Monday, August 18, 2014

Update

Hey!  Hope everyone is doing alright.
Things are going pretty well for us, but we've been busy.
On Friday night we mostly just hung out.  We ate dinner and got some exercise.  Later in the evening I walked across the street and had a beer with Mandy, Candace, Spencer, and some of their other friends. Amy was sort of worn out and sleepy, so she stayed home and talked to her mom on the phone, I think.  Anyway, it was nice to hang out at Mandy's for a little while in the back yard and chat about music and whatnot.  Surprisingly nice weather for an August night.

On Saturday we went to Barton Springs.  It had been a while since we'd been there.  We laid in the sun and laid in the shade under a tree and went swimming and listened to music.  It was extremely pleasant, and not very crowded.
After our trip to the pool we stopped by Maria's on the way home and had some belated breakfast tacos.  Perfect day to sit outside in the shade under the fans and eat breafsat tacos with like three kinds of salsa and pico de gallo.

We got some exercise, and Saturday evening we went to see Seela Misra and her band over at Strange Brew.  I wrote about the show over on my music blog, ATX Note Book, and you can read about it here.  The show was fun and relaxing and nice and easy and close to home.  I know I've said it over and over, but the sound over there at Strange Brew is just remarkable.  I guess it's probably a combination of both the acoustics in the room space, the sound system, and the skill of the sound engineer.  Probably the best live music sound that I've ever heard.  For realz.

After the show we wandered over to Sap's and had a sort of late dinner.  Good dinner.  I had kao soi, and it was really good.  Spicy and a little sweet and delicious.  Noodley goodness.

On Sunday Amy had to work.  I went to the grocery store, ran some errands, and did some chores while she was gone.  When she got back home, we went and did alittle more shopping together, and then I went to band practice at Reed's house. 
Mono practice was good.  All five of us were in attendance.  We ended up messing around with a bunch of 80's songs, including "Right Here, Right Now" and "One Hand in my Pocket".  Maybe kind of stupid, but we had fun. 
When I got home, Amy had a delicious tortilla soup on the stove.  It was awesome.  We had dinner and watched Northern Exposure and went to sleep.

That was the weekend.  Have a good week!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Update

Hey!  Hope summer is going well for everyone.  For those with kiddos, I guess back to school time is right around the corner, and summer is almost over.  For those of us without kids, we're sort of working off a "what does it feel like" sort of model, and, at least in Austin, we we're looking forward to at least a month or so of summer before we get any sort of real respite from the heat.

This week was pretty good.  Once again, we've been pretty busy.  On Tuesday we went over to our friends Adam and Katie's house.  Adam was on a game show on GSN (the Game Show Network) called The Chase.  I'm not sure when the show was filmed (I guess a couple months ago?), but it aired this past week, so he had a watch party at his house.  We had a really good time.  The show is essentially a trivia show where contestants compete, as a team, against a big, smart British guy who goes by the name The Beast.
One of Adam's teammates got eliminated early on, but Adam and another teammate advanced to the final round.  The competed for a final cash prize of about $110,000, but, in the end, The Beast caught up to them (in terms of the number of questions correctly answered), and they lost.  Kind of sad to see all of that cash slip away, but it was definitely a fun ride.  Adam had a strong performance.  Definitely better than I could have done.

On Friday evening we stopped by a garage sale that our friends Libby and Jordan were having.  They're moving to Spain next year to attend a Spanish language immersion school, so they were selling some of their stuff before leaving the country (I guess they thought it a better to unload some stuff than store it all).  We hung out with them and had a beer, and Amy even bought a few items.
Both Libby and Jordan have worked in my office for several years now as prosecutors, and they're good friends of ours.  I'm happy for their experience, but sad to see them go.

On Saturday we went to Austin Books with Ryan and Jamie.  Amy has seen Ryan's comic book collection (which is... impressive), so she was curious to see where all of his books, figures, and collectibles come from.  Austin Books now had actually split into several stores- their original store, a game shop, a sort of pop art gallery, and a resale shop.  We walked around the different places, and Amy got to let it all wash over her.  It's a lot to take in for a newbie, but she enjoyed it.
Afterward we went and had lunch and hung out a bit.


Ryan, Amy, Jamie, and Steanso
Saturday evening Amy and I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy.  We really enjoyed it.  It hits just about the right tone for a summer blockbuster, action-adventure, sci-fi popcorn flick.  It's got good dialogue, cool action sequences, well-developed characters, and a great sense of humor.  The plot was fairly run-of-the-mill for this sort of movie, but I ended up caring about the characters and what happens to them, and that's really all that I ask out of that sort of movie.

Today we went out for breakfast, since then we've been running errands and doing chores.  I took Cassidy to the park for a little while.  Amy's been working on a test recipe for Cook's Country.  She volunteered to try making some sort of toffee bars, and then to answer survey questions about it.  I guess that if the responses are good, they'll publish the recipe.  The bars are cooling as I write this, and I haven't tasted them, but they smell really good...


(Amy, preparing to determine whether the toffee bars are fit
for the rest of America)
Earlier, we also went to Costco today.  Costco has started stepping up their beer selection, carrying bombers of some pretty good beers for some reasonable prices.  This discovery has made me much more enthusiastic about making our Costco runs.


happily tucked in beside the wine rack...

And that's been about it.
Mom and Dad are still abroad.  They did a week in Scotland with some friends of theirs (one of Dad's old friends from work lives there), and now they're launching into a tour of Ireland during week two.  Sounds like they're having fun!

Take care.  Have a good week.  Stay cool!!! 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Update

Things are going pretty well on our end, although it feels like we've been pretty busy.
I also realize that the weekend went by, and I didn't take a single picture.  This discovery made me realize that I'm in the habit of taking pictures pretty regularly.  What can I say?  I like pictures.  I like posting them on my blog. 
I know that this blog isn't the most exciting thing in the world, but it gives me a lot of satisfaction when, from time to time, I go back and look at my posts and my pictures and see what I was up to at particular points in time.  It's sort of like a digital scrapbook, and it helps make sense of the tangled mess that my memories otherwise tend to become (I can always remember things, but I have a hard time remember exactly when they happened, and I have a hard time keeping them in exactly the right order).

So.... on Friday night we didn't do a whole lot.  We went to the grocery store, ate dinner, and watched the Cowboy Bebop movie.  We've been watching the entire series of Cowboy Bebop over the last couple of weeks.  For those who haven't seen it, it's an anime movie about a group of bounty hunters (i.e., "cowboys") in the future who fly around on a ship called The Bebop.  It's a really cool show.  The characters are pretty well developed, there lots of intense action sequences, and both the storylines and the artwork are really imaginative.  The show has kind of a noir feel to it, complete with hardboiled, wisecracking tough guys and wily, dangerous dames.  The soundtrack has an incorporates both jazz and rock (it's really cool to see the way they use the jazz numbers- especially during action sequences).  The Bebop movie was essentially like a long episode of the show, but the artwork was a little more developed, and the story a little more fleshed out.  Good stuff.

On Saturday we mostly did chores and ran errands.  On Saturday night Reed and Jen came over for dinner.  The weahter was ice, and we did some grilling in the back yard.  Chicken kabobs with southwestern marinade.  Amy made macaroni salad and corn-bean salad.  The food was nice and summery.  We had a good dinner, and a nice time visiting with Reed and Jen.  Given how busy we all are, it's sort of hard to get together, so I really appreciate it when we get the opportunity.

On Sunday we got up and went and had breakfast at Dan's Hamburgers.  I've lived near that place for years, and I remember that, years back, someone told me they had good breakfast tacos.  Turns out that they do all kinds of pretty standard breakfast food, do it pretty well, and serve it for a reasonable price.  We had a nice breakfast.  I had tacos, and Amy had eggs, bacon, and a biscuit (well, part of a biscuit- she claimed fullness).

We ran an errand or two.

A little later on we went to Garrison Park Pool.  The weather was ridiculously nice for August in Austin.  It was breezey and probably in the upper 80's.  I don't know how our weather was so nice this weekend.  Kind of crazy.  Anyway, I'm really glad we got a chance to be outside for a while.  It was sooo nice.

After the pool we went home and had lunch.  I exercised. 

Later I had band practice while Amy went to the gym.  We rocked and we rolled.  It ended up being just Frank, Reed, and myself, but we sounded pretty good and had fun.

After band practice Amy and I went over to Shelly and Kit's house.  amy wanted to pick up some planters that she made with Shelly.  They're made out of some sort of concrete-like substance, and they look pretty cool.  I also got to check out Kit's watermelon patch, which is still sort of in it's youthful stage, but off to a good start.

Anyway, it was a good weekend, but it went by too fast!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Update

Hey!  Things have been going pretty well in our neck of the woods.  Cassidy has been having a few stomach/med management issues, so that's been a little worrisome, but we're hoping she's getting better.  Just trying to get her a little better.  She's a good dog.

Our weekend was pretty good.  It went by way too fast. 
On Friday we just sort of relaxed, I think.  I honestly can't remember what we did on Friday, but I think we just sort of chilled out. 

We might have watched an episode of Naked and Afraid.  Have you guys seen that?  It involves taking two people and dropping them off, literally naked, in a jungle somewhere with no food and no water.  They get some flint to start a fire and a big knife.  That's it.
The show is pretty ridiculous, and it's pretty clear that there's some cheating going on (there's a film crew following them around, and a couple of medics on standby in case things get out of hand).  In spite of the absurdity, or perhaps because of it, I can't look away.  Most of these people really don't have a whole lot going for themselves in terms of survival skills, so they just sort of slowly starve themselves over the show's 21 day period (apparently most people can starve for 21 days and not die- either that or the show's producers are secretly slipping them an occasional Snickers bar when the camera is pointed in the other direction).  Half of the time when the "survivalists" do actually manage to find and kill something to eat, it makes them sick.  So you're basically watching people endure being hot, cold, stung (by insects), be sick, hurt (having no clothes or shoes when you're marching around in the jungle is a drag), and starve for about 21 days.  They all lose a lot of weight and usually look pretty bad by the end.  The kicker is that there's really not even a prize that they're competing for.  Participants get some sort of payment for being on the show, but the main prize is that they get to be reality TV celebrities.  It's one of those shows where the people are undoubtedly suffering to no small degree, but I sort of watch with rapt fascination because these people probably fought tooth and nail to get onto the show in the first place.  I do not feel bad for them because they all asked for this.
It's some crazy, brain-dead television.

Anyway, on Saturday we ran errands and did some chores.
Among those chores was some grocery shopping.

 

(helpful grocery shopping friend or nightmarish
hallucination?  It's a thin line)



 

On Saturday night Mom and Dad took Jamie, Ryan, Amy and myself out for dinner.  We had a really nice time.  We met up at Mom and Dad's house and had a drink beforehand, and then we went over to Hudson's on the Bend for dinner.  We had a really nice meal, and a good time hanging out with one another.  Really fun.  I ate duck with rasberry chipotle sauce.  It was tasty.  
 
On Sunday we got up and exercised.  In the early afternoon I went to meet, Ciara, Susan, Ryan, and Jamie for lunch at Big Dadddy's.
 
(Ciara, perhaps realizing the gastrointestinal implications of ordering a
macaroni and cheeseburger)
It was good to see them and catch up. 
 
Sunday night I got together with Reed for Wastewood practice.  We had a really good practice.  We played for about an hour and a half.  Some of our material is coming together pretty well.  It's kind of weird to play with a two man band, but it's kind of cool, too.  Maybe someday we'll test our material on an unsuspecting audience somewhere.
Amy made pasta Sunday night, which was also really good.
 
And that was it.  Back to work.  A weekend gone too fast.
 
 
 

(Tuesday morning a room full of lawyers, all waiting to tell me why
their clients were wrongfully arrested)
Hope everyone is enjoying the dog days of summer.  Woof!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Update

Well, things have been pretty busy, but have also been going well.
On Friday night we didn't do a whole lot.  I had a seminar for work that ran a little late, so we were both a little worn out.  We had dinner and mostly hung out around the house, I guess.
Saturday we did some shopping, ran some errands, got some exercise, and did some chores. 
In the afternoon I went over to a Thweatt/Connell family cookout.  I got to catch up with Aleda, Charlie, Joe, Janette, Lee, and Sarah, and hang out with their spouses and kiddos (although Lee and Sarah's boys were at camp).  It was really great to see all of them and catch up, as well as eat some really good food and meet the family members to whom I hadn't yet been introduced.  Amy didn't make it to the barbecue because she was getting ready for her mom to come into town the next day, but hopefully next time. 

("Hey, mister!  Would you buy us some beer?")
On Sunday we got up and ate breakfast and ran another errand or two, and then we went to the airport to pick up Jean!  Jean has been staying with us since Sunday, and we've been enjoying having her in town!  She and Amy have been running around shopping, hanging around the house, and just doing some fun mother-daughter stuff.  We've got a new cover for the futon, and yesterday we got a new lamp shade, so they're making little changes and improvements around the house.

(Amy schools Jean in proper South Austin livin')
 
We also went out to dinner with my parents on Monday night at Chuy's, and last night Amy made a delicious salmon dish with a sort of tomato and onion topping (she served it with rice, asparagus, and tasty beet salad, as well bread and herb butter).  Yum!


So that's been mostly about it.  Work's been busy. 

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well!  It's been fun having Jean with us!

Peace.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Update

Hey!  Hi!  Hello!

Our weekend was pretty darn good- mostly.
On Friday night we went to Zach Theatre to see The Who's Tommy.  We had a really good time.  The music was well performed and got better and better throughout the show.  In the first act, the performers seemed just slightly timid in their performances and perhaps just a little bit self conscious.  By the second act, though, they were belting out the songs, and the band was rocking and rolling their way through the music.  For those who don't know the Tommy story, the plot of the thing can make for a weird experience.  In short, it's about a boy who goes through some harrowing, traumatic experiences (i.e., abuse) and loses his ability to speak and interact with the world.  Eventually, as an adult, he reconnects with the world and gains a sort of guru-celebrity status, in large part through his outstanding ability to play pinball.  In the end, he really just wants to be able to feel like a normal person.
The story is strange and bizarre and unsettling and ultimately uplifting.  It deals with some uncomfortable subject matter, but views it through a lens of absurdity and ridiculousness.  Ultimately it's a story about overcoming obstacles and rediscovering oneself.
The music, originally written by Pete Townshend for a rock opera concert album, is pretty great stuff.  Adapted for the stage, the songs manage to steer the musical away from the collection of ballads that typically constitute the tunes for a lot of musical theatre.
Anyway, we had a nice time.  It was our first time to The Topfer Theatre, Zach's new performance space, and it's a nice facility.  Not a bad seat in the house.
Afterward we got an ice cream at Sonic and watched as at least 3 policemen, 2 firefighters, and 2 EMS personnel eventually loaded a homeless guy into an ambulance because of he had a hurt leg.  It was quite a spectacle.  If the first cop on scene had helped hop the guy  over to his patrol cruiser and driven him to the hospital, he probably woulda saved the city at least $20,000.

On Saturday Amy went over to her friend Shelly's place to do some crafting.  They were making planters, and I expect one or two of them to show up at our house later in the week.
While Amy was being creative, I went for a bike ride and then I went with our friends Chad and Mary to go watch Gimme Shelter at the Alamo Ritz.  Gimme Shelter is, of course, one of the best concert documentaries ever made.  Watching it, you can sort of feel the innocence/naivete of the 60's caving in on itself.  I'd seen parts of the movie before on cable, but I'd never seen the whole thing from beginning to end.  Being a Rolling Stones fan will enhance your enjoyment, but it's not really necessary.  It's a really powerful movie. 
So it was good to see the movie and hang out with Mary and Chad.  Chad got us the tickets, so thanks to him for being all on top of that!

On Saturday evening we went and had Chinese food at Din Ho with Shelly and Kit.  It was good.  Good food, good company, and a sort of entertaining waitstaff (they're pretty quick to warn the white folks when they're ordering out of their depth). 
Afterward we went back to their house and watched an episode of Naked and Afraid.  It's a crazy show where they drop these "survivalists" (some apparently deserve that title more than others) off in the middle of nowhere, buck naked, and make them fend for themselves for 21 days.  The episode that we watched involved the Amazonian rainforests.  From the comfort of Shelly and Kit's living room we watched people get eaten alive by mosquitoes, practically starve (they did eat an electric eel!), and generally go kind of crazy.  People will do anything to be on TV.

On Sunday we went out to breakfast.  We did a few chores, and then we watched the World Cup championship game between Germany and Argentina.  It was a good game, but there was a lot of play in the midfield as both sides fought to control it.  Consequently, I think Amy got a little impatient.  Not enough shots on goal.  When the game moved into overtime, still tied at zero-zero, there was some groaning.  When Germany finally scored, I celebrated, and Amy loudly proclaimed, "Finally!  It's about time!"
My wife don't have no patience for teams that dink around without charging the goal!!

After the World Cup, while Amy was working out, our air conditioner conked out.
My parents are out of town, and after a little conversation and planning, we fled to their house out in Steiner Ranch.  We took Cassidy with us.

This morning we had a repair guy come out, but our old AC unit is dead.  We need a new one.  He's coming back out tomorrow to install a new air conditioner for us.  Keep your fingers crossed and send us good vibes.  No one can last long during July in Texas without air conditioning (we're not cut out to be on Naked and Afraid, obviously).

Other from that, we had a good weekend.

Hope you guys are doing well.

Monday, July 07, 2014

4th of July Weekend

Our weekend went well!
Did I mention that I love three day holiday weekends?  Well, I do.  It was really cool having the 4th fall on a Friday this year.
On Thursday night we went went to Esther's Follie's with my parents, Don, Judy, Sarah, Marlene, and Tom.  I've seen different shows at Esther's Follies a number of times over the years.
I liked the show.  The vaudeville-style performance is a lot of things- by turns silly, witty, farcical, satirical, and wacky.  It involves everything from biting political satire to magic acts.  I think Amy was a little bit overwhelmed by the loud, hyperkinetic nature of the show (she didn't know what she was getting into, and we were sitting right down front under the PA speaker), but I'm glad she got to experience it.  If I ever get her back out there again we're going to sit a little bit farther back...

On Friday we went down to San Marcos to Dick's house (Jamie's dad) with Ryan, Jamie, Nicole, Matt, and Juan to celebrate Independence Day.  We had a really nice time.  Ryan grilled up some hamburgers and hot dogs, and we had potato salad and bean salad and chips and beer.  Amy made a dessert pizza, and Dick made an apple crisp.  We had a good time.  Despite getting a little rain (which was quite welcome), we got to spend some time sitting outside.  In the spirit of true American patriotism, we spent some time complaining about politics and discussing TV shows.
I challenge you to point out something in this picture that doesn't
represent 'Murica!

Matt praying that Ryan and Juan will stop talking.
The drive home from San Marcos was kind of crazy.  The radio was tuned to a classical station that was playing Sousa tunes and patriotic movie soundtracks, and we were night driving up a moderately busy I35 while lots and lots of fireworks went off both close to and far from the highway.  It seemed like it went on all the way back into town.  I think we probably hit the timing just right to see fireworks displays in San Marcos, Kyle, and Buda, as well as some pretty impressive private fireworks displays.
Anyway, it was a cool drive, and a little surreal.

On Saturday we did some grocery shopping and exercised.  I did a little bit of yard work.  We went to Home Depot and bought new light fixtures/sconces for the front of the house.  Amy helped me hang them up.  Mounting them turned out to be a little bit more complicated than I first imagined, so it took longer than I thought it would.
It got a little bit warm out there, but we got it done.  Couldn't have pulled it off without Amy.

Saturday evening we took it easy.  Had some fish, and watched Orange is the New Black.

On Sunday we went out for breakfast, and then I went for a bike ride.  It hit my 2000th mile on my bike during my ride.  I documented it with a picture of my odometer and a picture of my location at the time that the odometer flipped to 2000 (which was on Buffalo Pass, on my way home from my "South Austin Loop").  The weather was nice, and it was pleasant, ride.  Just a little over 12 miles.




I'm not trying to boast or brag about the 2000 mile thing (I have friends who probably have actually ridden ten times that far or farther), but I think it's okay to have some pride in things that require a little effort, right?
I wish I'd hit the 2000 mark a little sooner (I've definitely been slacking lately on the cycling), but it was good, anyway.  Now to see if I can get to 3000 a little more quickly...

After the bike ride I went to the pool with Amy.  It was strangely pleasant outside for July in Texas.
 

We had a nice time at the pool, had some sandwiches and watermelon for lunch, and then I had band practice in the evening.  Remarkably, all five of us made it to band practice. 
That was cool.  We played some new stuff and some old stuff.  Somehow we pulled off a pretty decent impromptu version of Gimme Shelter, despite never having played it before or having practiced it.

And that was basically it.
Amy made some really tasty green chicken enchiladas for dinner.  I tried to watch an episode of 24: Live Another Day, but I'm having a hard time getting through it.  I used to really like 24, but now it all seems very contrived and forced, with some really bad acting thrown in (William Devane just manages to remind me how silly the show is every time he delivers a line). 
I finally gave up and read articles on my iPad instead.

So that was the weekend.  It was very nice.  Even though it was three days long, it went by really fast...