Saturday, June 30, 2012

Who Ordered the Apocalypse?

Wow. I mean... Wow.

How many of you experienced that storm last night? How many of you are still dealing with the aftermath? According to the local news feed, nearly 800,000 people are without power in Virginia. As you can see from this blog post, I'm not one of them.

In case you hadn't heard or weren't in this part of the country yesterday evening, there was a pretty severe wind storm that cut a path through the mid-Atlantic last night. It kind of came from out of nowhere too.

I can only speak for myself, which really isn't saying much. As I mentioned above, I'm one of the lucky ones.

Around 8:00 last night, I decided to make a quick run to the grocery store. I was away from my apartment for about 15 minutes. While I was out, I saw clear skies and a bright sun. Roughly half an hour after I returned to my room, the wind began to howl.

I couldn't believe how loud it was. I remember asking myself if they were calling for storms. I mean, it wouldn't be a surprise, as hot as it was yesterday. It isn't really a shock when storms pop up at the end of hot, humid days. But this wasn't like a regular thunder storm. This was a wall of hurricane force wind that cut through the state.

Apparently, this storm had been tracked hours earlier over the Ohio River Valley. Maybe, if I paid any attention to the news, I'd have known that it was a possibility that we would see this same storm. But since I don't pay attention to the news, I was pretty surprised to see thick trees bending to the ground.

The power flickered and then failed. Without A/C the room began to heat up. Without a fan to stir the air, the room became stuffy. The wind continued to blow, tearing down trees and power lines all over the commonwealth.

I wasn't tired enough to go to sleep. For that matter, it was way too warm to comfortably close my eyes to even try. But there weren't a lot of options. Sitting alone in the dark while drenched in sweat was just about it.

Time passed until, finally, the power returned. The air conditioner kicked on and the fan circulated that cool air. It felt wonderful.

I knew I was lucky. I knew that there would be thousands out there who weren't so lucky. The only inconveniences I felt were a few hours of stifling heat and a lack of cable and internet.

According to a representative of Appalachian Power, this is the worst outage they've ever experienced due to weather. Over 200,000 customers are without power tonight and crews will likely be working throughout the next week to get their power back on.

It's difficult to be without something that we so often take for granted. It's especially difficult when we're faced with record breaking temperatures. My prayers go out for those who are still experiencing discomfort due to the storm. Prayers also go out for those who have lost loved ones in this catastrophe.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

False Prophecy

This picture was posted to my Facebook wall by two separate people yesterday. It was also sent to my phone via text message from my sister today. I don't know where the picture originated, but I gotta tell ya, it looks like it's been run through the Photoshop.

As a lover of all things Back to the Future, I feel fairly certain that this image appears nowhere in the film. Note the Present Time and Last Time Departed readings. These numbers indicate that this image should appear during the scene that takes place at the Twin Pines Mall near the start of the movie.

If you'll remember, this is the part where Doc Brown's dog, Einstein, becomes the world's first time traveler. Doc sent Einstein one minute into the future. Once the dog arrives in the future, Doc shows Marty how the display works. In doing so, he input three example destination times. 1:21am on June 27, 2012 was not one of them.

Doc suggests seeing the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and therefore inputs July 4, 1776. He then suggests witnessing the birth of Christ and punches in the erroneous date of December 25, 0000. Finally, he gives Marty the destination time which would alter the course of McFly family history: November 5, 1955.

It's at that point that Doc begins to get a little nostalgic about how things used to be around Hill Valley before preparing for his own trip to the future. Of course, this is interrupted by Libyan terrorists who had hired Dr. Brown to build them a bomb. See, they wanted revenge for Doc stealing their plutonium, which is the fuel needed to power the time circuits and the flux capacitor. You know what, I don't know why I'm telling you all this. Just watch it for yourself.

If I'm wrong about the whole June 27, 2012 thing, let me know. I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong. But I'm pretty sure I'm right on this one. Thanks to the ones who sent me the picture though. I do appreciate the thought.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

True Believer

Title: True Believer
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Published: 2005

I know what I said after I read At First Sight. I said I was done with Nicholas Sparks. I said that I hated the man and that I was stupid for continually picking up his novels and subjecting myself to the torture of reading them.

But let's call this a loophole. I didn't read this novel. I listened to it.

See, back when I was making the long drive from Roanoke to Indian Valley day in and day out, I decided I needed something to help pass the time. After all, I spent 3 hours of every day in my car. Don't get me wrong, I am a great lover of music. But all that time driving took away from free time that I normally would have spent reading a good book. So I decided to see what the library had by way of books on CD.

I had just seen the film version of The Hunger Games. At that point, I really wanted to read the book again, but I loaned it to the Most Awesome Person I Know before I left North Carolina, so reading it was out of the question. I put myself on the waiting list at the local library for the CD version. I thought it might be interesting to listen to someone else read the story to me. But it would be a couple months before it was available.

So I browsed. And I came across True Believer. I remembered this being the story that took place before At First Sight. And I figured, why not? After all, I already knew the heart wrenching ending of the second part. The first part must have a pretty happy ending, right?

And you know, it wasn't bad. Like with the book I already read, this one was about Jeremy and Lexie. Only this time, it's about how they met and fell in love. And it kind of explained some of the trust issues that Jeremy has in the second book.

Jeremy is a divorced journalist who has made a career out of debunking myths and legends, especially those pertaining to the paranormal. He gets a letter from a lady in a small North Carolina town about these lights that keep showing up in a local cemetery. Jeremy decides to take the time to check the story out for himself.

Upon arriving in Boone Creek, he's introduced to Lexie, the librarian and granddaughter of the woman who sent the letter that piqued his initial interest. Jeremy's smitten from the start, but Lexie doesn't want anything to do with the guy from New York. She's not interested in becoming the small town girl who is saved by the boy from the big city.

But, since you know there's a sequel, you can probably assume they end up together. I hope that wasn't much of a spoiler. I'm assuming you figured out that since they're together in the second book, they'd wind up together by the end of the first. Come on, guys, use your brains.

So I've decided to give Sparks another shot. I didn't cry this time. Probably helped that I was too busy focusing on the 90 minute drive to work to deal with the emotional scenes in the book on CD.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

AFI 59 - Nashville

Directed by Robert Altman
Netflix sleeve: Countless characters including Shelley Duvall, Keith Carradine, Ned Beatty and Karen Black, get caught up in a political rally that takes over Nashville in director Robert Altman's sprawling satirical masterpiece about politics and country music. The many fine performances in this mosaic include Lily Tomlin's bored housewife and Henry Gibson's pompous, patriotic country singer. The actors also wrote and performed their own songs.

Wow. I mean... I really did not like that movie. At all. Not even a little. I had a hard time following it. To me, it was kind of a mess. I can live with the fact that there are people out there who love this movie, for one reason or another. And I can live with the fact that the AFI decided this was worthy of being in their top 100. Just as long as I never have to see it again.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Question of the Week: Dream

If you could script the basic plot for the dream you will have tonight, what would the story be?

Well, the basic plot for the dream of my dreams would be a peaceful one. I mean, of course I would have the ability to fly. That should go without saying. Also, I wouldn't mind swooping in and saving a beautiful damsel in distress. I guess that part wouldn't involve a great deal of peacefulness. By the way, I'd do all the superhero stuff without the aid of a unitard. I just don't think I'd feel comfortable in something like that. Even in a dream. And in not wearing something skin tight, I think I'm saving even more lives. After saving the day, I think I'd find some excuse to get together with all my friends. Maybe some kind of party. Of course, I'd have to show up in my secret identity. Can't have everyone knowing I'm the guy that flew around all day saving beautiful damsels in distress.

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

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Molly stepped into the warmth of her bathtub and prepared for a long evening of allowing her stress to soak away. Her hope was to lean back, let the scented candles do their thing, and eventually throw her day out with the bath water.

With her roommate out of town for the week, she knew she had the place to herself. Outside the bathroom, there were no sounds. This was a huge plus because she longed for silence more than anything. After a day filled with the sounds of doctors barking orders, patients screaming for this or that, and, of course, the sirens arriving in the ambulance bay, she was ready for a sensory deprivation chamber.

But silence was not on order. After settling into the warm bubble bath, she noticed the steady drip coming from the spigot. Normally, this kind of thing wouldn't bother her. But the headache she currently had caused the noise to become extreme torture. Each time a droplet hit the surface of the water, she heard the sound of a sledgehammer being thrown against an enormous piece of sheet metal.

Molly leaned forward and attempted to close the faucet tighter. Unfortunately, her strength didn't seem to be enough to get the job done. She almost resigned herself to just deal with the lack of serenity, but then she remembered the wrench in the toolbox she had hidden in the laundry room.

She didn't often use tools. But her daddy had taught her enough to know that it was important to have them in case you needed them. If she couldn't twist the knobs with her bare hands, maybe some leverage would help.

She let out a sigh and pulled herself out of the water, praying it would stay warm while she retrieved the wrench. She threw on her bathrobe and walked through the house to the laundry room. Under a pile of clothes against the wall she found the tool box. She found a couple different screwdrivers, a hammer, a tape measure, various other tools, but no wrench. Where could it be?

It had to be there somewhere. She knew she had a wrench. She specifically remembers buying one the same day she got the screwdrivers and the hammer. So why were all the other tools lying here unused while the one she actually needed was missing? "Crap," she muttered under her breath.

It shouldn't have been a big deal. It was just a leaky faucet. But she was exhausted. She had a headache that wouldn't go away. And she just wanted to relax. The constant dripping proved to be counter-productive.

Then Molly thought about the guy next door. What if he has some tools? she thought. But she didn't have his number. And she didn't really feel comfortable walking over there in just her robe. She didn't want this guy to get the wrong idea. After all, she'd only spoken to him once or twice. She wasn't even sure of his name. Calen? Calvin? She couldn't remember.

She decided against asking him. It would be embarrassing enough to talk to him in a bathrobe. To not remember his name would make the situation worse. Besides, by the time she got over there, explained her dilemma, borrowed a wrench and got back to her bath, the water would surely be cold. Again, completely counter-productive.

So she took a couple Tylenol and made her way back to the bathroom. She was a grown-up and she would just have to deal with the inconvenience of a constant drip. For the second time this evening, she disrobed. She dipped her foot in the water and quickly drew back with a shudder. Cold. No, frigid was a better word.

Eureka, she thought.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Hey, remember the awesomeness that is Community? Yeah, it's on hiatus for the summer. But it's coming back for season 4 in the fall. It seems so far away. But there's a new video which collects all of the gasps as performed by my future love interest, Alison Brie. Without further ado, Annie's Gasps.

Friday, June 22, 2012

So Many Questions, Part V

Last one, I promise...

81. Have you ever risked a friendship by telling someone you liked them? So many times. And as you can tell, it worked out great. Each and every time.
82. Would you rather be alone doing something you enjoy or doing something you don't like with your best friends? Doing something I don't like with my friends. I can't promise I won't complain though. So in case the plan is to go golfing, you've been warned.
83. Do you practice what you preach? I don't think so. It's a lot easier to give advice than to take it. Even if it's your own advice.
84. If you take precautions to stay safe, do you ultimately act more recklessly? No. I've never been one to be reckless.
85. What do you value more in a significant other: attractiveness or intelligence? I want both. And I think you should at least give me some credit for knowing what I want.
86. Are you hard-headed? Yes. I'll listen to your opinion, but I'm not too ashamed to let you know you're wrong.
87. Have you ever laughed uncontrollably when it was socially inappropriate? Is there any other reason to laugh uncontrollably? Example: I was at a funeral the year before Dad passed away. I was sitting next to him and we watched, solemnly, as the dearly departed was closed into the casket by the funeral director. The man then began to turn the crank which would lock the casket. And Dad leaned close to me and began humming "Pop Goes the Weasel." Pretty sure I snorted. Loudly.
88. When have you felt most alive? Considering the fact that I've never been dead, I have nothing to compare my alive feeling to. So I'd say I feel most alive right now. And every day I wake up and continue to breathe in and out.
89. Where would you prefer to live: city, suburbs, countryside, mountains, etc.? I think I prefer the city. Though I have no doubt I could find contentment wherever I lived. I work in a small community and I could see myself living there from time to time. Though, ultimately, I think I'd miss the convenience of living in a city.
90. Do you often skip breakfast? Only on the days that end in Y.
91. How do you know what true love is? Well, I don't have any real experience with it. Mostly what I've picked up from The Princess Bride. I know true love exists. But it isn't what most people think it is. Too often, people confuse love with infatuation. True love isn't a feeling. It's a verb.
92. Would you want to know the exact date and time you were going to die? Where's the fun in that?
93. Where is "home" for you? Roanoke
94. What song best describes your life right now? "Faith of the Heart," Rod Stewart
95. Do you want to be perfect? You imply that I'm not. I don't know how I feel about that. Just kiding. Perfection is impossible. Can't hurt to try though.
96. What have you never tried but would really like to do someday? What's holding you back? Cross-country road trip. The lack of gas money is what's holding me back.
97. How do you express your creativity? I write. I have this blog. I have lots of stuff that I don't feel like publishing. And I sing. And I like to draw from time to time. Those are all outlets for me.
98. Describe your neighborhood. It's an apartment complex. It's not too shabby. We're right next to the river and just a stone's throw from a pretty sizeable public park. We've got a sand volleyball court. A basketball court. A swimming pool. A gym. A clubhouse with a foosball table and a pool table. And I'm pretty sure there's a tanning bed somewhere in there. Though that seems kind of sketchy. I won't be using that thing. But if anyone wants to pick up a game of volleyball, let me know when you're in Radford.
99. Name something you only liked because it was popular. Popularity got me to pick up the first Harry Potter book. Then I loved it on its own merits. So I guess that doesn't count. I never really pretend to like something just because everyone else does. Look at how popular Twilight is. I can't stand that junk.
100. Give me the story of your life in six words. And he lived awesomely ever after.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

So Many Questions, Part IV

Are you still paying attention? We've gotten through the first, second and third parts of this extremely long questionnaire. If you've stuck it out all week, bless you. Let's keep it going...

61. Predict what your life will look like a year from now. I imagine that my life will look extremely similar to what it looks like now. Except that I'll be a lot closer to being licensed to teach in the state of Virginia. But chances are I'll still be in the position I'm in as a counselor and I'll be spending the summer doing the same thing I'm doing now. But I'm hoping that I'll be teaching somewhere when the following school year begins. Wish me luck!
62. Often, people will ask how your last relationship ended. I want to know how it began. Well, that's hard to say. Since I've never been in a relationship. Cue the Price Is Right "you lost" noise.
63. Where is your favorite place to go out and eat? Macado's. I know the service can be spotty, especially at certain locations. Yes, I'm looking at you, Bluefield. But I just love it. Have you seen their menu? There are about 800 different sandwiches you can choose from. And I get the same one every time.
64. What is something you want to change about your current situation? I'd like to not have to worry about money anymore. And I'd like to not have to deal with paying off my student loans anymore. So I guess... more money, but not have to work an extra job to earn it.
65. Early bird or night owl? Depends on the day of the week and who I'm with. More often than not, early bird.
66. Are there any childhood possessions you still hold on to? I believe I mentioned somewhere in the earlier questions that I've been accused of lacking a "sentimental bone" in my body. So no, I don't have any childhood possessions. I held on to my He-Man action figures for the longest time. But last year, before moving back from North Carolina, I gave them to the children of the Most Awesome Person I Know. Apparently the youngest had a blast with them for a while. I assume she still does. Who wouldn't have a blast playing with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe?
67. Give me an unpopular opinion you have. I think that Twilight kinda sucks.
68. What was the last song that was stuck in your head? "Jenny from the Block." Thanks a lot, Supervisor who sings it every time she sees one of the kids in my classroom. Take a wild guess what the kid's name is.
69. Where do you live? Be as general or as specific as you want. Radford, VA
70. Do you believe in giving kids medals and trophies for participation? No, I don't. I believe that giving out trophies for 9th place is just a symptom of what's wrong with our society and only serves to make things worse for future generations. We are so obsessed with making everyone feel good about themselves that we just have to reward mediocrity. I see it all the time in my job, and am even guilty of it myself. But there's really no way around it. Kids that I work with have so much difficulty just conforming to expected classroom behaviors that they are required to be rewarded any time they behave just as well as any of the other kids. Meanwhile, some of the best-behaved kids in school go ignored because they're already doing what they're supposed to do. It's kind of irritating knowing that I just keep that system going.
71. What was the longest car ride you've ever taken? Drove all night to get to Boston in time to try out for season 5 of American Idol. Alone. Long road trips are so much more fun when someone else is in the car. But that time it was just me.
72. Have you ever taken part in a protest? Nope
73. Would you ever use an online dating service? If I felt like paying $30 a month for a computer to find me a date, sure. I argue that guys should be able to join those sites for free though. I mean, we are expcted to pay for dinner, right? Dating gets expensive if you have to pay a digital pimp to meet the girl too. Just sayin'.
74. What is your ethnic heritage? Thanks to the genealogy that my uncle put together around the time my Dad passed away, I know that the majority of my heritage comes from German ancestry.
75. Describe a person that inspires you. I don't think I'm someone who is easily inspired. Though, when I think about it, some of the simplest things have the ability to inspire me. Someone who has had a difficult life, but is able to pick themselves back up to keep fighting the good fight. That's inspiring. Someone who tries to do what's right without giving up, no matter the personal cost. That's inspiring, too.
76. If you earn minimum wage doing what you love, would you keep doing it? Absolutely. Money comes and goes far too quickly for it to be the end all and be all of why someone does what they do for a living. If I was making six figures in a job I despised, it just wouldn't be worth it. The job that I perform now is definitely one that people don't do because of the pay. But it's a job that I love. And I love the feeling I have at the end of the day. Even the feeling I have at the end of my worst days as a counselor is far better than the feeling I had at the end of my best days as a bank teller.
77. Do you believe in luck? No
78. Describe the last time you were very angry at someone. I get irritated all the time. But that sort of anger is never really directed at anyone in particular. The last time I was truly angry at an individual was a couple years ago when someone I hardly know told me he believed that my father (a man this guy never met) would be disappointed in me. I'm getting angry just thinking about it right now.
79. Do you want to live until you're 100? Not if it means aging and losing control of my body and mind. Or if it means outliving all my friends. Not worth it.
80. Do people change? If so, how do you keep a relationship together when both of you start to change? I do believe that people are capable of change. However, I also believe that, at their core, people remain basically the same. I'm pretty sure I remember learning in one of my psych classes that our personalities finish forming by the time we're toddlers. I could be wrong about that one. Any other psych majors out there, feel free to correct me. Relationships are tough whether the parties change or not. You often hear about relationships falling apart because one person felt they could change the other, but couldn't. You hear about relationships falling apart because both people changed and grew apart. The important thing to realize that people are people. If you want something to work, you have to work at it. Whether you've chosen to change or not, you have to make the choice to stay in the relationship or let it go. Either way, it's up to you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So Many Questions, Part III

Welcome to the third of a five part series of questions. Thanks again to Elizabeth at for posting all 100 questions in one place and for not complaining too much when I said I was going to steal them for my own blog. If you missed the first parts, 1-20 are here and 21-40 are here. Enjoy!

41. Write the first sentence of your obituary. Aaron Lee Peck, bestselling author and inventor of the thing that changed the face of western civilization, died at the age of 97 due to complications from being too awesome.
42. What is the best TV theme song ever? Might have to go with Growing Pains. Classic.
43. When you were young, what would you dream you would be when you grew up? Teacher
44. When you're alone in your own home, do you walk around naked? When I lived alone, yes. These days, I have a roommate. So the nudity only occurs within the confines of my own room.
45. What gets you out of bed in the morning? My alarm clock.
46. Do you want to have more friends than you have right now? Not necessarily. I just wish the ones I have were closer.
47. What part of the past year sticks out in your mind? Moving. Twice.
48. You win a scratch-off lottery game that gives you $2000 a week (after taxes) for the rest of your life. Do you keep your job? I'd probably keep doing what I'm doing, but on a voluntary basis. If that's allowed. Why pay me to do something I enjoy if I don't need to be paid for it?
49. Could you be in a long-distance relationship? If you're in one, what makes yours work? I've never attempted a short-distance relationship. I really don't think I could deal with long-distance.
50. What's the best route to your heart? Through the Candy Cane Forest and over Gum Drop Mountain. But you really need to avoid the Chocolate Swamp. That place is just a mess. Especially during rush hour.
51. Have you ever met someone through the internet, and then met them in real life? A couple times. And I'd do it again in the right situations.
52. What is your favorite sport? Baseball
53. What has been troubling you lately? Finances. I mean, I don't worry that much about it. It's just that I do have a few weeks during the summer when I don't work and, therefore, do not get paid for that time. When those weeks come up on the pay schedule, makes it kind of hard to make the ends meet.
54. Did you enjoy your high school prom? If you haven't gotten there yet, do you look forward to it? If you didn't go, why not? I didn't go. And it's because I kind of had a date, but then I got the call a few weeks before the prom and she let me know she wanted to go with someone else who had also asked her. That didn't feel great, but it really wasn't that big a deal. I went to the after party and won a $100 door prize. Not too shabby.
55. What do you use more often: your intuition or logical reasoning? Logical reasoning, without question.
56. Do you know what makes you happy? Not really. Happiness is a fleeting emotion. When I find it, I try to  enjoy it for as long as I can, however it may come.
57. Tell me about the last book you read. Safe Haven, by Nicholas Sparks. Which reminds me, I should probably get around to writing my thoughts about it in a blog post. Anyway, I know I swore off Sparks books after the whole At First Sight fiasco. But then I got into the books on CD while I was driving back and forth from Roanoke to Indian Valley for work. I listened to True Believer, the book that took place before At First Sight. Which reminds me, I should probably write my thoughts about that one in a blog post too. I'm really slacking on the blog, huh?
58. What is the nicest compliment you've ever been given? "You remind me of your father."
59. Who was your first crush? Olivia Newton-John
60. Do you believe that there is life on other planets? If there's not, it just seems like there's an awful lot of space out there for nothing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

So Many Questions, Part II

In case you missed my post yesterday, you've stumbled into the midst of a week long questionnaire. This list contains 100 questions which I am dividing up throughout the week. Questions 1-20 were dealt with in yesterday's post. Go back if you need to see those answers. And now, we resume the epic answers to the epic questions.

21. Do you enjoy being with only one or two friends or with a large group of people? One or two friends. Large groups make me anxious. I'm not agoraphobic. I just prefer smaller circles.
22. Do you like the type of music your parents listen to? Do your parents like the type of music you listen to? I like pretty much all types of music. And I have no problem listening to the stuff that my parents raised me on. So yes, I do like what Mom still listens to. And I was slightly shocked (though maybe I shouldn't have been) to find out that she likes Adele. I like Adele. So I worried a little. Does that mean Mom is cool? Or does that mean that Adele is lame? Which would, by extension, make me lame... I'm sorry, Adele. I didn't mean to call you lame.
23. Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever bullied anyone else? Yes. Yes. Bullying led to my wonderful experience with anorexia nervosa. And I've never meant to be a bully. But I have an overwhelmingly sarcastic personality. Usually, I can control myself. I can turn it off when I need to. But there are occasions when I cross the line and I do hurt feelings. Again, I don't mean to. It's not like I woke up one morning and said, "I really want to make someone cry today. Who can my victim be?" And I felt really bad about it afterwards. Also, I apologized profusely. Just let it go!
24. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pizza
25. If your partner wanted to wait until marriage before having sex, would you stay in that relationship? Yes. Especially considering I've always figured that I would wait until marriage myself.
26. Do you believe in a god? Just the real one. The one with a capital G.
27. Of all the social networks in the world, why use Twitter? Because it's trendy. And I'm so freakin' cool that I feel that my 52 followers on the Twitter would be devastated if I closed my account.
28. What's your favorite hashtag to track? I don't have one. I follow certain people. I also follow certain celebrities. Sometimes I find their tweets interesting or funny. But I don't really follow particular hashtags.
29. Would you call yourself/your family "middle class?" Yeah. We're not poverty stricken and we're not super rich. For now, we're in between. I'm sure that I'll be middle class for as long as such a creature exists.
30. Name a TV series you didn't enjoy until after it ended. Firefly. It was an awesome show that got a raw deal from Fox.
31. Have you ever bought a product from an infomercial? Nope
32. If you could give up your car and never have to drive again, would you? No. I like driving too much. I wouldn't miss paying to fill my tank with gas every week. But sometimes it's worth it just to be able to drive around and listen to some music.
33. If you go back to one point in time to give advice to yourself, when would you go and what would you say? I'd go back to high school me and say the following: "Past Aaron, I really need to study more. Because if I put forth just a little bit of effort, I'll be able to get a scholarship to help pay for that wicked expensive college I'll end up going to for five years. Also, when I get to that wicked expensive college, stick with the elementary education thing. Trust me, past me, it'll pay off in the long run. Also, when 2004 rolls around, be sure to put a lot of money on the Red Sox to win the World Series. I know, it sounds crazy but, again, trust me. Finally, for the next 15 years or so, it doesn't matter who she is, she's not interested."
34. What's your "quirkiest" habit? I do tend to sing a lot. Randomly. And in inappropriate places and situations. I mean, it's not as if I imagine that my life is an episode of Glee. Or is it?
35. What is "normal?" Are you normal? There is no such thing as normal. That being said, yes, I am extremely normal.
36. Someone close to you is dying. You have the choice to let this person live for 10 more years, but if you do, you cause the deaths of 10 strangers. You don't have to see them die. Do you take the offer? No., The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one. I really hope that doesn't sound heartless. But it worked for Spock.
37. What is one thing you could never forgive? Betrayal. Well, I can't say never. But it would take an awful long time for me to get over a serious case of betrayal and there's a very good chance that trust would never be regained.
38. Would you rather be in a relationship after the honeymoon period ends or be single? I'm curious about what a relationship would be like. But seeing as how I've been single for as long as I have been, I'm content with that. Nothing to compare it to, really.
39. Is it possible for guys and girls to be just friends? Absolutely. I've done it dozens of times. I'll admit, it can be easy for one or the other to develop feelings in a "more than friends" capacity. But it's all about letting your brain win over your heart. People who "follow their heart" are just setting themselves up for a lot of pain. In most cases. The odds aren't good.
40. Where do you and your friends go to hang out? Central Perk. No... MacLaren's. I mean the Peach Pit. Crap! I watch too much TV! My friends don't really have a regular place. And that's mostly because all my friends are so spread out. For a few years, whenever we tried to get together, it was at the house at Smith Mountain Lake. But that house was recently sold, so that's not an option anymore. I've always wondered what it would be like to live near my friends and have a regular place that we could call "our place."

Monday, June 18, 2012

So Many Questions, Part I

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but my blog posts have been few and far between as of late. I do appreciate how no one has judged me for my lack of creativity. So I'll ask you to hold off on the judging a little while longer. 'Cause I'm totally stealing this post from Elizabeth over at It's a list of 100 questions. I'm so very tempted to just use these one at at time as future Questions of the Week. I'm getting really close to the end of Gregory Stock's The Book of Questions. But I won't do it one at a time. Instead, I'm breaking it down to 20 at a time. 20 a day for each day this week.

1. Are you young at heart or an old soul? I'm gonna go with young at heart. Not that I'm child-like or overly childish. I just have a difficult time wrapping my brain around the fact that I'm in my 30s now. In fact, I kind of have a tendency to believe I'm still the same age I was in college. I know it's not true, I just don't want to believe it so much.
2. What makes someone a best friend? They listen without judging and tell you what you need to hear, even when it's a difficult truth. They help you laugh when you need to do that, and let you cry when that's needed too.
3. What Christmas present do you remember the most? Okay... Confession time. When I was a kid, I got a Santa Claus statue for Christmas one year. I really don't remember who gave it to me and I don't even know how old I was when I received it. But for some reason, everyone in my family got it into their heads that I really liked collecting these Santa statues. Look, there's a really good chance I was only acting excited about getting these Christmas collectibles because I wanted to seem like I appreciated them. I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Which kind of makes me hope no one in my family reads this part of this post. Mom accuses me of not having a sentimental bone in my body. It's mostly true. My femur might be slightly sentimental. I'll get back to you on that. Eventually I stopped being nice about it though. I got rid of all those Santa statues. Here's a fact about present Aaron: he doesn't like knick-knacks. Things that sit around the house that have no true function, well, he views these things as kind of a waste of space. They just represent something that needs to be dusted once a week. It's tiresome. Oh, and one year I got a Nintendo. It was awesome.
4. Tell me about a movie/song/TV show/play/book that has changed your life. I love movies. I can watch certain TV shows over and over again. I sing in the car like it's my job. I don't often go to plays, but you know, I like them well enough. And when I can find the time, I can devour some books. Generally, I don't think any of these things have changed my life. For me, for the most part, they're all purely entertainment. I'll admit there are certain songs that I'll hear for the rest of my life that will remind me of certain people or moments from my past. But I'm not sure that my life has changed because of those songs. When the hoverboard becomes a real thing, I'll give a lot of credit to Back to the Future Part II.
5. Name one physical feature that you like about yourself and one you dislike. Well, I like my thumbs. Yes, for most of my life, my thumbs have been mocked. But you know what? They're kind of unique. I mean, not unique in the sense that no one on earth has thumbs like mine (unless we're comparing prints). But I can safely say that no one in my family has similar thumbs. I like that small ability to stand out. I dislike the fact that I kind of have too much hair. I'm not complaining about what's on my head. And I'm okay with my ability to grow facial hair. It's the rest of the body that bugs me. This is a genetic trait that I inherited from my Dad. And I don't thank him for it. In my experience, not too many ladies dig the Teen Wolf look outside of the movie Teen Wolf. Sadly, that genetic trait did not come with the sweet basketball moves that you'd think it would.
6. Would you like to reconnect with any friends you've lost contact with? You know, I recently did a blog post about that very subject. Sort of. Really, I was writing about how people come and go in our lives and it's easier than you'd think to lose contact. Sure, I can think of several people from my past that I'd like to see or speak with again. But I'm not going to dwell on the fact that they're not in my life anymore. Life's too short to have those kinds of regrets.
7. What's more important in a relationship: physical attraction or emotional connection? I'm gonna go with emotional connection. But this is coming from a guy who rarely shows emotion. But that's not saying one should negate the importance of physical attraction. I think there has to be some kind of attraction there in order for a pair to make strides toward an emotional connection.
8. Name a movie that you knew would be terrible just from reading the title. Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead
9. What holiday do you most look forward to? Christmas
10. How is the relationship between you and your parents? Well, up until the last time I saw Dad, our relationship was great. And Mom and I get along just fine. In fact, I always pretty much got along with both my parents.
11. You've got the TV on, but you're not really watching. What channel is on? I do like to have some background noise. But usually it's the computer playing some random stuff on Pandora. But if the TV happens to be on, it's whatever TV series I'm trying to catch up on through Netflix.
12. Name a song that never fails to make you happy. Generally, the recording of Dad singing "How Great Thou Art."
13. You know at least one person named Michael. Tell me about him. I'd really rather not. The only Michael that comes to mind at the moment is a guy that is the music minister at a church that I once attended. I never cared for him and I have my reason, both personal and theological. But I wont' use my blog as a means of calling the guy out and bashing someone whose name I just blatantly listed.
14. Have you ever read the "missed connections" on Craigslist? Have you ever posted one or wanted to? I have read them before. Simply out of morbid curiosity. Not because I thought the girl I made eye contact with once at the Cameron Village Laundromat might have posted something trying to find me. And no, I certainly have not posted anything there. I just have a bad feeling about that kind of thing.
15. If you could pick anywhere to live the rest of your life, where would it be? Somewhere on the water. Ironic, since I can't swim. I just like the view.
16. Can money buy happiness? I think that money can buy the illusion of happiness. But that sort of happiness is fleeting. And a little shallow.
17. Do you drink? Smoke? Do drugs? Why or why not? Occasionally. No. And no. As for the whys? Well, the drinking happens on the rarest of occasions. I really don't enjoy the taste of alcohol. I've tried beer a few times and I just can't get into it. Mixed drinks are okay, but again, I just can't really get into them on a regular basis. As for smoking, I truly believe it's disgusting. Sorry to my readers who smoke, that's just what I think. In fact, I came across someone smoking one day recently and couldn't help thinking, "People still do that?" And drugs? Please. I don't do that because I'm not stupid. Except for caffeine. Daddy needs his caffeine.
18. Is there anyone close to you that you know you can't trust? You don't have to give names. I try not to associate with people who are not trustworthy. I warn anyone who is close to me, however, that if you have my trust, it only takes a second to lose it forever. No pressure, kids.
19. Where was your favorite place to go when you were a little kid? We didn't go to a lot of places when I was a kid. We didn't have a regular family vacation spot or anything. However, year after year, we loaded up the family car and made the 8 hour drive to Nashville for the Peck family reunion. As a kid, I loved being there. I got to see cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents that I only got to see once a year. Don't get me wrong, I love Mom's family too. But they were all very local. We saw those guys all the time. Nashville isn't exactly exotic, but it was always fun.
20. Have you ever spent the night in the hospital? Does the waiting room count? If so, then yes. What about a psychiatric hospital? If so, then yes. For 7 weeks. It was a hellish nightmare. I wasn't crazy. I was anorexic. Please refer to my Life Story posts for further details. If you're meaning a regular hospital due to illness or surgical procedure, then no.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Single Guy and the Potbellied Pig

Field trips are nothing new for the Single Guy. Especially not in his new/old career.

Prior to the end of the school year, you may recall, the Single Guy spent time on a couple of the kindergarten field trips. One was a visit to a local greenhouse to show the kids how plants and trees show signs of growing as spring begins. The other took place at the recycling center as an extension of some of the things the children learned about on Earth Day.

Well, not on Earth Day. That was a Sunday this year. School children learn nothing from the public school system on Sundays.

Anyway, the Single Guy is currently working a summer program as a part of his counseling job. Each Friday, the participating children get the chance to go on a fun day trip to exotic locations like the skating rink or a bowling alley. Today's trip took him and his kids to a local petting zoo.

Really, the "zoo" was more of a farm than anything else. Sure, each different type of animal had different pens. So in that sense, it was kind of like a zoo. But it all took place on a vast expanse of farmland.

There were more goats in one place than the Single Guy had ever seen before. But it wouldn't take much to impress the Single Guy, seeing as how he spent his whole life living in the city, away from farms and livestock. There were also a lot of chickens. Many different kinds of chickens. And roosters seemed to crow from every possible direction.

The Single Guy fed a donkey and a miniature horse. The horse's name was Rose, but all he could think about was Lil' Sebastian. That's a Parks & Recreation reference for those of you keeping track.

But let's not lose focus. The Single Guy wasn't there to see these animals for himself. He was there to chaperone a bunch of small children. And they were all enthralled by the many animals spread throughout the property.

The kids fed the goats and made their way to the llamas. Much to the Single Guy's chagrin, the llamas didn't spit on anyone. Not that he wanted the kids to freak out when an animal spit on them, but it would have been kind of awesome to see it happen.

One little girl became somewhat attached to some of the animals. Thankfully, it wasn't like that time the Single Guy took a tour of that chocolate factory where that girl just kept screaming about all the things she wanted to take home with her. But the Single Guy had to admit that he kind of wanted a potbellied pig by the end of the trip.

But no animals would be leaving the farm this day. Which is actually a very sensible ending to this story. Because the Single Guy lives in an apartment that will not allow him to have pets without forcing him to pay a ridiculous fee attached to his rent. The pig will be much happier on the farm.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I remember what it was like to be a kid running around on the playground at school. It's the middle of the school day and it's time for recess. Monkey bars. Jungle gyms. Swing sets. Balance beams. Even those wicked awesome fireman's poles.

And then there's the return to the indoors. I remember waiting in line to get a drink at the water fountain. The wait was always excruciating. Looking back, I realize that running around outside for 20 minutes was not going to cause me to drop dead of dehydration. But that line never seemed to end. Unless I was lucky enough to be in front.

But when was I ever that lucky? So I stood behind several kids who had the pleasure of enjoying a drink of water before I could. And each of them seemed to take an eternity with their sips.

Working at an elementary school, I've noticed that some teachers like to impose a "count to 5" kind of rule for each kid at the water fountain. That sort of clear-headed thinking would have been nice when I was in 3rd grade.

Finally, my turn would arrive. I approached the fountain and pushed the button. The water sprang forth and I finally had my taste. And somehow, it was the best tasting liquid on the planet. Nothing could have tasted cleaner or fresher than that water at that moment.

But now I know better. I know that the water that comes out of that spout is nothing more than mere tap water. Sure it's attached to a machine that has a cooler inside that kicks on every now and then to keep the water cold. But it's still unfiltered tap water.

In a world filled with bottled water and pitchers with built in filters, tap water seems entirely unacceptable. Also, as an adult, I look at those school based water fountains and can't help wondering, "How many mouths and/or tongues have been on that very spot where the water comes from?" And then I shudder.

Okay, really I try not to think about that kind of thing. I've never considered myself a germophobe. So that kind of thing doesn't typically bother me. And when my bottle of water is empty halfway through the day, I've got to fill it up somewhere. And for some reason, I feel better about filling it up at the fountain than I do in the bathroom sink.

But come on, have you smelled that bathroom? It's really, really foul in there.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Changing Seasons

Several years ago, I was told that friends come into our lives for certain seasons. Her meaning behind this? Friends come and go. We cross paths with certain people for certain periods of time and for certain reasons.

It's not as if it's a planned thing. I didn't meet a someone in 2002 and decide we'd only be friends for three years. But sometimes, that's just how it happens.

Think of it like we're leaves that have separated ourselves from the trees on which we grew. We're caught up in a cool, autumn breeze and are blown to wherever our destinies may lead. Sometimes that means we end up in a pile of other leaves. Sometimes we float along on our own for a while. Sometimes we get thrown into some kind of mulching machine. Okay, that one might have been a bad metaphor.

What about a path kind of analogy? We're walking along the path that makes up our lives. Along the way, our paths merge with others. Some follow the same path for a long time. Others for a short time. Either way, it seems that we're in each others lives for these seasons for a reason.

We come alongside some friends because we need them, or they need us. And when that time of need has ended, we move on. Or they move on. Again, it's not as if something like this is planned. People just grow apart after a while. Life gets busy with careers, families, other friends. Slowly but surely, contact begins to cease.

Change is a difficult thing to go through. Most of the time, anyway. Sometimes it can be really hard to let go of the people we've come to love. We go through so much with our friends. We experience joy and sadness together. And then it all goes away.

No, it's not always like this. Always is too big a word and it's way too all-encompassing. Because I know that there are some people who stick around for life. Those are some rare people.

Sadly, and more often, it just gets too difficult to maintain some friendships. And that's when you just have to let go and let the season change. Does that mean those limited time relationships mean any less than they did at the peak of the friendship? Absolutely not. And when you do finally get back in touch with each other, there's a good chance you can find a lot of great things to talk about.

Hang on to what you can. But really, don't be afraid to let go. Embrace the changing seasons.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Question of the Week: Gawkers

If you came upon the scene of a terrible highway accident just after the ambulances arrived, would you stop to watch? Assume that your presence would neither help nor hinder the rescuers.

Absolutely not. In fact, I'd be the driver who is tailgating the idiot in front of me who is slowing down to see if there's a severed head. I'd be screaming from the safety of my car for the person in front of me to keep moving, that their idiotic need to be nosy is going to cause a second accident. The gawkers are so irritating.

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

Sunday, June 03, 2012


My back was against the wall as I clutched my sword tight to my chest. My eyes were closed as I carefully considered my next move.

I could hear the wretched beast snarling outside the entrance to the fortress. The heavy breathing indicated that it was desperately trying to smell me inside. I dared to take a peek through a small opening in the door. What I saw frightened me to my core.

The beast was covered in dark fur. Its large mouth was filled with razor sharp teeth and it drooled in anticipation of its next meal. I could only assume that it had chosen me for that meal. My eyes strayed toward the ground and saw the beast's massive paws. If the thing's teeth scared me, the claws made me feel worse.

I swallowed hard. I knew I would have to face the creature at some point. And I figured, the sooner the better. I could look forward to one of two outcomes. Either I would vanquish the beast and the fortress would remain secure or my enemy would go to sleep with a full stomach tonight. I certainly didn't like to think about that latter option.

I took a deep breath as I looked at the people around me. They were all cowering in fear, looking to me for support and strength. I never asked to be a leader. But I was the biggest, the strongest. There was no other choice. As afraid as I felt, I couldn't show fear in front of my people.

There was a crash at the entrance. The beast was breaking through. The time to act was at hand. I rushed forward and faced the monster head on. The cape I wore fluttered behind me as I ran to meet the creature.

The beast roared as I tackled it to the ground. Feeling the thickness of the creature's hide, I knew my sword would be useless. I would have to wrestle the thing with my bare hands.

"Jason!" I heard a woman crying out my name in the distance. She didn't sound as if she was in danger, so I chose to ignore her. After all, I couldn't leave the fortress unprotected. I had to stop this monster at all costs.

"Jason!" She called again. This time she sounded more urgent. "Come here, please!"

I made sure the beast was subdued. It lay motionless on the ground, aside from the occasional twitch of its tail. I ran toward the sound of the woman's voice.

Mom stood there with her arms crossed. She didn't look happy. "Jason, I'm trying to get dinner ready before Uncle Hunter and Aunt Kathryn get here. Will you please clean up your blankets and pillows from the living room?"

"But Mom," I began. And I'll admit, my voice sounded incredibly whiny. At seven, it was difficult to not whine when losing my fort. "It's not just blankets! It's my fort!"

"Sweetie, I know it's a fort. But you need to put it away for now. You can pull everything back out tomorrow and protect your stuffed animals then."

I turned back toward the living room. I was disappointed, but I refused to let the tears come. As I walked away, I heard my mother behind me. "And try not to hurt the dog, okay?"

"Okay, Mom!"