Monday, August 28, 2006

Fins to the Right

I sped the entire way back to Charlotte where I encountered something I've never been exposed to. Gameday traffic. I'm always there early so it's never an issue for me. The traffic started on I-85 and got worse when I hopped on I-77. Weird. I finally got back to the station, unloaded my satellite buggy and ran quickly behind the station parking lot where cold beverages were ready and waiting.Ya'll know how much I like The Lady, but I actually only like her because her parents have some sweet ass eighth row season tickets. They couldn't make it for this game so they passed them along to their daughter. That doesn't suck since we were going to scalp. I have season tickets, but they don't include preseason games. We didn't play very well at all, but we had a good time anyway.
Helping that good time along were our new friends "G" and "Ugly." They showed up completely drunk and three beers a piece on their person. They drove in from Robeson County and were planning on driving back after the game. I doubt they made it. They were hilarious, except for Ugly started touching The Lady's feet whilst I was at the wizzer. Thank God G was there and told him to stop.

In the fourth quarter, this dude sat down in the third row and took more than fifty pictures. Each one of those pictures was of a Panthers cheerleader. He also took a picture of us. We quickly returned fire with a picture of our own and he was happy to oblige.

Panthers Win.

Memories, and a Sick Police Chief

The Landis Police Chief who wanted a 13 year old girl to send her underwear to the police department was in federal court last Thursday. Unfortunately since the Greensboro US Attorney's office is the prosecutor, all of his court appearances will be in the triad, which means it's a road trip anytime he's in court. I didn't mind too much because I spent a year in Greensboro for college and had a lot of good times there. It's grown a lot since I was there, especially downtown. Elm Street is quite a beautiful drive these days and they have a new baseball park downtown for the Grasshoppers. I miss the old days of War Memorial Stadium, though.
Greensboro is full of good people. I met a lot of them standing on Market St. across from the courthouse. Flo works at the Hardee's around the corner. She told me how wonderful life is in the short conversations we had. In addition to making biscuits at Hardee's, she also works part time on the custodial staff as a janitor at that new baseball stadium. She really wanted us to go to the game that night, but I told her I had a football game to go to. I wasn't kidding either. The Panthers were hosting the Dolphins at 8:00. I broke down after the live shot, put on my jersey and hardhat, and got the eff out of there.

Oh, and Chief Childers was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond and must be with his wife at all times. His wife was holding his hand as they walked out of court. Bless her heart.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Big News in the Hometown

A Mint Hill Town Councilman has decided that all town business should be conducted in English. Evidently he wasn't aware that it's been like that since the town was incorporated in 1971. He also wants property owners to be fined when they rent space to illegal immigrants. Anyway, it was nice to go home for lunch. I wish it could have been for a better story. Here's Lisa Reyes giving Mint Hill a rare taste of Brooklyn.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board Meetings are Fun

Most government meetings are boring. Here in Charlotte, we've got the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board meetings every other Tuesday. They are great!! There's a hard left majority that does everything for the children, then there's three renegades(and now sometimes four with a new member that was just appointed) that think too much money is spent in the wrong places. It makes for fun television Tuesday evenings. Tonight, they were passing their 1.1 billion dollar budget. Now it goes to the majority left county board of commisioners that will certainly pass it next month. That meeting won't be as much fun.
Pete Kaliner is News-Talk 1110 WBT's( intrepid government reporter. Normally we sit in the media pit at the Government Center Chamber and laugh at politicians. Then he get's serious and files reports for the next morning. Pete's intelligence makes him such a good reporter who I'm glad I align with politically because I'd never want to debate him.
Mercer was the lucky reporter covering the meeting this evening. I arrived at 8:10 and she already had the package written and the soundbites logged. That's what a great reporter does. Oh, and she also cut the majority of the package whilst I was tuning in. Mercer doesn't suck. She makes faces like this when she realizes she's a badass.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Jacksonville Sucks

The Lady hosted a small party the other evening. And by small, I mean four people. She, I, her best friend from forever ago Erika, and her husband Mike. We had a good time. Lot's of food, cheap, domestic beer, and peanuts, too.
Erika is a hair stylist during the day, and that means she had to have fun with The Lady's dog, Carmen who was the victim of a bad haircut a couple of months ago.

Bryan Adams is Cool for a Canadian

My pal Brian was born in the Summer of '69. That's 37 years ago. To celebrate this occasion, his family threw him a bash at his store, The Rat's Nest, over in the North Davidson neighborghood. I've known Brian for seven years. We worked together in Mooresville for a few years, both at our first television jobs. We had good times up there. We looked at high school chicks, tried to say 69 at least four times in every live to tape telecast we did. It may have been a high school basketball game, or the Statesville Christmas parade. Either way, we had a great time up there making some quality, horrible cable television. I owe Brian for several things. I owe him for my appreciation of live music by bands that aren't signed to major labels. I owe him for my apprecion of cheap, domestic beer. I owe Brian for my appreciation of classic country music. Brian's also one of my only friends who sincerely enjoys the NBA. I don't hang out with Brian as much as I'd like to. I'm always stuck on the south side of town, and don't make the effort to get over there as often as I should. That's him above with his mom and dad.
Renelvis came and played for a couple of hours with Brian and his brother Mark's band, The Loose Lugnuts. You think Renelvis is good with a karoke machine, just wait until you hear him a band that doesn't suck! Oh, my!
Brian's sister Sheila was getting Miller High Life Light out of the fridge and keeping an eye on the store since it was a gallery crawl night. That means business was better than your regular Friday night. She'd also vote for Kinky Friedman if she lived in Texas. Why the hell not?
Mark is a fine singer and guitar player. He plays his Telecaster especially well. Here he is backing up Renelvis.

As if the pink shirt wasn't gay enough, Brian went ahead and used it to cover up his 1983 Willie Nelson t-shirt. What the hell?

Happy Birthday, you whoremonger.

Locked up at Dillard's

I would have posted an update this weekend, but I was working. Working on the weekends is a lot like not working on the weekends. It's very slow, and you don't do much. I only white balanced the camera once in sixteen hours of work. The Lady and a fellow photographer here at work have been hounding me about this show, Prison Break saying it's basically the greatest show that's ever been on television. Steve got the DVD last week, gave it to me and said I had a week to watch it. I watched two Friday night, two Saturday morning, two at work Saturday night, two more after work Saturday night, and then EIGHT at work on Sunday. That's right, I spent my entire shift watching Prison Break. I suppose my job could be worse.
I watched so much Prison Break that I had a dream Saturday that I was sent to the Dillard's at Northlake Mall for their grand opening. Upon my arrival, I was cuffed and escorted to a posh cell on the second floor of the mall. They wouldn't let me out to shoot the grand opening, and armed corrections officers escorted me to the bathroom. There was also a movie theater there that had moving floors that wouldn't let you out of the theater until you paid to watch a movie. Weird.

Oh, and Prison Break is very, very good. I've only got six more episodes to go and the new season starts tonight!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Under the Bleachers, by Seymour Butts

The Lady got a dog shortly after we started dating. Carmen is a mix between a golden retreiver and cocker spaniel, which sounds like a weird mix at first, but is actually real neat. She's a cool dog that is perfect for a small place or for kids. She's still a bit wild like a puppy, but calms down after you run her around for a while. Here she is dead asleep late last night. Unfortunately she's been waking up before 8 am, which sucks if you don't go to work until 1 pm. It's hard to get mad at her, though. Well, unless she pees on the floor.

Poke Her

Thursday brings forth cards, beer, and gas. For more than four years, there has been a weekly gathering at Jim Travers' basement. We were playing hold'em before it was on the ESPN. We were also not very good. With all of this practice every week, we've actually become pretty good players. And by pretty good, I mean we have raised the stakes. Before, it was just bragging rights. Now, it's we play for beer. HUGE stakes.
Normally television's own Kris Cook and Track One Production's(www.trackoneproductions) own Tracy Hollifield are in the top three, but they were the first to exit last night. I was right behind them so I stepped outside to the Loser's Lounge.
Jim Travers won last night followed by Mike Cartelli and Jason Cadle. In the middle were Tim Baier, Jon Moore, and Big Jim Slade. Thursdays are fun. We drink beer, play cards, drink beer, tell dirty jokes, watch football, and bust ass. I can't think of a better way to spend three hours on a Thursday.

Oh my God!!!! It's Tim Baier on the jazz flute!!!!

A Day in the Life of a Widower

For whatever reason, I've always had close friends who were older than me. Even when I was a teenager, a lot of my friends were older. My friend Stash turned 55 last week. That's two years older than my dad. Stash isn't necessarily a father figure to me, but he's someone who's always passed down some fatherly advice. He grew up in North Kannapolis. He's been married a few times and done a lot of living. His latest wife, Robyn died just before Christmas last year of a weird disease she contracted following a spider bite. Stash loved her to death. He wrote this on the day she died.
I lost my best friend and wife today and the world lost a damn good person. I held her as she died and I count my blessings that I was lucky enough to have her. I wish for all y'all to have someone that loves you. I am pretty pissed off that sorry whale shit eating son of a bitches get to walk the street everyday and I have to lose Robyn but I will make it because I did get to love her. Thanks for all the support and Prayers.I started here a long time ago and I have said things and done things that I probably shouldn't have but through it all we made it and we have been there for each other. I appreciate that more than some will ever know. I won't apologize for the things I have done but I will apologize for not sharing Robyn with everyone. She was special and thats why I kept her to my self. I hope that all of y'all find a Robyn in your life and I hope that all will not wait 25 years to tell her how you feel.

That's what I love about Stash. He'll tell you how much he loved his wife and talk about whale shit in the same sentence.

He still runs the costume shop Robyn ran while she was still with us. Honk the horn the next time you drive down East Blvd. He appreciates Miller Lite, too.

Underwear at a Police Station

The chief of police in Landis was arrested yesterday and charged with child solicitation and possession of child pornography. He has been there for twenty six years and was four years away from retirement. Dude was spending a lot of time talking to male detectives that were of age posing as 13 year old girls. He sent them some wang pics and in return he asked for them to mail their underwear to the Police Station. Wow.
This is a pretty big story in Rowan County so the U.S. Attorney and the N.C. Attorney general rolled down for a good, old fashioned steps of the courthouse press conference. They talked about the charges and basically gave us no details which is what we expected.
The weather has been great the last week, so I didn't complain about a trip to Salisbury for an afternoon with Roy Cooper, despite the fact that he used thousands of tax dollars to run 'public service' announcements from the Attorney General's office whilst preparing to run for office. He already said he's not running for governor, though. That makes me happy.

To The Right! To The Right!

Robin Hayes represents the 8th district of North Carolina in the House. He was at the station yesterday for an interview. I asked him for a picture telling him that I got one of Mel Watt a couple of weeks ago and I was looking to balance it out. He replied, 'You may need three pictures of me to balance out with Congressman Watt.'

I like Robin Hayes. Sure, he tows the party line 100 percent of the time and I don't know that he's ever publicly disagreed with Bush, then voted accordingly. However, I've seen him call US Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta a handsome young fella at a press conference, and he once told me that growing up in the country was what it's all about.

Hayes is a part of the Cannon family, which means he's a gozillionaire. But he does some good things with his money, even if you don't agree with him politically(which I often don't, mainly because he's all Bush all the time.)

Most important, he's just as happy to talk to a photographer when we are sans reporter.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Love and Marriage

I really didn't want to go out Wednesday night. I got little sleep Monday and Tuesday night and I was beat. So, I went home after work yesterday, took a two and a half our nap, and rallied to to the Gin Mill. It was a pretty good crowd, none of whom were my coworkers. WBTV has really taken the lead in bringing a bunch of people out to Media Night. We need to get better. As soon as I walked in, I noticed that all of the taps were covered. Nobody deserves to walk into their bar and see that draft won't be served. It was cruel. I walked to the bar, was informed that they were out of CO2, and quickly ordered a PBR. I'd almost forgotten how good PBR is.

Mark Campbell was there for the second consecutive night. He informed me that he spent Tuesday evening there because some nasty storms knocked out his power. Mark's a real trooper.
You may know Molly Grantham from WBTV. I think she anchors the weekend shows down the street. I'd know for sure, but I can honestly say I haven't watched a weekend newscast in months. She was part of the large WBTV contigent and was accompanied by her fiancee Wes. They are recently engaged. Evidently they've been dating a for a few years and he just moved to Charlotte USA from Kentucky. They look rediculously happy.Look at that rock! I did't ask how many carats, but it's an antique. I saw no less than six women walk by Molly and give her a nasty look after they saw that diamond.
Colonel Corn( and Kevin from WCNC made it out for their first media night. You may notice Ken holding a PBR. That's not actually his. He was on call, thus no drinking. He didn't want to be photographed at a bar without a beer, so I let him hold mine for the picture.

Ken told me he only drinks Miller High Life anyway.

No Dirty Jokes at This Salon

Say hello to Amy. She cuts my hair. For more than 20 years, I made fun of dudes who paid a lot of money to go to a salon for some woman or male homosexual to cut their hair. I grew up going to a barber shop, and I never saw any reason to go anywhere else.

All of the talent here at the station gets free haircuts, so we got a bunch of 25 dollar gift certificates one time. I never wanted to use them but my girlfriend at the time, Tara, started hollering at me to go, so I finally did. I went, she cut my hair, and it was alright. Maybe it was because I slammed two beers at the Gin Mill right before I went over there. I was just as happy going to the barber shop, but everyone else seemed to like it. Two years later, Amy still cuts my hair and is certain to gay it up every time I visit. I spend a good five minutes getting the gay out of my hair after I leave.

Amy also whips ass because her boyfriend has season tickets at Bristol, so Jason Bronis and I are heading to the night race there next weekend.

I still don't really like to tell people I go to a salon, though.

Verticut City, Utah

I love to cut grass. I used to do it all summer long when I was growing up. I cut fairways at Charles T. Myers golf course for a summer. I got really good at it. I used to get really pissed off when it didn't look good after I cut it.

I suppose I got it from my Dad. He's very meticulous about their yard. He and Mom have spent thousands of hours in the yard over the last fifteen years and it really does look great. The last few times they have gone out of town he's paid someone to do cut the grass for him. I always wondered why he didn't just ask me to do it. I guess he probably thought that I didn't want to be bothered with it, so he never asked. This time, I offered and he said it was fine.

I prefer a push mower because it looks better, but I rode around on the tractor for a little under and hour and did an alright job. I was out of practice, so it wasn't my best work, but it still looked pretty good. Next time, it will be better. I love to cut grass.

Monday, August 14, 2006

So Long, Steve Litz

Normally a victory at Bank of America Stadium requires a victory beverage at the Gin Mill, but this is Steve Litz's last week here in Charlotte, USA and his going away party began shortly after kickoff. I've been watching Steve on WSOC since high school. He's great to work with out in the field because he works hard, yet he's cool at the same time. He doesn't take himself too seriously, and he's a fine reporter. He rarely gets beat on a story. Steve's heading home to Miami to be with his family. He's been trying for years to get back home so he finally decided to take the plunge. Charlotte will literally never be the same. The party was at our old friend Jon and Laura Moore's house. They are a freakishly cool couple who can party like nobody else I've ever seen. Every party at their house normally includes multiple kegs, tons of folks, and normally boobs, too. Folks from every media outlet made it out to this bash, even one local public information officer. Weird, yet cool.
Mark Smith(thanks for all of these pics, Mark) and I decided to give an impromptu concert out back consisting of him on the congas and me on the guitar. We played for a few minutes and I went inside to return the guitar to it's proper place. That's when Jon said, 'Adam. Get the guitar back out, Mark's asked me to get his drum stands. It's about to get serious!' About that time, Tim Baier noticed an instrument case on a coffee table. He opened it up and damn if it wasn't a jazz flute. Being an avid Ron Burgundy fan, Tim shoved it up his shirt sleeve, whipped it out and started playing. In the picture, it looks like he knows what he's doing. However, not a sound was coming out of that jazz flute. Good thing Charlotte's favorite television news anchor Mercer Merrill was!
Mercer grabbed a hold of it and started playing. Then, she started playing the jazz flute very well!!!! So, we had Mark on the congas, Mercer on jazz flute, Jon playing harmonica, The Lady on tambourine, Tim on a freakin' cowbell, and me on guitar. We played an impromptu Steve Litz song for several minutes. Mentioned was every WSOC anchor in the last twenty years, jabs at Steve's jewish heritage, and perhaps even a mention of Steve's favorite bar at the corner of Tryon St. and Morehead. The whole scene was one of the damnedest things I've ever seen, and I'm proud to have been a part of it.

Especially Tim Baier on the jazz flute.

Football is Here! God Bless America!

DISCLAIMER: I'M AN ASSHOLE AND FORGOT MY CAMERA TO DOCUMENT THE WEEKEND. MY BAD. THANKS TO MIKE SOLARTE AND NEWS14CHARLOTTE.COM FOR THESE PANTHER PICS. Saturday was glorious right from the start. I was greeted in the morning with beauty, a kiss, and a declaration that it was 'effing cold' outside. Some of you know that I love chilly weather. It puts me in a giddy mood. Like a school girl or something. It's damned embarrassing. Anyway, I got up, hopped in the truck, rolled down the windows, and enjoyed the ride home. I did some laundry, helped my dad fix the gazebo on their deck, and picked up a twelve pack of Miller High Life Light, and a twelve pack of Miller Lite for The Lady, then drove back to her place to pick her up. We got to our usual tailgating location behind the station to meet up with Mark and Jim. We were running a bit behind(my fault), that meant we were behind on beer drinking, too. The Lady made some fake ham and tofurkey hoagies that actually didn't suck, so we ate those and then headed down to hang out with her parents and their friends for a while.

We then began the hunt for tickets. I've got regular season tickets, but none for the preseason. I used to scalp all of the time back when we really weren't that great. I never paid more than twenty dollars for a ticket, even the good ones. I've seen U2 for twenty, Springsteen for five bucks, Elvis Costello for ten and many others for ridiculous prices. We got some decent second row seats in the upper deck for twenty bucks. It was the first guy we asked so we could have done a lot better but since starters only play one series in the presaging, it's important to be there for kickoff.

We won 14-13. Our starters looked good. Most of the reserves didn't look terrific.

I had a blast at the game. Seeing The Lady get excited at the game was great. I can't tell everyone how wonderful it is enjoying a football game with a woman who loves football just as much as I do. She was screaming and jumping up and down and going crazy. I stopped for a second, looked down at the field, then at her going gonzo, and realized that life is a wonderful thing.

Typical Friday

The end of the Friday workday brought forth migration to the Gin Mill. Kris, Mark, Jim, and myself shared beverages and laughs. We talked to Chris about him kicking out Kyle the other night, and he felt bad, but not really. We figured we wouldn't be there very long which was unfortunate because Renelvis was playing.
Renelvis is the world's greatest Philipino Elvis impersonator. That's right, the world's greatest. He's short, fat, very much from the Phillipines, and has been in Charlotte for even longer than I. He worked at the parking deck at Presbyterian Hospital for several years. It was always great to go see sick friends or family in the hospital, then hand a smiling Renelvis two dollars for parking. He was always in a great mood. After that, he worked at Wal-Mart over on Eastway as a greeter. It obviously fit his great mood very well. Renelvis always kept this great mood whilst caring for his sick wife and his mentally handicapped daughter. His wife died of cancer late last year and it was neat to see the Charlotte's 'professional' music community support him when he really needed it. They put together a few benefits to help out one of Charlotte's oldest acts.
The great thing is that Renelvis isn't actually a stalwart Elvis impersonator. He's often off key and either ahead or behind the music, but for God's sake look at the guy! He whips serious ass every time he performs, and often elicits hysterical fits of laughter if you've had a few beers during his performance. God Bless Renelvis!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How Long Until We Are Hit Again?

My Time-Warner issued mobile phone buzzed on my nightstand at 6:30 Thursday morning. Since I went to bed at 1 after a few beers, this was quite early. My desk informed me that there had been a terror plot foiled thanks to our good friend James Bond and MI-5 with some help from our own Criminal Intelligence Agency. That means several days spent at our own Charlotte Douglas International Airport talking to passengers about the new security measures in place and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I met Adam Shub at CLT and was pleased to see that we both had stopped for coffee despite being called in and asked to hurry. We gathered some sound, turned a quick package for noon and did another one for five. It was actually a pretty easy day, but still a pain in the ass. It was hot, and with five generators running at the same time about ten feet away from everyone, we breath a ton of carbon monoxide throughout the day. I smelled horrible when it was all over. Like I'd been cutting grass for eleven hours.

More Good People Leaving Charlotte for Atlanta

Ok, I realize being a Falcon hater and Charlotte native, I'm biased. However, I'll never understand why people move to Atlanta. Is it really that great? Granted, I've never lived there, only rolled down 85 for short visits or Falcon ass-whipping festivities, but I can't ever said I've had a terrific time there. Well, except for at the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club. That's a fantastic bar. Anyway, webjournalist Kyle Almond left the firm last week for greener pastures at CNN. It's great for Kyle whose talent has surpassed, but it sucks for us who are left in the Queen City.

Wednesday was to be Kyle's going away bash at the Gin Mill on a regular media night. I left softball and headed to The Lady's dwelling to let the dog out when Kyle sent me a text message saying he'd been booted out of the bar. Out of all of my pals who have I've had multiple beers with at that bar, Kyle is the last person I thought I'd ever see get kicked out of the Gin Mill.

Turns out Chris Healy who owns the bar didn't remember Kyle and didn't think his faded license was proof enough that he was of legal drinking age. Kyle shook it off and had Lindsay buy him a beer. Unfortunately, Chris saw Kyle with the beer and told him he had to go. So, Kyle's final Wednesday in Charlotte was void of karoke fun which is a damned shame when television's own Kris Cook and I were lined up and ready to sing a special version of Sweet Caroline. We ended up next door at Tavern on the Tracks to have a final beer with him. Kyle will do well at CNN. Too bad it's in Atlanta.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Damned Kids

So a 15 year old kid stole some gas in Salisbury, drove 80 miles an hour toward Granite Quarry, was being chased by a police officer, lost control.
He killed a real nice lady named Marsha Ludwick who was driving the opposite direction. Of course, the juvenile escaped injury. That kid will never, ever live a happy life. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.

The Highway Patrol also sent out their helicopter to help with the crash investigation. First time I've ever seen it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Right Back At You, Big Fella!

My old friend Anthony is one of the most profane individuals I know and that's a big part of what makes him so damned funny. I met him through my friend Scott G. and when everyone was still in town, we'd all get together and pretend we were gonna go out and pick up chics. We'd go out, but we'd just watch Scott get all the numbers. Anyway, Anthony and his fiancee who's name I can't remember right now were caught in traffic on Providence Rd. Monday alongside my trusty satellite buggy. He says hello to everyone.

My Favorite Intersection in Spartanburg

I Hear Miami's a Nice Place in February

The Lady and I got up at 6:30 Monday morning. She made peanut butter sandwiches and we hit the road to Spartanburg, SC and home of the Carolina Panthers training camp. Normally the girls I end up liking hate football and think it's stupid. The Lady happens to LOVE football and the Panthers just as much as I do, and it is absolutely badass.
I wanted to go to camp to get a look at some new players. She wanted to go to see the players up close. We did both, and once practice was finished, she got a bunch of autographs. She also got Jake Delhomme's signature which nearly made her head explode from excitement.
With my job, I've been fortunate enough to meet a lot of celebrities and view sporting events from the playing field all over the country. So, when I see famous people or athletes, it's not a huge deal to me. Seeing her go bananas with these players made my day.

Go Panthers.