Sunday, April 30, 2006

Livin' the Life

I had an awesome weekend and I'm really enjoying myself. I'm soooo happy that I skipped Florida and I feel like a million bucks.

I ended up going to the Braves game again on Saturday night. They had Turkey Legs that I had to have but were sold out on Friday. Check out the pictures below. The Mets won 1-0 and pulled 7 games ahead of the Braves. I really hope they win the division, 14 straight is just ridiculous. After the game, Cliff and I went to a bar called Mako's in Buckhead. All of the employees walk around in lingerie and the scenery is fantastic. Amazingly, they still get a lot of hot girls to come in to the bar even though it feels kind of like a strip club. I was hoping that Cliff's game might rub off on me but the opposite happened: my lack of game rubbed off on him and we stood in the corner like the rest of the creepy old dudes the whole night. I was driving so I only had a few beers but Cliff had a number of shots of Jager and passed out in the car on the way home.

This morning I woke up at 8, took a shower and hit the road at 9. I realized that the Cavs were playing the Wizards in DC and I decided that I wanted a chance to see Lebron. The drive up was pretty easy and I made great time. I stopped in Durham for lunch and ate at Arby's with my friend Matt who is in Duke's Med School. He took be on campus for a quick tour and I got a picture in front of Cameron Indoor. I got to the Verizon Center at 7 PM and met my friend Divaker who bought two tickets off of StubHub. The tickets were really good and I got a few good pictures. Lebron is sick but his teammates kinda let him down. Flip Murray had a good 2nd quarter but Larry Hughes had a horrible game and no one else could hit a jumper. The Cavs definitely need someone to score when Lebron's getting triple-teamed. I wanted the Wizards to win anyway and Gilbert Arenas made it happen. He was cold all game then the Wiz went on a 8-0 run to tie the game at the end of the 3rd quarter then Arenas scored 20 in the 4th to seal the game. This game was a lot more fun than the Mavs game because it was close and the crowd got pretty boisterous.

After the game I drove back to Divaker's place for the night. One of his roommates has Law School finals on Wednesday and the other roommate is taking the GMAT so I'm going to find a hoel for tomorrow night. It's really nice to be in DC and have short drives for a while. Tomorrow I'm going to get up early and check out the sights. I hope to post something better tomorrow, when I'm not tired as hell. Here are the pics, enjoy.

Hammerin' Hank Posted by Picasa

Ty Cobb and Cliff Schaefer Posted by Picasa

Brothers Posted by Picasa

FLY Delta Posted by Picasa

Turkey Leg: Before Posted by Picasa

Turkey Leg: After Posted by Picasa

The Varsity Posted by Picasa

Cameron Indoor Posted by Picasa

Lebron hitting a 3 Posted by Picasa


I made it to DC. I'm at the Cavs-Wizards game and it's 27-26 at the end of the first quarter. Lebron has 18 points and has been pretty impressive. Tonight I'll try to post pictures from this weekend.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I'm not going to Florida....

Sorry. I know the overwhelming consensus is that I should go but I'm going to spend the weekend in Atlanta. There are a number of reasons why I feel like this is the best course of action. One of them is that I'm a big pansy. I'm going to try to elaborate most of my reasoning by answering the comments that you've all left which I really do appreciate, BTW. One great thing about my friends is that they don't sugarcoat anything and I'm never left wondering where they stand. If I fuck up, they're going to let me know that I fucked up and I have a feeling they're going to be pretty upset with me. Anyway, on to the comments:

AlCantHang said...
Think of the other two stadiums like the juice on a poker tournament. 28+2. And don't we all hate to pay the rake/juice? :)

***I like this silly little analogy. However, as much as we dislike juice we still have to pay so I'm still going to hit those stadiums this year. This way I have an excuse to fly to South Beach for a week, anyone want to come? I also think this analogy could be written in a Roundersesque fashion: "In the baseball game of life, the Florida stadiums are the rake. They are the fucking rake."

Anonymous said...
Hmm I think that armpits are the best. I mean, don't you want to look back and say you went to the "Old Earls" of the majors?

And I really want a foam Tomahawk. Seriously, please.


***The Earls analogy suits Yankee Stadium better. Sure it's old, dirty and needs to be replaced but there's a ton of baseball history that has been made there. Earls was old, nasty, and needed to be condemned but we loved it because of the memories that we made there. The $4 Adios Motherfuckers that led to $12 blackouts, the iced-down trough urinal in the bathroom that I thought I was going to catch an STD from, the fact that Pun was a bouncer for so long all made me love Earls. The stadiums in Florida are more like some unknown shithole in Renton. I feel no connection to it and I have absolutely zero desire to see the place, especially if I have to drive to Renton at 4:30 in the afternoon. Nah, the "Old Earls" analogy doesn't really work for me. BTW, I bought you a foam tomahawk tonight. Enjoy it, you bigot.

Anonymous said...
I don't know Dookie, but I agree with him. If you're gonna do this, you should do it right. If that means punishing yourself to the point where you aren't even having fun anymore, then so be it. At least you took your licks like a man.


**I'm a little surprised by this one because Dusty usually comes up with great analogies and perfect explainations. The point of this trip isn't to prove my manliness, it's to enjoy our national pasttime. "Punishing myself to the point where I'm not even having fun" sounds like a bad idea to me.

Anonymous said...
You cant skip the Florida part. Its simple went on the roadtrip to see ALL the stadiums, I think it is a no brainer to go check them out no matter how un-deoderized those Parks are.


***This argument makes the most sense to me. It really seems like a no-brainer: there are enough hours in the day to make it to these stadiums, so get off your lazy butt and go see them. However, once I started using my brain I realized that the schedule is just too murderous and the reward not worth the pain. Here's what my schedule looks like if I were to head to Tampa tomorrow:

Saturday: Wake up, eat and get on the road by noon. It's 7.5 hours and about 483 miles to Tampa. Cliff and I arrive in Tampa at 7:30, watch the game, then head to our motel and call it a night.

Sunday: Wake up, hit the road by 9 AM. It's 4 hours to Miami and the game is at 1 PM. After the game, at 4 PM drive back to Fort Rucker, AL. That's a smooth 9.5 hours and 615 miles on the road. We arrive at 1:30 in the morning and go to bed.

Monday: I wake up god knows when, after the draining weekend, and face more than 15 hours of driving and 955 miles to Baltimore for the game on Tuesday night. This is the dangerous stretch where I'm by myself and will assuredly be tired as hell. I also have a stretch after the Baltimore game where I go DC-Philly-NYC-Boston-Cooperstown-NYC-Toronto and a few other places after Toronto with only one day of rest in Boston. Blech.

Here's the schedule if I puss out:

Saturday: Wake up at my leisure and go to brunch with my brother, his roommate and his roommate's wife. Come home, watch the NFL draft and either go to another Braves game or grill some steaks here at his wife's parents' house. At night, hit the town with my brother and drink a lot of beer. Pass out around 3 AM.

Sunday: Wake up at my leisure, have one last meal with my brother and face an 11 hour, 686 mile trip to Baltimore. I'll probably drive north to Charlotte, 4 hours from Atlanta, and spend the night at Steve Smith's house.

Monday: Wake up at my leisure and drive to Washington DC or Baltimore. It's about 7 more hours and I have friends that I can see in both cities. Tuesday is the Orioles game and I'm rested and ready for the slew of East Coast games.

Clearly, the reward is great for sucking it up. I get to say that I went to all the stadiums and I prove my manhood. However, I just don't think that the pain and risk are worth it. This is one case where I really feel that the risk outweighs the reward.

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I think it's a no-brainer to skip the games in Florida. I probably made a mistake when I made my schedule so hectic but I didn't realize how draining the drives would be. Believe me, I needed the couple of days in Dallas after my Phoenix-Dallas jaunt and I really needed the rest in Alabama after my Houston-Fort Rucker experience. Like I said before, it's a good excuse to head to Miami for a week, probably right after the World Series of Poker.

Lastly, you're right, I did go on this trip to see all the stadiums but in life there are always two principles that we take for granted. (1) Staying alive and (2) Having fun. Say it's Friday night and I'm going out to the bar. We get to the bar and Popper's there with his fellow gangsters and I want to leave. Even though my mission was to go to that bar, I'm aborting the mission becuse both of life's principles are being violated. I'm scared that Popper is going to shoot me and I'm not going to have fun when I'm scared. I know it's not a great analogy but the unsaid life principles are my main point. Maybe I'm a pansy becuase I don't want to do all that extra driving. I'm OK with that.

Dr. Pauly said...
I thought you were gonna get pinched for sure...!!

***Yeah, it's a good thing that I'm a drug-free individual. I'm sure many of my friends would have had to stash the pipe and spray the air-freshener.

Anonymous said...
Tampa is worth a visit, if you like San Diego you'll like Tampa; just spend as little time as possible in the ballpark. Makes the Kingdome look cheerful.

Watch those backroads in Georgia, especially 101. "Lu-u-u-dowici, out on 101" was a song about a notorious speed trap. They don't cotton to outta state plates.

Anonymous said...

***I think these were possibly the same person. That speedtrap webpage is really helpful, and they even warn about the cop that pulled me over a few nights ago. Anonymous, you're a great person to have 3 days AFTER a crisis. Also, I'm pretty surprised that he said, "well since you're not from around here I'll give you a warning". I was definitely expecting, "OK, latte drinking, hybrid driving northerner. Grab your ankles and squeal like a pig!"

I really would like to spend a lot of time in both Tampa and Miami but the reality is that I'll be in the stadiums, driving or sleeping the entire time. A benefit to skipping the games now is that I have time to make a return trip later in the year and enjoy the cities while spending minimal time in the ballparks.

TitoSantana said...
Congrats on the chicken salad! but please don't get too clean with the diet! Enjoy the regional cuisine as much as possible!

I would honestly go to florda. make sure you get some rest in between tho. and go to your freinds wedding ceremoney, you will look back and regret it if you dont.

also are you playing any interent poker at all during this trip?

***Tito! Thanks for your consistent contributions to the blog. I really love getting comments and yours are always fun to read. BTW, are you this guy? If you are, I could drive my car off a cliff tomorrow and die knowing I've reached the ultimate in blogging. If not, who are you? Have we met?

I don't know if you realize what my schedule is like but your suggestions are pretty much impossible to follow. I can't go to Florida AND get some rest. It's one or the other. And you're right, I do feel a lot of regret for missing Mike's ceremony but I'm going to find a way to make it up to him. Finally, yes, I am playing some poker on the trip. I'll be playing a ton in May so look for me on Poker Stars, my screenname is "schaefer".

Anonymous said...
A year and a half huh? How time flies. It seemed like such a long walk to the Waffle Hoooose. Why don't you take Cliff with you to Florida, he does have the Brian Scahefer Gene you know.


***Meaningless drivel from Danny. God bless you, child.

The game tonight was great. Pedro allowed some baserunners but the only damage was a 2-run homer by Chipper. The Mets also got quite a few baserunners against Smoltz but David Wright's 2-homer day is what sealed the game for the road team. Billy Wagner was shaky, loading the bases in the 9th but he ended up striking out the side and the Mets won 5-2. I'll try to get some pictures up soon but Cliff's roomate's wife's parents' house doesn't have wireless Internet so I'm using their desktop. Four apostrophes in a row, sweet!

My friend, CL, wrote me a text message saying "28/30 is pretty lame man. Not gonna lie. But, no one cares about those *** teams anyway. If dontrelle is piching, you go. If not, don't. You're my boy." You're my boy too, CL! I decided to check the pitching matchups and on Saturday in Tampa it's Lenny DiNardo vs Doug Waechter. Hmmmmmmm. In Miami on Sunday it's Miguel Asencio vs Brian Moehler. I've heard of Brian Moehler before but I couldn't tell you a single thing about him. The rest of the guys I wouldn't know from Adam. It's kinda hard to go from Smoltz-Pedro to those guys and put forth much effort doing it.

One thing left. Jimmy left me a message on my phone with one of the strangest analogies that I've ever heard: "Pretend that I'm in a room with 30 naked girls who want to sleep with me. 28 are smoking hot and 2 are ugly. Would I sleep with only 28 or sleep with all 30? Clearly the answer is all 30 so I should go to all 30 stadiums." I don't really know how to respond to this one but I'm pretty sure it isn't going to change my mind. Besides, I'll sleep with the ugly girls after the WSOP in August anyway. All that medical school has made Jimmy loopy.

I hope my friends took the time to read through this and can see where I'm coming from. It's definitely possible that they read the title "I'm not going to Florida" and immediately went out to throw eggs my house. I love you guys. Later, y'all.


We're in Atlanta for a sweet Braves-Mets game. Does it get much better than Smoltz vs Pedro? They have 4 statues outside of the stadium: Spahn, Niekro, Hammerin' Hank and The Georgia Peach, Ty Cobb. I'll try to get some pictures up tonight.

Getting Pulled Over SUCKS!

The past few days have been wonderfully unproductive. I’ve only left the couch to eat and use the bathroom. The rest of the time I've been sedentary, surfing the internet and sleeping. It’s nice to relax after driving like a wild banshee for the past week. I left Vegas on Thursday and got to Alabama on Wednesday, driving for 35 hours and over 2200 miles. Madness.

The drive from Houston to Alabama was pretty eventful. Eventful drives are never good. Getting out of Texas was fine but in the middle of Louisiana it started raining harder than I’ve ever experienced. I really thought that the paint was going to be stripped off of my car. I was driving 30 on the freeway, following the taillights of a trunk in front of me and I felt like I should probably drive even slower. After about an hour and a half we got out of the rain and I was happy to be alive. I drove for about 15 more minutes then pulled over to eat dinner at Applebees. I had a grilled chicken salad but I’m not going to post a picture because meat is sexy and sex sells. Pictures of salad will just turn people away from the blog. Anyway, after dinner I went to my car and discovered that the lightning storm had caught up to me and I had to drive in the driving rain, pun intended, for about 15 more minutes. The drive through Louisiana was actually pretty cool when it wasn’t pouring. They built the freeway over the swamp and it looked exactly like a scene from The Waterboy. Mississippi was pretty boring and I went across the state without incident.

In Alabama, I drove north for about 80 miles then got onto side roads for about 100 miles. Apparently that’s the most effective way because there isn’t a direct highway to Fort Rucker. Anyway, the speed limit fluctuated from 55 to 45 and occasionally dipped to 25 in the middle of towns. I was cruising along at 45 mph, about 30 miles from Cliff’s house, when I suddenly see a state trooper turn on his lights and pull behind me. Greeeeeeeeat. There’s no feeling in the world worse than seeing those damn lights. Anyway, he comes and asks me for my license and insurance, inspects them then says he pulled me over because I was going 44 in a 25. I tell him that I thought it was 45 all the way through and I must have missed the sign. He asks where I was coming from and I tell him Houston but I’m from Seattle, on a 2-month road trip. He sympathizes with me since I’m traveling, agrees to let me off with a written warning and goes back to his car to write the ticket. I’m very relieved and want to get the hell out of there but 10 minutes elapse and he still hasn’t come back with the warning. Finally, he gets out of his car, walks up to my window and says, “Mr. Schaefer, can you get out of the car.” Uhhhhhhhh, OK? I get out and he says, “Do you have any narcotics on you? Any large sums of money?” I tell him that I have about $1K but he says that’s insignificant. He asks if I have any drug paraphernalia at all or untaxed liquor and I again tell him that I’m clean. He then explains that when I said I was coming from Houston it raised warning flags since a lot of drugs come through Houston and make their way up to the East Coast via side roads. Drug dealers use side roads because the highways are patrolled too heavily. He tells me a story about a random stop he made of a guy just like me and he found $300K cash in the trunk of the guy’s car. They confiscated the money and the guy never came to reclaim it. Finally, after about 20 minutes, the police station radios him, telling him that I am the owner of the car and that I don’t have any border crossings into Mexico. They tell him that the reason it took so long is because I had been out of the country so many times last year and they were tying to figure out what was up. Yep, I went to Japan for a month to pick up a bunch of Coke to distribute in Southern Alabama. I get out of there unscathed and make it a point to pay really close attention to the speed limit signs for the rest of the drive. I meet Cliff around 1:30 AM and he brings me on base. I’ve never been so happy to be on a military installation in my life.

Like I said, the past two days have been a lot of sitting around and resting my driving leg. Tomorrow I’m headed up to Atlanta and I’m supposed to head to Tampa Bay on Saturday and Miami on Sunday before driving back to Fort Rucker on Sunday night, then getting up to Baltimore by Sunday night. I’m seriously considering skipping Tampa Bay and Miami. (1) They’re the armpit of the major leagues. (2) I’ll get to spend a whole weekend of quality time in Atlanta with my little brother. (3) I’ll save 1600+ miles and 25+ hours of driving. Are Tampa and Miami really worth that much driving? 1600 miles and 25 hours over the weekend. Really, the only thing stopping me is a guilty conscience. My friend Mike is having the formal celebration of his wedding tomorrow and I am missing it because this was going to be such a hectic weekend. And it’s not just my friend, it’s one of my best friends who will probably be in my wedding and who invited me to be in his wedding. I’d feel like a real jerk if I miss the formal celebration and sit in Atlanta all weekend. If I had known that I was going to be so unmotivated by the Marlins and Devil Rays, I would have just planned to fly back this weekend. I’m just such a spontaneous guy and I change my mind at the last minute all the time. I know Mike will understand but I still feel like a piece of crap. He’s been thinking about joining me for the Mets game (he’s from NY and loves the Mets) so maybe I can buy him a plane ticket out as a way of apologizing. Yep, I buy love from my friends. Dookie got really pissed when I first said that I might skip Florida because 28/30 isn’t as cool as 30/30 but man, it’s the ARMPIT of the major leagues! Both stadiums suck and both will probably be replaced soon or the teams will leave. It’s not like I’m skipping Fenway and Yankee Stadium because I don’t want to drive. Bleh. I have until Saturday morning to decide. Please call me or post a comment if you think I’m a moron for considering skipping those.

Tomorrow I get to make fun of Native Americans. Woo-hoo! If anyone wants a foam tomahawk, let me know.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Texas Two-Step

I got to Dallas around 4 PM on Saturday so I looked up “Costco” using my GPS and found one about 10 miles away in Ft. Worth. I filled gas, ate a Chicken Caesar salad and bought a 6-pack of white t-shirts. I was all out of clean shirts and I really needed to change. I got to the ballpark around 6 PM and immediately liked it when I saw it from the freeway. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere and looks really impressive standing alone. Here are some pictures of the exterior:

Ameriquest Field and the Prius' Rear End Posted by Picasa

Ameriquest Posted by Picasa

The stadium is built so that there is a large void between the stands and the outer walls where the concessions and souvenirs are sold. It’s different from other stadiums because the outer walls are more open and the void is very pretty. I tried to get a picture of the void but I don’t think I did it justice:

The Void Posted by Picasa

The field itself was really nice, too. They had enough quirks to be unique but not so many that it felt weird. One of their sponsors is Ozark Drinking Water and every time a Rangers pitcher would get a strikeout, the “K” would flash red. They’re also sponsored bt Southwest Airlines and after the win, the “W” was flashing red. The home bullpen is elevated in right-center and the fans get a great view of who is warming up. Here are some pictures:

Centerfield Posted by Picasa

Home Bullpen Posted by Picasa

Baseball under the lights Posted by Picasa

In center field they have a statue of Nolan Ryan and even though I knew his numbers I was still shocked to see them again: 27 seasons, 5700+ strikeouts in 5300 innings, 7 no-hitters and 25ish one-hitters. Insane:

Nolan Posted by Picasa

The game was good and I got to see the Rangers closer, Francisco Cordero, blow a 3-run lead by giving up a 3-run homer to Tye Wigginton. He comes in to “Eye of the Tiger”, one of the worst choices for closer music ever. Rocky is what teams play when they need to rally, not when they need to hold a lead and stop a rally. Anyway, I got to see Michael Young hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth and we all danced to Cotton Eyed Joe.

Fireworks Posted by Picasa

After the game I headed to Evin’s new apartment. She landed in the airport at 9 PM and we got to her apartment at about the same time. I helped her bring her luggage inside and met her roommate, Heather. Heather was all stressed out because she had been moving all weekend and I felt like a bit of a burden. I hate that feeling. Luckily, Heather couldn’t figure out how to set up the VCR and DVD players so I felt like I earned my place on the couch with my superior electronics knowledge. We were too tired to go out so we headed to the Conoco across the street, picked up some Shiner Bock beer and drank in her apartment until going to bed around 2 AM.

In the morning we went to brunch at a restaurant called Chuy’s. I’m almost positive that this was a different Chuy’s than the one in Van Horn but I could be wrong. I think that Chuy is just a popular name. Anyway, I had a breakfast burrito that was advertised as “Big as yo’ Face!” but I knew they couldn’t possibly make one as big as my face. Here’s a picture of the smaller than my face burrito:

Breakfast Burrito in Dallas Posted by Picasa

After breakfast we went bed shopping for Evin. I had no clue that mattress salesmen were such a slimy group. They’re almost as bad as used-car salesmen or telemarketers. *Shudder* Luckily there were 3 places on the same corner and Evin used them against each other, getting the last place to give her a sweet bed at a good price and throw in a bed frame for free. We ran a few more errands then went back to her place where the girls put the finishing touches on unpacking and straightening up. I left around 7 PM and headed to American Airlines Center for the Mavs game. The game started at 8:30 and was a lot of fun. The crowd was electric and they expect big things this year from Dirk and the boys. Here are a few pics from the game:

Just before tip-off Posted by Picasa

Chili Cheese Dog and Beer Posted by Picasa

Sponsored by...... Posted by Picasa

I spent the night at their apartment again and left at 8 AM on Monday morning. The drive from Dallas to Houston is only 4 hours long and it felt like cake. After driving through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas for 10 hours on Friday I think I can drive anywhere. I got to Houston around noon and drove straight to the stadium looking for hotels. I couldn’t find any so I pulled out my laptop, stole a wireless signal from the baseball stadium and found a good deal on the Sheraton in West Houston. The Sheraton is definitely the nicest hotel that I’ll ever stay at on this trip. It feels good every once in a while to see a valet and bellmen and whatnot. I spent a few hours tooling around on the internet and left for the game at 5 PM. Traffic was surprisingly light and I made it across town without much trouble. The street parking was really confusing so I decided to pay $5 and park in a lot about 4 blocks away. Minute Maid is pretty nice but I think it has a few too many crazy quirks. The center-field fence is 436 feet away from home plate and there’s a hill leading up to it and a flagpole on the hill. A flagpole in play? Also, there’s a point in left field where a short porch abruptly juts out and the fence goes from like 340’ to 365’. The game featured some nice defensive plays from the Astro outfielders and Andy Pettitte actually took a no-hitter into the 7th inning. Ultimately I got to see my 2nd blown save in a row as Brad Lidge game up a 9th inning grand slam to Nomar Garciaparra and the Astros blew their 2-1 lead, losing 6-2. Here are the random Minute Maid pictures:

Left Field Posted by Picasa

Left Field Gate Posted by Picasa

Brat and Beer Posted by Picasa

The ridiculous hill in center field. 436' in center. Posted by Picasa

The ridiculous Left-Field boxes Posted by Picasa

After the game I was really hungry so I hit ate at the steak place here at the Sheraton. Rib-eye never disappoints:

Rib-Eye Posted by Picasa

Tomorrow I’m driving to Enterprise, Alabama to see Cliff. It’s about 10 hours away and I need to get my butt to bed. Sorry if the entry feels rushed but it’s 4 AM over here. I’ll get a few updates in from Alabama. Until then, close your eyes, and picture me rollin’.