Category Archives: Life

Just what it sounds likes – blogs about things going on in my life that might be amusing or of some sort of interest to others

O is for Over-the-Road

O is for over-the-road truck driving, which a used to do.  Being an over-the-road (OTR) or long-haul driver means you drive long distances to make your deliveries.  Driving OTR was a wonderful experience for me.  The money was good, and I saw most of the country with somebody else footing the bill.

Earning my commercial drivers license (CDL) so that I could drive a big truck gave me a great sense of accomplishment.  The driving test was tough.  Not only do you have to know how to drive the tractor/trailer combo forward, you have to be able to back it up and parallel park.  During my time in training, I realized that not everybody is cut out to drive a big rig.

As I get closer to finishing my public history degree, I have some of the same feelings I had while learning to drive truck.  Is this going to work out for me???  There is some trepidation – how I am going to fit in my internship being that I work full-time and can’t just quit my job; will I find a job in the field after I graduate?  But there is also that feeling of accomplishment, that I’ve done something that not everybody to cut out to do.  I’ve come so far and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It is a good feeling.


J is for Jackson, OH

Jackson, Ohio is a town in southeastern Ohio.  This is where my mom’s side of my family is from.

As a child, my brother and I would go to Jackson with our grandparents every summer.  They would take their camper, set it up on family-owned property back in the sticks.  We’d spend a week visiting with relatives and preparing for a big weekend family reunion that took place at the shelter house built by my grandpa and his many brothers.

I am always surprised when I hear somebody mention that they know about Jackson.  The town is small and rural, after all.  The people who know of it either have family from the area or are hunters.  Jackson is a popular spot during deer season.  The men in my family who hunt still go out to cabins in the Jackson area in late Fall to hunt.

I don’t go back to Jackson much anymore.  As our family tree has branched out farther and the older generations have passed away,  the well-organized, yearly family reunions of the past are now few and far between.  It is sort of sad and as I write this, I feel like I should go back sometime soon;  see some of my cousins, snap some photos, and enjoy a town where life seems a little less hectic than the big-city life of Dayton.  I know how I percieve Jackson is probably a lot different from the folks who life there, but those are my memories – fun, relaxing times in a place where urban sprawl hasn’t overtaken natural (at least not yet).

H is for HorrorHound Weekends

HorrorHound Weekend March 2010

Let me preface this entry by stating that I am an admitted nerd.  I enjoy sci-fi and horror movies and TV shows.  I’m aware of off-the-wall, B-grade movies and actors that most people have never heard of.

A couple of years ago I learned that one of my favorite actors, Jeffrey Combs (of the movie Re-Animator, and TV shows like Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Enterpise and The 4400), would be a guest at a horror convention in Indianapolis. The con was being put on my a magazine I had never heard of before, HorrorHound.

Being so close to home, a couple of my friends and I went over on a Sunday to check it out.  I went to meet Mr. Combs and my friend Melissa went to meet Jake Busey.  It was fun and we met other actors, like Dee Wallace Stone (E.T), Jason Mewes (Jay, of Jay & Silent Bob fame),  character actor Dick Miller and more.  A lot of these actors are people you would probably recognize,  even if you don’t know their names.

Melissa and I got hooked on these HorrorHound Weekends (HHW), which occur regularly in Indy (in late March) and Cincinnati (in mid-to-late November).  We usually make a weekend of it, and it is a lot of fun.  There are plenty of vendors selling horror-themed t-shirts, DVDs, and handmade crafts.

Masks of Pres. Obama & Charlie Sheen HHW/Mask-Fest 2011

The Indianapolis HHW includes an event called Mask-Fest.  Here, special effects artists display and sell all sorts of creepy, iconic, and sometimes funny masks.  Both the Cincy and Indy conventions have movie screenings, usually of low-budget, independent films that are going to go straight to DVD, if that.  Some are as bad and cheesy as you might imagine, but some are really good, with interesting story lines and high production values. However,  for whatever reason, a major distributor never picked them up to put out in the theaters.

Me with Malcolm McDowell - HHW Nov 2010

Personally, I’m a fan of classic horror films, such as the Universal Studio monster movies from the 1930s-40s, and the British Hammer Studio films of the 1950s-70s,  starring Peter Cushing and Christoper Lee.  I love watching the different versions of Dracula and Frankenstein that have been put out over the years.  And I enjoy the 80s slasher films, as well.  I like Jason and Freddy okay.  I guess the only horror movies I really have a hard time watching are psychological thrillers, where the events portrayed could happen in real life.  For instance, at one convention we watched a screening of Maniac. This movie is from 1980 and is considered in the horror industry to be a cult-classic.  It’s about a serial killer who scalps his victims.  While the story was actually very good, it’s that type of horror movie that I generally avoid.

HHW is a lot of fun.  The guests and fellow convention goers are generally a lot of fun to meet.  If you are into horror or artsy-special-effects type stuff, this convention might be worth a day or two of your time.

Relay for Life

This is my shameless plug for donations to the American Cancer Society.  It’s a great cause that has special meaning to me.

For the past few years, I have been participating in Relay for Life.  This is the American Cancer Society’s biggest fund-raising event.   Relay takes place in many communities throughout the year.  I walk in the Kettering Relay at Delco Park.  This year it takes place on the weekend of May 14-15.  The goal is to get a team together and have at least one member of your team walking at all times, day and night.  I walk on my friend Paula’s team.  We call ourselves The Lifesavers (like the candy).

Relay for Life holds special meaning for me because I lost my dad and grandma to cancer.   I have an uncle and a friend who are currently fighting the good fight against it.

If you think you would like to donate or just read more about Relay for Life, please check out this link:  Relay for Life Kettering

If you can’t donate or don’t trust the link I have provided, please consider researching this event on your own and perhaps donate money at a later date to the American Cancer Society or other similar charity.  And consider  participating in a Relay for Life event yourself.  It is a very worthwhile cause.