I believe you are aware by now, Professor Roughton, that I am an old school student who is new to The College of the Albemarle. I am determined to work hard and perform to the very best of my abilities in Expository Writing, as well as all my other classes. What I may not always exhibit in natural grammatical or mechanical grace in my essay writing, I like to think I make up for in determination, motivation, enthusiasm, and creativity. Until recently, it has been quite a few years since I have had the opportunity to attend school. I am determined this time around to take full advantage of this opportunity, so I’ll be soaking up as much knowledge as I can; doing my very best; and earning the highest grades possible. I don’t know a lot about you, Professor Roughton, but I do know these two things for sure: you are passionate about the proper use of the English language with its countless rules of proper grammar and mechanics, and you are a serious University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels sports fan. Perhaps we can help each other with our efforts. I would really like to earn an awesome grade in your class (preferably an A); in addition, I’m sure you would like the Tar Heels to continue to play well as a team and continue to prosper as a franchise. I would like to propose that if I continue to work hard, exert my full effort, and vow to become a full-fledged UNC Tar Heels fan, perhaps you will consider giving me that A. It would be a win-win situation in that I would feel good about being the best possible student I can be by earning an excellent grade, and it would simultaneously help your favorite team continue to thrive. Another perk would be that your stress levels would hit an all-time low and perhaps even create additional “spare” time available to you.
You know that guy who starts his morning routine with a red Solo cup full of Diet Mt. Dew. Yeah, you know him. The same guy who chases that with a 5-Hour Energy shot while he puts his breakfast on to cook. The same guy who then gets another red Solo cup of Diet Dew.
The same guy who then cranks up "If I Ruled the World" by NAS, "The R" by Eric B. and Rakim, and "Just a Friend" by Biz Markie - all while dancing around the bedroom and bathroom with the grace and energy of a toddler who consumed a 5 pound bag of granulated sugar, mixed with a teaspoon of crystal meth.
The same guy who has to turn down Pandora radio to figure out the smoke alarm is going off.
The same guy who then remembers his eggs boiling on the stove - only they are no longer boiling because all the water is gone from the pot, and the eggs are cracked and scorched.
You knew I had just started back on Atkins after a Thanksgiving week of pure gluttony. You assumed my guilty conscience and strong resolve would keep you safe. I gave you a glare as I walked past you on the cookie aisle, yet you continued to smirk.
Then as I was checking out, there you were again on the upsell rack - bragging to your friends about taunting me with impunity. You even had the nerve to dive into my cart and sneak your way into the trunk of my car.
And now you have the audacity to hop out on my kitchen counter and parade yourself around in front of the lettuce and low fat string cheese?
Through some random conversation at work today, I recounted these events, so I thought I would share the story with you guys:
When I was around 11 years old or so, I went to my room one Sunday afternoon and dozed off by accident. Now before I had fallen asleep, the house was full of people eating Sunday dinner. My aunt and uncle were home next door. My neighbors were home across the street. The neighborhood was pretty much bustling with action.
When I awoke and came out of my cave a couple of hours later, I couldn't find a soul in my house. I went next door, but my aunt and uncle were gone too. I went over to see if my neighbor friend wanted to play, but nobody was there. It was eerily quiet in the neighborhood.
I was beginning to get a little concerned at his point, so I went back home and called my grandmother's house. No answer.
So I dialed my other aunt's house. No answer.
I tried several more numbers and got either no answer or an answering machine.
Just about that the time I hung up the phone the fifth time, I had a flashback to a movie we had seen in church, a two hour fear fest about the rapture.
And just about the time I had that flashback, I heard a whole pack of dogs break the silence with some high pitched, really insane sounding yowling.
And just about 2.5 seconds later, I was under the bed armed with my baseball bat and Bible - ready to fight off anyone who tried to put the mark of the beast on me.
In my rear view mirror, I can see your handicapped parking permit, but you seem to be misinformed. My bumper is not a designated handicapped parking spot.
"Extra" credit implies you already did something to be awarded initial credit.
REALLY nice rims! They go well with the bondo all over your left quarter panel, and the smoking exhaust is a nice touch.
Telling your kid "If you calm down, mommy will get you a surprise" just encourages WalMart to give your kid free sugar when you walk in the door.
If you work a cash register, you might want to learn how to count change. Perhaps, you could look into taking preschool math.
You call yourself a blogger? Your last post was over a month ago! Oh, wait...that's me.
Putting a sign up to keep yourself out of the snack cabinet does not do much good to keep you out of your kid's Halloween candy sitting on the counter. Oh, wait...that's me again. (You would think I would have learned from LAST YEAR.)
I fear my carb free soul is in mortal peril. Recently, tools of the devil have been mysteriously appearing in my home. First, it was a baking sheet. Then a cooling rack. Then this evil behemoth of a mixer showed up one day.
Finally, I knew it was the beginning of the end when the most devilish, anti-Atkins device on the planet magically appeared: vanilla extract.
Now I have never extracted vanilla in my life. In fact, I know of not one single historical instance of vanilla extract magic potion ever being used in the creation of a garden salad, broccoli and cheese, or steamed spinach. It's just not done. So when the vanilla extract crept through the shadow of night to lurk in my cabinets, I knew there would be trouble.
Sure enough, the beautiful princess, who had begun to inhabit my house by day, began nightly to transform into an insidious witch with the most replete baking arsenal known to man. Her excuse was she was baking love filled creations for her children.
First, it was home made, chocolate chip cookies. Then blueberry muffins. Then pancakes with fruit flavored syrup. TWO KINDS!!!!! The nerve of this she-devil, using the innocence of her children as camouflage to practice her dark arts in my home.
Even now, I lie here upon the cold, kitchen linoleum trapped, barely able to type on this laptop. All I wanted was to find the low fat salad dressing. Is a little Italian dressing too much to ask in life?
Unsuspecting, I opened the cabinet slowly, only to be pinned to the floor by an evil avalanche of muffin cups, sprinkles, blue icing, assorted food coloring, baking soda, and yes, even Fleischmann's yeast.
If somehow this message gets through to the outside world, please - somehow, someway - send help!
My son and I went to the dentist today for our six month check up/cleaning. Everything was fine; there were no cavities to report.
However, my son has what the dentist called a "dental pimple", which is a small bump on his gums on the only tooth, a baby molar, where he has ever had a cavity. Apparently, when they filled the cavity about a year and a half ago, they did not completely clean away all the decay before applying the filling. As a result, the tooth nerve has begun to deteriorate.
While it doesn't bother Connor any whatsoever so far, the dentist indicated that it would only get worse and that it would definitely become problematic before it fell out naturally in a year and a half to two years.
The solution is to extract the tooth, which doesn't sound like a great solution; however, since it's just a baby tooth, it's no major life event. The dentist was very patient with Connor, explaining step by step what was involved and approximately how long it would take.
At the end of the dentist's lenghty explanation, Connor sighed quite loudly.
The dentist responded, "Oh don't worry, Buddy. It won't hurt at all. You won't feel a thing."
"I'm not worried about it hurting. That doesn't scare me at all."
"So what's the problem then?"
"Well, that sure seems like a lot of work for one single tooth that I'm only going to get $1 for!"
Sorry kiddo, but the Tooth Fairy is feeling the economic crunch like the rest of us.
"Daddy, can we have beans for dinner? My puppy just farted on me, and I need to get even with her big time."
"When I grow up, I want to either be the President or an NBA player. Which one makes more money?"
"Can you fire somebody out of your class if they're not good at writing?"
"Can we buy stuff to make a protein shake? I'm working on my abs."
"I need some more of that mosquito bite cream. Sweetie licked all mine off, but at least her tongue won't be itchy now."
Son, you just asked me that ten minutes ago. "Yeah, but sometimes I wait a little while and ask again to see if you are going to give me the real answer."
On his first day of Summer Academic Enrichment Camp: "It was all girls besides me in my group. Two guys were supposed to come, but they didn't show up today. Man, I hope those guys stay sick all week."
6. Hammer time. This is a nearly two pound Estwing framing hammer. Notice the waffled face. Imagine smashing your thumb with this, sending a jet of bright red blood 15 feet up the shingles of a brand new roof. (That's why you don't use a framing hammer for roofing. Duh, Mr. Roughton.) Now imagine it's mid-January and you throw the stupid hammer as far as you can out in the icy Albemarle Sound - only to realize you don't have a spare hammer, so if you want to get paid for working that day, you better get to swimming for your hammer.
5. You have some gall! I've never given birth (though some days I feel like it), but I can imagine it's not quite as painful as gall stones. It's the same principle: squeezing something impossibly large through an opening that's impossibly small. Only with gall stones, there's no vision of a forthcoming beautiful babe to get you through the pain. The doctor just hands you a vial of rocks.
(Today, we delve into the single father side of the blog a little more than the humor side. We will return you to your regularly scheduled chuckles after this broadcast.)
Work hard. Anything worth wanting is worth working hard for. Whether it's a new video game, a car, a college degree, the girl of your dreams, or food on your family's table, a blue collar work ethic will serve you well - no matter the life path you choose. Almost everyone needs a little help now and then, but it should be the exception and not the rule. (Any help you ever receive should be repaid to the giver or else paid forward.) The sweat of your brow, the muscles in your back, and the power of your mind are all powerful tools that no one can take from you. The lazy do not find success in life; it is by your own efforts that you will get ahead.
Do not be afraid of failure. If you give everything your best effort, you have already succeeded. Attempt more than seems possible. Wayne Gretsky once said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." If you make an attempt at something and fail, the worst thing that can happen is you learn from the experience and increase the likelihood of success on your next try. And be confident.The little voice inside your head that says "I can't" comes from the naysayers around you who are envious of your strength of spirit.
So today, let's talk about our last stop in the Bahamas before heading back to sea. This visit once again features my drunk, back of the scooter riding friend. And once again, we will let her remain nameless to protect her anonymity.
After we returned the slightly wrecked scooter to Duran and company, we still had a couple of hours before we had to reboard the Carnival Fantasy, sooooo we went to Señor Frog's.
This place is a haven for inebriated tourists who don't want to have to venture far from the cruise ship to get their drink on. Everyone I know who has done a Bahamas trip recommends it.
If your recall, my friend and I had already consumed a couple of blenders full of alcohol with a little bit of fruit mixed in - Thanks Chris!
So with our good base coat of alcohol laid in, we proceeded to order the standard size drink at Señor Frog's - the yard.
After a couple of these apiece, we were dancing at our table. In fact, the anonymous friend climbed on top of her wobbly bar stool and proceeded to shake her booty with the best of the 20 year olds.
This is my exterior dryer vent located about 12 feet off the ground. Notice that it actually has a cover to keep out the rain and what not; the flaps blow open when the dryer is exhausting.
This is how I like to spend my down time in the evenings after being at work day all day teaching, answering emails and phone calls, and sitting on hiring committees. There is something so relaxing about dismantling my dryer for kicks.
Well look what I found while I was having my evening machinery dismantling. This poor guy was actually up in the bottom of the dryer itself. I could only get to him by taking the back cover off the dryer.
Believe it or not, this is actually the second year in a row this had happened. The lesson here for would be criminals in my hood: if you break in my house, they will be taking you out in a body bag. (Don't I sound tough for someone who doesn't even own a gun?)
At my college, the end of year institutional climate survey indicated that many people felt there was a divide between faculty and staff and that, in general, communication between various college areas was lacking.
I beg to differ.
Now I am considered by most to be a pretty smart guy. I have written 25 page papers on topics such as the marginalization of the subaltern in post-colonial societies as represented in the literature of Alice Walker or the psychological journey from a state of divisiveness to a state of unity of mind and body by characters in the works of D.H. Lawrence.
As a part of my college's re-accreditation team, I have attended conferences in Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida where I investigated best assessment practices, general education competencies, student learning outcomes, etc. I use this knowledge to help our college grow and meet the ever changing needs of higher education.
I've even got two fancy degrees (which reside at home in a box in a closet somewhere) from major universities.
But as Momma Gump always says, "Stupid is as stupid does." So despite my alleged intelligence, when staff members at my college tell me what a complete dumb ass I am (just in nicer words than that) for not being able to correctly fill out a certified mail return receipt, I can only conclude that we do not suffer from a lack of communication and that, at least in my case, people feel quite comfortable letting faculty know when they are morons.
A few days ago I had to re-enroll in my health insurance plan. If I chose not to do so, I would automatically be assigned to a 70/30 plan instead of the 80/20 plan; this would, of course, result in higher deductibles and less coverage. To qualify for the 80/20 plan, I had to avow that I was not a smoker or that I was signing up for a smoking cessation class. No problem. I had to do the same thing last year, and I don't smoke anyway.
However, this year, the insurance company also requires enrollees to avow that their Body Mass Index (BMI) is at a certain level, arbitrarily dictated by the insurance company. The idea is that obese people inherently have more medical costs, and the insurance company wants to maximize its profits by (not) paying out better insurance for members less likely to actually need that insurance and force those who would need it to either lose weight or have poorer coverage.
It's all marketed under the guise of improving the health of NC residents, but really it boils down to government/companies forcing us to make healthier choices, not for our own well being, but to make a greater profit for insurance corporations.
I don't know about you, but if I wanted to take a bath in an ice cream sundae and eat my way out of it, I feel I should be able to without Big Brother looking over my shoulder. If I wanted to eat Cool Whip and maraschino cherries until my eyes bulged out like a bull frog's and then chase it with great handfuls of Crisco, whose damn business should it be?
The other thing that bugged me about the BMI calculator is that it does not take anything into consideration except height and weight. Not skeletal frame size. Not muscle mass. Nada.
I'm tired. Not sleepy tired. Not tired as in I worked long and hard today - even though I did. I'm wandering in the desert for 40 years tired. I'm the kind of tired that some poor soul in China must have experienced as he put the last brick into the Great Wall, and then his slave master said, "Now do the other side."
Tired from a long semester. Tired from working two jobs. Tired from cleaning house. Tired from my self-imposed Draconian adherence to my Atkins diet. Tired from my son's extracurricular activities: basketball, baseball, Cub Scouts, etc. The kind of tired any parent can understand, but that (for the most part at least) only active, single parents can truly appreciate. The kind of tired where you want to go to sleep on Friday and not wake up until Monday - weekend be damned!
But I can sustain this kind of tired because there is a vacation in sight - in fewer than 30 days no less. I will be relaxing aboard a Carnival cruise ship. I just have a simple warning to other passengers:
On the first day, I intend to drink my weight in Spiced Rum. Then I am going to strip down to my underwear and dive onto the buffet bar. I am going to frolic with the pizza, make love to the spaghetti, fornicate with French bread, commit adultery with mashed potatoes. I am going to roll on my back and make carb angels in the banana pudding. I may belch loudly before passing out and sleeping a good 32 hours straight right on the buffet. You can either just pick around my comatose body or else go eat at one of the grills on another deck. It really doesn't concern me.
When I have slept and eaten enough to satisfy even the Mongol hordes, I will get up, pick the noodles off my by then globular body, and return to laying bricks in the other side of the Great Wall - all the while singing the Mr. Rogers theme song.
Climbed to the top of trees with Glenn Brickhouse and Ellis Liverman and swayed the trees back and forth to ride them to the ground like an amusement park ride. Great fun except the time one broke, dropping Ellis about 20 feet straight down to land on his head.
With Glenn, played who can throw the rock closest to the house window without breaking it.I won. And I ran like hell while Glenn was getting his ass tore up with a curtain rod. What a friend.
With Glenn, purposely set a plank insecurely across two branches of a tree, sat on the plank, and rocked the tree back and forth, so we would fall out but not know exactly when. Doh.
Hunted for dog poo with Barry Jackson, so we could put it on people's doorsteps. Got mad when we couldn't find any in the yard, so we broke into a dog pen to steal some. Yes, seriously.
Had dirt clog fights in a potato field on a pitch black night with Glenn, Barry, Scott Jackson, and others. Run! Which way? I don't know!
With Glenn (do you sense a pattern here?), climbed out onto a tree branch overhanging a road and dropped gumballs onto passing cars.
With Glenn, Ellis, "Cheesy" Thomas Brickhouse, and others, played football in a literal hurricane with waves crashing up over the top of a neighbor's sound front house trailer. Throw the ball forward; watch it go backwards.
Rode bicycles with Barry Jackson 7 miles to town. Stopped in the middle of the country road because a black bear was sitting in the middle of it and would not move. Rode a little closer and barked like hound dogs to try and get the bear to move.
Played bicycle chase with Barry on wet streets in town. Took a corner too fast, lost control, flew over the back of a car, and landed in a prickly hedge. Hoped Barry wouldn't laugh at me. Then realized that was his body flying through the air about to land on top of me. Got up and felt no pain until we pointed out each other's bloodied legs. Funny how it hurts after you see it.
I'm sure there is enough material for another post, but that's all for now folks.
Normally, I don't make multiple posts in one day, so this one will be short. However, I could not let this guy go unblogged since he made the whole line in the grocery store wait while he went and got three more items AFTER the cashier already had him rung up.
So without further ado, it's time to play everybody's new favorite game show, Imagine that Gastroinstestinal Malfunction!!!!!!
Today's contestant walked four aisles down to pick up a few extra items, leaving the audience plenty of time to see his initial purchases:
12 (count em) tins of sardines
1 small bottle of Tabasco sauce
2 cans of Hormel chili
1 roll of generic paper towels
1 canister of Febreze (how perfect is that)
Upon returning from his vacation to the snack aisle, he added these times:
1 bag of red hot cheese puffs
2 large canisters of Slim Jims (Were they buy one get one, or do you just REALLY love them that much?)
Now picture this guy eating all this at once as soon as he got home (which I'm pretty sure he was going to do, considering his glazed over eyes), and...
Imagine that Gastroinstestinal Malfunction!!!!!!
Thanks for playing, and we will see you next time.
Connor has only ever had one pet, a hamster named Happy, whom somebody -who shall remain nameless but who might possibly be the author of this blog- sent into a permanent hibernation by accident. Connor liked the lil furball, but a hamster is not exactly made for cuddling up with, ya know?
So since he has lived up to his side of the bargain and maintained good grades all year (All A Honor Roll everytime) and has won other academic awards (Most AR Points Read by a 3rd Grader in the whole school district, for example), and since he is a little more focused and responsible at the ripe old age of almost 9, Connor is getting a puppy as part of his upcoming birthday.
This is him meeting the pup for the first time at my cousin's house (big shout out to Anita and Travis Simpson):
When we arrived, Travis was feeding all the pups and calling them all Sweetie in a generic form, not really referencing a single pup. When Connor and I later got to my parents' house, we printed out four pages of puppy names from the internet from which to choose a name. With all those choices, what did he decide on? Yep, you guessed it. Sweetie.
It has been just under 24 hours since we first saw Sweetie, and Connor has asked to go visit her at least 837 quadrillion times. (Sweetie is not yet fully weened and can't come home with us just yet.) In addition, he has absent mindedly run into a door frame, causing his baseball injured knee to rebleed. He has nearly had his head smacked three times while we were tossing around the baseball in the yard. He came close to running his bike in the ditch twice. He forgets the answer to any question that is not about his puppy This kind of daydreaming is usually reserved for a young, new love; and I supposed that's what this is: puppy love. Still, it makes me wonder if I should have waited until after he took his End of Grade Tests before springing the puppy on him.
But even with the new lack of focus and the 837 quadrillion pleadings to go see Sweetie, Connor has also given me 838 quadrillion hugs, kisses, and "Thank you, thank you, daddies." So I guess maybe that will be enough to get me through the first time I step barefooted in the wrong spot, sending puppy poo squishing between my toes.
My son is gone to his mom's for Easter weekend, and I am off work for Spring Break for a week for some R&R. Soooo, I had a couple of drinks last night with my neighbors.
I'm not sure what all happened, but when I woke up this morning, there was a pile of empty candy wrappers in the floor beside my bed. When I went to the kitchen to get my morning caffeine fix (Diet Mt. Dew), there was an empty bag of min-muffins on the counter. How odd is that? Hmm.
So anyway, I went into the bathroom like every morning to check the weight loss progress. The funny thing is, the scales were missing. I assumed they must be hiding under the bed and thought nothing more about it. However, as I pulled some toilet paper off the roll to blow my nose, I found this note written on the roll:
Dear Dean, My family has finally made me see the light. I cannot continue to live with this kind of regular abuse. At first, I thought maybe it was me, but I have done nothing to deserve this treatment. I sit here everyday and wonder, what will happen in the morning. Will he lose a pound or two and love me all day? Or will he gain a pound and bring the bat out yet again? I cannot take the constant fear, the not knowing. I want you to be happy, but I cannot let your happiness come at the cost of my own suffering. I know that you will find another set of scales in time. I hope you have learned from our relationship, and then when you do find that next set, maybe you can both be happy together.
This past weekend's planned divergence from Atkins:
orange flavored Air Head candy
two bacon sandwiches - ahhhhhh, bread!
a fresh Krispy Kreme doughnut
half a half gallon of Captain Morgan
Big Mac meal from McDonalds - OMG fresh fries from Mickey D's!!!!
two burgers from the grill on Sound Side
half a bag of cheese waffle snacks
chocolate covered granola bar
Cherry flavored air head candy
carb craving eradicated for probably two weeks
net gain (mostly water weight) of 7 pounds
All morning I kept hearing some vibrations coming from the bathroom. It gets pretty windy out here in Weeksville, so I assumed it was the air vent rattling from some downdraft. But, for once, it was not overly windy this morning.
My second thought was that maybe there was a mouse in there because they are plowing the fields around here and could be sending the mice running for cover. However, I have never seen a mouse in the 5 years I have lived here, and there was still not one this morning.
Then my mind started racing. Snake? No way! Not a snake in my house?!?!??! So with baseball bat in hand, I crept on tip toe into the bathroom. After all, the only good snake is a dead snake.
However, as soon as I peeked in the bathroom, the source of the rattling became obvious. My poor scales, aware of my weekend carb orgy, were in the corner trembling in abject terror. As soon as they saw the bat in my hand, they screeched a high pitched little girly squeal and darted out of the bathroom.
I chased them around the house three times, tripping over my own dumb feet two times in the process, until the scales finally dove under the bed where I can't reach them. And that is where they have sat trembling for these two hours now, and no amount of coaxing will get them to come out.
So it appears, I will not be able to give you all a weight loss update until later this week when I have dropped the weekend splurge weight, and the scales' trepidation subsides.
I'm about 6 weeks into Extreme Atkins now, and I have lost 30 pounds. Others have commented on my Facebook that they have hit a wall in their weight loss plan and wonder how I keep losing. Well, despite my extremely sparse diet and increased cardio, I have also slowed down. It's getting harder and harder to drop more weight.
Take today's weigh in for example. This morning's weigh in trials were up and down (I always weigh more than once to verify accuracy). Based on yesterday's weigh in, today's (all within a few minutes of each other) show the following:
Loss of about half a pound. Grrrr. Is that all?
No loss. What?
No loss. Ok, now. Stop playing.
Gain of a pound. You are full of it.
Gain of TWO pounds. You can kiss my ass!
Ok, this is getting ridiculous. There is a time for fun and games, but I want a serious answer. I am only going to ask you this one more time, and I better hear something I like...
For those of you who don't follow my daily excursions into lunacy on Facebook, I have lost 20 pounds in one month. I am hitting the Atkins diet hard with a goal of losing 30 pounds by the end of May. This is when I go on my cruise with the best buds, and no, I'm not losing weight for the cruise; it just provided a nice little deadline to give myself.
So 20 pounds in one month. Pretty impressive, right? Thank you, thank you. Your applause is much appreciated, but hold onto it for just one second.
You see, this past weekend was my two day anti-diet following a two week Atkins cycle. I basically get to eat anything I want on these weekends and enjoy some carbs. The idea is that my body slowly gets adjusted to low carbs, and the once every two week "shock treatment" lets me indulge and resets my body chemistry so to speak.
The exacerbating factor, however, is that I am a rabid, college basketball fan. My Tar Heels made it to the Sweet 16, so in my warped, uber (I just threw that word in there for my friend, Karen) sports fanatic mentality, I decided that eating all kinds of sports watching, junk food would help my team to win. (Incidentally, the strategy worked on Friday, but by Sunday evening, if I had consumed one more unhealthy food product, you could have squeezed out some Crisco through my pores.)
So today we will examine how I put on what I had planned to be 4-5 pounds, but turned into 7, over 3 days of carb super consumption.
If you like country, southern rock, or blues, you owe it to yourself to check out Jonny Waters & Company. I'm proud to say that this local artist is a friend of mine. Jon is a veteran, a home grown musical talent, and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.
Here are the notes from his newly released album: Jonny Waters is a multi-talented musician from the Inner Banks of North Carolina. Jon began his musical career in his hometown marching band and has played with numerous friends along the way. Jon's music has been influenced by his life's path, from being raised on a farm in small town USA; to spending hours on the Albemarle Sound farming the waters; to keeping the peace and guarding our freedom in the US Army during a tour in Iraq; to being stationed in Germany away from his family and friends; to gaining the fundamentals of the music industry at South Plains College in Lubbock, Texas; to writing and recording his original hits; and developing his grass roots fan base from Texas to Tennessee to North Carolina and the Tidewater, Virginia area. Jon has focused his talent into his acoustic guitar. His sound is country with a strong influence of southern rock and blues.
Here is a letter from my undergraduate years at UNC. I was 20 years old at the time.
THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL
Department of University Housing
Division of Student Affairs CB# 5500, Carr Building Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599-5500
To: Residents in Suite 839-842 FROM: D. Jones DATE: 12/2/91
While inspecting your suite during closing on November 27, 1991, it was discovered that the hallway and bathroom shared by the six residents residing in this suite was left in poor condition. This included trash bags in the hallway, beer boxes and beer cans in the bathroom, personal items left in the shower and above the sinks. In addition,there was an object hanging from the ceiling that is in direct violation of the University and State of North Carolina Fire Codes.
Upon investigating this situation with the Housekeeping staff, it is apparent that these practices have been going on for quite some time. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that it is the expectation of the Department of University Housing that each resident takes individual responsibility in assisting with maintaining a safe and clear living environment. What this entails is that residents should remove all personal items from the sink area and out of the shower and properly discard of all trash that tends to overflow the trash containers.
Gentlemen, please consider this the final warning regarding the condition in which you are maintaining the suite and hallway. In addition, you must remove the object hanging from the ceiling immediately. Any further complaints may result in: fines and/or other disciplinary sanctions. If you have any questions, please contact me between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.
Respectfully, Hinton James Residence Hall
Ok, this letter warrants some explanation for you to get the full effect.
So the reason I am home in the middle of the day is karma.
You see, this random baby (We'll call her Savannah since I have a work trip coming up in Savannah, Georgia, and really, isn't Savannah just a cool sounding name anyway?) OK, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by myself, this random baby, Savannah, pulled up to the house a couple days ago and just crawled all in like she owned the place.
I was like well damn, just come on in and make yourself at home why don't you. She just laughed and kept on scooting, carpet swimming really, across the floor. After Michael Phelpsing her way through the living room and into the bedroom where I was watching ESPN, we got caught up in conversation. I mean, when a random baby driving an Explorer busts up in your house, the least you can do is chit chat until the cops get there to arrest her for breaking and peeing.
Not all parents teach their children to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom.
Not all parents teach their children to flush the toilet after #1.
Not all parents teach their children to flush the toilet after #2.
A non-flushed #2 toilet is a source of endless delight for little boys.
Children will fight over the perfect apple slice even if the tray has another 172 identical slices.
Children could find a way to cut their fingers even if you placed them in a plastic bubble inside of a rubber room and cryogenically froze them.
The most prim, most proper epitome of parenting patience and Christian ideology, after the 75th time of telling children to go to sleep and upon finding their air mattress leaked down to the concrete floor, will in fact drop the F-bomb under their breath.
Under list of supplies, just beneath popcorn and DVDs, should be listed a Sam's Club size container of Nyquil and/or Benadryl.
A pee peed sleeping bag smells worse than the back room of a cat lady's house with three month old kitty litter in July with the windows nailed shut .
It is useless to survey a dozen children on their breakfast choices as each child will change his or her mind no less than 17 times in the half hour it takes to get the food from stove to table.
Passed gas bounces loudly off of a rubber air mattress and reverberates off of tent walls, setting up a domino effect down through half a dozen kid's tents, which in turn sets off a chain reaction of a half hour of giggling and flashlights which presumably can magically detect "who dealt it."
The parents who contributed the least to the whole activity will also be the ones who leave the earliest.
"That was the best day and night ever!" from your 8 year old is a powerful enough comment to make you consider embarking on the insanity again next year.
All weekend long, my son has been roping my girlfriend into playing video games with him. Ordinarily, he would have been outside playing sports or riding his bike. However, it has been below freezing, so he has been cooped up in the house. Finally, on Sunday evening, I could not take it anymore.
"Connor, enough is enough. Stop playing video games. We are going to sit down at the table and play a family board game together. You can pick the game."
Without even batting an eye, he chose:
Now as any parent knows, Monopoly is a game invented in the seventh circle of hell and can take hours upon hours to complete -- even if nobody cheats. Looking for the silver lining, I thought, Hey at least he can practice his math, and I can even introduce him to the art of negotiating. I will take it easy on him, and maybe he will learn a little something about how to bargain.
Soooo, a mere hour and a half later as my girlfriend and I were battling it out to see who would come in second to this tycoon from the third grade, we asked, "Connor, how are you kicking our butts so bad?"
His steely eyed response: "I'm just a businessman."
We could, of course, hardly argue against this point as he owned every single property on the board except Oriental Avenue, one of the cheap blue ones.
My girlfriend then landed on one of Connor's hotels, which took her down to a lowly $2. At least I would be able to say I came in second. I then landed on Community Chest which was a godsend since it meant I had scraped by one of his $1,200 hotels.
Of course, if it isn't big business screwing the little guy, then it's the government. I had to put my last chunk of change in the kitty to pay some sort of taxes.
One turn later, my 8 year old son also put my girlfriend out of the game and left us both with these words of wisdom:
"Sometimes you got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em."
I'm not sure when Connor started hanging out with Kenny Rogers, but the next time he picks Monopoly, I will "know when to run."
Pour 2/3 cup water into mixing bowl. Use 1 cup measuring cup and just estimate 2/3 because finding the right measuring cup wastes too much time.
Open bag of dry pizza dough mix and empty into mixing bowl. Do not use scissors.
Brush half of bag of pizza mix out of hair and eyes and off of shirt so that you no longer look like a Klansman in full regalia. *Note: Do not strike laughing hyena child as visit from Social Services could result.
Stir water and dry pizza mix with whisk.
Add all purpose flour to compensate for overestimating amount of water in wrong size measuring cup.
Stir with whisk.
Painstakingly remove globs of dough from inside of whisk since mixed pizza dough is too thick to shake loose through whisk wires.
Finish stirring dough with spoon.
Coat dough with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Do not bother to dirty up measuring spoon. Estimate as you pour.
Let dough rise in warm place for 5 minutes. *Caution: bottom of plastic bowl may be hot when you remove from oven.
Slop overly oiled pile of gooey dough into middle of wrong size cookie sheet.
Attempt to spread out evenly. After ten minutes, get frustrated and leave hills and holes in place.
Allow son to spread on sauce, pepperoni, and Parmesan cheese.
Tell son to be neat and careful and not to get too close to edges.
When son says, "Oops, sorry, daddy," look in mirror at your hot mess of a self still partially coated in flour and oil and respond "It's ok, baby. Don't worry about it" in magnanimous tone.
Bake for 20 minutes
Do not allow to cool 10 minutes as directed.
Cut and then scoop over sized, droopy, drippy slices into salad bowl.
Burn mouth and say "mmmmmm" while consuming best damn family pizza project on the planet.
For New Year's, I had thought about resolving not to make fun of people I see in public. I don't mean like forever since we all know that would be physically impossible for me. I mean for just like a week.
However, in that respect, a trip to Walmart for me is like dropping a crackhead off on the corner on a Friday night, shoving a crisp $100 bill in his hand, and saying, "Now Johnny, be a good boy, and go play with your little friends. Just try not to hit the pipe tonight, sweetie." It just ain't happening.
Plus, anybody who follows my blog or my Facebook status updates knows I make just as much, if not more, fun of myself as I do other people. So if you don't like it, feel free to block me.
Speaking of crack, this guy I saw in Walmart beats anything you will see on PeopleofWalmart.com; my radar first went off as my friend Julie and I rounded the corner in the Pharmacy section where they have the really crappy tasting, berry flavored 5 Hour Energy 6 packs. (You would think they would have a good flavor like orange in the multi-packs, but noooooo, they know we poor bastards will drink the nasty ones because they are cheaper.)
I didn't get a full glimpse of the guy until after we exited the card aisle, where yes they were already putting up the Valentine's crap on January 3. Jesus, Walmart, you skipped right over Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. You racist pigs. I know there is some kind of candy you could attach to the Civil Rights Movement if you just put your little capitalist minds to it. But I digest.
When I finally got a load of this guy in all his full asscrackitude glory, I knew I had to get a pic. I stalked him up and down the aisles like a snow leopard, now blending in, now preparing for the kill. Finally, with his back turned in the checkout lane, I sprang into action with my Android phone and snagged a pic of his big, pasty white butt cheeks hanging over his belted jeans that were cinched about three feet too low. Success!
Or so I thought. By the time I realized the pic had not turned out, there were already two more shoppers in line behind him, thus, ruining the trophy shot. Have no fear loyal followers, as long as Walmart in Elizabeth City remains open, I pledge to hunt him down again.
So why did we go there for 5 Hour Energy shots in the first place? Because like any other red blooded, holiday over eating, belly bulging Americans in January, we decided to hit the gym.
Which brings me to my introductions of our next two participants in today's post: Rudy and Judy. (I have no idea what their real names are, but I already rhymed them in my head, so Rudy and Judy it is.)
Rudy was a thin little fellow and quite short with a nicely developed beard. He didn't really need to lose any weight. I suspect he was very new to the gym, which his attire hinted at. He had on work boots, blue jeans, and a plaid quilted shirt. Vigorously working his elliptical machine, he looked like the love child resulting from the gay union of the Brawny paper towel lumber jack and the Travelocity gnome.
Now on to Judy. Judy, Judy, Judy. I might have ignored Judy but for the fact that, prior to going to the gym, I had a specific request to capture a wild spandexer in its natural habitat, and Judy provided just such an opportunity. Have you ever left a can of biscuits out of the refrigerator by accident, causing them to get warm? Then you peel the outside label off, and the can doesn't open. You then have to insert the tip of a spoon into the seam of the cardboard wrapping the biscuit can and press, resulting in a loud pop and biscuit dough explosion at the seams. Judy.
Rudy and Judy, I do not call you out because you are at the gym trying to get yourselves in better shape. I applaud you for it. Hell, that's why I was there too. All I am saying is can you just maybe try to dress a little more normally, say in an oversized T-shirt and sweat pants, like the rest of us fat, sweaty bastards in there.
In the end, I guess all I'm trying to convey today are three simple truths that we all already know:
Spandex should be outlawed. (Though I am curious to see how those new, much advertised Pajama Jeans work out.)