Monday, January 26, 2015

The Rise of the Hashtags

The Monster always seems to find a way to surprise us everyday. The most recent thing she has been doing is saying "hashtag" before whatever action she's about to do. It's like I am witnessing a human twitter account. The Monster just uses hashtag when she's talking to her sister. As I was sitting on the couch, I could over hear her saying, "hashtag, I'm going to pee on you." Or "hashtag, I am going to spank you" or "hashtag, eat you vegetables." The social media nerd in me can just see the # appear in front of me.

And that was the moment that I am losing my little monster and she's actually growing up and doing growing up (albeit annoying) things. #saddaddy

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Texan Lost in King Lombardi's Court

Cool sign you have there Wisconsin
This past weekend I embarked on a trip to cross off an item off the very much cliché bucketlist: A trip to Lambeau Field. As I said before, the universe and it's stars all had to perfectly align for me to warrant a trip to Wisconsin in the dead of winter.

Everyone I spoke with expressed their sheer jealousy and complete bewilderment that someone would be willing to spontaneously go to a city where the week's high temperature was a single digit. I didn't plan on the hows of the trip, I just bought my ticket and hoped fate would help me finish my quest. I bought one single ticket, in a random section of a stadium, in a state I had never visited before. Nothing could go wrong.

The original plan was for me to fly into Milwaukee (a two hour drive to Green Bay) and meet up with an old wrestling buddy from middle school. We were then supposed to meet up with his friend and drive to Green Bay and stay at his friend's, friend's house for the night. Well, turns out Northern Hospitality doesn't exist. The friend of the friend didn't want a stranger (or maybe a Cowboys fan?) in her house. It was then suggested I get a hotel room for the night and I could meet up with them at the game the next day. Since the game was only a few days away, the price of a hotel room was too steep for me to pay for one person. Fortunately I had a backup plan. I had a group of friends who were going to fly into Chicago and make the drive to Green Bay from there (with a stay in Milwaukee the night before the game). The only negative was that one of them happened to be a diehard Packers fan and a Wisconsin native. They gladly accepted a fourth person to their entourage and I had the logistics figured out.

What does a native Texan (who doesn't hunt) have in his closet that could withstand multiple hours in single digit temperatures? Absolutely nothing. Google "how to survive Lambeau" and you would be surprised at the countless articles written about the journey. I also sought advice from the brother in law who went to school in Colorado Springs and a co-worker who just moved from Alaska. Everyone's consensus was that no matter how well I was prepared, I was going to freeze my ass off. But if you are to prepare for winter at Lambeau, I will highly recommend wool socks, insulated waterproof boots, a ski mask/ninja mask, and lots of layers. Lambeau hands out free hand warmers and free hot chocolate. A heat wave happened to pass through Green Bay for the Sunday game, bringing the high temperature to a brisk 22 degrees. This was a major improvement from the 8 degree high the night before.

We arrived into Green Bay the morning of the game, roughly around 830AM and kick off was at noon. Lambeau Field is pretty much Green Bay. There are houses directly across the street from the front of the stadium where homeowners let fans park in their yards (for a small fee) and even have roof top decks so people can hang out. My initial impression of Green Bay is that it's pretty much a college town. Stadium parking is reserved for season ticket holders but there is $20 parking within a 5 minute walk to the stadium. Bars and businesses line the perimeter of the parking and invite anyone to drink a beer with them. A 24oz Miller Lite was only $6.50. Twenty dollar parking and two beers for less than 7 bucks at an NFL playoff game. This whole town is stuck in time.

Most of the tailgating is done indoors and the preferred spot is a place called Stadium Dive. Cheeseburger and fries will cost you about 7 bucks but the heat is free. We ventured out to see the tailgating outdoors and it was supposed to be a sight to be seen but overall it was just meh. Nothing special. There were a lot of Cowboys fans so that made me happy. We went into the stadium at 11AM and split our ways to our respective seats. Since I bought only one ticket I had no idea who I would be sitting next to. Luckily, I sat next to a family of Cowboys fans from Iowa and I knew I was going to be okay. Everywhere I looked there was a Cowboys fan within a high fives reach.

It was recommended to rent a seat for the game (only six bucks) because the seats are metal bleacher stands. Wet, cold temperatures don't make it ideal to sit directly on the benches so this was a very good recommendation. The only problem is most people stand at the games because everyone is crammed onto the benches.

The game was cold. Nothing too unbearable but if the weather has been in the single digits, I don't know how long I would have lasted.

Post game walk of shame
I am not going to go into my opinions of the game. But I will say Packer fans are by far the classiest fanbase in the league. Maybe it was their own guilt that they may have gotten away with a call but at least a hundred Packer fans came up to me after the game and thanked me for coming all the way out to Lambeau and that my team played one hell of a game. Even at the Packer bars after the game I was met with the same classiness. I was offered a blanket and hand warmers by Packer fans at the game and didn't worry about my safety for one second. The experience didn't end the way I wanted it to but I know I won't have any hesitations planning a return trip next year.

The Packer Pimp in action after the game

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dallas Observer Piece

So everyone keeps telling me I should write for the Dallas Observer. I tried a couple of years ago but they didn't like my style so I didn't care to try again. But the Wifey was a little more adamant I send something in again. I figured I would just appease her and send something in and see they come back with. This is what I submitted. It's a list because everyone loves lists.

Growing up poor, eating out was a luxury my family rarely enjoyed. But if my dad got lucky on a scratch off ticket or my mom hit it big at Bingo, you could bet your sweet ass our family was headed to the nearest all you can eat buffet. How else do you satisfy six different appetites at one sitting for a bargain of a price? Until the day John Tesar can put a cheese enchilada, fried chicken leg, salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, and green jello all on one plate for 10 bucks, I will continue to pull a Meghan Trainor and be all about that buffet. But it’s not a free-for-all, there is some etiquette that needs to be observed. 

Honor the Sneeze Guard

The quarter inch piece of plexi-glass separating your face from my dinner is my reassurance that you aren’t breathing germs all over everything. I know, the sneeze guard’s protection against foreign agents is about as safe as Presby’s safeguards for their nurses against Ebola. That sneeze guard satisfies my peace of mind when you aren’t maneuvering your body under the sneeze guard like you’re escaping from Shawshank just to get one piece of chicken. Get busy living or get busy dying but do both above the sneeze guard.

Don’t Be a Vulture 

I see you hanging out at the fried shrimp, pretending to text on your phone, just waiting for the next trough of over battered shrimp to come out of the kitchen. That’s fine, just don’t take all of the freaking shrimp. It’s like fried shrimp just became currency and you plan on diving head first into your pile of fried shrimp like Scrooge McDuck. Grab enough to hold you over and then let everyone else have a turn. And if there are still some left when people have dispersed, treat yo self.

Follow the Flow 

Just like reading a book, buffets should move left to right. Don’t think you are entitled to immediately go after the macaroni cheese just because you don’t care for vegetables. Get in line, wait your turn, and then scoop your food. Also, don’t take your sweet ass time putting the food on your plate. It holds up the line and chances are you aren’t going to eat everything. This holds especially true if there’s a carving station. I am eyeing that ham just as much as you are - it’s not an exit off of 635, you don’t get to drive all the way to the front and hope someone lets you in.

Take What You Want But Eat All You Take 

Ah yes, Confucius’s Golden Rule. This benefits the restaurant and the consumer. Not wasting food means more food for everyone else which means lower prices. You know what happens when you load up your plate only to push it to the side because you suddenly realized the extra 6500 calories wasn’t worth it? Golden Corral starts a ridiculous promotion where you get to take home six yeast rolls after buying two adult dinner buffets. They are trying to entice people to buy two adult dinners just to bring home rolls. I’m sorry but after eating at Golden Corral, the only thing I am bringing home is shame and guilt.

There are no rules at the dessert bar 

Congratulations, you saved enough room in your stomach to warrant a trip to the dessert bar, now you might as well go all out. Do you want soft serve in a cone? Pull the lever and make yourself a two foot cone. Pack that ice cream into the cone like you’re trying to avoid the luggage fees at the airport. Ice cream getting too tall? Flip it and throw it into a bowl and then top it with that burnt bread pudding. Enjoy your masterpiece and don’t forget to tip your server, they are cleaning up that mess after you.


I get a response and basically I was told that "buffets are not in their wheelhouse." I tried and didn't get picked. There goes my chance for a Pulitzer.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cowboys Playoffs

The Wifey will probably get irritated that I am digressing from the Monster and Pillow to discuss this but I am super excited about what's going to happen.

I'm a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan. I've mentioned it a few times; the Wifey does a great job of scheduling around the game. She doesn't mind, she gets to nap during the games and I get to focus on what's going on.

But anyways, the perfect conditions came up that if the Cowboys were to advance in the playoffs they would play Green Bay at Lambeau Field. Cowboys against the Packers in the playoffs? There is nothing more iconic than that. Since we have the ability to fly anywhere in the country for free and I happened to have a friend who's a Cowboys fan and lives in Milwakuee, there is no better opportunity. Not to be a pessimist but this scenario could probably never happen again. The last time the Cowboys played the Packers at Lambeau for the playoffs was in 1967. So I asked the Wifey if I could go. She didn't even hesitate to say yes.

I am not passionate about many things but the Wifey is well aware of my love for the Cowboys. I wanted to buy the tickets early last week when I saw how affordable they were compared to the tickets at AT&T Stadium but not to jinx any chances the Cowboys had, I waited. I missed on an opportunity to get a seat in the same section and row as the Lambeau Leap; it would have been amazing to have Tony Romo jump in the stands and I grab the sweet butt of his but I didn't want to leave anything to chance.

As soon as the Cowboys recovered the fumble to seal the game, I was already half way finished to booking my ticket. And so I will be in Green Bay on Sunday with a kickoff temperature of 9 degrees cheering on my Dallas Cowboys. It wouldn't be at all possible without my awesome wife. Thanks love.