World Cup, School, Work, Keep It

It’s just a mish-mash of things to cover. I’ll start off with the FIFA World Cup. I’ve been addicted to soccer since the 2010 World Cup. At the time, I was not working a regular job and was keeping my own work hours with my landscape company (which, Charlie now runs full time). I had just completed a job and went to cool off at a local bar when they had it on. The crowd in the bar was there just to watch the game and drink beer. It was hard not getting swept away in the excitement of the crowd. I can’t remember the first game I saw but I remember after that first one I was hooked. The US was in it to round 16 and then got beat by Ghana.

During this time I started editing my work schedule around the games. I was doing practically any kind of landscape work I could get my hands on then and remember I had a couple of installation jobs. I would get up so early in the morning and go out and try to get my jobs finished before a particular game came on early that afternoon. Then, after that game I would go back to work. I did this all through the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and so on.

This past week I turned on the TV and watched as many games as I could. Saturday afternoon, Stiletto came over to watch the Denmark win. Sunday, Charlie made us waffles for the a.m. game and by the afternoon B Ferris came over to watch the 2:00 game and eat nachos.

I don’t think I’m going to keep up this schedule but I do have plans to catch games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Taping games is not for me.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to get as much schoolwork done as possible so I can have time to watch these games on the weekend. I have one more lab to do for my online class and 3 more to do for my live class. Both of my classes this summer are pretty lame. One is an entry level networking class and the other is an entry level security class which, I loathe the virtual labs we have to complete for it.  The networking class the professor lectures for 2-1/2 – 3 hours and then gives us 30 minutes to complete a lab – which, is ridiculous because it takes at least an hour to complete. We all have gotten smart and started completing them before the class or during his lecture and then turning them in and leaving when it comes time for him to shut up. About three weeks in he decided he’d give us more time to complete the labs in class and started ending lecture earlier but by then we were all used to turning in the shit and leaving. I mean, I don’t want to sit there until 9:30 pm if I don’t have to.

Last night, I went to campus to listen to a lecture from a white hat hacking security firm. It was really interesting if not a little above my head. Basically, companies hire this company to try and hack into their systems to show them what the vulnerabilities are. The starting slide the presenter said, You have to think like a criminal.

I could get into this.

This would be the type of company that would be fun to work for, I think. You get paid to hack into other peoples systems – heck yeah! Just…..I have to learn to hack first.

At the end I went up to introduce myself and ask a few offline questions. There were people in the class I could tell who were just asking questions during the lecture to make themselves look good. Showboaters. In every class. We were asked to bring our resumes why there were so many people packed into that room. I left mine but I really doubt if I hear anything. I don’t have the certifications behind me unless they were looking for a certified PM. Although, they said they weren’t necessarily looking for certifications as qualified people. Whatever that means, it was interesting all the same.

Last week we no more had a merger with another company when they started in on the workforce reduction business. I’ve been through three of these things and I’ve only been here a little over two years. While this reduction is offering really good early retirement options and most of the 10% reduction they are looking for they will get because there were a lot of people in the last one that wanted to retire but didn’t get the option because it got capped at the 10% they needed. This one has no cap so they may lose more people than they intended. The bottom line for someone like me is that I will probably be asked to fill in at another group that lost retirees. This could go either way for me – it could be good because I’d work for a manager who would actually notice appreciate me or I’ll get another white male good ol’ boy one that is more or less the same where on top of that I’ll have a ridiculous commute.

There’s also the chance I could be promoted to another position that’s open that they need to fill. So, the future is unknown. All I know is that I am open to shopping around. Soon as this semester is over I’m hitting the Network + study guide and plan on cramming for that exam for the three weeks in between semesters and having that certification by September.

My co-worker, Chris, is just starting security school and just sat for the CCENT certification exam. He promised me the book he used to study from and when I came in this morning it was sitting on my desk. It’s about three inches thick, too. I flipped through it saying, Fuuuuuuuuuck.

This shit is hard, y’all. But, easy don’t pay 90kaaaaay. (I feel a rap song coming on……)

I’ve been listening to this podcast called “Keep It”. It’s premise is pop culture and politics focusing on female, LGBT and African American rights. I think two of the hosts are gay and the third is an African American woman, Kara Brown – who I think is a hoot. I take the podcast with a grain of salt. Some of the things they discuss I have no idea what they are talking about because I have no interest in the Oscars and theater so sometimes I have to go look up shit they are discussing. Other times they get on a Trump rant and I have to turn it off because life it just too short to listen to Trump rants constantly. Seriously, I agree with the rants but I don’t want to constantly be hearing it. With that said, I enjoy the end of the casts when they each get to state something to Keep It – meaning, something they are each are really over with that week.

So, here’s my Keep It list for the week:

  • While I really LOVE that the world cup is on I really loathe the fact that it’s hosted in a country that locks up, persecutes and even kills gays. (If you don’t believe me go here). I really hate that a county that does that is getting the boost in economy from hosting.
  • A few posts back I mentioned that every time we have a get together with a certain group of people that this one particular person is always rude to someone. We are done with this person, we are done even trying to have a relationship with them. We’re done talking about it. We’re done, done, done.

And, that is all for my Keep Its for the week. Have a great one and if I don’t talk to you before the weekend have a great one. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

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gone are the days

Why is it when I have a hangover  I’m awake at an ungodly hour? Everyone else is sleeping away their hangovers except me and the cat. The cat is bitching at me right now to be fed. I’m ignoring him. He can wait. I have important shit to write.

Last night, we all met up at the pub for Martha’s birthday. It was a surprise party that Dino had arranged. She called earlier in the week and ordered us to be there and asked if I would make sure Link knew about it. I was like, I’ll tell her but she can call or text that she’s coming herself. I’m not planning shit these days because between my two classes I don’t have time for anything but working on the assignments and trying to understand what the f*ck it is that I should be learning.

Of course, Mike and Celia were there. I had given myself a talk about not letting Mike get under my skin prior to getting there. Plus, Charlie’s ex gf was there because she’s met Martha all of two times and thinks they’re bosom buds. We knew J-mac was going to be there and just said, Oh well. I invited B Ferris because I knew that Martha would want her there and vice versa. Link had ridden over with us and Stiletto had shown up later to buffer join the party. Both Rooster and Shutter came as well.

So, when we walked up of course Celia was outside smoking with her and Mikes live-in Sarah (who is very strange) I really didn’t want to hug them because I didn’t want cigarette smoke on me but I did.  We went in and sat down – fortunately, there were a lot of seats to choose from so we ended up sitting at the opposite end of the table than J-mac. Mike just happened to be sitting in the middle and by the time Martha came in she took a seat at the end of the table as the head since it was her birthday leaving one chair beside Mike and a chair at the other end of the table next to me open. We were all sitting there talking and waiting for B Ferris and Christie to come before ordering food.

Dino came over to say that she was glad that I invited B Ferris as she said it wasn’t on her radar. It’s been almost a year to date since the whole nudity situation from Martha’s last birthday. I’m still not over it entirely. I still think, If you ever touch my wife again there WILL be consequences. 

Just then, B Ferris walks in and plops down in the chair beside me after hugging Charlie and I. That’s when Mike lost her shit.

YOU CAN’T SIT THERE BECAUSE CHRISTIE IS STILL COMING AND SHE’S VERY FAT AND WONT BE ABLE TO SIT IN BETWEEN ME AND [SHUTTER] HERE.

Every time Mike speaks its like a shout. Not sure if she needs to be fitted for hearing aids or what. And, how disrespectful to Christie talking about her weight like that at a full table of people. I’m sure if Christie would have known that she would have been mortified.

B Ferris just looked at her and went to get up and said, I don’t think so I want to sit here.

YOU CAN’T SIT THERE THAT’S CHRISTIE’S SEAT! YOU NEED TO COME SIT OVER HERE NOW.

I was getting pissed. I put my hand on B Ferris who was looking like she wanted to burst into tears and said, It’s ok stay here. 

B Ferris had just lost a beloved cat and was having a rough time so I’m sure Mike’s outburst caused even more distress. I was about to shout at Mike to cut her some slack she’d just lost a cat but I was afraid that would push Ferris over the brink and she’d leave and I wanted her to stay. Rooster and Shutter also chimed in that they could make room when Christie gets there no worries.

Mike then pointed at B Ferris and said, I’M NOT GOING TO FORGET THIS.

Like it was a threat or something. All I could think was WTH?! If she would have said that to me I would have been in her face so fast she wouldn’t have known what hit her.

B Ferris said, I think I need to go outside.

I knew if she went outside she’d start crying and then leave. I put my hand on her back and said, You’re fine, stay here.

I think Rooster and Shutter chimed in again that they’d make room and the subject was finally dropped and people were starting to look at Mike like she was the asshole that she is. Yeah, Link and Stiletto say it’s just because she’s from New York. I’m like I don’t care where you’re from -rude is rude. I get tired of every time we all get together either Mike is an ass or Dino has to get handsy or naked. People say, I don’t’ understand why you don’t ever want to do anything with them.

Really, people?

There are so many other friends who behave themselves and are a joy to be around why do I have to put up with that shit? Anyway, we all got through it but if I have to hang out with them in the future I’m going to start calling them out on their shit. If Mike starts talking rude to me or someone else I’m going say, Mike stop being rude and call her out. If Dino decides to grab my wife’s crotch like she did at Rooster and Shutters show that one time I’m going to immediately get in her face and say That’s not appropriate, keep your hands to yourself. Gone are the days of not saying anything. I mean, sheesh, am I being unreasonable here?

I have two more freaking days until vacation. WHOOP! I need it! I’ve been working on what seems like 100 labs to get ahead in school so I won’t have to be hitting the books while we’re gone. If I don’t talk to you before then I will see you on the flip-side. Cheers!

 

 

no dice no d*ck

I admit I haven’t written in a while – well, except for that last rant I left up for a day or so then felt guilty about it and made it private. Sometimes I should just shut up  and change the behavior instead of ranting about it on here. But, it is my blog and I feel entitled to rant a little because if people don’t like it they can go read about Trump on CNN or something.

I finished up Spring semester in school with a 95% in both classes and an IT fundamentals certification. Baby steps, I know. Summer semester starts up in three weeks and I hope to be ahead of the game before classes start so I can keep up. I think by the end of the Fall semester I should have enough classes and certifications under my belt that things professionally will look a lot more promising different. I won’t say that things are entirely that bad right now but things can always change quickly and like the Summer semester I want to stay ahead of the game.

We had great weather here last weekend which meant we went and did a lot. We ended up at our neighbors down the street for dinner last night and Yolanda was there as well. We hadn’t seen her since guitar classes were over. I asked if she had been playing but she said no. I said I’d been learning some songs on Fender play since then and was thinking of having a guitar practice dinner at the house sometime next week if she’d like to join but she said she’d be out of town. No, that sounds great, I cant make it this time but please include me in the next. So, I was like ok, then. I get it, you’re not interested – guitar was in the past but there’s no reason to hang out after that unless we happen to see her at our neighbors and I just skipped a whole bunch of ranting over A-gays and A-listers but instead of ranting I’m just never going to ask again. Maybe we’ll see you at the next dinner. I have too much to do to chase people down these days. Either you’re in or you’re not and if you’re not then moving on. Next.

My sister tried to call me this past weekend but I didn’t answer. If she doesn’t leave me a message then I wait and call her back the following week when she’s pushed for time and can’t talk very long. If a few times go by and it’s not urgent she will text me instead which is even better. Most of the time when I talk to her I try not to give away much information which is to my benefit. I started doing this after the whole sex change rumor my father started throughout the county I’m from. So now I don’t tell her DICK (no pun intended) so she doesn’t have anything to gossip about concerning me to our father, our relatives, anyone in the county who will listen including and not limited to the liars club that he hangs out with every morning for breakfast. I’m sure there’s people in my hometown now who are dying to know if I have a package now. Maybe out of shits and giggles the next time I go home I will pack more than a bag.

Today she texted me she was leaving the country for work and knowing she was at the airport waiting to board the plane and pressed for time I called her back. This time she was going on about our father’s cell phone service and how he tried to have our step mother’s phone shut off because she died and they wouldn’t until he showed them a death certificate. Long story short she’s putting him on her cell phone service. What. Ever. I said, I wasn’t under the impression he was talking much on his cellphone and when he gets a new phone store my number in it because he never calls me. Not that I care if he calls me but HE NEVER DOES. I told her I was tired of always having to call him because he never called me. Let’s just see if she says anything to him about it. This was only a test really to see if she would tell him what I said. If he calls me then I know for a fact she tells him everything I tell her. Anyway, that’s a family rant that I allow myself.

 

 

 

 

 

weekend chex mix

I think I mentioned in the last post that the magnolias have been blooming this time of year so last Friday Charlie and I went out and got a saucer magnolia and she planted it in the back yard for me in memory of my mother. It also so happened that we bought it on the same day as my step mother’s bday. We’ve been planting trees in memory of people lost. In addition to the magnolia, we planted two cherries in the front for both my mothers and a true red crape myrtle in the back for Emil’s sister.

Last week we had our guitar recital. All the classes with the school performed, but our class had to go first because we were guitar I. We played our asses off to Jet Plane and sat down and watched the rest of the groups perform.  Apparently, we had the most recently released song because the banjo group got up and played some song from the 1800’s. Charlie and Kim came to watch (Kim made it to one class/jam session and decided to not come back and talked the instructor hippy lady into retaking it in May). Kim was clapping along and having a good time and Charlie was looking on wide-eyed like, You weren’t kidding when you said they play old hillbilly songs. WTH!? I was glad to be done with it to be honest. Emil had been coming over on Fridays and playing a bit and I learn a lot more doing that than anything. Thursday, it was pouring it’s ass off outside and we stayed in. Friday we had Emil over to play and then Link showed up with a couple bottles of tequila and it was on. Despite throwing down I made 100% on my midterm the next day. The weekend was so beautiful and we were outside most of it.

This weekend Bernice and Ralph are supposed to be in town so we’re hoping to do an oyster happy hour somewhere. Saturday we’re wide open and I’m hoping the weather is going to be decent while they’re here. I know it’s going to be much cooler than it was last weekend. That’s March for you! Next week we’re getting out of town for a few days to take the dogs to a cabin next to a river. I’m hoping to do a little fishing while we’re there and we got the dogs a couple of swim toys to play with in the river. This is part I of our take-the-dogs-on-vacation in a III part series so stay tuned for cute dog photos.

If I don’t talk to you before then have a great weekend! Cheers!

away and this year

I felt like I got a lot accomplished this past weekend. I got ahead on a lot of homework and filed our taxes. Despite liking doing the taxes every year it still gives me quite a bit of anxiety before I finish them. I never know what they’re going to look like, if we’ll get anything back or have to owe. Especially, this year with all the new tax laws – although, I don’t think any of those affect us because we’re not millionaires.

Charlie and I are planning a couple of out of town trips this Spring. One is firmed up and the other I’m looking in to. Both trips include taking the dogs. That will probably be the extent of our trips this year as I can’t miss too much school. I will probably look into taking several stay-ca’s this year which will still be relaxing. I hope to get out and do a little trout fishing this year. This is something I think I’m going to do every year and then it never happens. A friend of mine’s husband is a fellow angler and every year when we see each other at Super Bowl we always say we need to get out and go fishing. I’ve already looked at the stocking times and rivers and plan on trying to get out there as early as March. March – mid-April is really the best times because it’s still cool. When it gets hot outside those fish dive to the bottom and are hard to coax out.

I just love when you have friends who read your blog and every time they tell you something they have to preface it with “Don’t put this on your blog”. It’s a double-edged sword having people you know read your blog.

But, I am not a professor and will not lecture people about their lives and choices. I have only myself and my family (which, I will preface with the family I have chosen not my blood family) to worry about.

It’s a large temptation of mine – getting involved. I’ve had to tell myself several times – don’t get involved. Worry about your own shit and stay out of others. That’s one of the NY resolutions. Others are:

I will not see The Indigo Girls for the 45th time. I will pursue hearing new music.

I will not let my sister or father hurt me and I will remain non-emotional when I speak to them. I will not give them details about my life so they can criticize.

I think the whole sex-change thing was the last straw for me. The last two conversations I’ve had with my sister she’s said she’s taken food down to our father and I never commented on it. She’s asked me what I’ve been up to and I’ve said just work.

Take more breaks from social media – honestly, I have been a little tempted to uninstall FB from my phone – especially, in light of everything that’s happened in the news. I get staying in touch with people and events but there’s a time when it’s just too much negativity and the need to take care of yourself.

I guess that’s enough resolutions for now. How are your resolutions going?

 

tuesday chex

The time of reckoning came. What I had been waiting for to happen for a whole year finally came – I got my yearly review. And, it was good.

Big exhale.

I was prepared for battle, believe me. My boss waited until the last moment to do mine last Friday afternoon – over the phone. That’s fine – he’s kind of a gutless twat. All I was looking for was the “meaningful impact” which is higher than the somewhat impact I got last year. Upon further investigation I was told everyone got the same rating (we were all evaluated as a team) and no one got the highest rating like I suspected they wanted. I was happy that we were all evaluated on the same plane and no one got more of a rating than others, more of a bonus structure, etc.

Now that that’s out of the way I can breathe easier and just hang out here until I get further through cyber security school before I start looking again. I mentioned in the past I’m in this computer basics class – that although I know most of the basics some of it stumps me from time to time – like the UNIX lab we did last weekend. My favorite class is the other one – the hardware class. We cover a part of the inside of a computer every week. Last week we talked about the processors and wattage tonight we’re going to talk about hard drives.

So, I dug out my old Macbook Pro – this is an early 2008 15” running OS X. After several attempts I finally got the thing to turn on. It ran and I played around with all the programs, it connected to the internet but the fan runs constantly on the thing. I suspect is has years of dust that has collected in it. I’ve been doing a ton of research on switching out the hard drive to a SSD and putting in more RAM. That all seems pretty straightforward but then I started looking into replacing the motherboard. That’s a whole other ball of wax. I plan on picking my prof’s brain on that tonight when I get to class. I think it would be a good little home project to do is switch out the hard drive and replace the ram.

I’ve bailed on the last two guitar classes – I mean, why would I want to go play Leaving on a Jet plane all night compared to having V-Day dinner with my wife? So, I don’t know if I’ll be back there. I plan on working on some stuff this weekend while Charlie is away if I can get all the homework completed that I need to. I’m going for all A’s this semester so I need to keep my GPA up and that’s way more important than Jet plane right now.

So, on that note I’ve gotta fly – cheers and have a great weekend if I don’t talk to you before then!

 

rainy day chex mix

It’s a disgustingly rainy day here in Atlanta. Not just a light drizzle that you would expect from Atlanta winters but a FULL ON downpour with thunder chiming in from time to time saying, “SO THERE” and “TAKE THAT!” 

Yesterday, when I was inside all day and had class that night it was beautiful, of course. 63 degrees and sunny. -SIGH- It was the first really nice day we’d had since last Saturday and it was cold even then.

We had a great Super Bowl and the turn out was what most of us wanted. Link was still there in her NE scarf but she held back on the jersey this year – maybe because she had a premonition that they would lose? We had a ton of food and a medium crowd – around 15-16 people. Remember the couple that messed up our spare room three Super Bowl’s ago? They came – this was the first they have been back since that night. And, miraculously they’re married now. (and, no, they didn’t stay this time)

So, I have a new guitar to take to class with me [to play leaving on a jet plane]. Well, it’s new to me. LB is letting me borrow it while I’m taking classes because she just got a new guitar. This one is a little damaged – it has a crack in the side but it still plays well and the crack doesn’t go all the way through (don’t ask me how that happened). She said I could have it since she didn’t need two but I just asked to borrow it. Anyway, it’s a big improvement over that Ibanez I’d been playing that Lee left at my house after we broke up. (I think I’m even going to gift that thing to someone in our neighborhood who wants it)

This Friday we’re going to go see our friend Hannah play for her birthday bash at Eddie’s. Last year when she had it Charlie was sick and couldn’t go so Benji went instead. Hannah always has a full band of rocking women behind her on her birthday bash so we’re looking forward to it.

I broke down and got a flu shot today. There’s only two other people in the office I work and one of them has the flu. So, hopefully I will dodge the bullet. Well, that’s all I got right now – I just wanted to pop in and say hi. Have a great rest of the week and stay dry if you’re in the ATL.

 

Cheers!

 

 

new year chex mix

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  Charlie and I had a low-key one with us putting a turkey in the smoker and heading out to our traditional mid-day cocktail at our favorite gay bar. (Leave it to the gay bars to be open on Christmas day because everyone knows us queers need a place to go and be Mary).

We weathered Christmas Eve at Martha and Dino’s for dinner – if you can believe it. This is the first we’ve really hung out with them since the whole nudity incident. Everyone – including Mike seemed to behave themselves. Charlie and I managed to get out of there before Mike (who had split a THC gummy bear with her housemate) and Dino got too wasted. Maybe that’s the key although if she ever lays a hand on Charlie again I’m going to break it for her.

Friday we went over to friends of ours for another Christmas party – this is a friend that I worked with at two previous companies many years ago – one being for a grouchy landscape architect who smoked in the office, laid me off right before Christmas one year and had a problem with my being gay. I told her that for several years after that I always had the raunchiest man on man magazines sent to his office. (I bet he looked at them, too). She cracked up. The other company we worked we had a gay boss that was turning 40 one year and we went to party city and rented a helium tank and filled his office full of balloons and sucked helium and left corny messages on his voice mail.

This week the kids are coming to celebrate New Year’s Eve with us. Friday we’re planning on roasting a pork butt and having the neighbors down the street up. Saturday we’re doing a crab and shrimp boil and NYE we’re going to hear live music in East Atlanta.

After this weekend I’m ready for 2018. I have no complaints of 2017 whatsoever. It was a pretty good year for us except for my step mother passing away. I’ve missed her dearly this holiday – more than I thought I would. My father continues to be an impossible @sshole. My sister continues to take him food every week which he doesn’t eat. He’s regressed into an 8 year-old child who eats cookies and crackers all the time. I ask my sister why she bothers but have realized that the two of them deserve each other – he’s an abuser and she’s an enabler.

Classes start up the second week in January for cyber security and I’m also taking guitar lessons at this church next to my office (I could literally throw a stone and hit the side of it from the front of my office). So, 2018 is going to be very busy which isn’t a bad thing.

Happy New Year if I don’t talk to y’all and, what’s going on in 2018 for you?

friday chex mix

Thanksgiving wrap

We managed to make it safely to and from Florida to see Charlie’s side of the family this past TG. Wednesday before we spent with the youngest and his girlfriend. We had dinner at yet another fabulous Mexican restaurant in Gainesville, FL – Boco Fiesta before heading to south Florida to spend the next few days with her folks. Saturday we went to middle Florida to spend with the oldest son and wife. We went out on their boat (highlight of the trip in my opinion) and hung out around a bonfire that night after grilling steaks. We took Sadie with us on this trip and she did remarkably well traveling as always. I don’t know why this is so surprising -the dog travels well. This is her on the boat. Only the second time she’d been on a boat but after a while she wanted to drive, as you can see.

Charlie’s  birthday week

We went out to celebrate Charlie’s birthday to yet another wonderful Mexican place Mezcalito’s with Link and Stiletto. Probably had way too many margaritas but it was her birthday.  This is the first we’ve seen L&S since the holiday so it was good to catch up and we were happy they could come out and celebrate with us.

The rest of the week has kind of been a blur. We’re having all our neighbor friends over tonight for Indian food and this weekend I’m sure we’ll hit the GA/Auburn game somewhere and Sunday we’re going up to friends in Gainesville, GA for a housewarming party. December is here already and I’m sure next thing we know it will be –

New Years Eve

We decided to do something different this year and bought tickets to see a show at The Earl in east Atlanta (and, thanks for the great post on Mattiel, Carrie). We’re going to take a Lyft down there, eat dinner and check out the show. If we feel like it later we may stop by Mary’s to dance and avoid the woman-hater bartender.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Cheers!