Strange Influence

With the weather this past week, we hit one of our favorite spots…the Iguana Grill.  I don’t know if it was the open air, or the pink rock-star shades, but every picture we took of CB kept getting stranger…

Some kind of flailing “Walk like an Egyptian” pose.  We initially wrote it off as some Nana Connie tendencies, but it seemed even stranger.

CB’s really rocking it here, and even MK started to get in on the action.

Then it dawned on us.  There could only be one thing influencing this strange behavior.

Uncle Billy!!!

Digital Media

The death of cd’s, vhs tapes, and even dvd’s has been forecasted for some time.  I know myself, that I haven’t actually purchased any music outside of iTunes in over five years.  But the real reason for this trend… 4 year olds with a one year old accomplice.

It’s a little more difficult to get an mp3 wrapped around every chair in the house and eventually the vacuum.


For all you non legal types out there – that stands for Deceptive Trade Practices Act.  While I’ve been on both sides of a DTPA case, I never believed in them until now.

Build and Play in One Day – Deception at it’s worst.  I’ve never seen such gross negligence as this.  Build in one day?  Sure, if your last weekend project was an eight bedroom house, or perhaps a large condo in downtown Manhattan.  No problem.

Let me back up a bit.  The girls, including ringleader Al, had been hitting me up for a swing set.  I rejected all the options; too flimsy, too cheap, it’s all balsa wood, etc.  This kept me alive for some time, but when it came down to it, I had to make a move.

I found a kit that had instructions and the actual swing seats and chains.  But you had to supply the lumber yourself.  Now we’re talking.  I wanted 4×8’s and lots of ‘em.  Nothing mickey mouse here.

Problem is, when it comes to something like this, my confidence generally outweighs my ability by a large margin.

Proper carpenter gear as always.  More on that later.

Progress…at last.  I worked until close to midnight on this behemoth.  And thanks to the flip flop sportin carpenter.  I had enough splinters, wood shavings and blisters to last a lifetime.  Not to mention, I woke up about every 45 minutes screaming.  I told Al not to worry, the back spasms only lasted about 15 minutes and to go back to bed.  She was less than sympathetic.

I knew it was bad when I got out of bed the next morning and took half a dozen Alleve.  I woke up shortlty thereafter and realized that I was only dreaming.  I needed at least a dozen Alleve, but I was so #$#%! sore there was no way I could have made it out of bed to get to the medicine cabinet.

The final result…

The girls loved it.  Not only can they both swing from it, but I could hang an engine block from a 48 ‘Buick from this thing.  Not that I would necessarily, but like my dad always said, “It’s nice to have options.”

Leprechauns in Alabama

I have never posted a youtube video on the blog before, but this is classic. Leprechauns in Mobile, Alabama. It’s an actual local news story on a possible leprechaun in a tree in Mobile. There are so many things wrong with this story. I still think my favorite is the “amateur sketch” someone did. It makes those unabomber sketches look like the Mona Lisa. Enjoy!!


The Day the Music Died

There are times in life that don’t have a marker.  Sure, there are the big markers:  November 22, 1963. December 7, 1941, your wedding date, the birth of your child.  But so often, we don’t have these markers that we can pinpoint and say, “There!  That’s it.  That’s when it happened.” It’s more often than not that things seem to change slowly around you until one day you wake up to realize that everything is different, but you can’t really put your finger on when it happened.  But for me I now have an official marker. March 31, 2008 – the day Austin became Dallas, or Houston, or Waco, or any other nondescript city in the state. 

My relationship with Austin is quite different.  My biggest problem is the people that continually claim that Austin is something that it isn’t.  “Oh, Dallas is so materialistic.  I would never live there.”  Right, you never see the Austin female cruising in her Beamer or Benz with fake everything, rocking her Coach purse.  That never happens. 


Or, “Houston is soo big.  The weather is awful, and there is nothing interesting like in Austin.”  Sure.  No way Houston has an eclectic mix of urban shops and restaurants that’s home to enough random artisans and designers that would make most Austinites look like a Bush Cabinet appointee.  Not to mention the unbelievable amount of museums and other attractions.

 The thing that bothers me the most, is that no matter how much I disagree with these people, there is, or was, one place that always made me feel like Austin was something different.  Shady Grove.  Sitting there eating a Hippie Chick, drinking a Shiner, and listening to Bruce Robison, for a moment at least, I could buy into the whole Austin vibe.  For lack of a better term, I was feeling it. 

Part of any trip to Shady Grove was the accompanying RV Park.  You’d always catch a glimpse of some interesting characters roaming the grounds.  These were people that, for whatever reason, decided to park it there and see what life threw at them.  I don’t know, maybe they just liked the Hippie Chick – I could think of worse reasons for living somewhere.  It was all part of the scene.  And now, it’s gone.


The RV park was sold, and for what?  Homeless shelter, commune for starving artists, center for the advancement of tie-died research.  Nope.  Condos.  Talk about paved paradise and put a parking lot. 


I know the restaurant is still there, but it’s just not the same. Sitting in the shadow of a high rise with angry residents blaring horns over the lack of parking – just not the same vibe.  Oh well, like everything, it was fun while it lasted.   Who knows, maybe someone can franchise this thing – start slapping them up and down I-35.  After all, it’s no different than anywhere else.

Easter Goodness

It’s been a while.  I know.  Just didn’t have a ton of Easter pictures to post, and nothing in the way of grand inspiration.  So, I’ll just go with what I’ve got.

Of course, you’ve got the obligatory Easter Egg Hunt photo-op.

Wouldn’t be Easter without the crafts.

CB eyeing the competition. 

Intensity.  That’s the only thing I can say about CB.  That girl is grinding on the project.  Everything has to be up to her standards, and don’t dare mention anything otherwise.  One of the things I love about that girl, but one of the things that leads to some issues as well.  Intensity – got to keep reminding myself of that.

I’ve seen all these other Easter photos of the picture-perfect children in angelic poses and frankly, I’m not buying it.  Anytime you see a picture like that, you know there’s a frazzled parent standing off to the side threatening serious, bodily harm.  I managed to get both girls dressed before church, and not ten minutes later Al is yelling from the bedroom, “Why is MK running around in a diaper -we’re leaving in ten minutes.”

Sure enough, Little Houdini – she of no shoulders – had managed to slip out of her easter dress and was trying to pull her shoes off as well when I finally caught her.  Needless to say, we didn’t get a ton pf photo-ops.

Al wasn’t planning on jumping in the pic, but really, how else do you keep MK clothed and keep the hair pulling to a minimum?  Happy Easter!