Sunday, January 31, 2010

Knicks v Wizards; Earl Boykins v Nate Robinson ~ Wizards win!

When I was at lunch on Friday 2 people called me.  One was my girl, and she and I were finalizing plans for Saturday's Duke V Georgetown game.  The other was my friend, Bryan.  Bryan never calls me.  I didn't even know he had my phone number.  Maybe he pulled it off of facebook, maybe I gave it to him ages ago.  Who knows.  All I know is that he was calling me, but I was at lunch and not picking up.  I think I'm semi-psychic.  At lunch, I was trying to figure out why Bryan was calling, and sure enough my suspicions were confirmed when I checked my voicemails on Saturday morning.

Bryan is a sports fan also and he loves the Capitals and sure enough, he was calling to see if I wanted to go to the hockey game on Friday night.  I knew it.  That's why I didn't answer.  I already had "plans" for Friday and I didn't want to have to push myself to be anywhere at any particular time.

When people contact me (especially if they're calling me) who don't normally contact me ~ I know why they're getting in touch.  Usually, it's because they have an extra ticket to something.  Lately, I've been lucky enough to get these calls more frequently.  On Saturday afternoon around 5:00PM I was driving my friend back to her car and we'd decided we were going to see the movie The Blindside, instead of taking in the Knicks v Wizards game.  Sure enough in the parking deck, I get a text and it's Bryan and this time he's offering me a free ticket to the same Knicks v Wiz game I'd just decided to pass on.  @!#$%#$#!@#$.  I guess I'm meant to go to this game, since it was the 2 time someone offered me a seat.

I call Bryan for the details and talk to my friend, who's pulled over, so I can work out the plan.  We decide to pass on the movie and I tell Bryan that I'm IN for the game.  Time to go home and drop off my car...

Bryan picks me up around 7.  We get there close to tip off since everyone is driving slow and the roads aren't cleared.  He decided to park by the arena and tells me he used to valet at Rosa Mexicano also!  LOL.  See.  I'm not the only one!!!!!  Parking is $25 and we'll pay at the end.

We go to will call.  He goes to pick up our tickets, and I hit the sales window to ask about hockey tickets for Sunday.  Only singles are available.  It's not that important to me, so I pass.  Bryan hands me the basketball tickets, that he's been gifted from a friend, and I read Section 121, Row A.  Yep.  I know EXACTLY where we are sitting.  We're 4 rows (i.e. it goes AA, BB, CC, and then A) behind the Knicks bench.  That's where I sat when the Cavs came to town during the Playoffs...  Section 121 is my friend.

OK - so we're there for the Knicks and the Wizards.  I have no idea what their team records are, but basically we're there to watch CRAP v CRAP.  Hmmm ~ at least they're evenly matched.  I like Earl Boykins, and Earl plays for the Wizards.  I remember when he was in Cleveland and talking to my ex in the lobby at Reserve Square.  I didn't know who Earl was, and I thought he was just a fan.  After the convo, I asked my ex who it was he that was talking to, and when he said Earl ~ I was floored.  Man....  They weren't kdding.  Earl is short.  Thank goodness he played for the Cavs when he did then, because I have a pair or 2 of Cavs sweatpants and they're Earl-sized so they "fit".  Kinda.... 

Cavs...  Now that reminds me, that I need to call the Wizards and leave a message for Randy Wittman.  Randy did a stint as head coach in Cleveland, and it wouldn't hurt to reintroduce myself and let him know that I'm here.  His wife, Kathy, is great and better late than never to "welcome" them to DC.

Knicks.  I used to be a huge Knicks fan.  In college, I was desperate to have Ewing sign my Knicks pennant.  Yeah, I said college.  I had Charles Oakley, Hubert Davis, etc. sign that pennant.  Herb Williams even signed the thing TWICE.  TWICE!  Are you serious?  TWICE?!?!  I just depreciated my own pennant.  #@!@#@!#@!#@!  Ewing never signed it, and 2 Herb Williams' autographs do NOT equal a EWING.  At first from behind the Knick bench I stare daggers at Herb.  Then I let up.  It's not HIS fault I was dumb enough to give him the pennant 2 different times.

Whatcha looking at Herb?  Yeah, I see you...

Oh here's a story for you.  So, I was in college and leaning over the rail to the tunnels to have the Knicks sign my pennant after their pregame warm-ups.  It was at Richfield Colisseum.  Some parent asked me if his/her (I don't remember if it was a mom/dad) could get in front of me to have a better chance of getting an autograph.  My response was simple,  "No.  I'm sorry.  I can't do it.  Your kid is young and has many more chances to get the autograph.  My days are numbered."  It was what it was, and if that parent wanted the kid to get the autograph, then he/she should've gotten there earlier.  Life's not fair kid.  Sorry.

So game starts, and my friend and I talk about the line.  The line was either 1.5 or 2 or 2.5, but he said that NY was favored.  That made no sense to me.  I take the Wizards and he takes the Knicks.  Loser pays for parking.  Wizards win easily, and therefore I win.  Bryan pays for parking. 

D'Antoni is either drawing up plays or the Knicks are playing Pictionary...  I'm not sure...

So all in all the game was a little boring, but I can have fun doing just about anything.  I had Bryan sitting to my right, and we had the chance to chat it up.  The company was good. 

With Bryan after the game

The girl to my left was yelling and cheering for the Knicks, and she was obviously oblivious as to the score.  I swear my left ear was bleeding.  Mike Miller was on fire, and David Lee also played well.  Larry Hughes can't even be bothered to get into the huddle during time outs.  I'm reminded that Duhon plays for the Knicks.  I wondered if he was at the Duke game earlier in the day.  Nate Robinson has 2 or 3 open breaks, and the crowd audibly held their collective breath (each time he broke free) as they eagerly anticipated a dunk...  Nate didn't deliver on the monster dunk.  I debated on if I wanted a refund.

Yeah, Larry...  We, in the crowd, really don't care either...

I spent most of the game trying to get the best shot of Earl and Nate I could.  They look so cute compared to their larger, taller teammates!  I know that's a lame statement, but seriously.  It just shows you than anyone can do anything as long as he/she works hard enough ~ and that's a lesson we ALL need to learn.

Earl Boykins and Nate Robinson

As I typed this,  I got a text from someone in the Cleveland...  There are 5 home games in the next 9 days.  Interesting...  BUT, that's not gonna work.  I just booked my flight earlier today for Miami to see my brother and be on the ground for the Super Bowl festivities...  Now...  I just need to sell a kidney to get a ticket to the game...  GO COLTS!!!!


Georgetown blows out Duke, and I get to see the President...

On Tuesday night, I was talking to my girl after the Lakers game...  Or maybe it was Wednesday night after the Mariah Carey concert.   Hell, maybe it was both...  It doesn't matter.  The gist of it was, we both decided we wanted to hit the Duke v Georgetown game on Sat afternoon.  So the plan was in motion to get some tickets to watch #8 v #7 battle on the hardwood.  These were not easy tickets to get.  Sure, if you have $300/ticket, you can buy yourself into the arena on stubhub and all the other ticket broker sites, but that's not what we wanted to pay.  We wanted to pay NOTHING.  I looked online at ticketmaster and the event was sold out...  That's what you get for waiting. 

I hawk tickets.  I watch ticketmaster and the other sites.  I look at espn.  I know what's going on.  USUALLY...  But for some reason lately, I've been slow and a step behind.  This puts me behind the 8 ball when I have to scramble...  Lucky for me, I'm resourceful and I have people that are self-motviated around me ,who are also resourceful ,and want to do the things I want to do.  Music, sports, and travel are my passions.  I'm fortunate to have an extensive network or sports and music contacts and they appreciate my zeal for their passions also.  I share the love and can also bring something to the table with my contacts and knowledge so I've been welcomed into the fold.  I'm often asked how I can do what I do.  The answer is simple.  My arms reach many, I never forget a name or a face.  Never.  I love meeting people.  I may not like everyone, but I remember everyone.  The network of people I've kept in touch with, interacted with, and met briefly is large.  People move in sports ~ players get traded, coaches get fired, writers move, tv travels.  Sooo ~ as long as you're sincere in your intentions, respectable, and a GOOD person, once you're in the fraternity (let's face it, it's still a man's world, but if you prefer, you can refer to it as the "circle of trust") you're IN and membership has its privileges.

I get calls/messages from people who want tickets to this and that and if I can help, I do.  If I get extras to concerts, I take care of those that have taken care of me.  I used to travel with another consultant and we'd go on these great vacations to places like Cancun and Hawaii, etc.  We went primarily because he had miles and I had hotel points.  It was a match made in travel heaven.  The same can be said in the ticket game.

Duke v Georgetown is a great match up. 

Duke.  My brother went to Duke for 9 years.  Yeah, I said 9.  He is no Tommy Boy.  He earned his BS/MD/MBA from there.  9 years....  Back in the day, when I had more access to Duke alumns that played for the Cavs (e.g. Danny Ferry) it was extremely easy to get tickets to see Duke play at Cameron Indoor.  Ridiculously easy and my brother knew it.  For Christmas I'd ask him what he wanted from me, and he'd ask for tickets to see Duke V UNC as easily as people ask their parents for the latest video game console.  I can only imagine the dumbfounded look on my face when I heard the request, and I still feel the anxiety I had having to ask for a favor.  I hate asking people for stuff.  I'm a can-do, will-do person and asking someone for something makes me nervous. 

I remember waiting for my ex to come home from practice and telling him about the conversation with my brother and him simply saying, "OK - I'll ask Danny."  I also remember him coming home the next day and saying "Yeah, you're good.  Danny said he needs to call Coach K, but yeah ~ it's fone."  Huh?!?!  It was THAT easy,  The kids at Duke wait in tents in Kryziewski-ville (I'm not looking it up, but I think that I may have actually spelled that correctly) and are monitored as they TRY to get tickets to the games.  I think my mom even bought my brother a tent one year.  Weird. 

Visiting my brother back in 1999... 

My brother circumvented the entire process and  was blessed by the Duke Ferry with 2 tickets to arguably one of the best/most entertaining match-ups of all time in sports.  Needless to say, everytime I was offered/given 2 tickets to Cameron Indoor, I took one ticket and "brought" with my brother.

One of my trips to Cameron ~ Recognize that Carolina blue?

FYI - If you've never been to Cameron Indoor ~ you have no idea what you're missing.

Georgetown.  I fell in love with Georgetown in 1985.  In 1985 my life CHANGED.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  Growing up, we had a condo in Snowshoe, WV and we were there skiing during the NCAA Men's College Baketball Championship game.  My dad is strict and he had sent my brother and I too sleep.  We had bunkbeds in the condo and I was in the top bunk.  The bunkbeds had a curtain.  While my dad was watching Georgetown v Villanova in the living room, I had pulled back the curtain and was watching also.  I was supposed to be sleeping, but I must have been cheering or groaning at what I was seeing because the next thing I knew my dad said I could come down and watch the game with him.

I watched.a heartbreaker of a game.  I can't remember why/how I decided to like the Hoyas and Patrick Ewing, but I remember watching John Thompson's Patrick Ewing-led Hoyas lose to Rollie Massimino's Wildcats.  I probably watched with my mouth open in complete shock ~ like the rest of the general population.  Villanova and its SLOW down offense.  UNBELIEVABLE.  In the late 90's or early 2000s, Rollie Massimino came to Cleveland to coach Cleveland State Men's Basketball.  I refused to go.  I took that Wildcat victory personally.  I'm sure Rollie is great ~ but I had no interest in cheering him on after he crushed me.

Duke v Georgetown in 2010.  In the past week or so, I've seen Duke lose to a "lesser" ACC team(s).  Duke is not the power house it once was, but I love them because of my brother and all the fun times I've had with him there.  The ACC is exciting, and Journey was right ~ Everybody wants a thrill!!!!  Conversely, in the past week or so, I've seen Georgetown defeat UConn, and concede a huge lead to eventually lose the Jim Boeheim's Orangemen.  Wait - did I spell Jim's last name correctly?!?!  I'm.too lazy to check   Ahh, the Big East.   In March, usually, the question arises as to which conference has better talent or is thr toughest to play in.  I think the ACC is softer this year.  The Big East is more physical.  I'd take a charge in the ACC, but I'd think twice about it in the Big East because I know it'd take me longer to get up.

On Friday, I'm on my way to lunch and I get a call from my friend and she's still working to get tickets for the Duke v Georgetown game.  She has 2, but she's trying for 4 tickets. You gotta love it.  Then I get a little tidbit of info.  The President is going to go to the game.  Seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!  Hellooooooooooooo, I told you that this was going to be a big game...  Hmm - now I want to go to the game even more.  She calls me while I'm at lunch and tells me that we're set.  2 tickets to the game are ours and the other 2 people aren't coming because she can't get the seats together.  I'm so excited I can barely contain myself.  I'm going to the Duke v Georgetown game!!!!

Saturday morning I wake up around 9 and go back to sleep for another hour.  Around 10AM I look out the window and see a Winter Wonderland in the making.  It's SNOWING and it looks absolutely gorgeous outside, especially when you're all snuggled up in bed!  Snow is coming down hard and I realize I need to get moving if I'm going to make it downtown in time for the game.  FYI - most people in VA/DC/MD cannot drive in snow.  I'm from Ohio and I have all-wheel drive, but if some clowns in a Mercedes or a mini-Cooper are in front of me, I'm handcuffed by their ineptitude.

I start driving to the arena before 12:30PM and notice that the roads aren't cleared.  Awesome.  I get close to the arena and notice that the police blocked the streets around it.  Thank you President Obama for messing up traffic.  Double Awesome.  I drive around, find a parking meter ~ SCORE and begin hustling/walking towards the building.  My timing is perfect ~ or so I think until I get closer to the Verizon Center.  Ugh ~ there are lines outside the building of people trying to get in.  I meet my friend at Will Call and we head towards the media entrance.  We get denied, that entrance is closed since the President is in the building. 

All roads are blocked...  The President is trying to get into the game..

We cut ~ whatever ~ in line and realize there's another logjam.  The secret service is going through everything thoroughly and the metal detectors are out.  Metal detectors?!?!  This isn't a Wizards game, and I thought Gil was already suspended for the season ~ so who needs metal detectors (hahahahahahaha)?!!?  Just kidding...   Kinda. Ok, not really...

By the time we get to our seats, the score is 12-12.  Incidentally the line was Duke -2.  I have no idea why it was, what it was ~ but these are my guesses.

1.  Duke was favored because they're Duke.
2.  Duke was favored because they're Duke.
3.  Duke was favored because they're Duke.

Based on what I'd seen in the past few weeks, the line was way OFF.  The Hoyas should've been giving points.

The game was hot!  I'm not even sure if Duke ever had the lead.  Georgetown was blocking shots, running, and playing all around better basketball.  The arena was "grayed out" thanks to all the free t-shirts that Geico passed out.  It was a bit of a blowout.  DC used to be the murder capital, and tsoeone should've called 911. The Duke team fell victim on Saturday afternoon.  They should've just lied down on the court and someone (maybe the secret service since they were there in full strength) could've outlined them in chalk.  GAME OVER.  Thanks for coming by.

During the game, I scan the crowd.  Tracy McGrady is there (they put him up on the jumbotron) to promote a charity.  Coach Thompson (Senior) is there at the table doing radio.  Ted Leonsis (owner of the Washington Capitals) is courtside.  But where is the President?!?!  I break out my camera and start zooming my lens and scan the crowd a little more thoroughly and sure enough, President Obama is sitting next to VP Joe Biden across from the Hoyas' bench.  They're courtside right by the baseline.  Very cool.  At least I get to see the man who is responsible for me missing the opening tip-off and not being able to park easily.

It was about 4PM and Gergetown won.  I got to see the President in person.  My friends and I head to Clyde's to grub up.  We get there and we're surrounded by a ridiculous number of drink college kids from Georgetown.  Come on guys...  Act like you've won before...  The place is loud and people are everywhere celebrating the win.  I dub the restaurant "Club Clyde's" because it's crazy inside and there's a line for the men's restroom.  My friend is suprised that I've never seen the President before since she's seen him 3 or 4 times.  Really?!?!  Is seeing the Presidenr the norm?!?!  I laugh.  Now, all she and I have to do is decide if we want to kill 3 hours and watch the Knicks v Wizards game...  That game tips off at 8....

Not too shabby for a Saturday afternoon...  :-P


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mariah Carey ~ Love makes you fat, but pounds don't affect your voice...

Last night, I took a break on sports and decided to hit a concert.  Mariah Carey was in town, and I wanted to check out the show.  I'd originally bought tickets to see her at the Borgata in Atlantic City on January 2nd, but I decided I was too tired to make the drive.  Fortunately, I ended up making a tidy little profit when I decided to unload them on

Mariah Carey.  She'll never be known for her choreography.  Sure, she can step to an 8 count and hold her own when in a formation, but she doesn't need to dance.  She has THAT voice.  The range is distinctive.  A tuned ear can determine an artist when it hears it.  The grisly Tina Turner, the falsetto of Maxwell, the British accent for Michigan's own Madonna (hahaha).  Mariah has a voice that dogs can hear when humans can't.  The high frequecy can probably open garage doors without hands or a remote.  There is no question ~ Mariah can sing.  She doesn't need Britney's pole or a hot outfit to pull her fans to the show, and if you ask me, she knows it.

So, last night was the State of the Union address, but about 1500 of us gathered at DAR Constitution Hall to see MC belt out her hits.  On her last stop to DC she played the Verizon Center.  She went from 20000 peoplel to 10% of that last night.  I find that interesting.  I also think it's interesting that there was very little promotion done for this tour.  I think it's a mistake, especially since she said she's dropping a new box set/greatest hit cd soon.  She mentioned this numerous times during the show...  That's Mariah, if you've seen her before she'll plug her new CDs and the projects of her inner circle.  She's a good friend, because I didn't hear anyone else plugging Da Brat's cd when it came out YEARS ago.

Anyway, Constitution Hall.  I waited outside for my friend Teri to show.  The time outside gave me a moment to take in the crowd for the show.  All kinds of people were showing up ~ old, young, black, white, gay, and straight ~ a virtual melting pot of folks had tickets to her show.  Notice I said they all "had tickets to the show".  No one was outside trying to make a deal, which frustrated the scalpers on the street.  Oh well ~ that's the nature of the scalping game and of life.  It's all supply and demand...  One scalper was trying to unload $500 tickets...  OUCH!

It's already 8PM and ticket time is 7:30.  I'm still waiting on my friend, but I know we're still good, since there's no way Mariah goes on stage on time.  She's a diva.  And from the looks of her while she was performing ~ I guarantee she was EATING AND DRINKING until about 8:15.

Teri shows up and we take our seats after getting drinks.  We take our seats and they're awesome.  Row R is what it says on the ticket, but it may as well be row J because it looks like we're 10 rows away from the stage.  I'm impressed with the quality of the last minute ticket.  We have about 15 mins to kill and I show Teri this blog site, and she indulges me enough to read it.  That's me ~ I self-promote. 

Close to 8:30 Teri goes for another drink and then of course, the show starts. Mariah is being lowered down on some swing and she's wearing some a gold dress with some sort of puffy skirt.  Think "Gone With the Wind".  First impression  ~ Wow.  Mariah is thick.  Teri whispers in my ear, "We saw Fat Janet (i.e. a reference to when we saw Janet Jackson in concert a year or so ago) and now we have Fat Mariah".  I cannot help but laugh!  Are you kidding me?  I don't have to perform and sing in front of a crowd, and I still watch my food intake since I know I can be incredibly lazy at times...  Then again, I have no boyfriend ~ and they say that love makes you fat ~ sooooooo, my theory is MC is CRAZY in LOVE with Nick Cannon.  Good for her and good for all the take-out/dine-in/delivery eateries near them.

MC does a couple of numbers and then the lower part of her skirt comes off or detaches and the skirt is shorter.  2 words ~ thunder thighs ~ come to mind.  Um.  Wow.  I know she doesn't play soccer, so I don't really get it.  Another image comes to mind....  Have you seen the movie Fantasia?  At least I think it's Fantasia that has the dancing, ballerina hippos in pink skirts...  Well, you get my point.

A couple more songs...  Now she's complaining that her hair is wet and that she's going to need her hair and make up people to come out before she ends up having a completely different look on stage.  The team comes out to fix her.  Yep, she's a diva, and she's not ashamed to admit it.  I like that she at least owns who she is.

A couple more songs and she sings a song that she dedicates to her hubby, who is in the building.  That's sweet.

Another song comes on and there's some "Cirque du Soleil" type acrobats performing.  The visuals are good.

One song, her background dancers having to lift her, set her down, pass her off, so the next 2 guys raise her.  THIS IS HILARIOUS.  I desperately try to take a pic to capture the look of fatigue on the gentlemen's faces, but I'm too slow.  I swear to you though that I saw one of the guys exhale like he had just power-lifted 800 pounds, once the number was over!!!  I can imagine him in rehearsals muttering to himself, "She wants us to do what?!!?".  I start laughing again.

Incidentally, about cameras and picture taking.  In this world of camera phones and digi cameras, you can't expect a bunch of ushers and security people to enforce a "no picture" rule, especially when it's not on the ticket and there are no signs to that efffect.  I'm sorry if you don't want your pic taken and you don't want to be on youtube. MAYBE you should've been camera ready, since you KNEW you were going to perform.  Suck it up like the rest of the artists, performers, and athletes that people PAY to see.

The sound system at Constitution Hall was great.  She sang her heart out last night.  Her new tracks are catchy and I can't wait to hear them over and over and over and over again on the radio.  Over and over and over and over...

If I remember correctly her last 2 songs were "We Belong Together" which she said was described somewhere as song of the decade.  I'm not going to verify her "facts", but it is a great song.  Her final song is "Hero"...  Man, that song's annoying.  I'm sooooooooooooo over it.  If I never hear that song or the song from Titanic vy Celine Dion ever again, I won't shed a tear.

Strong work MC.  Good show.  Hope you treated yourself to some dessert after the show.  You seemed happy and you sounded great, so who cares!

Like the title of this blog, Mariah Carey ~ Love makes you fat, but pounds don't affect your voice...


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An OLD SCHOOL Lakers fan goes to see the Lakers v Wizards @ Verizon

Yesterday, was Tuesday and I was dragging ass all day. Literally... Although I wasn't going far since I work from home. I'd gotten sucked into a late night/early morning showing of the movie, Airplane, on the comedy channel on Monday/early Tuesday so I'd been struggling through the day. I was working from home and ESPN was on in the background as usual. Throughout the day, I brainstormed on different ways I could get tired or get myself to fall asleep easier at night, and sure enough ~ I somehow thought about the Washington Wizards...

It was around 3PM, and I had been getting a couple of messages from friends asking me if I was going to go the Wizards game. The Lakers were in town, so the idea was somewhat appealing... I figured it'd be a blowout, but I haven't been to a Wizards game this season so I thought more about going. Around 4:30 I posted on my facebook, that I was thinking about scalping a ticket to the game. That's all it took. The comments/messages started pouring in from a crew of friends. I heard from a crew that I knew were already heading to the game (Mario et al are regulars), a friend who's never in town (Pun), a diehard Laker fan (Neville) telling me that he and our mutual sports crew (Teri, MW, DA, et al) were already planning on being there, and a friend who's a KOBE SUPERFAN and was celebrating his belated birthday at the game with his college alumni asociation (Jack), etc.

Um, hello... I've seen Kobe play many times in person. Hell, I saw him last week in Cleveland. As far as I was concerned, BFD... (For those that don't know, what BFD means ~ it's Big Effin Deal. Come on now... My mom could be reading this, so I need to watch my language.) Needless to say, I was late with my RSVP, but I decided that I was going to the Verizon Center for the party. Why?

1. I was bored.
2. I need material for this blog, and I don't think you want to hear about my weekly Trivia outings on Monday night (i.e. I reserve the right to cover it if I'm low on material, since Trivia is competitive and could loosely be described as a mental sporting event).
3. I am an OLD SCHOOL Laker fan.

Let me clarify. I am not really a Lakers fan, I'm an OLD SCHOOL Lakers fan. I'm not a Kobe fan ~ I'd take LeBron any day. Maybe it's because I'm from Ohio. Maybe it's because I think Kobe is too cocky or that his wife annoys me when I see her in the tunnels waiting to kiss him after the game. Vanessa, if you ever read this ~ get out of the tunnel and wait in the family lounge. You look silly, and I'm not buying it!!! But I digress...

I have a poster of the Lakers at my mom's house. It's still rolled up and I look at it when I'm home for the holidays. It's the OLD SCHOOL Lakers ~ James Worthy, Byron Scott, Kareem, Magic, etc. I'm actually not sure who else is on there. Maybe it's Cooper, Green, or Thompson. Eh, who am I kidding? It's probably not Thompson.... Anyway, I love this poster but I refused to hang it when I was younger because I didn't want to put holes in the corners or use tape and risk the poster tearing. This poster is serious to me.

At my dad's house, I have a framed Magic Johnson poster picture and for the longest time, it was the only picture in my room. Eventually, I added a family picture from when we were all young and before my parents' divorce. If that house caught on fire and I could only rescue 2 things ~ those 2 items are the only things I'm grabbing.

I love/loved Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I'm not even sure why. I like tall. I've always liked tall. Tall symbolizes security to me. My dad is 6'2", My first fiancee plays ball and he's 7'2". Yeah ~ I said first fiancee. Yeah, I said 7'2". WHATEVER. I told you I liked tall. Kareem was an anchor, the CENTER. The game starts with a center (i.e. I'm obsessive with catching the opening tip of a basketball game. If you don't believe me, ask one of the many friends and relatives that I flipped a ticket to in the parking lot and left in my dust, as I sprinted to get into the building in time). I once skipped a day of medical school (OK - I'm lying. You're right, I skipped many days of medical school) and talked a classmate of mine into going to MC Sports so I could get Kareem to sign a Lakers hat for me. My dad had given me an autographed picture of him years prior, but unless I watched the guy sign it right in front of me ~ I question autograph authenticity.

Incidentally, my dad told me when I was younger that he'd take me to the Forum. We never went and now they play at the Staples Center. I've been there, but I'll never forget the fact that I missed out on the Forum...

So do you get it, now? I'm an OLD SCHOOL Lakers fan.

I decide I'm going to scalp a ticket when I get to the arena. Carefully watching the clock, I remember that work is supposed to call me at 5 to go over some documents. I jump in the shower at 4:45, so I'll be out and ready to take the call when it comes. 5:30 comes and I'm still getting ready for the game, and I have yet to hear from work. I email my work and tell them I need to leave my apartment by 6 and ask to pushback business until the following day. My request is granted! WOOHOO!!! I'm in the clear.

I finish getting ready. What to wear? To quote Miley Cyrus, "this is definitely not a Nashville party", this is the Lake Show. I decide I need to dress up, because (unlike in finance) past performance indicates future results, and I'll probably be going out after this game at least for a little bit... I wear a conservative brown dress, pink scarf, and some hot boots. They say you should dress for the job that you want in the workplace. My philosophy is that you should take into account where you're going and dress for the life that you want. It's a sporting event. I'm going to be sitting low to the court. Who knows who I could be sitting next to, and I refuse to look like I just went to Sam's Club and rolled into the game. Plus, let's face it ~ I'm a girl. Most of the people at the games are men. You figure it out...

I get to the arena and find a lot to park in. I drive because I know it's not going to be a RAGER and I won't be out late. I'm running behind schedule and notice that I'm going to miss the opening tip. Oh well. I've seen it, and that's what I get for being last minute. $25 for event parking is still less than cabbing round trip, and I was not going to subject myself to the Metro in my outfit. Car is parked and I am racing to the arena.

Incidentally, I use to valet my car at Rosa Mexicano across the street until I had to get snippy with a valet attendant about not eating there. Um, hello.... It's not my fault your restaurant kitchen closed before the game ended. Jerk...

I walk towards the box office and see the group of scalpers I normally deal with. I ask for "One Low" and I have a price in mind. They wave a guy over and he shows me a bent ticket for section 112, row K. Man.... I hate bent tickets. They're the worst. I ask how much, and he asks what I'm willing to spend. I offer $100. He tells me face is $225. Yes, I can read ~ but there's no chance in hell. It's no secret to either of us that the game is about to start. He asks for $200 and then immediately drops to $150 since he sees I've started walking towards the doors of the arena. Sorry guy, no deal.

1. I already missed the tip-off.
2. Your ticket is bent.
3. I know the box office has tickets available.

I am at the box office behind a guy trapped in a timewarp. He's asking the guy at the ticket window for a good ticket in the lower bowl, but he doesn't want to spend more than $80. I realize we’re in a recession, but seriously… I could scream. I literally think about hip checking him out of my way so I can get to the window as he hmmmmmms and hahhhhhs. Why can't people like this stay home and watch on their TV? The ticket agent can tell this guy is a WOT (i.e. waste of time) and asks him if he can move over so I can be helped. REDEMPTION!

I set my price and ask for the best under a certain threshold. Don't worry ~ I am still in the black when it comes to my casino/gambling winnings, so I'm playing with house money. I get what I want for the price I want and I'm moving around the concourse at a decent clip to get to my seat.

My view of the Lakers' coaches.  Notice Phil Jackson sits higher.

One more thing, it looks like Phil has a phonebook in his pants...

I watch a boring game and root for the Lakers. Incidentally the line was Lakers -8 and the Lakers more than covered. I realize that I will win my wager with a friend and begin to chat it up with the people to my left and right. Why?!?! Because I'm a girl and people like to give me stuff. You never know when someone has an extra and people in those lower level seats are usually season ticket holders so extras come up all the time. Mark, the independent Xango distributor, gives me his card on his way out and tells me to email. He says he may have extras coming up since his buddy is going out of town. JACKPOT!

Game over. Onto the next episode. I see David Dupree on the concourse while trying to leave the building and make it to my car. I need to move my car to the next spot so it’s not stuck in the garage over night. For those of you that don’t know. David Dupree is a reporter that used to work for USA Today. A few years ago Bob Ferry (friend and former General Manager of the NBA Champion Washington Bullets) introduced me to David before a Cavs v Wizards playoff game. I never forget a name or a face. I’d seen him another time as I left a Lionel Richie concert in Baltimore so I just kept on walking and didn’t stop since he looked busy.

I get to the parking garage and thankfully notice that I can reverse my car and turn around easily. Unfortunately, I’m parked in hell and so far below ground that this is going to take awhile. Awesome. I have 2 guys staring at me in a black truck. Double awesome. Time passes and I’m still waiting… My window comes down a little bit and the guy driving the truck looks over and says he’s going to let me in. Nice. He then asks me if I went to the game, if I’m a Lakers fan, where I’m from, etc. Blah blah blah. He says that I’m too pretty to be from Ohio. Um, ok ~ thanks, I guess ~ but you just dissed my entire state. He’s from Iowa, a Hawkeye fan, and does counter-terrorism stuff. How do I know? He told me and actually got out of his truck to give me his card. RANDOM. Don’t worry we were surrounded by a ton of people who weren’t moving so there was no risk of danger.

I get to the point to pay and the attendant asks me if I have $20. Cool. I just saved $5. I win again. I have no idea what happens, but I’m out of the garage and in motion to the meet up spot so we can all eat and catch up. The people I’m meeting for the most part are sports people. They’re involved in sports, media, or communications, etc, in some fashion and if they’re not, they’re simply PASSIONATE about sports. One by one they trickle over from the arena and through the door and I’m excited to see everyone.

David Aldridge is there and I hadn’t seen him since a bunch of us were in Miami for the NBA finals. He compliments me on a blog that I wrote in November, while I was working in London. The blog was about Maxwell. I’m literally floored. I cannot believe he took the time to read my words, much less comment on them to me. To be complimented on my writing by a professional is very special. Thank you, my friend.

My girl rolls in and she’s carrying a bag from the Green Turtle (a restaurant/bar connected to/inside the Verizon Center). What’s in the bag? You wouldn’t believe me unless you saw it. She had Kobe’s shoes from the game. They were signed by Kobe and Derek Fisher. Say what?!?! I’m telling you. Some people are just lucky and my girl had hit the jackpot. No one deserves a more random act of kindness than her. She’s a professional also and her love for the game, the league, and the players is immense.

I run into my friend’s husband and his friends at the spot and he/they want an introduction. Sorry. It’s not my place and it wasn’t the right time.

Our party is seated and we start the part I love the best. We share ideas, debate and comment on the current headlines and sports news. Each of sharing and bringing something special to the table. The doctor tells us whether he thinks sex addiction is real, the communications people tell us about how they would’ve handled various public relationship nightmares, etc. We discuss differences between baseball, football, and basketball with regard to locker room/salary/punishments. My brother texts me and tells me Kentucky was upset, I get to be the first to tell everyone about the loss.  From topic to topic we fly, and I love every minute of it.

At the end of the night I get to hold Kobe’s shoe. It’s the lightest shoe ever. I realize I’m holding something special. I mean, it is kind of cool. But at the end of the day, I’m still an OLD SCHOOL Lakers fan.

Holding Kobe's (autographed) shoe after the game.  Yes, it's HIS shoe ~ and no, it's not mine.

You can buy your own Kobe shoe here, if you're a true fan...  :-P

I can’t wait for the Cavs and Lakers for the NBA finals. Yes, I said it. :-P

No sports tonight ~ tonight it's music...  I'm not 1D, you know...  Maybe I'll start dropping music in here or maybe I'll start another thread,  Looks like I have something else to think about....


Friday, January 22, 2010

Lakers v Cavs = Kobe v LeBron... The Cavs and LeBron win AGAIN!

Wendnesday I decided I wanted to go to Cleveland on Thursday for the Lakers v Cavs game.  I wanted to see Kobe v LeBron.  I wanted to see whether or not the Lakers had an answer for the beating that they took from the Cavs on Christmas day.  I knew it'd be a show, and I wanted to be THERE to WITNESS the game. 

Thank you Continental Airlines for having a hub in CLE and letting me earn just enough One Pass miles to get there on such short notice.  Incidentally, I'm all out of One Pass miles...  My balance is ZERO, and coincidentally ZERO equals the amount of gas left in my tank after this latest adventure.

Crosby v Ovechkin is interesting, but Kobe v LeBron was the premier event for Thursday night.  On Wednesday I was being hammered by messages from folks that had forgotten I used to live, work, and school in CLE and who had decided to give me advice as to where to eat and go...  Ummmm, thanks ~ BUT I know Cleveland, AND and I'm a creature of habit so in essence, all the suggestions were distracting me when I was hunting down a ticket to the game.  Eventually, I find a ticket ~ I'm not courtside, but I am in the lower bowl and over in the corner looking at the visitors bench.  Not too shabby considering it's all last minute...  Now...  Where do I stay?  I text a few friends and realize that they're all spread out around Northeast Ohio.  This is not especially helpful because I don't want to rent a car, and I want to stay downtown.  Frustrated, I decide to bite the bullet and hit Priceline.  I put on my negotiation hat and lowball the hotels in downtown Cleveland.  I really don't care where I stay, because I don't intend to spend much time in my room.  Bingo!  My offer has been accepted and I'm all set for the trip.

Now, I'm back to work...

7:30PM on Wednesday night, my computer crashes.  Awesome.  Time to call Continental and reschedule my flight.  My sick computer is frozen and is now sporting 3 mini "inappropriate" icons.  That's great.  How the heck did that happen?!?!  I change my flight and now I'm scheduled to depart for Cleveland later in the afternoon.  This works out fine, since I have my blackberry and the tech guy needs my computer for most of the day to re-image it and migrate my data. 


Thursday morning I wake up at the crack of 8 and head to the office.  The tech guy says he's gonna need time.  Well, guy ~ it's your lucky day.  I tell him he has all day, but on the off chance that he fixes my computer quickly, I linger in the office until lunch time in hopes that I can have my machine back.  No dice.  My computer is still sick.

I head to the airport and wait at the gate. I get a text from my friend asking me if I'm still going to Cleveland.  Yep, I'm boarding.  I land in Cleveland and for the first time in a long time, I don't have anyone picking me up.  I kinda like that.  It means, I'm free to do whatever I want, whenever I want.  My personal freedom is very important to me.  I love to be around people, but I also cherish my time alone.

I jump on the Rapid.  Yes, I took the Rapid.  I did.  It cost me $2.25 (i.e. versus $30 something for a cab).  I took the Rapid to Tower City and then decided to walk to my hotel on Lakeside.  Yes, I walked.  I did.  I missed Cleveland and it wasn't that cold, and for those of you in Cleveland or who are familiar it's not really THAT far.  I enjoyed my walking tour.  I looked for my favorite homeless guy, Ralph ~ but didn't find him.  I went by the Galleria, the Federal building, and headed towards the Free stamp to take a pic and then kept heading North towards the lake.  For the geographically challenged ~ the "lake" is Erie.  I take a pic of the Browns stadium and then walk further towards the Rock and Roll HOF.  I snap another pic.  OK - I'm done.  Time to head to the hotel and clean up.

I watch ESPN while getting ready and listen to the hype about Kobe and LeBron.  I realize how lucky I am that I am going to go to the game.  It's about 6PM and I need to get moving and find my friend Raj.  Raj and I know each other either from medical school or undergrad.  I'm not sure what we decided, but we recently connected again because of facebook.  I meet Raj and his friend, Mark, at Chocolate Bar ~ the place is about 3 weeks old.  I had a chocolate mint martini and filet mignon for dinner.  I recommend that restaurant to anyone with a sweet tooth.

We leave Chocolate Bar close to 7:45, and I separate from the guys once we hit the arena.  It's so close to tip-off that I start to get anxious.  I can hear the national anthem being sung as I wait to get my ticket scanned.  Ugh.  That means the line I'm in had better start moving.  I hear the Lakers' starting line-up getting introduced.  Double Ugh.  MOVE PEOPLE!  How long does it take to get in?!?!  Alright - I'm in and walking swiftly to my seat.  I make it to section 111, row 13 but I miss a little bit of the Cavs opening line up.  That's fine.  I've seen it.

I'm sitting next to some freakishly tall teenage girl, who has her lanky arm in front of my face as she reaches for a free t-shirt.  Cleveland, we may have a problem ~ but I try to be cool. 

I snap a pic of the intros and the opening tip, and it's GAME ON. 

The Lakers take the early lead and already I can hear my friends who are Lakers fans chiming in my ears.  First of all, let me put it out there.  I am an OLD school Lakers fan. OLD school.  Not a Kobe Lakers fan, but a Magic/Kareem/Scott/Worthy fan.  Yeah ~ I left off Thompson ~ you would too...

I don't really have a favorite team.  I went from the OLD school Lakers to Ewing's Knicks and then migrated my way to being a CAVS fan, since 1998 (i.e. not because of Ilgauskas, but obviously that helped).  I'm from Ohio, and I have to admit ~ Cavs basketball is exciting and has done a 180-degree turn, since the days I'd sit in section 128 for 41 games a year.


TNT covers the game and Craig Sager is at the Q. 

Lil Wayne is there also, and he's sporting some smart frames and sitting courtside. 

Lil Wayne

This is Ohio, and people from Ohio are proud.  I'm proud of my state.  During the Cavs game they played, "Hang on Sloopy" and the crowd made the O-H-I-O.  Fun.

Lakers took the early lead, but the Cavs came back.  It was a fight until the end, but the Cavs came out victorious.  It was comical watching the Liger guard the Shaqtus...  You know what that is, right?!?!  No.  Ok - here.  According to Wikipedia, "The liger is a hybrid cross between a male lion (Panthera leo) and a tigress (Panthera tigris)."  So, yeah, I called Gasol a Liger ~ or maybe I should say Beowulf....  I swear Gasol looks like a werewolf...  Yeah, I said it...  But, you all know that I'm right. 

Ron Artest needs lotion for his legs.  You can see that they're ashy from 13 rows up...

The Q is the equivalent of a racecar driver's outfit...  Is it just me or is there advertising on every bit of bare wall space and electronic signage EVERYWHERE?  On the wall next to me, I saw Hoover vacuums...  Go Canton!  I don't get it...

Thank you, Liger, for not making your free throws.

LeBron outscored Kobe. 'Nuff said.

CAVS win.

We are all Cavfanatics

Off to West 6th Street to celebrate the victory.  First stop, Mercury Bar.  It's dead.  Next stop, Liquid.  It's the same. 

With Raj and Mark

Next stop, Bar Fly because Raj's friend knows the owner.  We walk in and Mark starts talking to the owner.  HOLY CRAP ~ I know the owner too...  It's Gary Bauer ~ he used to own the Basement on the East Bank of the Flats.  The Basement is gone, but I'm sure I still have my VIP card somewhere...  I give Gary a big hug and down memory lane we sprint.  It'd been about 8 years, since he used to see me out and about so we had plenty of stories to catch up on QUICKLY.  Random.

Leaving Bar Fly we go to Barley House.  Barley House is having an event and Kim Kardashian is hosting.  Makes sense, since Lamar Odom is her brother-in-law.  There was a line outside, complete with tent and people were clammering to get into the venue.  FYI for those familiar with Cleveland ~ Barley House is the old Spy Bar...  The price of admission is $25.  Eh...  If I my friend wasn't in there, and he wasn't texting me to join ~ I would've passed, but we all anted up and we walk in.  I see my friend immediately and he has to head to VIP really quickly, but says he'll be back.  Normally I'd go with ~ but this is Cleveland, and I play by different rules there.  I hang with Raj and Mark at the bar and guess who I see...  LOL ~ I see Craig Sager.

Immediately, I go over and introduce myself and tell him about when I went to 3 NBA playoff games in 3 nights in 2 different cities.  I told him that not even he does that.  I'm a fool, but he smiles and shakes my hand.  I figure I had my time so I decide to leave him be.  I see cameras flashing out of the corner of my eye.  Um, he's taking pictures with some folks.  Ok - time for me to circle back with him and get my picture taken also...  Yep, that's right ~ Ricky, check the picture.  I WIN!!!

At Barley House, I run into Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Branson Wright.  I introduce myself, since he started with the paper after I left town.  I'm not sure why, but I did it and it's done, so there's no taking it back. I doubt he'll remember.  It was late.

Eventually we leave Barley House and head to Panini's.  Time to eat.  Afterwards, Raj and Mark are gracious enough to drop me off at the hotel, and lucky me ~ I have a few hours of sleep before I have to head to the airport...  My flight was around 7:30 this morning.  I took a cab to the airport ~ since I couldn't handle the idea of the Rapid this morning.

I was back in the office by 9:30 this morning to retrieve my healthy computer and have been trying to re-install old programs, learn Microsoft 2007 v 2003, and migrate data that I need, between conference calls ever since.

Last night, I WITNESSED :-P

Today, I work...


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Caps beat the Red Wings, 3-2 ~ Happy Tuesday!

Yesterday (Tuesday) I was working and thinking about what I wanted to do this week.  My typical day has me going,, ticketmaster, orbitz, and various ticket broker websites to see if there's anything worth doing or going to see.  I also have a group of friends on gchat, and I pinged my friend and hockey buddy, Rod (aka the Donkey), to see if there was a hockey game.  Why is he nicknamed the Donkey, you ask?  I don't know.  He would call me "Donkey" every now and again when we first met and I'd always reply the same way ~ "If anyone's a donkey, it's you."  Therefore, he's always been Donkey or Donk, to me...

The Donkey typed that that the Red Wings were in town and that the Caps were on a winning streak.  Hmm, it sounded like a big game and it'd been a month or so since I'd been to a Caps game and I decided I wanted to go.  The Donk shares season tickets with a buddy of his, and he didn't have seats to tonight's game.  I asked him what he'd be willing to pay and he set his price at $60/ticket.  I was already on the Caps ticket exchange, and I didn't see anything available in that price range.  The Donk replied that I needed to check Craig's list.

There are many things I'd rather do than check Craig's list.  Don't believe me?  Believe this....  I'd rather (1) get my teeth cleaned, (2) try to move my 200 pound Sony TV fossil from one room to another, (3) go to the post office, (4) wait in line at the bank, and (5) pick someone up at the airport ~ ALL in one day than deal with someone on Craig's list.  Craig's list bothers me because I have no idea whether the person I'm dealing with is selling a legitimate product, whether they'll keep to the deal we agree upon, and follow through on delivery (i.e. which usually means I have to meet a stranger who already knows I have cash on me).  To me, it sounds like a recipe for DISASTER. 

It was already close to 4PM, but I could tell that I semi-motivated the Donkey to look for tickets.  He ended up making an offer to someone on Craig's list.  The Donk is brave enough to trust and risk death for his Caps.  I'm not.  I'm from Ohio and we didn't have hockey where I grew up.  I recently became interested when I moved to DC and noticed 2 or 3 years ago that the Caps were fun to watch.  Since then, I've been to a bunch of games and I've enjoyed them every time.

2 years ago a day after my birthday shenanigans, I was grabbing some grub with my friend Trey.  We'd just hit the batting cages and decided to stop at a bar/restaurant called The Front Page.  Incidentally, this establishment is across the street from the Kettler Ice Complex where the Caps practice.  This was the time of year of the training/rookie camp and there were a few hockey guys there that night.  Have you ever seen a hockey guy without their gear on?  It's not a bad sight...  That year I started to notice that the Caps go to the Page for lunch and sometimes I'd find them there after games hanging out in their "civilian clothes".  Needless to say, I started to pay attention to hockey ever since.  But I digress...

Back to the story...

4PM hit and I had a conference call for work.  I was on the call and as time slipped away I noticed that it was almost 5PM and I had never heard back from the Donkey.  I assumed he left work since his green light was no longer on for his gchat window.  Oh well.  I assumed Caps hockey was a "no go" for tonight.  Sure enough, I looked at my personal phone and it was being blown up by my friend, Amy.  Interesting.  Amy never calls me.  She's like most of my friends.  She's a texter.  I picked up and told her that I was on a conference call, but that I'll call her back when it was over.  She told me that that wouldn't work, because she needed to know right away if I wanted to go to the hockey game tonight.  Say what!?!?!  It turns out, Amy's co-worker, Shannon, couldn't go and that Amy had 2 free tickets to a suite for the game.

Um, YES, I wanted to go to the game. I told Amy that we're on, but that I needed to track down the Donkey and make sure he wasn't going to end up screwed with 2 tickets.  I called him and got voicemail.  I texted him and it took a minute.  He replied that he's going to the gym.  I texted him to make sure we weren't doing hockey together, and then it looked like he changed his mind and wanted to go to the game...  Ruh roh...  Another text, goes out and I let him know I have a free ticket.  "Just go" was the last text he sent me.  WOOHOO!!!  I was all clear to go see a hockey game with Amy.

I headed over to Amy's, since she was driving us to the game.  I told her, "Thank you for inviting me".  She told me that it's an easy choice because there aren't that many people that are home, that she can get a hold of, who aren't married/have kids, and would want to go.  She's right!  That's ME.  I'm fluid.

We headed to the arena and joined the people in the suite.  This was Amy's first hockey game either this year or ever.  I'm not really sure what she said.  She was impressed that the Verizon Center was so packed on a Tuesday night.  Yeah - that's Caps hockey.  The team really draws!!!!  The Red Wings score first. Booooo!  No one throws octopi on the ice ~ we're in DC, people!!! 

Great.  Now I have to look up why Detroit Red Wings fans do that...  One sec.  Be patient...

OK - according to here's why, "The first octopus landed on the ice during the Red Wings' 1952 Stanley Cup run, courtesy of brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano, who owned a fish market. If you know your cephalopods, you will know that an octopus has eight tentacles. In those days it took eight playoff wins to claim the Cup, hence the supposed symbolism of the gesture."  Mystery solved, and now I want to go to Joe Louis Arena.  Wait, do the Red Wings still play there?!?!  I know that building is OLD and has been around forever...  Ugh...  Now I need to look that up also ~ but don't worry, I'll do it on my own time...

During the game Amy pointed out someone in an astronaut costume.  The guy in the astronuat costume is sitting next to a lady dressed up like "I Dream of Genie/Jeanie (sp?)".  She's holding a "I dream of Stanley" sign.  Clever.  Anyway, Amy informed me that supposedly this guy is nicknamed the Capstronaut.  Novel idea, considering I just saw Chewbaca in a Vikings jerey at Sunday's football game.  Needless to say, I think it's great when people do fun things like that!  Evidently the Capstronaut gets invited to sit in the owner's box sometimes.  Damnit..  That's brilliant!! 

Before you knew it, we had an exciting hockey game on our hands.  Jose Theodore took more shots on goal in the 1st period, than the next guy who decides to fight Manny Pacquiao...  Sticks were breaking and there was a mini-scuffle on our side of the ice.  Red Wings fans were mouthing off and getting tossed out of the arena.  It was definitely a great hockey night.  Eventually the Caps won the game 3-2 and kept the streak alive. Game over.  What was left to do?!!?  Duh, I headed to the Page and celebrated the victory with other Caps fans!  :-P

C-A-P-S!  CAPS!!!  CAPS!!! CAPS!!!


Monday, January 18, 2010

2 stadiums, 2 days, 2 games: Indianapolis for the Colts and Minneapolis for Vikings

On Monday morning, I decided I wanted to see the Ravens play the Colts on Saturday, so I booked my flights using 25K Delta frequent flier miles, paid my redemption fee of $100, and picked up a couple of tickets for the game.  I figured, I'd sell the extra or take my dad.   Either way, I had a plan.  When trying to move my extra, I was given the same response multiple times, "If I was going to travel, I'd rather see the Cowboys play the Vikings on Sunday."  Soooooo, I went back to and noticed I could go to both Indianapolis and Minneapolis for the same amount of miles. And then, I started thinking...  I paid a $100 AGAIN (for the stupid ticket change fee) and I was in motion to attend both games!  The next thing to do, was to get tickets to the Vikings game, and once I had those, I knew what I had to do...

I go to my friend's facebook page to look for clues as to if he's "available" for the trip.  He is my sports buddy.  We've been friends for about  8 years now.  We used to work together briefly, and he used to be roommates with my ex-boyfriend's friends.  Usually Vegas is our destination of choice, but (1) if there's anyone who enjoys a trip to a sporting event more than me and (2) has the frequent flier miles to do the crazy things I want to do ~ it's him.  Based on his page,  it looks like he's around, but he hasn't responded to a comment I've left about going on a football tour, sooooooooooooo it's time to hit the phones.

I call him and he picks up right away.  This is unique, because usually he'll send me to voicemail when he knows I'm looking to get away.  Later he tells me, he knew I was calling about football and not Vegas, and that's why he answered.  I tell him my plan: 2 cities, 2 stadiums, 2 days all for 25K miles on Delta.  He's intrigued.  He asks where we're staying and I tell him we don't need a hotel since the Saturday game is late and will end around midnight.  My plan was to go out on Sat night, find a 24 hour diner (e.g. IHOP, Waffle House, etc.) to kill time, and head to the airport whenever I couldn't take it anymore.  He asked about rental car.  I told him we didn't need that either.  Why would we want a car?  We'd have to park it, gas it up, and drive it.  All too much headache when going to a game and planning to go out after.  I told him my plan was to cab it.  

He challenges me to find an itinerary for the destinations (but he's starting from and must return to Oklahoma City, where he's currently working) for the same amount of miles and if I do, he'll pull the trigger.  I can already hear him typing in the background through the phone.  He's checking flights himself, which means if Delta lets it happen ~ then we're ON.  Great.  He has to run to a meeting, and as we end the call, he asks me why I didn't book the direct flight from Indy to Minneapolis...  Sure enough, he's even found a better flight option than me, since I'm connecting through Detroit.  Now I'm annoyed.  He heads to a meeting, and I call Delta. 

"Please. Please. Please. Please, Delta.  Let me change my ticket AGAIN without playing the change fee," is my prayer while I wait for the representative to work her magic.  I wait.  Sure enough, she goes ahead voids the other ticket(s) and issues me new ones.  I do NOT pay them any more fees.  YEAH, DELTA!!!! 

Coincidentally, his meeting ends shortly and he tells me he's booked the flights.  I tell him we're on the same leg from Indy to Minny and now it's time to talk the trip through. What about luggage he asks? LUGGAGE?!?!? Is he serious? We don't need any stinkin' luggage!!! We're going away for one night. I told him my plan was to throw a camera charger, iphone charger, change of clothes, and Colgate Wisps (i.e. if you haven't seen these things check them out ~ they're awesome for trips like this) into my purse.

Colgate Wisps: 
I highly endorse this product

I told him he could even just bring his chargers and buy clothes in Minny. This is not an issue. He presses on about the issue of luggage. I tell him that if it's that serious he can give whatever it is he wants to bring to the bell stand of any of the hotels that are nearby to store, because the hotels don't care as long as you tip them. He stops talking about luggage.  He does say he's going to bring a trashbag of stuff for the trip.  I decide, I don't care and can't tell if he's joking or not...


Time to negotiate tickets. Soooooo, this is my friend. He is my good friend. He's helped me through numerous break-ups, hosted me when I was in Atlanta and Vegas, and flipped me many an event/game ticket through our years together. He's invited me to go see Graceland when he's been in Memphis, and I've cancelled on a few trips we planned to Vegas the past couple of times we planned them. So, I decide, I need to come through this time and that I kind of owe him. Ricky won't have to pay what I'd charge most people for the tickets to the game BUT, he will pay. He and I both love money, and we know each other well enough not to hide it. We strike a deal. I'll take 50 cents on the dollar and he asks me if I want the cash for the tickets on Sat. Umm, yeah, definitely.  ***  Dad, if you read this ~ I made him pay full price...***

Saturday morning I receive a text from him that says he and his trashbag are on the way to Indy. Whatever. That's him. He's odd. I get off my plane in Indy and he is at the gate waiting for me. We hop in the cab and head to the City Centre Mall. I used to date a Colts fan, so I'd be in downtown Indy many times. He used to work in Indy. We have this city on lock. He and his laundry bag decide they need to buy a purple shirt. Evidently, we're divided on the desrired outcome of the Ravens v Colts game. Who cares. I know my Colts are going to win. Purple shirt for him, and Colts hat for me. We're done shopping.

Off to Conseco Fieldhouse to pick up tickets for the Hornets v Pacers game. The tip-off for the game has been moved up to 6PM to accommodate the Colts game, and we decide we may as well head to the game and get the picture taken, and then go to the football game. We get $10 tickets at the window. We're golden.

Off to the RAM we go because he wants to watch the Mi-ssi-ssi-ppi game. He watches and I chat it up with whoever is sitting on my left. A first it was a father-son pair, with ties to Indy who live in VA and came in for the game. Then it was a father and son combo and the son was surprising the dad with tickets to the game, since the father had never seen his Colts play in person.. Very cool.  He is absorbed in his college basketball game, but eventually joins in the conversation.  He feels the need to tell people that he's a "food taster for NASA".   This is a lie.  But, yeah, that's just so him...

We watch the beginning of the Saints beating of whoever it was they were playing and head to Conseco. I noticed he kept calling Conseco, "Canseco" (i.e. as in Jose Canseco) and corrected him earlier. I think he's playing with me because he keeps asking me what Jose's ties to Indy are and keeps asking me, "Why not McGwire Stadium or Sosa Stadim?" This is my friends. He makes me laugh.

We go to Conseco. It's almost 5:30PM. We notice that the ushers are checking tickets to enter the lower bowl of the arena. I'm not going to let an usher get in the way of my picture taking. My friend says, "We should've bought lowers". Whatever. I know we're golden, and to be honest ~ I'd be willing to bet, that anyone who's anyone has tickets to the football game anyway. So, no offense, Pacers organization, but you should be happy that we wanted to go to the game. I ask an usher which portal for half-court and blow by the old lady who's watching the entrance. "Act like you've been there" ~ it works, people. Told you we were golden! We posed for a few pictures, watched the warm-ups, and saw the tip-off. As far as we were concerned ~ that game was over and it's time to head to Lucas Oil Stadium.

Before Hornets v Pacers

Outside of Lucas Oil Stadium

Both my friend and I had never been to Lucas Oil. He has the same goal I do. He's trying to hit all the stadiums, arenas, and ballparks too ~ and he's actually ahead of me on this goal... Yeah, I'm jealous... We walk into Lucas Oil among a see of Ravens and Colts fans. The first thing I notice when I enter that stadium is that there is no center screen about the field. Weird. Considering I just came from the new Cowboys stadium, I'm a bit flustered... Weird. We watch the rest of the Saints woodshed beating of whoever that other team was, as we linger by a post with numerous power outlets and charge our iphones.

Our seats are on the 20 yd line, Colts side, 9 rows off the field. In our seats I notice a few things. We're surrounded by old people, and specifically old couples. Grey haired male and female Colts fans are everywhere, but they're excited and energetic. What a contrast from the middle-aged fraternity that was around us in Dallas.

Another thing I notice, Tony Dungy is a special guest star on the Colts' sideline and he's receiving a wonderful ovation from the crowd. This is Indy ~ the Midwest, where people are friendly, and Tony is getting all the love he deserves. Awesome. During the game, my friend starts making conversation with a guy sitting in front of us.  The guy asks my friend how he and I met.  "She and I met in a chatroom," he says.  I could kill him, but I'm too busy trying not to laugh and don't want to encourage him.  But yeah, that's just him.  At the end, it was a great game ~ Colts win! Manning got it done. That's all I have to say about it. Oh - one more thing, I predict that the Colts are going to the Super Bowl.

View from the sets: Ravens v Colts

Game over, and it's almost midnight. My friend and I head to Jillians for drinks and we decide to bowl a few games. Our waiter at the bowling alley says he's not ringing up our drinks as long as we take care of him. He is a good bowler. Who knew?!?! He started out with 4 strikes. Umm, oh well. I'll still have fun. 3 games later, we're done. I flip our waiter $20 and we head downstairs. There's a Colts fan by himself, knocked out. He's dead ASLEEP. FYI - if you need to kill time, go to the Jillian's in downtown Indy and sleep there ~ the staff doesn't care.

We decide we're hungry. Jillian's is closing and off to the 24 hour Steak and Shake we go. It's packed in there, and there's a guy getting arrested when we walk in. I'm reminded of college and med school when seeing this was common at late night eateries, that serve folks as they roll out of bars. I'm not surprised, and yet, not overly impressed. Later a kid gets chased by the police, as he walks to the bathroom... Yes, it's late night... Lol.

It's now almost 4AM and I want to head to the airport. I know it's not open (i.e. staffed by airline personnel) yet, but I want to get there and find a spot to lie down. My friend is yapping about being able to check-in, go to the gate, or something. Then he questions whether the aiport is locked. Come on! The airport is always OPEN. The issue is that the self-serve kiosk may not be "ON" and the TSA folks may not be working, but the airport is open.

I find a cushy bench and it has 2 power outlets by it. I call it "homeless person" mentality. I am tired, and I want both outlets (for my camera and iphone). My friend wants to charge his iphone also though. Now I'm annoyed. I let him unplug my phone while we were bowling when, he should've just charged his own and left mine plugged in, so we start to fight. His response was to tell me I'm not going to charge my camera battery as he unplugs the thing and walks away. I could kill him. I debate chasing after him, but decide it's not worth it since I had just realized that the RAM didn't return my credit card to me when we were there earlier in the day. AWESOME. Who cares?!?!?  The RAM is closed.  I can't fix it now.  I lie down and close my eyes for 2 hours or so.

I head to the kiosk, check-in, and call the credit card company for a replacement. Well, that was fun. My friend comes over and brings me a charged camera battery. I decide to spare his life. He can live another day. We head to the gate and I change clothes in the bathroom. Brusha brusha brusha my teeth, clean up, and decide it's now safe to wear purple, since we're headed to Minneapolis.

We board the plane and my friend is a row ahead of me. I'm trying to fall asleep and I hear him trying to get my attention... WHAT IS IT NOW?!?! I think to myself, that I may have to take him out after all.... Then I realize he's trying to point out, subtly, that Tony Dungy is on our flight and sitting 4 rows ahead of me. I get excited and decide to spare Ricky's life AGAIN.

I have a plan. I text my friend Mike Wilbon who is also coming to Minneapolis and tell him that Tony is on my plane and ask him to intercept him for me. Then I fall asleep.

I wake up in Minny to the sun coming up, and it looks like the frozen tundra through the airplane window. I turn on my phone and tell MW that my friend and I have landed. Once off the plane, I look for Tony and check the arrivals board. We beat Mike's flight to Minny, and I see Tony Dungy waiting outside the bathroom for his wfe, I presume. I introduce myself. I think it was too early, and I was still tired, but I shake his hand and tell him that I'm a Pacers/Packers/Colts fan,,, I'm really not sure what I said, but he was gracious enough not to correct me. He poses for a quick picture and I leave him alone. Thank you, Tony! That 2 minute interaction made this Colts' fan really happy.

With Tony Dungy

Now it's time to find my friend so we can eat breakfast. Mike calls, and my sports buddy and I are on or way to meet him for breakfast at one of the airport restaurants. The 3 of us eat, talk sports, and do a little shopping (i.e. I need a Vikings hat), and then head to the arena. In the car, I think the 3 of us actually close our eyes and take a nap. It's EARLY. At the Metrodome, we hop out of the car, Mike heads to work, and my friend and I take a couple of pics outside the arena before going in.

View from the seats: Pre-game, Cowboys v Vikings

First impression: The Metrodome is old. I'm reminded of the Amway Arena where the Orlando Magic play. That building is old also. I head to my seat, and I notice another thing. The crowd is younger at the Metrodome. Much younger. There's at least a 50 year swing in age between Indy and Minny and I wonder if that's why the Metrodome is louder.

I watch Brett Favre and the Vikings destroy the Cowboys. I'm not sure what happened, but the Cowboy team I saw yesterday is not the same team I saw the week before. The difference is night and day. I really shouldn't even utter the words "Dallas" or "Cowboy" because I fear that the Vikings defense will bust through my apartment door and tackle me to the ground. The visiting team couldn't score a single touchdown and the kicker missed 2 field goals. Wow. Incidentally, I just did a quick search on with the keyword "kicker" and there's one result. It's in Spanish. Just saying...

Vikings win ~ and they ran up the score at the end. If you ask me, I don't care, The words "Run up the score" are in their team song. Oh ~ that reminds me, I need to look up the word "Skol"....

After the game it's time to find a TV to watch the J-E-T-S v Chargers. Honestly, I'm all footballed out. I can't do it anymore. The games were so one-sided, which is fine ~ because my Colts won, but unless you're really vested in the outcome, the games were a little boring. Seriously. I know I was running on very little sleep, but I fought to stay awake in the 4th quarter of that Vikings game. Yeah... I said it.  To quote Mike's text after the game, "NFL Playoffs: Where nothing happens!"  Incidentally, exiting the arena, the game's attendees are listening to "Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys" by Willie Nelson...  I chuckle.

Headed to the aiport 5 for my 7PM flight home. Barely watched the football game, but did notice it was a close one... I spent my time at the gate praying that the flight was open on the way home so I could lie down and sleep in the row. My prayers were answered. Landed at DCA with my face in a pool of drool. Whatever. I was home.

I turn on my phone.  "Come out for Sunday Funday," was the text I had received from a friend.  "You have to be kidding me!?!?!"  But then I start to think, I might as well...  My friends and Sunday Funday are on the way home....  :-P