Sunday, December 31, 2006

Return to Dick Clark

New Years Eve 2006 was the first time in ages that I've stayed 'home,' home in this case meaning Bob and Melanie's crib. For the record books, we watched 'You, Me and Dupree' (kinda) and then I polished off 'The Aviator' for the nightcap. Like old times sake, we even popped it on Dick Clark a few times, like I did when I was a young lad.

Yea, there's the head that's too big for most sports fitted hats, not to mention any 'Party 2007' hats. It's nice waking up New Years Day without the hangover, even though I look like death in that picture.


Bob's egg and bacon delight, and a short geeking session on virtualization was just right to ring in the New Year! :)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Some Day Somebody's Gonna Ask You, A Question That You Should Say Yes To

Today was the wedding where Manuelabor and the Lacinator got married. Two very special people, a very special event, and I was felt honored to partake in the day.

Let's just call Manuelabor 'the iceman,' Mr. He wasn't nervous at all. The Diz and I headed up Friday, and stayed thru Sunday at The LaSalle Hotel, in downtown renovated Bryan.

The wedding was short and sweet, I didn't lose the rigs, I looked like a fat headed penguin in a tuxedo, and I big time enjoyed myself at the reception.

I did a speech, I kinda remember the extent of what I said, but not in its entirety. I just remember waking up around 4 pm from an afternoonish nap going, 'Damn Manuel, what am I gonna say tonight?'

The bride and groom leave, and we head to the Dixie Chicken with some new friends at some point in the night, and I ran into the Beast there (hopefully he'll get that blog rollin' again soon so I can learn about some animals.) At some point in the night I fell and skinned up my knee, but that's just how it goes.

Manuelabor and the Lacinator are probably landing in London here sometime soon, for a stint there, and then off to Ireland. Pretty awesome, all around. I had a Jim Dandy time.

Alas, no pictures yet.....

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

His Heart was Stronger Than a Heavy Metal Bullet, That's Why I Dedicate This Song

Time for top 10 of the year, random notes of things I learned about music this year, The Hollywood Bowl is the sh*t, SXSW is in a league of its own, and this was the first year I got to check it out in style, and the grassroots sh*t going on in Austin with music is stellar.

As for albums, opinions are like a$$holes, everyones got em', here's my opinions.

Wincing the Night Away - Shins - They are the unsung heroes for 2007, with the album being 'leaked' months earlier. Come January 24th, I'm gonna click my heels get the devils in line, go down to my local record store and buy 2 copies, hell maybe three. Hell maybe if we all did that it would make Freakonomics.

Regina Specktor - Well, yes, It may be a bit cheesy, call me a sucker for that kinda voice, but this is an album of simple truths. It's an album I could have picked up with I was 15 and understood what was going on. Being old as the hills, I can listen to the album and abstract the content into what amounts to just a feel good album about love and the human element.

Racounters - BB and Jack Black at it with some killer guitars, one of those albums crafted by hanging out, chillin', no pressure, no tortured artists here, just a few dudes that like to chill with each other and make music.

Mando Diao - Ode to Ochrasy - Happyland (Ochrasy), that's what this CD is all about. Sad about something, pop it in. Better than strokes, mouses, chiefs and killers, legible lyrics of sentimental nostalgia, focus on the music and not trying so hard on the image thing.

Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit - Yea, blah, blah, blah -- I like that Stuart sings about the abandoned tube station, and the song about him not being able to get his clothes washed correctly.

Tenacious D - How can one who gets The D not put this gem in the list. It's great JB is coming a 'mainstream' actor, yet talks about slashing dragon 'cockles' and things like this. Best part of the album is when the devil takes KG down to the depths of hell, and yes, the government does f*ckin' suck.

Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation - A throwback from end of 05. Paul did turn 64, and album-wise put out the best in his career. Kudos to Nigel Godrich for giving the album 'that feel.' Too Much Rain, English Tea, holy sh*t, fantastic album, fantastic sound.

The Divine Comedy - Fanfare for Coming Muse - Neil often speaks of truth that is stranger than fiction, more often then not puts taboo subjects to song, and the more money he makes, the more instruments he adds to the band. Caught them in Berlin this year, spine tingling instrumentation and togetherness...yea, this isn't your typical indie rock act. And of course one can't forget to mention the tribute to mom.

Rhett Miller - The Believer - Is talking to your girl like long division? Do you have a rogue rat hand that moves over the borderline? Do you have some fireflies in your life? Nice little 'gave it a shot, gave it up left the cruel world to us' tribute to Elliot, and the question is when are the people on this planet going to demand more from their music, and acknowledge this Esquire Magazine heart throb of the year is the real mutha fuckin' deal.

Number One - M Ward - Post War - One, remember making the mix tapes, and trying to figure out the proper sequence, well, the album is in perfect sequence. Maybe he DID just climb the hill and talked to an old old man on the hill. Magic tricks, post war, requiems, and people who are right in the head, it's all there, and it's all abso-fuckin-lutely-fantastic!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

XMAS-06

The site of this year's Bruns Family Xmas celebration, the big suburban home of Debra and Shannon. While the other Houston fools were evacuating from Hurrican Rita, Shannon and Debra understood the logic in it all, and they stayed put.


Gavin was clillin out this year, I got him an 'ugly doll' , I'm hoping I get a report back that he likes it. I think if I was a kid, I'd be all over those things.


Train, this was the first year we did a 'Bruns Train,' my at the helm, being the oldest and wise-ist, and me at the back, pokin' my sis, being the youngest and dumbest. A slew of personalities in that train, I love all these dudes and dudettes.


Shannon, mr suburban eccentric creates a fake tree farm in the front yard. It's bizarre, I love it!


Santa brought everything I wanted this year, mainly just to pass that #^@%!&# test, now, on with life

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Click My Heels Get the Devils In Line

On this day, I sneekily hopped into the Prometric Testing Center and passed my PM* Exam. Sis has been waiting for my 'braggin blog post' forever, so here goes.

PMI has rigid standards on 'Codes of Conduct,' and don't really mention blogs, so I don't know what is ethical to post about or not. The test covers a lot of stuff that isn't in the 'study material,' that's why it's hard I suppose, but some of the questions I question the ethical nature of them. The material, straight forward, the test, a critical reading test designed to be sneeky and trip you up, therefore making it difficult.

No bragging really, but it does make me more marketable, I look forward to using this new knowledge, I know it will be valuable to people around me, and also valuable to me.

Yea, I was nervous, yea I was happy when it was over, and yes, as you'll read ahead, it's been a hardcore celebration session since, (as I'm posting this a week later.)

Friday, December 15, 2006

25 Dead Bodies -- Diehard and The Alamo Drafthouse

Talk about a strange drinking game, O God Why, that's what you get when you mix a bucket of Stella, The Sinus Show, and Bruce Willis's movie 'Die Hard' at your local bada$$ Alamo Drafthouse.

To give it a Christmas feel, every time Bruce would knock off one of the terrorists, we'd have to sing '1 dead body, 2 dead bodies, 3 dead bodies' etc, etc to the tune of '12 days of Christmas,' and yes, about 25 people died in the movie, so I was pretty tipsy rollin' outta there.

Great times, I love that place!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I Sailed a Wild, Wild Sea, Climbed Up a Tall, Tall Mountain I Met and Old, Old Man Beneath A Weeping Willow Tree

You know what that old man told me?
He said now if you got some questions, go and lay them at my feet, but my time here is brief, so you'll have to pick just three.
Here's what I asked --
What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart, and how can a man like me remain in the light, and if life is really as short as they say, then why is the night so long?
And guess what that old man answered me in song?
He said, see I once was a young fool like you, afraid to do the things that I knew I had to do, So I played an escapade just like you, I played an escapade like you...
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My sentiments, no, but I do appreciate this song Chinese Translation, and how you can pick it apart the dialogue between the old man and the young man.

M. Ward is my homeboy right now.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

When You Don't Look Back I Guess the Feelings Start to Fade Away

Letting Go of God, man this is a smart woman, who I enjoy reading on a daily basis. 'Letting Go,' what a topic, weather its a spiritual being, a special person in your life, or just a bad habit.

Spiritual - Julia explains it much better than me --

Bad Habit - Mike P quit smoking for 36 days, I told him if he would quit till the end of Jan, I wouldn't drink beer for an entire month. Well, raise your glasses to bad habits.

Special People - So many times in the last 10 years of my existence I get the 'bruns when are you gonna get over $hit' line, and my rebuttal more often than not is, 'well that's a good question,' and the inevitable nature of father time makes the majority of your grief look silly in the perspective of things.

Why is it so hard to get over someone? In the past why have I struggled with this instead of 'getting my freak on at the club?'

I used to think it was about the tapestry of color that exists in different individuals. The first girl I 'loved' was a track athlete who enjoyed lots of success at a collegiate level. Number two was (ha ha, I said number two back there), a girl with the voice of an angel, who was attentive and listened, and we just sang tunes and had a great go of it. #3 possessed a rich texture and a 64bit color pallet, which made for a lot of great dialogue and overall fun. All these people made me feel special in a different way, and 'the science' behind it all says the 'butterflies in the stomach' feeling last for approximately 18 months, then you dig in for the long haul, living, loving, learning and leading, something I've never experienced, so in this case I may be one of the most naive 30 year old boys out there. I've never made it past the 18 month 'honeymoon phase' of a relationship, so I don't know what life after butterflies is like.

In the past I've used benchmarks, well she was good at this, and this was fun with her, and I've thought the key happiness in love is to push the envelope, how bout a 128 bit girl. I realize this is what my mind says, but not what my heart feels. My heart feels like you just stumble into this sorta stuff, and a key point to help overcome my 'neurosis' is to differentiate activities in the 'initiating' phase of something potentially significant. I'm not going to take a girl to 'Huts Hamburgers' if it was the place had significance in the past, etc, etc, etc.

To quote a cheesy lyric from the rembrandts, 'too many memories in this ol' town.' I used to think this was hard, you know, oooo, this ice cream place reminds me of girl A, and this live music venue reminds me of girl B, and this, hell, coconut cream pie reminds me of girl C, and so on and so forth. After considering this idea currently, on a sleepless night, I realize this is FAR from the case, and it is kinda sad how individuals like myself associate inanimate objects with people.

This idea of a 'stupid memory' as Sondre Lerche puts it, is something I've somewhat been able to overcome. I realize there are tons of 'dynamic' people, and even the 'non-dynamic' ones are dynamic, ever evolving, and so is society. So what if 'our song' was this, there were 1,500,000 million other realeased this year, just find the new feelin'. I was sittin' here tonight and 'The Who' came on the radio, and I thought damn, what kind of happenstance, circumstance, crapenstance, or I'm too younginstance do I associate them with, and the answer was refreshingly 'NO ONE.' Which made me remember a girl I met in a bar, ooo, about 5 years ago. One of the top 5 questions is always 'what's your favorite band?,' and her answer, 'The Who.'

Where does all this rambling lead? Well, the future does look bright if you focus on the future and forget the mishaps of the past. To this day, perhaps in many ways I've been scared of the future, scared of actually being happy, and heaven forbid scared of anyone 'understanding' me. I've come to find out, it's not really 'understanding' your partners 'I've been thru shit-s, I've had this happen, I see the world like this, I want to do this in my life, etc', but rather 'understanding' of the human element of 'There's power in two, You're a person I respect, You're a person I love, You're a person who I enjoy talking to, going out with, bragging about, and most importantly someone I'm certain I want to grow old with.

The first type of 'being understood' and 'understanding' is the vicious cycle of crapola I've been stuck in for the last however long, and I look for bright things in the future and areas to use my new level of true understanding of others and understanding of myself.

Thanks Manuelabor and Lacinator for helping me understand that, and my sister gives y'all kudos. And thanks sis for being there for me, I know it's hard for you to sit back and watch the emotional train wrecks while I figure it all out.

Monday, December 11, 2006

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, Wie treu sind deine Bl├Ątter!

If you can't tie a not, tie a lot....That's what the Christmas Tree dude said to us as we tied the tree to the top of the minivan. He said they grow 4,000 feet up in the mountains of North Carolina. How's that for some salesmanship.

I have no idea why, but going to pick up the tree this year made me recollect movies, concert dvds, and actually most prevalent 'chick flicks' I've sat down and watched this year. Why just this past Thursday I watched one called 'A Lot Like Love' -- Long story short, first encounter they become members of the Mile High Club, go thru a series of events, and the highlight is when the dude sings Bon Jovi to the chick in the apartment courtyard. A great movie, about irony in relationships, much much much times ten less painful than Serendipity. I doubt love to ever to be this ironic, but it's good for Hollywood and entertaining for me.

Next I sat down and watched a few with sis this year, biggest one that hangs on the mind, The Notebook (on the link you can buy the 'platinum dvd,' just available for the holiday (and I'm NOT giving hints)) hahaha. This movie has got a good ring to it, and it seems like many people I meet and chat about chick flicks with say 'Hey I can relate,' and that's what a good chick flick is all about. Another one of those too ironic love affairs that has a double dose of happy ending.

My favorite, which I can hope to drag sis down and watch it during the joyous holiday yuletide is 'Love Actually,' probably my favorite chick flick of all time. It shows how things are people and situations are tied up, and no matter how mundane love may seem to be, it exists all around.

The setting is in London, and this movie is FULL of love heroes, and all around happy ending, from the Brit 20 something that goes to Wisconsin and winds up having a foursome with three hot girls, to the dad who inspires his 8 year old son to go Hollywood on the chick he likes, to the prime minister getting together with his 'big thighs' assistant (who he wrestles out of the hands of Billy Bob Thorton, aka. President of the USA). And one can't forget the writer and the portuguese girl, but, the clincher is this ultimate gut wrenching scene.


Speaking of Love existing all around, just ask this 'washed up has been' in the industry, as he takes on a boy band for the 'Christmas hit of the year.' The tune is one we know with a twinge of variation in the lyrics 'So if you really love Christmas, come on and let it snow!' I especially like the barrage of cuss words he uses after he gets the lyrics wrong the second time around.


That's all for this posting, whenever I'm feeling down, I just pop that one in. Hollywood keep the over 100 million dollar budget thrillers, movies like Van Wilder, and chick flick with caked on irony, I'll keep paying my 10 bucks for the theatre, and 5 bucks for the rental.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I Search for Comfort and I Find it Where I've Found it Many Times Before, Times Before Can Be Forgotten

This is the eating joint in my hometown, it looks like a Masonic or Elks Lodge. Dead Animals on the wall, crazy booths that don't really seem to belong, and that time of the year, the dreaded Christmas lights.

Eyes Wide Shut ruined me for Christmas lights, every time I see colored lights, it puts me in a disturbed Kubrick mindset. Not to mention the animals all checkin' you out, perhaps say 'Hey there, that's my relative you are eating,' you don't want me to come off this wall and stick this antler up your a$$, do you?


Seems to me as the Christmas season is rushed this year, 'our' Round Rock house is the only Griswald lookin' house on the street (kudos Jeannie and Rob), and I haven't had the motivation to dust off and plug in the ol fiber optic tree.
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I've found it hard lately to blog about the nuance-s of life, as I'm trying to further define myself as a human being, what that means, how to be a good human being, and ultimately finding my place in it all.

After a stimulating talk about religion at the Shimek residence (after I changed my drawers from the 8 foot python scaring the bejesus out of me), driving home, listening to cd 42 of the 56 cd set of Atlas Shrugged, the quote came up and I had to rush to write it down, it was profound. It goes -- 'learn the extent of your own power, and understand the calamity around you.'

I thought, can it be that easy? That hard yet that easy? Easy because, yes, it is all up to you to make yourself a better person, and if everyone does their part and lives up to their potential, the world is a better place. Where did it get confusing, if you decide to make it confusing.

Hard because, let's see, kinda hard to articulate. It's hard because of human expectation. Sitting there watching Manuelabor and The Diz down a hurricane a week ago while I was sipping on some piss water, I talk about what challenges me in life, and the people that challenge me, their thoughts, their ideas, the typical 'what makes you tick' type stuff, and surely getting on my high horse.

Manuelabor's rebuttal (as the finger points at me for accent) is.......Robert, anyone, especially any girl WILL challenge you (and I do paraphrase). You know why? Because half the time you don't even know how to wear clean pants in the morning, you don't know how to change your sheets, you don't know to enjoy the moment for the sake of the moment, and you don't give many people a chance because they don't necessarily follow your twisted, bitter, cynical idealist BS, and as I play the role of the critic in many aspects of life, I wind up alienating myself and any chances for unity.

I did a rant back or two or ten back there on love, and for historical purposes I have to show where I stand and how I feel. Sure we all need the social aspects of 'at the end of the day when the dust settles' you have someone to talk to scenario, and in identifying this in my life, I have to take at least one other factor into play heading into the great beyond, as it pertains to instinctive behavioral traits of human beings (man I sound like a wanna-be scientific retard). I can't live by the 15 minute 'sniff test,' alone -- that's too small of a window to know if someone is right for you or not.

Which begs the question for me of relationships, or at least for me in the future. If it doesn't hit me like a ton of bricks, will I have the intelligence to awknowledge a win-win, and embrace it open minded-ly and open hearted-ly?
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The hump of 'test-new job-new place to live' is coming to a head very soon. I didn't pass this test the first time, after taking a class that cost $2,500 bucks. If I pass it using this crusty website, can I blame academia for not captivating me and motivating me? If I can, what does that say for our education system. I can say a lot of things about why I didn't pass the first time (lazy, heart not in it, not captivated, didn't study enough, etc,) but how as educators do we motivate and inspire people in the digital era and how can they improve their part?.....slap a math equation on Britney's breasts?

Enough ranting -- Bed Time :) --

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Here I Go Again on My Own, Goin' Down the Only Road I've Ever Known

I always knew I was a little girly girl, or princess, or insert other panzified word here, but it takes the cake when 'the gang' set me up and bring an 8 foot long python into the picture.

Just listen to the screams, how pathetic.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Holla New Orleans

At the stroke of 10pm Friday night, we decided to head over to New Orleans. A lot of bachelor parties have the BBQ pit, and getting the groom wasted beyond belief to where he's pretty much injured for the next few days. Well, we just wanted to take a road trip.

We (Mike D, Manuelabor and I) gas up the VDub and head to NoLo, with a stay over in Htown, arriving at destination at 5ish. Manuel and Mike D both say that there are homeless people running around better dressed than I. In fact, they were embarrassed to even walk into Denny's with me? What the hell is that all about guys?


First stop was.............NOT!


First stop was Tropical Isle, where the hand grenades are touted as the 'strongest drink in New Orleans,' and this beastly amazon woman guards them. Yea, ....we're probably drinking the cough syrup she's guarding.


A chilly Saturday night, this is Bourbon Street. Any given summer night its packed, and during Mardi Gras you can't even see the street.


The only picture of the night of us together, don't you just HATE going up to people and goin' ...ummm, could you take our picture?? Boy just look at Mr I could stand to lose some weight.


They broadcast it everywhere, but there is none to be seen.


A nice shot of Manuelabor and Mike D, some crazy artificial light going on there.


The trip was great, didn't see any fridges in trees, the French quarter is beautiful (except for the drunks and stench and all -- reminded us of the times walking about in Barcelona in search of our favorite tapas bar.)

Ride home = sinister (are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet, FINALLY!) -- Not to mention a bad case of IBS on the trip home.