1.14.2015

A Nation of Haters

The day after the Buckeyes (THE Ohio State Buckeye Football team) became national champions, BookerFace was blowing up on the newsfeed. One comment stuck out. A friend of mine had posted that it was time to stop using the word 'haters' in conversation. And also 'anything-Nation.' I'm inclined to agree with him (and the title is really more just my way of being a sarcastic twat about it).

But that got me thinking...why are people so passionate when it comes to their sportage? I think that most people tend to forget that the word 'fan' is short for 'fanatic.' And fanatic is just a very nice way of saying 'crazy fucker.' Which...makes sense. I enjoy watching some sports...participating in others, but I wouldn't really call myself a 'fan' of any particular team. I enjoy watching the Buckeyes play and win, but (I get the sense) not nearly as much as some of my friends (and even my own brother). But it's cool. I'm good with it, and for the most part, so are they.

That line of thinking also led in to the why do people say WE won when a team they support wins? Are they on the team? Did they catch the touchdown? I know that form of ownership really cheeses some people off. It doesn't bug me. Not in the least. Not since High School when I was the student Athletic Trainer for many of the varsity teams. When talking about a game I worked, I said we. I was part of the team. I didn't play. But my contributions helped. So, since that point in time, that's a natural thing for me.

The reason, if you're still curious, why the masses do it is simple. Sports are a religion in this country. Think of Football, for example, as Christianity. Each team in whatever 'league' (or sect) you follow is a different denomination. Each denomination has their followers. They have the people high in the 'church' (The elders, clergy and leaders of the church, if you will) that don the uniforms every week and do worship. Service only lasts a few hours. And as with many religions, the merits of another denomination are denounced, derided, ridiculed.

Sometimes a fight breaks out among followers of the different denominations. In some places, just wearing the trappings of one faith are enough to warrant a beat down.

Oh sure, the rules for each denomination are fundamentally the same. Some sects bend them...others break them outright.

People declare loyalty to a sports team for much the same reason they become ensconced in a religion. Mainly for a sense of belonging. The fellowship of like minded individuals. Something to come together for once a week and then talk about, get ready for, and get excited about for the entire week leading up to the 'service.'

It's not really suprising that either one, religion or sports in America, are multi-billiion dollar industries. They provide escape and hope. The dark side of fear, ostracization, drifting sense of never wondering if you got it right with the sect you picked, losing faith in the leaders of your 'church' (I'm looking at you Browns fans). That's the ugly side of relig--er sports.

 

But take heart. It is, afterall, just a game.

 

-A.T.

 

1.12.2015

Gadget Whore

If you've ever met me, you'll know I'm something of a gadget whore. It's probably a pretty good thing that I realize I have to sort of stick with in my budget (moreso now that my daughter starts school tomorrow), but otherwise I'd have way more gadgets than I do.

 

And I have a shit ton.

 

I'm typing this on my iPad mini. For which I search and searched for the perfect keyboard. The ClamCase Pro is about the closest to an all-in-one case/keyboard solution that I've found (After going through 3 or 4 different devices before settling on that one). But as of Saturday night, my mini is back in my brown leather-ish case and I'm typing on the Logitech K760. It's bluetooth and solar powered. The keys are full size but the keyboard is about the same footprint as my macbook or an apple keyboard (with no number pad). And there are three different bluetooth profiles that can be stored on it.

 

Which is important as it's also the keyboard I use for my little $60 Winbook tablet.

 

The Plot thickens. I got to thinking...if I'm going to carry a keyboard for that thing, why not carry one for ALL of the devices? Better still if it's the same one. So...I'm back to carrying the Logitech around.

 

It's all ebbs and flows, isn't it? I get geeked out about a gadget, I get it....I get all evangelistic about it....and then I put it on the shelf for a while. Oh, don't worry. I really dig the Clam Case. And I'm sure if I'm just taking a smaller bag and don't want to be bothered with a keyboard, I'll throw the mini back in that case. But for now, we'll let it cool down for a bit.

 

I find that my big melon grippers....aka my hands....need something of a bigger keyboard anyway. Especially if I'm going to be zoning out and just typing about bullshit things for any length of time.

 

Speaking of typing out bullshit things....cheers again for stopping by and checking out the blog.

 

This really is one of the posts that's in the 'there was no real point to this, I just wanted to make sure I could still bang out something larger than a Facebook status message' category.

 

Oh. And its lunch time. So...there's that.

 

 

Have a great rest of your day my friends!!

 

-A.T.

 

1.07.2015

Late Night Debut

Did I ever tell you about the time I was on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show?

It was kinda crazy how it started. One week I was watching the show and I had a thought, "what would happen if Jimmy Fallon had just normal everyday people on the show? Not stars, just average people."

I took that a step further. I wrote a letter. Not an email. But an actual letter. Mailed it off to NBC.  I didn't expect that anyone would read it. I figured there was someone hired specifically just to filter out the bullshit letters like mine.  And yet, I got a call about a week and a half later. Don't recall the name. It really happened so fast. Travel was booked. I was able to take a couple of days off work.

And there I was. In the green room.  It's really all kind of a blur.

Thing is. I can remember every single detail. The deli cuts and croissants in the green room. The Pellegrino. The bowl of skittles. The smell of a room that was recently cleaned, but no amount of Fabreeze can hide the thin layer of desperation that hides just below the surface.

I can remember being led to just behind the curtain. Looking over at the PA as he intently watched the monitor. Hand on the curtain, waiting for the cue. And as Jimmy was partially my last name, he held the curtain aside for me to walk out. His last words to me, "Smile, Todd. Smile and wave to the audience, you're done being a nobody from Ohio."

My smile, I'm told looked genuine.

Jimmy went through the interview. The blog got a mention. The book that was nearly finished got a mention (Jimmy had asked for an advanced copy--dude is a voracious devourer of all things written).
We talked about my time on the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp Tour. Somehow, he got footage. And on the commercial break, I sat in with the Roots.

It was a magical night.

In the epilogue to that dream, Jimmy and I still keep in touch. In Dreamland, I've been back on the Tonight Show with each book released.

I guess I didn't tell you about it because it only happened in a dream.

Only happened in a dream.


In that 'dream' it was real. It was as real, if not more so than memories I know for a fact I've lived through.

And to be honest, that gives me hope.

I won't have to tell you about the time I was on the Jimmy Fallon show when it happens in this reality. You'll be able to watch it for yourselves.

Sweet Dreams my friends,

-A.T.


1.06.2015

Twistedly Scripted

Sometimes (and that time is usually when I'm home alone....which is almost always when I'm home), I wonder about this world...this existence...this life.

And I think...as I'm wondering this weird shit (that always seems to be just below the surface)...am I'm the only one that wonders these things or just the only one that says it aloud?  And by aloud I mean on this blog (or sometimes in my journal).

Oh. The weird shit?

Right. So...sometimes I look around. As I move around. And see bits and baubles of my life. And I think that this is all familiar, but not because it's mine, but because it's scripted to be familiar. Like sometimes I'm playing a role.  I'm in some kind of movie. Or book. And there's this character. This Todd that is in the story. And he's the one going through this life. But he's me. So I guess I'm him. And then I think...if stories are actually reflections of other universes....am I in one of those playing the role of Todd.

I don't know how to explain it really. And I suppose any way that I try to explain it will make me sound somewhat like I need a vacation in a padded room. And I get that. I think what happens is we-as souls-are actually omnipresent in an infinite number of timelines. Of universes. When I dream, I live out pieces in other universes. And in this realm, this timeline, sometimes those others bleed over. And the other Todd's (or whatever the soul is named in those other universes) dreams are sometimes of this timeline. It seems like a dream to that soul, but real to me. Kinda like when I go to Dreamland. That is the reality of my soul's existence in another timeline, but a dream in regards to this timeline.

Again. I'm not sure if this makes any sense. It's crystal clear to me. And no where more tangible than about 3 or 4 in the afternoon on days when I'm off and just milling around my apartment. Things are familiar, but don't really seem like mine.

I...yeah. I got nothing, really. I suppose if there were a way for you to get inside my head for those 45 seconds when it happens, it might make sense to you too. But then again, would you want to? What happens to a person when they are stricken with the thought-virus that this life...this world, is but a shell? A suit that sits in a closet of suits. Each one as real as the one next to it on the rack. Perfectly tailored for the soul that wears it. Some very similar and some completely different. Some posh. Some threadbare, born of poverty. But each one designed for one soul and one soul only. You can't wear any of the suits in my closet and I can't wear any of the suits in yours.

So....when people change their destiny (as much as I hate that phrase), I think what happens is that they start mixing and matching pieces of the suit.   I'm in my 'normal guy, living paycheck to paycheck' suit at the moment. But every now and again, the instance of my soul living in this particular timeline decides to try on the 'World renowned Author' suit coat. It's like I just throw on the fancy blazer with my 'normal' khakis. It works. People still know it's me. And they also see a hint of what I can actually become. What I will be when I set the khakis aside and don the full Armani.

Can it happen? Can I straddle two universes?

I have no fucking idea, to be completely honest. And if I do...does that mean the Todd in the universe where I'm the well-known author will suddenly stop wearing that suit and become a normal dude? I'd like to think not. I'd like to think that on some level, those two timelines can be fused.

But I really don't know. I'm not sure how this all works. And when I say I'm not sure, what I mean is...I have a really good idea how it all works, but the physical construct that surrounds my soul in this particular existence is well aware of the fact that he's bordering on sounding bat-shit crazy and is better off to actually just do it instead of philosophizing about it to the masses.

So. Um yeah.

I think sometimes I need to take a writing course. I feel like I would benefit from a mentor or someone to keep me honest.

Alright...I'm gonna go ahead and let you get back to your own worlds for now. I think I've pulled the loose thread of the carpet of reality enough for one night. I know it's due to unravel, but I'm not sure that's meant to happen tonight.

Goodnight my friends

-A.T.


The Pen Is Mightier

Not one to mince words...I have this...well, let's just call it a mild obsession.  It's a quest to find the 'perfect' things.  These probably aren't the normal things. The quest is for seemingly random things.  The perfect backpack (for travel)...the perfect backpack (for normal jaunting about)...the perfect messenger bag. And, since I got an iPad about 2 years ago (almost 3), I've been on the quest for the perfect stylus. I wanted to be able to use the iPad as a replacement to carrying notebooks and journals.

Now when I say 'perfect,' I mean of course, perfect for me. I can't begin to profess what would be perfect for someone else.

I did find the backpack I was seeking. The Everki Titan is pretty much the best backpack I've found for when I need to travel for work. There are enough pouches and spots for just about everything I can think to bring on-site. It's a little too big for every day use, but fantastic for travel.

The messenger bag is still a sticky wicket. For messenger bags, I love the STM line. I have been using the Velo2. It's got a great design, but it's just a little too small, but still a very good bag. I have one that I think is pretty close, but time will tell (so far it's working out good). I just picked up the Quantum. Also from STM. It's actually got some features that I like better than the Velo 2. It might, in fact, be the new go-to messenger bag. Still too soon to tell.

The stylus is the harder part. I love writing. The feel of the pen on paper. There's a certain resistance and responsiveness that is hard to replicate on a glass screen.  So far I have tried about 10 different styli and have settled on my top three.


The first two are made by Just-Mobile. The top is the AluPen. It has the perfect weight. It has a thick tip, but is actually quite responsive.  

The second is the Digital version of the Alupen. It also has a good weight. Feels like a solid pen. And it's responsive. Almost TOO responsive (but not quite). 

The third, and the one that I find is really the go-to, is made by Adonit. It's the Flip. I also have the Adonit Pro. The only difference between the two is the Flip has an actual pen on one side.   The thing that makes the Pro and Flip strange is the disk. But it's also what gives it the best resistance. Of the three, it feels the most like pen on paper. And no matter what I try, I continue to go back to the Adonit and the AluPen (the non-digital one).

The key for me, with continuing to go back to the Adonit is the fact that I don't have to alter how I really write with a pen. It feels like a pen. It writes like a pen. With the other stylii I've used, I've had to adjust how I write on the tablet. And to me, that just sucks.  

Coupled with the NoteShelf app for the iPad, it's about the perfect combo and almost the ideal replacement for paper notebooks.

Of course, it helps with my 'quest' for perfect gadgets, that I work for a retailer that happens to give a great employee discount and happens to carry the gadgets I seek. Win-win.

To be fair, though, I doubt that I'll move completely away from paper. There are some things that still need to be committed to paper. There's just something about the paper journals that I won't really ever move away from. 

And this concludes a random, geeky gadget post.  

Have a fantastic rest of your evening my friends.

Peace!
-A.T.

1.03.2015

Instantly Exposed

Back in March of 2014, I got a Fuji Instax 90 Neo Classic (http://instax.com/mini90/en/). It's an instant camera in the Polaroid vein. The photos are 2"x3" and take a good 3-5minutes to become fully realized pictures (And they'll keep developing for the next 24hours or so as the colors set and become richer).

I got it for 2 simple reasons (maybe 7). The first is that I'm a gadget whore. I love new toys. And I've wanted a retro-style camera for a while. I've wanted to go back to shooting film, but have neither the darkroom nor funds to set up for 35mm processing.  I found out that the retailer I work for carries the film for this camera and that I got a pretty good employee price on it.

The other reason I got it is because I was going to spend a weekend up at Put In Bay and I didn't want to take my $2000 kit with me because, well-let's face it-I was going up there to party. Alcohol and gear I can't afford to replace equals a bad combo.   And I didn't want to just take my point and shoot. Everyone would have one.

Reason 3...I wanted to be different. To stand out. To march to the beat of my own drummer. This camera certainly allows for that.

It brings back the nostalgia. The joy of being able to hand someone a pic.

I got the camera nearly 10 months ago. To date I have taken over 1000 pictures with it. With the pictures I've given away, that number is closer to 1200.

That's the best part for me. The smile that someone has when they hold that picture and watch it develop.

Life is kind of like that, isn't it? You focus on something...you take a shot. You wait to see what develops. If it's not exactly what you want, you try again.   Eventually you get that magic shot.

And to be completely honest...it's saved my photography. At $0.60/print, I can't shoot 15 shots of something and pick out the best. I have to be intentionally in my shot. I have to consider composition. I have to consider that the viewfinder isn't perfectly lined up with the lens, so I'll have to shift. I  have to consider the lighting.  All of this comes in to play before I take the shot.  This intentionality is becoming second nature. So much so that when I pick up my D300, those things are ingrained and I find myself shooting less 'safety' shots.

And because I'm shooting less, I'm able to get right back in to the moment and enjoy the event. I'm curbing my urge to visually document every event and practice more of being in the moment. It's a small, but oh so powerful shift.

It's starting to bleed over in to everything. Just the other day I almost left my phone at home on purpose. I've done it before, and it's weird. It freaks people out. And yet, it's something that I intend to do more of. If I'm not always checking my phone, I have an easier time living in the now.

Small lessons from an instant camera boasting the latest in 1960's technology with a new-modern twist.

Life is good.

Take a shot, see what develops.

-A.T.


Oddly OK

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