August 2005


I swear, I wish I were a weatherman. I want a job where I don’t ever have to be accurate. I want a job where I don’t get “held accountable” for my predictions.

Look at yesterday’s forecast. Compare that with today’s:

not so hot

I want to be a weatherman.

(Yes, I realize that the major difference in the forecast is because of the hurricane that’s shifted west, and is now headed straight for New Orleans, but still… it’s not like the hurricane wasn’t there yesterday too.)

This desktop picture is from Christine’s computer… and I haven’t put that shot online yet.

I checked the temperature today1: 100°F.

Rediculous.

1: “checked the temperature” means that while I was laying on the couch, I fired up the Dashboard within Mac OS X, and looked at the forecast for Austin… ugh… it’s not getting cooler soon either. And the photo on my desktop is a modified version of this photo of Jack.

On Sunday Night, we let Jack run around his room naked… primarly because he’s just getting over the worst diaper rash he’s ever had, and it felt like a good night to let him “air dry” if you know what I mean.

Josh and Elise gave Jack and little rocking chair when he was born, so, he climbed up on it, and we put together this quick movie:

Rockin' Jack
Click Here to watch the movie

On Friday night, Christine, Jack and I headed to happy hour with the old Freese & Nichols crew. It was good to see everyone again. We learned that Tejashri is leaving FN to go work for Allen Plumber, a competing engineering firm. Good for her! We’re wishing her the best of luck.

Jack had a good time hanging out with all of our friends. He didn’t fuss a bit, and the place we went (the Brentwood Tavern) had a nice sand pit outside, right in front of the live (and loud) music for the evening. Very family friendly.

Christine and Cyndi decided they wanted to help celebrate Erin’s birthday at the happy hour too, so Christine and I stoped by Cold Stone Creamery and picked up a delicious chocolate ice-cream cake on the way there. Mmmmmm… it was good! [photos here]

After the happy hour, we drove home, and got to bed quickly.

On Saturday, we went to Baby’s R Us (BRU) and bought Jack a new car-seat. He’d grown out of his little one, so we got him an Even-flo Deluxe thingamabobber type new one. Man, is that one cool car-seat. Heck, I’d like to have one just like it. Jack digs it too.

After BRU, we went to the mall so I could get my new contacts fitted. It took entirely too long for me to sit through multiple contact fitting sessions, and to leave with a headache and contacts that aren’t right. I’m heading back up there on Monday. Moral of the story: don’t go to a mall based eye doctor … especially not on a Saturday when the mall is pumping with people. Oh, but the Orange Julius’s we got were scrumpious (actually the place isn’t called Orange Julius, but that’s what I know those slushy stores at the mall as).

Then on Saturday night, Jack and I took some goofy pictures on the couch, before Jack too a bath. We then shot some fun photos of Jack in the tub, taking a bubble bath, and splashing in the water:

On Sunday morning, Jack and I got up at 6:00 in the morning. We played until about 7:30, and then we went for a walk around the block. After trying to eat breakfast, Jack went down for a nap around 8:50 (he’s usually only up for two hours in the morning, never three, so this morning was a long morning for a tired and weary dad!)

Christine got up around 10:00 and told me that we were going to church. So we raced around the house, showered and got dressed, then got Jack dressed before dashing to church. We left the house at 10:55 and got to church at 11:03 (or so). We sat in the main chapel until Rev. John started his sermon, then we went up into the cry room (Jack was starting to talk and hit the woman in front of us on the back during the beginning of the sermon – gotta teach that boy some manners someday). We ran into Murphy, Benjamin and Amanda in the cry room. Ben and Jack played together during the sermon and the closing hymns, and couldn’t have cared less… they were having lots of fun. We decided to head to Serrano’s for lunch together.

We saw Erin’s sister Kaulin and her husband and Dad on the way to Serrano’s… we don’t see them often enough.

I mowed the front yard in the evening, and tried to throw down some fertilizer, but the fertilizer I bought was a little too wet, so I set it in the garage and I’ll spread it out later this week after it drys a bit.

All in all, a nice relaxing weekend.

Last weekend, Aunt Murrell, Jon and Hanna Weakley (my family – from North Carolina) all visited Austin. It was part of Jon and Hanna’s first visit to Texas.

They got to Texas sometime the week before, and had been touring all over south and east Texas. I know they spent some time in Kima, Beaumont, Houston, and parts in between there and Austin. They got to Austin on August 11th, and Christine and Jack drove out to Debbie and Raymond’s lakehouse to meet them and welcome them to our hometown.

I was still in Detroit, so when I got home (at 1:30 in the morning on Friday 8/12) I went to bed, and planned on meeting them on the 12th.

Around noon or 1:00pm on 8/12, they all came to our house in central Austin, before we headed to lunch at Jason’s Deli. Jon and Hanna were really hungry (actually, they’d been eating lots of food all week, so that’s sort of an inside joke). Christine and Jack stayed at the house to take a nap.

After lunch, we headed over to the LBJ Library, and tootled around the exhibits. They’ve got a really nice view of downtown out the 10th floor windows there. And the Presidential Limo that’s on display there is pretty cool. I also didn’t make the connection that LBJ presided through a lot of crap this country had to go through: War, Civil Rights, a depression of sorts, and other stuff… I should learn more about our history sometime.

After the LBJ Library, we went to the Bob Bullock State History Museum. We walked the first floor of exhibits before heading up to watch the “Story of Texas” mini-movie. That was lots of fun. They all enjoyed it. If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend it. We then walked a little of the second floor exhibits, trying to figure out what happened at Goliad. It was a massacre.

After we were “Bullock’d out” we walked down to the Capitol Building. I showed Jon how you can stand in the very middle of the bottom floor, right under the rotunda, and if you talk, you’ll hear your voice echoing, but no one else will hear the echo. Pretty neat stuff… especially since I remember that from my first visit (my Mom took Allen Hillboldt, Bradley Froebel and I there when we were like 10 or 11 – almost 20 years ago, ugh). We also walked into the House and Senate chambers… it’s neat to be so close to one of the great statehouses in the country. It’s too damned bad our legislature can’t actually get much done (like school finance reform).

Then we met up with Christine on “the drag” just to the west of the UT campus. We went into the Student Union building and got our tickets for our tour of the UT Clocktower. The Clocktower is fairly well known as the place where, “On Aug. 1, 1966, Charles Whitman, a student at the university, barricaded himself on the observation deck and began shooting passers-by with a rifle. At the time, the shooting was the nation’s worst mass killing. It lasted 93 minutes, ending with Mr. Whitman’s being killed by the police, but its after effects have spanned two generations.”

The tower was closed to the public in 1975, due to a rash of suicides, and was reopened in 1999, to guided tours. The tours are led by student workers, and they’re lots of fun to listen to.

The view from the top of the Tower is pretty cool. I’d recommend the sunset tour, if you ever plan on taking the tour. I’ve heard it’s pretty cool.

We also found Aunt Murrell’s dormitory from when she attended UT back in the 1930s. I think Austin’s grown a bit since then…

Afterwards, we headed to Trudy’s for dinner, but they were packed, so we drove over to Serrano’s on Red River. Great food, but we were all exhausted.

Evan, Shadel and Ella got to Austin while we were eating dinner, so Christine, Jack and I headed home to visit with them, while the rest of the gang (Murrell, Debbie, Jon and Hanna) headed to the lake.

On Saturday, the 13th, the girls (Shadel, Ella and Christine) went to the Mall around 10:00 a.m. The boys (Evan, Jack and I) stayed home and played, then watched a little TV. When Jack woke up from his morning nap, Evan and I took him out to the lakhouse (we got there around 12:30).

We all took a dip in the pool, and then ate lunch. Christine, Shadel and Ella showed up around 2:00 or so, and around 3:00, we all headed to the lake. We’d rented a jet-ski and a pontoon boat from Hurst Harbor Marina. I piloted the pontoon boat, while Evan and Shadel drove the jet ski out. We headed out of Marina Point to the west, and parked in a little bay cove just around Lakeway. It took us around 25 minutes to get to where we were going, so we really only had an hour on the lake.

Jack slept in Aunt Murrell’s arms, all the way there. Ella napped on her Grandma’s lap too.

After parking the boat, we all went swimming in the lake, while we took turns driving the jet-ski. First out was Evan and Shadel, then Evan and Hanna (Evan drove). Debbie went out with Evan next. Then Jon and I went out (we let Jon drive). It was Jon’s first time driving a jet-ski, and he did pretty good. Then he let me take over for a little bit. I was a bit rusty, and ended up throwing us both off the jet-ski in a high-speed (attempted) turn.

Then we let Hanna drive, with me on the back. Ha! That was sooo much fun. Hanna was pretty content with testing out the jet-ski first, and seeing what it could do, then she slowly started pushing it pretty hard after we did a few donuts and figure eights while waiting on the pontoon boat to catch up with us. That was the most fun I’ve had on a jet-ski in a while.

At the Lakeway Marina, I traded in Hanna for Christine, and I rode ont he back with Christine all the way back to Hurst Harbor. It was Christine’s second time to drive a jet-ski, and that was just as fun for me as riding with Hanna had been… Christine was pretty funny… she scared herself good a few times, and forgot to let off the gas because she was gripping the handles so tight.

Then, right before we got to the marina, she threw me off the jet-ski by goosing it good while I was showing off by not holding on to anything.

After we put up the boats, we all piled back into our cars and headed to the lake house. Aunt Murrel cooked a really good shrimp-boil and veggies for dinner. I told Jon that I’d bought him his very own domain: jonagon.com (Jon’s had a business since he was 4 or 5, if I remember correctly, called Jonagon. I thought he should own the domain); so look for more from Jon on his new website.

We celebrated my Mom’s 55th birthday after dinner. She got lots of fun cards, and some great gifts.

When it was good and late, we all said our good-byes and called it a weekend.

Christine got up on Sunday morning and drove Jon and Hanna to the airport. Jack and I stayed home and played… it’s so much fun having him all to myself every now and then ;) .

Sadly, we forgot our camera at home during this weekend, so I don’t have any fun pictures to show you, but we all had a great time.

Two weeks ago (man I’m way behind) a friend of mine from Portugal dropped into Austin to check it out:

On the left, is Olivier Travers, publisher of Scifan.com, DefenseIndustryDaily.com, and one of my original partners on MarketingVox.com, and his wife.

Olivier and I first met a good couple of years ago on the internet, and we respected each other’s work. We also shared a few mutual friends. Later, we founded MarketingVox.com (as MarketingFix.com). Then I moved to Austin, and became less involved. Olivier and the other guys carried on, and then we sold it to Andy Bourland (don’t worry, I didn’t get rich)… Anyways, over the past two years, I’ve told Olivier how much I loved Austin, and they planned a trip to the States to see Austin, and a few other cities (I think about 9 cities in 12 days was their plan.

About a week out, Olivier emailed me a note saying “I’ll be there next week.”

Then I thought “crap!”

I’d just booked tickets to Knoxville, TN, on the day that they were arriving in Austin. I felt horrible, because I knew they were coming, and I didn’t put it on my calendar, and I wasn’t going to be able to show them Austin…

So, after they flew in from Portugal on Wednesday morning, we met at Mueller’s BBQ over here on the east side, and enjoyed some good old fashioned Texas Barbeque. mmmmmm…. mmmm….

Then we came back to the house for a few moments, and took a picture before I headed off to the airport.

It was really good to finally meet Olivier in person, I just wish I would have taken those days off, and really showed them Austin.

At least we met, and if Christine and I can swing it, we’re going to try and visit them in Europe sometime in the next 12 months.

the website was hacked, so here’s a new theme for you all… hope it’s not too tough on the eyes … things will return to normal around here soon.

moral of the story… make sure your FTP password isn’t “password” … that was stupid.

Last week, found me in Knoxville, Tennesee on Wednesday/Thursday to see a client that I’d really like to convince to use the stuff I’m selling now. Knoxville is a gorgeous little town that reminds me of Austin 15 years ago. Obviously, I have no idea what Austin was really like 15 year ago, but I imagine it was a lot like Knoxville. Small college town with a bustling little business sector and a certain charm that makes it attractive.

I met my future client at the Downtown Grill and Brewery for lunch. Good food and great atmosphere.

Then on Thursday night/Friday morning of last week, I was in Nashville to talk to another future client. I was actually in Brentwood, and I have to say, that is some beautiful country there… I stayed in a Hilton Suites hotel in downtown Brentwood, and when I woke up on Friday morning, I was greeted by a beautiful smoky mountain sun, peaking over three little foothill peaks that I could see surrounding the town out of my hotel window. Just gorgeous.

Oh, and the Tennessee barbeque isn’t bad folks. I ate pulled pork, ribs, and brisket at Porky’s on Thursday night. The pork and ribs were wonderful … much better than I’ve ever had in Texas. The brisket wasn’t done right (that meaning we still do it better in Texas) but it wasn’t bad either. And who can pass up “sweet tea” as it’s called in the south. Loved that trip (and I’ll close one of those two clients this quarter which makes the trip worth it).

Then this week, I flew to Dallas Tuesday to meet with two clients and to attend a industry meeting. The two client meetings were great… don’t know that I’ll sell anything there soon, but it’s always good to have the conversations.

I stayed on the DFW airpoty Tuesday night at the new Hyatt Grand. Wow! What a great hotel. Loved it… would stay there again if it’s convenient.

I got up a the butt crack of dawn on Wednesday and flew to Detroit for a few client meetings. I was dead tired… jet lagged and ugly. I found my hotel, rested a bit, and met a client for dinner on Wednesday night. Great dinner… learned a lot and look forward to working with them more in the future.

Then on Thursday, I met with two current clients and one potential client. All of my meetings were good, and I’ve decided I like Detroit. Granted I was only there for 30 hours, but it was a good trip. I had dinner on Thursday night at Fishbones and lunch on Friday at Sindbads (ummmmm). Beautiful yards out in the suburbs, all of the roads seem to be big divided boulevards and the trees are amazing.

Overall the last two weeks have been profitable from a business standpoint, but they’ve been tough. Being away from Jack and Christine sucks, but it’s a neccessary evil. I’m sure I’ll look back on this time in the future and think that I’m really glad I did it because of where it gets us all. I’m just glad that Christine is as supportive as she is, because without her I couldn’t do this.

And since I’m writing this on the plane listening to the iPod, I’ve got to point out some new/old artists I totally dig: Spongle is the bomb – totally new music to me, that I completely dig. I can’t wait until Jack gets to see the Texas Aggie Band (I’ve got the CD I played on on my iPod). U2 just rocks!

I should also point out that I’m now a First Class whore. I’ve flown First Class (free upgrades because I fly too darned much) the last 8 times I’ve flown, and I’m spolied now (I write this as I sit in an exit row on a 1/2 full flight with plenty of room … the little desks just don’t work as well in coach as they work in First Class (that and the liquor ain’t free back here)).

I’m back in Austin all week next week, and Aunt Murrell, Jon and Hannah are here this weekend visiting, woohoo!

Bob Beuerlein, our good friend from our Army days, has been at Fort Irwin, California, home to the National Training Center for the past month. He sent this Top Ten list:

Top Ten Reasons to Live at Fort Irwin

10. Lizards outnumber humans, and taste like chicken.
9. You dont need to mow the lawn. If your really anal retentive you can rake your pebbles.
8. When its 118°F outside by the time you hang your clothes out to dry they are already dry!
7. It rained today, for 30 seconds, then it was nice and humid just like home in Texas!
6. You can make kick ass sun tea in about 30 min.
5. The post pool is free.
4. The temporary barracks are not airconditioned. Nothing like sweating off a few extra pounds while you sleep!
3. Starbucks is only 100 miles away in Victorville.
2. Las Vegas is only 3.5 hours away.

THE NUMBER ONE REASON to live at Fort Irwin, California is…

1. Any reason to leave town is a good reason!

Here’s a few photos that he sent along as well:

Pretty bleak huh?

Get home soon Bob!

(When he gets home, we’re going to have dinner with him, his daughter Sophie Kate, and his mother one night in Austin).

Today, Jack, Mommy and I had some fun after dinner but before Jack took his bath. We decided to see if Jack would push around his new walking mailbox toy (Christine bought the toy this past weekend, and so far, Jack was content playing with the mailbox part of it).

So, I propped him up behind it, and gave him a little push… and he started walking behind it… and liked it.

So Christine ran and grabbed the camera, and the result is this movie:

Walkin' Jack - Click here to watch
click here to watch the movie

Cute huh?