Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday at the Hut - 6/9/12

It's been a few weeks since I've made a blog posting, and I'll explain at the end why I've been AWOL from the blog and what my plans are. In the meantime, today at The Tobacco Hut we had a decent assemblage of the regulars: Peter G, Aaron C, Paul O, Joe K, Tom L, Lou and myself. Not everyone at once though - attendance was spread over several hours.

Aaron told us about his recent trip to Key West and the cigars he picked up there. He's got a great picture of the Ashton VSG, his go-to cigar, with blue skies and palm trees in the background. Hopefully he'll post it to the Tobacco Hutters site. You are a member of the Tobacco Hutters, right? If not, just click on the link and join up! I'll explain why it's important to do so at the end of the blog today.

I announced some bad news about NPR today. Joe and Tom immediately thought that they were going off the air or merging with Fox News or something equally calamitous. No, the Car Talk guys are retiring. Tom and Ray, aka Click & Clack, are hanging up the microphone after 25 years on the air. Someone asked why, and Tom immediately responded with, "Low ratings?". Sorry Tom, Car Talk is the most popular program on NPR, and can be heard locally on Saturdays at 10am on WUSF 89.7 FM.

Joe said that he made a donation to NPR. I got excited that he'd finally seen the light, but I should have known better. He said he sent them a check made out for $0 and he didn't sign it. Thanks Joe - your support is much appreciated. See how quickly I order those business cards for you!

Shortly after Tom arrived, he made a TV programming request. After three hours of watching the endless loop of Bay News 9 news, I was ready for any change. Tom wanted to see the Canadian Grand Prix qualifying which was coming on at either 12:30 or 1:00 on the Speed Channel. Unfortunately, Lou's cable package doesn't include the Speed Channel, at least he didn't think so.

Tom made it his mission to re-program the TV to try and tune in Speed. First he consulted the 2004 channel guide under the TV, then tried to just scan for all available channels. For awhile the TV was locked on a Christian broadcasting station, then all we could get was Telemundo or Jewelry Television. Finally, I consulted the Brighthouse website and determined that although the Speed Channel was included in Lou's package, a converter box was required to tune in.

Lou then tuned to the Golf Channel and Paul and I promptly fell asleep. Even Lou was bored with what was being proffered as entertainment; it was some sort of Golf Channel series that made no sense whatsoever. So back to channel surfing we went. We finally settled on Olympic men's gymnastic preliminary trials, which actually wasn't half bad.

Paul kept rooting for someone to fall on their face and he finally got his wish when the lead gymnast missed his grip in his high bar routine. All of us were actually quite impressed with their athleticism and muscles. Tom especially seemed drawn to a couple of them. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I left a little early as I had a couple stops to make and then it was off to Carrabba's for dinner with Paula. When I left it was just Peter and Lou, so not sure if anyone else made it in late.

So, what's up with my absence from the blog? Well, I started this blog in late 2008 - my first post was December 21, 2008. And after three and a half years of writing almost-weekly blog posts, I'm feeling a little burnt out. This is my 130th blog post and, although it may not show it, it takes time to put these together each week. I'm simply not feeling the passion for reporting the goings-on at the Hut week in and week out.

I still love spending my Saturdays at the Hut each week (as much as Paula loves having me out of the house for the afternoon) and I've made some great friendships over the years, and have no plans to quit going. I just can't continue to write a regular recap of what happened each week.

I do have a passion for writing and I'm actually exploring some other writing projects. For instance, I write a marketing blog focused on small businesses called Bullseye Marketing Tips. It's gotten decent traffic but, unfortunately, I've neglected it and want to build it back up again. In fact, I've started writing a book that is based on the blog. It expands greatly the marketing principles and tips that I've begun to explore in the blog.

There are a couple other book ideas floating around in my head that I'm anxious to get started on. I've already got a title for one of them: Saturdays with Lou. I envision it as kind of a memoir of Hut happenings over the years. I've got a lot of the material already written, on this very blog. In my mind, it just needs to be expanded to a narrative form. I'll probably have to fictionalize everything, from names and location to the type of shop, just to avoid a lawsuit from you guys or a demand for a cut of the royalties. Yeah, maybe I'll just rethink that whole idea.

Anyway, that's why it's important to join - and participate in - the Tobacco Hutters. I won't be writing in this space as much as I have been and the way to keep up with what's going on is to visit the Hutters group regularly. It's also vitally important, if it's to succeed, for folks to participate.

I want to sincerely thank the people who have contributed status updates, photos, forum and blog posts to the Hutters. I need to get better about participating myself, and pledge to be more active on it. My hope is that rather than writing this blog, which is a "top down" form of you reading my endless drivel, that we can have full, "round-table" types of discussions on the Hutters.

I'm not abandoning this blog - in fact I have some ideas for how it should evolve in the future. But instead, let's move over to the Hutters and have some great back-and-forths and debates. Talk about whatever you want to. See you there!

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