Archive for March 2010

The happenstance that almost was

March 29, 2010

This past weekend was the reenactment of the battles of Scary Creek and Hurricane Bridge.  Although the temperature went into the 20s Friday night, it warmed up into the 70s and was sunny.  Sunday the weather was not so nice.  It was overcast all morning.  Late in the morning, it started to rain.  It rained… and rained… and rained.  Still, it was the best that I’ve ever seen the weather at that event.

Friday night when I was unloading my stuff, I discovered that the driver’s side door to the truck would not close.  I would slam it and it would bounce right back open.  I ended up tying it shut for the night and Saturday.  I drove it back home like that Saturday afternoon, parked it at the office and got cleaned up to see Randy Travis in concert.  The concert was great.  He’s a breath of fresh air in an age of autotune.  I borrowed Dad’s Trailblazer and went back to Hurricane to camp out and finish the reenactment.

In the morning, we were sitting around talking, and I mentioned the trouble I had with the truck.  One of the guys said that it had happened to his daughter and told me what they had done to fix it.  As soon as I got back home Sunday night, I did it, and viola (sp?) it was fixed.

Also on Sunday, I was sitting around during the officer’s meeting waiting for the decision on whether or not to fight in the rain.  A family came into the shelter where we were meeting and sat down.  Several of us started talking to them.  One of them looked familiar.  She was tall and blonde.  I was sure I had talked to her the year before.  After a couple of minutes, she asked me if I was the she had talked to last year.  I said yes.  We talked for a little longer, and it turns out we’re the same age.  When I had to go for the fight, I asked her, “I’ll talk to you after the battle?”  She said sure.

After the battle, I excused myself as quickly as possible and went to the shelter she had watched from.  I got there and saw her walking with her family back to their car.  They got in and started it up and started moving, so I dejectedly walked back to camp to pack up my gear.  They drove by as I was walking and stopped.  They rolled down one of the windows and said by.  She even leaned into the front seat to wave goodbye as they drove off.  I didn’t get a chance to get her phone number or email address.  I was bummed when I didn’t get it last year.  This year I’m just pissed at myself.  Maybe there’s next year though.

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computer scare

March 16, 2010

Sunday night, I got ready for bed.  I hopped onto facebook one last time for the night.  Firefox was being very slow.  I tried to watch an episode of Doctor Who, but it loaded slowly also.  Then it started.  click click click  It came from right around the area of the hard drive.  I immediate jumped into action and plugged in the external hard drive that I had bought in the fall to back up my laptop and yet had never actually gotten around to using.  I started copying my teaching files from UofL, which along with pictures are the only files that I could not easily replace.  I got it about halfway backed up and the blue screen of death appeared.

I restarted my laptop, and while it restarted, I said a few little prayers that it would actually start.  It did start.  I immediately started backing up those same files again.  When that was done, I set it to work backing up everything but my music, which comprises nearly a third of my drive space.  The projected time to finish that was a few hours, so I went to sleep.

Last night, the computer was running like there had never been a problem.  The clicking had even stopped.  I went ahead and set it to the task of copying my music files to my external hard drive.  By this morning the task was done.  I breathed a sigh of relief that everything was safe now in the event of a hard disk failure.  Hopefully that doesn’t end up happening any time soon though, because I can’t afford a new one right now!

Not all those who wander are lost.

March 12, 2010

This line is taken from the first part of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.  It’s been one of my favorite sayings ever since I first read it in middle school.  I was that geek who sat in the lunch room with a huge book.  Granted, lunch was nearly the only time I read for fun, so it took me two years to get through The Lord of the Rings and then The Hobbit.  Since then, I’ve read them several times, and always in that order.

Taken alone, the line says it’s okay to take a minute to look around.  I think this touched me strongly because I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder just months before I read this for the first time.  I felt like Tolkien was telling me, personally, that it is okay to take in whatever is in the world.  I didn’t have to hate myself for not being focused all the time.  There is so much to do and see in the world that it’s alright to be distracted.

Of course, that is taking the line out of context.  It is actually a part of a letter in the form of a poem that goes:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes of a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be the blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

It’s a poetic description of a man that the four travel-weary hobbits are to soon meet.  His name is Aragorn, and he is the heir to the throne of Gondor, although he travels as an outlaw known as Strider.  He is far from shiny and golden when they meet.  He also wanders through the wilderness with his friends/family.  He has no place to be at any certain time.  Although he always knows where he is, he is often traveling without a destination in mind.  Most would view him as lost because of this.  Instead he merely wanders, seeing what there is to see and experiencing whatever he can find.

This is an idea that largely appeals to me.  To be able to wander without having to worry about being somewhere.  To travel and see whatever comes along.  There’s the world’s biggest ball of yarn thirty miles to the west?  I’ll go see it.  See Rock City?  I don’t mind if I do.  I head off to see the beaches of Vancouver, but I end up visiting the Gulf coast instead.

To wander and not be lost is an idea that I love, but I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to live it.

Dirty Weekend

March 8, 2010

I was sure when I woke up this morning that I would hear about the Academy Awards on the radio, even ESPN Radio.  Instead as I sat down to breakfast, I heard Mike and Mike talking about Big Ben.  It turns out it was not a good weekend to be a PittsburgH sports fan.

The first thing I heard was that Steelers’ quarterback Ben Rothlisberger was being investigated for sexual assault again.  At first I thought they might be reopening the Colorado case, but it turns out it was in Georgia this time.  Despite not being particularly fond of the Steelers or people who ride motorcycles without helmets, I remember backing Big Ben* when the Colorado case came along.  The information released about it said the case had no evidence.  I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt in an innocent-until-proven-guilty kind of way, especially since it was the first time I had heard anything bad about his behavior, aside from the helmet thing.  It was also just over a year after charges were dropped in the Duke lacrosse case.**  Now Ben’s in a similar situation to before.  This time, the accusation is sexual assault and not rape, but it’s still a sex crime.  The accuser went to the hospital and then the police that night – instead of waiting a year and filing a civil suit without reporting it to the police – so there should be evidence this time if it did happen.  It’s possible that Big Ben is just an idiot for being a high-profile figure who gets himself into situations where he can be accused of sex crimes, but it’s starting to look more like he’s scum.  I’ll hold out on making a final judgment until the case develops though.

The other bit of news out of PittsburgH’s sporting establishment involves a hit – video embedded in linked story – during a Penguins-Bruins game.  I’ve heard a couple of people say it was a clean hit that resulted in the need for a stretcher for the Bruin.  I’ve heard a lot more say it was illegal.  After seeing the hit a number of times, I don’t think it was an illegal hit, but it was far from being clean.  The tell-tale of an illegal hit to the head would be lifting the elbow.  Matt Cooke clearly hit Marc Savard with his upper arm and shoulder.  Although the hit was legal, Cooke eyed his way right to Savard’s head when Savard was looking towards the goal and could not see Cooke coming.  He even leaned his body to follow through with the hit.  Had he skated a foot to his left, it would have been body-on-body contact, still legal, and there would be no debate today.  Instead Cooke aimed for the head, which I believe is one of the dirtiest plays in hockey, even if it’s not always illegal.  Given Cooke’s two previous suspensions for dirty hits, I feel he intended the hit he laid on Savard.  The NHL is not above suspending or fining players for dirty-but-not-illegal hits under professional conduct clauses in contracts.  They’ve done it before, and I believe they should this time as well.  Meanwhile, while the owners are trying to figure out ways to increase scoring at the next meeting, they should take a minute to come up with a rule banning blind side hits to the head.  The NHLPA would have a hard time with public relations if they tried stopping that rule from passing after Cooke’s hit.

In a bit of dirty play not involving PittsburgH, Carl Edwards did exactly what everybody was led to believe was being encouraged.  In January, NASCAR’s VP of Competition infamously told drivers “Boys, have at it,” after saying NASCAR was loosing its rules regarding contact between cars.  It was widely understood that what Robin Pemberton was saying was that bump drafting was being allowed again and that trading paint would be encouraged to make racing more exciting.  Carl Edwards did precisely what everybody thought was being encouraged and with dramatic results.  Brad Keselowski was involved in a wreck that sent Edwards to the garage and 100 laps down in the race.  Edwards came back onto the track near the end of the race, took aim at Keselowski’s car, and gave him a bump that sent him airborne.  After the race, Edwards said, “Brad knows the deal between him and I… The scary part is that his car went airborne, which is not at all what I expected.”  He later clarified on facebook that the hit was intentional but that he only intended to send a message to Keselowski, not send him into the sky.  Keselowski, who is no stranger to causing wrecks, suggested, after he regained his senses, that NASCAR needs to reign in the hitting.

*I hate typing his last name.  In fact, I’m sure that’s how he got his nickname to begin with.
**That is probably the only time I will feel bad for anybody associated with Duke University.

On toilet seats

March 6, 2010

I will never for the life of me understand what it is that women find so hard about lifting the toilet seat after they’ve finished using the bathroom.  The is nothing so infuriating about walking into the bathroom to pee only find yourself making a mess because somebody left the seat down.

Men understand that women don’t like to pee while hovering over the toilet like we do, but we at least expect you to have the decency to put the seat up when you’re done.  It’s not like we men ask for much.  We don’t care if our laundry is neatly folded – or even actually clean – or if there is some sort of side to go with the meat we have for dinner or whether or not the kids have finished their homework.  All we really want is for the toilet seat to be put back up after you’re done – the same way we left it after we finished.

I know all the ladies reading this are probably thinking, “Why should we have to lift the seat?  Why don’t you lift it and put it back down?”  There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Women tend not to be as tall as men.  That means that women are closer to the toilet and do not have to bend as much to put the seat up.
  2. Women sit when they use the toilet.  It is much easier to lift the seat as you stand than it is for us to bend over to lift it.  That makes it just plain common courtesy.
  3. Women are more observant than men.  You know that to be true.  Unless it involves sports, sex or the waitress at lunch, guys are not likely to take note of their surroundings.  When was the last time your guy noticed you got a haircut or your anniversary without you bringing it to his attention?  Women are FAR more likely to notice that the toilet seat is up, and they nearly always do whenever entering a bathroom.  I know this because they always make that observation upon exiting said bathroom.  A guy will likely not even notice the seat is down until it’s too late.  In fact at night, he may not turn the lights on at all and be completely unaware of the fact that the seat was down until it is brought to his attention by a woman in the morning.  (A guy will never notice it in this instance.)

For these reasons, I call on women all over the world to give the guys a break and put the toilet seat back up when you finish.  It’s easy to remember if you just keep this campaign tag line in your mind:

Give your guy a lift!

On planning an evening

March 4, 2010

I have Copa rehearsal tonight as I do pretty much every night between now and when we perform.  Since there’s no UK basketball game tonight and I still have a movie pass for Cinemark from a disastrous attempt at a Youth event, I was thinking about going to see a late showing of something tonight.  The movie pass is only good for until the end of this month, so I thought now was as good a time as any to catch a movie. 

I’ve been wanting to see Dear John, mainly because it stars Amanda Seyfried.  I went to the Cinemark website to see when it was showing and what else was starting late.  I noticed that Wolfman was still on.  I had absolutely no desire to see it when it came out.  I figured I’d wait for it to hit television and watch it then.  I’ve never been very big on werewolves with a few exceptions – most notably the episode from Series 2 of the new Doctor Who.  For some reason, I thought it might be fun to watch tonight, knowing that I’ll change my mind before I could actually get to the theater.  Surely it has to be better than Valentine’s Day, which was okay but didn’t live up to its cast’s potential.

While I was on the Cinemark website, I decided I’d see what was going off and coming on this weekend.  That’s when I noticed Alice in Wonderland.  I didn’t have much desire to see that movie in the theater either, but for some reason I thought I might enjoy it after all after seeing its listing.  I definitely won’t be watching it in Ashland though, because if I do end up seeing it, I’ll want to watch it in 3-D, which will require a trip to Huntington.  I was thinking that the movie would probably end up with a PG-13 rating, but I was surprised to see that it is only PG.  Even more surprising was the reason that it is “PG: For fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar.”  I can understand being PG for violence and things that would be scary for little kids – like the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter – but the smoking caterpillar: I find very amusing.  I’m actually starting to look forward to Alice in Wonderland, but only in 3-D and only not at full evening price.

exhaust

March 3, 2010

Fatigue is going to kill me, I’m sure.

I was about to make a post about how tired I am and how staying this busy is going to be the death of me.  Then I realized that I never posted the reason that I’m so busy.

In college, the theater department did a performance of Godspell.  I thought about auditioning and decided not to.  Ever since then, I wished I had.

In the fall, I saw that an old friend of mine from high school was going to be in a play at the local college.  I went to see it the last night of the run, and it was amazing.  I talked to her on facebook after the show, and she told me that I should audition for the next play, which was A Christmas Carol.  There was no way that I could do rehearsals and the performances during Advent, so I didn’t try out.  A few weeks ago, the college held auditions for Copacabana.  It’s a musical based on the Barry Manilow hit of the same name.  Most of the music was written by Manilow specifically for the musical.  I thought it would be fun and I had somewhat more free time on my hands (or at least could make more free time) than I did in November and December, so I auditioned, thinking I’d end up being cast in the chorus.  Two days after auditioning, I found out that I had been cast as one of the six lead characters.

We’re currently in the third week of rehearsal for the show.  I’ve been at the college nearly every night, sometimes until midnight, since we started.  Okay, so we haven’t actually rehearsed past 11 yet, but I’ve been hanging out and talking with other cast members.  I’m sure that I’ll be doing less of that once we start going until midnight.  I’m also sure that I’ll end up sleeping at showering at the office when we get closer to performance so that I can get an extra half hour of sleep every night.  So far, I’m really enjoying it and loving the experience of trying something new.

Since it will be occupying a large part of my time, I’m sure I’ll be posting more about it, and I’ll also be sure to mention more about it when it’s nearing time for the performance.