Obligation…

I’m blogging right now out of a sense of obligation to do it.  I haven’t been very motivated to do it lately.  Just a shortage of topics, I guess…or at least a shortage of topics I feel long-winded enough to write about.  So here are some short ones…

 

  1. My best wishes to Japan and Chile over the earthquakes they’ve both recently experienced, and for which neither is likely to have a concert or charity developed for their benefit.  (Funny how that works…)
  2. I’m taking St. Patrick’s Day off this year.  My brother, as it happens, is off on the day too…so for once, there’s a chance that he, Dad, and I will all be at the parade at the same time.  That hasn’t happened in a very long time.
  3. I hit a “writing slump” in my songwriting thanks to Blue Tattoo being on hiatus.  But I’ve got a few lines and phrases sitting around now, most of which have been inspired by reading a bunch of Kurt Vonnegut novels.  Thinking of doing a website-download thing of a bunch of songs revolving around his works…but that sounds like one of those good ideas I always have but never do anything with.  Time will tell.
  4. Tax-time was not as good to me this year as it was last year.
  5. Speaking of things Obama’s responsible for…  I’m a Democrat, and I am pleased with most of what my president has been doing…but he really needs to give up on healthcare.  It’s not a reform AT ALL anymore and it’s just becoming a massive joke.  Maybe he should get back to getting us out of Iraq and whatnot…that’s one of those things I really thought he was going to do…
  6. I’m all caught up on the BBC series “Torchwood” and I’m hopeful for Season 4 (assuming it actually airs…I hear it’s in shooting, but Jon Barrowman has had some weird press about the character of Captain Jack lately that makes me wonder if it’ll really happen).  Enjoyed “Children of Earth” a lot, even though it was a major break with the show’s format…but I do hope the new season goes back to more of an episodic format.
  7. They’re re-making “Nightmare on Elm Street.”  I’m not going to immediately bash it or praise it.  I do like the guy who’s playing Freddy (he was also Rorschach in “Watchmen”).  But, I’ve got to say the following…  (1) Re-makes tend to not be very memorable (ie – the “Friday the 13th” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remakes of a couple of years ago which no one seems to mention anymore).  (2) I wish people would use their energy to make an awesome ORIGINAL movie once in a while.  (3) I’ve seen the online previews, and I’ve got to say that they seem to be borrowing so much from the original franchise that my gut reaction is, “I’ve already seen this movie.”  But, it might blow me away, and I like that they’re taking Freddy into a dark direction, rather than making him the comic-relief character that he’d become…  Might be good.  Might suck.  Either way, though, I’m waiting for DVD.
  8. Super sorry to hear about Andrew Koenig’s suicide.  (For those who don’t know, he’s the guy who played “Boner” on the 80s sitcom “Growing Pains” and is also the son of Walter “Chekov” Koenig of “Star Trek” fame.)  I’m not going to say that I’m a huge fan of his.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything he’s done outside of “Growing Pains.”  In fact, I’m a WAY bigger fan of his dad’s than of his…  But, suicide’s such a desperate, sad, selfish thing that it’s always a shame to hear about.  Plus, the guy managed to be loveable enough that 1980’s TV executives didn’t care that the word “Boner” was going out over the air every week for like ten years.  That’s pretty cool.
  9. I’ve been shockingly “caught up” at work this week!  Not sure how that happened…but the last couple of days, I’ve been having really productive days.  Which probably means that Monday will suck…but whatever.  For now, I’m on top of it and that’s good.
  10. Got a parking ticket on Friday.  The street I work on has a totally ridiculous rule that you can’t park on the one side of it from noon to 3:30 on the last Friday of every month.  So I didn’t.  I parked on a DIFFERENT street, down past where the signs stop.  Then I got a ticket.  I was thinking of fighting it (because there genuinely was NOT a sign covering where I parked)…but then I realized that it’s only for $10 and it’s not worth it.  Still…that’s a really stupid, stupid thing…and it’s only for STREET SWEEPING, which they only do to THAT side of the street and never to the other side!  Stupid…whoever…
  11. Haven’t bought the new/last Johnny Cash record yet…but it’ll happen soon.
  12. I’m really hungry…but I want sausage and I don’t have any on hand.  Dilemma.
  13. A friend of mine mentioned on Facebook that he’d built a St. Patrick’s Day float.  Reminded me of an invention my brother and I made.  It, too is called the “St. Patrick’s Day Float” and it’s basically just vanilla ice cream and Guinness.  Don’t ever drink that…but that’s what it is…

 

That’s all I can think of for now.  I’ve got post number 666 coming up soon.  That’s an interesting number, huh?  Maybe I’ll come up with something special for that post.  🙂

Yay!

I just found out that Walgreens is going to start selling beer and wine again!

 

I don’t feel at all ashamed about telling folks that I drink a little.  It’s once a week or less.  I’m in no way an addict.  No worries.  I just enjoy a beer or a whiskey or a glass of wine now and again.  I don’t get drunk often, and when I do, I usually regret it…and if I know I’ll be having more than one or two, I DO NOT drive.

 

So basically, I’m responsible in my enjoyment of alcohol.  I want to be clear about that.

 

That said, I’m really excited that Walgreens is making this move…but not for the reasons you’re probably imagining.  I know there are a bunch of people that are already criticizing it.  I’ve read a bunch of comments on the local paper’s website that are something to the effect of, “Great…now a bunch of drunks will be hanging around my kids…blahblahblah…(fart).” 

 

First of all, a bunch of drunks are likely ALREADY hanging around your kids if you’ve ever taken them out in public ANYWHERE…and they were ALREADY at Walgreens, they were just buying condoms instead of liquor.  In addition to that, most of the drinkers who wander out to buy more alcohol while still drunk go to a liquor store or a gas station and not to a grocery store—the grocery stores are too risky…most of them have cops in them.  The majority of the people you’ll find buying alcohol at Walgreens are the same ones you’ll find a Dierberg’s…people at the start of the evening or in the middle of the week, who are likely to walk out of there and put it into their fridge at home.  And third…you’re over-reacting, and I can’t believe I wasted a full paragraph on it.

 

So…in summary of that…I’m not excited about it just because it’s another place to buy alcohol…

 

The reason I’m excited is because when I was a kid Walgreens sold alcohol.  That’s all.  I know that sounds stupid…but that’s it.  When I was a kid, there was this extra section in Walgreens (which was its own room and kids couldn’t just wander into without their parents right next to them) and it had all these cool looking bottles and seemed like its own little world.  I thought it was neat.  And that’s where they sold the beef jerky, too—and I love beef jerky.

 

Okay…now the same—I think “tight-asses” is the phrase I’m looking for here—who are worried that this will be the ruination of society will point to the above and say, “SEE!!!  When YOU were a kid, just having it in the store encouraged you to drink!”  Ah…no.  When I was a kid, I thought the room looked cool and just wanted to go in there.  I didn’t know what alcohol WAS and it wouldn’t have even occurred to me to drink anything in there.  It just looked cool and I wanted to go into that room and hang out in there because it looked warm, inviting, and—as I said—that’s where the beef jerky was.  HAD I gone in there, I probably would’ve found the cold air of the refrigerators and coolers unpleasant, been bored when I didn’t find any toys, and been overall just plain disappointed.  I did not develop a drinking problem as a kid.  I don’t have a problem today.  Know why?  Because my parents—who took me to Walgreens—raised me properly.

 

So…it’s on you.  If you don’t want your kids to be alcoholics, then be good parents.  But don’t ruin it for those of us who just like an occasional beer…’kay?

 

Sorry this was a little disjointed.  I’m just always bummed/irritated when the “BUT THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!” crowd starts telling me how bad I am for doing something that isn’t illegal or immoral…so I felt that I needed to have my say on my blog…and I did.

 

Now I’ll go back to being excited about it.  🙂  Thanks for indulging me.

 

And if you indulge in anything else, please…be responsible.

————

Current Listening:

  • The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club — I’m new to the band, but they’ve got three records out.  They’re coming to town in March and my brother wants to go.  It’s a cheap concert and maybe the last cool show he’ll get to go to for a while what with the twins coming (my current name-suggestions are now Fester Bestertester and Karbunkle, by the way…which I guess would make the girl Karbunkle…but them’s the breaks—it’s a Don Martin cartoon strip, if you don’t know).  So I’m probably going to go to that show with Dave…just need to make sure I like ’em, so I borrowed a couple of CDs from him.  So far, not bad.  Some of it made me kinda sleepy…but I basically like what I’m hearing.

Good Advice

I’ve been thinking about the way in which my career has changed over the past few years.

 

I started out going to Bible College to get a degree in “Preaching.”  I got that degree in 2005—but this isn’t really about that.  While I was at college, I began working in the school library.  Over time, I was moved up to a full-time employee, then to management.  Alongside that, I became a Worship Minister—“part time” supposedly, though that doesn’t really exist in ministry.  (In ministry, it’s more like you’re always “on call.”)  These days, I’m in the field of dealing with insurance claims (though I’m not the guy who does any actual settling or anything like that).  That’s a weird resume.

 

Okay…let’s start with the ministry.  I thought that was what I was going to do forever.  After a while, I even started trying to dress the part, wearing suits and short hair…  But, I wasn’t prepared for how nasty people in the church can be to one another.  I knew it was a reality of the ministry—don’t misunderstand me on that.  I am not one of those people who says, “Bible College didn’t prepare me for that…”  Actually, it kind of did.  But I didn’t count on nepotism, gossip, and just downright mean-spirits being quite so prevalent…and I was only the MUSIC minister!  I can’t imagine what some PREACHERS must go through.  So, in a wash of church politics and hurt feelings, that only lasted a few years.  I’m over it now and I don’t carry any bad feelings.  I even left of my own accord, rather than being fired or having my resignation “called for” by the leadership.  It was really just a case of “oops.”  I thought I wanted to do that as a career…oops.  Silly me and my diploma.

 

Now…the library job was one I honestly can say that I would’ve been fine doing for the rest of my life (though maybe not all at the same location…eventually, I think I would’ve moved on to a public library rather than a Bible College one).  I started as a student worker.  I came in wearing jeans, a baseball cap, and whatever tour-shirt I happened to be wearing that day and did whatever menial task was assigned to me.  They kept me on after I graduated.  Then when a staff shake-up happened and a new assistant was needed, I got the gig—full time, with benefits.  After saving up some cash at it, I went out and bought nice pants and a few sport-coats, so I’d look more like a staff member and less like a student-worker who’d hung around too long.  Then another staff shake-up happened and I was promoted to management—which was cool, but didn’t come with a raise…but did come with a LOT more work and responsibility.  At that point, I bought more nice pants, shirts, ties…etc…and I regularly wore a suit about 2-3 times a month, so I’d look like management—again, even though I wasn’t getting PAID like management. 

 

Then in April last year, I was told I’d be laid off at the end of the year.  (One of the biggest kicks to the gut on that one was that they gave me the news less than two weeks after they gave me business cards…which I now use as bookmarks.)  Fortunately, I was able to find a new job before my contract ran out and I was (once again) able to leave of my own accord, submitting my own resignation letter rather than just being handed a pink-slip.

 

I liked the library job a lot.  There are parts of it I still miss.  I kid about the money…but the job was pretty good.  I don’t harbor any real bad feelings about that whole thing.  There’s no reason to.  They were good to me for the seven (or so? I don’t recall now…) years that I worked there.  They did the right thing in a tough economic climate.  No complaints or anything…but I do have a lot of khaki pants sitting around now…

 

And that brings us up to me working in insurance.  Who knew?  I love it.  🙂  I actually feel like we do as good a job, if not better, at helping people as most ministries out there.  We help to get people up on their feet again after something bad happens—and/or we help people get a fair shake if someone’s trying to screw them over.  (We don’t actually do liability…but we do kind of help move things along…it’s hard to explain.)  Plus, the only time I need to dress up is if one of our major clients comes around—which isn’t too often.  In most ways, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, and I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.

 

Which leads me to some of the best advice you’ll ever get…  When I was in ministry, I felt it necessary to dress appropriately, so I bought nice clothes and wore my hair short.  When I was a librarian, I felt it necessary to dress like college staff and kept the hair short.  Now…I wear jeans and t-shirts (and usually cowboy boots) and my hair’s longer than it’s been in about 4 years.  (I might cut that in Spring, though…we’ll see…)  If I had only listened to the following piece of advice, I don’t know if I’d have been happier, necessarily, since that whole chain of events was necessary to lead me here (and I made a lot of GREAT friends along the way)…but I sure could’ve saved a buttload of money on clothes…

 

Here you go…the best advice you’ll ever get…

 

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” – Thoreau

 

It’s pretty important to have a job where you can be yourself and wear your own pants.  You can have happy times working in places where you’ve got to meet the dress/personality code…or you can be even happier being somewhere that you don’t.  I don’t regret the jobs I’ve had…but I’m at my happiest now that I’m out of uniform.  There’s something to be said for that.

 

Just thought I’d share.

Random, Yet Again…

Thought you’d all need more than one day to sift through the big list…  And also, I don’t really have any one over-arching thing that I want to say at the moment…  Let’s just do some random stuff tonight. 

 

  1. Been watching a lot of “Doctor Who” (the newer series).  I’m mostly caught up with BUYING everything, and now I’m just watching it.  It turns out that there’s a LOT I hadn’t seen.  I’ve been enjoying it on the “if I haven’t seen it, it’s new to me” level.  🙂
  2. I’ve also gotten into “Torchwood”—a spin-off of “Doctor Who.”  It’s really gritty and raw.  A little hammy and over-acted sometimes…but it basically entertains me, and that’s all I ask.  You don’t have to be a Who-ite (Wholigan?) to enjoy it, and that’s the right way to do a spin-off, I think.  (There is one brief cross-over arc, but it’s not an essential thing.)  In all, I’d recommend it…but not for the faint of heart, those offended by the f-word, of those who’re are offended by men kissing each other…it’s that kind of show (realistic, in a lot of ways, I feel…).
  3. Since we’re on TV…  “LOST” has been really good this season, as has “House.”  Only thing I’m behind on is “How I Met Your Mother,” for some reason…it’s been a fun time of TV watching for me.  Kinda nice to have that kind of thing now and again.
  4. No real update on Blue Tattoo at the moment.  Dave and I have some more talking to do.  But, I have returned to mixing the would’ve-been-record, just for the purpose of not having it sit and be completely abandoned.  I’m doing it a little differently than I had been before, and it sounds pretty good.  Too bad it’s not going to be released.
  5. I put down my guitars for a while in the fallout of Chris quitting the band.  I haven’t played in a couple of weeks.  Picked one up last night and enjoyed it—and I HAVE to enjoy it.  It HAS to be fun for me, at this point in my life…  So, that’s good.  I didn’t have the “wow, I really missed this!” thing…but I had fun, and in a lot of ways, that’s better.
  6. Been kinda watching the Olympics.  Hasn’t been bad, but the Summer Games are WAY more entertaining.  There’s more weird stuff (like fencing, open-water swimming, etc) and gymnastics is always WAY more interesting than figure-skating…but in all, the skiing was pretty good, the snow-boarding was fun…and it’s a bummer that luge guy died.
  7. Still on a Vonnegut-kick in my reading…I’ll let you know when/if that stops.
  8. I’m massively behind at work.  The worst it’s been in my tenure so far.  On the PLUS side, that means we’re doing some really good business lately—the busier, the better.  Of course, on the minus side, I’m just really, really behind.  I’m going to have to put in some serious overtime this weekend, just to get us into specs, I think.  I hate being behind, especially at a job that I really like and feel (highly) motivated to do well at.  I’m sure I’ll get back on track…it’s just been a rough two-weeks.  …and also, I probably should’ve worked through that business lunch (at Maggie O’Brien’s, in St. Louis) this week…that really killed me.  But that was good eatin’.  🙂
  9. My dad has cataract surgery today.  It went well enough.  He texted me when it was done…so if he can see well-enough to text, I guess they can’t have screwed it up too badly.
  10. New Johnny Cash record next week.  I was excited about it until I realized that (1) it’s the last one and (2) they seem to kind of be scraping the bottom of the barrel for song-choices.  I mean, I obviously haven’t heard it yet, and I’m sure there will be at least a few tunes on there that I’ll LOVE…but it has a cover of “Aloha-Oe” on it…and I think that’s supposed to be the big, emotional send-off.  Yikes.  …still I’ve loved the rest of the “American” series, so I’m hoping and expecting to be very pleasantly surprized.

 

That’s it for now, I think.  So there.