Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dynasty!!!

Appalachian State University, my alma mater, has broken just about every record Division II football has. Runningback Kevin Richardson is the leading rusher of all time in the division. Defensive player Corey Lynch has been an all-American player three years in a row. Quarterback Armanti Edwards shattered every rushing record for quarterbacks, and for runningbacks.


And we all remember the Michigan game: the biggest upset in collge football history. It was the first time ever a Division II beat a ranked Division I team. EVER!

Tonight, we broke another record. Appalachian won its third straight national championship! As the Watauga Democrat reported, we are officially a dynasty!


It was one of the best games I have ever seen! ASU's defense really came to play, and the offense didn't let them down. The best play, by far, was when Delaware charged down the field, was stopped on the 1-yard line, and Appalachian held them off of the touchdown through two downs! Incredible!!


The final score was 49-21. The fans rushed the field with three minutes still to go in the game. ESPN2 commentators frowned upon that, and I wish they hadn't done it so early, but you know how it is: when one person jumps the wall, everyone else follows.

It's great to be a Mountaineer...!!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Deep freeze...

The temperature has plunged here in Anniston, and we are experiencing our first frost tonight!


Here's the overnight forecast:

And the current temperature:


Here are some shots of Jeremy's car at about 11 p.m.:


Brrr...!!!

Birmingham Birthday...

Jeremy and I celebrated his birthday Saturday in the fabulous city of of Birmingham.

We began the day at the Birmingham Museum of Art at the Pompeii exhibit.
It was an amazing exhibit filled with genuine artifacts from the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The exhibit contained frescos from the walls of Pompeii's mansions, jewelry in mint condition, and casts of victims' bodies, frozen in moments of terror.

OK, it wasn't the sexiest birthday outing, but it was riveting.

After that, we stuck with an Italian theme and had lunch at the wonderful Tuscan-themed restaurant Brio.


I had a delicious Caesar salad and fresh-made spinach and egg pasta with a light cheesy sauce. Then we had a trio of amazing mousse desserts. Incredible!

The restaurant is a chain, but I had never been there. There are locations throughout Florida, and there is one in Charlotte and one coming to Raleigh soon. I highly recommend it!


We wound up the day at the Robert R. Meyer Plantarium where they presented a show on the night sky during the time of Jesus' birth.

We enjoyed the Christmas theme, and the information really was fascinating. They showed how and why historians can't pin down the exact date of Jesus' birth, but, based on accounts of the night sky, they have it nailed down to between 6 & 7 B.C. Amazing!

Jeremy and I were one of maybe three adult couples without small children in the planetarium. So, it was only natural that I won the door prize -- a children's space game. Of course, since all eyes were on me, I turned around and handed it to the two small children seated directly behind me. That turned out to be a big mistake, because they wouldn't stop talking loudly about it for the rest of the show! Oh well!

After that, it was home to Anniston for Boston Cream Cake with our fellow students and a relaxing evening playing Mario Party II at home!


Happy birthday, honey!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Dachshund Frisbee Show #2

Witness THE CATCH!!! Check out Dachshund Frisbee Show Part II!!


video

Friday, November 30, 2007

Just Think About It...

Check out my first stab at a serious news video. Let me know what you think.

(And yes, that is "Just Another Day In Paradise" playing in the background!)


video

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Every Little Bit...

The other day, Jeremy and I were doing our grocery shopping at Wal-Mart (yes, I hate it, but it sadly is the best we've got). As we were getting ready to check-out with a shopping cart filled to the top, we noticed a new display near the registers. The sign said something about "Going Green," a popular topic floating around these days in light of Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize win.

The Green suggestion advertised cloth bags, costing $1 apiece. Deciding we'd had enough of toting countless plastic bags in from the grocery store, and with the intention of reducing our "carbon footprint" by reducing our litter ever so slightly, we purchased six of the bags.


What a great decision it turned out to be! Turns out, the six bags were more than enough to load up our entire cartful. In fact, we had a bunch of extra space in the roomy bags. We were able to carry all of our groceries into the house in one trip, and we didn't have the multiple grocery bags to deal with.

The bags are quite durable and large. The only issue we've had since is remembering to bring them back into the store with us, though we are working hard to make it a habit.

If you have access to this type of thing, I highly encourage you to do it. We should all do our part to reduce our trash output. Every little bit helps.

Each time we have used the bags since we purchased them a new person has asked us about the bags and has shown interest in using them, too. Spread the word -- Green is good!

To read more about Wal-Mart's cloth bags, read this Chicago Tribune article.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Fall"ing in Love With Anniston...

Fall has officially "fallen" upon us, and it is absolutely beautiful here. Jeremy, the puppies and I took a nice walk today on a wooded trail. We crunched through the thousands of fallen leaves, breathed that wonderful smell of wet leaves (which give off a fragrence remniscent of freshly cut cedar and pine trees), and enjoyed a steady cool breeze.

I have never seen such dominant colors in tree leaves before. The red trees look like they are dripping with neon blood and the yellow trees are banana bright, appearing to have come straight from the sun.

My regular camera has decided it hates me, and only works when I don't need it to. So, with that in mind, here are some pictures from my camera phone. Pardon the poor quality. It's better than nothing! I wish you were all here to enjoy it with us!








Audience Participation, Please...

I would like to turn the tables on you all today. Our theory class has been kicking around an important question, and I would like to know what you all think the answer is before I write about it myself.

Here is the question: What is community?

If you could take a few minutes and comment on this question, I would really appreciate it. I will follow this up in a few days.

Thanks!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Take the tour...

Here's some footage we filmed of our place. Enjoy the tour, and come visit for real some time!

video

Fun With iMovie...

Check out the music video I did of the puppies playing Frisbee.

No, I don't have too much time on my hands. The Dolphins were just too painful to watch today...

Yes, Richard, I know I misspelled dachshund on the video. It was too much work to go in and change it!

video

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A drought indeed...

Knowing my love of the theatre, Jeremy took me on a nice date tonight to a play at Anniston's amateur theatre, JSU/McClellan Theatre. We went to see a production of The Rainmaker, by Richard Nash.


Unfortunately, the depicted drought extended beyond the story into the acting, writing, and directing.

Here is a description of the play from Wikipedia:

Set in a drought-ridden rural town in the West in Depression era America, the play tells the story of a pivotal hot summer day in the life of spinsterish Lizzie Curry. Lizzie keeps house for her father and two brothers on the family cattle ranch. She has just returned from a trip to visit family cousins, which was undertaken with the failed expectation that she would find a husband. As their farm languishes under the devastating drought, Lizzie's family worries about her marriage prospects more than about their dying cattle. The arrival of a charming con man named Starbuck promising to bring rain in exchange for $100 sets off a series of events which enable Lizzie to see herself in a new light.
Trust me, this description makes the play sound more interesting than it was, if you can believe that. The characters were not believable, and no one character makes a transition worthy of note. The story was stale, and the dialouge was not much better.

The play originally ran for less than one year in 1956. It was revived on Broadway in 1999, again for less than a year, even with Woody Harrelson starring in it.


Anniston's production featured a bumbling cast, from Community Actors' Studio Theatre, or CAST, with one shining exception: 17-year-old Caleb Clark was fantastic in his role as the hilarious doofus brother, who comes to like himself, despite his arrogant brother's constant ribbing. The high school senior certainly brightened an otherwise unwatchable performance.

I'll withhold the names of the rest of the cast to spare feelings, in case any of them has a google alert set to their names. The actor playing the father often seemed lost, and fumbled his lines. The main actress, Lizzie, bobbled between melodrama and complete staleness.

But the worst performer was the lead actor, who was ridiculously dramatic, but not dramatic enough to be called campy or funny. He made soap opera actors look like they could win Academy Awards in their sleep.

Obviously, the play must have orignially had some merit to have made it to Broadway twice. If it did, its value was completely lost in Anniston, for which I have to fault the director. If she couldn't see the dryness of the performances, there is something wrong. Maybe she was counting on Caleb to save the play. But, despite his abilities, saving The Rainmaker was far beyond his grasp.

You may think I am judging this performance too harshly. After all, you say, it is just amateur theatre. Well, if I may quote a horrible line from the play, "I say bunk to that. That's bunk." (Yes, that really was straight from the script!!)

I have seen some amazing local theatre performances. The best example I can give is the Raleigh Little Theatre, where I saw an amazing performance of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. I have also seen great performances of Shakespeare in Jupiter, Fla., and even wonderful musicals at the high school level: Broughton High School's Brigadoon and Millbrook High School's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Good actors can be found in every community. Just ask Caleb Clark.

It is up to the director to know where to find them, and how to use them. Better luck next time, CAST.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Cold winters make for dapper pups...

So, first, a note of apology to all those who have called me, whom I have yet to call back. Jeremy and I have been buried under a pile of schoolwork (a.k.a., 20-page papers) for the past couple of weeks. If you don't believe me, here's a picture of my Saturday night (note my furry study buddies in their usual locations):



They are all due by Thanksgiving, which means I shall be having many cocktails with my turkey this year! Anyway, I apologize for being a bad friend, but I promise to return calls soon.

Things are definitely cooling down here in Anniston. The temperature is expected to dip into the 30s tonight! To illustrate our chilliness, here are some pictures of the puppies in their jackets!

(For the record, we are not "those people," who like to dress our animals up! These are weenie dachsunds, who shiver when the temperature dips below 70, so the jackets are a must! And, let's face it, they look SO cute in them!)

Nacho looks ready for a day at the country club with Biff & Buffy...

Oscar looks quite the "pup about town" in his lumberjack jacket... (I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK -- Gulley, Rich, you with me on that one?)

You see how Nacho really feels about his sweater...


And so, the epic battle of puppy versus sweater begins...


Oscar looks on with little interest. He is too busy enjoying his jacket, which he literally leaps up and down for when we bring it out...


And still, the war continues...


At last, both jackets are bested, and the pups resume their usual brawl against each other!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Jenny says...

So, last night Jeremy and I acted like real college students and took a Thursday night roadtrip 2 hours to Tuscaloosa to see a band perform at 11 p.m. We didn't get home until 3 a.m., our ears are ringing, and our throats are killing us. It was GREAT!

We saw Cowboy Mouth, one of my favorite bands from my Appalachian days. My friend, Jen, turned me onto them, but I never actually got the opportunity to see them live.

Jeremy & I have argued over the best way to classify Cowboy Mouth's music. He calls it a heartland/rock combo. I say it's Cajun/Country/Ska. Whatever the case, it rocks! Here's a really bad, short video clip I took last night. You can be the judge. It's from their most popular song, "Jenny Says."

video

The concert was fantastic. The lead singer, Fred LeBlanc, was great at riling up the crowd. They played four songs from my favorite album, "Are You With Me?" and a good selection from their latest album "Voodoo Shop," which is a fantastic album, by the way. Here's the full playlist I got from the roadie:



The concert was at a Tuscaloosa bar, Legacy on the Strip. It really made me wish we were taking classes on the University of Alabama campus, instead of 2 hours away in Anniston. The strip of bars looked fantastic!

Anyway, here are some pictures from the show. Forgive the white haze -- I was standing next to the smoke machine!




After the show, we got to meet the band, which was awesome! They were all so humble. They seemed grateful to me that I wanted their pictures and autographs. Here's me with the band:

Me with lead singer/amazing drummer Fred LeBlanc:

Me with bassist Regina Zernay:

Me with guitarist Vance Degeneres:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What knockers!...

So, one of the greatest things to ever happen to theatre will make its debut tomorrow: Young Frankenstein! One of the best movies of all time ...

...is sure to become one of the greatest theatrical performances!



There are three main reasons this show is sure to be a success:





1) Megan Mullally -- you probably know her best from her role on Will & Grace as Karen, Grace's obnoxious secretary. On Broadway, she was amazing as Rosemary in the fantastic show "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."









She will star as Elizabeth, the role originated by the legendary Madeline Kahn. I can't think of a better fit.







2) Roger Bart -- he had a role as Bree's love interest on Desperate Housewives, but was, by far, the memorable in the remake of "The Producers" as Carmen Ghia, the personal assistant and lover of director Roger Dupree. (Bart on left) He will star as Frederick Frankenstein (Froderick Fraankentein).












3) Susan Stroman -- director and choreographer of the remake of "The Producers." She hit it out of the park with that one. No doubt, she will do it again.








So, anyone up for a trip to NYC??

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A nice ego trip...

Here's a great quote I lifted from my history book, The Media in America: A History. The speaker of the quote is talking about journalism schools, and whether there was any way to train a journalist in the Wild West.
Journalism "a profession requiring the same information possessed by the Almighty and a willingness to work for less." -- Edgar Wilson "Bill" Nye



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Is that a leg?...

Just wanted to update everyone on my pregnant Aunt Valerie's condition.

She and her husband, Mark, went in for the first sonogram today. According to the doctor, the baby and mom are healthy as can be. The baby appears to have two legs and arms.


No news on the sex of the child, although I don't think there will be until the baby is born, as Val and Mark do not want to know. Although, based on a dream I had, I do have a guess... I promised Val I would keep it to myself, though!

As for Val, her iron levels are normal, and everything looks good. She has been fortunate enough not to suffer from any morning sickness (knock on wood), and says she feels completely normal. She and Mark were, of course, thrilled to hear a strong heartbeat on the baby for the very first time today.

One interesting piece of information: Apparently, because Val's blood type is O negative, she will need to receive a special shot in the coming months. If the baby's blood type is anything but O negative, the mixture of the two blood types could harm the baby. Nothing to be alarmed about. I just thought it was interesting.

On an unrelated note, fall is rapidly descending upon us here in Anniston. Today, it was a chilly 56 degrees. The temperatures are not supposed to climb above 70 in the foreseeable future, and the lows at night are expected to be in the upper-40s. Hooray!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Welcome to Anniston (part 2)...

So, the rest of Friday was spent playing Frisbee in the backyard with puppies and children. We managed to pass the Frisbee back and forth 30 times before dropping it!




Then, we enjoyed some down-time, watching movies in our PJs, playing with puppies, and eating lasagna rolls!

(Look, matching noses!)




Saturday, we went to Mount Cheha to enjoy the beautiful leaves that are finally beginning to change.



We brought the puppies, and they enjoyed jumping over the rocks and playing in the dirt!


Jeremy and Nathaniel hiked up the stairs to the highest point in Alabama for a view from the top of the tower.



At the end of the evening, we enjoyed a frustrating bowling game. Despite Nathaniel's look of angst, he kicked our butts!