Only one post in the whole month of November? It happens. Lazy? Busy? A little of both? Yep, but never fear, we're here to get the Christmas spirit going. As you look out your windows, you can see the trees lit, the houses decorated, and a buzz in the air as we all get pumped up. I probably should start the majority of my shopping soon, but it'll be finished quick enough, no worries there. We have a lot to talk about in this edition since I've last left you hanging. What is in this one for you to feast on? Hanging with Ric Flair, a trip to South Bend, another 5K, new apps to get, Call of Duty, and a surprise birthday party just to name a few to get you going.
I don't want to lose everyone right off the bat, so I'll hold off on the wrestling update. I'll start off with a road trip special. It was time for the Notre Dame trip to South Bend, Indiana. Last year was my first trip to the beautiful campus, not quite sure what took me so long to get out there. I hope to be there regularly from here on out. A big group of us had planned to go to the Michigan game earlier in the season, but after dragging our feet and ticket prices going higher and higher as it came closer to game time, we axed that plan. Instead, I rolled out with Whitney as it was just the two of us. It was her first trip out there, even in the state of Indiana if that counts for anyone keeping track at home.
We left town at 5:30 that morning and I like to get my road trips started as quick as possible. I don't want to screw around and ruin an entire day by leaving late. The drive out there isn't bad at all. It takes about 7 hours and 80% of the drive is flat cornfields with nothing else to see. We went up to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, cut off near Cranberry, north of Pittsburgh and then hopped onto the Ohio Turnpike. The drive featured nice scenery and luckily there was never any traffic problems, that part made things go even smoother. Between switching around to stations on Sirius, of course I had to bring along some DVDs for when Whitney would crash out in the passenger seat. On the way up for a bit, when I got closer to Indiana, I had to pop in Rudy just for good time's sake and to get me into the moment. I'm biased, but Rudy is a Top 10 all time movie in my ranks, maybe Top 5. On the way back, it was wrestling time with a shoot interview of Nikolai Volkoff which was good.
We stayed a few miles away from the stadium and had a great hotel setup. Not that we used it, but we had an entire kitchen, dishwasher, stove, full sized fridge, the works, all for a reasonable price. Friday night we hit up the pep rally, a tradition on ND football weekends. Rocket Ismail showed up unannounced and delivered an awesome motivational speech. I thought I had energy, but he was amped up like no other and the crowd responded. It was Senior Week, so that brought along some excitement to everything. 80,000 strong at the stadium and during the first half, it did nothing but pour the rain. Whitney was a trooper during this and sat through it all. I was out there getting my money and time worth, but luckily the 2nd half turned out a little sun for us. It was colder last year during September when I went as compared to November this year, strange. It was the leprechaun mascot's final home game and the fans really like this guy. At one point, he had a handstand contest with the Utah Ute ("Utes are a Native American tribe native to Utah. That is where Utah got its name, and what the University of Utah mascot is - a Ute." Thanks to Wiki Answers for that description) and when he won, the roof about came off the place, if there was a roof. It cracked me up, but guess you had to be there to appreciate how big the response was to something as silly as that.
At the time I got tickets, Utah was undefeated before losing to TCU the week before the Notre Dame game. TCU for those out in the dark, earlier this week decided to jump to the Big East for both football and basketball. The travel times will be interesting there, but I think it helps the football conference. TCU has the chance to bust some serious heads in the Big East, but you never know till games are played. I went into this game, not expecting anything to be close. I figured Utah would just crush my boys, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was shocked at the amount of Utah fans who came to South Bend for the game. That's a haul, but there was a fair bit of a sea of red in the stadium. They were classy fans too when we talked to them around campus, I liked that bunch.
Of course I can't do a long road trip without keeping track of the license plate game, I admit. By using the trusty Find Plate app on my phone, it's an easy way to mark off your states you find without having to write things down. This one, I was impressed with the number at the end of the trip. 42 total states out of 50, that was a solid get. We also saw a ton of Canadian plates too. Which eight were we missing? Kentucky, Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont, South Dakota, Nevada, Wyoming, and Delaware. I was a little surprised that we didn't get Kentucky since it borders West Virginia and I'm sure some people went through that state to get to Indiana. I figured I'd get South Dakota too once I had North Dakota, but nope. All in all, not too shabby.
Now to the more dorky side of things. I'm never above making myself appear as a dork with some of my interests in life, but that makes things fun. Enter Ric Flair. A while back, I had heard he was coming to our local Wal-Mart of all places to do an autograph signing that was sponsored by Coke. Wrestling fan or not, you know who The Nature Boy is without question I'd say. Stay with me, even if you don't like wrestling, I think you'll enjoy a few of these stories. I'm not much of an autograph buff, but Flair, next to my meeting with Larry Bird, was the next guy I wanted to cross off on my "must-meet" list. That list isn't big for anyone keeping track. I've also said it before, autographs aren't really my thing either, although I do have a decent bit, but I'm not the type to track someone down and go after them just to get a signature. Flair's though, I wanted that, but more on that in a second.
He was scheduled that night to sign from 6:00-8:00. The first 300 people were guaranteed a picture and autograph. I figured it'd be a crowd, but I was blown away by the turnout. I showed up at 4:30 and was already over 200+ in line at that point when I got my ticket, which was free. To say there were characters in line would be an understatement, but that goes without saying. Whitney joked that there were 3 teeth in line and I had them all. One of the funniest, yet strangest things we saw in line was this woman who literally locked the Figure Four Leglock on the floor of Wal-Mart on her kid, cranking on it. This was right behind me and people just stared. Another guy had his wife and parents along with their three kids. The kids were about 3, 5, and 8 if I had to guess. They were being impatient, of course you can't blame them for having to stand in line and not move for hours. The guy kept threatening them that he might have to make them leave with his parents and they'd lose out on the chance to see Flair. I'm sure they didn't even know who he was, but I guess he thought that was his sense of parenting skills to get them to behave.
The line was finally moving and I kept my patience, which is sometimes tough to do. To again show my sense of being an inner dork, I brought along my "Flair belt" as some know it as which I have in a bag. This is the big gold belt that replaced the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (which I also want in the collection some day) and is currently used today as one of the two WWE titles. I won't bore you with breaking down the history as much as I'd like to, so I'll spare you those details. I had it in the bag while I was in line and then someone noticed it shining as it was hanging out one end. To the people in line, this thing was a hit and it's one of my favorite memorabilia pieces. That might not say much for me though, but it is what it is. Anyways, people started asking to borrow it and wanted their pictures taken with it, which was cracking us up.
Now I finally waited out the line and made my way to the man's presence. For as many wrestling shows as I've been to over the years, I've never been to a show with Flair on it, so this was my first time seeing him in person. I don't get too starstruck, but I was with him, not afraid to say that. Hey, I'm a wrestling fan, what else do I have to lose by admitting that? I was surprised of how big of a dude he is in person. For 61 years old, his arms are still pretty big. Also, same age as my dad and Jerry "The King" Lawler who last Monday had his first WWE Title Match, another guy I've met this year. Flair seemed genuinely like he wanted to be there and gave people the time of day. Whitney got to talk to him for a few minutes as she waited near him to take the pictures. I brought along the belt to get signed as you saw in my Facebook pics and that's a deal I'll have to frame soon, would you expect anything different? All in all, it was an absolute madhouse up there, it even made the local news. Then again, not a lot happens around here, but still. The news guessed between 1000-1500 people, but that seemed like a bunch. Either way, it was worth the wait for me, dork and all.
A quick Call of Duty update now that we've all had the chance to play it for hours upon hours. I'm still big into Free-For-All as my favorite, mainly what I'm into most of the time. Last weekend, it seemed half of Shinnston was on till 6:00 in the morning doing it up big. We started out with FFA and then moved to Headquarters. I'm pretty good at FFA, no expert, but I do well enough. On the team stuff, which I rarely play, I'll be honest, I'm terrible. It'll take work though as it's a completely different strategy than FFA, but I somewhat liked Headquarters. I've yet to play any of campaign, which is weird to some I'm sure, but I'm strictly multiplayer and that's the reason you buy it in my opinion, simply put. Find me on Xbox Live under Bird33WV.
Last Saturday was another get-together of sorts. We had a surprise 25th birthday party for Southern at Via Veneto. This was our first time there and we came away impressed with the setup. The downstairs section is the banquet hall and it looked that night it was used for a wedding reception. It was funny how a lot of our crew walked in there first and people that were prim and proper looked at us like we were idiots and then directed us upstairs. The upstairs is all decked out, this place is fancy. As an added bonus, I got to watch the Notre Dame/USC game while up there and it turned out into a win somehow. The rain definitely helped in ND's side I think, it was an ugly game, but I'll take the win. Like with Call of Duty, half of Shinnston was at this surprise and party and it was a good time for everyone.
After that, we hit up The Ordinary in Clarksburg. What, hitting up two bars in one night? I know it's a rare happening, but I'll join the crowd and be social, I'm not above that. Plus these places didn't have smoke blowing in my face, thumbs up to that. You all know my thoughts on cigarettes, but I won't preach to the choir. I did my part in slamming down Coke after Coke on the night, but not Doc Gooden style of course. Chester, pint after pint, in your honor. It's always a funny reaction, especially when I'm hanging with people that I'm not around a lot and they see me ordering a Coke. Drinking was never my thing, nothing against it, just not me. At The Ordinary though, we got to jam out to Lincoln Class of 96 member and one of the purest jump shooters of our era, Daniel Jaggie. This was my first time seeing Jags and his crew perform live. Do yourself a favor if you're in the area and if he's doing a show, go see it. I'm not saying that because I've known him forever, but he's legit and does a very good job.
It's that time again to give some new recommendations on some recent apps I've put on the phone. It's not like I don't already have a zillion on there anyways, but I digress. The first is one that comes with high praises from Sims. I saw him trying it out at the surprise party and he's been trying to get me to download it for a while. What is it you ask? We Doodle. If you're a fan of Pictionary, or if you're in the Lobstah crew, Yahoo Graffiti. It's free and a ton of fun, go get this bad boy. I'm Bird33WV on there. The next is a game that is huge in Japan apparently, Mr. AahH!! It's rather addicting, although it doesn't look like much. It's a game if you just have a short time to fire up the phone, this is what you need. It's tough to put down though. Lastly, one that I'm not sure why I didn't a while back, but just heard it was actually an app. Tosh.0 and it's really good. A lot of videos, daily posts, etc. If you're a Tosh fan, this is a definite get.
Another 5K was rocked out on Thanksgiving Day. This was the Turkey Trot 5K that Stacia and Jason Talkington do such a great job of organizing. This is the second year of existing it and it was a really big turnout this time. The weather was actually pretty good for that time of year as to what it is going to be over the next few weeks. It was near 50 and you can't beat that. There was 125 people in this action, that was a ton more than the race not long before that when I was one of two people in. I was happy with my time. I didn't do nearly as well as I did last year, but going in, I wasn't quite training as hard as last year's either. I finished with a time of 24:30 in 24th Place and was glad I did that before tearing up two big turkey dinners later that afternoon that were awesome. It's always a good time at the Turkey Trot just to see people that you haven't talked to in a while, a nice get-together. Plus, I'm always down to ramble on with a good chat to just about anyone.
Bird's Video Moment of the Week: This comes to us from Felisha. The title says it all. Flamboyant Salesman Video. He's getting the crowd interested if nothing else. Dude breaks it down in the last 20-30 seconds, hah. Good entertainment right there.
3 Quick Thangs:
1. This comes to us from Devon McIntyre. In a fact I did not know, but everyone else may? I'm putting it in regardless since I asked for some help to the Twitter gang on some quick facts down here for this section. "in every episode of Seinfeld. There is a superman somewhere.." You can follow Dev at http://twitter.com/DynoDev.
2. The next fact also came to use straight from Twitter. The one and only ManDingo had this gem about our local weather: "Well, winter's here. Not forecasted over 37 for the next 2 weeks. I guess it's time to get used to it, but I'm really hating it right now." I'm not hating it, but I'm weird when it comes to winter time. Want to follow Dingo? http://twitter.com/CouchPyro.
3. Last thing to end on. Straight from Sims, we have Barron finally in the Twitter mix. Time to get addicted man! "My boy @CooKeeZ11 is on twitter!! Let's go!!" Hit Sims up too at http://twitter.com/SiMZiLa13.