Sunday, December 28, 2008

... and here is my most recent column that ran in Austin Monthly Home.

Just in case you missed it. :)

“I’m sorry honey, I completely underestimated the purpose of your closet and I will do everything within my power to respect your space, your things and the overall sacredness that is YOUR closet.”

My wife would be thrilled if I wrote that statement 100 times on a giant chalkboard, but the problem is… it’s not going to happen. I hate to further perpetuate the obvious differences between men and women, but the way we think of our closets is a big one. It’s hard for me to get our brains around how women feel about their closets. The key word is “feel”. It’s complicated

To men, there is no attachment to a closet. It’s a space where we shove our stuff. I literally mean, shove our stuff in there. It starts when we are kids. Mom says to clean up your room or you can’t watch Monday Night Football. So, we scoop everything up into our arms and shove it into the closet. As soon as you open it, baseballs, basketballs, skateboards and race car sets come tumbling down. We never really outgrow this. Our closet is eternally a hidden space to hide things for a surprise inspection.

I have talked to several adult women about their relationships with their closets. They were all very passionate about the things they love and hate. I found them all very interesting.

I was shocked at the number of married couples that don’t share a closet. Some because they are well off and have the his/hers setup, just off the master bedroom. More often they have the setup that means she got the master closet and he gets dressed somewhere else. I don’t think she really cares where. The men that are not in the master closet are typically newlyweds that are so fresh, excited and willing to please their new bride they make this move right off the bat. Bad idea guys. You will spend years trying to fight your way back into the master, especially when you find yourself sharing space with your toddler. It doesn’t really make a man feel like a power executive when he accidentally tries on his three year olds Spiderman undies. I was in the guest room as a newlywed, didn’t want to wake up my new bride with my early hours. I still love her, don’t get me wrong, but she’s the first person I’m waking up if I can’t find my keys.

Women love to be able to see every single pair of shoes they own at a glance. This takes a lot of space. This problem has arisen from the shoe boutiques that display their items in what I call “shoe condo’s”. Little private residences for your footwear. Women want this same sort of glam treatment for their shoes at home. For most, this is not very realistic, so we go to The Container Store on mission to organize our closets. I have a theory on those shelving systems they sell. The only one’s that have ever been built and actually exist as a complete setup are the ones on display in the store. When you attempt to replicate this in your home closet, the boxes you buy that are supposed to mimick these systems are just misc spare parts that are not intended to go together whatsoever. How many of us have fallen for the Elf system, only to be left on our closet floor in the fetal position wimpering?

Women like to break down their closet into specific sections, casual, dresses, t-shirts, jeans, etc…
They are way off base with their labeling. If they were being honest their sections would be more like this; fat clothes, skinny clothes, out of style, too fancy, not fancy enough, not mine, shows too much cleavage, don’t know why I still have this, all of my friends have seen me in the recently, and let’s not forget the stained/ripped/torn needs attention section.

All women love the concept of having something new in their closet that they have NEVER worn, preferably still with the tag on it. It makes them feel special. I’ve found an easy, affordable remedy for this situation. I make the rounds to all the finer boutiques in town with some fresh cupcakes. I offer the cakes in exchange for some high priced tags which I take home and attach to my wife’s old clothing. Women will either fall for this or think they are going crazy. Either way, it’s entertaining.

I’ve always been fascinated with the number of purses women will keep. They typically take up all the upper shelf space in their closets. They hang on to them forever knowing full well that they are never going to go back to an older purse. Why won’t they part with these things? Have you ever given any thought to the amount of money women will drop on designer purses? I’ve always been perplexed by the fact that women will spend far more on a container for their money than the amount of money they posses. That’s completely illogical and unreasonable. Of course, if I wanted logic and reason, I could just marry my computer. The day they design a computer with breasts, women are in trouble.

I know there are a lot of other things my wife would like for our closet, besides me moving outside into a Rubbermaid shed. Just to name a few, I think she would like twice the size, a full length mirror with rotating stage, a balance bar on the wall, matching hangers throughout (a chick thing and completely ridiculous), a lock on the door to keep me and the kid out, a tv, a pedicurist, a chocolate fountain, a hot tub, a young shirtless towel boy for when she steps out of the hot tub, and live performances from latin boy bands on the weekend and/or Oprah. Other than that, I think she loves our closet.

Christmas article in Rare Magazine.

In case you missed the Dec issue of Rare Magazine, here is my article that ran regarding Christmas memories...

“Honey, what do you want for Christmas? I don’t know what to get you.” I don’t think I’ve ever had a good answer to that question, since I was about 12 years old. I’m a deeply scared adult male, but making up for it rapidly and vicariously through my child. I’ll explain.

When I was a kid I would put deep, concentration into exactly what I wanted for Christmas. I remember as a young kid wanting things that would impress my friends, good solid conversation pieces. It’s in guys’ blood to be competitive, be braggadocios and just plain show off. My parents, bless their hearts, just sort of “missed the mark” as far as gifts went. I’ll admit, we were a family of modest means, but sometimes I wanted to show the other kids at elementary school that I had and “edge”. I recall some of those incidents when my parents not only missed the bull’s eye; the dart missed the board entirely, putting yet another hole in the wood paneling that was my ego. This is the story of why I’ve started spoiling my child.

I distinctly recall the first thing I ever REALLY wanted. It was a skateboard. A killer one. It was the mid 70’s and the boom of the first extreme sport. Skateboarding magazine had just come out, guys were shredding abandoned swimming pools and empty half pipes. I wanted so badly to be a part of this culture. The technology of skateboards was booming at the time, but this was lost on my folks. That was the only thing I requested for Christmas that year. I would be ready to shred as soon as the snow melted in Kansas City the followig year. I remember opening that sadly wrapped skateboard, purchased at the local Ace Hardware store. It was a skinny board that said “Goofyfoot” on it. The thing had metal wheels! No lie. Do you remember the old metal skates that would strap around your shoes that were probably popular in the 50’s? I had the skateboard version of that, barely a generation above a Soap Box Car. Not exactly the envy of the neighborhood kids.

It was amazing the power of a t.v. commercial back then. Apparently, fans of Gilligan’s Island, The Brady Bunch and The Beverly Hillbillies were prime targets for slot car racing. I’ll never forget the commercials for TCR, Total Control Racing. This was slot car racing with the ability to change lanes and pass on one section of the track. I was enamored with it. I was certain that the year had arrived that the TCR was going to be waiting for me under the tree. There was a race track that year, but not quite what I hoped for. It was, and I’m not making this up, a Hot Wheels set. Age appropriate for a kid a good 5 years younger than me. The pieces of track were wonderful for abusing my sisters, but needed to be hidden when friends came over.

The next thing I remember wanting badly was an electronic football game. Coleco had come out with amazing hand held game called Electronic Quarterback. It was really the first generation of what is now evolved into things like gameboy systems. Mobile coolness. It was pretty high tech for 1978. They had come out with the new version for two players called Head-to-Head Football for two players at once. This was very popular on my school bus rides home. It would turn into a tournaments and I needed to get better at this. I humbly put in my request that year. My mom, bless her heart, did her best, but got me Electric Football, which was a table sized football field. It was popular a good five years before that. You set up all your players on the field (a table), the opponent set up their, which were basically action figures and then you turned on the machine which was plugged in. The table would vibrate until your players fell down. It was ridiculous and even harder to play on the bus without electricity. Needless to say, I didn’t make any new friends that year.

The following year I had high expectations once again. Jam Boxes were huge that year. I don’t mean huge as in “popular”, I mean they were HUGE. The bigger the better. Junior high was in full swing and there was nothing cooler than showing up to a track meet with a monster radio. John Herrera was the most popular kid in our school because he always had the latest, greatest jam box. I recall one he had that included a record player! He was a shot putter on the track team, so hauling it around was not an issue. I simply put “Jam Box” on my wish list that year. I had distinctly different tastes in music from John and needed my own device. That year, I opened my Panasonic tape recorder. It in NO WAY resembled a Jam Box. I could have run the mile with it in my shorts. It would have come in handy if I was dictating legalese, but unfortunately on a 7th grade education, not necessary.

Have you noticed the common thread? I’ve been chronically 5 years behind the rest of the world for my entire life. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not complaining. I’m merely doing some soul searching as to why I’m overcompensating now. Do you think it’s a bit odd I bought my daughter a computer when she was a fetus, I have a car waiting for her in the driveway and she’s just learning to read, and I’ve already booked her on a commercial flight to the moon.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Slightly addicted to Twitter

Thanks to Armstrong. Have some fun, follow along at:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas morning

I hope everyone is having a great Christmas morning. I'm already superglueing Raleighs remote control helicopter back together. The suggested ages for it are 14+. She's 7 and slammed it into the ground in the first flight. It's not going to last long... but it's fun.
She's also pretty excited to try out her batter powered Razor scooter. We're destined to make a trip to the ER today. Pics coming later. It's been great so far...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Don't waste your time

Alex and I have been waiting for 30 min. Can't get service. No jb and
sandy fried balogna on the menu any more.

Almost done setting up bikes for kids

All these bikes are going to kids in the morning

Unloading the first bikes of bikes for kids 2008

Here is an example of where your money is going with Bikes for Kids

Dear JB and Sandy,

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing my grandchildren for a bicycle this year. I can’t put into words how excited I was to receive Holly’s message on my cell phone yesterday evening. I had to leave the room so my own 10 year old daughter would not see my emotions and want to know what was going on as she and my granddaughter (her niece) are the same age, same school and best of friends. The tears on my face were tears of joy and relief for my son and his family! I immediately phoned my daughter-in-law after I got myself “together”. She had no idea that I had elected my grandchildren and just earlier in the afternoon I had phoned her for some Christmas ideas for the kids. She still had no idea how or what they would be able to get for the kids and would not be able to even shop until Christmas Eve when one of them gets paid. So thank you JB and Sandy and to all the wonderful people of Austin who make this possible every year…thank you, thank you, thank you! You have made a wonderful Christmas day for not only my grandchildren but for so many others. You have a special place in heaven….I’m sure!


Time magazine finally tracked down a picture of Obama smoking

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Exciting day at Mix

Someones car caught on fire!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bikes for Kids

Sandy and I just got off the phone with each other. Bikes for Kids is about $30,000 short going into the final week. We're panicked. We need your support on this last week. We know it's been a tough year for  lot of people but that's all the more reason to help those truly in need. 
Jump online and donate at or come by one of our fundraising shows in this last week. We will be at Whataburger on Anderson lane just east of Mopac tomorrow morning from 6-10 am.  More details on next weeks shows coming soon.   jb

Monday, December 1, 2008