552 miles... 1 million more smiles.

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

I be Illin'

Just when it seemed like I was getting on a roll.... wham!
I'm sick.
And for what seems like the first time ever, Cory and I are sick at the same time. Usually one of us comes down with it first and the other gets it four or five days later. This time, we're on the same sickie-schedule. On the one hand, it was nice having company all day. On the other hand, who wants company when you're sick, right?


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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

On the Move?

I'm thinking of moving the ol' blog to a dedicated domain-- maybe one without as many annoying popups. Would you still come visit if you had to update your bookmarks? Or would you forget about me?



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Testing the Waters

So I took the Jeopardy Online Quiz tonight. It wasn't pretty. They asked 50 questions-- I was pretty certain about 20 of them. Seven or eight more, I made an educated guess and after a little checking, I've determined that I was correct. I passed on about eight more.

And the rest? I took guesses, but wasn't even close on most. Pavlov (not Pascal) studied operant conditioning. Henry the VII was the first Tudor king (drew a complete blank on that one!). Wilson was the president when WWI started.

So, if I'm lucky, I got 27 out of 50 correct. Last time I checked, that's a failing grade. I'm not allowed to "audition" again for at least another year-- And let's face it, I'm not getting any smarter.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Quick Note

My mom's out here visiting for her birthday (which is today-- Happy Birthday, Jan!) and I'm currently in the midst of baking a cake for her.

So I have all the usual cake accouterments, including birthday candles (which I'm sure she'll bitch about, but the way I see it, you can't have a birthday cake without at least one candle. Otherwise, how would you get to make a wish?).

On the side of the candle box, a warning is printed:

"Extinguish candle before throwing away."

We all know the sad part about this. After all, they only print these warnings when somebody was stupid enough to throw away their birthday candles while still lit.

As Bill Engvall would say, "Here's your sign."


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Monday, January 21, 2008

Blog Lite

Just when I was starting to get on a roll with regular blogging, things slowed down.

In part, it's because a Comcast (grrrr) outage left me without a connection to the world today. No tv, no phone, and no internet. I actually wanted to blog, but couldn't!

The other reason for my recent silence is the job hunt. I have three job interviews in the next two days-- tomorrow, I'm interviewing for a position that I'd really like, working in PR for a large local charity, but I'm not sure I'll be the most qualified candidate on their list. I've been doing a lot of studying up on the organization-- and brushing up on public relations-- for the last several days.

Then on Wednesday, I have two interviews: One for a full-time job, one for a meet-and-greet with the owners of an area video production company. The full-time job is working as a circulation assistant at one of the local library branches (unfortunately, not the branch a mile from our house). The pay is ok-- about a dollar an hour less than I made in TV-- but there's no overtime, so the annual income would be about $8,000 less. On the other hand, it's about $175 more a week than I can earn from unemployment, so I guess beggars can't be choosers. It's only a phone interview, so at least I can do the interview in my robe and fuzzy slippers if I want.

The production company thing isn't really a job-- I mean, I guess it is, because I applied for a video duplication position (high school diploma preferred, but not required) with them. They called today, and essentially said "You're really overqualified for the job, but we may have some other freelance stuff coming up if you're interested." And I am, so I'm meeting with them on Wednesday morning.

Somewhere in there, I hope to crash a job fair, too. So if you don't hear from me for a few days, don't be surprised. On the other hand, I may have another horror story to tell you, so stay tuned!

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Killing Time

My life has changed so much in the last three weeks-- On the one hand, I don't feel like a particularly useful human being. On the other hand, I'm getting stuff done that's waited forever.

We moved into our condo over a year ago, and aside from the original renovations we made (new carpet, fresh paint, etc), we haven't done much with it. And it needs all the help it can get. We've been planning to put in some new tile in the front hallway forever.... and now that we have the time to do it, we don't have the money. Go figure. We painted over the hideous lineoleum instead... and once the urethane is dry and the mouldings are painted, we'll finally have one room "done," more or less.

But there's so much more left to do. I don't even want to think about it.

I used to love going to websites and checking out the type of stuff we could put in our condo-- cool lighting fixtures (instead of the bare bulb that's currently hanging out of our kitchen ceiling), interesting fountains for our patio area, and different types of tile and Laminate Flooring (hardwood, I've been told, isn't very practical in termite-infested, flood-prone areas such as the Cape. Go figure. In fact, a lot of people think we're crazy for carpeting as much of our home as we did!) I fantasized about luxuries like central vacuuming systems (even though I hate vaccuming) and solar-powered water heaters (if only we'd known about them back when we replaced our 20-year old unit!).

Now, home-improvement websites just depress me. Too much money. Too much time. Too much effort. Blech.

The glow of home-ownership lasted less than a year. Only 228 more mortgage payments to go!

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Going Nuts

Which is worse? People who purchase testicles to dangle from the back of their pickup trucks-- or politicians who want to waste legal resources to outlaw them?

Apparently, they're a safety hazard, because people get distracted while staring at them. I know that I can't concentrate when a pair of white-trash steel dingly-danglies are in view. Give me a break.

Oh, and the Virginia law-maker in question also wants to outlaw them because they're obscene.

Disgusting, yes. In poor taste, yes. But obscene?

Now, don't get me wrong-- I don't think anyone on the planet needs to have "Truck Nutz." In fact, I think they should be illegal just because there's a good chance that anyone who has them is probably too mentally deficient to own a drivers' license.

The article goes on to quote a concerned citizen from right here in the Sunshine State:

“We’ve got a little nephew, he’s 4. I’m sure if he sees it he’s going to be asking what it is, you know.”

Hmmm. So this kid's never seen the backside of a dog? Or watched Meerkat Manor? Or maybe this concerned citizen also supports laws requiring all male animals either be neutered or wear pants.

In that case, pants-less Donald Duck is in trouble.

Addendum: I just got a note from my friend Blaine, who is a reporter in Hampton Roads. And guess what he did a story about? Click here for more (There's also a video link on the left side of the page).


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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Getting Political

It's getting to be that time of year. More accurately, it's getting to be that time of the 4-year cycle. I actually (kind of) give a crap about politics.

Cory's been driving me crazy by watching political news every night when he gets home from work-- this from the guy who hates watching the news. Now remember, I'm a little bitter about the news biz right now, but I can deal with a little bit of it. But I can't remember being this burned-out on election coverage so early. Ugh.

I think part of the reason why I'm so burnt-out is that I don't like any of the candidates. I think some are too inexperienced, some are too polarizing, and some are downright scary. Mike Huckabee really makes me nervous. But I have to hand it to him... the whole Chuck Norris thing is brilliant (If you haven't seen it yet, check it out here).

Do you think Bill & Opus will run again? They've got my vote.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

I bet you thought I forgot again!

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

To be honest, since becoming unemployed, I've found it hard to keep track of the days. Wednesdays used to be the start of my work-week... my "Monday." Now, all of the days just kind of run together.

By the way, this is another "recycled" picture. I just haven't seen anything very picture-worthy the last few weeks.

As always, you can visit more Wordless Wednesday participants here.

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An Awkward Exchange

Cory's co-workers have been really great about helping me in my job-hunting efforts. Even the ones that I don't know very well have offered tips, advice, and even references. Today, however, their help led to a somewhat awkward exchange.

Most of the jobs that I've applied for have been in either public relations or markeing. Well, it just so happens that one of Cory's supervisors has a wife that works in marketing at an area company. While it isn't my ideal field, it is something that I know a little about and that I find interesting.

So, he sets up a little meet-and-greet with his wife. There isn't a position available at her company, but one may be opening up soon. He tells Cory that she'll be expecting me to drop by her office today.

I put on my big-girl clothes, slap on a little makeup, and print up a resume. I head over to her office and ask to speak with her. The receptionist has to say my name three times into the phone.

To her credit, she didn't leave me waiting. I'm guessing that the curiosity got the best of her. I introduce myself, and she says, "I'm sorry... do I know you?"

I'm completely caught off-guard. She was expecting me, right? I attempt to stammer a brief explanation.... something along the lines of "ummmmm... hahaha... well... ummmm... my husband works with your husband and he... uhhhh... suggested I come in to talk with you."

She very obviously has no idea what I'm talking about. Thankfully, she's very nice, and amuses me for about five minutes, taking my resume and engaging in a little small talk. I apologize profusely for showing up unexpectedly. She promises to pass my resume along in case something opens up. I wander off with my tail tucked between my legs.


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Monday, January 14, 2008

CSI: Casting Central

Anyone who watches a lot of television or movies has favorite actors. We also have our least-favorite. Sometimes we don't like an actor because we don't like the way they look. Sometimes it's because they alwasy play slimy or annoying characters.

In my case, my least-favorite actors always seem to fall into the same category: Actors who I think are terribly un-talented, but who continue to get work. Zooey Deschanel. Terrible. And I just read that she'll be playing Janis Joplin in a coming biopic. As much as I love her stuff with Big Brother and the Holding Co., I don't think I could possibly sit through two hours of Zooey Deschanel in a lead role.

Oh, and how about David Caruso? Simply awful. I love CSI-- but the casting director must have been on vacation when they selected him (and Emily Proctor, too) for the series. The only time I've ever enjoyed Caruso's work was when he played Kit Kat in "Hudson Hawk," and that's only because he played a mute.

I keep seeing promos for this week's episode of CSI: Miami, and apparently the casting director is on vacation again. Either that or he (she?) has a really cruel sense of humor. Guess who's playing David Caruso's ex? Elizabeth Berkley. Seriously.

How do these people keep getting work? I need one of their agents.


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Do You Read Me?

For the last few years, I've ordered my contact lenses online-- and at a pretty substantial savings. At my last tv station, the insurance was terrible, and to make matters worse, there was no vision coverage whatsoever. Since my eye doctor charges an arm and a leg for my lenses (about $80 per box), I looked online and discovered that I could order them online for about a third of that price. I had to hunt around for a while to find a company that carried my crazy-ass prescription (I have a very severe astigmatism), but it was worth the effort.

So why shouldn't I order glasses online, too? Okay-- I can hear what you're thinking. How on earth would you know that they'd look good on your face? A good argument, sure. But if you could get them for $8 a pair, wouldn't it be worth the risk?

Guess what? You can actually get them for eight bucks. Great Discovery: $ 8 Zenni Optical Rx Eyeglassess. (I guess the extra "s" is for extra "savings.") You can also get bifocals for about 25 bucks, tinted lenses for about $5 more, and pretty good prices on most other features. You just need to know your prescription.

Sure, some of the frames are kind of ugly. Others are, well... a matter of taste. Cory would love this pair. He's a big fan of nerdy glasses.
But really. most of them aren't so bad looking. And who cares? They're eight bucks! You could get ten pair, pick the one you like most, give the others to the Lions Club, and it would still be cheaper than buying them from an optometrist.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Random Thoughts

My life has been pretty uninteresting this week, so I'll just post a few random thoughts...
  1. Floor paint takes a very long time to dry. And because it's the foyer floor, I feel somewhat trapped.
  2. The worst time to try to reprogram a TiVo is during a writers' strike. All of the shows that I want to program in for "season passes" aren't airing, so TiVo doesn't think they exist.
  3. By the way, the worst time to be unemployed is also during a writers' strike. I'd love to sit in front of the TV and veg, but there's nothing on TV. I might have to (gasp) read!
  4. Speaking of reading, I can't find one of my library books that was due today. Here's the problem: I have an interview at the library in two weeks. Oops.
  5. Our new IKEA cd shelves are awesome.
  6. We're about to get our new bedroom set-- but we can't decide which one we want. The two sets that we like look too similar, and they're the exact same price.
  7. This Saturday, I'm emceeing "Play Golf America" day at the Del Tura Golf Club here in town. It should be fun-- I had a blast covering the event last year.
  8. I've officially been approved for unemployment. $275 a week, baby! Cha-Ching! (by the way, we've determined that we actually can still survive-- and even keep the house-- as long as we only eat ramen noodles and drink very cheap beer).
  9. How boring is my life? The highlights of my day include: a) watching Yo Gabba Gabba every morning, waiting for the mail to arrive (usually around 3:30), and Cory's dinner break, when he comes home for an hour.

So there it is. My so-called life.


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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Art at the Park

How is it that I've never heard of Park West Art Gallery? I grew up just about half an hour away from it, and yet today is the first time I've ever even heard its name.

Okay, maybe it's because I'm not a zillionaire private art collector. But still, you'd think that the largest fine arts collection in the world might have come up once or twice while I was getting that Art History minor. (I've always joked that with a major in Communication and a Minor in Art History, I'm really only qualified to answer the phones at a museum.) You know, just a "Hey, by the way, there's a big Rembrandt exhibition in Southfield" would have been nice.

Right now, the Park West Gallery is featuring works by Jean Claude Picot, who's work reminds me a bit of Matisse--very vivid and vibrant stuff. Not really my cup of tea, but who am I to judge, right? But it isn't all art. The gallery also has sports memorabilia in its catalog, including an autographed Pete Rose bat, Joe Montana's helmet, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's shorts. Old, sweaty shorts-- no matter how famous the wearer-- aren't really my cup of tea, either... but, as I said earlier, who am I to judge?

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Death in the Family

I almost forgot to tell you about the "death" that's been changing our lives. Last week, our beloved TiVo died.

We'd seen the signs, but chose to ignore them. First, the occasional pixelation of programming. Then it got worse, and programming would freeze altogether, sometimes for as long as a minute. Then TiVo would record programming but would "lose" it.

Like I said, we chose to pretend nothing was wrong, until Friday morning, when we woke up, and TiVo told us it was searching for service. Several hours later, it was still searching.

But much like the Six Million Dollar Man, we can rebuild him-- better, stronger, faster. We used the Visa gift card that Cory's mom gave us to purchase a TiVo hard drive replacement kit. Yeah, we could have bought a new unit for less money, but that would have meant giving up our "lifetime subscription," which we paid $300 for. Granted, we've already gotten our money's worth out of the subsccription, but buying a whole new unit would mean a new subscription-- which starts at $10-12 a month.

Our new hard drive is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday. With any luck, we'll be able to resurrect our TiVo in time to record My Name is Earl on Thursday night.

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Doggone it, people like me!

Remember Stuart Smalley? Al Franken's cardigan-wearing "Daily Affirmations" character on Saturday Night Live?

"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."

Daily affirmations don't sound like such a bad idea, right? There are probably a lot of people out there that think it's hogwash, but what can it hurt, right?

I will get a high-paying, fulfilling new job with a short commute...
I will get a high-paying, fulfilling new job with a short commute...
I will get a high-paying, fulfilling new job with a short commute...

I feel better already.

But how about this? I don't even have to say it over and over. My computer can do it for me subliminally!

Get this, there's software you can install on your computer that flashes positive subliminal messages on the screen while you work. In essence, you reprogram your computer to reprogram your thoughts.

So, while you're surfing the web, working on your resume... probably even while you're watching some really unsavory internet p0rn, you can quit smoking. Or maybe become more self-confident. Or maybe you could even break yourself of that nasty internet p0rn habit. You can check out the details at http://www.subliminal-power.com/.

But in the meantime:

I will get a high-paying, fulfilling new job with a short commute...
I will get a high-paying, fulfilling new job with a short commute...
I will get a high-paying, fulfilling new job with a short commute...

Stuart Smalley would be so proud of me.


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Dream On

Why am I still having work nightmares?

When we moved to Florida two years ago, my work nightmares stopped. For years, I'd had sleepless nights, thanks to my previous job in the Peach State. I was constantly stressed out, completely miserable, and often sleepless. I actually took a pay cut to move down here, just so I could have some peace of mind.

For nearly two years, I slept well. No nightmares about missing a big story, or about getting sent to a game that didn't exist, or being forced to report on news (yuck).

Not until I was let go. Those last few weeks, I hardly slept at all. It didn't help that I got stuck with some seriously bad assignments those last few weeks-- and the nightmares came back.

So here I am, entering my second week of unemployment. Oddly enough, despite my fears that the condo will be foreclosed upon and that Cory's truck will be reposessed, I've slept pretty well. I think all the booze helps.

Last night, though, a new work nightmare. And it really was a work nightmare, featuring my former co-workers, crappy news assignments, and of course, I was running late for the big story.

Why? I don't even have a stinking job anymore, so why am I still having nightmares about it?

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Road Trip

Cory and I hit the open road on Saturday-- to go to IKEA!

The new store in Sunrise (A 'burb of Miami) is about 2 1/2 hours away from us-- but closer than the other new store in Orlando (about 3 hours away). The grand opening was in Mid-October, but the store is still so busy that you have to park 3 miles away at the Bank America Center (where the Florida Panthers play), then catch a trolley back to ths store.

Of course, it would have been nice if there had been policemen directing traffic and informing people of that arrangement. Instead, they simply blocked off all the entrances and let you figure it out yourself. It led to a few tense moments in the ol' Nissan Frontier, but all of our stress melted away once we finally got into the store. I think it was the smell of the cinnamon rolls at the snack bar. Few things on this planet smell as good as a cinnamon roll.

Anyway, we bought three CD towers (BENNO) with a gift card that my mom gave us for Christmas. We'd hoped to also buy the matching BILLY bookcase, but the store was out of stock in the color we wanted (had we known you could check stock online, we would have driven to Orlando, but that's a different story altogether).

Honestly, the best part of the trip was getting to go with Cory. I've had to drive to Miami for work several times, but in the two years we've lived here, Cory's never made the trek down Alligator Alley. So we drove across the Everglades and watched nature whiz by at 70 miles per hour. We tried to get into the spirit of it by listening to the Everglades Radio Network. And no, we didn't see any alligators. I don't know why, but they tend to hang out more on the west-bound side of the road, and it was dark when we were driving home.

We haven't put the CD towers together yet. Yeah, we could do it today, but I've got a lot of free time on my hands on weekdays, so I think I'll just save it for tomorrow. And maybe Tuesday. I'll have a lot of CD alphabetizing to do... and believe me, it's a multi-day task.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Larger Than Life

I can't believe I've resisted posting this photo for so long.

As you may already know, the University of Kansas is playing in the Orange Bowl tonight. The University of Kansas also has a very large coach, Mark Mangino. Larger than life, some might say. I know the Orange Bowl mascot probably thinks so.

Thanks to deadspin.com for posting this delicious photo. It makes me giggle like a schoolgirl every time I see it. You know you're a fattie when you're actually larger than a mascot.

My mother has, on occasion, referred to me as a "chubby chaser," because the men I've dated have typically fallen into the "teddy bear" category. The way I see it, I'm a big girl. 5'9" on a short day. I need to date big guys. Just not Mangino-size.

Ok, really quickly, I need to tell my favorite Mark Mangino story.

My friend Molly went to Kansas. And every year, she makes it back for at least one football game. In fact, right now, she's at the Orange Bowl, freezing her ass off. So, last year, Molly and some of her old college friends go to the homecoming game. And they're joking around about how fat their coach is. One of their friends, who doesn't follow football, asks who they're talking about. Molly points down at the field and says, "That's him. Between the 40 yard line and the 42 yard line."

And her friend squeals, "Oh my God, our coach is two yards wide!"

Just at that moment, Mangino turns to the side. And Molly's friend squeals, "He's two yards the other way, too!"

That's a true story.

Here's another: One time, Mark Mangino was driving through Kansas City on a recruiting trip. He traveled down I-435, got off at the wrong exit, and got lost. After driving around for close to an hour, he finally stopped at a gas station to ask for directions.

"Hey," Mangino queries, "How do I get back to 435?"

The gas station attendant replies, "You might try eating a salad."

Ok, so that one probably isn't a true story. But it's damn funny.

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Devine Design

Did anyone happen to catch West Virginia's thorough trouncing of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl? Let me clarify-- first of all, I love to see the Sooners lose. There's something so cathartic about it.

But more than that, I love to watch Mountaineers Freshman Noel Devine play football. He hasn't played a lot, but Steve Slayton got injured tonight, and Noel filled in pretty admirably. If you saw the second half, you probably saw his two touchdowns, and some of his amazing moves. He's pretty impressive. And yeah, he's had his troubles. The kid's had a rough life, so to see him perform so well on the national stage was fantastic.

I was lucky enough to get to see him play at North Fort Myers High School-- during my former career as a professional sportslady, I saw nearly all of Noel's games during his senior year. And the things you saw in the game were really no comparison to some of the things I saw him do in high school. Want a little sampling? Okay, here goes:


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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Take a look at my first foray into stupid sock creature-making. He isn't nearly as cool as any of John Murphy's originals, but he has a certain je ne sais quoi-- I'm just not sure what it is.

He doesn't have a name yet. Much like I struggled making him (I think it's a him, though s/he doesn't have any discernible secondary sexual characteristics), I'm also struggling at the art of naming him. If you have any suggestions, let me know before I send him out into the cruel world.

I'm giving him to Marisa, who gave me the Stupid Sock Creatures Kit for my birthday. So she's the one to blame when you have nightmares about brown and blue striped, orange-eyed, big-lipped monsters.

So, for the second straight week, my "Wordless" Wednesday entry has actually been pretty wordy. Oh well. For more Wordless Wednesday, check out today's other W.W. participants!

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Pursuit of Perfection

About two months ago, when the undefeated New England Patriots were playing the also-undefeated Indianapolis Colts, I got kind of a cool opportunity. I got a chance to interview Earl Morrall and Charlie Babb of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, and ask them how they felt about the possibility that one of those teams would equal their perfect season.

Unlike crazy Mercury Morris, who you've probably seen on TV ranting and raving about the Pats' record, Morrall and Babb were very courteous, very respectful. They said they wouldn't be bitter or angry if someone duplicated their record-- but that they wouldn't be cheering for someone to do it, either. Babb added (and I'm paraphrasing here), "We're old men now. That 16-0 season is all we have left to hang our hats on."

Of course, that possibility has become a reality. The Patriots escaped the New York Giants on Saturday night to go 16-0-- a perfect season for just the second time in history.

Or is it? What if I told you that another team had a perfect season-- before either the Dolphins or the Patriots?

The Cleveland Browns did it in 1948. That's right-- a team you've heard of. A team that's in the NFL, though at the time the Browns were a member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC).

The AAFC was only around a few years, but it was a pretty formidable opponent to the NFL. Teams like the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Colts and Buffalo Bills started out as members of the AAFC. The AAFC even drew more fans to their games than the NFL.

Just a year after the Browns' perfect season, the NFL absorbed the AAFC, and the Browns became one of the top teams in the league.

Now here's the rub. In 1970, the NFL had another merger with the AFL-- and the NFL recognizes all of the AFL's records (pre-1970) as NFL records. The same isn't true for the AAFC records. So the NFL doesn't recognize the 1948 Browns-- or their perfect season. Sure, they only won 15 games (as opposed to the Patriots 16 so far), but perfect is perfect, right?

It's kind of sad, really. Most of the players on that team were born in the 1920's. And while the bigger names, like Otto Graham and Lou Groza, have passed away, I'm sure there are still members of the perfect 1948 Browns that are still alive and kicking.

I wonder what they think about the 2007 Patriots?

But now you know. So when that guy in your office starts babbling about how awesome the Patriots are, dazzle him with your knowledge of the first NFL team to play a perfect season. You'll blow his mind.

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Happy New Year!

Cory and I spent New Year's Eve "downtown," waiting for the ball to drop. As one of my former co-workers said, the Downtown Countdown ball looks kind of like a third-grade paper mache project with some leftover Christmas lights strung across it. Sounds fantastic, huh?

I'd hoped to get there in time to see our friend Sergio's band, Cadence Wednesday, play, but by the time Cory got off work, their set was over. We ran into Serge later in the evening, and he had some pretty choice words about our former employer. Actually, it was just two words. The first one started with an "F." I'll let you figure out the rest.

Anyway, I had a surprisingly good time. Got to hang with some of my former co-workers, and some of Cory's co-workers, too. Drank cheap beer. Dyed my hair pink for the night.

Oh- and we had a celebrity sighting. Bronson Arroyo was wandering the streets with the rest of the drunken masses. I would have taken a picture, but I spotted him too late and didn't feel like trying to catch up with him in the crowd.

Anyway, I'm really hoping that 2008 will be a little kinder to me than 2007. Hopefully, the new year will be just as kind to you!

Happy New Year!

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