Sunday, January 30, 2011

Crazy Things We Do For Love....My First Grappling Tournament

Meet Daniel.

Daniel is my wonderful boyfriend who has somehow managed to put up with my antics for over a year now. Over the duration of our relationship, Daniel has introduced me to a lot of new places and things that otherwise I would probably never experience. The reason for my gratitude about this is twofold - one, for him being willing to share his life with me; and two, the comedy that usually ensues makes for excellent blog material.

Daniel has been taking judo classes for about two years now at a dojo in Winchester. Dojo is the technical term for "gym-type place where people take martial arts lessons." In addition to judo, Daniel likes to participate in grappling competitions. I don't know how to describe exactly what grappling is, so I looked it up on Wikipedia and it says that grappling is "a general term that covers techniques used in many disciplines, styles and martial arts that are practiced both as combat sports and for self defense." There you go.

You can imagine my skepticism when my dear boyfriend asked me if I would like to go to a grappling tournament with him this past fall, especially when he told me that we would need to leave about 7 am in order to get to Louisville for the weigh-in at 8:30. Oh, the irony.....I'm what you might call a little high-maintenance in regards to personal hygiene & vanity, and so this meant that I would have to get up around 5:15 am in order to leave by 7. But, I wanted to be a supportive girlfriend, and I have to admit that my curiosity was getting the best of me, so I decided to go.

WELL. I can honestly say that I was not disappointed when we finally arrived at the gym at 8:30. I could immediately tell that the grappling competition was going to be a highly entertaining place. Basically how it works is a huge mat is placed on the floor (in this case, over half a basketball court) and the mat is divided into 6 areas, all labeled by number. Now when I say "divided," I mean, there are 6 tables around the edges of the mat and pretty much you just try your best to stay in the general area of the table while rolling around on the mat with another person. It was insanity. Matches were going on at all 6 stations at once, so at any given moment there were 12 men grappling with each other in generally the same area. It was a frequent occurance that one match would run into another and then it became really confusing because I couldn't figure out who was supposed to be where. I felt really fortunate that at most times I could pick Daniel out of the melee. Observe:

That's not Daniel, but on the left is Jim, one of Daniel's fellow dojo-mates who also attended the grappling match. Do you see what I mean? Look in the background.....those other two guys were a lot closer than it looks like in this picture. It's basically just a big free-for-all.

Jim, Daniel, and lots of medals!

We were at the grappling competition for about six hours, and while I was (and am still!) super proud of Daniel winning two medals, what I really came away with from the day were these three things:

1. There are a lot of male drama queens at grappling tournaments. I have never heard so many grunts and groans in my life, all from men who were shaved and spray-tanned like their life depended on it. Also, here's a hot tip if you are planning to invest in the stock market: high-priced sporting wear (ex. Under Armour, etc.) would be a great choice because let me tell you, some of the men at these grappling competitions are keeping them in business.

2. Some men should never, ever go shirtless in public, not for any reason. Self-explanatory. Come on fellas, if you know you are going to be shirtless in public, try and clean up a little. Your Teen-Wolf-esque back hair is not attractive for spectators.

3. It looks like half the guys at grappling competitions are deaf, but they aren't. It seems to be a popular thing to do to carry your mouthguard around your ear at grappling competions. This confused me at first because I was unaware that grappling was such a popular sport for deaf people. Upon closer examination, they weren't hearing aids, but mouthguards. My point here is, don't be fooled, everyone can hear everything you say.

All in all, my first grappling competition was a highly entertaining and fulfilling experience and I will definitely be attending another one. However, this time I will be focusing less on the action and more on the doesn't have anything on this crowd. Don't worry, I will take lots of pictures!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Flirting with Fame...The Time I Told Nick Lachey "No, Thank You."

Meet three of my best girlfriends, all of whom are pivotal characters in this story:

That's Sarah on the left, and Cathy on the right. I have known these ladies since my freshman year at Georgetown College when we joined the same sorority and we have been BFF ever since.

Jen (on the left) is one of Cathy's best friends from high school. We met through Cathy while we were all three still in college, and although I don't see her as much as I would like, for some reason it always seems like Jen is around when some of my craziest adventures have occurred.
These lovely ladies and I make an annual girl's night pilgrimage to Cincinnati, and this particular trip took place in the summer of 2008. Cathy, Sarah, Jennifer & I had been to the Maroon 5 & Counting Crows concert at Riverbend, and after the concert, we decided to go out on the town for awhile.

Upon arriving back to the hotel, we were all worn out and ready to go to bed. Little did we know....adventure waited for us in the lobby of the Westin Cincinnati. (Yes, thanks to Cathy's remarkable Hotwire skills, we were staying on the 13th floor of this fabulous hotel.) As we are walking up to the elevator, I can see an older man and woman and a younger couple getting on it. We get to the elevator and I can see that with 4 people are already inside, not leaving much room for the 4 of us. The older man says, "Come on in, girls!" and trying to take into consideration our comfort and safety (I was trying to think of the group, really) I told the man that we would wait for the next elevator. The younger woman, who had her back to us, turned her face slightly to the side and Sarah blurts out:


Then I saw it. I hadn't noticed before, but the younger man in the group was standing in the corner of the elevator by the panel with the buttons, hidden from view. I saw this face peek out from around the side of the elevator and........


I kid you not. Standing right there in front of us! I almost died. And of course, right at the moment I announced to the group that Nick Lachey was on that elevator, the doors closed.....because, after all, I had told the older gentleman that we would wait for the next elevator.

For a split second, the 4 of us stood there and looked at each other in stunned silence.....and then immediately started mashing the buttons to bring another elevator down to our floor. The whole time we were watching to see what floor Nick Lachey's elevator stopped at (and can I just say, we were staying on a higher floor than he was.) We get in the elevator and I get off at the 13th floor because, after all, that's where our room was, right? - and as I heard the elevator doors close behind me, it became quickly apparent that my 3 amigas had left me on the 13th floor, without a room key. I suppose that was my punishment for telling Nick Lachey & his entourage that no thank you,we'll just wait for the next elevator.

The rest of the story is just hearsay - I wasn't there because I was hanging out in the lobby of the 13th floor waiting for my friends to come back (where else would I have been?) According to Cathy, Sarah, and Jennifer, they found Nick Lachey's room and put their ear up to the door, only to be almost caught by Vanessa Minnillo who was heading out to walk her dog. The three of them "accidentally" got in the elevator with her, where the following conversation took place:

Sarah: "That's a cute dog....what kind is he?"
Vanessa Minnillo: "Oh, he's a mutt."
Sarah: "I've heard that's the smartest kind!"

I will say that while I enjoyed my rest on the nice chaise lounge in the lobby (because at that point my feet were killing me), I would have much rather been in the elevator with my girlfriends - not so much to see Vanessa Minnillo in person, but rather to hear us try and make awkward conversation with her.
To this day, I have to admit that I am not sure everything that supposedly happened after I got off the elevator really happened. Then again, just because I would make a story like that up to make my friend who had blocked me from getting in an elevator with Nick Lachey jealous.....doesn't mean my friends would.
We later heard somewhere that Nick Lachey had been in Cincinnati that weekend for a wedding. Ever since then, on our annual girl's night trip, we make it our mission of the evening to find Nick again. Unfortunately, we have yet to do so....but when we do, I am going to make sure we get on that elevator with him this time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!

Usually by Wednesday of any given week, I am totally stressed out about work and so I have to find solace in the little things that keep me happy and functioning....and this has been one of those weeks I'm linking up to What I'm Loving Wednesday at to share what I'm loving this week!

Steven Tyler. Yes, I know, you don't have to tell me.....he looks like a crazy man with the guyliner, spray tan, and excessive plastic surgery. I'll tell you this much - Steven Tyler is going to carry American Idol this season. Randy Jackson is played out (dawg) and I have never been a fan of Jennifer Lopez. In fact, she drives me crazy. Now Steven Tyler? He is out of control hilarious. I think my favorite moments are when he just randomly throws his head back and lets out that high pitched scream. I wish I had the ability to make that noise just so I could do it at the most inopportune and awkward times.

"P.Y.T." by Michael Jackson. Now don't get me wrong, just about every Michael Jackson song makes me rock out regardless of where I am.....but "P.Y.T." takes it to another level. I usually listen to it on the way to work in the mornings and I seem to always forget that a) there are lots of cars around during rush hour traffic and b) that I got a little overzealous with the DIY projects one Sunday and my car windows are no longer tinted (another story for another day.) When I realize someone in the car next to me has been watching me rock out as only a white girl can, I find happiness in my embarrassment by deciding that I have provided them some hilarious entertainment on their way to work and made their day.

SweetTart hearts. OH MY WORD. I cannot say enough good things about these joyous little bundles of sweet & tart. By far my favorite candy (even surpassing chocolate), I get so excited between late January through Easter because the seasonal SweetTarts hit the stores. I like the hearts because they come in all of the traditional SweetTart flavors, but the downside is that their small size requires you to eat them until your mouth is raw to feel satisfied. Now on the other hand, around Easter we get the Chicks, Ducks, & Bunnies SweetTarts and while they are bigger in size, they only come in three flavors (pink, blue, and purple), which is kind of a downer for me. It doesn't help matters that somehow I have gotten my coworkers addicted to the Chicks, Ducks, & Bunnies and so even when I know I shouldn't eat more candy, they are always lurking around somewhere.

What are you loving this Wednesday???

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Controversial Topics: My Defense of Justin Bieber

I'll say it, I'm a fan of Justin Bieber. Most of my Facebook friends probably know this because I have made a few status updates about Beebs, and most recently I posted this picture:

Yeah, that's me and one of my BFFs Sarah, and the Justin Bieber calendar she got me for Christmas. I guess you could call her an enabler.

I think it's one of the Understatements of the Year that not a lot of people over the age of 15 like Justin Bieber, and I just don't get it. Personally, I think he has a lot going for him. Consider:

1. A killer entourage. I think we've all heard the story about how Beebs became famous, but just in case someone hasn't, let me recap here. His mom had posted some videos of him singing on YouTube and this guy who used to work for So So Def (as in, Jermaine Dupri's record label....quick flashback to high school: money ain't a thang....) saw the videos and called Justin's mom up. After he made his demo tapes, Beebs had Usher and Justin Timberlake fighting over who was going to sign him. You read that right - USHER and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, A-list music artists. Usher eventually won the war (yeah man) and the rest is history. Say what you want, but if Usher is in a bidding war with Justin Timberlake over you, something legit is going on. And since Usher is now, for all intents and purposes, Justin Bieber's boss, I would say Justin has a pretty serious posse when he rolls up in the club. (He is only 16, so I don't think he should be rolling up in a club. But I digress.)

2. Catchy songs. I might be a white girl, but I know a good tune when I hear one and Bieber's got some hot beats. You can't tell me one female on this Earth who doesn't want to be "One Less Lonely Girl," and you have to be on another level of creative to figure out how to cleverly incorporate "Eenie Meenie Minie Mo" into a pop song (with Sean Kingston making a cameo appearance, no less.....see point #1 above.)

3. He's not the only young pop star....who started out looking like a total dork and ended up making it big time. Cases in point:

The man himself, Mr. Timberlake, circa Mickey Mouse Club days.

Professionally known as Mark Wahlberg, you might recognize this heartbreaker as Marky Mark, circa the Funky Bunch days. Now if this man hasn't done a 180, I don't know who has.

Ricky Martin, circa Menudo days. Total dork. Come to think of it, Dear Boyfriend just pointed out that young Ricky & Justin Bieber share a striking resemblance to each other at this age. Coincidence? And yes I know Ricky Martin is gay, and yes I know a lot of people think Justin Bieber is, but we aren't here to discuss that. We are discussing his legitimacy as an artist.

Love him or hate him, I'll put good money on it that when a Justin Bieber song comes on the radio, you at least know the words to the chorus. So own it already! If you just can't bring yourself to do it, think of it this way....supporting Justin Bieber is like supporting Usher's bank account. That might make you feel a little better.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

If I Ever Get My 15 Minutes....

I don't think it's any secret that I am dying to be famous. Not really in the typical, "I would like to make 15 million dollars a year" kind of way, but more so in the "I saw you on the local news!" kind of way. Of course, based on the fact that I like to stalk local TV news crews in (usually successful) attempts to get my mug on TV (more on this in a later post), I spend a lot of time thinking, if I could be on any television show I wanted to be, what would I choose? It's hard for me to choose just instead, I've chosen five.

1. The Amazing Race. Now, this should not be a surprise to anyone who knows me. Somehow this show has become the only program I regularly watch during the week. I've given up on Desperate Housewives, I'll have House on in the background but not really watch it, and I don't get upset anymore if I miss Grey's Anatomy. But Amazing Race, I never miss it. DVR is not even acceptable, I have to watch it live. This is something that my dear boyfriend doesn't understand. Anyway, how much fun would it be to be in a race around the world?? It would be so awesome to travel around the globe and see so many places in a short time. However.....I am not exactly low-maintenance when traveling, and that could cause some problems in regards to the whole "race" aspect. My partner would have to be the navigator, the one to complete all physical challenges, and the one to keep track of our travel money. Well, that makes me sound pretty useless, doesn't it? My role on the team would be the schemer....I would make other teams miss their planes, go in the wrong direction, and fail to reach the finish basically, I would be the brains of the operation.

2. Jeopardy! I have always wanted to be on this show, for as long as I can remember. I think it all started when I used to watch it as a little girl and the questions would be something along the lines of, "what color is this?" I understand that adult Jeopardy! is probably a little more difficult, but I'm ready. Also, the atmosphere on the show is a little bland. I really think I could add a little spice to Alex Trebek's life.

3. Cash Cab. OMG. Love this show - you get the opportunity to win money while you are going somewhere you were planning on going anyway, AND you don't even have to drive yourself there. What's not to love? And the host is pretty cute. I am going to NYC in October and you bet your bottom dollar I will be peeping in every cab I encounter to see if it's the Cash Cab. If it is, I will bang on the door until they let me in....but don't worry, Discovery Channel, I'll act surprised when the lights start flashing. If there's one thing I've learned from watching this show, it's that you should always travel with a nerd in NYC. It doesn't appear to me like the people you would have to choose from for a "street shout out" are very intelligent.

4. Deadliest Catch. Are you surprised to see this one? We've already established that I'm not what you would call low-maintenance, and I'm not really the outdoorsy type either. This is why I would stay up in the wheel house on the Northwestern and hang out with Sig Hansen. It would be awesome to be on one of those crab fishing boats, minus the whole crab fishing part. My job on the boat would be to eat some of the know, quality control. The only way this could go wrong is if the boat sunk, but I'm choosing not to think about that possibility.

5. The Today Show. Could you not see this one coming?! As I said earlier, my obsession with news shows will be discussed in a later post, but there's no way I can not include the Today Show on my list. As a matter of fact, my dream job is to be co-anchor with Matt Lauer. I love to talk to people and hear their stories and so I think I would be the perfect candidate if Meredith Vieira ever leaves. I plan on making this pitch to Matt while I am in NYC so I'll let you know how it turns out.

In the meantime, look for me on local Lexington news shows - I watch LEX18 in the mornings, but the WKYT cameras seem to love my face :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

These Are a Few Of My Favorite Things...the Achy-Breaky Big Mistakey

Anyone who knows me at all knows that one of my favorite things in the world is....a good mullet. I have been a fan of mullets for years and am a seasoned mullet hunter. I even did an informative speech on mullets for a public speaking class in college (and yes, I did get an A.) When people ask me why I am so fascinated by these creatures, the only answer I can come up with is that a mullet is not just a haircut, it's a lifestyle. (Also, let us not forget my Eastern Kentucky roots, and therefore a natural interest in anything remotely redneck.) I feel that it is my duty as a mullet aficionado to share with the world some knowledge about these works of art! Today I will cover two of the four main species of mullets: mullets and skullets.

1. The basic mullet. Of course, we all know there is nothing basic about the classic "10/90" hairstyle, but this category covers the species of mullets you are most likely to see in public. Your classic mullet has the business in the front, party in the back look and can be spotted by the most novice hunter. Here is a great example of a textbook mullet:

Would you look at the length on that sucker? Notice the gently flowing waves. Extra points if you noticed that the mullet is out at some type of social function, no doubt in a big crowd of people. No party is complete without a mullet!

The category of "basic mullet" also includes three subsets: mullatinos, albinos, and the hugely popular rat tail. A mullatino is any person of Latin/Hispanic descent who sports a mullet. This species is actually quite widespread and is frequently seen in public.

Me gusta mucho, ese.

An albino mullet can be defined as any blonde mullet. Bonus points are awarded if the subject also has light-colored eyes, for that true freak-of-mullet-nature effect.
Look at this smooth operator:

Rat tails are often considered a category all their own as most consider them to be a hybrid of the mullet, but for the purposes of this blog they will be grouped in the "basic mullet" species. Rat tails are most often sported by males going through puberty, but in rare occasions, have also been spotted on females.

Get em, Tiger.

2. The skullet. A skullet is defined as any hairstyle which involves a shaved head and the classic mullet party-in-the-back. Some would argue that a skullet is not a true species of mullet, as shaving the head eliminates the "business" part of the mullet, but the presence of the "party" portion of the haircut screams mullet to me. There is a subset of the mullet species, the forced skullet. This phenomenon of nature occurs when someone who has a mullet begins balding, thus creating the forced skullet look.

His shirt says "I'm The Big Daddy." Yes sir, yes you are....the Daddy of skullets.

Forced skullet. Notice the beautiful silver locks wafting in the breeze....magical.

Of course, this has been only a beginner's introduction to the phenomenon that is the mullet. Mullet hunting is an on-going activity for me, so please rest assured that subsequent blog posts will cover other topics related to mullets.

Until then, keep your eyes peeled for those Kentucky Waterfalls!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

She Works Hard For the Money...

Not many people know this, but I am technically a state employee. I don't know if you have read the newspaper or watched the evening news anytime in, oh, the past year or so, but if you have, I'm sure you remember hearing about the furloughs that state employees are having to take this year as a "budget-balancing" measure. We "get" 6 days off of work this fiscal year...that is, 6 vacation days without pay. When the news broke last summer, of course everyone in my office was none too happy about it, including me. But you know what they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I started brainstorming ways that we could make an extra dime to offset the pay we were losing from the furlough days....after all, I am nothing if not a schemer. With that, I present....

Creative (and legal!) Ways to Make Money

1) Bake sale/lemonade stand. I know what you're thinking....Halee, only little kids do that! Yes I know, but as it relates to the adult set, location is key. You aren't going to want to have your lemonade stand on the corner of your street....but what about the tailgate lot at Keeneland? My original idea was to have a bake sale on the corner of my office parking lot before UK football games. Basically anywhere you are going to have access to inebriated people and/or a location where the refreshments inside are outrageously expensive is going to be a great location for your bake sale or lemonade stand. Just think about it....drunk people walking into Rupp Arena will definitely pay $3 for a brownie.

2) Ebay your life away. I don't know how I ever got started with Ebay; I couldn't even tell you the first thing I ever sold on there. But I will tell you this much: people will buy anything. ANYTHING. Shoes that have been worn once or twice? Sold. Perfume that I sprayed once and hated it? Sold. I'm not joking. As long as you make a note in the item description that the item has been used, if someone buys it anyway, you are home free in regards to liability. If you tell them it's used, they can't say they want their money back. The only thing I would caution you about here is not to get discouraged if your item doesn't get any bids for the first day or so. On the last day (and especially right before the auction ends) you will get a trillion bids.

3) Sell plasma. This is a classic, and admittedly, I would never do this. I just don't like needles. However, selling plasma has proven to be quite profitable for some people, and the best part is, you get paid plus you get your blood back! If that's not a win/win situation, I don't know what is!

4) Yard sale. Again, an old school idea, but there's a reason you see 500 yard sale signs on telephone poles every summer. It works! This idea is similar to Ebay, but with more instant gratification, and you don't have to ship anything. The best way to do this would be to get together with a couple of friends who have just as much crap around their house as you do, and have a joint yard sale. Money in the bank! I would also recommend that you try and have your yard sale somewhere in Winchester, KY. Based on what I have seen people will go to every yard sale in the city every weekend, come hell or high water.

I only had the opportunity to try one of my ideas this past fall.....but don't worry, we have 3 more furlough days coming up this spring so I will have the opportunity to try all of them. Look for me next football season, on the corner of Cooper & SportsCenter Drives....I'll be the one hacking baked goods.

Friday, January 14, 2011

You Are Not Lance Armstrong.

As I was driving to work the other morning, thinking about how excited I was to start my new blog, some of my thoughts centered around what my first entry should be about. I was at the red light at the intersection of Alumni Drive & Tates Creek Road and I saw this:

Do you see that? Can you see what that is?! I tried to zoom in as much as I could without compromising the quality of the picture. Yes, that is a man on a bicycle, stopped at a red light, sitting in a lane of traffic as if he were a passenger vehicle. And then, once the intersection had cleared (but the light was still red,) he rolled around the cars and right through that intersection as if traffic laws didn't apply to him. And then I realized, well, he probably thinks traffic laws don't apply to him, since they were written for cars and not for bicycles who try to act like cars.

I should be making my first blog entry a comprehensive introduction to my life, the people in it, and perhaps a funny story or two to get the ball rolling. But instead, reminded the other morning of one of the top 3 fastest ways to get me up on my soapbox...I would like to discuss a topic that hits close to home for me as I have encounters similar to this one every day as I drive to work in the morning, as I drive home from work in the evening, and basically any other time I leave my house. You know what I'm talking about....bikers. And I don't mean of the Harley variety.

Don't get me wrong. I am a bleeding heart liberal and therefore I am all about anything I can do to help preserve our environment. I am not, however, a tree hugging hippie and so that means I am allowed to be irritated about this. With gas being over $3 a gallon as long as I can remember, I completely understand and can appreciate why people would choose to ride their bikes instead of driving a car. Heck, if I didn't care what I looked like when I showed up to work in the morning, I'd probably ride a bike too. (Yeah right....who am I kidding?)

My issue with these wannabe Tour-de-Francers is that they decide to ride their bikes in the road as if they are part of traffic, but then forget to obey the traffic laws that everyone else around them has to follow. But the worst, by far, are the cyclists who ride their bikes along the side of the road. God bless America, people, use the sidewalk. I know, I know....I hear this all the time. Sidewalks are for pedestrians! Maybe so, but I'll tell you this - if I was on a bicycle, I'd much rather risk having to dodge a pedestrian on the sidewalk than I would take my life in my hands by riding on the side of one of the lanes of Nicholasville Road (yes, I actually witnessed this firsthand.) Better yet, how about the daredevil who road his bike across Nicholasville Road in morning rush hour traffic? I just don't think this is a safe choice. Also, I would hope that the Lexington police have more to do than drive around citing bicyclers for riding on the sidewalks (just in case this really is against the law.) If they don't, I will be more than happy to make them a list of things that they should be working on.

Now if Joe Schmo wants to risk his life by trying to cross rush hour traffic on a Huffy, that's his business. Of course, like most people, I usually only get irritated about something when it affects me personally. I'm sure we've all been driving down the road when traffic becomes backed up, and like everyone else, we all start craning our necks 50 different ways to try and see what the holdup is. Do you see where this is going? Many times I have been the first car in the line of traffic, going at a snail's pace because I am stuck behind a bicycler. It's always the same story - I get stuck, and am then faced with the uncomfortable internal argument - do I try to pass them and risk hitting the person? Do I stay behind them and continue to hold up traffic? Uggghhh....this drives me insane. Usually I end up passing the person just because I am tired of hearing people honk at me. Of course, if people rode their bicycles on the sidewalks instead of the middle of the road.....this wouldn't be a problem. The best part of the whole process is driving past the bicycler, who always seems to be completely oblivious to the facts that a) they are holding up traffic and b) there are moving motor vehicles literally .3 inches away from their body. At this point, I usually crack up as I watch their facial expressions.

Now that I think about it, it probably wouldn't be such a good idea for me to ride my bike to work because I would be so scared about the prospect of said cars so close to my person that I would probably fall off my bike.....and then get hit by a car. Until the day comes when gas is $45 a gallon, you'll see me firmly planted behind the wheel of my car, dodging the bikers. Stay alert - it's a rough world out there.