Wednesday, March 31, 2010

When It Hits the Fan

Do you ever have days where nothing seems to happen to you, but all around you the crap is hitting the fan? That's the kind of day I had today.

I've been looking for a new job. This is a long and arduous process that has, thus far, been quite fruitless. But for some reason, work hasn't been that bad.

I know, it sounds crazy to me too. Especially when I say it out loud. But it's true. I've been getting along well with my co-workers. I've been smiling and laughing more. And these are genuine smiles and laughs, not the fake kind that I usually dole out to our customers simply because my employers pay me to. See, it sounds crazy, right?

I'm not saying that everything in my life has just been falling into place. I'm just saying that I realize that I've got it pretty good and really don't have a lot of room to complain.

And then I hear about the kind of day that friends are having. I generally don't care how people treat me. More often than not, I can take them or leave them. But when someone that I genuinely care about is being treated unjustly or unfairly or is legitimately and purposefully being hurt, I get really angry.

I've been told that when I get worked up, I become more of an extrovert. Does that mean that I should get angry more often, just so I'll be forced to be more sociable with strangers? I don't snap at strangers, I'm just more forthright with them and am more willing to make my presence known.

I really didn't have a point in this blog post. I just didn't have anything specific to write about and these random thoughts were exactly what was on my mind at this exact moment. So take them. Run with them. Do with them as you like. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Don't Be Afraid

I've written several posts about this Girl in the White SUV. I'm sure I've written enough on here that she could really have her own category. And yet, here's another one.

Sunday night I went to P.F. Chang's with some friends from church. At the end of the meal, I grabbed my fortune cookie and opened it up to see what my fortune my slip of paper had for me. "Don't be afraid to take that big step."

If you've kept up with my saga of the Girl in the White SUV, you'll know that I've constantly debated whether I should ask her out. I've questioned what I should do and how I should do it. I've second guessed myself. Every time I think I've come up with a good idea of how to really approach her, I decide that it won't work, so I don't try.

Living life that way is stupid. Nicole helped me realize last night that I just need to do something. I won't know unless I try. I'm going to decide on an action to take and then I just need to take that action. If the Girl in the White SUV likes it, then she likes it. If she doesn't, life goes on.

No, this isn't about a decision of what I'll be doing to get this girl's attention. It's just about the epiphany that the door can't possibly open if I don't knock.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Greatest Hits: Aaron's Rules to Live By

Originally posted on 8/8/2009:

When I was in college I began comprising a list of rules that I felt were important. I never wrote them down, so I guess they were unwritten rules. But now, I feel that it's time to pass these rules on to you, my loyal listeners. I mean readers.

1. Don't talk about Fight Club. Just don't do it.

2. If you walk away from the Omelet Shoppe without a classic story, it was a wasted trip. This one made particular sense during the college years when the Omelet Shoppe trip was a regular thing. Luckily, we could count on an endless supply of drunken morons to entertain us during those trips.

3. Every movie is better on the big screen. It doesn't matter if you're seeing Back to the Future (the best movie ever made) or Batman & Robin (the worst movie ever made). Nothing compares to seeing a film in squeaky seats and sticky floors, surrounded by total strangers.

4. Be Prepared. Okay, I just stole this from the Boy Scouts. And Phoebe Buffay. But it just makes good sense.

5. If my door's open, come on in. I keep this rule to this day. My apartment door stays closed and locked. I'm a grown up now and I don't see my neighbors in class every day. This is a safety concern now. But back in the day, if I was in the room and not sleeping, the door was open. It's nice to have people drop by every now and then.

6. Don't let the kid down the hall know you have a Nintendo unless you want him to become your new best friend. In one case, the kid became one of my best friends and was later my roommate. But with a different kid down the hall, I got so sick of him that I had to start leaving my door closed for awhile. Really screwed up my open door policy.

7. Don't wait for all else to fail before you check out the instructions. That new desk you got real cheap at Wal-Mart? Yeah, it came with instructions in four languages for a reason. If you try to put screw E into slot B, you're gonna have some pretty cheap modern art. I wouldn't suggest setting up your computer there.

8. Never turn down free food off campus. This especially goes for instances when someone is willing to buy you a meal at a sit-down type place. But it also applies for anyone who welcomes you into their home and cooks for you. Also for the drive through. Seriously, have you ever eaten in the cafeteria?

9. If a woman wants a real opinion about what she's trying on, she shouldn't take a guy with her. Again, this just makes good sense.

10. If you can't look back on it and laugh, it wasn't worth doing. Come on, life is funny. Okay, so a lot of the time, life isn't funny. It's stressful and worrisome. But you need to be able to find the fun in whatever it is that you do. Otherwise you'll just end up an angry and bitter person.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


It sounds ridiculous, right? The ability to turn objects to gold. That's what I thought until I watched it happen in front of my eyes.

I still have a hard time believing that what I saw actually happened. It's as if I can't trust my own senses. But it was as plain as day. The old man held the lead pipe in his hand and I watched it transform. The dirty gray color gave way to a bright and shiny gold. But even as he showed me, my practical mind told me that it was simply a trick of light. It had to be an illusion. I'm sure David Copperfield had done this sort of thing dozens of times on the stage, right?

I don't know much about precious metals. I don't know much about any kinds of metal. But he handed the gold pipe to me and it felt real. It felt as real as any gold I had ever touched in my life. He invited me to test it, seeing the disbelief that was apparent on my face. So I reached for my pocketknife. I scraped at the surface of the pipe, figuring that I would scratch off flecks of gold paint. Nothing came off.

"How did you do that?" I asked, trying to hold back my shock.

"Trade secret, my boy!" he said with a laugh. "That there is enough gold to get you through the next year."

I assumed he was right. I really didn't know much about the cost of gold, only what those commercials for the gold buyers kept saying, that the price of gold had never been higher. But was he just giving me this gold pipe?

"That's right, you can keep it." I looked at him with suspicion. I'm young, but I know enough about the world that you can't just get something for nothing. He seemed to read my mind yet again. "I have no use for it. With the things I can do, gold holds no value for me. I've been around for a long time and I've learned the hard way that the things that have true value in this world, you can't put a price on."

"So when you say you've been around for a long time...?" My curiosity about this man was getting stronger.

"I'm afraid that's another trade secret," he said as he winked in my direction.

"Oh, right... your elixir of longevity. I almost forgot about that."

"Boy, I know you're wondering about price for that pipe," he said, "maybe even wondering about a price for seeing the things that I've just shown you." I just stood in silence, looking at the old timer. "I only ask for your confidentiality."


"No buts. What do you think would happen to me if the general public knew about the things that I could do?" he asked with genuine concern in his voice. "Did you ever hear the story about the goose that laid the golden egg? Didn't turn out too good for the goose, did it?"

"I just don't understand how you can keep all of this a secret." I understood where the man was coming from, but at the same time, if I had this kind of ability, I'd want some fame to go along with it.

"Had you ever heard of me before we met yesterday?"

"No, sir... but..."

"And that's the way it will be for the next young man or woman that comes to me for help. That's the way it's been done for many years. That's the way it was done long before I was around and it's the way it'll be done long after I've gone."

I looked at the heavy gold pipe resting in my hand. The money that this thing represented was going to solve a number of my financial problems, maybe all of them. Until more came around, that is. But I couldn't get past the idea that he wanted nothing but secrecy from me.

"Cheer up, boy! You've got a great deal of money in your hands there!" He smiled and patted me on the shoulder. "Don't spend it all in one place!" He laughed again, the laugh of an old man without a care in the world.

He walked me to his front door and showed me the way out. "I don't expect I'll be seeing you again in this life, unless you fail to keep your word. So I'll leave you with this advice: Be smart with what you've just received and you'll land on your feet. And you'll stay on your feet for years to come."

And with that, he closed his door. I didn't even have the chance to properly say thank you. He was right about the pipe. It was solid gold and I was pretty much able to write my own ticket. And I kept my word to the old man. I never spoke a word to anyone about what I saw him do that day. Writing about it on a blog seems okay though. I don't think a man that old would have much to do with the internet. What are the odds that he'd find my blog and know who I am or that it was him that I'm writing about?

Still, I can't help but wonder what that goose would have done if it could have taken revenge on the greedy king that cut him open.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


My family had a few dogs while I was growing up. Early in my childhood, we had Sandy, the world's dumbest Cocker Spaniel. I shouldn't say that. He may not have been the world's dumbest. As a child I had no way to actually test that theory. However, as a child, I was quickly able to see that poor Sandy wasn't too bright. I would play with him in our back yard by throwing a ball and expecting him to fetch it and bring it back. Sandy would run after the ball, sniff around the general area, sniff around the not so general area, come back to sniff in the general area, sniff directly over the ball, and then return with nothing.

We had to give Sandy to another family when we moved into an apartment complex that didn't allow pets. It was kind of heartbreaking, but I got older and got over it, as kids often do.

Later in life, when we were living in the Denniston house, we were able to get another dog. I don't remember how it was decided that we would be taking on a new pet, but I do remember it being a surprise to me and my sister. This was Princess, a Cockapoo. That's a hybrid Cocker Spaniel/Poodle. Biology is a crazy thing when it comes to breeding dogs. It's like these people just sit around thinking "What happens when I put these two together?"

Princess was a very intelligent dog. I'm not saying she could open doors or verbally tell us when Timmy fell down a mine shaft, but she had a clever way about her. She was very small and quickly made it known that she was Mom's dog. Or that Mom was her human. I'm not sure how these things go.

A couple years later, while we were at a neighborhood 4th of July celebration (in someone else's neighborhood), we came across a family that was trying to give away some new puppies that they had been blessed with. This family apparently bred Shelties, or Shetland Sheepdogs, and a strange mutt must have gotten in one day and... well... one thing led to another... yadda yadda yadda... here comes a litter. Somehow, my sister and I convinced our parents that we absolutely needed to get another puppy.

By this point, Princess was full-grown and as big as she was ever going to be. Duchess (our new dog) was very small and pretty intimidated by the older, wiser lap dog. But then Duchess got big. Duchess got bigger than Shelties are supposed to get. So we figure that, whatever the father was, he was a big one. But the two dogs got along great.

We had them both up until just before I finished high school. Why we got rid of them is a story that's really involved. I'll get around to sharing at some point, but this isn't the time.

I said all of this about my previous experience with dogs to say this: I love dogs. I really do. I wish I were able to have one now.

But I have to be realistic. I live in an apartment. Yes, there are plenty of places outside that I could take a dog for a walk and allow it to get some exercise. And yes, I have a lot of open space in my apartment, so really, a smallish dog could get plenty of exercise running around inside.

My workplace is a 45 minute drive from my apartment, on a good day. On the days that I work both my jobs, I'm gone from 7:30 in the morning until sometimes 9pm. Tell me it wouldn't be cruel to leave a dog trapped inside an apartment for 13 and a half hours.

It's not so much about where he/she would go to the bathroom. I know they make those pads that look like a piece of your yard that are "perfect for apartments." But what about my neighbors?

My concern would be for the time that I'm not here and I can't control the dog's barking. The walls between units in this place are held together by little more than many sheets of notebook paper. Sound tends to carry very well between apartments. This has been exhibited to me all day today by the sound of a crying and yapping puppy in the apartment next door.

I wasn't even sure that anyone lived over there anymore. And from the way the barks have been echoing, it almost sounds as if someone dropped the dog off inside an empty apartment, then shut the door to let it fend for itself. Not cool, next door neighbors, not cool.

So as a neighbor who has become irritated with the sound of an unhappy dog next door, I just wouldn't want to do that to my neighbors if our roles were reversed. Although, right now, I'm thinking a little noisy revenge might be in order. When I hear something other than the echoing bark of a young pup, I'll try and think of something appropriately annoying for them to listen to.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Question of the Week: Strive

What do you most strive for in your life: accomplishment, security, love, power, excitement, knowledge, or something else?

I guess I'd have to say accomplishment. It just isn't accomplishment in the field that I'm currently working in. And that accomplishment doesn't necessarily mean that I want vast recognition either. Accomplishment, to me, is just knowing that I did the best I could and succeeded whenever I put forth the effort.

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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Visit NC

When I drive home from work, I pass by a billboard that kind of strikes me as strange. It's a picture of the beach with hopscotch drawn in the sand. The only thing written on the advertisement is I can only assume this is an ad for tourism in North Carolina.

What strikes me as strange is that this is the heart of North Carolina. Raleigh is the capital of the state. Why would you need to try and convince North Carolinians to visit North Carolina?

I know. Being in Raleigh isn't the same as visiting the Outer Banks. But still, wouldn't your advertising dollars be better spent by putting your billboards in other states? Virginia and South Carolina come to mind. They're not too far away. I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ode to the Girl in the White SUV

Each morning when I get up
I struggle just to sit up

I think about the job I do
and wish that I could say, "I'm through!"

For months and months I've felt depressed.
At work I often feel oppressed.

But lately something's changed my mind;
lately someone's caught my eye.

She drives a large white SUV.
This girl has grabbed my heart, you see.

My knees grow weak, my heartbeat races;
I turn to see the others' faces.

They laugh and think that I'm obsessed.
My heart may jump out of my chest.

I stumble for the proper words
Something that doesn't sound too absurd.

Simply, I greet her, and run her transaction,
But wish I could take some gutsier action.

I'm sure that she never remembers my name,
A poor guy like me that just has no game.

But each time she comes with some business to do
It makes my day better, like things are brand new.

She gets her receipt and gives me a smile.
I wish I could ask her to wait just a while.

I'd like to share coffee or maybe a meal;
Maybe a movie, it's not a big deal.

But she drives on away in her big SUV.
I'm left with my thoughts, alone. Only me.

But my day just got better, or that's how it seems.
'Cause I got to talk to the girl of my dreams.

She didn't say much, but made an impression,
Enough to help save me from workplace depression.

And maybe tomorrow she'll come back my way
And I'll have the courage to finally say,

"I want to go out with you and kiss you good night,
Or we could just go make out, would that be all right?"

Until then I'll be left alone with my thoughts.
I'll think and I'll plan and I'll scheme and I'll plot.

I'll get her to notice me, someday, somehow.
Just sit back and watch, this is my vow.

BTW... I'm really not that good a poet. This was pretty much just for fun. Good night children.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Life Story: Chapter Forty Two

I had decided to spend Christmas at St. Alban's Psychiatric Hospital because I knew I wasn't done getting better. And I had a genuine fear that if I was allowed to go home, even for just a couple of days, there was no way I'd want to go back to the hospital to finish getting better. That was probably the biggest mistake I made in my young life.

Christmas was fine. My family came to visit me and we got to have Christmas together. But when Christmas was over, I was left with the reminder that I was just some kid alone in a hospital fighting this stupid psychiatric illness. Even though I knew that I had friends and family and good, church-goin' people praying for me and encouraging me, I still felt all alone. I'm not sure, even today, that I can possibly convey just how lonely I felt at that time.

And from there, things went downhill. I can't point to a specific time or date, but I know that right after Christmas, the powers that be decided to let me start eating in the cafeteria with the rest of the kids from our unit. Up 'til this point, my meals had to be closely scrutinized. The nurses on duty had to watch me like a hawk to make sure that everything on my plate was eaten, that I wasn't just eating some of it and stuffing pieces of food into my pockets to throw away later. Apparently, that's the kind of thing that some people did.

I enjoyed one meal in the cafeteria. And until the day I die, I will argue that it's that meal that initially caused my downward spiral. My meal that day was some kind of spicy chicken dish. It didn't sit well and I got sick not long after eating it. Of course my doctors said that I forced myself to throw up, simply so I wouldn't gain any weight. These are the same doctors that believed that I saw myself as a fat person, but as I've discussed before, that's not how I saw myself. I knew I had a problem. I knew I needed to eat in order to fix that problem. But that didn't fit in their textbook, so I was obviously lying and only telling them something they wanted to hear.

Anyway, if they had known me at all, they would have known that there was no way I would have made myself throw up. Just thinking about throwing up is unpleasant for me. I really just need to stop writing about this right now.

So, my doctors were class-A morons. But that's not the point. I got sick. As I said, I'll argue that this is what started my downward spiral, not because I forced myself to be sick, but because after years of eating little at all and definitely nothing spicy, the spicy chicken just didn't mesh with my stomach. It happens to people all the time. I guess it happens anyway.

But because of that little incident, Kevin had to erase my grand total from the chalk board. That was a nice little blow to the old self esteem too. And, not to sound too depressing, it's still gonna get worse before it gets better. So if you found this chapter to be too unpleasant, you may want to steer clear of 43 when I write that one. But I promise, it will get better. We're only in December of 1994. 1995 is right around the corner.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Greatest Hits: Human

Originally posted on 7/5/2009:

It's hard to know how to approach the subject of what it means to be human. For a science fiction writer, it may be easier. Creators in that particular genre are limited only by their imaginations as to the plethora of aliens and creatures to which one can compare humanity. Many people only have the animals to which we can compare mankind.

So what does it mean to be human?

It could be our emotions that define us. At the drop of a hat we can go from rage to sorrow to joy and everything in between. Then again, you can easily see emotion in certain animals. I don't know enough of the science or the biology of the animal kingdom to claim which creatures experience emotions, but can't you tell when your dog is happy to see you?

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Admiral Kirk said that Spock's soul was the most human that he had ever encountered. For those of you who know nothing about the Star Trek universe, Spock wasn't fully human. Spock was a Vulcan, coming from a race that had learned to repress emotions in favor of logical thinking. Throughout the character's history, the viewer would see glimpses of his emotional, human side, but in general, he kept that part of himself at bay.

But maybe it's not our emotions that define us as humans. Maybe Kirk was referring to Spock's self-sacrifice. Spock knew what needed to be done in order to save the lives of the ship's crew, and therefore gave up his own life to do so. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one." This is what his logic dictated. Then again, perhaps that does tie back to a certain emotion. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

Maybe it's our flaws that make us human. Look around every day and you see countless people striving for perfection, or whatever they believe perfection to be. Immediately, physical perfection comes to mind, with so many rushing to the doctor's office or the pharmacy to find ways to stave off the signs of aging. They look in the magazine and see the people that have been listed as beautiful this month and wish so badly that they could look like that. What they don't understand is that it's their flaws that set them apart, that make them beautiful.

As a Christian, I believe that I must strive for perfection. This isn't a physical perfection, but a spiritual one. I must strive to be Christ-like. As a Christian, I believe that Christ is the very portrait of perfection, and that His example is the one that I should be following. Every day, I fail. But it's through those failures and through my flaws that He continues to love me. Without those human frailties and imperfections, His sacrifice would have been unneeded.

So which is it? Is it our emotion that makes us human? Is it our need to better ourselves? Or is it simply our ability to make use of opposable thumbs?

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I was bound on the floor just like the rest of them. My hands were behind my back, tied up with the same sort of plastic things they use for handcuffs these days. I knew they couldn't hold me if I didn't want them to. But here I was, sitting uncomfortably, a hostage along with seven other people inside the downtown bank.

It was supposed to be a quick trip to the bank. I had planned to run in, deposit my check, then run back out. My lunch break was cut short as it was. Now I was stuck in a difficult situation that didn't seem to be ending. The men wearing masks were not typical bank robbers. They wanted something specific and were uninterested in cash.

I had been closest to the entrance when the three of them barged in. I was forced to the floor when their leader hit me in the gut with the butt of his shotgun. There was a time when a blow like that would have bruised or even cracked my ribs. That just wasn't the case anymore. But I played along for the sake of the seven innocent lives inside the bank.

The last of them to enter the bank turned and locked the door behind him. Within thirty seconds, most of us were lined up on the floor against the wall, our hands tied behind our backs. The only one with his hands left free was the manager, but that was because they needed something from him.

The masked men roughly pushed him toward the vault where he nervously fumbled for his keys to let them inside the gate. I watched as all this went on and wondered why they were taking their time. Generally, criminals wanted to be in and out, lowering their chances of being caught. Obviously, whatever these men were after was worth the risk.

While their leader impatiently manhandled the manager, the other two argued about what they should do with us. One of them saw me looking their way. "What are you lookin' at?!" In two strides he was standing over me then hit me in the head with his gun. I guess he was hoping that knocking me out would keep my curiosity in check. He was wrong. Mostly because he didn't knock me out.

Watching me get hit caused the other hostages to gasp or scream and turn away crying. The gang's leader turned his attention our way and yelled at the one that hit me. For a moment I acted as if I were a bit shaken, but my attention never left the men with the guns.

The manager finally got the gate opened and then was bound and forced to sit with the rest of us. "Are you okay, Tom?" asked one of the tellers.

"Yeah, I'm fine," he said, then he looked over at me. "Hey man, are you okay? Looks like he clocked you pretty good."

"I'll live..."

"Shut up over there!" yelled the one that had hit me, thus far the most verbal of the three. It'd be nice if he was the least intelligent of them too, maybe he'd let something slip about why they were here.

The phone rang. Their leader answered and began talking heatedly with, I could only assume, the police. In all the commotion and attempted concussion, I had missed the sirens and flashing lights arriving outside. The lead man slammed the phone back onto the cradle and returned to the vault, where the other two had been frantically searching for a specific deposit box.

They were all distracted. This was the moment I had to act. I had the ability to take these men out, but I had to be careful about my actions. These things that I could do, the strength and speed, they weren't exactly public knowledge. As far as I knew, there was no one else like me. I couldn't imagine the consequences that I'd have to face if I were to reveal what I could do in front of all these people.

He who hesitates is lost. I missed my window of opportunity. All three of them exited the vault and their leader picked the phone back up. He knew that just picking it up would give him a direct line to the negotiator outside. He began making his demands. But his demands made no sense. Nothing about any of this added up. He gave a nod to one of his cohorts, who walked over to us, grabbed the woman next to me, and held a gun to her head.

This was all I could stand. My own moral compass was making demands of me, just as these terrorists were making demands of the authorities. Only the demands upon me were logical. I had the ability to stop these men. I had the ability to save these innocent people from getting hurt or killed. The consequences to my own comfort meant nothing.

I worried that my sudden movement against the masked men would cause them to panic and begin shooting. I didn't know what a bullet from a gun would do to me, but I knew for sure the effect it would have on the other hostages. My hope was that it would catch them off guard though. My hope was that they would grow so confused that they'd panic and focus on me.

I pulled my hands apart breaking the plastic tie. Before the one holding the woman could react, his hand was broken and his gun was on the floor. I put the woman behind me and pushed her captor roughly against the wall. He fell to the ground unconscious.

The other two looked at me, shocked at what they had just witnessed. To me, what happened next seemed to have happened in slow motion. In a matter of seconds, however, the hostage crisis was over. The one who hit me earlier aimed his gun at me, but before he had a chance to pull the trigger his gun was disassembled in pieces on the ground. I picked him up and threw him into the one on the phone. They fell in a heap on the floor.

At that point I think they were too scared to try anything else. I unplugged the phone and used the cord to tie the two of them together. I was confident that the third wouldn't wake up until he was safely in police custody. And then I turned to my fellow hostages.

They all looked at me with a mixture of fear and wonder. None of them spoke to me as I stood them all one by one and broke the ties that bound their hands. Tom ran to the door and unlocked it. We all walked out with our hands in the air as the police moved in to arrest the criminals.

I wasn't ready for the questions that I would be asked. I knew that the others weren't ready either. But answers would have to be given. The truth of the day would come out and there wasn't a thing I could do to stop it.

It was just supposed to be a quick trip to the bank.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Legends of the Bank Teller: Episode LXXIV

Every now and again we have some important visitors in our bank. Usually these important visitors are rumored to be floating around town visiting branches at will. These rumors generally keep employees on their toes or on the edge of their seats or on pins and needles, and that's usually only because it gets managers on those same toes or seat edges or pins.

This week we had one of those rumors. Rumor had it that our regional president was making the rounds. Not only was he visiting random branches in our area, but he was also quizzing random tellers about some of the new verbiage used in the bank's operating model.

Late on Thursday, the president of our region came in. We had no warning. We were not prepared for his visit with a practice drill. We were caught completely off guard.

My manager caught a glimpse of the president roughly two seconds before he came through our glass doors. His reaction was to jump out of his chair and begin to shout the president's name across the lobby, attempting to warn the teller line of the impending disaster that awaited us. But the manager also saw that there was a customer in the lobby. That cut him off in the middle of his panicked shout.

So neither of us on the teller line knew what he had said. And then the president entered. In my mind I had imagined this larger-than-life kind of person making a Darth Vader-like entrance with ominous music playing in the background. It was nothing like that. The president was in a rush and completely ignored the peons behind the counter. He went directly to the manager and asked to use the empty office to make a conference call. Thus, it looked like we were off the hook.

While he was on his call, the manager came out to us and quizzed us himself, just to try and prepare us for what may be to come. The president did eventually come over and introduce himself to us. He seemed like a nice enough guy. I may have had a different opinion if he had indeed quizzed us or, in some other way, put any of us on the spot. But he didn't. He shook our hands, held a brief, but pleasant, conversation regarding customer service, and then went back to make more phone calls.

The next day, we decided that we needed better code words for when important people dropped by. For the president, I suggested "egg roll." However, that was shot down because my fellow teller, April, felt that "egg roll" sounds too much like "April." I don't hear it, but okay. Eventually, our assistant manager came up with "apples." I think that sounds more like "April" than "egg roll." But I guess that's why I'm just a teller.

But there are other important people that tend to get us riled up. My manager has a boss and she drops by quite frequently. Really it's only once every other week or so, maybe less. But I'm thinking we should have a code for her as well. We have a quality assurance type of person that comes by on a whim sometimes. She'd be another good one to have a code word for.

And then there's my dream girl in the white SUV. Now that I'm not the only single guy working in my branch, I've come to the realization that there is another who would like to gaze upon the beauty inside the SUV. To be completely honest, whenever my assistant manager is not there and she comes to my window, I do get some small pleasure out of texting him and bragging that I've just seen her. Since he's usually in his office if she happens to come by, he felt that a code word would be needed for her as well. His suggestion: "heaven."

My counter-suggestion: "Aaron's soul mate."

I don't believe in soul mates. So to call her that for the sake of a code word was merely to get a laugh. But when she drove by yesterday, that sure is what I shouted across the lobby to let the assistant manager know who was at my window. I've never seen anyone shoot up out of a chair that quickly before. For a while, we all wondered if the chair even survived the event.

It occurs to me that, should I ever develop the nerve to ask her out, the girl in the white SUV may not necessarily like having all these blog posts about her. I'll keep my fingers crossed and just hope that she'll find it flattering. Of course, the point is moot until I finally develop the nerve to ask her out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Question of the Week: Hit the Brakes

You are driving late at night in a safe but deserted neighborhood when a dog suddenly darts in front of your car. Though you slam on the brakes, you hit the animal. Would you stop to see how injured the animal was? If you did so and found that the dog was dead but had a name tag, would you contact the owner?

I'm of two minds about this one. My first reaction is to just keep on driving. I don't stop if I hit a squirrel or a bird that just darts out in front of my car. I feel a little bad about it, but if there was no way for me to stop safely, then that's the end of it. I write it off as a suicide and I'm done with it. A dog would be a different story. I mean, it's a dog. You can't just run down man's best friend and not feel some kind of remorse. As I said, my first reaction is to keep driving. And that's not because I wouldn't feel bad about hitting a dog. But the question that would constantly be running through my head is "how stupid is the owner?" Who just lets their dog run around in the middle of the night with no fenced yards or leashes?

I said I'm of two minds. The other mind has to consider, "What if it was my dog?" If someone ran over my dog (even though I was stupid enough to let my dog run free during the night) I'd want that person to at least call or knock on my door and tell me what happened. Otherwise I'm sure I'd end up spending a Saturday posting missing dog fliers all over town while sad music played throughout the entire scene. So yeah, I'd stop and check on the dog. And no matter what, if it had a tag, I'd contact the owner. Now, if it was a cat, no question. I keep driving.

I kid...

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

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Theme Song Theater

This video is kind of long, but it's fun to watch. Give it a whirl. I'll be back tomorrow with a real post.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I wore green all day today. I wore it to work. I wore it at home. And I wore it to the Greenehouse when I went over there to catch up on 24 and Lost and some laundry.

But Nicole pinched me anyway. She claimed that the shirt I was wearing wasn't green enough. Granted, it's not the color that one would traditionally consider green. It's more of a darker, maybe an olive shade of green. But it's a shade of green nonetheless.

And yet, the pinch. If memory serves, if one wearing green gets pinched on St. Patrick's Day, they have the right to exact vengeance. Nicole was not wearing green. Therefore, I feel that I would have been entirely justified in a revenge pinch.

She claimed that since the word green can be found in her last name, she didn't necessarily need to wear the color on this day. However, it doesn't matter if the pincher is wearing green or not. If they pinch someone wearing green, they get pinched right back.

As I write this, I'm still sitting in the recliner in the living room of the Greenehouse. I could easily reach out and return the pinch. But I'm gonna be the bigger person. I'm gonna be better than that. That's right. I'm mature when I want to be.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Life Story: Chapter Forty One

I was stuck at St. Alban's during Christmas. I made the mistake of staying at the hospital rather than going home. My fear was, despite how well I had been doing, I would go home for Christmas and not want to come back to the hospital. I knew that I still had to make more progress.

Since I was the only kid left in the adolescent unit, I would have to be shipped off to another area where there were actually nurses working on Christmas Eve. But before I got there, I got to take a field trip off campus.

Hank was one of those really cool guys. He was one of those guys that wasn't afraid to take risks if it meant making the kids he worked with feel a little normal while they were in the hospital. So while I was stuck there alone, he decided to take me to see Star Trek: Generations at the theater in Christiansburg. To this day, I don't know if he got permission to take me or if he just did it. Either way, it meant a lot.

And it was all okay until I was sent up to C-3. C-3 was the unit where they sent folks with the severe psychological issues. These were people who were possibly a danger to themselves or others. I wasn't allowed to bring anything from my room with me. I begged to bring my radio and was only allowed to do so when I explained that the cord was removable and it could work with batteries. Apparently a cord was a dangerous thing in a place like that. That sure didn't make it less scary for me.

I didn't see too many people up there that night. I saw a few of the nurses and only one patient. The patient was an older man in a straitjacket. He was in a bed that was literally chained to a column in the middle of the common room. He was singing Jingle Bells. God bless him... he knew it was Christmas.

I was a little afraid to go to bed that night. But once I did, I was really glad to. I knew that once I got up it would be Christmas. My family would be coming to visit me and I would be able to leave C-3. Christmas was the beginning of the end for my time at St. Alban's. But it definitely got worse before it got better.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Greatest Hits: Soul Mates

Originally posted on 6/7/2009:

I don't believe in soul mates. I really just don't think they exist.

I think it's a term full of romantic nonsense that people who like to watch Dawson's Creek enjoy throwing around as if it means something. People end up with who they're attracted to, that's all there is to it.

I believe that God places certain people in our lives for certain reasons. Many of those people, we may not understand the reasons that they've come or gone, but for better or worse, they've affected how we think or act on something.

Now, I'm not an advocate of predestination. I'm a big fan of free will as a part of my theological thinking. So I also believe that it's up to us to decide with whom we fall in love, to whom we're attracted, and when and if we ever get married. God has a plan and a design, and our decisions don't mess with that design, but He still allows us to make those choices.

The idea of a soul mate just takes away any of those decisions.

To me, when someone uses the term soul mate, it just sounds like an excuse. It's an excuse to get out of the lousy relationship you're already in. I mean, if you're unhappy with your marriage or your significant other, then that person is obviously not your soul mate, right? Or if you're ridiculously infatuated with someone of the opposite sex who barely knows you're alive, almost to the point of stalking them, it's okay, 'cause that person's your soul mate, right?

Okay, that second example is a little dumb. I mean, if there were such a thing as soul mates, wouldn't the object of that person's infatuation be just as infatuated, if he/she were in fact that person's soul mate?

But the first one is right on. And that was sarcasm up above. That's kind of hard to convey in text. We need a new sarcastic punctuation. I digress.

Soul mates don't exist. So don't go looking for one. It's ridiculous to think that out of 6.5 billion people in the world, there's only one out there for you. What if that one person lives on the opposite side of the globe? Does that mean you both spend your lives alone and miserable until one of you finally decides to take that trip to Indonesia that you've been putting off 'til retirement? I don't think so.

Try to make the best of the people that God brings into your lives. Trust me, He knows what He's doing.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Book That Changed Everything

Stanley rushed down the stairs, hoping to catch his wife before she left for work. When he got to the kitchen he realized he was too late. She had let him oversleep, so he didn’t have a chance to wish her a happy anniversary.

Madison had left coffee warming in the pot, knowing that Stan would need the caffeine boost. So he walked over and poured himself a cup. He leaned against the counter sipping his coffee and he marveled at how this amazing woman could continue to love him even after these five years of marriage.

His morning routine was becoming all too comfortable. After being laid off three months ago thanks to cutbacks at the plant, finding work had become a daunting task. With each passing day he grew more discouraged, but Maddy was always there to lift him back up. She was always by his side with a word of encouragement and an undying optimism.

He sat at the kitchen table expecting to read the morning paper, but something else caught his eye. Under the newspaper was a book that he had never seen before. From what he could tell, it was some kind of scrapbook, filled with objects and papers. Madison must have left it sitting there.

Stan remembered that Madison had been quite fond of scrapbooking back before they got married. She and her friends would get together and create elaborate scrapbooks chronicling their times in high school and in college. He thought it strange that, once they had wed, she seemed to stop all together. At first he tried to encourage her to get back into it, knowing how much she had loved it. But she always made excuses about not having the time or the money. She said she was perfectly happy spending that spare time with him instead.

Now, he guessed, with his sour attitude she had turned back to scrapbooking as a way to find some more happiness. Maybe her optimism was just a mask that she wore for him while he sank into his own despair.

But curiosity got the better of him. He lifted the non-descript cover and saw written on the first page “Our First Five”. Stan couldn’t help but smile. Madison had gotten back into scrapbooking, not as a way to escape his depression, but as a way to preserve their lives together. As he turned the page he realized that this was her gift to him. It was a reminder of just how special their lives together had been, and would continue to be.

The first pages were filled with memories from their wedding: an invitation, a photo of them sharing their first dance, flower petals from Maddy’s bouquet. He found their plane tickets from their honeymoon in Florida. Next to those was a picture of them with Mickey Mouse. He couldn’t believe that had been five years ago.

As he continued through the scrapbook of their lives he came across ticket stubs from movies they had seen.

He reached the day when, two years ago, Madison had graduated with her MBA. He was so proud of her. Even then, after being married for nearly three years, he wondered what a girl like her still saw in a guy like him. Here was this beautiful, intelligent, amazing woman, while he was just some poor guy from the wrong side of the tracks barely making ends meet operating a machine in a factory. And even that wasn’t true anymore.

He felt a few tears running down his cheeks and wiped them away. Stan needed to remind himself to snap out of it. She loved him through the best and the worst. She was a better person than him, one that he didn’t deserve. But for the last five years he had worked hard and done everything in his power to make himself worthy of her. What amazed him more was that in her eyes, he never had to try so hard.

Stanley laughed at himself and shook off his emotions as he normally did. He kept flipping pages as memories flew into his face like sudden gusts of wind. He was reaching the end of the book and was indescribably happy. Their first five years together had been the most amazing years of his life, and he knew the best was yet to come. He knew that he was incredibly blessed to say that he would be spending the rest of his life with this woman.

And then something else caught his attention. The last page had something thick attached to it. Whatever it was wouldn’t allow the pages before it to lay flat. He skipped a few pages and turned directly to the back page and saw what the object was. It was a home pregnancy test. It was positive. And on the page, directly under the test, Madison had written in her beautiful handwriting, “Surprise!”

This time Stan didn’t brush off his emotions. This time his tears flowed freely and he smiled brighter than he had in months. He knew the best was yet to come, and it would be better than he could have possibly imagined.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

She's Out of My League

The reasons I wanted to see this movie were several. First and foremost, the girl that makes up the girl half of the relationship in this romantic comedy is smokin' hot and could very well be worth the price of admission alone. Second, I can sort of relate to the plight of the guy part of the relationship. I'll get more into that in a bit.

I like a good romantic comedy. I'm hesitant to call them "chick flicks" even when the term properly applies. It does not apply in this case. While it does have its "chick flick" aspects that are typical for the rom-com, it also contains more than a few crude elements that I just thought were unnecessary. But, I guess in this post-40-Year-Old Virgin universe that we live in, your general audience is going to expect a certain amount of obscene language, gestures, and overall gross-out humor to complete a movie. Sadly, I too expected it. And I even laughed at most of it. But that doesn't mean I thought it was needed.

Moving on... The story involves Kirk, a guy that doesn't think much of himself and works security at the Pittsburgh airport. He meets Molly, the smokin' hot girl mentioned above. Molly notices him when he's the only one of his coworkers not slobbering all over himself and acting like a jerk just to get some face time with her. She notices him even more when he finds her missing iPhone. They meet up, they hit it off, dates are had. It's all very heartwarming.

Enter their friends. Molly's friend Patty plants the idea in her mind that she might be too good for Kirk. Kirk's friend Stainer plants the idea that there's no way in this world or the next that he should ever have a realistic shot with her. After some mistakes are made, sadly, Molly and Kirk start listening to their friends. These friends realize that, despite the unlikelihood of Molly and Kirk actually making it as a couple, they're miserable without each other.

Throw in a good airport chase scene and a touching moral of the story and you have the makings of a classic romantic comedy. I don't think it will rank up there with When Harry Met Sally or Sleepless in Seattle, but it's still pretty good. Again, it would have worked just fine without the crudity, but if that's what puts people in the seats, so be it Hollywood.

Throughout the movie we're treated to the one to ten scale of hotness. Kirk is judged as a five while Molly is seen as a ten. This scale becomes Kirk's downfall. However, early on, the only one of Kirk's friends who actually seems to have it all together makes a good point. When you love someone they're a ten. Of course he's berated by the other guys, but what he said makes sense and, in the end, turned out to be true.
So what's the moral of the story? I don't know what it would have been for the ladies, but for guys like me, it's to have a little more self-esteem. As with all of these types of movies, the couple has a falling out over something that seems kind of ridiculous before they get a chance to really find their happily ever after. In this one, it all comes down to how they see themselves. More specifically, it comes down to how Kirk sees himself, and why he thinks he's so inferior to Molly. It comes down to Molly hating the fact that these guys consider her perfect and place her on a pedestal, creating a picture in their minds that she can never possibly live up to. What Kirk eventually learns is that he needs to just be who he is. He learns that being himself means not living down to other people's expectations of him, but living up to his own expectations of himself.

Overall it was enjoyable. And it wasn't just because Molly was smokin' hot. It's worth seeing, but if you wait 'til it's on DVD, you won't really be missing anything either. Happy viewing kids.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Question of the Week: Incurable

You know you will die of an incurable disease within three months. Would you allow yourself to be frozen within the week if you knew it would give you a modest chance of being revived in 1,000 years and living a greatly extended life?

No, I would not. I would not want to be turned into a popsicle just because there's a chance that I might be revived in a thousand years. I'd rather spend my last three months being awesome and spending time with my friends and family while I still could. I don't have any kids, so I know I wouldn't have any descendants to hang out with. Who knows what the world would be like in 1,000 years. They'll probably still be promising flying cars but they still won't have them. No personal jet packs. I'll stick with my last three months, thanks.

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

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Single Guy Needs Advice

I have a few regular readers, right? Some of you out there have kept up with this thing on a regular, sometimes daily basis. So a lot of you are probably aware of the fact that I've written of a beautiful girl that visits my teller window at work roughly once a week.

For nearly a year I've been working at this branch and I've seen this girl come through many times. And every time she completes her business and drives away, I find myself wishing I was the kind of person who had the nerve to just strike up a conversation with a stranger.

I haven't been on a real date in a very long time. If memory serves, it was early in W's first term. Very long time. So even if I had the nerve to strike up that conversation, I'm not sure I'd know what to say.

Here's the situation for those of you just joining us. This girl, who shall remain anonymous, comes to my bank about once a week, sometimes more. And more often than not, she drives through lane one, meaning I'm face to face with her, separated by two inches of glass. Other tellers have noticed that she generally removes her sunglasses when I help her out. But when I'm not there and someone else helps her, she leaves them on.

Also, it seems to me that she smiles just a little more each time she comes by. I'm not sure if that actually means anything. In fact, I could just be imagining things. Could just be wishful thinking. But what if it's not? What if she actually looks on me with interest?

Now, I don't think I'm a bad lookin' guy. But I'm definitely not in this lady's league. Speaking superficially, I may be a 7 on a good day. This girl is pushing 10. And yes, I realize there's a movie coming out this Friday that deals with this very subject. Maybe I should go see it and take notes.

So I ask you, my readers, what should I do? Should I let her go and just pretend that she's not that hot? Or should I find some way to ask her for coffee? And if so, how do I do such a crazy thing? Also, do you think that I've been too generous in giving myself a 7?

I'm genuinely asking these questions hoping to get some responses. Help a brother out!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Shutter Island

I'm not what you'd call a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio. And I've never really considered myself a fan of Martin Scorsese. I know that there are people out there that consider anything Scorsese directs to be epic. Not long ago I broke down and watched The Departed after hearing so many of my friends telling me how awesome it was. And you know what? It was pretty much awesome.

So this new film, Shutter Island, was released and I thought the trailers looked interesting. I'm generally a fan of a scary, ghost story type of movie, which is what the trailers led me to believe this was. I was wrong.

That doesn't mean I didn't like it. When I left the theater last night, I thought it was just all right. It wasn't spectacular. It didn't blow my mind. In fact, I thought there were a number of aspects of the story that were fairly predictable. But knowing how many movies I've seen, it's hard to come across a movie that is completely surprising.

I'll give it to DiCaprio, I've been impressed by his acting of late. I decided some time ago that I didn't like him simply based on Titanic, a movie that I just don't like out of principle. I think it's stupid for reasons that I won't go into here. So despite Shutter Island's predictable plot, Leo did a good job with the part he played. As did Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and the guy that played Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.

I heard someone recently say that, for a Scorsese flick, this one is mediocre. But, they added, mediocre Scorsese is still better than a lot of Hollywood's best. I'm not sure about all that. But I thought this one was worth the time.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Jake's Question

Jake's question: When you were a big time super star with Skyline Drive formally known as Capt. Geech and  the Shrimp Shack Shooters what was your fondest moment? Also do you miss the days of running fantastic window teller service at the Bluefield Bank?
I wouldn't have called myself a "super star" but if that's how people want to remember me, I'm cool with that. I mean, really, I didn't play an instrument and I most of the time just sang background vocals unless we were doing a song that hit notes too high for Dustin to sing. I mostly just miss singing and performing. It was a fun time. I don't know how things were after I moved away, but it didn't seem like we took ourselves too seriously. Just having a good time doing something we enjoyed doing. And for the rest of my life, I'll be able to tell people I was in a band once.
As far as missing the bank in Bluefield, not so much. I mean, I'm not a big fan of the current teller job I have. But I can honestly say I enjoyed that job better. I think it was the people I was working with. But that one started going downhill when they transferred me to Princeton. It wasn't so great after that. But I guess I'm ready to get out of banking. For real this time.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The 30th Birthday Spectacular

For the past few years, I've said that 29 would be my last birthday. There has been a small part of me that did not want to accept that 30 was coming. But I have come to embrace this new age. I've come to realize that turning 30 is much better than the alternative. To not turn 30 would probably equal death of some kind. Not quite ready for that one yet.

So the day came and it was awesome. Awesome to me anyway. I got to hang out with many of my best friends. I stayed with Brandon and Kara on Friday night. They treated me to dinner at Bellacino's, then we came back to the house and waited for our other old roommate, Mark, to arrive. After that, Kara hit the hay, but the guys stayed up and watched some TV for a while.

During the day yesterday, Mark and I headed out to a Chinese restaurant for lunch, then went bowling. I had not been bowling in five years. It was epically bad. We then headed across the street to hang out at an arcade for a while. I was pleased, they had Ms. Pac-Man, one of my favorites.

But last night was the big party. Many of us met up at Macado's, which I can safely say is my favorite restaurant. It's a place I miss a great deal while living in North Carolina. They have a couple locations in the state, but nowhere near Raleigh. If anyone from the Macado's corporate staff reads this, please consider opening a location in Raleigh. You could find a good space in Cameron Village. It's very close to the NC State campus. You'd make a killing.

Anyway, I had a great time hanging out with friends and family that I rarely see. But I won't ruin it by talking about it anymore. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Last Night of the Roaring 20s

This is not a post about the night of December 31, 1929. I'm sure an article about that night would be slightly depressing. After all, it was only two months after the stock market crashed, ushering in the Great Depression. So yeah, I think depressing is probably an appropriate year.

No, I'm writing about my evening last night. The night before my 30th birthday. The last night of my 20s.

I made the trip back to Roanoke from my current home in Wake Forest, NC. With the 30th birthday came the expiration of my driver's license. So I was forced to spend a great deal of time at the Division of Motor Vehicles. It is shockingly easy to reacquire one's license. All I had to do was sit and wait for an hour until they called my number, read the top line, and fork over 32 dollars. I haven't been tested on my driving skills in fourteen years, shouldn't they be worried about that?

After that, I drove out to my grandmother's house to visit with her and my mom for awhile. Mamaw had knee surgery several weeks ago, so I wanted to stop in and say hi. She seems to be doing really well. I didn't let her get up to show me her cartwheel, but I'm told she's walking very well without the aid of a walker.

After that I headed over to my friends' house. Brandon and Kara then treated me to dinner and we came back to the house to wait for Mark to get here from Bluefield. After that we didn't do a whole lot, other than sit around and talk. But that's what we tend to do when we get together. We reminisce. We laugh. We make fun of each other for things that happened eight years ago. Yeah, it's what we do.

Tonight I'll be getting together with a bunch of people at Macado's. It's gonna be awesome. And I'm pretty sure I could go for a nap before then though. Not sure I like the aging thing.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Question of the Week: Habits

What are your most compulsive habits? Do you regularly struggle to break these habits?

Does compulsive necessarily mean bad? I guess the word habit is generally used for a repetitive action that someone generally feels guilty about, or knows is bad for them. But I just don't think it necessarily has to be a bad thing. If you do it enough, exercise can become a habitual action, right? I don't really think I have a habit that I'm trying to break these days. If I've got a bad one that I should break, no one's called me out on it yet. Though I would say that I am a creature of habit. I enjoy a pretty regular routine. I don't go nuts if something happens to change that routine, but it's comfortable. Maybe that, in itself, is a bad habit.

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

Thursday, March 04, 2010


This commercial premiered during the Super Bowl this year, but it's been shown a bunch of times since then. Makes me laugh every time. Even makes me laugh whenever I see a Volkswagon come through the drive through at work. I'm thinking I should start playing Punch Bug just so I can release some stress during the work day. Enjoy...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Jeremy's Question

Jeremy's question: Who is your favorite President from the show 24? What else would you change or doe besides the holiday if you held the highest seat in the land?

Okay, favorite president from 24 is, hands down, David Palmer. All of the fictional presidents that have come along since him have paled in comparison. I mean, Charles Logan was a joke. And the current president, Allison Taylor, is way too whiny.

And I've thought about the change thing a lot over the years. I know it's impractical and it would never work, but I'd change some driving laws. I know that these things are governed by state laws, but I'd like to see a mandatory annual driving test for people over a certain age (to be determined). If, once they reach a certain age, and they are unable to skillfully operate a motor vehicle, it's time to take the license away. I know, many would argue that it takes away a great deal of their independence. I agree. But there would be programs in place to help the elderly to get where they need to be. All those people who have community service hours? Time to make them start chauffeuring folks wherever they need to go. Grandma has to get her hair done? We got a kid that was caught spray painting the overpass that can get her there.

Wait, do we really want our grandparents riding around with convicted criminals, even those with the slightest of offenses. I should probably rethink that one. You know what, I'll just let the vice president deal with that when the time comes. Next question!

Justin's Question

Justin's question: If you could live during a certain President's term, who would that President be?

I get bored at work sometimes. During those crazy, not busy times, I tend to surf Wikipedia. And since we all know that Wikipedia is probably the most accurate source of information out there, I'm probably an expert on everything now. And it's probably good that anyone can update Wikipedia since we're discovering new things about Abraham Lincoln every day. Did you know he was a vampire slayer?

Anyway, I think Thomas Jefferson's presidency would have been a good one to live under. He was a Virginian, so already he's got some bonus points. He invented the Lazy Susan. Very convenient when you want something that's on the other side of the table and you're too lazy to get up and reach for it. He liked to use domes in his buildings and those are very acoustical. And the man doubled the area of the United States thanks to a little thing called the Louisiana Purchase, maybe you've heard of it. I'm sure it was an exciting time for Americans. We were a new country and still stretching our legs. Though I don't think I'd have wanted to wear a wig.

Follow-up: If you could pick a President from the past to be the Chief Executive in the US today, who would you bring in?

The past president I would bring into today would be Lincoln. The man spent pretty much his entire presidency dealing with a country that was torn apart and didn't get a chance to really lead once the union was reunited. I think it would be interesting to see what he could have done with the whole of the United States.

Follow-up-Follow-up: Which movie President do you think would make the best actual President?

Finally, there are so many movie presidents, it's difficult to pick one. I will say that President Whitmore's speech near the end of Independence Day was inspiring, and the fact that he was willing to get in a plane and go head to head against the aliens said a lot about his character. But I'm gonna have to go with President Tom Beck, portrayed by Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact. Granted, we didn't see anymore about his politics than we did with Bill Pullman's president, but the glimpses we did get of Beck showed a man of integrity. He was the kind of guy that could remain optimistic about the future but was also willing to make the difficult decisions when forced to face the reality of his situation.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Heather's Question

Heather's question: If you could create one new holiday what would it be? When and how would we celebrate it?

This is a hard question. 'Cause it seems to me that all the good, practical holidays have been thought of. As far as Christianity goes, we've got the birth and resurrection of Christ covered. Thanksgiving makes pretty good sense, even in a secular world. And then there's Independence Day, always good to remind people of some patriotism. I'm a fan of the Memorial Day and the Veterans' Day, always good to remember what people have sacrificed in order for us to take our freedom for granted. As for the others, I'm not sure most of them make sense. Important birthdays? I have to take a vacation day for my birthday, doesn't seem fair to me. New Year's Day? Really, what's the point of that? So that a bunch of people can get over their hangovers? I mean, the party sort of fizzles at midnight the night before, right? That can't be much different than most nights, maybe a little later than normal for some, but come on. Valentine's Day? Don't get me started. So if I were to create a new holiday, it would have to be friggin' awesome.

You know, that's what we'll call it. Awesome Day. It would be a mandatory Monday holiday in April, giving government, postal, and bank workers a day off. To celebrate (and this is optional, no one should be made to do anything they don't want to do), people would get together and celebrate each other's awesomeness. Sure, it would be an excuse to have a cook-out and toss back some beverages of whatever kind the participants so choose. But it would be awesome. Not like some lame cook-out on the 4th of July. Awesome Day actually sounds kind of lame. I'm sorry, I just shouldn't be put in charge of re-creating our calendar. Remember that when I'm president.

Josh's Question

Josh's question: If you had to choose one, what character from The Goonies would you be and why?
Excellent question, Josh. I would absolutely want to be Brand. Sure he failed his driver's test, but he was older and cooler than all the other kids. I think Mikey would technically be considered the leader of their little gang, but who did they really look to when it was important? Who did the guys follow when it was time for a bathroom break? Also, who got the girl in the end? Yeah, I rest my case.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Crystal's Question

Please, oh please, tell me your thoughts about the Idols so far. Do you have some predictions yet for a winner this season?

Crystal, of course, is referring to American Idol. Actually Crystal, I have not been watching American Idol this season. I caught a few of the audition episodes, but other than that I really haven't watched it. I saw one of the Hollywood episodes and was unimpressed, overall, with the kids they had left. So I'm sorry, I have no predictions for this year. I'm not sure what the deal is, there just isn't anything happening on there to grab my attention this year. And I've been staying pretty busy. Tuesdays I'm involved in a Bible study now, so if I make it home for any TV, I try to watch Lost, but usually I end up catching up on that and 24 over at the Greenehouse on Wednesday nights when nothing is going on. Since I don't have my own DVR anymore, I have to go with other people's priorities.

Sarah's Question

Are you still planning on meeting for dinner in [location redacted] for your birthday this weekend?

Yes I am. 7pm, [location redacted]. Anyone who's able to be there it'd be great to see you. I keep meaning to call and give them a heads up. I'm sure I can't do a reservation, but at last count, I think about 20 people are planning to be there. We'll see...

Uh, yeah, did you really think I was just gonna advertise where I was meeting all my friends for dinner on a blog that anyone in the world can read? Get real people! While I do appreciate having many readers (when I do eventually have many readers that I'm sure will arrive any day now), I just can't have you all showing up and crashing my birthday. Come on now!