Monday, January 28, 2008

Birthday- Texas Style

Life is all about relationships. It's not necessarily what you know, but who you know. A perfect example is a guy I work with who is a few years older but has yet to finish his college degree and is working for a professional soccer team. Yikes.

My birthday celebration revolved entirely around relationships. Last Friday my friend Averick (my token black friend) and I went to a bar called Pub Fiction for happy hour. I met our bartender Gabe a few weeks prior- he's a big Dynamo fan. He gave me free shots of Petrone and fat discount on my food. We had to play a soccer game that night, so nothing happened after that.

Saturday night was the main event. I met the owner of a new bar in Midtown called Shot Bar a few weeks ago. He's from Yugoslavia and a big soccer fan. He gave a special VIP reserved area for my birthday with our own bartender. My friends were rather impressed. Shot Bar was rocking because it's almost just like Kilroy's back at IU. My friends came from all sorts of relationships: work, Philmont, and an '07 IU grad that did not meet until Houston.

In addition to the festivities I passed my referee's class and once again relationships are going to get me some games right away and some additional income.

Monday, January 21, 2008


This past weekend made it all too clear why my mom supported my involvement in Scouting so much during my teen years.

She knew there would be at least one weekend a month and one full week a year that I would be out of the house allowed to act like the complete teenaged mutant that I was without bothering her.

After battling the Houston traffic for well over two hours just to get out of the metro area in monsoon-like down pours, I met up with a Philmont crew I led into the backcountry to join Venture Crew 2770 out of Buda, TX for the annual "O-Meet" at Bastrop State Park. I had never done an orienteering or land navigation competition before and have always wanted to. Not to mention I look for any excuse to get out of the city.

So there I was standing in a field shivering on a rather frigid Texas morning waiting for the meet to start watching hundreds of teenaged boys with nappy, shaggy haircuts run around like little Osama Bin Ladens burping, farting, wrestling, and talking about how Mountain Dew was their favorite soft drink because of the caffeine. Oh Lord have mercy. After witnessing the chaos around me, my Scoutmasters should be eligible for sainthood.

I really didn't care about the competition. I was there simply to camp and to have an excuse to buschwack around the woods. My Team Ranger Danger teammate and fellow Philmont Ranger friend Jameson Pugh had competed before and knew the general location of most of the markers. The meet began and the frenzy ensued. The first markers had large crowds but they soon slimmed down as the kids' became frustrated and gave up. Ranger Danger was on pace to score a lot of points, but my teammate's knee began to bother him and we called it a day.

The rest of weekend involved eating and sitting around the fire to stay warm. Only two things could have made it better: a beer and an ATW . . . all-terrain woman.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Livin' In Fast Forward

I'm young. I'm single. I'm independent. I live in the 4th largest city in the country where there are a ton of things to do, places to see, and people to meet. Sounds great right? There's only one problem ... I'm broke as a joke. That's right folks. I have all the freedom in the world but no money to utilize it. The bills keep piling up and the truck payments are still due at the first of the month. What's a young 22 year old to do? I wish I had the answer. I think about all the adventures I've had and all the ones that are still on my "to do" list. I'm afraid that I'll never have this kind of flexibility again. Who knows, a few years down the road I could have a wife and a kid- then what? Scary, I know. No more weekend road trips seeking life lived on the edge. Just more bills. More expenses. More burdens.

Now that I'm starting to establish myself and have a life away from the job, I'm actually starting to like life down here in South Texas. Meeting people with common interests and attitudes in such a large place is still difficult. I did a group bike ride with an IU alumnus last weekend. I had a blast even though it reminded me how out of shape I have gotten since Little 5, but I couldn't help but notice how much younger I was than everyone else. I've had similar experiences at the rock gym and other places. If there is anyone out there who is in their 20's who likes to bike, camp, etc., please let me know. I'm in a Sunday school class for young singles, but the guys I've met are a bunch of stiffs. I'm the "Saturday night on the town- church boy on Sunday" kind of guy.

I will admit this state does have it all. Forests, lakes, prairies, deserts- the works. I can drive 30 minutes south and see the Gulf of Mexico. I can drive 3 hours west and experience some of the best rock climbing in the country. I want to see it all while I'm here. It's mouth watering to think of all the outdoor adventure opportunities that are just a short drive away. I recently bought a new mountain bike to replace the one stolen from my truck bed. I go to a park right in the heart of the city. The park is pretty big and when you're in the middle, it feels like you're in the middle of nowhere. I use it as my escape and it has been working.

This weekend I'm meeting up with one of my Philmont Ranch crews for a land navigation competition. This is my first real trip deep into the heart of Texas (clap clap clap).

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Here I go again on my own

It's 8 am on a Saturday. I can't sleep so I decided to blog:

As I drove back to my apartment from Houston's Hobby Airport a few days ago, I couldn't help but listen intently to the lyrics from popular Whitesnake song Here I Go Again.

An' here I go again on my own
Going down the only road I've ever known
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An' I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time
But here I go again . . .

These verses hit me because that is exactly how I was feeling at the time. The 2007 Holiday season was the conclusion of my first real stint at life on my own and here I was getting ready for round two. My time in Houston has been challenging and full of ups and downs. I'm truly "on my own" down here. However things seem to get better each day and I am excited for what awaits in 2008. Ticket sales is still a very tough gig, and even though I still want to something else later down the road, I am giving it all I have for the time being.

The temperature was actually cold when I arrived back in the Bayou City. Winds brought the air down to the upper 20's at night. I turned my heat on for the first time, but it is already back in the 70's. This weekend Houston is venue for MLS sister company Soccer United Marketing's InterLiga, which is a tournament of Mexican clubs playing in the U.S. of A. The goal of SUM is to convert current foreign soccer fans into Major League Soccer fans. They do this by hosting events such as InterLiga where Mexicans can see their favorite teams by purchasing "bundle-pack tickets." These bundle packs will include a ticket to InterLiga and a Dynamo game. SUM and MLS hope that the InterLiga buyers will use their MLS ticket simply because they already paid for it. If everything goes right, the InterLiga will see a great MLS game, realize they can see soccer in their place of residence a few times a month, and become a MLS fan. The plan sounds crazy, but has worked with the Hispanic population here in Houston.

I have to be at the stadium at 5 pm this evening, I'm sure I'll find something fun and exciting to do until then.