Saturday, July 30, 2005
Sip and I went fishing this morning with some guys from church.
Since my wife was out of town, and we had to leave his house at 6:30am this morning, I asked to spend the night with them. Also due to the fact that my wife is out of town, and staying in an empty house isn't all that fun. I mean, it is cool a few times, but not for 4 days straight.
So we all go for a walk before dinner. 3 miles. Then, Sip and Rachel cook chili while I am handed the horrible, daunting task of watching Luke (sarcasm)... it was probably the most fun I had all week to be honest, "watching" Luke.
So then we eat, I call the Mulls' cell phone to talk to Brew (which was a highlight of the night, despite the loud resturant), we watch a little Dr Katz DVDs, and we head off to bed. Sip had so many cool books in his guest room I had to stay up a bit and read some. By the way; If you ever read any of Mark Twains short stories, don't read the one titled "Story Of The Bad Little Boy"... it is very disturbing.
ANYWAY, what I am getting at was that I felt like a freaking aprt of the family! And I also know that ANY of my friends would have done this for me. And, likewise, I know I would do it for any of my friends.
Adults don't make new friends very easily, so we have to cherish the ones we have. And of the ones we have, there are only a handful that are like family. For me, that handful is everyone that is a part of this blog (the 5, and their wives [and their kids]), Ryan F, and a couple of the couples at church.
So, Thanks Sippers, and thanks to everyone else! To friends! (Holding up imaginary glass)
Friday, July 29, 2005
Chuck, Sipp and I talked briefly about spiritual warfare when we were down last and I've been running the idea through my mind for a couple of years now and I've got to wonder about it now. With AP having its various issues and casual faith encroaching the mainstream the field marshals are falling or teaching contrary messages. The survival of this faith will be in a small dedicated handful of believers. Something is behind that…
As far as what all this means I’m not sure. God knows I have my own struggles and ideas that might be skewed but I believe that Christ died for me and I believe that through my baptism into him I have been granted a reprieve from the gates of damnation. I'm just worried about the rest of the folks because I think my voice is too small and too cluttered by the din of rhetoric to be heard.
But then again there is grace and it's there for a reason and only God has read the manual on that one. Maybe I should just relax...
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Check out the inventors face... you can tell he is thinking "I started this dream at 12.... now, at 35, I have done it..."
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
I've had a laid back week, just cleaning and catching up on my itty bitty social life.... Charlie mentioned we went to Family Kingdom Sunday after getting our praise on, which was really fun.
I talked to my mommy and she is doing especailly well. They're going to sell there house and move in w/ my grandma which will save them bookoo money... and she's gonna come see me soon... Then I get to take my sister to get her ears pierced. Cause she's going bald.... slowly, though, mom said she still has lots of hair.
Mrs. Sipper I shall call you tomorrow.
Love you all!
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Sorry it took so long to get this up, Jamison. If it's not a large enough file, let me know and I'll send it to you via email.
Last week Isaac started swimming lessons and he proved he was cautious, polite and thoughtful taking time to understand what his instructor wanted and doing exactly that. So Jules and I both dropped Isaac off at the pre-school and within four minutes of us talking to the teacher Isaac started to walk away from us. We called him back and told him to listen, be nice, play well and that we loved him. He gave us both hugs and kisses and walked into his future alone. Yesterday when I picked him up from pre-school he proved that he could walk into a new situation with confidence and self-reliance. When the teacher told me he did just fine and played very well with the other kids I knew that a pacifistic upbringing having never watched 5 seconds of power rangers, yu-gi-oh or any of that other crap he was still thoughtful and assertive enough to stand and play with kids who have watched nothing but junk for years (Jules and I even saw two kids get into a fight hitting and kicking each other). Yesterday began the next twelve years of Isaac developing his own thoughts and feelings. We’ve got several years until he starts to put others thoughts above our own but the process has begun. Thusly now we’re about to begin a real family routine picking out a game night, reading night, tv night and what else we can do to ensure that we his family are and will always be a corner stone he can build his life on.
Today and Thursday he’ll be watched by Jules family, Wednesday and Friday he’ll be back in school. Next week I think he’ll be ready to go full time.
I know that he’ll be fine because Jules and I have never wanted to be the parents that let just let their kids “go”. It’s a bit nerving to be at this point where your child is putting into action the skills and you’ve tried to instill to this point. I’m sad to realize that Jules and I have so far done our jobs right, I would really like to feel like he needs me to give him a few more pointers and help him understand this is a big step. He walked into the situation with out any hesitation and concern. I hear when they leave for college it’s worse.
Count us down for the karaoke thing. I probably won't eat the food either, but ya never know.
The wife and I are teaching K-2nd grade in VBS next week. Pray for us. Seriously. We went door-knocking for it today (Monday). The heat was brutal. I had never been door-knocking before. It was an experience. Not a single person was rude to us, which I expected would happen.
I rode a roller coaster on Sunday. I can't tell whether I enjoyed it or not.
I have to work mid-shift (12-8 pm) this week so I can learn more of the ins and outs of FedEx Kinkos. Kinda looking forward to it, kinda nervous about it.
That's it for me. Later.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Okay, well, I was made hip to a resturant in town that I had never heard of before, partially because it was new, but also partially because it is only visited by maybe 8% white people, and 91% Korean folks.
There is an authentic Korean resturant in Montgomery that basically caters to the Hyundai employees. I am certain that it is capitalizing on that fact. I went once and they have the oddest food I have ever seen. BUT, what caught my eye, was a KAROKE room that groups can rent for like $20 an hour (or was it per half hour? cant remember...) Anyway, it is a sepearte room that NO ONE could be in excpet us!
And one of the coolest things I saw in there were tables for 6 that had grills in the middle! And I guess they bring you food and you grill it yourself at your table...
anyway, if it sounds fun and interesting, some of us locals can scout it out first...
When Mulls let me barrow his mandolin for learning, it wasn't long after that that the 2nd E string broke (2nd being the 2nd one from the bottom). No big deal, I just bought some new strings and restrung that one string...
That's broke string number 1...
Then, a month or so later, that string broke again
That's number 2....
Then, last Thursday, right before practice, I was tuning it. That string would not go up in pitch for some reason... so, naturally, I kept turning it... it broke...
Chalk up string number 3....
Then last night, I was strumming it and it sounded bad. Sure enough, it was that E string that was pitched too low. ANd again, I would turn it, turn it more, and turn it some more and the pitch NEVER changed (Yes, I was turning the right one) and I said to Larissa "This string it about to pop.) And sure enough, it did....
Mullins, what gives?
Friday, July 22, 2005
And I finished painting my guitar and she looks lovely.
She is still unnamed.......
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Was looking up some of the real life comedians that are on Dr Katz. Of course we all know who Steven Wright, but he has a section on his website that is so absurd it is hilarious...
Books by Steven Wright that are avaialable no where...
My favorite is the first one:
Phyllis and Her Eyelids: The story of a man living in a semi-parallel universe who is arrested for inventing hockey.
The Rats and The Scum: History of politicians.
The Slut and The Monkey: The history of marriage.
Skip the Wonder Horse: Set in the late 1600's in Holland. The story of a homosexual race horse that can see into the future.
The Chinese Envelope: Set during the Ming Dynasty. The story of an all-girl school made entirely of mirrors.
Daddy's Under My Bed: The story of a 90 year old still-born butler who's in love with his own shadow.
Freud: The story of an insane old man with way too much influence.
Jesus and Santa Claus: The story of two middleweight boxers in Berlin in the early 1900's.
The Carnival Man: The history of the world if time didn't exist.
Pretty Girls: The story of the end of all civilizations and why evolution is a mistake.
Stanley and the Magic Penny: Hitler's life story if he'd never been born, seen through the eyes of Dorothy Hamill.
The Tall Blue Cloud: The story of a Cajun menu that tries to take over the world.
Go to the link for a short story by him, which I havent read....
I will be driving on one part of town, and in the back of my mind, I will mentally note someone: (ugly car, pretty girl, ugly boy, etc...)
Then, maybe an hour or two later, ill be on another side of town and see that same stranger, whether at an intersection, in a store, etc...
One comedian refered to this as "God running out of extras in the movie of my life."
Check this site about the Milky Way for an explanation.
Funny, the site is called Astronomy Cafe!
You guys need to read this. I've spent the better part of my morning taking all of this in and I think as we move ahead as a society of believers we should know what and who is at stake. This is the transcript between Rick Warren and a panel of journalists. RW is the author of A Purpose Driven Life. He's also the pasture of a congregation of 25,000 actual weekend attendees and 85,000 "members" in Orange County, CA. I think what RW is saying is very true in many facets and very important. I also think what's he's not saying is of equal importance.
It's a bit of a read but I think it's worth it. At the end let me know if you're also equally excited and bothered.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
I am excited about returning to some normality in the US, but sad to leave France. It was a most enjoyable experience.
I won't really be gone from cyberspace long. I'll probably send a line on Friday to let everyone know we are safe.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I am going to have to bite the bullet sooner or later, no harm in seeing what it would look like... what do yall think?
They are poor photoshoppings, but I did them quickly...
I didnt realize how much wieght ive lost till i looked at the pic of me in black....
And in my bordum at work, I found this site:
with a trailer for the next one. I was unaware of this, but I am sure if I went to more movies, i would have seen the traler.
Here was the best attempt I could make brew (see above)
We had seats at the Eiffel Tower for the French Fourth of July, which is July 14th. There was a great fireworks show, which this picture comes from, obviously. Sorry about the crappy lift thing in the way. They were filming the whole show and getting in everybodys way. At one point that thing actually moved to the left, blocking several hundred thousand spectators view.
"I just want you to understand
that I know what all the fighting was for
and I just want you to understand
that I'm not angry anymore"
So if they can match my pay I guess I’ll go. It will be standard working hours and I’ll get to run around a good chunk of the day, edit and go run around again.
All of this on top of trying to get a show made and sold.
One was given to us as a gift our first Christmas from Larissas parents. That was in 2000, so it is kind of old.
The other is a newer model, with progressive scan, that I got for 30 bucks on ebay. It broke, but the company fixed it for free. It has no display, so thats the only place it is lacking.
Anyway, the old one is now in our bedroom, i watch Dr Katz on it as i fall asleep mostly.
This DVD player is quite cheerful when you turn it on. On the alarm-clock-style digital display, the message "Welcome to DVD world" scrolls across it. Ive had it for 5 years and still get joy out of making fun of that sentence with my wife.
It plays DVDs quite well, and I enjoy it.
But this DVD player has a pouty streak.
Turn it off, and you dont get "Goodbye"... you simply get the word "BYE"
as if to say "Fine! Leave! Jerk! I didnt want to play anymore for you ANYWAY!"
I feel so shamed and humiliated when I turn off this DVD player due to its bad attitude.
What can I do?
Having read Brews quite accurate review of the film, I thought I would give a quick review in responce to his.
Before I go on, I will have you know that after having read Brews review, I had no real desire to see this movie. His reviews are just that powerful friends!
I thought this was a fun and enjoyable movie. But, I can't see how Brew did such a long review on it. I can hardly tell you anything about the movie without giving away things about it.
For a brief synopsis of the film, see Brews review. In the early stages of watching this movie, I felt that the characters and the entire town was very stupid. Just in the way they talked and acted. I felty KIND of like I was watching a childs film. It all made sense about 3/4ths of the way through, which I guess is this guys way of making movies... where you end up going "OOOooooohhhh, I get it now" about an hour into the movie.
If you've seen the movie, youll understand it when I say that I felt decieved. Again, I hate to give anything away, but the movie made me think 'something' was real, when in fact it was not.
Crap, this is harder than I thought... I'll close with this line from Brews review:
"...Instead everyone goes into the theatre expecting, waiting on the surprise at the end. This is a distraction taken away from the whole of the film; it is a gimmick that has run thin. A truly surprising ending for the director now, would be no surprise at all."
I went in expecting just that, but I think the director did such a good job at "tricking" me early on, that I had abandoned this assumption and was still surprised at the end.
" In a sense the Village is really two stories. One is a suspenseful tale of creatures lurking in the dark, and the other of a quaint village dealing with extraordinary circumstances. I believe the fault lies with the merging of the two..." Another quote from Brew which I find accurate. I felt like the first hour was one movie, then the last 40 minutes or so I was watching another movie... the "2nd" movie was cool, but I was really hoping for the 1st movie to be the entire movie.
I cant for the life of me figure out why this movie is rated PG-13. There are a few jump scenes, and "Signs" was MUCH scarier. But there isn't ONE SINGLE curse word in the film and not a stich of nudity. Oh, one guy gets stabbed... it is kind of gross, but I think PG-13 was too high for this movie. Safe for a 9 year old.
I would and probably will watch it again.
Oh, and one thing that bothered me was that sigourney weaver's role was so small, and didn't take advantage of her acting ability (seemed like she was acting in a high school play, but that may be what the director was going for) nor her good looks.
I then deleted all of my previous pictures, because they should be safely stored on the cd. I just now looked through the cd and almost all of the pictures are not available. It looks like he did part of Brian’s card before something screwed up and he called it good.
This means every picture of Dublin and Barcelona that I took no longer exists!
There are many words I am saying right now, but I’ll spare the reader here.
Being that we only got one cd, and I decided to call it mine, Brian didn’t delete all of the pictures he took. So it is possible that some Dublin and Barcelona pictures remain, even if they weren’t taken by me.
Sucks, is what this does.
Monday, July 18, 2005
There are many people I work with who are like this, but this is one example:
A teacher here (K3... yes, 3 year olds) begged and begged for a new computer. And rightly so, she needed it (If you can consider being at work from 8am to 12pm, and never here in the summer 'work') So, with my batch of new computers, I gave her one, set it up, oved all her files over, and im done.
Not so fast! Of course she is very thankful for the computer, which is nice, but she did need it, and dont deserve any praise. But she has one thing she wants done. A digital camera hooked up to her computer. Her email starts off with "A parent did this for me last year" which sets me off in my head already. I get paid to do this crap, parents pay me big bucks to do it, so when she asks a parent to do MY job for her, I am already ticked off.
So i email her back and simply say "Hook camera to usb cable, hook usb cable to computer, open My Computer, camera should appear as a drive in there." Which is true, with 95% of all digital cameras. No need to install any software. Well apparently, this one is different. She tried my suggestion and emailed me again. It started out "where are you now so I can come talk to you about this?" I responded "please dont come to my office, I am rarely in there."
She goes on to say that my suggestion didnt work, any others? I say "no, i will have to get to it early September since I am in teh middle of the busiest time of year for me now."
Which is true, in fact, today, I have one of the most stressful, and most important tasks that needs to be done by tomarrow morning.
So this lady shows up at my office door this morning "Oh good, I finally caught you!" And I see her and am not as excited to see her as she is to see me. "Whats wrong?" she asks. "Frankly, I dont like people coming to my office when they can email me." Well, Last year, a parent helped me..." And I stop her mid-sentence and say "yes, I got your email, and replied to it." I think had to explain everything I did in the email I sent her. She continued to beg me to come to her room and set it up. If she were in my building, i would do it, but she is LITERALLY the furthest room from my office... close to, if not over, half a miles walk. And all my summer duties are done in the elementary. I tell her again "I can get to it early septemeber" To which she gives me a pouty face that no woman her age should be giving another man.
I finally say "how urgest is it that you get this camera hooked up to your computer?" Just trying to get her to leave. "not urgest." I say "Okay, well, everything I am doing today and the rest of the summer IS urgent that it get done before school starts."
In Kiddibunkport, Maine
I love the series, but I cant help but think that this chick just barrowed alot of inspiration from the LOTR series... I mean heck, look at her pen name for crying outloud! "JK ROWLING"... same sylables as JR Tolkien... oh well, no crime against inspiration, and I do love the stories...
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Love you all, Diana
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Ireland is beautiful, but freaking cold. It was cloudy, windy and way to chilly for my thing khakis and t-shirts. We saw the Blarney stone, the Cliffs of Moohr (better known to Princess Bride fans as the Cliffs of Insanity)a couple of castles and lots of sheep.
Barcelona was dirty and not that exciting. It is full of the architecture of a guy called Gaudi, whom I had never heard of, but turned out some pretty darn awesome stuff. He created what is hands down the coolest park I've ever been too.
We went to an all nude beach on accident (we knew there was an all nude section, but thought we were far enough away to avoid the nakedness). It was.....um....and experience to say the least.
Checked out some old school Roman ruins, and some magnificent royal palaces in the South of France.
Visited Paris again, it was much more soothing this time, knowing our way around and all.
I'll be a regular internet junkie until Thursday, at which time we fly home.
Oh, and it's nice of you guys to miss me :)
Friday, July 15, 2005
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Charlie and I ran into two of my high school friends last night. One of them some of you know, Michelle the Bridesmaid who had a cruch on Jamison. We ran into them at Target and decided to drive to Barnes and Noble to chat. When we got there, they said that they had talked about how a lot of people in high school have changed. And a lot have. I mean, I don't talk to Taylor anymore she changed so much. Or was she like that all along....???.... Anywho, they said I was one of the only ones they thought had changed for the better. Which of course made me feel good. And I agree, I have changed for the better. I mean you guys think I'm sensitive and out there NOW???!!!!??? Until Charlie and Church and you guys I was CONFUSED at best. I wasn't really a let's have sex, let's drink and do drugs type. Because I take great pride in being an anti statistic. I saw what became of my family members and said uh huh, no way. But I was just lost and didn't know what life was a bout and all that. Many MANY environmental factors changed me. Like I said Charlie, God, Church, Charlie's family. I remeber when I first began spending time with them, I was amazed at how NICE they were to eachother. We would go shopping and Jeanette would ask Mimi if she had enough time to look around. We would go out to eat and everyone would ask how eachother's food was... I was amazed anyone would ever care if my alfredo was good. And they smiled at eachother and exchanged witty banter. I remember going out to eat with my family when I still lived at home and being afraid of making eye contact with my step mom, of saying the wrong thing with my step mother. I have thankfully forgotten a lot of details about my past but one thing I do vividly rmember is how horrible a feeling it is of being afraid of every move, that you are only seconds away from being put in your place. Another memory that really got the ball moving for Diana's transformation to how wonderful life can be is meeting you guys. I remember being amazed that such a diverse group could have so much love and consideration for eachother. I remember the warmth of Sipper, the way Mullins looks people in the eye. Mostly I remember something Jamison did while we were playing mini golf (or put put where I come from.) Larissa tripped on something and fell down. I laughed about it, something I feel guilty for to this day, but Jamison went rushing to her side. He was so concerned that she had hurt herself and I had NEVER seen a husband show so much love to his wife. It's sounds like such a simple thing and it's hard for me to describe the exact feeling, but I think that's what taught me to care for people correctly. As apposed to what my parents had inadvertantly taught me, that marriage was about manipulation and oneing up the other. It's like something snapped in me that night. Well anyway, I wanted to thank you guys for teaching me those small lessons that got me thinking about so many things. You all may not realize it, but you helped lead me to God, to a happy marriage, and away from my past.
On a less optimistic note, I'm getting a little sick of my family's games. Everytime I see my stepbrother he's yelling at me about never visiting my step mom (always while stoned, of course), my step sister is completly bi polar and I never know if she wants to be my friend or kill me, my step mom is hateful and makes up things and my dad just goes along with it. The other day my father reminded me of this one time they put this dead racoon in a box and told me to go look in it. I thoght it would be something neat and it was a dead stinky animal and they all laughed at me when I cried. I mean they're just cruel! Anyway, I'm sick of their games. For instance, apparently the other night Charlie and I saw them in Wal-Mart and turned and walked the other way. Totally didn't even see them, but now it's this big deal. Since everyone is mad at me now, I've tried to explain that we didn't see them but no one believes me, and I get the feeling, allthough I'm jumping to conclusions here, that Dad believes her. Which is so typical. He always believes her. I think that my issue isn't that my step mom was horrible for so many years, it's that my FATHER always looked the other way and still does, but still expects me to call her and exchange pleasentries. My point is, I'm trying to move on but this CRAP just ends up finding me. Like my step brother at my rehersal dinner. The fact that he was there and telling everyone about his issues and stealing money didn't bother me, it's that everyone felt sorry for me. I HATED that. And about a week ago he came to where I work and chewed me out. RUDE! I can't wait to get away from here so I won't have to deal with all this childish behavior. My dad's just going to have to deal with it. I ran away in the first place so they couldn't take they're stuff out of me and they still do and I've just about had enough!
So sorry to unload on you guys but I needed to get a lot of that off my chest. I feel better now. Good night.
:) I love you guys
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Are the takers still out there?
We're definatley 100% sure coming to visit now. We'll leave home Friday (8.12) after work and come home Tuesday. Can't wait to see you!
The next morning we all drug a bit slower (they had Guinness on tap and I’m a lot of fun after a couple of beers, especially Guinness) but were pushed to get as much as we could. Chuck had left earlier heading south fearing the storms and I had plans to join Scott, Jamie and PR guy Phil for 18 holes but considering that we had lost two hours of b-roll shooting the first evening and killed another two hours wandering around Biltmore Estate I decided to bail on the golf and shoot b-roll. At ten Scott and Jamie rushed to their tee time, the audio guy had enough proving he was in over his head and left leaving Greg and I to shoot. We split up and shot b-roll until our battery belts died. We were finally driven from the course with a quick rain shower and 15% power on the last camera. Greg and I had lunch and I drove him back into Knoxville.
Call was 7:30am Saturday. Everyone was up and ready to roll on time. On the way to Biltmore Estate we stopped and had a bite to eat at the only McDonalds that has a baby grand piano in the dining room. Chuck gets me an iced Starbuck’s from across the street like a true pal. Our first task is to shoot the Land Rover Experience Driving School so quickly we’re on our way through the gates of the largest privately owned estate in the country. I’ve always enjoyed signing wavers negating the place you’re visiting any wrong doing in your untimely demise or unforeseen dismemberment and this was our first requirement of the morning. In short order we were ready to go after loading our two Land Rovers with gear and people. The Land Rovers were completely stock from the showroom floor and we took them through what I thought was some really nasty areas. We shot two cameras in each vehicle and I held a mini DV getting the driver talking. The LR’s were shot traversing 45 degree left and right facing slopes and climbed equally impressive earthen ramps. We even took the LR’s down a really nasty and muddy, rock and stump bed, it was really cool to see the windshield filled with trail one second and then filled with an unrecognizable path the next. Our lead driver had another tour at noon so we got back to flat ground and did his interview and head back. At noon I introduced the crew to Sarah Thomas the PR manager we’re talking with for our next set up. In the movie Being There Peter Sellers closes the movie by walking on water below the Biltmore House. This was the location for our shoot. Sarah was doing a small piece on the wine at Biltmore Estate and this ended up being one of the set looking set ups of the entire shoot. Sarah stood at beside a small table with some wines and the Estate rested on the hillside just above her shoulder as natural light splattered through the wide deciduous canopy. We wrapped this location in no time and had some lunch. It seams that several of my guys hadn’t seen the Biltmore house so we were allowed to do a drive by. We obviously hadn’t paid so we wouldn’t be allowed into the house but we had free range over the grounds. We took just under two hours to explore some of the gardens, gift shops and grounds and headed back to GPI. Around five we were loading our golf carts and watching the rain clouds gather overhead. We had some frustrating audio issues racing against the impending rain but were able to cover some ground. On number five a key hole in the story the rain finally chased us in doors. We decided to meet in the Great Hall and regroup. We had busted our butts for two days and no one was in the mood to fight rain capturing scenic happenings in downtown Asheville lugging around some $40K worth of moisture sensitive equipment. Once everyone made it to the hall I called that nights shoot off. Everyone relaxed and my waitress took a $14 dollar tip for my freshly delivered ale, without my consent. Scott and I talked about this waitress and developed her plan to its full extent of shucking us of all of our money one by one. We didn’t give her the chance and decided that it was time to eat. We lit out of the GPI and headed downtown. I’m not sure how long we wandered around because I decided that I was no longer the one in charge, at least until call the next morning. We ate at the Tupelo Honey Café and it was a dream. Lovely wait staff, delicious food, and a positively charged atmosphere made for a lovely introduction to the evening. I’ve since found out the place had been written up in Southern Living and the New York Times along with a slew of other periodicals. After our mass consumption of Nirvana like vittles it was time to find some music! Again we wandered a bit even getting some doormen to give our cover charge back because there was no place to sit in one place. We landed in the Asheville Barbeque Company and listened to the Nomadz until the house lights came on. Along the way we fended off the torrid advances of a drunken, nubile, dancing girl and the middle aged chain-smoking lady who was pushing the envelope of public copulation in-between nudging me for a new light. Sometime after 2:30am we closed the evening and set call for 7:30. The first rain shower ended up being the last not dropping much the rest of the night.
With a 7:30 call in the Great Hall we decide to meet for breakfast at the Inn. At the Horizons dining room we’re offered menu choices or a buffet. Two guys jumped into the buffet and the rest waited on the menu. I jumped on the buffet only after growing impatient on the waiter. Jules and I have decided that the nicer the place is the longer you might have to wait. $110.00 later we’re headed for the golf course. The food was good but we had more to get done.
At the club house we commandeer three carts, load our gear and roll to the back nine or #10 of 18. We get set up and roll after a little time futzing with the equipment. Soon we’re working our way through the golf course. Early on we’re having some audio problems because the camera guy can’t hear what’s being said through the camera speaker. Slowly we’re making our way through the course. Phil meets us at a small cabana at the club house at lunch time. We start discussing the rest of the shoot day. The original set up was that we were going to stay on the course until dark, around 8pm and then shoot one of the restaurants. It ends up that the chef has got two different parties booked and will not be available after 6pm. A little bummed because we were now going to have the leave the course and be at the Inn some three hours ahead of schedule we press on. When five rolls around we leave the course and take the carts to the Inn and do a very quick and spontaneous set up because everything that had been planned was now completely changed. In one hour we set up, shoot and wrap the dining at GPI piece. Plates prepared are fried lobster tail and fresh baked crab cakes, a succulent veal chop and seared Chilean Sea Bass over chive and cheese mashed potatoes covered with a sautéed onion and sweet pepper mix. Most of us took a few samples and it was wonderful! Phil had said that if nothing was going on with us tonight he would like to buy the crew dinner. GPI has a seafood buffet every now and again and tonight was one of those nights. When Chuck and I got to the room to get cleaned up he collapsed on the bed and bluntly stated “Jodi thought I would be goofing off.” (The gist of a shoot like this is: Set up one “talking”: tee box. Set up two cameras, set audio, talent going over lines, stand up, hit multiple shots of ball from different positions. Strike and move some 100 plus yards down fairway to ball landing position. Set the whole thing up again, hit ball to green. Strike, set up at green, do the whole thing over again putting in. In the mean time Chuck is taking script notes or holding a reflector or holding off or waving through the next encroaching foursome. Set up two “B-roll”. B-roll is rolling to a position, setting cameras, rolling, moving to the next position, setting, rolling, moving to the next position, setting, rolling etc. Chuck you should feel pretty relieved this course was only 88 achers and we only covered half of it.)
We met up around 7pm in the Great Hall to head to dinner. I was a little bit late because I had to return the golf carts we took to the Inn. We find our way towards the buffet in two groups. The first group included me, Chuck, Ed, Greg and Phil. Once we were in a cute hostess named Sarah told us that she would be giving us a tour of the buffet rooms. We all made jokes about having to get a tour of a buffet. We needed it. Two large rooms with three distinct areas included the hot foods room, the cold foods room and dessert area. The only thing that I really didn’t see was lobster tails and claws. Everything else was there. A creamy rice seafood dish, baked white fish, seared tuna, boiled and pealed shrimp, salmon prepared some 10 different ways, a selection of Russian tapas, sushi, everything in between. It was the equivalent of the Opry Sunday Buffet only in seafood. The table split a bottle of wine and some heavy drinks and concluded our meal with a $468 bill Phil happily took care of. I’ll tell you this, if the PR guy spends the evening talking about the most expensive meals the Inn has paid for our table wanted to take a chance to be the new title holder. We didn’t come close.
Phil left us to our own sometime after 10pm and we continued to talk at the table until it was necessary to take the conversation out side for some fresh air. We got a couple of drinks and smokes and hit the veranda. It was around one am when we decided it would be wise to get some shut eye.
Ok so here is a basic rundown of my shoot in Asheville. Thursday evening I arrive at the Grove Park In and Chuck is already checked in, since he and I were sharing a room that was pretty nice. Moments after finding Chuck I see the PR manager, Phil Werz. He and I talk for a bit and I introduce Chuck when the decision is made to go ahead and start our first set up in the spa. Chuck and I lug two camera bags, audio bag, electric bag and a massive light kit through the bowels of the GPI to a couple’s treatment room. We needed the couple’s room because it’s a decently big space. I set the lights and cameras and realize that I’m going to be waiting for a while. I knew that the other two groups of our crews were going to be tailing behind me and Chuck but I didn’t realize how much. Some two hours later Chuck and I are being treated to a selection of appetizers with Phil in the Great Hall when we see Scott the other on camera guy and his friend since Jr. High Jamie. I’ve known Scott for as long as I’ve worked here and he’s a good guy. Jamie is would sort of remind you guys of Brew verbally because he has a relatively relaxed cadence and humorously, cozy, smugness except that Jamie enjoyed tacking on statements that sounded completely half-cocked and unbelievable. Overall a very pleasant chap. Finally we hook up with Scott and Jamie and they sit and enjoy a beverage with us, moments later the last of the team arrives. Greg, camera guy and Ed the Audio guy call and let me know they are pulling into the drive. So we’re all in and head to the spa, finally!
So there is a bit of shuffling because now the room is filled with people and we’re all going over lights, cameras and audio and it feels good to be making something happen. The set up is this, Scott and I have finished our match and he has won, from that I owe him a spa treatment. I’m the only one really talking for this piece, Scott’s part of the set up is to lie on the massage table and get a warm stone and oil back rub while I deliver my lines. Luckily for him I have several flubs so the next hour is spent with me sweating and him getting a several hundred dollar backrub. Finally we get everything knocked out and we stow our gear. We meet back in the Great Hall and half of our group decides it’s time to eat. Chuck, Ed and I are not interested in going out so we all crash. Scott, Jamie and Greg venture out in search of food and after some time being lost in Asheville arrive back and the GPI around 2:30am.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Monday, July 11, 2005
I wake up at 9:30, Larissa and her mom and aunt went walking downtown. Not so fast! Don’t think of a downtown in your city. Think Mayberry. Very cool buildings, old architecture style down in Oakland Maryland. I go downstairs for breakfast. Nothing is cooked, but Larissas grandma has some left over sausage (best in the world, don’t know why) and I eat it up. This woman seems like an Italian mother the way she wants to feed you. The funniest thing is that she almost gets insulted if you don’t want food. “You want some toast with that?” “Nah, I’m good.” “Let me cook you an egg” “No thanks.” “Well fine, just see if I try and offer you anymore food…”. They are telling us to be careful if we go walking down in the woods today. Lots of black bears they say.
So that afternoon, Larissa and I decide to go driving to get some good photographs. She suggests we head to “Swallows Falls” which is surrounded by a national forest (I forget which one) but it isn’t but a few minutes from where we are staying. Deciding that we didn’t want to pay 3 bucks per out of state person to park, we drove about 100 yards down the road and parked in a gravel lot along with 3 or 4 other cars and took about a miles hike down a trail across the street. It followed this river and we got better views of the falls that we would have had we paid to park (see photos).
We return to hear a funny tale. Larissas dad was at the dariy queen down the street (the meca of terra alta, wv… not kidding) and said that a helicopter landed in the parking lot, a man got out (while the copter was still running), went into the Dairy Queen, and emerged 3 minutes later with 3 ice cream cones. He gave the cones to his other two passengers and had one for himself. Then the helicopter took off… odd.
We had a sort of “Pre-reunion” this evening. We went out to my mother-in-laws sisters land and ate food and stuff. I tell ya, growing up in the south spoils you as far as food goes. Even though I was in West Virginia (Hardly yankee country) the food was still scarse and in small portions. It is traditionally a poor state, so maybe it comes form that. A damper was put on the dinner for me though. Although the scenery was nice and I got to see a nice sunset and all the children were fun to watch play, one of Larissas cousins put me in a foul mood. He is a really nice guy, and a family man. But someone mentioned to him that he is going gray on his hair, which he is, big time. He is only 30. Well, he took the comment in stride, but for some reason, I guess he thought he would toss the ball to me and make balding jokes. This is a pretty sophisticated guy. I would have probably under normal circumstances laughed it off, patted him on the back and had a good ole time. But then Larissa’s OTHER cousin got into the act. This guy AINT a class act, and is as red neck as they come in west Virginia/Maryland. He then thinks it is time for him to join in and starts making more plugs and toupee jokes. Then the other cousin says “Ya know, they sale stuff at the store, called Rogaine.” And of course this is followed with laughs. So I punched him in the mouth. Kidding. I distanced myself a bit from the crowd for the rest of the, what seemed like, long night. I have no idea why, but I can only take so many laughs at my expense. My wife can do it till she dies, I don’t care. My café buddies can do it forever, please do. But when a cousin from my wifes side of the family does, no thanks. Maybe I fear getting old. I am not sure. But I cant take balding jokes from non-friends and non-family.
The hurricane is on its way. I called Montgomery to find out about roads closing. Tomorrow the interstate going south bound will be closed from Mobile, AL to Montgomery, AL. Hopefully that’s where it will stop. I can take backroads from Birmingham, but don’t want to. At least very few people will be heading south tomorrow! (UPDATE, we made it home safe)
FYI, Larissa's grandma gave her an iron skillet that is pretty nice… I think Larissa mentioned that she liked it…
Drive home was uneventful. We drove 9 hours straight and arrive in chattanooga at midnight and woke up the next morning to go to church with my mom and dad. Then drove home, hit some bad rain, but nothing I couldn't handle!
the movie in the following link has many F words in it...
The only reason I post it here is because there is an actor in this short film with a voice you will most certainly recognize from the Dr Katz cartoons...
Yes, the main character was a regular on Dr Katz, but the other guy you will know as well...
"I'm a rock star baby"
I highly recommend NOT listening or watching this at work, trust me. No nudity, but audible sex scene. And of course, the F word.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Everything has been going well. I visited my aunt last week and my whole Pigg side of my family will be here at the beach this week (yay). I start my next summer session tomorrow. Are you guys ready for the hurricane? We're prayin for you.
Will you all be in town August 11-14th ish? We had a small weekend trip planned for Hilton Head, but we were talking today, and we'd honestly rather come see you.
Love you much, Diana
The drive from east Tennessee to West Virginia is just beautiful. No digital camera memory card is big enough to hold all the images we came across, I tried to take as many pics as I could, but had to turn the quality down to fit more pics on the camera... most ended up just looking blurry.
One pic Ill post soon is over the worlds longest (literally) arched bridge. Take a look at the next quarter you get. If it is a state quarter, see if it is West Virginia. If it is, look on the back, that’s the bridge we cross. The view is great from the little over look you can drive to. Plus, every summer, the city closes one lane on this bridge to let bungie jumpers jump off. You may have seen this on TV.
We arrive at a place called the “Tamarack” in Beckley, West Virginia. The best way to describe this is a craft store, only the size of a small mall. It is in really great shape and it a very popular exit for travelers. It is one of those large exits where they over charge you for food and gas. Anyway, people buy booths, and apparently they are loyal sellers because for the past 5 years that we have been going up there, the same booths are there. And they really aren’t booths; they are huge ‘section’ of this ‘mall’ dedicated to a particular craft. I'm led to believe that everything there is handmade by the resident artists and crafts-people. There are 6 studios in which most of the products there are made. There is a resident textilist, wood carver, jewelry maker blacksmith, pottery dude, glass blower and a few other folks. Please don’t think this is some back-woods, hillbilly flea market, it is very clean, very indoor, and very high class. There is also sold many books and music dedicated to the area, which are very cool, and are about the only things we have bought form there, but to look is awesome. Rachel Sipper would be happy to know that the quilts there go for around $2,000. We saw a small quilted square about 4 by 4 feet… oh, just $160. Nothing Rachel or my wife couldn’t make in a few days. Of course, people weren’t clamoring to pull them off the shelves to buy either. We also saw some tiny purses that Rachel has made, made out of small beads… ranging from $80 to $220. The wood work was amazingly perfect and you just HAD to hold these wood carvings to make sure they were real. They were just too good. A nice wood bowl salad went for $500. Oh, there was also a resident instrument maker. It looked like all she made were Dulcimers though, all looked very nice though.
They had a small art gallery in there, presenting local artists’ work too. All for sale, but set up like a museum.
We left about an hour later, it was a nice break. And we got lunch and gas about 30 minutes down the road (I can get almost 450 miles on one tank of gas in our Honda, it is great, this is also where I took over driving, tee hee).
3:30 Eastern Time, late afternoon, and after many winding mountain roads, we arrive at Larissas grandparents home. Lasagna was waiting on us. I take a nap before we eat dinner (wish is a rare feat in and of itself). A pretty relaxed, non-rushed trip. But, it rained the entire trip… Oh, and just like every visit up to Larissas dad’s parents house, her granddad had to mention “Evans Curve”. One year, heck, must have been 3 or 4 years ago, we visited up here. It snowed (like it always does) the day we left. So, to be safe, Larissas dad and granddad followed behind us in another car. We came to this curve called “evans curve”. My back wheels slipped a bit, maybe slidding about 1 or 2 feet. I recovered and didn’t think anything about it.
Ever since then, every time I see this WWII vet, he will say “Did you have any trouble on Evans Curve?” “No…”. Then looking off into the distance, as if remembering some war story, he inhales and says “Yeah, I remember when you started sliding that one time you came around Evans Curve…” and so on…. It is funny. He is pestering me about it, but I love it.
We then drive 10 more minutes down the road to Larissa's other grand parents home, in Oakland, Maryland. This lady is fun because she lets me cut up and make jokes with her. Only problem with this grandmother is the fact that she always loads me and Larissa down with stuff before we leave. I promise, if you so much as say “Wow, I like that vase.” It will be in your hands before you leave the house. She loves to give stuff away.Well, it works out well for me today. She sees me come in carrying my mandolin. About an hour later she asks me if I know anyone who can fix a fiddle. I say I do (Sips uncle I was thinking.) Well, her husbands brother (Larissas great Uncle Joe) played the fiddle, and he has since died, but she still had his 80 year old fiddle in her attic. Since she saw I played an instrument, and none of her other family members did, guess what? She plopped it in my lap! It is in need of repair, but it looks like a family heirloom has been passed on to me from Larissa side of the family!
I am going to setup a webshots account, to post all these pics...
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
For starters, I still had a stuffy head, runny nose, and crud in my throat when I woke up.
I forgot to put the trash out the night before and it was filled to the gills, so I left it by the curb, in the hopes that my neighbor will remember to bring it back in while we are gone.
Not one mile from my house I pulled up to a stop sign in my neighborhood, I see an unmarked police car sitting at the other stop sign, I stop (or what I have programmed my mind to believe is a stop), waved to him, and went through the intersection. To that I am greeted with flashing blue lights in my rear view mirror.
I pull over and he asks me if I know why he pulled me over… A little ticked off I say nothing, then, in typical Jamison fashion, my face lights up, and I turn to look at him and say “California roll right?”
“is that what they call it?””That’s what I call it.”
“Are you from California, or are you from Texas? Somewhere halfway?””No, I am from Tennessee.”
From here he makes some joke regarding how he could understand it if I was from a place closer to California…
“Do you live in this neighborhood?””Yes officer.”
“Well, we are out here getting speeders…””Thank goodness!”
“…And people running stop signs. Next time I am gonna have to hand you a ticket.””I appreciate it.”We shake hands, and the trip continues.
It is raining, continually. I have no tissue. And hate “hacking” up the crud. Then, my nose starts bleeding. My wife, after looking all over the car gives me some unused yarn… to soak up the blood.
Birmingham, traffic. So, Larissa shows me some back roads to by pass the traffic. It works, but I hate getting off the interstate. Red lights all the way.
We finally get back on the interstate, and I take the exit to I-20, towards Atlanta. To which my wife says, “So, we want to go to Atlanta?”
I sigh, and say, sadly “No.” And we have to find the next exit to turn around.
Not so bad really. We arrived at my parent’s house in 4 hours and some change. It is normally a 3 and a half hour drive. But 20 miles from my parent’s house, the light on the gas gauge comes on. We are running on empty, but hey, we made it without having to stop. But promise me this; if you can travel without going through Chattanooga, do it. Its traffic is growing and its roads are still as wide as they were 20 years ago.
We leave mom and dads and hit the Mullins house by 5pm. We sit and talk, wait on Jules to arrive, sit some more, watch the kids and we go out to dinner.
We come back and me and Mullins do some jamming on the mandolin and guitar. It was a GREAT break and if the trip ended there I would have considered this a great trip, even though it is less than 24 hours old.
We leave their home at 8:30 and hit our la quinta hotel at 11pm, which is where I am posting this blog as I type it. Love you guys, more news from the north as it happens…
Actually, you may not hsee another post till Saturday night or Sunday… no internet access up there ….
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Monday, July 04, 2005
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
So I got these pics earlier than I thought I would. Still, Chuck has better ones than these... Hopefully, he will post his soon. Here is Chuck and I enjoying the ride out to sea...
A look at our catch, the "Bonita" spoken of earlier is to the far left, next to it is Thomas' catch. The long fish next to it is a mackrell... Chucks dad caught it. Naturally, these photos dont do justice to the size of these fish, but to give you an idea, Thomas had to cut about 4 or 5 inches off the tail of the Bonita so it would fit in his large cooler.
The fishermen and their catch.
I came away from this trip with 3 thoughts;
1. I can no longer sleep comfortably on a floor.
2. Deep sea fishing, as an experience, is fun and adventurous and can not be compared to any other experience. I would not trade that experience for much else.
3. Deep sea fishing as a sport is rather boring and not as challenging as even stocked-pond fishing.
Don’t get me wrong. The physical workout you get from reeling in large fish from hundreds of feet down to the oceans floor is a challenge. My arms are very sore today as a result of the trip. But there is no skill involved. You don’t even have to “hook” the fish like you have to do in fresh-water fishing. Meaning, when you get a bite, you don’t have to jerk your rod up to embed the hook in the fish. You don’t have to trick the fish, they eat whatever you put on the hook, and they waste no time doing it. In fact, you don’t even have to hide the hook in the bait, like you do with fresh water fishing.
Here is how a typical cast went (even though you don’t even cast the rod).
First mate baits your hook. You hang the bait over the side of the boat, drop said bait till the line stops letting out. Wait 30 seconds to 1 minute. Reel in hooked fish. 8 times out of 10, it was a red snapper. 7 times out of those 8, it was too small to legally keep (even though “small” is a relative term, “small” is 15 inches long…).
At least when stock pond, or any type of fresh water fishing, you at least have to trick the Bass into taking your bait. Bass won’t just take a piece of meat hook onto an exposed hook end.
One aspect of deep sea fishing that was rather luxurious and you don’t even realize it half the time is the first mate. We had two on this trip. One was in training (and had such a thick southern accent you could rarely tell what he was saying. I swore that he said once to me “Byow wow now trow ovr aire”. I got so tired of saying “What?” that I would just nod when he spoke to me.) The other first mate was very experienced in his duties. Believe it or not, I didn’t touch one fish the entire 8 hour trip. Nor did I bait one hook. Their primary jobs is to make sure you are fishing as much as possible. If you pull up an empty hook, they are behind you within 5 seconds putting more bait on your hook. If you pull up a fish, they are there to take the fish off your hook, measure it, and throw it back or toss it in the cooler. This was awesome because my first instinct when I catch a fish it to put my thumb in their mouths to lift them up… I think 90% of the fish we pulled up had VERY sharp teeth that I wouldn’t put my fingers near.
Oh, we saw dolphins coming up for air 2 or 3 times very near our boat. 20 yards or so.
One story and this blog is yours;
Most fish are at the bottom. However, when you drop your bait, or are bringing your uneaten bait up, you’ll see a pretty fast, and very large fish try to take your bait… the first mates had a good time playing with these fish, and they looked very cool from above. They were called Bonita, and are part of the tuna family.
I recall hearing the first mates say “You don’t want to get one of those hooked. They will run you to death and get your lines all tied up.” They also added that despite them being in the tuna family, they aren’t good for eating because they are very bloody and very boney. In fact, Bonita was our primary source of non-live bait. So, for the next hour, I forgot about them and when they went for my bait, I avoided them.
After about an hour of catching the same fish over and over, I saw a Bonita go for my bait. I looked over my shoulder to make sure no one was watching me, and I held the bait where it was, rather than letting it continue to drop. 10 seconds later my arms are nearly pulled out of their sockets and the fight was on.
Chuck could tell you more accurately how long I fought with this fish, but to me, it felt like 10 minutes. My left bicep is mostly sore today from that catch because I had to constantly hold the rod up with that arm. This fish would let me reel him in 10 or so feet, then take off about with about 15 or 20 feet or my line and I would have to start over. Eventually, due to this fight in this fish, the first mates told everyone to get their lines out of the water and to back up. Good thing they did because I was going from side to side of this boat, sweat dripping down my face. Eventually, the fish was in the boat and it was a sight to behold because it was a different fish than we had been catching, and the fight was a lot more fun than the others. That “mistake” made the trip for me. The first mates said we don’t want to keep it, but Chuck insisted he wanted to keep it. It is truly amazing the power that God has given fish. This one was very strong.
Fun trip to say the least… the ride back to shore was boring though. My pictures will be posted next week, when I can edit them to smaller sizes at work. Chuick has better pics than I do.
Friday, July 01, 2005
Though I am a Christian, I am also a proponent of the separation of Church and state. I don’t really want some Muslim, or Buddhist, or Satanist telling me how I should live, or forcing my kids into praying to their gods, and so I figure I should keep my God out of their classrooms and laws.
This gets a little tricky though. Take the subject of homosexuality. My Christian beliefs tell me that the practice of gay sex is wrong. Therefore sanctifying gay marriage would be wrong as well. So, in a sense if it was put to a vote, my conscience would have to vote no.
But then I got to thinking. What if they tried to make a law against extra-marital sex, or heterosexual sex before marriage? Currently it is not illegal to have sex with someone you are not married to, but it is against my Christian beliefs. I think I would not vote for a law trying to ban these practices, even though it is against my moral beliefs.
Take it even farther. What if they tried to make a law against lying, or not attending church? Would I vote for a law against lying? I mean I’m against lying, but how would you prosecute such a thing? And should you even try?
Why then would I vote for a law banning homosexual marriage? What is it about gays getting married that gets us all riled up? God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah mainly because of their homosexual practices, so we can certainly surmise that He isn’t a fan of such a thing. And I’m not going to join the pro gay cause for anything. I’m just not so sure I would vote against a law allowing homosexual to get married.
Would the law cause me any trouble in my own spiritual development? No. Would the law express anything against holding the belief that homosexual sex is wrong? No. Would it keep the Lord’s church from preaching against homosexual sex? No.
The big thing that keeps me from all out deciding to vote for such a law is the sense that I would be voting for something that is against God’s law. But then that brings me back to my earlier questions. If I wouldn’t vote for a law banning pre-marital sex, then why would I vote for a law banning gay marriage? Or, rather vote against a law allowing gay marriage?
I’m honestly not sure how I would vote if it came down to it.
Your guys’ thoughts?