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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blue Socks

My socks are all turning to a blueish gray. Apparently, you really do need to wash whites and colors separately. Totally not an urban legend. Consider my mind blown.

Thing is, I only have, like, one white shirt. The rest of my white laundry is just the socks. And I hardly even wear socks, because I'm hooked on flip-flops.

This means I'll be saving my socks for weeks in order to get a laundry load's worth.

So, really, that shouldn't pose a problem. If I don't wear socks often, I won't wash socks often. But the thought of dirty socks sitting around for weeks? That's just gross.

And I know what you're thinking, "Just wash them a few at a time." But really? I'm not going to wash and dry three pairs of socks. That's stupid. What would Al Gore say, wasting all that water? Next time you think of something stupid like that, keep it to yourself...


Thursday, October 8, 2009

How Long Ya Been Hidin' That?!

Noise. I'm developing a low tolerance for it. Normally, that would be fine, except, due to years of unfortunately acceptable grades, I've found myself in college. *shiver*

Let me tell you about the other day...

I have a class. It's called, The, um, Multi...cultural Environmentalism and, uh, the Fanaticasmic... Structure of... Interracial Business.

Yeah, something like that. Whatever. It's hard. My teacher rambles about, "Asians do this, Americans do that, Africans do this, there's plastic in the ocean, my liberal bias is apparent, blah blah blah." Then, on the test, we have to write every single word she's ever said. Seriously. When I was taking her test, I thought my pen had started writing in the wrong color. Turns out, it was bleeding. When I finished, the pen cried, "Chris, Chris, why hast thou forsaken me?!" Then it exploded in a fiery ball of blue flame that engulfed the girl who used to sit in front of me.

So, when midterm time rolled around, I knew I needed to study my balls off (that's how David Bowie studied music). And to do that, I needed to escape the noisy environment of my dormitory and make my way to the the library.

See, I need true quiet to study. No television. No music. No people talking in the hallway. No students tapping at their keyboards. No people walking past me. As you'll see, this level of quieticity is difficult to achieve, even in a library.

Fortunately, our library has these awesome rooms, called "student studies." Basically, it's a Porta-John with a desk instead of a toilet. And it doesn't move. Sounds perfect for a guy who needs to isolate himself, right? The problem is, I'd never found an empty one. Regardless, I headed up to the second floor, where I knew these rooms were, in search of one of these Porta-Desks. But, sure enough, they were all taken, save a few in which the lights don't work.

Now, the first floor of the library is about as busy as an airport, and I could tell by walking around, that the second floor wasn't going to be quiet enough, either. So I headed to the third. What was on the third floor, I had no idea. As best as I can remember, I had never been. See, I've never had a teacher that made me look for a book. I'd never had a reason to explore the building.

As I reached the third floor, I saw the most comforting sight you could ever see: Claire Huxtable.

No... No...

What I saw wasn't comforting, at all. In fact, it was infuriating. What I saw was a sign noting that the third floor was designated a "quiet study" area.

BOB SAGET!
HOW LONG YA BEEN HIDIN' THAT?!

After cleaning up my pee puddle, I went exploring. And what did I find? Effing student studies! Just as many as there were on the second floor! After cleaning up my pee puddle, I went to find an empty one. And I did - easily! I even tried studying there for an hour before the kids laughing in the room two doors down drove me out of my dang mind!

I packed my crap, and off I went, still looking for a quiet place. Where? In no man's land. Where is "no man's land?" It's where the books are. Get it? 'Cause no one in the school library is ever where the books are... heheh.

*sigh*

And there, around the corner, in no man's land, I found it. One small row of student studies. I think there were just four.

First one...?

Taken.

Second one...?

Taken.

Third one...?

EMPTY!
JACKPEEZY!

After cleaning up my pee puddle, I went in and got some awesome studying done.

The End.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Words of Wisdom for New Pirates

College. My return approches.

It’s only been a couple weeks since summer sessions, but I’m ready. Why?

I go to ECU!

Pirate Country, fool!

Slap somebody!

I’ll tell ya what: I hate school. I love East Carolina University.

I dunno, maybe I’m just biased (I am), but there’s something great about stepping on the ECU campus. I don’t believe in “energies” or anything like that, but whatever it is, you can feel it.

I look forward to it.

But one thing I've done over my break is step up my Twitter presence (follow me, fool!). I've been trying to connect with not only Greenville, but ECU students. And I've found a lot of incoming students. So I figured I'd do my part, as an experienced Pirate, and share a few things I feel new Pirates ought to know.

So, being the bum that I am, I took what was going to be a list of my favorite things about ECU, and turned it into a list of things new students ought to know about.

I'm a genius.

  1. Check your email constantly

    Yeah, I doubt it’s really ECU-specific, but good heavens! These teachers email you constantly – about really important stuff. Route it your phone, if you can. Don’t be surprised when you get emails telling you about homework assignments due the next day or classes cancelled that morning. It happens every semester. These teachers, like all teachers, are pure evil.

  2. Ride the “drunk bus”

    Do it. I’m not telling you to get drunk. I’m just telling you to ride the late bus on the weekend, with the people who are drunk. That's good times. Singing and dancing, puking, kissing on dares, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria! (sorry)

  3. Go to Christy’s

    Christy’s Euro Pub is a great place to hang out and chill. It’s on… um… Jarvis Street? Ask somebody, everybody knows it. If I loved you guys, I’d look this stuff up for you…

    Anyways, the hot dogs are bangin', great atmosphere, and it’s a pub. It's an all-around cool spot.
    Check out Christy's on Facebook and MySpace.

  4. Don’t wear your NC State gear

    I don't know, people just don’t seem to take kindly to it…

  5. Ignore the squirrels

    I know. They’re everywhere, they’re cute, and they're comfortable around people. That’s all very interesting. But they’re more intelligent than you, and if you threaten them, they will kill you and make it look like an accident. If you try to scare, catch or play with one of these beasts, and you wake up dead, under a tree, next to a banana peel, don’t say I didn’t warn you.


  6. Don't take math with online homework

    Worst idea, ever. I made this mistake once, and I'll never make it again. If your math teacher assigns homework and quizzes through MyMathLab, just drop it. Get another teacher.


  7. Remember Chanello’s

    Chanello’s Pizza is a great spot for close, cheap, late-night eats. And it’s good! They’re on Charles Blvd, right in front of Harris Teeter (easy walk from College Hill), and they’re open ‘til like, 3am. Did I mention it was cheap? And good?

  8. Don’t get shot

    Seriously. There's been a bit of a jump in violent crime, since spring semester. I know it seems like downtown is right next door (and it is), but don't let that fool you into thinking you're still on campus. Security has been ramped up, but still, just be careful.

  9. Ride your bike on the road, not on the sidewalk

    Don't do it. I’ll hate you.

  10. Learn to walk in heels, or don’t wear them

    Ladies. if you’re going to dress to impress and wear your heels downtown, learn how to walk in them. The only thing that looks worse than a hammered chick, clinging to the neck of her girlfriend, yelling at strangers on the street at 2am is a sober girl, carrying her own shoes. It’s just a sad sight.

Now, wasn't that educational?

Wait... I forgot one thing... If you're downtown and somebody from G-Vegas Magazine stops you and your friends, asking if you want to be in a picture - huddle. Huddle quickly. You don't wanna look like a "that guy" with your own friends. I've been there...


Have fun.
Be safe.
Study.


Oh, and uh... ARRRRRRRGH!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Critical Txts?

I've heard my father say that people are wasting too much time on their phones, these days. He feels that the time we spend talking on the phone or sending text messages (he doesn't even know about Twitter) would be better spent with our friends and family or doing what he calls, "critical thinking."

I can see where he's coming from. It bums me out, too, when we're trying to do something as a family and my mom gets a 10-minute phone call. And I feel pretty bad when he notices me tapping away at my phone while he's talking.
Whoops...

"Critical thinking" is what Dad calls devoting your full attention to one subject, like your future, and really pounding your brain. And there's no denying it - it's amazing what you can think up when you're really just thinking. It's so important that we take time to stop and think about our lives. It's so easy to live one day at a time, facing obstacles as we reach them, all the while, losing sight of our ultimate goals.

Think.
Think a lot.

After pondering that for a while, I found it fitting to devote some critical thought to this cell phone business...

And I've concluded that I don't see a problem with spending time on your phone, be it talking, texting, Facebook, Twitter, whatever. What matters is what you're doing and why.
Are you helping someone?
Are you sharing important information?
Are you listening to someone who needs an open ear?
Are you encouraging someone?
Heck - are you making money?

Those are things that really matter when they're done face-to-face, and I see no reason why doing them over the phone would diminish there value.

But if you're on your phone so you don't get bored waiting on your mocha, or because you haven't checked your email in half an hour, maybe you should just ignore it and devote your attention to your current situation. You could even try some critical thinking.


...says the guiltiest guy...


Friday, July 24, 2009

Sleep Is... How Would I Know?

I don't sleep much.

Generally speaking, it's on purpose. I've never been one to sleep for fun. I guess I never let go of the childish logic: awake is better than asleep. My thinking has always been that if I can stay awake all day without getting all cranky, I got enough sleep, and that sleeping any more than that would be a waste of time that I could use doing something fun. So I get about four to six hours a night. After six hours, I wake up on my own. I can go back to sleep if I want, I just can't convince myself to go to sleep early...

It doesn't bother me too much. It seems natural to resist sleep. Babies fight sleep with no capacity to provide any kind of reason. But I can't help but wonder if I live in some sub-normal state of existence...

I'm working on it...

...You guys see giraffes when you blink, too, right...?


Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Best of Michael Jackson

Sales of Michael Jackson's music have skyrocketed since his untimely death. Unfortunately, the two best-selling Michael Jackson albums have been greatest hits collections, followed by the album everyone has heard ("Thriller"). As glad as I am that new people are being exposed to his music, there's so much great stuff that people just won't find in those collections.

So, when I decided to make an iTunes iMix of my personal favorite Michael Jackson songs (oddly, ordered by album title), I decided I should share it. My favorites aren't exactly the world's favorites.

Does anybody ever buy iMixes? I doubt it. Regardless, I think it's a pretty cool way to publish a playlist and just making the list was fun, however difficult.

Check it out, if you want. Unless you're a die hard fan, there's probably something on there that you haven't heard.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

All Kids Are Liberals

Then half of them grow up.

...Now, for those of you still reading, let me tell you a story.

While eating dinner, yesterday, I thought of something to post on Twitter. I was a passing thought, but I thought it'd make a funny tweet:

"In preschool, my teacher said, "If you have two or more of something,
you should share." I've been a conservative ever since."

As I returned to my room, I realized how true that statement was. I was an exception to the rule. As a small child, I already held the basic belief on which my economic views are founded: people shouldn't be forced to share. That's something that stuck with me to present day.

Ownership.

The security of one's earnings and possessions.

The right to choose who to give to and how.


Yep, that's right. I was that kid who didn't share.

Say I have five of my favorite cookies - Oreos. Little (fictional) Joey wants one, so he asks for it. I say, "no." Now, Joey takes offense. He feels he's been wronged. I had five cookies, all to myself, and I wouldn't even let him have one!

My thinking was that the Oreos were mine. Joey didn't need them. So why should I give up something I have and want? I didn't owe it to him! Yeah, sure, it would be a kind gesture to give my friend something that would please him. But at the expense of my own pleasure? Give of myself to please him, just for the sake of making him happy...?

We ain't in love! It ain't his birthday!

Besides, I never, never, neeever asked for some of anyone else's food. Why would I? I had food. I wasn't gonna to go hungry. If they had my favorite cookies (Oreos - this has been established), that's good for them. I wasn't entitled to them, and I had no desire to short-change them for my own pleasure.


I had lunchroom arguments all the time, through elementary school and middle school (my mom packed good lunches), because I simply couldn't stand that people felt entitled to what I had, just because they wanted it.

Here's how one of those conversations would play out:

Joey: "Can I have a cookie?"

Me: "No..."

Joey: "Aw, come on, just
one!"

Me: "I said
noOo!"

"Why not?"

"'Cuz it's mine! You got food! Eat
your food!"

"Yeah, but you got
cooookies!"

"Yeah, I do! And I don't wanna gi'm away!"

"
Dukey-head!"

"Butt-face!"


Eventually, I learned that it was better to give a little something away, even if they didn't need it, rather than to have your friends have a conniption and call you "greedy," "stingy," or "dukey-head." You look like a jerk in front of everybody.

But, I didn't have much trouble in high school. When I pulled out my Altoids tin and all my friends' hands came out, I shared.


You may be thinking, "Wouldn't you want people to share with you?"

Not really.

I've pretty much hated asking people for things, my whole life. Like sharing, I've grown better at it. I've learned to accept offers when I think they're genuine and to ask for help, when I need it - sometimes.

Just know that if I ask you for a mint, it's because I know my breath stinks, and I'm doing you a favor. If I ask you for something more significant, I probably really need it, or I can't come up with any other reasonable way to remedy my situation.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Devastating

Outside of family and friends, no one could be harder to lose.

It's probably best that I don't talk much about it, online or elsewhere, because I wouldn't expect many to understand how I feel. But, like I always said, he's the best there ever was. To say "he'll be missed," would be an understatement. Especially coming from me.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Forgot to Bring My White Chicks to School

I was sitting in my jazz class when I realized that the Cloverfield monster was on my arm. After managing to get-get that-that bug off my shoulder, lose it, find it and kill it without making a (huge) scene, I checked my shirt. That's when I noticed that I was wearing my Vanessa Carlton t-shirt, which, of course, reminded me of this:


I totally left my White Chicks DVD at home! Then I went home, last weekend, and forgot it again... And before you suggest it, I'm not going to rent it and I'm not going to buy it, again.
I have principles...


"Well, Chris, what movies do you have at school?"
I'm glad you asked!
  • Back to the Future
  • Back to the Future Part II
  • Back to the Future Part III
  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
  • Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
  • Kylie Minogue: Body Language Live
  • Cloverfield
  • Coming To America
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning
  • The Dukes of Hazzard
  • Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd
  • Flash Point
  • Friday
  • The Glass House
  • Glass House: The Good Mother
  • I, Robot
  • The Karate Kid
  • The Karate Kid II
  • The Karate Kid Part III (Why'd they only use "part" for the third one?)
  • Money Talks
  • The Next Karate Kid
  • Pauly Shore is Dead
  • Return of the Ghostbusters
  • Sex and the City: The Movie
  • The Sweetest Thing
  • Tron
Now. Wasn't that educational? You know me so much better, now!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Almost Two Weeks and I'm Still Not Dead

I had my first test today. At least in my mind, that's a school milestone, even in the summer. So I figured I should take some time to reflect on how summer school has gone, so far.

Well, for one, squirrels outnumber the people on campus. It's actually pretty scary. Now, I'm sure I could defend myself from a squirrel (why else would they make these books so big?), but a joint attack could prove to be more than I could handle. Needless to say, I travel the campus with one eye watching my back and the other scanning for rocks and loose bricks in the sidewalk.

Also, there's nowhere to eat.

Well, there's one dining hall in operation, but it's open for like, two hours at a time. It's darned inconvenient, and frankly, it's interfering with my bathroom schedule. I get out of class at 12:45 and by then, it's time for me to drop the kids off at the pool. But dining hall lunch ends at 1:30. That'd be fine, but my kids' favorite pool is the complete opposite direction.

The worst thing, though, is the bunk bed in my dorm room. I am fairly certain it will kill me.

See, I'm in a room by myself, but I still have both beds. And I can't sleep on the bottom bunk. I've tried laying under there. I look up and I can see the top bunk descending, like a trash compactor.

The top bunk? 34 feet off the ground. And it's only a matter of time before I fall off. My worst fear is that I'll wake up on the way down, just in time to make a few futile grasps at my bedsheets and regret not living to see Tron 2.0 before meeting my bloody, mangled doom.

Classes are goin' okay, though.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back to School

I don't even like Kanye West. And I'm pretty sure he'd get whooped somethin' fierce if he went to school with a Luis Vuitton backpack.

Whatever. When I thought, "back to school," two images came to mind: that picture of Kanye and Rodney Dangerfield in a bath robe.
You get Kanye.

School... Right! I'm going back. If you'd keep up, you would remember that I took a break. A mental health series-of-months, if you will. I just needed to clear myself of responsibility for a while and spend a few months freeballin' in my PJs.*

I worked. A little. If you could call it work. But other than that, freeball, baby!*

If I had to sum up my vacation in five words, they would be...
Star
Sleep
Twitter
Trek
StreetFighter IV

Alas, I grow tired, and I'm ready for summer!
-school.

Yep, yep. As big of shocker as it is, I'm about to go to monkey-fightin' school in the Monday-to-Friday summer! Dude, I never thought it'd be me. See, much like Wiis in old folks' homes and Rihanna gettin' rocked like she slapped Mike Tyson, I thought the concept of going to school during the summer was effing hilarious - until I realized it actually happened.

This post was about nothing.

*I wore underwear. Cereally.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Twitter - Plain and Simple

Some have said that Twitter could be "the next Facebook." I say, it pretty much is, now. Twitter is all over the news, all kinds of big businesses and famous people are promoting their accounts, and in visits, it grew 131% in March, alone. But it seems like many of the people I talk to haven't checked it out, and it's mainly because they don't see the point.

Truth be told, I had to play with Twitter for a bit before I "got it." And normally, that's what it would take to understand it: time. So I decided to try lay it out for those to whom it doesn't make sense.


What Is Twitter?

140 character messages, called "updates" or "tweets." You write them, you receive them. That's Twitter. Your canvas is as clear as that explanation is simple.

Your home page is just a feed made up of these tweets, with a couple tabs for navigation. Note: you only receive tweets from profiles you choose to follow.

What sets Twitter apart from other social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace (other than simplicity) is it's one-sided relationships. When you find a Twitter profile of someone whose tweets you'd like to add to your home feed, click "Follow." The profile you've followed doesn't have to like, follow or even know you. That way, everyone's home feed can be tailor-fitted to their own tastes and their own needs.


What's it For?

This is best part: Twitter is for whatever you want it to be. Contrary to what you may have heard (or even seen), Twitter is not just made up of people talking about the mundane happenings of their life. Sure, there are plenty of people on Twitter that tweet about those things (and that's fine, because the people who follow them want to hear it), but Twitter is packed with all kinds of content! National and local news networks, your favorite websites and print magazine, actors, musicians, professionals in various fields - they're all on Twitter.

From CNN Breaking News
to NFL Football, from Lil' Wayne to Governor Schwarzenegger, from The Tyra Banks Show to GameTrailers, from Miley Cyrus to President Obama. You name it, they're on Twitter, or on their way. Twitter is breaking into the mainstream right now, and all the media figures and outlets who didn't think they needed a Twitter profile are realizing that they do.

And while the idea of using Twitter for news may sound crazy, at first, the fact is, when disasters and other big events take place, Twitter's searchable content, made by real people makes for a fast, one-of-a-kind source for all kinds of information. In fact, one of Twitter's claims to fame is that the first decent picture of the Hudson River plane crash made it's way around Twitter before the press could manage to snap one.


What Do I Tweet About?
Whatever you want! Share your thoughts and observations, share knowledge and expertise, promote your website or blog, share your music or artwork, share links and pictures, or just talk about your day. Y
ou can hide your tweets from strangers, if you'd like. Heck, you don't have to tweet at all, if you don't want to. It doesn't matter. I hate to say something as cliche as, "the possibilities are endless," but as for the possibilities, they don't end.

Twitter also makes for easy communication between users by means of "replies." Just place "@yourfriendsname" anywhere in your tweet and not only does it operate as a link for your follower, the indicated user will find your tweet in a special tab for just such messages.

Twitter's creators seem devoted to keeping the platform as simple as possible (according to them, they don't even make money), which would appeal to those frustrated with the changes other social networks have made in the past. But Twitter's "keep it simple" mindset has opened the door for all kinds of outside developers to make tools to enhance your Twitter experience.


Things I've Learned About Twitter

The Motivations for Using Twitter
In my experience, I've found that there are three basic types of Twitter users. There are those who feel like they have something to offer to the twitterverse or just like to know someone's listening. Others that care more about what they read on Twitter than what they write, using Twitter as a tool to find and receive information. And then there are those who use Twitter to communicate, socializing with new people, keeping up with their friends, and networking with professionals.


Who Gets Lots of Followers
Let's face it, regardless of the reason people use Twitter, most of them would like to have a lot of followers. In my experience, I've found that if you want a lot of followers, you have to be one of these three things:

Professionals
I use this term loosely, to describe anyone makes themselves valuable by providing content to their followers. They could be a successful businessperson doling out tips, a media outlet posting update, a comedian who tells jokes, or a political pundit relaying his or her observations. Maybe they're Perez Hilton.

Reciprocal Followers
This is someone who follows others hoping to be followed in return. On Twitter, following strangers is common and appreciated, and a lot of people will follow you back. If you keep at it, there's really no limit to the number of followers you can get.

Celebrities
Oprah Winfrey, Neil Gaiman, Diddy, Ryan Seacrest - anyone who has built up a following outside of Twitter. Celebrities are people who get the following of a professional without necessarily providing professional information. People find value in their tweets because of who they are. These people have the the best of both worlds: they get to speak to huge followings while still keeping a personalized home feed.


Misconceptions About Twitter

"It's like Facebook status"
It's no secret that Facebook's recent update to it's News Feed layout were an attempt to make it more like Twitter, but Twitter's rapid growth over the last month shows that people don't see them the same way. Generally speaking, people who relate Twitter to Facebook's status updates do so in a negative tone, because Facebook's Status updates usually aren't interesting. Do you really care when the guy from your class, three years ago, goes to the gym?

Twitter is structured for communication to people you want to hear and don't necessarily know. Remember, following is a one-way connection. So, if you must relate Twitter to Facebook status updates, think of it as status updates from any and all interesting people. And, like I said, only some people on Twitter are posting updates like, "is glad class is over." There's a welcoming place for that on Twitter, but it's also entirely avoidable.

"I'd have to use my phone"
Now, Twitter can be updated and viewed via texts, mobile web and mobile phone applications, and it often is. And as someone who makes 30% of his updates from his phone, I can't pretend like that's not an awesome way to do it. But it should also be noted that I'm an addict and need help.

Overall, Twitter is primarily accessed by computer, through Twitter.com and third-party applications like desktop clients and Firefox plugins. And, like other social networks, you only have to be as involved at you want. You can duck in and out of Twitter just like you can Facebook or MySpace.

"It's stalkerish"
Twitter is as safe as you make it. If you'd like, you can lock your tweets, so you get to approve each of your followers. And of course, you can simply refrain from posting anything private.


Did you think this post gave you a better idea of what Twitter is and what it's for? Do you think you're more likely to check it out?
If you use Twitter, did this post do a good job explaining the basics?

Leave a comment and let me know. And if you like it, share it!


Monday, April 27, 2009

I Ain't Answerin' That Phone!

I'm not talking about my phone! Don't be silly. I'm talking about the land line.

"Land line" refers to a phone that's not mobile. I know that sounds retarded, bare with me. They're connected to the wall and you have to use them in the building. These are not to be confused with the "man line," a neanderthalic communication method involving the passing of messages through relayed club strike patterns (also known as "ow-turn-ow").

In this house, it rings all day, every day. I don't answer it. It's never for me. Mom gets pretty upset about it, cause she's always out. But hey, I shouldn't even be in this house. The answering machine takes better messages than me, anyway (I don't remember crap, and I don't write).


This is what happens when I do answer the phone:

"Hello?"

"Hi [my dad's name], this is-"

"It's Chris."

"Oh... Hey Chris! Wow, you sound just like your father, did you know that?"

::rolleyes:: "Yeah, I guess I do..."

"Now, I thought you were in school?"

::facepalm:: "Yeah, I'm taking a break this semester..."

"Oh," ::disappointed tone:: "well, um, is your mom home?"

"Um, no." You think I'd be answering the phone if she was?!

"Well, can you take a message?"

"Yeah, sure. One sec."

"Okay."

::two steps to the left, two steps to the right:: "...Ready."

"I was callin' 'bout some bull$#!%. But you ain't gonna remember none of it, cuz you 'ont write $#!% if it ain't gettin' graded."

"...Okay. Got it."

"Well, alright. Thanks Chris."

"Yep."


I don't answer the door either. Nobody ever comes to see me! Chances are, they want to raise money for the fire department, sell Girl Scout cookies or share their religion.
Get outta here with that crap!
I don't wanna hear that!

I oughta rig the doorbell to electrocute people. Let's see those little girls step up to my door with a porch full of fricasseed Mormons!

Booyah!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Most Movies Suck! ...Yeah, I Said It

I've openly admitted "I have the movie tastes of a 13-year-old boy." It's true for movies and it's true for television, and I've often wondered why. Maybe I'm immature. Maybe I'm heartless. Maybe I'm the only sane person left on Earth and everyone else is amused by crap. One thing's for sure: There aren't many movies that entertain me. I've recently realized that if I stopped going to movies with friends for the sake of being with friends, I'd go to the theater two or three times a year.

My plan for 2009: "Star Trek," "Transformers 2." A few other movies look interesting, but not enough for me to make an effort to see them. And it's not that I don't care for movies, either. I'm a "talk about the movie for six months, see the midnight showing even if it means going alone, probably go back twice" type of guy. I'm just picky.

I've often said that if a movie's not exciting or funny, it's not entertaining. Well, I often think it, anyway. I understand that's not how most people see it, but I can't get behind most of the other stuff - it bores me out of my mind. But now, I've realized that even most of the movies that people people find funny and exciting make me wanna facebullet.

While I could be positive and write about movies that I love, I've decided to rant for a bit and talk about the movies I hate most. If you're going to sit me in front one of these movies, do me a favor - just kick me in the nuts and call it day. It'll be a lot less painful for me and it'll save time for both of us...

The "man runs with gun" movie
A police officer, secret agent, spy, mobster, soldier, or retired one of the above finds himself in a "web of deception" which leads to approximately 120 minutes of angry-face dialogue, foot chases, missed gunshots, fists slamming on tables, an exploding car, at least one police interrogation, and the hero finding out his wife/girlfriend is tied up somewhere.
These movies are easy to spot and avoid as they're invariably indicated by a man running with a gun in their trailers and commercials.

The "normal kids in an awkward situation" comedy
Typically "buddy movies," these films find a totally normal teenager and his or her friend(s) in an everyday situation such as boredom, a party, high school, being broke or just Friday, which leads to a not quite extraordinary adventure full of painfully awkward conversations, run-ins with goons, cops, gangsters or all of the above, chaos in a convenience store, and someone losing their virginity. Now, to be fair, the 80's and 90's were full of awesome movies like this (far too many to count), but as of late, it seems that someone sucked the funny out of all of them and pumped them full of "aw, that's cute."
Spare me.

The "triumph of the human spirit" movie
Yes, she's gonna die.

The "Academy Award-Winning Drama"
Often "man runs with gun" or "triumph of the human spirit" movies, these films find real people in a real-life, yet uncommon situation. The story revolves around some who plays a musical instrument, competes in a sport, goes to war, is poor, is gay, is retarded or has cancer. Someone watches the sun set. Someone dies. Someone has uber-dramatic sex. I slip into a catatonic state.

The "horse and sword" movie
Some genius decides to take life, strip away everything cool - ever - and make a movie about horses and swords. Happens all the time.
What to watch for in the trailer: Epic music, a man yelling the word "war," people riding around on pets and dueling with primitive weapons. If you're having trouble visualizing it, it looks like this:
It's no wonder they like to put magic in those movies...

The horror movie
I really don't have much to say here. If a horror movie isn't scary, it's just boring. If it is scary, then it's scary, and I just don't see how that's fun.


Of course, as with everything else in life, nothing is set in stone. There's always the "coolness" factor. Any movie of any genre can be "cool," and for that reason I'm sure I could find some movie I like from each of those categories. But as a general rule, these are the types movies I try to avoid.

What kinds of movies do you hate?


Friday, April 17, 2009

I Almost Bought a Pair of Shorts

Like many a dull day, I found myself browsing Old Navy. I saw some hoodies. Didn't dig 'em. Whatever.

I saw some cargo shorts for $20.

Now, I've been considering wearing shorts for some time, now. I've been trying since New Year's to broaden my hori-... that's so cliche... I've been trying to expand my wardrobe. So far, I've bought a pair of sandals and a jacket.

Baby steps.

See, I'm the kind of guy who could happily live in a cartoon. If I didn't have to worry about my clothes being clean, or people thinking they weren't, I'd totally wear my favorite shirt and pants every day. So, it's not surprising that I wear jeans and a t-shirt all the time.

Some time in middle school, I decided I liked jeans, and I've simply never felt like changing. If you know me, personally, there's a good chance you've never seen me in a pair of shorts. I'm in jeans, every single day. On special occasions, I bust out my single pair of khakis. I have some black dress pants, too. I bought them for a funeral, two years ago, and I doubt I'll wear them again until someone else dies.

Well today, for some unknown reason, in Old Navy, I grabbed two pair of cargo shorts and took them to the dressing room. I really can't explain it. I just did it. And I have to say, when I stood in front of that mirror, separated from the cozy denim security pants I had grown so comfortable in, I really liked what I saw...

Then I put the shorts on. They looked pretty good, but not good enough for me to buy them. We'll see what happens.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back to the Future: Part IV

I had a dream last night, that I was writing a script for "Back To The Future: Part IV."

See, in my dream, Universal Studios was waiting on my script, cause it was gonna be awesome. I was confident that my script would be a huge success, but I took my time finishing it up. That is, until I received a phone call informing me that Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd, was writing his own script with intention of submitting it first.

That bastard wanted to steal my movie!

Confident that my movie would be better than his, I wrote feverishly to finish my script before that old coot finished his. Now, with a fire under my tail, I had the motivation I needed to focus and finish my script.

I woke before I finished my script, but it was still quite an exciting dream.


Here's the truth: I am writing a "Back to the Future: Part IV," for fun. I've actually had it planned out for quite some time, now. I've really kept it under wraps because too many times I've talked about a story I was writing, then left it unfinished. See, I have this never ending desire to create a masterful story. I start off wanting to write a story, then try to come up with one, then try to write. Eventually I realize I never cared about the story or it's characters in the first place and I trash the whole thing. It was easier when teachers made me do that stuff...

What makes this story different is that the concept hit me first. I immediately fell in love with the idea, but for the longest time I told myself that writing fan fiction was silly, that I'd be piggybacking on someone else's work and that no one would care to read it because it wasn't official. But the idea just wouldn't let me forget he was there. I couldn't let it go of it. I eventually realized that I needed this story to exist, for me, whether or not anyone else would like it, or even read it.

I've only got a little bit written in , but the timeline is entirely laid out. The plot, the characters, all kinds of details - it's all there, in about 5 pages of notes. I've got a couple tiny kinks to work out, but I think the concept behind it is, well, it's just fantastic. It's exciting, it's fun, and it takes "Back to the Future" into new territory without abandoning the past. Most importantly, it's firmly rooted in the existing story, as opposed to just tacking something random onto the end of it.

Don't think less of me for writing fan fiction. It's true, what they say: you have to care about something to create it. I love "Back to the Future." And the beautiful thing about writing is that if you want a story to exist (or in this case, continue), you can simply make it so...

If you have any questions you wanna ask about the story or what's in it, feel free to leave a comment. I'll try to answer them as best I can without giving away anything big.

Do stories have trailers? Psh, they do now. I'll totally be writing a trailer for this.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

If I Were Rich And Famous...

Just some thoughts of things I would do if I were rich and famous.
Let's see... I could...


Fund/support a sequel movie that probably wouldn't be made otherwise. Bill & Ted 3, The Last Dragon 2, a Sliders movie...

Write a book. Even if it sucked, people would buy it.

Weasel my way into the next Ninja Turtles movie. I wanna be a pizza delivery guy or something.

I'd have an office, even if it wasn't necessary, and I'd hire Pam Beasly as my receptionist. And I don't mean that I would break reality and hire a fictional television character, but that I would pay the actual actress, Jenna Fischer, enough to quit "The Office" and become my real-life receptionist. I'd hang out in my office all the time, listening to music and playing video games. My office would have a window with no blinds, so when I told Jenna I was to busy to see someone, that someone would be able to see into my office to know that Playstation is more important than they are.

Hang with Vanilla Ice. ...Heck, I could probably do that now...

Laugh all the way to the bank.

Hang out with Pauly Shore at The Comedy Store.

I'd fly all my friends out to party with me in LA. I'd take them out to the hottest club where I'd get into an intentional argument (and subsequent fistfight) with a famous, yet harmless rapper (like Soulja Boy or Bow Wow). Then I'd have my body guards rush all my friends out the back exit and drive them back to the hotel where they'd sit and wonder if I was okay.
I would return, hours later, bloodied and bruised, clothing tattered, and simply say, "I'm sorry you guys had to see that..."

Slap Timbaland for ruining Nelly Furtado. Plus, you know, he just seems like a douche bag...

Hire a cook so I can have a fridge full of drinks and condiments like the guys on MTV Cribs.

Buy absolutely everything from the merchandise stores of every band/musician I love.

Go to the "New Moon" premiere - and heckle it 'til I get thrown out (shouldn't take long).

Run for President. It'd take a ton of deception for someone as conservative as myself to win, but it'd be worth it so I could turn crap around.

Host a late night talk show where I talk frankly with the guests, telling them how much they suck as an actor or how lame their last album was. If the musical guest sucked, a "Showtime at the Apollo" siren would sound and a tap dancing clown would come out with a cane and drag them off-stage. Of course, celebrities would stop coming on the show and I would be reduced to ranting over a laugh track, and eventually to YouTube.

Wait 20 years, then start a sitcom. ALF crash lands at Jim and Pam Halpert's house and lives with their family. ALF and Jim? Imagine the dialogue!

Go on The Oprah Winfrey Show and wear this shirt:


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Don't Do Much

I'm nearing the end of my one-semester hiatus. I'll be headed back to school in just weeks. And you know what? I'm kind of excited. I've loved my break and I did need it. But the truth is, I haven't done much. I've just been working, hanging out with friends and blogging way less than I should.

To be honest, I've spent many, many days in my pajamas. Don't get me wrong, those are some of my favorite days. I like going out and doing fun things as much as the next guy, but there's nothing in the world quite like waking up at noon and spending the day playing video games and watching Star Trek.

The thing is, when I think about my real accomplishments during this break, I start drawing blanks....

- I laid out the timeline of a new story (Maybe I'll write this one...)
- I picked up twitter (ain't that productive?)
- I, uh, bought a lot of CDs.
- I bought Rainbows.
- I had that country music thing.
- *ehem*
- I played a lot of Street Fighter.
- I read half a book.
- I can has cheezburger.

I suppose it's time to let someone make me accomplish something...


Sunday, March 29, 2009

What the #!%$ Sheetz?!

Yesterday, I stopped at Sheetz on the way to work. I ordered a croissant with bacon, egg and cheese, a hash brown (is it singular if it's just one chunk?) and a cup of coffee. I got my food, got in the car and left.

As I took my first bite, I was reminded of a story...

Somewhere out in the vastness of space, light-years away, exists a planet inhabited by a sentient, intelligent race of beings much like ours. On that planet, lives a man named Charlie. Charlie was a single guy with no friends and no family of his own. He worked a mindless desk job, saving money, so he could move out of his parent's house. Until today.

Charlie was fired. Fighting tears, he packed all his belongings into a box and left the office. As he stepped outside the building, he received a phone call from his father. "I don't know how to tell you this," Charlie's father said, "so I'll just say it. Charlie, your mother passed away this morning and I have a terminal cancer." Charlie dropped his phone and his box of office supplies on the sidewalk, fell to his knees and wept by the side of the road.

As Charlie wallowed in misery, a small girl walked around the corner. The girl looked to be about six years old and wore a pink dress with an enormous white bow on the back.

She stopped, looked at Charlie. "Hey mister?," she asked with a black stare, "Why are you crying?" Charlie struggled to regain his composure before replying, "My mother's dead... my father, my father is dying and I- I just lost my job."

"Gee, that's too bad," the girl replied with a typical, childlike lack of concern. She glanced up, then down the sidewalk, teetering back and forth on her heels and toes. "I have an idea!"

Charlie, still on his knees, looked into the girl's eyes with sheer desperation. He had nothing, and while this little girl didn't seem to understand his pain, deep down in the pit of his soul, a part of him prayed that maybe, just maybe, what this small child had to say could offer some semblance of relief. Perhaps a childish proverb, maybe even a joke. Something that could bring him a smile, even if only for a second.

"Here!," the girl squealed giddily as she reached behind her back. She pulled out a small handgun, shot Charlie in both knees, stomped him in the nuts, slapped him twice, took his wallet and skipped away.

Charlie never made a sound. Eyes wide, and mouth gaping, he sat in a pool of his own knee-blood. With nothing left in the world, Charlie turned his eyes to the sky. And just as he did, the clouds covering the sun began to part. A shimmering ray of light broke through the clouds and shined down on Charlie. As the warmth washed over his face, Charlie actually began to feel a bit better. I mean, his knees hurt like hell, and so did his nuts, but he found something comforting to grasp onto. Charlie knew that no matter what happened in his life or the world around him (or to his nuts), he would always have the glorious, majestic sun that comfort him.

Then the sun exploded.


That's what it felt like when I realized Sheetz forgot my effing bacon!

Seriously Sheetz, wtf?


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Let It Ride!

You all know that every attempt at humor has a buy in. It's a gamble, a roll of the dice. No matter how well you think you know somebody, a joke, prank or witticism can always fall flat - or worse, offend. It's risky, but it's worth it!

Personally, I like the witticism. That is my domain. I'm not saying that mine are exceptionally funny (or even better than Michael Scott's). I just mean that's what I do. I like droppin' one-liners relating to the situation or conversation at hand. Something happening triggers a humorous (I think) thought and I let it out.

Now, before you get all "OMGIWANNABELIKECHRISCAUSEHESSODARNRADICAL!" and try throwing quips out all willy-nilly, you oughtta know this ain't no nancy-pants, Radio-Disney, Thomas-The-Tank-Engine, Wall-E-finds-a-plant, bullsh-... *ehem*... *ehem*... Suffice it to say, it's a high-stakes game. Part of what makes it tricky is that it has to be quick. So much so, that you hardly have time to question whether it will be effective, appropriate or offensive, because the window is so small! You've gotta think it through, but you need to act swiftly. You don't want the first response to be, "Wow, how long'd it take you to come up with that one...? :rolleyes:"

Another issue is that there's no setup; there's no warning for the audience. If you were to say, "You guys wanna hear a joke?," or "Hey, I got a joke for ya," the listener would know that you were gonna to try to say something funny, and they could prepare to fake accordingly. I mean, looking pitiful is better than looking foolish. But that's a luxury you don't have with the witticism. It puts your pride on the table because you're going to get an immediate, and probably honest response. If the line sucks, you're gonna get blank stares or rolled eyes, if you don't laughed at (the bad kind of "laughed at").

Well... that's enough about the method. Let's just say you succeed. Say you slip in a one-liner or a friendly zinger and the people laugh. Happy happy, joy joy! But it's not over. Now you're faced with two choices: You can cash out, pat yourself on the back and let the conversation return to normal, or... let it ride!

What do I mean by "let it ride?" Follow it up! Strike again while the iron's still hot! Drop another line, or try something based on the reaction your first one. After all, unlike in the casino, the stakes are lower after you win one. It's like they say, "it is better to have laughed and lost then never to have laughed at all" (I am so sorry).

That's not to say it's not a gamble, though. You'll always have your first winner, but you still run the risk of killing the moment. Who knows? You might get two or three good ones in before you fall on your face. You just have to play it smart and know when to cash out.

My problem? I always let it ride! I can't resist. It's like I've got onetoomany disease! I just can't leave funny enough alone, because I always think I can top it. And even if I do top it, I just try to top it again. I keep going 'til I hear the crickets chirping, bringing with them that awkward moment of regret in which I say to myself, "One too many..."

*sigh*

But hey, with any kind of joke, you take a risk at looking foolish. And that's a risk we must take! We're human beings, Bob Saget! And as human beings, wisecracks and fart jokes aren't just abilities, they're responsibilities! Because without humor, we're nothing more than monkeys with iPods. So man up, step up and ante up!


...You know what? I just pictured monkey shadows with iPods dancing to "Viva La Vida," over technicolor backgrounds, and I can't lie, that's funnier than most of the stuff I think up...


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

*Sigh* ...Facebook, Facebook, Facebook...


Yes, yes, I know I'm late on the whole Facebook fiasco. But that's because I just now realized how bad the situation was!

As you may know, Facebook recently attempted to buy Twitter. Well, as popular as Facebook is, the guys just haven't found a way to make much money off of it (if you think Facebook has a lot of ads, take a moment and revisit MySpace). It's my understanding that Facebook offered to come up with the funds by selling off it's own stock, and the folks at Twitter just weren't convinced it was worth enough.

Facebook's answer? If you can't join 'em, beat 'em!

...wait, no, that sounds retarded...

No, no, that's right. Zuckerburg & Friends decided the best course of action would be to mimic Twitter. I guess they figured that if they could duplicate Twitter, Facebook users won't see a purpose in using both services. Sounds good, right? It did to me; I love Twitter. I think hearing about the day-to-day thoughts and activities of others is interesting. I was itching to get my hands on the new layout to see if it truly served the purpose of Twitter.

Unfortunately for Facebook, the layout failed on all counts. It's confusing to navigate, it's no replacement for Twitter and they completely ignored the fact that most Facebook users had no interest in Twitter. As a result, they've thrust updates like "Getting ready for work," "I hate my life," and "I just made cookies from scratch, YUMMM!," into the faces of people who really, really don't care.

Twitter's "follow" system provides a medium for the user to send messages to whoever has decided to receive them. It's a one-way relationship, unlike Facebook's "friends." If a user doesn't want to see updates like "I just farted in class. I hope nobody smells it," then they won't follow people who post those things. What Facebook implemented was pure imitation - good imitation - but in a setting in which it just doesn't fit. Most people on Facebook aren't connected to their "friends" because we want to hear every tiny detail about their lives. Facebook users want an easy way to send messages, network and share pictures and videos with their friends and family, not an up-to-the-minute newscast featuring every friggin' person they know.

"Microblogging" isn't for everyone. It's not for most people. Hell, it's hardly for many people!

But that's enough talk. I wasn't even going to post about this, until it was brought to my attention exactly how epic this failure truly is. A new application, New Layout Vote (not created by Facebook) serves the purpose of a simple "yes or no" poll. I added the app, I posted my two cents in the comment area and I voted. What I saw next was nothing short of stunning:



That fail is about as epic as Superman and Chuck Norris fighting on the surface of the sun...

Despite knowing that most people hate it, I'll still ask: What you think of the new layout?


Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Hey, It's Me... Call Me Back!"

Mustard, mayonnaise, voicemail - to hell with all of them...

Now, while I could spend all day explaining why mustard and mayonnaise deserve eternal damnation (and I just might), I think it's best that I stick to the subject of voicemail, for now.

See, the thing about voicemail is that it started innocently. It was an answering machine for your cell phone. It was intended to be a convenience and, for some, it is. People get to talk to you when you're not able to talk to them. Sounds great!

Wheee! *candy, giggles and playful wedgies*

There are even some people out there who won't even return a call unless you leave them voicemail. "If was that important, they would have left a message."

Well, I'm not that popular.

Frankly, I don't get phone calls every week day (Mom excluded). Phone calls are like Christmas, so I always return the ones I miss and I never turn my phone off (so I get my "missed call" notices). If I see that I have a voicemail, I'll most likely just call you back and delete your message later. That is, unless I'd rather hear your message than actually talk to you. But surely you're not one of those people.

My real problem with voicemail is that rarely does anyone ever say anything important. 90% of my voicemail messages are one of these:
"Hey, it's ____. I was just calling to see what you were doing. Call me back!"
"Hey, it's ____. Call me back!"
or worst of all,
"Hey, it's ____. *story of my day*"

It's enough to make a guy try The Joker's pencil trick on himself.
*Wham!*

By this point, you may be wondering why I don't just cancel the service, altogether. Well, despite all I hate about voicemail, there is a justifiable reason for someone like me to have the service. There have been cases (rare, once in a green moon cases), in which people simply call to relay a message. They don't need a response. When I can't answer the phone, they say everything they need to say in a voicemail message. I love these people. I wish nothing but happiness and large tax refunds for these people. They leave the messages I don't mind listening to.

Of course, text messaging easily serves that purpose, and if you have my number, you're free to text me as much as you'd like. Of course, many (if not most) people don't use the service, due to it's additional fees, which is totally understandable.

So, for future reference, just call. As long as it rings, I'll call you back. Honest.

...Unless I hate you.

And for no good reason, I leave you with this:


Friday, March 6, 2009

"It's All Over But the Crying"

The time has come for me to bid farewell to the only drama I've ever cared about: Kyle XY. Last night I watched Monday's episode (the longest I've ever waited to watch it). Things had seemed to have escalated over the last few episodes, so I was excited to see this one. That is, until the TV whipped out its Glock and shot me right between the eyes. After a commercial break, a message popped up at the bottom of my screen.
It read,

You are watching Kyle XY
The Final Episodes

The show's terrible fate was brought to my attention during what was easily it's most emotional, tear-jerking episode. I cried like a baby. Not typical, but I'd like to think it was partly because I just had a cancel bomb dropped in my lap. I've never been attached to a drama like this. I don't really even watch drama's. I like shows and movies that are either funny or exciting. Watching people deal with real-life situations that I can relate to? Not what I would normally consider entertaining. But Kyle XY had me hooked from episode one. It was a mystery story. "Who is Kyle XY?" It made me care. Every revelation was only further whet my appetite. Forget Tivo! Throughout the show's three seasons, I watched every episode, live, with the exception of maybe three or four.

Captivated.

But slowly, Kyle XY turned from mystery-drama into a full-blown teen drama, complete with backstabbing, hook-ups, break-ups, and montages backed by indie rock ballads. What's much more surprising is that the show means as much to me now, as it always has. And now that the show has been canceled and only two episodes remain, I feel... well, I feel violated, to be honest.

I allowed it. I admit that. I accept that. But that fictional world has become a larger part of my life than I anticipated. It's people, stories and relationships don't exist, but they matter to me. I care about the futures of these characters. I'm genuinely concerned about their lives. I share their hopes. I cheer in their triumph. I wince at their pain.

And that's how they make their money.

Kinda sick.

I have to assume, as strange as it seems to me, that this is a common situation for other people. For people to enjoy dramatic stories, they must allow some level of attachment, right? And when that story ends, they have to deal with it. Right?

Damn...


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"I Can Be Better. I Will Be Better."

Sometimes, it honestly feels like I'm the last person on Earth who can write...

I should note, as I begin, that this post sounds painfully arrogant. For that, I apologize. There's a humble conclusion, I assure you.

I've just rewritten this letter that somebody at church threw together. I'm shocked that whoever wrote this letter actually has a job writing letters. It looks like the writer decided to string together a bunch of cliche, "feed the children" infomercial lines until she got bored. I sincerely hope the writer was just in a huge hurry. Maybe she was in labor or something...

It reminded me of every English class I ever took, listening to students read their terrible papers in front in classes. They treated the English language like a toddler treats paper - they tore it up and chewed on the pieces while I resisted the paternal urge to run over and pull it out of their mouths before they choked on it.

In middle school English class, I felt like my schedule got swapped with a special needs kid's. High school? Same deal. By the time I got to college, I just decided that no one else was really trying. To be fair, I spent my first year of college at Hood School, where the girls just wanted to get married and the guys' career plans consisted of "gettin' paid," and little else. Now that I'm looking at the real world, reading columns in magazines and newspapers, I'm coming to the realization that the writing world really is full of idiots.

Nah, I'm playin'.

While it does seem that too many writers either don't know what they're doing or they're trying way to hard to sound smart, that's not what this is about. This is all about me. See, for as long as I can remember, I've been told that I was a "great writer," "very talented," or "really blessed," and that my career should be in writing. Now, when you hear things like that from teachers, friends and employers, it only makes sense that you would put special effort into honing that skill. But the truth is, I never did. I never tried. I wrote all my papers at the last minute, did almost no recreational writing, and only made a solid effort when there was a prize involved. One week, my teacher would be reading my paper to the class as an example of excellence, next I'd get a handwritten note telling me that I didn't even try. It didn't bother me, either. They way I saw it, and effortless 'B' beat a hard 'A,' any day.

I called myself the "King of BS" (not out loud, mind you), because I would consistently earn passing grades on research papers without doing any research and book reports without reading the book. Wow the teacher with English and they'll lose their focus on content. Works everywhere but History class (those teachers only care about names and dates).

Enough about that. I'm beginning to sound like a D-bag. My point is this: I haven't been trying and I regret it. I've taken the one craft I truly feel I could excel in and squandered all the time specifically designated for studying it. For the past year or so, I've considered writing as a career but I really don't feel that I'm good enough. Maybe I am "talented," or "blessed." Could be. But I'm certainly not skilled. I've put forth the bare minimum, and shamelessly so.

I feel a bit like Hancock. He was a super-powered person who did heroic things, but he wasn't superhero. He did what he needed to do, but he did so haphazardly, with no concern as to whether he was reaching his potential, being the superhero he could have been.

Now I feel like what I really need is for a professional to sit and teach me the ropes. I want someone who knows what he's doing to look at my work and say, "This is okay but this sucks. Fix this." And as many of you know, I'm mulling over the idea of switching my major to journalism. Don't ask me what they teach journalism majors, but I sure hope is "how to write." If I decide to do that, I swear, I'll try.

Until the time that decision is made, I'm gonna try this: I'm going to try, right here. I'm going to proofread my posts. I'm going to try to write them in more than one sitting. I'm going to consider how they make me look, before I post them. I am going to take everything I have learned about writing and utilize it. It's time for me to start flexing my literary muscles and working them 'til they burn.

"You deserve better from me. I can be better. I will be better."
Stick with me, people. Right around the corner lies a whole new "Box of Peanuts."


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Everything Happens for a Reason

...Or does it? It's a good question. At least, I thought it was. My poll, which plainly posed the question: "Everything Happens for a Reason - True or False," got 11 votes over the course of about 30 days. The results came out 6 to 5 - so they're pretty much worthless :)

Regardless of the small margin, the votes were in favor of "True." I really was curious, because I've heard the statement made a million times. But now that I have the answer, I can't help but wonder, what leads you to believe it?

It's a heavily-weighted, worldview-shaping belief. Your answer to this question is about as big as religion. It affects the way you react to world events, the actions of others, and your own fortune or misfortune. It's not something that should be taken lightly, and it's not a question that should be answered with little consideration.

So I'm going to pose another question:

"Why?"

Whether or not you believe that "everything happens for a reason," regardless of whether you voted in the poll, I'm going ask you to explain yourself. What makes you believe that this old saying is or isn't true?


Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Country Music

I'm a firm believer in the notion that a person can learn to love anything. Food, activities, family. We grow up with it, we get used to it and eventually, we love it. Music is no different. It's no coincidence that people in the south love country music and it's not additives in the water that gives us all a soft spot for our parent's music. We listen to what we like, but we like what you listen to. I'm confident that if you were hear enough of that one genre you never seemed to get into, you'll find something to love about it. But we rarely tolerate music that's different long enough to figure out why other people like it so much.

There's one that you hear all the time:
"What kind of music do you listen to?"
"Oh, I listen to pretty much everything, except country."

I was one of 'em. The stuff just turned me off. The sound, the vocals, the lyrics - I wanted nothing to do with it. But hey, I felt the same way about pop.

Really, though, that's fine. It's not like those who prefer stay within a couple genres run out of music to listen to. They're happy. I was happy when all I listened to was rock, or as Dad called it, "bang-your-head-on-the-wall music." It took a rock band covering a pop song to open my eyes to pop. Did I do myself a favor by exploring other genres, like country? ...Meh, I don't think it really makes a difference. It sure is fun! But I was never discontent with my music collection. I never felt like anything was missing.


My relationship with country music started with one bluegrass band's amazing vocalist. It was her voice that made me want to listen, but I later found myself enjoying the sounds of instruments I couldn't even name. I was warming up to the very things I once saw no value in. And it continued.

It only takes a little something to get you listening. And when that something hooks you in, you actually listen. I had inadvertently given the music a chance to grow on me.

While I was at work, yesterday, I thought about how I got into this whole country music thing, what lead to what and how quickly it all happened. I decided I should share. So here are my country music albums, and how I discovered them all!


Alison Krauss & Union Station

Now, I understand that this is a bluegrass group, but I just can't exclude them. They were my gateway to all of this music. They opened my ears to every other artist on this list.

I first heard Alison Kauss & Union Station on AmazonMP3.com. They used to (and may still) give away free MP3s from time to time. I had download the songs "Heartstrings" and "Every Time You Say Goodbye." I liked them. I remember soon after that, I saw a greatest hits CD in a Cracker Barrel restaurant. But I don't like really do greatest hits CDs. I think it's a little to Frankenstein-ish to pull albums apart and piece them together like that. I'll write about my reverence for albums, some other time.

I eventually forgot about the band and the songs on my computer. Months, maybe even a year later, I came across the tracks again in my music library and fell in love with them. Turns out, both tracks were the same album, "Every Time You Say Goodbye."

They've become one of my favorite groups and while I've yet to delve into the solo albums the band members have released, I have every intention to.

"Every Time You Say Goodbye" - 1992 (purchased at Best Buy in July, 2008)

"New Favorite" - 2001 (purchased at FYE in September, 2008)

"Lonely Runs Both Ways" - 2004 (gift from Mom on Christmas 2008)


Lee Ann Womack
This was a Pandora Radio find. "The Healing Kind" came up on my newly created country and bluegrass station. I listened to the samples for the other tracks on the album, "I Hope You Dance" and put it on my to-buy list.

To be honest, the album dried up on me pretty quickly and I hardly listen to it, anymore. That's why I don't have too much to say about Womack.

"I Hope You Dance" - 2000 (purchased at Best Buy in December, 2008)


Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris was an interesting find. While in Best Buy, I decided to purchase the aforementioned Lee Ann Womack album. But while still in the country section, I saw this on the shelf:
I wish I could find a higher resolution shot of the back cover, because that's what really won me over. I knew nothing of the singer but after staring at this album for a good two or three minutes, I decided that I had to have it. Yes, I sometimes roll the dice and buy an album solely on the artwork. It's exciting. You should try it.

As it turns out, I loved it! It put "I Hope You Dance" on the back burner for days. And coincidentally, the album I picked up was her debut. According to Wikipedia, she disowned her true first album. I decided that I might as well buy her albums in order, and I did - for the next two... That's when I realized that Emmylou Harris was the Stevie Wonder of country music. And by that, I mean she's been recorded for decades, hasn't stopped, and has put out way more albums than I would ever collect.

"Pieces Of The Sky" [Expanded & Remastered] - 1975 (purchased at Best Buy, same day as "I Hope You Dance")

"Elite Hotel" [Expanded & Remastered] - 1975 (purchased at Barnes & Noble in December, 2008)

"Luxury Liner" [Expanded & Remastered] - 1976 (purchased at Barnes & Noble, same day as "Elite Hotel")

"All I Intended To Be" - 2008 (purchased at Circuit City in February, 2009)


Carrie Underwood
Realizing the music was growing on me, I gave a local country station a spot in my FM presets. Right way, within just a couple days of each other, I heard two songs I loved without hearing who they were by. Soon after, while browsing country music on Last.fm, I decided to check out Carrie Underwood. I only recalled having heard "Jesus Take the Wheel," and I knew that was a long time ago. Turns out the two songs I loved so much were not only both by the same artist, but on the same album! The songs were "Last Name" and "All-American Girl."

"Carnival Ride" - 2007 (birthday present from Kyle in January, 2009)


SugarLand
I'm afraid I don't have a cool story for how I discovered SugarLand. I just heard them at the Grammys. They performed the song, "Stay." And yes, I'm aware that "Stay" isn't on the album I bought, but "Love on the Inside" had great chart performance and I read the duo actually had a lot more creative control. I'll probably work my way back. I don't want to say too much about the album, other than that I like it, because I've only listened to it one time through.

"Love on the Inside" [Deluxe Fan Edition] - 2008 (purchased at Wal Mart on February 25, 2009)


Artists of interest, whose albums I don't have:
Martina McBride
Dolly Parton
Jason Aldean
The Peasall Sisters
Ricky Skaggs

While country and bluegrass are becoming an increasingly significant part of my music collection, I'm still very much new to the country universe. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!