Friday, August 25, 2006

Mr. Conductor... Finally!!!

Well, I made it here to Florida in one piece and after a fun week just hanging out at the hotel I started work and moved into my new condo this past Monday. After almost three years of trying and working Maintenance of Way for the majority of that time I've finally achieved my goal. I'm only about six months away from becoming a locomotive engineer! It's been a really fun week, I've learned a lot and had fun doing it. It really helps when you have someone to work with you get along with and also has the same warped sense of humor as me. Actually, most railroaders have the same sense of humor as me.
Anyway, above is myself and "JP", another guy who was hired the same day as me. He was an engineer for CSX for quite a while and really knows his stuff... We worked together all week using that locomotive, shunting cars and putting together trains to ship out. It was mostly yardwork but did lay some ballast on the main line Wednesday and Thursday.

Here I am doing some conductoring... Throwing a switch to move some cars into the loading track. JP snapped this picture out of the cab of the locomotive. Yes, there are alligators in that canal to my left...
Now to my new digs. Here's the front of the place with my screened-in front patio. The company is not only reimbursing me for my moving expenses, they've also put me up in a condo for the entire sugarcane harvest season, rent free!

They had said they were going to put me up in an apartment, but I had no clue that the place they were going to let me use would be so nice. It's completely furnished too, meaning I didn't have to buy anything when I moved in. Dishes, flatware, pots and pans... Hell, I didn't even have to get toilet paper! The only thing I have to foot the bill for is my food, telephone and DSL.

Sweet deal, huh?

I'll give you the nickel tour now...

The living room... Not much on the walls but the couch is right comfy!

The view from the living room into the kitchen. The front door is to the right and there's a sliding-glass door that leads to the patio further right out of the picture.

Now the kitchen... Oh, the kitchen! Nice little island, the fridge has a Britta water filter and icemaker... Notice the dish washer?

Now for the master bath... Huge garden tub with jaccuzi and yes, that's a TV over the tub. I can watch Rescue Me on FX while I soak in the hot bubbles...

Another view of the master bath...

And finally where RT lays his head after a hard day of conductoring...

The place also has another bathroom off the dining/kitchen area with a washer~dryer combo and a shower so I can strip off the dirty work duds and jump right into a hot shower...

No more Laundromat!

It's a rough job, the railroad is, but someone has to do it!

Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, August 11, 2006

It never ceases to amaze me

That after almost three years someone can still be obsessed with finding out what I'm doing and who I'm with.
I'm talking about my ex-wife.
Today I'm checking my webtracker and I find a certain someone's activity on my blog exploded from what was dwindling down to only about once a day to onehundred-fifty eight times today including going to several of the people who comment on my blog in a pathetic effort to find out what I'm doing.
Seems she actually read my updated "About Me" blogger profile where I said I had actually found my Soul Mate...
This is a woman who almost three fucking years ago said she wanted nothing to do with me... She was fucking some cowboy now and I was of no use anymore. So now that I'm actually happy with my life in a career that I love, found someone I can be truly happy with without all the Goddamn incessant drama can't stand the fact that I'm happy without her. That's the only explanation I can come up with why she's continually trying to find out what I'm doing. I let her attorney know over two years ago I wanted absolutely no contact with her at all. I never wanted to hear from her, see her face again, hear her voice... I couldn't give a rat's fat fucking hairy ass what she does.
I was over her. For fucking good.
But can I be left alone?
Fuck no.
So now, after almost three years I subtly advertise I'm off he market for good, I've finally found the woman I want to be with for all time... Someone who loves me for being me and doesn't want to change me... She's got to start her Goddamn stalking again.
I really could go on but I won't.
I've just about had it. I'm moving to Florida in one day and won't be on line for a few weeks again so I really wanted to leave everyone with an upbeat and positive message but this is just pushing me over the edge. I moved 2000 miles from Arizona to GET AWAY from her. I want NOTHING to fucking do with her EVER again.
But then again everything in our whole relationship was ALWAYS about her. Her major problem with me after she couldn't change me into a cowboy? I was looking at too much porn on the internet and I was "emotionally cheating" on her.
Go fucking figure.
Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again. A man can only be told "No" one too many times. So yeah, I looked at porn for sexual relief. I wasn't getting any from her. At all.
So in the last few years I've has so much more and better sex. I've realized there's women out there who have more than a shred of imagination in the bedroom than her little pathetic peabrain could imagine... And outside of it too. I wasted my entire 30's with her. But God knows I'm making up for it now. I've got the career I've always wanted, making good money, I've got the most wonderful woman in the world who's intelligent, witty, sexy and beautiful who loves me for me, not what they want me to be or how they feel the rest of her friends will perceive me to be.
And she's fifteen years younger than my ex...
And she actually Gets Monty Python... Because it's NOT funny if I've got to explain it.
So I'd much rather jerk off for the rest of my life to ever think of being with her again. At least my hand won't ever tell me no.
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More deadly weapons banned on airlines...

Like water, suntan lotion and toothpaste...
Go here:
It won't be long until we'll be forced to strip naked to fly... Next thing they'll be doing is loading us up into boxcars without and belongings at all... Those would have been 'confiscated' at security checkpoints...
Another government did that a while ago too...
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Uncle Ted sez...

“The way that you eliminate bad and ugly is either through activism and policy making that never tolerates evil -- instead of the liberal politically correct policy of accepting evil and accepting other points of views that destroy lives. We the thoughtful, productive people of America have got to take our freedom back.”

~Ted Nugent

You gotta love The Nuge!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Bits N' Pieces

A worker in the UK was fired this week via text-message on her cell phone...
Nothing like seeing someone in person and looking them in the face. But I guess that's just a little to much to ask for.
And second, Jackie Chan of Kung Fu movie fame is now going to "Tone Down" his movies. No more violence or profanity anymore.
A Kung Fu movie without at least a little gratuitous violence is like, well, pointless. That's like coffee without caffeine or beer without alcohol. What the fuck is the point?
Just a few more reasons I firmly believe the world would be a far better place without all the people.
Goddamn Political-Correctness bullshit is going to drive me insane.
Also, it now seems that Russia is pissed at us again because we're threatening sanctions. Seems that several Russian arms manufacturers are exporting arms to Iran and North Korea... Does anybody out there really buy into the whole buddy-buddy shit with them? Does anyone realize the Ol' Vlad Putin used to head up the KGB in the old Soviet Union?
I remember the Cold War...
And an update on my move. Seems I have to pay for the move out-of-pocket and the company will reimburse me after I get there. No real biggie... But they don't have an apartment ready for me yet but one is coming open at the end of the month so I'll be staying at the hotel in Clewiston again for a while, that means I'll be off line again for a few weeks. I'm trying real hard to get out of town by the 10th but I may have to stick around until the weekend. I'll keep you all abreast of everything.
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

Saturday, August 05, 2006

More bullshit from the Gestapo, Er, I mean the TSA

You all know I flew down to Florida last weekend for my job interview and that went really well but what I didn't write about earlier this week is another run-in I had with our nation's great terrorist deterrent, the vaunted TSA.
When it happened I was so damn angry I was beside myself.
Since May of 2004 I've been through several airports on many flights all over the country and have been mistreated by the TSA on several occasions but Monday's incident just inflamed me.
I get to the West Palm Beach airport in plenty of time to make my return flight to West Virginia, check in and get my boarding passes for my flight and connections. I get to the security station and I see (I shit you not) about thirty TSA agents standing around. I take everything out of my pockets, take my boots and belt off and the agent paws through my stuff... He picks up my Zippo lighter and says he'll have to confiscate the contraband item...
Here's where it gets interesting.
All I asked him was "What makes it contraband on this flight today, when it's never been before on the several times I've flow in the last few years?"
I've got to say right now I didn't in any way say this in a threatening or derisive tone. It was said in a flat and questioning voice.
You'd have thought I had tried to smuggle a small thermonuclear device onto the plane at this point. Next thing I know I hear him say:
"I need a supervisor here, I've got a passenger creating a disturbance!" Loudly enough for everyone within fifty feet to hear.
I was definitely NOT creating a disturbance. I may be crazy but I'm NOT stupid. I just had a valid question that I wanted answered. I got it down to Florida on my person. In fact, the TSA agent who checked my baggage at the Charleston, WV airport for my southbound flight asked me if I had a Zippo lighter in my carryon luggage. He was looking at it through the x-ray machine. I said yes and He just nodded and let me pass, so I didn't think much more about it. Like I said, I've had it go through several times in the past.
So the supervisor who looked disturbingly like Little Richard walks up and asked the agent grilling me what he wanted to do, and in his tone I could detect a "Want to have him locked up?" voice...
What the fuck!
All I did was ask a simple goddamn question. I have a Right as an American to question any order. I wasn't creating a disturbance. I just wanted to know why.
I've got to say something about this particular lighter at this point. I've had this Zippo since January, 1983. I bought it at the main PX at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma when I was going through Basic Training. I've had it a long time and it was very special to me.
Basic Training for The United States Army to defend The United States of America...
I for one am getting increasingly tired and frustrated at being treated like a criminal at our nation's airports.
After I convinced Heinrich Himmler I wasn't going to hijack the airliner and passed through security sans my treasured Zippo, the last thing I hear him say to Little Richard was this:
"Looks like I got me a new Zippo lighter!"
I stopped and looked at him and he was smiling smugly at me... You have no idea how I felt at the time and how angry I was when I heard him say that. I was livid. I was so fucking angry I was shaking.
Another piece of my past ripped from me, never to be seen again.
You want to know how I felt going through the TSA checkpoint? All I felt that was missing from the whole experience was the TSA uniforms should have been black with a red armband and jackboots and me wearing a little yellow Star of David on my chest.
I now know what the Jews in Nazi Germany must have felt like.
That's exactly how I felt.
I wore the uniform of this nation's Army proudly. I served and fought for this country proudly. But is this the country I fought for?
Not any more it isn't.
Oh, and by the way, a few items in my carryon that these Gestapo agents missed that I most definitely could have used as a weapon(Not that I'd ever even think of using as): Cross pen and pencil set (six-inches long and pointy) the charger cord for my cell phone (definitely I could have used as a garrotte) and the deadliest of all deadly weapons, a 1 1/2 inch nail clipper with the fold-out emery board. Not to mention the ring binder (deadly loose-leaf paper cuts!) or the binder itself as a blunt instrument...
I used to love to fly. Now I dread walking into an airport.
America, sleep well tonight. The Gestapo is alive and well.
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, August 04, 2006

As Rodney King would say...

Why can we all just get along?
Because Rodney, it's not in human nature. We'll continue to kill each other until the sun turns into a giant supernova and the Earth is burnt to a giant cinder. In fact, that last space ship to leave a dying earth thousands of years from now will leave behind a mass of rioting assholes trying to get on the spacecraft. That's if we haven't killed each other off before then.

And speaking of that... A bumper sticker I saw recently that speaks the truth.

Just another uplifting, hopeful and optimistic Funny Foto Friday!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Weird stuff found along the railroad tracks

When you work on the railroad and spend a lot of time on the tracks you find some pretty weird shit. Besides the glass telegraph insulators, I find fossils too, Like this specimen I found a few weeks ago.
More fossils, a whole slew of different creatures and seashells. Anyone who knows what any of these are, please let me know.
A surprisingly intact Coca~Cola can... When was the last time anyone of you have seen a pull-tab can of any sort? Those of you under 30 will probably have never seen one.
And coal. Shitloads of it. You can tell by the scale of the shovel and rake in the bed of my pickup the size of some of these chunks. These I find daily along the tracks. I've been picking one hunk up a day for the past two months just for shits and giggles. I wanted to see how long it would take me to fill the bed up with coal. Besides, I'd need the extra weight in the winter for traction in the snow.
Not that I'll need that now.
Anyone want a truckload of West Virginia bituminous?
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Back from Margaritaville!

I'm back from Margaritaville with some very good news! I was very vague about my trip and only a few people knew about it at all. It wasn't a real vacation, it was a three-day working holiday. When I started a few months ago with Amtrack I knew that even thought the money was insanely good, it wouldn't last for long so I began doing some research on railroad jobs on and found one in Clewiston, Florida that sounded pretty good. So about a month ago I updated my resume and emailed it never thinking I'd be hearing back. Well, about two weeks ago I got a return email from the head of the railroad asking me if I was still interested. Hell yes I was interested! So the company flew me down to West Palm Beach over the weekend, paid for my rental car and put me up in a nice hotel near the offices... Pictured above is the engine yard...
Here's a picture looking north from the hotel... I haven't seen real palm trees in a very long time... But the last time I was someplace this tropical little brown guys speaking Spanish were desperately trying to kill me... But I don't think I'll have to worry about that now.
A little friend another guy who was down for the interview also and myself found on the verandah late Saturday night...
The Clewiston Inn... Where I stayed in a suite... It was built in 1938 and is on the National Register of Historic Buildings... Very Art-Deco, south Florida style, which I love...

Apartments across the road from the engine yard...

So I go down and have the interview... And I get the job! They do all the HR paperwork bullshit including my drug test and direct deposit authorization...

Pay is slightly less that what I'm making now, but this job with Amtrack was only for a finite time anyway. Full benefits, eye, dental, prescription...

And here's the kicker... The company is going to pay my moving expenses and put me up in an apartment rent free for up to four months until I can find a place of my own...

And I'll be doing what I should have been doing here in Durbin in the first place... Conductor then on to locomotive engineer by next April.

But here's the bad stuff... I have to be down there before the 16th of August. I'm sure glad I never unpacked anything. Something told me I shouldn't when I moved in here.

I'll be about an hour from West Palm Beach in the east and an hour from Ft. Myers in the west.

I'm moving to Margaritaville!

And I'm going to be an engineer!

Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden