Friday, March 30, 2007
Last night I had dinner with Mandy and we watched some TV. We also hung out in the backyard a little bit, which was nice because the weather was feeling spring-like and the toads had returned to the Wilson's pond in all of their choral croaking glory.
The New York Times ran an article this week about the increasing popularity of video games amongst retirees and older audiences in general. The article discusses the fact that some experts are beginning to believe that video games may help older people to keep their minds and their reflexes sharp, and how some video game producers (Nintendo is one standout example) are taking steps to produce games which are specifically meant to target an older audience (typically meaning games which are engaging and fun to play, but which are less complex and require less of an initial learning curve than some of the other games on the market require- i.e., "casual games"). Steanso is kind of fascinated by videogames, although probably more often by their potential and the way that society has responded to them as an interactive medium rather than by actually playing a ton of games himself. I guess I see this interest in videogames by an older crowd as part of the natural evolution of gaming. I'm still convinced that video games will eventually become a form of entertainment which will far surpass television or movies in terms of popularity (mostly because I guess I believe, perhaps erroneously, that people would utlimately rather engage in an interactive entertainment experience rather than remaining passive as an audience), so I guess I found this article interesting just because it comments on the ever-expanding niche that videogames have taken over within the American consciousness. It's easy to sell new technologies to kids (who are constantly learning to adapt and to incorporate new ideas into their world, anyway), but when you start to sell them to older people, then those technologies have begun to become more of a staple in ordinary modern life.
That's about it. Work is pretty busy these days. Hope you guys have a good weekend. Drive safe out there if you're in Austin and you're dealing with all of this rain!
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Not too much to report. Yesterday I stopped by to visit DK and Liz. Liz is heavily medicated, but resting comfortably. Apparently she has some moments of lucidity during the day, but she also spends a lot of time sleeping. She woke up long enough to say my name and smile at me before falling back to sleep. DK is hanging in there with the help and support of friends. Liz's care page can be found by looking under Liz Pieper on the CarePages website. All of you Adventurers continue to send them your love, thoughts, and prayers, ok?
Other from that, I don't have too much going on. I'm taking care of Ryan's dog, Lucy, again for the next 24 hours or so while Ryan drives down to Houston to retrieve Jamie from my parents house following her week of doctor's visits. I think Ryan would have been down there with her this week himself, but he actually had a few leads on employment back here in Austin that he needed to follow up on.
Last night Ryan and I ate at Casa Garcia. Team Shaw is in Washington (the state, not D.C.) this week on vacation. Weedo is actually part way into like a 6 week sabbatical from AMD, but that's a whole different story.
Also, TV on the Radio are performing next week (April 5th) at La Zona Rosa. The Mono E are supposed to play a First Thursday gig earlier that same night at Ben White Florist (probably around 5:00- it's a gig which I am currently trying to modify my work schedule in order to attend). Anyway, I think TV on the Radio are rad, so I'm looking to enlist any confederates who wish to attend (I think Roundball is up for it).
That's it for now.
Take care of each other.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Last night Solo Roundball (Jamie's still in Houston) went with me to pick up some pizza at Southside (Southside Flying Pizza- it's pretty good, and you should try it out if you live in the area), and then we went over to Mandy's to eat pizza, watch Boston Legal, and see Mandy's vacation pictures from Costa Rica. Her pictures of Costa Rica looked beautiful. Lots of gorgeous beaches and wildlife. She went to a friend's wedding down there (Christina), and it looked like everyone was having a great time. I'm ready to go.
That's about it for the time being. Maybe more later.
Remember to only lift with your legs when you're lifting heavy stuff, Adventurers! (See! Good, free, practical advice. Don't say I never gave you nothing!!!)
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
But nonetheless- Happy Birthday, Jamie!!! She's a good friend and a great sister-in-law, and our whole family loves her a lot. When you get back to Austin, Jamie, we'll go out and I'll treat you to a giant desert somewhere (Jamie has a sweet tooth that I'm normally lacking, but for her birthday I can make an exception).
Feliz compleanos, Jamie!!!!!!
Lucy has returned to Roundball's house, so I'm back to one dog again.
Last night I went and had dinner at Trudy's with Ryan. We hung out and discussed his job search and other topics.
The U.S. is building up its forces in the Persian Gulf in light of the growing tensions between Iran and England. Like I said on Sunday- I think this is bad juju (although it may be necessary). By the way, are we absolutely sure that the Iranians still don't have nukes? Remember what I said about little dudes who want to pick fights with big dudes- sometimes it's because they've got a knife hidden somewhere...
Well, it's good to have everyone back in town. I have an appointment for some guy to come out and inspect the foundation on The Hop-a-Long Lounge this afternoon. Let's hope the news isn't too painful.
Well, that's about it. Looks like the rain is blowing out of here, so all of you Austin adventurers need to go enjoy a little sunshine!
Monday, March 26, 2007
As for DK and Liz, I love you guys and I'm thinking of you all the time. Call me if you need or want anything.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
What would I do? Probably try to get the little guy's buddies to talk some sense into him and assure them that I'm not the one trying to pick a fight. Only after that do you round up a few buddies of your own and sort the situation out.
I just have a bad feeling about this whole situation with Iran, and I have a feeling that dealing with them could make this whole Iraq thing look like a cakewalk. Even if we "win" a war with Iran we end up seriously overextending ourselves in the Middle East and leaving ourselves vulnerable. Bad juju.
The weekend has been pretty slow, as expected with Team Steans, Team Bloom, and Mandy out of town. Eric stopped by to say hi, but other from that I've been mostly hanging out with the dogs (I'm dogsitting Lucy while Team Steans is at a wedding in Houston), working on the yard a bit (until my mower died, but it's at the mower hospital and has a good prognosis), watching movies, playing guitar, and doing a little reading. Andy and Rami tried to call (which I really am thankful for), but I was taking an oddly timed nap and missed them. This morning I got up and took Lucy (pictured at left with an anonymous dog friend and a small piece of Cassidy's head in the bottom left) and Cassidy to the dog park. I ran into a few familiar faces while I was down there. It's funny how you build connections with people without even realizing it. Anyway, the dogs played pretty hard, but tired themselves out after about an hour.
Mono E practice later today. I hope you guys are doing ok.
Friday, March 23, 2007
What else? Last night I joined Ryan and Jamie for a trip to Artz Rib House where we ate some tasty barbecue and listened to the magical folk/country sound of The Flyin' A's. The Flyin' A's are fronted by Hilary and Stuart Adamson, and Hilary is an old friend of my brother's from way back in high school. Hilary has a really great voice (Stuart was feeling a little under the weather and mostly stuck to playing guitar last night), and they have a sound which is deeply rooted in traditional Texas country, folk, and a little blues. The band is rounded out by a guy named Eastside Flash on dobro (for those who don't know, that means he plays a slide on one of those acoustic guitars that has a metal resonator) and Charlie Irwin on bass. The web site also shows a drummer, but he wasn't there last night.
Anyway, it was fun to go to Artz. The food was pretty good, the band was fun to listen to, and the crowd was awfully friendly (Hilary seemed to know more than half of the people in the place, so it's clear that there are a lot of regulars). I'm sure we'll see them again sometime soon.
By the way, there have been allegations that SXSW organizers and volunteers have been reporting unofficial music events during SXSW to the fire marshall in an attempt to have these events shut down. As a musician who has played at these unofficial events for several years, I sure hope this isn't happening. I hope that all of the official venues are being held to the same standards as the unofficial venues, and I would hope that SXSW organizers would be trying to foster an atmosphere of festivity and celebration during SXSW rather than just taking over our town for their own use and trying to inisist that no one else "compete" with their official events. SXSW is already huge, and I can't see how unofficial events would in any way detract from the overall festival itself.
Not too much else to report. Roundball and McSteans are headed to Houston this weekend to attend Erica "Bug" Foster's wedding (old friend), so I think I'll end up dogsitting for Lucy and/or Mel. Should be ok. Maybe a visit to the dog park is in order.
Okay. I guess that's it for now. Hope you guys are hanging in there.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Tonight I'm supposed to go out with them again to hear some friend of theirs who is playing music somewhere. I'm not clear on the details.
I gotta run even though this was a short post, but maybe more later. Then again, I didn't have all that much that I was burning to say today, anyway.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Well, yesterday the kind folks up at my office got birthday cake (actually 2 cakes- chocolate and vanilla) for me and for a couple of other folks who have had birthdays over the last week. It was a very nice gesture, and I really appreciate it! Being a prosecutor (like being a defense attorney) tends to have some good days and really bad days, but I have to say that the people who work in the county attorney's office are a pretty darn good lot, and they make my job a lot more pleasant than it might otherwise be, especially on those days when things don't go so well in court. So thanks, guys!!!
Mandy left for a wedding in Costa Rica today, Ryan and Jamie are headed to Houston this weekend, and I think even Team Bloom is headed for New York on Friday. Steanso is bracing himself for a potentially lonely weekend (well, maybe not lonely, cause I still got Cassidy, but potentially boring, anyway). I'm mostly jealous of Mandy's trip, with Team Bloom's trip coming in a close second. I'm not all that jealous of Roundball's trip to Houston (unless they catch a Rockets game, but I doubt that since they're going for a wedding).
Al Gore appeared before Congress today to urge them to take the "planetary emergency" of global warming seriously. Good for him. Global warming is a real, valid threat which poses a legitimate hazard to life on Earth as we know it. Yes, I know that our planet's climate periodically changes on its own, but we know for a fact that our emissions have left measurable amounts of pollution in our atmosphere which react to the suns energy in predictable ways. There's a freaking hole in the ozone, for heaven's sake. Scientists and experts aside, do people really think that they can continually pump harmful pollution into our air without having any negative impact on our ecosystem and atmosphere? Those chemicals just don't belong in our air, and sooner or later, they're going to cause problems. I mean, you don't have to be a scientist to understand that much, right?
Anyhoo, I gotta run. Peace to you kids!!!!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Other from that I just watched 24 and played with Cassidy.
A couple of people have asked me why I haven't been blogging about the whole fiasco with Alberto Gonzales and the dismissal of a number of U.S. Attorneys. I guess I haven't written about the whole thing because I just haven't been paying super close attention to it. I'm not sure why these people were let go, but if it turns out that the motivation was primarily political then I hope that, at the very least, Alberto Gonzales should be fired. No prosecutor should ever be put in a position where he (or she) is required to make prosecution decisions based upon political affiliations or motivations. Although I know that some may laugh this off as naive, I truly feel that the lines shouldn't become blurred between prosecuting criminals and staging political attacks. Other from that, I don't have much to say on the matter. I'm ready for Gonzales to leave, but I've been ready for that ever since he threw his wholehearted endorsement behind The Patriot Act.
Well, that's about it for the moment. I'm still kind of working at half speed thanks to my allergies, but I hope all of you guys are doing well.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Anyway, I had a fun birthday weekend, and I want to thank my friends and family for making it a good one.
Sorry I'm keeping it short today, but Steanso's feeling funky.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Anyway, we've been discussing the effects of these drugs up at the courthouse from time to time as the issue has arisen in various cases, so it's just interesting to see the FDA taking official notice of the phenomenon. Hopefully a greater awareness of this potential side effect can somehow keep people from getting behind the wheel after they've taken the drug (no, I'm not sure how- I guess you need to hide your keys from yourself or something. And no, I don't know how you hide something from yourself. Go away. Quit asking questions.)
Just a reminder that two of Austin's most legendary garage bands will be hitting the stage at Bella Blue art boutique on Wednesday afternoon (Bella Blue is an art shop, but they have an entertainment area behind the shop that has a stage and plenty of room for our rock and roll audience). Crack will kick off the festivities at 3:00 with our unique take on savante garde melody making (or noise rock, depending on your point of view). The Mono Ensemble will follow at 4:00 with their own brand of folk-prog-western-jazz-funk-rock, and Kosmodrome will round out the day at 5:00 with experimental electronic fanfare smuggled deep out of the heart of mother Russia. The whole thing is part of the garage band showcase portion of SXS1st (the South 1st Street part of SXSW).Here's a link to the Bella Blue flyer. Bella Blue is at 2213 South First Street, on the east side of the street, about a block north of Oltorf (next to End of An Ear Records, who I believe may be co-sponsoring the event). So take part of the day off and come see some local, live music the way SXSW was originally intended!!!!! Hope to see you all there!!!!!!
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Here's a link to the Bella Blue flyer. Bella Blue is at 2213 South First Street, on the east side of the street, about a block north of Oltorf (next to End of An Ear Records, who I believe may be co-sponsoring the event).
So take part of the day off and come see some local, live music the way SXSW was originally intended!!!!!
Hope to see you all there!!!!!!
In other news, last night I had dinner with Mandy and Greg Johnson. Greg is in town for SXSW and to stick it to the man.
Did I mention that I also have managed to procure tickets to see The Police in New Orleans in June? Do you hear that clicking noise? I don't wanna jinx myself, but I believe that to be the sound of serendipity- the sound of things falling into place.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Howdy! Well, the weekend has come and gone, and with it, The Karebear and The Admiral as well. We had a pretty good visit, and I think they enjoyed their stay. The picture of Roundball and The Admiral at left was taken at one of the locations where the folks were considering buying a condo (although having listened to their conversations subsequent to our trip to the site, it now seems less likely that they're going to buy out there). Anyway, we spent some time looking at potential retirement properties with them.
We also had a few meals with the folks and went to see a show at Esther's Follies as well. For those of you who've never been to Esther's Follie's, you need to go and check it out sometime. I've been a few times (they change their show up every few months or so), and it's been pretty hilarious every time. It's all just kind of a modern take on vaudeville, and the show moves by at about 100 miles an hour (they have comedy and music and magic and other tomfoolery). Anyway, yeah it's kind of cheesey, but it's supposed to be cheesey, and it's a lot of fun.
Sunday the parents left and we had Mono E practice. Practice was good. Don't forget about the Bella Blue show with Crack and The Mono E, starting at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday at Bella Blue on South 1st (it's an art boutique next to End of an Ear records). I know it's during the middle of a work day, but this is Spring Break week AND SXSW, so do yourself a favor and come on out!!! Don't be a hater!!
Friday, March 09, 2007
The Justice Department has conducted an audit and is reporting that law enforcement (the FBI, in particular) has been abusing The Patriot Act and overstepping its authority when implementing wiretaps and obtaining private records. Does this really come as a surprise to anyone? The Patriot Act is so broad and vague that most people involved in the justice system knew that it was going to be abused from the first day that it was passed (even people who work in law enforcement recognize that investigators are going to be as aggressive as possible when working a case, and the Patriot Act creates a lot of gray areas and loopholes in the search and seizure rules- areas which dogged investigators probably can't resist exploiting).
What else? Not much to report at the moment. Maybe I'll rap at you later.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
And it just made me feel kind of old. When I was a kid I always just had this sort of pervasive, underlying belief that there were older, wiser grownups out there in the world who were holding the reins of government, business, and society in general, and that these people were kind of guiding the world in a way that was meant to protect the best interests of society and to make sure that the world continued to function in a logical, orderly way. It's not like I ever knew who these people were (I probably assumed a lot of them wore suits, worked in businesses similar to my dad's, and spent most of their time somberly conversing with each other and pondering the world's problems), but I just kind of felt sure that they were out there, keeping everyone safe and keeping our world operating more or less smoothly.
But now I'm older, and it's at once both amusing and disturbing to realize that it's just us running the show. Me, my friends, and people like us are making the decisions that keep the wheels turning. There's no group of super sages or wise men who are running this whole thing- we've just got a bunch of goofy kids who grew up to become goofy adults and took over the reins of power. It's not that I'm saying that these people are bad, really, but it's just strange to know that the people in power are subject to extremely human emotions, and that these emotions enter into their decision-making in ways that I wouldn't have really believed as a kid. The eccentricities, personality quirks, and self-centered desires that are present in high schoolers are still present in adults- it's just that people learn to cover them up better by the time they reach their late twenties and thirties. The judges and political leaders that hold positions of authority are the same kids who stole liquor out of their parents' cabinets in high school and who wrapped toilet paper around the houses of the kids that they didn't like (or, maybe more often, around the homes of the girls that they did like). Anyway, grow those kids up a bit, put 'em in a suit, and you've got your governor, mayor, doctor, or county court at law prosecutor. As a kid, I always just thought there was some kind of magical group of leaders out there who were above pettiness, prejudice, overt selfishness, and irrationality. Now I know it's just us, and it's kind of a scary realization. No one's driving the bus. All we have is a tendency to keep each other in check and hopefully some sort of desire, on an individual level, to do the right thing.
Blah, blah, blah, right?
Last night Mandy made a nice dinner for Sigmund, Kim, and I. Tacos. They were muy bueno. Afterward Andy joined us for an evening Crack practice, and Roundball sat in with us for a song or two. Reed stopped by to drop off a different snare drum and a video or two. We hung out a bit after practice, but then I ran everybody off because I was tired.
Well, I gotta run. Take care of each other.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I still don't have too much to post about. Last night I spent some time straightening the Hop-a-Long Lounge in anticipation of a possible parental visit this weekend, and Reed stopped by to exchange some videotapes (24, Battlestar Galactica). I'm still watching Seasons 1 & 2 of Homicide (Roundball has pointed out to me that I've been consistently misspelling it on my blog). These episodes from the first couple of seasons definitely have some bumpy spots (the writers and the actors on this show pretty much came out swinging for the fence, so when they nail a scene it's great, but when an actor doesn't manage to pull off a scene or when some dialogue is poorly written it can be a little rough to watch), but they have moments of genius as well (there are some great interrogation scenes as well as some genuinely fascinating interactions between the regular characters). Anyway, even when I watched the show on a regular basis back when it was still on the air I had never seen these early episodes, so it's kind of fun watching the actors struggle to flesh out their characters while keeping them believable. It's a little wierd to watch this after having just watched the first 3 seasons of The Wire, but it's interesting in that The Wire clearly stood on the shoulders of Homicide (and also, apparently, The Corner, which I haven't seen) as a predecessor to its development.
Well, that's not much, but I gotta run. Take care, guys.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
On Saturday I got up and went and had lunch with Mandy and Greg at Central Market. Then I went and rocked with Crack for awhile (we laos spent some time trying to think of things to do for our show on the 14th). After Crack practice we headed over to Bella Blue to listen to Red Book Audio, check out some art, and eat a couple of hotdogs. Saturday night Kim, Sigmund, Andy, Rami, Greg, Ellie, Mandy, and I all hung out at Mandy's for a small Jeff Wilson birthday celebration. We crowded around the fire pit for warmth and made some toasts to Jeff.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Since it's Friday, and sometimes I don't get around to posting on the weekends, I want to go ahead and wish my mom, The Karebear, a very happy birthday! Her birthday is actually the 4th, on Sunday, but let's go ahead and wish her a happy birthday today. I also want to point out the fact that Jeff's birthday is also on Sunday, the 4th. Jeff was always a big proponent of birthday celebrations (he once threw me a birthday party even after I initially told him that I didn't want one), so I plan to drink a beer or two for him this weekend with friends. I'm sure he would have wanted it that way. I'm still missing him a hell of a lot.
That's it for now. Maybe more later.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
What else? Last night I watched The Departed. I had rented it last weekend, and it's been sitting on my coffee table until it became best picture for 2006. I liked the movie and I found it pretty interesting, but I'm not sure whether it was the best picture of the year (although as Roundball pointed out, I'm not sure which movie this year was better- although I think Babel probably came pretty close). Anyway, I don't think it was Scorsese's best film (Goodfellas, Casino, Raging Bull, and even Gangs of New York all give it a run for its money), so it's kind of odd that he got an Oscar for this one. The Departed was pretty good, but there was something about the pacing of the movie and its tone which just kind of prevents the audience from getting very emotionally invested in any of its characters. I kind of appreciate that fact, given the violent end that many of the characters reach (who wants to get emotionally tied to someone who's going to get shot in the head by the end of the movie?), but on the other hand, it kind of takes a lot of suspense and tension out of the film. Basically, I was interested in seeing who was left standing at the end of the movie, but primarily in a sort of academic sense- intellectually I was curious about how the movie would end, but I didn't really care who came out on top. I guess that Scorsese meant his film as a sort of commentary on the nature of "the rat" (and, in effect, on the nature of living in a modern American society which is filled with voyeurs and people who are eager to tattle on their neighbors- he has a couple of lines in there about the idea that we're living in a nation of rats and his mob bosses lament the fact that a life of crime isn't supposed to be reality T.V.), but I'm not sure that the strength of his message outweighs the need for character development.
All of that being said, I thought the performances were strong and the plot was pretty interesting (if not entirely believable). I liked the flick. I'm just not sure I liked it in a "best picture" sort of way.
Other from watching The Departed, I had dinner with Ryan and Jamie. Not a lot else to report.