2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Jeffreytharp.com is pleased to announce…

Jeffreytharp.com is pleased to announce the arrival of a a bouncing baby book. What Annoys Jeff this Week: 2013 in Review was published in the pre-dawn hours of December 30th and weighs in at WAJTW 2013458 KB and approximately 79 pages long. It’s now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords for the low, low price of $.99.

It’s said that those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. After two full years of writing WAJTW, I’m beginning to get an unsettled feeling that there’s nothing to be done against the rising tide of stupid people, awkward situations, and the the general sense that the whole world is going to hell in a handbag. It’s like global warming, except instead of new beach front property, all we get is rising blood pressure and an increased desire to run away and live in a shack in the Montana wilderness.

Still, when life hands you lemons, the only thing to do is try reselling them at a reasonable profit to those who don’t have any citrus of their own. With all new commentary, corrected for spelling and grammar, and jam packed with the snark and sarcasm that you’ve come to know and love, WAJTW: 2013 commiserates over the year that was and looks forward to the inevitable annoyances of the one to come.

Two rooms…

Having been back for almost a day, I have exactly two clean-ish rooms to show for it. I say clean-ish because with Maggie and Winston around nothing is really ever what some might call actually clean. At best, you can say they majority of the hair, dust, and random crud has been removed… but that’s not really the point of this post.

The point? It’s simply that after less than a week away from the office I’ve been reduced to bitching and complaining about household dust and dirt. I have no idea what’s going on in the world – and what’s more, for the most part I really don’t care. I wouldn’t have known it was even Sunday today if my phone hadn’t made a point of telling me that when I woke up this morning. Maybe I’m too much the cynic, but I think there might be a life lesson in there somewhere.

I’m sure some people have a hard time adjusting to the unstructured life of not punching a clock twice a day. As I’ve long suspected, that’s not going to be a problem I’ll suffer when the time comes. For some reason a clean kitchen fills me with a greater sense of accomplishment than all the powerpoint briefings I’ve ever built. That’s one of those fun facts I’ll file away in the “good to know” file.

The voyage home…

My regularly scheduled Christmas voyage home has come to an end. I’m sitting at my own keyboard, at my own kitchen table, listening to my own television at a reasonable volume. George is happily munching on a couple of handsfull of fresh greens and the pups are already laid in for a good night’s sleep. For the first time in six days I can shed the feeling of needing to be “on”… and that’s a good for the ISTJ soul.

As always, the retreat back to my own domicile of record is a combination of joy at being able to throw on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt with holes in it and guilt at not spending enough time visiting and being seen. It’s a balancing act at the best of times and the mad dash that is always Christmas doesn’t make it any easier. So, I’ll be doing my best to suppress my natural sensation of guilt about carving off the last few days of the holiday just for me. Whether I’ll be able to tick off the items on the inevitable list I make when I have free time remains to be seen, of course, but getting a few thinks into the “done” column would certainly help assuage the feeling that I should have done more with my time off.

Now if you’ll excuse me, having a giant pile of “stuff” I just brought in from the truck sitting in the middle of the living room floor is about to drive me to distraction, so it all needs put away or there will be no rest tonight.

Planning for the end of the world…

OK, well I might not have been planning for the actual end of the world, but I certainly spent a slice of the morning signing a lot of paperwork that will kick at my own personal world’s end. After all, nothing says happy holidays like planning out your own demise. Putting a will in order was something I’ve needed to do for a long time, but that doesn’t make the process any more enjoyable. Suffice to say, this Friday’s theme has largely been, “Wow, being an adult sort of sucks.”

I’ve never believed in being able to plan for every potential contingency, but I really do feel a little better having some basic guidelines in place in the event I wander off the sidewalk and get hit by a bus tomorrow. Frankly, before my time comes I’m planning on technology reaching a level where I can just download myself to the network and live on indefinitely as electrons… because really, what does the world need more than my brain in a computer with nothing but time to spew out new blog posts on into the infinite future?

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

Sure it might be a touch unseemly to throw together a post about the week’s annoyances the day after Christmas, but it’s Thursday and that’s just how I roll. Since I value consistency above almost all other things, not posting today would be pretty damned hypocritical of me. Of all the things you can call me, I’d like to at least avoid that one. With that said, here’s the final installment of WAJTW for 2013:

1. Reaching halfway. Realizing that you’ve reached the halfway point of your vacation sucks. Knowing that from here on out every new day brings you one sunrise closer to the drudgery of the workweek hangs as an unfortunate reminder over the time you have left to do what you will. Sure, it’s not a march to the gallows, but it’s still uniquely unpleasant in its own way.

2. Expectations. Since I know a little something about logistics, reading articles about how major delivery services like UPS and FedEx “screwed up” the holidays is always vaguely amusing. I’m pretty sure what people mean is that they didn’t order some key critical piece of Christmas swag until late in the day on December 23rd and then expect the shipping company to temporarily rescind the laws of physics in order to deliver this precious package “on time.” I know the sheer level of effort and mountain of technology that goes into moving a cardboard box from one side of the continent to another, but I’m not saying the transportation outfits are blameless. Still, I have to think if Mr. and Mrs. Christmas Shopper bothered to order even a day or two earlier, they could have saved themselves some angst. Then again, expecting a touch of personal responsibility at this festive time of year is probably a bridge too far.

3. Sitting around. I’m not a social butterfly by any stretch of the imagination. Still, somehow I manage to keep myself busy from morning until night most of the time. At the moment, I’m beginning to feel like I’ve radically under-planned this Christmas vacation. Once you’ve gotten accustomed from long years of practice to running your own show, calling your own shots, and dealing with life’s daily ephemera, there’s something vaguely unsettling about sitting around with nothing planned, nothing that needs immediate attention, and nothing that’s even close to routine.

Happy Christmas

This would probably be a longer Christmas post if the internet connection here at the Jeffrey Tharp Historic Childhood Home, Library, and Giftshop weren’t so problematic this morning. Since it’s come down to needing to post using nothing but thumbs and a 5-inch screen I’ll simply say happy Christmas. Enjoy the day and all that comes with it.

Home again…

Having made the drive and settled in with 2/3 of my critters leads to the inevitable question – What now? I’m not exactly known for my comfort level with “just being.” There’s always one more thing to do. One more post to make. Laundry to do. Etcetera and so on. You see, as much as this was home for 19 years, it’s still a place other than my own. It’s a feeling somewhere between being 17 again and being a random out of town relative stopping in for a visit. Maybe “unsettled” is the best descriptor even though I’ve done my level best to temporarily reposition all the essentials here with me.

So it’s safe to say we’re now well into the period of sitting around wondering what it is I’m supposed to be doing. With nowhere to be, nothing here to tinker with, and even less on the “needs done now” list, I’ll do my best not to drive myself crazy with a day and a half days marked off with only a vague “to be determined.” I’m glad to be here and it’s always good to be right back where I started from, but it does a marvelous job of making mince out of my routine. And that always makes me just a little extra crazy for the holiday.

Preparations for getting underway…

You’d think after spending four Christmases fighting my way home across 900 miles, a quick hop from on side of a small mid-Atlantic state to the other could be accomplished with a minimum of fuss. If you thought that, however, you would be exactly wrong. Traveling with Maggie and Winston in tow is a task table_3_supply_classesso complex that it makes even the planning for Normandy look like amateur hour. Beds, food, fuel, clothes, sundries, health and welfare items, medication – if I added barrier material and ammo I could cover down on all the classes of supply getting loaded into the truck in preparation for getting underway.

There’s a fair percentage – maybe 30% – of what’s getting packed that I won’t actually use or need. Still, I like knowing that I have it. You could fill warehouses with things I like having along “just in case.” For me, apparently it’s just in case I need to rebuild my life from the ground up starting only with what I have on hand with me in the truck. Almost disturbingly, that’s only a bit of an exaggeration. I don’t travel as much as I use to, but when I do, I travel heavy. After all, you never know what just in case might pop up requiring you to rebuild civilization using only contents of your luggage.


Well, I’m almost two full days into my version of Christmas Vacation and I’ve forgotten that today was Sunday. You know I forgot it was sunday because I wasn’t blogging over coffee in the early hours of the morning. Since there’s really no schedule to keep, I hope you’ll forgive the oversight… and if you don’t, just send me an email, I’ll add you as a contributing writer, and you can drag out of bed before the crack of dawn to try being witty and charming first thing next Sunday morning.

I’m sure there are some incredibly important things going on in the world right now just crying out for me to comment on them, but I have no idea what they might be. Honestly, I’ve mostly tuned out. Sure the TV is still humming along providing background noise, but so far today I’ve studiously avoided tuning in to anything remotely resembling news. Judging from the sounds coming from the living room, the History Channel (or maybe one of the science-y channels) is running a program on geology from the earth’s crust to its core. That’s plenty good for background chatter.

Past that, there’s nothing particularly interesting to report. A quiet day, few interruptions, dank, and rainy. Sort of the misanthrope’s perfect day. I’ll do my best to keep that trend going tomorrow, but with the inevitable pack out, load up, and pre-trip spazzing, having that kind of success two days in a row seems pretty unlikely.