Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Raleigh wakesurfing on Lake Travis. Age 6

My 6 year old going off of giant swing on Lake Travis

Wakesurfing at Sandy's

Had another tough day in Austin, Tx yesterday. Sandy took us out on his boat for some wakesurfing. Raleigh and I were somehow able to both pop up on the board and cruise for a long time. Raleigh would just stand on the front of the board and didn't have to hang on to me or anything. I may have some video of this coming soon. What a blast.

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A fairly sizeable earthquake hit Los Angeles yesterday

Harry Potter fans

Here's the first trailer for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" . . . featuring your first glimpse at an 11-year-old Lord Voldemort. (--He's played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin . . . the nephew of RALPH FIENNES . . . who plays the ADULT Voldemort) . . .





--French first lady CARLA BRUNI-SARKOZY











(--Check out the "Vanity Fair" slideshow here . . .)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Everyday Zen

Just finished a book called Everyday Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck. This is an older book 1989 (at least old on westerners looking for enlightenment standards) but it's a must read for any westerner looking for Eastern Enlightenment. I put the book down for quite awhile when the author suggests that enlightenment is too difficult for most to achieve, it's a lot harder than anyone knows, very few achieve it so she suggests picking up a new hobby instead. Can you believe that?
Anyway, by the end of the book I loved it. There are some great stories which will give you some "ah hah" moments as things apply to your life. You sort of leave on a high note that to best path to happiness is helping others. It's really trying to say "get over yourself!"

This is a good book to read if you if you have found that most Eastern religion just doesn't apply to our Western/American culture. I have read some of the other books that suggest going on a journeys into the mountains for enlightenment, blah, blah, blah. I just can't take off in the Tibet mountains when contractually have to be at work from 6-10am at the very least. I have joked for sometime that there needs to be what I call "Sea level enlightenment". Do we really have to take off for the mountains in strappy sandals and a small bag of berries for survival? I'm not really into talking to burning bushes, I much prefer people.

If you're a chronic worrier, you will find this book helpful.
This just might be that book I was looking for.... you might be too. Couldn't find it locally, so I would suggest Amazon.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fathers day article from Parentwise

This was the second year that Kim from Parentwise magazine had me back for a fathers day article. I really like writing for this magazine because it challenges me in a whole different way. I don't just get to crank out my usually inappropriateness. :) I also try to tackle something a bit more meaningful that might connect with someone. Anyway, here is what I wrote for the June issue:

It was six and a half years ago I became a father. My wife and I were ready; we had discussed it at great length considering it took time and a team of scientific experts to get pregnant. We read all the parenting literature available. We were level headed adults who felt everything falling into place.

Then the baby came… November 26th, 2001, a day early. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but my wife knew something wasn’t “right”. An early Dr. visit turned into an emergency C-section. We almost lost our little girl. Had we waited another day, we would have most likely would have. The surgery saved her and brought into this world a perfect little girl. Within a few days were home and starting our new life as young, proud, optimistic parents. After about 4-5 days our daughter started crying, kept crying and seemed as if it was never going to stop. The crying started on November 30th at about 6pm and lasted until August of 2002, about nine months! We had given birth to a colicky monster. I don’t think anyone can fully grasp the intensity of colic unless they have lived it. We looked for every solution on earth. Our doctors had no answers; they would just calm us down and tell us it will pass. We bought ever gimmick known to man to help; gas drops, special blankets, clothing, swings, mood cd’s, special lighting, and even a vibration machine that attached to the springs of her crib. Driving helped somewhat. We spent the better half of the year just “driving”.

During this time I was on my first year of an exciting radio job in Dallas. My co-workers had no idea we were falling apart at home. It seemed out of line and selfish to tell anyone, including friends, what was going on. My wife and I could slowly see each other unraveling. Everything became a fog with the lack of sleep. My wife and I were as worried about each other, as much as the baby, but we would both faked being “o.k.” I wanted so badly to let my wife sleep through just one night, but she was determined to breast feed the first year, but was only able to pump far enough ahead so that I could cover one feeding, occasionally. My wife, a person who has always had every single aspect of her life in order, was starting to look very, very scared. She knew the difficulties I was having at work and would try to let me sleep from midnight til 4:30am. I recall her on several occasions waking me up at 4:15 and asking me if she could just sleep for 15 minutes before I left. We hardly recognized each other. She was barely able to eat enough because she was always walking in circles, comforting the baby. My diet had gone to hell out of convenience. Translation; I was porking out, she was withering away. We were desperate, tired, confused and going insane. One thing that we understood was why there are so many stories of shaken babies in the news. We weren’t ever going to hurt her, but we understood that temporary insanity truly does exist. I remember one of my friends calling from Austin, the baby was wailing and I said to him “Don’t EVER have sex with a woman… EVER.” Then I held the phone up the crying. Throughout my life I have always been able to find humor in just about any situation. This was the last time I would be funny for awhile.

As my wife and I slip into pure lunacy, I came home with the news I had just been fired. I was offered my job back in Austin. I packed a suitcase and moved into a LaQuinta in SW Austin. A hotel was no place for a crying baby and two barking dogs. My wife stayed behind in Dallas to show the house to realtors. I would spend the day trying to get my job back to normal and the evenings trying to talk my wife off the ledge. I needed to get them to Austin a.s.a.p. I found a house that was just “o.k.” and offered full asking price. I offered the woman more if she could be out in a week. The day we walked into our new house we wanted to cry because it was such a project, there was almost no way we could move into it. We now had a crying baby, two dogs and house full of workers every day.

At about nine months the crying stopped. For the first time, we felt like we could venture out of the house and re-acclimate ourselves to society. Slowly, and I mean SLOWLY, we started to realize everything was going to be o.k. We hadn’t given birth to Satan’s child after all. Our daughter is six and a half now and an amazing well adjusted child. We felt guilty for so long because of all of the tension and worry she had to pick up from us. It took us years to shake it. This made us realize just how vulnerable our mental health is and what people can take for granted. We didn’t go “over the edge” but we got an awful damn good look over it.

Whenever we meet someone who tells us that they have or have had a baby with colic, I feel an instant connection. If they are going through it right then, I want to hug them and cry with them. Others won’t understand like we do. I would take in a complete stranger’s baby for one night if it meant then could get ONE nights sleep.

The closest I have ever come to killing another person was a “know it all” guy who explained to me that “Colic is a western culture problem and that if you just do the right thing, the problem doesn’t exist.” I considered killing this guy. Doing hard time and getting some rest didn’t seem so bad. My wife and I shared years later that we secretly wished for an illness or injury to hospitalize us during those nine months, just so we could get some sleep.

I know all parents feel like their child is “special”. Very few “special” children almost KILL their parents. We survived! We have grown stronger. I feel like seeing our daughter happy is twice as rewarding because of what we went through. Parenthood is an amazing thing. I don’t know if I would change a thing if I had to do it all over again. I like the way our little girl turned out and maybe the crying had something to do with it. We’re different too. I think we have more understanding and empathy for others. When we talk to new parents and ask if the baby is sleeping, we are genuinely happy when you say yes. It’s not just meaningless chit chat. If they say no, our hearts go out to them in a way that’s immeasurable.

Mad Men! Season Two... tonight!

I hate to be that annoying guy and say "I told you so", but..... I have been saying for almost a year that Mad Men is the best show on television. If you haven't heard, Mad Men is up for something like 16 Emmy nominations. This is an amazing accomplishment for a show on the AMC network. It's back for season two tonight at 9pm.
My advice is to watch season one. It's only 13 episodes. They are for sale on DVD, you can get them on demand from Time Warner or you can get them from itunes. Watch this show! I love it, love it, love it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Six Lounge 3 year anniversary

My friend John and his bar, Six Lounge, celebrated their 3rd anniversary last week. The pics below are my wife Erin and her friend Wende, Alex with our former sidekick Autumn, and myself and Autumn.

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My dad would be proud...

My daughter tried her first shrimp head! If you are ever in Pacific Beach, try Surfside Sushi. It's a total dive that you would drive by three times before you found it. It's great, it's really fun in there and the food is great. The sushi chef, Ryo, is a big cycling guy. I started talking to him because I asked who had the killer fixed gear bike in the entryway. It was his. He built it himself and we started talking bikes. It turns out that Lance Armstrongs "It's not about the Bike" was the first book he read in English from start to finish. He says fixies are huge in Japan. These are the bikes you see bike messengers cruising on around town. I have two of them. One for training and one for goofing around. Anyway... I'm babbling. Next time you eat sushi, order sweet shrimp and have the heads fried. Good fun with the kids!

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San Diego Zoo and PB

It was another full day today. We got to sleep in a bit and got a late start, but we took in the world famous San Diego Zoo. It's huge and very spread out. WVe got in tons of walking which was exhausting, expecially with a 6 year old on my shoulders half the time. We got to see the world famous SD Zoo panda's. I don't know if they have always been this hyped or if it's just really popped with the release of Kung Fu Panda. This little guy was nice enough to be chillin in the trees right by the perimeter. Very cool to check out. Afterward we cruised over to Pacific Beach for some sushi and hanging out by the beach. Very cool to hang out and check out all the surfers, crack heads and tourists. Quite a nice mix. We love this part of the beach. It reminds us of the more interesting parts of Austin.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Celeb sighting

Who knew I would run into Peter Criss from Kiss at Legoland?

Daughter surf lesson in Carlsbad, Ca

Caught up with my good friend Rick

I don't know if you recall back in February when I took what I jokingly took my "gaycation" with my friend Rick. We went to Palm Springs, which is where he's from. He now lives in San Diego so he and his girlfriend cam up to hang with us on the beach after our daughters surf lesson. Wish we had more time to hang out with Rick and Misty, but we're hitting Legoland today. Video from the surf lesson coming soon.

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Vacation in Carlsbad

Having a killer vacation so far in Carlsbad, Ca. I love this town. It's about halfway between L.A and San Diego. It's really a SD suburb but feels like it's own town. Not too touristy and not as pretentious as LA or SD. It's a very cool vibe and the beach is great. We managed to hang out all afternoon in the sun without roasting and sand is super soft compared to our Tx beaches. Raleigh took a surf lesson. Here she is with her instructor after the lesson. Video of the lesson is coming soon. I'm working on the whole making video thing and the learning curve is killing me.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Summer issue of Austin Monthly Home

It's been out for about a month. In case you missed the Austin Monthly Home "Green Issue". Here is what I had to say about growing up green:

Before everyone reading this starts handing out awards, commending each other for their green efforts and setting up a luncheon with Al Gore… I am here to tell you that you are not as Green as you think you are. I came to this reality when I was taking my own green home inventory. I realized that compared to when I grew up, we are total greedy, indulgent, all consuming mashers, yet we pat ourselves on the back for recycling and putting in double pane windows. You want to hear about true “green home living?” Let me tell you how it was when I grew up. We didn’t have a name for it at the time and there were no city rebates. We were just green out of necessity. I can’t tell if our green living came from those times or our modest economic status. Try reflecting on your own upbringing and you may too realize that you grew up greener than you could ever be today.

Let’s start with our obsession with square footage. This has got to stop. I love a cozy comfortable home with low ceilings. Am I the only one who likes this? Do we really need a separate room for every kid, their own playroom, attached kids bathrooms, a home theater room, a billiards room, a walk-in wine cooler, an office, a home gym, an art studio, a music room, a Riverdance Rehearsal room…? You get the idea. Most master closets are bigger than the rooms we grew up in. I have a friend with a treadmill that he uses in his master closet! Growing up kids shared rooms. It was part of the growth process. You had to learn to cohabitate with your siblings. We learn patience and understanding from clothes stealing and hair pulling. More importantly, think of all the massive square footage we are heating and cooling. I think it would be neat to have a specially lit eyebrow plucking room, but enough is enough.

An energy efficient home is a good green home. When I was growing up, there was one stereo, one tv and the amount of time they were on was limited. Now, when I walk around my house I am shocked and amazed at just how many things are plugged in and sucking up power. I counted four computers, two cell phones, two digital cameras, four stereo’s, 5 tv’s, multiple dvd players, ipods everywhere. I’m sure your house looks the same. I opened a closet and found an vacuum, an electric tile floor cleaner, a dustbuster and an electric swiffer. We’ve gotten too lazy to even use a traditional mop. Do you have the pre-soaked Clorox wipes in your kitchen? We’re too lazy to spray a counter today or a paper towel. This is pathetic. We’re creating massive amounts of additional trash to save ourselves an extra 20 seconds here or there. When we were kids, even paper towels were a luxury. I don’t remember paper towels in my house when I grew up. We reused wash cloths until they smelled like a dead hamster. Our kitchen sponges would last through an entire presidential administration. I remember thinking people who had Brillo pads or Dixie cups were rich. We had a pretty fancy dishwasher when I was growing up. I believe the brand was called JBNikkeStephanieChris, oddly named after me and my sisters.

Are you starting to get the idea of what massive consumers we are today? Let’s just look at the exterior of your home. Think about your tool shed today. You have a chain saw, electric pole saw, leaf blower, electric edger. This will freak you out. Did you know that your gas leaf blower running for 30 minutes puts out the same emissions as driving your car 2,000 miles! Your rake, zero emissions! I remember raking leafs through half my childhood. In fact, it’s difficult to find a photo of me from my childhood without a lawn tool in my hands. You know the famous “American Gothic” depression era painting of the old man with the pitchfork? I was the pre-teen version of that. My sisters and I would edge the lawn with a pair of hand clippers. Don’t get me wrong, we are not looking for accolades or anything, we pretty much bitched about it the entire time we were growing up. We were well compensated with dinner on the table every evening and a bad case of poison ivy on our crotch every spring. I can’t complain.

As you continue to dig into this, just as I have. Think about your childhood upbringing and compare the two. No one I know today carpools. Heck, we were even carpooling on bikes back in the day. Every memory of riding bikes as a kid I either had a friend on the handlebars or I was sitting on the bars getting “pumped.” We were so green we would conserve energy amongst friends, which in turn took fewer calories and less food consumption to sustain our energy. How’s that for green? We would walk to school, few kids do today. Have you seen the line of moms in giant SUV’s heading in and out of the schools today? My dad drove a beetle with four kids. I hated sitting in the middle. I have a funny walk to this day because it was a stickshift.

Reduce, reuse, recycle seems like such a new thing, every since the City of Austin handed out those blue bins. We were on it a long time ago. My mom could stretch the life out of clothing like no other. She would buy them big, hem them, slowly let them out and put patches on any tears in the clothing. My mom had a bit of a nautical fetish, so I was often seen sporting ships and anchors on my jeans that I had torn in skateboarding accidents or Evel Kneivel reenactments. There was nothing cool about going to school looking like the president of the Popeye fan club. Our kids would be appalled at the thought of wearing their cousins hand me downs. How about this…why don’t you suggest to your kids that they share the bathwater before they drain it? See what kind of reaction you get. Try hanging your clothes our on a clothes line to dry for on month…just try it. How’s this for recycling, one year my great aunt made us Easter baskets out of empty ivory snow containers.

I’ve really got to rethink my lifestyle. My dad was always bitchin about wasted electricity back then. At this very moment, half the lights are on in the house. The dishwasher is running, laundry is running, the landscape lighting just kicked on and the sprinkler system just finished. I’ll never forget the sprinkler system we had when I was a kid. My dad would stand in the middle of the lawn and spray in all directions til his 40 ouncer of Schlitz ran dry. Which didn’t take long. I could go on and on with my list of how we lived green back in the day. I’m not belittling those of you who just spent massive amounts of money on solar panels, rainwater collection or quadruple pane windows. I applaud those things, but really, really think about your total consumption. By the way, did you know Al Gore’s house has 8 bathrooms?

June issue Rare Magazine, Austin Neighborhoods

It's been over a year now that I've been writing for Rare Magazine. Congratulations to them for the continued success and growth. It's quite evident every single month that more and more of you are reading it. Subscribe today here:

Grab the July issue out today. I wrote about Douchebag guys in their 20's. I originally titled it "ode to Bobby Bones". I think you will see why when you read the issue.

Here is what I wrote for the June Austin Neighborhoods issue:

Am I cool enough to live in my own city? Austin’s “hip factor” has spun out of control and finding a neighborhood where you fit in is getting tougher and tougher.

I am going to attempt something that is probably going to upset a lot of people. I am going to attempt to rank Austin’s Coolest Neighborhoods. I imagine anyone that lives in one of these neighborhoods might be a little too close to this subject. I think there are a lot of hip, eclectic neighborhoods in central Austin that are difficult to define. Let this be a newcomers guide to quirky things us long time Austinites are well aware of.

There are many surveys out there that rank neighborhoods on crime, schools, parks, levels of educations, etc… Not me. I’m going for pure hipness. I’m not saying I’m the most in vogue, trendsetter this town has to offer, but I know it when I see it. I love this city and I’m offering my time and knowledge to rank Austin Coolest neighborhoods for you.

10 Tarrytown

Everyone that lives in Tarrytown bitches about the mosquito’s. Once your McMansion was built there shouldn’t be enough yard to have a run in with bugs, quit your bitchin. Big props to T-town for having a strip center owner with the sack to ban meat and leather. I admire the owner for putting her ethics before the almighty dollar. I can cross mopac to get my cabrito, leather belts and boots. I’ll switch to salads, suspenders and aqua socks!

9 Hyde Park

When I was in college, I rented in Hyde Park and always dreamed of living there. This was where hippieville used to thrive. It was the hub of the co-op mentality, the birth of organic, commuting on bikes, buying local etc… And then a bunch of yuppies have come in and Pottery Barned the hell out of it. Quit making it so damn pretty. A porch swing should be rusty, not bedazzled. HP has slipped down my list over the years, but still hangs on to the top ten because musicians are still renting all the garage apartments. Does Mike still have notes posted all over Hyde Park gym like “if your pee pee is too short, please sit down to pee”. Classic.

8 East Austin

I love so many things about East Austin I don’t have the time and space to mention it all. I love the authentic, inexpensive restaurants. I love the neighborhood bars. I love some of the interesting business concepts like Arturo’s PiƱata’s y Moffles (mufflers). If you count the trailers serving food and frozen novelites, this neighborhood has to have more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the city. I just hope the gringo’s moving in there embrace it’s current culture and don’t try to change it.

7 Clarksville/West End

This gets my strongest bid for folks who love location. Everything in this area seems packed in and there are cars everywhere. Either everyone owns about 5 cars apiece or every one of them has offered to house a starving musician…and his van. I get frustrated with Texans for opting for pure square footage. It’s an ego trip or something. This area is the antithesis of that. They are willing to give up space for location. This is one of the few areas not being torn to the ground for a rebuild… and they are not afraid to use outrageous exterior colors or cement bicycles or armadillos to the side of their house. Because of the UT housing in close proximity, you kids might come home speaking Chinese or Russian. Diversity at it’s best.

6 Westlake/Rollingwood

This neighborhood is great if you can tolerate all the political unrest. If only Bob Marley was here to get new and old to shake hands. I’ve learned to appreciate the naturalscape and applaud their efforts to keep it a place that could burst into flames at any moment. I love how the deer just stand there and stare at you as if to say “Go ahead, I’m gonna eff up your Cayenne S and my life sucks anyway…I’d flip you off but I got a damn hoof”. This neighborhood gets props for being more liberal, interesting and eclectic than anyone realizes. Too bad none of the neighbors come within 100 ft of each other.

5 Highland Park West/Balcones

The ONLY thing stopping this neighborhood from numero uno is location and the fact they have to use Mopac to get anywhere. I’m a sucker for well built cool architecture from the 50’s and 60’s and there are some real gems in this hood. I love the mix of young families with bikes, trikes and tree swings in the yard, next to memaw and peepaw making a run to the dumpster with the dirty Depends. It’s one of the least pretentious neighborhoods in the city and I love that so many of them are preserving some of the old school integrity in their homes, although I’ve seen some of my favorite mid-century homes get bulldozed to the ground in a day. Shame on you!

4 Barton Hills

When I bought my last house, Barton Hills was my first choice. Problem is, no one ever leaves so there’s rarely much on the market. I love that there seems to be no social class there. Doesn’t matter how big your house is or what you do for a living. I imagine people having real interesting conversations about real things that matter. I also love that this neighborhood is where all the broken pets seem to have been adopted (one eye, missing leg, perhaps a stutter). My only beef with Barton Hills is that everyone spends their entire paycheck at REI. Too many pockets, backpacks, fanny packs, adventure caps, canteens and compasses. It’s creepy.

3 South Congress/South Lamar

When I first moved to Austin this was flat our hookerville. Many Texas politicians are quite sad this area has been cleaned up. They don’t know what to do when in town for legislature anymore. This area is filled with 30 somethings who apparently don’t have to be anywhere at any certain time… EVER. Their days are filled with coffee shop visits and vintage store browsing. Driving through this neighborhood area it is apparent that everyone is a bike messenger or aspires to be one. So will someone, for the life of me, tell me how they can all afford 500,000 dollar homes. Big props to those who haven’t sold out to builders and are hanging onto those 800 sq. ft. homes. Without you, this neighborhood would be ruined by all the newbies.

2 Bouldin Creek

This area just oozes cool. They are in for trouble though. The home prices and new modern homes are going to bring in a ton of people who “think they are cool” and they are going to dork it all up. The art to living in this neighborhood the right way is spending as little as you can on; cars, landscaping, personal hygiene, haircuts, or clothing. If you are going to spend money, spend it on; music fests, piercings, tats, hemp clothing and Eastern medicine. No one in Bouldin works for the Man. I admire that.

1 Travis Heights

I have always wanted to live in this neighborhood but I’m afraid I would never fit in since I don’t have a Kiln. It’s very popular to be a white person with dreadlocks and to look as if you are heading to or from a Renaissance festival. Congratulations on spending more annually on the health of your trees than on yourself. There’s a difference between being “Cool” to attract attention or just “Being Cool”. Travis Heights is the latter and that’s why it’s my pic for Austin’s Coolest Neighboorhood 2008. Too bad I can’t even afford to rent your detached studio.

Honorable mentions… neighborhoods on the rise.

Downtown, Crestview, North Loop.

Remember Lacy Underall, the hot chick from the original Caddyshack. Weren't you wondering what she looks like today?

Funny iphone commercial

Video tutorial: unlock iphone

bad kangaroo

The newest craze for the elderly, cane fighting

Here is last years Miss USA falling down

Last night, Miss USA, CRYSTLE STEWART, became the second Miss USA in a row to fall down during the evening gown competition

More Miley Cyrus pics leaked. These were hacked from her iphone

Some fans in Toronto tuanting A-Rod

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bri rides a horse. another step in becoming a Texan

Nice job shooting the video Savannah. Un-Fu#@!ng believable.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bri takes a dip in 68 degree Barton Springs. One more step in becoming a Texan

Are you using the right sunscreen? This is interesting


--According to a consumer advocacy group called the Environmental Working Group, FOUR in FIVE brand-name sunscreens don't adequately protect you from the sun.

--Why? Because sunscreens are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration . . . and in order to pass government inspection, they're only required to block UVB rays from the sun (--which cause sunburns).

--But the sun releases another type of rays called UVA rays (--which cause tanning). UVA rays can be just as harmful as UVB rays, but since sunscreen producers aren't required to make a product that blocks both kinds of rays . . . most of them don't. (CNN)

(--And so you know, if you're going to be out in the sun, it's recommended you apply a sunscreen that's SPF 30, or higher, a full 30 minutes before you go out in the sun, and you should reapply every two hours . . . or after you go swimming or sweat.)

(--Check out a full list of the best and worst sunscreens here . . .)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Britain's Missing Top Model".

The premise of the show is similar to "America's Next Top Model" . . . meaning it's basically a modeling competition . . . except there's one BIG difference.

--See, all the contestants in "Britain's Missing Top Model" . . . are disabled.