school and friday chex mix

It’s my first class of the summer semester tonight. I’m trying to stay on top of it all. I have one online class that everything’s always due on Fridays by midnight -quizzes, homework and labs – I can handle that. I have another that I have to be there physically on Thursday evenings for lecture and lab. I’m trying to get ahead a little because Charlie and I are going out of town for the holiday coming up. I’d really don’t want to be worrying about homework while we’re away despite having to go straight to class right after we roll into town on Thursday.

It’s been four days since I had a drink. I’m trying to cut back on the beer and the carbs and hit the gym more. I already feel better – I could sleep a little better but every morning I’ve been wide awake around 5 a.m. and have gotten up. I sit at the bar in the kitchen and read and drink coffee while the cat begs to be fed. It’s kind of nice – not for him but me.

A bit later today….

I’m sitting here waiting for my evening class to start – there’s several of the guys back from my Spring semester classes here. One guy I have my online class with – we just found out prior to this class that the book we ordered for that class isn’t in and the assignment is due tomorrow – such is college life. SIGH. We both emailed the prof pleading our cases. I have a feeling that most of the class doesn’t have the book yet, either.

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. Cocktail hour to be precise. We are pretty low-key this weekend. If it rains I may hopefully be able to talk Charlie in to going to a movie. She only wants to go to the theatre that sells beer. I may need to rethink my drinking plan for the weekend. I was planning on tequila since Link says it’s good for you and you can even take it with your medicine or maybe she meant you can take it as medicine. Hmmm.

The guy teaching the class is an engineer with Nokia – wonder how many students try to network with him after the class. Supposedly, this class is going to prepare us for the Net+ certification exam. That’s good – I need more certs if I’m going to find something in the field I’m studying.

The next day…..which means Friday chex mix.

I didn’t get out of class until 10:00 last night. We were scrambling to finish our lab before leaving. If I would have known we’d need to turn it in that night I would have worked on it more. As it was some of the people hadn’t even started it. At least Alton, Antonio and myself started the thing prior to class. The woman on the end who I teamed with – Nancy, I think her name was -totally wasn’t prepared. She’d hadn’t even gotten into Blackboard yet – where all our powerpoints, assignments, and homework is (usually, I sign in the minute I sit down so I’m there) nor did she bring any kind of flash drive to save her work to. She was sitting there trying to email the lab to herself. I shook my head and thought, Amateur before walking out to the car where Antonio was waiting for me to come out and get into my car safely – what a gentleman.

Next week we have to complete two labs. I’m going to be working my tail off in this class I have a feeling. I got a note back from my online prof and she said no worries on the book she’ll extend the assignment.

So, on to Friday! I have an hour and 15 before I’m going to pour myself a drink. I think Benjii and Goya are coming over weather permitting and bringing the dogs. We’re going to have fajitas on the grill and I’m going to attempt to still skip the carbs.

Happy Friday and Cheers!

 

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Monday chex

I had a rant post and then a sad one so now on to other things. Maybe a more upbeat one, do you suppose? Charlie and I partied away the weekend starting off with going to a show at Edie’s with B Ferris, Link and Stiletto. We saw Liz Longley and after the show Ferris and Still ran off to buy every album, cd, sticker and key chain this lady had to offer while we sat and chatted to Link. Every once in awhile it’s nice to go to a late show but after standing in line for an hour waiting to get in and then elbowing our way to the very end of the bar I think our Edie’s days are numbered. The last two times we had been there the show started at least an hour after the time it was supposed to.

Saturday, I cooked enchiladas all day – a vegetarian and pulled chicken that was prepared in the Instapot. Charlie made homemade margaritas and Benji, Goya and Emil came over. We played darts, drank margs and then ate a feast and had plenty of leftovers even after sending the entire veg one home with Benji & Goya.

Sunday we just took it easy. We took the dogs down to Piedmont Park and then walked up to Joe’s on Juniper where the service was abysmal. It’s always been a little bad but this time it was amazingly bad. I would say we’d be back but only at the bar where we can’t possibly be forgotten or ignored. Although, I think this was our servers very first job EVER as he couldn’t seem to wrap his head around multi-tasking. Fortunately, it was nice out and by the time we got back to the truck the pups were pooped.

This week, our neighbor down the street gave us his box seat tickets to Atlanta United because he’s going to be out of town traveling. This will be our first trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium since it was built. I’m sure we’re going to feel spoiled and hopefully he will ask us again to go.

I have one more week of freedom until school starts up again and so I’d better enjoy it while I can.

 

tuesdays loss

Dammit.

I usually never start out a post cursing but I will with this one.

It’s happened. One of my old friends I refer to as a Toad committed suicide last week. I believe she, Alex, tried to commit suicide back in 2011 when I wrote this post. I hadn’t heard from her since then.  I read back on that post and it makes me sad and frustrated. I know I’ve written about this in the past – the four of us friends who all got the same tattoo (I’m not including K in this because he’s not part of the original four) and were very close and then we all had a fall out and never hardly spoke to each other since. The last time I spoke to Alex back in 2011 I did make an attempt to contact Dina and Stephanie to try to repair the four of ours friendship but I got much resistance. I was very bitter after that – I pretty much wanted to tell Stephanie and Dina to go f*ck themselves. I’ve come around since then and let bygones be bygones and have moved on. The only one I have on my FB page is Stephanie who used to date Alex. She was the one who got in contact with me through FB and told me. All because we have deleted each other’s numbers – which, is pretty pathetic because I’ve given her mine twice over the years – I can even read back on my messages and see. Not that this matters but Stephanie told me how it happened and that Rachael knew more of the details. I emailed Rachael and said how sorry I was and that I just heard. She emailed me this really terse reply back that I ended up deleting.

Why do people have to hold on to the same old grudges when it comes to losing someone? Can’t we all just let it go and remember the good times. Because they were good times whether anyone will admit it or not. That’s what Alex would have wanted.

I’m taking this a lot harder than I thought. I still flash back to a time where we were getting ready to go ride motorcycles. I was at her apartment on Buford Highway. I had ridden my bike over there to pick her up to go ride. She was getting ready and I don’t know how we got on this conversation but she told me that if she was going to kill herself that she would just do it and not tell anyone. I know I couldn’t have stopped it. She’s been lost for a very long time. It’s just one of those things that will probably always drive me a bit crazy, frustrate me and make me sad. She had so much going for her and she did everything she put her mind to. She could do anything and yet they found her on the floor two days after she died with a needle in her arm, instructions on her desk on how to do it.

Yes, when Alex put her mind to something you couldn’t stop her from doing it. RIP, Alex & beloved toad. You will be missed!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

the advice line

The other night while I was in class my younger cousin, Michael was texting me about how he doesn’t know what to do about his son being gay and about how he’s cross dressing now. I told him that he’s probably just acting out to get attention. Mike went on to say he was trying to find organizations to talk to about this and reaching out to myself, Jace and our other gay cousin Stephan. I mean like dude you have PLENTY of us to get advice from.

He asked: Do you know of any chat rooms or party lines regarding this situation?

I’m thinking, My God you really are living in Hicksville, Indiana aren’t you – I haven’t seen a chat room since the AOL days and what the hell is a party line? Was that during the Vietnam war?

Meanwhile I had to pay attention to my computer class on networking. I suggested a PFLAG group – surely to God he would have heard of that and went back to trying to pay attention to LAN’s, Hubs and Switches.

I messaged Jace this morning and related my conversation with his younger brother. I said, He should be worrying more about WTF the kids are going to do when they graduate high school not Emilio wearing his grandmother’s old shoes. I directed him to a PFLAG group in another-hick-town, Indiana on FB.

I mean, at least they have these things now – not when we were in school – maybe there was a party line back then.

Jace: We’ve all been telling him this. We all nod our heads when he says his son is gay and we’re like, Okaaaaay – and……I mean this isn’t a big deal like when we were in school. I directed him to an Indy PFLAG group on FB.

Well, maybe that’s ones more progressive but I don’t really think Mikie can handle anything too progressive.

We had a laugh over that and then we both had to go to work. There was nothing mentioned of Samantha coming out from him. I’m wondering if this has just pushed him over the cliff of what’s going on with Emilio or is it that since he’s recently divorced seeking attention as well as Emilio. I didn’t push for dates of when Samantha could visit as I didn’t feel it was a good time.

I’m getting ready to register for summer quarter and after much thought I’m going to suck it up and take two classes instead of just one. I know it’s going to be a lot to take on in just 8 weeks but I spoke to my professor from the networking class the other night and he looked at my curriculum and said it would be best if I could knock out these two pre-requisite classes this summer so I would be ready for the CISCO and Linux classes next fall and spring quarters. He’s also teaching one the of the classes online but told me I should take the ground class but that I could email him any questions I had if I had difficulties. There’s also this guy in my lab group who is taking the exact same classes this summer and we’ve agreed to study together. So, I think I’m going to be ok. It’s just going to be a lot of work but if I can get through I’ll be where I need to be in my curriculum next fall.

And, then there’s the unsolicited advice…….there’s this guy I work with who got me into the program – and, he kind of drives me crazy ALL THE TIME sometimes. He’s graduating in May from the program – that’s how far ahead of me he is. When I told him that I was going to take two classes this semester he went on and on about how hard it was going to be and how this guy who went through the class with him flunked out and yada, yada, yada. I wanted to punch him. I mean, just tell me I can’t do something and I’ll mutha-fucking do it, shut up.

Like I said, it will be a lot of work but I’ll get through.

 

gay chex mix

Most of you know that I grew up in a very small town in Indiana – on a farm, in fact. Yeah, stow away all the romantic thoughts you have of growing up on a farm because there’s nothing great about it. It’s hard work –all the time. There’s nothing great about having to roll out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to feed the cows or better yet go find them because they got out. Nothing great about having to come home from school and work until dinner time. Fortunately, I had a mother who put her foot down later in my teenage years and let me join all kinds of sports and band. I joined every band activity I could – orchestra band, marching band, drum and bugle corp and let’s not forget jazz band where we performed at every game imaginable. That got me out of the farm work indefinitely. During this time my bestie was my first cousin – Jace. We hung out together all the time. So much, in fact that our parents accused us of dating each other – which, couldn’t be farther from the truth because we were both secretly in the closet.

After our senior year Jace moved to Florida where he came out. I quietly came out years later – after college, in fact, because I was afraid that if my parents found out they would yank me out. I could totally see them saying that college making me gay. This is how backwards the general mentality is where I came from. I didn’t completely come out until I moved to Atlanta and was paying my own bills.

Jace is married to his husband, Diego– who he’s been with for almost 30 years. They built a McMansion in our hometown and he started an IT business he runs out of their basement with 4 employees. We have another cousin who is gay as well. Eventually, the family has come around to our sexuality – I think old age mellows some people. They don’t have the energy to fight anymore. Plus, us gays are starting to outnumber the straights in my family because Jace’s younger brother Michael – who is the only kid in the family to produce offspring just found out that two of his kids Emilio and Samantha are gay.

Now there’s five (six if you count Diego) of us cousins who are gay. Michael is not thrilled that two of his kids are gay. In fact, shit hit the fan this week when it was Samantha’s turn to come out.  All I can say is at least they’re healthy and aren’t doing drugs. My uncle – Jace’s father and my father’s brother keeps asking Emilio (who at 10 is very effeminate) if he wants to grow up and drive bulldozers.

Of course Emilio doesn’t want to drive bulldozers – he probably wants to go to New York and be on Broadway since the last time I was home I asked him what he had been up to and he told me he was in The Sound of Music at school. Samantha is in to women’s basketball and sports. I’m trying to get Michael to let me fly her down here for a visit so I can take her to a game. But, I’m going to wait for the dust to settle before I push anymore.

The holidays are about to get more interesting in that family is all I’ve got to say.

 

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!

Skipping stones (school), we know the price now

I’m back! That’s saying something because I didn’t know when I’d be back again.

I skipped school today to hang out and play guitars with Emil. Well, it didn’t originally start out that way – I was all ready to go to school when Emil asked us if we wanted to go to breakfast and Charlie took a picture of the BLT w/egg sandwich she just made us and asked if Emil wanted one and she said she’d be right over. Emil never going anywhere without her guitar, walked in with it saying she needed to change some strings before playing this song she wrote about her sister.

I think this is a sad time for both of us. Her sister passed around this time of year in early 2000. My mom’s birthday was Valentine’s Day and this time of year I always think of her because of the magnolia’s blooming. So, every time I’ve passed a blooming magnolia this week my heart gives a little twang like my uneven chords of Leaving on a Jet Plane.

So, yeah – I’ve been a bit blue lately even though the weather has been fantastic here.

Emil played her song and it was very beautiful – I can’t post it because it’s still a work in progress and she wants to surprise her family with it. Also, I don’t think I have a video of it. But, when I get permission I will post it here. I thought I would lose it crying when I listened to it – the words are very sad but the chords give it lively twist so it was a good balance.

We then tuned our guitars to work on this song – it was pretty great. Despite going back to guitar school our teacher hadn’t really covered strumming rhythms (we glanced off it briefly the other night but we had to move on to some other old cowboy song in the key of A.

“I will hold up the fingers 1, 4 & 5 while we play Bury me under the Weeping Willow, 1, 2, 3 hit it!”

We went on to Am and Em chords after that and I think she was trying to make us play something like Jambalaya or was it the Crawdad song? It was one of those songs from my great grandmother’s time when I said, One of the Indigo Girls songs is in the chords of Em and Am – Kid Fears.

“Oh, I don’t know them.”

That’s when I knew this lady was certifiably crazy. What artist in their right mind wouldn’t know The Indigo Girls -especially living in Atlanta? I mean, they are everywhere here not to mention almost all the acoustic guitar players I know play at least one of their songs.

Now I know in the last post I said I would never go see them again – it’s not that I don’t like them – I love them and it will be my ultimate goal in my guitar playing career to master Closer to Fine.

I’ll always love them but I’ve seen them more than I’ve seen any other artist and life is just too short to keep listening to the same people over and over again when there are millions more artists to discover.

So Emil and I played songs that we KNOW (that were recorded post 1975 not including Jet Plane – 1969). It makes it so much easier to learn if you can anticipate the lyrics from songs you’ve heard previously. We’re going to work on about three songs to play together and guess what?

They’re Indo Girls songs. HA! Well, two of them are.

Our guitar recital is next Wednesday night and Emil and I went over Jet Plane. I’m totally going to play it every damn day until then. I couldn’t just bail on the last two weeks of class because mostly I didn’t want to leave my friend Yolanda with the only other two students in the class who seem like they can barely eck out an A chord. So, I decided to go back. The other night, after the teacher said she didn’t know The Indigo Girls she ended class abruptly after a final run-thru of Worried Man Blues to dash downstairs for the old-folks-jam session. I think Yolanda and I realized that we’re way too young for this banjo picking set and we knew none of the songs. Honestly, they reminded me of being in Indiana again watching the flies buzz over cow manure in the field. It just never gave me a great mental image.

We were packing up and I started talking to this other lady in our class – she’s the song writer. (which, I admire someone who wants to learn guitar so they can write songs but it amazes me that someone can write a song without actually playing an instrument). She said this was her second time taking the beginner class and she said she ran into another woman in Guitar II who said she took I four times before making it to II.

Again, I thought, Not me sister…..

I went downstairs and Yolanda was waiting for me next to her Porsche SUV – I had to say that – it’s an amazing vehicle but even if I were rich I still wouldn’t spend that much money on a car – a boat, maybe, but not a car. I digress.

She asked me if I was all ready for the recital next week and I said, I was. I told her about talking to the song writing woman and her telling me about it being her second time in I and the other lady. We both agreed that we have the “concept” of playing in the keys of A, D, G, E, Em and holding up fingers that if we practiced on our own we’d have it. So, I’ll be on my way. Dream about the days to come and playing a more modern pallet.

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!