Sunday, May 31, 2009

One Day a Year Ironton Shines

Growing up in the town of Ironton, Ohio you will have a few things pound into your skull; Ironton football is the greatest thing in the area and you have to go to the Memorial Day Parade. I know what your thinking, really, a Memorial Day parade? Well there's a little history behind it. This year marked the 141st consecutive parade. That is not a typo, 141 straight years. No other town in the country can say that, since 1868 we have had this parade and this year there was an estimated crowd of about 30,000 and I was one of these people.

As all parades you have things like all the little league teams, a bunch of pageant winners that should be on Tots and Tiaras, horses and old cars. Then there are a few of the "Ironton" things you can see in the parade. Every year the rider less horse rides by, our Civil War reenacters and the Shriners.

I love the Shriners in this parade, we have a group of hillbilly Shriners that look like they came straight from the "haller." Then the favorite of all, the El Hasa Oriental Band. Just watch the video above, most will not understand the fascination, but to those of us from the Ohio River Valley will know the draw. This years sword guy was not the best, but in years past at every symbol crash he would run up to a random lady and give a huge pelvic thrust. I even believe one year my grandmother was a recipient. It's great fun to watch and I wish I was the sword guy. I would so rock that sword and thrusts that they would have to retire the sword and pants. The things I remember from my childhood. this is high on the list.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

In The Weeds of my Neighbors

After we come home after Christmas, we noticed some strange occurrences with one of our neighbors. There were a lot of bags on the curb and at first I just thought it was stuff from Christmas. After about two weeks of it sitting there I notices that it had a lot of cloths and house hold items. I started thinking, I had not seen my neighbors for a few weeks. Then the next day a crew came in and cleaned out the house. I don't know if the people left or if it was rented and they were evicted. For months now the house has sat empty and a small forest started popping up. When I last mowed my yard the grass was up to my waist.

The Wife has been freaking out over snakes and other things being in that yard. I was waiting for her to mention that she thinks chupacabra was in there. I was about to sit down and find out Wake Forest's policy on grass when I hear a large lawn mower. It was Denmark Properties out mowing the yard. I guess the neighbor on the other side complained finally.

I'm just trying to figure out what they are doing with this house. There is not a for sale sign anywhere and with the tall grass I guess they are not trying to rent it out either. I know everything involving the economy is bad, but it's not that expensive of a house and what's the point of sitting on it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Baby Training

I might need some more work on putting the baby in the car seat.

The New Grill

I've either been busy, out of town or not in the mood to blog and I got chastised by family over this. I have a few hours that I should be doing house work before an afternoon shoot, but instead I'll bang out a couple of blogs, the first about the new awesomeness... I have a new grill.

As I wrote earlier this month, my grill met an ugly demise and I was a man without a grill. I no longer was a man, I must burn meat on an open flame! As I lay around in my no manliness I package arrives... what could it be? It's a new grill! My sister Julie shipped me a new and improved grill and I have my manhood back. I go out and get some charcoal and some tasty ground beef, thaw out some hot dogs and fire them up.

I hearken back to the day of cavemen huddle around the fire as they cook up some kind of puma or thunder cat. Nothing beats the smell, the sizzle and the heat from a grill. Oh happy day. For the first time using the grill I did all right, I under cooked the burgers a little, but that is expected with a new grill.

Then on the trip back to Ohio I get another surprise, the same sister brought me Fricker's sauce! Oh glorious rapture how do I miss me some Fricker's. For you non Western Ohioans, Fricker's is like BW3s on awesome! The wings are huge and when you get ten wings, you know you had ten. The hottest sauce is called Killer and it's not the hottest I have ever had, but it's the best. You feel the burn, but it's not going to give you an ulcer of the mouth. You will feel the pain later on, but at least you get to enjoy the meal without having a fire crew blast you in the face with a hose of water.

I pull some chicken out and slather the sauce on there for a few hours and it was heaven! We only used the hot sauce (saving the killer for that right occasion), but I felt like I was back in a smokey Fricker's after a hockey game or in Toledo with Shawn and Melissa after a long night. Hooray for grills and Frickers!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Open Letter to Boston Bruin Fans 3

So for two periods the Bruins played with more intensity than the Hurricanes, so what happened. Easy, I was not in the stands and the Canes go on a goal scoring spree in the third to win 4-1. I've told you, this team is on a mission, and the Bruins are falling on old habits of choking against an "inferior" opponent. You want me in that arena you NEED me in that arena for game 6.

Listen, to be honest I want the Canes to win, but because of the economy and my inability to find a good job, I can't buy tickets. I just want to have a night of fun and watch some hockey. I love hockey and being in the south this is the only option I have. If you can somehow win game 5 and send this game back to Raleigh I can be the difference. Think about this game, I was the two shots off the post. If I was there those would have gone in and you would have a two goal lead and the Hurricanes would have been a tropical depression.

Also this is for Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, if you were so unimpressed by the RBC Center then why did you not get me a press pass. Now you have to come back here and deal with the Marriott's Bar not having all the channels you want (Hello Bob-o it's called room service). To be honest, all of Boston should be blaming you for this lose and how ever game is do or die. You could have checked these here ebays and interwebs and learned how you could save your team. Now you may have to make a return trip. In all honesty I hope you don't have to come back.

Come on Bruins fans, don't you want your team to make it to the Eastern Conference finals? Like I said leave a comment on how I can get a hold of you and we'll work this out. If not, hey Washington Pittsburgh fans, you might want to start to thing ahead on this one and start to think about this ticket situation. I've given the stats I'm 0-20 for the home team when I am present, add in baseball and that rises to 2-65. The odds are on your side.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Open Letter to Boston Bruins Fan 2

Dear Bruins fan,

So you did not take me up on that offer and what happened, you lost in overtime to a team that kind of sucks in game 3s. This is what you get for not buying me tickets. I could have prevented that lose for you. Instead I am all giddy that the Canes have the advantage and all they have to do is win two games and most likely those will be home games. See you can redeem yourself by contacting me through the comments and I will be glad to go to the game.

You still have a chance to save your team, it's a lot like the show Lost, you have to have faith and with that faith you know that I can bring down the Canes. My motivation is simple, I want to see a freaking hockey game and I can't get any friends to go with me because they think I'm cursed.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Facebook Friends

Back in August I mentioned that a co-worker got me into Facebook and to be honest it's an addictive creation that I can not stop using. Since I now have a lot of down time I seem to be on there a lot, but I started to notice a small annoying trend... people from high school popping up on Facebook.

It started when I added Wilson, we have been friends since high school so obviously I added him. Then slowly one by one people from the Huntington/Ironton have started to add me. The problem there is I was not popular in high school. I'd say I was a misfit among misfits. I never really fitted in any where. If you know me you might understand why. I've been judicious with the people I added. If you made my life a living hell I just click ignore. If you were actually a friend I of course would add them. Then there is the 90% left over, the ones that were indifferent to me or just ignored me.

What do you here, this Facebook thing gets complicated, what is the proper edict here. Every once in a while I'll look though the suggestion page and I am starting to get more and more people from home and I start to get a little anxious because I'm probably on there suggestion page as well. One day some one "friended" me and I contemplated it for most of the day. I'm serious, I should not have to think about things like this. Instead of worrying about Logan's birth I'm thinking should I add Jane Doe, she was cool for a while then started acting strange and was kind of jerkish.

I can't be the only person that thinks this, I mean someone made the above video so at least those guys know what I'm talking about.

A Gig

Yesterday morning I was getting dressed when my cell phone rang, I thought it was going to be a credit card company, but instead it was a local number. Who could it be?

Let's flash back Lost style to a few months ago, I cold called seven dance studios in the Wake Forest Rolesville metropolitan area. Everyone seemed to have a video person, but also no one seemed happy with their person. Flash forward again and it's one of the local dance studios, he is looking for a guy and wants to know my prices for a recital for late June (and possible one in Late May). We talk for a while and then he adds in there is a weekly track out drama camp and they could sell DVDs for that as well. Obviously the large scale production is the real money maker, but the week class could produce a couple hundred.

Let me do the math here, if 200 parents buy a DVD at $25, I get $15 and the dance hall gets $10 that means I get $3000 for one night of shooting and a day and a half of editing. The weekly thing could have as few as 15 DVDs and on average I'd make $15 and the studio gets $5. I'm getting $175 a week average for two hours shoot and three hours editing. I still have multiple days open and at least we would have some kind of income coming in on a steady basis. If I get both productions and this weekly gig that means at the high end that's $6,000 for the big shows and about $875 from the weekly. That could help us out huge. That pays off a couple bills and gets us set up for when the baby comes so The Wife can take a few weeks off.

My goal is to get us to August because I might have another trick up my sleeve that could bring in some more money.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Some Assembly Required

This past Friday I was sitting at home enjoying the alone time. I started to walk from the office to the bedroom when I noticed the UPS man outside. We weren't expecting any packages and I started wondering what could it be. The UPS man emerged from the brown truck with a rather large box. Now I am really intrigued, what in the world is in that box? He finally struggled his way to the door and what do I see, a picture of a stroller on the box. Of course I am stunned and I want to head for the hills. This was the first present we have received and it had to be one of the largest ones. I am not faced with the fact that this kid is coming. I send a picture to The Wife and she is excited and now I have a project, putting this thing together.
We found out that my family bought the stroller and during that conversation that this will be my first of my test at my abilities to put things together. I must have had a mind meld with my dad because I started flashing back to my childhood, the bikes, Castle Grayskull, basketball hoops and other items from my childhood.

I waited till The Wife came home and she ripped open the box like it was Christmas and I finally get into the room to help take out the stroller. I decided against the traditional man thing and look at the directions. I kid you not the first eight pages were different languages telling me now to not use the stroller. I finally find the first page of the instructions and find the English portion.
The instructions are mostly pictures, and still I felt stupid trying to figure out what they mean. Then The Wife told me to turn the directions the other way. Within 15 minutes I finished putting the stroller together and now we have to figure out of if we actually did it right. Shawn and Melissa would let us use Nathan we had to find a substitute... George. George is going to be Logan's stuffed animal that he will always have. I was taught how to strap him in and how to put the car sit in the stroller. and we pushed George around in the stroller... it didn't collapse, WOO HOO!
It appears that I have passed my first test as a dad, I put something together and nothing bad happened. I wonder what will be the next big test.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Open Letter to Boston Bruins Fan

After last nights 3-0 shutout by the Carolina Hurricanes, you might have doubts starting to creep into your head. "Is this team good enough, we've seen collapses like this before. Is there any way to make the Canes lose." I have your answer, buy me tickets to the game. Why should you buy me tickets to the game? I have never seen the Hurricanes win a game, and generally after that game they go into a tale spin and the next thing you know they are losing 5-0 games back to back.

I am cursed when it comes to sports, it does not just occur with the Canes, it took me 10 years before I finally saw the Cincinnati Reds win a game. I use to live in Columbus and went to Blue Jackets games and it took me being away for two years before they could make it into the playoffs. The beginning of the year the Canes had won two home pre-season games and were 2-0 to start the season. Shawn and Melissa gave us their tickets for the Detroit game and they lost 3-1. That started a tale spin and Peter Laviolette was fired. After that I was banned by Shawn and Melissa, little did they know I made it to another game, this time against Toronto. The Hurricanes had just lost two games on the road by 10-2 and were looking to get a home win. Yet I was in the crowd and went down 4-0, they even tried to break the curse and tied the game! Then my karma over came them and lost 6-4.

It's not just this year, one year after the amazing cup run I moved to the Triangle and I am taken to about 5 Cane games and they lost everyone and ended up not making the playoffs. Last year I got to shoot about 4 games for my former employer and yet again, they lost all of those games and had no chance for the playoffs.

Lets take this one step further, it is known in my family that we can not gamble, we never win. My dad is retired and took up a part time job at a gas station. He has people coming in buying lottery tickets and every time they say, I've got a sure winner here. My dad tells them that he can jinks it by buying a ticket, and if he does it's a loser. We just can't win at games of chance, it's our way.

That's 11 games in three seasons. Try and find someone with those kinds of stats, factor in the Cincinnati Reds in ten years I was 2-65. Then the Blue Jackets in three years I was 0-9. I'm freaking 2-85 with professional baseball and hockey. Bruins fan I implore you to buy me two tickets, they don't even have to be good seats, I'll take rafter seats. As a fan you know how superstitious you can be, what better way than to bring the opposite of a rabbits foot. Of course if the Canes some how win, I can't be to blame, it's the curse.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

I Need a Young and Old Priest

I had a nice start to my day on Saturday, took Lucy to the dog park and then went to Kohl's to get new shoes. I find the shoes, go to the car, turn the key... nothing. I have enough power to turn the radio, but not enough to start the car. Of course, the Mazda does not have jumper cables and no one in at Kohl's will help and no one in the parking lot with cables I walked over to Just Tires and finally ended up buying a new battery because the old one in there was the original. The guy walks it over to the car changes it over and I start the car... well, that's what I wanted to happen. All I got was a particle click and nothing.

Since Just Tires only installs batteries the guy was clueless as to what was wrong. I then try to use my cell phone and it is dead. I walk to the other side of the strip mall and buy a charger. Why didn't you use a store telephone? That's the problem, I only have two numbers memorized, The Wife cell phone and The Parents number. The Wife is at a women's treat and is hard to reach, so I had to get a charger. I finally got a hold of Eddie to take me home.

While at home I start trying to find a tow truck to get the car to the shop. I finally figured out that AAA's basic membership is cheaper than a tow. I get a membership card and call for a tow. I head over to the car and as I am waiting for the guy to show I get an idea. Why don't I try to restart the stupid thing? I get in, turn the key and it starts up without any hesitation. I am now frustrated beyond belief. I'm still going to use the tow truck, knowing my luck, if I leave it overnight it will get impounded.

The only good thing to come out of this was the tow to the house was exactly three miles, anymore and I would have had to pay a little. I'm just getting tired of this car, ever since I hit 75,000 miles it has started to fall apart. I only own $2,000 on it and if I had a joke I would be trading it in right now. Instead I have to continue to pay off this thing and hope to save money and maybe by an older car that is a little more reliable than this Mazda. I will no longer want to own a Mazda, I will probably switch over to a Honda or maybe a Jeep Cherokee. Sorry Mazda no more zoom zoom for me.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Interesting Stats

For the last two years I have been using Google Analystics to keep track of how many views I have received and what they are looking at. In that two years span I have had 12,217 visitors, 17310 page views and out of that 12, 217 visitors 6,736 were new viewers. That means I am averaging about 16 people a day and 9 new people a day. That seems small but considering I don't go out and try to promote this site to get more "google juice," I consider that a success.

Just looking at the raw data is interesting, I've had three giant spikes the first was March 28 2008 when I was covering the NCAA basketball tournament. Some how I was getting a little love from blogger and ended up with my highest one day total of 233 visitors. The next biggest spike was December 19 2008 when shoptalk did a little story about how I was let go at NBC17. I had 187 people that day. July 22 2008 was a total anomaly with 101 views and I still can not figure out why I broke the 100 mark that day. Just looking at my daily averages I can tell when I take a break or when I have writers block. My numbers average around 20 a day, but they will slide after about three days of inactivity into single digits. I no longer get days of a zero, but I've had a couple of 1 and 2s. Then within a day of posting my numbers start to climb. If I actually wrote something everyday I wonder if I could push the average into the 30s and have it stay there.

Next is my favorite part of analytics... keyword search. Anytime someone uses a search engine and lands on my page I am notified what they used to land on my page. The straight up top five keywords/phrases are:
  1. Aquafina Stock
  2. Hey Look a Monkey
  3. Aquafina Stocks
  4. Mila Duno
  5. Fat Punter

Looking at that list you notice something, Aquafina is in the top five twice. So I went through the top 500 keywords and broke it down a little more and added up the numbers to get a better look how people land here.

1. Monkey 219 hits- This is everything from polkamonkey, monkey basketball to monkey hitting guy in balls. With a blog name like mine I was bound to get a few hits like this, I never thought it would be the most I would receive.

2. Aquafina Stock 172- I just made a flippant subject line like about Aquafina stock was going up because I drank a lot of water on a scorcher of a day. Ever since then at least once a month get a hit from someone trying to find info on Aquafina. I love the internet for this, someone is trying to do research on stocks and instead they get me bitching about the weather and how I hate hippies. Also if you go to google and type aquafina stock I am the number one entry... I love you Al Gore, thanks for the interwebs.

3. USC Song Girls 72- All I did was take a picture of the song girls at a NCAA tournament game and I get a hit every three months.

4. Fat Punter 63- The bane of BGSU football fans and I write a post about the notorious moment and call it a curse because the program has never been the same. Yet again I am Google's top entry on fat punter. My goal is to make it so every Falcon fan thinks our program is cursed. I'm 63 views closer to my goal.

5. Milka Duno 48- I attempted to do a live blog for the 2007 Indy 500 and just made two comments about the Charoeaque Milka Duno and ever since she has been near the top of my keyword list.

6. Kate Winslet 37- I was going to stop at five till I kept seeing Kate pop up and you won't believe what most of the hits are for... Kate Winslet naked or topless. Instead they got me talking about how I enjoyed Finding Neverland and a quick remark about Titanic.

I enjoy writing this blog, I know I have no real presence on this thing called the world wide web, but hopefully two or three people enjoy my ramblings, that's all I can ask for