Category Archives: Updates

At the Hospital

So after a rather exciting morning we’re at the hospital. Julie woke up at 4:45, but I didn’t get up until she took a shower around 7am. We waited until Julie’s Doctors office opened and headed over. They validated that Julie was indeed in labor. We both knew that already. So we got ourselves across the street to the hospital as fast as possible. Some stuff occurred. Lah, lah, lah. And Julie has her epidural now, and we’re hanging. The Doc is currently in surgery so they’re not going to get this party going for a bit. So we’re just relaxing. Happy for the miracles of modern science that have Julie currently out of pain.

My beautiful rock-star wife!

We feel like poop.

Julie and I feel like poop. The baby has not arrived yet. I’m working a lot on my (actually monkey-making) venture BuyPlayTix. I have a blog for it –

I wrote a great post on religion and how people who don’t believe in Christianity don’t call themselves Christians anymore thanks to the preponderance of extremists in the Republican party. But that post got eaten. 🙁

Maybe I’ll rewrite it at some point.


Kind of did a low key valentines day yesterday. Julie had a murder mystery, so I scrambled to come up with a menu and then drove off to Central Market. It was a quick trip. Got home and Julie left for work. I did some prep and then Stella and I made chocolate covered strawberries. It was a lot of fun. Especially when she held up her hands to me and said, “ooohhh, dirty”. To which I replied, “Stella, we’re making candy, the best part is dirty hands. Lick them off!” Anyway, I got kind of crafty with the strawberries and here they are:

Lego Advent Calendar

My lovely sisters bought me a Lego Advent Calendar. It has an awesome city scene inside with some beautiful architecture. You get a small set each day, so I was really looking forward to it.

Day 1: We opened the first day and out popped a little man. Hmm… with a chicken leg. Is this Thanksgiving themed?

Day 2: This one took a bit of figuring out, as its shape is not readily apparent. Gas grill!

Day 3: Nice little sidebar for the grill. You’ve got your beer mug and a frying pan.

Day 4: Our first guest arrives. She’s a bit trashy looking though. What’s with the perpetual wink and the ice cream cone that’s larger than her head.

Day 5: The beer cooler arrives with portable umbrella. The party has really started!

I’m waiting for around Day 18 when the police and fire department show up after Virgil’s lighter fluid experimentation gets out of hand.

A Truly Scary Halloween

So for those who came to our Halloween party on Saturday night and sat as we were buzzed by helicopters, we probably should have been in the house. Remember when I joked that if someone came in our back gate, it was probably a bad sign? Yeah, that joke was probably in bad taste.

One of the landlords in our neighborhood rents 4 properties out as sort of halfway houses. This particular home houses a woman we know is a prostitute and who has been seen smoking crack by many neighbors. While we were partying

My Weekend of Death

On Saturday night we went to see the Rubber Rep’s “Casket of Passing Fancy”. It’s a fairly simple theatrical experience, where you are given a list of options and you are expected to choose one. These “offers” are for a personal experience. Once your offer has been chosen it is yours alone and no one else can have the same experience.

I was the second person in the audience to chose. My offer spoke to me – “Who wants to taxidermy an animal that was picked up off the road just today?”. There was something about that offer than made me think I wouldn’t get a second chance at it in my lifetime. My hand went up quickly. I was given a narrow plastic bin. It was quite heavy, and whatever was inside was wrapped in a black shroud. I was escorted to a small table lit by chandelier and blindfolded. After a few moments the blind fold came off. I was introduced to my domestic who was wearing a hunters cap and vest. We discussed her “methods” of taxidermy. “Shellackadermy” she called it. Much simpler. Our animal was a small toad. We covered it in several coats of shellac attaching it to a board. We discussed where in the house to hang it. I suggested my workshop. It was built in the sixties and has peg board. It’s screaming for taxidermied life. And I knew I wouldn’t be able to convince Julie to put it on the mantle.

Once we had a nice layer on the toad, I was provided with a wood burning calligraphy tool. I mentioned that perhaps we shouldn’t be using heat on a shellacked board. So my domestic thoughtfully rummaged around and found a new piece of wood for us to use as a label. I burned the name we had decided upon for the toad (Vernid) into the label, and then we shellacked the label to the mounting board. We discussed ways in which the mounting could be improved. Perhaps a montage with Matchbox cars to mimic his untimely death?

It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience, and even though I was done quickly I hung around for another 30 minutes or so to hear about the experiences of others. I cannot recommend this experience highly enough. You can see what you’ve missed on Rubber Rep’s blog. Then you should go purchase your tickets. The offers are going quickly. Don’t let someone else claim yours.

I do have to say that Julie and I had trepidations about how weird this would be. We were frightened that we would find the experience uncomfortable. But we found that for us, and pretty much everyone we talked to it was a joyful experience that was really fulfilling. And because there are so few offers, you can bet that people will be talking about their experience for years to come. Don’t miss out.

On Sunday I began reconstructing the stage in our back yard. The surface was a solid piece of decking with no holes drilled for water drainage and it was starting to give when anyone other than toddlers walked on it. I unscrewed the first piece of decking, lifted it off and was startled to find an equally startled opossum under the deck. He scurried under the next piece of decking. We repeated this dance until all the decking was removed and he had to find a new home in our neighbors yard.

As I was working on rebuilding the frame I made a gruesome discovery. Right next to the opossum’s nest was an opossum’s skull. And hipbones. I had discovered the opossum’s spine and some fur by the fence a few weeks earlier. I had been ignoring it since it was decomposed past the point of smelling, and who wants to pick up possum carcass? I did not realize that possums ate their own, but I guess that’s part of what it means to be a scavenger. Gruesome all the same. I picked up all the pieces and put them in the bag. I posted about the fact that I was having a weekend of death on the Rubber Rep’s blog and offered the skeleton and I immediately had an offer. The skeleton was picked up by a certain arts editor on behalf of someone else at around 3pm today.

Quite the weekend. I’ll try to get a picture of Vernid for those who are interested.

$100k a year is rich

Slate is running an article right now about how deluded many pundits and politicians are about what constitutes rich. But it’s really us Americans who are deluded.

I personally think that rich should be pretty easy to define. If you’re in the top 80% of income earners in the United States my thought is you’re rich. If you’re in the top 90% you’re filthy rich. That’s just based on how I feel about percentages. I think most people would say those numbers seem fair if they don’t see what the median income is for someone in the 80% and 90% brackets.

The Census Bureau earlier this week reported that the median household income was $50,223 in 2007—up slightly from the last year but still below the 1999 peak. So a household that earned $250,000 made five times the median. In fact, as this chart shows, only 2.245 million U.S. households, the top 1.9 percent, had income greater than $250,000 in 2007. (About 20 percent of households make more than $100,000.)

Shocking, eh? So over $100k is rich. But that doesn’t buy a new cellphone every six months, and a lexus for your kid, and a million dollar house, so how is that rich? Amazing how our culture has managed to change wealthy into something so ridiculously unattainable. We feel poor because there’s so much great stuff to spend our money on.

Although we really need to start agreeing that we should be able to tax the hell out of people making more than 5 times the median income. It’s ridiculous that we would think that people can raise a family a 4 on $50k/year and yet howl when it’s suggested that people who make 5 times that be taxed a little more heavily.

More Public Schools

Wanted to share this Salon article in reference to yesterday’s post. Especially this bit:

“It’s also a shift in terms of conversation. I think for good liberal Democrats of my ilk, for people to sit around and say, “Public education, no one can go there” — I don’t think that’s a fight that should be allowed to be abandoned in conversation anymore. It’s a bit like if you said, “Yeah, I toss my recycling right into the landfill. I don’t even bother to separate my recyclables. What’s the point? We’re all going to hell, anyway.” That wouldn’t pass in nice company. I think we need to start changing the conversation so it’s not just a given that we’re going to send our kids to private school and that that’s better.”

Quick Updates

Update 1 – The rain train fell in a hole. This knocked off one of its arms causing water to flow out. The rain train tried to keep going which caused the wheels to keep turning and dig itself further and further into the hole as the hole got wetter and wetter. I find this really amusing for some reason. Have no fear though, the rain train will be back in service on Saturday.

Update 2 – I was playing in the backyard with Stella when I noticed Lucy was flipping something around in the air with her mouth. I went and investigated since this is not her normal behavior and we discovered a baby bird. We took it to Austin Wildlife Rescue the next day and they said our baby blue jay is going to do fine. Its little blind eyes reminded me of Roxie, and it kept propping itself up on its bottom with its feet sticking directly out in front of it and its head up in the air waiting for food. Seriously cute:

Update 3 – Julie spent two days taking care of my little sister (yes Julie is an awesome sister-in-law) after some surgery. Stella stayed with her Mimi in Houston. While they were there, I finished getting Stella’s big girl bed ready. This involved extending the side rails so that her Ikea purchased slats wouldn’t fall off. Plus I had to put in slat start and end bumpers so they wouldn’t shift around. Took me about two hours to get everything done, but I love the results:

This is one of the two matching mid-century modern twin beds that we purchased so we could have matching beds for the two kids who eventually end up sleeping in what is now Stella’s room. We got them both for $79. Great deal.