Thursday, December 31, 2009

New beginnings, new resolve, new year

So many of my peers are nay-saying New Year's resolutions this year. The main reason seems to be that no one (meaning themselves) ever keeps them.

I rather see New Year's Resolutions as opportunities to improve yourself over the previous year. New Year's represents a time of reflection and also the building of new dreams and new ideals. The New Year also gives rise to a new resolve to push yourself harder and achieve bigger things. Now what is wrong with that?

I traditionally post my New Year's resolutions here on my blog. Even though I abhor the idea of traditions from years of ministry abuse, I rather like this one, and I am going to keep it.

It is now my privilege to present my New Year's Resolutions for 2010. Whether you are inspired by these or choose to mock them, here they are:
  1. Lose weight and feel better. I realize this one is a repeat from the last several years, but I still want to go for it.
  2. Run in the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston this year. Why not?
  3. Finish my novel. I have 7,200 plus words, and have about 50,000 more to go. Then comes editing and hopefully publishing. Free copies for my pals to read on their toilets!
  4. Meet my career goals. The bottom line is that we spend 80 - 85% of our lives at work. Is it a crime to want to enjoy it? I think not.
  5. Obtain more paid freelance writing jobs. They are out there waiting for me to find them.
  6. Spend more quality time with family and friends.
  7. In the spirit of #6, watch less television. That laughing sound you hear is from my wife and children.
  8. Exercise 4 - 5 times per week.
  9. Establish a household budget and maintain it, including a savings account and a real vacation.
  10. Take control of my life, health, happiness, and destiny. Big words, I know, but hey, I am a big guy.
So there it is, my friends, my goals for 2010. At this time next year, I will let you know how I did. Have a happy, safe, and prosperous 2010, jungle friends!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Perspectives from 2009

In many ways, oh-nine was a disaster. I began the year with a massive layoff from the greatest job I have had in a long time. Lived off of unemployment for about 2 weeks, then landed what I thought was going to be a great job at wholesale computer distributor. I miscalculated that one. It was like working for the devil himself.

The month of June was a job-hopping nightmare, and we have been playing financial catch up since. Christmas for the kids was minimal, but they all seemed to enjoy it.

On the positive side, we moved into a new home with a lot more space (and a leaky roof we have recently discovered...wait, this was supposed to be positive). Tracy and I have both come out much better on the job situation. I am actually working for myself for the first time since 1995. I have one client who gives me at least 40 hours a week worth of work to do. Anything on top of that is a bonus. I am close to adding one more client, and my business has expanded from IT Consulting into both Corporate and Freelance writing. I write regular columns for RUSE the magazine and I have been added to the freelance rotation of Lexington Life Magazine. I am also writing two novels, one of which is a collaboration with James, who moved back to SC this year! This will be our first collaboration in many years. I am excited!

Another plus to oh-nine was reconnecting with family and friends I haven't seen in years and making a lot of new friends as well. Facebook, though addictive and at times frustrating, has been a blessing in so many ways.

My family has struggled this year. The children are all growing up so fast, and some are dealing with teenage angst. Tracy and I have had our struggles this year as well, though mostly financial ones. We continue to try to love each other through and look hopeful toward the fact that things WILL get better. Though our cashflow has been far from steady, we still have MUCH to be thankful for.

I made reference to it earlier, but in oh-nine I did some real soul searching, some of which was quite painful. Through the process I have been able to let go of the ministry once and for all, and have rediscovered my two passions outside of family and friends, teaching and writing. I am in the process of pursuing a Master's Degree in Education. I want to teach high school English and Language Arts. I started on this journey when I was 18, and got sidetracked. Now, for the first time in a long time, I feel that I am on the correct path for my life and at the correct time in my life. Since I rediscovered this path, opportunities are availing themselves and I am excited.

For many years, I lived with shame and regret for decisions I have made. Most of my friends are very established in their careers, and I have had trouble just finding and keeping steady jobs. I have a college degree that has absolutely no value in the real world. On top of that, I am not getting any younger. I don't feel old, though I do look it at times. Oh-nine was the year where I purged all of that shame and regret. I am in a good place right now spiritually and mentally. My next immediate goal is to get my body back into shape (translation: last year's resolution bombed).

In oh-nine we lost three major pieces of our youth with the deaths of Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon, and Farrah Fawcett. It was very sad to lose these people, and at the same time it was a very stern reminder that I am not a teenager anymore, and that even pop-icons don't live forever. I catch myself saying, "When I was a kid..." to my children a lot lately. It is truly a different world than the one I grew up in. Not better or worse, just different.

I am looking forward to putting 2009 behind me. It was definitely not the best year of my life, but it was not the worst either.

On to 2010!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Personal Tribute

My generation has lived through at least three major wars. However, this is the first time one has hit so close to home. One of my dearest childhood friends, Chris "Peeley" Neeley (far right in the photo) has been summoned to one year of duty in Afghanistan. Peeley has a wonderful wife and is a father of two as well as a Public Relations expert. He is serving in our National Guard and will be putting his PR skills to work in Afghanistan for 12 months.

I have known Peeley for nearly a quarter of a century. If I were asked to describe him in one word, it would have to be "solid." He has built a wonderful career in Government Relations and has built a solid, happy family. He is also a solid friend, always willing to help a friend or even a total stranger.

From running for Student Council President in middle school, to the Airport High School band, to the Carolina Band to The SC Silver Elephant Club to breakfast this morning at Lizard's Thicket, I have always been able to find new found respect and admiration for my friend Peeley. He is a personal hero of mine and makes me want to be a better man, husband, father, and friend.

In just a few days, he will be serving our nation's interests in Afghanistan, and helping to further democracy in a very troubled country. I can say with conviction, that we who remain here will be safer because of men and women like Peeley.

Peeley, my friend, good luck, Godspeed, and hurry home! I promise you that we will look after your wife and children, and I look forward to many more breakfasts with you and the gang.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Too Blessed to be Stressed

Today I overheard a comment that I seem to be hearing more and more. A fellow was talking about how much money he had made and about a new vehicle and then made this statement: "God has really blessed me."

At what point did having money and expensive toys become equated with God's blessings? If having money and stuff means God is blessing, than my household is cursed. I have been laid off twice this year, I am always late with the rent, I am driving the same Chevy S-10 that I have been driving since 2001, and if we're lucky, we might be able to buy a small gift for each of our children for Christmas this year. No, sirree, God has truly NOT blessed this house.

Do you see my point? I have friends who serve overseas as missionaries. One does not enter the mission field with hopes of financial prosperity and monetary "blessings." A blessing for them is to have food to eat for the day, and to make it home each day without being killed, raped, or tortured. Is it our understanding that these missionaries are not being blessed by God because they have to walk or ride a bike to get where they need to go and not a Mercedes or a limo? Surely not. And what about our soldiers scattered around the world missing Christmas with their families? I guess they aren't very blessed either. Sigh...

It's time for religious people to see the light. What the man I overheard today spent on his new truck (that God blessed him with) could feed 100 families in Darfur for a month. Think about that on Christmas morning while you collect your booty from beneath the tree.

Now, let me clarify something. I do not think that having money and being prosperous is evil. Thinking that wealth and prosperity make one "blessed" is evil as well as arrogantly presumptuous.

A popular Southern Baptist evangelist, Bailey Smith, once compared the Church to a luxury cruise liner, moving powerfully through the waters while many drowning people try to get on board. They end up drowning because the floating prosperous Church doesn't see them nor do they care.

Another thing that urks the living daylights out of me are these people who apparently don't live on the same planet as the rest of us. Ask them how they are, and they will say, "I'm too blessed to be stressed."

Well, lah dee freakin dah!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Retro Review: The Wrestler

Regular readers of my blog will recall that I seldom get out to see movies when they are brand new and in theaters. It's not that I have little or no social life (well, perhaps that too), but I am appalled at movie prices, particularly the cost of Milk Duds. Typically, I wait for the flick to hit DVD or HBO. Such is the case of my latest Retro Review of Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler.

Right away I was drawn into the simplicity of the story. Mickey Rourke plays Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a superstar wrestler from the 80s. The story begins 20 years later, in the present day, where The Ram is no longer the headliner he once was, but continues to work local and independent wrestling shows. The Wrestler portrays these indy shows with great accuracy. From my own wrestling experience, I felt right at home in the story line. A bunch of no-name wrestlers, all changing in the same room (usually a conference or storage room, depending on the venue), going over who is wrestling who and when. Occasionally, we would have big names join us at our shows as well. All that is to say that The Wrestler gets an A for authenticity from beginning to end.

After a "hardcore" match, complete with barbed wire and staple guns, The Ram suffers a heart attack from years of living hard and shooting steroids and abusing pain meds. He collapses and and later wakes up in the hospital having had major bypass surgery. The doctor informs The Ram that he can never wrestle again. He soon realizes that the doctor is right and informs his promoter that he will be unable to compete in a match commemorating the 20th anniversary of the greatest match of his career vs. The Ayatollah.

The remainder of the movie follows The Ram trying to adjust to life outside the squared circle. He is forced to take a job in a grocery store deli while he attempts to reconcile with the daughter he abandoned for his wrestling career. The Ram is also vying for the affections of Pam, a stripper, portrayed by Marisa Tomei. Like The Ram, Pam is realizing that she is getting too old for her chosen profession as well. The two find themselves drawn to each other and try to start a romantic relationship. The highlight of the relationship between Rourke and Tomei is a scene in a bar where the two lament that the 80s was the greatest decade and was ruined by the 90s. This was a good moment for us forty-somethings. Outside of that scene, the interaction of the two characters was very dry.

After The Ram forgets a date he had made with his daughter, he realizes that the only thing he will ever be good at is wrestling, so he quits his deli job with extreme prejudice and announces his return to the ring. During his match with the Ayatollah, he grabs his chest and painfully tries to continue the match. The film ends with The Ram leaping from the top rope, leaving us to wonder if he survived the match or not.

All in all, I liked The Wrestler, but I didn't LOVE it. Mickey Rourke gave a superb performance. The film was very authentic and the scenes of Marisa Tomei as a stripper certainly didn't hurt the viewing. If you are a fan of professional wrestling, a budding wrestler, a has-been wrestler, or a never-was like me, you will enjoy The Wrestler. If you're looking for a good wholesome family movie, look elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve Oh Nine

This is the time each year where I pause and offer thanks. I have many things to be thankful for. Family, friends, work, rekindled passions and dreams, and many possibilities ahead.

As I ponder the seemingly infinite number of things I am grateful for, I feel led to look back. It seems the older I get, the more I appreciate my memories. There was a time when I despised Thanksgiving. It seemed that every year someone (usually my father) would get drunk and cause trouble. Or someone would be offended by something someone else did or said or didn't do or say, and arguments would abound. Now that I am older, I realize that these things didn't happen as often as they seemed to, and there are some things that I really miss from Thanksgiving past.

I miss the smell of my Grandma and Grandpa Redders' house on Thanksgiving. My grandma was a genius in the kitchen. She cooked and baked mostly from scratch, and sometimes I would be privileged to help or at least watch her in action. She would actually stuff the Turkey and it always came out perfect. The way she prepared her Ham was an art form and it would cause the taste buds to get up and do the Charleston. The table was set perfectly, and I will never forget the year I graduated from the "Kids' Table" to the "Grown Up Table." I remember the red and green apple rings, as well as the olive and pickle tray. Grandma's stuffing was amazing, and she baked her pies from scratch. Good eating and good times!

All of my grandparents are gone now. I miss them all profoundly. My grandparents were precious to me. They always will be.

Tomorrow we will be having Thanksgiving dinner at my older sister Terri's house. Terri spent a lot of time with Grandma in her kitchen growing up, and it shows. When I eat Terri's cooking, it tastes almost exactly as if Grandma's hands prepared it through her. I look forward to Thanksgiving every year now, and it gives me joy to be with family and witness the legacy passed down to us from Mom, Dad, and the grandparents.

I wish the very same for all of my children. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fall Back and Enjoy!

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Aside from South Carolina's fickle weather, I enjoy this time of year very much.

I love our home in Leesville. If we haven't had you over yet, have no fear. We are planning a gathering for the Carolina-Clemson game, and possibly a Christmas gathering. You are invited as soon as we hammer out the details. It is so gorgeous out here. The occasional smell of processed poultry is the only negative thing about being here.

Work is going great. Back in June, I started my own IT Consulting/PC Repair business, and it is finally taking shape. I have one client for whom I work 40 or so hours a week doing various Database Management and whatever else they ask of me. I am about to add another client who I will do monthly DBM for, and my business has branched out into Corporate Freelance Writing. New website is up and running, and it, like me, is a continual work in progress.

On the Freelance Writing front, I am still writing for RUSE the magazine and am about to begin writing some local fare for Lexington Life Magazine. The novel is progressing faster than I anticipated, but it is my first, so I don't want to rush it. I am already toying with ideas for the next one.

So, there you have it. All is good right now. I am looking forward to the holiday/family time coming up. I wish the Packers and the Gamecocks were doing better. Maybe next year.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Todd's Box O' Joy

I had one of many conversations with James last night at what we have affectionately dubbed, "The Satellite Office." I could tell you where it is, but then we'd have to eliminate you, or, we would simply make you buy a round.

The conversation was about an article in Esquire where the writer lists 25 things that give him joy and then something about putting them all in a box. I did not actually read said article, you see. I prefer GQ or Men's Health over Esquire. The discussion began to actually churn my creative and grateful juices, but after our discussion, it was time to leave, as we had once again closed the Satellite Office with a few other stragglers.

This morning I read a nice post by my buddy Alan about some of his favorite things. After reading his list, I felt inspired to put down a few items of my own that give me great joy. After a brutal summer and 3 weeks of unemployment, it has been such a relief to be working again, and not having to panic about lack of income, etc. Today I feel grateful, and so, without further delay, I will now open my "Box O' Joy," and share with you the things which warm my heart and make me happy. Here they are, in no particular order:
  1. The first cup of coffee every morning.
  2. Watching the Three Stooges with Cody.
  3. Hearing Katie, Jenna, and Christi giggle.
  4. Playing "fetch" with Jesse (my Golden Retriever).
  5. Listening to Tracy breathe as she sleeps and cuddles beside me.
  6. Having Lilly (my cat) lay on my lap.
  7. Watching football with Nicholas.
  8. Watching my dog, Sunshine, run across the yard. She looks like a rabbit.
  9. Cold beer on a hot day.
  10. A & W Root Beer floats.
  11. Staying up late and sleeping late.
  12. Visits with James where he shares the latest "Harper stories."
  13. Chick-Fil-A milkshakes (Strawberry or Peach).
  14. Hearing Cody laugh at "America's Funniest Home Videos."
  15. Diana Krall singing, "The Look of Love."
  16. Listening to Matthew talk about his day.
  17. Music from the 70s and 80s.
  18. Deep conversations with people who actually know a thing or two.
  19. Hugs.
  20. Laughing myself to tears.
  21. Apple Pie and Vanilla Ice Cream.
  22. Having all the children (including Steven) home together. They are all uniquely special to me.
  23. Thanksgiving Dinners when my grandparents were still alive.
  24. The sound of running water (except when I have to pee).
  25. Autumn colors.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Perspective...Through the Years

I have run across some old photos in the last few weeks. It has been interesting to note the changes as well as recall the history behind each photo. Each photo is also representative of what I did NOT know at the time each photo was taken. For example...

In the 1968 photo, my whole life journey was just beginning. I was acclimating to life in a very big world. I didn't know how to walk, talk, read, write, feed myself, and, I was not..., er, housebroken. So many experiences awaited me. I didn't know what going to school would be like. I had yet to experience the joy of making friends.

In the 1982 photo, I knew what going to elementary and middle school was like. I had experienced it. When this photo was taken, I was in the 8th grade. I had the experience of making friends. One friendship in particular would become a lifelong one that defines us both. I had experienced the divorce of my parents by this time. What I had yet to experience was high school. If memory serves, I was actually contemplating this when the picture was snapped. I did not yet know the joy and pain of the teenage years. There were many experiences that would be had over the next four years.

In the 1986 photo, I am smiling big because I had finished high school and was standing on the precipice of new opportunities. My whole life was before me, and I could be or do anything I wanted to. I was all set for college, and I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had friends who, I did not know at the time, would become lifelong companions and literally be like family. I had experienced "puppy love," dating, and heartbreak. I had a driver's license and a crummy yet beautiful 1978 Honda Civic that I had bought for $400.00. Even as I look at the photo, I am finding it hard to remember what it felt like to be that happy and free. Which brings me to the last picture.

In the 2009 photo, I am not smiling. I am happy, but I am also a lot more seasoned. I have experienced marriage, having children, divorce, bankruptcy, re-marriage, career changes, address changes, loss of loved ones including my estranged father, and many shattered dreams. Life after high school was much harder than I was prepared for. Adulthood has it's rewards, to be sure. Watching my children being born and growing into young men and women is a joy that can hardly be expressed in words.

As with all the other photos and times, there are still a lot of things I don't know. For example, I don't know what it feels like to be old. I joke about being old, but I am still only 41. My body still functions quite well. My mind is still sharp. Physically, I could use some work, but I can still exercise and move on my own. I don't yet know what being a grandparent feels like. All of my friends are still living. I probably have just as many days ahead as there are behind.

I sometimes wonder what I would say to myself if I could go back and talk to those young lads. I will close out this piece with just a few things that come to mind:

1) To the 1968 me, I would tell him to be more assertive with the neighborhood kids, and to not always avoid confrontation. I would also say that it was not cool at all to pee in Andy Nelson's closet, even though he probably deserved it.

2) To the 1982 me, I would congratulate him on a great year. The 8th grade me seemed to have a good head on his shoulders. He was a heck of a football player and made awesome grades. If I could offer him one piece of advice, it would be to keep writing no matter what happens.

3) To the 1986 me, I would have to have a long sit down with him. I would somehow try to convince him that college was going to be a lot harder than he realized, and that although he was very smart, he lacked good common sense. I would tell him that college can be fun, but you cannot have so much fun that you neglect your studies and classes. I would advise him to stay the course, no matter what. I would strongly caution him about drinking and driving. I would also teach him how to take care of himself and to never expect a woman to do that for him. I would tell him to be a man and cowboy up and to stop waiting for things to happen. Todd, go make things happen. You can and you should! I would tell him this as I grabbed him by the lapels to make sure he understood that admonishment.

The only thing I can say to the 2009 Todd is to somehow turn his situation around. Find a way and do it! I would also remind him that it's not so important how we start, but how we finish. We cannot undo the past, but we can change our present and look hopeful to the future.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday Technology Rant

Technology is my life. I love the stuff. I love being engaged in conversations with my fellow tech heads about RAM, Motherboards, HDMI, URL, TCP/IP, Warp Speed, and new ways to brew coffee. What I love most about technology is that most of it is the result of forward thinking. When stuff becomes obsolete right after I buy it (like my Blackberry), I give a hearty "HOO-AH" to the Technology world. It is always moving forward, with one notable exception.

There is one particular facet of Technology that refuses to get better with age. In fact, it only gets worse. I am referring to Voicemail Greetings.

Remember when the answering machine first came out? Well, I do, and no, I am not old, despite the fact that my children laugh at me when I say, "When I was a kid..." Hey, I can't help the fact that we only had one rotary dial phone in the kitchen which we would fight to answer. I didn't even own a cell phone before age 25, and most of my brood got cell phones before their drivers licenses.

So where was I...? Ah yes, Voicemail Greetings.

The first thing you hear when you call most people is their personal greeting.

"Hello, this is the voicemail of Todd Vick, please leave me a message after the beep and I will call you back."

Simple, direct and to the point. Works for me. But, instead of a beep, you hear a 1960s operator give you the same spiel over again.

"After the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, hang up, or, press the # key for more options."

More options? Why would I need more options? I just wanted to leave a message, which I have now forgotten because of this verbose horn-rimmed glasses wearing operator. However, I WOULD like the option of not having to listen to you anymore.!

We have cell phones that can surf the net, check Facebook, and trade stocks real time, but I can't get a simple greeting and a beep. Maybe it's because of some old Union clause that we still have to listen to these nasal-talking fruitcakes.

Enclosing, I want to apologize in advance if I leave you a message with a certain aggravated inflection in my voice. Just know that it's not you, it's that I had to wait for the beep.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumn Reflections

According to the calendar, summer is officially over. According to the SC calendar, summer will probably linger for a few more weeks.

I am not sure what it is, exactly, but deep down in my innermost being, I feel that there is spirit of freshness breaking forth. I am at a loss to describe it any other way. I just feel that good things are around the corner, and that positive changes are coming.

My favorite time of year is Autumn. I love the coolness of the morning and the warm evenings. I love the way the leaves change color and the gnat population begins to dwindle. When the leaves wither, dry up and fall to the ground, it means that the tree is discarding the old in order to make room for the new.

Again, I don't know why I feel so hopeful right now. I just do. In reality, things have been tough in my household since June. Money has been scarce, and jobs that pay well have not availed themselves to me. My family is stressed. I am stressed.

Yet there is hope. For the first time in many years, I feel like I am on the correct path. It is a path I have been on before but made some wrong turns and lost my way. Lately, I have rediscovered this path. There are many dead fallen leaves on this path, representing years of wasted opportunities and bad choices. My path is once again opening itself and inviting me to walk down it again. It is a path barely trodden, and it clearly beckons me.

This time, I aim to remain on the path, no matter what.

Monday, September 14, 2009

An Apology and Thoughts on Regurgitation

Dear Faithful Readers of my humble blog,

I want to offer an apology for going off the other day on Congressman Joe Wilson and SC Politics as a whole. I am just a very passionate person, and sometimes leap from my heart before I use my head.

Two very wise people in my life, Anastasia Chernoff and Dr. Fredric Mau, have both told me that people make decisions based on the information that they have at the time. In other words, they act, react, speak, and think based on their own knowledge. I am one of those people, too. If I keep that thought in my mind, I tend to be more relaxed in my delivery, and I am also less inclined to bear my claws and attack.

Politics and religion are very impassioned and volatile subjects. Especially nowadays. We want our government and our churches to do the right things, and then we fight tooth and nail against it when they do. I don't know how to fix this, other than just to admit that I can't, and just have conversations with people.

I'm home today. Had horrible nausea and vomiting since last night. I even fell asleep during the Packer game. Frankly, I HATE throwing up. However, right afterward, there is such a feeling of relief and exhaustion.

Over the years, I have had to purge many attitudes, opinion, and predilections which were making me unbearable to live with. Especially in the last 5 years. It is not as important for me to be right all the time as it used to be. We live on such a large planet. There are so many individuals in this world and each one of us has a unique perspective on things. I think there would be more peace if we would just listen to one another. I didn't say,"agree," just listen. Talk it out, and be better for it.

Here is another subject close to the hearts of all my blogger buds: my career. In my blogging tenure, I have changed careers several times. Each time it was because of some need to find my place in this world. Change can be good, but too much change can have the opposite effect. Sometime, years ago, I lost my way. My son is a junior in high school this year. When I was his age, I had my whole life planned out. I knew what I wanted to do and who I was. I wanted to be a teacher and a writer. My 3 passions have always been teaching, music, and writing. I think my ministry calling was not genuine. I believe I went into the ministry to impress my now ex-in-laws. Since leaving the ministry, it is as though a weight has been lifted. As weird as that may sound, it is how I feel and I cannot help it. I don't believe that the years I was in the ministry counted for nothing. I have some wonderful memories of that part of my life. Far more good than bad ones!

So now, here I am, almost 42 years old. I recently asked a friend, "Do you remember the time in your life when you were the absolute happiest?" He looked at me, somewhat bewildered. I then proceeded to recount the time I believe I was happiest with my life. It was 8th grade. A close second would be 11th grade. I had lofty dreams. I wanted to be a teacher and a writer. In 11th grade, I also wanted to be a Musical Conductor. Somewhere between marrying, having children, and working to provide for them and now, I lost my way. I misplaced my passions. Don't get me wrong, I love being a Dad. My children are my greatest offering to this world, and sacrificing to take care of them is NEVER in vain. I would give all I have if it would make them happy.

Since leaving the ministry, I have been trying to find that great paying job in the IT industry. The longer I linger, the more I realize that "That pond is nearly all fished out." The jobs are just not there like they were in the 80s. I have been pursuing an MBA, and I enjoy the classes, but there is no passion, just knowledge. Even if I earned that MBA, I cannot be certain a good paying MBA type job will be there for me. Even if it were, I still wouldn't be happy. So, if you're interested, I will now share where I am going from here.

I am changing my major from MBA to Master's in Education. I would like to teach English or Creative Writing. However, I can also teach history, religion or philosophy with equal passion. I am also writing articles for, and I am very excited about this. Additionally, I am working on a novel and toying with a couple of short-stories. And James is home. It is great to be able to just call him up and go meet him somewhere without having to catch a flight (although I loved my trips to Seattle).

I feel sick to my stomach today. There has been much literal and figurative regurgitation. Aside from the nausea and bowl-hugging, I feel like I did when I was in the 8th and 11th grade: I know who I am, and why I am here, and I have rediscovered my passions.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Et Tu, Joe?

In all my years in SC, whether I was right, left, or moderate, I have always supported Joe Wilson. I have met him in person several times. Sat at his table during a church luncheon one time. He is a true gentleman and statesman. If one of his constituents asks for help, he helps, and he does it quickly. He has been a true servant of SC for many years now. Joe, the politician. Joe, the servant of SC. Joe, the gentle giant.

Joe the HECKLER??? In a million years, I never would have seen that coming. He may as well have stood up and said, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!"

I am not a political expert like Tim Russert or people like him. But I'm not an idiot either. What exactly is every one's beef with President Obama? As far as I can tell, he has done everything he promised he would do. For years, people have pushed for Health care Reform in this country. He is taking action. Not just words, but real action. The President articulated his vision for America during his campaign and has made it widely available for us to read. He communicates through all the social media. If you don't know what he stands for by now, that is your own fault, quite frankly.

I would really hate to think that the fact of the President's skin color is at the root of all the "political grandstanding." I would hate to think that that is what all the heckling is about. There is one race: the HUMAN race. SC needs to grow up. If President Obama succeeds or fails, it will have nothing to do with his skin color. He is a very intelligent man and a genuine leader. Not to mention a tireless public servant.

I love SC. I have lived here most of my life. It is a great place to live and raise a family. SC Politicians would serve us better by keeping their bigotry and ignorance at home, or step aside. I am so embarassed by this state right now. You probably are too.

So let's get over ourselves and fix it.

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Labor Day Paradox

The logic of the world continues to baffle me. The way that we just accept the things that we were taught and then pass these things on to our offspring without question raises a profound question: "Why?"

For example, to quote a witty observation, "Why do we park in a driveway and drive on a parkway?" It is a comical question, but to cynics like myself, it begs explanation. Logically, we should drive on a driveway and park on a parkway. That makes more sense to me. But they (the anonymous people who make this crap up) won't change it (whoever THEY are).

Another idiotic idiom we don't stop to ponder: Why do we say we are getting ON an airplane? I love to fly, but I am not getting on an airplane even if the flight were free of charge. I will, however, get IN the airplane. It seems to be much safer, and there may even be an in-flight movie to boot. To their credit (the THEY people again), it is not called an "ON-flight movie." Otherwise, I would have to pass.

Then, of course, here I sit, blogging on my day off, which is a little holiday called "Labor Day." On Labor Day, we honor labor by NOT working. That just makes PERFECT sense to me!

Shouldn't THEY change the name of the holiday to "Off Day," or perhaps, "NON-Labor Day?" I would even accept "ANTI-Labor Day." I would become a poster-child for such a holiday; my wife and children will vouch for that! Imagine, if you will, a day where Football, Clint Eastwood movies, and Star Trek and X-Files marathons play on TV all day! Furthermore, each time I finish a beer, another one magically appears! That sounds like a holiday to me!

The word "holiday" is another paradox in and of itself. It combines the words "Holy" and "Day." I suppose a day filled with perfect Man-TV and automatic beer regeneration seems to dispel the whole "holy day" concept, depending on your point of view, of course.

As we gently flitter back to reality, we are reminded that even with over 300 channels, nothing good is ever on TV, beer is a non-regenerating substance (well, maybe after 9 or 10 it is), and THEY seem content just to leave all this stuff as it is.

So, with that, my friends, I bid you a Happy Labor Day, however and wherever you may choose to celebrate it! As for me, I will be on my laptop. Or should I say, "AT my laptop?"

Whatever THEY decide.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dazed, Disillusioned, and Dehydrated

There is no reason why today's post is titled as it is. Other than it may reflect my mood at the moment. I have not been sleeping well and life has thrown a few curve balls of late. For some reason, I am drinking water like it's going out of style lately. Is it possible to be a "Waterholic?"

I would like for someone to point out to me the exact point where I screwed up my life. I cannot seem to recall a singular instance. I must've done SOMETHING to bring all of this calamity onto myself and my family.

Any takers? Shrinks? Fundamentalist right-wingers?

Take your best shot.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Monthly "Remember Me?" Post

It troubles me that I don't blog as much as I once did. I rather enjoy blogging...especially when I have something to say. I recall when I first started blogging, I would have a lot of time on my hands, but struggled for content. Now I have a lot of things I would like to blog about, but little time for blogging. For now, I will begin with an update of the goings on.

  1. The Kirks moved back to SC. We dined with them at Chez Vick this past weekend. I am so excited to have my "brother" and his precious wife and daughter close by, though I will really miss my trips to Seattle. Could always bunk in at Das Ritterhaus...
  2. Since June 1st, I have had 3 jobs, and now I am back where I started. So far so good.
  3. As of today, I have finished my first of 12 MBA classes. One down, 11 to go (maybe less). It is exciting to think that as the Baby Boomers begin to retire en masse, there will be positions open and maybe a place for me and my MBA to go. Then again, it would be ok with me to just move up in my current place of employment. Either way, it feels great to have that class behind me.
  4. Soon the children will all be back in school. Tracy and I have been in school all summer. We will have 5 in High School and one graduating this year.
  5. By this time next year, I hope to have a pool with a deck that is connected to the current deck. I hope to have purchased my home. And I want to be about 70 pounds lighter. I also hope to have the book written and published.
For now, I must return to my duties as IT Consultant at Chipco.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Gone Too Soon, Staying Too Long, Gone Too Far

I have so much running in my head right now, I don't know where to start. I am a flood of emotions this week. I know I am far from being alone in this regard. Something out of character happened to me 30 minutes ago. I wept...hard. I just broke, man. It all came out. All the emotions of the past week came pouring out in a river of sorrow and joy. I will list the events and briefly comment on each. I seem to work well off of lists. Lets me begin with last Friday and work to today. The longest 7 day stretch I remember ever having.

Friday, June 19:
I received a call from Mom telling me that one of my youth minister friends from the Chapel of Rejection was arrested due to allegations from 5 boys in his youth group of misconduct. He is a dear friend of mine and Tracy's. When I was on staff there, he and I would crack each other up at every staff gathering or meeting. My kids all spent the night at he and his wife's home for lock-ins. Thankfully, they had nothing negative to report. I love this guy, and I hurt for him. He screwed up. Bad. He will likely do some serious jail time, and have the sex offender label follow him for the rest of his life. My heart is broken by him and for him.

Sunday, June 21, Father's Day:
Tracy has a half-sister in Tennessee. They have been talking and wanting to get together and meet for the first time. She got a call Sunday that her sister's husband, age 29, didn't wake up. He apparently had some sort of cardiac arrest and was deprived of oxygen to the brain for at least an hour. He laid in a coma for a few days with no brain activity. They took him off life support and he passed away.

The next events kinda ran together, and I don't feel like looking up dates. But here they are:

1) The Kirks are moving back to SC! I am ecstatic about this, as I'm sure many of you are. I am very well documented regarding my feelings for my "brother" James. I am so glad to have him and his precious family back home. Overjoyed!

2) Our Governor, Mark Sanford, on the heels of the stimulus money fracas, disappeared for a few days, comes back and announces his extra-marital affair. I admire him for being a stand up guy, and I really do wish him and his family complete healing. This kind of thing can happen to any of us, blogger friends. What is bugging the crap out of me is all the GOP showboating that has ensued. Remember, dear readers, that the guilty dogs usually bark first. Maybe we should check into Andre Bauer and Jake Knotts' activities as well. Why do we keep re-electing these self-serving morons? Why? WHY? I think it's time for them to move on and take that idiot Henry McMaster with them. Just sayin...

3) Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. I can't say anything that hasn't already been said elsewhere. I will say that Farrah was my first celebrity crush, and I can't say enough about Jacko. You were there. You know what he has done, and most of us got to enjoy him at the top of his game. And I love Jay Leno, and Conan is rockin the Tonight Show, but the Tonight Show to me will always be Carson and McMahon. As Don Rickles said recently, "That kind of fun will never be had again." It is hard to imagine the world without them in it. But we press on.

With that, it has been a week from the netherworld. I'm glad it's over, but now the world is different. Who will be the next trailblazers for us now? Maybe one of our children. Maybe one of us. One thing is certain: the world that Ed, Farrah, and Michael shared with us was changed forever because of them.

Oh, to have had that kind of impact when my number is up.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Movie Review: Star Trek (with Trekker commentary)

I finally saw the new Trek film with my wife yesterday, and like the Klingon warbirds in the Kobayashi Maru, I was totally blown away! It may very well be, in my opinion, the best Trek film in a long time.

You see, dear reader, I am a Trekker. Not to be confused with "Trekkie," which is used to describe weird Trekkers. I literally cannot remember a time when Star Trek was not a part of my life. I have been watching the series since I was 5 years old. I have chronologically packaged my life around Star Trek. For Example, when Star Trek IV came out, I was a senior in high school. My son was born just before Star Trek: Generations. And so on and so forth. See? Trekker.

To my embarrassment, I have never attended a Star Trek Convention. Perhaps someday I will.

Now that I have established my credibility as a Star Trek authority, allow me a few moments of commentary.

For several years now, I have been very concerned for the Star Trek franchise. When Star Trek: TNG ended, I had high hopes that their feature films may jump start the troubled franchise. After several disappointing TNG films, it seemed that Star Trek was going to phase out. The original series cast are, well, old. McCoy and Scotty are deceased, and there was very little hope for another feature film. Enter Star Trek: Enterprise.

Exit Star Trek: Enterprise. What a joke. I will refrain from further comment.

When rumors of a new Trek film abounded sporting a brand new cast, I had my doubts. Then when I saw the TV ad which began with, "This is not your father's Star Trek," I staring losing hope for the franchise. Like the faithful Trekker I am, I gave it a shot.

The rest is history. The film did everything right for me. The new cast is brilliant. It pleases me to report that the Star Trek franchise is alive again, and it will go on. I wonder if Gene Roddenberry ever thought his idea of a better universe would have the impact it has had. Like The Dark Knight has re-energized Batman, Star Trek is once again poised for another series of great films.

My name is Todd, and I am a Trekker.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Much has been going on of late. We are moving into a new home on June 1. We will be living literally up the road and around the corner from where we are now. Our current address is 139, and we will be moving to 330. We looked in Irmo, Columbia, and Lexington, but this one sort of dropped in our laps. 4BR, 2.5 bath, his and her sinks in the Master Bath, large fenced in yard, more than double our current square footage, a huge deck, and a nice 2 story barn in the back. The second floor of the barn will become a Fun Room at some point. You'll be invited, I promise!

About a month ago I had my truck serviced and it has been great. Until Monday, that is. The serpentine belt decided to come off while I was braving the commute home. I managed to get the truck home, and I will probably be able to replace the belt on Saturday, weather permitting. For now, the wife unit is driving me to and from work. She's such a trooper.

Speaking of work, I had another terrific month in April. May is starting off kind of slow, but I am confident it will pick up once school is out.

School is out??? Is it that time again already?? I think all the kids need to get jobs. A least the cats should help out with the household chores. Congrats to my daughter Jenna for being awarded SC Junior Scholar and Spanish Excellence Awards. I am proud of all of my children. They should all get awards! Awards or not, I have always believed that the accomplishment of a thing is it's own reward.

Today is Wednesday, and I am sleepy. Kids all come home tonight and remain for the weekend. Don't forget Mom on Mother's Day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Beautiful Mind or an X-File?

One of my favorite films is Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe as John Nash, one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century. Nash won a Nobel Peace Prize for his "Governing Dynamics" approach to economics. The film focuses more on Dr. Nash's mental illness and him overcoming that challenge. It was a really good film, although I was more moved by my own performance as James St. John Smythe in The Man From Manchester 3.

I digress.

When I saw A Beautiful Mind for the first time, I was totally blown away when it was realized that Nash's best friend and his employer did not really exist. They were made up in his mind as a result of his mental illness. Important people and the meaningful relationships he had had with them were suddenly gone. Afterwards he always questioned new people as to whether they were real or imagined.

I feel like that when it comes to my faith. Over the last 5 years, everything I have believed in is not what I once believed it was. Now I question everything and am afraid to trust in anything spiritual. I find myself unsure if I can ever believe in anything again. What if there is nothing to believe in, and faith is something we conjure up out of some inner need?

I am a huge fan of the X-Files. Agent Mulder (played by David Duchovny) has a poster behind his desk with the words, "I Want To Believe."

I can relate.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blame It On Brainwashing

Years ago, a Pastor friend of mine used the illustration of a coffeemaker to describe how we receive knowledge and instruction. Basically, when the water enters the machine, it is clear and uncolored. It is simply water.

As the water is processed through the coffee in the filter, it turns brown. It is not what was originally poured into the coffeemaker. It is now something else: coffee.

The fact that I love coffee nullifies this illustration for me personally! Seriously though, Pastor Mike had a good point, that we receive knowledge and then it filters through what we have been taught and indoctrinated in. In other words, we don't accept the knowledge for what it is; we must filter it through our belief system. Basically, we are talking about a form of brainwashing.

The surviving Somalian pirate's family is stating that he had been brainwashed, and this is why he became a pirate. Say it with me, "Aarrrrgh!"

Children in the Congo are kidnapped and brainwashed into becoming soldiers. KKK children are taught to hate as soon as they are born. It happens everywhere, and sometimes it is less obvious.

I have been brainwashed too. Many times, and in a variety of ways. Too many to mention here. But I will offer one. I have been taught to hate gay people. I did, too, with extreme prejudice. Until I met one. And then another. And yet another. I discovered that there was a real person under the gay.

I'm not here to defend gay or anti-gay. I'm here to say that we should make it a point to try and see people for who and what they are BEFORE we run them through our "filters" and pass judgement.

I once pastored a man who hated black people. He made no apology for it, and dropped N-bombs when and where he pleased. His wife used to say, "That's just the way he is." No, that's the way he has been brainwashed to be, and now he is brainwashing his offspring to do the same.

Personally, I have spent the last 5 years trying to wash my brain of all the brainwashing and begin again.

By the way, why wasn't the pirate allowed into the movie?

Because it was rated "Aarrgh!"

I apologize.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Post Easter Post

Back to work today. Kids are all back at school minus one who had a doctor's appointment today. Today is Tracy's birthday, and she is spending it running kids to and from doctors. It doesn't seem fair.

We celebrated her b-day last night with the family, and I am going to save my birthday celebration for her for this upcoming no-kids weekend.

I am depressed. Not because it's Monday, but because yesterday was Easter, and I could have cared less. For years, my whole year centered around Resurrection Sunday. All my sermon planning, etc., was to lead up to Easter in a huge crescendo.

This year: nothing.

I'm troubled.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Random Ruminations/Soapboxing

  • I think our Governor is an idiot. No wonder SC is a laughing stock. I was helping Jenna study for a test about post-Civil War SC the other day, and I am not surprised to discover that the mindset here hasn't changed much at all in the last 145 years. I think SC needs more Yankees. Just sayin...
  • My wife has adopted yet another stray dog. Anyone looking for a new pet?
  • People who abandon puppies should be punished to the full extent of the law.
  • If it weren't for Pandora, I would never survive sitting at a desk all day long. Kudos to whoever created
  • I just might be married way, way, WAY out of my league. Tracy is awesome. I am not.
  • I am not really passionate about anything anymore. That troubles me.
  • On the flipside, I can't really find anything to BE passionate about.
  • I wish I had more time/energy to blog. Lots of stuff rolling around in my with no outlet.
  • My job is cool, but i miss being a Technician.
  • I miss Norm, Dan, and Frank. We were a good team. At work AND at play!
  • I love Springtime!
  • I hate Springtime!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Month End

It seems I have reached the end of March with very little time for blogging. I regret this, not just for the benefit of both of my reader/fans, but that I have much to blog about, but little time.

Today I am under the weather. Chest cold or something. Lots of coughing and headaches from coughing.

More to follow...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Week End

So...what a week. I had a great week at work, and I am excited about some changes I have made in my educational direction. I am going to pursue an MBA in Technology Management through the University of Phoenix. It will be all done online. I have realized that I am tired of going to class after working all day. I have done it for years. It's not that I can't keep up. I am just ready for a change. Anyway, I'm pumped.

I have also caught up with a few more pals on Facebook. Some I not seen or heard from in awhile.

Gotta go. My weekend is here!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Point of Clarity

My lovely wife made it clear to me that in my last post, I was a little too vague regarding my self-describing as a "Spiritual person rather than a Christian." Upon further review, I agree that some sort of clarity needs to be made.

For me, right now, being a Christian simply means doing this and not doing that or living a certain way on a certain day of the week and then choosing to live another way the rest of the week and then to be even more entirely different when no one else is watching. (pauses to catch breath and reflect on my horrible grammar here--my apologies to Mad Ox and Mr. Orgel).

People are all about trying to live the "Spirit-filled" life, which translates into a great deal of performance, tongue speaking, and floor flopping from my vantage point. I am learning to try and embrace the spiritual side of life, without the fluff, and I am learning that other people are picking up on what the Christian church is missing entirely. So I am seeking the spiritual. Where I go from here is not yet written. But I know God is Spirit, and I am looking for the Spirit and Truth.

Hope this clarifies things.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Stuff I Think You Should Know

Full disclosure is what we're all about here at ye olde blog. Obviously, you should get your money's worth here. The reader should have all the information in order to make an informed decision about whether or not he/she wishes to continue visiting Todd's Word.

With this in mind, I am beginning a regular column which I have dubbed, "Stuff I Think You Should Know." The column will appear..., well, when I feel there's something you should know. Let's begin:
  • I will drive out of the way for decent jazz or a great cup of coffee.
  • Over the last 5 years, I have become more liberal (if we must assign a label).
  • I hate labels. I label them under "Crap."
  • I can blow my nose in 3 octaves.
  • Racism of any sort is wrong. If I hate racists, does that make ME a racist?
  • Next to Star Trek, I believe the X-Files and Ally McBeal were some of the greatest TV shows ever made.
  • I really like Oprah. I like her vision for creating a better world. And I also like the fact that she puts her money where her mouth is. Don't care for the show, though, and I detest Dr. Phil.
  • Most of today's music is crap to me. I like Pink, Kanye West, and Nickelback, but in small doses and only in certain phases of the moon.
  • "Bathroom Humor" really tickles me. Always has. Always will. I gave up asking why.
  • I am honored to be called friend by so many people.
  • When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Dad. It is still the best job I've ever had.
  • I am a more spiritual person than I am a Christian. There is more out there. So much more. It is overwhelming and yet wonderful.
  • Bruce Lee was way ahead of his time. His thoughts on philosophy are mind-blowing.
  • I think President Obama is the coolest president ever.
Full disclosure, people--that's what we're all about. Keeping you informed is our number one job.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing

That is what my blog has become.

Once a bastion of religious and political commentary, my blog has become dull and boring. I have never wanted to a a single-issue blog. I have always sought after variety regarding subject matter. Lately there just hasn't been much for me to blog about.

I have often hesitated to share my personal predilections when it comes to hot-button topics like politics and religion. I choose to keep these things quiet for two reasons:

1. My opinions and bents are mine and mine alone.
2. Opening up on such topics seems to invite discord from people who are not like-minded, and frankly, I just don't want or need to hear it.

So you see, dear reader, I am struggling with where to go from here. Should I open up and reap the whirlwind, or just stick to the cutesy material? What do you think? Leave a comment and put your $.02 in. Go ahead. I don't bite.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Wonder

I have always loved the music of Stevie Wonder. "For Once In My Life" is one of my all time faves. I am delighted to see that we have honored his acheivements accordingly.

Manilow is next...or so I hope.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hollywood Has Its Moments

George Clooney is the man!

Midweek Rant

To all the drivers on I-20 East:

If the speed limit says 60 MPH, then it is perfectly acceptable to increase your overpriced vehicles to that speed at least. Do not fear the speed limit. Embrace it.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Wednesday.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Week One

I have had a great week. Work is awesome. I am learning a lot of new stuff and that is always cool.

Sunday night I had a chance to visit James at our usual hanging out place. Missed breakfast Monday morning due to work, but I look forward to catching the next one.

Looking forward to a nice weekend with Tracy and the kids. Tracy and are going to upgrade our cell phones to Blackberry Storms. Then we are shopping for a decent treadmill.

I do miss my kickboxing though.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The New Gig

The new job is going very well so far. I really think I may have found my final resting place, so to speak. The picture to the left reflects the condition my workstation was in when I arrived on the job. To the very left is a coffee mug that was never washed. Upon opening the mug, I believe I witnessed the birth of an alien life form. Cup and entity were promptly jettisoned.

I am a neat freak. Hence the "after" photo. I cleaned and dusted off my desk with a vengeance. Everything is neatly organized now, and I am pleased. I will be adding more desk photos and cubicle paraphernalia in the days and weeks and hopefully, years, to come. My cubicle may equal Rick's in coolness and nostalgia one day...maybe.

Vick...Todd Vick. I am a Technical Consultant. If Chipco Computers were a Fast Food joint, I'd be the guy at the drive-in window saying, would you like some DDR2 memory sticks with your order?

I can live with that...for now. I have lots of room to move up, and a company that would like to see me do just that.

It's a good gig.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Employed Again!

Got the job at Chipco Computers! Start Monday at 8:00. No weekends ever again! I cannot recall a time since the early 1990s that I have had a job that didn't require weekends. I will have cookouts! We can go to the park! I can wash the cars! Change the oil! Bathe the dog! Love it!

Catoe, Rick and George...lunch at Cracker Barrel soon...?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Flu Continues To Fly

As of right now, Tracy and three kids are down with the flu. So far, I am flu free. With the miracle of hand-sanitizer and Lysol, I expect to remain free.

Had an interview today with Chipco Computers. It seems my technical and sales background may finally have some use. If hired, I will begin Monday morning at 8:00. Boo yah! At Chipco, I may have found a place to call home. Turnover is very low, and they want longevity in their people. At 41 years old, I am not as marketable as I was back in the 1990s. I still have a lot to offer, though, and I may have found a good match for my skills and experience. Not only this, but I will also have my own cubicle and a smokin' PC to use. Good benefits and retirement are also available after 90 days. I should hear from them on the morrow.

I have also begun the SlimFast diet today. Despite my exercising, I am not losing the weight. Not gaining, but not losing either. I'm going to do this for about a month and see what happens. I weighed in today at 250. This is the most I have ever weighed in my life. Not good. Not good at all. My goal is 70 pounds. That's right: 7 - 0. It make take me the rest of 2009, but I will work hard at it. The double chin has got to go.

I also got some money in the mail today from Tech. Rent is paid, and tomorrow I will take care of the vehicle taxes. My tax refund should hit the bank tomorrow. Just in time for a Valentine's Day surprise for Tracy. More on this later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One FLU Over The Cuckoo's Nest

I am home with a flu bitten child today. It's not like I have anywhere else to be, but I am glad I can be here to take of the lad. Makes his Mom happy too! Mr. Moms everywhere can just eat their hearts out! Hoo-ah!

Having said that, what I would really like is a job. A career. Some place where a guy like me can put his nose to the grindstone and push forward at full speed, stopping for coffee every now and again. Is that so much to ask? In today's recession/depression/pre-economic stimulus era? Yes.

It is pretty sad that at the end of yesterday, my greatest accomplishment was that I recorded Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan onto my DVR. Now I can watch 2 and 3 back to back! I still would rather have a job. I am going stir crazy. I have many hooks in the career water. I'm just waiting for a bite.

A nibble, perhaps?

Strangely, as I typed the above words, I got a call about a job. Phone interview tomorrow. Cool.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Random Ruminating XLIII

I'm tired of being unemployed. Seriously. I once believed when I obtained my college degree that I would be set for life. Frankly, I'm a tad upset at being underqualified, overqualified, and just not quite experienced enough.

I receive no less than three job offers a day inviting me to sell life insurance. No thanks. Unemployment pays better.

My children are all growing up way too fast. For me, not them.

I love my wife very much. I recall a time when I was afraid of being single in my old age. We have had a tough 5 years. Things are good right now. I want them to stay this way.

I wonder what I ever did to deserve such a great circle of friends.

I really need a haircut. Or do I go for the grunge look...?

I recently updated my Rhapsody account to the latest version. In doing so, my playlists and library got totally flubbed up. Example:

Song - Rock and Roll All Nite
Artist - Anne Murray.

My Rhapsody update also wiped out my iPod wishlist consisting of over 300 songs which I spent a year putting together. Grrrr.

I miss my kickboxing class. I suppose there's always my wife's TAE-BO videos for now.

WalMart in Batesburg has all the Bruce Lee movies packaged for only $14.97. Sweet.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Wings, Football, Springsteen and BFFs

A fine evening watching the first half of Super Bowl 43 at Carolina Wings in West Columbia. Personally, I could care less about either team that played. I just enjoyed a good time with great friends and food.

In the top photo, Catoe and I are strategizing for our next Guitar Hero challenge.

The other photo contains 200 collective years of wisdom, fun, and ploys. I wouldn't trade anything for this group of friends. From L to R: George, Peeley, Catoe, Rickwell, and me. Noticeably missing from the photo are Jay, Alan, Ritter, and Chuck. Hope we can all pose for the next photo. After everyone left, I did manage to catch a couple songs during Springsteen's halftime show. The Boss delivered!

Interesting final thought: with Jay, Alan, Ritter and Chuck in the photo, there would be, collectively, 360 years of wisdom, fun, and ploys...and a few cigars.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Next Year's Christmas Card

It's amazing to me that just a few months ago, I was considering deleting my Facebook account. Since the day I decided to keep it, I have reconnected with over 70 people whom I have not seen since High School.

One of these old acquaintances is Chris Catoe. I lost touch with him in the early 1990s. Not really sure why. Over the years I had tried various means to look him up without success.

Then one day I received a Facebook friend request from his son Preston, who I had only met once, years ago. Through Preston I was able to reconnect with Chris, and, as it is with all good friendships, we picked right up where we left off.

Chris is one of my best pals. We sat side by side in the Airport High School band for three years where we dominated the Tuba section. Outside of band, we were almost inseparable. We had a lot of laughs, and now we are able to share even more laughs. Tracy and I spent new year's eve with Chris and Donna, as well as regularly getting together at one another's homes.

I am blessed with a circle of great friends. Having Catoe back in my life completes the circle. My best Christmas gift in 2008 was reconnecting with my bud.

The jogging suit was nice, too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Motivational Poster (thanks Chuck)

What makes this photo so darned funny is that I was apparently unaware of the position my fingers were in as I rested my weary chin on my hand.

At any rate, thanks to my pal Chuck, I was inspired to offer my own motivational poster.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reconnected and Reconfigured

It's feels good to be back online from home. Much catching up to do in the blogosphere.

In addition to getting reconnected, I was also able to upgrade the memory on my PC. She runs much better now. Teenage girls and their millions of pictures have consumed most of the original memory space.

Still unemployed, but have an interview at 9:00 am right here in good ol' Batesburg-Leesville. After the interview, I will catch up on my blog, complete with pictures.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the inauguration coverage yesterday. I confess to getting a bit emotional along with Tom Brokaw. Our country has come so far, and now we are going even further.

I regret that my gmail box is being overloaded with racial jokes and anti-Obama propaganda. Most of these come from people I love and respect, and now must respectfully agree to disagree. Seems that one of my old pastor friends would spend less time bashing President Obama and more time lifting him up in prayer.

At any rate, I am pleased with our new President until he gives me just cause not to be. Comments to the contrary are always welcome, but will likely not change my mind.

Enough politics. Let's talk Guitar Hero. As far as video games go, I am always going to be a "roll-of-quarters-in-the-arcade" kind of fellow, but I have really come to enjoy GH. I am still on the "Easy" level, however. In the photo are me and my hetero lifemate Chris Catoe. It is good to have him back in my life.

Have to get ready for class. Peace!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Here We Go Again

14 months ago, I was unemployed due to my position being eliminated. Now, once again, due to production cutbacks, I find myself contributing to the unemployment statistics. Myself and 200 others were escorted to the door. I am receiving unemployment benefits and looking for a new place to call work.

Beyond that, all is well here. Using the downtime to catch up on some honey-dos. I resume my studies at Tech on Monday, and away we go.

11 more days until the nightmare which we call the Bush Administration is over. I find myself deeply hoping that the new administration will live up to the promises, etc, etc.

Still borrowing internet from Tracy's uncle. I have many photos to post. Some of you will recognize my hetero lifemate Chris Catoe from the upcoming photos and will be witness to my latest addiction: Guitar Hero.

Photos and posts from my own PC will be coming soon.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Where Is TODD-o?

Internet is down at home (traded internet for Christmas spending power). Should be back up again soon. So much to blog, so little time.

Hope everyone had a Merry Xmas and may we all enjoy a prosperous, post-Bush 2009.