Monday, January 31, 2011

Superman: Earth One

Title: Superman: Earth One
Author: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Shane Davis
Published: 2010

Am I allowed to do graphic novels as a part of my 2011 Reading List? I don't see why not. I mean, they're stories written by legitimate writers. Just because the words are accompanied by lots of pictures, I don't think that makes them any less relevant. You know what? It's my reading list, I can do whatever I want to!

Anyway, I picked this one up a couple months ago. At first I wasn't going to. I mean, at the time, I looked at it as an over-sized, over-priced, and over-hyped comic book. Not that there's anything wrong with that. A few years ago, I would have just bought it simply because it's a Superman story. But money's tighter than it used to be, now that I'm balancing a budget and paying bills. So I held off. Until I saw all the reviews.

Okay, I was just reading the reviews of other comic book geeks, but a lot of people seemed to like it. At that point, I got it. But I just never opened it to read it. Again, it's because I had some fairly pre-conceived notions about what it would be. It's another Superman origin story. How many different ways can you tell the story of the infant Kal-El being rocketed away from the doomed planet Krypton to land on Earth and become the hero known as Superman? Apparently, there are a lot of ways you can tell that story.

It's been done over and over again. Most recently, writer Geoff Johns did it in a mini-series called Superman: Secret Origin. And then the new Earth One came out. Side note: Johns is doing a Batman: Earth One graphic novel that's due out this year. That's right, another Batman origin story.

Anyway, I finally picked this up and read it. May as well, it cost me $17 to get it. But I tried to go into it by not thinking of this as the Superman I've grown up knowing and reading about. The few complaints I'd heard about this book were about how this just isn't the same Superman we've all known and loved for years. But that's sort of the point of this "Earth One" series. DC Comics wants to take this world that's outside of it's 75 year continuity and start with something fresh. This is supposed to be the Superman for the 21st Century. Does it succeed?

I read that one reviewer referred to this Superman as a "Marvel-ized" Superman. I'm not exactly sure what all that description implies. Mostly because I've never read Marvel Comics. Most people like to point out that Marvel's heroes are more flawed and more human than DC's heroes. I guess I can buy that. Does that mean that this version of Superman is more flawed or human than the standard issue? I'm not so sure.

I will say that this is definitely not Superman as we've always known him. This Superman is young and he's full of all kinds of angst. He's in his early 20s and he's just left Smallville for the first time. We get the sense that he doesn't really know what he wants to do with his life. We also get the impression that his adopted father, Jonathan, has recently passed away. So, despite moving to Metropolis after graduation from a junior college, he feels the heavy burden of wanting to take care of his mom, Martha Kent.

Clark soon goes job hunting. But it isn't like a typical 20-something pounding the pavement. This is a guy that can do anything. Literally. He tries out for professional sports teams. We get a glimpse of a Superman who has a super-intelligence as well as super-strength. But through it all, he's not able to find a career path that makes him happy. At this point, you want to stop feeling sorry for him.

I get it. I'm 30 years old and I still don't know what I want to do with my life. Well, I know what I want to do, I'm just not sure how to really get there. So I understand what it would feel like to be in a new place, not knowing how to find happiness. Maybe it's a more realistic take on what a kid with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men would be feeling. But I'm not so sure. I mean, yeah, he's the last of his kind, so there's that sense that he feels alone. But he was raised by the Kents. These are salt-of-the-earth kind of people who treated Clark as if he was their own flesh and blood. With the love that he was raised with, Clark Kent never had a reason to feel alone.

That's my only real complaint about this new take on an old story. Aside from that, we see a lot of action and an overall great introduction of a hero to the world. Superman is forced to battle an alien named Tyrell, who apparently comes from the same solar system as Superman. Tyrell's people come from a planet that is a neighbor to Krypton, and apparently these races were at war with each other off and on for centuries. Eventually, Tyrell's people were given the capability to destroy Krypton by an unknown benefactor. I smell a sequel, especially since this benefactor was never revealed to the reader.

Superman saves the day. Clark gets a job working for the Daily Planet. We meet Lois and Jimmy and Perry. Everything else sort of falls into place.

All told, it's a pretty decent story. And the artwork by Shane Davis is pretty awesome as well. I'm not sure if I'll be reading any more graphic novels as a part of my goal of 50 books this year. But if I do, try not to judge me.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Randy gripped the aluminum bat tightly in his hands. He stood next to home plate and stared down the pitcher. This was his second at bat in the game and this time he would get the hit.

In his first trip to the plate, Randy had gone down swinging. That kind of thing was always embarrassing for him. He had the best batting average on the team. So when any pitcher was able to strike him out like that, it was hard for him to let it go.

In the three innings since that strikeout, he had watched the pitcher. Randy knew his patterns now. And he waited for the pitch that would give him a home run. Okay, Randy knew that was unrealistic. Though he had a great batting average, he wasn't a power hitter. He may not get the home run, but he'd settle for a base hit. A double would be nice.

Randy expected the first pitch to be low and away. There would be no need to even bring the bat off his shoulder. The man on the mound threw the ball, and just as Randy predicted, it was low and away. It was blatantly outside the strike zone. Randy smiled back at the pitcher as if to say, "I've got you now."

The second pitch would either be a fastball down the middle, or he'd try to make him chase a change up. Randy had to watch and he had to be quick. The baseball came and he swung the bat. He made contact, but the ball flew away just to the outside of the third base line. Foul ball.

Randy was getting fed up. He wanted to get the hit and get on base. He tried to stay calm. He knew when he got impatient he got sloppy. But he couldn't help it. This was his mission, to get a hit off this cocky pitcher that sent him down in the first inning.

The third pitch came. Randy didn't think, he just swung. He made solid contact with the ball and it flew between the short stop and third baseman. Randy took off towards first. Out of the corner of this eye he saw the left fielder scoop up his grounder. But he would be on base long before the ball even left the fielder's hand.

When he got to first base, he stood there and looked at the pitcher. The pitcher wasn't looking back at him anymore. Randy just smiled again. He was safe on base. He got his hit.

Today's writing prompt is brought to you by Sunday Scribblings.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Where Were You?

There are certain events in history that trigger the question, "Where were you?" The question is asked in relation to hearing the news that something terrible has happened. For my grandparents' generation, the question can pertain to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. For my parents' generation, it can mean the assassination of JFK. For me, I can think of two such events: 9/11 and the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle.

Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster. And this was the question that my assistant manager at work asked us all. He and I are close in age, so our answers were similar. We were in school, watching the launch live on CNN. Students in classes across the country were watching as the Challenger lifted off because, for the first time, a civilian, a teacher, was being taken into orbit. I was in kindergarten, so I honestly don't remember much in regards to my reaction or the reactions of the kids and teachers around me. I remember shock. And I remember not understanding what we had seen.

So, if you're old enough to remember, where were you?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Question of the Week: Vengeance

Someone you love deeply is brutally murdered and you know the identity of the murderer, who unfortunately is acquitted of the crime. Would you seek revenge?

That all depends. How much do I have by way of resources? I mean, billionaire Bruce Wayne had all kinds of advantages in order to become Batman.

I have no doubt that there's a big part of me that would want to. But is it really revenge that I'd be seeking, or would it be justice? If this person has been acquitted of the crime, but it's a known fact that he or she committed the murder, is that considered justice? Simply because of a technicality?

Revenge is defined as exacting punishment for a wrong, especially in a resentful or vindictive spirit. Justice is the administering of deserved punishment or reward. A known murderer walking free has not received justice. But if it were me seeking justice in that kind of case, it would turn into revenge. It seems the only difference between the two is the spirit in which the punishment is carried out. The murder of a loved one would certainly cause me to seek revenge with a vindicitive spirit.

But I don't think I'd be able to bring myself to carry out any kind of true vengeance. I would probably be a lot of talk, and even then it'd mostly be under my breath. I'd wish horrible things upon the murderer, but I'm not exactly Mr. Confrontation. My over-comic-booked moral code would want to rationalize justice over vengeance, and then, who am I to decide what's just? We live in a country where we're supposed to trust the justice system. It isn't perfect, but it's what we've got. I guess that's what I'd have to live with. It would be painful watching someone get away with the murder of someone I loved, but I don't think I'd be able to live with that person's blood on my conscience either.

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode XCV

To the spoiled rich customers out there who like getting whatever you want just because you carry a certain average balance with my bank, stop coming to the drive through if you want us to wipe your butt for you. If you want a personal banker to hold your hand while you get all your transactions processed, you need to come inside and sit down at the customer service desk.

Scenario: A wealthy business owner came to my drive-thru. I've seen this man any number of times. He makes deposits into his business accounts. That's all I've ever helped him with. On this particular day, he came with a deposit and a check to cash. First of all, the check he was cashing was for $1500. I've been told that I'm not supposed to cash checks for more than a thousand at the drive-thru. This is for security purposes. But we were short handed that day and I didn't feel like dealing with the backlash of asking him to come inside.

When he initially drove up, I was already helping someone in the lobby. The lobby customer had multiple transactions. And I was treating them as I treat everyone, first come, first served. When I completed her transactions, I turned back to the window and ran the wealthy douche bag's deposit. When I saw the amount of the check, I asked for his ID. At this point he began throwing a temper tantrum.

"You don't recognize me?!" He then spouted off some obscenities, which I will spare you here.

"I do recognize you, but I've never cashed a check for you before, I just have to record that I saw it," I said, maintaining my calm.

He then proceeds to tell me to hurry up because he doesn't have time to sit around and wait. He also told me to make sure I didn't screw up on his deposit like I did last time. For the record, I have messed up his deposit before. It wasn't anything that he or I didn't catch right away. He's one of those guys that likes to just throw a pile of paperwork into the drawer without separating anything. So he could have one deposit ticket followed by a couple checks, and then another deposit ticket and a few more checks. When you're looking for speed and accuracy, help your teller out by having things separate. Just a good rule of thumb.

I'm barely containing my rage at this point. Not only has he shouted obscenities through the speaker at me, he's questioning my ability to even do the job I'm being paid to do. I counted out his money and passed it out to him. I ended the transaction with the same script I always do. It's nice to have the script when a customer is doing everything in his or her power to piss you off. He yelled back that I need to do a better job of recognizing my customers.

You know, for a very long time I've called into question whether or not I'm even cut out for customer service of any kind. I may not be very good at selling things or talking people into opening new accounts, but I can be polite and courteous 'til the cows come home. There are a lot of times when I may be repressing other feelings while trying to make the customer feel warm and welcome, but I've gotten pretty good at faking it when the situation calls for it.

I really don't want to become one of those cynical types that just completely hates working with people. I don't want to be someone that completely hates being around people altogether. But people like that make it really difficult to ever want to break out of this shell I've managed to build up around myself for so long. People like that, who just seem to be looking for a reason to complain and lookin for a reason to pick a fight are the kind of people that I don't want to deal with. It's people like that that make me want to quit this job on a daily basis. It isn't my co-workers. It isn't even the expectations that the powers that be have on me and my job performance. It's the rude, arrogant, selfish [expletive deleted] that make their way through here and make unreasonable demands of the people who are doing nothing but trying to help them.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Silver Chair

Title: The Silver Chair
Author: C.S. Lewis
Published: 1953

I'm slowly working my way through C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. I say slowly, not because I'm reading the individual books slowly, but because I'm not reading them consecutively. Mostly, I pick one up when I don't have another book readily available for me to read. At some point during the course of last year, I read the first three: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Apparently, there's some argument over the order in which these books should be read. For some reason, at some point, people decided it would be a good idea to read them in Narnian chronological order. But I prefer to read them in the order in which they were published. That makes this book 4, not book 6 (even though the paperback set I have lists this as book 6). I don't get why it's so important. For me, I think it's just personal preference.

Anyway, of the four Chronicles that I've read thus far, this is my least favorite. Maybe it's because none of the original children appear. The Pevensie siblings are all gone from the story at this point, leaving us with their cousin, Eustace Scrubb (what a horrible name) and his new friend from school, Jill Pole. A lot of the book seems to be told from Jill's perspective since this is her first trip to Narnia.

When running from some school bullies, Eustace and Jill find themselves in Aslan's country on the far side of the sea. Aslan sends them both to Narnia with a quest: to find the elderly King Caspian's long lost son, Prince Rilian. Caspian is the same Caspian as seen in the previous two novels, in case you weren't really following along. Anyway, Rilian had been missing for ten years after riding off to the north to take out the snake that had killed his mother (who was briefly seen in Dawn Treader). So Aslan sent the two kids from the real world to go and find the Prince so there would be a proper king in Narnia when Caspian passed away. Adventures ensue and the Prince is saved. And there was much rejoicing in the land.

Not sure what it is about this installment that I didn't particularly care for. It isn't that it's a bad book. In fact, the scenes toward the end, when our heroes confront the antagonist, the Queen of the Underland, there are a lot of those Christian allusions that C.S. Lewis is famous for. I'm just saying, over all, I still like the first one better.

And now I need another book to read. It'll either be The Horse and His Boy or some other book if I can find one that I don't necessarily have to buy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode XCIV

It isn't often that I get customers that are genuinely entertaining. Most of the time, I get customers that cause angry and frustrated feelings in me. In fact, most of the ones who think they're entertaining just end up being infuriating. People with eccessive personalities usually fall into that category. But today, I was lucky enough to get a really entertaining customer.

A man came into the lobby and I just happened to be free enough to help him out. He came up to the window and handed me a check. He said that some friends from his church gave it to him at Christmas and he wanted to cash it. He also gave me his ID, so I started doing my job. I looked over the check and saw how it was made out. The line containing the "Pay to the Order of" note was made out to Christ the King.

I was a little confused. But I continued on. I asked the man if "Christ the King" was the title of a business. My reasoning here was that it could be the name of a church. Pretty sure I've come across churches with that title before. He proceeded to inform me that it was not the name of a business. That it was meant to be Jesus Christ, hence, Christ the King.

Okay, I know I've been pretty lax on my church attendance of late. But I did grow up in church. Even without my years at a Baptist college, I spent enough time in Sunday School to know that this guy wasn't Jesus. Besides, the ID he handed me said his name was Todd. But I wasn't sure what to say. For a good 10-15 seconds I just stood there, looking from the check to his ID, unsure how to break the news to this guy, I can't cash this check. What if he actually thinks he's Jesus? You hear stories about people out there who have these delusions. I didn't want to be responsible for destroying this guy's psyche.

When I found my voice again, I told him I wouldn't be able to cash it. I simply informed him he'd have to take it back to the people that made the check and it would have to be made out in his name before I could do anything with it. Even if the guy thought he was Jesus, technically, Christ the King is a title, not a name. But, you know, call me Thomas if you want, but I'd really have to see more proof that this guy was really the Son of God. A North Carolina driver's license telling me your name is Todd just isn't gonna cut it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

AFI 98 - Yankee Doodle Dandee

Yankee Doodle Dandy
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Netflix sleeve: James Cagney won the Best Actor Oscar for his lively portrayal of "Mr. Broadway," George M. Cohan, in this lavish screen biography that highlights Cagney in some of his finest song-and-dance routines. Cohan, a playwright, entertainer, composer and patriot, made his mark on the vaudeville stage and penned countless memorable tunes, including "Over There," "It's a Grand Old Flag," "Give My Regards to Broadway" and the film's rousing title number.

Up until now, I've never seen a single film with James Cagney. I know the name, I've seen people do impersonations over the years, I've just never seen anything that he's been in. It's not that I don't like to watch old movies. That's really not my problem. I've known people who refuse to watch movies if they're filmed in black and white. I'm not that way at all. Sadly, I just never turn on Turner Classic Movies to watch the older films. Yankee Doodle Dandy is a movie that I wasn't really looking forward to getting to on the list, even though its just third from the bottom. And that's only because I didn't know much about it. I didn't know it was based on the life of a real person. I didn't know it contained a number of songs that I'd heard countless times over the years. I didn't know that Cagney could dance. That's probably something I would have known if I'd seen more of his pictures. Some of the times when he's dancing on the stage, he looks a little like a marionette whose strings have been cut. Not saying that's bad, his movement is just kind of crazy. The character that Cagney portrayed was an incredibly patriotic individual and it showed in nearly all of his work. His life story is told as a lead up to President Roosevelt presenting him with the Congressional Medal of Honor in the end. Does that count as a spoiler if the movie was released nearly 70 years ago? I hope I didn't just ruin it for you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


This is the fourth part of an unplanned series. If you want to get caught up on who these people are, you can go to part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Alex was amazed at how nervous he still felt whenever he was with Alyson. After dating for more than a year, he was beginning to think that she would always have this effect on him. However, it was possible that, tonight, his nerves were amplified by the tiny box in the pocket of his jeans.

Aly had made him promise that he would take her into the city as soon as summer hit. So here it was, June 21, and they were walking along the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Alex had always loved seeing pictures of all the amazing buildings and monuments in DC as a kid. Now that he lived so close, he realized that he didn't make it into the city nearly as often as he would have liked. Bringing Alyson for a night on the town was a great excuse to see some of the sights.

They walked hand in hand as the sun set behind the 16th president. Alex's free hand kept straying into his pocket as he nervously ran his fingers over the felt on the box. Each time he did so, he had to mentally remind himself to stop, for fear of rubbing all the felt off.

"I know I said 'as soon as it's summer,' but you didn't have to take me literally," Alyson said looking up at Alex. "We've got work tomorrow. It's kind of gonna cut into our ability to stay out late tonight."

"We could always call in sick," Alex said.

Alyson gave a very short laugh. "You fall back on that one a lot. You act like you don't like your job."

Alex stopped walking and let go of Aly's hand. She turned to face him. What she saw almost frightened her. His face had lost all color. From where she stood, it looked like Alex was going to be sick.

"I love that job," said Alex, but Alyson knew he wasn't talking about the job. "No matter what happens in our lives, that office will always be the place where I met you. It'll always be the place where I fell in love with the one woman that I want to spend forever with."

And with that, Alex dropped to one knee. Alyson's hands flew to her face, trying to hide the surprise as she gasped for air. His hand went to his pocket again, but this time, he pulled out the box. He opened it and held it out, revealing the ring that he had been holding onto since Christmas. There was nothing more to his speech. Just the simple question: "Will you marry me?"

Right there, standing by the reflecting pool, with dozens of tourists and Abraham Lincoln watching, Alyson said yes. Alex jumped up, unable to hide his joy. He grabbed the love of his life and held her in his arms, kissing her as if they'd never kissed before. He slid the ring on her finger and she kissed him again.

This wasn't what he had planned. In fact, he had stopped trying to plan the perfect proposal months before. Nothing seemed to work out. Every idea he came up with just came off seeming cheesy in his mind. So he just decided to constantly keep the ring in his pocket, hoping that he would just know when the moment was right.

In that moment, hugging his bride-to-be, he knew that the moment had been right. All because she said yes.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Facebook Song

It's another YouTube Saturday. I came across this little ditty a couple weeks ago and it made me laugh. Enjoy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Question of the Week: Tattoo

If, by having a 2 inch by 2 inch tattoo, you could save five lives and prevent a terrorist attack, would you do so? If you were allowed to select the location and design, where would you have it and what would the design be?

Heck yeah, I'd do it. I've never had any problem with a tattoo. And if it's gonna save lives, why not? The only reason I've never gotten a tattoo before is because I'm indecisive. The thought has crossed my mind a number of times of getting something inked somewhere, but I just don't know what or where. And that's a pretty big commitment to make. Especially if one can't really decide what tattoo one wants.

As for what I'd get and where, I'm not sure I can answer that part of the question. I'm not married and have never been close, so it's not like I'd be too tempted to have a girl's name tattooed anywhere. I'm a big comic book geek, so maybe I could do the Superman 'S'-shield. Or maybe the Green Lantern symbol. On my left arm. Maybe with some kind of cool design coming off it, or made to look like it's behind the symbol. Or maybe I could get a butterfly. On the small of my back. I don't know, it's a lot to think about. I'd want it to be something that I would enjoy having when I'm 80 years old. 'Cause if I'm gonna last that long, so will the tattoo.

At least I'll know that I stopped a terrorist plot. Not sure exactly how I went about saving the world by sitting in a tattoo parlor. Maybe the tattoo artist was inadvertently apart of some plan to take over Nakatomi Plaza, and by deciding to sit in his chair at the last minute, I delayed him from something he was planning to do. And then his "friend" that was really a terrorist without the tattoo artist's knowledge was unable to trick the artist into doing something which would have turned out to be the lynchpin in the whole operation. Hans, in his anger, would have done something stupid, calling attention to himself and his crew. The FBI and Homeland Security would have stepped in and shipped them all off to Guantanamo Bay.

World saved. The end. True story.

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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

AFI 99 - Toy Story

Disclaimer: Ben-Hur was supposed to be my first movie on this list, since it's at the bottom. But Netflix has it on a "long wait," so who knows how long that will be. And so, we begin, instead, with 99...

Toy Story
Directed by John Lasseter
Netflix sleeve: Cowboy-toy Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) feels threatened when overblown space ranger Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) arrives with a suitcase full of bells and whistles. But both dolls are lost when the family moves--and finding their way home is only half the adventure. Director John Lasseter won a special Academy Award for this groundbreaking, computer-animated film that also earned Oscar nods for its music and screenplay.

This one takes me back to my childhood. Okay, not really. I was 15 when it came out. So I was somewhat past childhood when I first saw this one. I do remember how great I thought it was, and I still think it's great. Having seen the stuff that Disney and Pixar have come out with in recent years, however, it's kind of amazing to see how far they've come. To say that animation has advanced in the 15 years between this one and Toy Story 3 would be an understatement. And the fact that a sequel was made so long after the original speaks to how relevant the movie is. It had been a while since I'd watched the original Toy Story, and I'd forgotten how much fun it is and how many small jokes are thrown in that make it so great. Definitely worthy of the top 100. But 99? Come on, I think we can do better than that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Last Words

Monday night I watched another touching episode of How I Met Your Mother. A couple weeks ago I wrote about the previous episode, in which Marshall's father passed away. Being someone who's lost a parent, TV shows and movies that deal with this kind of situation tend to have an effect on me. There was a part of me that didn't want to watch this episode, simply because I knew it would be dealing with the aftermath of this character's death. I'm never sure what emotional state I'll be in after seeing something like that. But I watched. And I promise, I won't be writing posts about every new episode of How I Met Your Mother. I won't turn into that guy.

The title of the episode was "Last Words," and centered around Marshall's father's funeral. At one point, the minister sat down with the family and asked about Mr. Eriksen's last words to each of them. All of Marshall's family had different touching moments, while Marshall's final memory was of his father telling him to rent Crocodile Dundee 3. Not exactly a sentimental moment. We find out that everyone in the group had recent memories of conversations with their fathers, and none of the last words were exactly stellar.

I couldn't help but think back to the night my own father died. The last conversation I had with him was on the phone. It wasn't a special phone call. There was no indication that it would be the last time I ever spoke with him. But the reason behind the call was incredibly indicative of the kind of man he was. Mom had had some outpatient surgery a few days before. He was just calling to remind me that I should give her a call, just to check up on her. Like I said, it wasn't a deep or meaningful call. But the last conversation I had with my Dad was about him thinking of the needs of someone else. That's a quality that I'll always remember in my father, and a quality that I wish I had more of myself.

Life is unpredictable. So is death. We never know when our last moments are going to be. It's important that the people around us know how we really feel about them. But should we place so much importance on final words? If I'm on the phone with my Mom while I'm driving and someone slams into me in an intersection (and lets assume that my talking on the phone has not inhibited my ability to drive and I had the right of way), my final words aren't going to be "I love you," as the car smashes into me. I can assume what my final words would actually be, but I really shouldn't type them here. Trying to keep these things as family friendly as possible.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here. I really don't think "last words" are all that important. But I guess we really don't want to end conversations in regret either. And that's... one to grow on.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Death and Life of Superman

Title: The Death and Life of Superman
Author: Roger Stern
Published: 1993

We're all aware that DC Comics killed Superman back in the early 90s, right? In fact, it wasn't that long ago that I wrote about the original comic book storyline. Well, this book is a pretty exhaustive novelization of that comic book storyline.

And when I say exhaustive, I mean exhaustive. The thing with comic books is that the stories are told to build upon years of history and storytelling. What Roger Stern attempts to do with this novel is make the "Death of Superman" story accessible to any and all possible readers.

In a way, this is good. If someone who had never picked up a Superman comic book in their lives decided to read this book, they would have all the information they could possibly need in order to understand how Superman could be beaten to death by the monster called Doomsday. They would have the information necessary to understand who Lex Luthor II was; who Supergirl was; who the Eradicator, the Man of Steel, the Cyborg-Superman, and Superboy all were. It's complicated.

In a way, it's bad as well. It's not just complicated. It's super-complicated. Comic books are filled with back story and plot threads that can stretch back for years, even decades in some cases. Considering all the information Stern had to condense into one book, he did a pretty good job. But it was a lot of information.

This book originally came out when I was 13 years old. I know that's when I bought it. And I'm fairly certain I read it all the way through way back when. But this is not a book for children. It isn't that it contains anything that's solely meant for a mature audience. It's just so dense, I'm not sure that my 13-year-old self would have really enjoyed or fully comprehended all that I read. To be honest, I had a difficult time choking through it at the age of 30. And I'm about as big a Superman fan as you can find.

For me, "The Death of Superman" storyline was always an awesome piece of storytelling. And the stories that followed it, "Funeral for a Friend" and "Reign of the Supermen," were equally exciting. But they just don't translate well in novel format. Part of the excitement of reading the comics as a kid was seeing all the artwork that would practically jump off the pages. I've got a pretty good imagination, but after seeing it in one medium, imagining it based on words alone is entirely different.

It wasn't a bad read. But it's not something I'll be picking up a third time to read again. Well, maybe again in another 18 years.

Monday, January 17, 2011


No one ever saw me coming. Sure, in my younger years I may have been something to see. I had my share of admirers, but I never took any of those ladies, or myself for that matter, very seriously at all. For a short time, I thought I was on top of the world. It's funny how one can make a few missteps and have it all come crashing down.

By the time I reached the age of 70, I was living alone in a home that was falling apart all around me. I didn't have the ability, nor did I care enough to make any repairs. Eventually I even stopped caring about taking care of myself. I bathed only when I felt like it, which was a rare case. Laundry was a virtually unheard of activity. I was unhappy and lonely.

No one ever came to call. Who would want to come see an old man like me anyway? I had heard what the neighborhood kids would say about my house. But that's all they saw when they looked in. They saw an old, run down house. They never saw the old, run down man living within.

Most days I would just sit in my house, waiting for death to claim me. But it seemed like it would never come.

The only solace I found in those days were the times I would walk to the river to go fishing. We tend to see a lot of rain in the state of Washington, so on those occasional sunny days, I would grab my pole and go for a walk. It wasn't much to look forward to, but it was something.

I had a sort of secret place along the river. I had been visiting the spot for nearly 20 years and had never seen another soul. It was peaceful and quiet. It did nothing to alleviate my loneliness, but it was a good place to catch a few fish.

The last time I went there was different than any other fishing trip. A group of four youngsters found their way to my secret spot. They came running along and jumped into the river, not far from where I had cast my line. They hadn't seen me, or if they had, they'd just ignored me. At first I was angry. All the noise and splashing would be sure to scare the fish away. So I started to pack up my gear.

But as I was gathering my things, I watched these kids, who couldn't have been older than 20 or 21. They were having fun. Together. They were laughing and carrying on without a care in the world. At 73 years old, I didn't have a care in the world, but I was miserable. Maybe that's the difference in being a part of something, or having someone to be a part of something with.

I turned to walk away when I heard the scream. Startled, I looked back over my shoulder toward the river. One of the girls was lying face down in the water, her body being carried slowly down stream. Her young friends were in a state of panic. One of the boys was trying desperately to get to the girl's unconscious form, but the current was too strong, and he was too inexperienced a swimmer.

On the bank of that river my mind raced. When I was around the age of these four kids, I had been a champion swimmer. I never went to the Olympics, or even competed on a national level, but locally, I was on top for a few good years. I watched as this child could be drowning and wondered if I still had what it took to make my way down the river to save the girl.

There was nothing to do but try. I stripped off my overcoat and heavy boots and got into the water as quickly as I could. The cold temperature stole my breath away, but my muscles burned as I used them in ways that they hadn't been used in years. I was amazed that I hadn't forgotten how to move in the water, even after all these years. The memory in my muscles came flooding back as I pushed my way down stream. I reached the girl, turned her over, and began the hard work of carrying her to dry land.

I pulled her onto the rocky terrain and collapsed once we were both out of the water. I lay on my back, barely aware of what was going on around me. That swim must have taken more out of me than I thought it would. I knew I didn't have the luxury of catching my breath. What if that girl had water in her lungs? Someone would need to perform mouth-to-mouth and get her breathing again.

I tried opening my eyes, but all I could see was a bright blur. I could hear the voices of the other kids rushing towards us. I couldn't make out everything they were saying. "Where did he come from?" "Was he there the whole time?" "Did you see how fast he was swimming?"

I felt my head being propped up. For a moment, my vision began to become clearer. The other girl from the little group was holding my hand, telling me that I was going to be okay. She was thanking me for helping Dana. I couldn't speak. All I could think was, Who's Dana?

I heard coughing and sputtering. When I looked over to the girl I had pulled out of the river, she was turning over and breathing again. Thank God! The boys that had been working to help her breathe rushed over to me. One looked like he was on a phone. The other checked my pulse. I head him say, "I think something's wrong."

My eyes closed, almost involuntarily. I continued hearing the voices of these children, but they kept sounding further and further away. Eventually it was like hearing them through a tunnel. The only sensation I felt was that of the girl's hand in mine. She never let go.

In the end, I guess that last swim was just too much for my old body to take. For several years, in my misery, I kept wishing for death to come. I guess the good Lord had His own reasons for keeping me around as long as He did. I died that day, with more joy in my heart than I had felt in more years than I could remember.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Green Hornet

The Green Hornet was before my time. But to be fair, so was the Adam West Batman TV series. But I watched that show all the time as a kid. And to this point, the only knowledge I had of Green Hornet or his faithful sidekick, Kato, came from the few episodes of Batman that crossed over with the old Green Hornet series. Based on that, I really don't remember much. Also, I saw Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, so I knew that Bruce Lee played Kato back in the day.

That being said, I got the impression that the Green Hornet was a more serious kind of hero than Batman was. But, if you watch the 60s Batman series, it's clear to see that I would be a more serious hero than that Batman. Anyway, thinking about my very small memory of the old hero, Seth Rogen was not the man I ever would have thought of as the actor to update the character. Nothing against the guy, he's just not someone I picture in a serious or even an action role.

Another impression I had was that the Green Hornet really didn't do much. All the action was because of Kato. I mean, come on. Kato was Bruce freakin' Lee. And what's the Green Hornet got? A gas gun? Okay... I'd be more afraid of the chauffeur with the lightning fists. Maybe that's just me.

I wasn't really planning to see this movie. It wasn't that I didn't want to see it. It's just that movies are expensive. Even a matinee cuts into the budget, so the movie better be worth the price of admission. But, when the opportunity presented itself to take the oldest of the Greene kids to see it, I said sure. I've neglected hanging out with the Most Awesome Person I Know and her kids for a while, and no, going to one movie with one of the kids doesn't totally make up for that, but it's a step in that direction. But then I saw that the local theater was only showing Green Hornet in 3D. And disappointment set in.

If it had just been me, I definitely wouldn't have gone to see it, just on principle. I may have said it before on this blog, but I think it's worth stating again: I hate 3D. I read somewhere once, "If you can't make a movie good, make it 3D." To me, adding the third dimension does not make a movie better at all. All it does is jack up the ticket price, and cause me to leave the movie theater with strained eyes and a headache. But for some reason, 3D is all the rage. Thanks a lot James Cameron. For these reasons, I'd really rather not pay extra just to see something jump off the screen. When it comes down to it, I'd rather wait until it comes to the local Redbox so I can watch it without needing an Excedrin after I'm done. But it wasn't just me.

I was relieved to find out that the Oldest was disappointed that the movie was in 3D as well. He's pretty mature for his age. Most kids in their early teens, I assume, would jump on a movie simply because it's in 3D. The Oldest is smart enough to know that 3D does not equal a better movie. Having seen this movie now, however, I can safely say that 3D was not necessary. The movie was pretty good on its own merits.

You have Britt Reid (Seth Rogen), a spoiled son of newspaper publisher James Reid (Tom Wilkinson). Britt doesn't take anything seriously and doesn't have a lot of respect for his father. When James dies from an allergic reaction to a bee sting, Britt is suddenly forced to grow up as he takes over his father's role of publisher. At this point, he comes across Kato (Jay Chou), who was under-appreciated and under-utilized as an employee of James Reid. Britt soon finds out that Kato's skill set goes far beyond fixing cars and making coffee. After a certain set of circumstances forces them to expose themselves, Britt and Kato decide to become heroes.

But they do it differently than the traditional heroes. Britt has the idea that they should make themselves look like criminals. His thinking here is that if the bad guys think that they're the bad guys, they can't use innocent lives to back them into a corner as the good guys. They quickly show up on the radar of criminal mastermind Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz). From there the movie follows a pretty standard formula. There are a lot of action sequences. There is a meeting with the villain that doesn't go so well for the heroes. There's a misunderstanding between the heroes involving Cameron Diaz. You know, the usual.

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. I went in not expecting much, especially with the addition of 3D. But it was, overall, pretty good. Christoph Waltz makes a fantastic bad guy. He might be the best part of Inglorious Basterds. And Jay Chou had some pretty good moves. I mean, he's no Bruce Lee, but come on, he was Bruce freakin' Lee. And the humor wasn't too over the top. I never got the feeling that they were trying to mock the super-hero genre, which is pretty easy to do. Seth Rogen had a hand in writing the movie, and I get the impression that he has a lot of respect for the history that comes along with the Green Hornet.

I think it's worth seeing. But if you can find a theater that will show it in standard 2D, go with that one. Don't give Hollywood the satisfaction of getting your extra two bucks just to wear some really uncomfortable glasses.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

AFI Top 100 Films

In 1998, the American Film Institute unveiled its list of the 100 greatest movies of the previous 100 years. Their list began with 400 movies which were nominated. From there, 1,500 leaders in the film industry were polled, whittling the list down to the 100 that were presented on a television special. In 2007, the list was updated in time for the 10th anniversary of the list. According to Wikipedia, the films were judged on the following criteria:

1. Feature Length: Narrative format, at least 40 minutes long.
2. American Film: English language, with significant creative and/or financial production elements from the United States.
3. Critical Recognition: Formal commendation in print.
4. Major Award Winner: Recognition from competitive events including awards from organizations in the film community and major film festivals.
5. Popularity Over Time: Including figures for box office adjusted for inflation, television broadcasts and syndication, and home video sales and rentals.
6. Historical Significance: A film's mark on the history of the moving image through technical innovation, visionary narrative devices or other groundbreaking achievements.
7. Cultural Impact: A film's mark on American society in matters of style and substance.

I've looked over the list. I can't say I agree with all of the choices. I mean, number one is Citizen Kane. Have you ever tried to sit through that movie? I have. I didn't make it. Once I get to the top of the list, I guess I'll have to try again. But even though I don't agree with every movie in the AFI top 100, I like to think of myself as a movie lover. So I should probably give these critically acclaimed movies a shot. Some I've already seen and loved. Some I've seen and really didn't care for. A lot I've never seen and probably haven't even given a second thought to. But I'm gonna start with the bottom of the list and work my way up. Thanks to Netflix, I'll have access to all 100 of the films. But with scheduling being the way it is, it may take more than a year to get them all watched. If anyone's interested in playing along, I'm following the 10th anniversary version of the list, which will start with Ben-Hur at number 100.

West Virginia Ninja

Earlier this week, I promised I'd post this. So here it is. Many of you may think it's pointless and stupid. I, however, think it's pretty dang funny. Just remember, this guy is an American, and he has the same right to vote, and even run for office, as anyone else. Think about what that could mean for our society.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Question of the Week: Crying

When did you last cry in front of another person? by yourself?

I generally keep the tears to myself. I'm not sure when the last time I really cried in front of another person was. I definitely cried in front of everyone who helped me move out of my Dad's house after he passed away. That was four years ago. Whether I've cried in public since, I'm not sure. Crying by myself? Well, that doesn't happen too often either. But, funny enough, it did happen yesterday while I was on my lunch break.

It wasn't that anything out of the ordinary happened to make me cry. I was probably just overdue for a good one. My manager had called me into his office for my annual review. There wasn't anything there that I wasn't expecting. But he did bring up my attitude of late. He wasn't being overly accusatory, just asking why it was that I had the tendency to shut people out instead of engaging them. I was close to breaking down while I was sitting there at his desk. I couldn't give him a real answer. I honestly don't understand why I am the way I am. I don't know why I stay so angry all the time. I certainly don't enjoy that fact. Believe when I say it's not my idea of a swell time. I held it together until I was dismissed and then went to lunch. While the microwave was going, the tears started flowing.

I've never thought there was anything wrong with crying. And I'll be the first to admit that I don't let myself do it as often as I probably should. I just don't do it too much. As far as crying in front of others goes, it could just be that I don't like the way I look when I cry. Not that I look that great when I'm not crying. But when the crying starts, my face contorts into this bizarre look that just can't be attractive. Also, I spent most of the afternoon with a pretty bad headache thanks to that lunchtime show of emotion. Just one more reason to not cry.

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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dude Suite

I had a lot of roommates in college. Freshman year saw the awkward random placement. I was paired with a guy that I had nothing in common with, other than the fact we were both freshmen. That lasted one semester. Then I was moved into a room with a senior who had nothing with him. Our room was pretty empty, except for the pathetic furniture the college provided us that year.

Sophomore year was a little different. I had gotten to know some people and was able to choose a roommate. Really, I didn't choose. I was kind of chosen. Phillip asked me if I'd want to room with him, and I said sure. After the awkwardness that was freshman year, anything had to be better. At least I knew this guy. To our surprise, when the semester started, we were placed in a three person room with a third roommate. Neither of us knew Ronchez very well, but we got to know him, and it turned out to be a pretty good year.

Junior year, I arranged to share a room with Dave. He had transferred in the previous year and I got to know him through BSU and the fact that we had a lot of the same classes. He was almost as big a geek as I was, so it worked out well. And then I introduced him to the girl that would eventually be his wife. I didn't see him much after that.

Now we come to my first senior year. That's right, I said first. I graduated in five years. But I got two degrees, so try not to judge too harshly. During the course of the junior year, Dave decided that for his senior year, he wanted to move down to a different dorm, the one with single rooms. This wasn't a reflection on me. In fact, I think he wanted me to move down there and live on the other side, share the suite as it were. But I opted out of that one.

Instead, I made a plan with three guys that had started at Bluefield that year. One was a freshman, the other two transferred in as juniors. So, for Mark, Brandon, and myself, it was our senior year. For Dereck, it was his sophomore year. The plan we made was pretty awesome, I'm not gonna lie.

The four of us were about as good a friends as you can find at a small Baptist college. We worked it out to where the four of us would share a suite on the first floor of Rish Hall, which, at the time, was the men's dorm. This isn't the awesome part of the plan.

The awesome part is what we decided to do with the rooms. Instead of the standard two of us in one room and two in the other with a bathroom in the middle, we decided to move all the beds into one side of the suite and convert the other side into a living room. That's right, we moved in couches and a big TV. Area rugs and a coffee table and a larger than the average dorm room refrigerator. Feel free to bask in the awesomeness.

Unfortunately, I only lasted for one semester. A free room opened up down the hall and I was able to get a room by myself. It wasn't that I didn't like living with those guys. It just turned into one of those things where I enjoyed my alone time. Living with three other guys in close quarters like that, you just don't get alone time. Though for a while, I did create a cave in the bottom bunk. I hung a big blanket down from Mark's top bunk and it effectively closed off my bed from the rest of the room. It was the closest thing to an isolation chamber as I could come up with. It helped out since I usually tried to fall asleep before the other guys. This way they could still stay up with the lights on and it woudln't bother me.

I look back and read that and you know, I was kind of selfish. I had an awesome time with those guys. And I had to get away to be alone. What an idiot. If I could do it over again, I'd have stayed the whole year.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


You know, I've never thought of myself as a "trendy" kind of person. I was never one of the more popular folks in high school. In college, that changed a bit, but I think it's mostly because I was one of about 37 people at Bluefield College. People may have known my name in the college years, but I don't think that ever qualified me as "trendy." I didn't start any fads. I didn't initiate any fashion statements. I just, sort of, was. And I got by.

This morning I discovered that a friend and fellow blogger, Elizabeth, keeper of i seek with all my heart, has chosen Carp Dime as a trendy blog. What's nice about this is that she linked my blog on hers, increasing the possibility that new people may be floating over and reading what I have to say. So if you're new, hi! Glad to have you. If you're old... well... I'll get to you later...


This isn't the first time Elizabeth has awarded me with a special mention. She gave me a Versatile award back in October. Funny how these things tend to happen on days when I'm having a hard time coming up with something to post. I was about to post the West Virginia Ninja video from YouTube when I came across Elizabeth's post today. I'll save the ninja video for later. It's pretty good. But anyway, I mentioned back in the versatility post that I met Elizabeth and her husband through church. I don't go to the same church anymore and I'm really bad about keeping up with people, even though we live in the same town. But I do keep up through her blog. If you didn't come here from her page, go check it out.

Blogging is something that I sort of stumbled onto a few years ago. I didn't start out with any lofty ideas of gaining popularity through it. I still don't have those ideas. Sure, it'd be nice to be a household name for 15 minutes, but I don't see my blog as being anything special. I have 36 followers at the moment (and I appreciate each and every one of you), but I don't think of myself as popular. I still don't think of myself as trendy either. It used to be I was only interested in following the blogs of people I personally knew, and for a long time, I stuck to that rule. But I've come to discover something about my fellow bloggers. As cheesy as it sounds, it's kind of a community out here in cyberspace. There are more than a few blog keepers out there that I've never met, and will probably never meet, but I love reading whatever they have to write, just so I can keep up with what's going on in their lives. I guess it could be argued that it's voyeuristic, and that I'm just peeking through other people's windows. That may be part of it. But the way I see it, by posting the things that we post, we're inviting readers to come into our lives, even if it's just a little bit.

Not sure where that tangent came from... Moving on. Okay... there are rules.
1. Post about the award. Check.
2. Pass the award to 10 other bloggers. Coming up...
3. Leave a link to the trendy blog button. Click here...

Okay, these are blogs that I follow and keep up with because I think they're interesting. More often than not, if you can make me laugh, you've got me on your hook. Some of these will be reruns from the Versatility thing. Some will be the same as Elizabeth's, because we follow some of the same people. And some are brand new, that I've only found recently.

Zephaniah 3:17 - This blog is kept by Nicole. She's a mother of five who uses every circumstance, good or bad, as a way to seek God and glorify Him.
I'm Just Sayin', kellydiane, and jmitchloves - Brandy, Kelly, and Jennifer (aka jmitch) are all fellow Bluefield College survivors. Jmitch just recently started blogging, and the others have been at it for a while. It's all good stuff that you should give a look.
Love Like Drugs - Mary Austin is a friend of a friend that I met during one trip to Charlotte a few months back. She's new to the blog as well. She has a great heart and I look forward to reading what she has to say.
Shanner of Attention - I've been following Shannon for a few months. I think I came across her blog through Elizabeth's blog. She's one of those blogging friends that I've never met, but am always interested in how things are going.
Ha Ha. Wait. What? - Amy will probably sue me for copyright infringement at some point since I steal so many awesome ideas from her blog. I found her blog through Shannon's. It really is like a world wide web of interconnected stuff.
Adventures in Randiland - Found Randi's blog today through Elizabeth's post. I read through her stuff and she had me cracking up. Like I said earlier, if you can make me laugh, you've pretty much won me over.
Badass Geek - This is another one I follow simply for the fact that I'm usually cracking up over whatever he writes.
Green Lantern Butt's Forever - While SallyP may be slightly obsessed with a certain ring-wearing super-hero's rear end, she is a fellow comic book geek. More than that, she tends to trend toward the DC side of the comic book industry. Every now and then, I just need to geek out.

And there you have it. Now you know how I really spend my days at work. When I'm not diligently handling the problems of customers that I so deeply care about.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Life Story: Chapter Fifty Two

In my junior year of high school, my english and history classes were basically combined. It was actually a pretty neat set-up. We met in a double-sized classroom that held about 50 of us. Mr. Flanagan and Mr. Isaacs would pretty much team teach the giant class.

Early in the school year, we were divided up into groups. This division was to prepare us for the ultimate social sciences project: The Decades Project.

Our big assignment for the first semester was to pick one year from our assigned decade and write a newspaper, giving the chosen year a sort of year in review edition. I can't remember the specific year that our group chose, but I know our decade was the 60s. I want to say our newspaper was based on 1969. A lot happened that year, and at the end of the decade, it made sense to mention some of the major events of the decade on the whole.

The big project happened toward the end of the year. Each group was tasked, basically, with writing a play and performing that play for the rest of the class. Oh, and some of the freshman and sophomore classes got to come in and watch too. No pressure or anything.

As with most of my high school memories, I've repressed a lot of this, so I don't remember much of it. I do remember that I played a kid who had just found out he was being drafted and would be going to Vietnam. So a few hippies decided to take me on a cross-country trip as a sort of last hurrah. And we broke down near a farm somewhere in the midwest. We felt this gave us a nice cross-section of Americana and could use each of those characters to explore the events of the 60s.

I remember getting together with my group and working on things at the Waffle House and at Kinko's. These places were much better than working in the library. I know we all worked really hard on the thing. But I can't remember how our grades turned out. I really want to believe we all got As. Whatever the case, I know we passed. 'Cause all but one of us showed up for senior year. The one who didn't graduated after junior year.

High school is almost over...

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Big Boat in the Middle of the Desert

Imagine, for a moment, that you live in a world that has never seen rain. You're in a landlocked kind of place that isn't anywhere near a significant body of water. And then you hear about this farmer that's building a huge boat in the middle of the desert. How would you respond to something like that? I mean, at this point in time, there's not a whole lot to do. You don't just plop down on your sofa and turn on the TV for entertainment. So there's a good chance you'd be willing to take a trip out to see Noah and his gigantic boat.

Then again, it's not like these things are day trips back then. You don't load the family into the Swagger Wagon and hit the interstate for a pilgrimmage to see the Ark. No, it would be a huge undertaking. But I guess a lot of society was still pretty nomadic. So people were probably passing through the Ark construction zone on a pretty regular basis.

So, knowing what you know about the world at large, wouldn't it be pretty easy to mock a guy like that? I mean, you're in the middle of the desert and you're building the largest boat ever made up until this point. I'm not much for confrontation, even if it involves making fun of a 600-year-old man. If it came down to a fight, I'd feel pretty confident that I could take him. But, even so, I'd probably snicker a little while I was looking at him hard at work, then I'd go away and joke about it behind his back.

But Noah had gotten a call from God and he decided to believe Him. God gave Noah a heads up, told him to build this ark, which, when you think about it, really isn't a boat. It's more like a big box that floats. But still, it can't float without a significant amount of water to pick it up, right? And being where he was, and in his situation, Noah was going on a lot of faith just putting this thing together.

I watched Evan Almighty over the weekend. I've seen it before, and I really think it's a decent story. Before I originally saw this movie, I didn't think I would like it. I couldn't wrap my mind around the point of the whole thing. I mean, after the Noah incident, God promised that He wouldn't flood the earth again. So what would be the point of Evan building an ark? Turns out the world didn't flood this time. Just the valley in which Evan and his family lived.

To me, the movie wasn't about how big or small the actual flood was going to be. It was about Evan's faith and his struggle to balance his life plans with God's plans for his life. God, played by Morgan Freeman, even laughs at Evan (Steve Carell) when he starts talking about his own plans. God's plans supercede our own, because they're always a lot better for us than any plans we could possibly come up with for ourselves. Throughout the film, Evan has to deal with doubts from himself, from his colleagues, and even his own family. Eventually, however, he gives himself over to God's will and stops worrying about his own plans.

That must be similar to what Noah went through. Sure, it was glamourized a lot for Hollywood standards, but Noah had to have dealt with a certain amount of disbelief from his friends, family, and neighbors. And it would be difficult to believe if someone told me that he didn't doubt the command to build the ark himself.

There's a line from an episode of House, where the amazingly cynical main character says, "You talk to God, you're religious. God talks to you, you're psychotic." How many of us take on that point of view? It's one thing for that character, who is written as an atheist, to make a statement like that. Though he was probably saying it ironically. But even people who call themselves Christians probably believe this, more often than not. Sure, a good Christian will probably say that they believe God still talks to people, and that people should do what God tells them to do. But what about when it really comes down to believing that God is speaking to them or to someone close to them?

What if your spouse came to you and told you that they believed God was leading them to pick up and move the family to South America to do mission work? Would you automatically go on the defensive, relying only on your human frailty to make sense of the situation? Or would you hit your knees with your spouse? I have a feeling that God wouldn't call one of you without intending to get both of you on board.

What if your son or daughter came to you saying they were going to quit their successful career to enter ministry somewhere, because that's where they felt God was leading them? Would you support that decision? Or would you cast doubt on their decision?

I know these things are different from a guy in the desert building an ark and waiting for rain. But the principle is kind of the same. When someone truly feels like God is speaking to them and leading them down a certain path, do we think of them as faithful? Or do we think of them as crazy?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Walk in the Park

The old man could be found in the same place every day. He could be found sitting on the same park bench feeding pigeons again and again. He used to spend his lunch break throwing bread crumbs to the birds. Now he spent most of his day here.

Hank had worked for the same advertising firm for nearly 40 years. The business had seen a lot of ups and downs, but he had survived them all. That is, until last month when a kid, not even half his age, strolled into his office and informed him that it was time to retire. Sure, the kid could call what they were doing to him "retirement," but Hank knew better.

He was being forced out, just because he was over the hill. It was time for a younger generation to step up and handle things from here. Hank was yesterday. The kid that fired him? He's tomorrow. Sure, the kid had said a lot of nice things about Hank's long years of service, and how he shouldn't see this as the end of the road, but a new beginning. Hank just laughed.

Hank couldn't think of this next step as a new beginning. What did he have to offer the world? Aside from a few handfuls of bread crumbs for some winged pests in the park, that is. From his seat on the old bench, he looked down at the pigeons that were scrambling on the sidewalk, pecking at scraps. He let out a heavy sigh and stood up.

The old man walked slowly to the edge of the park, where he had left his beat up old car. He wasn't sure what he would do now. He'd spent the weeks since his "retirement" feeling sorry for himself. But he was sick of self-loathing. He knew that kid didn't mean a word of his "new beginning" speech, but Hank didn't just have to sit back and let the rest of his life, however much of it was left, just pass him by. He started up the car and said to himself, "Time to go to work."

Today's writing prompt is brought to you by Sunday Scribblings.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Swagger Wagon

Welcome to my first stolen video of the year. I saw this on a friend's Facebook page a few days back and thought it was pretty funny. It could be the cold medicine talking. See, I lost my voice this morning when I woke up. Maybe I lost it somewhere in my sleep. I woke up without it. So I'm taking it easy today. I'm posting a video. And I realize it's really just a long commercial for Toyota, but I've posted commercials before. Note to advertisers: If you can make me laugh, you might just get my business. But that doesn't mean I'm gonna rush out to buy a Sienna after seeing this video. What am I gonna do with a mini-van? I mean really. Sidebar: Is it wrong that I might have a slight crush on the mom here? Yeah... I thought it would be... Anyway, watch, laugh.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Question of the Week: No Survivors

If you knew a thermonuclear holocaust would occur in precisely 20 years and no one would survive it, how would you change your present life?

So many questions arise in my mind when I try to come up with an answer to this question. First of all, how do I know about this future event? Did a Terminator from the future arrive to share this omen of doom? Am I just psychic on some level? It doesn't seem fair that I'm the only one that knows. Another question is, can it be stopped? If it can, then that would probably play a lot into the changes I'd make in my present life. Not sure how I'd go about avoiding humanity's destruction. I don't have any influence. Anywhere. So, at best, people would probably group me in with the rambling homeless man standing on a corner in Times Square holding a sign saying that "The End Is Nigh."

Assuming that nothing could be done to change this bleak future, I would go about living my life to the best of my ability. Which is kind of sad. Why does it take knowledge of an expiration date to cause us to live life to the fullest? No one is guaranteed an extra second in this world. So why don't I live each day like I've got an expiration date? Because I do. Everyone does. It just isn't printed on our sides like a carton of milk.

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

Thursday, January 06, 2011

I'm Not Ready For This

On a typical Monday night, I have my TV turned on and I'm tuned in to the local CBS affiliate. It used to be that I would hang out for the entire comedy line up that they had on Mondays. But these days, I limit myself to How I Met Your Mother, then I turn it off. The others just don't do much for me, especially now that Big Bang Theory is on a different night. It competes with Community, which I mentioned the other day is my current favorite sitcom, even better than How I Met Your Mother.

But I'm not writing to discuss what shows are better than others. This past Monday, I missed the new episode of HIMYM. I've been fighting a cold, so I felt the need to dose myself with the NyQuil and go to bed early. A trick I'm finding has various rewards. Anyway, since I had the day off yesterday, I decided to find the episode online. I have to say, it was one of the best episodes in a long time.

One of the major plot threads of the season involves the characters of Marshall and Lily. They've been married for the last few years and have decided it's time to get pregnant. So for the first half of the season, we've had stories dealing with their apparent lack of success. This episode, "Bad News," began with the couple in the doctor's office complaining about their inability to get the job done.

Throughout the episode, numbers were strategically placed in the background of scenes. Right off the bat, we saw the number 50. And the numbers counted down sequentially. After all these months of trying to get pregnant, one might assume that the numbers were counting down to an announcement of Lily finally being with child. But the title of the episode was "Bad News." The countdown was on and led to some pretty heartbreaking news.

At the end of the episode, once we had finally seen the number 1 on top of Lily's taxi, the writers dropped a bombshell. It wasn't that Lily and Marshall couldn't have kids. It was that Marshall's father had had a heart attack. He didn't make it.

Foreshadowing for this could arguably be seen through the episode, and the season as a whole. We've seen more of Marshall's dad in cameos this season than we have in past years. We had Marshall's parents fly in from Minnesota for a surprise visit, giving Marshall the opportunity to break the news that they might not be able to give them grandchildren. We had Marshall's dad pat his son on the back, letting him know that they didn't care about whether or not he could have kids, that they, as parents were proud of their son no matter what.

Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan may not be Emmy winning actors, but they nailed the final scene in this episode. As someone who has lost his father, I couldn't help but tear up when Lily broke the news to her husband. Marshall has made it clear that he shared everything with his father, like he was more of a best friend than a parent. So when he said, "I'm not ready for this," it was all the more heartbreaking. And, having been in those shoes, I can pretty safely say, no one ever really is.

The episode leading up to the sad ending wasn't all that special. There weren't any particularly hilarious jokes that renewed the show's place for me as the funniest show on TV. But the build up and the final delivery might have made it the best episode of the series. At least the best in a long while.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Life Story: Chapter Fifty One

I haven't done one of these Life Story entries since September. That's a long time. Those of you who care enough may have forgotten where I left off. So let's recap a bit...

Previously, on Carp Dime... I was born. I was adorable. I went to preschool. I went to kindergarten. My family moved and I started 1st grade. I grew out of my adorability. I went to middle school. I was husky for a while. Then I was anorexic. Literally. Then I started high school. Then I spent seven weeks in a hospital dealing with my adolescent psychological issues. Then I went back to high school. By 10th grade I was more or less well adjusted. I had just gotten my driver's license and I was an average teenager.

So should I pick up with 11th grade? Sounds good enough, I guess.

Junior year was a lot like my other high school years. Meaning I just didn't care that much. Sure, I still applied myself just enough to get by, but that was all. I got by. I was still in the same old classes with the same old people. Something else that stayed the same, I was just as social as ever.

That may not be true though. This was the first year in school that I was invited to a real party. It wasn't one of those parties that you see in movies, where the parents have taken off and there's a beer bong floating around and it eventually gets broken up by the police. No, the parents were there and it was kind of subdued. Honestly, I always thought that the only reason I was invited was because I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

I was sitting in class, minding my own business, hanging out at a table with several of my classmates. And these were some of the more popular kids. I've mentioned before, I was never popular. So, really, just about anyone, in my eyes, was more popular than me. They were talking about a party on the weekend. And the girl that was throwing it looked at me and said I should come. She didn't have to invite me. She was just one of those genuinely nice people, a rare find among the popular high school kids.

So I went. I drove alone. I arrived alone. And I left alone. But while I was there, I didn't feel entirely out of place. I wasn't exactly in my comfort zone either, though.

Otherwise, socially, there isn't much else to talk about. I took a girl to a Garth Brooks concert. One of those first and last dates. I think I asked her out again, but got the "we're just friends" line. Which was fine with me. I don't remember if I went to the Homecoming dance that year. I may have gone, just because I thought it was one of those things that I should do because I was in high school. However, I know I skipped the prom. I didn't ask anyone to go with me, so I wasn't turned down. I just didn't go. No big loss.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

I took the last week of the year off from blogging. It isn't because I went anywhere or because everything was so up in the air and crazy that I didn't have time to come up with blog posts. It's just because it was the last week of the year and I felt like taking some time off to recharge. Not that I actually did any of that. I still had to work both my jobs throughout that week. Anyway, I'm sure there's a good half dozen of you out there who are wondering what I did with my week away from the Carp Dime. I warn you, this blog post is for the faint of heart becuase it is, at times, quite dull.

Christmas didn't turn out exactly as I had planned. Not that I made any extravagant plans. The plan was for my sister to drive down from Roanoke on Christmas morning, then we would spend the afternoon/evening at the Hamilton Hideaway eating and opening presents and playing with the kids. Instead, I got a call from April early on Christmas morning. She had heard the nasty rumor that Raleigh would be seeing more snow over that weekend that I'd seen in the three years since I first moved here.

I thought she was crazy. I looked at the forecast and saw that, indeed, they were calling for up to six inches of snow throughout Saturday and Sunday. For her, it was too much of a risk since she had to be back in Roanoke for work on Monday. I couldn't make the drive for her, so I left the decision to her. So she stayed home and I faced Christmas alone.

Well, I wasn't really alone. I continued with the rest of my plan for the day: to spend the afternoon/evening at the Hamilton Hideaway eating and opening presents and playing with the kids. This was fun, as a Christmas with five children generally turns out to be. I grew frustrated as the day went on, however. Not because of anything that could be controlled, but because of the apparent lack of winter precipitation. The whole reason for April not coming to Raleigh was because of the promised accumulation of snow. As of the time I left the Hideaway, around 6 or so, there was still no sign of snow.

I spent Christmas night at home, not doing a whole lot. I may have watched A Christmas Story again for the eighth time. And then, around 9, I looked outside and saw that the snow had finally arrived. Anyone who knows me knows that it was enough to excite me. I went to sleep that night, hoping that the promises made by the meteorologists would come true this time. I woke up to a blanket of white.

And I couldn't get out of my parking lot. Since it was Christmas weekend, we had no maintenance staff around to clear the lot or throw down salt. So unless one had four wheel drive, one could not leave the apartment. I do not have four wheel drive. And I had to skip work Sunday night. Can't deliver pizza if I can't move my vehicle.

Much to my dismay, Monday was more of the same. I'm just kidding. That wasn't dismay. That was near ecstasy. Just calling and saying that I couldn't get my car out of the parking lot to get to work was enough to make the day fantastic. Again, I didn't do much of anything. Just sat around, watched movies, read a book. Not exciting.

And then I got sick. Yeah, that same old ailment that tends to hit people around this time of year. Started with a sore throat and a fever. Turned into sneezing and a runny nose. By New Year's Eve it was a hacking cough accompanied by sleepless nights. And suddenly it was 2011.

I think that pretty much catches everyone up. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment. For now, I need to go take some more medicine. That last dose is wearing off.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Single Guy and the Drunk Dial

Okay, the Single Guy wasn't really drunk. He was under the influence of cold medication. But he wasn't, technically, drunk.

Somewhere over the course of his Christmas break, the Single Guy picked up a head cold. It wasn't anything serious, but it was enough to cause the slightest misery when trying to do simple things like swallowing and breathing. So one night, when the Single Guy got home from his second job, he decided it was time to take some NyQuil and go to bed. Then he remember he hadn't eaten anything for dinner. If he skipped this meal, it would mean two nights in a row without supper. He couldn't have that.

So after taking the cold medicine, the Single Guy stayed up for a little more than an hour. During that time, he ate. He also made the mistake of getting on his computer and hanging around the Facebook. Now, not being in total control of all of one's senses can lead to embarrassing moments when socially networking. Things could have turned out worse for the Single Guy than they did. But first, a little back story...

Remember the Girl in the White SUV? Well, she's history. Forget about her. But, the Single Guy, being the kind of guy he is, doesn't exactly go out of his way to meet women. So when he does, it's usually because one has decided to become a customer at the bank in which he works. Not that he believes that's an excellent way to meet women. But he's not super great at putting himself out there otherwise. So it's what he's got.

Anyway, there's been a recent customer that's caught the Single Guy's eye. Don't worry, it hasn't turned into another White SUV situation. While the Single Guy may not think of the White SUV deal as being an unhealthy obsession, others might view it as such. And yeah, he can see how it may be interpreted that way. But anyway, there's no obsession here with the new customer. She works as a hostess at a local restaurant. So we'll just call her the Hostess for now.

The Single Guy wanted to avoid going down the same kind of road that he went down with the Girl in the White SUV because, obviously, that really didn't work out for him. There have been no notes, no letters, no random bouquets of flowers. This time there have just been small conversations and smiles here and there. Nothing crazy or overdramatic.

And now we're back to the NyQuil night. The Single Guy decided to look up the Hostess on Facebook. And there she was. His memory of the evening is fuzzy, thanks to his dose of cold medication. But he knows for a fact that he sent a text message to Barney Stinson which said, "Which is less creepy, friending her on Facebook or asking her for coffee at the drive thru?"

Barney's been trying to get the Single Guy to Facebook the Hostess for a couple weeks. The Single Guy just felt uneasy about it. But, that being the case, the response text said to try Facebook first then go from there. Again, he has no memory of actually sending a friend request to the Hostess, but apparently it happened. When the Single Guy woke up the next morning with his foggy memories, he checked the Hostess' page and saw that there was a friend request pending.

So one of two things could happen. She could accept him as a friend, and then the Single Guy could see where it goes from there. Or she could stop coming to his branch, like a certain someone in a White SUV. In which case, the Single Guy will have frightened off yet another woman with that classic Single Guy charm. He might start taking it personally too, like there's something wrong with him. On the plus side, the Hostess hasn't said no yet.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

11 Resolutions for 2011

In the past I've mostly avoided resolutions. Seeing as how I'm not a very optimistic person, I tend to ignore the resolution idea because I figure in a few weeks I'll be back to the same person I was on December 31st. But I think it's time to adjust that way of thinking a little. I'm not saying I've snapped my fingers and then, BAM, I'm suddenly Captain Optimist. I'm just gonna look at this as one more step toward making myself a better person, an resolutions, more or less, are a good way to set goals in that direction. So here are my 11 resolutions for 2011...

1. Read my Bible more. And not just read it, but really study it. I've got a feeling God has something for me to learn from my current situation. I'm just not seeing it because I'm not connecting to Him.

2. Spend more time in prayer. And not just thanking God for the uncommonly drawn out green light at the busy intersection that I just passed through. The reasoning here would be the same as that first one.

3. Stick to a real exercise plan. I'm not looking to lose weight or reach a crazy level of athleticism that I've never before obtained. I don't even want it to be anything complicated. Just the kind of thing that makes sure I'm making some sort of effort at some daily activity.

4. Read 50 book. I love to read. And I know a lot of people try to do 100 books in a year. I'm too busy for that. Also, I'm not that fast a reader. 50 averages out to roughly a book a week. I think that's doable.

5. Apply for no less than 2 jobs per week until I'm hired. I'm talking career change here. Another part-time job to supplement income would not fulfill this resolution.

6. Watch all 100 of the AFI's 100 greatest films of all time. I know I've probably seen most of them. But I think it would be neat to go through the whole list.

7. Learn to like coffee. I'm in my 30s now. It's time to enjoy a grown-up beverage. It's time to be comfortable walking into a Starbucks to order something other that the Caramel Apple Spice.

8. Visit, or at least communicate with my family more. Not just Mom, but my sister and my extended family.

9. Visit, or at least communicate with my friends from college more. For a long time, those guys have been like extended family to me. I participate in a weekly e-mail with them, but other than that, I never reach out to anyone.

10. Completely finish writing a novel. I attempted to participate in NaNoWriMo back in November. I got close to finishing a very rough draft. It needs a lot of work. I'd like to see a final draft that actually makes sense.

11. Spend more time doing the visual arts stuff that I loved back in high school. Drawing, photography, etc.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

100 Random Facts About Me

You know, I've been blogging for five years now and I've never done an exhaustive fact sheet about myself. Sure, I've thrown out random facts about myself here and there over the years. I'm sure if one were so inclined, one could read through my entire blogging history and piece together my life story. That's a lot of reading. I know of one person who's actually done that. While I appreciate that kind of reader loyalty, it sure seems a lot to ask of someone. So, I'm once again stealing an idea from another blog. This is the second time I've taken something from Amy at Ha Ha. Wait. What? I should probably just put a permanent thank you note at the bottom of my page. Anyway, I don't find myself to be all that interesting, so some of these facts about me may be a little on the dull side. Some may border on pathetic. But it is what it is. And it means you don't have to read through over a thousand previous posts.

1. My birthday is March 6, 1980 (in case you were wondering when to send the cards, the gifts, the etc.)

2. I am single (that's right, ladies).

3. Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Frosted Flakes hold a very special place in my heart.

4. So does Back to the Future.

5. I love to write.

6. I love photography.

7. When I'm alone in my car, I sing to the tops of my lungs and probably look pretty foolish to other drivers. I don't care.

8. I'm convinced that I absolutely cannot dance.

9. People think I watch too much TV because of my uncanny ability to quote random movie lines at the drop of a hat. They might be right, but I think I just have one of those memories.

10. I'm originally from Roanoke, Virginia.

11. I currently live in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

12. I work as a bank teller.

13. I hate my job.

14. I also deliver pizza part-time.

15. I believe it's a little sad that I need two jobs to make ends meet when I'm a single man with no one to take care of but himself.

16. I have two bachelor's degrees from Bluefield College. Neither of them is in banking.

17. When the weather gets cold and everyone around me starts complaining, I start enjoying myself. To me, it's finally starting to feel good outside.

18. I spent two consecutive spring breaks on mission trips in Brazil during college. I'd love to go back someday.

19. I might have an unhealthy obsession with all things Superman.

20. I'm pretty sure I have a caffeine addiction.

21. But I don't like to drink coffee.

22. But I love the smell of coffee.

23. There's a part of me that still loves to play video games, I just can't seem to find the time to do it anymore.

24. I don't think I much like being a grown-up.

25. I don't like to eat vegetables. But I'm a grown-up and you can't make me!

26. I've never really kissed a girl. Unless you count Angie Shrader back in preschool. Some people would, but I don't.

27. Going back and reading #26 makes me feel kind of pathetic.

28. I've decided that I like myself better with facial hair than without.

29. I drive a '98 Ford Escort. It's green. I call her Jade. But sometimes I think it would be more fun to call the car "the Hooker." Get it? Hooker... Escort...

30. Sometimes I laugh at my own jokes because I know no one else will.

31. Really, I have a very dry sense of humor.

32. Also, I'm really sarcastic. Like, really, really sarcastic.

33. I'm a firm believer that someone should create a sarcasm font.

34. I've been told I have a nice smile. I just don't do it that often.

35. The first thing I notice in a woman is her smile. I know that's hypocritical since smiling is something I just said I don't do that often.

36. In high school I learned how to develop my own film and print my own pictures. I sometimes wish I still had access to that kind of equipment. Digital photography just doesn't feel as real to me.

37. My favorite color is blue.

38. I believe that Justin Bieber is just one more sign of the coming apocalypse.

39. I don't like chocolate. And I receive plenty of ridicule for this fact, thank you.

40. I love to sing. Sadly, the car is the only place I seem to do it these days. No one ever seems to want to go with me to sing karaoke.

41. I used to sing in a few choirs during college. I miss it.

42. If I were to fill out a survey asking about my religion, I would put down that I was a Christian. But I don't like to call myself a Christian. It's a title I can never seem to live up to.

43. More often than not, I can get a general idea of what the time is by looking at the position of the sun in the sky. If you don't believe me, ask Andy. He's witnessed it.

44. I love to read. This is a love that would have come in handy in high school and college. It didn't kick in 'til later.

45. When it snows and people panic about driving in it I get confused. Snow's no problem for me. Common sense tells us that all we have to do is take it slow and don't get overconfident.

46. I'm pretty sure common sense is something that is severely lacking in today's society.

47. I send text messages far more often than I call people.

48. But I'd give just about anything to be able to pick up the phone and talk to my Dad.

49. Despite my deep, abiding love for Back to the Future, I don't believe that time travel is possible. And if it were, I don't believe it would be possible to change history.

50. I have one sister, April. I don't talk to her as much as I should.

51. If I spend an entire day off work sitting in my apartment just watching movies, I don't consider it a wasted day.

52. I hate sleeping late on my days off. When I do, I feel like I've wasted the day.

53. I collect comic books. Lots of them.

54. I have a goal in life to read all of Stephen King's work. I'm doing this in the order in which the books were published. Thus far, I've made it through The Stand. I've got a long way to go.

55. Best Comedy on TV: Community. It used to be How I Met Your Mother. But I've come to think of Community as the superior show.

56. I've never had a broken bone before.

57. I've also never needed stitches.

58. I guess I'm not much of a risk taker.

59. I used to love going camping as a kid, but as an adult I've only been a couple times.

60. I love to go hiking. My body disagrees.

61. I once tried to help my sister move a full-size freezer out of my Dad's basement. Close to the top step, I lost my grip on the freezer and was certain it would fall and crush my sister beneath it. I've never been more afraid in my life.

62. I am terrified of clowns.

63. I road rage like it's my job.

64. My favorite restaurant is Macado's. It's local to Roanoke, but they have restaurants all over Virginia, and a couple in North Carolina. But there isn't one near me. Kinda makes me sad.

65. I spent my 27th birthday at Chuck E. Cheese. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

66. There may be some who disagree with this, but I think the ending to Lost was brilliant.

67. I love Christmas decorations, but I really don't like being the one to decorate.

68. I've come to accept the fact that I can be kind of a jerk.

69. In college, I would spend lots of free time looking at people's away messages in Instant Messenger. Looking at people's status updates on Facebook these days just isn't the same.

70. When my hair gets long, the front goes into the Superman spit curl.

71. But eventually, my hair stops getting longer. It just gets thicker. It's obnoxious.

72. I can make some pretty good sausage balls. So many SNL-style jokes here...

73. I hate helping people move, but I do it so I'll have someone to call when I inevitably move.

74. Netflix was my idea. I just can't prove it.

75. Seriously though, that whole instant viewing thing? Best thing to happen to movies since the advent of film.

76. Someone I work with uses the word seriously way too often. It's kind of annoying. So I make a conscious effort to not say it very much. Seriously.

77. I've lived life with and without a DVR. Going from having one to not having one was a painful transition.

78. There's a part of me that really wants to get a Kindle. But there's also a part of me that would like to own a home with a library someday. I'm not sure which side will win in the end.

79. I thought the Twilight books were an okay read. But I think Bella Swan is the worst character in literary history.

80. I love snow.

81. But I can't ski.

82. I love the beach.

83. But I can't swim.

84. I am of the firm belief that if you make a late night trip to the Omelet Shoppe, Waffle House, or some other all-night establishment, and walk away without an epic story to tell, you wasted a trip.

85. I've tried learning to play the guitar, but I'm not very good at it. My fingers are kind of stubby.

86. Sometimes I look at people in relationships and think that's something I'd like to have someday. Other times I think I'm doing okay on my own.

87. I hate when people don't use a turn signal. Biggest pet peeve.

88. Of all the different types of cookies in the world, Snickerdoodles are, by far, the greatest.

89. I have some really weird, vivid dreams sometimes.

90. I should probably quit playing Facebook games.

91. I'm pretty sure I haven't been on an actual date since Bush's first 100 days in office.

92. When I was a kid, I bowled on a Saturday morning league team. I was pretty good for a 10-year-old.

93. I haven't owned a watch in many years. I pretty much just use my cell phone to tell the time. Or look for the position of the sun.

94. When people come to the drive-thru at work and don't roll their windows all the way down, I secretly hope that they don't realize it and bump their hand into the glass. Funniest thing ever.

95. I'm a child of divorce. And other than the whole cynical attitude toward the existence of true love thing, I think I turned out just fine.

96. Despite my cynicism, I would like to know what it's like to fall in love and have that love returned. I bet it's nice.

97. I love key lime pie, but I hate that it's got the reputation of only being a summer dessert. Just because it's served cold. What's that all about?

98. Laundry is my least favorite chore. If I ever get married, I hope my wife is open to a deal wherein I do the dishes and deal with any garbage issues as long as she does the clothes. I'll even throw in cooking and vacuuming to sweeten the deal.

99. I don't think I can have a real conversation without slipping in a movie line at some point.

100. Maintaining this blog is probably the only really consistent thing I've done for any significant period of time.