Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Happy Holidays! Various conspiracy radicals claim the Mayans’ calendar ends at 2012. So only maybe 5 more Christmas letters to go. Of course, it could be they ran out of enthusiasm or ball point pens, or the world transforms into Candy land or there’s an ice age – said to be great for Margaritas, by the way. Nevertheless, it’s fitting I start to write this today as the temperature is scheduled to plummet by 42 degrees in a little while – seriously – signaling the end of Summer. We have chosen to have slate laid yesterday and today which can only ‘take’ if the temperature remains over 44 degrees. Moral: You can cheat fate, but fate has surveillance cameras, knows you do, and bars you from the casino for life.

We just returned from a crewed catamaran somewhere off Mustique. This was so close to Christmas that cards, folding, licking, stamping was dangerously close to being replaced by snorkel maintenance, packing, waiting in airports and looking both serious yet friendly at TSA checkpoints throughout the travel grid. Note: we’re back and peeling. A great trip, though the reefs are dying. As a concession to cheapity and Al Gore, no Christmas tree this year. As a concession to me, no fake tree to be lugged from the attic.

We overnighted in Puerto Rico. Once, while passing through the city, a former prison guard who was on our Happy Bus To The Ship told me that PR was so violent it scared him, a bulldog of a man. Happily, the hotel is in the airport maze. Unfortunately, on the flight from Dallas, Terri was crushed beside a 400 pound behemoth – one requiring seat belt extender, no arm rest possibilities and who had apparent abundant body hair.

Still, there’s an impending sense of 2008... an interesting run downhill to the caucuses, a new administration is getting closer, perhaps to repeal the losses of personal liberties and other ridiculousness like, oh, wars on terror, on Iran, on drugs, on poverty, on the press, on the constitution. But hey. It’s almost Christmas. Bush declared it in a signing statement.

Originally, this was to be a parody of holiday Brag Letters, but Terri wasn’t thrilled by my invention of a fake family so I could proudly shill their paroles, etc. This year I must stretch to try to not brag and to stay within the bounds of good taste so as to not curdle your family egg nog. By the way, a rubber snake (not made in China – you know they use bad things for paint and glue) makes a delightful surprise in the nog bowl. I suggest some plastic sheeting for anything you wish preserved from Aunt Edna’s spray when she snags the little reptile with the dipper. Family fun!

Austin was just named number one city in the USA for this fall’s worst allergies. That alone is nothing to sneeze at. Or it is. If the mold won’t getcha, the ragweed will. If the ragweed won’t getcha, the cedar fever will. Due to the unusual amount of rain this summer, things grew con enthusiasmio. I expect a spore parade in spring, downtown. Writing about downtown, it’s a sky full of construction cranes as condopoly has hit Austin hard. Amidst cries of, “There goes the neighborhood,” the city is reinventing itself as a bit more cosmopolitan, though it retains its weirdness, one of the many charms. I’m doing all I can to hold up my end on that.

A million 400,000 square feet o’mall went up just a mile up the road. Civilization! Most of it is fashun fer wimmin folk, but here ‘n’ thar are some stores which a male could walk into. Barnes and Noble is now Barnes and Critters. A Cineplex is a movie. REI is REIEIO. Now they are workin’ on Phase Two which will include Grubstations and a Huge Dick’s Sports Store. Think up your own joke about that. Dick’s won’t be far from Victoria’s Secret where I’m pretty sure they could run a date-the-manikin sideline profitably.

Terri is now a commish on the city (Bee Cave is now a city!) planning and zoning committee, and every time there’s a meetin’ her packet of stuff to vote up or down is delivered to our door by a Policeman. Since I work out of the house, when I spot the cruiser coming up our driveway, my heart flutters just for a ‘sec. Not that we done wrong, mindya, just, it’s the law.

Our development is growing quickly – the back road is now open, and a neighbor saw a black deer the other day – that’s really rare! Also some Black Angus cattle got out from the ranch which sits growing in value smack dab in the middle o’ the homes. It’s still nicely rustic though - and every evening we can hear the lions and tigers and oh my growling across the wilderness to the zoo, upwind.

Hard to believe we’ll have been here a full three years in January. Original settlers. We chose wisely. People are nice, the economy is better than elsewhere, the weather great and I think I just lapsed into braggin’. Sorry.

I’ve become a reviewer for www.ultraaudio.com and this is a good deal – they send me cutting edge equipment to cut with for up to 8 weeks while I write a review. That’s like playing with your neighbor’s toys till you get tired of them. I just finished a review of what I believe is a $6000 CD player. Our radio format is on several stations and we are aggressively pursuing more across the US. What the heck – I’ve been doing radio since 1968 – might as well put that knowledge to use. We could expand to as many as 30-50 stations and then busy wouldn’t even begin to describe what we’ll be. But there will be $$ in the mailbox and that’s always a treat.
I like working for myself even though the boss is a jerk. About bosses, my old boss back in Minneapolis got fired and HIS boss got fired. The Clear Channel Logo is a Scythe.

It’s amazing what technology allows – later this afternoon I will get into the computer of our format station in South Carolina by remote control and set up their Christmas Music programming. Also a provider is sending me a hard drive with darn near every song on it that anybody plays in any format. (I’ll then build OUR playlist and he’ll sell that as a package to clients.) Something like 8000 songs coming this way.

On the visual side, I am going full guns into Digital Photography. A neighbor invited us to their night-time high school football game and I snuck onto the sidelines for a while and even snagged an errant pass. That was just so cool. I look at any opportunity to learn more and take hundreds of disposable digital shots while I build my chops. I also have Photoshop and have enjoyed learning what can be done through that. All I can tell you is don’t trust ANY picture from now on – anything can be done. Have you seen the before and after model shots, pre and post photoshopping? (They are all over the internet.) At the football game, a grandfather asked me if I’d take some shots of his grandson and I said sure... once the helmet came off, the kid had bad acne. So I removed it... and you’d never know.

Terri and I wish you all the appropriate holiday greets, wish we could see you again, but we can always be in touch via email rwood24@Austin.rr.com, or SKYPE (really neat, great fidelity free telephony, even video via internet) bobwood11528 is our Skype address, or phone - home: 512 291 6262, 512 470-1802 is Bob’s cell, 512 470-2395 Terri’s cell.

Stay well. I notice the older you get the more you talk about health. Try to hold off on that.

Our wish is that you never grow too old to pursue fantasies and make them become real. That they live up to the anticipation and that you get to play more and feed the inner child.

Merry Christmas – Happy New Year

Bob and Terri Wood

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