Is This Thing Still On?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I struggled for a bit with being in the right frame of mind to write anything. I struggled with thinking there was no point in posting anything because no one cared anyway. My days were(are) sometimes stressful and demoralizing. I needed a break.

Fortunately, I decided a couple of months ago to take the day after Veteran’s Day off and take a short trip to visit family in Kentucky. I found a very cheap flight($90 round trip) on Spirit Airlines. I was able to pack all of my stuff in a backpack that counts as a personal item and I let them pick my seat so I had no other charges. Both flights were on time or early, the crew was friendly and the seats were comfortable. I would recommend them for anyone who is fine with no frills, no snack flying.

I got there early Saturday morning and spent the day at a school watching my niece’s 8th-grade basketball team play.  Doesn’t everyone fly hundreds of miles to watch middle school basketball? I did go out to lunch between games, so I had that going for me.

Sunday my sister came over to my brother’s house, we grilled out, hung out and played Scatergories. This gave us the funniest part of the trip. One of the categories was states. My niece rolled a K and wanted to roll again saying “There aren’t even any states that start with K!” Remember, we were in Kentucky…

My brother took Monday off. We went out for breakfast. We went bowling. I won. We stopped for coffee. We played Madden on his old Play Station. I lost. We went out to dinner with a friend from high school. We went to another middle school basketball game and then drove home in the snow. It was a good day and really made me want to retire. It was much better than going to work.

On Tuesday I drove to my hometown. It had been a while since I’ve been to my hometown. I walked around downtown a little, had lunch with my sister, and got a doughnut at the new doughnut place in town.  I went to the public library to see how much it has changed since I was a kid. I stopped for coffee at a new coffee place in town and then headed back to my brother’s to get ready to go to the airport. Since my niece’s game was canceled that night we had time to meet my other niece for dinner before my flight.

As you can see from my very boring synopsis, it was a nice, stress-free four day weekend. I really needed it. I really need to retire so my life is more like that on a daily basis.

We will see if it has revived me enough to feel like writing more. The stress came back strong.

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Some Mondays are Very Monday

I stayed up late last night watching the Ravens beat the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. I got a little less than seven hours of sleep. That’s not terrible. I would like to get eight hours, but if I can hit seven I feel like I’m OK. A little less than seven and I’m verging on struggling the next day. So, I started out the day in a less than stellar way. It went downhill from there.

I just deleted a paragraph because I don’t think I should write about why this Monday was a very Monday Monday for reasons mentioned here.

It’s very hard to come home and write anything when your day sucks. It used to be that the blogging helped me deal with the stress of the day. Now the stress of the day is winning and I spend a lot of time staring at a blank screen. It’s also hard to write when you are boring. If I could think of interesting stories from my past it would be easier. I have no interesting stories left.

So, I can’t write about my stress because I’m not anonymous. I have no interesting stories to tell. I guess I need to do more posts about politics or TV or just give up.

The New Evangelical Values

An added bonus second post today before I forget to talk about the above tweet. Robert Jeffress talks about impeaching Trump being the same as impeaching Christian values. He holds says Trump embraces these values. Let’s take a look and see what these new evangelical values might be.

Multiple cases of adultery.

Paying off a porn star to cover up more adultery.

Sexually assaulting women and bragging about it.

A long history of fraud in business dealings.

Stoking and normalizing white supremacy and hate.

Over 13,000 documented lies since taking office.

Separating children from their families and locking them in cages.

Mocking people with disabilities.

Enabling discrimination and hate for the LGBTQ+ community

Turning your back on allies and embracing dictators

That’s a weird list of values for a pastor to embrace. It’s no wonder young people are turning away from the church. The church has turned away from what it’s supposed to embrace to instead embrace power and political clout.

 

 

 

What’s Good in Tater Town 11/3/19

Generally a good week. Some of the same stuff I deal with on a weekly basis, but events kept me away from the worst of it this week.

  1. My son came home for dinner Monday night and it was the one night of the week my wife didn’t work late.
  2. I took notes for an event at work Tuesday night so I worked off hours and out of the branch.
  3. Leftover Mission BBQ from the event for me and the branch.
  4. Another out of branch training Wednesday meant being away from stressors and gelato at the farmer’s market after.
  5. People actually attended the true-crime thing I did at the library.
  6. Halloween at work is fun. People dress up and take life a little less seriously than usual.
  7. I was home and not at work Halloween night after three years in a row of working.
  8. I worked on Friday instead of Saturday this week. A full weekend off is always good.
  9. Dinner and drinks out with friends Friday night.
  10. Mowed for probably the last time for the season on Saturday.

No out of branch stuff this week to break up my time but I am flying to Kentucky Saturday morning si I have something to look forward to.

 

My Week in Movies, Books, And TV 11/1/19

Last week I wrote about my failings in reading and viewing. I’ve done much better this week. It helped that my wife worked late a lot this week and worked some more when she was home. I had a lot of alone time to fill.

Movies – I still only watched one movie this week. It was Toy Story 4 and I watched it alone because my wife and son did not want to watch it and my daughter saw it in the theater(and wasn’t home anyway). I thought three had a perfect ending and I’m annoyed that they decided to do another. It was unnecessary, but it was still good. I enjoyed the new toys in this one. The voice cast is still excellent. The story was a lot of the same. The ending was not as good as three but maybe, finally a real ending.

TV – I finished the latest season of 13 Reasons Why. This is another one that had the possibility of a good ending with a scene at the end of the last season but added a cliffhanger to set up a third. This season had a scene at the end that also would have been a good ending, but they’ve already announced a 4th and final season, so there were also scenes setting up story for that. This last season was good. I liked how they told the story. I liked how they added some depth to the villains without excusing what they did. I have no idea how they will end this story, but as I told my daughter, I’m invested in the lives of these fictional kids and want to see ho it ends.

Books – I finished two books this week.

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Kileen – This was one of my assignment books for the teen literature conference. It tells the story of a Jewish girl who is orphaned when her mom dies running from the Nazis. She ends up working with a spy and infiltrating a Nazi girl’s school to try to get invited to a Nazi scientist’s house to sabotage a bomb he is making. It was a decent book. I might have liked it better if t was not homework. I did feel like the girl became a master spy a little too quick.

Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley – Another teen book, but one I read because I wanted to. The story is told by Nathan as he is being deposed in the case of his being stabbed by his friend. We go back to when they met and see the events of what led to the stabbing through Nathan’s eyes. It is the first book in a while I liked so much that I didn’t want to put it down. There were plot points that surprised me. That’s unusual. I would highly recommend.

On Deck – I still have the new Lion King on DVD. I also have Midsommar and a Korean movie my coworkers handed me. I will have to watch those alone. Jack Ryan’s new season starts today on Prime. I have a feeling I will be watching a lot of that. It is also college basketball season so I several hours of my TV time each week will be watching games. I have another assignment book for work, The Favorite Sister b Jessica Knoll. It is definitely I wouldn’t read if it wasn’t for book club.

The Song that Reminds Me of an Accident

I have several songs that bring back specific memories. There is a song that takes me back to the night I was leaving Cincinnati for the last time and moving to Maryland. There are plenty of songs that take me back to various times and people from high school. Some songs will now always remind me of dad’s dance at my daughter’s dance recitals.  One song I heard last night, That’s All by Genesis, will always remind me of a minor car accident from my freshman year of high school.

I did not drive while I was in high school, so I spent every morning standing on Main Street waiting for the bus. I rode the bus the entire four years I was in high school. Obviously, this story takes place before I was legally able t drive anyway. I just thought I would try to get people to pity me for riding the bus. Anyway, this particular day I was standing on Main Street as usual. I’m pretty sure it was drizzling a little. I’m pretty sure that’s why someone pulled over and asked us if we wanted a ride to school. I can’t remember who it was. I didn’t know them. I think maybe my brother did. We said yes and piled into the car.

The first stop was at the middle school to dop of the younger kids. The high school and middle school had similar hours. We stopped in front of the middle school, dropped people off and then headed around the school to get to the high school next door to park and go to school. I guess the driver took the curve a little too fast, went off the road, hit the mud and started spinning. We spun around and ended with the car hitting the middle school. The middle school principal charged out and told all of us but the driver to go on to school. Leaving the scene of an accident is not something you should do, but when the principal told us to do it, we did.

I went to school and my first class was Biology(I think, Definitely science). For some reason, my teacher had been talking about a train crash. When the school office told him I was needed there to talk to the police he jokingly asked me if it was about the train accident. I told him close, but a car accident and headed out. The police questioned me about the speed around the curve I answered honestly that I had been in the back seat and looking down at my books to make sure I had my homework so I had no idea how fast we were going. That was the extent of the questioning.

It was a very minor event with no repercussions for me at all, but every time I hear the song That’s All, the song that was playing when it happened, I am taken back to that day.

Another Author Story

I recently wrote about how I first made contact with Christopher Moore and how that led to me making online friends and having lunch with the author guy the last time he was in town for a signing. He is not the only author I randomly contacted via email. Here is another story.

After Chris emailed me back I decided I would try again when I saw another author’s email address in a book. The lucky winner this time was Lisa Scottoline. I had read and enjoyed her books so I wrote to her and told her that. She replied. I can’t remember all of the contents of our correspondence, but I do remember some exchanges about writing and growing to like an unlikeable character. She also helped me book an author visit for my library. I had contacted her before about a possible event. She was not available, but game me the email address for the person who id her bookings and told me to contact them if I ever needed an author. I did and they booked Phillip Margolin to come to my branch.

I had still never met her in person and saw that she was going to be in the area on a day I was free. I decided to go, but it meant skipping dinner to drive. I listened to her talk and then got in line to get my book signed When I got to the front of the line I told her my name and she realized I was the guy she knew from email. She then got out of her seat and hugged me. She also gave me a box of Tasty Cakes she had brought for show and tell when she found out I had skipped dinner to be there.

The only contact I’ve had recently was to tell her we were reading her book for book club at work and that I appreciated that she had discussion questions on her website. She told me to give the members a hug from her for reading her book and I replied that I would rather go with a firm handshake. I’m not sure she remembered me from before.

I’ve met other authors. I talk to a few on Twitter sometimes. None of them have felt as personal as my interactions with Chris and Lisa.

My Saturday of Books

I spent my Saturday off in Baltimore for Books for the Beast, a teen literature conference. I’ve been facilitating book discussions at Beast for years. They must be desperate for people to work the conference if they keep inviting me back. I’m the least exciting facilitator in the history of facilitators. I’m glad they do, though, because I love the event.

I started the day with free breakfast and coffee and seeing friends I don’t see all the time. Breakfast was followed by the first keynote speaker, Elizabeth Acevedo. If you have not read The Poet X do it now. I would recommend the audio. She reads it and it is phenomenal. She was a great speaker and it was a great way to start the day.

Then came the one group I was assigned to facilitate. We had five books to read and we should have a mix of teens and adults in the group discussion. Apparently, my teens opted to go to other groups with friends as I had none. That was disappointing as I love hearing the teen perspective and didn’t really need more time talking to librarians. I’m a very laid back facilitator. My one rule is don’t trash the book before the discussion begins. Other than that, I want it to be a conversation and I only step in if someone goes off-topic too much or dominates the conversation. I think it was a successful group if I barely need to talk. This was a successful group. I sometimes wonder, though, if people prefer the facilitators who ask a lot of questions and guide the discussion more. That’s what I had in the session I attended in the afternoon. I guess they don’t get complaints about me if they keep asking me back. Or they are desperate. It’s a toss-up. The group was followed by lunch outside with friends and then another discussion group.

The afternoon discussion group was followed by another speaker. This one was Alex London. He is a local guy who went to high school across the street from where we had the conference. He was very funny and I enjoyed his talk. I’ve never read any of his books, but after hearing him speak I feel like I would enjoy them. They then gave us a snack and sent us on our way home.

It is always a good day. A day of authors and books and seeing friends I from the library world. I wish it wasn’t only every other year.

What’s Good in Tater Town 10/27/19

This week was kind of a blur with a little bit of illness(just a cold) and a lot of travel to work outside my typical workplace. I think it was mostly a good week.

  1. Both kids were home for dinner and our usual game of Life on Sunday.
  2. The Ravens beat the Seahawks and are 5-2.
  3. A phone call Tuesday made me feel better about a situation.
  4. An all afternoon training Wednesday took me out of the branch and meant gelato from the farmer’s market on break.
  5. I had another out of branch meeting Thursday and then took leave after and got home early.
  6. I was able to leave early Friday to try to get over my cold before an all-day event on Saturday
  7. Books for the Beast was yesterday. It is one of my favorite work-related things I do.
  8. Elizabeth Acevedo and Alex London were the speakers and they were really good.
  9. Free lunch and breakfast, spending the day discussing books and seeing friends. It was a good day.
  10. Kentucky beat Missouri last night and have a better shot at a bowl game now.

I don’t know what the coming week will bring. There are still forces out there trying to make my days unhappy. Those forces aren’t going anywhere. I just need to cope until I can change my situation.