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August 29, 2008

the smallest portal master


a few weeks ago I found some guy in the driveway.  actually two seperate guys in two seperate trucks arrived at the same time.  I said "one of you is here to buy my chainsaw and the other is likely lost".  the one who looked real embarassed had no interest in my chainsaw.  he applogized and gave me his card as he drove away, he was giving a neighbor a quote on window tint.  we had considered getting a few windows tinted so I invited him back after his quote down the street.  I sold the chainsaw and we bought window tint for the west facing windows.  the tint is said to block 83% of solar gain and the city pays for part of it (more than 10% of the cost).  the difference was immediate.   

ps3 portal master

no doubt about it, babies LOVE portal.  we finished level 19 today and have started our escape.

kung fu foot technique

the bumbo is great.  but he's so chunky that he's almost too big for it.  at 5 months he's now wearing 1 y.o. clothes.  to get him out of the bumbo I have to put my feet on the base and pull.

tecate sauce

I use a lot of beer and wine when I cook.  some of it even goes into the food.  red beans and rice tonight (cheap eats that is a big crowd pleaser).

spent half a day working on the airstream.  installed the counter trim, smev cooktop, the sink and the faucet.

I had managed to make a small crack in the formica top as I was fine tuning the cutout for the smev.  a new piece of formica was $45 and a trip back to the big orange box.  instead I found a $20 decorative plate. 

cleaning it all up to take it to the airstream shop and let them replace the plumbing.  the old copper lines have many patches and at least one split pipe that we can see.  I expect it will all get replaced with pex.


we got our back to school supplies after school started.  we had fun at officemax.  many items on the list were priced at just .01; one cent.  they even have a complimentary automatic coffee machine near the front door.  the staff asked if the cafe mocha was to my liking.  it was!  her school supply list included a usb flash drive, that was full price. 


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August 24, 2008

the almost trip to mexico

class list chaos 

the class assignments were posted at 4pm this past wednesday.  it's a bit of a ritual to be there when the list is released.  it's always a mob sceen.

we had big plans for this summer.  there was talk about a trip to the yucatan, I used to go at least every other year.  it's now been 8 years since my last trip.  we also had plans to drag our airstream over to the grand canyon, stop by and see family in orange county, then up to napa to sample the eats at my brother's restaurant then down through colorado on the way home.

I don't think we left austin.  school starts tomorrow so we made a last ditch effort to reward the kids (the older two).  we made a 36 hr trip to san antonio, nana stayed home and caught up on her videos w/ the baby.

she really didn't want to get on that ride with us.  the line was short and as we were ready to get on she started complaining of stomach ache.  she was approaching full panic and we could see tears start to form.  over the past few years we've noticed that she is giving in to fear more often so we had her tough it out.  she was in full tears before the big drop and we felt bad.

she scolded us as we got off, "I told you I didn't want to go on that!  I felt like I was going to fly off!"  so we made a quick dash to the souvenier shop where she found a necklace that featured a dolphin with that mood ring material in it.  we were forgiven.  not sure what sort of lesson was learned here.  but there was something wrong about making it all OK with jewelry.  are we hardwired to make up with girls by offering shiny trinkets?  or are girls working us to get the bling?  either way, it was a happy ending and next time we go to schlitterbahn I expect she will at least go down the tube chutes with us. 

chocolate flan

the hotel staff directed us to some fantastic mexican eats.  we got there late and the wait was extensive.  I knew we needed some sugar intervention.  we asked the waiter to bring us the chocolate flan asap!  it did not disappoint.

assorted fried pork innards and pieces

I loved the food at rosarios.  kat had a trio of meats.  she was diasppointed in the chicharrons, she likes her pig skin pan fried and chewy but they serve the crispy pork rind variety.  she also likes her bacon chewy and I prefer crispy, I like the chicharrons.  she had a similar complaint with the tripas.  but we both agreed the mexican sweetbreads were fantastic!  the enchiladas were also a big hit.

el diablo con cerveza

the dude and his cerveza.

passed out cold

he passed out.  I had to carry him eight long blocks back to the hotel.  that portion of sweetbreads didn't go to waste. 

san antonio river walk

the next morning issued unusually mild temps.  we strolled along the riverwalk while most people were still sleeping off the night before.  it had been quite crowded the previous evening.


we love breakfast at mi tierra.  their panaderia is also some of the best we've had.

tongue for breakfast

kat was happy to have the lengua (tongue) plate for breakfast.  I guess it was chewy enough for her liking.

pinata motif

panaderia counter under a blanket of pinatas

I like to use yelp when considering where to dine.  it's handy to have more than one app on the iphone that uses yelp.  one is called WHERE and it uses the iphone gps to find your location and issue a list of options nearby. 

the fun thing about yelp is that the reviews are by common anybody sort of folks, not professional restaurant critics.  some of the reviews have to be dismisssed as error on the writer's part.  for example,  the joint is open 24 hrs and it seems that many of the bad reivews are issued by folks who have gone in to eat after spending most of their evening at the bars...  so, maybe they don't like to serve surly drunks at 4 in the morning.  other odd complaints were "this place is too much like mexico", yes, it is a mexican restaurant...   another person complained about the pinatas! 

anyhow, we've always had extremely attentive and friendly service and the food was always good, and it is very much like breakfasts we've enjoyed in mexico.  we saw that as a plus.

lucha libre

no trip to mexico would be complete without the purchasing of cheap craps.  we refused to buy any cheap mexican goods that had the made in china label.  come on norte americanos, can't we manufacture our own cheap craps!

little jose of the valley plays for the sheeps

sorry for the quality of pics being less than usual.  i've stopped carrying the dslr everywhere and use the iphone for most out and about pics.

and thanks to modernmama for nominating austinmodhouse for an E award 

we love to read about "the guy" renovation mishaps and communication failures etc. 

and for anybody who might find themselves in copenhagen might enjoy a stop at a gallery exhibit by our friend louise dyhring nielsen

here is a link to a newspaper article on her gallery exhibit.  I can't read danish but I'm sure it says things like, "louise is very cool and has some very powerful images displayed" and all sorts of positive stuffs like that.  I had a last minute urge to make an effort to get over to attend the opening, but things like the cost of a ticket and the fact that my passport is long expired became obstacles to kill the idea.


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August 21, 2008



we've been having a lot of rain.  it's very much needed and appreciated.  it's not been so great for the green roof, have roofer coming later this week.  these freaky mushrooms have popped up over night in the horse tail bog across the front of the house.

alien plant

the freaky alien cactus flowers are back as well.

glass tile sales have been failry steady so we are happy about that.stainless steel subway tile

I hope to get some of the funkier tiles listed on ebay early next month.

school starts tomorrow.

heavy metal drummer

he has been flip-flopping on which instrument he wants to pursue, drums or guitar.  finally he concluded, "I already know how to play guitar, so I don't need lessons"  he was talking about his little rockers camp.  so he's ready to enroll in drum lessons.

she is getting better every week!

this weeks installment of silver jews lyrics:

O Dallas you shine with an evil light
How did you turn a billion steers
into buildings made of mirrors,
and why am I drawn to you tonight?

Once you taste the geometry of a church in a cul-de-sac
you're gonna want to sit with the bad kids in the back

YES, I am going to stay excited about seeing the jews next month. 

I'm on an email list from fans of the now defunct band Luna.  somebody on that list posted this really clever site that searches your itunes library and then sends you email alerts when bands in your collection are going to be performing at a local venue.  I was interested right away since we missed the flaming lips, ministry and sigur ros this year.  mainly because we had no idea they were playing.

it works!  I got an update that jonathan richman will be playing here in october!  that is that guy from something about mary to you folks over at austintreehouse.com

I found a video of iggy pop covering a jonathan richman song

even the sex pistols did a jonathan richman song even though johnny rotten forgot the lyrics when performed live

it turns out that many bands have covered roadrunner and rolling stone listed it #269 of the top 500 songs of all time (if your into those sort of lists)

and galaxie 500 covered don't let our youth go to waste

media room update:  took the ps3 back to best buy where it worked perfectly.  came home and got the optoma projector and took it all back to best buy (after verifying once again something was not working).  got it all to best buy where it all worked perfectly.  brought it all home and we started upstairs where it worked perfectly.  we set it all up in four locations until we finally made it back to the media room where it worked perfectly....  I now have it all fed through a power strip w/ emi filtration and also ran an extension cord through the ceiling so the ps3 and projector are on the same circuit; just in case there was some weird grounding issue etc.  so far, it's been working fine.


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August 15, 2008

technical difficulty week

it seems the week was mostly up hill.  ready for the downhill coasting.

dirty job

changing oil is a dirty job.  I'd quit doing it myself for the past few years.  our 1970 porsche 911 had not enjoyed one in over a year, so we mostly just quit driving it.  it costs around $85 to have the porsche wrench do it.  I once tried taking it through a quick lube and supplying them with the correct mahle oil filter.  the problem was that the car is too low the ground and would not clear their rail around the pit.  I finally caved and bought ten quarts of oil (yes, it uses 10 qt per change) and just did it myself.  I was completely satisfied with doing it myself and it took maybe fifteen minutes.  now I just need to get rid of the old oil.  back in santa cruz they city had curbside pick up.  they even supplied the 15 gallon jug.  anyhow, after a week of battling technology I was glad to be able to get greasy and twist a few nuts/tug on a few wrenches.

porsche 911t 911b

I had to show some land out by spicewood.  it's beautiful drive with plenty of twisties and elevation changes.  it was great to let the 911b stretch it's legs.


for the past few months we have had to add water to the koi pond quite regularly, despite the fact that the a/c condensate was draining into it.  one morning we found the lower pond with only a few inches and the upper pond down about 6 inches.  there was a bit of panic because the plumbing is through the sidewalk concrete and if the leak was in the pond itself... 

we considered going to tractor supply and getting a stock tank to relocate the koi until we got it solved.  I was not going to bust up any concrete. 

with some trouble shooting I found that the leak must be from the section of plumbing feeding the 90 degree return in the middle of the pic above.  the pipe is large enough that I don't need two so I decided to just cap the leaky section of plumbing.  while I was messing with the plumbing I figured it was best to remove the redundant surface skimmer.  all the surface gunk just gets flushed over the negative edge down to the lower pool and it just looked dumb.

greasy austin hippie eaten by koi

found a greasy neighborhood hippie who was willing to get in there with the koi.  he works for tecate.  I just hope his stinky feet don't give the koi some slacker fungus infection.


we are into our third set of tadpoles.  the second set got killed when we were adding a bunch of water to compensate for the leak.  the one above is the sole survivor from that bunch.  he's about ready to graduate.

the snail army is also growing in size.

besides the koi pond problem, we also had a media room failure.  while playing portal the ps3 suddenly froze, then flashed bright green alternating with bright orange, then it briefly displayed the main menu behind the bright green and then just green.  after several hours of shuttling it to the other TV upstairs I had deduced that we lost 1080p hdmi.  the ps3 works great on the tv upstairs (1080i resolution).  we found the projector downstairs will play PS3 at 1080i and is playing movies at 1080i, but we bought it for 1080p!  also, it refuses to play any orange box games at any resolution downstairs, but plays them fine upstairs. 

after many frustrating hours battling sony playstation support defense both online and on the phone, I got a hold an actual human.  their official reply was that sony refuses to give any support at all to any person who connects their ps3 to a projector.  seriously!  c'mon... the ps3 is marketed as a great bluray player and many people use projectors in media rooms.  that large screen is the ideal venue to get the benefits of bluray.  so, we have the exchange program with theplaystation so I can just walk it into best buy and walk out with a new one.  and if by some off chance it is the optoma projector that is at fault, it's also under the best buy protection plan. 

#1 son started to cry when he found I am possibly going to swap the ps3 out for a new unit.  "but we'll loose all our progress on lego star wars" he sobbed as tears welled up in his eyes.  I got my lacie rugged external hard drive and backed that sucker up!  HA!! 

jason's alpina bmw 2002tii sure looks good in my driveway.

alpina bmw 2002tii


my daughter is doing SO WELL at guitar.  she is now learning her third song. her teacher (tony at austin guitar school) has assured her that he's good at instructing people to sing while they play.  she is shy and first declined his offers.  tony and I were both a bit surprised when she started to sing.  she sang as she played FOGGY EYES by BEAT HAPPENING

the third song she is learning is also from the BEAT HAPPENING; FORTUNE COOKIE PRIZE.

Tony played one guitar part as she played the other and it suddenly all fell in place.  they sounded great.  I sure am proud of how quickly she's able to pick this up.  so now we're looking for an accoustic guitar so she can practice while somebody else plays the other guitar part.  kat's dream is that we'll end up like the partridge family, happy business hippies traveling around playing happy music.

ending on a musical note,

I found a video for an song from an upcoming ministry album.  all my ministry discs had been boxed up in the garage for years.  I dug them out and ripped 'em (some technical difficulties there as the disc drive on my mac mini sucks!).  anyhow, the new ministry song is not quite as metal as their later stuff and seems to incorprate some of their more disco-ish music from the early 80's.  and the title made me laugh I'M NOT GAY, it's also being called the HOMO SONG there seems to be some confusion if it will be released by ministry or their side project REVOLTING COCKS.

all this stirred up all kinds of 80's/90's flash backs.  powlcat and I recalled when ministry played industry in dallas in 89 or 90.  the concert was filmed and released on vhs I think you can see powlcat climbing up on the fence durring SO WHAT  anybody who was there will likely agree it was the best concert of their lives, despite the misc stuff being thown around (note that the band plays behind a fence)

and since I am still extremely excited about the upcoming silver jews show in september (I have my tix!) and I've mentioned dallas of the 80's, I found a hilarious article written by the David Berman (he pretty much IS the silver jews).  if you like mishaps involving accidental laxitive ingestion, this might be a good read.

The Summer Before The Night Ecstasy Became Illegal In The State Of Texas.




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August 11, 2008

sit on it and goodbye TD

star trek chair 

I finished restoration of the burke chair.

iphone speck

found a cool green skin to help protect iphone (I've had a history of being hard on phones).  I also bought a water tight box to protect my idevices and camera on kayaking trips.

daughter demosntrating the reflective skin over the screen.

kat recognized the emptying of her box of moscato indicated summer was ending. 

the kids were excited to finally be allowed to sit in the new chair.  they had a previously scheduled meeting with a duck in the animal crossing. 

 sad sad sad in the water

depressed at RBI

teardrop trailer

putting the teardrop on ebay today.

atomic boomerang bark cloth

love the atomic bark cloth.

white wire is an ipod/laptop interconnect.

headliner is babmboo and all lighting is LED

bamboo headliner

the sides used to be black; it was a spray on truck bed liner material.  the sun in texas is a bit stronger and temps warmer in texas than in california where the TD was assembled, explaining why we changed it to white.  I used a rubber roofing paint to better accomodate the expansion contraction of the truck bed liner over marine grade plywood.

many good meals and a few margaritas have been assembled in this kitchen.

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August 04, 2008

down the stairs, bucket of kid

I love our stairs.  they sort of hang there.  attached on one side only.  the translucent wall sections compliment this feature.  we intend to cover the treads with cork or anything that is slightly more forgiving than the steel.  

this weekend we had three seperate accidents where kids fell on the stairs.  shins were busted up.  the stairs were not damaged, stairs 3, kids 0.

there is a gap from the edge of the floating tread.  we stronly suggest that the kids always use the handrail.  the gap is small enough that we are within code requirements, but it's still a bit of hazard for small kids.  I will need to start planning a gate as the 4 month old chunk is threatening us with mobility.

people often ask, "if you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently".  the one thing that really bugs me are some of the plumbing fixtures.  we have on demand water heaters.  the master water heater is mounted inside the closet, very near the master bath plumbing.  with the mixer handle placed in the center (as seen above) if the water is turned on, the water heater also comes on.  so, if you merely want to pre-wet your toothbrush, you can hear the electric fan and the natural gas come on.  and they will continue to run for some time after the water is turned off. 

the easy remedy is to just use cold water (center is half cold, half warm).  so we often keep the mixer handle off to the cold side.  I would rather have something with a seperate knob for hot/cold like we had in our past house

little rocker camp

a graduate of the little rocker camp

he entered as a drummer but got moved to guitar.

our regular trip to RBI was put off till next friday.  we sat outside and let the kids swim.

a new piece has been added to the AMH art collection.  this was donated by utilty company scrap artist, powlcat.

vintage bmw 2002tii

we attended the first austin area 02 owners group meet. 

alpina bmw 2002tii

jason's very nice alpina tii.

it should be noted that every 02 that attended had california plates.  maybe next month will see a few more local cars?

despite the temps inside the warehouse being around 115, free beer tastes good.

free beer

first saturday of the month at independence brewing.

potluck night at the austintreehouse

austintreehouse has a huge amount of glass to capture the view. unfortunately, now that summer is officially HOT, it's also catching some heat.  as the sun set, we all found ourselves hiding in nooks and crannies.  then, as it slipped behind the hills, the temp instantly plunged back to humane levels.

sunday morning at hippie church (maria's taco Xpress)

harmonica as worship tool.


she was feeling the spirit.

zee germans have arrived

a fresh victim german

yesterday was HOT.  the first day this summer where we actually complained about the heat.  margaritas help cool the situation.

water slide party at erwinhouse.

they are growing kids in buckets over there.  it's a new gardening trend.

pailheadwith varying degree of success,  first word that pops into my brain: pailhead

another installment of silver jews lyrics:

"I believe that stars are the headlights of angels driving from heaven to save us"

"Boy wants a car from his dad, Dad says, First you got to cut that hair.  Boy says, Hey dad, Jesus had long hair, Dad says, That's right son, but Jesus walked everywhere."

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