552 miles... 1 million more smiles.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

In Brief...

We've been busy remodeling the ugly, ugly master bathroom (as opposed to the guest bathroom, which was just ugly), so I haven't had a lot of free time on my hands to blog. We tiled on Monday, and I've been slowly grouting the tiles since then. It's a long process, and I fear that our slightly uneven floor will eventually cause cracked tiles and I'll have to do the whole damn thing over again.

But I digress.

I did an interesting story on Friday (well, actually, it aired on Friday... I did the interview and shot the video weeks ago). If you'd like to watch it, use the link below:

Johncke Swings Back

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Friday, May 25, 2007

All cracked out and noplace to go...

Every now and then, do you see something so bizarre that you know, no matter how well you describe it, you'll never do it justice?

That's what I'm attempting to do here.

For starters, I work in a "downtown" area. I know, "The Fort" isn't exactly a booming metropolis, but it's a miniature version of every city I've ever lived in. There's a downtown area which is fairly nice, but is surrounded by a ring of seediness. Seedy neighborhoods, seedy people, seedy businesses. Since I work downtown, that means I have to drive through some shady neighborhoods to get to work and to get anywhere from work. And since I spend a lot of my day driving from one story to another, I drive through these neighborhoods fairly frequently.

The only way to get from our station to the interstate is to drive through one of these neighborhoods. First, I cross the railroad tracks (and isn't the phrase "wrong side of the tracks" one of the most apt expressions you've ever heard?), and immediately, the scenery changes. The homes all have bars over their windows. Except for the homes in the projects. They have plywood covering their windows. There are two businesses in the neighborhood-- a diner which is literally run out of an old school bus, and a clothing store which, instead of having a sign, uses graffiti art to advertise itself.

So, that's the backdrop for my story. Can you tell this is going to be good?

I was driving from work to the hockey arena a couple of days ago, so I had to go through this neighborhood. There is one stoplight, with houses on two of the streetcorners, a school on one, and the graffiti store on the fourth corner. And I'm stopped there. Though neither road is a particularly busy road, it's about 6:30 and people are coming home from work, so there are four cars in front of me.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a guy runs into the middle of the intersection just as the light changes. The first car tries to get around him, and he rips the ballcap off of his head and throws it at the car. Then he starts hopping up and down, like a pogo stick. Hopping and dancing. He rips his shirt off and throws it in the middle of the road. And all the while, he keeps hopping and dancing, springing all over the middle of the intersection. Oh, and he's yelling. I don't know what he's yelling, but he's yelling. Or maybe he's singing.

Now mind you, I wasn't scared of the guy. He didn't seem threatening, like he was going to pull out a gun and kill anyone. The whole thing was more comical than anything else.

The cars in front of me are slowly trying to get through the intersection without hitting him. Most of the time, he seems oblivious to the cars and he just keeps springing around. Since I'm in a vehicle with my station's call letters plastered all over it, I'm simply praying that he doesn't see me, realize I work at a TV station, and freak out. I manage to get through the intersection, and I get a pretty good look at the guy. He looks crazy.

As I look in my rear view mirror. he leaps in front of the car behind me, and they barely miss hitting him.

Now, the whole time this was happening, I was on the phone with my boss, attempting to ask him a question about the story I was about to go shoot, but the conversation turned into me just laughing as I gave him the play-by-play: "There's some crazy half-naked nutbag going apesh*t in the middle of the intersection!" We decide it's probably not a news story unless he gets run over.

About ten minutes later, I'm on the interstate and my cell phone rings. It's my boss, who is heading out to a story of his own, and he had to drive through the intersection, too. By that point, the police had arrived, and they were trying to catch the crazy dude. And from what I could make out while Clayton gave me his laughing play-by-play, it was kind of like watching the Keystone Cops... or maybe a Benny Hill chase scene.

I've driven through that intersection at least five times since then, and I'm sad to report that no more cracked-out freaks have appeared. Sigh.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Stupid Anaheim...

Another hockey season has come and gone... well, ok... I guess the NHL season isn't over yet officialy, but I won't be watching much of the Stanley Cup championship. That's half because the Red Wings won't be playing for Lord Stanley's Cup... and half because of our crappy cable system.

Here in the Sunshine State, each city negotiates a cable contract with just one cable provider. So, if you live across the river from us in "The Fort," for example, you can only get Comcast cable. Here in the Cape, you had to get Time Warner Cable. At least, that's the way it was when we moved here.

Anyway, Comcast's channel lineup includes "Versus" (formerly the Outdoor Life Network), the network that carries the NHL now that Gary Bettman has completely screwed up the league. So, when I'm at work in "the Fort," I can watch hockey on the cable there. But Time Warner Cable didn't carry OLN/Versus, so no hockey at home.

Here's the really stupid part. About six months ago, everyone in the Cape was transferred over to Comcast. No more Time Warner for us. Shortly after the switch, we got a letter saying that Comcast would be changing our current channel lineup to make it "more consistant with the cable offerings in other Comcast markets," or some such nonsense. But so far, there hasn't been any change whatsoever.

That means, if the Red Wings were playing on a weeknight, I had to either watch the game at work or go to a sports bar to watch them. And while I don't mind watching sports at a bar usually, last night was particularly annoying. And I'm certainly not going to go out, pay high prices for cheap beer and bad food to watch Ottawa and Anaheim.

Thankfully, only the first two games will be on Versus... the rest of the cup finals will be on NBC. I hope there are seven games and they all go to double overtime. But that's only because I work for a CBS station and I like it when the other guys have to stay at work late. After seven years of working late on Monday nights because of Monday Night Football, I think I'm justified.

By the way, Go Ottawa!!!!!

(oh, and no, I don't think I jinxed the Red Wings when I hugged the Stanley Cup last year. So don't even go there.)

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

At Aimee's Request...

I haven't uploaded many of the "official" wedding pictures to the computer... it's a long process which involves scanning each photo individually and I don't have the energy to do it. Maybe someday.

However, I have gotten around to uploading a few snapshots that people gave me, and I also had the pictures from our disposable cameras put onto photo discs... so I've uploaded some of those.

(I also keep hoping that certain relatives of ours will email us the pictures that they took... but so far, no luck with that... Hint, Hint...)

Anyway, there are really only a few "formal" pictures in the computer so far, these are the majority of them.

I was kind of bummed out that our photographer didn't take any pictures of the wedding venue itself. (Once again, maybe some people who had cameras there can help us out!) The courtyard at The Veranda is so cute, and even though we didn't decorate it with flowers, I thought it looked great!

We haven't uploaded any pictures from our dinner cruise on the Caloosahatchee River yet. To be honest, most of the photos are of us dancing or us posing on various parts of the riverboat. Once again, we're hoping that other people can help us fill in the blanks.

After our dinner cruise, we headed over to a little reception hall downtown. We didn't have our photographer come there (it would have cost extra to hire him for a couple more hours and it didn't really seem worthwile). We had disposable cameras on the tables and we got our money's worth out of them.

(A husband, a beer, and a big chocolate chip cookie: What more could a girl need?)

No, you're not seeing things. Yes, that's a feather boa. And yes, those are Mardi Gras beads around Cory's neck. We were going for a whole New Orleans feel.

That's all so far... when I get around to uploading a few more pictures, I'll try to post them.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Friday Fun

What is it about "National Bingo Night" that has me so excited?


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Back in the Swing

It's been exactly one month since our wedding, and I feel like my life is finally starting to get back to normal. Honestly, it's been so long since my life was "normal" that I'm not sure I'll recognize it when I get there. For the last six months, I've spent every day I've had off from work either house-hunting, mortgage-hunting, moving, renovating, or planning a wedding. And while we still have plenty of renovating and unpacking to do, the only wedding stuff we have left are the thank-you notes, which we're slowly managing to plod through (though in retrospect, it would have been nice to mail them all out before the postage increase).

Today, as a symbol of my return to quasi-normalcy, I got my wedding fingernails removed.
I admit, it was nice having long nails for a couple of days-- But then I returned to work and I couldn't type. And when you work at a job that has very strict, non-flexible deadlines, that isn't a good thing.

Originally, I planned to just polish my own nails for the wedding. In fact, I'd purchased a nice little french manicure set so that I could make them look pretty. But then I nearly chopped one of my fingers off on Friday the 13th (the day before the wedding), and I thought that some artificial nails would be a little more attractive than a giant band-aid.

If you look closely at our wedding pictures, you can see the discoloration under my freaky deformed left index fingernail. I'm happy to report that I didn't develop any kind of weird flesh-eating disease by getting an artificial nail on that finger. At least, I haven't developed any symptoms yet. I'll keep you posted...

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Welcome to the 20th Century

Back in 2000, the television station I was working at in tiny little Kirksville, Missouri, had the ability to upload video to its website. We didn't do it often, because it wasn't an easy process, but every now and then, one of our stories would appear on the website.

My current station, a much larger station in a much larger city, just got the ability to upload video in the last month. I'm thrilled, because it means when people call all cranky that they forgot to set their VCRs, I can tell them to watch the story on our website. And now, it also means that you can now watch some of my stories (some good, some not-so-good) on the old "interweb."

Here are a few from the last couple of weeks:

The Man Who Met Jackie Robinson
Chicken Soup for Terry Jo Myers
Sister Act in the Monster Truck World
A Wimbledon Champion's Homecoming


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