Party like a Texas-Country Star
April 8, 2009, 10:08 a.m. by Paul Stiverson
I have a clear memory of the following, but should the accuracy of any of the following come into question my fellow blogger, John, can be contacted for corroboration: he was there and reliably sober.
For those who are unaware, an event by the name of [Chilifest](http://chilifest.org) occurred last weekend. Chilifest is a fairly large 2-day Texas-Country music festival, probably about 12 bands played, 70,000 fans watched, and each of them averaged about a 24 pack of beer. It’s a pretty big deal for this area, this year I elected to stay home and not get irreparably sunburned, and I’m certain I didn’t miss too terribly much. A fair number of local businesses try very hard to cash in on the obvious cash cow that is Chilifest, and [The Hall](http://texashalloffame.net) is no exception. Each year they throw an after-party to ensnare the group of people that didn’t quite get enough excitement—or that hate their livers a little more than most. This year The Hall brought in a great act, [The Doug Moreland Show](http://dougmoreland.com/band.htm). The show was outstanding, but poorly attended because about three quarters of the standard demographic for the hall had collapsed from exhaustion at this point. This post is not about Chilifest, The Hall, or The Dough Moreland Show, but rather the events that unfolded after the after-party. The names have not been changed: fuck the innocent.
### The Doug Moreland Show
Doug Moreland is probably one of my favorite Texas Country Acts, John, my fellow blogger, is also a fan. As you may know from reading this blog John lives in Houston, but he comes in whenever there is something cool happening, and the night in question was no exception. When he comes to town he stays with a common friend and dance partner, Mallory: an energetic, outgoing, and generally pretty fun gal, who joined us on this magical night. During Doug’s show we notice a small entourage in a nearby area, and one of us recognizes that [Stoney Larue](http://stoneylarue.com), a fairly prominent character on the Texas-Country scene, and his band are that entourage. Occasionally we would see them perk up their ears as John and Mallory would start putting on their Jitterbug routine, and we agreed that it was pretty cool that the performers were enjoying our performances.
After Doug finished up the show we resolved that it was time to go home, John went to close the bar-tab, I went to greet Doug and his band, and Mallory vanished like a fart in the wind. When John and I approach the empty table we both notice a distinct absence of Mallory and set out to find her, I find that she left her phone at the table leaving us incommunicado. I track down one of the other girls in our party and get her to check the bathrooms, no Mal is forthcoming, at this point I am a little worried. I asked the bartender, he has no idea. I decide that she must have gone out to the car, not there; at this point I realize that John is now missing too, I am very worried. The last place that hasn’t been checked is Stoney Larue’s tour bus, which is sitting in the parking lot.
### The Tour Bus
I snatch open the door to the bus and poke my head in to see Mal and Stoney’s bass player, Jesse, siting on the couch chatting, they notice me and invite me in where I find John sitting on the opposite couch. At this point my phone buzzes at me with a new text message from John: “In stoney’s bus” (1:50AM). Gee, thanks for the update. I sit next to John and we start in with some mindless banter. Stoney and his band are sponsored by Shiner, so Jesse offered us each a beer which we gladly accepted. There was general coolness going on as some of Doug’s band-mates and Doug himself came and went from the bus, aslo a couple groupie-type girls came on the bus and started pouring (horribly mixed) shots. Eventually Stoney himself emerged from the bowels of the bus and joined us.
There was a disposable pan on the counter that held about half a brisket—apparently donated by a fan—that Stoney was intermittently munching on and offering to the 6 of us on the bus (it is not an exaggeration when I say this is the best 2AM brisket I have ever had). At some point Stoney inexplicably took off his shirt (I think one of the groupie-type girls asked to see his tattoos or something stereotypical like that). While getting some more brisket Stoney impales the whole thing with the knife holds it up while making a pirate noise, it was pretty hilarious, but you could tell he was doing it to please himself (he was not looking at us, but rather the darkened window which was giving a small reflection). We continued talking about nonsense for a while; Stoney disappeared and re-emerged still topless but with a guitar. Now, I am not really a fan of Stoney’s music, I like it but I’m not going to go out of my way to hear it, but when he turned down the lights on the bus and started jamming out I really enjoyed it. It doesn’t come out in his stage shows, but Stoney is fairly talented on the guitar.
### The Brisket
Toward the end of Stoney’s solo jam he hits the wrong fret and everybody’s ear cringe, Jesse calls him out and the two of them start joshing with each other, Jesse takes off his shirt and they—while on all fours—start circling each other like dogs trying to sniff each others asses. The pair stand up—in the process Jesse’s pants fell down, and, not one to be outdone, Stoney loses his pants too. Stoney grabs the brisket and throws it at Jesse, hitting him solidly on the chest and falling to the ground. Jesse laughs it off and hugs Stoney, the both of them are now greased up, and Stoney picks up the brisket. I though he was going to put it back in the pan, but he has a different idea: throw it at the mirror (you can see the mirror in question in the picture at the top of the post, pre brisket stain). Stoney picks up the brisket a third time, I thought one of the other people in the room was going to get a brisket to the chest, but instead he takes a bite, tearing it like a lion. One of the groupie-type girls thought this was pretty gross considering the circumstances, but everybody else saw no problem with the consumption and Stoney held it in front of everybody (one at a time) to allow us to tear a chunk off with our faces. Shortly after partaking in the brisket, Stoney passed around the salsa (which can also be seen in the image above) for everybody to take a swig from, only Stoney, Jesse, John and I were manly enough to drink it though. Also John, then later Mallory licked the brisket spot on the mirror.
Soon after the brisket incident everybody calmed down and we parted ways at about 4AM. Waking up the next morning I realized that it was not all a dream because of the chunk of brisket that was on my glasses. I can honestly say that this night was one of the strangest and most unexpected events of my life, and walking away from it I will forever be a Stoney Larue fan.
Update (Re: Options)
Feb. 16, 2009, 1:28 p.m. by Paul Stiverson
I [previously posted](http://thismatters.net/ramblings/comment.php?post_id=220) that I was considering quitting graduate school after finishing my Master’s degree. I’m happy to say that I have decided against that plan. My new advisor was able to pull some strings at NASA and get them to open up a fellowship position for me which led to a significant pay increase from my previous salary so I am in a much better financial situation than before. I’m still looking forward to teaching full (or at least mostly full) time, but I can put it off a few more years and muscle through my doctorate. In the interim I will continue to tutor and keep applying to be a lecturer here in the Mechanical Engineering department. As far as research goes I am enjoying my current topic a lot more now that I have funding and time to work on it, but will keep looking for a new and exciting topic for my Ph.D.
As part of this development I took my qualifying exams (or [prelims](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preliminary_examination) if you will) last week. I’m happy to announce that I passed them both on the first attempt, so I am now qualified to start Doctoral work.
Jan. 23, 2009, 3:38 p.m. by Paul Stiverson
For those who are unaware, I have a pretty serious love affair going on with Texas. So, when I happened upon an orgy of Texas themed awesomeness I thought it would be appropriate to share it with you all.
I had reason to visit the Jack K. Williams Administration Building on campus, which is a pretty sweet looking building from the outside. I had no idea the treat that I was in for. If you find yourself on the Texas A&M campus then stop by the administration building and treat yourself to some awesome.
The included images are a taste of the treats in store for you.
Winter in Texas
Dec. 1, 2008, 12:17 p.m. by Paul Stiverson
In Texas once the weather gets below 55ºF for two consecutive days you know that it is indeed winter, another way to tell is to visit the Texas A&M campus and enter a building. If you start sweating due to the sweltering heat then it is officially winter. I don’t know how it is done up north, but during both of the seasons in Texas you will either be freezing or sweating depending on whether you are indoors or out.
Now, I can’t speak for everybody, but I most definitely prefer the cold—I look forward to winter during the other 10 months of the year. When it finally rolls around I will frequently leave my windows open and try to acclimate to the cold so I won’t require a heavy jacket, I’ll usually get away with a long sleeve undershirt (of late I am quite taken with Smartwool). However, campus always messes up my rotation because the buildings (and busses) are all at least 80ºF and removing an undershirt is not a particularly graceful affair. I could wear a hoodie, but removing a hoodie is only slightly less awkward than losing an undershirt, and what are you supposed to do with hoodie when you aren’t wearing it? Tie it around your waist? I think not.
This wouldn’t be a big deal I only spent time in one building, but the transient nature of being a student makes the removal and replacement dance a pain in the ass. This campus needs to either get its temperature gradients under control or develop some coat-checking system.
As I mentioned the problem is reversed in the summer, too cold indoors and too hot outdoors. Your body never gets a chance to get used to the climate and you end up being miserable indoors and out. The human body is more than capable of handling the intense Texan summer heat, but not with air conditioning messing up the process.
1. I hear tales of Spring and Fall, but I won’t buy the patent medicine.
1. Realize that I am referring to “Texan cold”, not crazy-ass yankee cold.
1. Being a robust gentleman helps with this.
1. It would also be possible for me to wear a nicer coat type thing [like what Sam was looking for](http://thismatters.net/ramblings/comment.php?post_id=226) but let’s not kid ourselves, that won’t happen.
Saw ’em off
Nov. 24, 2008, 6:55 p.m. by Paul Stiverson
I’m all for traditions, and I’m all for strong rivalries, but there should be a limit to the degree of the rivalry. I am, of course, referring to the rivalry with t.u., which has gotten a bit out of hand. It seems like Aggies are more enthusiastic about denigrating Longhorns than lauding our wonderful school. Take, for instance, the War Hymn which—as I hope my readers know—has two verses, the first of which actually talks about A&M. Of course, ask your typical Aggie and they will only know the second verse which focuses exclusively on the University of Texas.
Take also “Saw ’em off”, it isn’t uncommon to see vehicles decked out with a Saw ’em off decal with nary a mention of A&M. The same is true with t-shirts around campus. Hell, look at the South-gate Aggieland Outfitters, they have an exterior wall painted with sawed-off horns, and Bevo standing out front.
It’s time we stop defining ourselves by hating somebody else, and start defining ourselves on [how awesome we are](http://thismatters.net/ramblings/comment.php?post_id=138). However, if folks still insist on still wearing Saw ’em off gear then they should demand that they use a real apostrophe in place of the insufferable single open-quote, this abuse of our language lends credence to the claims that Aggies are dumb.
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. 30, 2008, 9:53 a.m. by Lew
Today I want to share a few things i found interesting on the internet. Dear my fellow texans, wtf? Why do [23% of Texans](http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6084678.html) think Obama is a secret muslim? 5-10% of the rest of the country thinks that, but nearly 1 in 4 texas think that. I guess those are the people who think [John Cornyn is a cowboy](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt05KC3Add8).
It some good news [the Bonfire lawsuits are finally settled.](http://dmc-news.tamu.edu/templates/?a=6871&z=15) It seems we are on a path to returning Bonfire to campus. I have mixed feeling about it. If it comes back to campus I worry there won't be any real student involvement in building it. As much as I would love to see it return to campus from its current exile I just don't know how it can be done well and meet liability issues the university will need to deal with. what do you think ags?
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.
Sept. 29, 2008, 3:28 p.m. by Paul Stiverson
For some time now I’ve entertained the notion of getting my doctorate and going to teach somewhere, lately though—and especially considering my poor financial situation—I’ve become less enthusiastic about it. If you don’t mind I’m going to do some analysis of my situation (if you do mind then skip this post, I’m doing it anyway).
Getting a Ph.D. means about 4 more years of education, this in-and-of-itself is a good thing. I like school, and I’ve never had too tough a time with it. Staying in school lets me stay in College Station (or allows me to move just as easily), which is nice because I really like it here. Going for the gusto also means four more years of research, this is the rub, I don’t derive a great deal of pleasure from research—it could be that I haven’t found an engaging subject or any host of other issues, but the fact stands that I don’t get as much out of it as I do from other things, namely teaching. The whole reason that I initially wanted a Ph.D. was that it would allow me to teach at a major university, without the teaching aspect I never would have wanted a doctorate. The other major drawback to getting a doctorate is funding, right now funding is pretty sparse unless you are doing work for an oil company or in defense applications. Since I have ethical problems with either of those routes I am left grasping at the leavings of NSF grants, being funded by my prof, or being a TA. Needless to say none of those are very lucrative.
Now, one of the things that I’ve been told about being a grad student is that you shouldn’t be concerned with the amount of money you are bringing in, as long as you can pay the rent you are doing fine. This is fine, it is part of the college experience, and I’ve done fine with it so far, but I do need to consider my financial future. At present I have $0 in savings, that is not an exaggeration. I’m not saying that I have debt offsetting my savings, I’m saying that I have no savings (and debt too). On top of that I have no holdings, I’m a renter so I haven’t any equity. I am literally worthless. My 25th birthday is rapidly approaching and at that time I have to take control of my own insurance (both health, and car), and I’m afraid I don’t have the means to afford to live anymore. I don’t see why it is necessarily impossible to start “Life” (buying a house, starting a family, etc.) while still in school, but it _is_ practically impossible to think about making a major purchase when you aren’t sure where your (meager) paycheck will be coming from in the next 6 months.
I’ve been thinking about solutions to this problem, and I think I’ve got a workable plan. This will let me have financial solvency and it will let me teach (which I am wildly enthusiastic about), and eliminate the bullshit about school that I could do without. I’m going to be a lecturer. No research, still in academia (sorta). Optimally I would lecture here at A&M (so I don’t have to leave town), but my department doesn’t have any lecturers. I’m going to build up a case for myself and create an opening for myself in the system. Otherwise I’ll look at smaller schools in the area (SHSU and Blinn). Once I have some funds in the bank I can reasonably look at chasing my dreams (Stiverson Press here I come).
Open Letter to the Yell Leaders
Sept. 28, 2008, 10:08 a.m. by Paul Stiverson
This past weekend I attended the A&M–Army game, and like so many before I was disappointed at the Yell Leaders. I’m not sure why I didn’t write this letter earlier, but it probably had to do with the fact that I used to sit on second deck, so I attributed many of the problems to the crowd rather than the Yell Leaders, however after three games [back] on first deck I’ve realized that it is indeed a problem with you, the Yell Leaders. The problem is the pass back.
In order for a yell to be properly executed, all in the crowd who plan on yelling need to know what yell is to be performed; otherwise there will be a weak start and a gradual crescendo leading up to the wildcat as people catch on. As yell leaders it is up to you to decide when to perform a yell, and thus when to signal the beginning of a yell. What I am asking (the ultimate point of this letter) is for you to decide earlier, and give more than a three second pass back. Now, I was out of eyeshot of the head yell leader—more on this in a moment—so I couldn’t tell if he was issuing a pass back for a longer period, but the Yell Leaders I could see (and did watch for a considerable amount of time, rather than the nightmarish defensive performance) barely gave the pass back for long enough for the front row to see. If the problem is in communication (amongst yourselves) then look into a new means of communication.
A large part of the reason I couldn’t see the Head Yell Leader was that you were all hugging the first deck. There were times that you were invisible even during the yell, I had to get by on crowd cues to know when the yell started. If you cannot see the middle and last seats of each of the decks then they cannot see you, stand a bit further back.
Though my undergraduate and graduate career (standing both in Corps Block and out) here at Texas A&M I’ve seen seven sets of Yell Leaders come and go, and they have gotten progressively worse; both in quality and cockiness. Please, make the eighth show improvement. It is important to note that you are already on a better track than many of your predecessors because you haven’t insisted on introducing and performing any new yells, so please fix these problems and make us glad we elected you.