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The Thrill

April 19, 2003

"You're going to write about this in your column, aren't you?"
-Scott Massey, after last night's Lightning/Capitals game

I've totally redesigned my front homepage to closer fit the feel of the rest of my website. I'm not sure how I like it so far; the old wood-grain background had character (and dated back almost to the beginning of this webpage in August 1995). Of course, I have the luxury of switching back to that if I feel so inclined on down the line.

The Tampa Bay Lightning's win over the Washington Capitals last night was a tremendously fun time. I rode the Ybor City trolley down to Channelside, where my friend Scott Massey had driven. Unfortunately, what should've been a quick ride (it's less than three miles) took nearly a half hour. The car we were on wasn't functioning quite right (not exactly the most reassuring thing to hear), so we had to physically switch cars midway through our journey. The second car wasn't quite 100% either (the conductor had to manually switch the crossing lights -- is that safe?!?) Finally the trolley pulled in.. at 5:55. So much for getting there at 5:30.

Scott and I grabbed a beer and a little dinner at the "red" Bar Tampa (with the red logo; the white logo Bar Tampa in Ybor inexplicably closed earlier this year). The grilled honey glazed chicken sandwich was delicious, though they hid a pickle underneath a la Chick-Fil-A which really took away from the whole sandwich experience.

Once inside the Ice Palace (now known as the, ugh, St. Pete Times Forum) we had to fight our way through the insanity known as Will Call. As much as I love the Forum, the most poorly laid out part is the Will Call section, where the lines literally go back to the far wall and you have to fight through lines to find your section (and with my last name beginning with "P", that meant going through a number of lines). Finally, we got our tickets.

On our way out, former WTSP co-worker Tiffani Sherman spotted me as we passed through the maze of lines. We said our hellos and what not. Tiffani is in the position I was in a few months back, a "throwback" producer (i.e. hired by the former regime) who's playing out the stretch like the D-Rays in September. Right around the time they released me, they decided to torment Tiffani by pulling her from her 5 PM position and moving her to the "floating producer" spot, which they've since used to force her into the overnight shift (nevermind that the former floating producer never had to do that, not even once!) So now they're tormenting her with the crazy hours and the wrath of the Executive Meddler (who I hear is making as many arbitrary and maddening decisions as before) until they finally cut her free.

One really funny tidbit I heard is that the EM said that she's "over" hurricanes. When she's "over" something, that means that in her infinite wisdom that the subject is old and tired and played out (unless she decides again that it's important, in which case you must pretend that her being "over" it never happened). Anyway, I found it rather ridiculous to be "over" hurricanes living here in the Tampa area. That'd be like leading a 6 AM newscast with a package about whales beached in the northeast U.S. (oh wait, I forgot, the EM already did that).

Anyway, enough of that -- just another reminder to myself of how happy I am to be away from that torturous situation. Scott and I found our seats, which were up in the nosebleed section. We paid about $40 each (by the time you add in the $1.75 "facility fee" and the $6.25 "convenience charge"); there were supposedly $16.50 tickets, but I'm not sure where those would be, since we were damn near at the top of the arena.

High seats notwithstanding, the game was great. I had my first experience with "Thunderstix", which are those long balloon looking things that first gained popularity in the U.S. at NBA games (to wave at opposing players at the free throw line). They were rather easy to blow up, and of course they were fodder for about 20 minutes of immature jokes from Scott and I.

The game itself was intense and worthy of playoff atmosphere status. The final was 2-1 Tampa Bay, and it was tight all the way down the stretch. When the Lightning got a penalty with less than a minute ago, I began gearing up for overtime. Unlike the regular season, playoff overtime has no ending until a goal is scored. I remember a famous Philadelphia/Pittsburgh game in 2000 that went 5 OTs and until 2:30 AM EDT. But luckily this game finished within the allotted time, and more importantly the Lightning won and took a 3-2 series lead.

I already have tickets for Tuesday's Game 7, should it be necessary. Playoff hockey in person was pretty bad ass, but a playoff hockey Game 7 would be off the chain.

One humorous thing was trying to find Scott's car after the game. He'd forgotten where he parked, and we spent a good half hour tracking it down. He asked if I was going to mention it on here... yep, you know it.

For the first time in awhile, it's Saturday night and I don't have any plans in particular in place. Even the standby Market on 7th looks like a negative with Riley and Todd out of town again. Maybe it's for the best, since I'm not quite 100% at this point in getting over the sore throat. But things have a way of working themselves out.

Congratulations are in order for Jeff Berardelli, who is going to WCBS-TV in New York to take a meteorologist job. I worked with Jeff at WTSP from 2001-2003, and I wish him the best in the Big Apple.

Unfortunately I guess this means the end of the "Steve Badelli runoff" factor. See, Jeff's nickname is "Steve Badelli", created when a woman called Channel 10 and commented to Brian Kargus about "that weatherman Steve Badelli" (butchering Jeff's name). Anyway, Jeff has had a few parties, and invariably I've met hot women there as a result -- hence the Badelli runoff. Of course they've all turned out to be superficial flakes or classic bitches, but that's par for the course.

One funny aspect of late last night was when Scott and I ended up at Market on 7th and Mandy (one of the bartenders I know there) started getting after me to get Bubba to give her a free boob job. He does this "12 Boobs of Christmas" contest every year where he gives away 12 tit jobs (from well-respected surgeon Dan Diaco). So girls who know the scoop on that find out I work for Bubba, and guess what, they want me to hook them up. As if a $6,000 procedure is a simple favor or something. Actually I'm only half-teasing in writing this, as I told Mandy she should enter this year's contest (she replied that she had tried for last year's). But it's funny, when people (especially women) find out I'm connected they try to utilize that to their advantage. Power by association, in this case.

Speaking of tits, I'm still trying to determine what (if anything) I'll be doing with Livestock 13 this upcoming weekend. It's this big weekend festival that 98 Rock (WXTB) has put annually since 1991 with a bunch of musical acts and people camping out and all sorts of associated craziness. I imagine they could use some extra help with it; maybe I can help Whitey Pippen and Koko scour the entrance lines on Friday to give away passes for Club Bubba.

Planning ahead, I hope to make it home next month for my sister's 8th grade graduation. Unfortunately that's the same weekend as the "Temptation Island" party that Sonia is trying to get me to go to, but family comes first I say. One downside to being so far apart in age from Mary Beth (my sister) is that I haven't been around for alot of the stuff she's had a chance to do through the years. I mean, I went to college in August 1995, when she was just 7. The fact that she starts high school this fall is amazing to me, and at the same time makes me feel old.

Here's a big thumbs down to the Tampa Tribune for deciding to re-start my newspaper subscription without my consent. I came back from New Orleans a few weeks ago to find a stack of papers (some of which had been blown around the complex by a weekend storm). I was less than amused; yesterday I finally got them on the horn and had them put the kibosh on it (hopefully for good this time).

Yikes, Phoenix just hit a desperation three-pointer to beat the Spurs in overtime in Game 1 of their playoff series. Ugh. Time to wrap this up and see what's going on out there tonight...

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