What’s Good in Tater Town 6/30/19

I’m going to cheat on this one since I didn’t write one last week and use a lot of stuff from the conference I attended last weekend. I probably won’t write one next week since I will be on vacation. I might not post at all July 6-10. So, here’s the good from the last week or so.

  1. I was able to attend the American Library Conference in DC this past weekend. It was a good conference with a lot of good speakers. I also just enjoyed taking a train instead of driving every day.
  2. Some of the speakers I got to hear – Jason Reynolds, Sonia Sotomayor, George Takei, Frank Miller, and Tomi Adeyemi.
  3. I not only heard Frank Miller speak but got to meet him and have him sign a book.
  4. I met Henry Winkler. img_1645
  5. I picked up a lot of ARCS of upcoming books, including the sequel to Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.
  6. I went to a lot of good sessions about issues in libraries.
  7. We went to see my favorite baseball team, the Braves, play in DC Saturday night and they won.
  8. I went to see my favorite band, Bowling For Soup, in concert on Tuesday night. img_1668
  9. I was able to get the yard mowed Friday before noon so I wasn’t out during the extremely hot part of the day.
  10. We were able to get our broken AC fixed quickly yesterday before I got extremely hot.
  11. We went to the local park within walking distance of our house to watch fireworks last night.
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Self Doubt

If you have followed this blog(or my personal Facebook page) you will know that I have long contemplated my future career-wise. I have applied for promotions where I currently work. I have been turned down for promotions where I currently work. I think we are close to 20 times now that I have been turned down for a new job with my current employer. I have applied for multiple jobs at other organizations. I have been offered one job. You can read here about my decision to turn down the job offer. In that post, I talked about upcoming opportunities for change. Those opportunities did not pan out and now I am back to where I was before, contemplating my future.

There is a job opening right now that seems to be a good fit for me. It is a change, but not a major change. I would be doing a job similar to what I’m doing now. The commute would be manageable. It would not mess up my long term plans(I don’t think). It would rest my vacation, but I could deal with that. I’m still hesitating, though, before completing the application. Why? Various reasons. Various questions. Is 50 too old to make a major change like this? Do I really want to start all over at a new place? Do I want to give up the vacation I’ve accrued and start over? And the big one – Am I good enough?

Maybe the reason I’ve been turned down for so many jobs where I work is that they know me and know that I’m not good enough. Maybe I’ve been fooling myself all these years and I’m not actually good at what I do. Maybe they see all of my faults and they all add up to someone who would not succeed at these jobs. Maybe I’m better off staying where I am. What if I go somewhere else and they realize all of this and then I end up with no job? Maybe I should have stayed in my old position where I was basically invisible and it was less likely people would realize all of this. Maybe it’s time to admit to myself that it’s not them, it’s me and I should stop wasting my time.

I should approach the job thing like high school me approached dating. You can avoid all the inevitable rejection by not trying at all.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 6/28/19

I was back and forth to DC through Tuesday and usually very tired when I got home. I went to a baseball game on Saturday night and a concert on Tuesday night. I didn’t read as much on the train as I expected and was not home on the weekend to watch movies. It was a light week in screen and page.

Movies – I did not watch a movie this week. I’m 99% sure I didn’t even watch a piece of a movie on TV while doing other things. My movie viewing has gone down significantly recently. That might be the case for the entire summer. Maybe I will start going to the movies on my Fridays off again in the fall.

TV –  Another week of catching up on shows on the DVR. We are still working our way through Legends of Tomorrow. I’m still occasionally watching Dead to Me on Netflix. It’s a good show and I would watch faster if I had more time home alone these days. We’ve watched a couple of episodes of Mr. Iglesias on Netflix. When talking to someone at work about it we determined that it was AP Bio if AP Bio was a Disney show. I would likely not watch it if it was on regular TV and I had to record it, but since it is readily available and sometimes we need a short show we don’t need to think about we will probably watch more of it.

Books – I thought I would have more to report here. I thought all of the train and Metro rides would lead to more reading. It didn’t. I read less this week. I finished one book and started another. I think I worry too much about missing my stop on Metro to get too involved in a book.

Security by Gina Wohlsdorf – I will use the description the person who recommended it used – a slasher movie in book form. Someone is killing off all of the employees at a soon to open luxury hotel. It’s a nice, short book full of action. The author is able to make you care about the fate of the main characters without spending a lot of time on character backstory. There is a reveal partway through the book that surprised me. I would recommend it.

On Deck – We have Captain Marvel and Isn’t it Romantic on DVD. There is nothing new and exciting on TV. We will probably finish Legends of Tomorrow and season 2 of On My Block this week. I’m reading Exile From Eden by Andrew Smith. It is the sequel to Grasshopper Jungle, one of my favorite YA books. I got the ARC at the conference this week. After that I should probably read my book club book, Planet Funny by Ken Jennings, before I leave for Kentucky since book club is two days after I return, I still have managed to finish every book club book since we started and I don’t want to break my streak now.

Living in a Post-Civil World

I had a lot of thoughts swirling in my head this morning, but none I could form into a post. I looked at my Facebook memories and this one came up from a year ago today. Not much has changed. People are still not civil. People still feel free to spew hate about others who are not like them. People still charge through life only thinking of themselves. People are OK with kids being detained in terrible conditions because they look different than them. People still hate others because of their religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. I’ve unfollowed and unfriended people on Facebook because I got tired of people alternating between posts claiming to follow Christ and posts supporting un-Christlike actions against people they hate. I’ve given up hope on it getting better.

The World's Common Tater

I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare that people were already comfortable with being rude to others long before Trump was elected president. I will say, though, that having a president who spends his days insulting people on Twitter does go a long way toward empowering people to do the same. But, the lack of civility started way before Trump and extends into every part of life, not just politics. The political side of it just gets all the news.

Anyone who works with the public has to have noticed that people say please and thank you a lot less than they used to. It’s amazing the number of times I’m on the phone and at the end of the transaction, there is complete silence as I’m waiting for the thank you and the other person seems confused as to why I am still on the…

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Further Thoughts From the Conference

I’ve gone into DC the past five days for the American Library Association Conference. Today, I head back to the real world. Before the real world, I thought I would add a few more thoughts about my time in DC.

I’m going to miss going to the city every day. I’ve lived and worked in the suburbs for the past 24 years. My wife has gone into the city every day for the past 24 years. I would happily trade places with her. I loved taking the train to the city and having a nice 20-minute walk through DC to go to work. I loved having a city with multiple lunch options outside my door. My normal work life has Wendy’s and a grocery store as the only close options if I don’t want to pack a lunch. I loved jumping on the Metro to go to a baseball game after work on Saturday. I know working in the city is out as an option at this point, but I really need to make an effort to head down more on my days off. I hate that I live so close and never go, but it’s hard to convince my wife to go back after she’s been there for work all week. She’s happy to stay in the burbs.

Larger crowds still annoy me. I don’t understand how people think it is a good idea to just stop walking in the middle of the crowded hall(or on a crowded sidewalk). I don’t get groups of people deciding these areas are the best places to stop and chat with friends. I don’t get the people who go to an author talk and then talk loudly with their friends. If you have no interest in actually hearing the author speak and would rather chat with your friends, go have coffee somewhere. Generally, I don’t understand why people don’t care how their actions affect others. This isn’t necessarily a crowd only thing. Unfortunately, that attitude is something I deal with on a daily basis. Sometimes I wish I could be someone who can do what I want without considering how it affects someone else.

I was much better this time at schmoozing with people in the exhibits. One publisher has promised to send me books for my branch(and one to me personally). I spoke to another company about partnering on a training we are doing at the state level. I stopped by the booth of a company we do business with to tell them how much I like their service. I talked to CIA recruiters. I stopped by the state library association booth to say hello to the people volunteering their time. It was like Bizarro Tater went to the exhibits in my place.

It was a good five days, but now I go back to my suburban life and Bizarro Tater goes dormant again. Maybe I can convince admin that I should go to PLA in Nashville in the spring.

A Tuesday Tater Update

I have a few minutes before I head off to the ALA closing session so I thought I would write a little about why I haven’t posted since Friday(missing my usual What’s Good post).

I’ve been attending the American Library Association Conference in DC since Friday. The conference opened with Jason Reynolds

and then the exhibits opened. The exhibit area is full of publishers and other companies who do business with libraries. There is a ton of free stuff, including ARCs of upcoming books. I could spend the entire conference in the exhibit area and be happy, but there are also a lot of good programs about library services to attend.

Saturday I focused on the learning part of the conference and skipped the one speaker, Hoda Kotb, that I wanted to see because I couldn’t figure out another time to eat lunch. I went the wrong direction looking for food and ended up eating at Bolt Burger because it was the first place I found. Had I headed the other direction I would have found plenty of options. I then met my son for dinner and the rest of the family met us and we went to the Braves/Nationals game.

Sunday I went to more classes, but also went to the talk with Frank Miller in the ballroom. I found out when I got there that he would be signing books after. I always bail on the author talks when the Q & A starts because the people asking questions annoy me, so when we got to that point I went out and got in line for the signing. I was near the front and got the book signed pretty quick. I thought meeting him would be the highlight of the conference. My afternoon session was a dud, so I left and went back to the exhibits. I had heard that Henry Winkler was at the conference, but not that he was signing. While in the exhibits, i saw people lined up to see him, so I got in line and this happened

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Yesterday, I went to a few more classes and also heard George Takei and Tomi Adeyemi speak. I also finally got to eat lunch at Busboys and Poets(it was packed on Sunday when I tried to go).

Today I go to the closing session with Mo Rocca and then I have tickets to see my favorite band tonight.

It has been a good weekend, but I’m exhausted.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 6/21/19

This week was more of a normal one for me. I think I had a good balance of screen time and reading time. I chose to read in the morning before work more than I have lately. I will have more reading time the next few days as I will be on a train to DC and back several times. Maybe I can get back on track.

Movies – We watched one movie this week – Cold Pursuit starring Liam Neeson. It was not what I was expecting. I thought it would be just another standard action movie, but it was not. It had a Fargo vibe to it. Neeson plays a snowplow driver who goes after the drug dealers who killed his son. He works is way up the chain to find the person ultimately responsible. It was a little odd, somewhat funny and much better than the standard Neeson action movie.

TV – We finished the most recent season of Fresh Off the Boat. I watched a couple more episodes of Good Omens. I watched the first episode of the new season of Big Little Lies. I watched the first episode of Euphoria(I don’t think I’m the target audience). We watched the new episodes of The Detour and Yellowstone that aired this week. I will forego talking about any of that and use the rest of the space to say how fun DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is. We watch most of the DC shows and like them, but I think Legends is now the best of them. It has a great cast and fun characters. It’s funny and doesn’t take itself seriously at all. What other show on the air would give you a sequence of changes in the timeline that eventually results in all of the characters turning into puppets? The first season is not great, but they wrote out the boring characters and started adding more fun to the show after that and now it is the best of the DC shows.

Books – I finished three books this week

Sadie by Courtney Summers – It alternates between a podcast telling Sadie’s story and the story from Sadie’s perspective. The audio is very good. Sadie is hunting the man she knows killed her little sister. The podcast is following her story and trying to find her. It was a very good story, but don’t believe it if someone tells you it is scary.

Dead Man’s Mistress by David Housewright – The latest in the McKenzie series. McKenzie is a former cop who left the force in order to collect the reward for catching an embezzler. He is now wealthy and acts as an unlicensed PI for friends of friends. I really like the series and the character is fun. I like that he is in a serious relationship and is not the normal PI character that sleeps with another woman every case. In this one, he is hired to find stolen art that might be previously unknown work from a famous artist and soon stumbles on to a related murder.

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix – A night in a haunted Ikea-like store that is on land that once held a prison. It is a quick read. I liked it a lot. It gets closer to being the scary book I was looking for, but I think I’m just past finding a book scary now. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good horror book. It is well written and creepy.

On Deck – I don’t have any movies on deck. I hope to get Captain Marvel from the library soon. I don’t think there is anything new starting on TV this week so we will keep working through shows on the DVR. The finale of Amazing Race is Wednesday night. I still love that show. I’m reading Security by Gina Wohlsdorf. It was recommended by the same person who recommended Horrorstor so I suspect I will like it. I will probably pick up a lot of ARCs at the conference today so I hope to get some exciting new stuff to read.

My Year in Blogging So Far

I should probably wait until the end of the month so it’s officially mid-year, but I have a severe case of “I should write something but I have nothing to say” so I am going to revisit times this year when I posted and people read. Maybe you will find one you missed.

Here are the boring stats – 4611 views, 2748 visitors, 1265 likes, 383 comments. Very small numbers for most, but not too shabby for me.

Where are these visitors from? Mostly the US, but the UK, India, and Canada all hit three figures so far.

Now my top five posts of the year:

The Lori Loughlin Scandal in Full House GIFS – over 200 views and all it is is my look at the college scandal using Full House GIFS. I never expected anyone would actually read it, much less over 200 people.

Tater Talks Teachers – and now we drop to my more common numbers for most read – in the 50’s. I wrote about some of my favorite teachers and then shared it to my high school class’s Facebook page.

My Favorite Song From Each Year I’ve Been Alive – Self-explanatory. A list of my favorite song from each year I’ve been alive.

I Learned to Knock that Day  A repost of something I wrote based on a friend talking about walking in on their parents at an intimate time. I still think it would be a good children’s book.

Tater Talks Blogging – Where I bore people by blogging about blogging.

And I leave you with the link to my page with a link to pity me and send support my blogging or at least buy me a coffee to drink so I don’t doze off while writing.

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A Recurring Stress Dream

When I was in college I worked at the university library. For a while, I was one of the people who arrived before the library opened to get ready for opening. We didn’t have a staff entrance. We entered and exited out the front doors. When I would arrive in the mornings there was always a couple of students waiting at the doors for the library to open. Many times they would try to follow me into the library and I would have to stop them. This process is the origin of the stress dream I’ve had off and on for years.

At some point in my time at the university, I started dreaming that I arrived at the library to open and there was a large crowd waiting to enter. I would unlock the door to go in and try to lock the door behind me but the crowd would surge forward. There were too many of them for me to keep out. Eventually, there would be hundreds of them surging forward and taking over the library.

I thought that dream would stop after I moved away and left the university. I was wrong. I’ve had some version of that dream at every library I’ve worked at since. I’m writing about it today because I had the dream last night. Last night’s dream was not an opening of the library dream, but a closing the library dream. The library I was at was a weird hybrid of my current branch and the old version of my former branch but all of the people were my current coworkers. It was time to close the library. Someone else was supposed to lock the doors and clear the library. For some reason, they left and left me behind without doing either of these. I had people in the library who wouldn’t leave and more people trying to come in before I was able to lock the doors. For some reason, there was also someone there to fix the building alarm at the same time. Eventually, someone came back to help me clear the building and lock the doors.

I’m never sure what prompts the return of the dream. I used to joke that the dream was a sign that it is time for me to leave the job. The new wrinkle in the dream would probably prompt a therapist to see abandonment issues. Any dream interpreters out there?

What’s Good in Tater Town 6/16/19

I was back to a relatively normal schedule this week. No trips. No school visits. No change in my hours. Just an ordinary week of work and not much else. Was there any good? Let’s find out.

  1. My wife and son made it home from Portland safely.
  2. It was a long wait at the cell phone lot because BWI sucks at luggage handling, but that gave me time to read more of my book.
  3. The Braves took sole possession of first place in the NL East.
  4. I was finally able to start watching Good Omens.
  5. We bought tickets to see the Braves play in DC this Saturday.
  6. The weather was really nice this week so I had multiple lunches outside.
  7. Free coffee at Panera gave me an excuse to go sit and read there for a while before work on Friday.
  8. My son got his official job offer and will start a real full-time with benefits job after his fellowship is over.
  9. We went out to lunch at our favorite restaurant yesterday to celebrate my son’s birthday.
  10. For once schedule issues at work worked in my favor so I was home to go to that lunch instead of being at work.

It was harder to get to ten this week. It was an ordinary week with a lot of little annoyances with the work part of it. It will be easier the next few weeks as I go to a conference and then to Kentucky to visit family. It’s good to have things to look forward to when you are depressed about going to work.