What’s Good in Tater Town 1/24/20

This past week was the last week before my daughter moved back to her apartment near campus. Now I won’t have her being around to excuse my not being productive. I’m sure I can find new excuses. Let’s look at the good.

  1. Dinner with both kids Monday night.
  2. Nice enough weather for a walk every day.
  3. Steak and Shake for dinner one night.
  4. Free coffee at Dunkin.
  5. We got our daughter back to her apartment with no issues.
  6. While I’m sad she’s gone I’m happy she is back where she can see her friends.
  7. Our blinds were finally installed Friday morning.
  8. I got out of the house Friday to deliver late gifts to friends.
  9. One friend saw me delivering the gift so I talked to someone not in my family in person for the first time since I left work.
  10. I used my Starbucks gift card on the way home.
  11. Kentucky basketball actually won a game yesterday.

Turned it all the way up to 11 this week.

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Outstanding Blogger Award

Many thanks for Pepper Valentine for nominating me for the Outstanding Blogger Award here. Its nice to be recognized by other bloggers. You should go read her blog. Its a good one. So, here’s my response post.

The Rules:

1. Provide a link to the creator’s original award post.

2. Answer the questions provided.

3. Create 7 unique questions.

4. Nominate up to 10 bloggers.

5. Ensure that they are aware of their nomination.

6. Now let’s continue to support and cheer each other throughout 2021 for the Outstanding Blogger Award!

Questions by Pepper Valentine

1. Tell us your 2021 goals for your blog. My 2021 goal for my blog is to post at least 4 times a week. I would love to have content Sunday through Friday, but I’m not going to force it. I would like to increase the number of people reading.

2. How do you plan on implementing your goals for your blog in 2021? Plan more. Less writing whatever pops in my head in the morning and more writing planned, well thought out posts. Be more active in commenting on other blogs. Be better at Twitter.

3. What inspires you to write your blogs? I generally write what is in my head in the morning when I open my laptop in the morning. It has trended more toward my personal life recently. My life is pretty boring these days, so I will have to find inspiration elsewhere.

4. Why did you begin your blog? I was working alone at the jail and social media was a way for me to not feel so alone. I had done a boring work blog for a training and decided I should try to do more. At the time I started it long, long time ago I thought I might blog about library stuff but figured out pretty quick that it would probably be a mistake to write about library stuff given where I worked. I saw trouble and didn’t want any of that. I actually wrote about why I started blogging over 10 years ago here.

5. What have you learned about yourself in writing your blogs?  I have to learn patience in my writing and editing the same way I need to learn patience in my real life. People actually want to read what I have to say. I worry too much about stats.

6. What would you change about your blog? Better editing. Add more images to my posts. Be better about writing real reviews of books, TV and movies.

7. How do you feel about collaborating on your blog? I would welcome collaboration. I don’t really know how all of that works. I’m not sure why anyone would want me to write for them. I’m sure anyone could do better on my blog than me.

I am leaving the same 7 questions for my nominees because I’m lazy.

I’m going to list the blogs I read regularly. If you want to take this as a nomination and answer the questions, great. If not, I hope you at least get a couple of new readers from being on the list.

I’m sure there are many more I missed. Apologies.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 1/22/20

This was the last week with my daughter home from college. She moved back to her apartment last night. My TV viewing will now change from what I watch with her to figuring out what to watch alone until my wife finishes work. Here is my last week in viewing and reading.

Movies – I watched Bill & Ted Face the Music. I was worried that it had been too long since I had watched the original that I would be lost in this one. Basically, though, all you have to know is that they were told they would write a song that would unite the world. I enjoyed the movie. Keanu Reeve and Alex Winter stepped back into the roles perfectly. The daughters were cast perfectly. It was funny and the perfect length for a movie like this. Two tater thumbs up.

TV – I watched Survivor Pearl Islands with my daughter. It was one of the old seasons with iconic survivors that fell in the time I was not watching. I enjoyed the season. It’s fun going back and watching old seasons of Survivor and Amazing Race. I also got drawn into the Great British Baking Show. My wife and daughter were watching season 9 after I went to bed at night. One night I said I was going to doze on the couch while they watched instead of going up to bed. I got drawn into the episode and then stayed up every night watching the rest of the season. I really liked the contestants on this season and don’t know if I would have been drawn in if I watched a different season. I feel like I need to go back and watch the old hosts and judges since my daughter says they were better. We watched the first episode of the new Walker, Texas Ranger last night. I enjoyed it. I think it will be a littler deeper than the Chuck Norris version.

Books – I finished two books this week:

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon – A YA book that is a companion to another book I read by her. Pinky is tied of her parents thinking she always makes bad decision, especially when it comes to boyfriends. When she hears that Samir’s internship in DC was canceled she asks him to come to her summer house to be her fake boyfriend. Of course, the opposites attract and fall in love. If you like teen romances, you should read Menon. They are very good.

The Shadows by Alex North – When Paul was a teenager, his former friends are involved in a murder. One teen is dead. One is arrested and one, Charlie, has vanished. Years later, as an adult, Paul returns to town to see his dying mother at the same time a detective comes to town to investigate a copycat crime. Strange things start happening around Paul and more people are murdered. Is it possible Charlie is still alive? This one was very good. A twist I didn’t see coming. Creepy. Tense. The perfect murder book

On Deck – I will have The New Mutants on DVD. We might watch Outside the Wire and Netflix. I still need to find a TV show to watch alone. I just can’t decide if it should be a comedy or something else. I am reading Deadly Cross by James Patterson because I have decided I will keep going even though they tend to annoy me know. They are nice, quick reads.

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Sometimes I Think I’m Psychic

I will start by saying I don’t really think I’m psychic. I did, though, have another moment last week when the thought crossed my mind. I have had a few times in my life when I’ve had strong feeling about something that eventually turned out to be true. Some examples:

When I was accepted to the University of Kentucky I was given a date to go to campus for an orientation and class selection. I did not have a car or a driver’s license at that time. No one in my house had a driver’s license. I needed to figure out how to get there. My brother in law ended up taking me, but before that I had a overwhelming sense that I should call one of my friends who was also going to school there. It made no sense to me because they were supposed to go a different weekend. I couldn’t shake the feeling, so I called their house. No one answered so I left it. When I got to campus I saw my friend there. If I had made more of an effort to reach them I would have had my ride.

Multiple times in college I would be walking to class and the thought would cross my mind that I was wasting my time because class was canceled . I would then get to the classroom to find a note on the board that class was canceled.

One night in my dorm freshman year with a voice in my head screaming to lock the door to my dorm room. I had no reason to think my door was unlocked. It was. My roommate had gone out late and left the door unlocked. I can’t say something bad would have happened if I had not locked the door, but I’m glad I didn’t find out.

So many times I have a song in my head in the morning and it is on the radio when I start my cat.

A few times that I’ve had a strong feeling to do something and by doing that discovered some information that I didn’t know was there or needed.

The latest one was last week. My wife was in Kentucky with her mom She was due home Friday night. I was slowly getting the house clean for her arrival and was planning to vacuum Friday morning. Thursday afternoon I kept thinking I should vacuum now because she was going to surprise us by coming home early. I dismissed it and didn’t do it. I called her at some point because I couldn’t find something and she told me she was on the way home and would be here in an hour.

Anyone else out there have these weird moments when it seems you know things you shouldn’t know?

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Inauguration Day

Four years ago I wrote about inauguration day. I wrote about looking for hope even if you didn’t like the person being inaugurated. I think the last four years have been even more disastrous than I expected. The news has been worse and worse as the yeas have gone by, ending in the midst of a pandemic.

Looking back at my post from four years ago I see I had too much faith in other politicians. I should have known better. No one stepped up, No one in the president’s party spoke up against him until it was basically over. Politicians did what politicians always do – care more about power and reelection than the people they represent. It also seems hard to think about finding hope in each other. Try to remember that there is much more good than bad out there. The bad gets all the press, but the good is out there. Continue to find hope in the thought that our children can make the world a better place than we have left it. We can still work to become the hope in the world. Spend more time working to make the world better for others instead of arguing with each other on Facebook. Volunteer. March when necessary. Be a light in the darkness.

Today is a day of hope for the future.

We have a new president who is much more stable than what we have had for the past four years.

We have the possibility of leaders from both parties finding common ground.

We have hope that the vaccinations will ramp up and we will finally emerge from the darkness of the pandemic.

We have hope that we will go back to working with the rest of the world instead of distancing ourselves.

There will still be bad out there. Things won’t magically get better at noon today. We won’t magically live in utopia because of a change in leadership. The hope doesn’t fall completely on one man. The hope falls on all of us. Turn off the news. Stop arguing on social media. Start becoming the good you want to see.

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Fighting the Midwinter/Pandemic Blues

This time of year is always a little hard for me. The holidays are over. It’s cold. While the days are getting longer, it is still dark relatively early. I go from having my kids around back to the empty nest. There’s not a lot to look forward to until the days are longer and warmer. This year is compounded by the state of the world. The virus is still out there. We just hit 400000 deaths in the US. DC is under guard to protect against violence at the inauguration. It will be east for me to give in to the depression and just give up on finding any good or being productive.

It took me a long time to even consider opening my laptop today. The only reason I did is because I am writing a letter of recommendation for someone’s grad school application today. Otherwise, I would have justified letting the writing go for another day.

There are positives, but I can dwell on even the negative of that.

Three family members have received their first shot of the Covid vaccine. Hopefully, my mother in law will get an appointment soon. This is all good news. But I remember that I am on the bottom of the list for vaccinations. I will be lucky to get mine by June. Most of my family has a reason to be ahead of me due to jobs and health conditions. I foresee a time when all of my family in Kentucky is vaccinated and can see each other while I am here in Maryland still waiting on my turn.

This was made worse by someone in the library world telling me that there is a push for library employees to be added to the essential worker tier of the vaccinations. It would be typical for me to leave my job only to find out that if I had stayed I could have been vaccinated earlier. I strongly disagree with this idea. Librarians who were always very vocal when it came to funding about how essential they were all suddenly decided they were nonessential when it came to the discussion of opening to the public. You can’t now decided you are essential again to jump the line for vaccines. If you closed in March and never considered opening again or expanding services you can’t now claim to be essential when it gives you benefits. Assholes.

I’ve talked in therapy about what to do to fight this. I want to find volunteer opportunities. I want to see if there are online trivia nights I can join. I want to initiate Zoom social nights with friends from high school, college, etc. I want to do all of this, but it is so much easier to sit on the couch under a blanket and wait for things to get better.

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10 Days of Travel: Day 8 – Baku, Azerbaijan

Can’t find the words today, so I will do my travel photo this morning. The last location for my wife’s conference before the pandemic made it virtual. I had no idea what to expect. I ended up being on of my favorite cities we have visited. The people were very friendly, the city is safe and walkable, and it isn’t overrun with tourists.

10 Days of Travel: Day 7 – India

I will include a photo from India despite the fact that India tried to kill me. This is Charminar, one of the stops on the official tour with the government group. As we walked through the shopping area we were escorted by police and warned not to stop and shop. We eventually made it through the crowd and to the top of the tower in the photo.