Please Follow Me...

Okay, so I'd kinda forgotten about this blog. :P Anyway, long story short -- no longer in NC, now working and living in Huntsville, AL. And all of this is contained in my latest project -- A Place To Crash. If anyone still reads this, please join me over there. :)


Oscar Love

I can't really say so much about the actual awards, since I have seen a grand total of ONE Oscar-nominated film (thanks, Al!) If I hadn't dropped outta film school and gone into TV news, I would be losing my AFI membership or something. But I can snark about the real show, which is all about the dresses, the speeches, and Ellen.

- Ellen, Ellen, Ellen. I expected nothing less from you than the hottest Armani tux in the building. Red? Velvet? Red velvet?!? You redeemed yourself with the hot white number, but barely.
- Let it be known that I'm normally a big Ellen fan. Seen every ep of "Ellen", and have been known to turn on her show just to see her dance. If I swung that way, she'd be in my Top 5. But I'm not entirely sure that the "I'm a fan!" approach in hosting is my fav. However, after seeing Jerry Seinfeld (whom I normally hate in everything he touches) on stage, I'd really like to see him do it. The endless in-jokes would get tiresome, and we might be inflicted with more Michael Richards groveling, but it might work.
- Tonight will be known as the Night Al Gore Didn't Run For President. Which is a shame. I hope his warm reception will make him rethink that, and I hope that a few million people are inspired by his message and will buy/rent/download his movie. http://www.climatecrisis.org. Do yourself a favor and read it.
- I liked seeing J-Hud win. It's fun to see the newbie blow everyone outta the water. And I even liked to hear her thanking Jesus for her win. If you believe that some greater force has helped you get where you are, it's only fair to thank them. This is why I don't win many awards (other than, um, not being nominated for them often.) As a Unitarian Universalist, there are way too many entities to thank.
- Is it just me, or is the K-Fed commercial much better now, post-BaldBritney?
- Great dresses: Helen Mirren, Penelope Cruz, Rachel Weitz, Reese Witherspoon (Ryan, what were you thinking, man?), Maggie Ghyllenhaal, Kate Winslet. Not so much: Kirsten Dunst (lose the ugly collar), Cameron Diaz (we get it -- you went to Hawaii and got a tan), Anne Hathaway (normally, she looks brilliant, but that bow..) Jury's still out: Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman. Best of all: Diane Keaton. Yowsah!
- Salma Hayek Honorary Award for Best Cleavage: Tammy Lynn Etheridge, wife of Melissa Etheridge. Breast-feeding twins works wonders. Runner up: Helen Mirren. Very Honorary Mention: Jennifer Hudson. Yes, I'm straight.
- Was I the only one who spent all the time that Beyonce was onstage worried that a dancer would trip on her train?
- Speaking of dancers, the whole Cirque du Soile-behind-the-curtain thing got old after Ellen's hand-puppet show.
- Why does Jack Nicholson look like either a bouncer or an aging pro wrestler?
- Glad to see Scorsese win one. Long overdue. He IS Hollywood. Same for Forrest Whitaker. Really, so far there have been no great disappointments.
- I really need to see "The Queen". I can't believe I haven't.
- I didn't know that Helen Mirren was a Dame until BBC's Breaking News alert told me. And I consider myself English in any way?!?
- Damn, Best Picture AND Director. Very nice. Old Hollywood will party tonight. Is there enough coke in California for this?
- Y'know, I'm beginning to like Leo DiCaprio. My whole soul weeps for me.
- One last thing -- for the folks out there doing Oscar.com...if you heavily promote a feature like the Thank You Cam, please make sure that it can handle the traffic. It's the little things that make the difference between an enjoyable site visit and an annoying one.


Well, it's been awhile

Does anyone even read this thing anymore? Very sorry to neglect this. I'll try to do better.

In the time since I last wrote...
- I moved to Chapel Hill, which is about 30 minutes from Raleigh. Bit of a commute, but I love it here. This is home to me. I lived here almost 10 years ago, and it's quite different now, but still the most wonderful town.
- I've worked a helluva lot. Our site is much different now.
- I am so sick of the Duke Lacrosse scandal that you have no idea.
- The Tar Heels seem to give me a weekly heart attack. They're so great and their bench is so stacked, but they seem to save it all up for spurts of greatness and slack off the rest of the time. The Titans made me proud this year by overcoming the Haynesworth debacle and opening up a fine career for Vince Young. Liverpool...I don't even know where to start. My fantasy team this year was total crap -- I was too distracted to pay it proper attention, I'm afraid. Hate the Bears, hate Chelsea, loved the Saints, intrigued by the idea of Becks in LA, and watching more rugby than I have in a long time.
- My brain has decided that it doesn't like to be in my body, so it's been in total revolt for a long time now. If anyone out there wants to perform a transplant, lemme know.
- Thanks to the above, I am no longer drinking at all, no caffeine or chocolate. And it's pretty damn sad when your nightly meds take the place of an actual meal.
- Still watching and loving House. Like most fans, I wish that Tritter had died of mercury poisoning from that rectal thermometer and left House alone. I'm not entirely happy with how that whole arc was written -- Hugh Laurie played the addict hitting rock-bottom wonderfully, but I don't think the writers didn't play his intelligence until the last ep, and don't get me started on Wilson's actions. I'm not thrilled with the spoilers for the upcoming eps (Chase/Cameron is a trainwreck, y'all) but I'm looking forward to some better POTWs and more interesting medical drama and less pathos.
- Other shows I've liked: How Do You Solve A Problem Called Maria? (MUCH better than the American/Grease version), Mock the Week, catching up on old Little Britains, the Colbert Report, Graham Norton's Bigger Picture, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway...you can see that I'm on a British kick here. I wonder if I could someday qualify for MyBBC access if I prove my ultimate Britishness?
- I tend to get stuck on/obsessive about one particular artist or show for a long time, usually years after everyone else is in love with them. Right now I'm totally besotted with Robbie Williams' stuff. I've liked him for a very long time, since "Millenium" and "Better Man" and all the other stuff Americans knew about in a distant sense but never appreciated properly. But then I heard "Rudebox" and was completely blown away (funny, because it seems like the Brits are underwhelmed by it, but every American I've talked to that's heard the album loves it.) Then at Thanksgiving, I was here alone (cues "awwwws") and ended up watching "Live at Knebworth" on BBC America. Since then, I've been looking for everything and anything he's done (and there's a lot -- thank God for Half.com!) Not only is he the ultimate rock star on stage, he also seems to possess a way with words and a cynical/emotional/depressive look at love and living that makes me feel like someone gets it. It just figures that he's a huge star everywhere but here, and it'll be a miracle if I ever get to see him live. Ah well. I can appreciate from afar, thanks to the miracle of DVDs. :) I had to take two weeks off from work around Christmas on medical leave, and on the day that happened, his new DVD set "And Through It All" arrived, and I spent the next week in bed with a hot British guy. ;) Listening to him and watching him has been the bright spot in some dark months. If he ever happens to stumble upon this via Google, I'd like to thank him.

I will try to say more than I have. It's good for me to get outta my head a little.

I like to reminisce about a time I’ve never had
A book that no one read
A film that never made me sad
And you remind of a place I’ve never been
And something no one said
When I was 17


No, I'm not dead

- Came through the gallbladder surgery okay. Took a little longer to recover than I thought it would. All those folks who told me about going on cross-country trips two days after their surgeries and stuff like that were full of it. It was not easy; and surprise surprise, your body does miss the gallbladder. In fact, it spent a good three weeks thinking it still had one, which was not a lot of fun (I'll spare the details.) But all is well now, and my resolution for the rest of the year is to keep the rest of my internal organs, at least until I finish paying the bills for that one. And big props to my employer for not only being great about the whole thing, but sending me TWO big flower bouquets while I was recuperating. I almost think they like me.

- Kinda OT, but not - Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina has done a wonderful thing. They have made all generic drugs free for subscribers until the end of July. It was only a $10 copay before, but when I add up all the stuff I had to take pre- and post-surgery and how much $10 a pop would've cost, I count my blessings. I think this is a great program that should be extended, and it would be nice if the nice folks in Tennessee who have lost their TennCare could get some sort of deal like that from the state. I know it would make a big difference in the long run.

- Integrative medicine (a traditional doctor who uses holistic methods) rocks. I have had only one migraine in the two weeks since I've started taking doctor-recommended magnesium and a new method of thyroid replacement. This is a big thing for me.

- Work has been crazy. There's been this little controversy at Duke about some party and a couple of strippers. Seriously, it's been huge for us. Not even going to get into the controversy, because opinions are like belly-buttons...we all have one. Suffice it to say that I have my own theory and it's somewhere in the middle. And you know all the press about Durham being a poor urban city with this rich arrogant university in the middle? That's not quite right -- there are a lot of wealthy peope in the city, and a lot of them aren't white. There's not a huge middle-class there -- like in Chapel Hill, a lot of those folks have moved to neighboring counties to find lower taxes. And yeah, the crime rate is pretty bad there. But Durham's a nice place, and has a damn fine baseball park. It deserves better than it's getting from the national media.

- I will be visiting Middle Tennessee for Hypericon and some time with my family at the end of June. If anyone in Nashville is still reading this thing, lemme know if you want to do dinner sometime that weekend.

- The new Doctor Who (with Tennant) is terrific. I am enjoying Big Love on HBO (sometime I should write a post about polygamy, Mormonism, and that show.) Not really digging The Sopranos as much as I should. House is still ruling my world, and I've been acquiring the new series of Green Wing from the UK. And since they're closing all the Suncoasts in Raleigh (and Suncoast is great with stocking British stuff) I am now permanently broke.

- Heard about Bill Hobbs. In the interest of not pissing off the people in Nashville who actually still read this, I will stay silent on the matter.

- My great-great-great grandfather was an illegal immigrant and didn't speak English (most likely he spoke Gaelic.) Look at your geneology -- your ancestors probably were the same. What's wrong with letting people actually pay taxes to stay? I'm not really getting why that's such a bad thing, or why people are getting so damn offensive about this.

- Really don't know what else to say. If you've got a subject you'd like for me to post about, leave it in comments. I'll be happy to oblige.



Due to some complications, my gallbladder surgery has been pushed up to tomorrow. If you could spare some thoughts or prayers for me, I would appreciate it. Thanks.


An Update Of Sorts

Yes, it's been a very long time since I've actually posted anything. Sorry about that. Those of you who have actually missed me -- I appreciate it. It's nice to know when people actually miss your thoughts.

A lot has happened since I left Nashville...most of it overwhelmingly for the better. I've been consumed with the new job in a great way. Love the job, love my coworkers, the station and the market. It's a great place to be if you're in the media. And we've had a lot going on. You might have heard of a little thing called March Madness? In this state, it's February, March and April Madness, and it's hard to describe how huge it is here. And I love it! Nothing is better than being a former UNC student who's doing the coverage of their defeat of Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. However, that same week was when the alumnus drove an SUV into The Pit on-campus, hurting a bunch of people. That's probably the biggest story I've ever worked on, and while it was a horrible thing to have to cover, it's also been one of the most intriguing stories I've ever seen, and the work that I've been proudest of.

(BTW, I say that the guy who drove into the Pit was a nutjob, not a terrorist. However, I also classify suicide bombers and most extremists in general as nutjobs. I read an editorial from a Florida paper that said we need to change our language in referring to acts of violence, and I agree. When you commit unspeakably stupid and horrific acts and then throw in a political or religious excuse, it doesn't change the sheer stupidity or horror of it.)

On the personal side, things have been mixed, but generally better. My sister decided to get a divorce right after New Year's, and that's had a huge effect on our whole family. I've developed friendships here and actually do more outside of work than I did in Nashville, but my career still eats up most of my life. And I have some great coworkers who keep me very entertained. :)

However, the main reason that I even have time to update now is a bit of a downer. I've had stomach pain for a long time now, and in the weeks before moving here, I was pretty sick, but I attributed that to stress. However, about a week ago I became really ill, and found out a couple of days ago that my gallbladder's malfunctioning. No gallstones -- it's basically going haywire. So I'll be having it removed in a few weeks. Really annoying timing-wise, but I'll be glad to have it done and hopefully feel a lot better by summer. In the meantime, I'm learning that I don't like painkillers quite as much as Dr. House.

I'll post more later, including some TV stuff and anything else I can think of (I'll happily take requests.) Hope everyone in Nashville Blogger-land is doing well. I do miss you guys (as well as my former coworkers) a lot.


When Words And Actions Decide To Compete

Okay, I think I am possibly the last blogger in existence not to comment on the Muhammad cartoons. Blame it on news fatigue, or the fact that it's the middle of the ACC season (incidentally, if anyone doesn't know this yet, Duke sucks.)

I've felt more torn than usual on this one. I have my own political code of sorts, and one of the central tenants of this is freedom of speech. It doesn't matter how much I personally detest something -- I respect the right of the person to say it. No matter how much trash comes out of Fred Phelps' mouth, he shouldn't be barred from funerals or churches in saying it. Kept at a distance, yes. But he should be heard. Growing up, the KKK and various white-supremacist groups marched through my hometown (which is one county over from the birthplace of the Klan.) No one tried to keep them from marching, but no one paid any attention to them. They usually marched through an empty square full of state troopers. Angry words feed hate, but silence quells it.

On the other hand, there is something else that I very strongly believe in -- respect, particularly for religion. People have their own assorted beliefs and Gods and traditions, and those need to take a priority in others' interactions with them. For instance, the Amish don't believe in having photographs taken of their faces, for various reasons. If you go to an Amish town, you'll find a lot of baby dolls dressed in black and dark blue and bonnets and hats. But they have no faces stitched on their cloth heads. Does this mean that people respect their wishes? No, because I've seen photo books about the Amish. However, those who understand and respect their beliefs often take rear-view pictures of them. And if you do take a picture of an Amish family head-on, they're not going to run after you and yank the film out of your camera or write nasty letters to the papers or anything. That's because they believe in peace above all else, and that's probably more effective for them than raising a ruckus.

I think that the caricaturists were making a point about Islamic radicals, and unfortunately their point was made even clearer by the violence that ensued. And no, Christians can't feel any better about themselves because they haven't burnt any buildings or killed any people who dared to offend them in the last, um, 150 years. Even if we haven't committed physical violence, we are spreading our hate and ignorance about other faiths and lifestyle through our words and deeds. But as people, we have to learn how to respect others before we respect ourselves. So if I defend the right of these journalists to have artistic and vocal freedom, I do not agree that being blasphemous to Muslims was a good ethical decision, and I'm not going to let my support of free speech override my objection to bad judgement. Sure, you think that a segment of their population is dangerous and hurtful. But does offending the whole group make that any better?

(I will also say, in case this is all very holier-than-thou, that I have not always practiced what I preach here. I've had my own experiences with certain segments of Christianity that lead me to disrespect them. And I know that's wrong and poisons myself as well as others, so it's something I'll keep working on, in my hippie-dippy, UU and Buddhist-exploring way.)


Reaction To Today's Game

Must...not...mock...Peyton. Must...not...imitate...choking-chicken. Not...succeeding..........

I'm not entirely happy, because I hate the Broncs and would've loved another Pitt-Pats matchup next weekend. But boy, today's game had the most entertaining 4th-quarter since, well, some of the Titans upsets of old.


This Is Complete BS

Boy, it's a good thing that I've already left Nashville, because this might've had me packing my bags. WSMV is pulling "The Book of Daniel", deciding for all of the one million residents of the city and thousands more in the viewing area that the show "is not appropriate for broadcast television in this community."

Y'know, if someone doesn't want to watch a show for any reason, there's a wonderful invention called a remote control that allows you to change the channel in less than 30 seconds. If you don't want your kids watching something, there's a slightly more high-tech gizmo called a V-Chip. Moreover, cable companies like Comcast have very user-friendly ways to choose programming for kids. None of this stuff is very hard to do.

I've already said my piece about the show, but I'll once again reiterate that I don't see what the fuss is about. Okay, the priest is a pill-popper and has a gay son and a lot of other drama in his life. This happens in real life. If you don't believe me, try attending a fundamentalist church for a couple of years and you'll start seeing all the skeletons in the closet. Moreover, the fact that the priest accepts and loves all of this family members, despite what they do or whom they love, is indicitive of the "Love one another" commandment that Jesus gave. Remember the "Judge not, lest ye shall be judged" verse? I think a lot of people have. And if WSMV thinks that the people of Nashville are so much better than that, then they must be a part of a different community than I lived in.

Moreover, we've already got the FCC making sure that no one accidentally sees a real live nipple or actuallly hears a curse word. I don't need my local TV station making my TV-viewing decisions for me. Before you know it, "House" will get booted from Ch. 17 because it dares to show a functioning drug addict practicing medicine. Or those "Sex and the City" reruns on WKRN will be cut because they show single women having intercourse outside of marriage. See what I mean? Where do you draw a line? I can draw my own lines and make my own decisions, and shame on WSMV for trying to say I'm not moral enough to do it myself.


Some Must-See TV, Along With Must-Snooze

Since NBC rolled out their revamped comedy schedule this week, I felt compelled to check it out. Except for "Scrubs", which is now scheduled against "House" and will now be relegated to a future Netflix queue.

(Note: Spoilers there be in these parts. Stop reading if you're waiting to watch these, particularly "The Book of Daniel", which is apparently reairing on Sunday.)

Will & Grace: Could someone please tell me why this show is still on? I feel very certain that watching The Weather Channel for 30 minutes would generate more laughs. It's just painful. The only thing that I found entertaining about this show was finding out that Debra Messing apparently can sing. And she also looks really stupid in a "Sound of Music" costume.

Four Kings: This was a very pleasant surprise, because I fully expected this show to suck, as most shows that are hyped as the ______ version of "Sex and the City" usually do (BTW, the true male version of SATC is called "Manchild", and it regularly reairs on BBC America, so don't bother trying this again, networks.) It has a few typical startup flaws. The flashbacks for the guys to childhood are understandable, but shouldn't be relied upon. Seth Green's character could use a little more likeability and a little less whininess (although his reaction to another character's girlfriend's ultimatium was really cool, and kinda redeemed himself.) But overall, the tone was good and realistic. The guys acted like, well, guys, and it reminded me why I prefer hanging out with men (and whatever that dish was that one of them cooked at the end, I want the recipe.) The girls didn't come off so hot, but it was also true to life. In any case, this show earned a TiVo Season Pass.

My Name Is Earl: I can't slurp on this show much more than I have in the past. It continues to be excellent. One suggestion, NBC - have a weekend marathon of the first half of the season, or at least reair the pilot one night. I have a feeling that people may have seen this show for the first time this week, and have no clue what the premise is.

The Office: I really have no clue why I hate this show so much. Maybe it just boils down to preferring Ricky Gervalis any day of the week over Steve Carrell. Maybe it's the "Coupling" syndrome, where they recreate plotlines from the UK version and they just don't hit it as well. Maybe it's because the boss is so much like past management I've worked with that it's too close to home, whereas David Brent was just a funny character. In any case, I give up. Even Rainn Wilson can't help.

The Book of Daniel: This was an amazingly entertaining, provocative show. I've heard enough about the Episcopalian Church from close friends that I'm fairly sure it's somewhat accurate on how things work, although I'm not so sure that a priest whose family is so scandalous would ever manage to hang onto his parish. But Daniel is the kind of guy who would convince me join the Church, so any Episcopals who are upset with the storyline need to keep that in mind. And I really don't understand why people are so upset about Jesus' role in this. I'll admit that I'm a liberal Christian, but he seemed to be written just like I would think he would be if he did show up today on earth. I've pretty much read every part of the Bible that tells his story, and nothing seemed to go against canon for me. So I'm to assume that the protesters think that Jesus wouldn't talk to a guy who has a gay son, a drug-dealing daughter and has a bit of a pill-popping problem himself? Does anyone remember that Jesus was friends with Barnabas, and Mary Magdalene, and all sorts of folks who didn't have the most pristine backgrounds?

Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members
of my family, you did it to me.' Matthew 25:35, 37, 40

Get over yourselves, people.

Anyway, as a bonus, I'll remind everyone that "House" is now airing on Friday nights at 11 EST on the USA Network. If you're not a junkie like me and have the DVD set, here's a good way to watch Season 1 and get hooked. This show deserved a lot more Golden Globe and Emmy nominations than it got.


Anyone Hear Anything About A Mine Explosion?

As we all know, I'm the Queen of Breaking News. So you know that I was parked in front of CNN until the wee hours, watching coverage of the W. Virginia miners. Unfortunately, I fell asleep shortly before what media folks call "the money shot" but I call the "balloon pop". So I fell asleep around 1:30, blissfully listening to people cheering and awoke at 5 to hear people sobbing to Miles O'Brien. Ugh.

But there are a few things that have struck me about this whole thing, other than how absolutely horrifying the whole thing had to be, and how many lawsuits that the company owning the mine will now be facing...

(Warning: my language here isn't terribly polite, but f*&^ that s%#$. This isn't a Charlie Brown Christmas Special.)

1) Okay, this one goes back to Iraq, Katrina, and even some of my own personal experiences - how f*&^ing hard is it to tell people the TRUTH about something before they find out in the worst way possible? In last night's case, the mining company had a decent idea within 20 minutes of the false report that there were going to be more deaths. All that CEO of the company had to do was walk over to where Anderson Cooper was doing his live shot and basically tell the world to hold its horses. He wouldn't have had to say they were probably all dead (or almost dead) or anything - just that the reports out of the mine were inconclusive and that people needed to hold off on the celebrating until they had the final word. THAT would have been fair to the families. THAT might have prevented the clusterf*&^ that happened over two hours later when he dropped the bomb in the church. And news flash -- deflecting the blame onto others during and after the fact (i.e. calling a news conference the next day to explain how this is really not all your fault) doesn't fix anything, and usually makes the people who are actually dealing with this feel even worse. It's all well and good to feel bad in retrospect when you see the footage of people cussing you out on CNN after you kept your mouth shut, or when actually get around to seeing the people starving on the streets of New Orleans that you didn't/couldn't help, or whatever actually happens when people find out the real truth of a situation and end up really hurting. And believe me, they always do. And even if you're not around to see how much it screws up the people, there's no way that you'll end up better. If nothing else, give the media some credit for their ability to dig and just own up to your mistakes sooner than later. You might even come out looking better than a dickless weasel in the end.

2) Speaking of the media, some people think that CNN has some apologizing to do. Once again, I cry BS. Anderson was anchoring live from the scene, not working as a field reporter or producer. How in the bloody hell is he supposed to go verify the things that people are coming up and telling him in the middle of a live shot? Was he supposed to sneak down to that mine and check it out himself? And of course he was calling it "a miracle." What else do you call something like that? And did anyone who watched him in action during Katrina honestly expect him to show no emotion? And how much more verification do you need during a breaking news situation than church bells ringing, people dancing around in celebration and EMS workers driving by giving the live team thumbs-up signs? It's not the media's fault that #1 happened, and they shouldn't get the misplaced blame for it, just because no one bothered to pass the truth along. Having worked in a newsroom and working in conjunction with one now, I can tell you that when something's aired that's dicey in the factual department, you usually get a phone call within about two minutes of it airing. Those live guys were there reporting and reacting to what was going on around them. It's easy to say in retrospect that they should have waited, but if you were actually watching and seeing the commotion, there was no way. It would've been like waiting to air footage of the NOLA mess until FEMA confirmed that it had actually happened. In any case, I'm now looking very forward to seeing Anderson giving Mr. CEO the Landrieu treatment in the very near future.

3) I would like to give the people of West Virginia credit for coming off as intelligent, respectful people. They managed to do it in a way that some of the reporters noted with such increduality that you'd think that they were expecting characters from "My Name Is Earl." I think they were much more relatable than anyone else in the country has ever given them credit for being. As far as their "we're gonna kick someone's ass" reaction to the bad news this morning, I think that's pretty damn understandable under the circumstances. In fact, I would daresay that if you've ever had a drop of true redneck blood in your veins, you would react in a similar way. And rednecks (I'm using the politically-correct definition of this, since I don't believe they all have a chaw and look like Kid Rock) are all over this nation, and I daresay we've all got it in us. So no one needs to get all holier-than-thou on this.


Starting the New Year off right

Okay, so I realize that I haven't updated in a really long time. So here's a summary of the highs and lows of the past month or so.

- Actually managed to get all my stuff moved to N.C. in less than two weeks, at Christmas, which is NOT something I highly recommend. I also do not recommend using World Moving Services to manage your move, because despite their high ratings online, they are about as helpful as my cats at making sure things go smoothly. /end rant.
- I now live in a lovely house in North Raleigh that's really close to a lot of stuff that I knew from my previous time here, about eight years ago. For instance, the mall where I worked for Hecht's is right up the road. The Wal-Mart where me and my ex used to spend a lot of time is less than a mile away. But while there's so much that's somewhat familiar, there's so much new stuff that it's really disconcerting.
- My roommate's cool, and as much of a workaholic as I am. Unfortunately, her brother got really sick between Christmas and New Year's and ended up in the hospital, making things tough on her. But that did have the side effect of letting me babysit his two huge dogs, who were sweet enough to (almost) get me over my fear of canines.
- My job is amazing. I've never talked about work before, so I'm not going to start now. But so far it's been really great here.
- I spent Christmas Eve unpacking, Christmas working from home remotely, and New Year's unpacking and nursing a cold. Exciting stuff, I know.
- I attended the service at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh yesterday, where they were celebrating the New Year in the traditional Japanese way, including the listing of the 108 Buddhist weaknesses that we could renounce for the year, the throwing of coins and tacking up a special card with your resolution on it. It was a gorgeous ceremony, and actually helped me feel like I really can make a fresh start for 2006. However, the church itself seemed to have a more sedate feel to it than the one I attended in Nashville, and I'm not sure it's where I'll end up. Next week I'm actually dragging my butt to Chapel Hill to give their UU congregation a try.
- Speaking of Buddhist things, I'm going to my first meditation group, based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn, who's been very influential to me in the past. Kinda interested in how this turns out. The idea of a quiet mind appeals to me.
- I have found a Japanese fast-food place with decent sushi, a place with the best cheesesteak I've had outside of Philly, and a Caribou Coffee that opened last week a couple of miles from my place (soooo much better than Starbucks.) Once I find a good Indian place, I'll be set. Of course, this would be when I'm starting Jenny Craig.
- And there's a Whole Foods here! It was like entering a shrine or something. Sorry Wild Oats, but you do not even come close to Whole Foods (or as some friends say, Whole Paycheck.) I can't wait to have enough money to dabble in the attached Whole Body store, which has every organic and herbal body product and vitamin known to man in it. I'll have to stay out of the food part of the store, lest I be permanently broke.
- Speaking of groceries, N.C. is cool enough to actually sell wine in their grocery stores. Hell, they even have wine at Target! That means the prices are excellent and the selection is primo. Too bad the liquor stores are state-owned and seem to be hidden in weird places.
- Something that's not related to N.C. - I got two great presents for Christmas - a Mac Mini and an XM Radio. The Mini is teeny-tiny and looks great. However, it turned out that my existing keyboards and mice don't work with it (damn PS/2s) so I'm currently awaiting a shipment from NewEgg so I can actually use it. Same goes for the AirPort card that I need to connect to the wireless. And I won't even go into the hoops I have to go through to get wireless for my PC. On the other hand, my XM works perfectly, and ESPN and Fox Sports Radio made my trip across the looooooong Carolinas much more entertaining.
- Oh, have I mentioned how nice it is to see the Tar Heels on a basic channel?
- "House" is coming to the USA Network on Friday nights starting this week. Nevermind I have the Season 1 DVDs - I can never get enough.
- Adult Swim has become the highlight of my week. "Huey Freeman's Christmas Play" on "The Boondocks" was so kickass that I'm shocked that it ever made it on the air.
- So the Titans managed to get third-place in the Reggie Bush Bowl. I predict either Cutler or Leinart will be suiting up in Tennessee colors next season, and either would make a nice pick. I would personally prefer Cutler, but Norm Chow might get a lot outta Leinart, despite the snarking about his weak arm. Poor Volek.

So that's it. Hope that the holidays treated you and yours well, and stay outta trouble.


Big News Time

Since I'm now discovering that the gossip-net is even faster than the Internet, I guess it's time to break the news.

I have accepted a job with WRAL in Raleigh and will be leaving Nashville very, very shortly. It's a huge opportunity and I'm really excited about it. I'll also be getting back to Tar Heel country right in time for some prime basketball. :)

However, Nashville is pretty much my hometown now, and I am leaving my family of birth and my family at WKRN with more than a few pangs. And I will STILL be a Nashville blogger! You'd better keep me on the NIT blogroll, Brittney! And for those of you whom I was lucky enough to meet at blogger functions, I will miss seeing y'all regularly and hope to pop in for future meetups.

Now to figure out how to find an place to live and move in less than two weeks AT CHRISTMAS....


Introducing "CNN: News Junkie's Crack"

We are all aware of how much I love CNN. Therefore, you would expect that I would eargerly anticipate the release of their new VOD service "CNN Pipeline". But to be honest, I wasn't expecting much. As someone who works with online news and video all day, I know a lot firsthand about how much most of the streaming video services really, really suck. But every once in awhile, you find something that bucks the trend, and it appears that CNN Pipeline might be one of those.

First, my main complaint about the service - I have no idea how good or bad the stand-alone desktop app is, because I have yet to be able to get it to work. To begin with, it makes me nervous when any new piece of software requires a 15-minute download and reconfiguration from Microsoft. Too many fresh memories of the Sony debacle come to mind, and I really don't like not knowing what Microsoft and CNN might be sneaking onto my system to monitor my viewing (and other) habits. Moreover, it turns out that this app only works with WinXP Service Pack 2. I'm not cool enough to have upgraded beyond plain ol' WinXP. I would be interested in how many people are actually that upgraded on their home computers (of course, you shouldn't be using this so much at work.)

Thankfully, CNN did have the foresight to make a web-only version for the not-cool kids (and the Mac owners, since over 3 million Mac users isn't enough to make the desktop app multi-platform) that's plenty cool enough. You can see exactly what it looks like and all the things you can do at their website, but it basically consists of three continuous live feeds and a collection of packages that have run on CNN recently. The live feeds are mostly for the real news junkies, since they're basically whatever's showing on the CNN live feeds for stations at that moment. Unless you've got something really visually entertaining (like a good car chase) you're probably not going to get into watching press conferences or whatever President Bush is doing at the moment.

One of the channels also has its own anchor who does periodic updates that look a lot like CNN Headline News, and another channel often runs non-stop weather that looks a lot like the Weather Channel. But at night it's very cool, because they run CNN International live. Since Comcast has never added CNN:I to their digital package (unlike Charter) this is a treat. I slept to the sound of soothing foreign accents last night, until I was woken up early by live coverage of the Saddam trial (I have now established that Arabic is the most uncomprehensible language ever developed, and that this trial is like putting a narcissistic schizophrenic in court without a judge, because that's how Saddam is acting.)

The packages that you can select are pretty cool. It makes me wonder why they don't reair a lot of them more during the daytime on their channel, since it usually takes a lot for me not to see stuff on-air. If you're a Blackberry person, make sure that you check out Jeff Greenburg's package on the possible shutdown of the service. I do NOT recommend watching the story about the 1-hour facelift. I was unlucky enough to catch that on AC:360 last night, and it was bad enough to see once.

In any case, this service rates a "B" right now, and will probably be even more useful when there's some big breaking news going on (boy, I wish this had been around for Katrina, although I overdosed on only watching one channel for that.) Think about how great this will be for the next hurricane season. One live feed of Anderson Cooper, all the time! (You know I wasn't going to get through a whole CNN post without one mention of him, right?)



TV Moves

Great Idea: Finally release the new Doctor Who on DVD on Valentine's Day, only shortly after its UK release. It's about time, and it's nice to see the BBC acknowledge that they're losing potential ratings and sales across the pond to file downloads. Duh.

Greater Idea: NBC moving "My Name Is Earl" to Thursdays (along with "The Office", but I refuse to watch that.) I'll now get to actually see my current second-favorite show on the night it airs instead of waiting for a Saturday marathon, thanks to the previously-bitched-about conflict with "House".

Very Bad Idea: NBC not moving "Scrubs" to Thursdays at the same time. NBC-Universal produces "House", dammit. Shouldn't they not try to leech viewers from one of its highest-rated properties by putting another snarky show that's had trouble keeping an audience up against it? Not to mention that it's going to be hard to pull a lot of us "House"-addicts out of our obsessions mid-season to watch a show that hasn't been on in forever. Luckily for us, that's why the DVD was invented.


The Blogger's Christmas List

Since it's Cyber Monday and everyone's supposed to be shopping online anyway, it's only fair to support bloggers in the process. I know there's a lot of them out there who are trying to make some extra money while sharing the craft that they love. But as all things are in the blogosphere, they're kinda scattered out. So here's my effort to get a bunch of stuff that people might like to purchase for Christmas in one place.

Starting with the ones I know personally:
Althaea Soaps and Herbals: This is a woman from Johnson City who just went into making her homemade herbal soaps full-time, and does a damn good job doing it. Her soaps are wonderful- the scents actually smell like the real thing instead of chemicals, and she has the best vanilla bean soap that I've ever used, bar none (pun not intended.) She also makes a sugar scrub that really does make your skin amazingly soft, and she offers that (along with oils) in all the scents that her soaps come in, so you can avoid smelling like five different scents at once. And her prices generally blow the retail stores out of the water. If you're a hubby who's looking for the gift that keeps on giving, check out her Soap of the Month Club - I know I personally would love that. I can't recommend her stuff highly enough.

The Dreaming Place: Jeanette makes the most gorgeous filigree jewelry. It actually looks like real antique stuff, but without the overinflated prices. She's also made those bangle bracelets that are so stylish right now, but appears to be out of stock. Plus she's giving out a free gift with purchase for every Christmas order.

Dreaming Crow Studios: Liss lives in the Pacific Northwest, and specializes in nature photography. Check out some of her gorgeous looks at plant and animal life.

Vivid Perspectives: Rayna lives in Montreal, but she travels extensively and has a wide swath of available photos. Her site is brand-new and the store just opened, so contact her if you're interested in purchasing prints of her work.

That's it for a moment. Frankly, I'm leaving out all the authors I know who blog because I could never remember exactly who is published and who isn't, and books usually get lots of pub on their own (although I will give a blatent shout-out to my friend Elizabeth's vampire novels.) But really, anything's game. So comment and leave a link to your stuff or your friend's stuff, and I'll keep this post updated as a blogger's Christmas list.


A Wee Bit 'o News

I don't do very well tooting my own horn, but Brittney from NIT said that I needed to on this one, so I'll take her word on it. In short, I can now say that I'm an Emmy-nominated producer, thanks to a website special section that Jackie Pillars and I did for a weather special last spring.

A few things I've been asked since receiving the nomination last Friday, and the answers:
- Yes, I'm beyond excited, and very shocked. But no, I don't think I have a "special glow", except for maybe some chapped cheeks from the cold.
- No, I won't be on TV. This is the Midsouth Regional Emmys, and while I think it may be shown on some Nashville channel, it won't be on in Atlanta.
- No, I don't know what I'm going to wear (a makeover may be in order.) And no, I also don't have a date yet, but I am now accepting applications. I think free drinks are involved.
- I highly doubt I will win. Not false modesty here, but my competition's really stiff, and this is truly one of those "it's an honor just to be nominated" things.
- In the unlikely event that I do, I will string a big fat gold chain through the globe part and wear the Emmy around my neck. A girl needs to have her bling. ;)

In case y'all are reading this, thanks to Jackie for creating this section with me, and to Jeff for all his work in submitting the entry, and my bosses for judging it worthy to represent the station. Also thanks to my sister for all her moral support, and the friends who kicked my butt when I needed it.


My Rare Personal Post

I know that I talk a lot on here about sports and news and TV and cool events and maybe the occasional drink or two. I rarely talk about what I actually do, because beyond work, I don't do that much. Even more rarely, I actually talk about my past beyond an occasional childhood memory. So feel privileged, because today is different.

Exactly 12 years ago today, I got married at the Maury Co. Courthouse by a judge who had to have weighed around 400 lbs. and wheezed his way through the ceremony. I had the worst cold of my entire life, so instead of "I Do", I said "A-Choo!" Afterward, my husband and I treated ourselves to a wedding reception at the Baskin-Robbins down the street.

In the seven years that followed, we had some really rough times. In January of the following year, our son died before birth and I almost died during labor. A few months later, we dumped our full scholarships at our college and moved to Nashville to wait tables and find our new path in life. Another year later, we set off to North Carolina together. In all the moves and jobs and classes and years later, in sickness and health, we shared a lot of laughs and a lot of stories together that I still tell on occasion to shock my coworkers (believe it or not, I was a candy raver at one point. You can stop laughing now.)

Eventually, things didn't work out. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't easy, and we finally divorced after seven years. But through the angst of the breakup and the uncomfortableness of getting used to going back to being best friends instead of husband and wife, we always stayed together. Right after the divorce, I abruptly moved to LA for a "new start" (note to anyone who gets the same idea in the future: moving across the country without a job, without more than two friends in the area, and into the largest city in the US after spending your life in the South is not a good idea.) When I ran for my life a month after arrival after my psycho roommate threatened to throw me out a window (and if you're reading this, you WERE a psycho, and it's nice to actually feel strong enough to say it publically) Fox was the person I called when I was stopped in my car on Ventura, crying so hard that I was throwing up. When he was having his bumps in the road in relationships later, he called me and cried on my shoulder. He's been there when I needed him, and vice versa. Since he's nocturnal, he's my primary source for overnight breaking news - he called me when the levee broke in NOLA, and kept me updated on the chaos while I was in Atlanta the weekend afterward. I now have his partners on my speed dial, and I adore them. It's not perfect - we're very different people, and I'm sure we annoy the hell outta each other. But we're actually able to look back on everything that happened and talk about things and laugh and forgive each other. We value our friendship too much to let other crap get in the way.

So today is our 12th wedding anniversary. Yes, there's a part of me that's sad and a bit lonely, because Fox now lives in California and I miss him and his primary partner a lot. But I'm also happy, because despite it all, I still remember us as the two slightly-nerdy kids (you have to admit, Fox, those orange spandex tennis shorts were funny) who first met at a pre-orientation of our honors program in the summer of 1991. We've both changed a lot, but we've been friends ever since, and that's a gift. So Happy Oops Day, Fox. We might not be in love anymore, but I still love you.

EDIT: One other thing that occured to me in responding to a comment elsewhere - I think that a lot of the reason that we were able to become friends afterward was that we both made it a priority not to lose each other. We've both experienced a lot of loss in our lives, before and after we met. Our marriage began shortly before the loss of Carter, and there were a lot of times where the two of us were literally all we had. Neither of us wanted to lose anymore. So even if we weren't a success at marriage, we've fought to do whatever it takes to keep the friendship going. Not everyone has that sort of motivation, but we were lucky to be in it together. And as he said about me, I don't know what I'd do without him. He's been an example that not everything disappears, and I do always have someone who tells me that he believes in me.


Jesus Christ on a Pogo Stick

You would think that God and his angels came down on a shiny golden cloud, took Peyton Manning off the field tonight and ascended into heaven. Give it a rest, people! The result of the game was more due to the Pats looking like a MASH unit than the Colts unbelievable talent, which was just as unbelievable the past three years when they lost.

And anyone who wants to make fun of Doug Flutie should read his Wikipedia page and/or find last month's SI article about him and his autistic son and then be smacked around Boston Common a few dozen times.

(Just continuing in my tradition of Peyton-hatin', y'all.)


A Lot of Football and a Little Reminiscing

- Good thing about falling asleep with the TV on - You're woken up automatically with a Comcast emergency tone when there's a tornado warning in your area.
Bad thing about falling asleep with the TV on - After you're woken up, you get to turn the channel and get the hell scared outta you by Lisa Patton's weather coverage. Then after it's over, you turn the channel to CNN and start watching the coverage of the Indiana tornadoes and end up dreaming about tornadoes. At least now I have a decent idea of what to do if a tornado hits my church while I'm teaching Sunday School.

I've always had a big fear of tornadoes, growing up in Lawrence County, TN, where severe weather goes to roost. The strongest and most violent tornado to ever be recorded in the state of Tennessee was there in 1998, the same day that the tornadoes hit Downtown Nashville, so no one outside of that area even noticed. Practically everytime there's a thunderstorm in Middle Tennessee, Lawrence County is one of the first to get warnings. A signifigant portion of my childhood was spent in my parents' house's basement, where I was reminded that almost all of my family lives within a 5-mile radius and none of them have storm shelters. Both sets of grandparents, my great-grandfather, and a whole passel of aunts, uncles and cousins would show up. The old folks would be ensconed on the couch, and my dad and my uncles would go outside and look for the funnel cloud. As you can tell, they had a noted lack of concern about their own welfare. After 1998, when my uncle saw the F-5 cross the highway in front of him and then a basement collapsed on one of my mom's teacher colleagues, the hanging out and watching for funnels wasn't quite so informal.

What happened in Indiana pretty much encompassed my biggest childhood fear - a tornado swooping down in the middle of the night and blowing me away. I can't even imagine the sheer hell those folks went through and continue to go through. I'm sending out my love to them.

- I have been asked by a fan of my blog (I didn't know that I had any!) to readdress the subject of Pacman Jones. He's of the belief that players shouldn't be allowed to have a nickname unless you earn it. I do believe he's earned a nickname - the title of "Punkman" that Joe Fisher gave him after his arrest this summer. Moreover, I bet that idea that I had of cutting him and signing Eddie George for the season is sounding pretty damn good to a lot of folks right now. You can say a lot about Eddie's decline in yardage, but he has yet to run into any drug problems. Moreover, with the money saved on Jones' contract and Travis Henry, the Titans might have been able to cobble up enough money for a halfway decent non-rookie cornerback on the free-agent market.

The main thing that the Titans have to realize is that they are doing a really crappy job of finding quality talent in their first-round draft picks. The last truly successful first-rounder we've had was Jevon Kearse (Chris Brown doesn't count, since he has yet to stay healthy longer than half a year.) I'm hopeful that Norm Chow will stick around long enough to bring in a quality replacement for McNair in next year's draft, but we've gotta figure out a way to reduce our cap room enough to sign some vets instead of asking rookies to carry the load every year.

- I think the most karmically classic thing that could ever happen to Terrell Owens is for him to be put on the waiver wire and end up playing for the Texans. Then he can see what playing for a truly crappy team is like.

- So Pete Rose Jr. started selling G to his teammates in Chattanooga so they could "unwind" after games. Isn't that the reason that his dad gave for his gambling addiction?

- Titans are 2-7, Vols are 3-5, and the Preds are in the midst of a losing streak. At least my soccer side is winning.

- Is anyone in the U.S. who's not a news freak paying any attention to the fact that over 200 towns in a major European power are embroiled in racial rioting? Thought so.

- I have a feeling that a lot more criminals would be caught if police hung out at liquor stores more.



Click here for the AJC post it came from, and here for an enlarged PDF version.


More News About the News

Once upon a time, either here or in comments on someone else's blog, I wrote a list of things that CNN should do to save itself after Jon Klein came on-board. The main thing that I wanted was to switch Anderson Cooper and Aaron Brown's timeslots, since Anderson appeals to a younger demographic that would be home later and might watch him along with Jon Stewart for news, and Aaron is more of a traditional network news host that works better earlier in the day.

Boy, I love it when I'm right.

I kinda saw it coming on Friday, when Erica Hill told Aaron Brown to have a good week off and he said, "It should be an interesting week" in a tone that foretold something big. But I didn't think that the two-hour, two-person NewsNight was so horrible, especially when Anderson was on location (and let's face it - Anderson should be perpetually on location, because he is at his best when he's anchoring from the field.) But it's only natural that things might be a little uncomfortable when the previous star is forced to share his position with the current star. And somehow I see Lou Dobbs' audience eating Aaron's show up.

(BTW, I had no idea that Lou Dobbs Tonight was such a cash cow. That explains why they've kept it as-is for so long, even if it's a sure-fire cure for insomnia.)

I still say that Paula Zahn needs to be sent packing or moved to midday (it's rumored that Daryn Kagan is on her way out) and that Larry King needs to be put to pasture. Maybe the latter will happen sooner than later, since they seem to be trying out new hosts in guesting gigs (and while Bob Costas ruffled feathers with his refusal to cover Natalee Holloway, I think that's kind of refreshing and he did an excellent job. And NO to Ryan Seacrest.) But I do think that things have been moving in a much more positive direction for CNN since Katrina, and no one could be happier about that than I am.

EDIT: Now TVNewser is backing off their earlier posting about what CNN's plans are for Brown. Apparently no one has any idea what's going on. Still think that he'd play better at 7 EST.


My One and Only Comment on the CIA Leak Indictments

Karma really does work, and nowhere does it work better than in politics. What comes around really does go around eventually. But in politics, the main downfall is overconfidence (read: ego.) That's what brought Clinton down, because he thought he could screw around with an intern and get away with lying about it. And that's what's at work here.


Proof that I Watch Way Too Much TV

Dear NBC, FOX and UPN,

What, are you trying to kill me? Please explain to me the logic in putting "My Name is Earl", "House" and "Everybody Hates Chris" in the same exact time slot? (the UPN site has all eps of "Chris" on Thursdays, but my TiVo says next week's on Tuesday, so someone's lying like a dog.) There are other nights of the week that people watch TV, and would it have killed one of you to start a show at 7? In my opinion (which is worth the paper it takes to print this post out) "Earl" and "House", while being dramatically different shows, are the funniest things on American TV right now ("House" is supposedly a medical drama, but try getting through an hour of Dr. Greg House without at least chuckling.) Anyone who is looking for smart comedy is going to gravitate toward these shows. And I only have one TiVo. This is like telling someone that they have to pick out one meal to eat for dinner for the rest of their life and choosing between your two favorite foods. I can't do it! I'm just grateful that "Two and a Half Men" moved into the 7 pm slot, or I'd be trying to commit TV suicide.

Okay, now that I've got the hysterics outta the way, let me offer a polite suggestion to NBC: I haven't watched "Joey" since mid-last season. Once upon a time, Thursdays at 7 was a great slot for you. Move "Earl" over there, and I might watch your 7:30 show just 'cause I'm grateful. "Earl" is the best show I've seen on your network since "Friends", and it deserves the same timeslot. If that doesn't work, let me remind "Fox" of the brief but shining point in your early history where you aired "The X-Files" on Friday and Sunday nights. And those of us who are this obsessed with TV will actually watch it on Friday nights. Wait, "Reba" is on Friday at 8. Scratch that. How's your Saturday lineup?

Feeling better now (but extremely lacking in a life),