Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Holiday Spectacular

Last week Jen drew a schematic of her yard and her neighbor's yard with illustrations of all of her neighbor's Christmas decorations. They wanted to erect a giant, inflatable, light-up penguin on the property line, which would have made the Penguin look like it was in Jen's yard.

Like any good neighbor, she was outraged. But only to Pat and me. And fortunately, the neighbor ended up putting the penguin in his front yard instead.

Well, along with the penguin, the neighbor also put up lighted teddy bears and snowmen on the porch, wood snowmen cutouts and lighted reindeer in the yard. (There is a photo of this merry-madness in my Merry Christmas post earlier this week.)

Holidays on Jen's street are always fantastic, which is why for the last two years I've spent the Fourth of July and New Year's there. Last year, her neighbor nearly caught his house on fire when a firework flew from the street, onto the porch and under the porchswing where someone was sitting, all while spraying sparks everywhere. It was FANtastic. (He almost caught the tree on fire another time.)

The first time I saw his house he had a huge HAPPY THANKSGIVING sign projected onto his garage door. Ahh. Good stuff.

But my personal favorite from this holiday season are the gelatinous-looking snowmen that sing Jingle Bells. All. Night. Long. Last night, Jen and Pat slept in their guest bedroom because, she said, "It was like they were singing in my closet."

Because I am such a good friend, I laughed out loud at her pain and suffering.

We decided she should tape the snowmen so we could post it on YouTube for others to enjoy.

"I was thinking, 'This is very risky to tape this for Gina," Jen said. "Too bad we're not staying for another two or three years, god knows what holiday craziness I could videotape for you."

So enjoy the little video while Jen's still living in Cincinnati. You can hear her shoes click as she scurries down the driveway. And the penguin is there, too. Hee hee hee.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Now back from a whirlwind visit to Indiana.

And by whirlwind I mean mostly I sat around my parents's house for three days with no Internet access (bloody hell!), went to the mall, went to Wal-Mart, then went to the mall again. Wait... I think "mall" is overstating here. Did I mention you could fit all the stores in the Marion Mall into Macy's at Kenwood?

Had a great time, though.

Got a record player for Christmas, but only because my mom had gotten one for my dad, then my dad went out and got himself one before we opened presents. That means I got the one dad didn't want. Jackpot!

Then I took some of their old records. Made out with the Elvis' live TV special and a two-record Kiss set. (Cool. Records came in sets, like CDs.)

Got my mom a Senseo single cup coffee maker. I told her mine changed my life. She thought I was exagerating, then the Senseo worked it's magic on her and she was waking up early to make single cups of coffee.

I hung-out with my high school BFF Lori and made candy. Technically, she made the candy. But I helped make such important decisions as "watermelon or cherry?" And I helped break it apart by hitting it with a hammer.

Got my dad a new hunting cap. It has earflaps on it like Holden Caulfield's. We took his hunting dog Moochy to the vet. Video to come on that later.

"She just ain't feelin' right," he told the vet. "Won't hunt."

The vet thinks she "got into something" while hunting. "Could be," my dad said. "People gut deer and leave the entrails and everything else out there."

I'm don't exactly have an iron stomach, but I can handle my fair share of blood and needles and entrails, but when my dad wiped Moochy's seeping, puss-filled eyes with a tissue, I started to gag in the parking lot. Bleh.

Also, here is a photo of my dad's truck that was totalled. I wrote about it a month or so ago and how he got insurance money for saying he was injured (he hit his knee and elbow or something) and said his dog died. Which, technically, the dog did die, but not because of the accident probably.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

From the penguin who lives next door to Jen and Pat.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Looks Like Cornhole Has A New Beatwriter

My life-long dream of being a fringe sports reporter came true this weekend.

I've long wished to write fringe sports stories, and I've even chalked up a few peculiar bylines with stories on dirt track racing (where I got hit in the face with a dirt clod), cage fighting (where I was horrified when my boy got knocked unconscious) and bull riding (where I interviewed professional rider Jody Newberry, who was absolutely hilarious).

But I finally got a byline in the sports section on Sunday, which now makes me honest. (I bought three papers for my dad, who will be so proud.)

It was pretty sweet. I covered the first ever national cornhole championship, and while you might think these guys are just tossing feed bags into a hole (because they are, in fact, just tossing feed bags into a hole), it was pretty serious for them. (Several of them make some nice change traveling to tournaments and beating people.)

I thought it would be a festive tournament, with lots of beer drinking and rowdiness. Instead, it was very quiet and serious, with several players storming away from the cornhole court, swearing and pissed. One of them even kicked the cornhole board - twice - and flipped it over he was so mad he finished fourth.

I reported the tournament as though it was an actual sporting event - like a baseball or basketball game - complete with post-game quotes, comentary and play-by-plays. I'm pretty proud of it, really. It's my first excursion into that kind of writing, and since it was on deadline, I had only 20 minutes to finish it, so that made it even more exciting and sports-like.

I also got some feedback on the story, which is rare. Some guy emailed me with a question for the winner: "Is the crown going to be big enough for his head?" Ouch. He also pointed out that his friend, Dewi, who won the doubles competition, would have beaten the winner had he entered the singles competition. Cornhole smack-talk is vicious.

The Tall Drink of Water, while reading the story on Sunday, laughed out loud thinking that the winner's quote, which compared himself to Randy Johnson pitching 9-innings, was a joke. It wasn't. He was very serious. But not in an over-inflated sense of self way, though it seems that way. It was just his way of pointing out he was tired from throwing bags for two days.

The preview video was an underground success, too, though not because of anything I did.

If you wait for it - or skip ahead - you'll see an old guy walking out of the frame wearing only his underwear. He was a regular at the bar where I reported the preview for the tournament who kept threatening to streak. Finally, he came prancing out in just his skivvies. The whole clip is hilarious, but I didn't include it in its entirety for fear the Enquirer would make me redo it if there was too much old guy in his underwear.

Pretty fun stuff.

Actually, I just realized this is only partially true. In fact, my first official sports byline was Saturday with a trampoline preview story for the same sports festival that the cornhole tournament was in. But I still feel like it was Sunday's piece that made me legit, I think because it was the first sporting event I actually covered, not just previewed.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy. Sad. Mostly Sad.

Yesterday Jen and Pat accepted new jobs in Detroit.

I've known for a long time that they want to get back to her family before they start their own, so I thought I'd be cool with it when it finally happened. I was wrong. The fact that they're leaving ran over me last night like a Mack truck.

Jen's been my confidant, co-conspirator and partner-in-crime for the last two years. She's also my biggest fan and greatest ally. It's great comfort knowing that should the situation arise, Jen would kick a pointy heel in the face of anyone who even remotely implied I am not the greatest thing in the world. (Go ahead, I dare you.)

No one's ever asked me to be in their wedding before, but Jen did. She didn't even get mad when I screwed up the poem I read for them. And she gave a nod to me in the vows she wrote to Patrick.

Jen's also the only person to pick me flowers from her garden and leave them for me with homemade cards. She's made some of the nicest dinners I've ever eaten. And when she runs off to get a scarf at the Race for the Cure, she brings me back one, too. And I don't even have to ask.

You just don't find friends like her very often. If ever.

And yet, this sudden move is partially my fault. They weren't even looking yet. I was the one who found the job postings, first for Pat, a job I thought he'd like doing Flash and graphics. Then a few weeks later, I found the mirror image of Jen's job here, only in Detroit, covering Detroit Public Schools on a site I didn't even know had job postings. (Secretly I considered not sending her the link.)

Within weeks they had interviews, job offers, signing bonuses and counter offers. (If you're looking for a new job let me know. I'm kind of on a roll.)

Of course I'm happy they've found great new jobs together in the city where Jen's family lives. But it's bittersweet. Truthfully, I'm mostly sad about the whole thing.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pop Rocked

Video lowlights of Rob's poster show. I edited out the highlights.

Dan has more here.

The Tall Drink of Water and I arrived an hour later than we had planned because someone (TDW) couldn't tear himself away from the open bar at his office's holiday party. And who can blame him!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pink... It's The Whip

The front end of the Blue Angel got burried under a pile of leaves last week while some landscapers were working next to the Tall Drink of Water’s apartment.

When I went out to leave for work, one of the guys told me to wait and he’d blow the leaves off. Cool, I said, and proceeded to wait on the sidewalk.

After he pulled the cord and got his backpack leaf blower started, he walked over to me, leaned in because of the noise and said I should get into the car since leaves were about be blown everywhere.

Then he looked at me and said, “Whatever you’re wearing is the whip!”

He was so excited it made me excited.

“Really! It’s the whip? It’s good?" I said.

“No, it’s not good. It’s great. What is it?”

“Aww. That’s nice of you to say. It’s Pink, from Victoria’s Secret.”

“Well, it’s made my day,” he said.

“Well you’ve made mine,” I told him.

Then I got into my car, he blew the leaves off and we waved excitedly as I pulled away from the curb.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Pink is the whip.

Buy it for your girlfriend, wear it for your man. Or wear it for the man who works on the yard next to your man’s.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Mag Loading

Chuck Klosterman has a sidebar to his Esquire column this month on taking magnesium supplements, a little mineral advice he got from reading Bill Romanowski’s autobiography, “Romo: My Life on the Edge–Living Dreams and Slaying Dragons.”

Chuck writes:
Romanowski started taking magnesium supplements in 1995. “From then on,” writes Romo, “my dreams were so real and so vivid that the only way I can describe it is this: It was as if the rare dreams I had [in the past] were broadcast in black-and-white. The new ones were being transmitted in high-definition TV.”

Amazingly, this seems to be a very real phenomenon. I’ve started “mag loading” before going to bed, and my dreams have become memorable, dynamic, and beautiful; taking magnesium is akin to ingesting Michel Gondry
in tablet form.

So today, the Tall Drink of Water picked up a bottle of magnesium. And while he was at it, he picked up an extra bottle for me after the label touted it also "helps nerve and muscle function, is essential in the formation of bones and teeth and in converting blood sugar into energy."


We each took one tonight. I don't really have any dream requests, but here's hoping for something crazy fun.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Top 'O The Muffin To Ya

How humiliating.

In my defense, I had to wrench my jeans together, but still.

Trainer Drew helped out with this muffin top article. And he gave us this great treadmill workout. (No more mailing it in!) Don't like to run? Tough muffin.

And here are some muffin busting exercises.

Good luck, Cupcake. (Oh, wait. That's me.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

There Goes The Neighborhood

Soon this house going up will block my beautiful, winter-time only view of the Ohio River and Northern Kentucky.

One day I woke up and it was already half built. Then a few weeks ago a big SUV came bounding down the drive and out popped a handful of children with a women I presume was their mom. She walked around the construction site while they played on a big pile of dirt.

I bet they'll be really excited to live next to the frat guys who rent the house next door. It's not a weekend on Golden/Lockland unless the band gets together for practice and then a bonfire.

It must be at least a half-million dollar house, much more I'm sure. Jeff Ruby lives up the street and his house is worth over a million, though he does have a better view.

Other than the view, though, I don't get why they'd build a house there. There's no yard, just a gravel driveway in the back and a precipice for a front yard. I guess they figure the kids are old enough not to sled down the cliff onto Columbia Parkway.

"Oh hon, it'll be so nice having the kids play in the alley. It really is a dream!"

Monday, November 27, 2006

I Give Thanks For Funny Stories

I went home Friday for turkey and noodle leftovers.

My dad and I were walking around the house to check the mail - as we walked he explained how he tricked his hunting buddies into helping him rake the leaves - and he got an insurance check for an accident he was in last month.

The accident totalled his truck. More precisely, his pride and joy, which is certainly not the pride nor joy of the driveway or neighbhorhood.

The truck is his hunting truck, a 1989 Ford Ranger with the doors dented in (not sure how that happened) and rust covering good portions of it. But it's good for hauling his hunting dogs in, five beagles.

I offered him $500 for the truck this summer when I briefly (very briefly) entertained the idea of buying a junker truck to haul my bike around in. He should be so lucky to get that much for it, I told him.

He scowled, insulted, and said, "Shut yo' mouth, girl. You ain't gettin' my Ranger."

Well, last month he was driving home with his dogs in the back when an elderly man pulled out in front of him on a country road.

"I thought about getting out and smackin' the old man," he said, in his dramatic retelling of the accident. "Hurt my truck. But then I saw he was old, 84-years-old, so I didn't. But, well, it made me mad. I turned the wheel to keep from him hitting him on the drivers door. Coulda hurt that old man, you know. Did $800 damage to his Cadillac. Said his wife was going to be mad at him."

My dad thought the Ranger was drivable and told the Sheriff's deputies he didn't need to tow. To be sure, though, he got back in to start it up. Then, Surprise! No brakes!

"I turned the wheel to the right and then the left and it turned all right, then I hit the gas," he said. "Everything seemed fine. Then I went to stop and BOINK! Right into the back of the deputy's car."

"You hit the cop car!" Perhaps I was a bit too excited about this part.

"Yeah. But I wasn't going very fast. Anyway, I needed a tow. Didn't have any brakes."

"Was he mad," I wanted to know.

"Didn't seem to be."

(Awesome. I now know someone who has a hit a Sheriffs deputy's car. And that someone would be my dad. Oops!)

As he was swinging around the check for $900-some, dancing around on the sidewalk singing "A-shopping-we-will-go," he said the check was only for his truck, not his "injuries."

"Did you get hurt, Dad?" Suddenly I was concerned. He hadn't mentioned this before.

"Oh yeah! I told the insurance lady that I hit my shin, jammed my hand and got a place on my arm. And my dog died."

"Oh no! One of your dogs died! You didn't tell me that before."

"Yeah, Fancy died. But I don't think it was from the wreck. She was sick. Though those five puppies sure were shakin' when I went back and checked on them. They were scared, boy."

"I bet they were," I said. "So wait, you told the insurance lady the crash killed your dog?"

"No. I told her my dog died, which was true. She did die."

Hmmm. Then he went on.

"She asked me how much a hunting dog like that costs and I told her about $300 to $400. She said, 'I live in Dearborn County and you can get a hunting pup for $50 to $100 around here.'

"I told her you get can't get a dog like I got for no $50 to $100. Huh. 'Bout made me mad." For effect, he shook his head in feigned disgust and adjusted the safety orange hunting cap he had on.

The Tall Drink of Water and I stood there on the sidewalk, amused and amazed.

So this insurance woman asked my dad if $650 would cover the cost of a new dog and the pain of his "injuries."

"That sounds about right," he told her.

For $50 he bought the totalled truck back from the insurance company, and now it sits in the driveway worse than before. Instead of just dents and rust it now also has a crushed in front end.

Ahh... Thanksgiving at the Daugherty Farm. (And by "farm" I mean the acre of land where my dad has parked his junk trucks since I was born.)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I'm Sorry Safari, But It's Over

Dear Safari,

We've been together for what, two years? Three years now?

I think we can safely say it's been a lovely, useful relationship. Still, this should come as no surprise, but I kinda hate you.

It only got worse earlier this week when you smacked me across the face with more of your impotence.

When I opened you up and tried to view YouTube videos on blogs and Web sites and you showed nothing, nothing! Well... That was hurtful. But for you turn your back on me and offer no updates for Panther, it didn't make me sad, it angered me. (Safari doesn't care about poor people.)

So it's over, playa. You go out and be with Tiger, fine. See ya. I just hope Tiger realizes what a whore you are when you leave it for Leopard. And you know you will.

I've found a new browser anyway. It's name is Camino, , and it's fast!

See ya, Mr. Selfish. And no, we cannot be friends.

P.S. You're getting fat.

Monday, November 20, 2006

So Long, Scruffy Sexy

I'm pretty upset about the LaRue trade.

The Tall Drink of Water warned me repeatedly - "It's going to happen. I'm just preparing you" - but it didn't soften the blow when I found out this afternoon.

What happens to a team when someone gets traded? All your favorite players end up somewhere else, so you're not even cheering for your favorite team anymore, you're cheering for a city, or a certain uniform, or whatever.

I liked the team the Reds had at the beginning of the season. LaRue. Dunn. Kearns. Willy Mo. Lopez. And now, only Dunn is left. So is Dunn "my team?" Isn't the team the men it's made of? And if you're not a fan of those men, then is that your favorite team anymore?

Maybe you're a little kid and you fell in love with the Reds because of the Big Red Machine and the men who made up the machine - Rose, Morgan, Perez, Foster, Bench, Concepcion. And those guys were your team. You loved them.

Then they got traded, got old, retired. But you still love that team. Those Reds. That Big Red Machine.

So some new players came along and you thought they were OK, but they were no Big Red Machine. Then a few guys came along that you liked almost as much and you got to appreciate them and then they were your team.

Well, the '05-06 Reds were my team.

I went to 16 Reds games this year. 16! (And I ate a helmet sundae with extra sprinkles at all of them but one.) I high fived strangers for them! And now what?!

Yeah, I root for the Reds, but my team is gone.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Who Knew?

Much to my surprise, I discovered this morning that an egg white has only 17 calories. (And 3.5 grams of protein, if you're curious.)

That explains why I'm starving about seven minutes after eating one.

I usually eat two egg whites in the morning, peeled away from the yolk of a hard-boiled egg. Until today, I thought I was eating plenty for breakfast. (No more for me, thanks. I'm stuffed!)

Turns out, I'm eating a whopping 34 calories. Wow. I've pretty much burned off 34 calories by the time I get to my car to start it.

For some reason I thought an egg/egg white would have at least 60 calories or so. And by eating two, well... I was well on my way to finishing a marathon.

Shocked by this 17 calorie egg white discovery, I asked the Tall Drink of Water how many calories he thinks an egg has.

"I don't know. About 800," he said.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lemon Lime Redux

Tuesday morning I went the gym and worked out with Trainer Drew. After about 35 minutes, I started to not feel well. So I sat down on a nearby machine to relax for a few minutes.

After I felt better, I got up and proceeded to finish the set of tricep extentions I was doing.

Then I felt sick again and sat down.

"I think I gotta go," I told Drew. He was all, "Not again!"

I felt a little faint, but mostly I felt sick to my stomach. No sooner did I open the door to the locker room did I throw up - in my mouth!

So I rushed into a stall and proceeded to relieve myself of the Gatorade I had drank. As I was shaking and vomiting, I thought of how grateful I am that the bathrooms at Revolution are so clean. Even the toilet was spotless.

Then I showered and went to work.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stop Lookin' At My Lemonade!

This commercial is pure genius.

1.) LeBron plays himself in four roles, hilariously
2.) But none better than the sneering old man
3.) Oh Lord!
4. The music - somewhere between "I just smoked a bowl" and "Baby, lemme call you"
5. The look playa Lebron gives from the pike position
6. The devish grin at the end

Saturday, November 11, 2006

CiN Green Party

Thursday night's Green Party was the most fun I've had in at least six days. Ok, I'm lying. I can't remember the last time I had more fun.

Here are some photo highlights.

Dave and his beer had lots of fun... They were inseparable.

Air guitar. Lip syncing. And shock.

Blown out... But still smokin' hot. (I'm talking about Shana and her sister, of course.)

What drunk people look like standing on chairs.

Lovin', touchin,' squeezin' into the photo.

Hee hee hee. Look how Dan is smooshing his hand into Julie
hair. Move, Julie!

Straight thuggin'.

I harrassed this guy for at least 20 minutes. I was convinced he looked like Malcolm Gladwell. I even made the Tall Drink of Water meet him, too. (TDW said afterward it was "awkward.") The next day I decided he looks more like Gilbert Gottfried. Oh well. You win some, you lose some, you have too many vodka cranberries.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Merry Christmas To Me

Election Day is my favorite day ever. Better than Christmas morning, better than birthdays, better than any other day ever. I love it.

The last few weeks I've been giddy with excitement about getting to vote. I've voted in every election since I turned 18 - at my old elementary school, in the office of my former apartment complex, at the Chinese American Church. All sorts of interesting places.

Yesterday I was feeling achy and stiff and feared getting sick might ruin my voting experience. But fortunately I woke up this morning feeling much better and couldn't wait to scoot on down to the big red church on Eastern to ink-in the squares.

So I was horrified when I realized my drivers's license is expired. I've been driving under a lapsed license for nearly a month. Oops. (Not to mention I haven't yet put my current sticker on my plate either. I'm a rolling misdemeanor.)

I rushed home to grab a utility bill to prove my address and identity since Ohio now requires ID. But all I had was my state retirement statement. I was pretty certain it wouldn't be good enough, and since my ID was expired, I thought for sure I was going to have to go the BMV before I could vote.

But thank god I'm a former teacher in Ohio, because so was the older gentleman asking for my proof.

"I get these, too. Where do you teach," he asked me.

"I taught at UC. I don't anymore though."

"What did you teach?"

"Chronic and communicable diseases. I was a grad student in public health," I told him. Then I asked what he teaches.

"K-3. Little kids," he said. "I'm a sub now."

"Yeah, but I bet your little kids act more adult the whiny college kids I taught."

Then he handed me my two sheets of fun!

I'm a little sad I'm not in the newsroom tonight, eating greasy pizza and watching the results come in. But it's still exciting. I'll be up all night, agonizing as the results crawl in, cheering when my people win and being disgusted when they don't.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lemme Get a Bun... And A Jomocha Shake

I was so hungry after work tonight I was going to eat at Arby's. So I hit the drive-thru at the one in Oakley.

You know the one: Incompetent, slow, sometimes they never get on the speaker and actually take your order.

Well, I go there and the guy on the speaker tells me he'll take my order at the window. Alright. Whatever. So I drive around and wait behind another car. Good sign, I'm thinking, because this at least means they've taken one order in the night.

Then it's my turn.

With his headset and black windbreaker on, he leans toward me out of the window and says, "We're out of beef. It's gonna be about an hour."

Out of beef? It's Arby's!

Crazy, but not nearly as crazy as the stuff that happens at the Scary Arby's downtown. They always have beef, but it's served with a side of scary.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Say It Loud, Say It Plowed

The editors at Modern Drunkard magazine must have sobered up for the fall.

A few days ago I got my September/October issue of the magazine, a full five days before the end of the month. Whereas most magazines come weeks before the month they're due, Modern Drunkard comes a month late. Sometimes two.

All part of its charm.

The June/July issue was so late - I finally got it in September - that I thought my subscription had lapsed. Nope. Turns out, publication cycles at Modern Drunkard are taken a lot less seriously than say, the merits of Juicing on the Job.

Of the half dozen or so magazines I actually send a check to and subscribe, I look forward to Modern Drunkard the most. Devoted to the "joys and pains of getting plastered, plowed, bombed, ripped, hammered and blotto" it's always funny and entertaining. And despite not having a writing staff - at least as far as I can tell - it's a damn good read.

The best eulogy I read after Hunter S. Thompson went gonzo one last time and shot himself was written by Modern Drunkard's editor, Frank Rich. Below is a taste. The rest is here.

"There was always a powerful comfort in knowing he was out there somewhere in the night, roaring drunk, guzzling high-octane whiskey and railing against a world amok with complacency and hypocrisy. There was always a weird sense that he could pop up any where at any time to stick it to The Man and set things straight."

And before your next drink, be sure to read the 86 Rules of Boozing. Gems in here, people. Gems.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Digital Workout

As I work on some videos, including one of my mom and dad explaining (er, justifying) how they forgot my birthday, check out some recent photos.

Happy Birthday to me! Presents from my Tall Drink of Water.

The big one was the Senseo single serve coffee maker. Yay!

Hard-core for runners at Jen and Pat's Halloween party. (Something we'll never be mistaken for.) Check out TDW's obscenely short, split-cut running shorts. Yikes. (Running medals donated by Big Bri and his Jen.)

Pat changed out of his Mayor of Salem costume for this turn as a game show host for Halloween movie trivia. TDW and I started off strong in The Excorcist category, but ultimately lost in Final Jeopardy.

I didn't at first recognize this hipster werewolf until his fashionable D-Lister date was at his side. Good one.

High-fiving strangers was my favorite part of today's game. The camraderie at Bengals games is terrific. It makes you love football, even though the games are 9 hours long and there's a flag on every play. Even as people were leaving our aisle they were slapping us high-fives and Who Deys. Very fun.

I got TDW tickets for his birthday, which isn't until mid-November, so it was an early present.

Somehow, my hair looks better with post-game hat head. And as a present to myself (gotta support the team!), I got my first Cincinnati-sports related t-shirt. It's funny it's a Bengals shirt considering I went to 15 Reds games this season. (That's right 15!)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I'm Free!

For over a year I've taken a Wednesday night dance class (tap and hip-hop) in a renovated Wendy's in Northern Kentucky.

It's the class I looked for for years after high school and college when I ran out of dance options. So finding this class at Manyet Dance was terrific. The women are fun, entertaining and they're good dancers, which is something you won't find at most adult dance classes.

This is due mainly to the instructor, Lisa, who is a challenging teacher and terrific dancer herself.

But as with all things with me, each week I dreaded going. I'd love it for the two hours I was there, then it'd start all over again, 'Damn, I have to go to dance class Wednesday. Grrr."

I hate to be scheduled. I hate knowing I HAVE to do anything, be anywhere, or have an appointment of any kind. It looms over me. (It makes having a job very difficult.)

So tonight, with help from Big Bri, my Tall Drink of Water and several coworkers, I decided to quit. Yep. I'm a quitter. But I'm free!

I'm a little sad about it. I know my calves won't hurt on Thursdays anymore and my flexibility will plummet, but having my Wednesday nights free again is liberating.

And anyway, I only sorta quit. I chatted with Lisa, who said our class will start its new dances after the holidays. So she's saving a spot for me to start back up again January 15.

Which means I'll be back to complaining about all over again.


My mom forgot my birthday.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friday Night Fun

This as of 12:28 a.m. Look at him. Isn't he a trooper? Ah yes... This is the scene most Friday nights. My Tall Drink of Water is passed out on the couch and I'm usually reading. Pretty exciting, we are.

But this weekend is different, because it's my birthday weekend. On Tuesday, I am happy to report, I will be turning 100. Don't I look young for my age?

Once I get through soccer tomorrow morning, it's all about me. And I've got big plans for us.

Tonight we had dinner at the Montgomery Inn, which is where I have TDW take me for birthdays, special occasions (like when I'm mad at him and he wants me to forgive him) or whenever he cashes in on sports bets.

Tonight's special was Cincinnati's D-List media personalities.

First, we got seated next to Rich Apuzzo, the recently fired meteorologist at FOX19. (Management was "looking into something" before he got canned. My prediction: Apuzzo is behind the five months of perma-cloud that sits on Cincinnati every winter. Or management just figured out that meteorologists are always wrong!)

Anyway, it was wildly entertaining. TDW and I got into a tiff over the appropriateness of me wanting to ask him, "So, why'd ya get fired." I mean, come on, it's not like everyone doesn't know. It was widely reported. (Not that I read any of it.)

Then I said I could pretend like I didn't know, because really, I don't watch the 10 o'clock news, especially on FOX.

I could be like, "Oh! It's you! Haven't seen ya on the news for a while. Where've you been?"

But TDW put the smack down on that too.

"But you DO know. I told you!" he said.

Technicalities. Technicalities.

Then, a colleague of mine who works in online and is also a blogger, who shall remain nameless since he probably Googles himself once a month and could find this blog and know that I think he's ridiculous, was seated at another booth right near us, making that section of the Montgomery Inn the D-list media trifecta. (His name rhymes with "Ryan Slutts," and his last name is as equally unfortunate.)

He was on a date it appeared. (The girl was wearing panty-hose, anyway.) I was tempted to roll up and go, "So... You were supposed to fix my video two days ago and never did." Then for effect I'd push his Mt. Dew over. But that seemed excessive. Then TDW and I discussed the pros and cons of walking over and eating something off his plate.

I totally should have, though, because whenever you call up my Spam video in anything other than Internet Explorer, some Bengal's fan pops up singing about Jesus and football.

OK, so that's hilarious. But still.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Somewhat Less Disturbed Now

This email was in my inbox when I got to work Monday morning.

SUBJECT: Thanks!!!
Thank you again for coming to the fight. I really appreciate the phone call, I just got it tonight and I didnt know if it was too late
to call you back or not. Sorry I did not put on a good show. I know I have the talent to beat him but I made a stupid mistake and I got caught. But thank you again I am fine, I actually grappled today. I do remember the fight but my head is a little sore. But other than that I am ready to go again. lol! Please don't let this hinder your opinion about mma.

Thank you again!
Brent Roth

Sunday, October 08, 2006

That's Gonna Leave A Mark (On Me)

I've been quiet and alarmed all day as my mind replays images last night's cage match at the convention center.

To say Brent Roth was knocked-out is accurate, but not precise. To say he lost to a knock-out suggests he was outskilled, outfought. And that wasn't the case, at least to my untrained eye.

I had been looking forward to the fight for weeks, since I interviewed the 19-year-old Brent for this story.

I went to watch him practice and talked to his dad and mom and trainer, and came away from the story with an appreciation and relative understanding of mixed martial arts and cage fighting. This article in Slate helped a lot too.

Brent was 3-0 before the fight and had daydreams of turning professional in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

After school at Wright State, five days a week, Brent trains with his Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instructor in mixed martial arts and another instructor in boxing. I even made this video of his training to go along with the story.

You'll see (if you use Firefox as your browser, Safari won't show it) he is soft-spoken, seemingly sweet and without a hint of the hubris or cockiness found in cage fighters. Though skilled, he doesn't seem like the guy who'd lock himself into a steel octogon and want to fight his way out.

Nonetheless, I was excited to see him try, and I knew his parents, classmates and family would be there as well.

A few days before the match Brent's opponent was changed, unbeknowst to him. He'd been training to fight a wrestler who was on the original card. But I noticed the change after writing the story and emailed Brent to see if he knew why. He didn't.

From then on, I had a bad feeling about it. I don't know why, I just did.

His was the second to last fight and I sat there nervous the whole time waiting. The rest of the fights were pretty entertaining. I can see why people like it. One fighter, who had an entourage of people wearing blue Team Demon t-shirts, suffered what I guess was a humiliating loss because he came back from the fight and hugged his mom for a good long while, then his girlfriend, and then his friends before he went to the consession stand for nachos. (Nachos being the official snack of cage fighting, I decided last night.)

Another guy, who was older than anyone else and kind of graying, was a little sad to watch because he was far too inexperienced to be in the ring and took a good pummeling before the ref called the fight. Not to mention his pony-tail fell out, which made me kinda sad for him.

But the rest of the fights were pretty tame. A few guys got knocked around pretty good, but not much. There was minimal blood and no knock outs. Mostly, it was guys throwing a few punches and rolling around on the matt before the other, usual the better man at martial arts, pretzeled him into submission.

Then it was Brent's fight. I was videoing it thinking I'd post it on CinWeekly so people could see how he did. Win or lose, I thought it'd be interesting.

Brent and his opponent boxed for about one minute, both getting off a few good hits with some kicks mixed in. Then as Brent went to kick him again, his opponent grabbed his foot and within seconds, Brent was above the guys head. Several fighters last night got body slammed without peril, but I felt like when it was happening, it was bad.

And then Brent came down on the back of his head and neck. He was unconscious as soon as he hit the mat, I imagine. But his opponent seized the opportunity, pounced on him and started punching him in the face as Brent layed there, unconscious and quivering. The crowd went crazy, then silent. I felt sick.

The ref tackled his opponent as soon as he realized Brent was unconscious. Three medics rushed into the cage, along with his trainer. For about two minutes, Brent didn't move or speak. I turned off my video camera horrified that I was taping his final moments. That not only was I privy to his death, but that I was filming it.

With a lump in my throat, I grabbed ahold of my Tall Drink of Water to have him help me down from the chair I was standing on.

After several agonizing minutes and stunned silence from the crowd, Brent finally lifted his head. About that time, the medics brought in an orange stetcher and I wondered how it happened that the only person to be hurt and carried out on a stretcher would be Brent. It seemed so surreal.

But he refused it, and with the help of his trainer and the medics, he stood up and walked out of the ring on his own. Wobbling and in need of assistance, but not on a stretcher.

All last night and today I've been challenged to remove the images from my mind. To think of him landing the way he did, without a chance of fighting back, and then being pummelled while unconscious is to tough to wrap my mind around.

It finally got the better of me tonight and I was able to track down his trainer's phone number. So I called him. On a Sunday night. I told him how much it shook me up and that I'd been worried all day and just wanted to make sure Brent was all right.

"It's hard to see," he assured me. "It's violent. We were all scared. But Brent's fine."

Then he kind of laughed, saying how nice it was that I was concerned.

"We talked about the mistake he made in letting himself get airborne," he went on. "Actually, we just finished some jiu-jitsu training tonight. He's doing fine. You want his cellphone number?"

I called and left Brent a rambling message, telling him my first cage match was fun, except that I worried about him all day and hoped he was feeling OK. Then I told him that I was going to email him tomorrow and if he could write me back assuring me that he is all right, I'd appreciate it.

It surprises me how affected I am by this, but if you saw the video, you'd see why.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Best Lemonade This Side of a Dirty Glass

The weather really was beautiful this week, and my mom, an avid walker, took advantage and set out around the neighborhood.

"And I saw the cutest little girl with a lemonade stand, Gina," she told me, using her sweet voice, the one she uses to talk to little kids. "She must have been about six or seven, and she had her two front teeth missing. And she was just a-sittin' there, swinging her legs in her little chair."

"So I asked her, 'How much for a glass of lemonade,' and she told me 50 cents. Then I noticed that she only had three glasses out. Glass glasses, not paper cups. So I asked her how many customers she'd had and she said three, but that she'd wiped off the glasses with paper towels she had sitting there. But still all the glasses had been drank out of. I thought, 'Oh no. What am I gonna do?'

I, too, wondered what she was going to do. My mom is quirky in the sense that she won't eat things from other people's houses unless she can vouch for their cleanliness.

During carry-ins at the factory where she worked, she'd always bring a dish but would only pretend to eat what other people brought, not knowing where and under what circumstances the food had been prepared. She's maniacal particularly when it comes to animals in the house. If she knew a coworker had a cat or dog that lived in their house, under no circumstances would she eat the food, regardless of whether or not she was starving or missing the best brownies on Earth.

She even has a hard time eating at my house, because of Cassady and Cassius. (And for good reason, there's freakin' cat hair everywhere!) And she refuses, absolutely will not, touch a dog or cat with her hands. (She pets my cats with her foot.)

Faced with the decision of hurting the feelings of the cutest little girl in Marion selling lemonade and being forced to drink after someone else, I was curious how this would go down.

"Well, of course I wasn't going to hurt her feelings," she said. "So I gave her 50 cents and had her pour the tiniest amount of lemonade into one of the glasses, and about that time her mom came from around the side of the house and said, 'Thank you so much for stopping! She's been sitting out here all day.'"

"Awww, well that's so nice that you stopped," I told her.

"And the lemonade was really good. So I walked home and got your dad and told him we were going up the street to this little girl's lemonade stand. Then I grabbed a couple of paper cups. You know your dad - he won't drink out of a dirty glass. He's funny about stuff like that."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Required Reading

Some great stuff out there.

This Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article from Sundays A1 examines how much companies are profiting by aligning themselves with breast cancer awareness and the Pink Ribbon ad campaign. For example, how much does Motorola actually give to the cause every time someone buys a pink phone?

And if I were half the critic and writer that Slate reporter Byran Curtis is, who wrote this piece about Mitch Albom, then I'd be... Well, I don't know where I'd be, but somewhere like Slate.

Curtis describes Albom as "a peddler of shallow morality tales for the masses." He goes on to call him a "huckster evangelist for the soccer-mom set." I'd love to be able to write eviscerating critiques like that. Hell, I'd settle for thoughtful critiques.

I read Albom's Tuesday's With Morrie when I came out after asking for it for a birthday. The best I could muster on the blank page in the back after I read it was "overrated" and "not actually moving, just manipulative." Mostly, I just thought it sucked.

Every time I clear out my bookshelves I think of tossing ol' Tuesdays into the Goodwill pile, but I get such a charge out of complaining about that book that I've kept it around. The last time my Tall Drink of Water nearly insisted I get rid it - I think he never wanted to be subjected to the Albom tirade again - but alas, it still sits on the shelf, waiting for me to launch into how much I hated it again.

Once, while lampooning his other book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, my coworker Sue said "more like the one ego-maniac you meet in Detroit." It still makes me laugh.

And then there's this article, Pursuing Happiness, from the New Yorker. I just read it this summer, even though it came out in February. (There is a stack of unread New Yorkers taking over my apartment - and my will to live!) But the article is great reading.

Go ahead and write this down: H=S+C+V. It's the secret of happiness according the article. You can buy me a coffee or something as a thanks later.

One thing I wanted to post a link to is a piece Nora Ephron published in the New Yorker this summer called Serial Monogamy, about her love of cook books and her obsession with their authors. I'm not much a cookbook lover, but the piece was so well written and so funny that I came away thinking that Nora is the writer of the family, even though it's her famous ex, Carl Bernstein, who gets all the accolades. (So he helped bring down the Nixon White House, what has he done lately?)

You can read Serial Monogamy if you buy her new book of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck.

Well, I can tell you one thing Carl Bernstein has done lately and that's attend the wedding of a former Enquirer reporter who now works for him. I chatted with her at Jen's wedding, and three weeks later Jen attended her wedding, at which Carl Bernstein was present.

Jen described him as "a crazy dancer," and not in a good way, and also kind of embarrassing, like a crazy uncle.

"If someone would have had a video camera it would have been tempting to post it on YouTube he was that wacky," Jen said.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Welcome Home 6-Drawer Malm Dresser

The box that it came in was about the size of a Trapper Keeper.

Three hours later, my Tall Drink of Water slid in the final drawer. Hooray!

Weekend In Pittsburgh

This is the view from the top of the Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh. It cost us $7 total to take the car 400 feet up the side of Mount Washington (formerly, and better, Coal Hill) at a 30 degree grade. I counted 12 bridges from where I stood, spanning the Ohio, Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers.

It was very cool and picturesque. I wish only that we'd had more time to eat in one of the restuaurants that afforded the same view.

But the rest of trip was taken up with Ikea (woo hoo!) and Reds versus Pirates game (boo).

I took lots of video at Ikea with Gonzo, my hand-held surreptitious partner-in-crime. The particle board shoppers were none the wiser. They probably thought it was an iPod. I got a new dresser. My life will be totally different now that my dresser drawers won't fall onto my legs whenever I need a pair socks.

We also watched the Reds blow the Saturday night game. It started to rain around the 2nd, so we walked around PNC Park instead. The best part of the game was watching some guy get kicked out and man-handled by security. I didn't see what he did to deserve the boot, but the security guy seemed overzealous to me. Then again, I always find that to be true. The guy at least got a few shots of beer to splatter in the security guard's face, though. Good stuff.

Ooh. Almost forgot! My Tall Drink of Water and I stayed at the Omni William Penn downtown, where Gina DiSalvo and her equally Italian named man were getting married. So until about midnight on Saturday we got the pleasure of hearing a bad cover band (That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it!) play above us in the Grand Ballroom.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Week From Hell

By the time I left work last night I had already put in 30 hours this week, then I went home and worked some more, but on an iMovie instead of writing. It was 3 a.m. before I finally went to bed I was so wrapped up in editing the video.

Mostly what screwed me this week was Tall Stacks. The amount of information and pulling it all together for next week's cover story was far more daunting than I imagined.

But for the story I got to interview Ketch Secor, from Old Crow Medicine Show, which is playing at 9 p.m. next Saturday at Tall Stacks. I can't wait. I love OCMS. I saw them last fall at the Southgate House and immediately fell in love with the band, and the dark-haired Ketch. Did I mention he plays banjo, guitar, fiddle AND the harmonica?

Now, there's a boy I wouldn't mind riding with in the front of a pick-up truck.

They have a new album out, Big Iron World. The song and video for Downhome Girl are terrific. You can check it out here. I love the old guy. Ketch is on harmonica in this one. (Yes, please!)

So my desk... Yeah. This disaster has been months in the piling up. And my apartment is starting to look similarly. The surfaces need scrubbed and dusted. But with a trip to Pittsburgh on my agenda this weekend, I'm just not sure when I'm going to get around to Pledging and scouring everything.

Adding to fuel the nightmare week, I searched Ikea's Web site, (the stop at Ikea being part of the reason I agreed to go to PA, I believe I am only the person in the free world without something from Ikea sitting on my carpet) and the dresser I had my eye on no is longer there. I am hopeful, but doubtful, they will have it at the store.

And my lunch today was terrible!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Jacked Up

I got rocked by a power kick from The Gazelle on the other team this morning. The shot hit my leg and swept me off my feet, and I flew through the air like Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls the football away. It felt like I did 32 somersaults before I hit the ground.

All I remember is painfully landing on my back. I thought about lying there and crying, but we didn't have any girl subs. So when I saw the guy who drilled me standing over me, I reached up my hand and he pulled me up. Good thing because I might still be there... wimpering.

The welt on my leg hasn't faded in the last four hours, so it should leave a pretty nice bruise. But it's my wrist that hurts. Must be the impact of 32 somersaults and 122 pounds crumpling into the grass.

I totally would have made ESPNs Jacked Up segment on Monday Night Countdown.

(How do I know this stuff?)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Again With The Passing Out

I lasted 15 minutes longer this time than the last before I felt faint. Wow. I’m a freakin’ rock star now.

But after 45 minutes of working out with Trainer Andrew, I had to sit down. It took me about a minute before I realized I was going to throw up, then on the way downstairs I got dizzy again and had to eat another Jolly Rancher. (Red, of course.) I did recover more quickly this time, though.

My solution is to drink Gatorade during workouts from now on. Keep sugar in my system. (And maybe eat more protein.) It’s strange I didn’t feel sick when I cheated on Andrew, though, with Trainer Ian. I can’t quite put my finger on why I end up feeling so awful. Andrew said, “This isn't good. We can’t keep doing this.”

Speaking of Trainer Ian, I saw him this morning while I was with Andrew. I felt so dirty. And now a coworker says I should try her trainer man before I settle on one. I don’t think I can handle the guilt, though.

I confessed to Andrew about my trainer indiscretion before I even finished my tricep exercises. He said it before I said it, “You’re cheating on me.”

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Trainer Promiscuous

I'm obsessed with my blood sugar levels. I make frequent assessments about it, mostly when it's low.

So about ten minutes before I nearly passed out last week, I told Trainer Andrew I needed to sit down. It was my first meeting with Andrew, and my first ever with a personal trainer. I knew as I was leaving to meet him I should have eaten some protein and some quick carbs. I had every intention of eating a peanut butter sandwich before I left, but I ran out of time.

By the time I realize I was in trouble, it was too late. Before I knew it, my heart was racing, I was shaking, sweaty, dizzy and about to vomit.

"You aren't going to pass out on me, are you," Trainer Andrew wanted to know.

"I'm trying not to," I told him, desperately trying to hold it together. But as we were walking down the stairs to get me some water and a Jolly Rancher, I thought for sure I was going to drop, and I even reached out toward his arm, just in case.

I slumped down on the couch in the lobby of the gym and wondered if the Jolly Rancher would be enough to restore my vision, which was white-washed and blurry.

I was so disoriented that when Andrew threw me a grape Jolly Rancher from across the room, I couldn't move to try to catch it. It landed on my lap.

"Grape," I said with disgust, picking it up. "Isn't there any other flavor, like red?"

He looked at me, kind of like, "Are you kiding?"

Then he said, "How's cherry?" And he threw that one onto my lap.

A few days later I met with another trainer, just to see how trainers compare (and they're free for the first session). I got a great workout from both of them, but I couldn't help but feel like I was cheating on Trainer Andrew... After everything we'd been through together.

Completely Ridiculous

Popped Collar here has reffed our last two soccer games. And by reffed I mean mostly he sneers at us and doesn't know what the calls are when he calls them.

I enjoyed watching him this Saturday swing his whistle around his finger like a lifeguard and cock his head and stare into the grass. Very James Dean. I swear he's posing, though I'm not sure for whom.

He's a legend in his own mind. (Like Vincent from Project Runway.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

Mosey For the Cure

There were so many thousands of people (10,000 I heard) trying to funnel into Mason for the Race for the Cure yesterday that we eventually abandoned our car in a McMansion subdivision and walked probably a half mile to the start.

The Enquirer has a great photo of the people/car anarchy.

As we were still walking in, we saw several friends run past for the chip timed event. My Tall Drink of Water attempted to find the chip line, but by then it was well after the start. For my part, I needed a snack and decided to hit the banana table and the port-o-potty before setting off on the three mile corridor of subdivisions and For Rent beige-brick office spaces.

I had intended to run some of the race, but it worked out well we were late because then Jen, Pat, TDW and I all got to walk together. We couldn't have run if we wanted to, we were in such a crush of people the entire three miles.

It was just as well. And more fun anyway.

When I first ran the Race for the Cure in 1998 or 1999 (I can't remember which), I didn't know anyone who had had cancer other than very old people, let alone anyone with breast cancer. Now I know several breast cancer survivors, including the wonderful Linda Maupin, who brought cherry jam to my house and told me, "Someday this will all be a distant memory."

The Race for the Cure is an emotional event. Everywhere around you are the names of survivors being celebrated on the backs of friends' and families' singlets, while the names of those who have died are written with "In Memory Of." Usually those names are more personal, like Mom, Grandma or Aunt Miriam.

Among the healthy runners and walkers raising money and honoring those who have lived and died are those women wearing pink hats and t-shirts, the survivors themselves. And sometimes, among them, you will see the ashen face of a woman undergoing treatment, identifiable by her hair burned out from chemo and the exhaustion and fear in her expression.

Since there are no 10,000-strong races for other cancers, Paul and I wore our Relay For Life t-shirts honoring his brother, Andrew, who will be gone a year this January. Maybe you saw us - we were the bright yellow in a sea of pink.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Crazy Wedding Reception Dancing

The quality of my iMovies is terrible once they're uploaded to YouTube and iFilm. But they're free. So whatever.

I made this iMovie of Jen and Pat's wedding reception after I got back from Ithaca.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

News Flash: Lots Of People Work-Out... In The Morning!

Went to the gym this morning at 7 and much to my surprise, the parking lot was packed.

I briefly wondered if I'd get my choice treadmill. (That'd be the second one away from the wall, facing Isben Avenue.)

On my way to stake my claim, I bumped into a friend of mine who happens to be nine months pregnant. Now, I'm all about the female form and pregnant women being beautiful and whatever else people say, but I was shocked, shocked I tell you to see my friend wearing nothing but running shorts and a sports bra with her giant naked belly filling the empty space between her and the eliptical.

The whole time I was chatting with her I kept thinking, "Don't look at her belly. Don't look at her belly."

It was like I was seeing something I wasn't supposed to, and I didn't want to get caught looking. In fact, I'm certain I've never been so close to a bare, nine-month pregnant belly. And it kinda freaked me out.

I had to give it to her, though, for putting it out there, because she walked around the gym like it was no big deal. Meanwhile I was thinking, "She's practically naked, slinging that big belly around. Go on girl!"

I won't even expose my belly and it's a fairly normal size. While her's was so out there.

Then she nearly saw me naked as I was getting undressed to shower. I kept thinking she'd kind of turn around as she saw me peeling off the layers, but no. Finally I had to warn her, but she was undeterred, like she could have seen me naked or not. In fact, I'm not sure she'd have noticed she was so busy drying her hair and chit chatting with me.

It was pretty entertaining. Until I slipped on the wet floor and nearly fell down with my tiny little towel on. I shudder when I think of the image of me hitting the concrete with a smack and my tiny towel coming loose, exposing all sorts of ugliness.

But that's what I would have deserved for being so caught up in the nakedness of everything.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

This All Happened Saturday

First thing this afternoon I walked out to my car, all set to go to the gym (had ponytails in and everything) and saw that my back right tire was about flat.


Except that I figured by the time I got the tire plugged I'd be too hungry to work out so then I'd get to eat lunch. Jackpot!

Stuck in the tire was a big silver screw that'd I'd picked up somewhere, so I drove the Blue Angel over to Art Miller's, who told me to drive it down to Tom's Tire Service on Stanley Avenue.

While the Blue Angel waited her turn, I walked over to the Starbucks on Columbia Parkway, where Blow-Dried Guy is always working. His hair looks like he just got it did at the beauty salon. It's highlighted, blow-dried up and sprayed. Very strange looking.

"What are you up to today," he asked.

"I'm getting my tire plugged over at Tom's Tire Service. He said it'd be a few minutes," I told him.

"That place is weird."

"Oh yeah. How so," I asked.

"It's really politically incorrect."


"He has, like, calendars up, not like Playboy, but like girls in bikinis and stuff," Blow-Dried said.

"Well, it is a shop. He is a mechanic. In fact, I'd be kinda suspicious if he didn't have that up. It's not like Tire Discounters."

"Yeah. He can plug your tire, though."

"Yep. That's all I need him to do," I said.

When I went back I made a point to look around for half-naked calendar girls. Mostly there were just pictures of people's kids stuck to the walls and corkboard. But there was one picture of a Ben-Gal sexing it up and another of a mostly naked woman just standing there. Nothing I hadn't seen before.

Picked up the Blue Angel and decided lunch was in order, so my Tall Drink of Water and I went over to Moe's in Newport. (Even though that's the crappy Moe's. Everybody knows the Moe's in Crestview Hills is way better, but we were hungry.)

After we ate we went over to Barnes and Noble and all be damned if Rocco wasn't there doing his book signing. Hilarious! TDW and I scurried to the top of the escalator so we could spy on him. Mostly he harrassed people as they came in and then sucked them into having 10 minute long conversations with him. How painful for them.

Sample Conversation:

"Hey Rocco, I'd like to work out my abs. Got any exercise suggestions?"

"Um yeah, fat ass. Uh, get off your ass and stop eating donuts and exercise."

"Wow. Thanks Rocco. You must be a fitness expert."

I tried to get some photos of him in action, but my camera phone doesn't zoom well and I didn't want to get too close. Know what I'm sayin'? This was the best I could do while laying low.

In other odd news from the day, I'm finding bruises and sore spots from morning my at Christ Hospital yesterday.

There's a hole in my cheek where I must have bit the inside of my mouth at one point. And there's a nice little bruise on the top of my hand from where the IV was pulled out and the nurse didn't put enough pressure on the vein. (It causes bruising when they don't.) And my nose is sore to the touch, probably from the mask they had strapped to my face, not to mention the bruise marks under my chin and on my throat. God knows what that's from.

I also got a postcard from my friend Aaron today, who is in Iceland, which was such a pleasant surprise. Except I can read only about half of it. His handwriting and the inky pen he used doesn't translate well. At the end of the postcard it says "Wish you were here... Think of all the fun we'd have making fun of _______" together.

I can't read the last word. It looks like Germans, but that doesn't make any sense. And he'll have probably forgotten by the time I talk to him again in November.

Kind of a strange day.

Forget Something?

I found this EKG lead stuck to my rib cage about seven hours after I got home from the hospital yesterday. They'll stick to anything, such as the door here.

It's fascinating to think what they can do to you while you're under anesthesia. The last thing I remember is Dr. Bowling laughing about my new staff picture and then seeing a mask go over my face. What happened over the next hour and a half is anyone's guess.

But I did come away this little present. Thanks Christ Hospital!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Jen and Pat's Wedding: An Ithaca Photo Blog

Yay! Only 570 miles to Ithaca.

At Buttermilk Falls, which is much tougher to hike than it looks. (So I'm told.) During an intense game of catch, The Tall Drink of Water (TDW) jumped into the creek and fetched out the softball. Great throw Dan!

Saturday's wine tour.

Patrick Murphy: Chronic wine swirler.

Behold the deliciousness that is Cranberry Essence wine. No more UTIs for me!

After about 35 "tastes."

Ithaca is Gorges.

Unless there is a boy slobbering on you. Then Ithaca is kinda Gross.

Old friends Chris and Hugh, who just happen to live in Ithaca right now. (Chris, my Jen when I lived in Virginia.)

Jen's pop takes her down the aisle. (Er, grassy vineyard.)

It rained all day Sunday. Poured. But it stopped in time for Jen and Pat to have their ceremony outside. (Here I am screwing up the poem.) After the ceremony the sun came out. Amazing.

Notice anything unusual about this photo? Only the relatives gasped. No one else noticed, including Pat, Jen or the officiant. Funny.

At Last... Nine years in the making.

We admit to feeling very smug about the gift we got them. And not just because I sliced up my thumb curling ribbon to tie onto it.

Happy Wedding!