Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to what is my last ramble of 2011. I hope that all of you enjoyed your Christmas as much as I did. I woke up early yesterday for no reason, which at first you might attribute to the fact that it was Christmas, but I've actually had a habit of being a late riser on Christmas Day. Particularly when I was a college student (and maybe this is true of all college students), I have vivid memories of my younger brother and my even younger stepsister coming into my room and imploring me to get out of bed so that we could begin opening our presents. My dad and my stepmom would already be in the living room also, making me the very last one to wake up. Of course when I was much younger I woke up early like every child, but yesterday I was up before 7:30 for whatever reason... I decided to fill up my gas tank because I knew that I would be heading down to the Alamo City to see my family, so I drove through the very empty streets of San Marcos, America. Let me tell you, there wasn't a lot going on in San Marcos, America at 7:30 a.m. on Christmas morning. I filled up my gas tank, drove home, ate some scrambled eggs and toast, made my texts and phone calls to San Antonio, and then I headed south. As I took the same path toward Interstate 35 for the second time yesterday morning, I approached the same blinking red light a couple of hundred yards from the highway that I had seen a few hours earlier. This time I had a couple of cars in front of me though, and as I followed them, they both preceeded to drive through the light - they didn't STOP, but they just drove THROUGH the blinking RED light. As I pulled to a stop, now mentally quizzing myself about the law, I sat there thinking, 'do they think that the blinking red light is some sort of tribute to CHRISTMAS?! Blinking lights on the Christmas Tree, blinking traffic signals...' :) Anyway, I reached San Antonio and got to see my twin niece and nephew, eleven years-old and enjoying their new gifts as children should be. As I chatted with my stepsister, more of the sarcasm that you know and love (or simply tolerate) started brewing in my head... A family member was trying to track down an item that one of the twins had apparently misplaced, and my stepmom eventually became a key player in this search, as she may have seen the missing item. My stepsister was unable to reach her by phone, and assumed that she was at church. When relaying this information, my stepsister's theory was questioned, because surely my stepmother's church would be closed. (ENTER MY MOUTH) "Her church would be closed, on CHRISTMAS, and when Christmas falls, on a SUNDAY?" Anyway, it's not like I've never said anything questionable (just check my NFL predictions for the last three weeks if you don't believe me)... ;) My stepmother eventually showed up to the house, and it was very nice seeing everyone again. That's one thing about living in San Marcos, America - San Antonio is the home of my closest immediate family members, and I don't see them as often as I probably should. Later in the day I was hanging out with my dad watching basketball games, the Packers game, and socializing. I STILL don't think that most NBA fans or analysts realize how turbulent this condensed season is going to be with injuries, tired players losing their cool, the pressure of every game being more meaningful due to the reduced number of games, seeing bench players play a bigger role than they EVER HAVE during an NBA season, etc, etc... Soooo, I'm socializing when this Packers fan enjoys our gathering at the start of the Packers game... :) She IS a Packers fan, from Wisconsin, and she's talking to the t.v. from the outset of the game (and she's friendly - I'm not getting ready to say anything horrible about her, just because I'm a Steelers fan)... She waves me over after a few minutes, and straightens out my upturned collar - after I take my seat, I joke that she wouldn't have done that if she knew which team I was a fan of... When asked, I hinted that my team would LOVE a rematch with her team. After a few missed guesses, she figures out that it is the Steelers. She proceeds to barely say a word to me for the next 20 minutes before she leaves - some people take their football just a little too seriously... ;) I also smiled this morning when driving by the Bikini Hill that inspired the name of this little blog - there was a man on the predictably empty stretch of grass searching for treasures with a metal detector... This is the same Bikini Hill that hasn't had its regular masses of inhabitants since like... August??? GOOD LUCK finding something buddy... A friend of mine relayed a story to me from the local institution of higher learning during final exams: he was walking by a couple of female students who were engaged in a 'deep' conversation when he overheard, "Do you know how I can tell when it's cold outside? When I walk outside, and I'm cold..." Makes me proud to be a Bobcat... ;) I hope that all of you enjoy the start of what is the last week of 2011, and I will see you again tomorrow.