Wednesday, February 24, 2010

That’s Right, I’m Not From Texas (But Texas Occasionally Lets Me Bring My Nasally Northeastern Self Within Point-Blank Range)

A dozen things about my trip to Texas last week.

1. The annual Cure JM Foundation National Fundraiser and Educational in Austin was success. We had 200+ JM kids, parents, friends and family and more than 30 medical professionals in attendance – our biggest event ever. We raised $150,000, shy of our goal but not shabby considering the bad economy and Haiti situation probably hurt some of our fundraising efforts.

Note for next time: For event organizer, get George Clooney. Or at least Lionel Richie.

2. When I introduced myself at the conference to one of the speakers, a fairly prominent doctor with the Mayo Clinic, she said, “Oh. You must be the comedian who’s moderating our panel.” The Mother of All Uncoolness would not be happy about that remark. I, on the hand, moved on.

Right after I squirted her with a bottle of seltzer.

3. My Love finished the half marathon in under 3 hours. I offer proof:

race-end-austin-marathon

Oops. Her head is blocking the clock. It read 2:56-something-something. You must admit, though, not a bad shot for me, the Master of the ‘Hold Out Your Arm and Take a Picture of Yourself’ Shot.

If you look a bit to the left of her head, right above the ear, you’ll see a little green blob in a vest. That’s Ron from Clark Kent’s Lunchbox. He was supposed to pass out water with our Cure JM team but arrived early and got roped into crowd/media control at the finish line. The race officials must have been aware of his secret identity -- mommyblog rabble-rouser.

4. Speaking of passing out water, Thing 1 did this for three straight hours without complaint. She stood smack at the front of the crowd so she was the first one the finishers got to see. How do I get her to replicate this exuberance when I ask her to do her homework? Or clear the table after dinner? Or protect her virginity until her inevitable marriage to Nick Jonas?

5. The finishers didn’t see me as I spent my three hours slicing the shrink wrap off cases of water and then peeling the wrap off the cases so it could be handed out. Ten days later, my right hand is still a bit cramped. At least I got to dust off the box-cutter skills I learned during my six-month hitch in the supermarket union back in the 1980s. Solidarity!

6. I ate more jalapenos in one week in Austin than I did all last year in the New England ‘burbs. Not that we don’t have jalapenos up here. It’s just that the key parties and youth soccer leagues generally keep life spicy enough.

7. Dined with three of my former college newspaper colleagues one night. One of them is now a rabbi. I swear on a stack of matzos, her actual name is Rabbi Cookie.

8. Did one of those Duck Boat tours of the city with The Sister of Uncool (Auntie Uncool to the Things) and the in-laws:

duck-boatThe driver kept making jokes about certain buildings in town being air conditioned. Might work 11 months out of the year in the Lone Star capital, but the day we took the tour it was 42 degrees outside.

Anyway, Thing 2 got to drive the Duck Boat.

austion 10 015

We all lived to tell about it. All except that one seagull.

9. Met two of my DadCentric brethren. The Holmes introduced me to the joys of eating Mag Mud and my arteries refuse to forgive him for that. NYC transplant CroutonBoy confided to me that the best way to get Mom-101 to pimp a daddyblog (excuse me, Liz – blog written by a parent who happens not to be playing with a full set of XX chromosomes) is to a) live in the building next to hers or b) pump some drinks into her while surrounded by a table full of other bloggers who can hold her accountable. I can’t afford Five Boroughs rent, so: August ... BlogHer ... Tequila Shooters ... You ... Me. I’ll bring the Pepto-Bismol.

(Note: In the spirit of Liz’s Blog with Integrity movement, Pepto-Bismol did not pay for that reference. It didn’t even roll me over to kiss me goodbye, the cold-hearted bastard.)

10. Determined it is impossible to see a local band on 6th Street without meeting a music star. The first time I did this, back in 1996, I meet Travis Tritt. This time, I upgraded and hung with 96-year-old piano legend Pinetop Perkins:

pinetop-perkins

See that glass on the table? Contains pure grain alcohol. And his bottom row of teeth.

11. Drove to San Antonio one day. Took the kids to The Alamo because that’s what you do in San Antonio when you’re not sipping margaritas by the River Walk, where I’m pretty certain they would have gotten carded (if nothing else, their lack of firearms would have raised suspicions). Regardless, The Things preferred the Guinness Book of World Records Museum across the street from The Alamo more. That’s right next to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum and the wax museum. Texas pride, baby.

12. The Texas Capitol dome is 200-or-so-feet high inside.

texas-capital-star-flash

That star -- it’s 8-feet wide. That coincides with the average size of a Texas politician’s ego.

This class on a field trip seemed pretty impressed by it, too. They didn’t utter a single sound while laying there staring up it.

capital-floor

Then I learned they were from the Texas School for the Deaf down the street. I would have signed “d’oh” but all I know how to do is the first few lines of “Sunshine on My Shoulders.” If you ever meet me, I will prove it to you.

cannon

Yeah, yeah. Shoot me now. Shoot me now. Go ahead.

Did I miss anything while I was gone?

23 comments:

  1. Nope...just a little weather.

    I'm off to read about Pinetop Perkins. He seems like my kinda guy.

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  2. Key parties! I'm moving to New Haven post stat!

    Love the San Antonio Riverwalk except that I'm a lightweight regarding alcohol and hot weather. Not sure how many times I fainted on that trip.

    It sounds and looks like you all had a great time!

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  3. Looks totally sweat, I mean sweet, and awesome!

    Love the pics! I thought I was the famous hold arm out take picture person!

    Glad you guys made it through and for such a great cause!

    You didn't miss anything over in my neck of the woods... sigh.

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  4. First, congrats to Your Love & all the Uncools on a successful week.

    Next,George Clooney and Duck Boats. These are a few of my favorite things. Those and dancing on mountain tops.

    Finally, considering the end of this week, I salute the Ice Storm reference.

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  5. Nice pic of you and Pinetop. He's giving the ol' "I'm 96 and I still gotta take pictures with this white guy from Connecticut" thumbs up and smile. A classic pose from the jazz/blues era.

    Congrats to your wife for finishing.

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  6. Sounds like a nice do-good-cation!

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  7. Congrats to the wife for the half marathon! Impressive!! I could run for 3 hours, maybe if a bottle of wine was dangled in front of me. Wait. Probably not.

    And you're Nasally from the Northeast? How did I not know this? I'm in boston-ish. Intellesting...

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  8. wowe looks like a success!! did you say that pianist was 96??? wowza!

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  9. Sub-3? Sweet moses on roller skates! Remind me to never, ever agree to run with Your Love. I'm beyond impressed.

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  10. Looks like a great time! I love the pictures.
    The deaf kids part made me LOL!

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  11. That was hilarious! I've never been to Texas, but you make it sound fun (except for the concealed carry part, or do they not conceal there?). Key parties and grain alcohol is never a good combo, btw.

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  12. i'm not sure what part was my favorite part. the pinetop/PGA/denture parlay, the Ron Mattocks sighting, or the TX politician joke.
    actually, my favorite part was simply the main event itself. i learned about JM in general, and your daughter in specific thanks to Ron. i'm extremely proud of y'all's efforts. great stuff all the way around.

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  13. you were on my stompin' grounds! The capitol is my playground. I'm there at least once a week securing my future. I'm positive we crossed paths.

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  14. Glad things went so well! My guys all went on a boys weekend to Branson this fall and wrote/drove the Ducks. As you might imagine, I'm thrilled that the same duck whistles your family got also came home here and, shockingly, have retained their noisy allure. Absolutely thrilled, I tell ya.

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  15. Rabbi Cookie? Really? I would love to meet a priest called Father Cookie but I doubt that will ever happen ...

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  16. Having lived here all their lives (San Antonio) we drive by the Alamo quite often. One time we were driving past and one son said, "There's the Alamo..." all casual-like and the other son - our pride and joy son with the Beavis and Butthead laugh, said, "That's not the REAL Alamo, you idiot." Apparently he thought it was a fake. A fake Alamo. In San Antonio. I don't know where he thinks the real one is. Anyway - I am assuming nobody attacked you via a plane while you were visiting Austin - cheered on by Tea Partiers?? Austin is such a mix - 6th street partiers - tea partiers....all in one location. What a deal.

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  17. I love seeing the Things and your Love doing what they do best.

    ...keeping you from getting arrested in Texas!

    and 'props' to your Love for running a 1/2 marathon in under 3 hours! I couldn't walk that!

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  18. Yeah, I guess you're right... that is me. I can tell be the scare I got from a mommy blogger wielding a machete.

    My wife and I are very glad for the chance to meet you and your family. We had a great time, and thanks for talking with us about things. That was a big help for us.

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  19. Congrats to you all!! Is Texas still standing after you invaded?

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  20. DUDE!!

    IS THAT THE GUY FROM THE SHINING???

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  21. No it's not, but, deadringer!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scatman_Crothers

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  22. I love Austin...glad y'all could go and do worthwhile things while having fun to boot.

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  23. Sorry that I missed this connect while you were here, especially with the fundraiser for the Half Marathon. Better late than never. Made my donation today.

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