Hap hap happy days.

I'm in SC visiting my family for Christmas. Expect updates after the Christmas Crazy winds down.

For the record, it's like 70 degrees out.



So I was pretty jazzed about my trip to Chattanooga and the ASU/UMass game. (in case you hadn't noticed).

Now I'm back in town, I've got my mind on Christmas, and I'm temping for the day to earn a little extra holiday cash. (That's what you do when you work from home and don't have much else to do on a particular day.)

I'm sitting at the desk of a UMass grad.

Hold on. Mild irony is on line two.


2 in the bag.

I just got back from Chattanooga, and boy, oh boy what a game! It was an awesome experience. On top of great football and AMAZING weather, I saw tons of old friends that I never get to see anymore. We tailgated for about 6 hours, which seems about right to me. You should have seen the stadium parking lot. UMass fans were scarce. It was like a home game. And we weren't the only fans to make the journey. Chattanooga seems pretty close to Boone, but in reality, it's about a 5 hour trek. Fans coming from places like Raleigh had about an 8 hour drive on their hands. There were lots of fans there, though, that I am sure traveled at least as far as we did to see this game.

We nailed it. The Mountaineers started out shaky, but corrected with the sort of precision and ease that makes ASU such an awesome team. That only underscores by faith in the talent of the team and the insight and skill of the coaching staff. UMass put up a solid fight. They are a good team with a lot of talent. The game was no walk in the park, but we just out-fought, outran, and out-played these guys.

Lets do the numbers, sports fans:

Miles from Chicago to Chattanooga to Chicago: 607 + 607= 1214
Hours in the car, round-trip: 9.5+9.5= 19
Motels stayed in: 2 (though since one of them was a Motel 6, maybe 7?)
Chick-fil-a or Bojangles restaurants in Chicago: 0
Percent chance that I would visit the south without eating at both of those joints: 0
Degrees outside: 68
Clouds in the sky: 1 (Maybe. All day.)
Approximate percentage of Finley Stadium's seats filled by ASU fans: 80-85
Total number of fans in the stands: 22,808
Number of DI-AA National Championships to have that many fans in attendance since the championship moved to Chattanooga in 1997: 0
Years Armanti Edwards has been alive: 18
Other 18-year-olds I know who can run or pass like he can: 0
Kevin Richardson's 2007 Rushing Yards: 1,676
Number of years Richardson has left at App: 1
Number of years Edwards has at App: 3
Times in the next 3 years I think we can rock this thing again, at minimum: 3
Points scored by Appalachian State: 28
Points scored by UMass: 17
How right Adam Witten was in guessing the score, by percent: 100
Riots started by UMass students in Amherst (story): 1
Riots started in Chattanooga or Boone by ASU fans: 0
National Championships won by App State in the past two years: 2
Rough percentage that amounts to: 100

How awesome this weekend has been for me, for the school, for the team, and for football, on a scale of 1-10: 11.

Go App. And then go again. Because that's what you do.



App State is headed to the Division 1-AA National Championship in Chattanooga, TN.

I am heading down to see the game. 600 miles. 9 and a half hours. Who cares?

My friend Shelby, a fellow Chicagoan and ASU alum got the tickets first thing Monday morning, which is fortunate. The initial ASU allotment of 7500 tickets sold out in the first part of the first day. The additional allotment of 950 tickets sold out in a little over 3 hours. Anyone who still wants tickets can jump on ebay and pay a hundred bucks a pop for them. Yikes.

I can't even tell you how pumped I am. Armanti Edwards? Kevin Richardson? Marques Murrell? Yes, please. These guys are playing some of the best ball out there.

I'll let you know how awesome it was when I return. My pick?

App State: Eleventy billion, six hundred million, four hundred thousand and four.
UMass: 6, scored during halftime while ASU was relaxing in the locker room listening to James Brown while Chancellor Peacock showed off his juggling accumen.



The 'blue screen of death', they call it. It's a lovely little device that lets you know your computer is a goner.

Why mention it? Because I was greeted by one when I turned on my computer Saturday.
I was on my way out of town, so I didn't think all that much of it. I figured that when I had time I could sit down and figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.

I get back Sunday night, go do my Fowler show (which was awesome this week, by the by), grab some beers with the cast, come home, and see that the BSOD remains. No time to worry about that. I get some rest.

I wake up Monday. Time to temp all day. I assemble furniture fresh out of the box from the Chinese factories for a furniture company sample show. Then I run some errands, have a Cowlick show, and head home.

Screen: Still blue and deathy.

No worries. I'm sleepy from a long day. Snore. Snore.

From 7:30 this morning until sometime after noon I try to figure out what's wrong and how to fix it. I get the standard Dell runaround and they pretty much tell me that I have to buy a new hard drive and start from scratch.

I say, how much will that cost? They say at least $150. I ask what the dimensions of the hard drive are so I can shop around. They won't tell me. The guy refuses.

Me: "You won't tell me what size hard drive my laptop requires?"
Him: "I told you, 40 gigabyte, 60 giga..."
Me: "No. I mean the dimensions. Inches."
Him: "I won't tell you that."

The guy then tries to tell me that only Dell hard drives will work in my laptop. Horsecrap. Dell doesn't even make hard drives, to my knowledge. They use Hitachi or Samsung or whatever parts like anyone else.

I tell him I want to speak to a supervisor.

He hangs up on me.

Eventually I get a guy who helps me partition, format, and reset my existing drive. Worked like a charm, but it wiped out all of my notes from Dallas, all of my old work emails, and anything else I forgot to back up on my existing hard drive.

Great. Square one. Still, at least it's a square.


So long, Dallas

Pleased to meetcha.


In the lobby of my hotel, there is a giant statue of a cowboy getting thrown from his horse.


Last night I wandered around downtown Dallas for no less than an hour, and not even convenience stores were open. I ended up eating chicken wings and drinking Budweiser at the bar of a Hooters.

It seems like everyone who works downtown, or at least in the vague vicinity of where I'm staying (though I walked around a lot. I must have covered a couple of miles, albeit in sort of a circular fashion) pretty much lives somewhere else.

There are also some abandoned buildings, like the Dallas Grand Hotel. That place is right frightening, but I didn't have my camera when I passed it.

There's a few examples of that kind of juxtaposition between the modern, shiny Dallas and the decrepit, aging Dallas. Right across from our hotel, which is deluxe and modern, is the boarded-up Dallas High School. No apparent attempt to redo or tear down the place. Just a boarded-up ghost of a building.


Timmy does Dallas.

I'm in Dallas for a telecom conference. Oh joy of all joys.

It's not a bad conference, as these sorts of things go. I just don't really like traveling for work. I barely know the coworker that I'm here with and the meetings are usually less than exciting. I don't really feel comfortable in the room where I'm staying, and most of the people at the conference are... well... not really my kind of people. They're generally either several decades older than me or super-slick sales types.

The part of Dallas we are in is so boring that listening to lectures on telecommunications is blisteringly attractive compared to tottering around the maze of homogenized office buildings and bar-grills. If I can find a grocery store or something of the sort, I'm going to buy a bag of cheetos and a sixer and hole up until my flight leaves on Thursday. I'd normally be more adventurous in a new city, but I am exhausted after spending all day talking and listening and standing and wearing uncomfortable shoes, and have a day full of the same crap tomorrow.

Some people live for this stuff. I just kinda want to go home.


Door County

It was rough, but I braved the snow, got free of Chicago, and am up in Door County for Cowlick's annual Christmas trip. Martin's parents have a place overlooking the bay, and there are hot tubs and saunas and all that good stuff. Tough life, I know.

On the way up, Scotty and I saw dozens of cars that had spun off of the road and were hanging out in ditches. There were a few close calls, but we made it.

Quick shout out to the world's drivers: If the roads suck, you're driving way too fast and cutting people off, and you haven't had an accident yet, it isn't because you're a great driver. It's because you are lucky. Slow down, moron.

Ahem. Sorry.

We had our secret santa last night. I got a nice flask, prefilled and everything. My gift? The biggest bottle of Maker's Mark I could find to the biggest Maker's Mark fan I know. Sense a trend? That's one of the things that Door County is always good for.

We played some games and went swimming. It's our third trip up, and the first since Sarah left for Boston. The first time we had an odd number. Weird.

That picture of Jason is from last year. I don't have my camera cable.