Sunday, January 30, 2011

Things I meant to comment on...

Ramblings Post #168
Sometimes you get busy. It happens. You don't see it coming, but you turn around and you've been up for 24 hours and haven't eaten since that piece of carrot cake sometime around lunch yesterday. It happens. All you can do is stop, take a deep breath, and keep it moving.

Here are some things I really and truly meant to comment on this week but couldn't find the time. There are a number of half written posts on a jump drive somewhere....

State of the Union address
I didn't see it, I was busy READING for class. But understand Batman Obama made an appearance, smooth jacking his opponents power talking points and making them his own.

Damn. First the Fat Boys break up and now this. Um, wait, I meant Tunisia. It looks like the 1979 Iran Revolution all over again. Let's hope they don't duplicate the end state of their forerunners, and this stays a twitter/21st century revolution.

Chicken Plucking
It's done, I've been moved. Since I started plucking them chickens nearly a decade ago, I've always been in the "Penthouse". Sure I used to go down to help out but not for a long time. Now for the first time, I'm down in the belly of the beast. Talk about seeing the "writing on the wall" to get on to the next thing?

Suddenly, I want my ole scatter brained professor back. No wait, considering my grade and her final, no I don't. They say the first year they scare, the second they work you and the third they bore you, well, let's just say, "it's cotton picking hot" out here. week the reading for one class is like, roughly, 350 pages.

Went back and bam! No seriously, like bam! Bam Bam! Like who is this guy in the mirror? Three months, and I'm gonna be taking my shirt off for no reason, just trying to show this cut. If I can work it in between school and work. Okay, six months.

A week ago it was freezing. Now its almost 70 degrees. It will soon be freezing again. Um...the weather needs to make its mind. Hold on wait. It just snowstormed in the Northeast. My bad. The weather can do whatever it wants, just no more snow this year. Thanks.

Social Life.
After class on Saturday I went to brunch with Spanky, and we talked about her "new" man, maybe. Um, that was about it. Let's, home, school, work, school, brunch...studying...yep, that about does it. Brunch with a friend. Wooooooo.

Barkeep, a short beer, I got to back at it...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

With a capital M

Ramblings Post #167
Because the period between when I got finished my first round of education and the part when I start raising kids is using the term "decade" as a measure (and still isn't over yet) there are a great many stories I've seen, heard or know of. Most of them are true. This because in the Spades game of life truth has all the trump and fiction may have to renege just hoping to get to board.

Chicken plucking does strange things to people.

One of my coworkers got just got married. He let our manager know by informing her in passing that he had to leave early, because he was getting married later that day. That was it. Then he went and got married. Now, he's from Europe originally, so maybe its the cavalier attitude of the continent, but that seems just a little too casual for me.

But it also reminds me of another interesting story of a guy who got married while working at Le olde Chicken Plucker...

He wasn't a great chicken plucker. He was more a journeyman plucker, someone who could do the job and for the most part make those things that needed to happen go on and happen. He once lied to a client that you couldn't pluck a chicken after hours because the heat in the building turned off promptly right after the evening whistle blew. Like many of us working there at the time, he was usually bereft of serious funds, lived for the weekend and stayed with a roommate in a apartment for which he claimed the combined rent was $400 a month. But what made really made him interesting was his approach to dating and women.

He was looking for a woman with three specific qualities: she needed to overweight, have low esteem, and possess good credit.

That is not a joke.

Now he wasn't a pretty boy type. And admittedly, myself nor none of the guys I hang out with resemble male models, and as such we usually understand that supermodel types are not the kind of women who would normally jump at the chance to be with us. I mean, you have to realize what league you're in if you're going to play the game. A guy like me is more prone to use good conversation, an exciting personality, memory, and this thing I do with, nothing. Not to say that we don't occasionally end up with all aces, but reality is what it is.

However, in his situation, when your requirements, particular, you have to wonder about the motivation. I mean, you have to. He was dead serious about this, and would dutifully report back failures and follies of the Friday and Saturdays looking for the "perfect" woman.

In any case, as luck would have it and because Atlanta has ALL types, he met a woman who apparently met those qualifications. And then in the space of say...three WEEKS, talked her into a Wednesday afternoon courthouse wedding.

I know it was three weeks, because he met her the last week of March and they got married in mid-April. I know it was a Wednesday because it HAD been planned for that Friday. I know it was to have been a Friday, because that Thursday we were going to go out to the poor man's bootleg gentleman's club - Hooter's - and give him a thrown together bachelor-ish gatheration type party thing. And then he took Wednesday off that week to "take care of the some wedding details" and came in Thursday and said he'd just go on ahead the done it Wednesday.

Now, I've met her and she's nice. She did fit the physical requirement, but had a lovely bubbly personality, at least when I was around, and she surely was affectionate towards him. But I have to ask the question of a what appeared to a reasonably intelligent woman: why would marry a man you just met?

She moved him into her house, she eventually found him a better job, and they're apparently very happy together years later. Go figure. But at the outset, let's just say there were a whole lotta ways the whole shebang could have taken a wrong turn.

Ah, the life of a chicken plucker.

And women say they can't meet anybody. Apparently they just aren't trying hard enough.

Barkeep, because I just remembered this story....light me up!

Monday, January 24, 2011

And So, we Return...

Ramblings Post #166
It is said that when Cortes landed in the New World, he burned his ships so his warriors couldn't turn back. It's a concept called pre-commitment. Where you eliminate the alternative, so you have no choice but to go forward. It didn't actually happen quite that way, but we all get the idea. There as some things, once begun which cannot be stopped until completed. For me...that is the return of the sexy. The arrival of the sexy? Some measure of sexy achieved? A couple of hungry looks would be nice.

After almost two months pigging out, I've started back on the "program."

It's an interesting thing, going back, something I really didn't think I would do. I realize, really I do realize, that weight loss is more of an attitude change than a temporary change of eating habits, but this is the part I thought I'd left behind.

My plan, once I'd gotten down, was that I would indulge every so often while smoothing out some of the less palatable edges. A little gravy every so often. A little sauce on the meat. The occasional burger every two weeks or so.

Didn't happen.

Hot wings and Fries. Slice of sausage, pepperoni and extra cheese. Five Guys two patties with fries. Zaxby's Chicken finger plate. Boston Market's chocolate chip brownie. Ice cream with crushed Oreos. Chili dogs with onions...

So, we're going back. Now, mind you that in that month of ridiculous amount of indulgence I only went back up one notch on the belt, but that little loss was all it took to get my mind right. And I was starting not to feel good. My mornings were starting to get sluggish again, the 45 minute wake up plan, and my focus was fading. I had a fairly good semester on this diet, may as well stick to what works. And I still want to be able to take my shirt off for no reason.

This isn't to say that I'm back on this till I die. I mean, there is a second stage of foods for the maintenance part of the program, but I'm putting that off until I'm happy with the overall look again. I got to get the sexy right. And now that I have some structure to this whole thing, that original occasional indulgence idea might creep back into the picture, only this time in focus.

Barkeep, one of them fruit smoothies. And by fruit smoothie, I actually mean fruit smoothie.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Now that's famous

Ramblings Post #165
I've never wanted to be rich and famous. Just rich was enough for me. There is something about people you don't know calling you by your first name in public, and asking about things you know they shouldn't know. Don't get me wrong, I've been treated a mini-Atlanta celebrity on more than few occasions, recognized by folks and given the hookup a time or two. But I don't think I can take the rest of it, the photographers, the stalkers, the problems. I could however, use the money.

This is a Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow can thank her publicist. I suggest flowers.

I wasn't quite sure who Gwyneth Paltrow is. I had to look her up on Wikipedia and it appears she is quite the movie star. I bring her up because of a football game party I went to last weekend where after them that folks were cheering for had been effectively thrashed...around say half time for the Falcon fans...a game of Taboo was started.

Women love Taboo. I don't know why. I say this because when my RP used to have game nights at his house, it was a given that at some point in the evening there would be a crowd of women barking clues at each other trying to guess the mystery word. The number of times I would get asked either "when the Taboo game was going to start" or "are you playing" would exceed the requests for ice or to repeat that last drink I made. I would play every so often to be sociable, but the vast majority of the people waiting eagerly were women. I've seen women leave the "thunderdome" with a fine sheen of sweat behind this game. It gets intense.

Taboo, for the initiated is like the old gameshow Password, where you have to guess the secret word from clues your partner gives, only with Taboo you're not allowed to use the best clues.

So, last Saturday, football game well lost by the home team, the card games and other activities kicked into high gear. As I wandered into the kitchen sipping on my Hot Toddy (if want to prove you're black bourgeois, drink a Hot Toddy at a football party) and sidled over to where the women (and the one guy) playing, this exchange happened.

The black woman giving the clues flips to the new card which reads, Gwyneth Paltrow. I couldn't see the verboten words.

She starts: "White woman in Hollywood."
Person guessing: "Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow..."

I switched to hard liquor after that.

I guess Jennifer Aniston should send her person something too. I mean, talk about name recognition.

Barkeep. Whatever, I mean like whoa...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bar Chatter

Bar Chatter #19
Sometimes it just ain't enough to make a post, but it's still needs to go's just bar chatter.

Wind blows, car horn, here comes the Armored car,.... (for those not familiar, watch Groundhog Day again, it's very funny) .

Okay, Grades are in. I feel better now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sometimes its a Blank Page

Ramblings Post #164
Sometimes, you get empty. All of it that could be done for now is done and all you can do is wait, or keep busy. And if you don't want to keep busy then all you can do is stand there and wait. For the next sunrise, the next semester, the next snap, the next kickoff, the next next.

Haven't been in a writing mood lately.

School is restarting, books cost too much, people I started with are graduating, worried about grades, the chicken plucking farm is "repositioning" me, car still running funny, house still being a house funny, not hungry just eating for taste and still off my diet, things are happening, sun rises and sets, life is just whizzing by...

...and I feel like as life speeds up I can't get it out of first gear.

It's been cloudy for like two weeks though. Maybe I need some sun. Maybe I just need to get back on the diet.

Barkeep, the diet lite sugar free bourbon. You don't have that? I'll just have to make do.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow babies

Ramblings Post #163
Now is the winter of our discomfort. I would have said "discontent" but that's another guy. They say there are parts of the Northern Central Plains...the Dakotas, Montana, like that... where the people EXPECT the power to go out for weeks at a time during a snowstorm. They're prepared. And then there are houses you can buy in Florida, considered "hurricane" proof that come with their own generators. And then there is Atlanta....

The landing on my steps...Monday AM

I once awoke in Chicago, and the weather report indicated that the day's high would be a NEGATIVE seven degrees, with a wind chill coming in off the lake of a NEGATIVE thirteen. Eight inches of snow was expected.

Now, I'm from South Carolina originally. And where I was born and raised, the next words out of any newscasters mouth would be..."And the following schools and businesses are closed.." That didn't happen in Chicago. There was three feet of snow on the ground already on the ground, more coming, the weather was below freezing and its was business as usual.

Atlanta is snowed in.

As a southern town, it doesn't take much. It could take as little as two inches, or as they call it up north, a dusting of snow. This is because snow melts, and becomes water..which freezes up after dark and becomes ice, which makes it hard to drive. Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, Atlanta drivers technically have a hard time driving in sunshine. Rain befuddles them on occasion. Ice on the road for people without snow tires makes it like driving on oil covered teflon.

Let me explain to how it normally works when we're supposed to get snow. The forecast would call for snow on say, a Wednesday. People would rush out and buy milk and bread to last for a week. That night it would snow. We'd awake to a winter wonderland. By say, noon Thursday, the snow would be a distant memory. The sun would have come out, temperatures would be back in the 40s, etc...

That didn't happen this time.

The snow came on Sunday. It fell in great sheets, in big puffy flakes, in waves. And then, because of thick cloud cover the temperature didn't get above freezing, the snow stayed. Now, keep in mind that for the Atlanta Metro area, some 130+ square miles, the city has eight "winter" vehicles equipped to handle emergencies. Which means things usually take a little time when things get bad.

Monday came and stores were shuttered, the airport ceased operations, and I want to say even the Waffle Houses closed up shop. The city shutdown.

People celebrated the day off, spent a little quality time with their kids because there was no school or lit a fire, poured some wine and spent some time with other kinds of loved ones. I expect there to be an upswing in September babies this year. People played in the snow, we marveled at the accumulation. Facebook exploded with Atlanta traffic as folks caught up and people who never post put in a word. It was casual.

That was three days ago. Now people have been trapped for three days with the people that they love and they are ready to be out. Work, school, gas station, just down the street where it's quiet. I actually strapped it up and ventured into the office for something to do! Single people, like myself, who go to the grocery store two or three times a week are in a bit of a bind. I have groceries, but they're not the food I usually eat. And I'm out of the stuff I usually drink. (Crystal Light...before ya'll get ideas)

Worse, I'm just realizing that since my first week of classes were canceled for the semester, the whole semester is gonna be a little off track.

Atlanta is not a snow town. What else can say?

The next few days will be chaos as the city tries to right itself. Well, organized chaos. Well not really chaos, but uncomfortable. As one Facebook friend put it, "if your complaint is that in a house with heat, food, cable and family you can't take it, then you have nothing to complain about. Think about someone missing one those."

And as I said, I live alone.

I wish had something pithy and erudite to end with, but instead, know I need that brown.

Monday, January 10, 2011

First, they came...

This is a political post.

Making sure you have the facts straight

For the next few weeks, the talking heads that revolve around the 24 hour news cycle will work hard to convince us that the man who shot Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed Federal Judge John Roll was unstable, and worked alone, and this was a terrible tragedy that couldn't be avoided. They will pound it into our heads until we accept that as reality. Because the truth would spell doom for the current political narrative. Because the truth is that all the nasty rhetoric and posturing created the climate that made this shooting possible. And nobody wants to admit that.

Because then you have to blame somebody.

When we live in an age where people feel free to indicate they want to bodily physical harm to the President, where congress men brandish guns in their ads, where politicians words start to resemble those of terrorists...the idea that someone wouldn't pick up a gun and actually do it is naive and shortsighted. One political figure used cross hairs to show political targets. A candidate in one commercial actually shot a mock up of the cap and trade bill. One party's entire political comment right now is that "we will not compromise" - echoing the operational idea of the very fanatical extremists they claim we should oppose.

And it's all fun and games until someone gets shot.

Let me be clear I'm not blaming anyone in particular. No one candidate or political figure is responsible. But the collective has to bear some responsibility for the climate it has created, with its "taking our country back" battle cry and allusions to "Second Amendment remedies". And when the conservatives point their fingers to the extremists on the other side who should also be responsible, ask them for specifics, because I can't think of any.

But then this is the America we live in now, where bad things happen but no one is ever to blame.

To paraphrase a statement that sticks in my mine, "First they came for the poor, but I was not poor so I said nothing, then they came for unemployed, but I had a job so I said nothing. Then they came for the ...,"well, let's just see whose next.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Return of the Banana Republic(cans)!

This is a political post.

The revolution WILL be televised. If you count C-span as a channel.

To start the new Congress, the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives will read into the official record, the Constitution of the United States. That's actually pretty neat, considering its only be read in its entirety into the record twice in history. Then, as a new rule, all new pieces of legislation will have cite as specifically as possible the assumed power in said Constitution the submitting Congressperson thinks gives him the power to write the aforesaid legislation. This will be called a "Constitutional Authority Statement."

This will in effect, make the appointed position of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, currently filled incidentally by the Honorable Lorraine C. Miller - a black woman from Texas - one the top ten most powerful positions in the world. This is because it will most likely be the Clerk's job to determine, since the concern here seems to be congressional authority, if the proposed piece of legislation's argument for constitutionality is valid. Although the exact rules haven't been spelled out yet, the idea that some personal judgment as what is and isn't within the scope of Congress's powers won't be used in the determination process borders on inane fantasy.

So in one fell swoop, despite the fact that Congressional lawyers would already checked over proposed legislation anyway before it was ever submitted, the new House majority is attempting to horn in on the job of the Supreme Court. Which is a great way to protect the Constitution. [insert sarcasm here]

Here are the issues as I see them. I my humble, barely legally educated opinion.

By changing the standard that formerly presumed all congressional action was initially considered constitutional until judicial review to one that presumes nothing is constitutional without cite, you imbalance the powers set forth in the very Constitution they're trying to protect. Congress is not imbued with some magical power to declare their actions constitutional, nor is it the congressperson's job to interpret the Constitution. The power to determine constitutionality and that task of interpretation belong specifically to the Courts, per that same Constitution. And by moving that metaphorical scale where the law is weighed, the Republicans threaten the very system they claim to be protecting.

And hopefully they're not making the basic text the basis to work from, or the Republicans might be throwing out over 200 years of Supreme Court interpretations and established legal doctrine. Just so you know, established legal doctrine is the grease that makes this country work. A great deal of the basis of the laws that make America actually run on the day to day are based not upon the actual literal text of the Constitution, but upon Supreme Court rulings as to what that text means. I'm not sure how a Congressional Authority Statement is supposed work, but unless they read like legal briefs, we may have a new situation.

Adding a step might seem like a bright idea, if you don't know how the system actually works, but it's basically starting to look like either a political sop to the single minded Tea party movement, or a backdoor coup attempt.

Side note to the Republicans: Repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act probably aint' gonna happen. It's called a veto.

(And why don't the Democrats refer to Republican action as an attempt to repeal the Patient Protection Act?)

So to save the country and the Constitution, the Republican elite are don't care if they burn the House down. All for the sake of party.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What I learned 2011

Each year we all go out, get a little tipsy, and have a good time, then wake up the January 1st and promise ourselves that this year is our year, that we're going to do things different, that we're going to make things happen to change who we are.

And for the vast majority of us, it's just another fiction we tell ourselves, along with "I'm just taking this job until the one I want opens up" or "Holiday calories don't count". Its one those things you do because everybody does them, not because you really mean it. And that's kinda sad.

This past year I did some things. I made it through two semesters of law school (took the summer off) and lost about fifty pounds. But then I don't really make resolutions, what I do is put a little thought into those truths I came to realize this year. And hopefully, I'll internalize a lesson or two for the future.

With apologies to Esquire magazine, from whom I brazenly stole this idea from (seriously guys I'm just practicing for the day you do call...I want to be ready)

The weight does matter.
People who care never really leave. You might not speak to them anymore, but they're still there.
Hard times reveal great truths.
Bad losers are even worse winners.
I don't think I'm ever going to get over how my voice sounds on video.
If you dig a hole in the wrong spot, digging it deeper isn't going to fix it.
Things taste better when you haven't had them in a while.
We're not the same person we were yesterday, because we're always changing.
My period of indulgence has been much longer than most folks.
Part of getting what you want is doing those things necessary to get it, even if its not fun or seems counterproductive.
Blogging for four years, and yet the vast majority of my hits are because of a picture I posted.
I need to finish just one personal project.
French fries are fantastic.
I'm not used to compliments.
A lot of things I start on a whim I've become passionate about later. I'm a slow starter, but a strong finisher. Like a freight train.
One needs to be careful when you tell someone you love them, because it may make them do something crazy. Like believe you.