June 2004 Archives

Pics from Houston


We were in Houston this weekend for Charles' debut as a delegate to the state Democratic convention. Photos from the convention & his dinner with old classmates are here.
All told the convention was interesting for us both. The caucusing wasn't as organized as he would have liked it, and their district meeting went nearly up to midnight. When I got there around 6pm, he hadn't eaten anything, so I had to run across town to a pub to get a couple of sandwiches for him & I. Had I been thinking I probably could have brought other people some food & auctioned it off: there were a number of people looking at us & licking their chops at the thought of a dinner.
The rest of the weekend was mostly running around Houston. We did get to Spec's and managed to exercise our wine snobbery & taste a few new bottles that we brought back. Our house wine was the Haywood 2000 Merlot, but that wine is on the 2001 or 2002 vintage now, and it doesn't have the same flavor. That stuff was chocolatey & smooth, and was about $6 a bottle at our local HEB.
The lowlight of the weekend was when we came back on Sunday and our next door neighbor let us know that he suspects one of his trees has oak wilt. Its a fungus which is running through our neighborhood & travels about 75 ft in a year. It kills the live oaks by blocking the movement of nutrients from the roots to the leaves. Treatment by fungicide could run around $900/tree. Could be painful - we're going to investigate some options.


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So last night on Six Feet Under, George got a delivery from SmellyPoop.com. Arthur is the leading suspect.

There goes the novelty of that gag - it's gone into the mainstream.

They call them Pounds for a reason..

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Four £1 coins were down in the bottom of my computer backpack. No wonder the damn thing has been heavy lately!

He's not so bad, but the followers....

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We've had the mormons come door to door. We've had the baptists come to witness as well around Easter time, but today was a first.

Someone with a presort first class permit thought to send me a copy of this in the mail:
they thought for themselves

What a special treat! I didn't really need to read more than the back cover to see it was a "Jews For Jesus" special delivery printed by Messianic Vision Press . Googling for Sid and his tract shows there's not much critique or discussion of the book out there, but its for sale in lots of places as a good witnessing tool. There's some weird links arguing about 'life matrix' theories as well, but that's research for some other time.

As I'm not a member of any of the synagogues in Austin, and as this came to my residence address (public record), not my mailing address, I'm thinking someone put a hell of a lot of effort into this. They dug throught the phone book or the tax rolls of Austin for the jewish names & addresses, and paid for the book & the postage. I'm sure the book gets sold in bulk for pennies on the dollar, but still, there's some cash & time involved in all of this.

The book will hit the recycle bin, and I respect the effort that went in to whomever's project this was, but in all honesty, I wish my anonymous benefactor would have thrown the $1.50 plus time elsewhere. Perhaps toward the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless or even the Town Lake Animal Shelter if they didn't want to have to come face-to-face with homo sapiens in need.

Of course this could be a gag from someone I know out there. Naw... all my friends would send me something from the online dog-poop ordering service. They've got class.

Party Costs

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What's the cost of going to a party in Cedar Park? South American friends of Chaz's mom & dad invited Chaz and me to their daughter's birthday party in April. It was up in Cedar Park. None of Chaz's sisters got invited to it. Curious, no? The party was mostly boring, but the tres leches cake however was amazing. Later in the evening, much later, we discovered the real reason for our invitation; the daughter's hairdresser, Luis, and his friend also showed at the party. Great. We're the 'other queers' in the portfolio for these people. We know where we stand I suppose.

On the way back to Austin was when I started to incur the costs of the party. Officer Miller of Cedar Park saw my Honda Civic going 52 in a 40 zone at 10:30pm. Goodness knows that law & order will prevail in Cedar Park, so that was worthy of a write-up. Chaz was convinced she was after some underage drinkers or something wild like that, so I probably got the ticket out of spite. $92 to the court was the first part of the tab.

I did defensive driving online for the first time. I used DefensiveDriving.com, which cost $40 to take. All defensive driving courses have to take 6 hours by state law, and this course is insiduous in how it monitors that. Each 'slide' has a javascript counter which starts when the page takes focus, and STOPS if it loses focus. So no tabbing through quickly for us fast readers, no doing email concurrently. Must have that window on top for 6 hours of your day, full stop. There's lots of 'is it really you' questions that are used to verify that you're not paying your kid to take the course, and there's pop quizzes through it also. You can afford to miss a few of 'em along the way. Its a good way to take defensive driving if you spread it out, and really don't want to listen to other people's sob stories or silly questions about passing on IH-35. For me, it was a bit grueling at times, as I don't like being forced on a single thread on the computer, but I did appreciate being about to be in own environment & drinking a beer while taking the course.

If my non-work time is valued at oh $20/hr, there's another $120 on the tab. $250 for going to this party to be 'the other queer friends'. Or for that really great cake. I suppose I feel a little better about it being for the cake.


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Indeed - with the help of the pool schedule & a sunny day outside, I was able to get a lane to myself at about 3pm. There were parking spaces, quiet pool area, and got in 1250 yards in about 40 minutes or so.
Coming back into the office however, I'm sure I reek of chlorine. They probably gave it a good dose after the rugrats were in it all day yesterday since they couldn't be outside playing. I'll have to keep that in mind as well. *squint*

Summer Monsoon Season Escapism

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While many people were watching the weather radar on the TV & the internet, Chaz & I escaped the rain Tuesday nite & went to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at the Pflugerville Tinseltown. It was playing every half hour which made it easy - and with the weather there was plenty of room in the theater as well.

The film was well worth the money, and having Alfonso Cuarón direct the film was genius on behalf of the studio. I was half expecting another wide-eyed "everything's magical & wonderous" kiddie-spirited film. Needless to say while there was a dose of amazement here and there, the film felt darker and more adult. Possible spoilers inside...

Bits & Pieces

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RE: Starlite Cafe Sunday Brunch
Its one to miss. They let Chaz's coffee get empty, the frittata was tiny for $12, and the pancakes weren't that special. The cocktails however were quite tasty - I had a Wasabit Bloody Mary, and while pricy, had a nice kick. Nice atmosphere, but for the money, I think we're going to stick with Hickory Street.

RE: Kohls
Chaz & I went in to Kohls this weekend to get him some shorts. While the prices aren't bad, the place absolutely drains my energy from the moment I walk in the door. For starters, it just smells funny, then after being in there, I get that heavy, drowsy, just-want-to-curl-up-and-snooze feeling I have to drag myself through. I don't know what that's all about.

RE: Swimming at the Y
Summer season is in full swing, repleat with hoards of day campers & swim lessons going on. The full parking lot at the Y should have been my first clue that it wasn't the time of day to be there. I arrived at around 3:45, having waited & nagged 2 deployment mangers for tasks so I could get my timesheet in on time. By the time I was ready to get in the water at 4:15, the indoor pool was full of rugrats in lessons, swim team kids in 2 lanes, and lots of loud kids in the open swim section.

I picked up a pool schedule for the summer & will be referring to that as to when I'll be heading in for a good chance at getting a lap lane. Or I might truck downtown, in the hopes that day camp there is a bit farther afield.

RE: The farmhouse in Georgetown
Chaz has been doing a ton of work on the farmhouse. Pics are available here. Check out the new bathroom which was long overdue.

Gawddamn Movable Type


I just had a great entry going, and when task switching, the friggen page somehow resubmitted & I lost it. grrrrr.

Some Real Thunder

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Early summer brings some really cool stormfronts through Austin as the warm wet air heads north and cooler air gets sucked down by the jetstream. Its somewhat dramatic & anticipatory as the TV weatherpeople get to describing the storms in breathless terms, watching as the radar goes from green to yellow to red to purple in short order. They warn people in the path, and as it unfolds on tv, when it gets closer I like to step outside and feel the wind & see the distant lightning in the clouds.

It makes me wonder how it must have been just a relatively short time ago when these storms built in the distance and rolled in without any warning. Before radar, before long distance communication, when all you had were the skies and your own history of the winds and the clouds to tell you what might be coming.

Friday night brought a good line of storms down from Milam county through Williamson, and over us. As the storm crossed the county line, I went outside, under the patio cover mind you, and got in the hottub. I heard the heavy raindrops start to fall and felt the cool outflow of the storm as it grabbed hold of the windchimes and chilled my face. With the skies flashing above and the rain falling harder, I felt pretty small in the face of this power that rolls over the city.
We're going to Starlite for brunch today - first time in a while Chaz got to sleep in, so we're going to enjoy today a lot.

I hear the Thunder

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Wednesday night and I can hear the rumble of the Harleys going up and down 35 even at 11pm at night.

Its the Republic of Texas Bike Rally this weekend, bringing bikers from all walks in to town. Obviously doesn't impact worklife much, but with the house being as close to the highway as it is, the throbbing of the engines is pretty easily detected over the usual road noise we have. That's probably the only complaint I have about the house, the proximity to a NAFTA highway, however its pretty damn convenient for going downtown.
My friend Steve who manages B.D. Reilly's pub says that this weekend is second only to St. Patrick's day in traffic through the pub. They like the bikers. There's plenty of interesting bikes to see as well, so I'm all for it for a weekend! I'll have to get one soon if gas prices continue climbing.

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