Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Vacation is Good

Getting out of town is always good. The Lady and I left around noon Wednesday and hit up the Blue Ridge Parkway for a few miles before heading to Valle Crucis. For some reason I hadn't been on the Parkway in several years. I'd forgotten how cool it is. Click on the picture above for a big assed shot of some beautiful scenery.
We stayed at The Baird House. It was my first time staying at a Bed & Breakfast(a B&B if you are cool.) It was great. Almost like staying with relatives, except they are strangers.
The Watauga River runs across the street. Weather was beautiful the first two days. Made it nice for a stroll down by the riverbank.
Tom and Deede Hinson are the innkeepers. I felt at home as soon as I got in the door. Deede whips up breakfast every morning. Our favorites were the pumpkin pancakes, hashbrown casserole, and dill eggs. Here's how our days went. Fall asleep before eleven, wake up at 8:50. Walk over for a huge breakfast. Go back to bed until noon. Take showers, drive around and to mountain stuff until dark. Find a nice restaurant for dinner. Eat, start over again. It's a great way to spend a few days. We had a great time. Oh yeah, we also killed a bottle of wine Friday night. I don't typically drink wine, and I don't know that I'll be doing it again soon, but it was fun.
Oh, and after we saw this picture, The Lady and I decided to quit television and be professional models.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ireland, Parkways, Weddings, and a Horrible Football Game

I've got a ton of stuff to write about. Vacation was great, Jim Travers took the blog on the road for a couple of weeks, another old friend tied the knot, and the Cowboys whipped our ass again. Stories and pics coming shortly.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Heading West

The Lady(who got her hair did yesterday and is showing it off above. Pardon the overexposure, I'm still getting used to my new camera.) and I will be rolling up Hwy. 321 in the morning. We'll be in Valle Crucis for a few days traversing the Great Smoky mountains looking at leaves and not working. It will also be my first time at a Bed and Breakfast. I've heard good things. I can promise a lot of pictures when we come down the mountain. We get back Saturday and head to my friend Avani's wedding reception. It's a big Indian party so I doubt very seriously it will suck. Sunday the Panther host Dallas on NBC at 8:00, which means a full afternoon of tailgating. Stay tuned.

Balls of Hair!!!!

The Lady's dog, Carmen, has had an upset stomach over the last week or so. We're not exactly sure why, but it could be the new toy she's had that gets hair stuck on it, then she accidentally probably eats that hair, then throws it up. It started last week when The Lady picked Carmen up and placed her on my chest. She then started those dog burps that proceed vomit. Luckily The Lady picked her up and got her to the bathroom. The pictured occasion was a couple of days later. It's funny how happy dogs are after they puke.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I Continue to Suck

The blog has suffered over the last few days. I just haven't had a ton to write about for whatever reason. The Lady and I had a Family Fun Weekend. Saturday evening her folks had us over for dinner. This is pretty much how it went. I sat out on the patio with her dad and talked about golf whilst The Lady and her mom finished up dinner. We ate. Then I sat downstairs with her dad and watched football whilst the ladies were upstairs trying to fix an ipod. Then we all ate dessert. It was a good night. Sunday we drove to Lincolnton, went to church and had lunch with my parents and grandparents. Other than the Panthers losing, it was a good weekend.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Back For a Week from Texass

Many of you know my friend Sherrie. We both worked our first television jobs together starting back in 1999. Wow, I'm old. She also used to buy beer for me when I was underage and is basically the big sister I never had. I've always tried to help her through different relationships, and she always tried to hook me up with other girls. She even let me go out with her sister a couple of times. Sherrie moved to Houston a few months ago to work for Disney juggernaut KTRK. She's back in town this week to see her family and old friends. We ended up at Mac's speed shop last night for a beverage. Mac's is always a good place to go. They have good food and generally cheap beer. There was a huge crowd last night, but a really horrible band. They were ruining legendary country music songs for hours.
The Lady, Brian, and Mark also joined the festivities. They were a lot cooler than us since they actually rolled up to the motorcycle bar on motorcycles. That random womern there between Sherrie and Mark was there with her boyfriend and 13 month old child. She was also falling down drunk. Evidently her boyfriend was sober, so I suppose the baby made it home alright. I hope so.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Another Day, Another Sony

My new camera arrived yesterday and it's first assignment was a big rally to bring baseball uptown. As soon as I parked, this gentleman walked up to me with his dog and asked if it could be on television. I politely declined his request but told him I'd take his picture instead.
A bunch of people were at this rally. I'd say a few hundred. It will be touted as a success because so many people showed up, but if you have a rally at Wachovia Plaza where thousands of bankers work and give away free popcorn and cracker jack, chances are you'll have a good crowd. The Knights will eventually get a stadium uptown courtesy of the taxpayers and that's unfortunate. However, it will whip a lot of ass when it happens. I look forward to leaving work and walking to a ballgame someday.
Homer the Dragon supports baseball in uptown. Kate Barker has no opinion since she's a journalist. Homer is possibly the best mascot in professional sports.

I Wasn't Going to Post This

I went to Lowes Foods the other day to do some shopping for mom. She's doing much better, but still has some trouble if she's on her feet for extended periods of time. Anyway, it was triple coupons this week which means you get stupid discounts. In some cases, you actually get money back for items. Weird. Anyway, I spent more than an hour in the store going all over the place trying to find items that matched the coupons. I kept going past this couple who I would have guessed was homeless at first glance. Lowes is almost a yuppy grocery store with a ton of organic products and stuff. It was obvious this was the first time these folks had been there. These folks didn't look good, didn't smell good, and were terribly nice. We kept running into each other on random aisles looking for stuff and always joked around every time one of our carts was blocking the other. I watched the man closely inspect prices and it hit me that they really, really, really needed the discount these triple coupons provided. You could see it in their eyes. I was running around having a big ole time saving money and these folks were probably saving every penny because they absolutely had to. Of course, they may be millionaires and just don't look like it. Either way, it forced me to realize how fortunate I am and how small my problems are.

I wasn't going to post this, but I was looking at my old pal Ross Taylor's website. He's a still photographer and has some amazing pictures from all over the world. Many of those show how bad poverty is in some countries and it made me think.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

We got new phones at work yesterday and boy are they fancy. It's the LG VX-8300. It's got a camera and an mp3 player, the latter of which is extremely necessary. Except for not really.
The camera actually take some good pictures. Here's a shot of uptown this morning from the CMPD headquarters. I'm working my third Saturday in as many weekends. It's really not too bad. I also did some oversleeping this morning. I haven't overslept for work in a really long time. I was due in at five. My plan was to get up at five, call the assignment desk and see what the plan was, then roll in around six. I remember waking up specifically to turn off my alarm because it was hindering my sleep. Luckily ole' KC gave me a holler at 6 and told me to wake up. I got in at 6:30 and made the 7 am live shot with no problem. Oops.

I finally broke down and bought another camera yesterday. After weeks of very intense research and pricing, I decided on the Sony DSC-S600. I'm such a Sony whore. I use Sony exclusively at work and feel quite loyal. I looked at several Canons and even a Casio or three, but I kept coming back to Sony. This model is bigger than my previous camera which should keep me from losing it. It's a little cheaper and according to several website reviews also takes much better pictures. I got it from NewEgg.com and it should be here Monday. Since it's a bigger camera, I shouldn't lose it.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I was in the drive-thru at the Albemarle Rd. Dunkin' Donuts this morning on my way to work this morning and was behind this young lady in a BMW. Well, I think it was a young lady. I never got a good look at her. It's nice to see some shameless self promotion on a cloudy Friday.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Jeff Gordon Is Really Tall

I've never been a diehard fan of NASCAR, but I do enjoy it. Growing up here I followed it every week, but never really had a favorite driver or anything. When I worked in Mooresville, I got into it a little more since I was covering it every week and spending most of my time in the same town as every driver and crew member. I was certain of one thing, though. I hated Jeff Gordon. He won every week, talked like a big dork, and everyone always thought he was gay. A couple of years ago the ex-lady and good friend Tara started working for him. He was always pretty nice to her and she got a ton of free stuff for working there. Plus, the Christmas parties were always nice and full of free beer. He always had a different model chic who was three to six inches taller than him at all times. I eventually figured he wasn't that bad of a guy. It's race week here in Charlotte, USA which means daily appearance made by drivers for charity or sponsored stuff. Mike Solarte and I ran into #24 yesterday over at the Victory Lane Go-Kart place. Before we interviewed him, Gordon and I had an awkward exchange.

Me: Hey Jeff, my ex-girlfriend used to work for you.

JG: Oh yeah, who's that?

Me: Tara, she worked upstairs.

JG: Oh yeah, I remember her. Wow, your ex-girlfriend and my ex-employee. What's that about? Maybe we should interview you.

A big thanks to Jeff Gordon for giving a thumbs up for Lukemia Research.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Not Working Doesn't Suck

I used to be a fatass. Not a huge fatass, but about 215 pounds. I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, and ate as though my dad hadn't had two heart attacks. After his second, I decided to change my lifestyle. He had been attending Cardiac Rehab for several years and seen good results. It's a combination of diet and exercise that helps your heart, lifestyle, and generally makes you a better person. I entered the program myself at 205 pounds and was as skinny as 176. That was probably a bit too skinny.

Anyway, the Cardiac Rehab program was fun. I was 25 amongst heart patients ranging in age from 35-84. It's basically a bunch of old rich guys who've had heart attacks. They all have a good time. Tuesday was the 13th annual Cardiac Rehab golf tournament at the beautiful Fort Mill Golf Club.
Here's our team. Jim McKernan is on the far left. Jim is 82 years old, whipped cancer's ass three times, suffers from heart disease, and could easily pass for 62 years old. Watching the man play golf and walk around a golf course is amazing. Tan Ganatra is on my left. He founded a multi-million dollar telecommunications company. Tan is easily one of my favorite people. He gets up every morning at 2:30 and doesn't go to bed until 10 at night. He's retired, but still works full time giving away millions of dollars at a time to charities around the world. It makes me want to be rich so I can give it all away. Tan whips ass. Phil Harmon literally rounded out our team. This was the third year we'd all played together.

Oh yeah, we actually won! Here's Tan sporting the proverbial green jacket.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Skies Are Gray

The Lady and I were getting ready for bed Sunday night when she noticed something sticking out of my head. If you click on this picture and focus on her right index finger, you'll notice my first gray hair. I've known this was coming and I don't mind it one bit. I've already decided I'm going to be one of those George Clooney type gray headed dudes. You know, the kind that women all over the world want. Actually, I'll be happy to have hair regardless of what color it is.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Nothing Dry About This Wedding

The wedding season is over, I think. A college friend of The Lady got married in Wilmington Sunday afternoon in the beautiful St. Thomas Preservation Hall. The building was built in the early 1800's and is rather popular for matrimony and rightfully so. I'm by no means a wedding connoisseur, but I've been priveleged to attend two really nice weddings in the last three weeks.

I met Ashley approximately ten seconds before this picture. I asked her to pose for a picture, and she replied, 'Oh, is it for the blog?' Evidently this website is making the rounds amongst strangers on the other side of the state. Who knew? Ashley smiled more in three hours Sunday afternoon than I have in three years, and I smile a lot. She walked in the door to roll down the aisle and she damn near jumped through the roof 40 feet above. I've seen happy brides. Ashley was in a delirious bliss that I'm certain won't end until about March or April. It was neat.
I got to meet a lot of the The Lady's friends from college. It was great to put voices to all of these pictures I've seen over the last six months. We all had two meals together over the weekend and they were great. Good food, drinks, and really good company. I've always opined that your closest friends are a direct reflection of yourself. The Lady's friends in Wilmington are wonderful people.
Two of those people are Roger and Kate. They were kind enough to let us stay at their house for the weekend and drive us around post beverage consumption. Roger and Kate don't suck. In fact, they whip a lot of ass. And if you are looking to adopt a pet, a Boston Terrier is a fine choice.
The Lady won a contest at the wedding. Four married or commited men were surveyed about who had the best boobs. She won unanimously. I tried unsuccessfully to get a real picture of the award winners. I'm sure she was happy to spend a weekend with all of her best friends and see one of them get married, but I very sincerely think this was the highlight of her weekend.
I'm glad she's around to pretty up pictures I happen to be in. We went to the wedding, met friends, made new ones, saw a happy couple, drank free beer, and the Panthers beat the Browns. Sunday didn't suck.

Crawling, Not Stumbling

I hadn't been to see Brian and Friends at the Rat's Next since his birthday in August. It was a crawl evening, and The Lady had a rare Friday night off so I figured it was a good night for her first Gallery Crawl. It was a chilly Friday night to walk around to Art Galleries, so we only stopped at a couple. Art is awfully expensive these days. Saw a couple of pieces that were 30,000 dollars. That's nuts. We also went to a new store where they have doggie Panther jerseys. We didn't buy one, though.

I don't know that I've ever walked into The Rat's Nest without at least one twelve pack of beer under my arm. It's just the right thing to do. Lately I've been drinking Miller High Life Light and it's been the house beer alongside PBR at The Rat's Nest ever since they opened the doors. I had a twelve pack of the high life as we walked in and Shelia quickly told me that they had hit the big time. Pabst Blue Ribbon now sponsors the store on Gallery Crawl nights. This is a big deal. They provided TEN cases of the most decorated beer in American history for consumption Friday night. The Rat's Nest has officially arrived.

The Loose Lugnuts continued their tradition of being the worst country music cover band in Charlotte. They now have a harmonica player who brings a whole shit load of harmonicas with him. He immediately takes the band to a higher level since he doesn't suck. Notice that sweet PBR sign behind the stage. Mark tries to be a big showoff when he plays guitar. Instead of playing a normal, three fingered, first fret A, he goes way up the neck and bar chords it. I reckon if I was an above average guitar player, I'd do the same thing. Mark recently filled in at lead singer for the Rock Hill based Truckstop Preachers. They typically don't suck so I suppose Mark doesn't either.

Brian continued his streak of wearing a gay shirt. That's a shame because that sweet hat has been signed by multiple country legends including Willie Nelson and Gene Freakin' Watson. At least it wasn't a pink shirt.

I really, really need to head over there more often. I've never had a bad time at The Rat's Nest.

Friday, October 06, 2006

McDonald's Is Awful

That's right, McDonald's is a terrible place. Nothing there is healthy. It's a gluttunous abortion of nutrition. However, they do a lot of good things for charity. There's a new neighborhood full of big assed houses in Weddington. These houses are stupid large. The smallest house in the development is 6,000 square feet. The devoper donated the land, the subcontractors are donating time and they are building another huge house in this neighborhood and selling it to raise money for a huge Ronald McDonald house here in Charlotte. That will allow families of sick children that need treatment here to stay free of charge near their child. It's a great charity.

This house dedication was so important that Ronald himself made an appearance. He's a creepy dude. Real creepy.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Going Back To Dad's Roots

Thursday morning brough forth another trip to Monroe. I didn't have time to run see Aunt Agnes, Bibus, or possibly gay Wayne, but I did have time to go see Congressman Robin Hayes at American Legion Post 27. Hayes was traversing his district today talking with veterans. This was his first stop. He then went on to Fayetteville, then to Rockingham, then back east to Laurinburg. Hayes actually impressed me today. I mean, he's always nice and easy to deal with, but he answered all of these veteran's questions with ease displaying his knowledge on multiple topics. Then again, I wasn't there to talk to him about veterans affairs, but about the shennanigans in the House right now thanks to a representative hitting on a young page.
I shot enough video and hung out in a corner waiting to get the interview when I started looking around. There's old beer signs, ashtrays everywhere and that general feel of a really 0ld bar. I then realized that this is likely where my grandfather drank a good portion of his beer. I'm talking about my Dad's dad. He died when my dad was twelve. He was prisoner of war in World War II and evidently was never the same when he got back. He was a real son of a bitch when Dad was growing up. Never went to any of his football or baseball games. Was a raging alcoholic. Would drop Dad and my grandmother(she died when Dad was 19) off at the supermarket and then go get hammered and forget to pick them up.

After the Q&A with Hayes was done, I asked one of the the Legion folks if there was an old member's list around somewhere. He said he didn't know of one. I wasn't sure if it was the American Legion or the VFW that my grandfather did his drinking at, so I called Dad. He said he drank heavily at both places which were an easy drunken stumbling distance away from each other. I sat there for a while and looked at the old bar where my grandfather drank his family away. I wasn't upset or anything, but I wish I could know more about him, even if he was a horrible father to my father. I've got a couple of qualities I think came straight from my other grandfather. The only similar quality with this grandfather I'm aware of is we both like to drink beer. I'm guessing there are others. I'll probably never know. Dad doesn't really like to talk about it. Dad doesn't even really enjoy his hometown because there's so many bad memories there.

Dad also mentioned one of his old houses was behind the Legion. His mom bought this house for $9,000 dollars back in nineteen sixty something.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Typical Tuesday

This is where most of my Monday and Tuesday evenings are spent. The chamber at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. It's normally intrepid government reporter Shawn Flynn doing all of the the work, I then show up and edit a package and do a live shot. It's actually a pretty easy gig for me. Down where those cameras are is where we sit and make fun of the politicians during meetings.
It's also where Pete Kaliner speaks so loudly about the politicians with other media, that they sometimes hear him and shoot dirty looks in his general direction. Unless it's a clueless gentleman on the stage left side of the dais on Monday nights, he normally just laughs. Pete is also the best dressed reporter in Charlotte even though you'll never see him on the radio.

It's Dark Outisde

Autumn brings earlier sunsets. There's nothing cool about that. However, these earlier sunsets have been beautiful. Something about the still air makes the atmosphere subtle and glorious at the same time. The Lady and I were returning to the station after letting her dog out last night when I noticed the lovely Charlotte, USA 'skyline.' I dropped her off and snapped a couple of pictures on the way to the government center. The above picture was taken on Euclid Avenue north of Morehead Street.
This is basically the same angle as the other one, but this is on Caldwell Street over I-277. Jim Travers' camera takes excellent pictures without the flash. We've got about a month left of these nice sunsets.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I Probably Shouldn't Post This

In a rather non-manly moment this afternoon I went to Concord Mills after my evening live shot to check out the Banana Republic Outlet. I used to not give a horse's ass about how I dressed, but my ex-lady and dear friend Tara forced me to wear half decent clothing. She'd buy it, and I'd wear it. When we broke up, I continued to wear clothes that weren't terrible. Over the last year or so, Banana Republic has really grown on me. The outlets have are affordable and their clothes are rather simple meaning I can go in there and pick things out all by myself. I've bought a ton of clothes up in there, up in there. In another non-manly moment, I texted The Lady on the way there and asked her if she'd be upset if I went to Banana without her. She quelled my concerns by telling me she supports all shopping.

Teenagers and Cops

Back in my days of covering nothing but high school sports, I made friends with several school resource officers. They are all real cops that spend their eight hour days at high schools and middle schools policing the campus, and taking care of police type things that need to be done. All of them that I knew wore mirrored sunglasses. So did I. It was the right thing to do as a 19 year old sportscaster covering things such as girls soccer games at various high schools.
Ok, so it wasn't the 'right' thing to do, but being a male, I certainly did. So did my cop friends. However, NONE of them actually inappropriately touched any students like Concord Police Officer Jeff Efird is accused of doing. He works at the relatively new Jay M. Robinson high school in Concord.

Damn near all of the Concord Police officers I've dealt with have been real nice. My favorite is Chief Merl Hamilton. He smokes a ton of cigars and is always easy to deal with, even on the stories where it's extremely negative for his department. When someone needed to go arrest one of his officers, he did it himself. I doubt many chiefs actually arrest people. I'd bet Chief Hamilton actually pulls people over for speeding everyday, too.

So, cops touching students in a bad way, and people shooting up high schools. I'm starting to wish my sister wasn't high school english teacher.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Aints Return to Charlotte, USA

Ever since Mike Ditka started coaching the Saints, they normally roll up here and whip our ass. Two years ago, all we had to do the last week of the regular season was beat the Saints at home and we'd make it to the playoffs. We couldn't do it. Last year the entire world was against us when they whipped our ass in their first game after Hurricane Katrina. For whatever reason, we have trouble with the Saints at home.

Lucky for us, we didn't suck yesterday and pulled off a 21-18 victory. Praise Jesus! Anyway, we decided this summer to take tailgating a little bit more seriously than in previous seasons. That means at least three things.

1. Get there early. We started at 9:30 yesterday morning.
2. Cook our own food. I love the Bojangles tailgating party pack, but it was time for a change.
3. Drink more beer.

We've accomplished all of those. Yesterday we did brats and a couple of burgers. I must say that the brats were quite good. First time we've done those and we'll most certainly be doing those again. I think wings are on tap for the next game. Oh, my!

The Lady loves tailgating so much she barely left the bed of the truck. She enjoyed a couple of tofu dogs with carrots and celery. I tried the tofu dog, but it didn't do much for me. Either way, the food and the tailgating continues to get better each week.