Monthly Archives: April 2009

Swine flu and Captain Trips.

I’m addicted to Twitter. That’s pretty much official. I go on every morning when I wake up and tweet a little something about how my day is expected to progress. At night, I tweet a round-up of 140 characters or less.

Since this swine flu deal, I’ve been tweeting the occasional article and including something about Captain Trips in my 140, a reference to the fictional disease that nearly obliterates the human race in Stephen King’s masterpiece The Stand. The only person that I’ve spoken to who has gotten this reference is my sister, who is also a great King fan; everyone else just looks at me like I’m cuckoo.

Tonight, my insanity has been affirmed: there are people on Twitter who are acting as characters from The Stand. Click here to link to my Twitter profile, then you can look at the people I follow: Nick Andros, Nadine Cross, Randall Flagg, Mother Abigail, Stu Redman, Trashcan Man, Tom Cullen, Glen Bateman, Larry Underwood and Harold Lauder. I was shocked when I saw all of these people on Twitter. It was confirmation that when the first swine flu reports came out and the World Health Organization decided to call this a pandemic, I was not the only person who thought, “Oh great. Everybody aboard the cruise to hell. Our pilot will be Captain Trips.”

Perhaps the strangest element of all of this madness is the dream that I had a couple of nights ago and subsequent notification to my e-mail that Mother Abigail was following me on Twitter. In the book, Mother Abigail communicates with people through their dreams (or, God communicates with people through their dreams for Mother Abigail). In the dream, I was reading The Stand and using it as a map to guide me to a place of safety, where I expected to meet up with Peter and save the world. I was wearing a cape (that’s how serious I was about saving the world), and my copy of The Stand was the same well-worn thrift store copy that I have now, with the back cover missing and the front cover hanging on by a thread.

It’s fascinating and a little sick to see people who had the same thought as me but took it to the next level.

And in some weird way, I’m hoping the same thing happens with Facebook so they can all be my friends and I can tag them in pictures of people wearing surgical masks.

If people’s eyes start to swell up and faces turn black and the coughing becomes so violent people are spitting up bits of their lungs, I will expect apologies from all of you.

Alligators and pointers.

The most fascinating thing to happen today occurred about ten minutes ago.

Jenny was outside going crazy by the fence. Since we live on a lake, I thought she was just barking at one of the thousands of birds that frequently taunt her through the chain link. I took a flashlight and went outside to try to scare whatever it was away and get her inside. The thing with Jenny is since she was trained to hunt by her previous owner, she is very persistent and even more protective. When she thinks that I am in danger, she becomes ferocious. As soon as she realized that I was outside, she became very animated, barking and jumping back and forth along the fence line. I actually thought she was going to knock the fence down.

I shined the light along the edge of the lake, and didn’t see anything. It was then that I heard it: the groaning, growling sound that only an alligator can make. I had the light trained on Jenny, and her eyes, which are becoming cloudy with the cataracts that arrive with old age in dogs, flashed blue-green as she ran to my side. Once she is under control, she is extremely obedient; Jenny sat next to me on command, but continued to growl.

As I passed the light over the bank once again, I caught the gleam of eyes and focused there for a moment. The gator was huge. It was probably about eight feet long, and it looked mighty angry to have been disturbed by Jenny. For some insane reason, I apologized to it for the upset that must have been caused by Jenny being so loud. Jenny sat by my side through all of this, her lips raised in a fierce snarl that I haven’t seen from her in a long time.

Jenny and I came inside, and I gave her a cookie for being my wonderful, protecting huntress.

A wonderful weekend.


After a busy morning doing laundry and cleaning my room (a little), Peter drove us up to Cocoa, where we met his sister Kari at her house. From there we drove to PF Chang’s in Orlando for Kari’s birthday dinner. I had never eaten there, and the food was great. Kari’s friend Katie told me she reads my blog, which was very flattering. Katie has an adorable baby, who showed up to dinner wearing a fantastic purple outfit and jelly sandals; definitely how I will dress my child. She looked charming.

Another thing that I should probably mention is my attire: a dress. I hadn’t worn a dress in years. I’m very self-conscious about how I look in a dress, but I found a really cute one at Old Navy. When I tried it on, I knew there was an issue with the cleavage, but I honestly did not realize how bad it was until I was sitting in the car on the way to dinner. Peter kept warning me about “side boob,” so I would fix the neck line and forget about it. I started to get really worried when Kari and I were walking out of Macy’s and I looked down to see my bra partially exposed. There wasn’t anything lewd showing, but it still made me pretty uncomfortable. Peter stared at me all night which made me laugh, which in turn made me feel better about my wardrobe malfunction.

Kari and Mike had been fostering a wonderful schipperke named Bear. Bear was a lovely fellow, very affectionate, but neither Kari nor Mike, admittedly, are ready for a dog, and their cats detested the hyper behavior in the house. They found a home for him on Saturday. I hope everything works out; he was a sweet boy.

Peter and I spent the night in Cocoa.


Peter, Mike and I drove back from Cocoa on Saturday morning. We stopped for breakfast near where the Brevard Manatees have their stadium. I had an asiago cheese bagel; it was the first bagel I have had in two months, and was like manna. Mike sat in the back seat of Peter’s Mustang, and made the excellent point that there really shouldn’t be a back seat: it’s very misleading, since no one can sit there comfortably. Mike squirmed around a lot and ironically fell asleep when Peter put on Van Halen and turned it up really loud.

The middle of the day on Saturday was dedicated to the Barrett-Jackson. This year was slightly disappointing. I was expecting much more; after the past few years, I guess I just have high standards. Once the novelty of seeing a classic Shelby GT500 replica wears off, a person is just kind of left there wondering, “Where are all the real ones?” I took a ton of pictures and talked to some pretty fascinating people.

After the auction, Peter, Mike and I went back to Peter’s house and ate dinner with his parents and Kari. Kari and Peter’s mom went shopping, so Peter, Mike and I went for a drive down the beach road. We started in Palm Beach, so Mike could see all of the glorious homes along the Atlantic. When we got to Manalapan, we stopped at the Ice Cream Club for scoops in a cup, and I showed the boys Florida Stage. I wrote for Florida Stage’s Student Critics program when I was in high school, and can’t remember how much tickets were, but I’m positive that they did not cost $45 a show as they do now.

When we got back to Peter’s house, Pete decided that he was too tired to take me home, so I spent the night.

Sunday (Easter):

I woke up, and Peter’s mom had made something called “egg bake.” I’ve had it before, but she has never made it with spinach and feta cheese (that I know of). I was great. Peter also told his parents that I think his mom is funnier than his dad, which is not necessarily true. Peter took me home after breakfast.

I spent most of the day working on school work. My mom made a ham and potato salad, I made carrots, my sister set the table and my dad slept in his chair. We had a pretty good day. No one fought, and I found out that my tuition will be covered next year by grants and scholarships, which is fantastic. I had been really worried about how I would afford school next year; to know that I worked hard enough to merit the scholarships that I have received is a definite validation.

After dinner, Peter and I went to see Adventureland. It was funny, in a subtle way. Much of the humor was in the awkward circumstances that the characters often find themselves in, but there were some moments of complete absurdity (usually provided by Bill Hader). The soundtrack to the movie was outstanding; I am definitely going to buy it.

Peter makes me very happy. We had a terrific weekend together.

I can neither confirm nor deny.

I met with Dean Meeks and Professor Sizemore today, and they issued me the task of managing editor next semester. Prof. Sizemore first came to me about a month ago, and since that time I have been mulling over whether or not I am ready for the job. I finally came to the conclusion that A) he would not have offered it to me unless he believes I can do it and B) after my internship this summer, I will have a much better perspective on the timeliness of news as related to a weekly periodical.

I am nervous beyond belief.

I am excited as well.

I know that the Beacon can win the awards that the dean would like us to procure. For me, it is a matter of honing the staff, helping everyone to be the best they possibly can while preparing them for work after school. It will also be about helping each journalism student create a portfolio that will WOW any editor who reviews it. First step: research Abilene Christian’s journalism department. What are they doing that we are not?

I also stopped by the Barrett-Jackson today to pick up my media credentials. After walking around for about an hour and taking 103 pictures, I decided to head home to explain to my parents why they should fund my on-campus housing. They are impressed by my recent appointment to managing editor, and promised to help me obtain loans so that I can be at PBA as much as I need to. I honestly makes more sense for me to live on campus than to spend $100 a week on gas driving back and forth.

Several of the pictures from the auction today are worthy of publishing. I got a great shot of the sun glinting off the chrome fixture on the headlight of a classic Corvette. I took the shot four times until I got it right.

There is also a picture of a woman cleaning the exterior of a hot rod with some sort of Swiffer/ShamWow device. I will try to get those pictures up as soon as I can.

Some pretty fantastic developments.

(Or should I say, “Fun-tastic?”)

In the last few days, things have suddenly turned for the better.

My relationships are more clear. I do not feel the need to hide in a ditch from the world. I apologize for the emo attitude of the previous post.

Peter decided that he wants to take me to Minnesota this summer. I would love to go, but I don’t know where I will get the money. I am considering having a garage sale in a couple of weeks. There is so much useless junk that I can sell.

I got an internship with the Wellington Town Crier. One day I e-mailed them; the next day I met with the executive editor and scored the job. They will not pay me in anything except experience. Honestly, I don’t mind. There is so much that I need to learn. I am incredibly excited and overwhelmed at the prospect of taking photos and writing articles that will be published for the entire Village of Wellington to see. My internship doesn’t start for another month, and I already have butterflies thinking about it.

The Barrett-Jackson Auction is in town this weekend, and I obtained press credentials to cover it for the Beacon. Every year, I have gone. It is my pilgrimage. Classic cars make my stomach do flips. Today I went to try to pick up my media credentials (they had closed already … darn), and I parked next to a Thunderbird. Not one of those cheap rip-offs that Ford tried to force down everyone’s throat a few years ago, but the real deal. It was beautiful: seafoam green, white interior and chrome for days. The wheels had such a delightful sparkle, the sun hit them and they sang the Hallelujah Chorus. The gala was about to begin, so men in suits \who smelled splendid and wore shiny shoes were trickling steadily through the gate. An occasional woman, always in stilettos and a semi-classy cocktail dress, hung from the arm of a man who could probably be her father.

Yes, I am delighted that the Barrett-Jackson Auction has returned to Palm Beach this year. I always go, and I always take a thousand pictures. This year will be no different, save the fact that I will be writing an article on what I observe.

Peter and I are going to his sister’s birthday party in Orlando on Friday night. I am excited to be released from Palm Beach County for an evening. In the morning, Kari (Peter’s sister) and her husband, Mike, will return to the 561 with us to spend Easter weekend here and bring a dog for an old woman. Then Mike, Peter and I will go to the final day of the auction, where I’m sure I will have multiple cargasms and run around like a crazed meth addict interviewing whoever I can get my hands on. Actually … that comparison makes no sense. Why would a crazed meth addict want to interview anyone?