Bringing it Back Week

Bringing It Back…

Alright, I know everyone has been counting down the days to Bringing It Back Week (2010, 2009), but don’t get too excited yet.  We’ve got another month or so until the official event, but I figured bringing the blog back might be a great start.

Back in Durham for good, I felt something was missing from my life.  I’ve been reminded by several people that the something missing might just be Rate Your World.  Let’s try it out to see if that solves the problem.


This summer I went to a Bluegrass music festival in Floyd, VA for the first time (Floyd Fest).  I think there will need to be some flashback ratings of this life changing event sometime in the near future… in the meantime, all you need to know is that I discovered several new amazing bands, one of which is called Yarn.

I saw their midnight show on Saturday night where they played all Grateful Dead covers (and considering I’ve never listened to the Dead, it was all new music to me :)).  The next day I checked out their afternoon show where they played all of their own music, and  I fell even more in love.  Came home with a CD, and have listened to nothing else for the month since.

You think I’m kidding.  Please believe me when I tell you it plays in my car, on my stereo at home, before I go to bed, in my iPod at the pool, and pretty much the entire road trip up to Maine.  Yes, I’ve listened to almost nothing else since.

Is it obvious that I love their music?

While I forgot a camera, here’s a quick look at their music… but beware, it’s addicting.  Pretty soon you might be typing the same story I just told.

So I would like you to picture the excited face I made when I found they were playing in Chapel Hill this week.  An outdoor performance at ‘He’s Not Here’.  I was excited about the outdoor part, not quite as much about the ‘He’s Not’ part.

We’ve had some good times there in the past (see one of the original Rate Your World post for evidence), but it’s a classic college bar, the week that students are returning for classes.  I was pleased to see that at 9:30 the crowd was a bit older.  (What is happening to me that an older crowd excites me???)

The music was great.  The company was excellent.  The weather was AMAZING.  Chuquin, who introduced me to the band at Floyd Fest, was in town, which made it even better.  Couple small deductions, however…

-1: There were intense amounts of jam sessions.  I realize many people like this.  And I do appreciate that you hear things that aren’t on their album, making the live performance a bit different than the recorded performance.  However, Blake (the lead singer)’s voice is amazing.  And more jamming means less singing.  So really, it should be -1: More of Blake’s beautiful singing.

-1: At around 11:00 the crowd took a violent turn for the worse.  The old people (including most of my friends) took off, as we all have to work tomorrow.  The young people, who have yet to start classes, began pouring in.  And drinking.  A lot.  The area got crowded, the girls got a bit more obnoxious, and the number of people smoking quadrupled.  Bummer.

-1: Some dude had an intense microphone set up in the tree we were standing right in front of.  I’m oblivious, so definitely did not notice this despite the awkward stares he kept giving me (later translated as ‘Get the f*** away from my mike’ stares).  Finally when someone pointed it out he came over and said “I don’t mind if you continue to talk right in front of the mike, but just be aware that everything you say is being recorded”.  Seriously dude?  You couldn’t have told me this BEFORE I had multiple conversations RIGHT IN FRONT OF IT.  Apparently not…

+.5:  Luckily most of our conversation was clean up to that point.  Until we knew the mike was there.  That’s when we got inappropriate.  Enjoy your recording buddy 🙂

Overall yet another great night out in Chapel Hill.  Until next time, just living for the tens 🙂


Bringing it WAY Back…

One advantage (among many) of working long hours at a charter school is the much needed week-long Thanksgiving break.  It began Friday afternoon at 2 for most, but for me it began slightly earlier…

You see on Wednesday I discovered that Friday was the 147th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, an event even more exciting for a history teacher who has spent the last month thinking, reading, planning and teaching about the Civil War.  This was clearly a ‘not-to-be-missed’ event, especially considering my kids are due for another episode of The Magical History Tour (a travel show I’ve created where we visit cool historical places).

Perfect timing considering I was headed up that direction anyways to spend the holiday in Harrisburg.  I arrived just in time to see Jim Getty (a famous Lincoln reenactory) speak at the Gettysburg Presbyterian Church…


Of course it was cool to see a famous Lincoln reenactor, get my picture with him and hear him deliver the Gettysburg Address, in the very city where it was originally delivered.  That being said, I definitely went in with high expectations.  First, I thought the speech would be given at the National Cemetery where Lincoln originally delivered it.  -2 for the fact that it wasn’t.

Secondly, I expected the reenactor to be taller.  If you’re going to play Lincoln, you should at least come close to his height. -.5

Thirdly, where was the top hat?  Maybe that’s super cliche, but it was s bit disappointing to meet Lincoln with no top hate.  Especially if you’ve got a couple inches to make up for anyways. -.5

Lastly, his voice and delivery of the speech were underwhelming.  To be fair I have no idea what Lincoln actually sounded like delivering the speech, but for all these years that I’ve learned it, heard about it and now taught it, this was NOT what I heard in my head.

All that being said, I’m still super glad to have been there, caught some footage for the next Magical History Tour, and got my own picture with Lincoln 🙂


The purpose of the parade was to remember and celebrate everyone who played a role in the Civil War.  It combined soldiers (both Union and Confederate), women, musicians, Abe Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee and even Frederick Douglass.  It was awesome to see so many reenactors in one place, and even those filling the streets to watch were dressed in costume which made it even more authentic.  It’s rare to find yourself somewhere out of place wearing jeans as opposed to Civil War dress… rare, but wonderfully fun 🙂


Lucky for me, a colleague of mine used to do Civil War reenacting, and just happened to have a spare dress on hand 🙂  I borrowed it thinking I could use it for some of the day’s filming, but ended up wearing it for the entire parade.  While at first I was a bit hesitant, by the end of the day I was completely embracing my new Civil War identity.  So much so, we picked up a pattern and my mom’s making me my own for Christmas. I’ve begun researching  events coming up, and now I’m on the hunt for folks interested in joining… could it be you???


I still remember taking field trips in elementary school to Gettysuburg and touring the battle fields.  I remember nothing but large open fields and grass.  I found it incredibly boring and had more fun in the gift shops and taking pictures with my friends than I ever did figuring out who the hell Robert E. Lee was.

Now that I’m a history teacher I find it SO much more fascinating.  And somehow think that if I bring back pictures and videos of big open fields my students will find it more interesting than I ever did…

Either way, I enjoyed at least stopping by a couple battlefields while there to catch some video and pictures.  Just so happened we got to them right around sunset, which was INCREDIBLE.  I swear there are statues for every soldier who stepped foot on the ground, but it’s cool how they’ve kept certain areas protected and undeveloped so it looks relatively similar to what it did 150 years ago (minus all the power lines and roads).

To top it all off, that night was the Illumination Ceremony at the National Cemetery, where each grave had a flag and a lit candle to remember those buried there.  While the pictures didn’t come out too well, it was definitely a unique time to be there.  Every 30 minutes they read off names of those who died there, and they had a band playing Taps continuously.  Wish it was possible to video in the darkness, but sadly this is all I left with…

Overall a pretty great start to Thanksgiving Break…  until the next reenactment, just living for the tens 🙂

The final result?  Check it out here…

A Couple Bring Backs…

Weekend ratings to come shortly, but in the meantime here are two awesome things brought back during our castle stay 🙂


Constant entertainment, this fortune telling device is also shockingly accurate.

It turns out Ben is going to wear a band-aid tux to his wedding, marry Blanche from the Golder Girls and have Paul as a pet.

Cant’ wait to see that in action.

-2 for the time consumption, considering you’ll only getting a fortune for one person.  Other than that?  Perfect.


Charlie has decided that this week he’s going to bring back the magic tricks.  He decided to try them out on us first, and I’ve gotta admit we were all pretty impressed.  A brilliant combination of trickery and slight of hand, it was the best magic I’ve seen in a while.

-2 for the lack of flying and bodies being cut in half.  I suppose I’ll have to see David Copperfield to truly bring back all my favorites parts of magic…

Until next time, just living for the tens!

Bringing it Back Week 2010!

It’s officially here!  And while several weeks later than normal, I am still totally pumped to bring back Bringing it Back Week for the third year in a row!  Check out some highlights from years past…

Fond memories from your childhood related to jean shorts, slap bracelets and side ponytails?  Now’s the time to bring it all back!  Nothing’s off limits (except maybe the mullet, which was actually suggested by a friend), and creativity is highly encouraged 🙂

For starters, I’m gonna bring back this blog.  Well, at least for the week, and at least 3 posts.  Beyond that we’ll see what I can make happen… Cheryl has promised some rating adventures over Thanksgiving, so at least we have that to look forward to.

I’ve also thrown the challenge out to teachers at my school, so I’m hoping for some new throwbacks this year 🙂

Until then, just living for the tens at a castle in the mountains, celebrating Laura’s birthday!

Bringing it Back Week (continued)

So in case you all forgot, this week is the second annual ‘Bringing it Back Week!  Don’t worry if you did forget, it’s only Wednesday, and you have four more days to bring back whatever you want!

After beginning with the scrunchy (which will live on through Halloween), today something pretty incredible was brought back… THE PICNIC!  While many might wonder if it ever left, it certainly has in my life.  The closest I’ve gotten is tailgating outside O.A.R. and the wonderful lunches Rachel packed at Hound Ears.  But this was a legit picnic.  If you don’t trust me, check out the picture of some of the goodies (and when I say some, I mean half of them are left out… yeah, we had that much food):


In one picnic we (I really shouldn’t be taking much credit for this…) managed to bring back ants on a log, juice boxes, and the Snack Pack.  I would count the PB&J, but let’s be honest.  I enjoy those on almost a regular basis. Add in a bunch more food, a nice park and a swingset, it doesn’t get much better.

All in all I’d rate our picnic a definitive 9.  Only thing missing was a classic picnic basket… I’ll get right on that one for next time.

So what has everyone else brought back???

Raleigh Rampage 2009

AKA, The Company Climbing Team’s big debut!


While our competition consisted mostly of young people teams (see below), there are few (if any) adult climbing teams.  While there are plenty of adults who compete (and kick serious butt), none climb on organized teams like the young ones.  So we decided to start our very own here in Chapel Hill/Durham, North Carolina.  Called ‘The Company’ after our main sponsor, our team colors are pink and purple (as you’ll notice in our official team shirts).  Right now we’re a team of 7 (Snooky and Ben are sadly missing from the picture), but always looking for more awesome recruits 🙂


ROUTES: 8.  One of the many reasons I love bouldering competitions is for the routes.  For whatever reason, the routes at comps are so much better then then normal routes!  They’re more well thought out, more interesting, they require more technique and not just strength, and they’re more fun.  I love them.  Yesterday was no disappointment.  Overall I rate the routes an 8.  -1 for the horrible green slopey one, and -1 for the crowds.

The comp at Inner Peaks last year made smart use of many of the surrounding walls, creating different types of problems so that the actual boulder wasn’t nearly as crowded.  TRC didn’t do such a great job of that, and as a result there were tons of lines.  While adults handle lines well, kids aren’t quite as great.  Lots of obliviousness, lack of manners, and adults not wanting to push kids out of the way meant LOTS of waiting.  Thanks Glen for stepping up (‘Hey kid, she’s climbing over here, get off the wall’).

Please don’t get me wrong.  I love kids.  I just don’t love when they’re constantly cutting in line.


Completing the hardest route of the day!

The routes for the finals were even more insane.  One of the men’s included a jump start, and the second move involved holding your entire body off of several fingers.  INSANE.


A1: 5.  I want so badly to rate this lower as it was the bane of my existence, however in reality, it was kind of a fun problem and I’m just mad because I didn’t get it.  I really wanted to get the top 5 routes in the beginner category, and successfully got all but this one.  Probably a V2 (my best guess), I worked it for awhile, and finally, at the very end of the day, I made it to the last hold.  I went for the top and just barely missed, falling after all that hard work.  At that point my arms were just too spent, and after 5 more attempts I finally had to give in 4 minutes before climbing was over.

Even bigger disappointment= one of the routes set for the finals was right there, meaning they took it down and I’ll never get a chance to finally get it.

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And no picture of the finish, since it didn’t exist…

D1: 8.  I LOVED this route.  Granted, it took me four attempts to finally finish it, but I must say I genuinely enjoyed all four attempts.  It was tricky, adding the puzzle aspect which I love, required some traversing, wasn’t strength based, and overall was just a really great route.  And I’m not the only one who thought that.  There was a pretty large group of climbers who all spent a large portion of the day working on this one.

Good news= finally got this one with about an hour left 🙂

-2 because of how much I gave to it, ultimately taking away from A1 😦

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JAY’S CLIMBING FACE: 9.  While none that appeared on Saturday were quite as classic as the Hillsborough bouldering face of last year (see below), they were still all pretty great.  And some I didn’t even notice while climbing, but thank god for our awesome photographers who caught them on film.

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None will ever be as great as…


TEAM CLIMBING: I think if our body soreness is any indication of how we climbed as a team, then we did incredible.  This morning at the Community Center we heard every complaint ever.  The classic forearms. shoulders, back, add in Paul’s sore knees and my sore quads, we had just about everything.  I’d say we left it all out there.  9!  (There’s always room for growth :))

And I hate to brag, but we did place first in the Adult Team Division…

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CHEERLEADING/SUPPORT: 10!!!  The amount of support received for our team’s first competition was incredible!  Outside visitors from Charlotte to some our local favorites, there certainly was a good showing.  In fact, we may have had the largest cheering squad around.  Special thanks to Kim for playing a great soccer mom, keeping our scores, taking pictures, and showing everyone love, and to Laura who made our team shirts (in less than a week’s time!) and brought us all Gatorade 🙂

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Paul's game face is better than mine...

Paul's game face is better than mine...

FOCUS ON FASHION IN THE FINALS: I didn’t know until yesterday that it’s imperative to take special care of your hair before a big comp.  I learned this, however, while watching the women’s finals.  4 out of 5 had their hair down (versus pulled back, which may seem the obvious choice), and all obviously done.  One even had curls (not natural curls, but ‘I spent the morning with a curling iron’ curls)!  I suppose it makes sense as ultimately everyone did end up watching them, and I’m sure lots of pictures were taken.

Note to self: must make more time in the morning for hair before the next competition.  May be the key to the finals…


INJURIES: 8.  Overall I’d say we did great!  While we’re all a bit sore, every one of us returned to the wall today, so it couldn’t have been anything too serious.  -2 (one for each hand) for the rips acquired on the last climb of the day (goes to show I gave that A1 everything I had).

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MY RAFFLE LUCK: 9!  As mentioned in a previous post, I am not the person who ever wins raffles.  Ever.  So when I saw tickets for sale on the way in I didn’t look twice.  Kim, however, surprised me with 7 tickets later in the day, and I actually felt hopeful considering I hadn’t actually purchased the tickets.  This had to produce better luck than normal.  And that it did.

Most of the prizes given away were worth about $20-$30.  T-shirts, hats, gift certificates, etc.  However, the big prize of the day was a set of quick draws, used for sport climbing, worth about $100.

Now, it’s important to mention here that I don’t sport climb.  I’m scared to death of the falls you can take when not top roping, and as a result have insisted that I’m not a sport climber.  As they held up the quick draws and got ready to draw a ticket I turned to Bill and said “Watch me win this one and no longer have any excuse not to sport climb.”  And don’t you know 10 seconds later they pull my ticket and I won them.  All in all I have no complaints, and am actually a little bit excited about giving it a try.

-1 because only 1 of my 7 tickets won…



I see our team potential playing out in several ways.

1)  Most importantly is our climbing.  Each day we’re all improving, and now that we have one comp under our belt, and we know what the competition looks like (4 feet tall and under 12), I think we’re more prepared to take them by storm next time around.

2) The future of adult climbing teams.  Right now there’s only fun, recreational climbing teams for kids.  But there’s lots of adult climbers out there who like climbing, and competing, and having fun.  So why can’t we join in too?  Once we make our presence known at several competitions I think word will spread and others will start their own too.  And before you know… BAM!  Worldwide sensation and adult climbing is the next kickball.

3) Behind the scenes work.  This morning, back at our home gym, Brian came up to the team and said “Since you all are fresh off a competition, I’m thinking you might have some insight for some new routes.  Would you be interested in putting a couple up?”  Needless to say the first Company route is hitting the wall this Tuesday night.  Be prepared.

Glen working on The Company's first route

Glen working on The Company's first route

All in all, our potential is pretty incredible and see no reason to take off any points.  10!!!

AFTER PARTY: 10 again!  (I told you it was a good day!)  The original plan was to head to my place and order some pizza, however Jay suggested a BBQ at his place instead.  And boy did he show me up (in the best possible way).  When I called to find out what I needed to pick up on the way over, I was informed by Paul that they already had the salmon, steak, cheesecake, Vermont Cheddar cheese (aged 2 years, clearly), guacamole, salsa, macaroni salad and more.  So much for pizza… we decided to go gourmet instead.

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And I’m most certainly not complaining.  In my opinion there’s nothing in the world more incredible than great company and great food, and we had plenty of both.  What a fabulous end to a fabulous day 🙂

Bringing it Back Week, 2009!

I can’t believe I missed the one-year celebration of Bringing it Back Week!  Last year it was a huge success, bringing back everything from lunch boxes, to fanny packs, to side ponytails and fluorescent.  Now that it’s been over a year, I’d say it’s time to bring back ‘Bringing it Back Week’!  So here we go…

I’ve decided to start with…

BRINGING BACK THE SCRUNCHY: 8.  Okay, I won’t lie, this began with my Halloween costume and not BIBW, but nevertheless, when somethings right, it’s right.  So why did they ever disappear?  I was reminded of how much fun it is to add instant color to any outfit when I whipped out my new collection of 7 mini-scrunchies (all matching my brand new thong leotard… sorry Mom).  LOVE IT.  Plan on seeing these on a regular basis.  And because I have 7, I’d be happy to give away several to others wishing to help bring it back.  -1 because they’re kinda expensive, especially considering no one really wants them anymore.  -1 because I couldn’t find them in fluorescent.


Start thinking about what you plan to bring back…