Monday, April 23, 2007


While I was in Bluefield over the weekend, I was able to spend some time with a friend from the college years, Amy. Recently, she lost her father to cancer, so I know a bit of what she's going through. At least as far as losing a father at a young age goes.

She and I went to see Disturbia. Ten minutes into the film, we looked at each other feeling a complete sense of irony. See, ten minutes into the film, and I guess this would be considered a spoiler, the main character's father is killed in a car accident. Leave it to us, two people who have just lost fathers, to go see a movie where this issue is a key plot point.

Overall, I'll say that it was a good movie, the first scenes notwithstanding. From the previews you see that it's about a kid who is sentenced to three months of house arrest. In the movie, he spends his first few days playing X-Box and sleeping in. Man, I wanna be on house arrest. But wait, Mom breaks bad and informs her son that it's not a vacation. He's lucky she didn't go all Matrix on him, especially since his mom is Trinity.

Eventually he gets his act together and fights boredom by spying on the neighborhood. Soon enough, the movie takes a Hitchcockian turn when he thinks he's witnessed a kidnapping/murder perpetrated by his next-door neighbor. Suspense and thrills ensue. All in all, a decent scare and a good movie.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Going Postal

For nearly three months I have been living in my Mom and stepfather's spare bedroom. It's a cheap way to get by before I begin seminary in the fall. Anyway, the main topic of late has been mail delivery. Or should I say, lack thereof.

Now, most of the time, I greatly admire postal workers. It has to be a stressful job. Sorting indecipherable letters and packages, I'm sure, can fry one's nerves. And then there are the letter carriers. What's the creed? "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." And I think until I moved in here, I believed that.

At my previous address, we had a letter carrier who walked door to door and deposited the mail in the boxes. Here, the carrier doesn't get out of his truck, because the boxes are on the curb.

So why would this topic be popular with my mother and her husband? Because often, the mail doesn't come. And just as often, when it finally arrives a day or two late, it has written on it "Box Blocked."

Blocked by what? I'm glad you asked. The grown-ups that own this house both have individual vehicles, as do I. I park in the back yard, Mom parks in the driveway (with room for only her car), and Jerry parks on the curb. This is typically how it works. Is it possible that his truck is what blocks the box?

The issue was taken up with the post office after the first couple incidents. My mother was told there needs to be 15 feet of space on either side of the mailbox. From that moment hence, they have been very careful to keep a distance when parking on the curb, even going so far as to giving it a tape measure treatment. And yet, the mailbox still gets skipped.

Now, this wouldn't bother me normally, but now it's my mail that is being delayed too. Since I'm living here temporarily, I must receive mail here as well. And I would feel pity for the letter carrier who can't seem to fit his 8 foot long truck into a 30 foot space (15 on either side of the mailbox), if it weren't for the fact that I know other letter carriers who get a little exercise and walk from house to house. Despite the rain, or snow, or heat, or gloom of night.

Actually, I don't see too many letter carriers delivering at night. Maybe they should replace that part with "heavy traffic" or "parked vehicles."

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Commonwealth Stopped...

Unless you were under a rock for the better part of April 16, 2007, you know that Virginia's largest university fell under the attack of a mad gunman.

I first heard the news when I left work this afternoon. I got off work around noon and listened to a CD when I started driving. I stopped and got some lunch, and felt compelled to switch to the radio. The DJ on Q99 threw it over to another DJ for "the latest news of the shooting at Virginia Tech."

Just hearing that, my mind went all kinds of ways. Fallout from the stuff with Morva last August? Another Columbine-like incident? It would turn out to be the latter. The man giving the news, Joey Self, reported that there had been 20 confirmed fatalities at that time. Twenty! I was blown away.

As soon as I got to the house I rushed in to turn on the television. Within minutes, the body count rose to 22. As the hours passed, the casualty list grew to 33 people. 32 people gunned down for reasons known only to the dead mass murderer.

I cannot comprehend what would drive someone to such a point where they feel they need to go on a rampage like that. I'm thankful that I can't comprehend it. Maybe that makes me a little bit more sane.

I urge anyone reading this to pray for the students, faculty, and staff of Virginia Tech, and their families. Pray for the town of Blacksburg. Pray for the law enforcement officials, emergency workers, doctors, and nurses. Pray for healing. Not only for the town and school, but for our nation as well. God help us indeed.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Trip to Nashville, Book 3: The Genghis Grill

This will be my final post regarding my latest trip to Nashville. I devote this issue to a little place known only as The Genghis Grill.

First of all, let me give out this advice: if you have a Genghis Grill in your area and have yet to try it, eat there as soon as you can. It's probably not the best restaurant I've ever eaten in, but it is an interesting experience.

Here's how it plays out: you get a bowl, pick your ingredients, and then give it to a cook. Yeah, it's that simple. How is that different than ordering from a menu? Well, you actually pick out the raw food. You walk up to a buffet style bar with all your meat choices, followed by your veggie choices, followed by your sauces, and then you choose rice or noodles.

Once you've done the hard part, you hand your bowl to the cook (who is not Mongolian, by the way). He (or she) then throws your food onto a very hot, very large ceramic wheel. And he (or she) cooks with sticks! I mean, long wooden sticks. Crazy, I know.

Everything's all cooked up, they hand back a larger bowl, and you walk back to your table. And then you have another choice to make: metal utensils or chopsticks. I went with the chopsticks. I have a theory about chopsticks (which I may or may not have heard from a comedian somewhere along the way). Americans, as a people, are fat. Why? We're eating with modified shovels. Asians, as a people, are slender. Why? They're eating with these two tiny sticks! I admire this. I can use chopsticks well enough to get by, but honestly... Have you ever tried to eat a bowl of rice with sticks? And this is a staple of an Asian diet.

So, new diet plan. Eat with sticks, not spoons. It'll sweep the globe like that Atkins thing or whatever they've got going on in South Beach.