Sunday, April 4, 2010

Finally: A Reason to go to Kernersville?

Today I went through my glorious Easter Sunday routine of hitting up all the grocery and drug stores in town looking for discounted Cadbury Mini-Eggs. Yes, Cadbury Mini-Eggs are the main thing that causes this agnostic, pretty much God-indifferent fellow to go through Easter Sunday with a sense of joy, gratitude, and reverence.

Not everyone seems to know about the good news of Cadbury Mini-Eggs, and so I was sharing some of these with the friendliest barista ever Martha at the Thru-way Borders today. However, she also informed me that in shores all over Kernersville during the Easter season, you can frequently find handmade Moravian Easter Egg chocolates made in a variety of delicious flavors, such as coconut. My interest piqued, I asked her if it was possible to pick some of these seasonal Moravian delicacies even though Easter had already passed. She said no, these would be long-gone by now.

I thus announced that I would have to make a mental note to find these Moravian Easter Egg candies about 350 days from now. Why 350, Marthas asked? Well, because if I wait 365 days from now, I'm going to be in this same sorry state, completely deprived of Kernersville's Moravian Easter Eggs this time again next year, no? You see, Momma didn't raise no fool.

Hopefully we'll see a follow-up on this post 350 days from now, with a picture of me enjoying delicious coconut-flavored Moravian delicacies... mmm...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Night Skiing Deserves a Quiet Night

Did you know that North Carolina has skiing? Did you know that North Carolina has skiing in late March? Well, I think I'd heard about the first one, but skiing has sort of skipped my mind my mind since I got here. I like to ski enough, but I also like to take a disparaging view of East Coast "mountains." In any case, Austin presented the fine idea of going night-skiing last Saturday, in what I have to only imagine was quite possibly the last ski weekend of the season, and so we headed off to Sugar Mountain.

True to its name, the snow felt like sugar -- you know the kind that you get when it's been sitting out in the humidity for too long? And to get it out of the container you have to start chipping at it with a butter knife or something? Yeah, that kind. Staying on top of my skis as I blithely flew down the mountain at top speeds anyway was thus a bit of a challenge. I also went out of my way to hit any little jumps I could find and get as much air as possible, and I'm proud to say that this resulted in at least four wipeouts, with skis and poles flying every which way. I told Austin that if you don't wipe out at least once, you're just not trying hard enough.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

On the road to Jackson, MS

A couple pictures from a recent roadtrip to Jackson, MS:

Oh, if only it were that easy...

As advertised: the Peanut Depot store in Birmingham, AL sells ONLY roasted and boiled peanuts. I tried to get some other friends into these lovely boiled peanuts, and they weren't feeling it. What's wrong with people these days?

Got to Jackson just in time to see the last day of an exhibit on Jim Henson at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Pretty interesting contrast to the Tim Burton exhibit at MOMA in New York. Check this out if you have 9 minutes... it's sort of like Sesame-Street-animation-meets-art-school-final-project...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Solice from a Prawn

Well, in the end I didn't make it out to Mexico. This made me very sad, although a couple friends thought I had made the right choice after hearing on NPR that border towns around Mexico (Chihuahua was named in their little list) had witnessed 200 murders in the past... what was it? Oh yes, week.

I figured the only way to relieve my disappointment was to head to the Spanish restaurants on Waughtown street, this time joined by my friend Feisty. We happened to go to El Paisano on a Friday, which so happens to be one of the few days that they serve caldo de camarones (shrimp broth soup). Feisty and I ordered a couple bowls of this and loved diving through the broth to get to all the yummy jumbo shrimp and chunks of whitefish found within. Mmmmm....

Postscript: Another friend Pat who had joined me on a previous Waughtown excursion heard about my failed attempt to get down to Mexico, and this conversation ensued:
Pat: "I've heard your Spanish down on Waughtown street."

DW: "Yes?"

Pat: "Not impressed."
Oh really? Well, I got some choice words for you in English then, my friend.

Prawn says: Don't be sad, DW, there will be other trips to Mexico.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chihuahua debate

Well, I had planned to make a new trip to the Spanish world to learn Espanol starting next week, but these plans are on deathwatch. My original plan was to follow out my friend Michelle to Chihuahua, Mexico, where I would camp out with her and take three weeks of Spanish classes. Unfortunately, she announced a plan not to go back, less than a day after I had bought my non-refundable ticket, which seems to have to do with the fact that she has no money to get there, and no job once she does. And perhaps her drive to return has been dampened by the fact that she witnessed a double murder the last week she was living there previously, right across the street from her house. (I will leave out all the gory details.)

I had bought my ticket to visit telling her "I hope you understand that YOU'RE about the only reason I would feel at all tempted to visit this place. In fact, I would almost literally be anywhere else in the Spanish-speaking world." To which she replied "Aww, thanks!"

In any case, I am now faced with the fact that I have bought a non-refundable ticket to one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico to visit a place where I have no contacts. I am trying to figure out whether to go through with the trip or not. Currently I am sitting at Border's where the Fodor's guide has this to say about it all:
[Danger symbol:] Given the problems with drug-cartel related violence in Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez, we strongly advise that you avoid using either as a transit hub or base.
Hmm. Sounds like a great place to be for three weeks. Blood levels rising...

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Last Memory of Roger Ebert

I felt more compelled to write this entry after reading a recent article in Esquire on Roger Ebert. The article details aspects of Roger Ebert's life after losing his lower jaw to cancer and thus being rendered unable to speak, eat, or drink. The article was so graphic and depressing at times it almost made me cry, but it was also a strangely uplifting tale, detailing how Ebert has emerged from his cancer with good humor and into one of the most productive and inspired writing periods of his life.

Before moving to Winston, I lived in Champaign, IL for several years, and Roger Ebert would bring in about a dozen shows a year to his own annual film festival (The "Rober Ebert Overlooked Film Festival"). I probably caught three or so a year. I remember Roger Ebert would introduce and then debrief every movie there and tell us why he loved them -- that was actually the first place I saw Junebug, which is now my favorite movie of all time. (And takes place in Winston-Salem no less. Weird.)

The last year I was in Champaign was also the year that Ebert lost his jaw to cancer. After years of introducing every movie, Ebert hadn't introduced any of them that year... he instead quietly sat in the back of the theater in a special Laz-Z-Boy chair set up for him, and watched as many movies as he had energy for. I think that everyone there thought that would probably be Roger's last Ebertfest.

My last memory of Ebert was when they showed "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" that year. The movie was chosen to close the festival, and bizarrely it was actually largely written by Roger Ebert. To everyone's amazement, he actually introduced that movie, and when he took the stage, his face looked something like a fish pulled out from deep sea, with buggy eyes, and puffy lips, and his neck was wrapped in a thick bandaged cast. But he also looked very happy to be there.

Since Ebert couldn't talk, he brought a laptop up with him, hooked it up to some electronic equipment, and pushed play. Out came an electronic voice that said "Hi, my name is Hal. You might remember me from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. And today, I will be serving as the voice of Roger Ebert..."

Watching that film that day was one of the most memorable movie experiences I've ever had. Ebert's movie was full of random acts of violence, transvestites, and yes, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It was hilarious and unexpected. When the movie ended, everyone stood to their feet and gave Ebert a standing ovation that lasted at least five minutes.

That day it struck me that Roger Ebert was really more than the guy who doled out thumbs up and down on Saturday every week as I was growing up -- he was a creative man who loved life deeply and desired to share that love with others through his writing. I hope that he has many years yet to share his gifts.

Back Baby

This is why I won't apologize for my leave of absence:

Above pilfered from

Of course, I took Spanish, not French in High School, so the above would hardly apply anyway.

On a completely unrelated note, I think Doodles is currently illustrating a dream of mine. More later...