Day 32: Diablo Sauce, Deficiency Notice, Pill Bug Pearl

It pains me to say this, but the Summer of Tim has officially reached the half-way point.


I've been hearing about this Diablo sauce from Taco Bell for quite some time now. What could be hotter than Fire sauce? You guessed it. This stuff was surprisingly good. It's not anything I'd want to drop two packets of on a soft taco, but for something with a little more kick it's not too shabby.

We headed back to the ball fields tonight to watch our niece and her softball team win another game and head to tomorrow night's championship game.

There's something I find very cool about coming back to my hometown and seeing some of the kids I played against in Little League now serving as coaches to the next generation of Salem ball players.

I took a little time this afternoon to do something I love -- digging through boxes in my dad's attic. I've taken (or been forcefully given) most of my stuff from when I was a kid but there's still plenty of odds and ends around here ranging from toys to old papers and documents. I never know what treasures I might find in my dad's attic.

This time around, the treasure I returned with from the attic was this deficiency report that was sent to my parents when I was a senior in high school. For the most part, I was an A/B student all throughout my school years. Apparently senioritis set in early for me and I showed little interest in this course that was required for graduation.

The kids spent a good chunk of time this morning digging through my dad's flower garden looking for pill bugs ... rollie pollies, if you will. Anna found this one that was a different color than the others.

Her name is Pearl.

Or should I say, was Pearl.

RIP Pearl.

The Summer of Tim continues...

Day 31: Dairy Mart, Bloody Finger, MC Squared

After a morning meeting at work, we packed up and headed back down to my dad's. The girls and I caught a bit of my niece's softball game before grabbing a treat at Dairy Mart.

Remember that time when I reached into my bag and the tip of my middle finger was introduced to my shaving razor that I had wisely thrown in the bag without a cover?

I remember last night, too. Awesome start to the week.

With a bloody finger wrapped in gauze, I don't feel like typing. So here's MC Squared taking the Apollo Theater by surprise.

The Summer of Tim continues...

Day 30: Getting Something Off My Chest

"I didn't come down here to change anybody's opinion about anything. I came down here to ease my own mind about everything." - Todd Snider

Hold on to your hats, folks. No Karate Kid topics or flea market finds in this post. This one's on the serious tip.

I had a great time yesterday at the Moccasin Creek Festival, but there's been one conversation I had while I was there that I haven't been able to get out of my head all day. You can call this a "Dear Diary" moment, but indulge me while I get something off my chest.

Having only been at the festival for maybe 30 minutes, I somehow found myself in conversation with a man I'd never met before. On a beautiful sunny afternoon with live bluegrass coming from the stage barely 100 feet away, I'm not sure how our conversation turned towards such serious issues as racism and social injustice. I don't know this man and I don't know his story. I don't know what he does for a living and I don't know anything about his background. What I do know is that he casually dropped the n-word into the short conversation twice.

Do you know how I responded? I walked away.

Those that know me can attest to the fact that I can be quite vocal about social issues I believe in. I've challenged people close to me and put friendships on the line in the past when it's come to these issues. Yesterday, to a man I did not know, I said nothing. Instead, I raised my eyebrows, shook my head slightly and said, "This is a conversation for another day." With that I excused myself to go buy a drink.

I'm not looking to beat myself up over my lack of response and I'm not looking to put myself on a pedestal for my liberal opinions. I'm simply disappointed in myself and need to get this off my chest.

Folks, there's been a lot of talk lately about issues of race in our country ranging from the actions of police officers to what flag flies over a state capitol. I'm not here to tell you what I think or to try to make you change your own opinions. My thoughts on gun control, racial profiling, and social justice are not going to change your opinions on the same topics. What I can tell you is this: whether we see ourselves on the left or on the right, a good majority of us consider ourselves to be Christians or part of some other religion with a similar moral foundation. As godly people, we are called to do one thing above all else: Love.


We are to love God and love others. Plain and simple.

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (John 15:12)

Nothing says we always have to agree. Nothing we are told says to only love those who look like we do or act like we do or have the same lifestyle that we do.

We are to love each other.


I'm not mad at this guy I somehow found myself talking to yesterday. I'm mad at myself for not speaking up on behalf of the love I have for all of my friends who are different in any way from the majority. Why I've always done this before and didn't yesterday, I'm not sure -- but I regret not making it clear to this man why I was excusing myself from the conversation.

Todd Snider played a popular song of his last night at the festival called Conservative Christian Right-Wing Republican Straight White American Males.

Considering some of those in attendance, I'll call this ironic.

"Life's too short to worry. Life's too long to wait. It's too short not to love everybody. Life's too long to hate." - Todd Snider

The Summer of Tim continues...

Day 29: Moccasin Creek Festival, Todd Snider

Todd Snider was in the area last night playing the Moccasin Creek Festival about a hour south of here. We had trouble finding a sitter for the kids, but Amy gave me the nod to go ahead by myself while she stayed home.

God bless her.

After a week of heavy rains, the Friday night bands were relocated to an indoor venue. This meant that the sun shining through the trees and the breeze coming off the nearby water on Saturday was a very welcomed sight to everyone there. At risk of sounding cliche, it could not have been a more beautiful outside.

I supposed I should explain, for those who don't know, that I've maintained Todd Snider's online presence for about the past ten years through his official site at and the archival site of his live performances I started from the ground up at Anyway, that's not self-promotion -- just setting the stage for why I was there in the first place.

With Todd not set to play until 7:45, I arrived early enough that I could wander around and take in all that the two-year-old festival had to offer. It was clear that many people had come to see Todd play as I started seeing a good number of Todd Snider and Hard Working Americans t-shirts being worn by others as the place started to fill up. It was especially cool to see a handful of people wearing the Elmo Buzz shirts I designed last year (Elmo Buzz is Todd's occasional "alter ego").

Item number one on the agenda was meeting up with Louise and Louis.

Everyone's got a "cool aunt" and a "cool uncle" in their families -- you know what I'm talking about. No offense to my parents' other sisters, but my Aunt Louise has always been that "cool aunt" -- one that would always go out of her way to play games with us as kids and talk about music or have a beer with us as we got older. As avid music fans and lovers of the outdoors, I wasn't surprised when I learned that she and Louis would be at the festival. All music aside, it was so great catching up with them for a while yesterday. Again, not to sound cliche, but I really hope we can do it again soon!

With about an hour before Todd was to take the stage, I had some time to hang out with my pal Brian -- the guy I mentioned a few days ago that is a spitting image of Los Angeles Dodgers utility infielder Justin Turner. Brian and I have run into each other at Todd Snider shows for years and have become good friends along the way. Once a fan recording shows from the back of venues, Brian now serves as Todd's tour manager. Knowing Brian and maintaining Todd's websites isn't without its perks as Brian was kind enough to give me an extra wristband which said I was important enough to hang out backstage if I wanted to. Not wanting to be "that guy," I caught up with Brian for a while and said a brief hello to Todd before heading back out with the masses.

Just before 8:00, the sun was setting and Todd started to play. Having seen countless Todd Snider shows in the past, my initial plan was to stand near the back and just soak everything in -- the music, the location, the weather. I did this for the first several songs before deciding I might as well take some small advantage of my extra wrist band for a few backstage photos.

So that's what I did.

I decided to head home and pass on the Bottle Rockets set that was to follow -- a decision I'm sure I'll regret. Before hitting the road, Brian tried as he always does to load me up with merchandise and freebies. I graciously accepted a few pretty cool items he had to offer and was on my way.

To Brian, many thanks for your generosity and your friendship. I always look forward to seeing you when you guys pass through the area.

Travel safe.

The Summer of Tim continues...

Day 28: Street Fighter, Cardboard Cars, Mr. T

Just a few quick notes as our house-sitting duties come to an end.

1. This Karate Kid/Street Fighter shirt was on TeeFury this week. I didn't buy it. Amy says I have enough t-shirts already.


2. The kids see a lot of cardboard box play on Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.

Today Anna made a car of her own.

3. Furthering my opinion that you can find anything online, someone is selling a homemade Mr. T doll on eBay and it's pretty amazing.

Reminds me of Franklin from Arrested Development.

4. Todd Snider did a live stream from Indy on Yahoo. Excellent as always.

Even though I'm sure they aren't, I will assume that my friends who work at Yahoo are responsible for this.

Thanks, guys.

The Summer of Tim continues...

Day 27: Conway Twitty, Inside Out, Wu-Tang

The rain won't stop, people. I know there are places across the country that have recently dealt with some serious floods so I can't really complain -- but according to this morning's news, after the rain we're expected to get today, we will have experienced the wettest June on record in Champaign.

We've been house-sitting/dog-sitting for my in-laws this week while they were gone.

This meant that I had ample time to pillage my father-in-law's music collection where I found everything from Neil Young to Rihanna. Welcome to a good portion of the past 24 hours of my life.

Being at my in-law's also meant having a bajillion channels to surf on the TV. A bajillion channels and I still found myself watching a baseball game and reruns of Full House. While watching the Cubs and the Dodgers, though, I did realize that my pal Brian has apparently left the Todd Snider tour and found a new gig in the Los Angeles starting line-up.

We took the kids to see Inside Out and quickly remembered why we don't go to the movies very often. Between five tickets and some snacks, we found ourselves paying more than I'd care to admit we paid to watch a movie we could have waited a few months and bought five times over for the same amount.


Whatever. The movie was good and the kids had fun. Worth it once in a while, I suppose.

Of course, house-sitting at the in-law's wouldn't be complete without a dip in the pool -- despite the rain and cloudy skies.

My friend Greg texted me a picture of a drink recipe he recently stumbled upon. It sounds horrible but I'm pretty sure you could mix gasoline and urine and serve it to me with a name referencing The Karate Kid and I'd drink it with gusto!


The Summer of Tim continues...

Day 26: Nothing. So, Andy D.

Wish I had something even remotely interesting from today, but I don't.

So here's Andy D.

The Summer of Tim continues...

Day 25: Indoor Playground, Nerd Lunch, Skinny Dip

Amy had another day of professional development training today so it was me and the kiddos up through mid-afternoon. The sun was shining, the skies were blue, and the temperature couldn't have been more than 80 degrees. It was beautiful outside.

So we went to the indoor playground.


I got a load of Daniel Tiger books in the mail today. Wait...I kids got a load of Daniel Tiger books in the mail today. With the Neighborhood Archive nearing its 7th anniversary, the site continues to grow all the time and "Team Daniel" is kind enough to share sample copies of their products for me to include on the site.

My eyes have been killing me lately so after a few weeks of afternoon headaches and tired eyes, I decided it was time to visit the eye doctor.

Sure enough, I need glasses. Not crappy over-the-counter Walgreen's glasses like I've been wearing to read over the past several years, but real glasses. The optometrist -- being just a few months older than me -- explained to me that my eyes are still working fine, but being closer to 40 than I am 30, they're straining to do so.

In simple terms, I'm not getting any younger.

I picked up a six-pack of New Belgium's Skinny Dip last night -- a special edition summer ale "brewed with peach juice." I'm a big fan of everything else I've ever had from New Belgium -- Snapshot, Fat Tire, Slow Ride -- and Skinny Dip didn't disappoint. If you're looking for something like this with a strong peach taste, you're better off with O'Fallon Brewery's Wheach. But if you're looking for something with just a hint of peach that your wife won't like because it's more beer-taste than fruit-taste, Skinny Dip is the way to go!

Last but not least, I had the pleasure of joining Pax and CT from Nerd Lunch again -- along with Jeff from -- for a podcast titled "Down the Rabbit Hole." Basically, we chose two random topics ahead of time and started with the Wikipedia page for one of those topics. We talked about that topic for five minutes and then moved on to another linked from that page for another five minutes. The idea was to do so repeatedly in hopes of connecting the two topics we initially chose. If you've got the time and want to listen to four guys connect the 1991 direct-to-video film Karate Cop with the 1981 Rush song Tom Sawyer, I've got what you need right here.

Speaking of Tom Sawyer, there's this...which is amazing...

The Summer of Tim continues...

Day 24: A 90s Puzzle, Grimey's, Black Angels

Before leaving my dad's and heading for home, I had to make a Monday morning stop at the local resale/consignment store to check out their junk. It'd been a while since I've bought anything in there but I couldn't leave behind the 1990's puzzle for three bucks. I hate buying used puzzles as they're hardly ever complete, but this one had NWA sandwiched between Counting Crows and the Teletubbies.

I had to.

Back in Champizzle, the kids all had dentist appointments for a check-up and cleaning. This was Mason's first trip to the dentist and even with fingers in his mouth, he told the dentist all about his trip to Poppy's house.

When we got home, I had a few treasures waiting for me in the mailbox. First were two sets of Mister Rogers Sticky Notes compliments of the fine folks at the Unemployed Philosopher's Guild. If you've never visited their site, check it out -- they've got some great products ranging from "Pink Freud" t-shirts to "Jesus Shave" coffee mugs. Well worth a visit.


Then there was this picture I had bought on eBay a few days earlier.

You've heard me talk about my grade school memories at the small rural school with a graduating class of barely 20 students -- the one I attended from kindergarten through 8th grade. The name of the school was "Selmaville" so any time I run across anything with that name on it (which isn't very often), I tend to snatch it up. This nearly-century-old picture was on eBay with the writing on the back referring to those in the photo as "the Selmaville Band." Based on the two towns mentioned (Alma and Odin), this is definitely the same (and only) "Selmaville."

I had to.

Once the kids wound down and hit the sack, I decided to see if this 90's puzzle was complete. Four hours later, I was happy to find that it was.

A few days ago, I mentioned the 1980's St. Louis kids' game show D.B's Delight and shared a shot of the picture they sent me when I submitted a question when I was a kid. It took a little digging but I found the letter that came with the picture.

I'm pretty sure I've never thrown anything away in my life.

Last but not least, I forgot to mention the early birthday gift I got on Fathers Day from my brother and his family -- a t-shirt from Nashville-based record store Grimey's and a super-awesome autographed Black Angels lithograph. The shirt is cool but that Black Angels print is unbelievable! There were a limited number of these autographed prints -- this one is numbered 122/300. Somehow my brother ended up with two and rather than dropping one on eBay, he was generous enough to pass the extra one on to me.


Time to find a 24x24 frame to get this thing ready to hang in my office this fall!

Speaking of Grimey's...and my brother...and's Deer Tick playing ZZ Top's Cheap Sunglasses at Grimey's back in 2010. I'm 99% sure my brother was there for this.

The Summer of Tim continues...