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Super Bulldog Weekend: Mississippi, Crawfish and Strep Throat

April 9, 2002

"Cause y'all been bullshittin', spittin' that booty chatter
Out here for two days and came with somethin' that truly matters"
-Bubba Sparxxx "Ugly"

"Excuse me sweet thing... can I buy you a fish sandwich?"
-Ladies Man Leon Phelps

"Are you guys here with TVA?"
-Guy in the TVA Tent (April 5, 2002)

It's taken me three days just to get this commentary going. The intent has been there, but the brainpower just hasn't had the juice to crank it (to paraphrase from an Auto Zone commercial). I've been battling strep throat, which has left me feeling mindless and drained. My brain slips from lucid to groggy to incoherent to asleep... and back-and-forth to parts in-between. Hopefully I'm back on the rebound now, but between the medicine and the virus itself, it hasn't been fun. It's strange to not think clearly, as I'm normally a rather logical, analytical person. Just now I called my friend Scott Massey and left a message on his answering machine. I was rambling, and I dropped an f-bomb... Only to realize, oops, his mom also can check that answering machine. Damn Dayquil.

Over the weekend I went down to Starkville, MS to visit my brother Matt at Mississippi State. Wow, what a great time. Starkville is a somewhat unique place, a small southern town not particularly located close to anywhere convenient. But it can proudly boast itself as being the home of Mississippi State University.

Starkville is in many ways a place somewhat frozen in time. But it's a place I have much love for, with that small town feel and those damn sexy Mississippi accents that many of the women there have. For some reason, that really does it for me. And all of the women I met there were real nice, without the snootiness you sometimes run across on the Ybor tip. The local traditions are interesting, including the crawfish bowl. Until this weekend I'd never tried crawfish you had to crack open yourself.

Despite the fish in the name, they essentially look like miniature crabs. Red and with claws. So with advice from Matt on how to do it, I cracked open a crawfish and thought it was 1) too much work to get such a small piece of food and 2) not particularly appetizing. But then again I don't like eating ribs or food with bones in it that you have to fight through. But hey, I was in Mississippi, and who was I to not try crawfish? However, I have to give props to Matt's friend Cary, who hooked me up with some DELICIOUS venison on Friday night. Tasted better than some steak I've had.

The weekend provided my first visit to "The Dale", the house where Matt lives. He and Pouncey and Dustin and Bailey have a good little setup going there. I met a bunch of Matt's friends, including J.C. Cuadra (of the famous "Whoa" picture from Mardi Gras 2000) and Todd Rowan (who is an incredible musician). Todd's band Junior Saint is exceptionally good. Todd played a couple of their new songs for me, and I was blown away. You could take Junior Saint and put them on a Modern AC or CHR or even a modern rock station right now and they'd fit right in. Actually I think if I were building a rock band from the ground up, I'd draft Todd and my friend Scott Niles (of the band Westlake) from Huntington, WV and build around them. But then again, my name is Lou Pickney, not Lou Pearlman.

Hanging with Matt and Pounce and Dustin was interesting, because those fellas all work out like champs and have these amazingly large builds. I felt like I was backstage at a WWF show or something hanging with them. The Swole Patrol was in full effect. But I did have the fortune of having an unusual enough look to draw attention, what with the shaved head and all. Round here in Tampa it's not too unusual for white dudes to have shaved heads, but I only saw one other caucasian fella down in Starkville with that look (not counting old dudes who went bald). But the shorn head was a magnet for some chicks, which worked out quite well for me. I'll leave it at that.

I would be remiss if I failed to note than John Pouncey is the president of the Luis Guzmán fan club... and that Weezie is still believed to be missing in action.

I finally had the chance to visit the famous Hunt Club, and return to the MSU Sig Ep house for a pair of parties for the first time since October 2000. They know how to put on a good time down in Starkville, for sure. Also, it was cool seeing the maroon and white MSU football scrimmage. I'll have mixed emotions when the University of Tennessee plays at MSU this fall.

The band U.S played a pair of shows that I saw on Saturday. They're a cover band that specializes in '80s rock. They also played a couple of Blink 182 songs, which they performed really well. They put on a good show both at the "College Station" (not Texas A&M) apartment complex party during the day Saturday (which had possibly the worst wet t-shirt contest ever, the only damper on an awesome day), and they packed the house at Sig Ep on Saturday night on a very memorable evening.

There are so many stories I could tell... J.C. absolutely cracking me up talking with the waitress at the cajun restaurant on Friday afternoon (Amber with the tongue ring -- with "everybody get your roll on" in the background of someone's mind), or Matt and I inquiring about the availability of a catfish sandwich with some booty chatter and a side of naughty sauce at Bones on Saturday night, or Michelle talking about her "twins" (and some other fascinating conversations along those same lines), or the endless supply of jokes from The Ladies Man, or chilling out to "Shine" by Lil Wayne... Other stories are better left untold on here (such as: unintentional self-applied beer shower=not a good idea). But it was good times all around, for sure.

That is, until Sunday. Sunday is where things went bad. At the airport I felt sick. Not hungover-sick, but physical-illness sick. You know how it is when you get a cold coming on, you can tell when the opening stages begin. When I travel, for whatever reason, I tend to become much more succeptable to getting sick. Or maybe I can blame that one girl from Friday night. But by the time I made it back to Tampa, I felt like I had taken a severe beating. My throat was raw, and I was coughing like a three pack a day unfiltered Marlboro man.

Yesterday, I went to the doctor and found out the bad news -- I have strep throat. Ugh. But at least they were able to hook me up with some prescription medicine (after I cleaned out Kash 'N Karry of over-the-counter remedies).

Meanwhile I've turned things upside down at work by calling in sick now for a third straight day. See, when I call in sick, that means Neal Boling (my amazingly talented associate producer) has to come in at 10 PM instead of 1:30 AM to fill my shift, and Alexander Quince (the noon producer) has to come in at 3:30 AM instead of 7 AM to cover some of the APing duties, and then nightside is left without Alexander around to help out. The timing is especially bad with the 6 PM producer position currently vacant, as they're already short-staffed to begin with. But along with all that, it's definitely best that I call off as early as possible so everyone can modify their sleep schedule accordingly (especially Neal, who needs to know to go to sleep earlier so he can get up earlier to come in to cover for me). Of course, if I went in sick, my work quality would suck and I'd risk getting my co-workers sick. As Simon & Garfunkel said, "Anyway you look at it you lose."

Uh oh, I feel myself falling back into the land of the groggy. I'm amazed I was able to write this much (in-between spacing out), but I think I'll cut my losses now and wrap up before my rambling becomes too much. And I might need to go get more orange juice from the grocery store. I drank an entire carton of Minute Maid OJ in one day. I even drank most of the off-brand OJ I'd had in the fridge for the past few weeks. To quote Beavis: "We need rest, fluids, and the leading inscription cold medicine" Yes, all of the above...

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