Aug 292014
 

I’ve been listening to Marc Maron on his WTF podcast for the past year or so. I forget where I saw it, but I got hooked with his interview with Dave Grohl at the beginning of 2013. He’s not particularly funny. He’s a great interviewer though. He’s less than ten years older than me, so he has a perspective that’s closer to my own age. I don’t know if it’s a combination of the podcast format and his ability to draw people out, but he’s gotten some really amazing conversations and interviews with a pretty wide ranging group of musicians, actors, and comedians. He recently re-released an interview with Robin Williams on the occasion of his death that was very revealing and intimate.

He’s recorded 528 episodes so far. You can hear the last 40 or 50 episodes via the app. If you want anything earlier, you have to subscribe. I’m tempted, but haven’t done it yet. I’ll probably cave soon. There are a lot of people that I missed and would like to hear. Highlights for me have been interviews with Bob Newhart, Leonard Maltin, Billy Gibbons, Chris Cornell, Vince Vaughan, Shepherd Fairey, Ivan Reitman, Lewis Black, Harry Dean Stanton, Ed Begley Jr, Artie Lange, Will Ferrell, Johnny Knoxville, Josh Homme, Lou Barlow, Maynard James Keenan, Elijah Wood, Baratunde Thurston, and David Sedaris. Very few of the interviews are duds. If I’m interested in the person, it’s almost always worthwhile.

I saw Fun. last September at Austin City Limits and it just so happens that Maron interviewed Jack Antonoff, the guitarist from the band who name checked Beerland during the show. He seems like a really great guy and, once again, I have a whole new perspective because of Maron’s interviewing skills. I also stumbled across this post as I re-listened to Some Nights. I think it’s an interesting perspective.  I can’t stand autotune and Nate Ruess certainly doesn’t need it.

Anyway, definitely worth adding to your podcast repertoire and catching those subjects that interest you.

Jul 212014
 

We’ve got a 2002 that we bought used in 2004. We had the transmission replaced while it was still under warranty. I can’t remember if that was at three years or at five years. Fast forward to this Easter and the new transmission is dying. Apparently, they can’t handle the heat and a lot of shops are now installing aftermarket cooling units when they replace the transmission.

And now, I find this article from Yahoo! on the 9 popular used car models that are actually not that reliable. The Honda Odyssey is one of them because of the transmission issue.

 

Jun 212014
 

The Austin Chronicle is running a story this week about the 40th anniversary of the Hole in the Wall. The week of anniversary shows started this past Thursday and will continue through next weekend. It looks like I missed a great bill last night with Two Hoots & a Holler with Joe King Carrasco and LeRoi Brothers. The Wife and I were at the Tweedy ACL taping though, so that’s a tough call. I’ll have to try to make this Friday’s show with Pocket Fishrmen, Pong and Churchwood.

I may not have played in any well known bands, but I have quite a few Hole In the Wall memories of my own. I played there in the early 1990s with Daddy’s Drunk. The band started as a four piece but eventually dropped down to three with myself on drums, Casino El Camino (yes, that Casino El Camino) on bass and Billysteve Korpi from The Crackpipes and Churchwood on guitar and vocals. I attended more than my share of shows, seeing bands of friends like Death Valley. It’s where Joe Emery from Death Valley introduced me to Laika & The Cosmonauts. Daddy’s Drunk played election night in November 1992. I remember that we covered X’s “The New World” especially for the occasion. We used to go to the Flightpath on Duval near Casino’s place to wire up on caffeine before heading to the show.

When I returned to Austin in 1995 after a couple of years in NYC, I continued to see shows at Hole in the Wall. I sat in on drums for a rendition of Starfish’s “Kliff or Dave” with Jason and Ronna one night when the band’s future was uncertain. They were appearing as the F*ckAntones, a nod to Russell’s band, the F*ckEmos. I played there with the Bad Rackets a few times as well. This was all before the expansion to the stage in the back. We complained about the size of the stage at the front of the house, but it was always fun to look over my shoulder out the window to Guadalupe while drumming and see people stopping to listen. You used to be able to park in the alley between The Hole and the building to the south. We’d also walk up the road to Showdown, formerly Raul’s and now Local Pub for a change of pace and some extra space to play darts.

Apr 222014
 

Chobani Blueberry PowerI’ve publicly announced my love of the Chobani Blueberry Power Flip yogurt in the past. You can imagine my confusion when I bought some this week only to find that they’d replaced the hemp seeds with pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I started to wonder about the reason for the substitution. So I did what any person with a burning and important question does these days. I googled it!

This quickly revealed the reason for my loss: The Air Force! Yes, just because the United States Air Force is worried about trace amounts of THC, Chobani voluntarily removed hemp seeds from their Blueberry Flip yogurt. According to the Air Force, the number of active duty members is somewhere around 327,000. The US Census approximates the number of US residents at nearly 318,000,000. So, Chobani has decided that one one-thousandth of the US population gets to decide what the rest of us can or can’t have in our yogurt.

Thanks, Air Force!

Apr 222014
 

I’ve had a Hyundai Elantra for nearly three years now. Last week, I posted a picture to Twitter of my first flat tire in that car. We were headed out of town for the weekend, so I left it until this past Sunday.

We arrived home in the late afternoon and after unpacking, I pulled out the owner’s manual for the car to read through the flat tire repair instructions just to be sure I didn’t miss anything. I noticed two sections: Spare Tire and Tire Mobility Kit. “Tire Mobility Kit?”, I scoffed. “I don’t need to look at that section. I don’t even know what that is!”. Well, I should’ve paid more attention when I bought the car because, I do, in fact, own a Tire Mobility Kit and not the familiar donut. A tire mobility kit, dear reader, is apparently the new car manufacturer favorite alternative to an actual spare tire. It’s a sealant canister (aka Fix-a-flat) and an air compressor that plugs into the car’s power adapter (formerly cigarette lighter). This post from Edmund’s in January 2013 discusses the trend.

This is all well and good, but I have several issues with this. First, it wasn’t made clear to me when I bought the car. Second, Hyundai charges $50 for a replacement sealant canister (they’re only good once) and they charge $399 for a Spare Tire Kit which is more than three times the cost of a new tire, $127. Third, there seems to be some debate, but as the Edmund’s article points out, the sealant can’t always fix the tire and it may ruin your chances of patching the tire at all. The dealership sure didn’t seem too interested in patching the tire once the sealant was in there. On top of that, they pointed out that my new tire has a two year warranty and road hazard coverage. Given the economics, I’ve decided to do what the majority of drivers already do which is just call for roadside assistance if I get a flat. It’s certainly cheaper if you factor in the alternatives of $400 for a spare or $177  (new sealant canister plus a new tire) every time you get a flat. My insurance company charges a negligible amount more for Roadside Assistance on my policy for both cars.

This post’s title comes from the Hyundai cashier as I lamented the lack of a spare tire in the car. “I guess it’s a sign of the times.”

 

Mar 172014
 
MS 150 2013

MS 150 2013

I’m riding in the MS 150 this year. It’s my second year participating in the event. You can donate on my participant page. Any little bit helps and is much appreciated. Each rider has to reach a minimum fundraising goal of $400 prior to the event. This year, the ride is on April 12th and 13th.

The back story is that my company has sponsored this event for the past four years. It took me two years to work up the commitment to ride a bike from Houston to Austin after not touching a bike for more than 15 years and not doing much exercising for several years. I needed something to kick me in the butt. This certainly did it and it has really paid off. Since starting to train for last year’s ride in January of 2014, I’ve ridden 1495.5 miles. You can follow me on Strava. Last year, I rode 85.02 miles the first day and 67.47 the second. I’ve never ridden farther in one day than that first day of last year’s MS 150. I’d like to do 100 miles the first day this year. You can view a set of photos from last year on Flickr.

I’ve enjoyed this enough that this past January, I got a road bike for our oldest and he’s starting riding with me. My hope is to get the entire family involved in one way or another so we can bike around Austin.

We typically do at least one supported training ride in the lead up to the MS 150. Several co-workers and I will be doing the Rosedale Ride this Saturday.

Thanks for supporting an event that makes a difference in the lives of those with multiple sclerosis and for encouraging something that has given back so much to me.

May 312013
 

I’m somewhere between San Diego and Austin flying back from a business trip. It’s the last day of May. School is about to end for the kids. It’s a time or change and Spring cleaning. We’ve been doing a lot of purging and cleaning around the house. Now it’s time to purge the bits.

I just deactivated my Facebook account and deleted the app off of my phone. I’ve been meaning to do this for months and decided that it was just time to kick myself in the ass and do it. The last straw was the targeted Mother’s Day ad that I got with my mom’s picture embedded in it. I know that’s the sort of thing that they’ve been trending towards, but it wasn’t until it was staring me in the face that I really grasped how much that bothers me. They’re constantly altering the privacy settings in a way that also bugs me.

I’ve also been bothered by the ease of it. It keeps me from really interacting and writing longer posts. I’m checking it too often instead of actually doing something or interacting with family and friends. I’m hoping to see friends follow me to Path or Twitter or just stick with good old email or phone. I’ll miss out on some of the interaction, but the benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks. So…hope to see you here or elsewhere.

Dec 312012
 

We sent out our holiday cards a bit late this year. Most people should’ve received them by now. I had to resend one already. It was a pretty good year all things considered. Looking to do a better job exercising in the new year (there’s an original resolution).

This is also a test post to see how things flow from the blog to FB and elsewhere as I reevaluate how much content I want to send out onto social networks never to be seen again.

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Jul 232012
 

I had two odd encounters on Saturday night. The first was some dudes sitting at a table at Lovejoy’s and the second was a guy at Frontier Bar. I get the vague feeling that I was being hit on in both cases or at least that they thought I was gay. I wouldn’t characterize either of them as particularly hostile, but they also weren’t friendly exchanges. They were just weird. Looking at the news, there was a stabbing and a shooting on Sixth Street.

Nov 262011
 

Several friends posted the link to the NY Times article yesterday on the upcoming release of the Fugazi Live Series. I went and dug up the shows that I’ve attended over the years. Only one of them is already available. I may check that one out before I download any of the others. I’ll almost certainly download the one at Irving Plaza , the only non-Austin show that I attended. I remember it being pretty amazing.

Here’s the ones that I went to over the years. I’ve got ticket stubs scanned for two of them along with pictures for one. Several of the Austin visits were for two nights. I don’t think I ever went to both nights. I was able to figure out which one I did via the ticket stub for the 1993 and 2002 shows. I’m not sure about the 1995 shows.