Nice Things.

As a lot of you know, I work at a college. (I try not to post the name of it that often, just in case I say something wildly stupid. I don’t want that to reflect poorly on the school, as per my “Disclaimer” thingy over to the right.) As with any job, there’s stuff I could complain about, if I wanted to. Every job has that, and it’s usually exactly the same stuff that everyone complains about everywhere…so there’s no point. Take your job and assume I’ve got the same complaints about mine. It all really adds up to nothing, and the 1% of my job I don’t like is really arbitrary next to the 99% I love. So I don’t want to do a list of complaints today…

 

Instead, I want to take this post and write about a few of the folks around campus that I really appreciate, and particularly those who I think are probably not appreciated enough by everyone (no offense to anybody). Just folks who do awesome stuff, but because of who they are, they don’t get too much of the spotlight. (For the record, I hear nothing but praise for these folks when their names come up…most of them are just humble enough that their names don’t come up that often.)

 

So here we go…

 

  1. I appreciate our Cafeteria and its workers. As you’d imagine, sometimes all they hear are complaints. That’s natural. If you eat somewhere every day, it eventually gets a little “blah,” especially if it’s a place that pretty much cooks what it cooks and you either eat it or you’ve got to go get fast food. I get that, to an extent… But, I think our Cafeteria Workers do a great job of serving up a variety of different foods and typically take everything with a smile. I’ve gotten great service from folks down there, even on days that I can tell they’re a little frazzled. Plus, they make the best biscuits and gravy this side of Waffle House (maybe even a little better!). Those folks do amazing things with just the basics sometimes, and they deserve it whenever someone says something nice about them—which I hope is a lot. They’re awesome. I eat there a lot.
  2. I appreciate our cleaning staff, which has been mostly one person this semester. Her name’s Judy. She works HARD. She has some student assistants, too, but she’s out there in the thick of it herself, never expecting her student workers to do tasks she won’t do. That, folks, is great leadership. Plus, she does the jobs no one wants to do and manages to smile while doing it. She’s a genuinely nice woman and does a lot that goes unnoticed around campus. That means she’s doing her job well. If you NOTICED the cleaning, then it’d be a problem. She manages to make it look like our campus is self-cleaning somehow…and like I said, she’s also a really good person. So right on, Judy!
  3. I appreciate our Bookstore. I like the ladies who run the place, and their student workers are really pleasant people, too. They’re always willing to take a minute out of their day to help you find something or to chat about whatever inane topic you happen to blurt out. Plus, I sometimes think colleges universally forget how important their Bookstores are. They do more than just textbooks sales. They also sell your t-shirts, hats, and what-have-you that do a lot of promotion for your school. They also sell snacky-stuff and drinks to keep you going on days when it’s only 11:00 in the morning, but it feels like 11:00 at night. They also sell little nick-nacky stuff and fun things that you might not think to pick up if you didn’t walk in there. Bookstores are great…and I think ours is one of the best.
  4. I appreciate our maintenance crew, particularly Lou, who runs it. These guys do AMAZING work. Any time I’ve had a problem, they show up within moments and whatever wasn’t working is running perfectly by the time they’re out. They have an entire campus to deal with, each building with its own little specific problems. (As you might imagine, if you’ve ever worked in a multi-building workplace, that can present quite a variety of repair work!) They do it all, and they do it well. These guys pour their sweat, blood, and probably a few other things into their work, and they do amazing repair work with very little outright replacement, and very few “well-get-to-it-next-week” moments. Plus, Lou’s a great guy. One of my favorite folks to see around campus, even though our chats are usually brief.
  5. I appreciate our Security team. Security on campus has been amped up in the post-Virginia-Tech world. We’re not a gated campus with rifle-towers or anything like that (though I wouldn’t necessarily shake my head if we DID get a gate), but we’re a lot safer than we used to be. They’re even ticketing cars that aren’t parked where they’re supposed to be parked for pretty much the first time (since I’ve been on campus, anyway). They’re a small team, like pretty much every staff around campus (we’re a small campus…that equals small staffs), but they do a big job. I’m sure they can’t prevent EVERYTHING…who can? But in the long run, I feel safer on campus this year than I ever have in previous ones, thanks to them. (That also speaks well of our Administrators, who really stepped up to the plate on making the campus safer after the VT shootings. They’ve done great work in that respect, too…but they’re my bosses, so I don’t want to write too much and make it look like I’m sucking up!) 🙂
  6. I appreciate our Music Department. I’ve been a musician for…actually I’ve lost count of the years…but longer than I haven’t been. As such, I have a natural bias toward music/art education. But even taking that into consideration, I think our Music Dept. does a great job of tapping into the natural talents of our students and making them grow. I won’t get too deeply into it, but for those of you non-musicians, you probably don’t realize how BIG a job that is. Someone who enrolls in a college music-program most likely comes to the table already knowing how to play something or sing. They come in having been in high-school bands or choirs…or maybe they lead worship at their church already, but are seeking the actual degree. They come in already KNOWING a lot of what a typical music curriculum will teach. That’s just the nature of the game…and that makes it incredibly difficult to be the music teacher. It’s hard to meet up with someone who already knows a lot about the subject, then have to TEACH them about the subject. If someone comes in for their first guitar lesson having just bought their first guitar, that’s easy. Take that same teacher and tell him his new student is David Gilmour, and that’s going to be a hard set of lessons. Our folks, though, seem to take our music students and direct what they ALREADY know into new directions. That’s not only impressive, it’s amazing.
  7. Finally—and, yes, I know this is cheesy—I appreciate our Students. Not just because I wouldn’t have a job without them. I appreciate them for who they are. It’d be easy to focus on the ones who are struggling and who don’t make it—every school has those…but we’ve got some really INCREDIBLE ones that DO make it. We have a guy who returned this semester after having been gone for a couple of years to care for a sick kid. I never thought I’d see him again, once he withdrew…but he’s here. He WANTS his degree and he WANTS to serve God with it. We have another guy (an older student) who just graduated; but when he started, he didn’t know how to turn a computer, much less write a paper…and at graduation last year, he particularly sought me out, thanked me for showing him how to do all of the computer stuff I’d shown him over the years, and told me he couldn’t have done it without me. (That kind of thing is LIFE-CHANGING, folks.) We have another person who saw me walking with my cane one day last month and has since come by my office twice a week and prayed for my knee to feel better. (You have no idea how much that means, until you have a chronic injury and someone does that for you.) I could go on and on…we have some really AMAZING students. Maybe they’re not under-appreciated, to be fair…but I’d guess no one other that myself—and now you—knows about the person who’s been praying for my knee, or the person who thanked me for the help in the computer lab, or the others that do incredible things that I’ll probably never hear about…

Folks like those above, if they’re unnoticed, it’s strictly because they don’t WANT to be noticed. At our campus, we do a great job of recognizing the individual achievements of those who excel or go out of their way to do something good…when we KNOW about it. But there’s a lot we just don’t know, because our campus is different. Around here, there are few who do anything with the intention of being noticed. There are few who WANT the limelight. There are few who will ever be in the history books (including a missions professor who SHOULD be in the books, but whose been fairly intentional in keeping his name out of them so far). We’ve got a lot of humility at this school. That’s something you just don’t find a lot of places…and it’s part of what makes working here great.

 

So…yeah…just wanted to say that. I do a lot of complaining about stuff on this blog (mostly because, let’s face it, clouds are more interesting than sunshine), but every now and again, I’m reminded that there are things worth a GOOD word. So there were several.

 

Tomorrow, I’ll try to get back to gloomy stuff, books, music, and TV again…after all, I still have all that stuff to read and watch from a few posts ago! 🙂

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Current Listening:

  • I made a playlist on my iPod of all the stuff I haven’t really absorbed yet and put it on “shuffle.” It’s like 500 songs. Going to be a long weekend…

Derek V. Awesome TV Show

Okay…so Man V. Food aired from St. Louis tonight.  If you’re not a fan of the show, let me sum it up.  This guy (Adam Richman) goes to different towns and eats a crap-load of food.  He usually enters into some sort of eating challenge, wherein he might consume the world’s largest pizza, the world’s hottest stuffed pepper, a desk-drawer of pudding, a suitcase of yams…what have you.  It’s awesome. 

 

My brother got me into the show by showing me an episode where he ate all but two bites of a 12-egg omelet after having had a ton of seafood (which looked freaking amazing).  Dave wants to become the guy’s assistant.  I think we should have found out the whens-and-wheres of the taping in STL, followed him from place to place and eaten whatever he ate, but faster.  In short, I want to support and join in on my brother’s quest to become the world’s fattest man.  I haven’t always been on board with all of his prior career/personal moves…but that one, I could support with bells on.  Seriously.  I’d buy the bells.

 

On the show tonight, Adam showed off Pappy’s grill, which is new as of 2008.  It looks freaking delicious, and I’m thinking of putting in for a week’s vacation and staying at the nearest hotel in walking distance to it.  He then went to the Crown Candy Kitchen (kind of famous place) and took their 5-milkshake challenge (“I drink your milkshake!”).  Essentially, he had to drink 5 full-sized milkshakes (which ends up filling 15 regular-sized glasses).  He got close, but lost his dignity and 20 pounds when he threw up.  Personally, I think it was the flavors he chose that did him in…I mean Coffee AND Egg Nog?  Death in a glass, my (surprisingly not that fat) friend.

 

So…anyway…that was awesome to watch.  I’m gonna get me some of that BBQ…but the milkshakes can get by without me, I think.  I like chocolate ones, but I don’t really want to drink 15 of them in a row, y’know?  I think I *might* be able to do that…but who wants to?  Now, if we’re talking about eating a vat of crab legs or something like that, I’m in (my personal best, there, is 10 plates with an average of 4-5 sets of legs per plate at a buffet).  Or if they want to send me to Pappy’s and serve me up the “Adam Bomb” (named for Richman on tonight’s show!), I’m all over it.  (I’ll totally take on a quarter chicken, 6 pounds of meat, four sides, and a Frito Pie with a Red Hot in it for dessert.  Bring it.)  But milkshakes?  Too cold and too creamy for a contest.  But it was fun watching Adam do it.  🙂

 

I’m sure Dave will blog about it, too.  Adam Richman’s kind of his hero.  So keep an eye out for that on Dave’s blog, I’d assume.  🙂

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Current Listening:

  • Headstones – “Oracle of Hi-Fi”

Stuff I’ll Get To…

Here’s the list of stuff I’ve recently ordered (or that I’ve got sitting around) that I’ll need to get around to watching or reading sooner or later:

 

  1. Duckman Seasons 3-4 — Duckman is an old (kind of bawdy) cartoon starring Jason Alexander as the voice of the main character.  It made me laugh in the 90s and still makes me laugh today.  Bought seasons 1-2 when they came out and just ordered 3-4.  Looking forward to that!
  2. Roddy Doyle – “O Play That Thing!” — Doyle’s follow-up to his book “A Star Called Henry,” which I liked a lot.  I started reading this book at the same time that I was reading another book of his called “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha,” but I started getting the stories confused, so I stuck with “Paddy.”  I went back to “O Play” about a week ago, but couldn’t remember what had happened up to the point of the bookmark, so I need to start over.  Heh.
  3. Batman RIP — This comic is supposedly the death of Batman for the foreseeable future (but, of course, it’s virtually guaranteed that he’ll be back).  I read the first half (“Black Glove”) a couple of months ago, and the second half (where he actually dies) just recently came out.  It’s on its way.  Probably top of my “to read” list at the moment, after a brief re-skim of the story so far.
  4. Jeff Smith – “Bone: Crown of Horns” — The final installment of Jeff Smith’s masterwork comic.  I’ve already read it (in black and white), but Scholastic re-released all of the series in bold, beautiful colour.  More than anything else, I’m just flipping through them and enjoying the upgrade…but to be honest, some of the story works better in black and white for me.  Nonetheless, I’ve been enjoying the new texture.  It’s almost like a different read of the same story.  They did a really good job with it.
  5. Jeff Smith – “RASL Vol. 1: The Drift” — Smith’s follow-up comic to Bone.  It’s more adult-geared.  Only comes out like three times per year, so “The Drift” combines issues 1-3 into one volume.  Apparently he’s only doing nine issues of it, so the end of the thing will take another two years until it’s in my hands…but whatever…the guy’s a genius, and I’m really looking forward to reading this one.
  6. “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” — Kevin Smith’s most recent offering.  I’m guessing it’s not going to be my favorite of his flicks.  Looks like pure fodder and just a further excuse to celebrate the fat-version of Seth Rogan…which is okay by me, don’t get me wrong…but I’m hoping for something a little less surface-level-trashy out of whatever his next project is…  I mean, this might be a great flick, and I might laugh a lot…but when you have to put the word “Porno” in your title to sell your movie, you’ve already told me a lot (and from ticket-sales, it looks like a lot of America agreed with me during the movie’s theatre-run).  Hoping for something “Animal House” ish…but expecting a sexier “Weekend at Bernies.”  No offense Kev/Askew fans.  If I see it and end up loving it, I’ll recant this post later as is my habit when I’m wrong about something on this blog.
  7. Futurama – “Into the Wild Green Yonder” — The final of the new Futurama movies.  Hopefully not the end of the franchise though.  I’m hoping they’ll strike a deal for more movies or perhaps a new run of the series.  The movies have been GOLD in my opinion (though the best one was the first one and the third one was super-weird…I’ve really enjoyed all three).
  8. “Flight of the Concords” season one — I keep hearing about how much I’ll love this show, but I’ve never caught it when it’s on.  My friend Chris (also the other guitarist in the soon-to-be-legendary and ALREADY awesome Blue Tattoo) told me he’ll let me borrow season one.  Pity is he’ll be out of town next week, so it’ll have to wait until he’s back.  But that’s cool.
  9. Also, LOST is on tonight.  🙂

So…busy days ahead!  Well…busy by the standard of wasting time after work, anyway…

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Current Listening:

  • New Blue Tattoo Demos.  What can I say?  I’m a big fan of my own stuff.

Apparently, I Love these Facebook Things

Here’s another thing from Facebook.  I did three passes at it, and I’m posting them all, because I like all three.  Description in the first one.

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Using only the titles of songs from ONE artist, cleverly answer these questions:

Pick a band/artist: The Who

  • Are you male or female? I’m a Boy
  • Describe yourself.  Real Good Looking Boy
  • How do you feel about yourself?  The Kids Are Alright
  • Describe your ex.  Acid Queen
  • Describe your current boyfriend/girlfriend.  Pictures of Lily (That’s kind of perverse for those who know what the song’s about.)
  • Describe your current location.  Leaving Here
  • Describe where you want to be.  Tommy’s Holiday Camp
  • Your best friend is…  How Many Friends Have I Really Got?
  • Your favorite color is…  Behind Blue Eyes
  • What’s the weather like?  Love Reign (Rain) O’er Me
  • If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?  I Can’t Explain
  • What is life to you?  Amazing Journey
  • What is the best advice you have to give?  Baby, Don’t You Do It
  • If you could change your name, to what would you change it? Happy Jack

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Pick a band/artist: Drive-By Truckers; As a bonus, I’m also not using any songs written by Jason Isbell

  • Are you male or female?  Cassie’s Brother
  • Describe yourself.  Dead, Drunk, and Naked
  • How do you feel about yourself?  Something’s Got to Give Pretty Soon
  • Describe your ex.  Too Much Sex Too Little Jesus
  • Describe your current boyfriend/girlfriend. Hell No, I Ain’t Happy
  • Describe your current location. Sink Hole
  • Describe where you want to be. Home Field Advantage
  • Your best friend is… Bob
  • Your favorite color is… GREENville to Baton Rouge
  • What’s the weather like? Tornadoes
  • If your life was a TV show, what would it be called? When the Pin Hits the Shell
  • What is life to you? A Blessing and a Curse
  • What is the best advice you have to give? Don’t Be in Love Around Me
  • If you could change your name, to what would you change it? Uncle Frank

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Pick a band/artist: Johnny Cash

  • Are you male or female? Boy Named Sue
  • Describe yourself. I’ve Been Everywhere
  • How do you feel about yourself? I’m a Drifter
  • Describe your ex. Delia’s Gone
  • Describe your current boyfriend/girlfriend. My Two Timin’ Woman
  • Describe your current location. Missouri Waltz
  • Describe where you want to be. Going to Memphis
  • Your best friend is… I Talk to Jesus Every Day
  • Your favorite color is… Long BLACK Veil
  • What’s the weather like? When It’s Springtime in Alaska, It’s Forty Below
  • If your life was a TV show, what would it be called? Guess Things Happen that Way
  • What is life to you? The Story of a Broken Heart
  • What is the best advice you have to give? Don’t Take Your Guns to Town
  • If you could change your name, to what would you change it? Sam Hall

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Current Listening:

  • Best of Cyndi Lauper.  I don’t care if you judge me for that.

Weekend Report

Sorry I haven’t posted in a couple of days.  Kind of had a busy weekend and I’ve been resting up.

 

Had a really good gig with the Feldman Group, which is almost unprecedented, ha ha.  Big room, packed with people applauding at the right times, dancing, and singing along.  Kind of a nice change of pace.

 

Otherwise, I’ve been demoing my butt off for Blue Tattoo.  I’ve got seven of about 11-12 songs down.  One of them took a really long time.  Kept screwing it up…but it’s one of my favorites.  One of Dave’s, interestingly enough.  I’d actually forgotten I had it, but found it and recorded it.  I’m hoping the guys like the new stuff as much as I do…cause, y’know…I’m taking a break from solo records, so I really have nowhere to put this stuff if they reject it.  🙂

 

I’ve gotten some decent sleep this weekend, as well.  Well…except tonight.  Tonight, I’m waiting for my laundry to finish.  It should be done around 2 a.m.  I don’t know what possesses me to start my laundry so late.  Probably just my lazy ways…and the Oscars, of course…

 

And as for that…

 

I dug the fact that Heath Ledger was given the Oscar he’d have deserved even if he’d lived.  That was good to see, and honestly, I didn’t even expect it for some reason.  I kind of wanted Rourke to win for “The Wrestler,” though I see why they went with Penn.  I liked Penn’s acceptance speech more than I probably would’ve liked Rourke’s anyway (I liked the message he delivered, even if I am a little shaky on agreement — albeit only a little shaky)…but still, it would’ve been cool to see Mickey take home the gold.  Instead, it’s more likely to see him show up at Wrestlemania now…but whatever…  Also, I’m officially tired of Kate Winslet (sp?).

 

I had a bunch of stuff I was going to get done this weekend but that I put off.  Hopefully I’ll get up the motivation to get all that stuff done during the week.  Who can say?  For now, I’m just going to wait out the laundry…

 

Blog ya’ later.

Guinness: Once Again Doing God’s Work

As most who visit this blog (God forbid) are aware, my roots go back to Germany on one side and Ireland/Scotland on the other.  As such, one half of me feels a mixture of joy and shame every March 17th.  Joy because it celebrates my people…shame because they are celebrated by every idiot in America getting drunk and claiming that “Everyone’s Irish today! *vomit*”  (In case you’re confused…March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day.)

 

St. Patrick, of course, is famous for “driving the snakes out of Ireland.”  Which, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know is a metaphor since Ireland is wholly inclement to snakes in the first place.  St. Patrick served as a missionary to Ireland, where he had previously been held captive as a slave.  He ran from his captors, then ran back to evangelize the nation.  He “drove out the snakes” by bringing Christ into the nation and starting a Great Awakening to the faith among the Irish people.

 

March 17th is supposed to celebrate THAT.

 

There is a second (valid) reason to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in America, though…and that is the plight of the Irish laborer in American history.  As we all know (and with all due respect and empathy), in the early days of this country blacks were horribly persecuted and their blood was used to build this nation.  Slightly less mistreated, but still dehumanized were the Irish (and the only reason things weren’t as bad for them was because they could learn to hide the accent). 

 

The Irish were often treated as indentured servants—a notable step above slavery, but still humiliating and accompanied by regular beatings—and were kept in the margins of society, all the while building America’s buildings, roads, and cleaning up after aristocrats.  Up through even the civil-rights era in America, shop-owners and apartment complexes regularly posted signs (both here and abroad) warning/reassuring possible clientele: “No blacks, No Irish, No Dogs.”

 

The Irish in America deserve to have a day where they are remembered and celebrated.  If that has to come with beer, then so be it…but why can’t it also come with a day off?

 

The good people at Guinness, the most widely consumed Irish beer, have been fighting to make St. Patrick’s Day a REAL holiday in America for a few years now.  They once again have their petition up on their website.  If you think the memory of what St. Patrick did and/or if you think the Irish builders of America deserve to be honored properly, please click over and sign.  Let’s take St. Patrick’s back from the drunks…by going to a beer-company’s website…somehow.

 

😦

 

Anyway…  Thanks for your time.

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Current Listening:

  • Lots of Drive-By Truckers, in preparation for the Rock Show on Thursday!

Random Photos

Forgot to blog today, so I’m just posting some random pictures I found funny and saved to my hard-drive.  None of these are my unique work and are findable elsewhere on the Internet, but in most cases I have no idea where they came from…but a couple have web-addresses embedded, so that’s probably where.  Just thought that disclaimer should be made…

 

I was going to blog about other stuff, but I don’t feel like writing now.  So…here ya’ go!  🙂

 

imageslook-20at-20duck

reagan_bonzo

divided_by_zero

 *For the record, I know some people might be offended by that one, but it made me laugh really hard because the “divided by zero” line is really smart.  Apologies to those who don’t like it.  Keep in mind, I didn’t make it.  🙂

magazine

 

kjkj

 

Hope that was…whatever…

 

In case anyone’s wondering, yes, I am feeling a little better…but you know how sometimes you pull a muscle and it doesn’t really hurt, but does feel a little numb or just kind of like it’s detached from the rest of your body?  Like not so numb that you can’t feel it at all, but just kind of weightless and weird?  That’s exactly how my stomach’s felt all day, especially around my belly-button…which actually has happened before when I was having some serous back-pain that just reached around front as well.  So maybe I threw out my back while I was writhing in pain on Tuesday morning, but I’m only feeling it in my bellybutton area?

 

Meh…whatever…I’ll live…or not…  It’s cool.

 

I’ll try to be more focused in my posting tomorrow.