Wednesday, April 30, 2008

American Idol: Four Left

I really just want to skip to the eliminations, but there's an hour of time to fill. I don't feel like writing about all the crap that comes before it. So I'm just going to sit here and watch the show. And when Seacrest decides to start revealing the top three or the bottom two or whatever he's doing this week, then I'll throw in my two cents.

Then again, I might comment on the stupidity of the Ford commercial this week. That just depends on how stupid it is. Oh, and I really need to say something about the Neil Diamond medley at the beginning of the show. It's really, I wanna say, bad. There's nothing good about it. Not a thing. Everyone's off. No one is completely on key, they're not blending well, and there's just an overall bad vibe to it. What's wrong with these people this week? You're the top five! Act like it!

After clearing up the "Paula was high last night" rumors, Ryan calls out Jason. He is safe this week. Which just tells me that the girls are bottom two. But he calls Archuleta out next. As if there's any doubt. He's safe. Punk.

The other David is out next and is safe. Brooke and Syesha come out together. And then Ryan tries to play up some kind of "suspense" by telling them to sit on the couch with the others, 'cause there's more filler to deal with for another half hour. Forgive me if you don't hear from me 'til then.

And I'm back. But Brooke won't be. It's okay though, 'cause at this point, she's all but guaranteed a music career. So I really don't feel bad for people who get voted off this late in the show. Fifth place ain't bad. Okay kids, I'm done.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

American Idol: Five

Ladies and gentlemen, this... is my 200th post since I began blogging. I feel like I should have some sort of fanfare or special introduction. But I failed to prepare anything. Maybe 250 or 300 will be special. In the meantime, tonight is just another American Idol critique. Since there are only five contestants this week, they'll each sing two songs. Got to do something to stretch out that hour. Joining us tonight is our special, 200th blog post guest: Neil Diamond. Just to clarify, I'll be scoring after both songs, 'cause the judges won't be judging 'til after both songs. So for me, two songs, one score.

Jason - Forever in Blue Jeans; September Morn
Doug Heffernen is right, if you're not listening closely, it kinda sounds like they're saying "Reverend Blue Jeans." You know that would be a laid back congregation. Jason's first song was pretty good. Nothing that stood out for me, just a typical performance for him. Second song is kind of boring. Overall he gets a 3.

David C - I'm Alive; All I Really Need is You
The real David Cook is back this week, adding a bit of a rock flair to his first song choice. It's working for him. On his second song he has an acoustic song. That's different. As I'm watching his second performance, I'm wondering if he'll be able to pull off what Daughtry should have pulled off back in season 5. I mean, Chris Daughtry should have won that year and he was robbed because America got it way wrong. I mean seriously, Taylor Hicks? Really? Anyway, David's been growing on me the last few weeks. At this point I'd like to see him win it. I'd like to see anyone beat the other David (he's my new Sanjaya, except with slightly more talent). Overall tonight, a 5.

Brooke - I'm a Believer; I Am, I Said
The first one is typically known as a Monkees song, but it was in fact written by Neil Diamond. I'm sure you all already knew that. I gotta say, I'm not impressed with Brooke's rendition of it though. I've said before that I like this girl and I think she has a lot of talent, but a song like this is way outside her comfort zone. When I picture her in her career, I see her sitting on a stool behind a guitar or a piano doing a coffeehouse or Unplugged. She and Jason should tour together someday. Her second song is much better. This is the kind of song that I can see her doing. This one brought her overall score for the night from a 3 to a 4.

David A - Sweet Caroline; America
Okay, I know for a fact that he was off key a little during that first song. A few times actually. But you know what, that's not going to do a thing to deter the tweenage girls of the world from voting for this High School Musical reject. As for his second song... Seriously, I just don't like this kid anymore. I'm tired of hearing him sing. I'm listening hard for mistakes. His voice squeaked. He should have waited for puberty to be over before he auditioned. That's not very objective of me is it? Well you know what? When I'm getting paid to critique these people, then I'll be objective. For now, I'll say what I want. I don't like this kid. 3. Punk.

Syesha - Hello Again; Thank the Lord for the Night Time
Again with the hands waving in the air. Why does that have to happen everytime the lights are lowered and a slow song is sung? I just don't get it. Oh, and Syesha does a pretty good job with said slow song. A little sharp toward the end, but not bad. Her second song isn't really that good. It's just not her. 3.

Realistically, the Davids are safe. The one going home could be any of the other three. Probably Syesha, but who knows these days. Find out tomorrow night.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller: Episode XVII

I had a craplousy day. Not just lousy. Craplousy.

It began this morning when I accidentally cut my wrist using my fingernail. Not real sure how that happened, but I didn't think of it much at the time. I got a Band-Aid and moved on with my work. Little did I know, it was but a harbinger of things to come.

Things seemed to be going okay until after I got back from lunch. Suddenly it was decided that a co-worker would be going home, taking her half day off. See, when a full-timer works on Saturday, they have to take a half day vacation during the week. This week, it's her turn to work Saturday. But what boneheaded moron decided that she should go home early today? Mondays, traditionally, are busy. Lots of people making lots of deposits after their businesses have busy weekends. I thought this was the reason I was hired to work on Mondays, because they want to have that extra person around. What's the point of having an extra person if you get rid of one of your regulars?

So she left. And, of course, we got busy. And, of course, we still had another full-time teller that was due her lunch break. While she did this, one of the FSRs came over to work the teller line. The problem with this particular FSR is that her idea of "help" is to come over, and use that opportunity to sell accounts to clients. Thus defeating the purpose of her coming over to "help." See, 'cause this means that, since we were still busy, I had to run back and forth between the lobby and the window. Thank you FSR.

Another issue, which is of my own doing, is that my drawer was out of balance. Half way through the day, a courier comes into the branch to pick up all outgoing work/inter-office mail. And we really have to have something to send up. Which we did, but I also had a lot of paperwork sitting in my window, so I wanted to get rid of it. In order to do this, one must balance one's drawer to make sure all the paperwork in one's window is correct. But I couldn't balance.

I started out with a $52.00 shortage. Then I found a $100 bill in my 20s. Then I found a strap of what should've been 50 singles, but was really only 41. This, somehow, left me at $19.00 over. Couldn't find it. And every single time I tried to recount, another customer came to the window. One after another after another after another. We didn't have any long lines at any point during the day. It was just a non-stop barrage of one-at-a-time people.

Eventually I found a one in the 20s, which solved my out of balance-ness of the day. But by this point, I was so frustrated with customers, FSRs, managers (who also left early today, how convenient), the slightest thing could have set me off.

And then, on the way home, I was listening to the radio, and they skipped the entire 2nd verse of The Eagles' Lyin' Eyes.

I called the Greenes, hoping I could hear some cute story about something one of the kids did today. But I got their answering machine. At least I'm pretty sure it was theirs. Usually, the voice on the recording is their daughter telling the caller they've reached the Greenes. Today it was a robot. So now I'm concerned that my surrogate family has been replaced by some sort of robot overlords who are just the first wave of an invasion style army. If I find out that this is the reality of the situation, the resistance begins here. Stay tuned for details.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mario Kart

A few years back, Nintendo came out with Mario Kart: Double Dash for the Gamecube. Thus initiating a video gaming craze among my circle of friends. We were addicted. The good news was, we would all openly admit to this addiction. That's the first step to recovery. Or so they say.

Welcome to the new age of addiction. Today, Nintendo released Mario Kart Wii with, wait for it...

A steering wheel.

The deal is, you put the Wii remote into the middle of the steering wheel. Then you use the steering wheel like you're using a steering wheel. Novel concept, right? It's harder than you'd think. It's not like driving a real car, where the steering wheel is stationary and provides some sort of resistance in turning. The "Steering Wiil" (I just made that up) weighs about half a pound (if that). So the only resistance provided is the resistance between your two hands. So, that's pretty much none. This is gonna take some getting used to.

On the plus side, the instruction manual made me aware that you can use the wheel, the nunchuck attachment, or even the old Gamecube controller. I may fall back on the old controller, since that's what I was used to previously. But I'll give this new-fangled contraption a fair shot. I did come in first place when I played the easiest race circuit available. I'm sure I'll wet myself when I find my way to the Rainbow Road. Those are always ridiculously difficult.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Forbidden Kingdom

I don't often get to see movies in the theater. I know I just posted a blog the other day about movies I want to see and movies that I want to avoid. But as a full time student and nearly full-time employee, finding the time and/or money to see a motion picture can be difficult.

Today I found both. I got a call from the Greenes saying they were seeing Forbidden Kingdom this afternoon and invited me to meet them there. Honestly, this wasn't a movie that I was chomping at the bit to go see. Sure, I'd seen the previews, and it looked interesting, but I wasn't sure it would be worth my eight bucks. I figured, at best, I'd see it when TBS aired it in a couple years.

But hey, it was a call from the Greenes to do something other than sit in my house and play Wii. And when the Greenes say, "jump," I say, "How high?" So to the theater I went. And you know what, it was a pretty good movie.

It wasn't the blockbuster that I'm expecting from Indiana Jones or The Dark Knight (which was once again previewed... awesome!). But the movie does pair Jackie Chan and Jet Li. And it does feature a fight between the two. During their initial fight, I kept thinking there would be no winner. They're both playing good guys, they got equal billing in the opening credits. This means it'll end in a draw long before the fight starts.

I won't sit here and give a long, drawn out, spoiler-filled review. But I will suggest that you see it. That is, if you like an entertaining, somewhat family-friendly, actionish movie. Also, chick with the white hair, kinda hot. And now I'm back home watching True Lies. I know, I know...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Question of the Week: Satisfaction

If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you'd find leading a more satisfying life than yours?

I think I'm gonna have to go with a good 75% of those folks. It's not that I'm unhappy with my life. It's just that I'd really like to have my masters degree finished and not be in school full time. Also, while I'm not entirely unhappy working for the bank, I know it's not where I want to be. But I guess I could say that I'm on the road to being more satisfied.

I could elaborate, but I'm late for work.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


After a long wait and a long craving, I finally got to enjoy a breakfast at the IHOP. This may have been the first time I've had pancakes in nearly a year. And it was all I remembered it to be.

You'll recall that when the Greenes gave me the choice of lunch on my birthday, I chose IHOP. However, to my disappointment, they were overcrowded, and we were all extremely hungry. So I bent to the children's will and we ate lunch at Chuck E. Cheese that day.

Here we are, well over a month later, and the planets aligned just right. I'm out of class this week due to Spring Break. I have Thursdays off work. And the Greenes planned a trip to the International House of Pancakes.

I loved it. I ate too much. Even though the IHOP chain has decided to decrease the size of their pancakes. I remember when they were big enough to overlap the plates. Now they come on a tiny little saucer. They're only slightly larger in diameter than those "silver dollar" pancakes. Yes, I was disappointed with the size of the pancakes, but those, along with the omelet, allowed me to eat my fill. And then some.

So I thank the Greenes for treating me to the best breakfast I've had in a very long time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

American Idol: Five Left

The top six begin the evening by singing "All I Ask of You" from Phantom of the Opera. And then we go to commercial. That was quick. Gotta pay those bills.

Andrew Lloyd Webber gives his take on last night's performances. This week's Ford video is "Tainted Love," but the video is reminiscent of "Take On Me." I've never liked the videos. I thought those were a bad idea when they started them years ago. Stay tuned for a message from the president and first lady...

Back to live action...

Tonight we'll only have a bottom two, since there are only six left. We start with the Davids. We know they're safe. Come on. And now that Ryan has officially revealed that fact, we can move on. After some other stuff...

We catch up with Tamyra Grey and Clay Aiken, starring in Rent and Monty Python's Spamalot, respectively. Next I'm reminded just how not with it I am. Leona Lewis performs, billed as the biggest thing in music right now. I've never heard of her. Am I the only one? I guess that's possible.

Next up are Syesha and Brooke. I said these two would be in the bottom three. But since there are only a bottom two, I'd say these would be it. But since there are still two more people waiting backstage, maybe it's just Brooke. Turns out it's just Syesha, Brooke is safe. So didn't see that coming.

Carly and Jason join Ryan at center stage. My guess here is Jason. But I thought Brooke would be going home, so my guesses are generally no good tonight. Sure enough... Carly is joining Syesha. America, you got this one wrong. Syesha and Carly both did a very good job last night. If anyone, based on last night's performances, Jason and Brooke should be the bottom two.

Carly is done this week. Really did not see that coming at all. I'm not saying I thought she'd win the whole thing, but I thought she'd go further than top 6. And then there were 5. Next week: Neil Diamond.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

American Idol: Six

It's Broadway week, featuring Andrew Lloyd Webber. Is that with two Bs or just the one? I really don't know. I could look it up on this amazing internet machine, but I'm lazy and don't feel like it.

Syesha - One Rock and Roll Too Many
She came in early, I think. She's standing on top of the piano. She's pulling a Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys. She's fully taking advantage of the fact that this is a broadway song. She's fully taking advantage of her acting background. I have no idea what show this song is from though. Vocally she did okay, slightly above average for her. 4.

Jason - Memory
This one is from Cats. I've never seen Cats, and I'm actually okay with that. This really puts him out of his element. It seems a little low for him. When the key changes, he's more in his range. But nothing with this is blowing me away. I mean, it's okay, but it's not great. 3.

Brooke - You Must Love Me
This is from the film version of Evita. She did something that she's done before. She stumbled in the first line, then restarted. The difference here is that it's not her with the piano. There's an orchestra that had to reset themselves. When she gets into the song she does really well, but people are going to remember that flub at the beginning. Overall, a 2.

David A. - Think of Me
From Phantom of the Opera. Okay, when he sings this, it sounds like someone from NSYNC trying to make it on broadway. This arrangement has popped the song up. So maybe it's the arrangement I don't like. Maybe it's the kid. It's hard to tell these days. 3.

Carly - Jesus Christ Superstar
From the musical of the same name. This is really the perfect song for her. She's having fun with it, she's showing off a little. Kinda what she needs to do at this juncture. It's not her best performance, but it is very good. 4.

David C. - Music of the Night
Another from Phantom. I'm impressed. On a night when he's not really able to rock out on a song, he's forced to rely purely on his vocal ability and he has done a fantastic job with it. I've made it no secret that I'm not a fan of his, but he might have won me over tonight. Saved the best for last. 5.

I think the bottom three will be the first three that sang. Syesha, Brooke, and Jason. And really, it could be either Syesha or Brooke going home. Be back here tomorrow night for the results.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller: Episode XVI

I really don't have much to say. I left work pretty frustrated. I don't like to blame customers for my frustrations, but today, it's hard to get around it.

I'm actually going to mention a couple frustrations. The first has to do with ATM deposits. Now, I know that somewhere along the line, someone told you that you don't have to have a deposit slip with the deposit that you make at the ATM. Why would someone tell you that? Because when you insert that envelope, the machine prints your account number, ATM card number, and total deposit on the outside of the envelope. Don't worry, all your information is safe inside the ATM. The only eyes that see this info are they eyes of your friendly neighborhood bank teller. However, if you would like to save me or any of my colleagues a slight headache, please include a deposit ticket with your deposit. Even though that information is on the envelope, we still have to have the proper paperwork to send to the back office. So today, when I worked my way through the 22 ATM deposits from this weekend, and only 3 of them included the proper forms, I got a little frustrated.

Frustration number two began at 4:55pm. For those unaware, that's five minutes before closing. A man came in with a plastic grocery bag full of cash as part of his deposit. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have more than $7,000 to deposit, try to make it to the bank earlier in the day. You know, at least by 4:50. 'Cause you know what? That deposit means I'm over the limit that I'm allowed to have in my drawer. So that means I have to sell money to the vault teller so I'm not breaking any company rules. By coming in with that kind of deposit at 4:55, this means we can't actually lock the doors until 5:10, when your business is actually done. This means that I can't balance my drawer, and more importantly, the vault teller can't balance the entire branch until much later than usual. The preceding frustrations could be avoided with a little forethought and courtesy. I know, in this day and age, that's something that's hard to come by. No offense or anything.

My third frustration was not the fault of a customer. I blame faulty technology. The printer stopped working late in the afternoon. This caused me to be unable to print off a few important papers that I needed for my personal records. This also prevented anyone from printing the proper total sheets for the branch closing at the end of the day. Yeah, good day at the bank today. Can't wait to see what Wednesday brings.

Guess that turned into more to say than I thought it would.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Summertime always brings with it a slew of films that are expected to break box office records and entice droves of the American population to come sit in a cold, dark room with 250 strangers stuffing their faces with popcorn and Sno-Caps. This summer, I'm sure, will be no different.

There are movies that I will want to see, but will be either unable to afford, or just be unmotivated to get to. On the other hand, there are a few that I will make my way to no matter the cost. When I got my mail yesterday, I received the Entertainment Weekly summer movie issue. So, with no more ado, here are a few of the movies I'm looking forward to... And a few that I'm no so much looking forward to...

Iron Man - May 2
When it comes to movies based on Marvel characters, I only get excited over Spider-Man and the X-Men. It's because I grew up on Superman. This pretty much makes me a DC guy. It's like choosing Mac or PC (except here it's Marvel or DC). But I don't like that analogy because it makes the DC guy look like a loser, and Superman's cool, so shut up. Anyway, the previews I've seen for this movie actually look pretty good, so I might make it to the theater to see this one, but I might not. If I have to wait for the DVD, I won't cry about it.

Speed Racer - May 9
Here's one that has had a lot of hype behind it. Made by the guys that did The Matrix. I could never get into the cartoon. So I don't think I'll be getting into the live action movie. I'll pass.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - May 22
Okay, all I've gotta say is, this movie better be awesome. I feel about this the same way I felt about Superman Returns. It had been nearly 20 years between seeing Superman on the big screen. It's been nearly 20 years since the last time Harrison Ford put that fedora on and snapped that whip. The previews don't show a whole lot of what the plot will be about. But it doesn't really need to. All I have to see is that there will be some action and some booby traps. Really, all I have to hear is that trademark music. George Lucas could've just flashed the Indiana Jones title on the screen with the music playing, that would've been enough to get me to the theater. So this is a must see for me. If there's a midnight show, I might even go to that. Maybe. Midnight is actually pretty late and I'm getting pretty old.

Sex and the City - May 30
Okay, I never liked the show. In fact, whenever I see that it's coming on TBS (every friggin' day), I can't help but roll my eyes. And really, I can't even totally nail down what it is about the show that I don't like, because I've never sat down to watch a complete episode. When it was syndicated, I thought about giving it a shot, but changed my mind about five minutes into it. So now that a movie has been made as a continuation of the TV show, will I be lining up to see it? Absolutely not. And I'm pretty sure I'll be skipping the DVD as well. But to all of you who loved the show, I'm sure you'll love the movie. I'd say it's just 'cause I'm a guy, but I do know guys that like it. I just don't.

The Incredible Hulk - June 13
Okay, I was disappointed with the first Hulk movie. It was okay, but not the action blockbuster that I was expecting from a guy that turns into a huge green monster when you get him angry. But I'm nostalgic. I loved watching The Incredible Hulk TV show when I was a kid. Of course, I always shut my eyes tight and put my hands over my ears during the opening credits. I'm pretty sure it shows Bill Bixby turning into a green Lou Ferigno for the first time. But I never actually saw it. They have promised us that this movie will have more action. So maybe I'll make it to see this one. It is, after all, another Marvel movie, and as I said before, I'm a DC guy. Which I'll be excited about in July.

Wall*E - June 27
Thus far, the only Pixar movie I haven't seen has been Ratatouille. I'm not sure what it was about that one, I just didn't have much desire to see it. I'm sure I'll see it eventually, but as of this moment, haven't seen it. And to be honest, previews for Wall*E haven't done much for me either. So this is one that I may or may not see in the theater. Probably a DVD.

Hancock - July 2
I like Will Smith. I like just about everything he's done. Except for Made in America. But that was mostly because of Ted Danson. But a movie about an apathetic super-hero? I might skip it. I know I'll see it eventually, just not in the theater.

The Dark Knight - July 18
I don't think I really need to say anything. I need to see this movie. It happens to be coming out the day that I'm going to Los Angeles. So to a certain young lady, I emphasize the fact that I need to see this movie. At some point during that weekend trip to the west coast, I will see this movie. Pencil it in.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe - July 25
I never got into the show all that much. I mean, the episodes I saw, I liked. I just never got into it like I got into shows like Buffy, or like I am with Lost. I also didn't see the first X-Files movie. So it's safe to say I'll be skipping this one. But one of these days, I might Netflix the series and the movies. It could happen. But as it is, I have 300 movies in my queue. This could take years.

And then comes August. Nothing really hits me as a "must-see" in August. Maybe that will all change when I start seeing trailers for the late summer films. But for now, I'll focus on those first three months. Happy viewing kids!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller: Episode XV

Whenever someone comes into the bank asking for change, I can't help but think about these old Saturday Night Live commercials...

I really feel like I'm making a difference.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Question of the Week: Cheaters

While out one day, you are surprised to see your mother holding hands with someone who is clearly her lover. She notices you, runs over, and begs you not to say anything to your father. How would you respond? What would you do if your father later told you that he was going crazy because he kept thinking your mother was having an affair yet knew it was just his imagination?

This is a moo point at this juncture. But, were my father still alive, and were my parents not divorced, I would agree not to say anything to my father if I were in this situation. Because it would not be my place to tell him the truth. It would be her place. And I would tell her that. This, of course, after letting her know that I had lost all respect for her, and that she no longer has any right to impart sage advice to her eldest son. If she continued her affair and refused to tell my father, then I'd spill, but only if he brought it up. I'm not going to lie for her to cover up her infidelity.

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

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Today I went to the dentist. Now, when they asked me when my last dental check-up was, I told them college. That was a tangled web of lies. Actually, I was probably twelve the last time I saw a dentist.

So I went into this thing expecting to be told I had roughly 16 cavities and the wisdom teeth needed to come out right away. This was actually not the case. Initially, he stuck some thing in my mouth and started poking around. I guess he was checking for cavities. This was a little uncomfortable, but I said nothing.

So far, nothing showing up. Then came the x-rays. He shoved this little x-ray film things into my mouth. This is where my gag reflex kicked in. This is also where my panic reflex kicked in. I'm pretty sure at one point I reached up and nearly forced him to pull the thing out of my mouth. It was very uncomfortable. I felt the need to apologize.

Turns out, the x-rays also showed no cavities. I think that's pretty good for not seeing a dentist for the last 16 years. Cavity free for my entire life isn't bad at all. The x-ray did, however, show that my wisdom teeth are severely screwed up. At least, the bottom ones are. The one on the left has grown in sideways. I mean, the thing that should be the top of the tooth is actually pushing against that molar that came in at age 12 (last time I saw a dentist). So I'll have to get those taken out at some point. I'm pretty sure it's a bad sign when the tooth has come in facing the wrong direction.

He said the rest of the teeth looked really good. He said I was really lucky to be one of those people who never needed braces. I agreed. And I'm sure my parents were grateful as well. So I guess I'll put myself through the torture of wisdom teeth extraction this summer when I won't need to miss classes for the inevitable pain that will accompany said extraction.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

American Idol: Six Left

Who's going home? I said Syesha. I had a friend tell me she thought Kristy Lee would be going home. Not that she was worst last night, but that her time has come. I'm just thinking Syesha's time has come, she's really never gathered a following. And at work today, they told me Brooke was going home. I'm still saying Syesha. Guess we'll find out at the end of the hour.

When we begin the revealing process, we begin with Jason. He goes in a group to the left. Next comes David C. He goes to the right. I see where this is going... Ryan will put three people in each group, then get the seventh person to choose the group that's safe. Which is just a horrible position to be put in. Carly is next and goes to the left. Kristy Lee goes to the right.

After Elliot Yamin sings, Syesha goes left. Brooke goes right. This leaves David A., who probably got the most votes this week. But we'll have some more filler before that.

So to recap: Jason, Carly, and Syesha are on the left (my guess is these are the bottom 3); David C., Kristy Lee, and Brooke are on the right (not the bottom 3). Brandon asked me if Archuleta was wearing a Member's Only jacket. I replied, "There's no way he's cool enough to pull that off." Agree? Disagree?

David A. is, in fact, safe. Switch up... David C. switches with Syesha. Ryan has now, in fact, asked David A. to make his choice. I still say that's wrong. Okay, the Davids, Carly, and Jason are safe. Man I'm using too many names.

Bottom three are Syesha, Brooke, and Kristy Lee. Syesha, as it turns out, is safe. I know, I was wrong. Shocked me too. But I'm not horribly shocked that it's Kristy that's going home. Brooke is safe another week. Next week: Andrew Lloyd Webber. Smells like showtunes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

American Idol: Seven

A couple things to start: First, I feel like I've gotten too nice in my grading system. Like I'm afraid I'll hurt someone's feelings if I give them below a five in my ten point scale. New plan, if it sucks, 1; if it's just okay, 2; if it's average, 3; if it's great, 4; if it blows my mind and I can't help but rewind the DVR to hear it again, 5. No more of this 10 point crap. Second, I can't help but feel like I'm saying the same things in my critiques week after week. Maybe I can't get any better with the critiques. Just listen to Randy for awhile, "It was pitchy in spots, just okay for me dawg." How many times will he say that tonight?

The gimmick this week? Mariah Carey.

David A - When You Believe
He definitely showed off his vocal range with this one. Hitting low notes, hitting falsetto notes. It wasn't bad. My biggest issue was the ad libbing. When he got to the chorus, he relied on the back up singers for the lyrics, while he held out an "Oh..." for several measures. The judges all loved it, but I'd kind of like to know that he knows the words. I'm sure he does, but I like some proof now and again. 4.

Carly - Without You
Up until the end, I was kind of bored with it. I think she had the potential to do better with it. But then she didn't show it. 3.

Syesha - Vanishing
It was a little pitchy for me dawg. She did okay with it, but it was just okay. She was flat in a few spots. She didn't really take off with it until close to the end. 2.

Brooke - Hero
Well I liked it. I'm not gonna sit here and say it was flawless, but I thought she did a very good job. The thing I like about Brooke is that she tends to put a lot of herself in her performances. 4.

Kristy Lee - Forever
I think that might have been her best performance all season. That could be just my opinion. Might not be the best of the night, but I think it's right up there. 4.

David C - Always Be My Baby
Okay, I have to say I'm impressed. That was awesome. I wasn't sure what he was gonna do with this. Blew it out of the water. 5.

Jason - I Don't Wanna Cry
Maybe it's 'cause he's going last. Maybe it's 'cause he's following what was definitely the best of the night. It really wasn't great. 3.

My bottom three tonight are Jason, Syesha, and Carly. Syesha will be going home. See you tomorrow night kids.

Monday, April 14, 2008

How to Stay Single

I'm thinking of starting a new topic on here under the heading of the above title. I'm not sure how often I'll write something on that subject. But mostly, it'll be about the pretty much boneheaded things I've done to sabotage any chance at a meaningful relationship in the past.

You'll be able to look at these posts in one of two ways. You could learn from these "mistakes" that have been made, and do it right when you're in those situations. Or you could follow my "example" and remain single to the ripe old age of 28 and beyond.

So keep checking back here for the latest updates.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Six Degrees

I didn't care much for high school. It's not the institution itself that bothered me. It was my experience there that I didn't like. I'm sure most of that is my fault. I didn't put myself out there, I didn't get involved... blah, blah, blah.

One fond memory is one of 12th grade English class. No, not because of the forced readings or essays or short stories we had to write. Although I did do a kick butt senior speech on the song American Pie. The best part was playing "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" with Elizabeth and Renee. I suppose we could've paid attention to Mr. Ciaffone, but where's the fun in that?

A few weeks ago, when I was in Charlotte, Andy and I played "Six Degrees." Not only were we trying to beat each other by connecting people like Morgan Freeman and Tom Hanks in the fewest possible links, we also tried to beat the internet. If you go to The Oracle of Bacon, you can find the different possibilities of connecting actors to one another. But, be warned, there are a lot of obscure people out there that connect in a lot of obscure movies. I'm talking about the guy that played Doorman #2 in that movie with that girl that was one of the cheerleaders without a speaking part.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller: Episode XIV

I try to be a patient person. Though, according to Yoda, there is no try. There are situations that I face where I am either patient or not. And if I'm having difficulty being patient, I fake it pretty well for the sake of the customer. Because, as we all know, the customer is always right.

Yesterday, I worked a transaction for a customer. Scratch that, I attempted to work a transaction for a customer. Said transaction was to deposit a check and give cash back. Keep in mind that the check was not drawn on our bank. And, I'm sure I've explained before, the only way we can cash checks drawn on other banks, is if there's cash in the client's account to back it up. You know, just in case the check turns out to be not good.

This lady wanted $500 back after the deposit. Unfortunately, her account was about $250 in the negative. This meant that there was no chance I could give her any cash whatsoever. All of it had to be deposited, and the soonest she'd be able to get any cash would be this morning after that check cleared the bank.

So I explained this to her. I did so calmly and rationally. I returned her deposit slip to her so she could make the correction. She then proceeded to swear and semi-violently grab the deposit slip, ball it up, and throw it in her purse. She pulled out a blank slip, filled it out, huffed and puffed a bit more, then tossed the new slip over the counter at me. Please note, I'm using a large amount of restraint in not rolling my eyes at this point.

I deposited the full amount of the check into her account, then apologized to her once again for the inconvenience. She left, still visibly upset.

Why did I apologize to this woman? It wasn't my fault that her account was overdrawn by $250. I apologized because my empoloyers would expect me to do so profusely. I apologized because we live in a touchy-feely society that needs to make sure no one out there feels like an idiot, even if they genuinely are. Seriously, I'm pretty sure I know 5-year-olds that can add and subtract better than some of the people that I deal with on a daily basis. If you can't do it in your head, use a calculator. They're all over the place. You can get them real cheap at Wal-Mart... the solar powered kind. If you still can't find a calculator, count with your fingers. I know that sounds infantile, but don't be ashamed, it's better than forgetting how much money you've spent and then overdrawing your account and getting charged ridiculous amounts of money by the bank because they had to cover your incompetent butt.

And why does the bank charge that kind of money? Because they can. Because you let them. By not keeping track of your own transactions.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Question of the Week: I Believe

Do you believe in any sort of God? If not, do you think that you might still pray if you were in a life-threatening situation?

I grew up in a Christian family that raised me in a Baptist church. My undergrad is in Christian Studies from a Baptist college. I'm currently attending a Baptist seminary. What do you think?

I don't believe in "any sort" of God. I believe in the God. And of course I would pray in a life-threatening situation. In fact, I dare say I would pray in all sorts of situations. But I am guilty of probably not praying enough. No probably about it. I don't pray enough. Something I'm working on.

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

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Amerian Idol: Seven Left

We begin the show with the obligatory recap of last night's Idol Gives Back. And then the eight remaining finalists perform Shout to the Lord, which was the closing number last night. There was a difference from last night's performance though. The first line, which tonight was as originally written ("My Jesus, my Savior"), last night was sung, "My shepherd, my savior..."

Okay, I didn't really watch it last night. I recorded it, then watched bits and pieces of it this morning. Most of it, though, I fast-forwarded. And my DVR shut it off before the end, so I'm not real sure how much of it I never even had the chance to see. I'm pretty sure it cut off at some point before Mariah Carey performed. Whenever that was.

And now, let the torture begin. First we see Brooke. She's safe. That means she'll be missing her sister's wedding this weekend. So bittersweet. Next is David C. I know I put him in the bottom three, simply based on Tuesday's performance, which I thought was sub-par for him. But I'm sure I'm wrong, because he's so well-loved and adored by all. Of course he's safe. David A. is next. Come on, you know he's safe. It's kind of annoying how safe I know he is.

If I've done the math right, that leaves five backstage. And only two of them are safe for sure. Okay, that statement didn't make any sense. Four of them are safe for sure. They just won't be sure until the last few minutes of the show.

After some more Idol Gives Back leftovers, Jordin Sparks sings, then Jason gets word that he's safe. Three of the next four are the bottom of the barrel. Kristy Lee is next. Kristy is safe. Wow... so the last three are the last three. Syesha, Carly, and Michael are the bottom three.

Syesha and Carly are safe. Michael will be going home. A lot of people seem shocked by that. I'm not too shocked. He is, after all, the only one in the bottom three that I picked in my bottom three. But hey, 8th place isn't bad after how many thousands tried out? Come back tomorrow for the question of the week.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Somewhere Out There

When I was a kid, I loved the movie An American Tail. I remember one day when April and I were out of school, and Mom and Dad were both off work, they surprised us by taking us to see it in the theater. I remember being so excited.

Have you seen it? Of course you have. But in case you've forgotten, it's about a family of Russian mice who immigrate to America to escape the Bolshevik revolution, which in this case was run entirely by cats. And they were some mean cats. Mr. Mousekewitz spun tales of an America that was the promised land. An America that had no cats whatsoever.

Tragically, on the way across the Atlantic, little Fievel Mousekewitz was washed overboard and seperated from his family. He survives by floating in a bottle and washes up on Liberty Island, just shy of New York City. He then spends the remainder of the movie seeking his family and discovering that America isn't the perfect haven that his imagination would have him believe. In fact, there are cats in America. I know, I was disappointed too.

In the end, Fievel is reunited with his family. Doesn't it warm the heart? Plus, the movie gave us such gems as "Never Say Never," "There Are No Cats In America," and, of course, "Somewhere Out There." Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

American Idol: Eight

It's time, once again, for American Idol. Tonight's blog post is sponsored by Coke, mostly because I'm drinking one while I'm watching the show. Before the performances begin, Ryan explains that this is a three night Idol week. Tonight are performances, tomorrow night is the Idol Gives Back event, Thursday will be the results. I probably won't post about Idol Gives Back tomorrow night. We'll see. This week's theme is "inspirational."

Michael - Dream On
He started off kind of weak and sounded somewhat unsure of himself. When the song picked up, so did he. Big risk in hitting the extreme high/screaming notes at the end. Might have worked for him, might not. Not great. 7.

Syesha - I Believe
When she said that this was a song by Fantasia, I was predisposed to not like it. Because I never liked Fantasia. I've said before that I really don't think she should've won season 3. But that's in the past. I will say, Syesha did a fantastic job and did a much better job with this song than did Fantasia. I liked it. 8.

Jason - Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Disclaimer: this is not the Judy Garland/Katherine McPhee version. And who knew Jason could play the ukulele? He did a pretty good job with it. The judges all loved it. I have to agree. 9.

Kristy - Anyway
She picked a country song, which puts her in her element. She sounded slightly flat in a couple places. Overall she pulls it off very well. 8.

David C. - Innocent
I can't put my finger on it, but something seems a little off. I don't know if it's the song choice or what. It's not as good as last week. I mean, he did a good job, but it seemed kind of weak compared to the past few weeks. Pretty average if you ask me. 7.

Carly - Show Must Go On
She was in her element with this song. Through most of the song she did a very good job. I thought toward the end there was a flat spot. But mostly good. 8.

David A. - Angels
He's playing the piano. This might be the first time we've seen the kid accompany himself. Am I wrong about that? There seemed to be a couple spots that he was unsure of himself. I'm not sure if that's because of the piano or the song. The ending was pretty good though. Another 8.

Brooke - You've Got a Friend
I'm surprised she's not playing the piano on this one. I was almost expecting to be blown away by this. Anything by Carole King I think would be right up Brooke's alley. She did a very good job, but not spectacular. 8 again.

Best of the night goes to Jason. My bottom three: Michael, Kristy, and David C. That's just based on my numbers. Kristy is probably going home this week. I know... I've said that before. It's getting hard to pick the bottom three at this point. Competition's heating up kids. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller: Episode XIII

Scenario: A woman came to the drive-thru today wanting to cash a few checks. Nothing major, just the standard small checks to be cashed.

As I greet her, she insists that she has multiple accounts with our bank, so even though the checks she wants cashed are drawn on other establishments, I would be able to cash them for her. Unfortunately, she did not provide any of the numbers for these multiple accounts.

She gave me her driver's license, so I looked her up by her name. No luck. So I asked for her social security number. I didn't ask her to yell it over the speaker, I told her I would send out a slip of paper for her to write it on. She insisted again that she had multiple accounts, and that other bank employees knew her. One of whom was with a client, the other was home with a bad back. That left me and her social security number.

Let me explain, even if those two bank employees that this woman knows had been available at that time, that still doesn't tell me any of her account numbers against which I can cash her checks.

I feel that I must re-emphasize to the general public, when a bank teller asks for your social security number, it is not so we can steal your identity and rip you off. It's only so we can verify that you are who you say you are. It's only so we can look you up in our computer system to make sure you have all these multiple accounts.

The fact that she had to give me her social left a poor taste in her mouth for the rest of the transaction. I remained polite and gave her the cash. I threw in the usual "have a good afternoon." I got a "yeah, you too," which was dripping with sarcasm. But really, who am I to complain about sarcasm?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Reading is FUNdamental

You know, I generally like to read. But I just don't seem to have time to read the things that I actually want to read. Sure, there's plenty of time to read textbooks and papers for my classes. But what about fiction? What about non-fiction that I could possibly find interesting?

Don't get me wrong, Church History is interesting. The Old Testament is interesting. But every now and then I'd like to read some other things.

Several months ago, I bought a couple books with every intention of reading them. I mean, why else would you buy a book? I don't like the fact that these books are just sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust. Kind of feels like a waste of money that way. That should tell you that even though I've owned these books since January, I haven't even opened them once.

Every now and then I'll go browse on Amazon and take a look at new books that might interest me. I even think about buying some of these new books. But I hold myself back. I remind myself that I have a number of books that I've still never read.

When 2008 began, I set a goal for myself: a book a week all year. That's 52 books. Totally doable, right? I mean, I know people who have read 100 books in a single year. To me that seems crazy, but apparently, for me, 52 was crazy. I did okay for the first two weeks of the year. After that I started a new job, I started a new semester, I got a Playstation. All these things vying for my attention. Maybe I'll be able to read for fun around the end of May.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Omelet Shoppe Confessions: Fight Club

My memory of this particular Omelet Shoppe trip is sketchy. Not because I received any sort of brain damage or any wrong doing on my part, but because the night has since reached legendary status.

It started out like any other late night OS visit. A somewhat large group of us took up two or three tables. In my mind, I remember it being mostly guys. In fact, the only girl I remember being there was Amy, who plays a key role in the night's events.

Unfortunately, we were not the only group to arrive that night. Soon after our arrival, another crew arrived. One that was not so sober. And when I say not so sober, I mean they were really drunk. Really, really drunk.

We from Bluefield College were enjoying our various breakfast delights, minding our own business, when one of the drunk guys came over to talk to us. It was a semi-pleasant conversation. Mostly it involved him asking us if we wanted to go party. Also, he asked if any of us wanted to go get high. Apparently it's no fun being high or drunk alone, you need to have others with you.

I said that Amy played a key role that night. While most of us humored the unnamed drunk man, she spoke up and spurned his advances on behalf of us all. He returned to his own people. But only briefly.

Within about ten minutes, he was back. With his friends. He started screaming at us. He told us he was crazy, then proceeded to slap himself in the face (no argument there). One of us buddies flipped a plate over at our table. I stress, we hadn't done anything to them, we hadn't been rude when they approached us the first time. They were just drunk and looking for a fight. I happened to be standing. Actually, I was leaning over one of our tables. When the guy came over and started yelling, I braced myself for a boot to the gut. Then came Gertie.

Gertie came bounding from the other side of the restaurant yelling "Hey!" She broke up the would-be brawl and forced the drunk gang to leave. Gertie saved our lives. Well, at the very least, she saved us from some level of pain and possibly a night in the Princeton jail.

The whole time, Dereck was ready to pounce. He was waiting for the same thing I was. Later, he told me that if anyone had moved to hit me, he would've been all over them. He was so angry, he didn't speak to anyone for about the next 12 hours. He wasn't mad at us, the situation had just gotten him so enraged, he could've easily exploded.

All in all, it was a fun night. I said the night has achieved legendary status. It may not be legendary to you, the reader. But it's definitely legendary to those of us who survived it.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Question of the Week: Go Jump in a Lake

You are at a lake with some friends; the sun is warm and the water is cold. Going into the water would temporarily chill you but you know that later the sun would be even more enjoyable and you would be glad you had gone in. Would you take the plunge?

What the heck kind of question is this? I get most of these questions of the week from Gregory Stock's The Book of Questions. This is pathetic. I thought these things were supposed to be deep and thought-provoking. Do you want to jump into the cold lake even if you know it'll feel good when you get used to it? Seriously? That's the brain-teaser of the week? I'm not sure if I would jump in. I mean, I'm not a very strong swimmer anyway, and I don't really even like being in the water. So I probably wouldn't. What a crappy question.

A friend of mine actually complained about the quality of this question this week. I told him I don't choose the questions. They choose me.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


This one might be long. It might be short. You can never really tell with these things. But the fact that it's late might cause me to rush things a bit.

Every week I participate in a home group Bible study at the Greenehouse. We're working our way through Experiencing God, a study which I think I may have worked through about 10 years ago, but it's good to be reminded of these things again.

Tonight we talked about how God can speak to us through circumstances in our lives, and I got to thinking about what has led me to this place. What has led me to Wake Forest? What has led me to seminary?

A little back story: back in college, I thought I was called to ministry. Then I had doubts about that. A Christian artist that came to Bluefield to play at a coffeehouse said something that made me rethink what God might have in store for me. So I pursued a different path.

In 2004 I finally left the town of Bluefield and returned to Roanoke to live with Dad. It was a very symbiotic relationship. I helped him with some of the finances, he helped me to save money. Okay, mostly he helped me out. I mean, the man was a heck of a cook. For two years I lived there, and in that time, Dad became my best friend.

Then, sadly, he passed away. Enter the circumstances. These are the circumstances that God used to put me back on that path I left behind me in Bluefield. And here I am in seminary, living in Wake Forest, knowing that this is where God wants me at this moment.

God never left anything to chance. He knew that I would doubt His call on my life all those years ago. He knew that I would have the chance to spend two great years getting to know my father better than I had in my first 18 years living under his roof. He knew exactly how Dad's death would affect me and placed people in my life to help me through that circumstance.

I could easily look back at Bluefield and think of myself as one who turned his back on God's calling. But God blessed me through it all. God remained faithful. Those last days with Dad were a true blessing. Of course I miss him. And I will miss him every day until I see him again, which I know I will. And that is comforting to me. So I thank God for speaking to me through every circumstance that I've come across in my life. And I thank Him for what He's going to do through my future circumstances.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

American Idol: Eight Left

For a few weeks, I haven't posted anything based on the Wednesday night results show. But I have received a couple of requests for results comments. And when I say a couple, I mean two exactly. I figured, why not? What else am I gonna do on Wednesday night? I'm watching it anyway.

The top nine start the evening by singning 9 to 5. They do a fairly mediocre job of things. It probably doesn't help that my digital cable is skipping. What's up with that? Did Time Warner scratch the reception?

Next up is the obligatory flashback to last night. I'm not sure what the point of this is. Week in and week out, they recap what happened on Tuesday night. But there's no reason to do this. We can't see someone's performance and then suddenly realize, "Oh no, I should've voted for that guy!" It's too late. Votes are in. No tomorrow for one of the contestants.

Now we begin to reveal the bottom three. A process that will take the next 40 minutes. Of course, the three will be split up between a performance by Dolly and a plug for Idol Gives Back, coming soon to an American Idol near you.

Only we didn't reveal any of the bottom three. The first three called out are all safe. This year they've started doing this phone-in question thing. I haven't decided if I like this or not. I guess it's a good way to get to know the contestants a little better. And I guess it's better filler than faux suspense and extra commercials.

The Clark Brothers, winners of The Next Great American Band, are performing now. I didn't watch that show. Kinda not sorry I missed it. 'Cause I don't think these guys are really that good. So if they won, how sorry were the other groups? Okay, I'll give it to the instrumentalists, I'm impressed. But vocally, the lead singer isn't that great. He wouldn't have made it on Idol.

Okay, and now I just have to laugh. The Ford commercial this week is done with It's Tricky. Classic. Doesn't that seem a bit odd, being that this is country week?

Back to the results. David Cook is brought out on stage to let everyone know that he's okay. See, he was taken to the hospital last night after his performance. Apparently he has high blood pressure. Good thing he's safe, he could've been on life support if sent to the stools.

Ramiele is the first in the bottom three. Kristy just came out... and she's so pessimistic. It's almost depressing. I mean, I think she's bottom three too. But have some respect for yourself girl. I was right, by the way. Kristy is the second of the bottom three.

Before more results, we revisit former contestants Bucky Covington, Phil Stacey, and Bo Bice. All three are living in the Nashville area and enjoying varying forms of success. Apparently we'll be seeing more of these former contestants over the next few weeks. Results again... Syesha is safe, leaving Brooke and Jason to be tormented. I really think Brooke is safe, but I've been wrong before. And I was wrong just now. The bottom three are Kristy, Ramiele, and Brooke.

Dolly sings. And I still say that the judges should critique the legends that show up on here. Remember when Diana Ross was on the Idol stage last year? It was bad. But Simon didn't say a word. He's probably not allowed to. I guess if the producers are paying these folks to come sing and mentor the contestants, we don't want their feelings hurt if they have a bad night. Sidebar: Dolly's getting old.

Brooke has been sent to the sofas. Kristy is safe for another week. Ramiele is going home. Or to the sequestor house, whatever they do on here. I can't believe I got one right. I thought I was off my game this season. I mean, it's not that I'm happy that this kid got kicked off. I feel sorry for her, really. But hey, silver lining: I was right!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

American Idol: Nine

It's Dolly Parton night. With special guest artist, Dolly Parton. Coincidence? I think not. Ryan starts off the evening with an unbelievable April Fool's joke. And when I say unbelievable, I mean, it just wasn't believable. I didn't buy it from the moment it started. Nice try.

Brooke - Jolene
I'm a fan of Brooke White. Win or lose, she's probably one whose album I'll buy, or at least download from iTunes. But there's not really anything that's jumping out at me with tonight's performance. She's strumming the guitar, she's singing just fine. It's just kind of bland. Nothing incredibly memorable. 7.

David C. - Little Sparrow
He sounded a little off in his session with Dolly. It'll be interesting to see what he does with a country song when it's for real. The high note was better on stage than in the studio, so that's a plus. He's actually doing a really good job. Could it be that David Cook is growing on me? Stranger things have happened. 9.

Ramiele - Do I Ever Cross Your Mind
Dolly said this is a good song choice for her. I have to disagree. I'm hearing more of her backup than of her through most of the song. And as she moves around, she seems to be running out of breath and struggling with staying on pitch. It's an improvement from last week, but only a slight improvement. 6.

Jason - Travelin'
Again behind the guitar, Jason's doing a pretty good job. Once again, not his best performance, but I think it's better than last week. I think it's about average for him. 7.

Carly - Here You Come Again
This is a good song to showcase her voice. She starts off pretty strong. Very not bad. 8.

David A. - Smokey Mountain Memories
I think this performance puts him back up to the level he was at several weeks ago. I mean, pre-Top 12. Back when he did Imagine. I'm putting him up there with the other David as best of the night. 9.

Kristy Lee - The Coat of Many Colors
Country seems to be where this girl is comfortable, but I'm not incredibly impressed with her. Yet again. She wasn't showing that she was feeling the song. I know I'm the last person to harp on someone not emoting while they sing, but I'm also not vying for the title of American Idol. She did good, but not great. 7.

Syesha - I Will Always Love You
She has got some brass picking this song. But you know what, she pulled it off well. Very well. I thought that long note near the end may have gone a bit sharp, but overall it's a great rendition. Going with an 8.

Michael - (not sure of the title)
I actually like this arrangement. Kind of has a bluesy feel to it. Not the best of the night, but it's pretty close. 8.

Best of the night goes to the Davids. Who should be worried? Ramiele, Kristy, and Jason... with Ramiele going home. I picked her to go last week, didn't work out that way. See you back here tomorrow.