Friday, June 30, 2006

Well, Adventurers, the 4th of July weekend (or as close to one as we're going to get, given the fact that the 4th falls on a Tuesday) is upon us. Steanso will be jetting off for Houston to catch up with Roundball and McSteans as they journey to Houston to visit Karebear and The Admiral. Hilarity is likely to ensue (or at the very least, madcap hijinks).

Last night I got together with Jackbart. We ate pizza and attempted to watch a flick called Nochnoy Dozor. It was a Russian horror movie of sorts (the translated title was Nightwatch), and Jackbart informed me that he'd heard rumors that some American studios were considering doing an American remake of the flick (Jackbart, being a screenwriter, is often good for that kind of info). Anyway, we tried to watch the movie, but it was really confusing and filled with hyperkinetic editing, direction, and cinematography. The plot seemed a little convoluted as well, and the whole thing just had kind of a cheesey vibe to it. Anyway, it'd been a long week, and we had just eaten a lot of pizza, and so I started to kind of nod off. The movie was confusing enough as it was, and as soon as I got sleepy, I completely lost track of what little I had been able to glean in terms of the plot. I don't know when I finally really dozed off, but I woke up to Jackbart slapping me on the shoulder and telling me he was giving up on the movie. I feel a little bad about konking out during the movie, but not that bad. It just didn't do much for me. If they're going to remake an American version, they're probably going to have to put a lot of work into reformatting the entire thing- the pacing and manner in which the whole story was told will probably not do very well with American audiences.
OK. Gotta run. I'll probably blog from the 'rents computer when I have a slow moment, but if you don't hear from me, have a good weekend!!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

In a long-overdue ruling in defense of due process and the rule of law, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling today which is meant to block the use of military tribunals in trying prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The ruling seems to require the use of trials in standard military courts (which are open to review and appeal) or in U.S. federal courts rather than in closed-door, secret military tribunals. The court reasserted the authority of the Geneva Convention and of American military law as it struck down the use of tribunals, and it pointed out that the White House had failed to show a "practical need" for trying detainees in courts that provide a lower standard of justice than that provided by Congress.
Anyway, needless to say, I think this ruling is a good one (some of you regular Adventurers have heard me complain before about how the lack of basic civil rights at Guantanamo drives me nuts). The machinery of justice must be transparent and accountable to the public if society is going to trust it and if we're going to safeguard our judical institutions against corruption and exploitation. Basic civil liberties need to be maintained. The ruling is a good thing.

What else?
Last night I rented and watched a movie called Ultraviolet starring Milla Jovovich. Every review that I had read of this movie was scathing, and I just noticed that even the IMDB gave it a rating of 3.6 out of 10. Here's the thing- I didn't hate it.
The plot of the movie was pretty nonsensical with lots of plot holes and whatnot (It was essentially about a futuristis society which has been plagued by a disease that turns people into vampires. The humans try to eradicate the vampires and- surprise, surprise- the vampires fight back). I wouldn't say the acting was fantastic, either. Even the visual effects (which the director and producers were obviously hoping would compensate for a lot of other shortcomings) had some serious issues.
I think I have a soft spot for the movie because, although it fell short of its mark, it was clearly swinging for the fence. The director was trying to create a new universe from the ground up, and although his ideas were often executed in a pretty mediocre fashion, I found that I liked plenty of the ideas themselves (I liked Violet's chameleon clothes and hair, her futuristic weapons and powers, and the idea of a society which is so afraid of disease that its leaders manage to turn that fear against its citizens in order to control them). I appreciated the fact that the movie was over the top and fantasy-driven, but that the director didn't feel the need to apologize for that fact by making the movie tongue in cheek or filled with comic relief.
I thought that some of the action scenes, although a little too CG intensive, contained some excellent martial arts choreography, and that Jovovich pulled off her combat scenes in a much better, more realistic fashion than many other female action leads (think Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider or Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux or Kate Beckinsale in Underworld, who were all pretty weak- just as an aside, before I'm called a chauvinist, I thought both Jada Pinkett (Smith?) and Carrie-Anne Moss were both pretty solid, ass-kicking chicks in the Matrix films and that Linda Hamilton was the quintessential female ass-kicker in Terminator 2).
I also LIKED the fact that the director didn't bother to explain every little unrealistic detail in the movie, or else explained those details in extreme shorthand (How did she manage to walk up the walls? Oh, she must have a gravity leveller....) Making the fantastic commonplace makes the entire world of the movie seem more alien and fantastic. I like it.
Anyhow, I didn't hate the movie and I found it kind of fun. The movie had LOTS of flaws, but I still thought it was ok.
Sounds like the Wilsons are faring better and my folks are back in the country from Italy (though I haven't spoken with them yet).
Peace, out.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hey, there. Sounds like the Wilsons' trip has gotten off to a bumpy start, with Team Wilson missing their connecting flight in Denver and spending the night in the Denver airport. The Wilsons sound understandably upset, but if I know Crackbass, he'll have landed himself two or three free vacations out of this thing before it's over.
And the Williamson County Sheriff's Department has captured a group of suspects who are accused of having contributed to a recent rash of burglaries in the Anderson Mill area. What really caught my attention was the fact that between January and June of this year law enforcement received reports of 84 burglaries in the Anderson Mill area. Look, kids- Steanso went to high school right next to Anderson Mill, and the Anderson Mill neighborhood bordered my own neighborhood and was only about three blocks from my house. Anderson Mill is not a very large area, so it blows my mind that there were 84 burglaries reported over there in a 6 month period. Steanso hates to see a crime wave sweeping through his old 'hood, but hopefully the police are getting things under control.
Last night I got together and watched Exit... Stage Left (a Rush concert video from 1981) with Weedo and E-Rock. We marvelled at the musicianship of the band as well as at the painfully retro computer graphics and special effects (which Weedo kept reminding us were pretty cool back in 1981). After watching the video we looked at some of Frank's photography in an attempt to find ourselves some album art for our CD. Frank has lots and lots of really cool pictures, and we've narrowed it down, but we haven't settled on one yet.
Well, that's it for now. Good luck to Team Wilson as their mountain sojourn continues.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Howdy, Adventurers! How goes it?
Last night Steanso had a lovely dinner of grilled fish and vegetables with Team Wilson and The Pea's sister, Ruby Rockit, who will soon be moving to Seattle with her faithful companion and sidekick, Buford T. Justice. Ruby works at Anne Kelso salon as a hair artist (her description) and knows about half of the people in Austin. Ruby is a funny, fun-loving gal, and we'll miss her when she moves, but she promises to come back to visit soon and often, so we guess that'll be okay.
After dinner and saying goodbye I wandered back across the street where I talked to Roundball on the phone for awhile before watching a short John Carpenter film with Crackbass called Cigarette Burns from the Masters of Horror series (which I believe originally aired on Showtime, but I might be wrong). Cigarette Burns had some fairly orginal ideas and some decent acting, but it probably fell a little short of the mark in terms of what Carpenter was aiming for. Cigarette Burns is a film about a film, a long lost work of horror that is rumored to have driven its audience mad at its one and only screening. Throughout the span of the movie C.B. repeatedly makes reference to the films of Dario Argento and a few other more "artistic" horror directors. Through both the theme and direction of the movie it becomes clear that Carpenter has become somewhat self conscious in regard to how his own legacy will be viewed within the pantheon of horror movie greats. In some ways, I think Cigarette Burns is meant to be an homage to the art involved in the creation of horror movies and a statement about how strongly a good horror movie can effect its audience, but in the end, there are several scenes in which Carpenter simply can't resist the urge to stoop to some good ol' Hollywood gorefest schlock. Cigarette Burns is probably worth a look for fans of the horror movie genre, but the material here has been covered at this point (see The Ring, In the Mouth of Madness, etc.), and you're not going to see anything truly new.

By the way, as long as I'm throwing around my ten cent reviews, I'd like to take a second to throw in a very favorable review of HBO's Deadwood. I just finished watching the second season of this western series on DVD, and I really enjoyed it. The characters are incredibly complex, and creator David Milch seems to go out of his way to give each person on the show a multitude of competing interests and motivations which drive their actions (there are no strictly good or bad characters on Deadwood, and the moment you've made up your mind about someone on the show, they'll do something to change your attitude about them). The dialogue on the show is well written, with expletives easily laced between almost Shakespearean moments of speech, but mostly I like the show for its characters. The people on the show are just very believable, and you find yourself intrigued because of the struggles that they have with themselves as much as the battles that they engage in with their neighbors.
Anyway, it's a good show. Watch it if you have HBO, and rent it if you don't.

OK, that's it for now. The Wilsons are off to Colorado today. Let's all wish them a good trip!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Also, I want take a moment to briefly say goodbye to James Anderson (known more popularly around the courthouse simply as "Anderson") who passed away recently. Anderson was a well known and respected criminal defense attorney who practiced here in Travis County and also in Williamson County. He was a tough, hard-nosed defense attorney who never backed down from a tough case or a rough fight, and who truly went to the mat for his clients (a set of skills and willingness to fight which was frequently called upon given the serious crimes that his clients were often charged with and the fact that Anderson handled a large part of his practice in Williamson County). Anderson knew the law on both a theoretical and practical level, and was well-known and generally liked by people on both sides of the aisle, prosecutors and defense attorneys alike (although that's not to say that he didn't get into his fair share of tussles). On a personal level, I always found Anderson to be a really humorous and friendly guy. He was always willing to share his insights and his experience with me, and on a number of occasions I bent his ear in court to ask him how he thought I should approach a particular case or prosecutor, and he was always glad to help. Like a number of the more experienced lawyers that I learned from when starting out, Anderson always seemed able to find a bit of humor in even the darkest case or situation, and his ability to keep things in perspective is probably amongst the qualities which made him such a good lawyer.
Anderson was friends with my first boss, Pat Ganne, and also a friend and ally of prominent Travis County defense attorneys Jim Sawyer and Deirdre Darrouzet. Anderson was a real lawyer's lawyer, and I know that both his clients and his colleagues will miss him.
We'll miss you, Anderson. Via con dios.
Well, the weekend has come and gone again in a flash. The weekend was good, but it seems unfair how quickly the darn things fly by. This week is bound to be disorienting for Steanso. Team Bloom should be returning at some point from Pittsburgh, Killer Kraber should be returning from her birthday pool tournament in Amarillo (Happy birthday, Jennifer!!!!!), and Team Wilson should be jetting off for Colorado tomorrow. I'm not even sure when The Admiral and Karebear are returning from Italy, but it's sometime this week. Steanso doesn't really like having so many friends in transit. It makes him uneasy.
To top things off, Rounball and McSteans will be arriving in H-Town on Saturday morning in order to spend the holiday weekend with The Admiral and Karebear. This, of course, means that Steanso and Cassidy will be motoring eastward at some point on Friday evening or Saturday morning.
What else? Not too much.
I have been working on becoming a better banjo player and spending as much time in the water as possible.
The federal government is apparently tracking international money transactions through a Belgian firm which manages worldwide banking traffic. For once, though, Steanso isn't going to kick and scream too much. Although this is an additional privacy infringement, Steanso does (believe it or not) acknowledge that some privacy infringements are necessary in order to track international crime and terrorism, and I'd much rather the government track relatively large scale international financial transactions than the private phone calls of American citizens within the U.S.. As a matter of fact, this is the kind of police work that I think investigators should be doing rather than infringing on the basic civil liberties of citizens within the borders of the U.S.
OK. That's it for now. Hope you're having a good one.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The weekend has been pretty good. I've gotten exercise, finished watching the second season of Deadwood (which was pretty awesome- Al Swearengen for mayor!), taken Cassidy to the spillover, ate lunch with my uncle and my cousin, had an impromptu jam session with the Crackbass and Feral Andy, ate a couple of dinners with friends, went to Barton Springs, mowed the front yard, and had a good Mono E practice with the whole band in attendance.

I also played some Loaded Question with the Whiskeetos and the Wilsons. That game, combined with cocktails, is dangerous.

Too late for more. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.............

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday. Gotta love Friday. I'm supposed to spend tomorrow waiting on an oven repair man, but I think I'm gonna call and cancel. I already spent my entire Saturday last weekend waiting on a refrigerator delivery, and I can't stand doing that two weekends in a row.
Last night was a fundraiser for my boss, Sherri Tibbe. Sherri is running for D.A. in Hays County against an undoubtedly evil Republican opponent, so if you live in Hays County (or if you're interested in committing some voter fraud), go out and vote for her. After the fundraiser Crackbass and I picked up a somewhat ailing Pea and took her out to dinner with us (she didn't eat a whole lot, but at least she got out of the house).
Once we got home I watched about half of The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Like I said, I've only watched half of it, but I've liked it so far. It makes me wish (for the millionth time) that I'd learned Spanish. And also that I knew more about horses and how to ride them. And also that I was smaller so that I could ride on a horse without tiring it out (or maybe I could just get a really big horse).
In the news, the feds picked up 7 terrorist wannabes in Miami. The men under arrest are U.S. citizens who profess some adherence to the Muslim faith, and who confessed to a government informant (whom they believed to be an Al Qaeda agent) that they were planning to blow up the Sears Tower and to "kill all the devils we can". The group never had any weapons, but it had requested cash, weapons, and supplies from the government's informant in order to wgae a domestic jihad within the United States.
Steanso thinks that mostly these guys were just blowing smoke. Supposedly they had been wearing uniforms and marching around their neighborhood doing late night "military" exercises while telling neighbors that they had dedicated their lives to Allah. Such behavior stands in stark contrast to the behavior of the 9/11 hijackers and other terrorists who tend to keep a low profile until the time comes to launch their mission.
Anyhoo, I'm not saying these guys shouldn't have been stopped, but I also see this whole thing as just a big chance for the feds to claim a victory in the war on terror, when it's not even clear that these guys ever posed a legitimate risk to the U.S. (federal officials have referred to the group's abilities as more aspirational than operational).
Well, not much else to report. I talked to Karebear and The Admiral since I started typing this (I had to get the repairman's phone number). They were sitting down to an outdoor dinner in Lake Cuomo at about 8:00 at night with a bunch of friends from all over the world (that my dad knows from work). Sounds like they were drinking wine and having a blast. Good for them.
Peace, out.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Last night I ate some yummy tacos at Casa De Wilson and we watched an old SNL with Jack Black and Neil Young. I was kind of scared to go over to Casa De Wilson (temporarily renamed The House of Barf) as both Crackbass and The Pea have recently been suffering from a stomach bug. I was assured that the illness had passed and that the two of them were fine and noncontagious, but then I guess that The Pea woke up and got sick again last night. I wish the Pea a speedy recovery. I also fervently hope I don't get the barfs. Dear lord.
After dinner I watched The Hills Have Eyes, a remanke of Wes Craven's 1977 horror flick about a family which gets caught out in the desert and attacked by mutants who have suffered the effects of the U.S. government's nuclear weapons testing program. The movie was pretty mediocre. Crackbass hated it, but I thought it was just kind of middle of the road. It didn't really bug me the same way that Wolf Creek and some other horror movies have done. The movie really played up the old theme of urbanites being caught out of their comfortable, city enviroment and lost in a wilderness where only madmen and (in this case) mutants would dare to dwell. I think one reason I kind of liked the movie a bit was that it reminded me of one of my favorite X-Files episodes (an episode from Season 4 called Home in which a family of inbred freaks lives in an isolated Civil War era farmhouse and wreak havoc upon their small town neighbors). The movie was fairly problematic in that it just kind of went too far (I really don't need rape scenes in an artless, cheesey horror movie), but horror movies as a whole seem to be having this problem lately, as they have to try harder and harder in order to shock, frighten, and horrify an extremely jaded movie audience which has pretty much seen it all (they seem to be trying to make up for their inability to provide genuine, psychological horror with material that instead simply shocks the viewer's moral and ethical sensibilities).
I was talking to Crackbass about Fire Walk With Me, the Twin Peaks movie which Crackbass had only recently seen for the first time, and we were discussing how scary the scene is that shows Laura Palmer's killer hiding in her living room behind a couch. The scene is horrifying on a level that goes beyond blood and guts or various ways of imaginatively dismembering the human body. The scene is horrifying simply because it invokes a momentary feeling of madness- of discovering something that just jars you out of your normal sense of day to day life because it presents a situation that simply "should not be".
Japanese horror makers have recently tapped into some of this visceral feeling in some of the more creative and effective moments of their horror movies. Little pale-faced kids and moving shadows aren't necessarily inherently terrifying, but when they're put into the right context (like when they're unexpectedly under your bed or floating above your pillow) they can really freak a person out.
Anyway, there were lots of reasons, probably, to not like The Hills Have Eyes, but on the whole I thought the film was much better crafted than some other things that I've recently seen. Maybe I just like to see yuppie hubris being punished. Also, the mutants. Who doesn't like mutants?
The U.S. was eliminated from the World Cup today. Oh well. You kinda gotta like Ghana. Those guys play with a lot of heart.
Also, the National Academy of Sciences released a study this week stating that the climate on earth is currently at its highest point in the last 2000 years, and possibly at its highest point in a time period much longer than that. The study was led by Gerald North, a geosciences professor at Texas A&M, and the report concluded that its climate findings were in keeping with recent models and predictions regarding global warming theories and greenhouse gas emissions predictions.
I'm glad that this study was headed up by a professor from A&M. I doubt that too many claims of "liberal propaganda" can be attached to a study coming out of an institution which houses the George Bush Presidential Library (and which is almost crazy with military pride). Anyway, global warming is real and the consensus on this fact is becoming more unanimous by the day, even among conservatives. The question which remains is whether our voters and our leaders can come to understand the severity of this threat and react to it with sufficient speed to avert a disaster. This is a question which will require global cooperation to address, and frankly, I'm not sure that people have it in them to adapt to such a threat so quickly- especially when everyone wants to shift the burden to other countries in order to limit their own costs and liabilities in fixing the problem (its going to be more expensive to have to meet cleaner emissions standards).
With each successive heat wave that we struggle through, I keep joking to my friends about these being the "end times", but if significant changes don't occur, the world really will be undergoing some radical changes in the decades ahead, and those changes aren't going to be very positive. Do your parts, people. Write to your reps. Let them know that this problem is a huge priority, and that changes need to be made- even if those changes are hard on the U.S. economy (it's not going to do us much good to have a strong economy, but a failing climate, rising oceans, and ecological disaster to contend with). Sorry about being such a downer, but you know it's bad when even the Aggies are getting worried about the climate and the enviroment.... ; )

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

S'up, Adventurers? I guess another one of Saddam Hussein's defense lawyers has been killed. Those Iraqis aren't demonstrating a lot of faith in their new judicial system, are they? I watched the Mavs lose to the Heat last night over at Casa De Wilson, but I left as soon as the game was over because it was getting late, and because I was anticipating a foul mood on the part of Crackbass after the game.
Man, I just don't have a lot to report. Work has been busy this week, and after work I've mostly just been getting a bit of exercise and then vegging out with Cassidy and Crackbass.
I've read through the news, but I don't see anything that's really intriguing me too much. I watched an episode of Frontline on PBS last night entitled Dark Side which was all about Vice President Cheney and his role in manipulating prewar intelligence in order to support the invasion of Iraq. It was pretty disturbing to hear about how Cheney had relied upon and repeatedly cited information that he new to be false in order to depict a relationship between Al Qaeda and Iraq that would help to justify the war (even doing so in the face of CIA analysis and intelligence which stated that no such connection existed). Cheney was described in the documentary as the most powerful Vice President in American history, and the documentary went to great lengths to show how Cheney had made efforts to place some of "his people" in almost every division of the govenrment which was reporting to the Oval Office. In particular, Cheney had/has a particularly strong relationship with Donald Rumsfeld, and Cheney used this allegiance to gather and develop intelligence in ways which were outside of the traditional, established methods of intelligence analysis and evaluation.
The whole story was pretty complicated, but also pretty fascinating, not only in terms of seeing how Cheney and his allies managed to manipulate the facts and the decisions of the president to serve their own ends, but also in terms of how they managed to distance themselves from the whole affair once it became clear that the public had been misled.
Ooops. Gotta run.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Also, for those few of you who haven't seen Gnarls Barkley's infamous Star Wars-based MTV Movie Awards performance..... here 'tis.
Arrgh. This week has been super busy, and it's only Tuesday (though at it's end). The Wilsons have been under the weather, and I've been swamped at work. Last night I finished watching BloodRayne. A terrible, terrible movie, Adventurers. I kind of recommended it to my brother, simply in terms of the "it's so bad you have to see it", vein, but I'm not sure it's even worth watching along those lines (although there is a sex scene which involves bare breasts, so let me go ahead and point that out before Crackbass jumps on me saying that this film has no redeeming qualities). What really amused me about the BloodRayne DVD is that it contains an interview which is conducted with Uwe Boll, the director, in a "sitting down for dinner with Uwe Boll" format in which the interviewer dines with Boll and probes his mind for the secrets of cinematic genius. It's pretty hilarious to watch, given the fact that they go so far as to cite Alone in the Dark and House of the Dead as two of his standout films (maybe he is the master of video game-to-film moviemaking, but that's a pretty small, crappy category, and it's not even clear that Uwe is the king of the hill on that particular mound of sh*t).
Not much else to report. I'm kind of bitter that I never made it into Barton Springs proper this weekend (although I did make a brief trip to the spillover). I overheard this girl at the spillover telling her girlfriend that Barton Spring is her religion because it revitalizes her soul. Amen, sister. Amen.

Monday, June 19, 2006

And for those people out there who weren't happy when I said that I didn't think Hillary Clinton was a smart idea for a Democratic presidential candidate in '08, I present this little bit from CNN.....
A CNN poll released Monday indicated that nearly half of all Americans would vote against Senator Hillary Clinton if she were to run for president (I think she clocked in at 47% definitely voting against her). Of course, the poll also showed that 47% would vote against Kerry, and 48% would vote against Gore. Amongst Republican candidates, 63% of voters said they would vote against Jeb Bush. Giuliani and McCain fared more respectably, with 30% of voters voting against Giuliani and 34% voting against McCain.
Also, of course, Hillary Clinton had the highest positive number in the polls, with 22% of respondents saying they would definitely vote for her.
You know what? On second thought, I really have no idea what this poll shows. I think that mostly it shows that America is hungry for some deep, fundamental change in American politics (a sentiment which has probably led to some very strange things in recent years, including professional wrestlers and movie stars as governors and the frightening viability of Ross Perot as a third party presidential candidate). I hope that the Democrats take note of this and look "outside the box" a little when searching for their candidate.
By the way, I personally have nothing against Hillary. Except I don't think she can win. And I can't stand the thought of four more years under the Republicans.
Well, it's been a busy Monday, Adventurers, and not much time for a post. Fortunately, I also don't have that much to write about. It was good to see Kevin "The Pope" Palka this weekend, and we hope he'll return to visit even though his parents are leaving town. Cassidy and I went to the Barton Creek spillover in the late afternoon, and it was chock full of people and dogs, all squeezing the last, precious few hours of sunlight out of their weekends. The rains had made the water a little deeper than usual, and Cassidy did a lot of swimming.
Last night I rented an abomination of a movie called BloodRayne. I haven't made it all the way through the movie yet, but so far it's one of the worst movies I've seen in years (and those of you who know me well know that this is saying something). Only my personal sense of morbid curiosity drives me to complete it. The actors in this thing actually look a little embarrassed to be in it.
OK, gotta run. Hope everyone's doing well. Congrats to Killer Kraber on a strong showing at her pool tournament this weekend!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The weekend has been pretty good. I got a new refrigerator yesterday, which is undoubtedly good, but I had to sit around all day on a Saturday waiting for the delivery men (who showed up an hour and a half later than their two hour designated delivery window and then tried to shake me down for extra money in order to get the fridge hooked up), which was somewhat less than cool.
Last night I got together with Palka and Crackbass and Weedo, and we cooked out over at Casa De Wilson and just drank a lot of beer afterward. Mandy had a couple of friends come over, Tiffany and Susan, and we learned about cougars, discovered that The Pea had at one time made out with Tiffany's husband (pre-marriages), and found out that Susan has little or no patience for the musical stylings of Crack, either live or in video form. We stayed up way too late and watched a storm blow in. I stumbled home around 2:30 or 2:45, and I guess Weedo and Crackbass stayed up for another hour after I left ("Lord, what fools these mortals be...").

Oooops. Gotta run. More later. It was great to catch up with the Pope.

"I leave the party at three a.m., alone, thank God..."
-Neko Case

Friday, June 16, 2006

'Tis Friday. Hoooray, Friday!!
We had Crackpractice last night and everything went pretty well. Lots of rocking and jamming. Crackbass came up with one bassline, in particular, which I think we are slowly forging into a mighty rock anthem. After practice we watched the Mavericks self destruct (which I'm told that Sigmund caused through some sort of jinxing behavior) and we watched David Hasselhoff's "Hooked on a Feeling" video, which I recommend highly to you Adventurers (well, you should at least watch half of it- it's kind of long. Look especially for the inexplicable appearance of the weiner dogs. So very strange and fascinating...).
Before going to sleep I watched a Nightline story about a team of divers who went diving in Bushmen's Hole, a 927 foot deep water-filled cave in South Africa, in the attempt to recover the body of a fellow diver who had drowned at the site. Well without going into too many details, things went poorly during the rescue operation and someone else died (with another team member seriously injured). The support crew, anticipating a dive that would take hours, sat excitedly at the surface, believing that they were mounting a recovery effort which was nearly unprecedented in the history of cave diving. Meanwhile, their friends were dying and suffering down below. That damn story kept me up for half of the night because I couldn't get over the idea of drowning slowly in a water-filled hole, alone and at least 700 or 800 feet below the surface, with your only companion being the corpse of the man you had come to recover. I couldn't decide whether the divers who attempted the recovery should be commended for their bravery (they clearly recognized the feat as dangerous, but felt it was important) or whether they should be reprimanded for their arrogance and foolishness, for engaging in an activity which was (obviously) extremely dangerous for the simple goal of recovering the body of a fellow diver (who had died attempting the same feat and who likewise knew the potential dangers and who probably knew that he might never be recovered if he died). The issue was made more clear by the the videotaped statement of one of the recovery divers who said that he didn't want anyone to risk their life trying to recover his own body if he died in Bushmen's Hole. Wouldn't the former diver have felt the same way?
Anyway, the "leave no man behind" ideal is a weird one, and it transcends strict logic. I know that some U.S. military units have a policy of risking their lives in order to recover the bodies of fallen comrades, and I have to admit that I don't see the sense in it. It's not like I would relish the idea of my dead body lying anonymously behind enemy lines, but the idea of my friends getting killed in order to recover my inanimate corpse strikes me as absurd. Just light some candles and drink a beer for me, and I'm alright, you know?
So, anyway, I'm not sure why I posted about this rather morbid topic, except that I did find the Nightline story interesting, and in some ways I guess I have a great deal of respect for these recovery divers, even though they may have been misguided. I also found the story interesting because it was such a stark example of man's inability to come to terms with the fact that some things in nature are kind of just meant to be left alone- not conquered.
Ooookay. Sorry this was a bit grim, but from time to time, such is the mind of Steanso.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Well, the Karebear left town this morning after a successful visit to the ATX. Last night she took Team Wilson and I out to dinner after shopping for and buying me- a new refrigerator!!! Thanks for the new fridge, Karebear!!!! You're the best!
After dinner we hung out by the Wilson's pond for a little while and then went for a walk with Cassidy.

In other news, the Texas Civil Rights Project is suing the Travis County Clerk and the Texas Secretary of State over the use of the eSlate paperless electronic voting system which is currently used in elections. The complaint of the plaintiffs is that the current system doesn't produce any kind of paper record or printout when votes are cast, thereby allowing for mistakes or voter fraud without any kind of voting receipts or backup system. Essentially, as the current system stands, voters push buttons on the electronic voting machine without any gurantee that their vote has been correctly registered and that it will be counted in the way that the voter intended (the screen tells you that your vote has been registered, but for all that the voters know, their votes may be erased ten seconds after they step away from the booth).
I've personally been skeptical of the electronic voting system since its inception. I remember having a conversation with Sigmund before the last presidential election (Sigmund being one of my friends who deals with computers and their programming as an integral part of his job), and Sig pointed out that any system designer worth his salt would have recognized accountability and the need to instill trust in the public as major objectives of the electronic voting program. nThose factors should have been of paramount importance when designing the voting system.
It simply doesn't make sense that these voting machines have been designed in such a way that voters are expected to walk away from the process without some concrete bit of proof in their hand which shows that they voted and the way that the vote was cast. We live in an era where data theft, identity theft, online fraud, and countless other computer "hacking"crimes are widespread and commonplace (if not rampant), and now the government just expects us to throw our vote into the black box and assume that our vote has been counted and will be meaningful? It just doesn't make sense.
We need a paper voting trail so that individual voters can be assured that the machine has correctly tallied their vote and so that hardcopies of individual votes can be collected and counted if some sort of fraud or major malfunction occurs within the electronic voting system. The lack of a paper trail in the current system is almost suspicious in the fact that it leaves no record with the voters which can be double checked. Paper records for each voter seem to be an obvious safeguard against voter fraud and accomplish one of the primary goals of any voting system- instilling confidence in the voter. We all know that electronic records can be changed with a few keystrokes, often in ways which make it difficult to recover the original data (if anyone can even tell that the original data has been manipulated). Paper records can reassure voters that their vote was recorded correctly, and can be used to examine allegations of election fraud or malfunction in the electronic voting machines should those issues arise.
Paper records may be slightly more expensive, but the cost is a necessary one if reliable, trustworthy elections are going to be held which hold the confidence of voters. As a matter of fact, given the option, I'd rather have a paper-only election in which I get a copy of my vote when I leave the booth. The votes would take longer to tally, but at least we wouldn't have to worry about whether some hacker had manipulated the data.
Ooookay. Once again, that rant kinda got away from me, but I'm back.
Thanks again for the icebox, Karebear.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Karebear's visit is going well so far. She has timed her visit so as to be able to spend some time with my uncle, who is also in town, staying with my cousin, Susan. So last night I had dinner with all three of them, and I think we had a pretty good time. It was good to see Unlce Donald. He's one of the biggest sports nuts that I know (yes, he's up there with Sigmund and Weedo), a fact which is made all the more tragic by the fact that he tends to support Detroit's teams (especially the Lions and the Tigers). Uncle Donald is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (along with most of my mom's side of the family), and he now lives in Florida during the winter, but still spends most of his summer in the U.P..
My cousin, Susan, is Donald's daughter and is an occupational therapist who works for Pflugerville I.S.D.. She just competed in her first "mini" triathalon last weekend, and she has a small Corgi named Pierre who pretty much rules their household with an iron fist. Susan is originally from the U.P. as well, but she has lived for considerable amounts of time in both Dallas and New York City.
Anyway, we had a nice dinner. Always nice to have the clan together (or part of it).

In other news, ACL Fest organizers Capital Sports and Entertainment have apparently taken at least some notice of the heat and dust problems presented by last year's festival and are making attempts to correct some of the problems (or maybe they're just starting to realize that they made a big mistake by moving the festival a week earlier, given the fact that it's only mid June and our temperatures have already topped 102 degrees). At any rate, CSE is helping to fund the insallation of new irrigation systems for Zilker park, with an eye toward cutting down on the dust that choked much of last year's event. Furthermore, CSE states that they plan to erect large modern art structures which will provide additional shade for this year's event, adding to the small amounts of shade provided by the park's trees during past years, and that additional water and misting stations will be available as well.
I'm glad to see that these changes are occurring, but I'm betting that the unusually warm weather which we've been experiencing has led to early announcements of these changes in order to preempt complaints by potential festival-goers who are weighing the pros and cons of attending the event in a year which has already broken a number of records for amazingly hot temperatures.
Steanso is still pretty annoyed that they moved this thing a week earlier instead of a week later, but it's good to see that they're at least taking notice. Everything could just be so much nicer if they had moved the festival to a time which was legitimately part of early fall rather than late summer. Oh well. I'll still be there- one of the tallest guys at the festival, throwing out lots of shade for attractive female festival-goers to gather in... ; )

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Dinner tonight with Karebear, Cousin Susan, and Uncle Donald. We ate at Threadgill's, caught up on some family gossip, and Uncle Donald paid up on that old UT v. USC bet that he made with my mom awhile back. Betting against the Horns in the Rose Bowl.... Oh, the shame....
Steanso has been quiet while he battles some intestinal/stomach discomfort. Feelin' a lot better today, though, and the Karebear is scheduled to roll into town tonight. You gotta be at the top of your game when you're hosting the Karebear.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Pretty good weekend thus far. Friday night I came home to a Crackbass who was very excited after selling his car. I gave Crackbass a ride home from the office. We arrived home at approximately 5:26 p.m. and by approximately 5:29 we had opened our first beers. We invited various people to have cocktails and play Cranium, Taboo, and various other games, but Ellie Gamble was the only one brave enough to take us up on our offer. Ellie came over and we barbecues both sausages and a variety of vegetables (for the womyn in the group). We drank bloody marys and played some games, girls versus boys, and although the boys ultimately won, it was a hard fought victory, with accusations of cheating and arguments over the rules occurring at every turn. Finally, at some point The Pea stealthed off to bed (feigning a bathroom break, but then never returning), and Ellie decided to take her leave as well (although it took her awhile to actually depart, seeing as how the wine had turned the deadbolt on the front door into a puzzle of Rubik-like complexity.... on second thought, maybe we should have had a sleepover for ol' Eillie).
On Saturday I got up and rolled to the Barton springs with ol' Crackbass to meet up with Kim Bloom. We hung out there for quite a while, and then fled back to the house where I grabbed a gift certificate leftover from my birthday and then went shopping for a shirt to wear to Megan and Travis's wedding reception. I don't know how many of you know Kate and Judy, my neighbors, but Judy's daughter, Megan, got married last Thursday, and there was a reception for she and her husband, Travis at Mercury Hall last night. It was a fun event with tasty food, good music, and an open bar (I was introduced to a new beverage called a Club 53 which involved club soda, Seven Up, vodka, and something else- anyway, it was a good summer drink).
The Whiskeetos were in attendance at the party (Andy and Rami to the uninitiated), so we hung out with them, and later went back to have some beverages by the pond. The Whiskeetos both eventually claimed various sorts of ailments, and retreated into the night in one of their two SUVs.

Today I did yardwork, exercised, and took Cassidy to the spillover. It was good, but now I'm tired. Maybe a quick nap?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Well, the blog machine seems to be fully operational again, so I'm off and running.
Last night I had dinner with Team Wilson at the Suzi's in Westlake. The food was good, although it took us a long time to figure out exactly where we were going to eat. After dinner I watched part of game 1 of the NBA finals with Crackbass before wandering back across the street.

In other news, the House passed a telecommunications bill today which Steanso is, in general, a supporter of. For those of you who do not know, Steanso is a long time enemy of Time Warner. On at least two occasions, Steanso has become embroiled in billing disputes with Time Warner which have eventually resulted in the termination of Steanso's cable TV service. As a matter of fact, Steanso currently has no cable TV service and relies only on lowly broadcast television because he couldn't bring himself to pay the money which Time Warner claims that he owes, and because the satellite providers have told him that he would have to cut down one of the trees in his yard if he wants to get satellite service.
Anyway, I'm not going to go into the details of my own little argument with Time Warner, but suffice it to say that I've always hated those bastards and felt like they were exploiting their customers through the cable television monopoly that they hold in Austin (or at least my part of Austin). They raise rates on current customers for providing completely incidental services that no one makes use of (how many of you regularly use the digital music channels on your television or really care whether the video game or golf channels have been added to your lineup?) and they charge almost twice as much as satellite while providing pretty much the exact same service.
Anyway, it sounds like this new bill is going to open up cable television markets to increased competition from other companies, which should bring prices down significantly and offer better options. Some Democrats opposed the bill because they felt that it didn't go far enough to insure "net neutrality", which would help to extend broadband services to lower income and rural areas. This kind of concerns me, although I'll admit that I don't really understand the issue. It sounds like they want one group of customers to help subsidize service to lower income areas, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. There is also mention of the fact that without "net neutrality" broadband access providers may be able to charge increased fees to competitiors or in order to provide service in areas which they don't want to service, so that fact kind of bothers me because I don't really understand the implications (does that mean that Time Warner has to allow for increased competition, but it can then turn around and charge competitiors exhorbinant fees for the use of the only cable broadband system in the community?)
Anyway, the bill sounds like a step in the right direction, but it may be structured in such a way that it's essentially useless. I can't really tell.
Like I said, it sounds like a step in the right direction (which to me is any direction which allows for greater choice when picking a cable company), but it's hard to tell.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Hey, Adventurers! Everything going ok?
So the U.S. military managed to kill al-Zarqawi today (or, technically, maybe it was yesterday- I'm not sure), and there has been much rejoicing. I guess I'm glad the bastard is dead, too (although getting excited over the death of anyone is not something I really pride myself on). He seemed like a vicious psycho who's idea of political rhetoric tended to involve chopping people's heads off.
On the other hand, I'm really not sure that killing al-Zarqawi is going to have much of a practical, measurable effect in the Iraq war and the greater war on terror. Instead, I'm sure that some other fanatic (or maybe a whole group of fanatics) will rise up to carry on in his name and avenge his death. I mean, I'm still glad we got the guy, but I don't think it's really going to bring the war to an end any faster. Given the loose organizational structure that these insurgents seem to employ, I just don't think that losing a leader will be all that crippling to their cause.
Not a lot to report on the personal front. Last night I just hung out with Cassidy, watered the yard, and watched TV. Doesn't the Suns/Mavericks series start tonight? Do I care who wins it? Not really.
Oh yeah. Thanks to Weedo for forwarding me this link about the animosity that the U.S. soccer team is facing as it prepares to participate in the World Cup (which starts tomorrow). I guess that the U.S. just isn't all that popular on the world stage at the moment (with our unjustified, unilateral attacks on Middle Eastern countries and whatnot), and the world soccer community is venting much of its rage at the U.S. soccer team (jeering them and throwing debris at them on the field and heckling them whenever they seem them). There's been a pretty good Gatorade commercial which shows some of the negative reactions that the Americans have been getting, and I guess that the American team suffered from a lot of harrassment during their qualifying matches. Anyway, I think the whoile issue is interesting primarily because it dramatically demonstrates some of the anti-U.S. sentiment which is rampant around the globe right now, but which the typical American is fairly insulated from (by way of the fact that most Americans typically are only exposed to the American media and don't interact with foreigners on a regular basis). The sad thing is, I just don't think most foreigners realize that a lot of Americans don't stand behind the policy decisions that our government has been making over the last 6 years. We're a divided country, but to the rest of the world, we're just one, giant, monolithic evil empire. U-S-A!!!! U-S-A!!!!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

By the way, Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown is right to criticize the failure of the U.S. government to defend the reputation of the United Nations with the American people. Brown made comments this week stating that the U.S. tends to take advantage of its membership within the U.N. when doing so is politically expedient (as in the case of Colin Powell's infamous defense of the Iraq invasion), but that in general, the federal government does nothing to defend or support the U.N. and its activities in the face of constant attacks by right wing media pundits such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Brown states that such inconsistent treatment of the U.N. by officials within the U.S. government essentially sends mixed messages and constitutes bad policy. I think that basically Brown is making a plea for greater support for the U.N. and its objectives from the American government so that the American people will not be so distrustful of the organization.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton (who is by all accounts kind of a jackass and who made quite a few public statements which were critical of the U.N. before being appointed ambassador) has expressed outrage and anger over the comments, saying they are condescending to Americans.
It's true that the American press has the right to say what they want and that the American people have a right to make their own decisions, but that's really not what this is about. Brown is asking for the government to have the courage to publicly support the U.N. consistently and as a matter of policy (I guess sort of in the same way that we consistently seem to support Israel or other nations that we deem allies).
The U.N. is, first and foremost, about preserving peace and helping to resolve international disagreements without war. In the furtherance of this goal, the U.N. lends diplomatic and peacekeeping services throughout the globe, as well as lending humanitarian aid to member nations which may be in crisis due to natural or man-made disasters world wide. True, there are many problems and hitches and difficulties in implementing practical solutions to the problems which the U.N. addresses, but I believe that the organization has its heart in the right place and that the end goals make the inevitable struggles involved in such massive undertakings well worth the effort. I'm a firm believer in the U.N. and in international diplomacy as a means of avoiding physical violence, and I wish that the U.S. would stand more firmly behind this organization.
Anyway, Bolton is mostly bitching because he's a conservative, appointed by politicans who appeal to a conservative base, and many conservative's attitudes toward the U.N. lean toward both arrogance and paranoia. They seem to simultaneously believe that the U.N. is trying to establish a world government that will somehow rob the United States of its sovereign decision-making power and to also believe that the U.S. shouldn't be required to hold itself accountable to other nations when taking actions which nevertheless effect other countries within the global community. Anyway, right wingers have been bitching about how the U.N. is trying to take power away from the federal government for many years. I think that this isn't a legitimate complaint, and that opponents of the U.N. are much more interested in maintaining America's ability to avoid responsibility for its actions than they are genuinely concerned about the U.N. chipping away at our sovereignty.
Bolton is crying and whining because doing so will be popular with the conservatives who put him in power. This is why the guy shouldn't be the ambassador to the U.N.. He's more concerned with scoring political points than doing what's right. We should be strongly supporting the objectives of the U.N., if not every practical detail of every program they come up with (but even where there are problems, we should be actively involved in those programs and trying to correct problems as we see them rather than just criticizing). Rush Limbaugh should just go pop some more pills and shut the f*ck up.
Late blog today because the blogger servers were all jammed up and locked down for good parts of the day.
Not too much to report. Crackbass fed us yummy enchiladas last night and then we had Crack practice. Gary made practice after being gone for over a month. There were some bumpy spots during practice (especially for me on drums), but we came up with new stuff and there were some really cool parts. After practice Andy gleefully told us all about his new boat and excitedly asked us when we could all go out on it. (or something like that)
Anyway, I mostly just wanted to say hi. I'll write more tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for working blog servers.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hey, gang. S'up?
Not much here. I guess there's a volcano erupting on the other side of the world. I wish I were there to see it.
Last night I had a very delicious shish kabob meal over at the Wilsons and watched an episode of Big Love with them again. As I told the Wilsons, I don't really hate the show, but it does nothing for me. I could care less if I never see another episode again, but the Wilsons seem to really enjoy watching the polygamists while eating dinner, and I generally enjoy the food over at Casa De Wilson a great deal, so I sit through it. One weird thing is that when I think of Big Love now, I kind of associate the show with tasty food, since good food is usually being consumed while I watch it (which is why I've seen so many episodes in the first place). At this rate, every time I smell barbecue I'm gonna start wishing I had three wives.
After dinner we had a bit of homemade ice cream and went outside to watch the fence-top antics of Awesome Possum (the Wilson family's resident marsupial) while Max and Lucy braved the sprinkler to bark at him. Awesome Possum is pretty awesome, and I hope he sticks around for awhile.
After that, I rolled back across the street to hang out with Cassidy. She was a little pouty (I think she was tired from being out in the heat all day and a little pissed off that she didn't get enough attention when I got home, but she did get a decent walk earlier in the evening, before I went across the street for dinner). I sat on the floor with her and scatched her belly while I finished watching Star Wars (Episode 1, which I had started the night before) The movie was really fun, despite the fact that I've seen it a hundred times, and it made me realize that my movie collection is woefully short on good ol' action/adventure flicks.
Oh, also my League of Melbotis shirt came in from CafePress. It's a pretty cool shirt, and I wore it to dinner.
Well, that's it for now. I wish I had more to report, but it was a nice evening. Over on Tejas Trail, we really are like Hobbits.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Since the League has found his official movie of summer in Superman Returns, The Adventures have decided to make the somewhat questionable call of throwing our support behind Miami Vice. Sure it's got Colin Farrell, but it offers the possibility of the resurgence of pastel colors, sport coats over tee shirts, and the prevalent use of loafers without socks as signature pieces of popular culture. (you don't think they'd abandon the show's sense of fashion, do you?) Also, I can almost guarantee that it will have people shooting at each other- probably in slow motion- and probably some nighttime scenes with really cool cars. It'll have beautiful people doing bad things.
In all seriousness, I really did dig the original show, and I dig Michael Mann as a director (in particular, he usually has cool cinematography and he uses music extremely well in his movies). I think this movie might be better than people think. But yeah. Colin Farrell. There are some reasons why this is a controversial call.
Nonetheless, the pick for The Adventures of Steanso summer movie endorsement goes to Miami Vice. (so now I just gotta sit back and hope this thing doesn't suck)
Well, I just wrote a fairly lengthy post about affirmative action, but then I deleted it. It was a stupid post because it didn't say anything that hasn't been said before.
Affirmative action is weird. On the one hand, I support it because I think that minorities who have been historically discriminated against and who are struggling to rise out of socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds deserve a break when they are forced to compete against rich, white kids who have had the best schools and education that their upper-middle class parents could afford. (I just think you have to put in more of an effort to get to the same place when you go to a painfully underfunded school and when you come from a neighborhood which is largley full of single parent families and where large percentages of the population are regularly circulating in and out of jail).
On the other hand, I had a friend who lived with me at Trinity who totally worked his ass off to get into med school (I mean this guy studied so much that he almost gave himself a nervous breakdown a few times), and then was initially rejected from every med school that he applied to. This guy just had to really work like crazy just to barely meet the entry criteria, you know?There were a couple of other kids who went to school with us who were also in the pre med program and who were bright, capable kids, and these kids were instantly accepted to med school because they were considered minority applicants, even though their overall grades and test scores were similar to or slightly lower than the grades and scores that my suitemate had. It didn't seem fair. I didn't want to hold anything against these minority kids (at least one of whom I was very good friends with), but it seemed unfair to my suitemate that he was being passed over while other kids who hadn't necessarily worked quite as hard were being given a free pass.
Finally, I brought the whole issue up with one of these guys, Mario, and asked him how he felt about it (Mario was friends with my suitemate as well, and had already been accepted to med school despite having similar grades and test scores, but applying as a person of Hispanic heritage). Anyway, Mario thought about it awhile and said that he thought it might not be fair on an individual level, but that it was probably fair on a societal one. Mario pointed out that my suitemate's father was a doctor, and that he came from an affluent family. Mario was (I believe) the first person in his family to go to college, and that if he went back to his neighborhood to practice medicine (which he planned on doing) that he would be one of the only Hispanic doctors to be practicing in that neighborhood that he knew of. If he went to med school, maybe a few other Hispanic kids from his old high school would try it.
Well, my suitemate eventually got a late acceptance letter to med school, and I believe that he's now practicing in Houston (unless he's moved recently), so everything ended well, but the whole episode has come to symbolize the whole affirmative action debate for me. (Let it be noted that Mario was one of the first ones to buy my suitemate a beer when he got his acceptance letter, and that my suitemate and he remained close friends throughout the whole thing)
By the way, this whole thing came to mind because the Supreme Court is getting ready to hear some more affirmative action cases (although I think in the context of elementary and secondary schools). I'm actually surprised that the conservatives haven't done more to attack affirmative action during these last couple of years, but I guess there's not really a big rush given the way they've got the court stacked at this point.

Uh, man, I'm not sure this post was better than the first one, but I have a headache now, so I'm done.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

All in all, it was a pretty good weekend. Friday night I didn't do a whole lot. I hung out with the Wilsons a bit and had a couple cocktails, but their partying was curtailed by their impending garage sale, due to start the following morning.
Saturday morning I got up and took Cassidy to the spillover over at Barton Springs. She had a good time, got some swimming in, met a few friendly people, and caught up on the gossip with the other dogs. I headed back to Tejas Trail and checked in on the Wilson's garage sale. I resisted the urge to buy Jackbart's UFO lamp (which was not nearly as freaky as its name implied). I went and saw X-Men 3 in the afternoon with Weedo (which was a pretty bad movie, although still kind of enjoyable- I was glad that I had heard the bad reviews, actually, because I think that having lowered expectations helped make the movie more tolerable). Saturday night I went out to eat with Team Wilson at Maudie's, went to Target with them to stock up on lightbulbs, Italian ices, and other household items, and then we went back to the pond for a couple of drinks and to listen to some music. We stayed up late, talking quite a bit about high school, amongst other things, as well as teachers and teaching as a profession and high school teachers and the strange effect that high school has on all of us. We also told party war stories from our days in college and we debated (sort of) going to see Buttercup, but we decided we were too tired (and lazy).
Today I got up and exercised and rolled to Barton Springs with Crackbass. We were there for a little over an hour before we ran into Lee and John, who were soon followed by Kim and Sigmund. I was pretty impressed to see Sig there, in particular, because the common consensus was that he would be too wrapped up in some televised sporting event to make it to the springs.
Anywhere, it was hot out there, but the water felt awesome, and it was nice to hang out with everyone. (the picture has John in the foreground, then Lee, the Crackbass to the left and Sig to the right. I don't know the guy behind Sig.)

We got home in time for Crackbass to go and see a movie with The Pea and in time for me to make it to Mono E practice. Weedo showed up in an outfit that I would like to advocate as the new official team uniform of The Mono Ensemble. Note the jersey which symbolizes both our team spirit and our competitive nature, as well as the socks and sandals which indicate... well, that maybe we don't have all that much competitive spirit after all. It's difficult to spot them in the photo, but I would also like to point out the Westwood Warrior lacrosse shorts. For those of you who don't know him that well, let me reassure you that Weedo is just bursting at the seams with Warrior pride.

Anyway, not a bad weekend. Not super exciting, but a good weekend, nonetheless.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday! Last night Steanso went out to dinner with Team Wilson at the Green Mesquite before returning to their house to watch the Mavs/Suns game on the television. The Mavs won, but Crackbass was less excited about it than I thought he would be. I also talked to my folks, who had just returned from a vacation in New Mexico the night before. Karebear had a slight bit of food poisoning during the trip, but despite her brief illness, they seem to have had a good time taking in the scenery, shopping for art, and whatnot in both Santa Fe and Taos.

The Republic of Texas Biker Rally rolls into Austin this weekend. I heard on the radio this morning that up to 40,000 bikers are expected to attend. Steanso isn't a biker himself and has never participated in the event in any kind of direct way, but nonetheless the event has come to be another one of those yearly events that kind of symbolize Austin, as the roads fill with really cool motorcycles and people having a good time. (a couple of years ago, when I was working for Travis Williamson, we took off early on the Friday that kicked off the biker rally and headed over to the bar at the Steven F. Austin to sit on their balconey and watch the bikes roll down Congress for their ride past the capitol. It was an impressive sight, seeing all of those shiney bikes and feeling the rumble of hundreds of motorcycles) Anyway, for at least one weekend each year I'm always tempted to buy a motorcycle so I can join in the fun.

Well, I guess I don't have a lot for you guys. I think Buttercup is having a show/CD release party tomorrow night at The Parish, so I might try to make it to that. Also, The Pea is having a garage sale tomorrow at Casa De Wilson until like 1:00 or 2:00, so stop on by Tejas Trail if you're looking for some quality items at a low, low price. Other from that, my plans mostly revolve around not having plans.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hey, everybody! Hope things are going well for ya.
Steanso has just been very busy at work, so you're getting a bit of a late blog.
There really hasn't been anything blogworthy in Steanso's personal life in the last couple of days (although an old high school classmate, Esther Ellsworth, popped up in the blogosphere).
Apparently the new Batwoman is going to be a lesbian. Sure. Why not. Most of the lesbians that I know are pretty cool, ass kicking chicks (and they looooove being called chicks). Anyway, if anyone's sexual orientation in the superhero realm ought to be raising some eyebrows, it should probably be Batman. Someone really ought to look into the whole Robin the "boy wonder" sidekick thing that Batman was putting on for years. If those two aren't the poster boys for NAMBLA, then I don't know who is. (I don't really believe Batman is a pedophile, so settle down, you comic geeks)
Well, I know this is another short post and sort of a gyp, but maybe I'll post more later. Or maybe I won't. It's about time you freeloaders developed some appreciation for Steanso!