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Back in the USA! :D

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 7, 2011 in The 3L Life

And with my slightly-late-but-safe arrival at JFK International Airport about 10 minutes ago, my first visit to a foreign country since before I could legally drive a car has come to a close! :D

The past five days at the 2011 ABA Annual Meeting have been a blast — definitely an eye-opening view into the (much) broader legal arena. I’m incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to be here, and I’m hoping to convince more Legal Eagles to attend next year beyond just our SBA President and ABA Representative. The sheer breadth of knowledge and people available at these events is truly incredible.

Yes, I'm claiming all of Canada off one visit to one part of one city. Because I can.

And the crazy part of this whole trip is… I have nothing bad to say about Toronto :surprised:

For just about every trip I’ve ever taken anywhere, there’s something substantive I viscerally don’t like to the point where I couldn’t imagine moving away from my spot in the middle of North Carolina.

Yet aside from some minor quirks ($1 and $2 coins, no Diet Mountain Dew) the place strikes me as a cleaner and more-relaxed version of New York City.  The people were friendly. The weather was amazing for five straight days. Even the knowledge that Toronto winters can be bitterly cold doesn’t really phase me anymore, since I discovered downtown-dwellers can go pretty much anywhere they need via the PATH without ever venturing outside.

Yes, I fully realize my glowing view of Toronto is probably naiveté on my part since I was only there for a few days. But second only to my son + Snowmageddon + football this past winter, this was without question the next-best trip I’ve ever taken. :spin:

I’m not to the point where I’d even remotely consider giving up barbecue, Diet Mountain Dew, Bojangles’ and all the accoutrements of North Carolina living1 to move elsewhere, but I suspect I’ll definitely be visiting Toronto again at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Off to go unpack, head to bed, then start whittling away at the pile of work that accumulated during my absence. Make sure to check out some of the previous law:/dev/null entries about this Toronto trip if you haven’t already, and have a great night y’all! :D

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From the law:/dev/null ABA Annual Meeting-related archives:

  1. Yeah I know, I just listed three different food-related items :beatup:  I love the rest of North Carolina too! But, having gone almost a week without some of my typical culinary fare, I’m currently going through withdrawal — cut me some slack! :P []

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Getting caught up

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 12, 2011 in The 2L Life

Hey everybody! :D

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything here at law:/dev/null, largely due to spending Spring Break this past week trying to get caught up on life post-trial team season. I’m still not there yet, but I figured if I waited to post until I was caught up on classwork I wouldn’t have any readers left :beatup:

So what’s been going on over the past week and a half here in Legal Eagle territory? Here’s a bulleted rundown:

  • Wednesday (03/02/11): Finally had my nuked Gmail restored… in its entirety :surprised:  I have to admit I was both surprised and impressed, and I’ll concede I was wrong in my entry predicting the worst. After making sure all of my mail was restored / downloaded / backed up / etc, I stayed up until 2am-ish to make sure I was fully packed and my trial team binder was ready for the AAJ competition I was brought in on.
  • Thursday (03/03/11): Skipped classes to head to the airport, then flew down to Atlanta GA for the AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition regionals. The first round wasn’t until Friday night, so I spent the day with the team checking out the city.  We had lunch at the Underground‘s Georgia Peach Restaurant & Lounge — some of the best barbecue I’ve had outside of North Carolina, and their peach-blended tea was delicious too.1 :)
  • Friday (03/04/11): The 2L team’s first round in the AAJ STAC was against the 3Ls from WFU Law. There were some initial jitters when we found out I had already met the presiding judge — the coach of the GSU Law team Christie and I dismantled at the TYLA NTC — but since we didn’t really know how to go about asking for a recusal (and didn’t even know if doing so would even be appropriate given AAJ’s chronic shortage of judges) we just went ahead and did our thing. EIC and M&M were counsel for the defense on that case and turned in a top-notch performance. It provided a big confidence boost to Tinkerbell2 and I heading into the Saturday rounds.
  • Saturday (03/05/11): And with that confidence in-hand, we torched the next two teams we faced on Saturday :D Tinkerbell and I were counsel for the Plaintiff for both rounds, and we first went up against 2Ls from I’m-not-entirely-sure-where.3 The results could be summed up like this: Tinkerbell was so devastating on cross-examination, their lead counsel blurted “DAMN!” in exasperation when yet another one of his objections was (properly) overruled :spin: I also got to deliver my first “split” closing, which went over well with the jury both in its execution and content.

    NCCU Law's 2L and 3L AAJ Trial Teams :D

    We followed that beatdown with a match against the 2Ls from WFU Law, in what was hands-down the toughest match we had. Their cross-examination was sharp, and it seemed like every evidentiary ruling made by the judge was going in their direction whether it was warranted or not. Tinkerbell finally shook them off their game during her cross-examination of the Defendant, who started fabricating facts under the pressure. I was sufficiently heated at that point4 that I was out for blood when it came time for closing arguments, and proceeded to beat the Defense over the head with their own inconsistencies. It was all very satisfying :angel: Afterwards we headed to a post-competition reception, then went back to the hotel and played spades at its downstairs bar until last call.

  • Sunday (03/06/11): We found out our 2L team came in 7th place overall5 and only the Top 4 would advance to the semis, so Sunday got spent checking out the Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Aquarium, and then packing up to head back to the Bull City. Before leaving the hotel we also ran into MDG… which was vaguely reminiscent of a 1L nightmare I used to have where I tried to hide from my teachers but they always seemed to find me no matter where I went.6 :beatup:
  • Monday & Tuesday (03/07-08/11): Both of these days get lumped together because they were both spent knocking out life necessities — several loads of laundry, apartment cleaning, turning in travel-related paperwork, and so on.
  • Wednesday (03/09/11): Had a business lunch with the Pickle Princess, who I hadn’t seen since the April festivities celebrating the end of my second term as UNCASG President. After catching up on how our respective lives had progressed over the past year, I gave a tour of my alma mater to a quartet of her students who were participating in a FFA competition we were hosting. Turns out one of them even wants to go to law school eventually :surprised: If I ever get sick of the whole “being a lawyer” thing, I think I’d really love being a booster for N.C. State and for NCCU Law :spin:
  • Thursday & Friday (03/10-11/11): These two get lumped together too, since they were basically split between watching the opening games of the ACC tournament and trying to catch up on all the mounds of schoolwork that amassed themselves between focusing on TYLA, focusing on SBA, and focusing on AAJ.

Which brings us to today: catching up on law school work, catching up with law school friends, and catching up on the law school blog :D

God willing I’ll be able to resume my somewhat-normal life now that I’ll have some free hours again, which in turn should (hopefully) mean more work around the blawgosphere — keep your fingers crossed!7

And until then, have a great night y’all! :)

  1. I did, however, nearly choke to death at one point amid drinking said tea. Madame Prosecutor was not pleased. []
  2. Another 1L K-S veteran with me. She’ll probably object to this nickname, but as 1 of the 2 shortest people I know at NCCU Law I thought it was appropriate ;) []
  3. I think they said Mercer Law, but I can’t remember for the life of me :beatup: []
  4. I know it’s a competition, but lying under oath? Really? []
  5. In reviewing the ballots, we swept Saturday but somehow lost the Friday night round. Even given my natural bias toward my own team, I’m still at a loss to explain how any rational judge (let alone 3 of them) could have arrived at that conclusion. When a pair of Emory Law 3Ls kicked our butts at TYLA, I admitted it to you. The people we went against that night in AAJ were far worse, while EIC and M&M easily outperformed Co-Counsel and I ::shrug:: []
  6. He was supposedly in town for a NBA game, not to tell me my 1L CivPro grades were entered wrong and I had actually failed. []
  7. Unless you don’t actually like reading this stuff, in which case you can stop visiting :P []

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Best. Vacation. Evah.

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 31, 2010 in Randomness

Back in July, I took my first bona fide vacation in ages when 雅雅 and I went to visit Nan and Pops for Independence Day and took a roadtrip through the Outer Banks of North Carolina on the way back.

This past week was so much better! :D

First, my employer1 closed down the office on both Thursday and Friday for Christmas. I don’t get paid time off or anything when they’re closed, but it did let me leave out of here on Wednesday night and spend more time with family.

Speaking of family, those of you who were readers back during Father’s Day or who are friends with me on Facebook might recall that it had been an incredibly long time since I last saw Son of TDot.2 Well at some point recently he asked his mom about who I was and if he could see me, so she arranged for the three of us to have lunch on Thursday :surprised:

We met up at the food court of a local mall for what was probably one of the most nervous moments I’ve had ever in my life. It was amusing as I walked up because his mom was standing with her back to the direction I was coming from with Son of TDot facing my way. He saw me from about 75ish feet away and gave a look like “This guy looks oddly familiar”… and I basically gave him the same look, because I thought it was him but hadn’t seen him in so long I wasn’t sure :beatup:

It’s not surprising to share similarities with your own offspring, but some of it still took me by surprise. His hair was cut short like mine3 and he looks a lot like I did when I was 12. We ended up independently ordering the same thing for lunch: a 10-piece chicken nugget meal from McDonald’s with a Sprite for the drink. His favorite subjects in school were the same as mine (science and history). He loves playing with Legos (I’ve still got a box of mine in the closet). He also loves RPGs, specifically Kingdom Hearts — a spinoff of the Final Fantasy series I play myself, so a good chunk of lunch was spent with the two of us talking video games :D

He also has allergies in the winter like I do, to the point where he keeps tissues in his jacket pocket. The look on his face was priceless when I pulled out my own batch of tissues from my coat pocket too :lol:

I know he was nervous and I suspect his mom was nervous (and Lord knows I was nervous too), but all in all it was pretty awesome and I’m hopeful that it was the first meeting of many more in the future :)

The snow that was predicted (top) and what fell (bottom)

The next day was Christmas Eve, which is when the family gathers at Nan and Pops’ house to exchange presents with each other. If you count the various denominations of currency/gift cards as one gift, 50% of my Christmas presents were toothbrushes (an electric one and a travel one). It’s almost like my family was trying to tell me something…

Everyone got along this year, which is a switch from years past when there’s usually a bunch of arguing.4 And I enjoyed being able to finally afford presents for everyone in the family — even if it meant they all got NCCU Law paraphernalia :angel:

Then of course there was Christmas, my 3rd favorite holiday of the year after Independence Day and Thanksgiving :) Dinner was tasty and it was fun getting to hang out with the family.

Y’all already read about Snowmageddon 2010, my road trip back to Durham. The photo on the right shows the difference between what was forecast when I left for Virginia Beach and what had I actually fallen by the time I was driving home.  The red dots respectively show Nan and Pops’ house in Virginia Beach and my apartment here in Durham.

It was a bit of a white-knuckle experience but in hindsight it was pretty cool :D

Our view from the hotel room

雅雅 and I then headed down to Orlando the next morning for the Champs Sports Bowl, where we got totally spoiled by Nan using her frequent traveler points to reserve a hotel room for us at the Grand Bohemian in downtown Orlando.5 We were automatically upgraded to the “concierge level” on the top floor because of it, which included among other perks a VIP lounge with its own bar just steps from our door B-)

The photo shows part of what I woke up to on Tuesday morning :eek:

In a fitting dose of irony, however, our trip to Orlando happened to be accompanied by near-record low temperatures for Florida :beatup: We had to bundle up as we were exploring downtown, and had to double-bundle up before heading to the stadium.

But I think one of the coolest aspects of the trip (aside from the weather) was being able to connect with dozens of friends from undergrad, all of us in a different city of a different state, traveling from across the country to reunite in support of our alma mater. It was a fun realization :)

Then of course there was the game itself, my very first bowl game that I attended in person :D

My new red NC State hat!

I upgraded my black N.C. State hat that I’ve had since 2000 with a new red edition to help add to the red shading of the arena — which complemented the shading of the post-game crowd after the Wolfpack followed up with a huge 23-7 win! :spin:

It was definitely a lot of driving over the past week, but it was well worth it! It’s been an amazing year, and I’m incredibly blessed to have an opportunity to end it the way I have.

Now I’m recharged and ready for the Spring semester to get underway :)

Hope all of you had equally amazing vacations, and have a fun and festive New Year’s Eve! :D

  1. Do you call them employers for internships? []
  2. 8 years, 5 months, 7 days to be precise. []
  3. Voluntarily in his case, disguising the fact I’m going bald in mine :beatup: []
  4. My family puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional” ;) []
  5. She said it was repayment for me winning a trip for 2 to Atlantic City NJ during an elementary school fundraiser when I was in the 5th grade :surprised: []

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Greetings from Orlando! :D

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 27, 2010 in Wolfpack Athletics

Good evening everybody! :D

I’ve had such an incredibly amazing year that I almost can’t believe the amazingness is continuing right down to the end, but as I mentioned at the end of yesterday’s entry I’m currently writing this post from the not-quite-as-frigid-as-NC climate of the Sunshine State! :spin: :spin: :spin:

The drive down was ridiculous, as a 1-car barely-an-accident1 in the northbound lanes of I-95 in South Carolina somehow created enough attention that rubberneckers successfully slowed both of the southbound lanes of I-95, creating a backup for 40ish miles — and since there are only 2 lanes to I-95 for the entire stretch of SC, it took 雅雅 and I ~3.5 hours to travel those 40 miles :crack:

SC+GA+FL are now added to the list!

But the wait was worth it! Florida seems very cool so far, our hotel is amazing, and I just ordered room service for the first time in my life (delicious!). Then tomorrow I’ll get to see a lot of my old friends from undergrad plus explore a new state plus enjoy the obligatory pre-game tailgating plus get to see some Wolfpack football! :spin:

And I got to add 3 more states to my “Gotta Get to All 50 Before I Croak” list :D

Your normally-humble author is getting spoiled… :angel:

I’m not sure if I’ll have an entry here tomorrow night after the game, but if I get back to the hotel at a decent hour I’ll try to cobble something together. In either event, have a great night y’all! :)

  1. A compact car ran into, and wedged itself under, the little guardwires separating the two sides of the interstate :roll:   []

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Snowmageddon 2010

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 26, 2010 in The 2L Life

I survived! :D

Hey y’all :)

If you’ve flipped to a news show at some point today, odds are good you’ve seen at least one story on the blizzard that hit the East Coast over the past day and a half. It’s not exactly the type of stuff that would make people from up north flinch, but it ended up setting records in several parts of the Southeast — including being the most snowfall Virginia Beach has gotten since I was born 29 years ago :surprised:

In other words, after praying for snow on Christmas for most of those 29 years, Mother Nature decided to cooperate on the one year I had to drive back home to Durham the next day :beatup:

I left Virginia Beach around 10:00am this morning, figuring since the snow wasn’t projected to stop until 3am-ish tonight it’d be better to get out sooner rather than later. The downside in leaving so early was that there had essentially been no plowing or significant road treatment of any kind done on any of the highways between Virginia Beach and Emporia…

…so a leg of the trip that usually takes 1.5 hours ballooned out to 3.25 instead :crack:

31mi east of Emporia VA around 12:15pm today

For a stretch I was stuck debating which was worse: (i) the overcompensating pricks in SUVs barreling down the highway at near-full-speed with their headlights off, blazing past me just to later spin out into a ditch, or (ii) the people who acted like they hadn’t seen snow before, crawling along at 5mph and holding up the only lane of traffic :mad:

The wind made the whole adventure even more adventurous, with visibility dropped to 50ish yards and occasionally having a full-blown whiteout as the snow falling combined with snow blown off the trees.

To give you an idea of the conditions, I took a couple pictures when I was about 31 miles east of Emporia. The top photo is the view from outside my windshield, and the bottom photo is the view out the passenger side window at the same point.1

Fortunately by the time I got to North Carolina all of the highways were totally cleared, so it only took me about 2 hours to make it the rest of the way home :spin:  Kudos to the NCDOT and the various municipal plowing authorities for doing what Virginia didn’t bother to do in a timely fashion :*

Now I’m here getting everything re-packed to head down to Orlando for Tuesday night’s Champs Sports Bowl featuring my alma mater… where I’m pretty sure there won’t be any snow ;)

Needless to say I’m looking forward to it, so I’m heading to bed — have a great night everybody!

  1. The camera doesn’t pick up the powdery snowflakes, so windshield visibility through the camera lens was actually better than with my own eyes :beatup: []

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Back in the Bull City

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 3, 2010 in Randomness

Hey everybody! :D

If you’re one of the (few) people still visiting me here at law:/dev/null even after my extended absences,  you know I never did get those entries posted that I mentioned last week.

And you also know that, given my track record, it’s not a surprise to anybody :beatup:

Aside from fending off a horrible this-is-why-Fall-sucks weather-related illness, Saturday through Monday was filled with a bunch of meetings, football games, birthday festivities (both for Co-Counsel and Q.T.), then packing for a 5.5-day excursion to Memphis, Tennessee to visit 雅雅 for her White Coat Ceremony at the Southern College of Optometry.

That’s where I’ve been since Tuesday night :) Every time I thought about pulling up the laptop to finish editing the old entries, my body usually reminded me that I was dog-tired and would be better off going to bed at a reasonable hour. And so that’s pretty much what happened like clockwork — I went to bed at the same time while on vacation that I go to bed during a school week…

You may judge me now :beatup:

So now it’s Sunday night, I’m penning this on the plane flight from Memphis to my layover in Atlanta, and I figured it’d probably be a good time to post something before the last handful of you decide to stop reading entirely ;)

The trip itself was very cool. On the plus side: Tennessee has minimum speed limits; I saw all sorts of cool creatures at the Memphis Zoo; plus I got to walk alongside the mighty Mississippi River :D

On the not-so-plus side: Memphis drivers are roughly comparable to people on the New Jersey Turnpike in terms of insanity; and I can’t recall the last time I went 6 days without Bojangles’.  But getting to hang out with 雅雅 and explore a different state made up for it :)

I've hit 8 states since moving out on my own at 17; still have a lot more exploring left!

I actually got to explore -3- different states — Memphis is sufficiently close to Mississippi and Arkansas that we swung through those as well. Many many many years ago I set a life goal of being in all 50 states before I die; I’ve still got a long way to go, but I did bump my total by 16% in one trip :D

Before I head off for the night, I also want to mention that it’s incredibly cool AirTran has wi-fi available during the flight! I’m guessing other carriers have wi-fi now too, but it just blows my mind to think how much air travel has advanced from the first flight at Kitty Hawk to now, where a law student of limited/nonexistent financial means can now travel across the country for just a tiny chunk of his financial aid refund — and remain digitally tethered to the ground in the process :spin:

Can you imagine how much cooler stuff is going to be in the next 100 years?? I hope we live that long (and are still competent to enjoy it!)

That’s it from me y’all. If any old entries get posted I’ll let you know, but given my track record just assume they’ve ended up in the digital abyss :P  Have a great night everybody!! :D

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Greetings from Wilmington! (Again)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 27, 2010 in Student Government

Hey everybody! :D

It was about this time last year that I was down here at UNCW for the first meeting of the UNC Association of Student Governments. Luckily there was no rain this time :)

My role tonight was to help with the leadership development stuff on the agenda, something I was trained in during the years I was a college dropout. Even though I’ve noticed almost no one knows that. So y’all are among the first to know. Just because I love all of you :*

Everything seemed to turn out well, so I’m happy. And even if it didn’t, it’s a volunteer gig so I’ll gladly issue refunds if people are dissatisfied :P

I’m off to grab my Grey Goose-laced Diet Mountain Dew and hit the pool for a bit. I’ll try to cobble an entry together tomorrow, but if I don’t get the chance I hope all of you have an amazing weekend!! :D

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Spontaneity FTW

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jul 5, 2010 in Randomness

One of the things I’ve always hated about most vacations is how the last day usually gets wasted. Packing, traveling home, unpacking, etc etc etc — it’s a pretty blah way to end an otherwise-fun excursion.

So 雅雅 and I decided to fix that with a random side trip down North Carolina’s Outer Banks :D

Even though I frequently take the back roads home to visit Nan & Pops, and I’ve been to Elizabeth City State University several times back when I was President of the UNC Association of Student Governments, I never actually made it the extra few miles to North Carolina’s oceanfront. It was a totally different experience compared to what I was accustomed to growing up in the most populous city in Virginia.

I don’t know what exactly I was expecting, but what I found definitely wasn’t it. And I mean that in a good way :)

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First we crossed over the state border and stopped in Moyock, the global headquarters of Xe Services LLC (formerly known as Blackwater). The folks at the visitor’s center in Moyock loaded us up with various maps of the Outer Banks area, and we continued on our way south down US Highway 158 S.

One of the spots on the map was a shop called Lammers Stained Glass & Gifts. Originally we were planning on skipping it — folks selling stained glass didn’t exactly strike us as something worthy of “tourist attraction” status — and I actually did drive past the building as we headed south. But after seeing the shop on the drive-by, deciding it looked interesting, and concluding we had plenty of time for sight-seeing, we turned around and went in.

I’m glad we did :D

First, the place is almost comically huge. From the road it looks tiny, and even the room where you enter through the front is only about the size of my living room (roughly 187ish square feet). But then you walk in… and notice there’s another room. You walk into that room… and see another room.  You go in there… and see another room.  Then there’s a long hallway.  To another room.  Attached to another room.  Attached to a whole separate building. :crack:

Just in case there's any doubt about my career aspirations ;)

We’re talking almost 9,000 square feet total, with nearly every single inch packed with various types of stained glass, crystalware, ornaments, frames, jewelry, and various other odds and ends. The building in the back is a practical warehouse of antiques with all sorts of cool stuff you’d typically see on a show like Pawn Stars or something.1

Given my future vocation, I decided to grab something for my living room window before we left :)

After spending about an hour at Lammers Glass, we then resumed our journey south and east to the Outer Banks, then pivoted north toward the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.

As we’re driving through Duck up toward Corolla (where the lighthouse is located) one of the things that is hard not to notice is how isolated everything feels.  NC Highway 12 is basically just a two-lane road in most places. It seems like a phenomenal place to vacation2 but the first thought that ran through my mind while I was driving was “wow it must be a real pain in the @$$ to evacuate during a hurricane.” :beatup:

The whole area is incredibly beautiful. We got to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse about 45 minutes after leaving Lammers, and walked around the lighthouse grounds to check out the guardhouse and such. 雅雅 didn’t like the idea of paying the entrance fee to climb the lighthouse3… but really didn’t like the idea of waiting around while I climbed it, so we both started up the spiral staircase of the ~15 story structure.

View from the bottom (L); View from the top (R)

The view at the top was pretty amazing :) I took a bunch of photos to stitch a 360º panoramic view together, but until I get around to finding some software for that purpose you’ll have to settle with this single shot of the Atlantic Ocean :P

After hanging out at the top for a few minutes to snap photos and soak in the view, we headed back down and then ventured over to the gift shop.4 Some of the items in the shop reminded us that we needed to check out Corolla Beach, so afterwards we decided to see how far north we could get on NC-12. Feral horses roam all through the northern reaches of the Outer Banks, but the whole area is only accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles because it’s not paved — you basically have to drive along the shoreline until you get to Carova Beach, adjacent to the Virginia border.5

But with my non-4WD Ford Focus, we decided discretion was the better part of valor and turned around about a quarter-mile in once I noticed the sand starting to pile high :beatup:

From there we headed south back toward Duck (population: ~500), where we stopped for lunch at the Sunset Grille & Raw Bar. Their outdoor seating area is set on the Currituck Sound so we got to enjoy the view while enjoying a superbly-cooked cheeseburger, french fries, and sweet tea :) After that I pulled out my BlackBerry, consulted Google Maps, and we decided to head south toward the Wright Brothers National Memorial down in Kill Devil Hills.

We checked out the building, which includes exhibits on the history of the Wright Brothers, pieces of the planes they built (as well as a replica), and other historical items about flight such as the first military aviation folks, the first female pilot, and so on. After that we ventured out toward the granite markers that designate where the Wright Brothers’ plane landed on each of their 4 test flights… and came to a realization.

Before reading further: don’t judge me please :oops: ;)

For whatever reason, when I learned about the Wright Brothers in my K-12 education I had the impression they took off from the nearby hill where the monument stands. I never really got the big deal, since if they took off from the hill and landed on the ground below they weren’t really “flying” so much as gliding to the ground. But standing there, seeing the piece of railroad track they used to take off, realizing (20+ years later) they took off and landed from the same height — I could only imagine the exhilaration they must have felt by that achievement!

Thinking I must have just been remembering my childhood years wrong, I told 雅雅… who admitted thinking she got taught the same thing. Maybe that’s a weakness in the current K-12 curriculum since we came from 2 entirely different states but both recalled getting taught something inaccurate? :beatup:

Anyhow, at this point 雅雅 and I were both pretty exhausted from all the walking around but I couldn’t resist heading over to the aforementioned hill so I could check out the monument. Similar to being at the top of the lighthouse, it’s a long climb but the view from the top is worth it :) I recorded some video on my camera phone to give you an idea of what it’s like.  I start off facing the Atlantic and circling around clockwise. The field you see at the start and end of the video is the area where the Wright Brothers made their first successful flights; the sound you hear is the wind whipping around like crazy :beatup:

After heading back down the hill and checking out the recent additions in the pavilion — which includes a replica of what Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills were like back in 1903 as well as information chronicling the history of flight since then — we once again consulted Google for the nearest tourist-worthy attraction and decided to head over to Roanoke Island.

On our way there we happened to pass by the Lone Cedar Cafe, owned and operated by state Senator Marc Basnight (D – Manteo). President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate, Basnight is widely considered the most powerful politician in North Carolina. He never went to college but is a tremendously huge supporter of the 17-campus University of North Carolina and ensuring NC students have the ability to pursue a quality higher education in this state :surprised:  Even though I’m a fairly conservative Republican, and I disagree with the Senator on a fairly wide range of issues, I consider myself a Marc Basnight fan just based on his support for higher education.6

This live oak is 400+ years old!

Roanoke Island is home to the Lost Colony and is part of modern-day Dare County, named after the first child born in the Americas to English parents. Once we got on the island we headed north just before realizing it was getting near closing time for government agencies. We skipped past the NC Aquarium and instead headed toward the Elizabethan Gardens, an English pleasure garden built half a century ago in tribute to the colonists. The whole trail through the gardens is about 1.5 miles. I’ve never been a garden type, but I see why people enjoy stuff like this ;)

Particularly cool was a super-massive-huge live oak tree that is 400+ years old — basically meaning it was there in that same spot when those colonists first set up shop on the island! :eek:  It’s pretty neat being able to stand underneath a tree and imagine that someone four centuries ago once stood in that exact same spot of that exact same tree :)

By the time 雅雅 and I finished checking out the gardens, it was a hair past 7:00pm and time for us to start making the 3.5-hour drive back home to Durham (we had left Virginia Beach around 9am :surprised: ). We took US Highway 64 W, following along the Alligator River before seeing endless fields upon fields of North Carolina’s famed agriculture.

After driving for about 2 hours we decided to stop for dinner in Robersonville, a teeny-tiny town of roughly 2,000ish people7… and home to the most technologically-advanced Bojangles’ restaurant I’ve ever seen :crack:

The building was brand new, and included all of the “green” tech stuff you’d expect from a new building. The registers had the gizmos in the front where customers can swipe their own credit/debit card (an anomaly for Boj’s restaurants in the Triangle). There was free wi-fi. Even the bathrooms had Dyson Airblades — the first time I had ever seen them, and which worked surprisingly well.

Needless to say it was a fitting end, having dinner at a tourist-worthy Bojangles’ after all of the other bona fide tourist attractions we spent the entire day checking out :D

Folks who have worked with me know I’m an obsessive planner, and I’ve never been one to randomly take the day off and go somewhere out of the ordinary. But once I’ve cleared some days in my calendar as “time to go adventure” days, I absolutely love not having the slightest clue where I’m going and instead just figuring it out as I go along. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money over this past week, but it has undoubtedly been the single best vacation I’ve ever had for that reason alone: no work, no Student Government, no class, no excuses for staying tethered to life back home — just taking a few days off to unwind and explore without a set schedule or agenda.

It’s good to be back in the Bull City of course, but that was definitely a blast :) And it reminds my why I’ve made North Carolina my home for the past 12 years ;)

  1. Including restored gas pumps from back in the early-1900s :surprised: []
  2. Definitely more laidback than Virginia Beach. Example: it’s possible to find parking :beatup: []
  3. She’s afraid of heights []
  4. Where I picked up a lighthouse ornament for the Christmas tree :spin: []
  5. It’s pretty cool if you pull it up on Google Earth, seeing the development in Carova Beach totally separate and apart from… everything. I’m determined to buy a Hummer or something so I can go check it out some time in the future :D []
  6. Which is actually a bit weird, because many of my predecessors in the UNC Association of Student Governments dislike him for various reasons even though they’re much closer ideologically to the Senator than I am :crack: []
  7. N.C. State has over 33,000 students, by contrast. []

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Enjoying a slow roll down NC186

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 27, 2009 in The 1L Life

My first car was actually a truck, a Wolfpack red 1987 Madza pickup that my father gave me after my freshman year at N.C. State.

Now I love my family, but they don’t know how to maintain technology for the life of ’em — mobile phones, computers, cars, etc — so by the time I got the truck in 1999 it was a beat up mess. But when your previous method of transportation was either on foot or pleading for a ride, you’re thankful for what you can get ;)

The truck radio didn’t work and it didn’t have air conditioning, so driving was a strictly utilitarian pursuit. I got into the habit of speeding to get from Point A to Point B (racking up more than a couple citations in the process) since the driving experience wasn’t terribly enjoyable. Even when I got my current car back in 2002, the idea of driving just for the sake of driving was a relatively foreign concept.

Fast forward to last year, when I took over as President of the UNC Association of Student Governments. One of the goals on my campaign platform was to personally visit all 17 UNC institutions at least 2x apiece during the year, so naturally that meant spending a few dozen hours driving around North Carolina.

And at some point along the way I started to really enjoy it.

Where I once cringed at sitting in silence with a non-functioning radio, I’d actually cut off the CD player and listen to the wind wrap around the car. Where I used to speed to get somewhere, I’d instead set the cruise control at the speed limit and take in the view along the way (unless I was late :beatup:).

That’s particularly true when it comes to visiting my grandparents back in Virginia Beach. Once upon a time I stuck to the Interstate as much as possible since it was the fastest way to get there. Then one day Pops pulled out a map and showed me a path down NC186 that shaved off about 50 miles — it was a little bit slower, but saved gas $$ :)

Satellite image of NC186

The path less traveled: NC186 from Garysburg to Gumberry to Seaboard to Boykins

I use it as my regular route now, and I have to say it’s one of the highlights of traveling home.

In most respects there’s nothing unusual about it at all, it’s very “North Carolina”-esque as far as countrysides go. There are miles of farmland that in parts stretch as far as the eye can see — mostly cotton, but some corn, soybeans, and wheat plots too — broken up by towns with only a few hundred residents. There’s an occasional visual oddity or two, like the lumber mill near the Virginia border or the fire station that doubles as a town hall. Gas stations are rare, and the ones that exist are more likely to accept paper checks than credit or debit cards.

The whole area makes me want to cut off the radio and drive through a few miles under the speed limit.

Even though both Nan and Pops had parents who lived on farms (in Pennsylvania and New York, respectively) I’ve always been a “city boy” who grew up in Virginia Beach and then came to Raleigh. That label got reinforced even more when I majored in Computer Science and then decided I wanted to become a lawyer.

I don’t regret it, because Lord knows I get cranky when I don’t have my internet. But there’s something to be said for the simpler things in life (über-cliché I know. sorry.). Seeing folks who have almost nothing beyond a rundown truck and a trailer putting up wreaths and garlands and celebrating Christmas with family reminds me of when I was a kid, when the internet didn’t exist and my idea of recreation was playing with Legos or running around in the yard. And I’ll be honest: with text messages and Facebook and tweets, I kinda miss going “off the grid” every now and then.

Anyhow, sorry for the rambling. Just got back into Durham today and thought I’d share :) Hope all of you had a Merry Christmas and are preparing accordingly for New Year’s Eve! :D

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“Tendencies”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 21, 2009 in Student Government

Whenever there’s a UNCASG meeting, the wholesale creation of various inside jokes (some funny, others not-so-much) inevitably follows.  ASG may be the best student advocacy groups in the state. It may get a lot of tangible business done that benefits the students of the University. But it also epitomizes the “Play Hard” component of the saying “Work Hard, Play Hard” — and those antics provide a ready supply of material.

Calling “tendencies” seems like it’ll become one of the new ones from this weekend.  It started last night when some of us noticed one of our more-coquettish officers flirting with a few delegates, and a comment was made about her “ho-like tendencies” (said with tongue firmly planted in cheek, as she’s probably the most innocent of my executive team — myself included :angel: ).

The reference would have died as quickly as it was uttered… but for the indignation of the lass in question when she overheard it. So now whenever she does anything that could conceivably be construed as flirting, someone blurts out “tendencies” and a round of laughs ensue.

And after the ASU-WCU football game earlier today, it may get expanded to other uses as well.

UNCASG folks at the ASU-WCU football game in Boone

UNCASG folks at the ASU-WCU football game in Boone

Following an ASU touchdown, their school mascot fires a rifle over the crowd. Shortly into the first quarter they scored, the rifle goes off… and Q.T. + half of our folks duck. Not flinch, not scrunch down a little bit, but completely hit the deck to avoid gunfire. And where were those folks from? Winston-Salem. Durham. Baltimore. Miami. Etc.

Maybe I didn’t react because I saw it coming, but I laughed :beatup: It’s one of those experiences that I can’t adequately capture in words for the blog, but thought I’d share just the same.

Off to the usual post-meeting celebrating :)  Have a great night folks!

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