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June 2001

June 29, 2001
6:13 PM EDT

I'm pissed as hell right now, and I have some things to say. It's no secret that the individualfreedoms held by you and me and every other American (sorry to you non-American readers) are being infringed upon on a daily basis... invaded by all sides, by law enforcement and insurance companies and corporate ownership and ten thousand special interest groups who are spending money right now to ensure that they have a political edge. And if there was ever any doubt in my mind that this is a reality, that doubt was eradicated completely after watching a pair of stories on 10 News tonight at 6 PM.

The first story involves cigarette smoking. Now I don't use tobacco products, and I don't encourage anyone to use tobacco products, as it's a rather stupid thing to do (at least in my opinion). But, and this is important, I *STRONGLY* support the freedom of all adults to use it if they so choose. Granted, I'll highly question your self-preservation instincts, but who am I to tell you what you can and can't do?

There's a city office in the Tampa Bay area that has banned employees from smoking. Now, I know that banning smoking in public places is important from a standpoint of second-hald smoke, but that's not what this story is about. As of June 15th, anyone who takes a job with that office has to sign a promise not to smoke.... PERIOD. Not at work, not on your break, NOT IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN HOME. I predicted awhile back that you'd start seeing smoking be outlawed in places by 2010, but perhaps the process is being sped up. So what now, are they going to take a "drug test" for tobacco? In an era of paranoia, in a country obsessed with maintaining puritanical values behind its bravado of "land of the free and home of the brave", your freedom is being eroded. So while drug addicts get jail time and alcohol is legal but less dangerous substances are not, now you can lose you job over a Camel. Give me a break.

And as mad at that first story made me, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the real life 1984 going on here in Tampa. Back at the Super Bowl, the police here unveiled a new technology where a camera scanned everyone coming through the gates and did a check for people with outstanding warrants. That made a lot of people angry (myself included), and now the cops are doing that with the police cameras up in Ybor City. Big Brother is watching, and you'd better fall in line... or else.

June 26, 2001
9:52 PM EDT

Time is short, as I must be getting to work... but I finally received NBA Street in the mail today, and wow... it's a great game. Very fun, for sure. More later...

June 25, 2001
8:21 PM EDT

"There's too many who know what I'm talking about"
-Grand Funk Railroad "Bad Time"

Once again, UPS is testing my patience. Last year, I ordered a Playstation game called Super Puzzle Fighter from Capcom (it was an older game that was about impossible to find in stores). So, Capcom shipped it to me from California... via UPS. And so I waited. And waited. Turns out that they somehow managed to MISPLACE the package at their handling center in Oakland, and it turned into a total cluster. I finally got the damn thing, but way later than advertised.

This time around, I ordered NBA Street directly from The Playstation 2 title has gotten rave reviews from nearly all circles, and I figured I'd give it a try myself. Plus, EA had 25% off all games ordered from their website. So, even with the expensive $6 UPS "Second Day Air", it was still $10 less than I'd have paid at any store here in Tampa (and they were all sold out of it, anyway). Now I placed the order on Thursday morning, and it's now Monday evening, and still no game. I am not amused. Apparently EA didn't ship the order until Friday, and evidentally UPS doesn't count Sunday as a real day with its "2 to 3 day delivery" schedule. And it's not like it's coming from the west coast or anything -- it shipped out of Louisville. Oh well, hopefully by this time tomorrow it'll be here.

I didn't see King of the Ring last night, but apparently Kurt Angle and Shane McMahon stole the show with their match. Unfortunately, the spree of injuries continue, as both Angle and Steve Austin had to be hospitalized. Also, the wasted pushes of Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit came to an end with a whimper, not a bang, though that wasn't a surprise. After the amazing two weeks those two had, winning the tag titles over Austin and HHH and then getting the huge pops in Canada, you could totally feel the backstage influence by HHH on getting those two buried pronto. What a waste. Meanwhile, the time is still right for another player to come on the U.S. pro wrestling scene, but the question is: who? (Not Neidhart) It will be interesting to see how things transpire in those ranks in the next few months...

June 24, 2001
9:58 AM EDT

"Detours, fences, I get defensive"
-Concrete Blonde "Joey"

I really do mean to update this page more often. Really. And if this were as recently as even two and a half years ago, I probably would be alot more successful at that attempt. But life seems to move faster now, which increases the challenge level significantly.

Orlando was a great time last weekend. My buddy Gary Graham lives up there, and it was cool hanging with him and his friends. Firehouse was an interesting club, with plenty of room (at least while we were there), and three different live DJ's in various sections. From there we all went to H2O, an all-night club. With my shift, I'm used to being up all night, so I was right in my zone there. None of these people saying "I'm tired" etc. etc. at midnight. Though it's not like I run into that all that much in Tampa (Huntington wasn't too bad about that, but Evansville... well that's another story).

I've been listening to alot of really cool bands lately that I've only recently discovered. Some like Akinyele and Afroman on the hip hop side, others like Scapegoat Wax and Rehab in the California Sublime sounding category, and still others like My Vitriol and Minibar on the rock side. And then I've gone with some older bands like Concrete Blonde to mix things up on the playlist. I love the internet.

Work continues to go well for me. Like with any job, some days are better than others, but at this point in my life I don't know what I'd rather be doing. I mean, playing tennis all day would be better, but I mean in terms of work, I enjoy my job quite well. Plus living in Tampa has been everything I'd hope it would be (and then some).

Friday night, my friend Scott from work and I went to the Yankees/Devil Rays game. Now, for the past month and a half, they'd been running promos at the Rays games for Friday night, June 21st -- Fred McGriff bobble head doll night. Now, for you people not particularly familiar with bobble head dolls, they're pretty cool -- little figurines with big heads that bobble back and forth. They were particularly popular back in the 50's, but now they've come back in a major way. Doubt it? Then check out and see for yourself.

Anyway, I could expect to fetch at least $15 for a mint McGriff in original wrapping, which would more than pay for my $8 ticket and $5 for half of the parking cost. Or I could keep it, and watch its value go up over time. We're talking limited quantities here! So at work on Thursday and Friday, I pitched the idea of going to the game to Scott. Given our completely different work schedules, it can be tough to find a common time to hang out, but we agreed to meet up and go to the game.

Now let me emphasize that I am a major New York Yankees fan. I've been a fan since back in 1988 when I met Joe Martin at Oak Hill Day Camp. Joe was a Yankees fan, and I started following baseball pretty in-depth at that point... and cheering for the Yanks myself. So, I'd have gone to the game, freebie giveaway or none. I really don't understand why the Rays management picked the first Yankees game of the year as giveaway night, since they'd be a draw by themselves. Wouldn't it make more sense to do it when, say, Kansas City comes to town? Though maybe they were trying for a sellout (not even close though -- but there were many more people in attendance than usual for a Rays game).

Scott and I decided to meet up at 5:30, but due to Tampa/St. Pete traffic slowdowns, we both didn't get to our meeting spot until 5:45. So from there we booked it over to the stadium, where there was a crazy long line for tickets. Now see, while the Rays are the home team, this is very much Yankees territory. The Yanks have their spring training down here -- they have for years -- and that, coupled with a large retirement community from New York, has really bolstered their fan base here. Plus, the Devil Rays didn't come into existence until 1998. So, while it was a road game for the Yankees, it was like a home game for them. Plus, the Yankees are three time defending World Series champions, while the Rays are the worst team in baseball. So, I shouldn't have been too surprised with the line, but it was just a marked departure from how the scene was at previous Rays ballgames I had attended.

After our wait, Scott and I had our tickets. Then came the moment of truth -- did they have any bobble head dolls left? I joked with Scott that it was like an episode of Seinfeld. I've mentioned before in these pages that my life imitates Seinfeld quite often (or perhaps it's more like Seinfeld as a dark comedy), and the whole bobble head doll thing seemed right out of a Seinfeld script.

Anyway, we got our ticket ripped, and saw where they had tables set up... tables that were EMPTY. The workers were putting some empty crates away. Scott and I looked around and saw people in front of us with bobble head doll boxes, and we found out that they had JUST RUN OUT of the dolls. They had promised dolls to the first 15,000 in the gates, and we were there an hour early, but it seemed that our luck had gone dry on that.

Rather disappointed, we made our way up to our seats. Well, I dunno if Scott was as disappointed as I was, but dangit, I wanted that bobble head doll. On our way to an escalator, we saw some idiot kid drop and break his doll (if this were The Simpsons, Nelson would there to say "Ha Ha!") I then commented "14,999", meaning there were only that many remaining (to potentially compete with selling on the internet).

As we made our way to the second escalator, I spotted a side entrance... with stacks of white boxes. Extra dolls! Ecstatic, we burst through the outside door. The woman at the table was a little hesitant, but when her supervisor said it was ok since they were out at our entrance, they hooked us up. So, yes, I got my McGriff bobble head doll.

As it turned out, McGriff (nursing a sore hamstring) only made one plate appearance, striking out with two on and two out. Yankees win 6-3 -- Mussina gets the win, Revera the save. Plus, the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox, so the Yankees picked up a game on Boston in the standings. Life is good.

I ended up at Club Hedo last night, which was my first time there. I had wanted to go to Masquerade, but the $8 cover (even for all you can drink) made me decide against there, and then Club Fun, my second choice, had a ridiculously disorganized line to get in. After dealing with that hassle, I walked across the street and gave Club Hedo a try... and I'm glad I did, cause I had a fun time there. It's the only club I know of that has an actual tree growing in the middle of the dance floor. Plus, they had good service and good drinks there (and some nice women too)...

June 16, 2001
8:13 AM EDT

"The world doesn't just disappear when you close your eyes, does it?"
-Leonard Shelby, a character in the movie Memento

If you haven't seen the movie Memento, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. I thought that it was great, absolutely masterful and brilliant. In an era where so many terrible movies are out there, it's nice that there is some originality around. It's too bad it didn't receive even half the push that some of the recent major studio releases out there have received... It'll be a must-buy for me when it comes out on DVD later this year.

I saw Memento on Thursday night. I woke up early to go catch a 4:40 matinee showing of it, but it was down at the Channelside 9, which, while being only two or so miles from here, is a place that I had never been before (there's still a great deal of Tampa, let alone the Bay area, that I need to explore). Unfortunately, one of the turns wasn't marked, so instead of making it to the theatre, I found myself driving way the hell down in the wrong direction, past this big industrial area and finally to a dead end. So I had to shell out an extra $2.50 to see Memento on the 7:10 showing, but it was worth it. Plus, on the drive home, a jeep filled with hot girls pulled up next to me at a stoplight. They were wearing similar looking shirts I noticed, and all looking over at me (nothing unusual about that part). Then one of the girls lifted up her shirt, and on her boobs was a sticker for, which is one of many of the "webcast from a house full of girls" type websites in the Tampa area. I have to give them credit though for some pretty original grass-roots type marketing. I gave them a big thumbs up and a smile, which got them laughing. You never know what will happen in Tampa...

The Lakers are once again NBA Champs. How incredible is it that since April 1, they've only lost one game. And that was in overtime. Unfortunately, the end of the NBA season issues in a bit of a sports lull, with only baseball to tide us over until the start of football season in August/September. But... the Yankees are coming to town next weekend, so I'll be getting my fill of live baseball then.

June 13, 2001
10:07 AM EDT

Work this morning sure was an adventure. We had some major breaking news, the kind of stuff that I had figured would happen more often in a market this size. First, police issuing a warrant ended up burning down a house in south St. Petersburg late night. Then, a wreck on the Howard Frankland Expressway ended with a vehicle IN THE WATER, knocked off the bridge. Thanks to some major hustle by everyone at the station, we covered both stories very well, and had a dynamite newscast this morning.

I got an e-mail from Katherine Knight this morning, who mentioned that she got married three weeks ago. I swear, I'm starting to feel old with all these friends and people from my past who are getting hitched. Between Katherine and Brad Ott and Phil Cahoon and Aaron Thompson etc. etc., it's crazy. But it was good to hear from Katherine. I think the last time I talked with her was 1996? At latest 1997, but I think the summer of '96, when I was living in Nashville. Time flies, doesn't it?

What else to discuss? Well... major props to the Supreme Court, which anymore seems like the only sane voice of reason in this country, protecting the Fourth Amendment rights of everyone earlier this week. It was a narrow vote, 5-4, but the Bill of Rights still apparently mean something, which is a good thing.

The Timothy McVeigh execution, there's an interesting case. I have mixed emotions about the death penalty. There's the argument that the government kills people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong, which is interesting. But then you get someone like McVeigh, who killed so many innocent people, and you have to think that *if* you were ever to support the death penalty, it would be for him. It's a tough call...

Lakers/76ers Game 4 is tonight. It's an important one for Philly, but I'm not making any predictions. Hopefully it will be another exciting game -- so far, it's been a pretty fun series to watch.

June 12, 2001
8:36 PM EDT

"She comes in colors everywhere
She's like a rainbow..."
-Rolling Stones "She's a Rainbow"

(Episode 98): Jerry & Elaine think that Tim Whattly (the dentist) is a "re-gifter" after Jerry gets the same label maker that Elaine gave to Tim. George dates woman with male roommate; Jerry gives and tries to get back his Superbowl tickets. Kramer & Newman play RISK... Air Date: Jan 19, 1995"
-Description of Seinfeld Episode #98, from

Not much to say right now.. except that life imitates Seinfeld again. You figure out which subplot I'm talking about...

June 8, 2001
9:15 AM EDT

Not much time to write, but I figure a mini-update would be good. The weekend is here, which is a good thing.

I saw Shrek on Wednesday night. Perhaps it was overhyped to me, but I was rather underwhelmed by it. There were some funny parts (including the Pinocchio character, which was a riot). The gingerbread inquision scene wasn't bad, either. But overall.. I didn't think it was an ideal first date movie (as was the case for me). And it's nowhere near the same league as Toy Story or Toy Story 2. Or Lion King, for that matter.

It's amazing to me how excited people are to be getting their tax rebate, which President Bush is set to sign into law. I say: where's the interest that the government has been leeching off my money? Think if I jacked you for $300, then told you that I'd give you a check for it in September, sans interest. Would you be super-giddy about how you were going to spend it? No -- you'd be livid at me for having the nerve to expect you to take it as fair and ok. But... who's going to argue with $300 (or $600 or however much) that they wouldn't otherwise have?

Over the last few days, it's rained on a daily basis here in the Tampa area. It's a marked difference from my first month in a half here, where it seemingly never rained. But the area desperately needs the rain, so who am I complain?

The Devils lost last night to the Avalanche in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, which sets up tomorrow night's deciding game 7. I was talking with Tali last night, and she and I both agreed that we should be watching the game in Huntington at Yesterday's (like we did for last year's OT thriller where the Devils beat the Stars on a Saturday night to capture the Cup). Meanwhile, the Sixers pulled a shocker against the Lakers. Something tells me that Kobe won't be as rusty in game 2.. and that the Lakers will come out super-pissed. If anybody wants to put some scarilla down on Philly for Game 2... let me know...

June 3, 2001
5:57 AM EDT

Wow, this weekend has been a very fun time. Adding an extra day to the weekend mix can really do wonders (especially when things were as eventful as they have been for me). I rode a Wave Runner for the first time yesterday (which is essentially a jet ski that you can sit down and ride). I had to pop a Dramamine so I wouldn't get motion sick, but it was worth it (or woooorth it, as the Corverre guy from Beavis & Butt-head would say). $38 for 30 minutes, and it was worth the payola for sure. Luckily my SFP 48 suntan lotion did a pretty good job for me, though I did miss a few places where I got a bit sunburned (Florida's sun can punish us people with minimal skin pigment).

The midget from 93.3 FLZ's "MJ Morning Show" was out at Bar Tampa last night, and in a hysterical scene he was giving girls dancing on the bar shots of some sort of alcohol straight out of the bottle. I don't think my account of it can bring across the humor value involved. I really do need to start bringing a disposable camera with me when I go out...

And if anyone is reading this was at Bar Tampa on Saturday night... was that really Lou Bega up on the side stage with the two chicks in blue? I have my doubts... but after the celebrity run-ins that have taken place since I moved here, who knows.

Let there be no mistake -- making the decision to move to Tampa is one of the best things I've ever done (at least up to this point). Living the good life can be quite fun. Granted, the hours I work blow, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to get where I need to be in the TV business.

But one difference between radio and TV morning producers -- unlike Spice Boy from the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show, or the myriad of other on-air people who make appearances at clubs, TV producers can't go out and make public appearances for a little side scarilla. Of course, the flip side is anonymity and not having to worry about "being recognized" at a bar. Would Nick Bakay dub this as an advantage: push?

I bought the movie Traffic on DVD yesterday. Best Buy had it on sale, and actually it's selling on eBay for more than what it cost to get it at Best Buy (if the profit margin weren't so low, it might be worth a buy-and-sell quick turnaround on a bunch of them). Anyway, it's a fantastic movie. Gritty, brilliantly cast, and intelligent... all qualities I like in a film. Granted, there were a few parts that were a bit hard for me to suspend disbelief on, but by and large it is an excellent movie and one that it worth your time and money to see.

The NFL season will be interesting this year. I'm getting psyched, especially with this being the last year with the old conference setup. Unfortunately the NFL has decided to put both the Colts and the Titans in the same division, which won't do me any favors in the divided loyalty department. Then again, living in Tampa I will face pressure to cheer for the Bucs (a team that I do like, and luckily they are NFC so they won't face the Colts or Titans in the postseason unless it's the Super Bowl).

A great song worth checking out on is "Do You Really Like It" by DJ Pied Piper & The Masters Of Ceremonies. You've probably never heard it before, but the song is very big in England, and with good reason.

Gran Turismo 3 is coming out soon in the U.S. for the Playstation 2... and from all accounts, it should be nothing short of incredible. We'll see how it stands up in actuality...

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