Drama in My TL

Yesterday, there was considerable drama in my TL from a good many people that I follow. Being that I gloss over my TL while I’m at work, I don’t really have the luxury of keeping up with an entire thread and, by the time I get home, things have pretty much been sorted out. People either reconcile the difference or part ways and unfollow each other. Perhaps a new account is created and the old deleted or abandoned. I don’t know.

I dislike seeing this kind of stuff in my TL. As an atheist, I came to Twitter hoping to find other atheists, as well as abuse it as an RSS feed (news articles are awesome). The drama that happened yesterday, not to mention the Atheism/Atheism+ crap that happened some time ago, reminds me of high school and how all the bloody popular people would bicker over things and the cliques would shift, associations change, and wait for the next cycle. This bickering was a non-starter for me, one of the geek/nerd/fatty/what-have-you outcasts that interacted with the popular kids when necessary. As such, I didn’t give a Flying Dutchman about who was, or wasn’t, talking that particular day, week, or month.

On Twitter, that same Flying Dutchman is not given over the arguments/bickering/other-non-starters that occur between groups and individuals. I follow folks because they have ideas that I agree with, have proven to be intellectually stimulating, or are funny as all get-out. Sometimes a person is all three. If a person, or group of people, decide to unfollow someone else, I do not follow suit until I’m given a personal reason to unfollow.

Which brings me to Follow Friday, or #FF. I tweet my list(s) of “Fab Folks”, the people I really like. This list is based on interaction with individuals or enjoyment of what is posted from the account. I’m willing to bet that most of the people I consider fab are either already followed or are on someone’s shit list. If the account is one of the latter, don’t follow it and don’t give me grief for following it because of an argument in which I was not a participant. If my association with a particular person offends you then, by all means, unfollow me. I don’t keep track of who unfollows me. I’m hardly one of the “movers and shakers” of the atheist community on Twitter.

This is where I stand. You can either take it or leave it. I’ll be doing my usual things: griping about work in some fashion, posting #RandomLyrics, making smart ass quips to posts in my TL, giving a post a favourite and/or retweet, and engaging others in my TL.

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Gone to the dogs

I am down to one dog. I used to have two, but one died late last April.  I’d not gotten the urge to get another dog since, although I have looked at PetFinder and many animal shelters local to me.  I’ve also looked at rescue groups, but they are rather particular about living quarters.  Especially that there be a fenced in yard.  I had one of those too, until late last year when the city said the fence was a danger and told the landlord to replace it or tear it down.  The landlord opted for the latter.  Now my dog has no place to be let out to run and do his business for 15 minutes or so whilst I prepare his breakfast or dinner.


That preamble is not the real reason I’ve opted to write.  Normally, I take to Twitter to post my random observances.  Sometimes Twitlonger if I need another 100 to 160 characters.  I need far more space for this.

I usually take my Greyhound, Danny, around the block for our walks.  It’s a decent length for both of us.  The walks are usually uneventful; no tangles with other dogs, the occasional squirrel, and other pedestrians.  However, about once a week, I come across someone that really has no clue what differences exist between breeds of dogs.  

Danny is a gorgeous tan brindle.  There are streaks of black and grey through his hair.  His left front leg has a thick vertical stripe down its length.  That stripe was what allowed me to meet the people who fostered him after being brought to Ohio from a racetrack down south.  We were at an annual gathering that’s put on by the rescue group to raise funds, introduce people to racing Greyhounds, and offer a venue for local (and some not so local) vendors of all things dog.  I was trying to get Danny to take some water, as he’d been panting heavily on that hot August day.  A man and woman had passed by and the man called out, “Danny?”  Danny immediately turned toward the sound and his face lit up in recognition of the man and woman.  We had a nice chat about Danny.  I’d had him for about two years at that point.  It’s now seven wonderful years later. 

But I digress…

Roughly once a week, I encounter a person that has most likely never in hen* life picked up a book that has pictures of various dog breeds.  I usually encounter the same two questions: 1) Is that a pitbull?, or 2) Is that a Great Dane?  /headwall    

Today, I experienced something that had never happened on a walk.  A car had driven past me in the opposite direction that Danny and I were walking.  The next thing I knew, the car is stopped by the curb ahead of me and some lady asks through the open passenger side window “Is that a rescue?”  I respond in the affirmative and turn my attention to Danny, who was finishing up with some “business” and I had to clean up.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see the lady getting out of the car and approach us.  What the fuck?  She then starts to pet Danny.  Normal people ask before they pet a strange dog, because the owner will usually agree to it or disagree with a caveat of possible biting, nipping, or what have you.  She then starts blathering on about Greyhounds and how she read that they’re supposed to be very empathetic and so on and so forth.  She then starts babbling on about her pets.  I just sort of nod the whole time.  You know, the kind of nod you might give a grandparent with dementia that’s telling you about some particular point in 1931 for the fifth time in the same one hour period.  It got worse after that.  She dug into her purse and pulled out photos.  Lady!  I don’t know you!  Why are you accosting me and my dog while he’s doing his business?  I still have to clean up after him!  I take the photo and give the obligatory “Ooo” and “Aah” as necessary and compliment how lovely the animals were.  She did have very nice dogs and one disgruntled looking cat.  She then tucked her photos away and extended her hand. “I’m Sandy!”  Not one to be rude to an extended hand, I took hers in the firm grip I give everyone, nodded, and gave her the false name I use when I don’t expect to run into a person again.  She got back into the car and the driver set off in the direction opposite that I intended to continue going.  

I looked at Danny and he had his normal look of “What’s happening?”, shook my head, and went about my duty according to the city ordinance and cleaned up after my dog.

(Note: I’m very fond of this Swedish gender neutral pronoun. It’s fantastic!  I highly approve of its use and have adopted it into my writing.) 



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Stop with the sweet

On my way to work from the office, I decided to pick up some lunch from a place that sells bagels and other foodstuffs, but notable for their bagels. I hadn’t been in one for a few years. After making my food selection, I went to pay and asked for a large iced green tea. The container holding the tea had been in sight while I was making my food order. Lovely green label on it stating “Iced Green Tea”. Nice, tasty, healthy green tea. I parted with an Andrew Jackson in exchange for my meal and set back out for the office.

Once at work, I started up the poor beast that passes for my computer (I’ve been here six years as of 17 October and it’s neither crashed nor been replaced), knowing I could consume my lunch by the time it had started and gotten itself ready.

My sandwich was tasty: a ciabotta roll with turkey, bacon, onion, tomato, lettuce, and light on the chipotle mayo. The onions were a bit strong, so I unwrapped the straw and popped it into the tea and took a sip. It took everything in me not to do a spit take. SWEET!! Offensively sweet! How the fuck can people ruin green tea in such a way??

Once I got over this rude shock, I walked to the “kitchen” a got two teabags of green tea to place in the offending liquid back at my desk. At nearly $3 for what I got, I’m not dumping it out. It is barely drinkable at the time I type this.

Sweettea, or Sahweettea depending on who you’re speaking to, is something that has managed to migrate north of the Mason-Dixon. However, unlike Waffle House, it is something I do not welcome. The intrusion of this obscenely sweet concoction (is it five pounds of sugar to one gallon of tea?? It certainly tasted like it) has necessitated the need to specify the type of iced tea I want at most food establishments. I find this highly annoying. Having to preface my beverage order with “unsweetened” to make certain I get what I want is cumbersome. I have had to start this because of a visit to a Bob Evans several years ago.

I had been in the mood for comfort food and what could be more comforting than a bowl of their chicken and noodles? I had been seated promptly and was perusing the menu to see if something else would catch my fancy. I looked at the beverage list: usual soda offerings, coffee, hot tea, and iced tea. No where did it mention I had a choice of sweetened or unsweetened. The waitress came over and asked if I was ready to order. “Yes, I am. May I have a bowl of chicken and noodles and an iced tea with lemon? Thank you.” After the waitress left, I opened my newspaper and started reading. She was back in no time, setting my drink on the table with a straw. I unwrapped the straw and popped it into the glass and took a rather long draught. My eyes near popped out of my head, or it felt like it. I managed to get the waitress back over. “What is this?? Don’t you have plain iced tea anymore?” “Yes, we do, but I assumed you wanted sweet tea.” “How do you know I’m not diabetic? Anyways, the menu didn’t say you had both. Had I known, I certainly would have specified. May I have some unsweetened tea, please?”

Ever since that encounter, I have always found myself stressing “unsweetened iced tea” when ordering.

Sweet tea is, in my opinion, an abominable concoction that does not need to exist. Unless an establishment is using some sort of sugar substitute, Splenda comes to mind since it doesn’t have phenylalanine, the amount of sugar used in relation to the amount of tea in the container seems excessive. Not to mention, the beverage becomes another source of empty calories on top of what could be an already calorie heavy meal…and people want refills.

The rest of you can have this stuff, I don’t want it. Food establishments should train their wait-staff to default to unsweetened, never assume sweetened if not specified by the consumer. I need to go Wisp my teeth and tongue.

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I’m sitting at the kitchen table at my Dad’s in Minnesota, sucking down some Chase & Sanborn special roast while looking out the sliding doors to the balcony and the forest’s edge beyond that. Most of the leaves on the trees are green yet but there are some birch trees with deep yellow leaves edged in brown. Enter here, from the deep recesses of my mind, John Cleese saying “The Larch” a few times. It’s odd but it happens.

Today is day seven of my vacation. I have had a very enjoyable time with my parents here at their house. I pulled a full seven days from my PTO bank at work. I’m not due back there until 12 October. I have not had any Starbucks since the Hinsdale oasis in the Chicago area. That was a simple shaken green iced tea, no classic, no water. I’m currently wondering how I will react to my daily order of a 12 ounce red eye when I start back to work.

I play World of Warcraft. The withdrawal has been a little worse than I thought. I miss my guildies and the bullshitting we do in guild chat. I miss my RP friend too.

It had been my intention to upgrade the RAM in my little Compaq laptop and install DAZ Studio on it, but that never happened. Not that I have had time to do much prior to going to bed.

My days here have been long and full. I have taken in local sights as well as not so local sights. I have been fishing and will be preparing to go again today. There will be a visit to the Duluth Zoo later today. Tomorrow, my last full day here, we will be going to the State fairgrounds where a gathering of most of the animal rescue groups in the state will take place. My parents recently lost a dog to cancer and are seeking a new one as a companion to the other that they have.

It was easy to physically let go of work. Mentally, not so much. I know a good many things will have piled up, requiring my attention upon my return. I wonder what the new end-of-month volume will be for one thing. My vacation time had not been factored in to the original goal volume. Meh…that’s what happens. Bean counters only count the beans. I’ve yet to meet one that understands how the beans get moved before counting them.

Early Sunday morning, perhaps 05:00 hours, I will start my 16 hour journey home. I rented a car and drove here for the express reason of being able to stop and sight see wherever I saw fit. I rented a car so I wouldn’t put the wear and tear of the drive on my own. Less out of pocket further down the road for major repairs or replacements.

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Staking a claim? Maybe…

I am not one for blogging. There are many reasons for this:
1. Mundane life
2. I prefer to be an observer.
3. The whole issue of work using my blog/Twitter/et cetera to punish me in some way.

Reason number three is perhaps the biggest. I operate under a pseudonym as I go about the Internet. There are very few social websites where I will use any accurate contact info.

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