Bats and Mars

Elise and I went out on a date this past Wednesday. We left out apartment around 7 p.m. and waited an hour or so on the Congress bridge to watch the bats fly out. That was something we both hadn’t done in years. If memory serves us both correctly, we could have sworn that the bats used to fly out earlier. It was almost too dark to see them.

Since we were in the neighborhood, we went to TGI Fridays for dinner. Since most dinners out are portioned too large, we both ordered appetizers and had a couple drinks on the patio.

After dinner we headed over to the Robert Lee Moore Hall on campus to see Mars through the jumbo telescope. We waited in line for over an hour before a graduate student/volunteer tried to convince everyone that Mars will be just as viewable for the next three weeks. Elise and I decided to wait it out since we had already been in line for so long.

Fifteen minutes later, the same graduate student came and told everyone that there were smaller telescopes on the roof and that if we wanted to, we could follow her (cut in line) and see Mars through less powerful telescopes. Elise and I opted for that idea. After ascending the side of the line of people, we realized that we would have been in line for at least another hour.

We made it to the rooftop, waited five minutes in line to use a smaller (but more powerful than any lay person might own) telescope. Talk about a letdown. Elise and I took our turns and looked through the lens. As we were leaving, we concurred that we were gypped. We saw what looked like a star. Just a bright spot in the viewfinder. Boooooring.

We’re going to try to go back on one of the upcoming Wednesdays to see Mars through the big telescope – rumor has it that you can make out the surface of the planet and see the polar ice cap.

2003 VMA lowdown

If you have to watch EmptyV this Labor Day weekend, you’ll be forced to watch reruns of the 2003 Video Music Awards. That’s an oxymoron because EmptyV doesn’t play music videos. Anyway – If you have to, watch the first ten minutes and the last ten minutes… The other three hours are pointless. Britney. Madonna. Metallica.


I have a confession. I watched the entire first season of The Bachelor with my wife. The reason I’m remembering this now is due mainly to the bizarre microwaves that Mars is currently emitting.

On one particular episode, the bachelor presented one of the potential brides (P.B.) with a certificate stating that one of the stars in the vast universe had been named after the P.B.’s deceased sister. Or something like that.

Josh’s internal monologue: “Damn, why didn’t I think of that?!”

I consider myself quite the romantic and I’d bet dryer lint that my wife would too. I really wished that I had thought of something like naming a star after my wife. I couldn’t do that though because Elise was sitting on the couch next to me. She’d know where I got the idea. It wouldn’t be original.

I did a little research and finally found something a million times more romantic. I went to and had Elise’s name put onto a disk that will be included in one of the next Mars Exploration Rover-2003 missions that will explore the planet’s surface in search of geologic evidence of water in Mars’ past.

Elise and I are going to view Mars at the Robert Lee Moore Hall on the U.T. campus tonight. I’m really thinking about borrowing a helicopter and cruising over to Mars (it’s REALLY close to Earth right now) and getting Elise’s name out of that database. I don’t know if the National Do Not Call Registry applies to marketers from Mars who are eagerly pushing for sales of their Doophropal Gaxiplues.

Candelabra, Canon S400, Erin’s b-day party

Due to a short stint in a decompression chamber, I have found it hard to contribute to my site as of late. Last week was Shark Week on the Discover Channel and, well, it’s been rough.

The short of it: Last Saturday I picked up our new Canon PowerShot S400. I sold a load of stuff on eBay so we could buy it. It’s the coolest toy I’ve had since my solar powered flash light. That night we went to our friend, Evelyn’s 30th birthday party. We had a great time. I was able to catch up with some of my old buddies from Vidbook and was able to sample Bob’s (Evelyn’s boyfriend) cooking. The food and company was great.

John and I built a candelabra on Sunday. That was a lot of fun. We took swim breaks in the pool in between trips to Garden Ridge and Home Depot. I’m really thinking about making a go of a weekend business building hand-made candelabras.

I worked like a madman all day last week. I would get to work, look at the clock and 9 hours had already passed. Elise, Harold, Tony (Harold’s friend and neighbor) and yours truly saw Freddy Vs. Jason on Monday. We all liked it a lot. Elise went to Tae Kwon Do with me on Wednesday. She talked to Della (Children’s TKD instructor and our realtor) the whole time.

John and Christine threw a party for their friend, Erin at their house. The party was a lot of fun. Elise catered. Everyone enjoyed the food. A lot of people complimented John’s and my candelabra craftsmanship…

Elise had to work on Saturday so I went back over to John’s to hang out in the pool. He and Christine left early in the afternoon to pick Christine’s car from being serviced. Before they left, I told John to pick up candelabra supplies on the way home. He did. We’re in the middle of our second project.

Dad comes a shootin\’

Josh: You know what?
Readers: What’s that, Josh?
Josh: I have a pretty cool Dad.
Readers: Why do you say that?
Josh: Not every guy can say that his father shot someone…

You see, about 9 years ago, while yours truly was away at college, my Dad shot a man for trying to steal a lawn chair. A guy drove his pick up truck out to my parents house which is nestled in the country. He rang the door bell and asked if “Mary Sue” was home. My parents disavowed any knowledge of a “Mary Sue” (actually, they did have “Mary Sue”. She was hogged-tied to a fence post in the pasture in an attempt to ward off evil squirrels that tote Samurai swords and steal cantaloupes.)

The man walked back towards his truck after my Dad claimed no knowledge of “Mary Sue”. On the way, he stopped and took notice of one of the mighty finely crafted lawn chairs that my mom had constructed out of PVC pipe. Really, these chairs where quite nice. My Dad stood at the door and looked through the window as this man picked up one of the lawn chairs and headed toward his truck.

In Texas, if someone steps foot on your property and steals something that is rightfully yours, you can shoot him. My Dad ran to his impressive gun shelf, grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun and a fistful of 20-gauge shells and began after the thief. He quickly realized that he had the wrong shells. Not unlike an evil squirrel that totes a Samurai sword, my Dad quickly retreated into the house to get the correct shells for his gun. He ran back outside, loaded the shotgun and ran after the man who was taking his lawn chair.

The thief was about to throw his new loot into his truck. My Dad stopped. He aimed the rifle at the thief. “Stop!” Says my Dad. The thief jumped into his truck, backed out and was about to head out. My Dad aimed his rifle at the thief’s head. He lowered the barrel of the shotgun a foot or so and pulled the trigger. He blew a hole in the thief’s truck door as he began peeling out in the gravel driveway.

The cops caught the thief a few hours later. They said he was limping from being sprayed with shotgun pellets in the leg.

Now who’s the cool kid in the sandbox when everybody starts boasting “My Daddy can kick your Daddy’s butt!”

Today is my Dad’s birthday. Happy Birthday Dad! I Love You!!!

Tires, Tubes and burnt Mahi Mahi

Friday was hot until around 4:15 p.m. That’s when a monsoon fell upon southwest Austin. One second the pavement is melting from the heat, the next second, I couldn’t see out of my window because the rain was coming down so hard. It really seemed like a tornado had blown through. A tree in the parking lot blew over and onto somebody’s car. Another large tree across the street from out office had been blown over as well.

The rain stopped. The sun started coming out again. The electricity went out at 4:30 p.m. We all left work early.

I went over to El Arroyo and Elise and I drove over to 4 Wheel Parts to pick up the Jeep. We had the new tires installed.

I went home and Elise went back to work. Our friend, Jamie came into town to…

Go tubing the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels on Saturday. A whole gaggle of us floated the river. Not a whole lot to report there. We sat in inner tubes and floated in a cold river. At one point it started to sprinkle (the sky, not the river). Luckily it didn’t rain but it did render a very cold Josh. After our 4 hour float, we all ate at Adobe Verde. Great Mexican food.

Elise and I bummed around on Sunday. I botched an Asian Mahi Mahi recipe. Actually, the fish was bad. Pair that with a little burnt marinade containing brown sugar and you’ve got a meal fit for the trash.

Hot Austin

Riding the trusty Shadow is painful. Honestly. I’ll hit pockets
of air on the highway that, if I had to guess, would be like driving through the
exhaust of a fighter jet. The hot air scorches my face and makes my eyes
dry out and water. It is hot. It’s so hot that my palms sweat.
Usually my palms will only sweat if I’m nervous.

It’s so hot that I really don’t think I am going to sit out on the blacktop
parking lot while wearing my navy blue polyester Adidas jogging suit and eat
bulky slices of Romano cheese and drink warm chocolate milk like I had planned.

Picky clients

I miss my wife. If anyone sees her, tell her hello and that I love her.

She works a lot. She went to work at 9 a.m. yesterday and wasn’t done until 11 p.m. I helped her out in the evening. We went to Lucky Lounge to break down a fajita buffet that she catered.

Days like that seem pretty regular. I think she’s frustrated because she’s still new and there’s a significant lack of help. Plus when you’re in catering, you have to deal with clients. Often picky clients.

I remember a time when I worked at the Austin Country Club. A client was throwing a baby shower and invited were well-to-do women in their late twenties and early thirties. All wearing name-brand pastel country-club-quality spring dresses. All had very small hands attached to golf ball size diamonds on their engagement and wedding rings.

The Austin Country Club can get linens in any color of the rainbow. This particular client wanted “sea foam green” linens. We usually stocked a plethora of “sea foam green”. I put “sea foam green” in parenthesis because I can’t bring myself to write sea foam green. Damn, I did it. Now I have to subscribe to Christopher Lowell’s decorating tips and tricks mailing list. Anyway, my boss and I set the beautiful banquet room overlooking putting greens with off-white tablecloths and “sea foam green” napkins, all folded in the most elegant of ways. Polished silverware was set as were bread plates, glassware, centerpieces, polished dressing boats and bread baskets. The whole nine yards.

Our client arrived. Let’s call her Bianca. Bianca took one look at our immaculate room arrangement and looked horrified. She cried. She cried so hard that one would have thought she had just witnessed a puppy walking in through the back door of a Vietnamese restaurant. She wasn’t crying because Doug and I had done our standard and amazing job of setting up an fine dining banquet room. She cried because of the linens.

Everyone else thought the room was gorgeous. And it was. Bianca whined about how she wanted “sea foam green” napkins and tablecloths for her friend’s baby shower brunch. Still crying, she told us that she wanted us to “do something”. We told her that we only had “sea foam green” napkins, not tablecloths. “Do something”. Still crying.

If you’ve ever had a fancy-shmancy breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or bag of Doritos at a country club, then you know that there are a ton of table accessories. For each person there are: 23 forks on the left; 6 knives closest in on the right; 14 spoons to the right of the knives; and a wide array of utensils that lay horizontally above where one’s plate will be when served. Among these utensils are a shrimp fork, a grapefruit spoon, a pea fork, a sausage grinder, lemon tweezers, a lice comb, a salt knife and a ball ping hammer. Bianca wanted Doug and I to remove all table accessories and start over. With new linens. She’s still crying. “Sea foam green”.

Doug and I took Bianca out onto the putting green and pummeled her with a 7 iron and one of the sausage grinders.

Bianca eventually calmed down and the party went well. Everyone enjoyed their food, the service and watching Bianca’s friend open packages filled with Made For Baby Bentley Big Wheel, J. Lo.’s “I’m Still From the Block” Diamond Baby Gucci earrings, Pedialyte by Crystal and trust funds.

Anyway – that was a fun client experience for yours truly.

Network Solutions and Rosie Perez

If you really hate me and want to do something about it, I have a suggestion: put me in a room with Rosie Perez and a customer service representative from Network Solutions.

“I’ll escalate this to our engineering department”. That’s what I hear every time I call Network Solution’s V.I.P. customer support hotline. We have 200+ client websites that are registered through Network Solutions. We utilize their web forwarding feature. I just so happened to notice that their web forwarding feature stopped working today. That means that 200+ of our clients are without websites. Want to know how long before this is fixed? “three to five business days”. But knowing that they have escalated this to their engineering department makes me feel so much better.

I don’t really like talking about work. I really don’t like Network Solutions either. Rosie Perez makes me want to chew on tin foil.

Sorry. Carry on now.