Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 Recap

Everyone else is doing this, so I may as well -- although, for me, the beginning of the new year is late August, since that's when the school year begins. Next year I shall do the end of the year retrospective in August.

January 2005: Woke up one day and decided I should buy a house. (Well, I'd been going to open houses and looking online for a couple of years, but one day I just woke up and said, I should do this NOW.) Also, our beloved admin assoc. at work, Joe_G found a job that actually will be a challenge for him. We were so sad to see him leave, but it was a good move for him, and he quickly got a promotion.

February 2005: Found our Tejas Trl house
March 2005: Closed on T Trl house
April 2005: Moved to T Trl -- yes, we took the whole month to move
May 2005: Started to unpack. A work still in progress

June, July 2005: Freshman and Transfer Orientation. Need I say more?
August 2005: August in Austin. Yecchh. Actually, it wasn't too bad this year. Sometime during the summer, a bondage crew moved in up the street and started throwing sex parties. (without giving us an invitation, hmpf!) (This is covered in other posts -- look for "Suspicious Activity on Tejas Trl" -- in September, I think.)

September 2005: We were burgled!
October 2005: Detective Tate and crew solve the case, catch the bad guys, and we get our stuff back!

November 2005: Go to Ft. Worth to celebrate an early Thanksgiving with the inlaws.
December 2005: Scott got to stay in Austin for 2 weeks; however, we spend most of one week sick. The rest of the time was spent assembling the new Ikea bookcases for the "Room of Music and Contemplation". For once in our lives we will have enough bookshelf space -- and bookshelves that won't sag from the overload, etc.

Things that didn't happen? Well, I didn't get "Facebook Married", although I did find out what it is. -- in the words of one of my students in response to my shock at her sudden nuptials: "I got facebook married. It just means you post up that you're married to one of your friends or whoever says they'll do it... it's just something funny."

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Postcard Update: Praha

Whenever someone I know goes somewhere, I bug them to send me a postcard. Since winter break is a time when a lot of my victims are traveling, I shall be updating you with my latest acquisitions.

Received 12/05: A cat postcard from Tina in Praha (That's Prague, Czech Republic). (Art, not photo) A funny yellow cat is driving a blue convertible through Praha. (click gallery on the left, then look for design #60) (link to the artist). (I found Tina through the UT Cat Club on Facebook. My stalking in the pursuit of postcards knows no bounds.)

Here is some of what Tina wrote on the postcard:

Yay for cats & postcards & mail! This postcard is full of lies, however because there are
A. no cats &
B. no cars with cats in Praha.

When were you in the Czech Republic?

Mluvis Cesky? Tak

Tak Nashledarou a vesel varule!"

Note, I don't have the diacritical marks in the right places (HA -- I have NO diacritical marks!), and I don't know that I got all the letters in the Czech correct, so if you know Czech, I would appreciate corrections. (and a translation, perhaps?)

Well, as the holiday progresses, I'll try to post some more postcard commentaries. (Who knows, perhaps YOUR postcard will be reviewed here?!)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Little Things to do to Make Life More Interesting/Exciting

From time to time I will post little things you can do to make life more interesting/exciting.

Today's idea:

When you go to an ATM, choose Spanish for the transaction language. (Or perhaps French if you are living in a far north state such as Vermont.)

I do this whenever I am bored, and believe me, this will put you on your toes!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bad Kitchen Feng Shui

(Disclaimer: I am a sciencey-type girl, and I don't go in for all this new-age woo-woo, but this kitchen DOES have bad feng shui!) (and this picture was taken before we bought the house, so the furnishings are not ours.)

First of all, we're not wild about the color -- blue and white striped wallpaper? blue formica countertops? Well, the floor tiles are o.k. The wallpaper is something easily remedied -- the countertops a little less so. The skylight makes the room a lot brighter, and S. put up a cool pot rack.

We do like all of the counter space and cabinets -- there are even more cabinets and counter space in the upper right of the picture, to the right of the door that is part way open. The cabinet doors do have European hinges, which are nice -- the finish isn't what I would have chosen, but it is something I can live with. That ceiling fan has got to go -- either to be replaced by just a light, or a more streamlined design -- something that doesn't scream "Kountry".

The thing that is really poorly designed is the kitchen island -- correction, this is not an island -- it is more technically a kitchen peninsula, since it is attached on one side by an isthmus to a cabinet and another counter strip -- a true island would be completely surrounded by water, or in the case of a kitchen, flooring. (you can see the isthmus on the left side of this photo.)

The peninsula is too wide, for one thing. The peninsula impedes the flow of traffic from the dining area to the "cave" (more on the cave in another post). If it were 6 inches or so narrower, you wouldn't have that problem. The dishwasher is in the island, but when you open the dishwasher door, it almost touches the refrigerator -- you can't stand directly in front of the dishwasher to load it. And you can't have the dishwasher and the refrigerator open at the same time.

And that isthmus -- why? (although it does give you a little more counter and cabinet space) -- but anyway, let's suppose that you are having a nice dinner with your friends, when you realize that you have left the vinaigrette in the fridge. Can you go directly to the refrigerator to recover this? No, you have to walk all the way around the peninsula to get to it. A little while later, when someone wants some more white wine, you have to take this trek again.

So, one of these days we will remodel the kitchen -- convert the kitchen peninsula to a kitchen island, and scale it down a bit. Granite counters, perhaps? or even tile would be an improvement.

And how to pay for this, since I refuse to do this on credit, or second mortgage, etc? Well, if I cut out my almost daily non-fat double latte at work, I could save around $700 per year.

But I get so much joy from the latte -- the banter with the baristas, the caffeine high, the CALCIUM for goodness sake!

There is more than enough $ for this in the "household emergency fund"; however, that is for true emergencies -- like the new a/c system we'll probably have to get next year, since our a/c is around 12 - 15 years old, and it isn't even sitting on a concrete or rubber slab -- they just plopped it on the dirt for goodness sake! So far, I'm not considering "bad kitchen feng shui" as an emergency, just an aesthetic yecch.

Sigh, we're just going to have to live with bad kitchen feng shui for a little while longer.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More fun with Pi

Open up multiple browsers of the Pi link mentioned in the post below at different intervals for an interesting fugue effect. (well, probably a faux fugue, since I'm not sure there's any particular musical theme.) (actually, it's pretty annoying, so I'm going to close all of the open browsers now.)


I like pi (and click on the title for a song about it.) (or a song that is it?) It's got a good beat, and lovely harmonies, but as for dancing to it? Yeah, probably yes.

o.k., I know Thanksgiving is over, but . . . I am the stuffing?

You Are The Stuffing

You're complicated and complex, yet all your pieces fit together.
People miss you if you're gone - but they're not sure why.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Bridge in to Work is Closed

Lovely. . . we're supposed to be at work at 10 a.m. today; however, two of the bridges across Town Lake are closed due to the ice, and it's not getting any warmer here any time soon. It's almost 8, so I suppose I should leave soon; however, the last time I crawled in during an ice storm I was met with, "Turn around and go home, we're closed for the day!"

There are wrecks all over town, because people here won't slow down for anything, IH 35 is closed in several places as are several other highways and RM/FM (ranch-to-market and farm-to-market) roads. Most of the local public schools are closed. Hmmm, if I ran the zoo, I'd close UT for the day, but there is probably a good reason why I don't run that zoo.

Haven't yet checked to see if the webmail service is back up.

Last night was a 3-cat night -- it was so cold, they forgot their petty squabbles and cuddled up on the bed with me. It was an uneasy truce, but we made it through the night. Well, only two of them have issues -- Yuki stabbed Murasaki once and the wound got infected and she had to make a visit to the vet, so she HATES him. Genji is the Rodney King of cats, "Can't we all just get along?" He's such a happy, friendly guy. Hmm, wonder how these guys would like a puppy?

Going to go cook some oatmeal -- steel cut, big black organic raisins, slivered almonds, cinnamon, and perhaps a bit of light brown muscovado sugar. Then perhaps there will be a message that school is canceled for the day. (I feel for the thousands at UT who rely on their bicycles.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Snow Day! or Ice Day! No E-Mail Day! Messages for some of you!

The rumors began a little before lunch -- the University will be closing today at 2 p.m. for impending inclement weather. I never believe that stuff (as I am a student of history) until I have proof -- like the hot little e-mail announcement in my little hands. On my way to my Freshman Seminar, I ran into Austin Gleeson (Physics professor and member (or chair?) of the Campus Planning Steering Committee), and HE told me that the campus was going to be closed from 2 p.m. until 10 a.m. Thursday. Hearing this from Dr. Gleeson lends quite a bit of credibility to the rumor, and when I returned to my office @ 2, our crew was putting up the "closed" signs, because they had gotten the official e-mail as well as a message on the voice mail (important point to remember a couple of paragraphs down.

We're such wimps here -- well, actually, the ice storms are wicked, and I'd much rather drive in Colorado during a snow storm. There's a bit of ice out there now, so I guess it is good that they closed well before rush hour.

When I got home, I thought, "Oh, this would be a good time to catch up on some e-mail", but nooo -- that was not to be. Because the University sent out voicemail to all University phones, there was some horrid overload that caused the webmail service to shut down. Well, I thought, I'll just use the apple/mac mail client, but nooo, I'd forgotten to do the fix that was required to turn on Secure Socket Layers and change ports for security reasons, yadda yadda, so I went to the help page to find out how to set that up, and managed to make it so that now I can neither use Mail for my @mail.utexas address nor my @sbcglobal address. Sigh, I'll be able to fix it, but am too frustrated now. And I can't use my gMail, because I never use it and I can't remember my user name -- they've re-sent my user name, but the glitch is that they've sent it to my utexas e-mail, and I can't get in to read it. Argg.

So, if anyone I e-mail is reading this -- here are your messages:

Sandy, thanks for the address change (what, this is the 5th in 3 months?! What's going on?), and I'll be updating the cousin list soon, and get it in the mail. (Like I meant to do it in September, and was temporarily thwarted by not having the computer for several weeks.)

D.C. & K.G., a belated Happy Thanksgiving, and yes, we will all get to visit each other one of these days -- perhaps in mid-May? I should be in Colorado for my nephew's graduation.

g.l., thanks for your comments -- it's nice to know someone is reading. (and did you get that letter I sent -- "Meet the Parents" or somesuch?) Have you gotten all of your Apple products? I'm thinking PowerBook early next year, but can't decide between 12" or 15" -- the 12" is so nice and compact, but that backlit keyboard sounds keen. but should I get one before they start using the new chips? and when is that, anyway. anyone out there know?

David Miller, I sent you a response, but haven't heard back -- yes, I would like to know more about the Battle for Savo Island -- perhaps I misread your e-mail address?

Michelle G -- Just WHO did Dr. Ellington try to recruit for grad school? The flying spaghetti monster? (or the biology major that joined our club?)

Spence, that last e-mail was NOT FUNNY. but keep sending them anyway.

D.B., I wrote you a long e-mail @ lunch today, but it didn't get sent in the rush to evacuate the University (har har). So, if it is still there, you should get it tomorrow. (and if it accidentally got tossed, you'll get another message in its stead.) Gee, we have had some similarities in our paths over the years.

Fran, I haven't written because you have got to be so busy with school -- let me know when your term is over.

JS, you probably aren't reading this, but if you are, the Sept. issue of Math Horizons (the one with the guy from NUMB3RS on the cover) has an article on mathematical approaches to understanding the impending world oil shortage, in case you haven't seen it yet.

I know there are a couple of other e-mails I was meaning to get out, so the rest of you will have to wait until our e-mail system is back up.

somebody googled the following and found sbrownblog:

"indian jewelry" -"american indian" +austin +music +2005 -native -india -hindu -desi -chief

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

UT Crimeline

Ya gotta love these -- highlights from recent UT Crimeline messages, especially when they "display a severe involuntary physical reaction to the over-consumption of an alcoholic beverage".

JESTER CENTER WEST, 201 East 21st Street

Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor: Two UT students were observed assisting a third UT student up a flight of stairs located on the west side of the dormitory. The two assistants needed to hold the third student upright while the officer spoke with them. The student in need of assistance was found to have consumed alcoholic beverages to the point she was a physical endangerment to herself. The two assistants dropped the intoxicated student when she began to display a severe involuntary physical reaction to her over-consumption of an alcoholic beverage. One of the two assistants stated she is a daily reader of the Campus Watch and requested this report be omitted from today’s watch – oops, too late; my apologies. Occurred on 12-4-05 at 2:20 AM.
Crime Prevention Tip:
I placed this entry into the Campus Watch to illustrate the importance of having sober friends around when you’ve been drinking. As shown in this case, a sober friend will not keep you from getting a citation, but it may keep you from going to jail. If the student in this case did not have sober buddies with her, she would have been arrested for public intoxication. More importantly, a sober buddy will keep you from getting injured or worse. Just be careful when selecting your sober buddy. If that person is squeamish around partially digested stomach contents, he or she may drop you as a friend – literally.


and someone enters a room to "clean the room without university authorization"? Gee, wish someone would enter my room to clean it!

JESTER CENTER ACADEMIC, 201 East 21st Street

Criminal Mischief: A UT staff member reported a non-UT subject had been entering a student lounge to clean to the room without university authorization and would frequently slide hand written notes under the door to the lounge when the lounge is closed. On one occasion, the subject wrote on a poster that was displayed in the lounge. Repair cost: $25.00. Reported on 12-1-05 at 7:50 AM.


HARRY RANSOM CENTER, 300 West 21st Street

Disorderly Conduct – Exposure (2 counts) / Evading (2 counts): Two UT students were found running on the east side of the building wearing little more than their smiles. The students ran from the police officer when ordered to stop. When stopped, the students stated they had recently watched a movie that included a scene where the actor was streaking and a friend bet them $20.00 they would not streak around the Dobie Center. The students won the bet. Occurred on 11-5-05 at 2:00 AM.



Obscene Display / Criminal Trespass: A UT student reported a non-UT subject who was using a 2nd floor computer to view graphic images that would make even a sailor blush. The subject was reckless about the images being seen by another who could be offended. In addition to other law enforcement action taken, the subject was issued a written criminal trespass warning. Occurred on: 11-14-05 at 10:37 PM.


(Fight Club?)

2100 Guadalupe

Disorderly Conduct (Fighting in a Public Place) / Public Intoxication (2 counts): A UT police officer observed a non-UT subject straddling a second non-UT subject, who was lying on the ground. The first subject was repeatedly punching the second subject in the face. Both subjects were found to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage to the point they were a physical endangerment to themselves and each other. The subjects stated they wanted to see who was stronger and which one would win if they actually got into a fight. That question was answered as the subject who was being punched in the face needed to be transported by Austin-Travis County EMS to a local hospital for the treatment of a broken nose. Occurred on 11-1-05 at 1:55 AM.


JESTER CENTER WEST, 201 East 21st Street

Public Intoxication / Minor in Possession of Alcohol / Possession of Marijuana / Possession of Drug Paraphernalia / Evading Arrest / Resisting Arrest: A Resident Assistant walked by a table at the outdoor sports court and overheard three students talking. One of the students stated “Go ahead and fire up that blunt.” When the student saw the Resident Assistant, one of them said, “It’s okay – he’s not a cop.” As a police officer approached, an unidentified student flagged the officer down and pointed out one of the three students and said the student was drunk, smoking marijuana and trying to start fights with people. When the three students saw the officer approaching they stood up and began to walk away. One of the three students was still holding a burning blunt. The student with the blunt refused to heed the officer’s order to stop claiming the officer had no jurisdiction to stop him. When the officer was able to stop the student, the student protested and grabbed the epaulettes on the officer’s uniform. The student continued to resist; even after the arrival of an additional officer. Once taken into custody, the student was found to be in possession of a can of beer and a plastic bag containing marijuana. The student was also found to be under the influence of alcohol to the point he was a physical endangerment to himself. Occurred on 10-30-05 at 3:18 AM.


LITTLEFIELD FOUNTAIN, 200 East 21st Street

Criminal Mischief: An unknown subject affixed an undergarment to a statue of a female located inside the fountain. Removal cost: $5.00. Discovered on 10-30-05 at 10:45 AM.


(Unlawful blow jobs?)


Criminal Trespass: A non-UT subject was found sitting on the south side of the building holding a hair dryer in one hand and a beer in the other hand. The hair dryer was plugged into an electrical outlet on the south side of the building. The subject was issued a written criminal trespass warning. Occurred on 10-24-05 at 8:00 AM.

and on the same day. . .

2000 Robert Dedman

Driving While Intoxicated: While on patrol, a UT police officer observed a red Ford 2-door on the side of the road. The vehicle’s engine was running and its lights were turned on. The officer observed a non-UT subject sitting in the driver’s seat with his head back. The officer also observed a second non-UT subject leaning over the lap of the driver. As the officer pulled behind the vehicle, the driver put the vehicle into gear and turned the vehicle’s wheels in what appeared to be a distracted effort to pull away. The driver was found to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage to the point he was driving while intoxicated. Occurred on 10-25-05 at 2:25 AM.

JESTER CENTER WEST, 201 East 21st Street

Public Intoxication: A UT student, who was under the age of 21, was found lying on the ground next to a “puddle” of what appeared to be the student’s stomach testimonial of her alcohol consumption. The student was found to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage to the point she was a physical endangerment to herself. Occurred on 10-14-05 at 4:00 AM.



Public Intoxication: A UT student, who was under the age of 21, was found unconscious on a 1st floor women’s restroom. When awakened, the student stated he was embarrassed about where he was, but insisted he would be fine in “a few hours.” The student then laid his head back down on a towel that had been impregnated with the contents of the student’s stomach; no doubt due to the amount of alcohol the student had previously consumed. The student was found to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage to the point he was a physical endangerment to himself and others. Occurred on 10-13-05 at 11:15 PM.

Ignore Me at Your Peril

Well, this is breaking my vow not to discuss work, students, colleagues, etc., but last week I needed to contact a student -- let's call him/her "Pat Doe", and disguise the details so he/she won't be embarrassed if he/she happens upon this blog from my Facebook profile.

Pat needed to do either X or Y but had done neither. Repeated requests had been ignored. Secure e-mail had not been opened. (I love our secure e-mail system -- you can see when the recipient read the message. Correction -- you can see when the recipient OPENED the message -- who knows if the message is read or not.)

I noticed that Pat had a class one floor up on Thursday, so I printed out the important message, put it in an 8 1/2 x 11 1/2" envelope, wrote on the envelope in large black letters, "PAT DOE -- IGNORE ME AT YOUR PERIL", and parked myself outside the door 5 minutes before the class was due to end. I got a few chuckles as the students start streaming out, and in a few moments, Pat appeared and I was able to deliver the message.

Follow up -- I saw Pat open and read the message, and Pat has since read the secure e-mail, but as far as I know, Pat has done neither X nor Y. Oh well. . .

I Have Become One with the Monitor

New iTunes visualizer (click on title to go to the download site) -- wow. (just for Mac right now, but perhaps a Windows version is on the way?)

Now I just need to see if our dean will buy me another display so that I can still get some work done!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Texas Travesty

The shuttle bus was stopped for about five minutes yesterday, and for the entire time, a young woman was sitting on a bench reading the latest Texas Travesty (click on the title above).

Since one of the founders was a student I knew when I worked in the Government Department, and several math and physics majors have been involved in the production of the Travesty, I was interested in her reaction. Would she wryly smile, lightly chuckle, or perhaps break out into a roaring guffaw? Nothing, nada, zilch, zero! There was no reaction at all. In fact, she looked a bit disgusted at the whole thing, although I thought I saw a brief smile just as the bus drove off. . .

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Trash and Recycling Day in South Austin

So, it is trash and recycling day. The day that begins with everyone wondering which of the neighbors' garbage and recycling receptacles I'll hit as I back outta the driveway. This can be quite a spectacle.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

No Suspicious Activity on Tejas Trail

"Amazon Mistress & Friend" seem to have taken a hiatus from their Saturday night orgy down the street -- at least when I drove by after returning from Ft. Worth late last night, there didn't seem to be much going on. Apparently the tv news story and the neighbors shining the flashlights on their paying clients have discouraged them.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Suspicious Activity on Tejas Trail -- Now on Video!

Here's the KVUE report on the "Suspicious Activity on Tejas Trail" -- click on the title above, and look for the title "Sex Party Angers Neighborhood". (Right now you should be able to find it right under "PETA Protests Against Turkey".) Our street is only about 2 blocks long -- this house is across the street and down one block.

Gee, when I bought this place I thought, "hmmm, walking distance to Central Market South" -- this could be the next trendy Austin neighborhood, but instead, we're a red light district!

The news clip didn't give my quote, "Well, I'm upset because I heard they didn't recycle," but then again, they didn't interview me. I'm also upset because this is a business enterprise. Whatever became of Free Love?

It does look like perhaps they are moving out -- for the first time in months, there has been someone there during the week, and all of the lights to the place have been on. (or perhaps they have a large enough clientele for "middle of the week" parties?)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Still Suspicious Activity on Tejas Trail

So this morning, one of my co-workers asked (with this big grin on her face!) "You live in Western Trails, right?"

"Uh, yeah, right."

"Your street was on the news last night -- it was a long segment -- perhaps 5 or 10 minutes! They interviewed the neighbors -- one family had people knocking on their door at 2 a.m. looking for the sex party, and the other neighbors have been taking to shining bright lights on the 'guests' as they arrive. They also showed the home of the people who run this business -- apparently they have a very large house in a very nice neighborhood."

I e-mailed my neighbor -- she said it was on KVUE, and that her husband had taped it, so perhaps we'll get to see it.

S. is still put out that he hasn't been invited to one of their "parties", but as I tell him, it's a business, nothing personal, dude.

(For more details, click on the title of this post.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

11/1 Day of the Dead . . . Well, Sorta

Not a very good start to the day when your dean calls and tells you that one of the students from your center has been shot and is brain dead. I don't know the details, but he had called the police slightly before this happened to report that someone was trying to break into his place, just a few blocks from here, and by the time the police arrived, someone had called in to report gunfire. Your heart just goes out to his family.

The evening ended at Dionysium (click on title for more info). I only went because one of the first people I met when I moved to Austin, Paul Wilson, was taking the opposing side on the debate, "Resolved: That There is an Afterlife".

What I wasn't expecting was to hear Taps on a bugle, a Presentation on Mexico's Day of the Dead (which is tomorrow, November 2, not today), a declamation -- Poe's "The Imp of the Perverse", a rendition of Chopin's Death March, a lecture on embalming by Wayne Allen Brenner, topped off by a rousing sing along of "The Worms go in, the worms go out" (and all accompanied by a couple of glasses of house red.) The stage was decorated with various funeral props, as well as a Mexican altar (I've forgotten the term) which featured a picture of Bush, candles, flowers, incense, drink, pan de muertos (bread of the dead) -- a homage to a dead presidency, perhaps?

Austin's Dionysium is presented once a month at Alamo Drafthouse South by Salvage Vanguard Theater. (How to describe -- a movie theater that serves beer, wine, pizza, salad, sandwiches, noshes, etc., as well as "theme movie events" -- i.e. for the movie Chocolat, they'd have a special chocolate menu, etc.) Next month's Dionysium will feature a debate -- something about the Supreme Court, as well as a talk by Sarah Weddington.

After the debates, a show of hands is given to determine if the proposition of the debate passes or not. The show of hands was so close that the moderator called for the "Pro-afterlifes" to shout hallelujah -- an actually quite "eh" show from that crowd and something like "live for today!" from the "anti-afterlifes" -- a much more rousing sound, so the proposition was defeated.

I have no clue as to whether or not there is an afterlife, so I really can't believe in one. It would be nice, but I can't believe in something because it's a nice idea. That makes this short time we have on this world all the more precious -- it's the only life that I know for sure that I'll have.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

Didn't feel like a costume today. Jesse, our admin. assistant does a real mean "Pedro" (from Napoleon Dynamite) though. I put up a "Vote for Pedro" sign on the office door.

The office got me a birthday cake -- and now it really needs to go into the freezer until S. is home.

It's almost 8:30 -- about a half hour since the last trick or treaters, so perhaps they are done. (except for the 19 year olds who don't even bother with the costumes -- yeah, as if I'm going to give you candy! -- so I think I'll turn out the lights and curl up in a back room with a book.)

S. got me a "mighty mouse" for a present, since we didn't get my scroll mouse back from the burglary. (Sgt. Tate did try to give me an iPod, when I went to the station to pick up our stuff, but it wasn't mine.) Still trying to figure out the mouse -- it has a teeny tiny scroll ball, and it's supposed to go up and down and side to side. It goes up and down, but when I try "side to side", it goes BACK a page! Not good!

I did post on Navy Diary blog some tonight. The next entry will be the sinking of the Astoria at the Battle of Savo Island, so that should be on the exciting side.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Got a Letter From Ronnie Earle Today

Got a letter from Ronnie Earle today -- well, from the Victim/Witness Services division of the Travis County Office of the District Attorney. (This would be the same Ronnie Earle of the Tom DeLay criminal investigation.)

It looks like the case against our burglars is progressing:

State of Texas vs. Gary Z.
Charged with: Burglary of Habitation
Cause Number D03052341

The Victim/Witness Service just wanted to let me know that they "know this is a very difficult time for you and we would like to help you in any way we can."

Well, since we recovered most of the stolen items, and it has been a few weeks, and I'm not frightened when I open the door at home any more as well as sleeping better, I probably won't need their help, but it's nice to know that they are offering their services.

I guess it will be too much to expect that the citizens of Austin & Travis County will receive a letter from Victim Services in regards to the DeLay case. Well, what could they do? Give us back our districts?

(Guess posting this means I won't be selected for the jury!)

The Reality of Ecuador

Again another day of nothing to write about, so I'm revisiting the past -- a journey to Ecuador and the Galapagos. Click on the title of this link to read the introduction to my journal. Hope to add a few chapters to both my dad's navy diary (see below) and the Ecuador journal every few days.

Friday, October 28, 2005

What's Blogging Today

eh, nothing to blog about today, so I'm transcribing my father's WW II Navy diary at the link above. If I get some exercise and loosen up the shoulders and arms a bit, I might get started tonight on putting up my Ecuador journal. (Click on the "What's Blogging Today" title above to go to the Navy diary.)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Gilgamesh's Island

O.K., I have to restore S's reputation after that last post (My Technologically Impaired Spousal Unit), so here is a filk he did a few years ago that is sung to the tune of Gilligan's Island (and we'll probably edit this from time to time over the next few days)

From the Nord-Deutsche Hydraulic-Civilisations Komedieszeitung 4/1/69
(Scott Ingram with help from susanbrown)
(sung to “Gilligan’s Island)

“Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
a tale of a fateful trip,
that started from this Punic port
aboard this tiny ship

The mate was a bold Sumerian
the skipper brave and sure. . .

Five passengers set sail that day for a 3-hour tour . . .
a three-hour tour

The weather started getting rough
the tiny ship was tossed
If not for the courage of the fearless crew,
The Sardine would be lost. . .
The Sardine would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle. . .
with Gilgamesh, the skipper too . . .
the moneychanger and his wife . . .
the hetera . . .
the Greek Magus and Mary Anne
here on Gilgamesh’s Isle

Now the skipper and Gilgamesh must do their very best
to make the others comfortable in their tropic island nest

No wine no lamps no chariots,
Not a single luxury

Like Enkidu the wild man, it’s primitive as can be . . .
It’s primitive as can be."

It's a riot when he sings it -- if you ever have a chance, ask him to sing it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My Technologically Challenged Spousal Unit

Last night I sent S. a text message that said, “This message was sent from a sweet little iMac G4 that is glad to be home.”
After giving him a reasonable period to respond (45 seconds), I called him – landline to landline.

“Scott! Go get your cell phone.”

“Uh, o.k.”

“You’ve got a text message – read it, please.”

Sounds of big thumbs fumbling on little keys. After about 5 minutes he was able to access the message, but once he got to the message, he immediately realized that this meant that we got the computer back. As well as the printer, pressure washer, 2 tv’s (one is going to the ranch), printer, DVD player, and most importantly, my mother’s guitar.

We didn’t get back the fax/answering machine. My little bit of schadenfreude is that it never worked well, and the darn thing has a 60 page manual that we still have in our file o' manuals. The .22 rifle wasn’t recovered, either.

So, after exactly one month, this chapter is pretty much over (there may be some trial or hearing dates, but perhaps not).

Our next task (and this should be yours too, if you haven’t already done so) is to:
1. record all serial numbers
2. mark your driver’s license number (TX 000002 DL) on everything that is mark-able. UTPD has engravers on loan (or free?) for members of the University community, and I’m sure many other police departments do also.
3. take pictures of all valuables and write the date & serial number on the pictures.
4. keep copies of these records and pictures outside your home – i.e. your office or a safe deposit box.
(Thanks to Detective Tate for some of these suggestions. And a big thanks to Detective Tate and everyone else on his team for the hard work they did in this case!)

We had serial numbers for a lot of the items, but not all in one place, so we spent a lot of time getting the information together for the police department and insurance company. Having everything in one place would have saved a lot of time and stress.

Other things we are doing:
1. S. put locks on our back door gates – if someone really wants to get in they can, but we’re not going to make it very easy for them. He's going to make one of the gates stronger too (or perhaps replace it).
2. Adjust the dog door so no one can reach up and unlock the deadbolt.
3. We’re going to bring the Ford Ranger that they aren’t using in Ft. Worth to put in the carport here. I’ll alternate between taking the Ranger and my car to work, so that it won’t look like we are parking a car there to make it look like someone is there. (When we lived on Barton Hills Dr., we didn’t move one of our cars out of the carport at all, and after 6 months, someone came to the door and asked if we wanted to sell the car. So people notice when cars just sit there.)
4. We used to keep the radio on when we were gone – guess we’ll go back to doing that. Perhaps there’s a way to rig it so that when someone approaches the door, the radio goes on?
5. Alarm system? Perhaps we should get some sort of alarm system?

I’m open to suggestions, here – just click on “comments” below and add your security ideas.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Just wondering. . .

How did all of those footprints get on the parking garage elevator doors? If you stand in the elevator and look at the door, there are BIG footprints all the way up to the top of the door -- and not just one or two, more like 10 or 12.

Are people jumping up and kicking the door (but with their whole foot and not just the toe, the way normal people kick?)

Or are they taking off their shoes and pounding them against the door?

just wondering. . .

Saturday, October 15, 2005

New Favorite Word

For years, my favorite word has been "defenestrate" -- to throw something (or more apt, someone) out a window. From the Latin de- (off, or out of) and fenestra, window. Interesting is that the German word for window -- das Fenster comes from the Latin (at least I think -- haven't researched it and it could be a, a, uh, false cognate.) There is an old Germanic term -- Windlass from which English gets our window.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you have gone forever without hearing/knowing a word, and then you hear it once and suddenly it is all over the place? When we moved to Germany, we took a book (such a hard decision, which books to take and which to put in storage) by M. Hunstberger (?), The Quintessential Dictionary, and that's where I first came across "defenestrate."

When I visited Prague with some friends, we got to visit the sites of the "Defenestration of Prague". There were at least two defenestrations of Prague, but this was the one that kicked off the Thirty Years War. As an aside, wherever you go in central Europa, you will find a monument to the event that kicked off the Thirty Years War. In this defenestration, a couple of governors were thrown out of a castle window -- they landed on some manure and survived. (The defenestratees of the first defenestration weren't so lucky -- I think five or six of them died.) What is it with Praguers (Pragians? Praguites?) and defenestrations?

Now vying for position of my new favorite word is "snarky" -- it's one of those words that you just know what it means even when you have no context. Supposedly it is a contraction of "snide" and "remark". (and I haven't forgotten Lewis Carroll's Snark, either.)

They Killed the Cat!

When I was going through the house after the burglary, I looked up at a high shelf in the storeroom and saw a cat paw sticking out from the shelf. "Oh, no! They've killed and dismembered our cat!" I actually started to cry, and then I gingerly touched the protruding foot, and then Prince Genji stretched, trilled and looked down at me -- "well hello, what's for dinner?" What a relief.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

WooHoo Two!

Follow up to our burglary story --

This morning I had an appointment with Detective Tate to discuss our burglary. It seems that some people had burgled 3 homes in our neighborhood, 5 in East Austin, and perhaps another one somewhere else in Austin. One of them (we’ll call her “Miss H.”) took the loot to a pawn shop (perhaps more than one?) where the serial numbers were entered into a data base that the Austin Police check on a frequent basis.

In the meantime, Miss H. and her bad-news boyfriend “borrowed” a friend’s car and drove to San Antonio. They didn’t return the car in a timely manner and the friend reported the call as stolen. They were caught with the car in San Antonio, and the boyfriend was incarcerated. Because Miss H. had used her own i.d. to pawn the stolen goods, she was of course apprehended when they ran her name through the system.

After a night with her mother (whom it appears somehow got some sense into her), Miss H. decided to cooperate with the police. She drove through Austin with them, pointing out the crime scenes and giving quite detailed information about each one. “We hit this one early in the morning. We entered by reaching up through the dog door and unlocking the door. We took X, Y, Z, and A, B, C.” (that was our house.) She was so detailed and thorough that Detective Tate asked her, “Why, with such a detailed memory are you doing this with your life? – there has got to be something better you can do with those skills.” (I'm thinking the same thing -- waitress, doctor, biologist, secretary, you name it, she could use those skills.)

Detective Tate did assure me that my mother’s Mossman acoustic guitar (with the Sitka Spruce top and the Brazilian Rosewood back) had been recovered. The Apple iMac was probably recovered too – they are still sorting through the detritus of 8 or 9 robberies. (and perhaps detritus isn't quite the right word, since we hope the stuff hasn't disintegrated and eroded. "the remains of 8 or 9 robberies"? "the odds and ends of 8 or 9 robberies"?) We now have to wait for the property hearings (which come after pleas, trials, and sentencing), unless the pawn shops are willing to sign waivers. Our detective assured us that he was going to try to do all he could to sweet talk the pawn shops into signing the waivers. (We're thinking that his "sweet talk" isn't what you think of when you think "sweet talk." Maybe some serious arm twisting?)

Detective Tate and the rest of the burglary team at APD rock!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

College Day

Last Friday morning I got a call from a high school student who said he wanted to visit our university today. We frequently have prospective students visit, but this one said something about our tour -- which we don't have. I explained that we were an advising office -- which major(s) are you interested in? He thought a moment and said, "Physics." He said that he was coming from a suburb near here and would arrive before 11:30.

At 11:25, this group of four high school students came in -- bouncing off the walls, to boot. "It's our College Day, they let us out for the day, we're supposed to be visiting colleges today!"

Since my office has 3 visitor chairs, and I had files and advising cards on 2 of them, and we weren't anticipating any other student visits before noon, I said, "Why don't I just talk to you out here in the reception room? What would you like to know about our school and physics?"

"Well, what can you do with a degree in physics?"

Perfectly good question, one of the more common ones (especially from the parents), so I went into my usual spiel about majors/careers/grad & professional schools/government/business/industry/teaching/etc. (and also how the job they may get 5 or 6 years from now might not even exist today.)

Then the girl pipes up -- "What time & where is cheerleading practice?" --- which, having been unceremoniously kicked out of pep club in high school, totally threw me for a loop, "Uh," I asked the other advisor, "do you know where cheerleader practice is?"

Two of the other guys are bouncing in and out of the room. A couple of similar questions are asked and answered.

One of the students has been studying the mass of students and faculty walking past our glass doors -- he looks at his buddy and then asks me, "Is there a dress code here?" (at this point I want to say, "Normally suits and ties, but this is casual Friday.")

Then the student who asked the dress code question has another one, "Can we walk around here?"

I know now what I need to do. They really don't want to be here -- they just got released for a day, and they want to have a chance to goof off a bit. Turning to the student who asked the only question pertaining to academics, I ask, "Do you need a letter from me to take back to your teacher or counselor?"

"Yes, but him and her are already out of school. Just him and me need a letter."

I quickly type out a letter and gave the two who weren't "already out of school" (does that mean they've graduated early? . . . or dropped out?) some information about our office and majors. "Well, I hope I see you back here in a year or so."

"Thank you, ma'am!"

(note, I've made it a point not to blog about my students or colleagues, but these aren't my students -- YET!)

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Tonight as I pulled into the driveway (late, as I'd gone to a lecture in the CS dept. -- more on that later), I felt my cell phone vibrating. (Mid-way through the lecture I'd realized that the ringer was set on LOUD -- Dr. Cline didn't look like the type to appreciate a roaring rendition of "Scotland the Brave" during his talk -- so I set it to vibrate, and forgot to switch it back afterwards.)

It was Scott on the phone (he's the only one who calls me on the cell anyway) and I said, "I'm in the driveway."

"Oh," he said, "I'll come out and talk to you like a normal person," and within a few seconds he was by my car. "There's a message on the answering machine that you should listen to -- it's the second one on there."

Could it be -- I couldn't bring myself to think it, but yes, it was a Detective Tate, who said, "We caught some people in San Antonio who were responsible for the burglary of your home. Can you call me on Monday to set up an appointment to give a full statement? And can you get me an itemized list of what was taken?"

WOOHOO! They caught them! Now, if only they still have some of our stuff -- in priority order, we'd really want my mother's guitar, the computer/printer, and Scott's rifle. (We want the other stuff, too, but those are the most important/valuable on several levels.)

We haven't felt this good in a couple of weeks, so we went and celebrated with enchiladas (w/verde sauce) and a Mexican martini. (o.k., Scott celebrated with a diet coke, since he is the designated driver.)


Monday, October 03, 2005

Being Burgled

It's taken me a couple of weeks to recover from this experience -- I was physically ill for a couple of days -- nauseous, etc.

I came home one Tuesday at noon -- not my normal routine, but I needed a break after surviving the first couple of weeks of add/drops at school.

The patio door was slightly ajar, which raised a bit of an alarm, since I'm pretty careful about locking doors, checking doors, rechecking doors. I pushed the door open with my toe, and knew right off something was wrong, since the armoire and store room doors were open. "OH NO!" -- ran back to the "Room of Music and Contemplation" (most people would call this a living room) and the computer and printer were gone.

(And in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have gone into the house as soon as I noticed things were amiss -- what if the burglars were still there? Of course, there weren't any cars around.) I went out into the yard, just as one of our retired neighbors pulled up -- they'd been gone all morning and hadn't seen anything. Another retired neighbor emerged -- same thing -- didn't see a thing.

Called the police -- 311 -- someone took the basic info and said that someone would contact us to get us a case number and take fingerprints. Called S. in Ft. Worth -- "You have GOT to come home NOW" -- he was there by 5 p.m.

At some point I went down the hallway -- an old, small tv/vcr was missing from my "clutter" room. All of the drawers in our bedroom had been rifled through, and the canvas baskets in one of the closets had been overturned. Nothing was missing from the bedroom, though -- not even my mother's squash blossom necklace and some other Indian jewelry.

Other things missing -- a larger TV, perhaps 8 years old -- the color was always sort of washed out, and we could never get it adjusted properly; a fax/answering machine that came with a 60+ page manual (which they didn't get) which never worked well -- you could never set the answering machine for 4 rings; a Karcher pressure washer (brand new, with special release fittings added by S.); an old DVD player that we'd never hooked up; and worst of all, my mother's guitar -- a 76 Mossman Great Plains, which needs a lot of expensive work to be playable. (I've already contacted the manufacturer, and need to contact some other repair places, although the one place I had look at it in Austin recommended that we have the manufacturer work on it.)

The police never came that first day, and I was too sick/stunned to care. S. realized a rifle was missing, so I called them the next day and told them that -- they apologized profusely, and S. said someone was at the house within an hour to take fingerprints -- he said they spent more than an hour on forensic stuff.

We did have the serial numbers for the computer, gun, printer, power washer and guitar. I don't care about the other stuff -- in fact, I get a secret joy knowing the hassle they are going to have with the fax machine -- you can't even use it as a printer anymore, since something I did to it the last time messed it up. It was in the storeroom until we had a yard sale.

We're not 100% sure how they got in. I'm so sure that I locked the patio door -- Scott thinks he may have left the kitchen door unlocked (yikes, for two weeks), but I think I would have noticed that. There is a BIG dog door in the kitchen door that we were using for the cats -- the detective said she could crawl through that if she didn't have her belt & gear on. Someone could have reached up through the dog door and gotten the deadbolt key -- in fact, that key was missing, so we rekeyed all the locks. We also put locks on the backyard gates -- someone could still break in if they wanted too, but this will make it a little more difficult. S. made the dog door smaller, too.

The woman we bought the house from told us once, "Oh, there's always people coming in and out the house -- we don't even lock the patio door, and I always keep a key on the kitchen window sill." The first thing we did when we moved in was change the locks, and the first thing we did after the burglary was to have the locks rekeyed.

Well, off to check Craigslist, eBay, pawn shops, etc.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Arrg, We've Been Burgled!

More details to follow, but I will say that once I got through to a real human being at the end of the insurance logic tree, she asked, "Is this a loss/liability claim?" or some other insurance-ese that threw me aback for a moment. Uh, didn't she already know what I wanted? Did I not punch the right numbers on the phone keypad and say "yes" and "no" at the right times?

Apparently not, so I told her, "We've been burgled."

"You've been WHAT?!" she said.

Obviously I am not enunciating clearly in my state of shock. "We . . . have . . . been . . . burgled."

"What's that?" she asked.

Have I reached the wrong section of insurance? Does she work in the "cosmetic repair of chipped automobile windshields department" so she doesn't recognize terms not relevant to her area of work? "Someone came into our house and took our stuff."

"Oh -- you've been BURGLARIZED!"

Sigh, she thinks not only have I been burglarized, I'm so traumatized that I'm making up words.

(this post was made possible by the loan of a sweet little graphite clamshell iBook. thanks, CH!)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Time for another house pic

The white is white Austin limestone. We like the roof -- easy to maintain, nice surface for solar panels, no weird gables to collect leaks, etc. Someday the lawn will be a native TX wildflowers & TX plants field -- this is our stealth project. S. is rototilling the front yard little by little, covering the dirt with plastic to solarize it and cook the remaining grass, and then we're going to plant it with purple coneflower, liatris, bluebonnet, indian blanket, little bluestem, turk's cap, velvet leaf mallow, whatever will grow without gobs of water. The house at the far end of our street -- a couple blocks away -- has already done this, so our house will sort of be a "bookend" -- and perhaps the madness will spread, bwa-ha-ha!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Little Googlemapping Game

1. Think of some human construction or other geographical feature that could be seen from a satellite photo
2. Try to find it on Google Maps on your own
a. try to find it first with just your own knowledge of geography (i.e., the Great
Pyramids are across the Nile from Cairo)
b. use the hybrid map/satellite feature
c. last resort -- open a tab on your browser and find a regular map of the area

3. Variation -- find something unusual, and try to figure out what the heck it is.

Here are a couple (I couldn't get the "insert link" feature to work correctly, so you'll have to cut and paste):,31.134396&spn=0.022108,0.045540&t=k&hl=en


more to follow. . .

I Miss Bus 29 :-(

Some of my first posts were little stories that happened on Barton Hills Bus 29, which ran through our old Barton Hills neighborhood (and on to the Zilker neighborhood, then directly through downtown to UT.)

Bus 29 was the coolest bus -- it only held 20 people (30 on a really busy day, but we'd be squeezed in like sardines) and it was usually the same people every day, and we'd have the same 2 or 3 bus drivers and we all got to know each other.

My favorite bus driver was Kevin, who would talk to everyone, get us talking to each other, gossip about whoever wasn't on the bus that day (but it was good gossip, not malicious stuff), etc. At halloween he'd pass out candy, and one time he even had a picnic for the passengers of Bus 29! How cool is THAT!

The last time I rode, it was sort of sad -- Mary who worked at Schlotzsky's corporate offices no longer seems to ride (perhaps moved, downsized, new job?); Janet from the Chem dept. has retired; Kevin hardly ever is assigned to 29 anymore; a few others have moved away from the neighborhood; I didn't see the woman who works at Central Market (who works with one of my favorite physics majors, Javier); Susan from Rhetoric, but is now in Classics or Liberal Arts drives to work now; -- only Scott (not my Scott -- but the guy who is referred to as "Man on Bus" in an earlier post) and "Happy Hour Guy" seem to be the only holdovers from the Golden Era of Barton Hills Bus 29.

I don't even know what bus I can take to work now (although I need to look that up, what with the fact that I do have a 15 year old car, gas prices going up, etc.) I do know that the buses that go through Western Trails don't go directly to UT -- I'll have to -- gasp -- transfer, which will take up more time which means I'll have to -- gasp -- get up earlier. Well, I am going to wait until it gets a bit cooler to attempt this. The buses that go through Western Trails are behemoths who roar through the neighborhood without charm or personality. But who knows -- perhaps Kevin got promoted to "driving the big guys" and I'll see him there?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Who's to the Right of Sandra Bullock?

Sandra Bullock lives/lived in Austin part of the time, and it's said she enjoys it because she doesn't get bothered by people here. (Well, until this incident.)

At least 4 - 5 years ago, Scott and I were in Waterloo Records (a local music store that has a great selection -- you can find almost any CD there, it seems.) I looked up and saw Sandra Bullock and her then-boyfriend, musician Bob Schneider. But I was cool, didn't stare, didn't rush up to her, didn't go all ga-ga -- just kept on looking at the cd bin.

A little later I moved over to the room (this place has two big rooms) that Scott was in -- I noticed Sandra again, so I whispered to Scott, "Don't look now, but to the right is Sandra Bullock."

Scott looked up, moved his head from side to side, and said rather loudly (he does have a nice, booming voice), "WHO'S to the right of Sandra Bullock?!!!"

Oh, man, the end of our coolness! I dropped my head back into the bin -- Scott said she looked annoyed or frightened or both, and she quickly scooted over to the other room. Scott is hissing at me -- "Now she thinks I'm a STALKER, thanks a lot!" Yes, that day was truly the end of our coolness!

Scott said that he thought I was making some sort of political statement. He said he wasn't aware of any particular political views she had anyway -- left, right, who knows?

Monday, September 05, 2005

playlist this week

what/who's on my playlist this instant: Daara J (hip hop in French and Senagalese); Amazing Rhythm Aces; Chimes of Freedom (Springsteen); Ledbelly; Irish Rebel Songs by The Battering Ram (Toora loora loora loo, they're looking for monkeys up at the zoo. And if I had a face like you, I'd join the British Army!); Foggy Dew (by the previous group -- we saw Joan Osborne sing this a few years ago with the Chieftans -- we loved Sinead's version, but Osborne's takes your breath away); Ozomatli; Castanets (Alejandro Escovedo cover by Los Lonely Boys); anything Patti Smith; anything Lorena McKennitt; Moonlight Shadow (Mike Oldfield); Scotland's Depraved (Wild Mountain Thyme), Charlie Sexton; too much music! too little time!

More house pics

This is our dining room/kitchen before we bought the house. We have our refurbished cherry wood dining table, and a bunch of other stuff in there now. This place has bad kitchen feng shui which I will explain later. One of these days we will do some serious remodeling, but for now this is fine.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Suspicious Activity on T. Trl.

A few months ago we received a neighborhood association newsletter that listed the items on the next association meeting, including "Suspicious Activity on T. Trl."

Since we live on T. Trl, I thought, "hmmmn, I haven't seen any suspicious activity on our street, but we just moved into the neighborhood, so perhaps WE are the suspicious activity???"

When we bought this house, there was another house for sale about a block away. We didn't even look at it, because a medical facility was being built right behind the house, and we thought that it might get too noisy. The house was a bit smaller, but it had 3 bathrooms instead of the two our house had, and it was fully carpeted, and our house had more tile and pergo (which is what we wanted.) Someone bought it within a few weeks of when we moved in, but almost immediately, put up a "For Rent" sign -- which isn't all unusual in an investor's market. (This may look like a digression, but it is pertinent.)

I wasn't able to attend the meeting -- a couple of day before my admin associate, Jesus, (yes, I hired Jesus) became ill with viral meningitis, and the day of the meeting I had a headache, so I decided to stay home. I e-mailed one of the neighborhood assn. officers, who lives across the street and asked him what the suspicious activity was, but all he said was, "Gee, I hope you don't have viral meningitis."

We forgot all about the suspicious activity on our street (which is only 2 blocks long), and we didn't see anything out of the ordinary.

Last week, S. was working in the front yard, and the wife of the neighborhood assn. officer (whom I e-mailed about the suspicious activity) came over while S. was working in the front yard. We talked about plants, work, etc., and she started to go back home, when I remembered -- "Oh! what was the 'suspicious' activity" on T. Trail??"

Well, it seems that the house up the block has been inhabited by an S/M gang -- and it isn't the fact that they have bondage parties on the weekends -- the suspicious activity is the fact that THEY DON'T RECYCLE -- they leave their beer cans & wine bottles all over the place. (place emoticon for SHOCK here!) That is absolutely the worst thing you can do in Austin! The "FOR RENT" sign has been up for months. Several neighbors have called the number and said they were interested in renting the house. The neighbors are told variously -- "oh, it is under contract" or "$5,000 deposit, $3,000 per month" (double market rents around here, I'd say) or "it's already been rented out." But the sign is still up.

Tonight as we drove home, we noticed two nicely dressed couples walking into that house. So, out of curiosity, we drove around the block and saw two more couples walk up the street toward the house -- at least they are parking in the assisted living facility parking lot and not on our street, lol!

About 12:45 this morning, S. says, "Do you want to drive by the house?" and I say, "oh, yes" even though it's not all that far -- we drive down the block -- there are now 4 cars parked in the driveway, one in front, and 2 or 3 on the side. S. drives past and keeps on driving, "so as not to look suspicious" -- we drive out at least 5 miles (on $3.20 a gallon, eeek!) -- well, we are looking for a house in that neighborhood for his parents, so that justifies it, har har. When we drive back past the house, we notice that most of the windows have soft lights in them (candles?) and the garage is lit up but the garage windows are draped with red fabric. So what's going on here? Do the submissives have to park a block away?

This neighborhood is really getting interesting. It's nice to not be the suspicious activity in the area for once.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Our New House

In March, S and I bought a new house (above). Real estate in Central Austin is getting a bit pricey, so this is all we could afford. We figured that after a few years of house payments, we'd have enough invested in the house that we could get one of those home equity loans that are always being advertised by Di-Tech and make a few improvements around the place. Perhaps windows and skylights first?

For now, it's not that bad. It's actually larger in the inside than it is on the outside -- sort of like a Tardis.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Who am I? Why am I here?

So, I finally had something to blog about, and it has been so long that I'd forgotten my username and password, so I had to get that back -- really, the process to do that is pretty easy, but in the less than 5 minutes that it took to do this, I'd forgotten what I was going to write.

We did buy a house recently -- I'll put some pictures up (as soon as I can remember my username/password for Flickr.