Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Monday, June 30, 2008

That's Chicago, Part Shut up Already!

So there I was... mano y mano... or mano y perro... or, mujera y perro. Whatever; there was a black dog the size of a house that was about to squash me like a Wicked Witch in Munchkinland. Even if the officer could draw his gun and fire in the .3 milliseconds before the dog latched his many teeth into my neck, the weight of the overgrown canine would certainly crush me to bits.

I stared at the dog with rising horror while its paws reached for my shoulders. This is the part where I was supposed to cry something like, "Goodbye, cruel world." Instead, I made a high-pitched squealing sound that went, "skreeeeeeeee!" The Rottweiller opened his mouth, reached for my head... and drooled on me. He stood, paws on my shoulders, tongue lolling to the side, breathing Milkbone into my face, and grinning. "Rrrrrroooooowf!" he barked, blowing out my eardrums and rearranging my hair. It was dog speak for "Gotcha!" Even the officer and the tow truck driver were guffawing. I expected one of them to slap his knee and call "Hooo, dawgy, but you looked skeered!" And then the sound of banjos would come wafting through the trees.

Instead, the driver called off the dog, the officer handed me a paper towel to clean the slobber off my arm, and the Rotty actually herded me into the tow truck.

"She likes to help," the driver said.
"She's beautiful," I said, and meant it. Despite the excessive salivation, this was obviously a spirited dog that cared a great deal about people. More Mongo than Cujo. She ran around, barking joyously as the driver winched my car up onto the strangely inadequate-looking hook, then clambered up into the cab and laid her head on my lap. I didn't mind the drool so much.

The driver was very kind, gave me $50 and dropped me at the only motel in the small truck-stop town. I called my parents. They did a lot of cursing. I mean, a lot. Like, words I didn't even think that my Alabama-born-child-of-the-fifties mother could have known. And, as it turned out, I did have a fever. A rising, uncomfortable appetite-stealing fever that kept me in bed for the next 48 hours while I waited for someone to trek from Atlanta to get me. It was the kind of attitude only a 21-year-old college student could possibly display. "Mommy, I drove to Chicago with all my money and my friend stole it to buy drugs and then my car broke down and I don't have any way to get home. Will you come get me?"

They did come and get me. And they bought a second-hand Nissan Sentra off the mechanic for $2,000. Then they each drove a car back to Conyers while I slept in the back seat. I crawled into bed at home - I'm sure without a word of thanks or appreciation - and slept for another two days. When I finally regained my senses and managed to keep down some food, I called work. Surprisingly, I still had a job. My mother had called and explained for me, and they'd moved my schedule around.

I returned to my small rental house with two new roommates in the first week of January, two girls who have been my friends for years and who would never strand me 14 hours from home without any money. I never heard from Gibran again. He never sent gas money, rent money or utilities money. I don't know what happened to him or his friends in the intervening years. But it seems he got his stuff together and now works in the medical field... which means he makes more money than I do now. Somehow that doesn't surprise me. He probably also sells narcotics out of the supply closet.

Do you think he'd send me the $400 he owes me?

Nah...

Like a Pavlovian Dog

A.C.: Hey, Stacey, have you seen Grindhouse?
Me: No.
A.C.: Did you know it was about zombies?
Me (squealing): No! All I knew is about the one-legged girl with the machine gun!
A.C.: Because she's killing zombies!
Me: (unintelligible squealing)

Who's the dork who just ordered "Grindhouse" and George Romero's "Diary of the Dead?" Who is? Who? (sorry, Scott. I was all high on my raise. Can I spend $20?)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Accidental Porn

Me: (dropping my red felt-tipped pen) Eh, junk!
H.Y.: Oh, Stacey, I miss your junk.
Me: Oh, reeeaally? You miss my junk?
H.Y.: Not that way.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Amy, This is the Reason I Know the Words to Tim McGraw Songs

AUGUSTA, GA. - Assholes, beware. Whether it's stealing a ring off his finger or roughing up a female fan, if you're at his show, Tim McGraw might be coming for you. At one concert in Washington, McGraw witnessed a drunken man attacking a woman concertgoer. He called for security but then handled it himself, hauling the dude out of the pit like he weighed no more than a bag of chicken wings. When the guy tried to get out of security's clutches, McGraw pulled his arm back like he was about to throw a punch. That man is damn sexy. He may not be an "Indian Outlaw," as his song goes, but he might sock you in the jaw. Check out his lead-in to the rest of the song.

Reason No. 478 to Love Working Downtown...

AUGUSTA, GA. - Random homeless guys who come in and steal from the candy jar, refill their water bottles from the office cooler, and ask us what we're doing: "Working, yo. Whynchta try it?"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

That's Chicago, Part: Almost Done, I Swear!

Continued from previous post, which was continued from the post before that...

AUGUSTA, GA. - So there I was, on the side of the road, in the mountains of Tennessee, in December, with a light sprinkle of snow falling. I was... excited! The roadside emergency kit in the hatchback of my Ford Escort (aka The Extra Large Matchbox Car) would finally get some use! White shirt out the driver's window. "Call Police" sign in the back windshield. I burned myself on the flares. And no one stopped.

It grew cold in the car. I bundled up in a blanket and waited. No one stopped. I grew frustrated and scared. I ran out of flares and got out the fireworks I had purchased across the state line for my little brother. I shot Roman candles into the sky. And no one stopped.

Halfway through the bag, I got pissed. Despite the fact that this was a major trucking corridor, no one stopped. I took aim at the 18-wheelers that passed by. Pop!pop!pop! went the Roman candle. Boosh! It exploded against the side of a trailer hauling goods to Wal-Mart. I danced and laughed... and watched as the truck's tail lights disappeared over the horizon. Shit. I lit another and kept up the barrage, thinking that someone could at least get angry enough to call the cops. And then I ran out of fireworks. And no one had stopped.

I was defeated. Scowling, I wrapped myself in my blanket and crawled into the back seat to sleep. I'd hike to the next exit in the morning. Sleep came quickly and easily.

"SHOW ME SOME I.D.!" a voice roared.

I shot up, smacked my head against the dome light, and squinted against the blinding light in my eyes.

"What?!"

"STATE PATROL, MA'AM! SHOW ME SOME I.D.!"

"Uh..." I couldn't think! Wait... wasn't there a warning at the campus Take Back the Night rally (again, it was the 90s) about not opening doors for strangers before checking their I.D.? This was MY car... such as it was.

"MA'AM! DID YOU HEAR ME?!"

"Yeah... no, look, YOU show ME some I.D.!"

"MA'AM! I WANT TO SEE YOUR I.D. NOW!"

"And I want to see your I.D.!" I shrieked, feeling bullied and... feverish? That's not a good sign. "Get that light out of my face and show me your badge!"

There was a surprised silence. Then a badge appeared against the window. The light moved off to the side. Stars still danced in front of my eyes as I examined it, made worse by the flashing blue lights of his cruiser. It looked real... not that I'd have been able to tell if it came from a Cracker Jack box. I fished for my purse, pulled out my driver's license and pressed it against the window.

"ARE YOU HURT?" he asked. Jesus, stop with the yelling already.

"No. My car broke down."

"Do you need help?"

"Um... no, I think I'll just sleep here all night in the snow."

"I CAN'T LET YOU DO THAT, MA'AM."

"Yeah, I was joking," I said as I stepped, shivering, from the car.

He appraised me: "How old are you?"

"21."

"Do your parents know where you are?"

"They know I'm supposed to be on my way home right now," I answered. Why did I suddenly feel like I was going to get grounded?

"Where's home?"

Uh, it's on the license plate, Mr. Defender of Freedom. He called a tow truck and let me hang in his heated cruiser while he lectured me on the dangers of sleeping on the side of the road and told me that he thought I had a fever. I explained that I'd planned to walk to the next exit in the morning and there's no way I'm getting sick at this point. I have to go back to work the day after tomorrow 'cause my former friend stole every cent I had left and I'm friggin' broke.

Thankfully, the tow truck arrived in a record 20 minutes. I hopped happily out of the car to greet the driver. And then, the universe dealt me another blow: a Rottweiler the size of a draft horse bounded out the tow truck's door, spotted me and, with a mighty bark, tore right at me. It was like trying to outrun the wind. By the time I could have turned for the car, he would have been upon me. Besides... I no longer cared.

It had been the most annoying week of my life. I was prepared to die... and apparently that preparation was just in time for an attack by this erstwhile Cujo. As I resigned myself to my doom, the big black horse scrunched its hindquarters and leaped through the air....

To be continued...

That's Chicago, Part: Deux

So, to continue from the previous post...

We ate leftover Thanksgiving turkey with David's mom, then hit every single freakin' skate and/or music store in the Chicago suburbs. I didn't know boys shopped that much. After a few hours, David and I headed into Chicago. We hit every art museum and interesting place in town, browsing stores well-stocked with Manic Panic and leather goods and generally wasting time. I ate Thai food for the first time. We did a lot of walking. It was low-key and very fun.

That night, I stayed in a basement bedroom at his mom's house, and in the morning we headed back into Chicago to finish sightseeing. Traffic was, surprisingly, not that bad - or, at least, it was NOTHING like New York had been when I visited. People were friendly and polite, easily striking up conversations in bars and on the street. I had a pretty great time wandering the city streets with a guy I'd never met before, haven't seen since and can't really remember his name. My roommate was nowhere to be found.

I dropped David off at his dorm in Bloomington-Normal and then went to find Gibran. No one was home at Aenitia's. I killed some time, called around, but couldn't find him. It was getting late and I was tired so I took a room at a cheap motel and left news of my whereabouts.
Shortly, Aenitia and Irene showed up to inform me that Gibran's feelings were hurt.

"And... why isn't he telling me this himself?"

They looked uncomfortable: "Look, he has feelings for you. This trip... he was hoping for a chance to explore those."

"Then he might have maybe actually gone with me to Chicago, yes?" I reasoned. "This is stupid. He effectively abandoned me to my own devices, and then he whines about how he has feelings for me? I mean, we LIVE together, for Christ's sake. There are better places than a house full of strangers to explore feelings."

They invited me back to the house. I told them I'd paid good money for this room and I was going to sleep in it. Gibran was welcome to join me for a nice chat. They said to come over tomorrow and they'd see what could be accomplished. The next day, we ordered pizzas, played cards and drank. Gibran never showed.

In the morning, I found a note from Aenitia, who had left for work. Attached was a note from Gibran: "Stacey, thanks for the ride. I'll send you some gas money later. Gibran."

Shit. I had given Gibran $75 to hold for me, so I wouldn't spend all of it in Chicago. I had a quarter tank of gas and $5 and a BP card in my purse. There were no BPs that far north.
I grabbed some chips from the kitchen, eked every drop of gas out of that $5, and drove. It was 14 hours back to Atlanta, and I was determined to go until I ran out of gas.

Hours later, I was down to less than 1/8 of a tank and getting nervous. Somehow, I hadn't expected to actually run out of gas... I just wanted to make it to Paducah, Kentucky, where I knew there was a BP station. I was still two hours away. It was not going to happen.

And then, lo, in the distance... a truck stop. "WE TAKE ALL GAS CARDS!" the sign boasted. And it was true. I gassed up and stocked up on SunChips, Diet Mountain Dew and a microwave burger. I had 10 hours to go.

In Nashville, Tenn., I called my dad. "If I'm not home by 12:30 a.m., something's wrong. Call the state patrol," I joked.

He was not amused. "Where's Gibran?" he asked.

"Yeah... uh, long story. Made short, he's staying there."

"Did you know that when you went up there?" Dad asked, surprised.

"I suspected," I lied. No point in confirming what was already a well-known incompetence on my part.

"Okay, drive safe," he said. I could hear that he didn't like me driving alone from Chicago to Atlanta. I was almost home, though. What could happen?

I'll tell you what could happen: Forty-five minutes outside of Nashville, my damn crank shaft snapped in two.

To be continued...

Monday, June 23, 2008

That's Chicago, Part: Boss Wondering What is Wrong With Me

AUGUSTA, GA. - So, because I'm a genius, I told this story to my supervisor while we were out on sales calls. Now she thinks I'm psycho. I'm sure we'll be taking separate cars from now on.

When I was wee retarded lass, fresh off the short bus to college, I had a roommate in the tiny house in the Amityville Horror of Georgia known as Milledgeville (sorry, Josh. I know you'll be there for a couple of years. At least TRY to soak up the spirit of Flannery O'Conner). Actually, I had several roommates, from frat kings to goth queens... and one regular queen (Hi, TJ!). My favorites were, of course, Tonya and Penny, two of the most fantabulous chicas ever to grace the earth. I'm a better person for having known them.

But in a transition between dorm contracts - or maybe it was summer... or something... it's all a little hazy now - I had a short-lived cohabitant named Gibran Something-or-Other. He was an Illinois native whose parents had moved down to Georgia shortly after he graduated high school and he'd come with because he was 17 or 18 and it was the thing to do.

SIDE NOTE: Holy Crap! I just randomly googled him and here he is! He's all normal and Cosby-sweatering up the planet, NOT scrubbing gas station toilets like I'd imagined! Of course, he looks totally different now. But so do I. (sigh) Ah, Botox and Liposuction. Would that I knew thee.

So, anyway, he was homesick and we made plans to drive to see friends of his in Bloomington-Normal after exams, with the caveat that we spend just ONE DAY in Chicago. I had some money. He didn't have much. The deal was struck. We set off with my parents' gas card and a few hundred dollars (and by "a few," I mean about $200, a fortune to me then).

In Carbondale, we stopped to stay with his friend, Tom, at Southern Illinois University. We ended up at a rave in East St. Louis. I don't remember how or why. But I do remember climbing some statues on campus and watching "Fright Night" on Dorm TV. The makeup artist in that movie had some kind of dental fetish. There's no way even a vampire - even a vampire played by Chris Sarandon, who can, of course, track a falcon on a cloudy day - can fit that many teeth in his head.

Anyway, when we woke up, I went out to the car and got our rations of peanut butter and bread. When I went to replace them, the car was gone. Towed away. Apparently, you can't back your car into a parking space on the SIU campus. Would have been good to know that. Instead, since no one we knew or had met seemed to have a car, we hoofed it five miles to the garage, where they were very happy to sell the rights to my car for a mere $80. Awesome.

We went back the all-guys dorm where I took a short and rather uncomfortable shower, and then napped for an hour or two before we were to leave for Bloomington-Normal. When I woke up, I discovered that one of the two boys had taken the cash out of my wallet and given it to some douche to buy acid. As in, LSD, not the glycolic peel kind. No "underground" spa treatments in this scrungy dorm full of stoners. The plan was to sell it at a profit at our next stop.

Well, that wasn't MY friggin' plan. After hours of waiting and a big no-show from The Dude, I practically dragged the two boys over to The Dude's dorm room. There was much discussion among the drug-users about when "the guy was going to bring the stuff" and how it "was not cool" that he wasn't here. I swear I had to battle a contact high and grit my teeth through what I swear was 10 minutes of a Cheech and Chong routine somehow mixed with Who's on First before I butted in and said very plainly: "Look, either fork over the stuff or give me my money back. It wasn't theirs to give away in the first place. Pay up or I'm calling the cops." I was pretty mad by then. Tom and Gibran whined about how I had embarrassed them. I told them to shut up and stop taking stuff from my purse - unless they needed a tampon - which, judging by the pitch of their whining, would not have surprised me.

Four hours late, we reached Bloomington-Normal, where yet another booze-laden party was roaring. Everyone was carrying a 40-ounce and saying, "Yeah, I'm a pimp!" while slamming into each other to the dulcet tones of Cypress Hill and Rage Against the Machine. (Oh, shut up. It was 1994) To be polite, I mingled as best as I could, which mainly involved shouting, "What?! WHAT is your name?! BUG?! Oh, Cool!" over deafening music and doing a couple of shots. Hey, I was of age. Finally, I cornered Aenitia, proprietor of our free accommodations, and explained that I was fug-tired. She showed me to a bedroom. I fell into bed fully clothed...

... and woke up a couple of hours later to find two guys crawling into bed with me. "Hey! What the hell are you doing?!"

One of them raised his hands in a placating gesture. "It's cool! It's cool! We just need somewhere to crash!"

I was tired. It was a king sized bed. "Fine, whatever."

Then we started talking and made each other laugh like crazy until 5 a.m.

When we got up at 10 a.m., Gibran didn't want to go to Chicago.

"Dude. One day. That's all I asked," I pleaded.

He was weird and wouldn't make eye contact.

"Fine. I'll go by myself."

"You can't go by yourself," Guy 1 said.

"Sure I can."

"Where will you stay?"

"I dunno."

"Where are you going?"

"Downtown."

"Where downtown?"

"Uh... the down part of the town?"

"You have no plan whatsoever do you?"

Seeing as how that's pretty much the way I lived my life, I didn't see any reason to get all worried about it now. Of course, with a plan, we might not have had to walk 5 miles to pick up my rockin' Ford Escort hatchback in Carbondale, but that was a minor problem, I thought.

"Look, we're going to visit his mom," Guy 1 said, indicating Guy 2, whose name was David, I think. "Why don't you come with us?"

"Uh... hell. Okay," I said.

There. That was a plan... sort of.

To be continued...

Summer Lovin'

It was such an easy weekend. We picnicked and spent hours on both Saturday and Sunday climbing rocks and swimming at Aquaduct Park. Emmie gained almost measurable confidence and surefootedness as we explored Saturday and Sunday.

"Look for good steps," I told her. "Try to find dry, flat rocks." She nodded enthusiastically: "I be cawefull."

Yeah, she slipped and fell a couple of times, once sliding on her butt down the slick rocks of the waterfall into a shallow pool. She picked herself up and laughed - a little nervously. And later, she did take a hard fall onto her hip, but she cried it out and went on about her business.

Twice, she actually jumped off the rocks into the deep water with me. Of course, I was holding her... and the second time, she was none too happy about the experience. But it was a reminder that while my 3-year-old is not fearless, she possesses a spirit of adventure that I adore. I, however, managed to twist my right ankle and had to sit out a couple of hours of fun with a book while Scott and Emmie tromped around in the trees, battled pirates at the waterfall and tossed a beach ball back and forth. Oh, well. It feels better today.

And when she got whiny and tired, we came home and dried off, snuggled on the couch and popped in "Toy Story 2," a movie that I got at Goodwill... along with five paperbacks, two children's books and a new dress for Emmie, all for $11. That was the most money we spent all weekend, except for the weekly trip to the grocery store.

It was such a refreshing change from the neverending mental involvement of my previous position. Granted, I was on solid ground and I loved every minute of the job - including the constant composition that went on in my head at all hours of the day and night. But this new position in sales, well, there are benefits I hadn't realized until Sunday night, when we tucked Emerson into her bed and she actually went to sleep, happily exhausted by the weekend's activities. I didn't step foot in the office all weekend.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

GraphJam Always Cracks Me Up

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Running a Little "Ruff"

Despite the fact that I shelled out the money to have my car detailed, and then I hosed it down with Oust, it has developed a never-before-smelled odor. It's the unmistakable scent of wet dog - despite the fact that we have never brought a wet dog with us in the car anywhere. So... phantom dog? Or olfactory hallucination?

The Cheese Stands Alone

I would like to point out that despite my initial reluctance, I am the ONLY person in our office currently using Twitter. Fooey on you guys.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Truth in Advertising

Had a long day today. Pitched a lot of ads, sold nothing. Wondering exactly why they hired me for this. I'm sure they are, too.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Up Up and Away...

AUGUSTA, GA. - I can't remember what a "normal" Saturday night is like. Dinner and a movie? Videos and popcorn? Snuggling in with books and conversation? I don't think I've done any of those things in years. Usually I get Emmie into bed after a long day of parks and such, then crawl into my jammies and curl up with a book, only to fall asleep 15 minutes later. Cause I'm a rock star.

Saturday night was no exception. The one time Scott and I have adult plans - dinner with the Cheeks at their home in North Augusta - there is drama.

"Dinner's ready," Terri calls, and we go out onto the front porch to retrieve the smokers.
"Look at that!" Andy points. It's a blue and white hot air balloon, and it's coming down fast. "There's nowhere for them to land," he worries, and takes off running across yards to see if he can figure out where they're going.

"There's not a field there or something?" I call.
"No. That's all forest," he shouts back.

They're landing, but in the middle of the woods? We figure it has something to do with the thunderheads massing above us.

"Honey, shouldn't you call public safety?" I ask Scott. He is visibly reluctant. But the balloon goes down so he calls. There's no way for us to get to them, and we don't see a fireball or hear screaming, so we leave it to the pros.

Then, Terri spots a red and yellow balloon less than a quarter of a mile away: "God, there's no way they're going to make it," she exclaims.

The balloon drops, hovers, is buffeted by rising winds, and drops again. They're down, and it doesn't look good. She and her mom, Eileen, and I take off after it. Andy steps inside to grab a camera and call the police. Eileen's still carrying her glass of Pinot Grigio. She stops to down it and tosses the glass in the bushes as we cackle hilariously.

We round the corner into the next neighborhood and there it is: a fully inflated hot air balloon resting perfectly at the intersection in a quiet little neighborhood in North Augusta. A corp of workers has already surrounded it, some wearing t-shirts that say "Chase Crew" on the back. They tell us that they had taken off from Hammonds Ferry when rain began coming in from the West.

"You can't fly a balloon in the rain," one of the workers drawls.

In less than 10 minutes, they have the entire structure down, deflated, and packed in a bag not much larger than a suitcase. Terri helps them by sitting on it. I borrow a camera from some teenagers in a truck and snap photos. If "Sutton" e-mails them to me, I'll post them. But she hasn't yet.

It was pretty incredible. A pinpoint landing in rough weather, backed up by carefully coordinated spotters in radio contact. They knew the other balloon was down, and a team was helping them, too.

By the time we got back to eat Terri's delicious salmon - retrieving Eileen's discarded wine glass along the way - the food was cold. Delicious, but stone cold.

It was worth it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Life With Toddler

I've never been certain of how personality and intelligence are developed in childhood, but I'm leaning toward the tabla rasa view at the moment. Toddlers have to be taught everything. Tonight is a prime example.

Things it Would Never Occur to Emmie Might Somehow Kill Her:
  • Running into a road
  • Examining a snake that is two feet from her face
  • Bringing me a spider 3-inches across that she found in her room
  • Pulling the dog around by its tail
  • Eating after the dog
That last one was classic toddler. She had a corn dog on her plate tonight (what? corn is healthy) and wandered away from it - because unlike her "curvy" mother, Emmie is indifferent to food until shortly before she passes out from the lack of it. Enter Scrabble, the Rat Terrorist. He swooped in and snatched it, pulling it under the coffee table.
"NOOOOO!" Emmie screeched, and yanked it away.
She stared at it intently, and then shook it: "I get the dirties off," she explained.
Then, as I watched in horror, she dunked it in her cup of lemonade.
"What - what are you doing?!" I asked, disgusted. She put one hand up to stop me.
"I jus cleaning it," she said, and then took a bite out of the dripping breading. "Mmm. Iss goot," she nodded.

Dear God.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

All a-Twitter

B.O.: "Have you guys heard of Twitter?"
Me (laughing): "Yeah!"
B.O.: "What? It's brand new!"
Me: "No, it's not!"
B.O.: How old is it?"
Me: "Like, three years."
B.O.: "Yeah, but nobody used it, you geek."
Me: "Okay, fine, bodybuilder.com."
A.C.: "Oooh!"
SS: "What's twitter?"
Me: "It's micro-blogging."
B.O.: "So do you use it?"
Me: "No. It bores me. I don't like it."
B.O.: "Well, I want everyone in the office to start using it. So look for your invite."
Me: "See, what I meant to say is I LOVE Twitter!"
B.O.: "Yeah, whatever."

Monday, June 09, 2008

Did Pitcher Strike Ump on Purpose?

By KEN SUGIURA, TODD HOLCOMB
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

One pitch.

One controversial pitch. What happened in less than two seconds during a high school baseball state title game on May 31 has engulfed a northeast Georgia school in a heated debate that rages online and has reached major-league baseball.
More on ajc.com

Captured on video, that one pitch by Stephens County High School's Cody Martin has been played more than 400,000 times on YouTube alone.

Because of that pitch, the school has been warned and fined, the umpire it hit has retained a lawyer, and a college banned the catcher involved from playing there next year.

All because of one pitch.

What happened is clearly visible on the video: Stephens County's Martin throws a pitch that catcher Matt Hill does not come close to catching. Hill ducks, and the ball strikes umpire Jeff Scott in the face mask. Read the rest of the story here.

Watch footage (including slo-mo) of the pitch below.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Anyone Feel Like Lame Duck l'Orange?

The newest economic indicators on Friday said that unemployment was up this month. President Bush blamed it on "new job seekers." That's frickin' genius. If they weren't looking for jobs, they wouldn't be unemployed! Man, I wish I was smart like that.

Why I Don't Let Her Eat Sugar - Take Note, Grandparents of the World

I should have been suspicious from the start.

"Where are you going?" I asked Emmie as she trotted past me out of the room. She had been eating her lunch and watching (yet another) princess movie as we cooled off from our morning excursions to the Canal and the park.

"I go to da kitchen," she answered blithely.

"Oh."

I continued to type an answer to an e-mail. No, Mom, those shoes you found are not a pair I left behind on my last visit. But if you come across a $100 bill, heh heh, definitely mine.

Emmie sprints past me, disturbing my plans for annoying the crap out of my mother with a sense of humor she sometimes finds disturbing (search this blog for "sport tampons"). I glance over my shoulder. She's entranced by the entrance of Prince Edward: "I've been dreaming of a true love's kiss..." Blech.

"Mama!" she commands.

"Yes, sweetie?"

"Can I hab sum i cream, pwease?" she asks sweetly.

"We don't have any ice cream, honey, but maybe we can get some when we go out later," I blow her a kiss.

"Oh. Okay," she answers, a definite note of disappointment in her voice. After all, Nona ALWAYS has ice cream.

Not 20 seconds later, she's dragging her blue plastic chair across the wooden floor. "I beed dweameed ub a twue wuves kiss..." she sings softly along to the DVD that I don't hate as much as other princess movies.

"Whatcha got there?" I ask, amused by an anecdote about my precocious daughter - currently dragging a chair past me - that I'm relating to my mother.

"I got a chair," she answers, not looking at me as she drags it through the doorway.

"Where you going with that chair?" I ask, amused. Of course I see that you have a chair. Now how will that help you to implement your evil plan is what I want to know.

"I going to da kitchen," she scoffs at me.

"What are you doing in the kitchen?" I ask, and then I am distracted by a sudden blast of dragon fire on the television. I didn't know the volume went to 11, geez! I walk over to turn it down, and begin gathering the detritus from her lunchtime jamboree. How does she make such a mess?! I toss a half-eaten bit of string cheese to the dog, gather the scattered escapees from raisin land, and walk the crap to the kitchen.

I see her. She sees me. We both freeze. She is perched on top of the back of her chair, leaning across the kitchen counter with one hand in the sugar canister.

"Hey!" I exclaim.

So quickly that I swear I feel a mini-sonic boom, she stuffs one fist in her mouth and scrambles for another handful from the container. I toss the crap on the counter and sprint over, dragging her hand from the container as she reaches in with the other. I grab that one as she stuffs the other one in her mouth, giggling so hard I'm afraid she's going to inhale the sugar into her lungs. I grab both wrists and pry her off the counter.

She stands, laughing like a maniac and licking her hands while I survey the damage. Looks like the aftermath of a night at Studio 54. Sugar granules crunch under my bare feet. Awesome. As I clean the mess and Emmie tries to explain: "I sowwy, mama. I jus' look at flourcoffeesugar. I jus' looking."

"Baby, you look with your eyes, not with your hands and mouth," I explain, sighing. "No more of this crap, Emmie. If you want something sweet, ask Mommy. We don't eat sugar out of the jar, okay? Let's go have a time-out. You count to 30 and when you're ready to apologize, you can come out."

She goes dutifully to her snowman pillow in her room and sits down with a frowny face, still trying to explain what is clearly a misunderstanding on my part. "But I jus' looking at da flourcoffeesugar," she insists, hands raised in a universal sign of understanding. I close the door and return to sweep the kitchen floor.

How much did she eat?! I wonder. I find out soon. And all afternoon.

There is no nap. No reading time. No quiet time. Nothing. Even when I sit her down with a plastic plate of paint and plenty of brushes and paper, it's like she can't focus even her eyes long enough to accomplish anything.

"Mommylookatme?!" she shrieks, puts one arm up over her head, the other behind her back, makes a goofy face and hops on one foot. "Bleeehblehblehblehbleh!"

She giggles hysterically.

"Wow, that's great, honey. Would you like to help Mommy do some dishes?"

"No!NoIdon'wannadodishesIwannagoowside! Lesgoowsidemama! Lesgo! Lesgo!" she grabs my hand and we careen out the door. She spends 30 minutes alternately playing tag with the fence and climbing up and leaping off of her Little Tykes slide set. Our neighbor comes out of the other apartment, sees us, and observes the crazed monkey I've unleashed in the open air.

"Wow," she says. "I've never seen her like this."
"Yeah. We forgot her the medication," I drawl. She looks at me askance.
"I'm joking," I explain. "She got into the sugar."
"Ohhhh," she nods, grinning. "Well, she'll crash soon."

Actually, she spent most of the afternoon alternately chasing and poking me with her "arrmatey," and when I took that away she got the broom, which set the dog to barking (he hates the broom). All in all, I think I burned more calories yesterday than I have in the last two weeks.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Wins and Losses

Scott found out today that WGAC swept the GABBY Awards. Out of the 10 awards they were up for, they won all 10, including station of the year for the 7th year in a row. Scott won a Merit Award on top of all that, so we're really proud. It makes up for him having to witness that execution last night in Columbia.

However, to show what a dork I'll always be regardless of how well we're doing: the phone rang a little while ago.

"Hello?" I answered. There were what sounded like cars and someone fumbling for something. But no one answered.

"Hello?" I tried again. More of the same. I figured someone had accidentally dialed a number while the phone was in their pants and they were driving.

"Hellooooooo, is it me you're looking foooooooor?" I launched into Lionel Richie.

"Hello?" a voice responded. Ahhhh! I scrambled for somewhere to hide before realizing that they couldn't see me. "Is Scott there?"

"Uh. Uh. Uh.... No, he just left."

"This is Commissioner Joe Jackson..."

(sigh) Of course it is.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Stupid Warning Labels

No Refill? Did you really have to tell us that?


Friends Don't Let Friends Wear Popped Collars


(Outside Zoo Atlanta)

Local Radio Show features the Augusta Photography Festival

Augusta, GA – The June 7th Arts Weekly Radio show features an interview with DK Bhaskar a key organizer of the Augusta Photography Festival. Arts Weekly is your guide to arts and entertainment in Augusta GA and the CSRA. Hosted by Brenda Durant, the Executive Director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council, the show pulls back the curtain on art, artists and the people who work hard to make your playing easy. Arts Weekly is broadcast on Perry Broadcasting’s Smooth Jazz Station 92.3 every Saturday morning from 9:30-10 a.m.

Check out the Augusta Photography Festival.

What Might Be a Zombie Outbreak?

AUGUSTA, GA. - Conversations like this is how you know you have a problem:

Me: "Oh, guess what? Scott went to Borders last night to get a book and a movie with his gift card."
A.C.: "What'd he get?"
Me: "I couldn't believe it! He brought home 'Dawn of the Dead!'"
A.C.: "Oh, how sweet!"

She wasn't joking. She knew how delighted I'd be. Zombie films are awesome. I don't know why. They scare the shit out of me, but I love them. So when Scott came home and said, "We'll watch this after the baby goes to sleep," I thought, "Hmm. I wonder if she's too young for Nytol?" Yes! I know she is! I'm kidding!

Anyway, he popped it in the DVD player and I curled up on the couch and watched it through the blanket I used to cover my face. It was so scary! But one day I'd love to watch a zombie movie in 3D. BADASS!

The problem is that I spend a lot of my spare time worrying about zombie infestations. I don't go in the basement of our offices at The Metro Spirit because I'm convinced that's where the uprising will begin. It's the creepiest place ever. So, either zombies or 700 Broad Street sits on top of a "Hellmouth", a gateway to demon realms.

Either way, Augustans should keep a wary eye out for government cover-up of zombie activity. It's important that we stay alert.

How can you tell from the news if a zombie outbreak has happened near you?
  1. Homicides in which victims were executed by head shots or decapitation. It has happened many times: People recognize an outbreak and try and take matters into their own hands. Almost always, these people are declared murderers by local authorities and prosecuted.
  2. Missing persons, particularly in wilderness or uninhabited areas. Pay careful attention if one or more of the search members end up missing. If the story is televised or photographed, watch to see what level of armament the search parties carry. Any more than one rifle per group could mean this is more than just a simple rescue operation.
  3. Cases of "violent insanity" in which the subject attacked friends or family without use of weapons. Find out if the attacker bit or tried to bite his victims. If so, are any of the victims still in the hospital? Try to discover if any of these victims mysteriously died within days of their bite.
  4. Riots or other civil disturbances that began without provocation or other logical cause. Common sense will dictate that violence on any group level does not simply occur without a catalyst such as racial tension, political actions of legal decisions. Even so-called "mass hysteria" can always be traced to a root source. If none can be found, the answer may lie elsewhere.
  5. Disease-based deaths in which the cause is undetermined or seems highly suspect. Deaths from infectious disease are rare in the industrial world, compared to a century ago. For this reason, new outbreaks always make the news. Look for those cases in which the actual nature of disease is unexplained. Also be on alert for suspicious explanations such a West Nile virus or "mad-cow" disease. Either could be examples of a cover-up.
  6. Any of the above in which media coverage was forbidden. A total press blackout is rare in the United States. The occurrence of one should be regarded as an immediate red flag. Of course, there may be many reasons other than an attack of the living dead. Then again, any event causing a government as media-conscious as our own to clamp down merits close attention. The truth, no matter what it is, cannot be good.

Taken from The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks (Page 26)

Our Classy Podcast Studio



As you can see, we put a lot of time, energy and effort into our work here at The Metro Spirit...
Oh, well. Whatever works.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

We've Sensed It. We've Seen The Signs. Now... It's Happening: The Funky Bunch is Back

A.W.: "So what do you think the twist is going to be in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening?"
Me: "Idunno. That it's all taking place in Andy Warhol's Factory?"

I Guess if They Can't Spell "Light," We Can't Expect Them to Spell "Miller" Correctly


This sign can be seen at Somewhere in Augusta.



Get Out Your Rolling Papers...

... here come the Doobie Brothers.

So Payback: Celebrate James Brown was a few weeks ago, and my camera had almost no battery life left in it. Also, the day had almost no light left in it. So these photos suck. But only about 2,000 people showed up anyway. Here are some photos.

As soon as "Blackwater" came on, Emmie took off (with me in hot pursuit), ran down to the front, climbed up on the barrier, raised her tiny fist in the air and shrieked "WOOOOOOOO!" Give that girl a Rebel Flag bikini and a beer bottle, and I think it's done time we married her off, Paw.


These folks were grooving. It was... groovy. And stuff.

Some people couldn't be bothered to pay actual money to see the show. These people are what we like to refer to as "cheap bastards." Apparently, when paying back James Brown, they could only find old chewing gum wrappers and coupons to Putt-Putt.

Stupid Pamphlet Ideas

AUGUSTA, GA. - Look, large crowds are going to bring out the nutcases. And nutcases, as we all know, are often laden with the crazy-papers, better known as pamphlets, leaflets, or Bible tracts. These are frequently left on tables as tips for servers who don't understand why every cent that a true believer makes must be put into the cause, even to the detriment of the beer money for other people.

But at First Friday in March, I got a pamplet that proves that the pamphlet industry has become far too competitive. Apprently al of the Anti-Abortion, Pro-Death Penalty and Try Our Chicken Wings They're the Breast in Town manners of mental littering were currently unavailable on the field of play. Enter the second string, which brought forth a call from Jebus himself: "Just for you: Dealing With Foul Language" sayeth the Lawd.




This pull-quote box really sums up the entire reason to waste this defenseless piece of paper: "Only God can clean up your speech," it says. Because free will apparently has fudge-all to do with it.

Please! We Know Her Husband is a Sex Machine... well, not from experience or anything... it's just - no, we're not thinking about it! Gaaaaaaaahhhhh!

A.C.: "So my gynecologist's office just called to say that she retired - a week before my next appointment."
Me: "What? That's weird."
A.C.: "Yeah. Thanks so much."
Me: "Well, it's only your vagina. No big deal."
A.C.: "Yeah, nothing much ever happens there anyway."

I Can't Believe I've Held This For Six Months

So, we were at the Beasley Broadcasting Christmas Party in December. It was a lovely soiree at Enterprise Mill, all nice but middle-brow with smoked salmon and roasted pork loin sliced very thin. Beer and wine, no mixed drinks. That kind of thing. Very Augusta, in other words.

The tables were scattered with STUFFED SNOWMEN (because they work at a Hallmark store and stuff??? ) and sparkly gold and silver holiday greeting confetti. Or so we thought. Until Mary Liz unfurled one of the glittering gems.


"Birthday," it read - and, of course, others said "Happy."
I guess "Holidays" was too much to ask for.



Goes Perfectly With Your Box-o-Wine

What Kind of an Idiot Do They Think I Am?

When you send someone a cardboard facsimile of a credit card...

Do you really need to print this on the back?



Not Technically Proficient, But I Still Think it's Pretty

Come Along and Ride on my Fantastic Voyage...

Rad parking job, whoever-you-are.




Who Doesn't?

We Can't Even Play Cards Normally in My Family

We're trying to teach my nephew to play... something - rummy? Who knows? - in this video. Can you imagine telling you 10-year-old nephew: "Play right or we're going to beat your ass?" That's just S.O.P. at our house.

video

And Speaking of Retards...

AUGUSTA, GA. - This guy cut me off so sharply on Riverwatch Parkway one morning as I was coming into work that I had to run all up on the shoulder. And there's only about 2 inches of space between the edge of the road and the guard rail on that highway. He was going about 90 mph in a 55 mph zone, weaving in and out of traffic like a freak, and continued his attempts to kill himself and take out half of the commuting workers in Augusta through downtown's main thoroughfare. Oddly enough, even though he cut me off - scaring me so badly that I had to stop and compose myself before continuing to work - and despite the fact that he was going nearly 40 miles an hour faster than I was, I still ended up RIGHT BEHIND HIM when we got down to Broad Street.

Frickin' idiot.

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Retards

AUGUSTA, GA. - So I was driving down Furys Ferry Road between Riverwatch and Washington a few weeks ago, having just picked Emmie up from day care. A car swerved in the lane beside me and the windows rolled down. Some high school student, guffawing, leaned out and began to shoot photos of me. I have no idea why.

It kind of freaked me out. Did my wig fly off into traffic? Is there a booger on my lip? Is my underwear hanging out of the car door and flapping in the breeze? WHAT?!
They weren't driving very well, seeing as how they were all laughing so hard. Afraid of an accident - and also just to annoy them - I pulled out my camera and started shooting back. Hilarity ensued from the other car. I guess everything is funny when you're in high school and high on the freedom that comes from four wheels and an engine. What do you want to bet, though, that their future discussions about this incident sounded similar to this:

Scott Evil: Well my friend Sweet Jay took me to that video arcade in town, right, and they don't speak English there, so Jay got into a fight and he's all, "Hey quit hasslin' me cuz' I don't speak French," or whatever! And then the guy said something in Paris talk, and I'm like, "Just back off!" And they're all, "Get out!" And we're like, "Make me!" It was cool.


In other words, like douchebags.

If you see this car, just... shake them a little for me. They went speeding off on Washington Road like hellmonkeys, weaving in and out of traffic, like I was going to chase them for snapping photos of me instead of turning at the first light to take my daughter home. Isn't that kind of behavior what stupid crap like mudd buggin' is for?

Clearing Out the Pee-Yooter

AUGUSTA, GA. - I'm going to try my hand at ad sales. I won't lie: the money is a temptation. But also I'm excited to learn more about the business side of publishing. If I decide to stay on the business side, it will be a chance to expand my skill set. If I return to the editorial side, it will help me to build relationships and understand parts of the community that have eluded my noodle head thus far. I'll give it 100 percent, and we'll see where it leads.

But changing jobs on Monday means moving desks. I'll still be at the Metro Spirit, but the dept. needs this system badly. So I'm cleaning off all the things I've intended to post but never got around to over the next few days. Much of it is stupid imagery I've collected. Hope you enjoy it!

Kind of how I feel right now.
And, no, this is not my child, nor did I do this to one.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

When Publishers Talk Smack

A.W.: "What's B.O.'s problem with Phil Stacey?"
Me: "Idunno."
A.W.: "I thought you said he was really nice and really funny?"
Me: "He was!"
A.W.: "So what does he want?"
Me: "Idunno."
A.W.: "I guess we're not as hip as Orangeburg."

Phil Stacey will play The Country Club on June 13.

Wine firm hopes waves will make its bubbly sparkle

From Reuters:

PARIS (Reuters) - One of France's oldest champagne producers is testing a new way of ageing its bubbly: on the seabed off northern France.

Louis Roederer wants to find out if its wine tastes better if it is kept in cold sea water and rocked by currents than in the cellars of the city of Reims, where it is normally stored.

Roederer said on Monday it had placed several dozen bottles 15 metres (50 feet) underwater in the bay of Mont Saint-Michel, a rocky tidal island off the coast of Normandy, last weekend.

A cellarman came up with the idea after realising that the water temperature in the bay, a constant 10 degrees Celsius (50.00F), was ideal for ageing wine.

In 12 months' time, Roederer will hold a tasting session to compare champagne from the bottles kept on the seabed with those from its cellars.

Read the rest of the story by clicking here.

New Job, Old Company

AUGUSTA, GA. - As of this coming Monday (June 9), I'll be moving from the Arts Editor position I've loved for the last year to the business-oriented Account Executive position in the advertising department of The Metro Spirit. I'm really excited about offering a cohesive and long-term relationship with businesses in Columbia County, where we've had some disjointed coverage as of late. But since I'm not going anywhere, I hope to develop some great professional and personal friendships out there. I'm looking forward to it, but I'll miss all my friends in the arts community. Keep in touch with me, please, and I'll be certain to help funnel information to the edit department. In the meantime, consider advertising with The Metro Spirit to reach that all-important trend-setting and artistic demographic. We're how you develop brand loyalty:

Alternative newsweekly readers are trend-setters and trend-spreaders

According to a study conducted in Spring 2004 by NOP World [Roper], roughly 56% of alternative newsweekly readers are Influentials -- the 10% of the population that tells the other 90% where to shop and dine, how to vote, and, most importantly, how to spend their discretionary time and income.

An executive summary of the Influentials study illustrates that alternative newsweekly Influentials consume and recommend cultural activities (film, music, books, travel, live music, theater and fine art) at a far higher rate than the general public.

In addition to their outsized influence in matters of culture, alternative newsweekly readers are also young, active and independent. Here are the numbers across the industry:

Alt-Weekly Demographics*

• Male >> 52%
• Female >> 48%
• Not Married >> 50%
• 18-34 yrs >> 35%
• 18-49 yrs >> 68%
• 25-49 yrs >> 55%
• Avg HH Income >> $69,148
• Attended College or College Graduate >> 68%

*Source: 123-newspaper, 71-market Media Audit study (September 2006)

From J.C., Who is One of the Many Reasons I Love Working Here

AUGUSTA, GA. - "So I had this idea. I am going to record a country album. Anyways I thought of this premise for a song called 'Waffle Spouse,' It's about an older guy that goes to the waffle house every day and sits in the same section and falls in love with his younger server. She is really nice to him and brings him whatever he wants and all that. So after a couple of years he proposes to her and she says yes. Well, when he gets her home and wants her to bring him stuff and be the same girl that she was, she isn't. In fact she wont do shit for him now and he is miserable. say something like:

Took my girl home and I screwed up
Thought I'd be happy as can be
Now I'm sittin' lookin' into an empty cup
cuz she wont take orders from me....

and in the end of the song it turns out that he is singing it to his new waitress at the waffle house....and of course, she is nicer to him."

God, isn't he a little bit of genius in a goofball exterior?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Some New Sites That Look Interesting....

Don't quite have a passion for finance (we don't blame you),
but still need a way to manage your money?
Then free, secure and private Mint.com is for you.

A unique new social network and rewards program, Christiania Crowns is an online community for the culturally savvy, artistic-minded, and vodka-loving side in all of us.
A site for families who think staying organized is an unobtainable goal — being wrong has never felt so good.
Rate your doctor, participate in community discussions,
share healthcare success stories or voice your concerns about healthcare.

OVGuide.com — the Online Video Guide is the most complete & comprehensive guide to the best sites to find free online movies, videos, tv shows, games & more!
Alltop.com — a pretty fitting name for a online magazine rack with all the top stories, all the time. Start with Food.Alltop to get your feet wet and your belly full. Like it? Then check out Alltop's picks from News and Sports to Gadgets and Celebs, too.


Savannah River Boat Cruise

AUGUSTA, GA. - From a friend, Randy Potter, who took his girlfriend on a ride on the new S.S. Patriot Savannah River sunset river cruise on Saturday night.

"It was very nice . . . Its twenty buck$ per scalawag for the two hour "sunset cruise" up and down and then back to Tenth St. / Marriott.

Karen and I, we copped a spot on the bow right away where we weren't under cover or directly subject to the albeit informative narrative provided by the affable first mate. We'd brought along a bottle of wine and a phat nosh and that was nice.

The Patriot is a triple pontoon , tri-hulled vessel of short draft with nice, quiet Honda outboards that served a decade in Boston Harbor. It began river/tour service here in March. It's 61 feet, about 13 feet in the beam.

Anyways, it went upstream as far as the fall line, about at Hammond Hills on the Carolina side (boy, they've built some nice homes along there ) and downstream a mile or so short of the Beech Island bridge / Bricker Farms krapsite.

I thought we'd go as far down as the controversial airport lock & dam. I was kinda disappointed about that. I wanted to see that from the water. Weather and sunset were perfect though.

Monday, June 02, 2008

We Like Rankings, too... But We Understand the Lower Scores Better

AUGUSTA, GA. - So, Damon Cline wrote one of his usually excellent analyses of business and trends in the area today in the Augusta Chronicle. He drew no real conclusions, but gave us plenty of food for thought. But because my opinion is so very important, I'd like to weigh in on the subject of rankings. Our commissioners call each other by quasi-racist slurs like "boy" and vote almost strictly along racial lines. Our arena authority gets into fistfights. Our schools... don't even get me started. Even if our daughter does attend a public elementary school and high school, she'll never attend a middle school in this county. Anyway, perhaps the reason that we ranked below Columbus, Ga., and Columbia, S.C., might be best illustrated below.


Dude, I don't even know what this says.

Who the heck is Rufus?



How do you even get up that high?


Lums? What does that mean?


Nice windows, dude.

Pretty.

Uhh... what is that about? You're tagging the garbage alley?

The "gift" of graffiti.

Not somewhere I'd go for a stroll.

Good things to eat? Maybe long ago...


(Sigh...) What is this even about? How do you own a building and let it get like this?
Dang, move in and live there, or something.


Great Kentucky - what?

Anyway, with things looking like that all over the downtown area, except for a couple of well-developed blocks, it's no wonder that the streets more often look like these photos: devoid of people even on a beautiful, temperate Spring day.