Wednesday, September 21, 2011

That Just Happened Part 2

Did you somehow miss the exciting first part of the story of my weekend in Raleigh? Check it out here before reading on.

So! When we left off with the story, we were turning in around 5 a.m. We'd all had quite a bit to drink, although I quickly learned Nick and Mike are extreme lightweights. Mike had four beers and was nearly unconscious. Nick didn't have much more and was worried about feeling awful Saturday morning.

What in the world guys!

Anyway, 9 a.m. rolled around on Saturday and I was UP and ready to go. I walked Allie and got ready, and then I waited to get up with Nick so we could gameplan for the rest of the day. Predictably, it took a while. Weaksauce.

We finally rendezvoused at lunchtime. The game was at 6 p.m., so we had plenty of time to grab some food and tailgate for quite a while.

This seems like a good place for the story of acquiring tickets. Obviously, I'm no longer a student. But for a while, I still had my student ID, so I could just find a student to get me a ticket, and flash my student ID to get in. Well, first of all, I no longer am up to speed on the whereabouts of my student ID. Second, I know fewer and fewer students every year.

When I told Nick I was coming back, I asked him to please get me a ticket with everyone who'd be going (and we had a fairly substantial group). He said it wouldn't be a problem. That was last weekend.

Monday rolls around. Tuesday rolls around. Nothing. Hey Nick, ticket update? "We're totally fine." Nick, I need some reassurance about this. I'm driving an awfully long way to get to this game. "I have the best reassurance ever for you: SOUTH ALABAMA (meaning it shouldn't be hard to find tickets to this game because of the team we were playing)." Nicholas, that does not help me.

He kept telling me it would be fine and not to worry. So I stopped asking. Asking wasn't going to get me anywhere anyway. We didn't have the tickets in our hand until 2 p.m. on SATURDAY -- the day of the game. In retrospect, I'm glad I stopped asking about it haha. Truthfully, if I still lived in Raleigh, I wouldn't have cared about getting the tickets on that timetable. But all the driving made me nervous.

Anyway, we met up and headed to Wendy's for lunch, where I got a grilled chicken sandwich (because I'm watching what I eat...lulz), fries and SWEET TEA, which I can gleefully report was readily available everywhere. We recounted the stories from Friday night and filled in the newest member of the team, Chad, who replaced John in the car with Nick, Mike and me.

Chad was instantly a fan of everything that happened and couldn't wait to come out with us Saturday night.

As we got closer to the stadium, we realized we had neither tickets nor beer for tailgating. Nick and Mike went to meet the guy who was selling us the tickets. Chad and I hopped out of the car at the intersection of Hillsborough and Blue Ridge. There's a gas station across the street there, so we went and bought beer. It was kind of like a game of Frogger with us trying to cross the street.

Well, Mike and his four beers from the night before made it impossible for him to finish more than ONE beer at the tailgate. Nick did a little better, but he was also not feeling well from the night before.

We met up with Justin and a few of Chad's friends. And one of Mike's friends, Eileen, who was out with us the night before, came to tailgate even though she had no ticket for the game, nor did she plan on acquiring a ticket to the game. Also, she walked three miles just to tailgate with us for a few hours. Hardcore. Major props. Then again, tailgating at N.C. State is kind of a way of life. Nothing comes close.

Tailgated for a few hours. It was relatively chilly and light rain fell almost the entire time. My long-sleeved State shirt proved to be a brilliant decision. Justin was totally clutch, too. He brought a small HD TV with a box that connects to the cigarette lighter in the car, so we got to watch football while we tailgated without a ridiculous generator situation.

No point in talking about the game. Check out the ESPN game recap for that if you want. It was raining and sloppy, and we won by more than 20. A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL. Here's a photo I took from where we were standing. I really love our stadium. Man.

We didn't bother going to our seats. Another friend of ours, Dennis (D-Burt) has season tickets and NEVER sits in his seats. He and his buddy Doug just stand in the concourse near the big scoreboard. It's actually a pretty solid view, so why not? This way, it doesn't matter where your tickets are. You end up with the people you want to be with anyway. Oh! and I took a video of the team entrance with my blackberry, so pardon me if it sucks, but here it is anyway.

While at the game, I ran into J. Mike, another Tech sports alum who we hadn't seen in a long time. We agreed it was necessary for him to come out with us that night.

Got back after the game, showered and got ready. I didn't want to wait for Nick to go back to Durham to do the same and then come back, so I cabbed downtown to meet Laura, and I actually got to see Danielle and Adam for the first time in like two years. I think the last time I saw them was the very first Bark for Life event we did the day before my half-marathon. So Oct. 2009. Crazy. They lived in Spain for like nine months. Kick ass.

So we met at Mecca, which I'm told is the oldest restaurant in Raleigh. Awesome! Seriously, any place that has a framed portrait of FDR over the bar is A-OK by me. Had a drink there and then went to meet Laura and her friends again at Busy Bee. I've heard a lot about Busy Bee from friends in Raleigh, and it was pretty awesome. Tough to beat $2 cans of High Life. Also, I had a swedish fish shot for the first time ever. It really does taste like swedish fish. That could get dangerous.

Nick, Chad and their friends arrived, and we just kinda sat around at Busy Bee for a while. I feel like we probably wasted too much time there, but it was fine. Around 1 a.m., Nick and I looked at each other and pretty much said, "I just wanna dance," at exactly the same time. It was getting late. We needed to get moving. Literally.

Laura, who is pretty much a hipster haha, said we had two options. There's a place where the people would look like Nick and me (The Hive, where we were Friday night), but there's a huge line to get in; or a place where the people would look like Laura (Neptunes), but there probably wouldn't be a line to get in.

We chose the latter, and got in after not too long. Laura was right haha. J. Mike was waiting for us there, and I'm not sure it was possible for us to visually stick out more than we did. But the music, man. The music. It was kind of a 60s/Motown/funk kind of thing, and it was just unbelievable. It was exactly the kind of vibe I was looking for that night. Seriously amazing.

Laura described it best when she said it was like a scene out of Dirty Dancing. You couldn't really dance fast to it. You just had to groove (and yes, I know how white I sound right now. Suck it.). God I just loved every second of that. We didn't have much time to dance there, but I really made the most of it, I think.

J. Mike had the incredible foresight to take a picture of it. It's a little blurry because, well, I was dancing and it was dark. But it's too good not to share.

It was around this time when Justin, Nick and J. Mike began to wonder how many energy drinks I must have had given how hard we went the night before, how late it currently was and how much energy I was displaying on the dance floor haha. They couldn't accept that I just had that much energy pretty much all the time. But I did, and I do. Apparently, they all feel like I should spend time being in energy drink commercials. I'll take it!

Anyway. Excellent night. Lots of drinks, friends I hadn't seen in a long time -- great success. Must be done again soon. Saturday night was mild compared to Friday night. I was asleep by 3:30 or so.

Woke up the next day, feeling good as always. I took Allie to a dog park downtown, where she promptly sat down next to me or under a table. Allie is one of the smartest dogs I've ever encountered, but I really think she fundamentally does not understand the purpose of the dog park. Or maybe she just uses it for mental stimulation. Or maybe she just doesn't like dogs who are strangers. I don't know.

She had two beagle friends when she was younger, Ella and Lady, and she always loved running around and playing with them. She loved playing with our family dog, Spunky, too. Who knows. After the dog park, I went to Laura's house and hung out and had a few drinks with her and her roommate. Allie and Laura's dog Rainer got to run around their yard some more before we hopped in the car for the 4-5 hour drive back.

I made the brilliant decision to call ahead to Lilly's and pick up a pizza on my way out of town. Great success on that one. Thankfully, there was no traffic, and we made it back in a decent time. SO great. Thanks to everyone, seriously. Amazing weekend.

And that's all she wrote for my weekend in Raleigh. I'm sure I've left out some things I did not intend to leave out, so feel free to let me know via messages or comments or whatever. All in all, it was a perfect weekend.

I couldn't have asked for a better time seeing all my friends, and I absolutely must get back soon to do it again.

Also, standing invite to everyone to come to D.C. whenever you can, and we'll make sure we go just as hard here as we did in Raleigh. Man. Just awesome. LET US GO.


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