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I get a few polls emailed to me now and again. One of them always asks the same control questions at the end of the survey. The question asked is: "Do you consider yourself to be mostly a resident of your city or town, America, or the planet Earth?"

The question is asked to be able to discern your outlook, how you frame things. A worldly person would see, and probably obtain news differently from someone who is more city-focused.

I have to say, I don't know exactly how to answer the question. I mean obviously I'm all three, but I can't say for sure what my outlook is best described as. I'd also like to add that I'm a resident of my state. It might not mean much to others, but Texas is it's own little world.

As for getting information, I'm not very city-foucused. I sometimes pick up the Dallas Morning news, especially if a copy has been left out in the cafeteria at work, but I don't make a habit of going online for it, same with the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I still watch the Houston Chronicle more, and could tell you more about the news there than here.

I take a look at the national news, focusing more on the political and entertainment stories, but am I happy to call myself an American? I'm much more likely to introduce myself as a Texan, which, with the current president may not really help. As for being worldly, well, I certainly don't know enough about it to truly be a global citizen.

I guess I'm a citizen of all, but not really subscribing to the viewpoint of any of them.

Of course, the questionnaire goes on to ask if I'm a Wal-Mart shopper, or a NASCAR fan. The answer to both is most assuredly no, so that does put me in another category, I'm sure. They always ask about religion and passports, also to see a little bit more about you.

One other question I see every time is "Are you a member of the investor class?" Again, this would be no. I may work for the industry, but the only investing I do is moving a few funds around in my 401(k). I know, it's another world-view question. If you have the ability to invest, you certainly don't see the world the way someone who'd having a harder time making ends meet would, but I just find the wording of the question rather odd.

Perhaps it is the problem of seeing the word "class" used for this, where you'd like to think that being an investor wouldn't make you different from others. It isn't true, but it seems that being a part of such an "investor class" is getting farther and farther away from the middle class. It seems to infer that you're talking about an upper class only, those who wouldn't shop at Wal-Mart I guess.

Hmm, what am I doing with my money?
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Seven, eh?

1. I'm the third grandchild of my paternal grandparents, first of my maternal ones. Out of the six of us, two to my uncle, two with my parents, and two to my aunt, I'm the only boy. I think there were some expectations of lineage that have pretty much gone into the ashcan.

2. My great-grandparents on my father's father's side only met their oldest granddaughter before being killed in their bedroom by a robber. This was 1966. There's a small church in Milton, Florida that's named after them. I've been told that the robber just recently got out of jail and has a grudge against the family. I'm the only Edwards of the clan still left in Dallas, so I've been warned, but since this guy is in his seventies, and got out of jail after a 40 year prison sentence, I'm hoping the chances of a meetup are low.

3. I played saxophone in high school after not being trained well to play trumpet by my middle school band teacher. He also changed me over because I had braces. Damned Braces. It's a wonder I kept going playing saxophone, because as an instrument, it sucks. Still, Band got me out of PE, and made me the guy I am today. Thankfully I got to college and our band was small, so I switched over to Tuba and had a blast. I wish I had played tuba much earlier. Now I can barely remember the fingerings, I'm so out of practice.

4. I can take you, if asked to any of the houses my family has lived in except one. They are all in Texas, but not necessary close to each other. The one I don't know the address of is the one in Denton, TX where my dad had a job with Acme Brick (used by coyotes) and my mom finished getting her Home Economics degree at North Texas State.

5. I had a speech impediment when I was young, and when I started to go to school I went to speech classes everyday for a couple of years. That's where one of my earliest friends was made. I'm not sure what the impediment was, but it's been gone for a long time, and the therapy sessions are one reason I don't have as pronounced of a Texas accent.

6. My first paying job was scooping ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins. The owner was a control freak and wanted your scoops to weigh the same 5 ounces. He had his costs down to the penny. Needless to say, I sucked. It would be five years before I got another job. just because I didn't need one until i had to start paying for college myself. I worked for St. Lukes Hospital in Houston's Medical Center microfilming old ovarian cancer records.

7. I think I've been a Bear for a lot longer than I've been out. I first heard of the bear thing by picking up Bear Magazine around 1993. At that time I was already overweight, hairy and bearded. I'd already lusted after my friend Mike, who we called Ogre, who was also hairy and bearded. Thank god for hot outdoor band practices in college where his shirt would come off. sadly he's married and has children, but still kinda hot. One of my frat brothers, Gene, was a coverbear for American Bear magazine, but I never picked up that issue. A little weirdness, perhaps?
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I'm a little upset that I didn't get tickets to go see The Police in concert. Tickets went on sale this past Saturday and while I was at work, actually working, I forgot to log on and slog through the site to order tickets. There's also that thing about a concert in late June that kind of makes me forgetful about it on a day in March.

By the time I remember that they had gone on sale, it was Sunday morning and the first show was sold out. In a 20,000 seat arena. And they added a second show. And it had SOLD OUT as well! I was actually kind of stunned. I didn't think that the police were thought of so fondly, and I didn't think they'd get such a response since a). those who want to see Sting with a lute would be disappointed, and b). most people under 30 have never heard of the group since they broke up in 1986.

I then decided to take a look on the secondary market, and there were all of the tickets. Ticket speculation is just as big of a market as PS3 resales were - for about a week. Something tells me that if you can get tickets to shows easily, you could make a good living on the resales of those tickets.

I didn't need good seats, I just wanted to be there, but when the furthest seat in the arena was now going for twice the original $50 selling price, I decided that this was a concert event I was just going to have to miss. It's sad in a way, but then again I have seen The Police before. It was my first concert, and the first one that my parents let me got into Houston for. that was the 1984 Synchronicity tour and it was at the Summit - now Lakewood Church. Sting wore the big red, yellow and blue outfit from the Synchronicity II video. Ahh, those were the days.

I really have better things to spend my money on, but it would have been fun to see the same group...several years older. perhaps they will come again. Heck, the Stones still tour.

Personally, I'm looking forward to more new acts, like seeing the Scissor Sisters next week!

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Otherwise, my friend Jerry ([livejournal.com profile] goofycubb) sent me some questions to answer...

1. Do you miss Houston? Me? :) LOL

I'm finding hard to believe that it's been almost a year since I was last in Houston. My parents worry about me!
I don't miss the city so much, but there are a few places - namely Beck's Prime and James Coney Island. I also miss the ripcord and wish I could move all of those places up here. I also miss driving on Memorial Drive. As for you, I really wish you were here to watch the Amazing Race with! Or just to hang with. Those were good times. When are you coming to visit us? :-)

2. Will you ever go clean shaven again?

Well, most people who know me these days have never seen me clean shaven. I think the last time was 1994, and i have no plans to do it again.

3. What is the strangest thing that someone has said while you are in bed making whoopee?

Generally I'm the one who comes up with the bad puns and such! I guess it was the mutually crazy conversation about Bears releasing genetically enhanced pheromones on a dance floor, triggered by thumping dance music. It was at TBRU, and the sound created for this - "Paaaft!" -became a catchphrase for the weekend.

Let's just say that mixing the two of us in bed was not only fun, but also a lesson in non-sequitur thinking.

4. What is under your bed?

Occasionally Joey, but otherwise it's the surge protector outlet strip that powers the CPAP.

5. Did your mom ever catch you masturbating?

Thankfully no, thanks to a lock on the door, but occasionally she did try to open the lock with a coat-hanger. This would normally be when she was mad at me for something. I'm not so sure what she would have done if she caught me with a Muscle and Fitness magazine in one hand...
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Yesterday I decided to test my car and actually run out on the ice, making the 25 mile trip to work. The car did alright, especially going over the Bush Turnpike, where a long stretch of it is elevated over the Trinity River. There was plenty of ice and snow, and there was more than a few cars on the side of the road, in ravines, and turned around the wrong way. the work ranch is pretty far out, so there wasn't much sand on the roads out that way.

Chris' car, which needs some new tires, didn't make it very far. After sliding across an intersection, he went back home.

After an hour and a half on the road, I finally made it to work. A good half of my co-workers didn't come in. Still, I didn't come the furthest distance, one guy drove 45 miles to get there. I worried about getting home, but enough of the ice and slush had evaporated, that i only had to keep it under 30 mph getting back on the Bush Tollway. Driving home took an hour.

Here's why actually braving it, and going to work was good. Today management made a decision and told everyone that didn't come in that they would be charged with an unpaid personal day. Besides the fact that many people stayed home because schools were canceled, I was amazed that they would penalize people for doing the safe thing and stay off the road. The moral of the story is: risking your life, or at least your property ,is what you should be doing for this job. This job that doesn't pay you enough as is.

there was a lot of grumbling, and so management decided that we would open Saturday to allow people to make up the time they missed. Given that it's optional is one thing, but still, it seems rather rude to ask people to give up another day when the reason for the missed time was not of their making.

To add insult to injury, another winter blast is due on Friday night/Saturday morning, so the roads may be iced up once again. Management will put people up overnight in a hotel some what close to work tomorrow night just so they can make it in on Saturday. I'm guessing the money they may spend for hotel rooms might cost more than actually giving people sick time for Wednesday.

It seems as though the company doesn't like to close sites for weather related emergencies, but a snow day in Texas is much different than a snow day in Boston. They need to know that we aren't prepared for this stuff, and productivity hours will be lost. Is it too much to ask for a little compassion on this?

Heck, I got paid for two days that we were closed after September 11th and for another four that we lost to Tropical Storm Allison when our building was flooded out - all in the same year. There were also two days lost to evacuations for Hurricane Rita two years ago. Luckily Dallas isn't susceptible to Hurricanes.

With the way things are going, weather-wise, I guess I'll need to make sure my tires are in good shape and inflated properly. There's going to be a few more slick drives before this winter is over.
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I still follow Houston news, partially because I like the Houston Chronicle better than the Dallas Morning News or the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. The other reason is that the Chronicle puts all of their comic strips on line (except for Sundays), so I usually read those at work, then skip over to the news part of their website. i can tell you about plaenty of things going on in houston, while I'm more oblivious to goings on here.

So I noticed that the Houston Dynamos won the Major League Soccer Cup over the weekend. I learn this from the Houston paper, but the event happened in the Dallas suburb of Frisco. It's really unimportant, but the Championship game was going on just a few miles away, but I have to learn about it from my old newspaper. Of course with the wonders of Technology, you never have to give up some things when you move.

I wrote about the Houston Dynamo a while back when they moved from San Jose to Houston. They had trouble finding a name, and when they thought they had one, it was seen as offensive to the Mexican-American population (they chose 1836 - the year the Texas defeated the Mexican army). Apparently the team was pretty good when they were in San jose, winning a couple of championships there. They moved because they couldn't attract a crowd.

Well, the games in Houston were watched by half full stadiums, too. While I'll guess that attendance will pick up now that they won a championship, I still think that they will have a hard time keeping an audience.

Look at our last championship team in Houston, no, not the Astros (they were NL champs a year ago, but lost the World Series). The Houston Comets won the first four championships in WNBA history and developed a good following. The last championship was in 2000. They go to the playoffs like clockwork, but their audience has dwindled and now they are up for sale.

Face it, the Dynamo's owners though that the hispanic population of Houston would be a natural crowd for soccer, but they'd much rather go to the games featuring visiting teams from Mexico. Those games are packed. Soccer games are filled with kids who play YMCA soccer and their parents. Perhaps they will eventually build an audience, but right now, they'll be fighting with the Comets and the minor league Houston Aeros hockey team for lowest attendance.

The Dynamos had a victory celebration in downtown Houston on Tuesday. They drew 600 people. this out of 4.5 million Houstonians. The Aeros drew more when they won the Calder Cup a few years back. Soccer in America is still very minor league.

Perhaps the Dallas Stars will do well enough to get noticed in the Houston paper. Otherwise, I'll never know.

Oh, and yes, I do know who won Dancing with the Stars. I'm sure I really didn't care, but still, it's interesting what people will watch, and what they'll actually vote for.

Randomizer

Jun. 28th, 2006 11:52 pm
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So I'm trying to get back to journalling every day again, and here I am needing to go to bed. Getting up before 7am really sucks, and i wouldn't do it if I didn't have to. I haven't quite worked it out to get my whole morning routine - shower, shave, eat breakfast, and read a little overnight LJ, in less than an hour. How did I ever do it when I was actually making posts in the morning before leaving for work?

Work is going through a "transformation" where they are changing up job roles and descriptions and who reports to whom and all. Personally I'm very nonchalant about the whole thing because there's no basis for "how it was before" to me, but others are worried. Still others are just saying that it's going back to the failed programs of previous directors, so that should turn out well.

Still, the new cafeteria at work seems to be getting better. Yea for hamburgers and pizza, but occasionally barbecue, too.

The pool in our neighborhood is out of commission for the summer. There's not enough money in the association budget to fix it, so all it sees is the occasional duck. Chris and I really should make it a point to find more friends with pools.

My friend Hans and his wife are coming to visit this weekend and we're taking them out to a Ranger's game this weekend. I don't think they will be staying all weekend, so I don't know how much we'll have to show them, but maybe they will stay for the Addison fireworks display - oh wait, Addison's Kaboom Town will be on July 3rd - great, I guess I can go after work on Monday. Dang, I hate it when these holidays are on middle weekdays. Still, if anyone wants to hang out and watch the fireworks...

Also, my mother called tonight and said that she and Dad were thinking of coming up to Dallas the weekend after next. luckily she said that they would be staying with my great aunt. I'm not sure they are ready to stay with us. Of course I really didn't offer. I've only had the folks visit my apartment a couple of times, so visiting in another city would be a little strange.

Still, I thought I'd get back to Houston before they got up here. Suddenly they are traveling all the time, since they have gone to Las Vegas and visited my sister in baltimore this year. Funny, they never travelled much before!

Lastly, I need to nail down what I'm doing for my big vacation this year, but i think i'll write more about it soon...needless to say, I have the last full week in August, and not plan one of what to do. I need to get things going before airfare becomes astronomical.

So, that's what's on my mind now...
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I’m listening to the new Dixie Chicks album, Taking the Long Way this morning as I’m here at work. It’s a really great album. Of course I was influenced into buying it because of the Chick’s political statements, and sort of “voting” with my purchase, but it really is a worthy album that won’t get any attention or praise from the mainstream country crowd.

There’s a lot of themes about loss on this album, loss of friends and support that stem from the choices one’s made. Of course there are many parallels that one could see to the Chick’s current situation, and I guess that’s good, write what you know as they say. Still, nothing is “hit you over the head” autobiographical, no “Ballad of Natalie Maines” though there is a anti-war song. Certainly the sound is a little less country, and more in tune with a general audience, as they know they’ll have to get sales from a more diverse crowd than that of your redneck crowd.

I know the Houston and Dallas stations (mostly Clear Channel controlled) have refused to play any Dixie Chicks music, but leave it to Austin to buck the trend. Give ‘em a few years, when this administration goes away, and people will likely forget.

Yes, I do feel that Natalie Maines’ statement that she takes back any apologies not only is for her sensibilities, but also to sell records, as it’s getting less risky to criticize the president these days.

I wish they were playing Austin City Limits Festival this fall. I’m also listening to Gomez’s How We Operate, and they are playing ACL, so that makes me happy!

Otherwise, I’m thinking about the fact that this was my last week as a leaseholder for my apartment in Houston. Although I turned in my keys back in February, I still had an actual lease, and rent payments until this month. Now it seems more that I don’t have a home there anymore, but it still feels like home, even though I have a great home here in Dallas.

Last night I was getting gas and a guy came up to me and asked me for some change. Normally I don’t give these guys money. It’s more of a thing that I don’t trust panhandlers, and think that there’s better ways for these folks to get help than panhandling.

Now this guy did seem to have his family, and a truck that, from what he said, lost a fan belt, so it was a bit of a different situation. Still, it wasn’t until he said, “I’m from Houston, and we’re just trying to get home,” did I finally decide to give up the two dollars I had in my pocket.

Of course, I rarely carry more than a couple of dollars in my pocket anymore, as I’m a firm believer in the debit card, but that’s just a little tangent.

I guess I still try to keep in touch with Houston a little bit, checking the Chronicle’s online website for news more than I check for news about Dallas. Of course I need my Astros updates, and it doesn’t hurt that the Chron has all of their comics available on line (except for Sundays).

I still send emails back and forth with my friend Hans, just like I used to in my old job, but now he’s often telling me about what’s going on in the city, or with the fraternity. I tend to tell him of my troubles in playing softball. I also get a few emails from my old team, telling me who else has left, or that someone has been promoted to fill the loss. I also missed watching The Amazing Race with Jerry this year. Go hippies!

I need to get back there soon and go see an Astros game, but now I’ll have to get a hotel room, or go stay with my parent’s in Conroe. I guess the bonus there is that I would get to sleep on the bed that was in my apartment. The negative is that that mattress probably should have been thrown out five years ago.

Perhaps it would be a little different had I moved farther away, like Chicago or Seattle or Boston, where the culture is different, as well as the seasons and the stores and restaurants. Dallas is still Texas, and the differences are minor. Still, I guess the homesickness would be more magnified, but there may have been more excitement, too. Some days I feel I just moved down the street.

I guess I’m hoping to carry on TV night because it’s a great way to have friends around. I’ve noticed that most of the people we hang around with are people Chris or Matty introduced me to, and while that’s not a negative thing, it’s not like I’ve exactly been making my own connections here. Then again I was mostly a loaner in Houston, too, so I guess it is good to have some one to introduce me to people, as I won’t normally do it on my own.

It’s interesting having someone else at home with you all the time. After living on my own for a few years, it’s nice to have someone to talk to, but also you have to change your mindset where it’s not all about you. Sometimes I have to think, can I watch this program, since Chris wants to see it too, or should I drink the last of the milk since Chris will probably want some for his cereal.

I find I still think like a bachelor at times, though. I haven’t learned how to grocery shop for anyone but myself (well, the fact that we’ve been eating out a lot hasn’t helped), nor have I been able to work on doing the laundry together, worried that I’ll mess something of his up, or won’t know where to put something away. I still can’t fold socks like he does. Still, I often wait for him to come home to go out to eat, and I’d rather eat with him than eat alone.

I guess I just need to keep easing into my new situation. It’s very different from anything I’ve ever done, so it more a reaction to change that makes me think about the old apartment. I miss it because it was a really nice apartment, with a nice view and decent location. Luckily Chris’ house is also well located to about everything but our jobs. It’s been a while since I’ve had a commute like this! What a waste of time!

Well, times up here at the old factory, so I guess I’ll be heading back home to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend. Enough of this rumination! There’s a pool party going on this afternoon, so I need to get in a good state of mind. I also need to decide how willing I am to pull off my shirt today, as I have a large bruise on the side of my gut from a botched Byetta (medicine) injection from a few days ago. Not that I’m self conscious, or anything!
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So, except for the sentencing, the Enron trial is pretty much wrapped up, and Mr. Skilling and Mr. Lay are going to jail for what should be a long time. It's interesting how they tried to prove that the downfall of the nation's then seventh largest company was the result of a few bad decisions, or negligence on the part of Mr. Lay who apparently became CEO of this company without the ability to observe or act. That's called a figurehead, and even though there are some out there, they wouldn't be running a company for long.

No, what it was was people who got greedy, and learned all the loophole tricks of the time. They instructed a workforce to make these moves, and the workforce went along with it because they were reaping in the bounty.

Houston benefitted greatly from Enron, as their workers had disposable income, bout expensive houses and lofts, and ate at the best restaurants. I remember after Enron collapsed, the midtown housing market fell and several downtown businesses closed because the out of work employees could no longer afford to go there.

Enron left it's mark on Houston. Not only was there the familiar "E" logo that appeared on the nightly news for weeks, but much of the arts community, public events, and even a YMCA branch named for Mr. Lay, changed the town. That money has dried up as well, and one keeps wondering when that "Y" will change it's name. After the fall, Mrs. Lay even opened a shop to sell extra belongings for cash for the upcoming trial.

Some will say Enron was a lesson, but I'm sure we'll see some of the same old stuff the next time a group of guys think their smart and can develop a get rich system, not knowing what kind of turbulence they'll create in their wake. Greed's just not something people shy away from often.

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Oh, so I found out my friend Pete ([livejournal.com profile] trapezebear) is in the Advocate this month with his chosen family of four. It's the Advocate's big polyamory issue (Matty, take note), and of course we all knew that gay marriage would lead to this, didn't we?

Of course, how do I find out about this? Not from Pete, or even from LJ, but from the American Family Association (AFA)! Yes, the AFA in their fight against Ford Motors has decided to email their supporters (and anyone else on the list) to tell them what an outrage this is, and that Ford is just flaunting it in the faces of right-minded Americans.

They provided a link to captured pages of the magazine, showing the Ford and Volvo ads closely linked not only to Homosexuality, but the unnatural state of more than one of them living together!

Shocking I tell you, though it is good to see Pete again, in 2-D form.

What scares me is that Donald Wildmon subscribes to the Advocate - or at least picks it up at Barnes and Noble.

I say we get him a subscription to A Bear's Life.
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A couple of days ago, Thursday to be exact, was Texas Independence Day. The day commemorates the day that the Texas rebels, now engaged in civil war with Mexico, signed their Declaration of Independence from Mexico. It is not, however, the actual finale of the skirmish with Mexico, as the US Revolutionary War kept going past "Independence Day", so did the Texan's war with the dictatorship of Santa Ana.

In similarity to the American Revolutionary war, the Texans, very different as American Ex-Patriots in northern Mexico colonies, felt that the leadership from far away Saltillo and Mexico City not only didn't respect their rights but also restricted the colonies growth. Mexico, already worried about the size of the anglo colonies wanted to crack down on the settlements and General Santa Ana himself, leader of the military that was ruling Mexico decided to take matters into his own hands.

It wasn't until the Battle of San Jacinto on April 19th, 170 years ago that the Texans finally found victory in sneaking around and finding Santa Ana taking a siesta on the plain that's now next to the Houston Ship Channel. The war ended not because the Texans were stronger, or were superior, they had lost many a man at the Alamo and other battles. They won because they broke the rules of warfare and attacked the Mexican camp when they weren't expecting it.

In fact, Santa Ana had to be brought to Texas General Sam Houston who had been wounded in the ankle earlier. Santa Ana was forced to end the campaign and take his army back to Mexico, and Texas became a republic for a few years before finally gaining statehood in 1846, but still, skirmishes between texas and Mexico continued until Mexico was finally defeated by the US in the Mexican-American War in 1848 that secured California and the southwest for the United States.

Still, somedays you wonder if the battle was ever over.

Just recently the city of Houston was given the San Jose Earthquakes, a Major League Soccer team that's expected to do better in the largely Hispanic Houston than it did in Silicon Valley. It will have a long way to go, as there are plenty of soccer fans in the city, but they are more attracted to the football teams in Mexico and Central America than they are in the American version of the sport. Several of those teams even visit Houston drawing large crowds for their exhibition games.

Of course the exhibition games are usually low priced, and played at several of the city's older stadiums, or at UH's Robertson stadium, which can be rented cheaply. Major League Soccer needs a permanent home, and one that's likely to cost, since the sweetheart deals the Astros, Texans and Rockets got are probably not going to be available to an upstart team that half the city 's population won't care about. Heck, the support for the Comets (Women's Basketball) went down dramatically when they stopped winning championships, hockey has never taken off as the Aeros have been in three different leagues, and Houston's outdoor and indoor soccer teams (the Hurricanes and the Hotshots, among others) never gotten much traction.

one might think it would be good to have a stadium in east Houston to try to engage Hispanic fans, and the land is cheap, but unless ticket prices are also cheap, it isn't likely to work, so I'm sure the new Houston team will have to do what the FC Dallas (formerly the Dallas Burn) has done, find a suburb with soccer-crazed kid population and hope it works. A few years at Dallas' Fair Park proved futile, and the ticket buyers were the people from North Dallas, Plano and Frisco, not from the hispanic areas of town, so the team moved north to a new stadium in a growing suburb.

Unfortunately Houston is very large, and the satellite cities (such as Sugar Land, Katy and Conroe) are not really capable of taking on such a project. Houston also has a sports funding mechanism the other cities lack, so it's pretty much play ball with the big boys, or get relegated to a high school stadium. Of course the Astrodome, while too big, is still empty.

So how does this relate to the revolutionaries of days gone by? Well, when the team was looking for a name, they wanted something traditional that would remind people of the names of European and South american football clubs. The League has been looking to change the flashy names of it's past, like the Burn, into names more like Arsenal and Manchester United. The ownership team of the Houston Club chose the name "1836" - the year of the City of Houston's founding.

Just a note about that. Houston was founded in late August 1836 by two land speculators from New York who were eager to get in on the land rush in the newly minted country. Why they thought swamp land in the heat of August would make an attractive community, I have no idea, but to help sales they put out a flyer in many US cities to buy land in the city of Houston - a city that didn't exist, cleverly named for the war hero and first president. Houston was pumped up by developers then, and it still is today.

But 1836 is also the year of defeat for the Mexican Army, and the soccer club found themselves in hot water with some of the fans they were hoping to get. Apparently citizens of Houston who may have had ancestors at the battle, or just in Mexico in general took offense to the numerical moniker. The battle, long since over on the battlefield, apparently lives on, much like the US Civil war still seems to give some reason to be mad about losing the "War Betwixt the States".

History, is written by the winners, and Texas has gone on to be the wealthy neighbor to some of the poorest areas of Mexico, driving a cultural influx. Now with political activism and political correctness, even a 170 year old fight still smolders.

So the team announced their new name today, the Houston Dynamo. While neither the proposed or the current name really conjures up any greatness, it's interesting to see what will end up offending others, even when the intention was certainly not there. Sports teams are in the business of making money, not driving away potential customers. Still, many Houstonian's would have rather seen the NFL team named the Toros, rather than the bland Texans. Perhaps Texican's would have been more historically accurate and pleasing?

Still, a change is here in Texas as the majority in the state is now Hispanics. Just as the Anglo colonists came in and eventually took over, perhaps the future will reclaim Texas, if not for Mexico itself, for the people who descended from Santa Ana's army. He may get the last laugh after all.
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There's a few things I need to get down in this journal before they disappear from my short term memory. Today has just been a good day to slow down and just lay out with the dog and work on getting the TiVo updated with all the stuff I've had before.

Of course, with that I'm still having some trouble, not big trouble mind you, but just the little things of trying to find out where my old life meshes with this new one. Little things like, "can I play my music loudly right now?" or "am I allowed to use Chris' shampoo?" I know, little things, but my general nature is not to cause waves, especially when I still haven't gotten out of the mind set that I'm still a visitor in his house. My nature keeps me from being real assertive, so I guess I'm trying to lessen my impact rather than really trying to live here yet.

OK, I need to talk about last weekend, the move weekend. I did talk a little about my happy hour with the co-workers from AIM, but not so much how I felt. Frankly, I felt great that evening. Everyone came around and told me that they were sad to see me go, and that was making a good move. Hopefully it inspires others to make a move. They tried to get me drunk, and I'll admit that I did get buzzed, but wen one asked me if I needed another drink, after four beers, I asked for queso and chips. Let me tell you, BerryHill has the greatest white cheese queso! I love it.

Still, I didn't get crazy. I guess I've never been a big risk taker, and that's why the current move is such a big deal. I'm not a big change kind of guy. I like it better when I am driving the change, and this time I am, but still, it's difficult to move and evolve.

Back to last weekend. I also had a great time with my friends at BW3 playing trivia. Several of my buddies from college came out to see me off, and it was good to catch up with them. It was also nice to let Chris know about these people and hear some of their stories. He also got a chance to beat Newt, our trivia expert, in a few games.

Chris was a big help in getting things packed and into the car, ready to go. I guess I was having a hard time seeing the trees for the forest this time, trying to get the important things done. I definitely got more done with him around. It was a good thing, as it was raining last Sunday, so there was a lot to move in that drizzle.

Of course I repaid him on that by taking him to my parent's house on the way back north. I needed to talk to Dad about the storage space that we will get together for all of my furniture that's still in my apartment in Houston. I hope I'll get it moved soon, and be out of the apartment for good.

The meeting with my Dad and Chris went pretty well. I could tell my Dad was really unsure about meeting Chris, and Chris remarked on it later, but after the hour we spent there, Dad seemed much more animated and talkative, and had even turned off the sound to his John Wayne film, which is a big deal. Mom was as talkative as even, with plenty of questions for both of us. Still, it felt good that my parents felt good about my running off with this guy.

I'll miss the free Sunday dinners with the folks, among many other Houston regularities. Now I have to develop some new patterns and connections here.
eggwards: (Default)
So the first day of work today was so different from the last day of work on Friday.

The last day at AIM (I guess I can give their name now, since I'm not there anymore) was crazy, with lots of loose ends to tie up, my new boss finally having the revelation that he needed to learn a few things, and people coming up to tell me how much they would miss me.

I managed to wrap up as much as I could, and list out some of the things I'd never get to. Since most people trip out early on their last day, people were surprised I was still there at three, three thirty and four. We had one of our really rare items come in, so I got to teach the boss how to quality check it, much to the dismay of Zack who got an error for it.

I also had a chance to go to several other floors to say goodbye to people, including the cute cubby Brodie in Correspondence, and the good looking guys up in research. I guess I was on a good looking guy tour. Yep, I'm shallow sometimes.

So just before I was to leave, Risa wanted to sing to me. She's crazy and everyone knows it, and apparently she likes singing Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" to people who are leaving. Of course, she can't sing. I told here to wait, while i went to the restroom, and while I was in there, I changed into my Utilikilt. This was important to me as I was always the one in meetings about the dress code, would always say that there was nothing against a kilt in the code. I would mention, on my last day, I would wear a kilt to work.

So I chickened out a little bit and brought it to work and changed just before I would leave. When I exited the restroom, Risa had gotten a whole crowd around her for the karaoke and you can imagine the surprised look on their faces and others when I came out in the kilt. Risa sang one verse and that was over. I then walked around to my desk, walking past the meetingroom where the Vice Presidents were. I heard later that the were questioning what i was wearing in their meeting. Gina came out of the meeting and had to get a couple of pictures before I walked out of the door.

I then went to the happy hour where Screaming Amy was. About 25 people showed up to send me off, some, like John, getting royally drunk. Still, it was a great night, warm enough to stay on the patio, and to still here the words "I hope to leave AIM soon" from just about everyone there. I told Amy of her nickname in this journal and she just laughed. she hopes to move to Denver in April. I hope she gets there, because I know she's miserable.

Now at the new job this morning, I woke up a little later than I expected, but there was little traffic the way that I was going, somewhat away from civilization, so I got there with time to spare. I was first taken to get a new name badge and get fingerprinted. Apparently I'm a very difficult person to fingerprint as it took a few times to get good prints. Those will go off for my background check.

I met my HR specialist who informed me that the training class I would be joining has been meeting for a week. Some of it is information I already knew, like "what's a mutual fund?" but other things, like how do I log into the system?, that I've missed, so I'm a little lost. Still, I know more about the financial industry that the whole of the class, so that makes me not feel so out of it. My old company kept coming up, especially as we talked about statements and we had an AIM statement come up. on that, i was an expert.

So i had lunch at the big cafeteria in the building, and if I want, I can join the company gym. Two perks we've never had in Houston. i guess I'll have to take advantage. It's looking really good, though, just a little new kid in town jitters.
eggwards: (Scared of Tech)
Going away party
msg-28213-273889.jpg

eggwards: (Default)

Screaming Amy, originally uploaded by eggwards.

It's the one, the only Screaming Amy, out at the happy hour that was held in the honor of my last day at work. About 25 people came to Berryhill in the beautiful weather to wish me off, oh, and to get drunk.

eggwards: (Default)
It's really starting to feel as though things are wrapping up here in the Bayou City. Of course there's still a ton of things to do, and no, not everything will be wrapped up with the weekend. I'll have to come back after a week or two to get the furniture moved, because my father hasn't secured the new storage unit. It's fine actually, it gives me some extra time.

Today at work I sat there ready to discuss with my boss all the stuff he needs to know to run the group in my access, but he did some other things and took a long lunch (as did I, actually) and left without coming over. Luckily I've prepared for this, and actually trained my people, or other supervisors in most things, so there's backups for everything. I doubt that he wants to really learn anything, so that's bad for my group, and really bad for my opinion of him. Of course Gina, his boss doesn't ask too many questions, so he'll probably be able to skate by for a while as nothing gets done. Good luck to them on all of that.

I'm starting to let go. It's tough for me, but I'm getting to a point where I can no longer start anything new, and I'm wrapping up the old. I got to talk to my laid-off boss, Ed, at lunch today, and we talked about company direction and the people, but he's gotten away from a lot, and doesn't seem to be troubled by his abrupt layoff. It's a good attitude for me to take too.

Still, it's been very gratifying to hear people tell me that they will miss me. Out of the blue today, Wendell came over and told me that he will miss my diplomatic demeanor and how I kept control of his training class when others were being disruptive. that's big praise from the guy who was the one having the most trouble in the class. I'm glad that he's been able to do well in his job after I helped him get up to speed.

Tonight after getting a few more boxes, and using my pharmaceutical benefits for the last time (don't worry, the new job has benefits, I just don't know exactly what they do yet), I went out for dinner with Jerry ([livejournal.com profile] goofycubb). In going back to his house he said that he'd miss having me in town and wouldn't have anyone to watch The Amazing Race with anymore. i definitely will miss seeing him so often as well.

Of course I did the evil thing by introducing him to Project Runway tonight, watching last weeks and tonight's episode. As much as Jerry protested about not getting caught up with another show, but the end of the skater episode, he was adding Heidi to his DVR's record listing.

As I came home tonight, I took yet another way, just taking in things as I went under the watchful eye of a very big moon. It's not like I'll never come back to Houston, but I guess I'm just trying to mentally record things that I might not see in a short visit back to town. I guess it just makes me think of some of the things I'll miss, and not miss about this town.

While I might not miss the humidity, the constant freeway construction, or the panhandlers who inhabit each and every corner of Westheimer and Hillcroft, I will miss the winding drives on Memorial Drive, or the tree lined streets near Rice. i'll miss the city skyline and the fact that there's bayous, not creeks or streams. I'll miss that an old house is now a bar, and it sits right next to a house that is next to a factory next to a Stop and Rob.

I'm sure I'll come up with more as we get closer to move-day.
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Well, the hours have already passed, and now it's officially after Schnitz's ([livejournal.com profile] alphaschnitz) birthday, so I'm a little late. I hope it was good, and he'll have moved into his new place soon.

I want to write something, I guess. I guess I'm posting in search of a topic, which is a bad place to be.

Well, there's a couple of nonsense trivia bits I can talk about. For one, i saw a map of all of the art on the university of Houston campus. While there's no real comparison between the UH campus, which looks as unplanned as most of the rest of Houston and Rice that took the actual effort to keep most of the buildings alike. You would never see a 60 year old tin shed on the rice campus.

Still, UH does go for some modern art on campus. One of the newer pieces, in front of the new school of music is some sort of bronze melting that's supposed to resemble a winged Nike but looks more like a chocolate easter bunny that has partially melted in the hot Texas sun. It's placed up high on a pedestal, but that just seems to make people want to dress it up even more. It's had band uniforms and dresses and other costumes from the near by theater.

There's also a statue in the Student Center that's a sort of crazed representation of a cougar (the UH mascot) attacking a pained Longhorn, and just about every other mascot of the old Southwest conference, including Horned Toads, Razorbacks, Owls, Ponies, Bears, and a little guy who I guess is an Aggie, or maybe a Red Raider. I'm not sure if I've ever seen anything more rah-rah on our normally apathetic campus.

Now, one of the newest installations on campus is a three story stainless steel blender. I guess it could be an hourglass of some sort, but really, it looks more like a blender, and probably is there to inspire smoothy purchases in the Rec. Center that it stands in front of.

One of the older ones is named Sandy in a Defined Space (or as we called it, Betty in a Box), and it's a raised box structure with a nude female figure sitting in to, with a leg stretched out of it. She's stuck at a normal person's reach, and she gets felt up often. You can tell because the patina has been worn down in certain areas. Sometimes she gets painted. Well parts of her.

Each new building on campus has to set aside one percent of it's budget to purchasing art. Sometimes it's good, often, it's just plain weird. The architecture building has two granite slabs that are carved into the shapes of couches. They aren't comfortable. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be art or a torture device.

Still, my favorite art pice at UH is an abstract metal set of boxes that sort of mess up your perspective. It's a forced perspective where it's not as deep as you would perceive looking at it. It was tough to draw in a art class I took one time. It's called Troika, but i have no idea why, since a Troika to me is a chariot that's propelled by three horses.

Occasionally I'll see a pice of art elsewhere. there's a couple of small pieces on the lawn outside the building I work at, but they are out dazzled by the light up deer that appear on the lawn each Christmas, but Houston isn't, as a whole, a big city for public art. It's a developer built city that doesn't think about devoting money for things like that.

Houston isn't a bad arts city, better than Dallas in ballet, theater, symphony, but there's never been a strong push for statues. In fact, I can't think of another statue besides the one in Herman park of a soldier (Sam Houston in this case), in the entire city. There's very little acknowledgments of wars in town, where others in the South would have Civil War heroes everywhere.

It's just not that kind of town. Trees, freeway overpasses, and buildings, little else.
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DSC01875.JPG, originally uploaded by eggwards.

Last Sunday, feeling nostalgic for the city I'll be leaving, I took some pictures around Hermann Park and at Rice University. Sam Houston, Texas General and later, after gaining independence from Mexico, became Texas president. Houston is pointing towards the San Jacinto Battlefield, about 20 miles away, where Texas won defeating the army of Santa Ana.



One of the interestin things about Houston is that it stays green for the winter, at least moreso than other cities. Between the evergreen pine trees and the Live Oaks, many of Houston's trees never loose their leaves. Of course this has been an unusually warm winter with beautiful clear skies and high temperatures in the mid 70's. Perfect to get out to the park and paddle the lake in a paddle boat.

Clicking on the links above (The picture number or my name) will take you to more Hermann Park and Rice University photos on Flickr.
eggwards: (Uphill Climb)
You never know just how much junk you keep around until you start trying to pull it all out and throw it in boxes. The apartment is getting trashed, just to clean it up.

With the weekend's knowledge that I would be moving, I started to see the city in a different light, as if my eyes have to take in everything now trying to remember it all. I ended up taking a couple of extra drives around, and Friday's trip to the Ripcord was interesting since I was wondering how many of those people I would see again.

It's also making me think about stories of the city, and really I sort of stumbled across a memory of a really odd story in Houston's history, one that's almost been been forgotten, mainly because the city has moved on since then, and the Houston oilers are just a vague memory to many. Newer residents to Houston don't even know about the team, and maybe that's for the best. Of course, the Texans are doing very little to make Houstonians feel we have pro football at all.

Still, this odd memory goes back to 1993, where the Oilers were actually having one of the last good seasons they would have before they became lame ducks for the next two years and finally moved in disgrace to Tennessee. Just before the season ended, there was a strange news story that caught my eye, mainly because of the cute picture of player Jeff Alm.

Jeff had been a star offensive lineman, played at Noter Dame, and was quickly becoming a stand out player, but one night he had gone and killed himself with a shotgun on a freeway on ramp. He had apparently been distracted, lost control of the car, and his passenger had been ejected from the car, and fallen off the elevated ramp that went from Loop 610 to the Southwest Freeway.

The passenger had been listed as Alm's best friend, someone from his home, and was killed when Alm's car hit the side of the ramp, and the friend, who didn't have his seatbelt on, somehow was thrown out, fell several feet, and was killed. Alm, being distraught about killing his friend called 911, and while talking to the operator pulled the trigger of the shotgun, ending his life as well.

There were rumors that didn't make it into the paper. The rumor was that the friend was actually his boyfriend and he didn't have his safety belt on because he was taking care of business. Certainly a way for someone to lose control of the car. A rumor that went even further said that one of the reasons Alm shot himself was more than just the death of his friend, but that a real-life version of an especially painful moment from The World According To Garp had taken place.

I have no idea what the actual truth was. The news reports did seem to have holes in them, but as we know about the closeted life that a few gay athletes have talked about, it might have been true, and may have been another reason for Alm to take his life rather than deal with the questions. In the end, only the police and EMT's who were at the scene really know.

I guess why the whole thing caught my eye was the idea that this hunky football player could be gay, which was appealing to this closeted boy. I know that I had a dream that I could go back to that moment and help in some sort of way - either preventing the crash (unlikely) or talking to Alm before he pulled the trigger. I know it was part lust and part compassion, but it seemed a better resolution to a life than what became of Alm in the end.

I remember that there was a ceremony for Alm by the team, and then they went back to playing football. If memory serves, they lost the remaining games of that season, but as with other things, the memory goes.

i rarely use the ramp that Alm's friend fell from, and he himself died on, but i do go by that interchange often, and every once in a while that memory resurfaces for some unknown reason.

Just another story from the Bayou City.
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Last night after a quick dinner at Chipotle, I went out for coffee with Kip ([livejournal.com profile] scarabbear). We talked about a few of the issues in our lives, and dealt with a night that actually felt cool - moreso than the rather-warm for winter weeks we've been having around here. As we were getting ready to leave Dietrich Coffee kip asked me to drop him off at the Ripcord, and me in shoes that weren't sneakers, i felt like, what the heck, I'll go to.

The ripcord was as it always is, with a combination of good and not so good looking people. Jerry ([livejournal.com profile] goofycubb) was running around with his shirt off, and for a while I was wondering if he even brought one with him. We ran into several people we knew, and a few I didn't. I finally got the chance to meet Pete ([livejournal.com profile] thepetey) and Eric ([livejournal.com profile] musclemedic911) and we spent some time talking about, what else, LJ. As they moved on, someone told me that they were both very focused on me...I'll attribute that to being the new person they were meeting, but hey, attention is good. I'll admit that they were a very attractive, and nice couple.

I actually was having a good time, talking to several people, lusting after a person I just met - a cute Hispanic cub that seems to be actually going out with an acquaintance, so obviously I couldn't move in and do too much, thought his boyfriend (if they've gotten that far) did make him pull his shirt off and make everyone around stroke his hairy chest. I'm thankful for that.

as the night progressed, there was a young man who was running around me in circles. I've seen him and talked with him before. He's nice enough, but when he gets drunk, he gets weird. Very weird. He's come up to me and told me I was cute and asked to kiss me before. No big deal to me, but apparently was to him.

On the flip side, i got lots of good comments about my new glasses and the longer beard, which was cool. Still, I'm thinking of getting rid of the beard's length soon, especially because it shows off my grey hair.

So drunk boy got up to me and tried to talk to me. I say tried as he mostly said "You are too beautiful" and would walk away. It was completely bizarre as he would come back and say "I can't keep coming up to you, you are too much" and run off again. He finally came up and gave me a deep, nice kiss, which i was fine with returning...and ran away again. Even his friends seemed stunned by his behavior.

It's not like the guy is bad looking, he's not, but he has that whole thing of trying to look casual, but knowing that someone took quite a long time to achieve that look. His outfit was put together, his hair was full of product and his goatee well trimmed. Here I was in my hoodie, having not shaved for the day. I guess it was kind of an opposite thing. i don't think I looked bad, but i didn't really try, nor was I expecting anything with an impromptu trip to the bar.

His friends were talking about his odd behavior, and switched to odd propositions that they had gotten on Bear 411, so I told them about the feeder guys I have been hit on by, and they were amazed. I was surprised that they hadn't heard about this. I can see as we're talking that the cute guy is still working around the dark room.

He came up and kissed me a couple of more times. He comes a few times more and hugs me, or rubs a hand across me. He pulled my shirt out and rubbed my back. Then later he comes over and tries to stick his hands down the back of my jeans - the tight Eddie Bauer ones - to try to grab my ass - or more. Luckily I had my belt cinched tight, so he wasn't able to get far before he gave up and shouted that he couldn't go on doing this. Very odd.

I think the moment that I thought it got to stalker...was as he was trying to hold me he (I was standing there like a post) he turned from side to side and said loudly, "Lou Rawls is dead!" It was that moment where the evening went from interesting to just being enough that I needed to get out. It wasn't that it was a bad evening, but it just frightens me that I get the drunken oddballs coming after me.

I said goodbye to people as the odd boy was away, though probably still watching me. I did get a kiss from the cute fuzzy hispanic guy, which made me happy, and I moved out the door. I was happy to see that stalker oddball boy didn't follow me on the way out, but you never know when you're being watched.

Still, I wasn't feeling odd and distant in the bar like I usually do, but it was an entertaining couple of hours. I guess I'm slightly more comfortable with being social in this biorhythmic wave.

Oh, side note: The Book of Daniel, is bad. Not because of the reasons the AFA thinks it's bad, but that it's trying to be a copy of Desperate Housewives, where everyone has a problem, and everyone has a secret, and that's their entire character. The church surroundings aren't a part of the problem, it's just a background. The characters are bad and unlikable, and I'm not sure if the show can make that work. if the show is canceled, it should be for that, not because people feel offended by something they aren't watching.
eggwards: (Holiday time)

DSC01766.JPG, originally uploaded by eggwards.

I took some pictures of various places in Houston that were all ready for the holiday season. Lots of lights and a little tinsel, you know?

My Flickr page. which you can get with the link above, has more.

eggwards: (Uphill Climb)
Well, that's it. The World Series, the baseball season, and the Astros season are all finished in one last out. It becomes really sad to be swept in this way, close games, yes, but so many frustrations where there were opportunities missed, runners left stranded, and pitches lobbed into the stratosphere that were simply heartbreaking. Last night's game, the 14 inning, five-plus hour nightmare was much harder to take than tonight, where defeat just seemed more inevitable.

You would hope that the Astro's first time to the Fall classic in franchise history would have gone better than this. Still, you must congratulate the Chicago White Sox for really barreling through all of their playoff opponents and showing what it takes to be a champion.

I have to wonder if the Astros will get back to the World Series anytime soon, as the veterans, like Biggio, Bagwell and Clemens are aging rapidly and are closer to retirement than title games. Still, it was exciting seeing this, and I'm glad we got here, but my heart is broken.

Because Hans didn't want to sit around watching the game tonight, he suggested we use the free passes he had to see the sneak preview of The Legend of Zorro. Here's a mini review. It's hammy. It uses every action cliche you can think of. It lasts way too long. The villains talk too much-because no one cares, and lastly, everyone's upstaged by the kid and horse.

We left the movie and the game was still in a scoreless tie, but it wasn't long before the White Sox got the one hit they would need to win.

It's done. the story is that the White Sox join the Red Sox in ridding themselves of long droughts while Houston gets labeled as "just happy to be there". Well, we had our hopes and dreams too. Now we'll put them away for yet another season.

Perhaps that National League Championship T-shirt will be on clearance now.

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