Posts Tagged ‘weddings


Trying again…

A few weeks ago, I started walking. Not every day, probably four or five times a week, with weather and other circumstances sometimes preventing the walk. I’m averaging about 1.25 miles per session, although the app I’m using to track it fluctuates between 1.23 and 1.33 miles, even though I walk the same route every time. Go figure.

I’ve changed my eating habits. Cutting out junk food, sweets. Eating less. I’m drinking almost nothing but water. And when 4 o’clock rolls around and I suddenly desperately want to eat something, as always seems to happen, I reach for an apple instead of a bag of chips. If circumstances force me to eat fast food or nothing at all (something that happens frequently when I’m rehearsing a play until nine o’clock at night), I go for the grilled chicken sandwich instead of the bacon cheeseburger. In fact, I’ve only had one hamburger in the past month, not counting the fourth of July barbecue because, dammit, it was the Fourth of July and Benjamin Franklin DIED AT GETTYSBURG to protect our right to burn meat and eat as many hot dogs as possible at Coney Island. (I respect this last part tremendously, although I don’t take part — I don’t really like hot dogs.)

I am, as seems to happen every few years, back to making a real, concentrated effort to get healthier. It always happens the same way — I feel lousy, I get tired of feeling lousy, I do what I can to make myself healthier. I improve. I can tell you right now that I feel better today than I have in a long time. But I always slip up, I always go back to old habits. I’m particularly afraid of losing the walking once school starts again. Right now it’s relatively easy — although I have a lot of work to do, I’ve got a lot of freedom as to when I do it, so working in a walking session usually isn’t a problem. But I prefer to walk in the morning, before I start doing anything else, before I’m distracted by a million things. In order to do that once school starts I’d have to start getting up before 5 a.m., a punishment that should be reserved only for the most egregious prisoners of war. Doing it after school is viable, but I know from experience how hard it will be to jolt myself into activity after a full day on my feet chasing after high school students trying to teach them to conjugate gerunds or whatever it is I do.

But I’ve got even more of a reason now that I have in the past. I’ve got a wedding next year. And I want to feel great that day. And I want to keep feeling great after that.



Erin and Blake Go to Florida (and Other Adventures)

Once again, Erin has come and gone back home. So while I sit here, missing her like crazy, I can at least fill the void a little bit by telling you how our visit went. We spent a little time planning this summer’s visit, and at one point she was planning to come in for her birthday on June 3. Ultimately, though, we pushed it back a week so she could come with me and my family on a little side-trip to Florida, for my cousin’s wedding. It wouldn’t be our first time on the beach — we waded in Atlantic City a while back — but this was different, and as always, it was great.

Erin came in on June 7, Sunday, on a 10 a.m. flight. Why so early? My sister was in a play at the Bayou Theatre in Lockport, and Erin wanted to come in to see it. If any of you got a chance to see The Floating Palace before its run ended, you know it was a really good show. Erin and I had a great time, and the show was great.

On Monday, Erin just started to prove how incredibly patient she can be when it’s something important. As you may know, I’m finishing up my teaching certification. I’ve got two classes left, and I’m taking one of them right now. On Monday, Erin came down with me to the university to take care of some paperwork and pay my fees, then we went shopping for a suit for me to wear for the wedding. Which we didn’t find. Then we went back to the university so I could take care of my paperwork and fees, because when we went in the morning I couldn’t get in to see my adviser.

Really, Erin is a saint.

Anyway, once all that was finally taken care of, we went out to see the new movie Up, which we both really liked. I mentioned this in our review of the movie, but I’ve got to say it again: this got to me. Pretty deeply. There was something about this movie, something that grabbed me, probably much more so because I saw it with Erin.

On Tuesday, we spent a lot of the day with my friends. Jason and Andrea very recently bought a house, which is great. Then right afterwards Andrea broke her leg, which isn’t great. Then Jason got in a car wreck, which is even further from great. So it was great to see both of them. Heal up, guys. We went over, along with Mike, Kim, and Kenny, and hung out for most of the day, watching TV. Our plan originally was to try to find a place that was showing game six of the Stanley Cup finals — Erin is a huge Pittsburgh Penguins fan — but Jason kindly put it on and we watched it right there. And they won. Erin was happy, and so was I.

Wednesday was the day my class started, so Erin again put her patience on display, as she would for the rest of the trip, by waiting until I was out of class before we did anything. In this case, it was a little more shopping — I finally found a suit — and dinner out with my Aunt Mona and Uncle Joe.

Thursday was the day before the trip, so we had things to get ready. Rather than going out, we watched Tropic Thunder courtesy of NetFlix, and I made her dinner. Friday we raced right home after class so we could meet up with my parents for the drive out to Florida. You can tell that we went to Florida, of course, because we took a picture at the Alabama welcome center:

You may have noticed that Erin and I are both wearing Penguins t-shirts. Friday was game seven of the series, and Erin was intent on seeing it. But we were driving to Florida, and even if you’re only going to Destin, it’s something of a haul. When the game started, we were still a good hour and a half from our destination, so we started to get texts from no less than six people updating us on the game. Thanks, by the way, everyone. We made it to the hotel, where my brother and sister-in-law were already waiting, just in time for the third period, so the rest of them went out to dinner while Erin and I watched the end of the game, and the Pens’ victory. She cried almost as much as I did watching Up.

After the game was over, we still needed to eat, but the others took the car. So Erin and I walked to the Applebee’s next door to the hotel, both of us still wearing our Pens shirts. She also had her Penguins purse, earrings, and hat on. The greeter took one look at us and said, “Really? It’s only been ten minutes.”

The wedding the next day wasn’t until 3 p.m., so we had time to go out to the beach, where my brother Chip and his wife Kayla already were.

She started to beckon me into the water, so we rushed back to the hotel to get into appropriate beachwear. I don’t even know how long it’s been since I went swimming in the ocean, but I’m so glad that I went back with her.

From there, it was back to the hotel to shower off all the algae we picked up and get dressed. Erin seemed quite happy with the suit she picked out for me.

The wedding was for my cousin, Lauren, and her fiance, Brad, both fans of the beach. A lot of the family was there for the wedding and the reception, which of course was held on the beach.

Wedding party in the surf

Wedding party in the surf

Uncle Renee enjoys the party

Uncle Renee enjoys the party

Erin enjoyed the well-stocked bar

Erin enjoyed the well-stocked bar

Blake enjoyed it... less...

Blake enjoyed it... less...

Brad and Lauren with Mimi

Brad and Lauren with Mimi

Renee on the dance floor

Renee on the dance floor

Once the LSU baseball game came on, many of the guests were distracted

Once the LSU baseball game came on, many of the guests were distracted

It was, pretty much, a wonderful evening

It was, pretty much, a wonderful evening

The next day we met up with my Uncle Wally and his family for breakfast, then headed home. You can tell that we were coming home from Florida, of course, because we took a picture at the Mississippi welcome center:

You may have noticed that Erin and I are both wearing Green Lantern-related t-shirts. This is because her boyfriend is an enormous dork.

Having spent most of Sunday on the road, we stayed at home and ordered pizza that night, rather than roam anymore. Unfortunately, this left us with only Monday as a full day together, and that day too was punctuated by a class I had to attend. Erin wanted to go into New Orleans for a street car ride, but between the lack of time and my lack of directional sense, I was nervous. I was willing to go in anyway, but she let me off the hook. The next time she comes to town, though, she’s getting a full day in the city. That’s a promise, sweetheart.

Instead, we did a little more shopping, I took her to lunch at Phil’s Grill (a place she’s wanted to go back to since I first took her there last year), and then we set out on the quest to find Buck’s sno-ball stand, the best such stand in the greater New Orleans area. When I was unable to locate it, though, I called my father to ask for directions, only to find out it moved last year. It’s the best place, but evidently, I don’t go there often enough. We found the new location, got some great frozen treats, and came home.

Tuesday, Erin was packed up and headed back to Pittsburgh, leaving us both much sadder. This wasn’t the greatest trip, thanks mostly to my class. We just didn’t have the time or resources to do everything we wanted. But my classes are almost done, and won’t interfere with us again.

And honestly, even if we’d spent every minute at home, watching Spongebob reruns, it would have been so much better than spending a minute without her there. I love you, Erin. You know that. I’ll talk to you tonight. And I’ll count the days until I see you today.


On the road again…

We’re packing up the car, friends, to roll on down to Florida. My cousin Lauren is getting married tomorrow, so Erin and I are going to the wedding, along with my parents, my brother and his wife, and lots of other family members. Erin is taking a big chance on missing most of the Stanley Cup Finals seventh game between the infernal Detroit Redwings and her beloved Pittsburgh Penguins. The fact that she actually agreed to this trip, knowing that a game seven would be the evening we’re on the road, shows again how much she loves me. I feel bad that she’ll have to miss the game, but we can’t leave until after my class, which doesn’t end until two o’clock. Unless the professor is in a rush today. I somewhat hope he’s in a rush today.

Don’t worry, I’ll get the Showcase podcast online tomorrow night as scheduled, assuming the internet connection in the hotel is everything it’s advertised to be. Other than that, have a great weekend!

By the way — Erin and I watched Tropic Thunder last night. I liked it. Ironically, it’s the least irritating Tom Cruise has been in five years.


A family wedding, a Kindle suggestion, more reviews

Best Wishes, Chase

This first blurb today isn’t for my Good Buddy Chase, he of the 2 in 1 Showcase fame, but rather for my cousin Chase, who is getting married today. I really wish I could be at the wedding, but Chase is getting married in Germany because Andrea, his fiance (actually, considering the time difference, she’s probably his wife by the time I write this) is a German native and they’re going to be living there, at least for the next few years. Much as I’d like to be there, if I could afford a trip to Germany I’d already have that Amazon Kindle I keep rambling about. Anyway, Chase, we wish you all the best, we hope to see you back home soon, and please don’t cause any international incidents while you’re over there. That message really applies more to your brothers, but they’re both over there for the wedding, so pass it along.

Short stories on the Kindle?

Speaking of the Amazon Kindle, something occurred to me earlier that’s yet another reason for me to pine for one. It seems to me that it would be an excellent way to read short stories. I don’t read many short stories, which is something I actually feel sort of bad about because it’s a dying art form that I’d like to support. The thing is, how do you get a new short story? Well, you have to buy a book of short stories, which (let’s face it) is a crapshoot. If it’s an anthology full of different authors, you know perfectly well that there will be some stories in there you like and some that you don’t like at all. Even if it’s a book of stories all by the same author, say Stephen King or Neil Gaiman, you lose that impetus to keep reading every time you hit the end of a story. Rather than chugging along to the end like you will with a novel, when you finish a short story it’s rather easy to put it aside and get distracted by something else.

I think it would be brilliant if Amazon established a short writing store, similar to the iTunes music store, where writers and publishers alike could submit short pieces of writing (both fiction and non-fiction) for a cheap download. I may be reluctant to spend even the $9.99 Kindle asks for a whole book if I’m unfamiliar with most of the contributing writers, but if you give me a first paragraph as a sample and I like it, I’d be inclined to spend 50 to 99 cents to download just that story and read it. I think this would be a hit, and may help to revive the short story format if only people would listen to my brilliance.


As you may have heard, there’s a new Terminator movie out this weekend. We at the 2 in 1 Showcase podcast, being shameless hangers-on to popular culture, always like to do an episode to coincide with a major genre film. So today, we’re converging at Mike “The Internet is a Bunch of Tubes” Bellamy’s house to watch the first three films in the series and record the episode. Then, tomorrow, we’re going to catch the new movie and do our review. If you’ve already seen the film, don’t spoil it for me. I hear the reviews are mixed, but I’m genuinely excited for this flick, and if I’m going to be disappointed, I’d rather be disappointed on my own terms.


Finally, how about a few more reviews for you guys? Here are some comics I’ve reviewed since the last time I did one of these posts:

May 2023

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