baseball stadium tour
Aug. 5, 2009, 9:55 a.m. by John
last year was the final year for yankee stadium. the house that ruth built. the stadium where every great player to date has played at some point. the home of babe ruth, lou gehrig, joe dimaggio, mickey mantle, and roger maris and i never got to see a game there. this makes me slightly angry so i have vowed not to let a piece of american and baseball history slip through my fingers again. i have set a goal to watch every major league baseball team play in their home stadium.
the plan is to visit every major league baseball team's ballpark starting with the oldest and working my way up. this way i won't fall victim to the yankee stadium dilemma. even though i don't think the next 2 on the list of oldest stadiums, wrigley (chicago cubs) and fenway (boston), are even close to being shut down, i don't want to risk it.
now, of course, i'm excited about visiting all of these stadiums but i am equally excited about visiting all of these cities that i haven't gotten to visit yet. to date i have not been to any of the cities north of washington dc or any of the cities on the west coast. i am looking forward to seeing what these cities have to offer as far as culture, food, history, etc.
it has already been brought to my attention that i could get multiple cities in during one trip. for example, washington dc, baltimore, and philidelphia are very close together and could be visited in one weekend. however, this would defeat the purpose of visiting the city. therefore, i have decided that i will only visit multiple stadiums in a weekend if they are in the same city (chicago, los angeles, and new york).
the only thing i have to figure out is what piece of memorabilia i will be picking up from each location. the only thing i can think of, that you can not buy online, is the souvenir programs that are made and dated for each series. other than that, everything is available through the internet, to my knowledge.
i have slated my trip to start next year, since i don't have any more vacation days left, so get prepared for a lot more posts as i wind my way through the country.
Mountain Biking - Part 2: "The Wipe Out"
March 24, 2009, 7:58 a.m. by John
So yesterday afternoon my buddy and I went riding in Terry Hershey Park here in Houston. It's basically a 7 or so mile long park following a creek with a concrete path on one side and a mountain biking/hiking dirt trail on the other. About 20 minutes into the ride we decide to switch bikes just to see how the other rode. So my buddy and I are riding along the dirt path and get to this fairly steep 10' tall hill. Neither one of us makes it up the front side and have to walk to the top of the hill. He immediately jumps on my bike and makes it down no problem. At the end of the hill was a big tree lying across the path and so he jumps off the bike to get under it, just as I take off from the top of the hill.
So the path down the back side of this hill is covered in roots from rain water washing the dirt out and other mountain bikers. This usually is a bigger deal going up than down so I didn't think too much of it...yet. So I start off and go over a couple roots no problem and then I get to this one that's sticking up about 6" above the trail. I'm not sure if I didn't try to pick up the front wheel or as I did I hit the brake, all I know is that I hit the root and my front tire stopped immediately. So, this isn't the first time this has happened and usually I just jump off the seat, put my feet on the ground, and awkwardly walk down the hill. This would not be the case today.
As my front tire stopped I jump off my seat, put my feet on the ground, and said "Uh oh!," immediately catching my buddy's attention so he could watch the events unfold. As my feet hit the ground the rear tire lifted and I went straight over the bars. As I fell over the bars I tucked my right shoulder, I think I do this because of the number of times I jumped off my house and out of trees as a kid. Anyway, as I tucked my shoulder my left foot came up first and my heel caught the pedal of the bike, lifting it and sending it soaring in the air. As I landed flat on my back I looked up at a bike, that isn't mine, flying through the air. It landed about 4 feet away.
At this point my buddy is also on the ground, except he's laughing his ass off. He somehow squeezed out "are you OK?," and by this time I realized that I wasn't in too much pain. I got back up, checked his bike and our cell phones that were in my Camelback. Thankfully there were no injuries to the rider, the bike, or the phones. We continued our ride and got a solid 13 miles in.
My buddy swears it's the funniest thing he's seen in a long time. My shoulder's a little sore this morning.
Feb. 17, 2009, 2:18 p.m. by John
I finally decided that i am gaining too much weight and needed to do something about it. i have joined a gym and it is nice to have a place to workout and destroy co-workers in racquetball but sometimes i just want to be outside. i have also found, over the years, that i despise running because i find it one of the most boring things to do ever.
I have some friends in college station and here, in houston, who mountain bike on a regular basis and after riding with them a few times i decided to go ahead and buy one (see pic)
i rode it a few times up and down the bayou behind my house but didn't get into any intense riding until this weekend. while riding i came upon 2 very important discoveries. 1. know which way your shifters shift. when you get up to a big hill you don't want to go into a higher gear, stall out, and stumble half way down...in front of other people. this sounds simple but you would be amazed what actually happens when you get into this situation. 2. look at where you want to go and not where you don't want to. this, too, sounds simple but have you ever seen those video shows where the guy driving down the highway crashes into the police car sitting on the side of the road? same concept when applied to trees and stumps while riding a bike.
anyway, i would recommend this source of exercise to anyone. it's a great way to get out and get some fresh air, while getting a full body work out without getting bored.
2 great finds on saturday night
Jan. 5, 2009, 1:49 p.m. by John
This past saturday night i got the pleasure of find 2 things that i love. a new band and a new music hall. i call it a music hall, though it is basically a long skinny store with a bar down the length of 1 wall.
the band is "Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers" and the music hall is "the continental club" in downtown houston.
mr. stiverson and i have had many conversations about what various bands were lacking. i think, he will correct me if i'm wrong, we've decided that most bands need a double bass, an steel guitar, or a fiddle. add in the drums and you have "Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers." I don't believe i had ever seen a country band that lacked an electric guitar but these guys didn't need one.
To add to the great band, who all knew how to play their instruments well, Miss leslie is a singer song writer, which is always the best. they did, however, cover some songs including johnny bush's "green snakes on the ceiling" and some patsy cline. they were definitely a texas swing band much like "asleep at the wheel." this makes their songs more difficult to dance to but perfect for just having a drink with some friends and listening to. despite this, there were several couples dancing in the small area in front of the stage.
the other great part of the evening was going to "the continental club." this place looks straight out of the 1960s, complete with shlitz in a can and lonestar on tap! i knew this place was going to be good when i walked in and saw that neon light fixtures, not neon light beer signs or any of that jazz, but actual fixtures made up the lighting of the whole place. to top it off they had some locals in the back with fresh cajun food. i didn't have any but looked and smelled delicious.
i had a very pleasant evening listening to some texas swing in one of the places, it appeared, where it was born. be sure to look up "miss leslie" and "the continental club," they won't disappoint.
Edit: I originally posted that the band had an electric guitar. It is actually a steel guitar. It's not easy to mix them up and I don't know what I was thinking. The band consisted of a steel guitar, double bass, fiddle and drums! Most excellent!
November 18, 1999
Nov. 17, 2008, 8:16 p.m. by John
Since the bonfire memorial was erected, every November 18th while I was a student at Texas A&M I came to the memorial with hundreds of other Aggies. Like everyone else I have seen the pictures from bonfire's past. I imagine the flood lights on stack, Aggies all around, people carrying logs, others on the stack strapping logs together, everyone talking about who's dorm is best, yelling, laughter, no one wanting to be anywhere else. Aggies being Aggies.
Then, at 2:42AM on November 18th, 1999 everything changed.
It doesn't matter what your thoughts about bonfire are; whether or not you think that bonfire should be back on campus or not is irrelevant on this day. It is a day to remember 12 fallen members of the Aggie family.
I have never seen Bonfire on campus. Every year I wish I could, just to be a part of something like the picture above.
Oct. 24, 2008, 12:42 p.m. by John
i'm one of those people that loves to eat at local places. when ever i visit a new place i refuse to eat at fast food joints unless absolutely necessary. so one day, my buddy asked me if i wanted to go to a local burger joint and the obvious answer was yes.
my buddy and i roll up to "burger tex" and i looked at the parking lot and found that 2 of every 3 vehicles in the parking lot are trucks. this place must be good. as we walked inside i immediately noticed something about this place was different. all the workers are asian.
for the record i have no problem with asian people (i call them asian because i don't want to insult them by trying to guess their country of origin) and since i work for a japanese company i work with other races all the time. that being said, i found this very unusual for a texas burger joint.
all fears about these guys being able to make a good burger were doused when i saw that, not only did they cook their burgers fresh from real ground beef, but that they bake their own buns fresh each day! once i got my burger i made my way over to the buffet of toppings and realized this place also had melted cheese...this is going to be delicious.
from the first bite to the last, this had to be one of the best burgers i'd had anywhere! so if you're ever in the northwest houston area and are looking for one of the best burgers you'll ever have, look up "burger tex," it's worth it
Oct. 13, 2008, 10:07 a.m. by John
This past weekend I had the opportunity, thanks to Mr. Stiverson, to visit 2 establishments in Downtown Bryan. This was my 3rd trip to the heart of Bryan and I am disappointed that I didn't go more often. Previously, when I had thought about Bryan, I thought of a slightly run down area with low income families and rickety houses from the 70's. After living in Bryan for 3 years my opinion hadn't changed. I started to see the light with my first trips to downtown. I had heard good things about Caffe Capri and decided to take my girl friend for dinner. While we were walking around downtown waiting for a table to clear I noticed the String and Horn Shoppe. Since I dabble in the fiddle I grabbed a good friend who plays the banjo and bought a few music books.
It was probably another year before I made my way back this past weekend. I asked Mr. Stiverson if he would like to get some breakfast before we headed out for the football game and he said he had just the spot. So we headed to Los Nortenos.
I had heard great things about this place but had never visited. Maybe because of my preconcieved ideas that Downtown Bryan was run down or that it was "too far." Maybe I thought that it was all down hill since Robert Keen sang about. I'm not sure, but I wish I had visited sooner. I was instructed that "1 breakfast taco would be plenty," but I was skeptical. When the waitress brought out my plate, my jaw dropped. I was staring at a breakfast taco like none other. I finished, maybe, 2/3 of it and I enjoyed every bite. The best part came at the check-out counter. $5.19! What a deal.
After the Aggie football team ran out of time against Kansas State we decided it was time for a pick-me-up. "To the Corner of Time!" Once again, this was an establishment I had heard of but had never visited. I heard that they had real soda jerks and made Dublin Dr. Pepper starting with just the syrup. This sounded ideal after a long hot football game. So we headed up there where I met my sister, her boyfriend, and my dance partner. It was amazing! The coldest, tastiest, freshest Dr. Pepper I had ever had. Delicous! And with a warm brownie I was in heaven. Good food, good drink, and good friends. Could it get any better!?
I'd like to conclude by asking you to make sure to get over to Downtown Bryan just to walk around. Step into the small shops and look around. You never know what you might find or who you might meet. It makes me wish more places were like this. friendly people, smiles, and howdys. the way texas should be.
Actors & Politics
Oct. 2, 2008, 8:39 p.m. by John
So Take i on this subject ended with a not very well thought out ramble complaining about people giving their opinion when that is what they are paid to do. so i didn't really have a reason to complain in the first place and decided to remove my post. after more thought i decided to give this another shot.
the other day i was watching the morning news and they talked about how the ladies on the view got into a big to do about political matters. i then decided that i didn't like that they were giving their opinions in the first place, but mr. stiverson pointed out that they are paid to do just that. so why are tv hosts asked to give their opinions in the first place? some how i see a disconnect between their daily lives and mine. for that matter, i'm sure that their lives are drastically different than 95% of the people who watch these shows and maybe are falsely leading people to a certain candidate.
so people are paid to give their opinion...i don't like it but i can't do anything to stop it. i think what really turns my stomach, and why i don't like this so much, is that these people might actually effect how someone else votes and who wins an election. does anybody think that an average american would watch one of these shows and actually vote because of who someone like a barbara walters is going to vote for? (comments please, i'd like to know what you think) i'm of the opinion that a person should base their vote on the debates or other speeches from the candidates. this is the only time you get to see how a candidate, from their own mouth, feels about a subject (without the media's "filter"). maybe i'm more of a free thinker than i thought...
Hurricane Ike: Part II - The Party
Sept. 16, 2008, 8:21 a.m. by John
i left off with preparations for ike made. 5 of us were at my friend's apartment ready for this storm to come. by late evening we had seen what was going on in houston and on the coast. around 6am the worst of it hit bcs. i was disappointed. i had expected much better. i went outside anyway just to see what the wind was like and i wasn't able to keep my eyes open when looking into the wind, but that was about all.
saturday was full of movie and dvd watching. of course this was topped off by eating a large amount of baked good, prepared by our wonderful host, as well as chips and dips and large amounts of dr. pepper. all in all i had a good time hanging out with my friends, but was not very impressed with ike. saturday evening my girl friend and i went to her place for a nice warm shower and a real bed.
sunday morning i planned to head back to houston, for i was a little worried about damage to my roommates house. since he was in indianapolis all weekend i felt that it would be a good idea to get down there to see if there was any damage. i just hoped that the gas, water, and power were on
to be continued...
Hurricane Ike: Part I - The Refugee
Sept. 12, 2008, 6:10 p.m. by John
This story starts two weeks ago. I was talking to my girl friend, who lives in College Station, and I decided that I wanted to come into town on a Thursday night so that I could get out to my favorite local establishment, The Texas Hall of Fame. I then decided that a great time to do this would be the weekend that the Aggies didn't have a football game (the weekend of September 13th). This would be great because I could spend time with my friends and not have to throw out a day of relaxation to tail gating, lots of walking, and 3 to 4 hours of standing. Though I do enjoy all of the things in the previous sentence, I'm sure everyone can agree that it is nice when you can have a weekend to just hang out. Plus, without a football game the city would be much less crowded.
I first met Ike about two weeks ago when he first showed up. His brother Gustav was around scaring everyone in New Orleans. I always suspected that this guy, Ike, could be trouble. Sure enough, he wasn't a partier like his brother Gustav, so he skipped over New Orleans and headed for Houston. By the time we knew, approximately, where Ike would be travelling, I had already arranged with my boss, to take vacation days on September 11th and 12th. I needed to register my new truck and run some other errands before getting up to College Station on Thursday for a fun night of dancing. I awoke on Thursday morning, at 7am, approximately an hour and a half later than normal, and found out that mandatory evacuations were in place for Galveston. Thanks Ike....
With errands to run I got to work. Since I would have to deal with local government, while registering my truck, I assumed this would eat up the majority of my day. But to my suprise, no one is interested in registering vehicles when a hurricane is 2 days out and everyone is leaving the city!! Victory! So I registered my truck, and now $1200 less rich I got home at around 9:30am. At this point I remembered that I had a softball game with my work team at 6:00pm Thursday night...ugh. What would I do with 9 hours of free time? Anti-love bugging my truck took the top spot.
I knew that a hurricane was coming but my nice, new, shiny truck had love bugs on it. The front of my truck looked like a psycho-killer/porn flick. So as I wash the front of my truck, because the whole thing would be getting a bath in 48 hours, I noticed that my neighbor, the conductor imfamous "Eduardo Freak Out" was once again boarding up his house. I felt that maybe this time my priorities were slightly mixed up...
Around 11am I found out that my softball game was cancelled and I was free to go to College Station. I packed up my things, a couple Gatorades, pretzels, and my weather radio and hit the road. Suprisingly 290 was not overly crowded and my trip took just over an hour. I was now "safely" in College Station with lots of other evacuees. I hung out with my girl friend in the afternoon and prepared for my night at the before mentioned local dancehall. I had a great time, and now I sit at 6pm on Friday, groceries secured in the fridge, truck parked far away from trees, waiting for my new buddy Ike to come on up to BCS. It's overcast and the wind is picking up. I'm really not too worried but better safe than sorry. Bring on a night of DVD's and unhealthy snacks! To be continued...