Escaping in Texas

Articles, Personal No Comments

Texas is full of little surprises. One of them is a beautiful little bed and breakfast in Brownwood, Texas, called Star of Texas. My wife and I were happy to have discovered this place many years ago, and just drove down here today to celebrate our 20th anniversary (a tiny bit early). They offer, “…private cottages and other unique lodging experiences, and we deliver a full hot breakfast to your room each morning around 9 am.”

We were desperate for a get-away, and Star of Texas fits the bill nicely. It’s southwest of Dallas with zero “city” to contend with, and northwest of Austin so the “weird” doesn’t rub off too badly. 🙂

I can’t recommend the place enough for a quiet, secluded time away from the stress of every day life! Click below for a couple of pics, if you’re interested.

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One of these days

Music, Personal 1 Comment

I love the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl is a terrific musician on everything he performs, and the Foo never fails to disappoint.

One song on their “Wasting Light” album always gets my blood pumping: These Days. I heard it on the radio again this morning and remembered how much I enjoy it. The message I take from the lyrics is that, in the face of overwhelming pain and suffering, it’s “easy to say” that everything will be “alright,” but that doesn’t make the pain go away any faster, or make it hurt less, and anyone who thinks different has likely never suffered the same way.

The premise of the lyrics reminds me of the argument that, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” In some cases, I wonder if, instead, “ignorance is bliss.”

Great song, great build, classic Foo Fighters. The abbreviated lyrics are below.

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Music, Personal 1 Comment

Once again, I’ve gotta hand it to the Amarillo College radio station. They introduce me to new music nearly every week.

I’ve heard this song a couple of times, but this morning it hit me how much I loved how it sounded. It just makes me happy. I like music that makes me happy. 🙂 I grabbed the mini-album it’s on and checked out the lyrics today. What a cool and beautiful tune.

I have to post this song, and I have to say, I think this one should go out to my wife, Cynthia. After nearly 20 years, she’s stubbornly stuck by my side. Being married, having kids, running a household – it turns out these things can be really tricky, and sometimes flat-out hard as hell. Sometimes it’s not fun. Often it’s a lot of work. I’m just lucky I found someone who isn’t afraid of that, even when sometimes I am.

Here’s to you, babe:

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Update’s a-comin’!

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I don’t know exactly what it will be, or what form it will take, but I’ve been jotting down a few things recently – some fond memories, some painful memories, some observations – and I look forward to sharing them here.

Until then, if you haven’t “discovered” Julian Smith on YouTube yet, I have to say, he’s one of the most creative guys I’ve come across on the ‘Tube, and I highly recommend you watch at least two or three of his more popular videos. I say two or three, because they’re all so unique, you have to increase your sample size. I’ll go ahead and recommend “Everything’s Okay Now,” “I’m Reading A Book,” “Buffering,” and “Never Get Naked in Your Shower.”

Good stuff!

Colder than…

Personal No Comments

Ever since I was young, I’ve loved comedy. Whether enjoying it alone or with friends and family, stand-up comedy, for me, is an incredible salve for stress, a great way to take the edge off the sharpest times, and more than anything, a way to laugh. Off the top of my head, my favorite stand-up comics are Louis C.K., Ricky Gervais, Jim Gaffigan – and I would never turn down a chance to see Jerry Seinfeld perform.

To stay slightly on-topic (this site is about writing after all), I have a particular appreciation for comedy writing. This weekend, I was browsing through stand-up routines on Netflix, and I came across a great show by Arj Barker from 2010 called “Arj Barker: LYAO.” In addition to a cute web animated series called “Arj and Poopy,” Arj played a memorable character named “Dave” on the very-funny HBO series Flight of the Conchords, a ridiculous musical comedy that got a lot of laughs out of me.

His set was full of quirks, but this particular twist on a common phrase had my wife and I chuckling for a long time:

Oh yeah, it’s cold, man. It’s as cold as I’ve ever seen. When I was walking over here tonight, somebody had dropped a witch’s tit on the sidewalk and all these people gathered around it, and they were warming their hands on it like it was a campfire. Just to tell you how cold it is.

If you like slightly off-the-wall stand-up, I highly recommend this paticular set by Arj. You can watch it on Netflix here: Arj Barker: LYAO. (The bit I’m referring to is at 1:40.)

As a side note, Jerry Seinfeld’s new web series, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” is absolutely worth your time, if the idea of two comedians sitting around, driving in interesting cars, having coffee and making random conversation sounds appealing to you.

Keep smiling!

No, I didn’t forget

Music, Personal 2 Comments

I haven’t forgotten to post, I just haven’t done it. Honestly, I just didn’t have anything to say.

I came across a song that struck a particular note with me. Today seemed like the perfect day to post the lyrics (especially since I haven’t posted in over two years). The song is called “Right As Rain,” by Courrier, a band out of Austin. I have no idea why I haven’t heard this song before. It was apparently released last year. I grabbed the rest of the album, “A Violent Flame,” and there are some other great songs in there, “Between,” in particular.

Sometimes a song just finds you at the right time, I guess. There are some really beautiful lines in there. For me, it has a beautiful usage of the “right as rain” passage as a double entendre. It’s a fantastic song. The lyrics, and a link to the song on iTunes, are below.

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Short Stories No Comments

“What’s in the box?”

The man pointed a puffy, partially-gloved finger at the box that sat on the aluminum bleacher in front of him.  The scissor-modified gloves – blue and white, team colors – were stained with what could only be innumerable hot dog and Frito pie drippings throughout the season.  The right glove had seen its share of runny noses.  From the look of the guy, Pete imagined the gloves smelled like ketchup, burned tobacco and backside-scratching, and tried not to visibly wrinkle his nose.

Pete also attempted to ignore him.

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Silverlight: You’ll probably want it

Articles, Ask the Geek No Comments

There’s a lot of gobbledy-gook on the Internet. There are new add-ons and plug-ins and toolbars being foisted on you by Web sites here and pop-up windows there. To top it off, you’re always told to be extra cautious about everything you click on, open, download, install or hover your mouse over. (When I write it like that, it almost seems paranoid.)

However, there’s one particular browser plug-in that you may have been wondering about. Maybe you saw it as an optional download on the Windows Update site or stumbled across a Web site that required it. The plug-in is called Silverlight, and it is an emerging technology by none other than Microsoft.

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OpenOffice turns 3.0

Articles, Ask the Geek No Comments

On October 13,, the beloved (and seductively free) office productivity suite, released its milestone version 3.0. The document-making, spreadsheet-calculating, presentation-presenting free open-source project boasts a few new features, a new startup routine, and a few bells and whistles to show off. Also, big news for Mac users: It natively supports Mac OS X now.

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Stalled at Startup

Articles, Ask the Geek No Comments

Sometimes you just want to buy toilet paper.  Yet, by the time you’ve found the kids, the kids have found their shoes, the dog has found something to chew on the couch, you’ve discovered the car is out of gas, the guy on the radio tells you that traffic is blocked between you and the store, and your youngest took off her shoes thirty seconds after she was in the car…the simple task of acquiring toilet paper seems painful.

And yet, you still need the toilet paper.

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