November 25, 2003

Tomorrow morning, the Kerns and the Petreys venture into the uncharted wilds of backwoods North Carolina! It's "A Very Deliverance Thanksgiving" at Melissa's grandmother's house, er..Trailer. Every little piece of advice or anecdote about this place makes me dread it a little more:

"Don't go running through the trailer. Not only will it shake itself apart, but it's so packed full of furniture & junk that you'll trip and die on something.

"Keep Matthew away from the back of the Carport, we find copperheads there every week or so."

"take a very quick shower, like less than five minutes, because the water heater only holds about 20 minutes of tepid-at-best water in the mornings. "

"No, Seriously. DON'T RUN IN THE TRAILER!! My foot went through the floor when I did.

Good ol' Grandma, whom I've never met, said she's looking forward to meeing her great-grandson and Brenda's new Chihuahua... and WE can come along too, if we like. Boy, I can just feel the family love oozing out of the phone. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and wish me luck.

November 24, 2003

Friday, Craig had a night that he described as "22 years in the making": Mr. 80's Band pop tenor finally saw his idols, Duran Duran perform live at the Tabernacle. I asked him how it was, and he launched into a 20-minute play-by-play of the event, including the set list. (This man is a serious fan: He hocked his precious Duran Duran LP collection to buy his wife's engagement ring.)

Despite the inherent energy-sucking nature of Sunday afternoons, this past one was overall a good day because the wonderful family we met in England finally got a hold of us. Melissa and the wife talked for almost two hours about LOTR and assorted other stuff. (No worries, they have this penny-a-minute rate plan for international Long Distance.) It was just great to hear from them again, because the whole family was just friendly and funny as you can get. Since we didn't get Elijah Wood's autograph, they got a spare one for us (costing about $35) because they came back the next day of CollectorMania. In return, we sent them a care package of American goodies (mostly from that bastion of southern culture, "Cracker Barrel") that was reportedly consumed over a weekend. We also got a letter from Keith, the LOTR fan that we met on the bus to CollectorMania. Melissa has set up a magazine swap with them, where we each send magazines from our country featuring LOTR actors or features on the movie.

Meeting these people has really connected us to England in a way that no place else has before. It makes it more "Real," in a sense. It's not that I didn't believe in it before ("What, just a conspiracy of cartographers, then?" --'Rosencranz and Guilderstern are Dead'), but knowing people and keeping in contact with them makes a place more alive in your mind, so it becomes more than the flat, glossy pictures that I took of the place.

November 13, 2003

Just back from a stint in L.A. for a friend's wedding. Well, OFFICIALLY it was for fellow UGA Accidentals Alum Joey Googe's wedding, but we managed to fit in a visit with my brother and a day in Disneyland for good measure.

Rob seems to be in a good place in his life, or at least he's come to terms with it. He's teaching high school kids, and he finds himself loving the work. Who would have thought it? His girlfriend, Gwennie, tagged along for a visit to Disneyland and Mel and I picked up the tab, for Rob's birthday gift. DisneyLand is a little weird, if you're used to Walt Disney WORLD, like I was. Joey's sister put it best: "It's like Bizarro-DisneyWorld: everything looks familiar, but it's different and all in the wrong places." After an amazing day in the park, Rob said that it was the best birthday gift he'd ever received from anybody. The day after, they took us to see a few sights in L.A., including the Sunset Strip, Amoeba Music, and some cool vintage cloting stores.

Rob mentioned that in addition to the lunar eclipse happening on his birthday, it also coincided with the planets aligning in the shape of the Star of David. I mused that perhaps this is foretelling of the Second Coming. ("Or the First, depending on your beliefs," Melissa added.) I always knew Rob would be the subject of some weird Prophecy involving aligned planets, and possibly a lost artifact, that would seal him as the Dark Lord Something-or-Other.

The wedding for Joey and bride Lea was not only beautiful, but fun to boot. I knew no one else besides the groom and his parents, but that didn't stop Melissa from working her social mojo no the crowd and making friends with a couple who work in makeup effects with the legendary Rick Baker (who did movies like "Men In Black"). She just has a knack for finding people with connections.

This was all great fun, and seeing Joey again was the best. Joey was the resident goofball in the Accidentals, and I became his understudy when I joined them in 1992. When he left, he passed the torch to me, and I passed it on to Mr. Brian Johnston in a long-standing tradition (and possibly a Union stipulation) that each a cappella group have a smart-ass in the bass section. Seeing Joey again brought back lots of fond memories but also made me realize how much I will miss him.

November 03, 2003

I called into 99x Saturday morning and won 2 tickets to see the band "Puddle of Mudd" on Tuesday. Also it's admission to the SoundCheck party beforehand. Melissa is really into the big hit of this group, "Blurry", as I am, but I really hate the rest of the stuff they've released. So after some thought, I said that she could go with someone else, and I'd stay home to watch the kid. (We're already leaving him with the Petreys for five days this weekend while we're in L.A. for Joey's wedding, so I figured that they're doing enough.) She'll probably take her friend, Melissa Welch, from her Tae Kwon Do Class.

Speaking of Mrs. Welch, we spent some time with her, her husband Matthew, and their daughter Caitlyn. They came to the Halloween gathering at Chez Petrey on Friday with the Pucketts, we attended Caitlyn's 6th birthday party on Saturday, and we took them up to Helen to see the fall foliage on Sunday. The birthday party took us to a DQ for lunch & Ice Cream cake, then to "Skate Country," where I acquired a few nice bruises and a messed up leg that I'm getting looked at tomorrow. Melissa, on the other hand, didn't take a single spill, and Matthew was surprisingly determined to get out on the floor in his tiny skates.