Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Day

Look well to this day
For it is life
The very best of life.
In its brief course lie all
The realities and truths of existence,
The joy of growth, the splendour of action,
The glory of power.
For yesterday is but a memory.
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived
Makes every yesterday a memory of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore to this day.

Ancient Sanskrit Poem

This was read aloud at the memorial service today. It was a day we thought about those who are still with us, and how much we would miss them if they were gone. It was hard to watch others in great pain of the kind that may never heal. It was good to hear others share their memories aloud. We reminisced afterwards over a late lunch and a bottle of wine, then spent the evening curled up on the couch with some favorite TV episodes, a fire, and Henry the cat - who is, thankfully, still with us too (and the company of a 19 year old cat is a rarity).

I think it was a day well-lived.

This song was played today by the same guitarist (only 26 years later). It sounded very much the same. It's called "Song For Life."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

RIP Bill Maddox

Bill Maddox, former Eric Johnson drummer, shot to death
I was skimming through twitter yesterday and found this shocking news. It had a stunning effect. In fact, I can't sleep so I got back up to finish this post. From the news article:
A law enforcement source who wished to remain anonymous because he’s unauthorized to talk to reporters said a woman believed to be Rhonda Maddox called 911 at 7:27 a.m. and reported a burglary in progress at the couple’s home. “They’re in the house,” she told the 911 operator, “I’m gonna have to shoot them.” The phone was put down, then the operator heard a single shot, followed after a pause, by several more.
Later yesterday night, a close friend of his stated in a forum post:
Evidently a neighbor was off his medications and threw a rock through either a plate glass window or door. Bill and Rhonda thought it a burglary and called the police. The neighbor entered the house and there was a confrontation with a gun ending with Bill dead and the neighbor flown to the hospital with a gun shot wound.

That last account has not been presented in the news media yet.

A year before we moved here, in fact, a year before we were even considering moving anywhere, I flew down to Austin from St. Louis to attend 2 live taping concerts at Antone's with Alien Love Child (Eric Johnson, Chris Maresh, Bill Maddox). The tapings became this record. Actually there were 3 nights of tapings, but I held myself at only 2 (kind of like being offered a plate with 3 large cookies and leaving one there just so you won't appear to have lost all control). People came to those shows from all over the USA and at least a couple flew over from the UK. After the 3rd show, it had been arranged for us diehard fans to be able to meet Eric, and a small restaurant (Austin Java) was rented out after hours. It was my first EJ show and first time in Austin. That's how this place ended up on the short list when we were deciding where to live - because it was the kind of place that put up a statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan, it was nice weather in January, and the positives grew and grew.

After moving here, I ended up doing some website, graphic design & production, and flash animation for Eric. If you are a big music fan and in Austin, it's likely that you will have an opportunity to do get involved in helping out a favorite musician at some point even if it's just hanging posters. Anyway, it was because of that involvement that I got to meet Bill quite a number of times, either backstage or at casual social events. He was an extremely nice person, and always had a smile, onstage and off. He had been playing in bands with Eric since the early 1970s.

All I know about this tragedy are the accounts mentioned above, and am not sure if there will be any more information released. One of the most disturbing things is that it's possible that he may have been killed with his own gun. I hate guns, but out of respect for Bill and everyone who knew him, I am not going to turn this post (or the comments that get added) into my usual anti-gun rant. Those can be found elsewhere at the Oasis here, if you care to look.

Here are a couple of pics that I took the last time we saw Alien Love Child, which was in August of 2009. It was a long time ago... too long, and we didn't even hang around afterwards to say Hi to the band. Now I regret that.

[addendum Dec 28] Update: More about this not being a burglary.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day music

Here's a nice pop ballad from Darin Murphy. Darin is a big Beatle fan and it shows as an influence here. Warning, it's very catchy and you will find this song stuck in your head. Enjoy! If you like this, you can get it on iTunes on Darin's album "Haunted Gardenias", or get it as a download or physical CD through CD Baby.
[CLICK HERE if you are using iPhone or other flash-free device]

I love this day, not because I do anything to celebrate it, but because I am a bit of a scrooge... I am relieved with the end of Christmas music saturation, stores and parking lots choked with humanity in full frenzy, retail employees enduring the big push and shove, worry and dread over whether the holiday will measure up, the War on the War on the War on Christmas in the media, my own personal dread, depression and awkward feelings. It's a sigh of relief.

I believe we are going to venture into some stores and purchase a few mundane items.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Xmas blues and rock 'n' roll

We've been having a great time getting out to see some of our fabulous local bands. Thursday's happy hour we went to the Lucky Lounge to see Ian McLagan, who has a residency there. "Mac" is a founding member of the Small Faces (with the awesome Steve Marriott) and then the Faces (with that other crooner... Rod "the Mod" Stewart). He's the keyboardist and wrote a lot of the songs so the music is fulled with Faces vibe. Since we were off work, we were able to get there and sit in the "living room" that's right in front of the stage. Enjoyed the hell out of it. Mac's band includes one of our favorite Austin sidemen guitarists, Scrappy Jud Newcomb. Always amazes.

Xmas Eve we went out the Saxon Pub for a real bash. Warren Hood and the Goods, plus quite a few stellar guests, great players. Where to get started... Warren's band usually has the amazing Emily Gimble on keyboard/jazz vocals, but in this video Marcia Ball is sitting in with a soulful and bluesy Bells Will Be Ringing with Cindy Cashdollar on slide. I also want to mention that Willie Pipkin is one of our favorite guitar players in town. Always great.
Carolyn Wonderland played a few with Cindy too. Carolyn has been getting a lot more exposure out in the world lately. Give her a google if you love the blues. Here she is with Cindy rocking some Chuck Berry Christmas on Run Run Rudolph.
Today (December 25th) we are going to a movie matinee, and will get some couch time tonight with Henry (if he feels like joining us), a roaring fire, and The Doctor.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Rules

This is a great "signed, the management" type sign that I saw at Vulcan Video this week. Click to enlarge (and click again to zoom). I especially liked the comment that someone wrote down the side.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holidays in Austin - Part 3

We've been getting out for live music and other stuff. Low key but high quality. This first video is from a house concert (on Sunday the 19th) by my friends Milkdrive, who are also some of the finest musicians you can find. This is not our video. Let's see... how to describe this music... acoustic progressive, jazzgrass, I don't know but it's pretty.
That's Brian Beken (fiddle), Noah Jeffries (guitar), Matt Mefford (bass) and Dennis Ludiker (mandolin).

Last night we went to see the Dennis Ludiker Trio, and this incarnation has the phenomenal Billy Bright on mando and Dennis on fiddle (with Jesse Dalton on bass). However, the smokin' hot jam featured in the video (ours this time) has both Dennis and Billy on mandos. I am still waiting to get the fiddler's name and the name of this song... which I might describe as blazing Brazilgrass. Your description may vary. ;-)

We pulled out all the party animal stops, and went to the weekly event Wednesday midnights at the Alamo Drafthouse called "Weird Wednesdays." This was an unimaginably bad B-movie called "The Magic Christmas Tree" and is described by Alamo staff this way:

Special seasonal reprise of the Christmas-killing hit! Here it is: the evil holiday movie we've all secretly been waiting for. It made its producers wealthy men and turned a generation of children into santaphobic sociopaths. We are still paying the cost. It's a very strange film and we're not sure why anyone would make it, but two words come to mind: Malicious Intent. Why else would the young hero be abducted by a witch and forced to uh, plant Satan's magic seed in his backyard? The seed grows into a tree that gives him three wishes. Then the kid abducts Santa Claus, straps him to a chair and abuses him until he gets all the toys in the world. Plus there's a long race between a lawnmower and a turtle and more tomfoolery presided over by the powers of Darkness, including the appearance of a giant who says inappropriate things. We cannot be held responsible for any lasting trauma. (Lars)
...and in IMDB user comments this way.
Whee-doggy, we went to a midnight flick and got to see 6th Street, which was hopping as always.

The holidaze continue. More soon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chasing the Moon

I am not at the J-O-B this week, so MrB encouraged me to try and get out to watch the Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse. Earlier in the evening we had walked outside, and the moon was shining bright in a clear sky.

I happened to wake up at the right time, so I walked outside in my PJs with an added sweater for modesty, because it really wasn't cold - 66°. Gorgeous night. Couldn't see a thing from the front of the house, so I went in the back... and peeking through a tree I could see the red glow. This was a leafy tree though, and really blocked the view, so I started walking. Realizing that I couldn't possibly walk far enough for a clear view, I walked back home and got in the car. Drove and drove around the empty suburban streets trying to find it again. There was another nutcase moon-chaser out there... parking in the wrong spots and walking around with his headlights off. (I think this definitely qualifies us as lunatics.) I drove around for a solid hour, miles and miles, frequently stopping the car to get out for a look and trying not to trigger anyone's security cameras. Couldn't see a damned thing in any direction. Our streets change direction a lot so I couldn't always tell which direction I should look... but saw nothing at all in any direction.

I probably should have just tried a gaze out of an upstairs window and let it go at that.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holidays in Austin - Part 2

Continuing on...
MrB has been salivating over the idea of getting an all-electric car. I admire him for this, and I don't hate the idea, in fact I like it. I'm am just not an early adopter and feel like a hybrid might be more for me. I like for a lot of the kinks to be worked out by other poor souls before I add something that pricey and important to my toy box. Yes, I know... electric cars are not a brand-new invention, but we have not had a variety of choices of non-prototypes before. The Nissan LEAF has been on a 23 city debut tour of test-drives, and we got to drive it on Saturday. It's a perfectly nice little car. I like the size of it. It doesn't go real fast, but it's designed for the commuter (people like us) who drive less than 100 miles a day. Actually, the deal-breaker for me personally with the LEAF was my own fault. Part of the display panel that's behind the steering wheel was too close to my eyes. I wear glasses for distance vision (like for driving) but don't need them at all up close - so I couldn't really focus on that panel with getting bifocals. So GO LEAF but I will wait for a Honda or something else.

Saturday evening we decided to go and see The Tourist, despite a whole lot of bad reviews. My four word film review for it would be "safe for movie date" or maybe "she's pretty, he's pretty." We didn't hate it but thought it missed the opportunity to be funny. It's been nominated for a Golden Globe as a comedy, but believe me, it isn't funny, and it looks like the GG noms might be more than a little tainted this time.

I will end this post here because I need to rest my eyes a little before the big eclipse happens! Something tells me I am going to snooze through it... it's highly likely.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holidays in Austin - Part 1

The holidays are here, at least for me... and my "holidays" I don't mean "holy days" or "holly days," I mean I took this week off work and next week the office is closed! It's another staycation in Austin, we are stuck here but it's a great place to be stuck. We are celebrating having been living here for a full 10 years (more on that saga in another post). As for the holidaze, they are going pretty well so far.

Friday night, we went to (radio station) KGSR's anniversary party. Tickets were free but you had to win them. The lineup was great: Quiet Company, Alpha Rev, the legendary Joe Ely (with full band) and Old 97s... all local bands (97s are Dallas-based but Rhett Miller was born in Austin).
Alpha Rev - Colder Months (song about missing loved ones)

Joe Ely - Midnight Train (with tasty guitar from David Grissom)

Old 97s - Won't Be Home (this one is not our video)

Really enjoyed all of the bands. Haven't seen Old 97s in quite a few years. With Rhett Miller on vocals, they just cowpunk-rocked my socks off. More videos from Old 97s on Amy's channel.

Well, I've only managed to cover Friday, Dec. 17th, and now it's almost time to head out to house concert with MilkDrive so this topic is to be continued...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

From the griddle to your middle

There's a rumor going around that the TSA's scanner can be blocked by a pancake... which you would presumably place over whatever it is you are wanting to hide.

What I want to know is... who thought this up and how did they discover it?

Maybe they were inspired by Dan Lacey, Painter of Pancakes. That's his website and it's worth searching through his links and galleries because this is some of the craziest crap you can find anywhere. He spares no one.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

X post facto

You know how us godless liberals are spitefully spelling "Christmas" as "Xmas" just to wage the War on Christmas? Heard that one? Well, according to
...the abbreviation predates by centuries its use in gaudy advertisements. It was first used in the mid 1500s.

X is the Greek letter “chi,” the initial letter in the word Χριστός. And here’s the kicker: Χριστός means “Christ.” X has been an acceptable representation of the word “Christ” for hundreds of years. This device is known as a Christogram.

I will keep using the "X" spelling though. It pisses off the religious right. Hee hee.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Want to look like a girl?

We all know that most spammers don't exactly have a good command of the English language, but this one needs a bit more schooling in other subjects, such as anatomy.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Music docs

Stones in Exile

I believe this video was a companion piece to the recent re-mastered re-release of Exile on Main Street. (We have not yet heard the new version of it.) This film takes the present day band back to the recording of the album, and to the places and people who were there at the time. A couple of the locations are Keith Richards' Villa Nellcôte, a 19th century sixteen room mansion on the waterfront in Villefranche-sur-Mer (once the headquarters of the Gestapo in France), and Mick Jagger's Stargroves, a magnificent 16th century manor once occupied by Oliver Cromwell and later by Rod Stewart. Not only was Exile partly recorded there, but also some major stuff from the Who, Led Zeppelin and others. It's kind of funny at times seeing them trying to figure out, amongst themselves, what exactly happened and where. I don't think some of those mysteries will ever be solved.

The film includes a little footage from the banned (but bootlegged) Cocksucker Blues which I blogged a bit about last year, a film where we are shocked to discover that the Stones and entourage are neck-deep in the sex and drugs that go with rock and roll. Stones in Exile also includes interviews with modern-day Anita Pallenberg and Mick Taylor, and a disturbing interview with Liz Phair, who really creeped me out by making it obvious that Exile on Main Street is more than her favorite album, it's her religion. I've seen that happen to people up close and personal. It's hard to tell where the lines are or where they should be when you are delving deep into the worship of something or someone.

As an extreme fan, though, I don't think that Liz can hold a candle to the subjects of this next movie, I Think We're Alone Now. Trailer is below.
Jeff Turner and Kelly McCormick are both extremely obsessed with and delusional over 80's pop singer Tiffany. This movie not only sheds light on that quirk that they share but express differently, but Jeff has Asperger's Syndrome and Kelly is a hermaphradite identifying as female but struggling through related issues. I really recommend this one if you can find it. (official website)

White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights, trailer below.

This is a tour documentary covering Canada, and the band got as far out in the boonies and sought out the "real" places as much as possible, turning up in lots of unexpected places. What stands out about it is the relationship between Meg and Jack - how each one drives the other while they play, and the continued love and dependence they still share above and beyond divorce. Sweet.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Secular X-mas stuff

1. I love this. I saw something like this in one of the Comic-Con costume galleries… a grayscale person. This is not Photoshopped, it’s done with makeup and gray clothing (although, for the sake of one photo, it might be easier to use Photoshop to get the effect). See more desaturated Santa pics here.

2. In the Scrooge category, it's been revealed that the Salvation Army has been taking Twilight and Harry Potter toy donations and throwing them in the trash, while giving the OK to guns (such as a plastic M-16). Their PR people are currently scurrying to clarify this, saying that they really don't approve of toy guns. Wizards and vampires are nixed though. Not sure of their policy toward fairies (including Fairy Godmothers, Tooth Fairies, and Tinkerbell), leprechauns, mermaids, Jolly Old Elves named Claus, ghosts of Christmas Past, Good Witch Glenda, or Virgin pregnant ladies.

3. A good response to old Sally Ann might be to stuff her ding-dong cauldron with a farting Santa ornament or Blitzed'n the drunken reindeer.

4. This last one is just cute. Simon's Cat has a new video out called "Santa Claws", and this is not on YouTube or embeddable yet. Click to watch. Yule love it.
(:::: sorry ::::)

I want the one with the sheep

The Snazzy Napper.
It really should come with earplugs too, so the laughter won't keep you awake.

Found via Dave Barry.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

December 8

Steve Martin wrote "Atheists don't have no songs" but surely John Lennon gave us a couple of good ones with "God" and "Imagine." Can you think of any more?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Keeping Austin Weird Saturday

Always happy when Saturday gets here, even with not much planned. Headed over to Wheatsville Co-op, our favorite little health food market, planning on doing Holiday shopping... not expecting a big art fair to be in progress. Always fun to attend those, but easy to get overwhelmed with choices. Here's a big ol' puppy who was pretty cute. His 'dad' is looking at handmade journals made from old album covers. Great idea. (The sign said they are available on if interested.) Click to see larger.

Yes, it was a warm day, it got up to 75° with lots of sun.
In the evening we went to a new music/food venue called "Jax" (and it feels odd to see the name of our beloved kitty displayed everywhere) and watched up-and-coming teenaged guitarist Carson Brock play. Then we walked a block over to do some shopping at the awesome Toy Joy. I think a person of any age could easily spend hours in this place, and luckily they keep some late hours so you can do just that. We were looking for a gift for our toddler grand-niece, and found the perfect thing (no spoilers), but check out some of this stuff.

MrB wanted to get this for his mother because she hates squirrels. I think he just wants it for himself. Squirrel Underpants help a squirrel hide his nuts for the winter.

Here's one for Debra's collection of Sad Keanus.

All the little junk bins have enticing labels.



Here are a couple of videos taken in Toy Joy.

This one is a music video featuring Will Sheff of Okkervil River and classic psych-rocker Roky Erickson (13th Floor Elevators) - both local bands.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Our hot little sister

In the morning when I'm headed to work, Venus has been a stunningly bright object in the sky. This morning, even though I was running a little late, I stopped the car and took some pictures with my cheesy little camera. I know it's Venus because I looked it up, and as it turns out, this is the brightest Venus we will see until July of 2012. Actually, Saturday morning is supposed to be the brightest shine of all.

When I saw this sight and wanted to share it, it made me laugh, thinking about good old Mike Shannon and the funny stuff he'd say while doing the color commentary during the St. Louis Cardinals games. Once he was remarking on the big full moon over the stadium in New York, saying "I wish you folks back in St. Louis could see this moon."

Well, if you can manage to get up before dawn for the next couple of days, you can see this Venus yourself.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

9 Things

  1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
  2. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
  3. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
  4. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.
  5. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
  6. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.
  7. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.
  8. A person, who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.
  9. Your friends love you anyway.
One of those lists that gets mass-mailed, but I still like these. There was also a #10 but it was a sexist remark so I omitted it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hey! I found your dentures!

Couldn't resist this logo seen on the trailer of "Big Jon Plumbing." And you thought you were having a shitty day at work.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Conspicuous name-dropping and shameless promotion

Above: The view of the Texas Union at UT by the light of the full blue moon, the building that houses the legendary listening room, the Cactus Cafe. The Longhorns had a win that day, hence the orange tower in the background (trivia note: that's the same tower where Charles Whitman made news as a sniper in 1966).

Kevin Welch "Andaman Sea"

Getting a little behind posting on current events here in the live music capital of the world. We've been doing less (as far as hitting the clubs) but have had a small flurry of activity lately. November 20 we went to see the outstanding singer-songwriter Kevin Welch at the Cactus Cafe. Check the video on the right, above, for a nice live recording done by Music Fog earlier this year in Memphis. Kevin is technically local now, living down the road in Wimberley. The Cactus gig was just him and his son Dustin, who's also one of our favorite local singer-songwriters. It was quite a treat. We had room at our table up front, and Earl Poole Ball +friend needed seats so we were happy to share. Earl plays honkytonk piano with several bands around town, and his recording résumé includes Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Jerry Lee Lewis, Rick Nelson, Marty Robbins, Flying Burrito Brothers, Byrds, Carl Perkins... but the part that stands out is the 20 years he spent in Johnny Cash's band. Really nice guy. I love this town. Anyway, Kevin has a new album out called "A Patch of Blue Sky", we just bought it on "Small Business Saturday" at Waterloo Records, and it's a good one.

Wednesday (Day before Thanksgiving) we had The Greencards show at Threadgill's. Don't watch this video unless you want to hear beautiful mandolin, fiddle and guitar acoustic instrumental music.
The weather was outstanding, balmy warm breezes blew in to where you didn't even need a jacket at night outdoors - then the next day it turned really chilly. I have been working in a supporting role for this band since 2004 (and fans of theirs since 2003), and have recently passed the torch. It was time, and it's all good. We will always be friends, and they are so talented that it's mind-boggling. Here's a jam that I caught with Phoebe Hunt (from Belleville Outfit) sitting in. I think this is Cazadero but not 100% sure (I tend to get corrected on song titles by people who know better, and I don't mind that). They are launching a new campaign to make a record on their own (without a record label being involved) where fans can "Buy a Brick" (which will get your name imprinted on the CD insert) and support independent music - from the heart in every direction. Click here for more info.

The day after Thanksgiving (AKA Black Friday) has become a new traditional holiday at Momo's, and it's the birthday of the Band of Heathens. They are one of many local bands to have been hatched in that venue. Actually, you can go to their website link above and download a free MP3 of the song "Millionaire," which was written by the aforementioned Kevin Welch and made a bit more famous by Solomon Burke. Awesome song. Anyway, back to the show. The opener was James Hyland (pictured), and he sounded great. At one point I looked around and realized that I done websites and/or CD art for 2 of the folks onstage and one other person standing next to us... and it really feels like the end of an era (kind of like what I felt on Wednesday). Changes... every five years is like an eternity. Everything comes and goes.

Back to the Band of Heathens, which we all just call "the Heathens" (even though that bandname is technically taken by someone else in another town). This is one of the best live bands you can see. They are steeped in red dirt, bayou, gospel, all kinds of soul from Memphis through Texas. This one is called "Right Here With Me" and is a fun one to watch. Gordy (in the middle) gets a little off-key on one part and cracks himself up. It's a home town crowd though, and they are among friends. It's all good.

My feet are still recovering, and all is well. Put the tickets for next year up for sale and I will buy them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Only not Lonely

With Thanksgiving nearly on us, it's a good opportunity to bring up sibling topics such as birth order. Heard this one on NPR: How Much Does Birth Order Shape Our Lives? It was a pretty good piece and very interesting, but like much of the other literature on this topic, it completely skips over the "onlies."

I guess only children are thought to be rare enough so that they get left out of the discussion... and it's easier to have the Big Three, first, middle, last. Here's another article: How Birth Order Changes Your Life. 1 - 2 - 3 - done. I think they such assume that onlies are just like firstborns. Not correct.

An entire article from the Sunday Times (UK) mentions only children just once, to state that onlies are more likely to be obese than children with siblings. They are not exactly including us in the main topic.

Aha! There's an entire paragraph for onlies in this one: First Born, Middle Child or Last Born?The one below, though, had some really valuable comments.

Birth Order
Prepared by Judith Graham, Extension human development specialist. She has referenced The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are. New York Dell Publishing. Leman, K. (1985).
Like firstborns, single children are often treated like little adults—sometimes to the point of feeling they never had a childhood. The labels describing firstborns also fit the only-born; but preceding each label—perfectionistic, reliable, conscientious, well-organized, critical, serious, scholarly, cautious, conservative—add the word super.

When the only child falls victim to perfectionism, she usually moves toward one of two extremes. Either one of these roads can lead to becoming the “discouraged perfectionist.”

He may become very critical, cold-blooded, and objective, never tolerating mistakes or failure on his part or on the part of others. Or she may become everybody’s rescuer, the one who agonizes over the problems of others and always wants to move in, take over, and solve everything. Discouraged perfectionists are usually very structured people who hold very high expectations for themselves and others.

What Can the Discouraged Perfectionist Do?
  1. Start each day by giving yourself permission to be imperfect (perfection isn’t achievable). Make a conscious effort to go easy on criticizing yourself and others.
  2. Learn to accept. There is no way you can change anybody else’s behavior. Stop trying.
  3. Memorize “I was wrong,” “I’m sorry,” and “Will you forgive me?” and use them often.
  4. Don’t be so quick to put yourself down, and when others criticize, don’t be so quick to react. Perfectionists are sensitive—be aware of your sensitivity, admit it and cope with it patiently.
  5. Take small bites of reality. Perfectionists often overwhelm themselves with the BIG picture, so work at doing one thing at a time.
Making the Only Child Birth Order Work
  1. Pay attention to all the ideas in Making the Firstborn Birth Order Work.
  2. Exercise extreme caution. Be ruthless with yourself in regard to making too many commitments and expecting too much of yourself.
  3. Make time for yourself. Is time and space for yourself really built into your schedule? Most only children are the type who need some time for themselves.
  4. Choose friends wisely. As a rule, only children get along better with people much older or much younger than themselves. Try to arrange experiences with both groups because these are the personalities you are most likely to click with and the people who will give you more strokes and argue with you less.
  5. Do a self-inventory. Only children are often labeled selfish and self-centered because they may never have had to learn to share with brothers and sisters. Take an honest inventory of your life. How self-centered do you act around your spouse, friends or fellow workers? What specific things can you do to put others first, help others more and be less critical of others?

I hope this is the craziest damn thing you read today

While Screaming Bible Passages, 'Ugly Betty' Actor Kills Mother With Samurai Sword (with video)

MSNBC: A neighbor told WPIX that he heard a man shouting Biblical passages "like repent, repent, repent."

Brea, 31, was later taken into custody, WPIX said.

The New York Daily News reported that Yannick Brea, 55, was stabbed repeatedly with a sword. WPIX reported that she was found decapitated.

Religion and insanity: deadly mixture.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22

This day in American history should never be forgotten, even though we can never know the whole truth about what happened, why, and who. Past observations here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Doctor Christmas

BBC America, which provides us Yanks with episodes of Doctor Who (albeit a few weeks later than first-run in the UK) is giving us the new Christmas episode ON Christmas Day! The 11th Doctor is continuing the 10th Doctor's Christmas Episode tradition. I love the treatment of the holiday that is used in Doctor Who and also the Harry Potter series... all the trappings are there, plus some dark themes, monsters and impending disaster... but no sign of baby Jesus. So refreshing. It really is a secular holiday now, the traditions surrounding it are as far removed from a baby being born in a stable as they can possibly be.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

They also have good mulch.

I love going to the Natural Gardener for any reason, it's like the gardening candy store - wonderful colors in plants and paint and gotta-have sculptures and structures. The little cottage above is not open to the public, it's a work area and is also equipped with screened outdoor cat runs attached to the building. What an inviting-looking place! I want to go in, but I'm sure the outside is probably more appealing than the inside. I'll never know unless I get a job there someday. Click anything to view larger.

I love beautiful entrances and exits. The one below is the rear entrance/exit to the butterfly garden.
This is the entry to the area where they have a Tipi (which I have always spelled "teepee") and a labyrinth (Debra, take note!). I was going to visit it, but they were doing maintenance on it. It's mapped out in plants, and the whole thing was covered in plastic (some kind of setup to help them grow). The bottom pic is a closeup of the entry arch. You can see some of our "Fall foliage" here. Mostly green with a few autumn leaves here and there as a garnish.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Restore sanity or keep fear alive? This time it's personal.

Well, it's been quiet around this blog for awhile. Just dealing with a lot of life changes and stuff, it's been difficult to blog. I become so easily overwhelmed with worries, and only some of them are worth the stress. Yes, you CAN worry yourself to death.

I've always been prone to panic attacks, or variations of them. I guess I need some kind of therapy - doctors or meds - but I've had some really unpleasant and frightening experiences with both of things before. Not really willing to head down that road yet. They have evolved over the years, and the recent ones have been really kind of scary.

No need for you all to worry about me, though. I will make it. I'm trying to get more sleep, or at least, rest. There is less going on, intentionally. I am less busy. Not scouring the Chronicle or the Club listings to see who's playing tonight. Not even doing the easy stuff if it's a weeknight. Yes, I know... I'm missing a lot. I've even missed my favorite bands, on purpose. I need downtime, relaxation, indifference, even laziness. Every Sunday night, the success of the weekend gets measured by how much stuff we got done. If things were left undone, I am disappointed in myself... but shouldn't be... really.

By the end of this year, I should be back to working just 40 hours a week for an employer with virtually no freelance clients. I have dearly loved being part of what makes the music happen (even though I can't play a note), but I will now be able to check some things off the list. Did some things I always wanted to do, did a pretty good job, and it's time to pass things along, sit back, take things in stride... and above all... DON'T PANIC (even when things are going to hell in a bucket).

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Steve Martin and Sarah Jarosz

Last April we won a lottery drawing to get "space available" entry to the Steve Martin/Sarah Jarosz Austin City Limits TV taping. That episode debuted this past Saturday (check your local listings for reruns on PBS) and we both had loads of audience cameos.

And the other person on the bill was the amazing Sarah Jarosz, who was about 13 I think, when we first saw her and she is now 18. It was an amazing show!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Rough night

...and waking up in a strange place. What the hell happened and how did we get here, people?

{photo: Museum of the Weird, 6th Street, Austin}

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The House may flip but save our Dist25. Vote Doggett.

It bugs me when people put their photos on their political signs, whether I like the person or not. What are they trying to do? Show their attractiveness? That's bull, or it should be. I guess we all know that looks are enough for some voters. But when you put your picture on a huuuge political sign like this one - you are lucky if all it gets is a moustache. Ha ha!!!

She goes by the nickname "Dr. Donna," and I don't like having to think of a mean teabag instead of this awesome character when I hear "Doctor-Donna" but we are stuck with that situation for another week until the election.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who is a real progressive and not a Blue Dog, points out that DD is not much in favor of government-supported education - which is pretty amazing to me considering that she is a medical doctor who had to put herself through school while working other jobs.

Her spew is the carbon-copy of the Tea Party, hate and fear-mongering, and she's proud of the fact that she gets her news from Beck, Hannity and Rush. Nothing different here, it's a teabot, as far on the fringe as anybody running and that's saying a lot.

I found it amusing in a sad way that her opponent, Doggett, merely posted unaltered videos of her speaking at rallies and giving her views, then all he needed to do was tack his approval text blurb at the end. No need for him to try to spin anything or cast lights and shadows. Just look and listen. We're done. Those are posted beginning here.

Really starting to like that 'stache though!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Love this guitar-lovin' town

On Sunday from 3-8pm we went to a music show at Threadgill’s, it was the 15th birthday party for the Austin School of Music (ASM). The weather was just great and the music was too. It was free to get in with a donation to HAAM strongly encouraged.

Austin is a music town, and a music school not only provides great opportunities for students to learn from amazing teachers, but it also provides employment for great musicians as those teachers.

Darin Murphy
Had not seen him for years, and only knew him as a drummer who sang, and as a Beatle nut (and that is a total compliment) who got to play John Lennon on Broadway in 2005. He blogged about Lennon on HuffPost here (and I find it surreal that sooo many of us learned about Lennon's demise from Howard Cosell). Anyway, we really, really enjoyed his set with his band, which I would call pop music with Beatle flavoring. Listen on MySpace

Darin Layne
A phenomenal local guitarist who plays in many different styles. He was playing electric on Sunday, but here's a clip below where he's acoustic and more in the World Music vein. We really need to see him more often.
Check out Darin Layne on MySpace

Dave Sebree
Van Wilks

Dave is the guy who is the "CEO" of the ASM, and is one of the finest guitarists around. I was excited about his band playing because he hardly ever plays a gig! That's why we are glad we got these videos. On bass is Glenn Rexach who also played a nice set on guitar. This one I would describe as an emotional blues beauty.

Here's another Sebree band song, this one is up-tempo and infectious. I like it!

And finally, here's a powerful melodic guitar duo from Dave and (another local legend) Van Wilks. It's called "Halfway to Avalon," one they wrote together, and I know you can buy it on this collection but not sure if it's available anywhere else.

[addendum: forgot to mention Suzanna Choffel, but this post was already packed.]

Had to share...

Monday, October 25, 2010

I would notice $3,000. Pretty sure of that.

From HuffPo: How to Save $2,997 a Year on Food Without Even Noticing

Another pet peeve helpful numbered listing that I can't resist picking at. I am just hoping to find one that's really helpful to me personally someday...

1. Eat Vegetarian a Few Nights a Week
Savings: $210 per year. (Replace 1 pound of sirloin [$5.99] with a 14-ounce block of tofu [$1.96] once a week for a year.)
We eat vegetarian every night. No help here.
2. Minimize Waste
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw out more than 25 percent of the food we prepare.
Savings: $590 per year. (Estimated value of the food an average American household of four wastes in a year.)
25%?? We throw out almost nothing, except the broccoli stalks that MrB won't eat. And those are made into compost along with coffee grounds and empty toilet paper rolls.
3. Plug in the Slow Cooker
Savings: $78 per year. (Replace 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast [$4.99] with 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs [$3.49] once a week for a year.
Their reasoning is that the crock pot lets you use cheaper meat because of the stewing process. N/A, no help.
4. Discover Great Ways to Use Canned Fish
Savings: $224 per year. (Replace 1 pound of fresh tuna [$7.99] with 1 pound of canned tuna [$3.68] once a week for a year.)
Canned fish is cat food. N/A again.
5. Don't Order a Pizza. Make One at Home
Savings: $520 per year. (Make pizza once a week instead of ordering.)
OK, this one is debatable. The last time I created a pizza myself, it cost more than ordering it, but it was such a long time ago that there was meat on it. Any thoughts? Cheaper or not?
6. Pack a Lunch
Savings: $1,375 per year. (Replace an $8.50 lunch with a $3 lunch from home 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year.)
Now they're talking! We always pack lunches and it does save a bundle - as promised. I guess this one and #5 both have enjoyment factors to consider. Do you enjoy cooking enough to make pizza from scratch and then clean up the mess?

Do you like a social setting for lunch, something away from the office? Most people do, I think. I really don't. I have an office, so I close (and lock) my door during lunch, eat my cheapo nonfat tofu dog with lo-cal bread and fat-free condiments and garnish, plug in the earbuds and watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, or maybe Rachel or Keith, on their respective websites. So... already doing this one so adapting it wouldn't represent change.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Morning Honky Tonk Church

I was looking up Kitty Wells on wikipedia and realied that she was born exactly one week before my mother (in the same year). From that entry:
Her 1952 hit recording, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels", made her the first female country singer to top the U.S. country charts, and turned her into the first female country star.
Kitty's still with us and is 91 now. I was raised on her music and still have a couple of old 45s, including this song:

I've added a few studio versions of this song to my old-timey jukebox. Emmylou Harris's is pretty sweet too.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Name Dropper Meme

This meme was started by konagod and I decided to play.

Make a list of famous people you have randomly seen in public, people you have heard of but don't know. If you want to play along, do it (and let me know in comments so I can see your list).

Rules: It has to be something random and unexpected. You can't list Madonna if you paid money to see her in concert! However, if she invited you up on stage, then you can list her.

Early 1950s, when I was a baby or perhaps a toddler, our family went to see the now legendary Marty Robbins and Marty picked me up and carried me around on the stage for awhile. I don't imagine that I have ever been cuter than that in my entire life. This was before Marty had released any records. When I was a teenager my mother and I met him again, and she embarrassed me by asking him if he remembered this little girl (pointing to me) and carrying her around on stage. He politely replied that he remembered it. The video is from close to that time, a little later, and features his first hit song.

In late 1967 my mother and I took a bus trip to LA/Hollywood, Sunset Strip. I was a fangirl (teenybopper was the term in use at the time). We went to the Whisky a Go Go where I saw Stephen Stills (then of Buffalo Springfield, one of my favorite bands) in the crowd. The bands playing in the club were Steppenwolf and Iron Butterfly (pre- In-a-gadda-da-vida). Later that night we saw the now-late Gene Clark from the Byrds sitting in a diner.

In 1970 or 1971 when I was a bleached blonde teenager, Chuck Berry was playing a free concert on a big green space at SIU-C'dale IL. He was late showing up and some a-hole audience members started chanting his first name along with another word that rhymed with it. OK, that part is irrelevent... but not this. I was standing close to the stage (as I am known to do even to this day) and when he got there, he put one arm around me and another around another young girl - and he grabbed a handful of my teenaged ass cheek before letting go. In honor of that, I give you Sweet Little Sixteen from a 1972 show.
I was never a groupie or anything, so this was just a novelty occurence. Several years later, it is entirely possible that I could have been featured in Chuck Berry's Home Movies, otherwise known as the spy cameras he had installed in the women's bathroom at his Wentzville restaurant, the Southern Air, because I visited it during that time time. [second paragraph] Within the last 10 years, Austin: I don't really seek out sightings here, but star-spotting is certainly something you could engage in. We were at the Continental Club around the time "The Alamo" was being filmed down the road, and there, standing in the reasonably uncrowded room watching James Hand was Dennis Quaid. He had a beard for his role, but the grin is unmistakable. Nobody was pestering him and we didn't either. He is a fan of James Hand. We were at the SW Austin Costco one day, and one of our 2 Republican Senators, John "box turtle" Cornyn walked right past us. My fun one is from the Bruce Willis / Del Castillo / Chingón show, a.k.a Robert Rodriguez' concert at Antone's while filming for Sin City was going on. I was up next to the stage when Willis jumped down into the audience, so there we were... all pressed up against Bruce Willis. I did put my arm around him and hugged his waist, but did not pull a Chuck Berry! Rodriguez was filming the whole thing so I'm sure he's got that somewhere in his home movies (which I would vastly prefer to see rather than Chuck Berry's!!).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Friday Furbabies and Mean Eyed Cats

Henry just looks like he might have some good advice. He thinks that you should take it easy, and pet him more in his new chair - or he thinks it's his chair. More about that chair later. Henry, regardless of how sensible he looks, has been very silly lately, and every morning he insists on getting in the shower with his mom. Who's bothered by a good soaking? Not this guy.
This is the next-door neighbor cat, Martin. He's been on here before, and he is still coming over for daily belly-rubbins. Go to the link above for embedded video of this silly, flippin' cat, or just click here.Martin looks mean here, but he is totally sweet. He has a black brother who is very people-shy and comes over only to poop in the yard but not for rubbins, and he is perfectly welcome to come over for any reason at all. Speaking of a mean eyed cat, we went to the Mean Eyed Cat bar tonight (which is the greatest-looking place you ever saw but is being engulfed by the surrounding stifling yuppification), we were going to see the Texas Sapphires*, but they had to cancel because the bar didn't renew its live music license. Not sure what the deal is there, but they need to fix that detail.

*Do check out the Texas Sapphires if you love real country drinkin dancin music with no plastic, and have got a couple of really good records out too. They just played a gig last week with the one and only Wanda Jackson (in Houston).

Alright everybody (cats too), let's get through Friday.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Obscure DVD review

Jimi Hendrix: Rainbow Bridge


The movie is about an outsider (Pat Hartley) visiting a religious hippie cult on Maui in 1970. It called itself (or at least its location) the “Rainbow Bridge Occult Research Meditation Center.” It’s like a 60s* version of Slacker. Her journey starts in LA with the Jesus Freaks making their pitches, then continues on to Maui with these really cosmic, beautiful people who are searching for spiritual enlightenment through any means necessary. Then Jimi Hendrix shows up, lays a cosmic rap on his hosts including something about hanging with Cleopatra, flirts with Pat a lot, then plays this outdoor show at the mercy of the winds of the volcanic landscape. They called the concert the “Rainbow Bridge Vibratory Color/Sound Experiment.”

This movie is categorized as a documentary. Not really sure if the definition holds, as there is a rough script. People are playing themselves and often (or mostly) seemingly ad-libbing – just saying whatever they, themselves, would say at that moment. The fact that they are mostly not actors and are playing themselves creates lots of unintentionally hilarious dialogue. If everybody is high and the cameras are rolling, you are bound to capture some crazy crap.

Hendrix’s manager was into this group, and invested. They decided to make a film and Chuck Wein (from Andy Warhol’s Factory bunch) got involved and brought along Pat Hartley, who was another Warhol star and all-around foxy lady.

This is not really a Jimi Hendrix concert film, but it does contain some very interesting and important footage of Hendrix, both in concert and candid. It was his second to last ever American performance (July 30, 1970**) – an outdoor show set up near a Maui volcano – but him being part of it is just a sprinkle of flavor. It’s a small piece of the whole.

This is a good article written by something who was there and involved with the film. I recommend reading that, and watching this film too - especially if you don't mind the B-movie quality and want to have a laugh or two. Very trippy. Couldn't help wondering how many of these people ended up in the Tea Party or something.

*And it’s a 60s movie even though it was shot in 1970 and released a few years later. Culturally it's definitely 60s.

** I got to see Hendrix myself just a little over 3 weeks earlier than that at the Atlanta Pop Festival.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Rocktober continues with the inability of Marketing to resist the October Twist. I give you

This one is hard to forgive:

But the cuteness of these cars goes a long way. Awwwwww! I want one!!


[LINK] the Vatican seems to think that the Simpsons are Catholic. From the Vatican newspaper:
"Few people know it and he does everything to hide it but it is true: Homer J. Simpson is Catholic"
"'The Simpsons' remain among the few programs for children in which the Christian faith, religion and the question of God are recurring themes," it said. "The family recites prayers together before meals and, in its own way, believes in heaven."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This might be as good as it gets for you, and you better get right with it

I was moved by this, have been seeing reminders lately of Austin musician, Stephen Bruton, who died in May of 2009 of his cancer. I miss his voice and his incredible way with words.
This might be as good as it gets for you, and you better get right with it, right now.

Here's a video I've had on here before, but I'm loving it again tonight. Heart of Hearts - The Resentments

–noun, plural -nies.
  1. ( initial capital letter ) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.
  2. an appearance or manifestation, esp. of a deity.
  3. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
  4. a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's UFO day

Retired Air Force officer Stanley A. Fulham predicts in his book that today, Oct 13 2010, there will be a large-scale visit of Earth by extra-terrestrials. [news article] [Fulham website]

It's actually an excellent choice for an alien invasion. Today is also the birthday of "X-Files" creator Chris Carter, and he deserves a toast for creating one of my favorites TV shows ever (even though it suffered painfully through its last season or two). It is also the birthday of the show's Fox Mulder. Carter called his company "Ten Thirteen Productions" (and included the show "Millennium") and the number 1013 crops up frequently in the X-Files.

I find this to be a good excuse to post this pic of Duchovny, Anderson and Carter as they appeared inside the Rolling Stone X-Files issue.

So, happy birthday to Carter and my favorite fictional FBI agent, Mulder. Keep watching the skies, and all hail our alien overlords.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My work retreat was merely boring

HuffPo Quick Read: "Attorney Steven Eggleston was suspicious when his boss pressed him to attend a weekend male retreat, but refused to tell him what would be happening there, saying participants were sworn to secrecy.

So he did a Google search and found out why.

Men would be holding hands and walking naked, blindfolded, through a forest. Then they would sit nude in groups of 30 to 50, passing around a wooden dildo and giving lurid details of their sexual history. Eggleston said he found out that the men will grab each other's penises if they wish."

Whole article: What Do You Say to a Naked Lawyer? Here's a Suit.

He says that the retreat was optional, but not attending caused the firm to stop paying him.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Art and music: It's All Too Much

Peter Max has an exhibition going at a gallery here, and this weekend they had a couple of "meet the artist" events. I haven't attended any events like this before even though the opportunities arise. As we walked in, the crowds were still fairly light, and there he was, Peter Max, sitting right there on the window display ledge!

The entire gallery was filled with gorgeous color. He paints many very similar paintings, and the one above was there twice, both originals. I believe it is (they are) from 2007 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love. This is the style of his that I love, the psychedelic pop art that was animated in Yellow Submarine. He also has a style that is Fauvist/Expressionist that is much more unconstructed-looking than the ones I generally associate with him, and you can see several examples of those here.

I think what really inspired me to go see his work in person was picking up the "ACL 2010" special issue of the Austin Chronicle. He created this art especially for the ACL Festival [more on that], and I really loved it. It captures a very important part of the festival experience, in that there are 2 sides to Zilker Park, each with a headlining stage, and the acts on those stages will be playing at the same time. Then there are 2 smaller but-still-pretty-big stages at each end that are going when those are not. You can stand in the middle and get a cacophony of both at any one time. (I will reserve the rest of my usual sound-bleedover rant for another time)
While we were visiting the gallery (red circle) we could easily hear the music coming from one of the big stages (larger red shape).That's OK. I love loud music. I just don't like being able to hear several bands at once (they have 8 stages, not 4, it's way too many in my opinion) [must. not. rant.]

I thought beforehand that autograph-seeking might be considered tacky, and that was so true... nobody did it, he did not really mingle while we were there (although he walked right past me at one point), and I believe that the security people would have prevented such a thing. I found out the next day that at another show he was signing copies of his coffee table book if you brought them with you. If I had known that in time, it would have happened. A Peter Max art book would be delightful to have, especially with an added doodle. I did bring my copy of the Chronicle, just in case, and hoped that they might be selling posters that could be autograph-able. As it turns out, there were posters, but the posters were there as a gift to anyone buying a piece of art. If you bought something, then he would sign a poster for you and even pose for a photo with you and your prize.

As for these prizes, they were well out of our price range. Most of the big attention-getters and ones I'd love to own were priced between $20,000 and $50,000. There was another level of much smaller or lower-profile things that you could get for about $5,000. There were many delightful things in that range, but some others that bring on a different kind of rant when it comes to art. For example, there was a series of paintings of the Texas flag, which is very simple and highly recognizable. I think that when it come to establishing the value of art, so much of it is merely the who and not the what. Here is a series of paintings depicting the Texas flag. Some of them are quite expressive. Some are less so.

One of these can be had for about $5,000, and the others, I would imagine, for quite a bit less.

Other artist links: [Timothy Raines] [Mark Merrill] [KAT]

The question of what is art/not art, and what is valuable/not valuable is a very loaded question that you can stay up all night talking about but will never resolve it. There is no right answer. Sometimes, it's just about the signature. Sometimes, it's so much more!

* title is a reference to a song from Yellow Submarine.