Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What a difference a week makes

After my previous post, and asking a few other people, namely my Father who had been to a Super Bowl before, I decided to go. I figured I would be happier at the end of the year (10 years, 20 years, etc.) that I went to the game rather than save the money. Now I can cross one thing off my "bucket" list.

All in all, it was a great day, and really an experience I won't forget. I left my house at 8:30 am to drive to Eric's house which is about an hour away. I got there at about 9:30 and we went to breakfast, then picked up some stuff at Publix. At around 11:15 we decided to leave his house and head over to the stadium since the parking lots opened at 11:00. Being that we both went to the Pro Bowl the week before, we knew there was really nothing of interest in the "Fan Experience." As we got closer to the stadium, there was absolutely no traffic to speak of. We got to the parking lot, and just hung out for quite a while. The rules from the NFL were originally no tailgating, then they changed to limited tailgating with no tents and no grills. We watched as the parking lot filled up more, and many people started arriving around 1:00. I think there were two ticket-holder lanyard vendors for every person in the parking lot. We did purchase those and the program in the parking lot. The lanyards were just as good as the ones inside, plus they included a pin. The programs, I came to find out, and a different cover than the ones inside. The picture was the same, the ones inside had some metallic printing. Oh well, everything else I have proves I was at the game.

As we headed inside at around 3:00, we went through the four layers of security, this time with an added metal detector (which did not pick up the batteries Eric had in his pocket). They were giving away free Pepsi Max inside the fan experience. We hung out for a bit, watched the back of Daughtry, and then went to the store, where I got an overpriced embroidered t-shirt. We then walked around the 100 and 400 levels of the stadium, while taking pictures, including pictures of the CBS broadcast, and enjoying the crowd. We got to our seats and there was a Bridgestone bag with a towel inside attached to every seat. More and more of the crowd made their way to the seats and of course, every seat was filled. We noticed how the stadium was almost divided between Saints and Colts fans, each on their respective sides, however once everyone was seated, the Saints fans really seemed to way outnumber the Colts fans. We were sitting in a Saints section.

Once Queen Latifah came out to sing "America the Beautiful," everyone stood up, I don't think anyone sat down again until about half-time, after that everyone stood up again. The stadium was louder than I had ever heard it before. After one of the touchdowns, the stands were shaking. I told Eric the only time I had felt that before was when the Dolphins won their one game of the 1-15 season. The crowd was definitely into the game, and that made for a much better experience than the Pro Bowl where pretty much nobody cared (even the players).

The half-time show was very cool, and it was neat watching how they construct and de-construct the stage. We were also wondering how much they must have spent on that stage for it to probably never be used again.

The Saints were very unimpressive during the first half, but they came to play in the second half, which made the crowd even louder. The whole day was truly an experience. Although we didn't hang around to see the trophy get awarded, everything else about the day is something I'll remember for a long time to come. I'm going to try to post pictures (and a video of the fly-over) tonight. The only other thing I can say is that I don't think I need to hear "Who Dat" anymore in my lifetime.

You can read about Eric's take on the day here and here

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bucket List

I got a call yesterday from a really good friend. This friend gave me what I feel is a unique opportunity. I have been going back and forth for the last 18-24 hours debating on whether or not I should take said opportunity. I'll go into more detail in a few minutes. However, with this, I have also started thinking about what might be on my "bucket list," what I have done on that list, and what I still have yet to do. I will start by saying that this friend has also given me opportunities in the past that I would not have been on the "bucket list" only because I would think there is absolutely no way I would ever be able to do those things. Two of those items were going on the team plane with the Florida Panthers to watch them play a game in Atlanta, and going to Las Vegas to see the first ever showing of "We Will Rock You" with Brian May and Roger Taylor sitting one section away from us. First, let me get to what my first thoughts of my "bucket list" items are, even some that are completed, and not in any particular order.

1. See a Space Shuttle launch from Kennedy Space Center (done, 2 times)
2. See a Super Bowl live
3. See a Stanley Cup game live
3a. See the Panthers win a Stanley Cup (this may never happen, but I can't control it)
4. Go to the Winter Classic NHL game
5. See Mount Everest (possibly even go to "base camp")
6. Go to New Zealand
7. Stay in a castle
8. Have an overseas vacation
8a. Go to England
8b. Go to Ireland (Brenda's bucket list item)
9. Graduate college (done, M.B.A. in 2007)
10. Get Married (done, and can happily say I would only do it again with the same person)
11. Own property/house in Colorado
12. Motorcycle riding in the Rockies (done, but really want to go again)
13. Go to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio
14. See "We Will Rock You" in London (done)
15. Drive a Lamborghini

Those are the items that I can think of right now. The reason this is coming up is because my friend I was speaking of earlier has two tickets to the Super Bowl, which is being played in Miami this coming Sunday. He called me yesterday and told me he would sell me one for face value which is $800. I immediately called Brenda, and she said to go for it (She really is a great wife and I couldn't ask for anyone better). I started thinking that it should be a "no-brainer" because this is something I really would like to experience once, and if the Dolphins or Texans were in the game it definitely would be a "no-brainer." However, I can't say that I care who wins, and am only rooting for the Saints because it's their first time there. Then I started thinking about what else I could do with that money, such as take a weekend in Vegas with Brenda, or get Disney season passes for the four of us, or keep it aside to try to take my son to the Winter Classic this year. Now I'm wondering for the 4 or 5 of you that may actually read this, what would you do?

Monday, February 1, 2010

N FaiLure

When the NFL announced that the Pro Bowl would be played outside of Hawaii for the first time in years, and would be played in Miami, I thought that it would be a very cool experience. Boy was I mistaken. OK, I can't say it was all bad, actually for the most part we really had a good day and a good time yesterday.

We started out the day in our normal busy manner. First my son had a hockey game at 10:00 and my daughter had a birthday party to go to at 12:15. As I was taking my son to the game, Brenda was making her famous macaroni and cheese, and marinating the burgers and pineapples for our Hawaiian burgers at the tailgate. After the game, I picked up the two girls and dropped them at the birthday party. I got back home and noticed that the tire on the van was almost flat. I rushed my son through his bath that he was taking as I was loading up the van. We then went to Publix to get some onions, swiss cheese, and fix-a-flat. Two out of three I guess ain't bad when you're in a rush, but this Publix didn't carry fix-a-flat, or any automotive stuff for that matter. We then went to CVS, thankfully they had the fix-a-flat. We got back home and used the can, then hopped in the van to go to the gas station to finish filling the tire up with air. The first station we went to had their air out of order. We then had to go to Mobil who charges $0.75 for air (quarters only). I had two quarters and had to go inside to get a third. Of course (since I was already late), the lady could not open the cash register without someone buying something, so I had to wait. The first guy bought a carton of smokes with a debit card so she couldn't open the register. The next lady was getting random items, then the cashier asked me why I needed the quarter, I said for air, she used her remote then told me to go on outside because it was on.

I then picked up the girls, and my sister, brother-in-law and nephew and we were on our way, and only about 20 minutes or so later than we originally planned. We were meeting Eric and Karen at the parking lot, and Eric was calling me freaking out because of the amount of traffic he was already enduring at 1:30, so we all thought the parking lot would be full by the time we got there. It turns out that was the original "surge" and the parking lot didn't actually fill up until close to 4:30 or so.

We "tailgated" for a while. I made the above mentioned Hawaiian burgers, and everyone really enjoyed them. I think it may be something I will try again. We decided to walk in to the stadium around 4:30 so we could spend some time enjoying the atmosphere around the game. As we walked up to the gate, we first went through 4 different layers of "security." The first layer was someone verifying we had tickets for the game. We then went through the "Disney World" maze to get to the next layer of security who verified we didn't have any outside drinks, and directed us to the next layer of security, which was the "pat down," from there we arrived at the fourth layer of security which was the bag check. At the bag check they then informed us that the backpack my son was carrying (the same one we bring to all of the Dolphin games) was not allowed in the stadium. I then had to go backwards through the security, back to the car to put the backpack away, then back through the same four layers of security, bitching at each one of them to let them know they should tell people not to bring backpacks into the stadium. We took some pictures, but didn't really participate in the "activities" because the lines were too long. I'm glad we spent our time tailgating instead of going inside immediately upon arrival. As fun as the atmosphere was, there really wasn't the need to spend hours inside there.

We decided to go into the stadium around 6:30. Once we got in and as we were walking to our seats, we passed the designated driver stands that were handing out free soda coupons for anyone over 21 and putting your name and whatnot on their form. We got the coupon then made our way closer to the seats and saw another one of the designated driver tables, so we filled it out again and got another coupon. Considering sodas were $6.00 each, we just saved $24.00. When we got inside some teeny bopper Jonas Brother wanna be band was playing. They were pretty pathetic, turns out, they were also the ones singing the National Anthem. At least there was a F-18 flyover after the anthem. That was cool as always.

I know the NFL All-Star game is meaningless, and usually a snore fest, and this one lived up to those expectations. Starting off, when the players were announced, instead of running out of the tunnel in the normal fashion, each player strolled casually through the line to their respective benches. The most excitement was when the Dolphins players were announced, then again when the Jets and Patriots players were booed, oh, and the mascots, that was about it for the night. The remainder of the night just seemed to be people on the football field trying not to get hurt or exert any energy whatsoever. The halftime show was a marching band out of Daytona, and I think they brought the most physicality to the field. We left at the end of the third quarter.

I know the pro-bowl will be back in Hawaii next year and I say let them have it. As interesting as it was to be part of the "history" the game itself is quite boring, and the fact that the Super Bowl teams did not participate made it even more so.

On an unrelated matter, the scumbags who stole Brenda's purse last year are back and are trying to change the addresses not only at the old bank, but also at the new back. Somehow they called the new bank, got an ATM card and withdrew money out of our account on Friday. We put even more protections into place, but these assholes are like cockroaches and they will not die. One of the addresses they changed our accounts to is 12124 NE 5th AVE, Miami FL 33161. I would think nobody actually lives there, but if they are going there to pick up the mail, someone should be waiting for them.