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.