Saturday, September 03, 2011

i'll getchayer money ya sumbitch

The options were cash or cashier's check.  I didn't really question his nonacceptance of my personal check, but I also can very easily see that this isn't the kind of place where it's a concern.  I accepted his answer and started to decide whether to get the cash or cashier's check.

I've decided on cash.  My bank is a credit union with no Saturday hours.  And it's a holiday weekend, Boomsday if you live near enough to where I live, so Tuesday is the soonest I could get to the bank.  The problem there is that I have to be at work at nine Tuesday which is when the credit union opens that day.  And I'm on bike.

But I can visit the ATM over the weekend until I fill my envelope with a deposit and first (is it months or month's) rent.  And I totally get how that sounds, but I'm okay with this.  I'm quitting this house cold turkey, sort of.  I've put it off for far too long, and the apartment is nearly everything I need in an apartment, and it's at least a great jumping off point for throwing off the heavy comfort that this house has come to represent for me.

The computer from which I write these little nuggets of joy will most likely find it's way to Momma's, and I'll hope to find the money soon for my own computer.  Anyone have a spare laptop they don't want?  I'll have wifi included in the rent.  My phone gets the wifi too, but it's a bitch to blog from, especially when you make the sorts of mistakes I make along with the fussy editor I tend to be in spite of those mishaps and the tiny little keyboard.

And it's halfway between work and Momma's house.  It might technically be closer to Momma's than to work, but it's just off my usual path between Momma's and downtown that the ridge between the two actually comes into play, and the ridges and hills in this town are not to be scoffed at.  Also, I will now have no good reason not to tackle the hill that is Sixth, and I'm scared.  I should be.

I'm excited kind of, but that part of me that is just always negative and ready to lash out with its nasty whip of despair wants me to feel like something is going to happen, and then I won't be able to move, and then I'll have failed at something else.  The thing is, this is the moment I've prepared for by failing to grab it.  And when I speak of grabbing it I totally get that I should have just done this.  I should have done it years ago, and writing that makes me want to highlight this whole post and delete it and get drunk.  But that, as I've finally realized, doesn't make the problem go away, it just makes thinking about it go away, and I've done enough of that.

Now the next pressing problem will involve figuring out which friends have trucks and feel like moving the little bit of furniture I need a truck for.  And add to that the scheduling required for all this to fall together exactly as I want considering how impatient I'm already slowly becoming.  I should be looking into packing right now, but I've decided to put that off for the night.  Plus I have to work at eight in the morning.

By the time anyone bothers to read this I will already be or have been at work since eight, but it's still tonight to me, so ya'll can all suck it.

Not really.  That wasn't nice.  But I really am excited to get moving moving.  It's a nice feeling.  Do they have laptops at pawn shops?  I'm sure there are some.  I wonder if they get wiped and how much shit shows up on a pawn shop laptop?  That would be a cool band name, fwiw.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


It's late, I'm tired, and while I'm certain there are things I could write about, I'm in no fit shape to do it.  I'm tired.

I'm tired, and I'm just now going into my weekend.  And when I say "my weekend," I'm not referring to those two days in a row that I get to not work like everyone else.  No, my weekend in this instance is my Saturday and Sunday shifts.

I don't like working Sunday.  I'll get that out of the way now.  I really hate it.  Sunday means brunch, and I just hate it.  I don't want to do it anymore.  Actually, I'd be happy with just every other Sunday off, but that's been impossible for too long.

For too long we had cooks that weren't available Sunday's for valid reasons, one only had his kids on the weekend, and one was in a halfway house and only had Sundays as a relatively free day.  But there are the other cooks that can work Sundays that do sometimes get one off but aren't at the level one needs to be to be able to work certain stations.

And it's not that they can't.  I know they can, but no one has wanted to, and because I'm a sort of pushover sometimes I've been doing it with little complaint.

Actually there's lots of complaint Sunday.  I wage war on people's aural senses with my bitching, but I also make them great eggs and frittatas, so they can't really complain.

Sunday would be less hellish if I didn't have to be there at eight in the morning, and that would be slightly less onerous if I didn't just leave the damn place at ten the night before.  My usual Saturday shift is noon to ten with usually about an hour break somewhere near the middle.

Last Saturday I rode from downtown to another part of town to get my fancy tobaccy, and with plenty of time left in my hour circled a small section of downtown blocks for a few minutes.  There's your obligatory bicycle reference.  Actually, I plan on spending my next Saturday break riding to the downtown library.  Now that I'm paid up with them I can once again raid the wonderful cd collection.

So, yeah, my weekend, which is your weekend, sees me working noon to ten Saturday and eight to sometime between three and four Sunday.  And those can be the busiest shifts of our week.  And as you can see I really do need to get to bed.  There has to be something else to write about, but honestly my brain has turned itself off to prepare for my Sat/Sun overload.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

So far today I've mostly cleaned a bathroom and partly cleaned a kitchen.  I've gone through the stuff I've been pulling out of my pockets for most of 2011 and throwing on the floor of my bedroom as well.

I've pulled this house in around me like moldering blanket that I can't seem to replace with a fresh new blanket.  I've lived here since shortly before The Boy was born, and that's the longest I've lived any one place since I hightailed it out of Georgia so many years ago.

Momma came over today to look at some of the repair work we have to do.  We looked at the holes in the drywall and didn't get past the one I kicked when we fought shortly after telling her that I had to come out.  That was the same night she broke the French press, though to be honest she's broken more than one, though only one in anger.  I also kicked a dent in the oven that night, but we aren't keeping score anyway.  A good relationship is not a competition, even when it is.

I've sat on the back porch of this house in that same white chair and read so many books late at night, smoking too many cigarettes, always of course drinking just enough beer.  The blogging I miss so much all happened in the exact same five square feet of space that will soon see an end to such.

We've eaten so many meals at the table directly to my left, the table is never clean for very long.  I have pictures of that table full of Momma, Big Brother, and The Boy all engrossed in their own lunch and their own book.

I don't approach new very well.  I always seem to get in in my own way and find a place for myself, but getting to that point is hard for me.  Starting the ball rolling has always been one of those talents I lack.

And this house is not the place I need to be.  The deal we've had here is unbeatable in a monetary sense, but I can't continue to accept that deal.  I have to move on, and I really should have done this a long time ago, much like the cleaning.  It's hard to cast off comfort, or maybe it's just hard for me.

It's time, and I'm making ready.  It's time for me to grow up a little bit more and to cast off this place.  It offers a kind of comfort, but it's leaden with problem.  I can imagine how that sounds, but if you were privy to all my own info, and if I really went into the issues inherent in living here and the situation and family, and if you don't get the point . . .

And so begins my journey out of the suburbs finally.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

aaahhhh sweet, sweet books

Part of what I need to do with myself is to find those things that I've forgotten about.  I've let the tumult of the last few years get the better of me, and I feel I've let too many things go away.  Essentially I need to look at habits and ways I accomplish or fail to accomplish things.  I have less good habits that need adjustment, and I've stopped a lot of things that are just good for me.

There are of course other things like the bike.  I am truly in love with that machine, though right now I still need to look at his rear derailleur so that we can get those two gears back, and his chain needs to be looked at.  Having been in a bit of rain lately we might need to look into some oil, and a general wipe down would be nice.

In speaking of those old habit that were good I have to get to my real story.  I finally paid the library off and found the two "lost" books.  When I've read books lately they've been rereads, and while I have no problem with reading a book again, there's nothing quite like reading a book you've never read before, and to make it even better add a new author to that list as well.

Or add an old friend like J.R.R. Tolkien when you discover his The Book of Lost Tales.  I'm only a couple of pages into his son's foreword in which he's spoken about The Silmarillion more than not and has even discussed other people's discussion of it.  I'm not sure why I bother with forewords sometimes, and sometimes while reading I won't get why I bother.  Either way I'm a fan of Tolkien, and better yet I'm sure Big Brother will be happy to get his hands on it also.

He's certainly happy to have the library back.  He's rereread so many books lately.  The Boy has yet to finish a chapter book on his own, but I know the day is coming.  I feel like I hate that he doesn't love reading as much as his brother and I do, but I also get that his interest just doesn't right now and may never.  Or maybe he just needs to find the right book.

He happened upon Shiloh which is about a boy and a dog if the cover has any truth to it.  I feel like it might be one of those books I should have read by now, and I do plan to read it before it's due back.  The Boy picked it up because his teacher is reading it to the class, and he happened to see it.  He likes his teacher and loves dogs, so perhaps this culmination of influence will be that catalyst.  or not.

I've already finished The Wanderer by Sharon Creech.  Sophie is a young girl about to sail across the ocean with three uncles and two male cousins to visit their grandfather.  It's a story about a girl getting to make her own decisions though not without having to put up a fight.  It's about the family and about the idea of family as Sophie's story comes out.  It's about the power in the act of fixing up the boat and setting sail to test people especially as this family is thrown together to actually perform this feat.

The Wanderer is also about the sea.  Sophie is drawn to the sea in a way I can almost feel I understand.  I've never spent that much time near the sea, and I've never been in it on a boat.  All my sea experience involves freshwater.  But seafaring adventures tend to make some of the best books in my opinion, and this one has become a favorite.  It is a kid's book, ages whenever they can read on up to well past my few years.  There's nothing questionable or violent or sexy in this book, and I may be wrong, but I kinda feel like Cody might be gay.

And speaking of Cody, he's the second narrator.   Most of the book is Sophie's journal about the voyage.  Throughout the book though we also get to read Cody's "dog-log."  I enjoyed having the second point of view as well as a bit more of the family background.  Even with Cody's dog-log the story is still Sophie's.

I hope Big Brother reads it.  I'll definitely suggest it to him, and if I put off our next library visit just long enough he'll have read all his own and may be willing to give it a try.  He picked four books total.  He was already reading The Wizard of Oz, not a library book, as that's the book he was reading most recently at my house and is the one still on the dining table.  He's also reading whichever Artemis Fowl book he's up to, and I had to go look next to his bed to remember that.  Along with that Artemis Fowl he grabbed The 39 Clues, How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse, and The Land of the Silver Apples.

I won't bore you with all his books, but The Land of the Silver Apples is a sequel to a book that we actually own, Sea of Trolls, written by Nancy Farmer, and as I google I see that both books are part of a trilogy.  Big Brother and I both enjoyed Sea of Trolls, so it looks like I have yet another option of reading material for the next three weeks.

I'm so happy to have paid off the library.  I love going there.  I love the librarians.  I don't know about the people on the computers, though they do make me appreciate having one.  This is not only one of the best things I've done for myself in a while, but it's also one of those habits that was always a good one.  It's honestly been at least a year since we've been regular library users, and I'd say it may have been a good bit longer.  I'm not delving into the story right now, but the main point is that I sucked in my pride and blew out whatever shame I'd built up in letting the situation get out of hand.  The librarians, though shocked, were not mean when I humbly approached to find out exactly what I needed to do as the computer told them the full weight of my transgressions.

And just now, rereading and editing, that last paragraph has me forming a plan.  Working my Saturday split shift I usually get about an hour break in the middle.  I can ride to the downtown library for music and set whatever mood I want for the ensuing Saturday night shift.  This is gonna be fun.

round back

Alleys are suddenly THE cool place to have someone take pictures of your.  They're so gritty and urban, and people I imagine come from the palatial and seriously suburban west side of town have been showing up in my alley lately.  I kind of don't like all of them.

The particular alley I claim as my own is behind where I work.  There is another alley we walk to daily to retrieve the rolling trash cans into which we put our trash.  We then return them to their alley, and the trucks come by whenever and dump all the cans.  Sometimes you show up between trucks and find all the cans full.  Sometimes you can empty one or two less full cans into others and get what you need.

Our alley is very narrow.  Toward one end is a bar that has bands most nights, so at some point most days there is some sort of vehicle disgorging the various equipment a band needs.  Toward the other end of the alley are more restaurants.  Counting my own place of employment there are two ice cream places and four restaurants with servers and sitting down with a menu.

Because of all the restaurants you'll often find people smoking in the alley.  I don't know if the percentage of smokers among restaurant staff members is higher than the average for other businesses, but I can see it being entirely possible.  A cigarette provides an occasional small break in a job not know for too horribly many breaks of any length.

Any number of homeless people sometimes use the alley as their bathroom, and during large enough events on the square I've seen not homeless people pee in the alley.  I've also seen what I'm mostly sure was dog shit one day in the alley, and one day it smelled remarkably zoo like.  It wasn't even that horrid a smell because it had more an animal sort of odor than just gross shit stink.  Fairly recently someone changed a bandage in the alley and were nice enough to leave their potentially hazardous bio waste for us.

And one day a family or two was down there taking pictures.  The large and lumpy dad was dutifully hauling strollers and bags of props and trying to keep the kids not in the current photo busy.  And they had bags of props, clothes, hats, big letters.  I'm sure there were favorite stuffed animals as well.

And of course you have the happy smiling couples.  They all look so stupid being lined up against the graffiti just so.  And of course they don't think to confirm outfits and color schemes till they get there.

Then there are the random single people.  You can't ever really know what they're doing or why.  They're digging the gritty, urban landscape and standing in front of a door of course, but what's their motivation.

I missed the day that a bunch of girls were having pictures made.  They had bags of clothes and were blocking doors and being in the way, and they were changing right there in the alley.  OMG, ya'll.  Again, I didn't witness this, so . . .

And when you do drive west through the land of stripmalls to the homes of these people, you can see those pictures on the mantelpiece.  It's so gritty and urban tucked away here in a several acre subdivision named after an English sounding word that doesn't in any way describe the actual place.

I wonder if the ironic hipster kids are going to start taking couples photos in front of big box retail stores?

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

phoning it in

After far to much time and money I've finally paid off the library and returned the books that kept getting misplaced only to turn up randomly to haunt me with my misdeed.  I admire the grace of the three librarians I dealt with today in our return to being respectable users of the library.

I do feel like an ass, and have, for letting this thing get so bad, but at some point fines piled up to a point, and the two books were misplaced, and the fines got worse, and feeling at the time as if I just couldn't afford it.  With school about to start again I know that the library will come in handy soon enough, and I'm just tired of not having a book to read.

Between the books at Momma's and those I still have left I've read nearly all of what we have that I want to read.  There are a few of the boys' books I may or may not read, and most of what I have I've definitely read.  I've even reread.  I  even almost read the Whoopie Goldberg book that I think might have come from Momma's grandmother.  I got stuck on the fart chapter.

Box Turtle Bulletin has been posting a Daily Agenda featuring current news as well as bits of LGBT history.  For instance, I learned a few days ago that James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924.  I should mention that I also learned then of James Baldwin, and though he isn't the reason I so suddenly decided to finally take care of my library tab his first book, Go Tell It on the Mountain, is my own welcome back gift from them.

So far Big Brother has read two of his three books.  He too has been rereading books, so I can only imagine how much he's wanted something new.  I'm sometimes jealous of his ability to find time to read until I realize that's sometimes all I see him doing, and still I don't mind.  He's now taken to having at least two books going, one at Momma's house and one here.

The Boy has long had two books going, but these have always been the books that Momma or I are reading as his bedtime book.  There it's Farmer Boy, while here we're on to A Horse and his Boy at mine.  Having begun to slowly start reading more on his own The Boy has a couple of books with bookmarks sticking out of them between here and Momma's, and he got two more books today, both of which he's read some of.  They're also both about dogs.  He also got a library card.  Yay him!

I also depopsited my check, bought stamps, failed to find a wallet at the one store I bothered to visit, and did not even think about bicycle tires till too late to do anything.  I definitely need to get into action about the tire.  I've got a spot on my front tire that's ripped down to the bead, and though I think I'm okay for the most part, in reality I know that it won't take much to get through that.

I also took the boys for Mexican.  We went to a local favorite and filled ourselves with all sorts of beef and tortillas and beans and cheese and salsa, and Big Brother even got a ceviche tostada but didn't eat the tortilla.  I don't know what's wrong with that kid sometimes.  Also I don't care for ceviche.

Then we came home and were lazy, and I've suddenly remembered that I was supposed to go to the store for cereal.  It's now too late to bother with that, so I'll just have to get up in the morning and do something about it.

That's been my day so far.  The boys have been quiet enough for long enough that I have to assume they're asleep.  They should be, though they didn't do anything more today than ride around and wish I'd buy them something.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

they (maybe) should

It's one of those things people tend to say, people who aren't especially supportive of LGBT people, when they are discussing gay pride events.  They might suggest that there should also be a straight pride event, and it probably draws chuckles of approval, though of course it doesn't happen.

It is even arguable that pretty much every day is straight pride.  The few images we see of gay people in a positive light are the couple of sitcoms that have openly gay characters, but then those aren't people I admire or look to for affirmation.  I don't watch Glee, though I have.  It's not really that good a show, and it's not really that accurate for most gay kids.  Also, if I want to hear actors singing Foreigner songs I'll . . . um,  yeah, never want for that ever.

So what would happen if someone did in fact host/sponsor a straight pride event?  We've never known because it's always been mentioned in an off the cuff joking sort of way.

Until now.  According to Towleroad, religious leaders in Sao Paolo Brazil have decided to petition the government for just such an event, and the legislation has made it as far as the mayor.  Will he sign it, or won't he?

Of more concern might be what would this event actually look like?  I can't help but feel that part of the idea behind this would be to exclude gay people and to make a show of this exclusion.  Gay pride, while possibly seeming to exclude people does just the opposite.  An idea behind gay pride is simply increasing visibility of LGBT people, but another idea is to provide an outlet for all people to show their support for the equal rights of their gay friends and family members.

The few pride events I've attended have mostly been here in Knoxville, and they don't seem to feature a huge amount of straight people, but everyone who is open and fair minded is welcome.  It's an inclusive gathering of people wanting to stand proudly and proclaim that everyone deserves fairness and equality.  It's also a  party and the only time outside of a gay bar that we can feel like we are in the majority.  It does wonders to think of yourself surrounded by your community, and for so many it's a first.

So what could possibly be the point of hetero pride?  It can't be welcoming and openness.  It can't be support for a minority that is often mistreated and maligned.

But still I say go for it.  What can it hurt?  What do they hope to accomplish?  Whatever their goals it's better that they are aired in the sunshine rather that to continue to grow in the malicious darkness.

uppity fags

All signs point to the likelihood that Lawrence King was gay.  At fifteen he seemed pretty sure of it, and he seemed secure enough in himself to do what all teenagers do, play with self expression.  But probably because he was gay his self expression led to playing with gender based expressions such as high heeled boots, scarves, pink nail polish.

Another kid around the same age, Brandon McInerney, had a big enough problem with Lawrence King that he eventually took a gun to school and shot him in the back of the head two times.  And now a couple of years later he's finally being tried.

I've avoided this subject for the last couple of years because too often when I consider my opinion I can't help but think of them both as children when this happened.  They both had a rough childhood with significant family issues.  I'm no expert on this situation, though I'll also admit that I could never give all the links to all the posts I've read about this since it happened.  I can't imagine at fifteen you don't know what a gunshot to the back of the head means, but I can't accept that a fifteen year old has the same mental competency as an adult who one can argue at least has grown up enough to understand consequences, and I can't imagine the input of the people around him to bring him to where he was.

McInerney's lawyers have already introduced the gay panic defense.  Gay panic, for anyone unsure, is what happens when a hapless heterosexual is preyed upon by a perverse homosexual, and because gay=awful, they couldn't help but react by beating the crap out of said homosexual.  I think it has a cousin in the idea that women dressed inappropriately invite rape.  See also, "If he hadna been all faggoty and shit I wouldna had to whoop his ass.  He's askin fer it being all faggoty."

Which brings me, in a long and winding sort of fashion, to this article from Ventura County Star.  Several teachers have admitted to having done nothing to stop this other than to make Lawrence King stop being so faggoty.  He was told to remove a scarf, makeup, and nail polish at different times, and a teacher worried that he was going to be dragged behind a shed and beaten to death.

They complain that the lesbian principle made it all okay and didn't listen to them when they tried to warn her that Lawrence King was asking for a whoopin'.  They blame her for not being aware of the problems.

I blame them all for letting the students be bullies and especially bullies to someone who was obviously struggling.  This poor little boy who so obviously needed for the people around him to stop chasing him and hitting and pushing him wanted what every other fifteen year old wants, to make sense of an increasingly peculiar world, or maybe that's just us gays.

The article ends in a very telling fashion with this question and answer between a teacher and the DA:
Brown said she once saw a group of boys chasing King, which she described as a potentially unpleasant situation. Fox asked her if she stepped in to stop the chasing.
"No," Brown said.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

not like the other . . . yet again

Moments ago, The Boy put his book down and asked if his bath was ready.  He apparently didn't actually make it to the bath.  I can hear him playing with Big Brother.

I'm going to step away for a moment and remind him of his cooling bath water and will take up right there when I get back.

And I return, several hours later, having washed hair, allowed computer time, and texted Big Brother.  I thought he was in his room, and I wanted to tell him his brother was out of the bath and that he needed to get into the shower.  He was already in the bathroom though occupied in other pursuits at the time.

And all of that is finally done, they are in bed, yet I can still hear them talking.  I'm not even a little worried, but we do need to start soon getting ourselves back to school hours.

I mentioned earlier that The Boy's bath was ready, and I came back into the living room and told him so.  He was sprawled on the sofa reading an Akiko book.

Big Brother is a somewhat self taught devourer of books and words.  He's been reading since he was four and with little prodding on the part of me or Momma.  We have always been available and willing, but we've always tried, in that true unschooling spirit, to not help when it wasn't wanted or helpful.

With The Boy we wanted to be the same, but like so many kids he just wasn't into it in the same way.  He really didn't want help unless he did and then only on his sometimes (always) strict and difficult to understand terms, so all the lessons we thought we'd learned with his brother were of no use.  We remained available and willing, but he always seemed as if he knew he could put it off and that we'd continue to help him.

With the boys' transition last winter from unschool to public school, lots of things changed, and one of those changes was that The Boy, so far a slightly interested, beginning reader was having to read and to learn to read very suddenly.  And he took to it like a pirate to booty.  He brought the books home that he'd worked on at school, and he sat and worked on them and read them to us.

He still sometimes would prefer to have some reading done for him, but he's been doing it for himself as well.  He attempted to read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea recently and didn't get very far.  I'd playfully suggested it one day, knowing that he'd likely enjoy the story but that the language would likely be a bit much for him.  He did ask me to read the first chapter for him.

He also spent some time reading the Frog and Toad books recently, but I don't know that he ever really read them.  They went from one house to the other a couple of times, but each time they seemed to sit in the same place until they traveled again.

I've suggested he read any number of books over the past few weeks.  I don't want him to have to relearn anything as he enters school again, but as importantly I want him to realize joy in reading.  Mostly I suggest books when the code words "I'm bored" actually mean, "it sure would be nice to play some video games."

Also, he does love a good story.  His bed time reading is The Silver Chair at my house, and at Momma's house they're reading Farmer Boy.  The Silver Chair is one of the Narnia books, while Farmer Boy is Almonzo Wilder's childhood before he goes west and meets Laura Ingalls.

And tonight, even though it was bath time, and even though I worried I'd have a cold bath to rewarm, I let him read.  It took him a while to read through the first chapter, but he did, and maybe he'll remember tomorrow that Akiko has just set out on an adventure, and maybe he'll be interested enough to continue the story.

I don't care if he becomes the reader his brother is, but I want him to read.  It really is the best thing since whatever was before sliced bread.  But then I'd argue that sliced bread isn't that great an invention, but that just opens the door for all sorts of nonsense about expediency versus quality along with the increasing pace of our lives.  And I'm just not doing that one right now.

My point is that he sat (sprawled, knees and elbows everywhere) and read the kind of book you need a bookmark for.  I'll rewarm a bath for that.

p.s. I hate using the phrase "worked on" along with the word "reading," but it really is apt.  It just makes it sound so . . . and has connotations of all the evil gschool stuff one might have heard me preach not so long ago.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bike and test

If this works you can see a pic of my bike. I've published a test post using my mobile device before, but I'm now testing an app that I hope makes this easier. Also I'm working on getting his blog back to some kinda something again.

fights in fridges

Yes, it's noon here in beautiful (if humid) east TN, and yes, I've been up for about an hour.  I have made coffee, pooped, smoked, checked my phone, cleaned the two refrigerator shelves I've been ignoring for far too long, wiped out inside same refrigerator, and found a small sword stuck into part of the vent system.

Relax, it's a Playmobile sword, so the danger is minimal, but still . . .

I asked the boys about it, but neither of them remembers playing with Playmobile toys in there, and certainly neither remembers leaving a sword.  It may well remain a mystery for the ages, but I would like to know who's been fighting in the fridge.

like a something doing something

I've always edited for content those things I've sent out into the world before.  I may have not always edited or chosen as well as I could, but I've also set myself up as being better than I really am in real life.

I'm not nearly as soft spoken or as well thought out.  There isn't much of a filter out with friends or even at work.  Work is easy because we're all a bunch of losers on our way to hell anyway.  Actually we're a fairly random sampling sort of place with too many people who are in bands.  It'll be hell night at work if they all played a show together.

I also talk a lot at work, and probably you can't really imagine what a lot means in this little story, but it's a near constant aural barrage on my coworkers running the gamut from t.v. theme songs from my childhood to a constant dissing of any music playing that I don't like which is tempered by my witty way of sometimes singing with rather bawdy false lyrics replacing the actual ones.  I also might sometimes be a little forward with some of the male servers.

In all these instances my desire is to amuse, to give a worthy laughing dialogue to a sometimes monotonous yet often horrific duty in our kitchen and dining areas.  And as for being sometimes too friendly to the boys, I must say I think it's part of my job to let them actually know a homo and to be forced to deal with me on my terms so that they are nudged toward the realization that gay people are just as obnoxious and normal as they are and to get over any lingering nonsense.

I include nearly anyone in my joking and say things that are often over the line of decency, but my intent is never to hurt anyone, and when people realize that I'm really a decent guy they tend to cut me more slack than I deserve probably.  On some level I like to make sure that as many people take the fall as I can possibly squeeze in.  We all have some stereotype we can fit, and it's my job to remind everyone that it's only funny if anyone can fit into it.  Or I'm just making that up to pump myself up.

So we finally get to the point of my meandering.  Bob Vander Plaats runs a "family" group in Iowa that thinks that gay people are really not good at all.  He's a far right social conservative that led a campaign to have judges removed from office because they voted to allow marriage equality in Iowa.  He's on a mission from god to be as big a douche as he's capable of to gay people.  

He was caught on video reacting to a joke that suggested that in Iowa one is unable to enjoy a cigarette but that loving gay couples are allowed to marry.  I'm lifting the story from Box Turtle Bulletin, so click on their name for their take on the matter and more of the story plus links to why this guy Bob is an ass and why they hate the joke and his laughter.  They also have video.

I don't get the joke at all.  I'm not from Iowa, though I do have an aunt and uncle and possibly some cousins there.  I met them once many years ago, and they seemed like decent people.

To be honest the actual joke goes as such, in Iowa you can't smoke a fag, but you can marry one.  And perhaps my not being of Iowan heritage I'm unaware of some nuance that renders this joke unfunny to me.  And that's why I hate it.

Oh, I also hate that the guy laughing at the joke isn't getting it either.  I'm sure you can still smoke cigarettes in Iowa . . .

. . . unless the meaning of the joke is that it's unlawful to use a firearm to shoot a homosexual.  That might be another nuance of the joke as "to smoke" is popular parlance for shooting someone or something with a firearm.  That totally moves the joke along, because then you're suggesting that actually shooting someone for being gay is cleverly juxtaposed against basic human dignity and equality.

Wow, now I get why it's funny.  Man do I feel silly.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

oooh, weather

Our fifty percent chance of thunderstorms is fast becoming one hundred percent.  At two thirty in the afternoon the clouds outside make it look more like seven thirty.

The rain is falling as heavily as it likely soon will be, and the wind is strong but only in short bursts as of yet.

Even so you can almost hear, somewhere in the distance, the worst that is yet to come.

Friday, June 10, 2011

(2/2) e a good motivator.
(1/2) There's a point at which I just have to do something, and I'm starting to get that maybe. I really think that providing myself with proof really should b

Thursday, June 09, 2011

This is a test. This is only a test. In the event of a real emergency please feel free to consider yourself screwed.

Monday, May 09, 2011

gonna bitch about it

I almost don't wanna even bother.  I haven't posted in ages, and I haven't even been online on the ol' trusty desktop in days.  I even turned the damn thing off a few days ago knowing I wouldn't see it for at least most of two days, and then I managed to add at least a day to that.

I do have my fancy new phone, however the battery life has left something to be desired.  Finally getting near the desktop however may have fixed all that for me.  I googled my problem and visited some forums and went via the phone to the Android market for what I hope is a fix.

I also took the boys out for dinner tonight, and this why I actually sat down to write.  The experience was one of the worst and the best I've had out in a long time.

It was the worst because my food was ruined.  The server put our food down, I didn't quite look at it, though I did make sure we had everything and it was all in its proper place.

And then I looked at the plate in front of me.  Immediately I saw that my sweet potato chips looked mostly burnt, though picking through them later I realized that not more than about thirty percent were REALLY burnt.  Most of the rest were merely overdone.

I pointed this out to the server, and he brought me a new unburned order as quickly as he was able.  And here's a little sidetrack that's sorta helpful.

Over the years I've taken part in a useless battle that occurs in far too many restaurants, a battle that pits the front and back of house against each other.  It's usually the kitchen that makes this battle ever happen at all, but then the servers are forced to deal with it the best they can.

And often this might mean that the server would rather face an unhappy customer with food that's obviously not right than mention to the kitchen what he/she can too easily see.  Or maybe they're used to seeing the food that way and don't get that it's burnt, or maybe they see it and don't give a shit.

Worse is that someone in the kitchen was willing to send this out.  They cooked food for too long and made it suck, but rather than throw it away and do it right, they tossed it on the plate and sent it out.  They couldn't have not know that they made bad food.

I put my chicken sandwich together and cut it in half.  It was a whole boneless, skinless breast, both lobes, and they were still attached via the bit of cartilege between them.  That bothers me, but I'm not going to be a dick about that.  It's a matter of taste.

I bit into the sandwich and once again knew immediately that it too was over done.  I hoped that it was just a little tough because I started at the thinner end, but too soon I was into the thicker meat and was having to rip bites out, and the chicken was pulling out of the bun, and the sandwich was essentially inedible.  If I'd cooked it for myself, and if I suddenly forgot how to cook and made it this bad, I'd have eaten it.  I'm not really one to waste food.

But I'm not paying for food that is so poorly done.  I couldn't eat the sandwich, and I really tried.  After not catching the server's eye for far too long I was finally able to lodge my complaint.  He took the plate of over done food away and spoke with the manager who was kind enough to not make me pay.

He didn't talk to me.  He didn't offer to do anything to make me feel better, and I don't really know what I would have wanted of him.  I didn't eat the food, and he didn't make me pay for the bad parts.  I left the store unsatisfied, having not gotten anywhere close to what I wanted despite my willingness as a customer.

And now I'm hungry, and I shouldn't be, and because I haven't been at the house much for a couple of days or so there really isn't anything here to eat.  That's entirely my fault.

By this point the kids were done eating.  I wasn't going to make them sit and wait for me to get and eat a new entree, and I wasn't willing to sit and wait and then pay for food when my experience had been so marred.

But then we sat at the table.  I munched on the bowl of not burned chips and the extra side of fries I let The Boy get since we were out for his birthday.  He didn't like his other side, black beans, but because it wasn't what he expected, but I enjoyed them and brought them with the other leftovers.

We had a really nice time as we sat and waited.  I had to pay the bill and finish a beer, and they were both not quite impatient and sooo ready to go just yet.  And it was a really nice time.  The munching had taken the edge off my hunger, so my mood had been helped by that, and the boys were both full and happy.

And we just hung out for a little bit.  We chatted.  I saw pictures that Big Brother took with his phone at his school's cultural fair.  I even got to see a picture of some kid's rendition of Abraham Lincoln leading the Hebrew people out of Egypt.

It was cool in the end.

Monday, May 02, 2011

kilt the sumbitch

I have a few thoughts on the apparent killing of Osama bin Laden.  And I'm going to share.

I got off work yesterday (Sunday May 1, fwiw) about four, got a beer at the bar, and sat on the patio in front of work.  I drank a couple of beers and hung out with various other work and/or downtown people waiting for the evening and a surprise going away party for a coworker.

The party was held in the upstairs of a bar a few feet away, so I didn't really get too far from the same place all day.  I may have ridden from one parking garage to another and back to reorient my senses, but that really has nothing to do with Osama or his recent death.

Later on in the night, the party had gone from SUPRISE! to the band playing and people milling about, many of us having moved to the patio as the upstairs is non smoking.

At some point, after having walked down an alley for no good reason I returned and heard chatter about our having killed Osama bin Laden.

My first thoughts in the random number generator that is my head involved, who care? are you sure? and then I went off on some other tangents that have solidified more today as I thought about it all less drunk.

Some of the fun last night was just messing with people, and some of these people, generally sane seeming in normal life, were growing a little upset that I was willing to attempt to detract from the gravity of the situation.  Other, possibly drunker people, cheered on when I shouted, "Hell yeah!  We killed Obama bin Muslim."

I tried it today and everyone got it immediately, so it could have been late night at a bar, but it still makes me laugh.

I also don't attach a lot of importance to some brown guy with a beard and a long white shirt from the other side of the world.  I just can't accept that he has that much power over us.  Sure, if the new stories are correctly presenting the situation, Osama got a few good licks in.  The the US got serious about hunting him down, and since then he hasn't able to do too damn much, though his organization has apparently kept several country's military arms fairly busy.

And finally, the things that solidified in my head over the course of this morning.  I truly believe that people like Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee pose a far greater threat to our liberty than any Islamic terrorist.

solidified thing no. 2-There are people who look to Osama as a hero and likely now a martyr.  Perhaps they do hate us freedom loving Americans.  I don't hate them.  I don't know them, and I think if I were to meet them they might rethink their own feelings.  Or maybe they don't really hate us.  Maybe they look at things our country has done, or perhaps they feel as if they've been mistreated by our country.  I can't know what's in their hearts, but I have to assume they are generally sincere in their beliefs.  Perhaps if we talked we could find a middle ground.  I don't know.  But certainly they hurt when we kill them just as we hurt when they kill us, and neither side seems to have fixed anything even now.  There may well be better news tomorrow.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

learn where you can

The title of this post may be misleading to any long time readers.  This post is not about homeschooling or school or anything like that, and it isn't about children learning.

It's about me, and you may already know that I've joined the dark side and purchased a pair of Crocs to wear to work.  If I'd gone to the cool shoe store in the mall first I could have saved some other store visits and some time spent at the mall, a place I generally loathe.

I've been anti Croc for some time now.  When the damn things first showed up a few years back I hated them and swore I'd never darken a pair with my feet.  Having worked in kitchens I'v been around my share of clogs, and then Crocs started showing up there as well.

I swore by a good pair of boots for years as my kitchen shoe of choice, and then I realized that a stout shoe worked as well and that I didn't miss the whole ankle support thing.  I've been through my share of both over the years, wearing out more pairs of shoes than I care to remember.

And then recently I may have spent some time pacing in circles in a sort of detention facility, and my current home county may provide inmates with orange, fake crocs to pace circles in.

And while I hate to admit that my epiphany happened here, I didn't hate the shoes.  In fact I started to understand why so many coworkers wore these type of shoes.

And then I had some foot issues for the past week and change, and my latest kitchen shoes made the problem worse.  They are also slowly falling apart, wearing through at each intersection of stitching that holds the different pieces of leather together.  I've been in the market to be in the market for new shoes for a couple of months at least, but I've put off actually looking because of time and because I can be cheap and want to get every last bit of wear out of a pair of shoes.

The shoes I'm currently wearing are old Converse that, when new, were my all time faves, and which have been worn solely while mowing the grass for the last four years.  They're also loose and forgiving of the aforementioned foot issue while my newer non work shoes will likely be the last pair of narrow Converse I ever buy.  I just can't deal with them anymore, and they were also not friendly to the foot issue.

So that's my story.  I work at nine in the a.m. tomorrow, and I'll take the Crocs on their initial run then.  I may hate them seven to eight hours later when I get off work, or I may have fallen in love with these things I so derided such a short time ago.  Maybe I'll bore your asses off with that tale tomorrow night.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

wouldn't it be nice

The following was posted on Facebook as a friend's status.  I started to make my own points about each of these fond memories, but I don't have it in me to be that guy to this particular person.  So I'm calling blog fodder and bitching it out here.  Also, it's not about bikes for the most part.
If you grew up on home cooked meals, you rode a bike with no helmet, your parents house was not "child-proof" , you got a whippin' when you misbehaved, had 3 TV channels you got up to change or went outside to turn the antenna, school started with the Pledge of Allegiance, stores were closed on Sunday, you drank water out of a water hose and still turned out okay, re-post this and show that you survived.
I grew up on home cooked meals for the most part.  My mother's repertoire was varied somewhat, and for the most part I'd say it was basically  basic American (USA edition) with a strong southern bent.  I may well know how to cook a lot more things than she ever needed, but what she cooked was always good.  Her own mother apparently was never much of a cook, so my own mother was essentially self taught.  Other than liver night I have no complaints about her cooking.

Yes, I rode a bike with no helmet, and though I've begun to wear one there was some small amount of wanting to fight it on my part.  I hate bike helmets that look like some sort of alien's skull on top of your own.  I feel like I look like a douche in them, and I put off buying a helmet for some time.  Big Brother had a helmet in time to start riding his bike to school, and I'm glad he wears it.  I'm not sure how I feel about the law, but where we live the helmets-on-bicycles law applies to those sixteen and under.

But I do wear a helmet.  I finally visited the skateboard shop and bought a helmet I don't loathe.  I even put one of the stickers the shop guy gave me on the side to attempt to get back some coolness points.  I can heal from a broken arm or leg, but impact induced loss of what little mental accuity I still have because I chose not to wear a helmet is likely a slightly worse blow, no pun intended.

As well as I remember the house I grew up in was not especially child proof, but sensible precautions were taken to care for any children and to guard against the likelihood of dangerous items reaching their hands.  And my own house has been the same way.  I don't have any intention to leave harm lying around in the path of my children, but I also understand that some lessons will be learned the hard way, so I make sure those lessons aren't the truly threatening ones.

You got a whippin?  How do people still glorify this sort of behavior?  I certainly got plenty of them myself, but I've worked really hard not to bring that into my present.  That I've turned out as well as I have in spite of being struck as a child as punishment for misdeeds does not make it okay to continue the tradition of striking kids.

We had more than three channels, and for a few years we did have to get up to change channels.  It involved turning a knob, and sometimes you had to adjust the rabbit ear antenna while barely turning the UHF knob to try to find the kung fu movies.  I appreciate technology and am more than happy to change channels by pushing a button while staying comfortably on the sofa.

Most people I know don't have a problem with the pledge of allegiance, but I do know people who have a problem with the phrase "under god" being a part of it.  I have a problem with that phrase.  It's a way of excluding people, and I think that it's unAmerican.  I don't like it, and I don't think it should be there.  

Stores can close on Sunday or any other day.  The place I work at closes early on Sunday, and a restaurant down the square closes early on Monday.  No one should have to not open on Sunday, and I'll go so far as to say that blue laws should not exist that require certain businesses to not open on Sundays.  The only reason this exists is as a vague nod to religious traditions that many people don't necessarily follow, and it feeds into the system that allows exclusion of people based on religion.

I would probably still drink out of the water hose unless it tasted like water hose, and if I were thirsty enough even that wouldn't matter.

Other things that I like about progress is that there aren't colored water fountains and white water fountains, and you sit on the bus wherever you damn well please.  I like multiple television channels as well as the internet and smart phones and off buttons.  I like that I don't pretend I'm not gay any more.  I also like bobbers, decidedly low tech, as well as vintage bicycles, even older tech.  I like Sriracha a whole lot, which I haven't talked about lately, but I could easily do a blog post on that lovely little bottle of chili sauce.

There's nothing new there really for anyone that actually knows me or has read here for a while.  It's all standard stuff, and I do get why that misty eyed view of the past is so powerful.  I also get that progress for the sake of progress isn't always worth shit.  Maybe it's just me, because this little paragraph shows up periodically, and I hate every time, probably a little more each time than the last.  Hell, why don't we just go back to when we were banging rocks together, when our only real fear was getting gored by the wooly mammoth we planned to hunt as soon as we found one.  That's the life, no traffic, no screaming kids in restaurants, no tail winds from the Mexican we had for lunch, nothing but banging these here rocks and wondering whether I'd ever see the sun again every time a cloud covered it for a moment.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

adding to the list

At some point last night I wrote a post.  As is my usual habit I walked outside to smoke before editing and fixing and posting, and I never got around to posting it.  And now I probably never will.

But I will tell you some of what it said.  Also, are you tired of bike talk yet?

Leaving work yesterday I stopped in at the downtown bike shop to learn that my new stem will be in today, that I can bring the bike in today and likely pick it up tomorrow with new handlebars.  They didn't have any helmets that I like.

I rode a few minutes down the road to the next nearest bike shop and also didn't find any helmets that I liked, but I did find the bike that I thought might be just right for Big Brother, so I continued riding to Momma's house where I locked my bike to her front porch rail and took The Boy and Momma's car to go pick up Big Brother from school.

From there we went back to the bike shop so Big Brother could voice an opinion and perhaps choose from the available models within our price range.  The one road bike they had was really sweet looking and too small for me and sort of pink looking.  It actually looked like it had once been red but had faded to pink, as Big Brother pointed out, also mentioning that he nonetheless still didn't want a pink bike.

He did like the Schwinn mountain bike that looks an awful lot like a slightly smaller version of mine but in black, dark gray, and yellow.  While the back tire is knobby, the front tire is the type I'd considered looking at for my mountain bike before letting the mania talk me into the road bike.

Our next shopping adventure was to Kmart for a helmet and bike lock and a pair of inner tubes for the bike we already have that I hope The Boy will learn to ride on.  He has a pretty cool big wheel that he's loved riding the past couple of years, but the bike mania is at least a little contagious it seems.

This morning, as the boys were eating breakfast, I handed Big Brother the instructions that came with his helmet so that he could adjust it properly for his head.  He was working on that when I drove The Boy to school, and was wearing it and ready to go when I arrived back home about ten minutes later.

The weather was a bit chilly, and though he rode the bike a bit both before we bought it and after we brought it home, it's a bit new to him still.  It's a great fit for him, but he's used to a BMX bike and also hasn't ridden since before winter.

I trailed him to school and did that thing I do where I probably talk to much and try to help too much.  He was a little skittish facing downhill and didn't want to go too fast.  I kept having to slow down and not run him over.  And overall it was a really nice way to start the day.  Google maps is telling me it's 1.3 miles and should take me six minutes.  We easily doubled the time, but that's fine of course.

And now I'm off to run errands.  Deposit a check, bike stuff, something to eat, home, laundry that needs to be folded, pick up The Boy from school, look out the window for Big Brother riding by himself.  I'm sure I've forgotten something.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

and i'll eat out of containers while standing up

I should warn you now that this yet another post about bikes.  I've been taken over with a sort of mania, but there's also something about this that just feels right.  It's like I've gone back to something I never should have let go of.

I flirted with bikes three times over the years since my childhood when riding my bike was a nearly daily occurrence.  When Momma and I lived in Charlotte I was able to retrieve the last bike I'd owned in Atlanta, and I was soon riding quite a bit.  Then one night, after riding home fairly drunk from somewhere, I forgot to lock the bike outside our apartment door and never saw it again.

The next bike I owned was purchased from a coworker about six (maybe, time is a blurry sensation at best for me generally) years ago.  It was a cheap bike from a big box retailer.  It rode like shit and sucked then and still sucks now sitting in the garage with its rusty shit wheels.  I rode it around the house approximately ten total times over the course of a week and then never again.  I wish I had that twenty bucks back.  Fuck!

The next bike was last summer when I lived in the Fort.  It was also a big box bike, but my mindset then was in a different and more biking places friendly sort of place.  I used the bike a lot and then sold it to my ex landlord as I moved back to the house I'm now in.  While I'd enjoyed riding the bike to work from the Fort I didn't think I'd ever ride a bike from this house to downtown assuming it was just too far.

And finally my sweet red bike that I love but might replace tomorrow.  It's actually today by the time you are likely to read this as it's after eleven o'clock here.  Regardless, I do now ride this bike that far often enough, and I've ridden it plenty of other places too.  And I actually love riding this bike even though we're on city streets and it's made for narrow trails and dirt berms and jumps over the rough spot

Since I've begun riding the bike I've slipped into the edges of a thing that could be mania twenty years ago with no Momma, Big Brother, and The Boy.  But that's not the world I inhabit, so I'll gladly enjoy the tease of it and try to be smart about stuff.

And apparently I'll start contacting some guy on Craigslist about his early '80's Schwinn with the newer "comfort" handlebars, and I'll have asked if he has the original set.  And that whole tomorrow thing, yeah, I'm gonna wait for him to call and go look at the bike in the evening.

With any luck Momma will be there, because really the bike would be for her.  If it's a good size for her and is in good condition and she wants it she gets it.  In the day and a half since I found it and thought about her wanting a bike (she's mentioned it before) I've tried to have her in mind, but I keep looking at it.  It's kinda like seeing a boy at a party that you like, but you know he's straight and interested in your friend.

It's really not like that at all, but I want the bike now that I've been looking at it and thinking about it, and I feel bad because I don't want the bike I already have to find out.  That can't be good.  And I still want to ride him on the street tires I might also go look at tomorrow, but then would I ever ride him how he's meant to be ridden?  Would I ever take my beautiful mountain bike mountain biking?

Maybe I'll just keep buying bikes until I'm crazy early '80's Schwinn guy.  Yeah, that's the best idea yet.

don't never mind the bollards, srsly

Alas the rain again could also be a title for this post.  As promised, the rain has once again moved into my stormy little slice of heaven.

To be honest a weather forecast isn't the same as a promise, but lately, if it involves rain, it kinda seems like it is.

I find excuses not to ride in the rain.  With a few adjustments I could take most of the issues out of the problem, and I know that at some point I'm going to have to just do it.  I've done it before, and other than a wet butt for a while it wasn't so bad.

My newest fixation is bike tires.  One day, when I can actually have a nice day off, while the kids are in school and I have the time, I'm going to look into a new pair of tires for my bike.  It would be a great joy to me to take the bike out and ride to the bike shop and ride away with tires made for asphalt.

Have I mentioned that it's a mountain bike?  It's older, but it's a great bike and it rides well, but I can't deal with these tires anymore.  I have knobby mountain bike tires, and that makes perfect sense for a mountain bike.  But right now, it isn't really a mountain bike.  It sees the ridges that make this town so much fun to bike through, but that ain't the same.

What I need is a tire built for the asphalt, and companies are apparently making tires specifically for people turning mountain bikes into commuter bikes.  That's what I'm doing.  Apparently I'm not starting something new.

I just love the way this bike works, and I love how he and I work together.  I also decorated him tonight.  That's right, I just called the bike he.  Whatcha gonna do about it?  The only other thing I've done to the bike was to add lights and adjust the seat.  I did also put a reflective sticker on the front before riding home from work one night at the insistence of a coworker, but that thing is gonna have to come off.  It's probably a not bad idea, but it's ugly, and I need to have a real light up there anyway if I'm riding at night.

I also mentioned a decoration.  Two days ago, preparing for an all out grocery procuring blitz, I was sorting through the shopping bags to see if they were all there when I discovered the skull.  It's a small metal skull that was part of a skeleton that has hung from the rear view mirrors of the last three cars that Momma and I shared.  It stayed with me in the Honda when Momma moved on in her own car world.

I found parts of it when I cleaned the Honda out after the "accident" and didn't remember finding the skull.  I seem to remember some other random parts, but I'm not sure now what I would have done with them since.  I grabbed the shopping bags when I went to the impound lot that night and apparently didn't completely empty them out when I finally sorted through the bags later.

I'm kinda excited about the tires idea.  I can feel the knobbies working against me I think.  Also I want the rain to quickly fall and then move along.  I get that it's spring in east TN, but seriously, I've kinda had enough this year.  I'm ready to move along.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

the ill

When I mentioned my interview today I neglected to have the future vision that would tell me that today would not be a good day for it.  I had no way to know that The Boy would wake this morning sick.

He's actually been at least a little sick for the past week.  He's had days that he felt fine, and we assumed he was over it.

After school yesterday he ate a snack and did his homework, but then he lounged on the sofa complaining that he was tired.  He fell asleep and wasn't hungry when I got pizza, and he only woke to watch Big Brother play Zelda.

He asleep now, his arms pulled inside his shirt.  He's just cold enough for that, but he doesn't want a blanket.

I've tried to call hoping to postpone the interview, but no one is answering the phone just yet.  The Grandfather is here finishing up some of the plumbing begun yesterday, and I'm sure he'd be willing to be here for the time I needed to run, but at the same time I feel bad not being here should something arise.

There's also the part where I haven't yet told my current employer that I'm looking elsewhere, and in fact I wasn't looking elsewhere.  This interview fell into my lap, and if I didn't think it was likely to be a good opportunity I wouldn't bother.  I also did not pick up a few hours today when the current employer called earlier to ask if I could come in at noon.  And with my luck someone from work would very likely see me across the square at the other restaurant, and that would surely begin some tiny amount of drama.  Restaurants are fueled, to some small extent, by drama, and I'm not willing to fan those flames just yet.

So I have just over an hour before meeting the people, and I'm not really sure what to do.  I'll probably wait till noon and hope someone answers the phone then.  Or I might ask The Grandfather for the favor.

i dunno, maybe

Writing a much different post I suddenly realized that my bike is in the trunk of Momma's car which is at her house with the rest of the car.  And I'll see her and the car before I need the bike again.

The Grandfather Who Owns The House did some plumbing and some lawn mowing today.  I did a small amount of mowing and told him I'd finish tomorrow.  I should have time, assuming I can get either of the mowers to work.  I know he'll get them working, but he's uncanny that way

I wish my bike was here.  Even though it doesn't matter.

I also have a surprise interview tomorrow.  A guy I used to work with works across the square at a much different restaurant which is apparently about to lose a couple of people, so they're looking for someone, and this guy remembers me from about a year ago.

There's a whole love/hate relationship, hopefully entirely one sided, between me and my current place of employment.  I've been underpaid most of the time I've been there.  At the same time I've been passed over for all sorts of perks that I think could have at least been offered to me.

My availability has been fairly limited the entire time I've worked there, though I have ample hours that I can actually work.  For what it's worth, I was also the only one with kids most of time that I've been there other than the owner who has both kids and grandkids.  There is now another employee, not too bad of a guy, who easily skated into the job of other main kitchen person second to the kitchen manager.  I'm not sure of his exact title, and I don't know what he makes.  He also has kids, but I won't get into his story.  I am, however, glad that I only parented children with a single other person.

I really don't know much about the place I'm visiting tomorrow.  I know a little, but I've actually never been in.  My going out to restaurant time has kids in it 90% of the time with the other ten being bar food when that's all that's open.  I did treat myself to Mexican recently, but that was lunch one day before beginning the picking up of kids from school.

 The guy I know talked as if I could show up and have a job, but I have to keep in mind my availability as this place isn't open most days, and that's been my schedule for a couple of years.  I've gotten more hours while Momma gets nights which have been better for her.  It's worked, and one of us is almost always able to be with the kids.  She's willing now to switch her own availability some, and that would certainly help if I decide to take the job.

Of course this does nothing to help my getting-out-of-restaurants-maybe thing I've been thinking about, but maybe it'll be good until I get to that point for reals.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

dirty water legs

Other than the distance from my current home to work, I'm loving riding a bike.  There are those times, however, when Momma's car is available, and I take it.

I can't easily move around with the kids on a bike.  Big Brother has a bike in the garage that needs to get pulled out and dusted off.  One good thing about this house is that we're really close to his school, so whenever we get around to getting him to do it he can ride his bike.

Sunday night saw me making my first ride for the hell of it.  I toured a local greenway with a couple of coworkers, we even forded a stream, but we weren't supposed to be there, so don't tell anyone.  I rode approximately twenty miles that day.

I don't know if that's a lot for people who ride bikes, but right now it's a lot for me.  I'm used to doing ten at most, the distance to and from work, and I wonder if it's a lot or if it feels like a lot jumping from a car to the bus to the bike in such quick succession.  My last drive in my much beloved Accord was 1/9.

And I'm also wondering lately if there are more people riding bikes lately, or am I just now noticing so many because I've suddenly joined them.  I've always seen them and been a little jealous.  Riding my bike stands out as the best times I ever had growing up.  I don't know if that has anything to do with it, but I've missed having a bike since the last time I really had one.

I have to congratulate myself again on such a great purchase in a bike, though I'm already wanting to do some slight modification.  What I actually want is a new pair of wheels and more roadworthy tires, though I don't want a skinny tire by any means.  And I want to be able to slap the mountain bike tires on at a moments notice.

Speaking of which, I want to actually put those mountain bike tires to their intended use as my weekend is upon me.  There's a local park with three loops designed for different levels, and though I haven't see it yet I'd like to think that beginner one has my name written all over it.  I'm not yet convinced it's within biking distance, and I haven't really tried to find anyone that would/could ride who would also have a car with bike toting capabilities.  Also, it's possibly supposed to rain again tomorrow.  Again.

Okay, it can't yet rain again tomorrow, but it can rain again, and I think I heard to expect it to do so tomorrow.

And with that I should probably just stop.  I just noticed the time and thought that it's a good time to be riding.  It's beautiful out right now, and just cool enough to be really nice.  I'm going to go stand in it and enjoy a cigarette.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

and doggone it . . .

One of those things happened tonight on the ol' Fb as I was reminded why I deleted so many friends so long ago.  A teacher from my high school years made a comment that was slightly politically charged, and I said something to disagree.

He said something about Obama being our first black president and being half white, and I corrected him that Clinton was actually our first black president.

He of course then pointed out that both were bad people and wrong, so I commented that I was rolling up my pants.

I took myself away from the debate, but I made sure to do so in a slightly passive aggressive way.  Now maybe I'm prejudiced when it comes to me, but I think that shows a touch of class.

Friday, March 04, 2011

more forced trip greening

I can't believe it's taken me this long to realize, but I've been doing it wrong.  I shouldn't be surprised that once again I've been missing the obvious.

Honestly, it's not necessarily a sudden realization.  I've been a little bit stubborn about, and it's kinda stupid when I admit to it.

My bike ride to work is about five miles.  I don't ride that everyday, and I don't make the round trip every day that I do ride.  The day that I bought the bike is the last time that I rode the bus and the only time the bike has ridden the bus that I know of.  Momma has been generous with her pity and her decisions to give me a ride to work, and depending on our schedules, sometimes we're both going to and coming from downtown that it just makes sense to take the ride.

My average time to or from is about thirty minutes.  The bus also takes about thirty minutes.  It stands to reason that a combination of bus and bike would be the best way to go rather than to add a five mile bicycle commute to a body that isn't really that used to the exertion.

But for whatever reason I didn't reason it out quite like that.  I saw a savings of the fifty dollar for a month bus pass.  Also, there isn't a bus on Sunday that will get me to work on time, and most Sunday's I'm scheduled at either eight or nine.

I don't dislike either the bus or the bike.  I appreciate the usefulness of the bus and will begin using the service again.  I love the bike, and I love riding, but I really am not in the physical condition to chew that big bite I bit.  Sunday's will have to be my suck-it-up-and-take-it day, and honestly, I'm going in to work brunch, which I truly hate, so I'm already sucking up and taking.

Perhaps I'll work some other deal to make my Sundays less hurtful.  There has to be a way.  But until then I'm going to make my other days slightly easier if not as cheap.  I'm going to find the balance between where I get on and off the two conveyances, trading each for the other at my whim.

There's also some thought about moving closer to town.  Everything I want or want to do is that direction, so it only makes sense.  But that's another post for another time.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

the bf's

First I should point out that none of what I assume about this couple can be proven without talking to them, and I'm far happier making assumptions than getting to the truth.

Second, we do in fact refer to them as the "bathroom fuckers."  And, keeping point one in mind, this might be totally inaccurate.

There is a couple that visits the place I work.  They came in regularly for a while before taking a break, but we've been seeing them again.  They always ordered the same sandwich that they want ready at a certain time.  They meet in the very back dining area, the one that's essentially in the kitchen, at the farthest table from the front.

My guess is that they are cheating on their spouses with each other.  I can't prove it, but there's a certain something about them that gives them that air.  Do I suspect cheating because I've developed a sense, an ability to recognize it?  Or am I just an ass that likes to assume the worst.

After several months in which we didn't see them we nearly forgot about them.  Sure, occasionally someone would remember or mention them.  Perhaps they'd be the butt of some joke or the topic of a "remember when" sort of conversation.  Restaurants change rapidly on the inside, and something that you've grown so used to that you completely take it for granted can disappear and be forgotten in a moment.

This couple, while ordering and sharing the same sandwich each visit, doesn't want it split and put on separate plates.  According a to one server the separate plate thing was tried, but the bathroom fuckers put the sandwich back onto one plate and disregarded the attempted good deed.

And now they're back.  He dresses sort of normally, but she dresses a bit nicer than you'd expect for an office drone.  Yesterday her tight top and fairly short skirt seemed to beg for attention.  They sat with their heads together, and then, when no one was looking, the couple was gone.

They weren't too far gone, as they'd left stuff on the table, so we knew where they were.  They were in the bathroom again.

We discussed in low whispers what we could do to learn about them.  I suggested someone try the old ear to the glass to the wall trick to see if we could hear anything, but no one really wanted to be that guy.

Eventually she exited the bathroom and retrieved her stuff.  She pulled on a jacket and left wearing a look that was difficult to read.  Had she just been penetrated in our bathroom?  Had she performed for him?  We waited until he made his exit a few minutes after her.  He had a whole other look about him, and he walked away with what I'd describe as a forced nonchalance.

I can't say for certain that they fuck in our bathroom.  I sent a server in as soon as the man left, ordering the server to do smell check "for spunk."  Yeah, I know that's nasty, but it made me laugh both then and now, so I'm sticking with it.

Apparently there was no  spunk odor, and we still can't prove anything, but we'll still call them the "bathroom fuckers."

Monday, February 28, 2011

dirty basement water legs

I feel like I've written about the flooding that sometimes happens in my basement.  If so I've explained that the pump is in the farthest corner from the door, and I've probably described the crate walk.

Because the pump is in the far corner there are two milk crates in the basement.  When it floods I use the crates to move above the water.  Standing on one crate I move the other ahead of me then step onto it.  I repeat this process until I reach the pump then jiggle the pump until it starts pumping.  Sometimes I have to dig around in the hole to break loose the collected flotsam, and I have a stick that stays in the basement for this very reason.  Once the pump is working I turn and do the crate walk back to the door.

Rain has been falling throughout the day, and I was even lucky enough to get to bike in some light rain this morning.  I arrived at work thoroughly damp, though my butt was nearly soaked from the spray off the back tire.  I won't even attempt a description of my hair, but it needs to be cut and was the combined crazy of rained on and wind blown.

I left work an hour early and met Momma and The Boy near the square.  She needed to be at work earlier than usual, and I was able to leave work in order to take her car and meet Big Brother at his school.  She warned me to avoid our usual driving route due to flooding, and as we travelled I saw plenty of flooding around town.  Our town is a very hilly town, so between the hills and the paved surfaces and the low places we can see lots of rapids down road ways as well as a number of 24 hour ponds.

I knew of course that the chance of my basement being flooded were very good, so upon arriving home my first goal was to check.  I could tell the basement was flooded more than usual, but I couldn't really see how deep it was.  I could see one of my crates, but I needed a long stick to get it close to me.  I try to leave them near enough the door, but sometimes they get pushed out of the way on dry basement trips.

I found a long stick and braced myself against the brick doorway and leaned as far as I could and just could reach the crate.  I wasn't sure how easily it would move, so I wasn't expecting instant cooperation.  I also wasn't expecting for the crate to be floating and to slowly roll over when I did reach it.

But it did.

I ended up changing into shorts and donning my flip flops.  I was dreading my adventure into the cold, brown water, but it exceeded my expectations.  The water is in fact cold and brown and reached just above my knees when I was finally brave enough to step out into it.  It's so cold in fact that it nearly took my breath away, almost like that first jump into the pool.

I'm sure the boys above in the house heard me as I made my way to the pump.  I was singing loudly, "Oh my god it's sooooo COLD!" a little ditty I made up trying to keep the water temperature from driving me over the edge of sanity.  I could only move so quickly as there are plenty of dangerous and invisible things in the brown water ready to trip me or worse.

Thankfully I did finally reach the far corner, and thankfully the pump didn't take too much jiggling to start working.  Now I've got coffee steeping and another trip outside to peek into the basement.  I hope to hear the pump still working, and I hope to see a noticeable drop in the water level.  And I hope to relight the water heater's pilot soon.  The boys already needed baths tonight, and now I'd really like a shower.

Monday, February 21, 2011

loose pad

Fortunately my back brake is tight, tight as in works well enough that I can skid without too much trying.  Also I was fortunate in not having been moving very quickly when I hit my front brake which suddenly wasn't really working in a way that was even a little bit helpful.

It probably wasn't really nice or proper of me to refer to the kid as a sack of shit, but either one or both of his parents are a sack of shit for letting him play with my bike.

Entering the restaurant where I work through the front door you pass between our bar area to the left and a separate dining room on the right.  Continue through and you reach the courtyard which is essentially fenced off inside the greater room, separating it from two walkways on the outer edges of the room.  These walking areas lead to the doors that lead to the stairways that lead to the condos on the floors above.  Continue your walk from the front door to end in the kitchen, where we have more dining, but if I start talking about the tourists I might start to rant a little.

Only one of the two doors to the upper living areas is used often, so the walkway leading to the less used door has become parking for those of us who ride our bikes to work. 

At some point today, as I was moving between the kitchen and somewhere else in the restaurant, there was a family seated in the courtyard.  Only the parents were actually seated at the moment I walked through.  The two young girls and young boy that were also part of the party were in the less used walkway.  While the girls admired the horrid painting of crap that takes up  nearly a twenty by thirty foot area of the wall there the boy could be seen fucking with my bike.

I have no proof that the kid fucked with my brakes.  One of my pads on the front was loose when I left, and I didn't know this till I was pedaling away and tried to use the brakes.  I tend to use the front brake more for control and the back for stopping or to slow myself more quickly.  In a sense I kinda rely on them a lot.

And it's not as if the kid was off somewhere, unattended and unwatched.  The parents were seated at a table facing the exact direction of my bike and their kid and were not more than five feet away.  Looking at their child would have confirmed that his bike was not in fact the one leaning against the divider fence and that he was in fact fucking with a bike not his own.

Perhaps they just didn't realize that the machine their child was treating as his own is in fact my main mode of transportation, much like their car is for them.  Maybe they just don't realize how dirty my bike probably is.  And it's not that it's so dirty so much as that I ride on regular ol' city streets where anything can and likely does go.  Bikes also hold potential dangers for small children, not the least of which is that they could easily pull the bike over on themselves.

Maybe the kid didn't loosen my brake pad, but it was working when I arrived in the morning, and it wasn't working when I left.  I easily found and fixed the problem, but that didn't really help when I first attempted to use that brake and it wasn't really there suddenly.

My front brake works, but it isn't as tight as the back.  The back is my stopping brake or my sudden need to decrease speed brake.  My front is a more delicate sort of control of speed.  That doesn't make it any less essential, but it also doesn't make it the point.

So, I saw the kid fucking with my bike, and I wanted to approach the parents and say something.  I'm also a restaurant employee and have been trained for years to not piss off the customer.  I also know how some parents can be when approached about something their kid is doing but should not be doing.  It's almost as if you're questioning their entire ability to parent as well as the general goodness of the children.

And I'm still not sure what I should have done.  Perhaps the simplest thing would have been to push my way into their little zone and remove my bike.  There are a couple of places I could have moved it to, and without having talked at all other than to excuse myself there'd be no reason for the parents to turn douche, though some people never need a valid reason.

The best idea really would be for people to control their kids and teach them that fucking with other people's stuff is really never cool.  They aren't special, and my bike should be understood to be off limits.  More than anything, the fact that parents didn't already get this idea is just baffling to me.  And that's part of my reluctance to say or do anything.  What can you really say or do to people like this?

p.s. Is the post title an homage or just a coincidence that made me think of this?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

food war? srsly?

Apparently two brothers in DC have competing pizza restaurants, and now they're "jumbo slice" is going to be on tv as they compete to see who has the best.

Food competitions sorta bother me.  I watched and enjoyed Top Chef when I had the good cables, but the competition aspect always bothered me a bit, and sometimes it irritated the shit out of me.

On a personal level it's not uncommon for cooks/chefs to have to feel like they are the best.  It's part of the thing, and it's probably completely natural.  Maybe it's just a guy thing because many of the guys I know are like this while few of the girls are, and by guys and girls here I mean those with whom I've worked in various kitchens.

The only reason the tv and show are even on behind me is that I'm just too lazy to go turn the damn thing off.  The remote works mostly, but the power button doesn't tend to.  Sometimes if you mash the button hard enough and enough times in quick succession the tv will turn off and then back on, but generally it's just easier to walk the couple steps to the tv.

Everyone likes different foods in different ways and for different reason.  And there is no single food that every single person on the earth is going to like.  Cilantro is a great example of how we taste.  I personally love it.  I feel like too much is almost enough.  But many people don't like it, and in fact they will often taste is as having a chemical like flavor.

Do you win by pleasing the greatest number of people? or do you win a food competition by having the best food?   or do you win by being happy with what you've made?

Maybe there's my real problem.  I'm my biggest critic, and if I'm happy with something I've made then I'm satisfied that I've created what I wanted.  I don't always feel like I've created what I set out to accomplish, but I'm also a good enough cook that I can make people happy while not feeling like I got it right.

Here's another example, chicken and dumplings.  Momma and I both make really good chicken and dumplings, but we make the dish somewhat differently, and we end with fairly different versions of the same thing.  We've also put some amount of time over the years moving our own personal chicken and dumplings recipes into our own territory where we play with the different variables to further create the dish as we imagine it.

As a side note I didn't really grow up with chicken and dumplings.  It just wasn't in my mother's repertoire, so it wasn't something I ate a lot.  If anything this just means that I'm less wedded to an ideal that I'm trying to recreate and/or perfect.

How about a final example?  Take a pound of green beans and trim them then steam them just right so that you've just brought out that lovely shade of green.  Half of that pound goes into an ice bath to stop the cooking while the other half gets tossed with a bit of butter and some sea salt.  The plain cold bean will have a nice crispness and sweetness to it.  It will almost seem to pop in your mouth, tasting just like itself.  The other bean has that bit of salt and butter, the salty and fatty being two things we tend to crave as humans.  Which is truly better?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

something about a hill or something

I really should have gone to bed before two o'clock this morning, but I was up by seven, and I did wake the boys up and get them moving toward clothes and breakfast, and I did get The Boy's lunch.  Big Brother is opting to buy lunch today because they're having barbecue trukey and/or pork. 

Yes, the menu does say "trukey," and yes, we have resorted to calling it that.  It's kinda like when your very young, not quite speaking clearly/correctly child refers to granola bars as "goobahs" and it sticks so that years later you say it without quite thinking.  I'm sure my mother still sometimes refers to "bibbits."

I could have gone back to bed, but I seem to have just as much trouble waking up after that little bit of extra sleep, so I made my first cup of coffee of the day and decided just to stay up.

As our weather turned cold and business dropped on the square my place of employment ditched one of the day shifts.  This weeks sees us getting warmer weather, and with that there's every chance we'll have busy-ish lunches, or at least busy enough to need that third person back.

I should be off today, but I'm going in at eleven to be the third person for a couple of hours.  And since I'm up I can leave the house by ten.  I won't feel like I'm having to pedal so damn hard just to be at work on time, and I can finally explore some alternate routes that may or may not be almost just as bad as the basic route I've been riding to get to work.

Also, I really need to get my ass in gear and move closer to town, but that's really not the point at all right this moment.

I am slowly getting the hang of proper gear shifting, or at least shifting that feels proper.  But in this town it seems like a true art, because we have lots of hills.  Mostly I'm doing fine, avoiding most of the worst hills, but I'm also learning that there is always going to be at least one big hill between me and my destination.

I shouldn't complain, though I will, because the ride has to be good for me.  I'm sure I'm going to be in decent shape before too long, but I also need to get in the habit of eating better.  The machine can't work properly without enough fuel, and my eating habits have sucked so much for so long that it's difficult to change.

And now I have another hour before I want to be rolling down the driveway.  I'm feeling the sleepiness that wants to push me back under the quilt.  And I'm fighting the voice in my head that's telling me I could sleep for an hour and be up and ready to go on time.  I'm fighting that voice because I know better.