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The Fisher of Stories



There are, of course, things that were left out of my novella on Tuesday. This post will serve as sort of a “fill the gaps” measure, just in case someone has come to this page or this blog looking for information about adopting.We actually chose the state adoption process instead of the private adoption process because of several different reasons. The first, quite honestly, was money. For a private adoption, most agencies want to see $30-40,000 in your bank account before they’ll even get started. As I’ve said to many people, if we’d have had that kind of money, we would have spent it trying to get The Missus pregnant. There are also about three thousand kids in Oklahoma without families. Most of those will “age out” of the system, never having a family except their foster family, which may or may not include three or four other foster kids. We felt like we wanted to put a dent (however small) in that number.One of the low points for me personally was going to an “Adoption Party.” I blogged about this previously, so I won’t go into detail, but it was terrible. It was literally the worst point of the whole process for me. I know they throw those parties so that families can interact with kids on sort of a neutral playing ground, but it was completely disheartening for me, and honestly made me want to quit the entire adoption process.There were also two twin boys from Kansas that we looked at. It turns out if you are approved to adopt in Oklahoma, there are other states you can look at. We didn’t think Oklahoma was moving fast enough for us at one point, so we started looking in Kansas and found these two boys. We sent in an application, and got word back that the application was one day too late. That was a crushing blow that made The Missus want to quit. We simply couldn’t handle the rejection, and we thought there would be many more circumstances like that.The whole process, training to finalization, lasted a little over one year. I know of families who have waited several years without getting a child and are continuously being rejected. Some of that is the fact that most families want babies. The Missus and I prayed about that, and both realized that a baby could come later, and decided to go with older children. The decision to go with siblings was also mutual, we both sort of figured if we were getting one we might as well get two, what’s the difference? Neither of us have regretted that for a second.The Home Interviews were tough. We had a lady who constantly canceled on us, and always wanted to reschedule. She was very unprofessional, and really didn’t want to do any work at all during the month of December. I heard it said the other day that December is like the Friday of the months, and I couldn’t agree more. When we were calling the lawyer’s office to get the finalization taken care of, the first answer we got was, “Well, December is a pretty busy month…” Trying to get work done in December is almost impossible.For those that just won’t be satisfied until I say something about it…yes, there are monetary benefits for adopting from the state. Both of our children will have free insurance until they are eighteen, unless we elect to have them covered by our personal insurance. Daycare is free until they are seven, and each of them receive a stipend every month that grows progressively until they turn eighteen. To give you somewhat of an idea, if we start saving that money for them when they turn ten, (which is the plan) then they each will have about $30,000 to put towards college educations and the like. That is of course with accrued interest.One of the high points for both of us was going to see Akeeli’s dance recital. We got to pick them both up, take them to the recital, and then spent the afternoon with them eating at Pizza Hut and playing in a park. For me, that was the day when I truly got emotionally attached. I remember pulling out of the foster mom’s driveway and back on to the highway heading for home, and my heart ached at the thought of leaving them both in hands other than ours. And as an aside, I will say this about foster parents: for the most part, they are better people than me. I couldn’t do what they do. I understand not all of them are good people, but this one was.Then of course, driving to pick them up, borrowing my brother’s huge diesel truck to pack all their stuff in, and praying it wouldn’t rain on us on the way back. I convinced them both on the way home that there was little man inside of the PikePass that wore blue pants and red shirt, and he waved at the tollbooth operators and they let us through because he was so nice. I fed this little guy peanuts and ice water, and he was very happy.Seeing The Missus adapt to motherhood the way a duck adapts to water and knowing that when I had a choice to make a few years back I made the right one. I’ve always said she needed more people to love than just me, and I stick by that today.Hearing Akeeli say “I love you” for the first time. Lord have mercy, that one broke me. Aven said it quickly, almost a conditioned response to us saying, as if it was expected. Keeli was different though. It took a while. But when she said it…wow.Keeli also says the sweetest things without even knowing she says them. I posted something on Facebook a while back about how when she was faced with the choice of getting a necklace with “A” for Akeeli or “S” for Sloat, she picked the “S.” When she told that to me, I held it together long enough to get back to our bedroom, and I lost it. I thanked God for the blessings he gave us.If you’re still reading this and you are wondering how we managed to get through this whole ordeal, I can tell you. Obviously, we are a Christian family who believes God has had this planned for a while now, and who believes that he truly wants the best for us. We are very fortunate to be surrounded by a group of friends and family who believe the same.Our Sunday School Class – I can’t even begin to thank these people enough. When we started this process, they were there to surround us in prayer and encouragement. When things got tough, they just loved us. They didn’t offer false comforts, and they didn’t try to understand what was going on. They just loved us. That group of human beings is probably the most awesome to come together since Matchbox 20.Family – Our families have been nothing but supportive. We were concerned that an adopted child wouldn’t really be seen as part of the family. Nothing has been proven more wrong. Both of our families have adapted splendidly, and love our children just as much as we do.Personal Friends – There is a quote from Elbert Hubbard that says, “A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.” The Missus and I are very fortunate to have several of these people in our lives. Just being able to call someone and gripe about the stupid state, or the stupid DHS, or the stupid People, Inc. has had a huge impact on us keeping our sanity through this whole ordeal. Again, all of these are people who just shut up and loved us, and we can’t express our appreciation enough.Blog Friends – Believe it or not, there have been several blog buddies that have soldiered through this with us. I have made friends for life in this giant online world where so often maintaining a reputation precedes maintaining relationships. Lauren, Ed, and Jeff are some special ones that I’ll never forget. Along with those, I want to make a special mention. When we moved the children in, I was contacted by someone named Kristin. Kristin runs the blogOnly Parent Chronicles. Kristin and I have been blog buddies for a while now, and I can say this; I knew she was a genuinely nice person who has been though hell and back in just about all aspects of her life. When Kristin got in touch with me, she asked me a few questions and then a few days later a “care package” showed up for the kids. This blew my mind. It reminded me of why I ever picked up blogging to begin with. People make fun of me for having “Internet friends,” but I can assure you, these are all real friends, and I thank them.That’s all for now, I’m absolutely certain I left someone out, and if I did, remind me and you’ll probably wind up getting your own post. Well, I’m back.EDIT: There was stuff here about my new blog, but I switched back to this one because it was a mistake to leave Blogger and I’m sorry and I’ll never do it again. The answer is simple, my friends. I’m a father.A little over a year ago, The Missus and I started a journey with the end goal of adopting a couple of children so that my wife could have more people to love than just me. I went along with it because, hey, I like to mold minds. So we sat down in a silly class for six weeks, then we had our house inspected to make sure we wouldn’t electrocute anyone, then we had our lives so thoroughly investigated that at one point I’m positive Barbara Walters did an interview, and THEN we had to get to the fun part. Picking out the children.As I said on my older blog (which has been deleted, because I don’t want my children coming across pictures of me topless on the Internet) picking the children was the absolute worst experience of our lives. Imagine someone setting up a bunch of kids in front of you, and you having to say things like, “Well, we really don’t want one with six fingers or a predilection for starting fires on pets.” Or, “Yeah, we’ll take one with attachment issues but they have to have all their organs intact.” In short, it was very painful, and something I hope no one else on this earth ever has to go through.But.About seven months ago, we both were sat down in a small room with about one hundred case files of children needing to be adopted in the state of Oklahoma that mostly met our guidelines. A lot of them were simply too old for us to consider. I had imposed that I would not adopt a child older than five. My wife and I were in different rooms in different counties, and we both came across two names. Aven and Akeeli, a brother and sister from southern Oklahoma. She was five, he was three. They were gorgeous blonde-haired children who were smiling brightly in their photographs. When we got together afterwards, we both knew these were the children we wanted to look into.The details were arranged, and before we knew it, we were driving to Oklahoma City with our case manager to meet the kids. We went to a Chuckie Cheese, and as we pulled into the parking lot, I had no idea what to expect. I can tell you this though, NEITHER of us were prepared for what happened.Akeeli ran out of the van that she was in, jumped off of the ground into my wife’s arms and shouted “MOMMY!”Folks, I’m here to tell you, I kept it together while we were there, but I’m on the verge of tears as I remember that. If we had any doubts, if we had any fears, they were gone in that moment. They simply evaporated, not able to stand up to the love a child who just needed someone to call “mommy.”Aven was a bit more standoffish, but he still walked up to me and grabbed my hand, excited to be at Chuckie Cheese, ready to play. And play they did. Those kids wore us out that first visit. They also won our hearts. By the end of the day, both of the kids were calling use Mommy and Daddy, and it was the most natural thing in the world for us to hear it. This, quite simply, had been ordained in the heavens, God’s plan set in motion before the existence of the world. If you choose not to believe that, then it was fate, predestined for eternity, since the Big Bang and all that gooey stuff started making our DNA.There was a tiny hiccup in the plan though, one that darkened our minds for about a week after that first visit. You see, there was another family that was interested in adopting Akeeli and Aven. A family that had fallen in love with them down in their hometown. The case manager for the kids mentioned this but didn’t dwell on it, which gave us grave concern after having such a positive visit.We’ve since met that family, and yesterday at the finalization, that family drove six hours round trip to be with us and the kids on our special day. They are an amazing group of people, and the love they show our kids is astounding. I firmly believe that Akeeli and Aven had winners in EVERY corner of their adoption process, and had this other family adopted them, they would have had an equally incredible life as they will with us.But as the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, the state chose us to be their parents.We got the phone call that we were approved for the second visit, and that the final visit, an overnight, would be done in our home, where if all went well, the kids would be put in adoptive placement, the final stage before the adoption is finalized. This all took place at the end of May, and so we drove down south, picked them up, brought everything they owned with us, and brought them…home.The last six months have been an absolute whirlwind of emotions, draining every last bit of strength from my wife and I, and probably the kids as well. We have emptied our hearts, our bank account, and our surprisingly short reserves of patience into these kids, and without realizing it immediately, have been paid back dividends beyond our wildest dreams. We have been blessed beyond measure, and I am prepared to spend the rest of my life thanking God for what he has done for our little family.And so I’ve been on hiatus, staying away from the blog, devoting time to the kids, and in general trying not to post anything on the Internet that would make people question the morals of the state in trusting me with the lives of two people barely old enough to spell. It’s been a whole lot easier than I thought it would be, and even now, at the end of this first blog, it’s strange to be back “online.” There are so many other experiences that we’ve had in the last six months, but right now I’m at a thousand words and you’re probably getting bored. However, I have to close with the best news yet.Yesterday, at around twelve noon CST, we stood in a courtroom that had been packed out by family and friends, in front of a judge who smiled at us, asked us if we were ready to accept responsibility for Aven and Akeeli, and when we said yes sir, said: “I pronounce this adoption final.”Names will be changed, birth records will be altered, new Social Security cards will come out. These children now bear the surname Sloat, something that my father told me was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to me. We have a family. We have children. We have a journey.In closing, I want to thank ALL of you who followed this crazy path with us from beginning to new beginning. Thank you for your prayers, your kind words, your shoulders, and your support. Without you all, I would have folded a long time ago, and simply ran into the woods naked, yelling things about tractor beams and blueberry pies, never to have been seen again except in the occasional “DeerCam” photo.And here you are, after six months of waiting. Their first picture on a blog. At least it dang well better be.

“If a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, then OUR children are on mile number 1001.”

Disclaimer: When you tell a story often enough, a lot of times you can pick out the high points, the funny parts, and the lines that make people gasp, and sensationalize those moments so that they have an even bigger effect on your audience. The story I’m about to tell you has no doubt been told a lot, and when it was told to me was probably modified slightly to emphasize the “high points.” Please understand that before reading. 

It constantly amazes me how I am placed in situations where I meet new and interesting people. In fact, one of the things I’ve learned is that when you just open up to someone, ask them their name, and be genuinely interested in what they have to say, you’ll usually be blown away by their story. Last night, that happened.

It started as a night just hanging out with Kid Funk. We had some sushi, a couple of beers, and then we went back to the hotel he was staying at to hop in the hot tub. I feel like I should add that this was a completely hetero-sexual event.

There was a couple in the hot tub when we got in, and they had four children running around in the kiddie pool. At first I couldn’t get my mind off how lame that was, because kids around a pool are usually absolutely retarded, and they yell and scream and try to just generally ruin your relaxing in a hot tub. I pressed on, however, and was soon relaxing very peacefully.

That wasn’t good enough for me though, so I started talking to the couple. I asked where they were from, and they said Shawnee, Oklahoma. Just as I was about to ask why in the world they would be staying in a hotel 50 miles from where they lived, they told me. The man explained to me that the Make-A-Wish Foundation was putting them up in the hotel, and that tomorrow night, their daughter was going to meet Taylor Swift as her wish.

When I hear “Make-A-Wish Foundation,” I immediately think that someone is going to die. When I saw the girl, she appeared to be about 10 or 11, and I soon found out that not only was she 7, she was also over five feet tall! The mood in the hot tub changed from introductory to somber in a hurry, as the parents explained that she had cancer, but was in remission.

Since my dad was diagnosed with cancer back in 2000, cancer has become general to me. When I hear the adjectives before the type of cancer it is, I just sort of block them out. I know what killed my dad was Carcinoma, and all I heard from the woman explaining things to us was Leukemia. Then she went on to tell a story that inspired this blog post, and also made me think about how blessed we can be if we’ll only see it.

The girl’s name is Brianna. I’m not sure about the spelling. As near as I can piece together, Brianna was having some growth spurts, and started to have pain in her knees. A routine check-up by a doctor revealed the worst possible thing a parent can hear about their child. It was Leukemia. They immediately started chemotherapy, and they put her through a solid month of that. Folks, I watched my dad go through chemotherapy, and I’m here to tell you, it was no picnic. It destroyed him, and he was beast. I can’t even imagine what it did to a  7 year old girl who weighed maybe 70 pounds. Added to this burden were over 30 spinal taps and other invasive tests.

The mom went on to explain how they had her tested at the end of the thirty days, and that seventy percent of the cells in Brianna’s body were still infected. The doctor said that they would wait a week, then test again, then they would talk about surgeries, stronger chemotherapy, and survival chances.

Around this point in her story, the mom looked over and said, “Hey! Get off of that!” She was talking to Brianna, who had somehow managed to climb onto the outside of a water slide, and was busily making her way to the top. Her bobbed haircut and pink swimsuit made her out to be as cute as a button, even though I recognized that haircut was one of someone who was trying to grow their hair back out after radiation had caused them to lose it all in the first place.

Then the mother continued. She explained that the day of the testing, Brianna had walked in to the kitchen and boldly exclaimed that she had talked to God the night before. She went on to explain that she had told God she wanted to get better. She said that she told God she wanted to be better today, tomorrow, and every day. The mother, admitting herself that she was not a particularly religious person, had a bit of trouble digesting all of this.

From here, I’m sure you can guess what happened, because it’s that kind of story. If we’re not careful, we can even make it out to be anti-climatic, completely destroying the incredible miracle that took place. They went to the doctor, submitted Brianna to a battery of tests, and she came back negative. That seventy percent count from a week before had been reduced to zero. She was, in essence, cured.

The doctor explained that he had never seen or read anything like it, and told them that with this particular kind of cancer, the chance of it coming back was less than one percent. She has to have check-ups frequently, and I’m sure there will be more tests over the years that won’t be enjoyable. However, she’s cured.

Tonight Brianna gets to meet Taylor Swift, and she’s taking her best friend with her. I can tell you that this completely upset my youngest brother, who wishes Brianna was taking him instead. I’ll admit that I’m a little jealous of her myself. I guess this Make-A-Wish thing was set up before she was cured, and I’m sure you can’t just take something like that away from a young girl when a miracle happens.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be praying for Brianna. As a matter of fact, I’m sure she’ll cross my mind every time I hear a Taylor Swift song for a long time. I know that sometimes the nature of my spiritual life on this blog can seem incredibly dichotomous, and I know that there will be times in the future where I’m labeled a hypocrite, but all the glory in the world has to be given to God here. He is the author of miracles, the conductor of healing, and the kind of guy who puts you in a hot tub on a Tuesday night with a couple of people who are harboring a story like this one.

In the off chance Taylor reads this, I’d just like to tell her how lucky she is to get to meet Brianna and her family. Also, I have to tell her that my brother says hi.

There are several things in my life I think are overrated. Guitar players, the use of the word “epic” in casual conversations about the Internet, and those retards who play basketball up on Chapel Hill are just a few examples.

However, a new evil has besought itself among the overrated ranks in my life, and today I’m going to address it. In doing so, I’m going to offend some of you, (namely 98% of my Sunday School class) and others will merely say, “Meh,” as they click the red X and go on to more interesting blogs that have sex toy giveaways. I can assure you though, this problem needs to be dealt with, and swiftly, before it becomes a national epidemic.

First, let’s define and break down the word “overrated.” Webster defines it as “to rate, value, or estimate too highly.” It’s made up of the words “over” and “rate,” and if you need it cleared up any more than that, I’d suggest tagging along with my 6 year old to first grade for language lessons. I’d give you the Latin and all that, but I’m trying keep readers here.

If something is overrated, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s no good. It could just mean that it’s of average caliber, and it’s being hyped up by soccer moms and a town desperate for type 2 diabetes, therefore it is held in higher esteem than it should be. This leads me to introduce you to the subject of this blog today.


“It’s like Braums on weed.”

Now, I don’t know that all of you have heard of this place yet. Looking at their locations map, I can see that if you live in the Bible Belt, you’ve probably been to one, or are at least aware of the business. For those of you on the coasts who probably have much better places to go and people to see, let me break it down for you. Essentially, it’s a frozen yogurt bar. You go in, you get your cup, and you go to the yogurt station. There are several flavors available, running the gambit from stuff you’ve had before, to stuff you really don’t want in yogurt, like Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough and Lemon Box Pie. (“Are those real box pieces in there? That’s delicious!”) Plus, it’s yogurt. Seriously? Last time I checked, the saying wasn’t, “I SCREAM YOU SCREAM WE ALL SCREAM FOR SOFT SERVE FROZEN YOGURT!” It’s ice cream, always has been ice cream, always will be ice cream. Don’t shoot the messenger, I don’t make the rules. Also, don’t give me any of that, “But it’s SOOOOOO much healthier!” Because that’s next.

After you get your ice cream frozen yogurt, you head on over to the toppings bar. I’m not going to lie folks, this thing is legit. They have anything you’ve ever wanted to put on your ice cream frozen yogurt, and several things you don’t. However, this is where you go from, “It’s really just frozen yogurt, that’s not bad for you,” to “Oh, yeah, I keep this insulin pump on me at all times.” You load up your toppings, and you head to the checkout. There you are charged a price of like $0.40 per ounce.

Hold the phone.

$0.40 an ounce, you say? That’s amazing! How do they do it so cheap? Well let me stop you right there and tell you about my one and only experience in the Cherry Berry hell-hole.

I go in and immediately find what I want. Cheesecake flavored ice cream frozen yogurt. I grab a cup, fill it a bit, and head for the toppings. Folks, I don’t mind telling you I went a tad bit overboard. They had Snickers, brownie bites, cheesecake bites, hot fudge, caramel, chocolate chips, gummy worms, nuts of every variety, and more. The toppings bar literally is a mile long. Seriously. They have scooters for you, so don’t worry, fatty. Upon my arrival at the checkout, I had a cup with a bit of ice cream frozen yogurt, and about 6.5 pounds of toppings and hot fudge. (It was sugar free hot fudge, don’t judge me)

My total? It was somewhere in the neighborhood of $234.59. Of course I’m joking, but it was RIDICULOUSLY overpriced. Do you have any idea how many Snickers bars I could have bought? Chop em up and put them in a bin, they’re worth their weight in gold, but you can get 25 of them for a quarter at Wal-Mart.

So here’s the deal. All you folks out there that continue to suck off the sugary teat of Cherry Berry, can you please do me one tiny favor? Stop blabbing about how good it is, and “OH MY GOD IF YOU CHECK IN THERE ON FACEBOOK YOU CAN GET 20 CENTS OFF!” I am sick of hearing about it. It’s overrated, and you’re not helping. Also, something’s not healthy if the company providing it makes their walls out of Nerf material so kids on a sugar rush don’t kill themselves. When you describe it to someone, don’t make it sound as if you’ll go in and meet Jesus, okay?

Color me out of line, but I’m pretty sure Jesus sticks to Braums.

**Pretty much everything about the establishment has been embellished to make my point. Just like you embellish how AMAZING it is on Facebook. Shut it. Also, as a Christian, I’m obligated to explain to you that Jesus is everywhere, Yes, even Cherry Berry and Chapel Hill.

Hi there. My name is Travis, and I run this blog. We’ve probably met before, you know, at that convention that one time in Querqe.

You get it?

I’ve been gone a while, so I’m making jokes.

Please don’t leave yet, I swear I have a legit blog going on here. But real quick, let me get you up to speed. We’ve had the kids about 2 months now, and things are going great. We love them, they’ve adjusted rather quickly, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I figure you guys are going to want a picture, so here you go:

This isn’t them, obvs. You have to wait 4 more months for that. However, they are every bit as cute as this.

At this point I probably have one or two people still actually reading this. Lauren and Mandy, thanks, and keep going.

Today at work I helped my department head move from an office in one town to one a couple of towns over. She had accumulated quite a bit of stuff in her office, and we loaded a some of it into a couple of trucks and headed out. When we got to our destination, I started unloading the trucks. There were quite a few heavy items, and I’m notorious for being a “fewer trips is better” guy, so I tend to overexert myself on lifting, carrying, pulling, etc.

I love to watch people. Before you get that crawling feeling at the base of your spine, know that I prefer to watch them fully clothed. I think people are, among many other things, fascinating, and I love observing their individual behaviors. I discovered Chat Roulette a few weeks ago, and I honestly had a blast observing the 3 people on there who didn’t have their penises out. Fortunately, this morning provided me with an opportunity to observe some people who were fully clothed and all too helpful.

When I walked up to the entrance the first time with a heavy load in my arms, I was trying to figure out how to open the door, and a gentleman of about 45 walked up and opened it for me. I told him thank you, and continued on. A few minutes later, I walked to the door with another heavy load, and a pregnant woman jumped out of her seat and ran to open up the door. Smiling, I thanked her, and continued on my way.

I had one major load left, and as I was carrying it to the door I realized that I was going to be able to open the door on my own this time. However, just through the door, I spotted something that absolutely thrilled my heart. A handicapped African American lady of about 60 struggled to her feet, grabbed her cane, and walked over to the door to open it for me. We kind of opened it together, and I walked through, thanking her politely.

Three trips to the door, three people being kind. The office I was at is an Unemployment Office. It is the place people go when they’ve lost their job, they are looking for a job, or are just generally down on their luck. People usually aren’t in good moods at the Unemployment Office. They aren’t kind, they aren’t thinking of anything but their situation, and they are usually stressed out and dealing with wounded pride. I’ve been in the office, I know how it feels, and I can’t say I blame anyone for feeling like that.

However, three people – two of them in “conditions” – went out of their way today to commit a simple act of kindness that reminded me of why I love the human race. The fact that people are basically good. We may not all believe in the same God, we may not all be having a great day, but deep down there is a good person in all of us. A person who loves their fellow man, who wants to help out when they can, and who knows what the right thing is and tries to do it most times. I’m not saying we’re all perfect, and I’m not saying even the kindest person is going to grab every opportunity that comes their way. As much as I say I hate people, I still believe in the basic good.

To the three people that helped me today: You inspire me, and you give me hope for us humans. May we all learn to be so considerate.

Thank you.

Well, the time has come.

For those of you that know me or who have followed this blog for any duration, you know that we’re in the process of adopting kids. It’s been a long process for us, but everyone else has said that it’s gone really quickly. But after what has seemed like an eternity, we got a phone call this morning.

We’re meeting our kids on Friday.

I can’t and won’t go into much more detail about them, but I can tell you that it will take a couple more meetings before they’re ours, and we’re ready. They have a room, they have clothes, they have toys, and they have a life, all waiting at our house. These next couple of months will undoubtedly be very hectic and busy, but I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to anything as much as I look forward to this.

I’m going to be a father.

Now here’s the bad news. Because of the nature of the adoption, it takes about six months for it to be finalized. That means within that six months, the kids could be removed from the home for any number of reasons, and none of those reasons would have anything to do with us. It’s a slippery slope, and I think in the back of our minds, we’ll have a tiny spot of fear until the adoption is finalized.

But for me, I have different things to worry about. This blog, my Twitter, my Facebook, and every other online presence I stake claim to has been an outlet for me over the past couple of years. When something happens, or a memory strikes, I tell you about it. I try to be humorous in doing that, sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. But when it all comes down to it, this blog, and everything else, is just an outlet. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been in serious thought over how an outlet might be perceived to someone else while we’re in the “trial” period of adoption. I’ve wondered about the possibility of me saying something unintentionally, randomly, or off the cuff, and someone else taking it the wrong way, and being upset enough about it to bring it to the attention of a case worker or state employee. I’ve thought about DHS coming into our house and saying, “Mr. Sloat, you said something negative about cats on Twitter, and we saw it. We’re taking the kids.” I’ve thought about what that would do to my family, and I’ve made a decision.

This will be my last blog until the adoption is final. I will also be staying away from Twitter and Facebook until it’s final. I will be limiting my online presence to occasionally snooping around Facebook and maybe sending someone a DM every once in a while. If you’re VERY lucky, I might comment on your blog. And I’m doing this for three reasons. The first is listed above, and the second is that when we get the kids, I’m going to want to spend as much time as possible with them. Thirdly, I’m going to write a book. It’s essentially going to be a book of stories, some of which I take from this blog, others you’ve never heard. All in all, I think I’ll be busy enough without having to be online 23 hours a day.

So consider this a blog goodbye, and of course if you want to contact me there is always email. I’m a texting fiend, so you can do that as well, and make no qualms about asking for my phone number. I truly hope that six or seven months from now I can hop back on this site and let you all know how happy I am to announce that we have had the opportunity to officially change the last names of two kids who are getting a second chance.

And of course to tell you about my first six months as a parent.

Wish me luck, friends.

Something big is going down tomorrow, y’all. Something huge. Something so awesome it can’t really be measured on a scale of awesomeness. It doesn’t behoove me to use the word “epic,” mostly because I hate how that word is overused. But it’s the closest you can get to epic without being disappointing. It’s going to be incredible, and I’m going to be there. And it’s happening tomorrow. What is it? Now that I’ve kept you in suspense long enough, I’ll tell you.

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude. Did you just watch that? How pumped are you? THEY’RE ALL BAD GUYS THIS TIME AND THE ROCK IS IN IT. How are you not calling for your advance ticket right now?

Now I understand that some of you may have been living under a rock for the past 10 years and may not know anything about the F&F (that’s right I just gave it a nickname) franchise (that’s right I just called it a franchise). So let me get you caught up.

2001. Dude is a cop, he tries to catch some people stealing TVs and DVRs, winds up being compromised and lets his suspect get away. Included the most popular phrase among teens ever recorded in a motion picture: “I live my life a quarter mile at a time…”

2003: This film brings the addition of Tyrese, who will forever be an idiot to me because of “Baby Boy.” There is a Skyline in this movie. It is awesome. Also Ludacris is in it, making it awesome by default. Cop is being given one more shot by the FBI, he of course screws them over.

2006: The movie has a completely different protagonist, it’s set in Japan, and is widely regarded as the worst of the series. I liked it because it had fine Japanese chicks in Hello Kitty skirts and OMG VIN DIESEL WAS IN THE ENDING.

2009: This brings back pretty much all the original cast, minus the smoking fine girl that was Vin’s girlfriend. Lot’s of action, some desert racing, but a little too much CGI. Still though, amazing movie.


20??: If they stop making these movies I might seriously kill myself. It’s like, what is there to live for anymore, you know? So hear me now, F&F makers, DON’T STOP. Keep this thing going as long as Vin has any kind of muscle tone. If it has to be F&F 56: Hoveround Wars, that’s fine. You keep it going. You can put nitrous on a Rascal and don’t try to tell me you can’t.

So in conclusion, your plans had better involve going to see this movie tomorrow night. I’m going to see it in IMAX, because bigger is better when it comes to that chick in the bikini you saw in that trailer. Also, could The Rock get any more awesome? Yes he can, in IMAX.

p.s. Seriously, I’m excited. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about anything in years, at least since 2009, and they pretty much told us the other day that we were getting kids. Don’t judge me, I like fast cars. 

p.p.s. I need to borrow a fast car to drive after watching the movie tomorrow night. I have to put into practice what I just saw. Please make sure that it has a V-8 and full coverage insurance before loaning to me. Also wash it. Thanks. 

p.p.p.s. I seriously pulled off the word “behoove” in a post about a movie starring The Rock and Ludacris. I am a literary god. 

Many of you know that I am a college boy now. I’ve tried college twice, and both times I dropped out, and that is how I got a drunk Lindsay Lohan on my transcript. Now I’m back in, (giggity) and I’m loving it. I don’t know if it’s being older and wiser, or just wanting to get out of the house more, or what. One class in particular that I really love is World Literature. I love the stories, I love reading ahead and finding out what’s going to happen before the rest of the class, and I love the way the characters are always these great heroes, and how they mess up and make bad choices occasionally just like we do. I especially appreciate the epics. Gilgamesh, The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Beowulf, and The Song of Roland have been a few of my favorites.

However, I’ve started to notice a problem unfolds as I’m reading these stories. You see, while reading about these incredible heroes and their feats of strength, I need to envision someone in my mind. Someone strong, someone with rugged good looks and wearing the kind of outfit one would wear back then. Someone with a gloriously epic amount of facial hair, and someone with the voice of a young god. Someone that would, in essence, get the ladies wet, and get the gays hard. You would think it would be hard for me to imagine such a hero, but fortunately, Hollywood gave me that image back in 2006, courtesy of…Gerard Butler in a little movie called 300.

Now when I read about Gilgamesh, when I read about Odysseus, or Roland or Beowulf, and I need a mental picture of the hero in action, I get this image in my head.

It is seriously unavoidable. Let me give you a few examples of what I’m talking about.
From The Illiad:
Opposite him, Achilles exploded forward, fury incarnate behind the curve of his shield, a glory of metalwork, and the plumes nodded and rippled on his helmet’s crest, thick golden horsehair set by Hephaestus, and his spearpoint glinted like the Evening Star…

Boom. That just happened.

Or we can take a line from The Song of Roland:
Roland in pain, maddened with grief and rage: rushes where they are thickest and strikes again, strikes twenty men of Spain, strikes twenty dead, and Walter six, and the Archbishop five. The pagans say: “Look at those criminals! Now take care, Lords, they don’t get out alive, only a traitor will not attack them now! Only a coward will let them save their skins!” And then they raise their hue and cry once more, rush in on them, once more from every side…


That AOI reference is something you’ll only get if you’ve in fact read the story, which in my best guess might be about 0.0004% of my readership. However, I will say this, if you want a good read, The Song of Roland is freaking awesome. Lots of blood, guts, and good ol Crusadin’ Christian violence.

So, as you can see, I’m probably pretty screwed when it comes to getting this image of a “hero” out of my head. Why? Well because Gerard Butler was freaking BA in that movie. The beard, the abs, the voice, it’s all there. He’s the perfect candidate for an imaginary hero in my head to go along with all these stories. I suppose the only real problem is that any time there’s action, I just see him kicking a bunch of dudes into a hole instead of running them through with a sword or choppin off heads. Kind of makes for some anti-climatic moments in reading, and I’ll give you an example of that.
From Beowulf:
Inspired again by the thought of glory, the war-king threw his whole strength behind a sword stroke and kicked him into a hole. 
Next thing, they say, the noble son of Weohstan saw the king in danger at his side and displayed his inborn bravery and strength. He left the head alone, but his fighting hand was burned when he came to his kinsman’s aid. He lunged at the enemy lower down and kicked him into a hole. 
Once again the king gathered his strength and drew a stabbing knife he carried on his belt, sharpened for battle. He then kicked the dragon into a hole. 
See? It kind of makes for a predictable story. “How did Beowulf eventually kill Grendel?” “Well, he actually did the weirdest thing. He had a really neat sword named Naegling, but he left that alone, yelled something about Sparta, and kicked the dude in a hole. It was the weirdest ending I’ve ever read.”
So there’s a little peek into my brain. I wouldn’t stay long, it might be hazardous to your health.
p.s. I would officially like to start the movement to make Gerard Butler stop showing his butt in movies. Since the majority of people who read my blog are middle aged housewives, I think I’m starting in the wrong spot, but hey. The man is naked in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE. I’m pretty sure he mooned someone in The Lion King. He just shows up to the set, drops his pants, they shoot the scene and he’s out. C’mon. 
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Okay, so maybe you know Rita from Fighting off Frumpy. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you don’t know that we once exchanged sexy emails that included talk about grapefruits in socks or stretch marks. Maybe you don’t know that at her house, most of the time someone can be found naked. If you don’t know that, I highly suggest you go over to her blog and start reading. The following story is one of the million reasons why. Take it away, Rita!

Fighting Off Frumpy
This is her button. Click it, her husband is cool with that.

I come from a small, rural Midwestern town. And by “small” I mean no stoplights, two cops, less-than-40-people-in-my-graduating-class small. The cows far outnumber the residents. When you’re late getting somewhere, it’s because you were stuck behind a tractor. And if that doesn’t illustrate it vividly enough for you, consider this: I cackled all the way through Travis’s footage of the Okay parade because it reminded me so much of something I’d see back home.

So y’all can imagine what a culture shock it was when I moved to … wait for it … Las Vegas.I know. What’s a country bumpkin sweet small-town girl like me doing in big, crazy Las Vegas, right? Well, I blame the government. My husband Curtis was in the Air Force at the time, and the military stationed us there, at Nellis Air Force Base. So we called it home for three (very interesting) years.
When your beginnings are as backwoodsredneck humble as mine, and you somehow end up in the presence of cosmopolitan, city-fied peeps, you end up doing a lot of pretending. Like, you see things that would normally make your mouth hang open, but you just act all nonchalant like, “Oh really? I didn’t even notice that one-armed prostitute kicking the crap out of the homeless guy with the NEED MONEY FOR BOOZE sign.” You pretend certain situations are old hat – even when they’re anything but – just to avoid looking like the naïve and un-worldly dork that you actually are.
Anyway, the reason I tell you this is because while we lived in Vegas, I landed a sweet gig writing for a local magazine that catered to the upscale. It was direct-mailed to the wealthiest households in town. I had a monthly column called “Hotspot,” for which I got to review some of the fanciest, priciest clubs and restaurants in town.
The very first time I did a restaurant review, I had no friggin’ clue what to expect – but I put on a dress and hoped for the best. It was a little unnerving when the valet guy parked our (used) Jeep amid Ferraris and other pricey sports cars, but we went in with our heads held high like we always went to places like this.
When a restaurant knows you’re the person who’ll be reviewing them in a magazine, they pull out all the stops, y’all. It was all I could do not to jump up and down and squeal when I saw “VIP” penciled in beside my name in the reservation book. I mean, me? A VIP at a fancy restaurant? I laugh hysterically at fart jokes and can blow a snot rocket further than anyone I know (be jealous). If only they knew.
The meal was out-of-this-world. We ordered everything from appetizers to dessert – it was all free. I had scallops on a bed of illuminated rock salt and a frosty, multicolored martini that emanated wisps of “steam” from a chunk of dry ice. Fabulous. The executive chef even came to our table to chat, bringing with him a jaw-droppingly expensive platter of Kobe beef medallions. And through it all, I was silently congratulating myself on appearing like I was accustomed to dining in such a luxurious establishment.
At the end of the meal, our waitress brought a little squeegee over to the table and cleared off the crumbs. Then she put down a platter of mints. They reminded me of Altoids, just slightly bigger: white, round, compact little tablets.
I was just reaching for one of the mints when, to my horror, the waitress poured water over them. And then – it was amazing – those little “mints” magically transformed. Just a little water was all they needed to bloom into huge white napkins.
I had been thisclose to putting one in my mouth
I almost ate a napkin at a fancy restaurant, y’all.
To this day, I thank my lucky stars that I didn’t reach for the “mint” more quickly. I could have really made a major fool out of myself. I can just picture the entire restaurant of rich people laughing at me as a napkin exploded forth from my mouth. “Riffraff,” they’d say, and then throw me out on my impostor-ous posterior. (That’s rich-people words for butt.)
Gourmet meal at a fine dining establishment: $230
Not eating your napkin by accident: priceless

If you want to follow Rita, please head up to that link at the top of the page. Additionally, she’s a Twat! No, I mean she’s on Twitter. Yeah. Right HERE.The year was 1994, and I was in the 5th grade. Already standing 5’8″ and weighing in at anorexic 90 pounds, 5th grade Travis was a weakling. I was also just starting to take an interest in the ladies. One in particular had caught my eye, and one day while riding bikes I asked her to be my girlfriend. She said yes, and Travis got his very first main squeeze. Fast forward a couple of weeks and we had broken up. Don’t ask me why, I don’t remember. Enter this douchecanoe named Mike.image
I hated Mike. Mike had failed the 5th grade like 8 times. Mike was overdeveloped, and Mike used cuss words. That was a big advantage back in grade school, because I wasn’t allowed to cuss. As a matter of fact, the very first time a cuss word knowingly slipped from my mouth, it was directed at Mike. For the longest time, I told everyone that if I had one bullet in one gun to kill one person with and not suffer any consequences, it would be Mike. I hated him that much. The reason? Mike went after this girl the SECOND we broke up. Now, I’m thinking, “Well, she’s too broken hearted for Mike. She’s still pining away for me and sweet blond curls.” Also, I had an INCREDIBLE set of calves from riding my ten speed, y’all. That’s right. She wasn’t going to be Mike’s girlfriend.


I was pissed. But then I saw the thing that pushed me over the top. The thing that made my stomach curdle. Mike and this girl…they went ALL THE WAY. Now bear in mind, this is the 5th grade. Going all the way was holding hands. And they totally did it y’all. Right in front of me. My 5th grade heart shattered into tiny pieces and my soul was crushed. My world was ending, and I decided right there and then that I would have this girl back. So I devised a plan.

For the record, I did NOT have an erection the first time I held a girl’s hand…which was in the 10th grade.

I started writing a letter. The letter went something like this:

Dear Girl,

I hate you, and I want to break up. Sorry it didn’t work out, but I like this other girl, she’s cuter than you. I think you should go out with Travis again, he’s cool.



It was genius! It was madness! It had to work! I creeped the halls like a stealthy Dear John ninja until I saw them both disappear into their classrooms. I quietly slipped the note into her locker, thinking about how nice it was going to be to say that I had a girlfriend again. I MIGHT EVEN GO ALL THE WAY. I knew she was a hand slut now, so I figured my chances were better. I waited…and I watched. I never did see her open the letter, but I knew she’d gotten it. So I waited a little more and…

The next day this girl’s best friend walked up to me. “Travis, she knows you wrote that letter, Mike can’t write.” Alright, so maybe I made up the last part of that quote. I’ve GOT to learn to let stuff go. But anyway, the jig was up, I’d been busted. Mike was pissed beyond reason, understandably so, and so I went into a sort of playground ninja mode until the threat level went from “Imminent” to “Seafoam Green.”

I dated this girl once after that, in the sixth grade, after I bought her some chicken nuggets on a field trip. When we got back on the bus, my best friend at the time explained to me in no certain terms that she was being a gold digger, only he used a term that would have been relevant to us at the time. I would say “nugget digger” but that brings a whole new element into the equation. I never did go all the way with this chick, and I didn’t get another chance at that until I was old enough to know what the real “going all the way” was. And I didn’t even get to do THAT until I was 19.

But the moral of the story is this. If you’re going to forge a note, make sure you type it. Handwriting identification is not just something you see on CSI: Miami.

I guess you could say his trickery was “duly noted.”

Here’s the thing. It’s really not all about the money. But…

I’ve been doing this whole “blogging for free” thing for about 2 years now. And I got to thinking about it, and I thought, “You know, I could totally use a MacBook Air.” So I created a little online savings account thing through Smarty Pig. Then I thought about it a little more, and I thought, “You know, some of these followers of mine might want to donate some money for all the laughs and stuff I’ve provided for them over the years.”

I immediately answered myself with, “No, don’t do that. You hate people who do that.”

Then I realized that if even one of you donates even just a dollar, I’m that much closer to my MacBook Air. If all 300 of you donate a dollar, well then, I’ll come to your homes and hug you. That’s real talk.*

Anyway, you have my word that this money will go towards a MacBook Air. I need it so I can be cooler than you. Also it will help me…do…more stuff? I don’t know. I just want one. If I have to save the money on my own, it’ll take years, y’all. Do you really want me to wait that long? Do you?

I even did most of you a favor. I turned OFF Facebook commenting. See? I care about you. I want your comments…and your cash.

Anyway, just go over to that pig there on the right and click “Feed Me.” Then donate the appropriate amount, which I think currently is around 32 cents per laugh you’ve had here, American.

Also, this month, if you go over to Facebook and “like” my blog’s page, I’m giving away a $25 gift card of your choice. If I make 100 likes, I’m giving away a $50 card. Again, your choice. You can use this link to get there.

Next week we’re going to have a guest poster, it’ll be Rita from Fighting off Frumpy

You guys have a great weekend, and thanks in advance for all the money!

As long as you live within 5 miles of my house. Also as long as you aren’t naked. Wait. Unless you’re an attractive female. THEN you can be naked. Some restrictions may apply.

Edit: If you donate anything at all, and you let me know you did, and I see that you did, I will blog about you. I will make up a story that will make you seem like a hero. Something you can show your kids. Something you can show your GRANDKIDS. That’s right, I will make an epic poem about you. Homer style.

In the past few days I’ve discovered some thing about myself, and I thought I’d share them with you.
1. My head ALWAYS leans to the left. I’ve become very aware of that recently. If I am resting my fat head, it always leans to the left. I look like a freaking Boston Terrier. Just a tilted head all the time. I blame it on the fact that I truly do have the biggest head of anyone I know, I boast a fitted hat size of 8 1/4.
2. It’s taken 28 years, but I finally learned how to swing a softball bat. We played a pickup game last night, and I hit two home runs. That’s the same amount I hit in about 25 games last year. I don’t know what changed, but yesterday was the first game of the year, and I swung at the first pitch and knocked it out. I know what you’re thinkin, “This guy is talking about softball? My 13 year old slightly lesbian granddaughter with the thick calves can hit it out of softball field.” That’s all well and good, but I’ve never been good at sports that require a bat. Don’t judge me.
3. I still trust people way too easily. And I still get burned.
4. I’m way more excited and way more worried about getting kids now that it’s so close. I’m excited because I get to be a dad, and because The Missus gets to be a mom, but I’m worried about two little strangers moving in to our house. Also, does anyone know the policy on returns? I kid…
5. I’ve finally figured out how to argue with someone and not be mad at them. On a related note, I’ve learned how to explain my beliefs without shoving them down someone’s throat. I may not be patronized by the church, but I like to think I’m planting seeds. In reality I think I’m just planting a bunch of pissed off people.
6. This one is hard to admit…but I’m a…I’m a…slow driver. Over the last few weeks, with the exception of getting to work and class, I’ve looked down at my speedo and have seen the needle at a very disturbing 55 MPH in 65 zones. Folks, I don’t like that. It used to be that I was king of the roads, demanding the peak performance out of my 1997 Ford Scort and my 1995 Chevy 1/2 ton. Now? Now I see people pass me and think, “What’s their hurry?” I really think I need to be injected with hormones. I’ll take the acne again, and I don’t mind getting erections at weird times because now I’m married and my wife has to sleep with me when that happens. IF ONLY IT WILL MAKE ME DRIVE LIKE A TEENAGER AGAIN.
7. Speaking of teenagers, my tolerance for them is slowly dropping. I blame Facebook, mostly. If I see one more person talk about me needing to see who views my profile, I’m going to punch them in their zit riddled face. I can’t say I’m totally innocent on these charges, because the other day someone I trusted may or may not have posted about boobs accidentally coming out on a TV broadcast and I may or may not have clicked on it, and I may or may not have been phished. All of those are mostly mays. I immediately deleted the automatic post, changed my password, and felt horribly ashamed of myself. Like, the kind of shame you would after walking out of the beaded off portion of your local video store and running into, say, the pastor of your church. The person I got this from is not a teenager, but I’m still blaming the teenagers.
8. Bald eagles have become a good luck charm. When The Missus and I see a bald eagle, good things happen. We’re planning a trip this summer that involves lottery tickets and a bald eagle habitat. We’ll let you know how that goes.
9. I’m addicted to StumbleUpon. They have an extension that plugs into the Chrome browser, and that button just looms up there, begging to be clicked. And clicked again. And clicked again. I’ve seen more of the internet in the last 2 months than I’ve seen in my life. And let me tell you folks, it gets pretty weird out there. Weirder even than hitting the “Next Blog” button. If you have work to do, I highly suggest not even getting involved in it. If you have 24 hours to kill and plenty of Rhoto handy, then go for it. I seriously love Rhoto. It’s like cocaine for your eyes. Kid Funk can back me up on that.
So there you have it. Just some self-observations I’ve noticed in the last few months. Feel free to share yours in the comments if you want, I have the normal comments turned on again for all those that had trouble before. I’m leaving the FB comments up though, we’ll see how it works with both of them. A while back, Johnny Virgil (my blog hero) posted a blog about having to choose who he should get behind at an intersection. It’s a choice we’ve all had to make at some time or another, one with an immediate consequence if you pick wrong: you don’t get to accelerate near as fast as you want to.

Before I launch into my story, I’d like you to know something about me. If I have a 50/50 chance at doing something correctly, I will inevitably pick the wrong thing. Allow me to elaborate. A USB flash drive has one way it can go in a computer. I have NEVER put it in the right way the first time. I always have to flip it over, sometimes more than once. Go ahead, make any sexual themed jokes in the comments below. It’s the same way with docking my iPad 2 or iPod. If it’s plugging something in, I never line the big plug up right the first time, I have to flip it. If I have to guess at True/False, I’ll without exception choose the wrong one. Please don’t ask me to help you choose between two tough decisions, because I will undoubtedly choose the one that will ensure your life will end in misery and a long, painful, slow death.

Now, back to yesterday, and the situation I found myself in. I was in a hurry, as usual, and I came up to an intersection with a vehicle in each lane, so I had to pick who I wanted to get behind. In the first lane, there was a mid 2000’s Ford Mustang GT convertible. In the other lane…a big, boxy mail truck. As in a diesel truck with a big box on top. It’s been my experience that Mustangs and mail trucks don’t accelerate in the same fashion ever. So the choice wasn’t even a choice, really. I settled in behind the car that belong to the mid-50’s, slightly windblown couple sitting in it and waited for the green. The light turned green, and I goosed the gas in anticipation of a 0-45 time that would be in the under 5 second category. Then I IMMEDIATELY stomped on the brakes, having almost driven over the top of the shiny white sports car. Turns out, Mr. Mid-Life GT Mustang Crisis had decided today was the day he was going to save his $4 a gallon gas. He took off not as if there was an egg under the gas pedal, but a human embryo.

In the battle of Mass * Force = Acceleration, the winner will be the one I don’t pick. Eat your heart out, Newton

Needless to say, I yelled at him.

Oh yeah, and the mail truck? I’ve never seen a mail truck accelerate so fast before in all my days. I don’t know if it had a turbo on it, maybe a cold air intake, or maybe he’d put one of those chips in there that make things go faster. I don’t know. All I know is that thing took off like a bat out of hell.

So when I got to the next intersection, I was all set up to get behind the mail truck. I had been proven wrong, sour grapes aside, I knew what I needed to do. Then I saw the car in the other lane. This car had followed me all the way in to Muskogee, and the whole time they had proved that they were in just as much of a hurry as me. It was a little gold Dodge something or other, and the driver was a young man with a heavy foot and somewhere to be. So in what little time I had, I over-ruled myself and the decision to get behind the mail truck, instead opting for the “sure thing.” I waited. The light turned green.

In the moments that followed, I learned two things. The first was a SOLID confirmation that in any given circumstance where there are two choices to be made, I will pick the wrong one. The second was that from here on out, I will NEVER get in a race with a mail truck. This dude had some horsepower, and he had driving skill to back that up. He successfully blocked me for 2 miles before I got around him, and when I did, he had a huge smile on his face.

I couldn’t even be mad. I’d been bested by a mail truck.


So if you and I are ever in a situation with a bomb, and I have to cut the red or green wire, and I don’t have any clue about which one to cut so we both decide I should guess, then I want you to know I sincerely hope you have your affairs in order…because we’re going to die. And if you’ve read this blog, you can’t get mad at me either.

Hey Facebook readers! You can comment on my blog now! I’m currently testing this feature to see if any of you utilize it. If not, fear not old readers, I’ll go back to blogger comments, which I know will at least make Mandy happy. Also, for those of my readers with dichotomous lives, you CAN use anonymous commenting in this form. 

When I opened up Blogger, I saw Josh over at Vive le Nerd had posted his “Top Five Tuesdays” today. I don’t think it’s a meme he does per se, but it is something that I’m going to join up with. These are my Top 5 favorite movies from any genre.

5. O Brother Where Art Thou? – I hate to rank this movie 5th. It doesn’t matter where I am or what else is on TV, if I see this movie is on, I watch it. I won’t move until it’s over. This is one of those movies that I will even sit through commercials without changing the channel just because I don’t want to miss any of it. Not to mention the fact that I already have the DVD. To me, that’s the tell-tale sign of a great movie, if you’re willing to sit through commercials. George Clooney is hilarious, and so is the supporting cast. I quote this movie almost daily, especially so if I’ve seen it recently. I think I’m going to watch this when I get home tonight. “I don’t want Fop, dammit, I’m a Dapper Dan man!”

4. The Rock (1996) – You’re going to notice a pattern in my top four. That pattern is Nic Cage. I know there are some people out there that think Nic Cage is lame, and to those people I say this. Your mom is lame. The Rock is one of those thrillers that make you laugh and cringe at the same time. It also has Sean Connery, and there isn’t a lady reading this (especially you SAHMs) that can tell me they wouldn’t love him up faster than could tweet about it. I mean, right now, Sean is somewhere with a fine lady, and she’s lovin him up.  My favorite quote from this movie is “Losers always whine about doing their best. Winners go home and f*ck the prom queen.” “Carla was the prom queen.”

3. Con Air (1997) – Again, Nic Cage. This time though, the supporting cast is just as big, both literally and figuratively. It’s got that fat but buff black guy, John Malkavich, Steve Buscemi, that one chick with the weird face’s brother, that one dude from Star Trek, TNG, Danny Trejo, and a Trisha Yearwood song that I happen to love. It’s funny, it’s violent, and there is a moment where you’re certain Steve B is gonna cut a little girl’s face off and dance around under the desert sky with it. There are a lot of great lines in this movie, but my favorite by far is this: “Why couldn’t you just put the bunny back in the box?”

2. Armageddon (1998) – I’m not going to lie, I still tear up every time I see this movie. This is also one of two movies in this list that doesn’t star Mr. Cage, so be thankful. Again, you have a huge supporting cast, and Bruce Willis plays the lead. It is funny and heart warming, and it made me think about whether or not I could be a hero like him, or just let Ben Affleck die. To be truthful, I’d have probably rid the world of Ben Affleck. That’s one less person on The Missus’ list, and that’s a good thing, right? No replacies? My favorite quote from this movie? “Guys, the United States government just asked us to save the world. Anyone wanna say no?”

1. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) – I saw this movie in the theater at least 6 times during the first week it was open. It has everything. Hot chicks, (well one) fast cars, action, humor, feel good moments, and enough stunt driving to make even the safest driver consider popping a wheelie out of the theater parking lot. When I got in my car after seeing that movie, I was trying to speed shift, double clutch, and replicate everything they did in the film, and I drove an automatic. There are some things a 1997 Ford Escort just won’t do, but I tried them after watching it. It’s a miracle I didn’t die. If it’s up to me, I’d also like to say that this movie is where Timothy Olyphant got his start, and it’s also the movie that made me fall in love with both Nic and Delroy Lindo. It easily takes number 1 on the list, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. My favorite quote from this movie is “160…180…He’s gone.”

There you have it, folks. My top five movies of all time. I don’t do “indie” crap, I don’t make my favorite movie something that others have never heard of, I don’t do “artsy,” and I could give two craps about documentaries. All those are well and good for some of you, just not for me. I like sex, I like violence, and I like funny and thrilling. That’s me, in a nutshell. I do however, have some honorable mentions.

Hoosiers (1986) – While it certainly will never be remembered as one of Gene Hackman’s or Dennis Hopper’s best performances, it is sort of the godfather of all basketball films. It is the classic David vs. Goliath movie, and it keeps you in suspense until the very end.

Anchorman (2004) – Will Ferrel, Vince Vaughn, Steve Carrol. Need I say more? I don’t think I stopped laughing through the entire movie. There are so many memorable quotes in this movie I don’t think I could list them all here, so here: ANCHORMAN QUOTES.

Tombstone (1993) – I typically despise Westerns, but this one gets a nod. Great movie, and the only movie with Val Kilmer in it where I actually like him. I think it’s probably because he dies.