Aug 302019

If you don’t already subscribe to Austin Kleon’s newsletter, you should. I first found him via a blog post for an Austin City Limits taping that I attended at the old studio. He almost always has at least one cool link or tidbit to share.

Today’s newsletter linked Stop Blaming ‘Jaws’ from Heather Havrilesky in 2013. I didn’t know that she wrote for NY Times Magazine. I recall liking several of her writings on Salon back in the early 2000s. The amusing part to me is that she pretty much wrote the script to 2018’s The Meg with that mock 2014 version of Jaws. I wonder if she’s asked for a cut of the royalties?

I’m not sure I completely agree with what she says in the article though. It’s true that the writing and directing in Jaws is far superior to any summer blockbuster (or most movies for that matter) made since. But that’s really true of the film industry in general. You can still say that Jaws caused the studios to chase the massive box office takes in the summer, maybe just not the subsequent decline in quality which probably happened for a number of reasons.

My go to example for this is Network. The writing and directing in that? So amazing. And it would never get made today. It’s on Netflix. If you’ve never seen it, you should go watch it right now.

 Posted by on August 30, 2019 at 12:35 pm
Dec 272018

I know this is going to come as a shock to you, but the current President of the United States is a serial liar. He lies as easily as he breathes. Why are we putting up with this? Two minutes of searching proves that his latest statement to troops that he gave them a more than 10% raise and that there hadn’t been one in more than 10 years is demonstrably false. They’ve gotten one every year for the last 10 years and the largest in the last 10 years was in 2009 at 3.9%.

 Posted by on December 27, 2018 at 1:32 pm
Mar 292018

I made a comment at work today after reviewing a pull request that someone had posted in Slack. It was fixing some forward slashes in routing URLs. So I asked:

Slash problems?

To which someone replied with a GIF of Slash from the November Rain video.

Which made me reply:

I actually saw the original GnR lineup a couple of times. Including a gig that they all agreed was one of their worst…and I have to agree. The show earlier that year with Aerosmith was better.

I had jumbled up the timeline a bit in my head, but I did see Guns N Roses three times. The Aerosmith show was July 1988 followed by the Texas Stadium show in September. It was definitely a rainy mess. The third time I saw them was with Matt Sorum and it was their ill fated 1991 tour as I mentioned with my ticket stub. I don’t have the ticket from the INXS show, but I do have the one from the Aerosmith gig.

 Posted by on March 29, 2018 at 5:57 pm
Jan 292018

I was a huge Metallica fan in the late 80s. Huge. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Master of Puppets changed my life (for better or for worse?).

I don’t remember why or how, but I bought the album in the Spring of 1986. For some reason, I recall buying the record on the same Saturday that my father and I went to see the Rangers play the Yankees in Arlington. If that memory is correct, it means I bought it on May 10, 1986. It was barely a month before they played the Bronco Bowl in Fort Worth. I remember the date of the show and I still have the ticket stub.

So when the deluxe remaster box set was released late last year, I decided it was worth it to get a copy. My enthusiasm for the box set caused me to go and get a copy of Back to the Front. The book had been in my wish list from the previous year, but I hadn’t purchased it. I have to say that it’s a pretty great book and I highly recommend it, especially if you were a fan around that time, but I do have one gripe with the book. It follows the chronology of the tour pretty well and includes a huge amount of detail. The quote about the show that I saw on June 3 at the Bronco Bowl is completely inaccurate.

Back to the Front - Inaccurate quote

Sorry, Tobias Strul. Ozzy didn’t play the Bronco Bowl. The June 3 show was a Metallica headline show. They played several headliner shows while the Ozzy tour took a break between the first and second US legs. The tour dates for the Ultimate Sin Tour prove this out. My guess is that he saw them at the Tarrant County Convention center a month earlier on May 10th. I remember seeing James in the concession area at the Bronco Bowl before the show which I thought was really cool. I was unfamiliar with the band’s earlier material, so when they closed with Whiplash as one of the last songs, I thought they were saying “Witness”. Not long after the show, I bought both Ride The Lightning and Kill Em All. I remember hearing the news of the death of Cliff on tour in Europe while listening to the late Saturday night metal show in KNON. I remember loving the Garage Days Re-visited EP (and still do). Perhaps if there’s a re-print, they’ll fix it?

I did see Ozzy a few years later at Reunion Arena also corroborated by the tour dates in Wikipedia. I certainly would’ve remembered seeing him in a tiny venue like the Bronco Bowl.

 Posted by on January 29, 2018 at 8:33 pm
Nov 122017

I thought about this earlier this week, googled for something about it to see if it had already been covered, didn’t immediately see anything as obvious as what I was thinking and decided to go ahead and post about it.

I’m clearly not very good at regularly posting. The last one was a decent one, I think, but that was 10 months ago.

Unrelated old beer photo from a pre-Untappd world

Unrelated old beer photo from a pre-Untappd world

Here’s what I was thinking: the explosion of craft beer and social media at roughly the same time has culminated in me being able to relatively easily find any beer that I’d like to try if it’s available locally. Untappd makes this possible. I’ve been a member since the summer of 2012. It’s pretty great. I also recently passed 1000 different beers. So it took me five and a half years to remember to check-in with each beer that I’ve tried. I’m sure I’ve missed some but I’ve been pretty good about recording them. I’m typically too lazy to write any comments unless the beer is particularly good or bad. I think my ratings are relatively consistent.

As far as finding a beer (or two) that I want to try, here’s what happened this week. I know that Celis had the first release of Grand Cru last weekend and that’s one of the recipes from the original brewery that I’ve been wanting to see return. I had Friday off for Veteran’s Day. I had also seen via Easy Tiger’s Instagram feed that they’d tapped an intriguing barleywine from Dogfish Head called Puddin’ Wine. A quick couple of searches on Untappd showed that I could probably get both at Bangers. Sure enough, I was able to sit down outside on Friday afternoon and order both, one right after the other.

While I was there, I requested an Untappd API key so I can show check-ins as a feed, similar to the Twitter and Flickr posts. So there it is over there on the right as well.

I mentioned the ratings on Untappd earlier, that’s the other benefit: remembering that I’ve already tried something and that maybe I wasn’t a huge fan.

I was at Lazarus a while back and ordered the Amandus. About two sips in, I thought, “Wow, I really don’t like this. It’s way too heavy on the banana esters.” If you look at their description, it says “Strong Belgian Golden Ale”. I do not expect banana esters with that description. I think something more along the lines of Duvel or the Grand Cru that I mention below. However, if you read the full description, it says:

St. Amandus was a Belgian monk famous for his hospitality: he became the patron saint of brewers, bartenders, and innkeepers. With hints of banana, pear, and cloves, this beer is our toast to a great man in a great beer-making region!

Hints? It’s more than hints. Here’s what I said back in January. Clearly, I should’ve paid attention to that last bit. As an aside, beware of the descriptions at Lazarus. They tend to add a flavor that you don’t expect to a beer style that you think you know. I’m not saying is good or bad, it just means that you end up with something you don’t expect.

Since the Lazarus visit, I was at WhichCraft Mueller where I had the Founders Nitro Oatmeal Stout. Again, I should’ve paid attention to my past self. It wasn’t following the Bible Belt that made it forgettable. It’s just weaker than I generally want in my stouts. That disappointment was more than made up for by the Black Butte XXIX that I had after it.

 Posted by on November 12, 2017 at 2:36 pm
Jan 082017

I got Hardcore: Life of My Own as a gift over the holidays. Reading about the Lower East Side in the 80s is making me nostalgic for the two years that I spent down there in the mid 90s. Things had already started to clean up when I arrived but it was still a little sketchy. It was nowhere near as bad as in the 80s but it wasn’t the over-priced DisneyLand that most of Manhattan has become now.

In Googling around, I found a nice recap of the ghosts of NYC music venues on Buzzfeed. More for my own memory than anything else, but here’s what I remember about some of these places.

  • CBGB – I’m pretty sure it was still open when I lived there but there wasn’t really much happening at that point. I think the hardcore matinees had moved farther south. I remember going to at least one show at some other place down in Tribeca, maybe?
  • Electric Circus / Coney Island High – The former was clearly closed before I got there, but CIH was going strong. Again, I almost went to several shows there but actually never did. I walked that block all the time though and it was always very punk rock. There was at least one record store and then other stores selling leather and bondage stuff. That street was always busy on the weekends, especially Friday and Saturday night. I think there was a bar in that same grouping on the north side of the street and I remember going there a few times
  • Knitting Factory – I remember going to one show there. I dragged a couple of friends to an experimental jazz show with Charles Gayle. They thought I was from another planet for taking them to that show. Gayle was on one of the Rollins Band albums which is how I’d heard of him.
  • Limelight – The club kid thing was still going strong when I lived there. I thought about going in there once or twice since I used to walk past it all the time, but I was too scared of what I’d find in there. I wasn’t into the music or the drug scene.
  • Palladium – This place was pretty much dead when I lived in NYC, but still did host a few shows. I also used to walk past there fairly frequently. I knew it had hosted the early Club MTV episodes with Downtown Julie Brown (who you can hear on Sirius XM along with pretty much anyone else who was a VJ in the 80s).
  • Ritz – I went to a few shows at Webster Hall which is still in Ritz’s former location. I think they just hosted a Metallica fan club show there last year. It’s a nice mid to small-sized venue I worked with a girl who I also briefly dated whose college roommate lived across the street. I went to an after party for the premiere of Basketball Diaries here and watched Leonardo DiCaprio get really excited and run onto the dance floor for either NIN’s “Closer” or Beck’s “Loser”. I can’t remember which. It might’ve been both. I also passed that place on my way home quite a bit.
  • Academy – Searching for this place is actually what landed me on the Buzzfeed article. I remember seeing a show with the Beastie Boys that had Tibetan monks and Luscious Jackson as the openers. According to this stub on a Beastie Boys site, it was May 27th, 1994. I got in for free because the singer from the band that I was in at the time had also been a roadie for Luscious Jackson. I think I also saw a Fishbone show here. It was interesting because it’s pretty much right in Times Square.
  • Brownies – I’m pretty sure I saw Tad at Brownies along with a few other shows. It was getting some pretty good bands even in the mid-90s. I think Starfish from Austin played there right after I left and moved back.

Two more that aren’t on this list that I recall fondly:

  • Roseland – This historic ballroom was announced to be closing around the time the Buzzfeed post was made so it’s not surprising it’s not on the list. Looking at Google StreetView from this year, it’s now a hole in the ground. It’s just a block south of the Ed Sullivan Theater, famous for hosting the Late Show with David Letterman and now Stephen Colbert (I also went to an early Letterman taping there with Chris K. from graduate school). I saw an amazing show with Helmet there on the Betty tour. I also saw Faith No More on their tour supporting King for a Day.
  • Tramps – This was a place near Flatiron District if I recall correctly. I saw Sebadoh and Reverend Horton Heat here among a few others. I remember seeing Scott Ian from Anthrax in the audience at the Rev. show.

This guy also did a similar list to Buzzfeed’s and mentions Tramps along with a few that didn’t include my additions or Buzzfeed’s.

I probably should do one for Austin in the late 80s / early 90s.

 Posted by on January 8, 2017 at 1:23 pm
Jan 022017

I managed to watch quite a few things over the break, a few things in the theater and the rest either on DVD or streaming.

  • Rogue One – Alamo South Lamar – Better than Force Awakens
  • Moonlight – Alamo Ritz – It was good. Maybe not as good as the reviews made it out to be, but it was very good.
  • Caught up on Walking Dead – DVR – Half season closer made up for the two throw away episodes earlier in season seven. I’m still not really liking the Neegan casting, but again, that last episode made me rethink that position.
  • Continued Season 2 of The Killing – Netflix – This is a pretty good series. I’m invested enough to keep going. My daughter and I have been watching it.
  • Trainwreck – DVD rental from Vulcan – This one is worth watching. Colin Quinn and Dave Attell steal every scene they’re in
  • Sicario – DVD rental from Vulcan – Wow. This one was a downer. I liked it though. Benicio Del Toro is a bad ass.
  • Nothing Left Unsaid – spontaneous viewing on CNN – This one was really interesting. I didn’t know all of the details about Gloria Vanderbilt’s life and I had no idea that Anderson’s older brother, Carter, had committed suicide. Really well done.
 Posted by on January 2, 2017 at 1:19 pm
Jan 022017

I didn’t get very far with my foray into Ruby on Rails since my last post. It’s installed, but life has gotten in the way of my finding the time to get a new website going. I did experience setting up Ruby again though on my work laptop for a book club that we’re starting. We’re reading Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages. In getting ready to run Ruby (the first of the seven languages), I found this post, Install Rails 5.0 – macOs Sierra, which seemed pretty good and introduced me to Ruby version managers. nvm which I’ve been using to manage node versions apparently took its idea from rvm. I’ve also been looking at which is outdated, but has some good basics for Ruby.

 Posted by on January 2, 2017 at 12:58 pm
Mar 082016

I’m in the process of reviving another project in addition to the React Native project which admittedly has stalled a bit over the last few months. I blame basketball and soccer season.

After looking at the web setups that my hosting company supports and vowing not to go down the PHP road again, I’m trying to get setup with Ruby on Rails. This post has been a pretty good guide to getting up and running on a Mac. I did run into several things that article did not cover, so I thought I’d cover them here.

First off, what led me to that post was that I tried using the install of Ruby already installed on with OSX and immediately ran into permissions problems as described in this Stack Overflow post. Apparently, it’s not a good idea to use the system Ruby and you have to install a development copy. As I followed the steps in the GoRails post, I ran across a few more issues.

I really like Homebrew, but you do need to be sure to update it frequently and probably should run the update prior to any new install. I tried installing MySQL and hit a few issues as I did it. The first was because I didn’t keep homebrew up to date.

I ran

homebrew doctor

to reveal that I didn’t have permissions on /usr/local/bin for some reason. Once that was fixed and I got MySQL installed, I tried following the instructions that show at the end of the install. Unfortunately, those instructions assumed that a symbolic link had been created that did not exist. Luckily, the GoRails article included the step to first create the symbolic link and the setup went well after that.

My last issue was encountered while trying to create the database during the initial application setup in Rails. It turns out the version of MySQL installed via Homebrew is not compatible with the version of Rails that I installed while following the article. In addition to needing to supply the database credentials in the yaml file as specified in the setup, I had to give a specific version of MySQL in the gemfile:

gem 'mysql2', '0.3.20'

Once getting through that, I was able get the Rails welcome page.

 Posted by on March 8, 2016 at 9:01 pm