Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Lion + Tiger = Liger!

THAT'S pretty dang cool.

Why the Hell Aren't You Listening to...

The Wounded Astronaut by Anders Parker. Smart psych-folk-pop-singer songwriter stuff.

Blues for the Red Sun by Kyuss. You’ll like it as much as anything Black Sabbath ever put out.

Anything by Jason Falkner. Really. Anything isn’t the name of one of his CDs; I mean anything with his name on the spine will do.

Merle Haggard. One of the greatest C&W songwriters ever is still alive and kickin’ (somehow).

Particle. This is what Muzak should sound like. Funky, creative, driving, wordless and still inspiring while somehow sidestepping the jam band pitfalls. Mostly.

“Many Rivers to Cross” by Jimmy Cliff. This is the song that should be getting played to death instead of “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge. So gorgeous and heartfelt that you’ll consider having it played at your funeral before you snap out of your reverie and realize that it’s a tad overwrought and really doesn’t describe your life accurately anyway.

Solid State Warrior by Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. Over a decade later, one of the Jellyfish primaries finally puts out a CD, and it’s pretty freakin’ good.

Dock Boggs. If bluegrass has a Robert Johnson, it's Dock Boggs.

Anything by Galactic. “Kid Kenner” should have made these guys a household name.

Burnside on Burnside by RL Burnside. Electric blues in the purest sense of the word. More raucous than the Stones have been since… ever.

Size Matters by Helmet. You’ll find yourself wondering whether you like them having catchy choruses and harmony vocals. Then you’ll listen to it 100 more times while you try to decide and realize that you like it for the remaining elements of the Helmet sound anyway.

There Must Be a Better World Somewhere by BB King. Oh wait, I know… even though it won a Grammy, it’s out of print. And that’s why I’m not listening to it either. And you know, something is just awfully wrong with that.

Monday, May 30, 2005


At the barbecue restaurant this afternoon, THEGIRL broke wind loudly enough to rattle the flatware and followed it with a loud, "Aaaaah!"


Was a fine weekend overall I'd say. The rain this afternoon spoiled my overdue momentum on the tool shed. But at least from assembling the base it looks like I've done a reasonable job of getting it level.

I'm actually kind of shocked.


But having the wellhouse and patio gone helps a lot. They were real eyesores, that's for sure. They're still in Mr. Manisela's trailer out front. Not sure when he'll haul it off, but I'm not too concerned.


And the light is different now that the patio cover is gone. This blue-white glow filters into the kitchen through the trees, and it's quite nice.


Our fantasy team is 7-1 now, and the next best record is 5-3.


I like to hear "Let's Dance" by David Bowie just to hear Stevie Ray Vaughan whip out his uncanny Albert King impression in the middle of it all. I hope King is smiling somewhere.


Having some fun tinkering with house plans. Kelli stumbled upon one we both like for a lot reasons. We have a long way to go, and I wonder how many times we'll start over and change our minds.


I'm told the atmosphere at BACS is tense. The open positions are not being filled in a timely manner, and each week mgmt is saying that they've got to push things back another week. Stations are starting to complain, and I feel downright proud for having set it all in motion.


Yesterday was our 12th wedding anniversary. Kelli would love for me to write a bunch of mushy stuff here, and it's tempting for sure. But in the interest of not making my other reader gag... I'll try not to go overboard.

This is it. This is happiness. I don't flinch or stretch the truth or hesitate a bit when I say I'm happy. I kind of feel like we're living marriage the way it's meant to be.


Have a good week, and may the days fly by for you.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Freak Out, Man...

I'm obsessed with light bulbs, believe it or not. I love those compact fluorescents. My house isn't exactly at the cutting edge of light placement technology, but I have the occasional daydream about lighting schemes.


This morning at about 2am I was primarily obsessed with one that was no longer providing light.

Beneath the sorry, rotting patio cover that I've been writing about lately was this light bulb with a dusk sensor. I installed it the year we moved into this house, 1997. Every evening when the sun went down it would flicker on and provide decent illumination back there.

One light bulb lasted all this time. It's a 150 watt industrial incandescent, and as the years ticked on I became pretty amazed that it never burned out.

But it had to come down with the patio cover. It's back there now in a chair. Maybe it'll work again, maybe it got jostled too much. Who knows?


But at 2am the back yard and house were much darker than I'd ever seen them.

I'm prone to something I can only call "night terrors" anyway. I'm probably misusing that term, as I believe it's a condition some children experience that's akin to bad sleepwalking episodes. I don't know what else to call it though.

I lie in bed and I freak out. I get scared that some random noise I've heard is SOMETHING. I guess Kelli's used to me getting up and checking the doors and windows so often. That's usually enough to calm me down.

But last night the darkness was overwhelming, and I began to think about the guys I'd hired to tear down the patio. I knew almost nothing about them, and they'd had unlimited access to my exterior property all day. What better way to "case the joint," right? No, the man did not give me a creepy vibe at all. My mind just gets carried away when I'm in night terror mode.

So I heard something that I convinced myself was the sound of tapping on glass. I got up and started looking around. I found nothing, of course, except inky blackness in the kitchen and dining room where we used to get a steady, reassuring glow.

Outside the study door is a nice light fixture we've rarely used. It's not on a dusk sensor, but I turned it on and found that it cast good light in about the same areas as before.

Good enough, right?


I fell asleep, finally.

When I woke up I was straddling a dining room chair, head on the windowsill facing the back yard. I was staring into inky blackness, and I thought, HEY--what happened to that light I turned on?

Then I really woke up, having just had a cruel, poorly-timed dream. I got to start the whole cycle of terror over again.


As I finally got to sleep, Kelli (who has a cold now) was snoring, so I put in the ear plugs.

When I woke up this morning she talked about what an awful night it had been. I thought maybe she knew what I'd been doing until the wee hours, but no, right after I put in the plugs the baby started crying and kept Kelli up for over an hour. I missed the whole thing as Kelli rocked Laura back to sleep.


I will find some place to use the 150 watt bulb if it still works. I've got plans to put new dusk and motion-sensing lights in the back yard, but I have to be careful or it'll light up like Las Vegas every night. I doubt the neighbors would appreciate that.


We met the builder in Corsicana today. Nebulous time line aside (which is certainly not the builder's fault), I was pretty encouraged by what he said. We had all of these ideas for materials and features that I really didn't know if we could incorporate (for reasons of finance or local engineering limitations). Turns out the builder lives in a concrete home like we're interested in. He said if he had his druthers he'd build them exclusively. They insulate well, they can be built on our budget, they hold up to the local soil conditions well... all good news.

And he can build a "safe room" like I want. Every year the spring storms scare me, so I want a reinforced inner room. I'll have a concrete and rebar room within a concrete house... I'll be ready for a nuclear holocaust! Well, as long as I have my Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs.


Ya'll have a good weekend.

Friday, May 27, 2005

"That's all you ever think about!"

A Taste of Tonga

I couldn’t take it. I went home to see how Mr. Manisela and his crew did on the patio.

There is a bit of a language barrier. His English is okay, but when I tell him “a gas line runs through here” and “notice the electrical line—I hope that’s not a problem” I can’t be sure he gets it. And considering the abandon with which they were smashing the patio this morning, I worried that they’d mangle the house where it was connected.

But I got home and was pretty pleased with what I saw. Patio is gone, the house isn’t mangled, the gas and electric lines are intact, and suddenly that area seems much more inviting. With a rotting, seven-foot cover over it the patio just never seemed like a good place to hang out.

So I’ll replace some rotted trim, do some touch-up painting and be good to go. There’s actually not as much rotted trim as I anticipated.


Had Chik-Fil-A (how in the HELL is that spelled??) for lunch. I requested honey mustard with my sandwich, and they also threw in (ready?) a packet of POLYNESIAN sauce. I’m sure it was an omen, but for what I do not know.


Polynesian sauce from that place (I’m done trying to spell it) tastes like… barbecue sauce and duck sauce with a little citrus zip thrown in. Not bad I guess. Mr. Manisela was no longer around, so I couldn’t give him a taste of home, unfortunately. I’m sure THAT PLACE is huge in Tonga.


Looked up Tonga on the world map, btw, right after Kevin showed me God’s home, Brazil. To find Tonga, go to Hawaii and turn south. Far as I can tell Tongans are physiologically the same as Samoans, but Samoa looks like it’s pretty far north of Tonga. Hard to imagine that at some point in the way-distant past people went from one set of islands to the other, traversing the ocean in whatever sort of sailing vessels they had.

I’ve had a splinter in my finger for a couple weeks, and it sucks. But you know… I’ve never had to set out across the ocean in a boat made of reeds or coconuts or the skulls of my enemies.

My life is pretty sweet in comparison I suppose.


Have a good weekend.

The Ramones Reunite?

I dreamed I was at a Ramones reunion concert. Filling in for the dead Ramones were Brave Combo's Carl Finch and ex-BC drummer Mitch Marine. I think Finch played a Farfisa organ, and it wasn't a bad combination with the Ramones' three-chord romps.


I also dreamed some famous actress was hugging me, and I got her name wrong. I think it was Glenn Close, and I made her angry by calling her "Ms. Streep."

Squirrels Can Kill You

Woke up to the sounds of Mr. Manisela and two young men (his sons?) destroying my back patio this morning.

They got an early start, knocking down that rotting, poorly-built contraption. They’ll also haul off the busted-up wellhouse when they take the patio. And for a reasonable rate.


It’s Friday in a traffic department before a holiday. Busy day, typically, except for the fact that after nearly a month here they’ve given me very little work of any consequence to do. So… I’ll do my separation, work a little future maybe, and watch the hours tick by. When we come back next week I’m going to tell the boss that really, it’s time for me to do more.


Ah, iced coffee and a scone. I’ve got enough caffeine in me right now to fuel every account exec in broadcasting.


This weekend we meet a builder in Corsicana to discuss building our home. Our timeline just became much less firm, however, since the man who is supposed to haul off the junked-out house on the land is dragging his feet.


Next week I begin my online psychology of personality class at Wesleyan. It looks intense! Holy smoke.


Random quotes from THEBOY from the last 24 hours:

"Where does God live?"

Me: "Uh... everywhere, but you can't see Him."

(He points at a map) "He lives HERE," he says, pointing at Brazil.

"Squirrels can kill you."

(Watching the Tongan guy smashing the patio). "Wow... he's as strong as you, Dad. He's strong like the Hulk or the Thing."

THEBOY also told me last night he wants to celebrate Kwanzaa and Hannukah. Hmm...


Friday… we made it.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

No Pants Friday

Georgina has a city, but I’ve got a county! It’s up in the Texas panhandle, just south of Amarillo. The whole county had fewer than 1,800 residents as of last year. Ouch. Pretty rough terrain. Average of 10.5 inches of rain annually.

But I like my county! Rocks, sand, snakes, cacti and… more rocks and sand and cacti.

Maybe Roachy would like to live there.


I was holding an angry THEGIRL yesterday when she thrashed, kicked me in the balls and sent me straight to the grass. Was all I could do to keep from dropping her.

My best fatherhood advice: Wear a cup.


Kansas City’s Zack Greinke, one of the most highly-touted pitching prospects in baseball, is 0-6 this season. He’s getting poor run support. Is that wise? Rush a prospect through the minors and bring him to a club with sparse bat power and… what’s the toll on this kid’s psyche? He’s got a good ERA (3.83), so you know his performances are fine.


I’ve said it before: A key component in getting away with something is just going about it like you belong there.


I just found the world’s biggest cashew in my bag of trail mix. Huge! I’d call Guinness, but I ate it.


I think I'll stroll into Briscoe County and proclaim tomorrow NO PANTS FRIDAY.


I used to work with this guy, an older guy. He was nice enough, but his faculties weren't as sharp as perhaps they once were, and he could really put on airs sometimes.

He came to my desk once and stood there with his zipper about a foot from my ear, which I can't stand. Told me some exhalted muckety muck was coming to the station the next day, and that I needed to meet him, blah blah blah.

And I said, "Okay Brandon. I'll try to remember to wear pants."

And he said, "Okay, blah blah blah..." and on and on and completely missed what I said.


Long weekend... mmm... almost there.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Swinging for the Fences

I should post something a bit less enigmatic.

Bear with me. I’m only human, and I can get overly excited or giddy about some passing thing like most folks I suppose. I’m not that prone to momentary absolutism, but I’m not immune either.

Kelli discovered yesterday that Baylor University, which is a reasonable drive from Corsicana, has a well-respected, intensive graduate program in clinical psychology.

This is a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) four-year program.

The kicker is that if you’re accepted, it’s basically a free ride. The school will kick in the money to cover your tuition, and in fact, by the fourth year they don’t even bother to charge you tuition.

But it’s not like just any slouch can walk in there.

So this raises the question of whether I’d have a snowball’s chance in hell of being accepted.

I’ve got a few things in my favor and a few things working against me. I don’t have a psych undergrad degree, but I’ve earned enough psych hours since then to qualify. I could get letters of recommendation (again), of course. I’d have to take the GRE or GMAT. What worries me the most is filling out the “clinical experience” application. Hmm… turns out mine would be blank at this point…

A three to four-page autobiography is required, and I think I could write a compelling one. Given a chance to speak for myself I could make a good case, but there’s no interview (like there is at Wesleyan) mentioned.

I couldn’t do anything until ’06 anyway. Maybe a year in the Wesleyan grad program would make a sufficient impression upon them.


So… you ask me, and I ask myself: Is this for real?

I don’t know. The program looks tough, yeah. Really tough. I’m 36, juggling family and a job, in the early stages of having a house built… is it just too much?

Part of me loves the idea of just swinging for the fences on this though. What would I be out? $100 for the GRE, time to study for it, time filling out the application and bugging my letter writers again…

Am I smart enough to do this?

I think that much education kinda makes a person a little bit crazy, if that makes any sense. Ever known a doctor who’s just a normal guy/gal?

But I’m already not a normal guy. Could I live and breathe this stuff for four or more years? Could I possibly make the logistics work with a family?


Maybe this is just a flight of fancy. Maybe I’ll come crashing down and talk myself out of it.

But at the moment I don’t see how I can just not TRY.


THEBOY has a new pet, a gecko he and his mother (go Kelli!) caught, which has for some reason been named Roachy.

He’s in a Tupperware container with rocks, lots of rocks. This was THEBOY'S mandate. Supposedly they like to eat crickets and grubs, and they don’t eat often. Where can a guy get crickets and grubs anyway? It’s harder than you think. Yeah, the pet store sells them… is there any way buying a container of bugs is cost-efficient for a critter that eats once a week?

We put some pill bugs in there to see if by some chance he’d eat them. One crawled at him and… he ran away. Pill bugs 1, Roachy 0.


I’ve still got the crud. Early and late in the day I feel kinda crappy, but the rest of the time I’m okay. It’s a lingering illness, but it’s just not bad enough to send me to the doc.


So onward I go, pondering my own commencement in this life. Do I just have stars in my eyes? Is there any chance I’m cut out for a doctorate? Are both my readers snickering at the very prospect?

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Can't Not

There are some ideas that, once you have them, you can’t NOT pursue them, right?

And in those earliest moments when the idea takes hold and you begin to imagine the magnitude of what you’re considering, you can only chuckle…

And still you know what you have to do.

Could be a wild ride.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Random Questions

Just because I'm bored...

You hit the restroom to do your biz, and the toilet seat is still warm. Your reaction:

Ew! Someone else’s butt warmth!
Hey—toilet seat’s not cold! Huzzah!

You’ve been on this earth a while; do you think you understand sex?

Ever done anything that could have put you in jail?

So many bands out there trying to make it… is musical talent really so common?

Is there a purpose to our existence?

Do you have self-destructive tendencies?

Are you handy?

Is there someone you wish you could make peace with?

A key to human insight
A bunch of hoo-ha
A little from column A, a little from column B…

Are you realistic?

What phobia(s) do you have?

Did you own something as a child that you wish you had now? If so, what?

Do you still get high?

Prune Thief

Somebody stole my prunes.

Yes, I returned to work this Monday morning to find part of an empty wrapper on my desk. That’s what convinced me, actually. I’d seen some of my trail mix strewn across the desk and found it odd that I’d been that sloppy.

I hadn’t.

The empty prune wrapper—thrown in the recycle tub, which I wouldn’t have done—told me a hungry thief had been in my cube.

And he left my trail mix open.

Gross. Some stranger’s hand has been digging around in my food. I threw the rest in the trash.

My coworkers tell me they've had a problem with theft around here.


The secondary question, of course, is why in the hell I have prunes… eh, they were on sale and I wanted to try them. They’re not bad, actually.


My fantasy baseball team is 6-1, in sole possession of first place for the first time this season. It feels really strange to have a winning team for a change…


Addiction… It’s a bit long-winded, but there’s some potent stuff in here.


If you don’t drink, it can lead to all sorts of awkwardness.

I really like my new coworkers (thank GOD). I hadn’t been here long when I got invited to a party one of them was throwing.

I had to decline, simply because I’m not often in the mood anymore to be in a room full of drinking people. I was as nice and as tactful as I could be, but I was honest.

Everyone today is talking about what a grand time they had. I think I made the right decision though.

But still, suddenly by having the wherewithal to stick to my guns, I’ve separated myself from them. Did anyone there ask why I didn’t come? What was said? How was it received?

Yeah, I care.


I think I’ll leave a note for a snack thief: “Dear snack thief. Hope you enjoyed the prunes. Your bowels will thank you. Oh, there was a roach in that bag of trail mix. Can’t find it now though. You screwed up my lawsuit against Sam’s Choice. Go to hell.”

Sunday, May 22, 2005

JUNIOR Junior College

Lots going on, so much of the time...

I scurried off to the TX Wesleyan campus today for orientation, advisement and registration.

They didn't notice that they had a grad student in their midst, though, and didn't have a grad advisor for me. So... I had to improvise a bit on my summer schedule.

Looks like I'll take one online class at TxWes this summer and one at Dallas County Community College (aka JUNIOR junior college). I paid for the TxWes class today... ugh. Sticker shock galore.

And I forgot to buy a lottery ticket tonight.


Still not feeling well, but I'm sleeping a bit better. And thank God the kids let me take a big nap this afternoon. THEGIRL crashed hard herself, and THEBOY apparently entertained himself in his room rather quietly. Fine with me.


Despite the fact that I feel like I've got asthma right now, I'm slowly getting some things done.

The fluorescent light in the garage died. Two bulbs burned out, and someone here left it on, thus burning out a ballast. I dug into it tonight to take the bum part out, and it was just more than I wanted to get into. Hmm... $20-$25 for a new ballast or...

$30 for a new fixture, a round industrial-looking job that I'll put two compact fluorescent bulbs in. Those regular fluorescents in the old fixture burned out too much anyway. I should have about the equivalent lumens of about 200W out there, but I can't really imagine it'll light up the garage like the old one did. Still... we're not going to stay here forever, and heck, I use a shop light on any project I do in the garage anyway.

Plus, this new rig won't go through bulbs as fast, and there'll be no ballasts to get fried.


Got a new faucet mostly installed in the front bathroom too. But I've got the wrong supply hoses, and I hit the stores for replacements too late this evening.


The Rangers whomped the Astros 18-3 this afternoon. I feel bad for the Astros, I really do.

And THEBOY and I watched the exciting end of a UT/A&M baseball game this evening. UT won 2-1, though it came down to the final play. I got to introduce THEBOY to the concept of the orange team being the good guys and the maroon team being the bad guys.

Kelli seemed to have a different opinion though...


We're starting to throw ideas around for building a house in Corsicana. Some of them are pretty lofty and some of them are quite practical. It's an interesting little balance we've got to strike here. This house will share land with an historical home in Corsicana, so we can't have just any piece of junk erected there. I'm sure there will be design considerations.

We also intend to stay in this place a very long time. Perhaps forever. It's going to be quite a challenge to come up with a design we think will fit that bill.

And we have to do it on a modest budget.

It's exciting nevertheless.


Off to flip channels a bit before bedtime. Hope you all sleep well, have a good Sunday, all that.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Taken from an email discussion I had with Mike Llorca:

Five challenging CDs:

1. Iron Path by Last Exit-- Built on the drumming of Ft. Worth's own Ronald Shannon Jackson, these guys sounded like they improvised everything from top to bottom. And somehow it took on this frightening sound. Scariest music I ever heard, and it was all instrumental.

2. Almost anything by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Try sitting through a 20 minute song built on vocal quartertones and tabla drums... yet if you're open-minded enough, you can sense the delirium in this Pakistani holy music.

3. Ditto for Junior Kimbrough, even though he was a Mississippi blues man. Atonal here and there, repetitive, droning... but hypnotic somehow, and built on something we've all got in our very marrow.

4. Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed. I've heard differing stories about the impetus behind this double CD of overdubbed feedback. But patterns do emerge from the chaos if you sit through it. And your ears will ring all day.

5. Lady in Satin by Billie Holiday. Wrecked by addiction and disease, this was her final stab at making an old-school "big" album with strings. Her voice was shot. But somehow listening to her try is captivating, sort of like watching a train wreck (not that the CD is THAT bad). She was dead weeks later. (I rarely have the nerve to listen to the CD, now that I think about it... it's just too emotional)

Coconut Soda

Between this heinous chest cold, the medicine and my recent consumption of the largest drink Starbucks makes… I feel a bit strange. But functional.

Wish I knew what’s going on in my chest that makes it hurt when I lie on my side. But I slept a little better last night, even if I was limited to one position.


I’ve made a heinous error regarding Texas Wesleyan: I thought I was going to get some scholarship money from this program they talked about. Turns out it’s only for undergrads though. THAT was an unpleasant surprise.

But I’m not too late to apply for federal financial aid for the fall, so all is not lost.

I broke down and looked into scholarships for Indians. I’m off the hook, as they seem to all want ¼ Indian blood, and I’m about 1/8. My particular blend of bloodlines doesn’t seem to add up to free college money at this point.


New job isn’t bad, I’ve gotta be honest. It’s so much more relaxed than BACS was. There’s a level of chatter and rapport here that would raise eyebrows over there.

BACS has just issued a “no streaming media at work” mandate, suggesting employees bring CDs instead if they want tunes.

Gotta be careful there… in ’03 I was chastised in a surprise “interim review” for bringing in CDs. I’m not kidding. And I hardly brought in any at the time since I had Launch.

I've gotta say that chastising me for a bunch of imaginary offenses during that review was probably the most puzzling thing that's happened in my career. I still wish I knew what was really going on.


Couple days ago I saw some guys across the street who’d been hired to trim and haul off some trees. Since I still have part of a tree I cut down some time ago in the back yard, I thought I’d approach them to see if they’d haul off my stuff.

I was trying to prepare myself in case they didn’t speak English. Hmm… “Por favor, puedo pagarte para traer mis pedazos de mis arboles...?”

As I approached, one guy stood up. “Hey, JOE,” he said. We started to talk, and his English was okay.

But… that wasn’t a Mexican accent at all, and his features were all wrong.

“Where are you from, my friend?” I asked.

Tonga.” he said.


There’s a big community of Tongans in the mid-cities. Lots work for the airlines, as does Mr. Manisela, the man I hired to haul off my limbs.

They have their own market, and I went in once. BACS was having a potluck lunch with a Hawaiian theme. The Polynesian Market was the most likely place to find something authentic to bring.

A guy in his late teens helped me as I asked what I could bring for our conference room luncheon.

“Well, you could dig a pit and roast a pig…”

Um, no thank you.

Then he showed me this fruit I’d never seen. “You chop it up, strain out the pulp and drink the juice and it’ll give you a REAL GOOD BUZZ, man.”

“Oh, like coffee?” I asked.

“No, stronger… and if the cops stop you it’s not even illegal!”

“Um… I think I’ll just take the coconut soda…”


When I was working high school football playoffs last fall, a lot of those mid-cities teams had strappin’ Tongan kids on the line. Plenty reached the 300 pound mark. Some of the names were tough to fit on the jerseys though.


It’s Friday… how bad could it be?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Hooter Me, Hooter You

When I first moved to Austin, I was stunned to learn that there was a restaurant chain called Hooters (rube that I was). I couldn’t believe they could actually have an eatery clearly named after breasts, you know?

So I joined some friends there one evening in November of ’90. Burgers, fries, the usual forgettable chain fare. But the waitress, in her short orange shorts, hose and tight top, was hanging all over me. Hanging all over all of us, in fact.

It occurred to me that this was the same principle behind a strip joint: You get a passing thrill, a brief sensation of touch with some piece of eye candy, and you’re supposed to pony up big tips.

It rubbed me the wrong way (literally and figuratively). What I saw was some cheerleader plying her false affections for tip money. A woman who pretends to like someone for cash… well, I’d say there’s a label or two that’d be appropriate for her.

I know, I’m weird, but I swore I’d never go back. It was an insult somehow, and just part of straight male culture that I didn’t care for.


September 11 of 2001 I was on the way to work. I knew what had happened, though I was asleep at the time and only saw the replays after I got up.

On the way in I got a page from the office. I stopped at the closest pay phone I could find (I did not have a cellphone yet) to call the office.

It was in a Hooters, turns out. First time I'd been there in about 11 years. I didn't stay long.


The office said to go home.


Hood was working a radio remote at the Hooters in Grapevine last night, and he asked if I’d stop by.

Not much of the old resentment was there, so I agreed.

Some observations:

I saw three patrons with a lot of missing teeth before I was even seated. Jeez, is it THAT trashy?

Me at the BAR, ordering a diet Coke is a rather awkward feeling.

The radio crew consisted of Hood, Red the promotions guy, and Cat the DJ.

Red drank beer straight out of the pitcher and tossed me radio station freebies (I now have a shirt proclaiming that I am a “Bonehead.”). When we were live, HE was the lone person in the background screaming and whooping. Makes me wonder how often that’s the case when I hear some remote. The Hooters patrons were there to watch the Dallas Mavericks game, and in fact, when the game was on the music was turned off. Yes, this was a radio remote broadcast during which hardly any music was played.

The DJ was Cat, who was nice enough, but a strapping biker woman who… well, let’s just say she probably doesn’t have a Mary Kaye rep. Good radio voice, but man, did NOT at all look like she sounded. She’d sound excited, like we in the middle of some great hoopla while Red screeched and whooped.

It was not much ado about not much.

I stayed for an hour or more and took off. Listening to the broadcast on the way home, yeah, it DID sound like something exciting was happening there.


I worked a remote like that many years ago. An Austin “worldbeat” DJ was broadcasting from a studio at a TV station where I worked. No one was there, and the atmosphere was dead. He’d talk to me in a regular Joe voice, telling me I didn’t have the house sound loud enough. I told him that when we had some bodies in there I’d turn it up.

When we were live, though, he’d take the microphone and suddenly sound Jamaican: “We’re hahvin’ a dahnce pah-tay!!”

It was embarrassing, and it got worse when a roomful of barefoot white people came in and started actually shaking their Caucasian groove things to the DJ’s tired blend of generic worldbeat stuff.


I guess I take things too seriously sometimes, and that I should relax on stuff like Hooters’ treatment of customers. But you know, I did last night, and even after letting that go a bit… blech, you know? It’s just not who I AM. It’s about drinking beer and ogling these flirtatious little Barbies. I’m as heterosexual as they get, but man, this strange little T&A show just isn’t for me.


Slept four and a half, maybe five hours. I’ve got a cold or something, fluid in my lungs. I had these bad snoring fits overnight that kept waking Kelli and me up. I tried to move to a different position, but lying on my right side made something on the right side of my chest hurt. It’s been hurting ever since. Not bad, but it’s exacerbated by leaning, bending over, and the occasional deep breath.

Comtrex Deep Chest Cold is helping. I’m functional, not coughing much… but I don’t understand what hurts and why. If it’s not better tomorrow, Kelli tells me I’m going to the doctor.


Best of luck to Whit this week…

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


I was tagged by Orange Paisley.

Total number of movies I own on DVD/Video:

DVD: 52

VHS: 28

(I went home over lunch and counted. Seems I had my numbers backwards)

Last film I bought:

Er… uh… Does Faith Rewarded, the documentary about the ’04 Red Sox championship count? Then it was probably Spider-Man 2.

Last film I watched:

In a theater: The Incredibles
At home: That Ramones documentary

Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:

In no particular order:
1. Cannery Row. Freakin’ KRULL is available on DVD but this isn’t…
2. Darby O’Gill and the Little People. Can’t even explain why I love this film like I do.
3. The Kids Are Alright
4. Casablanca. Too easy? Sorry… great stuff.
5. Field of Dreams. I’m a sucker for a sappy baseball story, and this one is the KING.

Tag five people and have them put this in their journal:
Geoff, Danny, Bruiser.

I don’t know anyone else with a blog… I need to get out more I guess.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I Know, I Don't Know

I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But there seems to be something really wrong about our society’s current beauty ideal.

I don’t know why Chris’s mother disliked me from the start. Luckily I never liked her son much, so I guess that made us even.

I know why Lisa’s father disliked me, and I don’t blame him a bit.

I don’t know why anybody loves Raymond.

I know I crossed the line when I blew in that woman’s ear that time. But she did it to me first, so I didn’t really care when seeing me reciprocate pissed off her girlfriend.

I don’t know why anyone thinks I care about celebrity marriages.

I know that I’m as happily married as can be, and that I love my wife more with each passing year.

I don’t know the name of a single movie currently in theaters, and I don’t care.

I know that it’s bad of me to be prejudiced against a group of people, and I’m sorry, but mechanics just piss me off.

I don’t know if there’s anyone else on the planet like Whit McClendon.

I know that BB King influenced my life more than any college professor.

I don’t know if Dad realizes it, but I appreciate everything he did.

I know Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and a dictator, behind awful atrocities against his people and his enemies, but when you go to war it’s supposed to be for the reason you state.

I don’t know how so many of my junior high teachers turned a blind eye to the things that went on.

I know that I’m not the only person who experienced that either.

I don’t know what I envy most: Bruiser’s disposition, Toland’s talent, McAuley’s confidence, Llorca’s humor, Geoff’s smarts, Whit’s skills, or Danny’s accomplishments.

I know that I’m fairly happy with who I am though, except for the bad back, bad ears, dry skin, expanding gut, flat butt, snoring, crooked finger, sore hip, sore shoulder, whiny voice and crooked face. Other than that I’m perfect.

Monday, May 16, 2005

At Least I'm Not Queen Ooby Dooby

I'm really not even sure what to make of this. But at least I'm not an Ewok or some crap.

You scored as Obi Wan Kenobi.

Obi Wan Kenobi




Anakin Skywalker


General Grievous






Darth Vader




Mace Windu


Padme Amidala


Clone Trooper


Emperor Palpatine


Which Revenge of the Sith Character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Rat Fu

One night last week, as I sat in the recliner, THEGIRL walked up to me. I bent down, and she reached up, put a thumb in my nostril and used her other fingers to squeeze my nose. It was like having an angry crab attached to my nose.

I named that little move THEGIRL'S Nostril Claw of Death.


I finally, FINALLY got the back faucet working. That is, after months of tinkering with the old one, trying to put in new valves that fit in the antiquated faucet, I replaced it altogether.

The new one looks pretty nice too. We have a matching one to put in the front.


I dreamed I was chasing a rat. I kicked him, thus ending his sorry existence, and then proclaimed for all around that I’d used “rat fu” to do it.


The fantasy baseball team Chris Martich and I co-manage is tied for first place with a 5-1 record.

Danny Henley’s Kamino Saber Darts, last year’s champs, are 2-4. And still he sends out weekly emails for the purpose of chest-thumping.

Henley, I’m writing you out of my will… ha!


It’s Monday. Just keep moving.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Really Nice Stalkers

Thank you all for your kind words regarding my acceptance to grad school at TX Wesleyan. I have a lot of work yet to do, but this is an important step, of course.


The Zavalas had their baby! Elias Roel was born May 6. Wanna see the pictures? http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/bolander2/album?.dir=/69d0&.src=ph&.tok=phcoV_CB.CByw2nv


I met Roel while attending UT, and I'd developed a bad attitude towards the students in general. I guess the time I spent hanging out with frat boys didn't help.

The guys mostly struck me as stoners, party-boys, trust-fund babies and annoyingly liberal attention-seekers.

And I'm a fairly liberal guy myself.

Suddenly in class one day this guy was sitting next to me, saying, "Hey, don't we have another class together?" Man, it was Roel, and I really had no idea whether I'd seen him before.

But he's a friendly, chatty guy, and I couldn't sustain my bad attitude where he was concerned. He just wouldn't stop being nice to me! I don't have friends so much as really nice stalkers.

So we became friends, me with my snobby attitude towards the other students, and Roel, from Crystal City, who admitted he'd never seen so many white people before coming to UT.

After we graduated he met a girl. Do I need to go on?

They got married a few years later. I spoke at their wedding, which I'm quite proud of. Driving to the wedding through the rain as I wound my way through an old Austin neighborhood, the cab of the truck was suddenly filled with the overwhelming scent of roses. I still have no idea why.

Roel and Marie live in San Antonio now, but we stay in touch. He gave up on his broadcasting degree long ago, instead getting certified as a physical therapist.

(It's taken me MUCH longer to give up on broadcasting; maybe I should have followed his lead years ago)


Roel was the last guy I ever drank with. Salud.


I do believe that Danny Henley and I play phone tag more than anyone else on the planet. It's amazing how often we call each other yet how rarely we actually get to talk.


I'm still stunned at the catch Kevin Mench made today in the 5-0 victory over the Twins. It preserved Kenny Rogers' scoreless streak (at 30 innings now). Not for an instant did it look like that ball would end up in his glove. I'm watching ESPN closely for a recap, because I want to have a good look at that.


I'm about 90 percent done replacing the faucet in the back bathroom. Thing is, in this 45-year-old house, the plumbing is a little different. It uses sizes that aren't the same as industry standard these days, so any time I need to connect stuff (faucet to water supply in this case) I have to deal with mismatched parts. Ugh.

Faucet looks nice there though. It'll be nicer if I can ever coerce it to actually provide water.


Had the headache again today. 800 mgs of ibuprofen with 400 mgs of Tylenol did the trick.


I didn't go to Austin to attend school. I went to be a slacker. I had no direction, and Austin is a great place for the directionless. If you have any friends, you can get free beer any night of the week.

I ran with this guy named Kevin for a while. Nice enough guy, but mainly we were party boys together. We worked in the record store together, and at night we'd party with his friends. Every night somebody was having a party or some excuse to drink a lot of beer.

We ended up at frat houses sometimes. I remember one night... can't recall which frat it was. I think it was called IMA BI GUY.

Okay, just kidding. That joke always cracks me up.

But this little frat rat decided I was worth talking to for some reason. From our post near the keg we watched this pretty Asian girl stumble around. She was drunker than hell and could barely stand.

Frat Rat leaned over to me. "See that girl right there? Any guy in the room could have her tonight, easy. Any guy could take her upstairs. And you know, she'd probably wake up tomorrow claiming rape, making a big fuss..."

It was... disgusting. I was drunk, and I suppose that's the closest thing I have to an excuse for not voicing my displeasure.

The guy later asked me if I'd consider pledging to his frat. No one had any idea that I was NOT in school. And I told him SURE! I'd have told him I was Cinderella if I knew it'd keep the beer coming.

And the beer kept coming.


Whit McClendon told me that one of his students, a young girl, has apparently been given the idea lately that martial arts are for boys.

I'd say the existence of guys like Frat Rat makes an excellent argument to the contrary.


I eventually had to distance myself from Kevin. It's happened a few times in my life, always with guys who partied too much, guys who were too self-destructive for me, even when I was partying myself. He managed to stay drunk so much that he flunked out of school.

The last time I heard from him, Kelli and I had just moved into an apartment together. I'd been dodging him, not returning his phone calls. He left a message on the machine, sort of halfheartedly inviting me to a party. He knew it'd never happen, and midway through the message he stopped and said, "Ah f*ck it" and hung up. So long Kevin.



Friday, May 13, 2005

The verdict...

I got into grad school!

One of the people I interviewed with at Texas Wesleyan University yesterday left a message on my machine to the effect that he didn't want to wait a week to send me a letter (not sure why), and to offer congratulations...

Gotta get six hours of psych out of the way this summer and do no worse than a B in six hours of grad school this fall since this is a conditional acceptance.

I'm speechless.

Pop! Goes the Brisc

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool music snob, sure. Life is too short for Mutt Lange, you know?

But I get asked occasionally if I make a point of disliking a song/band simply due to popularity. As they said in the stats class, “Relationship does not necessarily indicate causality.” Or some crap like that.

Here are some popular songs I’ve liked from about the last 20 years.

(Keep in mind that in some ways this is a strange task. Songs like BB King’s “Three O’Clock Blues” and Little Walter’s “Juke” were popular hit singles, but of course, they were from a time when popular music was quite different, top to bottom)

“Beautiful” by Christine Aguilera. Anyone wincing already? Sorry. It’s a gorgeous little tune.

“Nookie” by Limp Bizkit. Ah, and you just thought you were wincing before. It’s big, dumb rock song. One great song and BOOM, Durst and Co. are effectively done.

“Hot in Herre” (sic) by Nelly. Fine blend of funky and clever, almost hip-hop vocal phrasing.

“Days Go By” by Dirty Vegas. Okay, admittedly, I have no idea if this was popular. I just heard it on the radio when I was in a miserable city (Houston), training for a miserable job (BACS), and miserable because I missed my family. Driving around, street lights flashing by, lost, burning the per diem in gas money, and this chunk of electronic hoo-ha, the type of which I usually dismiss, just… captured it.

“Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel. Dipping back a couple decades. Not the best song on the album (So), but a good, herky-jerky funk workout.

“Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot. Loved it. Took the bait, hook-line-and-sinker. It was nice that those of us who appreciate the occasional big butt had our anthem. (Pause while I wipe away a tear of pride…)

“Just a Friend” by Biz Markie. Okay, we’re getting into novelty song territory here, sure. And like Fred Durst on “Nookie,” Markie was pretty much flaming out even as he got started. Still… a hoot.

“Word Up” by Cameo. Distinctive pop funk, man.

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica. This is a one-trick pony band IMHO. I’d say they have a handful of truly great songs, most of which are NOT their hits.

“One” by Metallica. I won’t go into all their good songs here. But this was a distinctive one that made an impression when it came out. So what if you can't hear the bass? You know it’s thudding along with that grand unison flurry anyway.

“Contagious” by the Isley Brothers. This band’s been around HOW long? Nice piece of over-wrought, smooth soul drama. Really creative, and it appealed to the amateur cultural anthropologist in me. I’ll bet no one’s ever told the Isleys THAT.

Sting—ah, just kidding.

“Billie Jean” by… well, you know.

“Champagne Supernova” by Oasis. These guys sobered up and completely lost it, but this song is great.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.

And that’ll do.

By the way, Audioslave sucks. I expected great things from these guys, but there’s just…nothing…there. Wow. It feels like empty spaces and zero inspiration.


It’s Friday, so we may survive. That said, the headache I had for 12+ hours yesterday resumed the moment I set foot in the building. Hmm…


Spring semester grades are posted. Got a B in stats and in child dev. I can live with that. Brings my Tarrant County JuCo GPA to 3.50.


Kids are both back in school. THEBOY'S fine, and the bruise on THEGIRL’s head doesn’t look nearly as bad as I expected. Kelli thinks she hit the doorknob on the way down. Maybe that slowed her fall a bit…


Will you rub the back of my neck?

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Just returned from THE INTERVIEW.


The sign said to have a seat and wait until called. They kept me squirming out there for 15 minutes, finally calling me in late. I was actually about to call admissions and see if I was in the right place.

I walked in and was seated at the head of a long table. Three doctors were there: A man with a Rasputin-type long beard, a woman with a vague/intellectually superior-sounding European accent, and Dr. Merrill, the fro-wearing joke-maker.

And they grilled me! Whoa. Everything, top to bottom. Why them, why now, what do I wanna do, how do I feel around groups, around women, around drug addicts, am I a drug addict, what do I do for fun...? I was nervous, but never quite became a wreck.

They liked my answers, and told me so. I stumbled once or twice (why were they asking me what I made in some of my classes? They had my transcripts right there. All I could say was "no worse than a B."). I got lucky too, like when they asked who I like to read. Steinbeck got first mention, and Dr. Merrill said he's just spent the spring re-reading the collected works of 'beck himself. Score one for serendipity.

SO, they said if I'm accepted it'll be conditionally, pending me getting six more hours of psych over the summer. I think I'm in. I wish I had a chance to go back and take a different stab at a couple questions, but overall I think I did well.

I haven't been full of such nervous energy since this girl at a wedding reception asked me to spend the night at her place one time!

(Sorry Michael/Georgina for babbling the way I did that night. Obviously I am NOT used to that kind of attention).

Much love to you all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Blood, plagues, genocide, and other school-related stuff

I have my child development final tonight. I think I’m reasonably well prepared. Make a 66 and I still earn a B in the class. It’d take a 96 to pull me up to an A. I’m optimistic, but I’m no fool.


Tomorrow at 1:30pm I have my graduate admission interview with Texas Wesleyan.

You could say I’m a little nervous. I’m not entirely sure what to expect, what to say… In a job interview I’m naturally confident for some reason. Not sure I can explain it, but I just feel like I know how to present myself well.

But this is new to me. We’ll see how it goes.


Blood, plagues, genocide… ah, it’s all in Exodus.


We’re past the mid-point. Hooray!

A Little Sweet and a Lotta Sour

This morning I heard THEGIRL in her crib, singing wordlessly to start the day.

I remember thinking, This is beauty.


Someone stole Toland’s pants from the laundry room last night. I’d probably make a bad joke, but he’s hopping mad about it. Can’t say I blame him. Now he’s gotta wear the mumu to work today.

Dang… the joke slipped out anyway…

Seriously, though… sucks to have stuff stolen. Since Kelli’s car was broken into, I don’t know how many times I’ve reached for a CD only to realize it ended up in a pawn shop somewhere so a crackhead could get a hit.


I saw a kid with a hooker last night, at Albertson’s no less.

I’d zipped in late to get some waffle syrup (hey, a man’s gotta have his breakfast covered).

She’d walked by the end of the aisle a couple times, and she was dressed for attention. Skirt so short it would embarrass Mini-Me, tight top, and a blonde wig. Hair just obscured the face, but it was clear that she flaunted every aspect of her body.

I ended up checking out one lane over from them. She turned my way, and her face was hideous. Looked like Estelle Winwood with a few missing teeth. I’d say she was 60, but until you saw the face you’d guess 40 years younger.

They went out to the young man’s car, a Nissan hot rod of some sort. She bent over for something and I saw nothing but BUTT hanging out the back of that skirt. I think my retinas are still burning.

So the kid, who was 21-ish, was he a… client? Relative? Weird.


And leaving there, I saw a man on a riding mower trimming the grass in the Target parking lot, guiding his efforts with the mower’s headlights. You forget they have those headlights until you see them used.

But why in the world was he mowing at 11pm?


Darren Oliver retired last week.

Then he un-retired when the Cubs offered him a minor-league deal.


And Tony Pena has suddenly resigned as Royals manager. I grew to like Pena as a guy. I’d heard he was a lousy manager, but he was a character. In spring training he came out to catch as he pitchers warmed up between innings. Something really cool about that.


Another Belo staple is leaving, being shown the door today due to the no-compete clause. That’s three in three weeks by my count.


Happy Wednesday.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Adios Wellhouse

A fine weekend overall, much of which I’ve already gone into.

THEBOY and I destroyed the wellhouse yesterday. That is, we had a shack in the back yard that housed the pump apparatus and the opening to the well. I’m told a subterranean river runs through our neighborhood, and sure enough, if you peer the 25-or-so feet down this shaft you can see water. Years ago I made some feeble attempts to get the pump working and nearly gave myself heat stroke in the process.

So I’ll seal the opening and build a storage shed over it.

The well house was rotting pretty badly, so it didn’t put up much of a fight. THEBOY was out there with his favorite hammer, smashing everything he could. We each got bruised and scratched up, but he was a gamer. I tried to keep as much protection on him as I could. He was good with the goggles, but the gloves were way too big, and he dumped them after a while.

‘Twas a bit of a challenge to keep an eye on him around all those rusty screws and such, but we had no ER-worthy accidents.


The heat stroke episode still seems strange to me. It was one of those incredibly hot summer days, and I was determined to get that pump working. 100 degrees or better, and I was squatting down in the wellhouse, working away. I was shirtless, and the sweat ran off my nose in a pretty constant drip. I didn’t care much, because I thought I was close to getting it to work.

I stopped to consider something, and I suddenly realized the sweat was no longer dripping off my nose. I ran a hand through my hair. Dry. Armpits were dry too. I had a look at myself and realized there wasn’t a drop of moisture on me. That was a really strange sensation in the extreme heat. I stood up, a bit dizzy, and called it a day. Needless to say, I drank a hell of a lot of water after that.


The sun is peeking through the clouds and lunch time approaches… not bad, not bad…

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Just returned from watching the Rangers defeat the Indians 6-1. Kevin and I went, and we had a fine time. The weather was nice, the seats were decent for cheapies, and enough homers were hit (by Rangers, thankfully) that THEBOY got to see the fireworks he so loves.

Ryan Drese looked good, barely clearing 100 pitches in his complete game effort. He scattered six hits, and I don't know how many times THEBOY and I said "ground out" when an Indian batted.


I was there last night too, hanging with my buddy Erik Hood. It was a much different game, one in which Rangers starter Pedro Astacio buried his team by giving up seven runs in the first inning. Ouch.

But the Rangers mounted an improbable comeback. With one on in the ninth and trailing 8-6, Ranger Michael Young checked his swing on a 2-1 pitch. I was about to say to Hood, "Bob Wickman's off-speed stuff isn't fooling anyone," when I heard the crowd moan. Seems that on appeal to first base ump Ron Darling, Young got rung up. No check swing, and suddenly it's 2-2 instead of 3-1. Ouch. Young ended up grounding out, and then Buck Showalter emerged from the dugout for a word with Darling.

It was clearly about the check swing call, and Darling tossed Showalter in a hurry. Showalter then turned his cap backwards so he could get even closer to Darling's face. And let me tell you, he got his money's worth. First time he's been tossed as Texas skipper, and the scene was a dandy as the crowd howled. Showalter eventually stomped away, tossing his cap into the crowd for good measure.

The Rangers went on to lose, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a good time.


Stats. The final was today.

Man I was in a funny position with this test, this class, this whole semester.

I burned out on stats about two weeks ago. Boom. Brain checked out, and I was coasting. Here was the final, and folks, I didn't even crack the book for it.

My first two test grades were a 95 and an 87. Two weeks ago when my brain checked out I blew off a homework assignment, but I had turned in all the others, and I think I did well on them (not that I'd know; the prof only returned them last week, when I finally skipped a class. Yes, I lost what little interest I ever had in this class, folks).

So I didn't really even know what would be on the test today. I did scare up the time to zip through an extra credit assignment I'd heard about. Completing it was worth four points on the exam today, or so I was told.

Test was 20 questions, all M/C. The funny thing about stats is that even when I'm fuzzy (or lost) on the math, I actually have a solid knack for estimating or noticing trends on the fly. Odd, I guess, but maybe it's from all the time I've spent eyeballing baseball stats.

It was a hard test for sure, but I had a sneaking suspicion I'd actually passed. I finished and slipped out to have lunch at home.

At 2:15 I went back to campus and caught the prof leaving. He handed me the test, and I was fairly pleased to see a grade of 70. Not bad for a guy who didn't crack the book.

And I was even more pleased when he said the highest grade was a 90, so everyone was getting a 10 point curve. Boom, my 70 became an 80--but then he gave me the extra credit and the final tally came to 84.


I sure as hell hope I'm done with math classes IN MY LIFE.


I will say, though, that this feels like I've conquered a phobia or something. Nothing rattles me like a math class. I've never been good at it, and if you bother to read my ramblings you know the trepidation that gripped me early in the semester.

I had a tutor more or less at the ready, and yeah, she guided me on about a half dozen homework questions this semester. But by and large this grade is all me, and I'm quite pleasantly surprised. I don't get that sinking feeling in my stomach when the prof heads into the stratosphere and I have no idea what he's talking about. I know I can hit the textbook and make some sense of it.

Having a poor math foundation to work with is a hindrance, of course, but you know, it's not like I'm surrounded by a bunch of Einstein-caliber minds in these classes. At some point I have to give myself enough credit to realize that I'm smart enough to put some effort into this and be at least satisfactory.


Tomorrow is Mother's Day, of course. I plan on taking Kelli wherever she'd like for lunch. If she wants to sleep in, I'll corral the kids all morning.

With any luck I'll get a chance to do some yard work at some point.


Kelli is a terrific mother to our kids, and I learn from her, from watching how she interacts with them.


I got back the movies I had Mike's Film and Video transfer to DVD for me. These were super 8s shot when I was in junior high. I'd forgotten about most of it. Steve Meier, Phil Nedbalek, Whit McClendon. Amanda was there too, and they were all game participants in my slapstick filmmaking.

I've got to say that there's a lot more organization and storytelling than I remembered putting into those. Some of the camera work is... well, it has potential. Some good angles, some good cuts to convey the message. And keep in mind I couldn't edit this stuff. I just had to shoot in order, to capture everything in sequence.


This is the sort of night where I could prattle on endlessly about nothing or something. Mother's Day, home movies, phobias... they're all resonating with me right now, but you know... not tonight.


The Mavericks just defeated Houston 116-76. Ouch. I'm no hoops fan, but I'm glad to see the Mavericks go on to the next round of playoffs.


All the love to you all. Sleep tight.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Dreamer

Your Birthdate: August 29

(Mostly dead-on, though working with others is more of a challenge to me than this thing intimates. Unless thinking, DIE DIE DIE every time a coworker speaks to me can be called working well because I'm not saying it out loud... okay, just joking... somewhat...)

Your birthday on the 29th adds a tone of idealism to your nature.

You are imaginative and creative, but rather uncomfortable in the business world.

You are very aware and sensitive, with outstanding intuitive skills and analytical abilities.

The 29 reduces to 11, one of the master numbers which often produces much nervous tension.

This is the birthday of the dreamer rather than the doer.

You do, however, work very well with people.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

New Day Rising

It's good to be home again, it really is.

THEBOY and I had a good trip to Matagorda and Lake Jackson.

Dad's rental place is right on the river, and since we made such good time getting down there Thursday we basically gained a day to enjoy ourselves. This would prove to be important later.

THEBOY took to the water like he's got salt in his veins. He is four years old, and standing there on the pier he'd cast out a good 40 feet, having had almost no instructions from me. He'd certainly never had his rod anywhere near the water before, and over and over he'd zing that line out there and turn the heads of everyone around. If there ever was a natural, let me tell you, that kid is one.

He was in constant motion, wanting to cast out or reel in all the time, or tend the crab traps, the crab cage or the bait traps with Papaw. At age four he doesn't have the patience for the Zen beauty of fishing (aka the waiting). But he did his own version of it hour after hour.

Papaw was quite aware of the significance of things like tying his first fishing lure for a grandson, that sort of thing. And to see him helping THEBOY reel in his first fish was a special moment for sure.

At sunset the wild pigs across the river would come to the water's edge, and we'd kick back and think about not much of anything.

We rode in Papaw's boat on the second day, and THEBOY loved that as well. Up and down the river we went, checking out the other boats and the shrimp trawlers.


Amanda was going to bring her son Aaron (also four) Saturday, but Mother Nature had other plans. We woke to incredible winds. Dad admitted he hadn't slept a wink; knowing that his boat was tied to the pier in the squall certainly couldn't have lent to a restful night.

After doing my best to help him re-tie and rearrange the boat, we decided no one would relax until the boat was out of the water altogether. Winds were hitting about 40 mph as Dad, cap backwards and fatigued beyond belief, steered the boat upriver a few miles to the ramp. I hopped in the truck to meet him there with the trailer.

For a stretch I could see him there as the road paralleled the river, and I considered hanging back to keep an eye on him. Then I decided it'd be better if I could zoom ahead and have the trailer in position before he arrived at the ramp.

If I'd stuck with him, I might have seen the boat nearly flip as he steered towards the center of the river to give a wide berth to some folks fishing off a pier. The north wind got under an edge of the boat, and up it went for a moment.

But he made it, and though it took some hustling on our part to keep the boat from careening into the pier and the trailer at the ramp, we finally got it secured.


What sort of masochists were out fishing in that awful weather anyway?


THEBOY and I improvised a new plan then, heading to Lake Jackson to see Amanda and Aaron so they wouldn't have to endure Matagorda's version of the Perfect Storm.

Dad finally went to sleep, rising refreshed after 3pm that day.


We met Amanda and Aaron for lunch, and those two boys were thick as thieves. We went to the park, and they were all over the place, climbing, sliding, swinging, and chasing the poor ducks.

This was at Shy Pond, a place I used to go sometimes for my lunch break nearly 20 years ago when I worked at the Brazos Mall. I enjoyed it, but geese lived in the pond, and for some reason they didn't like me. Those little bastards would start biting me, and you know, I eventually gave up on lunch breaks there.

From the park we went to Sonic for a root beer float. The boys sat in the back of the van, watching a movie while Amanda and I just enjoyed hanging out.

We went to her house for a while, where I got to visit little Maddie. What a doll! A rough and tumble little beauty who makes sounds like my own daughter. Made me miss my family back in Hurst even more.


THEBOY and I stayed at Papaw's house in Angleton, empty since they were still on the river. This was THEBOY'S third different bed in three nights, and he was a trooper.

What Papaw doesn't know is that Sunday morning I hit the one-hour photo place the moment they opened so I could leave a set of the photos (http://photos.yahoo.com/briankelli3 in the "Fishing/LJ" folder) at his house for him as a gesture of thanks for everything.


Came home Sunday. Driving in Houston sucks though. They closed 45 North and unceremoniously dumped us hapless drivers on 59 North with very little warning or guidance. I'm lucky I didn't end up in Cleveland (yes, Ohio...)


THEBOY and I stopped for a burger in Madisonville, Texas. Gotta admit that I was a little concerned about wearing my Bad Brains I Against I t-shirt into the restaurant; I doubt Madisonville is much of an enlightened place.

I felt better when I bumped into a guy wearing a Husker Du New Day Rising t-shirt. "Ah, so you're not from here either..."


Plenty afoot here, like some home improvement projects finally coming to fruition (now that I'm almost out of time off, of course), a likely move to Corsicana, and of course, obsessing over the mail for news from Texas Wesleyan.


Congrats to Erik Hood, who hit the first home run of his life over the weekend. That's one more than I ever hit.


And congrats to Toland, who started his new job today.


Changes abound these days, eh?