Sunday, July 29, 2007

On the Business of Having Been in Austin and Whatnot

Just got back from a mighty fine trip to Austin for Toland's 40th birthday wingding.

He totalled a Yugo and there's now a marmot loose in his apartment complex, but otherwise it was uneventful...

Nah, kidding... had a grand time, just a grand time with Toland and Liegh and Maria and all of his buddies... I hope to have a proper entry about it soon, but our drive home took nearly six hours, and I'm just beat.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Here Comes Wolfboy


I had a last-minute technical snafu that sent me scrambling to McDonald's and then Starbucks at 11pm tonight in order to get it submitted before the 11:55pm deadline.

I'm sure the details of all the panicky thoughts I had might make for some interesting reading, but I'm sorry... I'd just as soon forget that little stretch of my life.

But I did just pay $6 in order to submit a term paper.


I have an announcement to make: I'm changing THEBOY's name. Not in real life so much, but in this medium for sure.

That kid glanced over at me this morning, and I had a look at those piercing grey eyes and found myself calling him Wolfboy. The kid's got some eyes on him, okay. He once made a teenaged checker at the grocery store stutter by looking her in the eye. "Those eyes are going to get you a long way in life," she sputtered.

I ran it past him, played around with it a bit. He didn't care for "Wolfie" because "it has an 'e' on the end and it sounds like a baby name." Fine, fair enough.

"Wolfboy" is something he's still mulling. He's like me, a muller.

Mull mull mull.


And I reserve the right to change it back. Maybe it won't fly.

SO, the key, for those of you who may not know:

MOBB, short for "mail order bionic bride," is my wife, Kelli.
THEGIRL is my daughter. I don't use my kids' real names online.
Wolfboy, formerly THEBOY, is my son.
BB, that's me.


I saw a lot of interesting things today.

My agency has a partnership with a charitable organization in an outlying county, and I get down there about once a month to do some outreach work.

At their office a man with no shoes on held the door open for me. "Where are your shoes?" asked the caseworker.

"The dog ate my shoes," he answered.


I dealt with a person whom I believe I can safely say is the most flirtatious one-eyed woman I've ever encountered.


I saw a turkey buzzard as big as a biplane.


A sign by the side of the road: "Outlaw Country Reunion." The arrow on the sign pointed into a cemetery.


Wolfboy and his sister caught a lizard last night while I was in prepracticum. Naturally, its tale came off. I wish you could see the dance he did when trying to demonstrate to me just how it wiggled.


On the way out of that office down south today, I stopped into a manager's office to ask her a quick question. She looked up from her instant messenger: It was her son in Iraq, the first time she'd heard from him in two weeks.

That was an infinitely greater priority in my mind, and I did my best to duck out and leave her to it. But she talked excitedly about him for a moment. I asked what his job is, and she said he finds explosives and detonates them. [WOW]

"He volunteered for that."

I was rendered nearly speechless. She added:

"He's seen miracles. Real miracles. He knows that God exists."

I wished him a safe return and left her to it.


I... simply cannot imagine...


Headed to Austin tomorrow, like I said. No idea whether I'll update from the road. Either way, ya'll have a terrific weekend.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"You're Ready"

That's what the professor said to us tonight in this, one of our final pre-practicum classes.

He's known most of us for years, taught us a wide variety of subjects. He's spent all semester watching us counsel in person and on videotape.

And he says we're ready.

And I think he's right.


This weekend the family will head down to Austin for Toland's birthday lunch. Cool. He's hitting the big 4-0. I think we'll have a grand time. I haven't had dim sum in ages. I hope I can get the kids to try something.


I was pretty nerdy today.


The clients have clearly found our new office. The phone rang off the hook this morning, and into the afternoon some. Fine, fine.


THEGIRL still babbles a lot, says nonsensical stuff. Her speech has come a long way, but when she gets me on the phone it's pure jibberish. Well, until her brother comes by, apparently, at which point she's fully capable of yelling, "I-AM-TALKING-TO-DADDY!"

Gotta work on that.


I'm going to Chicago next month, and Cincinnati the following month. Austin is Saturday... cool. I like traveling quite a bit. And I need to get down to Angleton and see my family at some point. Boy, maybe sooner than later... fall's going to be busy.


Tired. Good night.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

BB Should B Sleeping

First, an apology to, oh, everyone I know.

I've ignored you. Yes. You and you and you and you. Pretty much everyone I know has tried to call or email me this week.

(There was one flaming arrow shot into my front door. Hi Llorca, I'll call you as soon as I can, bro).

Here and there I can talk, but between work and this PAPER... I'm just swamped. It's the paper mostly. Each night I come home and stare at the laptop for hours, trying to get this bloody paper to fly.

And it's... sort of done. The rough draft is done. I've gotta go back and clean up the formatting, do a reference page give it a once-over... but the hard part is done. This one's been a bear, folks.

When I was in the LCDC program I once had to do a group project with:

A recovering needle drug addict whose clean days weren't into three digits yet.
A recovering meth addict whose still-using brother was prompting cops to come to their house almost daily.
A woman whose crack-addicted husband was wanted for felony evasion after he left the scene of a wreck he caused.

Getting the three of us together in a Denny's to do some writing was like some outtake from Naked Lunch.

This paper I'm wrapping up now was harder than that.

Heaven help you if you ever have to read anything by Tiedeman. I'm sure he was brilliant and his theory is useful. I would like to meet the person who has any idea exactly what in the name of Ronald McDonald the man was talking about though.


BB Should B Sleeping... that might have been a better name for this blog. It's a recurring theme, eh?


Want to know how swamped I've been? I've attended no Krav this week. Endorphin junkie that I am, I just couldn't squeeze it in.


A year ago I was unemployed, having been escorted from (insert call letters) for daring to refer to a manager there as "annoying" on this very blog. I wasn't fired; I'd already given two weeks' notice--with no other job waiting, mind you--and had a few days left when their snooping turned up a reason to send me home early. Fine, fine.

MOBB was in Italy. The kids were in daycare. I was attending Krav, drinking too much coffee, writing, looking for a job... it was stressful as hell, but you know, it was magical in a way.


I think any time in one's life is magical if you can just gather the perspective to step back and see it.

I can feel it now, believe it or not, even through the paper-induced semi-coma. In a few weeks I'll be seeing real clients. I'm entering my final two semesters of grad school. Part of me is scared to death, and part of me is ready, just ready.



Sick THEGIRL tonight, as she edged up to the kitchen counter to watch me put some ham on her brother's dinner plate: "Hey Daddy what you make for supper--ACHOO!"

And she sneezed all over the ham.


I pitched that piece in the trash and hoped that was all she'd hit.


And now, face-first into the waiting arms of Morpheus.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

And... Trippy

THEBOY, tonight, as I picked him up for the first piggyback ride of his life: “I’m a climbing monkey!”


And Chris Whitley’s “Narcotic Prayer” plays, and I’m taken away.


There is, I believe, ecstasy in harmony.


And Varnaline’s “Sweet Life” plays and I’m taken away.


The semesters are all sort of blending together at the moment.


And Chris Cornell’s “Seasons” plays, and I’m taken away.


MOBB and THEGIRL are under the weather with colds or some such, the poor things. MOBB has a sore throat, and THEGIRL sounds congested, repeatedly says, “Mama I not feel well.”


And “One” by U2 plays, and I’m taken away.


“Let’s stay up until we see spiders coming out of the walls,” Bruiser would say. (Remember?) Almost there, almost there.


And “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye plays, and I’m taken away.


I heard a story once about some inner-city high school many decades ago that had a jukebox in the cafeteria. And as the story goes, every time “What’s Going On” started, the whole cafeteria went silent as they listened to the song. Wish I remembered more details, but I find the idea amazing nevertheless.


And “High for the Ride” by Sea of Green plays, and I’m taken away.


That was a damn good jogging song. I miss jogging, I do. Being up at sunrise, waking up the squirrels, smelling the dew on the grass. That calf injury of mine proved to be my undoing, perhaps. I just couldn’t go anymore, couldn’t get the doggone thing to heal.

Until recently. It’s not bothering me much these days. Funny, the dreaded Bas Rutten workouts I do require lots of jumping squats, and I almost feel like those are helping the leg.


I don’t know why iTunes played all these fairly trippy songs tonight. I swear this is just random song selection, and not some hint that I’m sitting here drinking a bottle of cough syrup or something.


I’ll need to sleep eventually. Good night, sweet night.

Monday, July 23, 2007

He's Got Honus Wagner Hair

I finally figured out who my latest dipstick haircut makes me look like.

You decide.


Forgive me for posting yet another one of my post-workout photos. Hey, it was handy. And yeah, in case I haven't mentioned it before, I have this compulsion: After I work out, sometimes I take a photo of my sweaty, wish-I-was-dead self and send it to Whit because ultimately, it's his fault.

It's his fault when I get up early in the morning and hop around doing pushups and burpees and squats and all sorts of other exercises with semi-disgusting sounding names.

And this is just one of the most recent ones. I usually make a threatening or obscene gesture. The only thing that keeps me from taking a photo of my actual sweaty butt and sending it to him is that, well, it'd probably break my camera or turn it to stone or something.


I'm rambling.

Man I'm tired. MAN. More work on this paper. I'm just cross-eyed with this. I've got six pages of rough draft (minimum length is 10), but one guy who's supposed to be in the paper is hard to turn up research on.

Okay, so I ended in a preposition. Sorry.


We had to evacuate the building today when the fire alarm started ringing. It was pretty great.


Good night.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend Wrapup

I should be working on a paper right now.

And I will, I will... MOBB is at work, and the kids are going to watch entirely too many movies today while I write 10-12 pages on folks with names like Krumboltz, Super, and Tideman.


It's been a good weekend, really good. I've had the one and only Whit McClendon up for a visit. He came because he had students participating in this year's Taiji Legacy Tournament up in Plano. Oh, and he came to see me.


Friday night was fine and dandy, just catching up over Tex Mex. He had time to swing by the office and meet a few of my favorite folks before quittin' time.

Just a few days earlier it had looked like this, but it's been cleaned up a lot since then.


Before setting off for the tournament we had time to do a Krav class together, which meant a lot to me. After my brief stint in Judo I'd sort of kept an eye out for another decent martial art taught close to home. Lo and behold there was a Krav Maga school a couple miles down the street.

And it was Whit, Mr. Old-School Kung Fu, who told me Krav is actually quite good ("elbows and knees mostly"), and that I MUST give it a shot.

A year and a half later here I am.

So we had a small but good class yesterday morning. I showed my usual flaws, did a couple things okay, and left having had a decent workout. Whit liked what we do, and it meant a lot to get his perspective on it.


So after lunch with the family, THEBOY and I headed up to Plano for the tournament. It took entirely too long to get there, it really did. Bad traffic.

But we stayed pretty much all day.

We saw some really cool forms.

We saw some Chinese grappling, which I didn't know existed. I can sort of pronounce it. I can't nearly spell it though.


So yeah, good stuff, good stuff. Whit's students did well, both earning gold medals. Afterwards we all had a nice meal together. I've got a great photo of THEBOY asleep in the van on the way home.


I'll dive into my paper soon, but first... just because...

"The moon. Beautiful."

[Yes, I've had that song from Ferris Bueller's Day Off stuck in my head for days.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Run BB Run

[A brief synopsis of today]


Turn off the alarm clock, BB. Don't hit snooze. You never do anyway. You never have.

Start the Beatles CD and turn on the light in THEBOY's room while you shave.

Find clothes for THEBOY to wear, fix his breakfast.

Pack snacks, laptop, two textbooks and make a protein shake.

Get ready to go. Newly awakened THEGIRL is asking you to take her to school, which is usually her mother's job. Stare at the clock and do the math. It looks like you can drop the kids off at their schools, though they're miles apart, and still make the big meeting on time.


"Tell your mother goodbye, and that she owes me one," you jokingly instruct the kids as you walk out the door.

The van is on empty. Dang. Subtract 10 minutes from the earlier estimate.

Drop off THEBOY. Drop off THEGIRL. Get gas.

Walk into the big meeting in Ft. Worth at one minute until start time. A bigwig in your organization is nice to you, and you chat briefly. She calls you "Daniel" repeatedly as you talk.

Have a seat, catch your breath.

"Everyone stand up," says the presenter. "Today's meeting will be interactive."

Stand for 30 minutes, tossing a ball and answering agency-related questions.

At breaktime, grab a tiny cup of coffee, the first you've had in three days. The bigwig comes by and calls you "Daniel" again. You finally have the nerve to correct her. She smiles. You smile. She walks away.

Talk to a coworker about the challenges at the new office. The internet provider has backed out, and at this point the agency may be moving forward using stone tablets and carrier pigeons.

Bigwig returns, this time with a bigwig from a local hospital in tow. He starts peppering you with questions from a three-week-old referral. The coffee helps just enough for you to recall the name and details. You have a pleasant chat.

The meeting resumes. You get to sit and listen to a state representative's aid go over recent legislation in detail.

The meeting ends. Lots of stuff is said during the meeting. Eh, you've got the Powerpoint.

Another coworker overhears you say you're hungry and informs you that she's joining you for lunch. Oh. Okay.

Though you're not in the mood for company, lunch actually goes okay, and the food is good.

Head to the office knowing that there's no internet, and wonder just what you can do to fill the time.

Walk in and learn that the day you moved in a woman (no one you know) was robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot. "Where was the gun?" you ask.

"Side of the head" is the reply. You've practiced a defense for that 1000 times in Krav but have no idea whether you could muster it in real life. It's a difficult move.

Sit down and take a deep breath. Three coworkers hit you up to help them clean out the main area so it'll look better for the upcoming meet 'n' greet Friday. Okay. All afternoon you store things and clean things and make trips to the dumpster.

During it all a friend of yours makes it clear she's feeling as loopy as you are, and you get several good belly laugh breaks.

Quittin' time comes. Head to the van, eyeing everyone in the parking lot suspiciously. The lady with the stroller doesn't seem to appreciate it.

Pick up THEBOY, who has gashed his toe on the playground. Drat.

Hit Target for some rotisserie chicken. Drop it off at home, and as you leave again to pick up THEGIRL, hope like hell you put it in the oven but didn't actually turn on the oven. You're sure you didn't turn it on. Pretty sure.

Pick up THEGIRL and head home. A great gift from Aunt Amanda arrives in the mail. You show THEGIRL how to put on her sparkly flip flops and give THEBOY a crash course in what happens when an acid (vinegar) meets a base (baking soda).

(Bitchin' volcano toy, Sis!)

Hope you can make 8pm Muay Thai, but you know better.

Feed the kids. They like the chicken and some new veggie chips. Tell them to leave some chips for their mother, as she'll be home soon--right?--to join us for supper. Get a text from MOBB at 7pm: "Is it okay for me to stay late?" Um... okay... you already have...

Put on Bambi in one room and Batman in the other. THEGIRL seems to love Bambi, but it's awfully dark and gritty in some places.

Write a two-page paper on couples therapy for PTSD sufferers.

Run a bath for THEBOY. The rough draft of the paper is done, and you realize you have a few free minutes. You grab the guitar and try in vain to figure out the Bad Company song that's going through your head.

Come out of the study and THEGIRL is nowhere to be seen at first. You look around and there at the dinner table is a tiny figure under a green blanket.

Crap--looks like Bambi shook her up after all, you think. You call her name and she says nothing.

You reach down to embrace this dear girl, whom you assume is scared, and you hear something...

Crunch crunch crunch

You realize that a nearly-empty bag of veggie chips is sitting on the table beside her and have your second round of belly laughs for the day.

You cannot chastise her, but you tell her she's done.

THEBOY's bath is over, and THEGIRL starts hers. MOBB comes home and takes over like a champ.

Muay Thai is long over.

Read a comic book, complete with 10 character voices, to THEBOY in bed. Tell him good night.

Gamely let THEGIRL smack you in the head with a teddy bear as you tell her good night.

Finish editing the counseling video you have to present tomorrow night. Make dubs.

MOBB goes to bed.

You were the first up this morning and will be the last down tonight, BB.

The alarm will buzz in about seven and a half hours.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What Got Said:

Tonight, as I tried to play a song on the guitar.

THEGIRL: “I need a movie!”

(Repeat 29 times)


Today, as my sister and brother-in-law filled out passport paperwork:

"So, both of your parents are US citizens, even though you brother looks like a Pakistani?"


Today, as THEBOY told me today I should go with him to NRH20 soon:

“But you shouldn’t wear a bathing suit, because you’ll look naked to the herd.”

ME: “Uh… what?”

THEBOY: “Ah nevermind. But people won't want to see your bellybutton.”


Tonight, as I told MOBB about the brother-in-law’s remark and reminded her that someday I want to have that fancy genetic testing that tells EVERYTHING that’s in your bloodline.

“I just hope nothing comes out as unknown!”

She seemed to think that I could have, like, 3% unknown in my genetic makeup. I think she’s worried that I’m part Labrador or something.


Actually, she could be right… ask either of my kids about “doggy Daddy.”


Whit, texting me as I did my workout yesterday: “I just had a brownie.”


Ya'll have a terrific week.

(I had no coffee today, so I'm sending you decaffeinated love.)


[EDIT: Man I hope that joke with "Pakistani" in it doesn't come across wrong. I'm an open-minded, multi-cultural sort of guy... am I being too much of a Briscoe here?]

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Las Fotografias Mixtecas

Here's what being me is like: I bust my butt 5-6 days a week on these crazy exercises. I drink protein shakes and creatine. And after weeks and weeks of this I have the tiniest bit of new muscle definition in my legs. Yes, right above my knee is something that wasn't there before. You've gotta squint just right, put your hand on it just so... and there it is. Kelli had to look for it. I really only know it's there because it's a place my hand naturally rests when I'm, you know, just sitting around. And it feels different.

So at this rate I'll have a fine, admirable physique by the time I'm 141 years old.


I take a lot of photos on the cellphone. For whatever reason, I just like to do it. I like capturing images at any time, even these low-res ones. And tonight I thought I'd just clear out some stuff from the cellphone and elsewhere.

Okay, so this isn't a cellphone image; it's a drawing I did some years ago while working at a TV station. Can't recall which one. THEBOY used to ask me to draw him pictures, so I'd do stuff like this.


It's been a pretty good weekend here, save for the fact that MOBB is still under the weather. She did finally eat a little this afternoon. She's going to stay home from work tomorrow, the poor thing.


I went to the school tonight and did one of the Bas Rutten workouts. It's 28 minutes of exertion, man. There did come a point at which I started to map a route to the back door, just in case I needed to deposit my supper somewhere.

But I made it with my PBJ sandwich still safely on board the Starship BB.

I blame Whit for these workouts. What can I say? We're constantly exchanging messages about how hard we've worked. Now, this man is the owner of a Kung Fu school, a professional athlete. Being in shape is part and parcel of his job. So I can't exactly keep up. But I do what I can. And it's his fault.

After my workouts I sometimes feel compelled to send him photos showing him just how tore up I am. Many times I'm shooting him the finger, but I didn't feel like stooping quite that low here.

Yes, I'm shirtless. Relax, it's a tiny photo. I don't intend to scar you for life.


And now I'm watching some IFL action on one of our local coathanger channels, and Bas Rutten is the host.

I believe he's stalking me.


So my office is moving about five minutes south of where we've been. We spent a few days this week, packing up our stuff in these bright orange crates, labeling, things, throwing things away. I don't even have an extensive history in this building, but I've gotta say it's going to be strange to be gone. We'll be in our new digs Monday.


MOBB and I had this conversation earlier. That is, I flapped my yap and she gave me that pitying look she sometimes gives me when she thinks I've lost my mind.

Looking back on the 80s, which so many people of my generation seem to love to do, I find that I'm willing to cut slack to many more artists than I once was. Bands I once hated I can now, at least, see why they appealed to someone.

A few examples:

The Cure, sure, okay, at some point every teen feels awkward and giddy and depressed and pimply and wants to fit in with that "different" crowd... and that's just in 10 minutes at lunch, okay. Enter Robert Smith's patented yelp.

And Duran Duran. I was a big DD hater back in the day, due in no small part to some of my girlfriends' obsession with them. But okay, they had three unrelated guys named Taylor (one of whom was handsome), they had a knack for a pop hook, they made cool videos... okay, fine fine.

Flock of Seagulls, okay, they were spacey and dreamy, and actually had a guitar player. Berlin too.

The Cars were a fine little pop band.

Sometimes Hall and Oates were flippin' terrific.

But all these years later, I'm still totally lost on one. Really. Of all the bands I ever disliked, ever raged against, wrote bad things about, all that...


I have no earthly idea why anyone liked Bon Jovi. I got nothing. Every time I hear him I look around like someone's finally going to jump out of the woodwork and say, "Nah man, we're just screwing with you... this was a Weird Al side project kinda like that Garth Brooks thing where he pretended his name was Chris Gaines. Only not as funny."


This is one of my favorite things about our old building. I spoke to the owner of this poster, and she assures me she'll have it prominently featured at the new office.


Let's knock out some more of these.

This is a cool display they had at the movie theater for the latest Fantastic Four movie. Man this is going to make some fanboy happy when he sets it up in his efficiency apartment!

And finally...

This shot was taken a few months ago at a health fair THEBOY and I attended down in Alvarado. It was a nice affair with bounce houses and stuff. He was eager to try this velcro suit/wall attraction, but after this, his only try, he decided he'd stick to less complicated stuff.


Ya'll have a good weekend.

Friday, July 13, 2007


get the urge for a root beer float?

And you realize you have some root beer.

And lo and behold, you have most of a pint of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.

And you combine them in a big glass...

And it's every bit as good as you'd hoped?

MAN did that hit the spot.



Hood and I are going to see the Smashing Pumpkins in Dallas on November 3. I've had a bit of a rekindled interest in those guys lately, though admittedly it's for the earlier, Gish-era stuff. But yeah, I could stand an evening of deep ear bends courtesy of the Pumpkins.


The Angels and Rangers are playing. The Angels just put the first run on the board, and THEBOY is literally writhing on the couch in agony.

That kid's got a competitive streak in him the likes of which I simply haven't experienced.


MOBB is under the weather right now. Has been for a couple days. I hope she's better soon.


The Papi Chulo Minivan, aka my Nissan Quest, was in the shop this week for new CV joints.

The tab: $860.



My daughter is asleep right now. She's 15 feet away in her room, on the other side of a closed door.

And I can tell you without moving a muscle that we currently have a Code Brown.

I have been changing diapers since 2000.

Please, kill me.


Advanced Krav in the morning. Coooooooooool.


Parlett, wherefore art thou?


And Nadine stopped by! Cool. Your internship in Indonesia starts... in September?


The diaper is changed. I have done my duty.

May the diaper gods be pleased. And if not, may MOBB have to change the next one.


I am burning a sacrificial candle. It may not please the diaper gods, but it helps with the stench.

A little.


MOBB used to tell me that I had a good eye for detail, and that I'd be an ideal candidate for, say, a forensic examiner.

Thing is, this overwhelming aversion to gross smells would be my downfall. Sights I can handle, fine. Smells though...

Yeah, I can see me as a forensic examiner. I get a call: Dead guy in his home, in a recliner.

Been there two weeks.

My plan: Hold my breath, walk in the door, say "It looks like suicide to me!" as I exhale and run back out the door.


Man this post took a dark turn.


I've rambled on about almost nothing for long enough. Ya'll have a terrific weekend. Close your eyes here and there and just live in the moment.

Music Thangs

I’m actually writing this Thursday night. Again, I should be sleeping.


Didn’t get to show my video tonight. Dang. Technical difficulties.


A mixed up music meme. I just ganked a few things from a quick Google search.

*Did you have any bands that you were ashamed of liking in your younger days?* I’ve pretty much been independent enough to go ahead and like whoever the @#$% I want since about age 10. I never could quite get my head around my Tears for Fears CD though.

*Do you look back on some of the things you listened to and groan? If so, what were they?* Let’s see… Judas Priest. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. And my moment of clarity came at a Judas Priest concert. I looked around at all the other mullet-wearing imbeciles there, watched the fist pumping, Rob Halford’s comic preening, and realized that the whole thing was startlingly stupid. And I’d paid to be there.

*Up through the 80's there were a lot of music related tv shows did you watch any? (That weren't on Mtv or Vh-1).* There were? I was always an Austin City Limits fan. And you know, there was a time when BET used to trot out decent concert footage of guys like Muddy Waters and BB King.

*A good many singers/musicians made films that were pretty awful, but have a cult following, which ones do you like?* Rock ‘n’ Roll High School featuring the Ramones is a classic. Roger Corman’s greatest achievement.

*Are any of your youthful guilty pleasures still favorites now? Or do you pretend like you never liked them?* I still think the Firm did some damn good songs.

*What type of music do you find to be the best to sleep to?* Anything in the “new age” section will put me to sleep, but given my druthers I’d rather toss that Kitaro CD in the trash and sleep in silence.

*Is there any kind of music that you absolutely can't fall asleep to?* I guess this is a setup to say something like “Norweigan death metal.” Really though, so many lullabies have bells in them—and I can’t stand bells—that I’d probably not be able to sleep while listening to a lullaby.

*If anyone artist could sing you to sleep who would it be and what would they sing to you?* Why don’t we just gather Diana Krall, Susanna Hoffs, and two-thirds of Wilson Phillips and let them pillow fight over who gets to sing me to sleep? And the winner can sing anything she wants, save for Wilson Phillips songs.

*Top 5 "Musical" prized possessions...rare cd...autographs, instruments etc.* For a man who doesn’t really aim to collect autographs, I’ve somehow ended up with a solid little collection. Just off the top of my head:

1. My BB King autographed 8x10”. After fetching my wife and kids, this would be my next trip into a burning house.
2. My Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck autographed ticket stub and backstage pass. They’re framed with an 8x10” of the two of them playing together. I got them one very fortunate night in ’89 when I went backstage in Houston and met them both.
3. My Autographed Eric Johnson 8x10”.
4. My Tom Servo acoustic guitar, from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode “The Girl in Lover’s Lane.”
5. Gotta say my John Entwistle autograph from the 1990 NAMM show in Anaheim. He wasn’t nice, he didn’t want to sign, and I felt like a jerk for bugging him. Still… he was the Ox.


Okay, Muay Thai makes BB sore.

Pain is good. It reminds us that we’re alive.


Have a happy Friday. Somebody loves you. Be glad for that.


Friday morning post-script: I dreamed I was in some familiar club, seeing Dash Rip Rock, who were a sad sight. They were plodding through some generica three-chord instrumental, and keyboards were all over the stage. At one far end was Bill Davis, plugging away. At the other was Hokey, probably as far away from Bill as Sonny was from Cher when my folks saw them on their "pending divorce" tour.

So seeing Dash was nothing like the old days, when beer bottles got smashed, Hokey was fall-down drunk, I was in the pit with gum in my hair, Bruiser was singing...

In the dream I forgot something in the van. I went to look for it, and someone tapped me on the shoulder. I started to throw an elbow (that's elbow #3 in Krav)... and it was my wife waking me up.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Swimming, Packing, Kicking Butt, Puking and Slapping

A song you need to hear:

“You Better Swim” by Motorhead, from The Spongebob Squarepants Movie Soundtrack. No idea why Motorhead did a song for this soundtrack, but it’s a big beefy shuffle that deserves more attention than to be buried on some cutout bin CD.


Packing up to move offices… I found a can of “Dust Free” brand compressed air. You know, one of those keyboard cleaning things. And it felt empty and I shook it. And then I thought, how should a can full of air feel?

So I packed it up.


BB’s current therapy: Sky Valley by Kyuss.


Started the Muay Thai class at school last night. Man am I glad I’ve made such an effort in recent weeks to work on my stamina. All those evenings and weekends doing Bas Rutten exercises or one of Whit’s insane “gymless” routines paid off. The first 10 minutes were just constant motion. When we weren’t jogging we were doing pushups, crunches, or jumping squats. And that was just the warmup.

We worked on kicks, punches, and blocking punches. I love how fluid and quick MT is, how the strikes are sort of flicked out there. It’s sort of stealthy in that regard. I’ve always felt like sort of a lead foot before, so this should help. And some of the drills address the kinks in my punches pretty well.

And it’s physical too, no doubt about it. From class one even. When you put up your gloves to block a punch, you still take the blow in the face to a certain extent.


Just found some random Youtube video with some MT highlights just in case you’re not familiar with it.


Tonight I present my first counseling videotape in pre-practicum. I’m pretty excited about that. The practice session I taped went well enough. Looking back over the tape I’d certainly change some things, but okay, so be it.


So did you have a magical time? When was it?


Whit’s coming up in about eight days for the Taiji Legacy Tournament in Plano. Cooooool. I’m hoping to take THEBOY with me as we go over and check out some good martial arts action. Good luck to all the competitors from Whit’s school, Jade Mountain Martial Arts!


Something I said to THEBOY a few days ago:

“Although I think it would make for interesting puke later, no, I don’t think you should eat your sister’s gummy worms since you just had the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.”


Tomorrow is Friday. Go out and slap someone you like on the butt.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Good Night, Austin

It's good to be back in Austin, and this is one of the reasons why.

This dish is where it all started. I lived in southeast Austin with an apartment full of guys. Three or four at any given time. I'm a little unclear, looking back on it. I'm a little unclear on a lot of things when I look back on them.

I paid rent there, but I didn't sleep there much, because there was this girl, see. That'd be Kelli, aka MOBB.

I sort of semi-lived with her at that point. On the nights when she didn't boot me out, saying she'd rather hang out with her cat than with yours truly.

It's true.

Where were we? Where am I? Well, I'm in a La Quinta in Austin, obsessively hammering away at this bloody machine when I should be sleeping.

I don't do boredom well. Was a time when I'd have found something else to do.

But yeah, this dish, this mighty fine plate of green enchiladas, this has something to do with the point I meant to make.

And it's this: Our long-standing tradition of going out for Tex Mex pretty much every Friday night started at El Jacalito in Austin. My dish: enchiladas verdes de pollo, aka green chicken enchiladas.

No one does a tomatillo sauce like El Jacalito. And being there tonight was a little like going back in time. Have the prices even increased? It was reasonable for sure. Chips were good, the decor was identical. Could those still be the same chairs 16 years later?


This is the city where:

In November of 1991 I watched a red fireball shoot across the sky. I got so wrapped up in it that I walked into the middle of the blind curve on Rundberg. I'm lucky I didn't get killed.

Tonight, I stood in the swimming pool, staring at the clouds above me, red from the city lights. And a flock of ducks few overhead.

I set out on my own on October 13, 1990 (MOBB's birthday, not that I knew it at the time). Dad dropped me off in my apartment. As I tried to sleep that night, excited to be on my own, the ceiling fan in my room broke, sending a blade crashing into the blinds. It must have been an omen for something, but what?

In all the clouds I saw and on all the streets we drove and the food we ate and landmarks we passed, and the air and the water and the smells and the old footprints I crossed, I was looking for something that I couldn't find. I simply couldn't.


I used to come here in high school. Young journalist that I was, I managed to attend a couple of UIL conferences here when I was 16 and 17. The UT campus was alive with excitement and activity and possibility. We attended workshops, stayed up too late, stole a keg of beer, gave it back, drank some other stuff, lied about girls and generally found magic in this place.


In 1986, fresh out of high school, I could hear it. I was into Tones by Eric Johnson. WAY into it. And I could hear Austin in those tones, in the exotic percussion infused into the intro to "Friends" and the soaring melody of "Bristol Shore." I could hear Austin, feel it.

I came up here a lot, often dragging my sister and other friends, making uninformed pilgrimages to Antone's to see whoever the hell happened to be on the bill. The folks who came with me had varying degrees of interest in the music, but I was ecstatic to hear, see, and occasionally bump into the likes of Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Hubert Sumlin, Eddie Taylor, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Otis Rush, Kim Wilson, Angela Strehli, Doug Sahm...


So I moved up here. I got hammered every day for six weeks, then set about finding a job.

I got one in a record store, but my car broke down. So on my first day I took the city bus. A black man standing in the aisle fell down and turned a lot of different colors. They summoned and ambulance and put us on another bus. I was late to work, and the boss said he didn't believe my story.

That boss and I had a few words once in a while.


I have a girl to thank for the night I met Buddy Guy. I'd tried to date this little brunette named Laura, but it didn't work out. As I left a Buddy Guy show at Antone's and headed for Taco Bell one night, I almost bumped into her. I didn't want to talk to her, so I headed back to my car at the club. Buddy was leaving, and a line of employees and other folks stood in a line to shake his hand. I got in line like I belonged. Stevie Ray Vaughan had been dead only a few months at that point. I shook Buddy's hand and said, "Take care of yourself." What I wanted to tell him was not to fly in any damn helicopters.


His hand felt like a sandpaper-covered vice.


I didn't intend to go to school here. I intended to party, to live the good life, whatever that is. But along came this girl, see... that'd be MOBB... suddenly I felt the need to, you know, MAKE something of myself in order to have a chance of keeping her.

So I got my degree.

It was a tough damn town to make a living in, though, so after six years we high-tailed it for the DFW area. I haven't regretted it much, if ever, though Austin has always held a special place in my heart.


And I guess my heart is where it'll remain. I just keep waiting for some fleeting glimpse or sensation, some piece of the magic that used to ooze out of the very air here for me. And I can't find it.

Time for bed. Good night.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Quick Hits and Burpees

THEBOY and I hit a different Starbucks this morning.

Pros: It's close to home, and they had my cinnamon scones.

Cons: It's small, and right by the freeway.

I think we'll keep looking.


Things to do this weekend:

1. Write chapter 10 paper for class (done)
2. Write chapter 11 paper for class (rough draft done, though I reserve the right to chuck it all and start over)
3. Go to Krav Maga in the morning. Take kids, complete with snacks, blanket, and movie.
4. Feed kids lunch.
5. Deal with roof inspection guy who is coming over.
6. Pick up house in anticipation of pest control treatment
7. Get haircut
8. Get THEBOY a haircut at a different place (naturally... my "grownup" barber shop doesn't provide video games)
9. Take midterm exam
10. Videotape four 10-minute practice counseling sessions for pre-practicum. Then assist three classmates as they do theirs.
11. Buy groceries.
12. Pack for Austin trip Monday
13. Put van in the shop


I'm exhausted, practically nodding off here at this crazy machine. But I've just had a root beer float big enough to hide the Loch Ness monster, and if I go to bed now I'll just have to get up shortly to hit the restroom.


It's great to be around THEBOY as he discovers his world through the written word. As we drive along he reads signs and comments on them.

This morning:

"Mattress Giant. Hmm."


"It would make more sense to me if it said 'Giant Mattress'. Maybe they just wrote it that way so people would notice it and come in the store."


The sun was actually shining this afternoon. Cool!


BB's current therapy: "Twice as Hard" by the Black Crowes. I'm enjoying playing the ripping slide part on the new Les Paul.


I've subscribed to Guitar Player magazine for the first time. I used to read it voraciously back in the day. There are lots of nu metal shredders in there I don't know a thing about.

But the cover story is about the 20th anniversary of the release of Joe Satriani's Surfing with the Alien.

Whoa. 20 years. I worked at Hasting's Records when that came out. Heck, I bought it. On vinyl.

I wasn't all that taken with it, by the way.


I don't like burps. There you go. I don't like hearing them, doing it, nothing. I wish we didn't burp.

But we do.


And I'm not altogether fond of burpees either, though I certainly do enough of them.


It's about that time. Take care, take care.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Week

The rain, the rain. It’s been crazy, it really has. It’s too much. This area is not used to it. Rivers are overflowing, creek banks are eroding, and I’ve seen a couple photos of people whose creekside back yards are now half as big as they were due to the erosion.

Here’s a shot from Sunday. The winds were easily 40mph if not more. This is my neighbor’s house. The flag was horizontal. I grew up with tropical storms and occasional hurricanes, and I’ve gotta say that for about 20 minutes this little storm was like being in one. Local TV stations didn’t say a damn thing about it until it had moved eastward and was in Dallas County. Thanks for nothing.

And the next day when I went to lunch at my favorite hoagie shop, I saw this. They’d sustained serious water damage during the weekend storms. When I was there the insurance man had just left, and the proprietors had no idea what they were facing.


I picked up MOBB’s new headlamp Tuesday after work. Again, we were being hammered by rain as I hit the salvage yard. It was a different crew in there this time. Beer cans were lined up on the counter, and the man who rang me up said something nonsensical over and over. After trying to get him to clarify what he’d said three times, I went with plan B, which was to merely exclaim “Oooooooh!” like I suddenly understood.

I paid. I left.

And as I left, a man and a woman began to shove each other in the parking lot. I know this isn’t a great shot, but that’s what I was trying to capture. The rain’s making those junkyard folks crazy, man.


Something startling happened yesterday: I put in the new headlamp with just about zero problems. I’m… not used to this. Really. I’m used to, you know, the bolts being in awful-to-reach places, not having the right size socket, brittle plastic snapping, dropping screws… nope. I hammed out the dent as well as I could, popped in the new headlamp and was good to go almost immediately. I’m quite stunned. The automotive gods are clearly pleased with me.

The Hoods came down, and we had a mighty fine lunch at Outback Steakhouse. Gotta watch that Hood, man… he’s good enough with kids that he’d be a natural at being a father.

And of course, we went and saw fireworks last night.

Hurst had canceled theirs (dang), so we hit Haltom City. We were caught in a traffic snarl for a bit, and barely got there before they started. But we were positioned perfectly. THEGIRL sat on my lap in the driver’s seat, and THEBOY sat on MOBB’s lap in the passenger seat. We had a perfect view.

But after THEGIRL accidentally started the windshield wipers about six times and broke wind in my face a couple, MOBB and I traded. I got THEBOY in exchange for THEGIRL and a pet to be named later.

(Nyuk nyuk)

Ya’ll have a good week.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Night Bas and I Had a Visitor

Rain. Rain rain rain.

Know a good way to entertain a six-year-old on a rainy Sunday when you need to write a paper? Plug in an old videotape of Robot Wars. Heh heh. It's pretty doggone entertaining to the daddy as well.


Been working out hard lately, really trying to eat right, drink enough water, all that.

I was at the KM school tonight, busting my butt yet again to the Bas Rutten All Around Workout.

("If you're not tired you can do some jumping squats!")

The door wasn't locked, and just as I was about to wrap up, a man on a cellphone came in.

Denim shorts, wife-beater shirt, stocky Latino guy. He ended his call, and as I approached him, he put a hand behind his back: "You here alone?"

All sorts of alarms were ringing in my head.

"No, there's another guy, and he's due back any second," I lied.


"Is this a dance school?" he asked. Nevermind all the banners in there that proclaim it to be, you know, a Krav Maga school. Or the sight of ME in grappling gloves, working combinations on the bag and doing pushups and abs.

"No, that's next door," I said. He walked out with me right there in the doorway behind him. I pointed at the darkened place next door, and closed the door and locked it.

Then I got back to my workout.


Gotta say... my common sense was tingling. Bigtime.


Ya'll have a good week.