Tuesday, April 24, 2007

VCU - Where Hunting Is A Major

Trip Recap #4 - March 4th, 3rd day of the trip. Looked up local malls online, determined that Charleston Towne Square Mall was probably the best bet. It was unique, easily the hugest Aeropostale and smallest Finish Line this blog has ever seen. Overpriced mall on the whole. This blog went to the food court, ideally would have gone to the Chick-Fil-A, but it was closed on a Sunday. Instead ended up getting way overpriced Burger King instead, as well as a cookie at some cookie place. Not a wasted trip, but certainly was hoping for more with the mall.

Part of why the trip was not wasted was that this blog stumbled upon the University of Richmond while heading over to the mall, which was very cool since this blog now knew how to get there for tomorrow, so more on that with the next recap, since this blog was planning on heading to Virginia Commonwealth's bookstore too.

Getting back to downtown Richmond, this blog entered the Coliseum to find that they had moved the "Ring of Champions" up a deck. This ring was kind of cool. Every year's tournament champion was listed on a banner showing the year. After the 2006 banner, instead of ending it, they had one up that said only "Who Will Be Next??"

So this was cool. Based on fairly small crowds the first two nights, they had them hanging from the 2nd deck. Well this night, they were hanging from the 3rd deck, which really was unexpected. This was because the "3rd Deck" was really just a few sections worth of extra seats situated above the 2nd deck in each end zone. This meant the signs really had to get crammed together to fit, since they had previously spanned a much larger pair of arcs on the 2nd deck.

Drexel faced off against Virginia Commonwealth in the early game. Some great signs from Drexel's student section, both aimed at VCU's students:

"VCU = UVA Rejects"

"Shouldn't you be watchin' Nascar?"

"VCU - Where hunting is a major."

VCU responded with a sign saying "Your Signs Suck"

At the half, there was a Special Olympics athlete that was delivering a speech to the crowd. It was a very touching speech, but funny in parts. This blog is paraphrasing and hopes it doesn't butcher his message, but he began his speech with (approximately):

"Before you start to get concerned, don't worry. I promise you this speech won't last any longer....than Britney Spears in rehab."

Totally brought down the house. Especially topical at the time, too. The part of the message this blog took home is that it hurts developmentally disabled people when you use the term "retard" derisively. This blog has tried to make it a point to avoid this phrase and believes it has been successful for the most part.

The hometown Rams beat up on Drexel after the half, so Drexel's NCAA tournament hopes, at least as far as their fans were concerned, had ended. (As it turned out, they probably should have made it over Arkansas or Stanford in hindsight).

In the nightcap, George Mason broke out the gold jerseys and upset favored Old Dominion, prompting George Mason's student section to chant "Lady Monarchs" at ODU, which this blog found funny. ODU's women's basketball program is a powerhouse, but Pun City is sure their men's program doesn't like to hear that.

The crowd of 11,200 was the first sellout in CAA Tournament history, so that was pretty awesome to be a part of. This blog had now been part of record crowds at the Colonial and Missouri Valley tournaments. A cool day, setting up a final between George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth tomorrow.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pun City In Bullets-Time

Bullets is a fast food chain that was founded in 1991 in Richmond, VA. The chain now has restaurants in 7 states primarily in the Southeastern United States. Their claim to fame would seem to be 100% Black Angus beef in all of their burgers. While on vacation this year, Pun City had the chance to visit Bullets between basketball games. This is its story.

Pros: First off, clearly, the name is really cool. This blog would definitely visit a place called "Bullets" over a place called "Wizards," regardless of any nicknames this blog might have. The restaurant offers chili dogs and chicken fingers, which is a nice option to have. This blog was unfortunately unable to sample those offerings, but this blog doesn't figure you can screw those up too badly. Soda options were alright, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper were the non-diet dark sodas, they also had Mug Root Beer available. The burgers were alright, this blog didn't see what the big deal was with the Black Angus beef, but it certainly wasn't bad. Any condiment was available on the burger, which is a nice option. Used to special orders so it wasn't a hassle to specify exact condiments. Service was pretty quick, place was definitely not crowded so it was easy to get through there. Being a walk-up and drive-thru location meant that not too many people could crowd the place, so it is naturally not crowded and bothersome customers aren't likely to be around long if there at all.

Cons: Burgers aren't really that great. This blog expected a lot more from a place that touts its beef as highly as Bullets does. Beyond this, standard burgers come with tons of condiments. This blog had to ask for quite a few condiments to take out before completing its order. Automatic spicy curly fries with no option of regular fries is a major bummer. Given that they weren't even very good curly fries, this was especially disconcerting. Realistically, could have easily added another dark soda, like a Cherry Pepsi, although what they have is pretty close. Due to drive-in setup, does not lend itself well to getting free refills. This blog is unsure whether they'd give the free refill or not if you stayed long. Service was not particularly friendly, as a newcomer this blog felt like it was putting a major strain on them to ask for less condiments based on their reactions. Obviously locations are not convenient for most Americans, so this is an issue. This blog realizes it's a pretty new chain in the grand scheme of things, but because of this they don't have many locations anywhere much less in widespread regions. Not the greatest value in history.

Overall Ranking: 4.5 out of 10 Fryers. Major points lost for location issues so far. It's only 16 years old, so there's definitely a good chance the location factor gets resolved in the next few years, but the grade's going to reflect current status. Automatic (and subpar) curly fries is inexcuseable. Marching out a really weak regular fry would have even helped. Soda could use some work but altogether not bad. Burgers theoretically would be the highlight of the place, but underwhelmed. Viable options of chili dogs and chicken tenders give menu flexibility. Drive-in style works well in its region, would need to have more sit-down restaurants if they expanded northward.

Burger-Only Ranking: 4.5 Fryers. Too many condiments, overhyped beef. This blog thinks it's possible it visited a bad location for the meat, but given the limited number of locations and the fact this one was in the same city as headquarters, it's hard to imagine this was anything different than you could normally expect. Burger size was nothing to write home about, though cost implied that it should be. This chain is not likely to radically expand nationally because it's just not good enough to justify franchising costs. Hopefully they fix their menu and succeed, it's always good to see a new fast food place in the neighborhood.

Want to see how Bullets stacks up against the competition? Check out these other Fast-Food Reviews courtesy of Pun City:

Burger King
In-N-Out Burger
Jack In The Box
Sonic Drive-In
White Castle

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007


This blog totally forgot it was a post night. Hopefully there's rectification tomorrow. For now, some puns to hold you over:

The man giving colored wax to radio stations so they would play his song was indicted today on charges of Crayola.

In college basketball news, it was just announced that Wisconsin will be Duking it out next year.

This blog's friend got into a fajita'd discussion with the fiery waiter at Chili's.

People are getting tired of Shelling out this much for gas.

Disney introduced a new all-sports channel specifically aimed at the illegal immigrant market. It will be known as ESPN Deporteds.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What Price Free Hat?

Trip Recap #3 - March 3rd, Richmond VA. Woke up quick, at about noon. Headed to a fast-food restaurant Pun City had seen the night before, a place called "Bullets." Solid, this blog will get a review of that up shortly. Virginia Commonwealth was taking on Georgia State after GSU's miraculous win the day before.

Above: Richmond Coliseum's unique roof supports.

VCU cruised, and given this blog's scoring rule, the game was over when VCU led by 11 with 10:37 remaining.

The next game featured Drexel versus Northeastern. This game was interesting on several fronts. First, this blog had gotten tickets from Drexel's ticket office, so it was the first game which this blog's section had a sizeable contingent on hand. As one of the guys sitting behind this blog said, after having sat through 5 games which he had only a minor interest in, "Finally, a game I care about!"

This blog cared about the same as the previous 5 incidentally.

This blog had noticed the guys sitting behind it were pretty talkative, somewhat annoying previously. This blog was also aware it was sitting in the Drexel seating section, but all of the pieces hadn't quite come together until this game, when this blog realized......

Pun City was surrounded by a bunch of Philadelphia sports fans. This blog is going to say that the fans hadn't met their over-the-top billing yet, and Drexel University isn't the most common team one thinks of when it thinks of Philadelphia sports. But sure enough, mixed in among the Drexel apparel around this blog's section was a healthy amount of Phillies hats, Eagles jerseys, and general affinity for cheesesteaks.

This blog's first thought: "Aw crap, Philly fans." However, after further review, this blog is stunned to proclaim: Philly fans are awesome. Very hilarious at times, a bit extreme other times, but generally knowledgeable and fun to be around during a game. Some highlights:

-Drexel's student section employs what this blog would call a "hypercount," where they start with the actual remaining shot-clock time, but just count it down at about 3 times the actual pace. This worked extremely well, getting Northeastern to force up early shots on at least 4 occasions. Nice work on that.

-This blog guesses that Northeastern's student section is fairly well-known around the conference for making giant roll-out signs that they show the other team's fans, then rip up. Drexel came prepared for this, which was very funny. Northeastern's main sign was "Chaz Drinks Zima," referring to Drexel's Chaz Crawford and, well, Zima. Drexel's students countered with "Screw Clam Chowder - Gimme A Cheesesteak," and "Northeastern = Wicked Awful." Given that Northeastern is based in Massachusetts, this was good stuff.
Above: Northeastern's Student Section

-The PA announcer at Richmond Coliseum, for whatever reason, chooses to use the expression "spells" for every substitution. As in, "Frank Elegar spells Chaz Crawford." As almost every sports fan realizes, when a starter re-enters for a backup, he's not exactly there to "spell" him. This didn't phase the PA announcer, who used it every single time. This blog had picked up on how annoying this was, but hadn't quite nailed down the best way to mock the situation, until...

-This blog was supplied with several great lines from one row behind on this very situation:
PA: "Tremayne Hawthorne spells Dominick Mejia." One Row Back: "With an H instead of a J"
PA: "Bobby Jordan spells Bashir Mason." One Row Back: "Good, 'cause I can't fuckin' spell that."

-DU fans also were decrying the media for failing to name Frank Elegar first-team All-CAA, which was a fair argument since the first team featured 4 guards, one forward, and no centers. Presumably if 2 forwards or 1 center had been on the team, as with most standard teams, Elegar would have been the big man selected.

-One somewhat annoying part of the DU fans was their accent, which was most pronounced when shouting star player Dominic Mejia's nickname, coming out (roughly) as "Dawhm!" A small price to pay however, Philadelphia fans' knowledge and humor were a great combo while watching the games.

After Drexel dismantled Northeastern, most of Drexel's fans cleared out of this blog's section. This was cool, but the usher in this site's section repeatedly checked Pun City's ticket when returning to the seat. This was ridiculous in that: a) This blog made a point to make eye contact with the usher each time this blog left the section, at times less than 2 minutes before returning to a ticket check, and b) There were only about 9 fans left in this blog's section, so it wasn't like it was tough to remember. This analysis doesn't even include the "Who cares if someone's in these empty seats?!!" factor. This blog chalks it up to a bad individual usher, Pun City didn't have any problems the other 3 days with different ushers.

Towson didn't have a large number of fans show up to the 3rd game, but it was cool when student fans from both Virginia Commonwealth and George Mason flooded into the Towson section and started wildly cheering for the Tigers. Unfortunately this was not quite enough and Old Dominion took them out 58-55.

Before the last game of the evening, this blog had a weird encounter that might cause it to use a little more caution the next time it starts hunting down freebies.

Here goes: This blog had noticed the Army table was handing out bags, but you couldn't get a free hat from them, it seemed as though those were reserved for student sections, where they would get on TV more. At any rate, this blog sees one of the recruiters walking with about 6 hats in his hand. This blog figures he's going to throw them out at some point and starts following him. He ends up not throwing them out, but instead giving them to some of the ticket takers to hand to students later. The ticket taker, in turn, sets the hats on a ticket window. This blog was looking to see where exactly they ended up, and also if this blog could snag one.

In order to see the front of a ticket window from inside the Richmond Coliseum, one has to position themself fairly close to an exit. This blog assures you that one can easily do so without actually leaving the building. So that's what this blog did. And, sure enough, the hats were just sitting there, no one handing them out. But to get one, you'd need to exit and re-enter. This blog wasn't about to do that, free hat or not, so it just headed back into the concourse and walked around for a while. After a short walk, this blog returned to the same spot to see if they were now handing out the hats. No dice, they were still on the ticket counter.

However, this time, Pun City hears someone say, "Hey buddy, stop!" This blog's got nothing to hide, so it stops, heads back toward the voice. It's an usher, positioned on the hat side of a fence (far side from Pun City). He asks to see my ticket, so I dig it out, show it to him. This blog thinks he was trying to catch this blog sneaking into the game from the nearby exit. Then he asks if the ticket's been scanned in. Well, yeah, obviously. His next comment was a little unnerving: "Since I saw you leave, technically I can't let you back in...." This blog is immediately thinking "What!?? Pun City hasn't come within 3 feet of the exit!! You cannot be serious!!"

A bunch of options are running through this blog's head. This usher is on the other side of a fence, so there's always the flight response, which would certainly work in the short term, but there's a good shot that this blog eventually gets caught and/or has to watch a good portion of the late game from the upper deck in hiding or something. This also would bring on the chance of getting thrown out of the next 2 days' games, not an option. So this blog says:

"But (Pun City) didn't leave. (Pun City) never stepped outside the building." This blog figures that it's theoretically possible this blog had stepped into some kind of "DMZ" that counted as leaving the building when you haven't physically left, so it's not going to completely blow up on the guy just yet. At this point the usher, who clearly hadn't seen this blog leave, also probably not wanting to have to scale a fence if this blog decided to bail, "let" Pun City off with a warning, saying something to the effect of "Well I'll let you go."
Above: George Mason's Student Section
So it became clear that Pun City hadn't been in a DMZ and the usher was probably just trying to flex a little. At any rate, no harm, no foul, and this blog was able to see George Mason take down Hofstra for their 2nd win of the tournament in the nightcap. A bonus was George Mason's band director, who looks like George Jefferson's pimp brother. Very entertaining. Just like Pun City's night, for better or worse.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What's a Food Court without a mall? Sbtrange.

Trip Recap #2 - The second half of 3/2. Delaware was taking on Northeastern in the next set of games. Delaware's cheerleaders were a definite A- in the looks department, topping out at completely stunning. Another cool part of Delaware being there was that Spencer Dunkley was being honored. Of course, avid sports fans recognize him as the 50th-best sports figure from the state of Delaware.

Delaware ran into issues since their entire roster consisted of 7 players. This blog detailed their plight here.

Northeastern didn't have too much to report, although there was one fan wearing a Mexican wrestling mask in their colors. This was sort of cool on its own, especially when coupled with a cape. The dude then outdid himself by becoming the first person this blog has ever seen smoking a cigarette through a wrestling mask. As if that wasn't enough, the guy ended up stepping away from the butt long enough to win the halftime free-throw-shooting contest. Really weird.

Once that game ended, headed over to what this blog thought was a mall next to the stadium (the arena had to be cleared for the next session). The "mall" was in fact just a food court. This was unusual as well. The fact that it wasn't a full mall ended up being somewhat of a bummer the rest of the trip, since the Richmond Coliseum isn't really within walking distance of too many points of interest. The Coliseum area is populated by a lot of government buildings, that food court, a ton of parking structures, hotels, and a few stores or restaurants barely within walking distance.

Most of the "walkable" businesses aren't in the greatest area of town, but this blog didn't get any trouble. The Foot Locker within walking distance was a typical Foot Locker that sells a lot of blank t-shirts and an occasional shoe. If you went through the less-than-affluent area, eventually you get to Virginia Commonwealth's campus, which was a little sparse but probably would be a cool place to go to school. It was sparse in that there aren't a whole lot of food options outside of the immediate library area, but within that area there were some good choices. Quizno's, Cold Stone Creamery, Qdoba, and non-chain pizza and burger places. (Maybe they were chain places, but this blog hasn't seen either of them outside of those locations).

The night session featured Towson beating UNC-Wilmington. Of note from that game is that Towson's band and general representation was pretty cool. The mascot was cool, they featured Gary Neal who scores over 20 points per game, solid cheerleaders, and a good coach. Their band played "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Disco Inferno," "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Holiday (by Green Day)", "Somebody Told Me," CBS's College Basketball theme, and the obligatory "Eye of the Tiger." This plus an awesome version of the Star-Spangled Banner that you had to hear to believe.

UNCW, in a rebuilding year, had a student section wearing shirts that read "Feel My Teal." Which might be a good pickup line in certain scenarios.

And the last game of the night featured George Mason blowing out James Madison in the duel of Revolutionary War-era hero schools.

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