Southern Man

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Long-time readers (all three of you) may recall that Southern Man has ten acres of land out north of the Big City. He's got a barn / workshop out there (but no electricity, yet) and still plans to build a home there, some day. It's a quiet, peaceful place and Southern Man doesn't get out there nearly often enough.

Well, he was out there a few weeks ago to look at the sad state of the barn roof (needs a new one) and it occurred to him that he may have left his big extension ladder leaning against the side of the barn rather than back inside where it belonged. Once remembered, this is just the sort of thing that keeps Southern Man up nights, so after his evening class he headed out north to check on the state of things out at The Land.

Southern Man's senior moments occur more and more frequently, but he managed to escape one a few weeks ago. Verifying this was not particularly easy - no electricity means no lights and by then it was pitch black inside - but Southern Man has a spotlight in the truck and managed to get enough light into the barn to confirm that the ladder was right where it belonged. With mission accomplished, Southern Man just sat outside and relaxed and thought about things and looked at the stars for a while, then hopped back into the truck to head home. Alas, while rounding the barn he was paying too much attention to the radio and not enough to his driving and got just a little to close to his junkpile - and clipped a bundle of old rusty barbed wire.

Well, Southern Man got the truck stopped and crawled underneath with the spotlight - still in jacket and tie, mind you - to find that the barbed wire was everywhere. And he does mean everywhere. Especially wrapped all around the driveshaft. That truck wasn't going anywhere for a while.

Southern Man took note that the neighbors were home, but had no intention of going for help right then. Fortunately, that barn was full of tools. Oops - did Southern Man mention the lack of electricity and lights? I believe that he did. However, Southern Man keeps a few old oil lamps around, so after several moments of fumbling around in the dark he managed to locate both a lamp and a lighter, and there was light. A sputtery oil lamp light, in a barn packed full of cardboard boxes full of books and papers, but light nonetheless. So Southern Man stumbled around a bit, fully aware that if he tripped in all the clutter and dropped that lamp he would lose the entire barn, and finally found a pair of pliers and then a big 'ole pair of bolt cutters. With tools in hand, Southern Man headed out to lock the barn and untangle his truck.

Then he couldn't find his barn keys.

After a good twenty minutes with that sputtery oil lamp looking for them, he finally found them right where he had put them. Senior moment, anyone? At home, Southern Man is actully pretty careful to put things in the same place every evening or he does end up spending inordinate amounts of time looking for them 'next morning.

With keys found and the barn secured, the next hour or so was spent under the truck with the spotlight and the tools, nibbling away at all that twisted up rusty barbed wire. Especially where it was all wound up in the gap where the driveshaft meets the differential. Let's just say that Southern Man took a number of breaks to lie on his back and look at the stars for a bit before diving back into that particular problem. But finally the task was done. The back of Southern Man's truck may be full of six-inch lengths of barbed wire, but none remained underneath. With tools stowed away, it was time to head home but first Southern Man decided to see if he'd had any calls.

And couldn't find his cell phone.

He'd had it earlier and after searching the truck cabin from stem to stern about a dozen times he knew that it had to be somewhere in the dark, grassy fields or in that dark, cluttered barn...but where? Did it fall out of his pocket while he was under the truck? Or near the barn? Or anywhere in between?

After a fruitless half-hour driving slowly around with that corded spotlight, the idea of seeking help from the neighbors was looking better and better so Southern Man headed that way. Sure enough, she was perfectly happy to loan him a cell phone and a nice bright lantern. While everyone knows that the best way to find a lost cell phone is to call it from another cell phone, Southern Man didn't have much hope; his usually doesn't get much of a signal way out there in the boonies and most of the time he has to go upstairs to make a call. However, he slowly walked around with the lantern and called his number a few times - and the third call was the charm. The phone that was lost was found again, literally right under his feet, and nowhere near where he thought he'd lost it.

And the best part was that while on the way home Southern Man's gf called to say "Hey, meet us at Mazzios" so he got to eat pizza and tell this story to her and friends.

Southern Man has said this before (particularly in this old post) but when he has bad luck it tends to be "good" bad luck as opposed to "bad" bad luck. Sure, it was a mess tonight but everything ended well; the truck is fine and the lost keys and lost phone were found, and he ended up with an entertaining story to tell friends and something to blog about - having not burned his barn down or even suffered so much as a flat tire. God certainly does watch after Southern Man, in ways both small and large. Lord, I thank you for Your watchful presence over me. You know when even a single sparrow falls, so how You must watch over me in matters both great and small. I pray that you would continue to guide my steps and shine a light before me, that I might follow the new path that You have set for me. Amen.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Peaceful Moment

There's lots of storm in Southern Man's life right now, but while slogging through paperwork at the office this afternoon he paid a visit to the website of Steven Cravis, one of his favorite modern piano composers. Cravis supplies the music for several of Ferry Halim's games at Much to the delight of Southern Man, Steven's site is streaming a lot of his wonderful piano music and for whatever reason he finds that most soothing today. So take a break and click on either of these links...and if you buy any of Steven's music, let him know that Southern Man sent ya...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Movie Review: Bridge to Terabithia

For whatever reason, Southern Man missed out on the Newberry-medal-wining 1977 book by Katherine Paterson (being deeply into the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and similar works at the time) and the 1985 PBS movie but was intrigued by the previews and buzz and the excitement expressed by Youngest Daughter when it was mentioned as a possible movie for the evening, so it was off to the new adaptation of Bridge to Terabithia at the local megaplex for the evening entertainment.

It's quite a good film. The special effects are (for the most part) sparse and subtle. The acting is outstanding all around. The depiction of the horrors of junior high school are particularly penetrating. Other reviewers assure Southern Man that it's quite faithful to the book. Southern Man has an admittedly low dew point, but his were by no means the only moist eyes in the house. It wasn't quite too intense for Youngest Daughter, but only because some of the heavier emotional content probably was a little over her head. See this one in theatres if you can.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

Southern Man had a Valentine's Day that was darn near perfect. He's pretty sure that gf agrees. Hope your Valentine's Day was great too!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Movie Review - Happily Never After

Since Southern Man has a seven-and-a-half-year-old girl, silly animated movies like Happily Never After are an inveitable part of his life. Sure, he didn't expect much but thinks that the Tomatometer was far too unkind to this one. It's cute and clever and throws one-liners with abandon - and any movie that quotes from Veggie Tales is going to be all right with him.

What won it over for Southern Man was the voice talent. And I'm not talking about George Carlin as the Wizard, either; he was only on screen for a couple of minutes and wasn't really all that funny. Southern Man was just absolutely delighted to hear Wallace Shawn (Rex from the Toy Story movies and the Ferengi Grand Nagus Zek from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) as one of the Wizard's sidekicks. And Southern Man bets that he was the only man in the theatre (which was just about true anyway) that recognized the voice of one (or perhaps two) of the Seven Dwarves as General Grievous from Star Wars III. For whatever reason, that just made the movie a lot more fun for a Star Trek / Star Wars geek. Southern Man had never heard of Jill Talley (voice of the Wicked Stepmother) before now but he bets she goes far.

So forget the reviews; if you have kids or grandkids or nieces or whatever and get dragged to this one, just sit back and enjoy it.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Hockey Night In Oklahoma

Southern Man got a call from the tax office on Thursday afternoon - we don't need you to come in tomorrow night after all. He has his little daughter this weekend but, thinking he had to work, had already arranged for Grandma to watch her on Friday night. He can't take it back 'cause she already knows and you don't take a girl away from her grandma (or a grandma away from her grandbaby) without good reason - so Southern Man has a totally unexpected Friday evening off.

So what is Southern Man going to do with this unexpected gift of time? Scrub his highly unsanitary kitchen? Catch up on several weeks worth of laundry? Start on the long-needed garage cleanup? Play computer games? Sleep?

Heck, no. He's going to call his gf and see if she wants to go out on the town.

She does, so now for something to do. Something unexpected, something fun - but what? Then his email chirps and the message says "Free Hockey Tickets." Southern Man is all about "free" so he nabs a pair - and he and gf find themselves at the local arena for what will be his very first (and only her second) appearance at a professional (well, CHL anyway) hockey match.

And it was great fun! This was, lessee here, our fourth date at this particular arena (preceeded two concerts and a pro basketball game) so we knew our way around (translation: knew where to get good 'ritas) and felt quite at home there. Southern Man's home university was one of the sponsors of the evening (thus the free tickets) and the university provided a fair bit of the entertainment. There was a surprisingly large and active crowd and lots of fun stuff on (and off) the ice during time-outs and between periods and such. The home team went up 3-0 in the first period and held on to win 5-2 and it was great to see a victory after the heartbreaking loss at the basketball game last month. Actually it was a bit surprising, considering the large number of penalties they had; it seemed that one of the home team was pretty much always in the penalty box. Fortunately our opponents could never do much of anything with their numerous power plays. And of course there were several good fights. What's a hockey match without fights?

And then we had a nice dinner at Chilis and the evening ended all too soon. But Valentine's day is coming up soon...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Karaoke Night!

Southern Man doesn't get his kids this weekend, so he plans to hit the tax office as soon as he is done at his day job and work their every hour they're open until Sunday at five, when we'll close and scatter to our various Super Bowl parties. Business is warming up and we are fairly busy. And then at eight-ish gf calls - her brother is in town to spend the night for a weekend wrestling tournament, and dodoes Southern Man want to go out with them that night after the tourney winds down for the evening?

Well, sure he does.

So we ended up at a local dive called Don Quixotes - big, filled with smoke, and with a small stage at one end and a dj on the side. Now, Karaoke is not something that Southern Man has ever done before and wasn't quite sure how it would go but both gf and her brother were rarin' to go. They both got their turn faily quickly. Bro belted out a Hank Williams Jr. tune ("All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight") and gf followed with Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me." Both are talented singers and got plenty of applause. But they couldn't get me up there; Southern Man may occasionally join a medium-sized ensemble but he doesn't have much of a singing voice. Besides, he was still in his geeky jacket and tie from work. Besides that, the Karaoke books only came in two flavors - country and pop - and there wasn't that much in there that he knew anyway. But perhaps he will try it again someday. Bro wants us to go up to his hometown and try some of the places there, and I suppose we will some day.

So Southern Man finally fell into bed at three-ish with the alarm set for six. Tomorrow may prove to be a long, long day...