Monday, December 24, 2007


Season's Greetings
Happy Saturnalia
Merry Midwinter
Habari Gani
‘Īd mubārak
Happy Hanukkah
Joyous Yule
Merry Christmas
Happy Solstice
Mele Kalikimaka
Happy Holidays

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dream TV

Odd dreams last night. I only remember flashes from one of them but feel like I had an entire night full of dreaming. I was watching a newscast and the reporter on the screen was a guy I knew growing up. I met him in the 6th grade and hung out with him on and off throughout school and a bit in college, but then we went separate ways and I haven't seen him in almost 20 years. But there he was on my dream television reporting the news. He was older and had a goatee, but there was no doubt who it was. I don't remember what he was reporting on, but the scene went black, I had a brief flash of how I remembered him looking two decades ago, then the dream ended. A few months back I had a similar dream with him in it. I don't remember the details but it was along the same lines as this one: a brief flash of a scene with him in it and then nothing. I wonder what my mind's trying to tell me.

I also woke up with an old song running through my head. I wish I'd written down the name of it because I can't even begin to recall what it is now. I know it was old, as in black & white TV era kind of old. Maybe a commercial jingle from the 50s or 60s? Apparently I was running a TV kind of theme to my dreams last night.

Monday, December 10, 2007


I finished up "Into the Wild" this weekend and enjoyed it quite a bit. I realized a few chapters into the book that when this happened in the early '90s, I was about the same age as he was. So while I was winding down my failed college career and starting down the path I'm on now this guy was living out his fantasy life on the road and in the wilds of Alaska.

Not that I would or could have done anything remotely as courageous as he did when I was that age. I've come to realize that I'm about a decade (or two) behind everyone else in my age range as far as experiences and mental attitude go. It used to bother me, but now I'm trying to roll with it and take things as they come. I have a lot of admiration and respect for this guy; he took his destiny into his own hands, lived life deliberately, and savored every minute of it. Yeah he made mistakes and should have done some things differently, but that's not the point. I'd rather live a short life of happiness and discovery than a long life of boredom and monotony.

I'm a few chapters into "Merle's Door" and liking it so far. It's a different book than I'm used to reading, but that's a good thing.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I learned a new word today: bajada.

bajada: [buh-ha-duh]: a plain formed at the base of a mountain by the merging of several alluvial fans.

A whole bunch of rivers and streams fly down a mountain carrying all sorts of dirt, rock, and debris with them along the way, and all that crap gets dumped at the bottom when the rivers slow down. After a few thousand years or so, it all builds up into a pile so big that it becomes it's own landform spread out over miles at the mountain's base.

That's so cool.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I went to the bookstore after work today. I really wanted to goto Books-A-Million, but since they're located near the Asheville Mall I decided not to attempt the traffic and shopping nightmare and went somewhere else. I ended up at the Waldenbooks located in the Biltmore Square Mall. You'd think that any mall would be hell this time of year, but for some unexplained reason the BSM is never crowded.

I went searching for the book "Into the Wild", by Jon Krakauer. I read a cursory review of the movie that came out recently about this book on another blog and thought it would be a story I might like to read. A friend had loaned me another of Mr. Krakauer's books a while back, "Into Thin Air", and I enjoyed it quite a bit, so I'm hoping "Wild" turns out to be something I'll like too.

While I was there I perused the On-Sale tables and found a couple other books as well. I lucked across one of Stephen Donaldson's books in hardback for the outrageous price of $4.99, "The Runes of the Earth: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" (Book 1). I've read the other two series of books he's written on this and think I'll like this "last" set as well.

I also picked up Ted Kerasote's "Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog". I haven't heard anything about this book (I'm not really one to keep track of the Bestseller Lists) but the picture on the front and this excerpt of a review on the back was enough to make me give it a try:

" intense recipricoal relationship between a dog and his man, and how we and our dogs genuinely share feelings and emotions."

Now...time to lose myself in books for a few weeks.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Weekend Wallflower

Well I managed to spend the entire weekend at home. I haven't left the place since I parked the car Friday evening. And other than taking the Shelbster out for walks, I've spent the last 48 hours or so inside this apartment. Apparently I can do two days like this without much problem, but if I attempt to go a week like I did over Thanksgiving I'll finally get bored enough to want to leave. So somewhere between 48 and 168 hours is my limit for being cooped up inside the same place by myself. I guess it's a good thing to know; at least I'm only an amateur level hermit and haven't quite gone pro yet. Here's the scary part though: It feels like I just got here, and at the same time it feels like I've never left.

So I've been trying to think of what I'm going to buy myself this year for a Winter Solstice and/or Kwanzaa gift. I've bounced quite a few things around so far (an Xbox 360, a Wii, a PDA, an iPod Touch) and now I'm considering signing back up for Sirius satellite radio. The radio choices I have in Asheville are very limited (to put it nicely) and I've been missing the options that satellite offered. If I do sign back up though, I'll invest in a receiver that I can bring inside work with me since the reception in my office is even worse than the car. I'm not sure how good satellite reception will be inside but even if it won't work in the office I'll still be able to get some decent music back in the car.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Catching Up

Not much happened today so I think I'll catch up on a few things. Last Monday (Nov 19th) I was up early walking the Shelbster and was able to snap a few pretty good foggy morning shots:

These were taken from the edge of my apartment parking lot, and you'd never know there was a smelly dumpster only a few feet behind me. The field where these were taken has been the focus of several of my pics and looks great in the winter covered in fresh snow.

I also decided to buzz my hair last week. It's not really too much of a change in appearance for me since it was slowly taking care of thinning itself pretty well; it's more of a psychological thing. I've finally reached "that point" when my hair isn't going to be lush and magnificent anymore and it's time to put it out of its misery and just keep it shorn from now on. And truthfully I'd already reached that point a few years ago, I was just hanging on and trying to get as much time out of having hair as I could. And yeah there are a few little gray bastards poking through there. No worries though, it's time to start aging gracefully I guess.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Well the website thing at work went ok today. I played around with it on and off for most of the day and have some ideas on how to spruce it up and make it more functional once more of our offices get used it it and start using it more. Even if it doesn't go much beyond what it is now I think it's definitely going to rekindle my interest in work for a while.

After last week's unexpected boredom, I've been thinking about things I can do to get myself out of the house more. And I'm not talking about going out to a bar or working the street corner or anything; other than quick bursts, I'm too old for that kind of thing anymore. I'm thinking of some kind of social group or activity that I can join up with and actually get to know some new people. Some kind of volunteer type of thing isn't out of the question either. I just need to find something that interests me or something that I think I would enjoy learning more about. I'm not really known for my follow-through when I come up with ideas like this though, so we'll see how things turn out.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Today was my first day of work after taking the entire week of Thanksgiving off, and I was actually looking forward to it. I've done the week-long vacation thing for the last several years, but I think this is the first time I was ready for the vacation to be over so I could go back to work. It's not like I was looking forward to being there since my job is completely vapid; I think I was just bored sitting here at home all week. And that's unusual for me as I typically find being home alone is the only time I feel completely comfortable.

Then again, after a single day back at work I'm already bored there. Things are looking a bit brighter though; I get to "launch" a website tomorrow and that should give me something different to do and be interested in for a while. It kind of fell into my lap right before I went on vacation so I didn't have time to think about it much until I got back this morning. It's nothing fancy or anything, but it'll at least be something new and creative for me to play with for a while. And who knows, maybe it'll turn into something that will hold my interest for a long time.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Many months ago I started seeing the number 11 everywhere. It would pop up all over the place for days on end. Every time I looked at a clock it would be at 11 minutes past the hour; the convenience store bill would come to $11.11; numbers and addresses all through the day at work would have an inordinate amount of 11's. It would stop for a day or two and the numbers in my life would go back to appearing at random. But then it would come back with a vengeance and there would be day after day with the number 11 suddenly everywhere I turned.

Googling it turned up quite a few results of varying believability. Part of me knew that it may have been just a coincidence (once I noticed the first few 11's my mind started looking for them subconsciously and I just thought they were everywhere). But at the same time another part of me thought it was a sign the universe was sending out and I should listen. I decided to take a mid-range approach and use a mix of both to be what I would go with: if it's a sign then that's cool, they'll eventually point me in some direction and let me know what it's a sign of...but if some big sign doesn't happen then it was just in my head and I didn't need to think about it anymore. Naturally the 11s disappeared. I didn't notice when they stopped, they just went away like it had never happened. It was either all a coincidence or I pissed off whoever was sending me the signs by being so apathetic about it and they stopped sending them to me.

Whatever the case, I hadn't thought anything about it again since early summer. Until Friday night. I realized that Sunday (today) was the eleventh day of November, 11/11, and everything came crashing back into my head with an odd sense of urgency this time. I even had some run ins with 11s earlier in the week but I hadn't noticed them until Friday night. I don't know if there was something profound or life-altering I was supposed to do or learn today. I've decided not to let it go this time though. I'm going to treat it as a positive sign and see what happens.

Friday, November 2, 2007

You Can't be Serious

Halloween JUST happened. It's barely the 2nd day of November and I've already seen a Christmas commercial on TV. And not just one either. I saw the same Christmas Commercial more than once tonight. It was an old one from Lowe's Hardware that they first played last year; and it wasn't even very clever then when it was new. But somewhere in the long food-chain that exists between me and the person who schedules prime-time Thursday night TV on NBC someone decided that I needed to see the very first, extremely premature, Christmas Commercial of the year.

And they didn't even have the common decency to at least make it a new commercial.

I hate this time of year.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Random Crap

A few weeks ago I decided I didn't like how I signed my name. So I sat down with a pen and a pad of paper and started experimenting with new ways to do it. It took me a bit to have to make it legible but at the same time you don't want it looking too textbook. Then there's the whole "how does it feel when I write it" factor that I had to consider. I finally managed to come up with a nice mix of the old style and enough new flair to appease myself. I've been signing it more or less the same way for a couple decades now so it's taking me a bit to get used to doing it differently. It does give me a sense of something "new" every time I pause and remember to use the new signature though.


Went to the annual October Birthday Extravaganza at the parents' house this past weekend to celebrate my dad and sister's birthdays. Everything went fine and I had a good time; it was a typical birthday visit. My oldest nephew is in the midst of puberty and is changing dramatically every time I see him. It's cool to see the beginnings of what he's going to look like as an adult. You can definitely see my brother in his emerging face and body type, with some of his mother's features mixed in as well.


I had supper on Monday night to celebrate Lisa's birthday. Her mother and older sister drove up from Florida to surprise her and she invited a few of us over for food. Her sister made her from-scratch sauce and meatballs served over mini-penne pasta with a nice salad and bread, and we ended the meal with Mark's homemade tiramisu. Everything was fantastic. We managed to work our way through at least 4 bottles of wine between the nine of us (not to mention the wine vinegar dip for the bread and salad and the wine & rum in the tiramisu) so things were getting a bit giggly by the end of the evening. I gained at least 5lbs, but it was all worth it.


Had lunch today at a little hole-in-the-wall fast food Chinese restaurant near work called "New 1 China". The food is excellent and very reasonably priced. The fortune in my fortune cookie read: It's time to bring out your dreamy, loving side. I know it's just a random phrase in a cheap cookie, but considering the direction my thoughts have been heading lately it's creepily appropriate.


Monday, October 8, 2007


It doesn't matter what they are.
It doesn't matter where you see them.
It doesn't matter.
Follow them.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Night Court

A little over a month ago I had the pleasure of being pulled over by a police officer on the way to work and given a ticket for driving with an expired license. As soon as he pulled in behind me I knew I was going to get a ticket for something but I had no idea it would be for my tag. I never received the renewal notice this year, so naturally I didn't think anything about it. I'm not harping on the cop at all; he was just doing his job and it really is something I should have noticed (it had expired 3 months before). I went later that day, paid the $28 to have it renewed, and have been waiting until this afternoon for my court date.

Now it's been almost 20 years since I was last in court (for a speeding ticket) but have they changed the rules at some point? I was expecting to go into the courthouse, find my name on the court roster telling me where to go, and then sit in court waiting for my name to be called. That's what I had to do last time and I while I wasn't eager to sit there for hours or be there at all, I was kind of looking forward to watching the court process and hearing about other people's cases before I was called on. Instead I get there and am immediately herded into a line of at least 50-75 people that stretches around the "lobby" and through the snack room. Through the course of chit chatting with the other degenerates like myself in line I found out that for most minor infractions like expired plates, speeding tickets, and misdemeanor possession of marijuana, all you have to do is pay at the window and you're free to go. No sitting in the court room, no talking to a judge, just pay the city off and leave. There were lawyers standing near the front of the line helping people and instructing them where to go and what they would need to do before they made it to the window.

I understand how the courts should be reserved for bigger things and have no problem being able to get my ticket taken care of in 20-30 minutes instead of hours on end. All I had to do was show the lawyer my updated registration and I was free to go, I didn't even have to talk to anyone at the window. Hopefully that counts as "showing up for court" and I won't have the cops looking for me for failure to show.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Grain of Sand

I had a conversation today that changed my entire outlook on my life. Call it not wanting to jinx it, but I'd rather wait a while before putting everything down on paper. I need to give it time to settle in my mind. Could this be Plan B to the lunch conversation with my boss?

The best part about the whole thing is that it was a completely random conversation about a paper weight on a coworker's desk. It had nothing to do with life-altering realizations or deep philosophical topics.

There may be something to this after all.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

On Second Thought

Looking back over the choices I've made over the last few years I've discovered that I'm a Plan B kind of person. It's not that my initial plans always suck, but my second ideas tend to be much better (at least in my mind) and are generally the ones I end up going with. And I don't mean Plan B as in a backup plan or the very next thought I have after the initial idea strikes me. It's more along these lines:
  • I decide on a course of action
  • I start putting it into motion
  • I discover a different way to achieve the same (or almost the same) goal, or find a completely different idea along the way
  • I abandon the first idea and go with the new one.
Almost 8 years ago I had the chance to essentially start my life over again. I won't go into the details but I found myself in the position to change location, start on a new career path, and get myself moving in a different direction. The initial plan was to move to Raleigh, find a job, and get myself back into NC State and complete a degree program. In the beginning everything was going according to schedule. I'd managed to make it to Raleigh and start hunting for an apartment and searching through the Want Ads for a job. But none of it "felt" right. I was back in Raleigh; I was looking in all the right places for apartments; I had gone by State and was stoked to get back into school; yet I felt like none of it was what I should be doing.

I was staying with my sister in Greenville and driving to Raleigh every day checking into things. I'd done this all week and hadn't found anything I wanted to settle with, so I decided to stop in and visit some old friends who had moved back to Raleigh a few years before. And over the course of one evening there I'd completely changed my direction. Instead of Raleigh, I was now moving to Asheville. The other parts of the original plan were still in place in some fashion, but the location had changed. And it all felt right. Welcome to Plan B.

Flash forward seven and a half years and I'm still in Asheville. I know I'm a completely different person than I would have been if I'd kept going the other way. I would have had a different job and different friends, and would have had vastly different experiences. But I chose to come here and have all of those experiences in Asheville instead and I don't regret a second of it. February of next year will be the 8-year anniversary of the move here and will be a milestone of sorts for me. I will have spent more time here than any other place I've ever lived. Even counting childhood. There's something about Asheville and the North Carolina Mountains that draws me in and makes me want to stay. Plan B is working out pretty well.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Had a pretty busy day yesterday. Work was fairly steady all day and I did some running around afterwards that put it around 7:00 before I got home last night. Not late by normal standards but for us hermits that might as well have been midnight. It's good for me though and helps break up my afternoon routine during the week.

When I did get home I decided not to turn on the computer. At all. If getting home at 7:00 was enough to disrupt my schedule, having no internet crashed my entire world. I know I'm addicted to being online, but you never really know how strong an Addiction is until you go cold turkey. I found myself having the same kinds of thoughts and anxieties as I did when I quit smoking cigarettes. Granted they were nowhere near as intense as the nicotine jitters, but it was a little disturbing to have them nonetheless.

It was pretty interesting once I realized what was going on though. The Addicted part of my mind kept trying to trick me into breaking...surely I could just log in long enough to check my email and nothing else, or I could come here and blog for a few minutes and then walk away, and the patented stand-by argument I use for everything: why am I doing this today; try this cold turkey thing tomorrow instead. I knew how to shut that part of the Addiction down since I've gone through it with nicotine but it was still a persistent little presence that kept popping into my head all evening.

Instead, I watched TV all night. Not much of an improvement since I basically replaced a computer screen with a television screen but it's at least a step in the right direction. I know I'm not going to be able to completely get away from being online (and I wasn't trying to by disconnecting last night) but I've got to learn to take it in smaller doses and stop letting it be where I spend the majority of my time. If I really want to re-join society and take command of my life I've got to control this.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I got nothing this evening. It's been a pretty ordinary day without much excitement. Work was busy so it kept me occupied and made the day pass relatively quickly. And the after work routine has been run of the mill too. All in all a fairly bland day. No complaints though, even though nothing exciting happened it was still a very pleasant day.

Weather today (9/18/07):
Chilly morning in the lower 50s followed by a crisp afternoon in the mid 70s; slight breeze throughout the day. A bit of haze is starting to creep into the air obscuring some of the more distant peaks but overall a very clear day.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Of Raccoons & Fast Food

I had my first sighting of a live raccoon "in the wild" this afternoon. I was over at the Smith's pet sitting and had stepped out into their back yard, heard this weird whining/grunting kind of sound, and saw this guy. He climbed up the tree as soon as he saw me and stayed there long enough for me to run grab the camera and snap a shot. I was a little concerned about him since I'd had a nice conversation with the Smiths before they left on vacation about rabid animals and a black bear that's hanging around nearby. Rocky scampered down the tree and ran off pretty quickly after he posed for the picture though so I don't think he was rabid. Still, a close call...I almost died.

A few days ago I was sitting in the drive-thru of Hardee's staring at the interstate exit nearby, and had a flashback of sorts to childhood. Back in the 80's, we used to drive through this area of the state on our way to my grandparents' house in Alabama and would often use this exit as a pit stop on our way to, and back from their place. There's a McDonald's, Shoney's, and a Waffle House here, along with several gas stations, so it's a good place to stop on your way through the mountains. Little did I know that I'd be living off this very exit 20 odd years later, but that's a topic for another time.

I remembered sitting at one of the places we'd stopped at on a trip through as a kid, and staring at the interstate like I was doing now and having the same thoughts. I watched all the cars zipping by, noticed the people around at the restaurant and the exit, and wondered about who all these people around me were. I thought about the thousands of decisions and circumstances that had to occur in all of our lives to bring us together at this one particular point on the road at this instant in time. For a few brief moments all of our lives were connected to this one tiny little spot in the world. It made me realize how intricate life is and how all of us are connected to each other in some fashion, even if it's only for a few seconds as we pass each other on the road heading in opposite directions. It doesn't matter who we are, where we're heading, or what we're doing at the time; our lives all touch each other in some way.

Then I took my Hot Ham 'n Cheese combo (with a coke) and went home.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Last Call

What a beautiful weekend. The weather was absolutely perfect, 50s-70s with a nice cool breeze blowing pretty much all day and night. The all-day rain we had on Friday and the lower temps made Saturday gorgeous. With all the windows open it made for great sleeping weather. Twas 61 degrees this morning inside the apartment and it felt fantastic. I'm hoping this kind of weather holds and it doesn't get hot again this year. I'm ready to break out the blankets and quilts and settle in for Fall and a nice, snowy Winter.

It was a friend's birthday on Friday and we were planning on going out for a bit to celebrate, but I pulled my usual routine and chickened out. She called me back on Saturday and talked me into going though, so I spent the night out on the town. It's been a very long time since I shut a place down for the evening and left as they were turning out the lights, but I had a great time. She's already talking about heading back this coming weekend, and I might just have to take her up on it. I've got to get over myself and start going out into public and socializing more often. I don't particularly want to do it until 3am every time I go out though.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This Again?

Had lunch with my boss today. We talked about a couple of new people that have been recently hired and are starting work next week. We also talked about me going back to school and getting an engineering degree so I could eventually get my PE license and become a Professional Engineer. I've been getting the impression from him lately that he wants me to do it and today pretty much confirmed that. Thing is, I don't know that I want to. I mean, I'd love to get me engineering degree since I never finished it the first time around, but I don't know that that's what I want to do. I know I've got to do something to change things around or I'm going to be stuck in mindless jobs for the next 25 years. At the very least, this has given me something to think about and give consideration to again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Tired today, and not exactly feeling too well. I only got about 3 hours of sleep last night, and most of that happened after 2:30am. No real reason why I was up so late, I just wasn't sleepy enough to fall asleep before then.

Of course it made for a very bad morning when I got up, so I called in and took a day off. I missed my Lunch-n-Learn today, but hopefully someone got a brochure or toook notes on it and I can catch up on it tomorrow. If I'd gone in and had to sit through that presentation for an hour at lunchtime I probably would have nodded off anyway. Spent the day napping and watching several episodes of "Rescue Me" that I picked up through NetFlix. It's a pretty good show; I can see where all the hype for it comes from. I didn't watch it when it first premiered on FX, and if I had I doubt I would have kept up with the show. I had to watch the first 3 episodes before I got a good feel for the show and got invested in some of the characters. After the first 8, I'm hooked and will be using it as my NetFlix filler for the next month or so as I work my way through all the seasons.

I've been using shows like that from NetFlix for a while now as a big part of my TV watching through the week; especially in the summer when nothing's on. So far I've made it through all of the seasons of "Deadwood", "Weeds", "Oz", "Queer as Folk", and "Carnivale". Once I get through with "Rescue Me" I may check out "The Shield". Of course now that the Fall TV Season is about to kick off I'll have more to see during the week so my NetFlix will taper off to just weekend viewing.

TV and the Internet as hobbies and time wasters...welcome to the future.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Well the universe paid me back for yesterday's unexpected quickness. Today was almost unbearably slow. Clock-watching, surfing the net, emailing...nothing made the time pass faster. And it's only 7:00pm, so I still have quite a few hours left in the day.

Talked to the vet today and told him I'm planning on letting things just play out with Shelbe the way they are and will be passing on the surgery. He's drawing up a price quote and after-care package for the drug therapy in case I change my mind, but at this point I'm set on the decision I've made. I don't think surgery or chemo will give her a good enough quality of life considering the after care she'll need and all the side effects that accompany it. He gave me a ballpark estimate of 5-7 months for her time left if we let the Cushing's and diabetes run their course. There's always the possibility that she'll have more time (or less) than he predicted, but I'm already preparing for sometime near the beginning of 2008.

Here's hoping I can find something online/on TV/ or in a book that's a little more uplifting to occupy my time for the next 5 hours or so.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Free Food

Today was one of those unusual started out extremely sluggish and I just knew it was going to be a slow one. It was the kind of morning where you stay in bed as long as you possibly can before you have to get up and start the morning processes. And even when you do pull yourself out of bed and get moving, you're still going in slow motion. But somewhere along the way time seemed to slip by and the day was suddenly over. I wasn't very busy either, so it wasn't a case of getting caught up in something and losing track of time. The day just kind of happened.

Work was a typical day; phone calls, faxes, and idle chit-chat until 5:00 rolled around. We have what they call a Lunch-n-Learn scheduled for Wednesday. Someone is coming in to discuss contract document changes for some construction stuff that the State now requires, and they'll be telling us about it and providing lunch. Extremely boring stuff and I'm not really looking forward to it, but hey it's a free lunch. I can sit there for an hour or so and listen to someone speak for a free sub and chips. I also have a lunch meeting planned with my boss on Thursday so that means a second free lunch this week. Yeah, I should probably be focusing on the work aspects of it more, but I really enjoy food.

And speaking of food, I enjoyed grilled steaks this evening with the Smiths. I'm watching their pets for them again over the next week and a half while they're vacationing, and Nancy was kind enough to have me over for supper. The steaks were perfect and it was a nice evening spending time with them and their kids.

For a day that I started out dreading, it ended up being not so bad.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


I survived my first solo camping trip last night (solo human anyway, the dog was there). I've been wanting to do that for a year or so now, and finally made myself go ahead and do it. Even so, I put off heading out until later in the afternoon and the site I had planned on using was already full of people. I ended up driving a few miles further down the road and found an empty spot. I'm kind of glad I didn't stay at the original place as the new one I found was more open and private. The site was off an NC Forestry Service dirt road named Cathey's Creek Road. It's located in the Pisgah National Forest and the area is packed with hiking trails and waterfalls.

The experience wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Not that I expected it to be bad or anything, I was just a bit apprehensive about spending the night by myself in the woods and was pleasantly surprised by how good it made me feel. It was a bit chillier than I expected but overall it was pretty fun. Granted, if the dog hadn't been there I doubt I'd have slept more than a few minutes at a time. The mind tends to wander off pretty quickly when you're alone in a pitch black tent in the middle of the woods. And trust me, my mind can wander into some very freaky places if I let it. There were quite a few times when various serial killers, bears, and Eastern Puma were going to suddenly tear into the tent and torture, maul, and/or eat me. And don't even get me started on what was going to crawl up out of the stream and, finding a colorful tent in its favorite napping spot, would tear me apart in a limb ripping rage. But once I reconciled myself to the fact that Shelbe would probably hear anything coming up on us quite a bit sooner than I ever would, I managed to fall asleep.

I'll definitely be doing it again soon and I'll plan things out a bit better beforehand. For one, a nice warm blanket will accompany me next time and not just jeans and a sweatshirt (yeah, I had the sleeping bag for warmth, but Shelbe claimed that as soon as she stepped into the tent so I had to "share" it with her...not going to kick the poor dog off the only soft, warm thing available to sleep on after all) . Plus I'll need to replace one of the tent poles since I managed to snap it when I was packing up camp.

All in all, a very good experience for me and I'm glad I did it.


As this is my first post, the links to right will point you to my pics page on Flickr and to my Video page at YouTube.