Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Update

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

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

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

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

 

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



 

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

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Update

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

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

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


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

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

Peace.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Update

Hey!  Hi!  Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other from that, we had a good weekend.

Hope you guys are doing well.

Monday, July 07, 2014

4th of July Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Update

It's been a while since I had a chance to write a post.  Amy and I went on a trip to Arizona last week, and then this week I've just been extremely busy with work and stuff.

Our trip to Arizona didn't really go as planned, but it turned out pretty well in the end.
We had initially planned to go and stay in a cabin that Amy's family owns up in Munds Park near Flagstaff, but Amy wasn't feeling great, so we were with the entire family for only a couple of days before we ended up heading back "down the hill" to Amy's parents house in Peoria.  So it was a quieter trip than we had originally planned, but we ended up having some time to relax and visit with Amy's parents.  Life's been busy lately, so it was good to have some time to go for some walks, go to the pool a bit, and decompress.
I'd like to send our thanks out once again to Jean and Greg for being such gracious hosts.

On Thursday night after I got back I went to dinner with my parents and some family friends, the Blood family, and my cousin Susan and her daughter, Ciara.  It was Ciara's birthday, so it was good to see her and hang out a little bit.  We went to Rudy's and had some barbecue.

Last weekend we went to a party over at Ryan and Jamie's house.  It was a fun time.  We chatted with a few folks, ate some food, and had a couple of drinks.  I got to meet Ryan's boss, Debra, as well as some of his other coworkers, and catch up with a few other friends.  My parents were there, so we chatted with them.

On Sunday I got together with Reed, and we played some music, songs collected between the two of us under the nom de guerre for our two man configuration, Wastewood.  We had a good time, released a lot of energy, and made a lot of noise.

Other from that, I've been working.  I watched all of the U.S. games for World Cup.  It was a really fun ride.  I'm sorry that we got eliminated by Belgium, but I was just proud of us for getting that far, and, to be honest, Belgium was the better team in that game, so there was no shame in losing by one goal in overtime.  Our goalkeeper, Tim Howard, put in an amazing performance, but the onslaught was just too much.

That's about it.

Hope everyone's doing okay!  Have a happy 4th of July.

Thinking of you tonight, Jeff Wilson.