Thursday, December 28, 2006

LOST Moments 6

Since the Holiday Bowl isn't what I had hoped for, I thought I'd catch up on last week's LOST Moment. The last couple have been pretty uneventful and some have been downright awful. The sixth installment doesn't suck. But judge for yourself:

Holiday Bowl

I was pretty excited about the A&M vs. Cal Holiday Bowl tonight and had planned to write about that earlier, but I didn't get the chance to. Now, the game is in the fourth quarter and it is only going a little better than A&M's last post-season appearance in the Cotton Bowl two years ago. We came out strong and scored first, but the team didn't sustain the intensity the way it the did during the Texas game a month ago. The fact is, we're getting dominated on both sides of the ball tonight. I was obviously hoping for better. I think it's some of the same old problems that we have had all year long. We still have some things to work out if we want to be a contender in the Big XII next year.

UPDATE: The Aggies lose by a final score of 10-45. Bowl game underachievement continues.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I'm Engaged!!!

Tonight I got the only Christmas present that I wanted. I asked Roxi to marry me and she said yes! We are both so very happy with each other and she couldn't have been more surprised. I almost thought it wouldn't go as planned, but I should start the story a littler earlier than today.

I purchased the ring long before our trip to New York, but didn't bring it with me for fear that I might lose it before I had the opportunity to propose. I hid it in our house with the plan of giving it to her for our second anniversary which happens to coincide with Christmas. This afternoon, I asked Roxi if she would like to go see the Christmas lights at Acadian Village here in town. My plan of course was to ask her there, but she wasn't too hot on the idea because of the potential for a big crowd. After a little while, I asked her if she was sure that she didn't want to go and she said that if it was important to me, we could. I assured her that she wouldn't forget this trip...and she won't. As I said she was very surprised even though we have been discussing our pending engagement for the past few months. So it worked out perfectly, but for a little while I was a bit worried that I would have to improvise the time and place of the proposal.

We haven't set a date yet, but our families couldn't be happier with our engagement. They all know how happy Roxi and I make each other and are so happy to officially be getting new additions to their respective families. So Christmas came early for us and we both got exactly what we wanted!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Home Again, Home Again

We are back in Lafayette after a week in New York City as well as two additional weeks abroad for Roxi and we are both very glad to be home. Roxi can speak more about her time in Scotland and Italy, but as for New York I can honestly say we both had a wonderful time. We arrived back late last night after an afternoon of travel that saw us narrowly avoid being stranded in Houston for a night due to weather. Thankfully, our flights were all on time and were only a little bumpier than I would have liked. We spent most of the day recuperating and relaxing as we prepare for everyone to venture to Lafayette for Christmas in a few days.

During the day, I have been able to reflect further on our time in New York and although we had a really great time visiting our friends and family there, I don't think that either of us are in a hurry to move there. I am so glad that our friends and loved ones in the metropolis are having success and enjoying life in the city, but I'll stick to visiting for now. I feel sort of the same way that I did when I lived in Atlanta. Most residents of Atlanta were of the opinion that it was such a great place to live but I didn't understand or share their feeling for several reasons. I suppose when it comes down to it, for some people, there is a willingness to put up with many inconveniences (i.e. traffic, long commutes, crowded spaces, etc.) to enjoy the benefits of big city life (i.e. more options in restaurants, shopping, entertainment, etc.). When I lived in Atlanta, I realized that although I too enjoy those types of benefits, I wasn't willing to put up with all of the inconveniences. I realized that I needed a more moderately sized city with a better balance. I felt that my time in Austin and Nashville were closer to such an ideal. I suppose that my opinion will continue to evolve and change, but for now, New York is an excellent vacation destination, but not the place I could see myself making a go of it. So to our friends and family there, we will be back, but for now, it will most likely only be to visit.

Thanks to Joel, Katie, Garrett, Nicole, Melody and Gabe for showing us a great time and letting us save a little money by staying at their places for a few days. We love you all and look forward to seeing you again soon, be it in New York or somewhere else.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Buildings Around The City

Roxi and I spent the majority of the past two days doing what I love in a big city: taking pictures of really cool buildings. We made trips into Midtown on Monday and Tuesday giving me a great opportunity to get pictures of several of New York's most famous landmarks.

Flatiron Building

GE Building (aka 30 Rockefeller Plaza)

Chrysler Building

Empire State Building

The Skyline of Lower Manhattan

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

LOST Moments 5

I'm a little late on seeing and posting last week's LOST Moment, but here it is. It looks like we might find out something big about Cindy, the flight attendant last seen in the second season episode where the Tailies meet the fuselage survivors. I am afraid that this is more of a tease and that we won't really find out any more about Cindy for quite some time. Anyway, without further ado:

Sunday, December 17, 2006

New York: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I have had some great experiences since Roxi and I have been here in New York, but on Saturday and Sunday, I definitely had what could be considered a couple of "sub-optimal" experiences. Saturday night, we went to the East Village to have a few drinks at a couple of bars. At the last bar of the night, the six of us in our group had about eighty dollars worth of drinks and as we were about to pay to leave, we were informed that the bill could only be paid in cash. Thankfully we had the cash between all of us, but it was fairly annoying that at no point in the restaurant, bar or menu was there any mention that the establishment was cash only.

As aggravating as that experience seemed, it was topped on Sunday morning at brunch. Garrett, Nicole, Roxi and I joined Melody, Gabe and four of their friends for a brunch. Our party of ten had a good and enjoyable meal, but when the three-hundred sixty dollar bill arrived, the waitress said that she could not split the bill between five credit cards...because it was too hard. Meanwhile, Gabe had already divided the total by five on his cell phone calculator. The waitress made a big deal about how she was going to get into trouble if she spit the bill five ways and told us to go to an ATM machine to get cash. We were all dumbfounded by this poor service and the idea that they would assume that one person would pay such a bill on one credit card. Those of us who have worked in the food industry were insistent that bills can be split several ways because we had all done it many times ourselves so eventually the waitress relented.

When she brought our cards, she said she couldn't do this again next time we came, to which I replied, "See you never." A little rude? Maybe, but I was fed up with the attitude of superiority and condescension she was throwing our way. As we left she asked me what I had meant by my comment, as if there was any question. I of course started to explain that in the real world people spilt tickets and don't act like they are doing us a favor by being snooty. She then complained that she had to do all the cards manually. I inquired as to what she meant by "manually" to which she replied, with absolutely no hint of irony, "I had to swipe each card separately." That was when I lost it and was about to really blow up when Roxi stepped in and simply told the waitress, "You poor baby. You have a hard job," and corralled me to the door.

I was still really aggravated and was very soured on the New York experience for the next hour or so, but I have been working to let it go since then. But it's the principle of the matter that gets me. I got this overwhelming sense of smugness from the servers at several of the restaurants we have visited despite service and food quality that are comparable to what we can find everywhere else I have lived. The only difference in these restaurants and any back home is the overinflated prices. Of course the attitude and the prices are a function of what people are willing to put up with for the "privilege" of living in New York. If that's your cup of tea, great, but I think I'll stick with the rest of the "hicks" in flyover country. At least they can handle the paperwork involved in dealing with credit card payments.

Seeing the Sights

Roxi and I spent the last two days seeing a lot of the obligatory sights of Manhattan. Joel took Friday off of work and spent the day showing us around some of the "touristy" highlights of the city. Our stops included:

The Brooklyn Bridge

Wall Street

and Times Square

Saturday, Katie joined us on our visits to:

The Dakota Building

Strawberry Fields

Central Park

and Rockefeller Center

Last night we had a quadruple date with Joel and Katie, my brother Garrett and his girlfriend Nicole and Roxi's friend Melody and her fiance Gabe. We finished off the night visiting a couple of bars in the East Village. We're still having a great time but it really can be exhausting to see this city. We stayed with Garrett and Nicole last night at their place in Brooklyn and are planning to continue our trek around city hot spots today.

Friday, December 15, 2006

New York, New York!

Roxi and I are finally back together again after her long trip to Europe! We rendezvoused in New York yesterday. After a full morning of travelling by air and about an hour and a half of train and subway travels, Roxi and I met at Grand Central Station. We then took a cab to Joel and Katie's place in Manhattan. We took in a little of the neighborhood while we were waiting for Joel to get home from work. Next we were joined by my brother Garrett and his girlfriend Nicole for dinner at Rack & Soul, a barbecue and soul food restaurant. We had a good dinner and then took a short walk to a must see spot for any respectable Seinfeld fan:

We finished off hanging out at Joel and Katie's apartment waiting for Katie to get home from choir practice. So far we're having fun and plan to have more today!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tatooine Lives On

Despite the mediocre new trilogy, I am still a Star Wars fan and so found this article very interesting. The sets that were built in Tunisia to serve as the homes in the barren deserts of Tatooine have lived on as real life home to Saharan Desert dwellers. It's nice to see that Tatooine is still going strong after nearly thirty years and I sure wouldn't mind to visit some day.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Everything That's Wrong With Music In 5 Minutes and 22 Seconds

I was surfing around the Internet and came across a link to a YouTube video from the movie "Before the Music Dies," an indie documentary about manufactured music. From the preview on their official website, it looks like it should be a pretty good movie. What I found on YouTube is this 5:22 clip from the documentary showing how a pop star/song is manufactured from start to finish. It's pretty amazing really; disgusting, but still amazing.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Missing John

Gone too soon, but never forgotten.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

LOST Moments 4

Another week, another LOST Moment...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Celebrate Repeal Day With Irony

Seventy-three years ago today, Congress enacted the first and only repeal of a Constitutional Amendment. The 21st Amendment to the Constitution repealed the 18th Amendment which prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol. This celebrated event is met today with a strong shot of irony. Today, the New York health board voted to ban trans fats in city restaurants. It's sad really because of comments like this:

Toni Lewis, catching a quick dinner at McDonalds before her daughter's piano lesson on the eve of the vote, acknowledged that yes, it might be an intrusion for the city to tell people what they can and can't put into their stomachs. But, she added, it was a welcome one.

"This is New York," she said. "People eat out a lot. We don't have a choice. We need someone to make it a healthier proposition."

So because of people like this who say they can't resist McDonalds, "we need someone" to make it healthier?!? Oh personal responsibility, where have you gone?

It's the danger a bad diet poses to children that has experts the most worried. It's also what worries Kathy Ramirez, a 26-year-old New York mother who takes her toddler to McDonalds every week. She approves of the ban and a related measure passed Tuesday, requiring restaurants that already disclose calorie counts -- mostly chain restaurants -- to post them right on the menu.

"It's hurting us, all this fat, but the kids really like it," said Ramirez, pointing to 3-year-old Amber, who'd just finished her dinner. "It would be better to know what we're getting."

She should have said, "I'm too lazy to cook for my daughter so I take her to McDonalds, but it's so bad for her, someone should pass a law..."

Don't get me wrong, I think the food at McDonalds is by and large gross. But if I want to eat an Egg McMuffin, I will. It's so easy to choose not to eat bad food. We don't need more laws or city ordinances. Can't we just take a tiny bit of responsibility dammit?

"It's basically a slow form of poison," said David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center. "I applaud New York City and frankly, I think there should be a nationwide ban."

Not everyone agrees with Katz -- he's gotten angry e-mails calling him and colleagues the "food police" and saying, "If I want to eat trans fats, that's my inalienable right." To which he [cynically -- ed.] responds: "Would you want the burden of asking your restaurant whether there's lead in the food? Whether there's arsenic in the bread? For all I know, maybe arsenic makes bread more crusty. But it's poison."

They've banned trans fats in NY, they are close to banning cigarettes in NY, how soon until someone proposes a ban on alcohol? It is, after all, a poison.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Florida will be playing Ohio State for the National Championship in January avoiding the rematch with Michigan by only a fraction of a point in the polls. Thank God because I could give a rat's ass about a game against two Big Ten schools!

The other games are:

USC vs. Michigan in the Rose Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl
Wake Forest vs. Louisville in the Orange Bowl
LSU vs. Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl

Here's the full bowl schedule.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Aggie Apology

A&M coach Dennis Franchione sent a handwritten apology to Texas coach Mack Brown and quarterback Colt McCoy for Kellen Heard's late hit in the final minutes of last Friday's game. Coach Fran posted the letter along with his comments on

I want to share with you verbatim a handwritten note I composed to FAX to Coach Mack Brown at Texas early this week. I spoke to him on the phone about it and he was very gracious and understanding:

To: Coach Brown, the Texas coaching staff, Longhorn football players, and Colt McCoy and family

From: Coach Fran, Texas A&M coaching staff, Aggie football players, and Kellen Heard

We regret and apologize for the late hit on Colt by Kellen Heard. We do not teach this type of play or condone it. After meeting with Kellen, I know he feels badly that this happened, and he expressed that he did not want to display malicious intent.

We will handle this situation as a coaching staff with consequences for the action. Kellen is in complete agreement and said that he wants Colt to know that he certainly regrets it and he apologizes for the incident.

Our game is one of the great days in college football and we want it to always be a class day for both universities.

Good luck in your bowl game.


Coach Fran, staff, Kellen Heard and teammates

Whenever disciplinary action is necessary with players, I consult with staff and also have a session with the Leadership Council to get their feedback on what they think is appropriate. The staff reviewed our game video extensively, as well as the national telecast. Accountability for behavior is taken very seriously in our program in competition, in academics, and in social life. But I also feel strongly that it is important to handle these matters privately, as you would expect it to be handled if it were your son involved. Kellen and his teammates know this will not be dealt with lightly, and that's enough for the public to know, too.

As I said before, I would feel that benching Heard during the Holiday Bowl would be an adequate disciplinary action, but I support the decision for things to be handled by the team.

College Football Week 14

As noted last week, Texas A&M's regular season is over but my other alma mater, Georgia Tech, is playing Wake Forest for the ACC Championship and a BCS berth in the Orange Bowl. Right now, Georgia Tech is leading by 6-3 but Wake has been keeping up all along. During my grad school days at Georgia Tech, I never really could get that excited by ACC football. The conference is much better now that Virginia Tech and Miami have joined but I'm still always preoccupied with how A&M is doing during the fall. It stands to reason as I spent four and a half years at A&M (five football seasons) and only a year a half at Georgia Tech (one football season). In any event, I do like to see Georgia Tech succeed (as long as they aren't playing the Aggies!) so here's to the Yellow Jackets beating the Demon Deacons.

Also going on today is the Cal vs. Stanford game. As announced earlier this week, Texas A&M will be facing Cal in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. If Cal wins today, they will have an identical 9-3 record when they face the Aggies on December 28. Right now Cal is leading Stanford with a score of 3-0. Of course there are other bigger games going on today like the Big XII and SEC Championships which have BCS bowl game implications as well as USC vs. UCLA which has national title implications. We'll see how they all shake out this evening followed by the rest of the bowl announcements tomorrow.

UPDATE: Wake Forest just kicked a field goal to tie the score. Eight minutes left to play.

UPDATE: Wake Forest just kicked another field goal giving tham a three-point lead over Gerogia Tech with under three minutes to play.

UPDATE: Wake Forest are the ACC Champs and Orange Bowl bound after beating Georgia Tech by a score of 9-6. It was a game of defense and inconsistent offense in which no touchdowns were scored. Congrats to Wake Forest, a team that has certainly worked hard over the past few years to put themselves in a position to play for a conference title. Meanwhile, it's halftime in Berkeley with Cal leading Stanford by a score of 13-10.

UPDATE: Cal beat Stanford by a final score of 26-17 giving them a 9-3 record when they meet the 9-3 Aggies in the Holiday Bowl on December 28. They are going to be a tough team but if we play with intensity and focus, we can win. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, UCLA is working on an major upset against USC. UCLA is leading by a score of 13-9 with only five minutes left to play. This is why they play the game!

UPDATE: UCLA pulled off a major upset against USC by winning with a score of 13-9. USC will not play for a National Championship for the first time in three years. The BCS computers just started smoking.

UPDATE: The Big XII Championship game just started and Bob Stoops is wearing a cap instead of a visor. It looks just plain weird. Meanwhile, Arkansas seems to have momentum in the SEC Championship even though they are down by three. All over Michigan, people are gearing up for an Ohio State rematch.

UPDATE: Florida beat Arkansas by a score of 38-28. So who will be playing Ohio State for the National Championship? Will it be a rematch with Michigan or will it be Urban Meyer's Gators? Meanwhile, Rutgers and West Virginia look like they are on the verge of heading into triple overtime to determine the Big East Champion.

UPDATE: West Virginia edged out Rutgers 41-39 giving the Big East crown and trip to a BCS bowl game to Louisville while Oklahoma took advantage of Nebraska mistakes to give them the win by a score of 21-7 and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. So now we wait for the votes to be cast to see if the National Championship game is something I'll care to watch. I don't really care in either scenario but there is one that couldn't care less about. Can you guess which one that is?

Friday, December 01, 2006

LOST Moments 3

Here's the LOST Moment that appeared this week during Day Break. All I can say is I'm glad there is such a thing as YouTube!