Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quantum Leap Day

How do you mark a day that comes along only once every four years?

I think that there are several ways that one could celebrate Leap Day. None of them involve having a girl drop to one knee and proposing to her boyfriend. Apparently that's a real thing, not just a mediocre movie that came out in a non-Leap Year. It's a little late to go with these suggestions this year, but keep them in mind when 2016 comes around.

                                                     Source: via Rachel on Pinterest

Go bungee jumping! I mean, I've never done it, but I hear it's a pretty big adrenaline rush. Make sure your heart can take it before you attempt it. Consult your physician.
                                                    Source: via Randi on Pinterest

Quantum Leap marathon! Ever find yourself missing the adventures of Dr. Sam Beckett? Well, miss no more! Most episodes from this classic time travel series are available to view on Netflix. Isn't that a great way to veg out on Leap Day?
                                                    Source: via Keri on Pinterest

Play Hopscotch! It's good, clean, innocent fun. All you need is a sidewalk and some chalk. And something to throw into the numbered boxes. What do they use? A coin of some kind? I don't know, I've never actually played.
                                                      Source: via Matthew on Pinterest

Enter a Double Dutch tournament! There's got to be one somewhere. And if there isn't one, organize one. You'll be the most popular kid on the block. Unless you suck at it. Then everyone will just make fun of you.
                                                    Source: via Katelyn on Pinterest

Try something new! Come one, isn't there something you've been wanting to try out but have just been afraid to do? Take the proverbial leap. What's stopping you? If it doesn't work out, pretend like Leap Day never happened. Or, just follow this mantra: Whatever happens on Leap Day isn't spoken of again for four years.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This Year's List

Ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, we are precisely one week away from the 32nd anniversary of the day of my birth. I know what you're thinking... "How could someone so devilishly handsome, yet so devoid of life experience reach such an improbable age?" Believe me, I've been asking myself the same question. But it's true. I was born in 1980. So, if my math is correct, I will be 32 years old as of March 6 of this year.

While you let the knowledge of my unrealistic age sink in, please feel free to peruse this year's birthday wish list.

First: An affordable one-bedroom apartment in the vicinity of Radford, Virginia. The reasons are twofold. For starters, Radford is so much closer to work than Roanoke. I like to drive... just not that much. For finishers, there's been something of a seed planted in my mind. It's a little something that's taken root and is making me think seriously about going back to work on that masters degree all over again. And Radford University has a pretty decent graduate program in the field of education. Think about that... I could be a teacher. I could be a molder of young minds. Listen, I can pay my rent from month to month. That's not the birthday gift I'm asking for. You find me the place, I'll pay for it. Now, if one wanted to take care of my security deposit, I sure wouldn't complain. But I'll leave that up to you.

II: A ticket to see The Hunger Games when it is released on March 23 of this year. Let me specify, the ticket needs to be for a showing that begins at a decent hour. And by decent, I mean a time that is not midnight on a school night. I added midnight openings to my Murtaugh List some time ago. Long before I turned 32. I'm getting too old for that stuff.

3rd: A subscription to National Geographic and/or Entertainment Weekly. I miss getting magazines in my mailbox. I've never had a subscription to National Geographic, but I find the articles in it fascinating. I've done Entertainment Weekly before. Wouldn't mind doing it again. You know me, always into the pop culture.

D: Various gift cards. I'll accept any or all of the classics, which include but are not limited to Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, restaurants and gas stations. Some people complain about gift cards. But I think it's like found money. Which brings me to...

Five: Cash money. I rarely carry cash anymore. But I'd be happy to make an exception for anyone generous enough to give me some for my birthday. Just don't get used to the idea of me having cash on me. It's nice while it lasts, but it doesn't have a tendency to last very long.

Seis: IBC Cherry Limeaid. It's rare that I see this stuff anywhere anymore. I discovered it at the Raleigh area Harris-Teeter stores shortly before I moved back to Virginia. I wish I'd have seen them sooner, so I could have enjoyed them longer. Alas, I did not. I haven't seen these tasty treats anywhere around here in the past 9 months.

Finally: You know I love movies. And I'm always looking to expand my collection of Blu-ray discs. Though I'm pretty sure I wouldn't turn down standard DVDs either. That goes for TV series as well.

That's the wishlist for the 32nd annual birthday of the Single Guy. You've got a week, so please, think carefully about what you're going to get me. And, as always, I thank you.

There won't be a party this year. At least, not that I'm aware of. In the last couple years, anything that's happened in relation to the birthday has been of my doing. And I'm just not doing this time. Maybe next year I'll make a big deal, but not 2012. I know, it could be my final birthday if the Mayans* have anything to say about it. But hey, call me an optimist**. Things are just weird this year. I'm living with people who don't know it's my birthday. I'm working with people who don't know it's my birthday. So I think I'm just gonna keep this one to myself. If you want to say something on the Facebook, I won't turn you away.

*I don't actually believe that the Mayans predicted the end of time.

**Also, don't call me an optimist.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Best. Day. Ever. Giveaway.

Hey kids! Another friend of mine is having a giveaway on her blog. Until recently, her blog was titled I Seek With All My Heart but is now called Best. Day. Ever.

Go on over, check things out, follow her. You could even win a contest. I doubt it though, I've been having a lot of really great luck recently.

Question of the Week: Under Oath

Would you be willing to commit perjury for a close friend? For example, might you testify that he was driving carefully when he hit a pedestrian even though he had been joking around and not paying attention?

No, I wouldn't. I apologize to anyone who thought they might need me lie for them in the future. Lies don't sit well with me. Honestly, I would hope that anyone who is a true friend of mine would know and respect me enough not to even ask me to lie for them, no matter how big or small the reason.

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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Making the Call

There have been times in the past when I've gotten together with a few friends and watched the Oscars. As a movie guy, I kind of enjoy watching this awards show. I know a lot of people find them to be dull and boring, but it can be fun if you make a game of it. And that's what I've done with friends when we've watched the show together. Several years back, I got together with the Charlatan and his family. We each had Oscar ballots before the show, made our choices for who we thought would win, and the one who picked the most winners would be treated to ice cream at Maggie Moo's. Not too shabby a prize, right?

Is it bragging if I say I won? Yeah, well, I did. And then I played again a couple years later at the Greenehouse. I'm certain it's bragging to say that I won again. But really, who's surprised.

I'm alone this year. I'm watching the Academy Awards from the comfort of my room. So I can't compete with anyone with my Oscar picks this time. But here's what I'll do... There are 24 categories. If I manage to guess at least 75% correctly, I'll treat myself to a milkshake from Maggie Moo's. I know, I could just go get a milkshake anyway, but can we just pretend I'm working with the honor system here?

Here are my picks:
  • Best Picture - The Artist
  • Leading Actor - George Clooney
  • Supporting Actor - Christopher Plummer
  • Leading Actress - Viola Davis
  • Supporting Actress - Octavia Spencer
  • Animated Feature - Rango
  • Art Direction - Hugo
  • Cinematography - The Artist
  • Costume Design - The Artist
  • Directing - The Descendants
  • Documentary Feature - Undefeated
  • Documentary Short - The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
  • Film Editing - Hugo
  • Foreign Language Film - In Darkness
  • Makeup - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • Original Score - War Horse
  • Original Song - Man or Muppet, The Muppets
  • Animated Short Film - A Morning Stroll
  • Live Action Short Film - Time Freak
  • Sound Editing - Drive
  • Sound Mixing - Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • Visual Effects - Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Adapted Screenplay - The Descendants
  • Original Screenplay - The Artist
There you have it. I'll post an update tomorrow to let you know if I get to have that milkshake or not.

Update: I was way off my game. I only got 9 right. I should probably watch more movies this year.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Cannot Tell

Yesterday was George Washington's birthday. And how do we celebrate the birth of the father of our country? Well, most of us probably just treat it like it's another day. But when you work in a kindergarten classroom for a good portion of your day, there's a good chance you have to hear the classic tale of young GW chopping down his dad's cherry tree.

You've heard the story, right? Little Georgie goes out and, for no apparent reason, maliciously hacks away at a blossoming cherry tree. When confronted about the incident, young Master Washington says, "I cannot tell a lie," and confesses to moonlighting as a lumberjack.

Did you know that there's a good chance that this event never actually happened? It was a story popularized back in the 19th century by a biographer who never really authenticated the anecdote. To discover that this is probably not a true story, we simply need to ask one question. How many people have become president by telling the truth?

But it was a popular story. And why shouldn't it be? It's a story that lets our children know that our first president was once a kid too. And, on the surface, it teaches the lesson that it's important to tell the truth. Then why to we reserve the nickname of "Honest" for Abe Lincoln?

Personally, I think this is a horrible story to tell kids. Dig a little deeper. The moral I see is: 'Tis better to ask forgiveness than permission. Dude cut down a tree, got caught, and then decided not to lie to cover it up. That just means he was a smart kid. I've been around plenty of children who lie to cover up something they know was wrong and all it gets them is into more trouble. If they'd just told the truth to begin with, the penalty would have been far less severe.

So George got pissed off at this cherry tree and no one knows why. Maybe he got hungry one day, picked some cherries, and was disappointed that they weren't the kind that were already pitted. He decided that the tree had to go. But do you think his father would have just said, "Sure, son, go cut the crap outta that tree! I don't even like cherries!" No, his father loved cherries. His mother could make a mean cherry pie. And who wouldn't like to pick some fresh cherries to throw into your ice cold Coca-Cola? Little George Washington, that's who. So he cut it down. He couldn't cover it up, and I don't think he ever planned to. He knew he would have to fess up. But by then, the tree was gone. George had rid the would-be United States of that particular tree's evil presence. And all he had to do was say he was sorry.

How disappointed do you think President Washington would be if he knew that our nation's capital holds an annual festival celebrating a bunch of cherry trees? Think about it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Giving Up

According to that fancy device we call a calendar, today is Ash Wednesday. That means today begins the season of Lent. This time period makes up the 40 days preceding Easter. For many people in the Church, it represents a time of sacrifice.

Christians are encouraged to give up some kind of luxury, or even fast, and pray in preparation for the celebration of Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday. The way I understand it, these 40 days are symbolic of the 40 days which Christ spent in the wilderness. He spent that time praying and fasting to prepare for his ministry, a ministry that would lead to his eventual death on the cross.

Anyone who decides to give something up for Lent must do so prayerfully. The thing that is given up is meant to be a sacrifice. If it isn't sacrificial then what's the point? The point of a sacrifice is that it should remind you to rely upon God to sustain you.

If you're someone who doesn't drink soda and you claim you're giving up soda for Lent, is that really a sacrifice? For some people, soft drinks may not seem like much of a sacrifice. For someone who relies upon caffeine to get through the day, it may feel like a tremendous sacrifice.

I'll admit, I thought about giving up soda. I've freely admitted that I have a pretty severe caffeine addiction. I don't like coffee, so my caffeine comes from roughly two sodas each day. I know it's not what one would call "healthy," but without that fix, I get the headaches. Bad ones. So I decided to find something else to give up for 40 days.

Fast food.

I know there are plenty of folks that wouldn't consider that much of a sacrifice either. But I have to say, for me it kind of is. I won't say I'm addicted to hitting the drive through like I need the caffeine. But I love the convenience.

Living in a place where I don't have full and comfortable access to a kitchen, eating at home isn't always an option. There are so many days when I feel like it's just so much easier to pick something up on the way home from work as opposed to coming up and fixing a sandwich or heating up a frozen pizza. Another wrinkle: I'm a big fan of some french fries.

So that's what I'm giving up. And I know it's bad that today is day one and I really wanted to stop and get a cheeseburger coming home this afternoon. I get hungry on that drive home from the middle of nowhere. Don't worry, I abstained.

BTW, this means that yesterday was Mardi Gras. What's the deal? I was flashin' people all over the place and got nary a bead.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Snow Day

To call the current season "winter" has been somewhat laughable this year. When temperatures regularly reach highs in the upper 50s or even 60s, you can hardly call that winter weather. It's been rare that I've needed any kind of jacket when going outside. For some, this would make for a very pleasant climate.

But I moved back to Virginia from North Carolina for one reason and one reason only. Snow. And you just can't have any snow when warm fronts insist upon staying put in your neck of the woods. But all of that changed yesterday.

This was the view outside a friends' apartment yesterday afternoon. I could hardly believe it. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to believe it. I wanted to believe earlier in the week when the meteorologists on TV claimed that we may see some snow on Sunday. But I couldn't help but be skeptical. After all, we hit 60 degrees as late as Saturday. How could we possibly expect to receive four to eight inches of snow after days like those?

I don't know how it works, but it obviously did. It was snowing pretty heavily on Sunday morning, but nothing was sticking. The ground was far too warm. But the snow continued and the temperature dropped. And this winter wonderland is what came of it. Oh, and that picture is still kind of early in the whole thing. There were still several hours of snowfall to come.

When I left my friends' place, I was a little worried I wouldn't quite make it home. I live at the top of a fairly steep hill. And my car is a lot lighter than my old car. Half-Pint just doesn't move as well in the snow as Jade did. Maybe it'll be better once I get a few more snow days under my belt. As it was, if I'd stayed out much longer, I may not have made it to the top of the hill.

You know what happens to people who work in schools when schools are closed due to snow? They don't have to go to work! I was supposed to work on Presidents' Day. But thanks to eight inches of snow, I got a three day weekend. Can't complain about that.

So today turned into a snow day for me and my friends. Brandon, who didn't have to work because bankers actually did get Presidents' Day off, called me up and told me we were driving to Blacksburg to meet Mark for lunch. Mark didn't have to work because Bluefield College was without power today. So we met up at Backstreets for some pizza and had a good time catching up a little. It really was like some times in college, when things would shut down because of snow or ice, and we would get a day with no classes to just hang out.

And this is the view from my place this morning. Sure looks pretty, doesn't it. Sadly, it's going away. The tree outside my window, which was drooping from the sheer weight of snow on the branches, is now green again. The snowman that some kids built has already fallen over and really just looks like a sad lump of snow that refuses to melt.

I can only hope that this hasn't been the only snow that we will see this winter. We've still got roughly a month of winter left. I just don't think we'll see another storm that will dump this much at one time though. Sure was nice while it lasted.

Friday, February 17, 2012

AFI 62 - American Graffiti

American Graffiti
Directed by George Lucas
Netflix sleeve: Showcasing then-Hollywood-newcomers Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard, director George Lucas weaves together the stories of a disparate group of teenagers as they struggle with adolescent rites of passage in 1962. On the night before two of them leave for college, four high school buddies cruise their small hometown finding love and mischief in this Oscar-nominated coming-of-age classic.

Ah, nostalgia. From the guy who would one day bring us Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Which, in their own right are highly nostalgic films. Especially for those of us who were kids when they originally came out. I don't feel a lot of nostalgia watching American Graffiti though. That doesn't mean I don't like the movie. It just means I have a hard time identifying with the culture of the early 60s. Not that I mind trying. I love the music of those days and have always been a big fan of this movie's soundtrack. It was one that we had when I was growing up. It contained so many oldies that it needed to be packaged as a double CD. Which, as a kid, I thought was awesome. That's right, as a kid, I loved listening to the classic hits of the late 50s and early 60s. Still do from time to time. Anyway, I find this to be a pretty decent movie. The kind of story that unfolds over the course of a single night, like so many 80s movies would later attempt. Good times. Great oldies.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Special K

I've made it no secret that I recently started a new job. I hesitated to still refer to it as a "new" job. Tomorrow I'll complete my third week in this counseling position. And it's kind of awesome.

I'm not too sure I've really described what I'm doing. For the purposes of confidentiality, there isn't really much that I can say about it. Basically, I'm working with a handful of students in an elementary school. This means I spend a chunk of my day inside a classroom full of kindergarten kids.

Have you ever spent any significant amount of time with a class of kindergarteners? Until a couple weeks ago, I hadn't. In fact, my only exposure to kindergarten (aside from that time when I was 5 years old) has been the Schwarzenegger classic Kindergarten Cop.

That being said, I wasn't too sure what to expect. Now, I'm not a teacher. But I am in there with these kids. I've gotten to know each of their names and they now know me as another grown-up that's present throughout the day. They know I'm not their teacher, but they recognize me as having at least some authority. In reality, I have no authority over the vast majority of them. However, by virtue of being an adult, they see me as someone with authority.

You have no idea how tempted I am to tell them to "TAKE THE TOY BAHCK TO THE CAHPET!" But I haven't. But if anyone ever tells me that a headache may be a tumor, I will tell them it's "NOT A TUMAH!"

On the plus side, I have managed to learn some very informative mnemonic devices that help me to remember the days of the week as well as each day's weather. I've had the "Days of the Week" song stuck in my head for three days. I can't get it out. It's gonna be real awkward when I start singing it in public one day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Sneaky Valentine

I've never been a huge fan of the Valentine's Day. I've just never seen the point. But I've never actually been "in love." So I guess that means I kind of miss the point. But even if I was "in love" I really don't think I'd be too keen on one special day to show someone you love them just because Russell Stover tells me I should. I don't like being told when I can and can't celebrate my love for someone.

Anyway, I didn't go into this thing to complain about Valentine's Day or talk about how I really feel about February 14. No, this is about the ridiculous commercial I've heard on the radio over the last couple days.

It's for some kind of warehouse sale. I'm not sure what company it's for, and even if I did know, I wouldn't mention it here, simply because I wouldn't want to give them any extra advertisement. I know there are only a handful of people out there in the Roanoke area who will read this, but still, I don't want them making any more money off this stupid ad.

It starts out with a guy warning everyone (and by everyone I mean men) that, even though there have been lots of warnings, Valentine's Day has snuck up on us again.

Honestly, I tune out the commercial after this initial announcement. Because, really, did Valentine's Day sneak up on anyone? It's the same day every year. It's listed on all those calendars that people buy at the beginning of the year. How is that considered sneaky at all?

I can completely understand someone forgetting a birthday. Yes, those do come around annually. But they're not marked on every single calendar that you come across on a daily basis. Also, birthdays aren't being prepared for by every store in the world hanging pictures of birthday cakes and party hats, the way they decorate for Valentine's Day in the middle of January.

The problem isn't that people forget that Valentine's Day is happening. They just procrastinate. Also, they put too much importance on the day. Expectations are way too high. And so when a significant other doesn't deliver, it turns into a fight. It just seems so exhausting.

Why do people fight over such stupid things? I really haven't had experience in the relationship game. I mean, other than watching all the relationships that have come and gone all around me. But it seems to me that people fight over stupid things because there's something deeper that they aren't willing to confront. Again, it just seems really exhausting.

If I ever decide to seek out a girlfriend, I really hope we're able to communicate about stuff and not just let things fester under the surface until we end up arguing because I bought her the wrong kind of flowers on Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Question of the Week: Just to Be Polite

Do you frequently find yourself--just to be polite--saying things you don't mean? For example, when you say good-bye to someone who does not interest you, do you act as though you enjoyed their company?

I would say that in most cases, I don't just say nice things to be polite. I don't like to say things if I don't mean them. But that doesn't mean I'll always come right out and say everything I'm thinking. If I don't have anything nice to say, there's a good chance I'll just keep my mouth shut. Probably explains why I'm considered a quiet person so much of the time.

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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Rereleases

I know that I've complained about the 3D-ization of movies in the past. Personally, I've never really seen the point of it. If you want to impress me with 3D, make something that's actually interactive, Star Trek holodeck style. More often than not, 3D just gives me a headache and doesn't really add anything to the movie-going experience that a regular 2D movie can't give.

However, I can totally get behind the idea of rereleasing classic movies from the past.

One may not necessarily call The Phantom Menace a classic. I certainly wouldn't. But Star Wars definitely has an epic ring to it. And seeing it on the big screen again was kind of hard to pass up. And so, in spite of the 3D-ness of it all, I bought my ticket and went to see it.

Look, I know a lot of people complain about the fact that George Lucas keeps on making "improvements" to his space saga. I won't be one of them. Especially if he decided to improve Episode I by eliminating the character of Jar Jar Binks or recasting the role of Anakin Skywalker. Sadly, these improvements did not make it into the final 3D cut.

Why would I get behind the idea of a rerelease? Seeing movies in the theater is always fun. Who doesn't enjoy seeing their favorite movies on the largest screen possible? Surround sound? Anyone? That's what I thought. Tell me you wouldn't like to see Back to the Future on the big screen 27 years after its initial showing.

I know I would.

People will argue that it's a waste of money. I still argue that there's just something more fun about seeing a great movie in a big dark room full of strangers. Okay, when I read that back, it sounds a little creepy.

But movie studios were doing the rerelease game long before the 3D fad started catching on. Disney used to release their beloved animated classics every decade or so. I remember seeing Sleeping Beauty in the theater as a kid. And I was certainly not a kid in 1959. My own mother was just a toddler.

Hollywood likes to rerelease movies that are up for Oscars sometimes. That way they can get the nominated films back in the minds of the public and the voters just in time to win some awards. But I'm not interested in going back to see a movie that was just out a few months ago. Bring back the movies that have done well in the past.

We live in a world of too many remakes and reboots and sequels. I'm not saying that the studios should stop making new movies altogether. Just stop making bad movies. Although, I suppose, no one sets out to make a bad movie. But it happens all too often. And there are a lot of great movies out there that haven't seen the inside of a cinema in decades.

Instead of dusting off Indiana Jones' fedora for a fifth outing, bring back Raiders of the Lost Ark to the big screen. Instead of rebooting the Superman franchise with Man of Steel next year, show us the classic film that taught us to believe Christopher Reeve could fly.

You may be thinking that my words have become blasphemous. After all, I'm a movie lover and a big Superman geek. On a side note, I will be seeing Man of Steel as soon as it comes out. I'm not saying that I won't. I'm just saying that I would see the original Superman film on the big screen, should Warner Bros. decide to make that move. I never saw that one in the theater. It was made before I was born. I was cheated of seeing its awesomeness in a big dark room full of strangers.

I know that Disney is planning to do a few more of their animated movies for a 3D rerelease. And Lucas is planning to put out the other five Star Wars films in 3D. I still don't see the point of 3D, other than the excuse to charge an extra three bucks a ticket. That's not cool. Because of that, and the inability of The Phantom Menace to dazzle me with its new effects, I may not be willing to see Episode II when it comes out. But I'm kind of a sucker. It could happen.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bragging Rights

Remember when I mentioned Amy's contest on her blog? The one where she was giving away the Barton Hollow CD from The Civil Wars? It was a couple weeks ago. I'll let it slide if you don't remember. We are, after all, a nation with a short attention span.

Anyway. I won.
I failed to mention this when the announcement was actually made. Don't get me wrong, I was excited about winning. Okay, I was more than excited. I feel like I never win anything. Though, come to think of it, I guess I've been kind of lucky when it comes to winning things lately. Over the summer, I won that awesome prize package for the Greenbrier Classic. That led to witnessing a pretty awesome golf tournament as well as The Black Eyed Peas in concert. You know, and some other stuff. Good times.

Oh, and a few months ago, I stopped to get a Coke. I twisted off the cap and found out that the next time I bought one, I could get a second one for free. That's right.

So I received my brand new Civil Wars CD in the mail this week. And it couldn't have come at a better time. With my wicked long drive to and from work each day, it's nice to have new music to listen to. On any given day, it means I could listen to the entire CD nearly four times.

I blame the Charlatan for introducing me to The Civil Wars. Though he didn't do it with the intention of getting me to like them. I'd seen him mention them on Twitter occasionally. Then on our epic road trip to Indy we listened to some of their stuff. I thought it sounded pretty good. So I'm really enjoying my new CD. Thanks again, Amy!

In completely unrelated news: the kindergarten class that I spend a good chunk of my day observing studied Abraham Lincoln this week. This, of course, led to a discussion of the Civil War. I couldn't help but think about a time when I was young, probably the same age as many of these kindergarteners, and mispronounced the word "Civil." 5-year-old me was certain it was the Silver War.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Single Guy Was Just Kidding

Remember how the Single Guy was planning on moving into an apartment with those two girls in Radford? Yeah, that didn't work out.

Turns out, the potential roommate that the Single Guy was unable to meet last weekend, well, she's got parents. And those parents weren't exactly comfortable with the idea of their daughter living with a guy they don't know. So there goes the idea of a Three's Company themed semester.

Really, it's all right. The Single Guy understands that kind of concern. I'm sure if I had a daughter I wouldn't be thrilled with the idea of her sharing an apartment with someone she's never met before, male or female.

Luckily the Single Guy had a back-up plan. He did see two apartments that day. So... fingers crossed... the slightly more expensive place with the bigger closet should work out. Should.

In the meantime, he's also replied to several more ads on the Craigslist. You know... just in case.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


All it took was a small seed to be planted in my subconscious. That's where the fear took root. That fear took hold and manifested itself in my dreams.

During my first week in the new job, I spent a lot of time being trained and discussing the job with my trainer. She's a coordinator who has worked with a number of counselors and teachers in the past. She told me the story of a particular teacher who seemed pretty set in her ways. This teacher absolutely refused to have a counselor in her classroom. This coordinator talked her into giving our counselor a chance and things worked out just fine. But the coordinator later found out that this teacher had had a horrible experience with a counselor in her classroom in the past.

Apparently, the last time she'd had a counselor in the classroom, the counselor just sat in the back and slept. Really not a cool move.

So here I am, a guy who lives an hour and a half away from the school in which I now work. And I have to be there by 7:30 in the morning. That means I have to be on the road by 6am. So I'm up before dawn even breaks. Me and the early bedtime are becoming very good friends. Anyway, I'm taking this long drive in the dark and I might be slightly sleep deprived.

Before I began spending the whole day at the school on my own, I knew that being tired might be an issue for me. And so, I dreamed about it the night before that first day. In my dream, I made it to school just fine. This is good because falling asleep at the wheel might be a real fear for me too. Side bar: so far, so good. Anyway, I arrived at the school and made my way to my office. While preparing for my day, I fell asleep. Inside my dream, I fell asleep.

I didn't have an Inception kind of thing where I had a dream within the dream. I just slept. But my unconscious self was unaware of being unconscious until I woke up (in the dream) two hours after school started. And then, panic set into the dream. I woke up and realized that I had yet to begin my first day. And the panic went away.

But I was still kind of tired when I got to school yesterday. And today. As I'm sure I will be tomorrow. But I really have to hide it tomorrow. Got a meeting with my supervisor in the morning. I know I'm more nervous than I need to be. I should probably just try to get a good night's sleep. And then drink copious amounts of caffeine on the hour and a half drive to the Middle of Nowhere Elementary School.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Question of the Week: Listen or Talk

In conversations, do you tend to listen or talk more?

I tend to listen more. Not that I don't have anything to add to the conversation. I just tend to hold back my true thoughts until someone is sure they want to hear honesty. Or until I have something worth saying. I like listening though. I'm much better at observing the human condition than actually experiencing it. Besides, no one ever says, "You listen to much!"

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

Sunday, February 05, 2012


I hadn't been out of school long when I decided to fall for one of my best friends. Thing is, she and I hadn't really been great friends for very long. To be honest, she kind of got on my nerves. But isn't that always how it is? No? Sometimes, though... You've gotta give me sometimes.

Anyway, the "friends first" thing was how I thought it was supposed to go. I mean, sure, I'd met girls and been on dates without knowing a thing about them, but that didn't exactly work out. And I heard all these great stories about men and women who had been friends for a long time and then fell in love. Seemed like a pretty good idea.

Look, when I say I "decided" to fall for one of my best friends, it wasn't really due to any effort on my part. It just, sort of happened. You ready for the back story? Tough, 'cause here it comes.

I graduated from college and got a job. I ended up moving to a new town for a fresh start. I moved into a questionable apartment with a sketchy roommate. Funny story, that roommate eventually turned out to be like a brother to me. Another story for another time.

Where was I? Oh, yeah... So I'm living with this guy, Charlie. He was a full-time med student living on student loans. I was busting my butt in my first real job and felt like I was barely getting by. After a few weeks of living there and getting used to my surroundings, Charlie decided to introduce me to the girls across the hall. Apparently, he and his former roommate used to hang out with the girls across the hall all the time. Greg moved out, I moved in. Charlie thought it might be a little awkward for the girls across the hall. At least, at first.

First there was Kendall. She was the girl from across the hall that never seemed to be around. She had a fiancee that lived about two hours away. So, a lot of the time, she was just out of town. But she paid her share of the rent, so Frannie didn't mind. Oh, that's the other one. Frannie. And she's the one I was talking about at the start.

Man, Frannie was annoying. After I started spending time with her, I began believing that the whole "fiancee" story was just a smoke screen that Kendall was sending up, just so she wouldn't have to live with Frannie full time. This girl had an excess of personality. She talked all the time. And she sang incessantly. But she couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. It was rough. Like nails on a chalkboard.

Ironically, nails on a chalkboard doesn't really bother me. But I digress.

Over time, though, those things that bugged me so much eventually became endearing qualities. Six months after meeting her, she and I were spending most of our free time together, whether our roommates were around or not. But we weren't dating. At that point, the possibility hadn't even crossed my mind. And then we kissed.

I don't think either of us planned for that kiss to happen. We were just out for a walk. It was just the two of us and we were talking. At some point we had been talking about past relationships. Somehow that turned into a conversation about loneliness. We turned to face each other and I leaned in. I mean, it just felt right. Well, it felt right in the moment.

The next day she told me she was sorry she let it happen. She said she didn't want to ruin the friendship that we had. I pretended that I wholeheartedly agreed with her. But for me, it was already too late. I had fallen hard. Head over heels.

I don't think it was the kiss that did it. That was just a kicker after months of getting to know her and opening my eyes to seeing how amazing she was. Yeah, I'm sappy. Sue me.

Time passed, but my feelings didn't change. I still spent a lot of time with Frannie and secretly hoped that she would change her mind about me. She didn't. Instead, she started dating some other guy. Some guy named Michael. In case you couldn't detect it, I just rolled my eyes. I tend to do that when I think of Michael. Did you catch that? 'Cause I just did it again.

Michael was one of Charlie's friends from school. And he was apparently perfect. I didn't see it. But Frannie did. One of those love at first sight kind of moments. Charlie felt bad about it once he found out how I felt about her. But, in his defense, he didn't know how I felt when he introduced them. I couldn't hold that against him. I still don't.

Turned out, though, Michael wasn't perfect. He did a number on Frannie. Broke her heart. Being the solid friend that I was, I offered to beat the living crap out of him. So did Charlie. Frannie declined. And since I was solidly in the friends' zone, I became her shoulder to cry on. It was a role I sometimes liked, because who doesn't like to feel needed. But sometimes I despised this role. Who in their right mind likes to feel used?

And that's how I always ended up feeling. Like she was using me. I started to like it better whenever Kendall was around. Because then, Frannie had a girlfriend to vent with. I didn't have to hear about the guy that done her wrong.

This went on for nearly a year. Eventually, the girls across the hall moved away. Kendall got married. Frannie got back together with Michael and moved in with him. I stopped being her sounding board. We kept in touch, I just stopped offering to listen to her guy problems.

Not long after she moved in with the jerk, I decided to tell her how I felt about her. I knew what to expect, for the most part. She tried to be nice about it. She let me know that she didn't feel the same and that she truly loved me as a friend. What surprised me was that she knew all along that I was crazy about her. Not that I tried to hide it. But for her to keep talking to me about this guy who'd hurt her like she didn't know I was in love with her? That hurt worse that simply getting the "let's be friends" speech.

What did I learn from this ordeal? "Friends first" might work for a select few, but it won't work for everyone. It certainly didn't work for me.

Here endeth the lesson.

This prompt brought to us by Sunday Scribblings. Go see how others were inspired by "Lesson."

Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Single Guy Takes a Step That Is New

The Single Guy took a quick trip to Radford this afternoon to take a look at a couple potential apartments. Well, they're not potential apartments. They are both apartments. But one of them could potentially be the Single Guy's home in the near future.

The Single Guy decided early this week that spending three hours in the car each day was just too much. While he doesn't mind spending time behind the wheel, the gas money would pretty much kill him. It would completely negate the advantage of making more money in his new career. So the Single Guy was Craigslist bound. He figured that seeking a place on Craigslist worked out with his current living situation, why shouldn't it work again?

He was faced with two choices: One is an apartment above some stores on Main Street. The other is an apartment above some stores on Main Street. They're almost directly across the street from each other. That made finding these places a bit easier on the Single Guy.

At the first apartment, he met the former tenant, who had recently moved out because she broke up with the guy that would be the Single Guy's potential roommate. The apartment was clean and had a nice layout. And, apparently, the roommate is hardly ever there.

At the second apartment, the Single Guy met a potential roommate, as well as one who had recently moved out. Both of whom are students at Radford University. Oh... small detail... these potential roommates are women.

When the Single Guy first responded to this ad on Craigslist, he got a text message from a girl who had recently moved out (not the one he met at the apartment). She asked if he would be okay living with two female roommates. He figured, "I'm okay with it if they are." So he set up a time to drop by and take the tour.

After seeing both apartments, the Single Guy was left with a choice. Like many things in life, there are pros and cons to both options. On the one hand, he could live with a guy that's hardly ever there. On the other hand, he could live with chicks, man.

On the one hand, he could have a pretty large bedroom, complete with a pretty large closet. On the other hand, he could live with chicks, man.

He could pay $320 plus utilities in that first apartment. Or he could pay $275 plus utilities in the other. Oh, and live with chicks, man.

When it comes down to it, the real weight on the decision comes with the cheaper rent. Plus, the Single Guy hasn't lived with women before. Well, not since he moved out of his mother's place so many years ago. And really, that doesn't count. So living with two women could make life very interesting for a while.

And he's already decided to change his phone's ringtone to the Three's Company theme song.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Is It Okay?

Today brought an end to my first week in my new job. Most of the week has been filled with training and observing. At one point during my paperwork training yesterday I needed to ask the question, "Is it okay to feel a little overwhelmed?"

The woman walking me through the forms and reports necessary for my job looked at me and said it was normal. She gave me the impression that she would be worried about me if I wasn't a little overwhelmed.

There's a lot that goes into this counseling position. While the most important thing is to be there for our clients, the powers that be have high expectations when it comes to documentation.

She told me that I hid my feelings of anxiety well. Usually the new employees she trains show up with a wide-eyed, deer-in-the-headlights kind of stare. She also boosted my confidence by letting me know she thinks I'll be just fine once I get into the job next week.

I think there's a part of me that expected that I would fall right into the ins and outs of the job immediately, since it's a job that I've done before. However, it's been five years since the last time I worked for this company. While the basics are the same, a lot has changed. And I'm very out of practice. Eventually, things should feel like second nature.

I'm really not worried about my ability to perform in this position. I'm looking forward to next week. More than that, I'm looking forward to the following week, when I'm a little more comfortable in the school and with my clients and their families. I look forward to a point in the near future when my anxiety is replaced by a confidence that only comes with experience.

I also look forward to finding an apartment that's a little closer to the school so I won't have to spend three hours a day in my car. Yeah, that'll be swell.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

AFI 63 - Cabaret

Directed by Bob Fosse
Netflix sleeve: A British scribe (Michael York) and his comrades--including a flamboyant American nightclub entertainer named Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli)--chronicle the debauchery and turbulence of prewar Berlin in director Bob Fosse's big-screen adaptation of a musical classic. Existing in a morally ambiguous void, the characters doggedly maintain their facades as the world outside the cabaret gears for war.

This is another film that I wasn't particularly looking forward to reaching. I'm not sure what it is 'cause I usually enjoy a musical. Though I should clarify... I enjoy a good musical. I know there are those out there who would consider this to be a good musical. After all, it did make the AFI list. It just didn't do anything for me, even after I sat all the way through it. Not something I'll do again.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

So It Turns Out...

I have to move. Again.

I may have briefly mentioned previously that I've taken on a new job. I really don't want to get too detailed with what's going on, but I do want to share that I'm excited about this new step.

Back before I moved to North Carolina, I was working for a non-profit organization in Roanoke. My position with this company was as a Day Treatment Counselor in a local middle school. It was a good job and I was actually using my degree, something I'm still making payments on.

Somehow, I've managed to get hired by the same company, but I'm working out of a different office. The place I go for all my training is in Christiansburg, roughly 45 minutes from my apartment. Not familiar with Christiansburg? Have you heard of Blacksburg? It's where Virginia Tech is located. Well, it's right next door to Christiansburg.

A 45 minute commute isn't great, but it's doable. After all, it's the amount of time I spent in the car driving to the bank when I lived in Wake Forest and worked in Raleigh. But it's not ideal.

Thing is, my commute will be a little heavier than a mere 45 minutes. See, I'll actually be spending my days at an elementary school in the middle of nowhere. And there's really no easy way to get there. The one way trip to get there? Roughly 90 minutes.

Now, I get excellent gas mileage. But nothing makes it worth spending three hours in a car every day. But I know this is going to be a job that I'll be good at and enjoy. That's a rare combination these days. So the drive may not be too swell, but the job is definitely worth a move.

But where could I move? I'm thinking Radford. That's probably another one that most of you may have never heard of. It's the home of Radford University. I almost went there. I almost transferred there after my freshman year at Bluefield. But I didn't. I'm glad I didn't. Doesn't mean it isn't a decent school. Doesn't mean it isn't a decent town.

Though Radford was the scene of my unfortunate hospitalization. But I don't foresee any horrible flashbacks occurring if I should move there.

Anyway, if I were to move to Radford, it would cut my commute time by roughly an hour. That's 33% less drive time than if I stay in Roanoke. Totally worth it.

So, uh... does anyone know where I can find an affordable apartment that isn't a hole in the ground somewhere in the Radford area? I'm open to suggestions. I've been scouring the Craigslist and looking at some apartment finding websites. I figure that's a good start. Wish me luck!