Rodeo 2009, District Conference at Channelview, and volunteering at a Book Fair – slightly marred by lack of car

I had a busy weekend, and a Monday. So let’s start off with last Friday, 3/6. I called my aunt, and she finally answered after calls I initially made earlier during the week. I’ve been hoping she would be able to take me to the Houston Livestock Rodeo ever since Athena suggested she might take her and Cousin Alexandra at Alison’s birthday party in late February. Aunt Nicole said she probably might at the party, after teasing me about only talking to her about taking me to the Rodeo and not saying even a hello, so I had some hopes. I tried calling earlier this week to establish a schedule, since I had this conference I wanted to attend during the weekend, but she didn’t answer my calls, and I HATE leaving voice mail. I hate my stupid voice, and I don’t want it left on a person’s device to hear.

Unfortunately, her plans to take me during 4-9 collided with my conference hours, which took place from 11 AM on Saturday morning, all the way to 11 AM on Sunday morning. So I had to make calls, and see if I could leave and go at those hours. Problem was, even if I could, my aunt did NOT want to drive for almost an hours clear across from NW Houston, all the way to NE Houston to Channelview High School.

Well on Saturday morning, my ride, Jonathan Hart, failed to tell me that he couldn’t take me. He claimed he sent me a text message (25 minutes after he was suppose to be there, and finally answered his phone!), but I never received it. So I had to wait for my dad to come. Aunt Nicole kept calling at that time, seeing if I could come later, so since Jonathan couldn’t take me, I didn’t see any point in going all the way over to CHS. So I went home, and then dad took me camera shopping again. We went before we left to go to my ride, but there wasn’t a lot of time, and Best Buy didn’t have the stock I was looking for (I really wanted a digital cam for the day’s events, and I wanted one NOW!). Unfortunately, I was only slightly a bit late (my aunt is usually late btw), and she got really ticked off.

So we head downtown in her Lexus. We parked at someplace along Main St. new the Metro Transit Center. Here’s a picture:

Map picture

Earlier, my aunt had stopped at Randalls to get some fresh twenties out of the ATM. Unfortunately, machines in downtown don’t like big bills. They often want exact change which is kinda stupid. So we parked at a spot, remembered the number 133 and went to the machine for the transaction, but it was pretty complicated, but we managed to get through. She put the receipt underneath the windshield, and we left.

We crossed over to the MetroRail station, and the machine thing there is also kinda weird. I’m not sure, but I don’t think my aunt successfully paid for the party of 6. As we got on, this lady also explained her trouble with the machine, and you could still see the dollar bill hanging out. Turns out Metro doesn’t check fares. Kinda sad that honest people like us, that try to get on legally have to deal with some dishonest people just hopping on when they can. It’s a wonder how they get funding. Would be nice if it were free.

So it seemed to take like 20 minutes to get there. Kinda surprising, since the current rail line is only 7 miles long. It only got crowded as we got closer to the rodeo. Good thing they’re finally expanding the rail line to 20 miles and adding more rail cars by 2012. So we got there, and went to buy our tickets and entered in.

To make a long story short, we entered into the carnival grounds, and we went on tons of rides. I really liked the rides like the very big Ferris wheel (La Grand Wheel, the largest portable ferris wheel in the Western Hemisphere), the mini roller coasters, the spinning-type rides, and the Sky Ride (1700 gondola sky ride). My aunt bought a lot of tickets to go on the rides, and we used some of the coupons to get food. I really love the plate of fries at Juicy’s! It’s like a whole big chunk of fries. Last year, it took me awhile to each the whole thing, but my cousins, bros, and my aunt helped eat it up real fast! It was about 9PM when we left.

So as we were heading over to Channelview, I made constant calls to see if it was all right to go in, and I got the OK. Aunt Nicole stopped at the McDonalds on Sheldon Rd. at I-10, and I ordered a Chicken Selects. We drove onto Sheldon Rd. until we finally hit Channelview High School. I got out the car, took my stuff, and thanked my aunt for the wonderful day and the ride here.

I ran to the front doors, and kept banging the doors to the place, and motioned for the group of teens standing next to the statue inside to open up the darn door. It took more than a minute to get their attention, and then I realized it was Chris Charles who opened the door. Finally! I got in, and my aunt drove her Lexus away. So most of the day’s events already went by, and they already had their enchiladas for dinner. So I walked around, studying the way the school was designed. I liked the wall of paned windows that stood out in the cafeteria and the main entryway. The main entryway is sort of like an indoor courtyard, and there’s a falcon statue right in the center of the mini pavilion. Funny thing is, is that the JVHS mascot is also a Falcon. This school was kinda like the opposite of ours.

I also noticed like 2-3 flat-screen panels very high up on the columns in the cafeteria; pretty fancy! As you stepped in from the main entrance towards the cafeteria, you notice that it raises a few levels – probably because of floods? I saw octagon and circle-shaped tables, which is much cooler than the boring rectangle ones we have at JVHS for the most part. There was a wing we were allowed to go into, but there weren’t any classrooms – just the more prominent areas like 2 gyms and dressing rooms, an auditorium, and the front office and administrative stuff. It was a big hallway, with high ceiling, and skylights built-in along certain edges. The first gym was a place where you could drop your bags or sleep (however, an alarm kept ringing randomly from certain time intervals the ENTIRE night – so much for sleeping! Open-mouthed), the 2nd gym was for those that wanted to play basketball, the auditorium was for movie-watching, and there was dancing and food going on in the cafeteria, and in the main entryway, for awhile was a little casino thing. Now, they weren’t betting real money of course, but they just played with chips, and you could exchange those for raffle tickets for the morning’s raffle contest. Blackjack, poker, craps, and whatever gambling stuff I don’t know.

So I met up with friends I found, got them to tell me what went on, and then I had a little fun. The movies playing in the auditorium were Hoodwinked, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Yours, Mine and Ours (love this one!), Casino Royale, and that’s all I remember seeing up to. So the night dragged on, and I just walked around a lot, had conversations with people, and I even did a little homework with my textbook there. This chaperone even came up to me, and said she was proud of me Embarrassed. I just thought I should get some work done while I was ahead, but I didn’t even get much done really. There was Papa John’s pizza that came in, and I tried some, but I didn’t think it was as great as people led me to believe it was.

So eventually morning came up sooner than I expected (darn the Daylight Savings Time!), and I enjoyed some delicious kolaches for breakfast. Then we had to file into the auditorium so we could hear who the candidates for president and VP of the District could be, but I didn’t really care too much about this. Then came the real excitement: the raffle contest!

There were things like gift cards ranging mostly from $5-$25 from places like Starbucks, Wal-Mart (a lot from El Campo High School), Chili’s, Barnes & Noble, etc. Other stuff included gift baskets, toys, and even 12 3rd row tickets to a Rockets game. I didn’t win a single thing Crying

We had to clean up afterwards and go home. I mingled around with other students to get my last chance at meeting people across Houston, and that was it! Luckily, the girl’s mom could give me a ride, but it was taking forever! I talked to the foreign exchange students of Rotary, and I became interested in becoming a foreign exchange host. I’m still going to see if it’s ok with my parents. Finally her mom came, and then we left. Again, I was a bit disappointed when she asked what my ethnicity was, because I looked Asian, so I told her what I was, and she asked if I spoke the language, and I said no. I wasn’t surprised when she started saying I should know the language since it’s part of my ‘culture’ but the girl shushed her mom and we got outta there. I fell asleep a bit, and woke up at a Shell gas station. I wonder what took so long when her mother went into the convenient store, but I was happy to see her bring some drinks. That was mighty gracious of her. I chose the Tropicana apple juice, and was delighted at how tasty it was (I’m usually a Minute Maid fanboy), and thanked her. We finally got to JVHS, and my dad was there. Yay!

Later that day, my dad left to go somewhere, but I needed a ride to go to work. Darn! I called him to come back, and he was pretty upset, and even though I was like 15 minutes late, my manager there which is a good thing.

On MONDAY, I had to help volunteer for this Book Fair/Family Literacy Night at Frazier Elementary. I walked all the way there, since I didn’t know of anyone who could give me a ride, and I grabbed some Dominoes pizza along the way ($4.00 for a 10” pizza seems good to me!) I chose the easy job of manning a raffle ticket (not again Tongue out) table. There were some neat prizes including games (drat, I forgot what they were, but they weren’t half bad!) Prang markers, colored pencils, letter magnets, and 4 individual $25.00 gift cards for the Book Fair (books only). Wow. However, I was astonished at how very few people came (usually at Reed Elementary, there’s a LOT of people that come during book fair night) and it was a rather scant crowd. They put a lot of effort into this, and I’m still flabbergasted that not many students came to check it out. There were 14 prizes, and I think I only submitted 17 tickets (or at least less than 20). I moseyed towards the cafeteria where they just had storytelling and milk & cookies, and I got 2 cookies along the way from a teacher.

I called my mom, and she was suppose to come at 7:45PM to get me, but she came at 8:09PM. I really wanted her to bring an hour log form, so I could confirm my hours were actually accredited, but by the time she got there, almost everyone had left the building, but the janitors. Sigh. This is what happens when you don’t have a car in suburbia, and depend on others. Disappointed

Well that’s about it so far. I know I wrote a lot, but hopefully you’re not dull to death.

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