While surfing the television tonight, I decided to stop fiddling with my remote when I reached CSPAN2. I don’t watch CSPAN2 very often, but somehow seeing a fatter, older former Vice President Al Gore caught my attention. Who knows why, but I decided to tune in. I kept watching and suddenly it shifted over to old presidential candidate Bob Dole. Al Gore and Bob Dole in one room? Well, I obviously stayed tuned to see why. Then, a few minutes later, I saw that this lecture was taking place at none other than Southern Methodist University (SMU), the first university I attended!

I transfered from that university after only three semesters for many reasons which I won’t go into. Despite, one of the most cherishable things that I somewhat miss is SMU’s offering to its students of the Tate Lecture Series. This is a regular series of lectures/debates that offers students a personal chance to meet some of the most high profile people such as former presidents, genius scientists, and other high profile people. During my stay at SMU, I went to see David Gergen moderating Bill Bradley and Jack Kemp as well as Barbara Bush and Professor Stephen Hawking. Professor Hawking looked me straight in the eyes as he passed me on his wheelchair. I think I enjoyed his lecture more than the others even though I couldn’t tell you one thing he said to this day. In fact, I don’t remember what any of those people were talking about when I try to sit down and think about it. I have such a bad memory.

Anyway, I was only able to watch the last 30 minutes of the debate, but the arguments made by both people were very well thought out. I was surprised at what Al Gore said at times but it was interesting to hear both of their takes on today’s issues. If you have cable and have CSPAN2, try to see if you can find the lecture because if you’re interested in the issues they offer a good source of information from both sides of the tracks.

For more information on the Bush and Kerry’s views on some of the issues, check out www.issues2000.org. Yes, it’s current.

I moved to Houston in 1990 when I was only 11 years old. Thinking back, I really can’t believe it was that long ago and that I was so young. My world was about 12 inches larger at that time and Houston was a BIG city to me. Heck, it’s a big city to me even now, but living here in LA has really given the meaning to big city a huge perspective…

Anyway, since we moved there in 1990, Houston has really been my home. I lived there nonstop from 1990 through 1997 until August of 1997. At that time, I moved to Dallas for my first few years of college at SMU. But in 1999, I decided that SMU just wasn’t where I needed to be and went back home to Houston.

After two years of living it up and having a nice time off and on, I decided to finally move away from home again. This time to Lubbock, then to Denver for my last two years of college. Denver was a vacation, the whole time I was there was so chill and I loved it!

Suddenly like a lightning bolt, graduation appeared and I didn’t have any prospective for jobs at all. In fact, I had no reason to really even stay in Denver. So where did I end up? That’s right, right back to Houston again. Right back to where my comfort zone was, to where all the familiar people I knew were. Right back home.

Over the years, my family gradually made their way out of Houston. First my brother, then my mom, then me, then my younger brother, I then came back, and then my dad left. But during all that time, I always went right back to that bayou city for retreat, recharge, and re-energizing. I just couldn’t escape the draw of my history with the city.

Finally, this past February came what could possibly be my last trip from my home in Houston. I moved here to LA… and I’m still here. And I’ll probably be here through Christmas. And I’ll hopefully be here for a while longer. I mean, I really can’t put any time tables. I’m trying to make what amounts to my dreams come true here. And that’s really important to me right now. Maybe in a few months or years it won’t be, but right now I believe this is what I need to be doing, no matter how much I struggle.

Just a few days ago, during my daily visit to Alison’s website, I read a couple of posts about her life as well as someone’s feelings about Houston. She linked to someone’s personal goodbye letter to Houston and all the honest, somewhat liberal views of that city. Although I don’t agree with everything said, I do understand this person’s feelings trying to be emoted.

Then in the comments section, someone posted a link to Houston’s new ad campaign which I had absolutely no idea about. Funny thing is, and I didn’t realize this until two weekends ago, this website was mentioned in an article featured in the LA Times article (which I can’t seem to find anywhere) praising the city for various things. Nonetheless, when the heck did Houston decide to launch an ad campaign to draw more people to the city?? I haven’t been gone THAT long.

Houston is no LA, it’s no NYC, and I doubt it’ll ever reach the social status that both cities hold. However, Houston is a major commercial development right now especially with the eastern side of downtown being overhauled in light of two major stadiums for baseball, basketball, and hockey teams to play year round. Once city council, city leaders, and voting Houstonians learn how to spend their money correctly, Houston should become a huge favorite. But until then, I think they’ll remain an anonymous, non-pretentious city with no image except that of cowboys with 10 gallon bucket hats working in high rise, downtown skyscrapers which oil built. Trust me, people who have never been don’t have much of an impression but I’ve gotten the whole “You’re a Texan” bit from many people here in LA.

I have not left Houston for good. Nor do I have plans to return anytime soon. But I will always know that I’m going home when I travel back to Houston.