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18th of February

To the Octopus…


Dear Mr/Ms. Octopus roaming inside the tank at the Chattanooga Aquarium:

I imagine you enjoy your time inside the tank. What with all the visitors and pictures and popularity. When we spotted you, I had to take one too. I turned the flash off, because the sign said it could disturb you and I didn’t want to do that. My wife and friend pointed out the toys that you had in the tank with you. We didn’t know you had such an affinity for games. Have you played Marco Polo before? It’s great.

I apologize in advance if you overheard about someone bothering the sturgeons. The sign stating “Only touch them with 2 fingers” wasn’t clearly visible. And no…I did not pick one up out of the water. That is all apart of the rumor mill. The sturgeon didn’t seem to mind anyways.

So…is the water cold? That’s what I really wanted to ask you. With it snowing and sleeting and making Tennessee like a large igloo, I wanted to know if the tank was likewise. Do you know it’s winter here?

If you were roaming the seas would you note the change in the ocean’s temperature from season-to-season?

Sure you would. You’re an octopus. You know things.

I’m sorry about the sturgeon. The openness of the tank makes it too easy to bother them. I’ll know next time what not to do.

Have a nice day in the water. I’ll be in the snow.


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17th of February

Film Trumps Movie.


Clint Eastwood is 84 years old and going strong. I watched American Sniper a few weeks ago and realized just how firm a grip he still has on directing a well-formulated film (true story or not). In the case of American Sniper, he really keeps the viewer engaged from beginning to end.

Another lesser known gem of Eastwood’s is the 1993 film A Perfect World starring Kevin Costner, Eastwood, and Laura Dern. Did you see that one?

It’s the one where Costner, aka Butch, plays an escaped convict that is pursued by Eastwood (Texas ranger) and befriends a boy, Phillip. The tone is amazing, and it is really one of the more overlooked films of the 90s and ultimately Eastwood’s career.

Phillip is a boy with a fairly broken childhood home. Costner is the least likely person (captor) to come along and sweep the boy away…teaching him some life lessons and evading authorities across Texas.

I’ve said too much, but I do think it’s one that you should check out. If you haven’t seen it, it’s one to find SOON. (It might have to be purchased, because I haven’t seen it on Netflix, Redbox, or anywhere digital recently.)

But, suffice it to say, this is one that should be savored. It has an all-star cast, but it also has something which allows it to fall into the ‘film’ category rather than just being another sentimental ‘movie’.

It is what Unforgiven, Gran Torino, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly all were. Films that offered a fresh perspective on universal stories that we’ve all heard. From towns that need a reckoning to good Samaritans standing up to fight for what is right, they all had an amazing storyline with a directorial eye that helped them become something larger than just a 2-hour show.

A Perfect World envisioned a scenario where a convict helped a fatherless boy, but the execution is so much more. Again, I’ve said too much.

What is your ‘film’ you need to go revisit? Maybe there is one that you haven’t discovered yet. I thank Mr. Eastwood for this one.

Thoughts? Nostalgia?

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16th of February

On the rocks.



You ever have a day that didn’t seem to let up?

I do anytime I take the car “in” to get it checked.

Today was one of those days.

A snow day permitted me to take the Jeep in for servicing. I went and did an oil change.

Check mark in the (Win) column correct?

Oh if only the story could stop there. Haha (maniacal laugh)

The option to get the brakes, exhaust, and suspension checked was given by the automotive manager. *I had needed to do this anyways. The exhaust was sputtering, brakes have never ever been changed, and the struts had had issues in the past.*

So I said yes…? And they did this with a follow-up estimate. Suffice it to say that the estimate took my breath away. Albeit the brakes were fine, the exhaust too. But, the struts….man, the struts were the hitch in my giddy-up.

The manager was kind enough to recommend another option. God bless him.

I called Detroit. Yes. The main office for Chrysler.

I was given a case number. I took the case number and somehow managed to get a second opinion from an authorized dealer in the same day. The dealer and Detroit were intertwined in the same conversation. The results…the struts weren’t the central problem. Detroit wouldn’t uphold the case. The service center charged for their inspection as well.

It is, by this point, 5:30pm. My wife is picking me up from their lot and I have to let the car “sit” tomorrow during another potential snow day. The Jeep is inoperable.. Unfit to drive until further action is taken.

The question: what action should be taken? Oh how I love the moments right before an operation. My options at this point are to operate for the price of a kidney or my firstborn, unborn child. I know my wife will not be happy with either option.

Whoever said balancing and saving money was easy obviously never had to maintain a car in the 21st century. All I know is this–I’m happy it’s 6:30pm and the Jeep is parked at our house, as the temperature drops down down down (insert Johnny Cash voice).

I hope and pray your vehicle is working for you today. May your tomorrow be safe, and the weather cooperative. Happy trails!



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15th of February

What’s in a name?


What’s in a name?

Are you happy with yours?

We’ve all got one. Like that quote from the French Taunter in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when he says “We’ve already got one.”

Mine is fairly common. Universal really. Brian. When called aloud in a group of people, 9-12 heads typically turn around.

What about yours? What does your name mean? I try to find significance in it. I’m thankful for mine’s simplicity, but I find the commonality unsettling.

As my wife and I near the possibility of expanding our homestead, I love to think up names that are just plain obscure. She is patient with me; she humors me. Names like Santiago, Ishmael, and Demetri. They are worthy of remembering. Right? I love Magnus, Ludwig, and Apache.

Would you name a kid Helga or Bartholomew? Even with the risk of forthcoming playground fights (and ridicule), I think there’s something exciting about offering a name that is unusual.


then I think about what even the common names stand for. What does yours mean?

I looked ‘Brian’ up. It has its meaning based in Celtic origins with descriptors such as “high” and “noble.” That makes me feel a little better.

I recommend doing some research. Unless you change it, it will be something that follows you around for a lifetime. Sure, I think unusual words are more fun, but I now also think the meaning behind common words can be impactful as well.

Use this site for your own investigating: Let me know if you are happy with the meaning behind your name.




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14th of February

Valentine’s Day!


3 saints are all argued to have played a part in the formation of this national day of pink. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, one was a priest in Rome, the second one was a bishop of Interamna (now Terni, Italy) and the third was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.

Whether St. Valentine (Valentinus) was in love with his jailer’s daughter or not (and left a note that really said, “From your Valentine” before being beheaded) really isn’t the main draw for this holiday. Is it?

We can try to reduce it to sugar, flowers, etc., but there seems to be more here. Although, Hallmark does love the confusion…and pressure that men face in delivering on it.

But at the end of the day there’s this very real need for connection.

I mean, today, I saw hundreds of people walking the streets in downtown Chattanooga holding hands, trying to hold hands, and Dudley Do-Rights taking kids to aquariums and things. It was beautiful and unsettling all at once.

We as humans genuinely crave to be loved. This one day just seems to showcase how great that need is. We don’t want to be left alone. Especially on 2/14. Like musical chairs, we hear the music playing and if it does stop, we don’t want to be without a seat.

So. I took note of the couples that seemed genuinely happy. The ones not trying to hold hands out of obligation or FORCING it. There was one couple that genuinely enjoyed the aquarium it seemed. They didn’t corral one another to take pictures at every exhibit and even seemed to relish in the butterfly garden.

It made me appreciate Saturday (and time with my friends) even more. Valentine’s Day or not–it was pleasant. Seeing that couple just absorb the sights and sounds of a weekend and take delight in being together was refreshing. It helped me to look at my own family’s joy and realize we need 2/14 more than just today.

Additional note: Keebler elves now apparently make Red Velvet fudge-striped cookies as well.


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13th of February

Did you hear?

Hi, awesome reader friend. Fennek

Did you hear?

I guess a better question would be “Did you see?” Like, “Did you see my new webpage?” Yeah. That’s more appropriate. Well, I hope so. You’re staring right at it, if you’re reading this.

Check out this new page.

Compliments of my friend, Mark Love. He’s clever and helpful and resourceful. I told him a week ago about a need for a website, and Voila! 7 days later and here’s a new site. Mark has revamped the old look from yesteryear on WordPress, and I appreciate him for it.


“Did you see this new page?” Pretty killer huh?!

I will try to keep it up-to-date. Like a new car, I want to keep all of the dirt, dust, and bird poo away from the exterior, and it requires a lot of maintenance. May the WordPress one RIP. Here’s to a better 2015 with this one. (I must embrace my inner Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs.)

I’ll try to use it for book updates. Btw, there’s a new project (First-Novel) in the revisionary process right now! I’m nervous about that because…I’ve never written a full-length book before. The story collection from Summer 2014, Baptisms & Dogs, is it thus far. (By the way, there’s a cool giveaway going on over at Goodreads for a signed copy of the book:

Feel free to enter. It’s FREE!

Thank you for checking out this new page. May it be a place you return to, and I’ll try to keep this blog fresh and entertaining for you.

If you have funny tidbits of information, random thoughts, inspirational dialogue, and/or a zany personality feel free to share it on here and message me. I look forward to your participation and enjoyment of this literary, virtual space. As the Foo Fighters once sang, “Keep it Clean,” and we shouldn’t have any hiccups.

The World Wide Web is accessible, even to those of us that aren’t so techy. There. I said it.


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