THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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Till tomorrow

Had one of those days where you do a few things and energy to do much more is gone. Feeling tired and a little bit crazy at this late hour. Looking forward to a wonderful week ahead. I get to see both of my children and that alone leaves me filled with joy. Also get to celebrate 38 years of marriage later this coming week with my better half.

Annapolis MD
Photo by Mike Hartley

Its amazing what you can get done in life when you focus on what is important. And you can’t do that unless you have the right attitude because you won’t know what is important till you do.


Random Thoughts of the Day

Found a new restaurant that we will be visiting again just past Lisbon called Bolder. A very good meal was had with some good friends. Service was great and everyone enjoyed every part of their meals.

If you can spend time helping good friends, those are the kind of deeds that aren’t forgotten or taken for granted. But it’s also good to help a stranger once in a while also.

I was reminded again today to appreciate your health while you have it. But also maybe the most important lesson is when you feel something isn’t right, get to a doctor.

I don’t wear “Life is Good” tee shirts just because they are comfortable. It’s because Life is Good.


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Fleeting Friday

For the first time in a very long time I didn’t read one piece of work email today. I also took a break from sitting in front of the laptop for multiple hours. I really didn’t even pick up my camera today. When I did take my cell phone out to dinner with me tonight, I left it in the trunk of the car.

It’s nice to disconnect once in a while. That is why I picked the photo below. It took me back to the days when I started in Newspapers in Ellicott City. The Times Newspapers. And Mr Yates store was almost next door to us. When the summer months were upon us I’d walk over to Yates every day for a half-dozen 5 cent popsicle’s or maybe 3 10 cent ice cream sandwiches or both.

Those we’re the times indeed. Some of my fondest memories of the industry. Don’t get me wrong, it was some of the toughest and most brutal work I’ve done. But I fell in love with it and its people immediately. And also the function it served in the community. And after working in community and daily papers, I like the community the best. But of course times have changed drastically for them also.

Mr Yates behind his counter.
Photo by Mike Hartley

There wasn’t any air conditioning in the Engraving, Press and insert rooms at the building on Main Street. Fumes from tractor trailers delivering rolls of newsprint would asphyxiate the building for a few hours after deliveries. I’m convinced that flying newspapers off the press was some of the early damage I did to my back.

By the way, flying papers is two guys, one on each side of a conveyor belt that is spitting out newspapers at 24,000 per hour. You lean over and take 50 at a time, the press turns one slightly so you know where the break is. You take those papers to a table right behind or to the side of you and you bounce them so they are straight and compressed by a bear hug you give it. You jump back and pick up the next 50 after your partner gets his and you bounce and stack those on top of the other 50, hit the banding machine and stack the skid and run back for the next 50. And you do this till the press stops because the run is complete or you need to change paper rolls. Oh yeah, you help with that also instead of taking a break.

I mainly worked in Engraving but I got out to the pressroom a fair amount. They always were short on help and I loved overtime. Unloading newsprint trucks is the closest I think I’ve come to getting killed in my life. Some yahoo who loaded one truck didn’t chalk it properly. And if that happens you run for your life when multiple rolls of paper that weighed over a ton a piece get chasing you. We worked in areas filled with noxious photographic chemicals used on an industrial level. We handled large aluminium plates. We hand rubbed them for the long press runs with some noxious alcohol based nastiness. Thankfully there was a machine that did the low run plates, but we still loaded chemicals on that.

Oh yeah, those ultraviolet lights to burn the plates and those quarts pulse lights for the camera that wouldn’t fit in most living rooms now days. It was nice having a tan year round. At least they kept us warmer in the winter. We would turn them on if we weren’t busy sometimes to take the chill off.

We used to joke about having the skin peel off our fingertips after a long night. Of course you had to watch out for the fork and clamp truck drivers who weren’t always that good. I came out one morning around 2 am when I heard a loud boom out in the pressroom and one of the yahoos had driven the fork life spikes through a brick wall.

Old Stromberg Publications poster.

Ah those were the days. Those were some classic times. It taught me it was a hard charging business. It taught me how the old photos of heavy smokers and drinkers weren’t all smoke. There was a lot of truth to that. Its been 42 years now, (not including my paper delivery days) and I’m hoping to finish out the career in it.

That is always a tentative thing for an old-timer like myself. I hope I see the same path that they do for this. I’m trying to find new ways to enjoy it now. In some ways its like working in a new company and new industry. And it really is now after the last 5-10 years. And that is OK. I’ve seen dramatic change over all four decades and there is no reason for it to stop.

I guess I started this thinking about the days of little technology after disconnecting myself a bit this day. And I end this though with the thought that I’m meeting some of these old friends I started in this industry with tomorrow for breakfast. That has been the best gift of this long career. The wonderful friendships that have come out of it.


What a great Thursday night I had. HH with one of my best friends, pizza made to order, tons of sports on tv and Happy Hour turned into a 5 hour marathon of fun and laughs. Really good time. Thank you brother.

It’s nice to have brothers. I don’t have any blood brothers but these guys qualify in so many ways above and beyond. Funny thing. This brother was also a co-worker at first. But its a relationship for a lifetime.


Random Thoughts of the Day

If you bought 1 Mega Millions ticket you probably did it for the fun of it.

If you bought 5 or more you probably had a bad day or week at the job or have some dire need or bill facing you.

If you bought 10 or more you are getting desperate. You should have spent that money on friends and family.

If you bought 20 or more. You spent more than you can afford to if you’re an average Joe or less. Stop being selfish.

If you bought 50 or more you have too much money or a gambling problem. Stop being selfish and give some to charity or get help.

To those of you purchasing hundreds of tickets. Thank you, it makes winning off of one ticket that much more gratifying.

I got one ticket. OK I fess up. I also got one Powerball ticket for tomorrow night.


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A thoughtful Thursday and some fun

I thought about getting up but rolled over and slept another hour. I thought about a shave but I like my beard. I thought about my children and wondered what they were doing. I thought about where to go for breakfast and lunch and Taco Bell sounded like a good combination. And then I thought better of that idea.

Watch your flight path Saturday night.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I thought I’d get a Mega Millions ticket so I can join in the delusion. I thought I’d feel better today. I thought I could talk my wife into staying home today but forget she had doctors appointment. I thought I’d wash the car being the sun is going to be out for a bit. I thought it was a good time for a quiet morning but then I turned on some music. I thought about dancing so I did.

I thought about getting in better shape so I went up and stared at what was in the fridge. I thought about reducing the number of Cokes I drink each day but then I worried about making their stock price crash. I thought about what it used to feel like to take the motorcycle out on a day like today.

I thought about the coming weekend and started to duck walk like Chuck Berry. I thought about those poor people in the south that are still homeless and committed to making a donation tonight. I thought about what it would be like to have a pet again. I thought about how I miss my Mom’s smile when I looked at her picture.

I thought about how optimistic I feel again being a Laker fan. I thought about what Big 10 game my Son and I should attend being the Terps sent me a schedule. I thought about eating ribs from the Corner Stable. I thought about how I wasted some of my life just being unhappy because of the way I was looking at things.

I thought about one of my best friends who is traveling who I haven’t seen in a while. I thought about what I would do today if I was retired. I thought about doing early voting again. I thought about cutting the grass today but then I thought better of that. I thought how its going to feel seeing some old friends this weekend.

I thought about calling my doctor’s office and finding out when my next appointment is because I can’t remember S*** anymore and I believe I lost the card I had it written on. I thought about what to write about today. I thought about my Daughter who is in the family way and smiled so much I sprained my cheeks.

I thought about opening up more in my writing but didn’t know where to start. I thought about this quote (“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”) after that last thought. I thought about how people are so different but the same. I thought about doing more post a day now that I’m almost at a daily pace finally.

I thought about the vision difficulties I’m experiencing and my stress level went up. I thought about those who serve and protect us and my stress level went down.

Uniform.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I thought about how few people will read through this but if my children one day read and enjoy it than I’m blessed.


Random Thoughts of the Day

Toga Toga Toga – sorry there, had a flashback.

A happy person is a productive person.

The Mega Millions name finally fits.

My tan is fading. How many days till Spring?


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Wind me up

I have a taste for some rockfish. And I know just where to find them. But I think I’ll keep it simple this weekend and just order some at a restaurant. This is yet another day that has gotten away from me. The closer to the election the more nuts it becomes. But my time remaining at the job that pays the bills is almost over for the week and I’m excited about getting out again tomorrow.

Ready to Catch
Photo by Mike Hartley

And by getting out I mean taking the cameras with me and seeing what I can capture around the county. Might head west again. I like the rolling hills out there. I know the colors aren’t out yet but it’s still a nice time of year. The air is so clear and crisp in the fall.

As our brother, Capt Dan would say. Yeah Buddy.
Photo by Mike Hartley


Random Thoughts of the Day

I wonder if I hit the lottery if I would still look at the Nikon refurbished equipment?

Well, we are learning the value of life aren’t we.

I feel like Mr T is looking me in the face and saying “PAIN”.  I would tell him, I feel you brother.

I’m wondering if this weekends grass cutting will be the last one of the year? I think I remember being out on the tractor in November last year though.

If I was only organized.


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Moving write along

I was getting lazy in my writing.  I know its hard to tell being I’m such a hack at it in the first place. I was trying to come up with ideas to write about on the fly, sometimes a photo I took would inspire a thought, I was cramming a lot of creative time into the same production time, I would let a less than perfect day make the experience difficult to write or not enjoyable. I wasn’t going back to my drafts folder and expanding on some ideas I’ve had previously. I wasn’t taking the time to explain my thoughts or ideas.

Apples an Jelly
Photo by Mike Hartley

I could go on with a long list of stuff I wasn’t doing. I haven’t studied the art of writing even though I’ve been around them all my life. Maybe failing English in 9th grade was a signal. Nah really it’s because I didn’t like the time the class was and it was fun cutting it. Caught up with me though.

In other words I’ve got a lot of rough edges to straighten out. I’ve been tinkering at writing for some time now and I’ve got to start putting some more thought and effort into it. So here’s a promise to try to be a better writer with more interesting thoughts to share.


Started the day off thinking about how I enjoy answering the questions that are posed on the blog Pointless Overthinking. It causes me to reflect internally a lot. I like improving and some of the question and answers really give you ideas and perspectives. Sometimes I learn by how others look at things in both a positive and negative way.


Random Thoughts of the Day

Email used to be an indicator of how busy it was at the office. Now its the dozens of chat rooms I have to follow also to keep up.

I saw a headline today that says beer prices could double because of climate change. Now there is an issue that will grab the people’s attention on climate change.

The NBA season has started again. And soon comes my favorite, college basketball. Life is GOOD.  Go Terps

Families are funny. Some are not funny ha ha. Some are funny, holding my side laughing. But they are still family.


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And were off again

A flying start to the work week. I started it off by putting a new little inspirational message on my computer monitor. It’s a number but a significant number. Its kind of countdown of sorts. It’s been a bit since I’ve started a week off in such good spirits. I kind of like it but when things go well my antenna goes up. Seems like trouble is always around the corner at times.

Now there is a formation.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I was looking for a picture today being I didn’t even have a chance to download the few images I snapped yesterday. I came across this image I took at the World War 2 Memorial. And my first thought is what are we teaching our children by the way we act about politics today?

One thing I do know is kids are smart. They see this behavior. They hear the rhetoric. They see people flipping the bird. They see people called liars and worse. They see physical altercations. I should have said kids are observant. The smart ones will interpret this behavior and if they have a good base at home that helps them process what is right or wrong in actions of others we are OK. But if bad behavior is reinforced we are all doomed.

People wander for hours sometime.
Photo by Mike Hartley


Random Thoughts of the Day

I’m finally learning how to make time.  Well maybe make better use of it.

I don’t have enough sweat suits for the winter.

I’m thinking that many of the things that are important to us today, will be changed dramatically in the next decade or two.

I’ve got to spend more time coming up with better stuff to write about or write less.


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Transition Days

As the weather transitions from one season to the next, rather abruptly I might add, a number of transitions are always happening. The people in and out of your life. The work week ending or starting. Mornings to evenings. Watching my career ramp down while watching my children grow in theirs.

Watching my neighborhood change and the surrounding areas of civilization grow around us. The transition of having to watch what I eat instead of eating anything I wanted. The body’s change of less physical strength and stamina. The change of how we grow or regress as a society or individual.

Kayak and Canoe’s. Becoming my future choice of transportation.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The change from a motorcycle speed and corners to maybe a kayak or canoe on a lake. The transition from self-doubt to confidence. The change from balls to the wall to enjoying the ride.

The change of spirit and mindset I’ve had. (wish I had done it earlier in life). The transitions of what is important and what isn’t anymore. Or the ability to recognize what always was, and wasn’t.

I feel like I’m at this great time in my life but that I know in my heart I’ve wasted a lot of good time also. But as long as there is this day and a next day to try to make up for it then life is great.


Random Thoughts of the Day

Eggs on a Sunday morning is a great start. When they are made for you, it’s a blessing.

I really enjoyed Paul Simon’s performance on SNL last night.

I’m going to fire up the grill today and do some sausages as a protest about the cool temps here in Maryland.

I’m going into this work week in better spirits than I have in the last several. Might as well enjoy it. Hell week (elections) are coming soon.