the 2 Michigan tix. So...if you are interested...let me know. Looks like Tix are going for $300-$400 each. We'll see how it shakes down. Hell...I have an extra pay check in October...maybe I'll just buy out my dad and brother and treat myself. Who knows? Maybe that's the NyQuil talking. We'll see.

*UPDATE*...I lied. Tix are going for $400-800 EACH on stubhub.  Wow.

Seriously though...gotta get ready for work now.

Have a kick ass Friday Eve my friends!!

-A.T.

8.20.2014

Meh Pt. 2

This is a test of the new app I bought today. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. It's called Hanx Writer. Pretty much a typewriter app. I can see where it could be freeing--different than many of the other word processing apps. I have to be honest--I think it might be kind of like OmmWriter, but with less options for exporting. I love the animations and the sound effects, but other than...honestly I wish they had it for my MacBook. I could see using it on the laptop more than the ipad. We'll see how the exporting goes.

So far I think I can just do a Select All and then copy it. I think that what I would honestly like to see is a cloud option for OmmWriter...it's really the best minimalist writing app I've used on iPad and MacBook.

Still fighting the cold. I would have liked to stay home today, but there's too much to get done at work. At least for now. There is a trip coming up to the farm in a couple of weeks. I really can't wait for that.

Until then...lunch is over...and I'm back to work.

Have a kick ass hump day my friends!!


-A.T.


8.19.2014

Standard Tuesday Randomness

I'm fighting what appears to be a cold that wants to come in and play around for a while. I don't really have time for that shit, to be honest. So.I'm thinking a good 9 hours of sleep tonight kicked off with a shot of whiskey and a shot of NyQuil ought to put it in its place. The rub is that today I'm heading over to Dad's to split up the Buckeyes' home games with him and my brother. So...there's a couple of hours there. AND....the new D&D Player's Manual is going to be waiting for me when I get home. So..there's another thing that's going to keep me up for a couple hours if I'm not careful. Meh. I'll figure it out. Somehow I always do--one way or t'other.

In other randomness, I'm loving the ClamCase Pro that I got for the iPad Mini. Yes. Still. I only have 2 things that bug me. And they are really non-issues. The first is the port for the lightning adapter only supports the Apple size. Any third party cable that is slightly bigger won't work. The same is true for the headphone jack. Only a cable with an end that is the size of the Apple earpods will work. My Bose won't work. Again, these are pretty much both non-issues. I have a couple of the true Apple Lightning cables. No biggie. And on the headphone front, I have the blue tooth. I need to see, though, if there is an adapter or extender I can use, because I can envision wanting to use other headphones from time to time.

I hate that fog of feeling your body start to get sick. I am aware enough of what's happening in my body to know that internal resources are being re-routed to fight whatever this is (likely a common cold). Because of that, I'm sweating more. My thoughts seem...slower. Almost filtered as though my body doesn't want to release something that might cause me to behave in such a way that will affect its efforts to fight (such as thinking of taking a 1mile walk this afternoon around the parking lot--not gonna happen).

It's not a very fun feeling. I'm not going to lie. All I really want to do right now is sleep. Which calls in to question responsibility. I have a job to do. Things I am responsible for. And yet, I need to be responsible and responsive to my own body's needs as well.

It's always a fine line that seems to come more in to question as I grow (up?) older.

At this point I'm not sure I like the answer. But that's the life I've chosen for now.

When I get my head out of my ass and choose the Author's life, things will be different.

Maybe.

Who can say?

Either way, lunch is almost over. A fresh wave of sweats has rolled in and it's time for me to get back to work.

Have an awesomesauce day my friends!

-A.T.

 

8.18.2014

No More Fat Todd

We're back to the point of me feeling fat. I can deal with being heavier. I've been a big boy most of my life (yes..I wore Huskies as a kid), but where I draw the line is when I feel fat.

I'm at 317. This is the heaviest I have been since I originally started my 'no more fat todd' journey in 2011 (I was 330 when that all started). And I got to the point where my brain-body-mind-soul all got together and said Enough of this shit, yo. Get it together Skaggs.

There's a lot of baggage with the whole weight loss thing for me (and for most, I suspect, but I can't speak for them). It goes a little like this...a while back..2009 or 2010...I had a physician tell me that one cause for the lack of intimacy was that perhaps I was too overweight for my wife to find me attractive. Turns out there were other issues, but that was certainly a catalyst and always stuck in the back of my mind. In 2011 I got my shit together and started the journey. I got down to 265 by 2013. In the summer of 2013, I did the Warrior Dash....hurt myself and fell out of my exercise routine altogether. And to be fair...I probably could not have kept up the pace I was on for very much longer anyway, so perhaps the injury was a blessing. I am to the point now where I'm ready to get back to doing physical activity...or exericise, if you will...to supplant the dietary changes I have made. And also ready to get back to a little more regimented food program (in the sense that Donato's every other night probably won't keep me from feeling fat).

I knew that this week was my week for getting back on track, so I really kind of hit the eat, drink, and be merry thing pretty hard this weekend. And I came to the conclusion that...damn...I can't party like I used to. Well...let me take that back. I can party every bit as much as I used to....it's the recovery that takes longer.

Woof.

Based on this weekend, I have also learned a bit about myself...I love to be around people when we're all laughing and bullshitting and generally enjoying each other's company. Clubs are fine. Bars are so so (except the patio at Jimmy V's--that's the bomb)...but you give me a couple of fold out chairs...a fire pit and a cooler of cold ones with friends and laughter...and I'm a happy Toddly.

I would have to say that the weekend, in that regards was fairly epic. Lots of time hanging with friends (or as I like to say 'family with different last names').

In the scope of other posts, I'd give this one about a 4. It's one of those where I just kinda write to A) Make sure I still know how to write and B) log more time on the ClamCase Pro case (which, by the way, I'm loving. The size isn't as much of an issue as I thought it might be and the key placement appears to have been worth every penny).

I brought my exercise shoes with me to work (what? too abrupt?)...figure that I need to pick back up on my afternoon walks around the parking lot. Even if it's only me (sometimes I prefer that, actually...chance to clear my head).

Alright. I'm gonna get back to work now.

Peace out!

-A.T.

8.16.2014

Nanu Na--wait...WTF?

I know this is old news by now and probably isn't even a blip on Facebook anymore, but you may have heard that Robin Williams died.

You may not like this post much if you are a die hard fan and wept at the news. Or you may not like me much after you read it. And I'm OK with either of those scenarios.

When I first heard the news, there was sadness. Until I heard that it was suicide. Hate me if you will, but I'm gonna say this shit right now. I'm anti-suicide. It's the fucking coward's way out. And it is the single most selfish act one person can do. Sure, it's definitely one solution to any problem you're facing, but dude...really? I feel like when anytime someone commits suicide, the Universe at large does a facepalm and says "you just don't fucking get it, do you?"

The point is to live through the pain and the shit in your life. THAT'S the stuff that forges who you are. And I don't even mean from a meta-physical-god-is-my-co-pilot kind of level either. I mean from a pure nature type level. The struggle is vital.

If you've ever seen a caterpillar emerge from the coccoon, you know what I mean. There is tremendous struggle for it to break free. There is a story floating around of a naturalist who saw this struggle and wanted to help, so they very carefully and precisely used a scalpel to enlarge the opening for the butterfly to emerge without the apparently painful struggle it normally would have. Here's the bitch of it. The butterfly, once out...couldn't open its wings. They weren't strong enough. It couldn't fly. And it died. What that well meaning person didn't understand was that the struggle....the pain...was absolutely vital for the growth and survival of the butterfly. It was the piece that strengthened its wings so that it could fly and be the beautiful creature we know and love.

Suicide is like cutting the coccoon for the butterfly. It bypasses the struggle, avoids the pain necessary to grow and become beautiful and fly, and it ultimately winds up in death.

And it's bullshit.

I know for a fact that creative people are tortured souls. There is something of truth in the fact that many artists use their medium as a way to exercise their demons and the by product is, they live another day to be tortured souls and the rest of the world marvels in the butterfly that sprang forth from their pain.

I don't want to hear about Robin Williams' marital problems...or addictions...they're all fucking cop outs if you ask me. There are plenty of non-famous people going through the same shit that don't off themselves. He doesn't get a pass because he was famous or whatever. At least not in my book.

Yes. I am bitter about it.

Part of it is because I know that his family will have to deal with a pain they have never known. They will have to live the rest of their lives trying to answer the question Why didn't we see this? Why didn't we do more? What could we have done?

That's the real fucking tragedy of suicide--you leave your loved ones to live the rest of their lives in doubt. Because of your fucking cowardice. You leave people you care about wondering how if they had only loved you more, they could have saved you.

His family has my upmost sympathies.

He does not.

And...if I'm being completely honest here, the other reason that I'm pissed is because that fucker ruined something on my bucket list. There is a part of me that thinks (knows?) when I hit my stride as a published author, that I will be in contact and in some of the same circles as the people who touched my life growing up. The people who made me laugh, cry, think, and ultimately dream of being something bigger than I thought I could be. And it's not a vision of having dinner or being best buds with these people, it's more like...when I get to that place in my life, I will have the ability to meet them, shake their hands, and thank them for the piece of their lives that they gave to inspire and entertain people like me to reach that point in my life where I could do the same for someone else.

Robin Williams was on that list.

Until he crossed himself off of it. And took that future moment away from me.

I'm sad....angry....frustrated

But ultimately I'm disappointed.

Clearly he was not someone meant to be on my list. Because if he were, the book would have been written before now.

And if he was meant to be on the list, then I'm way the fuck behind.

Time to get writing.

I think wherever he is, his essence would be ok with my final sentiment...

Na nu na nu, you selfish prick.


-A.T.

 

8.14.2014

Holy Sh*t That Was Amazing

I'm pretty sure my recap of the Katy Perry concert won't be the only one with that sentiment.

It might, however, be the only one to recount the tale of a 42 year-old man crying at a pop concert.

But before I get in to that, I just want to pause and take a drink of this chocolate milk, eat a glazed doughnut and marvel at the genius of a local doughnut shop that opens its doors at 130AM. Brilliant.

So..back to the show.

My seats were in the Prismatic Reflection Section. A.K.A General Admission. A.K.A. Close Enough To See What Miss Perry Has Airbrushed Out On Photo Shoots. And I don't mean that in a bad way. I simply mean, there were many times during the show I could have reached out and touched her. Had I done that, though, I would have missed the awesomeness that has placed this show in my top 10 concerts of all time, maybe even top 5. In short, it was f**king Amazing. And, unlike the mouthy dad next to me, I wasn't about to do anything that would have got me kicked out.

The opening opening (normally what I call the throwaway) was some dude called Ferras. I'd never heard of him. And, judging by the fact that his promo CD was part of the merch bag, neither has anyone else. I chose that tme to chow down on some overpriced eats and to get my souvenir t-shirt and concert pins. I then went down to my area.

See that black Devo-looking-hat-thing? That's the edge of the stage. Yeah. I told you I was close!

The opening act was Kacey Musgraves. She's a country singer...and I was more than a little surprised to realize that I knew some of her songs. It was actualy quite a bit more enoyable than I could have imagined.

There was quite a good turn out even for the opener.

And this is one of my best concert photos of any of the concerts I

vcccccccc

OK. In the interest of full disclosure, the line above was me falling asleep in my chair.

I don't have a clue at this point where I was going with this...I know that at the time I started writing it I was high from the concert and I'm sure quite buzzed from the glaze on the donuts.

My bladder behaved, so I didn't have to give up my choice seats between sets. I was still checking lighting on the instant pics and hoping like hell I would actually get some good shots. Spoiler alert--I did.

I knew this would be a rare event for me, so I also planned on getting some shots with my cell phone. All in all I would have to say that I managed to capture the moment in both digital and print in a way that I would remember it from years to come. Here's a few shots (I took about 40 each of instant and digital, but I'm not going to put all of them here).

The stage rose to form the pyramid above.

Out of which popped Miss Perry,

I was really close to the stage the hands you see in the lower portion of the above pic were right in front of me.

This was zoomed a little from my phone, but not much.

I lost count of how many costume changes there where and how many of the costumes had a similar base that was only slightly altered to look like a whole new costume. It was almost of a Weird Al magnitude of changes and looks throughout a 2 hour show.

The guitar players flew through the air. Over Fire. And shot sparks out of their guitars. Me? I have problems just getting a Barre A chord, let alone flying pyrotechnics.

Yes. My inner 12 yr old boy was there...but c'mon...how many times in my life will I be able to say I snapped a pic of Katy Perry's taco? Right?

The sign spelled Hollywood...I swear.

So many elements about this show blew my mind. This was more than just performing music...this was delivering a show. Big damn difference.

This was one of the encores, "Fireworks" (naturally). The other was "Happy Birthday." Both were amazing.

 

This was what it looked like when you put on the Prismatic glasses. Very cool effect. I got an extra pair to keep with my camera so I can do shit like this elsewhere.

So, Todd...what's this about a 42yr old man crying at a pop concert?

Ah. So glad you remembered. Here's the thing. I found Prism at a time in my life where I was going through some shit. Coincendentally the same kind of shit Katy Perry was going through. Some of the songs when I heard them hit me WAY harder than a pop song should. So...yeah...some songs like "By The Grace Of God" really hit me (So I looked in the mirror and decided to stay. Wasn't going to let love take me out that way), Yeah. Boom. Right between the eyes. If she had performed 'Ghost' I would have been a blubbering mess.

 

Music is important to me, it gets in my head. It gets in my heart. Her music moved me. Still does. So..to be that close to her last night was amazing. It was powerful to think that in the dark corner of her room somewhere sometime, she went through the same shit we've all gone through....but she put her pain out there. And last night, I just felt that amazing awesome wave of....meh...I don't even know the word.

But it was fucking awesome.

 

And the other thing I know...that as long as I'm physically and finacially able when I see a concert, it's going to be as close to the stage as possible even if its in the standing/GA section, because holy shit was that awesome.

I had all kinds of deep things rattling in my head last night when I sat down to pen this post, but I think it's best summed up by saying, it was truly a magical night.

-AT

 

 

8.12.2014

Cafe Expresso

I'm thinking that what I need in front of my apartment is a little cafe table and a couple of chairs. Now, granted, my 'patio' as it were is only about 3X3. And there IS a picnic table in the court yard. But still. Even though it might make my patio look a little jank, I have to somehow think it would be better than the big boy camping chair I'm siting in now, art desk on my lap, ipad on top of that-pecking away at this writing thing.

The weather is probably one of my favorites--pre-storm. The wind is having its way with the summer trees and it feels as though any moment the sky could open up and dump gallons of water on whomever might be unfortunate enough to be outside. The only warning are the four or five raindrops you're never quite sure you felt until it's entirely too late and you are drenched.

I kinda feel like a little table might make my writing outside seem a bit less odd (even though that's never really been a concern with me, I mean, it is in my name, afterall). Even so, there is something about writing outside...when the mosquitos are taking a break from their feasting that makes things quite nice. I need to do more of this. This writing outside thing. It kinda takes me back to writing on the front porch at the Farm. And lord knows, anything that takes me back to that is fine by me.

I'm guessing by now you have figured out that I'm digging this new case. That being said, if anyone knows someone with an iPad Mini looking for a keyboard case, let me know. I can hook them up.

Writing. Haven't been doing much of that lately. Work has been a little nutty the past few weeks, to the poitn where I haven't taken my laptop to work, nor have I taken a full lunch to actually sit down and do any kind of writing.

That's going to change. It's already changing.

Boom.

Speaking of Boom...did I mention I'm going to see Katy Perry tomorrow?

Yes. That's happening. The phone will be charged, but I'm really hoping that I'll be able to take the instant camera. We'll see. For some reason that seems to do a much better job of catching that whole 'in the moment' vibe that's missing from so many other pix I see. I think a lot of it is that the pix are warmer. There's something undeniable about film. It's true. Those instant shots are real. No photoshop. No fixing it in post. What you see is (mostly) what you shot. Period.

So..yes, I remain hopeful for geting some fun shots.

I have several thoughts on the passing of Robin Williams, but that nerve is still a little too raw. That will be a post for a later time, I'm sure.

Did anyone see the Supermoon when it was at its biggest this past Sunday? Yeah. I went out to get some pix...

Got all set up in my spot...took couple of reference shots.

Annnnnnnnnd then proceeded to get screwed by the clouds that refused to move. So...no. No supermoon instant camera shots....this time. There is always next month...with the STRONG chance that I'll be in KY for the next one (Dad, if you're reading this, yeah...might have to bump our trip back a week, I'll know for sure tomorrow).

 

And with that, I think I'm about ready to head inside and call it a night.

The writing bug has most definitely bitten, but the sleep bug is a tough adversary and there's a good chance it's going to win. At least in the short term.

Sweet dreams my friends (and even sweeter when you realize they aren't only when you dream).

-A.T.

 

I Swear I'm 12

So...funny thing happened to me today. A certain company that sells semi-trucks asked me what I would charge for them to use some pictures of mine that I shot of the Columbus skyline on their website.

You'd think I'd be geeked about a sale, right?

Sorta. But not really.

The first thought that ran through my mind was "Holy crap!! I wonder if they'll let me ride around in a tractor trailer and take funky pix of the semis with my instant camera!!"

 

Yeah. I'm not even a little bit ashamed at being a kid at heart.

 

Hee hee!

-A.T.

 

*PS* I'm completely loving this new ClamCase Pro. Holy crap. It's like having a little mini laptop. They really did a heck of a job on the user experience. They definitely took a page out of the book of Apple.

 

The Reason Good Tools Are Expensive

Simple. Good tools are expensive because they're worth it.

You'd never think that a ' would be worth $100.

If you're like me, you'd be wrong.

I liked many things about the Sharkk iPad mini keyboard case. But the two things I could not get past were the question mark in the wrong place on the keyboard and having to use a Fn key (not even a shift key) for the apostrophe ('). Those seem like really small things. And I had a co-worker tell me "Just retrain your brain-no big deal." Except it was a big deal. On my laptop, on my desktop, on any keyboard I used, those keys were in a different place from the keyboard on my iPad mini case.

And everytime I sat down to write with it, something about those two things would just completely halt the creative flow. I had to think to much. I wasn't able to just type (it's very tough for someone who's been touch typing since 1989 to just 'retrain their brain'). I tried. I really did. But was no good. Wasn't happening.

I looked at other iPad mini keyboard cases. Convinced that I still wanted something self contained so I wouldn't have to carry two pieces of gear. Almost every case in my budget suffered the same fate-size was the goal and people who could actually touch typed would suffer.

Now-don't get me wrong. Would it do in a pinch? Sure. Quick messages, whatever. It would totally be fine for that. But that's not what I wanted to use it for. I wanted to use it as a replacement for having to take my laptop with me everywhere. Something I could throw in to anybag along with my journal and have the tools to write whenever, wherever the fancy struck me.

It was clear I would need to step outside of the budget I thought I had set for myself. A couple of people at work had cases by Clamcase. The keyboard decks were aluminum and had a MacBook Pro feel too them. Everything about them was high caliber. Including the price tag. The case for the mini was $129. Almost $100 more than what I had paid for the Sharkk case.

I can tell you this with no hint of bullshittiness--It was worth every penny. I'm typing this post from the case. And I have to say, it types like a dream. It doesn't feel too terribly small. I mean, I know that it is, but what I mean is that the size doesn't detract and the typing is natural. No more getting distracted while I look for the effin' Fn key.

All in all, I've reached the conclusion that sometimes, for something you're passionate about, you have to pay a little more for the better tools.

This is definitely one of those times.

 

Even side by side, there's no comparison. The ClamCase Pro is just better. It's honestly like the difference between a cheap Windows laptop and a MacBook Pro.

I'm going to have to get used to not having access to the Mute button, but as I'm writing, that's a far easier thing to deal with.

Have a kick ass evening friends!

 

-A.T.

 

8.11.2014

8 Directions And A Fire Button

I might be old. I am prepared to acknowledge that fact. I remember Pong. I remember the Tandy TRS-80.

And of course I remember Atari. The Atari Video Computer System (later dubbed the Atari 2600). I was 8 when they came out (well...I was 6 when the first rev came out in 1977, but I was 8 when the mainstream push came to get them in every home across America.

I wanted one. My Parents told me to save my money...do chores and save the money (what?).

Papaw to the rescue. Papaw was going to buy me one. Mom and Dad weren't having any of that noise. Papaw changed his tactic. He said he was buying it for him and it would stay down in KY when I came home for the summer (it didn't). Papaw found ways to make things happen.

My first game (besides the included Combat) was Circus Atari. A Breakout clone with clowns, a see-saw, balloons, and a very funny graphic if you didn't last just right.

I have fond memories of the first summer with my Atari, and the following years. I think it wound up being sold in a garage sale somewhere along the way. I've had 3 since my first. My first was a Heavy Sixer. Good luck finding that again. I'm not quite sure how the K-Mart in Ashland even had those in stock. That guy I miss.

Enter my most recent trip to the Farm with Dad. And our requisite stop at the 23 Southbound Flea Market.

$45 later ($15 for the console, Kaboom, and the controllers; $30 for the additional 15 games)...and I have this guy:

Hells yes. Now, mind you, this was on our way to the Farm. There is a TV out there, but no way to really hook this badboy up. So it would be 5 days before I could even hope to test it.

Unlike my 8yr old self, I was actually able to contain myself. Not only did I wait until I got back from our road trip, but it was another week before I actually got the $5 adapter from Radio Shack that would allow me to hook up the Atari (CX2600A, released in 1980) to my 40" flat screen TV from this century. Past and present were about to meet in a big ass way.

I fired up one of my faves first. Only took a few rounds to confirm the joystick might need some maintenance.

And a few rounds of my other go-to confirmed the paddle controllers also might need some TLC.

Back to Donkey Kong.

Annnnnnnnnd shit.

The fire button is toast. No jumping. No shooting. 1/9th of the joystick's functionality was just...gone. Soooooo...yeah. There's that.

But enter Video Game Exchange (screw GameStop)....a quick trip in...

"Can I help you find something?"

Controllers for an Atari2600

"That's a serious machine, man."

That it is. Can you help?

"Yeah. We got controllers right over here."

This is why I shop here.

 

And with that 10 minute transaction...it was on like...well...Donkey Kong. Two working joysticks. 1 Working set of paddles.

And hours of happiness. You can seriously have your XBoxes and Playstations. I've had them. I sold them back. You know why I like old school? Because an element of this is imagination. Sure....there might be 4 lines on a screen that are supposed to be walls and the robots look like rejects from Walt Disney's The Black Hole, but in my mind, I am running through a space station, trying not to get zapped and hoping like hell the bouncing smiley face doesn't come through and obliterate me.

It is cheesey. The graphics suck by today's standards. And the only "in-game achievement" you can earn is flipping the scoreboard or getting so bored because you've been playing so long that you turn it off and go outside. And if you turn it off, you start back over again when you turn it back on. There is no saved game. You want to play online? Too bad. You are actually going to have to sit within 6 feet of the person you are playing.

Atari2600....the original social media boyeeeeeee!

8 directions, 1 fire button, and the truth.

 

Have a great rest of your day my friends!!

-A.T.

 

8.05.2014

The 10th Annual Typewriter Meetup

I'm tired. I'm not going to lie. My body is doing that thing where, after a short period (48-72hours) of intense emotions and pe...