$Texas, Me Myself and Ty, Uncategorized

Life is a carnival

I used to hate Melvin Mora before I moved to Brownsville.

Yes, I soured on the Orioles’ highly paid third baseman after his numbers fell following the front office’s sweetening of the pot. From North Carolina it seemed like he was sandbagging after he got his big contract.

IMG_4003During the latter part of his time in Baltimore, I was hot on my streak of watching at least one Orioles game per season (which sadly ended in 2013) and each time I made the pilgrimage to Camden Yards, Mora came to bat while the same song played.

I heard the song occasionally outside of the stadium and each time I was reminded of his failure to produce, and I would wince. In truth, I have realized in hindsight that the fact that no one could replace Cal Ripken Jr. likely factored into this dislike, but the truth remains that reminders of Mora brought me no pleasure until I came to South Texas.

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$Texas, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty

A selfish criticism of selfies

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I was on the edge of America with my parents when the mood struck.

Staring across the Rio Grande from the Sabal Palms Bird Sanctuary I thought about how silly the boundary was, how the river was nothing more than a river that humans assigned special meaning to for no reason other than to mark territory.

Oh and I thought about taking a selfie.

I had recently been trying to use Instagram more for photo uploads in an effort to make it seem like I’m not this boring old dude that doesn’t know how to use filters.

And in this day and age, being hip and using filters means using hashtags.

I quickly realized this was my first opportunity to use, for the first time, that hallowed hashtag above all others: the #selfie.

So as I plopped myself down looking north into the lens and at my reflection in my phone, I had already decided this would be my fine ascension into the world of #selfie stardom.

It was then that my mom offered to take the picture for me.

I declined and told her I was taking a selfie. She laughed and said she knew what a selfie was, assuring for me that the term has permeated my generation to the point that my mother knows what it is. Continue reading

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$Texas, It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty

Just go out.

Beer just tastes better out of a glass to me.

I’m not pretending to have just discovered this, as I’m sure many of you are aware of the aromatic properties of certain glasses (see the Sam Adam’s glass for such an example) but it has been impressed upon me to use glasses as much as possible.

This has grown increasingly common now that I have a dishwasher that seems capable of ONLY correctly cleaning glasses (and somehow never getting that one pot lid clean) and I have taken to drinking even canned light beers out of a glass.

Yes, in those cases it is a 32-ounce mug that’s heavy enough to count as a weapon in certain cases, but it’s still an example of me always preferring a glass, even when the beer contained therein isn’t the greatest.

Of course this all has its roots in my preference for draft beer over bottled beer, which is truly what this post is about.

I live within walking distance of a handful of bars dotted along one of the main roads here that is marked by urban sprawl. Continue reading

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$Texas, Me Myself and Ty, Music

#nashtag

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We ain’t mad, tho.

It was a hell of a trip — the kind that involves roadside assistance from a tire shop in a town you’ve never heard of.

But while we were in the City of Austin, nothing went wrong.

In fact, everything went right, starting with the free parking right by the venue.

I had been psyched about seeing Kate Nash perform since I heard about the show, but I had been psyched about the IDEA of seeing Kate Nash perform since 2008, so I was packed with nervous energy.

We grabbed some food from a food truck (It was Austin, after all) and then went into the Mohawk to watch the opening act and check out the scene.

It’s worth noting that Kate Nash and I had exchanged tweets in the weeks leading up to this concert. It’s a bit difficult for even me to take that sentence seriously, since just a few years ago I thought Twitter was utterly ridiculous, but suspend that cynicism for a moment and fanboy with me.

An icon of mine — who I have celebrated for years; whose music has led me to laugh, cry and (once) to write extensively long prose on Andy Griffith — was actively responding to me in 140 characters or less. Continue reading

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$Texas, Me Myself and Ty

An endorsement of Halloween dentist visits

No one likes to go to the dentist.

Some of us don’t mind it as much as we mind going to get a haircut (Exhibit A of this type of personality is atop my head) but after you graduate from high school and it’s no longer one of the few acceptable reasons to miss class, the trip to the dentist becomes even more horrible.

Gone are the days when you just feared the tools, the drills, the scrapey thing, the bad-tasting tooth polish and the bloody gums that come from not flossing as much as you should.

Now, at least for me, it’s more mental.

I walk in and know that I didn’t floss enough, so I know it’s going to hurt, but this I’m OK with. What I don’t like is having to explain to this adult why I suck at life so much that I can’t drag dental tape through my teeth once daily, even when plaque has bad breath, early onset gingivitis and cavity implications.

I just can’t explain it. It’s like a teacher whose class I take twice a year and each time they shake their head at me like they’re disappointed, but they pass me anyway, hoping that one of these days I’ll get it.

But that wasn’t it today. No, not even when I had to call my insurance to get them to verify that, yes, my parents’ insurance covers me until the end of the day Oct. 31, regardless of what the automated voice told the receptionist.

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$Texas, Me Myself and Ty, Uncategorized

Permanent markings

My parents came to visit me about a month ago for the first time since I moved to South Texas.

It means I'm grown up.

It means I’m grown up.

It had been nearly five months since they had seen me last — the longest I had ever been away from them thanks to the state university just up the road from my hometown.

There were many great memories made, but one sticks out somehow.

We were all in my apartment hanging out when a project my mom was working on required a permanent marker.

She asked if I had one and I said “Yes, ma’am,” dropped what I was doing and went into my bedroom.

I reached under my bed and pulled out the Sperry shoebox that became the depository for all of my writing utensils sometime during the move.

I knew I had a handful of highlighters, pens, pencils and at least half a dozen permanent markers.

I opened the box up and presented it to my mom, who selected a single permanent marker from it. I then closed it up and put it back beneath my bed.

About 15 minutes later my mom was done with the marker and her project, but what she said next baffled me.

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$Texas, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty

Spoiler Alert Part 2

Missed Part One?

This part actually contains a bit of a spoiler for Battlestar Galactica, so for any readers who haven’t seen the show, I have the following message: Stop reading this blog post right now and go watch it. It’s on Netflix. Don’t worry, this post will still be here when you get back.

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Optional soundtrack to this post.

I had told myself I would watch an episode of Battlestar Galactica before interviewing him.

Photo Courtesy Paul Chouy

Photo Courtesy Paul Chouy

Or that I would watch Stand and Deliver, or something. Just as a fun addition. A way to make the moment that much more memorable when I shook his hand and interviewed him.

I got home that night and found Battlestar on Netflix.

Within the first episode, I was hooked. I watched the last of the human race, led by Olmos, flee from the Cylons while my digital clock counted down the hours until morning when I would ride to San Benito to interview him.

It was wild stuff.

I woke up the next morning and hurried as quickly as I could to the elementary school where he was due to speak to 5th-graders and found myself in the media center with my photographer and 30 kids, all watching scenes from Selena on YouTube.

It was obvious that a movie following a young Hispanic girl from childhood to stardom was a better way to connect with these 5th-graders than discussing a movie about advanced mathematics or a science fiction television series.

This one shot up on the screen and I found myself as entranced by it as the children.

And then (at the 1:01 mark of that video) he danced his way into the room.

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