Friday, July 10, 2009

The Road to Jericho

At lunch I stopped at the local Racetrack to get some gas. I was using cash so I went inside. There were three people in front of me, and the first was an old lady buying scratch-off lottery cards. I have a bad attitude about lotteries in the first place, so it was especially frustrating to watch her buy 2 cards, pay with cash, wait for change, then pause for 10 seconds and decide to buy 2 more of another kind as well, pay with cash, wait for change, then I kid you not, repeat the entire process one last time.

She's finally out of the way, and the next person in line is a much younger woman with a European accent. She starts explaining to the cashier that she pulled her car up to get gas, but forgot that the gas cap was on the other side, and the hose won't reach. Apparently she coasted up, because now her car won't start.

The lady at the register, being the typical lady at the register at a cheap ass gas station, looks at her like she's crazy and says "well what you want me to do about it?"

"Do you have a can or something I can put a little gas in?"

"No. You can buy one of those gas cans on the shelf there."

"Can I borrow one for a minute?"

"No, but you can buy one!"

At this point I spoke up, loudly I might add, and said "she's not going to help you! I'll push the car back closer to the pump. Put me down for ten dollars on pump 8," and I threw my 10 dollar bill at her. Of course the cashier is looking at me like I'm the jackass at this point.

We walked out to the pump, and by this point there's a small crowd of women gathered around the car, asking if she found a bottle or something. I tried to pull the hose over the car, and it was lacking about a foot. So I had her put the car in neutral and shoved it backwards and "voila!" the problem was solved. I went back to my car, pumped my gas, and drove by to make sure she was OK on my way out.

I can understand having a crappy, low paying job, and feeling bad about it. I've had those jobs myself in the past, but I still didn't use it as an excuse to treat people like crap. I reserve that treatment for people like the cashier.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Poker Night

So I played Texas Hold'em tonight for the first time since I stopped working in Atlanta about four years ago. It was hosted by songwriter extraordinaire Ashley Gorley and involved about 15 hairy apes sitting in his basement eating wings and slurping down Diet Pepsi's. This was tame poker since it was mostly people from church and Sunday school class.

I didn't get many cards going my way, and when I did I badly overplayed them. At one point I hit a straight on the flop and pushed in 500 on a pot that was about 200 at the time. Jimmy almost called it, but in the end it was too big of a push and he folded. That was pretty much the highlight of my night as far as hands go. I busted out on an A6, going all in just before the river card, looking for an Ace but Daniel on my right had a straight the whole time.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Tuesday at the Waterfalls

Jack's been asking me to go fishing again since the last time we went. We were going to go on Monday, but he ended up going to visit some church friends with Marissa. I promised him we would go fishing yesterday morning when we woke up, so I got home about 5:30 yesterday and after a quick taco dinner we jumped in the car and drove to the dam.

Since I wasn't so rushed this time, I planned ahead a little and we parked on the west end of the dam at the greenway trail-head this time. That means the sun was setting behind us as we faced the water, which removed the squinting that made the last trip a bit annoying. It also made it a lot cooler since the embankment is steep enough that we were sitting in the shade, and the breeze off the lake and the water coming down the spillways made it probably 10 degrees cooler down there.

As we walked across the field between the parking lot and the river, I had my fishing pole and the sack with the worms in it in one hand, and Jack grabbed my other hand. I couldn't help it. I started whistling the theme from Andy Griffith. Jack even threw a rock in the water when we got down to it.

So we picked out a big rock right on the edge of the water and put a worm on the hook. Jack told me that he likes worms now, but he still doesn't want to touch one. After a few casts, I found a spot where they were hitting the bait pretty good, so we proceeded to feed several worms to them before we got one to finally stay on the hook.

I let Jack reel the first fish in, but the reel was just clicking the whole time, so I took over and managed to bring it in. It was a really big bream, longer than my hand and thicker than my hand too. My cheap Walmart pole was bent nearly double trying to pull it out of the water. I was going to throw it back, but a guy walking by with a bucket asked me if he could have it so I let him take it.

After that we quickly caught a much smaller bream. As I threw him back in the water, the hook with a little bit of worm left on it dipped down into the water in front of us. When I pulled it out, there was a really tiny bream attached to it. I guess it was hiding beneath the rock we were sitting on and made it's move when it saw the worm. It was about 2.5 inches long at the most. At that point Jack decided that he like the little fish better than the big fish. I have to admit that the first bream was a little scary looking.

As the sun started setting, the fish stopped biting. We sat there on the rock for a while though, watching the bobber drift along in the current. There was no traffic sounds, no cell phones ringing, and even the planes flying overhead were way off to the north so we couldn't hear them. The only sound was the water coming down from the spillways and a dog barking on the other side of the river while it was playing with another child. Jack started getting tired and put his head down on my lap and we sat there just watching the river flow by.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fishing : Day 2

We spent another afternoon at the Percy Priest dam fishing today after we went and bought a $12.00 rig at Walmart. I also bought a container of nightcrawlers after doing some research on the web about what to fish with on the Stones River.

They were definitely striking it a lot more today. I found a nice little spot where every time I let the bait drift through they'd start hitting it. They stole the worm about 10 times in a row before we finally got one on the hook.

Yep, we got our first fish! It was a bream that was a little smaller than my hand. We let it go and a few minutes later I got a small bass that had blue stripes between the gills and the eyes. A few minutes after that I caught a slightly larger bass that had more of a yellow color to him.

We moved on up closer to the dam and didn't catch anything after that, but it was a good day even thought it was really, really hot. Next time we're taking a cooler and more water.

Fishing Misadventures

I got a wild hair to take Jack fishing yesterday. The only problem was that I had absolutely no fishing gear anymore. I got home from work at about 5:15 and got Jack loaded up and out the door about 5:30. First we headed over to Poppy's house since he had told us over the weekend he might have a fishing rod and reel down in his basement. He was home and after digging around in a corner, he pulled out two old looking rods and handed them to us.

One was the kind with the thumb button that I'm more used to, and the other was the kind where the metal bar is pushed over to reel the line in. Neither was in very good shape, so I went with the one that was more familiar to me. So now I had a rod and reel, but it didn't have a hook or weights or anything on it.

So our next stop was the small convenience store next to the house that recently opened. I knew they had live bait, so I was hoping they might have a few hooks and basic gear. Unfortunately, they only had bait, so we left there headed to the place that is on my short list of most hated places on the planet. Yes. We went to Walmart.

For some reason the lot was fairly empty, and we we got inside I discovered why. They're remodeling the Hermitage Walmart, so a lot of the stuff inside is missing. We headed back to the fishing area and bought a small quantity of #4 hooks and a couple of bright orange bobbers, which Jack immediately became enamored of. Then I started looking around for some bait.

I had my mind set on getting some crickets. I'm not sure why or even how well they'd work on the Stones River, which is where we were planning to go. As I wandered around a bit, I finally saw an employee standing there with his hands on his hips.

"Do you guys sell crickets," I asked?

"Nope. We sure don't."

"Really? I could have sworn I've seen crickets in here before. Do you know where I can get any around here?"

"Nope. I have no clue."

At this point he walks off and disappears down an aisle. I walk around a corner and there's the Walmart cricket cage, tucked off to one side of the sporting goods counter. I looked around angrily for a minute, but of course I saw no sign of the oh so helpful Wally World Idget. The cage was empty anyway.

We paid for the hooks and bobbers and drove back to the house. I remembered I didn't have a license yet. I bought a Davidson County license online for 8 bucks and printed it out and put it in my wallet. Now we just needed bait. By this point it was a little after 7, so we were running out of daylight.

We drove back to the Circle B by the house and checked out their live bait situation. I told Jack we needed worms so he assumed I meant gummy worms and immediately ran over to that section to check them out and make a selection. The store had a few containers of nightcrawlers for about $2.50, and a smaller container of what looked like grubs for about a buck twenty-nine. I went with the cheaper option, grabbed a Diet Coke, and finally headed for the dam.

We got to the parking lot at the foot of the dam about 7:30. Jack calls it "The Waterfalls" because he thinks "dam" is a bad word and shouldn't say it. All four flood gates were open yesterday, so it did look like waterfalls. We headed down to the water and I put a hook on the line with the knot that I remembered my Uncle Sammy teaching me about 35 years ago. Then I put a bobber on and pulled out the bait.

Honestly, I wasn't really sure what these things were at the time. I thought they were grubs or something but they looked and felt more like centipedes since they had lots of legs. I finally found them online and they were mealworms, which are beetle larvae. I put one on a hook and went to cast it.

That's when I found out how bad of shape this old rod and reel were. The line wouldn't come out smooth so it was almost hopeless to try to cast it. It also only had about 25 feet of line left in it. So I ended up using it basically like an old cane pole and throwing it out as far as I could. Apparently the spot we chose was in an eddy, since the bait would drift upstream and back to the shore in about two minutes each time.

At this point though, I was just glad to actually be fishing. I let Jack hold it most of the time, but he has a hard time standing still so the bobber would wind up heading back towards us even faster. He also discovered that it's much more fun to throw rocks in the water than to stand there watching a bobber. Still, he had fun and wants to do it again.

No one seemed to be catching many fish that I could see. Two Mexican guys were sitting about 35 feet down the bank from us, and one of them was fishing with just a hook on a line wrapped around a plastic bottle. He pulled in a bass that was longer than my hand at least. It was a pretty fish. A few minutes later he pulled in a very small bream.

After about a half hour of watching the bobber drift back and forth, we loaded back up in the car and headed home just as it was getting dark. Our next step is to get on of the 12 dollar rod and reels from Wally World so we can actually cast out into the channel a bit. I put the remaining mealworms next to the turtle at home and when Marissa came home I said "Don't look at it!" It was too late though, she already had.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Gym Weirdness

I'm at the gym at lunch earlier this week, and it's pretty quiet in the workout area. I also forgot to bring my iPod so I'm stuck with the overhead music. As I climb into the first machine it's playing "Let My Love Open The Door" by Pete Townshend. I've always enjoyed the song, so this isn't too bad.

As I switch machines, the next song is "Let's Get Physical" by Olivia Newton John. I never really liked this song, but it's obvious the station they're playing today is doing an early 80's set. At this point one of the Y employees walks by shaking her head and says "they're playing some really weird music today."

Now this struck me as odd, since she looked to be about my age or maybe slightly older. It's harder for me to tell which women are my age now, since as an old boss once told me "once you get past 40, men start looking more and more like Sean Connery. Unfortunately, so do the women."

She walks by again and actually looks at me and says "isn't this weird music?" I finished my set and replied "well, not really. It's just 80's stuff."

"Is it really? Well, 80's music was never really very good in the first place I guess." Then she finally walked away.

About a minute later, "Mony, Mony" by Billy Idol comes on. Ok, so it's an 80's set, not just an early 80's set. Here comes the lady walking by me again, carrying a load of machine wipe-down towels.

"Well, finally they're back to playing more 50's music," she said with a huge smile.

At this point, I finally became a bit exasperated with her.

"50's? It's Billy Idol!"

"Really? Huh." At this point she finally walks off for good.

* Yes, I know "Mony Mony" was originally released in 1968 by The Shondells, but that's a long way from being the 50's.

Monday, June 15, 2009

White Dirt

On the way back from Mexico Beach to Columbiana late this past Saturday afternoon, we stopped at a small service station somewhere between Troy and Montgomery to let everyone relieve themselves and grab a drink. As I was at the counter paying for our stuff, I noticed off to one side a box full of small bags that appeared to have white sand in them. Each bag had a cardboard label on the top which simply said "White Dirt."

"What is this," I asked the lady at the counter as I picked up a bag of it. It had the consistency of slightly wet clay.

"It's White Dirt. People eat it," said the lady.

"So it's like a sugar candy?"

"Naw, it's dirt, with like clay or something in it."

I wasn't really sure how to take this, so I set the bag back down in the box and finished paying. After I got back home of course, I immediately set out to find out more about it via Google.

Apparently White Dirt is just Kaolin sold in powdered form. It's pretty similar to what you'd find in Rolaids or Kaopectate. You can even order White Dirt online if you want to. Most of it seems to come from Georgia. I wonder why Wilfred never told us about it while he was living it up down there?

Blog Format

I'm playing around with the formatting of the blog. I like this one so far. I was getting tired of everything being squeezed into 640 pixels across. I've also relaxed the restrictions on the comments, so anything posted by Heff may be offensive, but what are you gonna do with your best friends? I visited one in the graveyard yesterday, so now I guess I'm feeling all sentimental, at least until the first time Anita or Cleetus show up.

Heff tells Hatch a secret about Wilfred and Big Bill.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hatch The Mentalist

This past Wednesday night I was sitting on the pier in Mexico Beach, drinking a Steel 221 and helping the local fish by allowing them to gently eat shrimp off my hook at no danger to themselves.

Two young kids start talking to me while I'm sitting there fishing. They're about 8 or 9 years old and one is a real talker. Here's a sample of our conversation.

Kid: What bait are you using?
Hatch: Shrimp.
Kid: Did you try casting it further out?
Hatch: Yep.
Kid: Maybe you should just drop it straight down.
Hatch: I could try that. I don't want the fish to have to move around too much for the free shrimp, though.
Kid: Are they hitting it now?
Hatch: Nope.
Kid: What about now?
Hatch: Nope.
Kid: Wha..
Hatch: Nope.

The other kid, who was his cousin, was a little older and seemed to be horrified that his relative was talking so much and acting like a little kid. At some point they mentioned they were from South Carolina and the talkative one filled me in on all the important fishing going on there at their farm. Eventually they left and I returned to sipping my 221 and watching the end of the rod jump around as the fish below the pier enjoyed their shrimp buffet. It was an excellent evening.

The next night, I was walking down the pier to see how the fishing was going for my uncle Johnny, and about half way down I see the same two kids again, this time with a man who is obviously the talkative one's father. I gave a nod to the father and said "look at these South Carolina boys out on the pier tonight."

The man gave me an extremely startled look and quickly glanced down at his shirt and at the two boys before looking at me with wide eyes and saying "Are you a mentalist or something?"

Thursday, June 04, 2009

My Summer Vacation Reading List

Purchased this afternoon from Book Man/Book Woman in Hillsboro Village.

The Goblin Tower by L. Sprague de Camp

Continues a semi-tradition of reading Conan-esque books at the beach.

The Road to Damascus by John Ringo and Linda Evans

I'm pretty sure I read some Bolo books a long, long time ago. I think I even played a game based on it on my old Apple //e.

Stardrift by John Morissey

I just took a complete chance on this one since it was old (published 1973) and the blurb on the back caught my eye.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How Badly?

This past Monday I went to the barbershop in Donelson at lunch where I've been going to get my hair cut for several years now. I've noticed over the years that some of the most interesting conversations often happen in barber shops. This isn't usually the case for me at this particular shop since my barber, Abe, is the only one there on Mondays and it's usually pretty slow. Still, Abe and I have had some great political discussions this past year since he's a die hard liberal and I am a Mojo Nixon Libertarian.

On Monday, however, there was already someone in the chair and another man was waiting. I walked in just ahead of an older lady, who appeared to be in her late sixties. She was a talker, and everyone in the shop was soon talking about the GM Bankruptcy, the Chrysler Bankruptcy, etc. Various other topics were discussed that I've already forgotten, but soon after I got in the chair the lady behind me started complaining about how "the kids today don't have a clue how to use adverbs correctly. They say 'I want that so bad' instead of 'I want that so badly.'"

While she was talking I quickly tried to think whether I tend to do this myself. Honestly, I don't know. I don't think I tend to leave the -ly off adverbs, at least in what I write, but when I talk to people I'm not sure.

Later in the day I saw the promo spot for the new Project Natal for the X-Box 360. Wow. If it works as well as its shown in these demos this looks like one of the most massive leaps forward in gaming technology I've ever seen. I want one bad. (Just making sure you were paying attention there.)

This led me to the idea that soon it wouldn't be a problem to use a small voice recognition device to record everything I say during the day, then perform real time analysis on it. So if the device heard me dropping the -ly off adverbs it could give me a small buzz. Or it could generate a running score each week so I could compare my grammar score with my friends.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not really one of those people that thinks it's horrible that people drop the suffix off their adverbs. Languages are meant to evolve and in this case I think it's probably too late to save the adverbs from being abused. I just find it very interesting to think about how technology is going to converge into real life in the near future.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Ms. Mamie is Retiring

Back in 2000, my friend Dave Satterfield and I walked into City Cafe in Northport at about 4am for breakfast. It had been five years or so since I had eaten there, and several years for Dave. Both of us had eaten breakfast there several times a week when we were in college; me in the late 80's and Dave in the mid 90's.

As we walked in the door of the restaurant, Ms. Mamie looked at us, put her hands on her hips and exclaimed "where have you two been?" We sat down in a booth and she walked up with her pad in her hand and her huge smile.

She looked at Dave and said "two cheeseburgers, double fries." Dave just nodded in astonishment.

She looked at me and thought about it for a few seconds. "Three egg western omelet with extra biscuits."

At this point, both of us probably had our jaws open in amazement. This is not a sleepy little restaurant we're talking about. They probably feed a thousand people or more every day, so the fact that she remembered us from so long ago and what we liked to eat was just amazing. Ms. Mamie is just one of the many reasons that City Cafe will always be a special place for myself and many of my friends. I honestly don't think there's better Southern Food served anywhere else, and I judge all Meat and Threes by the City Cafe standard. So far none have made the grade.

Ms. Mamie left City Cafe several years ago, and now I've heard this week that she's retiring. I wish I could make it down there to help send her off, but life as usual is too busy for me to get away.

I was surprised to hear about the great sadness in her life that brought her to Northport and City Cafe just before I started attending the University and eating there. She never let it show or told us about it. She's one of those great Southern ladies that just carry on and don't let things get them down and never complain about anything. I love you Ms. Mamie and hope the rest of your life is filled with happiness and success.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Truth in Humor

How sad is it that the most sane and honest commentary on the financial situation is coming from a comedy show on a comedy network. Here's the latest example.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hatch Follies

So earlier this week, I wake up and groggily make my way towards the basement to weigh myself on the Wii Fit. I've been watching what I eat and exercising a lot this month, and part of my daily habit has been to weigh myself every morning on the Wii instead of doing a D.B.A.N.

So I hit the basement steps, which have recently been re-carpeted. We have a bad habit of leaving items laying on the steps, so about 3 steps down my left foot slips on something and I went down like a ton of bricks. My left hip hit right on the edge of a step, right on the butt crease. My left elbow also hit about the same time, and then I slid down about 4 steps, coming to rest about half way down.

I let out a really loud groan and just lay there for a minute in a good bit of pain. Marissa comes running up to the top of the steps and looks at me through the curtain at the top.

"Are you dead?"

"Nooooo. Groan."

"Are you hurt bad?"

"Noooo. I don't think so."

"Oh good! I can start laughing now!" She then proceeded to do so.

I got up and hobbled over to the basement couch for a few minutes to let everything stop hurting. As I was weighing myself, Tori came out of her room in the basement.

"What was that loud thud?"


Then she started laughing since Marissa had made her way partly down the steps to continue talking about it. At this point they noticed that my left ass cheek was rug-burned from the hip down to about halfway to the knee. This produced even more laughter. My left elbow was similarly marked.

The final insult to the injury was when I asked Jackson, "you don't think it's funny do you?"

"No Daddy, me think it's funny too!"