My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 1/17/20

I finally have the time to write something again just in time for my Friday wrap up of what I’ve read and watched this week.

Movies – Even with multiple movies from the library all I ended up watching was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It was my second time watching it. I went to see it at the theater back when I was still finding time on my Fridays off to go to a movie. This time I watched it with my family because my son was home and wanted to see it. They complained it was too long. The didn’t care about DiCaprio’s character’s story at all. They liked the Brad Pitt part and had a lot of interest in the Manson stuff. They asked me a lot of questions about the Manson family. I know way too much about the Manson family. As it was leading up to the final act they asked so many questions that I had to pause the movie to tell them that I didn’t want to spoil the movie but they should know it wasn’t an exact retelling of the events so they should stop asking me questions about the real-life events. Maybe I should stop watching movies I like with my family.

TV – The two main things we watched this week were Jeopardy GOATS and Crisis on Infinite Earths. I enjoyed the Jeopardy tournament and wish we had more episodes. I haven’t watched a regular Jeopardy episode this week. I wonder if it will be underwhelming after this tournament. We still have two more episodes of Crisis to go. So far I think they’ve done a good job with it. We’ve enjoyed all of the cameos and surprise appearances. I’m looking forward to hopefully finishing it this weekend. We also watched the first episode of The Outsider last night. I’m a big Stephen King fan and I liked the book. So far I think they’ve done a good job with it.  My son did not read the book and also liked it.

Books – I only managed to finish one book this week – A Very Scalzi Christmas by John Scalzi. It is a collection of his Christmas themed stories he’s written over the years. I don’t think there was a bad one in the bunch. It was a nice, quick, enjoyable read even though I read it after the holidays.

On Deck – I’m reading America Royals by Katharine McGee. I like the concept of an America where Washington became king. I wasn’t expecting it to be mostly a romance. It is taking me a while and will likely put me behind my reading goal early. I still have too many movies at home. My main goal is to watch Joker this weekend. We will hopefully finish Crisis this week and I will watch the Grey’s Station 19 crossover as soon as possible after it airs.

Hermit Dreams

I’ve joked for years that my goal in life was to become a hermit. Not a real hermit. I still want my family around. I still want to see the handful of real friends I have. I still want to leave the house to do things. I just want to only leave the house when I want to do the things I want. I don’t want leaving the house to feel like the biggest mistake I make every day.  I don’t want to feel physically ill about the thought of leaving the house and dealing with my day to day life. It is only a dream, though My hermit dreams could only come true with one of the following:

Finding a way to get paid to work from home – I work in a field where this is pretty much impossible. I have a public service job. I would have to find a way to provide information to people from home. I’m sure there is a way. I’m also sure it is already covered by others and would be impossible for me.

Suddenly be good enough at writing to get paid to do it – That ain’t happening.

Wy wife decides she makes enough money for me to “retire” immediately – I can’t see this happening. Especially not with a kid still in college. Also, not from a person who plans to keep working after she is retirement eligible. She doesn’t get why people want to retire young. She likes her job and enjoys going to work. Anything else seems odd to her.

Win the lottery – Not much less likely than the one above, but I’m not dumb enough to think I would ever win the lottery even if I bought tickets all the time. It’s nice to dream though.

So, I will keep dreaming of the day when I can stay home and deal with people on my own terms and when I want. I will dream of the day when I can leave toxic people behind me. I will keep looking for a change that will still be leaving the house, but a more positive experience that won’t mess with my retirement date.

I will also try to stop writing about this over and over. I had another thought about a post yesterday, but it was gone when I woke up this morning, I really need to start taking notes.

What’s Good in Tater Town 1/12/20

Another one of my regular posts I gave up on during my “hiatus.” This was my first full week back at work after the holidays and the Ravens were beat by the Titans last night. Those two combined with nothing really of note happening in my life will make finding a list of good challenging.

  1. My schedule worked out in a way that meant my exposure to difficult people was limited.
  2. My daughter is still home from college.
  3. Kentucky basketball won both games this week.
  4. They closed work early Tuesday so I was able to drive home in the snow while it was still light outside and got home a little early.
  5. I ignored housework on my Friday off and watched It 2, took a nap, read, and took the dog for a walk in the unseasonably warm weather.
  6. We had nice weather for the Ravens game last night.

I’m sure there are more, but that’s all I’ve got for now.

Some Tater Turning Points

The idea and the basics of this post ran through my head while in the shower. While you try to poke out your mind’s eye to rid yourself of the image of me in the shower I will see if I can transfer it to writing.

II was thinking about all of the events and decisions that lead me to where I am and how a change in any of them could change the direction of my life. It starts with sophomore in high school Tater

taking the advice of an older friend and applying to participate in the High O’Brien Youth Leadership weekend. I applied and attended. It was my first time doing something like this and being away from my family. I was weird and awkward the entire time, but it gave me the confidence to

apply to attend the Governor’s Scholar program the summer between junior and senior year in high school. I was accepted and spent the summer on the campus of the University of Kentucky where I met a group of people with whom I fit much more than the people at my high school. I got out of my comfort zone, lived away from home and had the opportunity to figure out who I was away from my small town. It probably was a big part of me

deciding to attend UK instead of Western Kentucky University. I had fond memories of the UK campus. Couple this with the fact that many of my closest friends from high school were going to UK and it was an easy decision. Going to UK gave me the

opportunity to accept a friend’s invitation to attend a service at the Baptist Student Union. Which gave me a place to go

when I realized that if I continued to hang out with the party crowd I spent my freshman and first half of sophomore year with I would likely end up leaving school. Spending more time at the BSU meant becoming friends with a new group of people who helped me break away more from high school me and start becoming more the me I am now. Those friends

introduced me to someone who went from being a friend of a friend to a friend to my girlfriend to my wife. Having a girlfriend lead me to getting a job to make money to pay for dates(my other job was in exchange for a free apartment). This meant I

started working at the university library where I discovered I was happier and more competent than I was in the classroom where I was trying to be a teacher. I decided to change majors to communications and then get a masters in library science and also decided

to ask my girlfriend to marry me which meant that I go with her to where she landed a job after graduation

in Cincinnati where I eventually got a job at a market research firm where I met people who broke me out of my shell more than ever before and where I gained confidence that I could be successful in the professional world. I worked there until

my wife was transferred to DC where I worked temp jobs until I was offered a contract job with the state of Maryland working with the prison system libraries

which gave me the experience to be the perfect fit for a job with a public library system running the library in the county detention center. This steady job made us financially ready for kids

and my son was born a year later. Four years later our daughter arrived, They both decided to go to school locally which could be the next turning point that means I will retire in this area.

All of these things linked up put me where I am today. Any change in any of them could have dramatically changed the direction of my life.

Nothing New to Say?

When looking at TimeHop today I saw I had written a post about pet peeves during a writing challenge. I thought “Maybe I should revisit those and talk about how it has changed.” Turns out it hasn’t changed. I listed three: lateness, bad drivers and people who say they don’t have time to read. All still accurate. I’m sure there are more as well, but I had nothing new to say about any of the pet peeves.

There is now in the forecast for today. Not enough to close anything, but enough snow talk to bring snow days to mind. I had some thoughts about the difference between a planned day off and an unplanned snow day. Guess what? I’ve written about snow days and how special they feel. I think I’ve written about it a few times.

I’m in a stretch of time where I have nothing of note on my schedule. I will go to a Ravens playoff game Saturday night. I guess that is noteworthy. Otherwise, I have no trips planned. I have no days off planned outside of the random winter holidays and eventually my birthday leave day. I will likely spend those sitting at home watching TV. This stretch of nothing of note will continue to summer when we have our trip home to Kentucky. I don’t anticipate anything happening that will inspire a post.

I need to take the time tomorrow to plan out some writing ideas or just give up on expecting a new post from me every day. The planning part needs to start with a decision on what I want to write about.  This was easier back before I had written so much.

2020

I’ve been thinking about posting a list of goals for 2020 but then I look back at my goals for 2019, think about how I failed at them and figure there is no point in making up new goals.

I said I would keep my yearly goal of reading 100 books for the year and didn’t even make 85. I set my Goodreads goal at 100 again. Maybe I will get back on track this year.

I said I would do more stuff out of the house and then spent more time at home instead.

I said I would go outside more. I did make an effort to read on the deck more when the weather was nice but could do better.

I said I would take more short trips to KY to see family. I went once and not until November.

I didn’t succeed much with my 2019 goals. A good bit of that can be attributed to my spiraling into a depression. That depression can in a large part be attributed to a very bad daily environment once I leave my house. I don’t see my daily life changing in 2020 so I can’t imagine I would be extremely successful in doing better in 2020.

I will try to do better in dealing with my stress and anxiety. I will try not to let my stress and anxiety follow me home. I will try to figure out how to change my daily life without negatively affecting my long term plans.

I guess my 2020 goal will be getting better mentally and emotionally. Many of my leftover goals from 2019 would help with that. Here’s hoping for a happier, healthier 2020 for Tater.

One final goal – to have happier, funnier posts here in 2020. No one wants me to post daily about being stuck in an unhappy situation.

Post 1001

After I published my last post(My Christmas Vacation) I received a notification from WordPress that I had reached 1000 posts on this blog. At one point not too long ago I realized I was close and thought that I should come up with something special for the 1000th post. I then completely forgot and had a boring recap of my Christmas trip for my milestone post.

I have no idea what I would have done differently if I had remembered that it was a milestone post. I have no idea what I plan to do now that I am starting my second thousand posts. All I know is that I want to get back to posting on a regular basis. I know I want to get back to more of my “Tater Takes” on news and pop culture. I know I want to spend less time writing about how much I dislike my real job and how desperately I wish I could retire early. I know I want to be better about not just reading but interacting with the other blogs I read. I know I want to figure out how to extend my reach and get more people reading what I write. I know I want to work on trying to write something more than a standard blog post. I don’t know what that would be, but I have a lot of time alone these days and I feel like I could use it for more than watching TV. Maybe I discover this is all I can do, but at least then I would know.

So, thanks for being here for my first 1000 posts. I hope you stay with me on my journey to discover where my next 1000 will take me.

If you would like to support my journey to the next 1000 you can click here.

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.