This is becoming a "Once-Every-Two-Months" thing... I guess.

Greg Says...

Hey Y'all, what's the good word? I'm once again writing from the good ol' "Caddy-Wex" library, because I'm yet again having computer issues. A little over two weeks ago, my computer started acting up, it would shut down for no apparent reason while I was using it to check e-mail or surf the web. I would unplug it for a few hours, then plug it back in, and it would work fine. I was worried about it, and planning on taking it to a repair shop to get looked at when it shut down one day, and would not start back up, even after being unplugged for a significant amount of time. I consulted a couple of friends at work, who seemed to think that it was possibly a smaller issue that I could fix myself (with their help and supervision, of course), so I didn't take it to a repairman (hoping to avoid the costs), and waited for a day to look at it with my co-workers.

The biggest problem has been my schedule. I have not worked the same shift on back-to-back days in probably the last 3-4 weeks. Such is the nature of my schedule when we get into the spring/summer, when the powers-that-be tend to "borrow" me a little more often to cover news shifts, in the thought that high school baseball, softball and soccer aren't a big enough deal to justify a 5-day sports week for me. It's somewhat frustrating from my standpoint, but I understand the reasoning behind it, and I've been dealing with it for years now, so it's not too difficult to adjust to.

Anyways, long story short, my computer troubles seem to be more challenging than originally thought. It now looks like my motherboard or hard drive may have failed, with is not exactly a heartening thought. I'm not exactly enamored with the idea of having to go new computer shopping again. I just bought this one about 4 years ago with some tax refund money, and my hope at the time was that it would last until the point where I could replace it for the sake of upgrading, not out of a need for a functioning model. How can something that expensive, only last for four years? It's not like I use it for a ton of things. Just basically to listen to some music, and surf the web. It's highly irritating.

On the other hand though, it's been somewhat relaxing as well... I've honestly enjoyed not having a computer constantly at hand. I've been doing a ton of reading with my newfound free time. It's been really nice. Plus, with my infrequent visits to the library lately, I've even found, and checked out a couple of books to read as well.

Adding to my anxiety is that about a week and a half before my computer started acting up, my car gave me a tremendous scare as well. I was finishing up a Saturday night shift at work, and I went out to my car to head on home (it had been a long day, and I'd gotten badly sunburned shooting high school baseball, to give you a bit of context on my mood at the time), when I started the car up, and tried to back out of my space, I heard an awful dragging/scraping/grinding noise coming from the back of my car. I initially feared that I had a flat tire, and that the rim was grinding through the parking lot. So, I got out, did a walk around the car, and discovered that all of th tires were properly inflated. So, I got back in, backed up, and tried to drive away, only to continue to hear the accursed noise coming from the rear of the car. I stopped in our driveway, got out, and that's when I noticed the very distinct marks on the parking lot, you could tell that for some reason, the rear tire on my passenger side was not turning, and so when I tried to move the car, it was just dragging the tire along for the ride. The marks I was seeing in the parking lot was the rubber I was scraping off of my tire onto the parking lot. Well, one tow truck call (and $87) later, my car was at my mechanic's in Cadillac. With it being a Saturday though, I was marooned until Monday when he'd come in to take a look at it. Now for the crazy part... he took a look at it on Monday, and FOUND NOTHING WRONG with my car. NOTHING! My only guess that that perhaps in hooking my car up to the tow truck, whatever was locking the wheel up was jarred loose or something... Anywho, that was a whole lot of worrying over nothing. And, I guess when the tow is the most expensive part of car trouble, that's not a bad thing. And since this incident, I've been driving my car with no noticeable issues (knock on wood), though it might be time to start thinking about going new car shopping as well.

As if these two headaches weren't enough, my mom has been adamantly on my case for the last two months that I need to buy a house (apparently I'm made of money, and just didn't know it). She wanted me to take advantage of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit that the government was offering. I tried to tell her that I wasn't ready to buy a house (I don't even know if I'm ready to deal with trying to buy a car, for crying out loud), but she wouldn't take no for an answer... She was bound and determined. She called a banker in T.C., who got in touch with me, and got some of my financial info to get me pre-qualified, then she contacted a realtor in Cadillac, who called me last week, and insisted on setting up a meeting. This was not my idea of fun, and I've been dragging my feet through the entire process, because I honestly am not (in the least) interested in buying a house. I realize it was a historically great time and opportunity to buy a house, but with my finances in the sorry state that they were in, I could not bring myself to take on an extra responsibility.

Thankfully, it seems like the time for this credit has passed, and the pressure over the last week or so has greatly subsided, so hopefully that's the last I'll have to deal with that for a while to come.

On to happier news... I have a new roommate, his name is Ben, and he's a CMU alum who's going to be working as a producer/writer at the station (though it's unclear which show he'll be assigned to). He's a big sports fan (especially hockey), so I think we'll get along quite well, which is very exciting for me. Not to mention the reduction in rent costs, and bills, which should hopefully allow me at least the opportunity to think about playing golf once or twice this summer.

Outside of that, I'm incredibly excited for the season 4 premiere of "Burn Notice" which is coming up a week from Thursday. I've been talking to all of my co-workers about it, and they're honestly probably getting a bit tired of it to be honest.

Anywho, that's the bulk of what's new with me. I'll talk at y'all again soon, but now it's time to hit the grocery store for a few items before returning home, and watching last night's episode of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" on tape!

Have a Good One, and Thanks For Reading!
  • Current Music
    The (relative) silence of the "Caddy-Wex" library

A Whole Lot of Everything...

Greg Says...

Hey Y'all, it's been almost two and a half months since I last sat down and committed thoughts to this here Livejournal. This post has been long overdue. I've thought about it time and time again, but I never could figure out where to start. Soooooooo... What's new with me?

- Shortly after my last post back on New Year's Day, I took a week vacation to visit my dad and step-mom in Florida. It was an "interesting" trip... in that, on the day of my arrival, the pilot announced that the temperature in Fort Myers was 36 degrees with a light drizzle. And to think that I was trying to get AWAY from that type of weather. Anywho, whether it was that "fun" day, or the following 2-3 days of abnormally low temps combined with my insistence on wearing shorts (that's honestly all I'd packed anyways), I got a fun head-cold that lasted for the rest of my trip. All things being equal, it was still a good time in F-L-A with my dad and my brother playing a couple of rounds of golf and watching some movies/TV.

- That was my first "illness" of the year, and it seems to have made a triumphant return this past week. Again coinciding with a decision of mine to wear shorts for a couple of days (when the temps up here were in the 50-60's). Perhaps that's a sign.

- February was all about enjoyable TV shows. I've gotten totally wrapped up into "Burn Notice"... and "Psych" finished off their fourth season with a bang. The Winter Olympics were constantly on, which I came to really love, whether it was watching hockey games before going to bed, or watching curling before going in to work. Not to mention the continued excellence of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson."

- And... speaking of the Winter Olympics... How awesome were they?! I watched A TON of events over the course of the two weeks. You couldn't top the hockey games (both the U.S. win over Canada as well as the Canucks revenge in the gold medal game), and just about everything I watched was attention-grabbing entertainment (even the cross-country skiing stuff!). My favorite moment though, came in the Snowboarding Half-pipe competition... perhaps you recall the moment... Shaun White had already clinched a gold medal, and yet still had another run to make. As he was celebrating at the top of the half-pipe with his friends, and his coach... his coach said to him (about his final run) "... you've gotta STOMP THAT SH#T!..." I thought it was hilarious, probably beacuse you could see it coming, but somehow NBC let it slip out on the air. It was quite amusing, and has become one of my personal favorite catchphrases of late.

- Along those lines... Tom held his annual "Luge" party in late February, it was highly entertaining, the weather was perfect for tubing, and the track was incredibly quick. A lot of laughs, and a lot of fun with a number of my co-workers.

- The day after the "Luge" party, I kept the "Olympic" theme going by making a road-trip to Grand Rapids to visit Brianne and Pat, and along with a few of their friends, we made the trek to Kalamazoo to take in the U.S. National Curling Championships! It was a very interesting spectacle. That was a very fun trip as well. I just wish I'd had the chance to actually TRY curling myself, but that will have to wait for another day.

- One other item of note from February... I started working out at a gym here in Cadillac. My mom, for her annual "Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday... you're fat" gift to me, bought me a 3-month membership to the "Anytime Fitness" franchise here in Cadillac. I asked for a membership there because (a) I'm incredibly self-conscious, and (b) I don't think there's actually a "b"... So, for the last month and a half or so, I've been going most weekday nights after work, and walking on the treadmills for an hour while watching "The Late Late Show." I don't know if it's shown any results as of yet, but it obviously can't hurt to be a bit more active.

- My brother bought me an iPod for Christmas as a gift that would potentially help facilitate my "workouts"... but I have to tell you... I'm just NOT a fan of my iPod... I probably haven't given it a fair shake, but I don't know, there's just something about it that leaves me disinterested in using it.

- Since the end of February, my schedule at work has been "ping-ponging" all over the place, at the whim of all of the various High School Sports' state tournaments. I've made road trips to St. Ignace, Cheboygan, Plymouth, Battle Creek, and East Lansing, just to list off a few of the longer drives. That having been said, it hasn't been as hectic of a winter sports season as in years past.

- The biggest "craziness" for me as been my OT-centric assignments of late. Since Monday the 15th, I've shot 4 different games that have gone into overtime, which is a LOT more than normal for this time of year. I shot a triple-overtime boys basketball game (in Cheboygan... which made the drive back a bit hair-raising...), an overtime girls basketball game, a double-overtime girls basketball state final (St. Ignace lost to Flint Hamady on a heart-wrenching last-second shot), and an overtime thriller boys basketball game (Petoskey also lost on a last-second shot... why does that always happen TO our teams?!).

- And, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that my alma mater (Suttons Bay H.S.) will be making their first appearance in a boys basketball state title game. Tip time is tomorrow at noon in East Lansing, and I'll be there to shoot highlights of the game. Here's to hoping the Norse to can pull off a huge upset, and claim the state championship. Goooooooooooooo Norsemen!!!

- And, of course, with March comes March Madness (though half of the tournament is played in April these days)... My bracket was looking good through the first two days of the tournament (I called Murray State and St. Mary's amongst others)... but then Kansas got knocked out, and I lost my national champion. Even with that loss, I was still in second in my office pool heading into this weekend's games, but I'm starting to slide backwards now... so it looks unlikely that I'll bring home any cash this year... Oh well... "them's the breaks"... I suppose.

- Amidst all of the chaos at work, and elsewhere, there's been another shake-up in the living arrangements for yours truly. My roommate, Shainna, moved out earlier this month, leaving just Sarah and I in the A-P-T to pick up the extra costs... not an exciting prospect, but at least I don't have to look for yet another place to move to (yet). I was sad to see Shainna go, but it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that it would happen, so I'd been prepared for it for a while.

- Finally, the last thing I can think to mention at the moment are the newest music discoveries in my world... I'd highly recommend "Life Starts Now" by Three Days Grace. It's an awesome CD (in particular check out the singles: "Break", "The Good Life", and "Last To Know"... those are my three favorites, but the whole disc is solid). Additionally, I got the latest release from Story of the Year ("The Constant") which is also a good album, but if I had to give just one recommendation, I'd say give Three Days Grace a listen.

That's all I've got for now. As is a regular refrain with my most recent LJ posts, I hope that this will be the start of more regular writings.

Have a Good One, and Thanks For Reading!
  • Current Music
    "The Good Life" - Three Days Grace

Dawning of a New Year...

Greg Says...

Hey Y'all, what's up? So, it just came to my attention that I didn't post a single entry during the month of December, and it's funny, because this post that I'm writing now is about 3-4 weeks in the making... I've been thinking about writing it for all that time, but amongst the chaos of the holidays, I never really had the time or motive that I needed to sit down and collect my thoughts. So, now it's time to play catch-up ball.

Last month, I had a tremendous adventure...

It started innocently enough on a Saturday in early December. My co-worker Jodi had asked me to come into town to help her with a community pride project of sorts for the United Way of Cadillac, that was putting on a bit of downtown Cadillac Holiday event with hot chocolate and popcorn along with games for kids, and an opportunity to talk to Santa. So, being as I had nothing else pressing on my calendar, I went into town, and doled out cups of hot chocolate for a couple of hours. Afterwards, I had to hit the road, because I was working that afternoon, producing the sports for the 6:00 and 11:00 news. I drove to McBain and shot the first quarter of a girls basketball game there (to use for highlights in my shows), and just as I was getting ready to leave to return to the office, I got a phone call...

... from my former co-worker...

... who is now working in (central) Wisconsin...

... saying that he had an extra media credential to the Packers game against the Ravens on Monday Night Football...

... and he was wondering if I was interested in making the trip out to see the game with him...

... seriously!

Now, those of you who know me well know that I've been a Packers fan practically since birth, and yet I've never been to Lambeau Field. So, when Jayson called me with his offer, I immediately wanted to scream out "YES!"... but the rational side of me made me say "... let me figure things out, and call you back about it in a couple of hours..."

Well, I got back to the office, and was a bit behind the curve for producing the 6:00 sports... So, I didn't have a lot of time to think about the offer before me. I mean, I WAS indeed thinking about it, but I had to focus on work, and so I couldn't figure out if it would work logistically until after the 6:00 was over. I consulted a few of my co-workers and friends, and the overwhelming sentiment was, "Greg, you HAVE TO go." My boss even told me in a text that he'd be disappointed in me if I DIDN'T go... So, my mind was made up, I called Jayson back, and reserved my credential. Now, it was just a matter of getting there and back.

Thankfully for me, my work schedule at the time gave me Sundays and Mondays off from work. So, when I got up on Sunday, I got myself packed up, and I departed in mid-afternoon... my goal, Chicago, to spend the night at a friend's house. Along the way, I got the chance to stop off and visit with my friends Brianne and Pat in Grand Rapids for dinner (I was in no rush, because my friend in Chicago was out of town, and didn't expect to get home until close to 9 p.m.). I got into Chicago late on Sunday night (around midnight eastern), and after hanging out with James for a bit, I turned in... but I couldn't sleep... I was, understandably, excited for what the following day would hold.

Monday morning, I got up, went to breakfast with James, and then hit the road for Wisconsin. I stopped off at my co-worker, Jodi's, mother's house in Oshkosh, Wisconsin (about a 45-minute to hour-drive from Green Bay). The plan was for me to drive back to Oshkosh after the game, and stay the night, before getting up Tuesday morning to return to Cadillac in time for work (at about 3:00 p.m.). I got into Oshkosh in mid-afternoon, and got to hang out with Jodi's Mom for a bit, as well as get some pointers and tips for the return trip to Oshkosh, and then after a late lunch/early dinner, it was off to Green Bay!!!

One moment that still sticks with me, as I was driving to Jodi's mom's house, somewhere between Milwaukee and Oshkosh, it started lightly snowing, and I was cruising along, listening to a song by The Killers ("Read My Mind" I believe), and that's when it hit me that I was actually going to see a Packers game in person. I was overcome with a feeling of complete giddyness as I cruised along. There wasn't a care in the world, as far as I was concerned. It was a great feeling...

Anyways, back to the story... I got to Green Bay, and found the stadium with very little difficulty (despite my lack of a map to guide me... I didn't quite have the foresight to print one off beforehand). I found some parking, and made my way to Lambeau Field. I was there quite a bit ahead of my benefactor (who was making a 2-hour trip east to get to Green Bay), and so I had some time on my hands, so I did a bit of a "lap" around the stadium. Here are a few quick observations:

- First off, there's a LOT of parking around the stadium. They're not kidding when they talk about how the population of the town more than doubles on a gameday... I can see how that could easily be the case.

- The stadium itself... gigantic on the outside... on the inside, it seemed a lot smaller than it appears on TV (but isn't that almost ALWAYS the case with places you see on TV?)

- The tailgating scene outside was ridiculous. Cars parked everywhere. Thousands of people walking around, chatting, laughing, having a great time.

- And the thing that stuck out the most to me on my walking lap, was just how integrated into the town the stadium was. There were seriously houses bordering on the parking lot on at least three, if not all four sides of the stadium. It was quite something to see this massive football stadium on one side, and see someone with a house-party-tailgate going on in their backyard within nearly a stone's throw of the front gates. I never realized this about Lambeau, and it just added to the atmosphere tremendously.

So, after wandering around the parking lot for a little over an hour (not exactly my brightest idea, given it was 7 p.m. in Wisconsin in early December), Jayson finally arrived, and we met up. I got my credential, and we made our way through the security checkpoint and into Lambeau Field.

The first stop was downstairs in the "Tape Room" where all of the local news crews store their gear when not in use.

Then...

... it was time to walk out onto the field...

... That's right...

... I got to walk on the turf at Lambeau Field in my first visit to Green Bay...

... It truly was a dream come true...

But, in the moment, I was trying to play it cool, and just take in all of the sights and sounds from field level, as pre-game warm-ups were going on. Unfortunately, a few years back, the NFL put its foot down, and decided to NOT allow local media on the field DURING the game. The local stations now have to record a feed from "pool" cameras on the field provided by the league (hence the "Tape Room" where you can record the feed from the field for highlight editing purposes). So, us "local" media were relegated to spending time on the field only BEFORE and/or AFTER the game. Even so, it was amazing!

As I mentioned, I was taken aback by how much smaller the field was in person. And even the inside of the stadium seemed quite intimate compared to how it came off on TV. It was a surreal experience to walk up and down both sidelines. I was even with 15-20 yards of the ESPN pre-game set (with Stuart Scott, Steve Young and Matt Millen in attendance). And, as another fun nugget, while I was standing around on the Ravens sideline, Michelle Tafoya was conducting a live interview with Jim Harbaugh (brother of the Ravens' head coach, and a head coach himself, at Stanford University). Presumably, Michelle was asking him about his coaching future, as rumors had surfaced during the day that he might be a candidate for the opening at Notre Dame. The Funny thing was a few fans in the front rows near where I was standing were yelling at Harbaugh, saying things like, "...Don't go to Notre Dame... They can't win... They suck... Stay at Stanford, Jim... etc."

Anyway, we were out on the field for an eternity (but it was probably only about 15-20 minutes in "real" time). Then, it was time to head inside and grab some grub. The media meal is served only BEFORE the game, so if you don't get your dinner before kickoff, you're going to have to head out on the concourse, and buy a brat for $6 like everyone else.

In all honesty, I can't tell you a whole lot about the game (especially the first quarter), because we were sitting in the cafeteria room (which has TINY TV's incidentally) just finishing up our food, and chatting... Jayson, myself, and Jayson's girlfriend (who got the third and final "golden ticket"... err... credential...)

Anywho, in the second quarter, I decided to venture out, and scope out the press box. What a cool location! I even shared an elevator with ESPN's makeup artist en route to the press box, which was really neat, too. The view from the press box was something else, I felt like I was almost floating above the field looking down on all of the action, and the coolest part was seeing the reaction of all of the fans in the stands to big plays on the field. Green Bay scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, and had a solid lead at the half.

I returned to cafeteria, and spent some time hanging out with Jayson and Jessica (only one of our credentials was technically designated for the Press Box, so we had to go in shifts)... And I was there for the entire second half, watching the rest of the game on the TINY TV's, as the Packers finished off a victory over Baltimore. It wasn't the prettiest game ever (It nearly set a record for the most penalty yardage in one game), but I didn't care.

After the game was over, it was time for me to justify my credential... I tossed Jayson's camera on my shoulder, and we made our way down to the Packers Lockerroom for post-game interviews. Yep, not only did I get to go on the field before the game, I got to go in the lockerroom after the game (I'd call that a complete experience, wouldn't you?!). We talked to just about a half-dozen players after the game (Jessica was even in there with us, trying not to be "distracted"... I think you can guess what I mean). It was a really cool experience, all in all...

The drive back to Oshkosh took FOR-EV-ER... I think I got about 4 hours of sleep before I had to get up, and get on the road back to Michigan. I got back to Cadillac about a half hour late for work, but that really didn't make much of a difference, in the grand scheme of things.

I wish I had more flowery language to describe to you what this trip meant to me... My vocabulary is failing me at the moment (which might just be testament enough). I've been watching Packers games on TV since I was 2 years old (when my mom says I declared my allegiance to the green and gold)... and I'd often times fantasized about making a trip to Lambeau to see a game. And, as I grew up, and got into the sports TV field, I still held tight to that dream... but for it to be fulfilled so suddenly, in a rather spontaneous road-trip of more than 1,000 miles in less than two days, was truly amazing! Christmas came early for yours truly this year. Everything above and beyond my trip to Lambeau was icing on the cake.

So, as so many people look forward to the promise of 2010, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to look back to the signature moment of my 2009 calendar year. It was an experience I won't ever forget, and I hope that all of you had similar experiences this past year, and continue to have them on into the future.

Have a Good One, and Thanks For Reading!
  • Current Music
    "Man On The Moon" - R.E.M.

Things I Don't Understand...

Greg Says...

Hey Y'all, what's up? I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving holiday weekend. My weekend is one day (Thursday), as my whirlwind driving tour of the entire state of Michigan concludes on Friday and Saturday with a road trip to Detroit for the State Football Finals at Ford Field. It's been a busy couple of weeks... I've been to Marquette (twice), Petoskey, Mt. Pleasant, and Battle Creek (just to name a few). And tonight will be the last night I spend in Cadillac until I get home from Detroit sometime late on Saturday night. I feel like I'm living out a suitcase right now... although, I don't actually have a suitcase... So I guess I feel like I'm living out of a duffle bag.

Anywho, it's been a long while since I wrote in my LJ... And I've been brainstorming this post for a while, and today felt like a good day to sit down and put fingers to keyboard. Lately, a lot of things have either happened, or come to my attention, that I just can't explain. So, I thought I'd share my thoughts on these below. ENJOY!

- The main thing that's really been bothering me is my disinterest in pro football. Seriously. Of the last 5-6 weeks of NFL Football, I think I've actually sat down and watched games once (maybe twice). I just can't get into the games. They don't hold my attention for longer than a few minutes. This past Sunday, I spent more time watching a mini-marathon of "The Next Iron Chef" on Food Network, than I did any of the Sunday football games (though I guess I should've watched the Lions game... it sounded like a great finish). I can't really explain this, though I can come up with a couple of potential reasons for my general malaise when it comes to America's favorite sport... (a) As a Packers fan, I don't get to see a lot of their games on the local affiliates, and I'm just not as interested in any of the other teams. (b) There are some truly awful teams in the NFL this year (Browns, Rams, Seahawks, Lions, Raiders, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Redskins), and it seems like a lot of times lately, the games we get feature one of these teams... Or... the game will feature one of the teams that I just can't stand (Cowboys, Giants, Jets, Bills, Patriots)... and I just can't get into it. (c) I think part of it has to do with ESPN. I watch a fair amount of ESPN during the week (though I'm trying to swear off Sportscenter, or whatever it is they've done to Sportscenter), and primarily all they talk about is NFL Football, to the point that they've discussed the games so much throughout the week, that come Sunday, I'm a bit burnt out on football, and so I find something else to occupy my time. (d) I can't help but feel (and maybe it's because I'm becomin an "old man") that players these days just aren't as easy to root for. I feel like NFL players are beginning to morph into the kinds me-first mentality that I expect from NBA players, and that's just not appealing to me. (e) This may be the biggest reason... but covering as much local high school and college football as I have "LIVE," has really taken the juice out of watching a game on TV. I just can't focus on the game without looking at it from a production standpoint. Kinda like I imagine if you worked at a fast food hamburger restaurant, the last thing you'd want to come home and cook for dinner would be a burger and fries. What this all boils down to is, I'm not watching the NFL on TV as much as I used to, and I can't really say why... It's not like I've got anything else to do on a Sunday.

- Another thing I don't understand is the recent development of what I'll call "dual-commercials"... 30 second spots that tout two completely different products/services. The one that really bothers me is the current Geico commercial that in the middle of it (for no good reason) has a 10-15 second clip teaser of the new Disney movie coming out ("The Frog and the Princess"... or something like that). Are companies so hard up for advertising dollars right now that they have to go "halfsies" on a 30-second spot...? Are commercials now "sponsored?" ("This advertisement for Miller Lite brought to you by Ball Park Franks...") As someone who depends on advertising to pay his salary, I guess I shouldn't be complaining so long as companies actually ARE buying ad time, but it troubles me to see the proliferation of advertisement in our world. You can't turn around now without being sold something... which is particularly bothersome to me, because I have no money to spend on anything I see in ads, so I always feel like it's a waste of time trying to sell me something.

- Another thing I don't understand is this whole "healthcare" debate. I don't want to get too political, though I know you all probably know where I fall on this debate. I feel that we, as a nation, SHOULD definitely ensure that all Americans can receive competent and affordable care. Period. What I don't understand is the craziness of the debate surrounding it. And why does it have to cost soooooo much? I understand that insuring a lot of people is going to cost a pretty penny, but even so, there has to be a more efficient way of doing things... and how can the bill be (insert riduculous page number claim here) pages long? I feel like the legislation process in our country has become so absurd as to be a dis-service to the American public. The bill should be easy to understand, and not prohibitively long to read. But the most frustrating thing to me is Republicans' complete commitment to stone-wall this bill at every turn simply because it's a democratic plan. What ever happened to thinking for yourself? Can't you actually read over the bill and then determine whether or not it's a reasonable option? And if not, can you at least start proposing some legitimate changes that will make the bill stronger, instead of proposing changes that only make the bill less appealing to democrats and the general public. I don't know... it just makes me want to pull my hair out seeing all of the stories about how much difficulty we're having passing a healthcare bill. Everyone in this country should be in favor of providing care for every American... it's common sense, and common decency. How can you argue against it?
-----------------------------------------------
Okay... time for the lightning round... a couple of quick things I don't understand, because they need no explanation:

- Lady GaGa

- Glenn Beck

- How "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" is not the most-watched news program on cable TV?

- The Snuggie

- "Smart Phones"
-----------------------------------------------

- Finally, I'll close with this thought... Since my newest roommate (Sarah) moved in three weeks ago, both of my roommates (Sarah & Shainna) have gone "home" for the weekend. That means for two days/week I have the apartment completely to myself (which is nice on some levels, but also leaves me feeling a bit lonely at times as well). It's even more vexing to me because when Sarah moved in, she brought her two cats with her. And already I feel like they've gotten comfortable with me because I'm around so often, and give them plenty of attention. Anyways, my point is... I don't understand why so many of the reporters/producers/photojournalists that come to work for us never actually spend anytime in Cadillac. I've many times heard the refrain "There's nothing to do in Cadillac." And, sure there is some truth to that statement. But, in all honesty, what do you want the town to be? I don't understand why you're willing to spend gas money to drive three hours (each way) to go home to spend even more money either shopping or hanging out with friends and family. Now, I realize I can't judge too harshly, because there are myriad reasons why one would go home frequently, and some of them can be well-justified. But, if all you're going to do is spend time with friends, or hang around home and watch TV... what are you doing? Is Cadillac (or Northern Michigan for that matter) so abhorrent that the thought of actually spending time up here is just too much for you to handle? And I think there's plenty of things to do. Traverse City is three times closer than the Detroit area, and you can do just about as many things there as you can in Detroit. Anyway, what this all boils down to is, I don't understand how someone can say "there's nothing to do in Cadillac," when they never stick around to give it a chance.

Okay, that's about all I can think to write about at the moment. If more come to me, I'll be sure to share them with you.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Finally, if you get the chance... this Friday is Part 1 of the "Monk" series finale... it should be interesting... it's so sad to me to see this show close up shop. I can't believe it's already done. Anyways, I have a feeling it'll be very good, and I'd encourage you all to give it a look (if you aren't out shopping, or busy hanging out with family).

Have a Good One, and Thanks For Reading!
  • Current Music
    "Gethsemane" - Rise Against

Minor Irritants and Major Pains...

Greg Says...

Hey Y'all, I'm writing while in the midst of some heavy-duty "Rise Against Therapy." It's a simple process where I sit at my computer and listen to Rise Against tunes for as long as it takes for my mood to improve. It's kinda strange that such loud and angry music can have a calming affect on me. I could be listening to it for a while tonight (it's already been about an hour)...

What's gotten my goat?

A lot of things... I don't know which irritates me more right now, the thought that the New York Yankees are back in the World Series (GO PHILLIES!!!), or the "Uber-schmaltzy" theme music that Fox plays for it's baseball playoff coverage. It's a truly hideous tune that, in no way, reflects the game of baseball. Everytime I hear it, it sounds like fingernails on the chalkboard to my ears.

In more serious problem news... my car. That's really all that needs to be said. This past Monday (actually, considering when I'm writing this... I should just say "a week ago"), it was in the shop because the alternator had died. Thankfully I had Monday off from work (and spent the day in Mt. Pleasant golfing... more on that later), so my mechanic had all day to work on it. The Sunday night before, while talking to my dad about my car troubles, he told me that his alternator had cost him $500 to repair, and my jaw almost broke from dropping so much... That's almost an entire 2-week paycheck for me! Thankfully, my mechanic was able to fix it for a "reasonable" $215. He only charged me $50 for labor, which I found quite remarkable. So, if you know anyone else in Cadillac that needs car repairs tell them to go see Gary at Air Wrench Productions... He comes highly recommended by yours truly.

Anywho, The alternator isn't the only trouble spot on the ol' Taurus... About 2-3 weeks ago, I started to notice that my engine temperature gauge would fluctuate wildly while I was driving to/from work. After consulting with my friend from work (Tom) who knows a great deal about automotive issues, we determined that the problem was likely a faulty/failing thermostat. So, a couple of weeks ago, we picked up a new part to replace the old one with. As it turned out... it wasn't exactly the right part, and it did not fit. So, back went the old thermostat, but (thanks to some extra anti-freeze/coolant, which it turn out, I was low on...) my temperature gauge seemed to return to normal functioning status. Nonetheless, my thermostat did look a bit beat up, and was probably due for a replacement anyway. So, last week I went back to the auto parts store, and got a different variation on the thermostat, with the plans of installing it this past weekend. So, over to Tom's I went on Saturday... only to find out that yet again I had gotten the wrong part (despite giving the worker at the auto parts store the VIN number for my car to ensure a proper part)... So, I've still got my old thermostat in my engine, and given all of the issues that it's caused over the past few weekends, it's Tom's suggestion that we leave it be until such a time as it starts to fail. That's fine by me.

So, yesterday (Saturday), as I was leaving Tom's after the second unsuccessful install, I noticed some new noises coming from my engine, which is never a welcome sign. And today, on my way home from watching some football out at Tom's my brand new serpentine belt broke! I got it no more than a month and a half ago, and it's already broken (its predecessor lasted somewhere between 3-4 years!). My car is right now sitting in the McDonald's parking lot in West Cadillac (so long as the manager at the McDonald's remembered to leave a note for the morning crew to NOT have it towed). With any luck, I'll get this problem fixed before work tomorrow (today...? technically).

It's just irritating that something so new can fail so easily in my car. I thought when I replaced the belt, that I was set for another few years... Goodness knows there are enough little things on a car that can go wrong, why did it have to be something I'd already (in theory) fixed?

Obviously, all of these issues funnel into the bigger-picture issue of my consistently meager funds. I can't afford to do much of anything. I can't look for a new job, because I can't afford to move, or for that matter, mail out a bunch of resume tapes. I can't afford to move into a new apartment (an issue that thankfully has been put on hold for at least another 4-5 months), I can't afford to go out on a date (or even look for a girlfriend, for that matter). I feel like I'm constantly being squeezed. Perhaps, if I had even half an ounce of business acumen, I could get on top of this concern, but I don't, and I'm really not interested in learning anything about business... it just seems like such a sleazy thing to me. I really HATE money, and all of its trappings.

I spent probably an hour last week talking to my brother on the phone about my finances. It's incredible how much more ahead of the curve he is than I am. He's bought land, he's bought two cars (during his life so far), and as he revealed to me last week, he's making double what I am. Wow!

HERE COME THE CLOUDS... THE FIRST DROP IS FALLING DOWN!

Sorry, I had to take a quick pause for one of my favorite Rise Against lyrics (from the song "The First Drop").

So, where was I... Oh yes... my conversation with my brother last week. It was productive, I think. He had some good ideas for how I could better manage my finances to try and free up some cash so that I could resume living my life. I'll have to think about them, but if I'm being honest about myself, I probably won't follow any of his ideas, not because they AREN'T good ideas, but because I'm so darn stubborn and determined to be self-sufficient...

My mom made the plea to me last week as well to stop being so proud, and ask for help if I need it, but I just can't do that. It's not in my nature. My mom also made a rather sage comment, when I informed her that once my roommate (Mike) moves out at the end of the month, that he was going to be replaced by one of our other producers (Sarah)... My mother, upon hearing that I'd be sharing an apartment with two girls said, "...you keep living with girls, but you never date any..." which I thought was rather witty, and sadly true.

It hasn't been all doom and gloom in the northland though (I think the "Rise Against Therapy" is starting to work!)... Football-related ventures have been going well for me of late. I've won the pick pool at the office the last two weeks (and if Miami could've held on against the Saints it would've been three straight weeks), and my fantasy football teams continue to have good seasons. Plus, the Packers have given up a total of three points the past two weeks, and next week's game against Minnesota will be crucial in determining a division champion (GO PACK GO!!!).

Along those lines, I had a bit of fun on Saturday evening. I went to a Traverse City North Stars game with Jodi, James and Tom (thank goodness my serpentine belt didn't break while I was driving to/from Traverse City). It was a fun game, T.C. won 7-2, and there's a great deal of action. I know it's not the NHL, or even college hockey for that matter, but it was hockey, and it was a short drive away, which is a winning ticket for me.

And, I can't forget the aforementioned golf... I had this past Monday off to go golfing in Mt. Pleasant with my co-workers (Ben and Pete) at Bucks Run. It's a course I've always wanted to play (it's annually on our "Beat the Pro" tour), but I'd never had the opportunity. It was a fun round. I didn't play particularly well. I had a couple of pars, and still managed to hack my way around in about 112 strokes (give or take about another 5 or so...) We even capped the day off by playing on their 18-hole natural grass miniature golf course, which was quite entertaining as well.

So, as you can see, it's been, if nothing else, an INTERESTING week. Here's to hoping that this coming week is a bit more "mundane."

Have a Good One, and Thanks For Reading!
  • Current Music
    "Gethsemane" - Rise Against

Conflicted...

Greg Says...

Hey Y'all, I don't know if anyone else will read this post (I get the impression that LJ is lightly used now that most if not all of us are using facebook), but tonight is an interesting one in my world.

First off, there are just too many things going on on TV tonight. The Green Bay Packers play against Brett Favre for the first time since he left the team last year when they play Minnesota on Monday Night Football... And, going on at the same time over on Versus... the New Jersey Devils are playing their arch-rivals: the New York Rangers.

It's actually probably a good thing I'm working tonight, so that I won't have to choose between the two. However, if I had to choose... I'd probably go with the hockey. Why? Well, I figure that sportscenter will probably show about 85% of the Packers-Vikings game tomorrow morning anyway, so this way I'd get to see both games. Besides, this is probably the one game of the year that the Devils will end up on national TV... They're typically (and criminally) overlooked by the national networks because the have the unenviable reputation of playing "boring and slow" hockey... when that's about as far from the truth as possible. They have the most decorated goalie in the history of the NHL, and no one outside of the garden state knows it because all NBC/Versus wants to show you is: Washington, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York (even though they always underperform), Detroit, Chicago and Boston. So, that's why I'd like to watch the Devils-Rangers game tonight, because I know it'll be a cold day in hell when they show New Jersey again.

Outside of TV viewing options for this evening... I have to admit that I've been in a bit of a funk of late. I'm feeling a bit alone right now... And I know a great deal of the causes of my problems, and yet I can't motivate to do anything about any of it. Perhaps the first issue I have to overcome is a lack of motivation, and how do you get psyched up to tackle something like that?

I keep telling myself that I should try and do something physical to try and keep my weight in check, and this morning, I told myself I'd do some sit-ups while watching "Mike and Mike in the Morning"... I did about 6-7 sit-ups and called it quits... How sad is that?

I really have no reason to be down in the dumps right now... Football season is in full swing. I'm busy at work covering all of the local fall sports seasons (Football, Boys Soccer and Volleyball), and we're doing a better job, with less, this year than we did even last year. But, I'm just feeling a general malaise that's tough to shake.

I've gone through doldrums like this before, and I always snap out of them in relatively short order, so I'm not too worried, but I can't help but wonder about myself, and how I could change things to make it better. Perhaps this is a foolish exercise. Maybe we're all just destined to have some "blah" points in our lives, but that doesn't change the fact that they're not a lot of fun when you're in one.

At the core of my concerns, I'm sure, are financial worries... I just don't make enough to afford me the opportunity to "enjoy" the finer things in life. I spent the entire day inside the apartment yesterday because I couldn't afford to go out and do anything. Plus, my car's on the fritz (again!), and I know that the cost of fixing it soon will be an extra un-expected burden.

Part of my irrational financial worries come from my hatred of being in debt. I just don't like the feeling of knowing that I owe money to other people/entities for things I've done/purchased long in the past. I'm sure if I were to look at the finances of some of my other friends/co-workers, I'd see that I'm really not in that bad of shape in terms of debt. But the fact that my income stream is a mere trickle makes the debt appear to me to be a towering mountain threatening to topple and crush me. Even if I wanted to go out and buy a new car to replace my troublesome current ride, I don't think I could afford to make the payments, along with all of my other obligations, and still have money in the bank.

It's incredibly frustrating... I'd say that I need a raise (it's been nearly two years since I got one, and the cost of living has gone up "just a little bit" since then), but then I think about the work I do, the economy of the state, and the status of our industry/our station in particular, and I feel like it would be selfish of me to try and ask for more money. I've never been interested in money. As long as I can make a comfortable living, I'm happy, but the nagging worries over my debt have made it tough to have a "comfortable" life.

I honestly feel like every time I write on here nowadays, it's to complain about money. I hate that. I hate that it affects me so much.

I'd look for a new job, but (a) there aren't a lot of jobs like mine in the country right now, given the cut-back nature of our industry, and (b) with so many people out of work, even the openings that are available are hotly contested, and (c) even if were to somehow land a new gig, the cost of moving myself to a new place and getting settled is too much for my meager account to handle now... so in order to make more money, I'd have to accrue more debt, how vicious of a cycle is that?

I guess what this all boils down to is that I feel very stagnant right now in life. I feel like nothing has changed from the Greg of 22-23 years old, even though I'm now 28...

All of that being said, I'm still hopeful... I might be running (I should say, walking) on an interminable treadmill, but in many ways I'm happy. I'm still working (that's half the battle) in the industry of my choice (which is a rarity), and I'm surrounded by a number of good friends here in Cadillac. For everything in my life that makes me frown, I have something to smile about, and that's really all I can ask for.

Have a Good One, and Thanks For Reading!
  • Current Music
    "How I Go" - Yellowcard

What Day is it?

Greg Says...

Hey Y'all, what's the good word? I'm trying to be a little more consistent in my LJ posting, but in all honesty, the last two weeks of work have been a bit crazy. They were easily the most unique weeks I've had in a while. It's gotten to the point that I really don't know what day of the week it is right now (rumor has it... Thursday). I worked both days last weekend (So, I was at the office when CMU pulled their stunner against MSU), which included spending a day at Red Wings Training Camp in T.C. on Sunday. And, in all honesty, I didn't watch more than 5-10 minutes of football on Sunday (gasp!). During the past week and a half, I've had a Tuesday and a Thursday off as well, in order to free up the days for me to work this past weekend, and I've worked three news shifts. I've been in to work as early as 7:30 a.m., and as late as 3:30 p.m. to start my shift. Things have just been a bit disjointed.

That having been said, it's been a good couple of weeks. I have to start with CMU's win over MSU on Saturday. What a game!!! I'd like to say I knew CMU was going to win, but that wouldn't be entirely honest. I was hopeful that CMU would have a chance, but I thought that MSU was too good this year to let the Chips come into their house and knock them off. As I mentioned, I had to work on Saturday afternoon, but I still got to see the bulk of the game. Allow me to offer up a Pro and Con from seeing the Chips live:

PRO(s): That onside kick was fantastic!!!! It couldn't have been more perfectly executed. Also, the defense played inspired ball, in particular for most of the first half, after MSU scored their first TD.

CON: It might be blasphemy to suggest, but I'm not exactly enamored with the CMU Spread Offense. I speak, in particular, towards the possession in the first half, when CMU got first and goal at the MSU six-yard line, and couldn't gain any yardage out of their spread formation. When you get down close to the end zone like that, you need a power-set to gain the "tough yards," and I worry that this might eventually come back to bite CMU at some point in time this year.

Elsewhere in Football... The Packers looked okay in beating the Bears on Sunday night. I didn't really watch the game, because I was off playing some "Rock Band" with a friend. But, to see the defense step up and play a good game was very encouraging. It was also good to see the Packers win a close game late, as that was the biggest problem they had last year: finishing games.

Back to Saturday for a moment... Before I sat down to watch the CMU-MSU tilt, I swung by the recycling center in Cadillac to drop off all of the stuff I'd been collecting over the past two months, and THE PLACE WAS PACKED!!! I couldn't believe. I counted somewhere in the neighborhood of 12-15 cars at various times while I was there. That's awesome! Three Cheers for Cadillac.

I mentioned Red Wings training camp earlier, and that was an interesting day. Aaron and I got to T.C. VERY early for the festivities, and the thing that somewhat surprised both of us was the absence of our fellow TV stations' cameras. Granted, it was the Lions regular season opener, but even still, it was surprising that, outside of us, there were only 1-2 other camera crews at Centre Ice for the start of training camp for the most successful of the four Detroit major sports franchises.

Outside of football and work, I've been doing a good bit of reading. While using the internet at the "Caddy-Wex" library a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a couple of John Grisham books that I'd never read before. I finished "The Testament," which I thought was a very good book, and I'm probably a little bit more than halfway through "The Broker," which seems to be setting up for an interesting climax. Also in books, I'm very tempted to go out and pick up the newly-released Dan Brown novel, "The Lost Symbol"... but I think I might wait it out, and hope that I get it for Christmas. I'm also interested to read the forthcoming books from Mitch Albom and Craig Ferguson ("American on Purpose").

Finally, I've spent the last couple of weeks getting caught up with "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" on espn.com's "Page 2"... It's by far and away the best football (and other stuff) writing that I read each week. I found a particular passage very interesting in his season preview column, as he was writing about Ted Kennedy:

On the noble side of his character, Kennedy crusaded tirelessly for a higher minimum wage, saying it was an outrage that someone could work 40 hours a week in the United States and still live below the poverty line. That is, indeed, an outrage. Since the late 1960s, the federal minimum wage has steadily declined in real-dollar terms; today it would need to be $10 an hour to match the level of the late 1960s. At $10 an hour, someone who works 40 hours per week would escape poverty, by the federal definition. Most lawmakers don't care about the minimum wage, since it matters mainly to the poor, and the poor -- this is their own fault -- by and large don't vote. Kennedy did care about the poor.

To little notice this July, the federal minimum wage rose from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour -- some states have higher minimum wages, while some states tie their minima to the federal floor. Include the Earned Income Tax Credit and other wage-based federal benefits to the working poor, and in effect the federal minimum is now back to about $10 an hour, which is essential for social justice. Now, which way will employment trend? For decades, conservatives have fiercely declared that a rising federal minimum wage would backfire by increasing unemployment. When the wage rose to $7.25, unemployment was 9.5 percent. If the conservatives are right, a year from now, unemployment will be higher than that. (At least a year is needed, because month-by-month vacillations don't tell much.) If instead by summer 2010 unemployment has declined, the standard conservative argument against increasing the minimum wage will be discredited. Before you say, "Well, everyone expects employment numbers to start improving," those who oppose a minimum wage increase have long argued that raising the minimum wage will boost unemployment regardless of the overall direction of the economy.


The reason I found this so interesting is because according to the stats he put forth there, I'm apparently working for slightly more than minimum wage (just over $10/hr). I'm not really complaining, I just found it interesting. I'd made the joke, when the story was reported about the minimum wage going up, that it was quickly catching up to me. Little did I know just how close it was.

That having been said, I love my job, and money will never be the "Be-All, End-All" for me. I just thought it was an interesting point to bring up.

NOTE: I almost forgot to mention... I played a round of 18 with my mom and step-dad on Tuesday in Mesick, and I recorded two birdies!!! Granted, I still managed to shoot a 112 (the rest of my card was littered with "Snowmen"), but I at least had two great holes... I even had an eagle putt that just missed. All in all, it's been an interesting couple of weeks.

That's about all I've got for now. Hopefully I'll again turn this into at least a weekly occurence. I'll plan on talking to y'all again next week.

Have a Good One, and Thanks For Reading!
  • Current Music
    "The World You Love" - Jimmy Eat World

Breaking the Silence...

Greg Says...

Hey Y'all, I don't have a ton of time on my hands to write this post, as I'm sitting at the world-renowned "Caddy-Wex" library doing my internet stuff due to the fact that since Sunday, my computer has decided that it can't connect to the internet. My roommates don't seem to be having any troubles, and I'm not "tech-savvy" enough to figure out how to fix my problems (more on that in a second). And, I have to say that being at the "Caddy-Wex" motivated me to finally sit down and put some thoughts into written form.

I've been a bit frustrated of late... and only one thing gets to me like that: money problems. I've encountered a number of things that have definitely put a squeeze on my meager funds. I took my car in for an oil change last week, only to be told that (a) I was leaking oil, (b) I was leaking Transmission Fluid, and (c) My serpentine belt could snap at any half-second. So, $84 later, I'd hopefully reversed the oil and transmission issues, and I'd resolved to changing my serpentine belt over this past weekend. Which I did... I am, however, still nervous about my transmission fluid issue, because the oil change guys told me to bring my car back in this week to see if their solution worked or not. If not, I could be shelling out some SERIOUS cash to keep my car running. This was all on the heels of the previous weekend, when my rear brake line started leaking fluid. That was another repair that hit my wallet where it hurts.

On top of my car showing the signs of old age... my cell phone has been dying a slow and painful death. Over the past few months my coverage and signal strength have been getting progressively worse. To the point that last Friday night, while driving home for work, I could not, for the life of me, get a signal to last more than about 15 seconds. So, with the proverbial "camel's back" finally broken, I swung by Alltel yesterday, and hopefully got my settings updated/changed so that it will no longer be a problem.

Now back to my computer... I was informed on Saturday the my anti-virus had encountered an issue that it needed to fix. So, I let it run its course... after which it informed me that it needed to restart, which I did. But, upon restarting, I could no longer log on to the internet. Really seems like it fixed the problem, huh?

Anywho, this brings me to my most recent self-revelation... I've lost my curiosity for life. I never "search" for anything online. I go to the same 4-5 websites everyday, and have no interest whatsoever in gaining any "new" knowledge. I've become content to just float through on what I know, and it's becoming increasingly apparent that that's not enough. I feel like I used to be pretty inquisitive when I was growing up, but I feel like I've been made cynical and overly cautious by the hyper-commercialization of our culture. With everything for sale these days, I shy away from searching because I can no longer differentiate between factual information, and a slickly-produced sales pitch. It's maddening.

Anywho, it's not all doom and gloom here in the great "soon-to-be-white" north (we've had frost advisories for each of the last two nights!). Football season has begun, so I've got that to look forward to every week. And with the start of football season comes a more consistent schedule for me, working in the sports department. I shouldn't be "borrowed" by the news department as much as I was in July and early August, so I'm excited about that.

The only other item that's new in my world of late, is that one of my co-workers let me borrow season one of "How I Met Your Mother" on DVD a couple of weeks ago... and I just finished watching it this past weekend, and it's good stuff... but most of you already know that. I just might have to add yet another program to my habitual watching list (if i can find a place for it to fit it into).

That's all I've got for now.

Have a Good One, and Thanks For Reading!
  • Current Music
    "21 Guns" - Green Day

A Cluttered Calendar

Greg Says...

Hey Y'all, it's been a while... My apologies for my prolonged absence I'd frequently have a half-formed idea of a post, but I just never had the time or patience to actually sit down and put it all down "on paper" (so to speak).

So, all of a sudden, July has become quite the busy "social" month for yours truly... I've got every weekend for the rest of the month spoken for, and that's after having an enjoyable three-day weekend around Independence Day, and spending this past weekend at the National Cherry Festival Cherry Royale Parade and out on the golf course with friends.

My former roomie (and former 9&10 Sports-guy), Luke, came up to Cadillac on a whim Saturday, which was a pleasant surprise to say the least. It's great to have him back "Up North"... we had a fun time yesterday playing a round of golf at The Briar South (with near-perfect weather), and then we had a great cookout dinner over at Jodi and James's place, followed with a brief bit of Rock Band. In many respects, it was the perfect day... I haven't laughed that much in many moons.

As for the rest of the month... This coming weekend my brother is making his triumphant return to Michigan for the weekend to attend the wedding of one of his close buddies from High School. So, after playing in Charity Softball game in Harrison on Saturday (and catching up with another former 9&10'er Saturday evening), I'll be hitting the road for Lansing to meet up with my mom, step-dad and brother on Sunday. We're thinking about maybe getting a round of golf in, or at least a good lunch, and some hanging out time, before my bro wings his way back to Georgia. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, this Friday, I've got the day off to make a road-trip to Grand Rapids to go to a Whitecaps game with the world-renowned "Dr. Foss". We might even team up to try and tackle the 5/3rd Burger, which sound like a fun food-related challenge.

Then, the following weekend, it's up to Traverse City for my mom's birthday weekend. I might even be making a side-trip on Sunday down to Muskegon to pick up my cousin, who's working as a camp counselor this summer, and bring her up to T.C. She'd never travelled outside of Texas prior to this summer camp job, so it'll be cool to so her exactly what a Michigan Summer is all about. I'll be spending the whole weekend of the 25-26th in T.C. (with the possibility of bumping into a long-lost friend from High School while I'm up there, and I have Facebook to thank for that!), and then on Tuesday the 28th, it's time to put some more miles on the ol' Taurus down to Detroit for a Dave Matthews Band Concert with Super Dave. So, if any of my "Detroit-area peeps" are available on the 28th or 29th, drop me a line, it'd be good to see y'all again, it's been far too long since I've been to visit.

So, that's the synopsis of my forthcoming July engagements, and with all of that, I'll need to find time to catch the newest Harry Potter movie at some point in time as well (at least one time, if not more).

Who knew that the time you spend away from work could be just as much "work" sometimes?

Beyond that, I don't have too much else to report, although I did have an interesting conversation at work a week and a half ago, when I got to work with our newest reporter (Stacey), when we were discussing how she ended up working in Northern Michigan, and she nearly perfectly summed up some of my feelings when she told me about how when she was making the choice to come north, she had other job offers from "bigger markets," but she chose the T.C.-area because it seemed like a good place to live, and that really got my attention. If I were invited back to speak to broadcasting students at CMU, I think that would be one of the main points of my discussion: Don't fixate so much on "market-size," just find a place where you're comfortable and happy. I feel that at times while I was in college, it was (rightly or wrongly) suggested to us, that the only way to be successsful was to work one's way up the proverbial market-size ladder. And, that's just not how I view things now. I consider myself fortunate to have the job that I have in the market that I do, at the best station in the region. Especially in the times of today, I thank my lucky stars every day that my station values sports enough to find a way to keep me employed covering local sports. I'm sure my job doesn't exist at a lot of local stations these days (and especially not at markets as small as ours). As I was formulating this passage, I kinda thought up a bit of a philosophical statement that I think sums it up: If you spend your career chasing the dollar, you'll occasionally encounter happiness, but if happiness is your aim, you'll never worry about the money. Okay... so it's not a great phrase... consider it a work in progress.

So, that's the bulk of what's new in the "Wide" world of Greg. I hope to be again, sooner rather than later, but with so much on my plate in the weeks to come, it could be tough... I hope you all are well, and I'll talk to you again soon.

Have a Good One, and Thanks For Reading!
  • Current Music
    "Sidewalks" - Story of the Year (A Great Summer Tune!)

Re-Discovery

Greg Says...

Hey Y'all, How're you all? To the 4-5 of you that clicked over here from Facebook, many thanks. I appreciate your curiosity.

The idea for this journal post came to me shortly after I joined Facebook, as I was re-connecting with so many people that I hadn't spoken to since I graduated from high school. And that's a long gap of life experience to build a bridge over with just a few short sentences. So, I thought I'd put together a longer-form commentary that will hopefully give you at least the most important details of what's been going on with me.

I guess I'm a bit more long-winded, and so I thought it might be productive to write up a quick recap of the past 9 years or so to answer the questions you might have. Questions like:

- Why are you on Facebook? Or... What took you so long to join?

Those are two very good questions. The first I can answer in one word: loneliness. I've been writing in this here LiveJournal for the last 6-7 years, and I've used it to keep in touch with my closest friends from college, but slowly, over the past year or so, the updates from my friends have become more sporadic, as have my own musings. Part of this is due to the fact that we've all now settled into our daily routines, and there's now much less time to spend writing, and sometimes fewer interesting stories to tell, but at least part of the drying of this well was due to the development of Facebook (and the myriad other "social network" outlets) which were suddenly demanding time. These past few months, I was feeling totally cut off from just about everyone I knew. So, I finally caved to the pressures from my co-workers and other friends, and joined, hoping to re-connect with a good number of my friends that I had unfortunately lost touch with for one reason or another.

To answer the second question, it might require a bit more introspection. My regular friends on LiveJournal have already read my vacillating on this subject, so I'll try to keep it brief (if you're really curious, you can probably find more details in previous LJ posts). At first blush, I was under the impression that Facebook was a website designed for the sharing of photography, and being as I'm not a picture-guy, I never really initially thought about joining. Now, I know what some of you may be thinking... but Greg, you're a "Camera-man", how can you not be a picture-guy... I dunno... I'm just not... Maybe I'm just too self-conscious. Anyways, as it was eventually explained to me that it's not strictly a photo-site, my defenses began to soften, but still I had misgivings, as I'm not one who likes to appear to be jumping on a bandwagon in order to make a positive impression. I wanted to have a "good" (don't ask me how I defined this, I really don't know) reason to join, not just to join because everyone else was doing it.

- What have you been up to? Where are you? What are you doing? etc.

Okay, basic biographical info... I graduated from CMU in the spring of 2004 with a degree in broadcast and cinematic arts with a minor in journalism. My time at CMU was awesome. I honestly wish I'd done more, and experienced more of college life, but I'm sure most college grads have the same thoughts, because there are so many opportunities to be had. I made a great number of new friends in Mt. Pleasant, because I rarely returned home to the T.C. area on weekends, normally only for the major holidays. This was in large part due to the fact that I did not have a car, and was always dependent on my few fellow SB-grads at CMU to get a ride home. I worked like crazy to become a good broadcaster, and in my studies, determined that I actually working "behind the scenes" even more than in front of the camera (My go-to excuse is that I don't have enough ties to be an on-air personality).

I had spent the summer between my junior and senior years serving a summer internship at 9&10 News in Cadillac, and upon my graduation, I was offered a job working in the sports department at Northern Michigan's News Leader. It was an ideal job, because as you all will recall, sports were my field of expertise and passion. They still are now. I've bounced around a few different times at the station in Cadillac, sometimes working with the news department for extended periods of times, but I always end up gravitating back to sports. It's challenging, and rewarding work. I enjoy all of my co-workers, and almost always look forward to the next adventure.

I'm living in Cadillac at the moment... As a matter of fact, that's one thing that's continually changed since I graduated from high school... in the 9 years since, I've had 10 different mailing addresses. I've been a bit of a nomad, due, largely, to financial considerations. At the moment, I share a great apartment with two co-workers and close friends from 9&10.

My greatest adventures since graduating from high school came over the past few summers, when I have travelled the country with one of my former college roommates (Dave) for week-long baseball park tours. Our first was in 2005, when we went to games in Chicago (both Cubs and Sox), Milwaukee and Minneapolis. In 2007, we went east to see games in New York (both Yanks and Mets), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. And last summer we split our time between minor-league and major-league ball while going to games in Des Moines, Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. They were awesome trips, and I've now been to close to HALF of the major league ballparks in my lifetime, I'd like to see a game in all 30 at some point in time in my life. These trips were my way of making sure I'd have credit card debt to deal with and keep me grounded.

- What about your personal life? Do you have a significant other?

These are probably tougher questions to ask someone, especially someone you haven't seen or talked to in over 9 years, so I thought I'd put the questions to myself to save y'all the discomfort. I had one serious relationship in college. I dated Kim for 3-4 years, but eventually things dissolved after I started at 9&10 News. It was saddening, and at the same time a bit liberating. And, to be brutally honest, I haven't been on a date since (somewhere in the neighborhood of three years). I chalk it largely up to my lack of financial means to be able to sustain any sort of relationship (SHOCKER: Working in TV doesn't allow for the lucrative lifestyle that it's stereotyped to be... but I don't do it for the money, so that's fine with me).

I don't write this looking for any form of sympathy, I just wanted to put the story out there, so you know where I stand.

- What's new with you?

When I first conceived of this LJ post, this was the crux of what I wanted to write about, because the simple answer to this question is: Not a whole heck of a lot.

My "fashion" is the same as it was in High School... I wear Khaki's (in winter) and khaki shorts (from April to October) with Polo-style golf shirts. I still don't wear jeans, I know... I'm weird like that. To top it off, I wear tennis shoes (except in December, January and February) and I wear a baseball hat everyday. And that's about it. I've worn a shirt and tie exactly once in the last two years. I'm nothing if not consistent on this topic.

That really typifies th "sameness" of me 9 years later. As I've thought about this post over the past 3-4 days, the biggest difference I could conjure up is that my taste in music has hardened and expanded a good deal. I'm still a big fan of Hootie & The Blowfish, Dave Matthews Band and Sister Hazel among other bands from the 90's, but I now listen to just as much "modern" rock. My favorite band at the moment is "Rise Against" which is a rather progressive outfit. I started listening to them, because the first single I heard from them was rather mellow, but the rest of the CD was hard-driving rock. Slowly, but surely, it grew on me to the point I now own 5 of their discs, and I've also started to listening to some other "louder and angrier" groups like "Story of the Year" and "Green Day" and "Blue October" and "Three Days Grace" and "Fuel". Anywho, if you're looking for a great song, may I humbly suggest "Swing Life Away" by Rise Against, it is my favorite song of all-time (and I have no problem saying that). I promise you that you won't be disapppointed after listening to it.

Beyond my tastes in tunes, I still decorate my room with sports pennants, I still collect Garfield comics, I still watch a lot of sports on TV, I still read a fair number of books each year, I still watch a lot of TV (even if it isn't sports), I'm still overweight (but I like to think I'm working on it... sorta), I'm still a mediocre driver, I'm still a lousy golfer, I still like telling bad jokes or puns, I'm still a bit on the shy side in social situations, I'm still fiercely loyal, and I still value the opportunities I get to spend with my friends over all else.

So, if you stuck with me through this whole convoluted mess, thank you!

I really look forward to sharing myself with all of you again on this new-fangled contraption called Facebook. But, this LiveJournal will continue to exist for my more voluminous thoughts, so feel free to check in whenever you like.

I'm also easy to get in touch with... Why? Because not even my e-mail address has changed since high school... it's still: littleturtle72@hotmail.com.

Anywho, I hope you all are doing well, and I look forward to staying in better touch from here on out.

Have a Good One, and Thanks For Reading!
  • Current Music
    "Ready To Fall" - Rise Against