Monday, April 30, 2007

Black Monday

Well, it's just after noon, and it's already become a bad Monday for the County Attorney's Office. The wife of one of our intake attorneys was killed today in a car accident this morning (I'm leaving his name out of this entry out of respect for his privacy). Their infant child escaped the accident with relatively minor injuries (or perhaps unharmed). I don't know this attorney particularly well since he's relatively new (we've never really had an involved conversation, and mostly just say hi in passing, really), but the whole thing just makes your heart hurt. We're a fairly small office over here, and this is definitely casting a pall over the office today.
Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

In far less important news, my weekend was pretty good. On Friday night I had dinner with Mandy and her mom and went to see Skyrocket with Mandy, Andy, Rami, and Donna Rene at Cedar Street. Skyrocket was pretty fun. I drank too much, and the next day I had a headache. Saturday we went to Eeyore's Birthday, and Saturday night dang ol' Andy F. stopped by for a beer or two and some rockin'. Sunday I mowed the grass and had band practice with The Mono E. Pretty good weekend, but it went by really quickly.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Eeyore's Birthday Party

Well, I wandered down to Eeyore's Birthday Party today with Ryan, Jamie and all three of the dogs. For those not from Austin, Eeyore's Birthday Party has been taking place in Austin once a year since 1963. The party was founded by UT students, and it's basically one of Austin's oldest hippie parties, an occasion when people are encouraged to let their freak flags fly in an effort put a smile on Eeyore's face for his birthday.
There was live music, a sack race tournament (and other games), food and drink, a giant drum circle, the traditional maypole, that donkey that's always there, and a million opportunities for hilarious people watching (I was too slow with my camera to get pictures of some of the best costumes, including Wonder Woman, the g-string silver bodypaint guy, and the old man mermaid hippie). Anyhoo, it's an event that reminds Austin where its roots are, and you can just tell that some of the people walking around at the party have been coming to this thing for decades (although many of the kids in attendance, especially the ones in costume, seem to be having the most fun). Anyway, I had a good time. I ran into Diva (who was looking great, as always), along with some friends from my office. I'm glad I went.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday. Last night I went out for happy hour after work as a send off for Tiffany Dowling, one of my fellow prosecutors at the County Attorney's Office. Tiffany is leaving to go work at UT Law School as a staff attorney for one of their Innocence Project-type programs (they represent people with actual claims of innocence who are serving long prison sentences, but who may have been wrongfully convicted. I guess they do appellate work and DNA exhoneration and stuff like that). Anyway, Tiffany is really fun and cool, and we'll all miss her a lot!
And there was an article in the paper today about a bomb that was found near a South Austin women's clinic which performs abortions. I used to live in an apartment complex which was directly next to that clinic (The Brook), and I remember seeing protestors over at that clinic on a pretty regular basis (it was near the entrance to the complex). The protestors used to get really fired up and seemed a little overzealous at times. I remember seeing them yell at women who were going in and out of the clinic, trying to convince them not to have an abortion (which always struck me as wierd b/c the clinic wasn't strictly for abortions, and I think sometimes they ended up yelling at women who were just showing up for a doctor's visit). Anyway, I'm glad no one got blown up, and I hope they catch/caught the fanatic who planted the bomb. I hope these anti-abortion nuts who plant bombs realize that they are engaged in terrorism every bit as criminally as the Muslims who fly planes into our buildings (the ideology is different, but terrorism refers to the tactics that are employed and the willingness to sacrifice civilians for political ends- it doesn't matter what the perpetrator's underlying ideology is).
Well, I don't really have outstanding plans for the weekend, but I'm looking forward to it, anyway. Hope the weather is ok. I think it's Roundball and McSteans's anniversary today, so congrats to them on that.
Oookay. Talk to ya'll later. Be good.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Howdy, gang. Well, last night I went out to dinner with Roundball and McSteans at an all-you-can eat Italian place called Cannoli Joe's. The whole experience was pretty hilarious, and I was going to write it up here on the blog, but Roundball already beat me to it and probably did a better job than I would have done. You can read his review here. (I'm starting to run into the same siutation with Ryan now that he's back in Austin that I had already been running into with Jeff on his blog before the accident- if we hang out together, our blogs end up overlapping and we end up writing about the same things. This is ok because you get varying viewpoints on the same turn of events (sometimes to humorous effect), but it also creates the temptation for a lazy person like myself to just hyperlink to Roundball's blog when I think he's adquately covered the event in question).
Anyway, I don't think the chefs at Vespaio are going to be sweating the competition from Cannoli Joe's (and as Jamie pointed out- who really needs an all you can eat Italian place? Is there really a recurring problem with people leaving Italian restaurants (which typically serve pretty rich, heavy food) and still feeling hungry?
After dinner we retreated to the Hop-a-Long to lounge and digest, and we watched a classic Star Trek episode called "Arena". Jamie was a less than enthusiastic audience member, even after the Gorn made their appearance, hissing and lumbering around in pursuit of Captain Kirk (I don't know, the Gorn scared me when I was a kid).
That's about it.
Hope all's well.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hey, guys. Here's a picture from the Hubble Space Telescope of stars being born in the Carina Nebula. The picture shows a view spanning 50 light years across and contains images of at least a dozen stars measuring 50 to 100 times the size of our sun. It just blows my mind that these things are real and actually out there, happening and existing somewhere in our universe.
Hey. Did you enjoy the viewership stats from yesterday? I thought they were kinda fun.
Last night after work I went to a candlelight vigil for Texas Crime Victims Week with Mandy, Sigmund, Kim, Rami, and Dan. It was a nice ceremony with some really amazing music from the Mt. Sinai church choir and a couple of APD officers who played bagpipes. After the ceremony I went and had dinner with Mandy and Rami at Hyde Park.
All day yesterday the local news people threatened us with dire predictions of vicious, torrential, hail-spewing, tornado-generating storms. I think we ended up maybe getting 1/4 inch of rain and a few cracks of thunder at around 1:30 a.m.. How do I get a gig as a weatherman? Anyway, the sun is shining today for the first time in a while, and the weather is pretty awesome. Stupid work.

Anyway, that's about it. Mandy's sister, Kellie Jo, is jetting into town from Seattle this evening for the weekend. Kellie is probably best described as a "free spirit", and it's always fun to have her around (it's always just kind of fascinating to see what she's gonna do next).

OK. Hope you guys are having a good day!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Adventurers

Well, I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about myself and how I feel about stuff, but a while back I started getting a little more curious about you Adventurers and what you were like. After all, I've been posting on this blog through good times and bad since the latter part of 2004, and although there are occasional eruptions of comments, there are just also many periods of relative silence- when no comments are forthcoming and the process of blogging feels like the composition of a strange diary in which I scribble down my thoughts, roll them up, put them into a bottle, and cast them into the limitless ocean which is the internet.
Anyway, about a month ago I quietly added a sitemeter to The Adventures in order to track the amount of traffic that I've been receiving and to see, to at least a limited degree, who's been reading the ol' blog (I can see the location which people have been logging on and even get their IP address, but I don't actually get the names of the people who are looking at the blog). I didn't do this in order to prove anything or to demonstrate any point (as I've said before, I mostly blog for the therapeutic effect of seeing some of my own thoughts written down, and to keep a rough record of what I've been up to on a daily basis)- I just wanted to satisfy my curiosity regarding how many people were reading and what the readership habits of The Adventurers were.
As it turns out, the results have been kind interesting. The sitemeter is capable of tracking visits, which means it will track the number of times a person comes to the site and looks at it for awhile (visits are different from page views- a person might come to the site for only one visit, but click back and forth to different links on my page or whatever, and thereby produce only one visit, but several page views during that visit).
Anyway, at the moment of this writing, having tracked visits for about a month, The Adventures is averaging about 66 visits per day, with the average visitor spending about 2 minutes and 34 seconds per visit. (not a ton of time, but then again, some days my entries only take a few seconds to read, so I guess it balances out).
I've also noticed that most of you Adventurers seem to prefer spending your work time rather than your free time visiting The Adventures, as visits on the weekend seem to drop off to somewhere in the mid-20s to 40s, while visits during the work week tend to rocket up to a range between the 60s and the 90s (the thought that you Adventurers are willing to waste valuable work time and diminish your own productivity each day by blowing some moments on The Adventures makes ol' Steanso so proud that it kind of brings a tear to my eye...).
I can track the locations of my readers as well, and while most of my readers are in Texas, I was kind of shocked at how many different locations popped up amongst you Adventurers. In addition to the Texas readers in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Forth Worth, and other places, there are also Adventurers in several places in California, Missouri, Arizona, Tennessee, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and every once in awhile in other countries (God help the foreigners who stumble across The Adventures in the blogosphere as they try to gain some insight into the American mindset). And there are other states and cities as well!! (the ones I've listed have just been some of the more recent ones)
Anyway, it's been a fun exercise, and it's been kind of reassuring to know that even when you guys are quiet, there are still some of you out there.... just waiting and lurking and probably chuckling at some of the ridiculousness (I hope that you're mostly enjoying the reading- although I seriously mean many of the things that I say on here, I never mean to cause anyone to get upset or to feel uncomfortable about the things that I say. Let's all agree to just not take this whole blog thing too seriously, shall we?)
Well, that's it for now. We're not a huge group, but we're not insubstantial. I'm so happy to have you guys as Adventurers!!! You rock. Maybe if I can keep this thing going for awhile, at some point I'll have a party and invite every Adventurer who was ever kind enough to take the time to read the blog. I may not have ever even met some of you, and still, somehow, I feel like we have a bit of community. Maybe I'm just deluded, but let me run with it, ok?
Oh yeah. The graph is a showing of readership since I added the sitemeter. Now you'll know that you're not just watching me- I'm kind of watching you, too. ; )
Peace, guys.
Virtually nothing to report today. Again.
Had dinner with Roundball and McSteans. Watched Notes on a Scandal and finished watching Smokin' Aces. Notes on a Scandal wasn't quite as good as I'd hoped, and Smokin' Aces was a little better than what I expected (Notes didn't have quite as much tension or plot as I'd hoped, and Smokin' Aces was a little better written than I'd expected- keeping in mind that my expectations were quite low going in).
Nothing else to report.
End of message.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The weekend was pretty good, but went by too fast. I had dinner with Mandy and Susan on Friday, and Reed stopped by for a bit. Saturday I saw Grindhouse with Ryan and Jamie. Ryan wrote a pretty interesting review of Grindhouse which you can read here if you are so inclined. I enjoyed it. It was fun to see a double feature filled with cheesey action/horror, and the fake previews were good. Sunday I had lunch with Andy, Rami, Mandy, Greg, and Greg's new ladyfriend. We ate Maudie's, and then we went by Andy and Rami's new place, which is extraordinarily nice. It has a nice front porch that looks really good for some Whiskeetos jams. Last night I had Mono Ensemble practice. We sounded ok, but both Eric and I were kind of suffering from allergies, so we cut it a little short.
Well, that's it, I guess. I'm glad Mandy's back in town. Aside from it just being nice to have her back, it takes the pressure off of me in the wiener dog care and maintenance department (taking care of wiener dogs is a unique experience- getting them to anything requires a lot of pleading, begging, and negotiation. Somehow Mandy makes it look easy.)
Anyway, I hope you guys had a good weekend. Talk at ya later.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Well, it's Friday again and just in time. Last night I had dinner with Roundball and McSteans (along with all 3 dogs) over at their house. Jamie made a better dinner for the Steans boys than we probably deserved- brisket and homemade bread and asparagus and salad. We watched part of Smallville (boy has that show gotten strange- it bears only a tangential relationship to the traditional Superman characters and plotline that I grew up with), and we watched a few episodes of Arrested Development (I got Jamie the DVDs for her birthday).

I don't have a whole lot to report on, I guess. I'm looking forward to the weekend, although I don't have a lot planned. The Austin Reggae Festival (formerly The Bob Marley Festival) is at auditorium shores this weekend, and I'm kind of interested in trying that out, but I'm not sure who I can get to go with me (Mandy loves reggae, but she's going out of town, and Roundball hates reggae because he says that all of those upbeats tire him out).
Anyway, I'm looking forward to the weekend, regardless of what I end up doing.
Hope you guys have a good one, too.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hey. Hope you guys are doing alright. Not much to report on. Last night Eric stopped by to drop off some CDs he burned of our latest Mono E gig from last Saturday at Mike's house. It's a pretty good recording, and a fairly good performance (although by no means flawless). Reed also stopped by to show us the work he's been doing in getting our CD ready to distribute. We're going to distribute through CD Baby, so our Mono Ensemble album ought to be available to buy in both CD and downloadable form pretty soon. I'll keep everyone updated and make an announcement once it becomes available (I know you'll be on pins and needles...).
Other from that, I watched The Good Shepherd. It was kind of a long movie, but it was pretty good. It was a spy movie that had both sex and violence, and yet somehow it remained a fairly subtle, understated film (although some might say that it was a little too understated). I also suspect that it was one of the more realistic movies that's been made about American spies (I believe that it was loosely based upon a number of real people and some of the early events that occurred before and during the creation of the CIA).
Well, that's about it. Dinner plans with Ryan and Jamie were scuttled last night when their dog, Lucy, once agin fell ill (this time with some kind of stomach ailment). Let's all hope that Lucy is doing ok today. She's a good dog!
That's it for now. Peace- out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

No time for blogging today because I'm just too darn busy. No real news, anyway. Ryan sounds happy with his new job. Last night I had dinner with Mandy and we watched some TV shows that she had caught on her DVR. 30 Rock and The Office. They were both funny.

OK, that's it for today. Sorry, but Steanso is a bit swamped.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hey, guys. I woke up this morning and flipped on my TV to catch the morning weather (gotta see if Cassidy should stay inside or outside), and was barraged by stories on every network about the shootings at Virginia Tech. The whole event is a terrible tradgedy, but as Sigmund pointed out at Crack practice last night, unfortunately there is a certain perverse logic in the tale of the loner/loser who feels that he is completely irrelevant and ignored by society, and who then goes on a killing spree out of a sheer desire to leave some kind of lasting, widely felt impact on society. There is no doubt that Cho Seung-hui, through his violence, has caused reverberations throughout the fabric of our society that simply did not exist 48 hours ago. It's a strange and depressing comment upon American society that people would rather be notorious as a mass murderer than live an anonymous life. But I guess it's not that surprising. After all, ours is a country where people line up to humiliate themselves on American Idol and a host of other reality television shows, often without any real monetary compensation. Fame has become an end in itself in American life, and people are not only willing to die but also to kill in order to leave what they percieve to be their stamp on the collective American consciousness. I know I'm oversimpifying and distorting some issues here (this kid obviously had some serious psychological problems), but the fact remains that people engage in these spree killings with the goal of gaining notoriety- and the American media is only too happy to help them fulfill that goal.

The Virginia Tech massacre raises questions about gun availability and American attitudes toward guns. Every day more than 80 Americans die from gun violence (Coalition to Stop Gun Violence). The rate of firearm deaths among kids under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In the year 2000, 10,801 Americans were killed in gun-related homicides (national vital statistics reports).
The number of people killed in this country every year through the use of guns absolutely dwarfs the number of people who were killed in the 9/11 attacks, and yet our response as a nation hasn't been to launch a "war on gun violence" or to pass legislation which might slow down the production and distibution of firearms. There's no war to stop gun deaths, no invasion of countries which might be complicit in gun production, no passage of any "Patriot Act" which curtails civil liberties in the hopes of ending gun violence.
On talk radio this morning I actually heard some crazy ol' redneck woman talking about how this tragedy could have been averted if the students at Virginia Tech had all been armed with handguns. And maybe it might have been. But this puts the real issue in the spotlight. If all of the kids at Virginia Tech had been armed, then this one, singular, spectaular disaster might have been avoided- but with a bunch of kids walking around campus with guns over the course of a year, there probably would have been more than 33 people killed by the summer break as people turned to their readily available guns to deflate the tensions in their lives- weapons would be drawn during drunken arguments, domestic beatings would turn into domestic shootings, cheating boyfriends would get shot by their rivals, and suicides would skyrocket as depressed students turned to the convenience of an available firearm to solve their problems. This is how it goes- some spectacular event occurs which might have been stopped with a firearm, and gun rights activists jump all over it to say, "I told you so." Meanwhile, they completely ignore the daily, isolated incidents which add up to over 10,000 firearm homicides in the U.S. every day.
We need far less guns- not more. As far as I'm concerned, there's no legitimate need for the private ownership of handguns at all. Home protection? Get a shotgun. At least the burglar who steals it from you can't hide it under his coat when he robs a 7-11. (Plus the fact that if your gun is properly hidden in a place and manner that would prevent children or other untrained people from having an accident with it, then it's probably not going to be accessible in the brief seconds that would be necessary for you to use it in order to defend your home, anyway. A well- lit house or a loud security system with a siren are far more practical for protecting one's home than a gun.)
Well, I'm done with my rant, I guess. Didn't mean to go on one in the first place, but I'm pretty sick of guns and all of the nastiness that goes with them.

Uh, in other news- dinner last night with Andy, Rami, and Mandy at some new place called Taco del Mar. It was pretty good. Andy and Rami are moved into their new house. After dinner we had Crack practice. It was pretty fun, but Reed still has his drums after the last gig we played, so I had to rock out on bass and keyboard. That was a drag, b/c I was looking forward to some drumming. Oh well.

Peace to you Adventurers.

Monday, April 16, 2007

So it's Monday....
Everyone up here at work has been sort of keeping an eye on the television today in light of the shootings which occurred on the Virginia Tech campus. The Times article linked here reports 22 dead, but on the TV, CNN is already reporting the number of fatalities as being something closer to 31. Bad, bad stuff. I can't imagine what that campus community must be going through.

Personally, not a lot to report that's new today. I watched Turistas last night for some reason, and it was pretty awful (though not truly awful enough to make it entertaining). Basically it's about a bunch of kids who go to Brazil on vacation and end up being hunted by a crazed surgeon who wants to extract their organs and sell them for cash on the black market. The movie was interesting only in the fact that it so eagerly and unabashedly saw fit to profit off of America's post-911 xenophobia, and because it played upon the perception that the rest of the world has turned against America and Americans (message: it's a scary world out there. You're better off staying at home, shopping, and watching TV and movies with people like yourself. It's a stupid movie, but one that kind of makes an inadvertant statement about the era that we live in). I generally like scary movies, but I'm getting tired of the simple blood and guts slasher format. Jeff used to say that the best scary movies were the ones with monsters or ghosts, and I think he was right.

What else....? I also finished up my taxes.

The Statesman ran an article today about the proposed bill that would create DWI sobriety checkpoints in Texas. While I understand some of the concerns that people have about the creation of such checkpoints (for example, they could lead to racial profiling and infringment upon civil liberties if not properly implemented), sobriety checkpoints have already been implemented successfully and without undue burdens being placed upon the public in a number of other states. I guess that ultimately I think they'll save a lot of lives and do a lot more good than harm. Here's a link to contact your representatives to ask them to support the bill.

Well, I gotta run, but I hope everyone is ok. Gotta feel awful for those kids in Virginia.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Death and Taxes

Well, here's Liz for those of you who never got to meet her. Her funeral was yesterday. She was a really great person, and I know a lot of us are gonna miss her. She was almost always smiling and upbeat, and she had one of those personalities that's so optimistic that it sometimes left her susceptible to teasing from some of her more cyncial friends (and as you can probably imagine, there are one or two cynics roaming around the criminal courthouse). She helped me move into my house (along with help from DK), grilled some excellent dinners that we enjoyed together (with less help from D.K.), had the bravery to join me with my family for Thanksgiving dinner, always greeted me with a grin and a hug at the courthouse, and she didn't even rub it in my face too much when we roadtripped to Houston to watch she and D.K.'s Rangers beat my Astros. Anyway, I don't want to go on and on too much, but I just wanted people to get a little bit more of an impression of her than you probably got from the updates I've been making since she got sick. Liz definitely enjoyed life, so I don't want everyone's only impression of her to be about her death. I'll miss you, Lizzie!!!
So anyway, I went to Liz's viewing Friday night, the funeral and graveside service yesterday, and a party in her honor at her friends Shannon and Rebecca's house in the late afternoon/early evening. Friday night I also attended a small Friday the 13th party at Eric and Stephanie's house which helped put me put my head back on straight. It's hard to stay depressed while watching a two year old dance around to impromptu acoustic guitar renditions of "Dead Flowers" and "Bertha" (maybe we should bring Meredith Shaw to all of our gigs). Last night after the funeral and party for Liz I went and played a party with The Mono E at Mike's house. I think we sounded alright, and we had a lot of fun, but I was also pretty tired, and when the neighbors called and shut us down a little after midnight, I got in my car and trucked it home.
Today I'm working on taxes. The two things you can be certain of in life, right? Death and taxes. Well, I'm working those in this weekend, but it's been ok. Along with the music and hanging out with friends, it's been a weekend of highs and lows, but it's been alright.
Hope you Adventurers are taking it easy.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hi. Don't think I have a lot of blogging in me today, guys. I think the fact that I'm having to go to a funeral this weekend is putting me in a pretty bad mood (to clarify, I don't mean that I want to skip the funeral- I'm just depressed and pissed off about the fact that there has to be a funeral in the first place). I think that the whole thing has been throwing me into some kind of existential funk (well, having a less than satisfactory week at work hasn't helped much, either).

See, this is why I don't blog much when I'm in a bad mood. Who wants to read a bunch of whining?

Hope your weekends are good.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Kinda sucks because I really, really like Kurt Vonnegut and enjoy his books. On the other hand, the guy was 84, lived a full life, was apparently fairly happily married, and had a literary career which marked him as one of the most prominent American authors of the 20th century. Given the fairly recent untimely passing of a couple of my relatively young friends, it's hard to see Vonnegut's death so much as a time for mourning as it is an occasion to take a step back and appreciate his life and his accomplishments. In addition to the "simple" successes of publishing critically-praised, bestselling books, Vonnegut introduced ideas into the American consciousness such as "foma" (which are essentially lies which have intrinsic value in that they make a person happy) and the "carass" (a family-like group of people who develop an affinity to each other, possibly through bonding experiences, but never understanding exactly how or why they've become so important to each other). Anyway, he had a way of discussing some fairly dark, fairly depressing topics, but typically in a funny or at least clever sort of way, and I think the guy definitely had some genius in his work.
What else? It's Roundball's birthday today, and I hope it's a good one. He just started a new job yesterday, and he's launching into his 33rd trip around the sun (well, he's only 32, but he's beginning his 33rd solar orbit- just think on it for a second). Jamie is up in Lawton while her mom undergoes some surgery, so the poor birthday boy is stuck with me.
Last night Mandy made a very good spaghetti dinner for myself, Andy, and Rami. The food was good and it was a nice, relaxing dinner. Muchos gracias, Mandy.
In other Andy F./Elf Rami-related news, those kids are moving into a new house this weekend. They're going to be living in South Austin, closer to the Hop-a-Long Lounge, so I'm excited for them and hope that it's a smooth transition (for God's sake, get your sh*t packed up, Andy). Also, Andy has apparently "borrowed" an accordian from his grandmother, so our music-making capabilities may soon be shifting into the acoustic realm with some forthcoming tunes from the Whiskeetos (I'll keep you posted).
I guess that's about it for the time being. I'm still trying to find a new parking spot.
Happy birthday, Roundball!!!

Happy Birthday, Roundball!!!!

Well, 'tis that time of year again when we celebrate the birth of my younger brother, Ryan "Roundball" Steans!

Happy Birthday, Roundball!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Well, this feels like it's been a long week, and it's only Wednesday. My sister-in-law, Jamie, has had to fly home to Oklahoma to be with her mom as her mother undergoes some surgery (which is nerve-wracking for Jamie and a big cause for concern for the rest of us). This means that Jamie won't be in town to help celebrate Ryan's birthday tomorrow, which is kind of a drag.

On a more positive note, today is Ryan's first day of work at his new job with Enspire. Roundball's new job, from what I understand, is to act as a producer for various e-learning projects. I guess that when companies need their employees to be able to learn stuff, they come to Enspire to help develop programs to achieve that end (I'm sure I'm oversimplifying, but that's my basic understanding). Anyway, Roundball seems relatively excited about it, so let's wish him some luck.

The fact that my car got towed out of our county parking garage yesterday momentarily granted me some sort of low-level celebrity status at the county as a number of people stopped by my office to offer their condolences and support ("I can't believe they towed you! I'm soooo sorry. They haven't towed anyone in, like, ten years! It cost how much to get your car out!?") I found it fascinating that the towing incident resulted offers of sympathy of a manner and means typically reserved for the death of a loved one. I mean it sucks a lot to get screwed out of $200, but I'm trying to keep things in perspective. Anyway, now I'm looking for private parking, but the lots around the courthouse seem to all be rented out, so the saga continues.

For those who have been wondering about DK, she seems to be hanging in there following Liz's passing this past weekend. I still haven't seen DK in person yet this week, but I've talked to her on the phone like 3 or 4 times, and all things considered, she sounds like she's coping as well as can be expected. There is going to be a viewing from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday at Harrell Funeral Home on Frontier Trail and the funeral will be Saturday, the 14th, at 2:00 p.m., also at Harrell Funeral Home.

Well, that's about it for now. I ate dinner at Rounder's Pizza last night with Ryan and Jamie. The pizza pie was pretty good, but it took a long time to get our food.

Hope you guys are having a little bit better week than me.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Howdy. Well, I'm feeling a little better today (or at least I was), but I had been at work for all of an hour this morning when I got a phone call that "they" were towing my car. The parking situation here at the county is pretty ridiculous, with parking spots only being actually assigned to employees after they've been here for something like 6 or 7 years (the ongoing joke is that your retirement is likely to vest before you ever receive a parking space). Anyway, there's always been a sort of informal arrangement in which employees can park in spots that other people aren't using, but lately the county has been assigning more and more of the spots in our garage, even if that means handing the spots out to people who are here only part time or for only part of the week. This leaves a situation where on any given day there might be up to 1/3 of the parking garage sitting empty, but if you park in one of those spaces, you are subject to reprimand for parking in an "assigned" spot. Well, no one had heard of anyone actually getting towed out of the parking garage for something like the last ten years. I continued to park in the parking garage, secure in the knowledge that if they ever started to tow cars that I probably wouldn't be the first one towed, and that I could adjust my parking habits accordingly. Guess what? I failed to factor in the fact that I typically have awful luck, and Steanso has now become the first employee towed out of our parking garage in something like 10 or 15 years. One hundred ninety five dollars, Adventurers. Yea!!! Plus, now I guess I'm going to have to give up on my parking crusade and spend $95 a month out of my county salary to start paying for parking at my own job. You can bet that the county ain't gonna help cover that expense, either (which will come out to over $1000 a year). Sure we can afford to keep giving raises to officials and we can keep continuing to create new positions within county organizations and funding new county programs, but we can't afford to provide parking so that the county's employees can come to work? Doesn't seem right somehow, but maybe I'm just a little frustrated.
Well, as I told Mandy, in the grand scheme of things, these are little problems, but, man, can they be annoying.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Hey! Well, it's Monday. The weekend was pretty slow, and the weather was cold and rainy. I hung out with Ryan and Jamie a fair amount (although I had allergies or a cold which slowed me down on Saturday, along with a sort of general blueness following the news of Liz passing on Friday night), and I had dinner with Mandy last night and caught up on old TV shows. I watched a quality film called Supercroc about a giant crocodile who eats soldiers and the occasional helicopter, and a fake documentary called Death of a President which was interesting, although ultimately kind of puzzling (what's the point of making a fake documentary?- it didn't really have any plot, character development, or any kind of real literary themes). I also watched some Homicide episodes, and finally got around to watching the season finale of Battlestar Galactica, which was pretty good (although the return of Starbuck wasn't really much of a cliffhanger for the season finale, since I think that most fans assumed she would be back, anyway).
Anyway, I don't know if it's allergies or a cold or what, but I'm still not feeling great today. Hope you guys are doing better.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Liz Pieper

Hey, guys. I'm sorry to be making a weekend post this time, because it brings sad news. The following is reprinted from Liz Pieper's CarePage, probably posted by D.K. or her close friend, Hilary:

"Elizabeth Rebecca Pieper passed away last night some time after 1:30a.m. I want to thank everyone who visited her as it meant so much to her. She loved all her friends and family. The funeral will be Saturday April 14."

Please keep D.K. and Liz's family in your thoughts and prayers. I know that everyone who knew Liz will miss her terribly.

To D.K. and Liz, I love you guys and I'll be thinking of you. I'll miss you, Lizzie.

Friday, April 06, 2007

And as we head into the Easter weekend, I just thought I would share this CNN editorial from Roland Martin called, "What Would Jesus Really Do?" I just thought it had some excellent points (some of this subject matter having been touched upon previously in various posts in The Adventures). Christianity, at its best, should be about tolerance, understanding, empathy, and compassion. It should bond people together- not drive wedges between them. Even for the nonreligious, those are ideas that we can all rally behind and celebrate over Easter.

And here's a picture of The Mono E (sans Frank) between songs at the gig last night. Thanks to everybody who came out!!
Hey! Well, the flower shop gig was a success, I think. The weather was beautiful and we had a really good time playing for the little crowd that showed up. Strangely, I think the song that got the most excited audience reaction came when Eric broke into an impromptu version of Ozzie Osbourne's "Crazy Train". Maybe we need to rethink our genre. Who would've guessed that our audience craves hard rock 80's tunes? This gig also had the distinction of being the first gig we've ever played where we had to take a break so that the kids in the audience could take part in an Easter egg hunt. Free flowers and an Easter egg hunt!! Those folks over at Ben White Florist really know how to show their customers a good time.

After the gig I went to Hills Cafe with Roundball and McSteans for a barbecue dinner. Then I went home, unloaded my equipment, and stayed up too late watching episodes of Homicide.

In the news, scientists are warning that the temperature of Lake Superior is rising, apparently as a direct result of global warming. Experts say that this could effect everything from lake levels to evaporation rates to the thickness of the ice in the winter. Of course, I would guess that the plant and animal life in the lake will probably effected as well. Anyway, my grandparents lived quite close to Lake Superior in Upper Michigan when I was growing up, and I have some really cool memories of doing stuff on the shores of that lake (everything from going to buy fish from the fisherman down at the docks to art festivals on the shore to visiting a small zoo which was located on a small island on the lake). The water is pretty darn cold in Lake Superior, but it's amazingly clear. Anyway, hearing that global warming may potentially mess with the ecosystems of the Great Lakes is just sort of depressing. They're just beautiful bodies of water, and fairly unique in the world. If you're one of these southern kids who's never seen them, you should make a trip to check them out. And I need to get back up there at some point myself.

Anyhoo, I hope everyone is having a Good Friday, and I hope you all have a good Easter weekend!! Take it easy on those chocolates and marshmallows!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Hello! Come out and celebrate springtime and the month of April with The Mono Ensemble today at Ben White Florist!!! We'll be rocking from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.. It's BYOB, but there are usually free flowers!!
Also, I had lunch today with D.K.. All of you Adventurers keep she and Liz in your thoughts and prayers. Liz is still hanging in there, but she's progressively getting weaker. It sounds like they're still keeping her pretty comfortable, and her dad has been staying at the house to help take care of her.
Mandy and I had dinner with Kate and Judy last night. Pulled pork tacos with chips, guacamole, and queso. Everything was muy bueno!! We also got to hear stories about Kate being nearly drowned as a child, so that kind of thing is always entertaining.
Well, that's about it for the moment.
Hope to see you at the flower shop this evening!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mono Ensemble at Ben White Florist

With my trial and all of the accompanying lawyering-related hubbub this week I almost neglected the duties of my real job (rock star extraordinaire, as if you didn't know). The Mono Ensemble will be performing tomorrow evening (Thursday) at Ben White Florist as part of the usual South Congress First Thursday celebration. Ben White Florist is located on South Congress across from St. Edward's University and next to NiaSpace. While there are typically free flowers at these events, it's BYOB, so bring your own beer if you want one. The weather sounds like it should be ok for us (did I just jinx it?). Anyway, I hope to see the bravest and best of you Adventurers there. Don't cost nothin'!!!
Well, my trial is over, and the defendant was convicted. He had been racing down I35 at over 100 mph at 2:30 a.m. after leaving the Crazy Lady (for those who don't know, the Crazy Lady is one of Austin's finer gentlemen's clubs). He also had two open containers in the car. The thing which made the case sort of tough was that the guy looked pretty darn good when performing the field sobriety tests (which are captured on video). I chalked up his coordination to the fact that he was a pretty athletic guy, though, and that he was probably a pretty experienced drinker. Anyway- guilty. Now I'm tired.
It sounds like in light of the abuse allegations and alleged coverup within the TYC system (i.e., the Texas Youth Commission- kiddie prison) that a bunch of kids are getting early released without having fulfilled their counselling and rehab commitments. To most people this probably seems like no big deal, but in truth, it kind of bothers me. It's not that I feel like we should be hard on kids, but the experience that I've had with the juvenile offender system is that most kids in the juvenile justice system are already given a lot of chances and opportunities to change their ways and turn their lives around long before they get sentenced to TYC. The prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, and probation officers all tend to see TYC as a last resort- a place to send kids when nothing else has worked (stuff like probation, counselling, bootcamp, leadership academy and whatnot) or for particularly nasty crimes. Kids in the juvenile system are definitely given a lot more chances and receive a lot more understanding than defendants within the adult system (or at least, that's what I saw in Travis County), so my general feeling is that the kids who actually end up in TYC have either been doing some really bad stuff or have already been given a number of chances, but have refused to correct their behavior.
Anyway, the idea that they're cutting a bunch of these little cherubs loose, especially without completing their rehab or counselling programs, is a little disconcerting. These kids need to be rehabilitated. If they're in TYC, they've got some behavioral issues that seriously need to be addressed.
Well, that's it for now. I'm tired. Clan Shaw is back from Oregon and Washington after a successful trip. Welcome back, guys.
And to all you other Advenurers- peace. Out.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hey, guys. My post will be short today because I'm swamped at work (fighting some uphill battles on a DWI trial). Anyway, I just don't have a lot of time to post anything, and I wouldn't have much to post about even if I did (I worked on files last night and ate Subway, and I really can't talk about trials as they're occurring). Anyway, Mandy and the Wilsons went to the capitol yesterday to support a DWI checkpoint bill. I know that there are people with some legitimate concerns regarding this bill, but on the whole I would say that I have to think that it's a good piece of legislation that has the potential to save people's lives. This country is still extremely hypocritical when it comes to drinking and driving (this state, in particular), and I think that the checkpoint law is one way of taking DWI more seriously as a public safety issue. Write your legislators (or email them, anyway) and support it.
Well, that's about it for now. I promise to be more interesting when I have more time.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hey. Well, the weekend was pretty uneventful, although fairly relaxing. Friday night I actually worked a little late and then went home and just watched a movie. It was called Curse of the Golden Flower, and it's about corruption within the royal family within China's Tang dynasty. It was kind of an interesting film- a lot of beautiful costumes and sets, and some interesting action sequences. Despite the fact that it was a decidedly Asian movie, it also had some almost Shakespearean themes in terms of loyalty, betrayal, and family, all set within the machinations of a royal court. On Friday night Ryan and Jamie also returned to town and stopped by the house to reclaim Lucy.
Saturday I got up and ran some errands and took Cassidy to the dog park. At the dog park I ran into my cousin, Susan, and her corgi named Pierre. Hung out with them awhile and then ran a few more errands. I spent part of Saturday afternoon wandering around music shops, just fiddling with the guitars and dreaming of ways to spend money. Ryan and Jamie stopped by for a little while Saturday afternoon. Saturday night I went out to eat at Hyde Park with Mandy, Andy, and Rami. After dinner Mandy wasn't feeling so great, so Andy, Rami, and I wandered over to my house (letting Mandy rest) for an impromptu practice of Rami's new band, Squeaktoy. Rami, as it turns out, played French horn in junior high, so we put her on trumpet for a few songs and rocked out. Other than that, we drank some sangria and just hung out for awhile.
Sunday I got up and went to breakfast at Threadgill's with Ryan and Jamie (which was muy bueno). Afterward I ran an errand with Mandy, and then hung out in the backyard with the dogs (all of the Steans dogs were at my house for dogfest Sunday). I tried to play guitar in the backyard, but ended up mostly just throwing a ball for them and listening to my iPod. Sunday evening we had an acoustic Mono E practice (sans Weedo, who was on vacation). It's kind of fun to hear Mono E songs recreated campfire style (although we did use the drum machine on one of our Casio keyboards for a few songs). Then last night I watched a movie called Children of Men. It was kind of an interesting flick about a future in which all of the planet's women have gone sterile and no new children are being born (which, of course, leaves the human race on the edge of extinction). The movie apparently had a whole lot of political and social commentary (which I discovered after watching an interview with the director in the bonus materials), and I also liked it because they blew a lot of stuff up and had some car chases.
Anyhoo, that was the weekend. Not sure why I just documented it in such detail, seeing as how nothing really happened.

That's about it for now. The Mono Ensemble is supposed to be playing a gig this Thursday once again at Ben White Florist on South Congress. Come one, come all!!!