Dec 162007
 

I marked another year today. I spent the morning running the Jingle Bell 5k with some co-workers and The Boy. Not surprisingly, he beat me by several minutes. I was glad just to finish it without having to walk. We hit Trudy’s South for brunch (they’re moving from Brodie Oaks to Stassney and I-35 in front of the Metropolitan b/c of rising rent). I got a couple of books and a t-shirt from the family. We trimmed the tree and watched Santa Claus Is Coming To Town this afternoon.

 Posted by on December 16, 2007 at 7:52 pm
Jan 202007
 

The Boy was at a friend’s house this week. The kid, who we’ll call Luigi, is nearly two years older. They both ran up to me when I arrived to pick him up, telling me that I *had* to hear this song. They had the video for it pulled up on Google Video (When are they going to integrate that with YouTube? they’re the same company after all). The song? “Amish Paradise” by Weird Al Yankovic. I suppose it was only a matter of time, since The Boy’s right in Weird Al’s demographic. I told them I’d heard it (more than a few times) and that it’s a parody of Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise” (from that laughable movie, Dangerous Minds, with Michele Pfeiffer). After explaining what a parody was, I double-checked and realized that the parody is nearly 11 years old and so is the original. BTW, both songs are reworkings of Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise”. I’m old.

[tags]weirdal, theboy, amishparadise, coolio[/tags]

 Posted by on January 20, 2007 at 11:06 am
Jan 032007
 

Dennis Perrin’s Red State Son is one of my favorite blogs. I think I stumbled across it sometime early last year and added it to my RSS feed. He generally mixes his posts with comments on religion, politics and film/tv among other things. His description of a day watching the Rose Bowl with family is priceless.

The following day, the fam went to a local relative’s house to eat nachos, drink beer and watch Michigan play USC in the Rose Bowl. This visit had the potential to turn into a bad production of its own. While we are close to these people, we cannot discuss politics, or religion, or sex, or drugs, or the war, or really anything else that might be going on apart from cultural diversions like college football. These people are pretty rightwing in their politics and Christianity, so we knew what to expect. But I didn’t anticipate rubbing shoulders with a couple of real nutjobs, both of whom I’d met before, and had hoped to never see again.

The first person is a woman in her early 20s, a soldier in the Army Reserve who served a brief tour of Afghanistan. A mutual friend of the family who grew up with this girl told me that she was insane, and she did little to dispel that reputation the first time I met her, eyes glazed as she spoke of the wonders US-led wars, how America was guided by God and the rest of it. Apparently, visiting a dirt poor country in chaos like Afghanistan did little to shake her faith, in fact, it hardened it. When the national anthem was played before the start of the Rose Bowl, this woman literally stood at attention in front of the large screen. I thought it was a joke, but no — she was absolutely serious. Once the anthem ended, she let out a whoop, widened her eyes and told the rest of us how excited she gets when she hears that song. Everyone other than my immediate family smiled back and nodded their heads in agreement. I went to the kitchen to see if there was any vodka.

The other person is an ex-high school football star turned rightwing Christian minister. Man, there is nothing worse than a religious jock, given that most jocks buy into the authoritarianism of sports anyway; and when you add an extreme interpretation of the Bible . . . Lord, help us. This guy, simply put, is a royal asshole: loud, belligerent, convinced of his personal holiness and of the evil in those who disagree with him. I’ve seen him in action at weddings and other gatherings, and he tries to steamroll people into seeing God his way, using his massive (and now bulging) frame to press his point. And then there are the moments when he assures all that not only is Jesus in the room, the Son of God is standing right next to him, telling him what to say — sort of like Jimmy Stewart in “Harvey”, but without the charm or intelligence.

This day, the guy made sure that everybody knew he was in room, attempting to get each and every person to acknowledge his presence. I ignored the guy as best I could and focused on the game. Before long, however, he strolled over to where I was standing and planted himself right next to me. I could feel him breathing on my cheek, and saw him, peripherally, studying my profile. I almost turned to him to say “I appreciate the attention, but I don’t swing that way.” However, in that room, such a comment would violate the No Reality rule (as did my quip about the Michigan marching band playing “Stairway To Heaven”: “What’s this?” I wondered aloud. “A tribute to stoner music of the 70s?” This met with complete silence and stares). So I simply kept ignoring him until he gave up and left.

Jesus, on the other hand, remained for a moment and whispered to me, “Isn’t that guy a complete knob? Still, I must show mercy to him. It’s what I do.”

Amen to that. I have the feeling we’re gonna need lots of mercy in the months ahead.

It’s not quite on the same scale, but it reminds me of visiting my parents in Oklahoma and spending time with some of the extended family there.
[tags]redstateson, dennisperrin, family, holidays, religion[/tags]

 Posted by on January 3, 2007 at 1:47 pm
Dec 242006
 

We finally sent the Xmas cards out early this afternoon. There are a few stragglers, but the majority are on their way. We’re staying in Austin for the holidays this year. The Wife’s parents, brother and my sister are in town. No big plans for tomorrow, so we’ll take the lazy Sunday at home as well.

We did the Trail of Lights last Sunday. Last Saturday was the big birthday show at Beerland. Mine was that day and Bob’s was Tuesday. I played with Victims of Leisure and then with Bad Rackets. Sons of Hercules closed the show. We were supposed to share each other’s equipment, but Oltorf Music Lab decided to close at 6pm, leaving them without any guitars or amps. It was the second Victims show and went really well. I’m hoping we do another one soon. The Bad Rackets gigs are always fun. We played a couple of new ones and I sang (well, yelled somewhat in tune) on a Mono Men cover, “Watch Outside”. The Wife and I ate at Habana Calle 6 beforehand. I had the cuban sandwich and The Wife had Ropa Vieja. We’d never eaten there. It was pretty good. The food was served very quickly and it was pretty busy. Stubb’s, our first choice, was closed to all restaurant business for a holiday party.

The Bad Rackets got a little publicity this week (scroll about 1/2 way down the page) in the Austin Chronicle.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday.

[tags]badrackets, victimsofleisure, sonsofhercules, beerland, christmas, xmas, holidays, habanacalle6, musiclab[/tags]

 Posted by on December 24, 2006 at 12:27 am
Aug 012006
 

Today is not only the 40th anniversary of the UT Tower shootings, but it’s also MTV’s 25th anniversary. SuicideGirls has a post on some of the highlights. The Wife and I noticed that VH1 was re-running the first day of MTV programming last night. It’s pretty much common knowledge at this point, but who knows what the first video was? Many remember the name of the song, but you get extra points for naming the band. No googling!

We didn’t get cable at my house until 1985. Prior to that, my only real exposure to MTV was on the a school ski trip to Breckenridge in 1984. I remember everyone drooling over the video for “Like a Virgin” and the Lost Weekend with Van Halen contest that they were advertising like crazy. I also happened to run across a video for Rush’s “Distant Early Warning” last night, which is from the same era and remains one of my favorite Rush songs.

The rush of MTV nostalgia capped off and weekend full of catching up and trips down memory lane. One of my high school friends (high school, middle school and college, actually) got married here in Austin on Saturday and nearly a third of my graduating high school class was in town. We were a small class, only 30 guys total. Yep, guys. It was an all boys school. It ran fifth grade through twelfth grade, although I started there in sixth. It was run by hungarian monks, making for an unusual school experience to say the least. We took a fair number of pictures of everyone and their families (this is one of those times when Flickr’s ability to add notes comes in handy). It’d be tough to track down a shot from school of the ten of us. I might have a class picture somewhere, maybe I can scan it and photoshop it to match the stuff we took this weekend. That’d be pretty sweet.

 Posted by on August 1, 2006 at 9:38 am
Jul 132006
 

Letting del.icio.us autopost my links for the day has turned this into a bookmark blog. It wouldn’t be so bad if I’d actually post something here once in a while. I’ve been channelling most of my blogging energy over at the Austin Metblog. I resurrected the sidebars that show what I’m currently reading, listening to, watching. I’m using the AMM plug-in for that. It’s pretty sweet. I never did port over the comments from the old blog. I may get around to that this weekend. There are at least three or four other projects that I’ve started, but never finished.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my new obsession, Rescue Me. I think I blew it off originally because I thought it was going to focus too much on 9/11. I probably also dismissed it because Denis Leary has had so many failed TV shows. I’ve always found his stand-up a mediocre substitute for Bill Hicks. However, the show is amazing. It’s funny. It doesn’t pull any punches. All of the characters are flawed, but you are drawn in by them. The second season finale is what grabbed me and then the new season has kept me. I picked up the first two seasons on DVD a couple of weeks ago from Target. They were a steal at $19.99.

Home life has been filled mostly with finishing the bathroom remodel that began at the end of March. Now that it’s actually finished, I intend to get a little before-after action going on Flickr. Look for that this weekend. We watched a lot of World Cup last month and mourned the Mavs loss in the NBA finals to the Heat.

My in-laws bought a house two blocks away and are in the process of remodeling that. It appears they’ll move here in September or October if nothing changes. The Boy has various summer camps this month.

[tags]rescueme, metblog, austin, family, amm[/tags]

 Posted by on July 13, 2006 at 9:29 am
Apr 102006
 

I was just scanning through the CNN feed as I do most days at some point. I clicked through to a story about the victim’s families testimony at the Moussaoui trial. The last sentence of this quote literally gave me goosebumps after I read it.

The grandfather of the 9/11’s youngest victim, testifying Monday at Zacarias Moussaoui’s sentencing trial, described watching on television as the plane carrying his son and granddaughter hit the World Trade Center.

The grandfather, C. Lee Hanson, said that his son, Peter, called him on the phone that morning.

“As we were talking he said, very softly, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!’,” said Hanson, 73, describing the moment before he watched the plane hit the Twin Towers.

A few minutes earlier, Hanson said, Peter had told him he thought the hijackers were going to crash the plane into a building. “Don’t worry. Dad, if it happens it will be quick,” he quoted his son as saying.Sue and Peter Hanson were on their way from Boston to Los Angeles to visit the grandparents and take their 2-1/2-year-old daughter, Christine, to Disneyland.

We just flew with the kids and my mother to Disneyland last month. As I read that last line, it all flashed through my head. How much fun we had as a family there and how that family had the same intentions and never made it. They had no idea when they got on that plane that it’d end that way.

Nearly five years later and it really hit home for me. It’s a good thing we got the person ultimately responsible for that atrocity. Oh wait…

 Posted by on April 10, 2006 at 2:14 pm
Mar 272006
 

We started work on remodeling our downstairs bathroom. Well, the contractor started work, I wrote a check for half of his original estimate. Since starting at 8am, I’ve already received two calls from The Wife.

The first was to tell me that pretty much all of the framing behind our shower is rotted. This isn’t surprising as we’ve known for quite some time that the faucet/knob combo was leaking and that the grout between the tiles was missing in several places. We’ve been putting off doing anything about it until we had the time and cash to do the whole bathroom. Longtime readers will note that the one year anniversary of the flood just passed.

The second call was to tell me that the bush that’s immediately outside the bathroom window is growing roots into the foundation, so we’ll need to rip it out. I’ve been trimming it back from the roof for the past umpteen years anyway. I would’ve logged a third call about the fire ant mound in the water meter, but I already knew about that from before I left.

We spent all day yesterday rearranging and weeding through stuff in the kids’ rooms in addition to clearing out the downstairs bathroom in preparation for the remodel which we expect will probably take most of April to complete. Sounds like this coming weekend will be spent trying to get the backyard into some sort of reasonable shape. Ahhhh…homeownership.

Which reminds me. As soon as I have time, I’m on a mission against the neighbors across the street. This is the house that had been occupied by several St. Edward’s students and pseudo-students. It’s now housed by an assortment of christian dudes. They’re generally nice enough fellows, but the sheer number in the house leads to street parking issues. Our driveway’s on a hill and they’re always parking a car directly across from the driveway. This is minorly annoying, but last night, they had a bunch of people over until roughly 11pm. One car parked such that the entire back half was blocking our driveway. If we had needed to back the van out for whatever reason, we wouldn’t have been able to do it. I mentioned it to two different people entering the house, including one that I’m pretty sure lives there. Nobody moved the car until they all left. That’s some rude shit and I won’t forget it. Is there a city ordinance limiting the number of people that can live in a rental based on the size of the house? If so, what is it?

 Posted by on March 27, 2006 at 10:56 am
Feb 252006
 

For those friends and family that made it through the site move, I’m obviously behind in moving everything. I’m moving the “Picture of the Week” for the kids to Flickr. I’ll have a Flickr set for each kid. You’ll have to be a Flickr member and I’ll have to mark you as friend or family in order for you to see the set. The Boy’s is there now and I’ll have La’s up by Monday. It appears that the comments didn’t make it through the move either and I’ll have to do a custom import for those. I also still need to see if I can get a Rewrite Rule working so that the old posts in phpNuke will go to the new location in WordPress. Yeah.

 Posted by on February 25, 2006 at 12:01 am