October 2010 Archives

Milwaukee and them Darn Vikes

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On my last day of this travel session, I stayed in a really nice hotel in Milwaukee. I checked in to find out that there were two weddings going on and it was super loud, so I went off to find some dinner. I drove to the west side of town and feasted at a chinese buffet. Now here is my rule of thumb about china buffets, only eat the seafood because everything else is fried and not as good as a sit down place. I feasted on octopus, shrimp, mussels and crayfish and then headed back hoping to find a few Milwaukee buddies to hang out. I was told the next day that they didn't respond to me because they were at the casino and forgot to check their phones. Disappointing, I could have used a few poker hands and might of pulled in a few black jacks. O'well, I knew there was a casino in town, I just never thought about going to it. I settled on drinking spotted cows with a few of the wedding peeps in the hotel bar before calling it a night. I slept early and well because I wanted to prepare for the drive back to Morris.

After the fair, I hurried out to beat the rush and took off. I was really enthused because the Bears had just lost and if we beat the Packers, we will be right in the battle again for the NFC North playoff spot. I tuned into the radio and listened to all them talk shows and hype and finally the game kicks off. I cracked a bottle of Amp Energy and turned up the radio and off the game goes. Ok, lets not relive this nightmare, this is as far as I will go about them darn vikes. I avoid the newspapers, and espn several days after such a game. It just hurts man. Well, I got into Mo-Town at about one thirty and did not even unpack, just too tired. I'm off to bed.

The End of Part 2

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I met up with Kia from UW-Ea Claire at the Aurora National Hispanic Fair. She was one of the gals that has never been to Chicago before and she told me how scared she was. Originating from Wausau, she thinks Minneapolis driving was bad. Yes, she told me she was so terrified of tolls because she didn't have coins and she had already missed two that she did not go out to find dinner after making to her hotel in Aurora. Poor Kia, she should have called me was what I told her. Anyways, we became friends after I agreed to be her chauffeur to Chinatown. Kia does not want to drive there after finding out from me that traffic there sucks, but she really really wants to see it. I'm a nice person, I agreed to it. What I found to be really funny was that I forgot to tell her that Chicago interstates have an express lane, so the lanes will part and the middle part won't have access to merging in and out, hence faster - express.

Our game plan was that I will follow her to her hotel, let her park and she can hop into my car to Chinatown and I will just drop her off after that. As we were going down the interstate, she pulled off to the right exit off of the express lane and I stayed on. I knew it then that the GPS told her to go that way, and I also knew that because we are not in rush hour, she won't be slowed at all and we will meet up again. Boy was she surprised to see me driving next to her when she merged back into the express lane, I waved. When we dropped off Kia's car, she asked me how fast I was driving to "catch up to her". That was when I help educate her about express lanes. We did find a nice Chinese restaurant where I had some amazing braised chicken feet, shrimp dumpling, and fried wide noodles.

I walked around with her for awhile giving her time to do some shopping and stuff before dropping her off in busy downtown before heading back to my hotel. I'm glad that I was able to help a fellow Hmong sister out.

Meng Unique

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I'm not going to lie, I'm unique. How many other college counselors can say that they will wake up at 4:00 AM to drive and be happy with that. How many other people in general can survive on energy drinks and run on 3 hours of sleep and be happy with that? I woke up on Tuesday the 19th at 4:00 AM from my stationed hotel in Oakbrook Terrace to drive to Milwaukee for the National Hispanic College Fair to avoid traffic. I like to make my life easier by not having to live out of a suit case, and I don't want to drive at night. Either way you look at it, I will be driving in the dark. I just prefer to do it in my elements. I made it to the fair in Milwaukee fine and was so happy to see peeps that I recognize again from MnACC. I did meet a couple of new Wisconsin counselors that has never been to Chicago before. I did the right thing by warning them with my terrible stories. Even after all that I found out later that they had a tough time with traffic in Chicago. Poor gals, I bet they don't sign up for Chi-Town again.

On this day, I spent almost 15 dollars in tolls just traveling from my hotel (western suburbs) to Milwaukee, back down through the cities into the southern burbs for the college fair. Wow, I continue to not like tolls. The next day was almost as bad. I woke up at 4:00 AM to go to Rockford, that means leaving the city perimeter and then weaving through it again on the way back into the heart of Chicago. Lots of coins found a new home that day. I did meet Ryan Jordan from Duluth though, it was fun to speak with him again. He thought it was funny how I found dinner.

So before that Palatine fair, I had a few hours to burn. I have never been to an official sushi restaurant before and it being payday, I decided to try it out, alone. Before that, the only sushi I have ever had was at China Buffets and they have them ready made for you to pick from. This time, I went in and had no clue what to do. The server knew little English and there was a communication problem. I picked out a few options (3) and thought they would be good for starters. I did not know that picking 3 options means 3 complete rolls of sushi. So that was my dinner right there and I don't care what anyone says about how much they like sushi but a complete dinner of just sushi will make anyone sick. This place charges if you don't eat everything you order. Yea, I got really sick after that. I tried the free seaweed soup hoping that something warm will help me, except it only made it worst.

I promise myself not to go to a sushi restaurant alone again. Ryan did promise to take me out during the MnACCs for sushi. I think he has a good grasp on what he's doing; I hope next time I won't be so sick from raw seafood.

Toll Trouble October 16

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Up to this point, I have been good about not missing any tolls. It just so happen that this Saturday Morning, I was in a rush to get to the University of Illinois - Chicago for the 100 black men of Chicago Fair. I did not do the usual waking up at six because I figured Saturday traffic was going to be mild. What I forgot to do was check my coin stash in my jelly belly bean container. All I have left was a whole lot of pennies and I don't know if they will take pennies or not. So I got to the toll and apparently this guy had a rough night or something is is just being such a BEEP. I looked and wasn't sure if he will take pennies or not so I told him to give me a slip so I could pay online. He was such an in your face guy, man, seriously, it made go into the hate side of my relationship with Chicago. After a few moment of trying to settle for a solution, he decides he want to call trooper on me to give me a 75 dollar fine. I was so pissed, seriously, 75 dollars for 80 cents? Finally I pulled out my jelly belly bottle and handed to him and told him to take what he needs. He was not happy having to count pennies, but I said that the penny is money, manufactured by the US government and that it is legit and if he wants to he can call trooper go ahead. The dude did not even call trooper, he took his 80 cents and let me go. Got me all worked up for over 80 cents. I was not happy.

What made my day worst was the location of my table. I got wedged in between the University of Michigan and Missouri University. These are two big schools in this location. Now, at this fair, they allow on the spot admission to take place so long lines are inevitable. The problem was that the tables are your standard college fair tables and Michigan has five people there with tons of materials, their helmet, the who deal. Yes, the long line of people began blocking my table and I was not happy. Mizzou's rep happens to be a buddy of mine, so he finally did asked people to clear out and luckily two tables down, the University of Miami did not show up so Michigan took over that table too. The crowd was kept in check, but my results this year was nowhere near where it was last year. It was still a very good fair and I got several applications filled out, but it was disappointing. I made sure to note that in the survey. Please have bigger space because the students that we are servicing is no longer a 30 second affair, it is a 2 minute minimum per student talk. At least I got a break after that and I found an ATM to bolster my bean bottle. What a day.

Down to Chicago October 11th

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All of last year I traveled to Chicago from Andover because I happen to be there before the big trip. Not this time, I was in Mo-Town. That only means 3 more hours to the trip, no biggie. I wanted to make the Monday Night Football game at the hotel, hence I made sure to wake up at 5 and left by 5:30. Yes, AM. I stopped 3 times; twice to use the restroom and once to get gas. Yep, I checked into my hotel in Oakbrook Terrace at 4:27 PM. No Biggie. I had soul food and beer to watch the Monday night game in which my Vikes beat the "Boys" in true Minnesota fashion, almost losing it.

Chicagoland is what I thought it was, horrible traffic, great food, and terrible tolls. Yes, just for the record, this time around I spent almost 68 bucks on tolls in two weeks of travel. That is horrendous, why don't Chicagoans just pay taxes and get rid o fall these headaches. Anyways...I had a horrible Meng Moment in Moraine Valley on the 13th. First off, I always go to these fairs early because traffic is bad. Sometimes I find things to amuse me, a lot of times I snooze in the car. This time, I find that Palos Hills is beautiful country and those that knows me well knows that I have a special soft spot for great scenery. I spent an hour and a half wandering around the wooded trails near the college. Well, when I got my GPS to tell me where to go, I did not realize that Moraine Valley Community College has a building in another town 10 miles down the road. Therefore, I disregarded the sign that says "Moraine Valley Community College Turn Left" on the highway. GPS is never wrong right? I went straight, yep, that was the wrong move. Good thing I have an hour to spare, so I made it back to the right location with time to set up. I did miss out on a good dinner though.

See, Chicago is such an adventure. This is not even the Meng Moment I was going to write about. Moraine Valley Community College is weird; they letter their buildings, but it seems to not have any systematic trends. For example, building A would be next to building S, lodged in between C and D. The Meng Moment occurred after the fair was over, I decided to leave through the door behind me and it was dark by that time. I followed the other counselors down the sidewalk and realize that I am completely lost, turned around by my own genius idea to not leave the way I came in. At that time, I tried to figure I where I was by following the letters, this is when I found out that they don't seem to be in order. Yep, I wandered around hopelessly for almost an hour before I gave up and flagged campus police down to give me a lift. He was nice I felt so much better to know that I'm his fourth lost client, and that it happens every year, and also that I am at the opposite end of the campus. Great, at least he let me ride up front with him. That is a Meng Moment.

National's and Chi-Town Part 2

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Ok, I'm sorry for not keeping up with this but it has just been so rough that I completely did not have time to catch up to work let alone my blog. So I'm going to break this up into a few entries based on events and Meng Moments.

My colleagues and I went down to Minneapolis for the national college fair on Tuesday October 5th. With our sewing and knitting expert missing in action, I had to sew the posters onto our table cloth, funny how my summer's fishing expeditions and knot skills came into play. See, life skills from fun times eh. Other than that, it was not all that eventful until the night. My buddy Mr. Vandemburg wanted to take me and Danielle out for a good time. It was way more than that, it was historic. The Rock Bottom's Brewery was where I first learned that Randy Moss, yes, the infamous SuperFreak is coming back to Minnesota to catch passes from our old guy. I was so happy, very comparable to when I turned 21...only thing is that I remember what went that night.

Anyways, we went out again the next night and watched the Twins game with the staff. That was where I showed my director the art of guzzling down beer in record times. You just open your throat and let it drain. Simple. Yes, after that I was down for anything and our party trickled down to just me Mike and Danielle again. We went to look for some of the other admissions folks and after that decided to go have a drink at a gay bar. It was not what I had imagine it to be, in fact it was like anywhere else except that every now and then you see extra friendly bumps and shoulder massages. Danielle and I took off before Mike did because we wanted to be in good shape for the next day's events.

I was so tired out by the time the fair was over. I decided to have big meal at Olive Garden to induce food coma for the ride home. Too bad because I missed a lot of the detour that we went on to get through to Cyrus. Maybe next time.

WEF's Done

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Continuing on with my Wisconsin Wonders, I did make it to the fair with time to spare. I have also since then found out that Piggly Wiggly's is normal in Wisconsin after seeing like 3 more. Tuesday after the fair in Lakeland College, I drove up to Menasha for the fair at UW-Fox Valley and took a detour to the shores of Lake Winnebago. It was really nice despite the fact that it was a dreary day. I did go to the fair 2 hours in advance and did what I do best, nappy time in the prius.

De Pere was by far the best fair. There were lots of students and parents during both of the sessions and I met an alum, those are always fun to talk to. He was part of the first class ever at UMM. That night at the Abbey, we had lots of Spotted Cows and played "The Nickel Machine". I swear all of us spent a total of 20 dollars or so of nickels and only got one winner out of the bunch.

The next day after the fair I took off on my own to Oshkosh for the final fair in WI. Along the way, I stopped by an Oriental store and bought this really cool melon flavored pop. But wait, there's more, I didn't know how to open the darn thing. After careful examination, I found that they had instructions on the bottle itself, apparently, you have to use the plastic topper to pop the marble into the bottle. So there I am drinking a pop with a marble floating in it, sounds bad, but not really. It is actually kind of cool so I bought another one which I will bring to demonstrate at work.

The Hmong Resource fair on Saturday is alot of fun as usual. I see so many old faces of people that I have not seen since high school. There were food and lots of give always. This year, I felt like I had a big advantage because only a few colleges had Hmong students or reps with them. A few of the students don't even speak formal Hmong as fluently either, hence with my old school self, I got a chance to talk to many parents. It was amazing having to switch from Hmong to English and back depending on whether I'm speaking to the student or the parent. I though it was a good fair.

I got into Morris at 6 ish and was just so tired that I slept at like 9 and didn't wake up until football started on Sunday. It is nice to have a day to sleep in again.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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