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March 24th, 2006

I attended a seminar during lunch today called, "The Accelerated Academy: Research-Based Strategies for Managing E-mail."

Click Here to Read Seminar DescriptionCollapse )

Brad is a great, animated presenter.

His timing, however, could use some work. :-) He got to the critical (last four or five) slides after the 1:00 scheduled end time of the seminar. Unfortunately, I had to leave at 1:15, and the seminar still hadn't ended.



I rode with Joe to Roanoke, Virginia to visit his sister, Pat, and her family -- husband John, and sons Phillip and Nolan.


Joe and I stayed in a Sleep Inn, in a suite with two queen beds and a separate living room area, not unlike the Morgan Suites at which we stay in Charlotte. A nice bonus to this one is that there is a bathroom in each room.

Oddly, though, only one bathroom had a shower in it. Well, that's not the odd part. The odd part is that the bathroom with the shower in it was in the living room, not in the bedroom.


We checked in, threw our stuff in the room, and met Joe's family at a favorite local pizza place of theirs called Franks, where I met the aforementioned people, plus Nolan's girlfriend, Katie, who arrived last.

I could see the parking lot from my seat, and when someone said, "Oh, there they are," when they pulled in, I tried real hard to ignore the sticker in the back window of Katie's Volvo station wagon.

Dinner was great, and to the best of my memory, we had three large pizzas for the table: one with sausage and jalapeños on it, one with pepperoni only, and one cheese only.



After dinner, we followed them to their home, where we had cake and ice cream for Phillip's birthday, which is actually tomorrow. However, the boys (Phillip and Nolan) will be gone most of the day at a Confirmation retreat. It's Phillip (turning 17) who's getting confirmed. Nolan (20), his brother, is his sponsor.

I clearly stated my disdain for my ice cream touching my cake, but Katie put both items on the same plate anyway. I think they thought I was kidding.

I quickly pushed the scoop of ice cream, which had slid against the cake, to the other side of the plate. Cake crumbs stuck to the ice cream.



Joe and I left their house between 9:30 and 10:00, and once back at the hotel, tried to get a 45-minute to one-hour nap in before heading out to the bars. The alarm was set for 11:15 PM.

Joe was supposed to get up when it went off to start his "getting ready routine" before going out. I'd told him to wake me up 15 minutes before he was ready to leave.

I woke up again after a while, and when I sat up, I saw Joe still in the bed and the clock glowing a big red, "12:15 AM."



After some back and forth about whether we ought to just bag it, we decided to get up and go out.

There are two gay bars in Roanoke. We stopped at the first ("bigger") one, The Park, and saw approximately four cars in the parking lot. This bar has a $7.00 cover charge. We decided to bag that, and drove down the street to the other one.

This bar was called Backstreet (which, from the contents at that link, is in serious need of a web master), and it's the bar that made national headlines in 2001 with "Mass Shootings in a VA Gay Bar."

This bar is small. The first few tables start right by the door. We sat at the second table. I couldn't help but think how horrifying it would be for someone to walk in, sit down, and in a few minutes after that, stand up and start blowing us away. And all just for being how the God they are "obeying" created us.



We met a guy there named Christopher, who was a real piece of work. "So, what're you guys into?" were his first words. And then, later, as we were being tossed out at exactly 2:01, "So, what're you guys gonna do now?" Get the hell out of here and away from you as fast as we can.

There was a drill-sergeant drag queen (sound like an oxymoron, I know) working in the place, and at ten minutes until 2:00, she told us, "You have 10 minutes to finish that beer." At 2:00, on the dot, she was at the table, and said to each of us with her hand held out, "I need that glass."

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