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.)