Bloggy maintenance.

Totally hypothetical question: What would you do if at 4:00am you heard a very loud, repetitive noise that sounded like someone attacking a car with a sledgehammer, but when you rush to the window, you see it’s a half-naked guy violently slamming his head repeatedly onto the trunk of the car parked across the street? Would you think flakka? Would you call 911 even if his buddy is there with him?

Just wondering.

The semester has begun. More than 51,000 students are enrolled at the university down the street. To my knowledge, flakka hasn’t yet been reported in AZ, but thousands of out-of-state students have arrived this month. You never know.

That aside, I’ve got some bloggity administrative updates for you today. Riveting, I know, but I’ve made some changes, and what’s the point in doing that if there’s no memo to go with it?

Mainly, the sidebar here got an overhaul. I uncluttered it by way of removing categories, consolidating other categories, and reducing my external link list by more than half. At the same time, I added a Facebook module for my writerly FB account. Even with that addition, the sidebar has been shortened and simplified. That was the goal.

So, on the right, from the top down, you have:

–Welcome pic of Yours Truly… same one that’s been there since 2014.

–A button to subscribe to TALC.

–A Facebook app connected to the FB account I created for writing-related posts, which can include goals, progress, and miscellany. Once or twice a week, I’ll go to one of my bookshelves, select a book at random, and pull out a quote that inspires me or gets me thinking in a different way. Hit the “Like” button to follow that Facebook page, if you’re so inclined.

 

Living room bookshelf, in disarray, as usual.

Living room bookshelf, in disarray, as usual.

 

–Instagram.

–Twitter.

–Garage Gym pic, below which I’ve put the module for my martial arts & fitness category. The pic is just there because I wanted it to accompany the category, but I can’t embed it into the module.

–Next: Pop culture. I consolidated two categories into one module. Opinion posts about movies and television are mostly my non-review reviews, and Reacher ramblings are my obsession-fueled posts about Lee Childs’ Jack Reacher novels.

–Next: What I’m digging right now, aka monthly favorites posts, wherein I share things I enjoyed in the month that just ended. Mostly, this consists of discoveries in the vegan processed food world. I am a fan of fresh, whole foods, but I’m also partial to processed crap, and that’s the stuff I usually like to share. I do read labels and look for the healthiest crap I can find. Also, I’ll list favorite T.V. series and movies from the month, if any. Occasionally, I’ll talk about cruelty-free products and other random things I’ve found.

–Next: Links… my list of links to cool people who have sites for their art, business, passion, etc. The list has been truncated by a lot, since most of what was there before was obsolete. Yeah, this clean-up needed to happen. The links list will be expanding soon; it’s a work in progress.

–Below that, a list of recent posts.

–Finally, the copyright blurb.

That’s all I’ve got today! Until Tuesday, then.

My College Survival Tips. (School is starting! Here’s how I got through when I was a student.)

Arizona State University, my alma mater and place of employment, starts its fall semester this Thursday. For me, being immersed in the university community, this is one of the most energizing times of year in The Land of AZ. The loudening crackle of the university gearing up for a new academic year echos around town like a catchy tune, everyone’s motivated as the heat starts to let up (or at the idea of the heat letting up), football season begins, Halloween approaches, and we look forward to the fall sunsets, which we know are going to be more glorious than usual.

 

And it begins!

And it begins!

 

School starting up always takes me back to when I was a college student. (Meaning, pursuing an undergraduate degree, for those unfamiliar with the American university system.) It was 20 years ago, but I remember with keen clarity some of the survival skills I’d developed. A lot has changed since then, but a lot has remained the same. In honor of this first week of Academic Year 2016, I thought I’d share some of my personal college survival skills.

Here’s how I survived when I was an undergraduate student at ASU:

1). .99 bean burritos “without cheese” from Taco Bell (no less than four packets of fire sauce) and Power Bars the rest of the day – stock up on Power Bars when they’re on sale. (Sidenote: Taco Bell’s bean burritos are now $1.29 on campus, and these days, I don’t eat Power Bars. Neither would I eat bean burritos from Taco Bell. But they saved me many a day when I was broke and late for my next class and needed to grab something cheap and fast.)

2). Work as a student worker on campus 20 hrs/week –

2a). Use workplace as a locker for storing stuff in between classes when off-shift.

2b). Study/prepare for classes during downtime while at work.

3). Emergency measure for Paper-Writing Procrastination (PWP, because I’m a vet and you leave the military with acronyms-as-language hardwired into your brain): Pull all-nighters in the Computing Commons on campus –

3a). Bring a light jacket or sweatshirt regardless of the time of year (or you’ll freeze in the A/C), your own water bottle, and Power Bars.

3b). Pick a work station and implement your strategy for camping out there all night. Strategy involves mostly just leaving all your stuff where it is to make it look like you merely ran to the restroom when in fact you went outside to eat your Power Bar and walk around to get the blood circulating in your legs.

3c). Finish and print the final draft of paper just in time to go to class and hand it in.

4). The “Study for an Exam” (aka “Cramming for a Test”) version of #3 is to do the exact same thing, except pull the all-nighter in the designated study section of the 24-hour IHOP that used to be across the street on 13th and Forest at the Twin Palms hotel (it’s now The Graduate Inn, and the IHOP, sadly, is gone). Venue-specific bonus: coffee all night!

5). Donate your plasma once a month or so for extra cash. The plasma-donating place on Broadway is still there. I don’t know if the phlebotomists who work there these days have vampire fangs attached to their canine teeth, though, or if that was just a thing of the 90’s.)

6). Get your teeth cleaned for super cheap by the students in the dental hygiene program at the local community college (in the 90’s, it was Phoenix College… not sure if any of the other schools in the Maricopa County Community College system have started offering dental hygiene curriculums.)

7). Wait until Friday to do happy hour with friends from work/class –

7a). Order one cheap beverage (I usually got iced tea) and shamelessly eat enough free happy hour food to constitute dinner. My favorite place for this was Macayo’s. I remember their mini-chimichangas and mini-flautas to be so deliciously satisfying! (Don’t know if they still are. Haven’t been to happy hour there in years, and I wouldn’t eat those things now, anyway.)

8). Get together with classmate who’s doing as well as you are after you’ve both finished your drafts of the next assigned paper; exchange papers, read, offer each other brutal but constructive criticism.

9). Caffeine. In my case, it was Diet Coke. I DO NOT recommend this. If I was an undergrad relying on caffeine today, I’d go for iced coffee or tea.

10). Join the Tae Kwan Do club on campus, which meets three times a week. (Used to, that is. It’s not there anymore. The Jui-Jitsu club is still there, though… it meets at the SRC three times a week, as well, I believe.) It’s free therapy, and it keeps you in shape.

On that note, you can consider yourself a seasoned Tempe-campus ASU student when you learn to recognize the juniors and seniors by how amazing their legs look after they’ve spent 2+ years running, power-walking, biking, roller-blading (which very few people do anymore) and/or skate-boarding around the country’s second- or third-largest campus to get to their classes on time.

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-2015FallSemesterStartsASU-Devils

My Super Bowl Curse.

This is not the post I’d planned. This was supposed to be my 2014 Favorites post, but it turns out it takes energy and strength to put such lists together, neither of which I’ve had at all for the last two days… so instead, I’ll tell you the weird little story behind that.

19 years ago, in 1996, the Super Bowl was hosted here in the Valley. All of Phoenix metro prepared for the arrival of the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were set to play in Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium, and the requisite chaos ensued. Super Bowl fever is a thing in and of itself, so you can imagine that Super Bowl fever in the hosting city is madness. Sun Devil Stadium holds almost 70,000 people, and ticketholders flooded into the Valley from elsewhere to fill it up for the annual championship football game. Exciting times, right?

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-SuperbowlXXX1996

 

I was a senior at Arizona State, carrying a full course load and working 20 hours a week in the foreign languages department, so I pretty much lived on campus.

At some point during that last week of January, I started to feel sick with nausea that ebbed in and out for days, getting progressively worse. I visited the student health clinic on campus twice. They said I had an ear infection, though I had no pain in my ear, and they sent me off with stuff for the nausea. Finally, I woke up one morning and headed to my 17th-century British literature professor’s office for his early office hours. Our class was scheduled to take an exam that day, but I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I went to his office, told him I was sick, and asked if I could take the exam early. (I still remember the expression of trepidation-bordering-on-disgust on his face as he regarded my sick ass sitting there in his office for an hour!)

I finished the exam, went to the language lab, told them I was sick and wouldn’t be able to work my hours that day, and left. Soon after I got home, all of proverbial hell broke loose.

I’ll spare you the graphic detail and skip ahead to the part where my friend came to my apartment almost six hours later to take me to the Emergency Room. When we arrived, the triage nurse took my vitals and said, “I don’t understand how you can still be conscious” before installing me in a bed. Wow! How to avoid waiting for hours to be seen in the ER: arrive severely dehydrated!

Bits of the night surfaced and wavered before me between periods of oblivion. At some point, my boyfriend arrived. I remember him watching me and remarking, “When you do get sick, you REALLY get sick.”

Truly, I had never been so sick with infectious disease. I had an I.V. drip for hydration, another with anti-nausea meds, a third one with a painkiller (for the lower back pain resulting from dehydration) and a catheter. The situation was described to me as my stomach was drawing the water out of my muscles and that’s what I was throwing up, which was a ghastly notion, but I was more intrigued by something I overheard as I drifted in and out of consciousness. A doctor and a nurse were standing over me, talking, unaware that I could hear them. One of them said, “Yep. This is how they all end up.” This is how they all end up. The words sounded sinister. I found out later that they’d been talking about what the medical community was calling “the Super Bowl flu,” an epidemiological phenomenon. When thousands of people visit an area at the same time – as in Super Bowl week – the local germ pool gets infiltrated with foreign germs to which the locals have no immunity, and the locals get sick. Phoenix residents were getting clobbered by this vicious stomach virus, with many of us landing in the ER. I was a Super Bowl statistic.

Toward noon the next day, the crisis was over. I was feeling slightly better from all the treatment, and I wanted to go home. “You’re not going anywhere until you pee,” said the matter-of-fact nurse in her matter-of-fact nurse way. “We need to see you pee!” But I couldn’t. They kept me there until I could, and then it took a whole week of bed rest at home to completely recover.

That was in 1996, and that was the last time I had the stomach flu… until two days ago, when my blissfully long run of avoiding the dreaded throwing-up virus came to an end. Again, I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that it flattened me pretty good. Yesterday morning, I wanted to work on my 2014 Favorites post for today. I was sitting on the couch with my laptop next to me, and I literally did not have the strength to pick it up and set it on my lap. Flattened.

Out of curiosity, I stepped on the scale this morning. I don’t often weigh myself, but I know the general weight that I maintain, and by my estimation, the scale showed nearly six pounds less. I either lost over five pounds in the last two days, or I’d started out weighing less than I’d thought I did. I wouldn’t be surprised if I did weigh what I thought I did and lost almost six pounds, though, considering the efficiency with which my body evacuated itself of everything I’d consumed in the last week.

Why is this all of this significant, you might ask? Well, THE SUPER BOWL IS COMING BACK TO PHOENIX THIS MONTH. Coincidence? I think not. I think the next time the Super Bowl comes to the Valley, I should lay in a stash of supplies and barricade myself inside the house for the entire month of January.

I’m feeling better now. I’ve been sleeping a lot. Though plenty dramatic, this time was not as severe as last time. My temperature is back to normal, my headache is mostly gone, my lower back pain is subsiding and I’m recovering some energy, but I’m still weak. I’m taking today to start eating again and regain some strength so I can return to work tomorrow.

Also, my gym bag is packed for Body Combat tomorrow night. Yesterday, I was so lacking in energy I thought for sure I’d miss Wednesday’s class, too, but now I’m jumping out of my skin because I missed last night!

Freedom is Never Free!

It’s November 11, which means that here in the States, we’re observing our national holiday to recognize veterans of the armed forces – the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines.

At the end of October, I received this incredible email at work:

Saturday, November 8th ASU is hosting Notre Dame at 1:30 p.m.  With a desire to honor all of our veterans at ASU, a limited number of tickets have been made available for our veteran faculty and staff. You served with honor, now we honor you. Thank you for your service!

This came from the Salute to Service committee out of the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, a wonderful campus and community resource for veterans and their dependents at ASU. November 3-14 had been designated as “Salute to Service” week – a week of events with focus on military appreciation built around Pat Tillman’s birthday, November 6, and today, Veteran’s Day, November 11. With this, ASU celebrates the entire week as a way to honor vets and Pat Tillman in continuing his legacy as a heroic Sun Devil and pro football star who sacrificed his life in serving our country.

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-ASUsalutetoserviceweek2014coverpg

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-ASUsalutetoservice2014

 

Callaghan was especially excited about the opportunity to go to Saturday’s game against Notre Dame because he’d never been to a college football game before. Coming from France, he had no real concept of the importance or spirit of athletics at the American university (there’s no equivalent of it over there – no collegiate athletics programs, no mascots, no school colors, no marching bands, no cheerleaders or rivalries or tail-gate parties or events like homecoming or play-offs, etc.), but he had heard all the stories. I mean, he knew about it, but he’d never experienced it.

Man, did he get a first-class education in American college football spirit on Saturday! We walked down to the stadium – the joy of living downtown will never fade – where he dipped his virgin toe into the traditional institution of American college football. His foray turned out to be more of a head-first dive straight into the insanity that was Sun Devil Stadium that day. The game against legendary and well-seated Notre Dame proved to be a phenomenal, exciting, well-fought battle on Frank Kush field (55-31 ASU, final).

As you can imagine, the Sun Devils’ victory parlayed into an outrageous all-night party at the many bars, clubs and restaurants up and down Mill Avenue, the main street of Tempe.

Later that night, the passionate and gracious Notre Dame fans we spotted on Mill stood out in their navy and gold gear as they took in the chaos of the festivities with wide eyes. It was like a UFO had deposited the Fighting Irish fans in downtown Tempe, and they had no idea where they were. We saw them wandering slowly down the street in their unseasonal-to-them shorts and t-shirts, looking around with dazed expressions, and maybe it was just me, but I didn’t think they were thinking, damn, we lost, so much as, damn, now we have to get on the plane and go back to freezing Indiana. Because that’s what I would have been thinking, if I were them. (Aside: I’m certain that Arizona gets some of its transplants because people decide to move here after visiting from their cold places to support their teams playing the Sun Devils in sunny Tempe. It got up to 90 degrees that day. Callaghan and I were in long-sleeve t-shirts because we wanted to avoid getting farmers’ tans, but most people were in regular t-shirts or tank tops and shorts. You can generally get away with that year-round out here.)

Here are some pics from Saturday:

 

Tickets to the game. Thank you, Pat Tillman Veterans Center and Salute to Service committee!

Tickets to the game. Thank you, Pat Tillman Veterans Center and Salute to Service committee!

 

Entering Sun Devil territory. Fear the Fork!

Entering Sun Devil territory. Fear the Fork!

 

Sun Devil Stadium is built into the cactus-studded "A" Butte at the north end of the Tempe campus.

Sun Devil Stadium is built into the cactus-studded “A” Butte at the north end of the Tempe campus.

 

Score!

Score!

 

The game aired on ABC.

The game aired on ABC.

 

The Sun Devils played an enormous game. The spirit of Pat Tillman was with us, and we veterans in the crowd were recognized.

The Sun Devils played an enormous game. The spirit of Pat Tillman was with us, and we veterans in the crowd were recognized.

 

This brings us to today, a day off, and, most importantly, a day to remember and reflect with gratitude. Happy Veteran’s Day, and to all of you vets out there, thank you for your service!

Online Advertising FAIL Leads to World War (A)Z

You know how it is when you search for something online, and within days, that very thing pops up in your Facebook news feed while you’re scrolling through it? I found it disconcerting when it first started happening, but now, I’m accustomed to it. I’ve gotten used to the internet spying on my web-browsing habits and keeping track of my site visits, though I’m not less annoyed by it.

But I have some reassuring news to share: the internet is not as all-knowing as it appears to be, and it’s nowhere near as adept at learning about you as you might think! There are grave flaws in its insidious little system, bugs in the mechanism behind the personal-habit espionage that goes on every time we enter the ether that is the internet. I know this because I visit at least one Arizona State University web page per day, yet earlier this week, an ad for Alabama State University gifts inserted itself into my news feed and passed before my eyeballs as I scrolled through. Why? Because ASU.

 

Not my ASU! My alma mater is Arizona State, not Alabama State.

Not my ASU! My alma mater is Arizona State, not Alabama State.

 

YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG, robotic internet spies. I have never searched for Alabama State anything! Ha!

So, if you feel that you’re being overly-surveilled online, take heart. The robotic internet spies can’t tell the difference between one “ASU” and another – they don’t know if the “A” is for “Arizona” or “Alabama.” They don’t know that we’re the Sun Devils, not the Hornets, and they actually don’t know anything at all. This is not a complex epistemological matter. Arizona and Alabama are two very different states, and the robotic internet spies don’t know that.

This is not to diss Alabama, mind you. I’m just saying that there are big differences. For instance, in Arizona, if you accidentally dump a full container of water on yourself in the car during the summer, it’s no big deal because after you exit your car and walk across the parking lot to the store, your shirt will be completely dry. The hot, dry air works like a gigantic clothes dryer when you cut through it. In Alabama, on the other hand, it’s humid… so if you dump water on yourself in the car, you’re likely to be even wetter by the time you get to the store.

Somehow, I’m reminded of Sheriff Joe, our sheriff who decided against running for governor. I think his decision was a sound one, and not just because “Governor Joe” doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Sheriff Joe” AT ALL. I have suspected for a while now that Sheriff Joe, aka “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” has been secretly working out a zombie apocalypse plan for Arizona. How else would you explain the mysterious statement he made when he announced that he wasn’t running for governor:

“I cannot in good conscience leave the sheriff’s office now, since that would be necessary if I declare a candidacy for governor,” Arpaio said in a press release. “Currently, I have several sensitive investigations in progress and am facing many challenges in my office. Because of this, I will not desert the people of Maricopa County who have elected me six times. Further, I cannot desert my dedicated employees.” (source: The Entire Internet)

Obviously he’s talking about the zombie apocalypse! There are zombies all over his statement, and it’s true… if there’s no Sheriff Joe, who will lead us when it hits?

I just keyed “sheriff joe zombie apocalypse” into my search engine. I can’t wait to see what ads will show up on my FB feed now.

Happy Friday, All!

Giving a whole new meaning to the term “hair plugs,” ASU-style.

My friend Katie and I were strolling along a walkway on campus (ASU) the other day when we found ourselves stopping at the edge of a small patch of lawn, staring down at it. Because this patch of lawn didn’t just stick out like a sore thumb. It stuck out like a severed head. Many severed heads, actually.

 

Heads on the lawn.

Heads on the lawn.

 

The tops of the heads were gouged out, and hair plugs of flowers and grass were stuffed inside.

 

Exhibit A: head as planter.

Exhibit A: head as planter.

 

“Well I guess I haven’t seen everything yet, after all,” Katie remarked as she gazed at the heads scattered on the grass. She hails from a university in Montreal, which boasts a whole different flavor of crazy, apparently.

“No, you haven’t. You’re at ASU now,” I said.

 

 

I decided that it would be entirely appropriate to rescue one...

I decided that it would be entirely appropriate to rescue one…

 

It happened to be Callaghan’s birthday. What more could he ask for? Besides, there was a sign that said “Please take one.” So I did.

 

This corner of Callaghan's studio had been missing a head with flowers growing out of it.

This corner of Callaghan’s studio had been missing a head with flowers growing out of it.

 

Katie said, “This is exactly why I moved to Arizona… the weird crap here is different than the weird crap in Montreal!”

Always glad to provide.

 

 

 

As every writer would tell you: Word Choice. It cannot be underestimated.

Quick – what’s one way to get people to recycle?

Allow me to show you Arizona State University’s approach:

 

ASU tells it like it is.

ASU tells it like it is.

 

Employ the power of a visual via the power of language, et voilà! “Trash” is no longer an option. Just guilt. Carry on.

I have to hand it to Tempe… it’s become downright unceremonious around here. With parking meters that read “dead” and “fail” and trash cans labeled “LANDFILL,” the euphemism is going the way of the dodo bird.

(I was amused to see these relatively new trash cans all over campus yesterday… you know I had to share!)

In other news related to sights around town, I realized, on Saturday evening, that there’s a fisheye setting on my camera. We found ourselves attending a get-together on a seventh floor deck, and thanks to my accidental discovery, I got this shot of downtown Tempe:

 

Downtown Tempe (from the seventh-floor deck of W6).

Downtown Tempe (from the seventh-floor deck of W6).

 

Happy Tuesday!

THANKSgiving, “A” Mountain and the Hayden Flour Mill

Today was my first Thanksgiving in the States since 2011, which means that it was my first Thanksgiving in two years! It’s so good to be back. If I’m going to tick off a list of reasons to be thankful, I’d have to put that up in the Top 5.

We started out the day with coffee on our balcony.

 

Thanksgiving morning in our neighborhood was peaceful.

Thanksgiving morning in our neighborhood was peaceful.

 

 

Then we headed out the door, walked down the street, and hiked up “A” Mountain.

 

The "A" on "A" Mountain, as seen from the path just below... awkward angle, I know, but there it is!

The “A” on “A” Mountain, as seen from the path just below… awkward angle, I know, but there it is!

 

How I have missed it!

I always enjoy that little hike and the view of Tempe and The Valley beyond, but my focus this morning was on the old Hayden flour mill on the subsequently named Mill Ave, our main street here in Tempe (which, by the way, was originally called “Hayden’s Ferry”). The mill is one of my favorite local landmarks, and I’ve been trying to get good pictures of it since we’ve been back. Needless to say, lots of pictures were taken this morning. Here are just a few:

 

A shot of us with the mill in the background.

A shot of us with the mill in the background.

 

We approached the mill on our descent from "A" Mountain, and I was able to admire it from many angles...

We approached the mill on our descent from “A” Mountain, and I was able to admire it from many angles…

 

The mill with Tempe Town Lake in the background.

The mill with Tempe Town Lake in the background.

 

The mill up close. LOOK AT THAT SKY.

The mill up close. LOOK AT THAT SKY.

 

Now, we’re off on an exciting last-minute Mission Which Shall Not Be Named At This Time. (Sorry to get all Harry Potter meets the C.I.A. on you guys. There’s a reason for it.)

If you celebrated Thanksgiving today, I hope it was fabulous! Happy weekend, and GO DEVILS!! Our annual Territorial Cup game will take place here on Saturday, and it’s going to be epic, as always.

 

Incessant Phoenix Flashbacks. Also, the Sports Sitch in Austin.

I realized that ever since I decided to post here on Tuesdays and Fridays, I’ve been posting on Wednesdays and Fridays… this is the fifth Wednesday in a row. Not a Tuesday in sight on the recent calendar. Somehow, despite my efforts for Tuesday, Wednesday is just when it happens. Maybe I’ll try to start posting on Mondays, as well, to make it a 3x/week affair.

Saturday evening, we went downtown to meet a friend at Champion’s, and he took us for a stroll onto Rainey Street in pursuit of some local flavor. I kept expecting to find Casey Moore’s cozying up to the old houses lining the street. I wonder when the look-out in the back of my mind will stop automatically using my old Phoenix metro stomping grounds as a cultural point of reference for Austin? Austin is a very unique place with a distinct character of its own, but without wanting to, I’m finding Arizona corollaries for many places we encounter here, as well as many of the same businesses. Some of the Austin neighborhoods appear to have twins in The Valley (Greater Phoenix Metro Area), especially around Arizona State University.

University towns. I like them. Austin being a university town was one of its selling points. The live music scene in Austin is bigger than it is in Phoenix – hell, it’s the “Live Music Capital of the World” – but in my opinion, Phoenix has more of a hard rock vibe, if you can apply a genre of music to a place to describe its general ambience. Phoenix is Alice Cooper’s town. Alice is a big sports fan, and his establishment is a popular pre- and post-game watering hole and eatery in downtown Phoenix. (My girl Stevie Nicks is in Phoenix, too.)

That brings me to this one thing about Austin: there are no major professional sports teams. This is not a source of distress, mind you… it’s just different from what I’m used to. The Greater Phoenix Metro Area has the Suns (NBA basketball), the Diamondbacks (MLB baseball), the Cardinals (NFL football) and the Coyotes (NHL ice hockey). The Ironman Arizona Triathlon is there, and there’s pro fighting. Golf is also big in The Valley of the Sun; the WM Phoenix Open is the largest professional golf tournament on the PGA TOUR. The Super Bowl was hosted at Sun Devil Stadium in 1996 (Cowboys vs. Steelers). There are also two college bowl games hosted in the Phoenix metro area (the Fiesta Bowl and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl), and MLB Spring Training takes place there annually. Phoenix is a huge sports town by anyone’s standards.

Here, the major professional sports situation is this: San Antonio’s 1.5 hours away, which actually isn’t that far… it’s the home of the Spurs (NBA basketball). Drive to Houston (3 hours), and there are the Rockets (NBA basketball). And Dallas – 4.5 hours away – has the Mavericks (NBA basketball), the Cowboys (NFL football) and the Dallas Stars (NHL ice hockey). Also in the Dallas area, you’ve got the Texas Rangers (MLB baseball). So the teams are here in Texas, for sure. Just not here in Austin, which is perhaps a good thing, because it’s already bad enough that we’re tempted by live music opportunities every which way we turn.

It’s not like I went running off to sporting events all the time when I lived in Arizona. I didn’t. But I do enjoy the energy of a sports town, and there was the occasional game or boxing bout.

The most memorable one was on May 9, 1993; it was Game 5 of the Suns vs. Lakers NBA Western Conference play-offs. That was some basketball! The Lakers were in the house, and my boyfriend and I decided to go at the very last minute. We went downtown, bought tickets from a scalper and folded ourselves into the madness, because isn’t that what any sane college student would do when she has a final exam the next morning? I had my priorities straight. There were memories to be made. We had a feeling that the game would be phenomenal, and holy crap, our instincts did not fail us. About 500 mini heart attacks later (or maybe it was just one big long heart attack – yep, pretty sure I’m remembering that correctly), the Suns won 112-104 in an astounding over-time upset. That win constituted the biggest upset I’ve ever seen live, in person. Actually, it may have been the biggest upset I’ve ever seen, period.

 

 

I was there!

That was Jerry Colangelo’s Suns, with the likes of Charles Barkley; Dan Majerle; Cedric Ceballos; Danny Ainge; Kevin Johnson; Oliver Miller and Mark West on the roster. Remember that team, Suns fans? I was unabashedly obsessed. I was working part-time as a barista and found myself ridiculously flustered early one Saturday morning when coach Paul Westphal came in an ordered a latte. I don’t think I breathed at all while I was making his drink, and I was embarrassed because I thought he could see my hands shaking. At least it wasn’t KJ standing there before me. I would have passed out.

Needless to say, I’m a Spurs fan now!

But I’ll always be a Suns fan. And a Sun Devil.

One very exciting thing Austin does have, though, is Formula 1 racing. This is enormous, and it’s a relatively new development.

At any rate, I’m sure I’ll get to a point where I’m not looking around seeing Phoenix everywhere we go in Austin. We haven’t even been here two months yet. There’s a lot of discovery yet to happen, and we’re really loving it here so far!

Here are some pics from Saturday:

Stopping for a pose with this sculpture on our way to Champion's on 4th

Stopping for a pose with this sculpture on our way to Champion’s on 4th

A casual look at the scene while I was waiting for my Greek salad at the food trucks on Rainey St

A casual look at the scene while I was waiting for my Greek salad at the food trucks on Rainey St

I was distracted by the industrial beauty of the view while we were eating

I was distracted by the industrial beauty of the view while we were eating

Rainey St hang-out (with live music, of course!)

Rainey St hang-out (with live music, of course!)

A building downtown, lit up all gothicky and sweet at night

A building downtown, lit up all gothicky and sweet at night

The Man Formerly Known as Sanford

The other day, I read an article about a news anchor whose photo was mistakenly captioned as “Dana Horsewomen” (in place of “Dana Holgorsen”), either someone’s idea of a joke, or the result of an autocorrect feature on crack. This reminded me of the following:

Sometime during the ‘90’s, a professor at Arizona State University (my alma mater) appeared in the university’s faculty directory under an incorrect name. Due to a typographic error, Dr. Sanford Couch became “Snaford Couch.”

Here’s the remarkable thing: For whatever reason – indifference? amusement? – Dr. Couch kept the new version of his name. Whether he made it legal or not, he’s gone by “Snaford Couch” ever since. Not only does he continue to appear in the directory as “Snaford” year after year, but he took it a step further and has it written that way on his professional web site. I love him for this.

I mean, how many people would think to become the error rather than have it fixed?

Maybe I should have contacted Dr. Couch to get his permission to talk about him in my blog, but I don’t think he’d mind. This is not me making fun of him. This is me writing a little tribute to him, because here I am throwing a fit if someone spells my name with a “Ch” or ends it with a “y.” When someone writes my name, I always say it’s “Kristi with a ‘K’,” like the K is such a big deal. Next time I feel compelled to prevent such an error, I should think of The Man Formerly Known as Sanford.

Snaford Couch is the man.