Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Everything is bigger in Texas

Well howdy, partners!!! How y'all been doin'?

"Hey Jay, what's with the accent?" you are probably saying?

I just got back from Texas, y'all!

"What in tarnation were you doing in Texas, l'il lady?" is your obvious next question. (And don't even pretend that you aren't asking it with a Texan accent now that you know where I was...)

I reckon I just needed to get away (and yes, I am going to talk like this for this entire post). A little bit of me time. And since one of my best friends lives in Austin, and since it was 25 degrees Celsius there compared to somewhere between -25 and whatever the temperature is when there is freezing rain back here, well, it just seemed like a good place to be for the first week of December. Plus my friend got us tickets to a Dallas Cowboys game. How does a rabid football fan (even one with a preference for the CFL) turn down a chance like that?

She doesn't, that's how.

So, I left my 'hood and my herd for a few days and headed on down to the Lone Star State, where this view greeted me every single morning:


And thanks to this blog, I can share some fun facts with y'all! Yeehaw!

Fun fact #1: In Canada, "barbecue" is typically a verb. As in "Let's barbecue some ribs tonight, eh?" Sometimes, it is an adjective. Like "I could really use some barbecued ribs tonight, eh?" And sometimes, it is a noun, as in "I think we need to buy a new barbecue this summer, eh?" But in Texas, "barbecue" is only ever a noun, but not in that last sense. In this sense: "Would y'all like to have some barbecue for lunch today?" The definition of this noun is: massive amounts of finger-lickin' good meat - typically brisket, pork, sausage, turkey or chicken - that has been smoked in a giant pit for hours, slathered in sauce, and served alongside potato salad, cole slaw and baked beans. It is not ever a steak or a hamburger or a chicken breast that has been thrown on some propane-powered backyard cooking tool. That is "grilling". And it is not nearly as good as barbecue.

Look at that barbecue!

Fun fact #2: It's hot in Texas. And since beer - even shitty American beer (I will never drink Miller lite ever again) - is better cold, everyone uses a beer cozy. You know, those neoprene sleeves that you slip your can or bottle of beer in to keep the condensation off your hands and to keep it crisp and refreshing. Not such a big deal, right? I mean, I go over to my neighbour's house for a beer and she almost always offers me a beer cozy. What she doesn't do though (at least I think she doesn't) is slip a beer cozy in her back pocket before she goes out every day. Because you never know when you might end up with a hankerin' for some beer. Texans carry beer cozies with them wherever they go, so that when the bartender hands them a cold one, they can slip it into their beer cozy and keep it cool. I guess I never had that problem. I just drink my beer too fast...

Drinking our beer. In a beer cozy. 

Fun fact#3: Austin fancies itself a pretty cool city. Its motto is "Keep Austin Weird", a marketing nod to the rather vibrant arts and culture scene. It is also home to two rather famous music festivals: South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits. Can't make it down in March or September? Don't worry. Because Austin is the self-proclaimed "live music capital of the world", and there is some effin' great music there every single night. Over 200 venues, featuring jazz, blues, rock, indie, rockabilly, and of course, country. While I did not get to take in nearly as much music as I would have liked to, I did get exposed to some pretty cool spots...

...Like the infamous Broken Spoke, the dance hall where everyone goes to Texas two-step:

Pointing to the Broken Spoke

...Or Hanover's Draught Haus, the place for some open mic action on a Tuesday night, where I watched this family rock out:

Kids of Fire: Mom, Dad, 9 year old drummer and 12 year old lead vocalist, guitarist and violinist 

Rockin' out with the Kids of Fire

(Those kids were incredible!)

...Or Donn's Depot, the place in town where apparently, divorced people go to meet other divorced people. How do I know this, you ask? Well, I was invited there by a Texas cowboy. Who wanted to take me out dancing, and who, despite the ring on my wedding finger, figured I wanted to hang out with the divorced crowd. When I told him that I am happily married and that I am not, in fact, divorced, he looked at me and said, "Well, you should be, darlin', cause I sure would like to take you dancin'." What else is there to say after a line like that?

(And don't worry. I didn't go. See - no picture!)

Fun Fact #4: There are lots of bats in Austin. And not of the baseball variety. Of the winged variety. I couldn't figure out why there was a big sculpture of a bat in downtown Austin, or why you can buy t-shirts with bats on them almost everywhere you go. I mean, I wasn't in Gotham City, was I? Then, as we were driving home after a day of eating barbecue, drinking beer in beer cozies, and checking out a local arts fair, we saw this:



Swarms and swarms and swarms of bats, leaving their daytime sleeping quarters (seemingly under the overpass) at dusk to go dine on bugs. Eerie. And freaking neat!

Fun fact #5: The Fort Worth police drive Porches. 'Nuff said.


Fun fact #6: The Dallas Cowboys stadium is HUGE. How huge, you ask? So huge, that the Statue of Liberty could stand on the 50-yard line and her torch would never touch the closed roof.  The screen alone is 7 storeys high, and spans from one 20 yard line to the other. It is as big as 2,000 52-inch television sets strung together. And it's in HD. The stadium fits 105,000 people: 85,000 in seats and another 20,000 who hang out in the "Party Pass" zones behind the end zones. And it only cost $1.2 billion to construct. Yeehaw!!!

Heading down to the 100 level to our seats

This is where we were sitting

Tom Landry

Getting some love from a Cowboy mannequin

Standing on the star

Fun fact #7: The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are not allowed to date the football players. Which must be hard because they are pretty cute!

This is what a touchdown looked like from our seats

Fun fact #8: While it is not rare to see the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile driving around town, it is rare to stumble upon it in the parking lot. So when you do, you have to take a picture:


And that, my friends, pretty much sums up my Texas adventure. Guaranteed that I will be back one day. And I'll have my beer cozy ready!