Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Show biz

Went to a play last night - and realized I want to be an actor when I grow up. There's just one thing. I have a memory that doesn't hold words. As I sat there, enjoying the music, the performance and structure (that analytical side is the radio programmer in me - I have to deconstruct everything I see and figure out the whys and hows) I realized that'd be what I'd try to do if I could. But I can't. On the way out of the theater I realized that's exactly why I enjoy doing voice acting so much - because I can READ the script. It's my little slice of the life. I wish I could get more of it to do.

There's also the matter of talent. I have long said that to make it in radio, and I think this would apply to any performing art, you need three things: Talent, Tenacity, and Luck. Somewhere there are great undiscovered actors. Some have given up. Somewhere there are singers who can blow the doors off, who can summon angels or demons. But they sing in the car. Or in the backyard, hanging laundry, where no one hears except the sheets blowing in the wind. Others persist.

We usually see the worst or best of people thanks to the media today. Heroes and looters, victims and the saved. When we see good acting, or hear a great performance, we aren't shown the kid practicing his guitar for years... the lessons, the stumbles, the yields to temptation, the seduction of the easy way out or the hard hard road taken, driven by passion that will not die no matter what.

How many have it in them to live on a tour bus for 280 nights a year?

Sometimes luck drives a corporate promotional machine-like juggernaut of flash and artless artiface.

Sometimes talent is so overwhelming it cannot be denied. Sometimes, it's not ever heard or seen.

How many great songs sit in notebooks, deep in closets full of old clothes and older, now ragged, dreams? How many of those could connect to a hurting soul and offer solace and empathy, but never will?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Cindy Sheehan's "Commercial"

After fixing this morning, I sat transfixed, watching reportage of Hurricane Katrina from The Weather Channel and CNN. All of a sudden there was a "commercial" with Cindy Sheehan, full face, talking to the camera, but actually addressing President Bush. It was stunningly powerful. If you see it, no matter what side of the issue you are on, I think you'll agree this is incredibly effective communication.

I have read some quotes attributed to Ms. Sheehan, and if true, then she's not correct in all her allegations. No matter, your heart has to go out to her. Her son did die in service to his country. She obviously doesn't agree with the President's decision to send troops to Iraq, and she has become the symbol for others who share her view.

Is it just me or are you reminded of that lone Chinese student, standing in front of the tank on Tiananmen square years ago?

Nevertheless, with what media has become, I felt that commercial was the first light of a new era.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


New Orleans is in deep trouble - literally - if this storm continues in the direction it is headed. Then it'll go up the interior of the country... flooding like we haven't seen. I sure hope they are saying, "get out get out get out," till every soul evacuates!

I just watched WWL-TV streaming live from New Orleans. They are clearly communicating. 175 MPH winds... huge storm surge.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Website reconstruction

Well, I give them credit, they've (the web site build company) owned up to the problems listed below, and say now it's REALLY fixed. Actually, ready for me (and those affected) to fix our own sites ourselves. Before, when you tried to fix it, it broke. But they apologized and extended our service for an extra month, which is - as we say - "The Right Answer." I'll let the system stabilize till Monday when I'll go through it with a cyber-wrench.

One poor guy said he was in Italy - check this out:

Jim from rent-a-villa in Tuscany here. AAARRRHHHH!!!!! we just happened to be working on two of our biggies. (dozens of graphic blocks on each page, and as we've got thousands of graphics on the site some pages take forever to work on) As we've just moved to a house half way up a hill and telecom still haven't given us a phone line, we are running our whole business from a mobile phone connection. I reckon it could take us weeks to redo these two pages.

Ouch! "Waiter! More wine, please."

Website blues

For months now, I've been creating a web site with which I hope to help people choose and then put together Home Theater systems. There's a lot to learn, and competing technologies are racing ahead of each other in a game of leapfrog. Interest in flat panel displays is HUGE and prices are dropping. HDTV is wonderful. Surround sound is immersive! But how do you put it together? Thus, my website. It has become my full-time job. Learning how to construct one was part of that, and the company from which I bought the site building program makes it much, much easier. I hope to generate income from the links... at first it's only a trickle, but you CAN make a good living, eventually.

The other day, though, things started to go haywire. Forums devoted to this company's web-building products started to buzz with "me too"s. It seems if you edited a page you then somehow incurred gremlins that dropped graphics and affected headlines. Why this matters is twofold: it appears your site is amateur and your web-ranking in search engines could be affected, devaluing your site in a keyword search. This is bad.

Surprisingly, the company has not E mailed its customers with this news. It has been reported on one of the forums that they acknowledge the problem and are 'working on it' - it was also reported, not officially, that it was 'fixed' and then other users responded 'no it isn't.' I consider that irresponsible customer service. (And this is a LARGE company!)

I had hoped to turn this enterprise into a money making opportunity, but just don't have it in me to start over if I have to. If they don't fix this bug, and if sites destroy themselves, then rather than do it again with crossed fingers, I'd go do something else.

How do the hurricane victims in Florida start all over again?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Amazing Amanda

Boy do I see an opportunity. If only I had the money to make it happen! Maybe some kind soul will enable my idea and cut me in. As you read, you'll envision other applications and just know that you are a dirty PERV. My idea is clean and provides a badly needed social service.

Amazing Amanda is a toy, created by Judy Shackelford, a vet of the toy industry for more than 40 years. AA employs digital technologies, including speech-recognition and memory chips, radio frequency tags and scanners, and facial robotics.
Amazing Amanda is a blond, blue-eyed figure.

"Hello, my name is Amanda," the doll replied as Ms. Shackelford smiled warmly at its rosy face. "We're going to have the best time together," the doll promised.

The 18-inch-tall doll promises - right on the box it will be sold in - to "listen, speak and show emotion." Man, that's better than a lot of marriages! Ding ding ding! Hot idea time!

I see a 5 foot 6 inch bar-stool sitting version. She's for guys who can't get NEAR a real woman and is friendly and 'appropriate.' I know what you PERVs are thinking, but that's just WRONG.

After a few, I think when AA says nice affirming things, any guy would feel better, and isn't that 90% of the bar business? Every bar owner would want several.

Talk about a conversation piece.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


And for the world.

The subject is flatulence. A polarizing subject, admittedly. Men think it's a victory to let a good one rip. Women are disgusted. Men rate the rippers. Women nag about them, "Do you HAVE to do that?" Men experiment with sounds. It's a matter of pride, of accomplishment. Women don't get it.

But NOW high oil prices and givernment subsidies are putting reasearch dollars into renewable energy sources like cow manure. It's only a hop, skip, or rump jump to methane, a byproduct.

A sidebar: A serious new theory holds that vast trapped methane deposits under the Atlantic Ocean in the area of the Bermuda Triangle (yes, that one) are periodically released, and that the BUBBLES change the bouyancy of the water and that's when the ships disappear!

Atlantis had cows!!!

Cattle manure can be used as fuel instead of coal or natural gas to create steam to run turbines, which create electricity. It's a wonderful world.

The Panda Group of Dallas plans to fuel a $120 million ethanol plant set to open next year to realize an energy savings equivalent to 1,000 barrels of oil per day turning manure and cotton gin waste into clean-burning fuel to power the plant.

Okay, so a cowpie is not the same as a good fart (pardon me, ladies.) But as many college students know, Methane does burn. And it's from the same family as biomass -not a distant relative, either.

So, men, next time you let one go and the wife gives you That Look, turn, with a self-satisfied expression and simply say one word; "Research."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The price of GAS.

Time to comment, as the price of gas just climbs and climbs and the press (and public and government, for that matter) just do a "tsk" "tsk" and move on.

They report or ignore so many 'causes.'

It was a storm.

It was fear.

It was fear of a storm.

It was a refinery pipe that got a rat stuck in it.

A gas station was out of Beef Jerky.

Somebody swiped their debit card the wrong way.

An oil tanker took the wrong turn.

Venezuela hates the USA.

Pat Robertson said nasty things.

Consuela hates truckers.

It's summer.

It's the advent of fall.


Fumes escaped Houston before they could be refined into more refined fumes.

Vin Diesel is out of control.

When he left the country, Michael Jackson left his SUV's motor running.

China has millions more motor scooters now.

It's a conspiracy by the gasoline-station-sign number manufacturers.

3-in-1 Oil is changing to 4-in-1.

Tom DeLay.

Returning to college, frat boys are getting tanked more often.

Martha Stewart swears revenge for her jailing and is buying up every drop.

Smaller barrels are now being used to drive up price.

I may return to this later. I have to go push the car.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mystery SOLVED.


was the headline on the blog entry below (now titled "xxx") that took out my side bar. I hope it's not some worm. Ironically, the "xxx" will get me more hits than anything I could post, I'll bet.

It was a view of my keyboard, a repository for petrified food bits and other waste.

I feel so good about this I will now try to add Google ads to the site. I can pinch a penny till Lincoln grins.

...where am I....?

Sometime yesterday the whole right column just disappeared. My profile. My links. My archive. I looked, and it's not between the keys of my keyboard (check previous entry).

Is this like the Truman Show where the false reality is uncovered piece by piece? I must look for my shadow today. A few weeks ago I lost my voice for a few days. I can't remember the names of some of the people I worked with 25 years ago. Maybe I didn't. And that radio station called "BOB" that I created? How likely was that?

Monday, August 22, 2005


Today I made a discovery.

Like a dousing rod, my pretzel rod dipped when it passed over the computer keyboard. I was practicing what I call Hands Free Eating at the time, my fingers dancing across the keyboard -- three letters correct, one wrong, back up fix forward back up. My keyboard work is like a waltz. One two three fix forward back two three. You get the idea. Anyway, I thought I saw a crumb fall into the gap between the keys. That made me stop to investigate.

Oh my god, there's a whole dump of food bits and who knows what else? in there!!! Performance isn't suffering, but the thing looks like the kitchen of the place where the car thief was hiding in the project on COPS last night.

I must carefully vaccuum between the keys, and not with one of those sissy eyebrow brush keyboard vacs they sell at inflated prices at Comp Wussy. No sir, I will use the Dyson for this. The one with the solar system whirl-a-gig - the one that can suck the finger holes out of a bowling ball. I must be careful.

Did you see the Hunter S. Thompson memorial? They - his friends - shot his ashes out of a cannonnade of fireworks. As a centerpiece was a 150 foot tower of his trademark. Nice.

Which reminds me, grimly, we have to redo our wills. Texas isn't Minnesota - the law is the law. The will is a won't here unless it's fixed. We are a fixin' to fix it. As a childless couple, if we both join Hunter, there will be some surprised people who will receive what I think are some nice things. If it would be you, just know we chose the nicest people we know.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I fed the pig.

I fed the pig 256MB x 2. That should feed its insatiable hunger for memory. It is compatible, same speed, ddr, desktop ram. I felt like a geek Tim Allen, "...arf arf arf MORE POWER!!!" Well, more memory, not really power. But you get the idea.

Amazingly, this time I didn't bleed. I have in the past - it's as if becoming a blood brother/ vampire lover with the computer... like Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thorton in a much more perverted and way less organic way.

Placing/Forcing those memory modules into the million connection receptacles is hard - you can cut yourself on the circuit board or one of the throwing stars that the Chinese workers weld into the place you want to access.

Of course they've designed these things with tolerances I can't begin to understand. And you have to move the intestines of wire to even clear the slot.

But the big suprise is - it works. (I guess that's obvious) - it rebooted and recognized all 1 Gig memory.

Meanwhile back at Gateway online support (which won't work), the tech is telling me to enable java - which was already enabled, so he can climb in and nose around from afar.

I may quit while I think I'm ahead.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Insufficient Memory. Yeah, I have that.


Ours recently started to act out. First it left messages about WIN16. In screwing with it, I accidentally deleted parts of Microsoft Works. I wouldn't care except for the calendar which steered my life. Can't find the install disc.

My friend Geoff got on the line with me and walked me through what seemed like many changes. He said some old fart program was constipating the operating system. Geoff and I went through the whole startup tab, deleting this or that.

I then rebooted and apparently lost all our changes. Never mind.

Then more recently the computer seems to have developed a memory problem (despite repeated re-boots). It'll not load a program and say there's insufficient memory. But the system resources analyzer says there IS.

Today, another friend, Sandy, walked me through a lot of this again, gently repeating his mantra: "Trust me," but when I rebooted, I lost HIS changes. Those darn little boxes that open up put the FEAR in me.


To activate the changes you have made, you could deactivate other shared programs or protocols.
Do you REALLY wish to do this?
Are you STUPID enough? Go ahead. Click OK.
I dare you!"

So I sit, anguished. Conflicted. And my computer TAUNTS me.

Then tonight I tried for on-line support and the computer says I have to enable a security setting which is already enabled. But it won't let me past that screen other than to show me what to do that I already did.

Tomorrow I might just go buy some memory, which costs about 50% of what Gateway wants to sell theirs for. Making you feel like THEIRS knows better. Maybe the stuff you get at BestBuy did pot as a teenager and blew its mind.

PC Doctor tests memory as okay.

Defrag isn't necessary, says that program.

Virus scans up to date and clean as a latex gloved proctologist.

Spybot only finds Alexa, which I know and use.

I may have to do the manly thing - and kick the damn box.

Lets' hope there's no artificial intelligence in this machine or I'm REALLY screwed!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Two things you must take boating!

Water and a cellphone.

Don't know if you can see this clearly on your monitor but the rainbow yesterday landed on us. No pot of gold found... yet.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Boating away the summer day.

The temperature was above 100 - the car said 104, but we think it exaggerates. Terri had arranged for a surprise ski boat rental - just something to zip around Lake Travis, which is Austin's way of saying, "Dam the Colorado River." We did indeed zip all over for almost two hours, and with a deft touch I brought us back to the dock with not even a bump. You can see from the picture that the sky was electric blue and happily, boat traffic was low, it being a Friday before the rush.

What we hadn't stopped to realize was that days before this, a night-time accident had involved a speeding skiboat hitting a slow moving cabin cruiser in the dark. All the ski boat passengers were thrown overboard. None had vests on. One was still missing, despite many hours of search.

I think had we considered this we might have passed. Can you imagine how your vision of the lovely water would change when each floating thing could be... the missing?

Once, boating with a good friend on the mighty Lake Erie, just off Buffalo, I spotted something afloat. It was flesh colored - a body - and I had him maneuver close so we could see. It was a completely intact, completely dead, very large... pig. How that got there is so far beyond the exit ramp for my mind!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Liberation of Miss Abdul

Great news! FOX-TV has cleared Paula Abdul. I am SO relieved. I know you are too.

According to Reuters:

"Fox said in its statement that Abdul acknowledged she had phone conversations with Clark while he was a contestant, but she denied the talks were related to her giving assistance.

Abdul's and Clark's accounts of the phone calls "differ greatly and no evidence was uncovered to resolve the conflicts in their accounts," Fox said."

The network's probe was conducted by lawyers at independent firms, required almost 600 hours of work and spanned more than 3 1/2 months.

Clark was kicked off "American Idol" in 2003 for failing to disclose that he faced criminal charges of battery and resisting arrest that stemmed from a fight with his sister."

Hey, back up. 600 HOURS? What the...? SIX HUNDRED?

How could they run up that much time?

"Tell you what - go ask 20,000 people if they saw them do it."

I imagine squads of attorneys on the clock, lunching : "What do you think she did?" " I don't know, what do YOU think she did? Pass the mustard." "I think she rode that horse, if you know what I mean." "Did we get the detectives? " "Yeah - six of them. They're searching all of hollywood for DNA. If it's out there, we'll find it." "What's DNA?" "Huh?" "No, no, what is DNA?" "What?" "D-N-A... Didn't-Noodle-Abdul!" "Noodle - what the heck is "noodle?" "You know - noodle."

In a related story Fox announced the fall season premier of Searching For the Truth - a dramatic new reality show in which camera crews follow investigators on the trail of what may have been the biggest contest-show scandal since the $64,000 Question.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Plenty of sunshine coming my way...

Today will be, as Uncle Remus used to sing - a zippedeedoodah day! We are renting a skiboat on beautiful Lake Travis. Not to ski, but to zoom. We will zoom all over. We will cut through the water like a ginsu knife. The weather is perfect. The forecast calls for fun.

Meanwhile, back at the tongue, it still hasn't completely returned from my dental nightmare 2 days and 1 hour ago. Now over the years I have been a passive NON-litigious guy, passing every single chance to sue the beegesus out of someone for any reason. But I wonder if I don't have a legitimate CAUSE for a CRUSADE here (with, of course, the help of a settlement-percentage-based attorney.) For the children. (They always say that.)

I might mistake oatmeal for tapioca. Over the course of a lifetime (remaining - ugly thought that) - what? $50,000?

The tongue side that has 'gone beddy-bye' could be the salt side. Loss of potato chip taste - a true tragedy, ladies and gentlemen of the jury? Can you even put a price on that? $150,000. Pretzels will become cardboard: $75,000. Airline snacks... oh, wait, they stopped those.

I can't stick my tongue out the way I used to - that's clearly a freedom of speech issue: $350,000.

I might mistake things: cotton for cotton candy, just to name one. This could result in a bowel obstruction. My problem is dangerous and potentially life-threatening. $1,000,000.

And what about pain and suffering. Or to be more exact NON pain and NON suffering, since I can't feel on the right side of my tongue. I won't even go into the sexual loss here, this being a family blog. $5,000,000.

We met a man on one of our trips to Jamaica. He was a RISK ASSESSMENT OFFICER for a food store chain. Told us a grape slip'n'fall was worth $5000 - the store wouldn't even go to court. So what do you think I could get for this travesty of deprivation? How many slices of sensation can be cut out of a man before he loses his seat on the bench of life and has to go stand on the sideline, behind the players?

And so while we zoom on the lake, I pray to God (and encourage your prayers and contributions to the fund) that I don't have my tongue hanging between my teeth like a golden retriever drooling out the SUV window on the expressway, only to hit a wake and bite myself without knowing it, and bleed to death, all because some dental school slacker missed the bullseye with that turkey baster of a novocaine needle!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Something's up down there

Below I mention having just been to the dentist for a particularly grueling session. How grueling was it? The chair armrests now have my white-knuckle squeezings in permanent plastic. My tongue is still half numb on one side - 30 HOURS later.

It's usually my tendency to CLEAR THE HECK OUT. Never mind waiting for the fog of the Nitrous to lift - the BILL will sober me up, thank you. And so I danced my way out as soon as the drool bib was removed.

And yet, in the same hallway, are the offices of Austin Magazine. I'm a subscriber. I write. I think I should propose a marriage.

Each time I've passed that door I've thought, "Hey - I should see if they have space for a wordsmith!" But immediately I've always then thought - 'but I'm dressed way too casually, should work up a resume, etc.'

Not this time. I boldly staggered in - Nitrous'n'Novocaine boy - that's me! I announce myself, "Halllloooooo?" Nobody at the front desk. In fact I'm not sure there was a front desk. Luckily, the first person I saw was the editor. "May I help you?"

"Yeshth. I wash justh at the dentisthts offith down the hall and shought I'd schtopp in to schee if you need writershs."

A nice classy impression there. A cross between Daffy Duck, Buddy Hackett and Professor Irwin Corey. Never mind if you don't know two of them. You haven't studied pop culture back into the days of single digit gasoline as I have.

A social note:
Lurching, drooling and slurring not recommended to make that Good First Impression.

Meanwhile, channel 9 in Tampa (now THERE's a head snapping segue!) reports a huge marine dieoff. "Right now, anywhere we go from shore to 20 miles offshore, from Sarasota to Tarpon Springs, we can't find a single creature alive on the bottom right now," said a local dive instructor.

There's something up down there!

And from GREENPEACE, this report:

"Monsanto is seeking patents not only on methods of breeding, but on actual breeding herds of pigs as well as the offspring that result."

"If these patents are granted, Monsanto can legally prevent breeders and farmers from breeding pigs whose characteristics are described in the patent claims, or force them to pay royalties."

Imagine sanitizing THAT for the stockholders. No videos.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Blog Block

I've got blog-block.

I start writing things, but then I get self-conscious and think "who'd CARE about that anyway?"

I wrote a deep one about The Astronauts returning safely and The Russian Sub Guys being rescued and Peter Jennings' passing and how it seems to me that all too few events pull us all together anymore - for a pause, while we all notice whatever it is, and how we are united in that.

I mused that we are desentitized and suggested reasons. But then I hit delete.

I'd like to keep the tone of the blog lighter, too, and today's episode was going to be about going to the dentist which was VERY unpleasant and painful. But again, who'd want THAT? (Thankfully, he prescribed me 6 pain pills and I am on number one and believe I need it and surely deserve all of them!) So I am sparing you some really good creative descriptions of the Hunter S. Thompson ilk. I will mention that Nitrous Oxide in Texas is about as calming as whiffing a wino's belch. There must be some regulation - it's not nearly powerful enough!

As I and the Vicodin ramble, I want to mention that we have met several pairs of new neighbors and the record continues - this is the NICEST group of people I have ever had the good fortune to know.

We love Austin. We love our neighbors. We love this development. Our research determined Austin as the best place for us to be, but it has been so much better than we would have expected!

In closing, I want to encourage some comments - let me know you are reading this - your response will help break the blog-block!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

LINK-y ding ding

A blog may be a ghost town. You may get the odd jackrabbit passing through, and over there is the cow skull and cactus, and look! A tumbleweed. Or a blog may be a subway station crowded at rush-hour. You just never know. Or at least I don't - I am not ready to find the statistics. In radio I was used to hundreds of thousands of people listening every week - my record was over a million a week. But I write to keep my hand in a creative medium and do what I can.

As I have mentioned earlier, I have been working on a website. The whole website business (and that's what I hope it'll become) is intricate and perhaps much more mature than you might expect unless you've studied it. There are many ways to build traffic (or get nowhere fast.) My website is dedicated to teaching Home Theater to people who don't know much about it except they know high definition looks good and those flat screens are pretty spiffy. But the rest is intimidating or too technical. My guess is this area of info-need (!) will grow and that's what I serve up.

The site will NEVER be finished. There will always be new gear to review, new trends, news, tricks and tips to pass along. Plus, I will never be satisfied and will tweak and tweak and tweak.

I work at it all day most days, and think I'm far enough along to post a link here on the right with my other few suggested links, and declare it up and running.

is the link. Hope you visit and that it's helpful!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Squeaky the man-toy

Life sure has has strange twists. Recently I've hooked up with a voice-agent here in town. I've done commercials and voice acting for, gee, almost 30 years, though I'm not that old.

A new agent in a new town is a challenge. Now, especially for newbies like me, almost everything is done by audition. And you no longer are local. Everyone everywhere is local. The pool is full of really big fish. MP3s flash auditions from anyone anywhere, to anywhere else. You need an agent just to get to do the auditions, let alone the jobs.

So it was wonderful that I got my first Austin "gig" - though it was for a program that helps teach Asians to speak English, is produced by a group in Hawaii, and from there goes 'round the globe.' What would THEY know about a good performance? But work is work. And I wanted to impress.

Wouldn't you know it? (1)
I had a doctor's appointment to look at my voice box and she stuck a tube up my nose and down my throat. This shot my voice for days... which eventually included the session.

After a few days, as the session loomed, I called my agent to warn her I was croaking/squeaking like Alfalfa in the Our Gang black and white movies from before civilization. She said it was too late to rebook... just do the best you can.

Which was embarassing.

Wouldn't you know it? (2)
And in front of about 8 other VERY good voice actors working on the project.

The doc found that my stomach acid has been creeping up and frying my throat while I sleep. Refusing to have my head cut off, or a tap put in, I opted for meds, and we'll see what they do. I can't tell yet, because it's a slower heal, and I have to get over the laryngoscope invasion first. Should be fine though.

Well, I now understand what it's like to believe you'll never work again. It afflicts some very welll known actors, they say.

Afflicted, conflicted and restricted, that's me.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Down in front!

Last night we went to Blues on the Green where, for free, you can sit and watch and listen to a couple of blues artists perform on stage. Being this is the music capital of the free world or something, it seemed a great idea. We had a good time eating dinner on a blanket. The temperature dipped (!) down into the high 80s as the sun set. The crowd grew. Our spot, chosen carefully, was being encroached upon, but, in keeping with the constant PA reminders to have a good attitude but no firearms, alcohol or glass, we didn't mind.

Until the smokers set in beside us.

Boy, there's nothing that ruins the natural fresh air scent of the great outdoors for non-smokers than those upwind who have no consideration for their fellow persons. I'd like to have gone and peed on their legs, Just to "pass it forward." I don't mind YOU smoking, just go do it somewhere where I'm NOT trapped.

A local radio station was the sponsor, and I thought they did a very nice job mixing promotional announcements with recorded music while we awaited the musicians. Nice, too, that this was all free (except for $3 parking, but that's nothing these days.) They also had various charities wrapped in, with 'booths' or tents, and T-Shirt sale profits to worthy causes. Many people had dogs with them.

We love dogs.

We love Austin.

I estimate the crowd grew to maybe 3,500.

The first act was okay, but to our ears, when the singer wasn't singing was best. Which means we enjoyed the instrumentals more. Too bad there weren't any. Seriously, the band was the draw for us. The singer was obviously accomplished with a nice enough voice - it just wasn't a magic synergy. But the audience enjoyed her.

While the second band set up, we stretched and all was going well. I'd all but lost my voice at the doctor's the day before as she stuck a tube up my nose and down my throat to look for spare change and whatnot. So I was pretty quiet.

Just as the second act was about to play, the pair who had been sitting on a blanket in front of both us and the girls to our right, came back, but remained standing as the show restarted. The girls called out, "Down in Front!" but they were ignored. Finally one girl got up and asked the couple to sit. They moved to block OUR view. I then stood up and said, "That won't work." And, "Please sit down so we can see." The woman then told me I was rude, that they wanted to stand (their sitting view wan't blocked.) I then suggested that rude was blocking the view of people who waited two hours to see the act. They moved slightly, but stood for apparently the rest of the show.

After two and a half songs, we left. The magic was gone. And the second singer despite heavy credentials, was lousy. Maybe loaded - in any event, way too talky and not enough sing-y.

What is it about people who have enough ego to stand in front of other people obviously ruining their view? What drives them? I can't even understand that level of selfishness. Maybe I'll invent a concert taser.