Saturday, January 31, 2015

Filters and brewers

Filters, but not the ones that keep me quiet.
Brewers, but not the one named David.

Coffee.  The lifeblood of America.  The reason I have to figure out whether you mean 5 fl oz or 8 fl oz when you say "cup."  The favorite method of self-administration of caffeine.  (And Sporting fans should probably boycott Red Bull after New York Red Bull beat SKC in the playoffs this year.)

I tolerate the drink.  I don't like it.  (Sorry, Michael.)

There are those who swear by it, whether in the carafe, or with the green mermaid on the cup, or the place with the lighthouses.  Me, not so much.  It's bitter, I have trouble finding the right mix of creamer and sugar, and the coffeepot dribbles off the front of the lip.  Augh!

And, people have been arguing about coffee temperatures for at least 20 years (Liebeck vs Mc'D's, anyone?).

So, my current method of drinking coffee involves pouring it from the carafe (or whatever you call the pump-operated thermos...thing), filling my cup half full, then topping it off with cold water.  Repeat for total of 2 to 3 styro-cups (or 1 mug, stating "This IS my brilliant career!") for maximum effect.

I like my coffee like I like my boxing opponents: weak and near room temperature.
--Steven Wm. Pratt

Saturday, January 24, 2015


I want to say a lot more than I do say.  (I say that a lot.)

But, I start by thinking about everything I want to say.
Then I think about who *might* read it.  (If I thought about who actually does read it, I'd probably go unfiltered.)
Then I adjust.  I self-censor.  I condense, reduce.  I say less, I hint at less, and I cut entire paragraphs.

And, by the time I'm done, it's a few short paragraphs with dangling thoughts.  Things left unsaid.

Maybe it's a toothpaste thing.  (Easily said, impossible to unsay.)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

God be merciful...

And so I was going to write a post about some conversations.  Conversations in which my choices, my morals were discussed, contrasted with other people I know.   And I'd say that, by the grace of God and the good guidance of my mother, I was taught certain things.

And I was wondering how to phrase it without insulting my ... neighbors.

But, then I thought about how it would sound, and although I didn't know the reference (Luke 18), I knew what it would sound like - the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.  It would sound like, "God, I thank You that I am not like other men", the opening line of the Pharisee's prayer.

But, I remembered how the parable ended, saying that the other man went home justified.

And so, with a dose of humility, I bite my tongue, try to remember that pride is the most dangerous and most insidious of all, and say,

"God, be merciful to me a sinner!"

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I'm getting angrier.  Frustrations mount in every direction.  And I'm so far down on the totem pole that I can't change a thing.  Just get my job done.  Just do as I'm told, with whatever tools I'm assigned.

I've reached a point where my smarts and my skills and my opinions don't matter a damn.  No one cares.  I'm tired of multiplying numbers as a parlor trick, except I can't tell him no.  I'm tired of looking over job descriptions and thinking, "I'd rather be shopping."  (And I hate shopping with every fiber of my being.)  I'm tired of being told to shut off my brain.  I'm tired of having every idea I suggest get shot down.  Rock Port.  Madison.  Bentonville.  The other one.

I'm tired of having so much to say, but by the time my filters kick in, it's "go sports team", "happy birthday", or "cute baby."  If you ever see me uncensored, you'll say like the friend on Mitchell, "quiet Steven wrote that?"

I'm tired of being so cynical.  I can poke a thousand holes, but I'd rather be building an ironclad boat.  If I ever had time.

I'm tired of fighting the bottom line.  There's a few tech luxuries I'd like.  A second vehicle would make my life easier.

Dominoes and Destiny

Like clockwork, at midnight and two and five in the morning.  The cashier at the south side of the table.  His uncle at the east.  Used to do maintenance, but got moved to frozen.  The other guy from frozen at the west side of the table.  And I had the north seat.
Double six dominoes, played very simply.  No points, just draw seven and try not to get stuck with a double in your hand.
We even had nicknames for each other.  The cashier was "blueberry", from the blue single dot for 1.  The frozen guy was "pineapple", because he once had 5 6's in his hand and managed to turn it into a winning hand. Blueberry's uncle was "dohch", which I assume means blank.  I speak no Spanish.  When we started playing dominoes a few months ago during break and lunch, he had a streak of getting the double-blank.  We even named the domino after him.  And I was cardboard.  The four dots were brown in a square, kinda like a cardboard box.  And, most often, my job these days involves collecting and crushing cardboard.

Saturday night.  No blueberry.  No dohch.

With various rumors going around, I finally found out around midshift that "dohch" had died.  He was only 42.

"It wasn't shocking.  Licking a nine-volt is shocking.  This was ... I have no words for it."
- cardboard to the overnight genius,
the night after we found out.

As is common after sudden deaths like this, we're left contemplating the nature of this brief life.  The usual cliches come to mind.  The questions as to whether we have a pre-set appointment with the Reaper.

"What's his name this time?  Grimulun?"  "No, just Grimm."
 - Jimmy Barclay and Nagel
- someone to watch over me, adventures in odyssey

There's enough free will and random events in the world, that I don't think we necessarily have an expiration date.  There's so much bacon, scotch, cigarettes, and recalled medication, that we are, to an unknown degree, tweaking our own appointment with St. Peter.

But, life is short.  And, #YOLO.

Of course, if I wanted to be depressed for the rest of the day, I'd just ask whether anyone would ...

Rest in peace, "dohch."