Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The "New" American Cowboy

Pardon my American English, but I would like to take a moment and say a big F*** YOU to Annie Proulx. For those of you who do not know, Annie Proulx is the author of the novel Brokeback Mountain, which of course inspired the movie. Ms. Proulx, your novel has forever destroyed the image of the American cowboy - even in the state of Texas. An image that was once was the personification of masculinity, self-reliance, hardwork, toughness and Western romaniticism is now nothing more than an association with homosexuality and something more than just harmless Village People reference. Thank you, Ms. Proulx, thank you very much. Ever since your book became a movie, everytime I wear the clothes I enjoy wearing- wrangler jeans, button down shirts, and my favorite cowboy hat around my own peers, I must deal with references to your literary work. Rodeos and ranches have become "Brokeback Fan Conventions" instead of gathering of some of the toughest athletes in all of sport. Ms. Proulx, I think you should give a public apology for all the cowboy's lives you have brought unnecessary harm to.

A Day in Big D

I normally don't take horoscopes seriously. A couple weeks ago a friend of mine read my Aquarius horoscope from Teen Cosmo (don't ask) and it said something like "a much needed trip out of town will leave you feeling like the Energizer Bunny." So when I had the opportunity to get out of Houston to road trip up north to Dallas for Dynamo's first round playoff game against our I-45 rivals FC Dallas, I didn't hesitate. What an interesting trip it ended up being. I couldn't find a carpool group, but I went anyway driving the four hours by myself. I met up with other front office staff once I got there and we took advantage of my pick-up truck to consume a few adult beverages in true Texas style before kick-off. All week I had been looking forward to seeing a college friend who lives in nearby Ft. Worth. As the game wore on and on, and Dynamo played worse and worse, my friend had still not arrived. Dynamo lost for the first time ever to Dallas and my friend arrived nearly 30 minutes after the game ended. In the meantime, I met some Dynamo supporters and jump-started some Dallas supporters' car. I guess what happens on the field stays on the field. Jennifer and I finally reunited and had a late dinner. Seeing a familiar face and talking to someone on the same page as me was a blessing. The visit was short and soon it was time for me to hit the road. As I ventured south through the Dallas metro area, I got lost in a sea of orange construction barrels. Somehow I got on an off-ramp and there was no on-ramp back onto the highway to be found. I wandered aimlessly through downtown Dallas looking for a gas station so I could fuel up the truck and get some directions. I pulled up to a gas station and all the pumps were shut down. My fuel light was already on. I figured if I could just get back onto the highway I would be alright. Traffic that night was a nightmare due to all of the "weekend before Halloween" festivities. I eventually got back on southbound I-45, but no gas station could be found. I finally saw a Shell Station light and pulled over. As I pulled up I was hit by deja vu- it was the same sketchy Shell Station my mom and I stopped at two months ago when I moved down here. Only this time it was close to 1am and the crack heads were out in full force. The second I got out of the truck a man started washing my car windows asking for a few dollars. I told him that if he told me how to get back onto the highway I would give him a few dollars. He did, but washed my windows anyway. The other crack heads saw this interaction and desided to try their luck- it worked. I shelled out 10 bucks just so I would be left alone. I was so freaked out that I decided that I was sleeping in my own bed that night no matter what. I set my cruise control on 85 mph and held on for the ride. I got home just before 4am.

Surprisingly, the change of scenery was just what I needed. I started my work week refreshed and ready to go. Maybe horoscope's aren't so crazy afterall.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fisch's Fury

In my lifetime I have learned that writing about your personal frustrations is quite therapuetic. It allows one to vent in a positive way. Therefore, I debut a new segment to my blog this afternoon that I call "Fisch's Fury." In the next however many words that it takes readers will learn about everything that is pissing me off right now. So without further delay, here we go.

Houston Traffic: No matter what time of day or day of the week, a ridiculous amount of cars, trucks, SUV's, etc. are always on the roads. I don't have a problem with the morning and evening commute stuff- that's just part of life, but when I'm fighting to change lanes on a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday at 8am it gets a little old. Not only is there a lot of traffic, but most of the traffic are horrible drivers. Driving is almost spiritual around here. I've found Jesus on more than one occasion while driving around Houston.

Small, yappy dogs: Not to be confused with large rodents, the Houston Metropolitan area is home to hundreds of small, yappy dogs. This is expected given the lack of wide open space which is more appropiate for a Labrador or larger dog. The other day I was pulling into my apartment in my big ass truck, when Fido decided he liked the red paint and ran straight toward my 6,000 lbs of 4 wheel drive madness. The dogs owner glared at me as if I was at fault. Am I bitter? A little, simply because that dog probably eats better than I do.

This next section might seem a little hypocritical given the theme of the "Fisch's Fury" entry.

People who complain/whine: I worked my ass off to get where I am. I applied for countless jobs in anything from minor league baseball to independent arena football. I know how hard it is to land a job in sports, especially if you do not live in a large market. The Houston Dynamo organization was orginally located in San Jose, CA as the Earthquakes. Several people from the Earthquakes remained with the organization and relocated to Houston. However, everyday I hear co-workers bitch and moan about how Houston is too hot, the people here are rednecks, this sucks, that sucks, and it goes on and on. I'm tired of it. First off, if you hate the weather that much then leave. No one is forcing you to stay in Houston. Secondly, this is the South, not hippy California. People beat to a different drum down here. Southerners are a little more laid-back, and just because it's different than what you're accustomed to doesn't make it wrong.

And if one more person gives me shit for listening to country music, I just might have to go "country" on their ass.

Proud to be a neo-Texan and proud to work for HOUSTON DYNAMO!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy Weekend

One night can change a lot of things. One night's events can set a chain reaction in motion. After one month here in Houston, homesickness had sunk in and I was questioning why I even had come down here in the first place. However one night changed all that. Last Friday night I sort of went on my first date in quite some time. I asked a girl from my apartment complex to join my friends and I for an evening in Houston's Midtown. My friends already were quite "happy" by the time we arrived and not before long, it was just the two of us. But we had a great time nonetheless. I enjoyed our coversation and getting to know her better. Connecting with someone of the opposite sex is a feeling like no other. The feeling sets a man free. I look forward to our next evening together.

Saturday night the same theory applied as I watched LSU's surprise come from behind win over the Florida Gators, and Stanford's surprise upset over USC. Once again the BCS system has been rocked and all the rules thrown out the window. I cannot remember a crazier season for college football in my lifetime. On any given Saturday David can overcome Goliath. I really do not see two undefeated teams going to the BCS National Championship Game. Ohio State is the lone Big Ten school that remains undefeated but has remained under the rader with all of the crazier events occurring on the grid-iron.

And last but certainly not least the big MLS Western Conference clash between Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy. We had completely sold out the stadium two weeks prior, so we anticipated a large crowd despite the unlikelihood that a certain LA midfielder named David Beckham would make the trip. We arrived at the stadium at 8:30am to begin our preparations for the gates opening at Noon and a 2pm kickoff. I had to help pass out materials once the gates open, and the people just kept coming and coming. When I finally entered the stadium with 10 minutes remaining in the first half, I was overwhelmed by a sea of Orange. Every corner of the stadium was packed with dedicated Dynamo fans. The game was by far one of the best soccer atmosphere's I had ever been in for a regular season MLS game. Despite the front office's performance to sell out the game, the team on the pitch did not perform live up to its end of the bargain. Even though Dynamo scored first, a lackluster defense and overall team effort allowed LA to score to unanswered goals losing 2-1 in front of 30,000 Houstonians. The loss puts the MLS playoff picture into a scramble once again.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Workin it . . .

Yesterday afternoon I had had enough of making cold sales calls- the kind of phone calls where you basically pick a phone number, call it, make the pitch, and hope for the best. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn't So I decided to acutally try and do something what productive with my time. I pulled out my Sigma Nu fraternity alumni directory and flipped to the Houston, TX region. I found a guy who worked for a big law firm downtown and called him up. I introduced myself as a recent SNU IU grad who moved to the area just a few weeks ago. We talked about IU and fraternity stuff for about 20 minutes. I didn't mention who I worked for once until he asked me. Without pitching anything, he said he would be interested in hearing more about what Houston Dynamo had to offer. Finally having a positive phone conversation was a pleasant change of events.

That afternoon we had to count all the seats in the stadium to make sure they all actually existed. The front office is taking every necessary precaution to gurantee every fan in attendance for our last home regular season on Sunday has a positive and memorable Dynamo experience.

Later that evening I had my first major networking/ public relations event. The weekly radio show Dynamo Power Hour hosted by Glenn Davis broadcasted an extended two hour show at the Taco Milagro restaurant downtown. The restaurant chain is owned by one of our larger clients who has not been the happiest with his Dynamo partnership lately. Before the account was assigned to me, the account executive before me has promised him the world and obviously could not provide it. The sales team has tried to patch the relationship ever since. When it was appropiate, I sat down with the client just in introduce myself and learn more about his business. We talked soccer, the status of the stadium being built, etc. He said he was very happy with everything and verbally committed to renewing his partnership for 2008. A great crowd showed up for the show and got to hear commentary from players Brian Ching and Stuart Holden, and head coach Dominic Kinnear.

Monday, October 1, 2007

I Still Got It!

You can take the man out of the fraternity, but you can't take the fraternity out of the man. After our indoor soccer game Friday night, some friends from the Dynamo front office decided to meet up in Houston's Midtown to celebrate the end of the work week. The venue of choice that night was the Tipsy Clover. The place reminded me a lot of Kilroys at Indiana University. Similar set up, vibe, and crowd. My friends and I were talking about everything but work, when they dared me to go talk to some girls who just entered the patio. I smiled and said "okay." I don't think they expected me to go through with it. I approached the lucky ladies, said I was new in town, and introduced myself. From there it was like pushing a canoe down a wild river. No looking back. I amused Maia, Denise, and Amy with my Midwest small town charm. They were so impressed that they invited me to go to another bar with them. We conversed for nearly three hours. My partners in crime could not find me at the Clover and had moved on without me. Unfortunate for them because I had every intention of introducing them. Maybe they will think twice before daring me to talk to young women. Afterall, I don't think they liked what happened. I got three phone numbers, they got nothing. There's still a little SNU left in me after all.

IU Football beats Iowa on the road 38-20
IU Soccer beats Michigan 3-2 (OT)
Houston Dynamo beats FC Dallas 3-0