Monday, March 31, 2008

Road Rage

Most people wouldn't know it, but I have horrible temper. I never show my anger around others, only when I'm alone. But if someone were to install a hidden camera in my car, you would discover that when I get cut off in traffic, I become the worst version of myself.

Today while I was out for lunch, I got stopped at a red light. I was sitting in the right lane, waiting for green. Finally it turned. And so did a woman coming from the road beside me. My light was green, this means that, obviously, her light was red.

Now, I have no problem making a right turn on red if there is no oncoming traffic. But she made eye contact with me, while my car was already in motion, and still she pulled in front of me. Didn't even pretend she would stop for her stop light.

And here's the kicker: as she drove in front of me, she maintained a constant speed of ten miles under the speed limit. Also, so gave a signal like she would get over in the left lane. That didn't happen.

North Carolina. That's all I'm sayin'.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

552 Days

The other night I was at the Greenehouse. I'm not sure how we got to this subject or how the conversation veered here, but at one point, Nicole made the wild claim that I would be married in a year and a half.

She even picked the date: October 3, 2009. 552 days from today. I'm slightly skeptical in most things; very skeptical when it comes to matters of the heart. She did, however, in her moment of clairvoyance, fail to tell me who this foolish woman would be.

So, single gals out there in cyberspace, the position is open. So keep October 3 next year open on your calendars. Apparently I'll be standing up at the front of a church wearing a tuxedo. I will say this: I clean up pretty good.

How 'bout it? Any takers? I'm thinking of holding a competition. I've got plenty of time to come up with something. I'm thinking Survivor meets The Amazing Race.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tree in the Wind

The other day as I was taking my trash out, I felt the wind blowing. A common occurrance, one that people probably experience nearly every day. I looked up and saw the trees swaying as the wind blew. I couldn't help but laugh.

My whole life, Dad's explanation for where wind came from was unique. To him, wind wasn't caused by rising and falling air temperatures and pressure systems. Wind was caused by trees breathing.

In his own wacky way, it made sense. When you notice the wind blowing, it's moving the trees. That particular illusion came to a halt when I hit 9th grade and took earth science and began to grasp a bit of how weather works.

But my whole life, when I see the wind's effect on trees, I'll think of Dad and laugh.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Question of the Week: I'll Be There For You

This week's question came from Chrissy while I was in Charlotte last week visiting her and Andy. Most of us have probably seen Friends and one point or another. If you haven't, you'll be at a severe disadvantage if you try to answer this question (not that anyone ever answers these questions). Also, if you haven't, all 10 seasons are on DVD, so you have no excuse. Go, watch, laugh.

What is your favorite episode of Friends and why?

My favorite episode is "The One with the Embryos." It's the one where Phoebe gets her brother and sister-in-law's embryos implanted into her uterus so she can be the surrogate for them. But that's not the part that I like. The part that makes this my favorite episode is where Joey and Chandler compete against Monica and Rachel in a "Who Knows Who Better" game that Ross creates for them. At first it's just for money. Then it's for Monica and Rachel's apartment. The guys get to move in for about half the season. What is Chandler Bing's job? "He's a transponster!!!" "That's not even a word!!!" Cracks me up every time.

Really, there are so many good episodes of this show, to pick just one is difficult. Any time I catch a rerun or watch the DVDs, I laugh at it like it's the first time I'm watching it. By the way, I took one of those "personality tests" on Facebook that lets you know what Friends character you would be. Apparently I'm Chandler. Who knew?

Late Again

It's after midnight. I'm done apologizing for the nights that I post late. It's gonna happen from time to time. I'm a busy man. Okay, I'm only kind of busy occasionally. Tonight was one of those nights.

Each Thursday I participate in a home group Bible study at the Greenehouse. When I pulled into the driveway this evening, their youngest son met me at the car and asked why I was wearing my "beach clothes." I didn't consider shorts and a short sleeved shirt "beach clothes," but I'll go with it. It was very warm today. Kind of like spring. Hence the shorts and short sleeved shirt. And the sandals.

Not long after I arrived, I was asked to go pick up some chocolate icing from the store. No problem doing this favor, seeing as how they let me do laundry at their house tonight. I was in the store for maybe five minutes. When I came out, there was a shopping cart right in front of my car. You know where the cart return was? About 10 feet from my car. I mean, that's just inconsiderate.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode XII

This afternoon when I got to work I checked my e-mail, as I always do. What I found was a bit odd. Well, it was odd to me.

My manager had sent an e-mail to everyone in the branch requesting a Quarterly Plan of Action. I wasn't sure what this meant, so I asked one of my fellow tellers. Apparently it's a written explanation of how I intend to meet my goals in the next quarter. But not only that, I also need to explain how I plan to make up the deficit from this quarter.

In other words, next quarter, I not only need to meet the normal goals, I also need to work nearly twice as hard to get whatever I haven't gotten this quarter. Seriously? If I didn't meet the normal goal this quarter, what makes anyone think I'll exceed it next quarter?

My co-worker that explained this written statement to me said that I was expected to be detailed. How will I meet and/or exceed my goals next quarter? Here's what I'm tempted to say:

In order to meet the ridiculous goals that are set before each of us, I plan to be implanted with bionic parts. Physically, this will help me to move faster and therefore complete transactions much quicker. Intellectually, the computer chip in my brain will allow me to analyze each and every customer so I can know their needs judging from not only their account information, but from the way they dress, speak, and carry themselves. My computer brain will then allow me to know what to say and when to say it in regards to cross selling new bank products, whether the customer needs them or not.

That detailed enough for you?

I'll be honest, while I'm in school, dealing with the stress of papers, exams, and quizzes, I wanted to have a job that would involve next to no stress. When I interviewed as a teller, I was hoping to find a job where I would be able to work with people on a regular basis. I was hoping to find a job that would allow me to leave the job when I went home. I didn't want to have to sit down and come up with a strategic plan on how to sell things at the bank when I'm not a salesman. I'd like to be able to work with the customers, get their business done, then go home at the end of the day. Too much to ask? Yeah, I thought so.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

American Idol: Ten

I love the Beatles, I do. But two weeks of the Lennon/McCartney library was a bit much. I think even the contestants got bored with it. Because they were all, for the most part, below their normal performance standards. I'm not sure what causes that kind of thing. Maybe tonight will be better. The songs come from the year in which the contestants were born.

Ramiele - Alone
Immediately she'll be compared to Carrie Underwood, who blew this out of the water about this time three years back. On the low notes she's a little shaky. And she's flat when she hits the chorus. This is really not good for her. Not a good song choice at all. Her voice is not powerful enough for this one. I'm sorry kid, it was bad. 3. Okay, they're saying she's sick. Tough. I'll give her a 4 instead.

Jason - Fragile
This is a good song for him, but slightly boring. Any time this dude can sit behind his guitar and sing, it's a good move. I think he'll make a great acoustic performer. I can see him in coffeehouses and student activity centers across the country. Does he really have what it takes to win it all though? If he stays with the low key stuff like he's been doing, he's just staying in his comfort zone. Good not great. 7.

Syesha - If I Were Your Woman
If she can perform like she did last week and do it consistently, she might win this whole thing. And usually the slow songs get boring, but she's displaying her voice very well. Very powerful. I need to hear everyone else tonight, but I think I have a new favorite in the competition. 10.

Chikezie - If Only For One Night
He's not blowing me away like he did a couple weeks ago. Could be the song choice. It's slow, a little boring. From what I can tell though, he's hitting all his notes, getting all his words. Again, good not great. 7.

Brooke - Every Breath You Take
Gasp... She stumbled at the very beginning. I guess that would be a false start. She started singing before her hands started playing the piano. Once she gets going though, it's pretty good. How much will that hurt her in the eyes of the voting public though? She's as comfortable with 88 keys as Jason is with six strings. She hasn't allowed the flub at the beginning to affect the rest of her performance, which is usually a good sign. She knows she messed up though. Overall I liked it. 8.

Michael - We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions
Honestly, it's nothing spectacular. I'm sure he's still got the over 40 crowd. He probably made a smart move by not hitting the high not in We Are the Champions but some of his other notes were still a bit off. Again, good not great. The band displayed more of their talent than he did vocally. 7. I think I'm alone in that opinion though.

Carly - Total Eclipse of the Heart
My first complaint is that she's not blending well with her back-ups. Or they're not blending well with her. Which I suppose is how it really should be. But Carly is doing a good job. She was powerful when she needed to be. Not her best performance, but still pretty good. 8.

David A. - You're the Voice
I'm not sure about this. I don't think this was a good song choice for him. The beginning was dull. The middle was boring. The end got slightly elevatd, but not great. I think this kid had a couple good weeks early on, but he's not showing us anything spectacular these days. 7.

Kristy Lee - God Bless the USA
Ah, patriotic song. Well played Kristy Lee Cook. So far this is leaps and bounds better than her last two or three performances. She loses a step at the key change. But overall it was pretty good. I'll give her a 7. Go USA!

David C. - Billy Jean
I'd never heard this version of this song. It's interesting. Over the last few weeks David has kind of impressed me. He's getting a little better with each performance. It'll be interesting to see how far he goes in this thing. 9.

Best of the night? Without question, Syesha. Bottom three? Kristy Lee, Ramiele, and Chikezie. If it's based on tongiht's performance, Ramiele will be going home. But since Kristy has been on the block several times already, her fan base may be gone. We'll find out tomorrow night.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I'm a procrastinator. I'm pretty sure it's something I could do professionally if it were an actual job. The problem is, if procrastinating was a job, I'd never get a paycheck, 'cause chances are, the folks in payroll are procrastinators too.

I had all of Easter Break to study for an upcoming Hebrew exam. It's an exam that tests my knowledge of all the vocabulary that I've had to learn since the beginning of last semester. That's twenty chapters. Well over 600 words.

Did I use my week out of class wisely? Of course not. I went to Charlotte to hang out with my friends. I had a good time. It wasn't a completely brain dead few days though, I did make up flash cards for the words. I just didn't study them.

Until now.

Tomorrow at 11:30am I have to take this test. A test that will include 25 of these 600 words. It could be anything. So tonight, I will consume copious amounts of caffeine and flash card myself until my eyes will not stay open any longer. In the morning when I wake up (if I fall asleep at all), I will go to my early class. Then I'll come back to my house and study some more. And then, I'll go take this exam.

This too shall pass. I just hope I do too.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Scenes From a Mall

I don't often go to the mall. In fact, since moving to Wake Forest, I've been inside the nearest mall a grand total of four times. All since the holidays. Friday was the first time I made the trip alone. First off, let me just say, the solo mall run is boring at best.

Why would I find a trip to the mall boring? Because of the way my mind works. See, I like to watch people. And I like to make sarcastic comments about a great number of the people I see. If I'm alone, there's no one to hear those comments. There's no one to make those comments to. Granted, I could walk around, observe something funny, and say something about it... but then I'd be talking to myself in public. Apparently this doesn't go over too well in polite society.

I actually didn't see anything too abnormal on Friday evening. It wasn't very busy. I guess people had better things to do than hang out at the mall. However, at one point, I was in Macy's and noticed a couple weaving their way through the racks of clothes. That wouldn't have been so odd, but they were holding hands. I know, that's totally normal for couples to do. But they were grasping each others hands so tightly, it looked like if one of them let go, they would both slip off into oblivion, never to be seen or heard from again. There goes their one shot at true love.

I don't even know why I went to the mall that night. I know I had a reason as I pulled into the parking lot. But by the time I got to the doors, I couldn't remember that reason. Pretty bad, right? But while I was inside, I remembered why I rarely shop at the mall. Stuff there is expensive. I did get a new Superman shirt though. All in all, not a bad trip.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode XI

My fellow Americans, when you come to my bank, you must have your coin rolled if you expect us to exchange it for paper money. Most of you are aware of this.

What some of you may be unaware of is that the values placed on the coin wrappers are not just a suggestion. When you have a penny wrapper that has the number 50 on there, it means you have to put in 50 cents worth of pennies. Not 57 or 58. 50.

When you have a roll of dimes with the number 5 or the word "five" on it, that means five dollars worth in dimes. Not $4.70.

Today a gentleman came in claiming to have 90-some dollars worth of rolled coin that he wanted to deposit into his kids' savings accounts. When I counted his rolls, I came up with something in the 80s. But something troubled me: some rolls of pennies were much longer than others.

This meant I had to open them all up and count them individually. We don't have a counting machine. So this was all done by hand. After adding and subtracting everything (and counting numerous dimes, nickels, and quarters as well) he was short by 48 cents. Granted, not a big deal in the long run, but I spent the better part of my day counting coins. This wasn't fun.

The moral of the story? If you're thinking of exchanging your change for real money, be sure to count it before you roll it. You can't just make a guess about those things. Just because it looks like it might be the right amount doesn't mean it is. Never assume.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Question of the Week: Upbringing

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

For the most part, I think my folks did a pretty good job bringing me up. I even think they did a good job with my sister too. I look back at my life, and as an adult, I can see that things weren't always the way they seemed on the surface. Like a lot of families, there were problems that were hidden by a happy face and a few lies. I've recently noticed that a lot of people, once they've grown up, do whatever they can to escape their parents' shadow. That could mean moving away or vowing to raise their own kids differently, correcting the mistakes they think their parents made. And there are definitely some mistakes I would like to correct when (and if) I have kids of my own. It's no secret that I eat a lot of crap that's not good for me. So there's a part of me that wishes my parents had forced me to eat better as a child, so I would be conditioned to eat right as an adult. Little things like that would have made a big difference I think. Psychologists like to blame parents for the way kids turn out, and there's a lot of truth in that. But another truth is that parenthood doesn't come with an instruction manual. Mistakes are made. Parents grow as their kids grow. Along the way come growing pains, for everyone involved.

*Question of the Week comes from The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Omelet Shoppe Confessions: Creepy Night Guard

Step back in time with me to another trip to the Omelet Shoppe. Through a haze of time travel and cigarette smoke, you'll see the Creepy Night Guard.

As an establishment that stays open 24/7, the Omelet Shoppe saw it's share of hooligans and ruffians (some of whom you'll hear about in a later post). As a result of these (often drunk) trouble makers, the Omelet Shoppe kept a night guard on retainer. This is the Creepy Night Guard.

Picture a tall, skinny guy in his early to mid-fifties. Now picture him with a lazy eye and a permanent crooked smirk. And don't forget to have the smell of cigarettes, that's crucial to the old Omelet Shoppe memories.

This man would make rounds in the dining area every half hour or so. The way he would eyeball people as he walked by the tables just sent chills down our collective spines.

When I remember him, I think of him as a Vietnam war vet with PTSD who never really left the war. It seemed like every time he turned a corner he was looking for Charlie. And I'm pretty sure he was packing heat. There was a part of me that felt safer knowing there was security on site. There was a bigger part of me that was really scared.

Creepy Night Guard, I salute you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I can't sleep. This is due to a combination of taking advantage of my day off and sleeping until 10am and too much caffeine this evening. But technically, it's my next day, and since the internet is working, I'm posting a new blog.

As I said before, I'm in Charlotte visiting Andy and Chrissy. Andy pulled me along last night to a junior high home group Bible study that he's a part of. Before the festivities began, we were all outside gathering around a basketball goal. I leaned against Andy's car and just watched while he and some of the kids played a quick game.

As I stood there, something odd happened. One of the 7th grade girls decided to come stand next to me. Now, Andy has a Ford Escape. It's not a small vehicle. There was plenty of room for both of us to stand there and enjoy the amateur basketball game. But she was so close that she was touching me.

I'm not gonna lie. It weirded me out a lot.

Keep in mind that I did not invite this incident to happen. I was just standing there. I don't think I could have been more shut-down if I had tried. Arms crossed, not speaking... and yet. Andy looked over after passing the ball to one of the kids. He looked confused. I really hope I conveyed the same confusion right back.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

American Idol: Eleven

Usually I write this weekly blog post as I'm watching American Idol. This week I'm reporting from Charlotte on my Easter break. As I'm not in my normal place, I don't have my normal internet access. In fact, access at the Berry apartment is sporadic at best. It's at times like these that I wonder if I'll be able to keep that "post every day" resolution that I made this year.

But for the moment, I have access to the internet. So I'll write a brief post about the American Idol that was.

It was the second week of Beatlemania and it wasn't as good as last week. It's like they all got bored with the Beatles music and didn't put forth any effort. Chikezie wasn't as good as last week. David A. was better than last week. But they were all, for the most part, pretty blah.

If I had chosen to pull out my phone to vote for someone, I would have voted for Syesha Mercado. Her performance of Yesterday was outstanding.

My bottom three this week are Kristy, Amanda, and Chikezie, with Kristy going home. I may or may not be able to post tomorrow. Just depends on which way the wind blows.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Leaf Blower

To the groundskeepers at Southeastern Seminary, I thank you. Today was the first official day of Easter break. A day to take advantage of the ability to sleep late. But you were there to wake me up at 9am with a leaf blower right outside my front door.

Seriously? These leaves have been sitting on my sidewalk and porch and all over my front yard since mid-October and today is the day you choose to get rid of them?

You know what else is super? When you use the leaf blower right at my porch, it blows leaves into my living room through the enormous gap between the door and the floor. That was really awesome.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode X

Immediately after joining my branch, I noticed that it gets quiet in there. It gets quiet a lot. There's something missing, and I don't mean customers. It's missing music.

Personally, I keep my accounts at a rival bank, but I've noticed in their lobby, they have a TV with one of the news channels on at all times. And this is along with the music playing in the lobby speakers. The branch that I work in has none of these things.

Well, we have a TV in the break room that picks up only one channel. That channel happens to be the one that shows nothing but court shows all day. If Dad could see me now.

This past Wednesday, I asked our branch manager if I would be allowed to bring in a small radio and plug it in near my work area. She seemed to be okay with this, as long as it was set on a station that didn't play offensive music and wasn't played too loud. These terms were agreeable.

Then came the catch. She feels that our work stations are all cluttered. She wants that to be cleaned up a bit. Some of the others, I can go along with that to a certain extent. There does seem to be an excess of papers lying around in some places. But I looked at my area and felt that my work area wasn't cluttered. I'll admit I have a lot of things around my counter, but they're things I use regularly throughout the day: deposit tickets, withdrawal slips, loan payment forms, etc.

Is she suggesting I put these forms somewhere else? The only readily accessable place would be one of my drawers, but I only have three of them. Everyone else gets multiple drawers where they work, but since I'm at the window, I have only three. One for my cash drawer, one for excess cash, and one for coin (which I do keep some extra tickets in). But there's just not room for anything else.

How about this: instead of getting rid of the paperwork I need, I could get rid of the telephone. I could get rid of my computer. That would make work a little difficult, but so would running into the back room everytime I need a deposit ticket. Seriously, do you have any idea how many people drive up to the window and buzz for a deposit ticket because they were too lazy to fill one out before they got there?

That was harsh. I shouldn't have said "lazy." I should have simply said they didn't have the presence of mind to get their affairs in order before they came out to do their business.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Omelet Shoppe Confessions: Freebie

One fateful post-Spring Formal evening, a large group of us decided to make a run to the Omelet Shoppe, as we often did after gala events. There were enough of us to have to sit at several tables, as there often were during any trip to the OS. At the time we arrived, the place was jumping. The all-night breakfast club was packed, so there was quite a bit of competition for tables.

After a long wait and several walking trips around the dining area, I sat at a table with two of my roommates, Mark and Dereck, and our friend Kristy. Gertie took our orders and (eventually) brought us our extremely greasy food. Being the good Bluefield College (a Baptist institution) students that we were, we said a prayer for the food. But our prayer was interrupted.

Let me take a minute to explain something that I had seen before we sat down. At one booth were a few ladies (of the night), one of whom was slumped over, seemingly half asleep (or possibly dead). When we sat, I was facing them, Dereck had his back to them. Does that paint the picture a little?

Back to the interrupted prayer... Dereck's got his head bowed, his eyes closed. Suddenly we hear, "Sir! Sir!" Dereck's prayer changed from a blessing for his food to a plea. A plea that this lady wasn't addressing him. He opened his eyes, and I said, "Dude, I think she's trying to get your attention." He just stared at me.

Finally he turned around. "Sir, could you pick that up for me please?"

Dereck's a polite guy. So he got up, bent down, and handed the woman the object that she had dropped on the floor. He came back to the table, looked at us, and said, "Yep, pretty sure that was a condom."

At this piont, our laughter could not be contained. Well, Dereck's could. He didn't think it was even a little funny. But to this day, I have to laugh. If I'm right (and when am I not?), this woman was a hooker (prostitute) who had her eye on Dereck and wanted to give him a freebie. That's what I think anyway.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Question of the Week - Capital Idea

Do you believe in capital punishment? Would you be willing to execute a man sentenced to death by the courts if you were selected by lot to do so and he would go free if you refused? Assume you know no details of the trial.

I suppose I do believe in capital punishment. What I am opposed to is the years of time that criminals spend on death row on the taxpayer's dime. I say we should go back to the days when a man was convicted of the crime, sentenced to death, then hanged on the courthouse lawn. As far as my own willingness to administer the lethal injection, I'm not sure that I'm qualified for such a thing. When I was in meds training at the Baptist Home, I practiced giving insulin shots to an orange, but that hardly makes me a likely candidate to put someone to death. And I see that the same way I see eating meat. I'm okay knowing that my steak came from a cow, but that doesn't mean I want to butcher the thing just to get my New York strip. I'm okay knowing that murderers are eventually put to death for the crimes they committed, but that doesn't mean I want to flip the switch on the chair. I guess my guy would have to go free. Maybe I'd luck out and it'd be John Coffey. Like the drink, only spelled different.

*Question of the Week comes from The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

From Connecticut

Today I was out on the road and saw a car from Connecticut. And, as it often does, my mind wandered.

What do you call yourself if you're from Connecticut? I'm from Virginia, therefore, I'm a Virginian. If you're from New York, you're a New Yorker. So if you're from Connecticut, are you a Connecticutian? Connecticuter? Connecticon?

...Connecticon? That sounds like a new Transformer. No, a cross between a Transformer and Legos. It'll be the biggest thing next Christmas. Bigger than the Tickle-Me-Elmo ever was!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode IX

Here are some things I've learned since becoming a bank teller.

1. I know everyone in the world, so I never need to ask for ID.

2. "I'll be with you in one moment" really means, "Come right up here into my business and breathe your popcorn breath in my face for a while."

3. Every bank in the world steals money from its customers, especially from the ones that don't keep a transaction register.

4. I'm always kidding when I tell people a check is not any good. I'm a real kidder.

5. I know the balance of every account at the bank.

6. I am at the bank just because I feel like it. My window isn't actually open when I say, "May I help you?"

7. I know everyone's account number.

8. I know everyone's address.

9. I don't understand how banking works.

10. I have to do whatever the person who gave my customer the check said.

11. I don't know how to count.

12. I don't know how to add.

13. I don't know what the date is.

14. I can read everyone's mind.

15. If I ask for your social, Im trying to steal your identity.

16. I know when every new coin will be arriving.

17. I know how much everyones bills are for the month.

18. We don't sell stamps.

19. We are just here for fun on most holidays, we're not really open. We love it when you rub it in.

20. When someone asks how you want your cash back, you're supposed to wait until I have it counted it back to you.

21. Apparently people have different definitions of commercial.

22. Your time is more important than mine. I have no life. When you show up 5 minutes before we close to make 10 deposits or open a new account, we don't mind.

23. Everyone with the Bank name tag is related.

24. I am also your secretary.

25. We love to place holds on your checks for fun. We are the only bank that does it.

26. 13 hours and 10 minutes is not enough time for people to do their business.

27. I am in charge of the never ending lollipops.

28. It is polite to ignore someone when they say hello.

29. It is my fault when someone cuts you in line. I should have been paying attention to you and not your money.

30. I know what a checkingdepositwithdrawal for savings is.

31. Being rude should make me want to help you more.

32. I am not really human. I should never make mistakes.

33. It is okay to walk into someone's office when their door is shut.

34. I have a secret collection of licenses in my drawer.

35. I can't hear. I need you to ding the bell 5 times in a row.

36. The sign that says "Next Window Please" is just for decoration.

37. I make people wait on purpose. It's fun to make them mad.

38. I know everyone's PIN number to their ATM card.

38. Fraud doesn't really happen to anyone. Therefore, I should give everyone exactly what they want.

39. The coin machine is my favorite thing to do.

40. The bank gives out free poinsettias at Christmas. We order them for you, not the bank. "Display Only" means whatever you want it to mean.

41. Please and Thank You are forbidden words at the bank. We hate to hear them.

42. Checking and Savings deposit slips are EXACTLY the same, we just like all the pretty colors and wanted to make them more colorful. Marking through the word savings changes the deposit slip completely!

43. When I tell someone the same thing over and over, I'm just doing it for fun. I like to waste my breath.

44. We will break the rules for anybody as long as you gripe for more than 10 minutes.

45. I am a professional coin counter. Even when the machine is broken, I will count your $5000 bag of coins for you by hand!

46. I am psychic. When you call I can recognize your voice and pull up your information automatically. My computer is voice activated. It's all that fancy technology we have.

47. You don't have to tell me that you've been with the bank for 50 years. I can tell.

48. Even after 15 years, I will still be a new teller to anyone who has never seen me before. If I've never met you, I'm the stupid new teller and I have no idea what I'm doing.

49. I make the rules for the banking industry. You can blame everything on me!

50. I'm an idiot.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

American Idol: Top Twelve

Apparently, this is where the competition really heats up. And we're shown new graphics at the beginning. And we're shown a new set. Seems kind of big. The band is in a balcony behind the stage. This is gonna take some getting used to. Tonight the singers will be singing from the Lennon/McCartney library. That's pretty awesome.

Syesha Mercado - Got to Get You Into My Life
She seems a little off here and there. It's almost like it's too low for her starting off. I think if the song was a little more in her range, she'd be doing better with it. So should I just blame the arrangement? Some of her embellishments seem misplaced as well. 7.

Chikezie - She's a Woman
This is different. But I think I like it. And then it kicks up to eleven. Wow, get it Chikezie. I'll be honest, I went into his performance not expecting much and he blew that out of the water. That's a two-timer (I'm gonna rewind and hear that one again). Shock and awe. 10.

Ramiele Malubay - In My Life
She starts a little off but gets on track quickly. So far I'm not impressed. There's nothing that stands out about this performance. She's got a good voice. She wouldn't have made it this far if she didn't (I think). But there's just no wow factor. Maybe it's the fact that she's following that amazing surprise from Chikezie. They probably should have put Chikezie before a commercial. Because after what he did, anything else that follows is kind of forgettable. It's not fair to Ramiele. 7.

Jason Castro - If I Fell
He's back with the guitar this week. He's definitely comfortable with the guitar and this is a great song for him. Some of the falsetto is iffy, but for the most part he pulls it off. Not his best performance, but worth at least an 8.

Carly Smithson - Come Together
Not bad at all. Nice little modern spin on a classic. I like it. Not the best of the night, but definitely the best of the women thus far. 8.

David Cook - Eleanor Rigby
This is possibly my favorite Beatles song, so I really hope he does it right. Again, it's not bad, but not great. I mean, he rocks it pretty good. And his ending note is nice. It started out kind of rough, but he picked it up as he got going. Might be worth a 9.

Brooke White - Let It Be
This is another favorite of mine. Brooke's playing the piano. She's another one who shows that she's very comfortable with the instrument. I don't think this is her best performance, but still very good. 8.

David Hernandez - I Saw Her Standing There
First let me say, no one can top Dustin Hoffman's performance of this song in Rain Man. David is certainly not winning any competitions with this song. He sounds like he's all over the place and keeps running out of breath. I don't think he's doing very good tonight. 6. And honestly, I think I'm being generous with that.

Amanda Overmyer - You Can't Do That
I always feel like I'm biased against Amanda, but it's because I don't like her voice. She just doesn't do anything for me. She can perform though. She has good stage presence and she puts a lot of herself into the songs she sings. She's gotta get points for having heart. Just because I don't particularly like the way her voice sounds, doesn't mean she's doing a bad job out there. I'm going with an 8.

Michael Johns - Across the Universe
I've noticed it a few times tonight and over the last few weeks: the waving of the hands in the air. I don't get it. He's taking a slow song that could have been potentially boring and he's doing a great job with it. He's putting a lot of himself and his emotion into singing this song. Solid 8.

Kristy Lee Cook - Eight Days a Week
Before she starts, she says she's making it a country song. Will the risk pay off? Chikezie's risk really paid off. I think she's doing a good job, but I don't like the arrangement. I understand the desire to take a risk with it and make it memorable, but I'm not sure this is the way to go. I think she's singing better than she has in past weeks. Until the end... didn't really care for that last note. 7.

David Archuleta - We Can Work It Out
Coming into this I have high expectations for this kid. He's already done a John Lennon song and he did it well. So, what's he gonna do tonight? Starting off a little low for his range. And I'm fairly certain he flubbed the lyrics there. He's obviously not comfortable with this song. Another lyric loss. This performance is all over the place kid. 5.

What a week. One of the worst shot up to best of the night. One of the best slumped down to worst of the night. Does this mean I think David A. is going home this week? Absolutely not. He's got enough of a fanbase to carry him several more weeks. Who should be worried? My bottom three are Kristy Lee, David Hernandez, and Ramiele Malubay. And Chikezie is definitely getting my vote tonight. Fantastic. If you Tivo'd tonight, go back and watch his performance again.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode VIII

Working at the bank, I've seen all kinds of people come and go. I'd like to take some time to talk about two types of customer that are pretty typical.

The first is the kind that I see most often: the ones who think I'm telepathic. These are the people who come to the drive up window and send a bunch of random checks and/or blank slips in the box. Also, there are those who send in an empty box with no indication that they needed anything at all. There is a call button on the outside for a reason. Ladies and gentlemen in the banking world, feel free to use that button. We, on the other side of the glass, are here to help you. Just don't abuse the button. And remember, we can't hear what you're saying if you've pushed the box or tube into the chute. It's really loud and overpowers your voice in the speakers. Seriously, it's like standing in a wind tunnel.

On the other end of the customer spectrum are the clients who send detailed, written instructions along with the proper documents. Honestly, I prefer these over the ones who assume I have ESP. But really, your instructions may not be necessary. While I don't have all the answers as a part-time teller, I'm not a complete idiot. If you've sent in your deposit or withdraw slip already filled out, you're way ahead of the game.

There are, of course, other types of customers. As many as there are personality types. Everyone is different. There are the ones who stay on the phone the entire time they're at the window. There are the ones who constantly send back the box because it's impossible to believe that we got it right the first time. There are the ones who refuse to show you their ID because they've been banking here for 30 years (but you know what? I've only been working here for 2 months... wrap your ancient brain around that!). I'm sorry, that probably sounded rude. But it's been a really long day at the bank.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Where a Kid Can Be a Kid

The Greenes gave me a birthday lunch today. I was told I could pick anywhere I wanted to go, so I picked IHOP. Do you know how long it's been since I've had a decent stack of pancakes?

So since last night, I'd had my heart set on lunch at the IHOP. I even knew what I wanted: a sausage and cheese omelet with three pancakes on the side. Even now that sounds really good.

We arrived at the IHOP to find a parking lot full of cars and the building full of hungry people. So I was sent inside to find out what kind of wait we could expect. Remember, it's not just a small party when I'm with the Greenes. It's seven and a baby. When the hostess informed me of the 40 minute wait, I decided that IHOP might not be the best choice for lunch, especially since we were all hungry.

For about five minutes the kids had been chanting "CHUCK E CHEESE" since we had passed it on the way to IHOP. So I said Chuck E Cheese was fine. And I was really looking forward to that omelet too.

So we got to the pizza funhouse. I'll give him this, Chuck makes a pretty good pie. Not the best around, but still not bad. But, of course, part of the fun is the plethora of tokens you get with the pizza. Once we divided everything up, I had 30 tokens to spend on my own. I spent one on Ms. Pac-Man, one of the greatest video games ever made.

Why is Ms. Pac-Man superior to the original Pac-Man? Because she's quicker, there are more levels, and there are cut scenes between stages. I remember when Chuck E Cheese was Showbiz (much better back then). They had a Super Pac-Man and a Baby Pac-Man. Super wasn't too special, but Baby Pac-Man was a pinball/video game hybrid. Pretty awesome.

My other 29 tokens were spent on SkeeBall. I was bound and determined to get the jackpot of tickets that you could acheive by getting a score of 450,000. The closest I got was 360k. So close, yet so far away. I did wind up with 145 tickets though. Just enough to get that squirting spider ring that I've always wanted.

So a quick thank you to the Greenes for making my extended birthday weekend even more special. So now that's two birthdays at Chuck E Cheese. What will I do next year? Probably lazer tag (which is something I wanted to try this year, but didn't work out). What I'd really like to do is go to an amusement park, but none of them are open at the beginning of March. Anyone have some pull at Kings Dominion? Carowinds? Six Flags? Look into that for me. You've got about a year to get ready for me.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Question of the Week: I Can't Move

I apologize to those of you who were expecting the question yesterday. I'm a day late. I completely forgot that Friday was question day. So here it is today.

Assuming that complete recovery were instantaneous, would you be willing to accept a year of complete paralysis below the neck to prevent the otherwise certain extinction of the blue whale?

Uh, not to sound insensitive, but screw the blue whales. It'd be one thing if I were forced into a life of paralysis against my will. I'd adjust and push on. But to voluntarily do that to oneself is stupid. I consider myself lucky to have as many friends as I do, but really, which of you would be willing to give me that daily sponge bath or change my colostomy bag? Yeah, I didn't think so.

On the other hand, if the question had specified the humpback whale, I might have said yes. I saw Star Trek, I know what will happen in 400 years if the humpback whale goes extinct. I vote no to the destruction of Earth.

*Question of the Week comes from The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Omelet Shoppe Confessions: Gertie

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to meet Gertie. Obviously, I can't personally introduce you to her. But if you happen to be in the Princeton area some night between the hours of 11pm and 7am, you should stop by the Omelet Stop (Shoppe) and sit in Gertie's section.

Gertie's a sweet old German gal that could probably play linebacker in the NFL. She might have saved my life once, but that's another story for another time. Tonight I just want to paint a picture of how special this lady was to the students of Bluefield College.

Previously I said that it wasn't a good trip to the Omelet Shoppe unless you came away with a story. It was equally disappointing if we showed up on a night when Gertie had the night off. For four years, Gertie became a part of our lives a little more with every visit. She grew to mean so much to us that a group of us even named our flag football team for her. The Gerties had a pretty good run during the intramural season.

Back in 2003, when most of us were graduating, we invited her to commencement. Unfortunately she had to work the night before, making a day at Bluefield College next to impossible. But I hope that we were able to make some kind of impression on her, because she sure left an impression on us.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Another Day Older

Today was the 28th anniversary of my birth. What did I do to mark the occasion? I'm glad you asked.

I slept late, because due to an online exam, my 7:30 class was canceled. I kind of enjoyed that. Until about 8 when my internal clock decided it was time to wake up. So I got up, ate some breakfast (powdered donuts and milk), then got ready for Hebrew.

In Hebrew I found out that I did better on my last exam than I thought I did, with a chance to improve even more. After that, I went back home to relax. But then I remembered, I have that online Church History exam to take. So I did that... then I relaxed.

Relaxing included an online game of Scrabble with Nicole, in which I was able to use the word "waxy" to obtain 34 points. I guess being 28 years old comes with an improved intellect. Didn't see that coming. Maybe it'll mean I did well on that exam I had just taken.

Every Thursday I participate in a Bible study at the Greenehouse with a group from church. Tonight they helped me celebrate my birthday with a Superman cake, some cards that played sound (they must have read my list) and a bunch of helium filled balloons. I had some pictures, but our good friends at Blogger won't let me upload them for some reason.

So to those who sent text messages, e-cards, MySpace and Facebook comments, thanks for making today special.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

American Idol: 8 Gals

Oh yes, it's ladies' 80's night. I need to stop that. Seriously.

Asia'h Epperson - I Wanna Dance With Somebody
Ballsy move to go with a Whitney Houston song. The judges are always iffy with anyone who tries to follow in her footsteps. Or Mariah. Or Christina. Or Celine. Those seem to be the big ones. Asia'h is doing okay. Nothing showstopping or anything. There are a couple off notes. Overall not bad though. She's safe in the next round. 8.

Kady Malloy - Who Wants to Live Forever
She probably should've gone home last week. And she probably knows it. My question is, can she prove that America made the right decision? She did better than last week. A couple problems here and there. I'll go with a 7 this week.

Amanda Overmyer - I Hate Myself For Loving You
Once again, I just don't like her voice. I'd like to think that it's really nothing personal. I just don't like the way her voice sounds. I know it's the kind of voice that really does it for some people. And that's not to say she's not doing really well with this song. Just because I don't happen to like her doesn't mean she's doing a bad job. 8.

Carly Smithson - I Drove All Night
So far, this is the best performance of the night. I don't have anything bad to say about it. 9.

Kristy Lee Cook - Faithfully
Okay, the fact that she's singing Journey makes me like her even more than I did before. Thank you Kristy for pulling out some Journey. I was waiting for it last night and didn't get any. Here it is! Freakin' awesome! She's giving it a bit of a country twang. I like this girl and I like Journey. She did a good job with it. 8.

Ramiele Malubay - Against All Odds
This sounds a little more like the Mariah Carey version than Phil Collins. But that's okay. It's a very good song and she's proven again and again that she has a great voice. She gets an 8 tonight.

Brooke White - Love Is a Battlefield
I'll be honest, I really like this girl. She's been consistent from week to week. She's kind of doing an unplugged version of this song and it's working for her. I'm actually giving her a 10. Worth rewinding and listening again.

Syesha Mercado - Saving All My Love
Another Whitney song. I don't think she's delivering as well as Asia'h did at the beginning of the show. She's doing pretty good, but I've heard her do better. 7.

Who should be worried? You know, the girls really brought it tonight. Overall they were pretty good. It's hard to pick two who stand out as the ones who should be going home. I'll say Kady and Syesha should be worried. But I've been wrong before. And I'm sure I'll be wrong again. I'm voting for Brooke though, 'cause that was just awesome. I might vote for Kristy too... 'cause she sang Journey... yeah.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

American Idol: 8 Guys

Oh yes, it's 80s night.

I love 80s music. I might be singing along with the show tonight. I'll probably be disappointed when the songs are cut short as they always are at this stage of the competition.

Luke Menard - Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
You know what, this guy should probably have gone home last week. And his performance of this song isn't convincing me otherwise. I could SingStar circles around this chump. Especially when he attempted to hit that falsetto note. Please. It just sounds bad. As in not good. As in not good enough to be in the top 12. That's a 5. Maybe a 4. Boo.

David Archuleta - Another Day in Paradise
Here's last week's winner. Seriously, if it was over after he sang Imagine, he'd have been the winner. Tonight he's accompanying himself on piano. Impressive kid. He's done an excellent job. I'll say, not as good as last week, but still very good. 9.

Danny Noriega - Tainted Love
I really don't like this arrangement. And I still don't like this chick. I mean guy. Was that mean? TOUGH! He still looks like Jessica Alba. I think he's doing it on purpose. I really didn't like the arrangement of that song. And I like that song. I already said I like the 80s. He was off key in a few spots. But he'll probably get the votes to get through next week. Say hello to your next Sanjaya Malakar. 6. By the way, thank you for introducing the world to the next annoying aspect of our fallen culture: TMTH.

David Hernandez - It's All Coming Back to Me Now
Celine Dion covered this in the 90s. Good times. Now, when they're doing the interviews about their most embarassing moments, I was sure this dude would talk about how this week it came out that he was a stripper at a gay bar. I mean, that would be embarassing for me. Maybe he's cool with it. He's not doing bad with the song. Probably been a rough week for him considering. I'd say average, so I'm only going with the 7.

Michael Johns - Don't You Forget About Me
Another karaoke classic. I'm sorry, I know this guy has a lot of fans out there. I work with a few of them. But I think he's gotten steadily worse over the past few weeks. He's on the decline. He didn't do horribly tonight, but it's not as good as last week, which wasn't as good as the week before. 7.

David Cook - Hello
I thought he should've gone home last week. Am I losing my touch? Well, he's playing the electric guitar again. I didn't think it worked well for him last week. And yet... here he is again. Dude... you just can't turn Lionel Richie into a rock ballad. You can't! The judges seem to like it. But you know what? I don't. I'm apalled. 6.

Jason Castro - Hallelujah
This song is featured in the first Shrek movie and is my favorite song on the soundtrack. One of the groomsmen sang this at Andy's wedding. For most of the song he does a good job. A little shaky at the very end. But overall very good. Great song. 9.

Chikezie - More Love Than I'll Ever Need
He's got some pitch issues here and there. But overall it's pretty decent. That might save him for another week. 7.

I'm disappointed with the guys' 80s night. There was nary a Journey song, and it was quite upsetting. Maybe one of the girls will pull it out. So who do I think is going home from this group of guys? I say Luke and Chikezie. But like I said, Chikezie's performance tonight might have saved him for another week. If that's the case, I'd sent home Danny. But I might have lost my mojo. The dark side clouds everything. My vote, once again, goes to David Archuleta.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode VII

I've been with the bank for nearly two months now. And in that time, I've balanced my drawer every day. Until today.

This evening as we were closing up shop, I was counting all the cash in my drawer and came up ten dollars short. I didn't panic, I just figured I missed something. I have done that before. So I went through and counted again. Still short.

Enter the other tellers. They were done and ready to leave. So they helped. They couldn't find it either. So I had to show the loss. It's okay, it's not like I'm going to be fired over it, but still, nearly two months with a perfect record, now shot.

After we shut everything down and closed the vault, I happened to be at my counter grabbing my jacket. I also happened to look down and glance inside the trash can under my counter. What did I catch sight of? Two fresh five dollar bills equalling the ten dollars that was missing from my drawer. Too late though.

So now, I have today's loss on my record. Wednesday, I'll have to show a ten dollar overage to make up for it. What a great week at the bank!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Omelet Shoppe Confessions: Introduction

This is a new segment on the blog. The Omelet Shoppe is a magical place where the craziest things can happen after 2am. Back in the Bluefield days, the Omelet Shoppe was the place to go if you were hungry in the middle of the night.

The Omelet Shoppe (now sacreligiously called "the Omelet Stop") is located in Princeton, West Virginia. Now, it's roughly a 20 minute drive, but it's worth it at 3am when there's nothing to eat in the dorm. Have you ever experienced an Omelet Shoppe? If not, you may have experienced the Waffle House, or to a much lesser extent, Huddle House.

My friends and I lived under the notion that a trip to the Omelet Shoppe just wasn't worth the fuel used unless you came away with a legendary story to tell. So over the next few weeks, I'll share with you some of the legendary stories from the Omelet Shoppe. You'll be introduced to Gertie, a woman who saved my life late one night. You'll read stories of mystery and intrigue and drunk people.

Recently in my life, I've enjoyed late night meals at the IHOP or a Denny's. It's just not the same. There are never stories from those places.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

What I Want

Ladies and gentlemen in cyberspace, this coming Thursday is my birthday. Now, don't panic. I know you just read that and are thinking, "His birthday is in less than a week and I haven't a clue what to get him as a gift!" Well fear not, because listed below are 10 items that should help get those idea gears turning.

1. A Sharp Aquos LCD television - I'm thinking something in the 30+ inch range.

2. Lost, Season 3 - Some DVDs to add to the collection.

3. A case of IBC Cherry Limeaids - Please keep in mind that this is specifically the IBC brand of cherry limeaid. They are hard to find. There are, of course, other brands of cherry limeaids on the market, but they're just not as good. I will, however, settle for a large cherry limeaid from Sonic in lieu of the IBCs.

4. An iPod - Something with enough memory to hold my entire music library. I want to get rid of my CDs.

5. Cash - Nothing says "happy birthday" like good, old-fashioned money.

6. 10 minutes with Carrie Underwood - Get your mind out of the gutter. I just want to meet her. I figure 10 minutes is enough time for her to fall for me. Scratch that, five minutes should be enough. I'm pretty darn charming.

7. A kiss from a beautiful woman - Maybe I can tie this one in with number 6 if I play my cards right.

8. A trip to a Yankees game - Obviously this is to be experienced at a later time. But sometime before the Yankees move. I'd like to experience Yankee Stadium one more time.

9. A Cinnamon Sensation from Macado's

10. A birthday card - Preferably the kind that plays music when you open it. This alone would probably make my day.

So there's my list. Get crackin' kids! There are only 5 more shopping days 'til Aaron's birthday!