9.30.2014

Porkins

Driving home today I closed the Nav App on my phone (Waze, if you're dying to know)...and in my head I heard, "Luke...you've shut off your targeting computer...is anything wrong?"

And I laughed.

Because to be completely honest, nothing will freak someone the fuck out in traffic like passing someone who is alone in their car laughing like they just heard something ridiculously funny.   I don't recommend doing the same in Panera, though. They aren't quite so understanding.

So...that got me thinking...when I watched Star Wars for the first time, I wanted to be Luke. I mean, sure...the whining was a bit much.  And Tocshe Station is a dump...let's be clear about that. But dude....light saber....hot chick (remember, this was PRE-incest revelation)...but yeah.

As I watch it now...I think...'yeah. I'm not so much that whiny bitch from Tattooine."

No...I'm probably more like Porkins (which...really...least creative name ever.  Fat guy? Well...Lardimus Maximus won't fly..let's call him Porkins). Porkins beefs it, but dude..what a glorious on-screen-CHiPs in Space Car Over the Hill Explosion. Wowsers.

Or better yet...I'm like the bartender at the cantina in Mos Eisley. Just a regular dude with a beef against droids (clearly he's never been to adult bingo...but I digress).

I mean, the man earns an honest wage when he's not letting fugitives meet in his back room or serving milk in 70s Tupperware cups to violent offenders.

His only line in the movie?

"No Blasters!! No Blasters!!"
Well...ok...there's the line about the droids not being served, but that makes this whole thing less humorous than I already imagine it is.

Where the hell was I going with this?

Yeah...no idea.  Other than to say...I think I could have definitely been a Y-Wing Pilot.

It's funny to me...I can look at this and know the exact moment it jumped off the rails, but I don't care.

If you haven't figured it out yet...the blog is like the little metal cap on a pressure cooker. When the pressure gets to be too much, that little cap lifts up  and reveals a hole, out of which steam is released. Not all of it...just enough to reduce the pressure and the cap falls back down over the hole.

Life is like that sometimes. And this blog, is how the steam gets let off. It's different from the other writing that I do in that this is freeform random bullshit off the top of my head.

OK...so maybe it's not so different from my other writings.

Speaking of that... I really need to get some more writing done. I'm thinking I'll have some time on the trip to Houston. It's for work, but generally the evenings will be free.

Stay on target...stay on target.

Have a great evening folks. :-)

-A.T.


9.29.2014

A Blur

The past couple of weeks have been a blur to me. Work is nutty getting ready to open a new store (it usually is when we're ramping up to open a new store).  Home is...well...not really nutty...just... I don't know. Odd?

I look around and see things in this apartment. Things from my different lifetimes. Things that used to belong to someone that no longer exists. At least not in the way he did when those things were acquired. When those things were important.  Now they are just things.

Clutter.

Physical manifestations of memories I'm not even sure I trust anymore.

What I want to do is take a day or two off of work. It has to be days from during the work week. The weekend has its own ebb and flow and I'm not sure this task is a weekend task. But I need to take 2 days. One day to go through it all and purge. Just purge.  I feel like I need to pare things back. WAY more than they are. Things I haven't used since I got here...haven't unpacked or even thought about since I got here should be tossed. And I don't know that I see myself keeping every little thing for some future time when I'll have a shelf to put it on. There is a short list of things I'm sentimental about. Things that I will move with me from lifetime to lifetime. Those things could likely fit in a tote. The rest of this shit is built on fake memories.

I only say fake because there are times when I think back to those previous lifetimes and remember....remember what I thought I had. What I thought I was living for. And there's not really an easy way for me to reconcile those thoughts and memories with the man I am now.

Will I have another lifetime? One in which I find someone...start dating...get married?

If you ask me today or even tomorrow...as the remnants of two failed marriages * lie scattered in paper boxes around my apartment, the answer is no.

I have to clear through this stuff first.

The second day of the two day purge is just to make peace with the new place. The minimalist vibe that I feel it possessing. The openness. The absence of bittersweet memories.   A day to just 'be.'

Those purging days have to come very soon. I feel as though my mind is a bottle stopped up with marbles. And beneath the marbles is an endless amount of sand. With which to build my great sandcastle. While the marbles obstruct the neck of the bottle...some sand escapes, but not enough to build with.  I don't know which memento, which marble will be the keystone, unleashing the deluge of the new life.

But if I don't start pulling marbles...I'll never build that great castle made of sand.




Have a great rest of your Monday,
-A.T.






























*I have two divorces under my belt, but only one of the marriages failed. The second one. The first one was a success if only because it gave me my daughter, my most amazing creation.

9.24.2014

Stealing Moments

This is probably the most difficult time of day for me. The time before I drift off to sleep. Usually I've been home for 4 or 5 hours by now (sometimes only 3)...so I've had a chance to fully remember, despite all the accumulated shit, that I am the only one that lives in this apartment.

It's usually at this time that I have finished binging on the series du jour on Netflix or last night's episode of whatever I normally watch on Hulu+.

And it's about this time of the evening that my brain...or rather my mind...grabs me by the mental short hairs and says 'Dude...you need to write some of this shit down...we can't keep having it rattle around in our head like this.'

So...I start to write. Sometimes my body chimes in with a heartfelt, 'OMFG are you kidding me with this shit? Dude...you've been up 19 hours already. We need to re-charge. Write this shit down tomorrow.'

And so sometimes I listen to my mind and keep writing. And depending on how deeply I feel what I'm writing, I can usually bang out one of these posts. Sometimes I'll make some headway on the book I'm writing (yes--I really am writing a book--of sorts).

Other times I listen to my body thinking that I'll be able to grab some time tomorrow and work on the writing that seemed so important before I crawled under the sheets.

Only tomorrow rarely comes.

Well, THAT tomorrow, anyway. The tomorrow where I carve out an hour or two of the day and get all Hemingway on it.  That particular tomorrow is a myth. It rarely comes.  And when it does, usually the emotion (or whatever other trigger I had at the time) is usually so faded and over-analyzed that the writing seems flat (at least to me) and I have to wait until some other mental splinter gets lodged in my brain bucket.

Ain't that just a peach?

Well...no, not really. Because the thing is...tomorrow almost never comes. Sure...there is the arbitrary measuring of the passage of time. THAT tomorrow seems to have no problem getting here.

No, it's the tomorrow of the 'someday' and 'one day I'll do this' plans.  Getting stuck in future what-ifs can be almost as tough as their historical counterparts. Wallowing in the past, or getting stuck in the infinite-daydreams--both have the end result of taking us (well, specifically me) away from living in the moment.

I don't know how else to explain it. But the few times I have honestly been able to live in the moment actually live in the moment have been the most amazing moments of my life. Well...this lifetime anyway. I remember bits and pieces of past lives, and they had some pretty great moments, too.

I think I look to that escape because the reality of living in the moment is sometimes scary as fuck.

I live alone. I eat a bowl of cereal whilst sitting on a futon for dinner (sometimes it's pizza...or chinese...or White Castle, but always that same fucking piece of shit bargain basement futon). I watch streaming media and split my mental free time between thinking of the next witty or insightful think I can put on this blog and trying to make a mental list and hope I haven't forgotten anything for my upcoming work trip to Houston.

And as long as I'm not obsessing over what Prior-Life Todd did or fixated on what Future Todd needs to do, I'm ok.

And you're OK.

And now we have the title of a weekend commune to go find ourselves.

To be honest...part of the problem with staying up to write is that sometimes my body takes over anyway, and I drift to sleep. Waking up only to look at the words on the screen and woofer ...er...wonder what the hell I typed.

Until finally I concede that maybe I DO need some sleep.

Like now.

Now I need to head to bed. I have a workshop over in Dreamland. That's where I've been writing the book, mostly.

-A.T.

9.23.2014

The 700 Club

Post 700.

No, I don't mean after 700.  I mean that this is the 700th published post of this blog. To be fair there have been more than that. Some of them you don't see. Some of them you do but probably shouldn't.

Anyway...I am NOT Pat Robertson or whoever that guy was. This ain't that 700 Club.

What this is, however, is a personal triumph. I'm on target to write more things on this blog (for better or worse) this year than in any years previous.

And that feels pretty good.  Feeling good is a good thing.

Life is good.

Actually...that's not really true. Life is neither good nor bad. How we react to it is the good stuff (or the bad stuff).

Here's the thing...if you and I are friends on Facebook, you know I'm generally an upbeat guy. I find the positive in most situations.

And that's a good thing. There's enough bullshit and negativity on Facebook (in the world actually) without me needing to dump any of my shit on it.

No--I'm not always so happy. I have my moments. I have my down days. I have time where I wonder if I made the best choices in my life that led up to here.

And I have to say that yes...I did. Oh sure...perhaps I start too many sentences with the word 'And,' but hey--who doesn't?

So...what's the big deal about 700? Well...because it means I'm writing.

Writing is who I am. It's what I do. You know what else is cool? People enjoy reading it. Sometimes I'm not sure why. But it makes my heart happy.

Do you want to know how I know dreams come true?

Because you're reading this.

It's my dream to be a writer.

And for that to work, I need people who want to read what I write.

Congratulations. How does it feel to help someone's dream come true?

Welcome to the club.

-Andrew Todd


9.22.2014

Need to Write Some Music

During my time in New York last year (this year? both?), I had the bright idea that while fritting away all my spare time in the hotel (ha!), I would work on some music.

I had (still have) an idea to do an album using only the iPad. I have several apps for it on the music creation side. And I figure if I do wind up doing vocals, I'll run them through the mic on either the earbuds that came with my iPhone or the Polk ear buds I travel with.

So...that was the plan. I got a couple riffs and ideas sketched out on a few of the flights. Most are just really rough drafts of songs.

And then there's this.  Lyrics I wrote on one of my trips to Queens. I don't have music for it (yet).
Not sure why this all came to mind, other than the fact that I'm getting geared up for a trip to Houston next week. Might just have to do some more work on the 'album' on the flight down.
-*-

Lullaby of Queens                                                             3/19/14

Sitting in a hotel room,
As the rain beats down in Queens.
In that syncopated heartbeat,
I wonder what it means.

Traffic rushes forever by,
Never knowing of my plight.
A pen without a poem,
On a cold Big Apple night.

The city never sleeps-
She's got far too much to do.
Planting little seeds,
That grow in to thoughts of you.

I'm much too far from home,
On such as night as this.
Only wanting you to hold,
Left dreaming of your kiss

And as she cradles me to sleep,
with her lullaby of Queens.
Dancing somewhere in the raindrops,
She tells me what it means.



-A.T.


What is a Gret?

So...if I'm to believe my TimeLife "Teach Yourself How to De-construct Any Word To Make Yourself Sound Smarter" Home Correspondence course, then if you regret something. You first gretted that something. And now you RE-gret it. All over again. 

Regret is fucked up, if you ask me.

And people do. Invariably the topic of regret comes up all the time in our lives. Oddly enough, though, it only seems to surface after something ends.

No one ever says ' Boy, I regret ordering that pizza.'  No...they usually only regret ordering it after eating the whole damn thing in one sitting. I mean, I suppose. Not that I would do that. Or anything.

The other place I really get it is when people find out I'm divorced (for the second time...because apparently the first divorce left so many unanswered questions).  

It's always...'Oh. Divorced, huh?'  Followed by one of the following in their eyes: hint of sadness and silent judging if they're happily married....hint of jealousy if they're unhappily married...no clue what to say next if they've never been married...and slight nod of understanding if they're happily divorced...flash of contempt if they're unhappily divorced and if I'm very lucky (and I am), a hug...because they know that although it wasn't easy, it was what I needed.

All of that happens in a split second...and sometimes the conversation mercifully goes somewhere else. But more often than not it's followed up by Oh..what happened? Well..I don't know...to put it simply...I realized that I didn't want to travel on the same road as the person I said I'd spend the rest of my life with. I checked with her, and she pretty much said the same thing. Seemed silly to stay in the same car at that point.

Any regrets?

And that's where I usually cut the conversation off if it's still heading down this path. Because to be completely honest, I don't trust anyone who says they don't have any regrets. I want to call bullshit on them (but I usually don't). And if I do say that I don't have any regrets, it's only to shut you up.

Thing is...if you have hindsight and self-awareness, you will invariably come across something in your life that you can't take back. You can't do over. Something that grabs  you by the short hairs and reminds you in the darkest hours of the night that you...fucked...up. This isn't like eating the whole pizza fucked up. This is like realizing decades later that you should have done whatever you needed to do to stay in her life. 

Yeah. I have regrets. No...I can't take them back. 

I regret not fighting harder as my first marriage was ending to make my daughter's mother see that I was only trying to become a better man.

I regret reading an email that caused a 15 year rift in a 25 year friendship. 

I regret ever starting a business with my best friend years ago because it changed our friendship.

I regret never writing a song for my wife to sing. 

I regret not spending more time with my daughter as she was growing up. 


So...yeah...I have a few regrets.  But here's the thing...I can't fucking change them. There are no do-overs. I didn't regret these things at the time. Hell...I didn't have a clue. It's only when I looked back did I realize that damn....I really screwed the pooch on those

And I'm sitting here...as I often do when I'm writing these things and thinking holy fuck. i just figured it out.

I can wallow in the regrets (and it's really quite alarming how many people do...) or I can do the only thing that will allow me to move on....forgive.

I own these things I regret. The pain I feel from my actions or, in some cases, inactions is mine. I'm not saying the other party didn't feel pain. I'm sure they did. That's what lends intensity to the regret. The knowledge that we have hurt another person. 

The only thing that has allowed me to move on from these is to forgive myself. Regret comes with hindsight. And going down the 'what-if' road leads to all kinds of shit. I swear playing the 'what if' game is as likely to give you a positive emotional outcome as WebMD is likely to give you an accurate diagnosis.  

In other words...not friggin' likely. 

You know who doesn't have regrets?

Children.

They live in the now. They eat too much candy. Their stomach hurts. They don't regret eating the candy. The moment they were eating the candy was awesome. The moment they had the tummy ache was not so awesome. But as children they know that that's what it is--separate moments

I think my problem is I spend so much time looking for cause and effect in my life...If I hadn't said this...or done that...or if I was funnier....then I'd have x, y, or Z, or be one of the cool kids. 

I focus too much on actions or inaction instead of interactions

-*-

I suppose I need to take a step back here and mention that sometimes I write something on here that takes on a life of its own and helps me to see that maybe there's more here than a little quick hit on ye olde bloggy blog and that maybe I need to dive deeper. 

This would appear to be one of those things. I'm not trying to right my wrongs or any of that other bullshit.  I know the kind of person I am. I have lied. I have cheated. I have stolen. I have screamed. I have cried. 

But I have also faced my own death at least 3 times in my life. And I have laughed. I have given more than I held back. I have held on to friendships with a ferocious tenacity.  

And I have loved.

Love is the key.

Love is the reason we regret. 

And love is the reason we forgive.

I don't regret all of those relationships ending or being altered. That's not the part that causes the regret. The regret comes because the love that I gave...that I felt...that lived was somehow altered or affected.  That affectation of the love is what leads to the regret.

By the same token...because I have known love. I know that love is the most basic force in the universe. That's what allows me to forgive myself. 

Again...this is definitely a much deeper subject than I anticipated when I started typing this last night.

I have been asked by many of my friends and family if I ever think I'll get married again. 

And I answer the same way...

Probably not. For the longest time I felt like I had to be married to someone to truly let them know how much I love them. And I'm just not quite sure I believe that.

Will I ever get married again? Don't know. Who can say?

Will I ever fall in love again?  You bet your ass.

-Andrew Todd




9.21.2014

Silver Lyings Playbookies


I just got done watching the Silver Linings Playbook. 

I don't really know how I feel about it to be completely honest.

Jennifer Lawrence won a crap ton of awards. And to be honest...she should have. She was the most believable. She played a woman who was tragically broken and yet somehow strong and vulnerable at the same time. It was...brilliant.

The rest of the movie left me wanting more. It was like the difference between ordering Chicken Tenders as the appetizer and ordering the Chicken Tenders Dinner Platter. Technically the main portion of the dish is the same, but the appetizer doesn't really explore the relationship between the main dish and other elements. It just gives people what they want....the instant gratification of the main dish. 

I felt this was the kind of movie where you really needed the dinner size portion.

My first two thoughts after watching the movie were (in this order):
  1. Damn! That soundtrack is fantastic!
  2. I wonder (and hope to god) that this was a book first. 
The movie annoyed me. I don't know any other way to say it. It just annoyed me. 

The synopsis of the book...where he thinks he's in a movie directed by God....HELLO--Why the fuck wasn't that explored in the movie? THAT one element makes his crazy make a LOT more sense. 

And, let's be honest, I would identify with him a lot more. 

I don't know.  Maybe I didn't see the same movie everyone else did. 

I need to read the book and see if I like it any better.

I'll get back to you on that. 

-A.T.

The Ballad of Super Action Action Man (evolution edition)

I'm not the first one to do this. This is not an original idea. At least I don't think it is. It can't possibly be. But no matter. I'm doing it. I'm owning. And I'm gonna have a friggin' blast with it.

Todd--what in the holy-bejeesus-Lik-m-Aid are you talking about?!?

Well, I'll tell you.

I'm talking about the one they call Super Action Action Man.

Super Action Action Man was born in Kentucky. Well...actually he was born in China. But that's OK. Because, the issue is not the Chinaman, Walter. The issue is of course the rug. It really tied the room together. But that's a story for another time. And I'm all out of sarsaparilla.

Back to Super Action Action Man.

The story goes that during my last sojourn to The Farm, my aunt and uncle came out there to visit me and my dad. They brought with them their grandson. I can't do the whole family tree to really figure out what he is to me. But no matter.

He had with him an action figure. Which is just another way of saying 'doll for boys.' I don't know why people get hung up on that. But no matter.

Speaking of dolls, and to provide a little bit of foreshadowing...this is what happens when Todd plays with dolls...


You might see where this is going. Maybe not. I'll continue.

So...he had an action figure. I don't know who was or who he was supposed to be. Maybe he had a name, maybe not.  Doesn't matter. He was but a pawn in my drunken reverie.


I was amused. Dad was amused. Our friend Rose was amused. My uncle and aunt may or may not have been amused (but to be fair, I've long ago accepted that I'm the weird one in the family).

And then something terrible happened. They left and the kid took his action figure with him.  I was bummed. I knew I needed to find an action figure with similarly articulated joints (a la the old GI Joe action figures from when we were kids).  

This led to a trip to the General Store (Ralph's). It's about 20 minutes or so from the Farm. But on our last trip there, I noticed they still had toys on the shelf from the 80's and 90's. I couldn't remember any action figures, but I was hopeful.

We got there and the only thing I could find was a Nelson figurine from the Simpson's. Barely articulate. And also there wasn't much range in the legs and arms, for posing purposes.  So...I was a little bummed. 

And then I asked the matronly woman working the register if they had any action figures. She pointed me to a tub of toys that her grandkids had decided to give away. 

That's when I saw him.

Super Action Action Man.

I had already named him before we got to the store.  It didn't matter what the action figure was originally. It was going to be renamed and going forward would be known as Super Action Action Man.

And so he is. 

The gag is to take him places where I have my instant camera and pose shots with him in them. I even have a photo album just for Super Action Action Man photos. 

It's fun.  And that fucker goes everywhere. Seriously. He gets more play than me. 


I'm pretty sure he's a lot like me. In the shot below you can definitely tell that he likes his drink.


And yes. In case you were wondering. Super Action Action Man does pretty much go everywhere with me. Well...you never can tell when you'll have a funny photo op with a 3 1/2" action figure.

After all, he goes where the action is.

-A.T.


9.20.2014

1 UP

I look around and am in awe at how no detail is missed in this menagerie. It is almost a perfect representation of what we as humans think this life is meant to be.

I just can't buy it though. I know there's more out there than this. This is like the first level of the game and the boss you think you have to fight isn't the boss at all, just the gatekeeper to the next level.

And that's where things get interesting....on the next level.

You may have read that previous section and may now be thinking to yourself "Dude...let me have some of whatever it is you been smokin'"  And...well...I can't. I didn't smoke anything. That's not to say that I may or may not be completely sober.  A few Fireballs and Dr. Pepper whilst cleaning the apartment makes for a nice warm feeling. And cookies. And brownies. No...not those kinds of brownies.

But I digress.

This world. This illusion. It's something that's wholly believable. I don't think we're all plugged in to some computer somewhere, a la Matrix style, but I do believe that we are more than what we see. These bodies. They are perfectly designed for this world. But have you ever wondered why we are not all perfect physical specimen? The body is designed to be perfect. It is the perfect machine.  Some people take that perfection and elevate it. Some people take that perfection and let it wither away.  Why?

Some know that this is just an illusion. On what level they know, I cannot say. You'll have to ask them. Because some of them know (even on a sub conscious level), they push this perfect machine to the max. Bend it to their will. Push the boundaries of the laws of time and physics and space. They are the super stars.

Others realize it's not about the body. And they push their mind. Stephen Hawking's perfect machine is eating itself alive from the inside but his mind is so far beyond what the average mindset in this world is that its ridiculous.

The simple truth is, this is a shell. This body. This world.  Your sense of self-importance (and I'm saying that mainly to me, but feel free to listen along)...is a myth. It's a set of parameters designed to fit within this construct of this thought experiment.

We are all thoughts.  Luminous threads of light emanating from a single loving source in the Universe...the Multi-verse. We are not separate. We are connected. We are no more the same, however, than two thoughts firing through your synapses as you read this are the same. However, we are connected. More so than most would ever care to admit.

The greatest myth of this world is that we are all individuals.  The single greatest flaw of this construct is the sense of curiosity that was left in play. That is also the single greatest gift. Its the reason some of us on this world know that this is just a game.

A ride. One that we have all freely chosen to ride. To see how this thing plays out. The collected data of our lives are but memories and thoughts of the Source. And it is to the Source, the Light that we will all someday return.

The cool thing is...some people can bring some of that Light through now. In this realm.

Those are the people that seem magical. A word. A thought. A smile. The ability to change the whole course of your day.

That is the very definition of blessing.

I'm off to vacuum now. Just had to get those thoughts out while they were tumbling around in the brain bucket.

Have an awesomesauce day my friends,

-A.T.


Self Publishing

So...as I might have mentioned in a Facebook post (yes, I fully understand the irony given my recent anti-Facebook venom)...anywhoo. I mentioned that a few people have asked me why I don't take this blog and publish it as a book.

And I had to stop and think.

To me...and maybe this is my fault, but to me this blog doesn't feel like 'real' writing. Now I know that 'real writing' is one of those very subjective terms. I dunno. I guess it almost feels like cheating in a way.

What I mean when I say this doesn't feel like real writing is this. When I write these blogs, I don't really feel like I'm focusing on the mechanics of the story. I get on here, at lunch or whenever, and I just write whatever the hell is in my head. There are very few, if any edits or re-writes. It is completely stream of conscious writing at its best (or at best its 'pretty ok for what it is').  Point is...I'm not sure it's book worthy.

But on the flip side of that coin...you (at least the few who have told me) enjoy reading it. Some of you read it for inspiration. Some read it because you want to see what bullshit comes out from my brain through my fingers. And still others read it in silent affirmation that fuck yes, you could definitely  write something better than this piece of garbage. And I get that. Because, sometimes, I do the same exact thing when I'm writing it.

So Todd...how would this whole thing play out?

I'm glad you asked. As I see it, there's almost 700 posts from the 9 years I've had this blog.  That's not quite novel length. Then again, this isn't quite the great American novel. Or is it? I don't know.

So...at a cursory glance, I can see 3 distinct, major phases of this blog.

RANDOM MEANDERINGS
Musings on life, the universe, and the quest for the perfect chocolate malted.

This is the over-arching theme of the blog. Musings and randomness and whatever the fuck else pops in to my head goes here. I mostly do this so that the stories that are floating around in my head have more room to work. While I generally always thought of these as throwaway pieces, as I re-read them, or read others' reactions to the writings, I find that I tend to bury nuggets of truth in my work. That there is usually something that someone can identify with.

HIGH PLAINS THRIFTER
My love of thrifting lends itself to some amusing finds that really call in to question, how big IS this hand basket we're all going to Hell in, anyway?

One of my favorite eras of the blog was the High Plains Thrifter phase. In these posts, I would go in to local thrift stores and flea markets taking pix and posting humorous commentary on my findings. This phase fizzled when my favorite thrift shop (a) raised its prices and (b) gave me a verbal cease and desist. Or rather a 'stop taking pix or you'll be banned from this store for life.'  I was miffed at the time, but working again for a retail company, I completely understand. Also, there was that time when I made the armed rednecks at the flea market quite nervous.

COOKING FOR ONE
Musings from a twice divorced man who is one divorce away from needing a paleontology degree.

This is not a cooking blog. But rather a series of posts on self-discovery, musings on life, and the occasional recipe. Some of the most real shit about me is in these posts.



And that's a little bit on how it would break down, I suppose. Based on those subject headings, there may be some chronological anomalies. A rift in the time-line, if you will. But I think it could work.

I don't know, though. I guess this is where I need some feedback. If this were an e-Book....would it be on your reading list?  What if it were an actual book? Let me know. I think at the very least I'm going to look at getting something put together on Amazon or maybe iBooks.

And with that, I'm going to go put on some clothes and see about tidying up the apartment.  What? I do some of my best work naked...and that IS one of the major benefits about living alone--clothes become completely optional.

Have a fantastic Saturday my friends!

-A.T.

9.18.2014

Traffic Jams

Sometimes I can't remember, as I'm writing, if I've written everything I'm about to write already or if it was just one of those things where I composed an entire post (or paragraph or chapter) in my head and it comes out later and I only think I wrote it before. Usually when this happens, I'm too lazy to go back through the stuff I've written to see if I already wrote it for reals or just in my head.

This post could very well be one of those times.

I love my job. Let's just be clear about that. Even when it's so crazy that I can't take a full lunch (yes, that's why there was no lunchtime bloggy goodness today), I still love it. I love it so much that I traded a job that was 6 miles from my house to one that has a 20mile commute (depending on the day this is either a 25 or 45 minute trip).

And to be honest, I still look forward to going to work every day. Even two and a half years later.  Even when it's nutty and we're getting ready to open a new store.

But there are days where that fucking commute drives me nuts.  It's Ohio...so of course there is always construction. Always. Since I've been driving (roughly 1989..I was a late bloomer (and I had friends with cars))...I can not remember a time when I didn't see the tell tale orange barrels of progress in this great state.  And around construction people drive stupidly.  People also drive like idiots when it rains...or heaven forbid- snows.  I have a theory. It's the Inverse-Precipitaion Principle and it goes like this.

As precipitation (rain...snow...plague of locusts) increases, the common sense and skill of the average commuter decreases in direct inverse proportion.

Now, as I am not an average commuter, I am immune to the principle. But I am not immune to its victims.

So...interesting and seemingly unrelated side note.   T-Mobile (my current cellular provider--don't worry, I'll bitch about cellphones in the near future) recently launched a plan where many of the major streaming music services are excluded from data charges. Meaning I can stream Pandora all damn day over 4G or LTE and it won't count against my data for a single byte.  Which is cool.

Because (ok...it wasn't unrelated at all)....thanks to the streaming, I figured out a way to actually make the frustrations of the commute vanish.

Pandora. Yup. Oh, yeah, I mentioned that. So...yeah...music...no commercials.

I have several go to Pandora stations for various moods that strike my fancy.

80's Alternative. This one is all Smiths-Cure-Depeche Mode...and the like. Very much like a lot of the music I listened to (and much more that I wanted to listen to in the 80's).

90's Alternative. STP, Bush, Smashmouth, Everlast...all that shite.

Now...the 80's alternative is good for the commute home. Or for driving places where there's no real time I need to be there. That synth-poppy 80's excess oozes from my speakers and basically dares me to go find the Coca-Cola rugby shirts. There's a tone of mopiness, but it's covered by the fact that you can flat out tell that the people want you to think they're sad an miserable as they were making money hand over fist. OR something like that.

90's Alternative has more of an edgy angst. The problem is there is an undercurrent of being pissed off but having absolutely no idea why. It wasn't enough to rally against the 80's excess, they had to pretty much cover it in flannel and bury it at sea.

Which is fine, but they made money hand over fist. But I digress.

I kick on the 90's when it's been slow to get out of Westerville and get on to the freeway. Or if I've encountered 3 or more stupid people before I get to the on-ramp.

And then there is the ultimate commute/drive time radio Pandora station of all time.

If you have Pandora....you can follow along at home.
Create a new station. Pick 'Newcleus' as the artist. Pick 'Jam On It' as the song.  The station that it builds is fraught with old school hip hop and funk. And then, based on the old school rappers you like, it works more in. Dre, Snoop Dogg, MC Shan, Spoony G, KRS-1, Run DMC, EPMD, Eric B and Rakim.

In short it's my sophomore through senior years of high school.  And it's awesome.  It's damn near perfect. There have been a few times where I've had to hit 'next' because I wasn't quite ready for what they had playing.

But seriously...Newcleus Radio. It's pretty much assuaged all of the road extreme dislike (rage seems a bit strong).

Alright....I'll leave you with that little nugget to ponder.  Heading off to ...well...maybe bed...maybe dialing in for work. We'll see.

In any event--sweet dreams!!

-A.T.


9.17.2014

The End Is The Beginning

I know I've been on this kick before. It really hit me between the eyes when I first saw "The Matrix."

Love or hate that movie, that's not really my place at this point. I don't want to debate the merits of special effects or the derivative comic-book nature of the plot.  The point is...the MAIN message of the story (in my humble opinion) is this:

The end is the beginning.

It's such a simple message. And it played out many times in the movie.
Neo's life in the 'real world' (or what he thought was the real world) ended. And his life in the actual real world began. And then his life in the actual real world ended and his life in the elevated consciousness began. The meta world.

It's exemplified to me most brilliantly and simply in the following.
Morpheus spent his whole life looking for 'The One.' He found Neo.

The end is the beginning.
The end of NEO is O.
The beginning of ONE is O.

The end is the beginning.

And in looking at a lot of my favorite stories and movies, that pattern holds true (except for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid....pretty sure their end was the end).

But in my life, I'm seeing the same pattern.

It's so simple. One portion of life (or, for all intents and purposes, that life as I know it) ends, and another begins.  The life I am living now was a fairy tale. Not one that I ever gave thought to in any of my previous lifetimes. And yet, now, it seems so right. I don't know how to explain it, but things just make sense to me now. I see that everything that I ever went through was leading up to this moment.

It's kind of mind blowing, actually. I don't believe that anything in the Universe happens by accident.


All those years of using Windows PCs (secretly wanting to be a Mac guy) led to me pretty much being a Mac guy now. Yeah. That really wasn't profound. Just more of a cheap ploy to post a pic that I took this morning for no apparent reason other than I thought it looked cool.

And now for something completely different. As you may or may not know, I was away from Facebook for months. I've been away from McDonalds and Burger King for years. Seriously. I haven't had BK since 2010 and it's been since November of 2011 since I've eaten anything from McDonald's.

Apparently both now sell cell phones. 

What the fuck?  I don't really know how to process this.


Luckily my lunch break is over.  And with with I leave you to the rest of your day.

Have a great one my friends!!

-A.T.

9.16.2014

Dark Nights (knights) of the Soul

I don't know if I have a particularly positive outlook on life per se. I think more of what it is could be considered a contented outlook. In the sense that I know there are things that are going to be in my control and things that are not going to be in my control*.  Somewhere along the walk in this lifetime I figured out that my energies were better spent on the things I could control until such a time as the things I could not control became in my control.

The subtle irony about taking this approach is that many times it helps temper my reactions all the way around. So weather an event is in my control or not (again *), I am learning that it only intensifies by the type of energy I give it.

If things are going tits up at work and I freak out, then suddenly the situation seems compounded somehow. If I approach things calmly, focusing on what needs to be done to get us through the situation, then it tends to go more smoothly.


All of this is well and good. And for the most part it actually works as serenely as it sounds in the above paragraphs. 

But not always. I'm discovering a weird fact about myself. I'm a contradiction.  I need to be around people. It's how I'm wired. I get that. But I also get to a point where I just don't want to be around anyone. I can completely understand the Irish Exit. One minute it's awesome. The next minute I want to get the fuck out of dodge.

I don't know that I'm going to go full-on hermit or anything like that. I don't know. I'm not sure if it even makes any sense. When I get asked to do things I go through this whole inner dialog.

Meh. You know what...screw it.  I don't really feel up to going on Dr. Phil with my inner psyche at the moment. I'll save the suspense. I'm not mysterious. I'm pretty simple to read. I like what I like. Sometimes I like living alone and the freedoms it affords me (call before coming over, I may need to throw on some clothes...just saying). And sometimes living alone scares the living shit out of me. And it's not that I'm afraid to be alone. Sometimes I think, though, that while I don't really mind living alone, I'm not too keen on dying alone.

I faced my own mortality a couple of times in my 20's. And having someone to share that with....someone to go through it with, makes it that much more bearable. Recently when I let WebMD convince me that I had tremors (or parkinson's or whatever horrible thing you get when it tries to assemble random symptoms in to one cause), I sat alone in my apartment and pretty much just open wept. I had friends could have called, but that's not really the same is it? Not really the same as having someone just know and put their arm around you.

There's a very telling exchange in Unbreakable between Bruce Willis' character and Robin Penn's character.

When did you first think we were in trouble? she asked him.

I had a nightmare. I had a nightmare and I didn't wake you up. He says.

I can so identify with that. I look back in both marriages (and many relationships in my life) and see those moments. Those "I didn't wake you up" moments. 

I can't take them back. Looking at where my life is now, I'm honestly not sure that I would if I could. I like where my life is heading. I love the man I have become. And I honestly am not sure that I could  have become this man if I had stayed on those paths...following that script as it was written. In fact, I'm sure I would be miserable.  

But maybe I wouldn't be. Who the fuck knows? That's the bitch about the 'what if' game. I mean...if I had stayed, I assume (based on my current worldview), that I would be miserable because I wouldn't be the life I'm living now. But maybe that life would have been amazing and this life would have been odd and reckless. Who can say? It's a dangerous rabbit hole to dive down. So I generally prefer to take those 'what ifs' and make them in to stories that are fun to read but not really too much like my life. 

But...back to the *.
Control, as it pertains to this world is a funny thing. I am convinced that this world is a menagerie. This is a shell. My spirit is taking this path because I long ago agreed to it before I took this particular (and might I add, devastatingly handsome) corporeal form.   I am doing what I am meant to be doing.

And I'm also convinced that despite any evidence to the contrary, I am on the cusp of being the published author that I've been dreaming about since I first read Tolkein at 7 years old.

It's gonna happen. Don't know how or when. I just know the 'what' :-)

And sometimes, to be completely blunt about it, that's the shit you need to get you through those dark nights.

Have a fantastic rest of your day my friends!
-A.T.

9.15.2014

Growth

Growth is a funny thing. For me personally, there are times when I think it's happening. And there are times when I don't think it's happening at all and it's only when something else comes my way that points out to the fact that...huh...yeah, maybe I've gone through some growth.

Case in point is re-activating my Facebook account. I was so adamant about the evils of social media. I thought for sure that, yeah, there may be some good things about them, but for me, the bad outweighed the good.

After 4 months of social media abstinence, I dipped my toes in to the water. I set up a new Twitter account and posted a few tweets. Followed a few people. Had a few people follow me (@atskaggs71) and that was that. I didn't feel any of the familiar oh shit, I'm falling down that blasted rabbit hole again.

And then my friend passed away. I missed all of the mobilization that seems to only occur these days through social media. It has become our preferred method of communication. The times have shifted. Facebook is the default. Don't believe me? pay attention to commercials and print ads and see how many of them actually list a web address for the company or product being advertised. I'd wager that a healthy percentage of them now reference Facebook.com/yourcompanyhere.

And that's cool. I mean, hell, my 90 Gramps has a cell phone. I don't think he's texting on it or posting pix on Instagram yet...but it could happen.

So...in my months of reflection, I realized that I missed the contact. Even if it was only contact in the cyber realm, it was still contact. I didn't realize at that time how much I still felt I was a part of peoples lives. But here's the important thing.....I never realized until this weekend how many people felt connected to me.  There is a distinction there. It was a very George Bailey moment of not realizing how many people we touch in this world.  Each and every person on my friends list means something to me. Some more than others. And some mean more to me in the physical realm, but to know that I also meant (mean) something to them was humbling. It helped me realize that most of us are dealing with some form of fucked up shit in our lives to some degree. Some people put it on blast in social media...some people keep it hidden and put on a brave face. But each of us has something that wakes us up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.  And if something as crazy as Facebook or whatever can help ease that burden, even if only for a quick click of a 'like' button, then maybe it's not all that bad.

And I suppose that's the growth for me. I can admit that maybe the issue was not the application (although there are some aspects of Facebook and other social media applications that give me pause), but maybe instead it was me. PEBKAC. Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.

In any event I think it's a good thing. Or will be. Making sure I get what I need out of it this time and at the same time being there for my family and friends.

I'd say that's growth.

And bacon trampolines. Because everyone needs bacon trampolines.


Have a wonderful day my friends!
-A.T.

9.14.2014

Not Of This World

I lost a friend last week.  Well, I mean, I didn't lose him per se. He shook loose this mortal coil and went in to the next room. The next level of the game.

I should be sad. When someone dies, we're supposed to be sad. Right? But, I don't know, I guess I don't quite see it that way.

I didn't grow up knowing Brad. I didn't know him in elementary school. I was friends with him in Jr. High and High School...as much as I was really friends with anyone (that's a story for another time). But he wasn't someone I saw myself keeping in touch with. It sounds mean in the current context, I suppose, but the truth is, if certain things hadn't happened our freshman year in college, the news of his passing would not have affected me the way it does now.

While he was in college, he suffered a spinal cord injury which left him quadriplegic. I remember the day I went to see him in the hospital....lying in the hospital bed with his halo on.  I saw two things in his eyes that day. I saw surprise. I don't know that he expected me to show up. Perhaps that was my surprise reflected in his eyes, because truthfully-I don't know why I went. But something in me knew I had to see him. The other thing I saw was a light. And it was a light I had by then become familiar with. A light I had learned to see in others. It was the light of an old soul.

And that was why I went to see him. It had nothing to do with the trappings of this world, this lifetime. The bond was one much older. I don't plan on trying to explain it. There's northing in this world's current lexicon that would even do it justice. But at that moment, I knew that there was a connection.

Years passed. Brad and I kept in touch as much as anyone does these days. But when I was going through my first divorce, Brad was there for me. Several long conversations on the patio of Jimmy V's. As my second marriage was crumbling, Brad was again there for me. Discussions turned from the patina of this world to something deeper. Something more spiritual.   I don't know the words. But that's ok. The words spoken don't matter.  With Brad it was never the words. The words were a hinderance in many ways.

It was his eyes.

When Brad had something important to share with you, it was always with his eyes. Deep sadness, or unending joy. A compassion and understanding that I have only seen in a few others. All communicated when his gaze locked with yours.

At least that's what it was for me.

I celebrate the moments I shared with Brad. They may not have been as many in number as his time with others, but to me they were every bit as valuable.

And I know one thing as sure as I am sitting here typing this.

I cannot mourn him.   He has lived at least 2 lifetimes on this earth. He died the first time when he had the accident. And then he was reborn.  This second passing is merely that. A passing. He shook off the second body he was given and has moved on to the room in this celestial palace that requires no corporeal form.

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, merely transferred.

The energy and essence of that which we knew as Brad hasn't left us. It has been transformed in to something else.

I will see him again.

As will you.

And the gift he left me, and hopefully the gift he left you is the inability to think of him and be sad. When I think of Brad, a big smile crosses my face. I know what a blessing he was during his time here in this world, and I know for a fact what an amazing light he is wherever he is now.

For that, I am grateful.

I love you Brad. I know previously, I mentioned that I hope you rest in peace, but the truth is I know you aren't. I know you are dancing...and running...and jumping...and singing.

And that makes me smile.


-A.T.

The Ostrich Approach to Social Media

Back in May I had decided that I had enough of social media. I felt that it was causing me to become more anti-social. It was taking time away from doing the things I loved. So I killed all my social media accounts.

Funny thing is, if you deactivate your FB account, apparently it doesn't really drop off (I mean, it might, but after 4 months-it was still there. All it took to revive was a password reset).

What brought me back?

This isn't the first time I've left FB and come back. The first time I came back it was because so many people were asking about my journey to becoming a healthier Todd (nomorefattodd). And for a while I stuck to that. Then eventually, I fell back in to the old patterns. The seeking instant gratification...the thinking that 'likes' on Facebook had some kind of tangible value in the real world....thinking that some of the 'friends' on Facebook were actual real-life friends (and to be fair...many are, but others are merely on-line acquaintances and not necessarily on my calling list if shit goes south in my life. Don't act surprised...look at your friends list and tell me you don't have some on there that fit the same mold).

That's all well and good, Todd. But why the flip flop this time?

Good question. And the answer is simple.

Facebook and social media isn't going away.

When my friend Brad wound up back in the hospital and eventually shook this mortal coil, Facebook mobilized like nothing I've ever seen. And to be fair...I didn't actually see it. I was in the fringes. I had people texting me and letting me know. And for that, I'm thankful, but I can't shake the feeling that I missed out on something by not being connecting.

And I realized that completely avoiding social media wasn't really the answer. The answer was adapting it to my life and where I want to go in my life.

So that's the current phase of the experiment.

I don't know how it's going to play out. But for now, I'm back. Don't know for how long or where it's going to wind up. But we'll take it as it comes.

Pretty much like life.

Peace Out my friends!
-A.T.

9.09.2014


Rest in Peace, Brad.

Now's your time to put on those Air Jordan's and bust the moves, my brother.

-A.T.

thoughts from the Farm...


There is something magical about my trips to The Farm. Always has been. From when I was a child anxiously awaiting the arrival of my mamaw and papaw in their bright red Chevy pickup truck, to the recent times with Pops. Our road trips are more healing than anything these days. Both of us still feeling the sting of his uncles selling the upper farm.

Papaw’s farm still remains and is from here through eternity known to us as The Farm. Anytime Dad says ‘We’re going to The Farm,’ I throw in a hearty ‘Fuck Yeah!!’ for good measure (Thank you Team America:World Police for that).

As is our custom on these longer trips (and even on the shorter ones), we stopped at the 23Southbound FleaMarket near Piketon.  Last time we were here I got an Atari 2600 and 14 games for it (from 2 different vendors). I stopped at the same booth where I got the games before. Dude had a shit-ton. I got 14 again (including getting 2 Breakouts…not sure why). He charged me less this time. Not sure if it’s because he recognized me or not. In any event…the only one that I’m missing now that I really want from when I had it before is Boxing, by ActiVision. I’ll break down each of the games in later posts…including the Journey “Escape” game. You don’t know how badly I’m hoping that there is an 8-bit version of “Don’t Stop Believin’” on that game.

I’m trying a different writing app out than others previously tried. It’s called Scrivener and is supposed to be the shizznit for writing apps. It’s got a true 30 day trial (30 days of actual use, not 30 calendar days). And if I like it, I’ll fork over the $50 for it. So far, so good.

So…down on The Farm (FY), there seems to be only one cell carrier that works. AT&T doesn’t (and therefore T-Mobile doesn’t since they piggy back on AT&T’s towers in this part of KY). Sprint may or may not (don’t think so. Don’t know). This means Virgin Mobile may or may not (since they piggy back off of Sprint). I seem to remember my Virgin Mobile phone working down here before, but I’m not certain. In any event, Verizon is the only major carrier that works. Apparently something called Appalachian works down here, but I didn’t really have access to that up home. So I got a Verizon Pre-Paid/Pay As You Go (apparently even though it’s two separate links on their web site, it’s the same fucking thing).

$30 for the phone and I put $30 of ‘time/minutes/voodoo’ on it.

Here’s the funny thing. I just got it this weekend to test. I gave a few people the number (including my boss). Yesterday one of the people I gave the number to for emergency purposes calls me to tell me that a friend of ours is in the hospital and it doesn’t look good and she knew I wasn’t on Facebook and didn’t want me to be blind-sided when I got home.

The other call I got was from my boss. Apparently the application that I’m very familiar with took a dump Sunday night and they weren’t sure what to do. I got them squared away and all is well.

Timing is everything. There are no such things as coincidences. Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. The fact that I got the phone this weekend to test it and the fact that 2 people actually needed to reach me was pretty wild. If I’d known, I might have put some more time on the phone, just to be safe.

It’s Monday night. We’ve been here since Saturday afternoon. And I’m tired. Not gonna lie. It was a long day today. Dad and I…with the help of a local who was driving up to get some crawdads and decided to start our chainsaw for us (fucking chainsaw…that’s a story for another time)….so we got to the task of cleaning the brush and fallen timber out of the creek from when the tornado had decided to redecorate 2 years ago.  I’m not going to do much more writing on this I don’t think. I’ll do some more maybe tomorrow or when I get home (which may be Tuesday or Wednesday, we haven’t decided).

Time for another beer and some relaxation.

9.06.2014

At the Farm

Dad and I are off to the Farm.

If I don't answer your text that's why.

See you Wednesday!!

-AT

9.04.2014

Google, MD

The internet is ridiculous.

I have long held the following belief:

The internet is a wonderful thing, because within its confines can be found most of the collected knowledge of the human race.

The internet is a terrible thing, because within its confines can be found most of the collected knowledge of the human race. 

So, based on a few keyword searches earlier this week, I was under the impression that there was a possibility that I might have some kind of neurological thing going on. All because I googled (when did that become a verb) the phrase 'finger tremors.'

It had me worried enough that I scheduled a visit with my doctor. She wasn't as worried as me (but to be fair the 'worst case scenario' game probably wasn't keeping her from sleeping). She does still want to do some more testing. That made me feel good. That she actually took the time to work through things that could be causing the finger tremors instead of summarily blowing me off (which she could have easily done). So...I'll know by tomorrow if it's a thyroid issue or vitamin deficiency. And then if it's neither of those, then it's quite possibly related to the issues going on with my shoulder and neck. Arthritis is a bitch.

In any event, it was a good lesson in responsible entering of search criteria.

And with that, I'm off to bed.

9.03.2014

Self Help

I think most books in the 'self-help' genre come down to 4 sentences.

Find the things in your life that cause you pain.
Do less of them.
Find the things in your life that bring you joy.
Do more of them.

It seems really simple, doesn't it? Yet how many people spend their whole lives trying to figure that out? I mean, I think fundamentally we all know the blueprint. It just seems people get hung up on the 'do less...do more' bits of the equation. In reality, that's the easier half of the puzzle. The real thing a lot of people struggle with is identifying what causes pain and what brings them joy. 

I have been fairly blessed in this lifetime (yes,  I believe that I have lived others--nothing in the universe can be created or destroyed, merely transferred) to know the things that bring me joy. Writing..making music...photography....laughter with good friends over completely random shit to name a few.

It's the 'doing more of them' bit that I keep getting hung up on. I hear people say 'I would love to be a writer.' Cool. Then write. Write something every day. Even if it's just some bullshit little post in a blog somewhere that 10 people read. You have an audience. Now write. I know this may seem easy for me to say, but I'm sitting on a jump drive full of half written screenplays and loosely thought out storylines. I am not published--yet. But I'm writing.

It brings me joy.
So I'm doing my best to do more.

Have a kick ass day my friends.
-A.T.

9.01.2014

Ain't that about a bitch

So...for quite some time now...months really...I have this weird thing where my index finger of my left hand just sits there and trembles. If I do something with the hand, it stops. If I just let my hand rest, it starts up again. Not all the time. But enough that it led me to the Google.

I swear the internet is the worst doctor in the world. Click on enough links and a hangnail becomes something terminal.

It gave me slight pause to type in 'finger tremors' and have the first 10 pages be related to Parkinson's Disease. Apparently a resting tremor is one of the early signs.  This isn't my hand, but it looks just like this when it hits me...



Guess I better schedule another appt. with the doctor.

It's probably stress....or some kind of vitamin deficiency.  But I guess it's better to be safe than sorry.

Funny thing is...maybe funny isn't the right word...but thing is...for a large part of my life I have had visions of not being able to use my legs. I'm not sure if this was symbolic of feeling like a couldn't move out of my current situation. Or if it was something else. I don't know. Not that I think finger tremors will lead to living life in a wheel chair, but it's one of those weird leaps my mind makes after spending 30 seconds too long on WebMD.

In any event, the tremors are coming a little too frequently for my liking. So I need to see what's going on with them.


It's times like these where the reality of living alone really hits me. I guess I don't really want to dwell on anything negative too much right now. No sense worrying...it's all going to work out the way it needs to anyway.

So...yeah. Sorry for the Debbie Downer moment. Just....erm..yeah.

And...the temps are dropping outside. And the wind is picking up. Likely more rain coming through.

Awesomesauce.

Hoping you are having a great Labor Day my friends!
-A.T.

Back to Nature

I wrote the last post and this one on my front porch (ok...patio). I'm currently sitting in a folding camping chair designed for heavier peeps (no lie...it's called "The Big Boy")

I'm out here because I like writing when there's a breeze. I always seem to have to have air moving.  I wonder if it's because Sagittarius is a fire sign and fire needs oxygen?
I don't know. I always seem to have to have moving air around me...especially when I'm trying to be creative. I am sure there is a name for it, but that would imply that there's something not normal about it, and to me, it's the most normal thing there is.

OH...the point. Right. So...I got to thinking--hey...my patio is small, but I still think I can get a little bistro table and a couple of chairs and put them out here. Then I could site out here and write without the lap desk and folding chair and milk crate footstool.

What? You thought I was making that up?

Anyway, I got online to look at these sets. And apparently only thin people go to bistros. Of the 15 sets I looked at in my budget, not a single one of the ones that listed a weight capacity on the chairs were even remotely in the realm of reality for me. 200-220lbs? By next summer maybe. Damn sure ain't happening this year.

It's a little disheartening, if I'm being honest. I suppose I could just get the table and use my Big Boy chair, but this kind of chair wasn't really designed to be pulled up to a table.

I guess it's the lap desk and milk crate foot stool for now.




Group Dynamics

This may, in fact, expose my geekiness (I know...you all think I'm just this sexy beast who pukes all his thoughts out on this blog...but I'm a geek).

I got a lesson in group dynamics the other day. I'm sitting on my front porch (patio really), not at my new bistro table (because, well, I haven't ordered it yet, but that's really besides the point--it was more just extra detritus floating in my head).

So...where was I? Oh yes...dungeon raiding parties and group dynamics.  So, one of the hardest things I've found about role playing in person (table top gaming, if you will) is separating the player's character (the PC) from the actual person playing him (or her). When at least one of the people have strong personalities and/or the tendency to take things personally, it's a recipe for disaster. When another person or persons likes to stir shit up and at least one or more of the remaining members of the group doesn't give a shit either way, it's a friggin' shit sandwich on a turdy platter.

And that's pretty much what happened. We made it through a major section of our first campaign. Got our XP....collected our treasure...and... then it all went to shit.

Here's the thing. My playable character, Krivnaar. A dragonborn monk of the clan Nemonnis couldn't care less about the treasure or the shit going down between Candy, a theif and Drake, a Ranger. Seriously...he couldn't. And Todd (that's me) had enough going on trying to not to royally fuck things up for the rest of the party that I really wasn't paying much attention to the people playing those two characters. But I should have known. We can't make it through a game of Munchkin without someone getting butt-hurt in the process. 

Here's the thing. I had fun playing. And I think the rest of the party did too. But someone got their feelings hurt and now doesn't want to play.

I can understand it. But it still bugs me. Because I think it's gonna kill the group. At least for the very near term. And I don't think it has to be that way. I'm a firm believer in thinking people can work through that kind of shit.

But maybe not...I don't know. It's hard when someone takes things like that personally.  Funny thing is...they play another game cooperatively.  It's just messed up.

Here is how I think I'll wind up remembering the night.





I can see now why online MMORPG's are so popular. The computer does all the maths for you (hell it even rolls the dice for you)...you get to be your character...you don't have to imagine anything for yourself and you don't have to actually interact with any one else in person. The only people they know (or you know) are their playable characters.   I can see how it's the best of both worlds.

Only...I hate it. I actually like the interaction with people (even with all of their minor annoyances). I think that's why I don't play many video games these days. You HAD  to use your imagination with the Atari. The little Nintendo portable I have is fun, but I don't play it that much.

There isn't much of a point to this post, I suppose....other than I'm a little bit sad to think that my newfound tradition of Nerd Gaming Friday night might be coming to an end before it really even got off the ground. I mean we didn't even make it all the way through the starter campaign for crapsakes.


Stuck

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