Friday, July 29, 2011

Under the Star

The new forecast from is even hotter than the one they issued last week. The 98° predicted for tomorrow (and forecasts vary a lot) is due to Tropical Storm Don - which is probably not going to bring us much more than a cloud passing by. The rest of the temps will be ridiculous. 106°? 107°? What? Ugh!!! (that's 41.666°C) (the .666 is Hell's fraction)

Despite the heat, we went out to see a bit of the awesome Cindy Cashdollar at the history museum, called Music Under the Star. A free show, and held outside. A fine night of Western Swing, and the patio was shaded from the blazing setting star by the museum building. Hoo. Ray. Also, TS Don brought around a light breeze.

There were also a few Art Cows, but I don't think they were meant to be ridden (as they are supposed to sold for charity). Hard to resist, though, I must admit. This one's called "Pi-cow-sso."

Science is cool

Pendulum waves! Read more about this little phenomenon here at the Harvard University Natural Sciences Lecture Demonstrations site.

Gay For Satan

Some graffiti on the outside of Cheapo Records. This must be a band name or something, but I couldn't find them on the internet. Could be a garage/kid band.

Might be a takeoff on this band's name. (They seem to play here every SXSW). I see their genres listed are Hardcore, Queercore, and Screamo.

Screamo is wiki-defined using terms like Crunkcore, Powerviolence, and nintendocore. Music genres now need an entire dictionary. I wonder how many new terms are invented every day? It would definitely outpace Sarah Palin's book she is writing, called "Words and other stuff I made up."*

*I made that part up.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I need a vacation (one that involves travel)

April was the last month of temperate (nice) weather, with an average high of 88.7°F.

Late May brought the first 100°s (~ 38°C) (3 of them) and kicked us into high-90s mode with 7 days 97°F or higher (36°C).

June and July have been just brutal. The average high temp in June was 99.9° with 15 days 100°+, and 28 days (out of 30) over 97°!

So far in July, the average high is 101.7°F, and humidity generally in the 50% range.

Days at 100°F or more, this year so far: 39
We are expected to approach 70 days before this summer is through.

The week ahead via

Beginning to feel seriously grumpy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Catblogging - Draw a Bath

Remember that Steve Martin bit?
"I gave my cat a bath the other day...they love it. He sat there, he enjoyed it, it was fun for me. The fur would stick to my tongue, but other than that...”

Henry had a bad reaction to a medication, and a side effect made quite a *ahem* mess in his room, poor baby. For several days on end we had to wash linens and scrub on the carpet. (Here's a strong suggestion for a future pet owner: don't carpet, put in hardwood, or better yet... tile. Tile rules.) And Henry was embarassingly soiled as well. We dreaded the idea of putting him in the bathtub even though that was the only way to clean him up. Ever bathe a cat? Heh, heh... yeah.

Amazingly, he did not mind it at all. In his old age, he seems to have forgotten to hate being immersed in water. With the water being warm, I'll bet it feels good on his arthritic bones. He's had 4 baths during the past week.

Well, cleanliness IS next to Catliness.

(yes, that's Henry in the video, the well-behaved cat in the tub of water.)

PS: Henry's problem is now better, due to yet another medication.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Saturday night with the Heathens

Went out to see one of our favorite bands to see live, The Band of Heathens, on Saturday night. A rather high-impact show for me these days since these 100°+ days we're having really drag me down, and standing up for 6-7 hours straight is tough on the old bones.

While waiting in line to get in, a man came along and gave us some free tickets! Saved us $30! (Also it made up for that fake "5 dollar bill" I picked up off the sidewalk.) They were comp tickets and there were a few pairs given out, we were glad to get them.

The song in the video is "Look at Miss Ohio," which is one of the few covers the band plays (this one comes from Gillian Welch) - and they do an energetic version with some cool Pink Floyd vibes in parts.

The Heathens are back out there on the road now, so if you like what you hear/see, check out their schedule.

Monday, July 18, 2011

You'll wear these again!

Seen on Sixth Street Early Saturday night. I counted the legs and came up with what looks like 14 women in black leotards/tights with magenta tutus. MrB amused me by suggesting that they were bridesmaids. Okaaaay, maybe not, but I guess anything is possible when it comes to bridesmaid and wedding fashion.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Saw this laying on a Sixth Street sidewalk on Saturday night (the above photo is a re-creation of the actual event, and uses our patio as a stand-in for the sidewalk). At first glance it looked kind of fakey, like maybe counterfeit or something, but worth picking up.

Here it is, front and back view.

Yes, I was disappointed.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Just thinking of this silliness

Don't tell me, for the first time in memory, we're going to have a Parliament without a Douchebag.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Roadside fish, very frightening

I didn't stop and get any Bondo Fish because pulling over to the side of the road in heavy traffic and shopping outdoors while it's over 100° is not pleasant. That's probably why these fish are so snarly...

... but cute.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Butch Hancock

Today is the birthday of Butch Hancock, a treasure of a songwriter with soulful vocals and harmonica, plus a story! This is a song heard more often from his sometimes-bandmate Joe Ely (who, along with Jimmie Dale Gilmore comprise The Flatlanders).

Friday, July 08, 2011

You can't look away

Yes, so wrong in so many ways. Go ahead. Push play.
(The shakiness doesn't last.)

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Indoor Holiday

We had a pretty quiet weekend, given that the 4th of July is usually filled with explosions of all sizes. The drought brought about cancellation of Austin fireworks (although they did have them in some surrounding towns), and also banned the home-use ones people from the fireworks stands (for which the neighborhood cats and dogs were grateful, as well as the fire departments that are just a tad overworked these days - KUT radio reported that they only had 3 fires as opposed to the last fireworks event, New Year's Eve, when they had 50 fires.).

Aside from the riveting (but air-conditioned) job of sorting and scanning a lot of antique photos, we kept a fairly low profile. One quirky thing was we went to see Van Wilks (great show, btw!) at a music cafe, and Christopher Cross turned up to see him and was sitting at the next table over. Then, the next day, I hear him (CC) on the piped-in music at the grocery store... and the day after that at the record store, his new CD was right there in the front rack. Freaky.

On the 4th, we went to the new Violet Crown Cinema downtown (on Willie Nelson near the Austin City Limits venue). It's one of the new upstarts that wants to offer alternatives to the Alamo Drafthouse so we checked it out. First a review of that.

They have reserved seating. I've only had reserved seating at a movie once before and (amazingly) they didn't allow you to pick the seats you wanted reserved. That's BAD. The Violet Crown does let you pick your seats on a chart. That's (at least) GOOD... but, I read a negative comment on Yelp saying that they ended up having their group split up in the theater because of not purchasing all the tickets at the same time, and this was on Mother's Day!! So brace yourself for that possibility and don't let it ruin your night.

They have drinks, food snacks, the works, but no waitstaff so you are responsible for carting that stuff around yourself. The seats have a lap tray that you pull up and over from the right arm, but since the tray is not is place when you enter the theater, you have to juggle your movie gear (which could include an entree, drinks, 3D glasses, jackets, the works) until someone's hand is available to deploy your tray table. You shouldn't need to place your stuff on the floor to manage it, especially food. If you want a second beverage, you'd need to leave the theater for it. Also, when we left, we (and everyone else) bussed our own tables of glassware, etc. I suspect that the cinema would probably really like it if you just came early or stayed late and enjoyed your food and drinks in the lounge/lobby.

The chairs themselves are pretty comfy, but I didn't like the leather smell (not a favorite of vegetarians & vegans). Also, the front row is entirely extremely-comfy recliners with ottomans.

Overall, I say that this cinema is head and shoulders better than a regular chain movie house (which I can barely put up with anymore... spoiled rotten, we are), but it's no Drafthouse competitor for us. Different strokes. Try it out for yourself.

As for the movie, this is another one of Werner Herzog's wonderful documentaries. Here's the trailer:

For some intelligent descriptions of what it's about, check out the reviews of Roger Ebert and MaryAnn Johanson.

The material is well-covered and beautifully shown. In certain situations, inside the cave for example, the 3D is particularly effective and helpful. I believe that was his point in doing it. The cave is obviously a cramped area and he wants to display as much depth as possible. I agreed with its usage there. But, I have to say, that there were times that the 3D effects either had glitches or traded effect for visual quality. Ideally, I think it could have had a 3D chunk in the middle (for cave depth visualization) and then the glasses come off. I would like to see this one again (on our Hugh Jass TV) in glorious 2D.

I am also considering visiting a REAL cave, one where it's nice and cool inside.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Going back in time takes time

I just realized that I haven't posted for quite a few days. I've got a lot of irons in the fire - great at starting projects left and right - not so good at finishing them. Well, we all have our faults, and that's a gaping one of mine.

I can't open those old boxes and binders of photos and letters without getting sucked in. So fascinating, to me anyway. The past is such a puzzle. I love trying to piece it all together, and the picture gets clearer all the time.

The scanner has been fired up lately, and I have been immersed in my uncle's genealogy book -- such a hoot -- trying to put names to faces. And the names!! (I'm talking to you, Ethel Bertha) Name popularity sure does change over the years.

Here's one of the pictures I won't be posting on p-bucket, because it has "Hitler" in it and they would surely delete it, just as they deleted the photo of the Nazi pin that my dad brought back as a war souvenir. (well, hell. It's a free service and I guess they can delete whatever the hell they want.) This is a couple of my uncles hamming it up (yes, the mustache and hairstyle are part of the costume). They both enlisted and fought in WWII along with their other two brothers. The one in the Hitler getup ended up on a ship that was sunk in the Pacific, and he ended up floating for a few days out there with the flotsam, the survivors, the victims and the hungry sharks (that's the genealogist I mentioned earlier). Another brother (not the one pictured) survived Pearl Harbor.

Also, recently have found some long-lost not-very-distant relatives. Interesting...