Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back to the Grind

Well, I'm at it again. Today was the second day of class. Here's what I'm taking:

  • Physics with lab
  • Animal Biology with lab
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology with lab
  • Organic Chemistry with lab
Thankfully, labs are postponed until next week. It lets me think that I'm slowly jumping into the deep end. It's a nice trick or, rather, an illusion.

It's quite strange to have the campus flooded with women. By "strange," I mean that I'm willing to allow my single male friends to carry my books for me for a small fee of $50 a day.

One guy in the program showed up to his class just before it started. When he walked into the lecture hall, the room quickly fell silent. When he took a seat in the front row, he could hear everyone asking why the professor was sitting. He had to inform everyone that he wasn't the professor but a student, just like them (but different).

Anywho, more later. Physics homework to do.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Yesterday was a very, very laid back day. I woke early, walked downtown to Corita's Copper Kettle, and ate another fritter with everything on it. Then, I walked back home. Along the way, I stopped at Smith's Cove beach to sit, watch the surf, and write a little bit. I finished the day by hanging out with my sister and watching the first six episodes of "Band of Brothers." Quite a day, let me tell you. Honestly, I was a little too sunburned to get back out in the sun. Also, it was just too damned hot. Mostly, though, my sis needed an easy day to recover from her wild karaoke night. For the record, she doesn't sing as much as she yelps loudly into the microphone while dancing suggestively. Proud moments for a brother. It did, however, get us free drinks for most of the night. I'm okay with that.

Today, however, was a different story. I woke early, came downstairs and read for a bit. (Just started A Confederacy of Dunces, it's freaking hysterical; I'm talking laugh out loud funny.) She slept in for a bit. We took her car to the shop for repair, grabbed some lunch, and headed back to the apartment. We decided to head out to one of her favorite beaches for some sun and snorkeling. It's called cemetery Beach, a fantastic public beach that's mostly off-the-radar for tourists.

We phoned for a taxi and grabbed our gear to head out. Wagers on who drove the taxi? None other than Elvis from the other night. Seems that driving a cab is his occupation on the island. Honestly, he's a little freaky up close. The other night, I suppose the dim lighting and the beers made me and my sis consider that his hair was real. Up close and personal, however, it was one of the worst wigs I've seen. Honestly, he had the same hair as Mowgli from The Jungle Book. So, he's dressed in jeans, some flashy shirt, silver Elvis shades, and a bandana around this awful, awful wig. He looked like a Warhol version of Geronimo.

I actually considered that Elvis' Mowgli hair was real.

Here's the best thing though: he had a bitchin' horn on this old beat up van that is his taxi. Any time we passed an attractive woman on the street, he'd hit the horn and it would actually cat call and then growl. Fan-stinking-tastic. Seriously, can you imagine walking and thinking, "Hold on a minute, did Geronimelvis' van just whistle at me?" Classic. I'm thinking of getting one for my car back home.

Anywho, just prior to dropping us off. Elvis turns around and warns us to be careful because a 12-foot hammerhead shark has been sited off-shore in the area this week. We silently got out of the van, grabbed our gear, and looked at each other as he drove off.

We sunned for a bit and then ventured into the water. It was so damned murky that we called it quits. All I could hear was Brody yelling at people to get out of the water. I obliged. After a while though, it cleared up and we ventured out into the sea. We came upon a good-sized sea turtle and followed it for a little while. Then, fish schooled around my sister, who promptly freaked out. I haughtily laughed until some big damned fish nipped at my hand and I inked the water.

We went in and headed to the Sunset House for a beer. We watched the sun drop off the horizon and sipped a cold beer or two. As the sun was setting, REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" was playing. Fitting for the last sunset of the trip.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

In The Ghetto

Tonight, my sister and her roomie decide that we'll go to "Country's," a local country bar, to have a couple of drinks. My sister set my expectations really low with adjectives like "dodgy" and "sketchy." I'm figuring that we'd probably be the only ones in the bar.

We arrive at a stand-alone building that's pretty large with a country/western couple painted on the front doors. (Instead of Picasso, think second grader.) As we're walking up to the door, the sounds of karaoke get louder and louder: it's Elvis. As we walk into the bar, my sister says something about Elvis at the bar. "Yeah," I reply thinking that it'd be hard not to recognize Elvis with the volume so stinking loud.

There are probably 12 people in the whole, enormous place. I order a beer and take notice of the surroundings. Honest to goodness, Elvis was at the end of the bar.

"You weren't shitting me, huh?," I asked my sis.

"Nope. He's a taxi driver," she says. "He picks up tourists in his cab dressed as Elvis. It plays only Elvis songs and has an Elvis horn that says things like 'Thank you; thank you very much.' He's always in character."

"Is that his real hair?," I ask.

"Oh yeah."

"It's horrible...but great."

"Isn't it though?"

We have a few beers and listen to terrible, terrible singing. After a while, Elvis actually takes the stage to great applause from the few of us at the bar.

These thumbnails are all I could get at the moment.

Anywho, he gets up there and sings a few songs, like everyone else, at deafening volume. (Honestly, my ears are still ringing as I type this.) He runs through a few Elvis standards and starts on "In the Ghetto," my second favorite Elvis tune. He sings it with a ton of heart, a decent voice, and horribly broken English. It was fantastic, absolutely fantastic.

Here's what I heard:

On a coal and gray Chicago more
another little baby chile was born
in da ghetto

If dere's one ting that she don't need
iss anoder hungry
mou to feed
inna ghetto

Classic. Absolutely classic. Can't wait to go back tomorrow night. Holy crap, I must buy a video camera.

After it was over, he was walking by the bar. I extended my hand and said, "Great set, man, great set."

Without missing a beat, he gives me the Elvis pose, takes my hand, shakes it, and says "Thank you, thank you very much."


As my sister's car is broken, we woke early this morning and walked into town. Once there, we avoided the cattle (cruise ship tourists) and found a nice little Jamaican restaurant for a Corita's special - ham, egg, cheese, and jelly on a fried dumpling. Damn fine eating.

On the way home, the sun came out for a bit and the temperature really got up there. We napped for a little bit and headed out to Governor's beach for some sunning (read: burning). At first, it was pretty overcast. Just after we fell asleep, the sun came out and promptly burned me. I've now changed my plan: instead of getting a deep tan while I'm here, I'm going for a deep red. Seriously, I'll be maroon or something.

Trade the shorts for a tiny Speedo and this is me.

On the way home, we stopped at a little Jerk shack for some chicken. Then, headed home, devoured it, and napped like nobody's business.

Trying to get up the energy to head out.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tropical Depression

At least it's tropical, you know? Seriously, cloudy and storming. Any day on the island, though, is better than in the states.

I arrived on the island this morning and went to the waterfront for some lunch and beers with my sister. It was quite nice to sit there at the bar, listening to the waves crash, feeling the rain occasionally blow into the tikki hut, sipping some cold beer, and just catching up with my sister. Just to be safe, we went ahead and got a little emotional talking about our dearly departed grandparents. Two stinking hours and we're crying into our beers, pouring a little out for those who've moved on. Man, we sure do miss our Bamba and Grandaddy. Not to mention, we're lucky as hell to have our parents.

Now, that we've got that one out of the way, we can really move on to some hijinks for the remaining part of the week.

Island Life

This week, I'm heading down to Grand Cayman to visit my sister. I'll try to post but the island life may get the better of me.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Pretty Good Jukebox

Tonight, I celebrated Peej's by joining him, Beth, and J3K for a bite to eat and a couple of beers. We were lamenting the presence of a digital jukebox in the establishment. Really, a digital jukebox that offers every conceivable album isn't a plus. You might get the one or two songs that receive airplay (if the band was a commercial success) but no deep tracks.

In my opinion, a great jukebox is something to be coveted. The Stein Club had a great jukebox. I used to love playing the old familiar tracks with my boys Danny, Matt, and Joey. We had a ritual that had to be followed. First, walk to the box, take your position in front of it. Start at one end and browse the CDs from start to finish, taking note of your probable selections. Return to the beginning. Insert cash, note "selections remaining" and begin the journey to the back. Anyone could spot but one person was generally the "keymaster" who was responsible for entering the song numbers.

Inevitably, the songs we played would always include the following tracks:
  • "So What'cha Want" - Beastie Boys
  • "How Soon is Now" - The Smiths
  • "Walking After Midnight" - Patsy Cline (for Carol)
  • "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground" - Willie Nelson
  • "Suspicious Minds" - Elvis
  • "Peace Frog" - The Doors
Man, I miss The Stein Club. After it left us, The Righteous Room provided some solace with its jukebox. The FlatIron in East Atlanta Village is better. Recently, I have discovered that Twain's in Decatur has a box on par with the Steiner. It is fantastic. If you haven't, go check it out. In addition to albums, it includes a few homemade mix CDs complete with cover art. My favorite is the one with the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons titled "Best. CD. Ever." Anywho, it makes me happy.

The List
Tonight, after we all lamented the all-digital jukebox in the restaurant, we decided to build our own jukebox. Actually, it's for the bar that we'll open. According to PJ's rules, everyone who works there gets to put in 5 CDs. If they suck, the person is fired. Anwho, we made a list of 5 albums and one alternate. Then, each person got to remove a CD from someone else's list. Finally, everyone got to add their "Oh shit, I forgot to include this CD on my list" album. I think we made a pretty good jukebox.

Click the image to peep our premium tracks.


Yesterday, J3K and I went mountain-biking in western North Carolina. We got on the road from ATL at about 6:30 a.m. and headed up to the Tsali Recreation Area, near Lake Fontana on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After almost three hours, we arrived at the trailhead, geared up and hit the trails for what we anticipated would be an approximately 20 mile ride on some fantastic terrain. The trails and scenery were amazing.

We rode the Left Loop trail and were planning on linking it to the Right Loop to get in our total mileage. The Left Loop, however, proved more challenging than anticipated. It was definitely a more difficult ride than Yellow River in the metro Atlanta area. Narrow, winding single-track trails wound along the lake and into the surrounding forest and mountains. At one point, we distinctly felt like we'd been 'Unicoi-ed' because this climb was so stinking steep. There were lots of nice stream crossings, a little mud, loose rock, sheer cliffs, roots, and opportunities to bust our asses. (I did, of course, take a couple of spills. Luckily, I spilled no blood.)

One long climb led to a spectacular view over Lake Fontana and into the Smoky Mountains. It might have been the highlight of the trip. At this particular spot, James was tormented by a bee and we continued onward and upward. (Just for the record, when pitted against an aggressive bee, J3K, unlike our friend Joey P. maintains his composure.)

Photo of the Overlook from the Mountain Bike Western NC web site. Click it for more.

Luckily, we missed a turn at around 10 or 11 miles and ended up barreling down a gravel road back to the trailhead/parking lot. We'd completed about 13 miles and decided to have lunch and reevaluate before heading back out. In the parking lot, while we were eating our tasty sandwiches, we bumped into a father/son adventure squad. The kid was about 18; dad looked about 40. We chatted a little:

"You guys from Atlanta?," the guy asked.

"Yeah. Just drove up this morning. How about you?"

"Just finishing a 1400-mile road trip. We've been hiking, riding, and paddling," the father told us. "Making a last hurrah before we ship the boy off to Georgia State," he adds while lighting a cigarette. (A cigarette!)

"Sounds like a good 'hurrah'," I said.

"Yeah. Yesterday, we climbed a 500 foot face," he boasts. After taking a drag on his smoke, he adds, "Today, we just decided to come out here to get a ride in before we go paddle the Nantahala."

"I don't think I want to go to the river," the son confesses to his dad.

"You pussy," the dad says to the boy. "If you don't go to the river, we're going for another loop on the bikes," he chastized.

Jim and I sat there and looked at each other a little puzzled by the exchange. I wondered who the trip was really for: was it a coming of age voyage for the boy who would soon leave for college? Was it for the dad who was leaving his own definition of youth? Regardless, I was a little put-off by the whole exchange.

Jim mentioned that we should tell him that we were completing a 1500-mile road trip and that, this very morning, we'd fought a wolverine and, afterwards, had decided to go mountain biking.

After Lunch
We decided not to do any more mileage. My legs were quivering when I got back on the bike and took a tour of the campground. No way I be able to safely do more riding. Time to head back. After I said this, Jim quickly agreed and we packed up and got on the road back to Atlanta. The only thing that would make us feel better was barbecue. We headed toward Elijay with hopes of stopping in at The Pink Pig or Poole's. I was utterly disappointed when both were closed. Why not be open on a weekday? Come on!

We headed back to ATL and directly went to Pig-n-Chic BBQ. After a hearty pork plate, I reached the proper QUE-librium. It was QUE-topia.

I'm still tired and my legs hurt.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Murder, She Wrote

Friday, I went to the public library near my house to get a library card and check out a few things. Honestly, I love libraries for their motley assortment of patrons and of media. For example, I was browsing the DVD section and ran across the following titles:
  • The Godfather II (Widescreen)
  • Multiple Carey Grant films
  • Murder, She Wrote (Season One)
I cannot wait to check this out; I never watched a single episode of the series.

Hopefully, I'll be able to also get The Equalizer.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Congrats to J3K on Winning the Oscar...

Crazy dreams continue: Last night, my esteemed colleague, James Three Thousand, took home the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for "Bandit Run 2005." I was quite happy and more than a little disappointed that I wasn't nominated as co-writer. Anywho, he won. We all owe him congratulations. Later in the dream, I watched a grizzly bear swimming in the surf at Panama City beach as a hurricane approached. No clue at all.

More Random Thoughts
I nailed the final for my Chem 102 course. I think I needed a 77 to keep my "A" in the course. I earned a 95 out of 98. Kept my grade and then some. Seriously, I'm just glad it's over. Now, three weeks of R&R. Today, I started with a little 5 mile hike in Unicoi. Tomorrow, another mountain biking jaunt. I'll finish the break with a quick visit to Grand Cayman to visit my sis. Honestly, aside from not having any income, this student life is pretty good.

Shake and Bake
Saw "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" twice over the weekend. Go see it; it's really funny even if you do have to sit through a preview of "The Grudge 2: Still Grudgin'."

Talladega Nights: A Billion Times Better Than Nacho Libre.

Fear the Taquito
Let's briefly consider a hypothetical: If prior to seeing a movie such as "Talladega Nights," you and a buddy celebrate something like the completion of a tough course with a few drinks, and if, after several of these drinks, your buddy convinces you that, in lieu of dining at the movie theater, you should stop by QuikTrip for a few hot dogs and a Taquito, and if you successfully convince your designated driver to stop, I implore you DO NOT EAT THE TAQUITO. If you do, you will forever rue the day you introduced it to your gastrointestinal tract. They are unholy cannoli filled with demon scat. Instead, eat something, anything, that you find on the ground of the gas station parking lot and you'll be better off.

If you eat this, your buddy won't include you in the Oscar nomination.

Here's a description from the QuikTrip website:

The origin of the QuikTrip Taquito has been translated by archaeologists from inscriptions on the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan. The original pronunciation of this delicacy was Taquiktripito. Apparently the Taquito was a gift from Quatzequatel, the winged serpent god of the Mayan culture. Quatzequatel was a benevolent god, filled with goodness, as was the QuikTrip Taquito that he lovingly bequeathed to his followers.

Later, Spanish explorers discovered this wonderful meal and sent an armada of ships back to Spain filled with Taquitos. Unfortunately, the fleet was lost at sea, although there were rumors the crews of the ships had eaten all the Taquitos en route and were afraid to return home. This theory has been supported by a study conducted by Don Miguel Fernandez, who discovered what appeared to be remnants of a manually operated roller grill on the island of Grenada. Along with these artifacts was the original Mayan recipe for the Taquito, which has been translated and carefully followed to produce the ultimate QuikTrip Taquito.

QuikTrip Taquitos are the perfect meal on the go. Nearly a foot of crisp meat-filled tortillas are kept hot and fresh on sparkling clean roller grills at every QuikTrip store. QuikTrip offers two varieties of Taquitos, beef and chicken, with just enough spice to awaken your taste buds. The best part of this great meal is that Taquitos are only 99 cents. Quatzequatel would be proud!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Riding the Wings of the Dragon Through the Cosmos

I just emailed my final to the prof. I am done. (With this one class. Of an intense year-long program. That preps me for the MCAT. That paves the way for four years of medical school. Followed by residency.) Guess I'm nowhere done, huh?

Seriously, for the next three weeks, I will punch anybody in the face if they ask me to do a chemistry problem.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Close Call Yesterday...

I nearly ran out of gas. On the way home, I stopped at the gas station and filled up. I put 12.37 gallons into my tank. By the way, it's a twelve gallon tank. Oh, it only cost me $200 dollars.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


A potpourri of things I overheard, read, or said:

"Did I tell you that David's chinchilla is sick and he's going to take it to Athens?"

Evidently, my chem textbook has the opening sentence for a terrible novel:

"In many environmental or biomedical research applications, a buffer of unusual composition may be required to simulate an ecosystem or stabilize a fragile biological macromolecule."

The next sentences:
As he raced the car down the rain-slicked boulevard, he glanced over at her between drags on his cigarette to see if she understood. If she got it, she would understand why they were in such danger, why Pete was dead, and why Rudy lay in an induced coma in the county hospital.

Last week, several of us gathered for a few beers after class. I ordered a beer that had a powerful floral aroma. This led me to remark that the beer smelled a little bit like rose water and how I think rose water is sexy or, at the very least, sensual.

For example, if you've eaten at a fancy Moroccan restaurant, the meal begins with you washing your hands in rose water. It's a memorable experience, not necessarily sexy, but very sensual. You end up noting the texture of the water (silky), it's temperature (cool but not cold, crisp), and it's wonderful scent (roses).

Anyway, the rose water comment earned me a few strange looks from the kids. Uncontent to stop there, I followed up with something about it actually reminding me about the sachet my mother kept in her lingerie drawer. This utterance earned even more strange looks; I'd captivated them which prompted me to say:

"I used to dress in my mother's lingerie and bathe myself in rosewater. Is that weird?"

The stares, silence, and nervous laughter it proved were priceless. Most knew I was joking, others didn't exactly know what to think. Yesterday, I got this strange feeling that I might actually be that one guy.