552 miles... 1 million more smiles.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Only In Florida

Today, I've decided to introduce a new segment to the ol' Sportslady blog. I'm calling it "Only in Florida."

As my inaugural "Only in Florida" post, I introduce you to Stuart Taylor, a nude model in the Miami area. Oh, did I mention that he's 85 years old?

This is where I live.


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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More Evidence...

...that some people just have way too much time on their hands: A website that features photos of cats that look like Hitler.

I'll save you the effort of looking and post links to my choices as the most Hitler-ish kitties--

First Place
Second Place
and as evidence that accessorizing really can make or break an outfit, a very disturbing Honorable Mention.

On a related subject, I stumbled across this quiz last week.


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Monday, June 26, 2006

Eight Pound Balls

Cory and I have been bowling two or three times a month since moving down here. It's something we used to do several times a week back in K-Ville, but we only went once or twice in the four years we lived in Georgia.

His co-workers go nearly every Wednesday night, and we usually join them, along with a couple of the sports guys from the competition.

After this week's trip to Gator Lanes (everything down here seems to be "Gator" something), Cory decided he wanted his own pair of bowling shoes. It probably had something to do with the 190 he rolled (topping my 145, a pretty impressive score for me).

But if he wants to buy shoes, who am I to argue? After all, I'm a girl, and shoe shopping is in my chromosomes. And it's a solid financial decision. If we're spending $2.75 per visit to rent a pair of scuzzy shoes, it adds up. That's money we could be spending on pitchers of lukewarm beer.

Tonight, we placed our orders online. I have to say, I think I picked out a pretty cool pair. They should arrive by the end of the week. Hopefully they fit.


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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Welcome to the Manor

Am I the only weirdo out there who's obsessed with "Meerkat Manor?" If you haven't seen this show yet, you need to check it out for a couple of minutes. The show is a combination between a nature documentary, a reality show, and a soap opera, documenting the lives of a meerkat clan (dubbed the "Whiskers" family) in the Kalahari desert.

The Whiskers Meerkats are being observed by the zoological studies department at Cambridge University. So, I guess what better way to fund your research than sell it as a reality show? After all, the meerkats are adorable, quirky, and there are enough rival meerkat families and predators in the desert to provide plenty of drama (poor little Shakespeare Whiskers was bitten by a puff adder in the first episode I saw. He's struggling, but surviving).

My only complaint is that Sean Astin isn't a very good narrator. I hate when producers pick celebrities to narrate their shows, rather than hiring voiceover specialists.

New episodes premiere on Fridays at 8:00 (ET), but if you're interested, there's a four-episode marathon Sunday night from 8:00 - 10:00 (ET) and again from 11:00-1:00 a.m.


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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tire-d Out

Ugh. What a long day.

For months, I've needed new tires. I had one with a slow leak, one with a not-so-slow leak (that's already been treated with Fix-A-Flat once), one with a nail embedded in it, and one that's just plain worn down. Add that to a phenomenally unbalanced state, and I was a disaster on wheels just waiting to happen.

Monday, I checked around on the internet, trying to decide who had the best deals on tires. This morning, I got up early to do a little more calling around, and to take my car in.

Turns out, evil Wal-Mart had the cheapest tires. Have I ever mentioned that I hate Wal-Mart? Well, I do. Damn them and their low prices. As much as I hate the place, I can't afford not to go there.

A side note: We live on the border between two suburbs. Thus, there are two Wal-Marts within a reasonably close distance of our apartment. One is in the nice suburb, where we live, one is in the 'burb just to the northeast of us, which is... um... well... a little white trashy. There are no trailer parks in our suburb. There are plenty of them in the 'burb next door.

I got Cory up early so that he could drive me over to the "nice" Wal-Mart, then drop me off back at home on his way to work. The plan, as we saw it, was that I'd drop off the car, come home, catch a quick catnap, shower, dress, and pick my car up on Cory's lunch break.

Then, a change of plans. Cory told me that the service center in the trashy suburb is always a shorter wait than the one I was planning on going to. So, I called over there, doublechecked, and the woman at the service counter told me that there wasn't anybody in getting tires at the time, and I should be in & out relatively quickly.

Since I had a little grocery shopping to do anyway, I decided to just bite the bullet, drive over there by myself, and save Cory the extra trips to drop me off and pick me up.

Big mistake.

I got to Wal-Mart, stood in line for fifteen minutes, and then the woman at the service counter told me that they didn't have my tire in stock. And I'm not talking about the brand or style. They didn't have four tires in my size. Not even mixing and matching brands. Seriously.

So I had to drive to the other Wal-Mart. Thankfully, they had my tire. Unfortunately, the place was jam-packed, and they informed me that it would be 2 1/2 hours.

After cursing under my breath for about ten minutes, and calling Cory and whining to him, I walked over to a neighboring strip mall to kill some time.

At this point, I need to inform you that it's (pardon my language) hotter than balls outside. And very sunny. And while I love Florida, being an un-showered girl in dark jeans on a 90-degree day isn't a pretty sight. Or a pretty smell.

I went to the Dollar Tree, bought a pen and a book of sudoku puzzles, and sat on a park bench for about an hour and a half, solving puzzles. Cory came to see me while he was on his lunch break, and we went out for a quick bite. I wasn't really hungry, but I really, really, really wanted to spend some time in air conditioning.

Then, Cory dropped me back off at Wal-Mart, I wandered around for another 45 minutes. All told, it was four hours before my car was ready to go.

But at least I have four pretty new tires.


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Monday, June 19, 2006

You can only hope to contain him...

You may have heard of Mark Mathis, aka "The Crazy Weatherman." If you haven't seen him before, I implore you, watch this video. Then watch the other videos of him on the same webpage.

I've heard plenty of explanations for his unusual delivery style. Actually, that's not true. I've really only heard one... rumors that he was fired from his last job and went into drug rehab. Just rumors, but not hard to believe when you've watched him a few times.

This morning, while suffering from a bout of insomnia, I had a Mark Mathis sighting. He's filling in on "The Daily Buzz," a wacky national morning show based out of Orlando. It's really the perfect place for him... after all, I've quickly learned that the Sunshine State is filled with nutcases.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

All Together Now...

Ok, here we go. Feel free to say it along with me:

Three point one... four... one... five... ummm... nine... uhh... two... hmmm

And I bet you thought that spelling bees were a little strange. Next thing you know, there'll be a documentary film about the uber-competitive world of pi recitation.

By the way, just a side note... I loved the live broadcast of the Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee this year on ABC. I was thrilled to see one of my idols, Robin Roberts, providing the play-by-play. And I was elated to see the three finalists were three "normal" girls... and not three kids who looked like complete social outcasts.


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Monday, June 12, 2006

That Billionaire Jerkwad

I love this headline so much that I had to post a link to it. No, that's not an editorial about his personality. That's his real name.


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Househunting Heartbreak

So, Cory and I have been here for just about six months, and we set July as the month we start house-hunting. Home prices are insanely high here (a 50-year old, 900 square foot house without central air averages about $180,000), so we figure that it'll take us a good long time to find a place we can afford that isn't in the projects.

But that doesn't mean I haven't been looking a little. House prices have been dropping since about February. I get daily MLS listings in my email, and every time I see a house under $200-grand, I feel a little more encouraged. Not much more, since there's no way we can afford a $200,000 house (let alone $180,000)... but still a little more encouraged.

There was one house, down the street from one of my co-workers, that was selling for $150,000. It was only 920 square feet, but it had a nice, big backyard, and it wasn't a repo. Over the last four months or so, this crappy gray little cinderblock shanty had become, in my mind, my house. After all, it had been on the market for several months, and it was obvious that the owners weren't doing anything to make it more enticing to buyers. I was certain it would still be on the market in another month or two.

This weekend, I drove through the neighborhood on my way to work. And the "For Sale" sign was gone! Even worse, the new owners had installed ugly-ass white shutters on the windows.

Somebody bought my house.


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Tropical Troubles

As you may already know, the first named tropical storm of the year is upon us. Alberto became a "tropical storm" yesterday, and so far, that means a lot of clouds and rain down here in paradise. It poured on-and-off most of the day yesterday, and today it's cloudy, windy, rainy, and all-around yucky.

Alberto is supposed to turn into a category one hurricane later this afternoon. It appears he's heading a couple hours north of us, to the Clearwater Beach area, or even north of that. My Kick-Ass Rain BootsIn fact, Columbus, GA is closer to the "cone of uncertainty" than we are.

So I guess there's no need to buy plywood... though I'm very glad that my beautiful new rubber rain boots arrived on Friday, two days before Alberto got here.


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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Draft Day

In all the 06-06-06 excitement, I completely forgot that today was the first day of the Major League Baseball draft!

I never cared much for draft day until moving to Georgia a few years ago. Since then, I've seen several kids I know get drafted and move on to the minors. I've even seen a few make it to the majors (Technically, Edwin Jackson was drafted a few months before I moved to Georgia, but who's counting?)

Last year, Colby Rasmus of Russell County HS was drafted in the first round (by the St. Louis Cardinals). I keep hoping he'll get sent to the Cards' Advanced-A team in Palm Beach so that I can see him pitch down here in the Florida State League. My Cory was so excited that Colby went to the Cards that I asked Colby to sign Cory's old crappy Cardinals ballcap. I felt like a moron asking him to sign it, but Cory can at least claim that he has Colby's first autograph as a member of the Cardinals.

This year, two of Colby's old High School teammates are considered top prospects: Kasey Kiker and Cory Rasmus (Colby's brother... their dad, Tony was their HS Coach) .

Kasey didn't have to wait long... about an hour ago, he was picked in the first round--12th overall-- by the Texas Rangers. I got to know his mom when I was in C-town... she's such a sweet lady. Kasey had better buy her something nice with the ginormous signing bonus he's about to get.

As far as Cory Rasmus, he became the school's third first-round pick in two years. The Atlanta Braves picked him with the 38th overall pick. Not too shabby, considering the last projection I saw had him going early in the third round. I hope he does well.

And as for Cory and Colby's mom, Robin, I know you're reading this. Congrats, and I wish you and your family all my best.

Addendum: A few hours after I posted, Russell County's Adam Coe was drafted by the Braves in the seventh round. Nice work, guys.


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Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia Awareness Day

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia: The fear of the number 666.

Seems like everybody's in a tizzy over the ol' 06-06-06. I like to think of it as a biblical version of Y2K. Some people belive the sh*t's going to hit the fan. Some people think it's a bunch of hooey. But subconciously, I think most people are keeping their eyes peeled for the Anti-Christ... just in case. Fortunately, the seven heads and ten horns should make him easy to spot.

I've planned out an immersion-therapy course for sufferers of Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.
First, a road trip to (where else?) Hell, just for... well, the hell of it. Hell, Michigan doesn't have much to offer, aside from a souvenir shop, a smoky lounge, and a gas station where you can mail letters postmarked from Hell. I've certainly been worse places... though spending eternity there might get a little boring.

Step two of our immersion therapy course requires a little music for your road trip. I strongly recommend listening to Iron Maiden's 1982 metal hit, "The Number of the Beast," which, contrary to popular opinion, isn't an homage to Satan, but instead a song about a poor schlep who stumbled across a satanic ritual in the woods in the middle of the night:
Torches blazed and sacred chants were praised
As they start to cry hands held to the sky
In the night the fires burning bright
The ritual has begun Satan's work is done
666 the number of the beast
Sacrifice is going on tonight
This can't go on I must inform the law
Can this still be real or just some crazy dream

Of course, the Sportslady's Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia immersion plan isn't complete without some sports. Unfortunately, the New Jersey Devils aren't in the hunt for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so you can't watch them. Instead, perhaps you could watch the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (who are considering changing their nickname to a more Jesus-friendly "Rays"-- or "Tarpon." Really.) If you're a baseball fan, then watching the Devil Rays play a full nine innings on the diamond is just about the closest experience to hell on earth that you can probably reach.

So, that's my three-pronged plan for curing your Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. Of course, if you're not up for laughing in the face of evil, you and your Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia can just spend the day in bed with the covers pulled over your head. That's perfectly ok, too. And when that guy with the seven heads and ten horns shows up, you can feel free to tell me "I told you so."

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Oh Canada, eh!

If you ever look at the "recently visited" section of my blog (left column, about halfway down), you've probably noticed that I've had several visitors from north of the border lately.

At first, I thought they were seeking out my hockey wisdom. Or maybe they valued my thoughts on Rush (the band, not the fat conservative loudmouth). Or maybe they'd heard about my legendary fondness for Tim Horton's doughnuts.

Nope. Actually, Canadians (especially ones from Alberta) are apparently very concerned about INXS lead singer J.D. Fortune and a mysterious leg injury. As it turns out, INXS played shows in Calgary and Edmonton last week, and their reality-show-selection lead singer was wearing a leg brace and carrying a cane.

Anyway, I don't want to leave my new Canadian friends hanging. I don't have much nice to say about Fortune... but I will say nice things about your hockey team. Despite the fact that the Oilers eliminated my Red Wings from the Stanley Cup playoffs, I'm still throwing my support behind Edmonton in the Stanley Cup Finals. After all, if a #8 seed can make it all the way to the championship series, who am I to root against them? (Plus, I've met Ryan Smyth's brother a few times, and he was a nice enough kid.)

And I'm not the only one rooting for the Oilers. Maggie the Monkey agrees with my selection. And if that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is!

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Happy Hurricane Season!

That's right, kids... it's June First, and that means the first official day of Hurricane Season. I just read that 36% of all U.S. hurricanes hit the state of Florida. And, apparently, nobody is ever prepared. Just ask Dave Barry.

This week, Cory and I went hurricane shopping. Gov. Jeb Bush signed off on a tax-free hurricane supply "holiday," so what better time to buy all of our supplies (Unfortunately, many items we needed were not on the tax-free list... but I'll take what I can get).

Since Cory and I both work in television news, we're not allowed to evacuate if a hurricane is headed our way. Instead, we get to set up camp at work, living there until the crisis is over. His station has a shower. I don't think ours does-- though if the water isn't working, what difference does that make?

Because we need to ride out the storms at work, we need things like toiletry kits in addition to normal hurricane supplies.
Some of the items we purchased during the last week:

2 Faraday Flashlights (tax-free)
8 Gallon Jugs of water
2-24 packs of 12-oz water bottles
Large drink cooler (tax-free)
plentiful "Blue Ice" (tax-free)
trial size soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, hairspray, cotton swabs, and something called "Odor Cide."
hand sanitizer
spare toothbrushes
Body powder
Giant-size container of baby wipes
Portable AM/FM/Weather radio which also has TV sound (tax-free)
More batteries than I have fingers and toes (tax-free)
Cell phone chargers for the car (tax-free)
Battery for the keyless remote on my company car
So-ugly-they're-cool Rubber Rain Boots
"Pet Taxi" for Zoe (she's such a good little passenger that we've never needed one)

There are still a lot of things we need to buy-- I need a sleeping bag for work, we need to buy a drill (for installing plywood on our windows), and at some point, Zoe needs all of her shots. Shhh. Don't tell her.

Fortunately, Florida's never had a major hurricane hit in the month of June. July and August are fairly calm, too... but in September, the you-know-what hits the fan. Oh, goody.


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