Thursday, August 15, 2019

Sleep Cycles

One of the things that may change here thanks to my impending retirement is that I will attempt, after nearly 20 years, to sleep in until at least sunrise.  That may take some work.

The two questions I usually get about my sleep pattern is “What started it?” and “What time do you usually go to bed?”

What started it was when I lived in Albuquerque, the gym I went to opened at 5.  I would get up, walk Sam, go to the gym for an hour, come home, shower, and go to work, usually getting to the office at 7 or so.  When I moved to Miami in 2001, I stopped going to the gym because A) there wasn’t one within a reasonable distance and B) after 20 years of working out, I wanted to do something else.  My apartment complex had pool, so I swam laps after school.  I lived 30 minutes from the school where I was teaching and I had to get there before the students, which was 7:30.  I had to be up by 4 to get things ready, and while Sam was still alive, spend time exploring the flora around my apartment.

After Sam died and I went to work for the public schools downtown, I still lived 20 miles from the office and Miami’s morning traffic after 6:30 a.m. is a hell of a thing to wake up to.  Also, getting to work before everyone else gave me a chance to catch up on the paperwork that piled up.  It also was nice to be there by myself.  After I moved 12 miles closer to the office it was still easier to get there early.

Then, on November 8, 2003, I started this blog.  That meant getting up early to read through the news, absorb what was interesting (to me, at least), and write something cogent.  That takes up at least an hour or so, and after I moved to Palmetto Bay and was now 17 miles from the office, I had to get up, write, and then drive US 1 and still get to work on time.  That meant getting up when, to quote Col. Sherman T. Potter, even the roosters are comatose.  Even taking the train, which I’ve been doing for almost two years, I still need to be out of the house by 4:15 to get to Dadeland South, get parked, and get on the first train.  (By the way, in doing so I’ve made some friends along the way of the commute.  We’ve agreed to keep in touch; thanks, Derrick, Lee, Gil, Roberto, Cesar, Jim, Mata, Barb, Omar, and Donna.)

The answer to the second question — what time do I go to bed — is easier: when I feel like it, which is usually after 8 but before Rachel Maddow gets to her first commercial break.  I read myself to sleep, which takes about ten minutes, and then I’m out.  Thank Dog for TiVo or I’d have no idea what’s on TV after 8 p.m.

Starting next Tuesday, things will be a little different.  I start a new part-time job after Labor Day and I don’t know the hours yet, but I can’t imagine it will be like my schedule now.  We shall see.  The one thing I can guarantee you is that even if I do wake up at 3 a.m., I won’t be writing much about it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Catching Up

Okay, where was I…?

After being out of town for five days, then throwing in a holiday, I’m so far behind in keeping up that I’m probably going to take a few days to catch up.

But I did have a good time and met some great people, and I’ll be home long enough to put stuff away before taking it out again in preparation for my next adventure.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Jon Swift Memorial Roundup 2018

It’s time for the annual look at the best posts of bloggers as chosen by the bloggers themselves. In the words of Lance Mannion:

Our late and much missed comrade in blogging, journalist and writer Al Weisel, revered and admired across the bandwidth as the “reasonable conservative” blogger Modest Jon Swift, was a champion of the lesser known and little known bloggers working tirelessly in the shadows…

One of his projects was a year-end Blogger Round Up. Al/Jon asked bloggers far and wide, famous and in- and not at all, to submit a link to their favorite post of the past twelve months and then he sorted, compiled, blurbed, hyperlinked and posted them on his popular blog. His round-ups presented readers with a huge banquet table of links to work many of has had missed the first time around and brought those bloggers traffic and, more important, new readers they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed.

My submission was my love note to Allen published last Sunday.  It may not have been the most political or insightful, but it was from the heart and that’s what matters.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Winter Break

My two-week winter break begins today around 1:00 or whenever I decide to leave the office after our holiday luncheon.  Then I’m off until January 7.  I have nothing much planned other than some visits with friends and — I hope — a lot of writing that has been patiently waiting inside my head to get transcribed.

That’s my way of saying that things are going to be a little quieter here at BBWW for the break.  Of course I’ll have my usual Christmas observance and year-end wrap-up and prognostications, but I won’t be getting up at 3 a.m. to do them.  I’m also getting ready for a lot of theatre and car show stuff coming up in 2019, not to mention my looming retirement from Miami-Dade County Public Schools next August, so there’s a lot to look forward to and get ready for.

A lot of blogs and sites use the end of the year as a time to shake the can and ask for donations.  I’ve never done that — at least blatantly — but if you feel the urge, I won’t stop you.  It’s the yellow Donate button on the sidebar.

And what would the break be without a visit from Snowball?  He sends greetings from his retirement villa atop my dresser, but here he is from a few years ago when he was decking the halls.  What a crazy cat.

Tis the season already.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Fifteen Years

Today marks fifteen years since November 8, 2003, when I sat down to set up this blog on Blogger and wrote the first post of Bark Bark Woof Woof.  Back then I was living in a little apartment in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, I was a little over a year into my job with the public schools, and I was in my early fifties, single, and had visions of becoming part of the burgeoning blogosphere and a famous writer.  We were a year away from the 2004 election and outraged at the excesses of the Bush administration and vowing to take our country back from the warmongering and arrogant GOP.  I drove a Mustang convertible and had a Pontiac station wagon in the parking lot awaiting restoration, knowing it would be another ten years before it would be considered old enough to enter in antique car shows.

Well, fifteen years later, I’ve moved twice, changed servers twice, updated the blog from Blogger to WordPress with the invaluable guidance and expertise of my brother, and, according to the stats counter, written over 28,000 posts.  With a few exceptions due to weather and internet access, I’ve written every post and written something (or at least put up something) every day, be it a simple observation — How about those Tigers? — or a long essay on something that strikes me as important and worth sharing, be it marriage equality or nostalgia about leaving my old home town.  Much water has gone under the bridge, but some things have not changed: I still work for the public schools, I still have a Mustang convertible (though not the same one), and I still have the Pontiac, now restored and going to car shows.  And I’m still finding things to wax long or short about, and I’m still getting up at 3 a.m. to look at the world and try to find some way to make sense of it all.

This is the place where I say thank you to you, the reader, for coming here whenever you do and seeing what I’ve put up, and for those of you who comment, a sincere thanks for your support, your guidance, your corrections, and your indulgence.  I’ve gotten to know many of you in real life and I truly appreciate your friendship and support.

By the way, when I started this blog I made a somewhat diligent effort to keep my real name off the pages because I was pretty sure that writing an opinion blog while working for the public schools could cause issues.  Well, I’m less than a year away from retirement, I’ve rarely if ever written about anything to do with my work (and when I have it’s been supportive), and it doesn’t take a crack team of cyberanalysts to figure out who I am.  So I’ll tell you: my real name is Philip Middleton Williams, and if you want to know about my playwriting, you can look me up on the New Play Exchange.  I will still blog under the name Mustang Bobby and credit my alter-ego Bobby Cramer with all the work because he’s still a large part of my creative writing.  He will get his turn on stage next March when “Can’t Live Without You” opens at the Willow Theatre in Boca Raton.

Anyway, fifteen years down and many more to come.  What’s next?

Friday, August 17, 2018

Warning Lights

I learned long ago not to ignore certain warning lights on the dashboard.  Last night the battery light came on while driving home from a car club meeting — ironically, the guest speaker was our trusty mechanic — so this morning the Mustang is going in to see what’s wrong with the electrical system.

Posting will resume when I get back from the shop.

Update: It’s probably the alternator.  I’ll know this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Monday, May 14, 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

Changing Course

According to the log, this is the 27,592nd post written here at Bark Bark Woof Woof since that quiet Saturday afternoon of November 8, 2003.  The number may be a little skewed since a bunch of posts were duplicated when we moved from Blogger to WordPress a few years ago, but even so, it’s over 25,000 posts, almost all of them written by me.  With the exception of time lost during three hurricanes and the occasional power outage, I’ve posted every day since I started.

Like everything, this blog has evolved over the last fourteen-plus years.  I’ve grown in my thinking, gained great insight thanks to reading a lot of other blogs, and learned so much that it’s hard to remember all that we have been through.  I started with a year left in George W. Bush’s first term, confident that he and his minions of warmongering scallywags would be voted out of office in a landslide by Howard Dean and peace and prosperity would be restored.  Then I pinned my hopes on Barack Obama and stood with the liberals as we achieved long-awaited dreams such as healthcare reform and — still can’t believe it — same-sex marriage.  And now it’s all threatened, both in body and spirit, by a criminal vulgarian who is a mockery of every value we stand for.  I’ve stood strong for resistance with a healthy dose of Marxism — as in Groucho — to empower it.

But this blog hasn’t always been about politics, and I’ve shared personal moments of success in my writing, my work, moving to new homes, blooming orchids, cool cars, annoying peacocks, and trips to the Keys, Kansas, and Stratford, Ontario.  I’ve also entertained, energized, reminisced, and educated with daily doses of music, and on occasion a good film clip.  (What can I say, I’m an eclectic guy.  Or scatterbrained, if you prefer.)  I’ve also shared moments of loss and reflection, trying not to be too self-indulgent.  My rule has been, “If I didn’t know me, would I want to read this?”  Most of the time I’ve said yes.  You may disagree.

But I’ve gotten into a routine that I’m not happy with and it’s showing around the edges and creeping into my work.  Rather than forge on and trying to run on fumes, I’m going to be making some changes over the next couple of weeks.  Replace quantity with quality, drop — or cut back on — some things that have outlived their usefulness, and look to delving more into areas that are more in the way of artistic exploration and insight rather than just cut-and-paste comments from another source with a clever headline and a snark button at the end.

As I said, this will be gradual.  The next few weeks will be foreshortened anyway; next Sunday, April 22, I head out for a week to visit my parents and then deliver a paper at the Missouri Self-Taught conference at the University of Missouri.  Two weeks after that I’ll be hosting the scholars conference at the William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence, Kansas, marking my 26th trip to that event.  So my blogging from then until the middle of May was going to be light and variable and this seemed like a good time to take a deep breath and exhale.  So that’s what’s going to be happening.

*

Okay, I know I could have written all of this in one sentence: “I’m changing the way things work here.”  But I thought I owed you at least a little background.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Monday, March 26, 2018

Spring Break

In case you haven’t figured it out from the few hints I’ve been dropping the last few days, I, along with the rest of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, am on spring break until Monday, April 2.

I have a lot of things to do, including some home improvement and writing, so blogging will be on vacation schedule.  Posting will be light and variable.

Meanwhile…

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

Weekend Away

It’s time for the 12th annual Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance weekend, so I’m heading out with friends and family to infiltrate among the rich and famous.


The purpose of this event is to raise money for the Broward County Boys & Girls Clubs, something I think we now need more than ever, so I’m honored to be invited back as a Distinguished Guest Judge.

Things will be a little quiet on this end, though.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Jon Swift Memorial Roundup 2017

It’s time for the annual look at the best posts of bloggers as chosen by the bloggers themselves. In the words of Lance Mannion:

Our late and much missed comrade in blogging, journalist and writer Al Weisel, revered and admired across the bandwidth as the “reasonable conservative” blogger Modest Jon Swift, was a champion of the lesser known and little known bloggers working tirelessly in the shadows…

One of his projects was a year-end Blogger Round Up. Al/Jon asked bloggers far and wide, famous and in- and not at all, to submit a link to their favorite post of the past twelve months and then he sorted, compiled, blurbed, hyperlinked and posted them on his popular blog. His round-ups presented readers with a huge banquet table of links to work many of has had missed the first time around and brought those bloggers traffic and, more important, new readers they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed.

My submission was my rant on David Brooks’s blithe dismissal of a gay couple’s civil rights because “it’s just a cake.”

There’s a lot of good writing included in the roundup, so I suggest that you take your time and look through them.

A big hat-tip to Batocchio at Vagabond Scholar for doing the work to bring it all together.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Winter Break

It’s that time of year again.  School goes into winter break this Friday until January 8, and for me I’ll be taking the time to do a lot of writing and catching up on sleep.  I’ll probably take a day trip down to the Keys, and of course there’s the holiday celebrations with friends.

That means that starting today blogging here will be light and variable.  I’ll be checking in daily and posting my usual holiday remembrances and my annual review and forecast, and of course there will be A Little Night Music.

So have yourself a merry little whatever you do, and enjoy the time off if you get it.

My Christmas tree.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Late Night Late Start

We had the first reading of “All Together Now” with the full cast tonight.  It was great; they are a strong group and I’m really impressed with their instincts and how they treated my words and took hold of the characters.  Kudos all around; I can’t wait to see how it grows.

That said, the reading was 50 miles from here in South Florida traffic and it started about the time I normally go to sleep.  Blogging will be scant until at least lunchtime because I’m not going to try to be cogent with three hours of sleep… like I ever am.

Anyway, see you later.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Fourteen Years

Today marks the fourteenth anniversary of Bark Bark Woof Woof.

It seems like a lifetime ago, and in blogging, fourteen years is a pretty long time.  But so far I haven’t gotten tired of doing this, and so far the world has not yet given up providing me with things to write about.

I will say that while I know I don’t get as many hits in a year as some blogs get in a week, I like to think that while my readership may be small, I attract intelligent and discriminating readers who also appreciate a good joke, a bad pun, and occasional pictures of orchids and old cars.

This blog would still be under the thrall of Blogger without the help of my crack tech support, counselor, and inspiration to greatness, CLWill.  Thank you.

Thanks for being here, thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing your thoughts and giving back as good as I give.

What’s next?