The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘Houston’

Attn: Ellen (4/13/16)



Back (apologies for my handwriting!)


The text of the postcard is

Dear Ellen,

This week my wife is in Houston visiting friends and family … And I am eating junk food, working out, and going door-to-door in the neighborhood telling folks I’m making dinner and could I borrow a cup of friendship?

Yeah, I’m pretty cool.


Why am I doing this?

JJ Watt’s New Ad

I wrote this last week after the Texans oofta of a loss to the Dolphins … Today they won so the JJ ads were less painful (also I was channel surfing like a champ so that probably helped). Anyhow, this led to a NEW thought – dual ads! One set for when your team is doing well, in which you the celebrity in the ad can be cocky and funny and cool … and the other, for when your team is having an awful season, where you seem apologetic no matter what you are advertising.

Even though the Texans won today … I’m still going to post this because … I don’t have anything else prepared.

Oh ads, you create such natural seeming scenes.

I imagine that if you watch football, you’ve seen and heard quite a bit about JJ Watt. Both from announcers/various sports talking heads and from commercials that he’s in. I live in Houston, so I can tell you that I REALLY see a lot of JJ. I like him, I really do, and the ads aren’t bad. He hasn’t been phenomenal this season, but my expectations for him were a bit high (go figure).

But when you’re watching the Texans get stomped, and then it goes to commercial break and JJ Watt is talking to me about ice cream (for the local grocer HEB), JJ talking to me about Verizon, JJ about American Family Insurance, one KFC ad (the one ad that doesn’t feature JJ), and then you know who talking about Gatorade … Then it’s back to the game where the Texans either fail to do something good (meaning they’re on defense), or they do something awful (meaning they’re on offense) … It can be a bit much.

That’s why I think JJ Watt should do a set of local ads for honey. Some local beekeeper I guess. It’ll just be JJ Watt, in his uniform, in his locker room, and he looks at the camera sadly and says, “got a bitter pill to swallow? Yeah. Me too. Wash it down with this <honey brand> honey. Ok. I’m going to go cry for a bit now.”

My Honeymoon, by the Numbers

My wife (holy crap! I’m MARRIED!?!) and I will soon be going on our honeymoon. We are going to India. In preparation for the trip we have both read some books about India (she has read about 5 times more books about India than I have). In the TWO I have read (one fiction, A Fine Balance which is amazing and the other a travel journal sort of affair called Holy Cow) they have both mentioned the country being quite populated. Let’s talk about that.

One of the cities we are getting to visit is Mumbai. Our current home is in Houston, Texas.

Population Density:

  • Houston: 2,197 people per square kilometer (I rounded) (Source)
  • Mumbai: 29,650 people per square kilometer (I rounded) (Source)

FYI: There are 3,280.84 feet per kilometer.

Let’s say every person, standing up, is 2 feet for length (shoulder to shoulder) and 1 foot wide (the end of your belly to the end of your tush).

Given a square that is 3,280.84 feet by 3,280.84 feet … If everyone, measuring 2×1 feet, stood next to each other in this square kilometer then you have, essentially, 3,280.84 rows and 1,640.42 columns. Or, 3,280.84 people 1,640.42 times which is … 5,381,956 people!

column 1 (2 feet)                column 2                     …                     column 1,640.42

row 1 (1 foot)
row 2
row 3

row 3,281


In other words, 5,381,956 people would fit in if you were completely crammed. With that in mind, we’ve got some wiggle room!

I like to dance, and I have long limbs, so I’m going to need a bit of space for my flailing dance moves. Let’s figure out the amount of crazy dancing I can do. For this, each person will have their own block within that square kilometer. In Houston, we would have 2,197 blocks per square km, in Mumbai, there would be 29,650 blocks per square km. So each square in Mumbai will be much smaller – but what are the exact dimensions?

The area for a square kilometer is 10,763,911 feet. If you divide that, it means:

  • Houston: 4,899.368 feet to work with or a square that is approximately 70 feet by 70 feet. That’s some good dancin’.
  • Mumbai: 363.0324 feet to work with or a square that is approximately 19 feet by 19 feet. Plenty of space for dancing.


That’s all well and good. The dance check comes out with a green light. Now, what else? Oh right, the matter of public defecation. Both books have talked about that, and a friend telling us about his first trip to India mentioned seeing that happening right after leaving the airport.

I’ll just leave this chart here for you …

When in Rome …



24/7 Beyoncé

I don’t normally post actual news on my site but sometimes a true story is just too good to pass up.

This story is actually sad for a number of people, but overall I find it funny. Hopefully the people who were laid off have found or will find new jobs and they can have a good old fashioned bitter laugh about the whole thing.

In Houston the radio station 92.1 became News 92.1 FM. The station started in November 2011, a 24/7 news station (according to this article). I liked to listen to them occasionally, but generally I go for music (on long drives) or sports talk radio (what can I say, I’m an ignorant schlub).

This month, the radio station sited bad ratings and laid off all of the employees. Taking its place … a 24/7 Beyoncé station. (My goodness, my computer recognized that Beyoncé was not a word and had the red underline … so I clicked on it and it knew Beyoncé should have the accent. But it doesn’t know the word schlub. What is this?)

I had to tune in and … yep … It was a Beyoncé song.

Several days later I was in my friend’s car and I told them about the 24/7 Beyoncé station. They turned it over and … we didn’t recognize the song. The next song comes on and its definitely not Beyoncé. What what what!

Apparently Beyoncé has a grand total of about 8 hours of music recorded (according to this article). That meant Beyoncé’s music career 3 times a day, every day, all day, always and forever … For a couple days. Now the station is “classic hip-hop” … Which is that thing where Beethoven rapped for 8 hours one time.


This is Beyoncé’s ‘You did what with that radio station?’ pose.


A Letter to the Deftones

Dear Deftones,

How are you today? I hope you are well. I wanted to write to express a few concerns I have and I even have a suggestion! Of course you are free to ignore it but maybe I will be like that little girl who supposedly wrote Lincoln about his mustache and I can help lead you to even greater things.

Note: I am not a little girl, nor do I sometimes think I am.

On Saturday, May 31st, I saw you perform live in Houston at the Free Press Summer Fest (FPSF). One good note: the crowd seemed to love you. Another good note: You did not accidentally say “hello Boston!” or “how’s everyone feeling, Alberta?”

I was at the concert because my fiance is a fan, so I have the benefit of an outsiders perspective here.

At one point my fiance turned to me and said, “oh this was my favorite song when I was in high school!” and I said, “this is a different song than the last one?” Sure, YOU might not find this funny, and neither did anyone else around me … But let me explain the joke! I said this because you seem to scream a lot. Do you lack confidence in your singing voice? Try some lessons. Maybe you’re already a good singer and are screaming as a rebellion against your parents? Try therapy. Whatever it is, we can get you singing lyrics in no time!

My concern is this: are you not aware of different state’s laws concerning marijuana? I ask because at one point you said, “smoke more weed, mother f***ers” (by the way, language, mister!). If you had been playing in Colorado, this would be ok, it’s no different than saying “eat more apples, mother f***ers” (maybe a little strong of a healthy suggestion, but apples ARE delicious). What I’m getting at is that in Texas recreational marijuana use is still not legal, so just keep that in mind!

But hey, if you are comfortable with who you are, by all means, keep at it!


Free Press Summer Fest

Oh good, I finally got to see a cat man breakdance (skip to ~1:50)

Wait … What year is it?

Woah (These guys did the soundtrack for the Scott Pilgrim arcade type game … which is a great game soundtrack)

Tough Mudder Recap

Tough Mudder Electroshock Therapy

The last obstacle, Electroshock Therapy, features you getting shocked while you try not to fall while running through a muddy area. Here’s a …shock (har har): this was painful. (I’m the guy on the far right.)

On Saturday some friends and I successfully navigated the muddy waters of the Tough Mudder. It was pretty enjoyable, in that deliberately signing yourself up for a painful event sort of way.

We had signed up for a start time of 11 am, thinking that it would be nice to sleep in, eat a bit, and then get started. Ease into the day nicely. Our actual start time was 1 pm, which was definitely later than we had hoped to start. The sun was in full force.

  • Tip Number 1: Sign up for a time earlier than you want. If you end up getting that time, deal with it, the obstacles might be less muddy (therefore easier to get a grip on) and there might be less wait for some of the obstacles at the end. (For one we waited about ten minutes.)

We had decided to go for a Ninja Turtles theme. Matching green shirts, and then each of us had shorts, headband, and wristbands for our respective characters. In addition we each had on long-ish green socks and black lifting gloves (to help with monkey bars and prevent the risk of splinters). I enjoyed our costumes, but we weren’t the only Turtles out there. If you want to be truly unique, get weird.

  • Tip Number 2: Pictures … I really wanted to end up with some of the event’s photographers capturing me looking like a real tough guy as I went across the monkey bars (successfully!), or ran through the electroshock therapy, or ran up the Everest challenge. Instead there are two of my friends and I right before the race, and two of me on the obstacle known as “Twinkle Toes.”

    Tough Mudder Twinkle Toes

    Twinkle Toe-ing it up!

  • After the race the event photographers posted all of their photos which you can download for free (you just have to like a Facebook page or two). This is the only race I’ve done that has supplied free pictures so that is pretty great. A lot of the pictures end up not tagged because they can’t see your bib number under all that mud. I went through A LOT of photos to try and find a cool one of me (I am vain) and here are my conclusions …
  • What could I have done differently?
    • Make outrageously painful or elated faces at obstacles
    • Dress in garishly colored (easy to spot when looking through pictures) or very unique costumes
    • Be a girl (Honestly, I feel like the amount of pictures per girl at the run is very misleading)

As far as the run itself goes, it is very easy to walk. There will be lots of opportunities that present themselves to you as for why you should walk: right after an obstacle you are very tired and often there is so much mud that jogging will be just as fast as walking, it’s a long run, the obstacles are tiring, there is mud everywhere, so many other people will be walking, you will want to walk, your friends will want to walk …

  • Tip Number 3: Put off walking (I’m not saying I followed this tip, but in retrospect I wish I had). At any point in the race, in the next half mile there will probably be an obstacle. At that time you can walk up to the obstacle and go through it. Consider that your rest. To go into high school coach mode: the run is only as tough as you make it.
Tough Mudder Starting Gate

Starting Gate (the guy in the middle is the pep talker)

Before you begin the race you get shuffled into a little starting gate area. A very good public speaker, trained in the art of Under Armour commercial style pep talks, will tell you about the race. CAN I GET A HOO-AH! It will take TOUGHNESS. (HOO-AH!) It will take STRENGTH! (HOO-AH!)

This guy (or girl) will tell you about how this is not a race, this is not a competition, this is a challenge. As part of the challenge you will have to support your fellow Tough Mudders. Teamwork makes the dream work and all that.

  • Tip Number 4: Just Give Me a Second, Geeeeez … Inevitably (probably) you will get to an obstacle where you won’t ace it on the first maneuver. If you’re like me, you’ll probably want to try again because if-only-I’d-just-…-OK-I-got-this … It’s nice that everyone wants to help (and I was guilty of this), but sometimes things just take a few tries. So, fellow future Tough Mudders, if you see someone struggling, and there are already ten people en route to help the struggler, just move along. You don’t need to be the eleventh helper monkey.

My friends and I brought along two disposable, waterproof cameras. We have done this for other mud runs and it has worked well. For this one, it turns out, mud can really cloud some photos. Nevertheless, we got some good photos out of it (albeit some of them were a bit blurry).

  • Tip Number 5: Have fun! Bringing a camera and taking pictures of you and your friends putting yourselves through an unnecessarily difficult Saturday or Sunday morning or afternoon is a way of taking ownership of the event? Aw heck, we all know it’s for Facebook.
Tough Mudder Sasquatch

Sasquatch sighting!


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