Friday, September 30, 2011

Question of the Week: Complimentary

When you are given a compliment do you usually acknowledge it or suggest that you really do not deserve it?

Of course I deserve it. I'm awesome.

Okay, really, it all depends on who is paying the compliment. If it's a close friend or family member who truly knows my dry sense of humor, I play it off an pretend like I've got a huge ego and they're just fueling it. If it's a co-worker or superior or just someone that I don't know very well, I typically say thank you and move on. In reality, I don't let compliments go to my head. I do the best I can at whatever I'm trying to do and if it catches someone's attention, so be it. If not, at least I can get a good night's sleep knowing that I did the best I could.

And that's... one to grow on.

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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The First Timer

For a long time I've been calling myself a fan of Virginia Tech. Don't worry, it's been going on longer than a lot of people might think. I'm not one of those guys that jumped on the Virginia Tech bandwagon back when Michael Vick was playing. I'm just not the kind of person that gets openly excited about football.

Don't get me wrong. I like football. I just don't follow it closely enough to have a decent fantasy team. I like to watch a game, but if Tech isn't playing, I generally don't care who wins. I don't pay attention to rankings. I don't pay attention to what a certain team's win-loss record is going to do to how Virginia Tech rises or falls from week to week.

Despite my apparent lack of enthusiasm towards sports in general, I do call myself a fan of the Hokies. But I had never been to a game at Lane Stadium. Never, that is, until last weekend.

A few weeks back I got a text message from Kelly, a friend from the Bluefield days. She let me know that she and a couple of her friends had a fourth ticket for Tech's game versus Arkansas State. Since I had never been to a live game, I jumped on it. I'll admit, I was pretty excited.

I hitched a ride from Roanoke to Blacksburg with Kelly's friends Lesley and Adam. They were the real connection to the tickets, so if they're reading this, thanks again for bringing me along for the ride. Not only did we have incredible seats (I'll get to those later), we had a parking pass for Lot 2. This put us approximately nine parking spaces away from the stadium.

You know what a great part of the fun of going to a football game is? If you said tailgating, you were right. We grilled burgers and dogs, played some Cornhole, and pretty much just had a swell time.

Eventually the time came for us to make our way inside. Our seats? Just to the right of the 50 yard line. We were about midway up the home side. Oh, and we had cushions and seat backs. That's right, we didn't have to sit on the cold, metal bleachers.

I guess I got kind of spoiled with my first game. I'm going to expect an awesome parking space and awesome comfortable seats the next time I go to a football game. And I'm sure that's not how it will happen. I'm sure I'll end up parking on the other side of town and I'll need to walk all the way to the game. I'm sure I'll be stuck on the bleachers surrounded by drunk guys who spill beer all over me and my friends.

My only true complaint about my first time home game experience is the old folks that were all around us. There was an old lady in front of me that kept leaning back on her seat back and shoving it into my knees. Every time she leaned back, she pretty much hyper-extended the seat back. It's okay though, I wasn't using those knees anyway. And let's not forget the elderly man sitting next to me. I'm pretty sure he thought I was his grandson. He kept explaining things to me. As I said above, I'm not the most sports-savvy guy, but I know what it means when someone is off sides.

Okay, sometimes I have a hard time understanding off sides.

And, of course, Tech won. It was a pretty good game. And I had an awesome time. I want to go again. I'm not saying I'm ready for my own season tickets, but I could handle another game.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

AFI 75 - In the Heat of the Night

In the Heat of the Night
Directed by Norman Jewison
Netflix sleeve: Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) helps a redneck Southern sheriff (Rod Steiger) solve a murder in this fascinating study in racism that still strikes a resonant chord today. Steiger won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance as the put-upon sheriff who comes to respect Tibbs's professionalism and ability. Norman Jewison directs this dramatic tale with a feeling for the cultural and social atmosphere of the time.

Growing up, my only exposure to In the Heat of the Night was the TV series starring Carroll O'Connor. And when that show was on, I was just a kid and I remember always being disappointed whenever it came on. Because it came on during the day once it hit syndication. So during the summer, when I was home to enjoy daytime TV, I was just met with disappointment when I saw that it was coming on. If I'd had any clue how awesome the original movie was, I'd have probably given the show a shot. 44 years later, the movie still has a relevant message. And even if the problem of racism didn't still exist, the movie would still be worth watching. For one thing, it shows an accurate portrayal of a small town in the deep south in the mid-1960s. For another, it's a great murder mystery with an exciting ending. If you've never given this movie a chance, give it a chance. Definitely worth it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So... Yeah...

I've really been slacking on the blogging. I don't have any real excuses for my slacking.

No, that's a lie. I do have excuses. And they're decent excuses. They mostly revolve around the fact that I've been staying busy. I'm still getting used to the new job, even though I'm almost a month into it. It's great, but there's a definite learning curve here that I'm adjusting to.

What else? Well, the social life isn't lying dead in the gutter these days. I go out with friends. I visit my friends' homes. I go to Virginia Tech football games. I drive to the Richmond area for surprise birthday parties. I drive to my old home in North Carolina to participate in a Heart Walk with a company for whom I no longer work.

So yeah... I've been kind of busy. But I promise I'll get caught up. I just need to find a new groove. Maybe that new groove will mean the elimination of the daily post, as I've tried so hard to be faithful to in the past. But I definitely want to have a regular schedule. Stay tuned kids. Don't forget about me. Don't stop following me. I promise to do better.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Question of the Week: In God's Hands

A cave-in occurs while you and a stranger are in a concrete room deep in a mine shaft. Before the phone goes dead, you learn the entire mine is sealed and the air hole being drilled will not reach you for 30 hours. If you both take sleeping pills from the medicine chest, the oxygen will last for only 20 hours. Both of you can't survive; alone, one of you might. After you both realize this, the stranger takes several sleeping pills, says that it is in God's hands, and falls asleep. You have a pistol; what do you do?

Wow... that's a really long and involved question. Okay, where did I get this pistol? Why isn't this listed as one of my assets at the beginning, along with the sleeping pills? Why do I have the pistol? Why doesn't the stranger have it? This is just an unlikely situation. Obviously, I wait for the stranger to fall asleep, then I shoot him in the head. But then I make it look like he committed suicide because he panicked and couldn't take suffocating to death. I'm totally kidding, by the way. I'm not a complete psychopath. I wouldn't be able to kill a stranger who just took a handful of pills. Depending on how many he took, he may have just accidentally OD'ed. But I guess that would be the part that's in God's hands. On the other hand, I couldn't use the gun to kill myself either. So I'd take a sleeping pill too. Guess I'll be putting it in God's hands too.

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Totally Could've Done That

Just when you think I can't possibly find anything else to say about the awesomeness that is Back to the Future, someone comes along and makes a YouTube video like this. By the way, I'm pretty sure I could do something like this. Except with the entire movie. 'Cause I've seen it that many times. Enjoy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Legends of the Bank Teller: The Last Laugh

What's that you say? You thought the previous legend was the Last Legend? Yeah, so did I. But this is just too blogworthy to let slide by.

So, remember how I used to complain about how stupidity seemed to run rampant in the world of banking? Not so much with me or my colleagues, but with the every day people who came across our paths. I'd cite examples but I know there are far too many to go around. Turns out that there's a really good chance I need to lump myself in with the rest of humanity. That's right. I'm one of the stupid ones.

For nearly four years I worked for the bank. And for nearly four years I lived my life under the belief that I was living each pay period one paycheck behind. Boy, was I wrong.

When I quit, I left believing that I would receive my final paycheck in the mail, and I was okay with that. Especially when I believed that my last paycheck would consist of two days worth of work and would arrive a month later. Little did I know, that last paycheck would arrive in my bank only two weeks later.

Under the umbrella of ignorance, I firmly believed that two weeks after I quit, I would receive a paycheck that reflected the second half of the month of August. So when I checked my account on the 15th of this month I received a nasty shock. The automatic deposit that went into my account was roughly $600 less than what I had expected.

That's the part where I threw up a little and panicked over how I would pay my bills for the second half of the month.

So I did what any other average American would do. I got a cash advance on a credit card, throwing myself deeper into debt, and found a way to pay my bills. On the bright side, I was able to make ends meet, allowing me to breathe again until I get paid at the beginning of October. The bad news is that cash advance comes with a wonderful 8 billion percent interest rate. I really look forward to paying on that for a while.

So I may have left the bank without giving a full two weeks notice, but it would seem that the bank had the last laugh. Well played nameless banking corporation... well played.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Usually I take a Sunday Scribblings writing prompt and try to make myself come up with some fiction for my post. But I'm not doing that today.

I'm one week away from participating in the Triangle Area Heart Walk down in Raleigh. So I'm using the writing prompt as my last ditch effort to raise awareness and funds for the American Heart Association.

A few weeks ago I first mentioned that I had committed to walking with a team of my former coworkers at the bank that I left in Raleigh. And now the time is upon us. When I registered, I set a personal fundraising goal of $250 and at this point I'm a little more than half way there.

I can't meet the rest of my goal without your help. Donating is just about the easiest thing you can do. On the right side of my page, just above my picture, there's a link to my donation page. If you want to give, all you have to do is click that picture and you'll be taken to the site that lets you decide how much or how little you want to give. Remember, every little bit helps.

What does your money help the American Heart Association to do? Well, here it is in their words:
  • Improving patient care - We're improving the quality of health care by creating best practices for treating heart disease and stroke. Our Get With The Guidelines hospital-based quality improvement program helps heart and stroke patients get the best treatment consistently. Mission: Lifeline helps patients with the most severe kind of heart attack get the specialized emergency services they need to survive.
  • Advocating for better health - Our nationwide volunteer network, You're The Cure, advocates for key issues at the national, state and local levels such as requiring physical education in schools, clean air legislation and making AEDs mandatory in public buildings.
  • Reaching out to populations at risk - Blacks have higher risk and higher death rates from stroke than whites. Our Power To End Stroke education/awareness initiative helps African Americans share information to reduce their risk of stroke. More than 23,000 key opinion leaders, including mayors, professors, ministers and celebrities, have been recruited to be ambassadors working within their own community.
  • Raising awareness - Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women over age 25, but many women don't make their own health a priority. Through Go Red For Women, we're raising awareness among women about their risks and empowering them to protect their heart health.
  • Protecting the future - Nearly one in three children and teens in the United States is overweight or obese. As a result, more kids than ever before are developing high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. We are helping kids develop lifelong healthy habits and working to make sure that today's children can grow up to be tomorrow's healthy adults.
  • Educating Americans - We save lives every day by offering information and education. We pioneered CPR and millions of Americans use our patient education materials and online tools to help themselves and their loved ones live longer, healthier lives.
And I'm not just doing this because it gives me an excuse to go back to Raleigh to visit some friends that I've left behind. That's just a happy side effect. This is a cause that I can believe in. It's a cause to which I have a personal connection. My Dad had a lot of health issues during the last 10 or so years of his life. Heart disease was among those issues. When he passed away, the only physical explanation that a doctor could give was that his heart simply gave out. This was eight years after he underwent quadruple bypass surgery.

We're coming up on a full five years since the night he passed away. And I can't think of a better way to honor his memory than to help an organization that is working to improve the lives of fathers and mothers and grandparents and grandchildren across the country.

To those who have already given, thank you. And to those who have yet to give, thank you in advance. After next week, I'll gladly share with you just how the Heart Walk went. I'll even upload pictures.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Question of the Week: Envy

Have you ever disliked someone for being luckier or more successful than you?

No. I can honestly say that I've felt a certain sense of envy for people who have enjoyed success in their chosen fields. But that envy has been fleeting and it's never led to dislike. Whatever the case, I'm always happy for friends and acquaintances who do well for themselves.

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

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Dark Side of Community

We are officially one week away from the season premiere of Community. I'm kind of excited about it. To get you ready, here's a taste of what you've missed over the last two seasons... if you were foolish enough to not watch it...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I mentioned not long ago that I've started a new job. Along with this opportunity came a tough decision that probably caused some hurt among my previous coworkers. While it was never my intention to place anyone in a difficult position, nor did I ever intend to burn bridges, it's a realistic possibility that I had to face.

I made a decision. Period. It was a choice that I needed to make and if I was asked to do it again, I absolutely would. I'm growing more relaxed in my new position. I'm growing more and more comfortable with what I'm doing and as time has passed, I feel more confident in how I approach this new career.

I haven't questioned my decision to leave the bank. But that doesn't mean that it isn't nice to receive a little confirmation that I made the right choice from time to time.

Two days after I started the new job, Tree came into work and shared the devotion she had read that morning. She handed it to me and said it made her think of me. So I read it. The title of it said "Do what you love, love what you do."

It talks about how God gives us certain talents and passions in our lives. God doesn't create us to be talented in certain areas, then ask us to give ourselves in unrelated areas. The devotion quotes Carly Fiona who said, "Love what you do, or don't do it." It's no secret that I didn't love working for the bank. But I forced myself, for four years, to be grateful. It's a difficult economy and jobs are scarce. Of course I was grateful for the paycheck.

But in working for the bank, I wasn't using my true talents. It was a job I could do, more or less adequately. But it was because, again, I forced myself to do it. The devotion goes on to say that if you become a slave to someone else's dream, that dream can quickly become a nightmare. For a long time, that's the kind of life I felt like I was trapped in. That's not where God wanted me. And it's not where I wanted me.

And so I got out. I'm doing something that's using my talents. I'm able to perform a job that let's me pursue my creative passions. I'm being paid to do something that I actually enjoy doing. I don't wake up in the morning with a sense of dread about where I'm headed for the day. It's a wonderful feeling.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What I'll Be Deeveeyarring This Season

I'll be honest... I haven't had this option in a while. A long while. I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again, it's really hard to go without a DVR if you've ever experienced having one for any length of time. You get used to it. You come to depend upon it. It's more convenient than a VCR* because you don't have to worry about those big awkward VHS tapes. You can set it to record every episode of a particular show and you don't have to worry about missing it. You can go out and hang out with your friends and when you get back, you can watch your shows without commercials. Pretty nifty if you ask me. So I have one again. And now I have the opportunity to watch TV shows I otherwise would have had to miss. Or watch on the Hulu. For the sake of chronology, I'll be working my way through the week, beginning with Monday...

                                                       Source: via Carly on Pinterest

How I Met Your Mother
'Cause I've been committed to this show for years and I really want to find out who the mother is. I watched Lost for six years waiting to find out what the heck the Smoke Monster was and I really don't feel like I got a satisfying answer. If this happens with Future Ted's story to his children, I'm gonna be really upset.

                                                         Source: via Jaime on Pinterest

Yeah, I watch Glee. I like the music. The stories aren't that great and the writing also isn't that great. But the music is fun.

                                                      Source: via ILLY on Pinterest

Two words: Sarah Michelle Gellar. Okay, that's three words. But she's playing two parts. That's right, I had a hard time letting go of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What of it?

                                                     Source: via Samara on Pinterest

Modern Family
I didn't start watching this at the beginning, but I've recently caught up on it and I think it's friggin' hysterical. I'd really like to work more of Phil's expletives into my every day language. "Son of Jor-El!"

                                                      Source: via Serendipity on Pinterest

Happy Endings
This one I did start watching from the beginning. It was a mid-season replacement last season and I'm glad it got picked up for a full season. I really like the dynamic between the cast and like how there's a lot of dry, witty, sarcastic humor. That kind of thing really resonates with me.

                                                       Source: via sarahjoy on Pinterest

If you don't know why I'm watching this show then you don't know me at all. Best. Comedy. On TV. Period. Also, Alison Brie.

                                                     Source: via Steve on Pinterest

Parks and Recreation
Until a few weeks ago, I never really gave this show a chance. I saw the pilot episode and it didn't do much for me. But I've been noticing a lot of funny things which have originated with this show thanks to the wonder of the internet and thanks in large part to Amy's occasional glowing recommendation. That's right, I blame you.

                                                      Source: via Kimberly on Pinterest

The Office
Sure, Steve Carrell is gone. But I'm in too deep to give up on it now. I give them one more season before NBC pulls the plug. I just don't see Dunder-Mifflin surviving much longer without Michael Scott to steer the ship. I'm also saying the same thing about Two and a Half Men without the Sheen. Not that I watch Two and a Half Men.

                                                        Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

It's kind of a surprise that we're seeing a 5th season out of this show. I mean, it's definitely a pleasant surprise. But it's one more season and, from what I hear, it's the last. So I'll keep it going 'til the end. It's a great show that mixes a lot of genres in one good hour while catering to the geek in all of us. Also, Yvonne Strahovski.

                                                       Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

I haven't heard a lot about this one, but it's apparently a modern twist on some of the old Grimm Fairy Tales. Maybe it turns the old stories into a procedural-type cop drama? I don't know, I'll give it a shot. It's on right after Chuck anyway.

                                                      Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

This is one of those that's just gotten better as time goes by. At the end of last season, Pacey Peter was seemingly erased from existence. How do they come back from that? And that is why I'll be watching when this season premieres.

Once Upon a Time
Pretty much the same reason I'm interested in Grimm. I like new twists on old classics. Even though I often complain about there not being any original ideas in Hollywood these days. Maybe I just want to see how different this will be from The Charmings**.

                                                      Source: via Julianna on Pinterest

The Amazing Race
One of two reality shows I like watching. Don't take that away from me.

So that's 13 shows. I feel like that's fewer than I've wanted to catch in the past. I hope it's fewer. 'Cause I claimed at the end of Smallville that I wouldn't allow myself to get caught up in any new series. Here I am latching on to three of them. I don't think Grimm will last. Everyone knows that Friday night is where networks send TV shows to die. It's a little shocking the Fringe survived Friday nights last year to make it another season. Also, I'd probably give the Charlie's Angels reboot a shot, but I have a feeling I'd just end up disappointed. I don't need another Knight Rider or Bionic Woman on my conscience.

What are you watching this year?

*A VCR is a machine that was once used to record television programs on large cassette tapes that took up a lot of space in your living room.

**The Charmings was a TV show that brought Prince Charming and Snow White into the modern world. It was bad.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why Zack and Kelly Should Never Have Broken Up

                                                     Source: via Patricia on Pinterest

That's right, I still watch Saved By the Bell. And this morning was no exception.

TBS makes its way through the entire series' run from time to time. They begin with the early shows starring Hayley Mills as Miss Bliss and work their way through the alternate universe episodes featuring Tori, the biker chick. Today I was treated to the very first episode of the proper Saved By the Bell series.

                                                    Source: via Patricia on Pinterest

In it, Zack Morris wakes up excited about the first day of school. His reasoning? Kelly Kapowski. And what 9th grade boy wouldn't be excited about that? Zack is a kid who carries a certain amount of arrogance with him, but still becomes weak in the knees when it comes to the girl of his dreams. He wants to ask her out, but finds himself too nervous to do so.

But it's easy to see that Kelly would say yes, whether she had a thing for Zack or not. Sure she's the hottest girl in school and, for some reason, is captain of the cheerleaders as a freshman in high school. Beyond that, she's probably one of the nicest people you would ever run into. You can see that in her character's personality. Screech could have walked up to her and asked her out and you get the impression that she would at least give him a shot.

Fast forward a couple years. Zack and Kelly are Bayside's dream couple. You just know that these two are gonna be together forever. And then Kelly dumps him. And this is where I have a problem. For Kelly, that's just completely out of character.

No matter how they grew up, Zack always kind of stayed the same. Kelly pretty much stayed the same hot, popular, incredibly sweet person. Except for that one little act of betrayal that completely went against her nature.

I get it. The writers wanted Zack to be single in preparation for his senior year. He had to be single for their TV movie in Hawaii. He had to be single while he worked at Malibu Sands so he could "fall in love" with Leah Remini. But knowing their characterization, Zack would have been much more likely to cheat on Kelly. But he never would have because you just couldn't have done better than Kelly Kapowski.

So they gave Kelly a job. And they brought in some douchebag assistant manager at the Max that would inappropriately hit on a high school kid because he obviously couldn't get a girl his own age. And then for some reason, in the span of a 22 minute episode, Kelly lost her grip on the reality of life at Bayside High and forgot that she was dating the star of the show.

And that's why Zack and Kelly should have never broken up. Because Kelly would never have cheated on Zack. Zack would never have cheated on Kelly. Never would have happened. Never. Ever!
                                                          Source: via Claire on Pinterest

Sunday, September 11, 2011


The morning of September 11, 2001 began as most of my mornings did. At that point in time, I was living with three roommates in one dorm room. Generally, there was no need for me to set an alarm. I could usually count on one of the other roommates waking me up. They didn't do this on purpose, it was simply the noise of one of them getting ready for their day that brought me back to consciousness.

And that was how I woke that fateful Tuesday. Mark was moving between the bathroom and the living room, getting ready for class, TV on. I laid in my bed, desperately clinging to my last remaining moments between sleep and awake. Through the door I heard a reporter say that a plane had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

My eyes snapped open. That kind of news has a quickly sobering effect. We kept a small TV in the room, so I jumped up and turned on the news, hoping to get a few more details than I was hearing from the radio. I woke Dereck and told him what was going on. We watched as events unfolded and had a hard time believing that an accident like this could ever happen. How could a passenger plane seemingly get that far off course and fly so low into Manhattan that it could collide with the World Trade Center?

And then the second plan came into the picture. Flight 175 hit the second tower. That's when speculation about all of this being an accident went out the window.

By this point, everyone's day was beginning. Classes on the campus of Bluefield College were in full swing. At that moment, I should have been getting ready to attend my own 9:30 class. Another friend, Dave, showed up at our room just as I was about to walk to the classroom. We headed across campus and talked about what was going on. The closer we got to class, the more we realized that we both just wanted to go back to the dorm and watch as history unfolded before our eyes.

So we skipped our morning class. We watched as the morning news anchors reported another plane hitting the Pentagon while another crashed in a Pennsylvania field. We watched as the talking heads went over and over the timeline of the tragic events of September 11th. We watched as it became clear who was responsible for these terror attacks on our own soil. We watched as first responders arrived on the scene, risking and even losing their lives to try and help the victims at Ground Zero.

We were shaken. More than 500 miles away from New York City, the students at Bluefield College felt a great deal of confusion, anger, sadness... we couldn't help but wonder what to do next.

Though I didn't have much of an appetite when lunchtime rolled around, I still made my way to the cafeteria. What I felt was really a lack of sensation. I felt a certain numbness, uncertain of how I should really feel. With everything going on, should I really be concerned with going to class that afternoon? Dr. Lyle, our campus minister who was eating lunch with us, told us that we absolutely should go to class.

His point was that we should carry on with our lives. Because if we were to stop, we would be giving the terrorists exactly what they wanted. Their intention was to grind our nation to a halt. But that didn't happen.

On 9/11, the United States may have been driven to its knees, but we shook the dust off and began to rise again. In a lot of ways, we're still picking ourselves up in the wake of that tragic day. But our spirit wasn't broken that Tuesday morning. We've learned to carry on, banding together to do our best to raise each other up in our times of greatest need.

God bless America, and may He help us to face the next ten years.
                                                     Source: via Aaron on Pinterest

Friday, September 09, 2011

Question of the Week: Liking Life

What do you like best about your life? least?

I don't think I have a correct answer for this question... or these questions. My life is just that. It's my life. There are ups and there are downs. I like being back in Virginia. I wasn't sure that I would, but so far it's been all right. It's led me to a lot of good things since I've been back... new friends, new career... it's all pretty exciting. At the same time, I still don't like that I had to leave North Carolina. I may not have been incredibly happy there, but it was comfortable. I had settled into a groove and things were okay. But some would say that groove was really just a rut. You say tomato, I say zucchini.

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

Thursday, September 08, 2011


Have I shared my new found love for the latest animated feature from Disney? I don't think I have. And I know I'm really late on a decent review of this movie since it came out at the end of 2010. Bear with me.

My whole life, I've generally considered myself a fan of Disney's animated movies. I like the stories. I like the music. They're just fun to watch. Now, I can't sit here and say I enjoyed all of them. I didn't care for Lilo & Stitch. I wasn't a huge fan of Pocahontas, mostly for the creative liberties they took with the history I learned in 4th grade. And I never even bothered to see Treasure Planet or Home on the Range.

But the studio's 50th animated film, Tangled, has taken the place of Beauty and the Beast as my favorite Disney movie. I'll admit, the music isn't as catchy or as classic as what you find in Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King, but it's not bad. And it's hilarious. Seriously, watch the movie and try not to laugh.

If you aren't aware, it's a somewhat updated take on the story of Rapunzel. She's the girl who had the really, really long hair. Of course, it's given the Disney spin, so it's not quite as grim as the Grimm version. But it's a good spin.

And something else I like about it is that it's not your typical damsel-in-distress-handsome-guy-saves-the-day kind of story. Sure, you have a damsel in distress. But we're entertaining people in a post-Buffy world. So Rapunzel isn't your typical damsel. She's combative. She's strong-willed. She knows what she wants and she kinda goes for it. And you have the handsome guy who saves the day in Flynn (Eugene) Ryder. But he doesn't really just save her, she kind of saves him as well.

So I'm watching this movie and I get to thinking about the way we meet people. Specifically, the way we meet members of the opposite sex. You hear all the time about how women grew up dreaming that Prince Charming would show up and sweep them off their feet. Do guys ever think about hoping to find a lost princess locked in a tower? I can't say I grew up with any kind of heroic ambitions. I never thought about trying to save a damsel in distress. But now that I think about it, I really wouldn't mind finding a Rapunzel. Not that I'm literally looking for a woman in a tower with hair that's 75 feet long. That just seems kind of complicated.

                                                    Source: via Tara on Pinterest

No, I just think it would be nice to find someone that compliments me. And I don't mean that in the sense that she tells me nice things that are nice to hear. I mean that she and I would compliment each other. What I lack, she would have. And vice versa. But we don't meet women locked in towers guarded by dragons. And the ladies don't get the handsome prince who shows up on a white horse. Instead we meet each other in random places and on the internet. Kind of takes some of the romance out of it.

Wow... that went to a different place. I was just gonna talk about an animated movie that's mostly aimed at kids. Why do I have to think so much? Anyway, it's an awesome movie.

And it's just been brought to my attention that Tangled was not the latest Disney animated movie. That would be the new Winnie the Pooh movie. Didn't see that one either. I'm sure I'll check out the DVD. I never had anything against Pooh. Though I do think it's kind of funny to say Pooh. Ha... Pooh.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Long and Winding Road

I began my new job yesterday and so far it's going well. It's a little overwhelming, but that's how new jobs tend to be. Even dream jobs.

This new career takes me pretty far from my new home. It's roughly a half hour drive from Roanoke to Rocky Mount and a lot of people have asked me if I'd be okay with that drive. Even in my initial interview with my new boss, he asked me that very question. My answer? Of course I'm okay with that drive.

Here's my thinking: I sat in my car for 45 minutes when making the drive from Wake Forest to my bank in downtown Raleigh. This drive only keeps me in the car for 30 minutes. But let's also consider how very different those two drives are.

45 minutes between Wake Forest and Raleigh meant sluggishly moving through stop-and-go traffic. 30 minutes between Roanoke and Rocky Mount means driving at a fairly constant 60 mph on route 220. When it's that kind of drive, I love it.

I really do love being behind the wheel of my car. I'm not the kind of guy who loves cars. But I do enjoy driving. I like going on road trips. I like listening to music and singing to the tops of my lungs. And when I'm able to do these things at continuously high speeds without dealing with people that draw out my road rage, I think it's kind of fun.

So I absolutely don't mind the daily drive to and from work. And for the record, I'm still excited about this whole thing.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

AFI 100 - Ben-Hur

Directed by William Wyler
Netflix sleeve: Charlton Heston plays Judah Ben-Hur, a proud Jew who runs afoul of ambitious boyhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd) in this 1959 epic that boasts an unforgettable chariot race and earned 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Heston) and Best Director (William Wyler). Condemned to life as a slave, Judah swears vengeance against Messala and escapes, later crossing paths with a gentle prophet named Jesus.

Finally! Finally Netflix makes this movie available to me, only nine months after I started this whole "I wanna watch all the AFI top 100 movies" thing. I kind of can't believe I've never watched this thing all the way through. To be fair, it's really long. So, as a kid, I may not have had the patience to watch something like this. I know we owned it on VHS, but the fact that it was on two tapes was a little daunting. You know, something that I don't think movies have enough of anymore is the Overture. And the Entr'acte. It was a pretty good movie. And that chariot race on disc 2 was pretty epic. Check it out.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Legends of the Bank Teller: The Final Legend

I'm not too sure how to put this. So I'll just come right out with it. I won't be working for the bank anymore. Ever.

No, I wasn't fired for finally snapping and going off on a customer. I'm sure we've all, at one time or another, assumed that if I was ever going to lose that job, it would be for that very reason. As a matter of fact, I wasn't fired at all. I quit.

But fear not. I have something lined up to replace it. It's the kind of thing that just fell into my lap. Recently, I was discussing my career with Tree and, after a particularly bad day at work, I asked her if her family's company was hiring. She said they were. So I figured it couldn't hurt to give her my resume, though I wasn't sure anything would come of it.

I met with her father and we discussed a lot of things. Again, I wasn't sure that anything would come of it. But I prayed. Soon after, I received an e-mail offering me a job with the company. In this new position I'll be responsible for making up brochures, creating YouTube videos, writing blogs, contacting Craigslist customers, and more along those lines. As I read the job responsibilities, it felt like I was being offered a dream job. I couldn't possibly turn it down.

It was never my intention to burn a bridge with the bank that has employed me for the last three and a half years. And if, by leaving, I've done just that, so be it. I may have liked the people I worked for and worked with, but the job itself was nothing I ever found contentment in. Go back and read any number of my Legends of the Bank Teller to know that.

I begin a new career tomorrow. And it kind of feels like I begin a new life tomorrow as well. To say I'm excited would be a gross understatement. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Netflix Returns

Not long after I moved back to Roanoke, I made the decision to drop my Netflix subscription. In truth, I didn't cancel the subscription, I merely put my account on hold for a while. The reason? Well, I was having a lot of roommate issues and internet issues, and those issues seemed to intertwine at every turn.

My biggest use for Netflix, like so many others out there, was the ability to instantly view movies via the interweb. And when I say the interweb, I really mean through my handy Playstation 3. Not that it was a bad thing to try and watch things on my laptop, but if I have the option to see it on a larger screen in high def, I'm gonna take it.

But then I ran into that little problem of not having continuous access to the wireless network. And I really wasn't sure how long that was going to last. So I put Netflix on hold until further notice. Really, they would only allow me to suspend things until October, at which point I would have had to decide if I wanted to cancel the service altogether.

Thankfully, the network is working great now. I'm on the internet whenever I feel like it and there have been no hiccups. Yet. Now that I've said that, I'm sure something will happen to upset the status quo. But for now, things are working great.

So I've returned to the Netflix I had come to know and love. I'm back to watching movies and TV shows through the Playstation and have begun receiving DVDs in the mail again. This is good because I can get back to my New Year's resolution of watching all 100 of the AFI's top films of all time. I know how excited two or three of you must be at reading that bit of news.

I'm excited about it anyway. And here's a surprise: Remember how I should have watched the classic Ben-Hur first since it was listed at number 100? Remember how I couldn't because Netflix didn't seem to have that DVD available? Well it's available now. And I'm watching it as I type this. So expect my thoughts on that sooner than later. Isn't that exciting to those two or three of you who care what I think about classic movies? Yeah. Something to look forward to.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Question of the Week: Best Friend

For $1,000,000 would you be willing to never again see or talk to your best friend?

No. For me, a million dollars just wouldn't be enough to give up any of my friends.

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

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Legends of the Bank Teller: Pen Depot

Losing pens is something that every bank teller should be used to. If you're a bank teller and you aren't used to customers walking off with your precious writing utensils, you've probably only been on the job for a few days. It's gonna happen. Just get used to it.

I was used to it at the drive-thru. In fact, I was so used to it that I had pens that were set aside for the sole purpose of handing them out to people in their cars. These were the pens I didn't like. Either they were awkward or didn't write well or just didn't feel right in my hand. If I didn't care about the pen, I didn't care if the customer stole it. That's a lie, I still cared. I think it's kind of annoying. I think it's really annoying, actually.

But that's not the point. The point is, it's a different world inside the grocery store branch. It's not different in the sense that people don't steal pens like they do at the drive-thru. It's different in that it happens a lot more often. But it happens in a different kind of way.

Sure, there are the typical, thoughtless customers who pick up the pen, endorse their checks, then put the pen in their pocket. They just aren't thinking, which I find to be a pretty standard routine for the general public. But what I've noticed in the in-store banking world is that there are a lot more instances where people just blatantly take the pens. They're bold about it. They even announce what they're doing.

In the two months since I moved to Virginia, I've had three people walk up to my station, use the pen and then just tell me they're stealing it. How many of you out there would just walk into a bank and announce that you're going to steal something? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Also, I've had more than a few people come up and ask if they can "borrow" the pen while they're shopping. I guess they want to cross things off their list as they add to the shopping cart. Of course I say yes. It's good customer service to bend over backwards and give these people whatever they want, right? Besides, they promised to bring it back, and no one in the world ever goes back on their word. Funny how I never see them or the pen again.

I've wanted so badly to say no to these people who want to "borrow" my pen. I want to point out the fact that we're in a grocery store. There's about half an aisle that's dedicated to school supplies. You know what you can find among those items? Pens! A whole package of 'em! 10 for a buck! They might not be as snazzy as the click pen I've got sitting on my counter with the comfort grip, but you know what? It gets the job done!

There... I feel better.