Saturday, September 29, 2007

Panhandle Week Stats

Total Miles driven : 864.5

Total sit down meals eaten : 2

Total Fast Food meals eaten : 4

Total trips to Gas station for fuel : 4

Total Schools visited : 7

The Amarillo Wrap Up

Days 3 and 4 were busy ones. Obviously, I did not have too much access to Internet nor time to really do anything. On day 3, I did a little triangle drawing starting my day driving to Borger, TX to Frank Phillips College to do some recruiting. For those who do not know, Frank Phillips is the same Phillips of the Phillips 66 gasoline company. There were quite a bit of oil rigs and refineries in Borger, so knowing that Phillips was from this area helped make since of all of the oil machinery.

From Borger, I ran north to Perryton, TX. This is about 15 minutes from the Oklahoma Panhandle border. I met a girl (who happened to be my hostess) who was really interested in UNT. She really wanted to come join our Photojournalism program. That was really cool. In the past, we have had some great interest come from Perryton. From Perryton, I shot down SH 70 to Pampa. That was a beautiful drive because it went through a few canyons and I got to see the "Grand Canyon of Texas." It was beautiful. There were also so many colors too.. I wish that I had brought my camera so I could take some pictures, but next time though.

Pampa was a slow program due to church and "Saw you at the pole" activities (this is what the program's host called it, but it is actually "See you at the pole".

I then drove through the rain from Pampa to Childress, stopping in between at this odd gas station to devour a sandwich at the obscure Subway shop inside. The lady inside peered all through my cup to make sure that it did not have a hole in it. Fortunately it did not have a hole, but it did pick up a few germs as she put the cup open side down on her counter that she probably hadn't wiped down in a few hours.

I continued on to Childress where I was hit with the powerful mixture of smells of cow patties and petroleum. It was AWESOME! I stayed in a podunk Best Western who has a history of screwing people (they charged me for a stay before I even made it to Childress) and left immediately first thing in the morning.

After my Childress program where the TX Army National Guard guys held a concert playing the rock music so loud that I had to yell to talk to students, I made a pit stop at a Kettle restaurant, ate me some vegetable soup and Salisbury steak and drove the 4 hours back to the Metroplex.

The Panhandle was a good trip. It was pretty cool because it was my first long term (more than just driving through) trip to this region of Texas. There was a lot of cool scenery. I definitely want to go visit the Palo Duro Canyon State Park sometime so I can see more of this beautiful scenery.
Photo Credit: This is a picture from Palo Duro State Park.. A small sample of what I saw while driving around the Panhandle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Day 2: "More Cattle per capita than people"

Today I visited Hereford, TX, the county seat of Deaf Smith County. It was a cool little country town, lots of farm land, they actually had a few restaurants, and a Wal-Mart. Oh, and they have cows. And LOTS of COWS. As the title says, more cattle than people. On the farm lands, there were lots of cows. There were even cows on the "Welcome to Hereford" signs.. Nice.. And the sign for the water system.. It was "Acceptable". In most North Texas and Gulf Coast cities, this sign usually says "Superior". This means that the public water system meets certain requirements based on the TCEQ or the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality states. Needless to say, I tried to stay clear of their water and ice. I guess I shouldn't have had that slushie after all.. Oops.. The most likely reason that the water system was not up to par probably stems from the cows and the run off that they produce. All of that ammonia and fecal matter that they produce, including all of the medicines that the cows ingest from their meal to keep them strong and ready to eat that do not automatically disappear like everybody seems to think.

Upon returning from Hereford, I tried to eat at this Health Food store / restaurant that Nathan suggested to me from his cross country trio, but by time I drove around the block 5 times trying to find it, the lady told me that the restaurant closed at 4pm (I got there at 4:15) and that all they had left over was sandwiches. That made me a little frustrated. I was curious about this place and what they served because they are a specialty health food place, but I guess that I will never know. Instead, I ate at Whataburger out of frustration of not finding any place else that I could sit down and eat at.... I should have waited like I really wanted to because upon arriving at the Civic Center for the next program, I found out that they had food.. It was sandwiches, but they still smelled good..

My night time program was at the Amarillo Civic Center and it went well. It was actually more busy than I anticipated. After talking to the citizenry here, there are a lot of cousins, brothers and sisters that attend North Texas from the Panhandle region than I thought.

Tomorrow, I will be doing a northern tour of the panhandle with stops in Borger (with the hard "g" like bor-guh-er, not bor-g-er as I have been pronouncing it all this time), Perryton (about 10 minutes away from the OK border) and Pampa. From Pampa, I will be making my final pit stop in Childress where I will stay the night, do my program Thursday morning and head back to DFW Thursday afternoon..

Now it is time to code cards and do reports.. YAY!! :)

P.S. Hereford has a population of 14,531 as of 2006, so it is not like it is a really small town or something like that...
P.S.S. WTAMU, has an awesome college radio station that totally gets me.. They tout themselves at the "Station for your generation" and it totally fits. They play alternative music and good stuff like Oasis, Chelsea Dagger and Kaisers and so much more.. It is now my #1 favorite Amarillo/Canyon station!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Adventures in recruiting : Panhandle Day 1

Well it all started out with a delayed flight. I was supposed to leave DFW at 815, but we did not end up leaving until 9. And the plane was really cramped... This will teach me to fly a regional jet with American Eagle. It was literally a sardine can.

However, when we got to Amarillo, the weather made up for it because it was nice and crisp which is something that I cannot say about the weather in the Metroplex.

I picked up my car from the rental company and it was a Kia Rondo. It wasn't quite what I had envisioned, but it works. I didn't think that Enterprise would carry foreign cars (although Kia's are pretty cheap which may be the reason that they have it). So after getting my car, I went to the OTHER Hampton Inn in town because I had inadvertently given the front office staff the wrong address to ship my materials to. I had to wait in line for 10 minutes to get my stuff because the receptionist was booking some major party or event of some kind.

After I grabbed my 8 boxes of stuff, I headed to the big town of Dalhart. This is in the northern part of the TX Panhandle and it approximately 15 minutes away from New Mexico. (Side note : I totally wanted to go to NM, but I told the dude at the car place that I would not take the car out of state and I only got about 2 hours of sleep last night, so I figured that I would go back to my hotel so I can just relax because this will be the only day like this that I will get to hangout for the night and not have any night programs.)

On the way to Dalhart I encountered a lot of hills and red dirt. Supposedly this area is hilly and contains plateaus... It was very nice.. Very picturesque of a desert. I think that I did more 'sightseeing' than actual road watching.

There were 3 schools in attendance at the program. The genius staff at Dalhart High School, the host school, thought that it would be a 'good idea' to have their kids have the recruiters sign a piece of paper saying that the student 'visited' with a recruiter and gained some knowledge about the college admissions process. Well they were wrong. Students just came up to me and said, "Would you sign this?" I replied with "Do you have any questions about UNT that I can help you with?" and they replied, "I don't know" or "No." This was frustrating because it was waisting my time and the time of the other recruiters who were talking with students who really cared about college and weren't just "trying to get the grade."

So after I left the program, I decided to take a different way back to Amarillo to see some other places and I got to drive through Dumas. This is a small to medium size town and it actually had stoplights. It was the only one that I encountered besides Amarillo with stop lights. It was cool seeing Dumas because my roommate for Orientation at UNT was from Dumas and now I have an appreciation of where he was coming from.

Upon arriving back to my hotel, I watched the local NBC station's 5 PM newscast. It was definitely different than a large market newscast. They did the whole weather cast within the first 5 minutes of the show, whereas others will save it for 15 minutes in the show. And the weatherperson had no flow. She was about as bad as me when it comes to speaking. She kept stumbling across her words and would loose track of what she was trying to convey. **There is going to be a cold front coming through tonight so it will get even cooler. Tomorrow, it is not supposed to get any warmer than the low 80's and will be in the high 50's at night time!! Can you say "sweater weather?"

Following the newscast, I went over to Cracker Barrel by myself for dinner. It was tasty. I had meat loaf. It just kinda sucked because I didn't have anybody to talk to, but I don't know the other recruiters here and I haven't seen any of my friends from last week, but maybe I will run into somebody tomorrow.

I then checked out the local grocery store. Here they are called United. It is a locally owned chain similar to HEB. I bought some "Dr. U" and some Root Beer. I just had a root beer and it was pretty good. Not as good as HEB, but it can have a spot up there.. It is cool to go into a grocery store because it can tell you a lot about a community. It tells who lives in the area and what the income range is. This store had a lot of Hispanic fares which I did not expect from this area because it is so far away from the border. They also had good prices on produce. A head of cabbage was $0.49 a pound, whereas that would be $1.69 a pound in the Metroplex. Milk prices were comparable to the Metroplex, $3.89 a gallon. I think that will be a constant trend as milk prices everywhere are expected to rise.

Tonight I will do my report and probably go to bed after the News at 10 to try to catch up on some lost sleep.

Tomorrow, I will be heading south to Hereford and I have to run by Amarillo College and then hangout at the Amarillo Conference Center for another program tomorrow night.

Off to the ironing board.. Literally, I have to iron my clothes for tomorrow.. :)

Photo Credit: This is from the Cadillac Ranch to the West of town. I passed this today on my way to Dalhart.. It was pretty cool. Just random cars sticking out from the ground.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Running Update: It's going...

So the running thing has been ok.. I have been running for about a week now, but I have not made much progress. My body is doing a bit of resisting, but I think that I can work through that. On Monday and Tuesday, I ran a total of 2.75 miles, so I think that is a nice start. I took yesterday off because I was really tired and had to sit in meetings all afternoon. Today, I am still a little tired, but I still plan to run tonight. (Only after the LIVE DOUBLE Eviction on Big Brother 8, I am sorry to say this, but goodbye Eric and Jessica) After all of that drama, I probably will need to run off some sorrow for my 2 favorite players in the Big Brother game.. I am aiming to run at least 4 days a week, so with tonight and one more day this week (most likely Friday or Sunday) I can meet that goal..

I bought the September edition of RunnersWorld Magazine and I enjoyed reading it. It was very inspiring and had a lot of good tips in it. It also has a lot of dates for competitions and races which will be helpful in the future. I just sent out my postcard requesting a subscription, so I will be eagerly awaiting the next edition.

But anyways, it has been good so far. It has been a good opportunity to get back to my iPod and the great music that it has stored on it. It is also a good excuse to buy more music from iTunes to put on the iPod. ;)

Side note: The new iPod has been announced, and it is just like an iPhone, but without the phone. This is really cool, especially with all of the future traveling I will be doing :)

Welcome Jack, Welcome Jack, Welcome Jack

Houston now has its own Jack Station! He booted out the Classic Rock station and moved into his new headquarters at 103.7 on the FM dial. This has some Houstonians concerned because they are down to one classic rock station now (KKRW, Clear Channel's The Arrow 93.7FM). They may not have to worry long though because according to Mike McGuff 95.7 The Wave is on "life support due to low PPM ratings".

This new Jack station is a great addition to the Houston airwaves. The DJ-less format will be a nice welcome to Houstonians who just want to listen to good music during the long drive home. There has not been another station like it on the non-HD airwaves before (106.9 the Point which was similar to Jack format but with just 90's music).

A little oddity though is that this station is owned by Cumulus Communications (same as 104.1 KRBE). Most Jack stations are owned by CBS Radio, especially big markets (especially Houston). The Jack station in Dallas is owned by CBS Radio.

I listened to the new 103.7 Jack-FM online yesterday and it was just like I was listening to my DFW Jack station but with Houston commercials. Even Jack's voice was the same, which is cool. They are using the main logo, so it blends in well with all of the other Jack Stations.

So when in Houston, lend Jack your ear. Just be sure to not tell him what to play 'cause he plays what HE wants...