Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Goodbye Old Girl

It's been fun, but the cast comes off tomorrow. Gone are the days of sitting in the shower, hobbling around, stinky toes, getting laughed at. No longer will small children cry at the sight of my horribly disfigured leg. Say goodbye to the gentle wafting aroma of six-week-unwashed foot. Break out the right shoes. Sound the trumpets. Come 9:30 tomorrow morning, I will no longer be a slave to the unyielding tyranny of blue fiberglass.

Yes, we can.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gotta Let it Burn

My parents came to Auburn today to spend a night with me and help me do some things in and around the house (on-a-count of my bum leg). My mom and I steam cleaned the carpets while my dad did yard maintenance. Later in the afternoon, my dad came in asking if I had any wasp/yellow jacket spray. I don't. Turns out he had run over a huge yellow jacket nest with the lawn mower! He said hundreds of them came swarming out of the ground as he calmly backed away. Thus, it was time to mobilize and improvise.
"We'll have to pour gasoline down the hole and burn 'em out," Dad said.
So mom got him a solo cup to pour some gasoline in. He poured the gas into the cup and started to make his way around the truck when he noticed a problem.
"This cup has a hole in it!" he yelled. The gas had eaten a hole through the plastic cup.
"Well, I can't wear this glove anymore, I'll light myself on fire!"
So, I went back inside and got a glass.
"Now we just need a volunteer to pour the gas and light it!" Dad said. Let's pause to take a quick look at the line-up. My mother has bad knees and is on the verge of knee replacement surgery. I have a broken ankle and am still quite hindered by my cast. By process of elimination, Dad had volunteered himself. Like a good blogger, I was there with my camera ready to capture the adventure.

Dad approaches the hole with gasoline in a glass. Mom follows behind with a match at the ready.
Dad has done his part, now he's getting the hell out of there!
Mom had some trouble getting a match to stay lit all the way down to the hole. Look at how bravely she persists.
Finally, mission accomplished. In the words of Usher, "gotta let it burn."
Mom slowly creeps back up to assess the damage. A job well done.

Amazingly, nobody was stung.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Eat, drink, and be merry




I don't know what got into me. Wednesday night I had several friends over and I cooked. That's right- I cooked. It was really a joint effort, so I can't take all the credit. More to come on that.
I grilled Hawaiian Chicken (that's what I'm calling it at least. It's a variation on my mother's 'Holly Chicken' but without many of the things she includes. Thus, I just call it Hawaiian Chicken). Teriyaki marinated chicken breasts were wrapped in bacon, topped with a slice of pineapple, placed in the grill basket, and put on the grill. Meanwhile, Chandler helped me by monitoring the rice and green beans. The hardest part about cooking is timing everything so that it is done all at the same time. My mother is quite the master at this technique. I, however, am not. So, I employed Chandler to help me. Daniel and MC brought salad and a key-lime pie. Lee and Dana brought a watermelon, a bunch of drinks, and cookies. It ended up being a wonderful (and much needed) night of food, friends, and fun. We sat around the table that held up many meals for my family growing up. It's still pocked with fork marks from my brother and I. We told stories, took pictures, laughed. We ate, drank, and were generally merry.
The downside? I spent the better part of my morning this morning doing a million dishes by hand because I don't have a dish washer. It was worth it though. We know that food and good times often go together. I think this correlation is made even stronger when the food is prepared by you and your friends.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Whoa, things got crazy.

Well said, title. Turns out my recent string of boredom was the calm before the storm. When I say storm, I mean an onslaught of people that I love and that are very important to me. Yesterday saw the return of one of the main characters in my life: my roommate and best friend Daniel. He's been in Europe for nine weeks with the college of building science. He and his betrothed are hanging out in Auburn while he finishes his studies and prepares for graduation. So, it's great to have them around for the next couple of weeks.
But wait, there's more. My good friends Whitney and Hope came to Auburn to hang out with Chandler and I. Remember camp? These are friends from camp. So good to see them as well. Their brief visit brings new meaning to the phrase "short, but sweet".

Good talk, see you out there.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

An Inconvenient Food

I began thinking about what I was going to do for dinner tonight. Immediately, Veggies To Go popped into my mind (Auburn people, you know what I'm talking about). I started piecing together my order when it hit me: it's Sunday. Veggies is closed on Sunday. I haven't thought about Veggies to Go in probably two months, and the one day I want it, it's closed. Doesn't it always happen that way? "Man, I'd love some Chik-fil-a... oh wait, it's Sunday". Maybe it speaks to some deeper meaning within the human condition: we always want what we can't have. Or, it's just an inconvenient food.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nostalgia

The driveway was long. Vegetation surrounding it on the left and right, even above; a living tunnel. The light at the end of the tunnel was only more driveway, this time out in the open. It was unpaved, save the oyster shells that cut at my summer feet. As we near the end of the driveway, the animals rush to greet us. An old Brittany spaniel investigates our arrival as a younger animal of the same breed barks and runs about.
The entrance to the house is covered with tropical vegetation. Young palms fan out in the summer sun. We brush the foliage away from our faces as we walk into the house. It is hot, but the floor feels cool on my bare feet. The smell of boiling shrimp permeates the air. The house has all the usual furnishings; sofas, tables, chairs, etc. It's the decoration that strikes me. One room is full of giraffes, wooden, slender, hand-crafted. The stairwell adorned with teapots from all over the world. Tribal masks hang on one wall. A mural beams from the floor of the sunroom, challenging my imagination. Photography throughout; the kind that makes you have to catch your breath again. Ornate, yet simple. Exotic, yet somehow so homey.
The screen door slams shut, signaling my arrival to the backyard. A large tree of some sort provided shade for most of the area, including a picnic table perfect for eating freshly boiled crab. Water. A swimming pool: the pinnacle of summer bliss, and this one even has a diving board. Thirty yards past the palm trees behind the pool lies the bay.
The house was called Pine Lodge and it was in Gulf Shores. My Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin lived there. I went back six years ago. There were no animals, no people. The house was void of its decorative eccentricities. The pool was brown.
Despite its current state, which may now be bayside condominiums, Pine Lodge remains in my memory as one of my favorite places in the world. The house was full of beautiful and interesting things. My fondest memories, though, are of the family gatherings that took place there. We would visit during the summers and catch bay crab and boil them. We would shoot fireworks off the pier. We listened to Jimmy Buffett. Our ENTIRE family would converge there after Christmas for a few days. I will never forget that place. I hold tightly to its memory, perhaps because I know that I will never again experience it. Sometimes, I just sit and think about it...


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Newton's First Law

The first of Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion while an object at rest tends to stay at rest, unless otherwise acted upon by an outside force. I am this law. I've had a broken ankle for almost a month now. Needless to say, I've been an object at rest. I feel gross. I feel like a lazy bum. I sleep late, and I don't get exercise. Yet, I continue to be able to sleep ten hours a night! Why is this? We tend to think that if one gets an abundant amount of sleep one night, he or she will not need as much sleep the next night. I have been sleeping late all week. Newton's first law. I need an outside force (preferably one capable of cutting through three layers of fiberglass.) I want to run. I want to take my dog running. I want to swim. I want to take my dog swimming. I feel like all I do is eat and sleep and watch movies. The best days of summer are passing me by in a full-bellied, foggy-eyed, one-legged haze. I do push-ups and sit-ups to try to replicate exercise, but nothing beats a good two-mile run. I'm weird in the sense that I feel like I have to "earn" a good meal and a long sleep. "Earn" in a metabolic sense. To have burned enough calories and energy through exercise and just daily activity to need a big meal and a long night's sleep. Instead, I just feel gross. Sigh.

Well, I'm going to go prop my leg up and watch more TV.

Monday, July 14, 2008

New Yorker Cover


What. The. Hell.

This is the upcoming cover of the New Yorker Magazine. It depicts Senator Barack Obama in traditional Muslim attire fist-bumping his wife, clad in terrorist attire standing over a fireplace in which an American flag is burning. Oh, and don't forget the portrait of Bin Laden on the wall.

What. The. Hell.

Spokesmen from the New Yorker say it is meant to be satirical. They claim that it is meant to poke fun at those people who think Obama and his wife are fist-bumping, flag-burning, Muslim terrorists. If this is the case, then shouldn't they draw cartoons of those people? Regardless of one's political leanings, no United States Senator deserves this kind of treatment. Both campaigns called the cartoon "tasteless and offensive." I agree. I'm appalled.

A "friend" of mine on facebook had as his status "laughing at the New Yorker cover and worried that it's a sign of things to come." The fact that people actually think that about Obama is the only thing worth laughing at here. Grow up.

---

Since originally posting this, I have watched and read several discussions on this issue. I now understand what New Yorker was trying to do here. The editor of the New Yorker made a comparison to Stephen Colbert, a comedian whose work I hold in the highest regard. He said that Colbert satirizes right wing commentary by playing a right wing "pundit". I get what he's saying. New Yorker is satirizing these perceptions of the Obamas by becoming the perceptions. Even still, I don't think it worked that well and I'm not sure the timing was appropriate on this one.

Yes, we can.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Soothe the Savage Soul

video

This is the child of two of my dear friends. They play a recording of me playing a classical piece on the guitar called "Romanza". Watch his reaction!

Friday, July 11, 2008

...In a material world.


I woke up at 7:15 this morning and got dressed to go to the AT&T store. I anticipated there being a few people standing in line when I arrived. I underestimated the geeks of Auburn. There were a good thirty people standing in a line that wrapped half-way around the building!

"Screw it" said the little, sleepy voice inside my head. "No cell phone is worth this."

Thus began the war between me and myself. In this instance, I fought that voice and decided to plop myself in this line. The store was set to open at 8:00. I anticipated waiting an hour, which would mean that I'd be in and out by 8:45. Wishful thinking. They only let eight people into the store at a time. After the initial eight, it was one in- one out.

I struck up conversations with the people surrounding me in line. We laughed, fanned ourselves in the 8 a.m. heat (seriously?), and scooted forward ever so slowly. Eventually, we turned the corner, literally. The front of the store had a nice breeze and a cooler of water provided by the kind folks at AT&T. Finally, we were within twenty feet of the door.

It was at this time that Debbie, the store Manager came out and addressed me and my fellow lemmings.

"We're runnin' low," Deb said. "This is the 'iffy-zone' right in here," she said as she pointed directly at the column of air between me and the person in front of me. Good. Great. Grand. Wonderful. I had been officially declared a denizen of the "iffy-zone". I was doomed.

"I'm outta here," said the sleepy voice in my head. Once again, I fought it off. This time it was not so much a testament of my fortitude, but the fact that NOBODY else in line was leaving. I had to stay, through thick or thin.

Finally, I made it into the store, not at 8:45 but at 10:00! That's right, I waited in line for almost two and a half hours for a cell phone. Anyhow, I had reached the promised land. Air conditioning and accessories. I asked permission to approach the bench. After exchanging information, my sales representative Kimberly placed a black box on the counter. "You got the last black iPhone in the store," she said. The heavens opened up, choirs began singing, I had been smiled upon this day. Mission accomplished.

Dreams can come true. All I had to do was repeatedly go against my better judgment, sacrifice self for the pinnacle of cellular technology.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

One Small Step for Dan

One giant leap for Dankind. I started walking today. I haven't walked in over two weeks. I was pretty shaky about it, but after a few laps around the house, I was all over the place. It's amazing how many things I can do now. I can take Jenny out (so that there will no longer be dog excrement in a 15 foot radius surrounding my front porch). I can walk up and down stairs much more easily. I can go get the mail. I can clean up the toilet paper in my front yard. Oh wait- I haven't told you about that.

My yard got rolled! Really? I left for camp and my yard, house, and car got covered in toilet paper. I teach middle school. I thought you rolled the yards of the teachers you didn't like. What's up with that? If it was you fess up.


Monday, July 7, 2008

It is finished

There. I did it. I'm back on Facebook. Is everyone happy now?


I'm embarrassed.

I would swallow my pride, I would choke on the rinds

I got off Facebook two years ago when they first allowed High Schoolers to have Facebook accounts. I'm now thinking about getting back on it. The hardest part about this would obviously be swallowing my pride. For two years I've been anti-facebook. Now, I don't think I've been annoyingly against it. I just chose not to be on it.

There are a couple of reasons for my impending return. A) going to camp and meeting back up with my friends makes me want to get back on facebook to be able to keep in touch with them and 2) If I do get an iPhone, I'll want to be able to access facebook on it, just because I can.

So, would you hate me if I got back on? Would you be willing to forget the past and be my friend? Welcome me back into the facebook fold? It's not a done deal, but I'm strongly thinking about it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I Guess You're Just What I Needed

I got my economic stimulus check yesterday! I had totally forgotten about it. Free money! Remember this post? Done. Why not? I got money that I didn't expect to have right now. Money that is meant to be spent. I would just be carrying out my duty as an American citizen by spending this money to stimulate the economy. Iphone, here I come.

Post camp breakdown

I hate the days after camp. Readjusting to life in the real world is difficult when you've been in an isolated, peaceful place with tons of your best friends. It was so good to get back to camp after a two-year hiatus. Friendships continued like we had never left.

Getting around camp proved difficult with a broken ankle. However, I was able to get a wheelchair and my transportation situation greatly improved. It was awesome to see how many people were willing to help me out all week. Sure, I got called the whole spectrum of broken bone nicknames: crip, cripple, peg-leg, etc. But, all in all, everyone was very helpful to me all week. I wouldn't have been able to do it without them.

Now that I'm a music educator, I have a totally different perspective on Music and Arts week. It is an incredible week of music and arts education. On top of learning the music and singing tons, there are classes in photography, newspaper, handbells, men's ensemble, women's ensemble, guitar, videography, art, and more. These kids get such an amazing opportunity to experience things they might never get a chance to experience otherwise. I gained a new respect for this camp this week.

So now I'm back. Back to paying bills, going to appointments, eating cheap burgers on burger night. Back to having cell phone service and internet access, things I had been fine without this past week. I have to wait another year to see these people again, but when I do, we will pick right back up where we left off.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Peace Out

As a camp should be, Sumatanga is without internet access or cell phone service. We like it this way. However, there is an office where one can access the world wide interweb, and this is the first time I have done so. I don't have the time to fill you in on all the goings on of Choir camp, except to say that things are going well and we're having a blast. I have missed it so much, and it's good to be back. I'll catch you up when I return to civilization.