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Well, F**k a Duck

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

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

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

Take a step back.

For one second look at the situation not the comments.

Let's change the script.

*******

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

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

1. His First Amendment Rights were never violated. He was never arrested. The authorities never came to his house and de…

Yes, But Did You Have Fun?

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

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

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

So I smile and say 'It was nice.'

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

Holiday Funk

I seriously don't know what the deal is.

I just feel kinda...'meh.'

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

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

I dunno.

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

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


No Time for Humbug

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

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

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

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

It felt very calm. Peaceful even.

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

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

Why Bars Are Better Than Facebook

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

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

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

So...all the lines of the whole Bars: The Origi…

I'm Not A Policeman

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

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

I lied.

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

And I guess that's how I feel.

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

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

I had a person in my life that was my best friend...that I was planning on spending the rest of my life with. And then...that person slipped away (I'm sure I slipped away from her, too, if I was ever that person to her)…

Bombs in the Bassbins

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

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

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

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

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

It's still quite fucked up in my head...I'm not going to lie. It's not so bad that I would consider medication, because let me tell you...there was NO good that came from me being on Anti-Depress…

Catalysts

It's weird, yeah? I'm sitting here....alone in my apartment.
I'm not going to lie. There were times in my marriage (well...both of them, actually), when I thought that I'd fucked up by getting married. With my first marriage, it wasn't so much the case because I've got an amazing daughter and there's not a single fucking thing in this world I would trade for that.
What's weird to me though, is that there were times when I would see this sort of 'alternate reality' version of Todd. There were a couple I was rather fond of. 
One was the scraggly haired philosophy professor that was walking across the quad at OSU on the way to his next class. Tweed sport coat with elbow patches. Well loved by students and fellow faculty alike. "Crazy" was used in a positive context when I was talked about.
Another was the author. I'd be sitting at the coffeehouse with my Apple laptop (it was a Powerbook in early visions of this reality), working on my…

To Tree or Not to Tree

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

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

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

I guess my thinking is...I don't want to really be reminded of all the Christmasy things this year...and least not when it's just…

Pulling a Macaulay Culkin

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

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

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

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

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

So...I dropped off the corn and the crockpot this morning wearing a surgica…

Bang To The Beat Of The Drum

Chairs to you, mate.
No. I really don't know a better way to start a Tuesday post than throwing a pic and bad pun. It is, after all. as American as baseball and apple pie. In fact, if they could have figured out how to work it in, I'm sure that would have been on the bumper sticker, too.
Many of you know some of what I've been dealing with recently. The dis-illusion with and dissolution of the marriage. I would like to say that that's all behind me now, but I know that it's not. 
Oh sure, the court date was yesterday and I have the piece of paper that says this person is no longer legally connected to me in anyway. 
I have this dream that pops up periodically. It takes place after I'm a published (and consequently world-famous) author at some big soiree. The host would be all like, "Oh, hey T-Bone, there's someone I want you to meet. She just won a Tony, and it's weird--she has the same last name as you. Hey, Nancy...come here a sec..."
To wh…

Hardline on Dating (for now)

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

And my answer will be straightforward and concise.

No.

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

Forget that horse shit.

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

Hanging out implies living in the moment. No foreshadowing of future events. If scratch an itch on my calf, it's just an itch. Not some ancient family way of saying we need to have kids and…

Well What AM I Supposed to Be Feeling?

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

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

Who the fuck knows?

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

Idiots.

I took today off work. I felt it best give the "Stepmom Incident of 2000" as it has come to be called. Drove home from the hearing and chilled. On deck today was laundry...grocery shopping...mindless Facebooking...and a trip to…

You Must Be This Tall

So...it's Friday. My last Friday as a 'married' man. I use air quotes because I haven't felt like a married man in quite some time. But that's neither here nor there. Monday will be the last day married.Let's try that again..So...rolling in to this weekend I feel very much like I'm in line for the Roller Coaster. This is one bad-ass roller coaster. It kinda has me terrified and excited all at once. I rode a similar ride about 14 years ago, but for some reason that one seemed less....daunting.I have friends who have been on this roller coaster. They assure me that I'll wind up just fine. I have other friends who have never been on this ride, can't fathom it , or have been thinking about getting a ticket to this ride themselves. Their assurances are equally positive, but less certain. The time has arrived. When I leave work today I will officially be on the ride. I expect this ride to last all weekend and go through on in to Monday morning when I wi…

Motivation

Started the Advocare 24 Day Challenge Monday. Weighed in at 302 on Monday. This was down 28lbs from my original starting weight in 2011.Today I weighed in at 298.I felt the same elation I did so long ago when I broke the 300lb. barrier the first time. And I realized that it's not about comparing myself to anyone. It's not about being better than anyone. It's about living in the now. Yes, the last time I was on a scale, this was my weight. Now...in this moment, this is my weight. This is who I am. By sticking true to my dreams and passions, who I am to be will emerge. By focusing on who I want to be, I will be trapped in a state of wanting. I need to remember to be. Just simply be. The person I am is who I am to be.Sounds odd I know. I've been oddly reflective this morning. Class pictures are coming up tomorrow at KMA. I thought about asking Master Circle if I could attend (Afterall, I was part of the class for 6 months 2013). There is one problem. My Do Bok doesn'…

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...

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

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

And this was the first step for me.

The second truth I knew is a simple one regarding the holidays. If I couldn't make this lifestyle choice stick during the hardes…

Pumpkin Pie Is A Liar!

For years....YEARS...as in my whole life, I was under the assumption that pumpkin pie tasted like...well...pumpkins.  As a child I scooped out my fair share of pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns....the bitter sweet innards all goopy on my fingers.  And toasted pumpkin seeds? Fuhgedaboudit. You can keep them.
So...when I was introduced to the concept of a pumpkin pie several decades ago...my brain instantly said 'no way.' 
Fastforward to tonight. I'm almost 42 and a friend dropped off a pumpkin pie for dessert. I didn't have the heart to tell them that I didn't like pumpkin pie. So I told the truth--I've never eaten pumpkin pie.
Tonight I did.
Threw some whip cream on it.  And I made that face like I knew something was going to taste nasty. And I took a bite.
Damn. This is good.
Took another bite.
Yup--still good.
What the hell?!? This doesn't taste like pumpkin at all?!?  This is a creamy spicy blend of yumminess. 
I feel seriously betrayed. For reals. They s…

I Should Be Sleeping

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

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

It's what I do.

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

Somehow fitting I suppose.

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

Movies are fine. For some reason, I don't mind going to movies alone. Never have. I think it's because when the lights go out, no one knows who you came with or not. And there's not the kind of shared experience of sa…

Wired

"I'm going to help set up the new store..."
It's become my pat answer when people ask why I'm going out of town.
It sounds so glamorous. Like I'm jet-setting to far off locales like Baltimore and Queens (the only two places I've been thus far). 
And it's true. I do  actually go to the cities where the new stores will be. I'd have to, really.
But that's about where the shininess ends.  The hours are long. The job is physical. Manual...and at times mentally taxing and tedious. And so far I have yet to actually go back to a store I've set up. 
So, what the f**k does 'setting up a new store' actually mean?
So glad you asked.
I hang rings and hooks. I pull network cables. I drive a scissor lift. I'm on on ladders. I attached keystones to the ends of network cabl--
You know what?
This is boring. You don't care. Simply put, I have my hands on every single piece of network cable at that new store.  If there's something on the n…

A Sea Full of Virgins...

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Wonder why.

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

Bye for now,

-A.T.


Holy F*ck You're Loud

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

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

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

I don't know that I'm necessarily sensitive to noise, but I know it affects me. I spent nearly 12…

TNA from the TSA?

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

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

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

Reality Is More Than A Ratings Game

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

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

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

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

It's the next generation of fishing shows.

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

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

"Reality TV" is the same way.

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

People don't watch reality TV to …

What is this "easier" you speak of?

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

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

So...yeah...it is the best thing for both of us. Well...I don't know. It's the best thing for me. I don't really know if it's the best thing for her since we haven't really talked in years. But that's a story for another post. Anyway...yes....it's the step in the right direc…

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

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

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

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

The end result wasn't pretty, but it was real. It was honest. And I think there was some actual real self-actualization bullshit that I got from it all. Others who have read it seemed to have gleaned some wisdom here and there as well, which is al…

Adrift

Sometimes lately, I feel adrift on the waves of life. OK. That's not entirely true. I've had these feelings my whole life. Not constantly. And certainly not for most of the 12 years I was on anti-depressants (a story for another time). But no...there have been pockets in my life where there was a ...nagging. Like I know that while life may be good (or in some cases not so good), that there was more I was supposed to be doing. I read a great blog post on writing. And owning up to being a writer. And it reminded me of the line in Throw Mama From The Train, "A writer writes." And I would agree with that. I like to tell people that I am a story teller. That I use whatever medium I need to use to tell the story...words...photos...music...lyrics... As long as I tell the story.But I gotta be honest. I've always been a writer. I think the other stuff comes in to being because there are some things I don't quite know how to convey in words. Or because I have to ha…

F*ck That Wagon

I'm gonna jump past the weekend frivolities (of which there were plenty) and jump right back in to the meat of it.F*ck the wagon. No, seriously. People talk about 'falling off the wagon' all the time. Generally it's in relation to some kind of addiction. And I guess that fits to an extent. I started the "No MorcAlright. My keyboard is acting a fool. I'll come back to this shit later(Better here than floating around my head...Thanks Blogsy)

Cloudy With A Chance of Drunk

No. I'm not drunk at the moment. Ask me again in 5 hours. That could all change. Today's a pretty monumental day. It's been 7 months since I moved out of her house. I say her house not to be a dick, but because the house is in her name. Literally, it's her house. And there's all the metaphoric bullshit I could tumble in to with that reference, but really, what's the point?Today I'm going downtown to file the paperwork. I think we finally have everything we need to end this shit. Our accounts will differ, I'm sure, they always do when two or more people try to recollect tragic events, but this day has been years in the making.44 pieces of paper. Several notarized signatures. Several more just normal signatures. 8 paper clips. 2 staples. $175 bucks. That's what it takes to end 11 years of a life with someone. At least legally. The mental and emotional adjustments will take longer. Of that I have no doubt. I've lost my best friend. That's a…