Friday, November 28, 2008

Effing Atlanta, Again

A trip to Atlanta happens at least once a year for me. I have some good memories of that town. I also have some heinous memories. Let's say I've been down there a dozen times. Something bad happened on at at least ten of those trips. The other two, the Panthers beat the Falcons and we got out of Dodge, quickly. Some of the bad memories include wrecking my friend Sherrie's car and major camera malfunctions. Bad news.

Anyway, I traveled to Atlanta last Saturday to hang out with former Road Reporter and dear friend Jason Bronis and his lovely girlfriend. I knew despite what happened the rest of the weekend, it'd be a great Saturday night. We had a steak at Morton's, then made our way to the Cypress Street Pint and Plate for more beverages. Several beverages later we made our way back to Jason's place where a hooker was walking down the street.

Of course, I did what any other inebriated photographer does when he spots a hooker at 3 in the morning, I utilized my camera phone! Regardless, Bronis was the gracious host like he always is and he's missed greatly in Charlotte, USA. It was great to see him and meet his girlfriend. A fine meal, an inordinate amount of beverages and good company made for a tremendous Saturday night.

I made the trip Saturday because Solarte and I were slated to cover the Panthers vs. Falcons game at the Georgia Dome Sunday. Solarte shoots the Panthers every week and is a way, way better football shooter than myself, so I jokingly said he should shoot the game and I should sit in the press box. Lo and behold, I get to the dome Sunday afternoon and he's wearing wind pants with paint stains. Thus, I sat in the press box for the game. It was weird and I was visibly uncomfortable there. Regardless, the game sucked since we got spanked, but the Papa John's personal pizzas at halftime and unlimited Diet Coke to nurse off Saturday night were nice.

After we got sound(Solarte did let me shoot post,) we fed some tape and rolled up 85. Coming out of Atlanta, I ran over something. I don't know what it was, but we stopped in Commerce, GA for gas and BK when Solarte got out of the truck and heard a hiss. Well, the right rear was going down and in a hurry. Normally, you whip out a jack, change the tire and keep on going like most normal human beings but when you're in a satellite truck that weighs 12,000 pounds, the jack in the back of the truck doesn't cut it, thus you need a tow truck to raise the ass of the truck so you can change the tire.

After an hour, this guy named Shane rolled in with his tow truck and Shane whipped some serious ass. The tire had a gash the size of Fulton County so a plug wasn't going to cut it. We finally got the spare down and Shane swapped the good one for the bad one and we were on our way. We rolled in to the station at 4 am Monday, two hours after our planned arrival. Instead of Burger King, we ate ice cream sandwiches and a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos from the gas station, but we made it home safely thanks to Shane.

Sure, Atlanta threw me another curve ball, but thanks to good folks like Bronis and Shane, I won't count this as one of the bad trips down there.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chapel, Minister, Reception, Touchdown!

After an eight month engagement and a ton of planning, Jennifer and I married three weeks ago. I'm not sure exactly what my expectations of the day were. I wanted to see family and friends and I wanted everything to go smoothly so Jennifer wouldn't have to worry about anything. Really, I didn't care about much else except marrying Jennifer.

Some people spend decades searching for someone to spend the rest of their life with. I was fortunate enough to find Jennifer just nine years into my adult life. We grew up eight miles apart, knew a ton of the same people, went to the same restaurants, ate ice cream at Larry's in Mint Hill, shopped at Upton's and even went to the same day camp. We probably saw each other a dozen times growing up, but I never met her until she walked into the newsroom almost three years ago.

I thought to myself, "Wow, she's tall! And really hot!" She was and she was. I wrote her off as another cool co-worker who happened to be smokin' hot and that's pretty much what every other guy in the newsroom did, too. I honestly never thought I'd get a chance to have a beer with her, or go out with her. Who the hell knew I'd end up marrying the girl at work who was both hot and cool? I didn't, but a few friends helped convince me I at least had a shot. You know who you are, and thanks for giving me the extra cajones I needed to make something happen. All of you are a big part of this marriage.

The wedding was great. I don't think anything went wrong. We went out with friends from out of town the night before, I drove her home and then spent the night at my parents where I proceeded to sleep terribly. I don't think it was nerves because I had very few nervous moments the last few weeks. But, I slept very little and woke up early. Mom and Dad whipped up a big assed breakfast and sister Anna came over for a final family meal for me as a single man. I was tired, but excited. I went home, took Carmen to the vet and took my final single shower. I was really scared I'd cut myself shaving but made it through my entire face without a scratch.

I dressed, met your friendly neighborhood police officer Tim and his girl, friendly neighborhood police officer Melissa and we headed to the church where I spent the longest hour of my life chatting with people and standing in a room half the size of your typical photog room waiting to walk into the church. My dear friend Debbi from The Urban Ministry Center married us in a traditional Presbyterian(even though we were both raised Methodist) ceremony after we recited vows we wrote ourselves. I wasn't down with that at first, but I'm glad Jennifer convinced me it was the right thing to do. It was my favorite part of the ceremony.

I glanced into the congregation a few times to see who all was there. I remember noticing a few people who I didn't get to speak to, and a few people who I'd never seen before which I suppose is typical at a wedding. I eventually figured out who they were. After we made it official we hopped in a limo for a ride around town while we waited for the reception to start. We rode with Jennifer's matron of honor, Erika and her husband Mike who bought a five dollar bottle of champagne for the occasion. Good call!

Once we arrived at the reception, Big Jim Slade made the announcements for the thankfully small wedding party. Once we walked in, waved and pretended it wasn't completely awkward, we had our first dance. I thought we'd get to drink a beer first, but we had to get right into the program. Once everybody kept staring at the newlyweds, I was actually able to visit with people at the reception. By the way, I think the first dance should be private between the bride and groom. That's a pretty special moment and it was weird knowing everyone was staring.

Regardless, it was still a special moment and so was the dance with my mom, despite everyone staring. We tried our best to go from table to table to table visiting with people, some of whom we haven't seen in months or had never seen before! And this was with only 105 people! I'm glad we kept it small. It sucked horribly to not invite some people. That was by far the worst part of wedding planning for me(and I did very little planning.) But the small number did allow us time to visit more with those who were there.

The food was great, the beer was cold and I heard the liquor was good, too. Yes, there was indeed a keg of Smithwick's and assorted domestics and no we didn't kill that keg. It was the only regret I had that day. We left nearly half of the beer in the keg and I don't know what happened to the rest. I hope someone drank it.

By the way, you're an asshole if you don't fly in Larry Davidson from Tallahassee to shoot your wedding. He is absolutely freakin' amazing. These are only ten of the 1,400, yes that's one thousand, four hundred pictures he took. None of them suck, they are all freakin' awesome and so is Larry!
We left the reception, checked into the hotel and went straight to the Gin Mill where we were greeted by probably 25 friends and family who had taken over part of the bar. The greeting there and the time spent with them there was probably my second favorite part of the day. I'm still not sure what my expectations for the day were, but it was terrific. Most importantly, I married Jennifer, the girl whom is both cool and hot and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with.

Monday, November 03, 2008

TBMOMNS Voting Guide 2008!

Uh oh! It's almost election day! The guide is up next, but first.......
Jennifer and I married last weekend. The wedding was great, the reception was wonderful and so was the honeymoon. Much, much, much more on that later this week. On to the voting guide!!! Woooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

The Senate race has been pretty close and heated here in the Old North State. You can vote for Kay Hagan who seems like a nice lady. You could also vote for Elizabeth Dole who is a nice lady and always leans past a reporter to shake this photographer's hand before an interview. Dole also hasn't lived in North Carolina for the last 300 years. She's from Kansas for God's sake and probably only voted against the bank bailout bill because she's up for reelection. Dole blows, but is a nice lady. Hagan has spent some in the state legislature and supported an ENORMOUS incentive bill to bring Dell to the triad. Chris Cole has run for office seven times and hasn't' won, but damn he's full of great ideas. Ideas like it's cool for people of the same sex to marry and government sponsored 1st degree murder(you may know it as the death penalty) isn't cool. When you vote, look for the 'L' and vote for Chris. Oh, and he's actually from North Carolina, too.
Many of you know I'm no fan of socialism and feel we'd all be much better off if we would rely on ourselves instead of the government. Unfortunately, both Barack Obama and John McCain feel much differently. I admire McCain's service in the Senate, but he had some shady years with the FCC and I think we all know how most broadcast professionals feel about the FCC. McCain also rewarded banks for failing by voting for the bailout bill. Not my kinda guy. I have a ton of respect for what Obama has done with Americans during his campaign. Nobody has mobilized and energized people who normally don't give a damn about politics like Obama has. I just got back from covering a rally where more than ten thousand people waited in the rain just to hear him speak for a few minutes. He's a rock star and I hope he turns out to be an ok president. I'm a bit skeered of socialism. Hey! Bob Barr isn't a socialist. He's a big time conservative from Atlanta who realizes there's not much difference between the views of Obama and McCain. Barr has brought Libertarian pole numbers higher than they've ever been. It's common sense, vote for Bob Barr. You won't be sorry, unless you're a socialist.

Ya'll know I love mayor Pat, but I love Mike Freakin' Munger even more. McCrory has been a great mayor who wasn't afraid to spend a ton of public money on things despite painting himself a conservative. There's a reason he's been a 'republican' mayor in this blue city for so long. He ain't that conservative, but it may be that kind of 'republican' that has to run to make it to Raleigh. For the last two decades, the governor has only cared about Raleigh and points east. With Bev Perdue, that won't change. Plus, her answer to every question is, 'I'll be a serious, strong leader who understands the needs of Wall Street and Main Street." It's so awful and I'm damned skeered she'll be the next governor. Mike Munger is a badass. He's educated, so much so he's the head of the political science department at Duke. He has debated the other candidates with class and common sense and look at that smile. Have you ever seen a mug that screamed, "I should be governor!" more than Mike Munger's? I haven't either, that's why I will and you should vote for Mike Munger, a real American badass.