Wha???

Where the hell did my links go?!?  They’re just gone and I can’t find them as a “widget” anymore either!  What’s the deal?!?

 

Also, there’s a huge thunderstorm going through town right now…kinda scary-tornado-dark out there right now.  Here’s hoping Ameren can keep things running this time.

 

UPDATE: Found ’em!  Still don’t know why they disappeared…but at least I found ’em.

Not Quite 65 Questions

There’s been this thing floating around on Facebook that claims it’s going to ask you 65 questions you’re not regularly asked, and you’re supposed to answer them then tag like 87 people or something…  Well…I’ve answered a LOT of those questions before…  So I took the survey, then cut out the questions I’ve already been asked and just left the semi-interesting ones.  So here ya’ go…

 

1. First thing you wash in the shower?

I let the water hit the sorest parts of my back (I wake up with back pain pretty much every day) then usually dunk my head under it…if that all counts as “washing.”

4. Do you plan outfits?

Kind of, I guess. I kind of know what I’m wearing to work the next day, but it’s not really active. I just set stuff out the night before to save time in the morning. I don’t have like a rotation of clothes or anything.

6. Whats the closest thing to you that’s red?

Lighter.

10. Do you floss?

No. It makes my mouth bleed. Why would I do that?!?

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?

Corned beef.

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?

Yes. I’m an insomniac. I’ve counted to 1000 and above trying to fall asleep.

17. Would you go out to eat with George W.Bush?

Only if he’s paying and I can get enough leftovers to give some food to nearby poor people right in front of him…just to rub his nose in it.

19. Are your parents strict?

Mom was, but she’s dead. Dad wasn’t a pushover or anything, but he’s always let me live my life.

20. Would you go sky diving?

Shit, no!

21. Do you like cottage cheese?

Shit, no!

22. Have you ever met a celebrity?

Sure. Quite a few, actually.

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you’re in?

I’m going to say no, but I’m not really sure how you define “sparkly.” There’s stuff that catches the light, but nothing glittery…

26. Have you made a prank phone call?

Yeah, but it was under a lot of pressure. I had some friends who were in to that when I was a kid and they kind of roped me into it. In some ways, I still feel bad about it.

27. Ever been on a train?

Yeah…and not just at the zoo.

37. Ever have cream puffs?

I’m going to say yes, but I can’t recall when, why, or wether they were delicious…

38. Last time you cried?

Dunno…but it probably involved my balls.

46. Have you ever slapped someone?

Yes.

49. Do looks matter?

Yes. Looks matter. Anyone who tells you they don’t is a liar. Of COURSE looks matter. You have to find a person at least aesthetically inoffensive (even if not beautiful) to be around them. It’s not shallow to admit that…it’s just true.

53. Do you sleep with the T.V. on?

No, but I do usually have some sort of light source on somewhere nearby.

56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people?

Yes. We all hate someone (or a few someones). You might not want to admit it…but there are at LEAST three people that you at least “dislike” and/or hate. Fortunately, most of mine are politicians or celebrities, though…

57. How often do you talk on the phone?

As little as possible. I hate the phone.

62. Can you hula hoop?

Haven’t tried since I was a kid…but I did okay then, I think.

65. Have you ever crawled through a window?

Of course.

 

So that’s it…just shy of 65, huh?

 

Happy Memorial Day to all the draftees and guys who signed up so they wouldn’t get drafted.  You’re the real heroes.

Rest in Peace, Joe

I was very saddened to hear of the death of one of the AIM (Adults in Ministry) students at SLCC today. I don’t access the staff e-mail anymore, for obvious reasons, so I read about it in passing on Facebook and had it confirmed just a little bit ago. Joe Wiliams died in his sleep.

 

I liked Joe. He was one of the AIM students that I thought really “got it.” The AIM program’s a tough thing to manage for a lot of the students. It’s set up for people who already have families, ministries, etc and still want their degree. It’s a big commitment that a lot of people aren’t prepared to take on. (Disclaimer: Those that make it and do well are great…this next bit isn’t about them.) Some enter with a big head thinking they’ll breeze right through, but then reality catches up to them and they get humbled by the workload—or they’re arrogant enough to pretend it’s somehow the school’s fault. A lot of people start it, but don’t make it…or they make it, but it takes them forever and they only finish out of obligation rather than desire. Frankly, I’ve seen a LOT of AIM students who just didn’t have a lot of commitment, didn’t realize that it was going to be hard work, and ended up not caring if they passed or not. In fact, in recent weeks, I’ve seen AIM students so pissed off at having to meet commitments they didn’t think were “fair” that they threatened to tell the President of the school “right to his face” that their program is “worthless.” (Nice, huh?…and “sic,” by the way.) There are a lot of “Ugh” stories in the AIM program.

 

Joe’s story wasn’t one of those.

 

He’s been taking a long time to complete the program. That’s true. It’s also true that he’s had serious health problems, suffered infections that have brought him close to death’s door more than once…but still stuck it out and went to class whenever he could. He kept fighting. He got sick, he withdrew from classes, he got better, and he came back. He KEPT fighting. Most people DON’T DO THAT. Most people piss and moan about their own lack of commitment, masquerading it as an unfair college policy. But I never heard Joe say a bad word about the school. He was in the Library working on papers a lot, and the closest he ever got to that with me was, “I can’t wait to be done…” and he even said that with a smile—he ALWAYS had a smile for you. He looked at his chance to get a ministerial degree as a privilege and he worked hard for it. I can honestly say that I never looked at my SLCC education or even employment that way. Joe was and is one of a kind, and this world is a poor, poor place after his loss.

 

I don’t know if SLCC gives honorary degrees…but in a fair world, Joe Williams would get one. He earned it. He worked his butt off in extreme circumstances without so much as a cross word. In the light of this, I hope I don’t come across as crass in saying it, but he was part of a dying breed. A breed I very much respect, admire, and wish I had it in me to emulate. He’s exactly the type of person SLCC should be seeing walk across their stage at graduation. I am cut to the quick to know that it won’t ever happen. Thank God that he is getting a far greater reward in Heaven…one he worked just as hard for—harder even—and that he deserves a lot more than most people who walk across life’s stage.

 

Joe, I don’t know if you get to read blogs up there…but tassels and robe or not, you’re one of the best to ever walk through the school’s doors. We’ll all miss you. Congratulations. You finally finished the work, and you finished at the top of your class. Well done, sir. Well done.

Various and Sundry

^ Did a pretty good job of not using the word “random” in the title for once, didn’t I?

 

Anyhoo…here’s some stuff that’s on my mind…

 

  1. First week of work’s going pretty good.  I think I’m really getting the hang of things.  People keep saying that I’m catching on really quickly…which of course makes me not fully trust myself, ha ha.  I want to do well, and I think I’m getting pretty good…but being the eternal pessimist, I keep expecting someone to say, “Hey Derek…did you know that you’re not _______ (whatever)?”  I just keep thinking I’ll find out that I’ve been doing something wrong, heh.  I’m hoping that’s just my typical paranoia, combined with the fact that I’ve only been doing this for three days…and that’s probably exactly what it is…  I just need to trust myself, I guess.  As much as I like the job (both the people I work with and the actual work), I just need to trust that I’m actually GOOD at it too…but  guess on day #3, it’s okay to still be nervous, huh?  🙂
  2. Blue Tattoo’s kind of relaxing our gig-hunt until Fall, because the drummer’s getting married and is pretty much booked up through July.  Combine that with Dave’s upcoming vacation, Chris and Amy having a baby, and me having a new job and we just don’t have a ton of time for gigs right now.  We’ll pick it up again soon.  Fall’s a better time for getting people to come out to see us, anyway.
  3. In the interim of not having any Blue Tattoo gigs, we’re going to start recording more stuff.  Kind of want to get a “live” recording vibe, if it’s possible…but it might not be.  Still have to kick it around a little…but I’m excited about getting more of our stuff down on tape (or plastic…or whatever).  I really love recording, and when your band’s gone (as they all are eventually, but hopefully not too soon!) the recordings are really all you have left.  So I’m glad we’ll be creating more future-memories.
  4. Also in the absence of BT gigs, I’m thinking of booking some solo shows.  I know the drummer on the “OFTL” record (Dave Knobel) really wants to do a few shows with me, and I’d get a kick out of it…so I’m going to start looking around, I think.
  5. Speaking of drummers I’ve worked with…  I was poking around the Internet and ran across somebody that used to play drums for Uncle Dick (the band Dave, Teague, and I were in before Blue Tattoo).  If you get a minute, check out www.thatcherbell.com and take a look at some of Thatcher’s animations he’s done over the years.  Might even be some stuff you know!
  6. Turning to the world of politics…  I was thinking about President Obama today.  We all know how rabid a fan of his I was during the election.  I was very vocal in my support.  I haven’t really said that much since, though…  It’s not that I think he’s doing a bad job or anything like that…just hasn’t been much worth saying.  That actually bugged me a little up until today.  I mean, after his first 100 days, I was hoping I’d be able to point to some stuff and say, “Look!  There it is!  That’s a major mark of the coming change!”  But I don’t really feel like I can do that…  That’s not saying that he’s not making progress…it’s just that the BIG stuff hasn’t happened yet.  I was beginning to feel like he’s turning into a place-holder President for a while…but then I remembered the first years of the Clinton Administration.  I remember a ton of people (myself included) making the Seinfeld reference about that era, saying, “It’s an administration about NOTHING!”  🙂  Then Clinton came out of nowhere to make the country great.  We were arguably in the best position we’d EVER been as a country under the Clinton Administration…it just started slow.  I’m thinking it’s the same with Obama.  I’m thinking that by this time next year (or a little later) we’ll all look back and say, “Oh…THAT’S what took so long!”
  7. Speaking of such things…  I’ve got to say something about the Gitmo thing.  When I saw that Obama had a timetable to close Gitmo, I was really pleased…  Now I see life-long, loyal Dems bailing out of their initial support of the plan…and frankly I’m a little ashamed of my party.  Closing Gitmo is the RIGHT THING TO DO.  I stand behind my President on this one…and more than that I stand behind the people who were wrongly imprisoned, poorly treated, and called “terrorists” with absolutely no proof.  They deserve a fair shake, and Obama wants to give it them.  Why the hell are the Democrats flaking on that?  We’re WRONG WRONG WRONG to do that, and like I said, it’s absolutely shameful and spits in the face of everything our party stands for.  (I’ll step off my soapbox now…)
  8. Since Dayna reads my blog…  I hope your first week managing at the Library is going well!  I’m sure you’re great at it, and I’d imagine the Library is already more organized than it was under my tyrannical-yet-lazy reign.  🙂
  9. Congratulations to Shawn Johnson on winning Dancing with the Stars.  I don’t watch the show, but after being so into the Olympics last year, I’m kind of a fan of hers…so good for her!
  10. My birthday’s coming up in 9 days (May 29)…start buying, folks!
  11. I’ve been taking a lot of baths lately, and I’ve been reading while I’m in the tub.  Why did no one ever tell me how relaxing that is?  I’m actually thinking of trying out some bath-salts and candles one of these days…thus completing my long, slow, slippery-slope into becoming Frasier Crane.
  12. Dale Watson’s at Club Deluxe tomorrow (err…tonight, I guess…Thursday).  Still kind of thinking about going.  Kenny, formerly in the Feldman band, is going, and it’d be kind of cool to see him.
  13. My brother mentioned on his blog that the AWESOME 90s act Mr. Big has reunited their original line-up.  I’m a HUGE Billy Sheehan fan (because I’m a bass player, and he’s amazing), and I’ve been WAITING for this one!  I’m super excited!
  14. I miss “LOST.”

 

That’s it for now, I think.  I’m going to try to get in bed by 2:00…and I want to do some reading before then (hoping to finish that Hornby novel I mentioned).  So I’m off.

First Day

Okay…  First day at a new job…

 

What’s that old proverb?  “If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day.  If you teach a man to fish, he will watch you fish for seven hours, but will still not know what the hell he is doing.”

 

I’ll get the hang of it…but so far the work I’ll be doing has SOME repetition, but not enough that I picked it up in one day.  Most of today I sat and watched someone work (Tara) that knew what she was doing, and she kind of narrated as she did it.  I took notes and whatnot, but there’s a lot of, “Well, NORMALLY this will happen, but sometimes you might have THIS happen and you’ll have to do this…”  It’s a little confusing.  I’m hoping that tomorrow I’ll be able to do the work myself maybe with her (or whoever) coaching me as I do it.

 

As I said before, I like the slightly more secular vibe around the office.  In one day we talked about going “to the boat” (casino), Fast Eddie’s, and even cursed a little.  My kind of scene.  🙂

 

I’m a little worried about the money, since I’m paid hourly.  I’m not a big fan of the “hourly” thing, to be honest.  I mean, I totally GET it, and I’m not going to complain about it…it’s not a deal-breaker or anything like that…but I do like knowing a consistent number that I’ll be getting paid in a month.  It’s just that budgeting is MUCH easier (for me) on a salary.  I know I’m losing a little bit of money, but I’m hoping it’s not hand-over-fist.  I also hope I’m not so stupid that I forget to sign in immediately every day.  That’s all a little new to me (it’s electronic, in the same program I’ll be doing most of my work).  That’s another one of those things that I’m sure will work out, but it’s just bouncing around in my head right now…

 

I’m also freaked out about the drive to work.  I’ve gone from having a 10-15 minute commute to having about a 45 minute one.  That’s HUGE!  I’m burning more gas than ever and that’s going to QUICKLY eat up money.  I’m going to have to get frugal…he said while looking at his copy of the complete series of “Andy Richter Controls the Universe.”  …maybe less money and a longer drive is a good thing for me!  🙂

 

So that was the first day…hopefully I figure the job out pretty quickly.  I’m sure I will.  It’s just such a different world from what I’m used to, and I’m the type of guy who Mapquests the same place he’s been a dozen times, just to make sure he didn’t forget how to get there.  Here’s hoping I can just trust the road-signs…

 

Speaking of which…if anyone ever wants to meet at Blueberry Hill, Cicero’s, or Pappy’s grill…I’m RIGHT THERE.  I’ll be taking Delmar to the office every day.  🙂

I’ve Got Work in Like 7.5 Hours!

I had started writing a long, maudlin post about my last couple of days at SLCC…but I’m abandoning it.  I could mention the lunch I was taken to.  I could mention the nice stuff people said.  I could mention how difficult it was pulling out of the parking lot on my last day…but let’s not do that.  I’m excited about my first day with a new company tomorrow/today, so I’m going to focus on that.

 

However…

 

Here is the list of people who went out of their way to stop by, see me, and wish me well.  Super-thanks to the following:

  • Deb, Mike, and Dan Pabarcus
  • Keith and Liz McCaslin
  • Michael Chambers
  • Matt Dewitt
  • Harold and Roselyn Merritt (Harold made a special trip to bring me a card, even though he’s been really sick lately.  I was genuinely touched by that.  Told you he was a sweet man.)
  • Billy Jones
  • Linda Wallace
  • Dayna Zoll (Thanks again for the cookies your mom made.)
  • Kent Sanders
  • Doug Lay

 

I won’t be forgetting that, y’all.

 

Tomorrow begins a new chapter, or something like that.  Just waiting for my pants to dry (they’re in the laundry) so I can go to bed and get ready for it.  🙂

————

Current Reading:

  • “Slam” by Nick Hornby.  Hornby is one of my favorite authors.  I bought this book when it first came out and I STARTED reading it, but was put off by the fact that Tony Hawk shows up in it as a minor plot device.  He isn’t really essential (so far), though…  I think Hornby just read Hawk’s autobiography and liked it, so he decided to write it into his story…  The book’s really good,  I’ve read half of it in just a couple of hours, because it’s gripping.
  • “The Importance of Being Foolish” by Brennan Manning.  Manning’s also one of my favorite authors.  I also bought THIS book when it first came out (which was 1995—yikes!) but I don’t think I even started it.  Don’t know why.  I’ve read OTHER stuff of his that’s come out since, in fact!  I’m only a couple of chapters in, but it’s standard Manning.  Excellent and convicting.