Bottled water, Monster Garage

Circa 5 years ago, my parents gave me a handful of coupons (pronounced: kyew-pons) for free Sparklets water. I’m not talking about a small stack of coupons – a mondo bushel of coupons are what I’ve held onto for the past half decade. Anyway – they would have expired tomorrow. El realized this and went to almost every grocery store today to cash them in. You should see the foot of my kitchen. We have a gross of bottled water. If I wanted to, I could bath in bottled water for the rest of this week.

Know what the funny thing is? We’re so used to being poor that we refill our water bottles to make it seem like we’re drinking ‘fresh’ bottled water. So it’ll take us years to go through our newly aquired palette of water.

Monster Garage was on again tonight. I could watch that show all day, every day. Tonight I watched three consecutive episodes. On the first episode they made a garbage truck out of an Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer. Again they used a plethora of hydrolic pumps to power the motors that opened the hatch and released the claw which grabbed the garbage cans.

On the next episode, the made a fire engine out of an old limo. More hydrolic pumps. A lot of welding. It was pretty damn cool – and it actually put out a fire.

And I finally got to see them construct the 100 mph lawn mower out of a 5.0 Mustang. It’s unbelievable how they do this stuff. They have to do it with no more than $3000 and they have to make the vehicle look stock. I think that’s the coolest part. It reminds me of the days when I used to play w/ GoBots and Transformers.

I just found Super Mario Brothers for my Nintendo… I’ll be doing that for the rest of the evening.

Pretzels, DJ, seat stitching

Rain, rain, and more rain. It rained all weekend. I guess we really needed it, but it put a damper on my plans.

I just read something pretty interesting…. It’s kind of dated data, but interesting nonetheless. In 1994, the best value college education could be attained at the University of Texas at Austin. Second best was Texas A&M. First runner up was Baylor.

Also, did you know that it’s not proper to address or refer to a married woman by using Mrs. and her first name? For example: Mrs. Elise Janicek is improper. She should [formally] be addressed as Mrs. Josh Janicek, or Ms. Elise Janicek.

Anyway – it just started pouring again.

Friday night El and I hopped on the bike and went to Bruckbauer’s for pizza and beer. Our pizza was burnt. The entertainment for the evening was provided by DJ Dr. Time. The whole scene was pretty bad. It was like a junior high dance where everyone avoided the dance floor as well as any sort of interaction with the DJ, despite his pleas.

Once the DJ started playing, 80% of the crowd left. We stayed because El and I were deep into an existential discussion. Around 11, the crowd grew a little. The DJ made another attempt at audience participation…. “If you can tell me how hot it is in Texas, I’ll give you a prize.” Well, Elise won the prize. I can’t tell you what she said, but we made out with a nice Pokemon water bottle and a box of half eaten, charred pizza.

I got up on Saturday and started stitching the seat on the Shadow. I got about half way done and it started pouring. I came inside and worked on El’s computer and made some more soft pretzels. El’s machine is pretty much back to normal – minus all of her files. I reinstalled Kazaa and now she’s been working diligently on downloading mp3’s.

I deleted all of the replicated wedding photos on I freed up almost 15 megs. While doing that, I listened to Eminem’s new CD – twice. Pretty good stuff.

Later in the evening we rented The Others and A Beautiful Mind. I didn’t like the latter. I fell asleep in the middle of The Others. Guess I’ll finish watching that today while it continues to rain.

I just finished stitching my seat. It looks pretty ghetto. Oh well, I guess I can officially call my bike a custom cruiser!

I’m making some more soft pretzels today. I’m getting pretty good at it. This batch is going to be wheat berry. The ones that I made last night were awesome. I could seriously run those mall kiosks out of business.

Long awaited weekend… what to do?

Today took forever. The hard part about working where I do is that it seems like everyone takes off on Friday, or at least leaves early. So you’re sitting there the whole day daydreaming about leaving early. I thought about jetting, but then I said: “Nah, I probably wouldn’t do anything worthwhile at home anyway.” So, I actually got some substantial work done this afternoon. Of course there is the nice occasional cube visit by a coworker that breaks the monotony.

I’ve already assigned myself a mission (a couple of them actually) for the weekend. First, stitch the trusty Shadow. Then, change El’s oil. Then, when it’s nice and toasty outside, I’m going to drink as much malt liquor as I can, eat some cottage cheeze, wrap myself up in afgan blankets to look like a ninja and sprint south on the I-35 shoulder. Then I’ll come home and shave my head with a cheeze grater to cool myself off and chew on some tin foil.

But really, I’m going to get the ol’ Pinnacle DC30 (video capture card) up and running properly. I can capture video, but not audio. I’m thinking about installing AfterFX as well. Assuming that all goes smoothly [yeah right], I think I’m going to start writing a script. I still really want a DV camcorder though – that would make things so much easier, what with a Firewire and all.

Oh yeah, I need to wash my bike too – and lube the chain. I think El and I will take the bike out tonight – once it cools down a bit.

When I got back to work from lunch today, a lady stopped me and asked where I got my bike… blah blah… she said her boyfriend was looking to buy a motorcycle. I told her I would sell him mine and I gave her my card – we’ll see.

Mom’s Birthday

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

Today is my Mom’s 35th birthday… Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Moooo-ooooom, Happy Birthday to you! I love you. Hope you had a wonderful day!

Elise and I just got back from our walk. Yeah – she’s mad at me for losing her folder. I really screwed up on that one. She had a good 3 gigs of mp3’s, her resume, cover letters, phone numbers, addresses, pictures, wedding stuff, documents… I’m a moron.

Anyway – I got a much deserved earful. Our walk was fine after the first 10 minutes. We found a crabapple that we kicked around the whole time. We talked about everything – like we always do. Now I’m back, geeking out in front of her computer – getting everything installed again for her.

Tomorrow’s Friday… ’bout time. No big plans for the weekend. I need to remember to stop somewhere and pick up blue dental floss manana. Maybe I’ll attempt to inch my way back onto El’s good side and take her to test drive a Jeep on Saturday.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

I goofed, Evelyn & Bob are homeowners

Oh man, what a day! Elise is going to kill me when I tell her that I lost her folder that used to be on her computer. I could have sworn that I moved it over to my machine whenever I installed Linux. I was confident that I moved everything over. Just goes to show: Measure twice, cut once. I really feel like crap now. It had a lot of her important stuff in it… resume, cover letters, etc. etc. So now I’m in the process of reformatting her machine and installing Windows so she can have her own computer again. I guess I can offer to help rebuild her resume with her.

I just killed the mp3’s that I had on my site to free up disk space. If you linked to them… sorry – I’m running out of room.

In other news… there really is no other news. My friend Evelyn and her boyfriend Bob bought a house last week. I’m pretty excited [jealous] for them.

Hell… I still feel bad – I have to come up with a way to make it up to Elise.

I Hate Computers

I hate computers. I hate printers. I really hate my printer right now.

I was trying to print in “best” mode. Yeah right. Damnit. I’m pissed. I hate computers. I hate the internet. I hate websites. I hate email. I hate e-everything.

It’s raining and my cat is in my closet eating my shoelaces. The lights just went out. This has not been a good hour.

Walk with the wife, Code for Food

Elise and I just got back from an invigorating (Ha – never thought I’d use that word) walk. We’ve both been sitting on our duffs for long enough. Well, El’s been making frequent trips to the pool during the days. Makes me wish I had done the same thing when she was the breadwinner for three months.

Tonight I made something like a burrito for dinner. They stunk. The filling was good, but the ‘tortillas’ we bought are gross. We went to HEB last week to do our normal grocery shopping and impulse purchased some “Garlic & Herb Wrap Arounds”. Bad bad bad.

We’ve been trying to be frugal, so I’ve been trying to piece together dinners at night. Last night I lightly fried some dory filets with homemade garlic bread crumbs. Then I made something like a casserole. Yes – I stooped and made a casserole. It was pretty good though – I was just trying to kill stuff in the fridge. I used some of Mom & Dad’s white squash, broccoli, garlic, mozzarella, cheddar and more bread crumbs.

I guess tomorrow we’ll have to go trade plasma for a couple hamburgers. In case you haven’t figured it out, El hasn’t found a job yet. She’s going to call the temp agency again tomorrow. She’s going to Des Moines for the weekend of the fourth which makes for somewhat of a hitch.

The seat on the trusty Shadow has begun to seriously unstitch itself. A few months back, Mom and Dad visited and helped me take my bike in for new tires and a new chain. The seat had a small part that had started to come unstitched, so Mom and I used blue dental floss to re-stitch it. I thought it looked pretty cool. Well, now the whole seat has gotten pretty bad. Guess I’ll be pulling out the blue floss this weekend. My tank is in dire need of a paint job too – I’m tempted to tackle that project too… just don’t have the facilities. I just need a new bike – Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Whew. One day…

Anyway – thought the picture above was very fitting. I hate our current economic situation – I don’t even track my investments anymore. I guess I’ll wait until someone [omniscient] taps me on the shoulder and says: “Hey, we’re doin’ alright now!”

Motorcycles, Jesse James, work clothes, Oh my!

“Your mission, if you choose to accept it: Make a fire-breathing, turf-rocket lawn mower that can trim grass at 60 mph … from a 1990 Ford Mustang convertible. Oh, and in only seven days. With no more than $3,000.”

Hell yeah!… Give me a quart of 10W-30 and a bendy straw – this is what I call reality TV – the cure for summertime reruns. The Discovery Channel has a new show called Monster Garage and after watching it once, I’m already hooked. Last night, Jesse James and his grease monkey gang turned a 1999 VW Bug sedan into a swamp buggy. They didn’t just do it the ol’ Junkyard Wars way – they created a customized amphibious vehicle complete with special order rims, custom paint, and a hydrolic retractable rear engine with an aircraft propeller. I’m seriously thinking about taking some classes to learn how to weld and fabricate!

Said show ran for an hour and was over at midnight. As I was about to turn off the TV, another episode came on. This time, they were to build a lawn mower out of the 5.0 Mustang. I had to go to bed though, I was too tired – and I figured it will be on again later this week.

Monster Garage came on after Motorcycle Mania 2 – I’ve already seen this show, but couldn’t help but watch it again. Jesse James owns West Coast Choppers and is definately an artist. His custom built bikes start at $60,000.

So anyway – I hate watching stuff like that right before bed. I couldn’t fall asleep for another hour… I just tossed and turned in bed thinking about motorcycles. I’m an addict. I wish I had a bigger bike so El and I could go to Sturgis in August – just don’t think the trusty Shadow would make it. Well, it’d probably make it, but it would be uncomfortable as hell. One day we’ll make it there… El already said she wanted to go.

In other news… If memory serves me correctly, tomorrow marks the 2 year anniversary of your humble narrator entering the real world. I think I started working for on June 26, 2000. What a dream-come-true that was (literally). I remember telling El: “I’m going to have a job lined up before I graduate from college with a small dot com and I’m going to wear shorts and flip flops to work”. Well, Elise actually found the job for me in the Austin American-Statesman classifieds before I graduated, but I took care of the shorts and flip flop part.

Soon after being interviewed, I was offered the job. I reported to work on my first day dressed in ‘business-casual’. Kirk told me that I could wear: “whatever the hell you want!” So, then next day, I dawned my desired business attire. Man, that was nice.

Anyway, I was laughing at myself this morning as I was putting on my ‘business-casual’ work clothes. I guess it beats wearing a tuxedo for 17 hours a day. I’m really tempted to wear my underwear on the outside of my pants. Nobody would notice. The people that I encounter to and from my cubicle each day I could count on one hand. And then I just go to my cubicle. I don’t really see anyone unless I have a meeting. On those days I could wear ‘nicer’ clothes – but I just don’t see the point of wearing nice clothes when nobody is going to appreciate it other than the action figures on my desk. I don’t wear nice clothes when I’m in my apartment watching TV, cooking or on the computer. Why should I pay to have my shirts and pants laundered and pressed when nobody is going to appreciate that effort?

People might swing by my cubicle to chat, see me with my plaid undies over my slacks and laugh and say: “Oh, that’s just Josh”. If I were in sales and had to deal with people, I would understand ‘dressing the part’. I just don’t have a part that necessitates being in a monkey suit all day. When I own my own business (assuming it doesn’t overly involve customer service), I’m going to have “Spandex, legwarmers, tank top and fedora Fridays”. On the other days, you can wear whatever the hell you want. And you wouldn’t have to participate in the fun Friday activities… hell, don’t even come in if you don’t want – so long as you got your work done.

I wonder what the people of Bell County would think if they saw a guy riding a motorcycle to work at 7:45 in the morning with his boxer shorts on the outside of his trousers….

Philip, Amanda and A Crack in the Floor

Once again, another short weekend. After making that not-so-great panini, I installed Linux on Elise’s machine. I guess I’ll refrain from calling it Elise’s machine now because I’m sure she’ll never use it. I was hoping to partition the hard drive so we could have a dual boot system… one with Windows XP and the other with Linux. No such luck. I totally reformatted the hard drive and it’s now running Linux exclusively.

I piddled around with it for a little while until my skull started hurting. I watched the U.S. loose to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals, then I took a nap. I woke up to the phone ringing – it was Philip. El and I loaded up and headed to Austin.

Philip works on an offshore drilling ship out in the Atlantic off of Nova Scotia. He’s gone 2-3 weeks, then comes home for 2-3 weeks. He and his girlfriend, Amanda just moved to Austin from Brenham a couple months ago.

Anyway – we got to Austin around 7. We hung out at Philip and Amanda’s apartment for an hour or so, then Philip had to take Amanda to work. El and I sat there and watched Orange County on DVD – we didn’t attentively watch it, but the parts we did catch were pretty funny.

Philip came back and we left to go grab something to eat before heading downtown. We went to Bennigan’s and had some appetizers and drinks. Our waiter was the biggest moron in the state of Texas. I don’t know where to start… it’s not even worth recollecting – all I can say is this dude took a double dunk in the dumb pond.

So, we drove downtown – drove around for an hour trying to find a place to park. We finally parked in our ‘usual’ spot (don’t know why we didn’t do that from the get-go – would have saved ourselves some time). While walking down 6th, we ran into Cody and one of his friends. We recruited them and then went to visit Amanda at work. She was upset about something – so we decided to get going. We went to the least crowded bar and all sat down and talked. Nothing earth shattering happened, we just had a good time hanging out and laughing.

We closed the bar and had to take Philip back home. El and I didn’t get back to Temple until the wee hours of the morning.

Sunday was a laaaaaaazy day. We just sat in bed and watched Comedy Central. We got up to go to HEB and buy some ribeyes and potatos for dinner. Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up some McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning… this stuff is awesome (worthy of a plug on my site) – I eat it out of the shaker when I’m cooking.

So – we had ribeyes, mashed potatos and fresh green beans from Mom and Dad’s garden. I boiled the beans for a couple minutes, then tossed them with some clarified butter and fresh garlic – they were awesome. Next time I ask you to smell my finger, don’t turn your nose and dry heave, I just want to prove that I have a permanent garlic smell on my left index finger. I figure that here shortly, I won’t have to ever cut garlic again… I’ll just rub my finger on whatever I need garlic on. I have to remember to pick my nose with my right hand or I’ll be smelling garlic all day – either that, or somehow talk Elise into doing it for me.

After dinner we watched A Crack in the Floor. It’s supposed to be a horror flick – we laughed almost the whole time. It was soooo bad – yet so funny. If you feel like spending $3 for a good 5 minute laugh, rent it. Gary Busey’s part is hilarious. The short of it: He offers up a fresh chicken wing as a suppository.

TGIF, jerky is good, Philip, Evan

Today was going fast until after lunch. I swear, I got to work, then had to turn around and grab lunch. I have no clue as to where my morning went [meetings]. I took an early lunch (noon… that’s early for me), came back and the rest of the afternoon took forever. I got some work done on some projects and helped my friend, Luciana with a TV spot that she’s creating.

Philip was supposed to call me last night or today so we could get together this weekend – don’t know what the hell happened to him — haven’t heard from him. I’ve decided that if I don’t get a call, I’m going to bite the bullet and finally install Linux on one of the machines. Guess I’d better dust off the cuss word thesaurus for this project…

In other news – my beef jerky turned out pretty damn good. It’s a little spicier than I had thought, but I’m not complaining. El sweats when she eats it.

We watched Monster’s Ball the other night – now I understand why Halle Berry won an Oscar… good movie. We started watching The Apartment last night – another good movie, but I couldn’t finish watching it as I was falling asleep.

El’s at the pool right now. Guess she’s letting a little sunshine into her life, so to speak. She was pretty upset about her interview today – I can’t blame her. In my “pep talk”, I tried to stay positive while telling her that that is the first of many [rejections]. She has the right attitude though, taking something negative and making something positive out of it. “If it hurts, then it’s good for you.”

Johnny’s little brother, Evan is getting married this weekend…. Seems like just yesterday he was our little sidekick.

Speaking of Evan and Philip – I remember back when we first got our driver’s licenses… One of John’s and my pasttimes was “motorsurfing” – riding a skateboard while hanging on to the trunk of a moving car.

One Saturday, John and I decided to let Philip into our little surf club. John was driving, I was in the front passenger seat and Evan was in back. We were cruising along in the Engler’s neighborhood with Philip surfing from the back seat window. After a short while, we heard the wipeout and a second later, a “thump”. John stopped the car and we all jumped out to find Philip laying in the middle of the road, clutching his knee next to a broken skateboard. The short of it: John ran over Philip’s leg. Luckily nothing broke – Philip just got a nice scratch on his leg and had tire marks across his knee for a couple days. Man, I’m suprised we’re all still alive today — “If it hurts, then it’s good for you”…

Better luck next time

Well…can’t say I didn’t try. I’m referring to the interview I had this morning. I met with the owner and we had a nice visit, but we both decided that she needs someone who is more proficient in Quark, Photoshop and Illustrator. Although I am knowledgable in the aforementioned, she needs someone who is well enough versed in them so she won’t have to spend time training. Apparently she spends a lot of time trying to secure accounts.

I’m okay. I feel better about having at least one interview under my belt. Besides, after coming home and feeling sorry for myself for a while, and after getting a pep talk from Josh, I put that negative energy to good use and started sending out resumes.

I know, I know. Rome wasn’t built in one day.

– Elise


As Josh previously mentioned, I have an interview on Friday. I’m excited, but a little nervous too. I was told by the manager at the temp agency that it’s a part-time gig and doesn’t pay a whole lot, but at least I have an interview. The FIRST interview since I graduated from college. Pretty sad, huh?

I felt pretty discouraged at the temp office yesterday because I had to take a lot of tests (read: felt like a monkey at a circus sideshow), but when I turned all of my paperwork in the manager actually looked over my resume and said, “You know what? I have a friend who might need somebody for her grapic design company. She’s just starting out, but I think with your degree and knowledge she might be able to use you. It would be better than the other job, and I wouldn’t want you to get bored answering calls all day.”

What? Could it be? It was music to my ears. Finally, somebody who wants to put me to good use.

I don’t know what will happen, but at least I’m starting to get somewhere. If all else fails, I still have some resumes out there and there’s always the job answering phones.

– Elise

Utilities and beef jerky

“Holy crap” is what I said when I opened our utility bill from TXU today. Home owners, you’d probably laugh if you saw it, but you probably also remember the average cost of utilities in an apartment.

The cost of housing is cheaper in Temple, but you get raped on your utility bill. I noticed that it was a little higher when I got the first one, but now it’s looking like I’ll have to get a part-time job to turn on my damn lights. It’s costing me about a quarter (no, not the larger coin) more here than in Austin, in June!

Anyway… El got a call from the temp agency today. Seems like the lady she spoke with yesterday went above and beyond and scouted out a local graphic design company that needs some help. She has an interview at 10 a.m. on Friday. Looks like your humble narrator will be giving El a crash course in Photoshop and Quark the next couple days.

I made some pretty good stuffed bell peppers last night. Pretty simple… ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and my parent’s homegrown tomatoes. I also heated up some of the blackeyed peas from my parent’s garden.

Tonight I’m going to start dehydrating my beef jerky. I started marinating it last night. A little of this… a little of that. I forgot what all I put in the marinade…. teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, course seasoned pepper and some XXX habenero sauce. It smelled good – guess we’ll find out in a couple days!