wine by the color

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Yesterday’s list of Events During Which Weddings Should Not Be Scheduled reminded me of one of my favorite stories from years ago…

My best friend’s brother, as big a college basketball fan as you will find, was apparently in a coma the day his fiancée mentioned a possible wedding date, which is why they were wed the Saturday of the Final Four. My mother and I were scheduled to attend (because my father and brother were away), and the plan called for me to fly home from college Friday morning and head to Long Island Saturday morning for the wedding. A ticket for a 6:30 a.m. flight on Friday was purchased on the now-defunct Braniff Airlines. It was stressed to me that I needed to make that flight, for Braniff only ran one flight per day from Columbus to Newark.

In a debate that continues to this day, I may or may not have gone out Thursday evening. The hour of my arrival home that evening was the source of hearty discussion for quite some time. I do know with absolute certainty that when I went to bed, I set the alarm for 4:30 a.m., with the intent of rolling out of bed, brushing my teeth, grabbing my pre-packed bag and heading to the airport.

So imagine my surprise when I opened my eyes, rolled over, and saw the clock read 6:34. This set into motion a wild frenzy. Once I stopped hyperventilating, I decided to first call information to get the airline's phone number, before calling my mother with a status update.

Other voice: “911, what’s the emergency?”
Me (after a lengthy pause): “Um, I missed my flight?”
Other voice: icy silence
Me: “I’m so sorry. I was calling information and I’m so out of sorts I accidentally called 911 instead of 411. I can’t believe I did that!”
Other voice: “Is that all, ma’am?”
Me: “Yes. Have a good day.”

I then called my mother, whose icy reaction rivaled that of the 911 operator. Fortunately, we were able to change my flight to Saturday morning. I was strongly advised that I should not go out Friday night. And I did not.

But speaking of flights, I have one early tomorrow morning. Hope you’ve enjoyed the lengthy blogs this week. It’s really been my way of preparing the WBTC readership for a 10-day absence. My parents have figured out that the only way to get me and my brother to completely stop working while on vacation is to leave the country. So that is what we’ll be doing. Given the last few weeks of work, I could really use a break, so I’m going to take advantage of it.

Don’t miss me too much.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The sky must be about to fall. How else to explain my desire to discuss the NBA?

But I'd like to take a moment to talk about the athlete who ranks second (a distant second to His Holiness, but No. 2 nonetheless) on my current list of favorites... Shaquille O'Neal.

Why the love for Shaq Daddy, despite his playing in a league I rank somewhere behind women's soccer, bowling, the Fitness America Pageant and Extreme Ironing? Because while so many of his assclown, whiny fellow athletes look like they're being tortured by their fame and fortune, he actually looks like he's enjoying himself. He also often has something amusing and interesting to say, which again puts him ahead of the curve.

That said, I completely ignored this weekend's NBA All-Star game. But I found this paragraph from Jason Whitlock rather eye-opening:

David Stern seriously needs to consider moving the event out of the country for the next couple of years in hopes that young, hip-hop hoodlums would find another event to terrorize. Taking the game to Canada won't do it. The game needs to be moved overseas, someplace where the Bloods and Crips and hookers and hoes can't get to it without a passport and plane ticket.


Speaking of sports, the local paper delivered yet again today, this time with a bit of unexpected shtick from Dear Abby. A few weeks ago, Abby responded to a letter from a bride who was upset that her father left immediately after her wedding ceremony to watch a football game. Today, Abby printed responses to the original letter. The message to the bride? She's to blame, for poor planning.

And I have to agree. There are three events I'd consider before scheduling my nuptials:
1) March Madness, from the first Thursday to the final Monday (which is not to criticize the bride and groom whose wedding I'll be attending next month - they've scheduled it to coincide with St. Patty's Day, which is admirable).
2) OSU-Michigan (Ok. OSU-anyone).
3) The majority of the NFL schedule. Most notably, Jets' home games.

I attended a wedding during the first game of the Subway Series in 2000. I have three vivid memories of that night:
1) A friend wearing an earpiece with a transistor radio, like he was Secret Service, so he could listen to the game.
2) Smoking cigars with another friend and banging my head on the bar as the Mets went down in flames in 12 innings.
3) Yet another friend hurling into his dress shirt in the back seat of my car very late that evening, which led to him abandoning said shirt on the side of Route 78.

Good times.

Finally, the lead story in today's paper was this. Can we be too far from the complete elimination of all reporters and photographers at the paper?

Monday, February 19, 2007

(I apologize in advance for the rambling. This is what happens when I don't write for five days.)

I decided to take advantage of my four-day weekend by staying away from the computer as much as possible, which no doubt saved me from countless shots of Britney's bald noggin. (I did, however, find time to watch this gem. Thankfully, my mother is on vacation so I don't have to issue my standard no-viewing warning for her.)

The top priority was giving Casa Magnolia a top-to-bottom cleaning. I'm still not planning to go anywhere, but figured it couldn't hurt to be prepared in case I do decide to make a move. I've been here almost 11 years and it's amazing how much crap has piled up during that time. But nine bags of trash and ceiling-high piles of recycled magazines later, my abode is as clean as I can ever remember.

Also accomplished was watching almost everything on the TiVo and enjoying the cinematic trifecta of "Running With Scissors," "Match Point" and "Sherry Baby." All three were very good, although not the most lighthearted viewing.

Thanks to my shoulder/neck troubles, along with my seemingly never-ending foot woe, I took a three-month sabbatical from the gym. Since my neck is miraculously cured and my foot has been feeling good, I made my return last week.

Apparently, while I've been gone, my all-female gym turned into quite the social hot spot. There must be a lot of eyes being batted at fellow gym-goers, because there can be no other explanation for the parade of slutty outfits I've seen the past few days. It is a T&A-fest. I'm doing my best to fit in, with my cutoff sweat shorts and Yuengling t-shirts. I'll let you know if I catch anyone's eye.

There also seem to be a few folks who are conflicted about their approach to fitness. When I arrived this morning, there were two women standing outside the door smoking. Two minutes later, they joined me on the row of treadmills.

This morning, I was watching the closed captioning on the Today show (I could rant about how I can never get SportsCenter on a TV, because the women apparently prefer to watch the various craptastic morning offerings than the Evil Empire. Another day). So I'm essentially reading the Today show, which aired a segment about health myths. They must have been talking about the real vs. rumored benefits of drinking a lot of water and juice. But here's what happened on the closed captioning:

"drink lots of water and Jews."

They fixed it quickly, but the damage (to my funny bone) was done.

(While visiting The Today Show web site to confirm the subject matter of the segment above, this headline jumped out at me. Seriously, what are we, 11 years old?)

Oh, and the iffy work situation might be close to a resolution. All we need are six special numbers to blow up into a little space tomorrow at 8 p.m., and me and my 150 MegaMillion dollars will be sitting on a New Jersey boardwalk helping kids pick plastic goldfish out of a little pond.

Work I'm certain I'll find rewarding.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Nothing like a good ranting head coach to warm the heart on a chilly Valentine's night (be sure to hit play).

In honor of this, the Evil Empire ran 10 of the finest coach's rants over the years. Who doesn't remember this classic below from the former Gang Green leader?

Ah, Herm. While I don't miss the on-field coaching, I do miss these sorts of antics.

JG (10:16:29 AM): how were the roads?
KT (10:16:37 AM): craptastic
JG (10:17:02 AM): so, if you were thinking about driving four hours to the middle of Pennsylvania, would you be reconsidering that right about now?
KT (10:17:15 AM): I would

All right, Mother Nature, you filthy bitch. You win. This time.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My horoscope today...

You’re finding ways to love the most unlovable parts of your work. The key is in recognizing who benefits from your efforts and how you can add value to these benefits.

I mean, seriously. What am I supposed to do with that?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dear Sir Standing in Front of Me in Line Yesterday at Victoria's Secret:

Your wife is not going to like that black crotchless number you bought her for Valentine's Day. Take my word for it.

Jersey Girl

Sunday, February 11, 2007

You know why it's unadvisable to go to open houses when you have no intention of moving anytime soon? Because the chances are good you're going to find something you really like.

While looking around at later, I took a "Featured Tour" of a place in the same neighborhood. It wouldn't be worth mentioning except that in one of the bedrooms, I would guess belonging to a teenaged boy, there was a huge confederate flag hanging next to a framed Emmitt Smith jersey. Which I found somewhat interesting.

As if the sight of this man in that gray sweatshirt isn't annoying enough...

While I don't want to appear obsessed with the details of Belichick's personal life, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to link to a story that refers to him as a "pigskin sugardaddy."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Epiphany: (n) [e·piph·a·ny] a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience

I had a really bad day at work today.

I try to avoid talking about my job here because I really like it and don't want to do anything that might jeopardize it. While I don't want to entirely detour from that philosophy, I will say today was the kind of demoralizing day that makes you question your future at an organization. It's nothing I did, so it's not like I'm being singled out for crappy job performance or anything of the sort. Everyone is affected, more or less regardless of anything.

So I headed into the city after said bad day at work to have dinner with The Colonel, to commiserate over a recently failed relationship (him) and being bent over by the man (me). While stuffing our faces with a combined 40 ounces of red meat, accompanied by sides of Guinness and red wine, we realized we hadn't seen in each other in more than a year. This is one of my dearest friends, someone I have known more than 30 years. Why can't we make time to see each other? Because I have let my job run my life. I miss a lot, but I've always felt it was worth it. Today, that changed a little bit.

Henceforth, I come first.

While riding the train out of the city, I was listening to a little Sigur Ros. Have you ever felt like you were watching your life as though it were a movie? That's how I felt like as I rode from New York to Newark, sitting in the dark, lights flashing outside the window, music hitting me like shots to the heart, watching my sad reflection in the train's windows. I can't entirely explain why, but it was like I had removed myself from the situation, which allowed me to look at things objectively. And all of a sudden, things made a whole lot of sense. And that sad face in the window started to smile back at me.

I don't know what else to call is other than an epiphany. In a moment of clarity, everything fell perfectly into perspective.

I've got it now. Consider me awakened.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Really? There's an arrest warrant out for this face? Didn't see that coming.

The local diner mercifully reopened last week after a nine-month shutdown following a fire. Since they were closed anyway, the owners decided to completely remodel. My brother and I took the crazy nephews there for dinner tonight en route to watching an old friend in action as the girls' hoops coach at our alma mater.

The new diner is nice - much fancier than the place I've spent many hours between the hours of 2 and 5 a.m., displaying some of my finest public drunkenness. But the menu is thankfully exactly the same, including two items I always consider to be staples of the New Jersey diner - The Happy Waitress and Disco Fries.

I considered a few diner classics, including the Monte Cristo, which was on the specials, but decided to honor the establishment's grand reopening by ordering the quintessential Jersey diner food.

Me: "Yes, I'll have a pork roll and cheese with fries, please."
Our waitress (blank look): "A what?"
Me (nervously): "Um, you know, Taylor Ham and cheese?"
Her (slowly but cheerily): "Oh, okay."

She walked away to place our order but returned a few moments later. And this is when I got concerned...

Her: "I forgot to ask, what kind of bread did you want that on?"
Me: (Blank stare, complete with head cocked to the side): "Huh?
Her (earnestly): "Would you like that on white or wheat? Or maybe rye bread?"
Me (fighting the urge to reply in a tone that will cause my sandwich to be spit-laden): "Um, can't I get it on a hard roll?"
Her: "Oh, you want it on a hard roll? Sure, we can do that."

After she walked away, I expressed concern to my brother as to what to expect on my plate. Fortunately, less than 10 minutes later, exactly the goodness I was hoping for arrived, cooked to perfection.

But seriously, don't they teach that in NJ Diner Waitressing 101?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Neal: What do you think the temperature is?
Del: One.

It is unbelievably cold. I love winter, but this is even too much for me. I came close to not getting the mail today, because that required taking 1oo steps in the opposite direction of my front door.

But it could be worse. At least I wasn't dodging millions of gallons of cold water.

There was a huge fire in Sea Bright this morning. Apparently, the combination of frigid temperatures and high winds made putting it out a real bitch. Looking at this firefighter (from the Ledger), I can't begin to imagine how cold it must have been.

This was going to be my favorite Super Bowl commercial (click on the pics to watch)...

Then I saw this one, which I liked because the end of the football season always makes me a little sad. Kind of like Labor Day, because to me that means another summer is essentially over.

And then, I loved this commercial even more...

Despite the score being fairly close throughout, I thought it was a pretty boring game. The absolutely atrocious weather certainly didn't help. So much for playing the game in warmer climates to ensure better weather. I maintain my position that the Super Bowl should be played in Lambeau every year.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Oh my gosh. I don't know what to say. This is so unexpected. I thought Punxsutawney Phil's prediction of an early spring would be the best Groundhog Day gift I received. But no!

You know, you step out of the house for an hour to run an errand and your cell phone goes nuts. But oh, the wonderful news those text messages and e-mails delivered.

Do you know the worst part of the events of Jan. 8th (besides the reminder that a hangover feels a whole lot worse when it's earned drowning your sorrows due to your team's complete dismantling instead of celebrating its success)? It was the text messages and calls during and after the game. When tOSU won the national title in January of '03, the post-game calls with family members and college friends were probably the most gleeful I've ever had. This year, the text messages went like this: "Dude. This is fucking ugly," "Did they forget they had a game tonight?" and "I can't watch any more of this." And my favorite, from the Good Doctor the day after the game: "I'm no longer curled up catatonic in a ball. I never found a razor. I didn't jump off a bridge. So I guess I'm okay."

So when my cell phone started going nuts while I was driving earlier, it was nice to enjoy a celebratory feeling, instead of needing to pull over to the side of the road. I'll admit it ... for a minute, I was so happy and excited I thought I might cry. It passed. But I am FIRED UP! While I was in the store, I wanted to shout to the guy in front of me in line, "Hey, have you heard the great news?!?" Instead, I called the First Lady of Sheboygan to share the joy and announced my intention to return to American's Dairyland this fall.

This will no doubt re-ignite the discussion as to whether His Holiness should have just called it a career, instead of risking injury, a disastrous final year and who knows how many more interceptions. You know what? Save it. I'd rather watch him give it his all on the field than watch assclowns like Terrell Owens play with 1.7 percent of the passion Favre has for the game. I hope they have to eventually drag Captain Favrelous off the field. I really do.

Ironically, I've been trying to post this all day, but YouTube doesn't seem to like the new blogger specs. Now it's moot! But still funny.

Nice work by the Biloxi Sun Herald getting the scoop. Thus far, the Evil Empire has only posted the AP version of the Sun Herald's story. I'm sure by day's end they'll have figured out a way to give Mortensen full credit for getting the story. We'll know the truth. Also, I'm glad I don't have to check Packers News hourly any more. Seriously, I think I've doubled their online readership during the past month.

I'm going to lie down now. It can't be healthy for my heart rate to be this high...
I love working from home. I have to edit a 600-page publication and it's just easier to do so without the distractions in the office. Of course, there are a buffet of distractions here as well, but I'll do my best. I'm sure I can edit while watching the Real World.

Thus far today, "working from home" has included waking up at 8:15; watching a huge, hairy, shirtless man eat wings on the local news; discussing with Freakgirl Belinda Carlisle's singing in tongues on the local news; watching Regis and Kelly (shut up); getting out of bed at 9:35 and eating cereal. Next on the list: an hour of exercise.

But I am going to do eight hours of work today. I'm just going to start them at 11 a.m., instead of 8:30 a.m. I wonder if I could convince my boss that I'd like my office hours to be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. That would make me so happy.

Coach Belichick is not having a very good few weeks. I feel so sorry for him.