Happy Father’s Day

I meant to write up something meaningful for Father’s Day but I don’t think I have the words or energy at present. I did want to wish my father a very happy Father’s Day, however. Currently, he is several hundred miles away and unreachable by phone. He’s been in the hospital for the better part of two weeks now with heart troubles.

Having him laid up certainly makes the occasion more special. I have been beyond blessed to have such a great father in my life. I know that not everyone is so blessed. He has shown me what it is to be a great father and husband and I can only hope that, one day, I will be able to live up to his example. He is a truly great man, one of the few truly great men that I know.

Happy Father’s Day, Pop. I miss and love you and am forever grateful for all you’ve given me.

Love, Charlie

And Sew It Goes

I decided today that I was going to buy a sewing machine and take up sewing.

I know many of you may think this unmanly and a bit extreme but hear me out. I wear a lot of t-shirts. I wear a t-shirt almost every day of the week. On week days, I wear an undershirt. On weekends, I wear casual t-shirts. Most of my t-shirts wear out fairly rapidly. They shrink or the seams come loose or they get holes or they get stained…the life of my t-shirts is a tough one.

The trouble is that new t-shirts are not all that cheap, especially the ones that I tend to like. They don’t have a lot of decoration or ornamentation but are comfy and soft. I guess they tend to be about $20 dollars each unless I can find them on sale somewhere.

I was pondering my need for new t-shirts today when it came to me. I bet I could make my own t-shirts. I’m sure that fabric can’t be too expensive. Construction is pretty basic as well. I bet I could reverse engineer a few of my t-shirts and make my own. All I need is a sewing machine.

So I think I’m going to buy a sewing machine. I have one picked out on Overstock.com that I think would serve my purposes. My only hesitation is that I know myself. It would be just like me to spend $125 bucks on a sewing machine and never use it. Or use it once and never touch it again. It would be just like that Nikon camera I bought for $900 dollars. That made a nice Christmas gift to my sister after sitting around for some while, untouched. Or the Wii I gave to my niece and nephew after three months. Or the bike that is sitting on my porch.

In my head, though, I make awesome t-shirts. They are so good, in fact, that everyone wants one. Soon, I am selling custom fitting t-shirts to all my friends and turning a profit on my new sewing machine. It’s not long before I learn to screen print designs onto my awesome t-shirts and, the next thing I know, I’m competing with threadless tees. I use my new-found wealth to start other enterprises, like making beer. It isn’t long before I am bathing in cash and making the lives of all my friends and family much more comfortable and fulfilling.

That’s what happens in my head. In reality, I am somewhat suspect of my own ability to manufacture clothing. I am absolutely useless with a pair of scissors. I neither measure nor cut with precision. I fear that, if I’m disappointed with the early results, I’ll never touch the thing again. One more dream into the rubbish bin of life.

I’ll probably talk myself out of the purchase. I can’t really see myself with time to make my own clothes and I certainly don’t think it’s a talent of mine. But, if I do get it, I suspect I know what my sister will be getting for Christmas this year.

That’s right. A new car. Courtesy of my new t-shirt empire.

Lines Composed At Gate B34

I’m sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting for a flight home to RDU. The flight is delayed, of course. I thought that, while I had the time and since I don’t have a book with me, I’d get some blogging done.

I don’t have internet access and I’m too cheap to purchase access. It’s highway robbery what they charge you to access the hot spots at most airports. $7.99 for a 24-hour pass? I think not. Even T-Mobile, my cellular provider, wants to charge me $4.99 for a four hour block. Uh, no. I would purchase an internet access plan from them if the data transfer limits weren’t so paltry and the access packages so unreasonably expensive. $39.00 to $59.00 dollars per month with download limits? I don’t think so. Not when I pay $39.00 dollars for unlimited bandwidth at home.

Anyway, I’m heading home to be with my family. My father has been in the hospital all week and he’s having triple bypass surgery in the morning. I am blessed enough to have a good friend who works for Delta. She was able to get me a buddy pass I could use to fly home at the last minute without paying an arm and a leg. I can also fly home when I want, rather than scheduling a flight back to home to Atlanta ahead of time. The drawback is that I have to fly standby and I’m dead last in priority. The good news is that there are myriad delays at the airport today and the desk attendant feels certain there will be handfuls of people that do not make their connecting flights. I feel sure that I’ll either make this flight or the flight that leaves later this evening. Keep your fingers crossed.

Once again, I find myself chasing gates. When I checked in at the front desk, my seat request form listed gate B05 as the departure gate. Continuing my string of good luck with departure gates, the gate was at the far end of the terminal, requiring me to walk as far as possible. Delta, not feeling that was a sufficient walk for me, switched departure gates on me as I was making my way through security. The new departure gate was B33. As you may have guessed, B33 is located as far as possible from B05 without actually switching terminals. I had to walk so far, in fact, that Delta was able to switch the departure gate on me once more while I was in transit. Thankfully, B34 happened to be the new gate. All I had to do was cross the aisle.

In addition to blogging, I’m whiling away the hours by listening to an elderly Vietnamese woman literally scream into her phone. The good news is that I have company in listening to this woman. She has the most piercing voice you have ever heard and literally everyone at this end of the terminal is listening to her. I’m pretty sure I just saw blood streaming from the ear of the man sitting next to her. You could chop down trees with this woman’s voice.

My departure time continues to be pushed back. Not good news, especially since my whole plan involves other people being delayed whilst I leave on time. The further back my departure time is moved, the more likely that those late arrivals will make it after all. I hate to wish ill on other travelers, especially given how much I hate air travel, but I’m hoping to get out of here tonight. If I don’t, I will have to come back early tomorrow and repeat the process of walking the length of the terminal searching for my flight, all without a guaranteed seat. I probably should’ve purchased a full-price ticket.

Hell, if my plane gets delayed another hour, I probably should’ve just driven. What with the traffic to the airport, the 5k walk from the parking lot, the prison-rape that is airport security and the inevitable delays, the six-and-a-half-drive probably saves me my dignity, a few hundred bucks and a half-an-hour. Is it wrong of me to hope our miserable economy claims a few airlines as victims? Maybe our government will step in and restructure the industry so that flying isn’t the broken down, spirit-crushing experience it happens to be. I mean, look how they’ve fixed banking?

Okay. Nevermind. But I am waiting on a revitalized passenger rail service. It can’t possibly be a more predictable failure than the airline industry. Right?

Gone Fishing

Greetings from Durham, North Carolina. Sorry if I sound distracted but I’m doing something I rarely do these days. I’m watching television. It’s been so long that even the commercials are new and intriguing. I am having difficulty concentrating on the task at hand, which is…um…hold on a second….writing this blog.

Have you ever seen this show “Rotten Tomatoes“? It’s a movie review show that, apparently, tells the truth about the movies. It’s the kind of movie review show I would do. It’s sarcastic, caustic and likes less than half the movies they review. Not that the review show itself is any good but it moves quickly. It’s like the television equivalent of ..oh! shiny!

Anyway, what I was going to say was that I’m sitting here watching television with my brother waiting to go fishing. We’ve watched “Back to School” with Rodney Dangerfield, several Tivo’d “Family Guys” episodes and are now watching the aforementioned movie review show. It’s enough to make you believe that the end of the world is near. Of course, I said the same thing after watching “The South Park Movie”.

Tomorrow, we go fishing. We have three days on a house boat out of Atlantic, NC. The plan is to stick six of us on a boat, motor us out into the Ophelia Inlet, anchor the boat and leave us to stew for three days. Weather.com calls for rain all three days, with scattered thunderstorms. In some lands, they call this “vacation”.

For the record, I hate fishing. Don’t get me wrong. I like catching fish. But catching fish is not the same thing as fishing. “Catching fish” is thirty seconds of thrills and excitement that happens up to once every fishing trip. “Fishing” is the art of sitting around for up to fourteen hours wondering whether you still have bait on your hook or not.  And believe you me, you do not. You do not have bait on your hook. Ever.

I suppose I should be happy to be out of work. Technically, I’ll be “at the beach” and on a boat. In most books, that’s not a bad way to spend the day. Did I mention there will be five fishy-smelling drunks on board trying to squeeze in as much “guy time” as possible into a 72 hour period? I myself will be encouraged to drink too much and we’ll tell the same stories we’ve told each other for nine years worth of fishing trips now. And Icehole wonders why I don’t want to come on the annual fishing trip any more.

The good news is that I have come up with a plan to amuse myself while we’re aboard. Since we have six guys and one small bathroom facility, I plan to consume nothing but canned asparagus for the next three days. If all goes according to plan, the whole boat should smell like a truckload of burning pencil erasers. I won’t have internet as of tomorrow but I’ll update you all as soon as I get back Sunday evening.

We’re leaving pretty early in the morning so I guess I should wrap this up and get to bed. Wish me luck. Maybe this trip I’ll actually be blessed with catching a fish.

Seeing as how I refuse to check my bait more than once every 45 minutes, I’m guessing not.

Beer of the Night: Pauwel Kwak at The Porter

Just got in from The Porter where I had dinner with my buddies Jimmy and Elric.  This was my second trip to The Porter. I am beginning to really like the place and, if I ever open my own beer joint, it’s a place that will certainly serve as an inspiration, as will  Brick Store Pub. Both have great beer lists but The Porter, I think, has a slightly better atmosphere and is in a better location, at least if you live in Atlanta proper. If you’re just considering the beer list, Brick Store is probably the place to be.

The Pauwel Kawk pint glass, free with purchase
The Pauwel Kawk pint glass, free with purchase

Tonight was Pint Night and the pint in question was Bosteels’ Pauwel Kwak or, simply, Kwak. Kwak is a Belgian ale that comes with it’s own special glass. Part of the attraction of Pint Night at The Porter is that, while supplies last, the beer comes with a glass that you can take home with you. That was enough of a reason for Jimmy, Elric and me to visit The Porter on a Tuesday night.

The company, as always, was excellent. As brothers in Christ, we talked beer, Bible study and zombie movies, not necessarily in that order. We tend to cover a lot of ground when we get together, beer notwithstanding. It’s always a good time.

The beer was, to me, somewhat indifferent. The glass is unique and was a lot of fun but the beer itself was nothing to write home about. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t memorably good either. I remember it as fairly spicy but without distinguishing marks. I would drink it again but I wouldn’t go out of my way to order it again either. I followed it with a He’ brew Rejewvenator that was just as forgetable. Maybe I just wasn’t in the beer tasting mood.

Whatever the mood, I definitely enjoyed the Apple Bacon Hushpuppies and the Kraut and Brats.  As everyone knows, bacon makes everything better and you just can’t go wrong with ‘kraut and brats. Them’s good eatin’.

If you’re ever in Atlanta and you’re a big fan of beer, seek out The Porter. It’s newer and maybe not as well known as Taco Mac or Brick Store Pub but it’s got a great atmosphere, a good menu and an eclectic selection of beers from which to choose.

Of the three establishments, I think it may rapidly become my favorite. It doesn’t have the rare beers you’ll find at Brick Store but it’s not as crowded either. And Little Five Points is at least as hip as Decatur.  Maybe more so. The Porter might not have breadth of selection you’ll find at Taco Mac but, then again, you won’t find the beer list padded with crap either.

Anyway, it was a good evening. I enjoyed a few beers and some good company. And I got a free glass. Life, for a while at least, is good. Can’t ask for much more than that.