Sunday, March 25, 2007

Your type of Person

Here's another article I wrote for Austin Monthly Home. This one wasn't published, but I thought it would be fun to share.

I am admittedly a creepy home lurker. I absolutely love creeping around people’s homes, in particular homes of strangers. You know, when you are invited to a party by a friend of a friend at a place you've never been, owned by someone you don't know. You can get such a feel for a person not so much by the type of home they own or the neighborhood they live in, but
more so by their choice of furnishings, wall hangings, pictures, knick knacks and creature comforts.
I know what you're already thinking. "Hey, don't you judge me. How dare you come into my home and judge me?" One, you don't know I'm doing it. Two, if you dislike me for what I'm about to share with you, aren't you in fact, judging me? Let's just call it even and assume that I'm not talking about you, o.k?

Here's what I've noticed. There is a definite consistency of people who DO and DON'T do certain things. The people who DO, love it and those who DON'T, would never do it. Here's what I'm talking about;
you're either a bluebonnet person or your not. I am probably starting off with the most sensitive one, because putting a picture of your kids in the bluebonnets in a longstanding Texas tradition. I have a 4 year old and I constantly get asked if we have a picture of her in the bluebonnets. When I say we don't, they look at me as if we have chosen not to immunize
her or decided that it would not be necessary to teach her the alphabet. I have nothing against bluebonnet people although I question your judgement to let our kids play in traffic along highway 71 amidst buzzed boaters who have spent the day on the highland lakes. Not to mention that a flourishing section of bluebonnets or Indian paintbrush gets so overrun it looks like English soccer fans have been trampling through it after a loss to Germany. As a general rule, if you’re behind will cover more than a 30-50 count of bluebonnets, just have them in the background. No sitting. Babies and toddlers are o.k., but no need to plop dear old dad or grandma down with the kids. There's nothing cute about seeing Bob from the accounting department parking his Dockers amid flowers and after a certain age, there's just no reason to sit directly on the ground ever again. It's not very graceful to watch the elderly sit and it's appears painful and violent, getting up. Besides, hips are fragile and we all only get one
set. Grandma can wait in the car just inches from the 80mph passersby.

You're either a "get my dog professionally photographed" person or you're not. I didn't intend to tell you which side of these things I was on, but I already goofed up on the bluebonnet thing and I really, really have a hard time getting my brain around this fact; some people make a phone call to Sears, make an appointment, bathe and brush their dogs, load them in the car, drive to Sears (probably talking baby talk to them the whole way), park the car,
get their dog out, walk with them past customers leaving with vacuums, washers, dryers, fridges and jeans that look like they will never fade, go into the store with their pet, sign in, wait in the lobby, jump up when they call your name (or do they call your dogs name?), go into the studio,
lift their dogs onto a pedestal, stand behind a photographer and mash a squeaky toy, repeat things like "Here sugar booger" or "Zeus. Squirrel" trying to get and expression that really captures your dogs personality, then anxiously wait 6-8 weeks for my photo assortment to distribute to friends and family. That, to me, is just plain hard to get my brain around.
I've seen two versions of this I couldn't believe. One things I’ve seen is a dog in a wedding party. That's just plain sad, even if Trixy was the ring bearer. The other one was a visually impaired person who had a photo portrait of their seeing eye dog. I'm always on the lookout for new forms of irony and this was one of the finest examples I have ever seen. If a blind person wants a lifelong reminder of their former companion, I would assume a tuft of hair or saving the tail would suffice.
I'm not even going to address the cat people. They are just lonely and weird enough; I would expect the above behavior.

You're a decorative flag hanging off the front of your house person or you’re not.
This is something I found to be very prevalent in both Dallas and Houston. With increasing numbers of people moving to the Austin area from these towns it only makes sense that flag people are on the rise in Austin. How do you choose a flag? Where do you get them? How do you decide between traditional flag shape or go the fish angle that really catches the wind?
Are these an expression of you and your family or am I just over-thinking this? Am I coming across as really mean here?
I think I have always just had odd, biased feelings against this sort of thing ever since my stepfather had me help him hang his custom ordered and mounted "family crest". He didn't think it was very funny when I asked him if we wouldst be digging a moat about the house come fortnight.

You either have an entry floor mat with a greeting on your doorstep or you do not. "Mi Casa su Casa", "Bless this house", “Welcome Friends”, you've seen them all. "Our Humble Abode", "Oprah gave me this house", there are millions of them. I don't particulary see the need for a message when people us it to wipe off their feet. I must admit, however, that I chuckleda bit once when I saw one that said "Ring the bell, win a dog."

So I have this theory. People either fall into the do or don't category on all of these things. If fact, I would guess that if you are a “Do” on one of them, you are a “DO” on all of them. I can't explain why I suspect this. I just have a hunch. I, in no way whatsoever, have any ill feelings towards
these things. In fact, these are little slices of Americana that I love very much. I just have always been fascinated by the difference people who are able to break other people down into just two categories and those who can't.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rosie...genius or idiot?

It's so funny. I'm completely torn on whether Rosie from The View is brilliant or ridiculous. I had someone today ask me if I heard what Rosie did today. She replicated a ridiculously expensive purse, thousand and thousands of dollars, with material and a sewing machine. She is going to auction it off for charity. this is brilliant. I didn't watch the view, haven't watched it in some time and yet, I'm aware of what they, in particular Rosie, is/are doing. This amazes me. No one ever talked about this show before. Rosie at times seems like the best thing that could have ever happend to the View and many times seems like the death of it by taking it too far.

I was annoyed with her for some time, but I'm starting to see the genious of it. I don't know that she really cares so much about all these things, she just knows how to light the fire under everyone's ass and get them talking. This is brilliant.

Maybe most of us, our show and many businesses out there need a little more Rosie in us. Fuel to the fire is a good thing even if it upsets people, the important thing is that it gets them talking.

My prediction is that Rosie will use this as a launching pad back into her own televistion program. It's well deserved and it's peaked my interest. I'm sure I'll hear about it wether I watch it or not. Congratulations Rosie. jb

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Feeling good

Something strange is going on... Although it's sporadic and I'm getting used to the concept... I'm feeling good for the first time in a loooooong time. I'm not talking about happiness. I'm talking about actually feeling good, somewhat healthy and occasionally having a little "pep in my step".
I have been working hard at my health since I turned 30. Just after my 30th birthday, I was 50 pounds overweight and in horrible shape. Right then I made a commitment to change. I was going to head one way or another at that point and I decided to get fit.
I don't have time to go into all of the detail, but the point of this blog is that it took me 9 years to accomplish my original goal. 9 years! It has been a long struggle and there were many times when I thought I was getting there.... I was losing all the weight, but I still felt horrible. I was looking for that combination of looking a feeling good.
Here's the craziest part. My weight is where I want it, I feel better than ever and I'm working out less than I have since I started this crazy journey.
It's such a balance of working hard, making sure you enjoy it, eating smart and keeping it fun. I made it torture and a "have to" sort of thing for so many years. It's weird how it started to come together when I took the pressure off of myself and decided to keep it fun.
Don't get me wrong, I needed a lot of help and a lot of doctors and very smart people have helped me along the way, but I finally understand that there's a difference between fitness as a want and a necessity.
I'll try to elaborate on more of this down the road and share some things I have learned along the way that might save you some time. Not all of us are blessed with the same genetics and maybe you, like me, need some extra help and advice. Check back soon and feel free to ask questions. I have so much to cover in upcoming blogs.
9 freaking years! Can you believe that?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Such very sad news

Richard Jeni, one of Comedy Central's Top 100 Comedians of All Time, is dead. According to police, Jeni was found dead presumably from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Saturday, March 10, 2007. A loaded gun was reportedly found next to his body.

I just saw this news and it made me so incredibly sad. I have a deep admiration for stand up comics. Richard Jeni was a truly love A-list guy who had a most impressive career. I had read once that he was on the Tonight Show more than any other comic dating back to the Carson years. His material was unique, clever and loveable.

It's hard to imagine that someone so funny and talented could be hurting so bad to take their own life. I just feel for him and the pain he must have been going through to make this decision.

If you aren't familiar with him, there are some great one man comedy specials he did that are definitely worth owning. The two I remember most were The Platypus Man and A Big Steaming Pile of me.

If you just want a quick fix there are some great clips available on

Here are some great quotes from a brilliant comic:

On religious wars, "You're basically killing each other to see who's got the better imaginary friend."

On relationships, "Honesty is the key to a relationship. If you can fake that, you're in."

"My mother never saw the irony of calling me a son of a bitch."

On dating, "At least Charles Manson has the decency to look crazy from the moment you meet him."

Richard Jeni, "The way I see life, it's like we're all flying on the Hindenburg, why fight over the window seats?"

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Rocco Deluca

It's been awhile since I've been excited about a new cd. I think many of you have already heard about Rocco Deluca. The band has been making quite a buzz since they were adopted by Kiefer Sutherland and he seems to have made it his mission to make them famous. Kiefer shot a special for MTV and this is where the infamous footage came from of Kiefer, wasted and diving into a hotel Christmas tree. I remember when that story came out and I'm finally putting two and two together.
Rocco Deluca has come up at the station since we expect an appearance for our annual St. Patricks Day show from Fado Irish Pub. It's actually going to be a live show on Friday since St. Pats falls on Saturday this year. It's such a great thing with St. Patricks Day falls during the SXSW Music fest, which it often does. We get to have artists come by who are in town for the festival and play our morning show as we drink coctails in the a.m. In recent past we have had Anna Nalick and OK Go.
I didn't want to be clueless when Rocco Deluca showed up so I grabbed the cd at Waterloo Records the other day... by the way, one of the greatest record stores ever. I have been hooked on this cd and I think I've listened to it 30 times already. In particular the songs "Colorful" and "Speak to Me". Incredible stuff.
I hate when people compare artists to other artists to tell you what they sound like, but I don't really know if there is a better way to do it. With my limited musical knowledge, I would say it's something like where Dave Mathews meets Robert Randolph.
Again, I know a lot of you were way ahead of me on this one, but I anticipate that this band/artist is going to explode. If you like to be in the "I knew them when" crowd, grab it and get to know it now.... what a great cd.
I've been on a music buying binge lately, so if you have recomendations, I'm all ears.
I also love tnew cd's from these artists I just recently bought:

The Shins
Donovan Frankenreiter

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Ego Awards...

I have been meaning to tell you about this all week, but things got a bit crazy. I couldn't help but realize something watching the Academy Awards. I realized that the most popular, most famous and richest people have fragile if not more, sensitive egos than the rest of us.
I had this personality profile done this past fall and one of the things I learned is that I'm far more sensitive than I thought I was and I'm also a bit needy and need the ego stroked more than I thought. I was embarrassed to find that out. It's been hard to come to terms with that. I never thought I was that needy guy, totally self-confident and in no need of praise. I felt bad about this.. at least until I watched the Academy Awards.
Think about it. These are some to the richest, most talented and most famous people on the globe and they are reduced to blubbering when the world points at them and says "you are the best". It was a valuable lesson to watch this go down.
You take someone like Jack Nicholson, who has accomplished more than 1,000 people can in a lifetime and there he is, every year, on the front row, just giggling when Ellen Degeneres refers to him by name.
We all have these fragile egos that need to be fed by the people that mean so much to us... friends, family, co-workers.
First things first... accept that you are among those that need praise. Don't wait around for the praise to come to you, that's no way to live. Start handing out the praise and ego boosts to those around you that impress you and make your life better. Sort of a "pay it forward" deal.
If the biggest and best of Hollywood need it... and I assure you they do... it's not too much for you to want it and accept it gratefully.