wine by the color

Monday, April 30, 2007

While standing in a martini bar in AC late Saturday night (ok, it would probably be more accurate to call it Sunday morning), we noticed a woman standing on the other side of the bar. Amid the mélange of halter-top-wearing bachelorette-party attendees, this young lady stood out not for her outfit, but for her accessories. Her right arm was in a full cast, from fingertips to elbows, in a sling. The left was in a bright-pink cast from her fingers to her elbow.

And she was rockin' on with her bad self just fine. But oh, the questions I had.

Yesterday, I overheard the following conversation between a husband and wife in a store:

Wife: "I have to take Jeremy to the bathroom. Can you keep an eye on Allison?
Husband: "I will."
Wife: "No really, please don't let her out of your sight."
Husband (slightly irritated): "I WILL."
Wife: "Not like last time, when you lost her."
Husband: Silence.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I have nothing this week. No shtick, no rants, nada.

The last four weeks have been a tiring cycle of work, travel, class, sleep, repeat, which has left me a bit burnt out. Yesterday afternoon I did manage to sneak out of the office to watch my younger crazy nephew play soccer. A wonderful, worthwhile use of an afternoon.

But that's about it. The good news is that I'll be recharging the batteries with the girls in New Jersey's Adult Playground this weekend. Perhaps that will get me back on the right path.

Oh, and I did realize I cannot put on deodorant while driving 82 MPH on the highway. Lesson learned. And sad to note this is the week's highlight.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

For anyone who can't get enough photos of the devastating destruction last week's rain caused throughout central Jersey, FANTASTIC news!

Thanks to the local paper, you now have the opportunity to buy your very own photos from last week's disaster. That's right - a special memento of the massive flooding that has again decimated two neighboring towns can be yours, starting at $29.99. Might I recommend this one? There's just something about two poor souls, who probably poured every penny they had into their business, emptying the ruined remnants of no doubt years of hard work onto the sidewalk.

That is going to look GREAT on my wall.

While I'm all riled up, I might as well mention someone else who recently raised my hackles...

While sitting at Houston Intercontinental Airport last week, awaiting my flight to the Garden State, the flight next to mine was leaving for Boston at 7:40 a.m. At 7:32 a.m., a Beantown-bound passenger sauntered up to the counter. The sauntering is important to note because, given that this man had but eight minutes to spare, he could not have shown any less urgency. It’s common knowledge that passengers have to be on the plane at least 20 minutes before the departure time, and there is usually no wiggle room on this. But they actually seemed to be holding the door for him, for which he showed not an ounce of gratitude.

So did he get on the plane? No. Because his wife was still somewhere in the airport. After the gate attendant told him they had one minute to get on the plane, the man called his wife, who reported she was still in security. At IAH, that might as well be another country. So the gate attendant, upon hearing her location, closed the door and indicated they would be put on the next flight to Boston.

And that's when the profanity parade began. It was loud. It was foul mouthed. And it was absolutely unwarranted, given that the passenger was completely to blame.

How the gate attendant did not bitch-slap this assclown is beyond me. I wanted to, and he wasn't even yelling at me. But the airline's representative refrained from the violence I was hoping to see, and when I boarded my flight 10 minutes later, he was helping the tardy jackass find another flight.

The wife still had yet to arrive.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

(Ed. Note – I flew into Dallas yesterday, which brought back memories of my first visit to the city, circa 2000. On that trip, I took a taxi from DFW to my hotel. That experience led to this classic from the Jersey Girl Archives. Back to live coverage tomorrow.)

Dallas, Texas - I step off the plane at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and hail a cab to get to the Mansion on Turtle Creek, site of my meeting.

Within moments of entering Ed Smith's taxi, I realize I have made a horrible error. Before he gets the car out of park, he asks if I am in town as part of the contingent scouting Dallas as a possible Summer Olympics site for 2012. He indicates the cab drivers have been told to expect 'a lot of pretty blondes,' so he has assumed I am part of this crowd. I assure him I am not. He says that in Texas, they're used to pretty blondes - they all grow up expecting to marry one. He did and they have a pretty blond daughter. I can tell you she's pretty because he yanks out his wallet and flips through miscellaneous paper and cards to find her picture, all the while maneuvering his car around a circular exit ramp out of the airport. Unfortunately, he will not be able to attend her high school graduation (she went to the same high school as Tameka Catchings of Tennessee women's hoops fame ... they were 40-0 her senior year) because he's going out of the country to get married. He does plan to sneak over to his ex-wife's (“I didn't want to divorce her, but she told me that if I didn't give her a divorce she'd kill the baby, and she had already tried to kill herself once while we were married, so what could I do,” he tells me. “Her daddy said she was crazy and she'd regret divorcing him, but she did so anyway.” He waited nine years for his ex-wife to change her mind, and has apparently given up on her) house to sneak a note into his daughter's car (“I saved and saved and I bought her a brand new Thunderbird, dealer-tinted windows [Ed. note - the list of options went on for five minutes, I can't possibly remember them all] and I pay $502 a month for that car.”) He has the spare key, so he plans to sneak a note into her trunk to tell her why he's missing graduation. She's a very good student, of course, only one B in her first nine years of school. She does not play basketball but was a manager for the girls' volleyball team. She will be going to college, which he expects will run him at least 14 grand a year.

At this point, I ask him one of the only two questions I can sneak in during the ride, "Where are you getting married?" Well. It seems that Ed is in love with this Vietnamese woman. She's wonderful. The first time he met her, he fell in love. However, she's hesitant to marry him, she's been alone for 47 years and isn't apparently very hip to changing her life at this point. (Ed note - I believe this woman just doesn't want THIS CRAZY WHITE MAN IN HER HOUSE). But, the family needs a favor and this could work out nicely Ed is flying to Vietnam in two weeks to marry her sister, so she can get into the country with her 22-year-old son, who has been raised to respect his elders. Then he plans to live with the sister for a while until the INS is satisfied, then he plans to marry his love. Ed is very busy learning to speak her native language, which he is doing by listening to Vietnamese music in ... his cab. So we listened to that, and he sang and made wide, sweeping gestures along with the music. He did me a great service by not only singing in Vietnamese, but then providing the translation into English.

At this point, I know a subject change is in order. Thankfully, as we approach the downtown area, I see something of note on the highway and throw out question #2 ..."Is that a new arena?" Why, yes it is. For the potential 2012 Olympics. To impress the people coming to scout the city. And then the Stars and Mavericks will play there. This turns into a listing of Ed's favorite sports teams...the Lakers, the Yankees, the Stars and of course, the Cowboys. Ed goes ON AND ON about how good the Cowboys are going to be this year. He tells me...”I'm a preacher and I can't bet, but I tell everyone I meet to bet on the Cowboys this year...they'll lose two games at most and go 16-2.” I interject here and indicate that they can only go 14 and 2 since they only play 16 regular season games but Ed is rolling and no blonde Northern girl is going to stop him now. He then tells me that the reason the 'Boys (who I simply abhor, which I want to share with him more and more with every word he speaks) will be so good is because they've got a lot of new talent, including Joey Galloway (a scumbag I covered in college) and ... Dimitrius Underwood. Now, according to Ed, Dimitrius did have a few problems and mentioned something about a hostage situation (something I wouldn't be surprised to learn Ed has been involved in during his past) but ASSURES me that the young man is now on medication and he has really got it together. Ed says that Troy Aikman is looking better than ever, been working out all winter, and what other quarterback does that (I indicate that I actually believe Tim Couch has been doing so but Ed does not care to hear about the Browns), blah, blah, blah...

Just as he's droning on about this team (did I mention that at the start of the ride he also asked if I was in town for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader tryouts? He did. I should have gotten out then) we are stopped at a traffic light. Every time someone would let him change lanes, or he stopped next to someone at a light, he would give them a big thumbs-up sign. He did so again here, and I figure, that's it. This man is truly certifiable. Just as I'm deciding on how to make an escape, we turn the corner and reach our destination. I’ll admit, I was a little shaken by this crazy little man, and annoyed with myself because I didn't rip the Cowboys like I wanted to. I give him $34 dollars, pray I haven't left anything in the back of the cab, and go running into the hotel.

(Ed. Note – I don’t know that I’ve been in a taxi, outside of NYC, since this adventure. Ed Smith truly scarred me.)

Monday, April 16, 2007

"Who are these people and why are they shouting at me?"

Well, hello, Le Anne Schreiber. I think we're going to get along just fine.

Would it be considered unethical to offer an ombudsman financial gain if she can work the phrase "Evil Empire" into a column?
"What a shame that a few bad apples have to spoil a good time for everyone."

Sorry kids, but the days of anonymous commenting at Wine by the Color are over.

Have a nice day. :)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

While out and about in town last night, I ran into a friend from high school, someone I dated casually many years ago, who was in the bar with his girlfriend.

Sometime during the evening, the following exchange occurred:

Him: “Yeah, everything is great. She’s really a terrific girl. I think she’s the one."
Me: “That’s great - I’m so happy for you both. She seems really sweet.”
Him: “Yeah.” (brief pause). “So, is your number still the same?”

What is one supposed to do with that?
The crazy nephews are sleeping at Casa Magnolia this evening. After a visit to the cinema, we returned home, where they spent the last two hours of their day fussing with each other.

I just went to check on them, to make sure everyone was slumbering and that there were no shenanigans going on. This is what I found.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

(If you're just sitting down with your breakfast, you might want to move along...)

As far as I'm concerned, these are three of the least pleasant (non-life threatening) experiences a person can have:

1. The 12 hours of preparation for a colonoscopy.

2. Cleaning a baby who has shit out of his or her diaper.

3. Throwing up on an airplane.

Care to guess which of these I've suffered through in the last few hours?

About three hours into my flight from Seattle to Newark, I awoke with a need to visit the restroom. As I walked from row 5 to the rear of the plane, I realized I was feeling a bit clammy and light-headed. Upon my arrival in the tiny bathroom, I realized my problem was not in fact the need to pee. Rather, one of my meals had decided it was unhappy and wanted to relocate.

There's really not much worse than having to put your head any closer to a stench-filled airplane toilet. I tried it from a distance, but that seemed potentially messy. So I got my head down there and took care of business. I then hung out near the toilet for 30 minutes, hoping to avoid a mad dash back down the aisle for a repeat visit.

I guess it could have been worse. I could have opted to wait to use the bathroom until we landed. I'm sure my demure French seatmate would have enjoyed that.

For those keeping track at home, this is the third time I've hurled on a plane. All things being equal, this was probably the least-troublesome occurrence. The runaway winner, if it can be called that, was the time I took the redeye home from San Diego after a huge meal at this joint. That was an absolute disaster, featuring a crazed leap over my seatmate, a sprint to the bathroom holding my mouth shut and a flight attendant holding my hair.

Compared to that, today's festivities barely register.

Friday, April 06, 2007

You'd be hard-pressed to find a sleepier town than mine.

There was but one traffic light in my town until I was about 15. We didn't have our own supermarket until 1999. To this day, I believe there are just two establishments open 24/7 - a Quick Chek and a Wawa. And don't forget, this is a town where I have left my front door wide open for more than 12 hours, and nothing happened. Don't get me wrong, we have the essentials - a liquor store, a diner, a few bars, a solid pizzeria and a really good bagel shop. But we don't see a whole lot of action here.

So to sit in the airport and watch footage of what's gone on in the past 24 hours as one of the lead stories on CNN is somewhat surreal. They caught the guy this morning, at 8:10 a.m., behind a seedy motel around the corner from the Casa. On a normal morning, I would have been driving past this motel en route to work at that exact time. But because I wasn't going to the office but instead to the airport later in the day, I was safely ensconced in my bed while the second round of excitement was occurring.

When I went to the bank around 9:45, there were still news trucks everywhere. I looked for the WB-11 truck as I hoped to take advantage of an opportunity to ask if their ungodly annoying early morning anchor has sordid pictures of the higher-ups that allow her to remain on the air. No such luck.

Unlike yesterday, when the excitement took place a mile in the other direction and thus one town away, today's action was all 'Burg, baby. My town doesn't have its own zip code and is thus unrecognized on 98% of U.S. maps, so to look up on the big screen and see it underneath footage of a fugitive being captured is somewhat amazing.

Hey, it's always nice to be recognized. Perhaps now we can get on the map.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Things were rolling along nicely today, despite a little lingering exhaustion, until just before I left the office to head into the city for class (have I not mentioned the resumption of my quest for the slowest master's degree in academic history? Another time). To kill a few minutes, I scoured the day's news. On the Yahoo News front page was this, which I quickly realized was going on about a mile from my house.

I thought, no big deal, since I was heading in the opposite direction and wouldn't be coming home until late. While I did avoid what must have been an unbelievable traffic jam thanks to the highway being closed, I instead encountered a double whammy: eastbound traffic all screwy thanks to the BLIZZARD-LIKE SNOW FALLING SIDEWAYS (it is April 5th, isn't it?) and the complete shutdown of the train into NYC thanks to some sort of transformer/brake malfunction. These factors combined to make me 45 minutes late for class, although it did allow me to catch a much-needed 25-minute power nap as the train stood still.

Why so tired?

My tried-and-true RSS (Redeye Success System) was an abject failure flying home from Phoenix Tuesday night. Two glasses of wine and some reading are usually enough to send me to solid slumber for the entirety of the flight. Not this time, as I managed a grand total of 49 minutes of sleep. This proved to be particularly disastrous when my original plan of sleeping Wednesday away fell apart thanks to a perfect storm of shit I needed to deal with at work.

So tomorrow it's back to EWR to head back to the west coast, with another redeye home on tap for next week. I'm hoping the last flight isn't a sign of things to come this season. I cannot be a productive human being on 49 minutes of sleep.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Rock 'n ROLL, people.

Monday, April 02, 2007

You know what the best part of the drive from Palm Springs to Phoenix was (besides the beautiful mountainous scenery)? This…

And people were blowing by me!

Not to worry. I checked the desert driving handbook and it said it’s okay to take pictures while driving. As long as you’re wearing a seatbelt.

Text from the Good Doc: My friend just texted me that Gumbel looks like a fat penguin. Heh heh. Gumbel is one of my favorite talking heads, but I have to agree with this. On Saturday, I left Carino a rambling message about Gumbel's unfortunate choice in attire.

19:46 - Oden scores immediately. They need more of this, and better outside shooting.

19:07 - Lewis hits one. Then comes back with a sweet slam to cut it to seven. I'd have love to been a fly on the wall during halftime.

15:56 - Florida three to go back up 11. In a way, Oden's tremendous defensive presence is hurting OSU, because the Gators are hanging around outside the arc and taking threes, which they are making, rather than risking going inside the paint.

My uncle: The play better when Oden isn't the main scorer. It's not too late for some adjustments. Like guarding the 3???????
JG: I bet Clark Kellogg would get out there and defend the three!

Ok, 14 minutes left, OSU down seven. They are by no means out of this. They've played a lot of close games and are used to a hard fight.

The editing isn't going well thus far, for anyone interested.

As Carino commented, Florida is picking up some fouls. Buckeye guards should just keep driving the lane.

Not to get Carino started, but Packer's a moron. "He'd like to have that one back." What player who misses a shot wouldn't?

9:55 - I can't say I enjoyed that. Florida up 12.

Speaking of talking heads, I find this somewhat surprising. Maybe more people than I'd have thought find him as annoying as I do.

8:59 - Man, what a crappy foul on Oden. If you're going to foul, get your money's worth.

Nantz chatting about how old Oden looks. And he does. So does his coach, who's only three years older than me but who looks 50.

I don't know that OSU has enough to pull this off, but I appreciate that if they're going down, they're going down fighting.

7:49 - FUCK. Again with a fantastic Oden block that led to a Florida trey.

6:17 - Thank God, a TV timeout. This is exhausting. I don't know how people do this regularly.

5:03 - Oden is doing everything he can. Cuts it to six with two free throws. Is anybody going to help him??


...deep breath...

3:21 - ...shakes head...

AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Why is Belichick on my television?????????? Am I not suffering enough???

Wine by the Color will be on a brief hiatus while Jersey Girl gets a sip of water and tries to lower her blood pressure.

Well, at least I'm still watching the game, which was not the case at this point three months ago.

I really do not like Yannick Noah. His son hasn't bothered me that much tonight.

And all of a sudden, it's raining Buckeye threes.

And that is it.

I am still watching but have turned down the sound. Wonder if Donovan will announce he's leaving for Kentucky now or wait a day or two?

WHOA - the Devils fired Julien? Why does Lamoriello even bother hiring other head coaches? Just to give himself a break?

A look at a few positives from tonight's game:
-OSU kept its young head for most of the game. They lost to a better team because they couldn’t overcome the defensive lapses and the chilliness from the perimeter offensively.
-From the Good Doc, “Oden was a beast.” Indeed. He finally showed what a phenomenal talent he is. Twenty-five points and 12 rebounds, defensive domination. Unfortunately, no one stepped up to help him.
-I work with someone who has, throughout the entire tournament, deemed OSU overrated to anyone who’ll listen (except to me, of course). I can’t say a team that lost to the defending national champion, which brought back everyone, by nine points in the final is overrated. They’re the unquestionable #2 team in the country.

That's all from here. My fingers are tired. As is my arse, from sitting still for more than two hours.

Thanks for reading.
Three months ago, I thought I'd mapped out the perfect evening when OSU played Florida in the BCS game. Had a pre-game dinner at the house of meaty goodness, parked it at my cousin's hut with a group of people and a cornucopia of adult beverages and settled in to enjoy. Which we did for 16 seconds.

This time around, the circumstances are different. I'm on the road, hanging in my hotel solo. No salty sizzlin' steaks, no crowd, no adult beverages. And no high expectations.

What we will have, however, is live blogging. Since I don't have any better options, I thought I'd keep a running record of the next three hours.

A few things to note:
-my friends and family have been warned that anyone who calls, IMs, text-messages or e-mails me about the game will be mentioned.
-anyone who contacts me about anything other than the game will be ripped.
-I'll be referring to Joakim Noah as Choke Him, because it rhymes and because I'm sure I'll want to do so minutes into the game (if it even takes that long).
-Expect profanity. I expect my love of the f-bomb to run rampant.

I'm really not sure how to feel about this game. I do know the thought of the Buckeyes getting blown out by the same school in two different sports in three months is a lot to take. But I don't think that will happen. As long as the refs allow Oden to play.

I did get one good sign today. While en route from Palm Springs to Phoenix, I drove through Buckeye, Ariz. I stopped in Buckeye and walked around for good karma. Of course, the karma then took a step (in which direction I'm not sure) when I arrived at my hotel.

Which is surprisingly located in ... Glendale.

Ok, here we go.

Huh. I'm already annoyed. Opening with the cheerleaders. And the band.

Could Billy Donovan look any more like Eddie Munster?

You know what I’d pay a sizable chunk of change for? A choice of announcers during the game. CBS could make a fortune if they offered the game on three stations – one with neutral announcers, one with OSU announcers, one with Florida announcers. I bet it would be much more successful than the awful Olympic Triple-cast from years ago. I'd definitely pay to listen to Clark Kellogg announce the game on behalf of the Bucks.

I still don't love the Buckeyes' new uniforms. It's hard to argue with how they've played since the started wearing the new threads, but I'm not thrilled with the fact that the boys are basically wearing culottes.

Game time
I hate the green floor. Incredibly distracting.

18:02 - no red jerseys near the basket to fight for the rebound. Not a good sign.

16:29 - more than one male OSU fan I know has admitted to a crush on Conley. I wholeheartedly support this. Oden still in the game. Much better than Saturday.

15:11 - first break. OSU doesn't seem to have any big-game jitters. Not playing like freshman.

I have to edit a publication that's going to pre-press on Wednesday. I'm sure I can work on that during commercials.

15:11 - Daequan "I never saw a shot I didn't like" Cook just checked in for Conley.

13:58 - And scored.

12:00 - Bad. Conley out, Florida up six.

11:11 - Are you fucking kidding me?? The TV in my hotel room is on the fritz. Although it did allow me to see an awful three attempt by OSU.

KT has just reported that the fritzy TV is not just in room 244, since it also happened on his. That will save me from making an unpleasant and unnecessary call to the front desk.

10:34 - Beautiful block by Oden. I just jumped out of my chair. Unfortunately, my computer was in my lap.

8:02 - Outside shooting is cold. Those need to start dropping for the Bucks to have a chance.

6:37 - Excellent four-point swing. Choke Him looking for the foul, doesn't get it. Bucks come back for two on the break.

I have five Internet Explorer windows, Word, and two IM window boxes open. Please excuse any typos. I've got a lot going on.

5:33 - Harris three! They needed ... crap, Florida comes right back with one.

God, I could watch Oden block shots all day. I love defense. Of course, it would be nice if OSU could grab one of those blocked shots, instead of letting Florida get it back and sink a three.

3:48 - Fuck.

IM from my uncle: I hate to say it, but they (FL)have just has too many weapons...

Can't argue with that right now.

Two minutes to go. Down 11. Oden needs a good two minutes. Cuts it to nine with that semi-side-hook of his. And then gives it right back.

1:07 - Florida three to go up 13. I ate too much for my early dinner and it's not sitting well at all right now.

Halftime. OSU down 11. They've had to come back before. But not against a team as good as Florida. Seventy-two percent from behind the line? That's insane.

I think we'll start a new entry for the second half. This has already gotten a little long.