Greetings From The Wall

 

 

 

 

Where is Hogg?

I have been traveling quite a bit in the last couple of months– all of it for work.

First off, work travel generally sucks.  Airlines these days, suck.  Companies rarely let you travel business class and coach is always packed to the gills.  Then there is work, then the hotel and that’s about it.  Very little time to actually travel, see the sights, let alone scope out a place to get a decent meal.  My last couple trips have been to some of my favorite cities, Chicago and Phoenix.  Both great towns, while at the same time they have some crappy parts to them.  For this particular blog, we will discuss Phoenix.  I’ll tackle Chicago at another time.

I love being in the Southwest in the spring.  It’s a great break from the LONG, wet winters of Seattle, the gray can get to anyone this time of year, so it’s nice to come out to the desert and get some Vitamin D in your system.  Desert Sky airport is a nice, medium sized airport.  The only downfall is the car rental agency is a good 5 miles from the airport, so make sure to give yourself plenty of time when you return the car to get to the airport and get checked in– also, there are 3 seperate terminals, so you need to know which one you are flying out of.

I was able to go with my company to the Final Four National Championship, which was quite a spectacular event, with the 68,000 spectators — but I will say that once I have done it, I won’t be likely to go again.  NCAA basketball is a great office topic, filling out the bracket, assessing who might go all the way is entertaining, but the Championship game and all of the fan fare is something to see!  The game itself was obviously totally one sided with Gonzaga ahead most of the game, but in the end, I don’t think the best team won in that game.  I feel like the refs skewed the game to the point where UNC had an opportunity to win and they did just that.  Overall, it was a great game, but the result seemed unfair– but that is college basketball at it’s core.

This year the Madness seemed different– way less games that went down to the final seconds with foul line shooting and teams trying to come back by fouling the other teams– there was way less of that in the last minutes than previous tournaments and it made the games more exciting to watch– but I still don’t get how they can actually play a good game with all of the TV timeouts.  It takes forever!  Sitting in one of the boxes, you could see all the action unfold right in front of you and how long it actually took vs. how long they actually stood and waited while the ads went.  This obviously played in the Tar Heels favor and they ended up all but stealing the title from the Zags.

My buddy’s father in law sent one of his kids to Gonzaga and he stil wanted a t-shirt even though they had lost, so I headed down right as they won to get a shirt– and most of the stands had already packed up and headed out– so I had to search for one and by the time I found it, of course it was lined up with Tar Heels looking for the championship shirts, which of course they were selling, which means that some group of people in Africa will probably be getting a shipment of shirts to wear.  Long story, short… After waiting in line for way too long, I got the shirt, but I missed the bus back to the tailgate.  Suck.  Not only did I miss the bus, but I walked all around the sports stadium looking for the bus area — there were several, when the bus couldn’t wait any longer and it left me hanging.  Bummer dude.  Worse yet, the bus area that I was in when I discovered I was in the wrong area was about the furthest away from the Uber/Lyft staging area — which, buy the way, was off the Arizona Cardinals property– they don’t allow uber or lyft to pick up on the property– but they do allow cabs.

The one bright side of this story is that the weather was perfect for a walk and by the time I got there, the cab fares had dropped to a normal rate and I paid about $50.00 to get back to the hotel in Tempe.  Good price.

COPS.

Phoenix has a lot of cops.  Like ALOT.  The Final Four had more SWAT than I have ever witnessed at a sporting event– our network guys said that 300 armed SWAT were at that event– AR15’s at the ready.   One of the reasons it took me forever to walk to find the right bus was that each exit was sliced and barracaded so you couldn’t just walk out the entrance and find your way, you had to walk all the way back to the stadium and cut back into another silo — super annoying.  The assumption there is that most of the people going in there know where they are going, but if you don’t — best of luck!  That wasn’t the only experience with cops I noticed on my journey– they are ever present, they recruit on billboards openly offering jobs starting at 58k a year to be a cop and I must have a dozen cops a day just driving back and forth to meetings.  Washington seems to have hired less po  lice as the population has expanded here as I seem to go months without seeing a single one, but in Phoenix, you will see one every day it seems.

One has to wonder what that does to the psyche of a society.  Having an all out police presence everywhere, does it help to divert crime or does it exerbate the problem?  I am sure there is much more violent crime overall in Phoenix, given the police presence, so I looked up some statistics about Phoenix, but for every stat I found about how bad Phoenix is, I see the same about Seattle, so maybe I don’t know what the hell I am on about, which isn’t uncommon.

That being said, I must admit, Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale are growing on me.  I can’t see myself ever actually moving there or anything, but I am finally comfortable enough travelling there that it doesn’t feel super lonely being there without the family for a week– I actually wished I had more time there this time so I could have seen more people, but I ran into some good people I haven’t seen in YEARS from college, which is always good to see and good to see that we are all alive and healthy (relatively speaking).

 

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