Sunday, May 31, 2009

Life Without

Last year I spent my tax refund and awesome stimulus package on a brand new high definition television. Her name is Samantha and she has been good to me over the past 12 to 15 months since she entered my home.

But yesterday I took away a great deal of her power. Yesterday I rid myself of cable.

Times are tight, therefore changes must be made. Budgets must be cut. Digital cable just didn't make that cut.

Without digital cable and the DVR box that comes with it, I was forced to say good-bye to all of that wonderful HD programming I had so come to enjoy. All the reruns on TBS HD are gone. All the sporting events on ESPN HD are gone. All of the crystal clear movies on the recently added AMC HD are gone. It's a sad day.

But here's the thing: I'm forced by the cable company to pay for channels that I never watched. See, while digital cable does provide me with hundreds of channels for my viewing pleasure, I had the tendency to stick to those 30 or so HD channels. Maybe that makes me an HD snob, but I don't care. It's just what I became after being introduced to the beauty of this advanced technology.

It's like going your whole life using the cheapest, sandpaper-like toilet paper, then suddenly switching to one of the cushiony, quilted-type toilet paper. Once you make that change, it's really difficult to go back. So while I had that option of watching TV in hi-def, why would I dumb it down and watch anything in standard definition?

So why should I pay all that money for the wide array of digital cable stations that I never watched. In fact, if they didn't make it painfully obvious that I had all those hundreds of channels, I'd never know they existed and I wouldn't have missed them.

To the cable companies of the world, I implore you, give the HD snobs the option of an all-HD package. I know that you can pick and choose which channels you release to our individual boxes, otherwise HBO and Showtime would be available to everyone at all times. You have the power to take away all those standard definition channels, leaving us with the 30-something HD channels. Then you wouldn't necessarily be forced to make us pay through the nose for TV we're not gonna watch anyway. I'm sure you'd make us pay through the nose anyway, but at least you're presenting us with the option, the illusion that we're paying less for those few channels.

High definition, I will miss you. For now I'll have to settle for the occasional Blu-ray DVD. Someday, when I'm all growed up, and the economy is no longer in the crapper, I'll return to your enhanced picture and sound quality. For now we must go our separate ways. I'll never forget you.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

One More Lantern Post

So, earlier in the week I posted about the Green Lantern here and here. Well here's one more. You may have already seen what's posted below, but if not give it a look. There's a lot of talk coming out of Warner Bros. that a Green Lantern film is in the making. As with most things Hollywood, I'll believe it when they actually start shooting. In the meantime, a very talented fan has created his own trailer for Green Lantern. That's Serenity's Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan. Enjoy.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Question of the Week: Better Than You

Would you like your spouse to be both smarter and more attractive than you?

Attractive, yes. Smarter, absolutely not.

Look, I know I'm not that much to look at. I've made my peace with that status. So my mind is all I've got. I can't have some woman swooping in and taking that away from me too. If I'm not the witty guy who is a vault of useless trivia, then what am I?

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

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I forgot to sit down and think about something to write tonight. So I give you a video that most of you will probably skip. I honestly don't blame you. You were looking forward to something witty about my day at work or some random observation about life, and all you're getting is a lousy YouTube video. Try to enjoy it anyway.

Okay, I have no idea what Snooker is. Something to do with a pool table I guess. But whatever it is, this guy must be pretty awesome at it...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I have a recliner that I never sit in.

Okay, never is a big word, and somewhat inappropriate. There are times when I do actually sit in it, but those are rare times.

It's a very comfortable chair. It's overstuffed and even rocks. I'm fairly certain I could fall asleep in it if I was so reclined.

So why don't I sit in it on a regular basis? I really think it's the arrangement of the living room. The sofa is so perfectly positioned for all my needs. Plenty of lighting, close proximity to the coffee table, which keeps the remote, my laptop, and my cell phone within arm's reach.

If I had an end table, or something similar, that I could sit next to the recliner, maybe I'd sit over there more often. Then I'd have a place to set my drink without having to put the footrest down.

This brings me to another new thought. Man, I'm lazy...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Ring

Yesterday I geeked out to give a brief history of the Green Lantern. All of that was to get to this post right here. I pose the question, to my dear readers, what color ring would choose you if you were to take part in this fictional War of Light?

Now, before you start latching on to a certain ring just because you like the color orange, hang on. First let me describe just what each color means in the emotional spectrum.

Red is the color that represents rage. To the right you see the character known as Atrocitus. If the Red Lanterns have a leader, he's probably it. Truth is, though, the Red Lanterns really have no organization to their organization. Each of them seems to be in it for themselves, driven mostly by a thirst for vengeance. Notice the spewage coming out of Atrocitus' mouth? That's basically how they fight. The red light replaces the blood in their veins and fills them with hate. It's kind of like turning to the Dark Side if we're going with Star Wars terms. Judging from the look on his face, I'd imagine being chosen by the red ring would be a pretty painful proposition. And you don't get the option to say no. The ring picks you and you're a hate-filled Red Lantern for the rest of your life. And it would probably be a short life from that point on.

Orange is the color of avarice, or greed. On the left you have the only actual Orange Lantern, Larfleeze. Also known as Agent Orange, Larfleeze is so greedy, he refuses to share the orange light with an actual corps, such as you'll find with the other colors. So if you're unlucky enough to be chosen by the orange light, don't expect to survive the experience. Larfleeze's Orange Lantern Corps are actually made up of light constructs taking the forms of those who were greedy enough to seek the orange light. Larfleeze eliminates his competition, then steals their identities, adding them to his orange army.

And now we come to the color yellow. This is the color that embodies fear in the universe. Pictured is the villain known as Sinestro. Years ago, he was called the greatest of the Green Lanterns, but he allowed his power to corrupt his motives. He used his ring as a means to become a ruthless dictator within his own sector of space. After being expelled from the Green Lantern Corps, he went on to find the yellow light and for a long time was the only wielder of the yellow power ring. Not long ago, he formed his own corps, the Sinestro Corps, a group bent on the destruction of the Green Lanterns. Their ranks are made up of those who have the ability to instill great fear in others. When this intergalactic army was being formed, a ring sought out Earth's Batman. He does tend to use a lot of scare tactics when dealing with the criminal element. Through that example, we were able to see that the yellow ring can be turned down. He rejected the ring through sheer force of will.

Which brings us to the color green, representing willpower. At the center of the spectrum, green is the most stable of the lights, and could be the easiest to control and/or manipulate. The Green Lantern Corps are run by the immortal Guardians of the Universe, a group of tiny blue men and women who are old and set in their ways. Basically, it's their way or the galactic highway. While Hal Jordan is the most famous of the Green Lanterns, there are in fact four Lanterns who represent Earth. Aside from Hal, they are John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner. While most view the Green Lanterns as the good guys, there are a number of places in the universe where they are seen as unwanted police, forcing the Guardians ideas of right and wrong on all of existence.

On the other side of the spectrum, we begin with the Blue Lanterns, symbolizing hope in the universe. The alien pictured above Hal Jordan is known as Saint Walker, the first of the new Blue Lantern Corps. To date, only two Blue Lanterns have been introduced. The selection process is quite tedious. Saint Walker was the first to be chosen. After his initial training period with two former Guardians of the Universe, he was sent out to find the second inductee, Warth. Once Warth's training is completed, he will seek out a third lantern, and so on. While their numbers are few, their power is great. When they are in close proximity to a Green Lantern, the Blue Lantern's ring becomes incredibly powerful. The two known Blue Lanterns have been witnessed reigniting a dying star, able to do so harnessing the collective hope of a doomed planet's vast population. The drawback? When there isn't a Green Lantern nearby, the Blue Lantern is capable only of flight and generating a force field in space, basic life support functions. The initial purpose of the Blue Lantern Corps is to act as a support system for the Green Lanterns. It is argued that one needs to have hope in order to strengthen one's will.

Next we have the mysterious Indigo Tribe. Very little is known about the people who harness this part of the emotional spectrum. All that is definite is that indigo represents compassion. It can be assumed that the Indigo Tribe will be viewed as a force for good in the universe, but that remains to be seen. The Tribe is somewhat of a primitive race which carries staffs rather than wielding rings.

Finally we come to the end of the visible spectrum with violet. Representing love, the Violet Lanterns are more commonly known as the Star Sapphires. Star Sapphire has long been a thorn/love interest for Hal Jordan. A woman named Carol Ferris became the Star Sapphire long ago. The force behind her power comes from a race known as the Zamarons, an off shoot of the Guardians who embraced emotion rather than turning their backs on it as the little blue men had. Being at the end of the emotional spectrum, it can be argued that the power of love can be just as unstable as the power of hate at the other end. However, the Zamarons are adamant that love can indeed conquer all.

And just when you thought your choices were finished, we come to the Black Lanterns, the reason for the upcoming Blackest Night. While being chosen by some of the other corps may lead to your eventual, inevitable death, being chosen by the black ring would mean that you are already dead. That's right, this corps is made up entirely of corpses. Fallen heroes and villains are expected to rise from their graves, bringing the War of Light to a tragic climax. It's unknown which of the colored corps will survive the Blackest Night, and which individuals will walk away unharmed.

Now you have the evidence presented. Don't think about which ring you would choose. Think about which ring would choose you. Which piece of the emotional spectrum do you think you would best represent? I know it's a lot to ask, requesting that my readers make comments below, but I'm genuinely curious on this one. Comment away...

Monday, May 25, 2009


It's a known fact that I'm a big geek. Now, I don't claim to be the biggest geek in the world. I haven't memorized every episode of Star Trek, I don't live in my mother's basement, and I don't spend any of my free time at the local comic book store. Okay, I do enjoy a good episode of Star Trek every now and again, and I have memorized my share of movie lines (and a few other people's share as well). If I had the option to live at a reduced rent in my parents' basement, I certainly would (these are very difficult economic times). Also, the only reason I don't necessarily hang out at a comic book store is because the shop back home ships stuff to me on a monthly basis, negating the need to make that weekly trip.

So yeah, I'm a big geek. And it occurs to me that I never really write anything about the comic books that I find so entertaining. Occasionally I'll mention that I'm a Superman fan, but I really think that should go without saying. Really, everyone should be a Superman fan. Really.

Anyway, this has nothing to do with Superman. This post is more about Green Lantern. Are you aware that Green Lantern is a character that even exists? He doesn't get as much exposure as Superman, Batman, or even Wonder Woman in the DC Universe, but he does belong in that pantheon of powerful super-heroes that populate that fictional world.

The most well-known Green Lantern is a test pilot by the name of Hal Jordan. I say well-known because there are, in fact, thousands of Green Lanterns in the known universe. They form the Green Lantern Corps, a sort of intergalactic police force that are called to keep peace throughout the galaxy.

Green Lanterns wield what's known as a power ring, called the most powerful weapon in the universe. The ring is good for 24 hours at a time, after which it must be recharged using the Green Lantern's power battery, which looks a lot like a lantern.

The driving force behind the Green Lantern's power is that of their own will. Anything they think of can form from the ring as a construct of light, from laser beams to giant fists to enormous mousetraps. They are limited only by their imaginations.

Recently, the creators of the Green Lantern titles have upped their game. The stories being produced by these writers, specifically Geoff Johns, are really very entertaining. Over the last year, the stage has been set for an upcoming story arc known as "The Blackest Night." What's been building up has been a war of light between the Green Lanterns and six other Corps that have been introduced to the universe.

So we've begun with only the Green Lantern Corps, powered by sheer force of will. For a long time, they were the only ring wielding corps, leaving people to ask the question, "Do I have the strength of will to wield one of the Green Lantern rings?" Now that the rest of the spectrum has been thrust into existence, the question can be asked, "Which color would I best represent?"

More on that later...

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Most people I know worry more than I do. I'm generally not a worrier. In fact, when problems come along, I probably don't worry enough about them. But maybe that's a good thing.

It's not that I don't get stressed out over stuff. The occasion does come along when I do get overwhelmed, but it's a momentary thing. I don't tend to dwell on things, past, present, or future.

The way I see it, what's the point of worrying about something? If you sit there and over think your circumstances, you just end up with a headache or an ulcer. Dwelling on something won't change what's going on. Heck, even doing something may not necessarily diminish your worries. So just sit back and let it go by. Because, eventually, it'll be over and life will go on.

Or, in the words of the great Van Wilder: "Worrying is like a rocking chair. It'll give you something to do but won't get you anywhere."

Look, I'm not naive enough to think that there aren't genuine reasons to be worried. In today's world we're bombarded with worries: terminal illness, unemployment, threat of terrorism, global warming, cannibal clowns... there are so many problems out there with which to deal. I just don't think it does anyone any good to worry about these things.

So try to relax. It's probably not as bad as it seems.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Last Tuesday night, after American Idol, I watched a show that really won't premiere until the fall. The name of the show? Glee.

For weeks, maybe months, Fox has been showing commercials for this new show. They managed to overload the airwaves with ads, probably making a lot of people sick of the show before it even began. That's not how it affected me. When a program showcases Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" so strongly, they must be doing something right.

So when the show finally came on, I was excited to see what it would be all about. After having seen an entire episode, I can honestly say that I enjoyed it. I had some good laughs, they had some good music, all in all a good experience. I suppose it could just turn into Fox's version of High School Musical. But it probably won't be quite that cheesy.

Watching it, though, did get me thinking about something that was made very obvious in the plot. Several of the characters were faced with the challenge of choosing to do what the loved or what was necessary. In the end, the protagonists stuck with singing and/or leading the glee club because it was something that made them happy. They felt like they were meant to do it.

All my life, I've loved to sing. It's nothing that I've ever considered myself good enough at to make a go of it as a career. It's not even something I'd want to made into a career. But it is something that I loved to do. I was in a couple choirs during college, and I've never gotten the same enjoyment out of singing as I did then. I've been in other choirs before and since, but nothing matched that.

But I haven't found anything to replace it either. Maybe that's a mistake. Shouldn't we all have something in our lives that we can say we love to do? Something that makes us smile. Something that we can do at the end of the day that will take away the stresses of work.

Maybe this is my way of telling myself I should just pick up my guitar again and entertain myself when I get home from work. I only know five or six chords, but they might just be enough to lift my spirits after a long day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Question of the Week: Torture

What is the worst psychological torture you can imagine suffering? Anything causing even minor injury should not be considered.

Noise would probably be enough to drive me crazy. Mostly it would need to be something repetitive, but if they caught me on a bad day, it could just be any obnoxious noise. As mentioned in yesterday's post, I can only take certain catchphrases for so long before I want to scream. Imagine how much I hated all those cheesy sitcoms from the 90s. They're nothing but catchphrases from the adorable kids.

"Did I do that?"

"How rude?"

"You got it, dude!"

Bonus points to the person that correctly identifies the characters and TV shows from each quote.

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

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode LIV

Today I was forced to sit through some customer service training. It was possibly the most boring day of my life.

First, let's address the woman who taught the class. She introduced herself as a Memphis native. Now, I'm not sure if all Memphisites tend to talk very slowly or if it was just her. Someone out there let me know. I had an uncle that lived in the Memphis area for a long time, I don't remember him ever speaking so freakin' slowly.

Another issue I had with her is that she tended to repeat herself. A lot. And it wasn't as if she was trying to get a point across. She had catch phrases that she kept saying over and over and over again. At one point, I thought I would have to get up and walk out if I heard her say "Y'all get that?" one more time. Seriously, she had to have ended every other sentence with "y'all get that?" It started sounding like nails on a chalkboard.

We broke for lunch at 11:45, and by that time, I was already praying for the sweet release of death.

The entire day was pointless. We were "taught" how to do the things that we've already been doing for the last four months. We were "taught" how to do the things that anyone with a single ounce of common sense would know how to do.

Next time I'm signed up for a class like this, I'm going to ask my manager if it's actually necessary. He'll probably say no and then make me go anyway, but at least I'll know what I'm getting myself into.

Late Results

It's after midnight and I forgot to write something 'til just now. I know tonight was the American Idol finale, but I didn't want to write anything. I was sort of tired of the whole thing this year. But since I haven't written anything, here's a short version of what happened in the mostly pointless 2 hours.

To be fair, it was actually a pretty entertaining finale. Even the throw away Idol Awards were fairly entertaining. There were lots of guest performers, including but not limited to: Jason Mraz, Kiss, Rod Stewart, and Lionel Richie.

All of these things were designed to kill two hours, so that in the seven minutes past 10:00 would give us the results we've been waiting all season to find out.

In what could probably be described as a stunning upset, Kris Allen walked away the American Idol for season 8. It may not be that stunning though. I only say that because a lot of buzz has been following Adam Lambert most of the season. However, a lot of people just don't like his style of screaming. I mean, singing. So, chances are, anyone who voted for the other contestants all season voted for Kris last night.

In the past, when it's been a close race, Ryan has said the amount of votes separating the winner from the runner-up. He didn't even mention that sort of thing. I'm guessing it wasn't that close. Out of 100 million votes. Someone out there do the math that I'm not willing to do right now... Is that more than voted in the presidential election last year? Just curious.

Good night everybody.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


When we're young we're forced to learn certain lessons the hard way. It's not because our parents didn't try to teach us the easy way, it's just that we wanted to test the boundaries.

For example, I'm sure my sister would have listened when Mom told her not to use the curling iron as a microphone. Especially when it's plugged in.

When I was very young, Dad had a very small French car. In fact, I think it was called a LeCar. I tried to call it the "Lee Car" because Dad's name was Lee. But that's neither here nor there.

The LeCar was awesome. Really, it was a piece of crap. But it had an enormous sunroof, so to a four-year-old, it was awesome. Something else it had, which seems to be an optional feature these days, was a cigarette lighter. It was that old-school kind that you pushed in, then a few seconds later it would pop out all toasty warm. I know cars still have the outlet for a lighter, but the lighter itself just doesn't seem to be there anymore.

Anyway, my lesson was learned when I was left in the car alone one day. I had listened to my Dad tell me dozens of times that the cigarette lighter was not a toy. In fact, it wasn't even needed, as no one in my family smoked. However, the fact that it was forbidden made it intriguing. I didn't care that this tiny little thing could burn me when it popped out, I just wanted to see what would happen.

So, left to my own devices, I pushed the lighter in, and I waited. A few seconds later, out it popped. I grabbed the heating device and held it in my hot little hand. I turned it over to look at the lighting part of the lighter. It glowed a bright red, showing me that it meant business.

Don't worry, four-year-old me didn't burn himself that day. But he did burn a hole into the passenger seat of the Lee Car. Panic set in. I knew that I had only minutes before Dad returned to the scene of the crime. How could I possibly replace the upholstery on the passenger seat before he came back? Could I replace the entire seat? What could I do?

So I sat there. I strategically positioned my legs in such a way that I covered up the hole. He'd never notice. When we got home, I'd just wait 'til he was out of the car before I moved. Yeah, that was it. The plan was flawless.

The ride home was uneventful. He was none the wiser. And then we got home. I got out before him. And there, in the spot where my legs had been, was a singed circle on the seat. My life was over.

As you can tell, my life did not actually end at that point. But I found out what a true beating could be. I didn't play with that or any other cigarette lighter again. I was cured of my pyromaniac impulses that fateful day.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Tonight I witnessed something amazing. I've always wondered how it was possible for Han Solo and Chewbacca to carry on a normal conversation. Tonight I realized how it happens.

The baby of the Greenehouse, Gabby, has started talking like it's her job. Aptly named, Gabby was on the phone with her grandmother just jabberin' away. She was walking around with the phone to her ear, pointing at things, explaining herself very clearly. At least it was clear to her.

On the other end of the line, Gayle was talking back to her, in full English sentences. I'm not too sure that Gayle understood Gabby anymore than we did, but Gabby was fully aware of everything that was going on. In her mind, the conversation flowed as normal.

And all the while, I was remembering how Han and Chewie would have arguments and share adventures aboard the Millennium Falcon.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I'm not one who likes to admit when he's addicted to something. Good think I'm not an alcoholic, 'cause isn't that step one?

But when it comes to feeling disconnected, I have to admit that I'm addicted to the internet. I mean, it's not a full-on, I gotta be in front of it every minute of every day kind of addiction. However, while I'm at work, I'm always in front of my computer, so whenever there are no customers around, I'm checking my work e-mail, looking at blogs I keep up with, surf Wikipedia, etc.

At home, I'm never more than a few feet away from my lap top. Generally, when not in use, it sits on my coffee table. So even when it's closed and in sleep mode, I'm close by, ready to check my e-mail, look at blogs I keep up with, surf Wikipedia, etc.

So one could say that I am constantly connected to the world in some way. But even if I didn't have the computer nearby all the time, I've still got my phone. Now I don't have one of those new-fangled doohickies with internet access, but I can still be connected. Just a phone call or a text message away from those who are nearest and dearest to me. And that phone is everywhere I go. I don't leave it in the car. I don't leave it at home. I leave it in my pocket.

I know that billions of people throughout history have managed to make it through their entire lives without phone or internet. But here we are in the 21st century, constantly in contact. How would the average American react if he or she were suddenly unable to check up on people on Facebook or tweet about their latest inane activities? Oh the humanity...

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I use the word home a lot to describe the place where I live. But when it comes down to it, this place really isn't home to me. My apartment, while it is the most awesome apartment that I, or anyone, could find for the price I pay, is really just the place I go to sleep at night. I've only been here for a few months, but I doubt that being here any longer will cause me to develop an emotional attachment. I doubt that I'll be here much longer than the year required by my lease. All of that is up in the air and I'll cross that bridge in November.

Anyway, when I think of home I can't really say that I feel like I have one. I could look at Roanoke, the place I grew up, and easily call that home. But truth is, even though I have family there and still feel that connection, Roanoke hasn't felt much like home since Dad died.

For a long time, Bluefield felt like a home to me. I spent five years in college, and another year living in town after that. The friends that I had made became my family in those days. But now we're all spread out. That family, to whom I had become so attached, now dots the map between Virginia and North Carolina.

And here, in Wake Forest, I have the Greenes. Anyone who has read this blog more than once knows that I have developed an obvious attachment to this family. They are my family. But does that make Wake Forest feel anymore like home?

They say that home is where the heart is. Thing is, I don't think my heart is in any one particular place. I've said a number of times that I never plan to move back to Roanoke. I'm far beyond calling my hometown home anymore. If I were to ever move back to the small college town that I spent so much time growing up in, it wouldn't be the same. The people that made Bluefield home wouldn't be there. I have yet to make a major attachment to this area of North Carolina. While I would miss my adopted family more than I could properly express, I think I'd be okay leaving Wake Forest at some point. Because, again, it just doesn't feel like home.

Am I thinking of home in the wrong way? Is there more to that feeling than a sense of permanence? Being in this apartment, I know my days here are numbered. I signed a lease. That contract ends in Novemeber, at which point I can choose to move on or stay here on a month-to-month basis. But even then, I'm not tied down to a permanent decision. Would it feel more like home to me knowing that I have chosen to stay voluntarily at that time?

What does home mean to you?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Question of the Week: Birthday

How do you react when people sing "Happy Birthday" to you in a restaurant?

I act like I'm embarrassed. But really, it's kind of nice to be the center of attention for the 30 or so seconds that it takes for the waiters to sing their song. Unfortunately, it's usually not just a quick "Happy Birthday." It's some made up ditty that is unique to their restaurant. And usually, there's a lot of loud clapping and hollering. This just manages to draw all kinds of unnecessary attention from the other patrons. So yeah, embarrassed, but a little egotistical at the same time.

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

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode LIII

Today I give you a tale of three customers.

1 - My very first customer this morning shared my last name. We shared a good laugh about that. After she left I thought that I should have asked if I could call her "Aunt Delores." Oh, hindsight.

2 - We have our share of crazy customers. They're the ones who you kind of want to hide from when you see them pull into the parking lot. Normally, they aren't really crazy. And then there's William Shakespeare. No, really, his name's William Shakespeare. He must have walked into our branch five times today, and each time he came in, I'm not sure he remembered that he had already spoken to us. He was telling all sorts of stories, ranging from how the government was spying on his bank account to his idyllic picnic with Marilyn Monroe. That picnic, by the way, happened yesterday around lunchtime. Yeah. Crazy.

3 - Finally, I feel I should tell you about a customer that was flirting with me today. She wasn't crazy. She wasn't strange. In fact, she had no business flirting with the likes of me. She was all kinds of out of my league. I mean, let's put aside the fact that she was gorgeous. At the age of 31, she owns her own very successful business. So that means she's physically and economically out of my league. I had no idea that she was flirting with me, or that I was flirting back, for that matter. It took another customer inside the lobby to point it out to me. So what do you think are the odds of a poor bank teller with no real clue where his life is going making it with a beautiful, successful business owner?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Little Boy Blue

In honor of tonight's Lost season finale, I'm posting a video of Michael Emerson, aka Benjamin Linus, reciting "Little Boy Blue," and it might be the creepiest thing you'll ever hear.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

American Idol: 3

Tonight is the 300th episode of American Idol. Who would have known in that first season that this thing would last eight years? Never saw that coming.

Each contestant will sing two songs apiece: judges' choice and singers' choice.

Danny Gokey - Dance Little Sister
This is Paula's choice. It's a song that I'm not familiar with, but Danny's doing pretty good with it. He's definitely getting into it and looks like he's having fun with the song. I won't call this his best performance, but pretty good nonetheless. 4.

Kris Allen - Apologize
This is Randy and Kara's choice. Good of the judges to pick a song that gets way overplayed on the radio, so by the time we hear the contestant doing it, we're sick of it. When I say "we" I really mean "I." Despite hearing this song fifteen times a day for the last three months, Kris has done a really good job with it. He's behind the piano accompanying himself and plays well. 4.

Adam Lambert - One
Simon's choice. He starts off really mellow and I thought he might get through the song without screaming. I was wrong. I've said it before, I really think Adam is talented, but all of his songs seem to showcase that scream. If that's how his album is gonna be, I'm not gonna be rushing to iTunes to download it. Don't get me wrong, the song was still good. I'm just not a fan. 4.

Danny - You Are So Beautiful
I'm not the biggest fan of this song. But I think that's because I don't like hearing Joe Cocker's version when it's on the radio. I'm really liking this arrangement with the guitar and the strings section behind Danny. He has done an outstanding job with it. 5.

Kris - Heartless
Back behind the guitar, he starts out slow and a capella. He kicks it up a little when he starts accompanying himself. And it's just him and his guitar. I really think this is the kind of album that he could sell. This is the kind of concert I could see him doing. Just him and his guitar, unplugged style. Coffeehouses and college campuses beware. He did a really good job with it. 4.

Adam - Cryin'
Ah, an Aerosmith song. Think he'll be screaming on this one? I'd bet real money that he does. His back-up vocal has her mic turned up too loud. The mix isn't good. For a while you could hear her over him. Not the definition of background. Oh, and yeah, there's the screaming. Looks like some of you owe me a Coke. To me, this is just typical Adam fare. 4.

So how's it gonna go down tomorrow night? My guess is that Adam and Danny will be in the finale next week. We'll find out tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rush Hour

Every day I make a long drive to and from work. The distance really isn't that far. In fact, I'm certain it's under 25 miles between my apartment and the bank in which I now work. However, it takes somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour to make that 25 mile drive. Why is this?

The short answer is that most people who consider themselves to be "good drivers" are, in reality, class A morons.

The best example of this is the drive home. Each day I encounter the same phenomenon. It doesn't matter how early or late I happen to leave work. On Fridays, I leave work an hour later and the problem is just as bad as any other day. In an approximately five mile span on Capital Blvd. there are four traffic lights. Between the first and last of these lights, traffic comes to a virtual stand still. Drivers crawl along at a snail's pace. It's a real Office Space kind of moment. You see the lane moving beside you and as soon as you change lanes, that one stops and the one you were just in starts to move. The old guy with the walker passes you nonchalantly. A few minutes later you notice that he's a mile ahead of you. If only you'd walked to work that day, you'd be home by now.

Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but you get my point. The thing that truly astounds me is the fact that after that fourth intersection, all of the cars begin moving at and even beyond the speed limit. What makes the difference?

That final intersection of slowed traffic doesn't contain any huge turn-offs. To the left is a Ford dealership and nothing more. To the right, if posted signs are correct, is an industrial park. Now, I have to assume that there aren't many people turning into an industrial park at the end of the work day. I could be wrong. But it seems to me that people coming out of there would cause traffic to just get heavier. So why does that congestion tend to loosen up at that spot?

After that, we're not crawling along bumper-to-bumper. I suppose this is just one of the great mysteries of the universe that may never be answered.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


What happens when you get a scratch? You know, you happen to cut a corner too sharp, you bump your arm and accidentally break the skin. What happens then? Well, you bleed. With this kind of thing, the cut won't be too deep. You may not even need a Band-Aid. You probably wouldn't give that sort of thing a second thought. Because in a few days, it will have healed.

As people, we suffer injuries and illnesses that leave their marks on our lives. With the help of medical science, and a lot of times without that help, the human body is remarkable in its ability to heal itself. But that doesn't mean we're left without scars. The body may be able to physically repair itself, but we are left with subtle reminders that stay with us for the rest of our lives.

The same may be said for emotional and psychological pain that we suffer. As children we may experience bullying from other kids at school or even from parents at home. We have the ability to deal with that sort of pain and can eventually move forward from it. To the outside world, we may appear to have none of those emotional scars. But they're there.

There are so many ways that we can repair relationships and be truly healed of our emotional or psychological pain, but we still have those reminders. Much like the old man who broke his collar bone when he was in his 20s and tightens up whenever it starts to rain, those reminders can still cause us some dull pain.

So does that mean that our bodies and minds are unable to completely truly heal from anything? Or do we just hinder ourselves from feeling a real release from our suffering?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Star Trek

Forget everything you ever thought you knew about Star Trek. I'll try to write this with as few spoilers as possible, but I'm sure they'll happen here and there. You have been warned.

When this film was in development, it was spoken of as a prequel and reboot to the entire franchise. A franchise that had six series and ten previous movies worth of established continuity. How do you simply go back to the beginning of Captain Kirk's Starfleet career and manage to stick to that rigid playbook that's already been written.

See, if you start mucking around with a sci-fi geek's continuity, he's gonna call you out on it. And he's gonna bring all of his convention attending, costume wearing friends with him. So how do you reboot a series while remaining true to what's come before? Simple. You change history.

From the start of the movie, we are quickly thrust into action as an epic space battle rages in close proximity to the sun. The USS Kelvin comes upon a strange phenomenon and is abruptly attacked by an ominous ship that is far more advanced. It is then that we are introduced to the film's villain, Nero.

Nero, as it turns out, is in possession of an item that can destroy an entire planet. This "red matter" makes the Death Star look like someone firing a bottle rocket. The Romulan captain is hellbent on a mission of vengeance against the United Federation of Planets, Spock in particular.

And who's there to stand in Nero's way? James Tiberius Kirk, that's who. Kirk is a headstrong degenerate whose idea of a good time is picking bar fights with Starfleet cadets. A high ranking official, Christopher Pike, dares Kirk to become a better man. James Kirk never backs down from a bet.

From there we meet all of the classic Star Trek characters and find out how they met and came to be the crew of the starship Enterprise, boldly going where no one has gone before.

So where does the change in history come about? Right at the beginning of the movie. That battle involving the Kelvin never happened in the previously known continuity. James Kirk's father lived to a ripe old age and even saw his son become captain of the Enterprise.

See, when the Kelvin encountered that strange phenomenon in front of the sun, the ship that emerged was come from... wait for it... the future!

On the one hand, we have a really good movie that's action-packed and presents us with a very logical reason to believe that nothing we've previously known has ever even happened. On the other hand, this movie was made by J.J. Abrams, one of the minds behind Lost. Lost has spent this entire season telling us that the past cannot be changed. So which is it J.J.?

For as long as I can remember, I always went with Dad to see the new Star Trek films whenever they came out. I think the first one I actually saw in the theater was the fourth one. That's the one Kirk & Co. go back in time. That's right, another time travel plot. Dad passed away before this one was even in development, but I have a good feeling that he would have really enjoyed it.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Question of the Week: Grateful

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I'm actually grateful for a lot of things that I, for the most part, take for granted. I mean, I have a job, an awesome apartment, and friends that love me. I honestly can't think of anything that I could be more grateful for at this point in my life. Oh, and also the unlimited texting plan I have on my phone now. That's pretty awesome.

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

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My Advice to Travelers to LA

Nicole left today on a trip to Los Angeles to visit her sister, Jen. In honor of her time away, I've decided to post a list of dos and don'ts. Even though she's been out there before, I've been there much more recently and would like to offer my own advice.

DO close your eyes while speeding down the freeway. This is no reflection of Jen's driving ability. This is a reflection of the uncertainty of the abilities of those around you. In fact, I'd like to take this opportunity to compliment Jen on her driving. When I was out there, I'm pretty sure I asked how long it took her to get used to that sort of offensive driving. I think it would take me longer than I'd care to admit.

DON'T overestimate the effects of the Swine Flu. I really don't think it's as bad as the media would like us to believe. I think this may be where that kid from Live Free or Die Hard had it right. The media is just trying to scare us. It won't work. That's right, I'm talking to you Katie Couric!

DO try some sushi when Jen and Co. offer it to you. I know you'll be going to a different place than wherever it was that Jen took me. The place where I tried the sushi wasn't a sushi place. But I tried it. I'm not one to try new things, but I tried it. It was actually pretty good. After that, I probably would have willingly allowed her to take me to get some real sushi, but the opportunity never presented itself.

DON'T try to change the past. You will be 3 hours behind the east coast. I know it will be tempting to try to make changes to history. You'll just wind up disappointed. If this season of Lost has taught us anything, it's that whatever happened happened. While Back to the Future is a great movie, the theories presented there are just impractical.

DO have your picture taken with Superman in front of the Chinese theater. However, DON'T pay him for it, no matter how much he begs. Here's a clue, he's not the real Superman. He's just a glorified panhandler.

DO enjoy your precious Burbank Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Even though you are under the delusion that these are the best in the land. You're wrong. But I digest.

DON'T panic in the event of an earthquake or wildfire. It's LA, apparently these things happen sometimes.

And most importantly have fun. But that should go without saying.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Speed Scrabble

Here's one from way back. In the college days I was introduced to a variant on the classic board game, Scrabble.

I don't know where the game originated before it was passed down to us, but I can tell you where we got it. I was taught the rules by my good friends Andy and Mark, who, in turn, learned from the family of a man that was once the VP of Development at Bluefield College. Mark and Andy were both semi-frequent visitors to this family's home. I regret to inform you, I've forgotten their names.

But from that relationship came Speed Scrabble.

Speed Scrabble is played without a board. That's right, no double letter scores, no triple word scores. You have to rely on the letters alone for your points. Basically, you have the tiles in a draw pile in the middle of your table. At the start, each player draws letters. At the same time, everyone flips over their letters and begins forming words as quickly as possible. Everyone has their own crossword going. The first to use all their tiles to form legitimate words calls out "Take Two!" Whether the other players are ready or not, everyone must take two more tiles. This goes until the draw pile runs out.

There are few restrictions. Throughout the game, if the words that you have formed are not conducive to the letters you keep drawing, you can rearrange.

I've introduced this concept to the Greenes, and now they're addicted. I'm hoping it spreads from here. Not necessarily from this blog, but from this family. Nicole is traveling to LA to see Jen for a few days, maybe she'll introduce the game to her. Maybe I should do some research on the interweb to see if Speed Scrabble is already a legitimate thing. Or you, my readers, should do the research. Let me know in the comments.

By the way, Allison was sent home tonight on Idol. I'm right so often it creeps me out.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

American Idol: 4

American Idol is gonna rock and roll all night. And part of the day. 'Cause it's rock night. With only four contestants remaining, I'm wondering if they'll each get to sing twice. Or will they each sing once and then fill the remaining 50 minutes with pointless filler and extra commercials? I guess we'll find out shortly.

Ryan explains to us that there has been no dress rehearsal. This is because there was some sort of accident on the set. One of the towers with the Idol logo started to collapse. The logo is upside-down. It doesn't seem like anyone was hurt, so I guess that's a good.

There will be six songs tonight. Four solos and two duets. Slash, the lead guitarist for Guns N' Roses, was the mentor for the kids this week. He explains to the contestants that they're not gonna be sitting around a piano going over their song choices, they're gonna be practicing at full volume with the full support of Slash's band.

Adam Lambert - Whole Lotta Love
This is probably the one week that Adam can actually get away with the screaming that everyone else seems to think is singing. And there was definitely a lot of the screaming. But as I said, it fits with the genre. 4.

Allison Iraheta - Cry Baby
Slash saw the fear in her that Simon keeps seeing in her. Obviously she lacks a great deal of confidence. She seems well suited for a Janis Joplin song. But she's having the same problem tonight as she has in weeks past. She isn't connecting. Good not great. 3.

Kris and Danny - Renegade
I'm not sure if I should judge the duets. There won't be any voting for these songs. I think I'll just give a thumbs up or down based on how they sound together. These guys' voices blend together really well. No doubt this will be something that they perform together on the tour this summer. Very good.

Side note: why are the judges commenting on this? They're not getting judged on the song. They won't get votes for it. What does Paula's rambling have anything to do with it at all?

Kris Allen - Come Together
I really like this song, but I just don't think this is the genre for Kris. I see him as more of an acoustic kind of performer. I usually like his songs, but I just don't think this was a great job for him. 3.

Danny Gokey - Dream On
This is a big song. Scratch that. This is a huge song. Even though he's my pick to win, I wonder if he can pull this one off. Most of the song was good, but that scream at the end was sketchy. Don't try to be Adam, dude. Be yourself. 4.

Adam and Allison - Slow Ride
Okay, I'm not what you'd call a fan of either of these voices. So... I don't really care about this. I'm done...

Allison is going home this week. I'll be back tomorrow night.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode LII

For a month I've been with my new branch. One of my manager's selling points on having me move was the numerous attractive young women who were walking distance away at NC State. Well, in that month, I have seen quite a few attractive young women. But there really hasn't been anyone that just blew my mind.

Until today...

Each day, sometime during that last hour of business, a local business owner comes to the drive-thru to drop off his deposit. Usually it's the owner himself. Occasionally he'll send one of his lackeys. Up until now, I thought the only trusted lackey was this fat kid with creepy glasses. To be honest, he kind of looks like a pedophile. The only thing missing is the van with tinted windows. I know, I'm judging. Well, I'm gonna judge again.

Today he sent a lackey that was a really hot girl. I won't go crazy and say she's the hottest girl I've ever seen. People who say that are almost always exaggerated. But it's possible that she's the hottest girl I've seen since working at this branch. But she made a deposit for the business. So I didn't even get her real name.

Not that I'd do anything with it anyway.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Scoop

Most people like ice cream. I won't make a crazy blanket statement saying that everyone loves it. I, for instance, like ice cream, but it's not my first choice when it comes to choosing desserts. I'm sure there are those among us who just don't like the stuff. I'm sure they have their reasons and I certainly won't judge. I mean, I don't like chocolate. Do I like it when people call me "crazy" or "un-American" for disliking chocolate? Would you?

I got off track. We're talking about people who like ice cream. In particular, we're talking about a 21-month-old that likes ice cream. Gabby was having trouble with lunch. She was enjoying herself: shoving pieces of hot dog and mandarin oranges into her mouth. She really wasn't chewing and swallowing, just stuffing and showing off. That's right, she likes to fill her mouth with food and then she likes to open her mouth to show us what she's got in there. I'm proud to say, that's a trick I taught her.

Her older sister made the mistake of walking over with her own ice cream cone. This got the wheels in Gabby's young head turning. Once ice cream was part of the equation, the rest of the food must be expelled and ignored. All of the hot dog and fruit that was yet to be swallowed had to come out to make room for the vanilla cone to come.

The problem, as we soon found out, is that Gabby doesn't quite grasp the concept of licking ice cream from the cone. Generally, when she has her ice cream, she is spoon fed. All can now agree that is a much cleaner method. She attempted to lick the ice cream, but it sort of resembled a dog lapping at water in a dish. She'd just kind of touch it with her tongue and not really get a lot accomplished. Since that wasn't work, she tried to suck on it, like she would her pacifier. That just meant that she would be wearing the ice cream.

Of course we know ice cream is meant to be eaten somewhat quickly. Not so fast that you get brain freeze, but fast enough so it doesn't melt. No one screams for vanilla soup. But a toddler also has difficulty grasping the concept of the effect of room temperature on a frozen substance. While left to her own devices, Gabby experienced dripping ice cream on her hands, her arms, her chin, her neck, and yes, even her hair. Whenever she turned her head, she failed to move the cone along with her mouth. She may have even gotten some in her ear. That has to feel good.

There's nothing like a sticky nap time.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Marley & Me and Me

I gave in.

Despite the fact that I knew what would happen, I watched Marley & Me. By the way, spoiler alert, in case you haven't seen the movie, read the book, or heard about it from any of your friends who cried their eyes out.

The first time I saw a trailer for Marley & Me it looked like one of those cute movies that would just give you cavities with how sweet it was. From the trailer, one can assume you're going to span the entire life of the dog. John and Jenny get Marley not long after they're married, and as the family grows, so does the dog. Of course, the trailer tries to get you to focus on the fact that the dog is a troublemaker, but is still incredibly lovable. They try to distract you from the fact that dogs have a somewhat limited lifespan.

Of course Marley eventually dies. If you didn't realize that was coming then I'm talking to you. How did people not know that was gonna happen? I don't mean to be insensitive to this fact, it's just a fact of life that seemed to catch a lot of movie-goers off guard. I even had a co-worker at the time say that she never would have taken her daughter to see it if she'd known about the sad ending. Really?

I think this kind of story is important for little kids to see. Death is a natural part of life. Losing a pet is a much easier way to reveal that little fact to a kid than waiting until a grandparent or even a parent passes away. It doesn't always happen this way, but why not have your kids watch a movie where a beloved family pet dies? True, it's heart-wrenching, but it's a movie and you can disconnect yourself from the story on the screen.

I didn't cry. Much. I mean, I teared up toward the end. There were no full-on sobs. I've never been through that kind of thing. I've lost a parent and a couple of grandparents, but I've never lost a pet to death. Growing up, my family had three dogs. The first we gave away because we were moving into an apartment. The other two we were forced to give up because we had a psychotic neighbor who hated dogs. In the latter case, we decided it was better to give them new homes rather than wait for the crazy old man to poison them.

That being said, I've never had a dog for its entire life. I was so young when we got rid of Sandy, I don't remember much about him. We had Princess and Duchess for several years during the 90s, but they were gone before I graduated from high school. So that life-long attachment that many people get to feel for their dogs, I never felt. I missed them when they were gone, but it didn't break my heart.

The movie was good, and as I guessed from the preview, it was cute. In the end, it was a little depressing, but that's to be expected. In a lot of ways, that's life. We have so many great moments in our lives. We have moments with our families that we get to look back on one day and laugh. We can cry for some of those moments too. Life isn't about getting a happy ending, it's about the moments that matter before the ending comes to us.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Question of the Week: Goal

Do you have any specific long-term goals? What is one and how do you plan on reaching it?

I do have some specific long-term goals. The one that I would like to share on this blog may come as no surprise to anyone reading this. I want to be a published author. Not just on this blog, not just on the newspaper's blog (which I feel is still a step in the right direction), but in the kind of way that gathers dust on someone's bookshelf.

I'm working on it. I've been outlining some ideas that really, at this point, need to be fleshed out and detailed. Once I get a full work of fiction completed, I don't quite know what I'll do with it. I figure I'll jump off that publishing bridge once I get to it. Wish me luck. Also, buy my book. Someday.

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