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Showing posts from September, 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...Lard…

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 s…

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 de…

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 happ…

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 ho…

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....hin…

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): Damn! That soundtrack is fantastic!I wonder (and hope to god) that this was a boo…

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…

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'…

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 …

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 o…

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 m…

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…

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 commu…

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 e…

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 acqua…
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 r…

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 …

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 hun…

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 s…

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 …

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 f…