Monthly Archives: July 2014

Russell return

I got back to the basement just before 3 p.m. When I got to Russell an hour earlier, I had to stop in the office of Main Street Media to meet with Jack and Frank about the upcoming high school sports season. Good meeting. First games are right after Labor Day, with practice starting Aug. 18.

(I would have posted this earlier, but I dozed off for a while and could not get back up until after 5. My parents got home about an hour before that from Hays.)

The drive home was filled with peril. There were two construction areas on the Kansas Turnpike between Lawrence and Topeka which had traffic down to a crawl, and it was during the second of these, a six-mile restriping job which closed two of three lanes, where I nearly got hit by a construction cone.

An irresponsible Missouri man driving a black Chrysler Concorde couldn’t keep his hands on the wheel long enough to avoid sideswiping a cone, and it came towards me. Fortunately, I was able to quickly get out of the way.

When I got close enough to get a look at the black Concorde, the man looked like he was nuts. He was gesturing with both hands and appeared to be screaming at a passenger. He was smoking. He probably was on his cell phone without a hands-free device like I now have. Once the construction zone ended, the Concorde started doing 90. I thought about calling the Kansas Highway Patrol, but I didn’t.

More peril lay ahead.

About three miles west of Topeka, a truck lost its mattress, and to make matters worse, a construction zone was coming up where the right lane was closed. Idiot forgot to tie down his goods. I wanted to find him and kick him where it hurt most. I’ve seen too many of those on a windy Kansas day, and it’s up to the driver to tie them down in the bed of their pickup.

I was feeling a bit weary as I got to Abilene, where I pulled off to get food and use the restroom. I was glad to get home. I don’t know if I could make it if I had to drive to Hays.

Quiet night planned, but a lot to do tomorrow.

Out of Overland Park…for now

Attempting to get packed after seven days in a hotel room is never easy, and it’s proving to be a challenge again today. Once i get packed, I can shower, shave and set sail for Russell, after a couple of stops in town for gas and to pick up drugs.

I was very glad I went to Buffalo Wild Wings last night. I started off at my usual table, but Lisa asked me to move to her section on the bar side, and I obliged. It was a great idea, especially for my butt and my back, since I sat on a padded bench instead of the hard chair I usually sit on.

Liz had the night off (and she’s off today, too), but her mom worked, and I was very happy about that. I also got to see one of my favorites, Jessi, who had the night off, and Sara, a former shift manager who got married in June. She was surprised to see me sitting in the bar area.

I ordered food at my usual table and i tabbed out, which allowed me to use a $5 discount survey which took my bill down to zero. I made sure I tipped Megan, though.

SIX was very frustrating. Some of the hardest questions I’ve encountered in that game. I ended up scoring less than 35,000, and I normally am closer to 47,000. I still had more than enough to win, but I felt a little bad this time, since two of the nicest people who frequent that Buffalo Wild Wings, Dan and Pam (Edgar and Irene), were two of the players I finished ahead of. I would not have minded if one (or both) of them had taken advantage of my poor night to finish on top.

I kept my Countdown streak of 10,000 or higher whenever I answer all 15 questions intact. I almost got 10,000 in a game where I missed the first two questions when I arrived yesterday as well. I will take a four-day break from the trivia wars before returning Monday, when my name goes up in The Pulse for my national high score three nights ago.

Boy, Erin Coscarelli looks stunningly beautiful on NFL AM today. She has been a welcome addition to the NFL Network show which airs from 5 to 9 a.m. Nicole Zalmouis, the original female co-host, left the show earlier this year to spend more time with her two young boys, which I totally understand.

Okay, that’s it from Overland Park, at least until next Thursday. Next post comes from the basement at 1224 North Brooks Street.

Wasted Wednesday (so far)

God I can’t get going to save my life. During the school year, it will kill me not to be ready on Wednesday, because I’ll be on a tight deadline for Russell with a bunch to do. I’ve got to get with it.

Today, it isn’t costing me much, except time at Buffalo Wild Wings, and given I’ve spent so much time there the last four days, maybe this isn’t the worst thing in the world. Today is my last day in Kansas City on this trip. I’ll go back to Russell in the morning, and then come right back Monday for another week, which will be my last long trip for the summer.

I left at 9 last night. It was a pretty good night again, even though I was stupid enough to bet half my points in Final Showdown on a question about classical music. However, I was going for a much higher score, so I can’t be unhappy. I had my career high score in Brainbuster, the hard trivia game played Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

I guess I had better make up my mind.

Gluttony punished

It was a wonderful Monday night…until I paid for my gluttony just before 4 a.m.

Turns out I bit off more than I could chew–literally. I stuffed myself at Buffalo Wild Wings, and then added to it when I got back to the room when I gave in to one of my newest vices, a pretzel from Quik Trip.

Quik Trip began offering hot foods in many of their convenience stores earlier this year. I first tried their pretzels when I was in Wichita the Monday after the state track and field meet, and I was immediately hooked. Yesterday, I ate one after stopping at the QT on State Line Road as I drove towards Zona Rosa. I probably should have saved the other one for later, but I didn’t want it to go stale.

Bad move. My stomach was churning from the moment I got back to the Overland Park Marriott, and it finally hit me a few hours ago. Learned my lesson there.

Buffalo Wild Wings was great yesterday. I was able to order my new favorite menu item, the Chicken Street Tacos, which are only available from 2 to 7 on weekdays during what is dubbed “overtime” by B-Dubs. I had one order when I got there just after 3 p.m. along with some wings, and then I started a new tab when Liz came at 4:30 and took over the section with my table. I didn’t end up paying that much, because I had a couple of $5 discount coupons from the online surveys I took. Again, I paid much more in tips than I did for the actual cost of the food.

Unfortunately, a couple of customers stuck it to LIz early in her shift. One table did not leave her anything, and another left her only $3 on a $40 bill. Pathetic. Really pathetic. They ought to try being a restaurant server and see how difficult it is. I know I couldn’t do it. I don’t have the people skills, and I’m too clumsy to carry a tray full of food.

I won the national high score in The Pulse once again. I scored 28,691 out of 30,000, which was my second highest all-time score in the game, falling only two points shy of the record I set in April. I got the perfect 1,000 on 27 of 30 questions. The only question I scored less than 638 points was about which NBA player turned 37 years old yesterday. I guessed Dirk Nowitzki, but it was Manu Ginobili.

I almost blew it on the last question. It asked which college football team has won 18 consecutive home games. At first, I guessed Alabama, but then I realized the Crimson Tide lost to Texas A&M in November 2012, and quickly changed my answer to South Carolina. Indeed, it was the Gamecocks, and the quick change saved first place. I ended up finishing less than 200 points ahead of BUG, a regular high scorer in this game who plays at a Buffalo Wild Wings in St. Paul. BUG had two other people helping him, since they were in the top 10, so that makes me feel even better about what I did.

As usual, Walsh’s Bar in Westmont, Ill., had the high site score, which is determined by the average of the top five players at one site. I need to get a team together to play with me so we can get the high score. I’ve got several people in mind, namely my buddy Larry (Mizzou), Ryan, and Athena and Tusken, a couple who often come in and play very well. I guess I could let Rondo join us too.

I only lost one game of Countdown, and the guy who beat me had a bunch of people surrounding him. I got him back good the next round. He was wearing a Texas A&M polo, and sure enough, I looked him up, and he’s from College Station, home of the Aggies. I got his goat for a little while, playing fight songs from LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Texas and Oklahoma on the jukebox. Shannon finally asked me to stop, so I did. At least this guy did something Johnny Manziel couldn’t do against LSU: win.

I’m going to get in the shower and get ready for another day. Showdown tonight. Wonder if I’ll draw competition.

Easing into Monday

I had a very good Sunday. Very good.

I spent my usual 5 1/2 hours at Buffalo Wild Wings, and I got two of my all-time favorite servers, Liz and Lisa, to take care of me. Once Liz got off the clock just before 5, I moved to Lisa’s section so she could take care of me for once. She’s usually working the bar side of the restaurant, and I almost always sit at table 162 in the dining room. I made sure LIsa got a nice tip for taking care of me. She admitted it lifted her spirits, because she had a rough weekend, working double shifts on Saturday and Sunday. I was glad I could do that.

There was really only one serious challenge in trivia. A guest player hiding behind a phony name had his wife helping him, and he was ahead for a few questions. But in the final round, I took over and beat him by over 2,000 points. That happened to be my lowest score of the day. In 10 rounds of Countdown, I did not score below 10,000. Not bad.

Tonight is The Pulse at 7 p.m. I’ve got to bone up a little on what happened this week in sports, especially who won the Tour de France. I know they’ll ask about Jeff Gordon’s victory at the NASCAR Brickyard 400 yesterday, his fifth at his hometown track, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

I wrote most of my column before 6 a.m. I fell asleep for a couple of hours after that, but it was out to the five papers it needed to go to while I was watching The Price Is Right. It’s almost noon, and I’m showered and just about ready to get out of the hotel. I’m now into the three-day free portion of my stay at the Overland Park Marriott. I’m due a 35,000-point bonus next week for staying so many paid nights in June and July, which will cover much of the three nights this time.


I did something pretty stupid in the early hours of this morning by giving into temptation with bags of chips. Rather than go to sleep, I ate some, and I really didn’t feel good most of this morning. I didn’t fully wake up until 12:35, and it’s only now I’m ready to get out of here. I muted the television for some reason, and that didn’t help me wake up. I had ESPN on TV, and by time I finally got in gear, the Brickyard 400 had already completed 30 laps. Denny Hamlin leads on lap 52 as I write this.

Sundays are usually lazy from early February through the end of August, since there are no NFL games. That changes once the NFL season kicks off.


Thirty-one freaking hours

I wish I didn’t have much to report since I somehow found out I didn’t have a ticket to Friday’s Royals-Indians game. I wish.

Not the case. Not at all.

Francisco Rodriguez is going to cause someone at Miller Park to drop dead of a heart attack. The Brewers closer just cannot work a 1-2-3 ninth inning to save his life, and MIlwaukee’s chances of reaching the Major League Baseball playoffs are going to take a hit if he keeps on blowing up like he did Friday.

Rodriguez wasted a stellar effort by Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo, who pitched seven shutout innings vs. the Mets. In the ninth, Rodriguez could not get any of the first five Mets out, and it cost Milwaukee a game it should have won, a game which would have allowed the Brewers to extend their lead in the National League Central.

Tonight, Rodriguez had a couple of hairy moments, but he shut down the Mets, and the Brewers won 5-2. They’re three up (two in the loss column) on St. Louis, with a series at Busch Stadium this weekend.

I didn’t leave the hotel as early as I would have liked this morning, but a little after 9:30 did just fine. It got me to where I needed to go in plenty of time, and I was at Buffalo Wild Wings before the 11 a.m. opening. Everything went well until 2:30, when RONDO showed up. I couldn’t beat him, and the frustration finally got the best of me just before 4. At least I didn’t explode this time. Instead, I got in my car, drove around Zona Rosa and came back to the parking lot, where I laid down in my car for a few minutes. I wanted to go into Pretzelmaker, but the parking around there was all taken, and I wasn’t about to walk and waste more time.

I was really nervous about today, because today was the first day I was there and Liz was working since she got back from her Michigan vacation. I was there Thursday, but she wasn’t. I was really apprehensive, but everything worked out. Even better, once I walked back into the restaurant, RONDO was gone, dropping my stress level significantly.

Without RONDO there, I was hardly challenged. Nothing totally spectacular, but a lot of good games. Without the stress, I was able to relax and enjoy myself. I should have left earlier than 10:30, but I figured I had to stay a little longer since Liz was there and I wasn’t there at all yesterday.

No ball game

I am back in room 1123 of the Overland Park Marriott, and there is still over two hours to go before the Indians and Royals play.

Turns out there was a communication mix-up. I thought Jack and Kathy had four tickets for tonight’s game, but it turns out they only had two, which I did not know about. It wasn’t until we were at the mall in Independence that Jack told me about this. I thought it over and decided it was not worth me spending at least $23 (the price of the cheapest seats in the upper deck. The other problem was I probably was going to have to sit alone. No thank you.

I’m back in front of my computer, just relaxing. There are far worse places I could be right now. Not complaining.

Forgot again

Another day without posting Thursday. I’ve got to get back on the ball.

I didn’t leave Russell until after 11 a.m. yesterday. Probably wasn’t the worst thing, because I dozed off and got my dirty towels, socks and underwear washed, so everything will be clean when I get back to town, except for what I wear in Kansas CIty, of course.

The trip to Kansas City was uneventful. Stopped at Starbucks in Junction City, then made it to the Overland Park Marriott just before 3. At first, they wanted to put me on the ninth floor, but I went back down and requested a room on the top floor, the 11th. They were able to take care of me, but all of the luggage carts were in use. Rather than sit and wait, I just decided to drive the loaded car the 35 minutes north to Buffalo Wild Wings.

Good night at B-Dubs. Liz was not working, but her mother, Nadine, was. I also was very excited to see Braidey Howe, one of my favorite staff members. Didn’t eat too much, but got away with only paying $20–$13 of which were tips. Buzztime was great, and I finished #11 nationally playing SIX.

Haven’t done a thing today. Jack and Kathy are supposed to pick me up at 3 so we can go to the Royals-Indians game tonight. It will be very hot. I haven’t eaten today, and I’m not going to drink pop until later tonight, if at all. Trying not to dehydrate, something i have too much experience with from my many years in the Louisiana sauna.

I shall not pass

The only excitement for this Wednesday was because of a faux pas I committed.

At 2:30, I decided I would change the four-digit passcode i use to unlock my iPhone. I had been using the same passcode for quite some time, and figured it was overdue.

Bad move.

Minutes thereafter, I could not remember what I changed my passcode to, and thus my phone locked me out, first for one minute, then five, then fifteen.

Wow. The guy who can remember what he was doing 30 years ago on the a deranged man shot and killed 21 people at a San Diego McDonald’s could not remember a simple four-digit number. Laugh all you want. I won’t mind.

The good news was I had backed up my phone recently and could recover all of the apps I had downloaded. I would lose a little data, but not much, and besides, none of it was truly important.

I learned my lesson the hard way, and I decided to just keep using my old passcode. There’s nothing on there which is top secret, and if somebody wants to know that badly about me, go right ahead. This will all be moot whenever I upgrade, because future iPhone models have a fingerprint reader on the home button (the round button at the bottom).

Didn’t leave the house today, which was good, since I’ll be going back to Kansas City tomorrow, and then to the Royals-Indians game Friday with Jack and Kathy Krier.