All posts by tim

sleepy

Man, I am tired. It’s been a rough few weeks which is why I haven’t been posting. I’ve been up against a ridiculous deadline at work that had me working until 2:30 am last Friday night. Or Saturday morning. However you like to structure your days.

I couldn’t really sleep in on Saturday. Stella was in a loud talking mood, and my body just refused to fight it. So I got up with less than 5 hours of sleep. Make that much less. Roxie woke me up twice that night.

Roxie.

Roxie. Bane of my existence.

Roxie is our dog who walked into our front door after deciding she was done riding the rails. She’s a depression-era hobo dog. When we took her to the vet initially they said she was twelve years old at minimum. That was three years ago.

unfinished books

Stole this one from Kate. Seemed sort of interesting. I wonder why so much Neil Gaimen is on here.

The instructions are simple:

Bold those you’ve read.

Add an asterisk* to those you have read more than once.

Italicize books you have started but couldn’t finish.

Underline those on your TBR list.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (her own fault she needed an editor)

Anna Karenina

Crime and Punishment

Catch-22

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Wuthering Heights

The Silmarillion (I tried this so many times as a kid. I have no interest in even trying again now)

Life of Pi: A Novel (attempted and was bored to tears)

The Name of the Rose

Don Quixote

Moby Dick

Ulysses

Madame Bovary

The Odyssey

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Eyre

A Tale of Two Cities

The Brothers Karamazov

Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies

War and Peace

Vanity Fair

The Time Traveller’s Wife

The Iliad

Emma

The Blind Assassin

The Kite Runner

Mrs. Dalloway

* Great Expectations (I loved this one the second time. Sooo good.)

American Gods (brilliant)

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Atlas Shrugged

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Memoirs of a Geisha

Middlesex (brilliant. Want to read it again in a few years)

Quicksilver (Thought I hadn’t finished this one. Finished this one. It was “The Confusion” [book 2] I couldn’t finish.)

Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

The Canterbury Tales

The Historian

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Love in the Time of Cholera

Brave New World (I want to read this. For some reason it’s one I pick up and start when I don’t have time to finish a book)

The Fountainhead

Foucault’s Pendulum

Middlemarch

Frankenstein

The Count of Monte Cristo

Dracula

A Clockwork Orange

Anansi Boys

The Once and Future King (Julie hated this one too. I’ve read it multiple times.)

The Grapes of Wrath

The Poisonwood Bible

1984 (again with books I start only when I have no time)

Angels & Demons

The Inferno

The Satanic Verses

Sense and Sensibility

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Mansfield Park

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (I’m assuming this is the novel. I’ve read the play dozens of times)

To the Lighthouse (yaaaaaaaaaaawn)

Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Oliver Twist

Gulliver’s Travels

Les Mis

my friday run

<a href="http://www.mapmyrun.com/run/united-states/tx/austin/547141413" _fcksavedurl="http://www.mapmyrun.com/run/united-states/tx/austin/547141413">Country Club Creek via Pleasent Valley and Wickersham</a><br/><a href="http://www.mapmyrun.com/find-run/united-states/tx/austin" _fcksavedurl="http://www.mapmyrun.com/find-run/united-states/tx/austin">Find more Runs in Austin, Texas</a>

So this was my Friday run. It’s been a long stressful week at work, and I didn’t get to start running until 4pm on Friday. It’s a decent route. Wickersham is still a pain. I took Stella with me, and my back was killing me from the hills at the end.

I haven’t been writing much because of the work. It’s been taking a lot out of me. We finally finished painting the exterior of the house last weekend. It looks fantastic, but it was a massive amount of work. And we still have to clean up all the drips around the house.

We got a big screen TV a few weeks back when we unexpectedly got our refund from Newmark. Every so often, Julie and I decide that our eyes are failing us and upgrade the TV. This led to 4 hours on a Friday night with a toddler at Circuit City. In the end we were happy with the TV. I managed to convince Julie to get a blu-ray player since the main purpose for our TV is to watch movies. I ended up returning it for a playstation 3, though after reading reviews online.

This of course led us to need new furniture. So the day after we headed off to Ikea. We put together a Besta solution that would put the TV on a nice cabinet, and we got some Besta bookcases that house all of our CDs in a manner that should not kill small children should the decide to climb on them.

Oh, and in the middle of this I finished my newest play – The Automat.

This past week was mostly a blur. One of the cabinets we planned for the living room was to be suspended over the TV. Julie always underestimates hanging things on the wall. She seems to think the reason I don’t want to put on child safety features is that I don’t believe children will ever use them. Rather than the fact I’m lazy and don’t want to spend 3 hours trying to attach a bookcase to the wall. Julie yet again assumed that hanging this cabinet would be a quick ordeal. Of course it was another 3 hours. 3 hours of holding the cabinet while we tried to measure. Tried to find our studs. Put in drywall anchors. Quite a pain. But it’s in.

Only 1000 more projects to go.

jesus loves parking lots

The statesman reported on my parent’s church this morning. You can read the article here. Seems they’re suing the City of Austin claiming that the city’s rules that keep them from building a new parking lot over our water supply is infringing their right to worship. Because part of your right to worship includes a free parking space.

Austin’s chief of litigation, Anne Morgan, says the church has other options: build a parking garage or ask its members to take the bus.

So in other words, these Christians won’t take a bus. Even though if you look at the route for the 331 it drops off practically in their parking lot. I know this because after much prompting my mother took the bus a few times. It also happens to cross bus routes with the 3, the 10, and the 1, which means pretty much everyone in Austin can get there by bus. Well except West Austinites. Who won’t pay for public transport. And from what I hear are pretty well represented at this church. At some point we should cut those moochers off. Especially since they can’t even be bothered to drive around a parking garage.

And people wonder why I want nothing to do with these “caring” churches. How about giving a damn about the water I drink? How many more missionaries could you send over seas for the cost of this lawsuit? How many people could you feed for the cost of your state-of-the-art sound system? Why couldn’t you build a parking garage on your current land? Or is this just about serving rich people their weekly singing and dancing catharsis so they can endure living one more week with the spouse they hate, at the job they hate, without pulling the plug completely?

I know a lot of people dislike organized religion. Personally I like it much more than this “dis-organized religion” of the evangelicals. Organized religion has shown historically that it’s pretty corrupt. Not having the checks and balances that organized religion has I think can only end badly. Which probably explains why most of these churches are essentially prosperity-preaching country clubs.

The Nymph at Frontera Fest

One of my shows is playing at Frontera Fest tomorrow night. It’s called the nymph, and it’s a bit of a twisted fairy tale about what happens when a river o’er runs it s banks. Fun stuff.

You can still get tickets here:

http://4thwalltickets.com/store/show/72

Just scroll down to Jan 23rd and buy some tickets. I recommend buying in advance. Frontera often sells out. And by often, I mean almost always.

This is probably my favorite show I’ve written, and I hope to return to it some day and make it into a full length script. Something along the lines of Neil Gamine’s Coraline.

Big and Little Stacy + Some Manlove

<a href="http://www.mapmyrun.com/run/united-states/tx/austin/899336311" _fcksavedurl="http://www.mapmyrun.com/run/united-states/tx/austin/899336311">Big and Little Stacy and a detour to manlove</a><br/><a href="http://www.mapmyrun.com/find-run/united-states/tx/austin" _fcksavedurl="http://www.mapmyrun.com/find-run/united-states/tx/austin">Find more Runs in Austin, Texas</a>

Decided to check out Big and Little Stacy today. I took a detour and looked at the houses near Oltor and Parker. There’s some cute stuff in there. Then headed over I-35 at Oltorf. Ran past Travis High.

Ah AISD… Part 2

So I looked at the recommendations from the school board, and they’re mostly sane if a bit sad.

The central part of the District, south of Lady Bird Lake and east of IH-35, is an area undergoing significant changes. Linder Elementary School is currently experiencing significant overcrowding and is at 155% of capacity.

Continued population increases in the apartment communities located between Woodland Avenue and Oltorf Boulevard have resulted in an overcrowding situation at Linder. While at the same time, redevelopment of older apartment communities in the Metz and Sanchez attendance zones have decreased these schools by 76 and 107 students, respectively, from 2006-07 to 2007-08. This trend will continue as other apartments also begin redeveloping into higher priced apartments and condominiums.

In other words, we’re going to price the families out of the neighborhoods. I wish I wasn’t helping to fulfill that prophecy.

Of course, they still expect Linder to hit 195% of capacity in 2010-2012. Just that the other schools near the water will have low enrollment so no need to build anything new.

Ah AISD…

Just reading this article from the Statesman. So the school board is trying to decide where to build two new elementary schools. They’re apparently planning on putting one in Circle C, because they promised it to developers a long time ago. And they’re also planning on putting on in another one in North Central Austin. Apparently the schools in North Austin are overcrowded with students and so they need a new school.

More likely overcrowded because of transfers students from other parts of Austin. I can’t believe that there’s been a sudden influx of families with greater than average numbers of children living in sub-1600 sq/ft houses. Perhaps if they fixed problem schools in South and East Austin they wouldn’t have every kid transferring into a North Central school.

Of course I’m biased since the school we’ll be sending Stella to is Linder Elementary. From the article (emphasis mine):

District 2 Trustee Sam Guzman, who represents East and Southeast Austin and whose term also expires in May, said he is concerned that the two proposed sites won’t relieve crowding at Linder Elementary School, which is east of Interstate 35 between Oltorf Street and Ben White Boulevard and is the most over-enrolled campus in the district.

In their recommendation, district staff members said Linder students might have to be transferred to other schools. It’s an idea that isn’t sitting well with parents in the area, Guzman said.

Guzman said he has heard from several parents about crowding and the condition of the Linder campus, which he said is showing its age and has moisture problems.

“The more and more I talk to people about it, the more it strikes me how dire the situation is there,” he said.

But the money quote is:

“Everybody wants the best for the kids they represent, but ultimately, we represent all the kids,” he said.

And by all the kids, I’m sure they mean, all the kids whose parent’s are heavily involved in community politics.

Views, VMUs, and Parking

So, on my long run today I got to thinking a lot about parking and these new development communities. I’m sure this was inspired by something AC or M1EK said, but heck if I can remember. I’ve got to say that I think that parking like at the Domain is a really great idea. It would be great if we could make people only go to the Domain via public transport, but that’s not going to happen. So short term that kind of public parking is great. Not just for the Domain, but because other businesses can piggy back on the domain. There’s no reason that you couldn’t buy a plot of land next to a development like that and get walk in customers, building off of their pedestrian friendly environment. We’re going to have cars for some time, so it’s best to plan for them. I’d like to see something like this on Riverside. Put in a big parking garage, and then people stroll up and down the street (hopefully with a light rail running down the middle).

I was thinking about this as I ran past the lake front Radio Shack on Riverside. I’m not normally for the city deciding what sort of things its citizens should be buying by using eminent domain to redevelop property, but this Radio Shack has a lake front view. Except it doesn’t. Because it has no windows in the back! I’d be all about a lake front Radio Shack if they had windows. Look for an obscure cable connector while admiring the beauty of town lake. There’s a Starbucks in Kerrville that is right on the river. And it’s amazing.

But why are we allowing businesses to essentially just block the view? There’s a lake front Jiffy Lube too, except of course, the customers can’t sit by the lake while they’re car is repaired. They get to sit and look at cars whizzing by on Riverside! I realize that there is a plan for the neighborhood and I really want to make sure that some of the cool businesses over here can afford their leases after they transform the area, but for the love of Pete, let’s get rid of these businesses waisting valuable real estate.

Speaking of views. When we bought this house the MLS listing mentioned that there were possible downtown views from a theoretical second story you could build. We’ve had our Christmas tree up in front of our main window, so we haven’t been looking out it at all. Julie took it down Wednesday night, and last night I was walking past our front window when I noticed the Frost Bank tower. And the rest of downtown. We both just stared. There are a lot of trees in the way, and I think it’s going to be a winter only view but it’s really beautiful.

Just mentioning this I noticed that I can see the Frost Bank tower from where I’m sitting right now in my office. It’s a little bit harder to discern during the day, but you can see the shape.

I love this house. I love this area. Everywhere I run there are amazing views of downtown and nature.