Saturday, July 28, 2007

What to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon?

After an unsuccessful attempt to mow the lawn during a brief pause in the precipitation, I chose to stay in, surf the web, and listen to music on

I’m a late-comer to, but I dabbled with its cousin, Pandora, about a year ago. I probably would have signed on to sooner, but the novelty of Pandora quickly wore off. I usually don’t like trying to listen to music while sitting at my computer. If I sit at the computer and listen, I have a tendency to hit the “skip" button if a song doesn’t hook me within 30 seconds. For better results, I think I should rig my laptop to my home stereo, sit down with beer, and let Last run wild.

My initial thoughts on compared to Pandora: the music well runs much deeper. I didn’t have to listen to Pandora for very long before I started hearing repeat songs during one sitting. Last tends to stray from the reservation when running through tunes from “similar artists.” Fugazi got linked with Blink 182. On the other hand, Pandora tried to slip some Def Leppard into my Television--and I‘m talkin‘ really bad post-Hysteria Def Lep [much worse than the already bad circa-Hysteria material]. To paraphrase a line from Short Circuit, computers don’t have feelings: they just run programs.

Of all the “stations” I’ve tried so far, I’ve had the best results with Sea and Cake, which has rolled out some Red House Painters, New Pornographers, Les Savy Fav, Shins, Thunderbirds Are Now, Yo La Tengo, Neutral Milk Hotel, and much, much more. [Sea and Cake came up on my Guided by Voices station.]


Thursday, July 26, 2007

This rainy summer is something else. Mrs. Coda and I had been planning on spending more time enjoying the outdoors this summer, but we've been in a neverending rain delay through June and July. We have managed to make it out to a couple of natural swimmin' holes in the area and hit the neighborhood tennis courts twice. But mostly, we've been stuck inside watching movies.

There is one upside to all of this rainy weather: it's late July, and the temperature has not yet reached 100 degrees.

One of the few highlights of the summer has been my summer Tour de Pizza. A few coworkers and I have been on a mission to find the best pizza in Austin, visiting one place each week. We've toured six places [or is it seven?], and we have too many more to go. Less than half way through our journey, I think we may have already hit four of the top 5 places. When I moved to Austin 8 or so years ago, there were scarcely any good pizza places within the Austin city limits. Sure, there's always been the good-when-you're-drunk places downtown like Hoek's [aka Death Metal Pizza] and Roppolo's. Now we have serious options for civilized pizza dining. It's going to be hard for me to pick a favorite.

Sadly, I learned recently that Hoek's closed down due to the renovation of the old Ritz theater to house the new downtown location of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. R.I.P. Hoek's. I will spin some Slayer in your honor.

Oh yeah. The movies. I've actually been to the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse to see a few movies this summer: Hot Fuzz and Knocked Up - good; Transformers - bad. Transformers' suckitude was not surprising, but it was still disappointing. What more can you expect from Michael Bay? Big screen action for the Deuce Bigalow set. That said, I'm looking forward to promising stupid fun of Superbad. And The Simpsons Movie opens tomorrow. Even though I don't watch The Simpson's regularly these days, I still consider it my all-time favorite show. I feel compelled to watch the movie.

While I'm talking about cartoons, I must give a nod to The Venture Brothers. It's pretty damn good. And it's the first Adult Swim cartoon that the Mrs. and I both like. We almost watched the whole Season 1 DVD in one sitting--couldn't get enough. Check it out.

That's all for now.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Feel Good Hit of the Summer - Al Gore III Style

Zanax, valium, marijuana, vicodin, and aderollllll!

No cocaine.

I didn't know a Prius could do 100 mph!!!

See the original feel good hit here.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Still there?

I last posted over a month ago, so I guess it’s time to catch up on what’s been going on since the session ended.

Yard work, or: Kneel before Sod. We’ve had a ton of rain in Central Texas over the last month, and our yard is looking greener than ever. But that means that I’ve had to spend a lot of time mowing, trimming, clipping, etc. I really really want to take on some new landscaping projects in our yard, but just trying to keep the yard we have under control is more than enough work for me. Besides, we’ve decided to put yard projects on hold and focus on our home’s interior. I think we’ve decided to focus our time, effort, and dollars on remodeling our bathrooms and replacing the carpet throughout the house. Over the three years we’ve been in this house, our remodeling plans have changed several times from kitchen to living room to kitchen and living room and, now, to the bathrooms. While the kitchen would be a more rewarding project, the bathrooms actually need remodeling. And our carpet definitely needs to be replaced. Right now, we’re considering taking one of the bathrooms as a DIY project [it’s a good thing we have two]. I think we’ll have pros do the flooring, though.

Inspired by the French Open tennis tournament TV coverage last month, I talked the Mrs. into hitting the high school tennis courts down the street to swat at a few balls. I haven’t played tennis in about 6 years, and I think my wife hasn’t played in over 10. We were surprisingly not that terrible. However, we only lasted about 30 minutes running around in the June heat and humidity. I’m probably in better shape now than I have been in since I finished college, but I’ve got no legs. That hasn’t discouraged me from trying to play again. It’s all that damn rain that’s keeping us away from the courts.

Since the session started in January, I’ve been trying to read in the evenings to help take my mind off of work. I've mostly been reading books we have around the house--whatever looks interesting. I recently finished reading The Dirt, the Motley Crue tell-all sorta-autobiography. I’ve had the paperback for a few years, but I didn’t pick it up until a couple of weeks ago. I almost forgot I had the book until I read Chuck Klosterman’s Fargo Rock City, which I borrowed from a coworker. FRC isn’t any good, but all the Motley talk reminded me that a read of The Dirt was long overdue. It’s a real page-turner. And it’s got me wanting to listen to some good ol’ hair metal. Or any metal for that matter.

I’ve also been trying to play my guitar more. Last year, I think I went about six months without playing. And once session started, I was usually too tired or preoccupied to pick up the guitar. One afternoon this spring, I slapped some new strings on my acoustic and played until my fingers were too sore to continue. That didn’t really take long since my fingers were soft from not playing in such a long time. Now I’m trying to make it a point to play for at least half an hour every day. I think I’m getting some chops back. Maybe.