Mom and Dad called me tonight – It’s good to hear from them every once in a while and get a voice of reason. Sometimes I start thinking and get some preconceived notion in my head, then my parents call and put things into perspective. It’s those little, simple words of advice that make things seem not-so-bad. I’m lucky to have the parents that I have. I owe them a lot too. Between my wife and my parents, I’ll be in debt for the rest of my life!

I remember one time, when I was really little, I was asking my dad about his job. I think it was one of those days when I went to work with him. I don’t remember exactly how everything transpired, but I just remember my dad saying to me: “Josh, I just want you to do better than me.” Now that I think about that, I don’t know if that’s possible. My parents raised me to be a good person. I try my hardest to do the best that I can. I really hope I can live up to their expectations – more importantly, my own. I never did without as a child… but I still remember my dad saying what he did to me, and that pushes me that much harder… to provide for myself and my wife. I would love to be my dad. He’s my all-time hero.

Well, the countdown is pretty much up. El is coming up here tomorrow. She’s hauling a truckload in. I’m going to ride back to Austin with her tomorrow night and help pack. We have the movers coming in early Saturday morning. After the week that I’ve had, I’m really not looking forward to moving.

At least I’ll have El up here with me now. That will make life nicer for me. It’s kind of weird… I’ve gotten used to being up here alone – I have everything setup my way – I’ve gotten used to having no furniture, sleeping 1″ from the floor and eating Romen noodles. It’s going to be weird getting back to ‘normal’ life.

Well, it’s getting late… I have big day ahead of me tomorrow. I have to prepare for a ‘Retreat’ on Monday. Then I have to be prepped for moving this weekend. I’ll need an immediate weekend after this weekend! A good, long, mind clearing motorcycle ride is what I’ll need.

Dallas Mavericks, Brian, the neighbor

Woohoo… Go Mavericks. 2-0! I was kind of upset because the Mavs didn’t go further last year. Looks like they might have a chance this go-around. Sorry, the b-ball in me will start rearing its head now – tis that time of year. Of course, I’ll always be wearing my purple and yellow (Lakers). I really wish Houston would do something again. My interest in b-ball really started again in ’94 when Houston did so well. Now, as I grow older and ‘move on’, I get further and further away from Houston. First it was Cat Spring (an hour from Houston), then Austin (two hours from Houston), now Temple (don’t know how far – haven’t driven it yet), but I’ll still bleed red for the Rockets (assuming they’re still red… now I think it’s purple and black or something like that)

I finally hung out with one of my neighbors tonight. His name is Brian. He’s a huge Japanese-American military guy. He’s really nice. He came up to use my phone this evening. We wound up hanging around the balcony most of the night. He’s a tank commander – has to be at ‘work’ (he calls it playing) at 5 a.m. everyday. I finally had the opportunity to tell someone in the military that I appreciate what they do. It was good to be able to express that.

Brian always calls me ‘sir’. I’ve said ‘Hi’ in passing many times in the past 6 weeks that I’ve been here – and he always says “Hello Sir”. I appreciate that because I understand respect. I’m not saying that I’m better than him, I’d be willing to call him ‘sir’ as well. Hell, if anything, he’s probably more worthy of the title than I am. That’s just the TKD coming out in me.

I feel a lot better knowing that I now know someone in the building. Maybe now I can exercise my idea of sharing one Road Runner connection. I don’t know if Brian has a computer, but I’ve always thought that it would be so easy to run 100′ of Cat5 cable from my router to someone else’s apartment and split the broadband bill. Guess I’ll have to bring that up in our next meeting. Sorry Time Warner, but I own stock in you guys and it’s about time I get something back! – or just a less-expensive cable bill!

I really need sleep – I stayed up too late watching basketball. Elise called me early tonight. Today was her last day at Circle C. I told her she could take (needs) a little hiatus. She deserves it. I hope she can find a good job that will make her really happy and give her the opportunity to contribute her knowledge. I sometimes wish that I had everything in the world – I would give it all to my wife… just for being the person that she is. Actually, you couldn’t put a price on my wife… she’s the best thing in the world.

A bad day

Today was the longest, most miserable day of my life. Don’t ask me why – it just went on and on and on and on. Plus, work just sucked.

I forgot to mention… Last Thursday, El and I drove down to San Antonio to hear Dave Ramsey speak. I’ve already read two of his books, so I didn’t get much from his 5 hour lecture, but I think El did, which is good. I’m not much into motivational/self help stuff, but my mom turned me on to this dude and I’m kind of addicted to his prophecies.

I made some really good spaghetti and meatballs last night. The secret to good meatballs: fennel seeds. I caught the stove on fire too. Some chef I’ll make, huh? I was boiling the pasta in plenty of water and it foamed up, rolled down to the burner and started a fire. Oh well – it’s not my kitchen unless there’s been a fire!

El just called. She’s on her Jeep trip again. She’s wanted a Jeep since she was 12. Every once in a while she brings it up. Guess we’ll have to figure that one out later. I really don’t have a leg to stand on considering I want a ZX7R. We’re not very practical, I know.

Tomorrow is El’s last day at Circle C. She says she’s looking forward to moving on. I can’t blame her. She’s been doing the same thing for four years.

Well, it’s off to read my book. I’m going to finish it tonight. Then I’ll be able to do something productive in the evenings. I’m not sure what that is just yet, so I’m open to suggestions.

Layne Staley

A good day, a bad day. Let me start on a good note. My friend Johnny sent me this link today – I think we can all relate in some form or fashion. If you don’t feel like clicking through, it’s about a guy named Carlos who has a rich redneck neighbor who’s really into home improvement.

Now the bad news. This is a double-dunk in the depression pond, so grab a hanky. First, another music mentor of mine passed away. Layne Staley of Alice In Chains was found dead on Friday at the age of 34. Supposedly he died of a heroin overdose and his body lay in his house for quite a while before someone found him. It sucks because I respected him as a singer, and it sucks more because he was stupid enough to let heroin get the best of him. It kind of tugs at your heart strings… if he were a personal friend of mine, I’d want him back for one more day so I could knock him around and tell him how stupid he is. I would also want the opportunity to say goodbye. I guess I’ll listen to some AIC tonight and have my own little vigil.

I always wanted to name a child after him. I just like the name Layne – so I guess it really wouldn’t be naming a child after him. I don’t know. Elise doesn’t like that name anyway (we’ve already talked about it). She says she wants to name our kid Mumbjabar or something like that. Really, she likes the name Jacob. It’s growing on me. But it will be a while before we have kids.

And the other sad note. I just received an email from my mom: A good friend of my dad’s (and a friend of the family) son-in-law has testicular cancer and it is spreading. His wife (Dad’s friend’s daughter) has a small business and is really trying hard to make ends meet for her family. If any of you have some extra money coming in from our friends at the IRS, I’m sure the Gutierrez family would really appreciate any help you could give them! I think her product would make a great Mom’s day present (hint hint). I wish them all the best.

Well, that’s news for today. El will be here in 6 days. That’s all I have left of my bachelor lifestyle. Heh – what bachelor lifestyle. Since I’ve been here alone, I’ve managed to read the longest book of my life! I’m such a dork (shut up Evelyn).

“And We Die Young” – Layne Staley, 1967-2002

Last weekend in Austin, Cody’s rave

Just got in from Austin. It was kind of sad leaving. This past weekend was my ‘last’ weekend in Austin – next weekend we’re moving El up here.

I got in around 7 on Friday. El came home from work, Victor came over, we went and ate at the Hula Hut. On Saturday I washed and waxed the Shadow, went to the motorcycle shop and bought a part that I needed. I sat on a ZX7R… I want that bike. While I’m thinking about it, I’m going to sell my bike. If anyone knows anybody who wants to buy a damn good motorcycle, give them my email address – or 254-899-1164. It’s a black 1998 Honda Shadow ACE VT750. It has almost 13,000 miles. I’m asking $3600 for it. I’ve kept good care of it and have all records and paperwork. What am I going to do you ask? Walk. Or ride my mountain bike. I only live 2 miles from Scott & White.

Saturday night we went and saw Cody’s ‘rave’. He and 3 other DJ’s let loose at the Daiquiri Factory. It was a last minute deal. They were supposed to have the party in San Marcos, but the venue’s manager backed out or something. I felt sorry for Cody. He put a lot of time and energy into promoting this thing, then nobody showed up.

I saw Bo Anderson. I haven’t seen him since we graduated from high school.

I found out that my friend Evelyn has a crush on me and is now stalking me. It’s pretty flattering.

Another friend of mine, Whitney, is in Hawaii swimming with the dolphins. I’m jealous. She’s been there for a really long time. I think she’s just avoiding doing her taxes.

Well, it’s off to wire the office (cat 5) and then watch some basketball. I’ve been pretty bad this year – haven’t been watching basketball at all – and now the playoffs are on!

Josh’s Crib

I was lucky enough this past week to have MTV come over to my place and film an exclusive episode of Cribs. They wanted the public to be able to see what a man of my caliber lives like. It was stressful having all of those camera people in my place, but I got over it.

If you’re on a slow connection, I suggest you start downloading the clip and go to sleep!

Josh’s Cribs episode

Tax day, Roadrunner, Fear Factor, Robin Cook

Hope everyone got their taxes done!

Today I had roadrunner installed – I’m happy now. El and I will no longer be using our austin.rr email accounts any longer.

You know what bugs the hell out of me? Fear Factor. It’s the only reality TV show that I’ll watch only because I like the stunts that are involved. I have to admit though, I might walk if spiders were introduced. Anyway – why don’t they have regular people the show? I swear, you have to be a Calvin Klein model to be on this show. Another reason I watch it is because Joe Rogan, the host, is funny as hell. He’s not really funny on the show, but his old stand-up acts are hilarious. He used to be on the TV show, News Radio. I kind of followed Mr. Rogan before he started hosting Fear Factor, truly a funny guy. And his website used to be crap before he got the money to have someone build the existing one. I guess he deserves the money.

I’ve been reading one of those three-novels-in-one by Robin Cook that my mom loaned me. I’ve read Contagion and am almost done with Chromosome 6. Both of them are really good. They’re ‘medical thrillers’. After reading, I’m kind of nervous when I walk through the hospital at work.

No more credit card, Elise starts a fire

I’m back in Temple after having a relaxing weekend in Austin. I got in around 7 on Friday evening. Victor came over around 8. El got home from work around 9. We hung out on the porch for an hour or so, then decided we were hungry. We went to Texas Land and Cattle Co. Good food.

Saturday, El had to work, I had errands and honey-do jobs to tend to. First, and most importantly, El and I have been saving like we’re mad — so, I went to the bank, transferred all of our savings into checking and paid off our credit card. Woooohoooo!!! Talk about a weight being lifted. We really didn’t owe a whole lot, but it’s just good to be done with it. We’ve vowed to never use credit cards again. I can’t begin to explain how good we feel now!

Late last week, Elise kind of left a candle burning and caught our coffee table on fire. No biggy (yeah right). Luckily, Riley went into the office and told Elise that the apartment was about to go up in flames. Seriously, from what El told me, our little cat ran into the office, caught his breath and said: “Hey! You left the candle burning on the coffee table, and now you’re about to burn my house down!” So, Elise ran into the living room and tossed the candle outside. Luckily nothing really started blazing.

Anyway, I decided that I was going to ‘fix’ the coffee table. I went to Home Depot and bought some sandpaper, brush, wood conditioner and stain. I started to sand the burned part. Um, I did more damage than the fire did. So now we have a pretty ugly coffee table. We took everything, minus the used sandpaper, back to Home Depot.

Elise told me not to post anything about her incident without exploiting myself as well. It was approximately 6 months ago, we had 10 or so friends over. I decided that I was going to cook chicken fried steaks for everyone. I set up my breading station on the counter as well as part of the stove. I turned on one of the burners so I could begin boiling water for the mashed potatoes. Needless to say, I turned on the wrong burner. I went out onto the patio to talk to some of our guests when we all hit the floor when we heard a huge ‘boom’ then a ‘crash’. Victor, Felix and I ran into the kitchen to see the last of the flaming glass fly through the kitchen.

I had set a Pyrex baking dish, full of flour, on top of the hot burner. Flour was on fire on top of the stove, glass was on fire, burning its way through the linoleum floor. It was pretty bad – and pretty embarrassing. I ordered 3 pizzas…

Today (Sunday), El and I ran errands and had lunch at Rudy’s BBQ. We went to the mall so I could buy a new toy. I got an 18″ Leatherface action figure. He’s cool.

Well, now I have to go make a harassing phone call to a lady who owes me money.

Ex-girlfriend, leave me alone, dewberries, budget, cooking

Today I received an unwarranted, unwanted, unsolicited, unnecessary, un-everything email. If you are reading this, thanks, but no thanks. Do us both a favor and just disappear again!

Today I started forcing myself to learn Fireworks. I’m actually going through and reading the manual and doing the tutorials. That old adage about teaching an old dog new tricks kind of applies here. I’m beginning to see some good points in learning said program – but I’m comfortable in the way I do my own web development. Anyhow, I’m sure this new knowledge will come in handy down the road.

My mom emailed me today and mentioned dewberries. If you’ve never had a dewberry, well, uh, you’re missing out. In the 20 lb. information bag the the Temple Chamber of Commerce gave me, I remember reading that Temple has a lot of dewberries. I’m going to see if I can find me a patch around here and grab a bunch of them. It’s about time for my famous seared tuna with a dewberry and wasabi glaze. I taught myself how to make California rolls this past year – maybe I’ll try to incorporate those too.

I created a budget for El and myself yesterday – a spreadsheet complete with formulas and everything. It’s looking like [cross fingers here] we’ll finally be able to start saving some serious cash. We have small debts we have to repay, but we should be able to knock those out quickly. Then we’ll be debt free and can start saving for our house. The goal I’ve established: huge down payment by the end of 2004. Now, if I could just get over this damn crack habit.

Speaking of crack, that reminds me of my old roommate. What a character that dude was. I wonder what the hell he’s doing now. I think I saw him when I was volunteering at South by Southwest a couple years ago – if it was him, he still looked the same. Anyway, one day I came home and he and his friends were engaged in some extracurricular activities that didn’t seem conducive of the brain activity needed for the university… if you steal a base in baseball, is that considered a free base?

I learned from that whole roommate experience. I really missed out on the dorm life. Mainly because my damn girlfriend followed me up to Austin – so that whole situation kept me from having an extended social life. I probably would have graduated on time and with better grades had I not had a crack head roommate and a hooch of a girlfriend.

Geez, what’s my deal?… I guess that email I got today really pushed the wrong button. Anyway, I guess had I not endured those times, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. Looks like I have to say it again – “Takes your bad days to know what your good ones are” – Mom Janicek

Welp – I have to go try and rig the VCR so I can tape Friends for El, my wife, the love of my life, the reason I wake up the mornings, the woman in my dreams, my lifeline, my soul mate, my best friend, my audience, my drop dead gorgeous, skinny, head turning, heart melting, make your eyes do googly things wife.

Why are people smiling at me?

Work has been going by really quickly. I guess it’s because I’ve been getting myself wrapped up in projects. Right now I’m trying to determine how to embed video in a pop window environment that will work the way I want it to in both IE and Netscape. Anyone who knows anything about web/multimedia development knows how frustrating it can be to get anything to work the way you want in Netscape 4.x.

Everyone kept smiling at me while I was on the trusty Shadow today. I kept thinking that I had a dead bird stuck in my helmet or something. I would drive by buildings with those mirrored windows to check myself out – didn’t see anything. Oh well, maybe everyone was just in a good mood today.

I really think I could open up my own restaurant in Temple. I can make a mean chicken fried steak. I think people around here would swing on that. Of course I would still want to incorporate fine dining. I like cooking game and I think people would really like that too. I could just have meat and potatoes on the everyday menu, then the fancy stuff could be offered too. I’d have to feel out the crowd. A lot of people drive in from Austin every day, so I could probably gain some business that way. I don’t know, I’m just thinking while I type. I would just love to retire early and run my own restaurant.

Oh yeah – in case I forgot to tell anyone – I finally put a streaming video on the Scott & White website.

Cable installation, McCarthy’s Tae Kwon Do, El’s 15 lbs.

I got cable TV today – woooohoooo! I met Bobby, the friendly, local Time Warner guy at the apartment during my lunch break. We turned the TV on to make sure it worked. He handed me the channel guide and the first thing I found was Speedvision. I immediately turned to that channel and lo and behold: 600cc series sport bike racing [insert male grunt here]. So, now I have 2 channels that I have to remember: 72 is Speedvision, 75 is the Food Network.

And I happened to call to order cable/Road Runner at an opportune time. This week, Time Warner is having a Road Runner special – 3 months for $19.95. After the 3 months, Road Runner goes up to the standard rate, which is still $5 cheaper than Austin’s rate. I have to wait until Monday to get RR installed. We don’t have a cable outlet in the office, so that will be fun watching the install guy figure that one out!

Yesterday I went and talked to Master McCarthy at McCarthy’s Tae Kwon Do. I think I’m going to join. I’m a little nervous though… It’s been 8 years since I last practiced (regularly). Master McCarthy was really cool though – he laughed at me when I suggested that I just start from scratch. He said: “No, you’ll keep your black belt – you’ll just have to get in shape!” I can’t even touch my toes right now! I want to train and win at the Junior Olympics. We’ll see, money is still tight.

Oh yeah, and congrats to El! She lost 15 lbs. as of today. I don’t know what that means – lifetime goal, maintenance goal, don’t-have-to-pay-to-go-to-meetings goal… she’s told me a hundred times, but I get confused. Anyway, I’m very proud of her. I’m also extremely nervous about her being in Austin alone now. After she lost 10 lbs., she started wearing these really tight butt-hugging cut-off jean shorts and halter tops. She started wearing this really dark blue eye shadow too and is teasing her hair now.

Liking my job, Toys, CDs

Nothing really new going on recently. I’m getting a little more settled in at work, liking what I’m doing.

I took some of my toys to work with me this morning. I like to have my workspace setup in a stress free, toy filled environment. It helps me laugh at the little things.

As I was collecting said toys and placing them in a bag, I decided to charge up the old Hummer. I came home from work and went to the closet to change clothes. I turned and saw the battery pack plugged into the wall and I grinned from ear to ear. I didn’t even change clothes. I popped the battery into my RC truck and went outside. I drove around the parking lot for probably an hour. That was fun. I was outside just laughing like a little kid driving and jumping my little truck around. Yeah, I’m a dork – but at least I can do stuff like that and not have a care in the world at that moment in time.

A few months back, El and I consolidated all of our CD’s. We bought 4 or 5 of those leather CD cases. They take up a lot less room than all of those annoying jewel cases. And you don’t have to buy shelves to put them on. Anyway, I have 3 of those CD cases here with me. I’ve decided to listen to every single CD that I own. Whether I hate the CD or not. It’s pretty interesting. So far, I’m through Alice in Chains’ Jar of Flies; Dahebegebees, self titled, and now I’ve gotten myself into my Metallica section (all arranged by release date, of course) – it’s probably going to take a month for me to get through all of those disks!

Philip always makes fun of me and my Seinfeldian ways. My CD’s used to be in alphabetical order, then chronologically indexed as needed. They’ve managed to work themselves out of order… maybe I’ll get to that task one day.

Dad forced into retirement

Today had to have been one of the most shocking, humbling, surprising and depressing days of my life. I’m not at liberty to discuss the matter, but all I can say is, I’m glad Tuesday’s Gone. That’s an old song by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I prefer the Metallica version. Download it – that’ll let you know how I feel. I’d post it here, but it’s a long song and would be a huge file.

This past weekend was fun. We hung out with Victor a lot – had a good time. My friend Cody came over on Saturday night. We shot the bull, hung out on the porch, that sort of thing…

El came back up to Temple with me on Sunday. It really is nice having her with me up here. I can’t wait until she’s here for good.

I don’t feel like writing anymore… If you’re on a modem, download that mp3 anyway, it’s a good song (even if it’s not the original).

All I can say is, sometimes life kicks you in the teeth – you just have to keep your head up, stick your chest out and deal with it. Those are some of the words I live by.