Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Monday, November 28, 2005
Thanksgiving -- one of my favorite holidays. A day to reflect on all that you have to be thankful for, spend time with loved ones, and reconnect with distant friends. Wait a minute...or is it a day to eat your weight in turkey and pie, watch football, and fight the Christmas season shopping crowds?
This year, I showed my thanks by helping Lauren with her church's Thanksgiving luncheon for seniors. Afterwards, we headed up to Greenville, SC, where I continued to show my thanks by stuffing myself past capacity and then falling asleep on her parent's living room couch while watching Moonstruck, an Irving-Family Thanksgiving tradition.
The rest of the weekend was full of eating, sleeping, bowling (and dancing), hiking, checking out Furman University (pictured above), getting in the Christmas spirit, and, in good Thanksgiving fashion, more eating.
I helped decorate the Irving's Christmas tree, and I was happy to see that the Olson clan is not the only family that puts up decorations and ornaments that the kids made before they could even tie their own shoes. Even though I missed home, all in all, it was Thanksgiving to be thankful for. Now, everyone in unison, "awhhhhhhh".
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
If you could travel in a spaceship as fast as you wanted, could you ever reach the edge of the universe? The (theoretical) answer is "no". Apparently, according to Bryson, "space curves, in a way that allows it to be boundless but finite."
He then continues to explain using an analogy: Assume there is a man in this world that has never seen a round object in his life, and therefore also doesn't know that the world is round. If you had him walk in one direction forever, we all know that he would eventually return to the exact spot he started. Chances are he would be absolutely astonished -- he wouldn't get it at all.
I guess that is what it is like when it comes to space. If you traveled forever in the same direction, you would eventually end up back where you started -- and not because space is round, but instead because the universe bends-- in conformance with Einstein's theory of relativity. And the reason it's so hard to fathom and seems like it can't be true is for the same reason the guy that's never seen a round object can't comprehend how the earth is a giant ball. We've never seen any physical thing like it, and the average person surely doesn't study such theories, so we just simply don't understand.
I just find this amazing...
Monday, November 21, 2005
We had our annual Thanksgiving "Covered Dish" potluck lunch today at work. I filled myself with (fried) turkey, stuffing, potatoes, corn, green beans, pie, fudge...and banjo music. It was another classic southern moment when nearing the end of lunch, Tammy sat down in front of everybody, pulled out her banjo, and began a-pickin'. Yeee haw!
Sunday, November 20, 2005
As far as all-time favorite concerts go, it's definitely in the top 5. I'm still excited about it 24hrs later, and I pretty much sang U2 songs in my head all day today. My favorites were a tie between: Sunday Bloody Sunday, Elevation, and Love And Peace Or Else (where Bono and Larry played together at the front of the stage).
I went with Diana and Li, and during the show Li text-messaged a number to support the One Campaign. The reply was something like, "Hi, this is Bono. Thanks for supporting the One Campaign..." So for the train ride home Li kept on telling us that Bono text-messaged him personally and that we missed out.
The only odd part of the show was when Bono led the crowd in a rendition of Happy Birthday, sung to none other than Ted Turner. Apparently he helped out U2 back in the day before they were ultra-popular.
Also, I called my brother during "One" and left a 4 minute message. The quality of course wasn't the best, but Mike did correctly recognize the song.
The set list:
City Of Blinding Lights
I Will Follow
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Original Of The Species
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own / Torna A Surriento (snippet)
Love And Peace Or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet The Blue Sky / When Johnny Comes Marching Home (snippet)
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Where The Streets Have No Name
Until The End Of The World
With Or Without You
The First Time
Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
*assuming anyone actually reads this.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Tonight was a special wine tasting night, where they celebrated Beaujolais Nouveau 2005. Diana, Li, and I went for a tasting and to enjoy the live jazz. Since it was a special event, you received a raffle ticket with each glass of wine. We were hardly paying attention when they happened to read off the number of one of the raffle tickets I was holding in my hand.
I won the "package" prize -- two Georges Duboeuf t-shirts, a scarf, a tie, and a $10 gift certificate to the Brickstore Pub-- which truly is my favorite place in Decatur. We couldn't have been happier. Who knew buying a glass of wine would pay off so well? Oh yeah, and the wine wasn't bad either.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Why, may you ask, am I blogging about eating an apple? Because it tastes good, and because you should know about Your DeKalb Farmer's Market. Even NPR produced a story about it last November.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Headline: Groom, 15, and pregnant bride, 37, add up to trouble .
Apparently a 37 year-old mother slept with one of her 15 year-old son's best friends and got pregnant. In the state of Georgia, it is legal to get married, regardless of age, when the bride-to-be is pregnant with the groom's child. After the marriage, the 37 year-old bride was then arrested and brought to prison for child molestation charges.
Thank you, Georgia.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Possibly one of my favorite pictures of all time. Asheville (Ash Vegas as Addie likes to call it) was an excellent trip. Good friends, good food, good tunes, good wine, good scenery, and good mansions pretty much sums up the trip.
We spent the majority of our time at The Biltmore Estate. Saturday we showed up too late, finding the house had almost a two hour wait to get in. We decided to make the most of it and meandered around the gardens, took in the breathtaking view, and headed over to the winery for a tour and some wine tasting. I ended up bringing home a seasonal Christmas Wine, which tasted like a spicy and sweet Chardonnay, and, my personal favorite, the Century Red, which I believe was a mix of Syrah and Zinfandel.
That night we hit up the Digable Planets concert at the The Orange Peel. It was a cool show, and I had a weird moment finally seeing live the band which was my first CD purchase over 13 years ago (thanks to Bjork, and I'm assuming one of his older brothers). Who knew a bunch of early teenage boys in the middle of Iowa would be listening to grass roots hip-hop? Even Sunny had a moment -- when he randomly met a girl named Sunshine. How cute.
Back to the Biltmore on Sunday for the tour of the house. My favorite room was the library, but the pool room was a close second. Not too shabby of a shack for a 27 year old bachelor.
And last but not least, who could forget the French Broad?
Friday, November 11, 2005
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
Today he brought the goods in to work. The diamond in the rough? AC/DC's Back in Black. I never knew Jim was so hip.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Over two hundred wines available for tasting
+ a selection of food from local restaurants
+ good friends
= a great way to spend a Saturday.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of the wines came from Lodi, California. And I discovered some new gems that I hope to pick up soon. The top of my (and Lauren's) list:
- Clay Station Petit Sirah (smooth the whole way through)
- Kingfish White Shiraz (light and fruity)
- Hahn Estates Chardonnay - an inexpensive yet solid Chardonnay
- Round Hill Cabernet Sauvignon (for a smooth Cab)
- Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (for a more spicy Cab)
- Clay Station Old Vine Zinfandel (nice finish)
And one wine that actually ran out before we could sample a taste, but was supposed to be a crowd favorite: Muscat Ice Wine.
I know there are a lot of stereotypes regarding wine connoisseurs, but I must admit I do enjoy the romantic aspect of enjoying a fine bottle of wine. I was told some great advice once:
"The best wine is the wine that you like best."
Friday, November 04, 2005
We started off standing in between #1's green and 2's teebox, so we could watch both sets of action. I was excited to get to see Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods for the first time in person. Vijay was a lot taller than I expected, and you could definitely tell Tiger was the most athletic of all the golfers.
Woodrow and I made our way over to Hole 5, a monster 520 yard Par 4, where we saw both Ben Crane and Davis Love III make stellar approach shots and land their balls just feet from the pin. From the same vantage point we could also see intimidating Hole 6 -- a 168 yard Par 3 with (for the most part) an island green.
We then worked our way over to the back nine, and plunked ourselves down in the cool shade along #15 -- a beautiful uphill hole that affords views of East Lake with the Midtown skyline in the background. We decided to wait it out until Tiger showed up, and it couldn't have been a better decision.
The pin was near the front-left portion of the green, with a threatening bunker bordering the left-hand side. We were standing right in front of the start of the bunker -- if golfing, a spot that you definitely wouldn't want to be in.
It just so happened that Tiger's approach shot landed right there -- 10 feet in front of us. The majority of the gallery follows Tiger, and there was a mad rush by everyone to get there...Woodrow simply turned to me, smiled, adjusted his hat and said, "We need to look good; we're about to be on camera".
Shortly after, Woodrow said good-bye and took off back to #18, while I continued on to #16. I found out that it was tiring keeping up with the crowd around Tiger. There's no stalling. You're either craning your neck to see a shot, or speed-walking to get to the next best viewpoint. I watched him tee off (WOW), and then decided the crowd was too much for me and thought about waiting behind 16's green for him.
A couple and their little girl ended up standing next to me. The girl couldn't have been older than 5. Tiger and Howell finished the hole and started coming our way. There weren't that many people around, and when Tiger approached, the little girl in the most innocent voice squeaked out a "Hi Tiger." You could tell Tiger was in the zone, and not expecting anyone (especially a pre-K child) to be talking to him, because it took a second for the sentence to register and for him to react. He paused for just a moment, looked down at her, said "Hey there", and walked away smiling. It was a great moment.
And yes, you can tell that I was (and still am) excited about being at The Tour. Now if I can only get my hands on some Masters tickets...
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Then our conversation took a turn towards technology in general, and how we feel the number of inventions per year must resemble an exponential curve, considering all of the breakthroughs we hear about daily regarding genes, computers, hybrid fuels, and such. He brought up Charles H. Duell, who was the U.S. Patent Office Commissioner around 1900.
I had never heard of Duell before, but I learned that he left his mark on the world via a famous quote: "Everything that can be invented has been invented." This was 1899. Apparently he even petitioned the U.S. Government to shut down the Patent Office, as he honestly believed there would no longer be a need for it.
Guess he never thought anyone would ever be on the dot com...
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
My personal favorite was an ultra serious fight scene consisting of two guys shooting each other with rubber bands (but acting as if they were powerful guns--including flying across the room in an over-dramatic manner).
What could make such a night even better? PBR and corndogs.