Uff Da

Janeen e-mailed this morning stating that she and her family are moving to Minneapolis in six weeks. Her husband recently accepted a job with General Mills. I know some great people that live in Minnesota but I could not begin to fathom the thought of even considering to start to think about entertaining the notion of moving north of Round Rock. I hate cold weather.

Four years ago Elise and I moved to Temple, a small town sixty miles north of Austin when I accepted a job offer from Scott & White. Elise kicked and screamed and cried because she didn’t want to leave Austin. I convinced her that our new home would be great, I would thrive at my job and we would live happily ever after. I was dead wrong on all counts and learned a valuable lesson. I busted my ass and knocked on every door until I found a good job back in Austin. We were piss poor and desperate when we moved to Temple. I understand moving out of necessity but if we have the choice, we’ll choose where we live because we actually want to live there. Never again just for a job.

Christmas 2005

Elise and I spent Christmas with my parents in Cat Spring this year. We left Austin mid-afternoon on Friday in time to have gumbo with Mom & Dad. After dinner we went to see Adrian play at The Fainting Goat.

On Saturday we got up and did some last minute Christmas shopping in Brenham. We got back to Mom & Dad’s in time to change clothes and then head out to Bellville for church. We made it to the church at 4:58 to find out that mass started at four. We drove back to Mom & Dad’s and made taco salads and tamales with chili for dinner.

Elise and I left again for mass in Bellville at ten and yours truly got the annual stand, sit, stand, sit, stand, sit workout.

On Christmas morning we all woke up and exchanged presents in the living room. Elise and the baby made out like bandits this year!

For Christmas dinner, Mom steamed brocolli and baked beer bread. Dad cooked rice and I smoked two pork loins, one stuffed with a fig and cayenne chutney and rubbed with crushed anchos and coriander. For the other I used parts of a recipe e-mailed to me from Barin von Foregger, cream cheese, garlic, bacon, kalamata olives and bread crumbs and rubbed with Mexican spices and coffee.

Dad didn’t get out of bed on Monday. Mom looked and felt horrible when we arrived on Friday night and was feeling somewhat normal by Christmas morning. Since Dad was sick, I finished the electric wiring to Mom’s greenhouse.

Later in the afternoon we headed home for Austin. I woke up this morning and felt weird. By the time I got to the office, I felt like shit, my stomach was knotted, my office manager knew it and sent me home. So my extended Christmas vacation has consisted of my curled up in bed, holding my stomach. But I finally got to watch The Graduate in its intirety!

Adrian plays The Fainting Goat

Elise and I left Austin for my parents’ house early in the afternoon on Friday. We got to Mom & Dad’s in time for dinner and then Elise and I headed out for Bellville to watch Adrian perform an accoustic set at The Fainting Goat, a New York-inspired cafe & bar. It’s a quaint little spot with fun foods and trendy beers. The service was sub-par but seeing some old friends and watching Adrian perform made it worth it.

Adrian & Josh at The Fainting Goat
Adrian pulls Josh on stage for “A Song About Bellville”

Bread winner

We went to a Christmas party last night that doubled as Cyndi’s surprise birthday party. Food and friends were great. Elise and I brought a crudite platter and I made two great sandwich spreads.

The evening progressed. Most people left after a few hours and there were but a few of us stragglers who loitered in Jenny’s kitchen. The topic of husbands, wives, raising children and working full-time was brought up. I bravely mentioned the concept of “bread winner”, which struck a few the wrong way and I had to dig myself out of a hole pretty quickly.

After the debate, Marc, Cyndi and Christine shared recent child rearing horror stories, most of which made me wish we had purchased a gently used German Shepherd instead of getting pregnant.

On the drive home Elise and I discussed how our lives are going to change beyond our imaginations when our baby is born. I’m a moody asshole who should probably be on anti-moody asshole medication. Elise is worried that I’ll become more of a MA after the baby is home, when we lose any and all concept of schedule and when our house eventually turns into wreck.

Who knows what will happen. That’s one of life’s little secrets.

Here’s another little secret: If you find yourself in a kitchen with pregnant women, don’t use the term “bread winner” unless you’re referencing a bake sale.

Christmas spreads

Rosemary & Roasted Garlic Chimichurri Emulsion – Roasted garlic, shallot, pine nuts, fresh spinach, basil, parsley, rosemary, lemon, extra virgin olive oil, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt

Berry & Pepper Chutney Cream Cheese – Blackberry, dewberry, cranberry, chipotle, Jonagold apple, Bartlett pear, coriander, crushed chiles, yellow onion, vinegar, cream cheese

Videos from the days when I edited videos

My first job out of college was with LearnFREE.com, which later became Vidbook.com. We were a dot-com and we fell with the rest of them. When business was slow we either shopped eBay for radio controlled monster trucks or used our multimedia computers to edit videos.

I was digging through old CDs and found some outtakes:

(These videos are all encoded for Real Media [I’m sorry :-( ])

A great ad on The Apprentice

Randal “Not the Apprenti” Pinkett was hired on Thursday’s “The Apprentice”. It was the riveting season finale but my favorite part was seeing Jim Florentine wearing a Wednesday 13 shirt during his stand-up routine benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Wednesday 13 shirt on The Apprentice
Awesome free advertising: Comedian Jim Florentine
wears a Wednesday 13 shirt on NBC’s “The Apprentice”

I e-mailed Matt to see if he knew of the free ad. He didn’t know about it but said, “Wow… we’ve really made it!”

Short-term goal turns into long-term goal

After three years of intense training, I earned my first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do on October 16, 1992. I went on a nine year voluntary TKD hiatus when I left the nest for college in August of 1994.

When I decided to return to the sport in 2003, I set a short-term goal for myself: Earn your second degree black belt. I will test for my second degree in four months. I’m not going to stop after that.

Long-term goal: I’m going to be the dad whose kid can say, “Oh yeah? Well, my dad can kick your dad’s ass”, and actually mean it.

Something I say that REALLY pisses me off

It could be a friendly store clerk, one of the company’s customers, my father-in-law, the cat, anyone. When the conversation is coming to an end I have made it a painfully annoying habit to say, “Okay, we’ll talk to you later!” The moment I begin hearing it roll out of my mouth I want to repeatedly stab pencils into my ears. “We’ll“? Who’s we? Me and my schizophrenic other self?

I don’t know when or why I started saying this but when I hear it again, we’re going postal.

Jesus just wants an Xbox 360 for his birthday

The weekend before last I got up early Saturday morning and was hell-bent on putting the Christmas lights on the house. The neighbors across the street were also putting up their lights. I was trying to untangle the netted icicle lights that are “easily draped over shrubs and bushes” and remembered the holiday joy that I felt this time last year. You know, the holiday joy that drives you to raise your fists to the heavens while standing atop your home and scream, “WHY THE **** DO I HAVE TO PUT UP THESE *** **** *********** LIGHTS AND ****** **** ***** ***** ****** *** ******** **** ***** ****** ***** ****** *** ****** ***** **** *********** *** ****** **** ****** **** DAMN **** **** **** **** ******** **** AGAIN!!!!”

I looked across the street and saw my neighbors with blueprints, a laser level and one of those surveying scopes and said, “To hell with it all!” These neighbors are the guys who won an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise a few years back for their Christmas decorating theme.

Elise is set on having Christmas decorations and lights outside as well as mulled spices on the stove this year. We went to Papa Noel to get our Christmas tree this evening. I thought it was going to be an in and out affair but my lovely wife had to find the tree. Immediately I reminded myself of Jeff’s recent tree buying experience and thought, “Shit… we’re going to be here ALL NIGHT.” Luckily Elise found her tree within half an hour and we got an official Papa Noel coffee mug to boot.

Elise decorating the tree 2005
Mrs. Preggers lights the tree.
Now she’s at the HoPot, Wal-Mart and Garden Ridge in search of tree stands and other consumer-grade holiday glee.

Bring on the egg nog.