Tech Support Aggravation of the Day

The following is also going into the list of things that aggravate me.

I am getting weary of people who cry, “Browsing is SO slow for me <whine whine>…it takes a minute or two for a page to load!” So then I log into their machine and say, “Ok, show me.” You see, I know I’m about to waste a load of my time here, but it’s my job to at least see if what this person is saying is true, and they actually need my help. 99.999999999999999999999999% (plus infinity squared) of the time it is BS, but every now and then I do get to talk to someone who is not a jackass. Ok, so like I say, I log into their computer so the person can show me the problem. They start browsing and it takes, at most, 10 or 15 seconds for pages to load completely – but they are visible and scrollable usually at 5 seconds at the most. Sigh. Okay, people, 10 to 15 seconds DOES NOT EQUAL 1 or 2 minutes. Indeed, it doesn’t even equate to slow! Don’t any of you jackasses remember what 33k or even 56k modems were like? Yeah, we can talk about minutes then! You do realize that 1 to 2 minutes equals 60 to 120 seconds, right? Right?! I promise you that 60 to 120 seconds is not the same as 10 to 15 seconds. Seriously, I promise you that more than any promise has ever been promised in the history of promises! Man…we need to get these A.D.D. cry babies away from computers, and indeed away from the general population, before they infect anyone else with their lunacy….

There Is No End

Hello once again to you all. Before I get started, I want to point out the poetry link in the pages section on the right. There’s only one there right now, well I say one but it’s really a collection of several, but at some point in time I’m going to post all my favorites I’ve ever written there. So…check it out and keep on checking. I hope you enjoy it and thanks!

Between now and my last post I had vacation #2 of 2009, another trip to NC and WV, but unfortunately there isn’t much awesomeness to report about the trip. Not long after I left, we found out that my cousin Jinger, my Mom’s sister’s only daughter, was in the hospital and it wasn’t looking good. She passed away, unfortunately, and I took Mom to NC for the funeral.

Jinger was only 50 years old – only 10 years older than me. I don’t feel like I knew her very well. I mean, when you’re a kid someone even just 10 years older than you might as well be a zombie. They’re SO OLD, right? What the hell do they know? How cool can they be? But alas – things are the way they are, and I suppose it’ll always be this way with kids. Anyway, by the time I was older, Jinger was married, with a kid, and not living in Princeton any more. Now I just wish I had gotten to know her a bit better, but isn’t that the way it always is when someone passes away? Blah.

It sucks too because what is there to say to someone’s Mom about their kid passing? I can’t even imagine it. It’s got to be the worse feeling there is, and this is a woman who has had to endure her husband passing not long ago as well. What is there is to say, really? I guess it’s just good that we were all there, and I’m glad I was able to be there. In the past, I might not have had a good enough job to have been able to travel up to NC for the services. God has blessed my life right now.

I know it’s hard not to question God when someone you love passes away. We can ask all the “whys” in the world, but there’s no point. This is life, and death is a part of it. It’s going to happen to us all. There’s no point in being angry or despairing. We miss the ones we lose, of course, and we should. But a part of all of our faith should be that realizing that when that time comes, we must accept it. After all, Jinger is not really gone. She’s not here, with us, but she is in a much better place. If that’s not enough to give us peace, then we all need to realize that we will see her again one day. Death is a part of life, yes, but it is not the end. There is no end. There are a lot of blessings to be had in this life, yes, but the best blessing is that there is no end for us. There is an end for this life, but that is not the end – and that is the greatest blessing of all. We should all hold tight to that.

And so as I have written here about my Dad, then Uncles Dale and Jim, I say to Jinger: Goodbye – until we meet again.

I’ve also recently found out that two of my Dad’s brothers, Uncles Bud and Don, have cancer now. Cancer continues its assault on the Terry family. I think it was cancer that took my Dad’s father, and then it took his brother Gene, and then my Dad himself. This rancid disease; there has to be a way we can conquer it, right? You’d think so, but I suppose maybe we’re not meant to totally conquer it. Death is a part of life, as I said, and cancer is one of death’s most powerful agents, that’s for sure. All my prayers are with Bud and Don, and everyone else afflicted with this scourge. We will all meet death, yes, but we deserve better than cancer.

Okay, so more talk of death and dying and all of that. Blah. What else has been going on lately…? I’ve taken up the hobby recently of creating my own beverages. Primarily I’ve been brewing my own beers.

Brewing beer isn’t as hard as it might sound. All beer really contains is just water, sugars, hops, and yeast. The primary sugar for beer is of course malted barley. What is malted barley? Read up about it on Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barley

Although malted barley is the primary sugar for beer, you can put pretty much any sugar in it that you want. Even table sugar (sucrose), although that doesn’t make good beer as it ferments into more of a cider taste than a beer taste. You can also put brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, or one of my favorites, honey. There’s a lot of books out there on the home brewing process, and I just bought one and read up on the process. Here is a good website, though, that details everything involved in brewing your own beers:

http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html

After I read up on the process, I found a homebrewing store close to me, and went there to purchase equipment and ingredients. I bought a 5 gallon brewing pot, and several 6 gallon plastic buckets to serve as fermenters, a bottling bucket, and a bucket for my sanitizer. I got a kit that had other equipment like a hydrometer, which is used to measure the specific gravity of your brews to determine the alcohol content; a huge thermometer because knowing the temp of the brew it important at many times during the process; a siphoning system; 4 cases of empty bottles; a bottle capper and bottle caps; and other minor pieces of equipment.  For ingredients I was able to buy the different malts I wanted at the store, in addition to the other sugars, hops, and brewing yeasts. I detailed the whole experience in pictures that I posted to Facebook. I will post a link to the album here in the gallery section soon.

The magic of beer making can be explained by the glory of yeast. Yeasts eat sugars and convert them to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The fact that they also create CO2 is convenient, due to the fact that because of this you can carbonate your beers naturally. Just before you bottle your beer, you stir in more sugar into the mix for the yeasts to eat. The best sugar to use to do this is corn sugar, because it doesn’t leave an after taste when it ferments and it ferments quickly. So after you stir in the corn sugar, you bottle the beer and cap it. The yeasts left in suspension after the primary fermentation process go about eating the corn sugar. Since it’s in a bottle, and there is a cap, there is nowhere for the CO2 to go other than to be absorbed into the beer, which carbonates it. It’s extremely cool.

In any event, the beer turned out good and I’m drinking one of them right now. My favorite beers are English Pale Ales, as well as Irish Red Ales. Right now I’m drinking an Irish Red Ale that I made recently. It’s only been in the bottle for 4 days, so it’s not near finished carbonating yet, but the taste is still excellent. It’s a nice red color because I put a bit of roasted barley in with the malted barley. It’s awesomeness is extreme if I do say so myself.

Not only have I been making my own beers, but I’ve also been making my own Electrolyte beverages like Gatorade and Vitamin Water, as well as my own YooHoo chocolate drinks. All these drinks are expensive when you buy them at the store, and since more often than not I have the ingredients on hands to make this stuff myself, I figured why not. It’s just as good and much less expensive.

Let’s examine Gatorade first. What is Gatorade? Well simply enough, in my opinion, Gatorade is slightly flavored Kool Aid with electrolytes added. Slightly flavored because, let’s face it, Gatorade doesn’t pack much of a flavor punch, and the flavors are in much less variety than Kool Aid flavors.

As an aside, I know that the fact that I’m making things out of Kool Aid is going to make Angela squeal with delight: Hello Angie! Yes, Kool Aid is awesome, I know.

Okay, so what are electrolytes? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolytes for reference, but for short electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and bicarbonates. So, even shorter, electrolytes are salt (normal table salt – I use sea salt), salt substitute like “No Salt” (which is potassium chloride and potassium bitartrate), and baking soda (which is sodium bicarbonate).

The original formula for my Gatorade and Vitamin Water drinks was found on the WebMD website, which I found during a Google search for rehydration drink formulas.  This is the link to that:

http://www.webmd.com/hw-popup/rehydration-drinks?navbar=hw86827

I mixed some of that up, and let me tell you that it tastes like what I imagine ass must taste like. It’s just nasty. That’s when I hit upon my kool aid idea. It would be awesome if Gatorade came in such a variety of flavors! And flavors that actually taste like flavors LOL! So after some trial and error, and making my own formulas that tasted like ass as well, I hit upon this:

2 quarts distilled water
½ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon “no salt” salt substitute
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons lemon juice (citric acid – good for a stomach buffer)
1 packet of whatever Kool Aid flavor you want

This makes a little over 3 20oz Gatorade bottles of electrolyte drink.  My favorite Gatorade is Gatorade Rain Lime flavor. A 20oz bottle of this has:

130 calories
270mg sodium
75mg potassium
34g carbs and sugars

My version has in a 20oz bottle:

112.5 calories (15 calories in 1 teaspoon of sugar, which converts to 360 calories in ½ cup, 64 oz of water in two quarts converts to 5.625 calories per oz of liquid with dissolved sugar, and 112.5 in 20oz)

186mg sodium (295mg in 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and 300mg in ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, then follow above formula to determine amount in 20oz of liquid)

203mg potassium (650mg in ¼ teaspoon of “No Salt”, then follow above formula to determine amount in 20oz of liquid)

30g of carbs and sugars (4g of carbs and sugars per teaspoon of sugar, 96g per ½ cup sugar, then follow above formula to determine the amount in 20oz of liquid)

It costs roughly 30 cents per 20oz bottle to make this stuff, and that’s with me buying gallon jugs of distilled water to make it with. If you use just tap water, then it would be even cheaper.  If you want to have a bit of calcium and magnesium (other electrolytes) then you can also add a bit of calcium fortified orange juice to the formula as well. I haven’t tried this yet, but I probably will in the future. This would of course alter the sugar and caloric content in relation to the amount of OJ you use, of course. But as you can see, my version has less calories, carbs, and sodium, and much more potassium. And it tastes WAY better in my opinion. What is especially cool is that you can make whatever flavor of kool aid you can find, so there’s much more variety than in standard Gatorade.

EDIT (12/29/09): Since I wrote the above, I have modified my formula of the above Gatorade clone to include 8oz of OJ (Specifically the “Healthy Kids” variety of Tropicana Pure Premium as it has added Calcium [another electrolyte woo hoo] and Vitamins A, D, and E). To adjust for the added sugars in OJ, I lowered the sugar amount to 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon. I also lowered the amount of baking soda and “no salt” to 1/8 tsp. These changes have altered the nutritional values as follows per 20 ounces: 117 calories, 152 mgs sodium, 242 mgs potassium, and 31 g carbs and sugars. In addition, the drink also now has 63% DV of Vitamin C, 11% DV Calcium, 8% DV Vitamin D, 6% DV of Vitamins A and E, 5% DV Folic Acid, 3% DV Thiamin, 2% DV of Vitamin B6 and Magnesium [another electrolyte – although in a low quantity], and 1% DV of Niacin and Riboflavin.

Okay, let’s look at Vitamin Water next. What is that? Well, simply it’s Gatorade with different slight flavors with added vitamins. That’s all it is. The only vitamin water I ever got is the energy (tropical citrus) kind because it has Guarana in it. Guarana seeds have a ton of caffeine in them, much more than in coffee beans and tea leaves. However, because of the other chemicals in the Guarana seed it gets absorbed into the blood at a slower rate than with coffee or tea and therefore doesn’t cause the jitters that other sources of caffeine can in similar doses. However, like any caffeine, it can cause the jitters and all that if you drink too much of it at once. Anyway, I used to gets the Bawls soft drink all the time (www.bawls.com) to get my Guarana fix until I found Vitamin Water Energy. Then when I started making my own Gatorade, I figured I could do my own Vitamin Water energy drink as well – all I really need is the Guarana to add to it. I don’t need the vitamins because I already eat well and take a multi-vitamin every day anyway. So I guess it really isn’t “Vitamin Water” that I’m making – just caffeinated Gatorade. Anyway, I found a website that sells powered Guarana, and I bought some.

Now, like I said, Guarana has a LOT of caffeine in it, so I only have to use about 2 teaspoons of it in the above 2 quart mix to give it 62.5mg of caffeine in a 20oz bottle. However, the Guarana powder doesn’t dissolve in liquid very well at all, so what I’ve been doing is brewing it like you would triple strength coffee. I put the powder in a coffee filter, and run water through the coffee maker like making coffee. Then I take the liquid and pour it back into the machine and let it run through two more times. The resulting Guarana liquid is a part of the 2 quarts of water in the formula above, but the formula is otherwise the same. It makes a really good tasting energy drink with a good, steady kick that doesn’t give me the jitters or the stomach problems that drinking coffee gives me. It’s good stuff!

Okay, now on to Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink. What is Yoo-Hoo? Well, it’s just watered down chocolate milk, really. So why not just drink chocolate milk? Well, if you’re like me, sometimes you crave the consistency of Yoo-Hoo over regular chocolate milk. Here is my formula for making 2 quarts of Yoo-Hoo:

3 and 1/3 cups of milk
4 and 2/3 (or 5 if you want to round it up) cups of water
1 and 1/3 cups of Nestle Quick chocolate powder

It tastes best once it’s really cold, as do all of these homemade drinks, so don’t judge it if you drink it right away. In any event, you are free to play around with these formulas to your heart’s content as well. Just because I like it this way doesn’t mean you have to. But it’s doing little things like this that will save you some money in the long run, and you can make it taste just the way you want it to. Life is good sometimes.

Now I’m going to get into my random thoughts section that I sometimes include in my postings here.  Take the situation with Carrie Prejean, the former Miss California USA. She was asked during the Miss USA pageant how she feels about gay marriage, and she honestly replied that she didn’t believe in it because of her faith.  Well of course that started a huge backlash against her and she ended up losing the Miss USA pageant, and eventually was set up to fail, I believe, with the Miss California organization and stripped of that title.

What is it about the concept of freedom that is so foreign to us here in this country, of all places in the world for freedom to be so confusing? Gay people want to be free to express their sexuality, and they want to marry. But when it comes to someone expressing a contrary opinion, they work overtime to demean these people and their character. Shouldn’t freedom work both ways , folks? Gay people should be free to be who they are, but at the same time shouldn’t see, and others like her, be free to be who they are? You can’t have it both ways, people. Either you are free to be gay, and others are free to believe that such a thing is deviant, or none of us are free to be anything. Political Correctness is a blight upon our society, and until we do away with this in all its guises, then we will never be really and truly free.

There IS a difference between going out of your way to hurt gay people, and simply disagreeing with the lifestyle. Personally, I believe the federal government has absolutely no business deciding such things like gay marriage, or even if recreational drug use should be allowed. All personal lifestyle choices should be left up to the individuals, and therefore decided on a state government level through voting. I think everyone should be free to marry regardless of the sexual orientation involved. I believe everyone should be free to do whatever drug they want – the only thing we should police is the people who hurt other people while under the influence, just like with alcohol. If someone hurts themselves because of drugs, then that’s their fault. It’s their life – they should be free to do what they want with it. I believe these things because I believe in freedom.

However, because I believe in freedom, I also believe it’s everyone’s individual right to believe the exact opposite of what I believe. We have no right, and indeed it’s utter foolishness, to police opinions, feelings, beliefs, and ideals. I don’t understand straight people who try to make gay people feel like they deserve to die anymore than I understand why gay people want to make people who disagree with them feel like they’re stupid.

The gay lifestyle may be deviant to God’s desire and purpose, I can’t make that call because I’m not God, but that doesn’t mean that God wants to destroy gay people. God loves everyone. Period. We are such a hateful species. Each individual has their own choices to make, and their own relationship (or lack thereof) with God. God will make up his own mind regardless of what our Holy books say. It is foolish arrogance to think we know the mind of God. We have no right to judge any one in any way.

Gay people often say, “If I wasn’t born this way, then why would I choose this for myself?” Well, why does anyone choose to do anything? Why do we eat, and why do we eat what we eat? Why do people drink alcohol, or any other liquids? Why do people smile, or frown, or laugh, or cry? Why do people smoke? Why do they do drugs? Why do they shoot heroin when they know it will likely kill them at any moment. Why do we hurt weaker people, or anyone else? Why do we lash out in anger when forgiveness is so much sweeter? Why do we play? Why do we rest? Why do people abuse, sexually or otherwise, children or animals? Why do people hurt themselves in any way? Why do people get tattoos? Why do people get bizarre piercings? Why would you want a piece of metal sticking out of your face? Why? I could go on and on.

Why do we do anything – to satisfy some need, perceived or real. Be Gay. Go right ahead. It’s your right, and your choice to make with your own life. Whether you believe, or anyone else believes, it’s your choice or not is irrelevant. Everyone should have the right to be who they are – I believe that 100% – as long as who they are doesn’t involved infringing on the rights, or otherwise harming, others.

I will love you anyway, if you’re a lovable person on an individual level, because I think that’s what God wants us to do. Love who you feel, in your heart, you should love. Love covers up many sins – that’s how I feel about it. That, and Jesus didn’t die on the cross for the sake of the righteous. Which is awesome because I have a multitude of sins of my own that need God’s grace. Why are any of us casting stones at each other? None of us are blameless; we are simply forgiven if we ask, and we believe.

However, marriage is not a basic freedom in and of itself – it is not a right. Perhaps it should be, but the reality of the situation is that it’s not. The individual members of society therefore have a right to not accept gay marriage if that’s what they think is right.  Everyone is free to move to a state that will allow them to marry. If Georgia outlawed heterosexuality, I would leave Georgia. This is how freedom works, folks. Good, bad, right, wrong – if you want to be free, then everyone else gets to be free as well. When people persecuted Carrie, they persecuted themselves and freedom in general. It is as simple as that.

Okay, enough of the seriousness. Here are the quick random thoughts of the day:

  • What is up with the tiny laptop trend? Why would someone want a laptop with a screen so small, smaller than 14 inches for instance, that you are lucky to be able to run it at 1024×768? How could you comfortably look at a screen like that for the hours on end that you need to do to work with computers? I don’t understand it. It seems like craziness to me.
  • I understand that the magazine industry, and therefore magazine subscriptions, is dying a slow death. But still, if you’re going to continue to offer subscriptions you should do so with the same level of customer service as always. It used to be that when you subscribed to a magazine, you not only got it for cheaper than cover price but you also got your issue at least a week or two before it hit newsstands. That is not the case any longer. I’m lucky if I get my mags two or three weeks AFTER they’re on the newsstands. That sucks ass. It certainly isn’t going to help breathe any life into the magazine industry.
  • The iPhone 3.0 software was recently released, and it’s awesome. Once again I was to highly recommend the iPhone to anyone who is looking to get a smart phone. Especially if you’re already an iTunes junkie like I am – there’ s no reason not to get one. I use the apps on the thing more than I used it to talk. It keeps me in touch with family, friends, and even work with email and text messages. I play games on it all the time. Use it to make notes or set calendar reminders for myself. (I have a dentist appointment tomorrow [Monday the 22nd] – Ugh!) And I listen to music on it constantly. Once again, if you’re in the market for a smart phone, the iPhone is the way to go.
  • What I’ve been up to lately: playing Half Life 2. Wow! It’s an awesome game! Also been playing old text adventures I played in my youth, like Zork. Been learning one of the scripting languages that these text adventures are written with because I’m thinking of writing my own one day. That would be fun!
  • Been getting things moving again in the LXFFO, the fantasy football league of which I am the commissioner. Football season is around the corner so we have to get things started as far as doing our free agency and scheduling our rookie draft. Football rules, yes!
  • Been planning a trip to Myrtle Beach next month with Mom, my brother, and my nephew James. That’s going to rock.
  • Been listening to Sammy Hagar a lot lately. He has a new band called “ChickenFoot” with Michael Anthony (who he played with in Van Halen), Joe Satriani (guitar genius), and Chad Smith (drummer for Red Hot Chili Peppers). The Chickefoot album KICKS ASS! It’s so good. If you like Sammy Hagar, or the Hagar version of Van Halen, you can’t go wrong with ChickenFoot. My brother and I have purchased tickets to see them in Charlotte on August 27th.
  • I bought Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween on DVD today, along with the remake of Friday the 13th. Yeah I’m in a horror movie mood. I didn’t really think much of Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween when I saw it I the theatre. Not because it’s necessarily a bad movie, but because I just couldn’t separate it from my love of the original. The original is such a perfect movie, and Rob Zombie’s version pretty much takes everything that was awesome about it and throws it away. Still, on it’s own, it’s not a bad flick I suppose. But the real reason I want to revisit it is because Zombie is coming out with a sequel in August, Halloween 2. The trailers for it look kind of creepy, so I’m going to watch his Halloween again so I can get ready for the sequel. I got the remake of Friday the 13th because I had a lot of fun watching it in the theatre, so I figured it’s worth the purchase.
  • The new Harry Potter movie comes out in a few weeks! I’m really looking forward to checking it out.
  • As you can tell, there’s a lot on tap for the summer. I’m sure there’s much more glory going to happen that I don’t know about yet, so keep your eyes peeled for further postings. I’m sure to recount the awesomeness of the Myrtle Beach trip sometime next month at least. There will be pics, and as always the easiest way to check them out is to get a Facebook account (www.facebook.com) and add me as a friend. I’m talking to you, Angie, you non-socializing punk! All work and no play, Angie. I mean…seriously. 🙂 The more you pump it, the harder it gets! Hahahahahahaha!

Well that is all for this time, my friends. Until next time, I hope the glory of your every day is indeed immense!

B

—-

A deeper kinda love
Has no borderlines, no ties
A deeper kinda love
Can bring you down and lift you up so high

A phoenix starts to rise from the ashes inside my soul
Leaving old wounds behind, a new me is born
And you show me your world
So dangerous, but I let go
And when I fall, I fall deep
Into a deeper kinda love

A deeper kinda love
Can also bring hurt and pain
And in the shadow that it casts
Lies jealousy, fear, and hate

The more I have to win means the more I have to lose
And it hits home
And when I think of losing you
And your deeper kinda love
You’ve shown me a world
So dangerous, still I let go
And when I fall, I fall deep
Into a deeper kinda love

A deeper kinda love
Has no borderlines, no ties
A deeper kinda love
Can bring you down and lift you up so high

A phoenix starts to rise from the ashes inside my soul
Leaving old wounds behind, a new me is born
And you show me your world
So dangerous, but I let go
And when I fall, I fall deep
Into a deeper kinda love

(Show me your world)
A deeper kinda love
(Show me your world)
A deeper kinda love
(Show me your world)
A deeper kinda love
(Show me your world)
Just show me your world
(Show me your world)
I want a deeper kinda love
(Show me your world)
A deeper kinda love
(Show me your world)
A deeper kinda love….

“Deeper Kinda Love”
Sammy Hagar
From the album Ten 13

Reality Show Grievance

I have a reality show grievance to share. Not the usual refrain you hear – it seems so popular to dump on reality shows. It’s hip to talk crap, but watch them in private, right? Well shite on what’s hip…that’s what I say. Anyway, my problem is that the person / team I want to win almost ALWAYS comes in third place. I have four main reality shows that I watch: Survivor, Amazing Race, American Idol, and America’s Next Top Model. Yes I watch model because I love women, and observing them is interesting and facinating to me…and their drama is hilarious when it’s not happening to me LOL.  So now I’m going to complain.

Dammit to hell I cannot for the life of me understand how in the hell Kris Allen beat out Danny Gokey to be in the American Idol finale with Adam Lambert. Not that either one could beat Adam in the finals, I don’t think, but Kris Allen is so zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. He has the stage presence of someone who is asleep…or even dead. And compared to Danny, the kid can’t sing. Okay. He just cannot sing like Danny or Adam can. I’m not saying he can’t sing, period, but he’s not not in the same park as either of them. I know you little girls think he’s cute, but that does not equal talented. Do you freaks get it? I mean…honestly. So shite on it all…the guy I wanted to win came in third. As usual.

Yes, I wanted Danny to win. Like I said, I don’t think it’s possible for Adam to lose because he’s the “hip” choice right now. Not to knock him or anything because, unlike Kris, Adam has more stage presence and talent than pretty much anyone on the radio right now. But for me he’s more style than substance. He belongs on Broadway…not on popular radio. It’s just the way he sings everything…I mean you shouldn’t raise the octave /key / whatever of every song just because you can sing up there. But I have that problem with singers like Christina Aguilera and Maria Carey as well. It’s just not necessary to tell every story the same flamboyant, extreme way just because you can. Go back and watch season 1 of American Idol. Kelly Clarkson can hit those notes as well, but she didn’t break it out every single performance. When she did, they were WOW moments. When an artists does that every single song, for me it becomes blase. Anyway…enough of this…you get it. I like Danny and Adam, but I don’t think Adam should be the American Idol even though there is no way he won’t be. Especially with zzzzzzzzzzzzzz man as his only competition. Blah. Blah on all you silly little girls who voted for him. You suck. Ass. Like a dog going around licking ass…all the time. Thank you. I mean…really….thank you…suckers of  ass. Blah.

On Sunay they showed the finale for The Amazing Race. I really, really wanted the deaf dude and his Mom to win, but where did they place..THIRD…of course! I can’t really complain about this because retarded ass sucking little girls didn’t rob us all of everything that makes any sense. Luke and Margie just had some bad luck, and I liked all the three finalist teams so I’m not too bummed out about it. I just can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to be deaf, and go through the competition like Luke did. My hat is off to strength of will and character like that.

(EDIT on 6/21/09: I have removed the links to the pictures here because I’m getting a lot of hits from people just through google image search who are looking for pics of the ladies in question. This is not an image site, or a site only about gorgeous chicks, so the links must go! If you want to know what these chicks look like, search for them on google yourself.)

Wednesday night we were also graced with the America’s Next Top model finale. This one threw off the balance somewhat because the girl I wanted to win, Allison, came in….second. But not first, dammit! Agh! The girl who won…blah. Just blah. She is pretty, I suppose, but she’s certainly not gorgeous or memorable. Unless looking like you’ve spent your life being hit in the face with an iron is memorable. Maybe it is.  Blah. I would rather have had the girl who came in third, Aminet, win instead if it couldn’t have been Allison – at least Aminet is gorgeous.  Allisonis just gorgeous nummy loveliness in every way.

The only girl who has won the show who I picked from the first episode was Nicole Linkletter from season 5.  Nicole and Allison are similar, though, as you can see if you find pictures of them. I just like the lighter skin tones, lighter colored eyes, the full lips, and the long hair. I don’t mind tanned skin in the summer, but most girls just go overboard with the tan thing that it, again, becomes blase. It’s fake. It’s not you who really are. The whole fake thing is another reason why I hate too much make-up, but you all know this if you’ve read my list of things that aggravate me. Among actresses, good examples of what I like are: Anna Torv from the new TV show Fringe and Michelle Trachtenberg.  Anyway…enough of this.

As far as Survivor goes – they haven’t had their finale yet, but it will break the mold as well because the one I wanted to win, Sierra, has already been voted out. Not last week but the week before she was voted out. Now I wouldn’t mind seeing Erin win, or even the psycho “Coach” just for laughs. But I’m not too terribly interested in who wins Survivor this time around. I’d rather not see Taj win it because she’s married to retired NFL star Eddie George, and they don’t need a million bucks, okay? They just don’t. I wouldn’t mind Stephen so much because he’s a good guy. I don’t like T.J. a whole lot so I wouldn’t really like to see him win either. So Erin, Coach, or Stephen would be okay with me.

There have been many, many other instances of my reality show favorites coming in third, so these listed here are not the beginning of my disappointments.  Well, that’s all I have to say for now. I hope all is well with everyone….

Fah Lah,
B

Darkening of the Light Screenplay

Please see the link to the right, in the “Pages” column, titled “Darkening of the Light Screenplay”. It will take you to a page where you can download and/or view a copy of the screenplay for “Star Wars: Darkening of the Light”.

By the way – it is 60 pages long so prepare yourself for a read if you actually are interested….  Enjoy!

B

Beginnings of 09

Blah on me.  I am ignoring my blog. I guess I haven’t really felt the draw to write about anything going on because I do most of the updating of my life on Facebook. Christmas has happened, but I catalogued that on Facebook in pictures. Not much else going on worth noting, really. Besides, I’m not getting any hits here hardly except people coming to check out my recipe for sweet and sour sauce. That is pretty much the only hits I’m getting nowadays – people searching for sweet and sour sauce recipies and coming coming here to see mine. Beyond that, I think Angela drops by here periodically, but much less often than she used to. Can’t blame her, though, as I don’t really write here, or on tumblr, that much anymore.

I did recently install the wordpress, and tumblr, apps on my iPhone, though, so maybe I will at least write more short notes more often. I’m not sure, though, because, like I said, I get a lot of that out of my system on Facebook. I’m still thinking about adding a poetry section and posting my poems here, so maybe I will do that soon. I’m also thinking about publishing the Star Wars: Darkening of the Light screenplay I wrote since it is obvious that we will never finish shooting the movie. At least people can read it and imagine for themselves the movie it would have been. I do have footage that I could do some effects, and editing, work on and post as well – so perhaps that will be something to look forward to here as well.

Beyond all that, I’m not sure how often I’m going to post stuff here anymore. Maybe I would mirror some of the stuff I post to Facebook – that’s a possibility. I have crap going on in my life, but I’m just not up for writing about it right now.

It’s just women…sigh… I know there has to be some wisdom and perfection somewhere in God’s decision to make men and women so inherently different, and so easily aggravated by one another, but I just can’t see it right now. It just hurts when someone who is supposed to know me better than just about anyone cannot have any faith in me. And while I admit that I am not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, I don’t see how I could be as wrong as I have been led to believe that I am. All I know is that I have been honest and straightforward in all things.  That is the bottom line. I have a feeling that there hasn’t been a quid pro quo of honesty in this situation, but again, given our imperfect natures, I could be wrong. Anyway….

Enough of all that – I don’t want to think about it anymore right now. If you have been thinking about maybe getting an iPhone, I just wanna say that I HIGHLY recommend  it. These things have everything you could possibly need! The phone calling capabilities, of course, but also iPod capabilities all rolled in with everything you need in a smart phone. It checks your email, keeps you reminded with calendar functionality, and last but not least there are so many apps (many of them free) you can download and install on it. Apps from everything to games to useful utilities like the built in google maps with GPS functionality. I have an app that will show me the closest movie theaters from where ever I am, the movies playing there, showtimes, and phone numbers to call to get tickets if I need to. I have an app to keep track of the calories I’ve eaten today. I have an app that will sense my location, and then tell me how close I am to pretty much any retail establishment or gas station I want. I have an app that will calculate tips for me, and round the total up automatically. My brother has one, and we are currently in the middle of a chess match – with me in Georgia and him in Texas. And all of this is only the beginning. I can’t imagine a phone that would give me more functionality than this. Get an iPhone – they are well worth the price!

Well – that’s all I have for now.  Be well and take care….

B

No More Time Outs

Ok, so no long preamble here about how long I’ve neglected to write this time.  Football, fantasy football, work, and struggling to maintain some semblance of a social life soaks up a lot of time – most of my time, indeed.  So here we go!

Last time I mentioned my impending trip to Tampa / St. Pete Florida to see the Panthers Buccs game in October.  Well that obviously has long come and gone, and it was a great trip.  Of course there were some snags as there are in almost every plan of mice and men.

So I was supposed to be staying in St. Pete that weekend with my friend Paul.  I emailed Paul my itinerary so he would know when my plane would arrive, and at what gate and such.  The idea was of course to have him there waiting for me when I arrive in a place I’ve never been in my life.  Yes?  Did it happen?  Of course not!  Nothing ever goes as planned for me.

The flight itself to Tampa was awesome.  I had never been on one of the big Boeing jets before, and I had a blast.  I thought it was so cool to be above the clouds, so that the clouds appeared to be the groud and the clear blue sky surrounded everything else.  It was just gorgeous.  On the back of each seat was a monitor on which you could watch TV, movies, or even cooler you could monitor the flight.  It rotated info between showing our altitude, speed, tail winds, and such to GPS views of our flight path.  I very much enjoyed the whole experience.

Okay, so I land in Tampa that Friday at around 3:15pm.  There is no Paul to meet me at the gate.  So I sit in the waiting area a bit thinking he must be on his way up the escalator or something.  Still no Paul.  I pull out my phone and realize at that point that I don’t have Paul number in my phone as I lost my phone in December ’07 and just never got his number since then – blah on me.  I pull out my laptop and log in the airport’s wireless system and access gmail.  I search through gmail for Paul’s phone number thinking it has to be there – but it is not.  So I send Paul an email letting him know I’m here and he’s not and to call me.  I notice a Burger King there in the terminal and go order a Whopper and some onion rings…..mmmmmmmmm.  I sit in the terminal waiting area and eat my food expecting Paul at any moment.  After about an hour and a half of waiting, I notice in one of the emails Paul sent me that I might have to take a Tampa Bus to some mall and meet him there instead.  So I do that.

By the time I get to this mall area it’s getting dark, and I’m getting uneasy about being stuck in this place without knowing where anything is.  Still I receive no call from Paul, or word or anything at this point.  Now I realize that I need to reach out to the one other person that I know who lives in the area: Bruce.  He is in the Fantasy Football league of which I am the commissioner, but I had never met him in person at the time.  He’s a friend of one of my friends who is in the league as well.  I had told Bruce I was coming into town, and he had emailed me his phone number so we could hang out.  Ah there is someone who thought ahead lol.  It’s actually Bruce who obtained the tickets to the game in the first place, so another huge shout out for Bruce is necessary for just that.

So I call Bruce and explain the situation to him.  He figured out where I am and comes and picks me up.  I ask him to take me to a hotel and I will just get a room for the weekend, but he suggests I just stay in his and his wife’s guest room instead.  I happily accept.  So I ended up staying the weekend with Bruce and never hearing from Paul at all.

However, unbeknownst to me at the time, Paul had been emailing me.  I was working out of my fantasy football gmail account all weekend and never checked my maplejar gmail account for an email from Paul because I thought he had my phone number.  I was waiting on a call from him, but it turns out that dumbass me had never given him my new number from where I replaced my cell phone last year.  So yes I flew to Tampa to meet a friend who did not have my phone number, and I did not have his, and I had no idea what his address was or anything.  The lack of planning ahead is really bad here, eh?  Anyway we were both disappointed that it turned out the way it did, but I also was relieved that I had a place to stay and I wasn’t there by myself all weekend.

Bruce and I went to the Panthers game that Sunday and the Buccs beat the ever living crap out of them.  So that part of the trip was crappy as well.  But Bruce and his Wife were so awesome – especially to give their guest room to a guy who neither of them had ever met before.  I enjoyed the limited amount of time I had in St. Pete enjoying the sun and the beach.  I took a lot of pictures and videos as well, and I have them to share.

Pictures are here:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=155126&l=e7c55&id=1175850700

Videos are here:

http://commonterry.tumblr.com

For the videos you will have to scroll down and click the “earlier edition” link and scroll down that page to get to the videos.  Depending on when you do this, you may have to go into further earlier editions depending on how many tumbler entries I have posted between then and now.  But it’s clear what videos are for the trip.

So I flew back after the game on Sunday and that was just as awesome because the sun setting above the clouds was just gorgeous.  The whole experience was excellent – I loved it.  I have decided that every year I’m going to take a trip to see the Panthers play a game in a place I’ve never been to.  Life is an adventure – you gotta experience it!  Yes!  I can’t wait to visit some unknown place next year.  🙂

It’s mid December as I write this, so between then and now I experienced my 40th birthday.  Woo Hoo for me.  People ask me how I feel about turning 40, and I tell them I feel great about it.  Why wouldn’t I or anyone else?  I mean – it’s simply a matter of fact that we all grow old as our lives continue.  We have to accept that fact.  Therefore, what is the alternative – if I don’t turn 40 then it means I’m dead, right?  So of course I feel great about it.  Do I sometimes wish I was still in my 20’s?  Sure.  If I could only go back to then with what I know now – the things I could accomplish lol.  But things are the way they are, and again we must accept reality for what it is.  All things considered, I’m in a better place in my life than I was 10 or 20 years ago.  There are things I need to fix – like my weight and my teeth.  I’m working on all that.  There are things I wish were different, but whatever will be, will be.  I can only life live and be the best person I can.  I have faith that things will always work out the way they are supposed to.  I accept that.  I’ve made peace with that.  And I’m thankful for all the blessings I do have.  I know firsthand that life could certainly be much, much worse.

So, yeah, I’m thrilled to be 40.  I’m thrilled that I don’t feel 40.  I’m not even sure I feel 30.  So I’ll take it, and smile, and be happy and thankful.  But it’s not really as simple as that – it never is, is it?  I’m going to round this out with a lengthy metaphor.

In the movie “Out of Sight”, starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, Clooney plays a lifetime bank robber and Lopez a US Marshall.  Early on in the flick the two meet and start falling for each other, even though they are of course on opposite sides of the law.  Even though she continues to pursue him for crimes, she doesn’t seem to be able to make up her mind whether she wants to arrest him or what.

At one point in the movie there is this lengthy seduction scene, which is one of the coolest scenes in any movie ever, where they talk about how they wished they met under different circumstances.  They want to take a “time out”, and see “What if”…so they do.  Later in the movie, Lopez catches Clooney in a crime and he is dead set against going back to jail.  In one room, hidden from her view, he removes the bullets from his gun, and goes to confront her.  She begs him to drop the gun.  He tells her he can’t go back to jail – so pretend it isn’t him.  He wants her to shoot him – kill him.  “No more time outs,” he says.  I won’t spoil any more of the flick for you.

Like I said about being 40…I don’t even feel 30 sometimes – I feel so young at heart.  While you might think that’s great, let me tell you that it isn’t always so great.  It feels like there are no more time outs.  I am 40, and that’s the way it is.  No more time outs and time is tick, tick, ticking away.  No more time outs to see “What if….”  No more time outs to correct mistakes I wish I could correct.  No more time outs when loneliness seems as boundless as the universe itself.  All while it often seems the younger me is stuck living the older me’s life.  So being 40 has its melancholies as well.  As I like to say:  reality is reality whether we like it or not.  No more time outs.

And that’s that.  Now that’s it’s almost Christmas and I’ve bummed all of us out with the above, I suppose I will sign off now.  I got all my shopping finished last weekend  – early for the first time ever.  I also mailed out Christmas cards last week as well – again first time ever.  So I am on top of all things Christmas!  Be on the lookout for pictures and videos galore as starting next Tuesday I will be on vacation for a week.  If you don’t have a Facebook account, you should get one and add me as a friend.  That way you won’t have to wait for me to post links to pics – you will see them as soon as they are posted.  🙂

No more predicting when I will write again, as I seem to never reach those deadlines lol.  Think of me as I go to have a crappy root canal tomorrow (Saturday).  Blah.  What a way to ruin a weekend.  Hopefully the Panthers will crush the Giants on Sunday night, though.  One can only hope….

Until next time,
B

The Fallacy of “Fair”

Hello all.  I hope all is well for everyone.  I’m going to have a lot to write about next week as this weekend I am flying to Tampa Bay to hang out with friends and go to the Panther vs Buccaneers game on Sunday.  I’m really looking forward to it.  I have a couple of friends who live in St. Petersburg so I can’t wait to see the ocean again.  It’s going to rock!  Well more on that next week….

Right now I want to write something up real quick and get this off my chest.  This goes out to anyone who is on the fence right now about who they want to vote for in the upcoming election.  This is why I dislike the liberal view on the world, and will not vote for them.

I’ve been reading a lot lately where people are saying one party supporter “just doesn’t get it”, and “you just don’t understand”, or this person or that person is stupid or whatnot.  I’ve been down that path before as well, and I don’t want to go there.  So I’ve been exploring why exactly I tend to support conservative views, although I consider myself a Libertarian and not a Republican, and how to best express why this all makes sense to me and why I think it should to others.  This is the best answer I have, and I think it’s one of the best answers I or anyone could have for not voting for the liberals of the world.

Listen to any liberal person, especially the politicians, speak for any length of time and it won’t be long before they utter one of their favorite words:  “fair”.  They will do anything to go about creating a sense of “fairness”, even if it’s foolish at the very least.  Obama, for instance, wants to raise the capital gains tax, and when you ask him why, he says it’s out of “fairness”.  It doesn’t matter that doing this will lower revenue the federal government will be able to collect.  Please see this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-09Dwg7qYY

I watched the Vice Presidential debate last week and was reminded of the above link when Joe Biden used the word “fair” over and over.  Then it struck me – this is what has caused me to instinctually, over the years, drift toward “the right” as I’ve gotten older:  this idea that we need to strive for “fairness” in the world.  Okay, folks, I’m going to share a simple truth for you here and I really hope the lot of you take this to heart and understand that it is indeed the truth.

There is NO such thing as “fair”.  “Fair” does not exist.  It is a fairy tale…like Santa Claus squeezing down our chimneys to give us presents.  Any situation that affects more than one person can ALWAYS be, and most often will be, viewed as “unfair” by one person or the other.  It is an entirely subjective point of view and therefore the “reality” of it is going to drastically differ from one person to the other.  Therefore, it does not really exist.  It is opinion and NOTHING more.

Deciding on a course of action in your life, especially one that is going to affect other people, because you think it’s “fair” is as foolish as forcing all of us to go to the North Pole with you because you want to introduce us to Santa.  And doubly so when you aren’t going to give us any other choice but to travel to the North Pole with you, but you also are going to force us to pay for our individual expenses for said trip out of pocket.  This is why I don’t like liberals.  As long as it seems “fair”, they otherwise don’t care.

We cannot make life “fair”, folks.  There are always going to be hardships.  There are always going to be lazy people who try to leech off of everyone else.  There are always going to be fools and idiots who want everyone else to do the work for them, and think that they deserve a slice of what others work hard to accomplish.  Medical treatment is always going to cost money, and that money is going to have to come from someplace other than the magical kingdom of “fair”.  There are always going to be liars and thieves and lunatics.  There is always going to be evil.  There are always going to be rich and middle and poor.  There are always going to be people who achieve, people who just do what is necessary, and people who don’t want to bother to do either.  There are always going to be people who see themselves as victims and as oppressed, no matter what anyone does to them or for them.  There are always going to be people full of goodness, truth, hope, and love as well.  Life has a balance of it’s own, and it has nothing to do with “fair”.  We cannot force our view of “fair” onto this balance because the more we try the more we put things out of balance.  All we can really do is live, and do everything, as best we can.  We can only do what we think is right.

I could go on and on, but if I haven’t started you thinking by now then I never will be able to.  I also want to say a few words on this financial crisis we are in now – think about it as well.  There is plenty of finger pointing at the Bush administration for this crisis in the media.  However, the mainstream is conveniently ignoring the fact that the House and Senate have been under control of the Democrats now for the past two years.  These same Democrats are crying out now about how they saw this coming.  Okay, then, why didn’t you stop it?  You were in the lawmaking control here, right?  What steps did you take to stop it?  Seriously?  Anyone who follows politics even remotely knows that it was the Republicans that warned about Fanny Mae and Fanny Mac, and the Dems that ignored them.  I was going to post a bunch of fact finding links, but this one covers them all:

http://777denny.wordpress.com/2008/09/20/mccain-warned-now-the-freddie-macfannie-mae-democratic-economy-gets-bailed-out-at-a-cost-of-a-trillion-dollars/

If you’re going to cast your vote in November based on the economy, then you need to consider that we are in the mess we are in because of the Democrats as well – not just the Bush administration or the Republicans.  There is, at the VERY least, equal blame to lay.

The bottom line of my point is this:  you are welcome to not appreciate reality, my friends, but reality is still reality whether you like it or not.  Do what you think is right, not what you think is “fair”.  This way, perhaps you will spend more time actually considering the whole picture and not just your view of it.

Until next time,
B

Further Weight Loss Info, Working from Home, and Tumblogging.

What up?!  Just a short post chock full of information for you, my avid readers.  First up on the plate is the great news that I am down now to 232 pounds (as of last Sunday 8/10).  That means I’ve lost 30 pounds since February – putting me at currently losing an average of 5 pounds a month.  Ah the glory of it is immense.  I was wearing 2XL shirts and size 42 pants (no belt necessary) in Feb, and now I’m back to regular XL shirts and size 40 pants (but I have to wear a belt with them to keep them in place).  Soon I will be down to size 38 pants again… maybe even size 36 which I haven’t been in since high school.   It hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I imagined it would be, either.  Like I’ve written before, all I’m doing is watching / counting the calories of everything I eat (maxing out at around 1800-1900 a day), and jogging on the elliptical machine for about 42 minutes three or four times a week.   The machine has a calorie counter on it, and I always burn a little over 500 calories every time.  I have no idea how accurate that is, though, but it’s a cool thought.  At least it’s working!  Heck now I barely have to think about the calories I eat – I’m more running on instinct now than actively counting calories.

It’s so easy – anyone could be doing this for themselves without joining any weight loss club, paying for a plan, or shelling out huge amounts of money on diet pills or whatever.  I eat mostly Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine meals (2 of them a day – one for lunch and another for dinner), except on the weekends when I will cook for myself… or sometimes go out to eat and just get whatever I want regardless of the diet.  I eat a couple of packets of instant oatmeal for breakfast, or a peanut butter / banana sandwich.  I have snacks in between meals consisting of gummy candy and chocolate, whatever chips I want, microwave popcorn (those cool snack size bags), and so on.  I portion everything out, and take baggies of stuff with me to work.  I usually have a ham/turkey sandwich every day as well.  (I make my sandwiches on Publix Light Wheat bread as two slices is 80 calories as opposed to 140 with regular bread.)  As you can see, I’m not cutting out stuff I like to eat…I’m just eating less of it.

I even drink regular (non diet) sodas – one a day at the most – although lately I’ve been drinking a bottle of the Energy style of Vitamin Water every day to get my caffeine fix instead.  Not because I’m cutting out sodas – it’s just what I feel like doing right now.  I think it’s important not to try and distance yourself from the things you love to eat or drink.  It’s just important to not be a glutton about it.

One thing I do try to distance myself from is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  That stuff just gets converted directly to fat by your body, so if you’re going to eat or drink sweets try to get the ones made from sugar instead of HFCS.  I get organic ketchup because it’s made with sugar.  Low sugar jelly is often made with sugar instead of HFCS.  (Read the labels on the things you eat, folks.)  The sodas I drink are usually sweetened with sugar, although it’s hard to find them sometimes.  If you like Dr. Pepper, you should get it delivered to you from the original bottling plant in Texas, like I do.  They make it with sugar and it tastes so much cleaner than HFCS Dr. Pepper.  Their website is http://www.olddocs.com.  All Jones sodas are sweetened with real sugar.  I can’t find their Cola version in stores anywhere, but you can order it from their website as well:  http://www.jonessoda.com.  The Jones Cream Soda is absolutely the best cream soda I’ve ever had – if you like cream soda then I suggest you try it.  Boylan also makes all their sodas with real sugar, although I’ve never had one.  http://www.boylanbottling.com is their website.

In any event, each meal or snack is around 300 to 500 calories, and I eat 4 to 6 times a day depending on how many total calories are involved.  You have to do that to keep your metabolism high.  I take a multi-vitamin every day as well.  So there you go – the smart weight loss plan in which all that is involved is you, your brain, and your will power.  No companies or outside entities who want your money are involved.  Just you.

Of course, this just all plays into my ideal that people should learn to be more responsible for themselves.  I realize this plan isn’t for everyone because not everyone is going to be enough of an individual, or have a strong enough willpower, to do it on their own.  But you can – everyone can – all it takes is dedication and commitment.  If you can get fat on your own, you can get thinner on your own as well.  It’s not as complicated as the weight loss clubs and plans want you to believe that it is.  I am living proof of that.   The thing is that, depending on a number of factors, your body needs somewhere around 2000 to 3000 calories a day (give or take) just to keep you alive.  If you eat fewer calories than your body needs, then it will delve into your fat stores to keep you alive, and you will therefore lose weight.  It’s a fairly simple concept.  A guy my height and frame should be around 190 pounds, and at this rate I should be there around February or March next year.  I hoping that will be so.  Consult your doctor, formulate a plan, and start living a better life for yourself.

Another cool thing I want to mention is that Turner recently allowed my department to start working from home one day a week, and man it just kicks ass.  With gas prices as they are, it just makes sense for folks who can do their jobs from home be allowed to do so, as long as productivity remains the same or even improves.  So now I have an IP phone here at home, plugged into my router, and when I log into it I can get my support calls here at my apartment.  I use the VPN (google it if you don’t know what it is) to log into my computer at work, and BAM…everything I have access to there I can access from here.  Every Thursday I will now be working from home.  It just rocks to be able to do my job and not have to get dressed to do it (hahahahahaha).  That’s all I have to say about that.

Speaking of coolness, I need to take a moment to thank my good friend Stephanie Curtis for introducing me to the glory of Tumble Blogs – or Tumblogs…Tumblogging as it were.  If a Blog like this one is like a journal, then a Tumblog is like a scrapbook.  I often don’t have the time to write up full on posts like this one here, which is why I don’t post here as often as I’d like.  But on a Tumblog, you post just snippits of stuff.  I will post a picture one day, a video the next, then a quote (like how I love to quote song lyrics all the time), a short note in between, or maybe all the above in one day.  It’s all there and I will likely post a little something there every day.  So check my Tumblog out at:  http://commonterry.tumblr.com.  This space intentionally left blank.  (hehe) I hope you enjoy it!

Until next time,
B

Vacations 2008 – From Home to the Beach

So…wow…I have a lot to say about the past few weeks. July has been a pretty awesome month – vacations galore!

On July 6th I left Atlanta for a week’s vacation in which I planned to split stays in Charlotte, NC and Princeton, WV. I went to Charlotte, of course, to hang with my brother and his family. We hung out, played some Texas Hold ‘Em (as usual) and Grand Theft Auto 4 (a new tradition lol), and went to Carowinds on Monday the 7th.

Not being much of a partier, or really enjoying hanging around most people for extended periods of time, I have most of my fun with family and well-known friends. This means most of my time in Atlanta is spent working, or chilling from being at work. The main exception to this is when I’m playing D&D with my friends, but that doesn’t happen nearly as often as it used to. So it’s times like this that I look forward to so I can get away from the usual days of my life.

I had so much fun at Carowinds riding rollercoasters with my brother that I felt re-energized in a way that I haven’t in a long time. One coaster in particular, NightHawk, provided me with the most fun I’ve had on a roller coaster in my life, although it’s been so long since I rode the Hulk rollercoaster at Islands of Adventure in Orlando that I’m not sure I can make an honest comparison. I remember that rollercoaster as being the best I’ve ever been on. Hopefully I will make it back to Islands of Adventure soon. In any event, it was indeed some of the best, most complete, unadulterated fun I’ve had in a long time. We rode that one twice, and all the other coasters once. We also rode the drop zone twice as there isn’t much out there that can give you the rush of a free fall. A great time was had by us both.

It wasn’t just being at the park, of course, it was just experiencing it all with my brother and hanging out with him. We talked and laughed all day like we were kids again. I walked away from Carowinds feeling more alive and energized than I can remember feeling since my youth. Which is kinda depressing now that I think about it hahahahaha.

But of course all good things must come to an end, and the greatest of them seem to fade faster than most. Carowinds closed at 8pm that day, which is retarded if you ask me. It’s still daylight, and it’s certainly not a school night. Why not keep the place open until the freaking sun goes down? Freaks! Anyway, I spent that night at Lee Jay’s because I was exhausted from the day of glory. I spent the rest of the week (through Sunday the 13th) in Princeton.

I was also able to spend some awesome time hanging out with my Second Family, as well as my Mom, so I was able to enjoy much more positive emotions and fun on this trip than the negative shite. However, one other crappy thing that happened during this trip is that I have a feeling that “Darkening of the Light”, as it was intended anyway, is a dead project. Outside of Sheila and I, all of our stars and crew are steeped in college affairs and other real world concerns of youth. I’m still hoping we will finish the fight scene between my character and Kris’, so at least I can cut that into a standalone scene. Who know if that will happen, but I’m pretty sure that the movie as written will never happen. That bums me out, but life goes on I suppose. I’m sure if we all could just communicate better and more often, then it would be much easier for us all to coordinate our schedules. I guess we’ll see.

Sheila and Rob invited me over for dinner one night and we had a blast. Kris and I went to Wal-Mart to buy a game so we could all play something together. We got a game called “Apples to Apples”, and if you’ve never played it then I encourage you to go pick it up right away.

It’s a simple game to learn and start playing – about 5 minutes of prep are needed even if you are a first time player. The game consists of a deck of red apple cards, and a deck of green apple cards. Both sets of cards have words or phrases on them. Everyone is dealt 7 red apple cards. Play begins with one player being chosen as the “judge” for the first round. The judge takes a green apple card and reads the word or phrase on it, which also contains several synonyms in case folks are not sure what the word/phrase means. Then everyone else (other than the judge) picks one of their red cards that they feel most closely matches the green card’s meaning…or at least is funny and/or ironic. Like one time the green apple card was something like “Manly”, and someone put in a red apple card that read, “Rosie O’ Donnell”. LOL! The red apple cards are paced in the middle face down. The Judge takes all the red apple cards and mixes them up so they don’t know who put which one in, and then reads them all. The judge then picks the red apple card he/she feels is the best match for the green apple one. The person who put that red apple card in then “wins” that green apple card and scores a point. Then the person to the left of the Judge becomes the Judge for the next round, and so on. Depending on the number of people playing, after one person wins so many of the green apple cards then the game is over and that person wins. It’s an awesome game, and the rounds can get hysterical with some of the red apple cards that are thrown in to match up with the green apple card. I highly recommend the game – we played it several times and had a blast each time. The whole family can enjoy this one as Sheila’s younger son Trey, who is only like 8 or 9 I think, played the game with us and just had a blast. I am impressed with his word comprehension and his ability to play the game well. And also it can only help him learn what words mean that he’s never heard before, and build that vocabulary. Again, “Apples to Apples” is very highly recommended by me.

We also played a card game that Jordan taught us called “Marbles”. You pair up into teams, and each team has a code word, phrase, or even an action (like playing with your hair or something) that you work out with your partner in secret. Everyone has four cards in their hands, and four cards are delt face up on the table. The game encourages social interaction as you’re supposed to talk to everyone at the time while the game is going on – small talk, random conversation, whatever. Everyone is scooping up cards from the table, mixing them into their hand, and discarding others (you can keep a max of 4 cards in your hand). After a while of the cards on the table not being picked up any longer, they are considered “dead” and discarded. Then four more cards are dealt face up on the table for everyone to pick at. The object is to build a four-of-a-kind hand. Once you’ve done that, you try to work your secret word/phrase/action into the conversation so your partner notices it. If they realize it, they say “Marbles” and you reveal your four-of-a-kind hand and the two of you win that round. However, if an opponent suspects you are trying to alert your partner, then they can say “spit” and steal the win from you. It’s a really fun game that we played for quite a while that night as well.

I posted some pics from this trip to my Facebook page. The pics at the beginning are a mix of Christmas 06 and 07 pics with my (main lol) family, and the pics near the end are of the above described day with the Second Family. Here is the link to the album:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=151186&l=1ea56&id=1175850700

I went back to Sheila’s the next night as well and we hung out more and played more games. While I was there, Rob and Sheila asked me if I wanted to join them at Myrtle Beach the following weekend for even more awesome fun. Given that I took so much time off this past winter shooting the movie, and I was sick 7 days this winter as well, I don’t have a lot of vacation time left (Even though I get six weeks off a year for combined vacation and sick time…tells you how much time I took off for [failed] movie making). After taking this week off, I only have enough time to take a break during this coming Christmas. However, I didn’t see a problem with me driving up on the coming Saturday and spending Saturday and Sunday there. So it was agreed that I would join them at the paradise of Myrtle Beach. They even convinced me that if I could arrange it, that I should also try to stay through Monday. I agreed and would probably be able to do just that. I was going to try and cram a week of glory into two days. Yes!

In any event, we played more game this night and a great time was had by all. I just want to thank the Second Family for having me over, feeding me, and spending this time with me on this trip. I had a great time, and only wish that we could all get together much more often than we can right now.

Another reason I went on this trip at the time that I did is that July 13th is my Mom’s birthday, and I like to go up there to spend it with her. I took her out to dinner a couple of times, and bought her a three-piece rug set that she wanted for the living room. She was very happy, and I’m sure it’s awesome to have as many of us as possible there on her birthday. Every time she’s in the living room now, and sees the rugs, she is reminded of our time there on her birthday, and she is happy. All is well in the world.

I left to return to Atlanta after spending some extra time with Mom on her birthday (Sunday the 13th). I took Monday the 14th off from work as well just to have more rest from the travel, and also so I could have time to do some grocery shopping and other errands before I returned the rental car to Avis. After doing all the shopping, I looked up how much it would cost to rent a car again that weekend for Myrtle Beach vs how much it would be for me to just keep it for another week. The weekly rate was just $80 more, so I kept the car for an extra week instead.

The 15th through the 18th crawled by as I waited for my trip to Myrtle Beach to arrive. I had never driven myself to Myrtle Beach before, so I mapped the route using Google maps and prepared myself for greatness. Until this trip I had only been to Myrtle Beach twice in my entire life. I went once when I was very young – I barely remember it. I couldn’t have been older than 8 or so. I fell asleep on a raft floating right at the shore. It carried me down the beach a couple of miles away from everyone, so when I woke up I was seriously lost. That’s pretty much the only thing I remember about that trip. Then I went three years ago with Mom, James, Lee Jay, Vickie, and Austin. We stayed a week at the Dayton House and that was an awesome time. Three years and no ocean…I was missing it.

It’s about a six hour drive from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach, which is the same amount of time it takes me to drive from here to Princeton. So I’ve been driving a lot of miles lately lol. I think I put 1800 miles on that Jeep I rented in two weeks. Craziness. Anyway, I left at about 9:30 Saturday morning, which is an amazing feat for me in and of itself (being up that early). I hit some traffic on I-75 S before I even made it to I-20 E because of road construction. Then I hit more congestion as I got close to Myrtle Beach because Saturday is condo check in/out day, so the road is always clogged. I eventually met up with Sheila and the gang near the Tanger Outlet mall, and I followed them in the rest of the way on a different route. I think we pulled into their condo at around 4:30 or so.

We went out to eat at Fudruckers that evening and then all went to see The Dark Knight. It was my second time seeing it…but more on the flick later. We walked around Broadway at the Beach and did a little window shopping that night as well.

The next day was spent almost exclusively at the beach. We stayed in the ocean and got pummeled by waves – it was a glorious time. I did a little sunbathing with Sheila, and I found it a wonderful, if not surreal, moment. 25 years, man…25 years and I never imagined us laying on the beach talking about the sun, vampires, exactly which chicks around us had purchased boobs, sons, daughters, husbands, and everything in between. And the laughter…let’s not forget the laughter. Some people out there never get to meet someone they don’t even have to speak to, because all it takes is proximity. Sometimes not even that; sometimes the distance can’t be too great. We are like the proverbial peas in a pod. I just cannot imagine a real sister being more a part of the fabric of me. I don’t see how it would be possible. Thank you, sis, for the day on the beach. It breathed so much more of the life back into me than Carowinds ever could.

Afterwards, me, Rob, Logan, and Trey went for a ride around Ocean Boulevard to see the sights. Man there are some awesome houses along the beachfront. It was beautiful, really, and I never took much time to pay attention to the local scenery at the beach. We also went to a gift shop where Rob insisted that he pick up a couple of souvenirs for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a proper beach towel, so I got one. Also I got a Myrtle Beach T-Shirt. My two-day week shirt – that’s how I will always look at it. Thanks, Rob! 🙂

Sheila fixed dinner for everyone that night, and it was awesome. We did more shopping at Broadway on the Beach, and we happened upon a store called “It’s Sugar”. They sell the absolute best Gummy Bears I’ve ever had at that place. I bought fifteen bucks worth, and they would have been worth twice that. We found a poster shop, and I bought an “Empire Strikes Back” one-sheet replica – very cool stuff. We bought Coke Icees and I couldn’t help thinking, “Could this day possibly kick any more ass?” Coke Icees just do it for me. Hahahahahahahaha

Later that night Logan and I stayed up half the night goofing off with the panorama feature on his phone’s camera. That’s the feature where a camera will allow you to take a series of 3 to 6 pictures, left to right; right to left; top to bottom; or bottom to top and the camera will “stitch” them together into one huge pic. It was glorious fun to create these huge pictures. I’m not sure why, but for me anything even semi-creative can be glorious fun. Logan is pretty cool too, so that helps. I took one where I started hanging upside down on the side of the bed, taking a picture of myself in the mirror, and ended up sitting up straight taking a picture of Logan. That was a freaking awesome pic. Logan took one that ended up being a series of pics of him shaking his own hand, hitting himself, kicking himself, giving himself a thumbs up…it was really awesome as well. It was hilarious and the perfect end to a perfect day.

So Monday came and it was the day I was dreading…sort of hanging over my head the whole time I was there. I knew I was going to have to leave them there and come back here by myself, and it was going to suck ass. But we still had a really great time. Rob suggested we all go to the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Aquarium, so we went. Man it was so awesome – especially the tunnel where the sharks and fishes were swimming all around you…even over our heads. I really enjoyed it, as you will be able to tell with all the pictures I took there lol. After the aquarium, we went to eat the Hard Rock Café. Another first for me! We have the biggest aquarium in the world here in Atlanta, along with a Hard Rock Café, and I’ve never been to either of them. In any event, it was awesome but it was also bittersweet. You know what I mean.

Well, what can I say? I went there with the mission of packing a week of beachy goodness into just two days, and man I think it was pretty much mission accomplished. I can’t thank Rob and Sheila enough for inviting me along. Lodging me, feeding me, sharing your vacation with me…my thanks are eternal.

So now I’m home, and the blahs are running deep. It’s back to work, and most of the days pass by like they don’t mean anything. I know that they do, of course, but I’m just selling my perception here, okay?

I just realized that this will be the first weekend in three weeks that I will be totally here in Atlanta. Not sure what I’m going to do other than just chill and relax from all the traveling. I’m thinking about not leaving the apartment at all outside of grocery shopping. Actually, perhaps I will go see The Dark Knight again.

Man what a flick. The more that I turn it over in my head, and it marinates within me, I’m beginning to think that it just might be my favorite movie of all time. It is THAT good. If you haven’t seen it, you must go immediately.

Heath Ledger…what a loss to movie lovers…and creative geniuses….everywhere. He made this comic book character seem like a completely real guy that you just might have the misfortune of meeting in real life. While I appreciate everyone else’s performances as well, I just can’t say that of them or pretty much any other performance I’ve seen in a long time. Every time I remind myself that we’re not going to get to see him do this again is heartbreaking.

But beyond Heath, this movie is just one of the most perfectly written, directed, photographed, scored, and edited flicks I’ve ever seen. If not the best. I’m still mulling that one. I think it’s going to take the spot, though. I see it coming. I can’t help but feel like just another part of the hype machine for this movie, but if any movie has lived up to the hype then it’s this one. I remember absolutely loving Batman Begins, but this movie makes that flick seem insignificant.

Anyway…check out The Dark Knight of you have the chance. I doubt you will regret it. I think I will go check it out again later today myself….

Well I guess it’s that time again. I’ve given up trying to talk myself into writing here more often, like I usually do around this point in every post, but I really do appreciate those of you who come here and check it out often. Sorry to disappoint, but at least it’s times like this that your patience is rewarded. At least, I hope you feel that way. I know I do. 🙂

Until next time….

B