Southern Man

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Winter Storm Part Trois

Well, even though the promised six-to-twelve-inches we were promised last weekend never materialized Old Man Winter ain't through with us yet - the snow is falling and the streets are sufficiently slick that the local community college called off evening classes, thus freeing Southern Man to drop by the tax office to see if clients are more willing to brave the weather for tax-refund loans than are university students for the fountain of knowledge. The so-called "peak" has been off to a slow start due to the weather and we are all getting a bit concerned; until now there have always been more preparers than clients and we do a lot of sitting around pretending to study esoteric tax trivia when we think the boss is looking. We get paid a commission per paid return but nothing on the paystub loans we've been doing lately, and many of us haven't had that many real returns come across our desks yet.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Time Warp

Well, the "new" blogger lets me backdate posts. Now if I can only remember what I was actually doing on this particular date...

Ah, yes...the tail end of the first week back at school after the Long, Long Weekend and the first hint of "peak" at the tax office. And I get the kids this weekend, sort of; the older two are involved at church all day tomorrow, so I'll drop them off early and pick them up when they finish mid-afternoon. But at least I get to see them. And I'll have plenty of time with my baby girl. After we drop off the older kids in the morning we'll hit McDonalds for breakfast, laze around all morning watching videos and playing games, hit the sample carts at Sams for lunch, and then take it from there. It looks like it will be a fun, relaxed weekend...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Happy Hump Day!

Well, although there is still plenty of snow on the ground, all four of Southern Man's jobs are back in full swing and the Long, Long Weekend is just a faded memory. But all work and no play makes Southern Man a dull boy and he was most surprised and pleased to drag himself out of the tax office tonight to find his gf waiting for him with a plate of warm cookies and a sweet card and her loving arms. And we spent a wonderful hour or so together back at casa Southern Man sitting by the fire with cold milk and warm cookies and good music and stimulating conversation. Sounds corny, yes, but it was nice, very nice. You're a great gf, gf, and Southern Man is lucky to have you.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Long, Long Weekend

Lessee here...this would be Day Nine of the Long, Long Weekend, except Southern Man did have to work nine-to-five at the tax office. And he'll work nine-to-five tomorrow as well. Business is picking up, though...did several returns today and hope to do several more tomorrow. And it looks like it was just a tiny bit too warm today, so the much-heralded six-to-ten inches of snow promised for this afternoon came down as about an inch of rain instead. So it looks like back to business as usual on Monday.

Yesterday was fun; Southern Man managed to grab all three kids for lunch and fun and games at the local Incredible Pizza (which is sort of like Chuck E Cheese's on steroids), then kept the youngest at his place for a few more hours. Alas, we put in a movie and she went right to sleep. But it was still nice to have her around. Next official visitation is next weekend. And he and gf have managed to spend a bit of time together as well. It's a good thing, too, as Southern Man will probably not have time to breath for the next three weeks, as he'll be working the tax office any time he's not at one of his other three jobs. "Peak," they call it in the tax biz. It'll be over (at least for Southern Man) on Valentine's Day, which is when his contract expires. Hopefully many, many tax returns will be completed and mucho commision will be earned in the process; those Christmas bills are still largely unpaid.

But tonight will be spent relaxing by the fire with a beer and good ham-and-beans for dinner and jazz CDs in the player and a week's worth of news magazines to catch up on. Life is good.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Victory At Last

It took a while (and the game totally locked up a few minutes later) but victory in Champion Archer is now mine!

Now on to more important issues, like what to do with Day Seven of the Ice Storm Holiday...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Going For Six!

This Winter Storm is the Gift That Keeps On Giving. The public schools are closed again tomorrow, which makes this a six-day weekend. And there's more snow on the way on Saturday! Of course gf is less than overjoyed; as a public schoolteacher she has to make these snow days up at the end of the year. Southern Man will simply have to go a little faster to get caught back up in his classes.

So today was much the same as yesterday; a relaxed morning at casa Southern Man, the afternoon spent running around (gf's Jeep broke a CV joint and had to go to the shop, among other things), then back home for dinner and a fire and a relaxed evening. Or not so relaxed as Southern Man is still battling for victory in Champion Archer. But he is confident that tonight will be the night.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Five Day Weekend!

Whoo hoo! Not only did Southern Man get to skip work at the tax office today - there's no school tomorrow! That's an unprecedented five day weekend and Southern Man plans to make the most of it.

Well, mostly by trying to get past level ten-ish or so in Champion Archer. But, hey, it beats working. And if you actually play this game and think you're pretty good at it, just know that my teen son was playing at my place over the weekend and quit at level 100 out of boredom. He'll kick your butt at this one too.

Anyway Southern Man had a great time today knocking around his place (cleaning up and playing games and generally doing a bunch of nothing) and tooling around the icy roads in his truck (which is once again sporting his old SNOWDOG license tag) and watching movies with his gf (which lasted 'till her ex got home from work - wierdly enough, he just got a job here in town and he's staying in her spare room until he can get his own place. And, no, it doesn't bother me. But it sure as hell bothers him when I'm around...). And now Southern Man is in for the night with dinner on the stove (including beans for ham-and-beans tomorrow) and fire in the fireplace and good bluegrass on the stereo and an ice cold beer near at hand and Star Trek: Enterprise on the Sci-Fi channel and no alarm set for tomorrow...Southern Man sez, life is good.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Winter Storm Part Deux

After a restful night's sleep Southern Man and baby daughter were up with the dawn to find that Old Man Winter wasn't through with us yet. With more freezing rain this morning and a worried call from the ex, Southern Man eventually roused the two sleepy-head teens and got the brood back to their mom late in the morning. On the plus side, the other call this morning said that the tax office would be closed that day and would I mind taking the day off? No, boss, not a problem.

So Southern Man hastened back home for a quick cleanup of both the casa and himself, then ventured across the tundra to pick up gf for the aforementioned several hours of quality time. We both love our kids to death but time with each other and without them is pretty rare. Suffice it to say we enjoyed our afternoon together and Southern Man had to return her to her own charges all too soon.

After taking her home and making a run by Wal-Mart (can you believe that last time I was there for a pre-storm supply run they were completely out of beans? Milk and bread and chips, I can understand, but beans? But now there are beans aplenty at casa Southern Man - for ham and beans and taco soup and five-bean soup and chili...yum) Southern Man is back home by the fire with the Sunday paper and a plate of hot Mexican food (last of the leftovers from El Chico) and an icy cold Margarita Magnifico. Southern Man usually doesn't drink the hard stuff alone but the weekend in general and today in particular were sufficiently special that he felt like celebrating. The only way today could be more perfect is if the boss calls and says that the tax office will be closed tomorrow as well.

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day! Southern Man encourages his readers to celebrate as you see fit.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Winter Storm!

In my world, winter storm = four day weekend. Whoo hoo!

The festivities began Friday morning. After breakfast wih a friend Southern Man made a token appearance at work, cancelled his late-morning and afternoon classes (and presciently so, as the University ended up closing at noon), and headed back home for a morning of well-deserved R&R. Said morning didn't last long, as it turns out Southern Man's kids stayed home from school as well and he picked them up at noon instead of the usual five-ish. We made a sweep through a couple of stores (Wal-Mart, a bookstore...) and finally arrived at casa Southern Man mid-afternoon. Everyone immediately headed to their favorite corners (teen son and his XBox to TV #1, teen daughter and her "Charmed" DVDs to TV #2, and baby daughter to the PC for games) and Southern Man just bounced around happy as can be to have the kids around again. We headed back out into the ice and cold for dinner with Southern Man's gf and her daughters at El Chico, then spent the rest of the evening relaxing at home. Teen daughter finally broke in the new coffeepot and bean grinder that Southern Man picked up over Christmas break and was seldom far from coffee for the rest of the weekend. The only down side was that baby daughter was a bit sick and needed lots of attention and TLC. Southern Man was of course happy to oblige.

Next morning all slept in. Baby daughter was still feeling a bit peaked but Southern Man was still able to sneak out a few times - a solo breakfast run to McDonalds, a trip to the local music store with teen daughter, and a trip to Old Navy and the mall with teen son. Southern Man picked up a couple pair of jeans for himself and one for teen son for 75% off! How often do you get out of Old Navy with three pairs of jeans for $30? The roads were pretty bad but Southern Man's creaky old Explorer had little difficulty navigating the icy terrain. Southern Man and baby daughter spent most of the rest of the afternoon in front of the fireplace burning his backlog of junk mail one piece at a time, which was a lot of fun. The evening entertainment was bowling, of all things, again with Southern Man's gf and her daughters. All of the kids seemed to have a good time, which was pretty much the point of that particular adventure.

Now all are back in their favorite spots for the evening. Due to the ice storm there's no church tomorrow, so they'll get delivered back to their mom at noonish. Southern Man is scheduled to work at the tax office Sunday afternoon and all stinkin' day Monday (no school Monday, it's the Martin Luther King holiday) but he hopes to skip out on most of that. The tax-prep business has been slow, slow, sloooooow but Southern Man has been assured that this will change rather dramatically in a week or so. Here's hoping for some quality time with gf on Sunday, which will beat the heck out of sitting in that client-free tax office trading lies with the other preparers. And hoping that the tax prep business does in fact make him some money here in the near future...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


For reasons irrelevant to this post, Southern Man was out on the road at 2:00 AM this morning and caught a glimpse of an incredibly spectactular fireball streaking over the city, traveling roughly south-south-east to north-north-west. It left a bright visible trail and seemed to fragment into several pieces just as I lost sight of it behind a building. I don't suppose anyone else saw it too.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Movie and Book Review - Eragon

I'm not going to actually review the new movie Eragon. Instead I'll just recount the plot. There are no spoilers unless you've not actually been to the movies since, say, 1977.

Our story takes place on the remote world of Tatooine Alagaesia, which is ruled by the despotic Emperor Palpatine King Galbotorix. The main character is Luke Skywalker Eragon, a young orphan who lives on a farm with his Uncle Owen Uncle Garrow. Skywalker Eragon stumbles across R2-D2 a dragon egg and brings it to the local mystic, Obi-Wan Kenobi Brom, who was one of the last of the legendary Jedi Knights Dragon Riders. However, Emperor Palpatine King Galbotorix, who was also once a Jedi Knight Dragon Rider but betrayed the order when he sought the throne, sends his minions in search of the missing R2 unit dragon egg as well. Said minion and a squad of stormtroopers Ra'zac trace the R2 egg to Owen's Garrow's farm, burn the house, and murder Owen Garrow and his family. However, Skywalker Eragon and Kenobi Brom escape to the nearby planet town of Mos Eisley Carvahall.

Skywalker Eragon and Kenobi Brom then flee to the planet city of Alderaan Yuzauc, only to find that the Empire had already completely destroyed the planet city and murdered the inhabitants. They continue their journey, during which time Kenobi Brom teaches Skywalker Eragon the ways of the Jedi Knights Dragon Riders, which includes an introduction to the mysteries of the Force the power of mind-touch. Kenobi Brom also gives Skywalker Eragon the lightsaber sword that Kenobi Brom had taken from the fallen Jedi Knight Dragon Rider Darth Vader Morzan after a duel to the death. Of course it will turn out that Darth Vader Morzan is Skywalker's Eragon's father. Kenobi Brom falls in battle but Skywalker Eragon manages to rescue Princess Leia the Elf-Princess Arya from Imperial captivity and they are in turn rescued by the rogue mercenary Han Solo Murtagh. This merry band then seeks to join the Rebellion rebel army, overthrow the evil Emperor King, and restore peace and justice to the galaxy...

Need I go on?

My ex gave me the books Eragon and Eldest for Christmas a year ago. She knows that books like that are right down my alley and it's hardly her fault that they were written by a teen wunderkind and were just awful. There is supposedly a third one coming out to complete the trilogy and I may get it just to see how bad it is. As I recall, in the second book Skywalker Eragon travels to the remote planet Dagobah city of Ellesmera where he is further trained in the Jedi Dragon Rider arts by the ancient Jedi Master Dragon Lord Yoda Oromis, where he learns the shocking truth about his father Darth Vader Morzan and the lightsaber sword he carries...

Resolutions for 2007

'Tis the season to make the obligatory list of New Year's resolutions. One of mine is to select a handful of verses and try to live them out as best I can. One of these is fairly popular this time of year:

And Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature, and found favor with God and man - Luke 2:52

As guided by this verse, Southern Man resolves:

To grow in wisdom as best he can by talking less and listening more;

To grow in knowledge by gaining (and in some cases re-gaining) some semblance of the musical skills he once posessed and by beginning to learn a foreign language;

To grow in stature by continuing his current diet and exercise plan with the dual goals of gaining physical strength and losing the last few pounds that still hang over his belt;

To grow in financial stability by continuing to implement his seven-step plan;

To find favor with his family by finally confronting long-supressed issues from his marriage, by working to rebuild relationships with his children and his ex, and by maintaining good lines of communication with the rest of his extended family.

To find favor with friends both old and new;

To find favor with God through prayer, devotions, study, and church.