Sunday, July 31, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Sixth Day

A Photo of an Animal You'd Love to Keep As a Pet

                                                                               Source: via Aaron on Pinterest

I don't have a dog and I'd really love to have one. I had a dog growing up and had to give her up under very negative circumstances. I haven't had a pet since giving Duchess up.

We didn't get rid of Duchess because of something that she did. And it wasn't because we weren't able to take care of her. We just weren't able to adequately protect her from the psychotic old man that lived behind us. We're talking obscene shouting from his back yard, brandishing firearms, tossing ground beef laced with rat poison over our fence. Real class act, that guy.

Duchess wasn't a Golden Retriever. She was a mix of some kind. She really was a beautiful dog. And she was smart, too. We had another, smaller dog, who had a bad back after a few years. Duchess learned to let Princess play rough, but to sit there and take it so she wouldn't hurt her. And nothing against Duchess, but I have always wanted a Golden Retriever.

If I'm ever in a comfortable position and living on my own again, I definitely want to have a dog of my own. And I want it to be a Golden Retriever. Some day.

30 Day Blog Challenge: Fifth Day

A Photo of Yourself Two Years Ago
I wasn't sure that I'd be able to find a picture of myself that was specifically taken in 2009. Luckily I found this one that was taken by the Most Awesome Person I Know after her daughter's dance recital.

Sorry I didn't get around to posting this yesterday when it was actually the fifth day of this 30 Day Blog Challenge. I was at the Greenbrier all day yesterday and Friday. Details to come...

I'll have day six later today.

Friday, July 29, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Fourth Day

Your Favorite Photograph of Your Best Friend

When it comes to having best friends, I don't have just one. There's the Most Awesome Person I Know. She was my only local friend for a very long time and I appreciate her friendship more than she probably knows.
And there are the guys I've known since college. These are the guys that I'm hoping would stand up at the front of the church with me while I wait for my bride to walk down the aisle. Don't ask me to choose which one would be the best man. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. If I ever decide to even get on the road that leads to that particular bridge. Anyway...

Question of the Week: Lasting Friendships

How many of your friendships have lasted more than ten years? Which of your current friends do you feel will still be important to you ten years from now?

I have several friendships that have lasted for 10 years or more. I could make a list for you, but then I'd risk leaving people out and hurting people's feelings. I don't want to do that. For how I feel about my friends, please refer to the article I posted not too long on what it's like to be an introvert.

I keep a handful of very close friends. To me, everyone else is an acquaintance. That's just how I feel about it. With these acquaintances, I'm not necessarily going to open up the way I will with those true friends. And those true friends, well, they're the kind of people I'm not gonna let go of. They're the ones that I've known for a decade or more. They're the ones I'll still know a decade from now.

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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Life Story - Chapter Fifty Nine

Hey, remember graduation? Yeah... good times.

Okay, really, I don't remember much about it. I mean, it was graduation. How different from every other graduation in America could it have been?

In the weeks leading up to the actual event, we had a rehearsal, or a "mock graduation" if you will. Everyone who felt like participating dressed up in their caps and gowns and decorated the caps to reflect the next step in our lives. In my case, I decorated my cap to show off my decision to attend Bluefield College in the following fall. And, if I say so my self, I did a pretty crappy job of decorating it.

The mock graduation took place in the school's auditorium and was somewhat uneventful. Though, and this is pure speculation, when some of the guys sang Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard to Say Good-Bye," there probably wasn't a dry eye in the auditorium. Except maybe for my eyes. Not much of a crier.

After the mock graduation the seniors loaded up a bunch of school buses and took a trip to the Roanoke Civic Center where we rehearsed the real gradution ceremony. They told us what to expect. It was boring. But we got to leave school for the afternoon, so it seemed like a fair trade.

Graduation itself took place on a warm Saturday in mid-June. There we sat in the Civic Center auditorium, a sea of purple, just waiting to cross the stage and take our diplomas. This was the culmination of 12 years in the Roanoke City Public School system. We were ready to get out of it. I don't think anyone tripped. I know I didn't. I remember being a little afraid that would happen.

I'm pretty sure a few people snuck in a few beach balls and inflated them during the playing of Pomp & Circumstance. And then the school superintendent, Dr. Buzzkill, made us give them up. Other than that the ceremony was just as boring as the rehearsal. There were a lot of speeches and no real screw-ups. All in all, not a very memorable event.

Lunch afterwards was pretty outstanding. Red Lobster. 'Cause that's how we roll.

30 Day Blog Challenge: Third Day

Your Idea of the Perfect First Date

This is a tough one for me. I've made it no secret that I really don't date. My best estimation is that my last "real" date was back in college. And I graduated from college 8 years ago. To say it's been a while would be a massive understatement.

I did ask the Spider-Girl out, but the date never actually happened. So my latest opportunity at a first date turned out to not so much be an opportunity as it was a missed opportunity. But even if I had had the chance to take her out, it wouldn't have been anything near my ideal first date. After all, I was about to move and was pretty broke.

Come to think of it, those few dates that I did actually go on back in the day were all first dates. So maybe my idea of the perfect first date wouldn't be so perfect after all.

Simply put, the perfect first date would be the one that leads to a second date.

That picture up there looks pretty amazing. I'd like to think that the guy who could set that up and surprise a girl on a date with an elaborate outdoor dinner like that would be on his way to a pretty spectacular first date. But if it is, in fact, a first date, he may be going overboard.

See, my theory is that you want the first date to impress, but not be too impressive. Ladies, correct me if I'm wrong. I think the guy should do enough to get her interested in seeing him again. But don't go crazy. You've got to leave room for improvement. Somewhere down the line, she's gonna expect you to do a little better. If you can't one-up yourself, you've lost the game before you even started playing.

That's the problem we run into with TV shows and romantic comedies. They have these inflated budgets that allow their protagonists to do these amazing things in order to woo their leading ladies. We watch these things and forget that they're only there for entertainment purposes. We think it's actually possible to over-romanticize every event in our lives. We forget that it just isn't realistic to tell a girl that we want to meet them on Valentine's Day at the top of the Empire State Building.

I'm not saying that a first date should be underwhelming. I'm just saying that it shouldn't overwhelming either. A first date should simply be... well... whelming.

When I was living in Raleigh, I had a good idea of what I wanted to do if I had ever had the chance to take Spider-Girl on a real date. Now that I don't live there anymore, that plan would have to change, should the opportunity to ask a girl out present itself. But here's my Raleigh plan, as it was:
Source: via Aaron on Pinterest

Dinner reservations at P.F. Chang's.

Dessert next door at the Cheesecake Factory. (This could have turned out disastrously if said date turned out to be lactose intolerant, but I think it could be worth the risk. Have you had their cheesecake?)
Source: via Aaron on Pinterest

All of this followed by a non-strenuous kind of walk.

In the immortal words of Van Wilder, "First dates are interviews." A first date should not be complicated by trying to take in the plot of a movie or play. It shouldn't be interrupted by a large group of friends that are all clamoring for either of your attention.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the group get together. But when it comes to calling something a "first date," you should be able to spend time with your date in a one-on-one capacity. The point of the first date is to try and get to know each other. Based on what you learn about your date, you decide if you want to go on the second date. And then a third. And a fourth. And so on.

So how does that strike you ladies? Any takers? Or does that finally drive home the reason why the Single Guy is still single?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Second Day

A Photo of Something You Ate Today
Doesn't that just look amazing? In case the melted cheese on round bread doesn't give it away, it's a pizza.

I wasn't planning on having pizza today. It just happened. There's not much of a story there, but I'll share it anyway. See, the decision to have pizza for dinner tonight came about because I came into a little bit of money that I wasn't planning to have.

A few weeks back, when I was sitting through three days of teller training downtown, I had to pay $6.00 a day to park in the garage next to the office building. Today, I was reimbursed for that money I spent to park downtown. And so, with that money, I splurged.

My original plan was to come home from work, eat my traditional poor guy's sandwich, and call it a night. But on the way home from my post office box (that still has yet to see any mail whatsoever!), I decided that I was in the mood for a small pizza from Bellacino's.

What did I get on that pizza? Chicken, bacon and sausage. For a while during and after college, I worked at the Bellacino's in Bluefield. And back then, I called that combination of toppings the "Aaron Special." It didn't catch on. They didn't add that one to the menu. And no one knows what I'm talking about when I order the Aaron Special. It hurts a little...

But the pizza was delicious. True story.

Legends of the Bank Teller: Creeped the Heck Out

I'm working at a branch of the bank that's located inside of a grocery store now. So I haven't just had to get acquainted with my co-workers inside the branch. I've had to get acquainted with some of the store employees as well.

This is gonna come across as a complaint. So brace yourself.

There's this older guy that works for the store here. I've seen him at the front of the store, usually going back and forth from the parking lot. I assume he bags groceries and brings carts in from the drop off areas in the lot.

He really gives me the creeps.

Every time he walks by the bank, he looks in, and I'd swear he's looking for me. And when he sees me, I'd swear he stare at me the entire time he's walking by. Most of the time I don't have to look to know he's there. I can feel the stare. If I happen to make the mistake of looking up as he's passing by, he does one of two things: he either waves or points at me. Neither of these make me feel comfortable.

And he's always got this look on his face that's somewhere between a smile and a grimace. He really disturbs me.

If Barney Stinson is reading this, he'll know how I feel. It's probably the way he feels when the Samurai comes into the branch down in Raleigh. Just... completely wigged out...

And he stopped by my station today. He asked for change for a quarter. Seriously? Change for a quarter? Dude, you're weird...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: First Day

A Photo of Yourself and a Description of How Your Day Was
Do you really want to hear about how my day was? 'Cause I spent a lot of it being a little stressed out. I hate being stressed out. Especially when there's really no reason for me to be stressed out. And as soon as you read what my day was like, you'll think I'm ridiculous for being stressed out.

Things started out pretty standard. I woke up with the alarm, decided to ignore it for about an hour, and then eventually forced myself to get up. It's harder to get up these days since I generally wake up around 3 or 4 in the morning with an aching back. I mean, it aches a lot. I usually sit at my desk for about half an hour and then I'm good to try and sleep for the rest of the night/early morning.

Point is, eventually I got out of bed. I went through my normal morning routine. I got ready for work, I packed my lunch, and I left the apartment. Side note: I haven't seen my roommates in about two days. I know they're there 'cause I can hear them moving around. Maybe this is how life in the Awkward Apartment will be.

Once I got to work I did work things. It isn't glamourous, but it pays the bills. At least, I think it will pay the bills. This is where the ridiculously felt stress comes in. I jumped online this morning and saw that my upcoming paycheck was available for viewing. And it wasn't nearly what I was expecting. In fact, it was exactly the same as my previous paycheck. To the penny.

Now, I know I shouldn't be stressing out about this lack of extra fundage. I did the math. I'm fine as far as the bills go. I really am. I was just expecting a little more so that I could start getting a little ahead in my savings and in paying off that pesky credit card. But it doesn't look that's happening right now or any time soon.

Those dreams I had of quickly escaping the Awkward Apartment are going away, because right now, it's all I can afford. The idea of upgrading to a smart phone may have to be put on hold. And resubscribing to the Netflix? Yeah, gonna have to wait on that too.

Am I poverty stricken? No. Do I have a job that makes ends meet without needing to deliver pizza again? Yes. Should I really be that stressed out? Absolutely not. And I kick myself for getting worked up over not having a lot of extra money to put away or to chip away at my debt. So I can't do those things. Why is that such a big deal? I can survive somewhat comfortably (aside from the back aches in the middle of the night) on what I've got. And I should be thankful for it every minute of every day.

I am grateful for what I have. Moving back to Roanoke has not been the bright and shiny dream come true that I may have expected. Okay, I wasn't expecting anything bright or shiny, but I kind of expected it to be better than it has been. But it isn't the end of the world. Nothing has turned out the way I planned, but the positives have outweighed the negatives.

I am thankful that I only need the one job to get by. I am thankful that I've reconnected with so many old friends that refuse to let me sit in my apartment doing nothing. I am thankful for those old friends who have introduced me to new friends. I am thankful that I have food on my plate and gas in my car. I am thankful that I woke up this morning able to breathe, able to function, able to get myself to work to eke out a decent living.

The rest of my day? I can tell myself not to be stressed out, but that's one of those things that's easier said than done. Just because I don't like a feeling or don't want to feel that way doesn't mean it isn't happening. So I'm sure I was irritable. And I know I came across a lot of situations that were similar to what I faced back in Raleigh. That is to say, these were situations that cause me to call into question my ability to work a job related to customer service. Sometimes I just don't know how to fix that.

On the plus side, I brought in some of my CDs from the car and so we've been listening to music that I like to listen to. I'd say that's selfish of me, but everyone looked through the few CDs I had and they seem to be well-liked.

This evening I plan to relax. I plan to read. I plan to see what people are doing on the Facebook. I plan to go to bed when I feel tired, no sooner, no later.

Saving My Money

I have a savings account. I think it makes sense for anyone to have a savings account. Sadly, things have come up and I've had to dip into that savings account from time to time. Hey, moving is an expensive event.

But I'm rebuilding. I'm putting money in the account from time to time and I'm leaving it there. I'm letting it accumulate because there are some things that I would like to get. So today, I kind of just feel like sharing a few of the things that I want.

Source: via Aaron on Pinterest

Mini Refrigerator
Kind of like this one, only way smaller. I figure if I have my own tiny fridge in my own tiny room, I won't have to worry about either of my roommates swiping my Mountain Dew unprovoked.

A really good digital camera
I'll be honest, I haven't been deep into photography for about 10 years. And even then, it was kind of a passing thing. Something I loved to do, yes, but I got busy with other things. The world of photography has changed a lot since then. I mean, does anyone still use film? I have two really good cameras and they both use film. Real old school. So I'm thinking I need to update. The camera in the picture is a Canon EOS Rebel T2i. Really, though, I have no idea what to look for in a great digital camera. Do any of my shutterbug blogging buddies have any suggestions?

Source: via Aaron on Pinterest

A really great mattress
After my visit to Grand a few weeks back, I'm thinking about something in the TempurPedic family. That's the one on the commercial where they have the glass of wine on one side of the bed while the dude is jumping up and down on the other. I don't think I'll be doing to much wine-drinking in bed, but the mattresses I tested felt really good. I'm thinking that would be a lot better for my back than the air mattress I'm currently using. Problem is, they're really expensive. That's gonna be a lot of saving.

My own place
Look, things are starting to calm down a bit with the roommates. But I'm still living with two guys that I don't know. No amount of time is going to completely cure that awkwardness. I want to go back to a life where I'm living on my own. So this is probably the most pressing of things on this list. Not that I need to save up to a particular amount of money to be able to afford my own apartment. But I will need to save up some money for a deposit, first/last month's rent, that kind of thing.

That's it for now. I'm sure the list will be expanded upon as time goes by. You know I'll keep you posted. 'Cause what else am I gonna do with my spare time? I mean, I still don't have a sitcom hang out yet.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another 30 Day Blog Challenge

Over at Ha Ha. Wait. What?, Amy is throwing down the gauntlet with another 30 Day Blog Challenge. To that I say...
BTdubs... The completely awesome animated gif of Barney Stinson delivering the legendary line comes from

So here's the list that I'll be following for the next 30 days. And if you want to play along, surf on over to Amy's blog and play along. It's gonna be fun. Come on... everybody's doin' it. Is it working? The peer pressure? Anyway...

Day 1 - A photo of yourself and a description of how your day was.
Day 2 - A photo of something you ate today.
Day 3 - Your idea of the perfect first date.
Day 4 - Your favorite photograph of your best friend.
Day 5 - A photo of yourself two years ago.
Day 6 - A photo of an animal you'd love to keep as a pet.
Day 7 - Your dream wedding.
Day 8 - A song to match your mood.
Day 9 - A photo of the item you last purchased.
Day 10 - A photo of your favorite place to eat.
Day 11 - What's in your make-up bag. (For the record, I do not own a make-up bag, nor will I buy a make-up bag solely for the purposes of this blog challenge. I will substitute something for the make-up bag when I reach day 11. Stay tuned.)
Day 12 - A photograph of the town you live in.
Day 13 - Your favorite musician and why?
Day 14 - A TV show you're currently addicted to.
Day 15 - Something you don't leave the house without.
Day 16 - Your celebrity crush.
Day 17 - A photo of you and your family.
Day 18 - Something you crave a lot.
Day 19 - Another picture of yourself.
Day 20 - The meaning behind your blog name.
Day 21 - A photo of something that makes you happy.
Day 22 - A letter to someone who has hurt you recently.
Day 23 - 15 facts about you.
Day 24 - A photo of something that means a lot to you.
Day 25 - What's in your purse? (Uh, it's not a purse. It's a satchel. Indiana Jones carries one!)
Day 26 - A photo of somewhere you've been to.
Day 27 - A picture of you last year and now.
Day 28 - Your favorite movie.
Day 29 - Something you could never get tired of doing.
Day 30 - A photograph of you today and three good things that have happened in the past 30 days.

Challenge extended...

AFI - On Hold

I haven't been watching too many movies lately. Life kind of got in the way. You may or may not have noticed that I haven't even seen one of those top 100 movies since I reviewed Forrest Gump back in June. That was before I officially moved.

And since then, things have been kind of crazy. Things have gotten so crazy that I've had to put my Netflix subscription on hold. And if you know me at all, you might be thinking I'm dying.

Fear not, rumors of my declining health are greatly exaggerated. I'm just not getting enough out of Netflix to make it worth paying the fee each month right now. For a while, I had three discs from Netflix just sitting next to my TV. And that's all they were doing. I wasn't watching them. For nearly a month they were there. That means I paid $25 in June for three movies that I never watched.

Also, remember how I was having all those issues with my internet? Well, that kind of makes it difficult to watch the instant streaming stuff. So that about does it for my reasons for keeping it.

In theory, my internet works great now. But to really test that theory, I have to reactivate my Netflix account. So I have to decide if it's worth the $25 to test my connection.

In the mean time, I have to put my New Year's resolution of watching all of the AFI top 100 movies of all time on hold. Let's be honest, as slow as I was going, there was no way I'd be able to get all 100 in one year. But I promise, I'll get around to all of them eventually.

On a side note, I'm not gonna hit 50 books in one year either. There's been too much stuff going on guys. Don't look at me like that. I can't deal with your disappointment!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Wally West was running harder than he had ever run before. Of course it was harder. He had lost his power. At one time, he was the fastest man alive. He was the Flash.

Now he was just Wally West. But after being considered a hero for so many years, it was a mentality that he couldn't just let go of. When he saw that kid snatch the woman's purse on the streets of Keystone City, he took off. Problem was, that kid was faster.

Not too long ago, Wally could have run from New York to LA in a matter of seconds. Now he was sluggishly moving down a couple city blocks and getting winded. Ahead of him, the teenaged crook was pulling ahead. Wally knew he couldn't possibly close that distance. He was only in his mid-20s, but without access to the Speed Force, he felt like an out of shape man in his 50s trying to run a marathon.

He couldn't explain how or why his super speed had gone away. Ever since his uncle Barry had returned from the dead, Wally felt like his place as the Flash was growing more and more obsolete. After all, Barry had been his mentor. Even while Wally wore the cowl of the Flash, he never really felt like the Flash. He never felt he could measure up to the man he had looked up to for so long.

But he tried. And now he was still trying, even without powers of any kind. Up ahead, the kid turned a corner and Wally knew he had lost him. He kept running to that spot, but when he arrived, the crook was nowhere to be seen. Wally bent over and put his hands on his knees, desperately trying to catch his breath. He wiped the sweat off his forehead with his sleeve. He couldn't believe he was just beaten in a footrace. He couldn't even remember the last time that happened. He wasn't trying to be egotistical, but come on, he'd outraced Superman more than once.

"Looking for this?"

Wally looked up. Standing in front of him was the Flash. Barry Allen's blue eyes shined through the eye holes of the red cowl as he looked down at his nephew. He was holding the stolen purse. Wally was still breathing heavily and said, "I almost... had him..."

Barry clapped him on the shoulder. "I know you did." The Flash handed Wally the woman's purse. "You should probably get this back to its owner."

"Sure... I just... need to... finish learning how... to breathe again..." Wally said.

"Wally, I want you to know that we're working on this problem," Barry's tone turned sympathetic, yet serious. "There must be a reason you've lost your powers. If there's a way to get them back, I know we'll find it."

"I know, Uncle Barry," said Wally, keeping his voice low. "But if we don't, I'll adjust. I've got Linda. I've got the twins. I wasn't born with super speed. When I got the power, I adjusted. I can readjust to not having them. My life will go on. Besides, the city has its Scarlet Speedster. Do they really need two?"

Barry sighed, "I'm serious Wally, we'll find a way."

Wally only nodded, then looked away.

"I've gotta run," Barry said. "See you soon!" he said before he took off.

Wally was left standing alone in the crowd. He was holding onto a purse that belonged to a woman he didn't know. He turned around and slowly made his way back to where he left the mugging victim. He only needed to walk back about three blocks. But it all felt so distant to him. He didn't want to be the guy that felt sorry for himself.

What he had told Barry was true. He had Linda. He had the twins. He had a life and it would keep on going. It just wouldn't be as fast as it used to be.

This prompt inspired by Sunday Scribblings.

The Flash and all related characters are property of DC Comics. I don't own any of those characters, nor do I own the idea of the Speed Force. I'm just a big, geeky fan who thought it would be fun to do a little fan fiction this week.

Contest Reminder

Remember you have until noon today to submit your entries if you're interested in attending the Greenbrier Classic next weekend. That's just under three hours from the time of this posting.

What are you waiting for? We're talking about Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, and all four of the Black Eyed Peas... even the dude with the really long hair who just seems to dance around like he's having some kind of seizure. Seriously, gonna be fun!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Life As a Sitcom

I've been back in Roanoke for a few weeks now and I've found myself hanging out with some of the same people on a pretty repetitive basis. This is a great thing for me. Because it means that I'm not sitting alone in my apartment watching TV or reading a book or stalking people on Facebook.

I've been going to friends' homes for meals. I've been going out to eat and to see movies and to baseball games. Okay, there was just the one baseball game, but there's another trip to the ball park coming in the near future.

And today, I went and had lunch with a group of friends, old and new, and then spontaneously went with a couple of them to see a movie. Again, this is great for me and is a welcome change in my life. After all, for the last couple of years, I haven't had a whole lot of options when it came to having a social life. I worked all the time, and when I wasn't working, I was too exhausted to really do anything.

But now that I have a circle of friends, I'm starting to think we need a hang out spot. I know, I know... I watch too much TV. But that's the thing, if I'm gonna fall into some kind of sitcom character stereotype, I kind of want a stereotypical hang out to be stereotypical in.

Friends had Central Perk. How I Met Your Mother has MacLaren's. And those kids from That 70's Show had Topher Grace's basement... right? I don't know... I didn't really watch that one. But they all had their place. I want a place.

I'm sure that's a lot to ask. There are a lot of places that people can go to hang out in Roanoke. I could be wrong about that. I haven't been back here long enough to really find out if that's true. But while that's appealing, I always kind of questioned those sitcom characters. Didn't the guys on Cheers ever do anything other than hang out in that bar? Does the study group from Community have a life outside of going to class all the time? Do I and my sitcom friends want to be pegged down as that group that always sits on those couches at the coffee shop?

And this begs the question: do my friends mind that I just referred to them as sitcom friends? I think I'm probably the only one who kind of wants life to turn out like a movie or TV show. Is that the writer in me, itching for a happy ending?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Question of the Week: Stolen

When was the last time you stole something? Why haven't you stolen anything since then?

I honestly can't remember the last time I actually stole something. And I guess the answer to why I haven't stolen anything is because it's wrong. I know my conscience wouldn't allow me to get away with anything. Boring answer this week. I'll try to be more creative next week.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

So Awkward...

I came across this picture over at Amy's blog, Ha Ha. Wait. What? today and it reminded me of a story that I don't think I've ever told here before. Are you ready? 'Cause it's a good one.

Back in the day, I was working closely with the youth group at North Roanoke Baptist. The summer after my freshman year, I helped to chaperone a mission trip that took us to Jackson, Mississippi.

It was a good trip for the kids, as well as myself. It got us all to break out of our comfort zones a little. During the trip, our main activity was to go door to door in different neighborhoods around Jackson and share the Gospel with people.

That's not all we were doing. It wasn't like we'd walk up to a door, knock, and just come right out with, "Why don't you know Jesus yet?" We were there as a part of a much larger group of churches that had gathered to get a feel for the area from an evangelical standpoint. Our initial reason for knocking on doors was to ask questions as a part of a survey. From there, if the opportunity presented itself, we were able to share our faith.

But what does all that have to do with the picture that I stole from Amy? Absolutely nothing. It's the event that happened on the way to Jackson that came to mind after seeing that little cartoon.

We had a lot of kids with us. Maybe by some standards, our youth group wasn't huge, but to me it was kind of big. I had recently come from a church whose youth group consisted of about eight kids on a good week. We had two van-loads of kids riding down to Mississippi that summer. We kept in touch through walkie-talkies, which meant that, as a chaperone, I got to have lots of fun with that.

At one point we stopped at a rest area to rest and find some refreshment. It was a very hot day in July, so I was feeling pretty thirsty. I went to the vending machines and bought myself a 20 ounce bottle of Fuitopia Strawberry Passion Awareness. Sidebar: It's a crime that this beverage is no longer sold in bottle form. Anyway, it was hot and I made the mistake of chugging it. I should have slowly sipped as the drive to Jackson progressed.

Roughly half an hour down the road, it hit me just how stupid it was to drink that entire bottle of Strawberry Passion Awareness. Man... just thinking about it right now makes me have to pee... I'll be right back...

Much better. Where was I? Oh yeah... somewhere between the moon and Jackson, Mississippi. So we're on the interstate and it's been said we're only about 30 minutes away from our hotel. But something bad was about to happen and there was no way I could wait another 30 minutes. I radioed the second van and told Todd that I had a bathroom emergency and that we were pulling over at that moment.

So there I was on the side of the road with two vans full of teenagers watching as I leap from the passenger seat of the front van, bound over the tall grass to stand next to a barb wire fence and a bunch of bushes. You can assume from there what I did as I stood there. Needless to say, I started feeling better.

Until an eighth grader decided to stand right next to me to do the same thing. Nevermind the fact that this fence stretched for 300 yards on either side of me. Here he stands not one foot away. And, can I just say, I'm pretty sure he could have held it. Judging by the amount of time he was there, he didn't have to go nearly as bad as I did. He was done before I was and he arrived after I did. Yeah, my tank was full.

Moral of the story: If you have to pull over to do your business, it doesn't have to be a group activity.

Legends of the Bank Teller: The New Guy

I'm still the new guy. And so many of the customers have no problem letting me know it. I've been here for a month now and I still get it all the time. "Well, we have a new face!"

I smile. I nod. I introduce myself and wait for them to completely forget my name before I finish their transaction. That's just how it works. Of course, in the long run, they'll remember me long before I remember them. Let's face it, they only have to memorize my face along with my five co-workers that they already know. I have to memorize hundreds of faces that come through here on a weekly basis. Maybe thousands. I'm not sure about those numbers, I'll get back to you.

But those five new co-workers have been great thus far. I'm in a new position in a new place working on a new computer system and they've all been very helpful and understanding when I've had questions. I managed to make it through the very first part of my training, which re-introduced me to the world of banking. Yeah, I was learning a new system, but mostly it was retraining. I learned how to count money all over again.

Since then I've been back in my new branch. I've been assigned my own teller drawer and I've been running deposits and withdrawals like a champ. It's not exactly the same pace as my old drive-thru, but its workable. In fact, I still can't decide which is busier: the drive-thru or my station at the in-store branch. We are pretty heavily populated. I'm not sure how it works for other branches found inside stores.

I found out yesterday that the next level of training won't actually begin until October. Originally I was scheduled to start in August and go through the middle of September. This means that the basic information of opening accounts and helping people with loan applications is still lost on me. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I suppose it pushes off the pressure to get new accounts a while longer (I think). On the other hand, I'm kind of stuck being a teller... which I'm used to. Part of the challenge of moving up here was the challenge of a new job. That challenge isn't so much happening yet.

However, like I said, the co-workers have been great. They've helped me to do some little things like open check cards for people. I took a credit card application last week. Kind of felt like a big step. But it still looks like it will be a while before I can actually open accounts for people.

I kind of feel like I'm procrastinating. But it's not my fault. I can't control the class schedule. But procrastinating does sound like something I would do.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How Well Do You Know Me?

Ladies and gentlemen of the internet! Welcome to the first ever Carp Dime/Greenbrier Classic Golf Tournament/Concert Series Trivia Contest!

If this contest is new information for you, click here to find out a little more about the Greenbrier Classic and why I'm giving anything away in the first place. Are you caught up? So now you know that I have a pair of tickets to the entire event and I'm looking for a plus one to the events that I'll be attending. Those events are as follows:
  • Tim McGraw concert - Thursday, July 28 at 8pm
  • Round 2 of the golf tournament - All Day Friday, July 29
  • Black Eyed Peas concert - Friday, July 29 at 9pm
  • Round 3 of the golf tournament - All Day Saturday, July 30
  • Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban concert - Saturday, July 30 at 8pm

Below you'll find a number of questions that comprise a trivia test. The questions are all about me. It was easy to come up with questions about me because I'm kind of an expert on the subject. If you don't know me, or don't know me well, don't worry. All of the answers to these questions can be found somewhere on this blog in past posts.

The rules are fairly simple. Answer the questions to the best of your ability and send your answers directly to my e-mail address: Take your time with it, you have until noon this Sunday to submit your answers. The winner will be the entry with the highest score. In the event of a tie, a random number generator will provide a winner by drawing someone at random.

Please note, the winner must be able to provide his or her own transportation to the Roanoke area. I'm happy to drive to the Greenbrier for the events but, unfortunately, I won't be able to provide more transportation than that. Also, the winner may been on his or her own for meals. I'm not sure how expensive the local eateries around the Greenbrier will be, so I can't guarantee that I'll be able to afford food for myself. Remember, I won these tickets in a contest myself and, unfortunately, it didn't come with a cash allowance for food and travel.

Was that enough of a buzzkill? I hope not. I hope you still want to play along. I'm hoping that you'll find this as fun as I am in making up these questions. Bear in mind, the prize isn't that you get to hang out with me all weekend, that's really just a bonus. The prize is the chance to go to an awesome golf tournament and three great concerts. Please get out a No. 2 pencil and we will begin.

Multiple Choice (5 points each)

1. What was the original title of this blog?
a. Carp Dime
b. The Single Guy
c. Sarcasm: A Free Service

2. Where did I spend my 27th birthday?
a. Macado's
b. O'Charley's
c. Chuck E. Cheese

3. When is my birthday?
a. March 6, 1980
b. March 9, 1981
c. February 29, 1980

4. I have 2 favorite cereals. What are they?
a. Rice Krispies and Honey Nut Cheerios
b. Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch
c. Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles

5. Where had I been living for the last 4 years?
a. Raleigh, NC
b. Roanoke, VA
c. Wake Forest, NC

6. What was the name of my preschool girlfriend?
a. Sarah
b. Angie
c. Tara

7. I recently bought a car. What kind of car did I get?
a. Ford Focus
b. Toyota Yaris
c. Chevy Aveo

8. What is my favorite color?
a. Red
b. Green
c. Blue

9. Who is the greatest super-hero of all time?
a. Batman
b. Green Lantern
c. Superman

10. What is my greatest fear?
a. Snakes
b. Clowns
c. Spiders

11. Who is the worst character in literary history?
a. Mr. Darcy - Pride and Prejudice
b. Bella Swan - Twilight
c. Severus Snape - Harry Potter

12. During college, what restaurant calmed our 3am food cravings?
b. Omelet Shoppe
c. Waffle House

13. Wat is my biggest pet peeve?
a. People who don't use a turn signal
b. Pets dressed up as people
c. People who believe mime is a legitimate profession

14. What was the last movie I reviewed for this blog?
a. Green Lantern
b. The Apartment
c. Transformers: Dark of the Moon

15. What is the last book I reviewed for this blog?
a. Jurassic Park
b. The Lost World
c. The Dead Zone

True/False (5 points each)

16. I sometimes refer to myself in the 3rd person as "The Single Guy."

17. I don't miss living in North Carolina at all.

18. My favorite comedy is Community.

19. I describe the song Jar of Hearts as "hauntingly beautiful."

20. The name of my dead green Escort was Kilowog.

Short Answer (5 points each)

21. Name the 3 women I had a crush on while working the bank drive thru.

22. With whom did I attend my first Salem Red Sox game?

23. While living in Wake Forest, what did I do for a 2nd job?

24. I described one of my current roommates as a cross between what 2 celebrities?

25. Each Friday I have a regular blog post. What is it called?

Essay (25 points)

Based on information that you can glean from this blog, what would you plan in celebration of my next birthday if you were put in charge?

Good luck to all those participating. Again, take your time in answering these questions and when you've finished, submit your answers to my personal e-mail at If you are unable to attend the Classic but still want to play along, feel free to answer the questions, just make a note in the e-mail that you don't want to be considered for the prize. Thanks and have fun!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Old Ball Game

At some point during my four years in North Carolina, the local minor league baseball team in Salem changed owners. Way back in the day, they were the Salem Buccaneers, feeding into the Pirates. In the 90s, they were the Salem Avalanche, feeding into the Rockies. More recently, they fed into the Astros, but remained the Avalanche.

Now they're the Salem Red Sox. Guess who's in charge now. Yeah, Boston. I'm not sure how to take this. I'm a Yankees fan, like my father before me. It's how I was raised. It's what I know. And with that comes the knowledge that the Red Sox... well... basically... they're the bad guys. There, I said it. And I feel better now.

Despite my allegiance to the New York Yankees, I love going to a baseball game. So when Tree mentioned that Monday night would be dollar night at the stadium, I knew I was in. I mean, who's gonna turn down a baseball game that only costs a dollar to get into? The only thing better would be free baseball. And bonus, the hot dogs were a buck too.

I will say this, I wouldn't just show up at the baseball game by myself. It's only worth going to if I'm going with a group of people. An actual game itself is only so exciting. It's always more fun when you're hanging out with friends in the stands. There were six of us in our little group including me, Tree, Shay, her son, PJ, and Willis. PJ I had met last Friday downtown. Willis was new to me.

For the first couple innings, things seemed to be kind of exciting in the game. Salem scored a couple runs in the first, the Keys hit a home run in the second and took the lead. And then the game went scoreless until the 8th inning when the Keys extended their lead.

So we had to make our own fun. Tree leaned over to me and told me she needed me to find her a Joseph. I wasn't sure what she meant. I thought she wanted me to walk through the crowd and find someone named Joseph. It wasn't long before I realized she just wanted me to find someone that looked like a Joseph.

In all the people watching, we found a strange phenomenon. Two men dressed exactly alike, but not together in any way. The fact that they were both wearing shirts of the same shade of purple and shorts of the same shade of pink was purely coincidental. Or was it? They weren't sitting anywhere near each other. But at one point, one was walking directly behind the other. And I really don't think they noticed that they were wearing the same clothes.

At first, Willis and I were thinking that one was the Keymaster and the other was the Gatekeeper. We thought that if they would actually meet, the stadium would explode and usher in the coming of Gozer. But then we saw them walking in close proxemity with no ill effects. So our current working theory is that these two are actually the same man, but from different points in time. We almost had a paradox, but the universe is still here. Disaster averted.

All in all it was a pretty great time. The Sox lost, about which I feel neither good nor bad. It is what it is. I look forward to the next dollar Monday.

BTW... Stay tuned for an update on my Greenbrier Classic Contest. Details are forthcoming.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Single Guy and the Roommates

The Single Guy really didn't want to complain about his new living situation and he certainly didn't want to bad mouth his new roommates. But the living situation is starting to become a serious issue in his life. And the new roommates are becoming something of a thorn in his side.

Really, he didn't want to complain about these things because of the off chance that the roommates could come across his blog. After all, the Single Guy advertises his latest blog posts on several forms of social media. It wouldn't be too hard for the roommates to find the disparaging remarks that the Single Guy may make about them. But he's to the point that he's already ready to move out, so he doesn't really care anymore.

Before he gets to the real complaints, it might be a good idea to let you, the reader, get a good understanding of who these roommates are. First, there's the guy who's been there the longest. He's the one who placed the ad on Craigslist that the Single Guy responded to in the first place. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. When the Single Guy met Roommate #1, his impression was that this guy was 50% Woody Allen, 50% Jeff Goldblum. If that doesn't paint enough of a picture for you, then you need to get a better understanding of who Woody and Jeff are.

The Single Guy briefly met Roommate #2 during that initial meeting. He's an assistant manager at a local restaurant and seemed like a pretty decent guy, if a little out of it from sleeping 'til noon. In fact, they both seemed like decent enough guys. Woody Goldblum seemed a bit more socially awkward than the norm, but he figured it would be a livable situation.

He got the impression that these guys mostly kept to themselves. After all, the living/dining room area was sparsely furnished and not at all decorated. And that was fine with the Single Guy. He had been living alone for the past four years, so keeping to himself would be an ideal situation. Or so he thought.

A couple weeks later, he finally moved into his new place. Really, his new place consisted of a bedroom and possibly some shelf space in the fridge and kitchen cabinets. That's about it. It wasn't easy for him to pare his belongings from an entire apartment to one room. But he managed to do it, for the most part. From the beginning of this thing, it just didn't seem to be working out right for him.

The problems with the internet should have been an omen of things to come for the Single Guy. Problems continued to reveal themselves when he went to the cable company with Woody Goldblum to pick up a DVR for his bedroom. The Single Guy wanted one of his own, just so he wouldn't have to rely upon the roommates and the community cable box in the living room in order to watch what he wanted to watch. Again, seemed like a good idea at the time.

In the time since receiving that DVR, the Single Guy has had two that have not worked properly. He's been on the phone and in online chat with tech support more times than he can count. He even had a technician come to the apartment to try to fix things. Still, problems persist. He's decided that he's just going to return the DVR to the cable compay. Why should he pay extra money as part of his monthly rent for a device that obviously doesn't work.

And now there are renewed issues with the internet. After Subway got things working a couple weeks ago, things were running smoothly. The Single Guy was able to surf the web without interruption. He was able to watch the instant streaming movies from Netflix through his Playstation. And then Woody decided it would be a good idea to simplify things.

For some reason, a past roommate had set up a second wireless router. Apparently, that second router had been an outstanding idea. Because while the Single Guy was receiving a signal from that second router, his signal was strong and pretty much flawless. When the cable technician came to the apartment to "fix" the Single Guy's DVR, Woody had him "fix" the internet as well. So now, there's only one wireless router in the apartment. And now, the Single Guy gets a weak signal that breaks up every few minutes.

He's still able to get on the internet through his laptop, but everything runs much slower. He attempted to watch a movie through Netlix on his Playstation, but every minute or so, it would stop and need to retrieve the information all over again. Downloading any updates is problematic at best. But it doesn't end with problems of technology.

The Single Guy has had to be pretty frugal when it comes to spending money over the last month or so. Moving is an expensive undertaking and his new salary hasn't quite kicked in yet. So the few groceries he has actually bought are precious and, to him, worth their weight in gold. When all you can afford is a loaf of bread and a package of turkey to get you through a week's worth of lunches, you want these things to last.

On several occasions, the Single Guy has noticed bread missing from the loaf that he keeps on his designated shelf in the kitchen cabinet. He's noticed a brand new package of turkey sitting open when he knows he's not the one who opened it.

If he was making money hand over fist, he wouldn't have a problem sharing his food with the roommates. But thus far, he hasn't taken any of their food. He hasn't asked for any of their food. Why should the Single Guy's food be communal property?

Finally, we have the texting incident from Saturday night. The Single Guy was enjoying his evening in Bluefield with Subway, the Charlatan, and the Other Single Guy when he received a text from Woody. He asked if the Single Guy was home around 9am on Friday morning.

"No. I was at work. Why?" he replied.

"Did you leave your TV on?" Woody said.

"No. What's going on?" the Single Guy asked.

"Well, Roommate #2 says it wasn't his, but a TV was on pretty loud and woke me up Friday morning. No big deal."

Apparently it was a big deal, otherwise the Single Guy wouldn't have been hearing about it more than 24 hours later. Now, the Single Guy is secure in the knowledge that his TV was off when he left for work. When he stopped by his apartment Friday night before heading to Bluefield, the TV was still off. He's sure that Woody would have let him know if he had gone in there and turned it off for him. With that, the Single Guy thought the issue was done. Then another text came through.

"It's no problem. Everyone is entitled to their secrets."

What the crap did that mean? The Single Guy shared the text conversation with his friends and they all laughed, but at the same time, they were all a little afraid for the Single Guy's well being. It's not that they thought he was in any kind of danger being there with these roommates. They were more worried about his psychological well being.

So the Single Guy is back to looking for a new place to live. Though he really can't afford to move at the moment, he is definitely keeping his eyes open for something. As soon as possible. Any suggestions? He's all ears.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Mere moments after meeting Emily, he knew that she would have the uncanny ability to captivate him completely.

Kent Fisher never believed in love at first sight. In fact, by the time he had finished college, he had decided that love itself was something that simply didn't exist. But here he was, falling for a woman he knew virtually nothing about.

It wasn't because she was beautiful. She absolutely was, but that wasn't what did it. For Kent, it was the way Emily carried herself. She had a certain strength and independence about her, but she balanced it with a sort of gracefulness that he had a difficult time describing.

They met seemingly by chance. For Kent, it couldn't have been more than a coincidence that they were in the same place at the same time. If he couldn't grasp the idea of love, he certainly wouldn't give credit to something as ridiculous as fate or destiny. But what were the odds that this woman named Emily would just happen to be in this particular restaurant at the same time as Kent, who had never had any desire to eat here.

He was roped into the evening by an old friend who was in town on business. This friend had suggested meeting for dinner at the Corner Bar because he had heard good things about it. Kent had never heard any of these good things, but he didn't put up a fight.

Just as Kent arrived at the restaurant, he got a text message from Jeff telling him that he would be late. Typical, Kent thought. He bypassed the hostess and made his way to the bar to wait for his friend. He asked the bartender for a scotch and soda and began sipping slowly. Boredom was beginning to set in as he waiting with his drink. And then Emily walked into the room.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw her and his breath caught in his chest. He only glanced at her for a second, but in that time he had taken a mental picture. It was an image he would never forget. She was scanning the room, looking for someone who apparently was not there. Her long blond hair fell just below her shoulders, her bright green eyes seemed to sparkle in the dim light of the restaurant. She was wearing a modest light blue sundress that made Kent glad it was summer time. He stared intently at his glass when he noticed the woman walking in his direction.

She sat on the stool next to him and asked the bartender for a glass of ice water. In his periphery, Kent saw her take a sip of the water before she turned to face him. "You look like you're waiting for someone," she said.

Yeah, you, he thought. "Uh, yeah, actually. How could you tell?"

"You have that look about you. Like you don't really want to be here but you aren't sure you had a choice in the matter," she smiled at Kent and took another sip from her glass. "So, who is she?"

Kent finally turned toward Emily and was taken aback when he got a real look at the beauty sitting beside him. He was afraid to speak. He was afraid that the fact that she had captivated him would cause him to stammer when his words came out.

"Oh, no, there's no she," he finally said. "I'm here to meet an old friend from school."

She smiled again. "I actually knew there was no she. Your body language would have been completely different. There would have been a certain nervousness about you. And you probably would have been turning to look at the entrance every time the door opened."

"How do you do that? Are you a profiler for the FBI or something?" Kent asked, mildly impressed.

"No," she said as she laughed. "I'm a psychologist."

"I should probably stop talking right now then," he said, causing her to laugh again. He turned completely toward her and introduced himself. "I'm Kent," he said, extending his hand to her.

"Emily." She took his hand and suddenly Kent didn't want to let go. Her hand was soft and warm and Kent wanted to hold onto it forever.

He picked up his drink again and took another swallow. "So, ice water, rough day?"

"Oh, I'm just not much of a drinker," Emily said. She pointed to his scotch, "What about you?"

"Not a bad day," he said, "I just..."

"Don't want to be here?" she finished for him.

"Something like that." Kent finished his drink, but when the bartender returned he didn't ask for a refill. Instead he asked for his own ice water.

"It can't be that bad, can it?"

"No, I'm sure it's not that bad. I just never know with this guy."

Emily nodded, "I know what you mean. I'm supposed to meet my brother here tonight. Of course, he's late. But the thing is, even if he was on time, I'd never know about his true intentions for getting together. There's always some kind of ulterior motive. You can't just come into town and have dinner with your little sister?"

Kent laughed. "How about this: if my friend and your brother don't show up in the next half hour, why don't we just have dinner together? My treat."

"You don't have to do that."

"I insist. Besides, you're much better company than he would be."

Emily smiled and said, "You don't know that. I could be a horrible dinner date. You don't know what kind of company I could turn out to be."

"Emily, I may not be as vocal as you are, but I'm pretty good at reading people too."

This got another small laugh. "Okay, deal."

The two of them lost track of time. They sat at the bar for an hour talking about careers and movies and books and the things they each did in their spare time. They didn't notice that their half hour had come and gone. And they didn't notice when Jeff walked in.

"Good, you've met!" Jeff said clapping Kent on the back. Emily jumped up and hugged Jeff. Kent nearly choked on his last sip of water as he realized that his friend and Emily's brother were the same person. This meeting wasn't coincidence. It was a set up.

Kent looked over at Emily and asked, "Did you know we were waiting for the same person?"

"No, I swear I had no idea," she said with deep sincerity.

Kent wanted to be angry with Jeff. He hated being set up. But he couldn't be angry. In the time he had just spent with Emily, he had fallen hard. He knew it was ridiculous, but he was incredibly drawn to her. The three of them made their way to a table and Jeff couldn't help but smile at the fact that he was about to have dinner with this beautiful woman, even though his friend and her brother had shown up to take them away from each other.

Check out how others took the writing prompt at Sunday Scribblings.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Isn't It Bromantic

There's been a lot going on this weekend. And right now, my head is kind of a jumble of events. I'm not exactly sure how to string it all together without making it sound like one big run-on sentence. I'll try to clear it up as best I can. I don't want to alienate any of my readers by babbling incoherently. So here goes...

A few days ago, I got a call from the Charlatan asking if I wanted to go with him to Bluefield this weekend. I didn't have to work, so I thought, why not? The Other Single Guy is up there, so it could be a good time driving up to hang out for a couple days. Except, he told me, it wouldn't really be a couple days. The plan was to come through Roanoke, pick me and Subway up, then hang out in Bluefield 'til about midnight Saturday night, then make the drive back. The Charlatan needed to be back in Richmond for church on Sunday morning. Sure, why not, I'm not the one that has to drive.

So Friday after work, I drove over to Subway's house and we headed downtown to hang out with Tree and Shay at First Fridays. We were immediately introduced to PJ and Danni, who are friends with Tree and Shay. We thought we'd have plenty of time down there since the Charlatan told us he would be in Roanoke around 9:30. Yeah, and then I got a call from him at 7:30. Sorry ladies, gotta cut the evening short. Turns out JMitch was doing the driving. So really, we should've been asking her about the schedule of events.

Let the road trip begin. A short 2 hour drive later, and we were in Bluefield. We stopped by Wendy's to pick up some food and were suddenly very aware that we were back in Bluefield. The Charlatan ordered a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger and was asked if he wanted cheese on that. He wasn't too sure how to respond. My thought is that if you ask for a cheeseburger, the fact that you want cheese on it is implied. Apparently that's not how it is around these parts.

We stayed up pretty late last night, made a run to the Sheetz in Princeton, and pretty much just hung out. This morning, the other three woke up early to go play some church league softball. I wasn't invited to play. Because I'm a dropper. I was invited to come and watch. But I didn't much like the idea of coming out and sitting alone on the bleachers with a group of church folk that I didn't know. So I opted to stay here and get some more sleep. I liked my choice just fine.

From what I hear, they lost both the games they played. I don't think it was pretty.

When they returned and woke me from my mid-morning nap, we walked from the Other Single Guy's house over to Applebee's. Lunch was pretty decent. I mean, it's Applebee's, so it's not gonna be anything over the top special. I think walking there was a really good idea, though. Driving would have been a nightmare. There's a pretty big event happening in Bluefield today. I'm not going to try to describe it because I really have no detailed information about it. What I do know is that it's a big concert. And the only name I really recognized was Montgomery Gentry. And I've heard they've sold 16,000 tickets to an event in a stadium that only holds 10,000 people. That should go over really well. You've got this all day country music concert going on and then you're gonna have 6,000 drunken, angry rednecks who aren't gonna be able to get in. Good planning, Bluefield.

We'll be leaving Bluefield tonight around midnight or 1am. I'm not too worried about getting back to Roanoke. I just feel bad for JMitch and the Charlatan having to get all the way back to Richmond. So I guess that's about it from the Bluefields. I'll see you back here tomorrow.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Question of the Week: Lacking Something

Would you be content with a marriage of the highest quality in all respects but one - it completely lacked sex?

I really cannot adequately answer this question. Right now I'm thinking I'd be okay with it, but that's based on the fact that I don't know what I'm missing. But back in college, I remember our campus minister saying that sex in marriage was basically a really awesome bonus and shouldn ot be the basis of any marriage. Marriage is supposed to be a lot more than sex. Again, I don't know what I'm missing, so that's the best answer I can give. Oh, and Dr. Lyle, if you're reading this, I hope I'm not misquoting you.

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

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Life Story - Chapter Fifty Eight

I promise, this is the last story I'll tell about a class I took my senior year. Not because I think this subject bores you. After all, how could any story I'm telling about my remarkable life possibly bore anyone? Okay, it probably is boring, but I don't care. This is my blog and I won't let you dictate what I do here!

Wow... I don't know where that came from. I apologize for my outburst. It was uncalled for.

Uh... class... senior year...

I took a college level biology class for college credit. It was one of those dual enrollment things that I thought would be a really good idea. Turns out it was a really bad idea. It's because I was still under the impression that I didn't have to try to get passing grades. That theory worked fine for those high school level courses. But this was college biology, or "BIO 101" as they listed it in the Virginia Western Community College course catalog.

Yeah, you can't just coast through college courses. You have to actually do the work. You have to actually study for the exams. Boy, did I learn that lesson the hard way.

I barely passed that class. With a D. It's the only D I ever got. And do you know why I got a D? Because at the end of the year we had an optional extra credit activity involving the dissection of a cat. That's right, if I hadn't participated in the cat dissection, I'd have failed college biology in 12th grade.

Don't judge me for cutting open a cat. It was already dead. It came that way in the mail. At least, that's the story our teacher told us. I can only assume that the cat died of natural causes and was not run over by our biology teacher. But let's change the subject, you know too much already.

Despite my poor performance in that class, we did do some pretty neat stuff. We took a field trip to Lakewood Park to scour the creek and pond for wildlife. We collected crayfish (or crawdads) and tadpoles and brought them back to our classroom (or lab) to study them and watch them grow.

I think there was something seriously wrong with the tadpoles we found. They never lost their tails. They never grew legs. They never became frogs. Come to think of it, they may have just been minnows.

Honestly, I don't know how I got a D in that class.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Remember when I was describing my activities on Independence Day last week? Well, I failed to mention something about my excursion to Grand Home Furnishings. See, while I was in the furniture store with Tree and Shay, we were all informed about a drawing that the company was having. They would soon be giving away a pair of tickets to the Greenbrier Classic.

I'll be honest, I don't know much about the Greenbrier Classic. I know it's a golf tournament, and that's about all I know. I guess that's the important part, right? It's a PGA tournament that takes place between July 25th and the 31st. But the Grand employees made the contest a little more enticing by letting us know that there would be concerts during the Classic. These concerts would feature some pretty heavy hitters: Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, and the Black Eyed Peas. Yeah, seems like kind of a big deal.

Tree and Shay declined. I'm not sure why they chose not to drop their names in the big plastic box. But I figured, why not? There was absolutely nothing to lose by putting my name on that paper. So I did it. And I promptly forgot about it.

Then I got a call today from a phone number I didn't recognize. When I looked the number up on the internet, turns out it belonged to Grand Home Furnishings. At first I couldn't think of any reason why they would be calling me. I mean, yeah, I was really interested in those Tempurpedic mattresses we were checking out, but not interested enough to give them my information. I didn't think they had my number. There was no reason for them to call me. And then...

Oh yeah! I entered my name in that drawing for the tickets to the Greenbrier Classic! Does this mean I won?

Luckily the unknown number left a voice mail. Sure enough, a woman from Grand named Vicky was calling to let me know that I did, in fact, win the drawing.

Now, I'm not entirely sure about what's going on with the whole Greenbrier Classic thing. But, from what I do understand, I've got tickets to every single event during the Classic. That means I have the option to go to every day of golf and all three of the concerts. I should be getting my prize package via UPS on Friday, so I'll know more then. But for now, the stuff I do know sounds pretty top notch.

Obviously I can't go to every single event in the Classic. I can't just take a week off work to go watch some live golf. But I'm pretty sure I can make the drive up to the Greenbrier for a Tim McGraw concert. And go back the next night to see the Black Eyed Peas. And go back again the next night for Keith Urban. Yeah, I think I can handle that.

But now the question remains: what do I do about my plus one?

I've got some thoughts floating around in my head as to what to do with that second ticket. So stay tuned. One of those thoughts involves a trivia contest. All I'll say about this trivia is that it will consist of questions whose answers will come directly from this blog. But that could pose a problem as there are over 1000 blog posts from which to glean information. Like I said, stay tuned. More information to come this weekend.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Legends of the Bank Teller: Locked Out

Recently I've been dealing with a lot of technological issues. Most of these issues have taken place in my new home.

When I first moved in, I could not connect to the wireless network. Eventually, that problem was solved. In my second week in my new place, I went with my roommate to the cable company to pick up a DVR box for my bedroom, that way I wouldn't have to depend on a community cable box for the things I wanted to watch. It didn't work.

This problem lasted a bit longer than the internet issues. I switched out the DVR for a different box. Still I had problems. But the problems with one box were different than the problems with the second. With the first, I had no picture and the box wasn't receiving a signal. With the second, the picture would freeze up. And then it wouldn't respond to the remote. And then I couldn't find my DVR list or the channel guide.

Today I got a text from my roommate saying that the technician from the cable company came out and fixed everything. No more cable problems. No more internet problems. And there was much rejoicing in the land.

I was at work when I received that text. And my joy lasted only a little while. Not long after finding out this great news, I got locked out of the bank's computer system.

When I tried to log back into a computer, I was told that my account was locked out. It's like they decided to kick me off the system.

I thought I was in a good place, you know? I thought that I had received a promotion and was starting this new thing. Turns out I was fired a long time ago and by some glitch in the system, I just kept getting a pay check. Well, today, they fixed the glitch.

Just kidding. I was never fired. Apparently there was some mix up with my transfer and the computer didn't know what to do with me anymore. So it locked me out.

This is what happens when we start trusting the machines. They get confused. When they get confused, they turn against us. It isn't good.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm What You'd Call An "Introvert"

Some time ago, the Most Awesome Person I Know posted an article she found titled, "The Top Ten Myths About Introverts." Anyone who knows me can probably easily tell that I'm an introvert. The most obvious sign is that I'm not much of a people person. I'm not, how you say, outgoing. Neither was my Dad. It's sort of a thing I inherited. Or maybe I learned it from him. I guess that depends where you stand on the whole nature/nurture battle.

Anyway, she found the article over at CarlKingCreative. I guess she thought the article reminded her of me. Though I can't imagine why. If you know me... I mean, really, really know me, you might agree with her. If you disagree, please tell me why. I'd be curious to know why.

Top Ten Myths About Introverts

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk. This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy. Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude. Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people. On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public. Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone. Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird. Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds. Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun. Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race.
In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


It was the middle of the night when Gabrielle ran in desperation back toward the cottage where she had been raised. It may have been dark, but she couldn't have tripped in that darkness if she had wanted to. She knew every square inch of these woods. She knew where to step and where to jump as she sped between the trees. Even if she weren't so familiar with this land, she could see everything as clearly as if it was day. That was one of her numerous gifts, perfect vision in light and in darkness. She had to get back quickly. She had to share with her brothers and sister just what she had seen.

The others had raised her since she was an infant. And they had never hidden from her their belief that she was special. Some of Gabrielle's earliest memories involved her sister telling the story of the prophecy and just how it related to her. She grew up hearing all about her so-called fate, but she never really believed it. She just thought her siblings were being over-protective due to the loss of their parents. For that, she could understand the seclusion in their hidden cottage.

But several months ago, just after Gabrielle's 15th birthday, she decided it was time for her to go exploring on her own. She told herself that she wouldn't go far. She would just sneak out in the night and see the forest on her own. She was curious, but she was no fool. She carried with her a bow and a quiver of arrows, the same ones she had been trained to use since a very young age. Again, as her brothers explained, it was in preparation for her eventual destiny. She may have scoffed at the use of the term "destiny," but she was grateful for the ability to defend herself if necessary.

Each night was the same. She waited until the others had fallen asleep, and then she tiptoed down the stairs and out the front door. Under the light of the moon she would walk barefoot through the dewy grass. She would explore the woods and memorize the trees that surrounded the old cottage. Gabrielle enjoyed this alone time. She loved her brothers and sister and was thankful beyond words for everything that they had done for her over the years. But she was reaching a point where she felt she deserved some freedom. She didn't feel like a prisoner, but there were times when she wished she had her own life. Each night was the same. Trees, animals, the stars... she came to consider them her friends.

But on this night something was different. She walked past a boulder that she had walked past a hundred times before. And there, resting upon it, was a golden locket. Gabrielle couldn't believe what she was seeing. It seemed to be glowing. It wasn't as if the locket was merely reflecting the moonlight, it seemed to actually give off its own light. Again, her curiosity overtook her.

She couldn't describe the feeling that had come over her. It was as if she had to touch it. It was as if the locket was calling out to her. As if it were meant just for her. It had to be for her, right? After all, this very boulder had been bare for all these years and now, suddenly, here was this thing, right where she would be at the moment she would be there. Had someone left it for her on purpose? Was it a trap? Or was it a gift? All of that talk of fate and destiny was flowing through her mind. She knew she had to grab the locket. She knew it was meant for her.

Gabrielle reached for the locket. As soon as her fingertips grazed the gold, she was transported to another place. She was at sea. Far in the distance she saw an island. She wasn't sure how she knew, but she understood that it was a lost island. She knew that it was her destiny to find this island. As suddenly as she found herself in the middle of the ocean, she found herself on that hidden island. She saw her family fighting a losing battle. Each of the boys had their swords drawn, and her sister was furiously firing arrows at an army of strange creatures. Again, her vision shifted to the interior of some kind of temple. Sitting on a pedestal before her was an elaborately decorated vase. As it was with her knowledge of this lost island, she somehow knew that there was something inside the vase. She didn't know what it was, but she desperately wanted to find out. She knew she had the ability to uncork this vase and spill out the contents, but it was just out of reach.

She blinked and she was back in her forest. Gabrielle had no memory of actually grabbing and holding the locket, but she was now holding it so tightly that sharp edges had broken the skin of her palm. She held it out and stared down at the necklace in horror. A part of her wanted to drop it on the ground before she ran away, but she was compelled to hold onto it.

It was time to let her brothers and sister know everything that had just happened. They needed to know what she saw. It was now evident that everything they had told her was true. She was the subject of a terrible prophecy. It seemed that the destiny from which they had tried to hide her was inevitable. Gabrielle reached the cottage and felt safer, but she knew this safety wouldn't last. She knew that her story was just about to begin.