Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thanks for the Heads Up.

After completing my first semester, I have compiled a list of things I wish someone would have told me before heading down to Austin.

1. A college syllabus is for real. It's not like those lame high school ones where teachers give it to you to say that they did and so you can have a general idea of how the grading percentages work out. I honestly threw away every syllabus that I got in high school because they were really not very necessary. In college, a syllabus is the key to life. Professors stick to these and expect you to know when quizzes and exams are happening because "it's on the syllabus". Would have been nice to know.

2. All girls dorms kinda suck. Not that I'm bringing guys home every night or anything, but if one of my friends comes up while I grab something, I get the dirtiest looks from the girls studying in the living room downstairs. And it's not the fact that it's a friend coming up... it's the fact that my friend does not have boobs and a vagina. USually I just brush their looks off, especially when I come in late from a football game that they have no clue even happened. But when I'm trying to be courteous and keep a pal out of the elements, I think bitchy honors student girls should get over themselves and bury their noses back into their books.

3. Read read read. There is not enough time on the weekends to catch up on reading assignments when all of Saturday goes to football. There is also not enough time before midterms and finals to try to cram it all in with hopes of making an A. I wish staying caught up really would have been emphasized to me, though it may have taken me experiencing it myself for me to completely believe it anyway.

4. Workout times are hard to come by. With the stress of classes and the schedule of LHB, I really had a hard time getting over to Gregory. In addition to it being not so close to my dorm, it is always super crowded, no matter when you go. And I've heard the rec center is always fairly empty compared to Gregory, but that is literally on the opposite corner of the 40 Acres. While I'm struggling to keep up in class, the last thing that I wanna spend more precious time doing is going across campus, even if working out really is an enjoyable and stress-relieving activity. I was running and doing some ab work every day for a while, but then midterms came around and I decided that I was better served studying than sweating. Unfortunately, I never got back into the same routine. I miss the scheduled regularity from high school athletics, and after I excercise I really do feel better. Definitely something I'm going to get a hold of during the coming semester.

5. Desks in rooms serve little purpose. They are meant as a studying space, but only for those with strong self-discipline. I tried doing serious studying in my room for a while... that was not a success. Libraries are the best place, I've found, because everyone around you is doing it and it motivates you to stay focused. In my room, I'm on Facebook or YouTube goofing off instead of focusing on the material. In the libraries, I am infinitely more productive and feel more accomplished when I get home and finally get to sleep. So in the future, out of the room is definitely the way to go.

6. Um, and thanks for the warning about how much I would miss baesball season. It's different being in Austin during the offseason because I feel so far away from everything Rangers, and it breaks my heart. Austin seems devoted to the Astros, and I miss driving on highways and seeing random billboards for those wonderful boys of Arlington. I guess it's part of it, but I do miss being closer to the Ballpark in case I feel the need to make my heart smile by taking a visit. C'mon Spring Training... ya can't come soon enough :)

These surprises did not overshadow the greatness in this semester. More later on the highlights from Fall 2008 :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I would just like to share...

... that it is snowing in Austin, Texas. And not little whimpy flakes. They are big, fat, LEGIT flakes. Before I made it outside, I heard doors being slammed up and down the halls with girls eager to get outside and catch a flake on their tongues and eyelashes. I took a brief walk around campus and saw several streakers (typical) and cute couples walking hand in hand, cuddled up next to each other.

Though, this snow is kind of weird because it was literally 75 degrees this afternoon. I got breakfast/lunch in a tshirt and shorts, and I just put on leggings, long socks, pants, a long-sleeved shirt, tshirt, and jacket to go to the tower and back.

On my way back I heard several passing conversations of, "How am I supposed to study when it's doing this?!" and "OMG, I have a final tomorrow. But I've never seen snow before so I feel like I HAVE to be outside or something." It was kind of cool. Everyone had been buried in their books for hours and are planning on doing so for a couple more. However, with one swift mention of the word "snow", students jumped from their studying, piled on the layers, and were soon prancing about and giggling in the wintery weather like little kids. God plans the coolest study breaks.

The weather outside is FINALLY startin' to look a little frightful. And as I gaze out of my window at the sheet of white flakes floating down from the Austin sky, I can't help but whistle a familiar tune. After all, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Happy Finals, everyone :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Basking in the Shade

Got me thinking:
Mark 4:31-32: "[The kingdom of God] is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."
Hebrews 6:1: "Therefore let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying against the foundation of repentance of acts that lead to death, and of the faith of God..."
1 Corinthians 14:36-38: " Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ingores this, he himself will be ignored."
Philippians 1:25-26: "Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me."
Obviously up to interpretation, but this is what I got: Mature in faith from the mustard seed foundation from which you were given. Spread the good news and what Christ is doing in your life and be a disciple for God. You are not meant to be a dead end for His word, but rather a catalyst in spreading the good news that we do have an unconditional, loving God. Be a tree that people can bask in the glory of the Lord, reaching far and providing shade to those in search of it. The kingdom is INEVITABLE, so stop planning for the church in the future and help EXPAND the church in the now.

While discussing the American Revolution my HIS315K class last week and while I was zoning in and out of the lecture, I noticed something amusing. My professor was showing us the portrait on the left of Washington and went off on some random tangent (not uncommon), but while he was explaining it, this is what I saw...

I think what made it funnier is that it brought this image to my mind from one of my favorite movies, Airplane!...

I literally almost laughed out loud :)

Camille and I are going to take a look at a possible apartment for next year in a couple hours. Should be fun!!

And now to get back to writing about social narratives, norms, and competing moral orders in movies. I'm halfway done and it's due at 2 PM tomorrow. I've really got to get a hold of this procrastination issue.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My favorite center

Remember the centers from kindergarten or preschool? I always looked forward to the arts and crafts center WAY more than the house center. This is my creative effort for the week. All of these pictures were done in Paint, and yes, a five year old could do them better with his foot.

I took part in early voting this past week. Not only was I the only McCain-er in line (as made evident my the glares given right after Kristy shouted, "No you can't vote! You're gonna vote Republican!"), but I will be one of the only right-sided votes from the entire campus. Yeah minority.

LHB had Parents Weekend. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

This almost didn't happen. What an exciting game though, very intense. Now on to Texas Tech... it would have been a rough game anyway, but it being our final game of a four week Death March through the Big XII AND having the game in Lubbock is going to make it even tougher. Our team is just so tired... we can only hope they have four quarters left in them.

Camille and I were listening some good 'ol Shania Twain last night. When "Honey, I'm Home" came on, I was thrown back to those prepubescent years when Stacy rented a karaoke machine for a birthday party. After all her friends had left, I saw it fit to fill the Chadwell household with my beautiful rendition of the song. Thus, the end of my vocal career. (NOTE: the asteric around "pms" is because I thought I was breaking some sort of rule saying the term. I would always get super quiet when that part came around.. just to avoid any kind of trouble)

While bringing back laundry to my room last night, Aly, who lives next door, was walking out of her room. This was her outfit; the epitome of a trendy sheep. Please take notice in her overly fake-baked skin, 80s throwback of the sideways ponytail, the Tyler's shirt-Nike shorts combo that all the sorostitutes wear every single day, the random assortment of colors making up the Nike shorts, the UGG boots (completely unnecessary in last night's weather), AND the oh-so-favorite Coach bag. I had to run into my room and shut the door to avoid laughing right in front of her.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Finally, some time!

Apparently is has been a very long time since I've spilled my life into the world through my computer. I don't know how exactly to do this efficiently because quite a bit has happened over the past few weeks...

Alright, so OU Weekend was AWESOME! LHB left Friday morning, so I had to miss a couple classes. On the way down we watched True Lies, which is now the trumpet bus's favorite movie mainly because all of the guys had their jaw dropped in amazement of Jamie Lee Curtis and her undiscovered and very full chest. We arrived at Richardson HS around 3:30 and had rehearsal. My dad, Stacy, my cousin, and my uncle came, so seeing them in the stands was really a boost to the day. I was most proud of my uncle who, even though he has a Red Raider heart, came out to watch probably one of his least favorite college bands play one of his least favorite songs, haha. That night a few us went to BJ's to eat it seriously took us 3 and a half hours to get in, get food, and leave. Stupid Addison. Long night, 3 hours of sleep, and we were met with a lovely breakfast in the morning before we loaded up buses and headed to Fair Park. By the way, police escorts are so cool... we would never have gotten in/out efficiently without them. We went through regular warmup routines and whatnot, then were told to line up in parade block with the newmen at the front (lucky us). Because the only tunnel entrance in the Cotton Bowl is on the OU half of the stadium, those oh-so-kind Sooner fans lined up to give the Longhorn Band their best. They shouted such nice things like, "What the fuck is "fringe" anyway?" and "I bet you guys have great hairy butt sex down in Texas". Oh, and my personal favorite: "FUCK YOU!" Sooners are just so intelligent. Overall, the walk in was not that bad. I had heard horror stories of people trying to take mouthpieces and getting stuff thrown at them, but all that I really experienced were every cuss word in the book, to which I combated with a smile and a simple, confident "Hook 'em horns! Yeah, let's go Texas!" It was funny being in the middle of all of them because two of our drum cadence chants seemed to be louder than ever before: "Beat the hell outta OU!" and "OUFUCKINSUCKS!" (yes, one word as fast as it can be said). Wall-to-Wall Band during pregame went great and I got the tricky step-off in Grandioso... yay. Unfortunately during the game, I heavily relied on the jumbotron because, well, this was my view from where I sat on the last row of trumpets and almost the last row of the band:

Impressive, right? We were such media whores all day... any camera lense that was looking in our remote direction resulted in a massive upheaval of hook 'ems and jumping up and down so that we could tell friends and family, "I was the one near (some identifiable object) jumping up and down with a (some instrument) in my hands! Did you see me? You didn't?! Weird, I was jumping really high..." The actual game was the best sporting event that I have ever been to in my life. There were so many great plays, those that were controversial (the "Heisman Award for acting"), and of course the never-ending fight of that Texas team. It was so loud the entire game, and I had never experienced any atmosphere like that before. Oh, and in case you live in a freaking hole or something, we freaking BTHO OU 45-35! We marched out after crashing the ESPN Gameday post-game wrap up with a very loud and lively "Texas Fight", loaded buses, and arrived back in Austin at about 6:00. Had time to even have an evening... though I actually ended up staying in and passing out from exhaustion.

Last night was initiation for Betas, but I won't go into detail because I think it's supposed to be a secret AND I'm way too lazy to recall everything about the process. Two main feelings: very smelly and very cold. But with the initiation brings the 2008 pledge classes official induction into Beta Lambda Gamma "sorority." I use that term loosely because we really aren't like a regular sorority in that we don't do any kind of community services, pay any dues (as far as I know), and are not even official by university standards. We purely exist to host parties and have a good time. Our first mission is the Halloween party. The new classes of Beta-Bunch (Bunchers are our brother frat that function pretty much on the same guidelines) are completely in charge of putting that on... should be fun :)

School work has really picked up and I've been kind of stressed out lately trying to keep up. I decided to drop Astronomy for a couple reasons. Number one, the lecture style is not for me. It's extremely difficult to understand the prof and his tests NEVER consist of anything from lecture. Two, all the times that review sessions and homework help are hosted, I have LHB. The class is hard and I need these times if I want to do well on every-week pop quizzes and and impossible tests. And three, my GPA would have suffered had I stayed in the class with the circumstances at hand. It's hard for me to quit anything and is definitely not in my personality to wave the white flag. I think it was a mature decision and is beneficial for where I am at right now.

Had my first sleep in yesterday morning. Was finishing up some Beta flask-making until 11:30, got home about 11:50 and began a 5 pg paper about Rangers Ballpark in Arlington at midnight. Completed that at about 4:30, showered and was in bed by 4:45. I was hoping my body would take the nap approach and treat the sleep as just a little snooze session. I even put my alarm on extra loud to make sure that I wake up and get to my 8 o'clock (for which the paper was due) and my 9:30 (for which I have a midterm on Tuesday). I rolled over at 10:35, said a brief, frustrated word in realization that I missed both classes, and emailed my prof to see if I could still get the interpretation essay in by the 11 o'clock deadline. A quick stroll over to his office across the street and I experienced victory.

After watching "Under the Tuscan Sun" earlier this afternoon, I have decided that I want to live in Italy someday. Ok, maybe more realistically at least visit.

I'm kind of tuning in and out of a Big Foot program. They exist. So do ghosts and aliens. Judge me if you will.

For all of you C-line trumpeteers out there, "Carmen" totally looks like "Comer". If you disagree, you should consider sucking it :)

Big game tomorrow!! Mizzou will be tough and it'll be interesting to see how the Horns respond after last Saturday's win. We'll see if we can contain Chase Daniel and that fierce Tiger offense. LHB is playing on ESPN College Gameday tomorrow from 10-11... check it out!

Oh, and LSU won the Battle of the Bands. Thank you everyone for voting, but apparently LSU's slightly less than subtle dancers PLUS their pity card won them the $25,000. Oh well. 'Twas fun, nonetheless.

For your enjoyment: "The Eyes of Texas" from Texas-OU...

Told ya this post was gonna be long.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm gonna be on NATIONAL TV!!

Alright, so here's the deal: ESPN came out a few weeks ago to shoot Longhorn Band playing the Indiana Jones theme to help promote the release of the DVD that I guess is pretty soon. Six other bands were also filmed playing their own rendition of the theme, and we are all competing for the feature spot on ESPN Gameday, our footage to be on the DVD, AND $25,000. And here is where I need YOUR help... Winners are decided based on who gets the most votes. You can vote once a day, so if everyone holds true to that we should be able to win this. Go ahead and watch the other bands if you want, but you will realize very soon that VOTING TEXAS is clearly your best choice :)

Reasons why we are going to win:
1. We got a night-time shooting at DKR... badass.
2. Big Bertha.
3. Our arrangement of the theme is the best.
4. "They Eyes of Texas" is at the very end of the song because we're awesome and super proud that we are Longhorns.
5. Our feature twirler, Alexa, uses FLAMING BATONS.
6. Our trumpets don't frack nearly as many notes as some of the others, most notably USC.

And of course, because that is yours truly at 1:43. Yep. Hello America... my name is Rebecca Chadwell and my hat is too big.

Seriously though, tell your friends and vote every day up to October 11! Hook 'em!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Do you ever wonder...

... what it's like to be on a field in front of 98,000 screaming football fans wearing burnt orange? Your wait is over.

This didn't last long because I turned my camera on too late. I was going to get the last part of cadence, the entrance through the sealed gates, AND the drumline, but all that I really got was drumline. Maybe I'll try at the next home game... (blogspot won't upload the video and it won't let me embed the youtube vid... so there is link)

And this one is unnecessarily long because I wasn't sure exactly how long we'd be waiting in the tunnel. The first week we ran through, last week we waited for like 10 minutes... so I just kept rolling. Sorry about the quality. Number one, it's a camera, not a video camera. Number two, it was really bright, so that combined with a lot of movement kinda freaked the camera out. And number three, it was really really stinking loud. You won't get the full effect, but I figure it can give you a taste of the rush that comes with the intro to a University of Texas football game!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My heart is slowly breaking.

Many of you probably didn't know this because you don't care, but yesterday was the Rangers' last home game for the 2008 season. We won 14-4 in a very fitting, offensively strong showing, but also had a fantastic performance by rookie Matt Harrison. He is one of many reasons to be excited for the upcoming seasons; however, keep in mind that it may not be next season quite yet. The team still has some polishing to do like settling on one solid catcher and narrowing down the very talented outfield, tasks which I'm sure John Hart, Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels, and Ron Washington have already started working on. Which, by the way, what in the world are we going to do with Hank Blalock?! I hate trading him off, but we don't have a spot for him and he is definitely great trading material in trying to find reliable starting pitching. Decisions decisions decisions. 2009 will be better... hopefully more like the Texas Rangers we all witnessed and loved in June and July.

I'm going to miss baseball. I already am. Although, I guess I've had an easy let down. Little by little the Rangers are slowly vanishing from my life this season. I was pretty hardcore for a while, but then I had to leave for Austin where I only get the game if they show it on FSN and decide to go with the Dallas feed instead of the Houston feed. Then I had Hell Week for LHB, where I didn't do anything except bond with my trumpet. Next came some off time, so I could watch games here and there, but it got to where I didn't want to because they had gotten so bad. Yesterday was the last time we'll see The Ballpark in 2008 (and you guys have no idea how freaking badly I wanted to be there). And Sunday afternoon is the final game of the season, that thankfully will be shown on FSN. I guess I gotta find some other team to care about in October... again.
(subnote: Mr. Huston Street did not pitch yesterday. I haven't seen him throw at all this season... how very very sad.)

And now for a few other random things floating through my brain...

I took an Astronomy test on Monday. Wanna know how it went? Let's see... do you know how long a day in Alaska is in comparison to a day in Texas? Yeah, neither did I (and we NEVER learned that. I pay attention and take great notes in that class. It's nowhere to be found).

Apparently an elephant was electrocuted to death at Coney Island as entertainment way back in the day. We watched it in my AMS class.

Tofu=GROSS. I thought I'd give it a shot since the Kinsolving cafeteria has it all the time. Don't ever do that. It tastes like plastic and I couldn't even find it in myself to swallow. ...that's what she said (I'm sorry, I'm sorry.. I typed it and had to complete what half of you guys are undoubtedly thinking).

Season 5 of "The Office" premeires tonight!!! :D I have missed the Jim-Dwight antics.

So I went to a bible study last night with a friend. Not gonna lie, I was kind of skeptical on if I would find a place that I could experience some spiritual guidance, but I left that lecture hall so insanely refreshed I just felt like passing out on the South Mall. I've felt like something has been missing since I've moved down here, but I kinda just chalked it up to not having family around and being in a place that I don't know every nook and cranie nearly as well as I knew Denton's. After going to the hour and half rejuvenation period last night, I immediately knew that I had found a place that I can continue to attend and grow closer to God. One of the best parts was when current students got up and gave personal testimonies about how they are giving complete control to the Lord, acknowledging that He has a plan, and sharing the amazing ways that He is working in their lives. This really struck me because it wasn't an adult pastor or even an upper-20s youth leader looking back at their college years... it was a student just like me, experiencing UT right now, still professing this kind of faith, and committing to whatever God has in store for them. The hall was so alive with God's presence that I found myself reaching up to wipe away a small tear during the praise songs. It was so inspirational, which is something I have been missing for a very long time. I cannot wait until next week.

Going home next weekend. It's the only weekend I have off pretty much the entire first semester and I want to see my dog. And OF COURSE my family :) My full size bed, bigger than 11'5" x 17'9" single room, and carpeted floor are calling my name.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Message to the Masses.

Dear Students of the University of Texas,

After being with you for all of 3 weeks, I have a few things to say:
  1. Learn to walk: As I hope you have noticed, there are busier times around campus when everyone is trying to get to class. This is NOT the time to spread 7 across the entire sidewalk (which, by the way, was built big enough to accommodate large amounts of people, so that's saying something if you are blocking it). If you are a slower walker (which is ok.. really, that doesn't bother me) you should consider walking as close to the grass as possible. Better yet, just be aware of the people around you that would like to move a little quicker. If you are in the center of the sidewalk and get that strange feeling like someone is staring a laser beam right through your skull, someone probably is and that someone is probably me.
  2. Learn to ride a bike: Just because your mode of travel has two wheels instead of two feet, that does not mean you are more important. Ok, maybe it does, but you guys really should watch the people around you. I was trying to get to my Kines class at Bellmont yesterday (only 5 minutes late... I'm getting faster, haha) and heard the dreaded my-bike-is-on-coast-because-I'm-going-down-a-hill clicky sound, making me turn around just in time to jump out of the way of an biker. Instead of riding on the emptier side of the shrubbery, you choose to plow through the thick of the student population around Speedway and 24th. You know the spot. Invest in a bell or something... it would help us out. Note to fellow walkers: get out of the way of these inconsiderate bikers. They will not stop and they will run you over like the insignificant piece of foot traffic that you are.
  3. Learn to SPEAK!: Holy freaking crap, I had no idea that communication is really this difficult. What could be said in 5 seconds you find a way to drag out to an entire pain-staking minute of awkwardness and word fumbling. Plan what you are going to say before you open your mouth. And I don't mean be ridiculous and prepare every single word, but have at least your first sentence in your mind. I have noticed that many of you hand-raisers have the general concept (actually, I'm being generous... some have the general concept) of what you'd like to share with the class, but I've heard SO many answers/responses that just meander through the brain that is attached to the speaking mouth that I want to smack you across the face. And if you watch the professor you are talking to, they nod their head and try to interject to keep moving, yet you continue to try to make sense and think aloud. Class time would be insanely more efficient if you would just be concise in your thought. Better yet, let someone else speak. I bet they can get the message across without misleading their peers to write random, pointless notes trying to follow your thought pattern.
  4. Learn to smell like nothing: Regular body aroma is one thing, but when you use coconut melon shampoo, raspberry conditioner, sweet pea body splash, and vanilla lotion, that is not being nice to those forced to sit next to you for 45 minutes or 75 minutes. If you find that your chair neighbor is leaning away from you, constantly has their hand to their nose, or is sneezing, I may be talking to you. Pick one scent. It's not bad to smell nice, it's bad to have everything that the nose identifies as "girlie" on your body at the same time.
  5. Learn this: Yes, everyone is eavesdropping on your conversation in hopes of hearing something to add to the great Facebook group "Overheard at UT." Happy convos!!

If you do not apply to any of these issues, then I love you for making Austin awesome. Thank you for using your brain. And that is sincere, no sarcasm here :)

ESPN comes out tonight for band, meaning it is fringe time. Not sure which I'm going to count as my first fringe experience, though... tonight to sit in the stands and play the Indiana Jones theme or on Saturday when we BTHO Arkansas. Probably the game... sounds way cooler.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Guess what I just wasted an hour doing?

Yep. Could have read about how "landscape in America" is not just a reference to mountains, bison, and city skylines. I'm not even sure why I did this. It started with me simply wanting a good picture of Mr. Street for the background on my laptop. Then it sort of evolved into, "Well, there are too many good ones, so I'll just cheat and use a few". Realization: "Oh wait, I don't have any kind of program that merges pictures. [googliiiiiiiing] Solved." And would ya look at that? 1 hour and 13 minutes later and I have a new desktop collage assured to bring smile upon every face that sees it.

Alright... onward to real work. In 12 hours I will be sitting in my AMS class (which, by the way, I'm not sure what I should call that. AMS class? Some people might not know what that means.. and I don't want to deter them from reading these oh-so-exciting insights into my brain. Alright, then draw it out: American Studies class. Then I'm asked what that is. Oh, it's my writing component. But the title of the actual course also sounds pretty nifty: American Places of Leisure. Right? But that takes too long to both say and write. Ugh... anyway, there you have my internal struggle). I'm expected to have all 16 pages of "Axioms for Reading the Cultural Landscape of America" by 8 tomorrow morning. Early classes can suck it.

Yesterday in my US Hist class, we talked in great lengths about the Mona Lisa and why she smiles, if she is actually smiling, what she is physically hiding behind her, her posture, etc. Many took the intelligent approach and said that she is arrogant because she knows something that we don't. Others believed she is not smiling at all, but more grimacing because she really didn't want to sit that long to be painted (stupid). Then one of our 300+ class's finest raised her orange little hand:

probable sorority girl: "Well, maybe her teeth are just really ugly and she didn't want to show them. I mean, when I had braces I never smiled."
class: "/awkward silence/ ha... ha. yeeeeeah.."

Oh the things you learn to not say at UT.

Done by 11 tomorrow. Can't argue with that.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Round No. 1

First Week of Classes: Well, kind of the first week. Everyone pretty much just gave us a syllabus then gave the always favorite "peace out". My Astronomy professor is alright... he's got a British accent but also has a speech impediment of some sort, so it makes listening to him for extended amounts of time slightly difficult. Sociology should be cool. Oh, except for the cross-campus treck that I am being asked to make in 10 minutes right after the class (which is completely unrealistic). Picture a box the size of, oh, let's say 40 acres. I go from the top left corner of the box to the right side of the box. And I can't leave Soc early because the prof is pretty insistent that he needs his full 50 minutes from 9-9:50. Intro to the Management of Sports starts at 10 at Bellmont (part of the stadium) and that prof is pretty insistent that we be on time. This may take a bit of negotiating. My American Places of Leisure writing course should be alright though. We will be writing about stadiums, parks, bars, bridges, malls, etc. in search of what attracts people to these places. And as an added bonus, my prof is kinda cute and witty, making the 8 AM start on TTH not quite as painful :)

First Pre-Game: Coolest thing ever. I thought I would be insanely nervous being in front of 98,000 people, but there was really no time to think about anything at all. We marched from the Music Building to DKR doing all the chants and dancing and people were stopping what they were doing to watch and cheer for us. Video cameras everywhere, flashes from the top of the stadium as we approached it.. it was pretty sweet. We went in through the huge university sealed gates and started to line up in the tunnel waiting to enter onto the field. My favorite part of the whole game experience yesterday was all the people that were crowded around the tunnel along the orange railing (see pictures in previous post) and that were lining up and shoving others out of the way to give high fives to us. To us. The band. I'd never experienced any enthusiasm and school spirit like that given toward the band. I tried to get my camera out to record the whole tunnel bit, but it didn't really work out (I'll give it another shot when we play Arkansas in a couple weeks). Pre-Game happened just like it should... and I DIDN'T MAKE ANY HORRIBLE MISTAKES! I was worried that the crowd would be intimidating, but again, there really wasn't any time to think about it. Once I finally looked around, I was already marching across the Bevo at midfield playing Texas Fight. We finished up and I paused to capture the moment:

First UT Game with LHB: Went well. Wasn't ridiculously crowded in the stands. And playing with a 400-member group is just spectacular... I am loving the fact that I cannot hear myself. The actual football game was kinda boring, but it was FAU. Each game will progressively get more exciting.

First Halftime/First Brush with Fame: Again, went okay. Easy show for the most part. Boring, but easy. Following the leader is always fun. Matthew McConoughey was there (like at every game), so I snagged a picture of him on the sideline as we went back to the stands.

First College Crush: Hot Snare Boy. I can't help it, he is just so dang good looking. It doesn't even really matter because nothing will come of it, but he took a step when I didn't and bumped his snare into my butt a couple days ago. I apologized for not giving him some more room, to which he simply grabbed my shoulder and said, "No no, don'tworry about it. It was my fault. *cue irrestible smile*" Talk about some weak knees... I felt like I was 80 or something. And I'm sure I just had a goofy grin on my face, which is exactly why I smiled but then turned away pretty quick.

First Day Off: It's nice. Woke up at 11:45 after being out kinda late last night... plus the fact that I was apparently completely exhausted. Got some breakfast/lunch across the street, did a little cleaning and picture uploading, and am about to read 42 exhilirating pages of "What is Sociology?" I'll head over to the gym in a bit... it's just so amazing that I can't not use it when I have some time. But my FAVORITE thing about today is probably the fact that, at this very moment, I am singing a familiar FSN theme as we close out the 8th inning of some good 'ol Ranger baseball. It is the first time since I have been in Austin that I have gotten to watch them, making this tiny little dorm feel a bit more like home.

Tomorrow is Labor Day. Yay for no class!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hell Week is OVER :D

Austin has been home for only a week, but it feels like SO much longer. Unfortunately, pretty much all I've done is band the whole time, so indulge me while I discuss how AMAZING Longhorn Band is (with a litle bit of generic UT/Austin):

  1. It is called "Hell Week" for a reason. Rehearsals from 8:30 AM to 9:30 PM make for quite a long day. Mornings have started in the Bubble, afternoons were filled with a 70-member trumpet sectional followed by a 400 member full band rehearsal. Evenings was more Bubble work. Yay for lunch and dinner breaks.
  2. I never gave audition results... I made C-line, basically meaning that I get to play first part aaaaaall season long. Woo. We have C, D, E, and F lines, C being the highest, so I guess the tryout went well.
  3. This is the loudest I have played in my life.
  4. My lips hate me. I seriously cannot feel them anymore and it's been that way since about Saturday. I haven't played my trumpet this much... well, ever.
  5. The trumpet section is kickass. Ninety-five percent of us were section leaders/drum majors at our high school. Makes for MUCH faster learning. And everyone is nice, really down to earth, and insanely funny. There is never a dull moment.. it's great!
  6. Speaking of much faster learning, I can officially get through Pregame and our first halftime show for Saturday without dying. Pregame consists of the last half of Texas Fight, some new fanfare that the fans are supposed to love, Taps (Texas Fight with our semi-high knee taps stride down the field and back), March of the Longhorns, National Anthem, Deep in the Heart of Texas, Calypso, Grandioso, The Eyes of Texas, and more Texas Fight. While playing all of that, we move as a block down the field AND flip the thing around, make an interlocking UT, and a big T for the football team to run through. At halftime we do "Script Texas" and entertaine the crowd by playing The Yellow Rose of Texas, March of the Longhorns, Calyspo, and, of course, some good 'ol Texas Fight.
  7. I realize that if you are actually reading this, it is likely that you don't know many, if any of listed songs. I mainly just wanted to make the point that I have learned and memorized a mind-blowing amount of music in the past week.
  8. Referring back to the Taps in No. 5, the 180 that we do on the field is deadly. I have two counts to turn around and get two steps out of the way of the ridiculously hot snare drummer that marches behind me. I bumped into his elbow the first time we ran through it. It's questionable whether it was on accident or not. And this other tenor player (also very good looking) finds it amusing to lower his drums a slight bit as we pass each other. Something about it being funny to watch me flinch.
  9. That reminds me: I didn't see too many gorgeous guys when I first got here, but as campus as filled in and I have talked more to Hot Snare Boy, I find that UT is living up to my expectations as far as looks go. Example: I went to Spicy Pickle for lunch yesterday with Kristy, Alex, Julia, and Michelle. As we were walking in, two very tall, athletic, jaw-droppingly hot guys came walking out wearing Texas Baseball shirts. Then it hit me... I could have just walked past the future Mr. Right and not even known it.
  10. It's humid. The air-conditioned Bubble is a gift from God. And a Modern Marvel. We should be on the History Channel.
  11. LHB had our annual Stadium Rehearsal last night. We had to be barefoot because Coach Brown didn't want us messing up the million dollar grass. Out of habit, I picked like two blades out, then realized that I'll probably find $350 added to my "What I Owe" page. The stadium is spectacular, though. These aren't my pictures because I was a n00b and didn't take my camera, but there are some pictures at the bottom of the post of the tunnel in the new North endzone and the beautiful addition of seats. It is SAWEEEEET.
  12. Mack Brown came and talked to us. He was a really nice guy. Very down-to-earth.
  13. ESPN is coming out next Thurs to film LHB in the Bubble (in full fringe attire) and will post us on their website for fans to vote for the favorite college band in the country. If we win, we get $25,000. And they will put our footage as a bonus feature on the DVD of the new Indiana Jones movie when it comes out. Not sure how exactly college band/football is related to that, but whatever. It's gonna be kind of nerve-racking... NATIONAL MEDIA there filming us. And I play trumpet and find myself to be at the front of the band most of the time, meaning it's quite possible that the cameras will be on or around me alot. That would not be the time to be faking some piece of music that is supposed to be memorized. I'll give you guys the link once it gets up and all.

Classes start tomorrow... The main reason I am here to begin with. It's kinda weird because I have been so consumed with all things LHB. Should be interesting.

Oh, and I love letters. Seriously. They make my heart go BOOM! Write me, yo!
210 Littlefield
2503 Whitis Ave.
Austin, TX 78705-9008

No excuses :)

The Tunnel.

Drumline. Can't see Hot Snare Boy. And I'm somewhere behind one of those tall trombone players.

See the orange railing? Fans can stand there and scream and yell with us as we get ready to go out. It's gonna be awesome.

This is Alex. In the background is Michelle. Alex's face pretty much tells how we all felt, haha.

Pregame block before Texas Fight. I'm on the other side of the goal posts. So is Hot Snare Boy.

This is that Taps thing I was talking about. We go all the way down and come all the way back. And we all get grossly sweaty. I don't care how much of an athlete you think you are... this is TIRING.

Mr. Mack Brown ladies and gentlemen, haha. He's like a flying pterodactyl.

The beautiful North Endzone.

It's huge. And it's the dang endzone.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

So Far So Good.

Well, the move went well. Here is my new home:

So yes. Yay college dorms.

Pretty much all I've have done since being in Austin is walk to the music building, grab trumpet, walk to the Bubble, march march march, take trumpet back to music building, play play play, free lunch, more Bubble and more play. My lips are chapped, to say the least. And though it seems I am complaining, it really is cool to be here. I mean, I have played the intro and first phrase to Texas Fight about a kajillion times (hopefully with many many more to come), but the fact that I am here and getting to play it is absolutely amazing. I do find, however, that I either have Texas Fight or any of the six Led Zeppelin songs that have been drilled into our heads the past couple days stuck in my head at all times.

But I'm not complaining :)

Auditions tomorrow morning and afternoon (both playing and marching) to be followed by the postings of the 2008-2009 Showband of the Southwest at 7:00 PM... I'll feel much better after that.

Bed time. Rehearsal in the Bubble at 8 AM, which means leaving shortly after 7:15 to allow a 10-15 minute walk, time to get my trumpet from my locker and walk the 5-10 minutes from the MBE to said rehearsal sight.

And my calves hurt.

Friday, August 15, 2008

It started with the bat.

I restored my trunk today to its former glory (before it became my rabbit hole). This may sound like a very minor task, but the trunk of my car has been my permanent softball stash for the past two and half years... So in a way, and as lame and cliche as it sounds, the clearing out of this horde resembled the final clearout of what was left of high school in my life. I mean, excluding friends and such.

I separated things into "keep" and "trash" piles, throwing away three of four pairs of cleats, most of my hand warmers that undoubtedly have stopped working, a couple water bottles, four tennis balls (I was always prepared for a good game of Wall Ball), a mini-nerf football (Wacky-Pack prize, and I kept it because ya never know when you might need it), and the older and crustier of two pairs of batting gloves. Things I kept: old glove (as an extra and because it's hard to just trash a trusty, worn-in mitt), my current glove (though I'm not sure it still qualifies as "current"), my better pair of batting gloves, Ringor cleats, softball bag (thank you Coach Sterling for letting that one slip through your fingers my freshman year :D), two tennis balls, a head band, pre-wrap, and 5 softballs.

I felt better after I had finished because that really was the last flare of high school needing closure before I leave on Tuesday. But while I was trying to decide what was to be kept, I found myself picking up my old OKC bat... just to give it a swing or two. Next came the batting gloves followed by what has become an extension of my left hand over the past 12 years of my life. Honestly, it didn't feel like anything had changed. I've played for so long that when a bat and glove are put into my hands, it's just like picking right back up where I had left off at the end of season. It threw me back in time, leaving me desperate for a simple game of catch or some energy-relieving batting practice, in which I would prefer to be chasing down balls in the outfield. I was sad on April 25th when the seniors played our last game, but I think I will be more sad when February rolls around and the overcast, cold weather kicks in. To me, that is softball time.

A long way from where I originally began, but yes... trunk cleanout. I am ready for Tuesday now :D

Meanwhile, I just watched The Merman win his seventh gold medal. And it wasn't by much: one one-hundredth of a second. Michael Phelps really is something else.

And the Boys of Arlington are losing 6-0 in the bottom of the 7th. Our offense hasn't been the same since the chaotic 19-17 loss at Fenway on Monday. It seems our pitching staff can single handedly extinguish the fire under the Ranger bats. We are so close to greatness... it's maddening.

Last Friday in Denton. Woo! :D

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Este y Esto

That title is my tribute to the Mexicans taking the bronze medal in some women's diving competition tonight in Beijing. It was funny watching this event because the divers count down so that they jump and twist and whatnot in time, thus improving their score. I learned how to say "go" in Chinese: Ah (and I know the spelling is not right, but that's how it sounded). And upon the Australian team saying "Ready... go", I confirmed my suspicions that if I ever marry out of country, he will be from Down Under. It's just such a spectacular accent. I mean... the whole country was founded as a place for British outlaws. How badass is that?

China won the gold medal for the women's synchronized platform diving. They look the exact same (and like little boys, I might add). Crazy Communists. I bet they bred them to be Olympians.

Michael Phelps is a merman. He was just given legs... like Ariel in The Little Mermaid.

Check this out:
Go to "Get Directions", type in whatever starting point you want but have it finish at "Dean Keaton and University, Austin, TX". Once you have those directions pulled up, click on the destination bubble (the big green B that is in Austin). Zoom in to the next to highest bar and click the "street view" box in the upper right corner of the map display. Put the little orange man (his color is oh so fitting) right to the right of the words "W 26th St". The image that appears will automatically face you toward a tanish building. Do a 180 and face an old-looking brown building that has trees in front of it as well as a bus stop and some benches. See it? That's where I will be living at this time next week :D I was talking to Stacy earlier and she was asking if I was excited to be realizing the timeline at hand. My response, "If I were to pee my pants, that still wouldn't relieve all of the energy and jitters that come with it." She found that amusing.

I finally got the hang of my job just in time to leave it. My last day is Friday, and though I'm no where close to sad that I get to throw up the dueces to Holiday Inn-Denton, it is kinda frustrating that I have learned all of it just to forget it all over the coming semester. Oh well.

Had a guy come in today. Imagine on . He was from Poland, wore a tight white undershirt, smelled like the unpleasant mix of raisens, dead flowers, and rotten chicken, and had a little tassle of gems hanging off of the antenna on his cell phone. That was a pleasant start to the morning...

Wanna know why I don't want the Rangers to win the Wild Card this year? Against the Red Sox tonight, the Rangers fell behind 10-0 in the first inning courtesy of Scott Feldman. Because God has blessed this club with an unbelievable offense, we came back from that and took at 14-15 lead in the sixth inning. Jamey Wright comes in and gives up a run. Tie ballgame. Next inning my LEAST favorite pitcher on the staff Frank Francisco gives up a GRAND FREAKING SLAM to Kevin Youkilis after intentionally walking David Ortiz. Our pitching staff is not ready for the playoffs... at all. They are way too unreliable and will undoubtedly let us down if we were to miraculously fight our way back and clinch the Wild Card. This year is not the year. I want them to get close... I want them to taste success and play games that matter late in the season. But it's not about 2008. Just be patient.

On the plus side, how about Marlon Byrd?! The dude is on fire. I think Josh Lewin said earlier that he is batting like .600 on the road. Ridiculous.

Families are great. And if you could hear my tone of voice, you would realize that I am being completely sarcastic.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I Had A Dream

Andrew, my dad, and I watched the Olympic Opening Ceremonies last night on NBC (Did anyone else see that "The Office" commercial when Jim invents the new Olympic sport of slap face? Hilarious). We were thoroughly impressed with the expected awe surrounding the ceremonies, but one of my favorite parts of the whole thing was the torch bearer (with some name that I would never be able to remember) running around the stadium, suspended in the air. That was amazing, not to mention extremely creative. Good job crazy, communist China. Priceless moments included U.S. flagbearer Lopez Lomong leading the team around the track (if you don't know about his miraculous story, go check it out... it really is worth it), and the little Chinese earthquake survivor/hero getting to walk next to the 7 ft Yao Ming at the front of the Chinese team. Andrew's favorite part of last night was the one athlete from a country smaller than humble 'ol Denton who had a cartoon-like unibrow. Seriously, there was no skin to be had above the bridge of this guy's nose. I would say that he is from some Russian-like, European country, but that would be stereotypical of me. Oh, I watched a bit of handball when I woke up this morning. What the hell kind of game is that? That game is probably what would result from a soccer, hockey, basketball, ultimate frisbee foursome.

I guess I have been thinking about this whole I'm-moving-in-nine-days thing a lot with the official beginning of serious packing. Dream-me awoke to a situation that involved me wandering around the supposed Littlefield Dormitory looking for Room 210. I had two very heavy boxes, but kept descending down what seemed to be a never-ending flight of stairs in pursuit of my new home. As Dreamworld would have it no other way, my room was at the very bottom of this Stairway to Hell, but as I jiggled my key and opened the door, the room that I found inside was spectacular. Carpet, a reasonably-sized closet, and a great view of the lovely Tower out of an old school rotate-the-handle-to-open-me window. The plan for the actual day of move-in is to have my dad, Andrew, and Stacy help me out since it might take me forever to do it all alone. However, in the dream, the fam did not arrive until after I had not only moved everything to the room, but also after I unpacked and set it all up. Typical. Andrew walked in and the first thing he said was, "It sucks," and he left. Suddenly, a chapter skip. I was sitting on my bed and decided that I REALLY had to pee. Luckily, there were signs directing me to the restroom/shower area, so I played the freshman role and followed them without thought. Next thing I knew I was cutting clear across a large, empty parking lot headed towards a building with the restroom stick figures plastered all over it.

When I woke up, I felt compelled to analyze my own dream (never a good idea). This is what I concluded:
  1. The UT campus is huge. While finding my room will not be a challenge because my dorm really is pretty tiny, subconsciously I am slightly skeptical of my abilities to navigate the 40 Acres the first couple of days.
  2. My family is going to time their arrival with when I get out from some LHB picnic so that they can help me unload my car. Hope they can make it...
  3. I know that my room will not have carpet, but I honestly am wondering how comfortable and home-y I can make the place seem. I just don't want to feel like I'm permanently staying in a hotel from August to May.
  4. I want my brother's approval on where I will be living. His opinion means a lot to me and I will miss him more than he probably knows.
  5. Community baths are gonna SUCK.

Submitted my first tuition payment today. I am officially in.

Nine days. At this time in two weeks I will no longer sleep in this house. At this time in two weeks Austin will be home. At this time in two weeks my Longhorn experience will have begun. In nine days... everything changes.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Point of No Return.

Ranger game got done semi-early last night, but Stacy, me, and her friend talked for a bit, and by the time I got home and discussed the game con mi padre, it was like 1:30 or 2 when I was crawling into bed. I woke up at 5 (note: ON TIME!), giving me less than 5 hours to recharge myself, so I found that getting out of my beloved sleeping zone really wasn't too difficult. Got ready, got to work a whole two minutes early, but by 6:45, a mere 45 minutes into my shift, I hit a wall (not literally, though that has happened). Honestly, the dark circles under my eyes were so bad that it probably looked like I got in a serious fight and lost... TWICE. Despite my urge to do a "room service" call just to go sleep on one of the spectacular beds for like 20 minutes, I fought through the day and bitchy customers for the sake of $4.25 an hour. Great incentive, don't laugh at me.

The main thing I want to do right now is sleep. It is one of my favorite activities and it has been far too long since I have had the privilege of gazing at the back of my eyelids. And that time will have to be postponed even further due to a party tonight. Don't get me wrong, I love parties as much as the next person, but I'm taking bets on how long I will last. I'm hoping that I meet the threshold at fatigue and delirium and conquer it with flying colors. Otherwise, the fun night will turn out to be quite the bummer. Party starts at 10.Hopefully I'll make it that far :D

Men Who Have My Heart:

This is ONE reason why I just love Mr. Ian Kinsler.

Is an explanation really even required?

Took some time, but I would definitely consider myself a Milton Bradley fan.

Yeah I could have gone for one of his picture-perfect swings, or even a shot from the recent national media funfest that was the Home Run Derby, but this picture is hilarious. Josh Hamilton is so cool :D

First game in the Majors: Brandon Boggs slides feet first for a ball tailing toward the wall. He catches the ball, but his knee takes a direct hit to the concrete strip at the bottom, and with a loud thud, Ranger fans saw exactly what Brandon Boggs is all about :)

Gotta love Marlon's attitude.

100% spectacular.

Chris Davis deserves a picture out of the Ranger garb. Look at those killer eyes, I mean really...

Typical Gerald Laird.

I love Teagarden for multiple reasons, but it's a definite plus that he is a former Longhorn :)

The proud owner of the longest last name in the league: Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Ramon Vazquez is on probation with me. I've always liked him, but when he starts cuttin' down my team and all the guys that work so hard to make it better, it just kinda bumps you down my People-Who-I-Think-Are-Cool list, of which spots are highly coveted ;)

I know Eddie Guardado is not in a Ranger uniform, but this is a lot of what makes Eddie Eddie.

And of course, the beautiful cathedral at which God's greatest game is played.

/sigh/ And people wonder why I'm so much different during the 6 month span from April to September. And real fans (not people who like Josh Hamilton and are, by association, Ranger/baseball EXPERTS) are those who wait patiently for that glorious season in which our boys from Texas will postpone the off-season for a month and journey into the playoffs. And if you find yourself laughing because you don't see how the Rangers could ever make it to October, give them a couple years and keep your foot close. You'll need it to put in your mouth.