Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Europe Recap Part 1: London

Time to recap the trip of a lifetime, or at least the trip of my 31-year lifetime. We'll go chronologically starting in London and then skip the 6 hours we were in Munich picking up the car (OK, we'll blog about that one separately) and head straight to Paris. Then we'll do the drive from Munich to Austria and finish with the last few days in Munich and the surrounding areas. Sounds good? OK, here we go...

Tower of London with Tower Bridge in the background...the ravens were still here, don't fret

London is great. I could spend a lot of time in London seeing everything and just being part of the culture, even if that just meant hanging out in pubs and walking around town. Living here would be a breeze, albeit it rather expensive. Public transportation is everywhere, bad ass cars are everywhere, people dress nicely and are polite, the food is great; it's a fantastic city. Oh and technology is everywhere and everyone uses it, unlike here where people still don't quite get using voicemail and such (no offense to those people, but if you're reading a blog it's highly unlikely you're one of those people). On the train to Heathrow you text your flight # to some hotline like 2322 on your phone and it texts you back immediately letting you know what terminal you're at, scheduled departure time and other pertinent information. At ATM's you can "top up" your prepaid mobile phone with additional credits. The list goes on. I'm a technology junkie and this was about as fantastic a place as one could find in that regard.

Tower Bridge during the London Marathon...major PITA, but entertaining nonetheless

One of the reasons I love London is the weather. Born and raised in a cold and seasonal climate, I'm used to cold/cool weather and actually prefer it over the "perfect" weather of SoCal, which is nice but gets kind of old at times. Our weather was cool the entire time and we got rained on rather hard for 30 minutes or so but past that it was just a mostly overcast and cool 50-60 degrees; sublime. Winter here must be great with snow everywhere and the history of London omnipresent. Whenever I think of winter I imagine an old Dickens novel or Ebeneezer Scrooge sitting at the desk around the industrial revolution and it was really cool to see these places in person. It really made me want to explore more of London and England as a whole.

The Queen's crib (she was home this day, BTW)

Meeting up with Katie's friend Ema from Manchester was a good time and it was nice to spend some time in the pub drinking with a local...even though she was from Manchester at the complete opposite end of the England...you get the idea. The culture is very much built around public meetings like a beer in the pub or an ice cream in the park. Not that this is any different than here or anywhere else, but for some reason it just feels more natural over there; more like I expect life to be like.

You laugh...$10 says you'll forget the first time you cross the street in London.

Food & drink were great. We had pub food a couple of times, grocery store sandwiches and chips the night we arrived, Indian food one night and pizza another. As I like to do when traveling, I imbibe in local beers/ales and London was a great place to try out local brews including several hand-pumped ales that are surely only found in England. Everyone kept telling me before I left "have a Guinness while in London!" and while I do love Guinness it's no longer the drink of Ireland or the British Isles, it's as American as apple pie. Budweiser, Stella and Guinness are American beers no matter how you slice it; deal with it Ireland and Belgium.

Yeah I get it...I'll watch my step getting off the Picadilly Line to Cockfosters

With the incredible and stable strength of the US Dollar, we were forced to be frugal and make wise decisions every step of the way with our money. The biggest and best decision we made was to use Priceline and bid for rooms. We stayed at a super nice Hilton (4-star) in a great area about 2-3 blocks from the "Tube" for $104 /night, and that includes taxes. Do your research and save a ton of money with Priceline; your bank account will thank me.

Established 100 years before a bunch of tea was dumped in Boston Harbor

I had to splurge on one thing in London. I had read about Lock & Co. Hatters online and their sterling reputation. Established 1676, Lock has been the hatter for the royal family, Captain James Cook and all sorts of notable people over their 300+ year history. What better place to buy a proper hat! The shop is SMALL. Ladies hats upstairs, gentlemen downstairs and not much room to stretch out. But you know what? It was perfect. I ended up buying their signature "country" cap the Gil which is handmade in the shop. It rules and it looks great, if I do say so myself. I wanted to buy an authentic "Coke" hat seen below (invented by Lock in 1850) as they use this wacky contraption set on your head to fit the hat EXACTLY to the shape of your head (it has been used for 100's of years and you can see the hat/head outlines made from this machine of Princess Diana, Capt. Coook and others on the walls) but this hat was around $500 USD so I settled for the still expensive, but reasonable Gil cap. Katie also got a super fun and floppy straw hat that looks great on her, though we don't have any photos. I'm sure a summer photo will show up on here with the hat atop her head :)

Lock & Co. invented the hat seen above that you may know as a "bowler." However, it's called a "Coke" should you visit the store, just to save you a bit of embarrassment, Love :)

Leaving London was a bummer. We thoroughly enjoyed our time and I think we both wish we could have spent at least 1 more day here. I missed seeing Chelsea play due to a last minute scheduling change from Saturday to the Monday when we left but that just means I have to go back! I'd say of all the places we visited, London was a solid #2 maybe tied for first with Germany. London truly is a fantastic city with so much to see and a friendly environment to immerse yourself in the entire time you're there. I will most certainly be headed back to London in the near future to catch some football, culture and another hat from Lock & Co. Cheers!

Things I love in this photo: Katie, London, Big Ben & Parliament, my Lock & Co. cap

Monday, April 28, 2008

This IS a blog about surfing, too...

So I haven't posted much surfing content as of late with the Europe trip and KU winning the national championship but that will change here today.

I picked this custom creation up on Saturday and I am STOKED. I am a disciple of the Bonzer cult and this is basically a standard shortboard shape in my dimensions with a Bonzer setup.

"What's a Bonzer setup" you ask? Well, it's a combination of bottom contours and fin placement that results in greater lift and efficiency of the surfboard as it cuts through the water. As water rushes through the fin cluster and deep bottom contours the last 1/3 of the board, the water is redirected and accelerated as it exits out the back of the board and gives the board incredible speed and a fabled "5th gear" that Bonzer disciples like myself go nuts for. If you have the means, I highly recommend giving one a shot as I know you'll fall in love with the design like I have.

6'5" x 19.375" x 2.5"

This type of board is hands down my favorite to surf and makes me look like I know what I am doing, which is always a good thing. The speed at which you fly down the line, the quickness at which you make your turns and the way the board just does exactly what you're thinking make this board the ultimate surf vehicle, in my book. There's a reason I own 4 of them and will surely own many more down the line.

Malcolm Campbell and his brother Duncan developed the idea back in the 60's and this board is the 4th collaboration I've done with Malcolm. When he starts describing what he's going to do after you tell him what you're looking for, your eyes just light up and you start seeing the board tearing up waves in your mind, he's that good. The wait time is usually about 6-8 months to get one done but I got mine done in record time: 4 months :)

The speed at which this was finished was surely due to this being a plain white board with no color or tint or anything out of the ordinary, with the exception of the totally bitchin red fins. I couldn't just go plain, I had to give it some sort of flair and this board is a stunner with a bleach white finish and crimson red fins. I've preliminarily dubbed this one "Red 5" as a tribute to Luke Skywalker's call sign in Star Wars and the 5 beautiful fins on the business end of the board. If this performs anything like my previous Bonzer creations, it should go as fast as an X-Wing Fighter!

(All photos courtesy of JP over at SurfySurfy. He and his family do all the glassing/color on my boards and are the best in the business, bar none...check out JP's blog, it ROCKS!!)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Welcome home

So we arrived back to the USA last night via Los Angeles International Airport. After going through customs at 3 international airports in Europe, I can officially say that customs and security in the US is head and shoulders worse than anything out there.

I'll give LAX the benefit of the doubt in that it has to be one of the biggest--if not THE biggest--entry points into the USA, but still... How about Heathrow? That has to be the largest entry point into Europe and it was sure packed enough to lead you to believe it so. From the time we got off the plane, cleared customs and grabbed our bags, it could not have been more than 20 minutes; the majority of that time spent waiting for bags. Last night, from the time we got off the plane and were outside waiting for a ride it had to be at least an hour due in large part to a haphazard and overly redundant system of checking and re-checking the same document 4 times.

Whatever. It is what it is, but you just hate ending your trip on the sourest of notes: immigration at LAX.

Oh and a special side-note. I won't get all political on you, but as you're walking down the tunnel to immigration at LAX from the Bradley terminal, you are greeted with pictures of President Bush and Vice President Cheney hanging above the moving walkway so you cannot miss them. No offense to either guy, but with the current state of affairs around the world and the overwhelming popularity of the USA abroad (my sarcasm font wouldn't work for those previous statements)...do we really want the first thing foreigners see when entering customs the photos of these two guys?? If I were a foreigner, the sight of Boss Hogg and Rosco P. Coltrane would surely deter me from wanting to proceed further. Wait...maybe that's their way of keeping people out of the states and controlling immigration... Good play, USA...good play...

So, posts all next week on the trip with photos now that I am back on my "mothership" system and have uploaded the 600 some photos I took. Needless to say, there are some real winners.

Talk to you soon...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Munich rocks

So, I'm not gonna type much right now and probably will wait until I get back to really post up all the good stories and photos from this trip, but I had to step in for a moment and proclaim Munich as one of the coolest places on Earth.

Last night we went with Katie's friend Sebastian who lives here in Munich to the Spring Festival. It was explained to us as a "mini-Oktoberfest" which was surely a good sign. It turned out to be one hell of a party. There were probably about 1500 Germans in the beer tent (this was no tourist thing; you had to be local to know anything was going on and what it was) that was located at the Oktoberfest fair grounds. By the time we left at 11PM (when the tent closed) I had downed 4 liters of Augustiner Bier, which is a Munich beer that does no advertising and does not export their beer outside of Munich. Talk about a local brew!

Dancing on tables, singing, toasting, making friends with Germans; it rocked. You really get a feel for the culture and the heartbeat of the city when you experience something as fun as that festival. Lord knows how many liters of beer were poured last night, but it's safe to say they floated a few hundred kegs before the night was through.

OK, tomorrow is our last full day before we fly back. We're off to the castles in the South and to Oberammergau for a pretty little Bavarian town that everybody pictures when they think of Germany. You'll see photos when I return to the US.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Holy sh*t I love driving in Germany

We flew out of Paris this afternoon after spending the morning enjoying a little shopping and our last baguette and cheese DIY lunch kit, which was tres bien.

But, past the baguettes and cheese, I was done with Paris. We were there for a little over 2 days and that's about all I need to see of Paris; no real desire to head back. People were pushy, sort of rude, in a hurry everywhere and didn't seem too interested in trying to work with our Frenglish. No hard feelings because I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but it was time to head off to a better and friendlier place: Germany. But wait just a second...we were in Germany for about 4 hours after getting baggage and catching a train back to Munich and BMW Welt, then we hopped in the uber-wagon and drove to Salzburg, Austria where I'm typing this from right now.

Oh, and drive we did. Once we hit A-8 (the Autobahn stretch between Munich and Salzburg), all bets were off and the car said "let's have a little fun, Herr Mills." So, we got the old girl going and sh*t was it a ride to remember. The wagon is a beast. Let me say that again: A BEAST. It drives so perfectly, so quickly, and is so well-equipped it has validated my decision choosing between a wagon and a sedan. I'm gonna love this car, that's for sure.

It is so built to be the Ultimate Driving Machine, it deserves every letter of that moniker it bears. The orchestra of cars weaving in and out of traffic at warp speeds began right on cue and we, in turn, joined the symphony. We only hit about 130mph before we decided to call it good and chill out around 105mph for those areas without a posted speed limit; it was dusk/night, after all, and safety first. You have no idea how freaking insane and awesome it is to legally drive your car at 130mph and have a squadron of other German cars along with you for the ride. We got passed by X5's and 5's traveling at probably 130-140mph and I remembered after the 1st pass at 100mph why I did European Delivery again and will probably be back here in 3 years to do it again...

Anyway, we sightsee Salzburg tomorrow and just take it easy. Paris was a real ass-kicker and we walked our asses off and could use a break and a city center that is about 1/4 mile wide and 1/2 mile long should do the trick.

I'll post some photos
tomorrow as we don't really have much to share with y'all. Until then, gtuen nacht!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Paris is for lovers...and people who like to walk

Oh ho ho!! Oui! Oui!! Tres manifique baguette! (that's all the French I know...)

So we dropped the car off yesterday, 10 minutes after they gave me the keys. So sad. But, we hopped a quick flight to Paris and arrived last night.

First impression of Paris after getting off the plane, boarding the CEC train to the Des Halles stop and getting lost looking for our hotel that was just 2 blocks from the train stop? GET THE F*CK BACK ON THE PLANE!! Sketchy, to say the least, with 2 mean/weird looking dudes that even meanier/weirder dogs on the train and all sorts of unsavory folk up until we made it into the hotel. This part of Paris (1/2 mile from the Louvre) is no place for Americans around 9PM at night, that's for sure.

Wouldn't you Louvre to be here?

Never ones to buy into 1st impressions, we gave Paris a 2nd chance this morning and were glad we did. The weather was super cold (probably about 40-45 this morning with brisk winds) but it got lovely by the end of the day and we ditched the coats in favor of sweaters and sunglasses. We walked around 12 miles today (per our calculated route in the guidebooks afterwards) and damn are our feet tired! We went up in the Eiffel Tower which is pretty damn cool and imposing, to be sure.

It looks way bigger than it does here...and far more French

Walking back to the hotel, we ended up at Notre Dame (the church, not the Touchdown Jesus school) and that place is incredible. Un-freaking-believable. I've never seen anything more amazing in my life. My camera has all the interior photos so you'll have to wait, but suffice it to say that this has to be the most amazing church in Europe and words--nor a few pictures--can do this place justice. You truly have to come here and see it for yourself, catholic or not. I caught myself several times strolling through the interior of the church mutter "holy sh*t" as I stared at the ceilings that appear to be about a mile high and the length of the church that seems endless. The stained glass should be a new world wonder...

This place is tres manifique

After 12 miles of walking, we're calling it a day. We picked up a baguette, some formage (cheese) and warm coke as the Europeans don't seem to know what ice is--nor the proper storage and service of carbonated beverages--and eating in the hotel room and getting some well deserved rest. BTW, food--rather drinks--are stupid expensive here in the city of lights, WAY more than London which was/is a total surprise. We ate at a cafe in a park about 1/4 mile past the Louvre and shared a 1L bottle of coke. The price? 12.50 Euro. For those of you scoring at home, that is $19.72. Oh and it's not just that place, it's everywhere. I am yet to see a 250mL bottle of coke (a small bottle or regular can) for less than 2 Euro in any restaurant; it's 4 Euro in the mini bar at the hotel. Beer is around 4 Euro for 250mL and you don't really get any breaks for buying in bulk; 1/2L will cost you around 8 Euro and it's sh*t beer, not the real deal like in Germany. Sidenote: a 1/2L of beer (Hofbrau, Spaten, Becks, you name it) at the Munich airport costs 3.8 Euro; talk about a country that has their priorities right. Myself and my bank account can't wait until we head back to Munich.

You can now clean the $0.10 of Coke or Sprite off your monitor and keyboard.

OK, tomorrow is museum day (Louvre and D'Orsay) and Moulin Rouge and more 2-Euro Cokes...if we shop around!

Paris is for lovers...so when in Rome...

Monday, April 14, 2008


Mein Auto

Ho hum day. Caught a flight from LHR to MUC. Rode the train into Munich. Oh yeah, and picked up a new BMW. Here's the only photo of the car I have (right now) since my camera can't upload photos for a little while. I give you: M-2531Z. We immediately parked the car in the garage and hopped a flight to Paris so I won't see it again until Thursday but sh*t is it cool and BMW kicks some MAJOR ASS with the BMW Welt and European Delivery program. More on this later...in my 3rd country today and I need some rest.

OK, bedtime. I'll send more tomorrow, I promise... In the meantime, here's me freaking out eating a pretzel at BMW Welt and me giving the old girl a good once over.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Day 1: Disaster averted...

OK, so we made it to London...which was no easy feat. Our flight left LAX @ midnight, 2 hours later than it was scheduled. No big deal; we should still have enough time to make it to our connection in Boston.


Rough weather slowed us down and we arrived at our gate and looked 2 gates down and saw a Boeing 777...our plane, as it were. Look at the watch: 8:55AM. Connection leaves at 9:00AM. F*ck.

The flight attendants make an announcement that the 3 people on our flight that were off to London should be let through to the front so we push through and run like mad 2 gates down as the people at the gate are waving at us furiously and one is holding the door open. We get there, give them the tickets and I ask "are our bags going to make it?" to which she replied, "I'm just trying to make sure YOU make it...who knows about your bags."

So, we enjoy our 6 hour flight and get through customs and wait for our bags...and they start their trip around the carousel at LHR. Relief, to say the least.

We can give American Airlines all the crap they want for the FUBAR situation back in the states but I gotta hand it to them: they came through when we needed them to. We're pretty impressed that as the doors were closing to the jetway and the push-back not 7 minutes after we sat down, our bags magically made it on the flight.

Anyway, London today and this city is the bacon, no doubt about it. I'll post some photos later but I screwed up. Not only did I forget my headset for Skype but I brought the wrong USB cable for the camera so I cannot transfer any photos on my camera to the laptop. I did (oddly enough) bring the right cable for Katie's camera so I will be showing her photos until I get home and post my photos.

OK, no idea what time it is I just know I'm a tired ass mofo. I will post more tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Auf Wiedersehen!

There comes a time in every young man's life when he must travel overseas to pick up a new car...or just backpack across Europe...whatever...
- Bryan Mills

The time is upon us. It is go-time. All systems are a GO for launch over to Europe to pick up the new car. It has been a frenzied last couple weeks with work and planning and what not, but I think we're ready to get up and go. I'll have to do some work while I am overseas (not really a big deal) but with the connectivity/transparency I have setup with my personal and business life, most people won't even realize that I'm gone.

If you know me, you know that I cannot be disconnected from the digital world at all. With that said, I'll be blogging while over in Europe for the next 12 days. If this adventure is anything like my last extended overseas vacation, it should be a pretty entertaining read.

To recap, here's the itinerary...

4/10: Fly to Boston en route to London
4/11: Arrive late in London, grab a Guinness...pass out
4/12 - 4/13: Dilly dally in London trying not to buy much stuff due to the weak-ass US Dollar, aka the Steve Urkel of currencies. I will, however, be splurging for a belated birthday present and buying myself a fine hat from the oldest hat shop in London (founded 1676) James Lock & Co. Hatters.
4/14: Hop on a flight to Munich...go to BMW delivery center and pick up the car...drive car out the front door, make a left turn and park it...hop on a train back to MUC and fly to France
4/15 - 4/17: We're visiting some off-the-beaten-path city in France named Paris...I'll let you know what it's like
4/18: Fly back to Munich, pick up the car and drive to Salzburg, Austria and look for the Von Trapp family. 71.7 miles from Munich to Austria...should take about 40 minutes to get there :)
4/19: Relax in lovely Salzburg and enjoy everything Salzburg has to offer
4/20: Take the scenic route back to Munich and meet up with my sister and brother in law
4/21 - 4/22: BIER...lots and lots of the best bier on Earth...drive all around Bavaria in the BMW and let the car experience freedom before having its nuts cut off and sent back to the no fun zone, aka USA Freeways
4/23: Hop on a plane and get back to LA with loads of photos, souveniers and hopefully no parking tickets :)

We're super stoked, we have everything all set up and now we just gotta get the hell out of here. So gang, keep checking back here as I'll be posting regularly and I guarantee you'll dig it.

Auf Wiedersehen!

2008 NCAA Final Four Wrap-Up

Well, here's your summary of the 2008 NCAA Tournament as told by a ridiculously happy and grateful Jayhawk. If you're not a Jayhawk fan by now, you will be after reading and seeing everything below.

Final Four
Could this have been scripted any better? The similarities to 1988 were a little too similar. The team had the swagger and never give up attitude. The balls bounced their way when they needed to, and they capitalized on every mistake their opponents made. You just knew that this was a special team and this Final Four would be like no other KU has ever been to.

Oh yeah, and the guy that walked away from KU 5 years ago after vowing he'd never leave had to face KU in the semi-finals; how about that for payback and closure all in one game?! UNC was favored to win and probably should have, but KU came out and showed old Roy that KU is better off without him and he can keep his Carolina Blue as long as he wants. The ass-kicking (and that's the only way you could describe it) was marred by about 10-12 minutes of poor basketball by KU that allowed UNC to cut it to 4, but KU pulled away with 10 minutes left and ended up pummeling UNC by 18 which in no way reflects how thoroughly UNC got beat.

Smart sweater, Roy.

Enter the final game for all the marbles. Memphis had it's weaknesses and was all too dependent on the "dribble drive" offense that Calipari used. They turned out to be more than I thought they were but when it comes down to the "putting" portion of the game over the "driving" portion, KU proved that you drive for show and you put for dough. Missed free-throws, poor play calling, questionable plays by the players all killed Memphis' dream and they'll always be remembered for blowing a 9-point lead with 2 minutes left.

Oh, but don't think it was all Memphis' fault they lost. There happened to be probably the greatest Jayhawk team EVER on the other side of the floor that played perfect team basketball. I told people from day 1 that nobody has played a better basketball team than KU, period. Sure, every team has their stud that averages 20+ or whatever but that's 1 dude and 4 guys helping him look good...that doesn't win championships. KU is a balanced attack that proved it can win any game, any way you ask them to. Bill Self simply outcoached every other coach at the Dance and was rewarded justly for doing so.

The Reaction

You think winning the NCAA Championship isn't the biggest thing EVER for KU Basketball fans? Try this on for size. This video was taken from Allen Field House (the HOME OF THE JAYHAWKS!) during Mario Chalmers' "shot heard 'round the world."

Wow. Keep in mind this is just the basketball stadium. Every bar and restaurant, retail shop and home in Larence was jam packed with people watching the game. Bars were charging $30/hr to hold a table during the day and people were lined up in front of bars and restaurants since 7AM to watch a game that started at 8PM. An estimated 40,000 people were crowded on Mass. Street after the game; a street that is only about 6 or 7 blocks long where you'll find bars and shops and such.

Caption of this photo on the scout.com message board read "Lawrence looked pretty dead last night"

Final Thoughts, ala Jerry Springer

All in all, much like Bill Self lamented, this is way better than I thought it would be. 12 years of dedication to KU basketball through the band, being a fan, student, donor, you name it and I could not ask for a more amazing payoff. I'm so proud of the team, the coaches, everyone; they deserve this more than anyone. In an age when you hear so much bad stuff happening with student athletes, coaches breaking rules, NCAA violations and you name it, KU stands strong. The players are students first, athletes second and their conduct on and off the floor is in direct correlation to the man that leads them: Coach Bill Self.

Allen Field House. I think this is after we won...but ya never can tell with these things

There are rumors swirling around Bill Self is leaving to go back to his alma mater OSU and the choice is totally up to him. But, I don't think he's gonna leave. I think he recognizes the significance of where he is, what he's done and what he'll continue to do at KU. This guy is amazing and in 1/3 the time Roy was here, delivered the 1 thing Roy could never achieve: an NCAA Championship.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


The greatest shot in NCAA tournament history, courtesy of Mario Chalmers

They did it. My Kansas Jayhawks capped an unbelievable comeback with a 75-68 overtime victory over Memphis. I'm still in shock and can't believe we won. I've dedicated 12 years of my life to this program and would have dedicated 19 more had I known what an amazing brotherhood it has turned out to be. As I watched the final seconds tick away in OT I stood up and I cried the tears of joy that have been earmarked 12 years now for this very moment.

Oh there have been many tears shed for KU basketball over the years, but almost all of them have been tears of frustration, disappointment and sadness. We've been led to the altar so many times, to be ditched by our soul mate that elusive national championship.

Once Chalmers hit that 3, it was over. Overtime was just a chance for some more advertisements and fanfare leading up to what was rightfully ours. They had it and they knew it. They played those last 5 minutes with the confidence, ability and heart that got them there the previous 4 games of the tournament. We'll blog more about this later...

I'll post more tomorrow, including my NCAA 2008 Tournament recap and such but for now I just want to bask in the magnificence that is being the 2008 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball CHAMPIONS :)


Oh yeah, it's YouTube Tuesday...so here it is. THIS is the greatest shot in NCAA Tournament history and if you think otherwise, you don't know squat about basketball :)

Friday, April 04, 2008

On the eve of the Final Four...

I am so excited for the Final Four tomorrow, I can barely stand it. I'm scared, I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm everything. More than anything else, I'm proud to be a Jayhawk.

In a strange twist of irony, I remember the words of former coach Roy Williams: enjoy the ride. I'm enjoying the ride. I'm enjoying every second of this magical season, for it's not the destination but the journey that we should be thankful for. Strange that on the eve of the day that EVERY Kansas fan has been waiting for, I take solace in the words he preached non-stop the entire time I was in Lawrence. I believe those words and no matter what happens tomorrow I will remember the preachings of KU's wayward son and remember everything from Late Night to the Final Four.

Don't get me wrong, I believe the way Roy handled his departure from KU was f*cked up. He should have left back in 2000 when he wanted to not bide his time until UNC came calling again. He left for the wrong reasons; it was never his choice. The Puppetmaster (Dean Smith) whispered in his ear like the Emperor to Darth Vader and Roy was told he was The Chosen One to revive the UNC program. Roy will always live in the shadow of Dean Smith, no matter how many championships he wins, how many Michael Jordans he recruits...and Roy thinks otherwise. UNC is Roy, not the other way around...unlike here at KU.

Do I hate Roy? I used to, but I got over it. I went so far as to write a letter and send it to UNC after he left us, expressing my extreme disappointment. I'm not kidding here. After our loss in the 1998 NCAA tournament, we in the band were all hanging out near the locker room and Roy saw us. He approached us with tears in his eyes and he looked me in the eye, shook my hand and said "I'm sorry I let you down." My letter to Roy concluded as such...

You didn't let me down in 1998, coach Williams. I was proud of you and the team you coached; I enjoyed the ride, not the destination, like you had instilled in us from day one. But, now, you have let me down and I am the one with tears in my eyes. Your departure isn't sad because you are gone, it's sad because I no longer respect someone who I judged all others by. I'd ask myself "what would Roy do?" and I never thought Roy would do this. Unlike UNC, KU is more than just a coach; it is a tradition, a history and future built on coaches, players, support staff and fans and you were blessed to be a part of that tradition that is Kansas Basketball, much the same way that I still am. I cherish the times you were here and I wish you luck in all you do, but I'm glad you are gone because there are others far more worthy to lead this program than you. I hope you meet KU someday and it's the hardest game of your life; the weight of 15 years, millions of fans and a history of coming up short a constant reminder that for once you chose the destination, not the ride, and let us all down. Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

I don't hate Roy, I just love KU. I love Bill Self and see him as the right man for the job. Will he leave someday? I dunno. Maybe. It doesn't matter. KU is bigger than one coach and Roy leaving was sad, but not the end of the world. When Dean Smith left UNC, it was the end of their world. They needed somebody to "revive" the program because the program was...er, still is...Dean Smith; all about the coach. That is why KU will always be a basketball program and UNC will be Roy Williams. This is why I'm proud to be a Jayhawk and could give a shit about North Carolina, just like Roy Williams :)


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Spring Cleaning - Part II

Not sullen over losing the beard, it's just been a long week...

Yup. No more beard. Not exactly sure why I shaved it off late last week, but whatever the reason it's gone.

Do I like life without the beard? Eh, who knows; it's been like 4 days. I think I like the bearded life better than the clean-shaven world I'm currently living in, but it takes like a week and a half to get back to where I was so it's not like I gotta wait for Halley's Comet to show up before I can grow it back.

Like Peter Griffin said "With great beard comes great responsibility..." I'm just not interested in that kind of pressure, right now, ya know?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

YouTube Tuesday - Mass. Street Rocks

This is Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, KS; home of the University of Kansas. It's commonly called "Mass Street" and is Main Street USA...er, Main Street Lawrence, KS as it were.

This was minutes after KU defeated Davidson 59-57 in Sunday's Midwest Regional final.

Yeah, you might say that Lawrence was pretty stoked for the team. I heard when KU won it all in 1988, Mass St. was like Bourbon Street; solid people from end to end and the party lasted until morning.

You have no idea how much I wish I was there to celebrate with the KU faithful :)