the oil winter

Just read this CNN article on people’s reactions to rising gas prices. It’s fascinating to see that people are starting to get it. It’s starting to hit home. They do these fairly frequently and in the past they’ve had a lot of mixed opinions. This is the first one that has been overwhelmingly negative.

Personally, we’re getting hit by the rising food prices a lot more than gas. We had our first $30 tank of gas recently, but that’s not really that big of a deal. We use about 2-3 tanks of gas a month. So $15-20 isn’t gonna break us. But we did fuel up my parent’s truck last week as part of moving in our set for The Automat, and it was $50. I don’t know how people who commute can afford 4 tanks of gas a month at $50 a pop. You really start to see how moving to the city can become affordable. If you have two sub-20mpg vehicles and two commutes that require filling up a gas tank weekly, you could afford about $40,000 more house for the price of your commute. That’s nuts.

In the past a lot of artists have drawn images of what they imagine suburbia will look like during a nuclear winter. I wonder if we’ll see that in an


So today I got hungry. And I decide to make popcorn.

We had some unpopped pop corn in the pantry from our Oscar party. And I had read on Treehugger how you can make microwave popcorn with the normal stuff. You don’t need to buy the bags. And you really shouldn’t buy the bags, since they can kill you. And not just in laboratory rats. Real-life microwave popcorn eaters have gotten cancer from cooking the fake butter. But I digress.

You’re supposed to put the corn in a brown paper lunch bag. But that doesn’t seem very treehugger-y.

First, I tried a paper boat. Which I realize is also disposable and negates my argument above. But I didn’t have any brown paper lunch bags, so the environmental reasoning came later. It’s one of those boats that they served French Fries in at your school cafeteria. We got about 100 of them when we purchased our house. I don’t know why the previous owners needed so many paper boats (and obviously they didn’t either since they left them). But I like to imagine the previous owner sitting down to lunch every day for a steaming paper boat full of Frito pie. Mmmm… sounds good.

So, I put them in the boat. This resulted in some really cool visuals and a bit of popping, but not enough. I cleaned out the microwave. Put the popped popcorn in a bowl and put the unpopped kernels in another bowl. Then I put a third bowl on top of the unpopped kernels and threw that back into the microwave. This time the popping was more contained, although not as entertaining. Ok, it was still pretty entertaining. I like watching the top bowl, slowly separate from the bottom as the popcorn inside gets bigger and bigger. What can I say, I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a kid.

This worked pretty well. Still too many unpopped kernels, but a lot more popcorn. The only problem is that it kind of fuses to the bowls. So, I’ll have to work on that. At this point I had enough popcorn to eat, but I’ll return to my experimentation at a later date.

buy as though your job depends upon it!

So I spent a bit of time arguing with a guy a while back about taxes. He felt that I “did nothing to prove to [him] that you or anyone else is entitled to the money I work my ass of[f] for.” Which is interesting. After talking to him a bit more I found out that he really just doesn’t like medicaid and welfare, which of course get a lot of people up in arms. Even if those programs are only a fairly small amount of the tax we pay yearly. But it got back to the government “taking” money from people (of course no one every complains about the military “taking” more than half the taxes you pay every year, but I digress). Which I think is a big perception problem. The government is for us. It is us. We are paying for the services we use or could potentially use. And we agree to pool our resources to get things done that we couldn’t alone. Pretty simple. But the anti-tax rhetoric is out of control.

Which brings me to the President this morning. He was jibber-jabbering about nothing much, and got a question about the economic stimulus package. Here he is explaining the purpose of the package:

And the purpose is to encourage our consumers. The purpose is to give them money — their own to begin with, by the way — but give them money to help deal with the adverse effects of the decline in housing value. Consumerism is a significant part of our GDP growth, and we want to sustain the American consumer, encourage the American consumer and, at the same time, we want to encourage investment. So we’ll see how the plan works.

First off. I love the fact that he can say “their own [money] to begin with” when referring to rebate checks paid for with debt to the Chinese. But we all know that facts are not where Bush excels.

What blows my mind is this discussion of consumers. That we have become in essence a national resource. Like lumber, minerals, or oil. And we’re apparently the only one left. That rather than deal with the underlying problems that got us here, like consumer debt, a housing bubble, and financial market corruption, we should instead spend our way to financial security! We must be fed and sustained, like the endangered animals we are. I can’t wait to have a president who can think outside the shopping mall.

On a side note, the set for the Automat looks fantastic. I want to go in and have a meal. You guys gotta check it out. Got your tickets yet?

little german lady

<a href="" _fcksavedurl="">Run around the AMD</a><br/><a href="" _fcksavedurl="">Find more Runs in Austin, Texas</a>

I don’t have much to say about this route. I ran into a little old German lady who told me it was wonderful that young people walked. I was running. I’m chalking it up to a language barrier.

I mostly ran around AMD. AMD has some really nice trails right near my house that all have prominent “Private Property” signs. Punks.

I also ran into some people who lost their wiener dog. I didn’t see it unfortunately. Managed to put in less than 10 minute miles which is really good for me with all of these hills. Still not used to these hills.

The Automat

Time for more of that viral marketing. Tickets for “The Automat” are now on sale. This show is really fun and light. Plus I think that Ian and I are going over the top on building this set. It’s going to be really cool.

Here’s a button to put on your blog or other site:

buy tickets for the automat

And here’s the code:

    alt="buy tickets for the automat" />

Also, we’re now on facebook:

And you can still add us on myspace:

false alarm

My ankle was giving me fits until yesterday. Nothing major. Just the occasional shot of pain. You know, a “Hey they’re buddy, how ’bout treatin’ me better” type of thing. But it has been fine today. Haven’t gone running yet, but I did do a ton of yardwork with no problem.

Speaking of yardwork. We bought a new weed wacker today. It’s been quite a debate. I’d previously always used electric. But to edge certain parts of the yard will require dragging a cord across at least two flowerbeds and constantly maneuvering back around trees. And that’s just the close-in parts. I didn’t really want to test how many extension cords I could string together. So I looked a battery powered. Which apparently get about twenty minutes of use. What is that? I can only dream of having a yard where twenty minutes makes a dent in the edging. So I went with gas. I hate myself for it. But I also kind of love it. We spent a lot

not me ankle!

&lt;a href=&quot;; _fcksavedurl=&quot;;&gt;bull creek route&lt;/a&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;; _fcksavedurl=&quot;;&gt;Find more Runs in Austin, Texas&lt;/a&gt;

It’s a Thursday so I had to go into work today. I ran at lunch. Did my normal Bull Creek route. The route is pretty easy, but it’s littered with rocks and boulders. Plus there are a few perennially wet places. I’m convinced I’m eventually going to injure myself out there, but so far I’ve been lucky.

Today I was jumping from boulder to boulder (these are in the ground, not tall ones), and hit one at a bad angle. Felt a little pain in my ankle, but I ran it off pretty quickly.

Now this afternoon I got up after sitting for a while and I can feel light tinges of pain when I walk. I’m really hoping this isn’t one of those slow burners. Those always seem to be the worst.

I’d run on the road if that didn’t seem even more foolhardy.

I have a little shadow.

Two nights ago I was cooking dinner. I had given Stella a carrot and piece of broccoli to try. She always has to have a carrot while she’s waiting for dinner. The broccoli was part of my plan to get her to eat more by letting her sample the raw ingredients. She had been silent for a while so I went and looked for her.

She was in the living room with a bowl, the carrot, the broccoli, and one of her plastic knives. She was chopping them up and putting them in the bowl. I got her out a cutting board so she wouldn’t mark up the coffee table and we both went back to work. Cooking.

it came upon a midnight clear

I’m sorry. That song lyric will always have horror connotations for me. I guess that’s just suburban programming, but what good could possibly come upon a midnight clear?

Anyway. Last night our alarm woke us up again a few minutes before midnight. Our digital phone has gone out again and so the alarm can’t phone home. It conveniently phones home every night at midnight. Then it beeps loudly that something has gone wrong. It’s fantastic. I’ve found I can turn it off, by jumping out of bed and resetting the alarm.

So last night I was on my way to do my nightly reset when I noticed a figure at the window. At first I thought it was Punky, our cat, looking out. But it was on the wrong side of the window. Then I thought it was perhaps one of the 2,004 cats that live in our neighborhood and like to stare in our windows. But it was the wrong shape.

As I got close it shuffled off. It was a juvenile possum. Not quite as long as an adult. It shambled away looking embarrassed that I had caught it peeping in.

I mentioned it to Julie when I got back from resetting the alarm. “There’s a possum in the house?!,” she yelped. I calmly explained that it was outside the house. It was just looking in the windows. “I would have screamed bloody murder if I had seen that,” she replied. I mentioned that I thought its shambling was kind of cute. She turned over, convinced of my insanity.