Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Updates to and fro

Last week the two of us left our suddenly-chilly new hometown and drove the twelve hours to our sunny old hometown of Albuquerque for Thanksgiving. Due to my fairly flexible academic schedule, we were able to leave on Monday afternoon. All day Sunday and Monday morning I was feverishly checking various sources of weather information, as we'd been told Flash Floods were expected in northwest Arkansas on Monday night. My plan was to get the hell out of here ASAP to miss the weather.

Well, we got out of here in good time, but sadly hit much weather on the drive between Oklahoma City and Amarillo. We also stopped in Tulsa briefly so I could do some quick dress shopping. We spent the night at a cheap national brand chain hotel in Amarillo that pissed me off for several reasons. First, when we walked in together to check in, the desk clerk said "Nice jacket" but actually meant Doug and not me. Both of us were very confused, as people rarely compliment his clothing over mine. We were then promptly informed that "Corduroy is the new suede," which would have been hilarious had it not been followed by "Oh and you only booked this room for 1 person but as there are two of you I will have to charge you an additional $10. Is that OK?" No, that's not OK. When he said "all hotels do this," I had to bite my tongue from saying "Nice ones don't." I suppose I know from now on to just leave Doug in the car when I check into crap hotels in Amarillo.

Suffice it to say we made it to Albuquerque in one piece, and spent several days seeing friends, eating at places we'd missed, attending Geeks Who Drink on Tuesday night and spending time with Doug's family. I even swung by the VA for a few hours to see some of my old supervisors and got all caught up on VA life.

On Thursday morning we ran the Albuquerque Turkey Trek, an annual 5K race in the Old Town neighborhood of Albuquerque. It was pretty darn cold that morning, and leaving the house at 8am on vacation seemed mighty stupid, but we both finished the race and thus felt justified in stuffing our faces with turkey and other delicious Thanksgiving foods. Like pie. Anyway, it was officially my second-best 5K ever; I came in at 27:56, which felt pretty great considering I haven't been running that much and considering the change in altitude.

On Sunday, we made our first pass at driving the entire way back on one day. Armed with an Ipod stuffed full of tunes and many entertaining podcasts, the day still felt crazy long. In part because I felt the beginnings of a cold and was trying to drink as many fluids as I could...and my tiny bladder prompted us to make several stops. But we made it. We made it until after Thanksgiving to turn the heat on in our apartment, we made it safely to Albuquerque and back, and I am making it through this cold.

Sorry there aren't any pictures....but the only picture I have of the whole week is one from the race website with me running to the finish line, and it's one of the worst photos of me ever taken. If you really really care, you can look up the website yourself and I'll tell you that I'm photo number 1336.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hit That Line, Hit That Line, Keep on Going

Jenn went to Toronto for a conference. When Jenn leaves town, I go into bachelor mode. That means I don't bother making the bed, dishes don't necessarily get washed right away and taking showers and getting dressed become significantly lower on the priority list.

I got an email from one of our trivia teammates telling me that he won two tickets to the Razorbacks game, and he asked if I'd be interested in going. Sure, that seemed like a good enough reason to shower and get dressed. I put on the only red shirt I own, a shirt I bought at Target advertising the fictional beer Homer Simpson enjoys.

I don't have much of a background with college football. I grew up on Long Island where the attention is on New York's professional teams. Same deal with my time in Philadelphia and their temas. It wasn't until I moved to Albuquerque when I lived in a place where people cared about college football, and UNM's team is terrible, so I was able ignore the Lobos. Things are much more different in Fayetteville.

First off, the seating capacity in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium is about 70,000, which I can't really fathom. The only other college game I've been to was when I was in college.
University of Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens:
One of the nation's few female mascots.

University of Delaware's stadium holds about 22,000. I can't remember if the one game I went to was at capacity. I don't remember, because I may be confusing it with the only other time I went to Delaware Stadium -- the rainy graduation day 3 1/2 years later.

I would say all in all, the Razorbacks game was an interesting experience. It kind of reminded me of the first time I went to a church service. I didn't grow up in a religious household, so the first time I went to church was for some Cub Scout event. The priest would say something, and the congregation would say something back. People seemed to know when to stand and when to sit. I had no idea what was going on.

This was exactly like that. People did certain cheers at certain times. They would yell things in unison. I was lost, but fascinated.
It was pretty interesting to take it all in.

I was fortunate to be going with someone who has about the same amount of interest in the game. We can follow along without getting lost. And yeah, it's nice to cheer for the team, but we can't muster enough team spirit to "call the hogs."

Calling the hogs is when everyone in the stadium lifts their hands above their heads while giving spirit fingers, making a long, high-pitched "Woooooooooo" sound. That's followed by them yelling "Pig! Sooie!" They repeat that process two more times and then yell "Razorbacks."

Yeah, I'm not doing that.
We were "lucky" to be sitting in front of two people who spent the entire time yelling at the players on the field. They can't hear you, dudes.

I started thinking about this human condition that makes people want to yell things at people who can't hear them. I compared it to people who yell at the television. After thinking about it for a bit, I considered that yelling at the television was more acceptable. By my theory, the thing you're yelling at is actually in the room with you, so you have some psychological pull to yell at it since, hypothetically, the television would be able to hear you even though you're actually directing your anger at the people being shown in the television, even though they can't hear you. But then I started thinking that maybe that was more acceptable because if we're in the same room as the person yelling at the television, I most likely know the person well enough to tell them to shut up. I didn't really have that luxury here.

After the Razorbacks scored a touchdown, the guy behind me patted my shoulder. When I turned around, he yelled, "That's why we're #1!"

Actually, the Razorbacks were #7 at that point; which, while impressive, is not #1. Also, I've always had a problem with people who use the pronoun "we" when referring to their favorite team. You're not on the team. It's nice that you're a fan, and I'm sure they appreciate your support. But if you have to pay to see a game, then it's not "we," it's "they." That's why they're #7.

My favorite part was when they yelled, "C'mon, cheerleaders. Call the hogs! These cheerleaders are terrible." Apparently, even the cheerleaders weren't safe from these guys.
From where I was sitting, in some angles, this guy's head was blocking my view of part of the end zone, so I was only able to see "ZORBACKS." I amused myself by imagining and old couple complaining about an annoying family, the Zorbachs. "Ugh! I can't stand those people. Who do they think they are?"

I think it was funnier inside my head.
Neither of us were interested in leaving with the huge crowd at the very end of the game, so we left with about 10 minutes left in the game. Arkansas 42, Tennessee 7. At that point, a lot of people had the same idea as us, so we left with a large group of people anyway. Arkansas scored another touchdown after we left.

Despite my curmudgeonly aversion to team spirit, I'd have to say it was a good time worth doing again.