Sad panda.

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I can’t believe I missed a night. =/ I accidentally fell asleep before I could get around to typing it; I mean, TECHNICALLY I was SUPPOSED to be in bed sleeping, but I normally type them pretty late at night anyway; after midnight, at least. Anyway. Moving on: yesterday, short version.

We woke up at around 7:30, got dressed, loaded up the cars, said our goodbyes, love yous, and gave our hugs, and started on our way, stopping in the city for gas and for breakfast (Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuit and chicken minis, with a large sweet tea). Then we were on the road for ten hours. YAY.

While riding in the backseat with my brother, amongst the crowd of Christmas presents, luggage, the XBox, my large backpack, and other things, we kept ourselves entertained by messing around with iPad apps, watching Despicable Me (again, paying attention this time) on my iPad, texting cool people (that’s you, Seth!), and playing XBox.

On the XBox, I played a couple of my new games, starting with Halo: Reach, which I didn’t play much; all I did was play a quick multiplayer mode with my brother. A bit later I played my new Bioshock 2 game. Now, I’ve never played the first Bioshock, but Seth has and I knew from him (and from Andrew watching him) that it was creepy as heck, so I expected the same from the second game…I was right. After only about half an hour of playing in the creepy, run-down building with mutated people jumping out to kill me and me retaliating with a drill for an arm (blood everywhere), I had to put it away and take a Toy Story 3 video game break. This game is also fun, though I didn’t play it for long either. Fun stuff.

We got back around 7:15ishmaybe (combined on purpose), and, after dropping my grandparents’ dogs off at their house in Terrell, we all went to Applebee’s for dinner. I got the shrimp fettuccine alfredo, which is delicious, and had the peach sweet tea to drink. Applebee’s is SO good. I enjoyed it.

When we got back to our house in Mesquite after dinner, we unloaded the car, putting my stuff first on the couch so I could take my traditional picture with my Christmas presents; as far as I know, we’ve done this after every Christmas of my life, or at least since I was very young. After the picture, I took it all to my room, where I did my best with putting it all away/into a crate I’m taking back to my room at Tech. I plugged in my PS3 eventually and got it connecting with our Internet, and then I put in Back to the Future (Blu-Ray!) and turned on the mode that flashes trivia across the bottom of the screen as you watch. Awesome. 🙂

Then I got in bed, fell asleep before intended (it wasn’t even that late, not even 1am), and the rest is history.

This morning (or should I say “afternoon”) I woke up around noon and, after laying in bed for another 15 minutes, got up, got dressed, made sure all of my stuff for the annual New Year’s Eve party I do with my friends at my grandparents’ house was packed, and headed off around 1:15, stopping at Chick-Fil-A to pick up a spicy chicken sandwich for lunch on the way out to the hotel in Dallas where the band is staying. Let it be known that I REALLY didn’t want to go to band. The way I see it is that “break” means “until school starts back up on the 12th”, but NO. I had band. Bleh. At least Chick-Fil-A made my day a bit better.

Speaking of spicy things at Chick-Fil-A, they’re unveiling a new “Spicy Chicken Biscuit” (did you just get a tingle up your spine and/or goosebumps? I DID) in early January. I’M SO EXCITED. I found a place online where you sign up to get a coupon for a FREE SPICY CHICKEN BISCUIT. Mine is ordered and ready to go. I can’t wait.

I got to the hotel around 1:50, checked in, hung around the room watching a biography on George Lucas (creator/director of Star Wars, and the creator of Indiana Jones). It was actually pretty cool; I wish I could have stayed to watch the whole thing, but we headed down to the buses at 2:40, ready to depart for Richardson HS, where we were rehearsing for the bowl game performances. This whole time I was listening to my new music (I love Christmas music, but I’m glad it’s over so I can listen to my own stuff), which consists of The Very Best of the Eagles (great band; saw them live over the summer with Andrew and his family), MercyMe’s “The Generous Mr. Lovewell” (it’s another great album), a sort of greatest hits album for the Temptations (great group), an album by Neil Diamond called Dreams (lots of cover songs, most re-arranged as ballads), and the original Broadway cast recording of Jersey Boys, the musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, which is another great group. I love music. 🙂

Band rehearsal was alright, but some of it went by really slowly; not having played since my jury, my chops, as well as most of the section’s, were blown within the first half hour of rehearsal. Overall, it didn’t seem to last that long, so that was a blessing. After rehearsal, around 6ish, we all loaded back onto the buses and returned to the hotel, with the intent for everyone to take showers, get dressed all fancy-like, and go to the band banquet, where they were providing food and awards for certain people; however, ALL of my best friends from home were getting together at a little shindig thrown by Andrew at his house, and I wanted to be part of it, so I skipped out on the banquet (don’t worry; there wasn’t a roll check, it was unlikely I got an award, and there were LOTS of people skipping out on it, so it was okay) and drove back to Mesquite to go to Andrew’s party. Most of my favorite people were there: Andrew, Seth (them two plus me make up the Three Musketeers), Kate, Megan, Regan, Connor, Johnny PR, Courtney, her little sister, and even Tessa, who drove in special from Mansfield just to hang out with us. 🙂

We started with playing some billiards in the game room, and then, once mostly everyone had shown up, we ate dinner, which was made up of homemade fajitas and the like, courtesy of the Grant family. Awesome stuff. Following dinner, we all crowded into the living room and whipped out the Wii to play some Just Dance 2. We all took turns playing and had a great time. After a while we switched to the Michael Jackson experience, which is similar to Just Dance, and was also fun, though much more difficult. I only danced to one song, my favorite by Michael Jackson: “Black or White”. Connor danced with me on that one. Fun stuff.

After getting our groove on, we all re-gathered into the game room, surrounding the pool table to play a game Connor brought, which involved lots and lots of dice; I apologize for not remembering what it’s called. I ended up leaving at the same time as Connor at about 12:45; my family was waiting on me at home and it was kinda late. Oh, I forgot to mention; I brought all of the stuff I had packed for the hotel home so that I could just spend the night at home instead of at the hotel. There’s no room checks, and out of the four people who were supposed to be in our room, only one was sleeping there because he’s not from the Dallas area. Plus, we have to provide our own breakfast in the morning before rehearsal, so coming home was more convenient.

So here I am at home, and, since it’s awfully late and I have to wake up somewhat early, I should go to sleep now; I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss two posts in a row. Sorry about that, again. Plus, I wanna be ready for our annual New Year’s Eve party with my best friends and my family!

So goodnight, everyone.

Chad

P.S. – Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post; I’d add them in now, but I don’t wanna go through the trouble of searching for amusing ones.

Well, Darn…

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First time I’ve missed a post. Sorry about that, everyone. Don’t worry, I’ll have a post tonight, though I’ll have to type it on my phone; the hotel where the band is staying doesn’t have free Wii-fi. Oh well. I’ve done it before. Talk to you all later!

Chad

So Long, Farewell

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Today was our last day in Alabama. =/

I’m really going to miss it here. I feel that I’ve gotten a lot closer to my aunt, uncle, and cousins since the vacation my brother and I took with them over the summer to Florida on a Disney cruise, especially to my uncle; I’ve already explained that. But I think I also got a lot closer to my cousin Summer. We got along really well; I made sure to spend time with her and do some things that she wanted to do, such as play Just Dance 2 for the first time (which I really enjoyed and did pretty well on). All yesterday evening we were messing around with each other, teasing and such, and just having a great time together. I think it was good that I made it a point to spend time with her because I haven’t always been the greatest about doing that with her in the past, since my younger cousin Carson likes me so much. We used to play with each other almost nonstop just because he was so attached to me, and I think that Summer felt a little left out at times. So yeah. I did a good thing, I think. I also got a bit closer to my aunt this time around because we share a common gift: we both got iPads for Christmas. I helped her figure some things out, dress it out in accessories, and we even played on them a bit together; we’ll be playing Words with Friends often, I can tell…I’m gonna miss them so much. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we next see them, since they don’t live so far away anymore. Maybe this summer? We’ll see.

Anyway, today I slept until 11:15ish. I went downstairs, had a couple of bowls of Fruit Loops, fixed a cup of coffee, and then joined in playing “Bananagrams” with my grandma, my aunt, my dad, my uncle, and Carson; it’s a sort of Scrabble-like game, but here’s how it works: you have a big pile of letter tiles lying face-down in the center. Everyone grabs 11 tiles to start with. Someone says “split” and everyone flips their tiles right-side-up and proceeds to form their own crossword. Once you form all 11 of your starter tiles into a crossword with valid words, you say “peel” and everyone, including you, draws a tile from the center. If you have a tile that you just can’t play, you return it face-down to the center, say “dump”, and draw three tiles. The goal is to use all of the tiles on the board; once the pile in the center runs out, the first person to use all of their tiles shouts “Bananas!” and wins the game. It gets really fun; I might have to go buy it for myself for party occasions. It’s a blast, and we spent more of the day playing that than anything else.

After a while, at around 5:15 or so, my mom, dad, aunt, and I left for Kohl’s again to exchange a couple of shirts that my aunt had bought for my stocking (a Bob Marley shirt and a Beatles Apple logo shirt (that I honestly already have anyway) because they were a size too small, but the store ended up not having larger sizes of the same shirt, so I got two new ones: a new Beatles shirt that simply has the logo on it and a Star Wars shirt that has a grid with different characters in different colorful squares. It worked out well, and they’re both really cool shirts; great additions to my pop culture shirt collection. From Kohl’s we went to Pizza Hut to pick up the pizzas my uncle had ordered by phone. Taking them home, we all ate it together at the kitchen table. I don’t ever eat from Pizza Hut, but this pizza was pretty good. I liked it a lot.

On the subject of pizza, I’ve been toying with the idea of quitting pizza in 2011. Crazy, I know, but I really do have a pizza problem; during my junior and senior years of high school, I’d get pizza for lunch nearly every day in the cafeteria, and now, in college, Andrew and I will order it three times every two weeks, with the gaps often filled with me buying Sbarro in the Student Union Building. It’s pathetic. Yes, I enjoy it, but yes, it’s also a problem. Despite the fact that I quit soda for the purpose of drinking healthier drinks and losing weight, I don’t think I’ve lost any weight at all; in fact, I think I’ve gained just a few. No “Freshman 15” just yet. Maybe I should do anything so radical as to quit cold turkey like I did with soda. It might be a good idea to simply limit my pizza intake to once every two weeks or a month or something. We’ll see; it’s something I’ll have to discuss with Andrew.

I may also try eating fruit every day, though that could get expensive. We’ll see about that, too.

Following our pizza dinner, my grandma insisted she take a few pictures of my cousins, brother, and I to put in a picture frame she got. After that, which only took a few minutes, Summer brought down the Wii from the game room and had it hooked up in the living room. After a few moments of lazy digesting, I joined her in playing Just Dance 2 for a while. Both cousins played, Blake joined in this time, and my mom even played it a bit! Fun stuff. I was still winning most of the time tonight. 😉

After playing that for a while (I have no idea for how long), I joined my mom, my grandma, Blake, Summer, and Carson in more Bananagrams. A few games in, I got an email notification via my iPhone, and guess what? TELLTALE GAMES RESET MY ACCOUNT PASSWORD. Do you know what that means? I PLAYED BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE GAME FOR THE FIRST TIME. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

OHMYGOSH I KNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW


And what a great game it is. It’s not like a lot of video games you might see out in the world; for one, this is only part one of five; the next four will be released one at a time, once a month for the next four months. It’s not an action-type game, but instead a game where you search around for clues, talk to people (with several different choices of what to say or ask each person), and analyze situations. It’s really creative how they did it. Christopher Lloyd reprises his role as Doc Brown (<3), but, other than by allowing his likeness to be used in the game, Michael J. Fox was completely uninvolved, which may seem as a surprise once you hear Marty in the game: it sounds just like him. The voice actor's name is AJ Locascio or something like that (I don't wanna look it up), and he does a great job as Marty. I don't know how far through the first part I am, but I'll consider typing out a full review of it once I finish.

On the subject of Back to the Future, I received the 25th Anniversary Trilogy on Blu-Ray for Christmas (the gift I told my parents that if I got it they wouldn't need to get me anything else, and I was serious). I haven't done anything with it other than put the free digital copies of all three films on my computer, which I need to fix when I get the chance at home. I am literally going to sit down and watch through all of the special features I can get my hands on; I'm SO EXCITED.

Anyway, this post ended up being a lot longer than I expected, though I actually typed it out pretty quickly. Now, it's time for bed; we are planning on waking up at 7 in the morning, with plans to leave as soon as possible so we can get home earlier in the day, which will be nice.

See you all back in Mesquite!

Chad

P.S. – You'd be surprised how addicting it can be to play with these little magnetic balls:

Cube.


Snowflake.


Erm...Thing.

Eli’s Coming

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/song playing on Pandora right now

Good morning, sunshine! The world says hello!

This is another post from my iPad, which Ihave now “tricked out”. My aunt (who, along with my uncle, got it for me for Christmas) took me today to get a screen protector, a case, and a wireless keyboard (which connects via Bluetooth) to accessorize it. They keyboard is the same size as a normal keyboard (except it’s super-thin and slim /synonyms), so it makes it a lot easier to type stuff out on it since it doesn’t require the touch screen. I got the idea from one of my history classmates, who typed all of his class notes on his iPad via his wireless keyboard. It’s
super handy. The case I got is pretty cool too; the part that houses the iPad itself is soft and is velcroed in, which velcroes to a sleeve-type thing that allows you to prop the iPad up in either landscape or portrait position. It’s ideal for now while I
type or for when I’m reading something or watching a movie and whatnot. Pretty cool. I managed to put the screen protector on pretty successfully as well; it only has a few tiny bubbles where small hairs or dust particles managed to sneak in. I may decide to use the second screen protector that came in the pack to fix it,
but for now it doesn’t bother me too much.

My new setup.

I first woke up this morning at 9:45 with my first alarm, but I went back to sleep,
only waking up a couple more times until I finally got out of bed around 11:30 or so. When I got downstairs, Pillsbury cinnamon rolls (which rock, by the way) were already prepared and ready to eat; awesome. I just hung around a little while, played some Uncharted on my PS3, got dressed, and then my aunt, mom, grandmother, and I all departed to do the aforementioned iPad shopping. What I didn’t mention is that my aunt got the same case and screen protector as me since she got a new iPad for Christmas as well.

We went straight from shopping to dinner (an early dinner, of course) around 4:30-5 or so at a seafood place called Oyster House, meeting the rest of the family. The food was really good; we got both shrimp and fried mozzarella as appetizers, which were very good, and I got a sampler for my dinner, which ended up being a LOT of food. It had a few chicken tenders, a large helping of popcorn shrimp, flounder filet, French fries, and red potatoes. Needless to say, I didn’t finish my
meal. It was TOO much food, but it was all tasty. Plus, I got these awesome sunset pictures out the window:

Ignore the window glare, please.

From the restaurant, I went back out with my aunt, mom, and grandma, and we were joined by my cousin Summer. We went to Kohl’s first, primarily to look at
coffeemakers. I got one from my grandparents for Christmas, which is awesome, but the problem was that it’s not a type allowed in Tech dorm rooms. Boo. The kind we’re looking at now is super cool; you have these little cup/package things that have different kinds of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in them, and you pop them in the
top of the coffeemaker, push the lid down, add water in the container, and it makes it for you. Sounds non-extravagant in typed format, but it’s really cool when you see it; my aunt and uncle have one, and I had never seen it until I saw theirs. I’ll have one soon! I also found a Beatles jacket that was one sale, so I had to
get it (well, my mom did, but still; I GOT IT). It’s awesome.

I am now a
lord of Awesometown.

We went to JC Penney’s after leaving Kohl’s (I’m not entirely sure what we were
looking for here, but we didn’t stay long at all), and then we went back to the house from there. Upon getting inside, I proceeded to pimp out my iPad.

Pictured: Not My iPad


Then I helped my aunt put the screen protector on hers and just started messing around with mine for a while. My aunt later came back and we played each other on Scrabble via Wi-Fi connection; she ended up winning, but I was ahead for a few turns in the middle of it. I’m beating her in Words with Friends now. 😉 When she beat me
in Scrabble, I put my iPad away for a while and went back upstairs and play more of Uncharted. It’s really an impressive game; I’d guess that I’m about halfway through (maybe?) so far, and it’s great. The story is fun, the action not bad, the graphics
incredible, and it’s just enjoyable all-around. The music is even pretty good. /nerd

I played Just Dance for the first time tonight. My cousin got JD2 for Christmas, and she had asked me to play, and, not wanting to disappoint her, I did. My friend Tessa has the game back in her room at Tech, so I’ve watched her play it with Andrew,
Megan, and Jenny, but I never joined in. I actually really enjoyed it. It’s lots of fun, even though we had to keep the jumping/feet movement to a minimum since we were on the second floor and it was late. I ended up winning all but two of the songs; I was playing with both of my cousins. Cool beans.

Around 1:30 or so, Blake and I both decided to put away our video games (me Uncharted and him Call of Duty: Black Ops) and put on a movie: the new Karate Kid movie with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, on Blu-Ray. I ended up changing my mind, and my parents weren’t too thrilled with the prospect of us being up an additional
2 hours either (though here I am at 2:45 finishing typing this up), so here we are lying in the dark.

Yup. Pretty dark.

My family and I were gonna stay here in Alabama until tomorrow initially, hitting the
road sometime early tomorrow, but we decided to change our minds and leave with my grandparents a day later on Wednesday. I have to join the band on Thursday (dumb, yes) at the hotel, I get New Year’s Eve off (PARTY), game New Year’s morning, and then I’m free until I go back to Tech on the 7th. I’m so glad I was able to get that extra week (nearly) back at home; it’s gonna be nice spending time with my family. Welp, it’s definitely time for bed; I wanna try and wake up around 10-ish (for real this time) tomorrow (/today) morning, so sleep better happen now.

Goodnight, everyone.

Chad
P.S. –

Get out of my way so I can kill people.

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Hello, everyone. I hope you all had wonderful days.

I woke up and immediately left for lunch with my family at around 11 or 12; I was so hungry it literally hurt. We went to a place about half an hour away called Lambert’s (Cafe or something like that), home of the throwed roll; yes, you heard me correctly. When you want a roll (which are about the size of large, lumpy softballs, I might add), you raise your hand and it is thrown in your direction; if you catch it, you have a delicious, sweet roll to feast upon. If not, you get laughed at  by the people at your table (let it be known that I caught all of the rolls thrown at me, even the one thrown all the way across the room). The food was decent as well. I played it safe with a cheeseburger, which was really good. The patty was seasoned really well and very tender, and I had both Swiss and American cheeses on it. Yummy. I didn’t finish my fries though because the rolls were so large and so plentiful that I wasn’t too hungry after the burger. The atmosphere of the restaurant was the best part about it (besides the rolls); noisy, though bearable (unlike Texas Roadhouse), with good oldies/country music being played throughout. To my fellow SHMRG classmates: when we first walked in, I was proud to recognize “Green Onions” by Booker T and the MGs.

Pictured: Green onions.

After we left the restaurant (we were split into two vehicles; one driven by my uncle, one by my aunt; I rode with my aunt), my aunt took those of us in her car on a mini-tour through the city, to such locations as my cousin’s high school and my other cousin’s elementary school. Nothing too special, though it really is interesting to see that, compared to the high school here (whose football team just won the state championship a few weeks ago), Poteet is a large school. Weird.

We got back around 3ish (maybe?), and my uncle’s party wasn’t too far behind. I just sat around for a little while, but then my uncle walked in with the Star Wars games we bought him (Star Wars Battlefront 1 & 2, Star Wars Republic Commando) with the intent of checking them out. I sat in the computer room and watched/walked him through the campaign mode…and we’re still here 10 hours later. We rock. He’s on the last level at the moment, but he’s not doing too hot. He’s on his fourth or fifth re-attempt of the level, which is understandably the most difficult level of the game mode. I’ve really enjoyed being in here with him; I brought in my laptop and my iPad and we’ve just been having a jolly good time together. I love that I’ve gotten a lot closer to my uncle this year than I had been before. It’s been nice to text him or Facetime him every once in a while to just talk about something techy or whatever else may come up. I think he’s about to call it quits tonight; he’s awfully frustrated at this level. Ha. (the title of this post is a paraphrased, possibly exact, quote from my uncle whilst playing)

I installed a lot of iPad-specific apps today. You see, I synced it with my iPhone iTunes profile, so all of my iPhone apps (at least the ones I specified) were transferred onto my iPad. The only issue is that not all apps in the App Store are made for both iPhone and iPad compatibility; not to say they don’t work on the iPad, because they do, but they  are either really small (the size of an iPhone screen) or enlarged and blurry. No fun. The biggest disappointment with this is that there isn’t an official Facebook-endorsed app for iPad. What the frick, amirite? You’d think that something as popular as Facebook would have jumped on the iPad bandwagon ASAP. After all, Twitter and AIM and other social networking sites have official iPad apps (by the way, the Twitter for iPad app is niiiiiiiiiice, and the Words with Friends app is gorgeous; that’s right, I said it). Luckily, there’s a fairly decent Facebook iPad app called “Friendly for iPad” that I bought for 99 cents, but it doesn’t have push notifications (instant notifications for when I get a notification on FB) like the Facebook for iPhone app does. Bummer. Maybe an official app will come out eventually, but, until that day comes, I’ll stick to either Safari or Friendly. The rest of the iPad-specific apps are beautifully designed, with awesome graphics and a clear picture. I love it.

So, apparently the one game I own for my PS3 (which will soon be remedied) is the best I could possibly own; it’s the first game in a series called “Uncharted”, and it won IGN’s Playstation 3 Game of the Year award in 2007. Its sequel won the same award the next year. Rockin. The one I have is called “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune”, and it’s a sort of action/treasure hunting game. Lots of fun. Other  games I’m interested in getting are Fallout 3 (which I think my mom ordered; it should be shipped any day now) and LittleBigPlanet – we’ll have to see what else. I’ll have to look around and see what looks interesting.

No luck on BTTF: The Game yet. No password reset email from the game designers, and no moment of realization to aid me in remembering my password. Darn it.

On the subject of video games, I got a few for my XBox 360 that I haven’t taken a look at, though I really should. Toy Story 3 (hehe) should be lots of fun, and Harry Potter 7 Pt 1, though it didn’t receive the greatest reviews, could be enjoyable as well. I’m ready to play Halo: Reach for the first time too, as well as Bioshock 2; I’ve wanted to get into the Bioshock series for a while now, and I’m expecting great things.

Well, both my dad and my body are calling for me to go to bed, and I’m not arguing, so I will talk to you all later. Goodnight and sleep tight!

Chad

P.S. – Blast from the past in more than one way:

 

P.P.S. – The formatting isn’t any different on yesterday’s post, BUT I fixed it so that the last bit shows now. You’re welcome. 😉

I am so blessed.

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(I apologize in advance for the formatting; I believe my sign off is missing; I’ll fix it later)

Hello everyone! I hope that all of you had as great a
Christmas as I did, full of God’s blessings. (I’m typing this from
my new iPad! :D)

I fell asleep before two this morning, which made
my early awakening at 5:30am all the more bearable. Don’t ask me
why I was up so early because I don’t have a reason; it’s not like
I set alarms to wake me up obscenely early on Christmas morning.
I’m not gonna lie, though: I was sorta hoping to be up that early.
You see, I have my own little sort of Christmas tradition, though I
haven’t maintained it every year. A few years ago I woke up really
early on Christmas morning and was unable to fall asleep, so, being
too courteous to wake up the rest of my family so early, I pulled
out my iPod and watched the Polar Express. Today, I decided to do
the same thing. It was awesome. 🙂

After the movie finished at
around 7:45 or so, I decided to go ahead and go back to sleep and
let the younger ones wake up the rest of the family once they got
up. I ended up sleeping for about an hour until 8:40ish, at which
point the whole family commuted downstairs to the living room to
commence with the opening of presents.

Normally, “Santa” visits,
and the big gifts that we ask for are lying exposed in the middle
of the living room. However, since none of the younger ones believe
in Santa anymore, we didn’t do it this year, instead receiving our
“Santa” gifts wrapped and from our parents. My Santa gift from my
parents this year was a PS3, which was one of the top items on my
list; I wanted it specifically for its Blu-Ray capabilities, so my
parents got it for me. I love them so much. 🙂 Other gifts included
a book of useless information (perfect for me, considering how much
I use Wikipedia), several Blu-Ray movies to play on my new PS3 (the
new Karate Kid, Despicable Me (watching it now), Avatar (Extended
Collector’s Edition), and, my personal favorite, also from my
parents, the 25th Anniversary Back to the Future Trilogy!), a few
new XBox games that I can’t wait to play, and, as previously
mentioned, an iPad, a combination Christmas/birthday present from
my aunt and uncle. I also got a new coffee maker for my dorm room,
as well as Back to the Future: The Game for my PC. 🙂

I am so
blessed to have such a generous family.

The rest of the day was
spent syncing my iPad, playing with my PS3, trying (and failing) to
remember the password to the website that I downloaded the BTTF
game from (D:), playing the one PS3 game I own, and other Christmas
shenanigans.

Christmas dinner was fantastic. By the time it came around, I
was more hungry than I had remembered being in a long time (much
like I am now; darn). It was cram-packed of all the usual things we
eat for big dinners, i.e. creamed potatoes, turkey, ham, yams, etc.
Good stuff.

Pictured: Good stuff.

 

Outside of all
that, I didn’t do much. Tomorrow we may go out (which means I’ll
have to get out of my pajamas for the first time since I put them
on on Christmas Eve…whoops) and get me a case, a screen
protector, and a wireless keyboard for my iPad (all part of the
gift), and I may buy a PS3 game or two just to say I have them. And
HOPEFULLY I’ll figure out my password for the BTTF game so I can
play some of that!

Anyway, it’s super late and I’m a bit tired, so I
will talk to you all later. I hope that you are all sleeping well
and that you all have a great day tomorrow. Goodnight.

Chad

P.S. –

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

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Merry Christmas, everyone. Depending on how long it takes me to type this out (which varies based on my level of concentration, which may be pretty low since I’m watching a movie), this may be the first blog post of mine posted before midnight. I know, it’s quite a momentous occasion; at least, it will be if I can pull it off. Here goes.

 

I didn’t have to opportunity to sleep late today, but I was okay with it since I went to sleep before 2am for the first time since I-don’t-know-when (Side note: it’s now four to midnight and I’m obviously not even close to finishing. So so much for that). I think it might have been around 10 or so when I finally got up, at which point family breakfast was already prepared. We had the typical breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage patties, biscuits, and gravy. In short, a very good home-cooked meal.

 

After breakfast, I sat downstairs for a while and watched the original film version of A Miracle on 34th Street with the adults of my family (as if my brother and cousins could actually sit through it). I hadn’t seen it before, so I really enjoyed it. Good stuff. Interesting fact: the actress who played the little girl, Susie, in this movie was also Maria in the West Side Story movie musical – Natalie Wood. BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW THAT! Ha, anyway, we also caught most of White Christmas, though it must have been my parents’ 10th time to watch it in the last week; no complaints though, since it’s definitely a good film with good music (if you don’t think that Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney qualify as “good music”, you’re broken; confession: I accidentally typed “Bill Cosby” first…they are NOT interchangeable).

Pictured: NOT Bing Crosby

 

After watching those movies for a while, everyone became restless and the adults started making dinner (this was around 5, I suppose; we had spaghetti for dinner!), so I went upstairs and joined my youngest cousin, Carson. He asked for help on his Nerf Wii game…yes, they made one of those, and I’m quite adept at it. I helped him out with that for a while until dinner was declared ready, at which point we all gathered at the dining room table and commenced to stuff our faces; I LOVE spaghetti! Well, at least the kind we made: it was the same kind my mom has fixed all my life that I love so much.

 

At around 7, all but the kids gathered around the television in the living room and watched the first showing of A Christmas Story on TBS’s 24-hour A Christmas Story marathon. We originally were gonna go out and try to find it on DVD or Blu-Ray somewhere, but we called around and everywhere was either sold out or closing soon. Lucky for us, we discovered the existence of the marathon 20 minutes after learning that we couldn’t go anywhere to get it. Rockin’. As for the movie itself, I loved it. I had seen Poteet’s Theatre Department perform it last week, but that was the only experience I had had with this movie before, so I resolved to see it. It made me laugh a lot, some of the time because I was thinking back to one of my best friends, Connor (who was Ralphie in Poteet’s production), and how he portrayed Ralphie. It’s definitely a fun movie, and I’ll make an effort to watch it at least once every year from now on; who knows, maybe I’ll make it a tradition to watch the first showing on TBS’s 24-hour marathon.

 

Midway through the movie, we paused it so that we could open our traditional Christmas Eve gifts. You see, in our family, for as long as I can remember, my grandparents have gotten their grandkids (me included, of course) a new pair of pajamas every Christmas Eve, and then we usually wear them at least on Christmas morning, if not the whole day long (I rarely change out of my pajamas on Christmas day). This year, I got some silky/polyester-y pajama pants with a sort of black/grey/white plaid pattern, as well as a plain white shirt to go with it. Very comfortable. I love these kinds of pajama pants. We also opened our gifts from our “Uncle Bill and Aunt Carla” (in quotation marks because they aren’t really related to us; my grandpa used to work with my “Uncle Bill” as firefighters, and they also did house construction projects together, so they’re really close); the four of us each got a $25 iTunes gift card, which was much appreciated since I haven’t had any money credit on my iTunes account since this summer. We open the rest of the presents tomorrow morning. I’m excited.

 

So, none of the kids in my family believe in Santa Claus anymore, not even the one who’s only 9. That’s a bit disappointing, but at least I don’t have to watch what I say anymore. That’s a plus, I guess? Eh.

 

While typing this, I was watching Horton Hears a Who! for the first time on Blu-Ray. I had wanted to see this for a while, but had just never gotten around to it. I had heard that it was pretty good, though, both from friends and from movie critics. I thought that it was really cute; definitely a step up from both the Grinch and ESPECIALLY the Cat in the Hat movie (fun fact: after seeing the Cat in the Hat movie, Dr. Seuss’s wife, who is still alive, revoked the rights of movie companies to make live-action adaptations of her husband’s books). I mean, I enjoyed the Grinch a lot, but I only enjoyed it because it was fun. It wasn’t necessarily a “good film”. Let it be known that Horton was great, though. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Not recommended. EVER.

 

I just noticed how much grammar really matters to me; I’m constantly editing what I just typed to make sure that if, for some reason, I turned it into an English teacher for a grade, I’d get a good one. Very rarely do I break the rules of grammar; if I do, it’s a mistake seldom made OR it was simply for comedic purposes (I like to pretend I’m funny sometimes).

"I'm a cat. And I have a lime on my head. That's not normal. IT'S FUNNY."

 

Welp, it’s after 1 in the morning now, and I’m ready to get some sleep. /unexpected

 

Goodnight, everyone. Merry Christmas, and God bless you all.

 

Chad

 

P.S. – Remember why this holiday exists in the first place. Even though Jesus wasn’t born in the wintertime, this holiday is still meant to celebrate His birth, so we should be thankful and mindful of that (yes, the following video has been posted before, but let it remind you):

Greetings from ‘Bama Land!

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Merry Christmas Eve!

So, I’ll admit that staying up until 4:30am before having to wake up early was a bad idea. Bad Chad. The plan was to wake up early so that we could be on the road by 8:30 or so. My parents were setting their first alarms at 6, so I thought that I would do the same. “If I wake up first, I’ll make sure to wake you two up,” I said. PFFFFFFFT YEAH RIGHT. I woke up at 6, looked at the time, snorted a bit, and went back to sleep. I ended up not getting out of bed until my parents woke me up a bit after eight, and we were on the road by 9. We dropped off some stuff at Andrew’s house on our way out, and we stopped in Forney for gas (we thought it would be cheaper like it normally is, but it wasn’t) and for breakfast at Chick-Fil-A. That put us officially on the way to Alabama by 9:30-9:45.

God bless this thing.

 

It was a long drive. I started out reading on my Kindle for a while: a book by the staff of Mugglenet (the Internet’s best Harry Potter fan site) titled “Harry Potter Should Have Died”. It’s meant to explore possible loose ends that were never concluded in the series, things they thought should have ended differently, and stuff like that. Now, I had read their first book, released back in 2006 or 2007 before Deathly Hallows was published, which explored theories as to what might happen in the last book; it was really good, and most of their theories (if not all) were spot-on. This book, however, has disappointed me so far. They keep trying to do “this or that” ‘s  between things that don’t really matter (in my opinion, at least), and, when they DO bring up an interesting topic, their arguments are shallow and basically boil down to, “which spell has the coolest incantation?” It’s upsetting. Despite all that, though, I’m not yet halfway through the book, so hopefully things turn out better. We’ll see.

 

On the subject of Kindles: I have a few friends who are severely anti-Kindle because they fear it will rid the world of books once and for all. To this I ask “where is your proof?” What about a Kindle is going to end books? Listen. I have an extensive personal library. Nothing super extravagant, but enough to get me by, and I’ve read most of the books in it. It’s a LOT of books. You have all seven Harry Potter books. You have the 10+ Michael Crichton books I own. The Inheritance Trilogy (the Eragon books). The 6 Artemis Fowl books I own. Etc. On my Kindle, I have most of the aforementioned books; the Kindle itself is smaller than the largest Harry Potter book. It’s a space saver; I could carry around my entire book library with me in a slightly-larger-than-pocket-sized device. How convenient is that? If I haven’t read a book yet and I don’t own it, I could put it on my Kindle, read it, and, if I like it, by the hardcopy. This thing isn’t destroying printed material; it’s preserving it. /soapbox

/soapbox

One great thing about my mom’s vehicle (a Buick Enclave) is that it has the built-in DVD player, complete with audio/video connecting ports, a carport charger, and a regular AC outlet (like in your wall at home; this last one is particularly convenient). This setup enables us to hook up a video game system and play right there in the car. We hooked up an XBox 360, though I didn’t really play too much today. My brother, however, played pretty much the ENTIRE time. He started with Call of Duty (I played a bit of this when he had trouble), then switched to Star Wars Battlefront II (I helped him on this too, but didn’t play for more than 15 minutes), and finally to Halo. Ridiculous. I decided to go to sleep around 12:30pm and was out for two and a half hours, which was wonderful, by the way. Around 2:30-3 or so, we stopped in Jackson, Mississippi (I think) for gas and a quick bite to eat. The gas station had a McDonald’s built into it, so we decided to just go with that. We bought drinks in the gas station convenience store first (I got some Sobe Green Tea), and then we stepped into McDonald’s; this was the worst McDonald’s experience of my life. They took FOREVER to make our meal. It was terrible. The food was decent, though, so that’s alright.

 

We climbed back in the car with our food and hit the road, watching National Treasure on the video screen via my iPod, connected with my iPod audio/video cables. I love that movie. My favorite scene is at the very beginning when Ben Gates (Cage’s character) deciphers the riddle inscribed on the Charlotte pipe. It’s just such a great moment. You rock my world, Ben Gates.

WRONG NICOLAS CAGE CHARACTER

After the movie, Blake resumed his XBox nonsense and I resumed reading, continuing with the Mugglenet book for a while before deciding to download Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” to my Kindle and start reading that. I didn’t get too far before we reached my aunt and uncle’s house, though.

 

Once getting here, we ate some taco soup (I believe that’s what it was; meat, corn, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and beans) that had already been prepared (and it was actually pretty good; we’re having spaghetti tomorrow, my favorite!), and I spent some time with my younger cousins. One is 15 and the other is 9. Summer and Carson, respectively. I played “laser tag” with Carson for a few minutes (I brought both my red and green laser pointers with me), and then all four of us played with Nerf guns, trying to get each other out with the lights off, which devolved into a simple game of hide and seek. YES, I AM 18 GOING ON 19 AND I HAD FUN PLAYING HIDE AND SEEK.

Now, here the four of us are, watching Polar Express again (I NEVER tire of this movie), going to bed after it’s over (which it almost is).

At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.

Why do we find it so hard to believe in things just because we can’t see it? No, I’m not saying that we should all believe in Santa Claus since he’s not real, but why do people have such difficulty believing in God? I understand that some of the concepts in Christianity are difficult to comprehend and accept, but that’s where faith comes in. I don’t think it’s so hard, but, then again, I was raised in Christianity; not to say I didn’t explore the religion on my own instead of just trusting what people told me was truth all my life, but the fact that my whole family is Christian just made it all easier to accept. I digress.

Is it so hard?

Welp, it’s early Christmas Eve and now it’s time for bed. I’m still slightly exhausted. Gonna put on my Christmas music and go to sleep. Goodnight, everyone, and I hope everyone has a great day before Christmas!

 

Chad

 

P.S. – Enjoy some Stevie Wonder.

Mindbombs and Sign Fails

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Hello, everyone. Today was slightly more eventful than yesterday, so let’s see how this goes!

I would like to officially open with some propaganda:
GO SEE TRON: LEGACY IN IMAX NOW. That is all.

You WILL go see Tron.

I first woke up this morning at 9:30, which was far too early for me (my dad was awake though, which is unusual for him), so, after using the restroom and kidnapping my cat from my parents’ bed, I went back to sleep for a few hours. My mom eventually woke me up around 12:15ish, if I remember correctly, but I stayed in my bed for another hour, half cat-napping and half-playing with my phone.

I finally got out of bed at 1:30 or so, grabbing my checkbook and box of receipts I collected this semester and taking them to my parents’ room to balance my checkbook. Bleh. My mom and I worked on it FOREVER and still didn’t get past September due to the realization that, somehow, my math had gotten completely off months ago, putting a damper on our progress. We sorted it out eventually, though.

Around 3:30 or so my dad made us all omelets…yum. Mine was cheddar and American cheese, with bacon and ham as well. Good stuff. I ate mine and what was left of my mom’s after she had had her fill.

While working on balancing my checkbook, my mom and I had the TV on. One of the movies that came on was the Polar Express, which was directed by my favorite director (Robert Zemeckis, who directed the Back to the Future movies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and is directing the upcoming remake of the animated Beatles movie, Yellow Submarine), and the music was written by Alan Silvestri, who frequently collaborates with Zemeckis. Good stuff. The ending always gets me teared up a bit…BELIEVE. One of my favorite quotes ever: “Sometimes the most real things in life are the things we CAN’T see.” Like God. 🙂

Speaking of Back to the Future, the video game was released for the PC on December 22.

DO WANT

Also, speaking of the Beatles, it was announced today (yesterday for all of you, I suppose) that the zebra crossing on Abbey Road (where the iconic album photo for the Beatles “Abbey Road” album was taken; duh) is now a monument to be preserved for all time. How cool is that? Abbey Road is my favorite Beatles album; I have a shirt with the album cover on it, the album on both CD and vinyl, as well as the poster hanging in my room. /obsessed

History.

Back to my life: my dad got my mom and I milkshakes later; mine was gone in literally about five minutes. Milkshake equal sign good stuff.

After getting all of my stuff to take with me to Alabama in relatively the same area (not packed yet), I met up with my good Puerto Rican friend Johnny at the local movie theater (interesting fact: did you know that this theater, AMC 30, is one of the largest in the world?) at about 10:20 (yes, at night). We were seeing the new Tron: Legacy movie in IMAX 3D. Expensive tickets? Yes. Worth it? Definitely. I got my usual “movie food”: a cinnamon-coated pretzel, a bag of strawberry Twizzlers, and a blue raspberry Icee to replace the usual soda (I quit soda back in August, remember?). Then we sat in the best seats in the theater: the row right behind the bars at the front of the elevated section, dead center. Now on to a mini review of the film: while not a critical masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, the movie is lots of fun, and Jeff Bridges and whoever plays his son (not up to looking it up at the moment) do a great job. I have to admit, this film has visuals that blow those in Avatar out of the water…and I didn’t think that that was even possible. The music was also enjoyable as well; I believe the score was composed by the band Daft Punk, and I surprisingly liked it a lot, to the point that I may buy the soundtrack.

After the film was over, Johnny and I bro-hugged each other goodbye (what else do bros do?), climbed in our cars, and drove home (Johnny got his license today! I’m so proud…an slightly terrified). On my way back to the Hopkins residence, I came across a dilemma: on a service road alongside the highway, I first saw a sign that said “Right Lane Closed Ahead”. Okay then. No problem; just stay left. About 100 feet later: “Left Lane Ends”. WELL WHAT THE FRICK?! I eventually came to this solution:

Flux capacitor not included.

Whatever works, right?

 

When I got home a little after 1, I packed all of my stuff, including clothes, entertainment items (Nintendo DS, Kindle, iPod, etc), various chargers/cords for said entertainment, and my laptop. Then, after taking a much-needed shower, I went to bed and began typing this…sorry Mom. I promise I’ll be okay and fully awake!

And now, I am pretty much finished. We are waking up early-ish in the morning so that we can get to my aunt and uncle’s house in Alabama at a decent time. I’m probably going to drive part of the way there. Please pray that we all drive safely and have a successful trip.

Quick note. Movies in theaters that I need to see: the new Narnia film (despite bad reviews), Tangled, True Grit, Tron, and Harry Potter (what? I never said “movies I haven’t already seen”!).

Another note. Movies that I need to see in general: the original Tron, the second and third Lord of the Rings, Donnie Darko, A Christmas Story, and Back to the future. ALWAYS Back to the Future.

That’s it for this post, everyone. Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

Chad

P.S. – This was typed on my iPhone, so if you see any embarrassing spelling errors, it’s because sometimes iPhones’ auto-correct feature consistently ignores the English language.

Almost not worth posting…

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…simply because there’s not much to say. At least, I don’t plan on saying much. We’ll see how it turns out. I woke up multiple times this morning before officially getting out of bed around noon, I believe. Interestingly enough, my brother was lying in bed longer than me, something unusual since he is usually one of the first ones awake in our house. Once he got out of bed, we (of course) played against each other in Battlefront II again, back on the XBox, and I beat him so hard. It was rockin.

After a while, we stopped playing, and I switched to playing the same game by myself on my computer. An exciting life I lead, huh? While playing on my computer I watched several movies, including Sister Act, Men in Black II, and The Hot Chick…that last one not so great. It has its funny moments, though. Oh well.

That’s pretty much my day. Nothing else happened. I didn’t go anywhere, I didn’t see anyone, I didn’t do anything. Boring boring boring.

My grandparents made it safely to my aunt and uncle’s house in Alabama today. Long, 10-hour drive, one that I’ll be a part of on Thursday when my parents, brother, and I make the trip ourselves. I’m really looking forward to spending time in Alabama with my full family. I don’t know when we’re coming back…I think that the plan is to come back the Wednesday after Christmas since I have to be back on the 31st (30th? I need to double-check that…) for the bowl game on the first, which I’m still not looking forward to.

One bonus, though, is that I talked to the director of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, told them my mom is having surgery on the 6th (don’t worry, it’s nothing serious), and he agreed to let me wait until the 7th to have to be back in Lubbock, America. Thank you, sir! It’s much appreciated.

Plans for tomorrow include making sure all of my stuff is packed, balancing my checkbook like my mom has been asking me to do, eating, and breathing…especially that last one.

Anyway, I’m about to go to bed…super early bedtime for me. I need it though. I hope you all have a great night/day. Sleep well!

Chad

P.S. – Now, enjoy Shaq (yes, the basketball player) conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra performing “Sleigh Ride” –

P.P.S. – Only three days until Christmas! 🙂

P.P.P.S. – I thought this up and posted it on Twitter a while after initially posting this, but I really like it, and I hope you like it too!

In a perfect world, love would be easy and hate wouldn’t exist. We wouldn’t make mistakes and we wouldn’t get hurt, but without those mistakes and moments of frustration, we wouldn’t build as people. Thank God for all of those opportunities He gives us.

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