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Saturday, February 27, 2010
Still Alive?

I don't imagine anyone remembers me, or this site (I had pretty much forgotten about it myself, and was surprised to find it still functional), but I thought I'd start blogging again, and I'm not overly concerned with whether anyone actually reads it. lol.

I guess I should start with an update. It has been several years since my last post here, and a lot has changed. My wife and I are divorcing. We've been seperated for over a year, and while I feel bad about it, we just had some issues that neither of us could manage to work out. We still remain outwardly friendly, though I think most times she hates me, which I understand.

I've been seeing (and now living with) a woman I used to know from work. She has an almost 4-year-old boy (when I first met her, she was pregnant with him), and they both are amazing. The boy's moronic father is out of the picture (and hasn't had any contact with him for well over a year), and I've taken on the father role. It took a little getting used to for both of us, but he really accepts and loves me now, as I do him.

Life is good, and the future looks bright.

Posted at 02:31 pm by Greg
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Moved to myspace

Hey y'all. I know I've been absent for a while. I'm still gonna be absent. I got caught up in the myspace craze, and have cheating on blogdrive! Yes, I feel bad. But I now do all my blogging (primarily posts of my photography, with an occasional poem or essay type entry) at myspace. I'd be happy if any of y'all wanna come on over and be my friend there. My myspace addy is Feel free to drop by and say hi! I miss y'all!

Posted at 08:33 pm by Greg
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Sunday, October 01, 2006
Rent the movie!

No, I'm not telling you to rent a movie. I'm talking about Rent, the movie. Um... the movie called "Rent'. Okay? You with me here?

I didn't want to watch it, really. I'm not a bohemian, I'm not a New Yorker, I'm not gay, and I figured the whole AIDS thing would be too dark and sad, and with my empathetic nature, I figured the tears would be flying. Since I'm such a rugged manly-man, of course, we can't have that. But I do like good music, and I have a pretty open mind. Hopefully not so open that my brains fall out. Still, I only turned it on to hear 'Seasons of Love', which was the opening song. The second song, 'Rent', didn't do much for me, but I kept watching because of the cinematography, which was very cool. Then there was a song that was pretty good. Then Rosario Dawson showed up. I pretty much wasn't going to change the channel after that. Hahaha.

The truth is, some of the songs are very good, and the vocal arrangements are freakin' awesome. The harmonies and duets are just about perfect. But the story itself moved me, as I was afraid it would. Haha. Yes, I'm an old softy. All in all, I would recommend "Rent" to my patients who chew gum. Or, ya know, people who like good storytelling or good music. Or, ya know, both.

Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Posted at 09:52 pm by Greg
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Monday, August 14, 2006
Then a Hero comes along....

My struggles with faith are legendary, and certainly that is not the only thing I struggle with. Most days, I consider myself a Christian, though there was a rather lengthy period when I was pretty sure I wasn't anymore. Shortly after I moved to Tennessee, I had a discussion with someone about faith, and he said something that summed up how I felt: "I'm pretty sure there is a God, it's just that sometimes I don't think He cares anymore." I know for the faithful, that only brings up the point - who left who first? While you're all debating that point for me, lemme get onto the actual topic of this post...

Sometimes I see/read/hear things that renew my faith. I ran across one such thing by accident the other day. You see, I am a big fan of the band DC Talk. They began their career many years ago as the first successful Christian rap group, but they gradually showed that they had much more to offer than rap, as they progressed through pop and into alternative rock. Their last album as a group, "Supernatural" is a phenomenal mixture of different styles, including a spoken word poem at the end (Which I have posted on another blog).

For reasons that I'm not really clear on, though prolly due to my struggles with faith, I never really followed the individuals after the group disbanded nearly a decade ago. But a coupla weeks ago, I suddenly began a search to see if DC Talk had as much to offer musically as individuals as they'd had as a band. For the record, it appears that they do. But that's not all that I discovered. In my search for albums by Michael Tait (who went on to form the alternative band "TAiT"), I ran across something called "Hero: The Rock Opera". My longtime readers prolly recall my affiniti for both "Jesus Christ Superstar" (despite my reservations about the ending) and "Godspell" (which I truly believe to be one of the best films ever made). Could we have another musical about Jesus? Indeeed we can! I won't go into the details of the play/movie, but let me say that for Christian music fans, this is a powerhouse of huge names. Michael Tait, Rebecca St. James, Mark Stuart from "Audio Adrenaline", and rapper T-Bone. The show was produced and written by Eddie DeGarmo of "Degarmo and Key" and Bob Farrell from "Farrell & Farrell", who is one of the most successful Christian songwriters ever, who has written songs for artists in mainstream pop and country including Eric Clapton, Kenny Loggins, She-Daisy, Lila McCann, Anne Murray, John Berry, Restless Heart, Laura Braningan, Amy Grant, Jaci Velasquez, Staci Orrico, Sandi Patty, Oleta Adams, Take 6, Lonestar, Winona Judd...

Okay, this is starting to sound too much like a commercial. My point is, it's good. The music is great, the dancing is phenomenal, and the mixture of a rock concert and a stage show is brilliant. My only complaint is that the DVD wasn't filmed as well as it could have been. Some of the dance sequences are hard to follow. But if you can find the DVD, I strongly urge you to pick it up...

Posted at 08:11 pm by Greg
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Sunday, July 23, 2006
The Pirates are coming!

To my wife and I, the Pirates of the Caribbean was a meaningful attraction at Disneyland, long before it was a Walt Disney Pictures film.  That's because not only has it always been Wanda's favorite ride, since her first trip to Big D in July of 2000, but it also happens to be where I proposed to her. Ah yes, I remember it as if it actually happened...

*soft fade*

The scene: we sit in the back row of boat number 41, gently rocking from the waves cast by the boats behind us as they plummet down the ride's second drop, the victims' screams piercing the darkness.  It grows calm and peaceful as we enter the Treasure Room, with the gentle sound of flowing water, and the dim light glistening over the sparkling jewels in the background...

Greg: Sweetheart, you know how much I treasure you, and love you. I want you to be a part of my life always and forever...

Wanda (interrupting): What the hell is this man doing?!

And the rest is history...

*fade back to current times*

Actually, she really said that. I have it on tape. But anyway, my point is, there is meaning in the Pirates for us. So we were thrilled to see the first Pirates movie, which we quite enjoyed (especially several secret references to the ride), and eagerly anticipated the second one. Finally, we saw "Dead Man's Chest" a coupla days ago.

It was great. I liked it even more than the first.  I thought the effects, which seemed kinda cheesy in parts of the first movie, were significantly improved. Johnny Depp was just as brilliant, the rest of the cast was great, the twists and turns were fun - the plot was twisty, yet comprehensible - the humor was, well, humorous, and the 'surprise' ending had me applauding. All in all, a very good movie, which I highly recommend to my patients who chew gum. Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Posted at 08:40 pm by Greg
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Saturday, July 15, 2006

We left at 8 am (ish!) Monday morning, and headed east. The trip was fun, and I noticed that as we headed east, it was similar to our trip through Texas last year; the easter we got, the more trees and the fewer people. About 100 miles from Chattanooga, we started seeing the signs for Rock City, Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls and the Incline Railroad. Most of the signs were painted on barn roofs, which was apparently the advertising campaign that was dreamed up by one man in the 1930s.

We stopped at a rest stop at Nickajack Lake, then headed up 1920 foot tall Montegle Mountain. The climb wasn't especially steep, but it was loooooong. On the way down, it was rather scary. Seeing the signs warning about out of control trucks was bad enough, but the weirdest thing was seeing 'runoff ramps' for trucks who might have lost their brakes. They were cut into the mountain at the side of the interstate, and were basically 100 yard long ramps filled with sand to stop a truck. I wish I'd gotten a picture of one of them!

We crossed into GA... then back into TN.... then back into GA. Somewhere along the way, we saw a sign for Steak and Shake, which is my new favorite place. Funnily enough, they don't actually serve steaks. They serve 'steakburgers', and the best shakes I have ever had. Plus, they're open 24 hours a day, and have superb service (I've been to three of them, and have always been impressed with the service). Also, they're not too expensive, which is always good. So we went off in search of Steak and Shake. 5 miles, and one stop for directions later, we were there, and had a thoroughly enjoyable lunch. I highly recommend the 'frisco' burger, and the chocolate/banana 'side by side' shake.

On our way back to the interstate, we stopped at a tattoo place, so Jamie could buy a new lip ring, since she lost her 'good' one. While we were there, I snapped this picture of one of the ads hanging on the wall, with my camera phone:

What makes this picture interesting is not that the ribbons are tattooed onto the girl. In fact, the ribbons are real - they are attached to her by a series of eyelets pierced down her legs. Yeah - that's what I said.

So we mosied on down towards Atlanta, fortunately managing to avoid the city itself, which I've heard from numerous people has the worst traffic in the country. We did run across some really cool buildings (why do they call them 'buildings' when they're done building them? They ought to call them 'builts'! Haha. Thanks, Gallagher). These buildings were twins, exept for the tops. One of them had rounded features and the other had square ones. They looked really cool. Unfortunately, I couldn't get into position to get a really good contrasting shot, but here's what I did get:

We entered Gwinnitt, which was where both our hotel and the concert were located. The hotel looked nice from the outside, but inside seemed run down. They didn't have the air on in the lobby, which was sweltering in the mid-day heat. They also tried to refuse our 'coupon' (we had earned $50 off due to our stay back in California), but Wanda convinced them. She's good at that. So, we checked in, relaxed for a few minutes, and then went off take the kids to the arena.

As we traveled, we realized just how bad of a neighborhood we were in. I won't go into details there though. Just before we hit the interstate, Jamie spotted a Denny's, which made her all excited, because they don't have Denny's here in Tennessee anymore. So she wanted to go there after the concert...

The Gwinnett arena was a nice looking place, and there was a 24 hour Kroger's store across the street (for my non-Southern readers, Kroger's is where Alton Brown does all his grocery shopping), so we agreed to meet the girls there after the concert. After we dropped them off, Wanda and I went back to the Kroger's to check it out. The massive store had a huge Deli, a wine cellar, a pharmacy, a conference room on the second floor, and they were in the process of building a Starbucks inside. Cool.

Wanda and I decided to eat at this place called Roadhouse Grill. It was sparsely decorated, but the food was pretty good. Then we went back to the hotel till it was time to pick up the girls.

We finally got them about 11:30, and headed to Denny's. Except Karina wanted McDonald's, which was right across the street, but which was very, very slow and had some weird scary guy stalking the car in front of us - which was driven by a woman who couldn't drive. Hilarity ensued. Anyway, I think he was asking her to buy him some food, but when she forgot to order it, she started backing up towards us, stopping inches away, then left her car in reverse while she ordered. Yeah, we were sure she was giong to hit us, but she remembered just in time. Anyway.

It was the worst Denny's food and service I have ever had, and that's saying a lot. Afterwards, we went home and crashed, except Wanda couldn't sleep, and I was awake all night hearing her not sleep. We checked out at 10:30 and headed home.

We stopped back at the tattoo place on our way back, where Jamie got her nose pierced. It hurt a lot. It fell out last night, and she's apparently decided to let it grow over. Yay.

I convinced Wanda to stop at Rock City. We saw the Incline Railroad (the steepest passenger train in the world), but I was too chicken to try it (I didn't think I could handle going backwards up the hill). As we climbed 1800 foot tall Lookout Mountain, we again went back and forth between GA and TN, and the scenery was amazing. Once at the top, the girls and I went in.

This is the girls crossing the swinging bridge, while I photographed them from the solid bridge across the way. I'm not dumb.

This is the view from the 7 States Flag Court at the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, it was too hazy (that damn marine layer!) to actually see 7 states the day we were there, but it's the thought that counts!

This is the girls walking through the Fat Man Squeeze. If you're claustraphobic, don't go down there.

This is Karina in front of the Falls. The area you see in the background above her head is 'Lover's Leap', which is right next to the Flag Court.

Other than briefly getting lost on our way back to the interstate (we decided to blame that on poor signage!), the rest of the trip, while long, was uneventful. In the end, a good time was had by all, and I very much look forward to returning to Rock City with my camcorder!

Posted at 09:10 pm by Greg
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Monday, June 19, 2006
Father's Day.

Got a nifty Dad's day card from Jamie, talking about how much she loves me. When asked if she got a card for her real dad, she replied, "Well, they didn't have a card that says, 'You're a washed up has-been, and I hate you', so let me show you what I settled for..."

Is it wrong that this made me feel good?

Posted at 10:03 pm by Greg
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Thursday, May 18, 2006
The regainment of humor.

Yes, I just invented a new word. I can do that. My mom said so.

Life is like a box of chocolates - it's either nutty or all gooey in the center. Or, I guess it could be a really hard toffee center that breaks your teeth. Don't laugh - it happened to me. Okay, go ahead and laugh. Anyway, in my case, life's been both gooey and nutty lately.

It's funny how things that you absolutely don't want to have happen, can end up being so beneficial when they do. In my life, I have a history of hanging on to people who don't want to be hung on to. As the Captain and Tennille said, breaking up is hard to do. Or maybe it was AT&T. Actually, I don't have a clue who said it, and I'm too lazy to look it up. But the fact remains, whoever said it was right. Even when the 'breaking up' isn't a romantic relationship.

I used to take it personally. If someone doesn't want to be in my life, there must be some horrendous flaw in my character that they see, which makes them leave. But who I am is who I am, and if someone can't accept me, it's not worth fighting over. Another friend - one who didn't walk away - summed it up nicely for me: In this life, people come and go. This was just one who went. Her choice, her loss. Okay, we both lost. But the point is, I'm okay enough with myself now, to let go. It's ironic that that self-confidence started with her.

In other news...

One of the differences out here in the sticks, is how close everything hits to home. I mentioned that in my tornado entry a few weeks back, how everyone around here felt the impact of that in some way. On Tuesday, there was a fatal car accident nearby. Four teenagers, two dead, one who may not live out the night, and the driver, who was critically injured. It appears that drinking was involved, and it's one of those tragic stories that you watch on the news, and you shake your head and think how sad it all is, and you feel bad for the families, and you think how you're glad it's not your daughter, and you hold your loved ones a little closer, and you tell them to be careful, and you tell them you love them. Back in California, that would be the end of it. You would move on, and forget about it until the next accident, with some other strangers, and you'd, in a distant way, feel bad for them.

I didn't know Christina Keaton, who was to graduate tomorrow. But her brother is one of Jamie's best friends here in Tennessee, and a frequent visitor to our house. I see him trying to cope with a loss that is so irrational, and so completely without warning, and it tears my heart out. I know that with the love and support of so many around here, he will move on, and one day he will be okay. I hope it is soon.

Well. I really have nowhere to go after that. Take care, John.

Posted at 10:03 pm by Greg
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Monday, May 15, 2006
The loss of humor.

Yo, peeps.

Whaddup with all my homies? I know I not only haven't been keeping up with this blog as I should, but even when I do post it's been lacking the humor and funity that I used to do my best to present here. It's become boring updates or a place for ventage. But I'm gonna fix that starting right now. I'm closing this blog.

Just kidding. Actually, I'm going to try my best to revive the Greg of old, when I used humor to mask my pain. The thing is, I'm not in so much pain anymore. So I'm not entirely sure how this will work. But I'm just gonna write topicless (not topless! Get you're mind out of the gutter!). I'll just write whatever I feel at any given moment, for better or worse.

In the new news catagory, I nearly got fired, nearly bought a house, got sued, got addicted to online poker, went to California, came back to Tennessee, got my Tennessee driver's license, am about to try to get out of debt once and for all by taking yet another loan (yes, the logic is sound), and have been having computer problems.

Despite all that stress (and some not mentioned), and losing my best friend to an argument over where my life should be headed, my life has actually been going quite well lately. Not to get all 'Oprah' on you, but I'm becoming more okay with who I am, and where I've come from, and my self-confidence has increased accordingly. Due to my new job, I have become much more social (which is both a requirement and a no-no at work, depending on who I'm talking to!), and once more I can attribute much of my happiness to the quality of people here in Tennessee.

That's all I've got for now. Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Posted at 10:56 pm by Greg
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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

You may remember my anger and frustration a year or two ago, when my 'senior' title was taken away. It shattered my confidence for a while, and I would have quit over it, except I didn't think I could find a replacement job that would pay as much.

I don't think I mentioned it here, but when I interviewed for the senior position at my new store a coupla months ago, I even mentioned that setback, and talked about how I was finally over it, and ready to move back up. I was shocked that I didn't get the job, and even more shocked at who did get it. Furthermore, I was once again angered and devastated when, without warning, I was then 'demoted' from my 'SWAT' position to a mere fulltime loss prevention spot, which I had neither asked for nor desired (the fact that it turned out to be a job I love is irrelevent!). That move turned out to be a blessing in the skies...

Today, Best Buy unleashed another "Project Trumpet", and while it thus far appears that I have escaped unscathed, the guy who won the title that I had applied for, was hammered viciously. They took away not only his title, but his fulltime status (which means he loses his benefits), and are going to cut his pay. I feel bad for him, for while I was skeptical of his abilities at first, he did surprise me in many respects, as he stepped up and made an effort with his new title. Plus, he is a pretty good guy, and doesn't deserve to have this shit happen to him.

Wanda wonders if they didn't move me to LP to protect me from this onslaught. It'd be a nice thought, but I'm skeptical that management knew this was coming that long ago. And also, even while several of my co-workers have told me that management loves me, and defend me against any who might speak ill of me (there is one specific employee who has been a thorn in my side), it has never really seemed that way to me. In any case, I offer my best wishes to all those who were sacraficed to the gods of big business, as I pray over the next few days that I manage to avoid being one of them.

Posted at 11:15 pm by Greg
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