Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chris's Air/Road Trip: LA/Tahoe/Reno

So after three nights of resting and doing laundry back home, it was back to the air/road. On Wednesday, I flew to LA. The JetBlue flight to Long Beach doesn't get to LA early enough to catch the last flight to Sacramento, so I stayed the night in LA to hang out with E-Chance. Unfortunately, she ditched me to go see Britney Spears with her boss, so I hung out with Erin's roommates instead. Erin's roommates were cool and one of them is the host of a TV show that may or may not be seen anywhere outside of San Diego, so I was hoping I'd end up on Perez but no such luck. We went to some bar/restaurant (I think the name was Barney's), which Erin accurately described as "just like Abel's, great food, lots of beer, shitty service". After Erin got back from Britney, we hung out and chatted at her apt before going to bed. Then the next morning, it was on to Sacramento, which was really just a means of getting to Reno.

So I flew to Sacramento, rented a car, and called my sister so she could get online and find me the most convenient In-n-Out location. In-n-Out was fantastic as always, I'm sure I'll hit it up again in San Fran this weekend. So from there, I continued on to Lake Tahoe, which was a beautiful drive through mountains and forest. Thursday night, I stayed the night in Tahoe, because that seemed better than staying in Reno, plus it was cheaper because of the biker convention going on in Reno. So I stayed at Harvey's Hotel & Casino, a hotel very close to my heart because we stayed there every spring break from age 11-16. Ole Miss was playing South Carolina that night so I figured I'd head to the sportsbook and make the game more interesting. Thanks to Jevan Snead sucking complete ass, that turned out to be a total disaster and I'll be sending him a bill for $100. I played a little blackjack, broke even and then crashed.

The next morning, it was on to Reno. I went to the team hotel to have lunch and play some blackjack, knowing there would be plenty of Mizzou fans and family there. The place was crawling with black and gold, which was awesome to see. I played blackjack for a few hours, making $150 in the process. While playing, this guy about my age with gauged ears and two lip piercings sat down. When the waitress came by, he proceeded to order a Shirley Temple while I proceeded to piss my pants laughing. Then I headed over the stadium. The stadium was extremely small, holding ~30,000 and it was nowhere near a capacity crowd but Mizzou fans did their best, making up what seemed like 35% of the crowd. It wasn't easy, but we won, 31-21. Survive and advance. A win is a win.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This Week in College Football: Week Four

I had a nice little week last week. Let's see if I can make it two in a row. Either way, I get to see Mizzou in person for the first time this weekend so that's super exciting. I'm also seeing Cal play at Oregon.

Thursday, September 24
Ole Miss (-3.5) at South Carolina; 6:30pm ESPNHD

Friday, September 25
Mizzou (-7) at Nevada; 8pm ESPNHD

Saturday, September 26
Michigan State (+3) at Wisconsin; 11am ESPNHD
Indiana at Michigan (-20.5); 11am ESPN2HD
Southern Miss at Kansas (-14); 11am FSNHD
Arkansas (+17.5) at Alabama; 2:30pm CBSHD
California at Oregon (+5.5); 2:30pm ABCHD
Illinois at Ohio State (-14); 2:30pm ABC
Miami at Virginia Tech (+3); 2:30pm ESPNHD
UTEP (+36) at Texas; 2:30pm FSNHD
Florida (-21.5) at Kentucky; 5pm ESPN2HD
Army at Iowa State (-9.5); 6pm
UL Lafayette at Nebraska (-27.5); 6pm
UAB at Texas A&M (-14); 6pm
Iowa at Penn State (-9.5); 7pm ABCHD
Notre Dame (-7) at Purdue; 7pm ESPNHD
Texas Tech (+1) at Houston; 8:15pm ESPN2HD
Washington State (+45) at USC; 9:15pm FSNHD

Last week: 13-9-1
Season: 28-31-1

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chris's Air/Road Trip: DC/Blacksburg

So from Chicago, it was onto DC. I rented a car because I was going to be driving to Blacksburg and because transportation to/from Dulles sucks, so it just made life easier. I got in late afternoon on Thursday and drove to Rockville, MD to meet up with Danielle for dinner after she got off work. I had some time to kill before she'd be ready and there was a movie theatre so I went to see the only movie starting right around that time and shorter than two hours, 9. It's an animated movie from the co-creator of The Corpse Bride. It's very dark and sci-fi, but interesting. If you like sci-fi and aren't distracted by animation, I'd check it out, but it's definitely not for everyone. After the movie, we just grabbed dinner and went home and crashed. Nothing too exciting.

On Friday, I again drove out to Rockville, this time to grab some Potbelly for lunch with Danielle. I love me some Potbelly and again I hit up the movie theatre, this time seeing The Informant. Again, it was meh. It was funny at times and Damon does a good job but it was kinda boring and got really jumbled and confusing toward the end. Danielle's judge went to the beach so she was able to leave work early, so we went back to her place and then walked to Bourbon for drinks/snacks. I had an Old Fashioned because I'd just watched the previous week's Mad Men on my computer and because Don Draper was my hero even before I learned Jon Hamm went to Mizzou. Bourbon also has amazing french fries (seasoned waffle) and some dang good chicken nuggets. Unfortunately, as tasty as the booze, fries, and nuggets was, they didn't sit too well so I ended up staying in the rest of the night while Danielle and some friends went out for a late dinner and drinks.

Saturday morning, I woke up early and made the 4.5-hour drive to Blacksburg, VA for the Nebraska-Virginia Tech game. Since I loathe Nebraska with every ounce of my being, I was really looking forward to some Husker misery. I also was able to hit up Chick-fil-a for the first time in almost two weeks, so that was nice. I honestly don't remember the last time I went two weeks without Chick-fil-a but it was probably during college. So I didn't really see a whole lot of Blacksburg or the campus but it's in the middle of the freaking nowhere. It's essentially the Texas A&M of Appalachia from what I could gather. So obviously, these people wouldn't normally be my cup of tea, but we bonded over our common enemy. Both teams sucked pretty equally the entire game, with Nebraska taking a 15-10 lead late. With a minute remaining, VT drove all the way down from their own 11 and took a 16-10 lead with like 12 seconds remaining. It was ridiculous and the Husker heartbreak and misery was more than I could've asked for. The only thing better than the Huskers just getting crushed was the Huskers having victory snatched from them at the last second.

So I made the long drive back to DC and got in around midnight. Danielle was running a 10k the next morning so she fell asleep and left me stranded outside of her apartment. Fortunately, I talked a resident into letting me in and then banged on her door until her roommate woke up and let me in, so I didn't have to sleep on the stoop. After her run Sunday morning, we met up in Arlington with some of her friends for brunch, after which, I got suckered into a miserably long trip to Target. Then I just headed back to Dulles to fly back home to Austin for a few days of rest and laundry.

Off to LA today, where E-Chance is pawning me off on her roommate because she got invited to Britney Spears by her boss. But it's cool, I love ya anyway Chancellor.

Chris's Road/Air Trip: Chicago

Sorry this took so long to get up. I was traveling non-stop until Sunday night and since then, our neighbor's internet has been out and so I haven't been able to steal their internet for the past two days. So anyway, Chi-town was next on the itinerary after Hotlanta.

I got into Chicago late Sunday night and crashed with Erin and Joe that night, getting some laundry done in the process. Monday morning, my mom flew up and met me to hang out until Thursday. On Monday, we walked around the River North and Michigan Ave. area for a while, just kinda putzing around. Then we took a riverboat architecture tour by way of the Chicago River. Chicago is the birthplace of the skyscraper and there is tons of cool architecture in town. Lots of art deco and I learned about the difference between New York art deco and Chicago art deco. New York art deco buildings get smaller as they get higher, like a wedding cake, while Chicago art deco buildings look like armchairs or loveseats. My favorite building is the Tribune building, but they may be slightly colored by my love of newspapers and a longing for the days where a newspaper was such an institution that a building like the Tribune building could be built. Plus it's just a cool ass building.

After the river tour, we meet up with Erin and Joe for some deep dish at Lou Malnati's. A lot of Chicagoans tout Lou Malnati's as the best pizza place but meh. It was fine but it was a huge step below Gino's East so I don't know why the hell it's considered the local favorite.

On Tuesday, we had lunch at Frontera Grill. For you Top Chef fans out there, that's Rick Bayless's place. It's interior Mexican and was pretty solid, but I'll take Sazon. From there, we went to Shedd Aquarium. I also wanted to go to the Field Museum, where they have a pirates exhibit right now, but we didn't have enough time because we were going to the Cubs game that night. The Cubs suck, but on the bright side, that made tickets a little easier to come by. I found a guy on craigslist who had 4 tickets just 5 rows up right behind third base for only $120 total (face value of the tickets was $80/each). So we snatched those up and invited Erin and Joe. We got to see Zambrano start, which is always entertaining, and we got to see the Cubs kick the Brewers' ass, so that was a good time.

On Wednesday, we continued our theme of Chicago architecture by heading to a western suburb called Oak Park, where Frank Lloyd Wright lived and designed quite a few homes. For a few years of my childhood, I really wanted to be an architect, but my mother told me when I was like 12 that I in fact, did not want to be an architect. So it was a tad ironic that she wanted to do all this architecture stuff after crushing my dreams of being an architect. But anyway, so we went to Oak Park and took a self-guided audio walking tour of the neighborhood. Oak Park has the largest concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright homes anywhere so it was very cool. It's not Falling Water or anything, but still lots of very cool homes. I took a ton or pictures on the Oak Park tour, as well as of the Chicago River tour, all of which are on Facebook if you want to see more.

When we got back to Chicago, we hit up Gino's East for a late lunch to make up for our earlier trip to Lou Malnati's. It was obviously delicious. We then walked from Gino's down to Millennium Park and walked around the park for a little while. I'd walked past Millennium Park before but had never actually gone into the park, so that was cool.

We both flew out Thursday morning, Carroll to St. Louis to visit Brooke at Mizzou and me to Washington, D.C. to visit Danielle and go to the Nebraska-Virginia Tech game.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Week in College Football: Week Three

Chillin in Chicago right now; flying to DC tomorrow to hang out with Stwumps and go to the Nebraska - Virginia Tech game (Go Hokies!!!). So here are my picks for this weekend, again with all the games on TV as well as Big 12 games.

Thursday, September 17
Georgia Tech (+5.5) at Miami; 6:30pm ESPNHD

Friday, September 18
Boise State (-7) at Fresno State; 8pm ESPNHD

Saturday, September 19
Cal at Minnesota (+14); 11am ESPNHD
East Carolina at North Carolina (-7.5); 11am ESPN2HD
Duke at Kansas (-22.5); 11am VersusHD
Eastern Michigan at Michigan (-24); 11am BigTenNetworkHD
Tennessee (+29.5) at Florida; 2:30pm CBSHD
Michigan State (+10) at Notre Dame; 2:30pm NBCHD
Nebraska at Virginia Tech (-5); 2:30pm ABCHD
Arizona at Iowa (-5.5); 2:30pm ESPN2HD
Utah at Oregon (-5); 2:30pm ESPNHD
Tulsa (+17.5) at Oklahoma; 2:30pm FSNHD
Wyoming (+7) at Colorado; 2:30pm
UConn (+10.5) at Baylor; 4pm
Cincinnati at Oregon State (+1); 5:45 FSNHD
Florida State (+7.5) at BYU; 6pm VersusHD
Utah State at Texas A&M (-17.5); 6pm
Iowa State (-3) at Kent State; 6pm
Rice at Oklahoma State (-32.5); 6pm
Georgia at Arkansas (-1.5); 6:45pm ESPNHD
West Virginia at Auburn (-7); 6:45pm ESPN2HD
Texas Tech at Texas (-17.5); 7pm ESPNHD
Kansas State at UCLA (-12.5); 9:15pm FSNHD

Last week: 8-9
Season: 15-22

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chris's Road/Air Trip: Atlanta

So the first leg of my road trip is over. I flew to Boston last Tuesday to see Caroline. She had school and I was sick (plus she tells me Cambridge sucks) so we stayed in and watched Hook. Unfortunately, I left my camera sitting in my desk so the Boston/Cambridge portion of my trip is completely undocumented.

So I left Boston on Wednesday and flew to Charlotte to rent a car and drive to Atlanta. We sat on the runway for about 2 hours in Boston because we were grounded while President Obama was flying in and out of JFK (where I was connecting through). Normally, this would have sucked ass, but I was on Jet Blue so I didn't care at all because I could watch the US Open there at my seat. So anyway, I uneventfully made it to Charlotte and then drove the 3.5 hours to Atlanta, also uneventfully.

On Thursday, I went and found a Best Buy so I could get a new camera. Then I went and had a pre-game meal at The Varsity, because KatieMac told me I had to. The Varsity is an awesome old drive-in with even older carhops. They even have the little trays that hook onto your window to put your food on. Great call KatieMac.

So after The Varsity, I went to the Clemson - Georgia Tech game at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The stadium was very cool and historic (how many stadiums can put John Heisman's name on their wall of fame?) and the game was even better. Plus I found a great ticket for just $40. Georgia Tech prevailed after blowing a huge lead with a last-minute field goal.

Friday, I had a day to kill while waiting for Kyle, Amanda and Elijah to arrive, so I went to the Coca-Cola Museum and the Zoo. They're next door to each other and you can buy a combination ticket for both. I highly recommend it. I also highly recommend grabbing lunch at this bistro called Peasant where I had a grilled cheese with spinach that changed my life.

I've been to the Coke Museum before but they have renovated it a great deal so it was like a whole new museum to me. They had a 4-D show, which confused me because I thought the fourth dimension is time. But apparently the fourth dimension is a seat that moves and getting sprayed with water and air. I planned to try all 64 worldwide flavors of Coke products but my stomach started fizzing right around the 40th. I didn't really want to throw up in the middle of the museum so I decided to go ahead and pass on  the remaining 24 flavors and head to the Aquarium.

The Atlanta Aquarium is really new, like five years old I think. It's also allegedly the largest in the world. It's also the only aquarium in North America to have whale sharks, so that was cool. You can't fully appreciate how huge the whale sharks were from this photo but trust me, they're ginormous.  I was supposed to see a feeding but for some reason it was delayed and I gave up on waiting after like 30 minutes. Oh well.

They also had a huge tank you could walk under where the fish swam above you, including whale sharks and hammerhead sharks. Here's the hammerhead shark looking scary as crap. Seriously, how ominous looking is that thing. This is why I don't go in the ocean.

After that, Kyle called me because he, Amanda, and Elijah had arrived. So I drove out to Amanda's parents house to meet up with them and take part in the big Humphrey family cookout. I haven't seen the Parrish clan since Eli was born three months ago so it was great to see everybody. They are all doing very well. Kyle and Amanda are naturals at the whole parent thing and Eli loves television, so good for him. I also saw Amanda's sister and her husband and baby so it was just a baby fest at the Humphrey house.
The next day, Kyle and I went to Athens for a battle between the hedges between Georgia and South Carolina. Athens is only like 30-45 minutes from Amanda's parents house so we just drove up that afternoon. We walked around campus and the stadium for a little while, assessing the ticket situation. Then we went back downtown to find a bar. Not only did we find a bar, we found a bar that served Lone Star. So score one for us. 
We then walked down the stadium where the scalping situation was suddenly looking very bleak. We saw probably ten different people holding up two fingers and couldn't find anyone with tickets. We finally found a guy that had a pair, so we paid him $160 and got our asses inside. Sanford Stadium is very impressive. Everyone is wearing red and it's really loud, much moreso than I expected. Everyone in the stands also seems very knowledgeable. There was a guy behind us who was basically a walking media guide. Unfortunately for him, he was under the false impression this talent was going to get him laid, so he continually explained to the girl he was with about how good each player was, where they were from, how old they were, what their favorite movie was, etc. The girl looked like she wanted to off herself. Kyle and I got a money shot (well it's a bit blurry, but whatever) of us next to the famous hedges. We had an awesome time at the game and it was great to do another college football trip with Kyle after a few years break.
So now I'm in Chicago starting the next leg of my trip. Atlanta was great and the next few weeks are sure to be great as well.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This Week in College Football: Week Two

Hopefully you followed my advice and put huge money against my picks as I went a completely unsurprising 7-13 against the spread. Fortunately for you, I'm giving you another chance to make money off of how little I clearly know about college football lines. So again, here are all the games on TV in Austin this weekend (plus all other Big 12 games), although I'm not in Austin, but whatever.

Thursday, September 10
Clemson at Georgia Tech (-5); 6:30pm ESPNHD - This is your first opportunity of the weekend to look for me on TV

Friday, September 11
Colorado at Toledo (+3.5); 8pm ESPNHD

Saturday, September 12
Fresno State (+8.5) at Wisconsin; 11am ESPNHD
Central Michigan at Michigan State (-14.5); 11am ESPN2HD
Iowa at Iowa State (+6.5); 11am FSNHD
Notre Dame at Michigan (+3.5); 2:30pm ABCHD
BYU (-17.5) at Tulane; 2:30pm ESPN2HD
Houston at Oklahoma State (-15.5); 2:30pm FSNHD
Texas at Wyoming (+32.5); 2:30pm VersusHD
UCLA at Tennessee (-10); 3pm ESPNHD
South Carolina at Georgia (-7); 6pm ESPN2HD - Your second chance to see me on TV
Bowling Green at Missouri (-19.5); 6pm FSNPPV
Rice (+27.5) at Texas Tech; 6pm
Kansas State at UL-Lafayette (+7); 6pm
Kansas (-12.5) at UTEP; 6:30pm CBSCollegeSports
Southern Cal at Ohio State (+6.5); 7pm ESPNHD
Purdue at Oregon (-12); 9:15pm FSNHD

Last week: 7-13
Season: 7-13

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Jet Blue All-You-Can-Jet RoadAir Trip

As many of you know, I jumped all over the JetBlue $599 All-You-Can-Jet pass since I'm bored as hell and have pretty much nothing else to do all September. So I embark next week and here is my itinerary:

9/8 - Fly to Boston
9/9 - Orioles at Red Sox
9/10 - Fly to Charlotte, then drive to Atlanta for Clemson at Georgia Tech
9/12 - South Carolina at Georgia
9/13 - Fly to Chicago
9/14 - Brewers at Cubs
9/17 - Fly to DC
9/19 - Nebraska at Virginia Tech
9/20 - Fly home to Austin to relax and do laundry
9/23 - Fly to LA
9/24 - Fly to Sacramento, then drive to Lake Tahoe
9/25 - Drive to Reno for Mizzou at Nevada
9/26 - Drive to Eugene, OR for Cal at Oregon then drive to Portland
9/28 - Drive to Seattle
9/30 - A's at Mariners
10/1 - Fly to San Francisco
10/3 - Southern Cal at Cal
10/5 - Fly home

Suggestions for anything to do along the way? Places to eat and drink? Do you happen to be in one of the places I'll be along the way and want to grab drinks, some food, and/or a game? Are you just jealous you have a job and can't putz around the US for a month?

This Week in College Football: Week One

The 2009 college football season kicks off tonight and because I want you to make some money, I'm going to give you my picks every week (but no analysis so that when I miss 80% of my picks at least there will look like there wasn't any thought behind my epic failure). You should then bet a lot of money the opposite way and retire at age 30. I'm basically just going to pick the games that are TV here in Austin. So here we go.

Thursday, September 3rd
South Carolina at North Carolina State (-5); 6pm ESPNHD
Oregon (+3.5) at Boise State; 9:15pm ESPNHD

Friday, September 4th
Tulsa (-13.5) at Tulane; 7pm ESPNHD

Saturday, September 5th
Navy at Ohio State (-21.5); 11am ESPNHD
Minnesota (-6.5) at Syracuse; 11am ESPN2HD
Georgia (+5) at Oklahoma State; 2:30pm ABCHD
Baylor at Wake Forest (-2); 2:30pm ABC
Nevada (+14.5) at Notre Dame; 2:30pm NBCHD
San Jose State at Southern Cal (-32.5); 2:30pm FSNHD
Western Michigan at Michigan (-12.5); 2:30pm ESPN2HD
Missouri (+6.5) at Illinois; 2:40pm ESPNHD
BYU (+22) at Oklahoma; 6pm ESPNHD
UL-Monroe at Texas (-41.5); 6pm FSNPPV
Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (+6.5); 7pm ABCHD
Maryland (+21) at California; 9pm ESPN2HD
LSU (-17.5) at Washington; 9:30pm ESPNHD

Sunday, September 6th
Ole Miss (-17) at Memphis; 2:30pm ESPNHD
Colorado State (+10) vs. Colorado; 6pm FSNHD

Monday, September 7th
Cincinnati at Rutgers (-5); 3pm ESPNHD
Miami at Florida State (-6.5); 7pm ESPNHD

SOTD: Landlocked US States

Finished with 53 seconds remaining

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Are men sexist in their media choices?

So I was talking with Seth the other day and for some reason Gilmore Girls came up, and Seth called it a 'girl show'. (For the purposes of this post, we're going to disregard Seth's criticism of a show for being a 'girl show' while he watches The Bachelor(ette), NYC Prep, Miami Social, Millionaire Matchmaker, and The Hills) and focus on the greater issue, i.e. the perception by men that shows involving female leads are 'girl shows'.

So this caused me to look into what I perceive as a bias by men against shows where the characters are more strongly female. This bias can really be seen in looking at crime dramas.

Law and Order is a show dominated by male characters (two male detectives, a male DA, a male lead prosecutor and a female assistant prosecutor). Law and Order: SVU has a stronger female presence, with a female lead detective as well as a female prosecutor. Law and Order's viewership is 45% male while SVU's is 33% male.

All three CSIs have a fairly mixed cast but all three feature a male lead detective. Bones on the other hand, another scientific crime drama, has a female title character. All three CSIs have 41% male viewership while Bones has 36% male viewership.

Both Lie to Me and The Mentalist feature a male character who solves crimes through superior perceptive abilities. The Mentalist however features Robin Tunney as a co-lead and a token hot chick while Lie to Me is really just the Tim Roth show. Lie to Me's viewership is 45% male while The Mentalist's is 41%.

Cold Case is another detective show featuring a female lead detective. Unsurprisingly, it's viewership is just 38% male.

So just by looking at the gender breakdown of crime drama viewership, there appears to be a decided bias by men against shows with female leads. Is this subconscious, or even overt, sexism or is there some other reason I'm not seeing for this disparity? Are shows featuring men or mixed casts just 'shows' while shows featuring female casts are 'girl shows'? Can you think of any TV shows or movies dominated by a female character or characters (other than porn) that don't cause most men to turn of the TV?

SOTD: Name that Movie

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SOTD: Most Visited Cities

29/40. I'm really shocked Las Vegas isn't one of the 40 most visited cities in the world (it's 48 apparently).