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March 31, 2008

Potential blog entries brainstormed during lunch time in the Skywalk

Look at you with your angst: A description of the hooligans from the downtown alternative high school that populate the Skywalk at all hours.

Walking through the Skywalk with a sandwich in my pocket: Don’t know how much I could flesh this out, but it has good rhythm. Might make for a nice song title.

Yo spring: where you at?: March is supposed to go IN like a lion, not OUT. God. Get your facts straight, Borealis.

Hippy for a day: I unwittingly forgot to put on deodorant today and have been self-conscious about it for approximately four hours now. I have yet to hear expressions of disgust from passers-by of my cube, so I think I’m going to survive the four hours I have left at the office before I rush home and slather it on. I’m thinking about the merits of buying a second “just in case” stick to keep in my desk.

Time for a snip: I find it outrageous that in the year 2008 the mullet continues to have a strong presence on the heads of my city’s denizens, several of whom are my coworkers. Evolve, people.

March 29, 2008

An alcoholic housewife thinks I have beautiful legs

Ma Nugget and I joined Curves on Monday, a circuit-style workout haunt for middle-aged women who want to get fit, stay active and have fun with just us gals!

I usually don a sweatshirt and calf-length yoga pants, but I went with shorts yesterday because I couldn't find my desired gear. After sweatin' to the Christian rock set to a techno beat, Ma Nug and I decided to reward ourselves with a few movies from Video Vision next-door. While she put some things in the car I sprinted into the store, my bright-white legs prickling with goosebumps.

"Look at you with your short shorts!" a voice behind me called. "But you have beautiful legs! I like that attitude! Think spring! Think spring! Short shorts! Yeah!"

"Oh... um, thanks," I said. "I was just at Curves, and yeah, my legs are really pale... but thanks."

"But that's natural," she insisted while flopping her hand forward. "Me, I'm going to Arizona next week so I'm tanning a little bit-- did I TELL you the deal I got?"

"Um... no..."

"I went to Pricshline-dot-com and got four tickets--FOUR!-- for $270 easch!" she slurred. "Can you BELIEVE that??? I mean, with fuel prices the way they are." She lowered to a whisper. "That'sch bullshit." She covered her mouth and raised her eyebrows as a 7-year-old walked by. "But seriouthly... that's just CRAP! So yeah, me 'n my two kids are going to Arizona for vacation. Tucson."

At this point Ma Nugs walked in and, seeing an opportunity to escape, I offered, "Tucson? Really? My mom's from there!" As she got entrapped I slowly backed away to gather the DVDs we wanted. When I came back I could see there was no chance we were going to get out of there anytime soon.

She told us about her daughter Tiffany, who's a state-ranked swimmer with a bigger booty than hers. "And she's thish tall!" she exclaimed, reaching far above her head. "She's 6-foot?" Ma asked. "Oh no. She's 5'7''." Tiffany wants to go to a private liberal arts college in the southern part of the state but has concerns about it because another swimmer she doesn't like is planning to go there.

"What middle school do you go to?" she asked me. "Well, I went to Woodland, but I actually graduated from college last year," I said. "NO! But you look so YOUNG! College? No! I don't believe it!"

Back to Tiffany: she's 16 but has just started up with a 21-year-old who's about to graduate from college. "You better believe we shat her down and had a convershation with this young man-- who may be very nisch, but you know how sometimesh young kids get real exshited with each other-- and we just told them you gotta use protection, you know! You've sheen what'sch going on with all these girls today!"

Finally Ma was able to drag us away. After we checked out we saw that she had leeched onto someone new. "Have you ever used Prischline-dot-com???"

March 27, 2008

Newsflash: Cub Reporter Actually Knows What She's Doing

After a far-too-long hiatus on political reporting, yesterday I was finally able to go back to reporting on my first love when one of our senators made a stop in our humble town to kick off his bid for reelection.

He was late, of course, so I spent the time before he showed his mug sweating in the overcrowded, tropically moist room and shooting the shi(r)t with a broadcast reporter .

Now, print and broadcast reporters may be of the same genus, but we’re of entirely different species. While both can be cocky and/or arrogant, these traits display themselves with much more frequency in the latter. By nature of their medium, broadcast reporters insert themselves into their reports and thus must concentrate on things other than the facts, things such as the degree of shine on their faces, whether their hair has been shellacked in place, etc.

And there’s something about their mediocre level of celebrity that makes them think they’re better than us lowly scribes who hide behind our bylines. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been elbowed out of the way by a broadcaster shoving a microphone in the face of someone I was just speaking to. I can’t tell you how many press conferences I’ve attended where broadcasters talk through others' attempts to speak and then grandstand instead of just asking a damn question in a plug to get more airtime.

But I digress.

Yesterday I had been in contact with a pair of spokespeople for this senator’s likely opponent. After said senator gave his spiel, I caught up with them outside to get their impressions. The aforementioned reporter hovered around us the whole time, trying to catch my eye and at one point actually hissing my name and beckoning.

“Those aren’t [senator]’s supporters!” he said as if he were feeding me career-saving information. “They work for [the other guy]!”

“Um, I know. But thanks,” I said.

March 24, 2008

Omigod I met George Clooney

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I've been handling our arts and entertainment section for the past two weeks (something I'm woefully unqualified to do) while the regular arts reporter does an in-depth project. Therefore, when rumors began swirling that George Clooney might come to town to promote his new movie, I was the go-to girl. My nosing about came to nothing, and I kind of forgot about it until last week. The newsroom got a press release stating that not only were we getting George, his co-star Renee Zellweger would tag along as well. I could hear shrieks reverberate around our building as my co-workers received the news in their inboxes.

I wrote a story for the next day's pape about their impending visit, and then went to the screening of "Leatherheads" a few days later and wrote about that, too. This, apparently, was enough to qualify me to attend the press event yesterday. When we arrived on location, over-eager public relations hussies drunk on power only allowed us to descend to our seats in groups of five. My chaise was six rows back, behind the broadcast lovelies, the Strib and PiPress scribes, the public television and public radio voices and, yes, even our local radio stations' morning show DJs. How about a little love for the hometown pape? I mean, come on! My only solace was I was right next to the mayor and his wife, who's a pretty cool chick. (I wasn't the only one getting the shaft... a video camera-wielding photog from our pape got hustled by a trashy looking PR brat in 5-inch heels, a fellow alumna who went to school for broadcast. Guess it didn't work out.)

They packed in adoring fans all around the press pen. The ones with chutzpadik climbed up onto the trains to get a better view. A scream arose from the crowd as George and Renee chug-chug-chugged up to their platform. George was wearing a charcoal suit and a saucy gray newsboy cap. Renee was wearing a tweed dress and matching jacket, with 6-inch black Christian Laboutins and pearls, natch. She looked very shiny and taut and, as my dad likes to say, like she was farting lemons. George flashed his Sexiest Man Alive smile and made the ladies in the crowd swoon.

The mayor presented them with extremely phallic trophies-- blocks of wood with helmets on top-- and declared Mar. 24 Leatherheads Day. The fancy up-front reporters lobbed nothing but softballs at the stars (so how do you like our town? what's it like to be a celebrity? you have fans. what would you say to them if you could? it's cold here, huh?), to which they responded with a charming, witty repartee. Well, for the most part. Most of the questions went to George so Renee spent a lot of time looking bored and farting lemons.

The last question went to a woman in the crowd who had knit the pair mittens. It was all so hokey and heartwarming. I had made it my mission for the day to find out what George smells like, so I followed him around like an awkward, lost puppy trying to get a whiff. He turned around and saw me, shook my hand, and told me to have fun. Unfortch, didn't get close enough.

I proceeded to the front entrance, where they were scheduled to make a public appearance, to talk to some fans. There was a babushka who police weren't forcing behind the barrier, so I decided to lob her some questions. After a few I could tell she wasn't all there, so I aborted the interview. "I don't know what I'm doing here," she said. "I just saw all the people so I came down. I turned 85 last week. Here, look at my birthday card. Oh, is that him?" she asked, indicating a PR flack.

I migrated to the other side of the crowd, which ended up being a bad choice. As soon as George popped his head out of the door, the middle-aged women around me surged toward the barrier, screaming, "George! I love you George! George, come here! George!" A cameraman bopped me on the head quite a few times with his gear, and somehow ended up stepping all over my pants... I have footprints on them now. George was extremely gracious, greeting fans on either side of the entrance and even going to the other side of the street. Renee only greeting one side before lunging into the safety of her luxury SUV to fart some more lemons.

Wink thinks it's been too long since I've posted and I think she's right

The Setting: Subway. Skywalk. 1 p.m.
The Characters: Saucy Sandwich Artist, Hungry Man*

Saucy Sandwich Artist: What can I get for you?
Hungry Man: I’d like a 12-inch wrap.
SSA: (Prolonged guffaw) You want a 12-inch wrap?!? A wrap’s a wrap, sir. They ain’t got sizes.
HM: Well, I want a 12-inch turkey-bacon sandwich, but on a wrap.
SSA: So you want the double meat then?
HM: I guess.
SSA: (Starts making sandwich) Shoo… a 12-inch wrap. That’s good. That’s a good one.
HM: (Looks awkward)
SSA: Well don’t you worry, honey, I’m gonna make it real meaty for you.

And… scene.

*Events have been slightly dramatized

March 1, 2008

Windchill dies; city's collective heart breaks

Last night, out of nowhere, little Windchill the 10-month-old colt died in his sleep. He was rescued from unbearably frigid temperatures three weeks ago, and given a 1 percent chance of survival. Amazingly, he not only survived, he thrived. He was putting weight on his emaciated frame, and with the aid of a sling he was able to hoist himself on his frost-bitten legs and stand.

Though I often complained about covering his recovery, I never wished him ill and am surprised by the feelings of my icy heart melting upon news of his death.

RIP, Little Neigh.