Under the Dome

Don’t worry, I’m not about to critique the Stephen King series that’s currently running on one of the alphabet channels.  Even though I am a huge science fiction fan I’m no fan of King.  After “It” I gave up on him.  That was just too farfetched and disappointing for me.  Give me real sci fi like Deep Space Nine, The X-Files or Stargate SG-1.

I’m talking about my experience at the Saints game.  I’ve been before but this was the most thrilling game I’ve ever seen live.  I mean a real nail biter.  It made me as nervous as the drive down there did.  Oh yes, the drive.  Let me start there.
I can handle the New Orleans traffic.  It’s just the roads I cannot handle.  Why would you build a city below sea level?  I am claustrophobic, acrophobic and aquaphobic so driving on roads that are built high above the streets and waters with concrete walls on each side just shuts me down.  And for some reason I always manage to miss a turn and end up on one of these horrifying roads.  I have to slow down to a crawl and focus directly ahead while I’m white knuckling and on the verge of hyperventilating.  Yesterday the road had a really nice giant curve and slant which made it even worse.  And where did we come out at the end of that road?  Not the best part of town by the looks of it.  Thankfully it was Sunday morning and it seemed rather quiet and peaceful.  The little gps lady finally got us back on track and we made it to the parking garage we were looking for.

For those that have never been, the Superdome is stuck in the middle of town.  It’s not like any other athletic facility I’ve ever been to.  Most places have plenty of room and a nice large parking area to accommodate everyone.  Not here.  Just city streets and private parking garages.  Parking isn’t cheap and the closer you get to the Dome the more expensive it is.  We have found a garage we like to park in that is fairly reasonable ($20) plus it is easy access out of there.  Or it should be anyway.  Somehow we find a way to make it hard.  But this garage is one mile from the Dome.  Yes, quite a hike especially in 95 degree temps on asphalt and concrete.  There are tailgaters early along the way that have managed to squeeze into open parking lots and set up shop.  That Cajun food always smells good!!!
But once you make that trek and arrive at the Dome, what a view! 

Champions Square was rocking as usual.  We get to the gate and get scanned and then enter the building.  Air conditioner!!!  I prefer open stadiums but during late summer in the south it is good to be inside.  We made our way up to the box on the third level.  Since I’m lucky enough to be in the company box (which includes the tickets by the way) we get to eat some of that good Cajun food.  It’s always a variety, like jambalaya, gumbo, shrimp and grits, chicken wings, meat pies, sandwiches, bread pudding, and I could go on. 

We watch the receivers warm up.  Lance Moore is doing his thing!  I’m still trying to figure out who the guy with the two colored Mohawk is.  Jimmy Graham is over to the side throwing a ball with a little bitty guy and having some pictures made.  Just a lucky fan I assume.  Scott Fujita is signing some autographs.  Deuce McAllister is sitting in the box next to us.
Then the big guy walks in.  No, not Drew Brees but Willie Robertson!  And Martin.  For those that may not know Willie is owner of the Duck Dynasty kingdom.  I still have no idea why they were there but they took plenty of photos including some with the Saintsations and then spent the first half on the sidelines.

And I’m kidding about Willie being bigger than Drew.  Of course Drew is the star in THIS house.  We watch him lead the team in the pregame chant.  Awesome as always.   
The LSU band performs and there are some pregame announcements and rituals and then came the most touching moment in a ballgame I’ve ever seen.  On the giant screen they run a film on ALS research.  Not only were there Saints players taking part but many different players and coaches from the NFL.  And Steve Gleason spoke last.  Oh my.  Chillbumps and tears.  Then Coach Peyton and Steve come out onto the field together.  I never dreamed I’d be crying at an NFL game but I couldn’t hold the tears back.  What an emotional moment.  If anyone doesn’t know the significance in this just google Steve Gleason and find out.   

Game time!  The announcer says to welcome the Atlanta Falcons into the stadium.  Everyone boos.  Nice welcome I’m thinking.  Let’s show some southern hospitality even if this is our biggest rival.   

Yes, the dome truly is the loudest stadium in the world.  It was deafening but didn’t seem to faze the Falcons that much.  They were putting points on the board.  On the other hand the Saints had some trouble getting started.  The defense couldn’t cover their receivers.  I wasn’t getting upset yet because Drew has brought us back on top so many times before and there was plenty of time.  But this time it would be the defense that would save the day.  Down by 6 the Falcons had a chance to make the winning touchdown and leave us with just a few seconds to retaliate.  But on fourth and goal the defense held up and got an interception!  Of course we ran the last few seconds of the clock out on a knee.  Whew.  What a thriller!

So we head out, squeezed in by the crowds that are hollering “Who Dat” all the way. We pass the Gleason statue and then somehow in the massive crowd we missed our off ramp and walked down into Champions Square instead so we have to walk back into the opposite flow of the masses.  I found a guy with a baby in a stroller headed our way too.  I got behind him and magically a baby makes people stop and let you pass.  I told him thanks for the help.
We made the one mile trek back to the parking garage and managed to get on the right ramp out of there.  Homeward bound.
I must say the excitement and thrill of watching a ball game live in the Superdome is unmatched but it’s much easier watching it on television.  All in all though, I think it’s going to be a great season.


Why I'm Taking a Break from Facebook

1 Thessalonians 1:9  ESV  For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.

I’ve said it before, facebook can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing.
I’ve tremendously enjoyed reconnecting with old friends, classmates and family.  I like reading about what’s going on in their lives, seeing pictures of their children and grandchildren and interacting with them with some simple key strokes.  It’s also a very good source for news and information, both local and national.

But the longer I’m on facebook the less interesting it becomes.  User fatigue has set in with many, including myself, I believe.  I don’t know that it will go the way of its predecessor, myspace, and totally fade away since its users are in the millions, but my account has become a little less stimulating because of lack of participation.  Posts by personal friends (which are the most interesting to me) have become few.  My news feed is mainly filled with posts by news and sports organizations and opinion and retail pages.  While I enjoy keeping up with the news this way, I can always turn on the tv or go to a newspaper website and get the same information. 
Lately I’ve found myself frequently hiding or deleting posts.  Some posts and photos are just a bit too risqué for my taste.  Some of the sports sites are the main culprits.  I guess they figure if you like sports you are a rowdy, testosterone filled male that doesn’t mind a half nude photo or harsh language.  Not all sports fans are like that.

A recent study has also found that facebook makes people feel bad about themselves.  I can see how that can happen.  Even though the bible tells us “do not worry about anything” I am a champion worrier in all aspects of my life, including facebook.  I need to work on that.  I worry that some people may not catch my sarcasm and humor and be offended by a post I’ve made.  Another new study has found that one in four people have deleted posts they’ve made for various reasons. Yep, I’m guilty of that.  I’ve posted something that was funny to me but got to thinking that some of my friends with different opinions may be offended by it so I deleted it.  I sometimes read a post and wonder if they were referring to me.  More worry.  I get to missing someone’s posts and find out I’ve been, oh the dreaded word, “unfriended”.  Then I worry about what I may have done to them to offend them and cause them to remove me from their list.  I’ve also worried after unfriending someone myself because of their language or extremely strong political views and actually hoped they didn’t realize I’d deleted them.  Even though I like them as a friend I may not care to see the types of comments they make.  Yes, I can see how facebook can make you feel bad about yourself.
Another issue is time.  Read here how much average time a person spends on facebook.  Couldn’t that time be used more productively?  Couldn’t we be using this time to interact with family and friends, or reading our bible, or exercising…or working?

I recently saw a news program about how people have become distracted with their cell phones and how it’s causing a health hazard.  They showed video of people looking at their phones and walking right out into traffic.  Even after one car slammed on brakes just a few inches from a man, he never looked up from his phone and continued to walk in front of other traffic. 
Yes, it has got that bad.  I’m guilty myself of having dinner out with my husband and spending a lot of that time browsing on facebook.  Not that my husband is much of a talker anyway but I’m sure other husbands or dates or comrades may be and I think this is a serious nuisance as well as being rude.  I’m sure there’s an etiquette rule against it!

As I wrote this I wondered if others had the same feelings I do.  I googled and wow, yes they do.  Not all are taking a break or leaving for the same reasons I am but yes, many have done the same thing.  Google it and see.
Maybe I’ll write a bit more on my blog that I’ve pretty much abandoned.  Hopefully I’ll read more scripture and do some more praying and hey, I may even try to exercise.  I’ve been looking at bicycles.  And my husband will also have to find something to occupy his time since he’s on my account as much as I am.  Sorry honey.  Maybe we should buy two bicylces.   

So if you need me you’ll have to contact me the old fashioned way…by email or text or the old land line phone since I live in the woods and don’t have decent cell phone service.
I really don’t know how this experiment will affect me.  I don’t know if I’ll be content or if I’ll be having to hold myself back from taking a peek to see what’s going on.  But as of this Saturday night before I go to sleep, I will deactivate my facebook account for one week.  I may or may not be back, depending on how this goes.