Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pictures from Texas, Part 3

I'm gonna go ahead and knock the rest of this thing out of the ballpark, 'cuz the next few days are going to be crazy busy and I've put off doing this long enough. So here's the rest of the photos from Texas (here's Part 1 and here's Part 2).

One of the things that I'd wanted to do while I was in Texas was visit my brother-in-law Jonathan, who's a seminary student at Baylor University in Waco. On Friday, the day after I went to the Alamo, Deborah and I hopped in my rented Jeep and took off for Austin, where we'd catch I-35 north.

Here's Austin as we were entering town...

Here's Deborah. The last time we'd seen each other, it was at Star Wars Celebration III in Indianapolis two and a half years earlier.

This was taken while we were on Congressional Avenue, with the Texas State Capitol in front of us...

This is me, in front of the University of Texas Tower. This is the very building from which Charles Whitman shot and killed all those people in 1966. I heard that there are still places around the building down on the street that you can see where the bullets hit concrete walls and such. Macabre history aside, the Tower is one of the things that dominate the Austin landscape, and is often lit up for holidays and whenever University of Texas wins a ballgame.

After that, Deborah and I got onto I-35 and headed north. It was about two hours later when we hit the outskirts of Waco. A short while later, and we were at Jonathan's apartment! 'Twas a really great thing to hook up with my bro-in-law so far from home.

By the time we got there, we were starving. Jonathan said that he knew of a good place to eat, and it must have been 'cuz he's mentioned this a few times already: Rosati's Pizza. That's where he took us. Here's Jonathan after we got seated...

Rosati's serves up Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. That was the first time that I'd ever had any and it was delicious! Here's the soft drink cup that I got, which I took a pic of mostly so I could point out the phone number of the place...

After lunch, Jonathan took us to the Dr. Pepper Museum. Waco is the town where Dr. Pepper was first invented, and it's practically the official drink of the state of Texas...

Here's Deborah with a spooky animatronic talking Charles Alderton, the guy who invented Dr. Pepper...

We were at the Dr. Pepper Museum for a while and then Jonathan took us on a tour of Baylor, which is one of the biggest campuses that I've ever seen: the science building itself is bigger than the entire campus of Elon University south of Haggard Avenue! Here's Baylor as we were entering the place...

Here's a side-shot of the seminary building. Note the Bible verse that says "The night cometh". That's the seminary's ummm... official verse, or something, according to Jonathan...

A shot of inside the stained-glass windows inside the seminary's chapel...

This is Deborah and I at the sign outside the seminary. The building behind us is a parking deck, that Jonathan said the Baylor students refer to as the "Garage-Mahal". Something else about Baylor: every building on campus seems to have at least one steeple. Strange, that...

And here's me and Jonathan at the sign for the George W. Truett Theological Seminary...

After we went around Baylor, we headed back to Jonathan's place, said our goodbyes for now ('cuz it would just be a few more weeks before Jonathan and I saw each other again) and Deboran and I headed back to her house near Austin. On the return trip, we got to see a beautiful sunset, and Deborah was able to get some pics...

We made it back to her house, and then I was headed back toward downtown Austin, for this "meet and greet" for the Butt-Numb-A-Thon 9 attendees at a local chili honky-tonk. That's where, after all of these years (I was one of Ain't It Cool News's first readers, even remember the day Harry posted those pictures from Star Wars Episode IV Special Edition which kinda launched the site) I got to finally meet Harry Knowles. Here's the pic of us together...

Then I went back to Deborah's place and wound up having to call FedEx to fuss at them for not having delivered a package on time (I'd sent it on Monday for 2-day delivery to Deborah's house, and it was now Friday night). The FedEx rep - who I'm fairly sure wasn't even talking to me from anywhere in the United States - told me that it would get there "tomorrow". When tomorrow morning came, it still hadn't got there... and the next FedEx person that I talked to on the phone said that particular station wasn't even open on weekends! "I don't care how you do it," I told her, "you had better get that package here today. I don't care if they are closed are not, FedEx failed to live up to its end of a contract. You'd better make up for it immediately." Well those weren't my exact words: they actual dialogue was, shall we say, far more colorful. But this comes into play before long in our story, that's why I wanted to mention it.

Saturday was the day of Butt-Numb-A-Thon 9. That morning before I left for the event in Austin (which I wouldn't return from until the following day, it being a 24-hour long film festival), I spotted this dear outside of Deborah's kitchen window...

Not long after that, I left for Butt-Numb-A-Thon 9. There aren't any pictures from that, because cameras, cellphones and similar electronic devices weren't allowed. Here's the report on Butt-Numb-A-Thon 9 that I made a few days after I got back home, in case you're wondering what went on there (I'm still laughing at how they ran a documentary about a urethroplasty during breakfast).

Butt-Numb-A-Thon 9 ended a little after noon on Sunday. I went back to where I'd parked the Jeep, at the Hilton Hotel a few blocks away, and then very tiredly headed back "home". On the main road to Deborah's house a storm front was roaring across the landscape, and I got to get a neat pic of that...

The front brought significantly lower temperates to that part of Texas: most of the time that I was there, it was around 70-72. The high the next day was 50.

When I got back, I found out that a FedEx person had come from the shipping facility not long after I'd left the previous day, driving his own car and very apologetic about how my package had been sitting at his office for three days without any attempt to deliver. I'll give FedEx credit for trying to make up for their bungling (in addition to their offering to refund my money). Now, what was so important about that package? I'd put some presents in it for Deborah and her family, out of gratitude for their providing me with a place to stay while I was there for the film festival. Some of this stuff that I was giving them weren't the kind of things that you want to bring on a commercial airliner. Namely, this very cool railroad spike knife (the entire knife, blade and handle, is forged from a single railroad spike) that my Dad made for me to give to Deborah's father...

I also gave Deborah some Star Wars figures from my personal collection that I knew she had been looking for, and gift cards for her and her sisters.

And that's pretty much it for the Texas trip. The next morning I finished packing, bid farewell to Deborah and her family (Lord willing, Lisa and I will be going to Austin in the spring and we'll get to see Deborah again) and then I headed to the airport, stopping at a shipping place on the way to get the HD-DVD player (the one that Harry gave everyone who attended Butt-Numb-A-Thon 9) and posters from the event sent home 'cuz there wasn't room to put them in my luggage. I turned in the Jeep, checked in my luggage, hopped on the plane, and started the journey home.

Very heartfelt thanks to Deborah Wilson, her dad, her sisters, and their dogs for hosting me while I was visiting Texas!

All in all, it was a terrific trip. And after everything else that's happened over this past year, the whole thing was a wonderful way to help cap off 2007. I hope and pray that maybe, just maybe, it'll be a sign that things might bode well for 2008 :-)

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a great time -- and Rosati's to boot!