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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Houston (pics)

You've got the money maker
They showed the money to you
You showed them what you can do

I haven't written about my Houston experience so here goes nothing.  I must warn you though, this entry is going to be riddled with "I can't believe they think it's cold out" and other northern climate elitist quips.

So I arrived in Houston on a Friday afternoon to which it was about 55 degrees.  As I was waiting at the budget shuttle waiting area I was talking to the attendant.  When I told her I was from St. Paul she then laughed and said,

"Why did you bring your weather with you?  You're supposed to come here when it's warm."  And I was a little puzzled because 55 is fucking not bad for Dec 28. 

Weird.

So I met my friend at the Houston Zoo where she works and she allowed me free access to see the zoo which was really cool.  One of the most bizzare sights I saw was a little girl wearing a winter hat and mittens.  Meanwhile I just took off my sweatshirt because I was starting to sweat a bit. 

Later that night we went ventured to Reliant Stadium to catch the Texas Bowl between Houston University and Texas Christian.  The stadium looked really cool and it was a little hypnotizing how big the scoreboard was and the huge HD screen it had.  We stayed for 2 quarters because neither of us really cared for UH or TCU.  The crazy thing was that Reliant Stadium has a retractable roof and it was closed on this night.  This cements my feeling that retractable roofs are stupid.

Unfortunately I don't have any pics because I forgot my camera so... deal with it.

The next day I decided that I would take the Greyhound to San Antonio and try to attend the Alamo Bowl.  My friend dropped me off at the Greyhound depot and I had to wait an hour for my bus to leave for San Antonio. 

While I waited I realized that I was probably the only white guy there and I was the only one that didn't look homeless which made me a bit concerned.  I really wanted to get to San Antonio because that's a city I've always wanted to see so I didn't let a couple hundred homeless looking minorities scare me.

When the bus came I realized why there were so many minorities--after a brief stop to San Antonio the final stop was Monterrey, Mexico so me and my 3 years of failed high school Spanish hopped on the bus for San Antonio.

The idea to spend a day in San Antonio was one of the best ideas I had over the vacation.  San Antonio, in a word, is beautiful and I couldn't have picked a more beautiful day to be there.

DSC01261 The River walk is really cool and it seems to go on forever.  I walked a lot of it but still didn't see everything.  One area has tons of bars and restaurants right next to the water and other areas have little water features.  I kept worrying that I would fall in somehow. 

DSC01264 The weird thing I had to keep thinking is that it was Dec 29 and it was this warm out and all the holiday lights were out and about.  It's just hard to get used to seeing holiday lights without freezing your ass off.

DSC01266 DSC01269The plan was to find a way to get into the Alamo Bowl which had Penn State facing Texas A&M.  The part of San Antonio I was in was filled with maroon and blue for the different teams.  I wore my maroon Minnesota sweatshirt to which a couple guys came up to me like,
"Texas A AND---wait a minute that's not an aggies shirt!  pfff"  and I also ran into some Penn State fans who said,
"You know, the Gophers aren't playing today." and then I'd say some super funny Gopher joke about how much they suck and everyone would laugh.

The funny thing about the Alamodome is that it's not a home to anything.  No sports teams call it home.  So it just sits there and waits for a convention to come. 

I didn't have a ticket to the game but I was hoping to find one.  At one point I saw a bunch of old guy sitting next to the Dennys and they were selling $75 tickets for over a hundred bucks so I was getting a little worried.  I ran into a guy who wanted to sell his upper deck ticket for $90 (face value $52) I told him I wasn't going to spend over $60 so he eventually broke down to $60.  I probably could've had a cheaper ticket but I wanted the pleasure and glory of going to the game.

DSC01272   It was a perfect night and it was very festive outside of the Alamodome before the game.  There were a ton of giveaways and cool looking giveaways.  Quenten McCracken (whoever the hell he is) was signing autographs outside and I got a free geiko lanyard which I was stoked about because I love free stuff.  I even got a cool looking plastic ticket holder deal so I felt like a VIP with my ticket in plastic.

DSC01277 The game consisted of about 8,000 PSU fans and about 60,000 A&M fans.  I sat down and took in how cool the place looked and how good my ticket was when three Aggie fans sat next to me.
"Hello, my name is Dave.  Nice to meet you"  said the head of the family that sat next to me.  As it turns out I bought his ticket that he sold earlier in the day. 
Dave:  So where are you from?
Boof:  St. Paul, Minnesota
Dave with a 'oh my god' look:  Well, haha, I wasn't expecting that.

Dave then introduced me to his son and his son's girlfriend who were all unbelievably nice.  I didn't know much about A&M football except that they were really big into football so I asked them all about A&M football to which they gave me the Aggie 101 bit.  I even asked them where A&M was located at which seemed completely stupid sitting in a section of 99% aggie fans.  haha

I came into the game rooting for the Big Ten.  Well kind of, but I didn't really care too much.  I did turn into an Aggie fan though and their fight song consists of all the fans putting their arm around the people around them and swaying.  Apparently a U of Texas fan will be in a midst of A&M fans and they'll be forced to sway because everyone else is doing it around them.  I had the group to my left swaying one way and the group to my right swaying another way.  How the hell do you solve that?  It is pretty cool seeing everyone swaying across the sections.

The game ended up with Penn State winning and Joe Paterno won his one billionth game or something. 

It's very strange hanging around the San Antonio greyhound depot at 3am.  Half the people in there were homeless and some would stare at me to which I would act like I had a gun and ignore them.  I also didn't really want to touch that much stuff because it seemed really filthy and I'm not even a germophobe.

After another weird Greyhound experience I made it back to watch the Vikings lose and took a nap for most of the day. 

DSC01311 We then went to the Space Center in Houston which was okay but was mostly boring and I love the movie Apollo 13.  They had a couple Star Wars things there which was stupid but I was mostly disappointed with the Space Center.

DSC01322 Then we saw the bay which was also really cool. 

The final day I had a whole day wasting time before my flight so I figured I would try to take a tour of Minute Maid Park.  So I walked the streets of Houston with my duffel bag of stuff trying to find the way to Minute Maid Park.  I hadn't shaved in 2 days and my clothes had looked a little dirty on this day so I really played a good homeless guy.  The temperature was only 48 so I wasn't afraid of getting mugged since this was direly cold.  DSC01327  I even passed by all these bail bond places with homeless people sleeping all around and no one asked me for change.  I really did feel a bit down on my luck but I kind of enjoyed it.  It seemed like Halloween to an extent but without the sluts and candy...and beer.

I made it to the ballpark and to my luck the tour started in fifteen minutes so I took my duffel bag and everything into the ballpark.  I was with a nice old couple from Connecticut and a really young and hot tour guide.

DSC01332 We entered the ballpark and I couldn't help but to ask the nerdiest, most specific questions ever.

Boof:  Was there much of a bidding war over the name?
Hot Tourguide:  Well, I uh I don't think so.
Boof:  Was this made with materials found in Texas
HT:  well it's made of some steel
Boof:  oooh what does this symbol mean?
HT:  I don't know.  shuddup

DSC01346 DSC01350 We got to go in the radio/tv pressbox and I got a little carried away with pictures.

DSC01355 I just had to know how all the cables went and how everything was spooled together and the like.

DSC01351 DSC01330 These are the home runs by Jeff Bagwell.  I think Brad Radke is on here like 5 times and he's not even in the same league.

DSC01356 Interesting tidbit about Roger Clemons and Nolan Ryan.  I guess both are from Texas.  Ryan has 7 no-hitters but zero Cy Youngs.  Clemons has zero no-hitters but 7 Cy Youngs.  But then that's another discussion.

DSC01359 I had to lumber around with my duffel bag as we toured the ballpark.  I was totally okay with all this because I didn't think I would get this close of a look.

DSC01372 This is the centerfield area of Minute Maid Park.  The tour guide explained why this was and right before she mentioned Crosley Park I interrupted her like a super nerd.  I was pretty stoked to be this close to the controversial MMP center field.

DSC01376 The bullpen phone.  I picked it up and I could hear the phone ringing from the dugout.  I was as giddy as a school girl.

DSC01378 Behind the scoreboard in left field.

DSC01381 left field foul pole.  It should be black.

DSC01383 Minute Maid Park is a retractable roof and apparently it's closed about 90% of the time which is heartbreaking coming from a Twins fan.  Apparently the Texas summers are really hot.  I believe them but I don't care.

1 comment:

The Steph said...

Awww, I ***heart*** Texas. "Deep in the heart of Texas, clap, clap, clap."