Wednesday, March 29, 2006

(hooh! aah!) (hooh! aah!) - That's the Sound of the Men Working on the Chain Ga-a-ang

Typical night of random antics.

First the beast and I feed a moth to our Venus fly trap. Just pop that moth in there and that sucker clamps down on the bug, as the moth tries in vain to escape.

East 51st is the location, then we decide follow the railroad track, just like in Stand by Me, except we aren't LOOKING for bodies, although there may be some lying out there, or in proper fashion like my childhood girlfriend Natty Gann in The Journey of Natty Gann. Yea it's dark and sinister back there, but the beast knows karate, and with karate he'll kick your ass, here to Tiennamen Square.

Well there's no hobo with beans, but the beast and I did come across a bridge, there was a tad bit of water below, no diving in, no leeches hanging from appendages.

Once my buddy and I age age 12 tried to hop a train in Shiner with the grand idea of hopping off in Yoakum, 10 miles away and walking back home. Well, the train was going to fast, good thing in hindsight, it probably wouldn't have been that easy. But hey, but I saw ALF do it once, thought it would be cool.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Let's get Physical, Physical, I Wanna get Physical, Let's Get into Physical

Tonight was an unexpected night of stretching. Heavenly days, It's pretty rough for someone who's used to slouching all day. Supposedly your hamstrings shrink from sitting on your kisser all day.

Ashley gets low, and I do my best. Total embarrassment, but I'm afraid I'm going to be so immobile as and old man, a Tuesday stretch session, and a Wednesday stretch session is in order with the beast.

Just look at that V in the legs, would make Olivia Newton-John NOT want to get physical. But just wait, I may get better at this after time.

Perfect picture of bad health, just look at the legs, and the curved back, that's about the best I could muster for the first stretch session. It's hard to believe I once dated a star pole-vaulter (budding athlete on the verge of success meets perfect picture of bad health).

No more stretch pictures, too embarrassing, beast laughs the entire time as I grimace in pain and can barely do a minimum amount of reaches and tucks, etc.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Everything is Cut and Dry, Day and Night, earth and Sky, Somehow I Just Don't Believe It

Free form text, that's what I'm shitting out for the month of April. For the entire month, for budgetary reasons, there will be no bands and no beer, repeat NO BANDS, NO BEER.. At least to pay for, maybe some shitty MGD or equivalent that's free of charge.

Mahon tells me to pimp myself out with a Chromebag for the trip to Germany. He was quick to point out that I chose the most cliche 'trying too hard' selection of the group, even though trying to stay classic.

Booked our first night in Berlin at the Hotel Hansablick, a quaint non-Best Western (which surprisingly is the largest hotel chain in the world) / Ramada Americanized hotel. It is walking distance from The Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Europa Center, one of the biggest flea markets in Germany, and other museums.

Class is EASY, reading is shitty, and keeping up with my extremely talented group of peers moving at warp speed is the most challenging part. We ARE building an elementary school playground, and I can't help but think of my college roommates satirical / demented AOL catch slogan 'Hey little girl want some candy.'

Seems a shame that people need this to excel in careers. I'm all about Matt Damon in Goodwill Hunting preaching learning more on 50 cents in late fees and ambition than formal education. When asked in college if I needed a mentor I say yes, and my rational was, to get me to the point where I'm a cookie cutter 'IT Professional.' Now that I'm a cookie cutter IT professional, I have to figure out what to do next, baby steps.... True deviants don't need mentors, and if mentors were true deviants, they wouldn't be able to hold their jobs as 'mentors.'

Stay tuned for tomorrow's 'thoughts in an airplane.'

Sunday, March 26, 2006

It rings and I Rise, Wipe the Sleep out of my Eyes

Wal-Marts are big these days, and they put all the stuff you need way in the back, so you walk through acres before you can get the milk, bread, and other things. They are hoping you pick up all sorts of things along the way.

Collin T, my nephew wanted no part of this, as he crashed out. While this little dude isn't busy calling mom a 'tunafish head,' he's crashed out from huge shopping isle overload. Just too many brands of chips to choose from, not like the 'Clover Valley' scalloped potatoes from Dollar General I ate the night before.

I hadn't been to Wal Mart in ages, it seems like the store is getting 'cooler,' having to compete with Target.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

All Four Small Bald Fat Tires Rockin' Through the Sand and Burnin' Up

Squishy transmission was caught in drive, that is for sure, as there was a little blue dune buggy riding thru the streets of Shiner. Timmy and I roamed thru the streets of Shiner, a bit chilly weather, but fun nonetheless. We even drove by the Cadillacs going to Church, they were looking at us like we were some rednecks. O well.

Timmy and his dune buggy, we took to the streets, minus that Bud Light in his hand.

Often my buddy Brandon K, Timmy and I who is now a pharmacist would burn massive piles of trash out in Timmy's field. Brandon, one of the smartest dudes I know once said, man we are some intelligent people doing some crazy shit out here. That's usually the case in the backwoods of Shiner.

The dune buggy is close to the road as you can see, kinda gives you that roller coaster crazy feeling when it's speeding up. I wore shorts and the cold air was wafting up my leg, whew!

Later in the evening, we cooked some 'yard bird' and sausage on a homemade BBQ pit. The pit was made out of some iron from the railroad track, a VW tire piece for a base, and some long piece of something.

After the food was finished, we proceeded to burn our 20 pack of bud light container. And of course we danced around it, I'm tellin' you it's 'Lord of the Flies' shit going on out there.

Next weekend, more of the same, Dustin, an old friend is getting married and the Austin posse is invading Shiner

Friday, March 24, 2006

Tonight's the Night when I go to all the Parties Down my Street

Spring nights in Shiner are always surprises, as I'm always running into old friends, or little sisters of good friends. Hanging out at the only beer joint in Shiner that has wireless internet, geekin out, and then a country drive, and turns of events that runs me into Jessica, my buddy Russell's little sister.

Haven't seen her in ages, she tells me she had a 'crush' on me when I was 10 years old, and also told me I look like a goth dude. Well no one has ever told me I look Gothic, hmmmm.

Amanda, Elizabeth and I take Marty on a country drive with us, as the low ridin' v-dub doesn't like those gravel roads too much.

Later in the evening after Marty passes out (poor fella gotta work on Saturdays), I hang out with his wife Julie and Dog Sancho. Sancho is like our dog Benny, except he can roll over, speak, stand, shake, sit, and he's not tempted by 'treats' that are in front of him. Amazing dog he is, in comparing Sancho with Benny, Sancho was the athlete in high school, and Benny would be the tuba player.

Warsteiner and Guinness have made it to Shiner, yippie. Guys, go to Antiques, Art and Beer in Shiner and boycott that 'cool' place in Moulton. It's better everything there, period.

"I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're going and hook up with them later." - Mitch Hedberg

Thursday, March 23, 2006

For Men with Guns Maturing in Age, They'll Always Pay a Shitty Wage

I read Milblog for my right wing nut job perspective on the war in Iraq, and I read Bagdad Burning for my left wing nut job perspective on the war. Milblog is about God bless my son, the troop over there, and the latter is all about how fucked up everything is over there, and the opinions presented below are the tip of the iceberg.

Being highly general / cynical about the war, seems things are not going too well. I'm sure we're making progress, and woman are voting (1200 years evolution in the course of a few years, hmmmm), Saddam isn't jacking with his own people (even though we indirectly sponsored this state 'terrorism' when it was happening because Iran was a 'bigger' threat). So damn, how do you sort it all out. Perhaps in some countries, the best form of government is a totalitarian dictator. If we pick a fight with every bad boy around the planet we have a long road ahead. We're flying blind as it pertains to US foreign policy, and using brute force to impose 'counter-terrorism' measures, which as Mr Doom and Gloom Chomsky says, has a striking resemblance in meaning to 'terrorism.'

We're there, seems like there's four options ---- 1 -- We shit on everything and leave, 2 -- We shit on everything and stay in the midst of religious civil war, 3 -- Have a timetable for a planned withdrawal and hand the mess over to the Iraq forces (yea right), 4 -- Iraq becomes the next Germany, Japan, Korea, etc, and we just stay there forever, which seems to be what's going to happen. Just wait till the dominant religious group gains power, and creates laws to fuck up the other religions, we're not going to let that happen, are we? What kind of democracy are we putting in there, how can we be so obtuse as to act like we understand? What happened in supporting the moderates in Iraq, the reasonable people there with no political or religious agenda, the people who want Iraq to excel, and not be 'humiliated' by western civilization anymore.

911 was bad shit, it wasn't per-se done by religious fanatics, but rather people with a political agenda as Thomas Friedman sites. What I learned from 911 was not to go out and spend money and pump shit into the economy, like Mr Bad Approval Rating says, but rather to reflect, learn, quit being so lazy, and take that significant event and boil it down to the fundamental reason it happened. If you sit and break that down, you may be just as proud and gung ho to be an american, but not in the America Fuck yea, we're right, you're wrong mentality, but rather like the intelligent and strong forgotten America of old who could win the peace and win the war, and understand the differences in both.

I'm not confident in this person's capacity to make the right decision. I'd like to think the approval ratings show most American agree, and are getting tired of the current administration turning mass discontent into Nationalism and driving that by fear.

I'm a proud American, and I've been concerned for a long time. Maybe God or history will vindicate GW Bush, but who is here to help with the current state of affairs? I have no room to bitch about left wing or right wing politics, or even possible faulty intelligence from the CIA, everyone and their dog voted for the war. Can all the politicians who voted for the war in Iraq read Tom Cruises 'sports document' in Jerry Maguire, you know, the one entitled 'The things we think and do not say.' What I can bitch about is the lack of proper planning and the tradeoffs for funding billions in a war effort. We could get some of the fridges out of trees in New Orleans with a few billion left for back home. What I'm bitching about is what I think isn't reasonable, effective tactics in combating the 'war on terror', and common sense on a level that has power to make decisions.

War aside, I bitch about gas prices like Chris Rock. Seems as though the current administration could at least keep the price of gas down, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I suppose we have to wait till Detroit flexes nuts and bitches about millions and millions of dollar losses in automobile sales while gas company profits soar. Put up your dukes, boy that's going to be a rumble (China aside).

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Es gibt nicht viel auf dieser Welt Woran man sich halten kann Manche sagen die Liebe Vielleicht ist da was dran

Amidst the busy week last week, Kristin and I were able to purchase tickets to Germany. We depart Houston Texas (Mr Brotha in law, we need a ride to the airport, thanks in advance) May 10 and and arrive in Berlin the next morning.

We will hang out in Berlin for a few days, checking out the wall or gate, or however it's called these days, maybe see Hassellhoff runnin' around. Last time there we hung out with PARENTS till 1am, then the KIDS went out literally till the sun came up. I am looking forward to a disco, last time we went there was a phone on the table and you could 'call' other tables and tell them you had a 'crush' on them or whatever. Kinda like the progressive way of passing 'love' notes, like in middle school.

Prague is the next stop on the agenda. An amazing city with an amazing vibe. Last time I was in Prague I was approached by prostitutes and was offered to buy what seemed to be any drug known to man. I opted to listen to the guy playing Beatles songs on the street corner, and the 'not so progressive' cops told him it was about time to go home, while drugs and prostitution ran rampant. Who knows, maybe some Absinthe will be in order.

Next on the agenda Munich, where we will rent a car, and head slightly southwest to the mad King Ludwig's castle, and then north to Dachau, one of the dreaded concentration camps. I also want to tour the BMW plant and price a BMW M3, the car I want because I have a small penis -- hahahaha, wait, that's not funny. It's been a long time dream to buy that beast over there, drive it around Euro for a while, ship it home and 'Americanize' the emissions stuff and drive it till I die.

Welcome to my crib B*tches, that's what Ludwig would say to MTV, you ain't got nothin' on me Snoop.

Salzburg will be next on the list, if the right side of the road roundabouts don't kill us, and the Ford Fiat or other 2 cylinder economy car we rent can handle the excessive speeds of the Autobahn. Here we want to tour the Von Trapp family mansion, considering The Sound of Music is an all time favorite musical of mine.

From Salzburg to Vienna, we are taking the 300 km trip to admire Mozart and Beethoven, and also catch up with my Bad Girls Magazine buddy from way back when I almost had hair. After that, the train back to Berlin, where we fly from Berlin to Jersey to Detroit to Atlanta to blah to blah to blah to blah to Houston on the 22nd of May. Damn the hops.

By the way --- I just spent a lovely evening with my sister, brother in law and two nephews, and Jeannie, an avid reader of the blog says I overuse the expression "Well worth the money." Thanks for pointing that out sis, I'll be aware of it next time a spend 10 bucks on a alt-rock band downtown and think it's 'well worth the money.' I'm sure that not the only thing I overuse, I talk about love too much, I'm way to cynical, I misspell things all the time, and I'm sure I'm leaving things out.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Identity Blogging 101 - We Make It Up As We Go Along

During SXSW I listened to some interesting people talk about identity blogs, which basically means people blogging about their lives. Most noteworthy was , an individual who's been in the business for 7 years now. My buddy the diz says the guy loves his links, just slap them links on the page, 100's of those boogers!

Ever try blogging about your life? Survey says 99.9% of identity blogs out there are boring as fuck to the average reader. This is a blog that's boring to the average reader. Blogging about your life is difficult, if not impossible to captivate an internet savvy audience, with things you have done and seen. Come on, day to day life isn't very interesting, and people who blog for a living....I'd imagine they'd have a hard time living the life they are busy blogging about. And of course you have to keep your blog updated to gain readership.

If your angle is blogging for your friends, throwing a few pictures and video out there about how 'cool' your life is, kinda like my blog, no worries, you will attract your 20 or so friends who are loyal readers of your blog. I find for my friends it keeps them involved and in the loop. It's wonderful when I see friends we can actually focus on details, not that I went to the Belle and Sebastian show, but rather where do they come from and what do you think of the lyrics, etc. I could make an attempt to find a niche, i.e. celebrity gossip about what kind of puppy Tomb Raider and BP are going to adopt next, slap some Google ads on the site and become rich? Hmmm, too easy, I think not.

I've been blogging pretty hardcore for a year now, I started for various reasons. I've laid my life out there, I've joked about my belly and baldness, I've gave shout outs to friends and family, I've tried to frame my pictures well, I've snagged video from rock concerts, etc, and I'd like to think it's made me all the better person.

In a strange sorta way, I think identity blogging is about perseverance. Yea, blog content is going to get boring at times, especially for yourself, the person living the blog. Yourself and your audience at times will get disillusioned, upset, or have amplified feelings towards your thoughts and feelings. I personally find it's better to lay your opinion out there, people who want to get to know you better have an outlet to get to know you better. People who think you are boring will think you're boring, and I simultaneously encourage them to test the waters, and feel from the inside the psychological pressures that may arise just by sitting down and putting down in typing what's inside of you.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm a confused boy by many standards, although I consider myself in a better state than people who live their lives inside of a vacuum, afraid to poke their head out and either get slapped, or perish the thought, find true happiness. I will continue to sustain the envelope about what's broadcasted on my blog, for the 20 or so readers who actually give a shit simply because it's a venture I've started, it jogs the brain, and I always tell my buddy pickle that slow and steady wins the race.

I really don't care who does or doesn't read this, I think I'm in the minority as it stands, society is based on 'safe talk' and any sort of painful introspection is avoided at all costs. Painful introspection is where the goods lie, dancing around your inner self is sex without orgasm, and lack of any sort of introspection will land you a spot on MTV's the Real world everyday and twice on Sunday, just remember to wear some short shorts, and you'll be fine.

Stayed tuned for more of the same as year two of blogging commences.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Tickets to Concerts and Drinking at Clubs, Sometimes for Music that You haven't even Heard Of

The carriage has turned back into a pumpkin, South by Southwest 2006 is over, and to no surprise my ears are still ringing, my body hurts all over from standing, walking, eating pizza and hot dogs, drinking at clubs, and staying up late having a great time with what seems like a million of my close music friends enjoying the best indie music festival on the planet.

Probably the easiest thing to do would be to say, screw this blog, too much to catalogue, but the last few days of postings will attempt to show the craziness of what the music festival is, and it seems to only be getting better. From the shows at night, to the day parties, to see Billy Bragg walking down south congress, to fun with friends, and 1,500 + bands to choose from in a 4 day span, it has something for everyone.

For us, the festival was divided by the 'day' activities and 'night' activities. This means we went out in the day around noon to catch music all afternoon, then come home for a 2 hour nap, in order to have enough energy to brave the crowds at night. We had a 15 page printout for daytime 'parties' and performances, and literally countless live music venues within walking distance to experience live music at its finest.

In terms of music, a toss between The Mystery Jets and Billy Bragg were favorites, I saw both FREE at day shows. Some shows I just stared down at a sea of humanity, while others we were in the thick of the action.

Stay tuned for a detailed back-blog of all the pictures, video and antics. I'm still catching my breathe and still trying to put it all into perspective. The nights took different turns for all friends, but for Ashley and I, the music 'died' last night at about 1 am, waiting for a ride on 10th and Red River. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

There’s a Lot to be Done while your Head is Still Young and The Memory Will Shine

Mr Toshi finally gets into some gigs! The entire time Toshi is here visiting from Japan he has been sitting on the curb in front of Stubbs BBQ! haha, well not really -- By the time you read this hopefully you'll be safe and sound back in Chiba, enjoyed your visit bud!

Running on instinct, that's about it, see Rhett again, (yea don't give me shit anyone, who else is better for a 9pm show), and then Rosanne Cash at Stubbs. Whew, little did I know that I would sleep almost 13 hours when I would hit the sack.

There he is, Mr Purple lights behind him. Photo courtesy of Mr. Toshi, I couldn't stand being up from because some 7 foot tall apewoman groupie was making me batty.

Elysium for Japanese night is always fun, this year we saw Ellegarden, the Japanese version of Blink 182. I don't like Blink at all, but I admired the energy and enthusiasm from the band.

Midnight came, brought us to Exodus for Nine Black Alps, check out my view of the band, O wait, there is no band in the picture. Needless to say that gig was a wash, shitty band, shitty view. Ashley and I sit in the window for a SXSW recap conversation and called it a night.

My one and only video of the evening came at the Ellegarden show (video) -- In my place, the pit was very close to swallowing me up!

I Keep Faith

What can one say about Billy Bragg. He's hands down my favorite performance of SXSW. He's the best storyteller I've ever seen, hell he may have done that in school back in the day. The Yard Dog on South Congress was the place for the performance.

His banter is the best, a rather powerful, motivational and inspiring message. He went on about the Magna Carta and how it gave the common people the ability to go against authority. He gave the example of how in his country they have beheaded monarchy when it didn't serve the people's needs. He also said he had a great time in Austin hanging out with Morrissey and Echo and the Bunnymen. He spoke of how Americans are wonderful people, just a bit distracted by Wal-Mart and Fox News. An interesting character nonetheless.

The man even took time to play some Woody Guthrie covers at the Austin Homeless shelter. He looks like my old football coach, but the man has to be brilliant.

Here are some videos from the performance
Song 1 Song 2 Short Banter (about uber punk shit) Long Banter (about Morrisey and such)

In my opinion, sometimes his stuff doesn't translate well from the CD, but his live performances are captivating. A great lyric, "IMF, WTO,I hear these words just every place I go Who are these people? Who elected them? And how do I replace them with some of my friends?" At one point in time I had chills up and down my spine, as he goes off on this political nonsense and says 'I Keep Faith,' and sings the following song, which can apply to politics, life, love, you name it.

I Keep Faith

If you want to make the weather
Then you have to take the blame
If sometimes dark clouds fill the sky
And it starts to rain, and folks complain

And though your head may tell you
To run and hide
listen to your heart,
and you’ll find me Right by your side

I keep faith
I keep faith
I keep faith
I keep faith in you

Yes I doI keep faith in you
If you think you have the answer
Don't be surprised
If what you say is met with anger

And contempt and lies
And though it maybe that you want to
Just walk away
Reach out you'll find me there beside you
All of the way

I keep faith
I keep faith
I keep faith
I keep faith in you
Yes I doI keep faith in you

All the dreams we shared
I never knew no one who cared
About these things the way that I've seen in you
It doesn't matter if
This house falls off the cliff
Together we are gonna see it through

I know it takes a mess of courage
To go against the grain
You have to make great sacrifice for such little gain
And so much pain
And if your plans have come to nothing
Washed out in the rainLet me rekindle all your hopes
And help you start again

I keep faith
I keep faith
I keep faith
I keep faith in you
Yes I doI keep faith in you, yeahI keep faith in you
Yes I doI keep faith in you, yeahI keep faith in you
Yes I doI keep faith in youI keep faith in you

(Yep, that was my biggest spine tingle of SXSW 2006)

Friday, March 17, 2006

I've Seen What I Chose, I've Seen What I Need, To Want More Would Be Greed

Victory Grill, an amazing venue on East 11th was the set for an orgasmic day show. As we cruise to the east side, I see signs everywhere in the gentrified part of town that say things to the effect of 'White People Stay out of East Austin.' Queen Bee's response, 'Watch out! Here we come!'

The most bizarre band I've seen in my life, hands down (and I've seen some doozies). Man Man, from Philadelphia. Everyone in the band seems to be a drummer, and all sorts of weird alternative instruments, all dressed in white, and it was a conglomeration of 8 dudes, dudes that you knew in high school would be 'weirdos.' Check out the video below all this verbiage.

The Mystery Jets, perhaps the band I was looking forward to seeing the most did not disappoint. They have unique harmonies, a pair of brothers and a son and dad combo, a great stage presence, and some great tunes. This was hands down the loudest show I saw all SXSW as well. It's amazing the difference day and night makes. Daytime at Victory there are about 30 people watching, their showcase downtown sported a line 1,000 miles. Yea good luck getting into that one. Extremely humble guys, called SXSW 'MADNESS' and said it's the best thing they've ever seen, or something like that. They also said they thought they were bizarre until they saw Man Man.

Downtown the king of swag for SXSW was 'The Editors,' I'm not too impressed with them, but they sure do know how to paint the town with posters. Almost the entire length of sixth street was closed as a whole bunch of white belt boys roamed thru the streets.

Carmellos parking lot, usually a posh Italian restaurant was turned into a live music venue for the afternoon, complete with a Shiner Bock keg. Ashley and Jenny couldn't resist dancing the the tunes. We ducked into plenty places to see what was up, most events packed to the rafters, and it seems the day shows are doing away with the RSVP bullshit. After this was 'rest time' between day and night activities.

Coming out for the evening was Isobell Campbell, former member of Belle and Sebastian now doing a solo career. I must apologize Isobel for a few things, first putting someone like you in 'The Dirty Dog' pub, where jocks are used to watching the game on 4 big screens isn't right, the technical difficulties were shitty, and if I could have snapped the necks of those fuckers with the huge fuckoff cameras in your face and not have gone to prison and done so, I would have done it.

But for our sake, don't bitch that you only get 40 minutes to play, and that you had to pack your ass to Texas to do so. My homeboy Billy Bragg only got that long to play too. Second of all, your guitar player is a cocksmoke!

Next stop, Eternal, where we got a dose of Teddy Thompson, who recently got acclaim for landing a tune on that gay cowboy movie. He's an intense singer, reminds me of my buddy Nate Dogg. Good stuff, highly recommended.

Next, Stewart Ransom Miller and the Believers, who had two 'showcases' at SXSW under different names, because that's just what you have to do to land two showcases. He was supporting his solo album, great pop songs from a charming dude.

Rounding out the night with ERIN!, my long lost Jr Prom Date and great friend recently turned soccer mom. She's down covering some shit metal band for her marketing gig, and we decide to trek it down to Copa, to the local favorite David Garza. We could all get into the gig, and the rest of the evening was spent drinking Vodka Sodas and catching up on life. Not to mention an hour venture trying to find a missing SUV in a mystery parking lot! hahaha The lovely Erin with Mr Fat Cheeks. :-)

Later that evening I popped into a scary Japanese / American bluegrass band, which gets a mention but not a picture or video.

The videos for the evening are as follows, if you watch none of the vids below but one, check out the Man Man clip.

Man Man (video) -- The most bizarre band in the universe
The Mystery Jets (video) -- Performing their first single off the new album
Isobel Campbell (video) -- doing some snazzy stuff on the cello
Teddy Thompson (video) -- singing an intense acoustic number
Ransom Miller (video) -- Singing one of his songs Suzanne
Stewart and Susan Tedeschi (video) -- Duet of Firefly, a beautiful number

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I Make the Ladies Drool, Not Really but it Sounds Cool Though

SXSW Thursday -- First day of hardcore music begins with a trip to Lucky Lounge for the Austin Music Foundation private party. Lots of familiar faces, the trusty Taco Deli, and Alpha Rev, a pretty good band for the party.

Later in the evening a trip to Auditorium Shores for Blackalicous and parts of Spoon. The highlight of that show, Pigeon John, the most talented brotha I've heard on the mic in a looonng time. Blackalicious and the Pigeon got the Austin crowd jumpin', as perfect weather was in store for the mass of humanity gathered by Town Lake. We leave early from the Town Lake show to hustle to the 8pm showing of the Zutons at Austin Music Hall only to find that the 8pm show was actually 7pm. Instead we were met with an English chick singing some cheesy ass songs coupled with a dude that played every tune that sounded like Extreme's 'More Than Words.' Needless to say we were out of that hell hole quick and pissed at the misprint in the chronicle.

First time for everything, a MALE BUTTHAT -- well I've never seen one before, but they do exists. My friends kindly refer to the patch of hair above my butt as my 'butthat.' There were tons of meximullets out and about for the evening though. Can you imagine the pimp walking into the tattoo parlour going, yea, can I get a lower back tattoo please?

Ask me why I go see Flogging Molly anytime I can get a chance and I'll give you a couple of reasons. For one, they are a passionate band, and you're sure to have a great time, you're sure to see a bitchin' mosh pit, and you will see one of the creepiest bass players in indie music. The displaced Irish lead singer is passionate about his heritage, and it reflects in the music. But come on, the banter is the same everytime!? If it wouldn't be for Guinness, the Irish would rule the world! (TGFG)

Last for the evening was a fuckin' brisk walk from Emo's to Molitov, which is at least 1 mile or so to see The Hidden Cameras, a band despite the literally repulsive gay lyrics and my somewhat homophobic nature, they have really soulful tunes and come across as being a fun band. A shit venue, and broken lead singer guitar made the performance not too appealing. Too many bands, too little time. And try fitting all gazzillion of them on stage. Here they are doing their patented singing the song blindfolded.

The night left me with the following videos, short in length, but gives you a feel for the bands and the music.

Blackalicious and Pigeon John (video) -- rippin' it up, makin' the ATX crowd holla, throwin' the hands in the air
Spoon Singing The Beast and Dragon Adored (video) -- as we leave town lake and make the walk to the music hall
Flogging Molly What's Left of the Flag (video) -- an intense tune, tight band, full of Irish spunk

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

On and On and On It Goes, The World it Just Keeps Spinnin' -- Till I'm Dizzy Time to Breathe

SXSW day one for music begins with a trip to the airport to pick up Toshi, my long lost buddy who left Austin about 8 months ago, now returns for a visit to Austin.

First joke the beast and I were going to pull on Toshi is.....we see him in the airport, we point at him and yell really loud, "HE'S GOT A BOMB!" Well we didn't do that, that probably would have landed him at least two days in the slammer. Instead I was smiley and happy to see an old friend in person. I told Toshi he looks great, and he told me I'm getting fatter, what's up with that!?

For the wristband badge-less crew, Toshi and Mike D, a night was spent outside of Stubb's listening to the Belle and Sebastian show at the Matador Showcase. For Queen Bee and Ashley, don't ask me what was going on in Belle and Sebastian show, and don't ask them either, for they probably won't remember.

My night was spent checking out a few shitty bands, as tonight is the 'slow' night. With the exception of Willy Mason, who played a show at Antones. His show was great, a good place to see him.

The highlight was the Cuff the Duke show at Capital Place, a bizarre hotel lobby venue that is growing on me. Last year I saw the lovely Jill Barber rip up her left handed martin in this place. Cuff the Duke is an alt-country band from Canada, talented folks, fun band, fun songs.

For the sake of attention span, I'll cut it off here. Information and sensory overload is what we have here this week in ATX, if you've never seen it, you can never understand it or appreciate it's significance.

I'm getting too old and un-interested with hob-knobbing at after parties, so here ends the night.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Said the Hero in the Story, It is Mightier than Swords

People who demand a lot out of their music, look no further. Stuart has more character and substance in his toenail dirt than most pop culture posers. Having said this, there is still no ego, and you can tell these Scottish blokes are sincere and meaningful.

The essence of a well written song is what you will hear from them. Songs in which you can tackle from different perspectives, often about the same subject, and come away with justification, reinforcement, or contradiction of your own discretion. Imagery runs rampant in the songs 'rain fallin' against the lonely tenement that sets my my to wander into the windows of my lovers,' just whisks me away to some small flat in Glasgow, being there without being there.

Granada theatre was the venue, amazing place, kudos to the person who decided to 'tier' the place and raise the stage so everyone could see. It reminds me of a poor man's Fillmore.

The Belle and Sebastian guys pull off a great show, although they seemed a bit fatigued, the banter was there, and the dorky white boy dance moves were there too.

Here were some videos taken from the show, pretty small and digestible and fun. The light show was fantastic, check out the pictures below. OK, now I won't talk about B & S for a long time, it's overload!

Dress Up in You (video) -- An amazing slow song with lots of emotion
If You Find yourself caught in Love (video) - Say a prayer to the man above
Get Me Away From Here I'm dying (video) (video 2)- play me a song to set me free, nobody writes them like they used to so it may as well be me
Your Cover's Blow (video) - Pick up the girl in someone's borrowed Mini, take her to dinner use her boyfriends money
Me and the Major (video) - don't see eye to eye on a number of things
Another Sunny Day (video) - an interesting pronunciation of 'peninsula'
If She Wants Me (video) - If I could do just one near perfect thing I'd be happy
Blues are Still Blue (video) - A song about washing clothes

And finally, perfect what boy dancing Video 1 -- Video 2

Mass romantic fool, separated by sheets when the curtain calls you

What can you say about these guys except they are badass. They play great meaningful tunes, they don't have the annoying image like the typical indie band, they play goofy looking guitars that sound great. I once heard Rivers records with guitars like the New Pornographers use, but doesn't tour with them because they look ugly. O how vain.

Give them a spin, The New Pornographers, you won't be disappointed. Belle and Sebastian and these guys really compliment each other in a live performance.

Monday, March 13, 2006

SXSW Craig Newmark Keynote Interview

Craig Newmark, creator of, and Jimmy Wales, creator of Wikipedia, talked about random things at the panel today at SXSW.

Some interesting points I've I took from the two talking head to head are as follows

Craigslist is operated out of a Victorian house in San Francisco by 19 people, Jimmy could have done the whole private thing with wiki and could have possible made a lot of money, he decided to go non-profit to actually make the thing work

Craig has a philosophy that Tivo will 'save democracy,' in his idealistic world, this will allow people to bypass political commercials, therefore not being as influenced by political propaganda

  • Craigslist makes money on real estate listings and job postings primarily in Los Angeles and New York, where this profession is a blood sport.
  • Similarly, they are looking to charge for services to charge people that pay for services that are less effective than it would be on craigslist
  • The shitty plain html is going to remain, it reduces (fud) fear, uncertainty, doubt
  • It also remains true to 'nerd values', no intrusive banners which are retarded
  • talked about the importance of community investigative journalism and its importance, which I found very interesting

Sunday, March 12, 2006

SXSW World Primere - Behind the Mask

Caught the midnight showing of Behind the Mask, mockumentary (or however you spell that) on the life of a serial killer. I've not been to many films, so I can't really be the judge if the movie was 'good' or not, but I was very impressed.

From the opening suspense, to humor, to the serial killers getting together and joking about their trade, to the brutal violence and staged plans, to the 'sympathy' for the killer himself, the movie gives you a feeling of easy / uneasy tension.

I can't elaborate on these things, I'm not good at articulating visual imagery, but I was scared in parts, and I had to close my eyes sometime, yea total pansy, I know.

At any rate, go and check it out, I enjoyed it. Independent films rule.

SXSW Do It Yourself (DIY) Panel -- (But Don't Quit your Day Job)

Attended a panel with a bunch of do it yourself'ers and their opinions about your next big idea, your side project that could potentially become your main project, etc.

Seems as if if you are in it for the money, you have a long hard road ahead of you, but success can be measured in different ways, etc. The most interesting thing I got out of the panel is the crazy challenges people have to deal with, most of the time for little or no monetary gain.

At any rate, here are my notes for all you geeks who are dreaming of the next big thing. I do a lot of these already, the pickle does more. He's better at innovation and ideas, I'm all about organization and putting the 'goal' wrapper around things. The notes are shit, but I suppose you'll get the picture.

Top tips --
Getting started --

Fail fast and often -- look at next and go damn that was dumb -- at least get it out of your system (make a lot of noise)

Picking the right project

Get ready for things to get harder than you've ever thought

Building the team -- you can't do everything, how do you compensate your team, programming, design, editorial, exposure, could translate into business for them, for consistent voice you have to pay someone, barter / trade, etc -- community ownership, agree to license

What happens when things get successful? -- success and financial success doesn't go hand in hand, get handshake agreements, get into business with ppl you trust, campfire, getting together with people at least twice a year,

How do you find a great group? -- -- (find people from romania), point to other things and be as clear as possible. Sent photoshop files, specific instructions -- delight is all done on traditional blogging software, done not for a profit -- biggest problem, raising rates and too busy

Legal Issues -- one of your biggest expenses,, trademark your words and logo, trademarks don't transcend countries, -- talk to lawyers about this stuff, lots of them

Failure -- hard to live up to making millions on the web, most ppl with this mindset just want to get it done, as you are failing, don't lose your people, biggest threats could be your biggest opportunities, 'learn from your mistakes' -- read blogs and books about people who do what you do, success is one more failure away, failure is cloaked when you are in a big team, but not when you are working by yourself

Success -- it's a challenge once successful, even thought there is success, financial reward doesn't follow, be careful about what you post personally on the web, lots of users = more expenses but not necessarily money, success is at different levels, a list bloggers aren't rich, everyone is too early to celebrate, some dude finally got to quit his job, the creator of, success comes from giving and then giving back, open source models

Publicizing -- T-shirts and stuff like that, swag, stuff you give away, part of the price you pay, giving to important and non-important people, going to dinner with people, hanging out with people who may want your product, keep your users happy,, keep a live product blog, connect with people, don't get angry if things don't take off, most things that we perceive as overnight success takes years and years of work, don't worry about obscurity, it will be organic over time

Highs and Lows of do it yourself -- most ppl don't want to hear or share the negative, internalize a lot, take up running rather than drinking, very hard to deal with the highs and lows, recognize that things come in phases, can't alienate people in your life (it's just plane tickets on the internet, or it's just dogs on the internet, make light of situation)

Making Money -- easy adsense, didn't make money, community friendly advertising, subscription models, find a sponsor or two for 100 bucks, a local bar in your neighborhood, hosting referrals, paid upgrades, nothing revolutionary, don't make money at the expense of your users, more you can help ppl make money, the more you make yourself, premium features, advertising, ad supported, more niche and focus for advertising, give away as much as humanly possible (if you have to ask should you charge, the answer is probably no), spend as little money as possible to make the first things happen

Initial SXSW Banter

This year I got a platinum badge. I'm very privileged, and very excited to have the opportunity to mingle amongst talented individuals. With the badge, for the most part I can pull a Ludacris and hop to the front of the line and say 'Move Bitch Get out the way.'

I have some friends coming to town, Toshi, the Japanese Zen Master, Tom and Carolina, and of course the trusty locals Queen Bee, Mike D and P, Sarah B, and Ashley I will be toggling my time between. This year I've decided to not make a science of what to see and really just go with the flow. It's too stressful otherwise, and fellowship with friends and cultivating these relationships is more important than your up and coming indie band.

ALTHOUGH, I am hyped to see a few bands, and I'll probably go out of my way to accommodate a few of these bands.

A road trip to Dallas is in order Tuesday to see Belle and Sebastian, a must see, even though it appears they aren't doing the tour with strings or horns.

Tentatively speaking, I want to see Billy Bragg, one of the last true communists on the planet -- one in which sings some of the most bizarre, truthful and endearing love songs, Isobel Campbell, formally of Belle and Sebastian, who was an amazing new album out, the Mystery Jets who I've not heard the album but seem like the next best thing.

Thursday night, Echo and the Bunnymen, Spoon, and Blackalicious are playing a free show at Auditorium Shores, and there are loads of day shows, a free Wutang show at stubbs if you rsvp, and some old school Austin greats are going to have a showing at Progress Coffee I look forward to seeing on Saturday.

A few 'happy hours' I plan on going to (or at least trying, I'll see if the move bitch I have a badge approach actually works) are the yahoo flickr one, the lifehacker one, and I'm sure there's shit I've never heard of at the trade show I'm about to go to.

I'm film retarded, but I'm going to seek guidance from a few of my filmy friends. Last year I saw Frodo hobbiting around Austin, and this year it's my hope to see burt reynolds.

Last but not least, the rollergirls are at the Austin Music Hall on Sunday, it benefits the Austin Music Foundation, how great, two birds with one stone.

Well I'm off to the trade shows to see what's up, I'll be blogging all week. I'm going to have to borrow the beast's 1 GB badass card for the occassion.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Who's to Say Where the Wind Will Take You, I Don't Know, Which Way the Wind Will Blow

A beautiful sunny afternoon, perfect weather for flying a kite. The Red Baron, which was a bitch to put together, just ask Gman. It's an awesome kite though, took some serious nose dives and survived.

Mum and I about to set that beast in flight.

There she is, in the air, all her beauty. Funny thing about the kit was when we got to the end of the string, it's usually tied to the holder, but not this time. Our kite took a hard nosedive into a bush. We should sue the kite maker!

The red baron was piloted by mum, who really likes to fly the kites. Out of myself, Ronnie, Jr, and Gman, she did it the best, I suppose she has the touch. Let's talk for a moment about a camera killer. I thought it would be a great idea to tie my cam to the kite. Here's the results, check out the wipe out at the end, damn! The camera had road rash as it pounded the ground.

Later in the evening was Dustin's bachelor party and this southern ingenuity catfish cooker. Butane is passed thru a pipe which heats the grease which fries your fish. It sounds like a Klingon Vessel as it cooks, and Aaron describes it as sorta like cooking your fish in a bomb.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Poor Cook He Caught the Fits, Threw Away All my Grits

Marty's garage in Shiner, climbing up the charts of my favorite places to hang out. A night with the old roomates, mr nomoreweights, who gave me a copy of 'Beach Body', some aerobic stuff queen bee, beast and I will try out. Then I can go to the beach and rock out and go 'hey babes, check out this bod.' -- haha

Just a friendly environment over there, bout all I can say about it, it's somewhere I feel comfortable, around people who truly care about me, and vice versa. OK, no more sentimental mumbo jumbo.

Our backroads banter trip was fun! Marty patents this new Vodka with Mt Dew drink that's lethal, absolutely lethal!

On the evening I learned how to tell how old a deer was based on its teeth in the skull, we talked about retail vs wholesale developement in foreign countries, and generalities about raising kids with tough love.

As Gump would say, 'That's all I have to say about that.'

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Instead of bein' my Deliverance, She had a Strange Resemblance to a cat named Frankenstein

Random Night -- life is in wiggle a$$ mode before SXSW madness next week.

  1. Queen Bee calls me and says it's 'Robert Appreciation Day,' hell I like the sound of it already -- Chicken and Shrimp curry is on the way for supper.
  2. Pickle Juice calls and wants to geek out, so we go to our favorite geek place Flightpath
  3. I geek late, the diz is at the crib drinking India Pale Ale, Jenny is a bit peeved at my tardiness
  4. Eat delicious curry and have a few ales to cool my burning mouth
  5. Go back to geeking with Mike P, take Mike P home
  6. Come back home and Jenny and the diz are drinking wife beater on the patio, even though work is 6 hours away. We talk about relationships and all that sorta jazz, some great conversation.

Nacim wrote a great posting behind the masks, on Sunday March 5, about living in an 'adult world,' which I thought was excellent.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

New Information for all the Kids to Soak Up, My Mac is Down and I'm in Tears

Tonight I decide to stroll downtown with the stinkpad and check out what the city has to offer in terms of wireless signals. There is a project called The Austin Wireless Project, seems as is SBC, ATT, whateva seems to be putting the knife in the project. Philadelphia has significant progress in this open air internet, free to the public anywhere in the city.

Well what does Austin have to offer? A / B / G protocols were scanned on South Congress, Downtown on 5th street, near St. David's, and from my humble abode on 38th. Most of these WalMart wireless routers you can buy for 40 bucks have a range from 500 to 1000 feet with the use of a high gain antenna.

Wireless network names ranged from conservative 'Our_Home' to 'nothingisfree' to uncool 'shibby' and to the most brokeback mountain-ish 'colon_compadres.'

Results -- SOCO ranged from 20 - 34 connections in a few different locations. Downtown has numbers ranging from the 20's to 50's. Around the state capital is where I found the most, around 60, most of them security locked, but plenty unsecured connections. St David's hospital area had 30 something, and bleeding into the walls of our place is a modest 9.

My router is 'Castaway', my web server is gillian, and the rest of the minnow crew is coming as money allots. The list goes on and on, 100% down to 20% in signal strength.

These numbers are only going to increase, it'll be interesting what the numbers will be like a year from now. I'm sure there is going to be a lot of wireless 'cyber-clutter.' The gov-ment may decide to subsidize this as a service the people one day, which gets my vote. How bout making money on the surfing trends in different areas of town, you know, so you can buy more 500 dollar office chairs or something like that?

For the record, IBM has far superior wireless connection tools than that of your standard Windows XP.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Soft Skills

Soft skills are the touchy feely part of project management, kinda like our candy coated feel good class. One book is the pmbok knowledge base, other is streetwise project management. Virtually impossible to keep up with the reading, other than skimming.

I've made perfect scores on all of our 'tests', 3 thus far, and it seems like the instructors treat us like we are in kindergarten. It's all about the feel good attitude. I'm thinking, if this cert is going to be this 'hard' to get, is it going to hold any water? If not, that test is going to be freakin' tough considering the class seems to focus more on political correctness for lazy people who don't have 'time' to do their 'homework', and not about grilling the knowledge into you and actually learning something.

In the end, the cert will be all about memorizing and regurgitating terminology, and the interpersonal, negotiating, management skills, you either have them or not. Last thing I want is some Type A who is a total people prick managing me, just because he can memorize terminology and score well on standardized tests. But for us people who do have 'interpersonal skills' and have to work more at intelligence, we have to 'walk the walk' and get our 'learn' on.

We decided on a project, we had the choice, and we are doing the project plan for an elementary school park, Spicewood to be exact. Truth to be told, I wanted to do a software project, but in hindsight, the team seems to have great synergy on this topic, as I believe everyone to have kids except myself. I'm looking forward to doing a lot of listening and learning, it really is a great group I'm working with.

Gross Anatomony says its all about bold face word memorization.