Wednesday, February 1, 2006
I finally got a few things done today, but I still feel like it wasn’t enough. The day started off with a conference call between me, our programmer, Josh and the boss-man, Scott. We’re going to start doing that the first business day of each month, which is a great idea. Other than that, I could hardly stay off the phones.

Our small group meeting was good. Often we have trouble focusing on the matter at hand, that being Bible study and whatnot. The good side to that is that generally we just get caught up in talking. All of the other couples (me and Amanda, Ben and Jessica Lambeth, Paul and Kim Ayars and Rob Peterson and Kristen Barriner) are in very similar situations- under 30, no kids, recently bought or soon to be buying a house. Speaking of that, Rob and Kristen’s house, well, the one they were going to buy, had a 32 page inspection report, so they told the seller they weren’t going to buy it. It’s a brand new construction too, but in the craze to build houses in the hot market builders are cutting corners. It’s a sucky, sad situation. Anyway, the discussion tonight was about honesty and being held accountable. We’ve all gotten to the point where we’re pretty comfortable with each other, but I think this discussion may open some more doors.

Duke played Boston College tonight. Amanda and I listened to the game on the radio on the way home and got to the house just before halftime. When we turned on the radio, Duke was down by four points. At the break they were up ten. Early in the second half Duke was up seventeen or eighteen, but BC wore Duke down to come within just a couple points. There was poor officiating on both sides, but Duke won 83-81. It wasn’t the prettiest, but a win is a win. I will say though that while BC was going on their streak, I was annoyed but I didn’t get upset like I would have if I thought Duke was going to lose. Even at the end I felt pretty confident that the Blue Devils would pull it off.

Thursday, February 2, 2006
First thing today, well, at 10:30 anyway, Scott and I went to meet a pretty big prospective client. I think it went really well. Scott was able to demonstrate the emphasis we put on the marketing aspect. We’ve been wanting to get a big, well-known client, so hopefully it will turn out well for us. There was another sales lead that came in today that I feel pretty good about. Not only can we certainly meet their needs, but it looks like they have a huge budget. If we can start landing some of these clients and bring in more of them, man, there’s so much we could do!

Amanda and I went for a walk this evening, which we haven’t done in a while. Actually, I was still on a call when she got home and she got tired of waiting for me, so she took off with Bruce. I headed out a few minutes later, but I didn’t catch up to her. She took a shorter route because she wasn’t sure when it would get dark and didn’t want to be out alone like that. She didn’t have keys to the house, so she and Bruce were waiting for me when I got back.

Tomorrow’s Friday, and this has been a long week, but ultimately I think a good one. Still, I can’t wait for tomorrow to be over.

Friday, February 3, 2006
Work was busy today, but it didn’t seem as stressful.

Amanda and I went for a decent walk around Sunset Park after she got home. Bruce talked to a few dogs along the way. Once back we watched some tv, did some other stuff and ate dinner. I decided it was time to get the photography site going since Amy is apparently getting questions about who did her pictures. To that end I’ve been working on redesigning that site. I need to come up with a good photo gallery option though.

I’ve thought that I might implement the old design for the eternally in-progress photo site onto this site. The main reason I’ve kept the design so simple on this site was that I had no idea what all links I would want in my navigation structure, so I kept them as text to make them easy to update. Now that I think I have it as done as I want, I wouldn’t mind actually using graphics and making the site look nicer.

Anyway, the new look for the photo site is extremely clean and simple. In fact, I may not even use any graphics in the basic design of that one either. That will keep the load times short and give at least a little more for the search engine spiders to index.

Speaking of search engines, Google is being funny about this site. I Googled myself yesterday and I came up number one under “Zach Dotsey,” which has been a goal of mine for this site. However, when I tried it again later I was nowhere to be found. It’s been going back and forth like that- ranking really high then not being mentioned at all. Same thing goes with every other Dotsey I’ve listed on my splash page- type in their names and my site comes up number one, but try it again later and nada. I asked Scott, the search engine guru, if he knew why that might be, and he wasn’t really sure after I told him I was using the same computer in the same location each time. My fear is of pissing off the search engine powers that be and getting banned. Ah well, at least MSN still loves me.

Saturday, February 4, 2006
Today was a pretty nice day. There wasn’t really much to it, but it was nice. We started out going to Manhattan for some bagels, but there was a sign on their door saying there was some kind of technical problem there or something, so we went to Port City Java instead. When we got back we took a short walk with Bruce. Instead of going two blocks down then three blocks up like usual, we went one and two, mainly because it was gray outside and windy, and we didn’t want to be caught in any rain. Of course, it never ended up raining today.

After we got back we watched Duke play Florida State. The lead never got to more than seven points, and that was Florida. It was mostly a two- to four-point game and ended up going into overtime. At the very end Duke ended up ahead four points following two free throws by Sheldon Williams. One of the Florida guys threw up a three at the buzzer that actually made it in, so it’s a really good thing (or bad, if you’re a Seminoles fan) that Williams made those free throws. He’d missed two on the possession right before the ones he made.

There was more good basketball on, so I watched some, mostly in hopes that UConn and Carolina would lose, which neither did. Wake Forest lost today too- they’ve only won one conference game so far. Dad called to ask me something about a remote control airplane Best Buy had given me. Cousin Francis was there and I guess saw it, so they were putting it together to play with. We talked for a few minutes, which was nice.

Adam came by for a haircut and stayed for some dinner. Amanda made some steak, green beans and macaroni and we had some salad to go along with it. I wish we’d had some wine or beer to go with it, but the dinner was really good. While Amanda was getting things ready, Adam and I talked video games and comics (being the nerds that we are) while Carolina unfortunately whooped up on Clemson. I mention that because Adam actually showed some mild interest in the game.

We played a game of Outburst. I was kicking Amanda’s ass for most of the game, but I ended up getting some tough categories and she got some easy ones, so she came back and beat me.

Amanda and I watched Wedding Crashers, which I really liked but didn’t think was as funny as everyone said. It was out at the same time as The 40 Year Old Virgin, and a lot of people said it was hard to say which was funnier. Maybe I just heard too much about it, but I thought Virgin was easily the funnier movie.

We watched Saturday Night Live, which was being hosted by Steve Martin for the first time in something like eleven or twelve years. He was in almost every single sketch and Prince was the musical guest. Natalie Portman is hosting for my birthday.

In the news, the IAEA is recommending that Iran go before the UN Security Council because Iran insists on furthering their nuclear research. We’ll see how that all turns out. There was a ship that sank in the Red Sea with 1,400 passengers, many of whom drowned. Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow split up and the Super Bowl is tomorrow. Super Bowl XL, with the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers, with the Steelers favored to win.

I suppose I’ll go for the Seahawks as the underdogs and because this is their first Super Bowl. Besides, they beat the Panthers, and it sounds better for the Panthers to have lost to the eventual champs. We were invited to a couple Super Bowl parties; Keila and Jon’s in Raleigh and Annie and Rick’s in Greensboro. I’d love to go to one, particularly Annie and Rick’s so I can meet little Charlie Titus, but they’re both a little far for driving to and from on a Sunday night.

Sunday, February 5, 2006
I woke up a couple minutes before 7:00 today, the time at which the alarm was set so we could get up and go to the 8:30 service at church. I had to let the alarm sound for a little longer than I usually do, because Bruce had come up from under the cover and was lying on his back for me to rub his belly, snuggled up in my left arm; the one by the alarm. He didn’t even flinch when it went off.

Anyway, we went to church then had breakfast at Cracker Barrel. After that we went to Circuit City to check out prices for memory cards and card readers, figuring I’ll need either more storage space or the ability to load my pictures more quickly in the near future. We checked at Target as well (we were picking up a few other items), but neither had any good specials. Unfortunately, Best Buy did and we didn’t feel like driving back to Circuit City for a price match, so the Beast got some of our money. I have to admit, the deal they had on the one gigabyte CompactFlash card, high speed at that, was too good. It was actually cheaper to buy the faster card, even without the rebate, than to get the slower one.

We went on home after that. Amanda watched a VH1 hottest celebrities countdown while I, well, I did something almost too geeky to write here. It wasn’t so bad, but it just sounds really nerdy. You know what? If you want to know, write me.

We watched Super Bowl XL. Granted that I wasn’t too attached to either team, but as I believe I mentioned before I was pulling for the Seahawks, but they lost. I was thinking the officiating was uneven, so I checked the ESPN message boards. Sure enough, everyone was complaining about what a terrible game it was. The only people who weren’t saying the game was poorly officiated were the Steelers fans. Lots of neutral people and even people who don’t like Seattle were saying it was awful. Amanda even kept talking about it, and she’s nowhere near a football fan. ESPN’s post-game coverage hasn’t said anything though, for whatever that’s worth.

Monday, February 6, 2006
Amanda had to do some running around early for work today, so she was up an hour early. She usually has The Today Show or Good Morning, America on when she’s getting ready in the mornings. Sometimes she’ll come in and comment on the news to me. Today she was talking about how a lot of Muslims are rioting over a cartoon in a Danish newspaper depicting the prophet Mohammad wearing a turban with a lit bomb in it. I just looked it up, and it took me a while to find- with the Danish embassy in Lebanon having been ransacked a lot of places are uncomfortable showing the picture. (I had read about it before going to bed last night.) You know, I get slightly offended at Catholic priest pedophile jokes (I think they’re cheap and easy shots, besides) and I get uncomfortable about some jokes and images about general Christians, but I also am strong enough in my faith that things people say or draw aren’t going to upset me all that much. Then again, I’m not a part of the Muslim world, the mindset of which is so foreign to me. I guess I’ve been around freedom of speech enough that such things aren’t such a big deal. A lot of clerics are saying the radicals are fanning the flames. It’s terrible. These people are expressing their outrage, which is fine, but they’re killing their own people in the process.

Anyway, work was steady today- a number of new leads and such.

We’re having a cold front, which sucks since the heat situation in this house is so bad. We have the “central” heater in the hallway, a heater that looks like at wood stove in the living room (which is cool- it’s got real-looking logs and fire that put out absolutely no heat, so you can always freak out people who are visiting for the first time) and a little heating unit Karen, my mother-in-law, bought last year so I could have some heat while I worked. The problem is that you can only run the two heaters (the central one not included, because it makes a difference but only so much) at the same time if the small heater is plugged into the bathroom outlet. Plug it into any others and the power trips. Same thing happens if you use the toaster oven while the living room heater is on. I can’t wait to get out of this house.

Other than that, there’s not a lot going on. We watched How I Met Your Mother and Amanda watched The Bachelor, and in this episode the guy went to meet the families of the four remaining girls, and one was from Durham. They had a date at Duke Gardens, which is where Cousin Dave got married.

Oh yeah, I ordered a Canon 580EX Speedlight from B&H today. Amanda’s cousin, Jon, for whom I am shooting engagement shots and bridal shots (for his fiancée Denise) this weekend, wired me enough money to cover the flash and then some. I ordered it in two-day air shipping to make sure not only that I’ll get it in time, but so I can play with it and learn it some as well. It’ll be a useful purchase, as it’s the main camera accessory I’ve been missing that, if I continue to get paying jobs, I’ll need.

I’ve been watching Gonzaga play St. Mary’s just for the heck of it. I’ve wanted to see Adam Morrison (of Gonzaga) play. He’s the other front runner besides JJ Redick for player of the year. They’re also ranked fifth. St. Mary’s was ahead most of the game, but Gonzaga just pulled ahead after an 8-0 run. St. Mary’s just retook the lead and got the ball back after an offensive foul. I hope Gonzaga loses. If a ranked team is playing, I go against them unless it’s an ACC team (UNC being the exception, of course) or Kentucky. St. Mary’s is up three now, with about 30 seconds left in the half. They’re unranked and playing at Gonzaga, who now has the longest home winning streak after after Illinois lost over the weekend (at 34 games, which Gonzaga is now going for).

There’s all kinds of sports talk about bad officiating of late. The Super Bowl was pretty universally lamented (except by Steelers fans) and there’s been a one-game suspension for the ref crew from the Duke-Florida State game the other day for a bad technical that got the Seminoles’ best player thrown out due to fouls. I hate that the last two Duke games, being so close, have such a bad taste with the bad calls. Hopefully everything will go fine tomorrow night when Duke takes on the Heels at the Dean Dome. There’s been a lot of chatter on the message boards, although even the honest Carolina fans are saying Duke will probably win. Most people are calling it to be about a seven-ten point game. We’ll see what happens.

Addendum: I was planning on going to bed after writing what I’ve already written, but the Zags-St. Mary game was too good. It was tied at 61 with half a second left when Gonzaga inbounded the ball. First off, the timekeeper didn’t start the clock until after they made a shot, which was obviously blocked but called a foul. The guy who was fouled made the shot and the clock was set at 0.3 seconds, and that was all she wrote. I felt disappointed. I guess that’s what it’s like when you’re watching a close Duke game and rooting against them but they win anyway.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Work was good today- lots of good sales leads and a very productive meeting with a new client this afternoon. The big thing on my mind all night though was the Duke-Carolina game at the Dean Dome. It didn’t help that ESPN Classics was playing old Duke-Carolina games all day. I watched a heart-breaker from 1996 where Duke led the whole game at the Dean Dome against a Carolina team that was ranked first in the ACC when they were ranked fifth. They lost it at the very end. That was followed by the one at Cameron last year, which was another close one but Duke pulled it out against the eventual national champs.

We did the Buffalo Wild Wings thing then caught up on some Surface until the game came on. Ahh, the game. Duke won, but it was hard-fought. They were ahead almost all of the game but blew two decent leads and it came down to the final couple minutes. Redick came through at the end. McRoberts had a season high of 17 points. Dockery made some pretty nice plays, too. I was worried that the officiating might be too strict, but, while it wasn’t perfect, it was about as fair and even as one could ask for it to be. The final score was 87-84 and this was another one for the classics.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006
The day started off with a meeting at Bear Rock with Scott. We interviewed someone (I don’t feel right printing it here, but if she comes on, I will) for a sales position. I think the interview went well, and a properly focused salesperson could free up quite a bit of my time. Speaking of time, I was pretty busy most of the rest of the day.

Amanda and I were going to have some soup at Bear Rock for dinner on the way to Paul and Kim’s, but they didn’t have any that either of us were interested in. We decided to try O’Charlie’s, but then we realized we didn’t have time for that so we just went to Chick-Fil-A. Group was nice tonight. We all decided to go to Ben and Jessica’s on Sunday. Amanda and I will bring Bruce and a bunch of meat for everyone to eat (from the boxes of steak and chicken I bought recently- I didn’t mention it on the off chance that Amanda actually reads this site and I was hoping to surprise her with it, but she opened the freezer and saw it all).

Canon Speedlight 580EX :: Zach DotseyThe most exciting thing that happened was I got my Canon Speedlight 580EX flash. I knew it was coming at some point today and was anxiously anticipating it all day. I was getting worried as the day wore on and I’d look out the window every single time I heard a large vehicle drive by. The UPS truck finally got here around quarter ’til five but went across the street first. Our address isn’t the easiest to see, and if we owned this place I’d put a little sign out front or something. Anyway, I got it, but was still busy with work and didn’t get to do much more than open it. I finally did get to play with it though, and I’m already loving the results! Bounce flash, man, that’s where it’s at! I know there’s a lot I’ll have to learn to really get the most out of this flash, but I think it’ll start improving the quality of my shoots right away. It’s certainly more than I need right now, but it there’s a lot of room for me to grow into it. The thing is heavy though! Okay, it weighs about a pound, but it definitely gives my 10D a different feel. Now I need a battery grip, and maybe a flash diffuser….

Thursday, February 9, 2006
Work was busy today. We got a number of quotes out and I was on the phone a lot. I still don’t feel like I’m accomplishing quite enough though.

I’m very tired tonight. I may actually get to bed before midnight.

I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails from relatives lately, either through my My Space profile or from people stumbling across this site. The latest are Cousins Shelby (Bernie’s daughter), David and Kristin, a distant cousin who is living in Florida now and remembers a trip to our house on Johnson Mill Road once long ago, although Kristin I came across when Googling “Dotsey” one time. I need to write them all back. Maybe I will be up later than 12 tonight.

There wasn’t too much else going on tonight. Amanda and I caught up on some DVRed tv and watched the usual Thursday night stuff. Sadly, Earl and The Office will be pre-empted by the Winter Olympics for a while. I refuse to call it the 2006 Olympics- the Winter Olympics aren’t nearly as popular as the Olympics.

Friday, February 10, 2006
I felt like I couldn’t do enough at work today. There’s so much going on and it’s so busy, which is good, but it makes it hard to fit in all the people I need to talk to and e-mail in a day.

Other than that, Amanda ate lunch with the people at work to celebrate one of their birthdays. I was trying really hard to work in washing the dishes (we’d emptied out all the old food from the fridge last night since the trash comes Fridays and there were a number of containers that needed a good scrubbing) and I happened to dry them and put them up just before Amanda got home, which was the exact time Karen pulled up as well. Since I’m heading to Rougemont, Amanda’s mom came to stay with her. Of course Amanda could have gone, but it’s just for a photo shoot.

The drive up was pretty boring, and I didn’t quite make it to Rougemont. I was calling just about everybody, and when I got to Sarah Denning, my brother-in-law’s girlfriend, she said we should get together and hang out. I called Amanda and told her the plan, just to make sure it wasn’t awkward or anything. Sarah fixed some dinner and then we went out on Franklin Street with some friends of hers. Of course, when I called Amanda from there, her big concern was about me spending money on drinks. Michael thought it was a little weird that Sarah and I were hanging out. I don’t think he was jealous by any means, and I suppose it is a little weird for a guy to hang out with his wife’s brother’s girlfriend, but Sarah and I have always had a good time talking.

Anyway, Franklin Street was fun. The whole night took me back to the college days. Despite being about five years older than everybody I was out with, I didn’t feel out of place.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 – Happy Birthday, Erin!
My original little sister is 26 today. I tried calling, but I got some sort of message in Spanish, and my EspaÑol isn’t up to snuff.

Anyway, I woke up a little after 6:00 after having crashed on the couch at Sarah’s. I headed out and got to the house, talked to Mom for a bit and putzed around on the computer. I see that a Felicia has signed my guestbook now, and I’m guessing that’s my cousin, Felicia. Hey, Felicia, if you’re reading this, send me an e-mail. The one you left on the guestbook wasn’t a complete e-mail address.

I hung out with Dad, just sitting around and talking for a bit. David and Nick gave them an awesome massage chair. I sat in that thing for quite a while watching some ESPN. That thing was just beyond words. Mom and Dad ran out to do some errands. Last night they had gone out line dancing. Apparently there are a bunch of places that teach line dancing around Durham, and my parents are into that. I’m glad they have things they enjoy going out and doing.

Duke played Maryland at College Park, and I was able to watch the first half before Denise and her friend, Angie, got there. They ended up winning by eight, which isn’t bad I guess. Maryland didn’t lead at all in the game. I didn’t get to watch but snippets of the second half. JJ Redick is now one three-pointer away from typing the all-time record for most three-pointers made. He’s also well within range of becoming the all-time highest scorer in the ACC.

Denise Carter – Bridal Shot :: Zach DotseySo, the photo shoot. The day started out with a light rain, so I thought maybe, hopefully, it would abate by 2:00. It didn’t; it kept raining all day. It never poured, but it was gray and cold and nasty all day long. Denise brought her friend, Angie, to help out. If I start doing a bunch of these bridal shoots, I think I will always recommend that a friend is brought along. Then again, I can see how that could be a problem at times. Anyway, Angie was very helpful in making Denise smile and laugh, which, considering the circumstances, was very helpful.

We shot some in the house, on the porch, and then, trying to get something different, we went to an old, abandoned, crooked church down the road which will probably not survive another hurricane. Denise joked about headlines in tomorrow’s paper announcing the cancellation of the wedding due to the bride being killed in a fallen-down church.

Jon was supposed to get there as well so we could do some engagement shots, but he never showed. They had talked to him and he said he was near the house, but by around 5:00 we hadn’t seen him and couldn’t get him on the phone. Denise and Angie left to find him.

Mom and Dad were going to a hunt club ball that night and were getting ready for that when I left. Oh, they also showed off some of their line dancing moves in an attempt to cheer up Denise. I should clarify- Denise could have so easily been in a horrible mood, but she did great. I know that a lot of brides would have freaked out and not even tried to make what they could of the situation. (We couldn’t reschedule, by the way. I forgot to mention that earlier.) Anyway, Mom and Dad were getting ready to leave, so I packed up and headed on back to Wilming-tone. The drive was boring again, but I listened to some of the country music I liked back in high school then random other stuff on the Ipod, and that helped pass the time.

I picked up a Hardees burger on the way home. Amanda and I looked over some of the pictures I took, and some of them turned out pretty nice.

Sunday, February 12, 2006
I was working on editing some of the pictures last night when the computer shut off. Actually, it just went into hibernation. I hadn’t plugged it back up and I didn’t see the power level warning, so it’s not like I lost anything. I did take that as a sign, however, to go lie down on the love seat (my usual couch). Bruce crawled up with me and we fell asleep. Amanda was kind enough to let me stay there when she went to bed. Between the drinking the night before, getting maybe four hours of sleep, standing out in the cold and the rain and driving about three hours back home, I was rather pooped. Anyway, I woke up sometime around midnight, I think because Bruce was scratching at me, and went to bed.

This morning we got up and went to church. A new series was started today and the message today was about controlling the way you think, which is something I’ve been working on myself anyway lately. After that we went out to the IHOP. The service wasn’t the best. We had to borrow syrup from the table next to us and it took forever for us to get our check.

We didn’t do a whole lot for the rest of the day. Amanda went to the mall to get something for me for Valentine’s Day while I stayed home and worked on Denise’s pictures (and watched NC State, #2 in the ACC, lose to Georgia Tech, who hadn’t won a game since State beat them in Raleigh a month ago). Amanda came back with an extra surprise for me- a Duke jersey for herself! What a good wife! She told me a while back that if I got her one she’d wear it for games. I was planning on getting one, but she went ahead and did it. It had the number four on it, too. My girl even knows JJ Redick’s number (which, by the way, I’d bet everything I own will be retired this year. That’s almost too obvious a statement to have written, but I felt compelled).

Monday, February 13, 2006
I paid some bills early today then got something for Amanda for tomorrow. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, if you didn’t notice. There was plenty of work today, and of course I don’t feel like I got enough done, even though I worked until a little after 6:00.

At 7:30 there was a meeting for the production staff from church that I went to. I talked to Caroline, who, by the way, is the girl we interviewed for a sales position. She’ll be starting to learn what we do soon, but she’s looking for more of a full time job still too. And that’s fine- Scott explained to her that it was a bit of an experimental position.

UConn got beat by Villanova tonight! If Duke wins both of their games this week, which they should, they stand a great chance of reclaiming the number one spot.

I spent most of the night going through some of the old pictures I’ve backed up. I added a Jackson gallery. In the process, I read over some of my old writings. Man, I had a crappy birthday in 2004 and I was really totally miserable working at Best Buy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 – Happy Valentine’s Day!
I was trying to make some time during the day to get away to go to the store and buy some things for tonight. Specifically I wanted to get some wine and dessert. I didn’t have the time to do that, but I was able to make green beans and steak before Amanda got home. I ended up running out and picking up some Duplin County Winery Hatteras Red and a Sara Lee cheesecake. I picked up some Hawaiian bread while I was out too. I kept the steak in the oven to keep it warm and I was surprised that it actually turned out pretty good.

Purple Valentine’s Day Flower Bouquet :: Zach DotseySo that, along with a flower arrangement I ordered for Amanda to be delivered to her at work, was my Valentine’s Day gift to her. The flowers were all purple, which is Amanda’s favorite color. She got me a card with a Chihuahua and a cat on the front. they were standing up, leaning against each other a little and looked like they were dancing. It’s a cute card. She also got me a shirt from American Eagle. It’s got more colors than I’m used to, but it looked good anyway. She’s been good at getting me to try things, shirts in particular, that I wouldn’t have thought I’d like.

We watched the first half of the Duke game together. Duke was killing Wake Forest and JJ Redick passed the record for the number of three-pointers made in a NCAA career, which was 412 I believe. As much time as there is left in this season, he’ll kill that record. He also moved to fourth most career points in the ACC and stands a pretty good chance of breaking first place on that record too. Josh McRoberts also had some nasty dunks early on. That kid’s getting better and better as he gains confidence.

Amanda was watching American Idol during the second half, which I didn’t mind because we were recording more than one show on the DVR. I mostly watched the second half of the Duke game in the guest room. They got to play a few of the hyped freshmen, which was good.

We watched a little more tv then did some Valetine’sie stuff before she went to bed.

Something else I keep forgetting to mention- our cat, our dear little Selena, is a boy. I was talking to our neighbor this past Friday and he said the guy who used to live in this house went by to see him. They were talking and it turns out the affectionate little cat is a neutered male. Kind of changes the dynamics of everything somehow. Anyway, we played around with a few new names, but Amanda seems to have struck upon Cobblepott, or, as she calls him, Mr. Cobblepott. I think it’s actually spelled with one ‘t’ but Amanda liked the two, so two it is.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006
We had lots of sales leads come in today and I was, as I have been of late, busy today. Scott showed me a possible solution for a template system today, which is great so we can start selling things to people without much budget.

We met up tonight with Rob and Kristen at El Cerro Gordo for dinner. The service was bad- Amanda and Kristen’s orders were terribly off and Rob had to go find our waiter to tell him so. My quesadilla was good though.

After dinner we headed over to UNCW to check out a lecture about evolution and creationism. For the info Kristen had e-mailed me, it sounded like the lecturer, one Michael Ruse, was going to give a presentation reconciling the two ideas, but really it ended up being more of a history of the debate. It was informational in that respect, and while you could definitely tell what side of the fence the guy was on, he never took a strong stand. I’ll say two things though- Ruse had a decent sense of humor and a good English accent. I told Amanda when it started that it reminded me of Ross in the episode of Friends when he took on an accent to be more interesting. Paul nailed it better though, saying that if you closed your eyes you’d think you were listening to Stewie from Family Guy.

Paul, by the way, followed us (sort of) from Racine over to the campus. We lost him as we were all looking for parking, but met up again. We were ten minutes late to the lecture, but in spite of that we were there in time for the introduction.

Kim had to work tonight and Ben was at home caring for Jessica, who has strep.

After we got home, Amanda and I watched American Idol and Lost. Now, a note about American Idol; I had never watched an episode, not a single one, until last year. Amanda sucked me into watching the tryouts, then we had to watch for Sarah Mather, who is from Wilmington, then we were too far invested into it. Tonight they knocked it down to the final twenty-four contestants, and four of them were from North Carolina. Our favorite so far is this little blonde country girl from Albemarle- Kelly Pickling or something like that. She’s just so cute and seems so sincere.

Thursday, February 16, 2006
Drawn Together :: Zach DotseyDrawn Together is a terrible show. I mean, it can be funny at times, but I feel almost guilty laughing at it. It completely goes for shock value and is often just too… obvious. Look at that and compare it with, say, South Park, and while South Park pushes the line at times, it’s often smart about it. I say this because there’s an episode of Drawn Together on right now. In all fairness, the episode that’s on right now self-reflectively called itself a “steaming pile of shit,” so at least they know what they’re doing.

Not a lot to report on today, except that Andra called to tell me that Jackson is walking on his own now. She said it’s not his “main mode of transportation” yet, but he’s getting up on his own and walking across the room and everything. When they clap and get excited for him he does some sort of stomp thing. Sounds adorable. I wish they’d moved here instead of Gastonia.

I met with Scott and Caroline to go over some sales stuff with her, get her a little bit used to the services we provide, that sort of thing. It’ll be so nice to get some sales help.

Jon and Denise are coming to town on Sunday to take some engagement pictures. I’ve actually gotten a number of compliments on what I was able to get for Denise’s bridal shots.

There’s really not much else going on. Amanda and I are doing fine, Bruce is cute, the cat is now a male cat and that’s about all.

Friday, February 17, 2006
The weather was absolutely beautiful today. I had made it a goal to catch up on sales and contacts today, so I made sure to do that then took off about an hour early to ride the bike around the neighborhood. I really enjoyed it; not just the part about getting out in nice weather, but I liked riding around and looking at the houses, wondering about how old they were and what kinds of stories each one knew. Sunset Park has a lot of personality in this regard, and I enjoyed riding around and thinking about it. When I was heading back to the house I stopped and talked to a lady with a mini pinscher that looks like Bruce. Amanda, Bruce and I have run into them before while out walking, but this time I had a nice long talk with her. She’s been here since 1984, back when you could get a house here for $20-30,000. I asked her what used to be in the spot where Sunset South, the new cookie-cutter section of the neighborhood, now is. She said it used to be government housing and looked like it was originally apartments for people who used to work the docks or shipyards or whatever, like during World War II when they were making all the ships here.

I love history and thinking about what things were like.

Ben, Jessica, Rob and Kristen came over. We invited Paul and Kim, too, but they had already been invited to an oyster bake or some such. We ordered pizza from Michelangelo’s and ate some salad that Jessica brought. After that we played a couple rounds of Mexican train while sipping on some wine. Classy. Ben was in first place, I was in second, Amanda was last and Kristen was in front of her by one point. I don’t remember Rob’s or Jessica’s scores. We had some dessert then everyone trickled on home. We’ve decided to make it a running game of Mexican Train.

Saturday, February 18, 2006
We went to bed early last night. Well, 10:30 is early for me, but it’s about the same time Amanda usually goes to bed. It seems I always crash early on Fridays. Anyway, I got up today and played some Medieval Total War for a bit until Amanda talked me into actually taking a shower and all so we could get out of the house. The weather today wasn’t nearly as nice as yesterday; it’s overcast and dreary.

Bridal Bouquet Made By Amanda Dotsey :: Zach DotseyWe went to AC Moore (where every guy likes to go) to pick out some fake flowers for a bridal bouquet for tomorrow’s shoot and possible future shoot. We’re doing the bridal shots for Jon and Denise, but we’re going to see if we can’t get a couple more formal bridal shots for Denise too. After that we went to the mall and got a couple DVDs from Suncoast. The one here is going out of business, so they’re all on sale. While we were there we picked up some pretzels but had a hard time finding a place to sit and eat.

After we got back home Amanda put the flowers together and I continued my domination of Europe and Northern Africa for a while until we watched some tv. Pretty boring day, over all. Tomorrow I’ll be directing the first two services at church then taking Jon and Denise’s pictures. Speaking of which, I need to clean off the memory card and charge up the battery.

Sunday, February 19, 2006
I directed at the 8:30 and 10:30 services today. In between, I stepped out to grab bagels with Amanda, Ben and Jessica, who were all at 8:30. The problem was that the Manhattan Bagels we go to was having a problem with the register and couldn’t make change. I didn’t have much time before heading back to the church, so I was just going to grab a bagel and go, but by that time there were a few people in front of me. (Amanda, Ben and Jessica were going to head over to a BoJangles because the Lambeths didn’t have change.) I didn’t have time to wait behind the people who got in front of me, so I had to go back without anything to eat. I was a little annoyed because I wasn’t expecting to eat, but I was hungry and not getting something to eat when I had the chance to sucked.

I should have written that last sentence better.

Amanda was cleaning while I was going the 10:30 service. We headed over to Anna and Barry’s around 1:30 to meet Jon and Denise. All of the Frazelles except Hannah were out. Anyway, Amanda and I gathered up the soon-to-be weds and went to the tip of the island, where we’d taken Amy’s bridal shots, to take some engagement shots. After that we headed over to the Oceanic Pier. I think the shoot went pretty well. We went back to the Frazelles and checked out the results. Barry put on Anchorman and by what’s probably my favorite part, the part where all the news teams have a fight, Denise was ready to take a couple more bridal shots. We made sure to get some with flowers and the veil this time.

By the way, the sky was very pretty, even though we were expecting it to be nasty. It looked very nice out, but it was freezing. Okay, it was technically not freezing; it was about one degree above freezing.

I was trying to get out of there in time to see Duke play Miami, but Amanda took forever talking to Anna so I missed the first half. I listened to part of it on the way home on an XM station and I was able to catch the second half. Miami pulled within ten points, but it seemed like I looked away for a minute and suddenly Duke was back up twenty. The big news was that JJ Redick became Duke’s all-time highest scorer, passing assistant coach Johnny Dawkins. He nailed is after losing his defender while zigging and zagging across the floor and nailing an open three.

Monday, February 20, 2006
Not a whole hell of a lot happened today. I’ve been tired though, and I’m not sure why. Work was only moderately busy. After work, Adam’s girlfriend, Renee and… Brian I think is his name, the guy she’s working under for her internship, came over to talk about investments, life insurance and disability. It’s stuff we need to think about anyway, and it’s nice to have someone we know to talk about it with.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Work was pretty busy this morning, steady anyway, and I think things are going decently well. Scott and I are meeting with a prospective client in the morning. Caroline came by to brush up on some knowledge. Bruce was barking like hell at her and even had his hackles raised until I made him calm down. He was very friendly after a minute.

We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings with Matt and Jennifer Hicks tonight. She’s a co-worker of Amanda’s. After dinner they came by our place to watch American Idol. Tonight the twelve remaining women went. We made a few predictions about who the final six would be. Amanda called in and voted for little Kelly Pickler. I felt particularly sorry for one of the singers; Stevie Scott I think was her name. I thought she did alright, but that she could do better. She just looked worried when she was done, but I think she has potential. Maybe she just reminded me a little of Renee. One way or another, she looked worried and I felt sorry for her. My problem with shows like this is that I tend to feel a lot of empathy sometimes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
I think the meeting this morning went pretty well. It went a little long though, so I was really busy this afternoon. I was feeling run down for most of the afternoon, but I’m attributing that to the weather. It wasn’t particularly nasty out, but it was overcast and dreary.

We went to O’Charlie’s for dinner then headed over to Paul and Kim’s. Since we were early we rode around the neighborhoods for a little bit and looked at some of the houses. Actually, I wasn’t looking very much; I was listening to the Duke and Georgia Tech game. Duke wasn’t doing well. Redick wasn’t hitting much and it sounds like there were a lot of foul calls. They were down four or five at the half and stayed down for half of the second half. However, Duke went on a tear and ended up pulling away late in the game to pull out the win. I was checking on my phone for updates, and since we were at Paul and Kim’s I didn’t get to actually watch the game or hear any of the second half but the very end. The message boards said that the officiating was not well done at all. Maybe I’ll see if there are any highlights on SportsCenter.

Thursday, February 23, 2006
I felt like I was all over the place right before lunch today. I had phone calls coming in out the wazzoo, a support chat going on, plus two people asking me questions on the work chat, all while trying to upload some mockup revisions for one of our newer clients. The afternoon calmed down a little though, and I was able to get a good deal done.

Amanda was flipping the channels after she got home and decided for some reason to watch Elektra. I’ll admit I’ve been wanting to see if it’s really all that bad, but I didn’t much pay attention to it. After that we watched a DVR’ed episode of CSI: Miami, which finished up just in time for American Idol. The girl who reminded me of Renee indeed did not make it, not did the really really pretty girl (whom I read an article about today which said she and her twin sister had posed for Maxim and done Fear Factor). Of the guys, the largish one who sang Copa Cabana was gone, which wasn’t much of a surprise, although I did like him a little for some reason. The other guy that left was Amanda’s favorite. I think he’d just had a bad night. Four out of the final twenty are from North Carolina. For the record, I’m not proud that I enjoy watching American Idol.

Becky O’Donohue; I didn’t think she’d make it because she’s too pretty :: Zach Dotsey Bobby Bennett was goofy but kinda fun :: Zach Dotsey Patrick Hall was Amanda’s favorite :: Zach Dotsey Stevie Scott reminded me of my brother’s girlfriend, Renee Sikes :: Zach Dotsey
Good bye.

Friday, February 24, 2006
Spider-Man 3 Poster – Black Outfit :: Zach DotseyToday was steady but not stressful, as far as work went. Amanda suggested watching The Ring 2 tonight, but she wanted to have more people over to do it so we ended up just ordering a pizza and watching some tellie. Michelangelo’s, bye the way, which is where we get our pizza from these days, has a $10 minimum order for delivery, plus a $1.50 delivery fee. I didn’t think anybody these days, as far as pizza places go anyway, charged for delivery.

There’ve been a lot of commercials for V for Vendetta lately. I hope that movie is good. It’s a comic that everyone should read (along with Watchmen, I’d say Miracleman too, but you probably get less out of that if you’ve never read comics). I just really hope they don’t screw it up.

All the commercials prompted me to look up some stuff online, so in between fixing up shots from last week’s photo shoot, I’ve been reading up on the next X-Men and Spider-Man movies. There’s a new poster with Spidey’s black outfit, which pretty much confirms that one of the villains in the movie will be Venom, if that wasn’t 100% sure already. It looks like there will also be a movie or tv show based on Ultra, which was a miniseries I read. It’s a look at celebrity as told through superheroes. We’ll see how that turns out.

Saturday, February 25, 2006
Today was a pretty good day, all in all. It was overcast mostly, and rained or drizzled constantly, but looking back on it, I was pleased.

We started off getting brunch at Port City Java then went to the mall briefly to get something for Amanda’s mom Ahab, Master of the Hounds :: Zach Dotseybecause she’d gotten a gift card from Camille (where Amanda got her wedding dress) that was expiring soon. Okay, I didn’t enjoy that part so much, and Amanda had told me earlier in the day that there was a significant chunk of white in my chin stubble (which I called very light blonde) and with all the mirrors in the place, I kept being drawn to inspect my lighter fuzz. I told Amanda I’d have to grow out a beard, and then I could look like the old X-Men bad guy, Ahab. On the way out Amanda said I needed to start making more money so I could take her out to expensive places so she could wear dresses like in that store. At about that time I was looking at a Wrightsville Beach magazine and internally lamenting our monetary situation (which isn’t horrible). If any really rich people happen across this site and take a liking to me, why not see if you can’t get some of your rich friends together and donate about $5 million to us? I promise not to squander it.

After that we went back to the house to clean up. I folded all the laundry while Amanda ran to the grocery store. Over the past couple days I’d washed all of our laundry, so that got caught up. Amanda got back and was putting them away as I finished the folding. Okay, still not particularly fun, but it was productive. While I was doing that I was watching something on History International about the Chunnel, which I found quite informative and interesting. I’m such a nerd.

After that Ben and Jessica came over. We’d talked to them last night and they asked what we were doing today. I’d told them the only plan I had was to watch the Duke-Temple game, so today they called up and asked if we’d mind them coming over to watch. I think it was mainly that they were running some errands in town and thought that, and it was a nice excuse to get together. Anyway, we all watched the game, which was ugly and physical. JJ Redick had another off game, only scoring eleven, but he was able to beat the all-time career points in the ACC (which he beat with free throws; a slight disappointment, but hey, he got it). In his favor, he was passing a lot and distracting a lot of Temple’s defense, but he really needs to get back to regular form. They’ve wrapped up the ACC regular season title, but they’ve still got the ACC and NCAA tourneys to go through. My thought is that whether he admits it or not, there’s all this press going on about the records Redick has beaten or was lined up to beat, so hopefully now that it’s all done (it’s not realistic to expect that he’ll set the NCAA career points record) he won’t feel so much pressure and will have his head back in the game.

Ben and Jessica went to meet some other friends for dinner and we headed over to Anna and Barry’s. Amanda’s grandparents were there and we were invited to a lasagna dinner. Upon arrival, I found my grandfather-in-law watching the overtime of the NC State-Boston College game. It went into double OT and Boston pulled it out. What sucks about that, aside from the fat that I was going to my home state team, is that the loss will move UNC to second in the ACC, and State, after losing to Carolina earlier in the week (being blown out, at home, actually), State will probably fall behind the Heels in NCAA ranking as well. They’re supposed to be having a bad year, dammit!

Anyway, we had dinner with the Frazelles and the Lemonses then hung out for a bit. Barry and Earl gave me some financial advice over dessert then, after Earl and Peggy left, we just hung out and watched a bit of the Olympics before heading home.

I’m tired now, and am directing at church tomorrow. We’re watching some terribly cheesy Sci-Fi movie about a volcano in New York. Amanda had seen something about it earlier and we made predictions as to the plot and flow of the movie. I think we were pretty accurate, although the love angle is a former husband and wife couple, a la Twister, as opposed to the sexy scientist and the tough nature-loving guy who don’t completely see eye to eye that we predicted. Oh, there went to buddy who fell over a cliff into the lava, and we just saw the evil corporate guy who will undoubtedly get consumed by some of the most pitiful CG work I’ve ever seen.

Sunday, February 26, 2006
I’ve been up since 6:30 today. I thought I’d take a nap at some point, but I never did. I was really tired today, but I just couldn’t get myself to fall asleep.

The directing went well. There was a song that they added a lot of percussion to today, and it sounded really great and the camera work was outstanding. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to hit the record button for the first service, someone had accidentally hit a button that prevented transitions between the two switcher buses for the second service (meaning whatever was selected in the top row of buttons on the video switcher was all that was seen) and the third service just wasn’t quite as tight. But man, we were on fire!

I was through with church around 2:00 and headed home to find Amanda curled up with “puppies and kitties” watching Spider, another terrible movie on the Sci-fi channel, which was followed by Spider 2, which was related only in name and the fact that each featured giant spiders that implanted eggs in their victims. In fact, in one movie the spiders made screechy dinosaur noises and in the other they made bestial roars.

That was about it for most of the day. I was too beat to do much else. I watched a little of the UConn-Villanova rematch, sort of pulling for Nova, but they got beat. Then I saw that the Heels were playing Maryland later in the evening, but Carolina won by 22 or so. That was disheartening.

Other than that, I’ve been researching stock photography websites, I fixed Amanda a grilled cheese for dinner (with the last piece of cheese) and got an IM from my old friend Autumn Belk. She and John Pearson, who she was seeing after we stopped “kinda-sorta dating” in high school (although it’s not like they’ve been together ever since then; it was about twelve years ago that we were dating, or whatever it was we were doing), are engaged now. I’m happy for them; they’ve been dating for a while now. They’ve been engaged since December but have not yet set a date.

Monday, February 27, 2006
I was trying to get a few projects done before the end of the month, but I don’t think it’ll happen. Sucks.

Amanda was buying my birthday present today with the credit card she’d gotten to build up some decent credit when it was denied today. Upon inspection, she found out that the card company has yet to receive our last payment, which was sent out on the 16th. We sent a bunch of other bills out the next day, and all of those have gone through already. This isn’t the first time we’ve had trouble with the mail here; we didn’t get our Christmas card from Amanda’s parents until halfway through January and they sent it well before Christmas. So now we have to wait and see if the check turns up so we have proof via the postmark date that we sent it on time, or we have to cancel the check and send another one.

Anyway, we didn’t do much tonight. Amanda was watching the finale of The Bachelor while I tooled around with a CMS that I may eventually use to better manage this website.

Latest entry
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Another month gone. I’ll be 28 in a few days and my dad will be 50.

Today was very busy. I had all kinds of phone calls, but by luck I didn’t have a lot of people calling while I was talking to other people, so it was manageable.

Adam came by and formatted my computer for me- the desktop. Unfortunately I can’t find the key to reactivate Windows XP. I’ll find it somewhere or other. This formatting had been a long time coming. I got a virus a while back that knocked out a lot of the computer’s functionality and often bogged it down, so once I get everything reinstalled it should run nicely.

Amanda ran out to get the Buffalo Wild Wings dinner while I worked on trying to finish up a site. It took a lot longer than I expected, so I was working on that while we did our Tuesday night tv. It was girls night on Idol and the only one that did any good I think was Kelly Pickler, the one we like so much. She’s not the best singer in the group, but nobody else had a good night at all.

That’s about it. Farewell, February.