Anyone else addicted to “Forensic Files”? Science rocks, rolls, and rules.

I worked as an intern at Walt Disney World during Summer of 1987 before I began graduate school. I, along with 198 other individuals, interviewed for 2 positions West Virginia University had been allotted. To speed up the process and, I assume, to see how we’d interact in a competitive environment, we were interviewed in pairs. I wore my interview suit, including a colorful tie. At the end of the interview I unbuttoned my jacket and opened the left lapel. I had a Donald Duck button pinned to my shirt. I firmly shook the interviewer’s hand and said, “I’m the perfect person for this position.” I got the job.

To make matters even better I was assigned the role of “Attractions Host,” a highly coveted position, you know, because “Food Host” and “Custodial Host” weren’t very glamorous. (FYI, I was too tall to be a character. Just so you know.)  I worked in EPCOT center at The World of Motion and Horizons. I spent much of my time telling people to watch their step.

My costume (it wasn’t called a “uniform”) consisted of either a blue or tan polyester jump suit, depending upon what attraction I’d be hosting on any given day. If the costume needed cleaning hosts merely dropped off at the costume shop.

There were very specific requirements for dress, e.g., cummerbund must be attached when in the park, shoes must be polished, hair may not touch ears, etc. One of the most important parts of the costume was your name tag.

One day in June the unthinkable happened: I forgot my name tag! I went to the costume shop to see if there was anything I could do.

Costume Shop Host: How may I help you?
Me: I forgot my name tag!
CSH: What’s your name?
Me: Paul.
CSH: That’s a common name. We have spare name tags. Check on that board over there. They’re displayed alphabetically.

There was an “Omar” and a “Peter,” but no “Paul.

Me: There’s no “Paul.” Does this mean I can’t work today?
CSH: The guidelines clearly state that you must wear a name tag.
Me: Yes, but there’s no name tag with my name.
CSH: The guidelines clearly state that you must wear a name tag. There is nothing in the guidelines that state it must be your name. Choose whatever name you’d like.

I chose “Yolanda” and I wore the name tag that day. And for the rest of the Summer. I even asked friends to refer to me as Yolanda, and they obligingly did — and enjoyed doing do. “Yolanda, pass me a beer.” “Are you excited about graduate school, Yolanda?”

Now whenever I meet someone named Yolanda I chuckle.

I rested Wednesday, July 5, for no other reason than I had driven to Raleigh and back, as Jeff has his first followup appointment. I did, of course, take Luke for a 5-mile hike at Pisgah that morning.

Thursday, July 6 | Sweet


Brian and I exchanged texts Wednesday. I had considered replying to the text above but decided that a verbal exchange would be better. I wanted to see his facial expression.

Me: Brian, so about that text you sent. That may have been the most gaycist comment you’ve ever made. “Sweet” of me? Why not just say “nice” or even “gentlemanly”? Sweet? Would you tell a straight male friend that they were sweet?
Brian: Huh? (He says that frequently.)
Me: Sweet makes me sound, you know, gay. “Your concern is sweet?” Hear how that sounds?
Brian: Ha!

And then everything has been sweet for the rest of the day. Sweet bike ride, sweet nectarine, sweet bike rack.

I very much enjoyed today’s bike ride, and I’m finally feeling confident on the bike. Brian often rides in front of me, so today I tried to match him pedal stroke for pedal stroke. This also meant that I had to use higher gears. I kept up with him much better today, even on the downhills.

We stopped to view the Wintergreen Falls.

I used my iPhone to take photos. We rode for another mile or so when my human’s intuition said, “Check your saddle bag.” It was open! I called out to Brian and informed him that, whilst my keys were still in the unzipped saddle bag, my iPhone was not. We turned around to look for the phone. Without even realizing that I was doing so, I reached down and, well, felt the iPhone in my pocket. Ha! I have no recollection of placing the iPhone in my pocket.

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 4.12.20 PM

Uhm, that straight line in the upper left-hand corner? That’s the car ride from the park entrance to Brian’s house. Yup, I forgot to turn off my watch. In addition, I didn’t start the watch until a mile or so into the ride.

I received the following message from Brian: 12.8 miles on map not including your backtracking.

Let’s just call it 13 miles, shall we?

Friday, July 7 | Shit in the Woods

As we were meeting our friends Lorraine and Mark for breakfast, I set the alarm so that Luke and I could begin our walk at 7. I seldom decide where we’re going to walk until that morning. It was raining in our neck of the woods but there appeared to be a break in the clouds to the South. As we hadn’t been to the Experimental Forest in a few days, that’s where we began our walk. Luke, as usual, was off leash, and had already begun to lallygag behind me. I had walked less than a half mile when out of the corner of my eye I saw two adolescent black bears, the closest just an arm’s distance away. The cub stood on its hind legs and growled at me. Whilst it wasn’t a ferocious growl, it was unsettling  nonetheless. My immediate thought was, “Where’s the mother? And where’s Luke?” I’m certain I gasped out loud, although I can’t recall doing so. I said, “Luke, turn around.” Remembering what I had read, I carefully and slowly walked backwards until I was 50 or so meters from the cubs. I then turned around and walked to the car. I was surprised by how calm I remained. I didn’t scream, I didn’t panic, and most importantly I didn’t run. I considered continuing our walk but decided that’d it’d be best not to tempt fate. We drove to Carrier and French Broad Parks and continued our 4-mile walk.

I ordered bear spray.

I also made sure to wear my CrossFit “Bear Complex” tee shirt to breakfast with Lorraine and Mark as well as whilst working out.

In all honesty, I’d much rather die by bear mauling than by, I don’t know, any number of other things. I’d certainly rather die by bear mauling than at the hands of another human being. Did I mention that I watch every episode of Forensic Files?

We had a very nice breakfast at Biscuit head with Lorraine and Mark, and then I worked out. The nice thing about doing my own programming is that I can adjust as I’d like. I did so today, as I wanted to ensure that the Bear Complex was included, you know, because of the bears.


– 10 burpee + 6-count burpee + sit-up + freestanding handstand
– 5 45# sandbag power clean + front squat + push press + back squat + behind neck push press

I wanted to use the abacus. Those familiar with CrossFit likely notice that this is “Marguerita” with Bear Complex thrown in.

I swept and mopped the work area and moved the mats. And then Luke decided he wanted to rest in my area. I moved his bed beside my space, but he wasn’t interested. I placed a blanket on his bed and he was content. He rested there during the entire workout. Good dog!

And this was quite challenging. I adhered to all movement standards, e.g., strict pushups, free standing handstands (for a count of 1). I usually added a butt kick at the end of the handstand as well.

No failed reps!

I used the abacus to keep track of burpee + 6-count burpee + sit-up + freestanding handstand reps as well as rounds. I liked! I did, however, possibly lose count of complex, so I may have completed 6 instead of 5 reps during the 3rd round.

BTW, I informed Jeff about bear sighting and then sent him text: I can bearly wait to see you.

I’m a funny guy.

And sweet.


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