Saturday, January 31, 2009


Thursday evening I got to partake in a time honored tradition. It's something that the people of Raleigh seem to enjoy quite a bit. I notice it as I drive my car down the road. I see it in bumper stickers and car magnets. A rounded red and black logo that sort of looks like the eye of a storm. That storm represents Raleigh's NHL team, the Hurricanes.

In 2006, the Hurricanes won the coveted Stanley Cup. Since then, they've been unable to recapture that magic. That being said, we were still hopeful that the 'Canes would pull off a win. We were hopeful because, for several of us, it was our first NHL game.

I'm not sure how it all came about. I never heard the full story. But somehow we were able to procure seven VIP tickets to Thursdays game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now, let me tell you about these seats. No, let me show you the view from these seats...
Yeah, from that picture it seems like we were really far away. But we really weren't that high up. We were behind the goal. We were seated at a long table-like surface. And embedded in this table-like surface were television screens. Therefore, if we chose to not pay attention to the jumbo screen in the center of the RBC Center, we could just look down at our own personal TV.

I was disappointed that there were not a lot of fights. That's part of the fun of hockey, the senseless violence. I mean, you just get a jolt of excitement when you see some big guy check someone against the boards. The stupid refs kept breaking stuff up before they could really get going. I wanted to see the gloves come off and watch these guys just wail on each other. Didn't happen.

Legendary anchorman Ron Burgundy made a special appearance, trapped inside his glass cage of emotion. But there was reason to rejoice. After spending much of the game tied at 2, the Hurricanes pulled out the win in the closing minutes of the third period.

I can say honestly that I had a great time. Not only because the game was fairly entertaining, but because we had vouchers for free beverages and food. Now that I've experienced the NHL from the VIP POV, I'm not sure I'll want to go again if it means I'll have to mingle amongst the commoners. If you haven't noticed, hockey fans are an excitable bunch. So yeah, I wouldn't necessarily categorize myself as a "Caniac," but if presented with another opportunity to go to a game, I'll do it. Good times.

In other news, tonight is the last night to vote over there at the right. Make your vote count. Winners will be announced tomorrow.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Question of the Week: Ages

Do your friends tend to be older or younger than you?

I think I have a pretty good mix. To be honest, I'd say most of my friends are right around my age. Sure, there's a pretty good mix of those who are older and those who are younger. But it's not like I go and hang out with people my parents age. And aside from the Greene kids, I really don't hang out with anyone under the age of twenty-something.

Now that I think on it though, I guess I have started hanging out with a few more people who are closer to my mom's age than my own. And I don't mind spending time with those folks, but I can't help but feel like a kid sometimes. I guess to them, I am a kid. But to me, they're grown-ups.

That all boils down to me being unable to truly see myself as a grown-up. In a little over a month, I'll be 29, but I still don't feel like I've matured beyond the teenage status. And for those of you who are about to make snide remarks about my maturity (or lack thereof), be careful what you leave in the comments. You can be replaced!

And for those of you about to make snide remarks about my ability to make new friends (or lack thereof), be careful what you leave in the comments. You might hurt my feelings!

And for those of you about to make snide remarks about my ability to feel emotion (or lack thereof), be careful what you leave in the comments. 'Cause... umm... yeah... I got nothin' else.

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

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Here's another one from the Facebook. I take this list and use the first letter of my first name. Can't be that hard.

1. What is your name: Aaron

2. A four Letter Word: Army

3. A boy's Name: Andy

4. A girl's Name: Amy

5. An occupation: Astronaut

6. A color: Aquamarine

7. Something you wear: Ascot

8. A food: Artichoke

9. Something found in the bathroom: Air freshener

10. A place: Azerbaijan

11. A reason for being late: Alarm didn't go off

12. Something you shout: ARRGH!

13. A movie title: Armageddon

14. Something you drink: Apple Juice

15. A musical group: A-ha

16. An animal: Aardvark

17. A street name: Avenue

18. A type of car: Aston Martin

Piece of cake. Once again, my American Idol post is here. And don't forget to keep voting over there at the right side of the page. Polls close this weekend.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


For the last couple of days I've suffered from a migraine. I'm gonna take a stand right here and now and say that migraine headaches are bad. They're not good.

Yesterday, the pain was so bad and so nauseating that I missed work. Today the pain wasn't quite as tragic. The headache still exists, but it's definitely a diminished level.

That being said, I don't have a lot to write about today. I'm sure you don't want to hear about how I spent my sick day yesterday. Mostly I attempted to deprive my senses. It didn't really work too well.

Tonight is an American Idol night. Normally you would find my thoughts right here on this blog. But tonight I begin my two week stint blogging for the Raleigh News & Observer. Just click on that link and you'll be taken directly to their blog "Happiness is a Warm TV." If you go there tonight, you won't find my Idol blog right away. It will be posted tomorrow. In the meantime, happy reading.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Life Story: Chapter Twenty One

Mom and April recently rejoined the church I was raised in. A lot has changed at Villa Heights Baptist Church over the years. In fact, it's been over 10 years since I was a member there myself. While I was in Roanoke, Mom asked me to go with them to visit the old church.

As I said, a lot has changed. There is a new sanctuary built onto the old building. Entering into the new part, there's not much that can be recognized. But then I crossed over into the old rooms. It was then that a lot of memories came flooding in.

It's hard to narrow this down to just one memory. I'm sitting here writing this and am finding it difficult to put things into words. First and foremost would be my involvement in choir. I've pretty much been singing for as long as I've been able to form words. As soon as I was able to, the parents had me in the children's choir. That would probably be around age three. Every Christmas and spring, the choirs would have a concert in which every kid would sing a solo, whether they could sing or not. Those concerts ran pretty long.

After third grade, I was finally old enough to go to children's camp at Ward Haven. If you're not a member of a Baptist church in the Roanoke area, you're probably not aware that such a place exists. Ward Haven is where the church would have huge picnics and retreats. The place had several bunk houses, a huge picnic shelter, a basketball court, a baseball field, and I'm pretty sure a hiking trail. I usually got homesick during camp. It really shouldn't have been a big deal, camp was only about 15 minutes away from home.

Then came youth group. By then I had stopped getting homesick. This opened all kinds of doors. Lock-ins, Super Week, umm... lock-ins... I don't know. Super Week was the older kids' version of camp. For the first few years I went (and for a long time before that), Super Week was held at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia. Sure it was fun, but being at a military academy seemed a little oppressive. I could get into more Super Week stuff, but I'll save that for when I went with a different church. Or, you know, when I get to the point in these life stories that I'm actually old enough to attend Super Week.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Who Says?

You can't go home again. I guess in a lot of ways, that can be true. The place you knew as a kid tends to change. People grow up and move away. The places you were so familiar with growing up tend to evolve and move on without you. And they aren't even considerate enough to call and get your input or ask your permission to change.

I went back to Roanoke for the weekend. It was my first visit since last August. And since I hadn't visited in about six months, I figured I should pack as much into my 48 hour trip as I could. Okay, it was less than 48 hours, but not much.

Friday evening I got to town in time to meet Mom and Jerry for dinner at the 611 Steakhouse. Many years ago, this restaurant was a Western Sizzlin'. It's still the same basic restaurant, just a different name. It's funny because I was talking about Western Sizzlin' with a coworker on Friday. How I used to love getting a huge baked potato and then traveling up to the potato bar and loading it up with shredded and liquid cheese and, of course, bacon bits. I was still able to do that, which was a pleasant surprise.

Saturday I took advantage of the fact that I didn't have to be anywhere right away and slept fairly late. I woke in time to meet Jessica for lunch at Macado's. Let me take a moment to explain the importance of Macado's. Macado's is a completely awesome restaurant that has no equivalent in the Raleigh area. The menu is enormous. The list of sandwiches goes on forever. And though they have a seemingly limitless selection of signature sandwiches, I get the same thing every time I eat there. Stogie. On Kaiser roll. For the record, I also got some potato skins. So very good.

After lunch I visited Mamaw for awhile. She made me a banana cream pie. I had eaten too much at lunch, so I felt guilty when I could only handle one piece. Then I headed over to Landon's to meet his newborn baby daughter, Sydney. That's them on the left. She's definitely an adorable kid. I only have one complaint. When Landon handed her to me, she immediately let go. How do I put this delicately. She waited 'til she got in my hands to drop the deuce. Yeah. And I'm pretty sure she did it on purpose. Her face was really red. She was trying.

Last night I met up with a group of friends from the Bluefield days. We all met at Macado's. There's a Macado's at the mall in Bluefield, so that restaurant holds a special place in our hearts. And did I mention there's nothing that even compares to it where I now live? I miss it so much. Okay, tears have been wiped away. On the right here you'll see our mini-Bluefield College reunion. Starting on the left we have Mary Tatum, Aaron Peck, Brandon Caldwell, and Josh and Heather Cornett. A special thanks to Brandon's wife, Kara, who volunteered to get behind the camera. Dinner was great. Once again, I got a Stogie on Kaiser. 'Cause that's what I do. I had a great time with those guys. We talked about what each of us was doing these days. We talked about what others were doing these days. We talked about the good ol' days. Josh and Heather showed off pictures of their newborn son, Porter.

All in all I'd say it was a pretty good trip. But much like Hawaii or Cleveland, Roanoke is the kind of place that's great to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Life Story: Chapter Twenty

In all these years, I've neglected to mention my cousin, Landon. Well, I've mentioned him, but I haven't fully expressed how much he's meant to me over the years. I'll try to make this as coherent as possible, but to be honest, all my memories of hanging out with Landon run in a non-linear fashion.

Growing up, it was just me and April. I never had a brother. Luckily, I had a cousin that lived close by. He and I were two peas on a pod. Somehow, we managed to always get each other. Our sense of humor was in sync. We had a tendency to like the same movies, read the same comic books, play the same video games.

As kids we had wild imaginations. Often I would be over at his house and we would run around outside pretending to be super-heroes. During the summer we would hook up a sprinkler and imagine that it was a monster that needed to be slain.

He was the first of us to get a Nintendo. So, of course, that tended to draw my attention when I was over there. At my house, we had an Atari, which somehow drew his attention. We'd play two player games, and he would insist on being player one, because "guests first." But when it came to playing Super Mario, I always wound up being Luigi. What's up with that? I still give him a hard time about that sometimes.

Family get-togethers were always an exercise in patience. At least it was for our parents and our sisters. Landon and I would have the adults thanking God that there existed a kids' table. We never got through a meal without one of us having to walk away at some point because we were laughing so hard. I know there were a few times I was afraid I might choke. Okay, really, we still have times like that at our family get-togethers.

It wasn't always fun and games though. We could get into some pretty serious scrapes. I don't like to think we got mad enough at each other to want to beat the crap out of each other. But just because I don't like to think that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

So when I make the statement that Landon was the closest thing I had to a brother, I really mean it. We got along like brothers. We fought like brothers. We loved each other like brothers. Landon's a dad now. He and his wife, Daphne, welcomed their first daughter into the world on December 1st. I visited little Sydney Faith this afternoon. Gotta say, she's pretty darn cute. I can fully say that I'm proud of the person that Landon grew up to be and look forward to seeing him grow into his new role of father.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Question of the Week: Trying

If you went to a dinner party and were offered a dish you had never tried, would you want to taste it even if it sounded strange and not very appealing?

While Sam I Am and his grumpy, unnamed friend taught us the importance of trying new things in the literary classic Green Eggs and Ham, that's just not the kind of person that I am. Generally, if something looks odd or smells strange, I'm not going to try it. If I'm over at someone's house for a party and they offer me something that looks weird, there's a good chance I'm gonna make up some excuse like, "I had a big lunch" or "I'm just not feeling very well."

Of course there are the odd moments where I'll allow someone to convince me to give something a try. I did taste some pretty decent sushi at Jen's insistence while I was in California. I didn't make a meal out of it, but I did give it a shot. And you know what, it wasn't bad. But those moments are very rare.

And I'm fairly certain that I can blame my mother for this. You see, when I was quite young, the extended family had gathered at my grandparents' house. After we had eaten dinner, the kids separated from the adults to play whatever game it was that kids played back then. After some time, we were all treated to an array of desserts. Mom called for me to come to the kitchen, she had a pie she wanted me to taste. Now, at this point I still trusted my mother. I would shortly learn better of it. I asked what kind of pie it was that she had on her fork. It looked harmless, but the smell should have tipped me off. Why, to this day, I didn't recognize the odor, is beyond me. She didn't tell me the kind of pie, just insisted that if I tried it, I'd like it. Liar. She put the fork in my mouth and I quickly made my way to the bathroom (which felt like miles in distance) in order to throw up. My mother, knowing that in my entire short life that I had never liked peanut butter, force fed me a piece of peanut butter pie. Not only did she know that I did not like peanut butter, she knew that I actively despised it and would even, at times, gag from the smell of it. That's why I'm confused about the smell of the pie before I tasted it. I don't remember smelling a strong peanut scent. Maybe I had a cold at the time.

That's why I don't try new things. It's also why I tend to not trust people when they tell me I'll like something if I'll just try it. Liar.

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

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Spare Key

Since I moved into the new place, I've given thought to having a spare key made. Of course it would go to the Greenes in case of some sort of crisis.

However, the more I've thought about having this extra key made, the less it's made sense. The most obvious reason to give someone a spare key is so they can let you in if you get locked out. It would be impossible for me to ever be locked out of my apartment. See, the only lock on the door is a deadbolt that must be locked with a key. So if I'm able to lock it from the outside, I should obviously be able to unlock it.

I suppose I could accidentally drop the key and have it slide under the door after locking it. But the odds of that happening are probably a few trillion to one. I mean, the door key is on a key ring with half a dozen other keys. No way that thing's getting under this or any other door.

But then there are the other catastrophes that only we single folks think about. I'm sitting alone in my apartment, eating some tasty treat, watching a particularly funny episode of 30 Rock, and suddenly my laughter turns to gasps for breath. I grab my throat to show the universal sign for choking, but there's no one around to see it. Eventually I pass out from lack of oxygen and am left to rot on my living room floor.

Or another scenario: I get ready to step out of the shower but slip on the wet floor. I frantically reach for the shower curtain, but it tears from the rod under my weight. I crack my head on the porcelain of the toilet. Disaster can strike at any moment. In any room of the house.

The Greenes usually hear from me about once a day. I'm sure they would get suspicious when I didn't make that one annoying phone call on my way home from work. My neighbors start to smell something odd from apartment 215. The Greenes come to investigate, but I've never given them a spare key. My once great apartment has now become a really awesome tomb.

Maybe I should go get that spare key made after all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

American Idol: Louisville Auditions

Tonight the auditions are taking place at historic Churchill Downs. Do we have any sure bets tonight? The parents of Tiffany Shedd believe that their daughter is. Doubt it. She said she was gonna keep a positive attitude if the judges said no. She sure didn't.

The next contestant, Joanna Pacitti also brought a doting mother. So far tonight, that's not necessarily a good sign. The mother of the last girl was just as delusional as the contestant herself. She sings, and looking at Simon, it appears he just picked his winner. She's definitely going to Hollywood. She's definitely top 24 material.

Okay, Mark Mudd doesn't have a lot going for him. For one thing, his great-grandfather is the man who gives us the origin of the term "his name is mud." He's the doctor that treated John Wilkes Booth for a broken leg after he assassinated President Lincoln. Good family, the Mudds. Wow, this guy is rough. He's awesome. I might have to rewind the DVR and listen to Mudd again.

Brent Keith Smith comes out singing Can't Get Enough of Your Love. After a lot of pointless deliberation amongst the judges, he gets a yes and moves on to the next round. Next we have a few really bad contestants including some dude with his face painted and a rather obese gentleman in a top hat singing Billy Jean. Good times.

Matt Giraud is a piano player who has a pretty good, unique voice. Simon, again, harps on someone's confidence. But he still sends him through. The suggestion is that he just come to Hollywood with a little more confidence.

Ross Plavsic is apparently the king dork of the universe. He is very appropriately suited up for the audition. He really didn't sing well. He tried drinking some of Paula's water. Didn't help. His majesty, the king of the dorks, took the rejection very well. See ya Ross. That's the end of day one.

Day two gives us Alexis Grace, a single mom from Memphis. She's singing some Aretha and is actually pretty good. Not sure about being top 24 material, but definitely good. Hollywood bound. Aaron Williamson is a hometown boy who's hoping to do good. He's singing Have You Ever Seen the Rain. Uh, not so good. Kinda loud. Kinda over the top. But definitely not in a good way. Dude, are you singing or are you screaming? I really hope that's a no.

Rebecca Garcia is singing a song by my favorite past winner. And I'm very disappointed. The new judge, Kara, kinda gives her a really hard time and makes her cry. It's almost expected that Simon will make someone cry, poor kid. But she's really not good. There's no way she should make it to Hollywood. Again, the parents should be to blame.

We get a lot of backstory from Lanisha Young. They make us like these people and hope they make it, but then sometimes they get in there and suck. I hope that's not the case with this girl. She's had it rough. Luckily she gets in here and actually sings very well.

In all 19 contestants are sent to the next round. Next Tuesday they'll be in Jacksonville, Florida. And next Tuesday I'll begin blogging for the News & Observer. I'll be sure to give you a link.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

American Idol: San Francisco Auditions

Today's incredible snow could not keep me from blogging about tonight's episode of American Idol. The snow kept me from going to work. The snow kept me from going to see My Bloody Valentine 3-D. But it will not keep me from experiencing the awesome spectacle that is American Idol.

In the past, San Francisco gave us Katherine McPhee and William Hung. Both classics. Apparently there was a marriage proposal in line. And then that same couple got married. While in line. Good times in San Francisco.

The first contestant tonight is Tatiana Del Toro, who seems to have confused American Idol for the Miss America Pageant. She has a wicked annoying laugh and wears way too much make-up. She's one of those people who takes the criticism by singing another song. She did this twice. Somehow they sent her through to Hollywood. Seriously? Is this how San Francisco is going to be for the next hour? Blurg.

After a couple really bad auditions that I thought would turn into a montage, we get Dean-Anthony Bradford in his amazing technicolor dream coat. Dude's a nut. Way over the top. Wow.

Jesus Valenzula looks to have a pretty large family. His kids apparently convinced him to try out. Simon cuts him off saying that he's not right for it. Paula gets him to bring the kids in. His two sons walk in with the posters. Simon's the only one who can manage to say no to the kids. The other judges' hearts melt a bit. He's going to the next round.

Before the extremely nervous Dalton Powell entered the audition room, he impressed Seacrest by solving a Rubik's cube in under a minute. After hearing him sing, I realize he should stick to the cube. And puzzles in general. I have noticed tonight, for an hour long episode, there sure are a lot of commercial breaks. I find that to be very annoying.

Akilah Askew-Gholston Googled all kinds of information on how to become a great singer. She's got reams of paper containing instructions and diagrams. She's just all over the place. I guess you can't learn how to sing well from researching the internet.

Here's where we insert our montage of successful auditioners. Then comes Annie Murdoch singing, well, she's not sure. She's very indecisive. Then when she starts singing, she's a massive disappointment. Not worth waiting for the decision. I agree with Simon. She sounds like a drunk girl who grabbed the mic on karaoke night.

Adam Lambert won't be a surprise when he gets through. See, they tend to show too much when they do the teasers before the commercials. We know this dude's doing Bohemian Rhapsody. We know his voice will blow away the judges. And he's through to Hollywood.

Last week I complained that two hours was too much Idol. But this week's hour long episode doesn't feel like enough. And I really think it's because for every 6 minutes of actual show, we get 5 minutes of commercials. It's ridiculous. We see one, maybe two auditions before cutting to the ads. Fringe is returning tonight, and that show always has shorter commercial breaks. Maybe the 8 o'clock hour is trying to make up for the ad dollars Fox won't get during the 9 o'clock hour. Blurg.

Our final audition is with Kai Kalama who has been taking care of his mother. Simon's only complaint is that he appears to lack confidence. But he makes it through to Hollywood. Only 12 from S.F. make it to Hollywood. Tomorrow night we'll see what happened in Louisville, Kentucky. Hopefully they'll limit the commercials to only 50% of the hour.


A lot of Americans believed that this day would never come. I am ashamed to say that I can be counted among the scoffers. I was unwilling to believe that a change could come. I even made comments of derision toward those who clung to hope. And yet, today arrived and I was proven wrong.

I woke up on this historical day and looked outside. From my window, I knew that after today, my point of view would be changed. I knew that the world around me would be changed. As I greeted the day, I could no longer believe in maintaining the status quo. I knew that there would be things in my life that I would need to reevaluate. I knew that I would need to adjust some of my thinking. I knew I would need to adjust minute details: from the way that I dress down to the way that I drive.

I've never, in my life, been more happy to admit that I was wrong.

After living here for a year and a half, I've finally seen snow in North Carolina. Yesterday I heard on the radio that there was a winter storm watch on the way. The DJ making the announcement was way too excited about it. To me, this was a jinx. I didn't want to get my hopes up. If I don't get my hopes up, then I don't get disappointed when it doesn't happen.

Last night I went to the Greenehouse to watch 24. I got there as the meteorologist announced a winter storm warning that would result in 3 to 6 inches of snow. Again, I scoffed. I didn't want to believe it. But as you can see from the above pictures, the snows came. I woke to a blanket of white outside my building. And the snow is still coming. It's no blizzard, but the snowfall is steady. I think we need some more days like this.

No, I know we need more days like this.

Monday, January 19, 2009


About a year ago I got into the fad of sending pieces of flair on Facebook. This little custom originates with the movie Office Space, in which Jennifer Aniston's character complains about having to wear cheesy buttons, called flair, while at her waitressing job. The buttons would have hokey little sayings like "We're not in Kansas anymore," or pictures with odd smiley faces. The flair on Facebook is much the same. My personal favorite is a picture of this little kid who is coloring like a mad man. The caption says, "I freakin' love coloring!" I crack up every time I see it.

When I was taking part in this innocent waste of time, I noticed that a good 70% of the flair that was available centered around something called Twilight. I was intrigued. What the crap was Twilight and who the crap was this Edward Cullen that so many teenage girls seemed to be obsessed with. So I did the most logical thing that an internet saavy pop-culture geek would do. I went to Wikipedia.

Upon first glance, I saw that Twilight was a series of novels by someone named Stephanie Meyer. Apparently, the stories focused on some girl named Bella who found herself falling in love with Edward Cullen, a vampire. Now, I fell into the popular trap of reading the Harry Potter series. I enjoyed them all immensely, but I really was not about to get caught up in another series of books that would just take up time I didn't feel like spending. Besides, I liked that story the first time I saw it on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Fast forward to 2009. It's now been four years since Twilight was published. Since then, Meyer has released three sequels. A co-worker, an avid reader, is currently on number three. Her appraisal of the book got me thinking, maybe it's worth reading after all. Then I find out that I have actual friends who have been sucked into this world of vampire lore. Nicole, of all people, insisted that I read this book. She also insisted that I would have it done before the end of the weekend. Lucky for her, it's a three-day weekend, lest she be proven wrong.

She had borrowed the book from a mutual friend, Erynn, and then in turn let me borrow it. I got it Saturday and began reading that evening. Today is Monday, slightly after 5pm. I finished the book about 15 minutes ago. I'll admit, it was a very quick read. The words seemed to flow very well, making it an easy story to comprehend and digest.

I was told that the beginning was a little slow and that it really took off about midway through. Those who warned me of this were correct. I'm not what you'd call a fan of a romance novel, and this did have a great deal of the mushy emotional stuff, but overall it was very enjoyable to read. And it got really good toward the end. A lot of suspense, of which I'm always a fan. I will say I felt that the epilogue was unneeded. After a thrilling climax, it seemed to be kind of a dull let down.

Now, having said all that, and having admitted that I actually liked the book, there are several things that I will not be doing. I will not be filling my Facebook page with Twilight themed flair. I don't care how many of you people decide to start sending it to me, it just won't happen. Secondly, I will not run out to the book store to purchase New Moon (the second in the series). That's not to say I don't want to read it either. I'm curious to see where the series will go. I've heard there's something about werewolves. I'm sure it's all very Dark Shadows. But I have the self-control and patience to wait for someone to loan it to me as they did with the first. Finally, I did not see the film version. It's being released on DVD sometime in the near future. I'm curious to see how well it translates from book to screen, but I will not run out to Target as soon as it hits the shelves. At most, I may place it in my Netflix queue and wait for it to arrive sometime in the next year or two. I've got a lot of movies waiting to be sent my way.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Life Story: Chapter Nineteen

I did not like the 4th grade. I think it was because I did not like my teacher, Mrs. Hall. She wasn't a pleasant woman. I had said that my 2nd grade teacher didn't like me because I was too smart. I really don't think that was the case with Mrs. Hall. In fact, I was under the impression that she just didn't like children.

She was an old woman. She may very well have been in her 40s, but she didn't wear it well. Looking back I picture one of those old ladies you expect to see teaching in one of those one-room schoolhouses from Little House on the Prairie. She had big, thick glasses that magnified the creepiness of her eyes. The bone structure of her face was so defined, I'd swear she was a skeleton wearing a wig.

You probably don't believe me when I say she didn't like children. Why would someone go into elementary education if they didn't like children? I'm just going on what I remember of this woman. I don't remember ever seeing her look as if she enjoyed her career. She constantly had a look on her face as if someone had just forced her to suck on a lemon. The only times I remember seeing a smile, I remember thinking it just looked unnatural.

I know, that's big talk coming from someone who, himself, rarely smiles. But at least I'm man enough to admit that I hate my job. Okay, maybe she went home and complained to Mr. Hall about how much she hated the cretins she tried to teach every day. And don't tell me she didn't call us names behind our backs. I know that's what you grown-ups do when the kids aren't around!

On the bright side, 4th grade introduced me to a girl named Sarah. Now, even though I had already had a girlfriend early on in my life, I did not consider myself to be an expert in women's studies. But I did enjoy making Sarah laugh. No, she wasn't laughing at me. Though I wouldn't necessarily say she was laughing with me either. In 4th grade, Sarah was the epitome of female perfection. But eventually, 5th grade came along and changed all that.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

16 Random Things About Me

I got this off of Facebook. One of those things where someone tags people in a note, then they're expected to do the same thing. Kind of like a chain letter. So you can thank Jessica for this one. I certainly do. Gives me something to put on the blog today.

1. I could eat pizza at every meal.

2. I have abnormal thumbs. If you're going to mock me for them, get it out of the way now. It gets old.

3. I'd really like to be published by the age of 30.

4. Everyone keeps complaining about how cold it is outside. I'm just glad it's finally feeling like winter around here.

5. I live in, what is quite possibly, the most awesome apartment in the state of North Carolina. Nay, the entire world.

6. Back to the Future is the best move. Ever. This is not an opinion.

7. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss Dad.

8. I will be 29 in less than two months, and I still collect comic books.

9. Every time the new TV Guide comes, I have to complete the crossword puzzle.

10. Through all their ups and eventual downs, I have always been, and will always be, a fan of the New York Yankees.

11. If given the choice between Coke or Pepsi, I choose Coke. Every time.

12. I hate my job so much that I actually get physically ill at the thought of having to go back there.

13. Okay, it's really not the job. It's the people I work for that I can't stand.

14. I do a question of the week in e-mail form with my closest friends from college.

15. I post something on my blog every day. I just can't understand why more people aren't reading it. I'm very funny.

16. Most of my funniest stuff borders on plagiarism. But only in conversation. The stuff on the blog is original. Except for the stuff I stole from other sites.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Question of the Week: Experience

What was your best experience with drugs or alcohol? your worst experience?

For my best experience, I'm gonna go with the time I went back to Bluefield for homecoming and stayed with Andy and Dereck. Mark and I decided to make a late-night run to the Omelet Shoppe. Dereck was pretty drunk and was very concerned about where we were going. He put his hands on our shoulders and told us to be really careful out there. Then he hugged us both and told us he loved us. It was very touching. I'm sure the question means my own personal experience with drugs or alcohol, but I've never had enough to drink to make me drunk and I've never taken any drugs stronger than NyQuil. So I guess I could say that my best experience is when the NyQuil quickly puts me to sleep. My worst experience is when the NyQuil won't quite let me wake up the next day.

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

Thursday, January 15, 2009


For the first time since I moved into my new apartment, I spent the entire day here. I didn't leave even once. Not even to go check my mailbox. I should probably do that.

Now, you're probably picturing some guy sitting around in the same clothes he slept in, greasy hair sticking up, two days of growth on his face, flies buzzing around his head. I'll have you know I showered. And shaved. Pretty early this morning as a matter of fact.

It was my day off work. So did I take advantage of this rare opportunity to sleep in? Of course not. My accursed internal clock woke me up at 7am. Actually, I woke up the first time at 6, but that's just insane.

And what have I done with my clean-shaven, freshly-showered self all day? I did some reading. I did some writing. I played some Playstation and got angry enough to want to throw the controller at the screen when I kept losing at NCAA Football 09. Thankfully I maintained some self-control. That would be a pretty expensive TV to replace.

Do you know that Netflix lets you watch movies online? Well, I watched My Girl today for the first time in probably over a decade. And that's probably the only movie that's ever made me cry every time I've seen it. So yeah, I cried today too. It's that part where she runs down to the coffin and asks where his glasses are. It gets to me every time.

I know this isn't the glamorous blog post that you all like to see on here, but there was nothing glamorous about my day today. I could have easily made something up, but I'd hate to be thought of as a liar. Again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

American Idol: Kansas City Auditions

So I guess I lied. Again. I said I was going to blog during American Idol last night. I didn't. I went over to the Greenehouse to watch Idol and left the apartment without my computer. I thought about re-watching it when I got home last night, but it was getting pretty late. I really didn't want to go through the good and the bad and the embarrassing all over again. But if you'd like a recap of last night's Phoenix auditions, please visit my fellow blogger, Amber, over at the News & Observer website. Once you've done that, you can come back here and read all about my thoughts on tonight's episode. The good, the bad, and the embarrassing.

Kansas City is the hometown of last year's winner, David Cook. There are more than a few scary people in Kansas City. But that's to be expected with any open casting call. First up is a 19-year-old girl named Chelsea Marquardt who toots her own horn a bit. She claims to have a powerful voice that takes people off guard. I'll admit, I was taken off guard. But not in a good way.

Ashley Anderson comes in next singing a song co-written by Simon Cowell. Let's try to keep the sucking up to a minimum this year folks. Right away, however, Cowell corrects her on the lyrics of the first line. Not a good sign, but she's got a solid voice. She's going through to Hollywood.

Casey Carlson is singing A Thousand Miles. She's got a sort of cuteness that they tend to like on this show. She's Hollywood material, but I don't know if she'll be good enough to much further. But I'm pretty sure I said the same thing about David Cook last year. Brian Hettler is on the other end of the spectrum singing some Aretha. Don't quit your day job kid. According to his back story, he's trained as an opera singer. Those lessons seem to be nothing but wasted time and wasted money. He's one of those people who won't take no and won't accept that the judges think he can't sing. Gotta say, it's not a matter of opinion. He can't sing. This leads to a montage of crying rejects.

I have to say, I feel bad for a lot of the people who get in front of the judges. I've been to one of these auditions, I can say from experience that the producers only send through those who are phenomenally awesome, or those who will make good television. The ones who are both go on to be your top 12. The ones who are just good TV go on to embarrass themselves in front of America and leave brokenhearted and with diminished self-esteem. And some of these people are just kids. How can their parents hear how awful they are and still allow them to be thrown to the lions? If they didn't have confidence issues before, they will now.

In comes Ryan from High School Musical. I mean, no, his name is really Von Smith. His voice is a little rough at first, then he goes over the top. When I say over the top, I mean he totally bypassed the top and completely missed the other side. But over the top must be something that they want, so Von is LA bound. Next we'll see Michael Castro. Wait, Castro? Could he be kin to last season's Jason Castro? Why yes, yes he is. Turns out they're brothers. I'm gonna say I don't think he's as good as his brother was last year. But Michael's good enough for the next round.

Matt Breitzke sings Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone. We find out that he's been singing most of his life, played the bar scene for awhile, but then settled down and had a kid. He put his musical dreams on hold and thought now would be a good time to give the big time a shot. Randy doesn't think he's right for the competition, but the other three send him to Hollywood. Jasmine Joseph will not be able to sway three of the judges. Fairly certain she won't sway even one of them. Not even the nice ones.

Jessica Furney, who lives with her 93-year-old grandmother in the Land of Oz, is sent by all four judges to the next round. Sisters Asia MacClain and India Morrison come in and start off with a rap. Then they sing separately. Asia's a no, but India's a yes. Good call judges. Good call, indeed. Jamar Rogers comes in with a very loud interpretation of California Dreamin'. He'll be in Hollywood for another chance.

Jamar's best friend is also in KC for the audition. Danny Gokey is a music teacher whose wife recently passed away. I don't care how he sings now, I'm pulling for him to get through. Hearing him sing, I'm impressed. The judges call him one of the best they've seen.

Tonight we have a local joining the mix. UNC Chapel Hill student Anoop Desai comes in and surprises the judges with his voice. They weren't expecting a soulful sound to come out of his mouth. He's going to the next stage of competition. Asa Barnes is a middle school band director and father who dreams of making it in music. The judges will probably tell him there were a couple pitch issues, but over all he's pretty good. He's Hollywood bound.

Michael Nicewonder is next and I already don't have high hopes. In his interview, it's revealed that he wants to prove to people that he really can sing. His own mother doesn't think he can sing. That doesn't say much for him. He's wearing a medal around his neck. It's a medal he received in elementary school for "best vocalizer" in choir. Immediately I wonder if he went to one of those elementary schools that gives awards out to every student, just so no one feels left out. When he sings I realize I'm probably right about that school. And I realize that his mom is right too.

The final audition shown from KC is with Lil Rounds, a 23-year-old mother of three. She and her family have been displaced by a tornado, so she's hoping that American Idol will be a path to a better life than what taking refuge in a hotel can offer. She has a very good voice and will next be seen in Hollywood.

From the Kansas City auditions, 27 people made it to the next level. They're calling it the most talent-packed season yet. Doesn't Seacrest make that claim every year?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

American Idol Returns

Season 8 of American Idol begins tonight. This season they're introducing us to a fourth judge. Also, their format will change slightly. They'll be spending less time on the audition cities and more time in Hollywood. That's probably a good thing. How many fools in crazy outfits that can't carry a tune in a bucket can we handle?

Tonight I'll be blogging during the first episode. But I want to let my few loyal readers know that I won't be posting all of my Idol posts on this blog. This year I was chosen as one of six guest bloggers to write for Raleigh's News & Observer.

Last week put out a call for American Idol bloggers and I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the six. I don't yet have all of the details, but I'll post a link as soon as I do. At this point, I know that I'll be writing for their blog beginning in two weeks. I'll keep you posted...

Monday, January 12, 2009


I have an electric keyboard. Originally it belonged to my parents. It stayed at Dad's after the divorce, thus, it became mine when he passed away. This keyboard has now sat unplayed in two of my apartments. Why would I keep a keyboard that seems to only be good for taking up space?

When I moved back into Dad's place after my Bluefield years, I decided that I wanted to teach myself to play the piano. I even got a book with self-teaching lessons. As a kid, I had taken piano lessons for about two years. In fact, April and I both took piano from Mrs. Nash at the Melody Haven music store on Church St. in Roanoke. Or is that Church Ave.? Not important.

Anyway, for awhile, we took lessons at that store. At some point we began taking lessons at Mrs. Nash's apartment. This was convenient because she lived at Stratford Park, where we had lived for a few years. I know I mentioned that I wanted to teach myself on this keyboard I have. Why would I need to do that if I took lessons all those years ago?

Well, one does not become a master pianist after two years of lessons. Especially if one does not practice regularly like one's teacher insisted that one should do. Because if one does not practice regularly, then one's parents will stop paying for lessons. One will likely regret one's decision not to practice all those years ago because one will probably wish one could play the piano.

Funny story though, I ended up becoming really good friends with Mrs. Nash's granddaughter in college. Small world.

Other things that I learned as a kid that I now cannot do: speak Spanish, cross-stitch, draw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and properly brush my teeth (I'm pretty sure you're supposed to go up and down, but I insist on going side-to-side).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Life Story: Chapter Eighteen

For a short period of time, I was a member of the Roanoke Valley Boys Choir. I honestly don't remember much about singing with this choir, so I'll do the best I can with this tale.

Once or twice a week we would rehearse in a room at the Methodist church downtown. The only songs I remember us performing were Consider Yourself from Oliver! and Danny Boy. The only performance that I can really remember is some thing we did at the Hotel Roanoke.

Justin was in this choir too. Our parents worked out a carpool kind of thing. On rehearsal days, I would ride the bus to Justin's house. His mom would make sure we got our homework done, then she'd drop us off at rehearsal. My mom would then pick us up when she got off work.

During that time I got pretty close to the Walkers. To this day I consider them some of the nicest people I've known in my life. Justin's dad was a huge fan of the old show Airwolf. And when I say fan, I think it's a safe bet that's short for fanatic. He had every episode on video tape. Even their answering machine's outgoing message played the Airwolf theme song behind Mr. Walker's voice.

At the time, Justin was the oldest of four kids. He had two sisters, Jessica and Julie, and a baby brother, Jason. Jessica was only a year behind us in school. Julie was around preschool age. I remember that she would never address me by name. She would just call me "boy." Could have been worse. She was also slightly confused over what a kitty said. I'm pretty sure she pronounced it "deedle-eedle-eedle" or something close to it.

Our singing days with the Roanoke Valley Boys Choir only lasted for that year. I don't even know if the program continued once we were done with it. I can only speak for myself when I say it wasn't a very enjoyable time. I mean, hanging out with my best friend a couple times a week, those were good times. But singing in this choir under a pretty pretentious director, not so much.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for something amazing. Get ready for something so awesome that it's going to blow your minds. Get ready for the first ever Carpy Awards. Over the next couple weeks, you, the reader, will have the opportunity to vote for the award winning blog posts. These polls will appear on the right hand side of this very page until Monday, February 2nd, 2009. The categories and nominees are as follows:

Best Guest Blogger
Nicole Greene for The Highlighting Job
Nicole Greene for The Art of Lying
Santa Claus for Response

Best Movie (that I saw last year)
I Am Legend
Iron Man
The Dark Knight
Four Christmases
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Legend of the Bank Teller
Episode II
Episode XII
Episode XVII
Episode XXVI
Episode XXXI

Best Online Video
The Talking Stain
Old Glory
Oops, I Crapped My Pants!
Brokeback to the Future
Major Award

And that's it for this year's nominees. I just hope four categories is enough to get your votes. Remember to come back on February 2nd for the first annual Carpy Awards where I will announce the winners. Vote early. Vote often.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Question of the Week: Devotion

If you knew you could devote yourself to any single occupation - music, writing, acting, business, politics, medicine, etc. - and be among the best and most successful in the world at it, what would you choose? If you knew you had only a 10 percent chance of being so successful, would you still put in the effort?

I would devote myself to the etc. You don't see too many et ceterans in the workforce today, so I think it would be pretty easy to become the best in the et cetera field. In fact, the only one that comes to mind right now is Peter Cetera and I don't think he's come out with anything good since Karate Kid Part II.

Okay, really I'd pick writing. I do love to write and really wish it was something I could do for a living. Even if I'm never successful at it, as long as it remains something that I enjoy doing, then I think it's worth putting forth that effort.

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

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thundercats Ho!

This is in no way a real thing, but the 7-year-old geek inside me wishes it was.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Going Pro

I started this blog back in late 2004. But I didn't really get into the whole blogging phenomenon until 2007. In fact, I didn't post anything at all in 2006. At least not here.

Anyway, now I'm really into this thing. And in my journeys around the interweb, I've noticed that there are a lot of people out there who do this professionally. There are people who are being paid to keep a blog. And I just want to know, how do I get a piece of that action?

For example, there's Brigitte Dale, who keeps a video blog over at ABC Family's website. She asks that you please not call it "vlogging" because it sounds like something vulgar. Now, I assume she's being compensated by ABC Family to keep producing these video blogs. I don't think I'd want to do something like that for a major network out of the kindness of my heart.

Now, I can't say that's her only source of income. I wouldn't know, I've never sat down and had a conversation with Ms. Dale. But it would be interesting to find out how she got her start and where she got a foot in the door. My first exposure to her videos was over at TV Squad, which employs a number of writers.

If blogging was an Olympic event, I'd say I want to maintain amateur status so I could make an attempt at a gold medal. But it's not. So I'd kind of like to cash in on this internet thing. It's a fad that doesn't seem to be going away. I just have to believe that there's something out there better than the day job.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Life Story: Chapter Seventeen

I would say that third grade was the peak of my elementary years. That was the year of Mrs. Caldwell, a tiny woman who made education entertaining. One might say she was a pioneer in edutainment. You may be asking, how is it possible to make school into something fun? I'm glad you asked.

Mrs. Caldwell taught us through the use of games and rewards. Every couple of weeks, we would be introduced to a new set of spelling/vocabulary words. Normally, one would find small children scoffing at the idea of learning the definitions of these third-grade-reading-level words. But Mrs. Caldwell, being the sneaky edutainer that she was, had us playing Concentration.

She had two boards, each with 16 individual cards. One side had the words. The other had definitions. If you've heard of Concentration, you know the object is to match the card on one board with the corresponding card on the other. For example, if you chose number 5 on the first board and got the word Superman, you would want to match it with its definition, "strange visitor from another planet" on the other. But where could that definition be? It could be 5, but probably not. Chances are it's some crazy number like 13 or 1. You just never know. We were always boys vs. girls (or as we liked to say, good vs. evil, but it was always an issue of debate who the good guys were, so we stuck with boys vs. girls). The winning team, got to eat popcorn in class the next day.

Mrs. Caldwell also held a classroom spelling bee each quarter. The winner of this special event was given a quarter and a pass to walk directly into the teachers' lounge to buy the student's soda of choice from the secret vending machine. That dream came true once for me. My arch-nemesis, Josh, won the spelling bee twice that year. Over-acheiving sack of crap. I never liked him. He always bugged my friend Justin for a nickel that he had let him have to buy lunch one day. I don't think he let go of that nickel until high school. Over-acheiving sack of crap.

Third grade was the year that we were introduced to team teaching. There were two classes, so the teachers would switch off on certain subjects. This is a popular method in our public school systems. This meant that I would have math with a familiar teacher: Mrs. Atkinson. She had moved up to the third grade from the first. It's like she was stalking the class of '98.

Third grade also reunited me with my friends Justin and Jessica, who had the good fortune of being in a different second grade class. Lucky them. Once third grade ended, I realized it was all downhill from there. Little did I know I wouldn't have it so good until I reached college.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode XLII

A lot of the time I'll pretend like I'm offended when someone like Nicole tells me that I am entirely unable to multi-task. I act shocked and make the ridiculous claim that I can, in fact, multi-task. For example, I'm pretty sure I can carry on a conversation while watching something on TV. I can solve complex mathematical problems while playing Tetris. I can walk and chew gum at the same time.

The reality of the situation is that I really can't multi-task. If I'm watching something on television and someone's trying to talk to me, I really need to divert my attention from the tube, otherwise I won't comprehend a word of what was just said. I'm good at Tetris. I'm good at math. But ne'er the two shall mix. And I rarely chew gum, just so I can avoid any embarassment whilst walking.

I say all that because of an issue I constantly come across in the workplace: answering the phone. I'm not a phone person. I don't like talking on the phone very much. I'm not good at it. There are the rare occasions when someone will be able to have an intelligent conversation with me via telephone, but for the most part, it's best not to try.

Now, I'll answer the phone if I'm not busy. I feel awkward when I do so, but I'll do it anyway. But if I'm helping a customer, whether it be in their car or in the lobby, I will ignore that blasted ringing. And I have no doubt that my coworkers sigh heavily when they are forced to pick up the phone rather than waiting for me answer. But they seem to have the multi-tasking down to an art.

In the few times that I have attempted to answer the phone while helping a client, I have become frustrated and tongue tied. I forget what I'm doing for the person that's actually in front of me and get caught up in whatever problem the person on the phone is having.

Let's just make this another reason why I am unable to meet my ridiculous referral goals. In order to not take up a lot of time and get the customers in and out in an efficient manner, it makes sense to do one's sales pitch while working on the transaction. I can't do that. So I need to wait to give the pitch after I've properly handled the client's money. But at the drive-thru, that's like wasted time. And people at the drive-thru do not like to wait. They've made that abundantly clear from time to time.

So, to my employer, and to my future employers: I may make wild claims in my interviews that I can multi-task, but it's all a farce. I can be organized, yes. But multi-task, no.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Peace of Mind

Mark came down to NC for a visit this weekend. Over the course of that time, we happened to see a couple commercials that we were able to laugh about for the better part of a day.

The first of these commercials was one that I've actually seen before. It was for a law firm that specializes in divorce proceedings. The ad makes it sound like divorce shouldn't be a miserable experience. You almost expect them to say something like, "Don't think of divorce as you destroying the lives of your wife and children. Come see us and we'll make your divorce more enjoyable than your wedding day." Should it really be that easy?

The other commercial was for some sort of clinic that specializes in genetic testing. I'm sure they test for genetic disorders and things of that nature. But the thing that most caught my attention were the huge bold letters spelling out "Peace of Mind Paternity Tests!" This should be turned into some kind of SNL sketch.

Ever wonder if your 16 year old daughter is really yours? Ever wonder why your son stands a foot taller than anyone in your family? Well wonder no more with our quick and painless paternity tests. Come see us and have the peace of mind you deserve.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Fog

This morning I drove to work through a thick layer of fog. What struck me as odd is that the fog stretched for the entire drive. Usually, on mornings that present this weather phenomenon, the fog is patchy and there are gaps where you have perfect visibility. That wasn't the case today.

From the parking lot of my apartment building to the parking lot of the bank, the fog was incredibly thick. It was so thick that I nearly missed my turn at a major intersection. It's a place that I go nearly every day. It's a road that I turn onto all the time. Yet, today, because I wasn't seeing my normal landmarks, I nearly missed it.

I slammed on my brakes and swerved to the right so I could make the turn just in time. And of course I used my turn signal. I used my turn signal very briefly, but I used it. I hate it when people don't give a signal. Thankfully there were no cars in my way, or they would have been pushed off the road. See, when the green Escort is coming, you get out of the way. Jade may have the body of an Escort, but she's got the soul of a Hummer.

I was the last employee to arrive at the branch today. I like to imagine that I freaked everyone else out as I walked toward the building. As if I was emerging from the dense fog itself, carrying with me an other-worldly presence.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Question of the Week: Sleep Deprived

Would you give up half of what you now own for a pill that would permanently change you so that one hour of sleep each day would fully refresh you?

I actually have to think about this one. Not that I would mind giving up half of what I own. To be honest, it's nice having some of this stuff, but I'm sure that I could get by without it.

It's the sleep thing that's making it hard for me to choose. On the one hand, I do enjoy sleeping. There are days when it just feels so good to sleep. There are days when it feels so very good to go back to sleep after waking up too early.

On the other hand, there are a lot of times when I get the full eight hours of sleep and wake up feeling just as tired as I did the night before. It would be nice to have a guaranteed good night's sleep in only an hour's time. So yeah, I think I'd do it.

But then, the question remains, what would I do with all that extra time. If you ask most people what they'd do if there was one extra hour in the day, they say they'd sleep. But I've just taken care of the sleep I need. This gives me 23 hours of awake time. So how do I fill that other seven or eight hours in which I would otherwise be unconscious?

But that's not the question of the week, so I won't waste time speculating about that.

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

Thursday, January 01, 2009


For New Year's Eve I was able to enjoy a night out with a bunch of friends: Russ, Pat, Bob, Ginger, Jonathan, Angela, and of course, Kevin and Nicole. We enjoyed a three hour long, five course dinner at The Melting Pot. The Melting Pot is a fondue place that takes its name from America's old nickname. See, it's a play on words.

Anyway, this was my first experience with fondue. All in all, it was a pretty good experience. I mean, sure we paid to cook our own food, but it was all kinds of delicious. I happen to be a pretty good cook.

We started off the evening with a glass of champagne and a shrimp cocktail appetizer. The cocktail sauce was some kind of spicy 'cause it sure did open up sinuses I didn't even realize I had. Next came the cheese course. I don't think that's what it was actually called, but that's what it was. We watched as the server put the various cheesy ingredients into the pots and watched them melt and mix. For dipping, we were given an assortment of veggies, apples, and breads. Oh, so good.

Third we had the salads. But I'm really not that into salads, so let's skip to the main course. This is the part where we cooked our own food. We skewered the raw meats (including sirloin, lobster tail, ahi tuna, and chicken) and let them sit in the boiling mixtures for various amounts of time (depending on the type of meat). I'm fairly certain the lobster was my favorite. Just thinking about it now makes me hungry again.

Finally came the dessert portion of the evening. Now, when you think fondue and dessert, you probably think chocolate. And you'd be right. And I don't like chocolate. But the stuff that everyone else was dipping was pretty good. Pound cake, cheese cake, Rice Krispies treats. I haven't had Rice Krispies treats in years.

Midnight came at the time that it usually does. 2008 passed by the way years usually do. Suddenly it was 2009. And just like that, the evening was over. Before I knew it I was back at home, ready to spend the first few hours of the new year unconscious.