Monday, July 25, 2005

better than stalling

After a few hectic weekends in a row, Melissa and I were looking forward to a relaxing low key weekend. As it turns out, I think we did a few too many things for that to be true. Friday night we went over to Jerry's for grilled food, music, wine, and company. The food was excellent even if we did have to throw away that one ear of caterpillar infested corn. The music was mostly new CDs Melissa purchased including Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, and Foo Fighters. The notable exception being Richard Cheese, who was damn funny. The wine was varied and while a few were simple, they were all wonderful to drink. Of course with as much as we had, everything tasted good toward the end. The company was excellent as usual though I doubt Taylor will ever be able to convince me that exercising is fun. I'm just not wired that way.

Saturday morning I finished Harry Potter. When I say morning, I do mean the early morning as I read from one to five. You would think that reading at that time would be relatively peaceful, however the jerk who set off fireworks at four made sure that wouldn't happen. At the first sound and flash I was ready to charge into battle with my wand at the ready. I get kinda absorbed when I read if you couldn't tell. The book was enjoyable and I particularly like the teen romance plots and the British euphemisms. Snogging! The seventh book has been set up very well and the only downside is it isn't available right now to read.

With an oh so restful 5 hours of sleep, I got up Saturday morning to attend the Corvette show in Georgetown with Jerry. The last car show I had been to was the Texas Heat Wave last year and comparing the two crowds made it a fun people watching event, think Fast and the Furious vs Click and Clack. It was also entertaining to watch the fanatical try to protect their cars when it started to drizzle. The C1 is still my favorite thought Jerry owning a C5 for a while made me appreciate that model as well. The C6 is growing on me, but I'm not a big fan as of now. Later that afternoon, Jerry gave Melissa a stick shift lesson, along with a burnout lesson in IBM's parking lot. You can still see the tire marks. Afterwards we had snowballs in celebration.

Saturday night, Melissa and I had a dinner and a movie date night. I had the cannelloni at Vinny's which was quite tasty, and tasty again today I might add, and the accordion guy playing Sound of Music tunes was entertaining. The movie of the night was North by Northwest. I have been trying to figure out what to say about the film but can come up with nothing better than what Fritz wrote so here is a quote.
In a way, North by Northwest seems like the prototype for the modern "summer" film. It has action, romance, laughs, and suspense. There is nothing particularly deep about the film. North by Northwest aims only to entertain, and it does so as well as any film in cinema history.
On Sunday, we ran a few errands, and in an attempt to catch up on our summer films, watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Alamo. Yes I know, another movie. It seems to be what we do. I liked the movie, though it is a little strange. Not quite as trippy as the original but still rather odd. From what I hear about the source material, it would hard to make a movie based on the book and not be. The addition of background for Wonka worked for me, though oddly Depp didn't. It wasn't that he did a poor job it's just that he didn't do as good of a job as I expected. The downside of being good I suppose. It being a Tim Burton movie it did of course look amazing. Charlie and his family also did an amazing job of making me care for them. I think it's just hard watching current movies while at the same time watching classics on DVD.

Sunday night played a little BF2. I found a way to find people I know playing the game and as a result ran into Lloyd online. We played on the same server for roughly an hour and it was a lot more fun knowing my squad leader. It was also interesting that the more he and I worked as a team, the more the other members of our squad performed the same way. It probably also helped that we were scoring well. I should be promoted to in a round or two which will be nice as that will allow be to get a weapon unlock. Only problem is, I don't know which weapon I want. Oh the trials and tribulations of computer games. I know, it's a rough life.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Cleaning House

A few months ago Richard sent me an email linking to an article in the New York Times where some guy claimed that today's television is more intelligent than it was in the past and in fact is making us smarter. I've always wanted to link to that article and never got around to it. Then today I'm in the car and there is this piece on NPR's Fresh Air about a guy writing a book on the same subject. Turns out it's the same guy. I think the idea is brilliant and I am going to try to read the book.

As I documented a while back, last summer I took golf lessons from GolfTEC. The package I purchased was for ten lessons and I took most of the lessons last year. I saved a few for the beginning of this year to sort of get a refresher when I started playing again in the spring. Of course we never really started playing golf this year. Oh sure we have played a few times but nothing like last year. Anyway, the lessons I had this year were mostly about trying to stay on plane and actually rolling over my arms at impact. Practicing these two things has lead to much better success off the tee as I think Taylor and Jerry can attest to. It has somewhat messed up my iron play as I am now a little inconsistent but I think with practice that will work itself out. Now I just need to play more. I will likely go back in the future whenever my game needs some work but it's unlikely that I will ever do the ten lesson deal again. Golf lessons just cost too much.

We watched Frida last night. I really had no idea what to expect and it's kinda fun going into a movie like that. Selma Hayek did a marvelous job portraying the lead character and all the other actors did an excellent job. I particularly enjoyed the cinematography. There were a number of shots that were made to look like her paintings and that really worked. The only downside for me was the general pacing of the movie and the time frame of events, but I think that's just a side effect of a biography. It's just hard to sum up in entire life in two hours. Now I really want to travel to Mexico so it seems like it worked for a tourism point of view.

I always knew Google had some funny way of letting their people work on side projects but I never knew the exact details. Then I read this:
He outlined Google's unique division of labor, in which engineers spend 70 percent of time on core functionality, such as ads and search; 20 percent on adjacent businesses, like Google News, and 10 percent on whatever they find interesting.
Can this idea work for other companies?

Read an article a while back that labeled the current young workers the Entitlement Generation. Since most of the readers of this site fit into that category, what do you think? Are we spoiled and feel like we are owed the good life just 'cause or is the current system of give you life up for the company flawed and we are just fighting back?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Jimmy Dreams

Pretty much right after my blog post talking about the lack of rain in Austin, it started raining and I don't think it has stopped since. How we go from having no rain to having it rain seemingly every day, I have no idea. I fell old when after I find out it is raining, the first thing I think of is how much lower my water and electricity bill will be. Yeah I know, kinda sad. But I still feel young when I open the windows to smell the rain. It's a smell I didn't even realize I missed.

This past weekend, Taylor's friend Diego came to town with his wife Anna. You can find the recap over at Taylor's. One thing Taylor forgot to mention is that many of us failed to put on sunscreen during our Lake Travis boating trip. Melissa and I are both quite crispy but we now understand that UV penetrates clouds. Lesson learned. In the craziest case of it really is small world I have ever experienced, it turns out I baby sat for Anna's cousin who lives across the street from my parents in Algiers. Crazy. Anyway, it's nice to know people like Diego and Anna live in New Orleans and somehow it makes moving back there a little less scary.

We watched Collateral sometime last week. Very impressive. Tom Cruise as a bad guy was more convincing than I thought he would be. Maybe it's all the Scientology stuff in the news lately. Jamie Foxx also did an excellent job in another not his usual role performance. I particularly enjoyed the aspect of the plot dealing with Foxx's future career plans and his progress on those plans. In my current job I think I am doing a little of that perfect is the enemy of the good enough stuff and somehow watching this movie made me realize that and somewhat depress me. However, it has also made my moving back home conviction stronger so overall a net positive I think.

Speaking of Scientologists, yesterday we went to see Batman Begins. Also impressive. Go see it. It took some guts to just pretend the other movies never happened and it payed off big time. The story really makes you feel for Batman, which honestly, I never really did before. Bale also pulls off conflicted young adult/superhero/billionaire playboy/businessman convincingly, which isn't easy to do. And if you can get past all the stuff in the news lately, Katie Holmes does a decent job as well. I almost forgot she was Joey Potter, almost. The fight to save the city aspect of the movie resonated with me so I think that helped my enjoyment of the movie. Again, go see it.

I seem to be able to make anything that happens lately into a reason to move back home. I'm thinking that's a really good clue as to what I should do.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Jessamyn came to visit this past weekend. Yay! One of the best things about having someone come visit is all the Austin-y things you invariably do. This weekend was no exception. Things got started Friday evening with a trip to the Oasis. I hadn't been since the fire and it was nice to see the place still doing well. Jess got the big drink with the souvenir glass and the sunset was gorgeous. Afterwards we went to Trudy's for a late dinner and Spider House for coffee. I think that was an appropriate first Austin night, don't you? Also, did anyone know that Spider House showed movies in the back area where the big stone table used to be? It certainly surprised me.

Saturday we eased into the day and didn't leave this house until the early afternoon. I did get to show off the home theater before we left. She might have been putting on a show but she looked impressed ... or possibly scared. Who can tell? After lunch at Rudy's, always a crowd pleaser, we took a little driving tour of Austin showing off the usual suspects: campus, the capital, Congress, 360, etc. The idea was to see as much as possible from the car since the weather was a little on the warm side.

Back in the summer of '98, Jessamyn and I both started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and subsequently got hooked on the show. It just so happened that on Saturday night Alamo Drafthouse had a Buffy Sing-A-Long. It was awesome. Bubbles were blown, Dawn was yelled at, lighters were used and broken, even Jerry, a non-Buffy watcher, had a good time. Man I miss that show. Afterwards we went to the Ginger Man for some tasty brews and then walked down 6th stopping at Casino El Camino for some liquor. Again, a good Austin-y evening.

Sunday was a laid back day. We got started late, had brunch at Cafe Java, and then went to Jerry's. Of course there was the obligatory driving of the Vette and starting of the Harley. I mean it's not a tour of Jerry's house without those. Then we just chilled for a while before Jess had to leave. It was a lovely visit and I hope we see her again soon.

Awwww. Don't we all look ... silly.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Whip it good

Another 4th, another Waveland experience, another crazy man trying to burn his bald head with fireworks.

On Friday, Melissa, Jerry, and I headed over to New Orleans for the Fourth of July. We got off to a late start and hit a bunch of traffic but I got to watch/listen to Return of the Jedi so it all worked out. Saturday morning Melissa and I attended the funeral service for Jerry's grandfather. I have never seen so many priests at a funeral and I have never been so moved at a funeral for someone I barely knew. I will always remember him as the guy who got me interested in investing and casinos, all through Jerry. After the funeral we went with the LeSaicherres to Bozo's for lunch. I continue to be amazed at the number of restaurants in New Orleans I have never heard of much less been to. It wasn't anything special really but it did satisfy my shrimp po-boy craving. After lunch we headed over to Waveland.

Ah Waveland. What a wonderful relaxing place. I hope some day very soon to spend much more time there. Saturday was a laid back day. We spent some time on the beach, grabbed some snowballs, and just hung out with the family all day and night. I especially enjoyed the movie conversation on the front porch after dinner. Good times. Sunday morning I woke up and prepared breakfast Papa Chase style for the whole house. Sunday afternoon we hung out on the beach with the family and our guests including Fritz, Bonnie, Mark, Jerry, Chris, Bridget, Jay, and Joan. Sunday evening we bought and shot off fireworks. Pretty much your average 4th of July even though it was technically the 3rd. Monday, the Barattini's stopped by so we got to spend some time the with the goddaughter. Isabel took the beach and water very well, maybe a little too well as she liked eating the sand and drinking the water. Babies have big eyes in little fingers. I'm just sayin'.

Monday night we headed back to New Orleans to eat red beans with the LeSaicherres and watch the 4th festivities on TV. Tuesday after packing up the car and picking up Jerry, and watching a little Phantom which I need to remember to add to Netflix, we got on the road trying to get out of town before Tropical Storm Cindy caused too much trouble. It was a pretty uneventful drive with two notable exceptions. 1) Getting on the 290 HOV lanes from I-10 is not the easiest thing to do. 2) Eating at Mel's Diner in Giddings fulfilled a goal of mine, though I am in no hurry to eat there again.

Even after a trip home it's still good to be home. Now if it would just rain.