Tag Archives: college friends

Just playing some flip cup at George Bush International Airport…

on the way to the World Cup.

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Shaking things up

I’m just hours away from embarking on the biggest adventure of my life. I’ve taken trips before and had experiences in my life, but nothing like what’s about to take place over the next two-and-a-half weeks.

On Thursday night, I leave for Dubai with my buddies Cole and Sam. We’ll spend three nights in a city that a coworker described to me as “Vegas on steroids.” And because I’ve never been to Las Vegas, I don’t have the slightest idea what that means.

The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The Burj Khalifa. Yup, I'll be there.

We have several activities planned for Dubai. We’ll be visiting the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world. It’s not often that you can view the world from the such a vantage point, so we’re gonna give it a shot. We also have plans to going skiing / snowboarding at the ski resort in the Mall of the Emirates and sandboarding out in the desert. There’s a lot crammed into a short amount of time in Dubai, but I doubt it’s going to be enough.

From there, we board a plane for Johannesburg, South Africa, host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But before we partake in the world’s greatest sporting event, we’ll take a short road trip to the east coast of Africa, more specifically, Maputo, Mozambique.

Supposedly, Mozambique has some spectacular beaches. And though it’ll be early winter while we’re in the southern hemisphere, we figured we’d regret not having a look.

The drive to Maputo may be the most exciting, and simultaneously nerve-wracking, part of the trip. Driving on the wrong side of the road. Trekking across a country that in our lives we’ve yet to step foot in. Avoiding some notoriously greedy cops. All of these factors are in play and I have no idea what to expect.

Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Soccer City Stadium, home of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Yup, I'll be there too.

Following the Mozambique road trip, we return to Johannesburg for the duration of our adventure. The majority of what we have scheduled in Johannesburg is World Cup-related, but I’m sure we’ll carve out some time to dabble in some local sightseeing.

Finally, we depart Johannesburg on June 24 and spend the better part of the next day-and-a-half traveling back to the US.

I’m nervous about this trip for several reasons. I don’t know how much money I’ll end up spending. I’m generally a little nervous flying, and eight- and twelve-hour flights are a bit long for me. There are some terrorism concerns about a large event like the World Cup. There are safety concerns going to the Middle East and Africa. Luckily, none of these things are deterrents by any means. (Side note: big thanks to the writings of Tyler Tervooren and Chris Guillbeau for easing my fears.)

I think since I’ve finished college, I’ve gotten bored. I’ve become complacent in my daily life, whether it be work, or social, or recreational. I think I’m desperate to shake things up and step out of my comfort zone. Hopefully this trip will afford me the opportunity to expand my horizons and find a renewed sense of enthusiasm in my day-to-day.

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Golfing with the boys

Every few months, my old college roommates and I like to get together for a weekend. We ditch the girlfriends / wife and go to one person’s place for the weekend. These trips usually involve a lot of drinking, eating, and dick jokes.

Long story short, we do our best to relive our college experience in the span of two nights together. We just completed our latest roommate reunion weekend:

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Why December is a Great Month

December is a fantastic month. (Word of caution, fantastic has become my new favorite word to describe something that is good, when I’m too lazy to think of a more creative word.)

There are several things that make December great. The obvious is Christmas. Everyone loves getting (and even giving, sometimes) gifts. But there’s more to it than just that.

 

Time off of work / school

When I started working 40 hours a week after I graduated college, one of the hardest things for me to adjust to was the 40 hour work week. It’s not so much that it is hard to work a lot, it’s that I had trouble spending so much time at work and getting home and only having a handful of hours before I had to go to sleep and do it all over again the next day. It was the repetition, really.

It took me a good seven or eight months before I finally adjusted to working 40 hours. So with Christmas, comes a much-need dose of time off. Most people get a little taste of relaxation during Thanksgiving break, when they get out of work the Tuesday or Wednesday of the holiday and end up with a four or five-day weekend. When you get back to work or school the following Monday morning, you’re already in the mood for Christmas break.

With Christmas break, you get Christmas Eve, Christmas day and some combination of the weekend and days around Christmas off along with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Some lucky souls (like myself) get Christmas Eve through New Year’s off.

No matter what combination of days off you have, it’s much-needed. Enjoy it.

 

Drinking

Seriously, is there a more drinking-ish month than December? Eggnog and rum/whiskey. Holiday-flavored beers. Hot cocoa and peppermint schnapps. There’s probably more that I’m not thinking of.

And not just the alcoholic combinations offered during December, there’s all the reasons to actually drink them. On Thursday night I went to Wassailfest in New Braunfels and some people had “leaded” wassail containing 151 or whiskey. And then after we stopped by a bar because Wassailfest takes place right next to the bars in New Braunfels.

And because it’s Christmas time, there are a ton of Christmas parties being thrown in December, obviously. There are parties thrown before everyone goes out-of-town, parties thrown by family, office parties, you name it. And chances are, there is going to be some amount of alcohol present. Usually more than none.

Then there’s New Year’s parties. Technically, the majority of the partying goes on before midnight. Therefore, it counts as December. And because it’s painfully obvious how much drinking goes on at New Year’s, I don’t need to explain.

Then there’s reunion parties. If you live close to where you grew up or are going home for Christmas, oftentimes someone is going to throw a party for everyone to get back together and reconnect. Even if you don’t like anyone you grew up with or went to high school with, these parties are great if for no other reason than to see how much fatter everyone got since the last time you saw them.

We had a party with some high school friends a couple of years ago where I caught up with friends who I hadn’t seen since graduation and couldn’t believe how many people put on weight. I’d say about 75%, if not more, of the people I went to high school with put on a significant amount of weight in the few years since we graduated. And the best part, a lot of times it’s the ones you didn’t expect. A lot of the people who were hot shit in high school now just look like shit.

Who wouldn’t want to go to a party and drink to that?

 

The Texans season mercifully coming to an end

Let’s just say this: I posted this in mid-October, and it hasn’t gotten any better since then. Let’s just move on to the next, more uplifting point.

 

The annual Dallas Cowboys collapse

Yes, the annual tradition that is much-celebrated in my household. Thanks to the Tony Tomorrow / Wade Phillips combo, the Cowboys winter collapse ranks up there with opening presents in both enjoyment and consistency.

But one day, the Cowboys are going to fail to show up for Christmas aren’t they? Just like that one family member who comes to Christmas every year and then up and decides not to come the next, the Cowboys will start winning in December sometime. Right?

Probably. But after yesterday’s 31-24 loss to the New York Giants, this year should go as scheduled.

And if it doesn’t, I gotta find something different to get my dad for Christmas.

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Chelsea v. Club America: Road Trip

It took me about a week to finally post these, but I’ve got media from the Chelsea v. Club America soccer match at the New Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The two teams were playing in a preseason friendly in the lamely-named World Football Challenge.

A buddy of mine’s company that he works for and his dad owns has season tickets to the Cowboys, so he was able to purchase the seats for us.

We asked him to get the $50 seats for us and it turns out that his dad bought the lower level seats and paid the difference for us. The result was that we ended up sitting closer to the field than we ever will again for a sporting event at New Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

So the following is the pictures and a video of our night at the match.

Yep, we parked about a mile away. But it still cost us $20. Thanks Jerry Jones.

Yep, we parked about a mile away. But it still cost us $20. Thanks Jerry Jones.

If you look close to that red car, there's a middle-aged couple making out in the parking lot. Classin' it up.

If you look close to that red car, there's a middle-aged couple making out in the parking lot. Classin' it up.

We walk into the Stadium and immediately are offered $8 beers. Nah, I'm good.

We walk into the Stadium and immediately are offered $8 beers. Nah, I'm good.

This was the view from our seats. Luck doesn't even being to describe it.

This was the view from our seats. Luck doesn't even being to describe it.

If you hadn't already heard, this stadium is huge.

If you hadn't already heard, this stadium is huge.

Those two water bottles? $5 each. It's not from the fountain of youth, I checked.

Those two water bottles? $5 each. It's not from the fountain of youth, I checked.

You know, just watching some soccer in HD. How many Best Buy gift cards would I have to save to get that?

You know, just watching some soccer in HD. How many Best Buy gift cards would I have to save to get that?

Hey there's players out there warming up. Must be getting closer to kick-off.

Hey there's players out there warming up. Must be getting closer to kick-off.

Single-file lines everybody.

Single-file lines everybody.

For some reason Garth Brooks was there. And for some reason there was a coin toss. And for some reason Garth Brooks did the coin toss. Confusion all around.

For some reason Garth Brooks was there. And for some reason there was a coin toss. And for some reason Garth Brooks did the coin toss. Confusion all around.

It just ain't a soccer match without smoke in the stands.

It just ain't a soccer match without smoke in the stands.

In the end, Chelsea won 2-0 and won the World Football Challenge. That trophy is definitely going in their museum.

In the end, Chelsea won 2-0 and won the World Football Challenge. That trophy is definitely going in their museum.

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NFL broadcast regulations prohibit you from reading the rest of this post

I have a bone to pick with the NFL. I’m a pretty big football fan, other than the NFL’s continual pimping of the Dallas Cowboys. I tune in most Sundays to catch games, but I have a problem with the NFL’s broadcast regulations. Now, I’m not familiar with the league’s TV contracts with the networks or anything of the like, so this is going to read more like a rant than an actual ways to fix things.

But Sunday I was casually watching the Tennessee Titans play the Pittsburgh Steelers on CBS because I am subjected to watch the Titans every week due to where I live (more on that in a minute).  After the game was over the coverage went to the end of a close game between the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs, a game that has serious playoff implications.

The coverage started with the review of a caused fumble and before the action could even restart, CBS studio host James Brown came on the screen and said “Due to NFL rules we must leave the coverage of this game.” Or something to that effect. Either way, I didn’t get to see the end of that game even though there was only 1:45 left in the game when we tuned in.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the NFL would consider it against the rules for the networks to continue broadcasting the end of this game and instead send us to the excruciating studio show that CBS provides. FOX had the doubleheader for the day, so it’s not like CBS had to get to another game.  There’s a problem when we can’t finish watching a game that will have an effect on the playoffs and someone needs to fix it.

But this was only the latest problem I’ve had with the NFL when it comes to their TV broadcasts.

Last season I was watching the Minnesota Vikings play the San Diego Chargers on CBS. I was really only watching the game because I had Ladanian Tomlinson on my fantasy team, but the game turned into something really exciting.  As the game went on, Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson kept running the ball.  And he kept gaining yards. At an incredible pace.

As the 4th quarter started, Peterson had around 200 rushing yards. The way he was running the ball that day, there was a chance that he could break the record for most rushing yards in a single game, which stood at 295 yards. About mid-way through the 4th quarter, Peterson scored another touchdown and the outcome of the game was decided. But there was still the matter of the record.

Peterson kept gaining yards and positioned himself within range to make a run (please excuse the pun) at the record. Then some CBS studio announcer broke in and said that due to NFL rules they need to switch to the start of the next game between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots.

I understand that the Patriots / Colts game was a big game, this was at the height of the rivalry between the two teams, but is the first quarter of this game really more important than a rookie taking a shot at one of the most popular records in the NFL? In my opinion, no.

I didn't get to watch Adrian Peterson get to embarass the Chargers defense for an NFL-record 296 rushing yards. Thanks NFL!

I didn't get to watch Adrian Peterson get to embarrass the Chargers defense for an NFL-record 296 rushing yards. Thanks NFL!

You know what I remember about that Colts / Patriots game today? I remember missing one of the best rookies of my lifetime break an incredible record because of the first quarter or a semi-meaningless regular season game, and grilling sausage wraps on the back porch with my roommate. That’s it. I’ll say it again, somebody needs to fix this.

But the NFL broadcast rule that pisses me off week after week is the rule that designates certain areas to certain teams. This rule makes certain teams’ broadcasts always shown in certain areas. Now I can see this rule making sense in cities that have teams, like always showing Steelers games in Pittsburgh or Packers games in Green Bay. But I live in Austin, Texas. There’s no home team here other than the Texas Longhorns, and that’s the problem.

A few years ago, quarterback Vince Young led the Texas Longhorns to an undefeated record, a win over the USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl and a BCS National Championship. He’s as close as you can come to royalty here in Austin. Then he was drafted third overall in the NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans and led the Titans to an 8-3 record in their last 11 games.

Things looked good heading into his second season, he was the cover athlete for that year’s edition of Madden, and Austin was designated a Titans area. Austin would have the honor of watching local hero Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans’ every game. That season, the Titans finished 10-7 and made the playoffs, but VY threw for just 9 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Then this season, Vince Young threw two interceptions and sprained his knee in the first game of the season. One weird suicide concern and Titans 12-2 reord later, and Kerry Collins been the starting quarterback and VY hasn’t been on the field since.

Despite all that, Austin is still a Titans zone and I have to compete with that in my quest to watch my Houston Texans play. So if the Texans play at the same time as the Titans, I get the Titans. Or, like was the case on Sunday, if FOX gets the doubleheader and CBS only gets one game, I get the Titans game at noon instead of the Texans at 3:15. I’ll say it a third time, somebody needs to fix this.

I like the NFL, maybe not as much as I used to, but I still like it. But the NFL definitely has problems with its broadcast regulations. If I’m stuck watching a team that’s nowhere near where I live, can’t see records be broken and miss out on the end of important games, there’s definitely a problem. Somebody needs to fix this.

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No snow this year

I totally meant to do that.

I totally meant to do that.

Every Christmas break, a few of my friends plan a skiing / snowboarding trip. They drive out to Colorado or New Mexico or where ever they are planning on going in one shot, hit the mountain for three days, and then drive back in one shot. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s about 15 hours from south Texas to southern Colorado. It’s efficiency at its best.

I was able to go two years ago and I had a good time. I wasn’t as hooked on snowboarding as some of my friends were, but I still had a good time. I got to do something that I don’t normally get to do and I got to spend a lot of time with my close friends; I enjoyed it.

Last year, I was unable to go due to lack of funds. Living the college life wasn’t very financially healthy obviously.

This year, now that I’m out of college and have a full-time job (and some disposable income) I was planning on going. The trip usually costs each person around $400 and a few weeks ago I paid my $150 deposit for the trip.

Unfortunately my physical health is the one back-stabbing me and I’m not going to be able to go. Again. Now this wouldn’t be all that bad, especially considering how bad it would be if I was in Colorado and on the mountain when I ran into some health problems. But since I don’t have health insurance right now (I’m getting it very soon, don’t worry), I could really use that $400 I was going to spend on the trip on some medical bills I acquired last week. So there was some good to it. Some.

But other than spending Christmas Eve / Day with my family and New Year’s Eve at my girlfriend’s parents’ place for a big party, I don’t have a lot going on during this holiday break. And when you and your friends graduate college and go your separate ways, it’s hard to get everybody together for a little reunion. And that’s what this was going to be, a reunion in the snow for some close friends.

Plus I won’t be able to show off my wicked-awesome snowboarding skillz.

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