Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sneezy McGee

Two christmas parties in two night. Yes. Amazing.

That is all.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Task Management

It's that time again - when I shirk the little voice in the back of my head that tells me how self-indulgent and undeniably ego-centric it is to pretend that my thoughts merit the attention of the public at large (or in my case, at very small) and write a new blog post.

Today's topic: Independent music scene aficionados.

What is it about white people and music that makes us think that just because other people enjoy a particular musician or artist that they are somehow beneath us, even if we really would or did enjoy them otherwise? I have dealt with this feeling myself. We all have that band, singer or glockenspiel player that we sort of view as our "pet" musician. We love to tell our friends about the little details of their lives and how great they are and ultimately, the coup de gras is to utter some semblance of the phrase, "no one's really heard of them yet." At that exact moment, little silent fireworks are released into the brain, a personal victory march for our own awesomeness at knowing of a hidden talent that is not appreciated by those who do not actively work to find new music.

Once they become popular one of two things happens. Either you act disinterested in them because, "Yeah, I was listening to that stuff like, a year and a half ago. I'm kind of over it," when in reality you just bought and enjoy the heck out of their "sell-out" major-label debut - OR - you have sworn off even listening to their major-label debut because they are so beneath you that you don't, you CAN'T even care. They can no longer deliver the fireworks.

And so I ask, dear scene-kid music "lover," is it the music you love or is it the scene? If it truly is the music then stand by your band. Rock out to that top 10 single - yes, even rock out next to that redneck guy in the bar who doesn't even know what he's listening to but still bobs his head in-between sips of the blue ribbon. You know why he bobs his head? Because the music is good. Be an equal opportunity appreciator.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sandy Eyes

Another beautiful fall day! In about 15 minutes I will go out the door, hop in my car and go hurtling down the interstate at 80 miles per hour toward work and I may take a moment or two to glance around and admire the beauty of nature as I go. Also, the beauty of 18-wheelers, especially the ones with cartoon theme mud flaps.

A while back I did a post about things I miss from college, and I think I need to add one to that list - walking to class. What I wouldn't give to live close enough to work to be able to walk to work instead of drive. Sure, I had to leave 30 minutes earlier because walking is not as time-efficient, but those were some of the best times to think and enjoy being outside.

Don't get me wrong, I am well aware of all the thinking that can and does take place in cars, especially on the interstate, but it's just not the same. If I get a break from work today I think I will walk aimlessly around the outside of our office building. There are some pine trees back there and even if my coworkers look outside and think I've gone postal, it will be worth it to breath in some pollen and feel alive again.

Love. Grace. Peace.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm Well Enough and Don't You Know to Leave Well Enough Alone?

Discovery has a new show about lobster catchers.

This is why I don't watch television anymore.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Let Freedom Ring

This morning I had a delicious breakfast before heading out to work for the last time this week. Before I left, I let our Chihuahua out to use the bathroom, (read: front yard). When I brought her back in she looked as pathetically sad to be put back into the kitchen as she always does. In a moment of genuine pity, I leaned over, gave her one last head scratch, and promised her that I'd play with her when I got home.

It's 11:11 and I still haven't played with her.

I know dogs don't understand English and Maggie certainly has no idea that I stood her up tonight, but the more I think about it the more I feel like a huge jerk. I'm going to stop writing now and see if I can't locate her favorite half-destroyed squeaking octopus. Then, it's time for sleep.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

You're Disappearing and I'm Disappointed

I had something really really interesting to write about today and I can't because it may be "offensive." Even though you have no way of knowing what it was going to be, I just want to assure you that there is no reason for it to be offensive and if you would have been offended, you are relatively stupid. Those of you who would have found it thoughtful and entertaining - thanks for being on-board with me.

When I was a kid I used to imagine that I was incredibly important. I think we all thought that at one point or another. Did you? What I mean to say is, did you think that your decisions were going to matter to someone other than you and those closest to you? I hope all of us thought that, or some version of that growing up. How sad would it be to ask a kid what he wanted to be when he grew up and he said "documentation security specialist?"

"So, you don't want to be a doctor or a scientist or an astronaut?"

"Shucks no, mister! I want to fade into obscurity in a service oriented organization in Ohio!"

If everyone mattered to everyone else, no one would really matter at all. It's best to know that you matter to those you love - to God - and to be satisfied in your beautiful normalcy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


My Calculator
Uses Calculator tape
It runs out often

This has been Nathan Presents: Haiku from the Office #001

Sometimes it really strikes me that the MythBusters have really run out of Myths to bust. This evening one of the myths was whether or not it was literally possible to knock someone out of their socks and them survive the force of the hit. They tested it, as always, with two lame experiments before (predictably) pulling out 500 lbs of explosives to blow the dummy legs up. Turns out your socks will not be knocked off and you still live to tell the tale.
I'm not even a scientist, or nearly a scientist for that matter, and I still find fault in some of their techniques. They are flawed experiments with too many variables unaccounted for to really say definitively one way or the other.

Having said that, I still watched for an hour to see the legs blown up. Score: 1-Discovery Channel, 0-Nathan.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Money Doesn't Grow on Trees, but Chocolate Does

I had a favorable weekend and to my own great surprise - a really pleasant Monday.

Here is the short list of highlights of things I did this weekend:
- Went to Greenville (to spend the night before D.C.); did not leave smelling like Greenville (bonus).
- Rode to D.C. with my friend Jeff.
- Saw the WWII monument with the fountains actually on this time.
- Saw Ford's Theater and the house across the street where Lincoln died.
- Went to National Zoo. Favorite animal: the sloth bear.
- Sailed on a 26 foot boat around Bath creek.

Here is the short list of things I would have done if I'd had $7,400,000 to blow:
- Hired my own cab for the day.
- Gone to lunch with George Stephanopolis, my treat.
- Walked through street in front of White house with a leaf blower, blowing around a hundred thousand $1 bills. Played it off like I was making a statement. Wait for someone to think it was deep.
- At least 30 more gas station coffees.
- Sailed in Bath Creek on a full size replica of the Queen Ann's Revenge.
- Purchased the sloth bear.

Despite the lack of funds, it was still almost a good. I got some pretty fantastic views of the sunset in D.C. on Saturday, the weather was great. I took some pictures but camera phones can only do so much - and "so much" usually involves recording my friends doing things that will embarrass them later.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why is Palindrome Not a Palindrome?

You know how I know you're gay?

Does anyone else remember that skit? I forget where it's from (someone can post it in the comment section if you do know) but it is just two guys sitting on a couch playing video games and one of them says to the other one:

"You know how I know you're gay?....._________" and fills in the blank with some random thing about the other guy. Then the other guy returns in kind with the same phrase.

Yesterday I enjoyed a delicious dinner at Applebee's neighborhood grill and bar with longtime friend of mine, Matt Johnson. We sat down, Matt had a beer, I told a corny joke or two, we artfully critiqued the attractiveness of the waitress, but before any of this a funny thing happened. While the hostess - who was clearly in earshot - lead us to our booth, I casually said, "Matt, I really wish you would dress up a little nicer for our dates in the future," to which Matt quickly muttered cursing under his breath, presumably to reassure the hostess of his compete and undeniable heterosexuality, (as if his beard weren't evidence enough).

I've been single for a while now and it never occurred to me that I should avoid situations that may give the appearance of one who wasn't actively seeking a female compatriot. It isn't uncommon for friends of mine to joke around quite gay-ishly just to get a reaction, but the more I think about it, the more I wonder if Matt was right. Maybe we should all be more mindful of our behavior as it could give the wrong impression to the pubic at large.

I would say lesson learned but I did just got back from Walmart where I purchased a pumpkin spice candle in a glass jar. Looks like I have some ground to make up.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Passing Thought

On the way back to work from Kroger this afternoon (go hot bar) I had a passing thought. Think about the people in your life who aren't the primary characters, but are still close enough you feel you know them: your cousin, your old roommate, your buddy from church. How often do we hear stories from their lives that are of life-altering significance, but allow our over-clocked minds to water them down to bullet points on gossip lists?

So-and-so lost a job. So-and-so changed jobs. So-and-so is expecting a baby. So-and-so's mother died. We can't exude empathy for everyone, can we? Walk a mile in someone else's shoes doesn't mean walk a mile in everyone else's shoes. I'm not saying we're wrong for giving little more than a passing thought when we here of these things in the lives of others, I'm just sort of acknowledging it with a raised eyebrow and my weight in the back of my seat. How strange it is that each one of us lives out an infinitely complex drama of our own, day by day and elbow to elbow.

The only thing deeper than that, my friends, is a deep dish meat lover's pizza from pizza hut.
Time to anthropomorphize my chihuahua for a bit and go to sleep.


Nothing too epic to report today, only another embarrassing bathroom experience.

(Yeah, you know it's a good post when it starts off like that)

So I go into the bathroom at lunch today and I could swear there was no one else in there when I went into the stall, certainly not a portly gentleman with white hair. At some point, I decide it is the perfect time to sing a couple of bars from 2pac's hit song, "Changes" in a high-pitched girly voice. I'm alone in the bathroom, right? Why not? And who do you think I run into the moment I exit the stall? Yes. It was a portly gentleman with white hair. How did he get there!? That isn't the type of thing you just casually overlook; I would have had to squeeze by him to get into the stall in the first place.

This just proves a long spoken truth: finance people are sneaky. Dangerously sneaky.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Thirty minutes.

This isn't an uncommon thing, these thirty minutes. I spent them today as I do most days, on I-40 or I-440. They are, if you are wondering, the thirty minutes in which traffic implodes on itself and I am left helplessly watching my fuel gauge die a painful death. Today,  I calmed myself with NC State's college radio station.*

I am tempted to restrain myself from going off on some witty rant about how much I hate Raleigh traffic because I'm sure we've heard or read all that somewhere else before. We are all well aware of the many manifestations of road woe, most of which has been better recounted by more capable writers, more capable bloggers, even more capable Sloans who also write blogs (example: my cousin's 2004 blog). In spite of this, I still have a rantacious itch after today.

So here is my beef - where is the payoff? I really just want a little payoff for the wait. I'll explain: if I'm going to wait for a half hour to merge onto I-40 from the beltline, I want there to be a sea of cars stretching out for miles before me when I get there. No, this isn't some sick traffic masochism, it's just because I find it almost as obnoxious to wait so long to make the merge and then watch as nothing else legitimately delay-worthy turns up. Within minutes I was zooming down the road not knowing who to be angry at and thus being angry at anyone driving near me - especially the guy with the gelled hair that looks like he's having a great day.

And what could be even worse than finding nothing at all? Finding that it was caused by a "wreck." Today the "wreck" that stopped traffic for TEN miles turns out to be a '98 SUV with a severely bent fender being eyeballed by two head-scratchers standing next to an similarly barely damaged Ford Crown Vic in the median.

Seriously? Who slows down to look at this? Is Monday night television failing you?

You know what wreck I would slow my car (and thus everyone behind me for miles) for? Maybe, maybe, this one:
An 18-wheeler, no, a 19-wheeler (why not?) with a flat bed carrying a blue whale skeleton being delivered to a museum in Maine collides with a oil tanker head-on and both of them slide into a firework truck which ignites and sends flaming, exploding whale remnants all over the highway and surrounding tree line.

As for the gentleman with the mildly inconvenient insurance claim ahead of him - yeah, I'm not impressed by your wreck, sir. My apologies.

*For those of you who listen to NC State Radio, does anyone else ever wonder if those "DJ's" really know what's going on? I'm not talking about on their show, during which they are obviously clueless, I'm just talking about life in general. Like, I'm not sure they know where they put the shoes they wore last night. If nothing else they do know one thing - How to find the single from that one band with the moaning lady in the background layered behind three lead guitars and a techno drum beat. On lockdown.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


At this point I'm just writing for the sake of writing. I have this thing where I know I should be productive and do something of great import, but I delay it thinking, "Another day I'll get some kind of better inspiration which will eliminate the risk of any wasted effort." Today was one of those days which I hoped would be incredibly creatively productive since it is the first Saturday I've spent entirely at home in weeks. The only two things I accomplished (it's 11:52 as of this writing) are getting my hair cut and washing a couple of loads of clothes.

Before you discredit me for my laziness, I'd just like to toss out there that I hadn't had a hair cut in nearly 2 months and my clothes have been lying in a pile in my room for half that time. Okay, not really.
Okay. Kind of really.

So, in that light, it was a fairly serious couple of accomplishments, I do believe.

The phone just rang.


Never underestimate how unsettling it can be to have a phone in your house ring just once at 11:55 in the evening.

I could imagine close to 1,000 different sinister scenarios that could be behind that phone ringing, but in the interest of saving time and reducing your perception of me as the paranoid type, I shall only describe one.


A crazed crack-head with a knife sees the house and thinks it looks nice enough to be worth breaking into. He plans for three days how he will do it. First he stakes out the property, taking note of all the entrances, who drives which vehicle, and when we will be most vulnerable to a crazed crack-head knifing attack. After determining that time to be exactly 11:55 PM, he takes the home number from the phone book and lurks in the shadows with his safelink cell phone, then gives us a ring. We are unnerved by the phone call but it distracts us from - THE BATHROOM WINDOW DOWNSTAIRS. He crawls in through the window and makes a B-line for the room in which I sit. Like a trained ninja, he hurls a throwing knife at me. The resulting struggle is later referred to in the papers as "The Four Oaks Crazed Crack-Head Knife Butchering of 2009." 37 people, four squirrels, and roughly 3,000 mosquitos show up for my closed casket funeral and burial service.

Of course, I'm not serious.

I am, however, checking the locks before I go to bed.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Soda water and Salmon Bagels

Sunday Morning television blows my mind. It's like all quality programming is substituted for someone with a home camcorder filming regular people sitting in their living rooms talking about random garbage. This is the norm from anywhere between 8am-1pm. Apparently they also all have editing programs with effects processes first developed in the early 1990's. If I see one more neon blue background with credits rolling over it I may lose all hope in Sunday morning programming.

Which might not be a bad thing, maybe it's just one little way God encourages us to get up and go to church in the morning.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Don't You Tell Me What I Cannot Do. Can Not Do.

This is a brief one: 
THINGS I MISS ABOUT COLLEGE - 1 year and 4 months out

1. Learning. I know, cheesy - but I liked learning especially if it was a class I took out of legitimate interest. 
2. My Freshman and Sophomore Years. They were the best. 
3. Gratuitous amounts of unhealthy food and 0% fatty guilt. 
4. Brett Roach standing in a chair with a banana in his hand when I got back to our dorm room. 
5. The people I would talk to in the common room in Schwartz, (my dorm) most of whom I have forgotten the names of. 
6. UNCW's Campus, in it's former state of beauty. 
7. Sharing a meal with close friends in Wag.
8. Hanging out after CCF (aCRe)
9. Hosting a radio show with Devin. (A very ill-fated podcast)
10. Not caring that I didn't know what to do when I graduated.
11. Learning to play guitar.
12. Learning the meaning of growth in hard times. 
13. Yes, even Bryan's earliest attempts at learning keyboard. 
14. Being generally happy and mostly idealistic.

Things I don't miss about college:
1. Skateboarders. Dirty, stinking skateboarders.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Smells like 8-year old spirit

Yesterday, as I drove into Four Oaks I made a split-second decision to turn down the road that goes by the back side of my old elementary school. I must have driven by this road at least 4,000 times since the last time I actually went down it. For some reason, a random image from childhood flashed back into my mind, going to see a log cabin that some old man had lived in and had kept up as a town "historic landmark." If my memory serves me, we just sort of toddled into the one-room cabin and, upon finding nothing of interest there, toddled back out. I'm sure the old man felt he was doing some great educational service to us - the best I can do for him is remember it being there. It happened to be situated just across the street from our middle school soccer/football field (the middle school that I went to used to be on the same property as the elementary school). I would sometimes pause from running in the physical fitness test, or look up from a game of kickball and see it perched on its old stone foundation, watching us like a curious elderly gentleman sitting beneath a shade tree. Though it never served as a setting for a landmark event in my life, I still kind of liked it. Now it is just a memory of a memory, and I think that's why it was so surreal to see it yesterday for the first time in years.

Also, on that playground are lots of places that do serve as settings for landmark events in my life. There is the place where the old jungle gym was - where Bradley and I would play out imaginary games of Batman and Robin. There is the row of trees upon who's root I tripped and broke my other wrist (the first one I broke in pre-school playing duck-duck goose. I still have an aversion to that game). Then there was the tragic snack-time patio experience where I watched Mason, the bully, knock a lady bug out of Dale's hand and stomp on it. Dale cried - I cried. It was horrible.

One memory, however, troubles me the most. From the middle of the play ground I can vividly remember turning my head to the left and seeing what I swore to be the Bat Mobile driving down the main road past our school.  This would have been when I was in first grade or kindergarten, but I knew - I knew I saw the Bat Mobile - yes, the REAL Bat Mobile. I took great pleasure in bragging/telling all of the other kids in a tone which I usually reserved for speaking of ghosts or dead people or other serious things, about how certain I was that I had seen the Bat Mobile that day. As I stood across the street and watched the outlines of children at play project from my mind onto the empty playground, I grew more and more frustrated at my inability to conjure that specific scene. A few minutes passed and eventually I put the car back into drive and pulled away from the playground and my nostalgia; but I couldn't drive away from that curiosity, and the nagging question still remains:

Did I really see the Bat Mobile?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Belts are for Punks

I thought before I went to bed tonight I might relate a couple of humorous stories from my first week at work. The first day we took several breaks and, not knowing anyone and not wanting to sit in my chair for 15 minutes, I would get up, leave the classroom and wander about aimlessly. Around lunch I found myself with nothing useful to do and thus decided to go to the bathroom without bothering to consult my bladder as to whether or not it actually needed emptying. I walked in and there was another trainee standing by a urinal. As I walked into the stall panic struck me and I found myself legitimately fretting, "What if I can't produce enough pee to convince this guy that I really have to go?" Immediately I caught myself and laughed out loud at both the absurdity of the thought and at how seriously I had thought it. Needless to say, I think he took more notice of my unprovoked laughter at a toilet than he ever would of my wiz duration.

The second story is really just an observation I've made - we never really grow up. We get more knowledge and take on more responsibility but some constants will always apply that maybe we didn't consider when we were kids. Nowhere is this truth more evident than while eating at the "lunch table" with your coworkers - something I learned in that first week. I watched as 5 grown men aged from 23 to 29 excitedly emptied their crayon colored lunch boxes onto the table and, after rubbing their hands together first for good measure, dug in. Our conversation rarely touches on the performance of the S&P or wives, bills, etc., but, in all honesty, is much more likely center around who's sandwich or Gladware encased entree looks the best.

"Hey Nelson, what are you having? You gonna eat all that?"

So far the only differences I can discern from this setting and my experience in a middle school lunchroom  comes down to us having legitimate facial hair, a wardrobe requirement which includes a tie, and there being a bubble gum deficiency under the tables. Pretty much everything else feels familiar, and I'm just fine with that.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

How a Boy's Dreams Die, Or, The Meaning of Raleinquished

::crackling radio static::

      When last we left Nathan Sloan, he had just finished his first year wandering through the abyss that is the modern post-collegiate life. A semi-soft landing in the fluffyness of internship may have dusted him of much of his whimsy, but he still had much practicality to gain and even less of an idea of where he was heading. Like a trained mountain cat, he stalked the days of his youth by reapplying to work at summer youth camp and as the curtain fell on one season in Raleigh, he gazed out across the urban tree-line and pondered an uncertain departure...

This is Real.

What does it mean to Raleinquish? Firstly, and most obviously, it can be taken to mean that I have returned like a prodigal son to our state's sparkling capital city. If you were to take it that way you'd be right because, well - I have.

Sort of.

Once again I am living with the parental unit and commuting 40+ minutes to work every day. I work for an esteemed state financial organization which happens to be non-profit and very similar to a bank. I won't reveal too much about it until I've been there longer and can say for sure that they like me well enough to keep me. So far I love the place, though the vast amount of information they've asked me to absorb over the past two weeks of training has more than once made me daydream of running through a mountain glen surrounded by woodland creatures. That, in case you were wondering, is my happy place. It is where I go when I feel like I am experiencing an information overload. Other than that, it seems pretty cool.

The second reason I have titled this blog Raleinquished is because in coming back to this city and taking a desk job which requires of me a suit and tie,* I am voluntarily ceasing to keep or claim the lofty dreams of exceptional living that I held as a youthful high school and college lad. It's a moment in most of our lives where we realize the gig as a rock star might need to be put on the back-burner while we pay our bills in some disgustingly normal way. I may have Raleinquished for now, but with a little luck and a lot of work, don't count me out completely.

To be continued...

*Where do we get the saying "suit and tie?" I can think of no occasion in which it would be appropriate to wear a suit without a tie. When you take the tie away and it ceases to be a suit - it becomes some 1980's throwback to Miami Vice but I hardly think that can be classified as a suit. In short: when you lose the tie you lose the suit - lets be less redundant and more efficient** in our communication and just refer to it as a "suit."

**Did anyone else pick up on the irony of this?