Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The Year I Went Backwards

2011 hasn't been a bad year for me. Sure, it started out like most years. When things started, I wasn't exactly optimistic about how the next twelve months would play out. I was in a job that I seriously did not enjoy. I was in a place that I had made into a solitary and lonely place. The best thing I had going for me was my awesome apartment. But even that was empty, because I managed to close myself off from most of the people around me, whether they were close to me or not.

I can't say that this had been a bad year. Though, in some ways, it feels like my momentum this year was somewhat backwards, rather than forwards. I say this mostly because of the fact that when I finally got away from my life in Raleigh, it was to move back to my hometown of Roanoke. I'm not saying this was a bad thing, it just seems like something of an anti-climax.

At the beginning of the year I decided I would set some resolutions for myself. As I look back at this year, I'm curious as to how I did with that list of 11 plans.

1. Read my Bible more. I can honestly say that I didn't do as much of this as I had hoped to when I set this goal for myself.

2. Spend more time in prayer. And this one is a lot like number one. That's not to say that I haven't spent a great deal of time in prayer, just not as much as I had hoped.

3. Stick to a real exercise plan. HA!

4. Read 50 books. I didn't even reach the halfway mark on this one. According to my count, I only read 16 books this year. I can make the excuse that moving in the summer messed up my schedule. But let's be honest, I was way off track by the end of January. To get 50 you have to pretty much have a book a week. That just didn't happen at all.

5. Apply for no less than 2 jobs per week until I'm hired. I can't say that I did this to the fullest extent of 2 jobs a week. But I did eventually find another job. At first it was within the bank, but it was a promotion and it was in a different area. Then I got a completely different job with a completely different company. I'd say that counts as mission accomplished. I guess.

6. Watch all 100 of the AFI's 100 greatest films of all time. Again, this is one that I didn't even get halfway through. I can blame Netflix for part of it. But I just didn't make the time to watch these movies as quickly as I could have either. I'll try to finish them up in 2012. But I've noticed that my posts about these movies are less than popular. So I may just do that one for myself and keep it off the blog. Thoughts?

7. Learn to like coffee. I bought a coffeemaker. I bought coffee. I even got a decent coffee mug. Never brewed a single pot. And then I left my $15 coffeemaker in North Carolina when I moved. Epic fail.

8. Visit, or at least communicate with my family more. I think I was successful with this one. Most of that could be due to the fact that I now live nearer to everyone on Mom's side of the family tree. But I'm gonna count that one as a successful resolution.

9. Visit, or at least communicate with my friends from college more. Also one for the win column. Need proof? Remember the epic road trip? I think that counts.

10. Completely finish writing a novel. HA! Fail.

11. Spend more time doing the visual arts stuff that I loved back in high school. Like the first couple resolutions on this list, I didn't do as much as I had hoped. Some, but not a lot.

Didn't do so well on those resolutions. I think I'll save myself the heartache and just not make resolutions for 2012. I may change my mind if I decide I need something to post in the new year, but for now, I have no plans to resolve myself.

2011 wasn't a bad year. Overall things were pretty good. Up until December. December seemed to come along and kick me in a sensitive spot, laugh while I was down, then decided to kick me again as I tried to get back up. On the bright side, midnight tonight brings a new day, a new month, and a new year. Maybe my resolution should be to be more optimistic.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

This Has Lex Luthor's Fingerprints All Over It

Did you see Superman: The Movie? What about Superman Returns? They both have one villain in common: Lex Luthor. And he kind of has the same gag going on in both movies. The crooked land deal.

Now, each time out, he goes about the scheme in a different way. Back in '78, his plan was to buy up all the worthless desert on the east side of the San Andreas Fault. Then, after hijacking a nuclear warhead, he would blow the west coast into the Pacific. This would cause all of his worthless land to suddenly become beachfront property. It was foolproof! And then Superman did his "turn the Earth backwards" trick and foiled his plans.

In Superman Returns, he decided to steal some crystals from Superman's Fortress of Solitude. I'm not too sure how this works, but apparently when the crystals are thrown into some water, they grow. Like Sea Monkeys. His idea here was to create a whole new continent which would take the place of North America. Seemed to be working all right until Superman came along, dug up the newly formed continent, and flew it into space.

Why would Lex Luthor go to all this trouble? Because his father gave him advice about land. He told his balding son that it was the one thing they weren't making anymore. So Lex, being the insecure guy with daddy issues that we all know him to be, spent the majority of his film career attempting to swindle the world into buying land from him. But, as it turns out, that whole "they aren't making anymore land" thing is wrong.

I read an article today talking about how volcanic activity in the Red Sea has caused the formation of a new island. Now, before you get excited and start packing your bags, there's nothing there yet. It's only 500 meters wide at this point. Granted, it is growing, but it may not be the kind of land mass that sticks around forever. The waves in the Red Sea may prove to be too much for the small island. It could disappear as quickly as it appeared.

Besides, I can't get away from the whole Lex Luthor thing. How do we know this isn't some plot being hatched by the greatest criminal mind of our time? I'm just saying. And it's not as if we have a Superman who can fly Kryptonite Island into space when things start to go wrong. So don't go buying your private island just yet.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Looking For a Festivus Miracle

Today is December 23rd. According to Frank Costanza of television's Seinfeld, today is the day we pause to celebrate a Festivus for the rest of us. I'm not saying I adhere to any of Frank Costanza's fictional teachings. I don't have an aluminum pole and I don't sit around with people airing grievances (though that could turn out to be cathartic if one were so inclined).

I only mention it because I'm sick. I've been dealing with this cough since last Sunday night. Not sure where it came from or how I contracted it. I got home Sunday evening and felt find. As I put myself to bed, I found myself needing to clear my throat. A lot. I thought maybe it was just some congestion after eating something. You know how that happens sometimes? So I wrote it off as that.

Then the coughing started on Monday. A lot of coughing. And it hasn't stopped since. In fact, despite a regular schedule of Robitussin, I haven't been able to kick this thing. Yesterday, the boss heard my coughing back in his office. He called me up and sent me home. This morning I woke up with a fever. That means another day off work. This comes after missing three days just a couple weeks ago with the stomach virus from Hell.

It's funny, back when I had health insurance, I really never got seriously ill. Now that I don't have it and could probably benefit from a visit to a doctor, I'm hit back to back with diseases. Not fun.

So I'm looking for a Festivus miracle. This weekend is Christmas. Tomorrow, on Christmas Eve, I'm supposed to join my family at my grandmother's house for dinner and a gift exchange. It's a chance to see some folks that I haven't seen in a long time. One cousin and her family are coming in from Illinois. I haven't seen them in two years, since I didn't make it up for Christmas last year. Now I'm here in town and I may not be able to go anyway.

After all, I don't want to pass along my sickness when I pass out the gifts to the little kids. That is not how you say Merry Christmas to your family.

As I write this, my head still hurts. Honestly, my whole body hurts from coughing so much and tensing up so many muscles that I don't normally use. I still feel warm in an unhealthy way. Oh, and the coughing really hasn't let up.

So there's a chance that my Christmas may be cancelled this year. Unless that miracle kicks in and I wake up tomorrow morning feeling 100%.

To the rest of you out there in the interworld, I pray that you have a safe and healthy Christmas this weekend.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Season for Slacking

You know, people often ask me, "Aaron, why haven't you been blogging as often as you used to?"

To those people, I usually say, "Hey, get off my case! I'm, like, super busy right now!"

Okay, here's the honest truth: no one ever asks me why I haven't been blogging as often as I used to. No, that was a tangled web of lies. I like to pretend that I'm more important than I am sometimes. I like to pretend that my tiny little blog plays a much more important role in this world than it really does.

And no, I haven't been blogging as much as I used to. I used to make a concerted effort to post something every single day. I don't know, lately I've just been... eh... if I feel like writing something, I'll write something. I promise, it isn't really an issue of apathy. I genuinely care about what I put on here. And that, I think, is my biggest issue. I've been having a really hard time coming up with good topics to post about.

Look at me, I'm ending sentences with prepositions. I'm way off my game.

I could use the excuse that Christmastime makes things pretty busy and stressful. Last year I think I took the last week of the year off from the blog. And then I came back with some pretty good stuff in January. Don't all rush to agree, you can nod silently if you wish.

I won't make any promises about the last two weeks of the year. I won't sit here and tell you that every day I'll post something awesome. But I will do a few things. So don't give up on me. 2011 is winding down and 2012 looks to be pretty great. Despite that whole "end of the world" thing. But hey, we all survived a couple scheduled apocalypses this year, right? Is it bad that we need to have a plural for the word apocalypse? Is apocalypses even correct? I've never been good with Greek. It is Greek, right?

Anyway, try not to stress out about the holidays. It'll be 2013 before you know it. Unless Melancholia happens.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Question of the Week: Dressed Up for Nothing

Sorry I'm a day late on this, folks. Yesterday was a really long day. Right after work there was the after work Christmas shin-dig. It was this whole thing. And then I didn't get home from the next county over until after 10. And by then I was about exhausted and headache-y. So I put off posting the Question of the Week. To the three of you who may have noticed, I apologize. On with the head scratcher...

Would you generally rather be overdressed or underdressed at a party?

Well, it would be a much more comfortable situation to be underdressed. And I mean that in a physical sense. Who isn't more comfortable wearing a t-shirt and jeans as opposed to wearing a tuxedo? Am I right? But it's a party. And, as Jack Donaghy once said, "It's after six. What am I, a farmer?" So when it comes to a party I'd much rather be overdressed than under. Besides, have you seen me in a tux? I'm not trying to brag or anything, but I look... well... adequate.

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

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Moderately Awaited Road Trip Post

Where were we? Oh yeah, Columbus. Before leaving for Indy, we needed to stop and eat lunch. Four grown men with the appetites that we have? Yeah, we're not skipping any meals. In fact, we didn't skip any snacks between meals either. Which reminds me... A quick thanks to JMitch for providing us with our snacks for the road. Particularly the Rice Krispies Treats. 'Cause it's not a road trip without Rice Krispies Treats. Just ask anyone in my family. Anyway, without her snacks we would have grown cranky and irritable mere minutes into the long drive. Seriously, thank you!

So we stopped for lunch at The Ohio Deli, known for its legendary Dagwood Challenge. Man vs. Food even did a show there and took the challenge. I can't remember the exact challenge, but it involved a gigantic sandwich, a gigantic plate of fries, and a drink. I think. I could be confusing that challenge with the challenge we came across the next day leaving Indianapolis. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

None of us took the challenge that day. We were too excited about the day that lay ahead of us. So we simply ate (some pretty good sandwiches) and then hit the road. And the road we hit was long and straight and boring. I've always said I'd love to drive across the country someday. But I'm here to tell you that the drive between middle Ohio and middle Indiana is incredibly dull. No bends in the road. No hills. Just rolling farm land as far as the eye can see. I'm not sure, but I may have been able to see the curvature of the earth at the edge of the horizon.

Eventually we reached Indianapolis. We checked into our hotel, which was overrun with fans on both sides of the Big Ten Championship. Judging by the license plates seen in the parking lot, however, this particular hotel was leaning towards the Wisconsin side of the Championship. As we made our way inside, some girls from Wisconsin invited us to the party in 104 after the game. Sounded like a good time. We all got high fives out of it.

We were only at the hotel long enough to drop off our things before heading back to downtown Indianapolis. The city, by the way, was gorgeous. And, bonus, we didn't come across any crazy rules like "You can't make a U-turn anywhere! Ever!" This was a nice change of pace from Columbus. Yeah, I could live in Indianapolis.

After a drawn out dinner at Penn Station East Coast Subs, we made our way over to Lucas Oil Stadium, site of the first ever Big Ten Championship Game. The entire place was alive with excitement as fans waited to see Michigan State and Wisconsin go head to head.

It was a phenomenal game. Now, we had all pretty much decided that we would be pulling for Wisconsin. And then we found out that our seats were nestled in between a gang of rabid Spartans. I was seated directly to a fairly drunk girl who demanded that I cheer for Michigan State. I decided to do just that, fearing for my life. Honestly, I didn't care much which team won. I just didn't want to get cut by a drunk girl.

History tells us that Wisconsin won in the end. Russell Wilson was named MVP. And the drunk girl left disappointed that her team lost, but seemed satisfied that her stadium neighbors shared in her disappointment. We were all just excited that it was an exciting game.

We didn't go to any parties that night. Though we did get a little lost trying to find our way back to the parking garage where we left the car. Shut up, Indianapolis is a big place.

After a good night's sleep, and apparently some heated argument about the BCS system (which I missed because I allowed myself to fall asleep pretty quickly), we started the long drive back home.

Before leaving Indianapolis, we found our way to the Mug 'N Bun, Indy's Oldest and Finest Drive-In. Andy and Mark decided to accept the Mug 'N Bun Challenge, which did involve taking down a gigantic sandwich, a large basket of fries, and a large root beer. Oh, and it had to be done in half an hour. I'm sorry to say that neither of my friends completed the challenge, but they put up a good fight. Andy will argue it 'til the day he dies, but I'm certain that Mark got a lot farther in the challenge than he did. Yeah, I'll hear about that one later.

This was followed by about 9 hours in Half-Pint as we made our way back to the Commonwealth. It was a long trip. It was epic.

I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a huge football guy. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching a good game now and then. But I really don't pay attention to all the statistics and wins and losses of colleges across the country. So this trip, while the destination was a pretty awesome football game, was more about the journey getting there and back. At least, for me it was. Because it meant I got to spend a weekend with three of my best friends. It's not something that happens very often. So it's something I would do again in a heartbeat.

Rumor has it that we're planning a trip to see the PAC 12 next year. Sign me up.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Long Awaited Road Trip Post

Okay, maybe I should have titled this "The Moderately Awaited Road Trip Post." I haven't really heard any complaints about not having written anything about the epic road trip to Indianapolis that I had been promising to write about for the last two weeks. But I am a man of my word. And here is my summary of an epic road trip and an epic weekend.

It was decided before the trip began that we would take my car. Half-Pint apparently gets the best gas mileage out of all our cars. I was really okay with this because I genuinely enjoy driving places. I can't call driving relaxing, what with the road rage I suffer from, but I do still enjoy it.

So when I got off work on Friday, I met Andy (who had already driven from Richmond) and Brandon at my apartment. From there we headed for Bluefield where we would pick up our final passenger, Mark. Then came the long, night time drive to Columbus, Ohio.

For the most part, the drive that night was uneventful. Please, don't make the mistake of thinking that when I say it was uneventful that I mean it wasn't fun. These guys are three of my best friends, so hanging out with them in any situation is always a good time. We talked and got caught up on each others' lives. We listened to music thanks to our friends at Spotify and Pandora. And then we hit our first pit stop.

Somewhere in Nowhere, West Virginia, the low fuel light started blinking. It was time for our first fill-up of the trip. By the way, this was one of only three fill-ups for Half Pint. Impressive, no? So we pulled off at the next available gas station. The signs on the highway indicated that we would come up on an Exxon, so we took the exit and then got scared. There were no street lights and no other commercial buildings at the exit. And there was no Exxon station to be seen. At first we all panicked a little and thought we were about to die. Let's just say that several references were made to that movie Wrong Turn. I followed the arrow to where the Exxon was supposed to be, and there it was just around the corner. We survived our first stop relatively unscathed.

And we drove on. And on. And on. Thanks to GPS, we crossed the Ohio border in relatively good time. It wasn't long after this that we made an unscheduled stop at Ohio University in Athens. At first I didn't stop. And I got yelled at. Look, I had one voice yelling at me with GPS directions and I had two other voices telling me to TAKE THIS EXIT. I got confused. But we got to the campus. We stopped at the Ohio football stadium and took a quick look around. Let me just say, midnight in Athens, OH during the first weekend in December is wicked cold. But I will say this, Ohio University has a beautiful campus. They've got a lit walkway that runs right next to the Hocking River. It was pretty nice.

Eventually we made it to Columbus. And we pretty much collapsed. We were all tired. It was about 2am. I'm told that I snored. Loudly. But it didn't bother me. I was unconscious for the whole thing. The morning came and we were ready to face the world. We were ready to hit Indianapolis hard.

But before we left Columbus, we made a stop at Ohio State University. We took a look around their ginormous football stadium and got a few pictures. That campus, by the way, is huge.

What's that spell? Yeah, it's O-H-I-O. Get it? I thought the silhouette thing turned out pretty good. While in Columbus, I did come to the decision that I could never live there. I'm glad you asked. It's because we came across a sign that told us that U-turns were prohibited everywhere in the city limits. Really? No U-turns anywhere? That seems a bit excessive.

Indianapolis, now that's a different story. Come back tomorrow for the rest of the weekend.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Common Enemy

I'm gonna catch a lot of flack for sharing this video. But George Takei does raise some very interesting and incredibly accurate points.

Monday, December 12, 2011

AFI 65 - The African Queen

The African Queen
Directed by John Huston
Netflix sleeve: Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart), the booze-guzzling, rough-hewn captain of a broken-down East African riverboat, teams with a straitlaced, iron-willed missionary (Katharine Hepburn) to take on a menacing German gunboat during World War I. A classic study in star charisma and pitch-perfect casting, The African Queen was nominated for four Oscars (for actress, actor, director and original screenplay), with Bogart winning a Best Actor statuette.

This is one that I had never seen. Honestly, I'd never given much thought to watching this one. Not that I had any special aversion to seeing it. I've just never considered myself a particular fan of Katherine Hepburn or Humphrey Bogart. Though I will say, I've seen and enjoyed more of Bogart's films than Hepburn's. Her voice just kind of grates on me. But then, so does his. Just not as much, I guess. The African Queen wasn't bad. It just wasn't the kind of thing that managed to hold my attention for the entire hour and 45 minute run time.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Once upon a time, there lived an okay-looking prince named Hank. Sure, he wasn't as handsome as that charming upstart across the border, but he made up for it with a sense of humor. Okay, really he used the humor as a defense mechanism. He knew he wasn't as good looking as the guys in the rival kingdoms. In fact, on a scale of one to ten, the fair maidens in the nearby towns would only rank him a six. They might be generous enough to give him a seven if the lighting was right.

Most of the time Hank didn't care what anyone thought of him. After all, he was a prince. He was heir to the throne of a small but distinguished kingdom. But there were times when he just felt inadequate. He could generally trace those feelings of inadequacy to the parties that Prince Charming liked to hold.

Every couple months or so, Charming would have a big party in his daddy's big old palace, just so he could show off his latest conquest. Last year it was some girl named Snow White. Hank was almost convinced that was just her stage name. Apparently she ate a bad apple that nearly killed her. She slipped into a coma and Charming came along and supposedly woke her with a kiss. The only witnesses to this alleged miracle kiss were a group of miners. They were conveniently missing from the prince's party that night.

That very night, Charming met another girl. Hank was pretty sure that Charming had a bit of a commitment issue. Anyway, that night, at Snow White's coming out party, there was a blonde girl in glass slippers. When Hank heard about her, he couldn't help but think how impractical glass slippers would be. But he knew how women were with shoes. As long as they looked good, it didn't matter how uncomfortable they were. This girl was a peasant that snuck into the party. Her mother and sisters called her Cinderella.

Turns out that wasn't her real name. That's just what her family called her because they were using her as a slave. Oh, and she wasn't really related to her family. They were her step-mother and step-sisters. In reality, she was the heiress to some fortune that her step-mother hid away from her when her father died. Hank felt sorry for her, he really did. Especially after Charming got his hands on her. One more romance that Hank knew wouldn't last. And whatever happened to Snow White?

A few months later, it was another girl. Something about a chick with really long hair. Hank wasn't too sure about that one. He skipped that party, so he only heard about it through others who had been there.

So he sat in his room, kind of feeling sorry for himself. And then he heard the trumpets blasting outside. Who were they announcing? No one was scheduled to visit the kingdom this week. Hank stood and looked out the window and saw Charming riding up the road on his white horse.

Hank rolled his eyes and let out a heavy sigh. "Ugh... this guy..." He turned around, walked out of his room and headed toward the main entrance.

"Hank!" yelled Charming as he walked into the foyer. He gave his fellow prince a hug. "How charming it is to see you!"

Hank nearly vomited. Why did this guy have to use his own name as an adjective all the time? It's one thing for your heralds to announce you in that way, but really, come on.

"You seem down, Hank," Charming said, holding the depressed prince at arms length. "Is this because you missed my party last month?"

"Yeah, I'm sure that's it," said Hank.

"Well you don't have to worry. You didn't really miss anything. In fact, the girl I had there, Rapunzel, she's history."

"Already?" Hank asked. He couldn't believe the attention span on this guy.

"It's the hair. I couldn't handle getting tangled up all the time," said Charming as he paced back and forth. "And do you have any idea how much shampoo that woman goes through in a week? Seriously, my kingdom for a bottle of Herbal Essences!"

Hank rolled his eyes again. Yes, yes, you're so funny! "So what brings you here, Charming?"

"I'm here because I want to set you up with my sister."

The offer was tempting. Princess Charming was a classic beauty. But Hank didn't want any of Charming's charity. "I don't need to be set up, Charming."

"Are you sure? I haven't seen you with a fair maiden at any of my parties."

"I'm sure. I may not have as much luck with the ladies as you do, but then again, if I looked like you, I'm sure I'd have damsels in distress knocking down my door all the time."

"You think it's just my looks that helps me out?" Charming was taken aback. "That sounds like a challenge to me."

"It wasn't a chall--"

"I will ugly myself down," Charming started, "No, wait. I'll make myself positively beastly. And I will still manage to have a beautiful woman fall for me. Do you want to impose a time limit on me?"

Hank snorted, "No, take all the time you need."

"Very well! I'll see you next month with a beautiful lady in tow!" Charming shouted as he mounted his horse and rode off into the sunset.

Hank laughed out loud. "Beauty and the Beast? That'll never work." He then made the long walk back to his room.

A month later, Hank received an invitation to Charming's latest soiree. Apparently he would be introducing a French woman named Belle. Cute, her actual name was Beauty. Hank sent his RSVP. He figured he should make an appearance. He was curious to find out how Charming was able to pull off his "beast" routine. He figured he would go and see how they would start their happily ever after. Or, at least, their happily until Charming gets bored.

This prompt brought to us by Sunday Scribblings.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Question of the Week: Future

Given the ability to project yourself into the future but not return, would you do so? If not, would you change your mind if you could take someone along? How far would you go?

I can actually get behind this theory of time travel. If time travel were possible, my thought is that it would only be possible to move forward in time, not backward. And I absolutely would want to make that journey, whether I could take someone or not. Sure, it would be nice to know someone once I got to the future. Either way, I think it would be fun. In fact, I'm in a pretty good position to go by myself anyway. I don't have a wife or kids that are depending on me to be in the present, which means I won't miss seeing my own children growing up. I'll miss the friends and family I have now, but I would be sure to say my goodbyes before I made my quantum leap.

Can I go ahead and assume that if I can make the jump ahead in time once that I can do it multiple times? 'Cause here's what I'd like to do: Before I leave, I'd put all my savings into an account that would gain a great deal of interest over a long period of time. This is the part where I'm planning ahead. First I want to go ahead a few months and see if Community gets a chance to finish the season, or even gets picked up for a fourth season. Then I'd jump ahead a few more years, stopping to see how all of my friends are doing and find out what I've missed in the last few years. Then I'd go ahead and jump 100 years into the future. By then I should have some pretty good interest built up. I'd say I'll have enough to retire by 2111, but with inflation being what it is, I may not be able to. I'd travel a little, read up on the rest of the history of the 21st century, but eventually I'd probably want to keep going. My curiosity would get the better of me. I'm not saying I'd want to go all the way to AD 802,701 like the guy in The Time Machine, but I think it might be cool to see what the 31st century looks like. Is the Price is Right still on? Do people even still watch TV? Are the Yankees still playing? Does baseball even still exist? These are the questions that will haunt me now until I figure out a way to make this trip into the future.

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

Thursday, December 08, 2011


Wow! It has been a crazy couple of days here.

Now, you probably read that with a note of enthusiasm. Don't let the exclamation point fool you. It was false bravado.

I've been really sick for about three days. Today I feel like I'm finally pulling myself up out of the valley of the shadow of death. Well, the valley of kinda wishing I was dead anyway. It's been rough.

I'll spare you the details. Thank you notes can be sent via the comments section below.

I know I promised a recap of the epic road trip that I experienced last weekend. It will come. I promise. But, for the better part of this week, all I've been able to think about was how sick I've been and how I wished it would just go away and let me feel better.

These viruses are not to be taken lightly. I took it lightly when I went to work on Tuesday. I wasn't feeling great, but I just wrote it off as not having caught up with myself from the weekend. You know how you can get when you spend three days on the road, right? It's not quite the same as having jet lag, but it can still be pretty rough.

And then they sent me home. That's right, I had people at work telling me how terrible I looked. When more than one person suggested that I should take a half day and leave early, I started to think it was a pretty good idea. I'll be honest, I was feeling pretty miserable. And it was starting to move beyond just being tired and lacking sleep.

So I left. And I haven't been back since. Which really sucks. Because it means that I had to quarantine myself to my bedroom for the past 48 hours. I'm sure my roommates appreciate me staying in my room and only emerging to make a dash for the bathroom.

I've made sure to keep a can of Lysol handy. I've tried to disinfect wherever I've been. I don't want my roommates to come down with what I had. 'Cause here's something I've dealt with in the past. I would be the first person in the house to get a cold, then it would make its way through my various family members, and by the time they were all done with it, it would mutate just enough to be different and then infect me all over again. That's not happening this time.

I got sick. I'm getting over it. I'm going to work tomorrow and I'm not gonna get sick again. I'm done for this cold and flu season. Do you hear me common cold? That's right, I've got your number. This flu may have kicked my butt, but I kicked back.

On the plus side of things, I did manage to get myself in the shower today. I shaved. Because I looked in the mirror when I finally crawled out of bed and realized that I looked like I was about to audition for the role of Ghost of Christmas Future. All I needed was a heavy black hood to complete the look.

Monday, December 05, 2011

A Scene From the Weekend

As a glimpse into this past weekend, I'm giving you a taste with a scene from Saturday night.

During the Big Ten Championship game, the Charlatan and I decided to head down to concessions to get a little something to quench our thirst. While we were there, the Charlatan decided to get a soft pretzel. The exchange went a little something like this:

Charlatan: Can I get a Coke in the souvenir cup and a soft pretzel?

Counter Girl: Okay. Do you want some cheese to dip the pretzel in?

Charlatan: Is it any good?

Counter Girl: Oh, yeah, it's good cheese.

Charlatan: Sure, why not? (Counter Girl puts the cheese in a tiny dipping cup)

Counter Girl: Okay, that's another $1.25 for the cheese.

Charlatan: WHAT?! I thought the cheese was free!

Counter Girl: (laughing) Yeah, it's $1.25 for the cheese.

Charlatan: I see what you did there. Well played, Counter Girl. Well played.

The above exchange is not verbatim. But it pretty much went down like that. Stay tuned. There will be a more complete story of how the weekend went in the coming days. Spoiler alert: it was freakin' awesome.

Saturday, December 03, 2011


This week has been a little unorthodox for me. And if you haven't enjoyed reading my thoughts on all those AFI Top 100 movies, I apologize. It's just that, well, I made that New Year's resolution to watch all 100 of them and I know there's no way that's going to happen at this point. I'm not even halfway there yet. So I figured that I would make a dent in it by spending a week watching and writing about them.

And then there's the fact that I skipped the Question of the Week. Not that anyone ever leaves their answers, but I always have fun responding to the questions.

But here's the thing, I'm kind of out of town at the moment.

Right after work yesterday, I drove back into Roanoke, picked up the Charlatan and Subway, headed to Bluefield to get the Other Single Guy and then made the long drive to Columbus, Ohio. Why? I'm glad you asked. Because Columbus is our midway stop on our way to... wait for it... Indianapolis.

Tonight is the first ever Big Ten Championship Game and the four of us decided to pile into Half Pint to come up and see the game. Expect a full report once I've gotten back home and had time to process things. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend. It's about time for a continental breakfast.

Friday, December 02, 2011

AFI 66 - Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Netflix sleeve: When Dr. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford)--the tweed-suited professor who just happens to be a celebrated archaeologist--is hired by the government to locate the legendary Ark of the Covenant, he finds himself up against the entire Nazi regime. Creative minds Steven Spielberg and George Lucas created a classic with this all-time favorite, which spawned a series of commercially successful sequels and a short-lived TV show.

Is it wrong that I already considered this to be one of the most awesome movies of all time? If it is, I don't care. 'Cause I do consider this to be one of the most awesome movies of all time. The guy teaches a subject that a lot of people would probably consider boring. I wouldn't, because I love history. But history classes tend to go under appreciated. But he also walks around wearing a fedora and carrying a bullwhip. Yeah, I dare you to call his class boring. To his face, I mean. And if you think you can outdo him with a sword, don't try. He'll just shoot you.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

AFI 67 - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Directed by Mike Nichols
Netflix sleeve: On a serene New England campus, emasculated professor George (Richard Burton) and his rancorous wife, Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), turn an evening of cocktails into an unrelenting onslaught of wrenching disclosures and bellowed epithets. Soon, the couple's guests--junior professor Nick (George Segal) and his wife, Honey (Sandy Dennis)--get sucked into the vortex of the warring duo's unbounded fury. Taylor nabbed an Oscar for her role.

Sorry, I just didn't get this one. Maybe I wasn't fully paying attention as I watched, but to me, it just seemed to be about a highly dysfunctional couple who only added to their gross dysfunction by ingesting mass quantities of alcohol. I did feel sorry for their friends who were forced to spend the evening with them. This film just didn't do anything for me. I won't be adding it to my "must buy on blu-ray" list.