Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Vacation so far

We left Thursday afternoon and caravaned with Jerry. Which is to say he was usually about 10 miles ahead of me. Didn't encounter too much traffic where I expected it, Houston and Baton Rouge, but we found a whole bunch between Beaumont and Lafayette. Got in a little after 11.

Friday I got my haircut by Denise then made my way to my parents house. Since their street is being worked on, you park on the next street over and walk through the neighbors yard, through the hole in the fence, and then through the bushes. It's a little weird. Jerry and I went to eat at the former Wal-Mart now Hong Kong market Chinese buffet restaurant. It's was pretty good as Chinese buffets go but I was expecting a Vietnamese restaurant so I was kinda disappointed. We then spend the afternoon shopping. Thankfully we avoided the malls but the westbank strip shopping centers weren't a whole lot better. Melissa and I had dinner with my parents then we met up with a group to cheer Fritz on doing a ComedySportz show at Le Chat Noir. It was way funnier than I expected and a nice first live comedy experience. It was also nice to spend some money in Orleans Parish.

Christmas Eve morning I met the buys at Cafe du Monde, had the requisite cafe au lait and beignets, then headed into the Quarter to find an appropriate Christmas Eve present for Melissa. It was odd to see which shops were open and which weren't, but it turned out some of that was it being before 11. Anyway, we eventually found a good place to shop and then head to Molly's on Toulouse to watch some of the Saints game. It was good to see the guys and just hang. Now I want to live in Quarter. Not sure how to make that happen.

That's all I have time for now. More later.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

About a month ago, Jerry, Mr Jerry, Dom, Taylor, Carrie, Melissa, and I headed down to New Braunfels for Wurstfest, the ten day salute to sausage.

No, I am not making that up. It's a chance to celebrate all things German with beer and meat on a stick. What could be better than that? Highlights included: sausage sampler on a stick, fried cheesecake, pitcher after pitcher of heffeweissen, pork chop on a stick, men in lederhosen, women with flowers in their hair, hearing the chicken dance every hour, and listening to a teenage violin virtuoso.

We might just have to go back next year. And next time, I'm getting a hat.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Leo McGarry

'West Wing' actor John Spencer dies at 58 - I never expected to be affected by an actor's death so much. Leo was just that good of a TV character I suppose. When the 'West Wing' is at it's best, it makes me want to do something bigger with my life and a large part of that feeling is due to Leo.

Here are two Leo quotes in honor of John Spencer.

"This guy's walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, 'Hey you. Can you help me out?' The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, 'Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?' The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, 'Hey, Joe, it's me can you help me out?' And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, 'Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.' The friend says, 'Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.' "


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Is your house on fire, Clark?

The LAN party went well. We wound up playing BF2 the whole time but that seemed to be OK with everyone. Didn't play online much but did get to spend a few rounds working on my rank. You can check out my stats if you like. In related news, Lucas is very good.

Sunday we decorated the house.
Keep your fingers crossed for a first place win this year.

Friday, December 09, 2005

But I own the game!

Last night I decided to install Battlefield 2 in preparation for the LAN party. I haven't played it since before Katrina and since then the computer died so I needed to get it back on the computer. I dug around for the CDs and realized the instruction manual wasn't in the box. Now, you might think I wouldn't need the manual since I already know how to play the game. However, the manual contains the CD key. I searched and searched and searched but couldn't find it. In desperation I did a Google search to find if there was some way to get a new key. I found a lot of hacks and offers to trade for keys, but nothing like what I was looking for. Then I saw one post that mentioned that the CD key is stored in the Windows registry. I had a bunch of files I saved off the old hard drive, and I knew one directory was nothing but backup registry files. Maybe I could did through the file and find it? Opening it in wordpad wasn't a large help but I found three things that looked like they might be keys, but I wasn't sure. Then I found a freeware utility using Google that reads registry files. Using that I found the key, which was indeed one of the things I found in Wordpad. An hour later I was online playing the new version of Wake Island. I love being a techie.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Visions of Sugar Plums

Sunday night I just could not get to sleep. I suppose sleeping in till noon will do that to you. I tried all the relaxation techniques I knew, but nothing was working. And then my mind began to wander. Something Jerry said on Saturday kept coming to mind. We had been talking about what to do different to decorate his house next year and he said, "Are you even going to be here next year?" All I could think about while lying in bed were all the great things in Austin I will miss when we leave, especially the friends. Monday morning when I got to work I decided to hang up my 2006 calendar. If all goes according to the plan in my head, there are only 25 weeks left in Austin. Crazy. And depressing. Major life decisions are never easy I guess. When I got home that night, Melissa and I discussed our plans for this Christmas. During the conversation she said these words, "Imagine what it'll be like next year when we're living there." Instantly my depression lifted and I remembered the point of it all. Thinking of leaving Austin may make me sad, but thinking of living in New Orleans makes me happy. So this is what bittersweet feels like.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Movies and Books (sung to tune of Silver and Gold)


2001: Melissa and I saw this the Friday before Katrina. I had seen a few scenes and had a general idea of what would happen but still wasn't prepared. What a crazy movie! First off, that acid trippy scene toward the end, just a little too much for me. The rest of it I thought was pretty good, if in a very modern art sort of way. Certainly not a movie for the casual moviegoer. All the HAL stuff is my favorite part.

Elizabethtown: I really wanted to love this movie but something about it just didn't work for me. Seemed a little too thrown together and at times the soundtrack was just overwhelming. I still liked it, I mean come on it's got Kirsten Dunst, just didn't love it like Fritz and Melissa seemed to.

Good Night, and Good Luck: Awesome. Loved it. Saw it with my parents while they were in town. With my dad having been a reporter way back in the day it was interesting to see his reaction. It was nice to see Patti, the amount of smoke in the movie was nutty, the black and white worked, David Strathairn is amazing, and the choice to use the real McCarthy footage was wise.

40 Year Old Virgin: Hilarious! Steve Carrel is a genius. I wish I had seen more of him when he was on the Daily Show. The movie works because Carrel doesn't become a caricature and the story actually seems plausible. More comedies should take a cue from this movie.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: I don't know if it's a testament to the books or the actors or what, but these movies just continue to be good. I didn't like this one as much as the third but not by much. They did an excellent job with a rather lengthy book. I just would have liked to have seen more from the supporting cast. I know it's all about Harry but the other movies seemed to do a better job of giving everyone else something to do. All the actors did a great job, especially Brendan Gleeson did a great job as Moody, but to me it needed to be longer to give me more Snape and more Hermione and more Ron. Maybe there should be an extended edition on DVD?

Derailed: I think we already covered this one. Argh.


Will in the World: I got this book for Melissa for Christmas a while back and we both read it after seeing Shakespeare in Love recently. It does an excellent job of trying to figure out what kind of person Shakespeare really was and helps you place the man in the time period. Some of the conclusions are rather large leaps of faith but its a fun trip especially if you like the Bard and his works.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: This book has been on my to do list for quite some time now. Everyone I talked to who had read it recommended it. Now I know why. If you have any interest in pre-recorded history or look around at the world today and wonder how we got here, this is the book for you. I honestly couldn't put it down. I've never read anything before that pulled information from so many different disciplines. Definitely changed my world view and a book that can do that is a great book.

Knife of Dreams: Latest book in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. This is book 11 I think. I've been reading the series since high school and the fool still isn't done yet. Thankfully stuff actually happens in this book. For people who don't know the series, that may sound odd, but ask anyone who has read them, and they will know what I am talking about. It was nice to get to know the characters again and get sucked into the world. Jordan has always done an amazing job of making his world feel like a real place, sometimes to a fault. I'll refrain from saying too much more since Jerry, who turned me on to the books, hasn't read any of them since high school.