Top 10 Things I Learned in Vegas Last Weekend

10. Pulnik is Big Q's special imaginary friend.

9. That Little Midget Can Pass Out.

8. The best sushi restaurant in Vegas is Ichiza in China Town.

7. Cab drivers hate making off-strip trips.

6. Penguins think the water in the Bellagio pool is too cold.

5. Never let Pedro mix your drinks if you're trying to analyze your draft picks.

4. All future Vegas trips will include a trip to the spa just before heading to the airport to fly home.

3. Everyone is your friend at the craps table when you roll eight or more points in a row before crapping out.

2. You shouldn't feel bad that the High Roller lost close to 10 LARGE when you crapped out.

1. You should feel bad when you lose LARGE when you crap yourself out.


Missing Austin Java

I got restless in the Spring of 2005 and moved to Austin after having carefully considered migrating from Houston to Chicago or New Orleans. Chicago was too cold in the winter; plus, it's my place to "do stuff." And, New Orleans was a bit too close to home. "New Orleans will always be there [for me]," I thought. Huh. Who knew?

Austin offered all that cool stuff that everyone talks about but not a whole lot of folks do. Mountain biking. Kayaking. Hipstering. For me, the appeal was more about moving out of the smallest big city in America and reconnecting with a solid group of friends.

We hung out. We drank. We played some ultimate. And, we partied. But, I spent a lot of quality time with new folks down at the coffee shop. I lived walking distance from AJC on Parkway during this stint of Austin habitation - the last few months only a block away, which is good because I was on crutches.

It wasn't until a recent trip to Austin that I realized exactly how much I missed the folks I met at AJC. Not really that surprising given that I was tucked away at my favorite corner table - as long as I got there before some tennis player named Andy - at least five days a week. The other day Christi saw me filling up my cup and shot me a big smile that almost made me cry in my Fog Cutter.

We caught up on 18 months of history in a few moments. I was surprised how much she knew/remembered about me. How's the ankle? Still traveling all the time for work? When's the next pub crawl?

I shot back with my own barrage. Are you still climbing? How are Summer & Jackie? Did y'all ever settle the disputes about the 2nd Street location?

Leaving Austin I knew I was going to miss the hell out of my friends, but I wasn't really prepared for how much I would miss the little things that make living in any city your life in that city. Told you I wasn't that smart.

And, Jackie, I found this in my wallet the other day. You can have your integrity back. I don't need it any more. I found mine.


Today I Limited My Career...on Purpose

Most of my colleagues would say that I've done a fairly solid job of managing to keep my work life and my personal life in balance. I disagree, but everything is relative. Let's put it this way. I currently earn 22 days of vacation each year and typically carryover no less that half of those days each year.

Today, I made a choice to improve my life. I gave my preliminary notice. I told the folks at McCall, Gilchrist & Haynes that I am finished with the consulting lifestyle as they define it and am actively seeking a new job.
  • I'm done with living on the road for at least four days a week for nine to 18 months at a time

  • I'm tired of having stronger relationships with hotel staff than with my friends back home

  • I'm tired of driving rental cars more than my own although I do appreciate the opportunity to demo potential replacements for a week

  • I'd like to be excited to go to airports instead of immediately starting the countdown until my return flight home

  • I'd like to understand what it's like to stay in your hometown for a month without going anywhere

Consulting, particularly in my skill area, is a very small world. Conferences feel like a high school class reunion. Colleagues become clients and vice-versa. I thought it best to avoid burning any bridges and only lightly singe them instead. Hopefully that's what I've done.


It's a Small World: Episode 16

A seemingly normal trip to the Central Market in Southlake, TX turned into yet another illustration of how small the world can be. I'd gone to grab a few healthy snacks for the office and decided to dine in the restaurant as well.

There were only three other diners in the place. A booth held two girls yapping about wedding planning. A familiar looking red head sat alone eating a pizza. But, red heads all look the same (don't hit me Peaker) and I was still focused on work so I thought nothing of it until she left.

I used my CrackBerry to get to the bottom of things by trading texts with Windy:
[JB] What is your red headed friend's name who moved to Dallas and had gone out with Bruce? Was it Cindy?

[Windy] Yes, Cindy. She's about to move to Chicago. She was in Austin yesterday.

[JB] Huh. Ask her if she just ate pizza at Central Market. I was sitting behind her and didn't get a solid look. But, I think it was her.

[Windy] Yep, that was her. She thought I was a psychic. She asked if that was you.
The last time I saw Cindy, I was living in Austin and partying with Windy's Austin crew on 6th St. for a birthday three years ago. Small freekeeng planet.


366 Days & Counting

My Cell, originally uploaded by JaseMan.

On this day in history:

1806: The Holy Roman Empire ended

1890: First electrocution by electric chair

1911: Lucille Ball was born

1928: Andy Warhol was born

1932: The drive-in movie was patented

1945: The Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima

1967: Mike Greenberg was born

1984: Prince released Purple Rain

1998: Monica Lewinsky testified before the Grand Jury about her relationship with President Clinton

2007: I started traveling to Ft. Worth on a weekly basis to work my current project. I was told that I couldn't decline it because I was a named resource in the contract. I should have started sending out my resume right then.


Farewell Fish, Hello Hamburger

They cooked the whole freaking fishJLay came up with the incredibly brilliant, yet colossally stupid idea to not eat meat for the month of July. Naturally I signed up right away thinking that the concept was more brilliant than stupid. Wrong. The idea was stupid and so were we.

Have you ever tried to forgo the flesh (tee hee - not that way) for any length of time? It's really not that hard buscept when you're at a bar and your weggie options are chips & salsa or a spinach quesadilla - neither of which sound appetizing after half a dozen pints.

We love cows and pigs and fowls and everything else that tastes great with minimal amounts of sauce. So, it should come as no surprise that we all said a collective "Thank ya, Jesus" (pronounced HAY-zoose) when the digits flipped to 12:00 in the AM on August 1st.

DFT & JLay decided that we should head to Saigon Pagaloc for Beef 7 Ways to celebrate our return to meat-a-tarianism. However, the plan was changed to Beef 3 Ways because 7 Ways would likely be too overwhelming. Whatever.

I was down with beef any way at this point. Tired I was of not being able to get dishes cooked in beef broth. Like Yoda I was talking because my brain was so confused.

The first three courses involved succulent bits of meat seasoned and cooked in Asian ways - so you know it's good - and involved wrapping them in rice paper so that they were supposed to look like egg wolls. Let's just say that I came in last in this category.

The evening took a turn for the weird when our Return to Meats ended with a gianormous fish. Gianormous as in it filled most of the table top with its fried self. Per JLay, it was not a small whale as I believed but rather some sort of catfish that had clearly been hitting the HGH a little too hard.

Despite being a culinary adventurer, I was a bit cautious about the whole situation. Friend Girl Amy, who'd tempted us three morons with short ribs on the 4th of July, was stoked. She ate the eyeballs. I put down my chopsticks and asked her to never ever mention the taste of fish eyeballs again. YUCK!

We left. I dropped off everyone and then stayed up all night thanks to the two Lee's Iced Coffees I downed on the ride home. Clearly I'm still not that smart.


Please fasten your safety belt before reading this

It is done. MY LIVING ROOM IS PAINTED. The effort took 523 days to complete. No, it does not look like the Sistine Chapel, but it is ready for new furniture, which will be nice.

Special Thanks to Los Pedros & Le Toms for being gentle with the cattle prod and skillful with the paint brushes. As JLay said on Saturday, "Damn. If I'd have had to paint this room all by myself I never would have done it either."

Thanks to El Padrino & The Manatee for berating me all the time about just doing it, and showing off their own home improobment skills in the process.

I'll post a picture once I get back to Houston.