Thursday, September 29, 2005

When I said you could put me on hold...

I didn't know that you were going to be playing Jazz. I would have never agreed to be put on hold if I knew I was going to have to endure the jazzy instrumental version of "How Deep is Your Love"

Friday, September 23, 2005

Safe in Austin...

Thanks to everyone for their prayers and kind thoughts yesterday.

My mother made it to Giddings, TX last night. It took her nearly twelve hours to drive the 122 miles. We had her stay there and we met her at a Dairy Queen. We wanted to avoid 290 into Austin, because of the traffic, those people had been on the road for many hours and were more accident-prone.

Amy and I arrived in Giddings at 8:30 and I drove Mom in the Jeep and Amy followed in Mom's car. We took 77 north to Lexington. We then took 112 to Taylor and then on to Round Rock. Traffic wasn't bad and we made it home safely.

Amy and I will be going to work today and Mom will be on her own. She has her car and knows her way around Round Rock, so she'll be fine.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Our home is open...

My mother will be driving to Round Rock today to get out of the way of Hurricane Rita. She has lived in Fort Bend County nearly 50 years. This is the first time she's ever felt the need to evacuate.

We have several friends in Houston who made the trip yesterday. It's possible that some of them will be staying with us.

Hopefully, they will be able to return home on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

I'm assuming my coworkers will make me sick of this event with 14 minutes of my arrival at work.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Guy's night in...

Amy is at a retreat with her coworkers. I am sitting here doing manly activities.

My friend, the criminal

About two months ago, I found out that someone I know is a criminal. This isn't some petty issue. I'm not talking about a youthful indiscretion. This person is middle-aged woman with grown children. The amount of the theft has not been pinpointed yet (and probably never will be). It was certainly as much as my house cost me in 1997. It may have been 3 times that. There was no warning. There was just dishonesty. This person admitted their wrongdoing just before the truth was found out.

I was shocked and saddened by the theft, the dishonesty, the betrayal and my misplaced trust.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

My friend, the liar

A few years ago, I worked with a guy who was several years younger than me. We were on the same team and over a few months we became good friends. We used to go and shoot pool every Monday. He told me that he was a former Navy Seal and he was still close to those guys. He also played guitar and sang and had been in a couple of bands.

One night, I noticed a ring he was wearing and said "That's an interesting ring". He explained that it had been given to him by Ian Astbury of The Cult. Ian gave it him on a night that his band had opened for The Cult at The Roxy or The Whiskey (or some other LA club). Even though this sounded suspect, I had no reason to doubt him (We were friends after all).

I knew that he had recently broken up with a lovely girl who worked for the same company. This breakup caused him some pain and he used that to write a number of songs. He played me a tape with several of these he had recorded in the studio. I thought they were some of the finest songs I'd heard. I urged him to shop it around and see if he could get a record deal. However, there was a problem. The producer or the engineer had stolen copies of the tapes and had sold the songs. ASCAP was going to help him sue and he felt that he would eventually win. This dragged on for about a year. He finally mentioned the name of the person who had recorded the songs. That person was David Wilcox. I hadn't heard of him before.

At some point, he started hanging out with a woman who we both knew. She and I became friends (and we are still). I saw that he was fairly dishonest with her and didn't treat her as well as he should have.

I started thinking about all of the things that didn't seem quite right and in one day, I found out why. I went to Hasting's to rent a video and they have a music computer. I remembered the name of one of the songs, "Eye of the Hurricane". I searched for it and found that (sure enough), it was on a David Wilcox album. They didn't have it on CD, so I bought a cassette tape and took it home. I looked at it and noticed that the song titles of the 5 songs he gave me were all on the same album, How Did You Find Me Here ?. I assumed that what I would hear when I started playing the tape would be my friend's five songs played by David Wilcox and his band.

It turned out that it was the exact performance from the tape my friend had given me. Was this possible ? Did a recording artist just put his name on someone else's work? I saw no other possible answer...until I saw the copyright date on the CD, which was 1989. This was 5 years before the breakup which caused my friend to "write the songs." He had only given me a dubbed copy of half the songs on that album and claimed it as his own.

I stopped hanging out with my friend, the liar after that. I figured if his entire life was based around this series of lies, that it might be catastrophic to confront him. I've seen him a few times since then. Once, I was telling this story to a couple of friends and I looked up and he was sitting at the bar about 15 feet away. I'm sure he was telling the bartender one of his fascinating tales of adventure.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Booth or Table ?

This is an odd question to be asked at a restaurant. Even when you're sitting in a booth, you're eating at a table. The more correct way to ask the question would be "Booth or chair(s) ?".

Saturday, September 10, 2005

New family sports pub coming...

Round Rock is getting a Beef O'Brady's Family Sports Pub. They have only started working on the location which is in the Randall's shopping center. The address is 1901 Town Centre Dr. That's almost exactly one mile from our house. It will be nice to have a place where we can go to watch football that's so close to our house. I'll let you know when we are able to try it.

Eric Schulz - 20% Off

At the last Weight Watchers meeting, I learned that I have lost 20% of my body weight since January 1st, 2005. That's 64 pounds. I'm not sure of what my goal is (I'll know it when I see it), but that should be at least half of what I want to lose.

Tilted Kilt Round Rock

Round Rock just a got a new pub. Last night, we went to the Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery (Round Rock). The place was packed, so we decided to leave. We'll try to make it in there on a weeknight when it might be possible to move around. This appears to be the third pub in the chain (other locations - Las Vegas, NV & Tempe, AZ). Here's their corporate mission and their Round Rock address.
Our mission is to revolutionize the pub business in America. By combining Irish, Scottish, English and American cultures we have created a non-traditional pub that promotes good hometown fun wherever home happens to be.

Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery
La Frontera Shopping Center
2701 Parker Rd. Suite 300
Round Rock, TX 78681
Their corporate website is completely broken (in both Firefox and IE). The front page is offers just one option on the left side menu (Locations). You can also click on the pictures and that will get you to a page of four pictures (with no formatting at all). If you want to get to the rest of the site, you have to click on Interested in owning a Tilted Kilt? Click here to find out how. On that page you have more than enough options as the menu choices are listed on the left side bar and the bar at the top of the screen. If you check the links in this paragraph, you should have seen all of the website.

I think it's interesting that Round Rock website differs from the corporate website in two important ways.
  1. The website navigation works.
  2. No pictures of scantily clad waitresses

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Ultimate USB Key

Solutions by PC Magazine: The Ultimate USB Key is a great article on apps to install on you USB key. It also discusses encryption and booting alternative Operating Systems via USB memory Keys.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Cadillac owners are _____________.

Signs I won't honor....

The grocery store Amy and I frequent has a Starbucks inside. Amy and I are two of only nine people on the planet who don't drink coffee. The reason I park in this spot is that it's closer to the door than any other space. I just don't understand why I should carry my seven grocery bags 50 feet further, so that some jerk can improve their self-image by drinking a $4 Caramel Macchiato.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Houston welcomes our friends (Update 1)

Congratulations, Alabama!

Alabama will be formally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during The 39th Annual CMA Awards on November 15 on CBS.

Congratulations, Chevrolet !

You've proven that you can finally build a 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser.

Cheapening your brand…

There are some intangible assets that a company owns. One of the most important of these is their brand. Many companies choose to cheapen their brand in obvious ways, making the company less valuable in the long run. They often do this due to greed in the short term. Examples:
  • Tony Roma’s – This used to be a premium brand. It was a nice restaurant to take a date. Then about three years ago, they started promoting Tony Roma’s frozen food in the ‘Deli’ at 7-Eleven. I started a new job in April, and a vending machine there sells Tony Roma’s food. A couple of month ago, I noticed that the Tony Roma’s restaurant in town went out of business. This is not a coincidence.
  • Pegasus/Windows CE/Palm-Size PC/Pocket PC/Windows Mobile – These brands were cheapened due to inconsistency. At first, Microsoft wanted to distance their PDA platform from Windows and now they want to embrace it (because Windows is still a valued brand). The entire time Microsoft was selling these, their competition kept (virtually) the same name, Palm or PalmOne. Now, Palm or Palm Pilot is how neophytes refer to all handheld computers.
Failed Brands that have been resurrected.
  • Microsoft Access – This is the name of a failed communications program for DOS that was not competitive. It is now the name of a popular database program and is now the corporate standard.
  • Ford Mustang – Ford somehow avoided completely destroying the Mustang brand when it was crap from 1974 to 1979 by calling that vehicle the Mustang II. They just brought out a new Mustang which increased the value of the entire brand.
  • Coca-Cola - This company temporarily ruined their brand by bringing out New Coke in 1985. 79 days later, they reintroduced the original as Coca-Cola Classic.
These are just a couple of examples. I may add to this article in the future and republish it. Feel free to add to the discussion in the comments.

Opportunities for blogging

We just had a few friends move to Houston and start new lives.
  • One couple recently became parents and moved to Houston to be nearer to their parents and so he could join the family business, real estate.
  • A friend went to Houston to start law school at South Texas College of Law.
  • Another couple (who recently married) went to Houston, so that she could start law school at the University of Houston Law Center. He will be attending the University of Houston to complete his degree in education and become a teacher.
These are all great opportunities to start a blog:
  • Beginning a new stage in Life (marriage, becoming new parents)
  • Moving to a new city
  • Starting a new career or degree

Saturday, September 03, 2005

TCU kicks Oklahoma's butt...

Tonight, every Texan is a Horned Frog.

Auburn's Season Opener

I have to work today, but after that I get to watch the Auburn Tigers season opener. Amy has a family connection to both the Auburn Tigers and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Her former brother-in-law played for Auburn as a linebacker from 1982 through 1986. He played with Bo Jackson. Amy's cousin is a red shirt freshman on Auburn's roster as a tight end. Back in the day, her stepmother's brother-in-law was a cheerleader for Georgia Tech.

It should be a great game. War Eagle!