Friday, February 29, 2008

Question of the Week: Leap Day

What's your opinion of Leap Day?

I just don't like it. It's an extra day that comes along once every four years. I believe that a day like this, a day that doesn't normally even exist, should be a day set aside to take a break. And when I say a break, I'm talking Ferris Bueller style. The reality of Leap Day was that I had to go to class at 7:30am. Then I had to go to work until 6pm. Leap Day was just another day. In 2012, Leap Day will fall on a Wednesday. Maybe I'll plan a vacation day, wherever I am. I'll plan on sitting at home and I'll watch DVDs of Quantum Leap. It'll be Quantum Leap Day.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

American Idol: 16 Left

It's the same thing every time they have an elimination. Really, this could be a half hour show. Well, 15 minutes. How long does it really take to tell four people their dream is dead? Well, I won't say dead. Actually, I will. And for a commentary on what happens to the folks that don't make the top 12, see last week's post. Who's going home this week? I wanna know. I don't want an hour of filler. Thank goodness for the DVR. Just let me say, I think I may be wrong about my picks this week.

Who's first? That would be Jason Yeager. Who's surprised by this one? I mean, I'm pretty sure he was about to cry after the verbal beating he got from the judges last night. I feel a little bad for him, but not much. You gotta step it up when America's voting. Give us something to talk about at the water cooler. That's one.

Next? Alexandrea Lushington... I was so wrong. Ryan narrowed it to her and Amanda. I'm sitting here thinking Amanda is the one going home. I hate being wrong! I thought Alexandrea did so much better than Amanda last night. But I didn't vote for her. Brooke got my vote last night, 'cause she was the best of them.

I'm pretty sure I'm wrong about Ramiele. Could it be Kady? She's kind of my back up pick to go home. Okay, definitely wrong about Ramiele, she's safe. Wow... big upset. Alaina Whitaker is going home. No freakin' way! She did awesome last week! I guess that shows what an off-night can do to you. Wow. I am blown away by this one. Last night wasn't her best performance, by any stretch of the imagination, but it was better than several of the other girls. America, I'm telling you, you got it wrong with the girls this week. I'll give you Ramiele, I admit I was wrong when I picked her to go home. But come on... Alaina and Alexandrea over Amanda and Kady? Come on America, step it up!

So who's the last to go home tonight? I picked David Cook as the last one. And I'm wrong. Luke and Robbie are on the block. Of these two, I think it'll be Luke Menard. Wow... another shocker. Robbie Carrico... going home. What the heck people? With people voting like this, I'm afraid of what sort of presidential election we'll see come November.

I have to go sleep this crap off! I'm going to my room!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

American Idol: 10 Gals

Oh yes, it's ladies night.

Carly Smithson - Crazy On You
I'm not sure of the song title, so if I'm wrong, again, forgive me. She's doing really well tonight. A lot better than last week. She's really letting loose with her vocals and showing just how powerful her voice is. Great control, very confident. Starting off strong tonight. 9.

Syesha Mercado - Me and Mrs. Jones
Except she's singing "Mr. Jones." I think this girl has a great deal of potential. Tonight's song choice isn't necessarily showing off what she can do though. It's not bad, but she's got such a powerful voice, this song just doesn't showcase it. 8.

Brooke White - You're So Vain
Bold move playing the guitar. She's already been compared to Carly Simon this season. I think she's done a great job with this song and she was very comfortable singing it. Another 9.

Ramiele Malubay - Don't Leave Me This Way
As I sit here listening to the song, I can't help but feel a little bored. Vocally she's doing okay, but she just doesn't seem to be into it. Like she's not giving her all or not feeling it. There are a couple problems with pitch. I gotta go 6.

Kristy Lee Cook - You're No Good
I'm hearing a couple places that are off key. And the stage presence isn't much better than last week. I went along with the illness factor then, but what's the excuse this week? Is she still nervous? I'm still disappointed. Better than last week overall, but not great. 7.

Amanda Overmyer - Carry On My Wayward Son
It's too low for her. Look, I'm just not a fan of Amanda. I don't like her voice all that much. She could hit every not perfectly and I don't think I'd enjoy the performance. I'm really not a fan. 5.

Alaina Whitaker - Hopelessly Devoted to You
Extra points for pulling out a song from Grease. And she's got Carrie Underwood hair. I don't think her performance is quite as strong as last week. Slight pitch issue just before the chorus. And then she kicks it up a little more. This is probably the wrong song for her. Because she showed last week that she has a phenomenal voice, but Olivia Newton-John she ain't. 8.

Alexandrea Lushington - If You Leave Me Now
Pulling out some Chicago. Nice. I'm impressed with this girl. I have a feeling the judges will call the song choice boring. But she's singing it so well, I really don't care if it's boring. It's a great slow song and she's showing incredible control and maturity in her voice. 8.

Kady Malloy - Magic Man
This is another case of a girl with incredible potential. But this is totally the wrong song for her. She's off key throughout. Most of it is way too low for her, so it's impossible to even understand her. I can't go with a high score here. Going with a 6.

Asia'h Epperson - All By Myself
Sounded like she started off a little shaky. But she's getting it back. As she wraps up the song, all I can think is, wow. That ending brings her up from an 8 to a 9.

So who do I think should be worried? Jason Yeager, David Cook, Amanda Overmyer, and Ramiele Malubay. I might have said Michael Johns and Kady Malloy, but I think they'll have enough of the votes to keep them in another week. I was 3 for 4 last week, guess we'll see how good I am at this game tomorrow night.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

American Idol: 10 Guys

So... what's the theme this week? Ah, the 70s. Makes sense, since last week was the 60s.

Michael Johns - You Can Go Your Own Way
It's starting off kind of iffy for Michael. When he gets to the chorus, he doesn't sound quite as confident as I'm used to from him. Maybe he's not comfortable with hitting the higher notes there. His song last week was a better fit. It'll be interesting to see what the judges say. But I'm only giving him a 6. Kinda rough.

Jason Castro - Be Your Everything (not sure of the title)
He's out here with his guitar again. I can see this guy being a new Jack Johnson. He's very comfortable out there with the instrument and on the stage. His vocal this week isn't quite as good as last week, but I think he's doing better than Michael. Gonna go with a 7.

Luke Menard - Killer Queen
What's with the song choice this week? This song just doesn't suit him at all. Maybe I'm the only one thinking that. Anyone else seeing Hugh Jackman in this guy? I'm having bad Viva Laughlin flashbacks. Can't say I liked it though. Not bad, not great. 7.

Robbie Carrico - Hot Blooded
I think this might be the best so far tonight. I'm pretty sure I said that with this guy last week too. He did a really good job with this song. The confidence was there. The vocals were there. I'll say it wasn't as good as last week, which seems to be a running theme tonight. Better than the previous three though. 9.

Danny Noriega - Superstar
Here's a tip: when introducing yourself on a show where you want people to think you're a good singer, don't tell America that you were once in a band that sucked. I'm inclined not to like this guy, just because he seems like he'll be this year's Sanjaya. I know, I said Jonas would be, but he got cut. But he's actually doing pretty good tonight. Better than last week's song. 7.

Tell me I'm wrong.

David Hernandez - Papa Was a Rolling Stone
He did a good job with this one. He didn't over do it, he didn't under do it. He was able to play the audience well. Giving him an 8.

Jason Yeager - Without Love
He's a little flat starting off. Most of the song is okay though. He's pulling off a pretty good vocal. I'm not a fan though. It's pretty average. 6.

It sounds like there are some problems staying on pitch here. Though to be honest, I don't know this song. There's no denying that Chikezie has a powerful voice, but he starts this song out all over the place. There's some redemption toward the end. And it's better than last week's performance. 8.

David Cook - Alright Now
Dave's out here playing Guitar Hero. Will this take away from his already less than stellar vocal performance? I'll say that he's doing better than last week, but I really don't think he's got a strong voice for this. 7.

David Archuleta - Imagine
This kid seems to be a crowd favorite. The girls were screaming for him before Ryan even introduced him. And I'll admit, for someone so young, he's got an amazing voice. He's come out and taken one of my favorite songs and he's made it his own. As far as I can tell, this is a fairly flawless performance. First 10 of the season.

That's it for the guy. Archuleta gets my vote tonight. Uh, I'll be honest, I don't know 70s music that well. I mean, I can sing along with a lot of songs played on the radio, just don't ask me the titles. So if I missed some of the above titles, forgive me. And disclaimer for tomorrow night, I'm sure I'll miss some more. Tomorrow the girls sing. Remember: vote early, vote often!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Feeling Hitchcockian

I got home from work not long ago. I'm sitting here, just trying to relax, watching a little TV before I fix dinner. I heard a strange noise. Whatever it was came from outside. It was continual and pretty annoying. I was hearing this over the sound from the TV.

So I got up, walked to the front door and took a look outside. Birds. Lots and lots of birds. You know it's gotta be a lot of birds if they were loud enough for me to hear them inside my house (doors and windows completely shut) over the television.

I'll admit, it's a little creepy. Did you ever see that old Hitchcock movie The Birds? That's why it's creepy.

The Academy Awards

I'm late with today's post by about 15 minutes. But like I've said before, it's still the 24th for most of the country. I would've posted before midnight eastern time, but the Oscars ran long.

Tonight I did something with the Greene's that I had previously done with Chrissy, Andy, and his family a few years back. We printed ballots off the internet and picked our winners in each category. This turns the annual awards ceremony into a competition and makes it a little more fun to watch. At stake: ice cream of choice from the Marble Slab.

When I played this little game with the Berry's, I came out on top with 12 correct picks. This eventually led to ice cream of choice from Maggie Moo's. I say eventually because we never got around to it while I was in Richmond that weekend. We didn't actually get around to it until I visited Andy and Chrissy in Charlotte last summer.

I hope it doesn't take 18 months to get my Marble Slab ice cream. I'm pretty sure it won't... since I practically live with the Greene's.

Oh, didn't I mention? I won... again. This time I only got 8 right. But it was more than Kevin or Nicole. And believe me when I say it was pure luck. Since I have seen zero of the major motion pictures that actually won something tonight. I should really get out more.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


For the last few weeks I've been issued challenges by the oldest Greene boy to play him at Monopoly. His claim was that he had never been beaten before. Even Nicole backed this up. Apparently he had never met an opponent that could outmatch him at the classic board game. Until tonight.

This afternoon he brought it up one more time. I was hesitant, but the Nicole said I was afraid to play him. Not one to back down from a challenge, I gave in. So we played.

Everyone has their own strategies. Some people like to buy up the railroads. Some hold out for Boardwalk and Park Place. Personally, I just like to buy anything and everything I can get my hands on. He mocked my particular strategy. Especially after I had purchased about ten properties and had very little money left.

But the buying of properties paid off. See, I acquired a few monopolies. Sure, he had Baltic and Mediterranean... with hotels... but I had the red spaces. I think I read somewhere that, statistically, these are the spaces that are hit the most. This makes it the most valuable monopoly on the board. And eventually, this was his downfall. Good ol' Illinois Avenue with a hotel.

Do I feel bad after beating a ten-year-old? Not at all. I'm just glad the game didn't last four days. I've done that before too. Now that's a long game.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Question of the Week: Life's Funny

This week's question (and most weeks' questions) will come from The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock.

When you do something ridiculous, how much does it bother you to have other people notice it and laugh at you?

Actually, it doesn't bother me all that much. I'm reminded of some of Jack Handey's words of wisdom: "If you're robbing a bank and your pants fall down, I think it's okay to laugh, and to let the hostages laugh. Because, hey, life's funny."

What about you? Easily embarassed? Do people laugh at you or with you? All comments accepted...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

American Idol: 20 Left

I said I wasn't going to, but I feel like I should write something about this. Over the last couple nights, America voted for their favorites. Tonight, the bottom four were let go.

First was Garrett Haley. He's one I picked to go.

Next was Amy Davis. Another one I got right.

The second girl to leave the stage was Joanne Borgella. That's three.

Finally, America said good-bye to Colton Berry. I didn't see that coming. I'm not too surprised by that result, but I missed that in my prediction. But hey, 3 for 4 ain't bad.

When Ryan obliged the judges to give some final words of wisdom to Colton, Paula and Randy of course encouraged him to keep singing. Simon gave his honest opinion, saying Colton should get a good job and just enjoy singing as a hobby, because he doesn't think the kid could ever make a career of it. This sparked something of an argument amongst the judges. Paula and Randy said that Simon shouldn't crush someone's dreams. Simon said they shouldn't ask his opinion then. Randy then pointed out that Colton should continue singing simply because he made the top 24 out of the thousands of people. But let me ask this: how many people from past seasons' top 24 do you remember? By the end of this season, you, the average viewer, won't even remember that Colton Berry existed. Or Amy Davis, or Joanne Borgella, or Garrett Haley.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

American Idol: 12 Gals

Ryan says some of the girls have colds. Tough! Suck it up! This is live television people. Build a bridge and get over it!

Kristy Lee Cook - Rescue Me
She might be my season 7 crush. I don't know, all I've really heard her sing is Amazing Grace, which she did a great job on. Tonight she's tackling some Aretha. There really doesn't leem to be much to it though. Nothing spectacular. It doesn't really seem like she's doing a lot to make herself stand out with this song. Honestly I'm kind of bored listening to her. That's not to say she's doing a bad job or that she's got a bad voice, but I have a feeling she's got more potential than she's showing. I'm disappointed. 6. But hey, the judges reveal that she's one of the sick ones. Maybe America will take that into consideration.

Joanne Borgella - Say a Little Prayer
Her pitch seems off to start with. Maybe I just didn't have my volume up loud enough to really hear her. She's pulled it together as the song's progressed, but again, nothing spectacular. Are they gonna say she's sick too? Another 6.

Alaina Whitaker - More Today Than Yesterday
Tomorrow's her birthday, so I hope she does well so she doesn't get kicked off. I mean, what a crappy birthday if you get booted off American Idol. Her song begins really slow. Then kicks up a notch when she gets to the chorus. I think that's a good way to do it. And she's belting this one out too. Outstanding job with this song. Much better than the first two girls. She gets 9. Oh, and I forgot Chikezie did this song last night, if that tells you anything about how I felt about his performance.

Amanda Overmyer
Here's our rock 'n' roll nurse. I don't recognize the song she's singing. Despite my lack of musical knowledge, I think she's doing okay. But this is not her best performance. She's done better. She's done a lot better in her previous auditions. A lot of it just felt like she was mumbling the lyrics. And I'm not talking about the scat at the beginning. Not bad, not great. 7.

Amy Davis - Where the Boys Are
I could be wrong, but I don't think we've seen her at all until now. I don't remember any of her auditions. Again, this gives the other contestants an unfair advantage. I think she must be sick too. Her pitch is all over the place. It's really annoying actually. When they showed her audition clips, she sounded really good. This is a huge disappointment. 4.

Brooke White - So Happy Together
She reminds me a whole lot of the woman who was the RHD in the girls' dorm back at Bluefield. My friends could all be reading that and think I'm full of crap, but that's who she reminds me of. Her song is a rerun from last night. And her cover of it is much better than David Cook's. She's hitting her notes, she's got the rhythm down. Solid 8.

Alexandrea Lushington - Spinning Wheel
This was pretty much Bo Bice's signature song back in season 4. She's putting a different spin on it obviously. Get it? Spin... Spinning Wheel... Let that sink in first. She's doing a decent job with the song but I'm not sure that I like her voice. Maybe that's just a personal issue with me. I'm gonna go with a 7.

Kady Malloy - Groovy Kind of Love
She's the one that does a spot on Britney Spears impression. Her actual voice though, is spectacular. She could be giving Alaina a run for her money tonight. Well, there are a few pitch problems throughout the song. But her voice is incredibly strong. Maybe she's sick too. Seriously, there are several mistakes that she just shouldn't be making. I take back the thing about giving Alaina a run for her money. She's good, but tonight wasn't so much. 6.

Asia'h Epperson - Another Little Piece of My Heart
She's a really sweet girl who I would like to see go far in this game. Maybe that's 'cause I identify with her grief in losing her dad. She has a very unique voice. And I mean that in a good way. She did a great job with a song that was done and overdone during Hollywood week. Not the best of the night, but she gets an 8.

Ramiele Malubay - You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
I remember her initial audition and she has got an amazingly powerful voice. She starts out pretty low key. I don't mean that in a pitch kind of way. Well, the pitch seemed a little off at the start, but I mean the energy was kind of dull. And with the power that this girl actually has, I'm hoping she'll belt it out. And she builds. Very good. Another 8.

Syesha Mercado - Tobacco Row
Another girl with a powerful voice, but she had to be reserved in Hollywood because she lost it. She's one that I think has the potential to blow it out of the water. I think I got the title of the song right. I'm not sure if I like this for her though. There seem to be a few rough patches here and there. Overall, not bad though. I'm gonna go with a 7.

Carly Smithson
So, she had a record deal several years ago. That doesn't disqualify her? I mean, it doesn't matter to me, I just thought those were the rules. I don't recognize this song either. I do recognize that she's a little flat in a couple spots. I think she knows it too. She's able to pull herself back up though. Going with another 7 for her.

Overall I think the girls did a pretty good job. I think there's potential for a lot better once they get used to singing under this kind of pressure from week to week. My vote tonight goes to Alaina. To me, she was the best of the night. Tomorrow night, four of these people will be going home. My prediction for the chopping block? David Cook, Garrett Haley, Amy Davis, and maybe Joanne Borgella. I could be way off on these. I don't get good with my predictions 'til the top 12. Come back tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

American Idol: 12 Guys

Finally, we've reached the part of the season where America gets to choose in which direction the show will go. Tonight we have the guys singing, tomorrow we'll hear the girls. As I've done in seasons past, I'll rate the performances on a 10 point scale. I don't always agree with the judges, and you, the reader, will not always agree with me. But this is just the way I see it. Or hear it. So let's get started, shall we? It's 60s week. I'm glad they're doing the theme weeks from the start this year. A lot of positive changes for AI this year.

David Hernandez - In the Midnight Hour
This the guy that Simon said would have to work really hard if he wanted to have a chance at winning. I think he's got some talent, but I'm not sure about his song choice. At the end of the song he got off pitch a bit. Not perfect, but not horrible either. But hey, best performance of the night thus far. I give him a 7.

Chikezie - More Today Than Yesterday
He's only going with the first name these days, huh? Okay... he's singing a really slowed down, Barry White-ish version of this song. Chikezie has a good voice, but I just don't like this arrangement of the song. I know they're only given about a minute of time to blow people away, so they want to bring their own signature to the song. But this wasn't the way to do it. Better than David though. 8 from me.

David Cook - So Happy Together
I'm a little afraid at the beginning. He starts out really slow. It doesn't get better when he speeds it up. The chorus levels off, but I don't think I like his voice. Maybe that's just me. Again, with all the talent they've got on here this season, it's not that he's bad, I'm just not a fan. 5.

Jason Yeager - Moon River
So is Jason going to be painted as this season's crooner? I guess it's possible there will be another to sing this style tonight. I actually like this. He's done a good job with this song, he's not pushing or trying too hard. A solid 8.

Robbie Carrico - One
This guy has a bit of a Bo Bice look to him. Seems to be starting off a little shaky, could just be nerves. He gets more comfortable as the song progresses. Despite what I thought was an off beginning, I'm giving him a 9. I think he's the best so far tonight.

David Archuleta - You Better Shop Around
This is a soft-spoken kid, but from his auditions, he's shown that he's incredibly talented for his young age. Not sure if it's the song choice or just the key it's in, but it's too low for him. Based on past performances, I do agree that he's talented, but this was a bad pick for him. The end was a pretty good save. 8.

Danny Noriega - Jailhouse Rock
Elvis is a hard act to cover. But this kid is actually pulling it off. Tempo might be a little rushed, but he's done a good job with the song. Not the best, but I'll go with an 8. And tell me he doesn't look a little like Jessica Alba. Seriously.

Luke Menard - Everybody's Talkin' at Me
First of all, why are the idiots in the audience waving their arms in the air? That just looks stupid. If it were me singing, I'd probably get distracted and screw up. Or laugh. Probably laugh. Anyway, he's keeping it together pretty well. Good vocals, good control. Up until that falsetto at the end. Not horrible, but it was a little sketchy. 6.

Colton Berry - I think this is an Elvis song that I just don't know the title to... this is why I'll never be on the World Series of Pop Culture
We have a Virginian in the competition this year. Though I still would've rather seen Kyle get through ahead of him, but it's okay. His performance is good not great. 7.

Garrett Haley - Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
I'm pretty sure we've never heard him sing before tonight. I don't remember him from the city auditions or from Hollywood week. This probably means he doesn't stand a chance. This is a very... very... slow... version of this song. I'm so used to the original version that you'd hear on the oldies station. This sounds like something you'd hear in the elevator or the waiting room of the dentist's office. Sorry kid, it's a 5, mostly 'cause you bore me.

Jason Castro - What a Day for a Daydream
When I see a white kid with dreadlocks, I just see someone who hasn't washed their hair in 18 months. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm just being judgmental. But that's what comes to mind for me. He's accompanying himself on guitar. The instrument thing didn't work well for most people during Hollywood week, but he's pulling it off nicely. His vocals got a little shaky toward the end, but overall not bad. 8.

Michael Johns - Light My Fire
I can see the posters in the audience now: "The Wonder from Down Under." Wait for it, that's what'll happen. I think it's just cheesy enough. Assuming he makes it to the top 12. Based on his prior performances, he might just. Not sure about this song choice for him though. He started out okay, but when it kicked up in the middle, I think he lost something. Just a 7 from me.

Based on my scoring, Robbie Carrico gets the vote. Overall, the guys were okay tonight. Again, not great. Everyone's talking about how amazing the talent is this season, but so far, it doesn't seem to be that much better than previous years. At this point, no one stands out like Carrie Underwood did a few years back, but that's not to say that no one will. The girls still have their chance to shine tomorrow night.

My Last Trip to Wal-Mart

I mentioned before in this blog that I have a list of places that I will never go again. Most of the time, it's only restaurants that make this list. But even then, it's not a hard and fast rule. There has been at least one time that I've had to go back on my word for reasons beyond my control.

Tonight, on my way home from work, I decided to stop for some groceries. This is a trip I've been putting off for about a week. I've been running really low on supplies, so this evening I gave in. I decided to go to Wal-Mart to get the shopping done. Normally, I don't go to Wal-Mart, but I wanted to get a new shirt for work, so I figured, two birds, one stone.

As I was making my way through the aisles picking out my usual necessities, I noticed a strange fog hanging low in the air. It looked a little smokey in the store, but I didn't think much of it. Just thought it was weird. In the cereal aisle, it was a little thicker. I couldn't smell anything, but it made me start coughing. No one else seemed to be affected, making it seem a little weirder. I didn't need anything in the next aisle, but when I looked down that way, it looked like a big white cloud. There was literally zero visibility at knee level and below. It was bizarre.

It was like being trapped in a Stephen King novel.

Does this mean I'll never go to the local Wal-Mart again? No, they're not quite on my list. I'm not even sure I'll count this as a strike against them, since it wasn't something that was personally done to me. But I'm pretty sure I'll keep to my previous rule of going somewhere else unless I just need to go to Wally World.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Presidents' Day

Happy Presidents' Day everyone! How did you spend this most special of days? Were you close to your loved ones this holiday weekend? Big meal with friends and family? Or, do you, like me, just feel that this is another annoying Hallmark holiday?

Today was my mother's birthday. I called around noon to let her know I was thinking of her. I interrupted her while she was at work. At work! On Presidents' Day! I thought the presidents of the United States sacrificed all their time and energy so that the common man, like the banker and the postal worker, wouldn't have to work on the third Monday in February.

We should really take this time to reflect on the former presidents. And should we merely reflect on the U.S. presidents? Should we not also celebrate captains of industry? What about the president of the Coca-Cola Company? Or how about the president of the local high school's Student Government Association?

So to all of you out there who have held the title of "president," we salute you!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Singing to Sleep

Last night, I was over at the Greene's. Big surprise, right? After a long evening of playing SingStar, I had the privilege of holding and feeding the Baby Greene. When she finished her bottle, she was a little fussy, so in went the pacifier. Then Nicole told me to sing to her.

So I started singing. Three songs into the set, she was out. I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've ever sung someone to sleep. Well, successfully anyway.

For a few minutes, I couldn't help but think about songs that Dad used to sing to me. Not necessarily when I was falling asleep, but times when I was afraid or sad. Specifically, I remember he would sing Day Is Done by Peter Paul and Mary. I don't know how often he actually played that through his repetoire, but it's always stuck with me. I only remember the first verse...

Tell me why you're crying my son
I know you're frightened like everyone
Is it the thunder in the distance you hear?
Would it help if I stay very near?
I am here.
And if you take my hand, my son,
All will be well when the day is done.

Even now, thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. It did last night when I heard him singing it in my mind. Luckily no one was paying attention as I rocked the sleeping baby while my eyes welled up.

I've said it before, more often than not, when I think of Dad these days I smile or laugh. But there are still times, when missing him becomes overwhelming and I can't help but cry. I can't wait 'til the day I get to hear him singing again.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode VI

Today was my first Saturday shift. From 9am to 1pm I dealt with clients trying to get all their banking done before the Monday holiday. And wow, were we busy.

Panic mode didn't set in with me until about noon, when I realized that I was running very short on cash in my drawer. This makes cashing checks very difficult. Actually, when all you have are ones, fives, and tens, it makes cashing checks next to impossible.

So, once I was completely out of large bills, I announced that I could take anyone with a deposit. One person raised their hand. One... out of a line of about 20 customers. After I finished that transaction, I made the same announcement, this time adding "loan payments" to my list of things I could do. Then a lady in line asked, "Are you a notary?"

"No... I can't notarize... I'm pretty much useless now." So those lucky people in line had to wait for the other two tellers to help them... while I sat there... looking really dumb. But hey, I survived my first Saturday at the bank. Good times.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm the One Askin' the Questions

Today I'm introducing a new segment of the blog: The Question of the Week. Each Friday I'll ask a different question, which you may choose to answer in the comments section, located below each post. I'll answer my own question in the actual post. I figure this is a decent way for you to get to know the guy writing this thing a little better. And maybe it'll be a way for me to get to know some of the anonymous folks who show up here from time to time.

This week's question involves that popular game show, Deal or No Deal. If you were to make it on the show, what case would you pick? And what three people would you take as your support system?

I'm not real sure what number I'd pick. I'm inclined to say number 4, but that's 'cause the model that holds that one is my favorite. Then again, I should probably pick any number but 4, and keep her around the longest. And the three people I'd take? There are lots of people I'd want to have there with me, but I'd have to go with Mark, Brandon, and Andy. I really am blessed with a lot of friends and family that would be great as support, but these guys would keep it fun for me. Any question I would have, I'm sure they'd have a line from a movie or SNL to get me back on track.

So those are my answers. Did I pick the wrong people to take with me? Should I have said you? Convince me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

How I Spent My Valentine's Day

For me, Valentine's Day began as a typical day: a morning full of classes. Then I was invited to have lunch with the Greene's at the Golden Cow. You may be asking the same thing I was. "What's the Golden Cow?"

After I received this cryptic text message, I had to call to confirm. Golden Cow? That's what the youngest talking Greene's call Golden Corral. So we did that, then I went to pick up their groceries while they went to CVS. Of course I was more than happy to do this, they did, after all, pay for my all-you-can-eat buffet.

I got to the house before they did, and I was going to put away the groceries, at least the cold stuff, but there was no room in the freezer. So I waited. When they finally got home, I was asked to wipe the four-year-old's freshly pooped butt. And look, while I appreciate the many meals that this family has provided for my broke behind, there are certain lines I will not cross. Wiping a kid's butt is one of them.

I plan to spend the rest of the afternoon doing laundry and playing some online Scrabble with my anti-Valentine. Tonight I'll be going out to eat with all the couples from our weekly Bible study. I'm the only single guy in the group. 5th wheel, party of me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

American Idol: The Top 24

We begin with the obligatory plug for Jumper, coming to a theater near you on Valentine's Day.

Now, on to the real show. This is the last chance for the tribunal to really have a say in this competition. Beginning next week, it's up to America. Now, let me say this to the voting public: remember that this is a talent competition. This isn't about who's popular or who's hot or who you're friends with on MySpace. Vote for the best singer. Listen to what Simon has to say after the performances. I know people don't like him, but he knows his stuff.

First we have Ronald Hodge, who apparently had a rough time during the Hollywood round. And apparently, it was rough enough to get him booted from the competition.

Nina Shaw is cut; Mycale Guyton is cut; Lisa Aukerman is cut. That's four down.

Carly Smithson is up. Before they make their call, I'm gonna assume she makes it through. The judges have consistently liked her each time she's auditioned. She's the one who got a golden ticket a few seasons back, but something happened with her visa and she had to leave the country. Her Hollywood audition was pretty flippin' good. Paula strings her along for awhile, saying that this shy side of her needs to be shed. Eventually, Carly gets a yes. We have our first girl in the top 24.

Up next is David Cook, who played guitar with his performance of Everything I Do during Hollywood week. I didn't think he did a very good job, in fact, he flubbed the lyrics. But he's in. That's two.

Here comes the motorcycle-ridin' respiratory nurse. Amanda Overmeyer is a rocker chick from way back. The judges put her through too. That's three.

Brandon Green is a no; Amanda Hawkins is a no; Buck Smith is a no.

David Archuleta is very young. He's 16, which plays a factor on the judges worrying about his confidence. But the judges all think he's got what it takes. That's four.

Kristy Lee Cook struggled on day one of Hollywood. I really hope this girl makes it through. I think she's very talented, but I've kind of got a bad feeling. I mean, she may have made it with her second chance in Hollywood, but she re-performed Amazing Grace, which she had already auditioned with. But it was definitely good enough. That's five.

Here's another one that I like. Brooke White seems like a really sweet, possibly slightly naive, girl. I thought she did a really good job in her initial audition and her Hollywood audition. Randy does the suspense thing with her in tears, and finally lets her know she's in. That's six.

Danny Noriega had a really good Hollywood audition. He's in. That's seven.

Jason Castro is a yes; Luke Menard is a yes; Alexandra Lushington is a yes. That's eight; nine; ten.

These that are sent through during a montage are the ones that won't last long in the next part of the competition, because we never see them. We never saw their back stories. We don't know them, we're not invested in them. So fewer people will vote for them. That's just the way it is.

Ramiele Malubay is next to go up that elevator. She's in too. That's eleven.

Shaun Barrowes is a no; Lorena Pinot is a no; Drew Poppelreiter is a no; Natasha Block is a no.

Michael Johns had a really good Hollywood audition with Bohemian Rhapsody. He has a very strong voice and Simon said he was the "best audition of the day." So he's in. That's twelve.

Syesha Mercado had a rough time in Hollywood. On the first day she lost her voice. She was able to pull it together and had a pretty good audition, but was it good enough for the judges to let her through? Guess it was. That's thirteen.

Robbie Carrico is also a yes. That's fourteen.

Garrett Haley is a yes; Kady Malloy is a yes; Chikezie Eze is a yes; Amy Davis is a yes; Alaina Whitaker is a yes; Jason Yeager is also a yes. That's twenty.

Only four spots remain. Asia'h Epperson is up next. Sadly, her father passed away just before her audition. Despite that, she blew the judges away with her performance. That's twenty-one.

David Hernandez didn't blow anyone away. Paula liked him, what with her "whoop" during his song. Simon said no while the other two said yes. But he's through. That's twenty-two.

Josiah Leming is up next. Now, I gotta say, I'm not a fan of this kid. I don't really like the tone of his voice when he sings. And I think it's just weird how he has that faux British accent going on sometimes. He just slides in and out of it when he's singing and when he's talking. It's weird. And strangely offputting. I really hope they don't put him through, because if they do, I have a horrible feeling that Josiah will be this year's Sanjaya. Thank you judges, it's a no. Good bye Sanjaya Jr.

Two spots left, one guy, one girl. First up are the guys: Colton Berry and Kyle Ensley. Colton, I don't remember much about. Kyle is the one who wants to be a politician someday. He looks a lot like Patrick Dempsey did back in Can't Buy Me Love. He's the one I'd like to see get through. I think he has a lot of potential. But I was wrong. This is another instance of me agreeing with Simon, who really wanted Kyle to go over Colton. But it's Colton that's in the top 24. That's twenty-three.

Here come the last two ladies: Joanne Borgella and Cardin McKinney. I honestly don't know much about either of them. I don't remember their initial auditions and I don't remember their backstories. Apparently from tonight's recap, Joanne is a model and Cardin moved to Nashville to pursue her music career. Both had very good Hollywood auditions, but based on the clips they showed, I have to go with Joanne on this one. And I was right. That's twenty-four.

Next week we, the people, begin to make our voices heard. This is the time when more people will vote for the next American Idol than will vote for the next president of the United States. Maybe I'll predict the winner next week. We'll see.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Late Entry

Okay, I'm pretty sure I was only going to accept questions up until last Monday afternoon. Apparently Jen didn't get that memo. So I'm making an exception just this once.

Jen asks: Do you think we'll ever see each other again? And if we do, do you think it's at all possible to recreate the magic that we had in capture the flag?
If I thought that I'd never see you again, I don't know what I'd do. I think my life would spiral uncontrollably into a deep, dark depression, from which there would be no return. So yes, I do believe that we'll see each other again. Somehow, somewhere, some way. I don't know when. I don't know how. But I know something's starting ri... Sorry, got carried away. I did say I wanted to finally do that cross-country road trip this summer. Keep your fingers crossed. As for the magic of capture the flag, I don't think we would need to "recreate" something that's always going to be there anyway. I've gotten it down to a science. But, personally, I'm up for some more SingStar. Maybe that's just me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thanks For Stopping By

During my senior year of college, my roommates and I stumbled upon this website. Go check it out, then come back here.

Did you listen to the whole thing? Did you listen to it several times? 'Cause it's an endless loop. And did you check out that kid's mullet? Classic. Did you read that statement at the bottom of the page? Go back and check it out again. Pretty funny stuff.

At Bluefield, we thought this was one of the funniest and possibly greatest websites we had come across. How shocked were we to find out that this site had been viral for years before we even found it. Apparently, some kids at the University of Richmond knew about it years ago. Were we the only ones in the country that didn't know about this kid in New Mexico who was desperate for a girlfriend?

My friend Andy had been on a mission trip with these U of R kids and for some reason, he started that final phrase, "Bye, thanks for stopping by!" The U of R kids finished the phrase with him. Everyone got a good laugh out of that.

I can't help but wonder where this Michael Blount is today. Obviously, he was 11 years old when he created his website. But how long ago was that? It was sometime before 2001. Even if it was 2001 when he launched the site, he would be at least 16 now. But I'm betting his in his 20s now. Do you think he ever got that girlfriend he was looking for? Do you think he got a better set of frames? Did he ever get a decent haircut? Did his voice change? He's probably a J.J. Abrams-type mystery. The kind that involves uncovering more questions than answers.

So for my fellow Bluefield alum who read this blog post, there's a little nostalgia for you. For those of you who didn't know the site existed, I hope you got a good laugh out of it. And to Michael Blount, I wish you luck in your continued search for love.


Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Jewelry Commercial

Have you seen a recent Kay Jewelers commercial? The one they're showing to prepare all the guys out there for Valentine's Day? It's the one with the little kid who sees his dad give his mom a diamond necklace from Kay. So he then writes "Kay" on a little box and takes a gift to a little girl.

The girl opens the "Kay" box and pulls out a heart made of pink construction paper attached to a piece of green yarn. She says thank you and kisses the little boy on the cheek. But here's what I feel that she's really thinking:

Aww, how sweet. This looks really expensive. What'd this set you back? Fifteen cents? What, did you raid the crafts closet in the kindergarten room at school? I'm just gonna hug you so you'll feel good about yourself. My real boyfriend went to Jared. Chump.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Back in college I was in an ensemble choir that performed under the name Variations. This group was made up of some of most vocally talented people I've ever had the honor of knowing. My last couple years in Variations, we recorded CDs of the music we had performed during the school year.

Tonight, as I drove home from Wake Forest, I was feeling nostalgic and decided to listen to the CD from my senior year. Well, my first senior year. It was the year of "The Testament of Freedom" and "Prayers From the Ark." As I drove, I sang along with songs that I memorized six and seven years ago. I was surprised at just how much I remembered.

I was even more surprised by just how depleted my lung capacity has become. Back in the day, I was able to hold out those high notes all day long. Tonight, I learned that I can't do that anymore. Sure, I can still hit those high notes, but don't expect me to hold them out more than eight beats. Back then, I was singing every day, stretching myself to the limits. Now I sing in the car... occasionally... and in choir... occasionally.

I kind of miss singing everyday. I definitely miss singing with my Variations friends.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


I've been playing a lot of Scrabble lately. But I haven't been playing a traditional game of Scrabble. That would indicate that my social life has improved. No, I've been playing through Facebook with Jen. So imagine, if you will, a Scrabble board that is 3000 miles by 3000 miles. That's a big Scrabble board.

I'm not sure how many times we've played over the last few weeks, but I do know that she has beaten me every time. There have been a few games where I came within a few points of winning. But I haven't been able to win. While I have been known to be a competitive person, losing this many times hasn't bothered me. Yet.

Although I do think Jen may be cheating. Somehow she constantly comes up with the Z or the Q or the X or the J. These are all the high scoring tiles. If, in fact, she is cheating, then she's an even greater genius than I ever gave her credit for. In order to manipulate the letters, she'd have to hack into the Facebook application. A feat that I couldn't even begin to conceive.

In our current game, I'm in the lead. We'll see how long that lasts.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Nicknames From Sawyer

Do you watch Lost? If you know anything about me, you know I sure do. In fact, I never miss it. I mean, when there's a new episode on, which there finally was last week. So if you've seen the show, and maybe if you haven't, you know that Sawyer likes to hand out nicknames for people. Yesterday I stumbled onto this website provided by ABC. It's a nickname generator. You input some information, then it creates a nickname for you. So, have you ever wondered what you'd be called if you were stuck on a mysterious island with Sawyer? Would you like to join the ranks of "Freckles," "Stay Puft," and "Dr. Giggles?" Now's your chance.

It says my nickname is "Rerun." Not sure I understand their reasoning, but I guess it's sort of fitting. I do repeat lines from TV shows on a regular basis. Feel free to share your nickname in the comments section.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Riddle Me This

Time to start answering questions. I only got seven questions, so seven answers won't be that hard to come up with. I thought I'd be able to stretch this out for awhile, but it doesn't look like that will happen. So here they are, in the order in which they were received.

Tiffany asks: Does it sometimes annoy you when people ask you to do one of your impressions? Especially since many are from the BC days?
It absolutely does not annoy me when people ask me to do an impression. Especially if it's a popular one from the BC days. I know I act all embarassed when someone asks me to pull out a Brak line or a little Harry Caray, but it's just that. An act. I'm not really embarassed. I mean really, who doesn't like to be the center of attention, even if for just a little while. Sure, doing an impression of Tobey Maguire doing an impression of Keanu Reeves on SNL is wholly unoriginal, but that's just me. I am unoriginal.

Brandy asks: What do you miss most about me?
Brandy, what I miss most is the same thing I miss about a lot of my Bluefield friends. So many of you guys became like a family to me during those four (or five) years. So I miss those good times: BSU, the Omelet Shoppe, mission trips, vent sessions in the cafeteria, scathing sarcasm... good times. I do not, however, miss the sheer volume of bruises I would receive from you and several Alpha Delta girls in response to my own scathing sarcastic remarks.

Brandy also asks: What is your favorite song lyric?
Nicole is wrong. While "We Built This City" is a great song in its own right, none of they lyrics have truly touched me on a personal level. The correct answer to this question is a line from Andrew Peterson's "Faith to Be Strong."
Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it's hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able
Lord, give us faith to be strong

Amber asks: If someone gave you 100,000 dollars and said it was yours to do whatever you want with couldn't spend any on yourself..... what would you do with it?
Hmmm... I can't spend it on myself? Not even a little? Okay, I'd give it to my mom. She retired last March, but is still working. I mean, she's not working the 40+ hour weeks she used to work, but she's not really able to enjoy retirement the way I know she would want to. So I figure 100 grand would help out in that area. Maybe she'd be able to travel a little more, or do all those crafty things she talked about doing "someday" when I was a kid.

Bryce asks: When are you going to get married?
Okay, you're starting to sound like my mother. I'm kidding. But seriously, I just don't know the answer to that question. Honestly, marriage isn't even a blip on my radar at this time. The obvious reason for that is that I don't have a girlfriend. The other reason is, if I got married, I'd have to change the title of this blog. I'd have to change it to "The Married Guy." That just doesn't have the same ring to it.

50 Percent asks: What would you do with a million dollars?
To answer this question, I turn to my friends the Barenaked Ladies:

50 Percent also asks: Is it true that you are scared of peanut butter like small children of scared of the boogie man.....girl
My secret shame is revealed. I mean, it's not like I go hide under the covers whenever peanut butter enters the room. It just freaks me out the way it sticks to the roof of your mouth, and no matter what you do, you can't get away from it. What really scares me is when you smell it before you see it. You just know it's there.

Monday, February 04, 2008

What's the Deal?

Does no one else want to probe my innermost thoughts? Granted, I've only had 13 visitors to this site since I posted My Own Open Book. But of those 13, only two posted questions in the comments.

If these are the only questions I have as of tomorrow, I'll still answer them. I just won't have an excuse to stretch this out for more than one extra post. Also, if these are the only questions, maybe I should assume that's some sort of mandate. It means people really aren't reading any of this crap and I shouldn't bust my butt to write something every day.

So, tomorrow I begin answering. Could be three answers. Could be more, that's all up to you.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

My Own Open Book

Okay, so a couple weeks ago, a friend of mine did this and I thought it was a great idea. So Brandy, I'm stealing this idea. By the way, if you haven't been by Brandy's Blog, check it out, it's pretty good.

Anyway, this is your chance to ask me questions. Any question about any subject. And I'll spend the next few days answering those questions openly and honestly and to the best of my ability. I'll begin responding to your queries on Tuesday afternoon. Brandy had 36 questions. I want to see if I can top that number! So, leave your questions in the comments section and I'll get to them in the order in which they are received.

Seriously, ask away!

The Other Me

About eight years ago, at an open house weekend at Bluefield College, I ran into my doppelganger. This was a kid who was interested in coming to Bluefield. This was a kid who looked just like me. He even walked like me. It kind of freaked me out. I was afraid he would get accepted at Bluefield, show up the next semester, then try to replace me. But then I heard him speak, and I knew I had nothing to worry about. The voice was way off.

This morning I received an e-mail that appeared to be from my bank. I mean, it was very convincing. So convincing, in fact, I fell for it. In the e-mail, I was warned that someone had tried to access my account from a different computer and that I needed to sign on and verify my information or else my accounts would be closed. Now, looking back, I realize I should have rationally taken a look at what they were asking me to do and seen that it was a scam. But I was in panic mode. I thought someone was trying to steal my account information. So I bought into the "sign in and verify" thing. I clicked the link and input my information. I know, stupid right?

Luckily, my security software popped up and let me know that it was a phishing website. Unfortuneatly it was after I had gone through the first page. That means I had already given these people my account number, bank routing number, debit card number, social security number, name, address, phone number, etc. Pretty much all the important information that makes me me in the eyes of the federal government.

Hopefully I caught the problem immediately enough to put the kibosh on any damage that may have occurred had I continued with this little scheme. I called the real bank helpline and forwarded the e-mail to their fraud department. They said if my account is accessed, they can reimburse me for anything that's missing. My concern now is for my social security number. What if someone tries to apply for some sort of credit score altering thing and screws up my financial future? What if I can't get a mortgage in 5 years when I buy that house at the lake? What if they show up at my house (because they have my address) and try to steal some of my DNA so they can complete the cloning process?

Maybe I'm being paranoid. But if you happen to run into someone who looks like me but doesn't sound like me, it probably isn't me. If he seems just a little off, run far away. That means he's stolen my identity, he might try to steal yours. If that does happen, I'll be changing my name to Bruce Wayne. I'll spend years in training, then I'll come back and dispense my own brand of justice against all those identity stealers out there. Yeah, the delusions of grandeur are back.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

What's Wrong With the Internet?

I think it's broken. Well, not broken, but in disrepair. Wait, does that still mean broken?

Ever since last night, I've been having trouble using the internet. Websites that I usually have no trouble loading, are now taking a very long time to load. Or they're not loading at all. So I ask the question: What's wrong with the internet?

I scanned my laptop for viruses. Nothing showed up. So it's not a problem with my computer. I even tried my seldom-used desktop, same issues. Of course, my desktop usually sits there because it's so much slower than the newer laptop.

I rebooted the cable modem. That had zero effect. I tried to call the good people at Time Warner Cable, and all I got was a busy signal. But not a regular busy signal. One of those fast busy signals, like you just dialed a number that no longer exists. Pretty bad for a company that boasts great digital phone service.

I know, I know, I'm using the internet to post this blog right now. But as I'm typing all this, I'm wondering what will actually happen when I click on the publish button. Will it actually publish it? Or will the internet once again shut me down. I think we need a new internet. Just tear it all down and start over again.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode V

Today was my last day at the Garner in-store branch. The last day of my on-the-job training. For the first half of my day, I thought, once again, that I would be standing around looking like a big idiot.

After looking like a big idiot for about half an hour, I was told I'd sign into a computer and be able to look up accounts, but I wouldn't have a cash drawer. Once I logged on, I still looked like a big idiot. I mean, sure I could look up people's account numbers and balances, but who would come to me just to get that information? Because they could go to the next guy, get that same information, then do the business they came to do, all in one fell swoop.

Late this afternoon, I was actually able to have a drawer of my very own. For about two hours. Better than nothing, right?

So will I miss the Kroger store? Not really. Don't get me wrong, the people were nice, and there was a cute cashier that I'm pretty sure gave me a "look," but it's just not worth the 45 minute-1 hour drive from my house to the store. Next week, I'll finally be working regularly at my regular branch. Time to get settled in.