Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Yes you are...

A little blast form RT's past...

Sunday, June 05, 2005

What year is this?

Or should I ask, what century are we in?

The apartment next to mine is being used as a substation for the local rescue squad on the weekends, and what started as a real pissing contest with one of the paramedics has become a pretty good friendship. Yesterday was fairly good weather-wise after four days of continuos rain, so around 2 PM I decided to sit outside on my tailgate and shoot the shit with my buddy.

We were sitting there and he was keeping up his steady but good humored pressure to get me to join the Athens volunteer fire department, and I was kindly declining (everyone else runs out of burning buildings and he want’s me to run into them? Not.) when we noticed a little neighborhood drama unfolding at the house across the street from our complex.

I had seen what we both believe is the owner of the house several times, just sitting on the front porch drinking beer. Neither of us thinks this guy has a job. As we’re watching him drink himself into his afternoon drunk, a minivan pulls into the driveway and a harried woman emerges with five kids. The kids all run into the house, and the woman starts unloading several grocery sacks. We both counted seventy-two, by the way. It took her several trips from the van to the house and back, and twice the bags broke, spilling the contents down the driveway.

Not once did this guy get off his ass to help what I believe was his wife with the groceries. Neither did her kids.

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t raised that way. Even if I were drunk, I’d have been at the van before she even stopped and would be unloading the groceries and I would have been kicking the kids’ asses for not even attempting to help.

It gets better.

She finally gets done unloading the groceries and he yells to her to bring out another beer for him.

My buddy and I just look at each other in amazement.

The balls on this guy.

She brought out a beer for him and they exchange words we can’t hear. We see her nod and she goes off behind the house.

I so wanted to say or do something, like beat the living shit out of this guy when the wife came back around to the front of the house with a push lawnmower and started to mow the front lawn.

I’m not talking about a gas powered push-type lawnmower, but an honest-to-God pusher mower, the kind with the big cylinder blades... From the 1920’s or something.

He is not only at this time watching her mow the front lawn with this medieval grass manicuring device while he rapidly gets drunk, he starts to yell at her about missed spots and to re-mow other areas because she didn’t do it right the first time.

I’m seething at this time, and my paramedic friend is talking me though my obvious impending near-eruption... I’m about to go ballistic. He doesn’t want to have to treat this asshole for any damage I would most probably inflict, and he also doesn’t want to have to bail me out of jail for attempted homicide, justified or not. He succeeds in calming me down, and I light another Winston.

What a complete shit this guy is.

My friend and I talk this over and decide this kind of behavior is endemic in this area. The Appalachians I’m referring to. I saw the same kind of stuff, though not as blatant in Appalachian Pennsylvania also so it’s not just a southern thing, so I'm not implying that.

It was like a return to the dark ages.

I wasn’t the best husband in the world when I was married, but Jesus! I did more than my fair share of the housework and helped my ex all the time. It was the way I was raised, I guess. My father wouldn’t be caught dead acting like this asshole, and I believe my father raised me right. You’re supposed to put women on a pedestal. Open doors for them. Carry the umbrella when it’s raining. Carry the groceries in.

Mow the fucking yard.

The saddest part of this little story isn’t the asshole husband, it’s the wife putting up with this bullshit, and the very real fact that the kids will grow up to believe this is the proper behavior and the right way to treat women. It tends to be passed down from generation to generation.

I know what you’re thinking...

Why didn’t my friend and myself go over there and help? Well, from experience, we both knew it would have made matters worse for the woman and the kids. He would have taken what little kindness we would offer as an affront to his manhood, and she would have probably gotten a good beating later for our efforts.

I will tell you this though.

I’m a firm believer in that some people are alive merely because it’s illegal to kill them.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, October 15, 2010

I have a confession...

I've been keeping something secret from all of you... A deep, dark secret! I'm the Founder and Leader of an insidious Cult that sends subliminal messages through the Interwebs~Googlenet to brainwash all of you!

So, to be fully protected from my Vast Power of the Dark Side, use aluminum foil to make hats to protect yourself from my evil messages...

But resistance is futile!

I am coming up with a way to beam laser beams from Venus directly into your brain and the tin hats will then be useless!

So All Hail Ranger Tom!

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden
Photo pinched from the Interwebs (by laser beams! Bwhahahahahahahah!)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

I will probably lose what little readership i have left with this post...

Most of you who've been reading my stuff for a while know I was raised Irish~Catholic in Philadelphia and I had a huge falling out with the Church several years ago. You may also have gotten the impression that I'm conservative, and I am, to an extent.

Hear me out.

I do watch Glenn Beck, and agree with him on a lot of things that are really screwed up here in this Country. I don't totally agree with him on a lot of things, I'm not a mindless moron that follows the flow. I'll never be a lemming.

I even watched the "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington DC on C-Span last Saturday and really felt uplifted by his core message, which I feel a lot of the mainstream media was lost on.

That we, as a Nation, has to get back to what the Founding Fathers wanted and fought so hard for.

It's our Unalienable Rights as humans, no mater what our beliefs, that we have these rights, given to us by our Creator not the Government.

The Government doesn't grant me these rights. It comes from a higher power.

To some that higher power is Jesus Christ. To some it's Allah. To some it's Vishnu or Buddha, or Jehovah or the Wind Spirits or Kachinas.

Or like me, it's just plain old Nature. The Universe is my Higher Power.

The "Separation of Church and State" clause in the Constitution means that we shouldn't have a Government Sanctioned religion, like we had under George III in the Church of England. Whereas one couldn't vote, own property or any of that good stuff if you weren't a member of the Church of England.

End of story.

It didn't mean we couldn't have a Nativity Scene on a town square or a Menorah on top of Town Hall...

In spite of my belief, none of that "offends me".

"One Nation, Under God" means to me that "God" is whoever or whatever you want it to be.

It's called "Free Will".

I have a deep respect for others beliefs, even though most times I don't agree with them. While I feel the proposed Mosque near the NYC Ground Zero site is without a doubt distasteful and if in fact they want us to be tolerant of their beliefs, they themselves should be tolerant of most of the country. And most of the country isn't saying they can't have one at all, just find some other place for it. But when push comes to shove, they do have just as much a right to build one there as anyone.

What I truly find distasteful and intolerant is the fact that we have to bend to the minority's will, instead of the other way around, or we're the ones who are intolerant. I know the argument; "Well Tommy, we couldn't build a Church or Synagogue in Mecca, could we?"

No we can't, but this is the United States, not Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Get it? To be morally superior, we can't sink to their level.

But I digress.

Friday I was watching Glenn Becks TV show as I always do and he had on several "Men of God". One was a Rabbi, and I was enjoying his ideas when he said something than made my blood boil.

"Atheists are Parasites"

Those were his exact words. Even after two days I'm still infuriated by that statement. He went on to add that Atheists are leaching from the system all that Religion has brought to society... I was paraphrasing there, but that was the gist of it.

Well here it goes, folks.

I don't believe in God and don't believe in any organized religion.

But does that mean I'm a parasite? I can't be a good and righteous man?

The mere implication that I can't be a True Patriot, A Real American, A moral and honest man unless I wrap myself in the Flag and hold the Bible in a death grip frankly infuriates me.

I've known many, many people throughout my life who professed to be good Christians. Always carried a Bible with them and in their free time would sit and read it. Taught Sunday School. Went to church every Sunday, but were the least likely people I'd trust, not because of their beliefs, but because of their actions. Liars, cheats, swindlers... multiple affairs behind the backs of their spouses... Selfish people who thought only of their own self gratification and would stab you in the back in a heartbeat if it meant something was in it for them. Folks that milk the system for every dime they can get, even when they don't need it. Men and women I would trust as far as I can pick up a railroad locomotive a throw it.

I'm not just talking Catholics. I'm talking all faiths and denominations.

Workmates and acquaintances. Friends and ex-lovers. Supposedly God-Fearing righteous people, but the most transparent, shallow, racist xenophobes I'd ever known.

So called friends who I went way out of my way for, doing what I thought was the right thing to do, only to get spat on in return.

But me, the Atheist, turned the other cheek. I always do, because I believe I'm the better man. I'm not perfect, nowhere near it. I do hold a grudge. I have a long memory.

but, when I was married, I never once cheated on my wife. Ask people who know me and they'll tell you of all things I'm honest. I tell you the truth, sometimes you wont dig what I've got to say, but you'll get the straight skinny from me. You can hand me a million dollars in cash, unmarked small bills... Come back in a year and it'll all still be there, covered in dust, but it'll all still be there.

That I can't have the same morals as a "believer" really infuriates me. Here's a little factoid you'll probably be surprised to here, after my Revelation: I read the bible frequently. Because I feel it's a good life guide. Nothing more than that.

A life guide.

I'm not perfect. My youth wasn't all that well spent and I'm not proud of a lot of things I've done in my past. There's a lot of burning bridges back there. I sometimes drink too much. But I never let it get in the way of my career. My work ethic won't allow it. I don't eat right a lot of times, but that's my right. I'm a true friend to those who are my friends, and would do anything for them. I have a very good friend here in town. One that I'm proud to call my friend. He's a convicted felon. None of the so called "God-Fearing Righteous" folks I know wouldn't give him the time of day. Yes, an ex-cop is friends with a convicted felon. I trust him explicitly. So much in fact he has the keys to my house. He's had them for a few years now.

I never have to worry about it with him. But the others?

Not on your life.

I believe in Faith. I have the faith that people will wake up and turn this Country around back to where we started from.

I believe in Hope. I have hope, that with people like me and others that we will get back on track.

I believe in Charity, and that charity starts from personal responsibility, not some Government funded program used with my tax dollars for some true leach on society who's never had to work a day in their life.

Glenn is right. We do have to restore Honor in our country.

I'm a veteran.

I've fought and bled for this country and have never, not even once asked for any help in return.

Everything I have right now I've earned on my own.

But to some, I'm still a parasite.

Because I don't believe in God.

I'm by no means an Angel, and like Mick Jagger said, "You'll never make a Saint of Me", but I'm a far better man than a lot of Religious folks I know. And Religion and Greed are the two major things that have started all of the wars throughout the ages... It's up to the schleps like me to finish them.

At least I can look myself in the mirror and like what I see.

I'm honest with myself, and at the end of the day, that's all that really matters.

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden
Photos pinched from the Googlenet/Interweb

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Fairy Tale for Guys...

Once upon a time there was a handsome Prince who was dating a beautiful Princess.

One day the handsome Prince got sick of the beautiful Princess's bullshit and told her to piss off.

And he then proceeded to ride his Harley~Davidson, went fishing and hunting, played poker with his buddies, drank beer and stayed up late watching war movies, watched football in his underwear, farted and belched, scratched his balls...

Ogled girls half his age, walked around the house naked, left the toilet seat up and had tons of money in the bank.

And he lived happily ever after.

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden
Photo pinched from the interweb/googlenet

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Felony Stupid

I know this is old news, but yet again this story was on the news this morning... And it still has me baffled and wondering just how stupid some people can be.

In a nutshell, these three mental midgets pictured above were taken prisoner by Iranian border guards while "hiking" along the border between Iraq and Iran last year and are still being held prisoner by the Iranian Government and are charged as American spies.

While I don't hold much faith in the Central Intelligence Agency as a whole, I do believe they'd come up with a better cover story if they were spies.

So this leaves me to believe that these three Americans are just plain stupid... Because who in their right mind is going to go on a vacation camping and hiking in the middle of a war? Along a border between two countries who absolutely hate each other?

I mean, come on! How fucking stupid can you be?

It would be like a British couple, in the middle of the Blitz in 1940 London,having this conversation:

Nigel: "Well, love, the raid is over..."

Penelope: "Yes Dear, Have you thought about where we're going on Holiday yet?"

Nigel: "Yes Love. I'm led to believe the North of France is simply lovely this time of year!"

Penelope: "Oh smashing! Shall we?"

Nigel: "Lets!"

Penelope: "Shall I put tea on?"

I mean, where the fuck was your brain, idiots?

If they are guilty of anything it's being a couple of complete fucking morons.

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden
Photo pinched from the interweb/googlenet

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Why Me?

OK. Most of you who've been following my blog for a while know how, ehem... blessed with this uncanny ability to attract the wrong women...

For the last few months I had been dating a woman. She was, and still is a very nice person who meant really well... But again, even after several conversations about this, she insisted on smothering me and mothering me.

I seem to attract three types of women: The first is the psychotic stalker type, second is the woman who is on the surface a intelligent, educated woman but a complete moron, and the third, which I find the most infuriating, the woman who insists I need a mother and wants to "Take Care of Me".

The third is also the most 'clingy"...

I couldn't take a shit without her knowing about it.

Well, not really, but it felt that way.

Few examples below...

I'd get a call, every day, on her 10 AM smoke break... Then another at noon, then at 2PM... Then on her way home from work... Then before dinner... Then before bed...

Every damn day!

Then, when she'd be over my house... She'd talk to me a lot of times like I was her 6 Year old son... "Here, let me help you with that" or "Would you eat this? Is this something you'd eat...?"

What the fuck!

If I needed help, I'd ask for it!

I'm 44 and have been on my own since I was 17. I had a mom and don't need another one. I can take care of myself pretty well, thank you.

I need a partner... Not a Mother!

Back to the clinginess... I was really getting sick of these phone calls... I could see if something happened... But it was mostly like this:

Her: "Hi! What are you doing?"

Me: "Eh, drinking a cup of coffee, watching the news.... You?"

Her: "Nothing, just on break..."

Me: " Ooookay..."

Her: "Did you eat anything?"

Me: "No..."

Her: "Well, you really should eat something..."

Here's were the blood would start to shoot out of my eyes... I DO NOT EAT BREAKFAST! I had told her this over and over again... I just drink a few cups of coffee in the morning when I first get up. Maybe a few hours later I'll get a bite to eat. I've been like that for years, ok? I know it's not really healthy, but it's the way I am. The mere thought of food when I first get up makes me nauseous.

But still over and over again she'd persist on trying to make me eat something in the morning.

Mothering me.

It was infuriating!

Another thing was this... She'd spend the weekend and we'd get up in the morning and I'd put the coffee on, go out and get my newspaper and sit on my porch with a cup of coffee, a smoke and do the LA Times crossword...

It's my "Zen" time...

She'd come out and join me, still trying to get me to eat something... Then not shut the fuck up!

"What are you thinking?"

And I'd be thinking "I need a six letter word for shut the fuck up!"

Then later... Getting dressed I get this:

"You're not going out like that, are you?"

"What? It's a T-Shirt, shorts and sandals!" (and believe it or not, everything matched...)

"Well, you really should let me take you clothes shopping..."

Oh, here we go. Trying to dress me now...

"Yes, I'm going out dressed like this... It's 10 AM, already 95 F and we're going to an outside Flea Market!"

What ever happened to the time when two people were dating and after a nice night (or next morning) you parted ways, and made plans for the next weekend... "I had a great night, I'll give you a call Thursday and we'll make plans for next weekend?" And left it at that?

What is is with people who have to talk to one another every damn day several times a day? My best friend and I maybe talk once a month... And we're both OK with that.

You guys really should have seen the look on her face when she found out my cell phone wouldn't work in Australia... It was classic!

The final straw was a few weeks ago...

I had told her there was a program on the Science Channel I really wanted to watch one night. A marathon of "Through the wormhole with Morgan Freeman", which was going to play into the wee hours.

I told her I'd give her a phone call when I got up...

Again, those of you who read this blog regularly know how I work during sugar harvest season. Seven day's a week, no break for months. I'm a slave to the alarm clock and maybe only get 4 or 5 hours' sleep a night.

In the summer I want to go to bed when I want to, and get up when I want to... Sleep as long as I want.

So I tell her I'd call her the next day when I got up.

OK sez she...

I stay up, watch the shows (which were very cool, BTW) and didn't get to bed until 5 AM...

10:30 in the fucking morning my phone goes off...

Me: "Hullo?"

Her: "Are you OK? I was worried about you!"

What fucking part of I'll call you when I GET THE FUCK UP didn't you FUCKING understand????

Here's another time that in a way might be TMI, but it's worth relating... one day I had, well, a little 'intestinal problem' and was somewhere in my house I couldn't leave at the moment. My cell phone went off, and of course I couldn't get to it... It goes to voice mail and three seconds later my house phone goes off... Again I couldn't get to it... This pattern went of for several minutes...

Finally I get to my phones and see it was her... I call her back... They're had to be some emergency...

She just wanted to say Hi...

One more thing... Sitting in on a Saturday night... Just finished up with supper and no plans to go out, just hang around the house... The remote is gone, she's got it and some chick movie is now on TV on the Lifetime Network... but at the same time her face is buried in her laptop playing that moronic farmville shit on Facebook... I grab the remote to change the channel because she's obviously not watching the TV...

"I was watching that..."

I'm done.

I'd rather live alone than to put up with this shit.

I do not need a mother, someone to take care of me, someone who has to be attached at the hip and know my thoughts and actions during every waking moment of every day.

Or maybe it's just me... I'm the wrong one here.

In the meantime I'll be alone and be happy.

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden

Monday, July 19, 2010

I laughed my ass off...

As I read the paper today I was drawn to my Horriblescope...
And laughed my ass off!

Boy have they got me wrong!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oz Trip revisited

I know, I know... It's about time I posted something! Had a lot going on here since I got home and never had the time really to write. nothing bad, I've just been really busy.

I departed for Australia on May 4th from Miami and after an uneventful flight to Los Angeles I boarded a Qantas 747 bound for Brisbane, Queensland. After twelve hours I arrived in Australia where I had to debark and proceed through Australian Customs where the first glitch in my trip occurred...

I had forgotten a small packet of cookies I had been given on the plane earlier that I had in my shirt pocket... And food items being brought into Australia are prohibited, and me forgetting to "Declare Said Food Items" I was asked to step out of the line and have my luggage searched by a humorless but professional Customs Agent.

I was expecting the Anti-Cookie SWAT Team to come rappelling out of the ceiling at any moment since I was now some notorious International Cookie Smuggler...

All was found in order and I was cleared through customs, but since I had to proceed from the International Terminal to the Domestic Terminal to catch my connecting flight to Adelaide, the time taken at customs prevented my from making that flight. The gentleman at the Qantas desk was very friendly and helpful and got me on the next flight to Adelaide.

After almost twenty hours on airplanes and the crossing of the International Date Line, I lost the 5th of May somewhere... May 5th, 2010 never existed for me!

So around noon on the 6th I finally arrived in Adelaide, South Australia to be met by my good Mate, Eddie who promptly took me straight to the nearest pub! I spent the next few days with him and his lovely wife Marty who were great hosts!

On the following Saturday Eddie and I took the train into the City Centre of Adelaide to meet up with a few other mates of ours at the Strathmore Hotel for a mini-conference, adult beverages and fine dining...
It was there that my mates presented me with a fantastic honor... A plaque naming me a "Honorary Australian"! These guys (or should I now say "These Blokes?") are the greatest!
After the presentation of the plaque and a bag of goodies... We got down to some serious eating and drinking! I ordered the Stonegrill mix... A large rump steak, prawns, Kangaroo & Crocodile, chips and side salad... It was brought out raw on a slab of granite at 400C and you cook it yourself. A really unique way of eating and I thoroughly enjoyed the meal. Side Note: Australia is the only country I know of that you can find their National Emblems, The Kangaroo and Emu on the menus of most restaurants!
On Sunday we met up again at the Cooper's Alehouse in Adelaide for a afternoon of sampling the local favorite brew... Pictured above is (L to R) Me, Trevor, Pete & Eddie.

The following Monday I again boarded a short flight from Adelaide back to Brisbane to meet up with another mate, Colin to spend a week exploring the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.
Colin and I spent the days exploring the area around where he lives and getting some great views like the one above in Moolooaba... I simply fell in love with the area!
We also did some hill climbing... Here is a nice photo from the top of a hill we climbed near his home... This place has a name but for the life of me I can't remember it... I know the view was simply breathtaking!
For a few days Colin and I camped on Fraser Island, another place I just fell in love with! At one point I asked Colin just to leave me there and I'd just stay the rest of my life...
The place was so beautiful! The only way onto the island is by barge and you need 4WD. Another cool sight was the wreck of the SS Maheno, seen above at low tide.
Another really cool thing was the dingos. They're all over the place on the island and they'll walk right up to you!
Who could not just fall in love with the place?
Camping on Fraser Island, enjoying my most favorite Aussie Beer, Victoria Bitter, or "VB" for short!
I was in a contemplative moment above, gazing out at the South Pacific from a huge sand blow on Fraser Island...

Wishing I could stay forever...

But this had to end also, Colin had to depart the next week for some time in the Army and we parted ways at the Brisbane airport, me heading back to Adelaide and him up to Townsville. I again hopped a short flight back to Adelaide to spend the remainder of my time in Oz with Eddie.

So the rest of my time Eddie and I explored South Australia sampling the local food and fantastic adult beverages, sometimes sitting out on his lanai until the wee hours drinking beer, swapping old war stories (The difference between a Fairytale an an old War Story: a Fairytale starts out "Once upon a time..." a Old War Story starts out "I shit you not...") and basically laughing and having a great time.

In sadness I had to come home, leaving Australia on the 31st of May... I another freak of the International Date Line, I departed Adelaide at 11:00 AM on the 31st, and arrived back in the United States in Los Angeles at 11:35 AM, on the 31st of May... The 14 hour flight only took 25 minutes!

A fantastic trip, great holiday and one I'll not soon forget!

Eddie and I have already discussed next year's plans and if they can they'll be coming over here for a few weeks so I can repay some of their fantastic hospitality!

One last thing I do have to say... I have never met a group of people so damn nice! Everywhere I went everyone was so friendly... And if you ever travel to Australia, New Zealand or anywhere else in the South Pacific, fly Qantas! They really know how to treat the passengers! (and free booze on the flight!)

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ok, Ok...

So now I'm home, a little jet-lagged, but doing ok... Nothing like spending over 20 hours in planes and airports to tire someone out.

I got home around midnight on Monday and I'm just now getting my body clock readjusted. I really promise I'll post a detailed description of my trip to Australia in a few days... Right now I'm just catching up on things here at home.

In the meantime, here's a short (under 10 minutes) video I made earlier today with a montage of photographs of my trip set to some fitting music for you all to enjoy!

Hope you all enjoy!

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Again, I've been remiss...

As I had alluded to in my last post, I was planning on a great vacation to someplace I've always wanted to go to... Got my new Passport, airline tickets were reserved and on May 4th, I departed Miami International Airport to Los Angeles where I changed planes to a Boeing 747 Qantas flight to Brisbane, Australia with a connecting flight to Adelaide. 20 hours later a very tired Ranger Tom stepped of the plane to greet a good "Mate", Eddie and begin my Aussie adventure!
I spent the first week in Adelaide with several mates, and had a fantastic time! More pictures of that leg of the journey to come, but what can be said I was welcomed with warm arms by my fellow brothers... Once a Soldier, always a Soldier, no matter what Army you've served in! They even gave me a plaque making me an Honorary Aussie!

So, after a few days in Adelaide, it was back on another flight to Brisbane, to meet up with another mate who showed me around the Sunshine Coast north of the city and really made me feel at home...

Above the beach in Mooloolaba, Queensland

After a few days around Mooloolaba and Maroochydore, my mate took me camping on Fraser Island, and I've got to say if anything is Paradise on earth, it's there on Fraser Island! Wild Dingoes all around and a fantastic place... I didn't want to leave!

Well, now I'm back in Adelaide for about nine more days... Lots more pictures to post later... Me and my mate Eddie went to the Port Adelaide Railway museum the other day because you know I just can't stay away from trains for too long!

I'll be coming home on the 31st of May and will post more photos and give you all a complete rundown of my entire trip...

Until then, I'll sign off from Oz and post again in about two more weeks!

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden

Monday, April 26, 2010

I've been remiss...

I know, I know... The last few weeks have been a handful and I haven't had time to even think, let alone take the time to post something. The Sugar Harvest was finished last Thursday and I had the dubious distinction of hauling in the last sugar train into the mill for the year.

After the mill went down for the summer, I was then busy on catching up on some much needed sleep, and taking care of other, ehem, extracurricular activities that I've been missing over the winter...

It was really nice to have a little female companionship over the last few days...
Now onto other things... I'd been planning a big trip now for a few years, and this year I'm finally going to do it. Flights and hotels have been booked. Stay tuned to this channel for photos throughout the my trip!
The one thing I really needed to do was renew my Passport... When I started planning this a few months ago I dug out my old passport and realized it had expired over two years ago, necessitating me getting a new one... It's so empty compared to my old one, and the photo is still just as horrible...

I'll surprise you all with my destination as I post photos during the trip... I'm very excited, as this will be my first time outside of the US not requiring me wearing a uniform and (at least I surely hope not) people won't be trying to kill me... I've been to Canada and Mexico a few times, but to me that doesn't count as I never left the continent...

I'll be leaving shortly so stay tuned for the holiday updates!

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I'm on Video!

Just a short video I made this morning at work... I really do LOVE my job!

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Trane Pix!

Well, it's winding down... The Sugar Harvest Season that is... Only a few more weeks to go. It's seems like only yesterday I was itching to get back to work, now all I'm looking forward to is the end.

Here's some photos I've taken over the last several days for your enjoyment! Above is a shot from the nose of my locomotive as we were waiting for a few more cars to be loaded with fresh sugar cane...
A Cane Loading "Elevator", where the harvest crews load our rail cars with freshly cut raw sugar cane.
A Scene from out my window on the locomotive as I was pulling out twenty loaded cars from the above pictured elevator, just as the sun was coming up.
A "Hot Box"... The older cars in our fleet still have old "Friction Bearing" journals, and frequently they'll overheat, sometimes catching the whole care on fire. The sides have wooden slats, and they'll go up like dry kindling.

Another sunrise from the cab as we were waiting permission to enter the yard with our loads... Florida has some fantastic sunrises!

Hope this holds you all over until I have the energy to actually write something!

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, March 19, 2010

More shit that pisses me off...

OK. I know it seems like all I ever do is bitch about shit that pisses me off, but if I'm not bitching about something and say something nice, like, a really touching handwritten letter I recieved, I'm considered a pussy.

Well, I'm NOT a pussy.


So here goes' another rant of something that should piss you off too, that is if you can read this in your native language.

That is English I'll assume at this point.

When I was sent to West Germany in 1985 in the Army, I tried my best to learn some German and used it frequently while I was out amongst the German population. Never mind that most Germans I met while I was there spoke better English than I did, I did it out of respect for the peoples and the country I was in.

So I can now order a beer, a wurst, find the toilet and get my face slapped by a pretty Fraulein in any Gasthous in Bavaria...

That's not the point.

I tried to learn the language.

Now I'm in the position of working with several, ehem, multilingual people.

We'll all be in the break room having coffee and one will inexplicably break out in (insert language of your choice other than English here) and start talking to another guy in said language...

In front of us all.

That pisses me off.

If you can't say it in English in mixed company, shut the FUCK up!

They don't even try to be fucking subtle.

What really bothers me most is that the said persons have no idea where I've been. The have no idea that I also spent three years in Central America and Habla a shitload more Espainiol than the average Gringo Penthejo (Stupid White Guy) than I let on and it just plain pisses me off to no end that these fuckers who can speak English very well are talking shit about myself, my race and Country right in front of me think they can just get away with it.

If you're going to live here, learn English.

If you want to speak your own language, speak it among yourselves or excuse your self with your mate to chat it up in private...

If you're in company of people who don't speak your language, Just shut the fuck up already! to do otherwise is just plain fucking ignorant!

Again, I can't believe I have to get this angry over this shit...

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I know I've been remiss in writing and visiting all of your blogs in the last week or so but I've been feeling rather run down and the toll of working seven days' a week were catching up to me.

Last Thursday night into Friday morning a cold front moved through bringing with it a shitload of rain... I'm talking about 6 inches of rain in about eight hours. I've got to say this is the coldest and wettest winter here in Florida since I've been here and that rain Thursday night flooded all the sugarcane fields making it impossible for the fields crews to harvest.

So they can't harvest, they don't need train crews to bring the raw cane in, so we were laid~in for about 4 days and for the first time in about six months I had a lot of free time on my hands.

And I slept.

A lot.

Friday morning I got home and planned to putz around the house for a while, take a little nap and then head out to the Tiki Bar for a little early St. Pat's day celebration.


My head hit the pillow around 3 PM Friday afternoon and I didn't wake up until 9 AM the following Day, Saturday.

And I felt like shit.

Not hangover shitty, sick shitty.

I tried to soldier on but I was one big phlegm factory and even though I did go out for a little while Saturday night I would up back in bed around 11 PM snuggled up to a economy sized bottle of NyQuil for the rest of the weekend.

Now I'm back to work again, probably for another six weeks or so then I'll be off for another fun-filled summer of crazy fun and high~spirited antics that only I can have...

But for now, the one night I really wanted to go out and get really shitfaced I'm stuck with a screwed up sleep patterned and the need to be into work at midnight, which negates my desires to really show my Irish genes...
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A lost art...

Yesterday I got a pleasant surprise in my mailbox. Something I've not seen in a long, long time. My brother, who's ten years older than me and still lives in Philadelphia sent me a handwritten letter...

We talk often on the phone, if you call about once a month often. In this Instant~Gratification age of cell phones, Blackberries, email and texting, actually sitting down and writing a letter I believe is almost lost.

That he's not at all computer savvy and mistrusts the googlenet is not the point. In this day and age, he thought of me enough to sit down and actually take the time to write a letter to me was touching.

It truly is a lost art.

Even myself, I've lost the ability to do this years ago... But the one hold out I do keep rigidly is I still write out an email to someone in letter form, without all the usual interweb abbreviations, as if it was a real ink-on-paper letter to someone. I'll maybe throw in a "LOL" or two, but other than that I'll write a letter, use spell-check and use proper English.

Maybe I'm behind the times, maybe I'm just getting to be a crotchety old man...

But that letter really made my day!

I say use English when you write, and put ink on paper once in a while...

It just might brighten up some one's day!

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, March 07, 2010

I'm surrounded...

By idiots.

My one character flaw (among many, but this one is the most prevalent) that I have that stands out glaringly is I don't suffer fools lightly. Of course I make mistakes. Lots of them. But I'm smart enough to learn from them and not to make the same mistakes twice.

But the older I get the more and more I'm convinced the world is populated by morons.
"Why do you think like that Tommy?" I know you're asking yourself... Well, if I'm wrong and the world isn't full of idiots, why, oh why, would this sign above even be necessary?
That is the reason I'm posting this sign on my front door...

Seven or eight more weeks I was told this morning...

Can I deal with another seven or eight more weeks of sheer, unadulterated moronic stupidity without my head exploding?

Summer can't come soon enough.

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden
Photos pinched from the Interweb/Googlenet

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Pussification of America, Part I


Sometimes, hell, most times I really wonder if I'm the only sane person left on this planet. I feel I've gone to sleep one day and awakened into a strange new universe, where everything looks normal, but somehow it's changed.

When I was a kid, I rode my bike without a helmet... Walked to school in the snow... Drank water right from the garden hose... and at ten years old I was one huge bruise all the time from playing out side, climbing (and falling out of) trees. I wasn't coddled. I played Little League baseball and really sucked at it at first. They still kept score and the losers didn't get trophies at the end of the season. It did hurt our pride, but we learned to strive to be better for the next year.

In losing it helped us better ourselves, because failure is a good thing.

Did we feel like shit? Yes, of course we did. Did it bruise our egos? Fuck yeah. Were we scarred for life? Fuck no. We learned from our mistakes and we learned to get better.

Now the kids who play Little League in games where they don't keep score... And everyone gets a damn trophy at the end of the season?

What the fuck does that teach the kids today?

To be pussies.

And expect everything handed to them and never earn anything.

We now live in an Entitlement Society... Where everyone expects to get everything handed to them. Heaven forbid you actually have to work for it!

Like Today's Army. A few years ago the History Channel got on to the "Reality Show" bandwagon and had a show about US Army Basic Training. They followed five recruits through the first eight weeks of Basic Training... I thought the show showed promise until I started watching it...

And pissed myself laughing.

And then wondered if we could win any wars at all.

"Time Out" cards and Drill Sergeants being nice to the recruits as not to damage their fragile psyches...

What the FUCK, over?

You know what my Basic Training was like? Watch "Full Metal Jacket" sometime if you haven't already seen it.

THAT'S what my Basic was like.

We're a Nation of fucking pussies.

What the fuck are you going to do when the enemy is desperately trying to kill you?

"Oh mommy! Please give me a Time Out to give to the bad man over there with the AK-47! This is just to much and I need a break!"

Give ME a fucking break.

And God Forbid we even OFFEND the enemy! They're the one's who tried to kill you, killed thousands of innocent people on 9~11 but for Christ's Sake don't offend them!

God, how this shit infuriates me...

Handing everyone shit I used to have to earn doesn't make them better, it makes them weaker and beholden to someone. It enslaves them.

Failure is a good thing.

God knows I've failed at a lot of things in my life. The last two serious relationships I've had have been utter failures, marrying, divorcing and then almost marrying women with Borderline Personality Disorder...

Did it hurt me? Yes. Did I fail? Yes. Did I learn valuable lessons from both? Of course I did! Did I blame someone else? No, because I was partly to blame for both messes for getting into relationships with someone even after the RED FLAGS were flying high.

Did I learn from my mistakes? Of course I did. Will I do it again?

Fuck no.
On to how this shit I've been saying meshes into work... My job isn't brain surgery. For what we get paid, I have a pretty easy job. But there's so much bullshit to deal with, and I'm not talking management. I've never seen a bigger bunch of whiny fucking crybabies in my life.

I really wish I had a nickel for every time I've heard "Well, it was such and such job, and he didn't do it! Why do we have to do it?"

Here's the fucking answer:

IT wasn't done, and it needs to be fucking done. Regardless of who's fucking job it was to do it in the fucking first place, get off your lazy fucking ass and fucking do it.

I'm paid from the time I punch in until I punch out. Whether it was my job or someone else, if it needs to be done, If I'm asked by my supervisor to do it, I'm going to do it, happily I might ad, because I'm fucking lucky to have a job in the first place.

And another thing... I've seen far too many people working HARDER and spending more time at getting out of work and pawning it off to someone else than just doing what's EXPECTED of them in the first place...

Far too many people care about two things where I work:

Payday and quitting time.

Instead of doing their fucking job.
When I started out on the railroad a few years ago as a conductor, if my engineer told me there's a problem with the trains air line, I'd do what was expected of me... Get out of the locomotive and fucking walk the entire train to find the problem... When I have 70 cars and after 30 minutes my air gauge looks like this (above) I expect you do get off your ass and find out what the problem is, not make excuses and tell me it's a "Hand Brake" because it won't fucking cut it.
When my air gauge should look like this...

Maybe I'm wrong.

I'll just suppose it's something minor and it really doesn't matter. It's just 2,800 TONS of railroad rolling stock that I won't be able to stop in time to not hit that school bus stuck at a crossing.

Fuck them kids! Kill em' all, because you didn't want to walk the train.

It wouldn't be my fault anyway.

It was because my Psyche was damaged as a child in Little League when I didn't get a trophy and I didn't wear a helmet while riding my bike, I got a RED "F" on my 8th Grade report card, my parents didn't coddle me and my Drill Sargent yelled at me and called me a dumbass...

I can't believe I have to get angry over this shit...

More to come later... I'm just getting started!

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No strike...

And a new contract...

The vote Monday was 294 to 26 in favor of the new contract here at my job. I was fearing the worst by last Friday as the last contract wasn't so great but I was pleasantly surprised at some of the stuff in the package. We didn't lose anything and gained a few things, like a yearly 6% bonus and a 2% COLA every year for the next three years. I was also surprised that our health plan's premiums were frozen for a year, but will go up in 2011... Like I said, I expected that because premiums are going up all over the country.

There was a few other little things like the rewording of the Seniority Roster for the Railroad Department... That made me and several other people extremely happy as it won't allow a certain other dumbass to run around us on the Seniority Roster anymore, which he's tried to do several years in a row... Jobs are awarded by bid for the Harvest Season, and those with the highest seniority get the best jobs and this peckerhead, because he works a "Repair Season" job in another department in the summer, even though he started way after the few of us, he's tried to "Run Around" the Seniority Roster and jump in front of us in every Pre-Crop Bid we've had.

And it pissed us all off to no end...

Anyway, I'm in a much better mood. Now All I have to look forward to is 6 to 8 weeks more of work, some minor surgery I've been putting off, planning my vacation and having the entire summer off!

It's like I'm semi-retired!

I'll explain how I do that later on in the week...

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden
Logo pinched from IAM LL57 Website

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just a tad bit worried....

Contrary to my stoic persona, for the first time in a long, long time I'm just a tad bit worried right now.

In five days my labor union's contract with the company and railroad I work for will expire. No news yet from the Union on how the negotiations are proceeding... No news at all, good, bad or indifferent.

Now there's a real possibility of a strike...

I've been a member of several labor unions in the past, and while I've never been on strike, I've never crossed a picket line either.

I'm trying to keep a strong front of being a "No Worries" kind of guy at work, this does have me worried.

Those of you who've followed me for a time know how hard I've worked to get where I'm at, what I've sacrificed... My boyhood dream coming true after all these years...

I'm living my boyhood dream of being a railroad locomotive engineer. I make really good money doing it. But I'm also in an area where the local unemployment rate is almost 40% I'm damn lucky to have a job at all.

Like I said, I'm trying really hard to be positive about this, but today attached to my pay check was a little note from the management requesting the return of all our issued company equipment, parking passes and ID cards at the end of our shift on the 22nd of this month.

I don't want to strike.

There are a few concessions I'd like to see in the next contract, but I really don't want to lose my job.

The company is already training contractors (scabs) to do my job...

I've got about six months' salary saved in the bank...

I want to work though...

Ranger Tom is one nervous puppy right now.

We'll see in five days.

But I'll never, ever scab out like some with whom I work with will...

Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Clewiston Cruds

About a week ago I began feeling really run-down... More so that usual after working four and a half months straight without a day off... Fever, chills, runny nose and body aches. Not the Flu, but just not feeling 100%. And my damn pesky work~ethic won't let me call in sick I soldiered on with feeling like shit. And in soldiering on, I've come home to do a double~shot of NyQuil and pass out into bed. Today is the first day I've really felt like my old self and have a little energy to write something...
And here's another fantastic Florida sunrise... As seen from my vantage point looking back to check my train out...
And of course you can't run the locomotives indefinitely, they need servicing. Here I am standing by the other morning waiting for the great locomotive shop crew to finish servicing the #406, a EMD GP38-2 diesel locomotive. Have I said recently I love my job?

Fill er' up and check the oil!

I'm glad I don't have to write that check out... Fill er' up means 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel and about 4 gallons of motor oil...

I will try to be better at posting stuff...

I'm just a tad bit tired lately...

Photos and rambling Copyright 2010 Thomas J Wolfenden