Working title

(Seriously, I’m open to suggestions on this title. I’m actually welcoming them. I’m going to keep a journal of this first run through Big 12 country. It occurs to be a lot of this is going to be me eating barbeque and telling funny stories. Piggin’ n Grinning’? This is open to debate.)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The eve of WVU’s introduction to the Big 12 Conference at Monday and Tuesday’s media day in Dallas started early in the morning as I headed to Pittsburgh’s international airport.

I was stopped at the (second) Sheetz intersection in Stay City just shy of the interstate entrances. An Avalanche pulled up on my left and the passenger looked at me in my low-to-the-ground 2004 Chevy Cavalier and cracked, “That thing got a hemi?”

Uh, yeah. That’s why I have to open the door to tell you this since the windows don’t work. I was equal parts amused and furious. The next 20 or so minutes I was wishing I had peeled off the “jerk store” line I thought of, but couldn’t unleash on account of the window-door-green light thing.

I’m happy to tell you I saw said Avalanche pulled over by Pennsylvania law enforcement a little past Waynesburg. By the time I got to Heidelberg, I was really mad I hadn’t crept up on the shoulder with the cop car and the Avalanche, opened the passenger door and let loose my “jerk store” line.

At the airport, my trip through security was interrupted by Rick Ross strutting through the airline employee line without any suggestion of an objection from the staff.

Let it be known: Mr. Ross is short — shorter than his lyrics hint — and wears sunglasses indoors. He has a multi-person entourage that looks like it hasn’t slept and stayed up all night going, “Yo, we’re in his entourage! Gimme that…”

This is how I prefer my rappers.

Later, we learned Mr. Ross rides commercial, but first class. His entourage flies coach, but will pay you dead presidents for your window seat.

This is from later in the day, but it is nevertheless a shot of my car. Good to know Hertz is immune to the commonly held thought that everything is bigger in Texas.

As for in between, I worked the Jim Carlen story and spent the afternoon with my cousins in Fort Worth. They told me a tale about someone they met who is a student at Boston College and is a big, big fan of this blog. They swear they aren’t pulling my leg.

This is me shouting out to that student at Boston College to show himself.

I did get back to the hotel in time to eat. I consulted Daron Roberts, as we had previously discussed. He suggested this spot.

Quite a place. Geoff Coyle and I swung open the doors a little after 8 o’clock and immediately ran into cafeteria-style service. You picked your menu choices — one serving of beef, ham, sausage, chicken or turkey … or a combination of three of those — and then take unlimited portions/refills of baked beans, macaroni and cheese, green beans, coleslaw and potato salad.

Daron keeps his Zagat card! Not picture: Ambiance. Listen, I don’t want soft music or dim lights or anybody in the restroom shaping my hygiene  … unless it’s the very literal interpretation of the “Employees must wash hands” sign and an employee must actually wash my hands. Then we’re OK.

But I want to eat and make a mess and not have to worry about that guy staring and that woman cutting her ribs with a knife and fork. I want paper towls, wet wipes and a toothpick and someone to come over every so often and check if my pause is because I’m done or because I need an ambulance.

All of the above were satisfied. The cafeteria style was obtuse, but let’s be honest: Food is typically kept in similar circumstances behind a wall so you can’t see it. It wasn’t an issue.

The bummer? No ribs. We were close to the 9 p.m. closing time and my guess is they were out and didn’t want to fire up orders for Coyle and me … but we wanted them. Dearly, I think.

I don’t know, but there are a ton of barbeque places here. I think the appropriate praise is I’d probably come back and I would suggest it to others off the top of my head.

Finally, this is what they call my room. I often forget my room number or the floor I’m staying on in a hotel. I guess you can say I’ll … remember … this time?

Tuesday, July 23, 2012

I really should have had my camera out and ready, but I sincerely was not expecting what I experienced entering the Westin Galleria this morning. It was like walking into Disney Land. There were mascots and cheerleaders everywhere talking to fans and media and players and coaches and administrators. I felt like Mickey Mouse was going to come over and put a cowboy hat atop my head. It was actually a very cool introduction to the Big 12 and Big 12 media day.

Lunch, by the way, was tremendous today. This is just what they gave us in a buffet.