28 August 2005

Blog Schedule, Vortex[as]

Sorry for the long (Tom) delay, friendly readers. I arrived back from Texas and am preparing for yet another move back to school tomorrow! My goal is to blog at least three times a week during the academic year, as time will be a bit more tight.

About this entry's title, I'm really mostly just kidding. Texas is not a vortex, although I was sort-of shocked at the culture down there - not in a bad way, just in a different way. I've taken some Implicit Association Tests, one of which quizzed me on my thoughts concerning Northerners and Southerners. Apparently, I had a strong automatic preference for the former over the latter, but I think that might have changed. My trip to Texas allowed me to experience firsthand the culture that I subconsciously had an aversion toward, and, I discovered that southerners are pretty darn cool! First of all, cowboys really do exist. Secondly, Texas has state pride bigger than the size of the indigenous insects down there (um, which are huge - I saw more then my fair share of critters the size of phalanges in colors that you'd only see on rainbow tie-dyed shirts). At first, I was a bit taken back at all this state pride, but upon further reflection, I thought it was kind of cool. It's really like they're their own little country. They have as much patriotic pride as Italians do (see picture at above left). And the people down there really are so friendly. They'll all stop what they're doing to talk with you or offer a helping hand.

With that said, here are some of the things I found amusing while visiting the Lone Star State:

Catfish everywhere (A restaurant called the Catfish Corral; Little stops with signs that read Ice cream, Burgers, Catfish; another restaurant called Catfish Palace)
Silverado Road
A billboard that read Sunday funny Sunday for the Dallas Post's Cartoon Section
Lots of thunderhead clouds
A whole lot of American cars
Slab Happy BBQ Restaurant
Beefmaster's Ranch
Lone stars on EVERYTHING (on highway supports, on the front of the supermarket, on the front of tire stores, on signposts, on cars, on houses, embedded in doors/glass, on the American National Bank)
Texas shaped EVERYTHING (stepping stones, decals, kitchen sink drains, cutting boards, pins, belt buckles)
Cotton Gin Restaurant and Club
Real cowboys (as previously mentioned) with boots, hats, accents, and all!
A gun store called Gun Barrel City
An advertisement for Best Bail Bonds 24 hour Jail Release
Wagon Wheels Antique Mall

A Benefit including a rodeo and concert
A 300 lb. man with garage sale furniture - all in the back of a pick-up truck
A meat farm with a sign that read "Watch your curves! Eat more beef!"
American and Texas flags everywhere (in stores, outside of stores, outside of churches, on t-shirts, outside of houses, schools, etc.)
Firework Stands (open only one week before New Year's Day and the fourth of July, the first one I saw was outside of Dallas, and it consisted of two sheds put together and painted with two huge Texas flags on it)
Texas Meat Market
Fartless Chili Mix

Many fenced ranches (with monograms, names, horseshoes, lone stars over the driveways)
Shriveled catfish heads hanging on fence posts (a vivid portrayal of a man's catch of the summer, sort-of like how some people in Maine hang dead deer in their front lawn, as eye-witnessed by my sister)
A myriad of Dairy Queens (of course, some with the Diary Queen logo inside an outline of the state of Texas)


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