The Grapes of Wrath ft. Johnny Cougar

It was a bit rainy again today, and I ran a little behind in the morning, so I just got to work. It wasn’t long before I had people calling and things breaking. Several of my switches and my Unifi controller went down again for no apparent reason. Then the Google Cloud Directory Sync hadn’t run in a while, again for no apparently reason. I spent all day trying to figure that stuff out. I finally got GCDS going by clearing some files out of storage.

After lunch, I had a call with Robert from DIS about my network outage. He peeked at the server logs I found, but didn’t have much to say other than that I was on the right track. He got to close his ticket, and I get to figure out what the hell happened on my own.

I left just a couple minutes early and made good time back home. I fed the fish and grabbed some stuff for my contacts, and then headed home to pick up Summer. We stopped by my parents’ house to try and see Mom, but she was working late and we had to get moving to Little Rock.

We stopped in Conway for a quick dinner at Golden Corral, and then made it to the Robinson Center in plenty of time to find our seats. The concert started with several short clips from old black and white movies, which had pretty much everyone looking around with “wtf” looks on their faces. In all, I’ve seen better concerts for free, but the performance wasn’t bad. They were just old. Older than the crowd, which was much older than us. It was full of woo-women who couldn’t hold their liquor and wouldn’t shut the hell up. It was a mild performance, mostly of songs we didn’t know, but it was a fair time. I wouldn’t pay that much again though.

It rained pretty hard on the drive home, but we made it through the weather without having to stop and charge. Eaddie was well asleep by the time we got there, so it was off to bed quickly.

What if we gave little pink houses to all of these homeless?

Pause and Refreshes

The car made it to work today, so whatever popped yesterday didn’t seem to be a problem. Testing was a bit quieter, though I was called out to investigate a test-side problem a couple of times. Only one student was affected, on multiple days, with multiple devices. Let support figure it out.

I spent all day playing around in PRTG, and ended up pausing every single sensor and then unpausing just what I wanted. As I would go down the list doing that, it would take a little while to refresh the sensor limit, and new ones would constantly “wake up” that I would have to continue pausing. With a limit of 100 for the free version, I basically only have a bunch of pings to be useful, but now the HUD makes sense, and is much more glanceable.

After work, I went home for fish and some CD towers to take home. I’ve been listening to Mae again for a couple days, and the “artist radio” has been bringing back memories. I stopped by the wash to see Summer frantically running around with just one employee to cover all of the bases, so I didn’t stay long. I got home early enough to ride over to my parents’ house to check on the cat food, and bring some more leftovers home.

Eaddie and I ate the ground pork omelet egg foo young stuff with some fresh rice that I made. I got to sign some permission slips for her, which is always fun for me. Then I decided to treat her to some Dairy Queen. I guess they had a regional manager, or possibly a new store manager on deck, so the ice cream was good. It had been pretty melty in recent years, but his assertive nature seemed to have things in order.

Afterward, we dropped leftover ice cream off for Summer at the wash, since she had a late staff meeting before she would be come. Then I reminisced over Mae, Deas Vail, and The Hollywood Kills CDs. I was surprised to see Mae is touring again, and it’ll be interesting if I get to go see them again.


“Cheer Up,” My Friends All Say

Today was my first drive in to work straight from the new house. I wasn’t quite early enough to make it to the old house first to feed the fish, so I figured I could take care of them after work. I was fairly productive until lunch time when kids started screaming at the tops of their lungs right outside my door. I really have no idea how I’m expected to get any work done in there, and it made me furious. On top of that, I was constantly up and down at my desk to let visitors in for Denice. Productivity was down in an already ailing department.

I left just a little bit early to get home to change before the concert. Eaddie was wishy-washy about going because her band teacher made an announcement that anybody who didn’t show up to practice couldn’t march at the homecoming game. I told her there was no way they would keep their star performer from marching, and she finally agreed to go with me.

We headed out of town later than I wanted, and stopped in Ozark to charge and get some food. We ran into Alisha and Joshua there, who were also on their way across the state for the concert. They wanted to make it for the gate opening, but we didn’t arrive until The Get Up Kids were near the end of their set. After that, I knew one song by Motion City Soundtrack. I knew the most songs from New Found Glory. The lead singer from The All-American Rejects was super weird, but he kind of made me think of what I might be like if I had lived in the spotlight as long as he had.

Overall, everyone was entertaining. It was a packed house, but we managed to get out in a reasonable amount of time. We stopped in Lowell for a quick charge just long enough to use the restroom and get a drink, and then continued to Ozark where I charged enough to get me to work the next morning. Eaddie slept the whole way home and never got out of the car. I wrapped up quickly once I got home, so I shouldn’t be much shorter on sleep than a typical late night.

There’s a place, somewhere that’s between dream and awake.

I’ll Try to Think About the Last Time I Had a Good Time

Eaddie and I had a concert in Little Rock in the evening, so I had to get home to charge up. I grabbed some hot wings on the way home since I’d be there for a little while. I actually didn’t feel great for most of the morning, but it was better once we were in the car.

I picked her up and we headed straight to The Fold: Botanas & Bar in Little Rock. Mitch had taken me there when he was in town, and I thought the girls would really like it. We got the big appetizer to try all the salsas, cheese, and guacamole, and then both got assorted taco plates. I didn’t think it was quite as good as last time, but it was a cute place and we still really enjoyed it.

We had a little bit of time to kill before the concert, so we went by Franklin’s Charging Hub for a little juice and to use the restrooms. Then we headed to the Simmons Bank Arena and parked on the south side parking lot. It didn’t seem like a very big crowd, and we got into the building really quickly. We found our seats, and then went back up for some shirts.

They had the upper bowl completely closed off, and there were still empty seats left. I was surprised, especially for $25 tickets. Simple Plan was up first, and I felt kind of bad about how low-energy the crowd was behaving. I’m not one to get up and dance, and I prefer to sit in the seats I paid for, but you could just tell that people were there for different bands. On the other hand, there was a group of girls across the aisle from us that appeared to leave after Sum 41.

We were surprised by how many small children were in attendance. There was a pretty big family with several small children seated right in front of us, and when before The Offspring came on, they had a blimp with a camera and then several other cameras taking videos of the crowd. After a kiss cam, they had a bird cam, and several of the kids were being encouraged by their parents to flip off the cameras, much to the delight of the crowd.

Overall we had mixed feelings about the concert. All three bands struggled with low vocals, and it was difficult to hear what any of them were singing. The rest of the music was just blaring, which didn’t help. We did get to witness some crowd surfing and a mosh pit, as well as The Offspring stopping for a moment due to an injury in the crowd.

After the concert, we made the quickest getaway we’ve ever had at the arena. There was no waiting at all to get out of the parking lot, and then the roads were clear right by us, all the way out of town. We decided to stop at Waffle House in Conway for a late night dinner, since Eaddie hadn’t been to one recently enough to remember. The staff was loud, friendly, and attentive until they started getting really busy with other concert-goers. We both really enjoyed our food, and then we made it home in good time to go straight to bed.

I’m sick of always hearing “act your age!”

Even When it Looks Like Rain

Today was the day for my interview at ANO. I was almost too relaxed getting around this morning, but ultimately I showed up exactly when I wanted, with enough time to be prepared, but without having to wait around in the lobby for too long. It was a bit rainy again, but nothing torrential. It was a pretty typical, scripted, and dry panel interview. I honestly didn’t feel super confident in my answers, but it was such a departure from my typical working environments. I did get at least a couple laughs, and the whole thing was over in about half an hour.

I stopped by to chat with Dad for a bit on the way home, since Summer had her car charging at my house anyway. Then I met her at the house so she could take it back home for our trip to Rogers. I collected a few things and met her there so I could make myself a leftover hamburger for lunch.

Eaddie’s friend Eli came over and we all played a little Switch until Summer finished at her therapy appointment. Then we pretty quickly headed up north for dinner before the show. Eaddie seemed to really want Olive Garden, so I took us there hoping I could find something enjoyable to eat. I had forgotten how small their menu is, and I was super disappointed to be eating there. I ended up just getting soup and salad, knowing that service would be slow and that I probably wouldn’t feel very satisfied by the mostly liquid diet. I guess the bread filled me up so at least I didn’t feel hungry. The chicken gnocchi soup was good, but just didn’t have enough stuff in it. The flavor was good, but it was all just liquid that was quick to slurp down.

We made it to the amphitheater in a decent amount of time, but a little later than I really wanted. That put us pretty far back in the line, so we tried sending the kids to find a seat while Summer and I waited in line for some shirts. I guess they came back because Eaddie wasn’t confident she had found a good spot, and Eli and I waited in line while the girls went back to the lawn. When we finally made it to them, they were sat on the very front edge of the lawn, right behind a barred handrail where people would be constantly walking in front of us. There was nowhere good to stand, and nothing to lean against, and it was hot and humid, which made sitting cramped together on a blanket even more uncomfortable.

Loverboy didn’t play at all “due to weather,” and Mick Jones wasn’t even there with Foreigner. They put on a decent show, but I was uncomfortable, irritably hot, and annoyed by our position and the constant flow of asses in front of us. The show ended up getting rained out after people started leaving in droves. Then we were just stuck in the parking garage for an eternity while Summer griped that I wasn’t inching forward enough. It poured rain for most of the trip home, so we had to stop in Lowell to charge. We thought we might have to stop again in Ozark, but we made it home with 11% after dropping Eli off at his house.

The girls went straight to bed, but I bounced around for a little bit with an upset stomach. I felt exhausted and my eyes were fatigued from wearing contacts, but I didn’t get to bed until late.

And we can weather the storm.

I Wish the Real World Would Just Stop Hassling Me

I woke up early this morning and headed home to get ready for my interview. I casually made it to Morrilton a bit early and went in to talk with Gary for a little bit. He had planned to take a work truck to show me around the plant, but someone else had taken it. We ended up taking a little side-by-side, but fortunately it wasn’t too hot outside. It was really cool getting to see the industrial process, and I even got to see a full truck being dumped at the start of the process.

We made our way through the whole process, from sorting wood chips to water treatment and recycling. Then we headed back to the office so I could meet Ben and Terry. They brought lunch in from somewhere, and Gary let the three of us eat together and get to know each other a bit. It was a really good time, and we had a lot of laughs. Ben actually reminded me a bit of Ryan with his quirkiness and general curiosity about all things. He was much more talkative though. Terry seemed fun and a little quirky as well. I think we all enjoyed sharing stories.

Since the plant manager wasn’t there to meet with me, I left a little early and made it back to town so I could charge before we headed to Rogers. I stopped to wash my car first, and then I passed Dad as I was heading home. I got changed, and he called to say that Doug had called him over because Bác Vân was breathing, but unresponsive.

I made it to Summer’s house unsure of what we were going to do next. I finally got word that she had a brain bleed, and they expected comfort care and hospice. I had become angry from the moment Dad told me he was called instead of 911, and it only got worse from there. Knowing there was nothing I could do, and being afraid of lashing out, Summer and I headed out of town.

Julie texted while we were driving to say that we had one opportunity to go see her while she was “technically alive,” which is the worst form of alive. I chose instead to keep my last memory of her, which was only a brief hug after I had just discovered the tree branch embedded in the roof of my house. Summer said she spoke to her yesterday and gave her a hug when she stopped by to charge her car, so I felt better about that. I just kept getting angrier and angrier.

We made it to Fayetteville and stopped at Longhorn Steakhouse to eat before the concert. I texted Eaddie to update her on the bad news, and just seconds later I got the text from Dad that Bác Vân had passed.

Dinner was pretty good, but our server was slow and seemed not to be very good at his job. The food tasted like they were overcompensating with butter to flavor absolutely everything, which made every bite pretty greasy. We left there and found our way to the second floor of the parking garage where there was another EV charger. It was cheaper than a Supercharger, so we plugged up and headed to the Walmart Amphitheater.

Matt Nathanson opened, and was a bit more unnecessarily vulgar than I expected, especially for the type of music he played. For having the hit that he did, I kind of expected a little more, but I guess that defines a one-hit-wonder. It took a while for the reset, but then Matchbox Twenty came on and put on an incredible show. They had a weird quarter-sphere on stage with a projector that I assume was inside of it and behind it. Of course everyone stood up as soon as they came out, so the second half of the show was spent leaning against the rail.

My mind and feelings were everywhere, but also a bit numbed out after the constant barrage of bullshit I’ve experienced lately. Even Summer said she finally understood wanting to just sail away from it all. Everyone knows that nothing bad ever happens at sea.

When we left, traffic had us stuck in our parking space in the parking garage for a ridiculously long time. Once we did finally start moving, we were gone in no time, but I guess someone had traffic blocked or directed in a stupid direction. It didn’t used to be this bad. We had to stop in Lowell to charge and use the restroom. I picked up what I assumed was an apple fritter and a drink, and we headed home. Summer tried to sleep, but Autopilot was being really stupid and jerking out of lane changes, and throwing a warning and braking once.

Between Alma and Clarksville, we encountered someone from Washington that was hogging the passing lane and kept varying their speed from 65 to 85. At one point I was passing them in the right lane again when someone else ran up on their bumper. I had enough and sped up to pass them, honking for them to move. They took that to mean that they should run up on my bumper and then try to pass me, but that wasn’t going to happen unless I chose to let them. They ran up on someone else, and I finally hit the brakes to let them fly by me and hopefully go away. Then they pulled up next to a semi and slowed down to about 60 to impede traffic. I ended up calling the state police to try and get them pulled over.

We eventually made it home without incident. I took out my contacts, and then we took the Murano to Summer’s for the evening. We were home super late, so Eaddie was long in bed. Summer went to sleep, and I eventually wrapped up.

You absolutely useless muppet.

But You, You Were My Favorite

Today was a full day. The roads were clear and I made it to work really early. I spent nearly all morning reading documentation on an Aruba switch. I felt good about it, but didn’t learn what I was needing to know. I finally asked Gary, and he explained it perfectly, and I knew exactly what I was missing in my new life.

The school got everyone Taco Villa for lunch, so everyone gathered in the cafeteria to eat, and then Harry gave a short speech to end the year. I stuck around for a while just to make sure everyone else was gone, and then left very near to last. I had to get charged back up so Eaddie and I could make it to Rogers.

Once I was back up to 90%, I stopped by Superfast to see Summer, and then I picked Eaddie up. We hit the road and ran into really heavy traffic all the way to Alma. We knew we wanted to stop somewhere for dinner, but didn’t know what we wanted. Eaddie finally found a place called La Sirenita in Springdale that caught her eye, so we found that little hole in the wall where we were greeted in Spanish. It was at that point I knew the food would be good. The gorditas weren’t anything like I was expecting because they weren’t really crispy enough, but it was good food and friendly service.

From there, we made it to the Walmart AMP just in time for the gates to open. We parked in an EV charger spot, but the ChargePoint charger didn’t seem to work. It looked dusty and non-functioning to begin with, but the charger wouldn’t even come out of the socket. We stayed parked there and walked down to the line of people, got through the gates, and then found a short, fast, hidden merch line.

Once we had a couple shirts, we found a place on the lawn and I waited for Brandon and Diana to show up. Brandon said they had tickets to the show, but I didn’t ask them early enough to plan dinner. Eaddie and I moved around a bit, and she sat on the other side of some people for a while, but eventually joined us when Brandon and Diana found me. They got a couple seats, but I still didn’t really think they were worth the extra $10.

Coheed and Cambria were an awesome opening act, and I enjoyed them every bit as much as Incubus. Both of the frontmen were incredibly talented with how well they belted their lyrics all night. The crowd definitely got more excited for the headlining group though. Brandon and Diana left early, so Eaddie and I took over their lawn chairs until after they played the last song. Then we made it back to the car and fought stupid traffic for the first time there. For some reason they wouldn’t let us go left out of the parking garage, so we had to fight our way around a street with a median, and then through a roundabout that had no traffic control.

We stopped in Lowell for a quick charge and a drink, and then we headed home as quickly as we could. I got the car down to 8%, which was half the estimated charge the navigation said I would have when we started, but it was fine. We dropped it off at my house around 1:30 to charge back up, and then headed up to Summer’s where everyone was fast asleep.

The sky resembles a backlit canopy with holes punched in it.


I had quite a bit more energy this morning, but still felt pretty squeamish inside. I was hungry for sure, so I cleaned up some leftover sloppy joes and then soaked in the bath for quite a while. When I was finally ready to get back into some clothes, I headed home for a much-needed shower to scrub down the rest of myself.

After my shower, I felt worse again for a little while, so I had to cool off and rest for a bit. Then I got dressed and went back to River Valley Tinting and Glass to talk to the guys about the two scratches on the trim. They insisted that they wouldn’t have had any tools anywhere near the trim, but there has been absolutely nothing else anywhere on or around the car that could have produced two identical scratches in the corner above the window. After denying any damage, the guy pointed out a bubble that he wanted to fix on the passenger side, and then I pointed out a spot with some dust on the driver side, so they scheduled me to do a complete strip and re-tint on Wednesday.

From there, I went to Leonard’s to pick up some nylon washers to protect Summer’s new license plate. It’s only temporary, but hopefully her custom plate won’t take much longer. As I was walking in, I ran into Tom and chatted with him briefly about the troubles I had with the head dog. He wished me well, and I picked up the washers I needed so I could mount the new plate in the parking lot.

When I headed back home, the light at 4th and Knoxville was broken and would never change from red for the eastbound traffic, so everyone had to take turns running the light while the westbound got a protected turn. Then I waited at home for Summer to finish at the gym so I could meet her at Walmart for dinner materials.

As I was walking toward the store, I ran into Dylan and got a big hug from him. I tried to get the Cliff’s Notes for the past decade, but even that was abridged. His son is apparently playing Smash Brothers competitively for money, and he’s working at Rockline. Summer parked right by us, so I introduced them and we carried on our way.

We ran into Bác Vân and Doug separately while we were wandering the store. They caught up to us at checkout and I helped them use the self-checkout, and then we headed up to Summer’s so she could start cooking. I helped clean fruits and veggies, and Summer cooked pork chops and mashed potatoes with Brussels sprouts.

The girls made it back home after dropping Eaddie’s bike back at my house, and we had a good dinner. Eaddie and Summer were talking about composing music, so I shared a video of Ben Folds composing a song live. Then everyone quickly disappeared to their bedrooms while I cried over the three-hour Linkin Park and Friends live stream from six years ago.

May your love never end, and if you need a friend, there’s a seat here alongside me.


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.

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!