Wednesday, November 30, 2011

AFI 68 - Unforgiven

Directed by Clint Eastwood
Netflix sleeve: Retired gunslinger William Munny (Clint Eastwood) reluctantly takes one last job--and even more reluctantly accepts a boastful youth (Jaimz Woolvett) as a partner. Together, they learn how easily complicated truths are distorted into simplistic myths about the Old West. Gene Hackman (who won an Oscar) and Richard Harris stand out as old foes who have an unhappy reunion. The film also earned Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director (Eastwood).

There are few westerns that I can actually say that I like. This turns out to be one of them. Maybe it's just that I like westerns better than I believe I do, I just never give too many of them a shot. I liked Tombstone. I liked 3:10 to Yuma. But in all, I'd bet I've only seen about a dozen westerns. Anyway, Unforgiven is one of those movies that I always said I would get around to seeing and I just never got around to it. Until now. And I'm glad I did. Not landing in my top 10 or anything like that, but still, a movie worth seeing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

AFI 69 - Tootsie

Directed by Sidney Pollack
Netflix sleeve: Few actors go as far to bag a part as Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman), who transforms himself into a woman to prove he can get hired on a soap opera. But Michael has an enviable problem when his alter ego, Dorothy, becomes daytime television's hottest ticket. His pretty co-star (Jessica Lange) has no idea that her dear friend Dorothy is a man--and neither does the actress's father (Charles Durning), who falls for Dorothy hook, line and sinker.

My mother couldn't believe that I had never seen this movie before. I think it may be one of her favorites. I mean, it was pretty good, but it won't be one of my favorites. The disc for this one actually came to me while I was still in North Carolina and preparing for my move back to Virginia. So mom was there with me when I watched it. She kind of insisted that we watch it, actually. Not one of the ones on this list I was particularly looking forward to, but you know what? It was better than I expected. I mean, what's not funny about Dustin Hoffman in drag?

Monday, November 28, 2011

AFI 70 - A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Netflix sleeve: In this Stanley Kubrick classic based on Anthony Burgess's novel, teenage miscreant Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) wanders aimlessly amid a bleak, futuristic urban landscape, drinking drugged milk and listening to Beethoven with his fellow "droogs." But he also spends his time stealing, raping and beating innocent people in nihilistic orgies of violence, all in an attempt to get his nightly kicks.

Uh... That movie was effed up. I think that I was ill prepared for just how disturbing this picture was. Before this, my earliest exposure to Malcolm McDowell was when he was the bad guy in Star Trek: Generations. His Star Trek villain pales in comparison to the psychopath he plays in this thing. I need to figure out some way to get the shower to reach my brain so I can scrub out these images.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

AFI 71 - Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Netflix sleeve: As U.S. troops storm the beaches of Normandy, three brothers lie dead on the battlefield, with a fourth trapped behind enemy lines. Ranger captain Tom Hanks and seven men are tasked with penetrating German-held territory and bringing the boy home. Steven Spielberg and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski paint a harrowing picture of the price of war and heroism--one that netted them Oscars for Best Director and Best Cinematography, respectively.

This is another one that I've seen more than once, and I've loved it every time I've seen it. This movie is epic and gritty and, I assume, incredibly realistic in its portrayal of life on the frontlines of Europe during World War II. Not that I can authenticate its realism, I wasn't actually there. I saw this in the theater when it came out, and was actually on a blind date at the time. That really didn't help me to appreciate the film at the time. Mostly I was just hoping it would end soon so I could get on with my life and not have to deal with the awkwardness of that date anymore. I didn't fully enjoy the movie until it came out on video several months later. Still, a very moving movie.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Further Proof

I've written a number of times about how awesome Community is. If you haven't seen this show, the first two seasons are out on DVD. Buy them, rent them, whatever... just watch them.

The other day I came across further evidence which proves that this is the smartest comedy on television. Watch the clip below, and I'll come back...

Did you catch that? As soon as Annie said the third and final "Beetlejuice," the ghost with the most walked through the background.

The first clip was from an episode in the first season. Next was an episode in the second year. Finally, the Halloween episode from this year. The writers of this show planned from their freshman year to have a joke that wouldn't pay off until junior year.

Yeah, tell me this show isn't awesome now. I dare you!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Question of the Week: Touch

When you are with your friends, do your interactions include much touching--for example, hugging, kissing, roughhousing or rubbing backs? Would you like to have more of this?

No. Absolutely not, no. And I'm perfectly okay with not having more of this. I'm the kind of person who really enjoys that personal space. You know, that protective bubble that surrounds the body. I like that. I'm not a touchy-feely kind of guy. Now, I really don't mind the occasional hug. In fact, I'm fine with hugging a friend in greeting or when saying good-bye. Beyond that, I grow uncomfortable. I knew this guy in college who would greet people sitting in the cafeteria by coming up behind them and squeezing their shoulders while saying hi. I cringed every time he walked into the room, because I knew what was coming.

Maybe, someday, I'll be able to open myself up to being a little more touchy-feely. But I have a feeling that's a long way off and it will involve some significant help from a significant other that is yet to enter the picture.

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

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving a Little

But I really didn't give that much. Really, it was just a little.

When I look back at most of the Thanksgivings that I've survived, I can honestly say that I've enjoyed them for selfish reasons. Sometimes those selfish reasons involved getting to see family. Sometimes those selfish reasons involved staying away from family and simply relaxing alone. Just about every time, those selfish reasons have involved eating more than a single person should have the right to attempt to shove down one's gullet.

Today, probably for the first time in my life, I spent my Thanksgiving participating in an event that was designed to help our fellow man. Here in Roanoke, there's an annual event called the Drumstick Dash. It's a 5k run/walk that's held each year to benefit the Rescue Mission, a ministry that helps those who need a place to stay and a warm meal. The tagline for the event: "Move your feet so others can eat."

I can't say that I ran the 5k. I didn't even run for one block. I walked the entire way. But at least I can say that I've participated in a 5k. The first place finisher crossed the finish line in 15 minutes, 31.34 seconds. I finished at just under an hour and 10 minutes. And now, I'm setting a goal for myself. I want to run the Drumstick Dash 5k next year. I won't shoot for a crazy time like 15 minutes. But I would be happy if I could do it in under half an hour.

Please don't think I'm trying to toot my own horn. I'm really not trying to say that I did much. I donated a little time and a little money to a worthy cause. There are people out there who do so much more in working with this worthwhile ministry. I'm just glad I was here in town this year to take part in something more important than focusing on myself during a holiday that often celebrates greed and gluttony. After all, as Barney Stinson has described it, it's called Thanksgiving, not Thankstaking.

After the walk this morning, I came back to my apartment and relaxed. There wasn't a big meal this year. And the only family I saw was my sister, who sort of talked me into doing the Drumstick Dash in the first place.

This is one of those days during the year when we remember how much we take for granted. There's so much in my life that I have to be thankful for. And, aside from the things I can consciously acknowledge that I'm thankful for, I'm certain there's so much more that's buried somewhere in my mind. I know it's only a matter of time before I start taking these things for granted all over again. I just hope it's not a long time before I receive another reminder.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Single Guy and the Smarter Phone

The Single Guy has wanted a smartphone for a while now. It isn't that he was unhappy with the phone he had. It did everything he needed it to do. He could send text messages. He could make the occasional phone call. He could even play Tetris. But he couldn't check Facebook. He couldn't post his every thought on Twitter. And he learned to live with it.

Then the Single Guy got a phone call last Wednesday. It was a telemarketer from Verizon, who we'll call Marta. Now, the Single Guy was at work and was actually in the middle of a task. In reality, he probably shouldn't have even answered his personal phone, but he had been getting calls from the cable company on and off for the last few weeks and he really just wanted to tell them to stop calling. Answering the phone to tell them to stop calling turned into a longer conversation than he anticipated.

Marta was kind enough over the phone and the Single Guy is sure she was very knowledgeable. Again, he was kind of busy, but he's pretty sure the conversation went as such:

Marta: May I speak with the Single Guy?
Single Guy: This is he.
Marta: Blah blah blah, blah. Blah blah early upgrade blah. Blah blah blah?
Single Guy: Yeah...
Marta: Blah blah phone?
Single Guy: I kinda want a smartphone.
Marta: Blah. Blah blah blah. Droid blah blah blah?
Single Guy: Mmm-hmm...
Marta: Blah blah bill your account blah blah.
Single Guy: Great. Thanks.

And that's how it went. Verbatim.

Soon after, the Single Guy received an email letting him know that his new phone would be sent to him via FedEx and he should expect it by Friday. Unfortunately, this meant that he would have to wait until Monday to actually get his phone because he would be leaving for North Carolina directly from work. So the waiting began.

Monday came and he was finally able to hold his new phone in his hands. It was everything he dreamed it would be and more. Finally, he could partake in a device that the rest of the world discovered back in 2006. Finally, he could play Angry Birds.

He took a break from blogging over the last few days. Mostly it was because he was trying to learn how to use his new handheld device. The Single Guy has since discovered that, two days later, he's still pretty much in over his head. And he's also pretty sure that this device will soon reveal itself to be yet another way to be rejected by women.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Breaking Twilight

So, I'll be going to see Breaking Dawn, Part 1 tonight. Now wait. Before you go and demand that I hand in my Man Card, be aware that I probably had to turn that in a long time ago. You know, back when I took a trip to see High School Musical 3 or when I openly admitted that I enjoy the song stylings of those kids from Glee. That's right, I said it.

But with the Twilight phenomenon, I figure I'm in too deep to quit now. I've read the books, which, of course, were better than the films. And I've seen the first three. I may as well finish the movie series, right? So there it is.

Oddly enough, voluntarily seeing this movie does not necessarily mean that I'll like it. Of the books, I think I enjoyed Breaking Dawn the most. There's a lot going on and it gets pretty interesting, especially toward the end. Which apparently won't be seen on film until next year. I digress.

You may ask why I'd go see something if I don't think I'll enjoy it. It isn't that I won't enjoy it. I think I will... to a degree. But I've made it no secret that I can't stand Bella Swan. She's weak and pathetic. When comparing the series to other books, I think Stephen King said it best: "Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend."

I had a conversation just last week about the character of Bella in relation to other literary figures. I flat out told the guy that Bella is an awful role model for all these girls out there who have devoured these novels. She idolizes this one guy and makes her entire identity about him and what he does for her and how he makes her feel. When he leaves her in the second book, she crawls into the fetal position and is inconsolable for months. Oh, and then she throws herself off a cliff. Because that's always a good idea. Is that what we want our teenage girls to do when they have a guy break up with them?

The guy on the other side of this conversation then used the argument that the books promote sexual abstinence before marriage. I'll concede that point. However, that's still not an argument for the character of Bella Swan. The whole "we're not having sex until we're married thing" was Edward's deal.

So yeah, I'm seeing this movie tonight. I'm not gonna write a review about it. I'm fairly certain that it isn't going to rock my world. I'll walk out of the theater and my friends will ask what I thought. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to sum up my thoughts with a simple, "Meh..."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Question of the Week: A Van Gogh Kind of Life

Would you rather be happy yet slow-witted and unimaginative or unhappy yet bright and creative? For example, would you rather live the life of a brilliant yet tortured artist such as Vincent van Gogh, or that of a happy but carefree soul who is a bit simple-minded?

I'm pretty sure I'd rather be a happy idiot. The thing is, if I was slow-witted and unimaginative, I wouldn't really realize it, would I? There's a reason they say that ignorance is bliss. If I'm a brilliant kind of person and I'm unhappy about it, I'm only going to become more unhappy due to my awareness of my unhappiness. It would be an endless cycle of depression. Give me the simple life.

As it is, I'm pretty happy with my current state of brilliance.

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

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Son of Neptune

Title: The Son of Neptune
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: 2011

I've decided that I don't like being caught up on book series. I didn't even pick up The Hunger Games trilogy until Mockingjay had already been published. It was nice to have the ability to read all three of them back to back to back, no waiting.

I remember the agony that came with waiting for each new Harry Potter book. The anxiety isn't quite as bad with Riordan's series centered around the world of Percy Jackson, but it's still somewhat felt.

The Son of Neptune is the seventh novel to be set in a world where the old pantheon of gods from Greece and Rome never really went away. They just moved along with the center of Western Civilization. As was explained in the first series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Greek gods now call New York City their home, and the myths and heroes surrounding them have been updated for a modern world.

This book follows directly from last year's The Lost Hero, which introduced Percy Jackson fans to a few new characters and left us all wondering, "What happened to Percy Jackson?" The Son of Neptune answers that question right at the start. But not all at once.

The action follows Percy as he is simply trying to survive. Nothing new for the young demigod. What is new is that he really has no clue who he is or why he's being hunted down by mythological monsters. All he knows for sure is that he's spent the better part of the last eight months in some kind of deep sleep, and his life before that is a complete blur. All he can really remember is some girl named Annabeth, and that she means a great deal to him.

He is quickly thrown into a world that is unfamiliar, not only to him, but also to anyone who has been keeping up with the adventures of the campers from Camp Half-Blood. He finds himself at Camp Jupiter, a refuge for demigods where they can train and be safe from attacking monsters. Sound familiar? It should, that's pretty much what Camp Half-Blood is for. Except it's a camp for the descendants of Roman gods. As we learned in the previous installment, these two camps have co-existed, but have been kept separate because there's a lot of bad blood between the Greeks and Romans.

So Percy's arrival at Camp Jupiter is met with a great deal of suspicion. But when Juno gives her seal of approval, and he shows off his water manipulating powers by destroying a couple Gorgons, he's somewhat accepted. He soon grows close to two other campers, Frank Zhang and Hazel Levesque. Both have complicated back stories and carry their own fair share of secrets that come out as they set out on a dangerous quest together.

The quest is a continuation of the quest that Jason, Leo, and Piper were on in The Lost Hero. Gaea is waking up and is bent on destroying humanity. Her children, the giants, are putting her plans into motion. This time around, the heroes must journey to Alaska to stop a giant and free Thanatos, the embodiment of Death. Without Death, the monsters that are slain by the heroes are able to continue fighting.

While I didn't find this novel to be as exciting or interesting as previous Percy Jackson books, it was still a pretty decent read. What can I say? I'm a sucker for mythology, whether it's ancient or modern.

By the way, I'm failing at this part of my New Year's resolution. I wanted to read 50 books in 2011. If I'm correct in my count, this book is only number 15. That's pretty much a fail on my part. 'Cause I really don't think it would be possible for me to read another 35 books in six weeks. Unless they all come from the "I Can Read" section of the library.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How Soon Is Too Soon?

I love Christmas music. I really do. There are a lot of songs that are played during the holiday season that make even my heart grow three sizes thanks to some pretty incredible nostalgia.

But I was a little concerned when I turned the radio on this past weekend and heard the local station was already playing the non-stop Christmas music.

I immediately switched to a CD.

But wait, didn't I just say I loved Christmas music? Yes. Yes, I did. But I am certain that if I listen to the Christmas music non-stop for two months, I'll grow tired of it before Christmas actually comes.

Look, there are only so many Christmas songs that these radio stations play. And of those songs, there are only so many different versions from different musical artists. As is the case with the current songs topping the charts, you end up hearing the same 10 songs 30 times a day.

So I'm boycotting the radio for a couple weeks. At least until after Thanksgiving. At that point I think I'll be better prepared for Christmas music on a regular basis. I'm cynical enough as it is. I don't want to become tired of something that's supposed to be joyful, that seems counterproductive.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Community Outreach

Yesterday was quite the roller coaster for my geeky soul. First I was treated to the incredible high of the first full-length trailer for The Hunger Games. Have you seen it yet? 'Cause it's awesome. Go back and watch it if you haven't yet. I'll wait.

Are we all back? So you can understand why I was excited. But then I read the news that NBC (henceforth known as the Evil Empire) has made a decision on their upcoming mid-season schedule. Quickly, I want to say that I'm glad 30 Rock is making a comeback. But even the awesomeness that comes with Liz Lemon and her wacky crew is not enough to make up for the travesty that has occurred.

The Evil Empire has put Community on hiatus indefinitely.

Let that sink in... Indefinitely.

Now, according to the reports that announced this mid-season change, this does not mean the show has been canceled. It just means that the rest of the season has been put on hold while they give other shows a chance to shine. A part of me gets that, or at least wants to understand it. But when one of those other shows is Whitney (in my opinion one of the worst half hours of TV on the air this year), you're making a huge mistake.

Community is, in the words of my good friend Brandon, the smartest comedy on TV. Sure, he's not a television critic, but he's right. And it isn't just because the show takes place within the walls of a community college. The writers of that show find a way to spoof just about everything, and they're able to do it in such a way that it isn't completely ridiculous or outside the realm of possibility. Just look at the stop-motion animation Christmas special they did last year. Sure, the claymation thing was a gimmick for one episode, but they explained the reason behind it in a way that made sense in the real world. And the cast is a brilliant combination of people who bring the characters to life and make you want to be a part of their study group.

Community doesn't have the highest ratings in the world. Nothing on the network of the Evil Empire can make that claim. But it does have some pretty rabid fans. You've seen us at Comic Con. You know what we're capable of. We're the same people who took arms against you when you threatened to cancel Chuck. We managed to get a couple more seasons out of that one, didn't we? And if we have to, we'll do it again!

There's a petition floating around the internet asking people to help save Community. I'm confident that we will see the rest of Community's third season. But I'm a little afraid that season four will never come. I would argue that a fourth season would be vital to the life of this show. The Evil Empire can't end the show when our study group has one year left before graduation. It would be cruel beyond words. It would be like ending Smallville without seeing Clark Kent become Superman. It would be like ending Buffy without seeing the Slayer destroy the Hellmouth. It would be like ending Quantum Leap without seeing Dr. Beckett make it back home... oh, wait, NBC actually did that!

To the cast and crew of Community, maybe it's time to shop for a new network. If the Evil Empire drops you, maybe the CW will pick you up. I promise you that we will follow you wherever you go.
How can I make it without seeing this face week after week?

Monday, November 14, 2011


I was really going to write something for the blog tonight. But then I saw this. And I'm sure a lot of the people who care have already seen it. But I still wanted to post it here. I want to see this movie right now. And by right now, I mean last week.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Life Is Good

Not too long ago, my sister asked me if I would be willing to come and speak to the youth group at her church about eating disorders. The idea was that it would be better to hear from someone who had actually been through it than to just give them information that they would probably forget as soon as they got home. So, of course, I said yes.

What follows is just about what I said...

When I was in the 6th grade, I weighed 135 pounds. By the time I reached the 7th grade, I weighed 85 pounds. Over the course of the summer between those school years, I lost 50 pounds.

Believe me when I say that this was not due to a conscious effort. At first, there was no explanation for why I lost so much weight in such a short amount of time. Of course my family noticed that I had zero appetite, but no one could understand why. And so I was taken to see a doctor. Actually, I was taken to see several doctors. Between Lewis-Gale and UVA, no one could find a physical reason for my weight loss. If there was a test for it, they put me through it. And test after test ruled out so many possibilities. They couldn't find any issues with any of my glands. They decided that I didn't have leukemia. Eventually my regular doctor decided that my problem could be psychological.

And that's what the problem was. Eating disorders are psychological in nature. Whether the problem is anorexia, bulimia, or compulsive overeating, the root issue can be traced to a person's emotional and mental health.

My doctor referred me to a counselor that specialized in adolescent eating disorders. Over the course of the next year and a half, I met with her on a regular basis. I would talk to her about the things in my life that were bothering me. And each time we met, I stood on a bathroom scale and checked in to see if I had gained or lost anything. Generally, it was a good visit if I had put on a couple pounds. It should go without saying that pounds lost resulted in a pretty disappointing time. Through my therapy sessions, we discovered that my issues stemmed from my being a perfectionist. I was always very hard on myself when it came to my school work. Add to that the normal pressures of being in middle school among kids who could be very cruel. Sidebar: words hurt, so be careful what you say to people. Even if they don't show it, it could be killing them inside. And that's what happened to me when all of the weight loss began. I was an emotional wreck, but I buried it deep inside and didn't deal with it. Eventually, it literally began to eat away at me.

For the most part I was able to maintain a steady weight throughout the rest of middle school. While it was good that I wasn't still losing weight, it wasn't good enough. In those early teenage years, it's vitally important that we are receiving proper nutrition. That's when a lot of growth is happening. And when you aren't taking care of your body the way you're supposed to, things just stop developing.

See, when the body isn't able to turn the food we eat into energy, it begins using what's been stored up. It begins by using up fat. Then the body puts a stop to unimportant functions. Fingernail growth slows. Hair stops growing and starts falling out. Eventually, the body begins breaking down muscle and bone in order to keep itself alive. And this is where I had my real wake up call.

I reached high school and found a new definition for the word stress. This added stress did nothing to help my condition. Unfortunately, I started slowly dropping weight again. My hair was falling out and I had no strength. I was terrified. Just after Thanksgiving of 1994, I volunteered to be admitted to St. Alban's Psychiatric Hospital in Radford. I say I volunteered, but if I hadn't gone voluntarily, I would have been forced to go for treatment. I was told it wouldn't be that bad. I was told that I would be there for about three weeks. I figured I'd be home for Christmas and I'd be all better.

At first I hated it, but then I became comfortable with the schedule of group therapy and private counseling and art therapy. Actually, comfortable is the wrong word. Let's just say I got used to the routine. And I made progress. Then, after Christmas, I started taking steps backwards.

I can't explain why I started doing poorly during my last weeks in the hospital. But my time there reached the lowest point when I had a seizure. I was never sure what triggered the seizure. It could have been a lack of nutrition. It could have been a combination of the medications they had me on. Most likely, it was a little of both. Whatever the case, the powers that be decided that there was nothing else they could do to help me. Basically, they sent me home to be with my family before I died. And they made it no secret, they expected me to die.

But I knew better than that. The whole time I was in the hospital, I kept questioning why I was going through all this. I wasn't a bad kid. But that's where my mind immediately went: I was being punished for something. So what had I done that was so bad that God would see fit to put me through this. It wasn't until I got out of the situation that I realized God wasn't putting me through it, He was bringing me through it.

It's taken me a long time to figure out that all those things I worried about and stressed out over, they don't matter. In the eternal scheme of things, they never did. God is bigger than all of it. I've learned that, no matter what is going on in my life, God wants me to give it to Him. It's a lesson I'm still learning today.

I wasn't a typical anorexic. For one thing, I'm a guy. Anorexia is found 10 times more often in girls than it is boys. That's why it took so long for a doctor to come to the conclusion that my problem was psychological. For another thing, I knew that I looked like a skeleton with skin on. Most of the time, someone suffering from an eating disorder will have what's known as a distorted body image. The other anorexia patients that I met in the hospital described the overweight people that they saw in the mirror. I never saw that. I saw exactly what I was when I looked in the mirror. My disorder was not caused because I was desperate to lose weight. It was caused because I didn't know how to be open and honest about what I was thinking and feeling. I didn't know how to deal with stress in my life and it took its toll.

Everyone needs to find a release. Everyone needs someone to talk to. Remember, it isn't always about finding someone who can give you great advice, it's also about finding someone who will just be willing to listen. And never forget that Jesus was called "Wonderful Counselor" long before He was even born, and He was called that for an excellent reason. He wants to take on our burdens.

I don't mean to be preachy. But the only explanation I have for why I ever recovered from an eating disorder that nearly killed me is an act of God. That's the only way I can imagine going from having no appetite for more than three years to suddenly having a normal, voracious teenage appetite.

Sporadically, I've posted "Life Story" posts on the blog, taking a look at my life to try and determine why I've become the man I've become. The conclusion I've reached after examining life through the end of high school? There's really no point in worrying over things. Throughout our lives, good times are going to come just as well as the bad. There will be days when we won't feel like smiling. There may be weeks or even years when we won't feel good about life. But everything is going to turn out okay. Somewhere, at some time in all our lives, there will be reasons to smile again. We just have to know where to look.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Just One Wanted to Know

Just one question for me? No one else wanted to play along? Where are my 47 followers? Did you all jump ship? Have I become that boring? No... it's fair. I have become pretty boring. Anyway, thank you to Brandon for being the one reader to take me seriously.

He asks...
Do you have a thought as to what we might experience the weekend of December 3rd? Tell me how you think the weekend's going to go...

For those who are unaware... which would be just about everyone because it's not something I've written about on here yet... During the first weekend in December I'll be going on a road trip with three of my best friends from college. I, along with Brandon, Mark and Andy, will be getting into my car and driving to the far away and mysterious land of Indiana. We'll be making the long trek to the fabled city of Indianapolis to witness the first ever Big Ten Championship football game in human history.
I believe that the four of us will experience an epic road trip, the likes of which none of us have ever seen during our years of being friends. I believe that it will be as entertaining, nay, more entertaining than the times experienced by the foursome in The Hangover, and we will be able to remember every moment of it because, unlike those guys, we won't be suffering from the effects of "floories." But, at least we'll be prepared in the event that we bump into a tiger somewhere. Thanks to Zach Galifianakis we'll know that tigers love pepper, but hate cinnamon.

I believe that we'll thoroughly enjoy watching a live football game that will be thrilling to see, but it's difficult for me to say what teams we'll be watching. That's mostly because I really haven't been paying attention to what teams in the Big Ten Conference are doing well. Now, some of you may be asking, if I don't pay attention to the college football, why would I care about paying money to go to this game?

No, I don't pay close attention to the wins and losses in college football each fall. I like watching football, I just don't get into it as much as my friends do. But that's okay by me, I mean, if it's okay with them too. To me, the important part of this trip isn't who's vying for that championship. It's about spending an awesome weekend with three of the best friends I've known in my life.

I believe that, by the end of the weekend, we'll be incredibly exhausted. I believe that that exhaustion may lead to some fairly severe arguments. Nothing serious, just those ridiculous disagreements that come up when close friends spend a lot of time together in close quarters. But I also believe that we will have laughed more in those three days than any of us have in a very long time. And I believe that we'll end up laughing about any of those possible disagreements that may come up, as well.

All in all, I believe it's gonna be epic. Now... everyone sing along...

And we're the four best friends that anyone could have...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Question of the Week: Impact

Do you feel you have much impact on the lives of people you come in contact with? Can you think of someone who, over a short period of time, significantly influenced your life?

Of course I impact the lives of the people around me. In fact, I'd bet real money that 86% of the people I've ever met would list me among their top 10 most influential people in their lives. True story. As for people who have influenced me, well, there have been a lot. But I can't say that I'm necessarily influenced by people who are in my life for a short amount of time. It's the folks who stick around for the long haul that really influence me.

*Don't forget to go back and ask me a question! I'll be answering tomorrow!*

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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Single Guy Signs On

*Don't forget to go back and ask me a question!*

A few months ago, the Single Guy decided it would be beneficial to sign up for an online devotional that delivers daily words of wisdom to his inbox. He was right. It was a good way for him to be reminded at the start of each day exactly why he should be thankful for all that he's been given. Not that he wasn't grateful, he just has a tendency to take things for granted. But that's really off topic.

Anyway, at some point while receiving these daily devotions, the Single Guy received an e-mail advertisement for an online dating site with Christian tendencies. At first he ignored it. Why should he sign up for a dating site, Christian or not? But then he thought about it. It's not as if he was still working the drive-thru at the bank where an endless line of attractive women would flock to him begging his help and his financially savvy mind. Or something like that.

So he signed up. Now would be a good time to point out that the great P. T. Barnum once said that "there's a sucker born every minute." Actually, he never said that, but it's always attributed to him, so let's just go with it. Again, way off topic.

Signing up for this website seemed to be a waste of time. Occasionally the Single Guy would get an e-mail alert letting him know that the magical gnomes inside the internet had possibly found "the One" for him. Generally, he ignored these e-mails. And then one day he decided to open one of these e-mails. And he was taken to the profile of a woman to whom he felt oddly drawn.

He saw her pictures and read her profile and kind of wanted to take a shot. But he couldn't really explain why. After all, she lives two hours away and has two kids. Would it make sense for a Single Guy who has never been in a grown up relationship to try to connect with someone who obviously has been in a grown up relationship?

Okay, looking back, there is something that the Single Guy is aware of. One specific thing about this woman that draws him in. He's pretty sure her smile reminds him of the Hostess. Remember her? Yeah, it's been a while. Anyway, he's probably a sucker, but he decided to take a chance and send a message. All based on a nice smile.

Let the mockery begin.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

My Boring Life

Hey kids. I need to address something. It's come to my attention that my blog posts are not as entertaining as they once were. No one has actually brought this to my attention. I'm just making that assumption by the fact that I have fewer visitors these days and, for the most part, have fewer comments on the things that I post.

I've mentioned before that I thrive on getting attention. Not in real life, just on this blog. I'm not saying I need your approval or affirmation in order to make it through my day, but it sure doesn't hurt.

The truth is, I'm having a hard time coming up with interesting things to write about on a daily basis these days. I think it could have something to with the fact that my career has so severely changed. I don't have any more Legends of the Bank Teller to tell because, well, I'm not a bank teller anymore. And these days, I still really enjoy my job. So does this lack of conflict mean that I've become a more boring person? I certainly hope not.

So I have this problem. It's the same one I mentioned a while ago, in case you weren't paying attention. It's that problem where I have a hard time coming up with things to write about. So I'm open to suggestions.

No, really... I'm open to your suggestions. What would you like to see me write about? I sincerely want your opinions on this. There's a handy comments section below this where you can share your thoughts.

Also, don't forget about yesterday's post where I put the call out for your questions. You have until Saturday, at which point I'll answer all the questions I get. So far I don't have any questions in the comments. Pretty sure if I don't get any, my feelings will be kind of hurt... I don't think I'll cry or anything. Ever since I had my tear ducts removed, crying has been a non-option.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Who Wants to Know?

It's been a while since I've done something like this. But it's happened a couple times in the life of this blog. I'm giving my readers the opportunity to ask me any questions that you would like to have answered. They can be personal questions or they can be trivia questions. I promise, whatever the question, I will answer it to the best of my ability.

All you need to do, assuming you want to play along, is leave a question in the comments. I'll accept any questions between now and Friday night. On Saturday I'll give my answers.

Simple enough? So, who's gonna play along?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Zombie Apocalypse

I've never really considered myself a fan of the zombie sub-genre of the horror genre. I've never seen the original Night of the Living Dead or any of the copy cat films it spawned. In fact, I'm fairly certain the first traditional zombie movie I saw was probably Shaun of the Dead a few years back. And I thought it was okay, but it really didn't rock my world or make me crazy about zombie movies in general.

And then I saw Zombieland a few months ago. I kind of thought it was awesome. But that's not the point of this post.

The point that I've been trying to get to is the awesomeness that is AMC's The Walking Dead. Have you seen this show? Okay, if you don't like zombie stuff, you probably won't like it. But do you know for sure that you don't like the zombie genre? Give it a shot, maybe you'll like it.

The thing is, it's not just about a zombie apocalypse. It's about the people trying desperately to survive a zombie apocalypse. I guess it could be argued that most zombie movies are about the regular people that are still around when the dead rise. But with a TV series, we're able to really examine these people's lives and how they react to the world falling apart around them.

The show is based on a comic book series. Of course, this speaks to the comic book geek that resides somewhere inside my soul. Apparently, this series has been around for a while, but since it's published by a company that isn't DC Comics, I really didn't know it existed. Now I know and I kind of love it.

I've started reading the trade paperbacks collecting the early issues of The Walking Dead. The story is slightly different from the way things have progressed on the TV show, so I'm able to read things without really knowing what's going to happen next. And, when I get caught up to where they roughly are on the show compared to where I've read in the graphic novels, it's different enough that the show will still surprise me with each new episode.

BTW... Last night, after the new episode of The Walking Dead, I watched the live reaction show, Talking Dead. One of the guests was a guy from the Zombie Research Society. Yeah, it's a real thing. And yeah, they truly believe that a zombie apocalypse is a true threat to humanity. The way governments and researchers mess around with viruses and biological weapons, apparently it could happen.

Time to start preparing, people. My plan: rent a storage unit nearby and start filling it with useful things like bottled water, canned goods, candles, flashlights, batteries, etc. You know, end of the world stuff. Also, it's time to take that archery class I've always wanted to take. It will be nice to be handy with a weapon of some kind when the attacks begin.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Question of the Week: Do What You Say

Sorry this is a day late. Got busy yesterday... ended up staying out late...

Can you be counted on to do what you say you'll do? What does it take for you to trust someone?

I'm pretty sure I can be counted on doing what I say I'll do. I don't have a perfect memory, so there will be times when I'll screw up and forget to do something when I've said I would do it. But I wouldn't tell someone that I'll do something and then purposefully not do it. I'm not that big of a jerk.

As far as trusting people, it's not something I'm very good at. That whole "opening your heart" thing, I'm not good at that either. It's on my list... I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I figure that will tie in real close with the trust issues.

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

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Have I mentioned that, since moving back to Virginia, I've been sleeping on an air mattress? It's true. I've been sleeping on an air mattress. For five months.

It hasn't been great.

At first it wasn't bad. But I'm now of the belief that air mattress are meant to be used in moderation. Those rare occasions when one goes camping or needs a place to crash when visiting relatives out of town. But every night for five months? I'm not entirely sure that these inflated wonders were designed for such prolonged usage.

As I said, at first it wasn't too bad. In fact, for about the first two months, I never had to re-inflate it. It stayed firm and full of air all day and night without the need for a refill. These days, I have to blow it up every day.

Don't get me wrong. I'm appreciative to my mother and step-father for the use of the air mattress. After all, it belongs to them. And they've let me use it all this time, rent-free. But I'm pretty sure I'll owe them a new mattress by the time I'm done using this one. Not sure that I've actually done anything to it. But considering the fact that it once stayed fully inflated on a constant basis and now it absolutely does not, they'll be needing a working air mattress.

But before that can happen, I really need to get a big boy bed. Oh, to sleep on a real bed again. To lie down on a soft mattress that cradles me as I drift off to sleep. My dream is to make it through an entire night and wake up in the morning, fully refreshed and without an aching back.

I pray that this dream can become a reality.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


According to legend, November is a magical month. At some point in ancient times, it became known as National Novel Writing Month. It's the time of year when a challenge is issued to writers everywhere. That challenge? Write an entire novel within the confines of November's 30 days.

The rules are fairly simple. Novels must reach a minimum of 50,000 words by 11:59 the night of November 30. So, if one does the math correctly, that means that each day a writer must get approximately 1,667 words on paper... or on the screen... whatever.

I tried to accomplish this task last year. I failed. I came closer than I've ever been to completing a novel. But I didn't quite finish it. And it was crap.

But the point of NaNoWriMo isn't to write a sparkling, polished bestseller. The organizers of this event emphasis quantity over quality. A lot of novels that are churned out during the month of November will never see the light of day. But some do. Ever heard of a little book called Water for Elephants? It was recently turned into a movie with Reese Witherspoon and the vampire from Twilight. Yeah, it was written as a part of NaNoWriMo. That tells me it's possible to get this done.

So I'm trying. And I've challenged myself to write 1700 words a day. That way I'm overshooting the minimum just a little. And in 30 days, I guess we'll see where I end up. And we'll see what happens.

Wish me luck. Oh, and along with this, there may be days that I won't feel like coming up with something to post on here. There will probably be a lot of days when coming up with 1700 words will be a struggle. So by the time I hit my goal for the day, I may not feel like racking my brain anymore. But I'll do my best. Stay tuned...