Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Return of Kathy

At least once a year I look forward to Kathy making her return to Charlotte, USA from Dublin. This time, she brought her entire family! Kathy, brother Keith and parents Dolores and Jimmy rolled into Charlotte and promptly bussed it down to Savannah for the St. Patrick's Day celebrations. For whatever reason I didn't get to see them the week they were in town until the night before they left!
We went to the Gin Mill for some send off beverages that consisted of cold beer and Kathy's favorite Stoli Vanilla and Diet Coke. She drinks a dozen every night when in America because she can't get it in Ireland for some horrible reason. Tons of people were there for the party including Jennifer, TV's Kris Cook, recently engaged Christy and Pete, Travers, Mark Campbell, Tim Baier and others. It didn't suck one damned bit.

I feel like an asshole very time Kathy comes to town. She always thinks of something Irish to bring me. This time it was a six pack of Smithwick's in cans, something I love and can't get here. She also brought Jennifer and I a set of Irish Silver napkin holders for an engagement present. It's those thoughtful, simple things Kathy always does that makes her great and makes me wish it was easier for her to live here in America than every freakin' illegal immigrant down South Blvd. Regardless, it's so good to have her here, even if it's only a few days a year.


I'm continuing my effort at keeping my personal promise to go to more shows this year. I'm terribly glad I did. A few days ago I saw Stars at The Neighborhood Theatre. They only played for a little more than 90 minutes but it felt like three hours. They whipped a ton of ass for Canadians. Speaking of the Neighborhood Theatre, it used to be a neat place to see a show. Now it is a sensational place to see a show. They finally took the seats out main area creating a great place to stand and see a rock show. I hate sitting at shows and that was always my gripe about the Theatre. Thank God they've mixed it up.
A few weeks ago I saw Built to Spill at the Theatre. They are another band I heard on Sirius and really enjoy. Plus, the Meat Puppets opened. They were weird and I didn't really care for their music, but it was only three guys. A drummer, bassist and lead guitar and they were really loud and had a good time which means the crowd enjoyed them, too. Built to Spill was interesting. Five members playing some neat sounds brought together by the lead singer's unique voice. Speaking of the lead singer, it's great to see a short dude with male pattern baldness front a whip ass band.

These last couple of shows have given me hope for the music scene here in Charlotte, USA. It's rare a band I really want to see plays here. Normally they'll hit Asheville then head to the Raleigh area for another show. Maybe the promoters in town are realizing they can get enough people out for an indie rock show. The Stars and Built to Spill were packed. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is next up in a couple of weeks.


I've seen a lot of famous people in my lifetime. Even some presidents. Friday I was able to cross Bill Clinton off my list. He came to the smokey VFW on Central Avenue to pimp Hillary for President. He was scheduled to arrive at 12:30. Bill has never been famous for being on time so I figured it'd be around 1:00. After rounding up a few Clinton fans from the patio at the restaurant next door to fill up the room, Bill walked into the VFW around 1:30.
What an assclown. Instead of showing up on time he kept 80 war veterans and their wives waiting for him for more than an hour while he went to a watering hole for a veggie burger with his former chief of staff. DOUCHEBAG! I've never been a huge Clinton fan, but now I really don't care for him. He's an inconsiderate clown. Fuck Bill Clinton.

In other news, it was an easy day of work. No security. I was thirty yards from the president and realized later I had my Leatherman on me the entire time. Secret Service was there, but didn't sweep us. Weird.

Monday, March 24, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Part 2

We are loyal to the Gin Mill which meant we had to make it there for one pint before the last train left uptown. We waited a while for the train which gave Campbell time to catch a "nap."
Here's the inside of the train car which is like every other train car in America I guess. These don't smell bad yet since they're only a few months old. The train has been rather convenient since service began, especially after beer drinking.
Once at The Gin Mill, we had to work fast. We arrived at 12:52 and the last train left the Bland St. stop at 01:08. The three of us stumbled in to a small crowd finishing the last of their pints. I vaguely remember ordering two Smithwick's. Evidently I paid for them. Travers and I finished ours at 1:06, hauled and made the train despite Solarte trying to force another beer on us and Travers busting his ass as we got to the train.We jumped off the train at the Woodlawn stop, a mere 7/10's of a mile away from Travers' house. The walk was easy after so many beers and here's a picture we took only because of those many beers.

I got hammered St. Patrick's Day. Extremely inebriated. I haven't been that drunk since every Panthers game day from 2001-2005. I don't go out to get drunk, but once I got to Connolly's with a train for a ride and a place to crash it was off to the races. I even had two or three pints of Guinness which I never drink. It didn't matter. Looking back, I even did some dancing Monday night. I never do that either, which means I was indeed goober hammered.

I paid dearly for it Tuesday. I slept terribly, waking up several times shivering even though I wasn't cold and the walk back to the train station the next morning was brutal. 7/10's of a mile is much worse hungover. I had to stop at the Walgreen's to get a bottle of Gatorade and a bottle of water. Tuesday was a rather long day at the shop, too. Needless to say I got no sympathy from Jennifer.

I can't say I won't get that drunk again, but it won't be next week.

St. Patrick's Day Part 1

I'm not Irish. I don't think it's anywhere in my heritage. I love Irish beer, though. That means I love Ireland, their people and traditions like St. Patrick's Day. I was able to leave work around 7:30 and headed straight to Connolly's for pints a plenty. Travers, Campbell, Tim Baier and others were already there and had been for quite some time which made me feel I was way behind and needed to drink quickly. More on that later. Connolly's was pretty crowded, but not as crowded as I thought it would be St. Patrick's Day. Tim Baier was whipping the dance floor's ass. This attractive young lady was digging his moves so much she was embarrassed and didn't want her face shown on the interweb. Either that or she had a boyfriend in another town and was out pickup up dudes in this town. Either way, Baier owned the dance floor.
Clint Bowyer was walking around Connolly's for several hours waiting for someone to recognize him. I felt bad for him. Your average NASCAR fan wouldn't recognize Bowyer without a Jack Daniel's hat on. Despite Charlotte being the home of 75 percent of NASCAR, uptown isn't exactly a place where being a race fan is cool. Thus it would take someone like Weaver or several television news professionals like us to realize, "Hey, it's the #07!" He took time out from chatting up a young lady for Tim Baier to snap this picture. I tried to act like I couldn't believe it was really him. I figured it'd help him with the young lady. I'll assume it didn't. Bowyer was cool, but he's no Mr. Excitement. Your Friendly neighborhood police officer Tim took a few minutes off from text messaging to make an appearance. Tim recently led the CMPD hockey team to a 4-3 victory over the CFD squad a couple of weeks ago in front of several thousand fans at the Bobcat's arena. Tim scored a goal and fought the fire department's best player in the third period. It was a good, old fashioned hockey brawl that lasted almost a minute. It was an even fight that Tim actually won since he was on top when it was finally over. It didn't suck.
At one point in the evening, I went inside to get a pint and ran into Caputo as he was coming out. As we met, we both noticed this guy in a Portland TrailBlazer's jersey. Caputo was hoping for a Drexler, I was hoping for a Duckworth. When we asked the guy who Matt Hill was he informed us it was a good friend of his who died. A good ten to fifteen seconds of awkwardness ensued.

Under Contract

Last Sunday Jennifer and I spent about four hours going back and forth with a guy about a house. We offered, he countered, we offered again, he countered again then we accepted. St. Patrick's Day morning we met with Realtor Susan to sign the contract and off to Bed, Bath and Beyond we went to look at homey stuff. Jennifer loved curtains and I enjoyed knives and cereal bowls. We close on the house at the end of next month and we are both extremely happy about it.
The house is literally move-in ready. All it needs is a shit ton of yard work and a fence. Right now I'm considering building the fence myself. I predict I'll change my mind ten feet into the fence. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I realized a few minutes ago it'd been eight days since I posted here and I damned sure don't want to be make the Lenslinger's "Photogs who Kinda Blog" list so I'm going to talk about all the neat shit I have planned for the year. I'll go in reverse order.

I'd post a recent picture of Jennifer and I, but I don't think we've taken one since the day after we got engaged more than a month ago. We get married October 25th here in Charlotte, USA. There will be family, friends, food and cold beer. I'm somehow pretty involved in the planning of the wedding without being too involved in the process. We visited and chose venues. We visited three caterers and will choose one in the next week or two. I think we're probably going to have my pal Larry in Florida come up and shoot the wedding for us so that's taken care of. We even have a wedding director so we'll have to worry less. We're keeping it pretty simple so the planning is pretty simple. The only real pain in the ass will be the guest list. We've come to the realization there will be hurt feelings when some folks aren't invited to the wedding and that hurts me. Regardless, I'm still looking forward to it. Oh, we're buying a house, too. So we got that going for us.
I tried to return to the NAB show last year but ended up in Maine in the middle of a Nor'easter. I'm going to give it another go this year. I love the show. It's miles of neat tv stuff I'll probably never use. It's still very exciting to look at all this stuff and talk to people from all over the world who do the same things we do and try to make it better. Oh yeah, and the show's in Vegas. That's cool, too. I'll be there for less than three days which is about two days too long to be in Vegas, but I'll survive. Hopefully I'll eat some free food, meet some good folks, see some folks I haven't seen a while, and maybe even play a hand or fifty of poker. I'm looking forward to Vegas, but if I end up in Maine again, that'd be just fine. I'll fly to Vegas with Tim Baier to meet up with Travers the Monday after......... we cover the freakin' Masters Tournament for a week! Let's be honest. At times, our jobs suck. At times, our jobs can be the greatest thing in the history of the world. This is indeed one of those times. Golf is special to a lot of people. Augusta National is as close to heaven on earth as it gets. It is literally a spiritual experience. Dad took me down in 1996 to the Monday practice round. That day we got to see Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, John Freakin' Daly, Greg Norman and even a young amateur Tiger Woods walk the fairways. Nick Faldo ended up winning that year after Greg Norman pulled out a choke job Tony Romo would envy. Assuming the boss approves the trip, we're there to cover Virginia Tech junior Drew Weaver who grew up in High Point, won the British Amateur last year and is playing his first Masters tournament. Oh, and there's a lottery every year for the media. If your name is drawn, you get to play Augusta National the Monday after the Masters. That means Tim Baier and I have a shot to play Augusta National and hands of poker in Las Vegas the same day. Nothing about that sucks. Nothing at all.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A CIAA Thursday

I don't know this for sure, but I'm pretty sure The Saw Doctors are the most popular rock band from Ireland in the history of the world. Except for U2. Jim Travers has been singing their praises for years along with Campbell and others. Thursday was the third or fourth time they played Charlotte and the first time in two or three years.
The Visulite served as a perfect venue for the show. It was a great crowd with people who were as young as seven or eight and I saw a couple who had to be in their mid sixties. They knew every word to every song. The audience also included Charlotte's top tourism official who after watching him at this show I'm convinced is the biggest Saw Doctors fan in America.
Travers may disagree. He's been emailing the band and their promoters for the last couple of years reminding them there are several Saw Doctors fans here and they always draw a good crowd. In fact, Travers tells himself he is at least 50 percent responsible for their return to Charlotte. For the last six months he's been pimping the show trying to get everyone to show up and many people did. Everyone that knows Jim considers him a happy person, and I've seen Jim happy on several occasions. It may have been in Vegas, or after winning a large poker tournament, at a place on Wilkinson Blvd., after the Panthers whipped the Eagle's ass in Philadelphia in the 2003 NFC championship, but I'm pretty sure Thursday night was the happiest I've seen Jim.
The show didn't suck. I only knew one Saw Doctor's song, but came away with an appreciation for a band that sounds nothing like a band I'd normally listen to. The lead singer has a higher voice that screams, "I'M IRISH" when he sings. The bass player whipped out a tenor saxophone for a song or two. The keyboard player sang some fine harmonies all while switching instruments intermittently during the show. He fancied an accordion and guitar even better than he did keys. I missed half the show but really enjoyed the 90 minutes of it I did see. I'm a fan of damn near any band that will close out their show with a couple of songs with three effing guitars in it.