Thursday, November 30, 2006
I'm bleery-eyed, wired up from five hours of working on one of my finals. It's been a good challenge, really a... wholly appropriate sort of thing to do to counseling students at this stage of the program. Five hours into it I'm about 40% done. Oy.
THEBOY was home yesterday and today, and will be home tomorrow. He tested positive for strep this morning. For a kid with such a no-no illness (the nurse intercepted him at school today and sent him back home), he's acting so... normal. He plays, runs, makes funny voices, eats whatever he wants... I mean, I'm glad he's not bedridden with fever or anything, but dude... THIS is a sick kid?
It's been a week full of drama. I'm not going to post about it. Some of you (Whit, Amanda, Geoff, Toland) know about it already. If you're interested let me know, but I'm so sick of it all I'm likely to send the shortest summary I can.
I had to haul THEBOY around way too much in this snowy crap today. Sleet, freezing rain, strangely large snow... I drove the point home to THEBOY several times today: The road has ice, I'm cold, this stuff is wet, it stings when it hits my face and my kids get sick...
And that's when MOBB called me from the SMU campus, telling me how wonderful it was. Man. She sounded positively jubilant.
In some ways we're very different people.
BB's current therapy: "Shake 'Em On Down" by Bukka White
Monday, November 27, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
(Will post sometime tomorrow, when I can get online)
Good trip, I’ve gotta say. Wednesday night I messed around and started packing too late. It was probably 12:30 when I got to bed, so 5:30am came rather early.
I picked up THEBOY in Corsicana, and off we went.
On the one hand, the drive wasn’t as bad traffic-wise as I expected. On the other, the drive was still worse than usual somehow. It just seemed to take a lot out of me. We arrived around 1:15pm I think.
Part of this could be that THEBOY has discovered his new superpower, and it’s peeing. He goes and goes and goes. Our whole holiday could also be called, say, Our Tour of Texas Gas Station Toilets. We stopped in a number of unsavory places that the boy griped about, including a truck stop bathroom (“Somebody wrote on the walls!” he said) and a bush behind a Red Robin. Sometimes the pickins are slim, kid.
Various family members have theorized as to exactly what’s going on with the little bugger. Let’s see… not complaining of pain/burning, and can go 60-90 minutes without a toilet trip if he’s distracted. And he told me, “If you ask me if I need to pee it makes me need to pee.”
It’s in his head. He told me recently that someone explained to him that the things we get rid of in the bathroom aren’t good for us or something. He’s just got it lodged in his brain that the first second he feels anything he’s gotta go all Code Yellow and make a beeline for the peeline.
He’ll get over it.
Thanksgiving with the Dad and Charlene in Angleton was good. Good grub, good company. Nephew and Niece and THEBOY played together pretty well, gotta say.
We hit the beach yesterday. THEBOY wanted to search for seashells. Surfside isn’t exactly replete with beautiful specimens, so my father took some down there and laid them out specifically for the kids to find. He threw in some “treasure” (pennies and such), and it was a big hit, really a perfect activity for them. Throw in a bit of feeding the seagulls and you’ve got a rather ideal afternoon at the beach.
Hung out with La Familia Haish for a good chunk of the afternoon before heading back to Dad’s house.
All you blog snoopers better watch it now… Amanda’s set up with blog stats.
Stayed up late with Dad watching boxing and some K-1 kickboxing on TV. It was just like the old days. When nothing else was on TV we could always count on killing time with most any fight we could find.
This morning THEBOY and I headed up to Katy to see Whit and his boy. We had a good afternoon, with some sparring and some lunch to keep us busy. The boys played together pretty nicely.
I’ve had six more months of training since I last sparred with Whit. I’m pleased to say I’ve improved a bit.
The drive back was, again, a bit of a beating. We didn’t really catch any traffic snarls, but it just seemed like a long, long stretch between Houston and Corsicana.
And we’re now back in Hurst, glad to be home. Hope ya’ll had a good holiday too.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
So I've got just tons of school-related stuff to do before the end of the semester: Two take-home exams and some abnormal psych homework that'll take a couple hours easily.
I had a paper to do, but I found time in the last 24 hours to devote to wrapping it up, and it's DONE. That helps, as I expected it'd take all or most of the trip to Angleton to finish, writing piecemeal as I could find time. So having finished it helps.
The take-home finals are no cake walks. One is pretty standard stuff, a very reasonable assessment of what we've learned over the course of the semester.
The other is 41 pages long, minimum. I'm not kidding. After it's all hand-written out (as the prof instructed us), it could easily be in the 50-60 page range.
This not meant to come off as whining. I don't think it's fair to sign up for something and then whine about it. I don't do it in Krav Maga, and I don't do it in my grad classes. It's what the instructor thinks will benefit us, so I'll do it.
On that note... I hope to only address this once, EVER.
I like my Sensei. I get great training for a reasonable price. The school is close to home, the workout is good, and I like the people there. What he teaches us is quite practical, it's fun to learn, and I aim to stay there just as long as he can stand the sight of my face.
I understand that the man has his detractors, some of whom I'm even friendly with.
You don't choose to train there.
Please respect my decision and stop trying to lure me into debates about the politics of martials arts. I trust my judgment, period.
And this isn't just directed at one person; the number of people I have fairly regular contact with who want to go into all this cannot even be counted on one hand.
I think we can still get along just fine, but I am done discussing this.
Which brings me to something else: I have a new approach to life. Call it a motto, a philosophy, an epiphany... whatever. But I realized today that I can handle most any situation in life by remembering five simple words:
What would Johnny Cash do?
If you wanna read my paper ("Problematic Use of Internet Pornography and Cybersex") just let me know. Anyone? Anyone?
Gotta go have me some dinner. Ya'll take care. Have a great, safe holiday.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was your first thought?
"Whoa... eye boogers."
2. When�s the next time you will have sex?
Why do surveys always throw in one or two inappropriate questions?
3. What�s a word that rhymes with �DUCK�? I can damn sure tell you it ain't "Fuqua."
4. Favorite planet? Ask me again after I visit a couple more
5.Who is the 4th person on your missed call list?
6. What is your favorite ring on your phone?
I enjoy "vibrate" a little too much.
7. What shirt are you wearing?
A red one
8. What were you doing 20 minutes ago?
Super duper top secret work stuff
9. Name the brand of shoes you�re currently wearing? GBX
10. Bright or Dark Room?
Eh... I'm probably a pinch more comfotable in a dark room
11. What do you think about the person who posted this survey? It is a pleasure to be on the short list of people she doesn't hate.
12. If you�re in a room with two beds, which one do you sleep?
The one farther from the door
13. What were you doing at exactly midnight last night? Sleeping
14. What was your last text message you received on your mobile?
"No, ed" from my sister.
15. How do you like your eggs?
With salsa at the very least
16. What�s a word/phrase that you say a lot? "Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit." Okay, so I don't really.
17. Who told you he/she loved you last? My wife I think
18. Last furry thing you touched? Our cat, Oreo the Immortal
19. How many Drugs have you done in the last three days?
benadryl�..i guess that�s just one
20. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed? None
21. Favorite age you have been so far?
38 is not bad
22. Your worst enemy? Pringles. Damn you canned potato chips! Forget Lays--the ones I really can't eat just one of are Pringles.
23. What wallpaper do you have on your desktop? La Familia Briscoe posing for a shot wearing our Jade Mountain t-shirts
24. What was the last thing you said to someone? "I'm going to the mailbox. Do you need anything from downstairs?"
25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly? See, having a million bucks actually GIVES you the ability to fly. It's true.
26. Do you like someone? Oddly, I like plenty of folks. It's what separates me from serial killers.
27. The last song you listened to? "Woman" by Wolfmother
28. If the last person you spoke to was getting shot, what would you do? Bring a Kevlar vest
29. If you could punch 1 person in the face, who would it be? The guy who stole my wife's purse. Or Tom Green. They may actually be one/the same
30. What is the closest object to your left foot?
Saturday, November 18, 2006
The show was about 12 hours from starting.
And she suggested I take THEBOY.
We've always joked with him, saying he'd "seen" them in August of 2000 in Dallas. That is, MOBB and I went to see them. She was five months pregnant.
I'd seen them in '89 at the Astrodome. They were fleshed out with extra musicians, including crazy-good drummer Simon Phillips. It was good, but not quite the full-blown Who experience I was after.
In 2000, from the first chords of opener "I Can't Explain," it was clear they weren't just screwing around. It was a terrific show.
And THEBOY kicked the whole time.
He's grown up listening to them, and even as a toddler would scream along with "Won't Get Fooled Again," nailing the timing after the synthesizer bit, little fists in the air.
I started to say no. No it's too much money, no he's too young...
But I got to thinking that they may never tour again, and when he's 12 or 18 or something he might really hate knowing how close he came to seeing them but didn't, you know?
So I bit the bullet.
MOBB got him these huge, fluorescent green earmuffs that cut out about 30dB. He was plumb tickled to wear them.
(In fact, he speaks very quietly when wearing them. We may have stumbled onto something really useful here)
We decided to ride the train in. Lots of folks in Who regalia were on the train, and we soon found ourselves talking to a long-haired, very pleasant young man who was seeing them for the first time.
We got there maybe midway through the Pretenders' set, me in my Tommy Tommy Tommy (from the musical) shirt and the boy wearing those... things.
There's really only so much sittin' down time one's going to get from a five-year-old, so I thought we'd spend some time wandering the concourse before the Who came on. We got some popcorn and a soda. THEBOY crept up a ramp to listen to Hynde et al, who sounded pretty good.
Lo and behold, another father with a son wearing earmuffs walked by. This kid looked a little younger than THEBOY.
So we took our seats, and HOO BOY--they were floor seats, 13 rows from the man himself, Pete Townshend! As THEBOY munched and took in the sights, I pointed out the roadies, and explained that long ago I'd had a couple jobs like that.
Me: "The lights are dimming. The Who will start in just a minute!"
THEBOY: "I need to go to the bathroom."
I could just hear the veins in my cerebrum bursting as I said, "I TOLD you not to drink so much soda! Look, can you just make it through one song?"
Before he could answer, Townshend bashed out those three distinctive chords, again, to open to the show with "I Can't Explain."
Whoa ho ho ho... here we go again.
I picked up THEBOY, who was
He took in the flashing lights, the visuals, the thumping volume, and the sheer HUGENESS that accompanied the occasion of seeing Pete and Roger, two musicians he refers to by those first names like he's known them his whole life (oh wait, he HAS).
THEBOY screamed, clapped, sang along, bobbed his head, and even flashed little devil horns with his hands.
As the song ended and the band began "The Seeker," he asked, "Okay, NOW can we go to the bathroom?"
The band featured Pino Palladino on bass, subbing for not-so-long deceased John Entwistle, as well as Simon Townshend on rhythm guitar and John "Rabbit" Bundrick's tech playing keys. I didn't catch the man's name, but he stepped in when Bundrick had to return home to be with his sick wife.
And like in 2000, they weren't just screwing around. Despite the great fistfuls of BIG songs, they played maybe 10 new songs that actually held up well. People sang along to them, and though I didn't just fall in love with them, they did convince me that I've gotta buy the new CD.
(Oh, I didn't need much convincin' anyway)
It was a very meaty, very muscular sound they brought to Dallas. I tried to put a finger on just how to describe it. They weren't quite the nimble, juggernaut-style ensemble they'd been in '00. They were beefier if anything, and soon were startlingly loud, just having a balls-out good time. It was like those old ads... what, for Maxell cassettes maybe? Where the man in the chair is being blown back by the sound coming from his speakers?
And what's a Who show without Pete getting pissed off at the audience anyway? He asked the front rows, "Who here wants a pick?" Hands shot up all over the auditorium, and he said, "Exactly. Everyone wants a pick. It's like crumbs to savages." He went on to thank those people for paying so much money to sit there, but made it clear he'd had enough of being bugged for picks.
Largely they were in good spirits though, and for a couple of old Brits I found it easy to understand what they said.
THEBOY was a trooper. He started to get tired after a while. Hell, the show started about the time he usually hits the sheets. He listened to everything, often being carried by me. I had him stand on his chair some, but the ushers kept busting us for that.
(Oddly, though the vibe on the concourse was decidedly laid back, on the floor it was a bit rougher, as security and ushers were constantly going to and fro, shining flashlights in people's faces and escorting them out.)
THEBOY asked to leave once, and I asked if he could stay one more song. Sure.
But after that they went into a string of the big songs, and despite my repeated queries he was quite clear about NOT leaving.
We made it through the end of the regular set, which wrapped up, of course, with "...Fooled."
The band even tinkered with the song a bit, breathing a little fresh air into one of classic rock's biggest warhorses. I never get tired of the song, but I didn't mind what they did to it either.
We'd made it about 90 minutes. It was time to leave.
As we walked back to the train, I watched THEBOY closely. When kids are tired like that, they certainly look and act a bit like they're sick, and the popcorn and soda were certainly on my mind as he shuffled slowly along. I thought maybe the food and fatigue and just the overwhelming experience might make him pause to barf or something.
And as I watched carefully, walking slowly beside him, he said quietly, "That was great!"
Shoot, that kid was just fine.
And in fact, he looked to the left and saw the multi-colored lights on the downtownn Dallas buildings and said, "We're in a different world."
So it went quite well I'd say. Oh, there were hiccups here and there, and little moments I could have made part of this (like a TRE employee threatening a man on the train, or the cannabis-reeking old farts on the train who prompted THEBOY to mutter, "I'm not staying HERE--it stinks too much!")
I'm proud, more than anything, to have shared something that's meant so much to me with my son. He attended his first concert at age five. I was about fourteen or fifteen. The spectacle, the music, the newness of it all... I must say it was a real joy to watch him watching the show, you know?
The Who are selling DVDs of every show, and yes, I intend to buy the Dallas DVD.
A couple reviews of the show from the local rags:
Dallas Morning News
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Ya'll have a good weekend.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
It�s a busy time of year, just crazy-busy for MOBB and me. I�m pretty stressed out. Soon we�ll be into Christmas break, the only real time off I get from school each year. By the end of those five weeks I�ll probably be pacing the floor in anticipation of getting back at it, just like in years past.
Next semester will be my last one that�s totally lecture-based. I�ll have child/adolescent counseling and marriage/family therapy. I hear good things about the folks teaching those classes.
After that I�ll have some lectures, of course, though I�ll be getting into practica, which is more face-to-face counseling work. I�m looking forward to it.
I�ve begun physical therapy for my long-ailing calf. It almost didn�t happen, as an administrative person at the clinic chose to give me a very hard time about the fact that my insurance changed this year (long before I ever came to the clinic, mind you). It�s not worth getting into, but we had a rather tense exchange. I seriously considered leaving.
Her coworker apologized to me for that several times during the course of my 2.5 hour stay.
They did a lot of work on the leg, and after some consultation between therapists, they�ve about decided that I�ve got an impinged nerve between two muscles in the calf.
They also confirmed that when I walk, one foot points to about 12 o�clock while the other points to about 2 o�clock.
I�m going to get a lot of PT for this injury in a brief span, though squeezing that into my already psychotic schedule will be a bit tough.
Sometime last night MOBB informed me that the power had gone off. The wind had been crazy all day. I grabbed my cell phone to set the alarm on that. Outside we heard voices. In a neighbor�s back yard were men with chainsaws, cutting tree limbs out of the power line. A bright utility light backlit them as they worked. It was a strange, sort of otherworldly sight to watch their silhouettes working in an otherwise dark neighborhood. I guess some trees damaged a power line and they came out to clear the limbs.
Same thing happened to us some years ago. During an overnight blackout a crew arrived in our back yard to cut limbs out of the power line. No one said a word to us as they worked. No knock at the door, nothing.
Funny, it sure seemed like last night�s crew was there and working almost instantly. But I was half-asleep, sort of in a daze anyway. My sense of time was likely a bit screwball.
Better boogie. Hey, I don�t know how often I�ll get to update during this crunch time. Maybe I�ll find time, as I usually manage to. But if you�re hurtin� for entertainment (as you must be if you stop by THIS site on a regular basis) then find one of those links to the right and see what some of my buddies are up to.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Not exactly what I've thought of over the years when the words "drugs" and "possession" are used together.
(Admittedly, I couldn't bring myself to READ this... "research," okay. But it's worth a look for the abstract and illustrations alone).
So like Bruiser, I've been watching the African webcam quite a bit. Far as I can tell there are long stretches of inactivity, punctuated by short bursts where it looks like a scene from The Lion King. I've seen monkeys/baboons, all sorts of gazelle-type creatures, ducks, wildebeasts, a small rhino and, as of a few minutes ago, a grackle. Damn, those things are EVERYWHERE.
Hey, zip on over to the BB myspace to see a nice comment left by Pugwash, a terrific pop "band" (ie, Irishman Thomas Walsh and some collaborators).
I mean, I gather it's a nice comment and all, but I don't exactly know what it... means.
No word on new job as of this writing, though there's been some... activity.
Some of you know what I'm talking about. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Happy belated birthday Amanda. I've got this bitchin' card for you... I'm so bad about mailing stuff on time. Her kids are gonna grow up scarred for life because I never get their birthday gifts to them on time.
So there's this phenomenon, for lack of a better word, that occurs when one studies psych: You look for yourself.
I suppose it's common for psych students to read about all the different disorders and decide, at some point, that they've got something. "My gosh, I ate Elmer's glue for all of second grade, so I've got 'pica'!"
I find familiar elements in lots of disorders, but I can't say I'm inclined to self-diagnose. I function normally, I'm healthy, I generally feel okay, mood's not bad most of the time. But in reading about, say, obsessive-compulsive disorder, I see some familiar behaviors. I think many of us would.
I'm starting to view my studies in abnormal psych as a process of familiarizing myself with the more remote regions of my mind. I'd say there's a ton of behavior we're all familiar with that, when done repetitively, would be pathological. But in most cases, it's a passing thing, an idiosyncrasy maybe. I find this quite valuable, and I think it'll help me be a better parent as well. I had moments as a child where I was fairly gripped with some behavior or thought that I believed surely meant I was crazy. Now I see that it really wasn't so bad as all that. I'm even coming up with a few strategies for handling those if, at some point, my kids experience these things. Or MOBB or me, for that matter.
If you read all that and followed it, you've earned your wings for today.
Lutter made such short work of Patrick Cote the other night... I'm sure the other competitors in his weight class from TUF4 are shaking their heads that the quiet, unassuming (and coach-less) BJJ black belt won the whole thing.
How he'll do against Anderson Silva, though... that's anyone's guess.
Speaking of meaningless pain... man, my first KM workout in a week has left me SORE.
Ya'll take care.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
So I put in a DVD of Merle Haggard on Austin City Limits. You should have seen THEBOY, THEGIRL and me dancing across the living room to "Take Me Back to Tulsa."
It's November, and I'm burned out on school. Texas Wesleyan works on a trimester system, so the only real break we get each year is over the Christmas holidays. It's about a five week class-free stretch.
Seems like I've got nothing but big tests and papers due these days. And every time I crack a book and a child is conscious in this house, I suddenly become the most fascinating sonofagun on the planet.
The reality of the situation is this: Sometimes it's awfully damn hard to be married with kids while going to grad school. And working sorta gets in the way of things too.
I'm still bothered by this cold or whatever it is, but I sound worse than I feel.
Had a big test this morning in group psychology, as a matter of fact. I was pretty anxious about it. We had four chapters full of varying theories, acronyms, "you better remember this guy" names and more. I had studied until nearly midnight, and at six a.m. I was up studying again.
So we walked in and the prof handed us blank paper. He gave us one question and told us to answer it. The task was to "create" a client with five symptoms, then determine which style of group you'd assign him too, and how that particular one would address each symptom.
What can I say? I liked that quite a bit. Lots of folks didn't, but I kinda relish these ever-increasing opportunities we're getting to think like counselors, you know? I think I got an A.
I went to KM today for the first time in a week. Between various injuries and illnesses I'm not going nearly as much as I'd like. I did okay though, managed to summon decent stamina on a day when we mostly did bag drills. We did a new knee drill today too, which was cool.
You should have seen THEBOY after KM today. "Crazy Train" was on the CD player. He told me, "The windows are down, so everyone can hear what we're listening to!" He started to sort of dance in his seat. I'd say he looked quite a bit like David Byrne in Stop Making Sense.
Then I taught him how to do the devil horns, and he started flashing them at passing motorists, still gettin' down in his herky jerky little way. He said, "Osbourne is my new favorite."
I told him that simply calling him "Ozzy" would do.
Tonight is the live TUF finale. Travis Lutter is going to mop the floor with Patrick Cote.
Michael Bisping apparently had visa problems and was taken off the card. Dang.
I should really be studying, actually. Another test Tuesday, a biggie. And I've yet to begin the paper that's due at the end ofthe month.
Have a good weekend.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
(Though I promise not to post photos of my toes up here. I didn't even do that when I dislocated one in Judo that time. It was cool--it was perpendicular to the other toes...)
1. Someone knocks on your door at 2 a.m., who do you want it to be?
Someone with a big-ass check made out to me
2. I ditched this dumb question. I've already had the experience of having an employer angrily read parts of my blog to me before. Not going there again.
3. Put yourself in a nutshell.
Nutshell? Nah... nuthouse maybe.
4. Ever seen a ghost?
No, but they recently taught us in in abnormal psych that if a client is in bereavement and reports being visited by the deceased, do not consider this to be pathological, as it occurs quite commonly.
5. Happy with your hair?
No way Jose
6. A reason you would move to Iceland:
To use my mad Krav Maga skillz in a cage match with Bjork.
7. A place you’ve lived that you miss:
8. A job you would never do, no matter how much you were paid?
Working with sex offenders.
9. A band/group you thought was cool when you were 13?
10. You have a nightmare, who’s the first person you think to call?
11. Wanna have kids before you’re 30?
I had one at 32 and one at 35.
12. You in love?
13. Ever had a crush on one of your friend’s parents?
14. Do you have a deep, dark secret?
I've got a fistful. Believe it.
15. Do you look more like your mom, or your dad?
16. Something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do:
Play the drums
17. Still friends with your exes?
No. This is actually illegal in Texas
18. Where you’d like to be in 10 years:
In private practice, contemplating doing some teaching at JuCo on the side.
19. Something you learned about yourself this year?
That sometimes you've gotta leave a sorry-ass situation (a job in this case) even if you have nothing else waiting
20. What do you want for your birthday?
21. What color are your toenails?
22. Last person you talked with on the phone?
23. Do you own anything with a skull on it?
Lots of Motorhead CDs
24. Have you traveled Europe?
Yes. London and Spain
25. Name four or five people that you trust.
I am blessed with many trustworthy friends
26. Last movie you watched?
27. When was the last time you threw up?
A few weeks ago at Vomitacular 2006
29. Last board game you played?
Dunno. But Scrabble rules... I'll kick your ass at it!
30. Sam’s Choice or Big K?
I do not drink these cheap-ass sodas
31. Ever had a black eye?
Yes. I'm male.
32. Where do you rent your movies?
Blockbuster and Movie Trading Company
33. Have you ever worn fishnet stockings?
No, though I can say from experience that control-top pantyhose do not work as advertised.
34. Do you have a crush on someone?
35. Does he/she know?
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Pick out clothes for THEBOY.
Wake up THEBOY.
Take out the trash and the recycling.
Load up THEBOY. MOBB dresses and takes in THEGIRL.
Go to work.
Not a single call in Spanish in a week, and the moment you walk in you get three in five minutes.
Work work work.
Lunch. Nuke some leftovers and study your notes for the quiz tonight.
Lunch is over, work some more. And peek at your notes when you can.
Wrap up work and head to campus.
Eat a banana and cram some more for the quiz. You and classmates run acronyms past each other, prod each other to remember five subtypes of schizophrenia, seven subtypes of delusional disorders, eight symptoms of major depressive disorders, five symptoms of delusional disorder, and at what point a diagnosis is warranted.
Take the quiz. It's hard. You miss six out of fifty.
Go immediately from the quiz to the start of lecture. First up, sex. You find yourself squirming here and there.
Break time, finally. 10 minutes to eat peanut butter crackers and call the family. No answer.
Back to lecture. You cover disorder after disorder. Nine o'clock comes, and he's on the last disorder cluster. Then he begins the test review.
Eat. Watch TV and surf for an hour, and if you know what's good for you, you go to bed.
The alarm's gonna ring at 6:40 tomorrow too.
And how was your day?
Well, it finally happened. Someone took one of my bad jokes too seriously.
I did not vote for all the available Libertarian party candidates. Wasn't the Joe Walsh part a dead giveaway?
Sunday, November 05, 2006
And I needed that, needed some sweat therapy.
Grappling went a little better than last time. Sensei teaches us some dirty stuff, and I like that. Everything has a very "street fighting" aspect.
Took the kids to see Flushed Away last night. It was certainly funny and entertaining, though I missed key parts due to the wrestling match that was THEGIRL. She sat, stood, sat on my lap, climbed her chair daringly (and I say this because she's barely heavy enough to keep it from springing up all the time, so it seemed like it was constantly threatening to eat her), and addressed the entire theater with random, babbled proclamations.
It's a mellow morning here, though the kids find both of us absolutely fascinating. I'm not even sure why they have bedrooms, as they'd both prefer to stand here and mash the keyboard, or stumble around in the study, tripping over my scattered textbooks than to entertain themselves with, you know, toys.
And here and there THEGIRL goes into the garage to continue her love affair with the cat. He has full freedom to come and go as he pleases, but his almost constant presence in the garage kinda makes me think he's just as obsessed with her.
"Daddy Daddy Daddy come back!" says THEGIRL right now, as she tugs on the arm of my chair, wearing a Bob the Builder hat, babbling at me about who-knows-what.
I don't often have any trouble sleeping. But during those few moments when I can't sleep, lately I picture this.
Friday, November 03, 2006
1. What is your occupation? "Consumer Advocate--Bilingual"
2. What color are your socks right now? Uh... grey I think. They are obscured by these fine Tony Lama boots my father bought me.
3. What are you listening to right now? Traffic driving by on Magnolia Ave. in Ft. Worth
4. What was the last thing that you ate? A pumpkin scone from Starbucks.
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Yep
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Seafoam green. Oh wait, that's the color I'd be if I were a Stratocaster...
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? I think it was Whit
8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? We fake it just fine.
9. How old are you today? 38
10. Favorite drink? Coffee, which is the OTHER thing I got at Starbucks this morning (go figure)
11. What is your favorite sport to watch? Baseball and MMA
12. Have you ever dyed your hair? Nah. I'm a guy; I only get better looking as I get older.
13. Seems to have disappeared. So... pickle pants!
14. Pets? A cat named Oreo who has actually had a longer relationship with my wife than I have. Grumble grumble.
15. Favorite food? Tex Mex
16. What was the last movie you watched? Akeelah and the Bee. Starbucks gets an awful damn lot of my money.
17. Favorite day of the year? Oh... it's not set in stone. Usually just some random spring day.
18. What do you do to vent anger? Martial arts. I actually told a punching bag "I hate you" during a workout not long ago. Seriously.
19. What was your favorite toy as a child? Um... dunno. I had lots of good ones. Superhero stuff probably.
20. Fall or spring ? Spring
21. Hugs or kisses? A little from choice A and a little from choice B
22. Cherries or Blueberry? Blech! Ptooey! Okay, I can choke down blueberry in a pinch.
23. Do you want your friends to email you back? This is going on the blog, so I expect millions of entries in my comments.
24. Who is most likely to respond? I'm getting a message from the spirit world... it's telling me that, oddly enough, it'll be Toland this time.
26. Living arrangements? With wife and kids
27. When was the last time you cried? Sunday
28. What is on the floor of your closet? Carpet
29. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this? Darby O'Gill
30. What did you do last night? Did some Krav Maga and grappling training. Compared to my grappling, when I do KM I look like a STUD. That should tell you how bad I am at grappling.
31. Favorite smells? Eh... just general nice stuff. Candles, cookies, the right touch of nice perfume (but not in a CLOUD of it please)
32. What inspires you? Our brief time here
33. What are you afraid of? I have a reasonable fear of snakes
34. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? Might as well have some cheddar on that baby
36. Favorite dog breed? Eh, I'm not so big on dogs.
37. Number of keys on your key ring? I'm not counting.
38. How many years at your current job? Five weeks.
39. Favorite day of the week? Usually Friday.
40. How many states have you lived in? Maybe two... I believe I was in California for a while as an infant. You'd have to ask my parents to be sure. It was a military thing.
41. Favorite holiday? Booty day
42. Ever driven a Motorcycle or heavy machinery? Yeah. I wrecked the motorcyle immediately.
43. Who's your favorite NFL team? Not for me
44. Do you have a house phone that is NOT cordless? Yes. It's got a volume control that's pretty handy
45. 10 inches of snow or 100 degree weather? 100 degrees, absolutely. If I died and went to hell, well, it'd have to be cold to make me miserable. What, the devil's gonna scare me with heat? "Grr... boo, it's hot." "Screw you, I'm from Texas... what else you got?"
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Soon after I moved to Austin, Ely's Live at Liberty Lunch came out. It's probably his best record, and it'd been recorded in the city I was then calling home, at a club where I drank many a Shiner Bock. "Barbecue and Foam," "Me and Billy the Kid," and "If You Were a Bluebird" (with the venerable Butch Hancock)... all good stuff.
I saw Ely live, finally, long about then. It was at some festival I think. And at some point during his set Ely invited Hancock up on stage with him. It was a fine show.
Shortly thereafter I was fortunate enough to be a work study at KLRU, the station where Austin City Limits is taped. I've mentioned it many times, of course. I was thrilled to lug gear for the bands who came through, many of whom meant quite a bit to me.
Funny, at one point I got to listen to some old ACL audio recordings long about then, and one was a Joe Ely show from 1979 or so. And at some point in the show Ely invited Butch Hancock up on stage.
It became sort of a running joke with MOBB and me. Whenever Ely is mentioned, to this day one of us will burst out with, "Why looky there--it's Butch Hancock!"
It was clear to me that Butch should have just had a semi-permanent place in Joe's band. In a way I guess he did, or maybe still does.
Various musicians have always come and gone through Ely's band, and at some point he hired a "flamenco" guitarist. Seemed like a fairly natural idea I suppose, what with Ely's Texas/Mexico borderland flair popping up here and there.
I honestly cannot remember the guitarist's name, except that it was one word. Tonga, Tevya, Toto... I've always just called him Torgo.
So I'd already left audio engineering behind when Ely was scheduled to record an ACL. I still worked at the station, down on the first floor in traffic. The entrance closest to my office was in the alley.
But as I came to work that day, some bozo's car was parked right in front of the door. It was a beat up El Camino. Not much parking is allowed down there, and certainly that car shouldn't have been blocking the door.
In fact, in the back of the car was this big yellow mutt, yapping it's head off for no reason. The car being in the way was bad enough, but now I had to deal with some low-rent Cujo.
I slipped past, grumbling to myself.
My office had some sort of de facto control over a bit of alley parking, and as I walked in I saw a man pleading his case to park out there. He was tall, pot-bellied, had long, stringy blonde hair on the sides of his head, and was bald on top. He looked and smelled like he wasn't altogether familiar with Irish Spring, and he spoke with some sort of Euro-trash accent.
"But I'm mit the Joe Eeely bahnd!" he pleaded to my boss.
"I don't care!" she barked.
I don't know how they worked it out, but the car was soon gone.
I went upstairs to watch some soundcheck, and damned if that trashy guy with the El Camino wasn't Torgo, the new hotshot guitarist with Joe's band.
It just didn't work. It screamed WRONG from top to bottom. His playing was too much, it stuck out, and he was altogether on the wrong wavelength to be in this band.
I went to the taping that night, and you should have seen it when Torgo first took the stage. He wasn't a reg'lar member I guess; during one particularly dusty-sounding number he was summoned to join the band.
And he took the stage dressed... well, like a pirate. I mean... he had a puffy white shirt unbuttoned to the top of his guitar (which quite conveniently hid his watermelon-sized belly), black pants, pointy boots... He had a bandana atop his head that strategically covered the parts that didn't actually have hair. If he squinted in the mirror just right I'm sure he thought he looked like he had lots of great hair under there.
(Note: I'm not making a bald joke here. I have too many bald/balding friends for that. I'm just saying that this man clearly had a big issue with it, and the way he dressed just screamed it).
And as he stomped and picked and really tried to muster something exotic, it just seemed to me like all of the air went out of the show. I could swear that even Ely looked pained to be watching this spectacle. I could be wrong.
I won't get into just who's legit enough to really be a flamenco guitarist or anything, okay. I will say, though, that this guy, despite his flying fingers, just screamed POSER.
Needless to say, I didn't think the show was very good.
Some weeks later I was at a light down near Congress. Maybe at Riverside or something. I was just minding my own business with the windows down, and I heard this sound from far off. It rattled around in my head, sort of coming to me from a direction I couldn't place at first. Happens with sirens too, the way you sit there for a moment, wondering which direction it's coming from.
And the noise was...
Lots and lots of barking.
And as I sat there waiting for the light to change, Torgo and his El Camino and his incessantly yapping, low-rent Cujo blew through the intersection.
I've not seen them since.