Saturday, May 31, 2008

4-D Ultrasound

I saw a commercial for these 4-D ultrasound machines. I suppose it’s a machine that allows you to see your baby much more clearly than that old sonogram where it really just looks like some kind of blob. The images they showed on the commercial did like very detailed. If a little creepy.

The thing that gets me is this 4-D thing. What does that mean? I thought we could only see in 3-D. There are three dimensions, right? Height, width, and depth… and isn’t that it? In a lot of science fiction stuff, they talk about time being the fourth dimension. So if time is the fourth dimension, can you see your baby throughout time with this 4-D machine? From before birth, can you see what kind of grades your kid will get in school? Can you see what kind of career they’ll have 25 years down the line?

This is not technology that I was aware that we were capable of. And this was a local commercial. Just imagine what they’ve secretly got over at NASA that they’re just not telling us about.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Question of the Week: If Tomorrow Never Comes

If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven't you told them yet?

I know I'm guilty of not letting friends and family know often enough that I appreciate and love them. I'm not an emotional person, so when it comes to expressing that kind of thing, I have a hard time. And there are a couple individuals who, at some point, I really need to sit down and have a long talk with. Just to get some things off my chest. Things that really need to be said. Some good, some bad. The reason I haven't yet is pretty much 'cause I'm a wuss and would much rather repress. I repress like it's my job.

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

Thursday, May 29, 2008

100 Movies

Today I give you a brain teaser. Kind of. See the image below? If you click on it, you'll get the full size picture. It's pretty big. Here's the thing: there are 100 movie titles displayed in that picture. I know, some of you have probably seen this before. I got it in an e-mail several months ago. But I thought I'd pass it on via this blog, just to see who among you can find all 100 titles. I'm ashamed to say I could only find 73 definitive movies. That may be better than some others could do. But to me, that means there are still 27 left to be found. After you've tried, scroll down for a list of all the ones I've found. Give it a shot, post your results in the comments.

1. 21 Grams
2. Airplane
3. Amadeus
4. American Graffitti
5. Anaconda
6. Anchorman
7. Barb Wire
8. Beetlejuice
9. Bend It Like Beckham
10. The Birds
11. Black Dog
12. The Black Hole
13. Blazing Saddles
14. Boomerang
15. Broken Arrow
16. Casino
17. Casper
18. Chicken Run
19. A Clockwork Orange
20. Cocktail
21. Crash
22. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
23. The Crow
24. Dances With Wolves
25. Domino
26. Dragonfly
27. Dune
28. Flipper
29. The Fly
30. Four Weddings and a Funeral
31. GoldenEye
32. Green Card
33. The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
34. The Hills Have Eyes
35. Hook
36. Jackass
37. Layer Cake
38. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
39. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
40. Man in the Moon
41. Mannequin
42. The Matador
43. Mona Lisa Smile
44. The Money Pit
45. Napoleon Dynamite
46. One Hour Photo
47. The Pacifier
48. Phonebooth
49. The Pink Panther
50. Red Dragon
51. Red Eye
52. The Ring
53. The Rock
54. Saw II
55. The Scorpion King
56. Seven
57. Shark Tale
58. Signs
59. Snake Eyes
60. Sneakers
61. Stealth
62. Swordfish
63. Taxi
64. Tears of the Sun
65. The Thin Red Line
66. Titanic
67. Toy Soldiers
68. Toy Story
69. Twelve Monkeys
70. Twister
71. Volcano
72. XXX
73. Zulu

There are a few that I just don't get. I know they must mean something, 'cause they're in the picture. I don't get the elephant (Dumbo?) or the shadowy figure next to it (The Shadow?). Not sure about the motorcycle or the green eggs and ham ('cause that's just a book). And what's up with the giant catfish and baby's foot? Like I said, there are another 27 that I haven't identified, so let me know what you've found.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode XIX

Let’s consider this a “lost episode.” I have something to write about that happened several months ago that I just never wrote about.

One day when I arrived at work, I found a box on my counter that had my name on it. I opened it up to find that I have received business cards with my name on them. Not only does this card have my name, it has my job title, phone number, and e-mail address. Finally, after years of working in the real world, I have a little card with my name on it.

Granted, I have had cards with my name on them in the past. But they’ve all been credit cards or ATM cards. And there are always strings attached. I suppose there are strings attached to these cards as well. I’ll only be able to use these business cards as long as I work for the establishment I’m currently working for. After that, they’ll be out of date. But I figure, for the next two to three years, these cards are gonna be just fine.

Did you ever see that old Steve Martin movie The Jerk? There’s a scene where he receives the new phonebook and finds his name listed in it. He freaks out, jumping up and down, screaming that he’s somebody now. That’s kind of how I feel having these business cards. I’m somebody now!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

American Idol: Aftermath

It’s Tuesday night, so I feel obligated to do one final post on American Idol.

Another season has come and gone. They have crowned their seventh winner and the American voting public must sit and wait for their next opportunity to vote. I know most of you think I’m talking about the presidential election in November, but do you really think 95 million people will show up to the polls on Election Day? Kind optimistic, don’t you think?

No, I’m talking about season eight, which I’m sure is well past the planning stages. The powers that be probably have their audition cities mapped out and scheduled for sometime in August and/or September. My question is, how much longer will America continue to support the most successful talent show in the history of television?

I’m not one to read articles in depth about what kind of ratings these shows get. Even if I did, all those numbers really mean nothing to me anyway. But some of the headlines I noticed online during the competition said that ratings were dropping a bit for the first time ever. But then, at the finale, Seacrest announced that they received a record number of votes. I realize that could just mean the same people are voting several times. But still, those kinds of numbers are hard to argue with.

So seven years have passed, with several more to come. How much untapped talent do you think is left hiding in plain sight? How many more tone-deaf people can we put up with every January? Because for every Carrie Underwood, there are thousands of William Hungs.

Nevertheless, we are now seven months away from more American Idol. Take heart America, it’ll be here before you know it.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Okay, so I don't use T-Mobile for cellular service. But these commercials just crack me up.

Yeah, that's my post for today. That last one is probably my favorite... "maybe you should have uglier friends..." Classic.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Nineteen years. That’s how long it’s been since Harrison Ford donned that classic fedora and cracked the trademark bullwhip. And now, at age 65, he reprises that legendary role of Henry Jones, Jr. But his friends call him Indiana. Actually, in the new installment in the Indiana Jones saga, he seemed to be addressed as Henry just as often as Indiana.

Since it’s been so long since Last Crusade came out, we also saw a 19 year jump in Indy’s timeline. Taking place in 1957, the story starts with a bang and gets right into the action. In the past, Indy has been in the middle of some adventure before the true story of the film begins. This time, the start of the film is the start of the story.

I won’t give away any of the plot details, just know that it’s an imaginative story with a few twists here and there. That usually makes for a good movie. Harrison Ford was impressive and believable as a more seasoned Dr. Jones. Even did most of his own stunts, or so I’m told. Karen Allen returns as Marion Ravenwood, a role that originated in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Rounding out the cast are John Hurt, who plays one of Indy’s colleagues, and Shia LeBeouf, who seems to take the spot of sidekick away from Short Round (from Temple of Doom). Only not as annoying.

I grew up loving the original trilogy and have been looking forward to this since the mid-90s when they first started talking about doing a fourth movie. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg did not disappoint. But I wasn’t blown away by the movie either. At this point, Last Crusade is still my favorite in the series. I read a rumor that there may even be another one. And of course I’ll be in line to see that when and if it ever comes out. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is definitely worth seeing. Have fun.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Legends of the Bank Teller: Episode XVIII

I know I’ve complained before about people who don’t keep track of their accounts. I wouldn’t get upset about it, but it’s simple addition and subtraction. Someone with the education of a 2nd grader should be able to balance a checkbook. My latest complaint comes with a woman that shall henceforth be known as Mrs. Idiot. She has two kids, Idiot Son and Idiot Daughter.

About a month ago, Mrs. Idiot came into the bank to deposit money into her Idiot Son’s checking account. Apparently, Idiot Son is a college student who uses his debit card without checking to see if there’s any real money to back it up. And every time the debit card is used without the money to back it up, there’s a $35 charge from the bank. Pretty standard, really. So, Mrs. Idiot, being the enabler she is, loaded money into Idiot Son’s account to take care of the fees.

Today, Mrs. Idiot returned. Idiot Daughter’s account is now in the negative. By a lot. Same problem, same solution.

This message is for Mrs. Idiot, and for any other enabling parent that feel the need to bail their kids out of every jam they get themselves into. Don’t. Okay? Just don’t give them money whenever they over spend. Let the bank go after them. Let them have a bad credit score. It’s the only way they’re really going to learn from their mistakes. If you throw money at the problem every time they overdraw their accounts, then in the future, they’ll be conditioned to know that Idiot Mom will step in and fix everything.

And parents whose kids have not reached the age where they can screw up their own bank accounts, just remember, they’re watching you. Kids learn spending habits from watching their parents. All I’m saying.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Question of the Week: The Haunting

Do you believe in ghosts or evil spirits? Would you be willing to spend a night alone in a remote house that is supposedly haunted?

Ghosts: no. Evil spirits: yes. Spending a night alone in a remote house that is supposedly haunted: priceless. I mean... no. Well, I think I would if I had some kind of Scooby Gang with me. That way we could figure out that the house isn't really haunted, it's just the old school janitor in disguise looking for some kind of treasure. And he would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for us nosy brats!

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

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Things I Want To Do In LA

Not sure if I've mentioned on here that I'm flying to Los Angeles in July. I've been saying I'd go out there to visit Jen for years, and it's finally happening. So I'm making a list of things I'd like to do while I'm there. Please note that this list is incomplete. If you have any suggestions for me, please share. As I've never been to the west coast, I'm open to ideas.

1. Put my feet in the Pacific.
2. See The Dark Knight (since it comes out the weekend I'm there).
3. Since the Angels are home, I'd like to see them play the Red Sox. That will be one more MLB ballpark visited.
4. Grauman's Chinese Theater.
5. Beat Jen in a real game of Scrabble. Without cheating.

That's all I've got right now. I thought about The Price is Right, but I figure in the summer, they won't be taping any new shows yet. Again, any suggestions will be helpful.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

American Idol: One

The finale is here. Two hours packed with filler until we finally get to the meat of the show in the final two minutes. Seacrest announced that 97.5 million votes came in. That's a lot. 56% went to one David. Which one? My guess, really, is Archuleta.

The top 12 return to do a little number. Along with performers from So You Think You Can Dance (beginning tomorrow night). No, I will not be blogging about So You Think You Can Dance. If I were to watch a dance show, it would probably be Dancing With the Stars, but only if there was someone on there worth watching. To this point, I haven't cared about that.

The Davids do a duet of Hero. Not the Mariah Carey song. The one from Spider-Man. Is Archuleta wearing a Member's Only jacket?

Extended commercial for the upcoming Mike Myers movie The Love Guru. The Davids saw the movie and then met Myers in character. He kind of mocks them, so it's not all bad. But mostly stupid. This really made me want to see that movie when it comes out. Not! (Get it? Wayne's World reference...)

Syesha returns for a solo performance. Jen's not gonna like that. Spoke too soon... not a solo. Duet with Seal. This must be the part of the show where the top 12 take turns singing with different mainstream artists. That should take up a good twenty minutes.

Jason Castro returns, resinging Hallelujah. And then another awesome Ford commercial featuring the top 12. And hey, Ford gave the Davids each an Escape hybrid. Isn't that special?

The top 6 girls group sing a Donna Summer medley... and I have to say, Amanda Overmyer looks thrilled to be a part of this. Then she gets her solo portion... I still don't like her voice. I have not missed her even a little bit. Ladies and gentlemen, the real Donna Summer comes out to sing her new single. She's got a new single? I'm gonna take their word for it. Seriously, Amanda just didn't look like she wanted to be there at all. I'm not sure that she was even singing half the time. And she was missing choreography all over the place. I mean, I'm sure she's bitter for being 11th place. But come on. Deal with it. You're on national television.

Carly Smithson and Michael Johns sing The Letter together. They've been paired together because they apparently departed the show sooner than they should have. Looking back, I remember being slightly surprised when they were eliminated. But it was always going to be the Davids in the final. So what does it matter? Once you're in the top 10, you're on the tour (sorry Amanda Overmyer).

Jimmy Kimmel returns to the stage to make fun of Sanjaya and to review the seventh season. That wasn't really a review of the season. More of a quick roast of the host and judges.

Top 6 guys sing Summer of '69. Really it's a Bryan Adams tribute. And as with the Donna Summer thing, the real Bryan Adams comes out on stage. At least in this group sing, all the guys seem to be into it. We don't have any stand outs like with the girls who just look dead inside. I won't mention any names ladies, you know who you are. And if you don't, just scroll up, I mentioned the name several times.

And we're still not halfway through the show. Jordin Sparks advertises for Walt Disney World, where there will soon be some sort of "American Idol Experience." Cook sings Sharp Dressed Man with ZZ Top. Brooke White sings Teach Your Children with Graham Nash.

The Jonas Brothers performed. Then we get the worst of the worst reel from the auditions. It was bad enough that we had to suffer through them the first time, why again? This makes me want to cry. The USC marching band is accompanying Renaldo on that song he wrote for Simon. Wow.

One Republic performs. Jordin Sparks performs. Gladys Knight performs, with Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. standing in for the Pips.

And now the part of the night I've been waiting for. No, not the results, still waiting for that. Even better than that: Carrie Underwood performs... sorry... zoned out for a minute there. I might have drooled a little. Okay a lot. But enough about her and her really weird sleeves.

The 12 perform one more time before the real results. It's a George Michael tribute. And then the real George Michael comes out. No pun intended.

Final thoughts from the judges. David Cook pulled it off. I honestly didn't see that coming. But it's a pleasant surprise.

And now I have to find something new to write about on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. No, I will not start watching So You Think You Can Dance.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

American Idol: Two

So, I'm not really sure how to do this tonight. I think I'm just gonna watch and listen. I'm gonna list who does what song. And then at the end, I'm going to announce who I think deserves to win tomorrow night. Sound good? Okay good, 'cause I'm tired and really don't feel like doing a lot. Like talking about how ridiculous the opening boxing motif is.

First round songs are chosen for the singers by Clive Davis.

Cook - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Archuleta - Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me

Second round songs are chosen by the contestants from the songwriting competition.

Cook - Dream Big

Archuleta - In This Moment

Third round songs are also contestants' choice, but from a much longer list of available songs.

Cook - The World I Know

Archuleta - Imagine

I'm gonna be honest with you. After tonight's performances, I really think that David is going to win this whole thing. Call me crazy, but I think he might just pull it off. I know I didn't see it coming at the beginning of the season. But all week, I've been saying it. You wait and see. Tomorrow night is the over-hyped, over-filled, over-scheduled finale. Where Ryan will announce that David is the new American Idol. If I'm wrong, I'll never watch this show again!

Monday, May 19, 2008

What Dreams May Come

Most of the time I don't remember my dreams. But every now and then, I'll have a stretch of nights where I'll remember several dreams. And when that happens, they're all weird. I have a couple examples from recent nights.

The first dream has to do with a fist fight between me and Robin Williams. I'm not sure what, in this dream, he did to completely offend me. Whatever it was, it was enough for me to want to just wail on him. It was like he was a common schoolyard bully. He picked on me, I sat there and took it, and he moved on. But then the friends I had around me told me I shouldn't just sit there and take it. So I ran after Mork from Ork and, in true movie-special-effects style, I leaped off a wall and put him on the ground with one punch. Then, in the most threatening tone I could dream up, I warned him to leave me and my friends alone, then I walked away. Then I woke up. Not sure why I dreamed about beating up Robin Williams. As far as I know, he's never really done anything to offend me or my friends. Though I don't think I can forgive him for the movie Toys.

The other example is one in which I tried to get Lex Luthor and Clark Kent to work things out. Why should they be enemies when they were once such great friends? Nothing I said did any good though. Lex still wanted to kill Clark. Clark still wanted to passively get Lex out of the picture. This dream I can trace back to the fact that I've probably seen Smallville one too many times.

I know there are those out there who feel that dreams can hold special meaning. Sure I'll buy that... in some instances. But I just don't understand what my beat-down of Robin Williams could possibly mean to my subconscious. And trying to mediate an impossible difference of opinions? I really think I just watch too much Smallville.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bringing Sexy Back

Ladies and gentlemen, the goatee is making a comeback.

After having facial hair for nearly eight years, I shaved off the goat last summer. This means that for a year now, I've gone around with a cold face. Why would I subject myself to that kind of torture? I'm glad you asked.

I came to a point last summer when I just decided it was time to get rid of it. It was a point in my life when I was about to start fresh in a new place. The question I kept asking myself was: "Do I want to be known as 'Aaron, the goatee guy?'" And I don't think people would have actually called me "Aaron, the goatee guy." I just mean, when people had a picture of me in their mind's eye, they would have seen me with a goatee. And then later, if I had decided to shave, it may have freaked people out.

My whole life, Dad had a beard. That's how I knew him. That's how people knew him. Once, when I was a kid, he shaved everything off. And it looked weird. And I didn't want to be that guy. The guy that always had facial hair and then one day, just didn't.

But then, one day last summer, I was that guy. The guy that had a goatee for many years, and then didn't. When I looked at myself in the mirror after I shaved, I regretted it. But it was too late. The facial hair was gone. And I know I could have grown it back within a week (or less), but there was a part of me that wanted to see the reactions of my friends, who had more or less always known me as "Aaron, the goatee guy."

I know I have a few readers who stumble onto this blog and don't know me in reality. But in reading this post, you're probably looking at my picture at the top and thinking, "Doesn't this guy already have a goatee?" That's a very old picture. That's from my junior year of college.

Those of you who do know me, I'd like some opinions. With or without? What's the consensus? I know that asking people to comment on this blog is often like pulling teeth, but humor me once or twice.

However, be aware that no matter if I get responses or not, the decision lies with me. If I decide to keep the goatee and you happen to be one who voted against, you might have to learn to love it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Prince Caspian

Went to see Prince Caspian today. That's the second of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I'll preface this by saying that I didn't think it was quite as good as the first one. Also, the forthcoming The Magician's Nephew is my favorite of the books.

That said, this was a pretty good movie. If you liked The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, you will enjoy this one. You have the same four kids from the first one. It's always nice when you can get the same cast for the sequels. Kind of like what Harry Potter has managed to do. They're all a little older, but they've had to readjust to being kids again. Remember how they aged twenty years at the end of the last movie? Back in the real world, they're still kids.

The biggest personal struggle seems to come from Peter, who was so used to being treated as a high king in Narnia, now being treated like a commoner. This also becomes evident once he comes into contact with Caspian, who at this point in Narnia's history is the rightful ruler of Narnia. Oh yeah, I said it'd been a year, but that's our time. In Narnia, 1300 years have passed.

The true Narnians are all in hiding. See, Caspian's forefathers conquered Narnia and nearly wiped out the creatures we came to know in the first film. But as Caspian's corrupt uncle usurps the throne, Caspian joins the Narnian resistance, along with the previous kings and queens of Narnia.

For much of the movie, Aslan remains unseen. You'll remember Aslan as the lion and actual king of Narnia. He is conspicuously missing until the last twenty minutes or so. And this, I believe, brings us to one of the most important messages of the film.

C.S. Lewis, a brilliant Christian writer, always had a message or a lesson to convey with his works. In this one, and correct me if I'm wrong, we see what happens when we lose faith. From the beginning, Lucy (the youngest) was expecting Aslan to arrive. And at times, she caught glimpses of him. But the others ignored him or chose not to see him. They weren't expecting him to do big things. It wasn't until Peter had a true crisis of faith that Lucy was allowed to go out and seek Aslan. And it wasn't until Aslan was sought that he could be found.

How many times do we lose our faith in God? He never gives up on us, but we get so wrapped up in our day-to-day lives that we forget to turn to Him, even though we need Him in our day-to-day lives. When we pull away from Him, He's still there, waiting for us to seek Him. He's still there, waiting for us to find Him, willing to help us through everything. He's willing to help us fight our battles. He's willing to protect us when we're in danger. And He's willing to help us find our way home.

It's a good movie. Go see it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Question of the Week: Gone Baby Gone

For a person you loved deeply, would you be willing to move to a distant country knowing there would be little chance of seeing your friends or family again?

The only way that would ever happen, and I do mean only, is if I was married to that person. I mean, marriage kind of says "forever." If I'm dating someone for, say, six months or so, and she gets some kind of amazing promotion that sends her to Tierra del Fuego, I'd have to get left behind.

But if I were married to this woman who forced me to move to Tierra del Fuego, I don't think it would be too horrible. Look at all the advances we've made in technology in the last decade or so. Twenty years ago, the term video conference was reserved for science fiction. Now any old Average Joe can run to the local Best Buy and pick up a webcam and microphone. Then you can see and hear your closest friends on the other side of the world.

Where is Tierra del Fuego anyway?

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

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Loss of Appetite

Yesterday, as I was leaving work, I decided I was hungry. But I didn't want to get home to fix something. No, I wanted something fast and cheap and ready right away. So I pulled into the local Taco Bell to enjoy a tasty chicken quesadilla.

I placed my order, like one normally would, then I waited behind the line of cars. Like I said, I was hungry, so I waited in eager anticipation of paying for my food and driving home so I could enjoy said food.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I caught something disturbing. I looked over to my right and witnessed a kid throwing up in the parking lot. And he wasn't just a little sick. He was a lot sick. This guy must have lost everything he'd eaten for the last couple days.

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who noticed. It was highly visible (he chose to do this in front of the bushes rather than behind them) and pretty audible too (hard to ignore since we had windows rolled down in preparation for the drive-thru window). Needless to say, I was somewhat less motivated to enjoy my Mexican treats.

But what was I to do? Get to the window and say, "Sorry, I just watched that kid vomit, I don't feel like paying for or eating this food. See ya!" No... that's probably unacceptable in polite society. You know what else is probably unacceptable in polite society? Vomiting in public.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

American Idol: Two Left

So I would begin my post tonight with my normal rant about how the results episodes are boring and they're only filler until we get to the point of the whole night: the results. But I can't. Because my cable box is screwed up yet again. See, I was expecting my DVR to record the show so I could play it back starting at 9:30. My plan is such so I can avoid commercials whenever possible. But I noticed an odd thing. It wasn't recording at 9pm. So I turn over to Fox to watch it (gasp) live. But all I get is a blank screen. On every channel. Thank you Time-Warner Cable for giving me a cable box that is completely worthless every couple weeks until I realize I need to reboot the stupid thing.

I digress. The box has finished doing its thing, so I'll start doing my thing. I join the show just in time for the crappy Ford commercial. How lucky am I?

I really don't think I need to comment on the show. I stated last night that Syesha will be eliminated tonight. She could have knocked everyone's socks off with her songs and the Daves could have just not shown up and the boys would still be in the finale. And as predicted, the Davids will face off next week.

Basically the show was a lot of filler. We had a lot of flashbacks and a lot of hometown footage. You think there was a lot of filler tonight? Wait 'til next Wednesday. Two hours of nothing 'til they do the ultimate reveal of who will be the next American Idol.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

American Idol: Three

Everyone gets three numbers. Everyone gets three songs. One is chosen by the judges, one is chosen by the producers, one is chosen by the contestants.

David A - And So It Goes; With You; Longer
The beginning of the song is a capella, and when the instrumental comes in, he's pretty much on key. Not an easy task. It's a nice song, but Paula picked a boring one to start the night. Come on Paula, you can do better than that. The second song was picked by himself. I think he chose this song to "prove" that he could take a risk and stretch himself vocally. I don't think it's working. I really don't. I'm going to say something that could illicit hate mail, but since no one ever reads this thing anyway, I'll say it. I think this was this kid's worst performance since being on this show. The third song was done pretty well. But boring. And you know what, it doesn't matter what he had sung tonight. It doesn't matter if he did well or did poorly. He's in the final with Cook.

Syesha - If I Ain't Got You; Fever; Hit Me Up
Not bad. About what you would expect from her at this point. She did a good job with the song. I think this song, chosen by Randy, was a better pick than Paula's for Archuleta. She says she's gonna "work the chair." Remember Syesha, there are kids watching. Okay, gotta say it... That was hot. But the judges had an excellent point: She had the chance to pick any song out of the Idol catalog and she picked an old standard. She probably should have taken the opportunity to do something more contemporary and attempt to push the envelope. And the third song isn't bad. It was up-tempo and definitely not boring. But like I said with Archuleta, it doesn't matter what she sang or how she did, she's going home this week.

David C - First Time Ever I Saw Your Face; Dare You to Move; I Don't Want to Miss a Thing
Simon picked a song by Roberta Flack. A song that will definitely stretch David. I have a feeling this is outside his comfort zone. Probably a song he's never heard before this week. But I'm pretty sure he nailed it. Round one goes to Cook. And as I kind of expected, round two goes to Cook too. It wasn't as good as his first song of the night, but still very good. I don't need to say anything for round three. 'Cause Cook took that one too.

In a nutshell, Syesha's done this week. The Davids will duke it out next week. Nothing any of them could have done would have changed this scenario. This was pre-ordained ages ago. Tomorrow night is Syesha's elimination. Tune in then...

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Whistler

Back when I was in high school, I did some volunteer work for the Raleigh Court Public Library. While I was there working in the afternoons, I came in contact with a man who would come to be known as The Whistler. If you're from Roanoke and have lived in the Raleigh Court/Grandin Road area of the city, you may, in fact, know The Whistler.

Upon first impression, you may just see a somewhat disheveled elderly gentleman. One you may choose to ignore. One you may give sideways glances to, just to make sure he's staying on his side of the room. One you might think was a little odd. And I'll admit, for a long time, whenever I saw him, that was how I felt.

I never had a conversation with the man. I never introduced myself or even let him know I knew he was there. In fact, the most contact I personally had with him was a nod or a hello while I was at the library. Often he'd come in and read the daily newspaper, and then he'd walk back to his home, whistling all the way.

I think if I had taken the time to get to know this man, I would have discovered a kind man who probably just kept to himself for one reason or another. A story I heard from a teacher illustrates a bit of what may have been under the unkempt surface. This teacher had a roommate that was training for a 10k run and did so by running through The Whistler's neighborhood. Day after day the roommate would run by The Whistler's house while the man worked in his yard. One day, when The Whistler saw the roommate coming down the road, he began whistling Chariots of Fire. Maybe that was his way of encouraging the roommate without really saying anything.

So just remember when you pass one of those creepy houses in the neighborhood, think about who lives there. Everyone has their reasons for being the people they are. There may be times when it appears they're not reaching out to us, but maybe they are. Or maybe they're just waiting for one of us to do the reaching.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


I've got a lot of stuff. Maybe not compared to some people, but to me, it's a lot. It's the kind of stuff you'd find in someone's attic or basement. The kind of stuff that people hold on to for years, then pass on for generations to come. Some of it is stuff that I have from back when I cleaned out Dad's basement after he passed away.

It's stuff that I don't want to keep. It's stuff that I'd really like to get rid of. But I'd like to get rid of it by selling it on Ebay. It'd be nice to make a buck off those old He-Man action figures I've got sitting in a Rubbermaid container. And what about all those old baseball cards I've got? When I was a kid I collected full sets of baseball cards for about 7 or 8 years in a row. They've gotta be worth something these days, right?

I make a big deal about how I don't like to hold on to things. I'm not sentimental about stuff like Mom or Dad were. I just don't see the point in keeping something that my great-grandfather owned a hundred years ago. It's just something that's sat in the basement that I forgot I had for the last 20 years. And if the point of having it is just to pass it on to my son or daughter some day, that's really no point. If I'm already detached from this prized possession, how much more detached will they be?

My point is, if I didn't know it was there, will I miss it when I get rid of it? Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, I've got this stuff that I want to get rid of. I haven't had time to put the stuff on Ebay since I've been in school. But now that the summer is arriving soon, my plan is to get rid of it. Guess I'll be making my way back over to the Qwik Pack & Ship to send stuff when I sell it.

I did sell an old reel-to-reel tape recorder of Dad's last year. I thought I'd be lucky to get 15 bucks for it. Wound up selling for over $150. Blew my mind.

I feel like I kind of just rambled in this post. Did it seem that way to you?

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Okay, I'm stealing this blog post from Brandy. Be aware that at any given time I could steal any one of any of your ideas. And when I say "your" I mean the world. This thing where I pledged to post something every single day is a little daunting at times. It really can be difficult to come up with something worth writing about on a daily basis. It would be one thing if I was telling an involved work of fiction that required several days to tell. But for now, I'm posting this, whether you like it or not...

Four Jobs I've Had: Let's work backwards... Bank Teller, Qwik Pack & Ship Clerk, Day Treatment Counselor, Night-time Residential Counselor...

Four Places I Have Lived: Wake Forest, NC... Bluefield, VA... Roanoke, VA... Salem, VA...

Four Movies I Watch Over And Over: The Wizard of Oz... Back to the Future... That Thing You Do... Superman Returns...

Four Favorite Foods: Pizza... Chicken Alfredo... Bacon Cheeseburger... Frosted Flakes...

Four Favorite TV Shows: Lost... Heroes... 24... How I Met Your Mother...

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now: Smith Mountain Lake... some beach... Nashville... pretty much anywhere with friends...

That's it. That's all you're getting today. If you want something more interesting come back tomorrow, I might have something. However, if I have a boring day tomorrow, you may get something like this. Possibly something stolen from a MySpace bulletin board. You have been warned.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Question of the Week: Time Machine

If time travel were possible, what time period would you like to visit? If you went to the past, would you attempt to change anything?

As fascinated as I am by history, there are so many time periods I'd be interested in visiting. How cool would it be to witness Moses bringing the ten commandments off Mt. Sinai? Or to be there for Washington's inaugural address? Or see a live taping of Friends? Or possibly go ahead two years and find out what the heck that friggin' smoke monster is on Lost... And no, I wouldn't try to change anything in the past. I'm reminded of an episode of The Simpsons where Homer played around with a toaster/time machine. He accidentally killed a prehistoric bug and it altered his present. Little changes can have big consequences. But I guess that's getting into a Chaos Theory/Butterfly Effect thing. Really I don't think the past can be changed. The past is written. I think if you tried to change something, you may find that you're may be the very catalyst that caused the original event to occur.

That was a lot deeper than I thought it would be. So to lighten things up a bit before I leave for the day, here's a clip from that very special episode of The Simpsons

Thursday, May 08, 2008


I've watched this show since it first premiered seven seasons ago. Recently, the announcement was made that Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor) would be leaving the show after this season. In related news, Kristen Kreuk (Lana Lang) will only appear in a limited number of episodes in the eighth season.

Smallville has been an interesting show. It began as a pretty neat concept, exploring Superman before he became Superman. What was life like for Clark Kent back in his hometown? What was it like for a Superman to grow up as a farm boy? But as much as the show has been about Clark's journey to become Superman, it's also been about Lex Luthor's journey into villainy.

And really, Lex's journey has been much more interesting to watch. By this point, Lex has pretty much turned to the dark side full-time. But it's going to be hard to imagine what this show will be like without him around. Rosenbaum is undoubtedly the best actor on the series. His Lex Luthor has been spot on in my opinion. I heard he's already started letting his hair grow back. I bet that's gonna look weird.

Will I miss Lana? She's been absent from the last few episodes due to an "illness" caused by Brainiac. I think it's been an improvement. She whines a lot. We all know that Clark and Lois end up together anyway. Might as well get the ball rolling on that. I mean, they are in their early 20s by now.

Oh, and Clark still isn't wearing his glasses. So, are you really telling me that when this "Superman" guy debuts in a few theoretical years, no one will recognize him as that Clark Kent kid from Smallville? Lex was his best friend for awhile and will be his arch-nemesis for the rest of his life. You don't think Lex will know that Clark is Superman? What about Lois and Jimmy? How are you gonna fix that problem Smallville writers?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

American Idol: Three Left

Maroon 5 and Bo Bice will be performing tonight. I will not critique them. Since the judges wuss out on that scene, so will I. Plus I don't care. All I care about is who's going home. My money's on Jason. But I'm wrong a lot this season. I've really been off my game. I just can't call these things like I used to.

David Archuleta is out first. He says he feels nervous. Why? If he knows anything about where America votes at all, he should know he's in the finale. The faux shyness and modesty is getting really obnoxious. Really. He's safe.

David Cook is next. Pretty sure he's finale material too. Pretty sure. And I'm right. Well, at least 'til next week. So it's down to Syesha and Jason who both meet Ryan on the stage. But of course we won't find out which of them goes home yet. It's not even 9:30. There are still two performances to get through. And possibly those stupid phone-in questions.

Finally we get back to the results... half an hour later. Felt like half a decade. And Jason is going home. I can't believe I got one right. Wow. Okay, all of them are actually going home, but the other three will be coming back next week to sing again. I think they each have three songs. They don't even need to sing next week. I can already tell you the Davids will be in the finale. No question.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

American Idol: Four

Ryan Seacrest opened the show by telling me that I had to vote tonight. I don't like being told what to do. So I'm specifically not going to vote tonight. You know what, my vote doesn't really matter at this point. The same 45 million people who voted last week and the week before will vote again this week for the same people. Those 45 million have picked their favorites, and that's all there is to it.

It's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame week. Like last week, two songs per contestant.

David C - Hungry Like the Wolf; Baba O'Reilly
I'm not sure what to think about his first song. All I hear is him singing. It actually sounds like the band and the back-up singers are only being picked up by David's mic. That being the case, it's hard to critique the first performance. The live audience heard it all better than we at home did, I'm sure. No one made mention of the lack of accompaniment. Second song is exponentially better than the first. Overall score from me is 4.

Syesha - Proud Mary; A Change is Gonna Come
I thought she was doing better with the song when she was going slow at the beginning. She kicked it into high gear with the quicker tempo and the choreography, but in doing so she sacrificed vocal stability. Not sure the risk was worth the reward. Second song isn't horrible. I mean, she starts off pretty well. But at the end when she went a capella, she lost her pitch. That made it hard for the band to come back in and compliment her. Overall, 3.

Jason - I Shot the Sheriff; Mr Tambourine Man
He's playing up the dreads on this one. Fitting for a Bob Marley song. Not impressed with this one. He's done the thing where he gets to the chorus and lets the back-ups do the work. That's just lazy to me. In his first song, he had his guitar, but it just hung down at his side. He didn't play even a chord. For the second song, he's actually playing. But he forgot a lot of the lyrics. Nice job Jason. 1.

David A - Stand By Me; Love Me Tender
I really need to try and be nice about this kid. Because it's possible he's going to win. Just because I don't like him doesn't mean he's not talented. But this is one of my favorite songs, so I'm a little weary of him. He did okay, I didn't like the arrangement, but it was okay. His second song is an Elvis song. And he admitted to not knowing it well. Really kid? It's Elvis. I know I said I'd be nice. So I refrain from comments. 3.

Jason's going home this week. No question. Find out tomorrow night.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Iron Man

Yesterday I went with the Greenes to see Iron Man. This was a movie that I went into wanting to see, but I wasn't exactly geeking out about it. I mentioned in a previous post that I've never really followed Iron Man, so I don't know much of the backstory. Not like I do Superman or Spider-Man.

So without having high expectations before seeing it, I was pleasantly surprised at just how good the movie was. Robert Downey Jr. did a great job playing Tony Stark, the billionaire weapons manufacturer that would become Iron Man. I read recently that Downey is actually a huge fan of Iron Man and would be willing to make 15 movies based on the character.

After the $100 million plus opening weekend, I'm sure Marvel Studios will be willing to back up a few sequels. Now, I won't sit here and say that I liked it better than the first two Spider-Man films, but it was very good. The actors were very good, the dialogue was well written, and the action and effects were kind of awesome.

Oh, and did anyone stay beyond the credits? We got up and left when the credits rolled, but I have a feeling we missed something. 'Cause I heard Samuel L. Jackson made an appearance as Nick Fury, but I don't remember ever seeing him show up. Was there an extra scene that I missed? Feel free to post a comment letting me know.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

That's Three

Another wedding come and gone. Another garter hanging from my rear view mirror. That's three, for those of you still keeping score. You'll recall that I caught the first at Andy and Chrissy's wedding. The second was grabbed out of the air at Brandon and Kara's.

This time I really didn't try to catch it. I mean, the whole time I was thinking it would be kind of cool to go three for three. Like a wedding trifecta. Turns out I didn't have to try. The thing landed right in front of me. No one else went for it, so why not?

Besides, there were only four single guys competing for the prize. That's four, including myself. I guess as I get older, there will be fewer and fewer bachelors at these weddings I attend. I'm hoping that there will also be fewer and fewer of these weddings I attend. I figure most of my friends are already married. I can handle the two or three of us that are left.

At the same time, I feel like I'm in a race to be the last man standing. I've made it no secret that I'm in no hurry to settle down. There's a lot that I would need to go through in order for that to happen. First I'd have to meet someone who'd be willing to put up with me on a regular basis. Then I'd have to come up with a new title for this blog. I'm sure there are other things I'd have to do. I should think about it and make a list.

Then again, I don't mind settling into that role of middle-aged bachelor that my friends' kids all call "Uncle Aaron."

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Today, my friend Cassie is getting married. In honor of her special day, I present you with a Cassie story from back in the day.

I met Cassie at Bluefield College, home of the Ramblin' Rams. At some point during one of my senior years, there was a big event leading up to a big basketball game. This was a game that everyone was excited about. Everyone was showing their school spirit. School colors were worn, posters were hung, faces were painted.

Cassie's face was one of those faces. It was quite elaborate. If I remember correctly, half of her face was painted blue, the other half white. And across her cheeks, written in red were the words "GO RAMS". At least, that's what it said when she saw herself in the mirror.

To be honest, I'm not sure at what point during the day she did this to herself. But I do know that no one pointed her mistake out until I said something before our 4 o'clock choir rehearsal. I think I said something along the lines of, "Your face looks great... But what does SMAR OG mean?" Needless to say she ran back to her dorm and had to repaint the entire thing. I still think that's pretty funny.

That mirror mode mess-up was also the inspiration for my current lisence plate. It may only make sense to people driving in front of me. Anyway, congratulations to Cassie and Chad, I wish them all the best.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Question of the Week: Crazy People

What is your opinion on the "church of Oprah?" Is Eckhart Tolle's New Earth compatible with Christianity?

First I'm going to let this video do most of the talking...

My honest opinion: Oprah is a crazy person. I originally read about and saw this video on Nicole's blog. Feel free to go and explore, she writes some pretty powerful stuff.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Same Number, New Phone

A few weeks ago I got a call from my wireless provider, letting me know that my contract with them was up. Really they were letting me know that if I renewed said contract, I was eligible for a $50 rebate on a brand new phone.

Today, I took them up on that offer. I got a new phone. To be honest, it's not that much better than my old phone. It does the same things the old phone did, and probably a few more things. This new phone, for example, is Bluetooth compatible. If only I had Bluetooth.

It also has dual speakers built into the back of it, so apparently, this means I can listen to music with it. But there is a draw back. I lost my ringtones. I had some good ones too. And now, if I want to have those same ringtones, I have to buy and download them all over again. And the pictures I had on my other phone? Nontransferable.

But hey, I did get a $200+ phone for the bargain price of $29.99. Not bad at all.