Archive for the ‘Funny Stories’ Category

Misleading Reputations

July 28, 2006

My favorite thing about working in New York this summer is getting the opportunity to visit different cities. Every city I go to I have a preconceived idea of what its like. What its going to look like, what the people are like, what the weather is like, etc. Reflecting back in the past year I have travelled quite a bit. I have visited ten different states and driven through another nine. I road tripped from Texas to California and back, Texas to Colorado and back, and Texas to New York and I’m not looking forward to the driving back part. Other trips include Ohio, Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, Florida, New Orleans, Las Vegas twice, and Annapolis twice. The point of me telling you all of this is because what I expected to find in all of these travels was different then what I actually found.

Geographic reputations commonly lead to misperceptions. I will focus on two and touch on another. Before my trip to California I felt like I had heard every bitch as to why Cali, Southern California, in particular was such a disaster of a place to live. I had this stuck in my head that it would never be a place that I could picture myself living. It’s overcrowded, there’s forest fires, blackouts, earthquakes, landslides, liberal protestors, taxes are out of control, cost of living is insane, there’s smog, traffic, crime, and in general the people are too Hollywood, superficial, and materialistic. After I got there I realized this reputation was wholly unwarranted. Maybe not wholly but it wasn’t near as bad as it was made out to be. In fact it was pretty damn cool. Lush valleys, the ocean, palm trees, sunny 70 degree weather in January. None of the natural disasters hit when I was that wasn’t an issue. And last, in general, I didn’t notice that the people were that much different.

When I would tell people I was moving to New York for the summer to work for GE almost automatically people wished me “Good Luck with that”. Not a good luck with that in terms of I hope the job goes well, but good like with that as in good luck with everything that comes with moving to New York. I think the reputation that was in other people’s minds were more extreme than the one I had but I had my expectations none the less. What I found again was that these reputations are completely overrated. Very few New Yorkers actually talk like New Yorkers, and thank God for that. I’ve come to discover that the New York accent is more of a NYC thing and even then its blown out of proportion. On the subject of NYC I have to admit I was a little bit intimidated before my first trip down. I envisioned this filthy, dangerous place with prostitutes and homeless people everywhere. I envisioned chaos with ultra busy indescent assholish people flying around looking out only for themselves. I have only been to Manhattan so I can’t speak for the other burroughs but for the most part NYC was pretty freaking cool. It was a ton cleaner than I expected and there are ten times more homeless people in Austin then there are in NYC. I guess I never put together how incredibly expensive it is to live in Manhattan and how that would affect things. Once I got there I didn’t feel like it was dangerous at all and the intimidation factor quickly wilted away.

On my trip to Colorado over Spring Break I saw the same thing with Denver. When I thought of Denver I envisioned this Coors Light commercial with pure white snow-covered mountains, fresh mountain streams, and horses running free. No doubt there are parts of Colorado like that and it is a very beautiful place but I came to find out that Denver is a very industrial town which is not at all what I was expecting. I did not at all expect to see smoke stacks, factories, and rusted out anything that was metal.

My point is reputations are usually not all they are made out to be. Things are usually more normal than they are made out to be. I run into reputations and expectations that people have for me just being from Texas. Everyone expects that I love hunting, country music, George W Bush, football, and BBQ.  For me only about half of those things are true which surprises people. When I am introduced to a co-worker 90% of the time the first thing they tell me is “You don’t sound like you are from Texas.” I’ve never said it but everytime I think ‘Yea, most people don’t, just like you don’t talk like you are from New York.’

-hj

The Ultimate Guide to Fantasy Football

July 25, 2006

We are entering the dog days of summer which means two things: NFL Training Camps are about to start and Fantasy Football drafts are right around the corner. I had been making some notes for a FF blog but Bill Simmon’s latest article inspired me to bite the bullet and crank one out. Seriously, who has a cooler job than this guy? His proclamation that we are “not allowed to complain about four things in life: nudity, free food, free drinks and fantasy football” literally had me laughing out loud alone in an empty house.

I have one caveat with this post, if you compete in ANY of my fantasy leagues this Blog is NOT for your eyes. Divert your eyes immediately and if you read this just know that you can forget about Purgatory your soul is going straight to Hell. Good, now that that’s out there lets lighten the mood and get on with it.

My first year playing FF was my senior year of high school during the 2001 season. I finished 3rd that year in a season scared by a scandal in which the best players on one guy’s team were systemically distributed to two other player’s teams. That’s my side of the story anyways. Scandals like this, one-sided trades, and message board boasts are what makes FF so exciting. These things are inevitable. If you are thinking about taking up FF know this: Nobody makes friends playing FF.

So why in the hell would I be any kind of authority on FF? I, aka Cowboys4Ever, have had my fair share of success in the FF world. My first year I finished 3rd. Then I went three straight years winning FF championships. According to Yahoo I have earned trophies in 7 of my 10 seasons in various leagues. My streak ended last year with another 3rd place finish. I decided to give everyone else a break to keep them interested. Yes that is me talking smack, more on this later.

If you are going to play FF do it right. First things first, a live draft is crucial. The draft is the most exciting thing in fantasy football and a computer automated draft of preselected draft sheets takes away all the fun. If you absolutely cannot get everyone together because of geographic reasons instant messaging is a good substitutde. Absolute worst case scenario email but this is very slow and I’ve only done this once. No Individual Defensive Players(IDPs). Definetely go with Team Defenses but if you must go with IDPs IDPBlitz.com is what you are looking for. Play your championship in Week 16. There is nothing worse than riding Curtis Martin to a breakout season only to have him sit in Week 17 because it is a meaningless game for the Jets. People who don’t keep up with their teams make no fun and are usually the source of scandal bc they don’t take it seriously. I suggest not inviting these people back or employing a 3 Strikes and You’re Out rule.
The two league setups that I like break down like this. The best setup is to have 8 teams, you play everybody exactly twice, no byes, top 4 make the playoffs which you play in Weeks 15 and 16. The next best setup is to have 14 teams, you play everybody exactly once, top 6 make the playoffs, top two get first round byes, the playoffs last Weeks 14-16.

Okay now that you have your league set up for a great season here is a guide to the Top 10 things to do to win your league.

10 Dont draft a kicker. Every year I see people draft Venatari, Vanderjagt, or Elam is the 10th round and you want to say something but you don’t. Kicker is the most unusual position because the best player rarely gets the most points. How do you predict if a team is going to be settling for a ton of FGs instead of TDs? Last year the top 3 kickers in our league were Neil Rackers, Jay Feely, and Shayne Graham. How many of you drafted them? How many had even heard of Rackers of Graham? They are too unpredictable and the point differential, atleast in our league ,is too narrow to waste a draft pick.

9 Be conscience of bye weeks but dont let it make your decision. If you can pick up Drew Brees as a starter regardless if he has the same bye week as your starter you never know when your starter is going to go down and worst case scenario you have some good trade bait.

8 Look for reasons why a player can be stopped and leave yourself outs. In poker they always talk about leaving yourself outs i.e. don’t put all your stock in one idea that has a possibility of failig. Here is a freebie that breaks Rule #7 but hey I am a nice guy. Most people are trying to decide who is the top 2006 FF player between Shaun Alexander, Ladanian Tomlinson, and Larry Johnson with about 90% going the way of Larry Johnson. LJ will fall off in his encore to maybe the most amazing 7 game stretch in history. You will realize this when you ask what is preventing a defense from stacking up and taking him out of the game? Gonzo coming off the worst season of his career? If KC picks up Ashley Lelie then maybe but until then I want a guy with some outs.

7 Don’t tip your hand on anything. Draft and free agent pickups are a chess game. The more you talk about who you like and who you are watching the more you show. (Unless of course you are using reverse psychology and you intentionally put info out there bc you have the #3 pick and you want Larry Johnson to fall to you at #3 ;-).)

6 Talk trash. Talk lots of trash. This will make things much more fun and interesting. Even if you are playing for a pot, in the end bragging rights are what matters most. FF will be more enjoyable if you don’t let yourself realize that there is a significant amont of luck involved and this is actually probably a huge waste of time. Don’t be that guy who rationalizes his failures with “Hey I have a life” or “Some of us have a job”. Just take it on the chin and fire back on the message board.    

5 Contract year players. “Rule #1 Never underestimate the other guys greed”. Last year the discussion for the #1 pick was between Shaun Alexander and LT. The deciding factor for me in putting Alexander at the top of my board was that he was in the last year of his contract and he was teething to get paid. The result? An NFL record 27 TDs and a throw back FF type season ala Priest Holmes and Marshall Faulk of yesteryear. Contract year guys can backfire if you end up with a weenie who is more concerned with staying healthy then putting up sic numbers. The magic formula is a cocksure blinged out ex-Miami player. These guys are the Tony Montanas of the FF world. Two Scarface references in one bullet, wow.

4 Build with Running Backs, Running Backs, and more Running Backs. They are the most consistent, most predictable, and in 90% of leagues they will score the most points.

3 Draft and build your team for the FF playoffs. Last year was the first year I looked at a player’s schedule for Weeks 14, 15, and 16. If you are thinking about gearing your team around Peyton Manning and in December he is playing on the road, in the cold, against hard-nosed, rough-and-tumble, 3-4 blitz-crazy defenses like Pittsburgh or New England then stop.

2 Don’t take advice 99% of the guys on TV and the magazines are trash. They either are toeing the line and not providing any value that differentiates them or they are making wreckless predictions with no rhyme or reason to get their name out there. How can you advise me if you don’t know A) How points are allotted in my league B) How many teams are in my league and C) What depth I already have at that position.

1 Understand the concept of value When I started using this philsophy is when I started drafting smart and winning. Lets say you are ready to pick Peyton #1 and you predict he will pull down 100 pts this year. LT is second on your list but you only expect him to pull down 85 pts. Do not make a decision based on this alone! Numerically determine every player’s value. Lets say there are 8 people in your league. You expect the 8th best QB to be Michael Vick with 90 pts. You expect the 8th best RB to be Warrick Dunn with 45 pts. Passing on Manning you potentially give up 10 points of value but passing on LT you potentially give up 40 points of value. In short if a position has depth fill another position before there is that huge drop off.

-hj

TXDOT is underappreciated

July 18, 2006

I am usually pretty good with directions. I am usually pretty good with directions while driving in Texas I should say. Since I have moved to New York I have been getting lost like its my job. I feel like everytime with out fail that I try to drive to someplace new I get lost. I usually can committ a map to memory and just go but that does not work at all up here. I think part of the reason is that i am not familiar with the area and part of the reason is the signage on the highways suck. But the biggest reason is the absense of feeder roads.

Feeder roads I have decided are greatness. I never appreciated them like I should have and when I get back to Texas I am going to write a big thank you letter to TXDOT. Things you take for granted are just not so without feeders. Take for instance last weekend I was in Boston and I was on a road heading north. I knew I was heading north. I knew 495 runs North-South and was about a mile to the west of me. So easy enough, I’ll just take the next road I see west and it will hit the highway no problem, right? Wrong. Not when you are living in a world absent of feeder roads.

Under normal circumstances that road heading west would lead to an entry ramp to the highway or atleast to a feeder that would lead to an entry ramp. When you live in a world absent of feeders you have to realize that you only get access on or off the highway about once every 3-5 miles and because there are no feeders you have to hit it EXACTLY. In my case the west bound road went right over 495 and the next thing I know I am in the middle of nowhere. 20 minutes later and I am on dirt roads surrounded by farms in the middle of nowhere. And I don’t even want to hear the “Stupid-Male-pull-over-for-directions” line. There was no where to pull over unless I wanted to hop a fence and hike up to a random farm house. So eventually I come across a major road at which point I notice that nearly every car on the road has Rhode Island plates. Not a good sign. Maybe its just me or maybe its a Texas thing but I seem to notice license plates like crazy now I assume because they all look foreign.

I will spare my friends who did not know what state Boston was in the embarassment by not mentioning their names but I will remind them that Boston is not in Rhode Island. Thats another concept that is hard to grasp being a Texan: getting lost and ending up in another state. If that happens in Texas for the most part you screwed up pretty bad. Luckily they mistakenly labeled the counties in the northeast as states and I was only 20 minutes out of the way although the adventure in all was about a two and a half hour affair.

A similar problem occurred about a month ago during exiting. I GMapped Hooters and found that it was over on the othre side of Albany by Crossgates Mall. I see it is right off I-95 and the mall is surrounded by a few major roads. I figure I’ll get on I-90, see the mall, pick an exit and find my way over. Easy enough right? Ofcourse not. There were no exits and I ended up swooping back all the way around downtown basically to where I started. About 20 miles in total and I was back to where I started. How stupid is that, why could I not get off when I wanted to or atleast soon there after. I never ever remember having these kinds of incidents in Texas.

Yea I could print off maps everytime I go some place new but that kills trees and kills principles. Why should I change? Why don’t these states just make a highway system that works. No wonder they all put in subways, atleast then you know when you can get on and when you can get off.

God Bless Texas

-hj

Things to do list

July 16, 2006

A couple of years ago I watched an interview with Charles Barkley and he said something to the effect that if he would have written down everything he wanted to accomplish in life he wouldn’t have dreamed up the list that he ended up living. I am not a Charles Barkley fan by any stretch of the imagination but it inspired me to make a list of things wanted to do before I died.
The List

I recently went back to that list to see how much (or little) progress I had made in the past two years. I can now cross the following things off that list.

Go Scuba Diving……. Cozumel
Sing a song at the top of my lungs with some friends at a bar……. 21st birthday
Take a picture with a longhorn……. Halftime of a football game
Go to a football game at Kyle Field……. 40-29W!
Go to an Army-Navy football game……. 42-23 Navy, Lincoln Financial, Philadelphia, PA
Go Skiing in shorts……. actually boxers Spring Break 2004
Go to a College Football National Championship game(Hopefully a UT win)……. Hit this one on the head
Grow a beard……. Spring Break 2006, close enough…

-hj

Pet Peeves

July 12, 2006

While at a bar my last night in Austin a buddy of mine told me about a blog that has become one of my favorite. The blog is written by Scott Adams who is the cartoonist who draws the Dilbert cartoon. He is quite possibly the wittiest person I have ever read. I highly suggested bookmarking his blog or adding the RSS feed to your reader.

A couple months ago he wrote a blog about his pet peeves. I thought the post was hilarious and I have been thinking what funny personal pet peeves do I have? Well I have come up with the list.

“I never watch TV”
This one was parodied in Pulp Fiction when Samuel Jackson asks ‘You know the shows on TV?’ and John Travolta boasts ‘I don’t watch TV’ as if they makes him cool. Jackson then burns him with ‘Yeah, but you are aware there is an invention called television and on this invention they show shows, right?’ Why do people believe that their not watching TV is such a bragable quality?

Miss use of Literally
For some reason it completely whips me when people use the word literally in the exact wrong way. For instance if someone is talking about a comedian and how well they did. “The comedian was great. He literally was killing everyone”. No! You use the word literally to convey that you are not speaking metaphorically that you actually mean something is happening. For instance. “He literally kicked his ass” when you are trying to tell someone that he didn’t just beat somebody up but he actually kicked the guy in the butt.

The term 9-to-5
How did the phrase 9-to-5 come to be? Most everybody who does not work a shift job works 8-to-5. I have never worked a job that was 9-to-5 and on top of that I have never even heard of someone who works 9-to-5. I’ll admit this one is a pet peeve mostly because I am jealous.

People who ask a waiter/waitress if food is good
Asking a waiter if a certain dish is good is a completely subjective question. What they may like you may not like, the question only puts the wait staff in an awkward situation. Better questions are is it salty, is it spicy, how big is the portion. If you ask a subjective question like is this good then don’t get mad if it isn’t. To me thats the real peeve not just asking the question.

“I never invite people to be my Facebook friend”
This is similar to the I don’t watch TV thing. So its cool to have a Facebook profile but not cool to use it or add to it? Honestly who came up with these rules?

When people, inparticularly Spanish speakers,”pronounce” things in Spanish.
If we are speaking English lets pronounce things in English. For instance when someone pronounces the name Maria and the r sounds more like a d if you can imagine that. When you says Mexico you don’t pronounce the x like an h. Why do you switch languages mid sentence. I could pronounce Spanish words in Spanish if I wanted to, anyone could. But we don’t bc its goofy. I never hear people get all puffy sounding and try to pronounce entrepreneur like they speak French. Thank God too how annoying would that be.

People who are overly paranoid
People who are scared of using a cell phone at a gas station. People who are overly scared of getting struck by lightening. People who are obsessive about locking the door. Freaking chill out, the world is not out to get you. News flash the planets revolve around the Sun contrary to the impression you give.

Laws to protect people from themselves
If a persons decisions or mistakes can hurt or even just affect someone else then okay pass the law if you absolutely have to. But laws that protect people from themselves when there is no chance they could hurt someone else. As long as the person is 18 and deemed old enough to make a decision let them live with their mistake. (motorcycle helmets, seat belts)

What pet peeves do you have?

-hj

Foxwoods

June 29, 2006

I just got back from a trip to Destin Florida with my family. Destin has always been our family vacation spot and has great beaches if you ever get the chance. Last Saturday I had a flight out of Hartford leaving at 6AM. I flew out of Hartford because it was about $200 cheaper than Albany. That Friday before I left I was debating if I should drive up to Connecticut Friday night and get a hotel. The cheapest hotel I could find was $70 and considering I would only be there a matter of hours because I would need to be at the airport be 5AM I was struggling with dropping that much money. Driving up that morning/middle-of-the-night was also an option but that didn’t sound like much fun.

At about 4:30 that Friday an angel whose face I still have not seen walked into the my coworkers office across the hall. He suggested making a weekend trip to Foxwoods. For those of you who don’t know Foxwoods is the biggest casino in North America. I made up my mind if Gmap claimed it was less than an hour out of the way I would pull the trigger. ETA=57 mins. Bingo. I was no longer thinking pessimistically about the night.

I get to Foxwoods and it is incredible. Absolutely huge. I park in the parking garage and make a bee line to the casino. Over the course of the next couple of hours I so a handful of things that made me depressed that certain people find their ways into a casino. To me gambling is not necessarily a bad thing if you are doing it with dispensable income and if you give yourself a fighting chance by having a clue at the table. I make my way to the blackjack table to get started just like I always do. The cheapest blackjack table it $25. That’s a pretty rough minimum but I decide to give it a shot. Three hands, two losses and one win, and I decide I can’t stomach $25 hands of blackjack so I get up. During those three hands I saw the one things that frustrates me more than any other move in blackjack.

I’ll try not to get too deep into the rules of the game but idea is you try and get as close to 21 without going over. The dealer has to hit until 17 even if they have 16 and you have 12. As a result the dealer can have 6 results: 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, or bust. If you are going to stay with something below 17 you are basically throwing your cards away and betting that the dealer is going to bust which a lot of times is the right play.

Here is the situation, the dealer is showing a 10 and the guy next to me has a soft 16 (ace and a five). He decides to stay and tries to convince me that he likes to play conservatively. That wasn’t conservative that was just stupid. You see, with a 10 showing there is an 8/13 chance that the dealer already has 17-21. But even if that weren’t the case there is no harm in hitting a soft 16 because it is IMPOSSIBLE to bust. Absolute worst case scenario you hit and get a 6 and you have 12. Staying on 12 is the same as staying on 16 because they both mean you are throwing your hand away and betting the dealer busts. Stupidest play in blackjack and I wanted to tell him he deserved to lose his money but I didn’t.

After my three hands of blackjack I spent the rest of the night at the Craps and Roulette tables. While playing Roulette I saw two of the most stupid plays I have seen in that game. A guy rolls up to the table trying to look cool in his baggy jean shorts, sleeveless shirt, tattoed biceps, crooked designer hat, and sun glasses. He spreads $900 in twenty dollar bills and proceeds to put the better half on black and plays the rest aimlessly on random single numbers. Of course it hits a red number that he definetely is not betting on. Same thing, buys back in for $900 in twenties making a huge scene. Same betting strategy, same result. He sulks away and disappears into the crowd and I don’t feel a bit sorry for him. He showed up trying to look cool, bet like a fool, and walked away a loser.

The next guy buys in for big but opts to get $1 chips. He spreads out his bets covering every single number including the 0 and 00. Let me explain this. There are 36 numbers 1-36, half red and half black. There is also a 0 and 00. That totals 38 possible results of the wheel each of which pay 35:1 (read this is the house advantage). This guy puts bets on 38 numbers and yea he wins every time but he comes away with less money every time as well. You could buy 25,827,165 Texas lottery tickets and gaurantee a win but if the pay off is $4 million you are a sucker. That guy really thought he had the game figured out and I didn’t have the heart to break the news to him.

“A man’s gotta make atleast one bet a day, else he could be walking around lucky and never know it”

-hj

I have to admit…(World Cup)

June 17, 2006

Alright I have a confession to make. I watched the entire US World Cup soccer game today and I did it out of choice. Now granted it was an incredibly boring day and I had absolutely no other options that is no excuse. That being said I was expecting to watch a game that would make me think twice about all the harsh things I have said about the game of soccer over the years. That was hardly the case. The game lived up to my lowest of expectations.

The one bright point (I'm trying to be optimistic I really am) I found in the game of soccer is that there are no commercials. From a fans point of view this is great. Why a network would pick up a sporting event where they can only sell advertising during halftime, while people are away from the tv making trips to the kitchen and the bathroom, is beyond me. The sad part is the one bright side of the sport has nothing actually to do with the sport and everything to do with the way it is broadcasted.

As far as the game was concerned the amount of diving that goes on is incredible. I thought about feeling bad for how badly I ripped the way Manu flops but I let that thought come and go. I still don't like him. When people talked about how soccer players dive I thought it was on par with how Manu dives i.e. three or four dives a game. In that 90 minute game, of which about 70 minutes was walking around or fetching balls there had to have been 30+ dives.

My next thought was how weenie are those Italian players? I had heard of the magic spray that is supposed to cure all ills. Thats goofy and it was definetely used multiple times in this game. But the spray was nothing compared to what I saw next. A guy gets slide tackled and takes a dive. He stays down and gets the call and the trainers run on the field. The camera pans back to the scene and they are straping this guy to a FREAKING STRETCHER on which they carry him off the field. This man was not paralyzed he hurt his ankle. Upon reaching the sideline he got up and started jogging off the "injury". He was back in play in a matter of minutes. Do these people have no shame? Give me a freaking break. Three Italians were taken off the field on stretchers, none with neck injuries. The first American who gets slidetackled and taken off the field on a stretcher can stay over in Europe.

Btw the way is there such thing as a legal slide tackle? The announcers kept mentioning how poorly officiated this game was and it was to the point where I wasn't even sure how it was supposed to be. Speaking of announcers the reason I got sucked into this whole debacle in the first place is because the lady on SportsCenter this morning told me that the Americans had to win this game, the biggest game in this country's history, to have a chance to move on to the next round. Then during the game the announcer twice told me that the Americans did not have to win the game, that a tie would keep the window of possibility open as well. Okay, so whats the story here? Your job as an announcer is to tell me what I am watching and why I am watching it. I was promised this monumental soccer game but what I got was a couple hours of flopping that resulted in a 1-1 tie.

While watching the game I came up with three things that would drastically improve this sport. The first and most obvious is do what you have to do but eliminate the tie. This has its obvious reasons. The second thing is allow a player in possession of the ball to be body checked i.e. hockey. This would make for great entertainment and it would help to change the mindset of the players on the whole. I would pay money to see a streaking forward get put on his back by a defender. My first thought was that this change would mostly benefit the defense and would reduce scoring. I then came to the conclusion that in this game it may be impossible to reduce scoring. The last rule change would be to make the field 40% smaller. This would increase the action and the amount of physical play.

-hj

Bloggerific Irony

April 10, 2006

In previous blogs I have mentioned how I am a huge fan of Mark Cuban, billionaire founder of Broadcast.com and current owner of the Dallas Mavericks. I read his blog pretty religiously. Everytime I get on a computer, which is probably on average 7 or 8 times a day, I instinctively check a list of websites. My gmail, the Dallas Morning News, the SportSay blog, ESPN.com, CNN.com, Drudgereport.com, Facebook.com, and of course Mark Cuban's blog BlogMaverick.com.

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Damn Terrorists

March 25, 2004

Okay, first I want to apologize for the lapse in updates in the past two months. So yea, school started which means I am at the ME building 12 hours a day and I have minimal free time during the week. So expect rants for the rest of the semester to be sparse but I should be able to get them up more regularly come summer. So anyways, on to the story…

So terrorism sucks ass I have decided. Yes, this would seem to be a given to most people but hear me out. Its Spring Break 2004 so we road trip to Sante Fe, New Mexico and go skiing for half a week with some of my engineering buddies. It was a hell of a time and I hope to get some of the videos and pics up on here sometime. The rest of the week I spend at home in Coppell just relaxing and hanging with my close friends from High School. All in all a very good Spring Break I would say. Not too crazy but it was it was eventful enough to be fun and relaxing.

So Sunday Night at the end of Spring Break I show up to the airport to fly home. I am carrying a small suitcase that is packed to the max, I am telling you this thing is dense, a backpack full of miscellaneous crap, and a Foley’s bag of dress shirts and khakis for my internship next summer. So my first hang-up is I am notified by the lady at the front of the security line that I am going to have to either combine all my shit into two bags or check something. I take a glance at the baggage check line for about 0.1 seconds and decided I am going to make this baggage combination thing work. So after a couple of minutes I have my backpack, 4 pair of khakis, and 4 polo shirts very carefully crammed into this small ass Foley’s bag. So I go to the next checkpoint in the security maze where a woman notifies me that I have randomly been chosen for what I have come to call the “Full Cavity Search”. Some of the details of this search include me removing my shoes (something that is particularly annoying to me personally), getting waved all over with a metal detector wand, and having my bags turned inside out.

Well after the lady had gone through all my clothes and realized I was bomb free she started to repack my bag. About halfway through she looked over to me when she realized this was not going to be easy, the way this bag was packed was a freakin science. I asked if she needed help but apparently I am not supposed to leave the chair that I was summoned to sit in. So after about 5 minutes of wrestling and the assistance of another security guard they wrestle all my stuff back into my bag, hole punch my boarding pass three times, and send me on my way. My buddy Bill’s dad is a pilot and he suggested I was probably “randomly” chosen because I had a one-way ticket that was setup just a day or two before. My ticket was standby so after the remaining flights for the day came and went without an open seat my dad picked me up and I decided to return the next morning for the 6:30 flight.

So fast-forward to the next morning. I show up and go through the first security checkpoint no problem. So good so far. The second security checkpoint I roll up to the lady notifies me that I have been randomly chosen for the “Full Cavity Search” once again. With this luck I start doubting if I should be riding a plane at all. The lady asks me all the usual questions, and the whole procedure is repeated. The “officers” as their uniforms suggest have the same problem with repacking my highly dense bag and once again it takes two of them. So once everything is packed up and ready to go they ask for my boarding pass to hole punch, which I present to them. They ask me why it is hole punched and I explain that I had already gone through the whole bullshit process the day before. The tell me that I need to go back out through security, get a new boarding pass, and come back through security because they swore they could not hole punch a boarding pass that was already hole punched. Granted this is the same boarding pass that I showed at the previous two security checkpoints.

One of the “officers” escorts me out of the security area and back into the lobby where I have to wait in line for a boarding pass. Oh yea, did I mention this was all at 5:45 in the morning! So I make it through the first check point no problem, and for the third time at the second checkpoint I am “randomly selected for the Anal Probe Search Test. So, I go through the line to the same station I was just at. The “Head Officer” looks me straight in the eye and without even cracking a smile starts to ask the series of questions starting with “Sir, are you carrying a laptop?” At first, I thought she had to have been kidding. I was just there not 4 minutes before. After realizing she really did expect a response I look her in the eye and respond, “Still don’t”. She continues to go through the series of questions. The bag checking officers start to go through my bag totally oblivious to the amount of effort it took them to get all the shit back into the bag not 5 minutes before. So, for the third time, it takes two of them to get all the shit back in, I put my shoes back on, and I go on my merry way.

So the moral of the story is, Terrorists are bastards. I am in support of an amendment that found terrorists should face public execution. No I am kidding about that but really does this system prevent terror? It would not have prevented any of the September 11th attacks. Nevertheless, these precautions are in place and we have the terrorists of the world to blame. So to you, Mr. American-hating Suicidal “Religious” Guy who is responsible for a sequence of very irritating events I had to endure, I raise my right hand in the air and give you the one finger salute.

Ice Bats

February 22, 2004

I was aware of bowling, NASCAR, the rodeo, and televised hunting and fishing shows, but this past weekend I was made aware that Minor League ice hockey in Texas is also a sport adored by the social order known to society as White Trash. My buddy Duran was on mullet count for the night and although I am not certain of the final numbers I am pretty sure it was well into the double digits.

See Saturday night four friends and I decided to go to an Austin Ice Bats game just to see what it was all about. First of all, it is in the middle of frikin nowhere. For those of you who don’t know, in Austin I-35 pretty much separates nice Austin (west side) from the ghetto as hell part (east side). Well the Ice Bats stadium is well into the east side, in fact it’s nearly past the east side. I was a little confused when we got to the ‘stadium’ because it could very easily be mistaken for an airplane hanger.

Outside the stadium we were waiting in line to buy tickets when a scalper approached us. He was trying to sell 2 tickets for $15 a pop. I asked to see the face value and the face was $15 on them. He tried to convince us they were on the glass but we turned him down because we were down for the $10 seats and I had a hunch that they weren’t gonna exactly be sold out. While waiting inline I started to think, what kind of scalper tries to scalp tickets for fifteen bucks at face value? Does he not understand that the object of scalping tickets is to sell them for more than you bought them for? Then I began to give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he was just an ordinary joe and got stuck with some tickets because plans didn’t work out. But I immediately stopped myself, NO WAY! This guy had scalper tendencies. This was one shady dude and a very stupid shady dude apparently.

Also, while waiting in line two little Mexican kids were running in and out weaving through the lines playing ‘Marco-Polo’. Except it wasn’t Marco-Polo. It was ‘Holla-?’. The kid who was it would call Holla and I never got to find out what the response was because the other kid was cheating his ass off and pretending that he couldn’t hear. So I started to throw the kid off by responding Polo every time he called Holla. I will always be curious as to what the ‘?’ in ‘Holla-?’ actually was.

We finally get in the stadium and find our seats and start to absorb in the true ghetto-ness of the arena. So we are sitting there watching the teams warm up when behind one of the goals above the end zone, I guess you could call it, we started to hear some scratching from the side of the wall just below the ceiling. Mind you this is probably 40+ ft high. All of a sudden the wall is punctured and some streamer like stuff falls out like confetti. I figure this is just some kind of ghetto stunt they had going on. Next thing I know this big ass lump falls out of the wall and into the crowd. It was hard to tell what it was but I was pretty damn sure it was insulation. I couldn’t believe that insulation had just fallen out of the frikin roof just before the start of the game. Well I shouldn’t have believed it because it wasn’t insulation. It was a giant ass Raccoon and it started to run though the bleachers and the concessions area. In a normal situation people would be screaming and running. Here, people were screaming and running all right but they weren’t running away they were trying to chase the thing down. And I’m not just talking about staff workers. I’m not exactly sure what they planned on doing once they caught the ‘coon but I believe it was something along the lines of it being a much cheaper meal than the $3.50 hotdogs they were selling. Luckily for the raccoon it managed to find its way under the bleachers and I’m not sure that anybody really did anything about it after that. I was semi-paranoid the rest of the game that the rodent was going to resurface and bit the shit out of me and give me rabies and I’d have to get like 50 shots injected into my stomach. Not a pleasant thought needless to say.

In the 3rd period Fang, the Ice Bats mascot comes walking by. So we decided to take a picture with this guy. I took the first picture with my digital camera of the four other guys and Fang. I couldn’t understand why they all had such harsh grimaces on their faces and why they were laughing uncontrollably. After the picture, Kent and I switched out and I got in the picture and put my arm around Fang. It all became very clear what everyone was laughing about. Our buddy Fang is the foulest smelling human being on planet earth. After the picture I turned to him and just got straight with him. I told him, “Dude, you fucking REEK!” He was just like “Tell me about it, I’m on the inside.” For the rest of the game we were laughing our asses off watching excited little kids run up to hug Fang and then their faces immediately change from excitement to this look of Uh Oh Did I Just Crap My Pants/Diapers or Does Fang Really Smell THAT SHITTY. It was quite the hilarity.

Oh yea, and the hockey was damn ghetto too. The Ice Bats had 10 power plays, that’s 10 chances to play with one more skater than the other team for all you non-hockey people out there, and they went 0-10 on the power play. It was ridiculous. That includes a one minute 38 second 5-3 chance and a 4 minute double minor (5-4). They did end up scoring a goal and winning 1-0 but I came to conclusion that they weren’t much of hockey players they were more so just fighters. It’s good they fought they because had it just had been pure hockey it would have sucked because to put it bluntly these guys frikin sucked ass.

Anyways, that is my story of the ghetto ass Austin Ice Bats Hockey experience. So if you ever plan on going to a minor league hockey game BEWARE!