Saturday, June 30, 2007

Random Thoughts

I've not really posted this month and it's not from lack of substance, it's has been a case of bad timing. We went on vacation, had house guests, crazy at work. So to get caught up here are some random thoughts:

We had a good six day vacation. It started with The In-laws visiting. To be honest with The In-laws it's a role of the dice. Either it can be a nice visit or we feel worse after they leave. Fortunately for us the dice fell our way and it was a good visit. They were surprised about how nice Fried Chicken Dr was, it almost got the the point I started to wonder if they had thought we had bought a trailer and the the Honda would be on blocks in the front yard and trash and cats would be all over the place. I take The Father-in-law golfing and we had a decent time. I started off with my usual crappy play and he started off well, but somewhere around hole 7 I started to get relaxed and as usual my game improved to a near respectable level. I started to slide back down around hole 15. I had not played 18 holes this year so I was getting a little tired. We talked about life, sports, OSU, family, and our future... the normal stuff. He finished up with an 83 and I whacked a 124... the best this year. We all met up went out to eat and had a good time.
On Thursday we head to Ironton for more golf and shopping. We stayed with my parents till Saturday afternoon and it was much needed. We got some good eats with my dad's spaghetti and it was a good relaxing time. I went to the Ironton Country Club with my dad and he helped fix my golf game. Seems I was about a foot and a half to far from the ball. Of course this one little adjustment lead to me being nearly kicked out of the family. The one family rule about golf is you don't out drive dad (It's not a real rule, but a fun joke rule). Well on the 3rd hole his goal is to get past a mound in the fairway and the past a pine tree if it's a good day... I went beyond that pine and I hit the ball at least 220. I get a nasty look and an X over that hole. By the time we finished I had 8 Xs and two of those had circles meaning my fairway shot was good. I think on the 5th hole it took Dad 3 shots to get past my towering tee shot. Dad finished with an 98 (with two pars and a birdie) and I hit a 113 (two bogeys)! All was forgiven and I was allowed back into the family.

A trip to Ironton would not be complete without a trip to the Government housing of one Wilson. We met up for some wings at the new Buffalo Wild Wings and then head out to the ranger station for a beer and a camp fire in his back yard. If notice he's holding a poster of Smokey the Bear, we used that to start the fire. Irony at it's best!
We spent most of Saturday in the car. We went to Dayton via Columbus. We met up with King Tom, DCZ and Micah at the Cop O' Joe at the Lennox. We had a good time talking about the new Transformer movie and then that lead into Gobots, G.I. Joe, Thunder Cats, He-Man,Star Wars action figures, Which toys we had and the ones we could not have. The worst was the Star Wars rip offs of Battlestar Galactica. I liked the show, but I wanted Luke and Darth Vader not a Starbuck and a Cylon. During the middle of the geek fest The Wife left to go to Target... it was too much for her, but she knew I was having a good time.

We ended Columbus with a trip to see the newest Nephew Carson. I've seen him twice and this was the first time I was allowed to hold him. He's a cute kid and I will have to corrupt him somehow. My goal is to be that cool uncle that lives far away and lets Carson do things mom and dad refuse to let him do.

We end they day and trip with a visit to The Wife's sister's (Kim) house. On Sunday there is a cook out and more family comes and it was a good time. Then we had to head back to the Forest.
A side reason for Dayton was to pick up Kim's kids for a week long trip to Fried Chicken Drive. Two of the kids are 16 and the other is 10. From the picture you can see that we took the Mazda and that my have been a bad move. It was a tight trip that took 4 hours longer than it was suppose to be. We took a side trip to the New River Gorge Bridge and it was not as fun as I hoped. I'll be honest... I am not ready for pre-teens and teenagers. For the majority of the time it was fine, but once they started to annoy one another it was more than I could handle. I never had a time in my life where I looked forward to going to work till this past week. Then Kim came down and the decibel levels jumped off the charts. She is a loud person and gets louder when the kids are around, and if there is a hint of attitude from the kids it gets even louder.

The Wife and I enjoyed the visit, but we are glad to have the house to ourselves again. I actually just sat around one day and did nothing but listen to the silence.

While I looked forward to work there have been some changes I will not go into the problems, but schedules were changed and the original problem is still sitting there unchanged why three people had their lives rearranged. I've wanted to talk about this multiple times but I always delete the post before I finish.

When did people in news become so soft?

I've only been in news eight years, but it has drastically changed in that time frame. I remember times when I would have a knock down drag out yelling match with producers, reporters or anchors yet at the end of the day it was water under the bridge and you did it all over again the next day. One great example was Reigna, we would fight and argue over stories, but I loved working with her, she even tried to get me to work on The Daily Buzz once she became a producer over there. Now you can't do this and I blame the fact that news has used a business model.

What do I mean? Well instead of worrying about the produce we worry about the bottom line. In the old days before large corporations bought out most of the station in the country it was thought if your product is good then people will watch and you will make money. Now it's make money and worry about the product later. So people are being hired because they are cheap, not talented. Sure they may have enough skill, but they are not ready for that market yet. In the middle markets they are hiring kids right out of college, the problem with that is they are still too raw and don't understand the business, but they are cheap and want to make a name for themselves now instead of earning it. Then you go to the top 40 markets, they higher these kids because they will give them a decent pay raise, but truthfully it's not what a seasoned person is asking for.
Now they think they are on the move and feel like they are entitled to being treated as a big time news person. They have not had to battle there way to get the job and part of me wants to say good for you, but when you get that feeling of entitlement you loose something. The ability to take criticism, most of my complaints are about stories that are being pitched or lack of decision making. Instead of looking at it as the idea is bad it's now, "he doesn't like the idea I pitched so he is not giving me the respect I deserve. I will get him for attacking me." This line of thinking is heavily present in my current and former job. People need to toughen up and realize this.
This is why I think ratings for news is in a downward spiral and no one wants to acknowledge this and once we do, maybe we can get back to worrying about the produce not the money. If you create something people want to see then they will watch it.

HyCLoR bought a book about dressing like a gentleman and the first thing I thought of was "When do you wear and ascot?" I've always thought ascots were funny and why would you wear one. Well according to the book the only time you can were one is when you are wearing a velvet smoking jacket and embroidered slippers. Also noted in the book was the only time you can wear a velvet smoking jacket is when you entertain a black tie even. Then a side note of if you do wear a velvet smoking jacket your friends may consider you eccentric. Then I got to thinking who would I know that would wear a smoking jacket? If I did know someone I could call them out on it. Unless you are Bruce Campbell and you are in an Old Spice commercial PUT THE VELVET SMOKING JACKET AWAY!

It's still freaking hot out and only getting warmer. This past Thursday I was sent to Durham for a follow up to a shooting. I know Durham... shooting? NEVER! Well there were two and the police called a community walk through to see if they could get a lead. Well it followed a few officers and the next thing you know I am soaked. We wrap up and I get in a cool live truck. We run to our live location and then I have to get out and do it all over again. I do not think I have sweet so much for a story. I'm not looking forward to August.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Crippling Lose

For the most part Monday was just like any other day. I finished up a shoot and we got back to the station and I was doing some pre-work on the story and I thought "It's just after 8:00pm and Law & Order SVU should be on." I flip over to the USA Network and wrestling is on. Since I work till midnight I haven't watched wrestling in a while. I enjoy wrestling, but I'm not into it as much in the past. Sure if I was in Columbus I'd be going over to MT's house for SummerSlam and then over to King Tom's for Wrestlemania, but at most I'd say I'm a casual watcher.

I continue to watch and something seemed off. Why was Curt Angle in this match? Maybe he came back. Is that Chris Jericho? Wow this must be a big night. Then I see Royal Rumble 2004 in the back ground. "Oh it must be a pre-show thing tonight." As I finished thinking this a graphic popped up In memory of Chris Benoit. WHAT? DID THE CANADIAN CRIPPLER DIE? This is shocking news, out of any current wrestler I'd stop what I would be doing and watch his match. I open up a browser and Google Benoit and early reports of finding him and his family dead in their Atlanta home appears on the screen.

I immediately text the man who would know the most, the biggest Benoit fan, MT. Well, MT did not know about his death and he was stunned. For the rest of the night I left wrestling on and continued to glance over to remember how special Benoit was. He could carry any match and usually his match was one of the most memorable match of the night. One of the biggest matched was the already mention 2004 Royal Rumble. Benoit was the first wrestler into the match and an hour later he was the last man standing. I know it's not real, but a feat that was still amazing. Even his short matched were memorable. He lost the United States Championship to what MT called a shlub and his rematch was a Summerslam. The match lasted about a minute and that might be a little long. The comment made by the group at MT's house that's a long as the match needed to be. Benoit was too good for that "shlub."

It's starting to look like it was a murder-suicide committed by Benoit. I'm hoping this is not the case. I've always heard he was a great family man and this would be devastating. Rest In Peace Chris Benoit the wrestling world has lost a great man.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bob Evans

I finished up a shoot for July sweeps and I go into the station to dump my video in the system when I see Frank and he drops the bomb on me. "Bob Evans died." As a former Ohioan I was shocked at the news. I knew he was old, but it's Bob Evans. He's restaurants are littered across the state.

For my family though Bob Evans means a little bit more. After my father left the ministry he was hired as a manager for a Bob Evans. He even got to meet him a few times. It does not end there, all but two of my family (my mother and my sister Julie) has worked at a Bob Evans and we joked we could run a store with nothing but us. My Dad can do anything, my brother Steve could run the dish tank and grill, my sister Amy can wait on tables, my sister Christi can host I can do dish tank grill and wait as well.

Two years ago I went to the Bob Evans farm for a ceremony where they named part of a highway after him and got to interview Mr. Evans a few high level executives. He was a wonderful man and seemed full of life. I even mentioned my dad was a salesman that sold cleaning products to a large number of stores to the current head of the company. "He was one of our men?" The executive was not just a suit he was a former manager that new the system and that impressed me about the company Bob Evans created.

So the next time you are wanting breakfast go to Bob Evans order up some sausage gravy and think of Mr. Bob Evans.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

Since Wednesday I have been on vacation. It's been pretty good so far. I'll try and get a more detailed post once I get back to Fried Chicken Dr. A few notes so far I've golf twiced and traveled almost a 1000 miles and we still have the return trip.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hall of Mediocrity

This past Christmas I received a great gift, The Ballplayers: Baseball's Ultimate Biographical Reference. It's filled with about every player who has played in the major leagues. The best thing I have found in The Ballplayers is the random guys that had very little impact on the game but they still put them in there.Since it is spring training and baseball season is around the corner I thought on days that I am a little scatter brained or have nothing of interest to say I'll give you one of the guys I have found. If you know of one of these kinds of players with a weird background post a comment and I'll try to add them in.

Larvell "Sugar Bear" Blanks played 1972-1980 for Braves, Indians and the Rangers. 629 games with a .253 BA, 20HR and 172 RBI

Called Sugar Bear after a cartoon character on a cereal box. Blank's was Atlanta's starting shortstop in 1975. He was traded twice in the same day (December 12, 1975) from the Braves to the White Sox to the Indians, with whom he was a utility man.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Best Picture?

Over the weekend I rented the movie Babel. I kept hearing it was a great movie and I thought it got great reviews and was nominated for best picture. Well, I was horribly let down and did not like Babel at all. To me it was nothing more than an international version of Crash starring Brad Pitt, but more boring. I seriously could have cut about 45 minutes out of this 2 hour 22 minute snooze fest. I won't give too much away, but I figured out everything about 50 minutes in (that was with three long sections without dialog).

The main point is I've noticed a trend with Academy Award nominated movies... most are crap. I feel that most of the nominations do not go to the "best" movies, but movies that are artsie or controversial. Let me give you a few examples.

Last year the nominees were The Departed (winner), Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen. Personally I only have seen three of these movies (in bold) and only like The Departed, I know people who liked Little Miss Sunshine, but I wasn't into it. So with that how did they do at the box office(domestic only)?

The Departed $133 million
The Queen $56 million
Little Miss Sunshine $54 Million
Babel $34 million
Letters From Iwo Jima $14 million

If you took those numbers and put them into one year like I don't know 2006 where would they be in the money list:

12. Mission Impossible III
13. The Departed
14. Borat
53 Eragon
54 The Queen
55 The Guardian
56 Little Miss Sunshine
57 The Omen
92 Take the Lead
93 Babel
94 Snakes on a Plane
578 One Last Thing
579 Letters Too Iwo Jima
580 I Trust You to Kill Me

I know that most of the movies in the top ten are aimed to make money and do not deserve an Oscar, but Babel barely beat out Snakes on a Plane! Here are a few movies that people actually saw that I though could have made better choices.

Casino Royale
The Pursuit of Happyness
Inside Man

I have seen two of the three and heard good things about The Pursuit of Happyness and since Blockbuster sent it to me, I'm probably going to watch it this week. Inside Man had a great twist and was well thought out, the only thing I can thing of... It's a Spike Lee film. Casino Royale is a Bond movie, but it revived the series and was well done. Maybe not Oscar winner worthy, but at least 23 million tickets were sold for it.

Maybe I'm getting older and I'm not as hip as I use to be and that is why I don't like most Oscar movies. Lets look at just a few pictures from the 90s

90 Dances With Wolves (Lots of people still like it)
91 Silence of the Lambs (Classic!)
92 Unforgiven (Good movie)
93 Schindler's List (Great movie!)
94 Forrest Gump (How can you not like this film?)
95 Braveheart (Show at least once a week on some movie channel.)
96 The English Patient (eh)
97 Titanic (The Wife loves it and I get to see a naked Kate Winslot)
98 Shakespeare in Love (eh)
99 American Beauty (Controversial, but not bad)

Honorable Losers
A Few Good Men (You wanted the truth)
Scent of a Woman (Good movie)
In the Name of the Father (Highly under rated movie)
Pulp Fiction (Classic of the 90s)
Apollo 13 (Big money movie that was actually good)
Good Will Hunting (Great movie that brought us Matt Damon. crap... it did bring us Ben Afflack)
LA Confidential (Great old school crime movie)
Saving Private Ryan (Personal favorite)
Sixth Sense (I see a great movie)
The Green Mile (Tom Hanks at his prime)
The Insider (Not great, but good movie about a real event.)

That's a pretty good list and you can probably give me two or three that I did not use that you love and can will be upset why I did not include them. Out of all 50 movies nominated I have seen 26 of the movies and actually shocked that have have not watched 6 of the nominees.

Percentage wise I have actually watched more of the nominees in the 2000s (23 with three years to go), but I have hated a lot more of them. The other trend has been a movie I feel is better gets shut out for the more artsie film. The two biggest years are 2002 when Chicago beat Lord of the Rings: Two Towers and then in 2004 when Million Dollar Baby beat out Finding Neverland. I would have put 2001 with the first Lord of the Rings, but you can't complain when Beautiful Mind gets the win, but Chicago was nothing but a musical with a lot of sharp camera angles. Even if you didn't think a movie with an elf should have won you still had The Pianist. I know Roman Polaski directed it but that was a great movie about the Holocaust and was much better than Chicago. Just a miss all the way around.

Then in 2004, I think Finding Neverland was a great movie and never got the love it deserved. Million Dollar Baby was a sports film with an agenda attacked. It was a good movie, till the end. I'm not even talking about how it ended, I'm talking about the pace. I have never watched a movie drop off so fast. I actually stopped watching and started to search the web as The Wife finished watching. She really liked it and we even had a discussion on euthanasia and how we both don't want to be stuck on a respirator. Still, she will even say she liked Finding Neverland more than Million Dollar Baby. It's well crafted movie that also deals with death, but I actually almost cried at the end. A powerful movie that no one saw and did not bring up an issue so it never had a chance.

Maybe with age I have become more mainstream and just want a good movie, if I learn something then that's a bonus. I guess I just have to not really care about the trailers pimping me that this is an "Oscar" movie and just worry about if I actually want to watch it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Random Saturday

Today was a busy day, I did a little bit for work, got a hair cut, took a swim with The Wife and then hit some balls so to get this all out here is my Random thoughts on a Saturday:

Late last night I was sent to a scene, but no one knew what was going on or were the exact location of the scene was; all I knew was Rogers Rd. I get out there find out something is going on and that's all the sheriffs will tell me. I had to get up early to judge a contest at work so I though "hell, I'll go out and roll of some day light video." It's not to far from Fried Chicken Dr and won't take that much longer for me to drive into work. I leave early inform them that I am going out so we don't need to send a crew out. I arrive to the middle of nowhere and I have multiple sheriffs and a helicopter flying over head. Well because of my little trip I found out there was a body out there and it may become the lead for the news. SCORE ME! I know a dead body is a sad thing, but this is a morbid business and people love to see this kind of stuff on TV.

And the Award Goes To...
Almost two months ago I got a call see if JDOG-17 would want to judge a contest from Ohio Photographers Anonymous (OPA). We agree and we did the judging this morning. I was really excited because usually you can steal some ideas and I was never able to win one of these contest while in Ohio. Truthfully I was not horribly impressed. There were three or four really good stories, but hell I don't know why I stopped sending in stuff for these awards, I could have placed a few times! It maybe a little hind sight 20/20 but man I bet I could have won a few more awards than I did.

Snip Snip Snip
It's been a while since I got my hair cut and what better time to get one before I go on vacation. I head over to the local semi cheap SportsClips. I got a decent cut, but afterwards I started to think about all the cheap hair cut places I have gone. It's truthfully a roll of the dice if you get a good hair cut, so why do I go? It cost under $20, that's why. Over the last few years I started to notice a few things as well. The people cut the hair usually have bad hair cuts. Why is that? they are "stylists" shouldn't they know if you are a larger woman you may not want ultra short purple hair, or you might find someone with extremely teased out hair. On the other hand if I go to an semi-upscale salon/spa I usually get a great hair cut. Then I see the price and then add in a tip and it can get expensive. I guess you get what you pay for. Go cheap you will look cheap, go up a step pay 15-20 you will get an ok hair cut most of the time. Pay $20-40 and you will get a good cut. I guess you get what you pay for,
Splish Splash
The Wife has been bugging me to go to the pool for about two weeks now. I'm not a big fan of pools, but with a lot of marriages, the wife has veto power and The Wife, well... vetoed me and we went to the pool. I was getting ready and for some reason I thought it would be funny to grab some black socks and put my sandals on. The Wife got the joke, but was not going to let me out with them on. Trust me I was never getting near the door with that outfit on. I still want to know how did any guy think that black socks and sandals was a good idea... just bad... bad. LOOK AT THE PICTURE!

Fore! Well Only When I Can Hit the Ball
The Wife had to work and since the father-in-law is coming in Wednesday to play a little golf and then I'm playing my dad in Ironton I though I might want to get a little practice in. I grab my clubs and my shades and head out in the sweltering heat and head to the driving range. I start out a little off and by a little of I mean I can't hit a broadside of a barn with a club. More and more people are hitting near me and I start tensing up and get worse. It gets to the point where I am going to start throwing clubs and call the father-in-law and tell him to leave the clubs. I dip my head and look at the ball sitting there mocking me "You can't hit me... Oooo feel the breeze!" I take my new sunglasses off to wipe my face and everything seems farther away. I bought a pair of polarized sunglasses, these glasses refract light and I think it was making the ball seem closer than it was and I was topping the ball. I put the glasses on my bag and I start hitting the ball farther and straighter.

So what have I learned today, work likes dead bodies, I should have entered more contests while in Ohio, I need to spend more on haircuts, black socks are not cool and I can't wear sunglasses while hitting a golf ball. I guess knowing is half the battle.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Holy Crap My Face is Melting

Last August 3rd I mentioned it was freaking hot in Columbus. Well just over 8 months later I'm in Wake Forest, NC and


According to JDOG-17 weather people it's going to be in the high 90s. Did you catch that, the high 90s and it's not even summer yet.

This morning The Wife left for work and made me go outside to feel the heat. It's only 8:30am but it's in the mid 80s. By the time I left the YMCA It was in the 90s. I went home took a shower (bad move) and decided that I need to hit some golf balls so I don't embarace myself in front of my father in law and then two days later with my dad. I get a small bucket of 70 balls and I'm not even half way through and I am sweating more than Wilson with two of his lady friends in the same room. I finish my bucket and I am soaked. I have to go take another shower. I knew it would be warmer, but damn is this hot.

We've had 90s all week and I handled it pretty well and then the weather gods throw this day out and all I can do is sweet. I did want to lose 10 pounds before I came home and well, I guess I'll just sweat it out... stupid insulation!


P.S. I know I didn't post for a few days, I've had a run of a few bad days at work... well the entire nightside crews have had a few bad days and I did not feel like posting, hopefully this will get me out of that funk.)