Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Big Game

Last night I went to my first-ever college football game. Despite having a degree from UNL, and attending school there for five years (not because I was a slacker, but because my program required it), I never went to a Huskers game. Back then I worked most Saturdays and I liked being at my grocery store job during a football game because the place was pretty empty and we got to dress down a little. Even when I had a Saturday off I just wasn't really interested in football. But since graduating and living with my cousin and his friend who are pretty hardcore Minnesota Vikings fans, I've come to appreciate the game a little more. So when we were offered the chance to go to see OSU play Grambling State, I was pretty stoked about it. And it was a really good time. We helped set a new attendance record at the Boone Pickens Stadium, even though fans were pouring out after halftime because an OSU win was pretty much a foregone conclusion at that point. My wife and I stuck it out to the end, though, and I hope we get the chance to go again someday. Come to think of it, I hear we play UNL next year...

One thing I've liked doing since moving to Oklahoma is figuring out more about the town--where to eat, how to get around, where to walking and biking trails know, the kind of stuff that transforms a location from a place where one resides into a place where one lives. Last Friday one of my wife's colleagues took me to breakfast at a place called Mom's Cafe, and whatever images you might conjure up with a name like that in a town this size, they are probably spot on. It was a little way out of town and shared a parking lot with a place called "ABC Used Appliances." But man, when I pulled in on Friday morning, the place was jammed. Mostly working dudes catching some grub before their shift at the mill/factory/construction site, it was the kind of place you hope to stumble upon one day (sort of like the Brass Rail) and maybe even get to know the workers and/or owner. The pancakes were huge, the service was fast, and the air was genial contentment all around. That same night we went to a place called Aggie's, which is a local steak house, for dinner with some new friends. It was outstanding food, and we probably sat there for over three hours talking, laughing, and joking around about all kinds of things. So yeah, I'd say this town is becoming a little more homely.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Got the blues

This morning we got up at 6am, for the second week in a row, to go garage-sale hunting and see what kind of stuff we could pick up for cheap. Last week we grabbed some great deals, like a shop-vac and a reel mower, both in really good condition (an old lady owned them and never used them) for $25 total. Not bad, I must say, and a nice vindication of our efforts to get up early and give the early birds a run for their worms. So in today's sequel outing we got started even a tad earlier (and avoided shifty dirt roads too) and though we didn't pick up as much good swag as last week, I did snag a set of halogen garage lights for $10. I don't know if we'll go again next week, but even if we don't, I'm good with what we got. I usually have pretty bad luck at garage sales, but I guess it pays to go through the listings the night before, map out a route, and (most importantly) suck it up and get going early. Now if only we could find a rocking chair, a table, a desk, some recycling tubs...

Tonight we hit up the 12th annual Stillwater Blues Festival, which is a free event held in the parking lot of the community center. It was really cool seeing some good blues bands, drinking some soda, and enjoying the nice Oklahoma weather. I was just thinking today about how I miss being in Minnesota partly because of the lakes and trees (call me a hippie, but seriously, it's beautiful up there), but after five winters up there I'm glad to be in a part of the country where it'll be a little more bearable during the darker months of the year. And tonight was a nice reminder of why I like this kind of weather. And why I dig live blues music.

This past week I started doing some more aerobic exercise, and so far it's going well but wow, I'm worn out right now. Monday I went for a run--the first time I've done that since my Healthy Lifestyles class in college--and nearly passed out by the time I had done my two miles. But it's a start, right? The next two days I rode our exercise bike about 11 miles each day, and Friday I hit the trail behind our apartment for another run. I'm doing this in the morning when it's nice and cool out, and I hope I can keep it up for a while. But today I took my first nap since college too, probably thanks to the exercise. :)

Oh, and check this out: I reviewed a show called "Man vs. Food" on Walking Taco a few days ago. Not only did the host of the show find out about my review and post it to his Twitter page, but his mom left a comment on my review. Awesome.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Back and at them

I'm not sure exactly what Labor Day is for (I assume it's a holiday in honor of the blue-collar labor force, hence its name), but I'm glad we have it. And if it is in honor of those folks, then I heartily tip my hat to all of the unsung heroes who keep this country running, like my dad who works for the railroad and my brother who works for Kawasaki. But whatever the reason for labor day, it's nice to have the three-day weekend. We spent ours back in Nebraska visiting family, which also included a baby shower for my brother's wife (my wife went to this while I went to see the mind-blowing District 9), a baptism for which my wife and I were sponsors, and a bonus from my big brother: he's officially engaged to his girlfriend now. So yeah, all in all a pretty sweet weekend. No Amigo's, though, but my mom was nice enough to buy Valentino's for everyone on Saturday night when people were over for my other brother's birthday. Definitely an acceptable substitute.

I started watching a series this morning called Man vs. Food, and I think I'm intrigued enough to stick with it for a while and see what happens. Apparently it's about this dude who goes to various locations around the country (possibly world, but I've only seen one episode), susses out the local food lore, and tackles the sorts of eating-based challenges that most of us would never dream of doing. The episode today was about going to this place in Texas that serves a 4.5-pound steak, and the guy actually finished the whole thing in under an hour. But it's just a TV show, so why mention it on the ol' blog? It reminded me a little of how I like to experiment with food by trying odd combinations of stuff just to see what happens. Tonight we made homemade burritos, and I saw some parmesan cheese in the fridge, so I figured "why not?" I couldn't really taste it in the end beneath the salsa and ranch dressing, but it sure didn't hurt.

Before I close out this post I wanna mention the storm we had tonight, and how cool it was. Being a midwesterner by birth and by trade, I enjoy me a good window-rattler, and this evening's storm handled that in spades. :)