June 2008 Archives

Smoke 'em while you got 'em!

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Tomorrow the Netherlands goes smoke-free. That's spurred some creative problem solving in the coffeeshops.
I'm curious to see how this plays out in the restaurants and bars that were a bit empty last time I was there.

Antique Roadshow Saturday

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We had an 8am entry ticket, and were out by 8:45 or so.  Zoom! Pretty easy when you show them something and its a big 'ole fake!  Yup, our pen/ink Key West drawings and the possibly priceless Ernst Walbourgs? "High Quality reproductions" according to the appraiser.  Sure enough, if you know where to look in the margins and lighter areas, you can see the little dots that make up the printing.
Now the debate is, do we let certain members of the family think they're priceless? Hilarity could ensue!
We were pretty lucky to have 8am tickets - the scene inside the dallas convention center looked like it could have gotten really packed. There was an entire hall just for the pre-queue queuing by hour, with enormous sections for 8, 9 and 10am tickets cordoned off. Then a queue to get a ticket to see an appraiser, then the actual line in front of the tables. The set is of course quite tiny in there, and they had a few tables being discussed for filming.  We didn't get photos on the set, as I forgot my camera in the excitement to get out the door.

I have to note, the drive up to DFW was far and away easier than a Friday drive typically is.  Traffic is way down from even a year ago.  Either everyone's on vacation, or the fuel prices are really taking a toll.
I finally got the certificate of title for the Maxima. Took the bank long enough to get it to me.

I've tried to do research on some of the things we're going to take to the roadshow, but I am suspecting the pen-ink drawings are just nice art. Two of the 3 drawings seem to indicate "Conch House" on 2 separate streets that don't intersect. The third seems to be of a house on a street that either doesn't exist, or is just plain illegible. I'm not sure. Noone in Key West returns emails. I suspect they're by the pool drinking something fruity and alcoholic. I know I would be.

Yesterday was full of excitement. Chaz's sister calls in a panic as the city turned off her water at the street because of a leak on her side of the meter. We race up there around 4pm, and in short order find the leak in the yard right in front. Over the REALLY green section of grass and really healthy bushes; go figure. Before we start digging, it just looks like a little bubbler there in the mud; couldn't possibly be very difficult to get at. Not long into digging, we come to realize that this little leak is going to be deeper than we thought. We had to dig out 1 bush, hack another, and basically scoop through 2.5 feet, or a meter of construction debris and mud to get at the actual pipe. Sadly, no photos of Chaz and the nephews caked in mud. The connection of the city water to the house plumbing broke, so once it was exposed, it wasn't really that time consuming to fix. It wasn't fun for him to be lying in the mud with his head and arms down in a hole tho. So, 2.5 hours of digging, 1 hour of running for parts, 20 minutes to fix, and 2 hours later, the water was back on. Chaz somehow escaped with only 2 tiny tiny blisters. I, on the other hand, somehow earned a monster blister in the palm of my right hand, which while off-center, kind of reminds me of a Logan's Run Lifeclock. We should have been wearing some work gloves for doing the shovelling, I suppose.

What a freak

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I discovered today that the cable company has added Weather Channel to the HD tier. My televisions will never get turned off now. I swear there's something hypnotic about the blues and greens of the radar images.
IMG_9113.jpgI had to laugh at the drawing of a chicken juxtaposed against the knee. Chaz had an MRI done, and evidently some chicken comb stuff will be part of the treatment. I'm wondering if we can save some of our deductible by bringing our own chicken to the clinic.  Given food prices, I bet we can get a few treatments out of a single bird.

Himalayan Interstate

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November, 2006. While Franz and I were walking along the trail in the Himalayas, we'd have to 'pull over' for the yaks bringing supplies up to the lodges and tea houses along the trail. You could hear them coming.

Fair Sailing Tall Boy

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IMG_8657.jpgTruth be told, I really despise the little roadside memorials that pop up from traffic accidents that result in death. Usually, they consist of trite crucifixes with teddy bears and flowers, some kitsch from someone that says this place is somehow different than all others. I don't want to deny anyone's grief, but the public right-of-way is both a shared utility and risk for all of us. Fortunately, most of these little memorials are gone in a few months, as pain and memories fade.
Near the Downtown YMCA however, is this special memorial on the rail bridge support over North Lamar. It's been here longer than I have, and a lot more went into its creation than anything roadside I've seen. It's been spared postering by band promoters, and in fact might be totally invisible to the commuters heading north on Lamar. I've noticed it though. I don't know who Ivan was, or who painted this reminder, but I hope others notice it from time to time. I wanted to capture it before it might be lost to New Urban Austin, just as the Falling Girl was lost. Here it is in Google Streetview as well. Fair Sailing, kid.

Thursday TV Notes

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Swingtown is hilarious. Was everyone in the 70's like that?  What I find more amusing, is that there are some photos in the closet of me as a kid, and my dad is wearing those awesome leisure suits with enormous collars.

Billy Mays really needs to learn how to use Just for Men. I'm just saying.

Mail call

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IMG_9089.jpgChaz made me a WGBH lottery winner. Looks like a road trip to Dallas is in order with some old junk from his mom's house. The good news is, we have an early time, so maybe we won't have to wait in some legendary lines that we heard about from the San Antonio show. If any of it is priceless, you'll find us on a beach in Thailand for most of July, with a stopover in Amsterdam on the way home.

Anticlimactic Week

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I was going to be excited about my birthday this week, but life is what happens when you've made other plans. Over the weekend, Chaz's mom went in the hospital while she was visiting her sister in Beaumont. We wound up making a caravan down there, with Chaz and his sister's heading that way on Sunday, and me following on Monday. The good news is that they resolved the issue she was having, and she seems to be well on the way to recovery.  There's not really any bad news, other than the unease with which all of us are watching and helping each other as our parents age.  It's not really something we've seen modeled before, so there are moments of holding our breath and waiting for the other shoe to drop.  We dodged the bullet this time; we're only out the money for the trip.

Tuesday night we were back in Austin, and my birthday was on Wednesday, anticlimactic as it was.  Underwear was on sale at Macy's, so that's what I got myself, and Chaz made us a nice steak dinner. I've gotten a few belated calls the rest of the week; it seems life has happened to many of our friends as well this week.

Tonight Chaz and his sister are going to see Loretta Lynn in concert. They're going to have fun, I'm sure. I'm going to pack up some beer and run out to a friends place in the country for some grilling I think.  This weekend is the loud one in Austin. Both the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally and the Austin gay pride things are happening. Considering the temperatures are going to be well over 95 F (35 C) every day, I may pass on both events and find someone's pool to splash in.

Aerial attack

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IMG_9028.JPG*shaking fist* "Curse you, Red Baron!" We were out of town for 48 hours, and as soon as our backs were turned, the birds had a nice juicy tomato snack. I'll be watching the plants like a hawk now.

Thursday Tomatoes

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IMG_8966.JPGThe cherry tomatoes are rocking right along, while the big boys are still green. We're watering every day, and today's gusty winds blew one plant over, but the fruits hung on when it was righted again!

Unity Pub Crawl

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Austin is hosting the state democratic convention this weekend, and they're kicking it of with a Unity Pub crawl. In Austin, nothing brings people together like drinking and music. Except maybe pot. It's probably more fun than I'm going to be able to stand tonight, but it will make for an interesting weekend here. "Mend some fences shots" Heh.

ACL Schedule

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No, not the anterior cruciate ligament, rather the Austin City Limits Festival.

David Byrne on Friday, Alison Krauss and some geezer on Saturday, Nakia then Gnarls Barkley on Sunday? I think that'd be a fun weekend.

Des Moines Weekend Photos

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IMG_8858.JPGI've posted a ton of photos from the wedding in Des Moines, Iowa. It was the first flight for the two nephews, and the first time Chaz and I had done something with his family in quite a while. Friday night, those of us that weren't at the rehearsal dinner had a party at Chaz's cousin's house. The wedding was Saturday, followed by a big reception. Chaz's mom and aunt made the cakes. The weather was spectacular, so it made for a nice weekend getaway.

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