Senior Prom

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Senior Prom. It’s something no one ever forgets as long as they live. I’m happy to say it will be something I will look back upon years from now and remember how awesome it was. Last year’s Prom was a little lack-lustered, but this year’s was just awesome. Catherine, Taylor, and I met at Dana’s house and took pictures, then we loaded up into my car and went to Acappella. I ate there for Prom last year, so I knew it wouldn’t disappoint. Best lasagna I’ve had in a long time, not to mention the New York cheesecake for dessert! After dinner, we had plenty of time to kill, and Catherine wanted to arrive “fashionably late.” So, we drove down to the Canal Walk and walked from Dock Street all the way to the Reynolds Metals building, climbing stairs, walking on cobblestone paths, and even going up a dirt embankment. Not a huge problem for Taylor and I, but consider the two wearing high heels. It was interesting. I found lots of different places to sit my camera and took timed shots in different places. They turned out really good, check out my new albums for photos! So we got to the Omni around 8:30 and kind of hung around the concourse upstairs until the dancing really got into full swing. It was hot as all get out in there, so we danced some and came out for a breather every few songs. We all had a lot of fun, though.

After Prom, we went to Dana’s to change, then Party All Night at Deep Run. First order of business? Eat! Dana and I scarfed down Chick-Fil-A and pizza, then we all went and played Blackjack. I was doing pretty well, but I went all in and lost it all eventually when we got tired of playing. We did this inflatable thing that really has no point. It was a round purple thing with a target in the middle and you just jump around and get dizzy. So pointless, but so fun. After eating yet again, we all went into the auditorium and Brian Brushwood did his bizarre magic show. He ate fire, got out of a straitjacket, did an ESP demonstration, and lots of other cool stuff. Then they gave out prizes. I won the VCU basket, which was nice because it had a lot of the stuff I planned on buying soon in it.

So now here I sit, still flying high on caffeine and adrenaline, at 5:02 AM. There’s no point in trying to sleep, I’ve got plenty to do today between church commitments and other stuff. But I guess what I wanted to get across most is that lately, a lot of things I’ve looked forward to have ended up disappointing me or just not living up to the expectations I had for them. Prom was not one of those things. I can’t think of a better way to finish out high school than by having the amazing night I had.

Burnout

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This is the first time I’ve updated since going to the Outer Banks for Spring Break. It’s been a good while. The beach was fun. A little cold, really windy. We only really had two good beach days, and lemme tell ya I took full advantage of those. The house was nice, right on the sound with awesome views out towards the mainland (By the way, Katie pointed out in my last blog entry that I had the next door neighbors’ house’s picture uploaded! Whoops. Ours was “Bay Spray” and theirs was “Bay Breeze,” hence the mix up). Anywho it was me, Jen, my sister and her friend, my parents, and grandparents. Had a lot of fun down there. I’m working on trying to get an internship down there at a radio station called Beach 104 for the summer, which would be amazing. I’ll keep everyone posted on how that’s coming along as I know more.

The past week since I’ve gotten back has been nuts. I’ve spent most of my afternoons making video promos for Wildcat News on the Marathon Dance, and after the terrible Virginia Tech tragedies, I decided to make a tribute video to show during the moment of silence on Friday. I didn’t mind doing that, but the Marathon Dance videos are stressing me out. I’ve had numerous computer problems ever since I took my desktop computer into school to edit video during the Marathon Dance and fried one of my two hard drives. I’ve also got a lot going on lately and it’s extremely time consuming to edit through more than four hours of video footage.

I had a nice, relaxing weekend for the first time in a while, though. On Friday, I went with Alex to see “In The Land Of Women.” I thought I was being dragged to yet another chick flick, but it actually turned out to be an okay movie. The plot was kinda stagnant, and it basically ended really abruptly and badly. But anyway, we randomly sat with Lauren and Rebecca who happened to be there, then Hillary and Ana sat next to Alex. It was really random, but cool. Afterwards I went back to Alex’s and we just chilled and did a little stargazing up at the Fox Hall Clubhouse.

On Saturday I went and worked on a Habitat For Humanity project with my mom and her office. She works for the Attorney General and he ended up coming out. Because he was there, CBS 6 came out and did a story on it. It was pretty cool. The Deep Run Key Club happened to be there that day, and when I got there everyone was looking at me like “you’re not in Key Club are you?” It was kinda funny. I’m going back with Gabby next week to work on the same house. It’s always a very rewarding experience to be a part of one of their house projects.

Saturday night I was out cutting the grass and doing yard work so I could meet up with some people later when my next door neighbor came up to me and asked if I wanted to go to a car show with him. So I ended up going with him instead just for something different and because I think he wanted the company. He’s in his early seventies, and collects and restores, from the ground up, all sorts of antique vehicles. He also has a tour bus he bought off a rock group, a plane, helicopter, and three motorcycles. So we rode out to Route 301 near Atlee Station in his old Roadster and checked out everyone else’s old cars. It was actually pretty cool. Afterwards he took me to dinner and explained how he built his businesses from the ground up. He’s done everything from designing the first boat and train air conditioners to inventing a way to keep a boat from nosing up out of the water when you gun the engine. And the one major impression he left on me is that whatever you do in life, you’ve got to be passionate about it if you want it to go anywhere. That’s what makes you successful. He told me you’ve gotta love what you do and be genuinely interested your job if you wanna see results. So it was really cool getting all of these insights from him and doing something different for a change.

Sunday morning I got up early and met Gabby at our favorite place, Golden Corral! Best breakfast around, I’m telling ya. We both had two huge plates of food and topped it off by both having a big bowl of ice cream. There’s nothing like dessert after breakfast! Then I took her to church with me and we came back to my house afterwards and hung out. All I’ve got to say is don’t ever attempt to play volleyball on a trampoline… it’s about broken… yep again.

We went to dinner at Outback with the whole family, cousins, and other extended family Sunday night, and today I stayed home from school originally because I had a migraine, but also to get some stuff done I’ve put off for a while, and just to rest a little. I’m just burnt out. This week should be good, with the Campaigners cookout Thursday night and the big golf tournament this weekend.

Entering A New Chapter In Life

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So it’s been exactly one month since I updated this sucker. So much has happened, I’ve just been too busy to update I guess. Where to start?

I’ve been spending a ton of time helping with various technical projects at church, especially this past week setting up for Easter. They reconfigured the whole auditorium and I was up on a thirty-foot cherrypicker moving lights around and setting up audio equipment and whatnot. I’ve also been going to the “Why” small groups. And of course I’ve been going to Young Life and Campaigners. I really look forward to Wednesday nights lately. Either Sarah and/or Winston and I usually do something before and then I drive a boatload of people from Young Life to Chick-Fil-A. It’s awesome.

I went to New York City with Yearbook late last month. We went to Columbia University and took classes in design, writing, etc. It was a lot of fun. We mainly just hung out for the most part. I’ll never forget going through about fifty different stores in Chinatown waiting for Becca, Cabell, Rachel, Catherine and them to find the perfect knockoff purse. I think I kind of brought it on myself though because I didn’t realize until later they were covering up all of their illegal goods with cloths when I came by because of my video camera! Whoops. Anyway it was fun spending a couple days up there and getting to know everyone on a different level being that we all spent so much time together.

The week after I got back was a difficult time for the whole family. BJ, our twenty-two year old cat (that’s right… born in 1984, four years before me), started getting the beginnings stages of kidney failure. She got really weak and wouldn’t eat or drink and we had to make the difficult decision to put her down. Put it this way- I’ve never seen my dad cry in my life. That’s how difficult this was. She was basically my parents’ first child before they had me or my sister. But anyway, we’re just relieved she’s not suffering anymore. Rest in peace, BJ.

The week after that, I got into VCU. It’s looking like that’s where I’ll be going. They have awesome programs in photography, graphic design, broadcasting, film editing/production, and things of that nature. I’m not sure what I’m going to major in yet, but something along those lines most definitely. Anywho, I’m excited about that, but at the same time sorry that I didn’t get into JMU. It would have been nice to get a little further away from home and all, but I might still live on the VCU campus despite how close it is to home. And who knows, I might end up transferring. It’s all up in the air.

It’s a mixed bag of emotions watching the course of my life unfold before me. I had always thought about where I’d go to college “one day” and it seemed like it was this far off, distant thing. Now that it’s right here staring me in the face and I’ve decided what I’m doing, it’s a strange feeling. I can’t really explain it. I’m confident this is what God has led me to do in my life, though, so I feel like this is the right decision.

Well just wanted to give a bit of an abbreviated update of the past month. I’m headed off this morning to the Outer Banks for the week with my family, grandparents, and Jen. We’re staying in Corolla on the soundside. Should be nice! Here’s the house (I don’t know if this picture will show up). I’ll update again when I get back.

Finding My Place

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What week it’s been. Wow. I don’t think I’ve updated for at least that long, maybe even a week and a half. I’ve been incredibly busy. But in my last post I was talking about how I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through with being in the Mr. Deep Run Pageant. Well, I am so glad I did.

First off, I didn’t know at that time what I was going to do for my talent. But then it hit me: I could pull a video off… that’s one of my few gifted areas in life. I was going to do stand-up comedy, but I knew I couldn’t make it all that funny. I think I have very interesting observations on life, but they’re not laugh out loud funny, and it just wouldn’t have worked out. Lizzy, Jenn, and Winston, sorry for getting all defensive about it, you were right. So the solution? I made a video showing me coming offstage from the opening song/dance making it look like I forgot my tux and had to go back home to get it. When I got home, I ran upstairs to get it, and tripped and fell down the steps on the way back down and passed out. It then appears like I’m having a dream about seeing a recap of me doing a bad dance performance up at Mr. Deep Run on the Wildcat News the following Monday morning. When I wake up again, Jenn calls me asking where I am and I drive as fast as I can to get back to school in time to go on stage for my act. Officer Woodburn then pulls me over and gives me a speeding ticket, but he lets me off the hook and I run in to the auditorium. As soon as I pull the door to go in, I actually ran up on stage and acted like I was going to start doing a comedy routine. Then Austin says they’re out of time and I freak out, go off stage. That’s it. Everyone said it was pretty clever. I’m just happy I thought of something decent to do for my talent.

Secondly, one of my biggest fears has always been being up on stage in front of a large group of people. But throughout the whole opening dance number, going up for leisurewear, after my film, and the question and answer session, I wasn’t nervous, not even the least bit, for a second. It was so cool. And when I got up there and had everyone cheering for me, it was the greatest feeling in the world. I felt like I could do anything, and I still feel that way. It’s great. I was honored to make it to the finalists, too. I honestly didn’t think I’d make it there just because I filmed something rather than staying on stage the whole time doing an act live. That video, and the sun costume, took several near all-nighters this week to pull both off. Anyway, this has been probably the best experience I’ve had this year and maybe in all four years of high school, just because of what I overcame and how great it made me feel. Click to see my video on Youtube!

Best of all, after getting all the great feedback I got on my video, and the ones I do for the Wildcat News, I think I finally know what I want to do with my life. It was between this, photography, web design, radio, and computer services. I think I’ve narrowed it down to something in the video, film, television, or productions field. Something with filming or editing. It’s what makes me happiest and gives me the greatest satisfaction. It’s something with which you can see the fruits of your labor right away. So I think I may do something like that as a career. It’s nice to start to find your place, your meaning, and your purpose in life on a grander scale.

I don’t have the time nor the need to go into everything else I’ve done over the past week and a half like I normally do when I update daily, but it’s been a great, albeit stressful, week. Last night, Alex came over to do the podcast and I really think we nailed it this time. We only had a couple minutes of small talk about our day/week, and then transitioned into really, really deep topics on religion and whether the soul exists, and other stuff like that only Alex and I would talk about. It was great, go listen to it! Then we went to Carytown and ate at Nacho Mama’s and got coffee at Starbucks. We had probably our best conversations on deep stuff ever.

Amazing Night

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It was a pretty long day. I went in this morning to help out with the news. We couldn’t fix the sound on the new intro I made, but it might work by tomorrow. They showed the video Ms. Lyons got me to make about the publications and a lot of people seemed to like it, not necessarily because of what it was, but mainly the fact that it ate up another ten minutes of class time. Works for me.

Tonight was amazing. I always look forward to Young Life, but tonight was the best night this school year so far probably. I picked up Winston and Sarah, who both went for the first time, and we grabbed some drinks at Starbucks and then went on. Griff was Ferg again and they did the dating game. Alison spoke tonight and it was really great. Nice addition to the regular “raytune” haha. Psh ok no more bad jokes. You kinda had to be there to get it anyway.

Rachel, Jeffrey, Winston, Sarah, and Katie all ended up in my car (it was a tight fit with four in the back!) and I dropped Sarah off at home and we went to Chick-Fil-A to meet up with everyone again. We sang Club songs in the car the whole way there… really loud and obnoxiously of course! It’s more fun that way though! Found out they don’t have 75 cent desserts anymore on Wednesdays. That was a little depressing. So we decided we couldn’t afford (or were to cheap to pay for) $2.50 desserts and passed around Jeffrey’s cookies and cream milkshake. What a an amazingly intelligent idea with that stomach flu thing that’s going around school! But me and Winston eventually got our own ice cream after we had our share of germs. Ben, Rachel, Jeffrey, Katie, and Winston all piled in the car again and we stopped for gas because after all the driving around I was basically trailing home on fumes in the gas tank. We sang all the way home again, too, and by 10:30 I had taken everyone home. Fun night.

Three Days Of Food, Food, Food

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I know it’s a paradox, but my weekend was really full, but also pretty stress-free and relaxing at the same time. Here’s how it went down.

On Saturday morning, I headed up to Charlottesville with the family. We hung out at the house and I fell asleep on the couch, which is saying something, because I never, ever, ever fall asleep during the day unless I have the flu or something pretty bad. But no, I wasn’t sick, just really, really tired. Woke up an hour later and never felt better, though. Anyway, for dinner we went to this really cool little seafood place. Had to wait forever to get in, but it was worth it. I got some kind of tortellini with scallops in it. It was amazing. Sunday morning brought more great food. Had the best pancakes ever in this little place in Orange on the way home.

Enough with the food, though. When I got home, Jenn came over and I attempted to fix her computer. When I couldn’t, we took it to Best Buy. Then we went to California Tortilla. It’s a little expensive, but great food. You could equate it to a really nice Salsarita’s. We went home after that and Alex came over almost as soon as I got back.

Alex and I hung around my house for a bit and played ping pong and air hockey, then I called Jenn to see if she wanted to go see Breach with us. I picked her up and we went to the theater. It felt like about twenty five below with the wind chill. The movie was pretty good, though. A little depressing, but hey it wasn’t a chick flick for once, and considering I was with two chicks, I can’t complain at all. Afterwards, we went to Starbucks and Allie and Clem showed up. I drove Jenn home and met them back at my house. It ended up that Clem had a problem and had to be driven home… I’ll just leave it at she didn’t feel good at all. So anyway they went back to Allie’s house. I thought that was the end of a busy day, but oh no. Fifteen minutes later Alex called me and asked if she could come back over around 11:00. I thought this was somewhat odd for her, so I said sure, why not. I knew something was up. Sure enough, she broke it off with Alex. But I’m honestly proud of her for doing it. She deserves much better than how he’s treating her lately. So we talked it out and watched Family Guy and talked about the podcast we’re starting, and all was seemingly well with the world.

Monday brought a surprise trip to Patomac Mills. Translation? My mom and sister had Shopapalooza 2007. She claimed it was only a little north of King’s Dominion. Try closer to metro Washington, D.C. I was so hungry for lunch I just about started munching on my left hand. It wasn’t bad… they made quick work of the two hundred some stores up there and I bought some cheap closeout clothes. Hey, why not. After that, we headed over to Ikea. That’s the biggest, most amazing store I’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely insane. Three levels of furniture and home design stuff that goes on as far as you can see. It’s actually pretty cool. Lots of modern stuff. Maybe one day when I have my own house I’ll be able to afford some stuff there and deck my house out.

Today I finished the news intro at school and I think I finally fixed it. I finished editing the publications video, too. That’ll run tomorrow morning on the Wildcat News. Ms. Lyons even cried when she saw it. Not quite sure why, but I think she liked the fact that it showed the yearbook really finally coming together. After school, I jumped with my sister on the trampoline for a little bit, then Jen came over and we went running… eh, sorta. We always end up talking and laughing so much that neither one of us gets that much running in. But hey, at least we walk and do some kind of physical activity. She came back to my house and we whipped up some interesting tasting spaghetti. I say interesting because it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that good either. Then we went back to her house to have some cookie cake leftover from all three of her family’s birthdays this past weekend. Makes the running/walking we did so very worthwhile… minus the worthwhile part. Anyway though, pretty good day for a Tuesday.

"Music And Lyrics"

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What a day yesterday. I’m pretty sure I completely bombed a quiz in math, but it didn’t even bother me because of the prospect of the upcoming three day weekend, and the fact that it won’t hurt my grade that much. Yearbook was fun as usual, minus the fun part. Sat around and edited senior section stuff and then wandered the halls doing not much of anything.

In Gallagher’s class I left and went downstairs to find Mr. Gross to put up more sheetrock for the green screen in the newsroom. He wasn’t in there, so I went and ate lunch with Jenn, Winston, and Lizzy. I basically had two lunch periods yesterday.

I went and hung out with Alex, Jen, and Allie in extended study in an attempt to avoid Mr. Deep Run practice at all costs. I think I’m dropping out of it. It’s getting absolutely ridiculous. I can’t get any of the dance steps and Alex made me realize that it’s not worth working really hard to embarrass yourself… I mean there are a lot easier ways to do that than being in a school production that eats up the only free time you have during the day at school for three weeks straight. I’m gonna make a final decision about it Tuesday, though.

After school, I rode home with Jen and we went by her house, then my house, then went to Panera and got soup in bread bowls. Nothing better than that on a cold winter day. Afterwards we headed to the mall to search for birthday presents for her mom and two brothers. Funny thing though, everywhere we went, Jen got a gift for herself too. Strange how that happens. Then we went and bought movie tickets and walked back in the bitter cold to Circuit City in an effort not to lose our parking spot right in front of the entrance to the theater. Parking spots are insanely hard to get a hand on up there as you probably well know.

So we headed back to the theater and saw “Music And Lyrics.” It was really, really good. I thought it was going to be an all-out chick flick, but it was so funny. Hugh Grant plays an 80’s “has been” singer from the fictional band “PoP.” Drew Barrymore plays his plant-watering girl turned lyricist. Best movie I’ve seen in a while… really entertaining. The song that plays in the beginning is supposed to resemble a song the band released in the 80’s. It’s called “Pop! Goes My Heart” and it’s really catchy. The dancing’s hilarious and the song will be stuck in your head for days. Go see this movie!

We went to Taco Bell afterwards and saw a bunch of people from school there randomly, then took the hike across the parking lot to Wal-Mart to look for more birthday presents. That place is creepy late at night.

Today I’m headed to Charlottesville again with the family to stay at Dave and Sue’s house. I’ll be back tomorrow morning.

As a side note, I’m starting my own podcast hopefully this week. It will be downloadable from the Podcast Directory in the iTunes Music Store when I get it up and running. I need a catchy name for it, somehow incorporating my name. If anyone has ideas, send them on. If I like yours, I’ll reward you somehow… maybe buy you Starbucks or something of the sort. I’ll publish a separate post about the podcast later this weekend with more details. I’m pretty excited about it!

A Whole Lot Of Nothing

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So today was good. As the title implies, I did a whole lot, but nothing very productive, if that makes any sense at all. I basically did nothing academic whatsoever at school today, and I was spacing out all the while. It’s a good thing I wasn’t on the news this morning, because I’m kind of stone-faced on there as it is. It’s hard to look normal when you’re reading that teleprompter. Everyone tells me I read the announcements really well, but I still look kinda dead. But, they told me I’m getting better at it. Anyway I digress. Here’s how my day went.

I picked up Winston and we went to breakfast at Satterwhite’s before school. It’s out in Goochland near Bogey’s, and I hadn’t been since last year. The place has changed hands again, but the food’s just as good as ever. We both got pancakes, but I got bacon and hash browns with mine. I love breakfast, but I hate the after effects of eating big ones. I basically wanted to do nothing the rest of the morning or day at school. I wasn’t really tired, just extremely lazy. I stayed in the newsroom all of first block messing around on the computer and finishing a new intro for the morning announcements, went to the Medford basketball game in government and did no work, and, as usual, did nothing in biology fifth block. Gallagher did change our grades back from the zeros I wrote about yesterday, though, but only because he got what he wanted- four people owned up to cheating on the test.

I went to Mr. Deep Run practice, reluctantly, during extended study again. I’m really liking the whole notion of competing in this thing less and less. We have to do three dances for the opening number: “Living La Vida Loca,” “Hips Don’t Lie,” and “Senorita.” I can’t dance worth anything. Scratch that, I look like some kind of epilepsy patient when I attempt to dance. Anywho, We’re through learning the first one and starting the second. I don’t even know what I’m doing for my talent anymore, though. I thought I wanted to stand up comedy, but it’s hard to pull that off and actually make it decently funny. I’m working on throwing something like that together if I can, and I mean I can make people laugh, but most of the humorous stuff I say would offend too many people in a school setting to do on stage. It’s all up in the air as of now.

In photography at the end of the day, I did more of nothing. Talked to Sarah and Riley for a while at my table, then worked on that video some more. Then I helped Mr. Gross throw some sheet rock up on the wall in the news room so we can do green screen effects like they do on the weather, where you paint the wall green and put a computer image up behind you. After that I took Winston home and then went to take my Nana and Grandpa some Valentine’s Day stuff with my dad and sister, then went to Panera for dinner.

Tomorrow’s Friday! Should be a good weekend… it’s a three-dayer!

Valentine’s Day 2007

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So I decided I’m gonna start a new blog. Fresh start. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. I guess it went as well for me as it could for any single guy. I went kinda overboard this year buying chocolate, cards, and even balloons for friends, but hey it was fun. To be quite honest, I did all my shopping at God’s greatest gift to those who have difficulty parting with their money, Dollar Tree! That place is amazing, gotta say. Anyway, back to my day.

In Gallagher’s class, we took a test. He knows half the class cheats on every assessment he’s ever given in there that’s online, but he thought he’d try to outsmart all of us today. After we took the online test, he stood at the front of the room and informed us that he could see who was switching between two or more windows during the test and cheating because the software on the website recorded it, and that he’d be having conferences with five offending people. So he called me up to the front of the room and whispered what was really going on. He told me he had given everyone in the class a zero on the test, and he was hoping to separate the bad apples from the good. How? He figured the people who cheated wouldn’t own up to it and question why they had a zero, but those who legitimately took it would ask why they had that grade. Clever, eh? Not really. By the end of the day, through this wondrous thing called verbal communication, 95% of the class realized everyone had a zero, cheater or not, and he couldn’t really monitor who had multiple windows open. Anyway, I thought that was funny. I don’t think he even really cares all that much about cheating, he just wanted to see if he could outsmart us for once.

So tonight Younglife started back up. It was about time. I wanted to go out to eat beforehand, so I called Monica to see if she wanted to grab a quick bite. She did, and we just ended up at Starbucks since I decided to eat after Club at Chick-Fil-A. What I didn’t know was that she was supposed to go to dinner with Joe and didn’t want to, but she was out with me instead. So as soon as we get there, he calls and she has to make up a random excuse why she couldn’t hang out and convince him that she’s really at home amidst the sound of the deafening coffee grinder in the background that of course didn’t start until she answered the phone. So she pulled that one off somehow, but not for long. As soon as we pulled up to David’s house for Club, sure enough there was Joe, standing right across from where I parked waiting for her so they could walk in together. She ducked down and got in the floor in the passenger side of my car and told me to go in first so he didn’t know she was with me. I went in and left the keys with her and she hid out for a bit longer hoping he’d give up and go inside. He didn’t. She finally gave up and got out of the car, and they stood out there having some sort of argument about it. Enough drama for one night? Of course not!

The fun continued when I invited Winston and Lizzy to Club. They didn’t know where it was even though I gave them the two-step directions that were plain as day. So they started calling me once it had already started, so I couldn’t really answer my phone. Between the two of them they made 25 calls and left 7 voicemails on my phone. I opened it a couple of times and whispered that I couldn’t talk, but I don’t think they heard me. Anyway, everything got cleared up in the end after I called them back between leaving there and going to Chick-Fil-A.
It amazes me how crazy today was considering I don’t even have a girlfriend. Don’t even want to think about how much more that would have complicated things. But all in all, not a bad day.