Palm Springs Preseason Getaway

Mavs/Nash Trip #8
October 9th-11th, 2010

Going to Palm Springs for a preseason game. Can I believe that I'm taking a trip to a preseason game? Yes and No. Do you know when was the last time I paid to go to a preseason game? Never. However, this is an outdoor game featuring the Suns and Mavs and the NBA announced on my birthday that this was going to happen.

(NBA, you want a marketing plan that works. Do something for a woman on her birthday. Don't give her a percentage off pink, sparkly merchandise. Give her a ticket to a game or free food, and she will reward you with her presence and maybe bring her family or friends along, too. I'm proof that emotional marketing works. I'm flying to a preseason game for heaven sakes. That "heaven sakes" was aimed at me not you.)

Since there may be a lockout on the horizon, I thought getting two games in this season would be acceptable - a little preemptive strike, and it might open up an opportunity for me to back to Europe. And being that it's preseason game, I don't care who wins just no one get hurt.

I invited my friend Amber to go with me. I have known her since middle school (a very long, long time ago). We are a part of a group of four girls that Amber's husband calls the United Colors of Benetton who have known each other for at least 20 years. Amber likes sports. Both Susan and Joanna would happily tolerate going to a basketball game with me as good friends would do, but Amber is a Mavs fan and loves the Cowboys. I feel like I wouldn't beat her down talking about off-season moves and such. Plus, we both like mid-century modern architecture, and Palm Springs has plenty of it.


Prepare yourself people for the Michelle Travel Mistakes to top all travel mistakes except for the Switzerland bag mishap. Here's a math word problem. Michelle tells Amber that their flight leaves at 2p. Michelle arrives at Amber's house at 12p. Amber then informs Michelle that their flight actually leaves at 1p. The two need to be checked in at the airport for their flight at 12:30. How many minutes do they have to get to the airport from 75 and Mockingbird. That's correct... 30 minutes.

Did we make it in 30 minutes? No, but Amber and Juan, who also needed to go to the airport, managed to do some sweet talking to a very nice agent and we got our tickets for our 1pm that ironically ended up leaving at 2pm due to mechanical issues. Oh Gods, you are both smiling on me and laughing at me at the same time. 

As soon as you exit the Palm Springs airplane terminal, you're outdoors even before you get your bags. A couple weeks ago the temperatures were still in the 100-110s. Now thankfully they're at least down to the mid and upper nineties. 

We are staying at the Ace Hotel. It's known as a hipster hotel mainly because of the people walking around in the fedoras and listening to indie music by the pool. A quick bite to eat and then we are on our way to the game.

The start of another NBA season, one that I fear might end up turning into Gossip Girl (B says S gave up last year in the playoffs. S says B never cared about him to begin with. Who will end up this year's winner? Only time will tell XOXO). Ugh.

Glad that Dirk is back. 

Dirk and Jason Terry were both sitting out this game. I don't necessarily agree with star players not playing road exhibition games. I'll get to see Dirk play a few times this year, but to someone who lives here and never gets to see him play I empathize with you. It's like that time when I bought tickets to see Boris Becker play a tennis match in Dallas, and he withdrew due to a back injury. I won't get that chance back again, and I had watched him on TV since the age of 9.

It was a wonderful night outside to watch the game in the open air. It looked as if the Mavs were on vacation a bit, too. Steve seems ready for the season. Amber and I were trying to figure out who all the new guys were. I told Amber the Mavs had two new French guys as I pointed to one on the court. "That guy," she said. "He's not French. I can tell by looking at him." A couple of plays later she questioned, "He's French?" I replied, "Not that guy (Novak), the other tall black one (Mahinmi)." Cut to Amber, "Oh, yeah. He's definitely French." Apparently, she has very good French-dar.

The next morning we headed to Desert Hot Springs to go to the Pueblo House. Amber found information about a man who built a house out of reclaimed materials. The house was interesting, but the story about the man, Cabot Yerxa, was fascinating. As a kid he and his family lived with an Indian tribe, during his teen years he traveled across America setting up various businesses and he went to France to study art. When he finally settled in Desert Hot Springs at an older age, his property happened to be on opposite sides of the San Andreas fault allowing him to have access to hot and cold water. At the age of 60, he meet the love of his life and began to built this house with her in mind. An artistic architect who believed that all people should be treated equally, liked to travel and was into recycling? Even I might have moved to the desert for you or at least thought about it. How did you handle all those hot summers? They probably don't call it Desert Hot Springs for nothing.

Later in the day, Joanna came to visit us from Los Angeles. We walked around the downtown area, saw Easy A at the movies (very funny) and had dinner at the Tropicale. So great to see her again. It's been a while. 

Last day in Palm Springs. We rode on the ariel tram 9,000 feet up in the mountains. The tram rotates round, so you get 360 degree views of Coachella Valley. Amber braved the heights. For that she was rewarded with 60 degree weather. 

If you go to Palm Springs, do not purchase the Modern Architecture Map. It contained neighborhoods that either didn't allow is to see the houses for their gates or didn't permit us to drive on private roads. BBC Sirus Radio channel, I will miss you. Clap your hands if you're working too hard.  (Also, try Happiness.)

Such a nice three-day break. Thanks to Amber for coming along. Here's to less clapping and more having fun.

Palm Springs Playlist

Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance) - The Contours
Making Out - No Doubt
Where Do I Begin - The Chemical Brothers
Train in Vain - The Clash
Faces - Yeah Yeah Yeahs


Daytona Beach Aug 10

August 6th-9th - Family Reunion

Went to Daytona Beach for a family reunion on my mom's side of the family. Daytona is really a small beach town. Not sure what tourists would do here in the summertime besides go to the beach. But for a lot of people, including me, the beach is enough. Family trips are always a chance to learn things you didn't know before like my mom is a fan of Usher and my dad and I like the same kind of police/spy television shows. However, he thinks "Psych" is way too silly.

                                                                 She & Him  =    M

It's nice to see so much family. My mom is from 13 brothers and sisters. I'm an only child. I always find the dynamic of sisters interesting. The women in my mom's family are all strong, and while they are similar they have characteristics that make them all unique. They always make me laugh and smile. I learned that my Uncle Herbert used to drive race cars. Aunt Lisa is trying to fix me up with a Harlem Globetrotter. Uncle Alfred can do the electric slide with the best of them. Aunt Juanita is still as outgoing as ever, and my Aunt Susie who is 80 something-years-old is ready for basketball season to begin. She's been a Heat fan, likes Kobe (my mom and I shake our heads about this) and is a big Steve Nash fan (which I had nothing to do with).

At one point a Soul Train line broke out during the reunion. I've been telling my mom for 10 years that I know how to dance. Later that evening she said, "Chelle, you looked good going down the line." Finally, some vindication.

It was an incredibly fun and relaxing family vacation. I don't think many people can say that.





I went parasailing. It feels like a giant swing hanging in the sky. I asked my dad to take photos of me from the boat. As you can see below, there are 4 photos. Two I wasn't even in, one where my head is as big as a dot and the other with me safely on the boat. He then proclaimed that he only excels in still life photography. (I was sure to give him a hard time about this.) So far I accomplished the following on my "Things to do in the air" list: sky diving, flying a plane, riding in a cable car (above the Swiss Alps) and now parasailing. Still left to do: hang gliding, hot air balloon ride, sea plane ride, helicopter ride, riding in a plane that does tricks and going across a hanging bridge.

US Open trip is postponed for now. On to: Something old, something new

Summer Playlist So Hot You'll Wish It Was Fall
Too Much - Kylie Minogue
Everything You Wanted (RAC remix) - Kele
4th of July (Calvin Harris remix) - Kelis
Everybody Dance - Chic
Clap Your Hands (Prince Vince remix) - Sia
One Touch - LCD Soundsystem
Hot-N-Fun (Boys Noize remix) - NERD
Hello, Good Morning (remix) - Diddy
Dear God 2.0 - The Roots
Sun Is Shining (Funkstar deluxe remix) - Bob Marley
Let's Go Surfing (Raveonettes remix) - The Drums
The Sea - Morcheeba


Salt Lake City/Denver 10

(Mavs/Nash Trip #7)

Ich habe dich gewählt unter allen Sternen. - Else Lasker-Schüler 
Translation: I have chosen you among all the stars.

Seven years? Seriously, where has the time gone? So I have established the fact that I go on these trips to see the Mavs and Steve every year (must be in the same week and in a reasonable traveling region). But why?

Let's start with Steve. I didn't like Steve at first. My friends would always say that he was all the girls' favorite, and I'd be like "good for them." I thought he penetrated way too far into the lane and that led to turnovers. The only thing I hate more than turnovers is not getting back on defense. One day a friend of mine had these really good seats behind the basket. It was then that I got it. It wasn't that he was hogging the ball to see what kind of shot he could get off at the last second. It was that he was holding on to the ball to look for open teammates even if the very last second meant on his way out of bounds. After that he wore that "Shoot for peace" t-shirt, and then I was like "okay he's got something." And to this day, I always prefer to sit behind the basket because I think it's the best way to see your team on offense, defense and in transition.

When I say "Mavs," 99% of the time that means Dirk. His story is simple. Nine years ago during a playoff game against the Spurs, someone accidentally hit him in the face. He then proceeded to check himself out of the game by stepping on top of the scorer's table and running back into the tunnel. No one knew what was happening. A replay later showed that he must of had a tooth knocked out or something. Almost 1 minute later, he comes running out of the tunnel and checks himself back into the game missing teeth and all. I knew then that he was keeper. For someone who tries to be normal, everything about him seems so unconventional.

It is because of those two and my stubborn sense of independence that I have gone to places I wouldn't have even thought of going (eh, hem Utah) and for that they'll always have my support. Unless, of course, they meet in the playoffs.

Off to Utah, to be surrounded by mountains and angry Jazz fans. I will try to get over the fact that my computer died taking with it almost all the pictures for the my online business that I'm planning to open in a month or so. Oh well, guess the second time is a charm.

Salt Lake City 2/1/10 - 2/2/10

Salt Lake City is indeed surrounded by mountains. Sometimes when I'm flying I wonder how the Native Americans traveled across this land of ours. If I saw one of those mountains in front of me, I'd give up.

Today is a beautiful day in the city. The sun is shining, and it's 45 degrees. Salt Lake is filled with old architecture. It's like the whole city is one big Swiss Avenue. There are a lot of churches here, but they are all denominations. I went to Sam Weller's, a used book store. I notice how all these buildings creak like this one and my hotel. There is a little bit of antique in everything around here. I picked up a 1970's book called "Talking to Myself" and Kierkegaard's "The Seducer's Diary."

I stopped at an organic cafe called One World Everybody Eats for lunch. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Turns out that at the cafe you decide how much you pay for your meal.  I was hoping that the man behind the counter would pick up on my look of cluelessness, but he didn't. And I had to say, "I'm from Dallas. I've never been here before. I don't know how this works." He said it was a pay it forward type of deal because homeless people eat there. Basically, they don't turn away anyone who is hungry. I had pasta primavera and potatoes. It was pretty good. Glad I stopped in. More walking and looking at old buildings. I stopped inside Slow Train, which is a music store. After putting on some headphones and listening to St. Vincent's "Actor Out of Work," I was ready to hit the streets again.

I've been searching for the Tabernacle. (The picture above, that's not it.) I thought I would just look up at the sky, see it and make my way in that direction. Wrong. Every time I looked at my map I was actually getting further away from it. Whoops. Back to my hotel to get some rest before the game.

After the game... First, I need to vent. I couldn't have been the only one who noticed that Dirk didn't get the ball in the fourth quarter until the 6 minute mark. Six minutes went by and I don't remember him touching the ball once. He was so hot in the third quarter that the person sitting beside me said "He always does this to us in the second half." He made what seemed like 6 shots in a row. So why did they not go back to him? I don't remember a double team coming. In fact, I don't think Jerry Sloan even believes in double teaming. And when they did decide to give the ball to him, the entry passes were on the side of the defense. This is confounding. Give him the ball! I don't know what kind of chemistry issues are going on with this team. Maybe the media or the fans or even the Mavs themselves have complained too much about who isn't doing anything, that everyone wants to prove themselves individually. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but some thing is off. I read an article in the Dallas Morning News applauding Jason Terry for being vocal. Somehow vocal just means saying something is wrong with someone else to the media. Dirk occasionally does this too, but he's German, so I forgive him. I need everyone on this team to remain positive. Everyone says how Kidd is a great leader. I don't ever remember reading something negative from him or his eyes cutting at someone on the court. This team needs solutions. It needs energy. And it needs to remain positive.

Good things about the game. The Jazz have a new ticket system that allows you to pick the seat you want from a seating chart instead of random selection like Ticketmaster. Kudos for this. And for that, I gave the Jazz a little bit more of my money because I saw a great seat available. The seat was actually a little too close for my taste. I want good seats, but if I'm that close to Dirk, I'd rather be having a conversation. I sat by these two women who were Jazz season ticket holders. They travel to road games as well. They even went to London this year for a preseason game. Kindred spirits. They offered me a ride back to my hotel. I think people feel sorry for you when you traveled somewhere and your team loses. But my hotel wasn't that far, and I needed a walk in the cool air. The other Jazz fans seemed to have a professional degree in heckling with booing being their minor. Anyways need to figure out what time I'm leaving for Denver. Tomorrow might be a good rest day.

Denver 2/2/10 -2/4/10

In the mile high city, I wonder what NBA players do in their rooms all day.

After eating fabulous blueberry waffles with cream cheese sauce and graham cracker syrup, I went back to my room for a 15 minute digestive rest, got bored and started to take pictures of myself on my new Apple computer (Take that HP.) I think the key, however, is to not take them in the nude. That's where things lead to trouble. I'm even wearing a scarf for extra coverage.

All these trade rumors about the Suns and the Mavs are making me think of that scene from "You Got Mail" where Meg Ryan says, "It's business, it's not personal. What is that suppose to mean?... All that means is that it wasn't personal to you... Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal." I think Mark Cuban would be on Joe Fox's side and say it is business and it shouldn't be personal. But like Kathleen, he runs his organization like a family. He very rarely lets people go. Except in Steve's case, which in reading a quote from Steve the other day still pisses him off. I think people believe the more money you make, the more emotional void you should have regarding your job. But money makes a man neither unfeeling or feeling. You are who you are. What if you heard a rumor at your job that you were being reassigned because your value to the team has declined or a different skill set was needed? Would you work harder, drift through the days thinking about your future, or say screw them? Truth is probably all three, but you would gravitate towards one. That defines you. Sports are so fickle, and people can be, too. That's not to say that trades shouldn't be made or employees shouldn't be replaced for the betterment of the situation. It is to simply say that we all have feelings and don't forget what someone did for you yesterday because they didn't do anything for you today. (Or in Steve's case, don't forget what someone did for you yesterday because you think they won't do anything for you tomorrow.)  Ok, enough philosophy. Staring out a window with a city view can lead to a lot of internal thinking.

I went to Denver's Buffalo Exchange today. I picked up this retro sweater vest, which I am modeling, and a studded 7 of Mankind skirt that I think will be added to my second-hand denim inventory. Went to Wax Trax, a vinyl record store. They had a nice selection, but nothing I needed at the moment.

There are a lot of homeless people downtown, so be prepared for that. The two stores that I went to were more in a neighborhood, so I didn't have any problems being approached there. You'll find advertisements painting on brick buildings. Whoever does these is good. Also, when you walk down 16th street by the Federal Reserve building there are drains that make noises when you pass by. In the morning it was chickens and in the evening it was gurgling water. Odd, but a good conversation starter.

Steve Nash could very well be the NBA's sweetheart. What a nice round of applause. Dirk is so unorthodox. People want to put him in a square hole when he's more of an obtuse triangle. Steve, however, is everything that a point guard should be - a visionary, a conductor and an instructor. I'll never figure out how he makes those layups. Nice overall game by the Suns. Extremely impressed by the Nuggets' game presentation. It was energetic and interactive before the teams started to warm up. Not over the top, but just right. Their selection of music was pretty good, and they had a lot of contests in which the crowd could participate in. Who doesn't like yelling out answers and then thinking some guy is an idiot for not knowing the price of Cheez-Its is under $3. Rocky, the mascot, was funny and charming. If you like to travel to NBA games, you should put Denver on your list. Nicely done Nuggets.

If you're going to the game and are not in close walking distance to the Pepsi Center. Take the 16th street shuttle to Wynkoop street, it will save you some time and your tired legs. I also recommend staying at the Curtis Hotel. The rooms are spacious, the bathroom is spacious and the bed is perfect. Mattress not too firm and a mountain of cushiony pillows that your head melts in. Free Wi-Fi and trash cans that are divided into half recyclable and half non-recyclable.

Another trip down. My list of places that I want to go are being check off one by one. No World Cup this year.  I'm hoping to take my mom to the US Open in New York this summer so she can see all her tennis boyfriends play (Roddick, Blake, the Bryan Brothers, Andy Murray and Monfils). She's not as loyal as I am. In fact, she might be ditching Venus for Serena.

Looking forward to seeing how this season is going to end. Looking forward to so many things.

On iPod:
Some songs have their own meaning, so this year I'll explain my selections...

Breakin' Up - Rilo Kiley (Ooh, it feels good to be free - There's no greater feeling than doing what you want to do)

Settle Down - Zwan (For 7 years, 7 days, 7 hours, I took my chances - For seven years, I've taken these trips to a new place every year)

Every Now and Then - Noisettes (I hope this will remind me of the places I have been through when I'm down, down, down - This blog remind me of memories)

Iron Man - Cardigans (And now he has his revenge - How Dirk always gets even with the Utah Jazz sooner or later)

Middle Cyclone - Neko Case - (Did someone make a fool of me? For I can show them how it's done - How I feel out of place in a new town, but it's all in my head)

Have You Seen Me Lately? - Counting Crows - (All the little things that make up a memory - Moments become memories that become life stories)

The Story I Heard - Blind Pilot - (Thought I saw you jump a Utah train - I never known a song to mention Utah before)

Little Wing - Corinne Bailey Rae (Someone once said that girls don't like Jimi Hendrix, but that's not true)

White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes (With red scarves tied around their throats to keep their little heads from falling in the snow - dreading the cold)

You Don't Understand Me - Raconteurs - (Why do you feel the need to tease me? Why don't you turn it around it might be easier to please me - Wanting encouragement above all else)

All Possibilities - Badly Drawn Boy (You're seeing the world through cynical eyes. I'm seeing the world through the eyes of someone new - Positivity changes one's outlook)

Millionaire - Kelis with Andre 3000 (Bitches always out to put their paws on your riches - Obvious meaning)

Let Go - Joy Denalane (A player only loves you when he's playing - Obvious, too)

One Life Stand - Hot Chip (I only want to be your one life stand - The antithesis of those last two songs)

Triumph - Pitbull (I'm on my way to the show getting paid marvelous rates - Hard work pays off)