wine by the color

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dear Jersey Girl,

We’ve been talking, and we’d like to express some concerns.

We’re not sure what the hell happened on Saturday, but we’d prefer to not have it happen again anytime soon. First, do you realize how early you got us up during a holiday weekend? Unacceptable. Then, did you notice how hot it was? Those sorts of temperatures are really suitable for one thing – sitting on our neighbor to the north, your ass.

Logistics aside, what makes you think you can run five miles? You couldn’t do that when you were at the height of your athleticism, to which you have long since bid adieu. Why on earth would you want to do it now? Every year, you put us through this. Why? Can’t you just listen to “Born to Run” while driving? The "Chariots of Fire" and "Rocky" theme songs might have tricked your mind, but they did not fool us.

We do appreciate that you didn’t try to keep up with your brother and cousin after the second mile. Seriously. One is a former collegiate cross-country runner and the other trained to the tune of two miles a day. Thankfully, your brain stepped in and made you a little dizzy, so you switched to a brisk walk for a while. Then, your brain turned it over to your karma, which ran you into Randy during mile three. We noticed Randy’s body was conducting its own panicky meetings, and it was good to see you keep each other in check for the final 2.5 miles. Wasn’t it nice for you to have someone to run and chat with, at a moderate pace, instead of the craziness that was miles one and two?

We hope you were aware that we didn’t give you a hard time upon hitting the finish line. Did you notice you were able to walk without stumbling around? In fact, if you'll recall, we actually let you scale the light pole as you tried to find your cousin. Yes, we know you would have liked to have finished in less than an hour, but given your lackluster training, you should be happy you finished at all. So what if you needed an extra three minutes to get it done. At least the ambulance didn't cart you away. That dude did not look good.

After spending Saturday afternoon parked in an Adirondack chair, you didn’t go out Saturday night, which was a lovely surprise. Quite considerate of you to relax at home with family members, enjoying a little vino. But you threw us for a huge loop on Sunday when you went for a bike ride. And then a long walk Monday. Are you insane? DO YOU KNOW WHAT WE DID FOR YOU ON SATURDAY? Why do you torture us so?

So yes, we finally got you back last night. We knew you were laboring a bit as you rode your bike around the hills of central NJ. We decided to end your suffering, which is why, as you rode up one steep hill, it suddenly felt like your legs didn’t work anymore. We didn’t. We were done. You're lucky we let you get back to the house. Don't test us. Stay off that bike or there will be hell to pay.

How about some nice gentle yoga tonight? We promise we’ll behave. We can’t say the same, of course, for your feet. We believe they’re also holding emergency meetings. Hope that goes well.

Hugs and kisses,
Your legs

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I have always wondered how a town in the middle of Pennsylvania came to be called Jersey Shore. And now we know.

Great tidbit about Hunter S. Thompson. Paul Sarlo, however, needs to STFU.
She lives!

Unfortunately, I've returned from four days off to a surfeit of work, which is making it difficult for me to report on the weekend's activities. For now, I'll just say I survived Saturday morning. Details to follow.

Friday, May 26, 2006

In preparation for tomorrow's Spring Lake 5, I planned to do some training. But a hearty social and travel schedule made that impossible. The fact that I hate running didn't help. Instead, I decided to go in completely the other direction and not run at all prior to the race. I figured I might as well save as much energy as possible.

So instead of training, I thought I'd focus my attention on diet. I decided to keep a diary of my dinners for the week leading up to the event. And just how does a serious athlete fuel her body in advance of a five-mile race?

Friday: Two chicken cheese ring sandwiches and mozzarella sticks at White Castle.
Saturday: A cheese dog and cheese fries at the Windmill.
Sunday: Pizza
Monday: A Lean Cuisine. And a large bowl of Lucky Charms.
Tuesday: Pizza and popcorn
Wednesday: Pizza, cake and cookies
Thursday: Granola bar and cocktails

Clearly, I should be all set for tomorrow.

A sensible person might ask, if I hate running, why do I to sign up for this thing year after year?

Because it's the official kickoff to summer for us, and although the running is somewhat miserable, the event itself is fun. We line up on Ocean Avenue and await the starter's gun, as homeowners on the street blare "Born to Run" from their windows. From there, it's down through what I like to call the gates of hell, into Belmar, then around Lake Como. Through downtown, around Spring Lake, past our family and friends at St. Catherine's, back onto Ocean Avenue, and finally across the finish line.

Then, usually, to the diner to suck down pork roll and cheese sandwiches. Cause nothing says "Athletic Achievement Accomplished" like a plate of artery-clogging goodness.

A few years ago, Kerry and I had a few beers the night before. That was not wise, and will not be repeated in 2006. Some lessons only need to be learned once. I'm already at a disadvantage thanks to my bum feet. The last thing I need to do is raise my stomach's ire as well. Limping along is bad enough; I don't want to have to stop to vomit too. That's no way to start a summer.

I'll let you know how it goes. If you don't hear from me for a while, you'll have your answer.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A few years ago, I was summoned to perform a basic civic responsibility: jury duty. I hated my job at that time and would have done anything to get out of work, so it was quite fortunate that I wound up on a jury. It was an armed-robbery case. The defendant, whose full name I still remember, was accused of robbing a flower shop. During this, he hog-tied the most fragile Asian man I've ever seen and left him in the flower cooler. He was quite guilty.

Given my proclivity for falling asleep in places, I'm sure no one will be surprised to hear that I dozed off during the trial. But I would definitely have stayed awake had this happened.

In other legal-matters news, is this going to affect my taxes?

I went to yoga the other day, and during the lovely quiet time at the end of our practice, someone's cell phone started to ring. Is it wrong to think that should be punishable by death? Does that go against the very good karma nature of yoga? I'm torn.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


It's bad enough that his brother is running the country into the ground. We simply cannot allow the same to happen with the NFL.

I am completely dragging ass today, despite sleeping in for an extra hour, thanks to last night's marathon Mets game. Completely worth it after Beltran's game-winning homer in the bottom of the 16th.

Phillies' pitcher Ryan Madson threw seven innings in relief - from the ninth to the 16th. That is damn impressive. I bet half the pitchers who started MLB games last night didn't pitch that many innings.

Prior to watching the game, I took the crazy nephews to see "Over the Hedge" at the Dunellen Theater. These kid movies are well done - they're cartoons and obviously targeted to children, but they throw in enough adult humor to make it funny for everyone. At one point, one of the animals was yelling out "Stella" and I was cracking up. Adam demanded to know what was so funny, but it's hard to explain that to a five-year-old.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Fresh off Friday's fun and games, then there was Saturday...

I've always thought it was strange that you don't need any sort of license to operate a boat in New Jersey waters. Apparently, New Jersey finally agrees. As of June 1, anyone born after 1968 needs to possess a Boating Safety Certificate to drive a boat. So my brother and I spent Saturday learning about boating safety. It quickly became apparent that this was going to be a long day.

Class started at 8:15, and at 8:13 we made our first mistake - seat selection. There were about 70 people in the room (a sidebar: the session was held in the school cafeteria, and the menu from Friday was still listed. Leading off the lunch options? Pork roll and cheese. Outstanding work by this shore-town high school.) Because Skip and I obviously wanted to sit together, we wound up next to Dick and his son, Doug.

Ah, Dick. We'll get back to him in a minute.

Things started rather uneventfully. The first speaker was fine, offering a general overview of boats. He did start with about 20 minutes of shtick and stories before getting to the topic, but that was fine. The second speaker opened with, "Welcome to the longest day of your life." Given what I'd been through Friday, I thought that was highly unlikely.

He may have been right.

This guy was also fine, although a bit zealous in his instruction. You can tell he takes his boating safety extremely seriously. Then, it was on to the least engaging speaker I've ever heard. He did not change his tone for almost an hour. It also seemed he didn't know exactly what he was talking about. He was killing us. He went on forever, but was unfortunately reviewing some of the most important information, so I was unable to pull my "sleeping with my eyes open" routine. It was during this presentation that my brother leaned over and whispered, "If I fail this test, I'm never driving the boat again, because I'm not going through this again."

So, all of this would have been bad enough. But then you throw Dick into the mix. There was clearly something wrong with Dick. Either he was born sans some faculties, or he has had a stroke or is suffering from some disease that affects motor and mental skills, which is why I was as patient as I was. Otherwise, my hands would have been around his throat before the first break.

During the day, there were seven speakers, who addressed us for a total of seven hours. Half the time, Dick would repeat what had been said. For example, if a speaker said, "neither vessel is the stand-on vessel; both vessels should turn to the starboard," Dick would repeat, at a noticeable volume, "both turn starboard." For everything else, he would use one of the following words or phrases:

"Yes, sir."
"That's a no-brainer."
"Makes sense."
"That's right."
And the most common refrain, a Sling Blade-esque, "Uh huh."

And when I say everything else, I mean EVERYTHING. He had something to say about every single thing that was said. For seven hours. But I only shushed him once, and Skip did so once. Other than that, we just endured it. For a while, I jammed my finger in my right ear to try to block it out, but that got annoying, so I went back to simply sucking it up. In addition to the running commentary, Dick also dropped his pen on the floor no less than 10 times and banged into the desk every time he stood up or sat down (which was frequently, given the dropped pens and his need to go outside to smoke).

It's almost not worth noting that someone in our row had foregone a shower. I'll let you guess who. Fortunately, Doug was sitting between us.

We broke for lunch at 11:20, and Skip and I took refuge in the car, eating our packed lunch while we reviewed the morning and woke ourselves up with some loud music. We waited until the last possible minute to head back in, dreading the return to the school. Rightfully so, as the afternoon was just brutal. But the PM session did provide a few entertaining moments...

Leading off the afternoon action were the Tweedles - Dee and Dum. Dee did all of the speaking; Dum was a silent sidekick who lifted equipment when needed. They kicked things up a notch at about 2:05, when Tweedle Dum blasted the air horn. That woke up our new friend Kevin, seated on the other side of Skip, who jumped off his seat with a "Holy shit." At 2:07, an hour into this presentation, I wrote "We're going to die here" in my book. But at 2:09, the speaker was given the wrap-it-up sign from the back of the room and mercifully, it ended six minutes later.

My favorite moment of the afternoon came next, when the man sitting behind me raised his hand with a question. There's a lot of emphasis on the importance of not drinking while boating, and the instructor noted that if you are cited for drinking while operating a boat, you also get a DUI on your driver's license.

Apparently, there's some confusion as to whether the BAC allowance while boating is 0.10 or 0.08. So the guy behind me asked for a clarification. He wants to know exactly how many beers he can have while boating on New Jersey's waterways. Good times!

Finally, we arrived at the last speaker of the day. This guy was a dead ringer, both in looks and personality, for the teacher who ran in-school suspension at my high school. Chest puffed out, strutting around the room, with a cocky speaking style that was at times difficult to follow (at one point, I wrote down the following quote: "some a dem ones"). He played the bad cop role, trying to scare us with dire tales of boating gone wrong, resulting in all sorts of death and dismemberment. Fortunately, he sped through his material, and then it was time to take the certification test.

There were 50 questions, and you had to get at least 40 correct to pass. I answered the ones I knew and was sure I had 43 right, so I just guessed on the rest. It took no more than 10 minutes. Skip finished it in nine. It took Dick 35. But he passed. Everyone passed. I got 46 right, and my showoff brother, as he predicted, didn't miss a one.

The "this is time I'll never get back" mentality takes over when you're sitting through something like this. But there's always a bright side. My brother and I had a great time hanging out and sharing smart-ass commentary throughout the day. And, most importantly, we'll never have to do this again.
Skipping Saturday for a bit, because it will take a while to sort through the circus that was that day, let's move ahead to Sunday. I peeled myself out of bed after a little too much wine Saturday evening (which I had more than earned) and headed to Pansy Park to play softball with Simeon, Local Shill and others Sunday morning. The turnout was low but we still managed to put together a game. I love softball. It's one of those things that almost anyone can do. And although I hadn't played in almost two years, I was able to field and hit without embarrassing or injuring myself. Good times.

A few things from the news...

Today should be an interesting day in the Kansas City Royals' locker room.

This is included in a gallery of the best sports photos of the past week. I know there is always debate about what is and is not a sport - things like golf, auto racing, etc. Is showing your ta-tas a sport?

Speaking of the best sports photo gallery, this was another selection. I'm sure someone could come up with a better caption than "Barry Bonds (25) and Athletics shortstop Bobby Crosby (7) acknowledge each other during interleague play in Oakland, Calif." Anyone?

Given the chance, I'm not sure what one thing I'd like to change, but I can assure you it wouldn't be the keyboard. I can type 80+ words a minute with my eyes closed. I certainly don't want to have to relearn that.

And finally, my friend David sent me the following link this morning, under the subject heading, "I miss New Jersey." His message read: "We just don't have this sort of thing in England."

Hey, what can I say. Jersey represent.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Much to my surprise, my bag has been returned to me. Humanity 1, Jersey Girl 0.

As I walked out the door of my parents' house this morning (around 7:50 a.m.), my cell phone rang. As requested, (no less than three times to various representatives of the airline), I was being called before my bag was delivered. Unfortunately, the Continental representative was calling from my parking lot. From which I was approximately 72 miles away.

I TOLD them to call me before they delivered my bag, as I knew I'd be at my parents' house. But no. This cat was now at my front door. I told him I was down the shore, and while he was understanding, he was not about to deliver the bag there. But I was able to talk him into delivering it to my brother's house, so it wouldn't sit unprotected on my sidewalk in the rainy morning.

After a lengthy day, I drove home and picked up my bag at my brother's house. I was disappointed to find there was no note from my bag stealer contained within.

So I took advantage of the rare Saturday night at home to go through the TiVo. Brass lives! Vito is a catcher? Will and Grace didn't speak for 17 years? Speaking of the TiVo, so what if I have Extreme Home Makeover set for tomorrow night...
There's no better example to illustrate the good and bad of traveling for work than my last few days.

Things were going really well. I was in the Sea Island/St. Simons, Ga., area for a few days, which is one of my favorite locales. After productive meetings Thursday, I rented a bike and rode around the island, followed by a long walk on the beach. I returned to the lounge chair on the balcony of my oceanfront room and read for a while, before the sound of gently crashing waves lulled me to a quick nap. We had dinner here, which has the best crabcakes I've ever had. Friday morning, I had a leisurely breakfast before heading to the golf course, where I sat in an Adirondack chair overlooking the ocean, reading the paper while a co-worker held a meeting. At one point, I thought back to all the times the guys have accused me of having a racket of a job. At 9:30 Friday morning, I couldn't have argued otherwise.

And that's when karma came up and bit me on the ass...

It was a quick ride down to the Jacksonville Airport. The plan was for flight 3208 to depart JAX at 2:02 and arrive at EWR at 4:32 p.m., thus allowing plenty of time to pick up my brother and head to Flushing, N.Y., to enjoy the Mets-Yankees game. A solid plan which depended on one simple thing - Continental Airlines' ability to get me to Newark in a timely fashion.

Oh, how wrong things went.

We boarded on time and the plane started to taxi around 2:15. Suddenly, the plane stopped, and the flight attendant announced that because of weather in Newark, we were being delayed. He indicated the wait would be about 30 minutes, but shouldn't delay our arrival time.

Our arrival time was definitely affected.

We sat on the tarmac for a while, which would have been unpleasant enough on its own. Throw in a lack of air conditioning and outside temperatures in the high 80s, and it was miserable. But they wouldn't return to the gate, because they believed we were leaving at any minute. Finally, they gave up on that and returned to C-5. Almost everyone got off the plane. But they quickly fixed the AC issue, so I took advantage of the peace and quiet to do some reading.

And this seems like a good time to pose a question. Who brings young children on an airplane without bringing anything for them to do? No coloring books, no toys, nothing?

Ava's mom, that's who.

Ava was the tot sitting behind me. I'd say she was about three. Ava was one of three siblings, all of whom had nothing to do. Nothing to do except cry about having to go potty, pretend to throw up in the air sickness bag, kick the back of my seat, punch the side of the plane wall and generally carry on. But I can't blame Ava. It wasn't Ava's fault she didn't have anything to do. Let's blame Ava's jackass parents, who apparently believed that the lone entertainment needed to keep three urchins occupied on a plane was to sing loudly with them.

Anyway, we finally took off at 4:11. Just before we took off, I sent a text message to Kerry and told her to try to sell our tickets. I didn't see how we'd get there before 8 at the earliest, and if any additional disaster struck, we'd miss most of the game.

Good thing, because additional disaster definitely struck.

We were making good progress, and I thought we were pretty close to Newark. So I was quite surprised when the flight attendant announced that because we were in a holding pattern and they were unsure when we would be able to land in Newark, we were stopping in Norfolk, Va., to refuel. There was a concern that without a definite landing time, we could run out of gas. GOOD times.

Upon landing in Norfolk, I immediately called my brother. He's got caller ID on his work phone, so when he picked up, he greeted me with a cautious, "Hel-lo?" He was tracking my flight online and asked if I was in an area overly populated with representatives of the United States Navy. Indeed we were. He was printing the status updates from the Continental site, for my future amusement.

The plane was re-fueled and we left Norfolk within 45 minutes. One thing I will be noting in my angry letter to Continental CEO Larry Kellner is why they didn't think to pick up some food during our stop in Norfolk. Between 11:30 a.m. and 10:10 p.m., I had a packet of M&Ms and a banana, which I had fortunately taken from the breakfast buffet that morning. My co-worker, sitting closer to the front of the plane, noticed that they did manage to bring food for the pilots on board.

We finally arrived in Newark at 8:27 p.m. Unfortunately, Ava and her siblings were ready to get off the plane at 8:17. Those last 10 minutes were 10 of the noisiest, most unpleasant minutes I've ever had on an airplane. If you had beheaded all of Ava's dolls, thrown her dog down a flight of stairs and shaved off all her perfect blond curls, I can't imagine she would have carried on any more. I understand that she was tired and just wanted to get off the plane, but it was unbelievable nonetheless. When we landed, everyone let them off first, just so no one had to listen to it anymore.

So that was it, right? Finally on the ground, just pick up the bag and be on my way.

Oh no. No, no, no.

I had gate-checked my bag, which is the best way to go when you're flying an Express Jet and carrying a smaller bag. For those of you unfamiliar with this process, you get a claim tag at the gate, then drop your bag in the jetway as you board. When you get off the plane, your bag is delivered back to the jetway, thus negating the need to depend on the brain trust in the baggage department.

So I waited in the jetway with about 18 other people. It took so long for the Continental folks to get the bags up that the flight attendant and pilots were gone. After 12 minutes, they finally started to deliver the bags onto the jetway. One by one, people took their bags and left. A bag that looked like mine appeared, but as I started to grab it, a fellow passenger came up and wheeled it away. I tried to indicate that I thought it was mine, but he seemed so sure that I let him go.

HUGE mistake.

It was my bag. When they had delivered all the bags, the only one left was green. Mine is black. This man doesn't know what color his bag is? Are you kidding me? So I had to run up to the gate and ask them to make an announcement in the airport to have all passengers on my flight check their bags. No one returned, so it was on to visit Continental's baggage customer service.

Customer service, my ass. What a disinterested, unhelpful bitch that dame was. I knew, to the item, the contents of my bag, which I thought would help identifying it easier. I mean, how many people could have had a bag full of shells stuffed into a pink and white sneaker? But she had no interest in reporting on the contents. She also had no interest in speaking in anything other than a mumble. She did assure me, were my bag to return, that they would call first, which was important because I'm not going to be home until Sunday afternoon, and I didn't want the bag to be delivered to my house if I weren't there.

Of course, any successful return of my bag will be completely dependent on the person who took it to return it. I'm not optimistic, because that would require more faith in humanity than I usually have. Perhaps someone will surprise me. In the meantime, this man's wife probably went to unpack his suitcase and is now all worked up as to why there are female undergarments in his bag. Serves him right.

Ah well. At least I didn't miss a great game at Shea.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I've recently added three new blogs to the list of Geniuses. The first two, And What Can I Tell You and My Two Cents, are the work of Todd and The Sandman, two of the funniest guys I know. They're also roommates. Who says Mets and Yankees fans can't live together peacefully...

They are two of the group I often refer to as the Paper Boys, which includes the likes of Joe Pendleton, The Professor, Local Shill and Mosher. That I know these guys is a fine example of how a seemingly minor thing can change your life considerably.

Twelve years ago (holy CRAP), my parents drove across the country for six weeks. Just a year out of college at the time, I spent the summer living it up. I could have changed my mailing address to the local dive bar. That was the summer I met Tryg and there were many nights when I'd be out carousing until 5 a.m., sleep for an hour, and then head into work. If I tried to pull that off even once now, let alone on consecutive evenings as was often the case in the summer of '94, it would kill me.

But by the end of that lost summer, I decided I needed to get my shit together. I was working at an administrative job, using roughly zero percent of my college education. So I scanned the local newspaper and found a listing for a part-time sports clerk at the rag. I sent my resume, interviewed and was hired.

Working at the newspaper was a three-ring circus. But it was a great place to be, mainly thanks to the incredible cast of clowns, yahoos and shills that worked in the sports department. Clowns who now, thanks to a part-time job I left in 1998, are some of my closest friends and favorite people.

The third new genius, the West Virginia Surf Report, makes me laugh more often than anything else I regularly read. I have never met Jeff Kay and most likely never will. I don't quite recall how I came across his site. I just know that very early on, I read this, which he didn't write but which he did share for the betterment of internet users everywhere. It's hard to express just how hard I laughed that day. Crying with laughter. And although Jeff hadn't written it, he was the genius who brought it into my life, so I checked out the rest of his site. He's got a terrific way with words, and we share some common interests like Yueng Ling and the limitless idiocy of humanity.

Jeff usually starts his daily post with a special link - a ridiculous photo or news stories that is sure to amuse or horrify. Yesterday, he managed to do both with this absolute gem. (Mom, I'd prefer if you didn't click on that. Everyone else, feel free.) That's what finally prompted me to write him to ask if I could link to his site. He is damn funny and I'm particularly pleased to add him to the Wine By The Color family.

And finally, for those who were wondering, Christina did not choose to go out with Seth. She chose Damian, and things did not go well.

In fact, his politeness and manners were the most notable part of his personality. Either he was on some strong meds, or I bored the bejesus out of him.

She should have gone out with Seth. It would have made for a much more entertaining tale.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Blogging has been low on the priority list lately as I prepared for a media day yesterday. Sorry about that. But that is done and I have a whole 24 hours before I leave town again, so I thought I'd share this...

Ten days ago, on May 6th, we attended the 50th anniversary party of my mom's aunt and uncle (as a sidebar, I tried to research exactly what that would be called. Great aunt? I came across this, which may be the most confusing thing I've ever read. The chart, in particular, is dizzying). When my grandparents lived in Bergen County, we saw that side of the family frequently. My mom hails from a large Irish Catholic clan, and gatherings with that side were well-attended, raucous affairs, filled with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins. Almost more than I can remember the names of.

But when my grandparents moved closer to us and then passed away, we saw the extended family less often, usually at funerals. So it was particularly nice to be together for such a happy occasion, something we all noted more than once on May 6th. "We really need to do this more often" was a popular refrain, as the adults caught up on the goings-on and we watched the next generation of kids chase each other around the dance floor.

Not two weeks later, we'll all be seeing each other again. On Saturday, standing in the very church in which we celebrated seven days before, my aunt turned to my uncle and said she didn't feel well. He had her sit down in a pew, and the next thing you knew, she was dead. They took her to the hospital but she was already gone. They're not sure what happened, although I imagine we might find out more at the wake tonight. Understandably, the family is devastated. She was fairly young - just 72 - and at the party she looked great - cutting a rug on the dance floor as she and my uncle liked to do.

My mom and I discussed this last night. Both of my grandmothers were in failing health for a few years - one with Alzheimer's, the other with emphysema. When they died, we knew it was coming and although it was very sad, we knew they were better off because they were suffering. But with this, it came completely out of the blue. While it's good that my aunt didn't suffer, her family had no time to prepare for it. One minute, fine; the next, gone.

Now, I'm not saying one is better than the other. Both suck.

Regularly programmed shtick will resume tomorrow...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Some random things to end the week...

I was again reminded that no matter how old I get, I still have the mindset of a 12 year old. At yoga Wednesday night, my instructor referred to the anus when describing a position. It wasn't easy, but I was able to keep my fit of giggles on the inside.

Yesterday, I took the day off for what I call a GYST day - Get Your Shit Together. Since I'm about to hit the road for the majority of the summer, I decided I better get my shit in order while I have the chance. I developed an ambitious to-do list and tackled most of them. Broken doors were fixed, closets were cleaned, blinds were purchased, photos were framed. Oh, and hair was cut. I didn't think it was that dramatic, but every person I've seen this morning has commented on it, so perhaps it is.

While running errands, I stopped at the crazy nephews' house to pick up something, and was treated to two fine one-liners from Adam. First, he expressed interest in visiting Casa Magnolia for a sleepover. I said we'd find a date soon, and he replied: "Yes, we've got to get that on the calendar" with all the professionalism of a seasoned business executive. Then, as he and Matthew wrestled on the floor, he cried out, "He's hitting me in the parts!" Nothing better than a five year old talking about his man parts.

Last on the list was a sewing class at an area fabric store last night. My parents got me a sewing machine for Christmas and I figured it was time I learned how to use it. I've gone twice and it's quite helpful. It's actually easier than I would have thought.

But there were a surprisingly high number of men in the store. Not men like Seth, who you might think were buying supplies to make something fabulous. Men who were clearly sent by their wives, on a mission for fabric or thread or some such thing. Without fail, each of these men was wandering aimlessly, lost in confusion. Why would women do this to their spouses? Fabric stores are not a happy place for men. Based on what I saw last night, I think that men, given the choice of going out to buy feminine hygiene products or fabric, would hit the tampon aisle every time.

A few news items...

You just KNOW there is more to this story than the naked officer is saying.

Speaking of there being more to the story, why did this cat shoot at Siegfried and Roy's house? Outside of being a little nutty, which might not fall far from the tree...

Outside court, Amy Ford, who turns 61 on Monday, said she didn't exchange words in the courtroom with her son, whom she said she had not seen since 1999. "But with his eyes, he said, 'Hi Mom."


I tried to post this photo but just can't get it to work, so you'll have to click on the link instead. It's worth the effort. Philly fans really put their best foot forward during Mr. Bonds' visit last week. Nice work, City of Brotherly Love!

And finally, now I'm even happier that the Jets drafted D-Brick instead of this assclown. Isn't it somewhat disingenuous for someone who's writing a diary for the Evil Empire to complain about a lack of privacy? And if you are concerned with how you're being portrayed in the media, perhaps you should stay away from the biggest media whore on the planet.

I'm just saying.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I don’t read the NY Post often but I picked it up Sunday. Apparently the Post runs a matchmaking service of sorts, fixing up lonely hearts. Each week, the candidate is given three potential dates. While readers can vote online, I believe the subject makes the final decision on who he/she goes out with. They enjoy a Post-sponsored social outing and the following week the paper recaps their date.

This week's candidate is Christina, a 29-year-old mechanical engineer who describes herself as fun and "frickin' hot in bed," and admits she's not averse to casual sex. Subtle. She also professes to be anti-metrosexual, as she's "not into anyone who takes more time getting ready than I do."

So who did they find for Christina?

Meet Seth. Seth is a 27-year-old composer and pianist. Let's see what Seth has to say for himself...

How would you describe yourself? Intelligent, witty, crazy, neurotic, obsessive, hilarious and cute.
Turn-ons: Intelligence, talent, passion, knowledge of musical theater and a sense of humor.
Turn-offs: Fat, ugliness, stupidity, laziness, sports and conservativeness.

What's sexy: Physically, I like pretty, petite and thin girls with nice cleavage and long hair.
What's the first drink you'll order when you go to a bar? Water - I don't spend money on drinks.
What animal do you most resemble and why? I resemble my cat - I'm nocturnal, curious, independent, anarchistic, smart and needy.
What makes you a good catch? I will hopefully write a musical that goes to Broadway in the next decade.

Huh. I can't imagine why Seth is having a hard time finding a date. Or why BAM insists there are no dateable men in the world.

Seth has actually received 21 percent of the vote. And before you ask, of COURSE I voted for him. If I were Christina, I'd go out with him purely because I know it would give me shtick for years to come. Especially if I were paying for my own drinks.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Usually, when I am awake at 4:30 a.m., it's because I've yet to go to bed the prior evening. When I'm up at that hour, I'm usually in a diner, enjoying French toast or grilled cheese. I am not loading my bike into my car in 40-degree weather, heading off to ride 45 miles.

But that's where I was Sunday on an unexpectedly chilly morning. I met two friends at the office at 5:30, which should have been plenty of time for us to catch a Staten Island Ferry and be in Battery Park early enough to not be way back in the assembled crowd of 30,000 riders. That plan would have worked nicely had the Goethals Bridge not been closed for construction. That necessitated traveling all the way down to the Outerbridge Crossing, then all the way back up to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. We still made it to lower Manhattan before the starting time of 8 a.m., but it was enough to put us many, many blocks short of the starting line.

That, however, was the only real hassle of the day. Yes, it took a while to get moving at the start. There was also the traditional wait to get into Central Park, and one at the Pulaski Bridge. But that's all I can really bitch about where Bike NY 2006 is concerned. Very good times overall.

The weather turned warmer by the time we hit the FDR and I was able to remove two of the three layers I was wearing. By noon it was a warm, sunny day. Our trio had no flat tires and no spills, which can't be said for many others. Lots of blood on the streets. And while I missed having Freakgirl's snark by my side, Shannon and I had a great time and used the seven hours to break down our respective life plans (or lack thereof).

As the ride went on, I really wondered if I'd be able to make it over the Verrazano without stopping. When you hit the Belt Parkway, the wind comes off the water and just smacks you in the face and by the time you get to the bridge, 40 or so miles into it, you're just exhausted. Fortunately, there was no waiting to get on the bridge, which was key. Once you get there, you just want to do it, not sit around and think about having to do it.

But once again, to my amazement, I was able to make it over. The ride up the Verrazano seems to be roughly 14 miles, and flying back down is about 459 feet. But it is a glorious 459 feet, and I can admit to thrusting my arms in the air, like I was Lance Armstrong and had just won the Tour de France. Then it was on to Fort Wadsworth, where we enjoyed the festival for about 12 minutes before deciding we'd rather get home and take naps. Before leaving, however, we learned our most important lesson of the day: Don't ever park at the top of a huge hill. I had already told my legs they were done for the day, and they were none too happy about having to summon the energy for the extra effort.

So I can cross Bike NY for 2006 off the to-do list. The Spring Lake Five is 17 days away...

Monday, May 08, 2006

I've gotten a few inquiries as to my well-being after yesterday and I'm pleased to report that I am fine, except for two aching knees and a sore shoulder. I will provide in-depth commentary later, after a visit to the chiropractor.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this gem. I've done quite a few of these dances over the years. Of course, I won't be doing any of them today. Today, I'm just happy to be walking.

Friday, May 05, 2006

How often do you get to have these two conversations within three hours of each other?

Co-worker: "Have you lost weight? You look good."
Me: "Yeah, I've lost about nine pounds. I'm just trying to eat a little better, exercise a little more and drink a little less."

Mystery voice: "Hi, welcome to White Castle. Would you like to try the mozzarella sticks?"
Me: "Absolutely. Along with a chicken and cheese sandwich and a Coke, please."

Anyway, so I finally had five free hours at work today. Why, you might ask, didn't I take advantage of that free time to do some posting? Because the free time was caused by the untimely death of my computer's hard drive.

At 8:15 a.m., already 45 minutes into my workday and in the midst of a flurry of activity, my computer made a few unhealthy noises, shut down and rebooted itself. Then, the screen went blank except for a message reading "Hard drive cannot be found." I contacted my friend in PC services, who came and whisked the patient away, muttering, "Hmm. That's not good."

Three hours later, he returned, sat down in my office and said, "We need to talk" with the seriousness of a doctor delivering a death sentence. Which he was, as he informed me my hard drive had indeed crashed and burned, and that he had been unable to retrieve anything on it.


I keep most of my work-related files on the hard drive (because we're often told not to store things on the network drive and I'm nothing if not an obedient employee), and also maintain a ton of personal files on it, including the photos I download from my digital camera. I asked if anything could be done and he told me that although it was expensive and needed to be signed off on by half the world, it could be sent to a third-party company to try to retrieve the data, although that wasn't guaranteed to work. I bee-lined for my departmental VP's office and explained the problem, and he gave me the go-ahead.

And then, the seas were parted!

As I was drafting the paperwork to have the computer shipped out for technological CPR, my friend called to report that he had been able to get the hard drive back, albeit most likely temporarily. So he quickly moved all my files and within an hour I had a new computer. I lost all my internet favorites, which will take years to remember, but that is a minor problem. I also can't access my personal e-mail, which is a larger issue but one I'll rectify shortly.

Given all that, my original plan of coming home and taking a long bike ride has been slightly altered to coming home, opening a bottle of Malbec and making some Mexican food. Much better plan.

This week's craziness left me no time to address this from Freakgirl. Holy baked crap, is this a find. It's an anti-drug video from the mid-1980s which features, among others, a young, wholesome, drug-free Whitney Houston. Oh, sweet irony.

For complete randomness, there's also Nancy Reagan, LaToya Jackson, David Hasselhoff, Casey Kasem, Kareen Abdul Jabbar and the current governor of California, who shows up as a garbageman. It also features New Edition but I do not believe Bobby Brown makes an appearance. Perhaps he'd already given in to the Madness by that time.

Speaking of those who gave into Madness: there's actor Stacey Keach. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Mr. Keach arrested for cocaine? Former NFL defensive end Lyle Alzado, who died from brain cancer he believed was brought on by admitted steroid use, appears, as does John Matuszak, another NFL defensive end who died of heart failure after years of steroid use.

I've said it before but it bears repeating. I do love the internets.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I’m sorry for the lack of posting, but will warn you that it’s going to be this way for the foreseeable future. I’m pretty much my job’s bitch these days. I have been in the office no later than 7:30 every morning and before I know it, the day is over. I haven’t had time to read Monday’s paper yet, and I don’t have time to comment on mind-boggling crap like this, which is unfortunate. I’m sure I could put together a good rant about that one.

(Ok, I'll digress for a minute. It would be irresponsible not to. This paragraph appears in that column: Is it really that bad for America if an athlete opts to put their body at risk in order to become a better player? Am I really the only one who thinks the idea of a steroid-only baseball league is as attractive as Jessica Simpson knocking on your door at 3 a.m. with a case of cold beer under her arm? Seriously, someone actually wrote this. Someone who does not work at the Evil Empire. Ok, moving on...)

But I managed to escape from the office early enough the last two evenings to represent my alma mater at college fairs for local high schools. It’s something I like to do as often as my crazy schedule allows. Both fairs had good traffic and I fielded a lot of questions from prospective students and their parents. I got a surprisingly high number of inquiries about whether OSU has fencing. Is fencing the hot sport right now? Is fencing a sport? My first high-school boyfriend was a fencer (and a tuba player, just to make him doubly cool) and I don’t know that I’d have considered him an athlete.

Anyway, culottes and Stevie Nicks skirts are in for girls. Haircuts for boys are not. The white-boy 'Fro seems quite popular. And I saw not one, but two guys wearing Earth Wind & Fire t-shirts. Are they enjoying a renaissance?

I also enjoyed the following exchange with a father and son:

Father: "So, Ohio State is a really big school. That's good. That would probably increase his (gesturing to son) chances of getting a girlfriend in college."

Me (to son, with a kind smile): "He's killing you, isn't he?"

Son: Unable to speak

My favorite kid was a sophomore who expressed an interest in journalism. I jokingly tried to talk him out of it but he’s determined, so we chatted about that for a while. He wants to write for Rolling Stone and thus wants to go to school where he’ll have access to a variety of music, concerts and the like. He was a little gangly and shy, but adorable, and you could tell he's going to be a good looking young man. I wanted to tell him that in 10 years, he’ll be The Man and have girls fighting over him, but I thought that might be inappropriate and get me arrested, which I’m sure isn’t what the folks in Columbus are hoping for when it sends me to these things.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I almost made a huge mistake at the car wash today. I paid the gentleman as I entered the car wash, moved the car forward, put it in neutral and then waited for the car to start moving automatically. Seconds before the water started to hit the car, I realized I never rolled up my window.

Why, you might ask, did my car need to be washed (other than the usual filth and protective pollen coating)?

Because as I pulled away from a bar Saturday night, an arm extended from a passing vehicle and threw an egg onto my car. It landed on the driver side, covering the side mirror, part of the windshield and part of the driver side window.

I must be mellowing, because I barely got annoyed. It startled me, because I sure didn't see that coming. But I can't say I didn't throw an egg or two in my younger days, so who am I to judge today's youth for giving it a go? It was kind of nice to see the kids today revert to simpler times, instead of making bombs and weapons out of spare parts they got on the internet. I'm just glad it was chilly. Otherwise my window might have been open and that would have elicited a completely different response.

It certainly wasn't enough to ruin what was a lovely weekend. I played golf Friday morning and then spent the afternoon with the crazy nephews, playing soccer on the beach and riding the merry-go-round at Seaside. I took lengthy bike rides on Saturday and Sunday, trying to prepare my legs for what awaits them next Sunday, and wrapped up the weekend with a visit to Todd and the Sandman's abode to watch the Sopranos. The Sandman has more Mike Piazza memorabilia that I could have imagined exists. And Todd provided some chops-busting fodder when he gave me directions which included the words "pizza store" as a landmark. I don't know how folks around the country refer to where they get pizza, but in Jersey that place is a pizzeria. Not a "pizza store."

In the midst of all that activity, I managed to catch some of the NFL draft. Loved the Jets picking D'Brickashaw Ferguson in the first round, and not just because I like saying his name. I thought management showed a brass set in not taking Matt Leinert.

D'Brickashaw (who immediately earns first name-only status, like Madonna) is not only a behemoth of a human being who should help turn around the Jets' woeful offensive line, he's a local cat with an absolutely delightful smile.

And it was nice to see the Jets fans on hand react positively to the pick, thus avoiding any scenes like these from past years.

Five Buckeyes went in the first round, including center Nick Mangold to Gang Green with the Jets' other first-round pick. A.J. Hawk went to the Packers, which is great, and I was happy to see Bobby Carpenter go so high, even if it was to the &*#%@ Cowboys.

Finally, I haven't watched a whole lot of NHL games this year, but that doesn't lessen my enjoyment of the Devils' sweep of the Rangers. Lozo has done a splendid job sharing some thoughts on the series, and the rivalry, so I'll just send you there to enjoy his work.