Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BONUS BLOG: 2010 Emmy Comments

It's taken forever for me to post these. I was also delayed by the Presidential Address tonight. With no further adieu, here are the comments:

- How many SNL alums host awards shows? My guess is wayyy too many.
- Does Fallon even have a career now?
- $300 for Emmy tickets? WTHeck?
- This Glee opening spot already seems lame
- Who's this blonde named Kate?
- Betty White is everywhere!
- That Jane Lynch don't play around!
- Tina Fey is fine but still doesn't have much of a rack, even after getting red Kool-Aid spilled on her shirt
- Jane's tatas are even smaller though
- Wait is that Victoria Justice?
- OMG, Randy Jackson is rocking out
- Jimmy's really out of breath after that performance
- Conan O'Brien, waddup with the hobo beard?
- Amy Poehler, now there's a set of hooters!
- Dang I don't recognize hardly any of the comedies in this clip
- Jon Cryer gets nominated every year for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, but rarely wins
- Did Eric Stonestreet of Modern Family originally play on The Sopranos?
- Clown? Really, Eric? More like Ralph Kramden or a mobster
- Why do the Emmys need a color commentator?
- Here's a presenter instruction: get someone that wasn't an SNL regular
- Sofia Vergard is BANGING! Jim Parsons, too bad you're gay!
- Trying to be funny isn't sexy, but trying to be sexy is funny!
- Modern Family appears to be dominating the awards so far and deservingly so. Funny show, nice cast, and hard to go wrong with Al Bundy
- OK these acceptance speeches are too long, where's that "get the heck off stage" music?
- I still say Stephen Colbert looks like Bob Saget
- There's Tom Hanks!
- Jane Lynch deserved that Emmy, long time coming
- Wow, Jane's from the South side of Chicago? She does talk and act tough
- Ryan Murphy looks like Bruce Willis
- I knew Jane was gay, but she has a daughter?
- Fallon, that was a terrible six degrees of separation!
- Matthew Perry has a show coming out called "Mr. Sunshine?"
- Aiight Neil Patrick Harris and Betty White received guest appearance Emmys. Betty White is milking her post-Super Bowl comeback fame
- The Bruce Willis clone just won an Emmy!
- Glee seems like a great show after all. Let's see how long NBC will keep it on the air. Lately they have a history of canceling their better programs
- Stewie!!! Loved that Al Bundy crack!
- And Al, waddup with the Terminator shades?
- LL Cool J looks like a cab driver
- Jim Parsons (Sheldon from Big Bang Theory) won an Emmy! Well deserved, dude carries that show. Kaley Cucomo (Penny)'s looks only go so far
- And I believe Jim thanked everyone but the curtains on the stage.
- Julia-Louis Dreyfuss = cougarlicious!
- Edie Falco has been acting forever!
- This is such a random acceptance speech by Edie
- Jimmy, please, please, put down the guitar!
- Strangely enough, I recognize many of the reality show clips
- Top Chef beat American Idol, whoo hoo!
- Dang that's a huge cast!
- Is that a Native American woman amongst the cast members?
- OK y'all really need to get off the stage already
- Ernst and Young does the accounting for EVERY awards show. I wonder if they're hiring. I'm an aspiring accountant!
- I also cried when I learned Jimmy Fallon was hosting this racket
- OK now they're showing the names of the shows in the drama highlight reel
- HBO and TNT REALLY do know drama
- OK and why am I just now hearing about Mad Men?
- Now it's winning the Best Writing Emmy
- Zach Gilford from Friday Night Lights should have been nominated for an Emmy. C'mon now!
- One good thing about having a DVR: fast-forwarding through commercials and these long acceptance speeches.
- Wow I forgot about Sharon Gless from Cagney and Lacey
- Lots of 1st time Emmy winners tonight
- There's old Edie again, presenting this time
- Bryan Cranston winning best actor in a drama? Wasn't he the dad (Hal) in Malcolm in the Middle? Kyle Chandler was robbed!
- Boris Kodjoe is on, I guess the ladies need eye candy also
- I also haven't heard of The Good Wife
- Ann-Margaret has quite the alto voice
- Oh heck naw Jimmy is doing Elton John #epicfail.
- Now he's murdering Boyz II Men and another 90s singer. Dang it Fallon, leave the 90s alone, that's my decade!
- Fallon's gone completely ADD, and I'm disgusted. I hope Comedy Central chooses him to roast in 2011.
- Hey I'd date Tina Fey, even in that horrendous dress
- Connie Britton, another Friday Night Lights nominee, also got robbed of an Emmy! No respect for an awesome TV series.
- Waddup with the Alice in Wonderland dress, Kyra Sedgwick?
- You know it's not the Emmys without Jeff Propst from Survivor. He's a much better host than Fallon.
- Ricky Gervais is suprisingly funny, and he appears to have lost weight
- Wow and he's even giving out beer to the audience members!
- Does anyone actually play the accordion for fun?
- Bucky Gunts? Ricky, I believe you were a little TOO happy when you read that Emmy
- Short, sweet speech, nice Bucky!
- Congrats on that humanitarian award George Clooney
- Julianna Marg looks like a grown-up Miranda Cosgrove
- It's Captain Picard now!
- Bob Hope was the man #thatisall
- Jimmy Fallon, please go home!
- The Office is soo gonna crash and burn this upcoming year without Steve Carell
- Claire Danes is lovely, very lovely!
- What now, another female song? Jewel? This ain't the Grammys or the AMAs
- That was a terrible tribute to the folks that have passed on this year
- OK does anyone even still watch mini-series or made-for-TV movies?
- Good seeing Claire Danes again
- Ahh the True Blood cast members
- Al Pacino's still winning awards
- I can't look at Larry Fishbourne and NOT think of Montana and Brian Pumper
- I gotta see You Don't Know Jack
- These ladies from Temple Grandin are sure letting their breasts wiggle
- Tom Selluck, where have you been? Hasn't aged much since Magnum P.I.
- Modern Family ran the table almost, 14 Nominations and 3 Emmys!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fantasia: Still got a ways to go

The hoopla over former American Idol winner, Color Purple musical star, and platinum selling musical artist Fantasia Barrino has reached a fever pitch this month. Therefore, I felt the need to blog about this young, troubled lady earlier than I expected.

Many folks have seen the interviews, the Behind The Music special, and maybe even more things than the average person (or average Fantasia fan has). I will not make this a blurb detailing her entire background and personal bio. I'm just going to reference certain parts of her life as part of the point I'm headed towards.

Honestly, I was initially planning on only bashing and lambasting Fantasia in this blog. I'm taking a more diplomatic approach, especially after watching these many interviews, reading other blogs, and watching the Behind The Music special on VH-1.

Fantasia's life has been quite a roller-coaster. She has overcome rape, teenage pregnancy, lack of education, money, and now a suicide attempt to succeed and have plenty of support from fans irregardless of her past. There is nothing wrong with that. We should be supporting someone instead of tearing them down all the time. Folks have real problems (celebrities included), it shows they are human. We have to encourage them.

However, there is another end of this spectrum that cannot be ignored. The mere FACT that Fantasia does have many character flaws that she has yet to work out. Her overall behavior towards life, her work, mothering, family and the regard for her own life. Prior to her failed suicide attempt, her 2nd album didn't sell as well as the 1st album. That can be chalked up as a sophomore slump. She started out well again, playing "Celie" in Oprah's Broadway nationwide production of "The Color Purple". However, about a year or so in, she was missing performances, practices, etc. She was in Oprah's doghouse and was dismissed for a few performances. She came back from that, however, and delivered beautifully until the show wrapped.

Fantasia then had a reality show on VH-1 "Fantasia for Real " (which has been renewed for a second season). Now that was just one big coon-fest and buffoon-filled mess. It portrayed Fantasia just how she acts at times, a ghetto-hood rat from the South, making the South look bad. VH-1 is known for this, as I briefly elaborated in my coonery blog in May. Her family and brothers were even worse, as she was keeping them all up, and many of them were lazy bums. She was in the process of completing her GED during the show's filming. She had the nerve to say that GED stood for "Grown Educated Diva". Who does that? She made herself look like a complete fool after another chance to get her career back on track post The Color Purple.

August 2010 has been traumatic for Fantasia. First she's been messing around with a married man on the tail end of his divorce, a controversy wrapped in an enigma. Then comes the suicide attempt. Granted, most folks (myself included) are happy that she's still with us. But why would you OD on aspirins? Better yet, why OD in the first place. It showed America that Fantasia has some deep demons to fight, and a long ways to go yet still.

I have said some harsh things about Fantasia. I still believe that if she wasn't blessed with that wonderful voice that she would be regarded as a basic, coonish, hood-rat and would be chilling on the corner in High Point, NC and not many folks would care. I caught flack for that. However, Fantasia HERSELF made a similar comment about herself to George Lopez on his show. She said that had she not won Idol that she would most likely still be stuck in High Point and doing the things she were doing before.

Nevertheless, my compassion and sympathy for this young lady has blossomed. She needs our support and prayers. Fantasia is the type of woman that was persecuted early in life, picked on, has been raped, has issues with her father till this day, and has had many issues with men. Many times when a person seems ignorant, it is deeper than that. They just have become so confused and screwed up by life that if they do not subscribe to God or a higher power and don't get proper help, they only get worse. I certainly do not want to see Fantasia go down even further.

I only hope Fantasia does realize where she's at, where she's headed if she doesn't learn from her mistakes, and where she has to be. Her music career is back on track, her show (albeit not a good move for her) is still ongoing, and she recently received that coveted GED. It is up to HER, Fantasia Barrino, whether or not she wants to succeed and have a positive image for herself. She just needs to break stereotypes, stay healthy in EVERY way possible, and make better life decisions, including regarding the opposite sex.

Fantasia already has God, a loving family, a daughter, and much of America behind her. Now the ball is in her court. I honestly hope the next blog I write about Fantasia will be 100% positive on how she made a complete 360. Time will tell that tale.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My photographic memory

I've known about it all of my life, heard about it, saw others wow over it. It's been my claim to fame, one of my most identifiable traits throughout my entire life, especially in high school. It's my amazingly good memory.

Over the years, I have memorized many, random facts about information. Many of them for school, many just for the heck of it. This is the type of thing that has helped me excel in trivia competitions (see the previous blog for that) Stuff about the U.S. Presidents, high school and college mascot names, children's names of friends and co-workers, birthdays, songs. The most amazing and perplexing (even in my mind) is when I memorized nearly everyone's schedule back in high school. I accomplished this feat for 6 straight years at Blacksburg High School (it is an extremely small high school and was 7-12 back in the 90s with around 600 students).

Many have asked how I did it. I was honestly never 100 percent sure how. I know it wasn't a mathematical formula, quadratic equation or the like. I then decided to break down how I did it.

I was extremely close with the guidance office and guidance counselors. I initially had access to student schedules, which faciliated the process. That was then evasive and a little trivial for me. I then used another unorthodox but less creepy method. You see, the guidance office had a matrix/grid of all the teachers at Blacksburg High School, their schedules persay. What classes they taught, the classes offered, when they taught them, and when their planning period was. There were 8 periods at BHS: one being homeroom and another one being lunch. Therefore, each student had 6 classes (or 6 periods to occupy 6 classes, one could even be an early dismissal period in the 8th period). The teachers actually taught 5 classes/day, with the 6th period for them being their planning period.

Having this information in hand, I would then be able to construct a student's schedule in my mind. I basically used this information and the process of elimination to see which classes they had, did not have, and could only have during a certain time. For example, if they were taking French II and French II was only offered during 2nd or 8th period, I knew then which class they had for one of those timeframes. A schedule was easier for classes such as band, home economics, or an AP class, since only one of those were offered. I then knew the ONLY time they could take this class and when the class would take place. Of course I would have to know a little about the student also. The small school aspect worked well for me here since pretty much everyone knew everyone else. You knew who the smart kids were, the band students, vocational school students, so you knew what types of classes a student would take typically. There were certain curriculums for college prep students and for vocational students. The only dilemma then was fitting in the electives and various other pre-requistes they needed to graduate and such. Once I would figure this out (this would take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month of just random observation, NOT stalking, and talking with folks about classes and listening to them talk about teachers and such). I would then know their class schedules and would often not forget them for that school year, or years to come.

So there it is BHS classmates (and anyone else interested). That's how I memorized the schedules. It was said that I had a photographic memory, meaning I could automatically retain what I saw. This was often not as easy as someone like me that could retain hundreds of student schedules would make it appear.

I'm truly blessed at 32 to be able to remember what I can. I can no longer remember too many student schedules anymore. I do still remember U.S. Presidents stuff and other random information though. Many of the schedule information was retained and learned over 14 years ago. Consequently, it is since been discarded from my mind and memory. People would be amazed over it and still are. There are teachers that to this day tell their current students about me. My former classmates (some of you reading this blog) would tell their friends, spouses, and children. It was definitely an amazing ride.

I have found, however, that NOT many folks outside of Cherokee County understood or were amazed by all of this. Sure they thought it was great that I could remember all of this info. But they were creeped out about it. Like "how does he know this about a person and why?" I guess it was a BHS thing, I'm not sure.

My mom once asked after my 10-year high school reunion when that's all folks could discuss regarding me was the schedule thing "Is that all they remember about you?". I would like to think not. Once again, I believe it was my claim to fame, and my identifying trait. I felt that's how I left my mark in Blacksburg. I don't see it as a negative thing either. Not to be judgmental, but I would rather be remembered for that than for being a thug, rapist, hoodlum, slacker, or not be remembered by all. In short, I'm cool with being remembered for remembering stuff.

I really want to keep the good memories of my past close to my heart, as this world is filled with enough negativity. I think back to those times with fondness, as I had a gift, and folks recognized it. It was a cool time to be young,and it's good that I was more highly regarded than I ever thought I would be years ago.

Now if only my blogs would be remembered like that. But hey, that's another story for another day. I'm just thankful for the positive things that people do identify me with.

Monday, August 16, 2010

CHURCH: not what it once was, and not what it's supposed to be

Being that this is Sunday and the Lord's day in many eyes, hearts, and minds, church is a major part of Sunday. Some folks, regardless of their relationship with the Lord, pack churches mainly out of habit. They've been doing it for years, and they feel weird when they're not there.

I can't chalk it up to getting older, the church and overall way folks have changed in the 21st century or both. But the modern church has changed now and NOT for the better. It is become more of a business, very corporate, flooded with crooked ministers, shady, hypocritical members, and more drama than the WWE, Facebook, and SOAP.net combined. It seems God is no longer on the forefront. And folks wonder why I don't currently attend church. I will come clean in this blog and explain why I PERSONALLY do not choose to attend church.

First, I have to explain how great church was, and still can be. I grew up in the church. My late grandmother was a devout, religious Christian, attending church every time the doors were open. She never made me attend church, but highly encouraged it. And I loved it then. The fellowship, playing with the children before and after services, Sunday School, VBS, church dinners, etc. Church was soo great then and people were loving and God-fearing. Then I grew up.

I remember how one church had wronged my grandmother over and over again, even after she became disabled. The pastor came to my grandmother's house just weeks after she suffered a stroke and talked down to her like she were a child. My grandmother was a Sunday School teacher (a dang good one too) and she basically said some things in her lesson that stepped on some toes. She didn't call anyone out, but sometimes the truth hurts. Anyways, some of the "inner circle" inside of that church complained to the pastor, and the pastor took their side. My grandmother then left that church. However, my mother still went to that church a few years later. She felt more comfortable in that small, country environment, rather than the bigger church my grandmother and I were now attending. She was disrespected and ostracized by the members and the pastor because she couldn't attend all the time, and judged wrongly due to petty issues. My mother no longer felt comfortable there as she felt the wrath of the inner-circle and favortism working against her.

I then experienced problems of my own within the church. You see, I try to avoid drama at all causes, and my focus was (and still is) worshipping the Lord and receiving His message. However, when I can't do either peacefully and openly, there's a problem. The church I was at was (and still is) a good church. I was there for years. However, it was my family church, therefore most of my family attended that church. It seemed like I couldn't raise my hand in worship at a certain time without getting snotty looks, judgments, or a phone call to my mom and grandma. As the young folks say now, #wheredeydothatat? Also, I had been undergoing changes for a while. You see, I grew up Pentacostal, in the Church of God. Yes that's right, the shouting, speaking in tongues, fire-breathing sermons, so on and so forth. However I began to realize that denomination shouldn't be the reason you worship God. It's about his love, his lessons and teachings, and the fact that he sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.

Having all of these thoughts in my head, I left my family church and became non-Denominational. I just couldn't belong to a church where 90% of my family belonged, were in my business all the time, plus subscribed to a certain denomination. You see, Christianity has become a big joke now. You have Pentacostals, southern Baptists, independent Baptists, AME Zion, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc. What people fail to realize is WE ALL WORSHIP THE SAME GOD IN CHRISTIANITY!!! When you lose sight of that and your spirituality, you are missing out. Your heart might be the right place, but your mind must wake up.

When my beloved grandmother passed in 2004, I decided to give church another try. I went to a non-Denominational church that was all I was asking for: free and open worship, not subscribing to a religion, getting away from traditional church service but not the traditional message. I even knew the minister and liked him. However, that church lacked structure and organization. It appeared an inner-circle of few tried to take over the church once the Pastor left. They even had it rationalized since one of them was an ordained minister. However, none of the church members voted on it. Heck I was there 7 months and they never even made me a member. That was very sad. I wasn't kept informed on much of anything: church happenings, gatherings, prayer meetings. Basically, if it wasn't in the church program, I didn't know about it. I got tired of that mess and left by the end of the year.

I then tried another church a couple of months later. It appeared to have the elements I mentioned earlier, plus a lot of more organization and order. Too much order, as I would later learn. This church was quite a piece of work as I would also learn later. The pastor and his wife were evangelists so they would, in addition to Sunday morning worship and Wednesday Bible study, often have services out of town 3-4 nights a week. These services would be as far away as Forest City, NC, and they expected their members to attend. Now at the time I was evaluating the church to become a member, I didn't realize the church was like this. It seemed once I became a member, it was completely different. It was difficult for me to make certain services as I lived 30 minutes away from the church. Plus they had funding issues at the building they were at, and would always ask every Sunday for a $20 offering from everyone, in addition to tithes. When that was ineffective, they toyed with the idea of making folks bring in their check stubs and tax statements to ensure that they were tithing properly.

The pastor there was also quite a piece of work. He was a talented, charismatic minister, teacher and musician. However, he had an attitude problem and was very aggressive. He got sooo ridiculous that used to get onto me for using the restroom during altar call (by get onto, I mean publicly call out for the ushers to block the doors so I couldn't get out). That's when I just about had it. I mean, seriously, how and why can you tell an adult NOT to use the bathroom during services? That never did sit right with me. I let that persist for a couple of more weeks, even sought the advice of some Christian warriors in my life. Within a month, I left that church.

Some of you are probably thinking "well Drew you just haven't found the right church, you can't give up on God, etc, etc". I say well back the truck up there! I have NEVER given up on God. Just because you don't attend church doesn't mean you've given up on the Lord! Give me a break! I have just grown tired of being around hypocrites, crooked ministers, unfocused, fake Christians. That's not what God intended for his church to be about. If one reads carefully in Matthew, it says nothing about these things being part of the church, nor does it say you will be condemned for not attending church. Personally I read my Bible daily (especially Proverbs) thanks to my Bible app on my BB, I watch Joel Osteen weekly, I pay my tithes to charitable organizations and other Christian avenues that need them. Lastly, I associate myself not only with Godly folks, relatives, friends, and ministers alike, but REAL, HONEST folks who I know I can trust and aren't hypocrites. I've already did a blog on "Keeping it 100?" so by now you should know that honesty is important all around for me. It is no different in regards to the Lord.

I'm ashamed of how the church is now. Corrupted by inner circles, Aunt Esthers, crooked ministers, the mega-church system, hypocrisy, prejudice, and I could go on (Heck I already have). It is frustrating to me to see how church is now. I do attend a few live services a year, but I feel that my way is good as well. Only God can judge me and my spirituality.

By no means am I trying to get anyone to stop attending church. I just get tired of folks looking down their noses at me and feeling I'm a heathen just because I'm not in church every time the door is open. Well to you I say this in closing. I know who I am, my relationship with the Lord, my Bible, and I do what is required of me, in spirit and my heart. Please sweep besides your own front door first before coming to mine. Thank you and good night!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Trivia: just a sucker for random knowledge

Random intelligence is a part of the various pieces I write weekly. Heck it’s the title of my blog and weekly column.  It is only natural to include trivia in this mix.

Ever since at least the age of nine, I've had a fixation on random knowledge, information and facts. I've been good at learning, retaining, and spitting them out on queue since then. I can strangely remember useless info easier than I can remember to stop by the store on the way home for a gallon of milk or whatever.

There's something about trivia/quiz challenges/academic smack downs and the like that gives me a rush. Strangely enough, I don't watch a lot of Jeopardy. I like the show, and I can answer many of the questions on a given night. However, that is strictly academic knowledge. My trivia expertise is usually stuff from bar trivia nights or the "Trivial Pursuit" games, such as U.S. History facts, sports stuff, pop culture, and other random things.

I started doing Quiz Bowl in the 6th grade, and then become really competitive at it over the next few years. I was typically a fixture on the Quiz Bowl teams in my grade, and was even a team MVP for my Energy Bowl (9th grade science bowl) team. Unfortunately, after high school, I didn't find many avenues to fulfill my inner-appetite for random info. That is, until 2007 when I was invited out to Daddy Joe's BBQ and Grill in Gaffney for Thursday night trivia. I have to admit, I was nervous at first. It had been years on top of years since I had participated in trivia. I had to see what the format was, what types of questions were being asked, etc. Heck, I didn't even actually play until 2008 because I wanted to observe and get a good partner. Granted, I will play trivia with pretty much anybody. But if it's competitive, I want someone that's going to be able to answer the questions I can't, and be as balanced at trivia as I am.

I found this guy that was pretty much my trivia equal. He knew much of the science stuff also, being that he used to be a science teacher. We combined as a two-man team and we were tough to beat. We were the guys that no one liked because we won weekly, sometimes in convincing fashion. We also have 2 out of 3 trivia tournament championships under our belts. Good times, good times.


Daddy Joe's took a hiatus from trivia as Shag Stepp, the owner, decided to focus on cornhole tournaments. During warm weather, Daddy Joe's has outdoor music on the patio with local artists such as Jeff Gates and the Rock and Poppyseed Boys. Granted I enjoy the music and overall company at Daddy Joes. Had it not been for trivia, I wouldn’t have made wonderful connections and had all sorts of fun. I still had a void to fill though.


Now trivia is back at Daddy Joes! Shag has partnered with Team Trivia, a company that goes around to various bars and restaurants in the Carolinas conducting extremely challenging trivia competitions. It is more of a team, discussion format, rather than the game show style with the buzzers.   I have reunited with my regular trivia partner, plus a few more like minded people, and we have began playing weekly again.  We typically come in the top 3 weekly, and recently finished #1. The moderator was so impressed with me individually that he invited me to fill a spot in a regional trivia competition in Brevard, NC in a few weeks. I feel honored and humbled to be able to test my knowledge on a larger scale.   It’s a different format, but it’s one I like.  My trivia desire has been fulfilled, and it’s good to see others get involved. 


So come on out to Daddy Joe’s one Thursday night around 7:30pm and play some trivia with us sponsored by Team Trivia.  They have a website with a daily question, http://www.playteamtrivia.com.  You can either be on my team, or form your own team and test your wits against mine.  Either way, it should be loads of fun. 


Monday, August 2, 2010

It's A Thrill To Grill

There are many great things about summertime.  School's out, the beach is the hot place to be, 4th of July, summer movies, baseball, the Olympics,  and many more.  One of the greatest things is cookouts.  Whether going to them, or hosting your own, it is an easy way to get friends and family together.  The next best thing is when you purchase your own grill, get your own  tools, meat, and start grilling yourself. 

Granted I will start grilling out myself around April and will grill up until (and even after) October.  But during the summer months is grilling season, where most folks will show up to eat your food, and you can just sit outside and relax while your meat cooks and simmers on the grill.  It's not only a great stress reliever, but a huge satisfaction to cook healthy, delicious food that people enjoy.    However, I still work to perfect my craft, and have become quite adept at grilling over the past few years.

This will not be an article filled of grilling tips and dos and don'ts.  However, there are some things I've learned that are more effective than others, and things I refuse to do while grilling. 

1.       I have to use charcoal.  I feel that using gas is the equivalent of cooking on the oven inside the house.  There's nothing like that smoky, chargrilled taste. 

2.        Absolutely no foil on the grill frame, except for a few exceptions.  One, if I'm using a public grill at a park or something.  Two, if I'm cooking a certain meat that may dictate that foil is better, such as fish or vegetables.  I mean, let's be honest, if you thoroughly clean your grate after (and even before) each cookout, you should not need foil 90% of the time.  Foil is annoying, messy, and takes away from that beloved charcoal flavor (or greatness as another grill master friend of mine refers). 

3.       Furthermore, one must take care with certain meats.  Just like cooking, not all meats are grilled the same.  Linked meats such as hot dogs, brats, Italian sausages, and  Rogerwoods, will typically not take long and will require one to carefully watch them.  Burgers and steaks vary in technique and style, but one must not grill too long on one side depending on how you want the meat cooked.  Closing the grill can also help.  Chicken can be hard to cook, as it is better cooked on a slower, indirect heat.  I personally take a hammer or mallet and mash down my chicken breasts to assist with that.  Ribs are something that takes the longest but plenty of precision, a proper grill, and a good temperature.  Ribs are easy to burn, especially if you don't pay attention to what you're doing.  Since they take so long, it's easy to abandon them for hours and forget you're still grilling them. 

I still feel like I'm learning but I've gotten good enough to cook many of the more popular meats well.  I can host my own cookouts with confidence now.  I continue improve my grilling skills to a higher level, and eventually buy a bigger grill with a smoker.  My small, kettle grill does the trick but I'm ready to move on to something else. 

The Food Network is always a nice source for those that care to learn more about grilling.  There are plenty of cookbooks and how-to literature available in Wal-Mart and bookstores.  One of my personal favorite tutorials is The BBQ Pit Boys on YouTube.  These Southern fellas give step-by-step visual instructions on grilling a variety of dishes, and are very thorough.  Look them up; they can help take your grilling to another level. 

It has been a couple of weeks since I last grilled, so I'm a little anxious.  Plus I know there aren’t many good days left for grilling this year.  It's something that I feel blessed and privileged to be able to do.  I hope to continue it when I'm older, and pass my expertise to my younger cousins, and maybe someday my children.