Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Everything's HOTTER in Texas

I don't know about everything being bigger, but everything's definitely hotter! (I'm talking actual temperature to be clear). I went and visited my former college roommate and original FSU garnet guy, Kevin in Houston this weekend. The thing I most took from this weekend was that I would never want to live in Houston. Not because I didn't have a good time, but because you can't go outside without feeling absolutely disgusting! Even walking around town after midnight, you just can't get away from it! It's not even temperature hot necessarily, but the humidity! Maybe I've been away from Tallahassee long enough to forget, but I can't imagine humidity worse than Houston this weekend.

Kevin managed to score himself the opportunity to rent out a penthouse in downtown Houston for the summer. It's so big that pretty impossible to keep the place cool during this heat wave (I think there's some kind of record number of consecutive days over 100 degrees or something). Our other friends Bailey & Luis (sorry Luis, but I still call her Bailey) came to Houston also with their 16? month old girl - Julia. Usually I don't like being around kids, but Julia's an exception...but it's obviously because they call her J.

I flew into Houston Friday afternoon and Luis and Bailey got me from the airport and we drove and met Kevin at his fancy pad. The parking garage wasn't so fancy, it was a normal garage, cars are packed in so much that to get into Kevin's assigned spot, we had to back in through the garage about 50 yards or so. Very strange setup. So anyways, we head upstairs and it was true...this place was ridiculously HUGE. Maybe it helped that there wasn't much furniture, just the same old futons I remembered from college! (Which reminded me of a Demitri Martin joke, "There's a store in my neighborhood called "Futon World", love that name..."Futon World". Makes me think of a magical place...that becomes less comfortable over time"). Although since then I think he's gotten a new roommate, complete with furniture, and more importantly...a TV! Kevin currently has NO television. How do people live??? Anyways, I'll get some pictures of his place together below...

So after getting the tour, hunger kicked in and one of the perks of living downtown, we were able to walk a couple of blocks to a Mexican restaurant. I ordered a frozen margarita, but only for scientific experiments of course. By the time the waitress got it to us (which wasn't that long of a wait) it was barely even frozen! It was THAT hot out (I guess I was supposed to mention we sat on the balcony). As we were finishing up dinner, it got a little cloudy and it cooled off a bit. We had to hurry back home because it was about to storm. Which I was pretty excited about. Recently, when I've been around storms...they're big ones! And we had a hell of a view! So, of course the storm (or lack-there-of) passes by without a drop of rain. After all that passed, we went up to the roof of Kevin's place and enjoyed the view. Actually the view was better from the balcony, you could see all kinds of people walking and driving around downtown. I've never seen so many people block intersections and run red lights as I saw there. At some intersections, when the light is red they have these cool blinking red lights right on the streets alerting people to stop. Never seen that before. After a bunch of people watching from up there, Kevin convinced me to go down to where the action is and take a tour of the club scene. We had no plans to actually go in anywhere, but walking around and looking around is just as fun. There were a lot of lines to get into places, with a lot of way too overdressed to have any kind of fun people. Not my thing I guess. If you can't go in with shorts and a t-shirt, I don't want in anyways! Besides, it's midnight, and by the time we did our lap around a few blocks, my back was soaking wet. Gross!!!! How are these people waiting in line all dressed up feeling? Sucks for them!

Saturday we woke up and grabbed some breakfast, then headed out to a nearby park for some kind of outdoor activities (nothing good happens when I go outdoors!). This was no exception of course. Things started out well, we kicked a soccer ball around for a bit, threw a football around, then came trouble. Kevin has these contraptions that are plastic, but I can only describe them as a combo of lacrosse sticks and jai-alai. You have a hard plastic ball and you use these sticks to throw the ball back and forth. I thought sitting this out would keep me safe. But no...while I was just laying around on a blanket...I got hit right in the face with the ball. Thanks Luis!!!!! But the injuries didn't end there. Bailey took a turn and had the ball go off her stick, up in there air, hit a tree (maybe) and right back to her nose. D'oh! Then, to top things off, Luis (I think?) pegged Jenny in the ear before everyone finally gave up on whatever that game was called.

We then went back to Kevin's place to rest up for dinner and our next event, which I was MOST looking forward to. Kevin managed to get awesome tickets for a preseason Denver Broncos-Houston Texans game. We were pretty much RIGHT on the 50-yard line, about 30 rows up. Which are about as good a seat as there were within the stadium. Obviously I'd never been to Reliant Stadium in Houston. I came away VERY impressed. It is right next door to the Astrodome, which I didn't know still existed. And I'm not really sure WHY it still exists! Next to the new Reliant Stadium, the Astrodome looks like a dump! But the very best part of this stadium... the AIR CONDITIONING! It is a retractable roof stadium, and thankfully the roof was CLOSED! It was probably 70 degrees in there. It was awesome! I don't really like or dislike either team, and the fact that it was preseason made it hard to root for anyone or anything, but it was a good game. It came down to a Texans field goal as time expired to win the game 19-16. At least there was no overtime!

After the game we took Houston's train thing, called "METRORail". It is pretty neat. It is a train, I guess...but it's more like a trolley really. It runs in the middle of the street, in it's own lane (although I frequently saw cars "accidentally" drive in their lane) it has to stop for red lights, just like all other vehicles. Hard to explain, but I've always been a fan of trains, so it was cool. It runs along Main Street, right in front of Kevin's place, and there was a stop about 2 blocks away, so that was good. From Kevin's balcony you can frequently see cars (accidentally?) driving in the middle lane, reserved for the METRORail. I wonder how many times they've hit cars? After we got back was another night of hanging out on the balcony...I'm pretty sure I'd do that every night if I lived there, pretty good people-watching spot! I was told that at 2am when all the clubs closed, well, of course I stayed up to see for myself. Nothing too exciting...I was disappointed and from there I had to wake up in a few hours. D'oh!!!!

Sunday morning we woke up early and got breakfast. Bailey, Luis and Julia headed back to Austin afterwards. Kevin was switching from the master bedroom to the other bedroom so that his new roommate could move in as soon as Sunday, so Kevin had a lot of cleaning to do. Which made for perfect nap time for me :) In between about 4 naps throughout the day, I did have to help him move his bed. What kind of vacation is this????

After all the manual labor was done, we were able to go walk over to Minute Maid Park (Home of baseball's Houston Astros). Literally, we walked there...it was like 3 blocks away. Even I'm cool with walking that, although it was about 125 degrees out!!! For whatever reason, they weren't offering tours of the park this weekend, so we did our own tour of the outside of the stadium on Sunday. Outside the stadium were statues of Craig Biggio (future hall of famer, 2nd baseman) (left) and Jeff Bagwell (possible future hall of a famer? first baseman) on a replica baseball diamond, with the statues posed as if they were in the process of turning a double play. So i felt the need to pose as if I was "taking out" Biggio with a good hard slide. It doesn't really help that the statue is about 9 feet tall, but I did my best to break up the double play! We tried some other pictures around the bases but this was the best of the group. We walked all the way around the stadium before realizing it was still 125 degrees and left. Tried to find a place to grab some ice cream on the way back but it wasn't to be. So instead we went back to Kevin's place and I took another nap! I've never taken THIS many naps, I swear! But the heat just wore me OUT!

We took another turn of people-watching from Kevin's balcony when we spotted some people filming a commercial of some sort on the next block. It looked like it was for some haircut place. It was funny watching the reactions of people walking by and driving by as they were filming.

We then went out to China Town for some, uhhhhh, Chinese food! I hadn't had chinese food in a long time, so that definitely hit the spot! There were some very strange "creatures" in their water tanks. Hurray for General Tso and his chicken! (or at least they call it chicken) Then for the first time in my life, went into a Chinese Grocery store. Me and Kevin were the ONLY non-chinese people in there. Definitely an odd feeling. And personally, I thought it smelled REALLY bad in there. No clue why. Then we tried to go to Dairy Queen for some ice cream but for some reason it was closed! Why is it so hard to find ice cream in Houston? Maybe they have trouble keeping it frozen??

That pretty much did it for my weekend in Houston. I flew back to ATL first thing in the morning, had to wake up at 5am to catch my flight! Now for some pictures...and a big thanks to Bailey for making this blog TAKE SO LONG :)

Here's the ridiculously large kitchen...

A view from the outside, couldn't really get the camera to cooperate to make this a good picture

Nice view of downtown!

View from the patio...sporting my new douchebag sunglasses! Glad I got a haircut before being subject to this kinda heat at least, whew!

I was waiting on some more pictures from Bailey but this will have to do...for now!


Anonymous said...

Good write up on the weekend in Houston!

Cool shot of you on the balcony.

Thanks for visiting and telling me that you like Houston better than ATL. That means a lot.

~Kevin Fulmer

Anonymous said...

Did I not just leave a comment? Where is my comment?


Anonymous said...

Oh, you have to approve comments. Cool. You probably shouldn't approve this one or the one before. :)