12.29.2010

No Resolutions

Every year I fall in to the same trap as everyone else (no..not the trap of generalization, although I know we all do that one, too)....no...the trap I mean is that of doing one or both of the following as the year comes to an end:
  1. Making any kind of "OF XXXX List" (best of, worst of, most annoying boy band comeback of)
  2. Putting down a list of resolutions I have no intention of keeping through the month of January
I'm sure I made resolutions as 2010 started crowning. And I may or may not have stuck to some of them (SPOILER ALERT: I didn't, don't bother looking through last December's posts).

This year, I've decided to go with simple precepts. And while not 'religious' in nature in the strictest sense, they do possess a spirituality for me. When I do these things, I do feel more connected to my core.

My precepts for 2011 are fairly self explanatory, short, and easy to do intentionally:
  • Laugh
  • Love
  • Live
  • Jam
  • Shoot
  • Write
  • Film
And, I know that by doing those with greater frequency, I will get myself back to the center that I feel lately I've been drifting from.

The first three are very important to me. They are the core of who I am and how I want to be remembered. In fact, I want them to be on my gravestone.
Here Lies
Andrew Todd Skaggs
He Laughed. He Loved. He Lived.

Good rules to live by. And the remaining four are my passions. Music, Photography, Writing, Video/Film. Each of these has been the focal point of my creative outlet at one point or another and I used to think I had to choose. But I realized (quite recently actually) that by trying to limit myself to one or the other, I was missing out. That it was quite possible for all of them to be woven in to the fabric of what makes Todd Todd.

And there you have it.

I will endeavor to make the first three as autonomous as breathing...and the remaining 4 to be as intentional as stopping to smell the flowers.

But these are not resolutions. They're more important to me than that.

And with this second blog post in as many days (some kind of record recently), I'm heading to bed. Because, as cheesy as it sounds, I really do get some kick ass ideas in the place I call Dreamland (although, lately I've been questioning which 'life' I'm living is my dream-life and which is the waking life (but that's a post/book for a whole other time).

Good night fellow travelers!

-A.T.

12.27.2010

In the Temple of the Butchered Cow

1990-1992 was a very jacked up period in my life. I'm not even gonna lie.

1990 I graduated. My HS girlfriend decided to break things off and I was introduced to the concept of 'casual sex.'

Fall of that same year while away at college I drank from the Devil's teats and tried my first taste of alcohol (And second, third, fourth, etc). Winter of that year I pledged a fraternity and later got Walking Pneumonia. Later that winter I got one of the lowest GPA's of any student at DePauw whilst still being able to remain a student at DePauw. I finished out my turd of a freshman year in Indiana and got set to come home to Ohio and go to school at THE Ohio State University.

But to get a sense of what really went in to the making of 'ITTOTBC' you have to go back to 1988 when I got my first guitar (well, probably earlier, but this isn't really an autobiography, now, is it?).

I got my first 2 guitars approximately the same time. 1 was from my grandparents. A Lotus acoustic (that I still have) and from Dan Soisson I got an Epiphone by Gibson PR350 (that I wish I still had). Both acoustics...both woefully under-exploited in my newb hands. Luckily I had Ian to encourage and show me the ropes.

Also, let me say that if I dated you...or had a crush on you...whether you knew it or not, I wrote a song for/about you. You may or may not have ever heard the song, read the lyrics or known of its existence, but it was there. This started in probably 7th or 8th grade...and continued up up until my current wife. Because, afterall...isn't that why we all wanted to be rock-stars? To get chicks? No...of course not.

So...that brings me to ITTOTBC...it's a collection of what was going through my head with regards to life, failing my parents expectations, questioning religion's place in my life, getting my cassette tape case stolen from my car (and chasing down the thieves and recovering said tapes)...and it's a few love songs (or more specifically songs written for people I had more than a passing fancy in at the time) thrown in for good measure. If you were a special lady in my life from 1990-1992, there's a good chance that something on this tape was written for/about you.

And it's cracked out. Seriously. It's some of my earliest work using a multi-track (Ian's Tascam, I believe)...my singing is very raw and untrained (some things stay constant), and the guitar playing is pretty basic. But thanks to my friend (and musical mentor), Ian....it has not been lost to the boxes of tapes from my life.

Ian digitized the tape. You can find it here:


It sounds better than I remembered it....both quality wise and sonically. I see where 20 year old Todd wanted to go with it. And who knows, I may dig out the four-track and give it another go.

Actually, there's not really a maybe about it....I know that music is much cheaper than therapy...and it's a part of me (as much as the writing and photography and filmmaking are)...it's an outlet...and thanks to this little OCD stint by a good friend...I've gotten the kickstart I need to get back in to the full-on writing (well, that along with finding myself back in a band-type situation)...

so...um. yeah.

Sorry for the ramblings. It's been a damn sight since I've 'blogged' too.

That feels kinda good too. :-)

PS my 3 top faves from the tape:
  • In the Temple
  • Duck on Acid
  • Zen 1992
Peace 0ut, yo.

-AT.

11.03.2010

Politics...as usual....

I've been eligible to vote for about 20 years now...and for the most part, I have.

Last night (well, actually this morning) as the results from yesterday's mid-term elections came in, I realized that...for the most part WHO is in office is somewhat irrelevant. As long as the SYSTEM stays the same, it doesn't matter who plays the role. It's the system that's failing the people. And anyone put in the role will ultimately wind up being both a temporary hero and a scapegoat.

I think I figured out the actual 'flow' of politics. If you'll indulge me here...no fancy charts or anything, but here goes.

*******************************************************************************
First start with SOMETHING...doesn't matter what it is...but we'll call it X for now.

Next, enter a candidate. This candidate will either try to get us to embrace X or if they are of the opposing party, they will tell us all the reasons we should be very very afraid of X.

Now, enter the media. The media, depending on which candidate pays them the most (or can further their exposure the most to the masses) will either reinforce that we should embrace X or should be deathly afraid of X.

This phase goes on for quite some time..in some cases it goes on for years.

As we approach the time to vote on these candidates, they shift their focus from being public servants (yes, politicians are ACTUALLY supposed to be serving us, the public)...but they shift from their hard work serving us to trying to secure their jobs for the next term...again by telling us how great X is for us or how awful X is and we can't possibly stand N more years of X (where N is the number of years, and X is the thing).

We, the people, Vote.

Yay. Democracy in action.

Another politician is elected. Depending on whether you liked or feared X, you are either happy or sad.

1 day after you vote, your life is the same. The Politician goes off to do their job of serving you.

This service results in a body of work. This work is supposed to ultimately help you, the voter, the boss, the one who gave them their job and are now, paying their salary. For the length of their term (up until about 6 months before it's time to vote again), the politician will be doing their job.

Let's call that job "X."
*****************************************************************************


The Who had it right in their song 'Won't Get Fooled Again'.....'Have you seen the new boss? Same as the old boss.

I guess, in terms of voting, I look for the person that's going to f**k up my life the least. But ultimately it doesn't matter WHO we elect. The SYSTEM is set up to assimilate any idealistic, moralistic individual that dares try to change it.

The irony is...the system WANTS to be changed, but the very way to change the system from within requires that you enter the system. And by the time you get to a place with enough power and influence to finally affect change to the system, you are assimilated. And then it's time to vote again. And someone younger, or taller, or prettier with better teeth or cuter kids will be electeed. And you'll be out. And the system will not be changed.

But you will. And we, the people will be changed to. More callous...perhaps some will be more afraid than we were before. Or a bit more apathetic. Some will be happy because their 'team' won.

At least in the short term.

Until it's time to vote again.

10.05.2010

Euh...I suck at this

I have been sorely neglectful of my blog. If the 4 of you that used to read this have abandoned hope of me ever posting again, I really wouldn't blame you.

My mind has been spaghetti lately...and not the good kind. It's been the shitty Chef Boyardee in a can spaghetti. And that's no good for anyone. Least of all the one that was using this blog as an outlet so shit didn't rattle around too long in his head (that would be me).

I just got done reading 'The Last Lecture'...holy shit. If there was ever a book that felt like a mental kick in the ass to live my dreams, it's that one. Shortly after reading it, I registered my domain (www.ipaintwithmylens.com)--don't click the link, there's nothing there yet (I'm still in 'baby steps' mode it seems...why is f*cking beyond me at this point, I'm not sure what (a) I'm waiting for or (more importantly (b)) Afraid of.

My hiatus as video guy at the church ended 2 weeks ago..so I'm back on that horse. There are going to be some bumps...and bruises along the way...but I finally feel like I'm on a mission again (and if it pisses people off because it's not what 'they're used to'...can't really help that).

And the photography is humming along...have done a couple family sittings...I'm getting asked about senior pictures and even had someone ask if I'd take 'glamour' shots for her s.o. ....not sure what that entails...I'm leaving that vague right now because well..I'm not sure if I'm gonna be a 'shoot anything that has artistic merit' guys...or just someone who shoots...well...clouds, and flowers, planes, and moons...with the occasional people shot...I haven't really had to cross that bridge yet. I know if I went to a photo-school I'd have to take ALL kinds of photos...but...um...how did we get here again? Ffffft.

So...yeah. I'm a shitty friend sometimes. I'm not even gonna lie. I've been known to only call people when I need something and assume that the friendship of days past will endure that kind of bullshit. And...I guess...when the chips are down...there are a few people that know me as well or better than I know myself. And those people are my true friends (and can see past my occasional self-absorption)....One of these had a death in his family this past weekend. And...I said the things you're supposed to say when a friend loses his mom...but the truth is...I don't really know what the f**k to say. I suck balls at being around death. But I love this guy. He's been through some hairy points of my life with me and was always a rock...and a voice of reason when shit just didn't make sense. So...if he reads this...he should know that while I know fucklittle of what he's feeling or going through, I've got the Dominoes and Dr. Pepper ready...and I'm pretty sure I still have the Killer Klowns DVD. So...um. yeah.

It seems pretty jank to talk about work after talking about dreams and death and stuff. But...work is fine. I spent last week in Indiana fighting a cold while being trained on a product that if our company starts selling it, could make lots of money for our company. woo.

I really don't know what else to write here. I guess I just wanted to see if I could get back in to the writing habit. Not sure if it's a successful attempt or not (but I know that I need to start writing more isht like this because truthfully it's the only thing that gets me out of my own head--which is vital some days).

Night.

-AT

7.09.2010

The Facebook Experiment (Pt. 1)

I think, in no uncertain terms, the Facebook experiment, while having seemingly positive benefits, is actually turning out to be an epic suck of mass-epicitude.

It is, for me, a time-suck. There is no way around it. It feeds in to my amazing lust for instant gratification. In less than 420 words and mere minutes, I can get instant feedback on how witty, clever, inspiration, funny, and douche-baggy I am. It's almost real time.

It's the illusion of being in a room with all your friends (or a bunch of people you think are your friends, or wish were your real-life friends..or..whatever, you get the f*cking point)...so, you're in this 'room' (which in reality is everyone sitting lamely in front of their pc, or reaching for their smartphones every 20 seconds to see if someone responded to their witty, clever, inspiration, funny, and douche-baggy post.

Only the rub is...people bullshit about stuff they would NEVER say if they were actually in the same room with the person. It's the Internet trap of 'implied anonymity' where you can get away with shit because people will assume that they must have read it wrong, that you cant' really be THAT much of an asshole in real life.

Did I mention it's a time suck? Because it is. It's a phenomenal waste of time. In the almost 2 years (or is it 3) that I've been on Facebook, I can count on my fingers (not sure I've hit my toes yet), the number of times the information I gleaned from 'the wall' was actually something that bettered my life in a 'wow, I needed to hear that' kind of way.

I have WAY more thoughts in my head on this, but the need to form themselves in to orderly lines before I let them loose here.

So for now, I'll dub this 'part 1' and let the shit percolate for the part 2.

peace out.
-(@)

7.07.2010

WTF, Todd?

Well, for the 4 of you that have bothered to check this blog in the last 5 months, I’m sorry. I ‘m a pretty shatner-y blogger these days. I joke about not being able to string a thought together for more than 420 characters, and damned if it isn’t coming true.

DSC_0437_Edited 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought I’d break things up a bit. Shit. I really don’t have any thing else to get in to right now. I REALLY need to get this attention-span thing fixed.

 

Soon. Not tonight. But soon.

5.31.2010

Happy Memorial Day


On this Memorial Day I thank my Papaw...I thank my Gramps...I thank my Dad. All of these men served our military...put themselves in harm's way and lived through a hell I will never know. Just so I could sit here in the land of the free and bitch about how tough life is (it isn't).

These men are my personal heroes. And to all the men and women who have served or are currently serving our nation, Thank You. Your sacrifices do not go unnoticed nor are they unappreciated.

-AT

5.27.2010

Shooting for the Moon

It's been a stupidly long time since I've updated and I feel like a sh*t ton of stuff has happened in my life since then...the Mexico trip (and all of its ensuing life/mind altering changes)...and just some other overall massively cool stuff.

And, as I'm at work right now, I don't really have the time to go in to all of it (the Mexico experience is at least 4 or 5 posts themselves).

How's that for a tease?

Suffice to say that I'm feeling blessed...maybe no more than normal, but perhaps I'm looking at things a little differently now and things I used to take for granted are really appearing in my life as blessings...I guess that's the key, isn't it. To recognize and accept and be thankful for the gifts we are given...every day (because we are).

To hold you over, a couple of pix from one of my favorite photo-subjects taken just last night:




Have a great day!!

-AT

4.20.2010

Webix

So, I’ve been head over heels for the strip over at Questionable Content-even though apparently I’m like 3 years past the curve on that one. And through that site, I’ve found some other web comics (or ‘webix’ as I like to call them) that have been quite entertaining, too.

 

There was a time I wanted to draw cartoon strips (I’ll gladly thank Bill Watterson and Scott Adams for that).

 

So for a while I dabbled with it. I have drawings here and there in journals from various stages in my life. But it was just funny…I got to thinking….

 

What would happen if I tried to do that again today? I mean, what if I decided I needed ONE MORE HOBBY??? LOL. 

 

And this is what happened at lunch today.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first episode of ‘Well Defined’

 

well defined # 1

 

I’m not quite up on the lingo, so I’m not even sure if ‘episode’ is the right word….or issue….or panel….or what.

 

This is OBVIOUSLY a rough sketch. Although I really like the idea of calling something ‘Well Defined’ when clearly, it isn’t.

 

And I see so much sh*t on a daily basis that makes me laugh and think ‘wow-did that just happen?’  And it did. Life’s pretty freakin’ funny if you take the time to stop getting all bent out of shape by it.  My biggest problem is that if I did that, I would want to put things in there that happened throughout my day…or put things in that would be what I REALLY wanted to say to some people.

 

And I think we can all agree that doing so would not end well.

 

But whatever. There’s one rough sketch in the can. And there may be more…who the hell knows?

 

That’s all I got for now. Time to get back to work.

 

There will be a more thorough entry later (along with an update to the photo blog from this weekend’s MS Walk-a-thon at the Columbus Zoo).

 

Until then, peace out homeys!

4.12.2010

What the French Toast

This truly was a crazy weekend. Friday night started with euchre and adult beverages and went in to the wee hours of the morn. Came home, crashed on the couch (didn't want to wake anyone). Then somehow, I woke up to my phone flashing (yes, it was on silent). So, I had to head over to the church to let them in for their meeting (apparently I was the closest on the 'key chain' for people who had access to the building)....headed out to my car only to find....

Driver and left back door were open (push closed against the car, but not latched). Thought it a bit odd....figure I may have been trying to get something on my way home from the euchre-fest. Upon closer inspection I realized that my car had been tossed. Can't really say it was broken in to, but it was tossed. Everything from the glove box was on the front passenger seat....the altoid tin was on the floor. That back seat was messy (no change there). The GPS was on the front seat. I tried to figure out what was missing.

As near as I can tell, they took both pairs of prescription sunglasses and my back up set of glasses. They LEFT the GPS (and the charger)...and a bunch of other stuff (including the garage door opener) in the car. The officer surmised that they were startled and didn't finish the job. Annoying. I really LIKED those sunglasses, too. But all in all, I figure I got off lucky.

I guess it was probably Karma for dissing another friend that I was supposed to meet over at Brewstirs for brewskis. All told, by Saturday night, I had heard of 6 other people in the neighborhood that got hit Friday night.

Stupid. I hate people who break in to cars. My last experience with that was in about 1989 or 1990 or so...I was over at Ians and we had just gotten back from (or getting ready to go to) Dominos for the requisite large pizza and 2 liter of pop (each). We got in my car and noticed that they had taken my tape case. Normally not a big deal. But this had all my Kid Chill tapes (and a few Devilcake tapes I think). Don't know how we found them, but we drove around Huber Ridge until we found some kids walking with my tape case. I don't think I spoke. I think Ian did all the talking. I just glowered and tried my very best Firestarter stare. It worked, I guess, we got the tapes back.

Fast forward 2o years later. They left the tapes...and took the sunglasses....what the french toast?!

Saturday was pretty uneventful after filling out the police report. I napped from about 1-3 (or 4)...we got Domino's for dinner and then hung around the firepit with the neighbors. That is my IDEAL summer evening (I'm a simple man at heart). One of my neighbors who is the laptop king...loaned me this beauty I'm currently typing on. No discussion was made of how long he'd let me hang on to it. I upped the RAM and dropped the 250GB harddrive in it that I got for my other (dead) one. I figure when I get enough scratch saved (way after the Mexico trip), I'll make him an offer on it so I don't have to worry about peeling off the Autobot sticker I've already put on there (it looks sweet, yo).

Sunday morning was church...great message about walking with the Spirit (it's a WHOLE other post, so I'll spare you that for now). Then over to Jherons for Sunday dinner (excellent roast and mashed potatoes. I'm sure the cabbage and broccoli was on point, too, but I don't eat them, so I didn't).

Then we met to discuss the Mexico trip/movie extravaganza.

It was a productive (albeit silly) meeting. We decided to be a little more realistic about it and go in with the intent of getting a 60-90min. documentary out of it (instead of a full blown series...there was just no way that was happening).

Ironed out some other details. I have to say, I'm getting pretty excited about the whole thing (even more so than I already was).

Sunday evening was pretty uneventful after that. I put together a stack of software I wanted to make sure I had on the laptop (and then proceeded to load it).

In more ways than one, this was quite possibly the quintessential Awesome French-toast weekend!

And because of that awesomeness, I was able to surf over some of the waves of suck that hit me at work today. I could go in to them, but really, there's no point.

I need to start working on the book/movie that's been floating around in my head now. As painful as the last one was to birth...this one might be more so. We'll have to see. This one may have a very limited viewership and truly just be written to keep parts of me from going batshit crazy (probably why I've hesitated to really start writing it...again..we'll see).

And with that, I leave you to what's left of your Monday.

-AT

4.08.2010

F**k You, Murphy

Few things make me unhappier than unexplained hardware failure.

Here's how it happened...about 6months ago...my wife got a virus on her laptop (this was the Averatec that had been my primary laptop/editing computer for many years). Thought I got it cleared off (I didn't). So the game plan was to wipe it and do a system restore. That kept failing. So, I set it aside with the intent to come back to it with a fresh head.

Then Sammy Chews-it-all came along and chewed the tip off of the power adapter, so that kind of ended that. I had a spare laptop set up and gave that to Nancy. I had the netbook by that time-life was good. I didn't give it a thought.

Until the Mexico thing happened. Then I got it in to my head to sell the netbook, get a new AC Adapter, get a new harddrive, and get the Averatec up and running so I would have something I could write on (like the netbook) AND something I could do edits and rough cuts on while we were in Mexico (which the netbook would NOT be able to handle). All of which happened--except for the 'up and running' part. Looks like it's a dead IDE controller, which pretty much necessitates a new motherboard-which would cost more than a new (or newer) laptop. Not to mention that I don't have that kind of money right now.

Which is, to say the least, frustrating. I have no spare laptop now (got the one set up for Nancy and set up the other one for my mom for her birthday so she could write), I have no netbook now, and I have a harddrive and AC Adapter that I can't take back.

What I do have is a portable DVD player with a 15" screen. NOT gonna help me much with editing /writing. But...if you know anyone that needs a portable DVD player, I'm letting one go for cheap.

And Murphy, you suck...you and your laws.


The internal dialog continues...

Somewhere in my brain is a book...or movie...or lyrics...or really bad weepy teenage girly poems waiting to come out. I tend to procrastinate about a lot of things, but it seems I'm getting a head-start on my mid-life crisis.

The funny thing is...it's not really a crisis, per se. In my head I know all the variables...I know the expected outcome (or at least the one that should be expected)...I think I know what things would or would not make me happy. So...what's the problem?

Well...normally the problem is that I think too damn much. And that seems to be the case here, too.

Without giving away too much...the theme I'm working on is...how much of the past do we, as people, really need to hold on to? What's healthy...what's not? That kind of isht. Why were things so much better in the good old days? Don't know really. I just know that there are some thoughts and ideas kicking around my noggin and that they MAY just be the key to unlocking this whole 'living as the best me possible' kind of thing...and achieving my dreams...fulfilling my life's purpose...and living a happy and fulfilled life.

You know...minor things like that. I'll keep you posted, but it's not going to be a play by play...some of the shit I'm sorting through is for my eyes/head/heart only. So...just know now that you will be getting the censored version...you can have your first amendment b.s. when it doesn't involve my heart/head/soul mmmmkay?

And really, that's about all I got for now.

Back to paying bills.


-AT

4.06.2010

Not a Good Place Right Now


I am finding it increasingly difficult to sit around and watch people act in selfish and self-serving ways. The irony of that, is that there are some very selfish impulses that I am, myself, fighting off.

There are times when I just want to pack up and go wandering...with whatever that may bring. Go somewhere...anywhere. See how long I could live off the kindness of strangers and friends. There are flaws, of course...that whole 'married with a family' thing...and a job...and bills--all of those responsibilities that make up my daily life.

So, at what point does sacrificing self for the sake of others cease to become noble and just become a reflection of a sad shadow of what you could have become if you'd only saved some of that love for yourself?

My mind and soul seem to be in a state of flux right now...searching for only God knows what. It's not a very comfortable place to be. What if through the searching I find that I've been doing it wrong? That the path I'm on is NOT really where I'm supposed to be and getting to the right path requires a complete upheaval of everything I know and love?

Luckily these thoughts are fleeting. Reserved for the corners of the night just before I fall in to a deep, dreamless sleep-and seldom make their way to the light of day.

This might be classified as depression. One year off meds-it's very possible that I'm backsliding. But the problem is...it's not that I don't want to do anything (as was the case when I was in my deepest depression-that only a few saw, and fewer still were able to pull me out of), it's that I no longer want to be doing what I'm doing. Like sometimes I wake up and find myself in a Talking Heads song...watching the days go by...

It might be more disturbing if I had not already convinced myself that a)this was a temporary thing, and I'd come to my senses soon enough...and b)I'm sure I'll get some great material out of this. And by 'convinced,' I mean 'mostly convinced.'

The thing is...I just don't know. My daughter has her doubts about the after-life. I myself am having my doubts about the life-after. The life-after my current job. The life-after my kids graduate high school and go to college. The life-after they go to college. The life-after that one day I wake up and realize that I'm nowhere NEAR to the person I wanted to be all those years ago.

Not my normal happy fare, I know. But the thing is...I have to get these thoughts out of my head. If I don't, I'll wind up going nuts. And having almost been there a few times, I can assure that it's no fun.

Please, though, don't worry about me. I've been down this road. I know how to get off of it. I just think I need to ride it out a bit. I think there was something on this road I missed back in 1999/2000 that I'm supposed to pick back up.

Just bear with me a little while longer.

-A.T.

4.04.2010

Release the Kraken!!!

Before you read this, you should know 2 things.
  1. I am not a movie critic, reviewer, or skeptic. I'm a fan.
  2. Clash of the Titans came out when I was 10 years old. It was quite possibly one of my all time favorite childhood movies (next to Star Wars).
If you're expecting a review based on...well, anything, then I'm sure there are other sites that will accommodate you and tell you that this camera angle was wrong or that bit of mythology didn't match up to the REAL mythology. I ain't that guy.

I'm gonna give you my 3 word assessment of the 2010 re-tread of Clash of the Titans.

IT WAS FUN.

Yup. Fun. It could have easily 'sucked' (and based on what some of you have said after you saw it, it did)...but to me it was a blast.

The basic elements were the same, but the best part of this was there were only a few times in the whole movie where I found myself trying to remember how the story went in the original. The update had a good feel...they kept the whole reluctant hero vibe...and they even resurrected an old friend from the original (Who? I won't tell you who- you have to see it on your own to figure out who).

Most of the characters were the same. Some were shifted around, others were brand new.

But enough of 81 vs. 10.

The point is, I had fun in this movie. I saw it in 2D because I know that was their intent (and it was only sent back for the 3D overhaul after the success of Avatar). 3D is the new bullet-time...but I digress.

Point is, I had fun. Which is why I dug the first one so much almost 30 years ago...it was fun.

And I felt like a kid watching it.

Which is always good when you're watching a movie like that.

What's great to me is they knew what they were making...they were re-making a cult classic. The original is no great piece of epic cinema...but it was fun. The movie posters should pretty much sum it up.

After that, you'll have to go see it and judge for yourself (but remember...have fun!)

-A.T.

1981:


2010:

3.30.2010

Damn You Bryan Adams



So...I've heard a few guitarist talking about playing until your fingers bleed..and then taping them up and playing some more (I'm sure Ian or Darrin can fill in a name...it's one of those metal guys I think)...but because my Metal Dictionary is severely abridged, my only reference to 'playing until my fingers bled' was 'The Summer of '69' by Bryan Adams. Yeah...stuff it...I know, ok?

(the top picture is more 'rock and roll'...the picture immediately above is more 'reality TV'...either way...the isht is sore.

I didn't notice it bleeding (didn't even notice that it split) until well after we were done practicing. I have 3 songs to work on and pretty much the same chords in all 3. The Journey song we're doing is down a key (to D) instead of the key was learning it in. And all the meedly bits I thought I would have to learn...I didn't have to. So...yeah...but at least that helped get the callouses back (Which had to happen anyway)...so that's cool.

Not sure how it's going to go on Sunday. The person that's going to be playing Sunday is not the same person I practiced with. So, it could be weird-we'll see.

It's funny. I didn't realize how much I really missed jamming. It's kinda like this blog. I didn't realize how much I missed posting crap on here on a mostly daily basis for all 4 of you to read. That is, until I started doing it again. It's funny-things that I really liked (playing (whether in a band or not), taking photos, writing)...I just kinda stopped doing them for a while. I guess it was probably a depression of sorts. The reasons are varied and none that I'd like to go in to here. But what's funny is that I just stopped them. And how easy it was. I guess that's the scary part...how easy it was to convince myself that I really wasn't happy doing those things and I just haven't found the one thing I was truly meant to do.

And that's true....I haven't actually found the ONE thing I feel that I've been put on the earth to do.

Nope. So far I think I'm to like 4 or 5 gifts that I'm supposed to cultivate. The prevailing theme, though, is creativity. I'm pretty sure God put me on this planet to be creative. To what end, I'm not entirely sure (but I have a few ideas about that). All I know is that I need to engage those creative juices as often as possible.

The rest will come over time as long as I'm true to myself.

Now I need to go get some tape for my fingertips.

Peace out, yo!

3.28.2010

Weekend at Thrifty's & an Answer to an Age-Old Question

Alright, first off, I want to just say that the new blogger editor is kind of annoying. There's a rant in the making, but it's really nothing that matters other than to me...when I can't find the cursor. Or the pictures upload wonky.

Now that that's out of the way....
This weekend was bananas (insert Gwen Stefani here if you must). Friday I was slated to hit my local-within-walking-distance-brewpub with some friends. That didn't happen. I'm on call this weekend, and lets just say I got called....put in the equivalent of an additional workday Friday night, came home, slept for 4 hours then went right back in at 6AM the next morning for a couple more hours and leave it at that, shall we?

Saturday afternoon, though, THAT was the event. Darrin was slated to hit Casa Del Skaggs at about 1 and we were gonna head up to Waldo for the World's BEST Bologna Sammich. But he was out and about already so he landed here earlier and we hit the road.

And we hit Waldo. And had bologna sammiches. And Darrin saw that they were good. And they were good.

There are pix here on the Facebook Album (although you may have to be one of my FB friends to see them, not sure how I have them shared). There was also some video taken, including an 11 minute 'as we're driving' kind of thang. I don't dislike any of you enough to post THAT. It was...in a word....not fit for public consumption. Darrin and I would laugh at it (because we were there). There were some other high points.

One in particular that comes to mind was the debate...actual struggle that was had trying to decide which bottom of the barrel pilsner Darrin was going to order.

And thanks to Blogger's new (not so helpful) interface, I can't post them.

**UPDATE** I got the OLD editor back. MUCH better!

Here's the initial though process behind which one to go with....
video

And then The struggle....
video

Finally...the decision is made..and the pour...
video

And then the food arrived. Darrin has his first bite of the world's best bologna sandwich (notice the little dance...this is NOT unique. I have seen this multiple times and have myself done this 'Damn This Sammish Is GREAT' dance).
video

After the sammich....and the curly fries (for me, Regular Fries for Darrin)....and the Munchers (think Jalapeno Poppers with potatoes in them)....and the Chocolate Creme Pie...we were pretty much done with the G&R Tavern that day and headed back on the road.

On the way out we passed a sign for a sports bar (also in Waldo) with Ribs....so, we put that one the list. Coming down 23 we hit the Goodwill Thriftstore just outside of Delaware. I miss thrifting. And I miss taking pictures of stuff that strikes me funny.

So, I did both :-)

The only pix I took, though, were of the albums I got (only 3, but oh boy...serious sample fodder, me thinks)...

That's Romania to the rest of you...




This will be good for sampling and laying down sound beds on the tracks that have lately been floating around in my head. Who doesn't like a good Gregorian Chant? And hey... from St. Thomas...I used to know some folks that lived on St. Thomas.


The catch, though, was this little gem. It's been QUITE a long time since any album has made me just stop and go WTF??? Thank you, Paul Hogan, for re-affirming my belief that no matter how much I've seen in my 38 short years on this planet, there will always be something that makes me pause and say...'Wow, man....that's effed up.' For 50cents how could I possibly pass it up?


And then we came home. It was a very good day. I chilled Saturday afternoon, watched Butler give a clinic to Kansas State (I know the world calls them K-State, but I've become partial to calling them KansasS).

And...somehow, somewhere in the evening (after I finished the 2nd half of the pie that kicked my arse in Waldo), I got in to NCIS...Dude. I knew when I saw Mark Harmon cap some pre-op tranny right between the eyes that I had found yet another impossibly cool crime drama to start watching. Word.

Today was pretty chill. Church in the morning (where I found out they 'need' me to play guitar next Sunday...yeah...Easter Sunday....no pressure there! But it's cool. I'm gonna have fun with it...and it's Journey, afterall...yeah...we're playing a Journey song at praise and worship...yeah-I know. It IS pretty cool!)

And that brings us to now.

The 'writing' goal for today has been fulfilled. Now I'm gonna hit publish...and then work on that 'riding' goal for today.

Hope your weekend rocked applesauce, too! In fact-tell me all about it!

-AT

3.25.2010

My Legs Hate Me Right Now

Hit the bike again tonight. 15minutes this time. Didn't even make it up to the 20 minutes I hit last night. I was a little disappointed, but my legs were like, 'guess what dude, we're done.'

I was hoping for a longer ride. But it's cool. Worked out to be about 3 miles. Got about 25 pages in to "The Portable Film School."


Jen needed tissues for school (extra credit to help bring up the Algebra grade which seems to have hit the obligatory 3rd quarter slump), so I let my legs off the hook with the bike...but they wanted VitaminWater (as did the rest of me...) so I said 'fine..you want it, we're walking to Kroger.' They didn't like it (and the rest of me really didn't like it when we found out it was rainy and windy. But I pressed on).

It's all about motion these days. It's about saying I'm gonna do something then doing it. It's a good feeling for me to be able to cross things off of a list as I finish them.

Ride...check.
Write...check.

Now I'm gonna chill for a few before I go to bed. Gonna wait for my legs to get past that noodle stage before making the trek up the stairs.

ESL

So...this morning the alarm did NOT go off (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!). I think I only threw the rest of the house schedule off by 10 minutes-not TOO bad.

Got ready, dropped Jen off at the bus stop and swung back around to pick up the work recycling (I'm on the green team, don't ask).

Took it to the Kroger near work, only to find that they did Newspaper and Magazine recycling only. Suxorz!  So to console myself I hit the McDonald's drive-thru where the following exchange took place:


FEMALE CAUCASIAN VOICE (shut up, I can TOO tell): Welcome to McDonald's, would you like to try a hot something something mocha?

ME: Nope. I want a number 10 with a diet Coke and an Egg McMuffin, please.

MALE LATINO VOICE: melmome mica donna, ma'i hep you?

ME (slightly confused as I just GAVE my order): Yes, I'd like a number 10 with a diet Coke and an Egg Mc Muffin, please.


MALE LATINO VOICE: you juan nummer ten? Will there anything else?

ME: Yes, an Egg McMuffin.


MALE LATINO VOICE: you juan memmagmuffin?

ME: Egg McMuffin? Yes please.

MALE LATINO VOICE: ok. thas six fitty (mumble mumble) firss winnow.




ME: Um....thanks?


Somehow it seemed funnier at the time. But it got me thinking....(a)I REALLY need to just stop going to McDonalds (especially after getting to work only to find that the hash brown they gave me was closer to a charcoal briquette)...and (b) is it SO hard to staff the drive-thru that we can't find people that actually take the time to care about the language?  I don't know. Perhaps my world view is more limited than I'd like to think, but I'm just getting sick of pressing '1' for English.  Shouldn't that be the default in America?

I don't know, I don't want to go TOO far down that rant or else they might give me my own talk show (hahaha).

Alright. I'm done with this for now...I'm not really sure where it was going, I was just trying to figure out how Egg Mc Muffin devolved to memmagmuffin. And if that's enough of a warning sign to steer me off that fast food highway for a while.

You may now continue with your regularly scheduled day.

-AT

3.24.2010

Fly Fat-a$$ Fly

If you're on my FB friends list, this first bit will be a bit of a re-tread (can't be helped, didn't feel like limiting this to 420 characters AND it fills my other daily goal of writing...something).

So, if you've been following along, you'll know that in May I'm going to Mexico to help a friend make a documentary. I'm super excited about it.

I turned in all the stuff for the passport card on Tuesday. So that's all cool.

And starting on Monday I had down 2 new things on my daily planner; "WRITE" and "RIDE:30-45min."  I don't normally finish all the things on my planner, but I figure if it's on there, I'll at least think about it.  And yesterday I wrote a new blog post. Not a chapter of a novel or screenplay or anything, but it was writing (more than my flurry of FB status updates that spew forth like a freshman at their first intergalactic kegger).

Tonight, after folding the laundry (also on the list), I threw on my sneakers and grabbed Ghost Rider (which I was almost finished with--excellent book by Neil Peart, yes THAT Neil Peart), my Sansa and headed over to the stationary bike (which had been moved in 4 months ago in anticipation of this very night).

Got on, opened the book, hit play on Dabears mix ("That's Tasty") and started to pedal. It was just like...well..yeah. You know.

I finished the book at about 22minutes. Good thing too, because I don't think the noodles that used to be my legs could take much more. I cooled down, changed, and then came down here (and have been tinkering with my Blog template for like an hour, word).

And here we are. Riding AND Writing can be crossed off of tonight's list. Yay.

So, the thing about the riding. I know I'm not going to drop a TON of weight between now and May 9th, but something in the back of my head is telling me that I need to be working on my endurance and overall fitness before the trip. Traveling through 3 time zones is tough. Going to a foreign country is tough. Shooting a movie is tough. Doing all three at the same time could quite possibly be brutal and I have a feeling I'm gonna need some endurance and SOME level of 'fitness' to fall back on after all the adrenaline rush has come and gone that week. So, that's about where we are.

Getting back in shape.

Getting ready for the trip.

And getting back in the groove of stringing together more than 420 characters that aren't bookended by LOL and :-)

Thanks for coming along.

It's going to be an interesting ride, yo.


-AT

3.23.2010

Mexico-A-Go-Go

So, things are falling in to place.
I got my travel itinerary. What I thought was going to be a Monday-Thursday trip is in actuality a Sunday through  Saturday jaunt south of the border. We fly out the evening of Mother's Day and are back the following Saturday evening.

In addition to the filming of the surgery (the actual point of the documentary), we will also have some time in San Diego and we will also have a day or so at the Mission in Tijuana. This is the mission that ICC is going to be partnering with this summer when we send people down there for ICC's first ever out of the country missions trip.

I have been getting mixed reactions when people learn why I am going down there. The first is "Do you KNOW what's going on in Mexico right now?!?!" Followed by "Why's he going down there to get surgery?!?!" The short answer is-wait for the documentary-that's one of the reasons we're making it. (well it answers the second question, not so much the first...which, yes, I know what's going on down there and I'll keep my ass out of jail and bullet-free....I promise!).

What's cool is that in addition to the strange looks (varying from 'WTF, mate?' to 'WTF, dude?!') is that I've been getting a plethora of sage advice for my trip.  I thought I'd share some here:

  • Don't get thrown in jail.
  • Don't get caught in cross-fire.
  • Don't go down side streets at night.
  • Carry cash to pay off the cops instead of spending ANY amount of time in a Tijuana jail
  • Go to Puerto Nuevo for some good authentic lobster (I hate seafood, don't see this happening)
  • Know where the US Embassy is and always have a good exit strategy
  • Have a taco with meat 'of questionable origin and pedigree' as you walk across the border
  • Watch out for the white Russian with the bloody forehead at the border-he's a scam artist
  • Never put the wallet in a loose pocket (money belt is best)
  • Don't drink the water (how could I forget this one)
  • Don't open my mouth in the shower.
  • Don't eat salad
  • Eat salad
  • Drink bottled beverages
  • Teen hoodlums come out at night
  • NEVER ask about a 'Donkey Show'...EVER.

That's about all I've got for now. I'm sure I'll gather more along the way before the trip (roughly 8 weeks away).

I took my passport (card) application to the Post-Office today and got that ball rolling. The last time I had a passport I was 12.  That was 27 years ago. But STILL the lady at the post-office made me fill out a 'lost passport' form. "It's not lost." I said. Doesn't matter, apparently. Even though the State Department web site said that if I was under 16 and something like 15 years had passed, then it's basically like starting over, like I never had a passport.  On the form when they asked 'Did you report it stolen?' (no) 'If not, why not?' (because it's not lost, it's in a box at my parents).  Hope that doesn't slow things up. But anyway, that's done.

Another piece to confirm the reality of the trip.

It truly is going to be exiting! 

I can't hardly wait!!

-A.T.

3.19.2010

OLE!

So, if you've hit this page from my Facebook page, you may have seen a status update about 'the center buying the movie' and about me going to Mexico to make a documentary.

And yeah, I'm pretty jazzed about that. So here's the skinny on it (so to speak).

One of my friends from church is a larger dude (as am I, but that's a story for a different time). He's gone through all the tests, poking, prodding, medical hoops that his insurance has asked him to go through before they authorize the bariatric surgery (or one of those stomach surgeries) on him. And all his isht looks to be in order. But they still denied it. (Think we don't need health care reform?? Think again). So, they're denying this surgery that pretty much everyone EXCEPT the insurance company thinks he has to have. Which means it'd be paid for out of pocket. And I don't know if you've priced that stuff....but it's about the price of a nice car...on up to a small house. My man's a family man...travels for work, works hard makes an honest days wages. So that kind of scratch just isn't available.

So, he's been researching other options. And if you've done the same, you know that Mexico is a hotbed for this kind of surgery. Don't know why, but it is.  So he's made the commitment to get the surgery done in Mexico for a fraction of the cost of what it would be here.

And this is where I come in. He had the idea of filming the whole process...from the time he made the decision all the way up to post-op and coming home and after.  And, obviously there are parts he CAN'T film and be in at the same time. 

That's where I come in. He knows my movies...my passion. He saw (I think) the documentary I did about my family farm in KY, "My Father's Eyes" and asked me to be on the crew. My duties are going to include camera, director, editor, sound dude, and whatever else comes up.

I think since we're down there for a few days (in San Diego for one day and Tijuana for the next 3), we're gonna try to film some other stuff, too. Short films, webisodes and whatever else we can come up with.

I know what you might be thinking...Mexico?? Dude! That's nuts. Yeah. Maybe. And I know that the thought of surgery in Tijuana can conjure up some raunchy images. Trust me, I went through all the same thoughts.

But here's what it comes down to for me.
  • I want to make movies
  • The expenses for this trip are mostly covered (travel and lodging are covered, just paying food)
  • I'd be making a movie AND helping a friend
  • I've never been to Mexico
  • I'd be making a movie
  • I'm gonna get some killer photographs, too, I'm guessing
  • Did I mention that it's 1 week dedicated to making at least one movie (with several potential shorts).
And yes, I know the dangers. I have talked to several people who have spent time in Mexico (and specifically Tijuana)...and I know to avoid the water...and the ice cubes...and mixed drinks. It's gonna be bottled drinks for me for the duration of the trip. 


I appreciate the concern, but I don't plan on doing anything stupid. I don't plan on being a target. I'm not going to let anyone shove a balloon up my butt as I cross the border. I'll be fine. Really. :-)


I know the concern comes out of love...and I appreciate it.

The trip is planned for the 2nd week of May. I'll keep you all posted as this thing unfolds.

-AT

3.01.2010

Bleeding

I bought a notebook and a couple of new pens Saturday night before the Pub Crawl (I don't like to be ill-prepared if inspiration strikes.) I'm on the fence about the pens, but the notebook will suffice. Composition book format with quadrilled ruling. Works for me.

Been a long time since I just carried a paper journal. I have notebooks all over the house...dozens of writing files on jump drives....but the pen and the paper feels like...

home.

Just feels right for some reason. At this point I have no f**king clue what I'm going to write-lyrics, movies, stories? Who knows? The point of it all, though, is just to write.

write.

Bleed out on to the page. Whether the words are poetry or prose...lyrics or scripts. They must be bled. The writer must bleed.  Those words may seem beautiful to anyone else that reads them, but to the writer they are poison.

The longer the writer keeps those words inside, the more he dies...a little bit each day...until  the unbled words kill him.

Words that are meant to heal someone else must first be bled from the pen of the writer. And...by doing so, the writer winds up being saved, too. Everybody wins. The words find the people they were meant to find. The author has excised that demon....temporarily at least. Some writers only have one batch of poison they need to bleed on to the page. Some must bleed almost constantly it seems. It has been a long time since I have let the pen just go where it will. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't the least little bit anxious about it.

The truth is, though, I have to get some of these words out of my head, before it's too late. Melodramatic? Perhaps. It's no secret that I'm prone to theatrics and eccentricities. Either way....through the blog...through status updates or tweets, or through ink on paper...more words will be bled this year.

Hopefully that will be a good thing for everybody.

 A.T

1.22.2010

Counting Blessings

Apologies in advance (and retrospect,actually) for the sparseness of the posts thus far.  It's not intentional. OK, actually maybe it is.


This really isn't any huge earth shattering kind of update (sorry if your hopes were up). This is more of a declaration of intent.

I have set myself up to have 2010 be my year to 'finish' things. Said "things" include the Crapumentary, various other shorts I've written but not shot, short stories, manuscripts, things at ICC that I need to get finished. This also includes jamming more....finally taking guitar lessons...shooting more photos...writing more music/songs...MAYBE getting back in to some kind of band scenario. It's my year to finish things.

I need to close some chapters before I plan on opening any more 'big things' (because there are a ishtload of things on my 'big plans for the future list'). It may take 2010 AND 2011 to finish these things-heck maybe even 2112 (assuming the Mayans were wrong)..and I'm OK with that. These aren't resolutions. These are goals that I need to reach before I make more plans/goals.

There is one exception to this. The Blessings Book. I've decided to go through and put together a book (or blog, the delivery is up in the air at this point) where I take the initials of someone I know, that's currently in my life, whether through FB, real life, work, whatever and I write a paragraph or 3 or 10 about how they have blessed me or been a blessing in my life.   Some of these will come rather easily, some will be quite difficult, I'm sure. But I have no doubt that everyone in my life is there for a reason. And maybe something like this will help me put things in to perspective.  I have to be honest, I'm nervous, and incredibly excited about this project.  I figure if I use initials only, I can avoid embarrassing the person and also be a little freer with what I say. I may even go to a numbering system and just keep the translation table in another file (I haven't thought that far ahead yet). But i do eventually want to share each piece with the person it refers to. In the same way that my heart is filled with warmth and happiness when I know I've helped someone in some way big or small.

So...that's one more item on the 'Finish strong' list for this year...this season in my life.

Hope y'all come along for the ride....some of you may have bigger parts to play than you think. :-)

-T

--
Todd Skaggs
Harbinger of Creativity for the Masses.

In The Bag

There are a few common threads throughout this blog if you read it long enough. One of these threads has to do with my obsession...er...ques...