My Christmas Vacation

Today was my first day back at work since December 20. Rather than dwell on that bad news, I thought I would subject everyone to a boring post about what I did on vacation.

We headed out of town on Saturday the 21st. It’s an 8 hour drive, so travel day is pretty much only a travel day. We did drive into some winter on the way.

img_2036 We usually drive in on the 23rd so we had two extra days before we had official Christmas plans. I read a lot. We went to see the new Star War movie(I enjoyed it). We went out to eat at Red State BBQ where I have my favorite non-alcoholic Kentucky drink(pictured below) It was nice to be in town with some days to relax before the family obligations. We also went to see the Christmas lights at Kentucky Horse Park. The lights were nice, but the park police were terrible at directing traffic and caused us to wait an hour to get in. I might have left the car at one point to go yell at them for holding our lane too much. I returned to cheers from other cars.

We then moved on to family obligations. Christmas Eve was an hour’s drive to one part of my wife’s family for lunch and then the drive back for dinner with the other side of her family.  The good thing about both on the same day is that Christmas day is more relaxing. We can open gifts without rushing and just relax. The big surprise for me was a new iPad. Now I just need to learn how to type on it so I can use it for more than reading the newspaper in the morning.

The next day we headed west for Christmas with my siblings and a few days just hanging out at my brother’s house. This means basketball, frisbee, escape rooms, and Mexican food.

We also watched UK beat Louisville in basketball. L’s down!

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and saw moe Christmas lights.

It was a good time with family that unfortunately had to end. Now we are back home. My son is back at his house. I’m back at work. My daughter will go back to school soon. There are no fun plans on the horizon. At least the days are getting longer.

My Year in Reading 2019

Happy New Year Tater readers! I’m back with my yearly look at my reading. I was a bit down this year. It is the first time in a while that I have not reached my goal of 100 books read. There are several reasons for this: better TV, too much assigned reading, mental state, etc. Hoping for a change in 2020.

Top ten books read in no particular order

  • Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
  • The Outsider by Stephen King
  • The Institute by Stephen King
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
  • Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams
  • Full Throttle by Joe Hill
  • Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley
  • Security by Gina Wohlsdorf
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Honorable Mention

  • Sadie by Courtney Summers
  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • Dry by Neil Shusterman
  • Mobituaries by Mo Rocca
  • On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Book I would most recommend

This is a tough one. I would probably go with Wanderers by Chuck Wendig even though it is 800 pages long and most of my friends would never read one that long.

Worst Books I Finished

This is a tougher one. I gave a lot of books 3 stars this year. The only one I gave 2 stars was Target: Alex Cross, so I guess I will go with that.

Book I Dustbunnied

It looks like I finished every book I started this year.

Number of books read: 84

Number of pages read according to Goodreads: 28,795. According to that math that is 78.9 pages a day. That’s 10 pages a day less than last year, That means another 15 -20 minutes reading a day would get me back to where I want to be. Seems doable.

 

A Brief Look at Some of Tater’s Decade

The decade is almost over. There have been all sorts of “best of” lists for the decade. I can’t remember enough stuff to do one of those. I can remember some milestones for me over the last 10 years.

  • Two kids graduated from high school and we became empty-nesters. I’m still adjusting to all of that alone time. I think it would be easier if my time away from home wasn’t so depressing.
  • I left the jail after 19 years. Some days I think that perhaps this wasn’t as good as I thought at the time. I might be happier today if I still had my jail schedule and a job where people trusted me to do my job and left me alone.
  • My mom died. I still don’t think I’ve healed from that.
  • I transferred to a different workplace about a month after that. Possible my biggest mistake ever.
  • My son graduated from college and has a real job. He comes home for dinner most weeks. We see him more now than we did when he was in school.
  • I started this blog and have been off and on with my posting. Hoping to get back to on in the new year.
  • I went to the Super Bowl in New Orleans and watched my Ravens win after a power outage in the stadium delayed the game.
  • We went to the Final Four in Indianapolis where I watched my undefeated Kentucky Wildcats lose to Wisconsin.
  • We went to multiple interesting locations for my wife’s work.
  • We went to Norway, England, and France to celebrate high school graduations.
  • We traveled some inside the US.

Overall, it was a pretty good decade. The last three years or so of the decade have not been my friend. Here’s hoping the roaring 20’s turns things around.

Tater’s 2019

In which I look to see what I did that was noteworthy in the past year.

Winter:

We went to Orlando in January since both kids were free. We went to Harry Potter World for the first time and also visited Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

I turned 50 in February. We went to DC to have lunch at Old Ebbitt Grill since I have wanted to go there for years and had never gone. It was worth the trip.

Spring

I will call May spring otherwise I won’t have much to say besides celebrating my daughter’s birthday in March,

In May I attended the Maryland/Delaware Library Association Conference where my pub quiz team won first place. I did not really contribute at all.

At the end of May I traveled with my wife to her conference in Baku. I loved the city. More people should visit. It is a nice place and is not overwhelmed with tourists yet.

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We also did a 24 hour layover in Istanbul and toured the city.

Summer

In June I went to the American Library Association conference in DC where I met Henry Winkler.

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I also went to another Bowling for Soup concert

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We went to Kentucky to visit family and went kayaking

Fall

Not much notable for fall. My daughter went back to school so we were empty nesters again. I went to Kentucky over Veteran’s Day weekend to visit my brother and his family. My sister also visited one day and then I had lunch with her in my hometown. I went to multiple middle school basketball games to watch my niece play, went bowling and just had a nice relaxing weekend.

Trudging my way through December now. Only 4 more days of work after today and I head to Kentucky for a nice long break.

My Unpopular Opinions

A reblog of my unpopular opinions. It seems the only one that is actually unpopular is the Elvis vs the Beatles one.

The World's Common Tater

A friend posted his 10 non-political unpopular opinions on Facebook recently and then I saw someone else ask the question on Twitter. I’m not sure I can think of 10, but I decided to post some of mine.

  1. Elvis over the Beatles – It is probably because I grew up in an Elvis house and didn’t really know the Beatles’ music until late teens, but I’ve always liked Elvis more than I like the Beatles. If I had to make the choice to never listen to one of them again I would choose to keep Elvis. I do like the Beatles. I just like Elvis more.
  2. Pineapple on Pizza – My friend had this in his list as well. I also didn’t realize it is as controversial as it is. I love pineapple on pizza. It is one of my favorite toppings. Ham and pineapple, bacon and pineapple, chicken and…

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My Year in Blogging 2019

I’ve decided to go ahead and do a recap of my blogging year since I doubt I will post much before I head to Kentucky next week.

First, my overall stats for the year. They are actually not bad for my boring little blog. I’m still ahead of last year even though I stopped posting regularly last month:

Views – 8467 Visitors – 5104 Likes 2310 Comments – 566

Visits by Country – USA – 5661, UK – 859, India – 781, Canada – 251. No other country broke 3 digits.

Top 5 posts:

  1. The Lori Loughlin Scandal in Full House GIFS – It is what the title says. The college admissions scandal in GIFS from Full House.
  2.  I’m Done: A Tater Rant – A profanity-filled rant inspired by me being done with a lot of stuff. I’m still done. Probably more done than before.
  3. Tater Talks the Crazy Disney Mom Rant – My thoughts on the mom who ranted that people without kids should be banned from Disney. Spoiler alert – I disagree.
  4. Tater Talks Teachers – A post for National Teachers Day where I talk about some teachers who made an impact on my life.
  5. Tater Talks Leadership – Some thoughts on what I think it means to be a leader.

I was on a roll there for a while. I was writing stuff. People were actually reading my stuff. I thought maybe my blog would grow a little bit. Then a lot of my little daily frustrations exploded and left me is a state of mind that took me out of the blogging mood. I’m still pretty pleased with my stats. I’m sure most bloggers get 10 times the traffic, but it was a good year for me.

I’m thinking that whenever I start up again I might go toward more thoughts on TV and current events and less on my actual life. It might make it easier to want to write.

I guess this is a good time to post the link again where you can give me money to support the blog or to buy me a cup of coffee to drink while I’m writing. So, click this sentence if you feel the need to give a random blogger money.

 

In Search of the Christmas Spirit

It’s a dark and dreary night. I’m spending my second night home alone. My wife is out of town for work. It’s still one week away from my daughter coming home from college. My son is at his house. I’ve done nothing really Christmasy this year. Last year at this time we were at Zoo Lights at the National Zoo and then went out for dinner. This year, as mentioned above, I’m alone. The dark and dreary weather matches my mood. I can’t seem to get in the Christmas spirit this year.

I dressed up as Santa for work yesterday and had multiple kids get their picture taken with me. It still didn’t get me in the mood to celebrate.

We have our work holiday party tomorrow. Usually, I would be looking forward to some time with coworkers having fun instead of working. I’d rather have a snow day and stay at home alone.

Our Christmas tree is up and next to the couch where I’m writing this. Still not helping.

It might help if all this rain was snow.

It might help if I didn’t feel ill about leaving the house every day.

It might help if I wasn’t alone so much.

It will help when we get in the car and head toward Kentucky.

Only 9 days to go…

 

 

Christmas Viewing Musts

One more Christmas “classic”

The World's Common Tater

There are certain shows and movies that I try to watch every year during the Christmas season. Today’s post in the month of Tater is just a list of these in order of importance:

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

The Year Without a Santa Claus

Elf

It’s a Wonderful Life

Miracle on 34th Street

A Christmas Story(I will also try to watch the live one this year as well)

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Home Alone

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

I guess that’s it. I actually already watched Elf and Christmas Vacation last night and Santa Claus is Coming to Town is on tonight.  I don’t really care about Frosty, the Grinch or Charlie Brown. I’m sure they are all pretty high on other people’s lists.  I do consider Die Hard a Christmas movie, but I would watch that any time of the year, so it is not on…

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The War on Christmas

Setting: The North Pole, Santa’s Compound

It is going to be hard to infiltrate Santa’s bunker. His intelligence department is one of the best in the world. They see you when you’re sleeping. They know when you’re awake. Trying to take down Santa could be a big mistake. Luckily, the Happy Holiday Alliance had a man on the inside. A disgruntled elf has promised to provide inside information in exchange for asylum in the states and admittance to dental school. We thought we could turn a member of the Reindeer Force, but he was promoted to lead reindeer and guide, so that is no longer an option.

Another issue – their secret weapon – the Christmas Cheer. We’re not really sure what it is, but it seems to give them extra power. We’ve also hear that is spreads when people sing loud for all to hear. We have distributed noise canceling headphones to the troops to combat the issue. Our corporate sponsor Starbucks is lending a hand by distributing non-specific holiday cups and wishing people happy holidays as we’ve heard that saying Merry Christmas and putting non-religious, but Christmas specific symbols on the cup also increases the Christmas Cheer quotient.

With all of these precautions in place, we are ready to take the compound and finally win the war on Christmas. Hopefully, tomorrow I will check in during a victory dinner of grilled reindeer and Santa will be defeated.

 

Santa Problems

Soon I will write a fresh post. Until then, I will share some of my favorite Christmas themed posts. First, my problems with Samta.

The World's Common Tater

rudolph

I saw this picture on Twitter this morning and started thinking about some other issues with Santa.

In addition to the above, Santa was also very rude to the elves in Rudolph. He really didn’t come across as a nice person at all in the majority of the show.

In Santa Claus is Comin to Town he is a much nicer person but spends the entire time breaking the local laws. I also find it disturbing that a man comes to town, seduces the local teacher and uses her to convince the kids to leave their doors unlocked at night so he can sneak into their houses. His best friends are a confused penguin and a reformed evil wizard.

In Year Without a Santa Claus, he is depressed and quits his job because no one respects the work he does. I can relate to this one more than the rest…

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