Must Be Exhausting

I feel like a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest. Rare is the recent dull moment and most of the time I feel off-balance. Work has been work and will continue to be work, but right now it's a lot of work. I have been writing for the Houstonist a bunch too. Oh, and there's the house.

It still in a relative state of frat house chic. Clothes are strewn everywhere; halfway unpacked boxes litter the floor in all the rooms; and, my couch still lives in the garage, right next to my socks. I'd say it's coming along nicely. Nice enough to have poker night tonight! I feel like a junkie who's about to be dropped off at the meth lab.

Today I'm back at the office and trying not to space out per usual. It's not really working. Since you asked, things that occupy my brain power include:
  • how did that grocery bag flying past the window got to be a 100 feet in the air?
  • should I bench Ahman Green or not and why is Marques Colston a TE and WR?
  • what's so bad about a bathroom palette of electric blue, super black, butter yellow, olive green & khaki?
  • does my free mowing service include sundry raking of leaves or is that something I have to do?
  • would a Taser be adequate in home protection or should I just get a .45?
Nihilism sounds like a better way of life everyday. But then, who cares?


Taste the Soup

Do you remember the last scene from Coming to America? You may not have seen it since it's after the credits, but it's Eddie Murphy as Saul who is recounting a recent restaurant experience. It goes something like this:


"Yes, sir."

"Taste the soup."

"Is there something wrong with the soup?"

"No, just taste the soup."

"Do you need me to heat it?"

"No, just taste the soup."

"Where's the spoon?"

"Ah ha!"

I'll tell you where the spoon is. It's in Austin in my old apartment with the rest of my utensils!



YGBFKM: Go Pee on WhiteFence

Gas Meter
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
Today's You Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me Moment is brought to you by WhiteFence & CenterPoint Energy.

Fade in to a grumpy man sitting at his computer trying to determine what needs to be done to move into his new house.

"I should probably switch over the utilities," he thinks. Using The Google, he quickly discovers that all essential utilities can be ordered from a portal called WhiteFence.com. In fact, he is redirected to WhiteFence.com when he attempts to order his electrical service directly from the provider.

Click. Scroll. Click. He's just ordered electricity and gas services and immediately receives order confirmation. He thinks the site is super useful and wishes everything involved with buying a new home were this easy.

Fast forward ten days to a scene of an irate man sitting at his computer. He's extremely agitated and may actually be turning green.
You won't like him when he's angry.

The source of his anger is what's missing from his home. He does not have gas for the first time in his life. The gas is not turned on at the home.

"No sweat," he thinks. "I've watched maintenance guys turn on the gas at The Bartlett House. I can handle this."

"I'll just turn on the gas at the meter."

He arrived at the location where the gas meter once lived. But, the gas meter was no where to be found. Perhaps the gas meters in the neighborhood had gone on strike and headed to San Juan del Sur for surfing. Alas, Jolene, the gas meter next door, confirmed that she was content and functioning properly.

A quick phone call to CenterPoint confirmed his worst fear. His order had not been received. Terse yet calm protestations are made into the phone. "Surely, you're out of your fucking mind! I submitted this order 10 days ago."

"I'm sorry, sir. We have no record of your order."

"But I ordered it through WhiteFence.com. I have the confirmation right here."

"Oh, did you say 'WhiteFence.com'?" snickered the customer service representative.

"Yeah, they did my electricity, too, which is on."

"Sir, no matter what you may have, we do not actually receive new service orders from that website. You'll have to call tomorrow to order your new service."

"But I have an order confirmation!"

"Doesn't matter."

"It's in writing."

"Doesn't matter. You'll have to call tomorrow to order your new service."

"You gotta be fucking kidding me!?"


Yo Mama's an Astronaut

tyler the rocket ship
tyler the rocket ship, originally uploaded by JaseMan.

And, apparently my brother's a rocket ship.


In the Home Stretch

Almost Closed
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
Big news, sports fans! I'm halfway down the path towards being a homeowner in Houston, but all two members of the readership knew that already. This morning's closing proceedings were so exhausting that I had to rush right out to lunch and induce a food coma to make sure that my body didn't go into shock from having to think too much.

The closing process, so called because you are slamming the door on true adolescence and ultra carefree spending (at least til my trophy wife, a.k.a. rich lady who wants an eye-candy, stay home father for our ultimate team comes along), was really not that big a deal. Signing my name 71 times on multiple copies of the same forms, some in Spanish, did take a toll on me. Although at this point, the Escrow Officer could have told me that she needed me to get her name tattooed on my back and I would have done it.

On second thought, winning a damages suit for the carpal tunnel syndrome that I'm sure to develop would help pay for my new kitchen. Anyone got Morris Bart's number handy?


Kelly Clarkson Signals Anxiety

Kelly Clarkson
Originally uploaded by lannkaster.
I'm closing on my new place tomorrow morning and am about to have a Trainspotting style panic attack. I can't sit still. I haven't packed anything. My apartment is a disaster. I keep picturing Kevin Bacon as Chip from Animal House. He's screaming, "Remain calm all is well" but all I seem to hear is Kelly Clarkson singing "Since You've Been Gone."

Whoa Kelly Clarkson!

Time managment pundits on the InterWeb write about focusing on the quick wins and recent accomplishments to help you stay focused. Well, I've accomplished exactly five things on a to-do list featuring 62 items.

I'd try to get back on target, but my gCal reminder just sounded indicating it's time for more time sucking lunch.


Too Many Grits Not Enough Pot

Too Many Grits Not Enough Pot
Too Many Grits Not Enough Pot, originally uploaded by JaseMan.


I finally understand you, Courter....sort of

I was in Chicago on a business trip earlier this summer and stopped in at The Arch to visit with Boc and Courter, Hetero Life Partners, since I hadn't seen them in a while. Courter was in freak out mode concerning some mythical process called "closing."

Apparently this ritual is the final step in the home buying process and is very involved. In short, a "closing" is a meeting with lots of people whose titles include the word Officer. Fortunately, in this case you don't go to jail right away only after you burn down your house when you're about to default on your loan.

These officers insist that you produce all sorts of documentation which is about as fun as it sounds. You've got to make yourself comfortable with the fact that all these strangers will see the dirty laundry listed on your bank statements, pay stubs, credit reports, criminal records and even those notes from Mrs. Alario's second grade class that you have stuffed in the back of your sock drawer. It helps if you focus on the fact that you won't have to move again for a long
while once this "closing" is closed.

To drive home the fact that you're officially stepping all the way into the grown-up zone, you've got to sign your name and/or initials at least 135 times according to an independent third party named Alfie. Finally, the Officers get you to sign over all of your High Life fund in the form of some fat checks. Many of these checks are to pre-pay expenses for the upcoming year. I can't believe that they don't trust you to pay your bills even though they now know how your
income history since you started receiving allowance for not locking your brothers in the basement any more.

Courter was too frazzled to articulate what was driving him up the wall. I only know about "closing" because I am preparing for my first one on Monday.

I'm a nervous wreck. My procrastination has hit an all time high, which is to say that I'm doing anything but packing or work or other sensible, productive activities like lining up home owner's insurance. Instead I do time sucking things like reading RSS feeds for four hours at a stretch and pace the apartment from the kitchen/office to the bathroom and back. Hey, did you know that Bolivia might make it on to the UN Security Council? Great. That government is about as stable as Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielsen.

This is coming from the guy who's likely to be rocking back-and-forth in the corner mumbling something about Judge Wapner and needing new drawers from K-Mart.


Top Five Things You Need to Know Right Now

Technical Difficulty
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
5. Superhero boots require a certain type of leg to be worn well by ladies. Oh, please don't wear them with cargo shorts.
4. Today's matinee feature at Sao Paolo Cinema was X-Men: The Last Stand which earned a B- overall, but was bumped up to a B+ for inducing a nap during the Deleted Scenes review.
3. I'm at Whole Foods Global HQ in Austin right now watching a dumbass dad let his toddler crawl up the down escalator. Anyone know a good vascular surgeon in the area? Me thinks some fingers are about to detached.
2. Preliminary research may have determined that there is a genetic link with Night Owl or Early Bird behavior patterns in 30-something, male ultimate players.
1. Apparently my cell phone needed more room in my pocket and beat the crap out of my camera. Fortunately my camera's service plan had not yet expired.


How I Spent My Monday

How I Spent My Monday
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
Torrential rain brought things to a halt at Houston Intergalactic airport and at any airport from which a flight was originating with the intended destination of Houston.

I was on the plane from 9:35 AM - 6:35 PM, most of which was spent at Louis Armstrong in New Orleans. We were only allowed to deplane for 45 minutes during which we missed a departure window because folks couldn't re-board fast enough.


Best Blonde Joke Ever

Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
This is usually the type of thing for forwarded emails and bathroom stall graffitti, but I thought everyone would get a chuckle out of this. Now quit putting white out on your screen and check out the best blonde joke ever.


14 Months, 16 Babies

Los Pedros
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
Nothing makes you feel like you're a bit behind the race pace like your friends and family hatching a dearth of young 'uns. Sure, most of the new parents are still a couple of years older than me, but damn, did you all drink the same Kool-Aid last year?

At least 16 babies have been born to my friends and family during the 14 months. The Rubinator started everything last August when she debuted on August 5, 2005. Then came Owen, Kaia on Valentine's Day, Briggs, Kalle, Zoe, Henry on my birthday, Gracie, Kate, Calvin, Adele, Saylor, Emmett, Isaac, Annelise & Grant.

I'd be loaded if I only I were innovative enough to invent something that all new parents needed tons of besides diapers and breast pumps.

I've learned two important things as a result of all these hatchlings: 1. you can get practically any crying infant to shut their yapper by bouncing them on one of those exercise balls (yeah, Kalle) & 2. don't drink the water at any of my friend's houses cuz that's how they got prego


Skeeter Killing Macheen

Brian, the Gecko
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
The busy season is in full swing these days. Thus, midnight oil is being burnt and Pandora.com is being blasted.

Last night I found myself daydreaming (is that even possible since it was 1 AM?) about PowerBall winnings when something darted across the sliding glass door in front of me. It was Brian, the gecko, trolling for some midnight cucina.

My work light brings all the skeeters to the yard. Damn right, it's better than yours. Brian chased down a few critters and then turned in for the night.

He's back tonight in full force having chased down at least seven mosquito hawks. Finally, a pet I can handle - cheap food, no shots and lives outside.

I'll work on training him to rollover when I get back from Atlanta.

This Just In

Breaking news at this hour: I'm back in the world of the pseudo-journalist. That's right friends and neighbors, I'm now a contributor to Houstonist, which means I've got a nifty new email address and am under the gun to write at least two posts a week. Yikes!

The first one is up, so I guess that's a good thing. Read it. Love it. Send me idears.


Hey Cow!

I'm was taking a break from working (please hold your comments) and reading thru my RSS feeds when I stumbled across my postcard on PostSecret (from 9/2).

So, it's official.

I'm famous.

The secret's out.

All Bets Should Be for Money

All Bets Should Be for Money
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
ESPN ran an advertisement in the USA Today a few years ago that showed Stuart Scott riding a tricycle around a park fountain while dressed as a SCUBA diver. The caption read, "It Was at This Point That Stuart Realized All Bets Should Be for Money."

Mark, my physical therapist and Atlanta Falcons fan, and I bet on the MNF game last week. The loser had to wear gear of the winning team during a day of work. We all know the outcome of the game. Here's the proof.

Thanks for being such a good sport, Mark. And, thanks for getting my ankle to work again.


New Orleans Saints Day

Who Dat?
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
Louisiana has always had more official holidays than any other state due to the Mardi Gras insanity of the early spring. Now we welcome another holiday into the fold. Monday, September 25th, is New Orleans Saints day as the Louisiana Superdome reopens to host Monday Night Football.

There has been a buzz about town all weekend as both Saints and Falcons fans have begun arriving in the Crescent City in anticipation of the Super Bowl-like event. Although New Orleans has hosted six Super Bowls in the Dome, many think this game is as close as the Saints will get for a while. Some businesses are closed for the day with most closing after lunch so that employees can join the festivities.

Today the buzz will build into a rumble as fans and ticketholders pack the Superdome and surrounding bars to experience the spectacle. The NFL Experience has been set-up at all four corners of the Superdome parking lot. Storyville, New Birth, Rebirth Brass Band, The Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day & U2 will all play pre-game show shows. Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas & Kermit Ruffins will sing the national anthem.

I'm too excited to work, but need to so that I can eject when the time is right and head downtown, ticket in hand, and live one of the best football experiences in the history of the game.


Would You Know Me Without This?

The accounting center drones in Canadia have been sending me threatening emails regarding the use of my Corporate American Express card. "Personal charges are strictly prohibited." "This card is property of the company and can be revoked." "We will come to your house and burn it down if you charge another month of NetFlix on your Corporate AmEx!"

All of the above is correct, except the obvious, and also happens to be a load of bullshit. While the card is "Corporate," the buck stops with you know who in that I alone am responsible for the bill. Uncle Cappy doesn't pay it. Just little old me, which in my book means that I should be able to charge a new Porsche on the damn thing if I so desire as long as I pay off the balance at the end of the month, ya dig?

However, I prefer to choose my spots for boat rocking and this ain't one of them. Six weeks ago I caved into the pressure and got my very own Personal AmEx. It's the first time in roughly seven years that I have had my own card. It's kind of exciting.

Now that I'm back on the road for work, which is a mixed blessing, I have been flipping the pages of various magazines that contain those silly AmEx ads featuring a fill-in the blank survey completed by some celebrity or person of note. (Yes, there is a difference.)

While not nearly as intriguing as some of the craptastic surveys floating around on MySpace these days, I decided to offer my own input to the AmEx survey if for no other reason than to make myself chuckle and kill the time between Larry Kellner's Gomer like speech before the Continental In-Flight Safety Briefing.

My name: is Inigo Montoya
childhood ambition: was to kill the six-fingered man
fondest memory: was killing the six-fingered man
soundtrack: is pretty cheesy like 80's soundtracks usually are
retreat: is anywhere Fezzik and I get drunk
wildest dream: was to kill the six-fingered man
proudest moment: was killing the six-fingered man
biggest challenge: was storming the castle
alarm clock: is The Brute Squad coming to pick-up Fezzik
perfect day: was storming the castle, saving Princess Buttercup and killing the six-fingered man
first job: was helping my dad make swords
indulgence: is getting drunk with Fezzik
last purchase: was the magic pill to revive Westley
favorite movie: what are movies?
inspiration: was anyone who'd ever killed a six-fingered man
My life: is about to kill really boring since I killed the six-fingered man, saved the Princess and helped restore order to the kingdom
My card: is in my pocket


Houston Man Cycling Across America

Today is Tuesday, but it has exhibited Monday-like qualities from the get go, which has been depressing. Let's not focus on that and instead divert our attention to something worth mentioning.

George, an executive at my company, has embarked on a cross country bicycle tour, in honor of his father, to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation as part of its Grassroots efforts. The trip is entitled "Tour de Isidro" and was launched on September 10th from St. Augustine, FL. Per the schedule listed on George's blog, the Tour will encompass "eight States, four mountain ranges, two deserts, and four time zones to cross the US from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific."

The effort is awe inspiring and plain old inspiring all around. I'm flabbergasted. People take time out to tend to sick relatives all of the time, but few undertake such a feat, particularly execs at
consulting firms...or maybe I'm just living under a rock.

Most folks might organize a bake sale or volunteer drive, but few go to this length to raise awareness. Per George, "There is an obligation owed to the cancer community to honor those that came before us by continuing the fight to rid our society of this disease and tirelessly persist until a cure is found."

To find out more about Geogre's progress, you can read his blog or check out his LAF Grassroots page.


Webster Gets Pinched

Apparently Webster couldn't make enough cash selling autographed George Papadapolis rookie cards on eBay so he had to resort to robbery. Oh, sorry, that's Maurice Clarett making headlines. What a moron.

It is a sad state of affairs that this talented kid has fallen from football greatness to another passing headline in the police blotter. I can't help but think that this is a result of many things, one of which is star status and some "above the law/rules" type treatment that these folks enjoy. Perhaps he could have avoided this by being permitted to go pro following his break out season. Perhaps the pressure placed on him was too great. Who knows?

At least after serving his time, Maurice can look forward to a career earning tens of dollars in the celebrity look-a-like industry impersonating Emmanuel Lewis.

* AP image pulled from CNNSI.com


Arrivando a Italia

Flying Bikes
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
I arrived in Milano dreary eyed and saggy tailed on Friday morning with a dozen hours separating me from the bus to the hotel in Verbania. I used the time to explore Milano a bit, meet up with Cris and get my Italian pimp phone turned on. I made it back to the airport just in time for my masterful plan to fall apart.

Woody and I originally planned to take the bus, the preferred and only convenient transportation, to Pallanza. MXP management threw a monkey wrench into the plan by shutting down a runway resulting in a two hour delay for arrivals which forced us to rent a car after having missed the bus.

We set off streaking down the road armed with an Avis map and a naive notion that we would be able to make it to Pallanza after a modest drive estimated at a 90 minute duration. Woody rode shotgun and spouted off directions while I piloted our low flying aircraft down the autostrade and tried to stay awake.

We should have realized that our touron cards were about to get stamped. Minimal Italian driving experience between us - mine consisting of driving with the aid of an Italian and a BMW navigation system - resulted in us not realizing that highway numbers listed on the map may not actually correspond to those listed on the road signs. In fact, many highways do not list highway numbers at all or only flash them every 25 kilometers.

The Griswold's Big Ben, Parliament routine ain't got nothing on us. Woody and I were baffled by a "missing" autostrade interchange and ended up going and coming from MXP three times before finally getting things right. We arrived in Pallanza three-and-a-half hours not knowing this would foreshadow most of our upcoming driving experiences.

Fortunately, check-in at Hotel Astor was a breeze, and we passed out for a nap before getting up way too soon.


The Knot is Tied

Your Turn
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
As you may have gathered from my last blast, I traveled to Pallanza, Verbania, Italia to serve as the Master of Ceremony for Sean and Katey's wedding.

The bride and groom were joined by their immediate families and several dozen friends in this magnificent setting. So naturally, pictures and blackmail quality stories abound, but what you need to know is that the wedding was a success on all fronts.

I appreciate the time and effort that goes into a wedding that happens around the corner. Multiply the difficulty factor for that times 50 and you might start to get close to the challenges for a wedding in this locale. Flowers were done on the fly. The DJ was confirmed the day before. And, the padre didn't speak-uh da Engrish. But, all was well.

This was just a quick update. More on the trip and the driving adventure that is in progress when I return to the States.


Urinal Rules Apply

Guys, you wouldn't stand right next to someone at a wall full of empty urinals would you? I didn't think so.

I am working during my six hour lay over in Newark's cavernous President's Club, the one by security not the one above McDonald's. Here I sit being productive until some schmuck sits down right next to me to make a phone call. It wouldn't be a big deal if there weren't 27 vacant cubes with phones in this general vicinity. That's not to mention the other mostly vacant cube farm in the other part of the club.

He didn't even leave the customary empty seat between us. I'm pretty sure he rinsed with Tar & Nicotine mouthwash and topped it off with Eau d'Old Fart.

"We got a limo to drive us to the airport. I need to drive classy."

"The husband got a job? I didn't know she was married. That's amazing."

"Give my love to her...and them, too. Tell them I'm going to see Ted."

"I'll call you later tonight."

That's sweet, bub. Next time use a phone that's far enough away so that your neighbors can't hear the cat using the litter box on the other end of the line.


Bob @ Gruene

Bob @ Gruene
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
I'd never been to a show at Gruene Hall, Texas live music venue of near mythic reputation, until last Saturday when live music maven, KEB, and I set out into the humid darkness at warp speed from downtown Austin to catch Bob Schneider.

Gruene Hall and its surroundings live up to the hype with loads of charm hearkening back to those days of yesteryear. The plumbing, air conditioner and stage lights may not have existed way back when, but everything else seems like it's been frozen in time.

Freshly paroled from the Dixie Chicks tour, Bob is continuing to support his latest release, The Californian. Bob's supporting cast has shifted a bit. Bruce Hughes still anchors the line-up on bass, but has been joined in the rhythm section by Ben Harper's lost twin. Further, Billy has been replaced on lead guitar by an Orlando Bloom doppelganger. Despite the new faces, the band was tight cranking out the new tunes and Bob standards with precision.

Props to the sound engineer for getting the acoustics to balance in that ramshackle palace. And shame on you pretty boys for drinking Michelob Ultra at a place like this. It's Pearl or Lone Star all the way, jerkies.

In short, the night kicked ass. As Tony Bennett might say, " Great show. Great venue. Great company. Everything was just great, great, great."


Maybe It Was the Teacher?

Dog's driving lesson ends in crash
"A woman in Hohhot, the capital of north China's Inner Mongolia region, crashed her car while giving her dog a driving lesson, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday."

I'm not an expert behind the wheel unless you need a getaway driver. I have a horrible driving record for real life situations that includes failure to stop for red lights and the ability to get speeding tickets in Pecos County where the speed limit is 80 MPH.

But, Asian ladies should not give driving lessons to dogs even if it's Benji behind the wheel of Herbie, the Love Bug. Yeah, yeah. Sure, sure, I am perpetuating a stereotype, but so was the Korean lady I watched flip her car over in the LSU Wendy's drive-thru in the Spring of 1996.


Best Tots In Town

Tot In Sauce
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
Waterloo Ice House features a robust sandwich menu ranging from healthy chicken breast variety to cheesy burgers. The negative space in the wax paper covered pie tin plate is stuffed with you choice of french fries or tater tots.

Make Napoleon proud and go for the tots.


Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder

To quote Roger Murtaugh, Danny Glover's character in Lethal Weapon, "I'm getting too old for this shit."

I'm lounging in Austin-Bergstrom's President's Club after having arrived, without any toiletries and assorted gels, two hours in advance of my flight to Reagan National via Houston. I should be
working right now, but my few minutes of exposure had rendered me ready to rant and in need of a cocktail.

My nerves are already smoldering from the tourons running around in the airport. Teenagers abound wearing their fucking cargo pants with 16 pockets in which a myriad of miscellaneous shit is stashed. Only eight of the pockets have been emptied prior to their first attempt at the metal detector. Pockets are emptied one at a time resulting in an awkward, three-way two step between the shoeless knucklehead, the metal detector and the TSA agent until all mysterious items have been located. Just behind the kids were three Asian ladies who packed the equivalent of a Wal-Mart inventory in their carry-on bags. At least they have a valid excuse in that they don't speak any English except for the sundry pleasantries. My obnoxious compatriots in the P.C. have no such crutch.

Airline club patrons, in the U.S. anyway, typically consist of two breeds of traveler: corporate travelers and vacation travelers who gain entry via an overseas ticket or voucher. The vacation travelers are usually low profile, unless kids are on the trip, probably due to a fear of pissing of some Scotch swilling jerk with a blue tooth headset crammed in his ear. Corporate travellers are loud, gregarious and annoying. They know their way around the airport, hotels and car rental joints. But that does not give them carte blanche to yell into their phones via speakerphone, crank up their CD/DVD/IM audio on their laptop or boss around the airport staff like cabana boys.

I am embarrassed to be a corporate traveler on days like today.

I fit the mold of the corporate traveler in that I know may way around most airports of import and maintain the upper level of frequent traveler status at a couple of airlines and hotel chains. I hope that's where the similarities stop. All I ask is that you, my fellow traveler, no matter the sort, think about what you need to do at the security checkpoint before you get to the metal detector, if not before you leave the house, and that you exercise courtesy in your airport operations. Use headphones and don't yell into your cell phone or use the speakerphone. And, take the damned blue tooth headset out of your ear when you aren't using it if you don't want to
look stupid.

My friend, Garland, would say, "So young. So angry."

So what!

I may need an anger management class.


Ten Things That You Should Know Right Now

10. If procrastination were an Olympic sport, I would have won a gold medal in both the Summer and Winter games during each Olympiad since 1980.
9. You should rent Brick and watch it twice.
8. I just realized that I am flying from Milan to Newark on September 10th and that freaks me out a bit.
7. "Isn't ironic, dontcha think," that drinking coffee has a calming effect on me during stressful periods at work?
6. I'm getting close to buying a house, but then again, I'm getting close to moving to Chicago or New York.
5. I signed my second marriage license in the state of Texas on Sunday; my reverending career continues.
4. The Heater is on her last few laps around the neighborhood. I'm pissed and sad. Who wants another car payment? Who wants to deal with car shopping? I would start riding a horse if I thought he would survive the heat coming off of the asphalt during lunch time.
3. The cankle feels spectacular. Thanks for asking.
2. People in Chicago and New York, and everywhere else north of I-10, should quit crying about the heat and come to Austin or New Orleans. Then you'll know what hot is. And, go by a window unit already, you morons.
1. I gave my 24" BMX bike to someone that needs it. That made me feel good.


So You're Saying There's a Chance?

CNN and other tabloid media outlets are reporting that, "Kate Hudson and her rocker husband Chris Robinson have separated after six years of marriage."

Who are these people and why should I care? After a bit of research, I have unearthed the following.

Apparently Kate Hudson is an Oscar-nominated actress who also happens to look good in her drawers. Her mother is a lady named Goldie who, I'm told, looks good in her drawers and is an actress, too.

A few years ago Kate married some guy named Chris who considers himself a singer and musician. He even has a band named the Black Crowes. Unfortunately, things didn't work out....probably because musicians don't really make any money - ask my buddy, Scott.

I'm not a fan of divorce. I don't advocate divorce. I think divorces suck. But, if you can't be happy, then you should eject.

Kate, I just want you to know that I'm here for you if you need me. I'm kind of a big deal. I mean, I am good at spooning, have a good job, and still have all of my teeth. I've even been told I'm fun at parties. Don't worry. I like doing girly stuff like watching football all weekend and drinking High Life with the guys during the week.

So, look me up when your Greyhound stops in Austin. I'll be the curly haired guy wearing a goofy t-shirt and a sweet ankle brace.


It's Monday Afternoon. Do You Know Where My Luggage Is?

My trip to Chicago was supposed to have been a busy, but restful respite from my post-surgery house arrest period. Unfortunately, my travel callouses had lost their strength as had my right calf during my extended languishing period sur la couch.

I am continually amazed by the lack of skill and awareness exhibited by the American traveler today. It is little wonder that these knuckleheads are pickpocketed during jaunts to Europe or Oakland. I have seen more self-awareness demonstrated by my nieces and nephews - most of whom still crap their pants on an hourly basis.

To top off everything, the Continental agent swapped the luggage check tag for my bag with another bag - destination McAllen, TX. Sure, it's only the second time in seven years of constant jaunting that the big CO has misplaced my luggage. But, it's like breaking up. There's never a good time.

I pledge to fly up back to O'Hare and kick that guy in the teeth if my new Cubs hat isn't in my bag when I get it back.
The last time I ranted about traveling is here.


Now I Leave Home Without It

Boot 4 Sale
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
That's right, sports fans, I am now back in the world of two shoes. I'd like to thank The Boot and Mark, my PT, for making this possible.


The Dust Bowl Music Fest is Just Around the Corner

Austin City Limits Festival is just around the corner and the schedule has been announced, which you means you'd better put some haul in your ass if you plan on getting tickets and accommodations for the weekend of September 15 - 17. Organizers have pledged that the dust bowl extravanganza of last year will not happen again. But then again, some people thought that the levees would keep floodwaters out of NOLA.

Many folks, including moi, have pontificated about strategies for the music festival. Four of five dentists surveyed hold the following tennants of Fest attendance to be self evident and will deem you a nincompoop if you don't listen.

Top Five Don't's* for ACL Fest 2006:
5. Don't forget the little things, like tying your house key to your shorts so you don't lose it running from the beer tent back to the stage, and bring your own koozie, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat & chair ($4 at Target).
4. Don't get offended if your friends want to listen something other than what you want to listen to. It ain't personal; it's a festival.
3. Don't eat all of the Kettle Corn if you ain't planning to buy the next bag.
2. Don't fire up your damn cigarette within a foot of another fester and consistently blow the smoke in their face because they will jump your shit...and I will help them.
1. Don't be too cool to bring the maximum allowance of bottled water per person into the Fest, and be sure you drink it. You don't want eat stroke, just ask BT.

*Anybody got any idea on the correct way to write don'ts?



"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before.

Better . . . stronger . . .faster."

- The Six Million Dollar Man

For those of you keeping score at home, I just completed my first visit to physical therapy at Sports Center. I am so stoked to be off of the couch and doing something productive. But, I have a long, tough row to hoe before I'm playing Ultimate again. Initial test results revealed that I have just less than 50% of the range of motion that I should have in my cankle.

The PT protocol is broken down into three phases. Phase 1 is focused on regaining full range of motion. Phase 2 is designed to rebuild strength and stability until I reach full, pain-free weight bearing capability. Phase 3 is aimed at getting me back on the field with full sprinting and cutting.

Mark, my PT, says that my goal of a 48" vertical might be a bit aggressive but that "better, stronger, faster" is a slam dunk.

Tech Support Helpful Hint of the Day

"I'm sorry, sir, but without a broadband Internet connection it will
be quite impossible to use your Internet phone."


Ankle Surgery Index

Das Boot
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
For all you stats nerds and Harper's Index fans out there.

Number of surgeries: 2
Length (cm) of incision: 11
Staples: 16
Sutures: 6
Days since first surgery: 30
Days since last surgery: 17
Days in the hospital: 2
Days on crutches: 29
Trips to the doctor's office: 6
Movies watched from the couch: 17
Movies watched at the theater: 3
Complete seasons of TV shows watched: 3
Books read: 4
Cribbage games lost to TP: 7; games won: 3
Dollars won at Stew's poker game: 78
Poached eggs destroyed while crutch cooking: 3
Meals eaten out: 38
House plants before surgery: 3; after surgery: 6
Number of times my car has been in the shop since surgery: 3
Number of times I have driven my car since surgery: 0
Days (anticipated) after I can drive again that I will get rid of the bucket: 5


Crutches 101: Crutching for Knuckleheads

Crutches at the Cafe
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
I thought crutches looked like fun when I was younger and dumber. Crutches are fun like painting a house is fun. The novelty wears off after about ten minutes and you are left with a pain in the ass that continues until you bribe someone to help you out or your doctor puts you in a walking cast. I hope the following tips lessen the PITA factor for your next crutching experience.

  • Get your crutches before you need them because it's $23 a pair online instead of $300+ a pair at the OR.

  • Crutch-proof your house ASAP by putting things out of the way or in gimp-friendly locations. For example: take your cereal off the top shelf of the pantry, and stockpile TP as close to the potty as possible.

  • Crutches and the following do not mix: oil puddles, metal detectors, armpits, small backseats, pea gravel, copious amounts of vicodin and alcohol, knuckleheads, those garden paving stones with the holes in them, really slick rugs on top of well-waxed wood floors.

  • Buy a cheap office chair cuz rolling is better than crutching. Your shredded pits will thank you.

  • Trade up to an automatic SUV because there is more space for your cast and crutches. Your hipster, environfreaky friends will have to deal with it.

  • Put your keys on a lanyard since picking up a dropped set of keys and maintaining your balance is ubertricky. Bashing your cast into the asphalt as you bust your ass in the parking lot hurts a lot more than any bruise to your image.

  • Double-check your crutch ends before leaving a party because more than one of your drunken jackass friends has taken them for a spin. Better safe than pregnant or face down in the driveway.

Somehow "What were you thinking?" Comes to Mind

Apparently just sneaking out of your house and heading to the park to split a sixer is to passe for today's teenagers. This young Michigander duped her folks and headed to the Middle East to rendezvous with a dude she met on MySpace.

MySpace.com teen is back in her space at home

Nifty technology doesn't lead to people getting raped, killed, kidnapped or worse. Stupid people and lack of common sense do.


Surgery Makes Grumpy

Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
My head has finally regained its legs after being pounded into submission by anesthesia. Now I'm trapped in my apartment with a pair of crutches and some crappy movies. At least chicks dig crutches.


I'd Rather Watch 48 Hours of Lifetime

Moving sucks. It is a fact. You can look it up.

Packing is punishment for being a consumer. You knew you shouldn't have bought those nasty running shoes that your brother called the ugliest thing since Sanda Bernhard. But, you did. You didn't need to rescue that kickass BMX cruiser from the dumpster and rebuild it. But, you did.

Once you've overcome the mass of crap crammed into the upper reaches of your 200 degree attic, the trick is convey your loot to its new home. Listen to me now. Believe me later. PAY THE MONEY FOR MOVERS TO DO THEIR JOB. Deciding to move on your own, even if you're using a U-Haul, but particularly if you are using a pick-em up truck, is more likely bring rain than planning an outdoor wedding (do it in AZ and they'll love you) or washing your car.

Settling into your new place is test of your patience, determination and sanity. Procrastinators beware: if you don't get 'er done now, you'll still be unpacking boxes two weeks before your lease expires. So, quit blogging, get your ass off of your shoulders and do the work.


Who Cares About Mona Lisa's Smile?

I can't believe the amount of attention that the Mona Lisa gets. Da Vinci Code, Schma Vinci Code. Recently this renaissance tart has been taunting my with her glib expression rampant in the news.

I don't see what the big deal is. It's a royal pain in the ass to view the work. Plus, there are much better works of art in Le Louvre, Centre Pompidou and the coffee shop across the street. I'm partial to the tin fishes and the photos of the action figures in weird settings.

Don't people have anything better to do than worry about what someone may have been thinking while their ass got tired sitting for a potrait hundreds of years ago?

Computer decodes Mona Lisa's smile

Mona Lisa 'speaks' thanks to acoustics expert

Like my mom says, "Everybody's gotta be somewhere."

The real question is what's the deal with the poems and portraits pasted on to dumpsters, electrical boxes and phone switches all over town.


A Moment In Time

I've Found Myself
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
The other day I was dilly dallying around with some friends in one of Austin's saloons when someone came up to me and said, "I have seen your picture on the wall before."

Fortunately, it was not in a Post Office, but in what used to be Velvet Elvis in Houston. The picture seems to have been taken about four years ago judging by my obnoxious shirt and my evening migratory habits back then. I'm not sure who the girlie in the photo is, but I'd like to see her again.

Perhaps I should drop her a line on Craigslist's Missed Connections? "We had a magical night years ago at the VE. I would have called, but I was mugged for my shirt and my cell phone just outside the bar. Please call."


Huevos del Gorrión

Huevos del Gorrión
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
I'm not sure if the sparrows in the oak tree next door got aid from FEMA, but they built a nest my mailbox in record time following our recent thunderstorms. Looks like they're going to need a jogging stroller soon. Do birds have baby showers?


What's the Big Deal, Martha?

I may be asking for a lot of ragey emails, but can someone please explain why the lack of female members in Augusta National Golf Club is such a big deal? [Payne says no timetable on women at Augusta National (http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/news/story?id=2437506)]

National is a private club. Private as in the membership decides the rules. Private as in that everyone is not a member. Private as in non-members can't tell you what to do. Private as in if you don't like the rules, don't try to join this club; start your own club.

Why isn't there a gender issue regarding the membership rolls of Junior League or college fraternities or sororities? When should I expect a man to show-up in skates and bloomers on RollerGirls?

The Constitution guarantees Americans the right do what they want provided that it is within the context of the law. Thus, if I wanted to start a club catering only to individuals who get pissed off by stupid issues being created or blown out of proportion to further some other agenda, then I can. Martha, you can't be in that club either because you have to be under 40. Sure, that's age discrimination, but it's a private club and we're not a government contractor.


Things Making My Head Hurt Today

My near noon headache is probably due to the sharp decline of caffeine and/or High Life in my diet these days. Maybe I just need a nap. Most likely I have a headache because I keep thinking about stupid things that have little value, which is my standard M.O. for procrastinating on days when the weather is great and I am less thanmotivated to work on meaningful tasks.

That's a Cool Shirt, But I'm Not Sure It's Worth 28 Bucks
I'm still trying to understand why people pay $28 for a t-shirt from Urban Outfitters. It's a t-shirt and it's $28? We're talking 'bout a t-shirt? No collar? But a fucking t-shirt? Making your own t-shirt is much cooler and cost effective. I'm in the wrong business. PayPal me 28 bucks, and I'll make you a cool t-shirt.

Rude People
My day job keeps interfering with my peace of mind and laid back attitude. Today some freak show from the West Coast is working on my last nerve with a dull cheese grater. She does have a valid point to her problem [sorry, but it's been redacted], but she is acting like a fourth grader. Too bad that she's old enough to have grand kids in the fourth grade. She should be an NBA player. She may blow a heart valve if she's not careful. Worse yet, she may cause me to have
aneurysm as well. I wish I were a girl so I could fly out there and punch her since it is not socially acceptable for guys to hit girls.

OK, now I have to go back in the classroom to practice my penmanship or I'll get another detention.


Crappy Headlines Continue

One of the luxuries of vacation is being unplugged from the world and not dealing with reality for a brief moment in time. Now that I'm back, I can not say that I was surprised in the continuing lack of substance regarding many headline making stories covered by mainstream media.

Each day I am amazed by the crap that poses for newsworthy stories, particularly on CNN.com. Please tell me that Ryan Seacrest and Paula Abdul feuding is not more important than the latest on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is Teri Hatcher's eye injury more relevant or thought provoking than post-Katrina reconstruction on the Gulf Coast?

Anyone got Rupert Murdoch's number?


Top Ten Things You Should Know Right Now

10. The weather-uh is crappy in Verona right now-uh.
9. The best time to check-uh you-uh email is after lunch before four o'clock when the shops re-open.
8. Untangling those fifteen strands of old Christmas lights is easier than trying to decipher the pricing system for Italian cellular service.
7. Bellagio is super cool, super pricey, and George Clooney does not live there - same lago, different town-o.
6. The worst vino de la casa is still better than Franzia, which incidentally is not actually Italian for box of wine.
5. Drivers in Spain appear to have been at least familiarized with driving laws; no chance of that having happened in Italia.
4. The risks of hanging Chads may still be at hand, but at least we are able to vote, via machines, for individuals and not just the party ticket, via paper ballots in boxes, as in Italia.
3. The long awaited ouster of the conventional phone booth shower stalls has not yet occurred.
2. The best view of Lago Como, Bellagio, Como and everything else bordering the lake is from Ristorante Falchetto in Brunate, but you'd better be a courageous driver or be driven by an Italian because you must traverse the most pot-holed piece of paved vehicular single track on the planet; may the force be with you if you encounter oncoming traffico.
1. The real life Romeo and Juliet committed suicide because they tried escape the weather by booking second class non-reserved seats to Milano and had to stand in the vestibule full of farting old folks and at least one transvestite.


Sesenta Minutos en Bargas

Growing up I never understood why my parent´s always said, "´B´ as in ´boy,´" when spelling our last name for anyone. Then again, I thought everyone was white and Catholic until I went to public school. Eventually I found out there was a much more prevalent "V" version ofour name floating around.

Even my Spanish teachers told me that my name should start with a "V." "B´s and V´s sound alike in Spanish; it must have been changed at Ellis Island." I grew up wanting to build a time machine so that I could go back and kick that guy´s ass for sentencing me to life time of "´B´ as in ´boy.´" Fortunately for him, Al Gore invented the InterWeb.

One day, through the power of Google, I stumbled across a web site for Ayuntamiento de Bargas which is Bargas City Council for my fellow gringos. Eat it, Mr. Ellis Island and everyone else. Bargas is a city in the Province of Toledo in Spain.

Guide books such as Fodor´s and Lonely Planet had no dish on the town, but from the looks of the web site, Bargas appeared to be a small town where folks in the know would vacation. I decided to stop in and show off my last name if I was ever in the neighborhood. As it turns out, ending up in the neighborhood is much more difficult than I ever imagined.

I arrived in Madrid on Wednesday and immediately embarked on my trip to Bargas. The map and the bus schedule presented a simple solution to the trip. But, I should have known that it would not be easy.

My migration started well enough. I got directions from Barajas, the Madrid aeropuerto, to the bus station and made the trip without incident. I even found the right bus carrier and bought a ticketwithout incident.

Getting on the right bus was as painful as walking around blindfolded in your living room after someone has rearranged your furniture. Continental Auto runs buses serving Toledo from three gates that are next door to each other. Just because there are only three gates does not mean that there will only be three buses there. And, all of thebus destination indicators say Madrid-Toledo.

The only way to find the right bus is to look for the numero de coche (either uno or dos), which is hanging from the rear view mirror, IF the jackass driving the coche remembers to put it up in the first place. All the ones I saw were dos. I asked the drivers sin numero de coche, and they said, "Dos."

Thanks to this system and my ignorance of Spanish, Spanglish does not count, my coche sailed on without me. Great!

I eventually arrived in Toledo, the provincial capital, just in time to have the doors of the Bargas shuttle shut in my face. Two hoursand seven cafes later, I finally arrived in Bargas.

My anticipation of seeing the root of all Bargases had begun the year before and peaked on the bus ride. I squirmed in my seat each time I saw Bargas on an autovia sign. Dreams of owning a cheesy truck stop hat, and lots of other apparel, with Bargas emblazoned on it were soon dashed in what proved to be a zero horse, (at least) ten chicken town. Bargas does not have an Estacion de Autobus. Thus, there is no bag check for my gear.

Undaunted, I headed off to find a shopkeeper who spoke better English than my Spanish give me directions a hostel. I´m not sure if my backpack gave it away, but the hardware store clerk, who was miscast in her role and should have been a third grade teacher, displayed the first of many "What the hell are you doing here?" faces thrown in my direction. "I need directions and a present for my mom," I blurted out.

"No comprendo," came the reply. I told her that lots of folks didn´t understand why Mom likes stuff from hardware stores, but I thought it was cool and she´d better watch her mouth. Then I told her that mylast name was the same as the name of the town. "No comprendo."

Some kids came in with their mom, probably to buy her something, and did a serviceable job of translating what I´d said. They told me thatthere was only one hostel nearby and it was on the other side of town.

As I continued my quest, I hiked past a butcher shop/fish market that had just opened. The lady inside was super friendly and gave me better directions to Hostal Gran Capitan; she said it was a 30 minute walk from the city center.

Bargas may be small, but new home starts must be at a record high; I strolled past at least ten new homes during my search for Gran Capital. The architecture and urban development was similar to some of the small Italian towns that I have visited. Pharmacies, shoe shores, markets, and auto repair joints lined the narrow, asphalt paved streets. However, the concentration of stores was not as dense.

Hostal Gran Capital is situated on a hill on the outskirts of Bargas just as the butcher lady had said, but the walk only took about half the time. During the trip I had debated whether or not I should get a beer first or take my first phone booth shower of this European adventure. Beer was the answer dictated by the circumstances at hand.

I entered a dark stairwell from the doored marked "Hostal" which was at the rear of the structure. There was no front desk so I followed the noise through another door on the right side of the entryway. Four card players and a spectator seated at a table near the front of the room were involved in some sort of poker game for beer bottle caps. The balance of the occupants were four patrons bellied-up to the bar and the bartender.

The bartender told me that no rooms were being let at the hostel even before the Spanglish left my mouth. "RAT FARTS!" "You think you know, but you don't know" and other choice words screamed through the empty grey space between my ears, but "Gracias. Cerveza por favor," left my mouth since the Restaurante Gran Capital was apparently the only operation in operation here.

I savored the beer, but it didn't make my present circumstance much better. The walk through town, the chance to survey the buildings and meet some nice Bargasians and a few chickens were entertaining enough, but I would have appreciated things more had I not humped my 40 poundsof gear two clicks.

As I sat pondering the difference between my Bargas beer and High Life, "Oh, shit you may be sleeping on the street unless you hook up" flashed on the neon sign in my head. As appealing as some Bargas on Bargasian action sounded, I slammed the beer, paid the tab and hauled ass out the front door in the direction of the bus stop to avoid being relegated to a restless night of spooning with my backpack on a park bench. The Bargas-Toledo shuttle was just pulling up as I entered the main plaza.

As the driver executed a recklessly precise three point turn, I waived goodbye to the butcheress and the hardware store lady. I returned to Madrid via Toledo that night disappointed that my trip had not been as fruitful as I had hoped. I really wanted that truck stop hat and maybe a Policia de Bargas shirt. At least now I could say that I was officially "in the know" about Bargas, Toledo, Spain. That's Bargas with a "B" as in "Better bring a tent if you plan to stay here."

Oh, in case you were wondering, neighborhood hardware stores in Bargas smell the same as the ones in Baton Rouge and Austin.


"Cut Your Dreads, Hippie!"

"And take a shower!" exclaimed my friend, Kristin, as she ejected us from the Book People parking lot tonight. Some people are scared of midget clowns on unicycles. Kristin is scared of hippies.

The irony is overwhelming; Kristin is in love with Austin and is moving to the hippie mecca of the South on May 1st. To help her combat this condition, I have prescribed a daily regiment of patchouli oil, disc golf, weed and Dick's Pick, Volume 6. Let's hope it worksquick like.

Today Was the Best Monday Ever!

Because it's the first time I have been in the US on Opening Day in seven years. And, the Cubs destroyed the Reds! Thank ya, Jesus.


Top Ten Things You Should Know Right Now

10. Six days in Vega$ is about three too many.
9. I am flying out to New Orleans for Mickey & Beth's wedding tomorrow which completes my trifecta of weddings for March.
8. I just got back from the ankle doctor who told me that I have a split tendon, scar tissue and ligament damage in my right ankle from too many years of being an amateur stunt man.
7. My breakfast is almost finished cooking.
6. I am now a New Orleans Saints season ticket holder.
5. Surgery is scary. Four months of rehab is scarier.
4. I can hold my breath for a whole minute.
3. I won 15 bucks at poker last night.
2. The good news about ankle surgery and rehab is that it clears up the decision about staying in Austin or not.
1. My buddies, Todd & Lisa, had their baby; her name is Kalle, and she weighed 7lbs 13oz. Oh, she likes me so much she went to sleep when I held her.


Death Comes Ripping

Flesh and blood
Too weak for you
Death comes ripping

- Misfits, Death Comes Ripping

Death is a toxic event that disintegrates your world like a depth charge exploding in the shallow puddle of life's liquid. The topic for me has become inescapable due to recent passings of friends and relatives.

As children, humans are fearless and believe themselves indestructible; I did. Perhaps my friends and I are an anomaly, but during our youth we survived being shot with flare guns and rifles, countless go-cart and bmx stunts, jumping off of rooftops, falling out of tree forts and other boyhood type events. Fortunate youths will cruise through many years of carefree existence without receiving negative biopsy results or tragedy laden phone calls from relatives in early morning or experiencing the death of a loved one save for the occasional pet. There will be no regret of feuds not reconciled or not finding time for one last phone call in time to say goodbye.

Adulthood changes things with its subtleties like moving away for jobs, marriage and more grown-up priorities. Garden State-type situations crop up and force us to take stock of our current state if just for a moment. What's our legacy to be? Are our lives going in the right direction? How can we be certain of anything?

Eventually days grow into weeks, months and years. Enough time passes and life begins to regain some form of normalcy, but the footprint of one's existence, life's puddle, is never the same. Some elements of life have been vaporized. They are gone forever and live on only in memories until time steals those away too. Indestructibility wains and mortality approaches with each birthday.

I have come to learn that life is a viscious cycle of trading one's mortality for new experiences that create bonds with others and become memories themselves. Ideally the key is to enjoy each second as it ticks by and revel in the outcome. The hard part is achieving the ideal.


Once, When I Was Young

HoDawg Sardines
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
Most of my friends are getting married or having kids these days. My little brothers are entering their middle twenties, but I had never felt as old as when the UGA HoDawgs ultimate team came to Austin for the Centex College tournament.

It's not the age of the young women staying at my house making feel wrinkled and crusty; it's the age of my memories.

I still remember road trips to tournaments like they happened last week. Long gone are the days of watching VHS tapes on a 13" TV hotwired to the lighter socket of Malone’s Bronco2, sleeping 12 to a room at Motel6 because we could and using an empty Fuddrucker's fry basket to make a salad from veggie and condiment bar.

After 15 years of mental sediment, these and other fragments of realities past bounce around my misshapen head like a ping pong ball in a laundromat dryer. Thanks for putting another quarter in the dryer, ladies. I just hope the dryer still works in another 15 years.


Top Ten Reasons That I'm Having a Bad Day

I know that these are all bullshit reasons for having a bad day compared to more serious situations that exist such as running out of Charmin in the midst of a download, worrying about the war in Iraq, being Katrina-ed out of your home, migraines, missing the bus, getting pigeoned, having a blow-out or any of the other infinite circumstances that would lead to one entering a state of pissedivity. But, like Einstein said, "Everything's relative, man."

10. The Soprano's sucked on Sunday, and I can't get passed it.
9. My Vans are falling apart.
8. The weather sucks.
7. I missed a poker game last night.
6. I'm not Batman and will never be Batman.
5. The neighbor's coffee pot is empty.
4. I can't figure out where I want to live - Austin, Houston or New Orleans; and no, I don't want your opinion just yet.
3. The barber interpreted, "Just a little off the sides" as "High and tight."
2. Stupid people with no frame of reference or practical experience keep trying to tell me how to do my job.
1. I have yet to receive confirmation that my whiney bitch state of being is an affliction that will go away in less than 12 hours.


Eight No Brainers That I Was Asked Recently

8. Would you like to be upgraded to First Class?
7. High Life or Bud Light?
6. Do you really plan on watching movies all day?
5. Would your drunk ass like to dance on stage while I karaoke this song?
4. Should we watch Kung Fu Shuffle or The English Patient?
3. Did you have a good time at Mardi Gras?
2. Sir, are you sure you wanna double-down on a hard 13?
1. Can [18 college ladies] stay at your place in two weeks?


This Just In

There are more hookers than poker chips in my hotel. I know I'm sexy,
but someone, anyone, please make them go away.


Whatever Happened to Larry Williams?

A hundred years ago in the mid 1990's, Larry Williams jumped out of my TV screen and gave me directions to the Motel 6 in Longview, Texas. "You drivin' ova da bridge. You drivin' ova da bridge. You drivin' ova da bridge. BAM! Right turn on green."

I have often thought that I'd seen Larry a time or two here in Austin as I was cavorting around the downtown area. But, I couldn't be sure it was him and was a bit too timid to ask. If you've not been privy to the Larry Williams experience, you are missing out.

Larry Williams is a reality TV original captured on video tape by two guys on a cross-country roadtrip who end up lost in Longview, which is much more glamorous than Yonkers. Acting outside of stereotype, these two guys in a conversion van stop to ask a local resident for directions.

Larry offers a ten minute monologue, regarding their three minute trip, that includes directions, access to drugs and hoes and his qualifications to star in an adult film. I can't remember much of the bullshit that Larry spouts off other than his starting most sentences with, "Bam!" (your welcome, Emeril) and his declaration claiming possession of a gold member.

I'm not sure where you are today, Larry. But, I miss you. You're an inspirational sumbitch. Bam! Right turn on green.


Excuse Me - Where are the Republican Eggs?

I developed a raging craving for breakfast tacos on the way home from my buttcrack-of-dawn doctor's appointment. Fortunately for me I realized that I was out of eggs in time to stop at the nearest grocery store, the neighborhood Whole Foods at 6th & Lamar.

My roommate, BT, and I have often commented on the fact that there should be a store connected to Whole Foods called Real Foods. In this establishment one would find Coca-Cola, Roman Meal bread, High Life, Cap'n Crunch, Aqua-Fresh and other "pedestrian" staples that are not permitted to adorn the aisles, shelves and kiosks of Whole Paycheck.

You may argue that a business of this sort already exists as the local Stop 'N Rob down the street. C'mon! We're a lazy people and traffic is increasingly bad in Austin. Across the parking lot is where it's at. We should probably add in one of those moving sidewalks just in case.

By the time I found the Dairy section tucked in behind Booze section, I had made up my mind to grab the first carton of 18 Grade AA eggs I saw. That much specificity regarding eggs was taxing me mentally, but it's amazing what you can recall when your brain is functioning on cortisone and caffeine.

The Whole Foods' egg display is a robust display d'oeufs yet severely lacking in "pedestrian" eggs. Prices range from $1.99 to $3.99 per dozen. Instead of reading "Eggs," the boxes are labeled "Organic Eggs," "Free Range Eggs," "Vegetarian Eggs," "Cage-Free Eggs" or any combination thereof.

Where in the Wide World of Sports were the plain old "Eggs?" "They must be around the corner. I'll go find them," I thought.

I must have walked three laps around the Dairy & Booze sections of Whole Foods before a nice lady stopped me and asked if I was lost. I told her that I wasn't lost but I was trying to find a box of Franzia and the 99¢ a dozen eggs. Her mouth told me that Whole Foods didn't stock those items; her face told me that I'd lost my mind.

I wandered back over to egg dealership to pick out the huevos that would become breakfast because the Stop 'N Rob by my house doesn't have eggs on the shelf. The keywords baffled me as they burned their way through my retinas into my sleepy head. Gimme a break! How can an egg be Vegetarian? It doesn't even have a fucking beak yet.

Being the cheap bastard that I am, except when on dates, I chose a dozen of the "Whole Dairy Organic Cage-Free Vegetarian Large Brown Grade A Eggs" for $1.99. During the drive home, my hungry mind passed the time with word association games. Organic. Vegetarian. Democrat.

I was about to eat Democrat eggs. Huh? I find that ironic considering that Whole Foods is jammed pack with Porsche Cayenne-driving soccer moms of Republican ilk. I must have been out of my head due to starvation and need for speed.

I got the speed out of the coffee pot on my neighbor's kitchen counter and tested my associations on him as I ground the sugar into the bottom of the mug.

"Is the wiring in my head hosed for associating organic and vegetarian with Democrats?"
"No, it makes sense to me," came the reply from TV, an academian and Democrat.

After I recounted the precedings, he cracked up laughing and asked what it would say on a carton of Republican eggs. I can't be certain. But, if the GOP is the opposite of the DNP, then it would probably read something like, "Grade A 'Merican Aigs."


2005: Year In Review

The Academy Award nominations are out which means that it's time for a look back on the year that was. Here's a peek back into my 2005.

Best Memory Made During 2005: Officiating the marriage for two of my closest friends.
That's right, I'm a reverend and have pulled the trigger. I'm proud to have been part of such a beautiful thing and not just cuz I looked beautiful.

Best News I Heard All Year: The oak tree missed my mom's house and the sundry other bright spots of information that were delivered just after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the Gulf Coast.

Second Best News I Heard All Year: $2 High Life longnecks at Shoal Creek Saloon all night, every night.

Worst News Topic: Celebrity news of any sort
Kate Moss allegedly doing coke. Michael Jackson allegedly doing kids. Angelina allegedly doing Brad. I know she's announced her pregnancy, but like Ice Cube rapped, "Let's check da results of da blood test." Are these really newsworthy items that should supplant stories about Iraq, the economy, national disasters or any of the wealth of stuff that has bearing on society that is not already covered ad nauseam in check-out counter rags?

Best 2005 Bandwagon That Is Building Steam for 2006: Text Messaging
If you're a cell phone user and you don't use text messaging or SMS, shame on you. It took off in Europe as fast as OJ in a Bronco because phone calls are so damned expensive. Momentum is continuing to build in the States thanks to better marketing (I can't believe I wrote that) and the rampage of cutting edge techologies like Yellow Arrow and StreetHive emerging on a seemingly daily basis. SMS is revolutionizing communication the way the WebOrNet revolutionized information sharing. It's easy, cheap and available. When's the last time you heard those words used to describe something that you didn't like?

Worst Idea in Sports: Free Agency
Don't agree? Ask the Eagles about T.O.? I know this wasn't started in 2005, but it can be ended at some point with enough effort from the players and teams. Darrell Jackson's six straight years of tenure with the Seattle Seahawks should not be an amazing stat; let's focus on his record breaking performances on the field.

Best Sports Show on TV (again): Pardon The Interruption
Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon are less Felix and Oscar and more Balki and Cousin Larry with their commentary on a wide range of sports and sports-related happenings. What's not to love about guys reading printed emails pulled from a talking mailbox and answering questions via paper masks?

Best Road Trip: Houston to LA in Two Days
I prefer to call it "The 25 Hours of Fahrvergnugen." TP joined me as I drove my v-dub from Houston to Los Angeles for work. We handled the distance over the course of nine hours of driving on Friday and 16 hours of driving on Saturday. Proof once again that copious amounts of Diet Mountain and gas station sandwiches can help you rise to new heights.

Worst Road Trip: Greensboro, NC to Blacksburg, VA in Three Hours
The trip sucked for many reasons: 1. I had to cut short a very relaxing trip to Padre; 2. my flight into North Carolina was delayed; 3. my rental car only had a quarter tank of gas; 4. the map did not have the start and end destinations on it; 5. I couldn't call for directions because cell service is shotty in the mountains...

Best Dive Bar in Austin That You've Already Been To But I Just Discovered: Mean Eyed Cat
Yeah, yeah. Sure, sure. You'd told me about it a million times. It was on the to-do list since April, but I had to conquer my fear of riding my one-speed velo up the West Lynn hill so shut it. It's a chainsaw factory transformed into a Johnny Cash loving dive. Get there early on Saturday nights because it's super packed now with High Life drinkers in the know.

Worst Japanese Sci-Fi Action Movie That I Rented & Slept Thru: Returner
It's about a rebel from the future traveling backwards in time to prevent catastrophic events from causing the end of humanity. It was better the first time I saw it. I think it was called The Terminator.

Best Action Movie That I Watched Last Night: House of Flying Daggers
Yeah, last night was 2006, but the movie is from 2004. Takeshi Kaneshiro, of Returner infamy, is much better in this movie as he kicks ass and makes out constantly with my future ex-wife, Zhang Ziyi. It's not as good as Hero, but the cinematography is almost as beautiful - easy to tell that the films have the same director.

Worst Addiction Developed: Gambling
I've loved gambling ever since my dad and I took an RV road trip to Gatlinburg, and I won enough money to play Pac Man and pinball at the incessantly at the local arcade. However, 2005 was witness to several casino trips and many nights of local Hold 'Em games. There are already three big trips to Vegas lined up for 2006; two are actually business related. It's OK though cuz I can quit any time I want.

Best Addiction Under Development: Cycling
I love cycling and not because Lance Armstrong or Steve Carrell look so cool doing it. It's a gadget thing. I like buying interesting components and putting them together and then looking at them. I even ride my bikes on special occasions like ACL Fest or pub crawls. I'm working on transitioning from bar transportation to riding them for fitness reasons. Don't worry; I'll still want to stick my bike in your trunk in 2006.

Top Five Things Pissing Me Off Right Now

5. The fact that my insurance company will cover my orthopaedist and
all services rendered at his office except for the required MRI. I
have to go to a different joint (tee hee) to get them to pay for it.
4. The lack of a killer Chinese food restaurant with delivery or easy
in-and-out in my neighborhood.
3. Ladies in the grocery store who park their carts in the middle of
the aisle, walk-off and get pissed at you for moving the cart so you
can pass.
2. Branding. Enough with the marketing already. Can't we revert to
the good ole days when cans just said "Beer" and cartons just said
"Milk." I need a translator to figure out what's actually in the
package. And don't even get me started on crap like Hollister or
1. The lawn service folks who don't bag up the clippings and leaves
but use their really loud blowers to move this organic flotsam down
the street. Extra piss off points were earned today for blowing it
into my car window.


Top Five Things That I Thought About Today

5. Someone needs to start a support group for folks who call me and expect me to listen to them breathe because they don't have anything to say.
4. How can I get my Paris-based company to approve thirty hour work
weeks and snotty attitudes for its US employees?
3. I would like to beat the crap out of whomever decided it was
fashionable to wander around with your bluetooth headset crammed in
your ear when you're not on the phone.
2. Migas are good.
1. Who was the bored Japanese genius with nothing better do to than
invent some puzzle game that has taken over the planet's newspapers
like kudzu on steroids and beckons me to quit work and while away hours playing with numbers?


The BackWord is Back

During the past few months many of you have asked me what happened to the TheBackWord, the Austin-based online magazine for which I used to scribe. In August, the editors were overcome with real life pursuits like work, marriage and living; they decided to pull the plug on El BW before it jumped the shark. Some time shortly thereafter The BackWord faded off into Bolivian, and a hole was left in the InterWeb.

The topic came up again during our family Christmas dinner this year. Cousin Trey, also a BackWord contributor, filled in the gaps for the fam while I filled my gap with seafood gumbo and potato salad.

While I chomped, I thought about the good ole days when I was funny and could write more better than I do now. Luckily, the Tabasco sauce must have melted some frozen brain cells.

I realized that I had, months before, pulled down the files for Trey's articles and mine. I found the files just where I didn't remember putting them four months before, on my flash drive, and sent the zip file to Trey.

Now our articles live again, displaying to all further evidence of the depth of our mania and our need of a grammar lesson. Visit The BackWord (abridged version) at http://www.treydogg.com/TheBackWord.

What's Up, Dog?

I'm supposed to be packing for a business trip and cleaning the house and doing some work and a million other things. Instead, I am watching The Office while I pretend to work.

The episode opened with potentially the greatest stupid joke ever that has been told by me and my knucklehead friends for years.

"Kinda smells like up dog in here."
"What's up dog?"
"I don't know, G, what's up with you?"

That's snort-o-rific. On second thought, maybe I should have kept this to myself.


A Sucker is Born

Before I moved from Houston to Austin I was out running errands and
when these two guys in a Durango pull up beside me in traffic offering
lots of "overstock" discounted stereo equipment. I figured, "What the
hell? I need new speakers."

I pulled over in a parking lot near a high traffic area so that I
wouldn't get jacked...for my car. They showed me a glossy magazine
with the list price of the gear and a bill of lading for the order. It seemed as if everything was in order. Shouldn't I help these guys out?

The old adage goes, "If something's too good to be true, it probably
is." My amended version includes the add-on "unless your buddy, Dug,
says it's a good deal."

Based on his crackerjack advice and my stupidity, I rationalized
buying a set of speakers as a great deal. I still haven't used the
damn things cuz I don't want to have hard core proof that I'm a dope.

Too late.

Normally, I would never disclose anything like this. But, the same
thing happened to César, from The BackWord, here in Austin. I just
read his blog entry on El Mas Chingon. He just said no. It's clear that he's got more brains than me.

Anyone got clear title on the Brooklyn Bridge?