Category Archives: Rants

Blogistentialism: Struggling for Nothing

Battling a little bit of writers block after my last post, I turned to a nice little app called SimpleMind+ for my iPhone.  I downloaded it to help me brainstorm ideas for blogs or at the very least help me develop a richer amount of content for preexisting blog ideas.

Just now, as I’m watching Sherlock on the interwebs and waiting for my third fantasy football mock draft to start, I realized my next blog topic shouldn’t be an internal debate over naming my future son after a super villain or my father’s fashion sense and what he did or did not pass along. This blog should be about the almost existential process of wanting to write a blog, struggling to conjure up good content, delivering a somewhat decent message and then in the end, writing about the authentic experience rather than an actual predetermined subject.

Believe me, I don’t gain much from the process other than a tiny amount of self-worth and general acknowledgement that someone, most likely from my immediate family, has read my words.  So my struggle is minuscule to the poor bastards who do this for a living.

I don’t prep for these writings, but I feel they get more attention then they deserve especially after a full days work. That conflict conjures up this question “Is the process of writing blog a meaningful experience?”  Obviously I can only answer this question for myself, but I hypothesize the importance is not the answer to the question, it is the derivation.

As I take time away from WordPress and The Surly Otter to brainstorm the derivation of the answer to the question above, I’ll leave you with how I believe I’ll get from point A to B.

1) Once I’ve come to terms with what I’m actually trying to accomplish here at The Surly Otter I’ll need to know: What does it mean to write this type of blog?  I haven’t defined what I’m doing here and probably will never truly know.

However, if this blog is just a stream of my consciousness (It is) and does not pertain often enough to the lives  of others (It doesn’t) then it will never be limited by any descriptor. In other words: If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone read my blog?

2)  Strive to understand if I have a motivation to write and where it comes from (if no one is reading). Does expectation play a part, and if so is it intrinsic or extrinsic?

3) Embrace the randomness, much like a hipster might. Just don’t embrace hipsters.


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Holiday Rant No. 1.

From observing social media (“friendly, inadvertent stalking”) around the holidays the last couple years I have noticed a significant amount of people in my social circles celebrate multiple Thanksgivings and Christmases per year. Whether that comes from divorces, new relationships, and celebrating with specific groups (friends, co-workers, etc…).  Now if you ever met me or read any of my rants, you have more than likely deduced that I am a bit alternative. So it is probably not surprising that I have never celebrated a holiday multiple times in one year.

Obligatory turkey dinner picture

I have always been lucky enough (blessed really) to have large holiday gatherings.  Growing up my family was always willing and ready to incorporate anyone important to our friends and family into our holiday celebrations. Often eliminating the need for multiple events.  I’m not really up in arms about multiple holiday celebrations, it just does not seem that enjoyable to me*. You could say I was raised to believe holidays are so special and unique they are to be celebrated on the specific days in which they appear on the calendar**.  Believe me, I am not trying to sound sententious. (Or am I by using sententious instead of preachy or self-righteous?).

It should be noted I actively avoid weddings (of auxiliary individuals) and never went to prom. However I do describe myself as a social person. In fact sitting in my apartment all day today is sort of killing me, but a man can only eat out so many time by himself before he starts to feel awkward.

Perhaps the point that is taking so long to make is for people to openly embrace the reason for the season and open your homes and celebrations, even more, to family of family and friends of friends.

* The food is most likely delicious and seeing loved ones is always a plus, I understand these and other pleasurable experiences may exist.

**Really the build up to holidays has gotten a bit ridiculous. It seems there are more people telling me the feel the same, yet we still see Christmas trees weeks before

Thanksgiving.  As stated above, I’m a firm believer that everything has it’s time and place.  Often when I see a Christmas tree or the hear of Christmas music well before I am mentally prepared for the season I find it a bit unnerving. This is true for every holiday, except Flag Day***, I only use Christmas because it is easily the most flagrant offender.

***Flag day can never be celebrated enough.

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Three things.

I have come to the conclusion that it is virtually impossible for me to startup a conversation with a woman in a public place. Unless of course we are “pre-familiar” with each other.  I am not referring to picking up women, that is a pipe dream.  Basically there is no way for me to relate to women 21 – 28 years of age.

In fact there are only three things I know about that demographic. 1) They love answering questions about themselves 2) If they drink beer, they will drink bud light. They always drink vodka, everyone always drinks vodka. Vodka is step one of an endless stair case of liquid vices. and 3) They all love Taco Bell.  You could throw a point in there about reality tv and shopping, but that may be stretching it a bit.

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Tuna Casserole

Alright this will be a quick post as I am waiting for my food to warm up.  What am I doing tonight? Well I’m glad you asked. I am reaquainting myself with Adobe Illustrator. For this, I’ll need whiskey.  As per usual when editing images the browner the whiskey the better, also cheaper doesn’t hurt either (Hello Ten High!).  Yes it’s only Tuesday, and the sun hasn’t set, and I’m by myself….what?

A few things:

1) I’m terrible at writing press releases, but hoping to get better.  When it comes to stats I hate trying to make something out of nothing.

2) The worst part about going back to work, as opposed to being gloriously unemployed, is most definitely socks. They are awful.  Closed toed shoes are a close second.

3) Based on my current condition, I can assume that the greatest thing you can do to further your career is to move somewhere where you know no one. Also assuming that place has no good burrito joints and/or all the sports bars have waitresses in referee uniforms (who aren’t carrying little yellow flags, who is dressing these girls?? Continuity fail.)

Or whatever YOU may be into.


Tuna Casserole on the Cheap:

Pound of Macaroni

(2) Cans of Cream of Chicken

1/3 log of Velveeta

(1) decently large can of tuna (Dolphin Free or Full dependent on you taste)

Boil Noodles, Drain, add C of C & velveeta, stir until mixed, add tuna (maybe some peas or mushrooms, if you’re feeling friskey), eat. Bask.


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Newness & Karma

A friend just told me I hadn’t blogged in a while…turns out she was right. I told my self I’d be good with this, Liar!

So I’m in a new town, new state, new everything.  Thusly, money is hemorrhaging from my pocket-book like water from a broken hydrant.  To no vail can I stop it.  I understand it’s a big part of moving, but when car batteries go and deposits are way more than they should it starts to feel as if I have a hernia. Really, its painful to walk when you’re losing money. Or at least to me its painful to walk.

I really don’t have much of a purpose with this post, just wanted to get back in the groove.  Lets go with this: Make You, yes you, feel better about your current situation while describing my 3rd and 4th (current) days in Kansas.

Yesterday (3rd Kansas day) I got lost in a little town outside a big town, extremely frustrating.  Especially for the crossing guard I almost planted in the pavement. Mind you I was obeying all Traffic Laws as this crossing guard ran into the middle of a four lane road to shake his fist at me.  The only thing I can truly gather is he really dislikes silver(ish) four door sedans (pimp speed!). On my way back to civilization I get pulled over for texting while driving.  I can definitely see where the sheriff thought I was “manipulating” my phone, but I kindly told him I was clueless and simply consulting a preloaded map.  I held back on mentioning to him I’d be more likely to manipulate myself than text while driving, especially in a new city.  The rest of day three was a breeze, couple of drinks and football.

Day four, I think I’ve caught a break, I get to work at home on my second day of work SCORE! In fact I get so much done that I’m gonna award myself with a round of golf on new course, in a new town.  This is the golf fanatics (me) version of getting strange, true story.  Nope. Didn’t happen. Sit in my car, turn key….click, click, click, click….Efff me running. Battery is donezo.  I spend the rest of the day chasing after a seemingly fictional car battery for a pretty average car. Meanwhile recruiting people to help me jump my car and engage in awkward small talk.  You know the kind of small talk I’m talking about, the kind that is expected to end quite quickly…but doesn’t because the flipping car won’t start. Mike at O’Reilly auto parts has some great thoughts on closing municipal parks to save tax payers money…just a heads up Wichita, watch out for Manger Mike.   Hero’s of the day are Bill of the maintenance crew at the apartment grounds for the push and first jump, Bill received a 6 Pack of Budweiser Bottles (STL shout out) for his help. Also, Carlos who installed my battery at AutoZone, good kid stayed later to help out, was handsomely tipped and then rewarded by his manager.


Two Things:

1) I’m just trying to spread some good Karma, if all it takes is smiles (from my tribulations), thank you’s, beers, and some tipping to get a return, Then I’m In.

2) I’m really not run down as I thought I would be from the move and these trying days, It’s just tough having no one to talk too in a new town.



P.S. I believe I’ll be starting a Blog concerning the sports realm sometime soon…perhaps it will be more worth the read.


Song of the Day: The W.A.N.D by The Flaming Lips

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Awe Tech

Technology is great, its wonderful, it makes life easier. Right? Right.  I’m sometimes in awe of technology.  Usually its the scale that gets me, you know the connectivity to other things/people/places in this world.  Like when I’m driving East about 75 MPH across the midwest and talking with someone who is standing in a river in Alaska.  That’s pretty awesome.  Its amazed me how easy it is, how common it can be, and most impressively how consistent it is.  I know it sounds like a weird scenario but its happened more than once.

Really the only other time I’m in awe with technology is when its unbelievably user unfriendly.  Obviously I’m not talking about NASA computers, but how I can’t get Wi-Fi to work in my goddamn basement. The router is literally in the next room, and I have to jury rig a lan cable down the hall. Technology truly has two sides; one brings euphoria and the other? Well you know, Office Space.

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Rooking into the Night

This week I taught 12 and 8-year-old siblings the game of Chess. It was easily the most rewarding part of my last month, hell last 3 months. Its was amazing to see them focus on the game, the pieces, the movement, and their results. I told themfrustration was ok, it was expected. However this is not a game in which we yell, call names, or bad language. Use your “thinking caps,” and think they did. deliberating each move as if they were a commander in an army. It’s amazing how badly siblings want to beat each other sometimes.

Its amazing the power the game of chess has on children. It’s as if they can feel the history and tradition that surround this complex, intricate game. I started learning around the age of 9 and gave it up for a long time, surely frustrated at a game I can’t master (nor 99.99997% of the population & some computers). I am well aware that you play the person across from you, but that hasn’t stop the frustration! So kudos to all that have beat me and all that will. I’m sure it’s not easy jumping from hungry hungry hippos to a game that makes grumpy old men sit in parks and taverns for hours on end, but these two have taken a liking to it. So I write these few words to remind you the power chess holds, especially to a developing mind, you may very well enjoy the game again or the process of teaching it to a few open-minded little ones. They are our future after all.


-Maybe we can at least beat the chinese in chess.

–Obligatory Bobby Fisher Reference

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