Sunday, March 6, 2011

Eddie is in the HOF!

"Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!"

The Eddie chant was one of my favorite parts about going to Okie St. basketball games. Refs that came to Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater knew that if they blew a call, Head Coach Eddie Sutton would let 'em hear it, and that, in turn, would fire up the student section as we would show our support for our legendary coach.

I could share hundreds of stories about my second favorite basketball coach of all time, but I don't have the time to write them, and I've put you through enough long-winded posts in the past year that I'm afraid if I wrote another, you'd boycott this blog. So, in honor of Eddie being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last week, I'll simply leave you with a photo of the time I graced a Tulsa billboard with the Coach.


Oh, and speaking of basketball coaches; My friend, Mo-T and I wrapped up another season coaching the local Catholic school's 5th grade girls team. At the sports banquet to recognize all of the student-athletes from the school, we decided a normal speech wouldn't suffice for all the hard work our girls put in... Click HERE. Enjoy!



-Peace be da journey

Friday, February 18, 2011

A long time ago, at a summer camp really, really close...

So, I don't post for nearly four months, and this is the post I publish to get things rolling again?Just be forewarned, at some point you'll likely say to yourself, "Where the doozle is he going with this?" Just stay with me:

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, when debts weren't paid in a timely manner, bounty hunters were hired to find the guilty parties. These bounty hunters either collected the outstanding debt, or they brought the guilty party, dead or alive, to the one for which the debt was owed.

Our good buddy, and longtime reader of 'a blog', Han Solo found himself in such a pickle early in Star Wars, Episode IV (but which was actually the first movie).

Sure, the Millennium Falcon could make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, but when you owe money to Jabba the Hut, and Greedo, the Bounty Hunter, is asking for the money at blaster point (blaster point is akin to gun point, but why on Earth - or in a galaxy far, far away - would you ever hold someone at gun point if the alternative is to hold them at blaster point), things can get uncomfortable quick. Of course, even moderate fans of the Star Wars franchise (and if you're not even a moderate fan of Star Wars, then please kindly move your mouse to the button which closes this screen, and never return (and don't give me the, "Well, I'm a Star Trek fan, does that count?" It doesn't.)) know that Han outsmarts Greedo by subtly picking at the wallpaper above his shoulder with one hand, in an incredible move that distracts Greedo from realizing that underneath the table Han has successfully removed his blaster from his holster... and then BOOM (I realize that the noise that comes from blasters isn't "BOOM!" but what else would have worked there? ZAP!? BLASTER BLASTER!? ZIPPIDY DOO DAH!? Alas, "BOOM!" seemed to work best). Style points for blasting Greedo underneath the table, cause that's how Han rolls. Just before Greedo was blasted, he likely thought, "I sure hope Han gives the bartender a coin as he walks out of the cantina to help pay for the mess that is about to entail," which Han does, because let's face it, Han is a true gentlemen.

While Han escapes his debt for the time being, he has every intention of paying off Jabba. But, in the end, the one for which the debt is owed - Jabba the Hut - ends up on top by catching Han and freezing him in carbonite, which is preceded by this scene:

Leia: I love you.
Han: I know.
Chewbacca: (Roars!)

Anywho, I suppose that Jabba didn't actually end up on top if you consider that in Episode VI (but which was actually the third film), Princess Leia strangles him to death with a chain (remember, I warned you about this post, but stay with me...)

While we're aware of what was done a long time ago in a galaxy far, far way, recent events (well, not so recent - summer of 2010) have left me grasping for a proper response to a similar debt owing predicament.

Truth be told, a self-proclaimed, "squatter" of the CG53959 recently was trusted with a credit to calculate her usage of office supplies at the CG.

The tabular of transactions hung innocently behind my desk throughout the course of the summer, and while the aforementioned squatter has had ample time and multiple opportunities to pay off her debt, the tab remains unpaid.

Total charges include: 39 copies (at a rate of .03 per), 3 tissues (.005 per), 3 envelopes (.01), 6 staples (.001), 4 stamps (.44), and 1 scrap of notebook paper (.005)

While the total value of these transactions is a mere $2.97 - rounded up, of course - the principle of the matter leaves me no choice but to issue one last warning to the guilty party before I'll be forced to assemble a team of top-notch bounty hunters. These bounty hunters will stop at nothing - save for blaster wounds from Han Solo - to retrieve the monies owed to the organization for which I work.

Your move, Ms. Herron. Your move.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Help Me Travel

Greetings friends!

Have we at 'a blog' thanked you lately for being a loyal reader of 'a blog'? Well, our apologies for our lack of verbal or written appreciation. Truth be told, it's because of you, coming to this humble site to read about our daily adventures, that we continue to update 'a blog'.
That being said, as much as I'm sure you've enjoyed reading about: my attempts to grow a mustache and kill a deer; my success in balancing peacock feathers, dominating extreme ping pong, and catching shrews; and the hard work I've put in to become a life-long-for-two-years Pittsburgh Pirates fan, you've most likely, on occasion, thought, "Wow, it'd be really nice if Chris actually had a real adventure to write about..."

Well gang, that day is just around the corner!

On a recent, abnormally warm, mid-October afternoon, I stumbled across this website: click here. "What?" I thought to myself. "Could it be? A website that is combining two of my greatest passions (travel and writing) into an award for writing an essay of mere 400 word length?" "Wait, what? The winning essay isn't chosen based on quality, rather it's chosen based on the number of votes the writer of said essay receives?"

Yes, friends, I thought all of this to myself. And then I thought, "I could write a 400 word essay in my sleep (though it wouldn't be very good), and I have an abundance (31) of loyal readers here at 'a blog' that would certainly vote for me."

So gang, would you do me the honor of reading my essay (which I have posted below), and then take the time to vote for me by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page?

You da man (women).

ENJOY!

______________

While a student at Oklahoma State University, a good buddy of mine helped to land me a job at OSU's campus post office (this was way back when stamps only cost a mere 37 cents!). Frequent visitors of the post office included buddies that were killing time between classes, a lady with a mustache, a campus police officer, and most interesting: the many international students that spent their formative collegiate years learning from the terrific professors at Oklahoma's finest land grant institution.

It was very interesting and eye-opening to meet and develop relationships with people from countries all over the world - several of which I had never even heard of. Thankfully, tacked to the wall of the post office was a large map of the world, which I would use almost daily to find the home countries of these mail sending students. Additionally, whenever business in the post office was slow, I would catch myself staring at the map dreaming of a day when I would have the financial means and the time to explore every nook and cranny of our crazy world. I felt like a great lion caged in the Oklahoma City zoo, only I was a simple college student from Oklahoma yearning to see the world.

Likewise, credit for my desire to see the world is given to the many "vagabond spirited" friends I made in college, with whom I would constantly be in discussions about which cardinal direction we should head on our next domestic road trip. Because of these talks, and the eagerness of friends to see sweet places all over our great nation, I left college having been to all but four states (we even road tripped to Alaska one summer!).

Though I'm a proponent of the adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words," I would constantly find myself journaling in order to capture the priceless memories I had from these incredible experiences. I found through writing about my adventures, that I love to write, and I love to share stories from the aforementioned adventures.

I hope to be chosen for this incredible opportunity because not only would I absolutely love the chance to travel the world, I would enjoy greatly the opportunity to blow your mind writing about it. Oh, and if chosen, I promise I'll improve my analogies.

Peace be da journey.
______________

To vote, please click here. If I win, I'll be sure to include your name in one of my many mind blowing blogs that will be written about my sweet adventures. Thanks gang. (Oh, and I almost forgot, if I win, I do get to bring one friend, so, this really could be a win-win for one of you. Which one of you? Well, I do love Skittles...)


Peace be da journey.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Blast From the Past

If you've ever looked over my shoulder while I was piddling on my laptop or work computer (There is cultural discrepancy regarding this word, as midwestern folks will tell you that 'to piddle' means to urinate, while my father, a born and bred Floridian, uses the word 'piddle' when describing a period of time in which one dawdles. Don't worry, I didn't urinate on my computers, as I use the word piddle in the same way as my father, and if you have the time, please read Richard Tionary's thoughts on the word 'piddle,' by clicking here), you've probably noticed that I save nearly all of my documents and pictures to the desktop. A la Michelle Brock in Tommy Boy, I don't put things into files on my computer because I have to open them.

If you're thinking that this must make my desktop an extreme cluster, then you'd be right. That being said, I've been trying lately to organize documents into files, because it has become quite overwhelming.

Occasionally though, I forget which file I save certain things, as was the case a few days ago as I was frantically searching for where the heck I saved my latest paper for class, which, turns out, I had in fact saved to the desktop. But, I was rewarded, because as I was searching, I stumbled across an artifact of priceless value...

I used to frequent an Oklahoma State athletics message board (back when OSU sports were my only passion in life - man, those were the days). Anywho, this particular message board, in addition to being a message board, also had articles about the current affairs of Okie St athletics which were written by random followers of the message board. I always thought the articles were pretty shoddy, and though I didn't have any journalism experience, I felt I could do a better job. Opportunity knocked one spring afternoon when the message board put out a plea for a new writer because the guy that had been writing for the message board died in a freak bowel laceration accident (okay, I'm just kidding, the dude didn't die, nor did he have a bowel laceration incident. Basically, the only true part of that last sentence was that a new writer was needed for the message board), so I answered. (Oh, and by the way, this dude actually did have a laceration of the bowel incident, but he didn't die - physically anyways; I'm certain his pride couldn't be living after a situation like that...). I decided to write an article breaking down the Cowboy Basketball Team, because it was the week leading up to the Big XII Tournament.

Anyway, because it's been a busy last couple weeks, and I haven't had the time necessary to dedicate to my next post (spoiler alert! Will my mighty mustache be making a marvelous return?!), we at 'a blog' thought that our loyal readers would enjoy checking out my first published work. (sure, it was merely published on a crappy, now-defunct OSU message board - and my buddy, Caleb, is probably the only person that will enjoy this - but it's something, so enjoy!)


Published to www.o-state.com on March 5, 2007


Yikes.


By: Chris Aderhold


This Cowboy basketball season may be the most painful era of my OSU fandom.


A fellow OSU Grad buddy of mine is getting married on Saturday, March 31 at 7:00pm. Yes, that just happens to be smack dab in the middle of the Final Four. The Groom informed me of the date of the wedding while OSU was sitting at 15-1 and ranked 9th in the country. I distinctly remember talking to a few of my friends just those two short months ago, and we were sincerely concerned that we would have to skip his wedding for the road trip to Atlanta - host of this year's Final Four. He even asked me to be in his wedding. I told him I would be, but I reminded him that I have been a fan of OSU basketball much longer than I have been friends with him.


Crazy how much can change in two months.


I even had the arrogance to tell some friends of mine in Wisconsin that OSU was going to win the National Championship this year. I thought I knew the secret why OSU would win it all:


“Well”, I explained, “OSU must be the only team in the country that has two players motivated by the fact that they should have won the National Championship with another team.”

JamesOn Curry should have been a University of North Carolina freshman two years ago when the Tar Heels won the National Championship. And the Florida Gators won the Championship last year, which is the team Mario Boggan was a part of his freshman year.


I wonder if Curry and Boggan ever talk about those missed opportunities.


In any event, here we sit, two short months later. OSU is heading into the Big XII Tournament with a 6-10 Conference mark. There is no magic formula to get the Pokes to the NCAA Tournament. They have to go 4-0 in the next 4 games. At least it isn't difficult for the casual fan to follow. Win 4 and the Pokes are in. I know many fans that aren't even giving the Pokes a chance anymore. Heck, I consider myself to be pretty dang optimistic, and even I am wavering. Being down by 29 to Nebraska on Monday night will do that to ya.


Before you totally give up hope though, sit back and imagine for a second OSU being the first team in the history of the Conference to win 4 games in route to the Championship. That would be something, huh? And since OSU will be the first team to do the 4-0 sweep, the 4-0 sweep would have to be named after the Pokes. That’s just the rule with sports. If you do something that has never been done, you get your name on it (i.e. The Tiger Slam; The Shawn Kemp; Lou Gehrig's Disease, etc., etc.). I submit that the Cowboys 4-0 sweep be called the “Poke Sweep”. I am definitely open for suggestions though.


I know what you are thinking. You are thinking; “how the heck are Sean and the ‘boys going to win 4 in 4 days, when they have not even won 4 in the past 4 weeks?”

Well friends, I have everything figured out. So sit back, and enjoy. And if any of you Cowboy fans are friends with Coach Sutton, make sure he gets a copy of this before Thursday.


So without further adieu, here is a breakdown of the Cowboys, and what it is going to take from each player for OSU to have a chance at the Poke Sweep.


Kenny Cooper – So much potential it makes me want to do a little dance. The guy played really well against Baylor, and that little jump hook he did a few times took my breath away. I’m excited to have him around a couple more years. I pick him as the smartest player on the team. Why? One situation comes to mind: When OSU was playing A&M in College Station in January, OSU got dominated for 40 minutes, but there was one silver lining. With several minutes left, and the Pokes losing by 20 points or so, Cooper fouled out. His foul put an A&M player on the foul line. As Cooper was walking to the bench the crowd was chanting along with his every step:


“LEFT! RIGHT! LEFT! RIGHT!”


All the way to the bench they chanted. Then, how it is supposed to work, is the fouled-out player takes a seat and the whole crowd cheers. Well my friends, Cooper was not born yesterday, and he knew exactly what was coming. He waited until the guy at the line started shooting the free throw before he sat down. So he sits down and the crowd goes wild and the foul shooter probably wet himself, because come on, who is prepared to shoot a free throw at home with a raucous crowd? The guy missed the free throw and I believe my quote was, “Brilliant Kenny, Brilliant!”


Byron Eaton – Some friends of mine have a beautiful black and tan Coon Hound. Maggie is her name. Sometimes, we will make her sit and stay, and then we will get one of her dog treats and set it on the floor across the room from her. She is so excited for that treat that saliva will literally drip from the corners of her mouth. My question is this: How is Jai Lucas not sitting at home watching the OSU point guard situation with saliva running down his neck? Eaton has definitely played better and more consistently this season compared to last, but with no depth at point guard, I will be quite perplexed if Lucas actually ends up going elsewhere. As for the Big XII tourney, Eaton needs to continue to drive and do that sweet little pull-up jumper he’s been doing pretty well lately. Also, a little better defense would go a long, long way.


Mario Boggan – Is it just me, or does it seem like anytime something goes wrong for the Pokes, Mario can be seen griping at his teammates. No wonder the Pokes have seemed down lately. Attitude Reflects Leadership. Like it or not, Boggan is a leader. This is his last chance for a little glory. I thought after sitting out against Baylor, Boggan would explode against Nebraska on Monday night. We can only hope he is saving everything for this weekend. 20 and 10 per game is not too much to ask.


JamesOn Curry – Any chance this guy can score 40 a couple more times? It’s wonderful to finally see Curry with so much confidence. Drive it a little more from time to time, and I think Curry would be considered hands down the second best guard in the conference, behind Acie Law IV of course.


Terrell Harris – Who doesn’t love this guy (when he’s consistent)? Harris is another guy that I am pumped about being around for two more years. My friend Caleb has the secret recipe for this guy: He needs to make a few easy jumpers or lay-ups early on in games, and his confidence will soar. And trust me, Caleb knows a thing or two about confidence. He was once chosen to do the “Halftime Trifecta Contest” done at every OSU home game. You know the one I am talking about? The fan has to make a lay-up, a free throw, and a 3-pointer in 24 seconds. Well, Caleb made that first lay-up in one try, and because of the confidence gained from that lay-up; it resulted in a clean sweep of the Trifecta and a prize in the form of a $100 gift card to McDonalds. He took us to McDonalds after the game to treat us to some food and he told us we could each spend $3. When he wasn’t looking I ordered $8 worth of food. Oh man, how I miss college.


David Monds – I never thought I would say this, but Monds makes me miss Jason Miller.


Tyler Hatch – My vote for Big XII Newcomer of the Year. Okay, not really, but I’m extremely thankful for this guy. His hair is even growing on me, and the fact that he’s knocked down a few treys in the past few games puts a smile on my face.


Obi Muonelo – I spent literally 45 minutes trying to think of an original and witty Star Wars reference for Mr. Muonelo. I came up with nothing, which is probably for the best. However, I think Obi proved against Nebraska that he will be good to go for the Big XII Tourney. It is pretty nice having another scoring threat running the floor.

Any output that exceeds the nightly Tyler Hatch numbers is a huge contribution in my eyes. Anything more than that will be gravy. Remember, do or do not, there is no try.


Marcus Dove – Which nonexistent offensive player would you rather have: Dove; at the level defensively he was at last year against Adam Morrison (because let’s face it, we haven’t seen that “Melvin Sanders Defensive Specialist – Dove” in a while), but is lost on offense; OR Doug Gottlieb, who was the greatest assists man in OSU history, but couldn’t hit Earth if he fell out of a plane? My vote goes to Gottlieb, but since we have Dove, I guess I would be content watching him have one more crack at Acie Law IV in the quarterfinals. Do a good enough job on Law IV, and they may even relegate Law to the V. Plus the “IV” on his jersey looks like an “N” anyways, and I always get confused watching A&M play... Who’s this LAWN guy?


So, there it is. Seems easy enough, eh? One week from today, will Cowboy fans worldwide be celebrating the first ever 4-0 sweep of the Big XII tournament, or will we be looking ahead to baseball and spring football? I'm not going to hold my breath, but crazier things have happened:


The Red Sox did the impossible, by winning 4 in a row against the Yankees a couple years ago en route to the American League Championship.


Sylvester Stallone made another Rocky movie.


France sold the United States 530,000 acres at roughly 3 cents per.


And Boise State beat the University of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl with the statue of liberty play. THE FREAKIN' STATUE OF LIBERTY PLAY! I am still in amazement.


Oh yes my friends, crazier things have happened indeed.



GO POKES!



___________________

Whew! Who knew I was so long winded? You're probably wondering, "Well, did they pull off the Poke Sweep?"

That's a negative. The Pokes battled valiantly, but fell 69-64 to a solid Texas team - led by tournament MVP, Kevin Durant (How good was KD? He was given the MVP award even though Texas lost in the Championship game to Kansas) - in the semi-finals. A few buddies and I were able to finagle tickets to every Oklahoma State game, as the tourney was being played in Oklahoma City, and man oh man, was that a blast! They did beat Texas A&M in the quarterfinals, which was awesome, and as I had hoped, Marcus Dove was able to shut down "LAWN," which played a huge role in the outcome.

Well friends, as you know, we at 'a blog' don't dabble in sports often, so we hope that you enjoyed this journey down Athletics Memory Ln.


Thanks for tuning in.


-Peace be da journey.




Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"To see the rainbow, you must first endure some rain."

It has been well chronicled in the nearly two-year life span of 'a blog' that road trips and I are quite fond of each other. I've been on many different road trips with many different people, and have experienced many road trip highs and many road trip lows. One of the lowest of lows, and toughest challenges one can encounter while on a road trip is navigating through a torrential downpour. Driving through torrential rain ranks 3rd on the AP Top 5 Toughest Road Trip Challenges List.

The AP Top 5 Toughest Road Trip Challenges List
5. Perpetual Sleepers (I would guess even the novice road tripper has experienced this challenge - when road trip companions decide to sleep for the bulk of an adventure. Road trips aren't for sleeping, regardless of the time of day (or night) you're traveling, and it's especially bad when it happens all the way from Stillwater, OK to Chicago)
4. Instigating Road Rage Among Fellow Travelers - New Yorkers are the worst, and have been known to get so angry at innocent road trippers from Oklahoma that they will cut off said road trippers, approach the drivers side window of the aforementioned road trippers, threaten to bash out the driver's side window of the scared-to-death road trippers, and then when the panic-stricken road trippers attempt to floor it around the stereotypical crazy New Yorker, he will attempt to rip the side mirror off your road trip vehicle - which isn't the personal vehicle of anyone on the trip, rather, it's the van of a mom of one of your buddies, who was admittedly guilt tripped and pressured into letting us take her van.
3. Torrential Rain - Included in this category, but not as commonly encountered, are all unfortunate weather conditions (ie: snow, monsoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, dense fog, and gassy friends).
2. Offroad Traveling Mishaps - Occasionally, you may encounter a situation where someone in your crew decides to travel off road in order to save time, or just to get a better look at the deep woods of a near-deserted national forest in northern Arizona, getting your road trip chariot stuck in the mud for so long that you have to throw up a tent to spend the night because there is no one within a 20 mile radius to come help pull your vehicle out of the mud.
1. Cooler Nazis - Hypothetically, if you were traveling with limited funds to a far off destination (ie: Alaska), it just makes good economical sense to stock a cooler with cheap food purchased before your departure. A Cooler Nazi is the buddy that goes a little overboard rationing food, to the point that he makes a rule that to conserve food, there is a two pieces of meat limit per sandwich - hunger pangs ensue...

These stories, of course, are completely hypothetical.

An extended weekend around the 4th of July generously awaits our summer staff each summer, because it gives our staff a 91-hour weekend (From 7:30 on Friday evening until Tuesday at 12:30pm), rather than the abbreviated 43-hours. Those standard 43-hour weekends don't allow for many adventure options, but when you add a full 48-hours, adventure options are countless.

Three friends and I decided to take full advantage of the extended weekend by traveling south to the great state of Oklahoma to take in the 33rd annual Aderhold Family 4th of July Festival. My initial intention of this post was to share all the details and funny stories from the trip, (Like how, since our departure was to be Friday night, we decided that regardless, the start to our journey would be late, so we delayed it even further by stopping at Subway in the Dells to eat dinner with pals, Pat & Tim (and how there were two soccer-loving employees from Ghana that happily talked World Cup soccer with us); or how we decided to drive through St. Louis on the way to Oklahoma - even though, yes, it is the longer route, but when 50% of your road trip crew has never been to St. Louis, that's the route you take (and yes, they got to see St. Louis, but it was at roughly 3:00 in the morning, and evidently the lights that beautifully illuminate the St. Louis Arch at night were conveniently forgotten to be turned on - that, or city officials came to the conclusion that anyone who was traveling to St. Louis to see the arch would arrive well before 3:00am); or how we decided an hour past St. Louis that it would probably be in our best interest to get at least a few hours of rest, so we found a cheap Motel 6 to stay at (and apparently an ant colony had the same idea, because they shacked up in our room with us); or how quality sleep wasn't quite achieved because our bodies had been hopped-up with an abundance of caffeine, which made at least one of us take out our frustration with an early morning full-body flailing session (though the frustration for this particular road trip participant was eased a scosh when we stopped for breakfast at The St. Louis Bread Company, which is a close relative to Panera Bread); or how later on that day, our lack of sleep began to negatively effect all of us, so we agreed to a pact to each take part in our first ever shots of 5 hour energy; or how we didn't finally roll into my parents driveway until around 7:00pm (yes friends, that's 22 hours after we departed...); or how after taking in the celebration of Mass at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond the next morning, my mom and sister took us out for breakfast at their traditional post-Mass restaurant, Jimmy's Egg; or how we 'kids' were humbled by the old guys during the the traditional "Old Guys vs. Kids Volleyball Game" at the 4th of July party, but how the bitterness quickly faded when, after nearly 6 hours and approximately 357 attempts later, one in our crew finally successfully accomplished the elusive front flip off the diving board into the pool; or how we had the privilege of holding the 4-day old baby of one of my old high school buddies, Blaine; or how difficult it was to say goodbye to my family just minutes, it seemed, after we had said hello; or how I had the great honor of showing off the beautiful campus of my old collegiate stomping ground, The Oklahoma State University; or how fate brought us to a memorial of Knute Rockne; or how my football was lost forever when there was an unsuccessful attempt at chunking it over the roof at a gas station), but that would take much too long, and would probably be somewhat boring. So instead, I'll simply leave you with a moment on our journey that definitely makes the AP Top 10 Greatest Road Trip Experiences List (I'll save the rest of the list for another post).

This story takes place as we were journeying back to camp, driving north on Interstate 35, roughly an hour south of Des Moines. Through the windshield up ahead, along the horizon and above the never ending plains of Iowa farm land, we could see the sky begin to turn black. It wasn't long before the dark sky could be seen to the east and west as well, almost as if we were being engulfed by an over-sized, black, rain-filled horseshoe. Within minutes, the horseshoe closed in above us and the heavens opened, blessing the expanse of farm land with an abundance of much needed mid-summer rain, and giving the many drivers traveling on this day-after-holiday an extra obstacle. Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, someone from the backseat exclaimed, "oh hail," which seemed at first to be a statement of frustration, but turned out to be more a warning of the tiny ice chunks that had begun to fall from the sky. Oh hail, indeed. We endured this pounding for what seemed like an hour. However, before we could wallow in our sorrows for too long, the sky suddenly began to brighten, and before we knew it, the sun appeared to the west. The stubborn rain and hail remained, which at the time seemed like an anomaly, but looking back now, it's obvious they didn't want to miss what was to come... Suddenly, out of nowhere, as if it were a nod to the fact that we hadn't been able to clearly see the arch in St. Louis, an arch of magnificent colors appeared straight ahead, stretching from the horizon to the west all the way to the horizon to the east. It was the most bold and beautiful rainbow I had ever seen, and we were heading right toward it. As we approached the rainbow, we quickly realized that we would soon be driving underneath! Without a word being said, all four windows were rolled down in unison. As we barreled toward the moment when we would drive underneath the rainbow, the song that was being played on the radio was being sung at the top of each of our lungs, and we each had an arm stretched out of a window in an effort, it seemed, to touch the rainbow - despite the fact that the pelting rain and hail were giving our arms quite a beating. It was a sight to behold. It was something amazing. It was something incredible. It was without a doubt, something beautiful ( <-- you should probably click that link. It might change your life (probably not, but maybe...)).

It was a great reminder that in life, to see the rainbow, you must first endure some rain.

Thanks for a great adventure, gang.


Peace be da journey.
Chris


Oh, by the way... Congratulations! You just endured the longest post in the history of 'a blog,' 1,657 words!



Saturday, September 4, 2010

2010 Week 10

Greetings!

Week 10 of summer camp at Camp Gray is akin to the 19th hole at a golf course (unless H1N1 ravages our camp staff like a destructive rebel force, forcing us to offer a 10th week of summer camp because two session earlier in the summer had to be closed, a la summer 2009 - thankfully, summer 2010 came and went without any major pork disasters (or any real major disasters in general, which is good, because major disasters are frowned upon 'round these parts)). Summer camp wrapped up about three weeks ago, and since that time, I've had the opportunity to: take in some R&R; partake in some travel; watch my lifelong for two years favorite baseball team play; get talked into subscribing to NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV (come on over, we'll watch some football); play a round or three of golf; finally paint over the purple paint that used to be the paint color of choice in 2/3 of my humble home - making it look more like a dorm room than an actual residence; and get rolling with Grad School once again.

There has been a lot going on, with many stories to share, but rather than drone on for roughly 15,000 words, I thought I would instead post approximately 15 photos with brief captions under each, because as many of you know, I am quite fond of adages, and there happens to be one that fits perfectly:

Per wikipedia: The adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" refers to the idea that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image.

Let's start with my brief adventure to the city of bridges, Pittsburgh, PA!

The Pittsburgh skyline. To enjoy this view, you must brave the Duquesne Incline, which I did, and which I recommend!

The point in which the Allegheny and Monogahela Rivers come together to start the Ohio River.


Evidently, back at the start of the last century, the Pirates ownership group actually held on to talented baseball players. The second best baseball player of all time, J.P. Honus Wagner was a Pirate from 1900-1917.

My good buddy, Jason Hedger (who I co-starred with in the box office hit, "Alaska or Bust") is a grad student at West Virginia University, which is conveniently only a short hour drive south of Pittsburgh. He was able to join me and spend the day with me in Pittsburgh, and was extremely excited to take in some pre-game BP.

There are certainly benefits to rooting for the worst team in baseball: 12th row tickets will run you a mere $27 (which is 1/10th of what the New York Yankees charge for 12th row seats).

Pirates legend Roberto Clemente brought superhuman skills (not to mention superhuman size) to the Pirates organization for 18 years.

PNC Park at night. Simply gorgeous.

There is nothing quite like an 11:59pm departure on an Amtrak train out of Pittsburgh. Nothing. (There is also nothing quite like sleeping on the floor of the dining cart and being woken up at 6:00am by a bitter-sweet combination of a disgruntled train employee and a picturesque sunrise over a beautiful midwestern landscape.)
After 12 hours on the train, I returned to camp just in time to join Tom, Camp's hardworking Maintenance Chief, on the calm waters of nearby Devil's Lake for some quality fishing.

TDT. He's dynamite.

The model train looking size of the train rolling by on the shores of Devil's Lake puts into proper perspective the overwhelmingly gargantuan size of the surrounding bluffs. (You should really come and visit, and I'll take you there).

Too small to keep, not too small to put a smile on my face.

Devil's Lake at Dusk. Wonderful.

To wrap up a great week 10, I rolled out west to the beautiful river side town of La Crosse, where I spent some time with my good buddies Pat and Tim. In addition to taking in a draft for fantasy football (Tom Brady!), and eating lots of meat, we took a swing (or 100) at some golf.

If ever there was a 3-man scramble tournament, I am confident we would finish dead last.

Pat's golf swing and putting form may be a bit unorthodox, but no more than Tim's unique way of tending the pin.
Oh! He got all of that one!

Well, thanks for tuning in, friends! It was certainly an adventurous week 10, and I am now excited to get into the swing of my year-round responsibilities at camp, as well as get rolling on year two of Grad School.


Peace be da journey.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Aaaaah!

Holy moly, folks!

This summer is flying by, and it recently dawned on us fine folks at 'a blog' that our posting habits these past few months have been terrible.

It's a shame too, because it has been one heck of a summer. Summer camp is going wonderfully, the Pirates are only 27.5 games back in the Division Race, Kevin Durant is staying in OKC until at least 2016, and over the 4th of July weekend some friends and I embarked on a road trip to Edmond, OK for the annual Aderhold 4th of July Festivities (which was certainly blog worthy, and with the aid of a little bit more free time a few weeks from now, will certainly get published to 'a blog')!

Additionally, in some other exciting news, I recently competed in a sweet canoe race in Madison with Jeff. This too was without question a blog worthy event, but I just haven't found the time to write about it. Thankfully, Jeff is also a blogger, and has so generously taken the time to post a story on his blog, which can be found here.

Rest assured that with the conclusion of summer camp coming fast, the staff at 'a blog' will dedicate more time to keeping these pages as up to date as possible.

Peace be da journey.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

2nd Annual Birthday Baseball Bash

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again. - Terrence Mann
___________________________

Last year, on the eve of my 26th birthday, my buddies at Camp discovered quite the providential situation: my life-long (er, month-long) favorite baseball team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, would be in the state the next day for a battle with their division rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers. Of course, there was no way we couldn't hit up that adventure, so off we went the next day for the Inaugural April 28th showdown between the pride of Wisconsin and the pride of nearly nobody.

This year, those responsible for setting the MLB schedule obliged in scheduling the Pirates vs. the Brewers on April 28th once again, which meant that once again there was no way we were going to miss this classic rivalry. Plus, once something happens once, it becomes tradition, and there is simply nothing worse than breaking tradition (just ask my folks about not coming home for Thanksgiving the last couple years...).

Because word spread near and far regarding the amazingness of the Inaugural adventure, friends from all over the state rolled out to Milwaukee so they too could take in the excitement. This year's edition of the game had a 12:10 start time, making it my first MLB day game! Also, it meant that if we wanted to take in the world famous Miller Park tailgating, we'd have to depart from the ole 53959 fairly early.

So depart early we did, as two vehicles packed full of rowdy baseball fans rolled out of camp at 7:00am sharp. A third vehicle left camp a little later due to a slight delay from a young fan that was extra excited for his very first Major League Baseball game!

Friends Mo-T, Cari, and Pat rolled east with me in my fearless chariot, while pals Sean, Renata, Jenna, and Lindsay headed to the game in Lindsay's American-Made Dodge. The highlight of the journey in our vehicle was when Pat acted like he had fallen asleep against the passenger side window as we drove by a school bus full of kids. Needless to say, the pandaemonium on the bus that resulted from this comical scene put smiles on all of our faces. However, the other vehicle made a pit stop at Panera Bread, so it sounded like it was a successful journey for both parties.

The parking lot at Miller Park opens 3 hours before day games for tailgating, which was perfect, because we pulled in at 9:20. It wasn't long before we were tossing around the pigskin, playing catch with a baseball, and challenging each other to games of Baggo. Grilling began shortly thereafter with a new delicacy: Brats filled with both cheese and raspberries. Mmmm, does life get any better?

A car load of friends (Joseph, Kateri - who put a huge smile on my face by wearing a Pirates hat! - and Rachel) from the Milwaukee area finally made it around 11:00, just as Pat finished grilling the last batch of brats.

Though I've been to a handful of MLB games at a few different ballparks in the past several years, the roots of my baseball fandom comes from going to OKC 89er games as a kid. The OKC 89ers are the minor league affiliate of the Texas Rangers, named after the year of Oklahoma's epic land run. Going to 89er games as a youngster was my introduction to "professional baseball."

One of my fondest memories from an 89er game is when I went to a game with my dad - I was maybe 8 or 9 - and we saw one of his old college buddies at the game, Pat Peters. Pat was armed and ready for a day of fun, as he brought along a fishing net in the hopes of catching a fly ball. This memory has stuck with me ever since, so as I was packing up for the journey to Milwaukee, I made sure to swing by the fishing shed down at the Lake to borrow Camp's rarely-used fishing net (In all my years at camp, I've only seen the net used once). All I know is that when you sit in the outfield of a baseball park, adding a fishing net with a 6 foot pole to a 6'7'' wingspan does nothing but dramatically increase ones odds of catching a home run.

Turns out, what I didn't know, is that security at MLB games is a bit more strict than shoddy minor league baseball operations, especially when it comes to smuggling in 6 foot fishing nets (Plus we were sitting way, WAY up in left field - Even a fishing pole with a 60 foot pole wouldn't have been enough). So after carrying the net all the way from the car to the stadium, a friendly elderly gentleman working the ticket booth kindly told me that I wasn't allowed to bring fishing nets into the stadium.

Back to my car Mo-T and I journeyed to return the net, but it ended up working out perfectly because by the time we got back to the entrance to the stadium, Jeff, Rebecca, and Andrew (the overly excited first time baseball game goer), had finally arrived! We handed off their tickets, entered the stadium (this time sans fishing net), found our friends, and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon of baseball.

Sure, a showdown between the Brewers and Pirates - two-sub .500 teams - may not seem like the most attractive matchup, but with the weather near-divine, hot dogs and small sods selling for only $1, and being surrounded by a gaggle of amazing people, it simply could not have been a better day.

Plus, the Pirates won in the 14th inning (and they won the next day as well, stealing the series from the favored Brewers).

Thanks for an absolutely wonderful day, gang! I'm already looking forward to the third annual! I'll leave you with some fun photos from the day (thanks to Lindsay and Jeff/Rebecca for their top-notch photography skills - I know that if I was in need of a photographer for a wedding/corporate gathering/bar mitzvah/AC competition, I'd seek out y'alls services first.). Let me know if you're interested in taking in the 3rd annual (You don't want to miss out on this tradition...).

It's not a baseball game without some Big League Chew

L to R: Pat, Joseph, & Topher

L to R: Rachel, Kateri, Mo-T, Cari, and Renata

A friendly Baggo game to settle old scores: I think we proved who(m) carried who(m)...

Aaah, look at the sun on those faces... yup, it was a perfect afternoon for baseball!

The world famous Klements Giant Sausage Race. Due to an unfortunate incident 4 years ago, I always root against the chorizo. Always.

Andrew's first big league baseball game!
It won't be long until this little guy says,
"Hey... Dad? Wanna have a catch?"



- Peace be da journey

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Extreme Ping Pong

As promised, a short video of Extreme Ping Pong.

So you're aware, the rules are as follows:

1. Aim for the fan.
2. Keep the ball up.
3. Keep the ball from rolling into the bathroom.

Enjoy!


video


- Peace be da journey

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Journey South

Editors Note: If you haven't read The Plea, please do so before continuing.

Editors Note 2: To get the full effect of The Journey South, please open a different window with the following link: Road Trip Official Song

I love road trips. Big ones. Little ones. And yes, even ones to Kentucky (which from Wisconsin means you must travel the entire length - top to bottom - of Illinois). As they say, it's not the destination (I think whoever "they" are, were themselves traveling to Kentucky through Illinois...), it's the journey (okay, and whom you're visiting...). So it was, a few Tuesdays ago, at 6:42pm, we found ourselves pulling out of the St. Joseph Catholic School parking lot, heading south - with, of course, a stop first at the local Quik Trip for cokes and snack'ms (no road trip is complete without an abundance of junk food). While an abundance of snacks was in fact purchased, we made sure not to indulge too much, as a mere 1.78 hours down the road stood the ever-Incredible Belvidere Oasis!

Earlier in the day, Bill had reminded us - quite emphatically, I might add - that because we'd be passing near Chicago, our travels would take us under the Belvidere Oasis. The exuberant reaction from this reminder-statement was similar to when John Lucas III drained the 3-pointer against St. Joes in 2004 to send Okie State to the Final Four! Pure unadulterated ecstaticness!

If you're unaware, the Belivdere Oasis is an Interstate Rest Area that would no doubt fail a HGH test (The Mark McGwire of Rest Areas - albeit, the Belvidere fully admits that his HGH use is for performance enhancement and not simply to recover from injury (a la the Big Mac)). It couldn't be more appropriately named, as it's located in Illinois (translation: desert). It is located above (yes! above!) Interstate 90 and is packed full of delicious restaurants (Panda Express, Taco Bell, Subway, etc), wonderful snack locales (Auntie Anne's), piping hot and d-lish caffeinated beverages (Starbucks!), fun games (they have a mini-bus that has been turned into one of those games that are crammed full with stuffed animals that you throw 50 cents at and you try in vain to position the claw in order to successfully retrieve one of the aforementioned stuffed animals, yet inevitably, the claw is equivalent to a dead fish hand shake that is so weak that you're half-scared you may have done damage), and the always important $1/3 minute vibrating chair:



Anywhoski, the stop was delightful, but probably a scosh long, because our late departure meant we wouldn't be pulling into Allie's driveway until around 4 in the morn.

Along the way, there was nothing we wouldn't do to assure that all five of us were wide awake for the entire journey - one of those agreements that seems well and good early in the day, but turns into a cluster as we had to struggle nearly perpetually to keep one of our road-trippers awake. I won't mention names, but his name starts with a 'B' and ends with 'ill Van Wagner'. A half-asleep Bill turns into a crabby Bill, but thanks to my many years of road tripping (I once drove to Chicago from Stillwater, OK with 9 guys in a 5 seat Tahoe just to eat a deep dish pizza - not that I'm bragging or anything, it was just awesome, and there is talk of turning that adventure (or one like it) into a full length feature story on a blog), I knew the perfect remedy to a late night crabby road-trip passenger... DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL! Now, I know what you're thinking, "How does emo turn a crabster into a joyster?" Well, how does mustard turn a corn dog into a masterpiece? Exactly.

Another technique we used to keep all engaged and joyful was an attempt to successfully quote Dumb & Dumber - yes, the entire movie (and, since the soundtrack may or may not be a part of my compact disc collection, we may or may not have been able to use the music to illustrate the beauty of this masterpiece). Not only did we quote the movie, but we would narrate the scene so that our less enthusiastic D&D friends were kept in the loop. Though we only made it to the part where Harry slips the GAS MAN the rat poison -

Harry: "You heard him. He blamed me. Those were his last words."
Lloyd: "Not if you count the gurgling sound..."

I'd say we got an A- for the solid effort put forth by all!

Finally, after nearly 11 hours of driving, we pulled into Allie's driveway at a quarter to 5am. Naturally, when we were a mere 8 - 10 minutes from our destination, we put in the classic road-trip celebratory compact disc: Garth Brooks! Unfortunately, Allie didn't reciprocate our excitement for both finally arriving to her home, and for jamming out to The Man, because before she even said hello, she exclaimed: "Why are you listening to Garth Brooks?" Answer: Click Here. Enough Said.

Our adventure was much to short, as we were at Allie's for only about 26 hours before we had to hit the road back north. However, it was as fun a 26 hours as any of us four have ever had, albeit, a bit of a blur.

Because the time spent at Allie's was a bit of a blur: little to no sleep + super spicy tomato soup + amazingly fun and outrageous "extreme ping pong" - I won't pen much regarding our time there, except to say that we're extremely grateful for Allie's hospitality. She made us eggs, french toast, and coffee for breakfast, showed us around her campus, introduced us to her new friends, bought us all coffee at her favorite coffee shop, and even let us throw a football illegally in the student union! Yes, her hospitality was grand. Thanks Allie!

A random roadtrip to Kentucky?! Yes! Jenna, Sean, Topher, Mot, William, & Allie can't contain big toothy smiles.


Oh, and also, look for a video to be posted here soon with exclusive footage of the aforementioned "extreme ping pong."

P.S. The actual Official Road Trip song was in fact "Crimson and Clover," but performed by Jimmy Eat World, not Tommy James. However, I couldn't find a quality version by Jimmy, so Tommy's version had to suffice. Thanks for understanding.

- peace be da journey