Weekend round-up

(No weeds were harmed in the making of this weekend.)

The following is posted not so much because I suspect anyone would find it to be of interest. No. Rather, it’s because making record of it helps me in my inevitable nostalgia phase several years hence.


Saturday started late morning with taking Catherine’s dogs for a walk. There are three dogs, too many to manage all at once, so I took the girls out first, then Jackson afterwards. Each round went around 20 minutes and I walked a total of about 2 miles. Afterwards, Catherine, Brenda, and I went to Lowe’s to pick up some touch-up paint for their interior walls. There’s something about being in big hardware stores that is just satisfying. I should explore this further. Then it was time for lunch. Annette’s was the destination of choice and holy moly! the portions were quite ample! Catherine got her usual favorite, the Scooby Doo. Biscuits & gravy over a Denver omelet with potatoes on the side. Brenda got the chicken fried steak with scrambled eggs, and I took the waitress’ recommendation and ordered the chicken club sandwich with tots and onion rings. Everything was good, but I couldn’t finish, at least not without doing harm to my stomach. Of the three entrées, Brenda’s tasted the best. Lordy, I was so full afterwards!

I went home, marshaled my strength for a bit, then met Deanna for coffee. Then it was off to Portland to meet Tiffany, Sianna, and Shaine for Geeks Who Drink Trivia at Portland Brewery.
Team Family Ties
Our team (Family Ties) was the big winner that night!


On to Sunday morning.

Went to Mass then to Keizer Sub Shop for lunch. Always delicious. After eating, I dropped off three boxes of old clothes at Goodwill. Lenten purge is on track!
Met up with Catherine and Brenda and we all went to Walmart to shop for Easter ‘basket’ contents for her family. Add in a short trip to Dollar Tree for the same purpose and we called it good.
(I did buy another solar toy for my window.)
Solar duck

Finally, I finished out the weekend with a load of laundry.




In like a lion

Friday after work I went and got my headlight replaced. I’m not sure why it should be, but any car repair feels great. Weird, right? I then went to Level 1 practice to work on skating. I got to work with Misch the whole time and I thought it went quite well. She really provided the right mix of encouragement, pushing, distraction, patience, knowledge, and advice. I feel very good about how that session went. After practice, a few of us went out to Venti’s for a drink and a bite to eat. A good time.

Saturday, I got up earlier than I’d have liked to go pick up Tom and drive to Medford. We were only about 15 minutes late getting on the road and it didn’t throw off the trip at all. We stopped in Roseburg for lunch at McMenamins. I had a delicious stew and checked another location off my list. Proceeding on to Medford, we arrived at the derby bout location shortly before 2:00. Did a brief check in and then went to meet up with my friend, Denise, whom I had not seen in 25 years. Our visit was nice.

Sidebar. This trip to Medford had been in the works for over a month. The plan went through several changes along the way; most of them without my input. Now you know that I am a planner and that I’m very uncomfortable with leaving things ‘til the last minute, but I am trying to loosen up and go with the flow. One iteration of the plan was to book rooms at the same hotel where the after party would be. I was fine with this idea, but one of the few people who’d be staying over (there were only going to be four of us from Salem staying at a hotel) wasn’t especially keen on the idea and wanted to wait until getting down there to find a hotel. I went with it and just put it in her hands to select a place where she and her friend, and Tom and I would get rooms. When all was said and done, we ended up getting rooms at that hotel anyway. Why we couldn’t have made reservations the week (or more) before, I don’t know. But there were rooms available so it all worked out. Amusingly, after we’d gotten those rooms, the after party was moved to a different location, so we needn’t have stayed there after all. C’est la vie.

The bout was interesting although rather disorganized on the officiating front. NSO positions hadn’t really been assigned, there wasn’t a full compliment of skating officials, the scoreboard had some problems, lots of time outs for discussion among officials… Ultimately, we got it done.

Proceed to the after party. It was a little dive bar that was already packed. Karaoke was the name of the game and the derby folks jumped into the mix.

Here’s where it all turned sour. Part of my neurosis is a heightened sensitivity to my place in a group. I often feel like I don’t fit in, that I don’t receive the right kind/amount of attention. I often feel very isolated. I don’t know if it better to acknowledge this by avoiding group situations or by throwing myself into the middle of them. Anyway, in a big group, I prefer to link up with one or two others rather than be adrift amidst the crowd. I’m all about the buddy system. I suppose this can accurately be characterized as clingy. Anyway, I had no ‘buddy’ on Saturday, but this wasn’t debilitating. But then, at one point, Tom comes and informs me that he, Angie, and Heather have decided to walk back to the hotel at the end of the night as they’d all had too much to drink. Further, I’m told that they’ve decided to go with a couple of the host league members to a different bar up the road. Perhaps I should be glad that they thought to inform me, but I was just annoyed that more plans had been made/adjusted without regard to my thoughts/wants.

Sunday morning, I get up early-ish again as I have to be back in Salem by 12:30. Tom gets up but tells me that he’ll be riding back home with the girls. Ok. #1, this is fine because I actually prefer long drives by myself. #2, yet another plan that changed on me. In the planning for this trip, Angie had made it clear to me that she didn’t want to room with a bunch of people and that she didn’t want to travel with people. It would have been better if Tom could have come down with them too, but Angie wanted to do her own thing. Now, it turns out that he’s riding home with them. Fricking fantastic. To top it all off, it turns out I left my jacket hanging in the closet of the hotel. Tom did grab it and bring it back, so that’s good.

I made it home in great time. I got to stop of my apartment to grab my skate gear before going off to meet my gaming people for the afternoon. Decent session of Cthulhu, then back to the Mad House for men’s practice. Men’s practice sort of sucked. I am so much less skilled than anyone else so I can’t participate in what they are doing and I’m just a loner again. I spent time on wheels for 45 minutes and then called it quits for the evening. There was a CCDG orientation session going on with a bunch of new girls there to (possibly) sign up to begin level 1. I was actually assigned as a mentor for a woman who wants to explore volunteering and working as an NSO. It’s apparently the first time there’s ever been an NSO mentor. That’s kind of interesting. I stopped at the supermarket to buy a selection of soups for the week before returning home. A little TV, then to bed.

I didn’t sleep especially well. And I’m not feeling great today. It’s too warm what with the sun shining into my office and all. Plus I’m coughing a little. Not a major deal, yet. But I suspect that it’s a precursor to a more severe illness. My calves hurt (which is a good thing) and I’m just feeling generally uncomfortable. Also, I’m getting fat again. Ankle be damned, I need to start running again. Maybe tonight. But I need to fit in running around seeing a movie and working on an episode of The Forum this evening. Having a job keeps me too damn busy.

Catch up #1

Ok, so what have I been doing?

Well, as promised, I have been laid off. It was harder to contemplate when I first was told of it than when my last day came. Although there were some very sad moments towards the end, particularly on my last day. That last day was scheduled to be Thursday, but I had already decided that Wednesday was going to be the actual day. I took my inspiration from The Office. Michael Scott avoided the awkwardness of the farewell party by not coming in that day. There was a very moving and touching moment with Jim.

Remember albums?

Today, I list 5 of my favorite albums of all time. Of course, these days, albums are somewhat anachronistic, so this list will be heavily weighted towards the past.

So, in no particular order:

  • Some Great Reward – Depeche Mode
    This was the first DM album I ever heard and to me, it is the peak of the ‘sound’ that I like most from them. Not every song is the greatest, but the album as a whole is so significant in the development of my musical aesthetic.
  • The Joshua Tree – U2
    U2 was on my musical radar before this album, but this is the point at which the band became mega-stars. So many good songs and some of my favorites aren’t even the ones that were released as singles.
  • 2.0 – Garbage
    I’m not a big fan of a lot of the music from the 90s, but this album was really solid. It’s one that I could happily put on and listen to in its entirety.
  • Abba Gold – Abba
    Scoff all you like, there is not one dud among all the songs on this album.
  • Stunt – Barenaked Ladies
    Like Some Great Reward above, this album marks my first real introduction to the band. I’d heard other songs before this, but it was during their tour for this album that I first saw the band perform. So much fracking fun at that concert! I didn’t appreciate the band before I saw them live. Since that first time, I’ve seen them perform another 6-8 times. Love them!

What are some of your favorite albums of all time?

Kevin Bacon subverted

I am so frequently surprised when I realize that not everyone thinks as I do. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but nope, it’s always a shock.

Case in point: It seems the most natural thing in the world to me to share my friends with one another. I mean that if I know two people that are cool, I want them to know each other. I make the introduction and I try to facilitate the creation of a friendship that can stand on it’s own. Not everyone thinks this way. Actually, I’m not sure if I know anyone else who thinks this way.

Three examples.

Mary. Mary has been my friend for many years. We’ve had church and work in common, among other things. Of course, Mary has her own life, and I have mine. But I’ve thought of her as one of my closest friends. She got married last October to a man that she’d been dating for a year and a half or two. The wedding was only the third time I’d been in the same room as her husband. Even now, I have not been in the same place as him since the wedding. (I had the opportunity at the baptism of their child, but I didn’t go.) For a long time, I had no idea how serious they were because the life she led which involved him was completely separate and distinct from the friendship she had with me.

Letitia. We’re not friends anymore, but when we were together, she had a virtual parade of friends coming through town and staying at our place. Many of them very clearly wanted nothing to do with me. I on the other hand shared all my friends with her. I often felt that many of her friends were actually rather disrespectful of me and the fact that they were guests in my home. Their attitude seemed to be, “I’m Letitia’s guest so I can do whatever I feel she’d be ok with.” They occupied my space, sometimes my bedroom. Sometimes I was asked to go significantly out of my way to pick them up at this or that airport. One one standout occasion, one of them was really quite free with her derision about my faith. I don’t believe any of my friends ever behaved so ungraciously. Anyway, as I mentioned before, none of her friends (the ones I did like) had any interest in continuing to know me after she and I were over. Perhaps they were just pretending before that.

Lance. There is such a long list of my friends that I have introduced to Lance. And yet, not once has he ever made any effort to have me meet any of his friends. At one point, I asked about meeting one of them in particular. He stated very plainly that he liked to keep his world separate.

So what’s my point? I don’t know anymore. I think I had one in mind when this topic occurred to me last night, but I can’t remember what that may have been right now. I’ll say that often I would like to develop a friendship with the friend of my friend, but my friends always seem to see themselves as gatekeepers regulating contact with their friends. Maybe I really am that unpleasant?

I took one big step and I looked away

I frequently have difficulty with depth or introspection/reflection. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s related to a general avoidance mentality. I don’t like conflict or awkwardness, and I tend to delay dealing with things. I’m not thrilled that this is the case in my life. I should deal with this and make a change, but I’m avoiding it. 🙂

Anyway, I have an ex-girlfriend that is still in my life. It sucks. The relationship I had with her was way beyond what I was ready for, was looking for. She was the driver and I was entirely caught up in circumstances over which I had no control. Yeah, I was out of control. Ultimately, the only way I could regain some semblance of control over my life was to break up with her. I didn’t want to, but there was no space for me to process things. And she was so inflexible when it came to meeting me halfway on anything. I could go on and on and on about the difficulties I had (and still have) with that relationship. I may and will probably do so as I continue to blog. But today I will say that I still feel really broken as a result of being with her. I question if I’ll ever be right for a relationship.

A friend of mine has a daughter that is getting baptized this weekend. I had been planning on going until I realized that my ex-girlfriend would be there too. I told my friend that I wouldn’t be attending and that it was because I didn’t want to be in the same place as my ex. But really, it’s not about being at the same event. I still work in the same office as my ex, so being around her isn’t really the issue. The real problem I have is that all of the friends that she had prior to knowing me want nothing to do with me now that we’re not together, whereas my friends have remained friends with her. Maybe I really was the bad guy and I deserve being shunned. Maybe she has chosen friends that are more loyal than the ones I have chosen. Maybe she’s just more likeable than me. Whatever the reason, I admit to you, faithful readers, that it hurts sometimes. So I won’t be attending the baptism because I don’t want to be reminded of that pain.

Thursday is the new Friday

Today seemed very long. It wasn’t busy at work, but it wasn’t as slow as it’s been other days this week either.

I’m a little OCD I think. Here’s one manifestation: whenever I eat M&Ms, skittles, or any bite size snack food, I have to eat them in pairs, one for each side of my mouth. Well, I don’t HAVE to. But I definitely make every effort to satisfy that need.

I watched again the episode of the Office where Michael leaves. What a tear jerker. Very good acting/directing/writing to pull at my emotions the way it did.

Went for a run after work. I think I pushed myself too hard. I wasn’t able to go as long as yesterday and my ankle started hurting a bit. Tomorrow is a rest day so I hope that I’ll be good to go on Saturday.

I attended a dialogue session at the church tonight on the topic of immigration. It’s a complex issue that I struggle with sometimes. The video we were shown felt so heavy-handed. I wish people wouldn’t do that. It’s really unneccessary.

Happy cows come from California. Skinny Cows come from Genesis 41:3

I don’t think that many people share my way of thinking about some things. For example, I don’t think that I should pick up after others, nor should they pick up after me. We should each be responsible for fixing or cleaning up our own mess. Of course, we are free to ask others for help, and they are free to ask us. And it’s only polite to offer that help (when asked) within reason. I suspect that most people would say that we SHOULD go around and tidy up or whatever after others. Poppycock. You know how I mentioned that on Sunday I came back to Central Catholic and found the gate closed and locked? That was undoubtedly some do-gooder cleaning up after me. But what he really did is make things worse.

In 2002, I shared a house with Letitia and Becky. At the time, I was working a job that was more or less swing shift, so I tended to get home well after the girls had gone to bed. One night, I arrived home to find a package of Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches had been left out on the table and had mostly melted. It was a mess on the table-cloth and had begun dripping onto the floor. Now some people would think that they needed to clean this mess up. Not me. As I said, I didn’t create the mess and I didn’t think I was responsible for cleaning it up. However, if I left it alone, it would continue to melt and make a bigger mess. So I placed the whole thing in a plastic grocery bag and left it where I found it, only now it wouldn’t make more of a mess. This struck the girls as ludicrous and I’ve received a fair ration of crap about it since, but it made perfect sense to me.

So I ask you, what do you think of my solution? Should I have cleaned up their mess? Should I have thrown the whole thing away without cleaning? Should I have ignored it (and maintained plausible deniability) and just gone to bed?

Topic #5: Do you prefer talking or text messaging?

Today’s topic is: Do you prefer talking or text messaging?

And the Bonus is: Somewhere in the middle is voicemail. It used to be that voicemail, or messages on your answering machine (remember those?) was a sign of social significance, but how do you feel about voicemail now? Would you rather get an email, a text message, or a voice mail? Why?

Of course, it depends on the situation. If I need a phone number or address or something, I prefer a text message. But if what’s being discussed needs some explanation, talking is so much better. I prefer talking face to face over talking via the telephone. Also with text messaging, the conversation is spaced out over time whereas a two hour lull in a phone conversation could get awkward.

I hate voicemails. Mostly I hate the time it takes to listen to them. There have been plenty of occasions over the past couple of years that the voicemail indicator light on my work phone stays lit for days. We have new phones now so that doesn’t happen anymore. But at this very moment, I have 5 voicemails on my mobile phone that I haven’t listened to. At least one is over a month old.

More than voicemails or text messages, I prefer email. I can organize, print, reread, and respond to email all very easily. One advantage it has is that I can read it, or sections of it, at my own pace. Unlike voicemails that go pretty much at one speed. And if I miss something in a voicemail, I have to rewind or worse, replay the entire message. No thank you.

So, to sum up, my preferences in order are: email, text messages, voicemail.

Good day.

I said, good day!

Reenforcing a ‘thinking only of myself/my needs’ attitude

Watched a two-hour episode of The Event tonight. It was the first episode of the spring; the series having resumed after the winter hiatus. On the whole, meh. I’m not real excited about this series. But I’m not real excited about any television right now. Which is odd.

Anyway, during this episode a familiar, well-worn trope was used. A man was forced to facilitate a break-in of a government facility or else his family would be killed. He chose to help the bad guys and in the process, many, many people were killed. Call me a cold-hearted bastard, but I really take issue with the lack of moral fibre I see on display. It’s true that I have never been in such a situation, but what right would I have to decide that these people should possibly get killed so that I can save people whom I care more about? Either way, someone is going to get killed. I can choose to actively participate in that or not.

Frankly, I feel the same way about bumping rights at work. I believe it is morally wrong for me to be allowed to decide that it is more important that I get someone’s job than it is for him to keep it. Let me explain. If I have more seniority than my coworker and I have once upon a time worked in a position that has the same title/classification, if my position in my department is downsized, I can lay claim to my coworkers job and they are out of luck. Of course, they can dump on someone else less senior. It all rolls downhill, right? Gah! I have a real problem with this.

There was a story that I remember from elementary school about a new chick that was placed in the coop. He learned the first day that all the other chicks would painfully peck the less senior chicks. So #1 would peck #2, #2 would peck #3, and so on down the line until it got to our hero. Well, this chick thought that wasn’t right and resolved not to continue the practice. And sure enough, when newer chicks were introduced and all the older chicks would do their pecking thing, our hero wouldn’t pass it on. And eventually, when our hero was the most senior chick, nobody pecked anybody.

I must really have taken that particular lesson to heart, because I think this pecking bumping order thing sucks. Calling it a right doesn’t make it right. I will not do it.

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