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And now I’ve got some time to kill.

August 20, 2009

I did a travelogue of a vacation to Florida earlier this year, which seemed to be rather well received. Now I’m in Indianapolis on business for the rest of the week (and part of the weekend), and as anyone who’s from/in/heard of/thought of Indiana in general could probably assume, I’m really excited.

Damn, the Internet just does not translate sarcasm well.

Anyway, I’m here for a conference that involved reporters from all over the country who cover business in their respective state Capitols, and I’m sure that’s REALLY exciting for all of you, but I thought I’d give you some side notes on my trip and observations thus far.

NOTES FROM INDIANA, DAY 1

Aug. 19
Indianapolis, 10.34 p.m. (local time)
My flight arrives in Indianapolis more than an hour late because of a strong sweep of storms moving through the Midwest. This wouldn’t really be a big deal, except it meant me spending WAY too much time at Gen. Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee. I actually flew from Madison to Milwaukee for the first time. That was interesting. I think we spent as much time moving from the gate to runway (and vice versa) at each airport as we did in the air. 15-minute flight time. Holy hell, am I gonna hate doing that 1-hour, 15-minute drive from here on out. Originally, I was supposed to spend a few hours’ layover in Milwaukee. That was a little frustrating to begin with (I could’ve driven back and forth between the two cities twice in the time scheduled for layoff), but then the storms pushed it to a 6-hour delay. A lot of people waiting for the Indy flight were pissed off about the wait, and there was a lot of grumbling, but the fact of the matter is we were flying one of those little pond jumper planes that seemed like it might come apart as it accelerated down the runway. If a couple hours’ delay saves me from getting rocked in the air by a thunderstorm, I’ll take it. I sat in the back row of the plane, by the way, which I’ve never done before. Since it was so small it didn’t matter, but I immediately thought of Tommy Cooper’s old joke about always sitting in the back row — “You never hear of a plane backing into a mountain.”

11:15 p.m
Check in at the Omni Severin Hotel downtown. Apparently this is one of the nicest hotels in the area (and the prices they’re charging me to stay there seem to back it up), but I ask you this. Why at shitty hotels can you get free Internet access, but at nice hotels where you’re paying hundreds of dollars per night should you pay for internet? That seems backwards. Downtown Indianapolis (like downtown Madison) has free wireless access, but of course the hotel (or maybe just my room) is right out of a range. F*ckers.  You even have to pay to use the internet in the business center! How badly does this state need money?

11.35 p.m.
Letterman. I don’t watch enough Letterman anymore. I’m too tired or busy nowadays it seems. His main guest is Mike Myers, who, unbeknownst to me is in Inglourious Basterds, or however Quentin spelled it. I’ve been a bit wary of Myers ever since he pissed on the Austin Powers franchise by making two absolutely superfluous sequels. Never saw the Love Guru flick, read a lot of stories about what a megalomaniacal control freak he is and — quite honestly — it’s even made me reassess some of the SNL work he did that I always loved. Nevertheless, I find myself laughing pretty hard during his interview. Damn you, Myers. On that note, I go to sleep.

Aug 20
11.30 a.m.
Check out of the Omni. Ridiculously, I only stay there one night, because the rest of the weekend is booked. However, at the hotel I’m staying at tonight and through Saturday night — even though its hosting three or four conferences, there are rooms available. So I walk two blocks and drop my bags off at the Hyatt Regency. Can’t check in until this afternoon, you know… they gotta clean rooms.

12 p.m.
Walk around downtown, check out the mall down here. I don’t know why. I hate malls. I really do. I walk in and I always feel out of place. Like everyone’s judging my hairstyle and what clothes I’m wearing. I will say — I look pretty f*cking awesome today, but I still feel like I’m being judged. It’s not a long stay. I find an Indiana Pacers store. I want to see if they have Travis Diener jerseys. Not that I would buy one, but I want to know if he’s merited jerseys at an Indiana Pacers-only store. He hasn’t. Does he still play for the Pacers? They do have Tyler Hansbrough jerseys though. Which makes sense. Cos he’s done a lot for the Pacers, hasn’t he?

1 p.m.
Check out the state Capitol. Unimpressed. Wisconsin’s is way cooler. The interior dome here is just some basic stained glass pattern. The halls are have only a marginal amount of grandeur. An engraved stone on the building’s interior says work began in 1878, finished 10 years later and cost $1.98 million. Looks like it. By the way, I’m a complete “Wisconsin’s Capitol building is superior to all others” kind of guy. If you couldn’t tell.

1.30 p.m.
Walk around central downtown. When I say “It’s impossible to find a McDonald’s here,” I’m sure you’re thinking, “That’s not a bad thing,” but when one hasn’t eaten yet and has a hankering for a classic chicken sandwich and fries, that’s a bit annoying. I check a downtown directory. No McDonald’s to be found. I happen across two professional sports stadiums before I happen across a McDonald’s. How f*cked up is that, seriously? Settle on a pepperoni pizza at Rock Bottom brewery. Good. Maybe even better for me than McDonald’s. Maybe. But when you’re craving classic chicken sandwich and fries, it doesn’t compare. The Colts are hosting the Eagles tonight for a preseason game. Colts fever is high in the air. The big news is Peyton Manning wants more playing time. He only played one series in the Colts first preseason game. Every paper has a front page story about this. As a reporter, I honestly find it hard to see how this story could go longer than a 200-word brief. Starters naturally play a little longer as the preseason progresses. Coaches don’t want to risk injury. Peyton Manning is Jesus. Christ, that’s three sentences and 20 words, and I’ll BET that’s exactly what all those papers took 500+ words to say. (Can you tell I’m obviously in snobby reporter mode?)

3 p.m.
Return to the Hyatt for check-in. Still can’t do it. “We’re hosting a football team and we still need to clean the rooms.” They’re hosting the Philadelphia Eagles. What the hell do football players do to hotel rooms? The mind boggles. By the way — in case you’re wondering, Mr. Vick is not eligible to play yet, so he’s not in the hotel. My mind also wanders at the thought of what would happen if I bumped into him. I mean, I can barely watch those Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials without tearing up. Part of me likes to think I’d call him a “f*cker” or wish a Rottweiler attack upon him. I mean seriously, I couldn’t even read or listen to all the reports about what he did to dogs. Upsets me way too much. Then again, he’s a professional athlete. And could probably… no, no… he COULD kick the sh*t out of me. He’d have a lot of explaining to do to the Indianapolis Police and national media of course (and I might get rich out of it… HMMMM…), but the reality is I’d probably just see him and look the other way. I’m such a tough guy. Lot of youngsters in McNabb and Westbrook jerseys roaming the halls however. Have they begun printing Vick jerseys yet? Would a Philly fan buy a Vick jersey? I wonder if there’s more demand for a Travis Diener Pacers jersey than a Michael Vick Eagles jersey? I seriously do.

At the moment, that’s about it… conference stuff for the rest of the night, but a bit of city-roaming planned too, so maybe there will be more to report later.

Since this is a music blog, it’s only right that I post a tune. You’d think it would be Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” wouldn’t you? If you would, you give me too little credit. Have I ever been that obvious? I mean, ASIDE from posting “Witch Doctor” in the last Friday Five?

Lyle Lovett – Up in Indiana (acoustic)
This is from Lyle’s most recent (and typically magnificent) LP, It’s Not Big It’s Large. I haven’t met a girl named Rose here, I don’t think I’ve ever thought of a girl named Rose, but I’ll say this — there are some fine looking business ladies roaming the streets of downtown Indy. First time I heard this song, I thought, “Aw, come on…” But as a matter of fact…

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One comment

  1. Wireless from the City of Madison is free? How? They always ask me to pony up in order to log in.

    I know, of all the things to comment on…



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