Saturday, April 28, 2007

No offense

So Val and I are snooping into nephew Cody's love life and his current girl who's-a-friend, and went to the Brighton High School site to see if they had pictures.

What did we find? That their tennis team has the whitest names in one collection: Katy, Mary, Audrey, Ashley, Megan, Lauren, Rebecca and Courtney for the girls, David, Caleb, Tyler, Ellis, Cody, Kevin, Landen and Richard for the boys. The girls only need a Shelby or Madison, the boys need a Jacob or Joshua.

Tonight, Ron Burgundy Dines in Hell!

On location

Friday morning I had my first remote for Fox13, at the Southaven Spring Fest down in Miss'ippi. Another director handled the switching duty, which was fine with me since I quite enjoyed running a camera and getting to walk all around our impromptu set looking for fun bump shots of the fairgrounds. Although, after pointing my camera at the Pronto Pup and Funnel Cake stands for two hours, I was darn hungry and craving some of that fair food goodness!

Crew call was 2 a.m., when we finished packing the vans and truck to drive south.

Management is very proud of the Hummer. Remember, we're part of Fox, so who cares who many miles per gallon that sucker gets!

This just in: I'm a dork.

We got to the park by 3:15 a.m., unloaded all the vehicles and had it set up by 4:30. Hence it still being dark.

The makeshift control room. Isn't that tiny switcher so cute! I just want to take it home and cuddle. ... Perhaps I've said too much.

Engineer guru Dave had a great idea of how to go to the bathroom.

It was so chilly that we couldn't wait for the sun to come up or the cooking segment four hours later, so we fired up the grill and gathered 'round like a bunch of hobos under a bridge. No offense to hobos.

Weather man Leon lets us know through extensive computer models that this early morning looks cloudy.

At the ready for anything exciting.

Though this and the food was about all I was pointing at for an hour.

The sun rises on Good Morning Memphis.

Quite an eclectic crowd began to gather. And I mean the dude in the hat on the left. The Riverkings mascot was invited.

No one told Val that "air quotes" were a fad long gone.

Our entertainment for the morning, a little jazzy funky bluesy band. Okay, I admit, I know nothing of what kind of music it was. There were instruments and some guy singing and backup singers whom I don't even think actually sang. But they looked good doing it.

By 8:45 the wrestlers arrived. Giant lets GM John know that if this appearance doesn't bring a packed crowd to last night's event that he can crush him with his little toes.

The Hulkster was more subdued, perhaps eyeing the crowd to kill any man who made a comment about his hot model daughter.

Next remote duty will be much more fun, downtown at Memphis in May to cover the International BBQ Cooking Contest. *drool*

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Random Thoughts From Our Daytrip

What's the point of the hot light in hotel bathrooms? And with a timer? Are people really getting tans while showering?

How do you properly eat club sandwiches? No one can possibly put all those layers in their mouths at once, can they? Yes, I'm 31, and I wonder why I haven't mastered such minutiae.

From Val - What's the point of having automatic soap dispensers but no automatic faucets? And further from me, if you have automatic flushers, towels, soap and water, don't you need an automatic door as well, lest all of those cleaning aids be rendered moot by having to use the handle previously used by nasty folks not washing their hands?

I think Paula Abdul misunderstood the idea of last night's Idol charity show. It was about raising awareness of poverty, not the lack of material in your shirt. Put the girls away, please.

I can't imagine why women vehemently hate Paul McCartney goldigger and surprisingly unattractive Heather Mills so much, what with blaming the judges for her dismissal even though they scored her higher than two other couples, saying the judges were basically responsible for her dance partner living off cat food, and skipping out on the customary Jimmy Kimmel show appearance a few hours later without even bothering to provide a decent excuse.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Idol Gives Back

The more I watch this episode I'm agreeing with my wife's theory that no one's getting voted out on the VERY SPECIAL (SERIOUSLY, WE LOVE PEOPLE! LOOK, WE'RE IN AFRICA EVEN THOUGH WE'RE AMERICAN IDOL!) show tonight.

Wait, is that Celine and a digital Elvis? Are you kidding me? This is ridiculous. Why did Celine sign off on this?

Anyway, last night Val and I were in Jackson and the television sound was screwed up in mono so I don't really have much of an opinion on last night's show. Seems that no one really messed up, though. Melinda and Jordin are in a different class altogether, is what I gathered.

UPDATE 9:00 p.m. - So why were we in Jackson last night? To celebrate the one-year anniversary of our first date.
You may now either "Awww, that's romantic" or "Uggghh, what is with these people?" as is your first instinctive reaction.

Yep, our first date started at the bowling alley. What can I say? She knocked over my pins right away!

I bowled a lot better this time! That may be my best ever. I guess it helps when you're not entirely focused on trying to impress the woman you're courting!

Why can't I be this cute in those shoes?

For dinner on date one I took Val to her first Japanese hibachi steakhouse. Double bonus: She didn't like the veggies, so I got a second helping!

Saul's Mound, the largest of the Pinson Mounds south of the city, where we went on our second date, and had our first kiss. Ignoring that we were on hundreds of years of Indian history, possibly including burial sites. Here's hoping for no "Go to the light!" moments in our future.

Something we most certainly did NOT do last year on our first dates, but can definitely enjoy now, we had a whirlpool suite at the AmeriHost Inn. Although for the second time in a month, we couldn't figure out how to turn the jets on until it was time to go. Grrrr. Which means we basically enjoyed a really big bathtub.

And so begins year two of the continuing courtship!

Monday, April 23, 2007


Kudos to Steve and his superior Interwebby skills!

UPDATE Friday night - Oops. Apparently those dang Yank lovers at ESPN took Steve's video down from YouTube. If you missed it, it was a quick edit of all four homers in Sunday night's win.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Need I mention that the Sox have won two in a row from the dang Yanks?

Met Steve at Buffalo Wild Wings Saturday afternoon in the hopes of circumventing Fox Sports' arcane MLB rules, but alas, no Red Sox-dang Yanks game. Fox was allowing the St. Louis game in our area, and that was that.

Guess what? Next week: Same thing. We'll get the Cardinals and Cubs again. Red Sox-dang Yankees playing at the same time on Fox? Not so much. When will we ever be truly free? This Orwellian rule is why the world hates us.

Instead, we feasted on wings, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, nachos, ribs, popcorn shrimp, potato wedges, and then whatever we got as a meal a few minutes later. Surely we left tremendously greasy stains on our boxes as well. Steve played once, feeling that after coming from behind to beat me that he had achieved all he wanted to, and bowed out on top like "Seinfeld." Alone, I whipped the rest of the bar patrons myself the next two hours, even making the top five for the month on my final try.

Then work, which was a long night due to the NASCAR race starting at 7 p.m. central time, pushing our normal 9p newscast to 11p, meaning I didn't get home until after midnight. That would two-for-two with Fox Sports attempting to ruin my life. I have Rupert Murdoch's email address, and I WILL use it!

Speaking of Fox, I would be more impressed by the new Fox show "Drive" if what I know to be the lush green view from the Florida and Georgia highways didn't look exactly like the same two-mile stretch of California desert. Not a lot of money going to location shooting there.

I feel that I'm only watching since I'm at work anyway, which doesn't bode well for the rest of the season. Besides, now that we're in the market, Val and I are now addicted to house shows, especially those involving home buying and selling. All of which have me wondering why, after all these repairs and fixes, the sellers even want to sell anymore? You wanted to leave that crap, and now it's all better! Just once I'd like to hear the host say at the end, "Turns out, at the end our sellers laughed at us and said 'Thanks for our new home!' and we're currently in litigation."

On a gorgeous Friday afternoon we drove all around Bartlett doing some househunting. For a couple watching their finances, I'm finding that we're awfully picky about what we want (if you guessed "They want, nay, have to have a jacuzzi tub," then congrats, you know us well).

We're also judgmental of sellers. Here's a tip if you're selling your home: Keep a box full of fliers for potential buyers to take with them, because we're not writing down your address or information on the sign in front. You're dead to us. You might as well be putting a sign out front that says "Free to next walk-up," and we'd pass because we couldn't put our hands on a piece of paper. Just so you know.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Is it wrong that when the bottom two came down to Sanjaya and LaKisha tonight, that I was rooting for the latter to get kicked off?

Seriously, I was.

First, I find all the "Sanajay must go!" media fun to follow. Second, I don't think LaKisha cared to be on the show anymore now that Melinda and Jordin are getting all the good reviews. Did you see her during the group sing? She never smiled, barely seemed to care, and after her lackluster performances lately, I think she might as well go home.

Still, so long as the bottom three is Melinda, Jordin and Blake, all will be fine.

*sigh* But for now, I mourn Sanjaya's absence. I haven't been this disappointed by a TV show since "Charles in Charge" went off the air.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I think it sliced

I'll add this pizza-tossing Einstein to the "Not making the world love us Red Sox fans" list, right next to the blowhards who chant "Yankees Suck" during games in Tampa and Ben Affleck making a video to indoctrinate Red Sox babies.

And why would this genius toss the pizza at a guy who HELPED YOUR TEAM BY MAKING SURE THE FOUL WASN'T CAUGHT BY THE ANGELS OUTFIELDER? Besides, all Red Sox fans know to save all food for dumping onto Yankees fans. Sheesh. You'd think this was obvious by now.

(Link courtesy Steve.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pin the tail on the Jeff

  • I don't have much to say about the Don Imus controversy, but I would like to note this: In the Sweet Auburn area of downtown Atlanta, a traditionally black commerce district, there is a stylist shop called Oh, My Nappy Hair.

    I think Imus is an ass, so I won't miss him, but really, his punishment should have been a one month suspension from TV and radio, an apology, a rebuke, and that's it. The coverage and outrage went way too far.

  • I don't think I'd use the phrase "nappy headed hos" to describe the contestants on CMT's "Coyote Ugly," but I wouldn't use the phrase "clean-cut girls next door," either. Ye gads, these women are skanks. I only say this because the woman Val's mom drives to work with every morning was a finalist in Memphis, and lost out to a woman who can only be described as "Yuck."

  • XM might as well rename channel 151 (aka "the one without all the cursing and talk about drugs and sex") the Bill Cosby Channel. During my 40-minute commute each way this is how I stay entertained. I'm guaranteed that nearly every time I turn away from channels 150 and 153 when they get too raunchy, Bill will be on 151 rattling on about his childhood or being a parent, because his children are the kookiest of them all!

  • Here's a phrase I heard two people say at lunch a couple of weekends ago, and hadn't heard in ten years since moving to Atlanta and finally becoming Memphians again: "I stay in ..." As in, how normal folks say, "I live in Frayser."

  • In the Commercial Appeal's weekly NBA wrap, beat writer Marlon W. Morgan writes about the Grizzlies, "Could Terence Kinsey lead the Grizzlies past Boston to escape finishing with the league's worst record?"

    Hush your mouth, Marlon! Here's how that sentence should read: "Holy crap! Could Terence Kinsey lead the Grizzlies past Boston to lose the most draft lottery ping pong balls in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes?"

  • It's not that this season's "24" is repeating the old "the presidency is in flux" plot, it's that they're doing it every other week this season. And yeah, the "Jack pulls a gun on his own teammate to do something independent of his bosses" story isn't exactly a budding rose, either. I've no clue how this season is going to turn out, and I can't imagine it will be that exciting, especially since I care about Audrey as much as I care about the midget and witchy cousin on "The Amazing Race," which means zilch.

  • My wife is watching "American Gladiators" reruns on ESPN Classic. Wicked awesome. The fact that I never knew Joe Theisman was the color guy for the show makes it better, like finding out your favorite action star sings for Seagrams or something (fast-forward to the last 30 seconds of the clip). Is there a site for getting your own Gladiator name? I'm giving myself the name Droopy. Not fierce enough?
  • Monday, April 16, 2007

    Team Valfrey makes the rounds

    Sorry for the delay folks! Unless that's my plan, posting every few days, so that you're so eager for fresh blogging that you fail to notice the amount of sucking coming from the page! Bwahahahahahahaha!!!!!

    Or not. Remember, I have high-speed at home, but no Internet access at work, which used to be the prime blogging location. At home I want to spend time with the Mrs. No offense. Unless you all get up right now and hug your computers to make me feel warm and cuddly. I'll wait ...

    Guess I should have also mentioned that Val and I were going to Jackson this weekend. Meredith and Chad tied the knot yesterday afternoon, and we skipped into town Friday afternoon.

    We actually hadn't planned on staying overnight, but we just figured that since we had to drive separately (I had to get back to Memphis and work last night after the reception), we might as well go early and make a day of it. After getting turned away at two hotels due to being booked, we still ended up at a Best Western that had a jacuzzi suite. Imagine that. If we ever stay in a "normal" hotel room again, I'm not sure we'll know what to do.

    The wedding was beautiful, as they all are, of course, in their own way. Meredith and Chad got a little quirky, even, more for Chad I'm thinking. He's a big Johnny Cash fan, and as they walked out as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time, they did so to "Ring of Fire." They did a few other things differently than you expect, for instance, having violinists instead of a piano and/or organ. Like us, there wasn't any time for singing (the reception awaits!), and then they didn't bother with a unity candle, or tossing the bouquet.

    I had to skedaddle back to Memphis for work, while Val stayed behind to party with the girls and have a slumber party at Heather's while I came home to an empty bedroom. *weep*

    Or not. I missed her, of course, especially since I resorted to "Single Jeff" for the night by eating Popeye's in bed while watching "House" on DVR and spending four hours on the computer until 3 a.m. while looking at next to nothing of importance.

    The only frustration of this weekend is that our brand new digital camera wasn't any better than the old one except for being smaller and a larger LCD screen, which didn't matter squat when the battery ran out an hour into the reception. What the heck?! Oh, sure, the sales guy and the Olympus info tells us that the battery should last 500 pictures. Yeah, if taken all at once. That's not gonna cut it. At all. This week, back to Sears where we'll eat the 15 percent "return fee" and get a camera that may be a little larger and takes AA batteries that won't run out while I'm nowhere near a charger. Or does everyone else carry around three extra batteries and a portable charger while hiking the Grand Canyon?

    Today was another busy afternoon on the social calendar, driving southeast all the way to Fayette County, where we lunched with Val's friend Tracy and her soon-to-be hubby, Craig, in Oakland, and then moseyed between Oakland and Somerville for Uncle Rob and Mary's housewarming shindig. The latter was quite the surprise, since it turned out my grandparents, Uncle Cliff, Aunt Lynn and cousin Karla's brood, Gavin and Evie, were there! Val and I didn't expect to know any of the other guests, so that was cool. By then the sun was shining bright and though cool, we stayed outside playing baseball with Gavin.

    At lunch the four of us learned a valuable lesson: When servers at the La Hacienda ask for your order, you'd better give it even if you're not ready, lest you wait 15 minutes for them to return. But hey, we had a big honking bowl of cheese dip for less than six bucks, so we had that going for us. (Sure, the chip bowl was empty for most of the time, but why dwell on the negative?)

    Now a bit of Jeff trivia: My family actually lived in Oakland when I was itty bitty. I'm sure it seemed a lot longer of a drive from Memphis back then. Now half of Memphis has moved out there, it seems. Uncle Cliff tells me that much of the extended family drove out to visit during the bicentennial, which means I wasn't even one-year-old at the time.

    Now, pictures from the wedding!

    Very happy that we never have to get up for the bouquet or garter tossing ever again:

    Chad's friends had no problem decorating the rental 007 wheels. Apparently Chad and Meredith were "hot and sweaty," 'cause the passenger window said so:

    Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    The Idol 8

    Melinda - She should wear a necklace every week, just so we're somewhat aware of a neck under there. Based on singing talent alone she should win. If you look back, the winner is always someone with a natural voice who never ever screws up, and so far she's the one.

    Lakisha - Chesty McCleavage did indeed pick a safe song as Simon and Paula noted, and my wife will prove that during the performance we kept saying that the song doesn't show off singing ability.

    Chris R. - He's dead to me. Wannabe Justin means nothing to me.

    Haley - The last two weeks I defended her from the judges' wrath. This week, I cannot. Awful.

    Phil - He didn't sing poorly, and I don't care about him in any way. Congrats on the new baby during the audition, but since then I haven't felt anything.

    Blake - The guy to beat. During the top 24 I was a hater, and now I'm becoming a fan. He's got style, his own thing going on, and I kinda dig it. Oh, and it helps that he stopped that beat-boxing crap every week.

    Jordin - Like Lakisha, Jordin doesn't have enough passion to pull off a Latin song. She was singing and performing all over the place, and I didn't feel any of it.

    SANJAYA - His universe may actually survive for one more week, and actually deserves it based on the drek Haley flopped on stage.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    We're back!

    It's 11:17 p.m., and the Red Sox are leading 11-1 in the fourth inning in their home opener.

    Did I mention that they played at 1 p.m. this afternoon, and I'm watching on my DirecTV DVR with Extra Innings?

    Yeah, baby! We are hooked up again with the world! Last Friday both DirecTV and Wild Blue showed up, so we are spoiled again with hundreds of channels, DVR and high-speed Internet, plus I ordered Extra Innings to ensure a summer of Red Sox love/hate. Good times. Today's Red Sox Threat Level: Love!

    In case you're wondering what high-speed is like with satellite versus cable or DSL, so far, not so bad. It might take an extra second for pages to load, but I can still fly through my favorite sites and email with several windows open on my Firefox browser as I'm wont to do.

    In case you're curious as to why Val is OK with my watching a game that is ten hours old, she's asleep behind me and dreaming peacefully after we watched her Cardinals win earlier tonight.

    Oh, and did I also mention that since her Dad has a different sports package through DirecTV to watch St. Louis, that I'm able to watch NESN now, for the pregame and postgame (and morning and evening and between-fishing-show) reports, something I couldn't see last year with only Extra Innings on cable? Wicked awesome!

    (Although, next year when Val and I are surely back to the land of cable and I can still get Extra Innings, I'd like to thank ... I can't believe I'm saying this ... I just heaved deep in my belly ... John Kerry for putting pressure on MLB to prevent a DirecTV monopoly.

    While the Red Sox were walloping Seattle this afternoon, me and the Mrs. were officially becoming Tennesseeianites again. And to those who told us that going to Covington was easier than Millington, at least for today I'd like to say, "PFFFFFTTTTT!!!!!"

    Unless two hours is indeed better, not to mention the half-hour drive there and back, and if so I'd like to petition the Tennesseemian legislature to do something as simple as, oh, I don't know, hire another employee for each DMV office. I know, I know, it seems too easy a solution to relieve the ever-growing congestion of people daring to do something that is required of them to drive in the state, but I think it's the kind of idea that needs to be examined before Tennesseeanders end up No. 1 on the list of "State Citizens Most Likely To Be Bald Due To Tearing Their Hair Out."

    Speaking of our fellow Tennesseeonians, I think I'm afraid of living on the northern tip of Shelby County too long, lest I lose my citified hipness. Don't get me wrong, a lot of the rural folks here are real salt-of-the-earth, though not necessarily schooled in the art of wearing clothes.

    When Val and I got our tags, we had to stand behind Doorag McButtcrack for thirty minutes. Today as we waited for our licenses, no doubt his close kin, Shortshirt Hathead McButtcrack, showed off where God split him for at least as long. These weren't 15-year-olds doing it on purpose, either, but good ol' boys who just couldn't be bothered to pull up their pants or shop in the Tall section of the Big & Tall store at J.C. Penney.

    And that sums up what we did for two hours waiting in Covington: Make fun of the people around us. Including the Groping Teens, Mommy With Two Loud Babies, Funny Guy Wearing The Same Shirt As Me, Guy Who Couldn't Believe All Those People In Line Were Ahead Of Him So He Wandered For Two Hours, Old Guy Who Was Getting A License Even Though He Required A Woman To Stay With Him And Fill Out His Form, and Assorted Teens Taking Tests, none of whom I felt safe enough to be within five miles on the road, including the teen in line behind me who used the F-bomb every sentence while talking about the baby "sitting on (her) bladder." Yep, these are my people.

    Afterwards, not too shabby. We went to Sears not to find Val a top for Meredith's wedding this weekend, and ended up getting ourselves a new digital camera, some Olympus style that, unlike my current old Canon, is small enough to put in my pocket, doesn't take four AA batteries to eat every half-hour, and has millions of megapixels, so many that I think the sales guy said I could take a picture of the sky at Noon and still pick out neighboring stars.

    Tomorrow, more relaxing, I'm sure. Maybe some shopping, drive around looking at potential neighborhoods (preferably where people are wealthy enough to own belts), and go to bed early since I have to work the 3a-Noon shift Thursday and Friday. Not that I mind, but I'm also working 11 of the next 12 days, something I didn't mind at CNN since I had a bazillion days of vacation, whereas now my vacation days went from literally six weeks worth a year to less than two for this year. I cried a little when I realized that, but I guess I can suck it up like the rest of you, who no doubt are playing tiny violins on my behalf.

    For now, I'm going to sit back and watch the rest of the Red Sox game (up 13-1 in the sixth; I'm feeling pretty confident), and snooze comfortably as only Tennesseeers can.

    Out-of-town Venting

    Just because I'm back in Memphis doesn't mean I won't still check online for the latest quotable (i.e,. no whiny liberalism) Vents posted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

    - Soon I'll be Georgia's most popular inventor. I'm working on a way to make ethanol out of kudzu.

    - There is no way there are nine servings in a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints. Two, maybe. (Jeff note: Wait, you found a Girl Scout selling cookies? Where? When? I can't find any!)

    - The editor-in-chief of “Atlanta Dog Life” magazine is named Kitty. You can’t make this stuff up.

    - Twice a year, I’m stunned at the number of clocks I own.

    - If I run into a camouflage-painted pickup, whose fault is it?

    - Shark bites lawyer in Florida. Whatever happened to professional courtesy?

    - During the course of a conversation on living wills, I told my wife I never wanted to exist in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and taking fluids from a bottle. She got up, unplugged the TV and threw out all my beer.

    - Why is it that the driver who is so dangerously determined to get in front of me slows to a crawl as soon as he gets there?

    - When my doctor became concerned about my weight gain, I started going to a fat doctor.

    - Have you ever noticed that when someone else makes you a sandwich, it always tastes much better than if you made it yourself?

    - Never buy a car you can’t push.

    - Howard Stern and the “vote for the worst” Web site people who are keeping Sanjaya on “American Idol” have all the wit and charm of people who create computer viruses.

    - My kid is earning extra spring break money by raking pollen for the neighbors.

    - I’m Sneezy, Dopey, Sleepy, Grumpy, definitely not Happy and I need a Doc! Heigh ho, heigh ho, I wish the pollen would go!

    - See what happens when you move daylight-saving time ahead a month? All the trees and flowers bloom four weeks early.

    - My new bumper sticker will say: “I’m not speeding, I’m trying to blow off the pollen!”

    - Spring is the favorite season for Atlanta’s liberals. They love seeing America turn yellow.

    - The Easter bunny hides all them eggs because he doesn’t want anybody to know he’s been messin’ with chickens.

    - My friend sprained his finger and is sporting a wicked-looking splint. He tells people he did it in karate class, but he actually did it scrubbing his toilet.

    - When your neighbor thinks it’s a good idea to have decals of bullet holes on his SUV its time to find a new neighborhood.

    - The French have set a high-speed train record. They’re now able to deliver white flag from Paris to Berlin in less than two hours.

    - Senility can be a good thing — you can hide your own Easter eggs.

    - Should they have scheduled Holy Week at the same time as The Masters?

    - My Holy Week is when the Easter candy goes on sale!

    - My American Idol is still John Wayne.

    - Admit it, saying “President Obama” makes it sound like we lost the war on terror.

    My Vents:

    - Atlanta may have more pollen, but I never had an allergy problem. When I moved to Memphis two weeks ago, I haven't stopped sniffling and wheezing since.

    - If the Democrats refuse to debate on Fox News Channel, perhaps they need a more appropriate partner, Comedy Central. (Courtesy Don Surber.)

    - Non-violence is a wonderful idea. Assuming the other side plays along.

    - Okay, I'll be the one to say it. When John Edwards organized a press conference and trotted out his wife to announce she's got cancer something fierce, it was tacky. Keep it personal and stop trying to earn votes from your wife's misfortune.

    Wednesday, April 04, 2007


    Happy Birthday to my wonderful wife, my darling Valerie!

    To celebrate we stayed in Tunica last night at the Sheraton, and though we didn't hit it big at the casino we transferred that enjoyment to the jacuzzi suite and buffet!

    This afternoon after we returned we went to Best Buy to get her a new CD player installed in her car, since on her old factory-installed one, half the buttons had fallen off and she couldn't even rewind on the tape deck. And the 8-track player, well, let's just not even go there! Let's just say that I'm tired of Foghat.

    (Okay, I might have made up the last part.)

    For lunch we stopped at the new O'Charley's near O'Wolfchase since I was in dire need of Chipotle Chicken O'Tenders. The restaurant is still in training mode, apparently, since there were more managers than servers, our chicken was lukewarm and brought before our salads or rolls, and when we got the rolls she brought just two (TWO! Of that yeast goodness! Can you believe it!) and the butter came in a rameken ... ramaken ... ramikin ... tiny bowl instead of the individual pats that we like to abscond with in the take-home box. It just feels embarrassing to ask the server to pack us some of their yummy butter.

    I almost had to defend myself after having the radio installed, too. As I was backing out into heavy traffic, this carload of three good ol' boys was behind me. I had room to back up, but he looked young and panicky, and thought I was backing up into him, so he honked. I looked over and nodded and mouthed, "I see you," and kept backing up. At this point he actually could have pulled forward to the stop sign he was waiting at, but he decided to be a tough guy in front of his friends, honked again, I looked over my shoulder and yelled "I SEE YOU!" and after I backed up he stopped, opened his door and started to get out. I like to think that at this point he realized it wasn't worth it, and realized that I wasn't a 5'6 150-pound kid he could intimidate easily, and he got back in and drove off. That's right, punk! I'm dangerous! (Yeah, I've never been in a fight, but when you're 6'4 300 pounds people tend to think twice about their chances, even though I'm a wus and would back off if confronted. So I've got that going for me.)

    Tomorrow, back to work, which is going just fine. I've been TD'ing solo on shows since Saturday and directing a couple, which is easier to pick up so I'd rather switch for now to get used to their effects.

    By the way, in case you wondered about the CNN shooting at my old workplace, they weren't actually at CNN, but at the hotel that's attached in the back, away from the network. The guards are required to be very good, ex-military types, so I'm not surprised one of them was able to pop off a shot and nail the dude before he hurt anyone else.

    How about American Idol? Which we caught after the casino took our money, pride and clothes. I know he's been mocked terribly since making the top 12, but Sanjaya has not been the worst singer the past two weeks. Chris Sligh tanked last week and I wasn't surprised to see him go, and last night I thought he was better than Gina at least, and perhaps another one or two. Not sure why they disliked Haley so much, she sounded fine, and no-neck Melinda continued to be the best. At least from what we could hear above the jacuzzi jets, so I could have missed a wobble or two. Like we gave a flying flip. Did I mention the cheesecake?

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    All bow to our champion!

    The ball was tipped ... and for one shining moment, hey, it's me! What's remarkable is that a number of things had to happen over the final two weekends to make it happen, and they all fell into place exactly as I planned hoped.

    I know, I'm a bad host, winning my own contest and all, but them's the breaks!

    Thanks to all who participated in my NCAA Bracket Challenge, and I look forward to seeing you again in my next contest, which could be anything from picking the winner on "Dancing with the Stars" to "What am I going to have for dinner next Friday?"

    The final standings, and in case you were curious, everyone's picks for the NCAA champ:

    1. Me - 151 points; 44 out of 63 picks correct (Florida)
    2. Dad - 143; 48 of 63 (Florida)
    3. Jorge - 138; 47 of 63 (Florida)
    4. Michael C. - 128; 41 of 63 (Florida)
    5. Karen - 107; 36 of 63 (Florida)
    6. Syd - 104; 46 of 63 (North Carolina)
    7. Val's Mom - 99; 47 of 63 (Memphis)
    t8. Kevin - 93; 45 of 63 (Georgetown)
    t8. Erin - 93; 45 of 63(Memphis)
    10. Val - 91; 46 of 63(UCLA)
    11. Steve - 90; 39 of 63(Ohio State)
    12. Southern Girl - 87; 45 of 63(Kansas)
    13. Cody - 83; 46 of 63(Texas)
    14. Scott - 64; 37 of 63(Kansas)
    15. Jenn R. - 50; 33 of 63(Memphis)
    16. Amy C. - 28; 23 of 63(Miami-OH)

    To show how important it is to pick the final four and champion, in another league I picked 49 out of 63 correct, and yet finished 15th.

    Dad ended up with the most picks for our group, and Syd had the most points for someone who didn't pick Florida to win it all.

    And now, basketball season is over, the baseball season started yesterday, and even better, The Masters is this weekend! Good times.

    In the meantime, Val and I are headed to Tunica for tonight (her birthday's Wednesday), so toodles and stay classy!

    My Fox

    In case you're curious, here are a couple of photos of me in my new work surroundings, first in the control room and next on the set:

    Monday, April 02, 2007

    Go Sox!

    It's baseball time! And since Boston's season doesn't start for about 14 more hours, I can safely say that they are on pace to win the World Series for the second time in four seasons!

    Or they'll be down by three in the second inning Monday to the Royals, and I'll declare the whole thing over and pout.

    Living in a DirecTV home, at least I'll get to see the first week in a free preview, and right now we have NESN, which is where nearly every Red Sox game is televised up in New England. We're not sure, though, if it's part of the sports package that Val's Dad gets every year to see the Cardinals play, or if it's also on a free preview. Fingers are crossed, though.

    Having NESN would be tons better than Extra Innings, because I'd get to see pre-game, post-game and all day coverage of my team, as opposed to two minutes before the game, the game, and thirty seconds after the game, as Extra Innings turns it off while the players high-five on the field afterwards. Which is kind of like seeing a Bond film's climax, but missing the funny/sexy/hooray part where he seduces the Bond girl while talking naughty as the folks back in London roll their eyes.

    And if the season has begun, it must time for my annual guesstimate predictions, more guess than estimate, with more than a dash of being a giant homer:

    AL EAST - Boston (see?)
    AL CENTRAL - Detroit
    AL WEST - Anaheim
    AL WILD CARD - Dang Yankees

    NL EAST - NY Mets
    NL CENTRAL - St. Louis
    NL WEST - Los Angeles
    NL WILD CARD - San Diego

    AL PLAYOFFS - Boston over Detroit, Anaheim over the Dang Yanks; Boston over Anaheim

    NL PLAYOFFS - Mets over San Diego, L.A. over St. Louis; Mets over L.A.

    WORLD SERIES - Boston over Mets, Buckner gets the winning game ball

    Now I admit, since I've been focusing on moving back to Memphis for the past month I've researched the least before a season since I was five years old. Not good for my fantasy prospects. If you can't find me, I'll be the one on the old I-55 bridge crying and yelling, "Why Hank Blalock, WHY???!!!!!"

    Sunday, April 01, 2007

    And then there were two

    So now it's between me and Steve for bracket supremacy. Florida's win, coupled with Ohio State's, knocked off my wife, father and Kevin H. from having a shot at the title. If the Gators treat the Buckeyes like their football brethren did, I win my own contest. Should Ohio State win, el Stevo takes the checkered flag.

    Current standings heading into Monday:

    1. Me - 119
    2. Dad - 111
    3. Jorge - 106
    4. Syd - 104
    5. Val's Mom - 99
    6. Michael C. - 96
    t7. Erin - 93
    t7. Kevin H. - 93
    9. Val - 91
    10. Steve - 90
    11. Southern Girl - 87
    12. Cody - 83
    13. Karen - 75
    14. Scott - 64
    15. Jenn R. - 50
    16. Amy C. - 28

    Oh, and I'd also like to recognize my mother-in-law and father, who share the lead in number of games picked correctly with 47 currently. If Florida wins, Dad wins that side competition.

    In more personal news, today was a big day at WHBQ for yours truly, since I switched a whole hour show by myself at 5, and directed a whole hour newscast for the first time at 9. At 5 it was a little rocky since the top story package wasn't done in time so there was a heck of a lot of juggling, but for my part I did pretty well, and there were no problems at 9.

    Another thing I'll have to get used to, locally everyone lives and dies one hour at a time, whereas at CNN there's another show to get ready for in just another half-hour or hour, so there's no time to dwell on mistakes. Here, producers have only one, and technical only two chances a day to hit a home run. The producers, anchors and TD were fretting about what happened, and I'm standing there thinking, "Yep, that's live news. Happens. La di da. Am I supposed to be more upset?" Then again, perhaps I'm just more laid back overall. My only concern is that they get my sense of humor and goofyness, or I might feel like I'm a comedian on stage in the coma wing of the hospital twice a day five times a week!

    We didn't get our DirecTV Friday afternoon; they told us that "we" called and canceled the order eight minutes after placing it last week. Note that to get this explanation it took two days, literally hours on hold and two supervisors to give a satisfactory answer as to why they weren't showing up and why they weren't calling to explain as much. And then, today Val's parents got the bill, and surprise, surprise, BOTH orders were on it. Really, we were shocked! (/sarcasm)

    So next Friday we should have our DirecTV and Wild Blue satellite Internet installed. Hmph. We'll see. Not that we'll have a Falling Down situation, but we'll definitely have a U.N. situation complete with sternly written letters of disappointment for anything that goes wrong. That's right! I'm dangerous!