Category Archives: Me

27…And Beyond

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” — Abraham Lincoln.

“It takes a long time to grow young.” — Pablo Picasso

At 9:44 this morning, I officially turned 27. It’s funny how I can feel both way older and way younger than that. I’m still not entirely sure how I’m a day over 18, and yet the headache I woke up with makes me feel like I’m 60.

I had a fantastic birthday weekend. I saw “Scream 4” on Saturday. I’d been waiting for it since I’d heard they were making it, and it didn’t disappoint. I’m not in the mood to write a whole review of it. I’m sure you could find one quite quickly and easily. I’ll say that the “Scream” series is really very different from most other horror series. It lets the cast age instead of replacing them with new, younger people. It hasn’t been “rebooted” yet, and hopefully they won’t reboot it at all. “Scream” with an entirely new cast just wouldn’t be “Scream.” I’ll say this, though – the theater had someone come in dressed entirely as Ghostface and carrying what I assume was a plastic knife. He sat down for a few moments, tapping the knife against his lap, then stood up, looked around, and walked back out. I’m not a fan of interactive scares, and I found myself focusing on him for the entire several minutes he was there so that I wouldn’t be surprised if he did something to startle us. Not funny.

Saturday evening, I played games with my parents and aunt and uncle. Aunt April happens to share my birthday, so we had cake for her. I won a game of Phase 10 Twist (if you haven’t heard of it, or Phase 10 in general, seriously, check it out. Fun game).

Sunday, Aunt April and I headed out to do some shopping and spend the day together. It’s become a bit of a tradition that we hang out on or near our birthday. Ate some Olive Garden chicken parm (never disappoints). Had my own cake that night and played some more games (we’re a game family).

It was a good weekend.

And if you had told me a year ago that I’d be able to enjoy my 27th birthday, I’d have laughed in your face. So I’m grateful for that. Not necessarily hopeful for my 28th, but provided today goes well (and this headache goes away), my 27th isn’t going to suck.

That’s not the only thing that I would’ve laughed at had you told me a year ago. I never dreamed, for example, that I’d be driving to places besides work and home, and certainly not to the extent I’ve taken it. So, the past year has been surprisingly good to me. I’m extremely fortunate to have the friends that I have in my life – one in particular, who has gone above and beyond what most friends would or should. I’m grateful for my excellent family, for a job that I (usually) love, and for the opportunity to do things I haven’t done before.

Every year around this time, I look ahead and think about things that I want to do, particularly over the summer. I call it my REALLY WANNA DO list. It’s kinda like a bucket list, but far less morbid. I’m starting to compile this year’s list now. Mostly it consists of things I probably won’t accomplish, which I’m fine with, because when I do get to do one of them, it feels that much better to cross it off the list.

This year’s list, so far, consists of things like, “See ‘Wicked’ when it comes back to Pittsburgh” (probably accomplishable), “Skydive” (far less likely to happen), and “Go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter” (we’ll see), among others.

I know I haven’t been blogging much lately. I’m not entirely sure what the future holds for this site. Last year, when I wrote this post, I surged into a brief popularity in which I was receiving over 80 hits every time I posted something new. That felt good. That’s why I blog. Since then, however, it’s tapered off, and I’m lucky if I get five views. That’s quite a difference. Which is a shame, because I’ve written a few other posts I’m really proud of – like this, this, this, and this – and they, sadly, did not receive the attention I would’ve hoped.

But I don’t think I’m totally done blogging yet. I have one post in my head that I’ve been waiting a couple weeks to write. And I’ll probably blog about Easter sometime this week. It’s all about motivation. And enthusiasm. And boredom. And overcoming laziness. But it helps when I know people are reading – especially if you also like what you read. So let me know.

And to those of you who do continue to read my stuff, I thank you. I hope that I don’t disappoint. Or, at least, that I don’t totally suck.


Nathan
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This is Christmas

I’ve always loved Christmas. Always. When I was little, it was because of the presents, of course, but even then, it was more than that.

Religiously, I appreciate what it symbolizes, and that becomes more relevant as my faith deepens. I realize, of course, that Christ wasn’t born on December 25th and that we really don’t know when he was born. But we don’t recognize Lincoln’s or Washington’s birthday on the exact date, either, so it’s not as though picking a date to represent an event is uncommon.

But for me, it’s about family and friends. It’s about seeing people I care about, spending time with them, even if it’s people I see on a semi-regular basis, and even if it’s only a brief lunch outing penciled in between the insane rush of the holidays.

It’s about Christmas carols playing, about the movies on TV, even the insanely corny ones like Hallmark Channel airs. Every year, I have to catch “A Very Brady Christmas” and “Christmas List” on ABC Family (though I’m not sure how Pixar and Harry Potter movies have anything to do with Christmas, yet they make it onto ABC Family’s schedule like every year). I have to watch “Home Alone” and “The Santa Clause” and, by far my favorite, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

Some people go crazy when Christmas music starts (earlier and earlier each year), but I say, as long as Halloween is over, bring it on. It’s such a limited time, and it always seems to rush right by.

It’s about Christmas lights on my drive home from work, or kids squealing with delight in the mall when they see Santa (which does still happen, and sometimes I even still believe in him). It’s about a smile on a stranger’s face when you do something nice for them sometime, randomly, because you’re in such good spirits.

It’s about hot chocolate and marshmallows, ham, turkey, or goose, cookies, pumpkin roll, and gingerbread.

Yes, bad things happen during the holidays – people get hurt on Black Friday, or stress over having enough money, finding the right gifts, making time for everyone they “need” to make time for. And this can all be disheartening and frustrating. If we let it.

I have a lot of reasons to dislike the holidays. My grandfather died just a couple days before Christmas a few years ago. Last year, just before Christmas, was absolutely horrible for personal reasons. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned lately, the only things that can truly bother us are the things that we allow to bother us.

So I choose to enjoy it. Because that’s why it’s here. And I hope that, no matter how frustrating and stressful and worrisome it gets, you can enjoy it, too. Because it’s fleeting.

And it’s a gift.


Nathan
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The Unexpected Positive Side of Being Sick

I’ve no idea if this will make sense to anyone else, but it’s something I’ve thought for quite a few years now, starting in my senior year of high school.

That was the first (and currently only, knock on wood) time I’ve ever had the flu. And, while I was miserable for a few days, I found myself realizing something rather curious afterward.

I’d spent those few days wrapped in a blanket, in my bed or on the couch watching TV, slipping in and out of consciousness. And at the end of those few days, when I started feeling better, I noticed that I felt more relaxed and rested than I could remember feeling for quite some time.

So, almost every time I’ve been sick since then, I’ve noticed the same thing. Obviously I feel terrible during and would much prefer not to be sick, but I usually come out of it feeling re-energized.

And I’ve tried to figure out why that is. Obviously, there’s the physical aspect, wherein we’re usually sleeping or at least relatively immobile. But I think there’s also a mental side of things. Regardless of what crappy stuff might be going on in my life, I tend not to worry about it while I’m sick. All I care about is…not being sick. And that break in worrying about day-to-day life, I think, recharges my brain a little bit.

Case in point, I just had a three-day weekend, starting Friday. I had plans to go out to dinner Friday night. But I woke up that morning with the same stomach bug my mother had just gone through a couple days prior, so I spent the day watching TV and not eating much of anything. I was able to enjoy the rest of my weekend. And now that it’s Monday and I have to go back to work this evening, while I’m extremely disappointed that I didn’t get to enjoy dinner with one of my best friends on Friday and now may not get to spend any time with her until after Christmas, I almost don’t mind that it’s time to go back to work. (Almost, of course. I’d much rather be independently wealthy and retired at 26. Well, duh. But at least I mostly love my job.)

Plus, I lost a couple pounds and didn’t have to kill myself on the treadmill to do it. I also didn’t have to call in sick for work, since I’d already had the day off scheduled. Gotta look for the good, right?

Being sick sucks, obviously. I’m by no means saying I enjoy it. Some people have told me I’m crazy whenever I mention this, but does anyone else kinda get what I’m saying here?


Nathan
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Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween. Every October, I spend at least part of my weekends watching scary movies, though what qualifies as scary for me is probably tame by most “true horror” fans. Here’s a list of my favorites.

10. The Faculty. Before Elijah Wood was Frodo the hobbit (but after he was Huck Finn), he was a somewhat nerdy high-school student at the lead of a group of teens trying to save the world from an alien invasion.

9. Urban Legend. I always thought this was a clever idea. Sure, the later entries into the series weren’t as strong, but the first deserves a slot among the better ‘90s teen slasher flicks.

8. Joy Ride. I never saw this until last year. Initially, I didn’t think I would like it, but it turned out to be pretty entertaining with some decent touches of humor.

7. The Lost Boys. This probably is more of an action dark comedy than a “scary” movie, but it’s always on my list of must-watches for October. It probably deserves a higher spot on my list, too.

6. Disturbia. I always loved “Rear Window” (which would also be on my list, but I don’t really consider it scary, though masterfully suspenseful). “Disturbia” doesn’t really become a horror film until the last act, but it’s enough to make it onto my list.

5. Zombieland/Shaun of the Dead. These two tie for me, and are the only two zombie comedies I’ve ever seen. (I’m not sure how many others there are, to be honest.) I absolutely love them both, and they’d also be included on my list of favorite comedies, were I to ever make one.

4. Nightmare on Elm Street. I like the entire series as a whole, including its weaker entries. My favorites, though, are the original (obviously), “New Nightmare,” and “Freddy vs. Jason,” which was my first exposure to both the Freddy and Jason stories. Jason Ritter, who I mentioned in an earlier blog about “The Event,” is a favorite of mine, and he sold me on “Freddy vs. Jason,” which in turn sold me on the “Nightmare” series. I also enjoyed the reboot of the series. I never did get into “Friday the 13th,” but I do still watch it when it’s on AMC.

3. Cursed. It’s probably not mentioned very often among a list of favorites, but this movie is like my Kryptonite. Any time it’s on, I have to watch it, and I also watch the DVD several times a year. Jesse Eisenberg kinda makes this movie for me, maybe because he plays a bit of a high-school geek who suddenly gets superstrong and is able to kick some bully butt (a dream of mine when I was in high school).

2. Halloween. How can you not love Michael Myers?! This is another series in which I enjoy most entries (pretending, of course, that “Halloween III” doesn’t exist), my favorites being “Halloween,” “Halloween II,” and “Halloween H20,” though the fourth and fifth entries are also enjoyable. Unlike the “Nightmare” reboot, though, I don’t particularly enjoy the updated version of this series.

1. Scream. I blogged all about my love for this movie a while back, so I won’t take up too much space this time around. It’s the first horror movie I ever saw, and I still watch it several times a year. Check out my earlier post to read my full take on it.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Be safe and have fun!


Nathan
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Imagine What You’ll Know Tomorrow

“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it. 1,500 years ago, everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and 15 minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.” –Men In Black

I’m not really one to put my utmost faith in science. Obviously, it’s done great things – curing diseases, digital cameras, cellphones, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. And it’s led to cool, though not entirely necessary, things – man on the moon, the Wii, iPads. But so many people believe so strongly in science and its abilities, when in reality, I don’t think science can explain all that much.

I should mention at the forefront that I’m a Christian, and the whole idea of God, Jesus, and miracles defies all scientific thought. I don’t believe in evolution, and I can’t really verbalize how much I hate that this theory – which is, despite what many will have you believe, still very much a theory – is pretty much taught as fact in all schools now, while opposing views are essentially ridiculed. I also don’t believe that mankind is single-handedly destroying the planet. I do believe we need to do a lot of things that happen to coincide with the “Green” movement, but for entirely different reasons, and we need to figure out a way to do them affordably and conveniently and without destroying millions of jobs in the process. But I’m not writing this post to sound off on this stuff. That’s a post for a different day.

I believe that so many things cannot be scientifically explained. I believe in ghosts, for example, though I’ve never seen one and can’t say I want to. (I don’t, however, believe in aliens, though the topic fascinates me.) I believe that things like witches, vampires, the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and werewolves actually could exist. I’m not saying that they do; in all likelihood, they don’t; but my point is, it wouldn’t surprise me. I believe in angels and demons and good and evil and the end of days and all those things.

I believe that most myths and legends have some sort of source, and I don’t think that it’s as simple as, for example, the unicorn coming from the elasmotherium.

My point is, I think there are a lot of things out there that science can’t explain. And scientists would have you believe these things either don’t exist or simply can’t be explained yet. Science is, at its core, narrow-minded. Science claims to know everything but actually knows very little. It chooses to believe its explanation for something is correct then mocks differing opinions.

Yeah, science obviously has its benefits – and I’m quite grateful for many of them – but it also has its shortcomings. Because what they say is true today will be completely different tomorrow.

The last few paragraphs from the late Michael Crichton’s “The Lost World” sum it up rather nicely:

“Are you listening to all that?” Thorne said. “I wouldn’t take any of it too seriously. It’s just theories. Human beings can’t help making them, but the fact is that theories are just fantasies. And they change. When America was a new country, people believed in something called phlogiston. You know what that is? No? Well, it doesn’t matter, because it wasn’t real anyway. They also believed that four humors controlled behavior. And they believed that the earth was only a few thousand years old. Now we believe the earth is four billion years old, and we believe in photons and electrons, and we think human behavior is controlled by things like ego and self-esteem. We think those beliefs are more scientific and better.”

“Aren’t they?”

Thorne shrugged. “They’re still just fantasies. They’re not real. Have you ever seen a self-esteem? Can you bring me one on a plate? How about a photon? Can you bring me one of those?”

Kelly shook her head. “No, but…”

“And you never will, because those things don’t exist. No matter how seriously people take them,” Thorne said. “A hundred years from now, people will look back at us and laugh. They’ll say, ‘You know what people used to believe? They believed in photons and electrons. Can you imagine anything so silly?’ They’ll have a good laugh, because by then there will be newer and better fantasies.” Thorne shook his head. “And meanwhile, you feel the way the boat moves? That’s the sea. That’s real. You smell the salt in the air? You feel the sunlight on your skin? That’s all real. You see all of us together? That’s real. Life is wonderful. It’s a gift to be alive, to see the sun and breathe the air. And there isn’t really anything else. Now look at that compass, and tell me where south is. I want to go to Puerto Cortés. It’s time for us all to go home.”


Nathan
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The Year’s Last, Loveliest Smile

“Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.”
Carol Bishop Hipps

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
William Cullen Bryan

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I love fall! And as I sit here with my windows closed, with no air conditioner or fan running, wearing pants instead of shorts, I remember exactly how much I love fall.

I have an uncle who gets downright depressed at this time of year, not because he hates the weather, but because he knows winter is just around the corner. But while the thought of winter certainly doesn’t thrill me in the least, since I can do nothing to slow down the passage of time (at least, not until the government finally gives me the plutonium I keep asking for), I intend to enjoy fall for what it is – my favorite season.

I’ve never minded the shorter days. During the week, I’m at work when the sun goes down anyway, so whether it gets dark at 9:00 or 6:00, it makes little difference to me. I don’t even mind when we turn the clocks back. In fact, when I was younger, I used to look forward to it. There’s something cozy about it, I think. If that makes any sense whatsoever.

I look forward to my annual October Scary Movie Weekends. Hopefully this year I’ll be able to persuade some others to join me. Sadly I don’t know many people – and by that, I mean I know one – who like scary movies. My kind of scary, that is, which I described in my post about “Scream.” I think I might make it a theme to blog about more of my favorites all throughout October. Maybe I’ll do a countdown. I love just curling up on the couch in my sweats and watching movies all day, and this weather is pretty much made for that.

How about you? Do you love fall or hate it, and why?


Nathan

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Time of Day

I always say that I am not a morning person. That’s one of the main reasons I work swing shift. But the truth is, the more I think about it, the more I realize that’s really not an accurate statement.

I guess a more appropriate statement would be that I’m not an early morning person. I seriously don’t understand how most people I know get up at 6AM or earlier to get ready for work. I can get up that early occasionally, but to do it every day seems like it would just be torture.

But for as long as I can remember, I’ve preferred daytime. If I’m planning to go out, I’d much rather start around 10 or 11 in the morning. Where most younger people seem to think social life starts after dark, I would rather be finished with my day’s activities by the time the sun sets. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy an occasional night out, mind you. I love going to an evening movie or play. But overall, I’d rather be home in the evening.

I wonder if this stems from my love for TV and wanting to be home to watch the primetime programming when I was younger. More recently, it may also be connected to my work schedule. I’m rarely home on a weekday evening, so when I can be, I find it to be a really enjoyable experience.

I know I’ve definitely never been a night owl. I’ve never spent the entire night out or stayed up all night watching movies. I like sleep entirely too much for that. But I’ve also never been one to sleep much later than 10AM. Go figure.

I guess that means I’m a day person – not quite a morning person, and not a night person.

Fascinating, isn’t it? Or boring, I suppose. It’s a judgment call. 🙂


Nathan

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