AKA Abraham Bacoln

Part II, Wherein We Find That Part I Has Been Scrapped
August 30, 2006, 10:43 pm
Filed under: tidbit

I just started a complainer-tastic blog post and got about four paragraphs in before I realized I hadn’t even crossed off the top quarter of my list of things to bitch about. I had to remind myself that nobody likes to read the bitchy whiny posts.


So anyway, I started school. If you’re near TTU you’ve probably noticed the pile of dead freshmen accumulating on the South Patio. I’m trying to keep it down to one per class period now but there are so many dumb ones that sometimes I have to do a twofer.

Um um um I’m feeling …

boy, look, this post is going all bitchy too. OH WELL, C’EST LA VIE AND DAMN THE TORPEDOES.

I’m feeling overwhelmed with my life in a bit of chaos and returning to school for the first time in five years. Seems like all of my classes had homework due on the first day of class, homework we couldn’t have known about because we hadn’t attended class yet. I think I spent more hours on homework today than I did my entire sophomore year, and I’m not even done yet. I want an apartment because I’m whiny and “need my own space” and a real desk on which to do homework, but I can’t get an apartment without a job, and I feel overwhelmed with school so I want to procrastinate and wait and see just how many free hours I really have once I’m done with homework and besides I can’t get a job looking like a total dorkus which I TOTALLY DO because I’m trying to grow out my beard for Halloween and whose dumb idea was it that I go as Abraham Lincoln (Bacoln?) again anyway? but so what if I look dumb and I’m all scruffy? It’s not like I’m kissing anyone right now anyway and so I don’t have a job and I don’t have a place and I am TIRED of homework ALREADY and today was only the third day of class.



I think I got that out of my system.

I do, on the positive side, have a whole folder of new photographs to sort through here in a minute, and I do have some wonderful memories from a recent waffle breakfast and another great Monday Night Red Beans N’ Rice at the Thomas Boys House dinner memory, and I’m lining up a Labor Day cookout (which will entail my personal slaves parents doing all the work while I ‘entertain’, ha ha, nefarious plan, rub hands together like evil scientist, cackle madly, lightning in background) to which you’re invited if you live around here, which you probably don’t.

I … uh … I forgot what all the other positive things are, but I’m not going back to complaining, so I guess I’d best stop here, yeah?


Stupid freshmen.

Four things
August 23, 2006, 4:14 pm
Filed under: photography, tidbit

Looks like there’s no general consensus yet to the Kevin’s hair – grow or no debate. I need more opinions.

This morning I went to a friend’s workplace (or more accurately, her parents’ workplace) and did what I guess would be regarded as a professional photo shoot for their business. It wasn’t professional, though, because I did it for free. Well, that’s not true – I gained a whole lot of experience regarding the whole thing, and that’s why I didn’t feel I should charge ’em. Next time, though. Oh! And it turns out I totally can entertain a large crowd of employees standing around waiting for the group picture. Who’da thunkit? Me? Outgoing and jovial and wisecracking? Anyway, for now I’m going to ignore the experience aspect and pretend this was another altruistic deed.

Finally, I stepped out on the porch today and I could smell fall in the air. I haven’t smelled a Tennessee fall coming for years now. It’s not here yet by any means, but it’s on the way. I couldn’t be more excited.


Three things
August 22, 2006, 2:04 pm
Filed under: tidbit

I’ve been thinking lately. Dangerous habit, I know.

Altruism: the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others

I am aware that you know the definition of altruism but I think the dictionary defines it far better than I ever could. It’s a good word.

Recently I had the chance to help some friends move their parents (or in-laws, depending on to which half of the relationship one is referring) into a new house. I was promised a dinner if I helped with the move, but that wasn’t why I did it.

In the tiny bit I’ve explored religions it seems that the vast majority of them revolve around one tenet: the golden rule. The more I act within the bounds of “do unto others that which you would have done unto you” the happier I find myself. This isn’t me preaching to you, merely acknowledging my realization. It’s been a long time growing and it’s something with which I still struggle but for the most part I’m able to maintain this view.

I remember many years ago reading part of one of Alison’s books regarding random acts of kindness. Some of it seemed trite and saccharine but many of the suggestions rang true. I believe that book was my first introduction to the golden rule being applied in more than a passing fashion. It was an awakening for me to realize that someone out there was intentionally doing nice things for strangers and not just applying the golden rule to life’s tougher decisions.

Helping those folks move gave me more satisfaction and uplift than I had gotten in a week. Every time I passed by, sweating and straining under the weight of a dresser, they would actively thank me for my help. Every time I was thanked I felt like a million bucks. It was no big deal on my part, I can sit here and say that I had nothing better to do and it gave me some exercise. But really? I did it because helping people makes me feel so good inside.

Upon proofreading what I’ve written I can’t help but feel that this sounds rather self-serving or even egotistical. That’s not the point but instead just to write about and remember how good it feels to help others. By writing it I have to concentrate on it, and concentration helps cement it in my mind. The dinner was good, but the emotional payoff was far better.


In other news, to give you something to talk about in the comments, I offer the following observation: my hair is driving me crazy. I said I was going to try and grow it (and my beard) out so I could be a real Abraham Lincoln this Halloween. However, I’m in that terrible in-between stage where I can’t seem to make a look of which I approve.

Do you, gentle readers, really think it’s that important to have the Lincoln hair? Or is the beard sufficient? Maybe I don’t even want to grow a beard! I can’t decide.

What I can tell you, though, is that my hair is a royal pain and I’m thinking about cutting it short again. It’s longer than it’s been in ten years (at least) and I just can’t seem to deal with it.

But! If I got through this stage I could actually grow it out some and … I don’t know. Do something interesting with it, I suppose.

So what do you think? Those of you who have seen me lately – do you think I have a chance? Or shall I further descend into dorkdom with my disastrous coiffure? WHAT SHALL I DO?!

Can’t go without
August 20, 2006, 1:08 pm
Filed under: tidbit

My all-time favorite

Originally uploaded by Kevin O’Mara.

The stuff pictured here has been a fixture in my life for as long as I can remember. For those four or so of you that don’t know, my father is the Waffle King and I am the Waffle Prince. He’s been making the best real waffles (read: non-Belgian) since I was a kid, typically on Saturday morning. It has progressed to the point that during the winters my parents host a series of waffle dinners because there are just too many folks that want to partake in those golden delicious treats.

The number one all-time most importantly perfect and necessary waffle topping is Roddenbery’s Cane Patch Syrup. For the longest time as a kid I just assumed everyone kept bottles of this around their house, but the older I get the more I realize how scarce it is. I not only couldn’t find it in Portland, OR and New Orleans, LA, I couldn’t even find approximate substitutes. There’s just nothing like it.

For those of you who are gritting your teeth at the thought of molasses on a waffle, well, stop it. Roddenbery’s isn’t molasses. I’ve had to explain that countless times through the years. It’s ‘cane syrup’ which doesn’t have its own Wikipedia entry so I guess it bears further explanation. It’s partly the sugarcane extract they use to make molasses and partly normal syrup. The upside of this is that it’s a dense, thick, rich, intricately-flavored syrup – a tiny amount of the bite of molasses and none of the wussy wateriness of Log Cabin or Aunt Jemima’s.

Unfortunately not everyone that has consumed waffles with the Waffle King or Waffle Prince has come to realize the greatness of Roddenbery’s. I realize it must be an acquired taste but it’s hard for me to remember since I started using it at such a young age. In fact, I think I drank Roddenbery’s out of my baby bottle instead of formula.

Today I sat down to a waffle breakfast and picked up a brand new bottle and was suddenly struck by how important it was to me. I could tell anyone what brand of waffle maker to buy to make good waffles (Black & Decker), I could give anyone the O’Mara Waffle Recipe … but until you buy some Roddenbery’s then you’re not really doing it right. I love the shape of the bottle, the squat little rectangle. I love the label that hasn’t ever changed, as far as I know, I love the deep blue and the bright red border. I love that thick slow pour, I love that first bite, and I had just never realized how important it was to me.

It’s impossible to find Roddenbery’s in most places, and it’s getting damn hard to find it here. I need to start ordering it direct from the factory and sending thank-you notes while I do so. These people need to know how important it is to me.

And so, apparently, do you.

It beats that thing at Walt Disney World
August 20, 2006, 1:30 am
Filed under: tidbit

I had one of the strangest experiences of my life today. Did you know that there is a gigantic treehouse in Crossville, TN? I didn’t either. Leon told me about it a few days ago and tried to describe it, but I was seriously not prepared for the enormity of the whole thing.

The amount of background I have on this place is absolutely zero. I’ve found a very few scattered references to it online and even those are just someone mentioning having been there or having heard of it. I can’t begin to tell you who built it, or why, or how long it took. The most I can say is that the guy must have liked Jesus ’cause there are several references around.

Okay, so, let’s see. Apparently there was once a barn on this property in Crossville. Then someone had the bright idea to remove the roof and build on to the top. And from there, more levels, and more levels, and then some more, and then a spiral staircase leading even higher than that, finishing somewhere at least four stories off the ground, maybe higher. Five or more if you count the ladder climb to the bell tower.

I’m now realizing how impossible it is to describe this thing. Leon tried to describe it to me, and he’s good with words, and the concept didn’t really come across. The magnitude and enormity of this undertaking is … mind-boggling, to say the least. The haphazardness of it makes it far more interesting – at every turn it seems like there’s a staircase or a landing that leads to a whole lot of nowhere, a boarded-off dead end. If not that then it leads to a new area in a way you can’t anticipate, perhaps down a half-flight and under a previously-explored room, or around the outside of a tree and up through the floor of a different room.

There’s a large main ‘hall’ in the middle of the second floor complete with old elementary school chairs and a basketball goal. There are bedrooms in several locations, complete with mattresses, couches, dressers, pictures in frames, candles, and so forth, all in various states of disrepair. There’s a wood-burning stove somewhere up around the 3.5th floor. Around every corner there’s a new discarded piece of furniture, or maybe a hanging poster, or length of mirror. The walls are very open in some parts and closed, complete with windows, in others. There’s zero rhyme or reason to the layout.

Leon and Jennifer and I (oh, and their dog Malachi) traveled damn near every square foot we could find our way to, and it seemed like we didn’t cover even half of the whole structure.

I’m running out of ways to describe this thing and feeling overwhelmed just contemplating the enormity of it. It’s made even more odd by the fact that it’s not an official attraction, there’s no gate, no guard … it’s just some guy’s treehouse.

Oh, and the location apparently is a closely-guarded secret, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you exactly where it is.

August 18, 2006, 1:20 pm
Filed under: entree, recipe


Originally uploaded by Kevin O’Mara.

The longer I thought about it the less it made sense to me that I was keeping two separate blogs, one for personal stuff and one for food and recipes. So! Now you must suffer the convenience of having all of my words in one place. Besides, I haven’t been cooking that many new recipes lately so you won’t be inundated with cups and tablespoons.

This recipe is an old family standby – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had it. Sometimes it can come out rather bland, but when I made it last night it was stellar. I don’t know what I did wrong, but it was right.

Oh, also, the recipe itself says ‘quick jambalaya’ but this … well, let’s just say after having lived in New Orleans this doesn’t really compare to true jambalaya. It’s just …


1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 lb smoked sausage of some sort, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups total of any and all of the following: onion, green bell pepper, celery
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes
hot sauce
black pepper
(optional) flour

Already I think you get the idea, but I’ll lay it out for you.

1.) Cook the rice
2.) While rice is cooking, sautee the meats and veggies for at least five minutes.
3.) When meat and veggies are cooked up and tender, throw in the tomatoes, hot sauce, and black pepper.
4.) Once that gets nice and simmer-ing-y, check to see if it’s too watery. If so, cook down for a while longer or sprinkle some flour for a quick fix.
5.) Add rice to meet your desired ratio of rice-to-non-rice-ness.
6.) Yell for everyone to come and get it.

You must add the rice to the other stuff because this isn’t like red beans n’ rice or like gumbo where each person makes their own bowl. It’s supposed to be a cohesive dish, displaying the true culinary artistry of the chef.

And now, some notes. Mom and I wondered why it was so good this time when it has a tendency to be a bit on the underwhelming side. I went in the kitchen and wrote down that I used Butterball Smoked Turkey Sausage (extra tender) and Del Monte diced tomatoes with onion and garlic. That’s the only real deviation from the regular right there. Also, Dad doesn’t care much for the celery so I left that out.

I’d suggest you come eat some but I’m gonna go take care of the rest of the leftovers right now, so you’re out of luck.

“I feel very close to you all now; so close I could almost… loan you money. Really. it goes that deep.”
August 15, 2006, 12:42 pm
Filed under: tidbit

Ross can sit still

Originally uploaded by Kevin O’Mara.

Yesterday was, by far, the best day I’ve had in the last, oh, seven or eight weeks.

A bit of background – wait, first, a poem.

gentlemen and gentle ladies
i urge you to begin your snoring
though i have typed quite long and hard
this post has turned out rather boring

I graduated high school in 1994 and was just barely mature enough to know that I wasn’t mature enough to yet attend college. I figured I’d take a year off (story of my life, recurring theme, etc.) and then go to college. Well, one year turned into five before I finally weasled my way into TTU. I stuck there for two years before departing this fair land of Tennessee for the muggy nastiness of New Orleans to be with my sweetheart. We both figured we’d be down there for one year (her senior year at college) and then we’d move somewhere and I’d go back to school. Well, one year turned into five, and there I was in a wonderful job with great people, debating whether or not to take night classes at UNO or something.

[INSERT HURRICANE KATRINA HERE] and bang! we were off to Portland. After a stretch of what-do-I-do-now-edness it came up that I should go back to school. And why not! I applied to PSU, had TTU fax my transcripts, all that jazz.

Then this whole separation thing came about and I left Portland, most likely for good. Now I’m back in TN, wondering what to do with my life. I keep thinking about visiting Asheville, NC and not getting around to it. Finally it occurred to me that the reason I was so excited about this photo job opportunity was that I’m eager to stay in Cookeville for a few years. I kept saying that all my friends were moving away, no one was going to be left, Cookeville was boring, blah blah blah – but it really appears that most everyone isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and I’ve just been enjoying the hell out of myself since I arrived. I’ve made new friends, reconnected with old friends, so on, so forth, et cetera, ad nauseum. I’m content to stay here for a few years.

So I said to my father the other day that I had decided that I should probably go back to TTU. I mean, I won’t have to worry about transferring credits, I’ve already completed two years of classes in my major (international business), it’s so cheap as to be unbelievable, and it’ll offer me an opportunity to see if all my friends really do move away. I was thinking of the spring semester but Dad reminded me I had two weeks to squeeze into the fall semester. I realized he was right (I have lost a bit of my ability to keep track of time lately) and Sunday night I made up my mind to go in there Monday and inform the school that whether or not they wanted me to be there I was coming back.

Turns out I didn’t have to fight at all. I went in, they confirmed I hadn’t attended any other schools, they confirmed I left in good standing with a high GPA, and told me, “Well, we’ll get you in the system in two to three days – check back then. Oh, wait, since you’re returning … well, just let me call downstairs.” That call confirmed that they would get me in the system that very day. I called the Business department and set up an advisement appointment for that afternoon.

At my advisement they told me that I had indeed been taking all the right classes and I was set to go, on course, full steam ahead, damn the torpedoes and all that mess. I have to thank Mrs. Kumar for being so nice, polite, energetic, helpful, and caring. I have a schedule of classes laid out now and everything. I just have to officially complete late registration on the 25th and I’m set.

Are you asleep yet, dear reader? If not, grab your pillows and cuddle them tight, knock back some NyQuil for me, ’cause I ain’t done yet.


Monday! Great day! I got up early for breakfast with my parents and a family friend who had spent the night. Hardee’s biscuits and gravy with laughter and Gridge’s coffee was the perfect way to start the day. Sounds like a commercial. I should probably fix that.

Afterwards I went over to TTU ready to send out shockwaves of pure awesome in order to blast my way back in and turns out they had the doors open, arms spread wide in welcome.

Having some time to kill before my advisement appointment I went and kidnapped Jim and forced him to go to The Dog House with me. That is one fine establishment wherein one can procure true Detroit-style coneys in exchange for a rather modest amount of money. Seriously, these people are dedicated – they have been in business for six or so years now and still travel to Michigan to get their dogs. They may even be better than my traditional favorite, the Hebrew National All-Beef Frank.

Man. I may have to go over there for lunch today. I’m getting all worked up just thinking about it.

After my most pleasant lunch with a good friend I returned to TTU for advisement which went so smoothly it made butter look like Yellow Extruded Sandpaper Log (available in the angst section of your local grocery store).

Feeling high on life I left there and headed to Poet’s to get a refreshing chilled beverage of the non-alcoholic but certainly-caffienated variety. As I stood in line I got a call from the photo job I want, asking me to come in for an interview. That put my spirits up to Toadally Awesome.

I hung out with Trey, attempted to do some portraiture work, saw Maaron and E.V., hung out MORE, and then it was time for dinner. We went over to TT and RK’s house where apparently red beans n’ rice are served every Monday, either in honor of that old New Orleans tradition or because they’re mentally unstable. I have not yet determined which.

I managed through smooth talking and much waving of hands to receive from them one of those super-spanky KitchenAid burr coffee grinders which I have salivated over for many months. In return I am to bring them a pot or two of my Gumbo and several Abita beers for a Monday dinner. I feel this to be a rather fair deal, do you not?

After dinner we jetted over to the pool where poor Jim and Ariel and Ross and Derek (Derick? Derrikk? Daric?) were waiting patiently as the mosquitos consumed them. I am the Keymaster, you see, and they were the Gatekeepers. Yes, have some.

When swimming was over it was Donut Time and I stuffed my fat face with not one but two buttermilk donus (plural of donut) as we played Donkey Konga. This game is just like Guitar Hero but entirely different. JJ and Trey and Maig and Jim and I took turns beating the crap out of the controller. We also found that during the parts where one is supposed to clap one can instead yell loud angry words and it works just as well. It is also infinitely more entertaining for those watching.

After that? AFTER THAT? Sweet, sweet blessed sleep.

The interview went great today, by the way. I am rather confident I will soon be employed and we’ll see if it can destroy my love for photography.

That’s it!

Wake up, go brush your teeth, and go to bed.

Can you hear Ringo yet?

Close your eyes and I’ll close mine
Good night, sleep tight
Now the moon begins to shine
Good night, sleep tight
Dream sweet dreams for me
Dream sweet dreams for you.

Dirt doesn’t need luck
August 12, 2006, 11:37 pm
Filed under: photography, tidbit

So far I still haven’t heard back from that photo gig. However, when I went by there recently the lady at the front told me the bossmanager hadn’t called anyone yet because she’d been so busy.

And speaking of busy, I haven’t been busy at all on my new photography site. No, really, I haven’t. Trey helped me make some changes to the layout and styles and then I stopped moving on it. I finally tonight finished sorting through the 2000-plus files in my font library and decided that exactly none of them were what I was looking for. Oh well, the header links will stay as text for now.

Oh, so yeah, should anyone anywhere near me (or you, should you be near me) need anything photographed, send them to klophoto.com to see my ‘work’. I use the phrase ‘work’ to denote self-deprication of some sort though I haven’t yet sorted out which sort it is I mean. Anyway, I put that thing on a separate site because, well, not that I don’t want strangers to read my blog … if that were the case I sure wouldn’t have it on the internet, and then what kind of blog would it be? A diary, that’s what kind of blog it would be. I just want that when someone says, “Oh, I know this guy that takes pictures” they can follow it with “and you can see them at his site” and I don’t have to worry about them getting caught up in admiring my masterful use of the English language. Or thinking I’m retarded. Words are for the words site and photos are for the photos site. Y’dig?

Oh, the other part of the reason for a photo site is that I put a lot of pictures on my Flickr site and not all of them are of the awesome quality I’d like to show to a new viewer. Plus, it’s hard to tell people how to get there, how to force them to leave out the E in flicker, etc. So! Those of you who are my Flickr friends, you’ll see everything that ends up on the klophoto site before it even gets there. You’re the lucky ones.

I hain’t been up to NUTHIN lately, ‘cept the following:
+Eating Thai food and barbeque, but not at the same time
+Hanging out at Poet’s now that Gridge’s is gone (insert single tear shed here)
+Watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith with Ross and Ariel. I’ll admit, it made me laugh in parts.
+Drinking Ross’s beer. I am so fortunate to have friends that make quality products like coffee and beer. That’s really the good life right there. If only I could grow decent grapes here maybe in five years I could be that friend making wine.
+Playing Guitar Hero for the first time ever, and totally kicking ass. I was born to rock. Ariel was astounded at my incredible scores. So astounded, in fact, that she made an inedible pie.
+Seeing people (Leon and Crit) that I’ve not seen in years and years. They and Jim and I hung out for hours today doing a whole pile of absolutely nothing.

I’m sure there are more things I’ve done, but I felt that list was boring enough.

The Putnam County Fair is winding down as I type, and I never went. I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money to go take pictures of crazy people. Somehow my heart wasn’t in it. Maybe next year. I’ve already been drafted to take pictures of … um … what do they call that thing they do here in Cookeville in September at the square? The Fall Cook-Off and Child Disaster Screaming Day? I can’t remember. Regardless, they want me (and probably several other people, I am not that special) to take pictures to commemorate the whole hot muggy mess. Apparently I will get paid a grand rate of nothing per hour! I’m very excited!

Okay, no, I actually am excited. It’s true. Anyone wanting me to take pictures for any reason makes me happy. I have several ideas about things and people for upcoming photographicalizationated excursions.

I really need a job. I hope the photo place calls me and soon. If not, I’m gonna have to start doing more than looking at Craigslist and reading the classifieds. I’m one of those people that says that if I won the lottery I’d spend a few years running around and then go back to work. I need structure during my day and right now I got jack. I just keep putting it off for various reasons, just like I keep putting off my trip to Asheville.


[stunned silence]
August 11, 2006, 2:21 pm
Filed under: tidbit

A friend who I have not seen in many years, Mr. Ryan Denning of Brooklyn (Zoo), New York, just sent me one of the coolest things I have ever received in my entire life.


Tennessee Waltz
August 10, 2006, 4:49 pm
Filed under: photography, tidbit

So. Things. Right? You’re very excited about what’s going on in my life, right?

I know I am.

I haven’t done much during the day because I’ve been working at my Dad’s office. I went by to say hi to him last week and he said, “Okay, show up on Monday” and so I did. I now know far more about pleadings, depositions, discovery, notes, research, and so forth than I ever wanted to.

This weekend was going to be my trip to Asheville, NC but I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to go early next week instead of this weekend. It’s not ’cause there’s anything fun going on here (in particular, that is, no offense to anyone that has plans, which I don’t know about, you should call me with these ‘plans’) but just that I originally wanted to go during the week and then shifted my plans to accomodate my temp work, and just decided that I still wanted to go during the week. I dunno why.

I’ve applied for a job here in Cookeville which is something I didn’t envision doing. However, it’s a job that would require me to be on the business end of a camera, and I can’t pass up the opportunity to have ‘professional photographer’ on my resume, even if it is studio stuff, pets, kids. It’ll be fun – if I get it.

The most exciting thing that’s happened to me lately was breaking into Jim’s apartment after he locked his keys inside. His cat was most definitely not used to seeing people come in through the window. “Out your door and innuendo,” I always say. Or have said. Once. Last night.

Past that? Man, nothing. I’ve been swimming a lot. It’s my new second-favorite thing (aside from taking pictures). I’m trying to enjoy my vacation but it’s slowly (read: sloooooowly) sinking in that it’s permanent and I really should start looking for a job and a place to live (should the photography thing not work out).

Time to go pull a fresh pile of pics off of the camera. I’ll call you if there’s something good.