Wednesday, September 27
Not Much New Around Here
Oh, I guess I should mention that Ryan from the old town dropped by for a visit a few weeks ago. We hung out for a weekend, ate and imbibed, watched a little NFL on opening weekend. Standard September fare. Wait. We did something else, though. What was it? Hmm... Oh, I remember.
We watched the local college football team take on some large out-of-state school’s football team. (American football, not “footie”.) You probably didn’t hear about it, but it was kind of a big deal down here. Your University of Texas Longhorns hosted the top-ranked and morally repugnant Ohio State Buckeye football team. It was the first meeting of the #1 and #2 college football teams during the regular season in 10 years. Many thought it was the biggest game ever played in Austin. And 30,000 buck-toothed-, err, Buckeye fans came to Austin from all over the country to support their team of future felons.
It’s weird, though. Thinking about the game now, it feels like it took place a really long time ago. Wait, what? It feels that way only because I slacked a few weeks before writing about it? Oh. That makes sense.
Crap. I took some pictures. Do you even care to see them? It's been awhile. You wanna? Yeah? Cool. Let your eyes eat it up...
A few of the 30,000 Ohio State fans preparing for the game at their weekend compound, Stubb's, a downtown BBQ joint that doubles as a music venue:
Ryan and Tania at the business school tailgate:
Damn, there are a lotta people here. 89,000+. How they all fit into a stadium that seats 85,000, I don't know.
Ohmigod, ohmigod, OHMIGOD!! Matthew McConaughey and Jake Gyllenhaal! Matthew McConnahey and Jake Gyllenhaul! Matthew McKonaughay and Jake Gillenhall! They're here! At the game!!
Wait... are they even friends? Who the hell are those people?
Oh yeah. That's totally them. This is now officially the dreamiest game in Austin's history.
Damn. My Hook 'em was cut off:
So, I sold my extra game ticket to this crazed Ohio State fan pictured here for a few bones before the game. She, uh... she was really into the game. I mean really into the game. I began to worry a little about her sanity as the game wore on, even suggesting that Tania not get so close to her for this pict-...
Holy shit. Rusti? Rusti, is that you? How the hell you been? Is Martin here with you? How's the casa in Alameda? I didn't recognize you when I sold you the ticket. Umm, one question. Why, uhh... why have you been making that face for the last two hours?
It's later in the game and the 'Horns are beginning to suck. Let's gaze at the landmark UT Tower.
The largest high-definition screen in the world. It was originally called Godzillatron. A splinter group has begun calling it Adzillatron. That might be more appropriate. FYI: a stadium somewhere in Asia will soon have an even larger hi-def screen, dropping UT's screen to 2nd largest in the world. Weak.
Ohio State 24, Texas 7. Why did you leave us, Vince? Why?
Ryan, Tania, and I headed downtown after the game for a beverage. We ended up at Speakeasy, which has a pretty tight roofdeck with cushy space for lounging.
Much to Tania's consternation, a good portion of Sunday morning and afternoon resembled this:
We finally left the house in the mid-afternoon to get Ryan some authentic Texas barbecue at County Line. The three of us ate at the original location which has a nice view of the severely overhyped Texas Hill Country. (Though, to be fair, I could not see the entire hill country from the restaurant.)
We consumed mass quantities of ribs, brisket, and sausage until we there was no room left in our tummies. Then they offered us some dessert. So we made some room. (I won't say how.)
Tuesday, September 5
First Week ‘o Class, More Drinking, and the 1st Football Game
Last week was once again busy, and I guess we can assume that every week will be busy for me until after Christmas. We had our first days of class Wednesday and Thursday, and the amount of workload the teachers announced seemed to be inline with what I was expecting, i.e., more than my Kaiser-damaged brain can handle at the moment. Hopefully, I’ll be able to ramp up my ability to think before it’s too late.
Thursday night, I met a bunch of other MBA students for some drinkies at the weekly Think n Drink. This week, the location was Fado. I’d never heard of it, but apparently Fado is a national chain of Irish bars. In exchange for feigning interest in the graduate rugby club, I was given a wristband that entitled me to $3 drafts and well drinks. I didn’t even mean to sound that excited about rugby. I merely told the club prez (who also doubled as the discount wristband distributor) that my older brother had played rugby at Cal Poly. That simple admission made me one of the more appealing rugby candidates. Well, that and my square jaw, rock hard physique, and imposing receding hairline.
Anyway, I chatted with a bunch of new bestest friends forever in the program at Fado for a couple hours. We later headed to a nearby bar partly-owned by Austin’s favorite son who in no way never ever took any performance-enhancing drugs ever (never!), Lance Armstrong. It’s called Six, so named after Lance’s sixth Tour de France title. (Why he hasn’t opened a complementing restaurant named "7" nearby, I don’t know.) It’s early in my tenure here, but Six has become one of my favorite bars, mainly because of its rooftop bar with views of downtown. Its groundfloor bar reminds me of West in NYC, but I haven’t spent much time there because of my unabashed love for drinking on rooftops. I spent a few hours there imbibing and winning over the hearts and minds of strangers. I later headed to a classmate’s downtown loft for a cocktail before getting home around 3:45 am.
Friday was spent running errands, working out, and resting in anticipation of the first UT football game of the season on Saturday. As you may know, UT football is an absurdly important aspect of life in Austin. Because Austin has no pro sports team and the hometown University of Texas has one of the largest and most well-rounded (and well-funded) athletic programs in NCAA, the town treats the UT athletic program as its pro teams. And UT football is far and away more important than UT basketball, baseball, or any other sport. I’ve been hearing daily stories about who will replace Vince Young at quarterback since I got here. (For the record, red-shirt freshman Colt McCoy is starting ahead of true freshman Jevan Snead. You need to know this.) There is probably a UT football story on the frontpage of the Austin American-Statesman twice a week. In the world of Austin sports, UT football is first, second, and third. Everything else is a distant fourth. Perhaps I’m being too subtle so I’ll just come right out and say it: UT football = big deal in Austin, and in the state of Texas as a whole. Sorry for beating around the bush. (I’ve never really understood what that cliché means.)
This past Saturday’s game started at 11am to accommodate Fox Sports. Therefore, the tailgating started early in the morning. The b-school tailgate started at a somewhat restrained 9am. One benefit of being in the b-school (among many!) is that we have sponsors who provide free food and drink at the tailgate party before each home game. Miller Brewing provides the beverages each week, and a host of other sponsors pay for the food, tent, security, etc. Off-duty Austin police officers work the door to ensure that none of the riff-raff gets in. You know who you are.
Tania, myself, and a few others didn't leave the tailgate until all of the beverages were dusted about 20 minutes after the game began. We decided to take our time because UT was playing such a patsy. Your defending national champion Longhorns hosted the surprisingly gentile Mean Green of North Texas. I believe North Texas' football history begins and ends with "Mean" Joe Greene (Hall of Famer, 4-time Super Bowl winner, and cornerstone of Pittsburgh’s legendary "Steel Curtain") who played at North Texas in the 60’s. We arrived midway through the 1st quarter with UT up 7-0. (Is that all?) By halftime, it was 28-0. It was also hotter than hell. Everyone left their seats at halftime to get a drink and some shade underneath the stands. And I have not yet spoken to anyone who returned to their seats for the 2nd half. Everyone I know went to Scholz Garden a few blocks away to have a few beers in the shade. UT ended up winning 56-7, Colt McCoy reassured the entire state by throwing 3 TD passes and running for another in his first start, and the state of Texas now salivates for Saturday’s home game against top-ranked Ohio State. And that’s about where things stand in Austin at the moment.
Oh, also, I have this alarmingly weak neck-beard going: