Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Random Xanga-esque Post For Once...

Lazy late nights like this make me want to stay up, listen to music and read, but every inch of my body is telling me to lie down and sleep. Thing is, it's right; there's much to be done before I Zoidberg-up for the impending halloween festivities.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I prefer ham that does not come in brick form that I have to refrigerate.

Sorry kids, but I've just been spammed too much lately; I'm turning on the nifty word verification thingy.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Ears Still Ring

Just in case anyone wasn't convinced that this is a weird season for OU football, tonight's OU/Baylor game was the most exciting football game I've ever attended. It was also the loudest I've heard the fans at Owen Field at The Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium be in my ten years of attending games there. That this should all come against Baylor boggles my mind.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Casting Lots For Tots

Loteria, Loteria, Loteria! Last fall's hot button issue in state politics has become this fall's newest craze. On October 12, the Oklahoma state lottery opened for business in grocery and convenient stores around our great state. Working inside a grocery store, I got to experience this firsthand. On opening day, the lines at the Albertson's customer service center were backed up farther than I've ever seen; people came in asking me, in my green apron and Starbuck's hat, if I could sell them lottery tickets. People were smiling and relieved, like little kids on Christmas morning, the focus of their anticipation finally coming to fruition. There was a feeling of excitement and newness in the air. It was look of the wave of the future; it was the sound of the dawn of a new era! It was the arrival of Almighty PROGRESS!

I've never seen so many people so eager to throw their money away.

In last November's election, the lottery passed by an overwhelming majority. I voted against it. The main response I got to that was something along the lines of how wonderful the lottery is because it benefits education. Okay, you should sit down, and if you're already sitting, you should grab on to something, because what I'm about to say may shock some of you:

People who play the lottery do not do it to help education. They do it because for whatever reason they like gambling, or because they think they're going to make money from it. The reality of the situation is that while there are a lot of people and companies making money from the lottery, the schools don't see very much of it. If you really want to help the schools, join your local PTA, volunteer, or make a direct donation to one of the many worthwhile institutions that would be happy to take advantage of your generosity.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm glad Oklahoma's voters finally did something about getting funding for education. I just wish they would have done it in a more worthwhile way. I realize that a state lottery is like a tax on the stupid (statistically, lottery players will not break even) but I still can't condone its inception. I don't think anyone can argue with the fact that, in general, gambling is harmful to society. When overdone, it can turn into a powerful addiction that's harmful to the user's psychological health, and a slow drain on the wallet. Instituting a state lottery to pay for education is like introducing Oklahoma State Legislature Brand cigarettes to pay for highway repair. I have no problem with people gambling away their money, but our government should not be promoting a potentially harmful product to pay for things. This is why I did not and still would not vote to approve a state lottery.

Sean recently asked me if I would rather that they just taxed us to get the money. After some consideration, I've decided the answer is yes. A new tax to pay for education would be more efficient than the lottery, and as opposed to corporate welfare, or foreign aide, it's a tax I wouldn't mine paying. I'm happy to support a service that benefits my state's economy and reputation, even if it means I bring home a little less bacon each year.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Way I See It #22

"Everywhere, unthinking mobs of 'independent thinkers' wield tired cliches like cudgels, pummeling those who dare question 'enlightened' dogma. If 'violence never solved anything,' cops wouldn't have guns and slaves may never have been freed. If it's better that 10 guilty men go free to spare one innocent, why not free 100 or 1,000,000? Cliches begin arguement, they don't end them."

--Jonah Goldberg
Editor-at-large of National Review Online

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Nose of Oklahoma Smells You

This weekend, I popped down to "baja Oklahoma," as I heard it so eloquently- however inaccurately- put, with 318 of my closest fellow band members and a gaggle of authority figures and support staff to play some songs while a bunch of heavily padded guys pounded on eachother. The trip was pretty enjoyable, I'd say.

When we ebarked on our annual journey, it was cold. Who are we kidding? This is big news. Last year, we were sweating our asses off, and couldn't wait to get a shower when we got to Big D. This year, at our morning rehearsal/exhibition in lovely Ardmore, OK, we were all bundled in jackets and such. I personally thought it was lovely, once I stopped shivering. The great thing about this rehearsal/exhibition is the fact that the audience is made up of middle school band kids who think we're amazing, and people who love us. If there were a better showing of pride fan-dom, I've never been's the kind of thing that boosts self esteem. They even cheered for F around the band, for crying out loud! (For you non-band kids, this consists of each section playing the same note, one after another for eight counts, and is often the first, most basic thing we do as a full band at each rehearsal) After the chilly love-fest, we ate some yummy barbeque at a church, then continued south.

This seems like a good opportunity to explain my relationship with charter buses and sleeping. It used to be that I could never take naps in a moving vehicle, no matter how tired I was. Something about the motion or the confined space kept me awake, whether I wanted to be or not. Then, in high school when we would leave early for track or cross country meets, I discovered I could usually catch an extra hour or two on the way there or on the way back if I was tired enough. With the last two years of being in the Pride, this has changed drastically. At the beginning of last season's travel, with the Texas and aTm games, I discovered I could actually close my eyes and get some sleep if I tried hard enough and ignored the people around me. By OSU, I was able to sleep at will, and in Florida, I was asleep about half the time I spent on the bus. This year, it seems I've taken a giant leap in this direction. I've found that something about being on the bus just makes me want to sleep. Most of my time in transit was spent asleep, and the times that I did stay awake, I was either wrapped up in conversation, eating, or struggling to keep my eyes open so I could watch a movie. I got more sleep on that bus this weekend than I did in beds.

When we arrived at the same old Holiday Inn the Pride's been staying at for years, there was a few hours of downtime, then a few performances. The annual highschool football game performance was actually held in Texas Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowbows) this year. For those of you who don't know, it's an ugly, sterile thing with a big hole in the roof. I was told that this was "so God could watch his team play." *shudder* That's another post for another day. But, all that repulsion aside, it was still cool to get to play in a pro stadium again, even if that means hash lines and numbers in places we're not used to. This performance had a bunch of high school football fans, about half of which seemed to be happy with us, while the rest of them booed, and yelled things about the Longhorns. After that, it was off to the "Sophomore Shit Gig," which was a silly small pep band for about 20 drunken OU fans at some bar. After that, it was back to the hotel for general free time. In my case, that meant hanging out with some other mellophone players at the little party thing the powers that be provided as an alternative to the drunken debauchery. They had giant padded sumo wrestling suits, a crappy dj, some fake gambling, and the great draw: free food. We hung around laughing at people slamming into eachother for a bit, I even attempted dancing to some songs that reminded me of my ethnicity (or lack thereof). My lack of talent was a great source of amusement to me. After about 45 minutes of that, it was off to IHOP with 11 of us to celebrate a friends birthday. On the walk over, there were some death threats, and some speculations about which was better, boot city or boot town, two adjacent western clothing stores. (Boot City looked swankier, but Boot Town had straw hats on sale...too close to call, if you ask me) At IHOP, we were seated quickly, the food was good, the service was decent, and I drank Dr. Pepper from a caraffe, so I figure it's all good. On the way back, we dodged traffic, and there were some butterflies. After that, it was off to bed.

The next morning, we ate some crappy breakfast and went straight to the cotton bowl, the crappiest college football stadium I've ever been in. Bevo smells much worse than Boomer and Sooner. I'm not just being biased here. I've walked by our ponies, and thought, Ooh, look at the ponies, they're so pretty; I walked by that poor steer and wanted to pass out...eww.

Having been on both sides of the win column for the Red River rivalry now, I think I can say that the entire point of OU-UT is to be mean. Everyone is constantly taunting eachother. Hell, Texas even has "OU sucks" as part of their fight song! (Not I've Been Workin' on the Railroad, the other one) To hear it sung last year when we were shutting them out was just laughable...if OU sucks, then what does that make you? To hear it this year, when we're getting the crap beaten out of us, was just insulting. So, I've concluded that the fans of both teams are horrible to eachother, no matter who wins, who loses, who's better, who got screwed by the refs. I will say though, we support our team a lot better than they support theirs. Last year, the Texas side of the stadium didn't fill up until the second quarter, and emptied when it was clear that we would win for the fifth straight year. This year, OU's stands were near full from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.

The outcome of the game notwithstanding, you've got to love a rivalry where both schools have a tradition of large animals and firearms.

After the game, we had some time to walk around the state fair, which was relaxing. I spent too much money on a corn dog and a cherry limeade, and then discovered these wonderful little coconut fried pineapple ring things. Those, I must say, were quite good. The Texans were fairly civil, on was polite to me at the corn dog stand, there were a few tauntings, and one guy actually barked at me.

By the time we rolled into Norman, I was ready to get lots of sleep, and lemme tell ya, I did.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Wade Boggs

Smarmy Cheater, or Mustachioed Genius?

You tell me.