Saturday, November 29, 2008


Even though I was closer than most to some pro football; not as an athlete, but as programmer of an NFL local team radio network (Buffalo Bills, years ago), even though, technically, several coaches, and quarterbacks 'worked' for me in terms of broadcast, I wasn't really ever completely 'into' the game.

That changed when we moved to Austin, home of the Longhorns.

First of all, it's so much easier to identify with winners. But my enthusiasm isn't completely generated by that.

When I watch pro football, good as it may be, the players so often seem to celebrate themselves. Indeed, many are self centered, spoiled, talented mega-millionaires. The ones who aren't remain in the background.

What I enjoy so much about UT football is what seems to be a genuine sense of FUN. Example: the second string QB scores and the possible Heisman-winner first stringer is jumping around for genuine joy for him and for the team (even with a 40 point lead.) They smile and laugh. The coach calls them kids - they ARE, after all, but no macho posing MEN. The defensive (and future Head-) coach slaps and chestbumps his players as they come off a play and he's clearly having as much fun as they are. (Head) Coach Brown emphasizes having fun. There's a purity there which seems missing in pro ball. Sadly.

Here's a big kid having fun.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


You see it almost every night on TV when they show the stock market close. The darn stocks could well have tanked - even to record lows or drops and there are always a gaggle of smiling clapping idiots standing around to 'close' the day.

WTF are they smiling about? This makes me crazy. Maybe they think it's a priviledge or maybe their firm seeks pub, but truthfully they all look like fools smiling as they preside over failures and financial horror.


Sunday, November 23, 2008


Just as long as little Doofus didn't mix the signs up, everything should be okay.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Generally, no, I'm not handy. Not for projects around the home unless they involve audio or video. It's not that I am unwilling, it's that I am a klutz. And impatient.

We have two pipes which drain 1- pool overflow 2- deck water when it rains. Both weren't thought out very well, as they stub out and then the water runs down the outside of the rock face which is the pool wall.

ALL BY MYSELF... I went to the paint store to buy more foundation paint... went to the builders' supply (NOW THAT'S A STORE!!!) bought some PVC, had it cut, discovered an elbow was mis-sized, returned it (major step forward) for the right one, attached the pipes, painted the pipes... and had a lot of paint left over so I repainted the foundation (actually the edge of the concrete slab) where it had become discolored... and then I also painted some concrete which has discolored on the deck. I didn't spill a drop. I colored within the lines.

A few weeks ago, some workers had mortared around the front door and when they stripped their blue tape, it removed some paint on the trim. I even CAREFULLY repainted the bare spots... but

apparently that's the wrong color. It didn't dry to match.

We CAREFULLY noted all paints used at the house when under construction. I fear THIS ONE DOOR is surrounded by the bastard stepchild o' paint, have no idea what it should be, but have eliminated one as wrong.

ALMOST made it. ARGH!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Craig is the best Bond since Connery.

We saw QUANTUM OF SOLACE yesterday. Here's my take in appropriate bullet points:

* The opening credits song sucks.

* They will never top the opening action sequence of Casino Royale. It was two GUYS. This one is two CARS.

* The script of Quantum for Daniel Craig seems like it was about 5 pages long. More action, less talk?

* The villain is more real than most of them are.

* From the airplane on, IMHO, the film improves.

* Olga is okay, a good actor. I thought she'd be lousy - didn't like the Casino Royale 'girl' "Vesper" at all.

* The Redhead is hot... at first. (Gemma Arterton)

* Nice new geography - locales very effective.

* Judi Dench is tops.

* Giancarlo Giannini adds humanity to the story. I wish he was in more of it.

* Escapism like this will sell many many tickets.

* I want an Aston Martin.

* They say there are no gadgets, and there really aren't EXCEPT for some pretty cool computer tables.

And the title refers to what Bond sought in revenge. I see confusion in other reviews on that.

Friday, November 14, 2008


New friends - Andro (he's Dutch), and his wife, Allison, introduced me to a "house concert" which took place at an incredible venue last night. The concept is that folk music (though apparently not limited to that) enjoys somewhat of an underground audience, and that certain places - private homes or whatnot - are volunteered to bring the artist to the people. All the money at the door goes to the artist --- refereshments' generated donations to a charity.

It's really all about the purity of the music, and sharing.

So last night we found ourselves driving (too fast, I know, me at the wheel) over the backroads of Wimberly, Texas, to Blue Rock Studio, which turns out to be an incredible home/venue/studio. Here's the link - I encourage you to take the video tour! (choose: facility/video tour)

Most of the audience had been there before, as indicated by a show of hands. (So easy to see why!) I'd estimate the venue - a large hall (see the video!) holds about 120. The studio is a million dollar plus showcase. They video the shows with 3 cameras, and record audio by tielines into the studio control room.

The artist performing was highly touted, but I had never heard of her. In a word, she was GREAT. I'll link to her site and suggest you watch and listen to Don't Work With Your Friends. For another side, see the A&E video.

Susan Werner is witty. Between the songs (and even in some of them) it was all shared fun. But that's not to suggest she's one dimensional at all - some of her songs were so sensitive and wise! Here's her site.

I am humbled in the presence of such talent.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The last Twitter post said it all: "01010100 01110010 01101001 01110101 01101101 01110000 01101000."

For those of you who aren't fluent in binary, the post, from NASA's Mars Phoenix Twitter account, translates as "triumph." Several scientists at JPL, who smelled suspiciously of medical cannabis, subsequently ran through the halls of the Jet propulsion Lab shouting that "there's life on Mars and it's BIKERS!"

According to NASA, the space agency is no longer receiving communications from Phoenix, its Mars lander, after more than five months of operation. The not unexpected event came after the lander moved into an area, NASA said in a release Monday, where "seasonal decline in sunshine at the robot's arctic landing site is not providing enough sunlight for the solar arrays to collect the power necessary to charge batteries that operate the lander's instruments." The guys in service said that parts are backordered.

In other words, Phoenix has run out of gas. But according to NASA, the agency got more out of the lander project than it expected, so it considers--what else would you expect NASA to say at this point--the mission a success. Since the economy in the solar system has been affected by the worldwide economy here on earth, there appears to be little chance NASA could afford a fill-up, could a station even be found.

And while the lack of suitable sunlight, as well as a dustier sky, led to the inability to power up Phoenix's batteries, NASA does hold out some hope that the lander might return to life at some point. HOUSE, MD. watching marathons are planned.

NASA launched Phoenix on August 4, 2007, and it landed on Mars on May 25, 2008, "farther north than any previous spacecraft to land on the Martian surface." Unfortunately, there was no evidence of Superman's Martian fortress of solitude or Santa's Martian Workshop.

Among its goals? It "dug, scooped, baked, sniffed, and tasted" Mars' soil like a little mechanical Martha Stewart. And while that may not seem like glorious duties, NASA credits Phoenix with confirming the presence of water-ice in Mars' subsurface, something that had first been detected remotely by NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter in 2002. Phoenix was also a prolific photographer, shooting more than 25,000 pictures of the Red Plant during its tenure there.

NASA said that Phoenix helped further study the question of whether Mars was ever a suitable environment for microbes, and also determined that Mars harbored small deposits of salts that might have been "nutrients for life." In addition, Phoenix discovered calcium carbonate on Mars, "a marker of effects of liquid water," and what appeared to be dog stool.

Throughout the Mars Phoenix mission, NASA had sent out Twitter posts related to the project. Along the way, it gathered 38,417 followers (as of this writing), making the account the seventh most-followed on the service. (Barack Obama holds the top spot.)

And it seems NASA knew that Phoenix was dying. One post prior to its binary goodbye, the account read, "It's very unlikely I'll wake up next spring but if I do I'll call home. Good luck w/ your project."

Saturday, November 08, 2008


I am about to start looking through the almost 600 pictures I took on vacation. I like to let a period of time pass so the pictures wiil be great memory triggers - so here it comes. Then I'll do a Shutterfly book. We keep these on the coffee table, open to a new page each day. I regret I didn't stop the car more often and take more pictures. Yellowstone was breathtaking over and over again - there are distinct areas which each have amazing beauty. It's incredible. And I really wasn't expecting to be as blown away as I was. After Yellowstone we flew back to Salt Lake City then drove to Sundance. We'd been there several times and it was very familiar but still good.

TIVO can call up pictures from this computer for display upstairs on the 60" Sony -- Amazing!


Does anyone else have the TiVo solution for "Switched Digital" channels? As I understand it, this means your cable carrier somehow piggybacks digital HD channels on each other - and TiVo cannot decode the 'riding' channel. I just lost half a football game by choosing "record by time" and not noticing that I chose the switched digital version.... which gave me the first half - of nothing.

TiVo was said to have been working on it - or was it Time Warner? In either case, that was then and it's still then.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Well, now it gets REALLY interesting.

Personally I hope he fills his cabinet with BOTH republicans and demolicans... I mean democrats. That would be a great step forward toward the 'across the aisle' non-partisan rebuilding of the United States. Such a shame his grandmother didn't live to see him succeed.