Eaglets

Summer got up and went to the gym this morning while I got around and had a turkey sandwich. I thought she would be gone longer, so I was surprised when she got back so early and was ready to go. We headed to Little Rock and went straight to Tokyo House for lunch. I wasn’t super hungry, and felt overstuffed after we ate. From there, we went shopping to walk it off. We started at Target, and then continued to Park Plaza Mall. We managed to kill enough time at both of those, without actually spending a dime, so we could head to the hotel for check-in.

There was a decent line of old people queued at the front desk, and you could tell it was going to be a big concert. I was really happy with my choice to book a room rather than drive home. We headed to the Simmons Bank arena a little before six, thinking that’s when the doors would open. They didn’t actually open until 6:30, but we had tickets to the Vibe Room, which bypassed the huge line at the front gate.

Once they opened the doors, we filed in as I fumbled for digital tickets. The Vibe Room itself was a bit disappointing. It was super dark, and there weren’t really a whole lot of snacks. They had some pretty good spinach artichoke dip and some decent boneless “wings” with three typical sauces. The popcorn they boxed up was a bit stale, and there were no free drinks at all. Summer spent nearly 20 bucks per margarita, which I just couldn’t wrap my head around. I spotted Steve and Lelan across the bar and eventually made my way over to say hi to them.

We made our way to our seats with plenty of time to go, and settled in for a three hour trip down rock and roll history. The arena was packed, but we got to our seats relatively painlessly. Some asshat across the arena brought a super bright flashlight and was messing with it before the show, but fortunately quit when the show started. Joe Walsh joined the band, along with Vince Gill, which I think excited Summer more than the Eagles. It was an awesome production with great use of tech, but I think for my money I would have rather watched a video just to see and hear the whole thing better.

After the show, we walked back to the hotel. Summer crashed pretty quickly, and I stayed up too late after a week of letting my sleep schedule slide. Breakfast tomorrow ought to kick me back into earlier days though.

I got a peaceful, easy feeling, and I know you won’t let me down.

Anxious to Get Home

We woke up for breakfast this morning, and Eaddie didn’t want to go downstairs. They mixed it up with some little egg rounds folded around some cheese like a cheap omelet. The bacon was super thin and mostly flavorless. Once we ate and got everyone cleaned and packed up, we checked out and headed to the Tulsa Aquarium for the day. I hated that we didn’t get to visit the actual aquarium stores that were near our hotel, but the girls really liked the aquarium.

After the aquarium, we went down the block to get some lunch at the Waterfront Grill. Summer and Eaddie really wanted seafood after looking at all the aquatic creatures, and that place was not only close, but also had things like burgers and chicken strips for the boring kid. I had a fish sandwich that was pretty awesome, and relatively cheap, though I wished it had a bit more sauce.

As soon as we finished eating, we headed on home through a surprising amount of countryside that wasn’t on the interstate. I had a really bad anxiety attack on the way to get some gas, and that lasted for a surprisingly long time. We stopped again in Clarksville to fill up, just because the gas was so cheap. We got home and unloaded, and the girls all went off to their rooms.

I wanted to go home to unpack, but still felt pretty bad with a head cold that worked its way into my chest. I had another anxiety attack that gave me really bad tunnel vision, and I ultimately decided to stay the night and just deal with unpacking in the morning. I doped up with some cold medicine and Fireball, and it was a really early night to bed.

Tingle Vision!

Let’s Go to the Mall

We got up this morning and went down for breakfast. It was small, but adequate. Eaddie and I came back upstairs to clean up while Summer and Autumn hung out downstairs for a while. When everyone was finally ready to leave, we went to All Star Sports Complex for some mini golf. It got pretty hot in the sun, so after that, I took the girls to Iguana Island Treats for some pineapple whip and snow cones.

From there, we went back toward the hotel and stopped at the Woodland Hills Mall. I was absolutely astounded at how many people were there. It was just like Summer and I remembered from our youth. I don’t think we saw a single empty store, and there were people shopping absolutely everywhere. I was surprised at how much fun Autumn and Eaddie actually had. I figured they would be over it pretty quickly.

By the time we left, the girls started to get a little hungry. We went to the room to clean up a bit, and then went to HuHot Mongolian Grill. It was just like Genghis Grill, which we’ve visited in Little Rock, except that it was all-you-can-eat. The guys running around the circular grill were tearing it up, and the food was great.

After stuffing ourselves, I took us to the Super Target just to see what it was like. We picked up a few things and headed back to the hotel. Eaddie talked Summer into picking up some ice cream, but instead of a small box, they got a box of eight KitKat brand cones. Eaddie ended up eating three and I ate two to try and avoid melting, because our refrigerator didn’t actually have a freezer section.

I doped up on some meds because my sinuses were getting the best of me, and then it was off to bed relatively early.

BANG THAT GONG!

Tulsa Major

I woke up an extra hour earlier than work today, and headed up to get the girls. We left town just after seven, and stopped at Hardee’s in Clarksville for a quick breakfast before powering right through to Bixby. As time ticked by, I became more and more frustrated by people driving well under the speed limit. To escalate things further, Waze landed us in the wrong place, and we had to switch to Google Maps to arrive at the 181 Ranch.

The girls started their Conquer the Gauntlet race while I went back to the car. I only lasted inside for a couple of minutes before I sweated out, so I popped the hatch and broke out my camp chair. I was so glad I brought it, because I would have had to leave and come back otherwise. The sun was just too much for me. I played Into the Breach until they finished nearly two hours later, and then we packed everything up to head to lunch.

Summer picked a place right in the heart of Tulsa, and I probably should have vetted it first. I guess it was my fault for providing the list of places in the first place, but I found the list on a popular comment on Reddit, and didn’t really have the time or interest to look into them myself. We ended up at a place downtown called Prossimo Ristorante that wanted to know if we had a reservation. To say that we were underdressed would be an understatement. We were seated under chandeliers by the bar, surrounded by people day-drinking champagne. They weren’t even busy, which made the fact that they asked for a reservation even sillier. I could tell immediately that we were about to go on a very expensive date for four. The chef was kind enough to come out and prepare their fresh alfredo for us, but to add protein and a tip, we hit around $175. I was glad the girls enjoyed it, but I surprisingly hated the pasta. I found it to be too salty and too hard.

After we ate, we headed back out of town to find the hotel. On the way, the Murano popped a service light and I stopped at an O’Reilly’s to quickly have them check the code. It said something about an evap system leak, which Summer assured wasn’t likely to be anything serious. We made it to our hotel with additional navigation frustration, because even Google Maps wanted us to take stupid directions. I didn’t understand it at all.

We got checked into our suite, but I wouldn’t call it that myself. The room was the size of a regular hotel room with a king bed and a sleeper sofa. If I had realized it wouldn’t be a real suite with multiple rooms, I would never have paid extra, and I would have gotten a real bed for the girls to sleep on. With everything sprawled out, we barely had room for everything, and clothes and towels ended up absolutely everywhere. We relaxed for a little bit before making the girls come out to the pool with us. I figured the water would be swimmable, but it was super cold. Summer, Eaddie, and I got in, but not for long.

The girls showered when we got back to the room, and then we went out for our night on the town. I stopped at Krispy Kreme first, and was excited that their light was on. Unfortunately that was a lie. Their conveyor appeared to be broken, with some pretty gross-looking donuts sitting on the non-moving belt. We got a dozen assorted donuts out of the case, ate, and then headed on to the Cinemark.

I had never seen Jaws before, so it was cool to get to watch it in the IMAX. The theater was super busy, likely because of the $3 movie tickets for “National Cinema Day.” We waited in line forever to get some popcorn, but we had plenty of time before the previews even started. I thought the movie held up really well. I definitely enjoyed it more than Top Gun. I was sad that they ran out of posters before I could get one at the end of the movie.

On the way back to the hotel, we ran to Walmart up the road for some supplies, and then rounded everyone up for bed. It didn’t take any time at all for the girls to fall asleep. I thought I’d get to bed sooner, but it just didn’t happen. Hopefully we come up with some fun stuff to do tomorrow.

Wing it.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

I took the Shadow to work for our second and final day of Capturing Kids’ Hearts, along with my tiny butterfly knife and the Disney “cow” shirt that Julie made for me, just to continue to throw everyone off. It seemed like a lower-energy day, but there were still some activities. Unfortunately they were even less fun for me than the ones we did yesterday.

When we finally took a break for lunch, Michael was hanging out talking to someone, so I offered to share a Subway BOGO deal with him. He drove us to pick it up, where I ran into my old coworker, Tracy. I was a little surprised she remembered me, because honestly I only barely remembered her. I knew that I knew her, but I couldn’t remember from where. Michael and I took the sandwiches back and ate in his classroom while pondering simulation theory until it was time to get back to class.

The afternoon was actually when we did most of the activities, but it still dragged on a bit. I got a little more vocal, and probably a little more difficult for our trainer, but hopefully not too annoyingly so. We finished up, took a group photo, and then I helped tear everything down before heading home.

Eaddie had a parent night at band, where she wanted to teach me how to march. I took the R1 out to that, and had a bit of fun with my kazoo. She ended up stealing it, but wouldn’t play it after we finished the teach-your-parent portion and the kids played their mini-concert preview. When we finished, I went back home for a little while before heading up to their house. Autumn wanted to spend the night with her friend, Maddie, but I had to contact Summer through Melissa while they were at Travis’s for a girls’ night.

I was hungry and stopped at Taco Bell on the way to Summer’s, and had one of the quickest, yet most interesting drive-through interactions ever. I wish I could have filled out a survey, because it really was a great experience. I couldn’t quite tell if it was a very small guy or a girl because of some ambiguous hair choices, but I’m pretty sure it was a girl. She popped out the window with a shaka, and just had a highly animated customer service voice that made the whole moment feel awesome.

Eaddie was in her room coloring all night, so I waited up for Summer to get home and then it was off to bed.

I can’t wait to implement a social contract so I can start fouling some motherfuckers.

The Pretty Tired

Today was basically our last day before school, because the next two full days will be completely burned by some unnecessary training for us. I did hear one person at least report some positive secondhand feedback, but since we don’t really ever interact with the students, our time would be better spent finishing up projects. Nobody seems ready this year, and it’s worse than ever before.

I spent all morning at Oakland, just running around like crazy trying to close as many work orders as I could. I made really good progress, so I felt okay taking a half day off. It had rained a bit though, so I worked up a good sweat.

I ran home to quickly clean up, then grabbed some McDonald’s for a quick lunch before picking up Eaddie. She wanted to stop by the business expo to see Summer, so we did that before heading out of town. Then once we hit the interstate, I gave a call to the friend of the ex of the girlfriend that was in search of some technology help.

We had to stop in Fayetteville for some fuel, and then found a nearby pizza joint called Geraldi’s for some dinner before the show. The reviews didn’t lie, though we were a bit surprised to be one of only two tables there. It was a bit early for dinner though. We were able to finish up and make it to Rogers with plenty of time.

I was surprised again at how little traffic there was, and even more surprised by how many open seats there were. We grabbed a couple shirts and then found a place to sit on the lawn near our previous spot. Lilith Czar was interesting, but I think The Warning was actually my favorite until Halestorm came out. The Pretty Reckless seemed very exhausted, being near the end of the tour. Taylor seemed like she could just barely sing at all. Lzzy and her gang put on an absolutely incredible show though, and we really enjoyed it. Eaddie really liked seeing the difference in the crowd compared to her pop concerts.

Getting back out was a breeze again, and my only regret was not picking up a Halestorm shirt as well, but I just didn’t love any of them a whole lot.

I miss the bad things!

Gotta Live It Big Time

I had a couple projects I had to work on in my office today, so I didn’t get out at all. I was a little worried about getting devices into Destiny for the middle school, but I worked it out. I felt pretty accomplished with everything I got done. A big group of us went to Taco John’s for Taco Tuesday, and then I wrapped everything up in the afternoon.

When I left work, I ran home to change, got gas, and then picked the girls up to head toward Rogers for the Big Time Rush concert. We stopped at the truck stop in Ozark to have dinner in their little deli, and then we made the rest of the trip as quickly as we could. Traffic wasn’t nearly as bad getting in or out as I expected, especially with how packed the place seemed.

The girls absolutely loved the concert, and I think Summer danced more than either of the other two. I was given camera duty “because I have the zoom,” so I got a bunch of video. Spencer Sutherland opened for the group, and I thought he was pretty good. When Big Time Rush came out on their scaffolding, all I could think about was the knee damage from all the jumping around. The highlight for me was a nearly unused men’s restroom.

We split as soon as the encore was over, and though we missed out on some last minute screaming that may have been solely from the guys removing their shirts, we got to the car and out of the parking garage with relative ease. Then we hopped on the interstate and we were on a mostly-empty road home. I was absolutely astounded that we got out of there that quickly. The girls all crashed as soon as we got in, so I finished up my chores and went to sleep as quickly as I could.

Worldwide? Worldwide.

Doubles

Gary had me spin up a VM for our upcoming Jamf Cloud migration, which took most of the day worth of tinkering. I felt good about setting up the VM, and followed along well enough as we made firewall changes. Unfortunately the application didn’t have very good documentation, and the installation got stuck near what I think was the end of the process.

Zach took a bunch of us to CJ’s for lunch, and I spent the ride coloring in the back seat. The burger was pretty messy today, and had me gurgling a bit in the afternoon. I continued to tinker with our Jamf project until Thomas let everyone go about an hour early.

Summer took the day off with the girls, but didn’t get up to a whole lot, I don’t think. She wanted to take a nap about the time I got home, so I just stayed there and tinkered around until later in the evening. When I finally made it up to their house, Eaddie wanted to go out to play tennis. Autumn decided to surprise us with her participation as well, so I figured I should complete the set.

I ate some leftover stir fry really quickly, and then we had Eaddie drive us to the city park to see how busy they were. She really wanted to go to Old Post though, so we went to my house for my racket and some more balls, and then made our way to the lock and dam. I was surprised the courts there weren’t packed with how nice it felt outside.

We switched around from playing singles to doubles, and everyone had quite a bit of fun. Autumn eventually tapped out, and then a little while later our lights went out and we couldn’t get them back on, so we decided to wrap it up. Summer took us up to Caudle Overlook so Autumn could see the dam, and then we headed home to wind down and head to bed.

Feels like 40, love.

Ozark Lunch Jaunt

Summer and I got up and out of the house today for a ride on the Shadow. I was back and forth on a couple of places to ride for lunch, but landed on the Ozark Cafe in Jasper. I had never been, and the reviews looked to be pretty good. We gassed up and hit Highway 7 out of town just in time to make it there by lunch time.

We stopped at the Rotary Ann for a break from the bad vibrations. The restrooms were nice and cool, and we got some toilet paper to stuff in our ears that made a huge difference in our ride quality. My whole head was ringing when we stopped, but the rest of the ride went great.

We pulled into town and walked right into the restaurant without having to wait for a seat. They had a lunch buffet that we opted for after a quick glance at their newspaper-style menu. I started with a big salad, and then moved on to a couple plates of what I would call southern comfort foods. I was anxious to try everything, so of course I was absolutely overstuffed by the time we left. Summer wanted to walk around a bit, so we went a couple doors down and visited an antique shop for a bit before heading back home.

I kind of wanted to stop at a couple more overlooks that I had never visited before, but I wasn’t sure how well the food would sit. We went up the road to a Dollar General to find some real earplugs, and then made it all the way back to the Rotary Ann for a quick break before making it the rest of the way home. I was a bit nervous about needing to stop for fuel, but I didn’t hit my reserve until we were about halfway home from Dover.

We got some gas once we were back into Russellville, and then we stopped by Summer’s for her swimsuit and to take a bit of a breather. My whole body was numb from the vibrations, and I was achy from the ride posture of that bike as well as the sunburn. After some rest, we got the cats inside away from the night’s fireworks, and made our way back to my house to trade up for the car.

I went next door to get some bánh bao that Bác Vân got from Linh, and then we went to my parents’ house for a swim. Mom was asleep inside while Dad was working out back, but he took a break to swim with us for a while. The water was nice in the shade, and I never got the shivers. When we were done, I loaded up on ice water for the night, and we came back to my house.

Summer sat on the couch on her iPad while I put on the last half of my Stranger Things episode. Once I finished with that, we watched the latest episode of Middleditch and Schwartz. That had me rolling as it usually does, and then I continued with a bit of a Ricky Gervais special I had started some time ago. Summer was ready for bed before it finished though, so we did a quick scan for brown recluses and went to bed.

Not enough Shadow to prevent star damage!

Feeling Weird

I hardly slept last night after getting up at least every hour, and once with a charley horse in my left leg. I was surprised that I wasn’t dragging out of bed when I finally got up for work. Zach was going to have me image some computers, but we were mistaken in thinking they had already arrived. Evidently all of the boxes that were in the hallway were just monitors and stands. Instead, I went with Greg to re-wire all of central office for their remodel. Jacob joined us for just a little while, and then Zach showed up near the end, just as we were finishing up a dozen lines pulled across the length of the building before lunch.

I worked up a little headache from the heat in that building and working in the insulation, so I decided to take a half sick day to go home and clean up a bit. Eventually I made it up to Summer’s, and we headed to Conway first to eat. We shared a sandwich at Firehouse, then went to Splash so she could check on a vehicle that managed to leave without enough oil. Once she had cleared that there was no major damage, we continued on our journey.

We made one more stop at Best Buy to look at appliances before heading to Little Rock. Without any real plan, we went to McCain Mall and wandered around the sad skeleton of the 80s. Then we wound up at Red Lobster for dinner before our show. We were in and out of there pretty fast, so we decided to stop by the nearby Splash for another carwash before driving across town to The Robinson Center.

Traffic was a bit nuts, and it took us a while to get into the parking garage. The light never gave us a green arrow to turn, and the guy at the head of the line wasn’t making any effort to jump the light, so I ended up circling the block to come back the other direction. It still took us a while, but we eventually made it and happened to park right next to Daniel and a bunch of his crew. We made our way inside and up to the top level where we could find our box seats. It was a little awkward staring down at that angle, but having actual movable chairs was far superior to being seated in the narrow theater seats with that crowd. We could see the average girth made for some super awkward seating below.

The show was absolutely incredible, and we even liked Emo Philips in the opening act. I was worried that his wandering falsetto would be annoying, but the jokes were great. Once the band took to the stage, we learned that Jim West, the guitarist, was having to play from backstage due to a positive COVID test. It was cool that he was still well enough to participate, and the show didn’t really suffer for it.

I was surprised how many songs I actually did know, but there were a few that were totally unfamiliar. I was surprised they had so much lighting, since I assumed it would mostly be acoustic or really low-key stuff. It played like a rock concert, but the band did several different genre twists on a bunch of the songs. At the end, they wandered around obviously on stage and then came back for an encore that was a mashup of a whole bunch of songs, and it was awesome.

Being a relatively smaller crowd, we were able to get our merch after the show, and then pull out of the parking garage in a relatively reasonable amount of time. We made it home before midnight, and it was off to bed as quickly as we could get there.

Boy, what a joker. What a funny, funny guy!