September 2008 Archives

guess i'm only a spudboy

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this past week was much less eventful than the week before it. my power has continued to stay on. there are a few people where i work still without power at home, but most of the people i know have power again. there are a bunch of traffic lights not working -- either off completely or flashing. it has made getting to work and home pretty crazy for most people i think. fortunately i don't have too far to go, and i work 9ish to 6ish so i miss the worst of the traffic anyway.

the lawn crew was scheduled to come by sept 12th but didn't happen, seeing as there was a hurricane and all. they ended up coming the next friday (19th), which i hadn't expected, and cleaned up a fair bit of the leaves and small sticks. the big limbs and small tree were still there, so i called jack to borrow my electric chainsaw. he ended up coming by and cutting up most of it while i was at work. he left behind a few bigger pieces. i got him to leave me the chainsaw so i could finish up. then friday when i got home from work everything was cleaned. the lawn crew had come back on their normal scheduled day. this just further proves that laziness pays off.

i did go out this morning and cut down a big dead limb that has been resting on the roof of the apartment behind the house. after spending about an hour doing that, i remembered that i don't really ever do any physical labor or ever spend any amount of time out in the sun.

friday morning (yesterday) i decided i would take the bel air to work. i moved the pickup onto the street, then hopped into the bel air. but when i was backing out of the drive something didn't feel right. i got out and walked around to the passenger side and the front tire was completely flat. i don't know when or how that happened. i guess i have to find a shop that repairs tires now.

i got my other order i'd made awhile back. i ordered a couple of things from the website for the band cake. i bought a gas bird coffee mug (such a cute and courteous little death-dispensing bird! it's the one on the cd tray insert for b-sides and rarities...and that one smells like gasoline if you scratch it.) and a cake crown t-shirt. seeing as i was looking for a xxl, my choices were extremely limited. fortunately, the shirt i got was one of the few i liked a lot. the pig hoodie is pretty nice, but i don't wear hoodies much.

last night i watched unforgiven. it had some nice visuals and was pretty good, but sometimes it felt like they were working too hard to make every person have both a good and bad side. i know it's become very popular in film to not have black-and-white good/bad guys, but it seems to me much of the time the films doing that make their characters do something joltingly out of character to add some complexity to them. crash is perhaps one of the most perfect examples of this phenomenon, in my opinion. when a character does something that makes you think "they just did what?! why did they do that?!" then they didn't build the complexity of the character very well. (although obviously there are cases where having someone do something seemingly completely out of character can be very unnerving for the audience and used for beautiful effect.)

as a wee lad -- way back in 1981 -- i was spending the night at a friend's house with a few other guys. we watched fridays (the tv series andy kaufman pissed everyone off on when he stopped doing the skit without any warning), and on this particular night my world was profoundly expanded. that's the night i saw devo for the first time. it was the first musical salvo into my psyche, the first time a band clicked and i said "this is my music. not my parents', not my friends', not the radio's, but mine."

thanks to the miracle of the internets and youtube, i was just able to relive that moment for the first time in about 27 years. here are two of the visions that brought me into the world of devo (and eventually post-punk/new wave in general) way back then:
[[video]] devo - super thing (instrumental version) + jerkin' back 'n' forth (from the tv show fridays, 1981)
[[video]] devo - i saw jesus + through being cool (from the tv show fridays, 1981)
[[video]] devo - working in the coal mine (from the tv show fridays, 1981)

in addition, here's a wonderful and entertaining video + live performance...
[[video]] devo - smart patrol/mr. dna

and two beautiful devo interviews from back in the day:
[[video]] - freedom of choice era (1980)
[[video]] - new traditionalists era (1981)

these interviews are brilliant! those spudboys were intelligent and subversive. what a great combination.


"guess i'm only a spudboy
looking for a real tomato
[...]
wait a minute, something's wrong.
he's a man with a plan. his finger is pointed at devo.
now we must sacrifice ourselves, that many others may live.
ok, we've got a lot to give. this monkey wants a word with you!"

--devo "smart patrol / mr. dna"

the butterfly effect

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upon finishing my last entry, i left the house to meet the potts at goode company bbq for lunch. when i opened the back door -- as if on cue -- a beautiful large butterfly came around the corner of the house and gracefully flapped and coasted its way a couple of feet off the ground right in front of me and went around the other corner of the house. it was like some sort of scene from a movie or something -- a cheesy visual from a hack storyteller portraying how my mental fog had lifted and the world was in balance. except it really happened.

i took this past friday off from work because i was basically in an emotionally drained zombie-like state, shuffling along from place to place with little feeling or thought. i got a few offers from various people to hang out and/or stay with them. by friday night i decided maybe i should. i had to force myself to get up the energy to pack a few things, get outside, and drive. i went over to the potts and we watched what appears to have been a bootleg copy of wanted. i say that because a lot of the titles and some text in the movie were in cyrillic. (at least it appeared to me to be cyrillic.) the movie was like the child of a wu film and fight club, heavily filtered through the matrix. but with all of that wonderful genetic material, it still came out a loser. beautiful at times? yes. some cool sequences? yes. some witty dialogue here and there? yes. angelina jolie? yes. but overall: eh. i slept at the potts, then spent saturday until around 6pm with jack and the kids. from there i went over to jamie's (amateria) place. i hung out and met her dad and his wife, did some things to try and finish setting up her wi-fi and getting her daughter's desktop online, and ate supper. (she'd already done most of the hard stuff with the wi-fi and router. i just had to play with things a bit to get everything more finalized.) i stayed until around 11pm and then headed back to the house. which had no power.

however, i did have a box from amazon waiting for me on my front step. in it was one of the jerry reed cds i mentioned ordering earlier in the blog (the essential jerry reed). it also contained another cd i'd ordered:

  • (the little darlin' sounds of) lloyd green -- lloyd green (little darlin'/koch)

also inside were two dvds:

  • one flew over the cuckoo's nest (warner brothers)
  • before sunrise - richard linklater (warner brothers)

and four of the five blu-ray discs i'd ordered:

  • the shining - stanley kubrick (warner brothers)
  • 2001: a space odyssey - stanley kubrick (warner brothers)
  • full metal jacket - stanley kubrick (warner brothers)
  • a clockwork orange - stanley kubrick (warner brothers)

yes, four of kubrick's classic movies, all remastered and attached to a bunch of new extras. and all in 1080p.

but the blu-ray i put in my cart first -- the one i'm considering my first blu-ray purchase is:

  • bottle rocket - wes anderson (criterion)

yep, the criterion release of bottle rocket. it doesn't come out until november, but i went ahead and pre-ordered. and i decided to go ahead and step up to blu-ray. i guess i'll have to get a blu-ray player and a tv that can display high-def by then. i'm not a gamer, but i'm considering a ps3 instead of a traditional blu-ray player. i don't know.

oh yeah. and last week i got the other poster i ordered -- a black and white still from the beginning of a clockwork orange of alex (mcdowell) looking maniacal holding a glass of milk in the korova milk bar. below it is the text: "a dark ironic tale of an ultraviolent future. clockwork orange" (and joyously it wasn't mangled in transit like the johnny cash flipping the finger poster.)

hhmmm...of the six movies i got, five contain mental destruction or breakdowns of some sort of another as a major plot point: jack nicholson in both the shining and one flew over the cuckoo's nest, hal in 2001..., the cadets in full metal jacket, and alex in a clockwork orange. the only exception was before sunrise, which is a tale of meeting a romantic soulmate but only having until sunrise before you must part ways.

maybe that butterfly wasn't just random chance.

i've got the power.

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around 9:30am this morning i was laying in bed, when suddenly the floor fan came on. my brain, in its addled state, thought "hmm, that's interesting. i haven't heard that in a while." then, suddenly, it hit me: the power just came back on! i waited 5, 10, 20 minutes before telling anyone else or believing it myself, because i didn't trust it'd stay on. i'm still eyeballing it cautiously, but i've had electricity for about 3 hours now so maybe it's there to stay. about 30 minutes ago i finally turned on my powermac. which is how i'm posting this.

the past 8.5 days without electricity has been a weird and somewhat surreal trip. which is hopefully over as pretty much everything should be back to normal for me now. it's surprising how much it affected me. at least i assume being thrown out of my routine and not getting good sleep and not being able to do any of the things i like to do (music, movies, computers) is what did it to me. more on everything later.

"and wake to all the griefs I left behind"

no power again. it gives me the opportunity each night to relive the losing/erasing of memories sequences from eternal sunshine of the spotless mind -- the blue-white circle of an led flashlight partially and disjointedly illuminating bits and pieces of once familiar objects from my past that are now in the dark.

except when I wake up in the morning, all of the objects and memories are still there instead of erased. and the next night I get to repeat the experience.

(blog title, just as the movie title, taken from the Alexander pope poem "eloisa to abelard". I recommend reading the poem - particularly if you liked the movie. and while you're at it, read the real letters between heloise and abelard. good, sad, painful stuff.)

it seemed funny at the time

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here are a couple of pics taken during the live broadcast I was doing on ustream.tv Friday evening from the top of a parking garage in the medical center. thanks to glimsmack for capturing the images for...uh...posterity...I guess.

here's what the scene looked like:

phliktid-hurricane-ike-broadcast.jpg

and here's a (digitally smudged) image of the badge I was wearing:

phliktid-hurricane-ike-badge.jpg

well, at least we were entertained.

last night I had a few shots of patron, wrote a few pages of thoughts in the dark, and then fell asleep. the temperature was nice - even a bit cool - but I still didn't sleep that well.

we were supposed to go to work today, so I dutifully went. not much of anything got accomplished, although we did get to compare hurricane experiences. most people seemed to think they had had enough of a hurricane experience. I, however, still wanted more. (they seemed to find that odd or perplexing.) the company provided free pizza for lunch. at the end of the day, i left work and came home, took a nap, then went and ate at the house of pies. now I'm home again. still no power. so this is from my iPhone.

this is getting old. and by "this" I don't mean not having power. that's kind of annoying at times, but it's not that big of a deal. sometimes I just get tired of trying, of keeping on for the sake of keeping on. doesn't sometimes it just sort of feel like maybe life doesn't have anything more left in its goody bag? maybe it's just me. maybe I'm just not cut out for making the best of things. or seizing opportunities. or creating my own opportunities. or even just making due. I'm like woody Allen in his movies, except I'm not even funny. (some would argue he's not funny either.)

anyway. I'll shut up now, instead of giving other people fodder for worry, derision, pep talks, or whatever. (and I'm not going to approve comments about any of this last stuff so don't bother typing it. humorous comments excepted, of course.)

if the lack of power don't kill me...

(this is being typed on my iphone, so excuse any weird typos)

i'm still without power. sleeping on the porch last night was pretty nice, since the cold front came in. it was nice today as well, and should be nice for the next couple of days.

I ended up going over to Methodist cafeteria yesterday evening before leaving the medical center area. it was good to get a warm burger.

I got up today around 10am I think. I'd charged up my iPod at work last night, so I laid on the porch and listened to music with the headphones. I took a warm shower (my water heater is gas) and got on my motorcycle. I saw a few places with long lines and still a lot closed. I ended up eating at cleburne cafeteria. chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, cooked carrots, cucumber salad, Texas toast, and an iced tea is not exactly roughing it.

I went back home and stayed at the house awhile, then a co-worker who lives in pearland asked me if I wanted to meet him at his house. it had some wind and rain damage. I took my camera and iPhone and iPod. he didn't have power, but while I was there the power came on. I charged my electronics and watched some tv, then headed back home.

I was home for awhile, then decided I'd try to get something to eat. I drove around, but places seemed to have long lines, and a couple of places I thought of going that I figured would be open weren't. I finally stopped at the hobbit, but when I walked in they said they were already closed for seating due to the curfew. so I gave up and went home.

so now I'm eating some pretzels and cookies and drinking some water. I also have a 750ml bottle of patron silver I think I'm going to investigate. no wonder people used to smoke and drink all the time back in the olden days. there isn't much else to do after the sun goes down if you're by yourself.

post-ike: first night, second day

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last night i got home and had no power, so around 12:30am i decided to see if i could find some place to get something to eat, or maybe get a cold drink. i ended up driving from shepherd down westheimer all the way to fondren, took fondren to richmond, then richmond all the way back to shepherd. there were very few places that had power along the way, so most of the traffic lights and street lights were out too. one of the only places that had a bunch of people was a cajun place at the railroad tracks on richmond, and it was full of cop cars. if i liked cajun food i might have stopped, but i also wondered if it was being used as a rally point for the police. (or maybe the cops just all knew it was one of the only places open.) i got back home around 1:30am.

i spent the night on the porch. it was a little warm and there was no wind, but then sometime in the middle of the night i was awakened by a downpour. that cooled things down. except it kept raining. today there's been flooding around town because of all of the rain last night. i got up at some point this morning and slept on the bed some. it should be cooler tonight though, and probably no rain. that will help all of the people without power.

i got up around 10:30am and decided to walk around. i walked probably around 20 blocks or so. i only saw about 3 places that were open (a couple of convenience stores, and a mexican food restaurant i don't like). when i got back home, i grabbed a cigar and a book and sat outside and smoked and read for awhile. while i was out there, i talked with a couple of guys cleaning the yard across the street. it turns out one of them owns an old car, works at nasa, and grew up in san angelo. that was kind of cool.

i drove into work around 12:30pm today. (which is how i am able to post this.) i needed to take care of some work-related stuff, which i couldn't do from home since i don't have power. i also needed to charge some electronics. and i wanted to have the chance to eat something warm. there were a lot of lines at gas stations that had power and were open. fortunately, i had filled the tanks on all three of my vehicles, so i should be good for awhile.

houston has instituted a curfew at 9pm, so i'll probably head home and hang out at home again tonight. i may see if i can find some place to get a warm meal before i lock myself away for the evening.

hurricane ike 2008 - some pictures

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when i went to check on my house around noon today, i went ahead and took some pictures of some of the things i saw. there were a lot of trees blown over and branches broken. small trees, big trees, and everything in between. i didn't take any pics on the way to my house, so i didn't get pics of macgregor by/in hermann park, which was strewn with trees. i think one side was blocked completely by trees and/or water, so cars were going in both directions on one side. i also didn't get a pic of the downed power line i almost drove into. of course, it was probably not live, since there were only a couple of places in my drive where i saw any sign of power being on. anyway, let's get through these...

this is a shell station on richmond, between shepherd and montrose:

ike-houston-shell-station.jpg

this is the feeder to richmond/wheeler from the southwest corridor. you can see some of the buildings from downtown in the background:

ike-houston-do-not-enter-downtown.jpg

this is a traffic light at 288. i don't remember what the cross street was. i think it's binz. i was on almeda at the time:

ike-houston-traffic-light.jpg

here is one of many fallen trees. this one was on almeda between macgregor and holcombe (the alta lofts are to the left, off-camera):

ike-houston-fallen-tree.jpg

these trees were on macgregor between almeda and 288 (there's a luby's just to the right in the pic):

ike-houston-fallen-trees.jpg

this is brays bayou, taken from macgregor right before it hits 288 (the bayou goes under 288 at this point):

ike-houston-full-bayou-2.jpg

here is another picture of brays bayou. this one is looking from holcombe toward macgregor and hermann park:

ike-houston-full-bayou.jpg

i took the on-ramp from macgregor to 288 because i thought i'd use 288 to hop over to holcombe. however, that didn't work out too well:

ike-houston-288-underwater.jpg

i drove down near the water covering 288, took a couple of pics, then turned around and went the wrong direction back up the on-ramp to macgregor.

here's a fallen light pole that was on holcombe in between almeda and braeswood:

ike-houston-fallen-light-pole.jpg

i hopped the left side of my truck up on the curb to go beside it. about 100 yards earlier on the some road i'd encountered this fallen tree:

ike-houston-another-fallen-tree.jpg

i had gone through a non-functioning light and driven right up to the tree. oddly, a mini-van came right up behind me and stopped when i did. i'm not sure if they didn't see the huge tree blocking the whole road, or if they thought i was going to ram it out of the way, or what. i had to wait for them to finally stop and back up before i could back up too. while i was backing up, i went ahead and took this picture to the entrance of the va hospital:

ike-houston-va-entrance.jpg

the mini-van and another vehicle had gone on the wrong side of almeda to get around the fallen tree, but of course as i was going around traffic came toward me. and even though it's 3 lanes, someone was in the lane i was in. i just sort of kept driving and assumed they wouldn't drive obliviously like the mini-van driver. fortunately, they saw me and switched lanes. i took the opportunity of an opening to hop back onto the right side of the road, and that's when i came up on the fallen light pole i showed earlier.

and of course i saved the most interesting for last. the fallen trees were impressive, but after you've seen about 50 or more of them, they kind of lose their awe value. this is...or should i say was...a building on almeda just north of wheeler (richmond):

ike-houston-building-damage.jpg

hurricane ike 2008 - around the house

i left the "work bunker" around noon today and headed to the house to see what if anything had happened. here are a few pics of what happened at my house. it's really not all that impressive.

first up, the only shingle damage that i saw from the short amount of time i spent looking the place over...

ike-houston-shingle-damage.jpg

next is a bit more obvious. a branch had fallen from one of the trees at the front of the house and was blocking the driveway...

ike-houston-fallen-branch.jpg

of course, that doesn't compare to the many full fallen trees i saw while i was driving around.

and finally, when i walked around to the back of the house i saw this...

ike-houston-fallen-branches.jpg

a small tree (probably about a 4 or 5 inch trunk diameter and maybe 15 feet high) had fallen over and pulled the phone line. but the phone was still working. then a big branch (probably about 8 inches at the base and maybe 20 feet long) had ripped off of a tree and fallen on the cable line. but it was still intact. (not sure if it was working, since i didn't have power.) fortunately, neither of them fell on the power line. and neither of them actually broke the line they fell on, as far as i can tell. i got out the lopping shears (is that what they're called) and cut off branches until they were no longer laying on the lines.

i didn't see any interior damage, other than maybe a bit of leaking in one spot in the ceiling where it has leaked some in the past. but it was very minor and didn't appear to be any kind of problem at all.

hurricane webcam failed. or did it?

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i got up this morning a little earlier than i'd planned. i started stopping apps before i left to help keep the usage low on the powermac -- so it of course immediately locked up. i had to reboot it at that point, so i went ahead and installed updates and rebooted some more. i set the cam and the music going and left for work.

once i got to work, i started... "working" you ask? no, setting up a med center cam, of course. then around 6pm my cam at home went dead. i was curious if the power went out or something had happened, so i decided to drive to my house. and also pick up some folding chairs. while on my way out, a security guy sort of started grilling me a bit. then he saw my essential personnel badge, which i'd modded from "66" by adding another "6" in sharpie.

a co-worker went home with me and we picked up the chairs. sure enough, power was out at my house. my block and a few around it are horrible about losing power. how bad? i lost power for an hour during the last hurricane. by "last" i mean gustav. which was nowhere close to here. no other areas around us lost power. anyway. the power was out, so i grabbed the cam and brought it to work with me.

once back, a few of us went up to the top of the attached garage and i started doing live broadcasting. then a few more people showed up. in total, there were 7 of us. i was getting pretty crazy and acting stupid. i was sitting in a folding chair in the middle of the top garage floor talking to my macbook air while wearing a skull mask and goggles, and everyone else was standing around laughing and making comments. then someone else walked up.

it was the security guy from earlier. evidently someone from another business had called and said there were a bunch of people doing something on the top of the parking garage. the elevators are turned off, so he had to walk up the stairs to check it out. fortunately, he thought it was pretty funny. he pulled out his camera phone and took some pics, and was telling people on the walkie-talkie they needed to see what was going on. a bit later another security guy showed up. we all sat around and joked for awhile, then they left. we were being pretty stupid and reenacting internet memes and such. it was funny. and there were quite a few different people i knew watching the stream at that point and making comments in the chat channel.

since then, about the only thing i've done is a few more short live broadcasts, and went outside for awhile with a couple of guys and smoke a cigar.

oh yeah, the hurricane. not much has really happened here. some wind, very little rain. i guess it'll get worse over the next hour or two, but i may very well be asleep. i've eaten way too much junk food.

1am ike update

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the national weather service released a new advisory update at 1am central. looks like ike might not actually make a category 3 before hitting landfall. the path is still toward galveston and houston, although it appears to have moved just a small bit to the east.

if you're interested in checking on hurricane info, i highly recommend stormpulse. it's the best presentation of the data i've seen on any website. (including weather.com, weatherunderground, noaa, any tv station, etc.) the coolest thing is it's evidently just two guys, neither of which actually have any specific ties to a government organization or tv/radio station.

i'm going to go to bed now i believe. gotta get up in time to pack all of my hurricane supplies.

hurricane webcam is go

well, we were released early from work today. and my place of employment is going to be closed tomorrow. what does that mean for me? not much, as i have volunteered to be part of the essential personnel ride-through crew. good times -- and lots of foodstuffs packed with preservatives -- are sure to be had.

having watched the wonderful "3 drunk guys and a hurricane" on ustream.tv for gustav, i decided i should jump on the bandwagon. i got home from work and started trying to set up a webcam through ustream. unfortunately, i've got a network-based webcam that didn't work, and an old cheap webcam that didn't work. i thought about trying my sony video camera, but i didn't have the right kind of firewire cable. *sigh*

i went and ate a nice meal at star pizza, then i went to best buy and bought one of two webcams they had that actually listed as being supported under mac os. i'm not sure if it's the best choice, but it was almost the only choice i had. i got home, plugged it in, and set up my ustream.tv stream. so i present to you now, the houston hurricane chopped n screwed cam. you can't see much right now since it's dark, but hopefully during the daylight hours you can see what it looks like in the front of my house.

a candle in every port

over labor day weekend i bought the schoolhouse rock dvd from a local target. it contains all of the songs/cartoons. i used to love some of those when i was a kid, so it seemed like something i should get at some point.

i also was over at the potts and watched charlie wilson's war. i'd thought about seeing it when it was in the theaters, but talked myself out of it. i hadn't seen it before. i really liked it. i'm not sure how well it lines up with what really happened, but it was fun to watch. i particularly liked philip seymour hoffman. (but that's been the case for awhile.) if you watch the extras and see the real-life guy hoffman played, it's pretty funny.

thursday evening i spent some time shopping on the internet. i bought a couple of things. one hasn't come in, so i won't mention it yet. as for the other...i've been a fan of devo ever since i saw them on the tv show fridays one night way back in like 1980 or 1981. over the years i've wanted a devo shirt, but i never could find what i wanted. over the last few years, the problem became that i could find a few on the internet that i liked, but they never came in xxl. well, i finally managed to find one i really liked that came in xxl. it's a black tshirt based on an early design they used to wear in concert. it's got the crooked "devo" letters in white on the front, with a very simplistic line picture of booji boy on one of the sleeves. it's great. (although there are a couple of others i found that i really like, just none in xxl.)

i also went shopping on amazon on sunday, and purchased a few things. the only thing that's come in so far is a poster. it's the famous picture of cash flipping off the camera. unlike a lot of posters which are the original pic in landscape (which includes the stands and such on his right and the hall and woman on his left), this is a cropped version in portrait (with just him and his guitar) with the american records style "cash" written above/behind his head. (the poster is about 24" x 33".) unfortunately, even though it was packed in a thick cardboard poster mailing tube, the postal service still managed to bend it in two places, which put creases the whole length of the poster in two lines. *sigh* i hope they don't do that with the other poster i ordered. fortunately, neither of them were all that expensive.

in a sort of tie-in, i read or heard that rick rubin is supposed to be working with zz top on a new album. i'm pretty excited about that. he did good things with johnny, and i really like a lot of the old zz top albums. i think the combo of rick and zz top has the possibility of creating something really wonderful.

staying with music, jerry reed died recently. (and i'd just watched smokey and the bandit for the first time in a long time. he's great in that movie.) also, a week or two before that hank williams' steel guitar player -- don helms -- died. so part of my amazon purchase (which i haven't gotten yet) consisted of:

  • the essential jerry reed - jerry reed
  • rca country legends - jerry reed (rca)

i also broke down and made my first blu-ray purchases. even though i don't have a blu-ray player yet. but i figure the format war is won, so it's safe to go ahead and make purchases at this point. i'll list them when they come in.

saturday i took the bel-air out for lunch to goode company bbq. i talked for a while with a guy who has a '55 also. he seemed to know quite a bit about them, and had done a lot of work himself to his. i gave him my business card, and he is supposed to get in touch with me. it might be a knowledgeable connection that i've been wishing i had.

i also bought a couple more yankee candles. it's not my fault! i had a 2-for-1 coupon, so i sort of had to. i was proud of myself, as i managed to restrain my impulses and only actually purchase the one and got one free. the scents:

  • mulling spices (large jar)
  • hazelnut coffee (large jar)

mulling spices is a new winter scent i guess. it smells sort of like wassail. i was originally going to also get the new cafe au lait scent, but the hazelnut coffee candle had just been brought back from retirement and it smelled even better.

over the last couple of nights i watched march of the penguins. it is a documentary about an emperor penguin colony in antarctica, and all they go through to reproduce. it was pretty good. i think i actually liked the documentary by the two filmmakers in the extras better. (although i didn't watch it first, so maybe having already seen the movie first influenced my opinion.)

chrome - the new google web browser

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someone passed me the link to the comic describing the new google browser (chrome) today. i looked at a couple of pages and said "was this drawn by scott mccloud?" sure enough, when i got to the end it credited him. it's a pretty good read, and gives some good info about their new take on a web browser. it also has some pretty funny visuals when describing things, as well as funny things in the details.

there isn't currently a linux version, so i couldn't download and install it myself. (although they are working on one. i signed up to be notified when it is available.) also, the download was apparently disabled for awhile this afternoon. but it was available an hour or two ago, so a co-worker installed it on his windows box and we played with it for awhile.

my first -- very early -- impression is pretty positive.

having been the victim of firefox's slow memory leaks, as well as feeling the pain of a runaway page or plug-in crashing everything, i'm really excited about the fact that each tab runs as a separate process. that's something i had always wished other browsers did. (or at least a separate process for each window.)

but they went even further, and have a task manager for the browser. it shows each tab and how much memory and cpu it's using, as well as network use. because they run plug-ins separately, they also detail those. and you can kill each one individually. all of this adds up to something beautiful in the case where you have a runaway plug-in or page. you can see what is chewing cpu or memory and kill just it. you don't lose all of your browser tabs or windows.

i think they've built it using some good ideas. and since they were sort of starting from scratch they were able to design based on how browsers are used today, instead of the design of most browsers, which were built based on the type of usage and web pages in existence years ago. they also released all of it under an open source license, so any other browser (or whoever) can take and implement any of it.

it'll be interesting to see what happens. whatever the case, i think this will probably be good for browsing in general, as well as open source projects.

the devil makes three

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that's how it started. i was planning on leaving work at 2pm, but i didn't walk out of the building until 3pm. i was planning on leaving by 3pm, but i didn't drive away from my house until 5pm. then a few miles from my house, in traffic, it started to rain. then traffic really slowed down. fortunately, i had skipped taking the motorcycle and picked the bel-air (even though i didn't know about the rain, and the gas cost would be much more). it took me about 2 hours to get from my house to katy. to katy! grr.

where was i headed on a wednesday evening? austin. why? the devil makes three was playing stubb's bbq, and i'd been wanting to see them since i'd first started listening to them 5 years ago. (they're from california.) i'd bought the re-release of their first album a month or two ago, and let chris from work listen to it. he liked it, checked them out online, and noticed they were going to be on tour and were supposed to play austin. and things worked out so i could go. what about the radio show? it was pre-empted for the democractic national convention.

i was running way late, so i didn't get to stroll leisurely into austin and hang out at the hotel, then meet my brother for supper or anything. i pretty much showed up at the hotel, checked in, dropped my stuff off, and went to meet my brother at stubb's. i did pause long enough to take a picture of downtown austin from my hotel room...

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i'd decided to spend a little extra and get a hotel room with a view. before i left my house, i'd searched and booked online. i was on the 15th floor of the hilton garden innn downtown austin, which is at 6th street and i-35. in the pic you can see the state capitol building, and to the right the red/orange light is the t.u. tower. from the hotel, it was about a 4 block walk to stubb's.

i got there and found my brother. it was about an hour or so before the devil makes three started playing. it was a decent crowd, and a number of people seemed to know at least some of the songs. (on a sidenote, there are so many more interesting people in austin.) their live show wasn't incredible (like the last show i saw at stubb's, which was 16 horsepower back in 2002 or so), but it was really good -- they sounded good and were fun to watch. near the end i tried taking a few pics with my iphone. it was dark and they were moving alot, but here's one just to show i was there...

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the show ended, my brother hung out a little then left (he had to get up at 6am), then i talked to cooper for awhile. i didn't buy any merch since i already had everything they had for sale that i want. i had thought about eating, since i hadn't eaten since lunch, but i didn't know where to walk to (i'd valeted my car at the hotel and didn't feel like getting it, even though they'd let me park right by the entrance in an isolated 15 min spot) so i just went back to the hotel room. i thought i'd go to the vending machine, but it was just sodas. i did manage to find a couple of complimentary chocolates from the hotel, so that's what i had for supper. i watched some tv and went to bed.

in the morning i got up and took a shower, then plugged my ipod into the aux input on the room's radio/alarm and listened to bob wills while i drank some coffee and sat in the chair looking out the window...

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...contemplating life and such. i finished packing and checked out. i was thinking about eating somewhere, but i needed to get back to houston. i dropped some stuff off at my brother's place and hit the road. i got back to houston around 2:30pm and was at work by about 2:45pm.

i wish i could have enjoyed austin more while i was there, since i think it's a great town. but i had a purpose and i only planned to be there a short time. and now i can say i saw the devil makes three live.

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