(a very slow night at work, this Friday night/Saturday morning… which is a good thing for interstate drivers)

For those who read this blog, and aren’t friends with me on Facebook or real life, here are some of my ‘favorites’. Heck, you might be a real-life and/or Facebook friend, and may not know some of these.

Favorite Cities

During my years in Marching Band, Pep Band, Wind Ensembles, and Drum & Bugle Corps, I’ve been lucky enough to travel through, and stop in, many cities. These are my favorite cities that I’ve spent at least 12 hours in, not just passed through or made a rest stop in:

5. Atlanta – my first time there was in 1994, for a High School band competition my sophomore year: MusicFest Atlanta, a national concert band festival (we finished 3rd). While there, I got to see parts of the city: The Underground, Turner Field (from across the street), hearing about Freaknik for the first time (THAT was an interesting conversation). It was also my first time in a city MUCH larger than Louisville. It was a fun trip; I’ve been through Atlanta a few times since then, would love to go back.

4. Albuquerque – this was a Pep Band trip in 2005 for the NCAA Sweet 16. Until 2013, I don’t think I had been in a more friendly city than Albuquerque. I got to go up my first mountain (Sandia Mountains), saw/experienced my first “siesta” (the town completely shut down for about an hour and a half, give or take), and the University of Louisville and West Virginia University played one of the most amazing games I’ve ever seen, in the Elite 8. Plus, I got some amazing ice cream, with 2 of my best friends, from an amazing little shop.

3. Minneapolis – if you are a Facebook and/or real-life friend, you’ve heard me talk about Minneapolis a lot. If not, the short version: I went up there in 2013 for Drum & Bugle Corps, trying out for Minnesota Brass, Inc.. This city passed Albuquerque as the nicest place, people-wise, I’ve ever been to. It was a fun Winter and Spring; I didn’t get to experience a lot of it, but loved what I saw and experienced.

2. Chicago – My first time up there was 2002, for another Pep Band function: the Conference USA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The best pizza I’ve ever had came from that trip. Also got to see a Great Lake for the first time. The city had so much to see (but finances at the time kinda prevented checking a lot of them out). I’ve been back a few more times but the next time I can make it up there, I’d like for it to be a “true” vacation.

1 . New York City – Bigger than Chicago, MUCH BUSIER than anywhere else, and 2 trips during Pep Band functions (2005, 2006 Big East Men’s Basketball Tournaments) brought me to the Big Apple. Just some of the places and things I got to see/visit for the first time: The Statue of Liberty; MADISON SQUARE GARDENS (I think the thing I said to a couple of friends, when we walked in: “We are standing in freakin’ Madison Square Gardens!”); a Blue Man Group concert; Times Square; LEGO Store; trying a New York hot dog; the NYC subways; and Grand Central Station. I loved those trips!

Favorite Sports

5. MLB (Baseball)

4. NFL (Football)

3. NHRA (Drag Racing)

2. College Football

1 . College Basketball

Favorite Teams In Each Sport

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Baseball: Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves

NFL: 1) Cleveland Browns, 2) Green Bay Packers, 3) Atlanta Falcons, 4) Indianapolis Colts, 5) Cincinnati Bengals

College Football: 1) Univ. of Louisville, 2) Purdue Univ., 3) LSU

College Basketball: 1) UofL, 2) Purdue, 3) Kansas Univ.

NBA (Pro Basketball): L.A. Lakers and Indiana Pacers

NHL: 1) Chicago Blackhawks, 2) St. Louis Blues

Favorite Movies

Picking out 1 or 2 favorite movies is going to be too difficult, esp. at 5 AM. So, I’ll try to name 7… probably forgetting a few, along the way:

7. “Spirited Away”

6. “Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark”

5. “Amelie”

4. “Ghostbusters”

3. “Aliens”

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2. “Army of Darkness”

1 . “Evil Dead 2”

Favorite Authors

5. Larry Bond

4. David Eddings – R.I.P.

3. Mark Chadbourn – I would probably have never discovered Chadbourn if it wasn’t for my heart surgery. A good friend and then-co-worker, Rebecca, brought me one of his books to read to pass the time. After reading World’s End, I was hooked.

2. Terry Brooks

1 . Stephen King

Favorite Books

Although not as bad as the movies, this one is also tough to choose favorites, although #1 was easy:

5. “The Killing Moon (Dreamblood #1)” by N.K. Jemisin: this was a “Ooh, this looks interesting!” choice from the neighborhood library.

4. “The Witching Hour (Lives of the Mayfair Witches #1)” by Anne Rice: even as difficult as it was to read, I still loved this book. I need to finish this series, 20+ years after starting it.

3. “World’s End” by Mark Chadbourn: all of those fairy tale creatures – faeries, werewolves, and such – show up in present-day Britain. And an epic story begins.

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2. “The Dark Tower” by Stephen King. The final book in the Dark Tower mega-series. A wonderful story to end it all. Just be warned if you read the ‘Coda’. 😉

1 . “The Wastelands” by Stephen King. The 3rd book in the Dark Tower series. It is SO vivid in its detail and descriptions of Mid-World.

Part Two (and maybe Three) to come in the next day or two!