9.29.2013

Life Lessons And In-Flight Safety

I'm not going to lie to you. I'm ridiculously bummed. More than I probably should be. It's like I lost...well...a friend. I know it sounds goofy, but it's true.

Let me back up though.

Something you may or may not know about me...I love to embrace technology. If there is a tool I can embrace and use, I will...to the hiit.

I write...a lot. I know, big shock, right? But I have journals all over the house...always have...in every house. Notebooks everywhere.

A few years back my wife at the time got me a Kindle Fire. I was in heaven. I used it for everything...taking notes, calendar, email, porn..er...internet browsing. You name it I used it. It was a great size (typical 7" tablet). Before that was a jailbroken Pandora Note (also a great little tablet for the dough).

One thing I thought I would really get in to using the tablet(s) for was notetaking and journaling. And I did. A lot.

Then I got a new job and wound up getting an iPad2. The game changed at that point. In addition to everything else I was using the tablet for, I got in to creating music with it. And the iPad supported bluetooth, so I could get a keyboard and really use the device as a total creative tool.

Fast forward a year..to three days ago. Friday night. Flying in from DC...I wound up leaving my iPad2 in the seat pocket in front of me.

Yes, I know it was a bonehead move. To be fair, my brain was pretty fried from a week of pulling cable at our new location in Queens, NY. Ever the obedient traveler, I stowed my electronic device for landing. What they should ALWAYS announce (in my humble opinion) after you land is something along the lines of the following, "And please remember, ladies and gentlemen, if you have anything that you stowed for landing, now would be a great time to grab it so you don't accidentally leave it on the plane."

Because that's exactly what happened. I'm home an hour after we land and go to pull my iPad out of the bag and it's not there. It's not anywhere in my house. I pull up the cloud. And it's at CMH. What followed in the next 24 hours included several calls to the airlines, a 2 hour trip back to the airport, filing a police report, and finally the realization that my iPad2 in the spiffy black Otterbox case with the UDC sticker was gone.

The last known location was somewhere on the way to the hangar. The plane has since been swept many times and hit at least 10 different destinations since my ass was uncomfortably parked in seat 5F. I have set it to erase all data as soon as it connects to the internet. And I've come to grips with the fact that it's gone for good. I picked up an iPad Mini Saturday evening. Because, well, I need one. I used the hell out of that iPad...for work...for creating...for play...for life. I went with the mini because for $40 more than the cost of replacing the iPad 2, I double the onboard storage to 32GB. Plus, I was already used to this form factor for 2 years before getting my iPad. It's a comfortable size for me. Not quite as unweildy as the 10" tablets.

It still feels like I got hit in the gut. I guess what I'm sad about the most is that someone didn't turn it in. Don't get me wrong, I'm not surprised, just disappointed. I know what kind of a tool that was in my life...if I found someone else's, I'd turn it in with no hesitation. To not do so, in my mind equates to theft. It's just not a cool situation. So...yeah....bummed about that. I like the mini so far. I've only really had it a day. It's going to probably take a bit of adjustment in respect to the handwriting and music apps, but otherwise, I think I'll be ok with it.

Sidebar...this plane is fucking tiny. The stewardess...er...flight attendant's honkey tonk badonkadonk has rubbed against my elbow like 5 times now. Any more and I think I'm going to have to buy her dinner.

Yeah. On a Sunday evening flight back to NY for another week of cable pulling. We got 35% done last week with only really 2 full days of pulling, so I feel good about our chances this week. We'll see though. Enough talk about the work week, it will be here soon enough.

So...something has hit me in the last several times I've flown. And it's the the spiel that EVERY single airling gives (I'm pretty sure the patter was pre-ordained by the FAA, because it's the same on every flight). But the safety lessons regarding oxygen really kind of apply to life.

In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure an oxygen mask will drop from an overhead compartment. Place the mask over your head...pull the strings on either side to ensure a secure fit.

Ok...pretty standard stuff so far. But here's the interesting bits...

If you are travelling with a small child or someone needing assistance with their mask, make sure you secure your mask first before helping them with theirs.

In otherwords, make sure you have your own shit together before attempting to help someone get their shit together.

And then...once the bag is secure, breathe normally. Even though the bag may not fully inflate, oxygen is still flowing.

So...basically...even though things may not look the way you expect them, it's still working the way its supposed to be working. Life is oxygen bag...it's still happening even though the bag isn't fully inflating. I don't know. I guess it made more sense in my head at the time...but shit happens. We all have those points in our lives when the bottom drops out. The cabin suddenly depressurizes. And if you look closely enough, there's a lifeline somewhere. The universe doesn't let us just dangle. There's always an oxygen mask. But you have to put it on yourself. If you are expecting someone to help you put on your mask, remember, they are going to have to put their own mask on first. Don't expect someone to help you if they don't have their own shit together. It's not fair to them...or you.

And when you have that mask on...just breathe. It may not seem possible. The natural reaction is to panic and take quick shallow breaths, but that only causes you to hyperventiliate. That's when life gets really gonzo.

Just breathe.

I have to remind myself of that more often these days it seems. Life is actually good. Despite going through the divorce, it's still a good thing. I don't know how the ex feels, but I feel a sense of relief of not having to be or try to be someone that I can't be. I'm not going to turn this post in to some exposition about marriage...that's a post for another time.

Now I've got to get my shit ready for the landing.

Oh and the plan is on final descent, too.

 

Peace out

-A.T.

 

9.16.2013

Waking Dream and Dishes and Sleepy time tea Hollows

The conversation played out in my head. As though I were watching a movie. The movie was of 2 people...me and someone else...having a conversation about the creation of an overweight super hero.

 

But it wasn't as though I was talking about having a movie, it was as though I were scripting a comic book. Only the comic book was my life and the conversation I was having was me trying to talk this person out of recruiting me.

 

To be a super hero.

 

I don't know what prompted it, to be quite honest. One minute I was doing the dishes..gathering trash and walking out to the dumpster. The alley is dark. I guess that prompted thoughts of nefarious ne'er do wells ruling the night...only to be shot down by a force for good.

 

Probably didn't help that we were talking about Agents of SHIELD at work today or that I had just watched the new series, Sleepy Hollow. Mix magic and super heroes and you tap in to something in me that just resonates. I'm sure there's a reason for that.

 

At 42, my only explanation is one that isn't what a normal 42 (or almost 42) year old man should really entertain. But I entertain a lot of things I really shouldn't. More so lately it seems.

 

"But...it just doesn't happen. There aren't any fat super heroes."

 

"So? You have the heart and you have the training."

 

"What training?"

 

"You're trained in the martial arts. And the ways of the Warrior Poet."

 

"A year of kick boxing and Hap Ki Do?! That's what you're calling 'training in the martial arts? Dude. I got one stripe. That's hardly a progeny. And what's this warrior poet shit?"

 

"It counts. Your heart takes you further than the rest."

 

"Ok...whatever subject change. Point is...I'm fat. Granted, I'm not as fat as I used to be...but dude...super heroes are buff. There aren't any chunky heroes. And don't dare bring up Thing or Hulk, because I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that gamma radiation would fuck up my day in a heartbeat":

 

 

And that's about how it played out in my head. It's not really much...but I think it could be a labor of love in the form of a graphic novel. The next stage in my catharsis, as it were. No...I don't actually think my drawing chops are up to it, exactly. But what the hell...I've never let a thing like lack of skill hold me back before. I used to storyboard with stick figures bitches. Don't think I won't do it again if I'm backed in to a corner.

 

Of course I'm not backed in to a corner...I'm just having one of those life moments where I have (and see and view from at least 3 different view points), entire conversations in my head play out with people I don't ever recall meeting, but I'm sure I will recognize them as long lost friends when next we meet in this lifetime.

 

Thing is...I'm realizing that I've still got a lot of shit floating around in my head. A lot of unresolved shit with this dissolution.

 

I think that maybe that scene played in my head because on some level, I need to believe that I could be a super hero. If only on paper.

 

And my mysterious conversant?

 

Nothing would surprise me less than to find out it's Future Todd, coming back to let me know that despite the shit I'm wading through right now, there's a happy ending someone.

 

I just need to get off my ass and write it.

9.12.2013

Precious Moments

I'm in the middle of a post about how the 'we love each other/never forget' posts on the anniversary of certain major historical events always make me cringe just a little bit, but something else has caught my attention.

Driving in to work today. It's raining. Forget the fact that I sprint to my non-garaged car only to realize that a)there is no effective way to both get in the car AND get the soaking wet umbrella in the car without getting some of that rain on me and b)I've forgotten the lunch that I had so meticulously packed meaning that c)I had to go back in and repeat a). That's how the commute started.

The above pic shows what happened when I got to Sawmill. Sawmill Road is closer to my destination than my home. Once I hit Sawmill, it's usually 10-15 minutes to my work if traffic cooperates.

Traffic had no intention of cooperating. I got to the Sawmill road exit (just past the point where I could have actually exited had I heard an accurate traffic report in time. But that's the nature of an accident. And this one was a doozy. Apparently about 1/2 mile past the exit (in the direction I was going), there was a meeting of a dump truck and another vehicle. The news reported that it was a car.

I sat at my location, just past the Sawmill Road exit. For an hour.

Traffic started moving. Slowly. 15 minutes later we were under Sawmill Road.

And another 10 minutes after that we slowly moved past the scene of the accident. I knew it would be bad because the news reports said that the highway was closed. That typically only happens when there is a need to LifeFlight someone or there is a fatality. I was hoping it would be cleared by the time we passed.

And the squads were cleared. There were bodies. But I saw the car...or whatever it was. I couldn't really tell you if it was a car or not. Because when I drive by, it was a jumbled mass of metal. I was stunned. It looked to me like a Hollywood effect where the super villain tosses the car around like it was tin foil and it winds up a crumpled mass of unrecognizable metal. And that's what this was. Only there was not a director yelling "Cut!" And this was not a movie.

This shit was real. And it got me thinking about how, yeah, my 90minute commute sucked. But somewhere was a family that would give anything for one more commute. It just hit me pretty hard, I guess.

Life is too fucking short. Seriously. And in an instant on a rain-soaked highway your life can change.

It's just crazy.

And I'm still processing it, I think. But for now I had to just get that out of my head.

Peace,

-A.T.

 

 

9.02.2013

Randomness at 37,000ft

This is less than ideal. I'm in a plane at 37000 ft and I've got a fit of inspiration. Well, not sure if it's actually inspiration as much as it is shit that needs to be out of my head. Like yesterday. Yesterday would have been my 11th anniversary. Yes. I know I covered that. But look man...I'm just clearing cobwebs, ya dig?

Actually I don't know what I'm doing. Well, that's not entirely true. I know one thing I'm doing. I'm hoping that this plane is on time to Chicago. See, on Friday when I was flying out to Phoenix, the flight from Columbus to Chicago was 30+minutes late. So, by the time we got to Midway...and deplaned, I was left with 0 minutes before my connecting flight was boarding. So I was in an airport I was unfamiliar with. And it wasn't a small airport, I might add. OK...to you seasoned travelers, Chicago Midway might be small, but to this overweight dude with a recovering knee and a bum shoulder, to land at gate B something and have to go to basically the complete other end of the airport with zero time to dilly dally....well it sucked. I was sprinting. They were announcing my name on the loud speaker with such heartfelt encouragements as "Passenger Andrew Skaggs, this is your 10 minute warning...At that time if you are not on your plane, your seat will be given up to standby"...Great. And of course there's a few dead tunnels with no line of sight, so I can't even get someone's attention. There are no Airport Golf Cart driving peeps to flag down. Just cleaning personnel and I'm pretty sure they didn't give a shit that I was about to miss my flight out west to see one of my bestest friends.

Finally I hit A4B or whatever the hell the gate (from hell) was and was able to flag down the smiley dude who just gave me the thumbs up and said "You're good man...you made it!" That's the second dash this summer that ended in an out of breath Toddles and a feeling of overinflated accomplishment. And I'll take it. I got on that flight sweaty and needing to pee, but I didn't care. At least I made it.

Somewhere between Chicago and Phoenix I evacuated my bladder and all was again right with the world.

The weekend was pretty great. I had a great time chilliin'...no pressures...it was much needed. And I missed my friend. I admire her for doing what she did. She's always wanted to live in Arizona and just decided last year that it was time. She packed up...moved out and had faith that things would work out the way they needed to. And for the most part, it looks like they have. Which, I don't know about you, but that's pretty freakin' inspiring.

I can't but help feeling that I'm in flux right now. Things in my life are falling in to place. I feel that the cogs and gears are turning in the universal tumbler in such a way that it's gonna go my way.

Funny thing is...I have always had the view that the way things are happening in my life is actually the way they need to happen. So things that others might see as bad luck or bad breaks, I've been blessed to be able to learn from those things. And to me, if you can learn from something then it can't really be a bad thing, can it? It may be an unfortunate event. Or an unfortunate situation. But it can't really be bad. I don't think that life can be either good or bad. I think that life just is. How we choose to process the events in our life help determine the perception of 'good' and 'bad'. And that's all they are...perceptions. The trick is realizing that this body in this plane of existance needs that label. It needs to put things in to boxes. It needs to see time as a straight line. It needs to see cause and effect.

And that's ok. I just have to remember to not get caught up in that. Because, to be honest that physical side of things is such a small part of the universe.

I'm exactly where I need to be right now. Doing exactly what I need to be doing.

 

The universe is perfect like that.

Oh...and by the way...I'm sure there will be more rambling posts. I feel like I've gone too long without writing on a regular basis, so I need to clear the cobwebs off. So...um..yeah.

 

-A.T.

A Dry Heat

If I had to guess, I would surmise that "Yes, but it's a dry heat" is as natural of a reaction to Phoenicians when someone says "It sure it hot out here," as it is for Buckeye fans to shout out "I-O" whenever they hear "O-H!"

Yes. I'm perfectly aware that the absence of humidity makes it more bearable for the body to stand higher temperatures. I get that. Only, in the monsoon season there is humidity. And stupid me booked a trip Phoenix to visit a friend during monsoon season. First of all, the fact that Arizona has a monsoon season should have tipped me off. But luckily for me, my friend lives in the one area that seemed to get NO rain....just heat. And humidity.

It's been a good weekend though. I got to see acres of roses in the desert. Which, to be perfectly honest is something I never even conceived of.

I got to swim in a swimming pool that was upwards of 80 degrees and feel like it was actually cooling my body down. Perception is a tricky thing.

Speaking of mindfucks. Yesterday would have been my 11th wedding anniversary. Since the paperwork isn't official just yet, I guess technically it still was. My mind is going through some weird twists and turns lately. I mean, the dissolution is going to happen. Paperwork has been filled out and we both agree that irreconcilable is the theme. It's just....weird.

I still very much love the woman I married. But I don't know where the hell she went or when the fuck she left. I can say, though, that the woman I'm divorcing is not the woman I married. I know this is probably a broken record by now. I just need some way of flushing this from my head. And writing is the only way I know of at the point. So, I'm sorry my friends, you're stuck with this.

I've got about 30 minutes before they start boarding our plane. That's enough time for a few rounds of Words With Friends.

 

Peace out, yo.

 

-A.T.

 

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...