Friday, August 31, 2012

Relationship Status Quo

A year ago, a lot of things changed for comic book geeks like myself. And when I say, like myself, I mean comic book geeks who mostly obsess over the trivial and fictional lives of those residing in the DC Universe. That's because, a year ago, the good people at DC Comics decided to pull a mass reboot on their entire line of titles. Everything started over at issue number 1. Even decades old classics like Action Comics and Detective Comics.

A year later, the reboot seems to have been successful for the publishing company. At least, I think it has been. I don't really pay attention to sales figures and what not. I can say, without reservation, that the whole thing has been pretty confusing.

There were a lot of things I didn't like about the whole thing. There are still a lot of things I don't like about it. I'll get to something in particular I'm still not happy about in a moment. But I do want to say that I still find these comic books entertaining.

Even as an adult, I find these super hero stories to be fun and, at times, inspiring. It's just not something I'm ready to let go of yet.

Of all the heroes flying around the DC Universe, whether it's the old or the new, Superman has remained my favorite. I really think the guy gets a bum rap most of the time these days. And I really think the stories seen in his titles leave something to be desired. They don't touch the stories I read as a kid. And Superman's one of those characters that saw plenty of changes when that reboot hit last year.

Some characters didn't see any changes at all. Batman and Green Lantern have both continued with stories that were being told before the renumbering happened. For the most part. And that's because their titles were selling great anyway. Superman, not so much. So he went under the knife. They rethought a lot of his history.

The Kent's aren't around anymore. They died at some point in the past, before Clark moved to Metropolis and became Superman. The artists decided to get rid of the red underwear on the outside of the blue suit. Okay, that might have been a decent move. But another big one... Superman and Lois have never been married. They've never even had a relationship outside of sharing a byline or two at the Daily Planet.

Ask most people who have a clue who Superman is. They'll tell you that his significant other is Lois Lane. For decades, she was Superman's girlfriend. For a long time, she had her own comic title, Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane. Since the mid-90s, she's been his wife. At least until September of 2011.

That's not to say that Lois Lane isn't a great character standing on her own. She's not just some damsel in distress that's constantly relying on the Man of Steel to save her life. She's a tough investigative reporter who really doesn't take any crap off of anyone. She takes a lot of risks that are probably unnecessary, but she was doing that long before Superman hit the scene.

But part of the beauty of the classic Superman story is the relationship between Clark and Lois and Superman. It's the world's most recognizable love triangle that consists of only two people. And it's a story that's been told over and over in any number of media. Movies, TV, cartoons, books... so many multiple times.

And now it's over.

I thought I might be okay with it at first. I went into the reboot with a mostly open mind. I love a good story. And Lois and Clark meeting and falling in love is a good story. Maybe I'd get to see it all from the beginning again. But according to the powers that be over at DC Comics, exploring that relationship all over again is not even on the table.

Because here's the new status quo:

Source: via May on Pinterest

Superman and Wonder Woman? I'm sure there are plenty of fanboys out there who have imagined that scenario more than a few times over the years. After all, he's the most recognizable super guy in the world. She's the most recognizable super gal in the world. Makes sense, right?

But she's not Lois. I want to be optimistic. I want to see where the story will go. But more than that, I want Lois and Clark back together. Their love is supposed to be written in the stars. They're the kind of people who are supposed to just look at each other and, on some level, just know that they're supposed to end up together. I know, they don't really exist. But this is 70 years of history here. Gone

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

His Eye Is On the Sparrow

I'm not really sure why I act surprised when God comes through and provides for my needs when all seems lost. It's happened time and again. Maybe it's in my nature to doubt. I know it's my nature to try and rely on myself first, even though I know I should go to Him first.

Uh-oh... Aaron's getting serious and Christiany... But bear with me.

This summer has been tough for me. Physically and emotionally I've been fine. Financially... well, that's another story.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I absolutely love my job. However, work for a non-profit organization doesn't exactly equal an economic windfall. In theory, working through a full school year should allow me to make enough to save up and have some stability during the summer months, when there is no work. No work means no pay.

But that ideal situation didn't occur prior to this summer. I began my work as a counselor in February, only 3.5 months before the end of the school year. That really did not give me enough time to save much money. Add to that the expense of moving to a new apartment in a new town. Things did not look great for our hero.

So I spent much of my summer asking questions like, "Can I afford to put gas in my car? Can I afford groceries this week? Where will money for next month's rent come from?"

I'll be the first to admit that my faith is not as strong as it once was. I'm sure that's one of many consequences to not seeking God on a consistent basis. I'm not sure I can even recall the last time I attended the same church two Sundays in a row. That's certainly not a boast on my part.

I try not to worry about things. Worrying is a lot like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won't get you anywhere. But as this summer has come to a close, I've worried a lot.

A few weeks ago, Mom asked if I'd be willing to sing at an event that her church was having. At first I was hesitant. I didn't have anything prepared. I'd need more time to learn something to play on guitar. All of Dad's old accompaniment tapes and CDs were in storage. So many excuses.

But I had second thoughts. I decided that disappointing your mother is probably one of the "thou shalt nots" found in 2 Opinions. Since I'm staying with the folks who are storing my things anyway, I searched the attic for Dad's old CDs. I found a few that I was familiar with and practiced throughout the week.

Then last Thursday hit. It was a worrisome day. Money I thought would be in my account never came and, I later found out, never would be there. I worried. I panicked.

But all week I had been practicing "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" as a possibility to sing at Mom's church. All week I had been singing those lyrics, which explicitly tell us there's no reason to worry, yet I wasn't listening. The second verse says:
Let not your heart be troubled, His tender words I hear. And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubt and fear. I draw Him closer to me. From cares He sets me free. His eye is one the sparrow and I know He watches me.
The song draws its inspiration from Matthew 6. As part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is telling the crowd not to worry.
25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"
It's a lesson I have to learn over and over again. Because my mind is selfish and prideful. I want to do things myself. I don't want to rely on anyone for my needs. Not even God. I don't deserve His grace. But it's there for the taking. It's incredibly foolish not to accept.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Question of the Week: Prayer

What is one prayer that God has answered this year?

There really isn't just one prayer that God has answered for me this year. Actually, it is kind of the same prayer that is continually being answered as time goes on. That's the one for God's provision. I hope that doesn't seem like a cop out answer. I'll be the first to admit that my faith isn't as strong as it once was. But it's been extremely comforting knowing that God has been there through every step I've taken throughout the last year. Even when I look back and feel like I've made a misstep, God's been in it to see me through it.

Thanks to the Charlatan for this week's question!

Saturday, August 25, 2012


There aren't many of us who can claim Bluefield College as our alma mater. But for those of us who do, I like to think that it holds a special place in our hearts. So when days like today come along, it means a lot to be a part of it.

For the first time in 71 years, Bluefield College hosted a home football game. When I was a student at Bluefield, the most gridiron action we saw was during our flag football intramural games. Now students have a chance to play for real. Students have a chance to cheer on the Rams on a real field that actually has goal posts. It's pretty exciting.

I made the trip to Bluefield to meet up with a lot of the friends that I've mentioned on here a number of times. Being the first home game of the season, and the first home game in over 70 years, we felt the need to mark the occasion with a pretty amazing tailgating session.

In honor of our head football coach, Mike Gravier, the Charlatan came up with the idea to make "Biscuits and Gravier" for round one of our tailgate. Being the guy who woke up first this morning, I took it upon myself to make the sausage gravy. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but it turned out pretty darn good. Dad would've been proud. The completed dish was pretty heavy. A biscuit was topped with sausage gravy, which was topped with a smoked sausage, which was topped with more gravy, and finished off with some chopped green onions. It was not for the faint of heart. I can safely say that eating that dish at around 10:30 this morning has held me over until this evening, and I'm just now beginning to feel the pangs of hunger. Like I said, heavy.

Of course, we also had the requisite burgers and brats that one expects to find at a tailgate party. We also created "Ram Horns," which were crescent rolls stuffed with Nutella and sprinkled with cinnamon. And we can't forget the "Ram Sacks," which were Rolos wrapped in sugar cookies. And there were meatballs. And chips. So much food...

Things started out slowly, with only our little gathering of friends partaking in our various food items. Occasionally we would bring over an official from the college or someone that we knew from way back when and insist they try out the Biscuits and Gravier. But eventually, it got a little strange.

Students began showing up. And not just a few of them. And they were just helping themselves to whatever we had lying around. Don't get me wrong, we were more than okay with this. It kind of felt good to feel popular again.

But then we had a couple kids complain about what we had. And they complained about what we weren't offering. These were students that none of us knew who just strolled up, helped themselves to some drinks out of our cooler and started complaining that we had no hot dogs. The Charlatan offered some brats that had just come off the grill. The reply he got was, "I guess I'll just wait around for a bleepin' hamburger." Only he didn't say bleepin'. To add insult to injury, he and his friend never said thank you for the free food we provided, nor did they stay for the game. After they got their food, they walked back toward the college.

We found out that there was probably a pretty big mix up for the kids that came mooching from our tent. The school had apparently set up their mid day meal at the stadium as an effort to entice the students to come to the game. The official school lunch was set up inside the stadium and a lot of them just decided to hit the first tent they came to that seemed to be offering food.

But to not even say thank you? America, I implore you, teach your kids some manners before you send them out into the world to fend for themselves.

It's really not a big deal that a few extra mouths showed up and wanted free food. Like I said, it felt nice to feel popular again for a while.

The game itself was exciting. The Rams scored the first touchdown of the game. And there's a part of me that would like to say that's how the score remained. Sadly, it didn't work out for Bluefield like we all hoped it would. Our Rams suffered a defeat of 42-28. But I'm proud of our team. They fought hard and didn't let up until the timer hit zero.

I'm looking forward to Homecoming.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Terrible Thesaurus

When I was a kid, I was really into dinosaurs. And I'm currently working with a kid that is obsessed with the prehistoric creatures. Actually, to call him obsessed would be entirely inaccurate. But I'm not sure what word is properly strong enough to describe that kid's extreme obsession with dinosaurs.

His favorite? The T-Rex. Big shock, right? What's not to love about the Tyrannosaurus? Big head. Sharp teeth. Tiny arms. Poor guy... never can pick himself up. And who's gonna help Rex get back on his feet? Maybe the T-Rex wouldn't have been such a bully if more herbivores had been helpful.

You should see this kid in action, though. On the playground, he transforms into a Tyrannosaurus Rex. He has the steps, the mannerisms, even the roars down to what I can only assume is incredibly accurate. I'm basing that assumption on my numerous viewings of Jurassic Park. I should suggest to his mother that she video tape his dinosaur act and post it on YouTube. It would go viral overnight.

But I'm not here to talk about the self-proclaimed "king of dinosaurs." I'd like to discuss the lesser known species, the Thesaurus.

You probably just thought a Thesaurus was a book sitting on your 8th grade English teacher's bookshelf. But no, it's actually one of those dinosaurs that roamed the Earth some 65 million years ago.

The mighty Thesaurus grew in population toward the end of the Cretaceous period. These creatures were slightly larger than the Hadrosaur and were plant eaters. Being Thesauri, they probably would have been devourers of the written word, but since a written language had yet to be created, it's likely they ate a lot of tree bark.

Little is known about these mysterious dinosaurs, but we know they had enormous brains, especially when compared to most of these prehistoric animals. They traveled in herds and were known to hold impressive conversations with one another. Their vocabulary was extensive and they were able to offer synonyms and antonyms to most any word the other dinos came to them with.

Sadly, they did not roam the planet for very long. They suffered defeat at the hands of the same extinction level event which did in the T-Rex and the Raptor. I'm sure they could have taught us so much about how to effectively write creatively.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Single Guy Gets There First

There are a few things that the Single Guy has had to get used to in his time at his new school. One of those things is his new work space.

At his previous school, the Single Guy felt a lot like he was shoved into a closet. The room that was used as a "therapeutic" and "safe space" was approximately 5 feet by 6 feet. It was small. It felt less like a therapeutic safe space and more like a small area that would induce claustrophobia in Harry Houdini.

In the current location, the Single Guy and his clients have a huge area. Okay, it's not the size of a football field, but comparatively speaking, it's enormous. It's a stage that's no longer used for anything in particular. Except for us.

Despite the Single Guy's extreme like of the new space, it's very unfamiliar. Today was the first day that the Single Guy was the first to arrive. And he arrived in a very dark place.

Being unfamiliar with his new surroundings, he was unsure where to find the light switch. So for about the first ten minutes of his day, he stumbled around in the dark. He felt out his way to his desk and put down his things. He ate a little breakfast and waited around for a co-worker to come and show him the light.

It didn't happen.

The Single Guy felt a lot like the Phantom of the Opera, creeping around behind the curtain on the stage before the lights came on to reveal the performers. But there were no performers. No songs to be sung. No lines to be read. Just the Single Guy sitting alone in the dark.

Don't worry. He found the light switch. Eventually. And it was in a pretty obvious place. Which just made the Single Guy feel so much better about his intelligence at the start of his school day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Looking Back

I'm currently house sitting for some friends. It's a small thing that I can do for them while they're at the beach. You know, get the mail, take the trash to the curb, water the garden. Little things to attempt to make up for the fact that they've given me a home for the last few weeks while I'm in between apartments.

By the way, being between apartments for the better part of a month is a real annoyance. It just occurred to me that this could make a pretty entertaining blog post for those of you who enjoy reading about my annoyances. I'll get to that later this week. Or maybe tomorrow.

Before the Creasy's left for the beach, I sat in their living room on Friday night. I really have no idea how we got on the subject of reminiscing. But we got on the subject of reminiscing. And then Jessica started pulling out yearbooks from our days at Woodrow Wilson Middle School. She found her yearbook from the first grade when we were at Raleigh Court Elementary. And I had no choice but to pull out her senior yearbook after she told me where to find it. The temptation was too great.

There are times in my adult years when I've felt nostalgic enough to look back at my own yearbooks. I look at the notes and signatures from people that I haven't spoken to or even seen in over a decade. In a lot of ways, it makes me feel a little better about the person I was as I was growing up. Sure, I have more than a few "Have a nice summers!" floating around in there. As we all know, that's the yearbook signing kiss of death. It means the signer had nothing better to say because they really didn't know you at all.

But I also have a lot of notes that kind of tell me that more people thought more of me than I knew. That, or they were just being nice and didn't want to just say "Have a nice summer!"

It was interesting to see how people signed Jessica's yearbooks. While we've been friends since that first day of school at Raleigh Court (a claim that I now question after seeing an X over my face in her 1st grade yearbook), we're very different personalities. I've always been quiet and reserved whenever confronted with new people and extremely social situations, like school. Whereas she was voted friendliest in our senior class.

So there are a couple of major differences in the way people saw her when signing her yearbook. For one, she was a girl. People approach signing a girl's yearbook much differently than they would a guy's. At least, I assume they would. The other difference was probably made clear in the previous paragraph. She was a much more visible person in school than I was. I shied away from people and the spotlight. She knew everyone.

Memory is a funny thing. Like I said, I can't remember what got us on the subject of our school days. I do remember laughing so hard that I thought I might pass out. More than once. But four days later, I have no idea why we were laughing. Probably had something to do with some of the notes and letters that Jessica had saved over the years. No offense, ladies, but you can pass some pretty ridiculous notes.

But seriously, why was there an X over my portrait in that first grade yearbook? Was I that offensive? I was one of two people with an X. Most of the other kids from our class had check marks on their pics. There were a few with nothing at all, which kind of denotes a certain indifference. I wasn't even good enough for indifference. I know I stuck my tongue out at Mrs. Atkinson once, but I got caught. I did my time. I don't think I totally deserved to have my portrait defaced for all time.

I need to cry this one out.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Question of the Week: Blogging

Some of us have either kept a blog in the past or are keeping up with one now. If you could write a blog on any topic, what would it be about?

If I could keep a blog about any subject under the sun, it would just be about my life. Oh, wait... I do keep a blog that's pretty much just about my life. While it's not always a massive thrill ride, I think it can be entertaining at times. Because hey, life's funny.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Remember the Lite-Brite?

I used to have a Lite-Brite. I loved that thing. It's one of those toys that inspired a creative spark in my childhood. Though, if I were to be completely honest, I was never all that creative with it.

They sold all those pages with designs printed on them. They were those thick pieces of black construction paper that would completely block out the light inside the Lite-Brite. They were covered in those seemingly random letters that represented what color pegs would go in which spaces. When you punched those little plastic pegs into the paper, it suddenly came to life with a magical glow.

I say I wasn't creative with it, but that's only because I always followed the pattern. The wonderful people at Hasbro also sold blank "refills" as they called them. These pages were the same thick black construction paper, but there was no premeditated design to them. This, in theory, gave kids the chance to be artistic with their many colorful pegs.

I never embraced that opportunity.

But I did take advantage of the many different themed refill pages. Though, I can't really think of any that I actually had. I'm pretty sure I had some GI Joe pages. Possibly He-Man. Definitely Disney characters. We kept all of the pegs in this blue tin container. I don't know what that container originally held in it, but I know it held hundreds of those plastic pieces.

Have you seen the Lite-Brite lately? It's so not the same as it used to be. The latest model is called their flat-screen model. Guess they're going for a less bulky look than the gigantic white plastic thing with a 60-watt bulb inside. Thing got hot. Now it's lit with tiny LED lights and powered by a few AA batteries.

I don't know, though. Something about getting those 2nd degree burns in the name of art kind of meant something to 7-year-old me.

Oh, there's also an app for that. But only if you have an iPad.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Most Convincing Ad Ever

Okay, first I want to apologize for the slight inappropriateness of this video. I know I've mentioned a number of times that I try to keep things as family friendly as possible on my blog. But, you know what? This is the most awesome commercial I think I've ever seen. The hyperbole might be a bit much, but it is pretty freakin' awesome. Be forewarned, there is some adult language, both bleeped and un-bleeped.

It seems like a pretty good deal. I'm seriously considering going over to and seeing if this thing is for real. If I do, I'll keep you posted on how great the razors actually are.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Single Guy and the First Day of School

It's been a long time since the Single Guy has gotten excited about the first day of school. There was a time, once upon a time, when the Single Guy actually looked forward to that fateful September day when he would be able to break out the new school supplies and strap on that brand new pair of shoes. See, when he was a kid, the Single Guy didn't have too many friends who lived close by. So that meant that all of his school friends were far away from him during the summer. So his summers weren't that awesome.

Life is different as an adult. This year, after working in a school, summer vacation took on a whole new meaning. Not that the Single Guy went on vacation. He worked. Spent most of his summer break in school. Not real school, but it was fairly equivalent to real school.

Today was the first day of real school for the school year. Seemed kind of early to the Single Guy, but why complain about the chance to go back to work and actually receive a decent paycheck?

He's in a new school this year. New things tend to make the Single Guy a little uncomfortable. After all, who loves change? You get used to a thing and you tend to enjoy it. Because it's comfortable. It's that old mattress that's molded to your shape because you sleep in the same position every night for five years. That was a bad example. Old mattresses get uncomfortable. Springs get out of place. You start waking up with a bad back and convince yourself that it's just old age because you're too cheap to buy a new mattress.

But the new school is a real issue. That means the Single Guy has to get to know new teachers and new students and new administration. It took him a few months to grow comfortable with the teachers he got to know at his previous school. So, the plan is to be completely happy with his new situation just in time for Christmas break.

He's working with new counselors. Well, they're not new counselors. They've been at this school for years. But they're new to him. And they're already planning to set the Single Guy up with one of the teachers at the school. But the Single Guy isn't sure he wants to stroll down that path again. The last time he fell for a teacher he worked with didn't turn out so great.

But today he was stopped by the other counselors in the hallway, just outside the teachers' lounge. "There she is! In the lounge! Making copies!" exclaimed counselor number one.

"Oh! Well, why don't I just run right in there and ask her out?!"

It's the first day, folks. Let's try to keep our eye on the ball. The Single Guy has a lot to juggle with career and moving and getting to know his new clients. Dating a TA that he doesn't know at all isn't exactly on the menu right now. Talk to him again after Christmas break. You know, when he's finally comfortable hanging around his new school.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Question of the Week: Up Late

What's the latest that you stayed up this week?

I'm not much of a night owl these days. Not that I ever was. Don't get me wrong, I can stay up late or even all night if the occasion calls for it and the conditions are right. But I'm a lightweight compared to most when it comes to this stuff. The latest I stayed up this past week was Saturday night. I think I made it to around 1am. But barely. I feel a little bad about falling asleep even at that point though. I was hanging out with the Other Single Guy and the Charlatan, and they managed to stay up much longer than I did. But, in my defense, I had been up since 5am Saturday morning. No reason, just woke up. I wake up that early to start getting ready for work though. It's not like I can just turn that off on the weekend.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Clear Eyes... Full Hearts...

You know the rest. At least, you should. And if you don't, then you need to make some time in your busy schedule to watch the entire series of Friday Night Lights. It will change your life.

It's only been two days since I mentioned that I had been trying to catch up with the show via Netflix. I didn't realize when I wrote that post that I would be watching the series finale yesterday morning prior to leaving for work. I just don't know how I feel about that.

What I mean there is, I'm not sure how I feel about the show ending. I know how I feel about the show. I can safely say that Friday Night Lights now holds a very special place in my heart. A place that I had once reserved for the love of a woman and a good bowl of Frosted Flakes. Yeah, it's that special.

Here I am, a day after finishing the series, and I find myself missing the Taylor family and the various students of Dillon, Texas. Just so we're clear, I mean the Taylor's of Dillon, Texas, not the Taylor's of Home Improvement. I don't miss them at all.

But I digress. We're here to talk about the Panthers and/or the Lions.

You know, going into this post, I had all these great plans to write something brilliant about how awesome this TV show is. But I don't want to give any of it away. I want you to watch it.

It's inspiring. Coach Eric Taylor is flawed. But he's a good man. He's a good coach. He's a good educator.

I never played football a day in my life. I wasn't even allowed to play intramural flag football with my friends in college. I'm a dropper. But I would have loved to have had a coach like Coach Taylor. And I want to be a teacher like Coach Taylor.

I don't want to coach a football team to a state championship. But Taylor is repeatedly referred to as a molder of men. He looked at his players and saw the best in them. When they screwed up, he was tough on them, but he was fair. And they respected him for that tough fairness. He believed in his players and knew that they would be able to meet their potential head on, no matter the circumstances. That's what I want to be when I grow up.

On a side note, Ha Ha. Wait. What?'s Amy let me know that she was an extra on Friday Night Lights. Twice. If I had been a proper fan of the show while it was still on the air and taping new episodes, I totally would have been jealous. Okay... even though the show is off the air, I'm still a little jealous.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Back to School Night

I don't know about you, but I was always excited when it was Back to School Night. The way I remember it, this event happened a couple weeks after school started. It coincided with the first PTA meeting of the year and it was a chance for parents to meet their kids' new teachers. I don't know why I enjoyed those nights so much. Maybe I was one of those kids that liked to brag about the amazing progress the class had made in the first week of school. I really don't remember.

Today was my school's open house. It was my first visit to my new elementary school and to say I felt overwhelmed would be an understatement. I know next to no one. I'm unfamiliar with 75% of my caseload. And it was about a million degrees today. That didn't help.

It also doesn't help that my co-counselors are even more jaded and cynical than I am. So I'm fielding their complaints about the way they're treated throughout most of my day. This doesn't help my situation either.

The first half of my day was spent organizing and cleaning the counseling space that we have at the school. While it's bigger and better equipped than the space at my previous school, it gets no air circulation. That should be fun for our group counseling sessions for the first four months of school. I'm sure when winter hits, I'll be all kinds of comfortable in there.

At 4:00, the real fun began. That's when parents and students began trickling into the school to meet their new teachers. Two of my students arrived as I expected them to. The other two on my caseload, I didn't expect to see. And I didn't.

So I didn't stay the whole time. Open house was scheduled to last until 8:00. Since I left early and had time to kill, I decided to drive over to my old school to see how things were going.

I'll admit, I'm a little concerned for my former co-counselor who is now left to work alone at my old school. So I wanted to check in on her to see how her open house went. By the time I got there, she was already gone. That's when I decided to stick around and visit with the teachers I came to know so well last year.

That's right, I went back to kindergarten. It was great to see everyone and to catch up. I saw the Teacher, too. And she looked good. Real good. So I avoided her classroom and actually didn't speak. Didn't want to put myself through that. Kinda hope she didn't think I was being rude. Everyone was pretty busy for most of the evening anyway.

I plan to go by there again soon, though. I'll pass by the school every day once I move back to Radford. I figure I can swing by after school one day when things aren't so hectic.

Meantime, I'll be spending the vast majority of my time in an unfamiliar school with unfamiliar people. I'm just not too sure about all this...

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

TV Time

You know what's awesome about Netflix? It's not the movies that come in the mail. Though, that part is pretty awesome. No, it's the streaming video that can be viewed online or through my very own Playstation 3.

But the awesome part isn't the movies you can see. While the selection on some of the older flicks is pretty good, the offering of newer movies is not the best. But when it comes to TV shows, it's very not bad.

Over the years, there have been a lot of TV shows that I've heard good things about, but just didn't have time to watch. There are only so many hours in a day and only so many of those hours are healthy to spend in front of the television. And, I suppose, some would argue that it's not healthy to spend any of those hours in front of the television. Those folks are entitled to their opinion. Even though they're wrong. TV's awesome.

I mentioned recently that I've had a lot of time on my hands. I suppose it happens when you're unemployed for a couple weeks. So I decided to spend some of that time catching up on shows that people have repeatedly told me to watch.

The first of these was the USA Network's Psych. It's a lot like The Mentalist, except it doesn't take itself so freakin' seriously. It's hilarious. And I'm able to enjoy it for a lot of the same reasons I enjoy Community. And we're all well aware of how much I love Community. The pop culture references abound, my friends. If you have the means, take a look at Psych. The first 5 seasons are available on the Netflix. Season 7 starts soon on USA. So I'm hoping Netflix will add season 6 even sooner so I can get completely caught up.

The other series is one I'm still working on. I'm getting close to the end, but now that I'm back to work, it may take a bit longer. That show is Friday Night Lights. By the time I finished the first full season, I was asking myself why I didn't watch this show when it first began on NBC. Watching the lives of Coach Taylor and his wife is very inspiring. I know they're fictional characters, but seeing how they are with the kids in their high schools makes me want to do my job as a counselor even better. So that's another one to check out if you haven't before. All 5 seasons are currently available on the Netflix. I might even be a little sad when I get to the series finale.

I've got tons of shows and movies in my instant queue that I'm sure I'll never get around to. Unless I have another insane hiatus from work like I've had over the last few weeks. But that's not the ideal situation, you know?

Source; Source

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

It's been a slow couple of weeks. No... slow is not an accurate term. A snail's pace may not be slow enough. I hope that gives you some kind of idea about how slow it's been.

Toward the end of July, my career was put on hiatus. I knew it was coming. It just wasn't that exciting, you know? Don't get me wrong, some stuff happened.

I moved out of my apartment, for one. I knew that was coming too. When I moved into the place I lived for the summer, I knew it was a temporary fix. I knew that I was only subletting from a girl that graduated from Radford University in May and that my permanent apartment would not be ready until mid-August. According to the rules, I needed to be out of the sublease by the end of July. This left me with two weeks of homelessness.

So I need to say thank you once again to the Creasy family for giving me a roof to cover my head during this time.

I also grew my "I've-been-unemployed-for-two-weeks-so-I-don't-need-to-shave" beard. And that's just all kinds of exciting. I'm tempted to post a picture of it. It's pretty freakin' manly.

But all of that exciting boredom ends tomorrow. Because that's when I go back to work.

Training starts tomorrow. I join my fellow counselors for the open house at my new school on Thursday. More training on Friday and Monday. And then school begins next Tuesday. Crazy, right?

So now I have to put on my big boy pants and my grown-up hat. I have to be responsible again. I have to be willing to wake up earlier than 9:30am. Actually, I have to be willing to wake up earlier than 6:30am.

But I'm keeping the beard.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Question of the Week: Movie

What was the last movie you saw in the theater and what did you think of it?

The last flick I saw at the theater was The Dark Knight Rises. And I thought it was pretty awesome. I've already written about it on here, so I won't go into detail. But I felt that it wrapped up Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy rather nicely.

And overall, that was a pretty fantastic trilogy. Sure, it rehashed an origin story that we've all seen or heard in one form or another a dozen times over the last 73 years. But it also gave us a gritty Batman in a believable world. It gave us the most disturbing portrayal of the Joker, possibly the most iconic villain of all time. Hard to say if anyone will ever be able to do justice to the role ever again. The trilogy introduced Ra's al Ghul and the Scarecrow to the cinematic world. And we were reintroduced to Two-Face and Bane, both poorly realized in previous incarnations. And Catwoman... well, she's always a good idea.

Sunday, August 05, 2012


"I'm still in love with you," I said to the girl I hadn't seen in four years. I'm pretty sure this caught her off guard. At least, that's what the expression on her face told me. It probably doesn't help that I threw that statement out there about 7 minutes into our first conversation since college.

I should back up. We met during our senior year at State. Julia and I only dated for about three months, but that doesn't mean there wasn't a spark. The timing just didn't work out.

The way we met was a little unorthodox. I, kind of, stole her parking spot. It's not as if the spaces were assigned or anything. I just pulled one of those jerk moves where I pulled into a spot that she had been waiting for. And I knew she had been waiting for it. Her turn signal was on and everything.

Thing is, she didn't let me get away with it. She pulled her car up and parked it right behind me. She got out of the car and got right in my face. Julia said a few choice words that I'll refrain from repeating. But I was really hearing her words. I mean, she was yelling pretty loud, so I heard her words. Maybe the right thing to say here is that I just wasn't listening.

I was mesmerized by her eyes. They were open wide and the brightest green I think I'd ever seen. It was almost as if I was seeing her in slow motion. "I'm sorry," I said. Even now I'm not sure that I meant it.

"You think and apology is gonna cut it?!" she yelled. Clearly her anger was not about to go away.

"What if I say I'm really sorry?" I said with a smile, hoping some charm would float her way. It didn't.

"You're a real jerk, you know that?" Only she didn't say jerk.

"I know," I said. She shook her head and started to turn around. I reached out and grabbed her elbow to stop her. "No, what I meant to say is, I'm not a jerk. At least, not usually." I didn't know where to go with this, I just knew I didn't want this woman to walk away from me. I didn't want this conversation to end. I wanted those angry green eyes to keep staring me down. And I wanted to find some way to make those eyes light up with a smile. I knew I had my work cut out for me. "I'm Matt," I finally said, extending a hand.

She rolled her eyes. "Julia." She refused to shake my hand. But that was okay, because I had stopped her from leaving. That was enough for me. I don't know how I convinced her to go out with me later that week. I must have done something amazing, 'cause she had a boyfriend. Maybe I really was a jerk.

That's how it started. It was all a blur. And it seemed to end just as quickly. We both graduated and took jobs in different places. It just didn't make sense to stay together. I argued that we should try, but the only reason I could give was because I loved her. And I remember, she just looked at me and accused me of not really knowing what love was.

It was like a spear was driven right through my chest. I'll admit, looking back, she was probably right.

And that brings us to the events of tonight. I was out, driving around, and decided I was thirsty. So I pulled into Cruizers to grab a drink. As I got out of my car, there she was. She was walking to the car parked next to mine. Her hair was shorter and a little lighter. But there was no mistake when I saw those eyes.

"Julia?" I said as she reached into her purse for her keys.

She looked up. It took her a moment, but once she recognized me, she smiled. That's when I fell all over again. She ran around her car and gave me a big hug. Honestly, I didn't want to let go. "Matt! It's so good to see you!" she said as she pulled away.

The conversation started out as cliche as these things normally do. I asked how she was, she asked how I was. Turns out she moved to town a few weeks ago and she loved her new job. I told her about my recent promotion. After our brief catch-up discussion, she told me she had to go, but that we should get together sometime. And then I blurted it out.

I've never claimed to be the wisest of men. So saying those six words might not have been the best thing to do at the moment. I probably should have waited 'til we'd at least met for coffee. Seriously, who does that?

"Matt..." she began, unsure what to say next. Who could blame her? I just made a nice reunion into a very awkward situation. Good job, Matt. Why don't you just tell her that Flick saw some grizzly bears near Pulaski's candy store? Or that you're manning the next mission to Jupiter?

"I'm sorry... I shouldn't have said that," I stammered, "I don't know why I said that."

She walked back toward me and opened her mouth to speak. I stopped her. "I should go," I said as I reopened my car door. "And don't worry, I'll lose your number."

Unexpectedly, she covered my hand with her own. "Matt, wait," she said softly, "It's nice that you still think of me that way. I'd be lying if I said you never crossed my mind over the last few years. But maybe we should just start fresh, hmm? Call me later this week and we'll have dinner or something, okay?" She reached up and kissed my cheek before walking back to her own car.

I watched as she drove away. My cheek still tingled where her lips had touched. I walked into the convenience store and bought a Coke before driving home. For the rest of the night, I had to keep reminding myself that calling tonight would be way too soon.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

7 Types of Friends and How to Identify Them

There are going to be a lot of days when I'm not going to be able to come up with something to write about. Especially since I've gotten out of the habit of blogging every day. It also doesn't help that, at the moment, I'm not working and, therefore, have fewer real life, entertaining stories.

That being the case, I put the call out via Twitter and Facebook for topical ideas. I got one response from Facebook friend Lisa: "What constitutes a true Christian friend."

I'll be honest, that's deep. It's deeper than I think I was hoping to get on a Saturday evening post. But I think I can work with it. Thing is, I've had a lot of friends come and go in my life. And there have been all different kinds. So I'm not just going to focus on the true Christian friends. I think it's important to know the difference between the real and the fake. Because, I'm here to tell you, they're out there. Sadly, the fake tend to outnumber the real.

1. The Life of the Party - This is the friend that is always in a great mood. This is the friend that is spontaneous and always on the lookout for a good time. This is the friend that pushes us to do the things we may not otherwise do on our own. It's important to have this friend around from time to time. Everyone needs the occasional adrenaline rush.

2. The Downer - This is the friend who might just be the polar opposite of the Life of the Party. It's not that this kind of friend is necessarily a bad person. This friend just has a tendency to look at the glass as half-empty. Or even mostly empty. Or completely empty. This is the person that may not intend to see the worst in people or situations, they just do. This person might not think of him or herself as a sad individual, but there's a good chance you'll be brought down with too much exposure.

3. The Bad Influence - This is the friend that scared your parents throughout your childhood. This is the friend that they forbade you from hanging out with. Let's face it, the people you spend time with are going to influence you for better or worse. And there's a very real possibility that you're hoping you'll influence them for the better. From what I've experienced, it really doesn't take much negativity to destroy a good person. Just remember, sometimes your parents were right.

4. The Klingon - This is the aggressive friend. This is the friend who will not back down from a fight. This friend will stand up for you on the playground when that bully just won't leave you alone. In that sense, this friend is extremely loyal. But you have to be careful, because that aggression can easily turn around on you.

5. The Cling-On - This is the friend that can't seem to function without you. This is the one that calls and texts and leaves awkward and sometimes confusing messages on your Facebook page. And this is the friend that suffers from some pretty extreme jealousy. 'Cause God forbid you should have other friends.

6. The "Christian" - I use the quotes for a reason. I won't say that this type of friend isn't really a Christian. 'Cause that's between them and God. But this is the friend that does all the right things on the surface. But when the chips are down, this is the person that will turn their back on you before you even realize what's happening. As long as you're living life the way they think you should, everything is sunshine and rainbows. But if you screw up, look out. The judgmental pants come on and you become an outcast and a former friend. This friend isn't as easy to identify as many of the above. This friend is a true chameleon. Approach with caution.

7. The True Christian - It's hard to say if this friend really exists. Because, you know, everyone messes up. Nobody is perfect. I knew a guy in college who, when asked how he was doing, would say, "I'm just trying to be a Christian." To me, that phrase perfectly sums up the true Christian life. The point of someone calling themselves a Christian is because they're trying to be Christ-like. It's a standard that people can't be expected to live up to, but are expected to attempt. The true Christian friend will do just that. With every fiber of their being, they will try to live up to Christ's example. It means that no matter, what, that friend will be there for you. You screw up, it won't matter. They're gonna love you just the same. This is the kind of friend who won't back down from the truth. And they'll share that truth with you, even if it hurts. They will share that brutal truth because it's something you need to hear. And they won't give up on you. When you get mad at them because they told you something you needed to hear, they'll be there when you feel like talking again. This friend will shut-up and listen when the occasion calls for it. This friend will hold your hand and pick you up when you fall. And they won't expect anything in return.

For the record, Christians haven't cornered the market on the characteristics of a True Christian friend. These are traits that can be found in people of all walks of life. Most of it just comes from treating the people around you with love and respect. For those of us who call ourselves Christians, it means treating people the way Christ would treat us.

Look, I won't claim that this is the definitive list of every type of friend that's out there. I won't even say that each definition listed is anything more than my personal opinion. The fact of the matter is, there are as many types of friends as there are people in the world. Everyone has it in them to be a great friend to their fellow man. And, just as easily, everyone has it in them to be a horrible friend. It's up to you to decide what kind of friend you're going to be. Choose wisely.

Friday, August 03, 2012

AFI 58 - The Gold Rush

The Gold Rush
Directed by Charlie Chaplin
Netflix sleeve: Charlie Chaplin's comic masterpiece centers on the hardships of life on the Alaskan frontier. The Little Tramp plays a pathetic, lonely prospector who journeys to the Klondike hoping to discover gold and make his fortune. Instead, he gets mixed up with some burly characters and falls in love with the beautiful Georgia (Georgia Hale).

I watched this movie for the first time a long, long time ago. I'm pretty sure it was the summer after my sophomore year of high school. At the time, I thought it would be a good idea to participate in a private tutoring kind of thing that my 10th grade English teacher was putting on. I watched it again and my opinion of it hasn't really changed. I mean, I guess it's all right. Again, I think I have a little trouble getting into the humor of that era. Though we did get the bit where Chaplin made the dinner rolls dance. Classic.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Safe Haven

Title: Safe Haven
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Published: 2010

Listening to True Believer renewed my interest in Nicholas Sparks. It's not like I have fuzzy feelings toward the guy, but I was just in the mood to pick up another of his titles.

So I picked up this one.

The story opens up on Katie. She's the new girl in town and it's obvious that she wants to keep to herself. Soon, it becomes apparent that she doesn't want to be found. But we really don't learn that too early in the novel.

We are also introduced to Alex. He's a widowed father of two small children. Katie meets Alex because he owns a small grocery store near the house that she's renting. At first, she's hesitant to interact with him. But it's a Nicholas Sparks novel and, of course, sparks eventually fly between these two major characters.

It isn't long before we find out that Katie isn't really Katie at all. She's Erin and she's on the run from her abusive husband. Thing is, Erin stayed in a nightmarish situation for years. She was beaten, manipulated and emotionally crippled by a guy who she once believed would love her forever. Eventually, she determined that she could leave and survive or stay and die.

In a way, I enjoyed this novel a lot more than most of Nicholas Sparks' work. It was dark, it was gritty, and there was a real sense of realistic foreboding in these pages. In another way, I didn't like it, and it's probably for the same reason.

See, I've known people like Katie/Erin's husband. Abusive, manipulative, controlling... They're scary kinds of people. When the story switched to the husband's point of view, it was pretty spot on for a sociopath. It's almost like Sparks did a character study of someone I once knew. In that sense, it was kind of scary how realistic it was.

That being said, it was a nice change of pace. I've never read a Nicholas Sparks book that gave me a suspenseful feeling as I reached the climax. The whole time I'm waiting for someone to die, so I really wasn't sure what to expect nearing the end.

I'm not saying that I'll rush out and read the rest of the guy's reading list, but this one was a good read.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Challenges and Changes

I've said it before. And, hopefully, I won't have to say it again. I miss blogging. And when I say that I miss blogging, I miss writing here on a daily basis.

There was a time when I would make every effort to post something each day. Even on the days when I wasn't able to get to my computer before midnight, I would post something as soon as I possibly could. And when I knew I was going to be away from internet access for more than a day, I would try to arrange for someone to do a guest post.

What have my readers come to expect over the past several months? A lot of dead air.

No more, says I! I plan to challenge myself in a couple of areas of my life.

First of all, I challenge myself to go back to a regular schedule of posting something here at Carp Dime once a day.

Next, and this is one that will begin in a couple weeks, is to take the Couch to 5K Challenge. Yeah, it's this thing I saw on Pinterest one time. Apparently I can go from being a lazy, good-for-nothing layabout to being capable of running a 5K in a matter of only 8 weeks. I'll believe it when I see it. But I'm gonna have to accept the challenge in order to see if the results are true. And I say challenge accepted.

Also, I will be participating in the Photo a Day Challenge that I so often see on others' blogs and/or Facebook pages. Back in the day, I was really into photography. And since my phone has a better camera than my digital camera has, I figure, why not?

What else? Hmmm...

I guess the last one is to do something that I don't really consider a challenge. Though it's hard to say that for certain without actually experiencing things yet. I'm getting ahead of myself.

I found out yesterday that I would be moving to a different school for work. Now, it should come as no surprise that I'm somewhat resistant to change. It's mostly because I have this introverted personality which makes it slightly difficult for me to warm up to new people right away. But I knew this move was a possibility. I had hoped it wouldn't happen, but here I am, safe in the knowledge that yes, it's happening.

So my final challenge to myself is to be comfortable with the change. It's really not that big a deal. The need is there and I'll go and keep doing my job the same way I did it at my old school. Time will tell what happens next.

Along with that challenge, I guess, will be the challenge to become comfortable with the two new roommates that I'll be meeting in the next couple weeks. New apartment comes with two new roommates. It's all very exciting.

So that's my world this August First. How's yours?