Birthday Weekend Wrap-Up

Well … another birthday done. Welcome to 46!

This year was somewhat cool as my birthday fell on Friday … the 13th! The day itself was business as usual. Worked. Mowed the Yard. Worked. Such fun. The Boyfriend and I went out to dinner at Boojum Brewing Company (Mmmmmm, BEER!) and then came home and relaxed.

The Boyfriend went a little nuts and spent way to much on me. I got a couple of Blu-rays and an Apple Watch (Series 2). Whoo hoo.

Saturday, we went down to Charlotte to partake in a night at Scarowinds. SpOooOoooOOoOky! It was a pretty fun time, but there were a lot of people in the park. It took quite some time to get through lines to the mazes. We ended up going through five of the six they have going … Zombie High, Silver Scream Studios, Slaughterhouse, Depths of Darkness, Dark Harvest. We missed out on Urgent Scare which was a bit of a bummer since we really disliked (the boring) Dark Harvest. We only got on three rides and no coasters. Five hours really wasn’t enough time to do everything we wanted to do. It then took us 1+ hour to escape the parking lot. That was not too much fun.

Here’s the fun sign for Red Ribbon Meats … home of Slaughterhouse!
Red Ribbon Meats at Scarowinds

Sunday, we kicked around at IKEA and Concord Mills before I headed back to the mountains.

There was lots of cool stuff at IKEA. Too bad I am not rich and have a big house for all the stuff I wanted to buy. We got there early so I had a late breakfast and The Boyfriend had an early lunch (Swedish Meatballs!).

Here’s my $2 (plus tax) IKEA breakfast. Pretty yummy!
$2 IKEA Breakfast

We ended up at the Lego Store and I got see the display of the Millennium Falcon Ultimate Collector’s Edition (75192). Pictures really don’t do this thing justice. I have been half-heartedly toying with the idea of dropping $800 on this set. After seeing it in person I now know that I DESPERATELY NEED this in my life. Too bad the employee I talked to said it would be January or February at the earliest before they would have it back in stock. Bummer.
Lego Millenium Falcon

Birthday Weekend Wrap-Up

And The Beat Goes On …

What a crazy busy week this has been.

Monday: Work, Work, Work
Tuesday Work and Blade Runner 2049
Wednesday: Work and WCU Drag Show featuring Alyssa Edwards
Today: Work and Zombie Prom Final Dress Rehearsal
Tomorrow: Work and BIRTHDAY (Though no Exciting Celebration is Planned)

And all the while I have been painting and sealing the first of the DVD/Blu-ray shelves that RP helped me build a couple of weekends ago. Fun times.

And The Beat Goes On …

Retraction

Idiot in Chief
Remember all those times I bitched about what an idiot and awful President George W. Bush was? Well, I take it all back. I really didn’t think there would be someone worse than him … and there is. We are currently FUCKED.

Retraction

Friday Randomness

Obsession (Not by Calvin Klein):
I am in full on obsession mode about an iPhone 8. The simple solution is to quit obsessing and go get one. That is where my brain kicks in with worrying about the extra cost per month, etc. You would think these decisions would be easier the older you get. But for me, it seems like these decisions just keep getting harder and harder.

Speaking of Getting Older:
It’s two weeks until my birthday wherein this Old Fart becomes even older and fart-ier. The fun this year is that I will get the rare Friday the 13th birthday. I am slowly pushing towards 50 which is a weird fact to me. Back in my 20’s, I never thought I would make it past 40. Go figure.

Meanwhile:
It seems like I have most of my extra design work is caught up. Yay! I have been working pretty much every day for the last few weeks on freelance stuff. The extra money is nice, but sometimes working 10-12 hour days (the regular eight plus freelance hours) can be a total drag. Tonight it is time to kick back with a beer and relax!

Weekend Plans:
The big excitement is going to be building some more DVD/Blu-ray shelves tomorrow (the addiction is real, people) with the help of the Retired Pilot. Then there will be pizza and binging some more Luke Cage. I am way behind on Netflix’s Marvel content.  Maybe there will be a hike on Sunday if PT and I can get our schedules worked out. Then on Sunday night I will be seeing Crystal Castles over at The Orange Peel. Hopefully it will be a good show.

And for No Reason:
Here’s a picture of Tab Hunter being all hot and Tab Hunter-y. Enjoy!

Tab Hunter

Friday Randomness

30 Years, Here We Come

Strangeways, Here We Come
The Smiths’ Strangeways, Here We Come turns 30 today.

I was on the verge of turning 16 when this album came out and it was my introduction to The Smiths. I remember buying it on cassette at Traxx near the mall in Asheville. Or had it changed over to being called Record Bar by that point? Regardless, for a while it was the go-to record store for alternative releases. Roger, myself and some co-workers from McDonald’s were there. I was so broke that I didn’t have the $6.99 (plus tax) to buy it. Someone in the group loaned me the change (somewhere around 35¢) so that I had enough to make the purchase. Yeah. I spent every single cent I had and then some. I remember having a lot of buyer’s remorse afterwards because I had spent all my money. But, I didn’t have any remorse when listening to the music. Strangeways, Here We Come became one of the essential albums during my junior year in high school. I still have that cassette and would listen to it in the Bug (which, strangely, had the factory cassette player in it).

Years later, Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me became my go-to song to listen to when I was feeling depressed/upset about the Evil One. I love this song (and thankfully don’t pine over the Evil One while listening to it anymore).

30 Years, Here We Come

Tourist Trap Weekend

In other news … the Boyfriend and I went for a  Tourist Trap Weekend in everyone’s favorites place(s) … Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN. I have never been a huge fan of Pigeon Forge as it’s just a big tacky strip of touristy shops and activities. But, I have always had a soft spot for Gatlinburg (no less tacky or touristy but somehow more charming).

We took off Friday after work and drove through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to get there. The Tennessee side is still recovering from the Chimney Tops II Fire that ravaged the park (and ultimately the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area) last November.

Some of the things we did while in Gatlinburg:
– Breakfast at the Log Cabin Pancake House
– Moonshine at Sugarlands Distilling Company
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
– Moonshine at Doc Collier Moonshine
– Food and Drinks at Smoky Mountain Brewery
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium
– Rode the Skylift
– Toured Ripley’s Haunted Adventure
– Survived Gatlinburg’s Mysterious Mansion
– Window Shopped

Some things we did in Pigeon Forge:
– Saw an Alligator at a Tacky Gift Shop
– Ate at The Old Mill Restaurant
– Moonshine at Old Forge Distillery
– Drove Around to See the Sights
– Dipped in the Hotel Hot Tub and Pool

Then it was back to North Carolina via a Deliverance-style backwoods Tennessee trip courtesy of the GPS.

******
As you can probably guess by the activities list, we did end up spending too much money on moonshine. I ended up with Coffee and Oatmeal Cookie moonshine from Old Forge AND Root Beer Float moonshine from Doc Collier’s. We did window shop in Ole Smoky but somehow managed to not do any tasting or purchasing. Such will power!

We can report that Gatlinburg’s Mysterious Mansion was more fun than Ripley’s Haunted Adventure (at least we thought so). It’s more maze-like with rooms that you have to figure out how to get out of while people are running around scaring the crap out of you. It’s super fun!

At the Mysterious Mansion in Gatlinburg, TN
Here we are before getting the pants scared off of us in the Mysterious Mansion.

AND … we stumbled into Gamer’s Link, a really sweet board and card game store in Gatlinburg. They have a great selection of games and I would recommend checking them out if you visit the area.

I was just tipsy enough after our moonshine tasting at Doc Collier’s that I pulled the trigger on Arkham Horror. It’s a massive (and expensive) cooperative game based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft.

Arkham Horror
I can’t wait to get some friends over and try this beast out!

Tourist Trap Weekend

Living Modern

Living Modern with Kiki and O'Keeffe
I have been battling a late summer/early fall cold. Such fun!

BUT … I did make it to Winston-Salem with Kiki on Saturday to see the Georgia O’Keeffe Living Modern exhibit that is currently showing at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art. The exhibit is all about the intersection of O’Keeffe’s art, fashion choices, and the specific way she presented herself in photographic images. The selections on display were a mix of photos of O’Keeffe (by many famous photographers), pieces of her clothing, and paintings from various periods of her career. It was a bit of a head trip to realize that her early watercolors (1916-1917) are now 100 years old. The catalog of the exhibition is well worth purchasing as it contains a ton of photos and information that were not on display in the gallery.

Here’s some of the photos I took that day:

After we were done at Reynolda House, we wandered over to Reynolda Village for a late lunch/early dinner at Village Tavern. I had the Pimento Bacon Cheeseburger and it was almost better than sex. Super Yummy!

Living Modern

Struggling Through

Yeah. I am still around. I have been in an annoyed/pissed off mood for the past few weeks. Even the smallest things have been setting me off. And, I know the root cause.

I have a secondary job that pays me a little bit each month. Bad thing is that this job is salaried, so they can throw a extra work at me and I don’t make any more money. The situation has been this way for a years and I have not worried about it too much … until the last year and a half. During this time the work load has been steadily increasing. I am seriously tired of it. I know what you are going to say … “Ask for more money!” Unfortunately, that won’t work. The party line for years has been “We know we can’t pay you what you’re worth.” Well, I think they can. In the past few years this client has taken on two new full time employees (and countless contract labor). They can’t “pay me what I am worth,” yet they can hire in two new positions that are making at least three times my salary. Priorities, I guess? Needless to say, I am tired of being overworked/underpaid and it’s got me in a foul mood.

What’s the answer? Quit. Which is easier said than done. The (little bit of) extra money is nice and I can do this work when I have time (there are no set hours). If I got another job to make up the money, it would probably be a nights and/or weekends kind of thing and I don’t really want to do that either. Maybe I just need to jump off the cliff and quit and then figure out what to do.

Struggling Through

The Weekly Update

And another week for the history books with another at the doorstep. The grind keeps on going.

But, what a week! If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that the Solar Eclipse happened this past week on Monday (August 21) … and chunk of WNC was in the path of totality. My house was so close to being in the zone at 99.982%.

Solar Eclipse: August 21, 2017

In a fun bit of coincidence, David is now working at Western Carolina University, which was in the path of totality in Cullowhee. So, the opportunity to view a full on total solar eclipse was too great to pass up. I took the day off work and traveled over to campus with him. There was a lot of time to kill until the event, but it was worth it. We got about 1 minute and 54 seconds of totality and it was so awesome. As a bonus, we somehow missed all the eclipse traffic and beat it back home before all the highways gridlocked. Score!

Solar Eclipse: August 21, 2017I am so ready to see another one.

The rest of the week was me working 10 hour days to make up for taking Monday off.
Such fun.

I was bad on Tuesday and went on a bit of a Marvel Cinematic Universe spending spree. I grabbed Daredevil Season One and Two, Jessica Jones Season One, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol: 2 (in 3D!). Someone need to take my credit card away!
Marvel Spending Spree!

Wednesday, I pissed some bees off while trying to get the mower out from under the shed. Two stings later (right index finger and the back of my head) and I was in quite a bit of pain. The sting on the back of my head seemed to (eventually) do fine, but the sting on my finger caused it to swell and hurt for several days. Needless to say, the nest felt my wrath later that evening. I am generally a “live and let live” kind of guy when it comes to bees … unless they fuck with me.

Thursday, I got bad news that the ailing oven is actually now the DEAD oven and I have to buy one (and I got to pay $50 to find that information out). This has led to days of indecision and worry about what brand to buy and how to buy it (10% Off/Pay for it Immediately OR 0% OFF/18 Months with No Interest). Bad thing too is that wall ovens are apparently all special order and it will take at least one month to get one here. It’s times like these that I HATE being and adult. Grrrrrrrrr.

Friday evening I went to my first WCU faculty function as a faculty spouse. Fun times with free wine and tasty munchies! Though not too much free wine. We were warned that it was bad form to get drunk at the Chancellor’s house. The really nice thing about the evening was I got to see/chat with the Chancellor’s Wife again. I directed her in The Light in the Piazza back in the fall of 2012.

Saturday ended up being a trip to Asheville. I got to stop at Harvest Records for their 13th Anniversary sale. I found the motherlode of old X albums (even though I didn’t find Los Angeles, their debut album) AND Madonna’s Erotica (a favorite of mine) on vinyl as well. So, that was my second spending spree of the week. We eventually ended up at Pastimes (the big comic shop) and David found himself a cool Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter NECA figurine. So, there were goodies for both of us yesterday. Yay!

The Weekly Update