Friday, December 31, 2004

Musings on the year that was and the year that will be...

I am amazed at how the time continues to fly by faster and faster as I get older. I vividly remember what I was doing a year ago right now but it only seems like it was a few months ago. I was on the road to New Orleans with my good friend Charles. We were off to a party at a friend's house for New Years Eve. I just can't get over the fact that it really only seems like it was a few months ago!

Parts of this year have seemed longer than the months of March through June when I was working as a bartender in Austin trying to figure out where I was going to move to peruse my audio engineering studies. And then there was the time that flew by like my last six months here in Nashville. Looking back on it, this has been a fantastic year and there really isn't much that would make me happier right now.

I have made some exciting and scary life changes but I have settled into my new home quite well. I've made some excellent new friends and gotten reacquainted with some old ones. I've found and lost love a few times but I have been made better by it. I've taken some exciting trips such as my return to Lafayette Mardi Gras in February, my journey to Indio, CA in May to see the glorious reunion of the Pixies, a cruise with my ever expanding family to Jamaica, Grand Caymen and Cozumel in June and my travels to Minneapolis and Nashville in search of my dreams.

When 2004 started, I had a framework plan of where I would be on January 1, 2005. I don't like to make plans that are too hard and fast because when they don't pan out, I sometimes don't handle the disappointment very well. But this plan was only a framework and it is really not that far off from where I am today as I sit and write my last blog post of the year. Sure some things didn't turn out the way I had planned and then there are the things that I'm still waiting on to see where they are going. But there are so many happy accidents and coincidental encounters that I have had this year that have lead to, dare I say, great things.

I am both excited and terrified by 2005. I will be finishing school but then I will be looking for what comes next! I will be looking for the next path to follow or the next door to open that could possibly lead me to any number of opportunities. There will undoubtedly be some rough times but I am certain that there will also be magical times.

But no matter what the year 2005 holds, I would not be able to make it through the highs and the lows without my family and my wonderful network of friends. I don't say it enough, but I absolutely love my ever expanding network of friends with all of my heart. Sometimes I think about what my life would have been like if I had made certain choices differently. What if I had not chosen to attend college out of state? What if I had not gone to graduate school where I did? What if I had settled for another year of a job that was unfulfilling to me?

Several answers come to mind but the common denominator is that if I had done anything differently, I would never have had the opportunity to meet some very amazing people. There are far too many to name here and now, but I think in writing this I have realized what my New Years Resolution will be:

I will make an effort to express my gratitude and love to my family and friends for always being there for me when I have needed them.

I wish everyone a safe and happy New Year and hope that the year 2005 will be a great one for all!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Personalized Photo Christmas Cards

I have now received about ten Christmas cards from some of my friends that are made from photographs. This seems to be a big trend this year although my mom started doing this with our family Christmas cards about eight years ago. I like the idea and plus it makes it a little more personal because it includes an embedded picture as the card.

As most of my friends know, I am not very good or consistent at getting Christmas cards of any sort done, but as usual my mom and my brother's girlfriend's mom have collaborated on our family Christmas card this year. She gave me a copy when I was visiting Lafayette last week and thought I should include it here. Plus, a good number of my friends read this blog so, although I apologize for my laziness, please accept this as my Christmas card this year.

Our Extended Immediate Family Posted by Hello

We took this picture on November 26 in front of the Texas State Capitol in Austin, TX just after the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets parade for the A&M-Texas game.

Seated: Nicole (my brother Garrett's girlfriend), Jordan (my brother Travis' girlfriend's sister), Mary (my mom)
Standing: Karl and Jan (my brother Travis' girlfriend's parents), Garrett (my younger brother), me, Jack (my dad), Danielle (my brother Travis' girlfriend) and Travis (my youngest brother)

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


So stands the Big XII in bowl games after OSU's loss to OSU earlier tonight in the Alamo Bowl. Not bad but I was rooting for a Big XII sweep of the bowl games this year. I have adopted the attitude of whatever helps the conference. At least the North Division has taken care of business in their games. The North is 2-0 and finished but that says something for the North right there. Here's to going 6-1 in bowl games from this moment forward!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

651.7 To Be Exact

I made it back to Nashville at 9:30 PM which made the trip ten hours. So the trip time was longer but the distance was shorter. The strange thing is that I took a different route and the mileage came out to be an anagram of the mileage I was supposed to make on my trip to Lafayette...657.1. Interesting.

This post will also serve as my first official photo blogging post. I got a digital camera for Christmas and have been learning how to use it over the past few days. During my drive I took several pictures of myself just to see if I could notice a difference over time. This one was taken around 5:30 PM.

Driving at 5:30 PM Posted by Hello

The only real difference I noticed between this and the other pictures is the color of the sky outside. I don't really look more tired in any of the pictures.

Anyway, I plan to add some photos soon so stay tuned to the next phase of the Voice of the Thirteenth Generation!

Miles To Go Before I Sleep...

Today is the day that I head back to Nashville. I'll be taking an alternate route than I took coming so I'll see how that goes. It's still about 650 miles but hopefully it will be a little less boring...but I doubt it.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Life Aquatic

I just got home from seeing "The Life Aquatic," the new Wes Anderson film. It was funny and had it's moments but it was no "Rushmore" or "The Royal Tenenbaums."

My dad is a huge fan of "Rushmore" and although he hasn't seen "The Life Aquatic," he felt that "The Royal Tenenbaums" was an attempt at remaking "Rushmore" and he was wondering if "The Life Aquatic" was the same. After thinking about it for a little while, I have to say it sort of is. Not that it was bad, but it is certainly similar although the locals are a different. It definitely has some very funny moments and great music, but I didn't totally love it.

I saw an afternoon showing and for that price I think it was worth it but otherwise, I would probably wait for the DVD. Plus at the Grand 16 here in Lafayette, they sell daiquiris in which I gladly partook!

Pro Tools Rocks!

Now that a few days have passed, I have been working on getting the recordings of the show cleaned up for burning to CD. I am happy to say that the quality of the recordings is pretty great considering how small and compact my system is. I only have two professional level inputs on my M-Box. I took a mix from the sound board into one of the inputs and I set up a room mic for the other input to capture some of the crowd noise and the room sound itself.

Since I was working with the sound guy to get our mix, we had some trial and error to learn how to do it but by the end of the night the mix sounded great. So the Hek-Atomic Cherries recording sounds the best with the Smites second, Thunderpants third and Manchild last. But even the Smites and Thunderpants recordings sound okay and definitely better than a bootleg with a minidisc recorder.

When I get back to Nashville, I plan on posting some of the new Cherries recordings on our MySpace Music profile. You can decide about the quality for yourself, but I can honestly say it sounds better than most of what we have recorded before.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Happy Boxing Day!

Ever since I learned about Boxing Day in high school, I've always liked to celebrate it even if I don't follow the tradition as it is in England. I just like telling people "Happy Boxing Day!" and then they have to ask about it and usually don't believe me when I explain it.

It is an old English holiday that occurs the day after Christmas. In merry olde England, servants typically worked on Christmas Day but were given the day after Christmas off. In addition, they were given boxes of presents/bonuses by their employers. It has since evolved to the day in which you give a present to your delivery service providers such as the postman and milkman. I don't really know my postman and I don't even have a milkman, but I still like the idea!

I guess I really like it because my high school English teacher began having alumni parties every year on Boxing Day. They were always pretty fun getting to see old friends so I suppose that's why I really like the holiday. So anyway, enjoy your Boxing Day!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2004

The Show!

Well the show has finally come and gone and it was quite a success. It was fairly well attended but we are still trying to figure out the total attendance. Someone was throwing around the number 178 last night but it definitely seemed like there were more people than that. Plus, doing the math based on how much we each got paid, it would seem that there were about 232 which still seems a bit low based on how the club looked but it's not really that important.

My brother Garrett and I got there at 6:00 and started loading in equipment while also helping the sound guy re-setup the stage monitors. This ended up taking a while as other band members slowly streamed in. Sound check didn't start until 7:30 and went on until about 9:00. Sound check was pretty disorganized and I hoped that it wouldn't be a reflection of the show. I finally got my Pro Tools system set up by 9:15 and was able to run out to pick up my friend Chris from Dallas who was in town with his family visiting his grandparents.

We got back to Grant Street Dancehall in time to see quite a few old friends from Lafayette before Manchild started playing at around 10:15. They were a very entertaining two piece band consisting of an electronic sampler run by a guitar player and a drummer. I have been warming up to electronic music recently and found Manchild to be quite original. They played until about 10:45 and then left the stage for Thunderpants to get ready for their set.

Thunderpants went on around 11:00 and played a pretty powerful set as they did last year. Among their many rock and roll originals, they also played their always enjoyable "Nintendo Medley" and their crowd pleasing cover of Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher." They finished around 12:00 and left the stage for the Smites to get ready for their set.

The Smites went on around 12:15 and played their fast punk rock for a full forty-five minutes to a raucous crowd. As I expected, the crowd peaked during the Smites set but it was good for them since both Thunderpants and the Hek-Atomic Cherries had the big crowds last year. The Smites finished at 1:00 and left the stage for a quick turnaround for the Hek-Atomic Cherries.

Our show got going at 1:15 leaving us only forty-five minutes for our set. We had practiced for about an hour so I felt that we might have to cut a few songs on the fly but at the rate we sometimes play live, I thought we might squeeze them all in. Before taking the stage, we had the song "Oh Yeah!" by German electronic group Yellow playing on the PA. The song is better known as "the Ferris Bueller's Day Off song." You know it: Chick-a-Chick-ahhh! We came out of the backstage room as the song was playing dressed as characters from the movie. Charles was portraying Ferris, I was Cameron Fry and Stephen was Ed Rooney. The crowed certainly appreciated the theme and we got right into the set because of the limited time.

Our full set list was as follows:

Hey You Wild Animals, Put Down That Meat
Thanks For the Pizza Rome [pronounced Rome-a]
Pig Latin Song
Edward Abell III
Crazy Bus
Bunkie Lip
The Sofa That Ate My Brother
My Evaporated Girl [a new song!]
Bimbo Gumbo
Jimmy Chonga and the Chimmy Chonga
I Don't Wanna Be Hit On The Head With No Lead Pipe
Stationary [featuring Jay Burton on lead vocals]
I'm A Tree [featuring Jay Burton on lead vocals]
Attack of the Killer T-Cups [featuring Jay Burton on lead vocals]
Plain Brown Wrapper [featuring Jay Burton on lead vocals]
Bowl of Crap
Ninja Gorilla Killa
Dodgin' Flak
Different Beans
Hippy Cheese

As it turned out, we did have to cut a few songs on the fly so I made a few executive decisions for time constraints. Of the eight songs that we cut, none were songs that we hadn't played last year save for a new song that Charles wrote that we had practiced. However, he wasn't too terribly upset by its exclusion.

All in all, our set went extremely well and was very well received. There were a few mistakes however, but that always happens in live shows. My biggest mistake was somehow getting lost on the first verse of "Dodgin' Flak" but we recovered pretty well. I can't speak for Stephen or Charles, but I think that was pretty much the only major issue but Stephen said that he too got lost after I started singing the wrong lyrics for "Dodgin' Flak" and he couldn't remember where we were either. No big deal though. No one in the crowd seemed to mind too much.

I recorded all the shows with my Pro Tools setup and spent a fair amount of the time during the first three band's sets to get levels set properly for recording. There were definitely some instances of clipping the audio but I won't know for sure how it sounds until I listen to the recordings today.

After the show, I talked to several people who thought the entire night was great and many people told me that the Hek-Atomic Cherries set was very tight. It was a really fun night. I only wish that we could do this more than once a year. Perhaps we will be able to organize a show before next Christmas but if all else fails, we will certainly plan on doing it again this time next year!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Almost Show Time!

I'm off to Grant Street Dancehall for load-in and sound check between 6 and 8 pm. The doors are opening at 9:00 and the show kicks off at 10:00.

Everyone who can make it is most certainly welcome! Come on out for some fun!

AP Withdraws from BCS

I am a little behind on the news since I am home for the holidays, so I just read this piece from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about the AP's withdrawal from the BCS. This is a pretty stunning development especially based on the language that is used in the article:

The Associated Press on Monday sent a "cease and desist" letter to Big 12 Conference commissioner Kevin Weiberg, the BCS coordinator, demanding that its Top 25 college football poll be removed from the BCS process.

The letter cited the BCS with "unauthorized and unlawful use" of the AP rankings and said the "forced association of the AP poll with BCS has harmed AP's reputation."

This should come as good news to college football fans, but the BCS contracts are in place for some time so I don't really think that this will precipitate any major change other than the possibility of having split national championships every year.

More Praise for the Arcade Fire

The Arcade Fire's Funeral has been named Pitchfork Media's Album of the Year. This came as no surprise to me although I haven't heard more than ten of their other top fifty albums. There is just something so pleasing and perfect about the album I had a feeling that they would give it such praise.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Entertainment Picks of the Week!

The December 22, 2004 issue of the Times of Acadiana has listed the Hek-Atomic Cherries reunion show as one of the entertainment picks of the week. Read the full article here.

And if you are interested in reading more about how we got to this point, check out the Times of Acadiana article from December 17, 2003.

Band Practice Take 2

Today the Hek-Atomic Cherries convened for our second and final practice before the show Thursday. I had made a point to get some XLR cables for my new microphones so that we could not only have our regular band practice but also run a complete test of my Pro Tools M-Box system. I am planning to record all four bands on Thursday night using the system with the two inputs coming from the FOH (Front of House) mixing console. Before I try to set it up at Grant Street Dancehall, I wanted to have a dry run and try recording practice.

So using two of my new mics, I set up one for drums and one to capture both the guitar and bass. I let the computer rip and we recorded eighty-six minutes of rock. Upon listening to one of the songs, I was pretty impressed with what can be accomplished with the M-Box. It is obviously not the greatest sounding recording (only recorded with two dynamic mics), but we have done a lot worse (four-track tape recording in the old days).

As far as practice went, we played through all of our songs on the list as well as two new songs we will be debuting on Thursday. We only had to play one of the new songs twice and not because we messed up but rather just because Steve, the drummer, wanted to do it one more time to feel more comfortable. All in all I was very pleased. If we can play half as well tomorrow night, I will be very happy. It really is like riding a bike though. The songs come back pretty easily once you get going. Plus it has only been a year since we last played most of these. Last year was definitely took more preparation.

Subtracting out the breaks we included in the eighty-six minutes of practice, I would say that our set is just over an hour which is ideal for several reasons. First, if you play too long, even if the crowd loves it, they start to get bored. At the show last year we played about one hour and forty-five minutes of music. The crowed loved it but they peaked somewhere around the one hour mark. Plus last year there were only two bands; this year there will be four.

Secondly, since I am recording the show, I really want it to be able to fit on one CD. So the most it can be is eighty minutes. Charles and Steve usually have a tendency to get caught up bantering with the audience during our shows so today I told them not to get carried away with it. They say that it helps make a connection with the audience, but I feel you can do that without getting caught up in a conversation.

Finally, you really have to leave the audience wanting more. Otherwise why would they come see us next year. There are several songs that I know the audience will want us to play. There are several songs that we are pretty well known for covering and we have some popular originals, but like Steve and I were telling Charles today, you can't play everything. We can make up for some of that next year.

I am getting excited about our show tomorrow night and hope that anyone out there in cyberspace within driving distance of Lafayette, LA can come and join us in the fun. Look for my review of our performance as well as the others in the coming days.

It's who you know....

As I have mentioned a couple of times recently, my old band will be playing a show on Thursday night. We are a three piece rock band but we haven't always been that way. We used to have a singer who we had to part with due to creative differences. After he left, the three of us took over the singing duties trading off on various songs based on our vocal stylings. That was in 1994.

Flash forward to 2003. We were preparing for our first show in three years and figured if our old singer was in town, we should invite him up to sing a couple of songs for old times sake. As it turned out, he was in town and we specifically practiced three songs that he was going to sing, but on show night, he was sick and unable to participate.

As I was personally preparing for this years show, I made some trips to various music stores in town looking for some things I needed and ran into our old singer working at one of the stores. It turns out he had recently been talking to Charles, our bassist, and they had discussed trying to fit in a few songs this year. He came to our practice yesterday and was singing along to all the old songs. We decided on four that he would sing during our set and he went on his way. Before he left though, he mentioned that if we needed any gear for the show, he would give us a good price.

That leads me to the point of this blog entry. Although we may have had some rocky times in our friendship, we have all still remained friends. And I feel that because of our willingness to include him in the set, he felt like repaying the favor at his store. So it pays to have connected friends. I visited the store today and he gave me an excellent price on some XLR (microphone) cables. This once again proves that the music business is all about who you know.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

"Dead Like Me" RIP

Although I feel that I waste a fair amount of time watching crappy TV, I find some shows to be worth my time. After watching a few episodes of "Dead Like Me," I felt that it was one of those shows. At first, I just thought it would be Showtime's attempt at a dark comedy trying to capitalize on the popularity of "Six Feet Under" but it is very different than that. It is not quite as good as "Six Feet Under" but it is quirky and enjoyable in it's own way.

Tonight, I read that Showtime has not renewed the contracts for a third season of "Dead Like Me." So for all intents and purposes, the show has been cancelled. But that does not necessarily mean the end of "Dead Like Me."

In recent years, fan outcry on the internet has prompted some shows to be picked up by new networks or come back from...well the dead. Case in point: "Family Guy." I have never personally cared for the cartoon, but there was a major outcry by hardcore fans when it was cancelled. This same cult of viewers went out en masse and purchased the DVD collections of the seasons. They all told their friends who went out to buy the DVDs. And they told their friends, etc. Now the series is coming back to TV with new episodes! Behold the power of profit.

Perhaps something similar can happen with "Dead Like Me," but I'm not counting on it. I'm afraid I'll have to settle for the reruns and the DVDs.

Band Practice

Today we had our first Hek-Atomic Cherries practice in almost a year preparing for the show we will be playing on Thursday. We still have a little more to do in practice tomorrow but we sound pretty good right now. We are attempting to learn a couple for new songs for the show. We are also going to have guest vocals on a couple of songs. Our old singer Jay will be joining us on stage for about three songs as he did in practice today. All in all it should be a pretty good show and the Grant Street Dancehall website has been officially updated to list this weeks bands. It's all coming together.

Monday, December 20, 2004

14.5 F#&@ing Hours

That's how long I have been sitting in my parents' house while the Home Depot crew was installing the Pergo floor. That's not entirely true...I got to go run an errand for about an hour around 2:00 this afternoon. Other than that, I've been sitting here just so that someone was home while the crew was doing the work. Is this why I came home early for Christmas?

Sunday, December 19, 2004

More Painting

Spent all day painting and preparing for the Pergo installers today. As much as people always talk about not enjoying painting, I didn't really find it all that bad. It was actually pretty enjoyable because we were able to make pretty quick progress in the whole operation. The two rooms look pretty great right now but are going to look fantastic after the floors go in tomorrow. It really made us all wonder why my parents waited so long to do these kind of renovations. I guess it goes back to us usually thinking that it will be a lot of hard work.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Home Work

Oh the joys of being home. Of course there is always a project that needs to be done (i.e. cutting the grass, helping organize a room) but this year my parents are doing some major redecorating of our living room. My brother and his girlfriend have been doing painting for the past couple of weeks and today we are going to try to finish it off before the workers come on Monday to put down the new Pergo floor. But it is nice to see everyone again plus the more people that are here to do the work, the quicker it will get done. Home, Sweet Home!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Happy Ramahanukwanzmas

Charles Krauthammer gets it right again:

I personally like Christmas because, since it is a day that for me is otherwise ordinary, I get to do nice things, such as covering for as many gentile colleagues as I could when I was a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital. I will admit that my generosity had its rewards: I collected enough chits on Christmas Day to get reciprocal coverage not just for Yom Kippur but for both days of Rosh Hashana and my other major holiday, Opening Day at Fenway.

Mind you, I've got nothing against Hanukah, although I am constantly amused -- and gratified -- by how American culture has gone out of its way to inflate the importance of Hanukah, easily the least important of Judaism's seven holidays, into a giant event replete with cards, presents and public commemorations as a creative way to give Jews their Christmas equivalent.

Some Americans get angry at parents who want to ban carols because they tremble that their kids might feel "different" and "uncomfortable" should they, God forbid, hear Christian music sung at their school. I feel pity. What kind of fragile religious identity have they bequeathed their children that it should be threatened by exposure to carols?

Read the whole thing here.

Or you could just take it from talk radio host Glenn Beck and make everyone happy!

2% Error

I have successfully made it home to Lafayette after a very long day of driving. My trip odometer is currently reading 667.2 miles. Not bad for yahoo maps. Only off by 10.1 miles and I can account for by the fact that I took alternate routes to and from the interstate in Nashville and Lafayette. In any event, not too bad at all but I am certainly very road weary. Also, I don't think I want to make this drive very often!

657.1 Miles

That's the door-to-door distance that I have to drive to get from my apartment here in Nashville to my parents' house in Lafayette, LA. It's going to be a long day on the road but probably no more so than when I was in grad school at Georgia Tech and would make the drive from Lafayette to Atlanta or vice versa. But it'll be a new drive since this is the first time I'll make the trip since I moved here in June from Austin, TX. I'm hoping for an uneventful drive filled with talk radio and various indie rock CDs that I have packed. It'll be nice to visit friends there again plus I have the big Hek-Atomic Cherries reunion show on Thursday that I am very excited about. Well, enough blogging! I need to get on the road!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Arcade Fire

Yesterday I acquired Funeral, the debut album from the Arcade Fire and I can say that this is a truly stunning work. It is the type of music that I hope I could someday be a small part of, either in writing or recording. It is beautiful, forceful and tragic all at the same time. I've only been listening to it for a day but I know it will be number 1 in my CD changer for a long while. Read more about the Arcade Fire here, here, and here. The bottom line is this is definitely a five-star album as far as I'm concerned.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

For the student of Seinfeld

I came across this page while surfing through some of my favorite internet sites. It is the complete Seinfeld-ism Dictionary. Weather it's "uromysitisis poisoning" or "anti-dentite," you'll find it here.

Most of these words are already in my vernacular but there are still some out there who haven't quite picked them up yet.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Will it ever end?!?

Okay, each time I make one of these posts about the List Eater, I really think it is the last, but somehow it continues.

A few updates have been made to a site that I linked in a post a few days ago, the least of which is a song(!) written about the List Eater. It's quite funny and descriptive of the whole event.

More Infamy...

The story of the List Eater has now reached epic proportions in Aggie lore. It has ended up being part of this week's "Out There" column on "Out There" is a round-up of all the most ridiculous news items that can be compiled in a week. The story of the List Eater most certainly fits the bill!

Monday, December 13, 2004

America's Oldest Teenager Shows His Age

When I heard that Dick Clark suffered a minor stroke last week, I was a little surprised. I wasn't surprised that he had suffered a stroke but rather that he is 75 years old! I knew he was older than he looks but I had no idea he is 75!

I don't know what his secret is, but to be as active and coherent as he is for his age, I'd love to find out. In any event, it sounds like he won't be ringing in the New Year like he usually does. It seems that young Regis Philbin will be subbing for Clark on his "Rockin' New Years" show.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

S, M, L, XL, etc....

I've noticed that all the shirts I've bought recently have been Large while only a few years ago, I had to get X-Large shirts. Admittedly, I have lost a little weight over the last couple of years, but it never seemed to be about that. It wasn't like, "If I lose a couple of pounds, I could fit into a Large instead of an XL shirt." I think that there is more to it than that.

I honestly think that clothing manufacturers are re-aligning the sizes of shirts to accommodate heavier Americans. I think it might be a confidence booster in a way. People can go shopping and think they have lost weight when they try on clothes. To celebrate, they'll buy more new cloths because suddenly they feel better about themselves.

Now I'm not one to go for massive conspiracies. I think this is more of a clever marketing tool that preys on self-esteem. I first noticed this a few years ago when I bought a couple of Oxford shirts at the Gap. I quickly tried on some XLs and was on my way. It wasn't until later that I realized just how big they felt when I was wearing them. Since then, I have made a conscious effort to try on both Large and XL to see and inevitably, I find that Large shirts fit better. So my theory is that what was once XL is now only L. What was L is now M.

I've discussed this idea with several people and most have noticed it as well when they stop to think about it. So next time you go shopping for clothes, pay attention to the sizes you try on and see if there is a difference from what you are used to wearing.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The story that will not go away....

I am not really surprised that the I continue to read more about the List Eater three days after the fact. In this internet world, news travels faster and creativity certainly makes it last longer. As my good friend Joel pointed out, "[i]t's a classic example of the internet fueling the news cycle. Blogs are taking over the news cycle. Of course this is the most bizarre news I've heard in a long time."

Well it seems that the makers of the video that aired on KBTX news in Bryan-College Station have edited together their footage to make an 11 minute documentary on the entire event. It's quite funny to watch although some of the references might be over your head if you are not an Aggie or do not know about some of the traditions. In any event, you can watch it here by following the "Sneak peak" link and then downloading from one the mirror sites. Enjoy!

For me the video was almost as satisfying as a stomach full of fresh roll call lists.

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Legend Continues....

So here she is....

The Legendary List Eater

Thanks to my friend Joel for getting ahold of this picture. There is also video taken by a student at the incident and shown on local news station KBTX.

In the associated article, she claims that she never actually ate the list but rather "put the list in her mouth but didn't swallow." She went on to tell KBTX that she "regrets what happened but feels she didn't do anything wrong." And therein lies the problem. She had no respect for a student run system devised to maintain fairness in the ticket buying process.

There is a good quote from an A&M student in campus newspaper, The Battalion. The quote is in response to the List Eater saying the list is not University sanctioned so she did not need to abide by it.

"Its just frustrating because the list is a honor system, and for her to get in the front of the line is just not right," [Amineh Baradar] said. "Right now, it's not University regulated because it doesn't need to be."

It is a sad day when Aggie honor does not apply to football tickets. The article goes on to mention that the still unnamed student has filed harassment complaints with the campus police.

The student List-Eater said she reported death threats to the campus police.

"My life was threatened, things were thrown at me, people were calling me every name imaginable," she said. "They were yelling 'Beat the hell outta' the List-Eater.'"

Elmer Schneider, interim director of University Police Department, said the student reported the assault at about 11 a.m. Thursday.

"She reported being grabbed in the face that resulted in injuries," he said. "We're going to follow up and interview the witnesses."

Well missy, Karma is a bitch and I have absolutely no sympathy considering I have stood in the cold rain to wait for tickets and still had no problem abiding by the list. I hope she has fun at the Cotton Bowl and it is worth all this trouble. If I were her, I wouldn't be able to enjoy the game because the guilt associated with my ill-gotten gains. I'd probably just cut my loses and scalp my tickets!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Student Accused of Eating Roll Call List...

My good friend Joel called me earlier tonight and asked if had read today. is a message board for all things Texas A&M sports related but mostly revolves around football. When he asked me the question, I could only assume that Coach Franchione had announced that he was leaving A&M to take over as head coach at Notre Dame. Thankfully I was wrong in my assumption but was completely unprepared for what he was about to tell me.

Today was the day that student tickets went on sale for the Cotton Bowl game between A&M and Tennessee. I have waited for student tickets on a couple of occasions, the biggest of which was in 1998 when the Aggies were playing Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. Basically, the protocol is that people go to G. Rollie White Coliseum and sign-up on a Roll Call list in the order they arrive. This way you don't actually have to wait in a proper line for the, oftentimes, days that people camp out. To keep people from signing-up and leaving, an official roll call reader goes through the list at regular intervals and if you are not present when your name is called, you are removed from the list. It worked fine in '98 and Joel assures me that it has gone on for decades as there is usually a camp out for the limited number of student tickets to the University of Texas game when it is in Austin.

For the past few days, the same system has been in place for students waiting for tickets to the Cotton Bowl. However, this morning, a student decided that the list was not officially university sanctioned, so she cut to the front of the line. When pressed about not being on the list, she took the list....AND ATE IT!!!!!!


Apparently, people started yelling at her and throwing things, but she didn't back down. When tickets went on sale, she bought hers, but not before the crowd started chanting, "Eat your tickets."

While I think this is very funny, there are already too many people waiting for an Aggie to do something like this just so that they can start using it as another Aggie joke against all Aggies. I guess what bothers me more about this is that it just demonstrates that some young people are so impatient and self-centered, they will EAT A ROLL CALL LIST in an effort to get what they want right away.

The moderators of the message board are not allowing the List Eater's picture to stay online, but one poster has offered to email it to anyone who wants it. I have requested it and plan to post it here as soon as I get it.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Missing Link?

While I was on my way to my internship this morning, I was listening to Paul Harvey's "News and Comment" show and he was reading a rather interesting story. After doing a quick web search tonight, I was able to find the AP article on the Dallas Morning News website.

It is the story of what took place at the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, IL after Babs the gorilla died.

After Babs the gorilla died at age 30, keepers at the Brookfield Zoo decided to allow surviving gorillas to mourn the most influential female in their social family.

One by one Tuesday, the gorillas filed into the Tropic World building where Babs' body lay, arms outstretched. Curator Melinda Pruett Jones called it a "gorilla wake."

Babs' 9-year-old daughter, Bana, was the first to approach the body, followed by Babs' mother, Alpha, 43. Bana sat down, held Babs' hand and stroked her mother's stomach. Then she sat down and laid her head on Babs' arm.

"It was like they used to do in the exhibit, lying side by side on the mountain," keeper Betty Green said. "Then Bana rose up and looked at us and moved to Babs' other side, tucked her head under the other arm, and stroked Babs' stomach."

It is simply amazing to me how much gorillas are similar to humans. I always forget until I see them again in person or read a story like this. Earlier this year when I was in Chicago, I visited the Lincoln Park Zoo. When I went to the primate house, I was again simply amazed at how gorillas move and act just like people. Despite what some might say about the theory of evolution, I feel that there is definitely some relationship between man and apes. Either that or there is something more to higher order animals that compels them to mourn the passing of one of their own. Simply astonishing!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Pearl Harbor Day

This day is a reminder of the trials we have faced in the past but also proof that we as a nation can overcome any terrorist action against our military or those who they protect.

Monday, December 06, 2004

MySpace Music

I have been a member of MySpace for about six months now and have found that it is a pretty interesting online community. It's about the same as Friendster but it seems to be a lot more advanced as far as programming and layout go. In any event, they are both a pretty entertaining way for the internet generation to network with other people. Plus they are free (banner ad supported).

MySpace has a pretty nifty feature for bands/musicians so I have recently created pages for myself and my old band, the Hek-Atomic Cherries. I figured the Cherries page would be good for publicizing our upcoming show and mine would just be good to have in addition to my page for my own publicity.

There is also a MySpace page for the band Thunderpants who the Cherries will be sharing the stage with on December 23. Incidentaly, the bassist for Thuderpants is the same Charles that is the bassist for the Cherries and the drummer Garrett just happens to be my brother.

So check out all the MySpace Music pages and if you are a member, add us to your friends. If not, now is the perfect time to join!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Love Those Cotton Pickin' Aggies!

Thanks to Texas getting selected as one of the two at-large BCS teams, Texas A&M will be playing Tennessee in the Cotton Bowl on New Years Day!

There are several reasons that I am excited about this game:
  1. My brother Travis is one of the Drum Majors for the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band and one of the things that he told me at the beginning of the football season was that he wanted to get to go to the Cotton Bowl in his senior year.
  2. My parents have gotten to see all of Travis' half time performances in the A&M home games during the past four years as well as the GalleryFurniture.Com Bowl game during his freshman year. A&M hasn't played in a bowl game since then, so this will be a nice bookend for Travis' tenure in the band and my parents, his girlfriend and her parents will all be able to be there to watch.
  3. In the old Southwest Conference, the ultimate prize for winning was a trip to the Cotton Bowl. The Aggies haven't played in the Cotton Bowl since 1998 when they finished as number 2 in the Big XII's second year. I find that it is fitting for the Aggies to return to the Cotton Bowl under second-year head coach Dennis Franchione. I feel that this signals a return of the Aggies to national prominence under Coach Fran.
  4. I am a resident of Nashville and have learned how rabid Tennessee football fans are in my short time here. I am looking forward to watching the Aggies beat Tennessee on New Years Day here in Nashville surrounded by Tennessee fans. It will be very fun indeed!

At-Large BCS Teams

As of last week, the number four and five teams in the BCS were California and Texas. When the final BCS poll is released today, the fourth ranked team will receive an at-large bowl bid for a BCS game. In the last poll, Cal led Texas by the smallest of margins: 0.0013 points. It will only take a few voters to catapult Texas over California. After last night's game against Southern Miss, Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers had this to say:

"Our one loss was to the No. 1 team in the country," Rodgers said, referring to Cal's 23-17 loss to Southern California two months ago. "Texas is a very good team as well. Their one loss was to (Oklahoma), the No. 2 team in the country. We're hoping the computers stay the same and the human voters don't change their minds."

There is something very wrong with college football in general when a player cites computers staying the same in order to get his team into a good bowl game. A playoff would let head-to-head play on the field determine who is most deserving of rankings and post-season accolades.

The B(C)S

Another regular season comes to a close in college football and it again results in embarrassment for the BCS system. The system that was started in 1998 as a method for crowning a true national champion has had as many perplexing national champion scenarios result as true national champions. Let's take a look back over the years.

1998: In the first year of the BCS, the day before the final poll was released, there were still three teams that were undefeated. This led to speculation about what might happen if there are three undefeated teams and only two spots in the championship game. By the end of the day, two of those undefeated teams had lost setting the stage for a matchup between undefeated Tennessee and one-loss Florida State. It seemed to work out okay but it left undefeated Tulane, a school from a non-BCS conference, completely out of the picture. Result: Tennessee won to remain undefeated. It was a little scary for a while there, but the system worked.

1999: The second year worked out quite a bit better for the system. Both Florida State and Virginia Tech ended the regular season undefeated and thus met in the national championship game. It did however leave out undefeated Marshall, another school from a non-BCS conference. Result: Florida State won to remain undefeated. It's getting better but what is going to happen if there are three undefeateds from BCS conferences?

2000: The third year had at least one clear team for the title game in undefeated Oklahoma, but there were three one-loss teams all vying for the number two spot in the poll. Miami had beaten Florida State during the regular season, but Miami had been beaten by Washington. But due to Florida State's wins over ranked opponents during the season, they were awarded the chance to play Oklahoma in the title game. Result: Oklahoma won to remain undefeated. Did you see what happened there with the three teams vying for the number two spot? It's kind of like what might happen if there are three undefeated teams.

2001: The fourth year seemingly had the numbers going for them until the inexplicable happened. Again there was one clear participant in undefeated Miami, but there were four one-loss teams. Amazingly, Nebraska got the nod over Colorado even after they were beaten mercilessly by the Buffalos who went on to win the Big XII title game. Result: Miami destroyed the unworthy Nebraska to remain undefeated. Doesn't it seem a little strange that a team that didn't even win it's conference can play in the national title game?

2002: The fifth year was probably the smoothest for the system. There were two undefeated teams and they met in the national championship game. Undefeated Miami played undefeated Ohio State. Result: Ohio State won in double-overtime as a result of a questionable call. Ohio State remained undefeated. It worked out but what happens if there is a third undefeated team?

2003: The sixth year of the system is when all hell really broke loose. There were no undefeated teams at the end of the regular season. There were three one-loss teams and only two spots in the championship game. Oklahoma had been badly beaten in the Big XII conference championship game, but inexplicably retained it's #1 ranking despite being ranked #3 in both the AP and Coaches polls. Similarly, USC was relegated to #3 in the BCS despite it's top ranking in both the AP and Coaches polls. Consequently, Oklahoma met LSU in the national title game while USC was forced to play a two-loss Michigan team. Result: LSU won and USC won. The rules of the BCS require that the Coaches must vote for the winner of the BCS title game #1 but it makes no rules about the AP votes. LSU was voted #1 in the Coaches poll while USC was voted #1 in the AP poll. Thus, the national championship was split between LSU and USC. Wasn't the whole point of this system to keep split national championships from happening?

2004: And here we are in the glorious seventh year. I am eagerly awaiting the final BCS poll which is released at 4:00 this afternoon. This year there are three undefeated teams that all played twelve games. There are actually five undefeateds if you count Utah and Boise State from non-BCS conferences. The top three spots as of last week were held by USC, Oklahoma and Auburn. There's no telling how the coaches and sportswriters will vote, but it would seem most likely that the top three will remain unchanged sending USC and Oklahoma to the title game while leaving Auburn out. Result: Haven't people been saying this would happen since 1998? The people from the BCS will have their reasons for sending the two teams they select and they will stand by them, but does that make it right? The only way to solve this mess is a playoff. Sure it would make the season longer, but aren't these guys trying to get into the NFL where they play for sixteen weeks and then have playoffs? Why can't college players handle a few more weeks. Lord knows that there are enough post-season bowl games to accommodate a playoff.

The point is that the BCS system is just a bunch of BS. I really can't wait to see how it shakes out and not only for the national championship but the at-large bowl spots as well. I know where I'll be at 4:00 this afternoon.

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Hek-Atomic Cherries

When I was in high school, I was in a punk band called the Hek-Atomic Cherries. It was a lot of fun and definitely helped me get to where I am today: in school for audio production. Of course that was a long time ago and it took me a while to get to where I am now, but nonetheless, it helped me learn the songwriting craft as well as what it's like to perform live.

After high school two of us went to college and the third pursued other musical opportunities. We reunited a few times after high school first after our freshmen years in college and then again after I started grad school when we were all back home during my Spring Break.

Last Christmas, we played our first show in over three years and it was without a doubt, our best. We've all become better musicians since then plus it was a lot of fun to be playing together again. On top of that, we had a great crowd of at least 400 people who had been fans of ours in the old days.

After the show, we decided that should do a show every year around Christmas. So this year we will be playing again in Lafayette, LA on December 23 at Grant Street Dancehall. I am inviting anyone who may be in the area that night to come and see one of the signature bands of the '90's alternative rock scene in Lafayette. Here's what the Times of Acadiana had to say last December.

Come and rock out!


I am fairly new to the world of HBO dramatic television series, but I am now getting caught up in the frenzy thanks to a cable snafu during my last year in Austin, TX as well as the greatness that is Netflix. When I moved into my last apartment in Austin about a year and a half ago and discovered my free HBO, I started watching "Curb Your Enthusiasm," a show that I was already familiar with and knew that I loved. I felt that it was too late to start watching "The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under" because they were too far along and had too much of a serial plotline. I suppose the same could be said for "Curb Your Enthusiasm," but having now seen all the episodes of that show, I can safely say that it is a loose serial as opposed to some of the more intricate plotlines of the dramatic series on HBO.

When I saw that a new series called "Carnivale" was beginning, I thought that I might as well give it a try for a couple of episodes and see what it had to offer. I spent the first few episodes trying to figure out how the two main plotlines were connected. How is Ben Hawkins, the fugitive of justice with a very powerful gift related to Brother Justin, the circuit preacher with a very dark side? After several episodes, I wanted to continue watching in the hopes of figuring it out. As the season progressed, I constantly found myself comparing it my favorite TV series of my lifetime, "Twin Peaks." With each episode, a few questions are answered while several new questions emerge.

As the last episodes of the first season were playing, I started to realize that there was far too much that needed to be explained before the end. Indeed watching the last episode, I knew that there would be monumental cliff hangers and there were. But I am hooked.

When I moved to Nashville, I subscribed to HBO for the express purpose of having it if and when Carnivale returned. Today I found out that the return will be on Jan. 9. The official HBO website features a trailer that hints at answers to some of the first season's cliff hangers, but I expect plenty of new cans of worms to be opened as this season unfolds.

I highly recommend buying/renting the first season when it is released on Tuesday. You will have ample time to catch up before the start of the second season. Or you could always do what I have begun since joining Netflix. Simply rent the seasons of the TV series as they are released and be certain to remain sequestered to any seasons that are currently airing. It has been working with "Oz," "The Sopranos" and "Alias" thus far but lag time for the release of the third season of "Six Feet Under" is really starting to get to me.

Give "Carnivale" a chance even if you don't understand it. What it might lack in general coherence, it more than makes up for in sheer creepiness.

Okay...I'm Surprised

Urban Meyer has accepted the head coaching job at the University of Florida. I can honestly say I'm a little surprised by this. I mean, I had been hearing rumors for the past few weeks that Florida was attempting to hire Meyer away from Utah, but once the job at Notre Dame opened up, I was pretty sure that he would be heading to South Bend.

I suppose it has to do with Meyer being a better fit for Florida than for Notre Dame at this time. Florida under Steve Spurrier was known for it's high octane offense and Meyer definitely had that going for him at Utah. Florida has slipped a little under Ron Zook, but Notre Dame has been trying to regain it's clout for quite a while now even after the great season they had during Ty Willingham's first year as head coach. They really haven't been the Notre Dame of old since Lou Holtz left. I guess what it really comes down to is something that my friend Joel said in an email to me the other day: "...Notre Dame is not what they used to be and they haven't figured that out yet. They still expect to dominate, but the college game has changed."

I think that pretty much sums up Urban Meyer's decision right there.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

A Bird Needs Both Wings to Fly

I was reading the latest issue of Rolling Stone and in their need to explain the results of the election, they spoke to a few "pundits" of the entertainment industry. And that doesn't mean Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. I was struck by something that Tom Wolfe said:

I've never seen an election taken so personally by people -- not even Nixon vs. Kennedy. But this country is so centrist, we're not really going to go wrong whoever's elected. Our government is like a train on a track: People yell at it from the left, and they yell at from the right, but the train goes right down the middle where the tracks are.

This reminds me of something that Brian Simms, a history teacher at my high school once said: "A bird needs both wings to fly."

No one that is out to destroy America would ever be elected president no matter what the opposition party will tell you. It is rhetoric and that is all. The truth is the fact that there are two opposing parties will keep any real harm from ever occurring. As much as the media, the pundits and the parties themselves would like us to believe this country is divided, on the political spectrum, Democrats and Republicans are very close to one another. Many nations around the world would love to have as much stability as we have. Just as the Ukraine.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I've Seen the Future of Music...

...and it is McRorie!

In doing my daily reading of The Superficial: Because You're Ugly, I came across an article and link for McRorie: One Man Live. You have to watch the video on his website to believe it. It is something the everyone should see for themselves.

UPDATE: McRorie's website appears to be down (most likely due to so many people seeing the future of music!). You can however view his promotional video here.