This past week I went skiing at a resort called Loveland in Colorado. All I have to say is OMG it’s so awesome. And after my past skiing experiences, that’s saying something!!! (Read my past skiing posts to understand why) This place made me love to ski. Like seriously if I lived near some slopes, I’d be out there every day. I met some awesome people there this past week too. Hope I can go back some day.
So I just wanted to send a shout out through Tumblr to anyone else who LOVES Loveland!!
And to anyone who was there this past week (Mar 13-15, 2012), I was the chick with the bunny hat! ;)….. (yeah you probably saw me wipe out a couple times in the Basin)
In this world, there are many people who are extremely trusting. They believe whatever you tell them- no questions asked. I am the complete opposite. I usually EXPECT sarcasm when you may be perfectly serious (unless I really know you, of course). This trait, although useful at times, can also cause some awkward moments in life.
[Although this is a short story, I found it random and funny, which is what I try to shoot for in all my blogs]
I was sitting across the table from a friend of mine the other day and I noticed his family wasn’t around. So I asked him where they were. When he told me that his dad was in Philadelphia, I responded:
"Pennsylvania or Mississippi?"
"Pennsylvania," he replied. For whatever reason, I thought he was being sarcastic.
"Don’t get smart with me!" I retorted, angry that he had randomly decided to get an attitude with me. A very confused and fearful look came across his face.
"Pennsylvania….I…didn’t even know there was a Philadelphia, Mississippi…." he cautiously responded.
Random story, no? This, ladies and gentlemen of Tumblr, is what I call “pulling a Pepa”. And it is moments like this that make it clear there is only one Pepa Grace.
On my local news channel this morning, they reported a school going on lock down for several hours after receiving reports via text that a gunman was on his or her way. Long story short, the iPhone auto correct feature changed the last name of a person to “gunman”.
“Do you know any good Presbyterian churches around here? I left my directory at home."
“Actually I thought we could all go to church together tomorrow.”
“….To a catholic church?”
“Yeah! It’ll be like a safari. Maybe on the way we’ll see a wild herd of Lutherans!”—Everybody Loves Raymond. A conversation between Amy’s parents (the MacDoogles) and Frank and Marie Barone concerning Easter.
Probably about three weeks ago, I had one of the worst days of my life.
It really started the night before. I was dog and house sitting for my pastor and his wife. They are the proud owners of a giant black schnauzer by the name of Lola. Now don’t get me wrong, she is one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet. But I did not know that she was not supposed to drink any water after 9:00 at night. Especially, I found out, if you let her sleep with you. I was staying in their guest room and felt bad about locking her up and night, so I let all one hundred pounds of her up in the bed with me. First of all, that is a lot of dog. I own a toy poodle and there is quite a big difference in size.
Lola immediately climbed on top of me. She was so heavy I was worried she was going to crush in my rib cage. She also was a heavy breather and I knew there was going to be know sleeping that night because of how noisy her panting was. She also was restless and kept swatting my face with her paw. I got fed up with that after awhile and shoved her off of me. It took about every ounce of strength I had to do so. Once she was situated again, I drifted off into sleep. I had just made it into that state where you’re mostly asleep but still alert enough to be somewhat of your surroundings when I felt something warm and wet seeping onto me. Yes, Lola had wet the bed.
"Gross!!!!" I hollered. I jumped up and flipped the lights on and went about ripping the sheets off. I threw them in the washing machine and then put Lola in the room she normally sleeps in. Because I was trying to let the mattress air out, I was forced to sleep on the couch. I have a bad back anyway, so I woke up very sore the next morning.
I’m sure some of you think that’s the end of the story, right? Wrong. My day was only beginning. I went through the routine of getting ready for work and for awhile my day went all right. Then, when I got off for lunch, I asked a friend of mine who was visiting from out of town if she wanted to eat lunch with me and then ride with me to my chiropractor. She agreed and we set off.
After I got done at the chiropractor’s office, we drove through Starbucks. I personally didn’t get anything but she got something similar to a strawberry smoothie. I put my iPod on shuffle and we started making our way back home, jamming out to Queen’s “Somebody to Love” along the way. Everything was going good. Then the car in front of me stopped to turn left.
I literally blinked and then WHAM! My head was flung back against the seat. My friend’s was also as her strawberry concoction splattered all over the interior of my car. Someone had slammed into the back of us. Traffic had been going slow and so I suppose the other driver didn’t see us stop. Thankfully however, the other person in front of me had safely turned before the accident so I didn’t slam into them as a result of the force with which we were hit.
Wrecks are bad enough but this was particularly terrible for me because I had only owned my car a week. I had sold my 2000 Ford Ranger named Rufus for a black Nissan 2002 GLE Maxima whom I endearingly named Madge. It was really the first car I had ever bought because Rufus had belonged to my dad before he was given to me. So you can imagine my horror to Madge being wrecked first thing. I pulled over immediately, which ironically was the beer store on the county line. The other driver climbed out and was bawling her eyes out. Part of me wanted to cry too, except I knew someone needed to be calm in this situation. No one was hurt; her airbag didn’t even deploy. But again, I had only owned the car a week. I called 911 and was trying to describe to the operator where I was. She didn’t recognize the street names but as soon as I told her about the beer store, she knew exactly where we were. Because we were on the county line, I was transferred to both counties’ sheriffs departments because the operator wasn’t sure which department should respond to the accident.
Finally a deputy made his way out to where we were. At the same time the other driver’s father and sister made their way onto the scene. Coincidentally, the girl’s father knew the deputy (that’s what you get for living in a small town) and I knew right then that the girl would not be getting a ticket. Thankfully however, she did have insurance, so I wasn’t going to have to worry about paying for any of the damage. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, in fact it turned out to be an easy fix. The car was driveable but the fender was hanging off so I had to watch in horror as the deputy tore it off in order to keep it from dragging the ground. The exhaust pipe had also been twisted to the side and a pin under the wheel was messed up. After the sheriff was done drawing up a report, we all went on our merry way. I had been instructed to go to the other girl’s insurance agency so that we could get the ball rolling on having the damage repaired. She was a member of State Farm, and I jokingly tried the trick on the commercial: “Like a good neighbor, state farm is there…with a time machine” but alas it did not work. Lol. What I did not know, however, is that State Farm actually has two locations in my little town. And they were on opposite ends of town too. I drove to the only one I knew about and was told that they had no such person in their system but to try the other office. So I had to then waste more gas to drive all the way across town to the other office.
When I finally got back to the house I was sitting for, I thought my bad luck was over for the day. But karma seemed to think my misfortunes were funny and so when I went to dig something out of the freezer, I accidentally knocked a plastic tub full of frozen celery out on the concrete (their freezer is in their garage). The container broke and bits of celery went every where. It was an insignificant occurrence, I know, but after the day I had had, it was the last straw. I hollered, which I’m sure freaked Lola out, and left to go home for supper.
I live in what can only be classified as Small Town, USA. It’s one of those places where everyone knows everyone and you can’t marry anyone within a forty mile radius lest you discover you’re long lost cousins.
In my beloved little town, the community has, over the years, tried repeatedly to put together plays in effort to give everyone some form of entertainment, lest the town die of boredom.
In the fourth grade, I participated in such a play (“Ponder Heart” by Eudora Welty) and l loved every second, despite only having two lines and forgetting to go on stage for one of them.
So the other day, my sister comes in from tennis practice and tells me about a community play that at the time she wanted to try out for. But she had decided she did not have time to commit to such a play between tennis practice, school, and doing the exercise program “Insanity”. But other than working and teaching myself the violin, I have loads of free time. Too much. Because of this, she thought it would be a great idea for me to try out.
“The play is Romeo and Harriet,” she told me (yes, Harriet. It’s a parody) “Who knows, maybe you’ll get Harriet and the guy playing Romeo will be your real life Romeo!” Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I was FOOLISHLY sold hook, line, and sinker. Plus, I had always liked acting in school plays when I was in high school.
My sister told me about the play at 1:00 on a Saturday. The audition was that day at 2. When I made up my mind that I was going to do it, I had to run jump in the shower and then throw some clothes on. I had my sister blow dry my hair while I did my makeup. Then I jumped in the car and sped down town to the community theater.
The town community theater is a little hole in the wall that the chamber of commerce decided to open up about five years ago. It was opened because the community got tired fighting with the school for time to use the much nicer and spacious theater in town. The paint on the building was chipping and the only indication on the outside that it was a theater at all was a hastily hung sign that was white with purple lettering.
I parked the car and ran inside, barely taking time to note the shoddily built ticket booth. The main auditorium was slightly nicer as far as seating goes, but the actual stage was a joke.
“Are you here to try out?!” a woman asked me as I burst into the room. I nodded.
“Well grab you a script, an audition form, and those lyrics and have a seat.” I froze at the word lyrics. The play was a musical. Seeing as my singing voice sounds about like a dying, bloody moose in the snow, I DO NOT do musicals. Period. I found out later that my sister had known it was a musical but had not told me since she knew I would chicken out.
The thought briefly crossed my mind to just leave right then. I wish I had. But for whatever reason I decided to stick around.
My little sister had also told me the play was only open to people sixteen and up, so I was expecting to be surrounded by people my age, like in their early twenties or late teens. But for some reason every person there was no older than sixteen, some even younger than that. The oldest person auditioning was the wife of the preacher at First Baptist Church.
The next thing I noticed was some blonde haired dude and another obnoxious chick acting like they were Sharpay and Ryan off Disney’s high school musical. By acting like them I mean doing the whole “Mah Mah!” thing and singing “Bop to the Top” to warm up. The boy even had a letterman jacket that read “actor” on it. I tried to repress a shudder. It was clear most of the people auditioning had had vocal training and acting lessons. I didn’t even know those were available where I live.
I took a seat and immediately looked at the lyrics I had been given. It was the ever popular “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” I breathed a sigh of relief. At least I knew the song. The nightmare was only beginning, however.
First the director made us all get on stage and hold hands. It was an odd number of people, so I found myself holding the wrist of another girl while someone else held her hand. That was awkward enough. Then we had to all “unknot” ourselves out of the circle to form a line. Even more awkward.
After all that business was over, the entire group was required to sing the song together. That wasn’t too terrible. Then it was time for the individual auditions that had to be done in front of everyone. Since only two boys had showed for the auditions, I found myself paired with another girl.
“Do you want to sing the guy or girl part?” she asked. I quickly took the girl part.
I know what all you optimists are thinking right now. We have a Sharpay and Ryan so I’m about to blow everyone away by being Gabriella, right? Wrong. That only happens for Disney. It was pretty awful. On a scale of 1-10, it was probably a 4.5. What made it even worse was I went after a girl who had done an awesome job.
Thankfully after the singing was done, we could move onto the script. That I could handle. I had a blast acting out the parts.
It was a couple weeks before I heard any word from the director. I had been expecting a text message so I had not checked my email. When I did finally check my email, however, I discovered a cast list in my inbox. I had been cast as a dude. I’m not a big fan of gender-free casting, so I was pretty appalled. Thankfully, fate dealt me a sweet hand: practices interfered with some other stuff going on in my life.
All that humiliation for nothing. But rest assured, my faithful readers. I will come up with some form of payback for that devious trick my sister pulled ;)
Over the last two years, I have went through some of the worst cell phone experiences of my life.
I had owned one of the first Blackberry curves that came out before AT&T realized how much money they could make off requiring data plans for all smart phones.
Because I had had the phone in my possession before the tyrant that is AT&T instilled this rule, I was not required to purchase a media package. But my Blackberry, which I loved like a puppy, was used. A friend had given it to me and it was clear it had seen better days. The track ball popped out all the time and occasionally the phone would freeze up. Then one day I was in the girls’ dorm bathroom, sitting on the counter chatting to some other girls. I absent-mindedly set my phone down as I talked. A good ten minutes later I looked down and I had placed my phone in a sink full of water. Needless to say, it was ruined and I had to resort back to my old LG flip phone.
But fate seemed to think I was destined for a blackberry and so another friend wound up giving me one that was the exact same model as the last when she used her upgrade. Because of this AT&T still did not charge me for a media package.
This phone I loved as much as the first. The track ball on it popped out frequently also, so I went to the local AT&T store to replace it. I was expecting ten dollars tops. But if I remember correctly, it cost me a whopping $30 to replace. I guess they charged for the “labor” of putting it in. But this was not the worst to come.
I was driving one day and my phone was in my lap. I was in a rush and so when I got out of my truck, I forgot it was there. My precious phone hit the pavement with a thud. Although cosmetically it appeared ok, the phone would not turn on. I thought it was gone forever.
So I sadly went back to the AT&T store and bought a Pantech Link. At first I loved it because the keyboard was similar to a blackberry and it was super slim. But I receive tweets from twitter via text and I quickly discovered the message memory on the phone was a joke. I missed my Blackberry desperately.
For some reason one day I decided to try my Blackberry again. And MIRACULOUSLY it came on. Imagine the joy you would have if someone handed you a million dollars and that is how I felt in that instant.
For awhile the phone worked like a charm. Being the text maniac that I am, this phone was the jelly to my peanut butter. But I am a firm believer that AT&T somehow messes with phones so that you are forced to purchase a smart phone. Suddenly, my precious phone suddenly became Satan.
First, the change was subtle. But overtime it became out of control. When I would press the delete button, it would type “jk”. When I pressed “q”, about six other letters appeared. For awhile I found ways to outsmart it but soon it became so bad I couldn’t take it anymore.
My upgrade was not until May 2012 (I had wasted my other one on that pantech). Most of my friends by now had iPhones and all raved about them. I knew a 4s would be coming out soon but at this point I could not wait. I was soon going to learn a valuable lesson about eBay because of this.
The cheapest iPhone I found at the time on eBay was a 3G with an otterbox defender and the original box. This “fabulous” package could be yours for the low price of $200. Which was terrible considering you could get one at AT&T for $50 if you had an upgrade. And when I say 3G, no I don’t mean a 3GS. I was about to learn not to casually place bids on eBay, considering if you win you have entered into a binding agreement.
I clicked “place bid” and then texted my friend asking if she thought it was a good deal.
“No it is not a good deal!!!” she replied in all caps. “You better pray someone else bids on that thing!” But with the release of the 4s only months away, I didn’t have a chance.
I watched in horror as the bid slowly drew to a close. After about two hours passed, the bidding drew to a close and I was now the proud owner of an iPhone 3G. I hastily emailed the seller who probably had a good laugh at my mishap. But he kindly said he would ask the second highest bidder. Apparently the second highest bidder had changed their mind because I was informed that the other bidders weren’t interested. So with that, I was shipped the slowest iPhone on earth.
It seems my bad luck has not quite run out though because I recently bought a car and am also paying for chiropractic visits so I am ditching the iPhone and the monthly media package for my old pantech again. I might as well could’ve kept the $200 and all the money I’ve spent on the data plan.
When I was a little girl, the mother of some friends of mine used to fix all our hair using a technique she called “alien head”. Alien head involves wetting your hair and twisting it up in little knobs and sleeping on it over night. When you took it down the next morning, you had beautiful curls and all you had to do was spritz them with hairspray.
I decided I would try this technique on my own several years later because I remembered having gotten tons of compliments on my hair as a child. So, after I got a shower one night, I went about the task of twisting my hair in the little knobs. My first mistake occurred when I misjudged how large to make the knobs. In order for them to work on my hair, they needed to be a little bigger. Not huge, but not tiny. I didn’t think of this, however. I went to bed after the task was done and quickly fell asleep.
The next morning, I jumped out of bead and started jerking knobs out of my hair. The outcome was scary. My hair was like that of a poodle. A million kinky curls going all different directions. For someone whose hair is naturally straight, this was quite a shock to see. When I had been a child, the knobs had created beautiful, flowing tresses. But this style looked something more akin to being zapped by a taser on it’s highest setting.
You as a reader should also know that I was going somewhere that morning and had waited until the last minute to take them out. I had no time to whip out a straightener so I quickly grabbed some bobby-pins and tried to make my do look somewhat presentable. The outcome was better, but not great.
Thankfully, by the end of the day, most of the kinkiness had fallen out and I had a style that looked more like beach waves instead of making people think I had been zapped by lightning…. Or in this case, abducted by aliens…..
For an aspiring violinist with no teacher, I was making ok progress. But it wasnt very long before I hit yet another bump in the road.
I had been watching videos a woman was posting on YouTube for instruction. She was obviously an instructor for small children, for instead of teaching about eighth and sixteenth notes, we learned phrases such as “huckleberry pancake” and “wish I had a motorcycle”. I had been in band all through high school (I played the marimba and was pit, aka front ensemble, captain senior year) and quickly became bored with this. I should have known, however, that you have to start out with the basics before you can play the tarantella.
I had learned some of the fingerings, so I began trying to pick out “Ode to Joy” by ear. I was able to get the first seven notes, although it was pretty screechy. But my main struggle in playing the violin has been playing anything on the A string. And I still had not memorized all of the fingerings and so when it came time to play a high D, I found it impossible to do.
Frustrated, I returned to my YouTube videos. But without a teacher, I had no one to stand there and correct me when I did wrong and give me pointers. My YouTube mentor began trying to teach a concept which she called “Lizards”. At this point I was like “This is stupid.”
Before I had ever started playing, I had come up with a rule that when I got frustrated, I would quit playing for the day. So I did just that. I then decided to download the piano sheet music to “100 Years” by Five for Fighting. But my nook tablet refused to cooperate. Angry at my music qualms, I went and cut on my new guilty pleasure, Merlin, only to be haunted by the musical scores in the show that frequently featured violins.
Since this was just yesterday, I can’t post anything else about my musical struggles. But check periodically for violin Part 4 and so on.
“She and Amy had had many lively skirmishes in the course of their lives, for both had quick tempers and were apt to be violent when fairly aroused. Amy teased Jo, and Jo irritated Amy, and semioccasional explosions occurred, of which both were much ashamed afterwards. Although the oldest, Jo had the least self control and had hard times trying to curb the fiery spirit which was continually getting her into trouble…..”—Little Women. Reminds me of me and my little sister growing up, lol.
My first night with my violin wasn’t terrible. Before it’s arrival I had been watching videos and reading about them so I felt somewhat prepared.
I ran in the door and opened the case. Then I noticed something. My “bona fide maple” violin felt an awful lot like plastic to me. I tried to tell myself that it was probably just the varnish or something but my gut was telling me otherwise. This was disappointing but I did not let it get me down.
The violin came with a tuner and so I immediately began tuning. Then I set about tending to my bow.
I did not know that when you use rosin for the first time, you have to scratch up the surface so that it will apply to your bow. So as many of you musicians can imagine, I was very frustrated when it seemed as if nothing was happening!
Luckily a YouTube video I happened to be watching at the moment showed mr the error of my ways. Since I had no pocket knife on my person at the moment, I settled for a kitchen knife and hacked a few lines into the rosin.
My next problem was tightening the bow. Having no instructor on hand was proving to be my downfall, for I could not tell whether my bow was too tight or loose, and was having to “guestimate”.
Finally, I thought I had my bow like I wanted it and began my first lesson. I was able to follow along fairly well, for it mostly just consisted of playing eighth notes on the E or A string. After my lesson, I made sure to loosen my bow before placing it back in the case with my violin. Then I went and did zumba for twenty minutes, all the while silently congratulating myself on a job well done. Ha! It was only the beginning.
The next day, when I went to play my violin, I knew it had probably already fallen out of tune, so I went about tuning it.
I was going along fine until I hit the E string. For some reason I could not get it to register an higher than a C, except for one time when I hit an E flat. What I didn’t realize was that I was tuning it an octave too high. So when I turned the tuning peg a little too much, the string snapped.
For a minute I stared in horror at the broken string. It was only my second day playing!!! Thankfully, the violin had come with extra strings. I removed the broken one and then went about trying to replace it.
YouTube was no help to me whatsoever. After a few videos, I stormed away exasperated. But it was Dad to the rescue. He plays guitar and offered to help me replace the blasted string. It took him a little while, for a violin is a little different than a guitar, but he eventually got it. Then we went about tuning it. I quickly ordered more strings since I had a suspicion this would happen again. Strings, I discovered, if they’re of decent quality, are expensive. But since I am learning the violin just as a hobby, and am not planning on joining the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, I settled for the strings made by the company who sold me my violin. Clearly they were cheaply made, for I could order a pack of sixteen for ten dollars.
Tuning the violin that night further proved the quality of the strings, for when we would finally get three tuned, the first one would fall out of tune again. Around midnight, we decided we had had enough and went to bed.
Here recently I decided I was going to teach myself the violin. All of you musicians out there know how difficult it is to learn to play this beautiful instrument.
My first mistake occurred when I randomly decided to look on eBay. I was in shock when I saw violins for as low as fifty dollars. Excitement welled up within me when I thought I was going to learn something worthwhile for almost nothing. Then a good friend of mine told me a good violin would cost me $500.
Seeing as there was no way I could afford a violin of that price, I decided to compromise and find something around $200. As I scanned eBay, I found a beautiful violin for $170. The seller was a top rated seller on the site, complete with a coveted teal shooting star. Shipping was free and the sellers were located in the US so it was only going to take a few days to make it to my house. If you haven’t figured this out by now, I didn’t know much about violins and so when I emailed the company, trying to sound like I knew what I was talking about, they quickly saw through my charade. So I had to rely on pure “instinct” when it came to choosing my violin. But my adventure was just starting out, as I would soon find out.
My first mistake (other than ordering a cheap instrument) was ordering my instrument on New Year’s Eve. Because of the holiday, it would not ship for another four days. And remember that eBay seller I told you about? Well I had watched one review about them on YouTube and it had been FAIRLY satisfactory so I took this person’s word for it and ordered my violin. Only after I ordered it did I read more reviews, mostly out of the antsy-ness that comes when one has to wait longer than they intended. What I found made me feel nauseated.
Many people complained how instruments had arrived broken and had been terrible quality. One even wrote how half of the instrument had not even been stained. I also received many mixed reviews on if the customer service of the eBay music store was satisfactory. Some people, such as the YouTube guy, claimed they were very nice, professional, and understanding. Others had less flattering comments. The worst part of reading all the terrible comments was that my violin had not yet arrived and so I quickly expected it to arrive broken in half or something. The company had given me a tracking number and I impatiently began checking ups.com at least twice a day.
You as a reader should know that I have anything I order on eBay shipped to my father’s business. On the day it arrived, he had two interesting but similar conversations about my endeavor.
The first was with the UPS delivery man. It went as follows:
“You order an instrument?”
“Yes, my daughter is going to learn to play.”
“Oh really? Who teaches lessons around here?”
“I don’t know.”
“Is she taking lessons?”
With that, he left. But to add further irony to the situation, a professional violinist in the area came into the store not long after that. When my dad showed him the violin, their conversation was nearly identical to that of the one with the UPS man.
At 5:00, when I got off work, I sped over to my dad’s business to retrieve my merchandise.
Thankfully nothing was broken but the “free lessons” that were to be included were nothing more than a link to a website online. But although I had expected more from the lessons, I had already purchased another lesson book that came with a DVD that was to arrive the following day.
With that I ran home, eager to begin learning what I hoped would turn into a worthwhile hobby…..
“For Daisy was young and her artificial was redolent of orchids and pleasant, cheerful snobbery and orchestras which set the rhythm of the year, summing up the sadness and suggestiveness of life in new tunes. All night the saxophones wailed the hopeless comment of the Beale Street Blues while a hundred pairs of golden and silver slippers shuffled the shining dust. At the gray tea hour there were always rooms that throbbed incessantly with this low, sweet fever, while fresh faces drifted here and there like rose petals blown by the sad horns around the floor.”—The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (via lostsplendor)
“Many nights he lay there dreaming awake of secret cafés in Mont Marte, where ivory women delved in romantic mysteries with diplomats and soldiers of fortune, while orchestras played Hungarian waltzes and the air was thick and exotic with intrigue and moonlight and adventure.”—This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald (via lostsplendor)
Wow, whoever wrote this review must stalk me. The reason I say this is because of the following line taken from the article is so me:
"Yes, full and touchscreen smart phones might be the trend right now, but that doesn’t mean text and email maniacs aren’t still looking for ways to get their fix…. So if you’re in the market for a smartphone, and you feel it necessary that your device has a full QWERTY keyboard, take a look at this list…."
I have been very unhappy with my iphone (true it is a 3G…and no I don’t mean 3GS) and the keyboard is probably 75% of the reason why I hate it (speed, of course being the other 25%).
My dilemma, however, is this. I have not been able to find Chess with Friends (it has Words and Hanging with Friends, but Chess has unfortunately not hit the market to my knowledge) on phones such as the HTC Inspire! I am just as addicted to that as I am my physical keyboard! So sadly, despite what my poor thumbs crave, I have had to do without. Here’s to hoping a champion smartphone can come galloping in to be my knight and shining armor, with both Chess with Friends and a full keyboard!
For all you fantasy lovers out there, I just would like you, for a moment to consider how epic this would be:
Brandon Sanderson team up with Chris Nolan. Sanderson writes the script. Nolan directs it. One word for you. Awesome.
Probably one of my favorite commercials on television right now is the Allstate Mayhem GPS commercial. Besides it being down right hilarious, I have lived a similar scenario.
When I was 13, my family and I loaded up the car to go to Kentucky. At my grandparents’ bidding, we borrowed their GPS. It was nothing special, just a small screen that sat on the dashboard, but it obviously thought of itself as the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Dad pretty much knew the way he wanted to go without the GPS and so he ignored it’s directions. It did not appreciate this. Pretty soon, it became obvious that the GPS had a seething hatred for us.
It’s directions were subtle, but you could tell it was trying to kill us. It would say “Bear Right”, but instead of there being pavement to the right, a large tree or light pole might be there. Once it demanded we “Turn left now!” and we looked to see a cemetery where it had said to turn. After about two hours of attempts on our life, Dad pulled the plug on the homicidal GPS.
On our journey back from Kentucky, however, we decided to give the GPS another shot, foolishly thinking the time out had taught it its lesson.
“I just want to see if the route it was wanting to take us will be faster,” Dad said. Our GPS, however, had revenge for ignoring it on its mind.
The drive was pleasant enough. The GPS didn’t try to send us careening into a grave yard. My family pretty soon began to trust it and we began to play all the typical traveling games and chat about this and that. A couple of hours into our drive, we began to approach a huge river that we would have to cross. “Look at this river coming up!” Dad exclaimed. We all admired the monstrous body of water, along with the beautiful scenery surrounding it, such as the golden sunset and a flock of Canadian geese taking flight. We were so absorbed in the beauty of nature that Dad paid little attention to the sign declaring the name of the river. It was the Mighty Mississippi. Later he said: “For some reason I didn’t think it was THE Mississippi river. I thought it was A Mississippi river.”
The next thing we knew, we were passing a sign that read “Welcome to Missouri”. The GPS, in an effort at payback, had taken us in the complete opposite direction. We quickly passed into a little town located on the border of Missouri. Dad swung the car into the parking lot of a Pentecostal church and sped pell-mell back the way we came. The little hiccup in our journey tacked an additional three or four hours onto our ETA.
After that, the GPS was unplugged again and not touched by us the rest of the trip. And, for the most part, the family used Mapquest for any other traveling expeditions.
“Death is the end of all men! What is the measure of him once he is gone? The wealth he accumulated and left for his heirs to squabble over? The glory he obtained, only to be passed onto those that slew him? The lofty position be held through happenstance? No. We fight here because we understand. The end is all the same.”—Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
Where I live, everyone knows that Booksamillion is where all the creepers come out from their shadowy corners on the earth and converge.
Several years ago, my family and I had to run by there (this was before we had Barnes and Noble as an option) because my mom had a few gifts there that she wanted to pick up. While waiting on mom, I decided to browse all the various books.
You as the reader must know that one of my little idiosyncrasies is that, when book shopping, I like to have the whole aisle to myself. I’m not really sure why I have this habit- perhaps I’m paranoid someone else on the same aisle as me will be silently judging what books I select or perhaps I’m just stingy when it comes to books and don’t want to share. Either way, it is one of the little quirks that makes up me.
So on this night as I was perusing the literary fiction section, out of the corner of my eye I saw someone meander onto my aisle. I replaced the book I had been flipping through and quietly turned onto a different row. When you’re in your high school’s band, you become an expert in using your peripheral vision. So as I rounded the corner, I could still see this shadowy figure lurking behind me.
A small voice of concern rose up within me but I shrugged it off and wandered onto another row. My “shadow” was still tailing me. As I walked onto row after row, real panic began to set in. I made it to the back of the store and still had not been able to shake my follower. My pace became quicker and quicker with each second.
Then, across the store, I saw my younger sister exploring the Hallmark gift card section. A wild hope rose up with in me. “Maybe if he sees I’m not alone, he will go away!” I thought to myself. At this point I was so freaked out that I broke out into a dead run. The freak was still behind me, although he didn’t start running.
When I reached my sister, she didn’t seem to notice whomever it was getting closer and closer by the second. She grinned at me.
“Look at this hilarious card I found!” she laughed. I tried to play it cool and act as if nothing was wrong. She opened the card but my panicked state of mind made the card seem as if it was written in a completely different language. I stared at it dumbly, unable to comprehend what I was reading.
At that moment, my follower leaned over my shoulder, trying to read the card too.
I almost screamed. The only thing I could think of was how much nerve this creep had. I’m sure I had turned whiter than a sheet. I swung around, ready to face whoever this jerk was….only to find my dad standing there. I almost passed out from sheer relief.
He looked at me, obviously wanting an explanation as to why I had been sprinting through the store like a deranged maniac. At that point though, all I could do was bust out laughing.
So reader, if you ever see some crazy woman running through a Booksamillion with someone trailing them, make sure the stalker bears no family resemblance to the woman before calling the police!
Christmas plays. Every kid has to endure them at some point in their life. I never got the privilege of being Mary. Usually I was a shepherd or some other character. And if you are best friends with the choir director’s daughter, then you automatically prepare to be in them every year. When I was nine years old, I was assigned the role of being an angel. I attend a small church and so, in this particular play, the youth group was also required to participate so that all the parts were covered. My fellow angels were all about sixteen or so, which made them all a good two feet taller than me. When our scene came around, we were to all pop out from the baptistery and strike up the well known “Hark the Herald, Angels Sing!” after I said a line about bringing glad tidings and peace on earth. Because of the height difference, I was provided with a chair on which to stand on when my cue came. It was a simple enough task and I had no trouble at any of our Sunday afternoon rehearsals. But, this is me we’re talking about, and nothing is ever simple for me.
The night of the performance, one of my fellow angels came over and helped me get ready for my big “debut”. We curled my long, brown hair and attached two fluffy, white wings to my billowing robes. She made sure I remembered my lines and then off to the church we went.
The play was going good. My heavenly host and I were well concealed where we could hear what was happening without being seen. The congregation was thoroughly enjoying it, it seemed. Our scene was fast approaching. Mary and Joseph made their way to Bethlehem, only to find no room in the inn. The shepherds filed onto the pulpit, keeping watch over their flock by night. They repeated a few lines and then it was time to hark the herald.
I began clambering up onto my chair when, just as I emerged from the baptistery, my foot got caught in my billowing robes and I fell backwards, crashing into another of the angels. The others weren’t sure what to do at this point, so someone else gave the glad tidings to the shepherds and they all began singing. The poor angel I had crashed into helped me up and back onto my chair and we joined in on the chorus. My perfect composure was now gone, what with my wings all askew and the throbbing knot on the back of my head. After the song was over we ducked back into the baptistery and waited for the end of the play. For me, it couldn’t come quickly enough.
So to all you parents out their who have little Tommy’s and Suzy’s in church Christmas plays, do one simple thing for me. Hem your child’s robes! They’ll thank you for it later!
Ever accidentally entered someone’s number wrong in your phone? I have. Probably about three years ago, a good friend of mine gave me his old Blackberry Curve (this was before the greedy corporation that is AT&T started charging for media packages). I had been using a little rinky-dink flip phone, so my Blackberry was quite an upgrade (even now that I own an iPhone I still prefer the Blackberry).
The day that I got it, I went about the tedious task of entering all my contacts into the phone. My fingers were still adjusting to the QWERTY keyboard, for my previous phone had been one of those where you press the keys a million times just to get an ‘s’. Because of this, I mistakenly entered the number of a friend of mine named Stephen incorrectly. You as a reader should know, however, that myself and everyone else in the universe calls Stephen by his childhood nickname: Buddy.
Buddy just so happened to have a Blackberry like mine. So as I was trying to learn the ropes of using my new cell phone, I decided to text message him a question about it.
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” came the response. I tried rephrasing the question. “I really don’t know what you’re talking about. Who is this?” the person restated. Another thing you should know about Buddy is he is a jokester. So I automatically assumed he was just kidding around. Most people at this point would have realized that they had some how gotten ahold of the wrong number but this was not clicking in my brain.
“You know exactly who this is, quit messing with me,” I said. The person simply repeated: Who is this?
“Quit playing around, Buddy!!!” I messaged back, exasperated with his antics at this point.
The next message I received I am not able to repeat, but I’m sure you can imagine what was said. Then he tried calling me. For a split second, when I received the profanity riddled message, I ALMOST responded: Watch your mouth Buddy! Then it finally dawned on me. This was not Buddy. So when the phone rang, I quickly denied the call. I can only imagine what the person on the other end had been about to say.
Needless to say, I went through my contact list after this and looked up Buddy’s number. Sure enough, I had accidentally reversed two numbers. Amazing how two little numbers can make all the difference in who you are talking to!!!!
For those who read part three of my skiing blog, you know I was planning on journeying to Colorado to go skiing. It seems, however, the universe had other plans for us.
Our trip was something akin to National Lampoon’s Vacation, where the Griswalds loaded up to go to Wally World, only to find it closed. The total group consisted of 27 people, but we were broken up into two groups. We set out with high spirits but slowly, one thing after another shot them down like a dove hunter shooting his prey out of the sky.
For our group, it was going to be a twenty hour drive. We left at 9:00 on the Sunday before Christmas. Our source of transportation was the BRB, or Big Green Booger. The BRB was a large, green fifteen passenger van that had been roughly patched together before our trip. In what seemed like no time at all, we hit our first bump in the road, so to speak. We began smelling anti-freeze. We pulled over at the first opportunity and tried to find the problem. Nothing seemed to be wrong with the radiator though, so we loaded back into the van and tried to ignore the pungent odor.
We drove all night, rotating drivers. I quickly discovered the most comfortable spot for sleeping was on the floor, where I could stretch completely out. The others quickly realized the wisdom and this, however, and forced me to share the coveted spot.
That night everyone got maybe three hours of sleep (except for my sister, who is the world’s heaviest sleeper). The next day when we reached the town of Dalhart, Texas, the rain rolled in. We pulled into a gas station, only to find there was no restroom. So we all ran next door in the rain to a Dairy Queen. The employee at the counter mouthed “It’s closed” and made no move to open up to us. At that moment, the rest of our large party called ahead to forewarn us of the terrible snow we were about to drive into. Foolishly, we thought we could beat it.
By the time we hit Clayton, New Mexico, the snow was too bad to go on. Our friends ahead of us had gotten stranded on the highway, with no civilization in sight. They spent the night trying to conserve gas and praying the national guard would come dig them out.
After cruising up and down the streets of Clayton for a few minutes, only to find all the roads going out were closed, we decided to check into a Days Inn. We managed to get three rooms but only stayed in two of them in case our friends escaped from their predicament.
This was at 10:00 in the morning. We spent the rest of the day moping around our rooms, napping and snacking. At 3:00 in the afternoon we managed to escape from the hotel just long enough to get a pizza from the Pizza Hut down the street. Then it was back to the room. Although it was nothing like what our other friends were experiencing, our rooms were our prison.
The next morning, we jumped up at 7:00, ready to hit the road. But alas, it was not to be. The roads were still closed. We soon received word that the national guard had finally managed to dig our friends out and that they had been taken to Springer, a town not a far distance from Clayton. From there, they made the decision to go on to Colorado. The irony was not lost on us. We spent the night in a warm hotel but were stuck in the town. They spent the night in a Dodge Caravan and were now on their way to the slopes.
In an effort to entertain ourselves, we toured the town of Clayton, or at least the parts that weren’t closed. We parked behind a building named “Hotel Ekland” and walked up and down the streets trying to find something to do. Fail. Then we thought we would be smart and wait in front of the “Road Closed” barricade for when it was finally opened. The roads, we were informed, would not be open until late that night.
At this point, pessimism had thrown her dark cloak over us. We made our way back to Hotel Ekland, where there was a restaurant that joined the hotel. We had checked out of our room, thinking we were going to get out, so we had no where else to go. The staff was extremely understanding of our plight and catered to all our needs. We settled into a large dining hall of sorts, complete with a fire place and Christmas tree, and ordered hot cider and cocoa and played with our phones for the next few hours. There was a piano in the lobby and for thirty minutes we played random songs like “Secrets” and “Dearly Beloved” (from Kingdom Hearts). Then some random kid named Lane sidled up and we all ended up playing Go Fish with a pack of cards the hotel provided. It was becoming apparent that we were not supposed to be skiing, for we had originally planned to journey to North Carolina before a lack of snow thwarted our efforts. Ironically, this time too much snow was keeping us from skiing.
Just when we had lost all hope, things started looking up. We found out a place called Angel Fire, about two hours from Clayton. We decided we would stay one more night in Random-ville, USA (no offense to any Claytonians or Claytonites) and then get up early the next morning and hit up Angel Fire. But because only something like this could happen to me, I should add that right when we canceled our Monarch reservations and planned on Angel Fire, highway 56 East opened up, the route we could have used to get to Colorado.
The next morning, we woke up at 4:45 am to head to Angel Fire. The plan was we would throw on our ski gear, load the BRB, grab some breakfast and hit the trail. But, to our dismay, the road was not open as the county dispatch had led us to believe. We had had it after that. As I said, the road to the east opened and we made our way home using that. So basically we drove HOURS to spend a two day “vacation” in the most random city on earth (again no offense to the actual inhabitants).
The moral to this story is never think you can beat a snow storm. And for those of you wondering, no we did not hold anyone at gunpoint to open up the roads like the Griswalds might have.