Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jesus, I've Gone Over The Edge Already

I decided to do a self-inflicted spa treatment today. Hair color and mud facial.

This was AFTER I spent 3 hours correcting the Excel spreadsheet error this morning, along with various and sundry other bullshit things.

My mood is slowly coming around, despite the fact that the hair color happened to miss a shock of gray hair.

I might have to go retrieve that bottle of dye from the garbage in the morning and repeat the treatment.

kona's saturday night austin tour

Not sure when this video was taken but it was added to YouTube in February 2008. If it was shot then, I suppose it was a pretty warm day in our weird city.

The other funny thing I immediately noticed is the street scene. It's near the Whole Foods Market which is across from my office.

Keep Austin Weird!

Friday, May 30, 2008


That's all.

No pussy blog. No politics. No personal data. No nothing.

Just shit.

It was a day from hell at le orifice.

I will do a delayed Friday Pussy Blog on Saturday. It won't be the first time.

But first, when I wake up in the morning I will be doing some "cover my ass" detective work with some Excel spreadsheets.

There. Now you know I'm having fun.

On second thought, no, we aren't having fun yet.

Note to self: blog sidebar maintenance long overdue. More pressure. No pressure.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

RIP Harvey Korman

My God people are dying!

It's rare that I actually let out an audible moan when I hear that the Grim Reaper has come to collect another, but I did when txrad just told me this news.

Harvey Korman was 81. I adored him on the Carol Burnett Show as a kid, and found him to be a total hoot in Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part 1.

The "garçon de piss" line still cracks me up.

Count de money, count de money! Wait for the shake!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Almost Cut My Hair Today

I feel like my freak flag should fly.

Only because I can't spell the wor d t hat k ee ps co omin g up a s mi s p e lled.

I feel like I always do.

5.5 inches came off my mane today. Finally I can shake it with confidence.

Crossposted at Big Brass Blog

I've Got No Time For Time Wasters

Sorta reminds me of my philosphy that I have no tolerance for intolerance.

But seriously, someone from a 210 (San Antonio) area code rings my cell phone 8 to 10 times a day. I never answer.

Tonight I was drunk enough to do it. I said "hello?"

There was dead computerized silence.

When I heard that I hung up, I said "Fuck 'em."

They just called again. And I answered and heard a busy signal.

Fuck yeah.

Which leaves me wondering... how do I mortify by blog?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


So apparently Scott McClellan has a book coming out on Monday, but somehow got on sale this past weekend in DC. Convenient.

We used to see his mother, Carole Keeton-Strayhorn and family dining at Chuy's Tex-Mex on Sundays, on several occasions. I don't remember ever seeing Scott with the gang, but I guess he was too busy working for his boss.

So many books, so little time.

From Politco:
Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan writes in a surprisingly scathing memoir to be published next week that President Bush “veered terribly off course,” was not “open and forthright on Iraq,” and took a “permanent campaign approach” to governing at the expense of candor and competence.


McClellan charges that Bush relied on “propaganda” to sell the war.


We know this. And some of us were smart enough to never work for the fucker.

RIP: Sydney Pollack and Dan Martin

Sydney Pollack was 73.

Dick Martin was 86.

Laugh In was one of the first tv shows I ever remembered watching which made me realize I was living in a time when big changes were taking place.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Where is that piece of paper I had in my hand yesterday morning?

I had a boss recently who would have asked such a question of a subordinate. I'm now employed and she isn't.

I'm making far less but that in and of itself does not make the revenge less sweet.

Crossposted at Big Brass Blog

My Veteran's Memorial Day Tribute

5/27: Yes, I was rushed and not thinking. :-)

Sorry I'm late, but it did not escape my notice.

Booze Meme

Lordy, I'm feeling tipsy just from completing this one from Toast who actually took the time to put in links to many of his responses.

I don't have that much time; I need to make a run to the liquor store.

1. Beer, wine, liquor, mixed drinks. Rank 'em.

Liquor (tequila!)
Mixed drinks

2. How often do you drink?

Daily from 6pm to around 9pm.

3. Favorite Scotch?

Don't have one. I'd have to start out with those little bottles like they give you on the airplane and sample a few. But honestly, I'm not that inclined.

4. Favorite Bourbon?

See #3. At least I can say I have a memory of Jack Daniels. Not my favorite stuff.

5. Favorite tequila?

Ahhh. Now we're making progress. Cesar Monterrey Reposado is about as smooth as a baby's butt. Lots of interesting flavors emerge from this one. Very complex and I feel like I'm tasting nutrients the agave plants pulled from the soil. The bottles are pretty cool but we don't drink our liquor because the bottles are cool, now do we?

When I want to go cheap, El Ultimo Reposado is hard to beat. The just redesigned their bottles after being absent from the shelves for a few weeks. Also slightly different taste. I get lots of acidic/citrus flavors. Very nice tequila and for a tad over $16 at Spec's with the debit/cash discount, it's hard to beat for the money.

When I want to go spicy, I opt for the Hornitos Reposado. A definite peppery kick compared to the above two tequilas. There are other tequilas which I think are sublime and would consider them favorites, but at $40 or more per bottle, I just can't do it.

6. Favorite Gin?

I used to hate gin when I was younger. Always thought it tasted like pine sap. Then a few years ago I tried Bombay Sapphire and found it to be palatable, and because they have all the herbs and whatnot etched on the bottle, I realized why gin tastes the way it does. Very medicinal.

7. Favorite Vodka?

I rarely drink vodka but I was impressed with the last ones I tried: Grey Goose and Tito's from right here in Austin.

8. Favorite Rum?

Toast has a pretty good answer for this one: Appleton's Jamaican rum. There's another one I have tried and thought it was OK, but honestly, a little rum goes a long way in my book.

9. Drunkest you've ever been?

I got drunk in my college dorm once and ended up riding the elevator up and down on my bed mattress -- someone stuffed me under the mattress pad and hauled me to the elevator. I couldn't have been too drunk though since I still remember people voices although I couldn't see them of course.

I was celebrating a friend's birthday back in the mid-80s when a bottle of Jose Cuervo was put in my hand with a lime. I'd never done tequila shots before and after being instructed how to do it, I held on to the bottle, determined to keep trying until I perfected the art. When I finished the bottle I was perfected. I was so perfected that I spent the next 24 hours crawling from the bed to the toilet.

The absolute worst experience though was just under 3 months ago and I blogged at length about that at Black Soap. I have no desire to go into it all again. What's odd is that my prior "worst" episodes were intentional. I started the evening with every intention of getting shit-faced. The one in early March was totally unintentional which still leads me to wonder if our drinks weren't spiked with something. It would have been worth having a blood test to find out.

10. Red or White?

Yes. Red in the cooler months and white in the summer. Simple.

11. Best wine you've ever tasted?

Someone sent me a couple of bottles of red from Tuscany via and I was blown away. Wish I could remember the name of it but since they were $50 each I won't be buying them anyway. I find that Masi Campofiorin from Italy is pretty damn good for about $16 and there is also a white Masi that was delectable. I feel the same way about wine as I do about tequila: I can taste the difference between a $50 bottle and a $20 bottle, but if the $20 bottle is real good, I'm happy with that even if the $50 bottle is exquisite.

12. Favorite type of wine?

Very hard for me to say. I'm still trying to pin it down on the whites. As for reds, it's hard to beat a nice Merlot. I do like cabs and zins though.

13. Favorite every-day red?

This is going to sound generic but I really like the Columbia Crest merlot. It's consistently way above decent. But for everyday wines, I'm usually pretty happy with the 10% discount on 6 bottles at HEB. I'm always trying something new and usually average spending about $8-$9 a bottle.

14. Favorite every-day white?

See #12. I tend to respond to those mixed varietals until I nail down my favorite. Evolution is excellent but I don't like to spend $15 or $17 on a bottle of white very often. The Masi was definitely something I'll buy again and it was around $10 with the quantity discount.

15. Best value wine?

Whatever I buy for $9 or less that I'd definitely buy again.

16. Do you drink box?

If I'm having wine at a party (like that happens often), I would. But since I don't drink wine every day I prefer the bottles. I definitely prefer those new plastic composite corks over real cork now. Much easier to remove.

17. Fastest you've ever gotten drunk?

Anytime I ever drank anything that had Everclear in it. And I won't knowingly do that. It's a headache guaranteed to happen.

18. Longest you've ever stayed drunk?

From one evening's consumption, when I've gone over the top, I have still been drunk when I woke up the next morning. The longest was probably about 15 - 18 hours I guess when I'd finally start to feel sober around late morning. There was a Las Vegas trip though when I was probably intoxicated for several days, since it's Vegas, and those drinks as "free" I figured what the hell, let's get up in the morning and have a bloody mary.

19. Ever do anything you really regret while drunk?

I probably should not have pissed on an interior wall in some one's house in London back the in 80s. That's something a dog would do. Aside from that, reference back to #9. I regret even going to that party.

This next section is about beers. And I'm the same way about beer as I am about wine. I like variety, even in the same evening, and I rarely pay attention to whether I'm drinking a lager or an ale. I guess that disqualifies me from beer geekdom. And we tend to stick with a bunch of our regulars from around the Austin area rather than frequently trying new beers from around the world.

20. Favorite lager?

Shiner Bohemian Black Lager.

21. Favorite IPA?

Haven't had enough IPAs to even answer, if we're referring to India Pale Ale here.

22. Favorite brown ale?

Bootlegger by Austin's Independence Brewing and Brewhouse by Real Ale Brewing in Blanco, Texas.

23. Favorite doppelbock?

Not sure I've had a real Munich doppelbock in years. There may be some American beers I've had that would qualify as a doppelbock. I googled the term and Abita Brewing Company came up. They have one called Andygator which I've never seen here. I'll definitely give that one a try if and when I find it.

24. Favorite Belgian?

A few years ago we went on a Belgian beer binge, trying several different ones after seeing a documentary on TV. I can't remember any of them off the top of my head but there was one with a pink elephant or something on the bottle -- seems like it was a hard ceramic bottle. You beer pros will probably know what it is.

25.Favorite stout?

Ahh, Guinness. But only if it's on tap in Ireland or England. Or someplace where the shit isn't pasteurized into a meaningless existence.

26. Favorite Winter Ale?

Don't have one. We've tried a few winter ales from our nearby breweries but I can't even remember what they are.

27. Favorite Scotch Ale?

Can't say for certain I've ever had a Scotch Ale.

28. Favorite Other?

Freestyle, also by Independence.

29. Favorite Brewery?

As you can see, I lean heavily to local breweries. But I really like Abita just over there in Louisiana. Their raspberry wheat beer is not too sweet with a hint of raspberry rather than being overpowering as some are. And they've just come out with a strawberry as well. If I'm drinking tequila I like to start off with the Abita raspberry before moving on to a more robust brew. But on a hot day, the strawberry is quite refreshing.

30. Favorite mixed drink?

Without a doubt: margarita. It's the only mixed drink I ever have in Austin, and that's pretty rare these days. I do like a spicy Bloody Mary though, and a Long Island Iced Tea always does the trick when you need to turbo charge a dull evening.

31. Favorite morning libation?

I've never been much of a morning drinker, but if I'm on vacation in a casino, a bloody mary is a great way to kick of a day of slot-feeding.

32. Do you suffer memory loss when you drink heavily?

Not so much. Unless I've had a huge amount of liquor. Now if I've had a lot to drink and I've smoked some dope, then yeah, for sure. I turn on my PC in the morning with dread, wondering if I put up a stupid post that I don't remember, or worse: got on someone else's blog and said something embarrassing. I'm always relieved when it's just something infantile I've said.

33. Favorite place to drink?

I never get to travel on a real vacation, but I always loved drinking in front of a slot machine. But the most relaxing is beachfront. Anywhere.

34. Favorite sports bar?

I'm not really into sports bars per se. I had many a good time at a bar in Ocean Beach throwing darts though when I lived in San Diego. Can't remember the name of that dive now.

35. Ever consider AA?

Probably not. I have to attend enough meetings at work. And AA would probably put a crimp in my evening festivities.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

kona's saturday night austin tour

Guero's Taco Bar on South Congress is one of my favorite places to chow in this city. I haven't been there in awhile and this video I found on YouTube has me tasting my favorite dish... and the lovely margarita which is quite simply hard to beat.

My Feelings About Surge Protectors

This post started out as a comment to a post at Seventh Sister, and after awhile, I decided it was probably long enough to just create my own post. I mean, why give it away somewhere else when I can put it here, right?

I learned long ago the value of those surge protectors and I buy the best I can get for the TV, PCs, and stereo equipment.

Many years ago, not long after txrad and I moved in together, we had a wild electrical storm (this was in Hollywood of all places!)-- a nearby lightning strike knocked out my fancy schmancy amplifier I'd bought in London in 1984.

This looked really cool and high tech in 1984, trust me. And honestly, nothing can replace the feeling of turning up the volume on anything with a knob! A matching radio tuner was also available but I didn't have the bucks back then to add that to my collection. I didn't even have the $1500 for these two pieces, nor the additional $1500 I popped on a pair of Celestion SL-600s. Thank God for credit cards.

I got a quote of about $200 to fix it but since we were just starting out and money was tight (sorta like 2008) I decided to wait. Besides I wanted to check around and be sure whoever did the work knew what they were doing since this was an audiophile system.

Quite a few years passed and I had this thing sitting in a box here in Austin. I had a work colleague in Sacramento who knew someone capable to repairing this, and it was a recommendation I trusted. So I shipped it off, and a few weeks passed and I got it back in the mail.

My friend told me the guy who fixed it was VERY impressed with the sound quality this thing could produce. That was about 2 years ago. Prior to getting it fixed, my pair of Celestion speakers that I purchased with the system in London started getting a buzzing tweeter and had to be retired. The guy who worked on the amp searched for weeks for the parts and finally gave up.

Before I got the Sacramento repair connection I had already started amassing a new hi-fi system, assuming the old one would never be repaired. I got a Creek amplifier and a really high quality turntable for my wall of vinyl records here in the office. No speakers yet. That headphone cord you see attached is my source of sound.

When I get ready to buy speakers, I need to do some research and get a pair that are well-matched to either amplifier. The ones which were recommended to go with the Creek were about $1200 a pair. Needless to say I won't be buying a pair for each amp!

Anyhow, my point was this: if I'd realized the value of surge protectors in 1991 I wouldn't be having the need to write this blog post in 2008.

And pardon the dusty electronics. We haven't finished cleaning yet after the window installation project.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Fucking Muse Strikes Again

Saliva Haiku

So lively and salively.


Friday Pussy Blog: The Pussy Contractor Edition

Let's end the week on a good note... the reason this blog was started: PUSSY BLOGGING.

Tater Tot is definitely the supervisor of all projects around the house.

After a stressful day, and when the strangers leave, everyone gets all relaxed and shit.

2 Fucking Years

Today marks 2 years of blogging. And frankly I'm ready to throw in the towel for awhile.

Hillary Clinton stole my fucking thunder. Between that fucking bitch*, the job, and the home disruption improvements and computer glitches, I can't take much more.

I have long suspected that one reason she might be hanging in is because of the "a" word.

Fucking vulture.

*Note to blogs which have me listed as "Hillary Friendly" -- you can remove my link. I'm not.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The kona Ranch is NOT a No-Kill Zone Tonight

Well, mosquitoes have never qualified for the no-kill exemption, but tonight after having more windows sawed out and replacement windows installed, the house is suddenly full of blood-suckers. And I am swatting with a vengeance.

I left work today with some work undone to come home as early as possible which meant 6:30. Had I known what awaited me at home, I probably would have stayed at the office and finished my work and come home right about now.

And little did I know that John McCain was on the Ellen Degeneres Show blathering about his objection to gay marriage.

Enough already. Jesus H. Christ, if what txrad and I are going through right now isn't typical married life, then fuck McCain. I have no use for him and his ideology anyway because we are on a sweep in November for Obama. And fuck his stupid trophy wife Cindy too. She needs to start living her age. She dresses like some of the women at my office who are about 35 years younger. What's up with that shit?

Friday is going to be a big day, assuming I can access my Photobucket account, which currently I cannot. Who knew that replacing windows could be SO messy and dusty.

Now we know.

And Friday is Bob Dylan's birthday eve. It's cat blogging day. And it's my 2-year blogiversary.

Whoop te fucking dooo. Wish me luck in getting everything up that is deserving.

And did I mention there's lots of dust when you have windows replaced? You need to cover everything in the house. And did I mention I don't dress my age?

Fuck that shit, and fuck Cindy McCain. And her big dog too.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pardon Me While I Rejuvenate Renovate


That and the fact that work (the job) sucks right now is one reason why posting is light.

It's not that I have nothing to say, just FYI.

Photo courtesy of txrad while I was slaving away at the cesspool of hell.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Kentucky Primary

Clinton has won the Kentucky primary. And again, I get the feeling racism was involved. Obama is winning the urban areas of Louisville and Lexington (not by large margins) but it was a tad lopsided in some of the Appalachia counties with Obama pulling as low as 5% of the vote. Kinda makes you wonder. Is this Hillary's claim to fame now?

The New York Times has an interactive chart up at the time I'm posting this. Just drag your mouse over the counties and you'll see what I mean. I could not find a direct link to the chart but hopefully it'll still be there for anyone clicking the link a few hours after I post this.

Oregon still to come. Probably after my time of retiring for the evening now that the dude has a job (from hell).

I was really hoping this would all be over tonight (and it is unofficially) but I guess we need to get the next round of votes in from the early June primaries. Fair is fair.

Let's get on with it. Or let's get it on.

Monday, May 19, 2008

It's a Bug's Life to You and I

So txrad and I are sitting around after two bottles of wine watching Bill Hicks and we decide to go out on the patio for a smoke.

There are bugs here in Texas that will fly into doors, windows, walls, whatever is close to a light and knock themselves out, falling to the patio while waiting to regain consciousness and begin their pursuit of light again.

txrad asked me what they do when the sun is shining. Do they fly into it and burn up?

I said no. These bugs are more analytical than that. They realize the sun is more than they can handle and they hide from it. But bring on the little energy-efficient bulb at night and that's something they can wrap their little wire-like legs around..

Just my theory.


In yesterday's meme I had these 5 things on my to-do list. I was successful in all but one. I won't bother to tell you which one.

1. Take the bus to work.
2. Select my benefits package.
3. Floss.
4. Have a stellar bowel movement.
5. Convince myself that I love my job.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fight Boredom: Find a Meme

Nothing quite like finding a meme to fulfill a Sunday blog post obligation. Via The Chemist.

1) Ten years ago I was:
38 and still getting carded occasionally for liquor. I had been living in Austin less than a year and was making about $30,000 more per year than I am today. And I was probably wondering when I'd get around to have the windows replaced and painting a few rooms.

2) Five things on tomorrow's to-do list:
1. Take the bus to work.
2. Select my benefits package.
3. Floss.
4. Have a stellar bowel movement.
5. Convince myself that I love my job.

3) Things I'd do if I were a billionaire:
1. Quit my job.
2. Renovate my mother's house.
3. Invest enough to live well on the interest.
4. Invest the remainder and use the interest earned for some charity work.
5. Realize that nobody needs billions. $5 million is plenty for anyone.

4) Three bad habits:
1. Tequila
2. American Spirit Lights (you know, those healthy cigarettes!)
3. Cursing at everybody while driving

5) Five places I've lived:
1. Los Angeles
2. San Diego
3. Little Rock
4. London
5. Denver

6) Six jobs I've had:
1. Advertising agency management
2. Clerk in a record store
3. Cashier at bookstore
4. Cashier at Asian grocery
5. TCBY yogurt store
6. Lots and lots of temp agency clerical jobs

Saturday, May 17, 2008

kona's saturday night austin tour

A local flavorite favorite, Bob Schneider. It sounds like he might be at the Saxon Pub. Fuck yeah!!

I'll bet tequila flows freely at his shows. Who wants to bet me?

Also at the Saxon Pub six years ago: W.C. Clark.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Pussy Blog: Fuck Work Edition

My mood is such that I could pry nails from the wall with my teeth (or drive nails into the wall with my forehead). We can thank an absurd workweek and Friday traffic for that unfortunate attitude.

I should have stayed home today and lived the life of a cat. Work? What work?

Sissy has hairy feet.

Tater Tot misses his daddy so much during the day now. When I get home he has to connect with me in strange ways, like trying to wear my shoes.

Happy Friday! And you have no idea how happy I am.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Stormy Weather

We have a dead tree dangerously close to our new roof. txrad scheduled a tree remover earlier this week who already postponed yesterday due to rain. They should have come yesterday because it was a pretty nice day.

Last night and this morning was another story.

Right after midnight I woke up and heard txrad stirring about the house. And I heard extremely high winds and rains. I got up and he said the back door had blown open twice.

We had been under tornado warnings during the night. I knew when I walked out in the dark to fetch the New York Times and had to dodge tree limbs that it was going to be a mess across the city.

This photo stolen from reader submissions at the Austin American Statesman reminds me of a scene I saw today as I was LEAVING work -- meaning no one had time to get out there and clean it up yet!

No wonder the tree service didn't keep txrad's appointment today. Meanwhile our dead tree stands. I wonder how long before we can get them out here now.

There was also a significant amount of hail in Austin, far more than at our house, and from the looks of things, the wind speed was greater in Austin as well. We got lucky. And we had a bit of clean up to do here.

txrad took care of it.

2 Down, 48 Left

I love the California Supreme Court.

Too bad I live in the giant sinkhole of Texas. (Not Austin, just Texas in general.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Obama/Edwards 2008

My new dream ticket.

It's about the best I can think of under the circumstances. I'm sure Obama/Kucinich is out of the question.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The West Virginia Primary (yawn!)

And Photo of the Day:

Photo credit: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

And Question of the Day: Why is Hillary not sitting at the table behind her?

Big surprise. Hillary has won WV. And the pundits were suggesting the fact that West Virginia is over 90% white as a probable cause. Ummm, no. That does not explain the huge margins of victory Obama enjoyed in many western states with large white majorities.

Try again.

It starts with the letter R.

Thank God we have Oregon, South Dakota and Montana coming up to prove me correct.

Whites are not, by default, white-ist.

Praise the Lord. Emphasis on "He."

Monday, May 12, 2008

First Day On The Job

I hopped on the Oak Hill Flyer #171 at 7:40 this morning for the ride downtown to start my new job at the place where I was laid off in December. I got a picture after I boarded the bus but apparently it was a bumpy ride.

I was at my office by 8:20 which isn't bad considering the place where I exit the bus is still half a mile from my office. And $1.00 roundtrip -- about 19 miles total. I was pretty thankful for that when I noticed that gas is above $3.90 for premium.

Nothing too eventful today at work. The entire day was spent in orientation which was a breeze considering I had almost a year head-start on the other two newly hired individuals.

My desk is just a couple of cubes away from my old one.

I'm not sure how long before I can get settled back into a normal routine and start posting again. Don't abandon me yet!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Haiku

Microsoft Outlook
Big problems all fucking day
Must consult some help

Saturday, May 10, 2008

kona's saturday night austin tour

The Saxon Pub is one joint here in town we haven't visited but I would like to go there soon to see Carolyn Wonderland if nothing else.

Here's W.C. Clark gettin' all funky there. I'm in the mood for sax.

Cursed By Great Taste

I don't know if it's my Queer decorator genes or if I've just been brainwashed by marketing, but damn, I have good taste in most stuff.

I don't believe it's influenced by marketing though. Part of it is aesthetics. Certain things appeal to me because they are either unique, or because the design is actually art. And functionality counts for something as well as longevity. Most of all, I enjoy the feel of something well-made.

I didn't buy my car because I'm a preppy snob who thinks he's better than anybody else. I bought it because it should be running 20 years from now and still look and feel pretty damn good if I care for it. And I bought it because it fits my body and is comfortable. And I like the solid thunk I hear when I close the door. And I like the way it looks. If I was a snob I'd be driving a 2008 model instead of a 2003. Honestly, I like the look of the 2003 better.

Today I learned something else. I have good taste in door knobs and deadbolt locks. And good taste can be a curse when you are on a budget. But my philosophy is pretty simple: if I have to live with it, I want to like it. And if I'm spending money on it I want to really like it.

We recently replaced our roof. I wasn't content to just replace the brown shingles with brown. It was my money (or our money) and if I'm dropping over 6-grand on something, it better not be shit-brown for starters.

The new roof is a huge improvement. Probably added twice as much value as the cost just for improved curb appeal. (We don't have curbs out here, but I like using the expression anyway.) And I wasn't going to just replace a roof without replacing two old ugly plastic bubble skylights with something more updated. And windows were ordered at the same time as the roof because they actually look worse than the roof!

Once the roof was re-shingled, it illuminated another problem: the siding on the house looked like crap. It was dirty, moldy, cracking and peeling. So I made the hasty decision to go ahead and get the house painted at the same time. Now that I can see what a huge improvement that is going to make on the house, other little things are popping up.

Like door knobs. And those light fixtures on the outside of the house. Ditto on the inside of the house. I painted a bathroom and suddenly everything has to go: towel rack, toilet paper holder, faucet and lighting.

If you're like me and had never done a lot of this, you'll be surprised when simple things you never think about become a major purchase. Who thinks about door knobs?

Walk around your house. Count the doors and door knobs. You might be surprised.

We have 18 of those fuckers in the house, six of them with exterior access which require deadbolts. It really makes me think about people who build new houses and must make all those purchases at once: every light fixture, toilet, tub, and various other hardware. It adds up quickly.

The good news is that I found a web site which sells the knobs and locks I want at discounted prices and several dollars less than Home Depot. It's still going to be roughly $550 to replace them all, but I'm sure it would be at least $700 if I bought them locally and I'd have to pay sales tax on top of that.

Ugly knobs and deadbolts: your days are numbered.

Home: a place where projects never end.

Mass Transit Use On The Rise

Last spring when I was taking the commuter bus into downtown Austin to work I would notice a spike in ridership whenever fuel prices were on the rise. As I'm starting back to work on Monday, I am looking forward to seeing the numbers now almost a year since I last rode the bus.

It's nice to see more people using mass transit.
Mass transit systems around the country are seeing standing-room-only crowds on bus lines where seats were once easy to come by. Parking lots at many bus and light rail stations are suddenly overflowing, with commuters in some towns risking a ticket or tow by parking on nearby grassy areas and in vacant lots.

Unfortunately I have a new fear. I hope the cities are able to keep up with the demand by increasing service.
But meeting the greater demand for mass transit is proving difficult. The cost of fuel and power for public transportation is about three times that of four years ago, and the slowing economy means local sales tax receipts are down, so there is less money available for transit services. Higher steel prices are making planned expansions more expensive. Denver is already having issues.

And of course, my other concern is if my bus is standing-room-only, I'm going to have a difficult time dealing with that.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Fairies Have Landed

And they have planted a dome of happiness.

In MY yard.

txrad: "are you enjoying this?"

konagod: "i'm enjoying something."

I sit down and tuck it between my legs, and let all hell break loose. Hell, I don't like cleaning toilets any better than you do.

Are any of us really that different?

Fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me.

I saw I saw it with my own two eyes.

Damn, if I'd been born 5 years earlier I could easily have loved Ozzy.


Do you want me to play you something?

Yes. Don't listen to me, bitch, you fucking transvestite whore!

Play me something.

So I'll remove the cause,
but not the symptom.

Friday Pussy Blog: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Pussy Edition

The felines have been a tad nervous all week with the painting crew here. It's not as traumatic as when the roofers were here but there has been some activity IN the house with the painters.

Tater Tot has taken refuge in the office where there is no activity. Spot the Tot.

He wedged himself behind the Led Zeppelin music book and the Book of Mormon which I snagged from a hotel room in Honolulu a few years back. Never have gotten around to reading it.

Sissy tends to migrate from room to room based on activity level. She prefers the bedroom but since there is painting activity in the master bath, she has decided the living room is best -- particularly since I put up a nice protective barricade for her.

Now the 2 outside cats also have had to find sanctuary. We have a shed at the far back corner of the property and I spied Sweet Pea maintaining a watchful eye from a safe distance.

As for Tiger, I never did find him during my walk around the lot. He's out there somewhere though, crouching.

Is it Friday yet? Hell yeah!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Selling My Soul to Robert Johnson

I didn't post today except at Black Soap, and that's likely to be the trend if today is any indication.

Just wanted to pop over here because it's Robert Johnson's birthday, a fellow Taurus, and blues god. I can't let this one slide since he basically influenced everyone who gives me goose flesh.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

konagod's Drunken Peanuts Recipe

A quick and easy and very satisfying meal, especially while txrad is preparing dinner, or when you are ready for Hillary Clinton to accept a VP slot on the Obama ticket so we can get on with shit.



Open peanuts

Pour a desirable portion of peanuts into hand and chew.

Drink one shot premium tequila and a generous swig of local beer. Repeat as often as necessary for desired effect or until peanuts are feeling toasty.

I'm so jaded right now I don't even care what Rachel Maddow has to say.

Crossposted at Big Brass Blog

Monday Midweek Garden Blog

I normally do the gardening/landscape blog on Mondays, and here it is Wednesday already. Between the home improvements (updated today at Black Soap) and the job interview, this is a crazy week.

All photographs by txrad and he wants you to guess which plant isn't a native here in Texas. He's being funny, but if you seriously don't know, then you need to get more in touch with your flora and fauna.

Indian Blanket out by the garden fence.

A yellow cactus blossom.

Wild Lantana. (Well, none that we planted.)

Little green tomatoes on the vine.

A lonely Wine Cup with some Brown-Eyed Susans.

That's all. Normalcy will return tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Drug Convictions in Black and White

Hey Barack and Hillary, I'm not sure which of you will capture the nomination. It honestly doesn't much matter to me at this point. But it would be refreshing to see either one, or preferably both, of you address this problem:

The Drug War (aka the War Against Black Men).

While drug usage among whites and blacks is relatively even, black men are almost 12 times more likely than white men to be convicted and sent to prison.
Two new reports, issued Monday by the Sentencing Project in Washington and by Human Rights Watch in New York, both say the racial disparities reflect, in large part, an overwhelming focus of law enforcement on drug use in low-income urban areas, with arrests and incarceration the main weapon.

But they note that the murderous crack-related urban violence of the 1980s, which spawned the war on drugs, has largely subsided, reducing the rationale for a strategy that has sowed mistrust in the justice system among many blacks.

Drug-related arrests continue to climb year after year, and according to the FBI, based on the most recent data available, marijuana arrests account for 40% of the total. This needs to be a political issue, but unfortunately both Obama and Clinton seem to be afflicted with Bushitis when it comes to a solution.
Both Democratic presidential candidates, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, have strongly condemned the racial disparities in arrests and incarceration during their campaigns, although neither has said how they would end them.

Call me. I have more than a few ideas. In the grand scheme of things, with all our problems which include Iraq, oil prices, the housing crisis, poverty, and disappearing jobs, the injustice inherent in the drug war is relatively easy to solve.
“The race question is so entangled in the way the drug war was conceived,” said Jamie Fellner, a senior counsel at Human Rights Watch and the author of its report.

“If the drug issue is still seen as primarily a problem of the black inner city, then we’ll continue to see this enormously disparate impact,” Ms. Fellner said.

Her report cites federal data from 2003, the most recent available on this aspect, indicating that blacks constituted 53.5 percent of all who entered prison for a drug conviction.

Appalling. No wonder I like to fire one up for presidential debates and primary election returns.

Crossposted at Big Brass Blog

Gas Tax Holiday Frenzy at the State Level

It's not just Clinton and McCain on the wrong track with calls for suspending the 18.4-cent federal excise tax; governors and lawmakers in many states are calling for a similar tax holiday by suspending their own state gasoline taxes. This is probably the most foolish idea idea I've heard in eons.
Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida has been fighting to cut 10 cents from the state’s gasoline tax for two weeks in July. Lawmakers in Missouri, New York and Texas have also proposed a summer break from state gas taxes, while candidates for governor in Indiana and North Carolina are sparring over relief ideas of their own.

If experience with such gas tax “holidays” is any guide, drivers would save less than politicians suggest. But that is not necessarily the point.

“It’s about trying to serve the people and trying to understand and have caring, compassionate hearts for what they’re dealing with at the kitchen table,” said Mr. Crist, a Republican.

What's interesting is these politicians don't seem to give a damn about long-term solutions to either fuel prices, fuel economy, energy alternatives, or people living below the poverty line regardless of whether or not we have cheap fuel.

But they certainly do know how to jump on the quick-fix bandwagon to appease a public which seems to believe quick-fixes and cheap energy are an American birthright.
The response speaks not just to the reality of skyrocketing gas prices. It also highlights the political potency of anything that affects Americans’ bonds with their cars. Gas is a product that no one can ignore — and one that inspires intense emotion.

The time to bite the bullet is now. Oil futures surpassed $120 a barrel on Monday and if that isn't a wake-up call to start pouring huge resources and attention into long-term energy alternatives, then we reap what we sow. The idea that a suspension of the tax is going to help million of Americans "put food on the table" during the summer is preposterous.

Assuming prices don't continue to rise more than the amount of the suspended tax, then many American may indeed be able to buy a week's worth of groceries. Unfortunately, we can't assume fuel prices won't continue to rise during the summer months. State coffers will suffer and in the end, the lost tax revenue will need to be recouped. And in the end, if by chance fuel prices at the pump have risen another 10-cents to 20-cents a gallon by Labor Day, it's going to be a double whammy when the state and/or federal taxes on fuel are reinstated.

Changing our driving habits can do far more to put food on the table than a temporary suspension of the tax. Eliminating unnecessary trips and driving more conservatively could accomplish a lot. And we have the power to do that on our own, without the involvement of politicians.

What we should be demanding of our politicians is honesty, and a pledge to work sincerely on energy reform, without influence from big oil interests. We don't seem to be there yet.

Crossposted at Big Brass Blog

It's Primary Day

And I have two things to say: Thank God and bullshit.

I'm not expecting any big surprises or upsets. We'll see. I'm predicting a Obama will win North Carolina handily (double digits) and Clinton will win Indiana by a smaller margin than Obama's win in North Carolina. And thus, the race will continue right on to the rather lively convention.

I have no idea why but I am looking forward to an evening of pundits slicing and dicing results. That's where the bullshit comes in.

Turnout in North Carolina appears to be on track for heavy.
Early-bird primary voters formed a line more than 80 people deep at a polling station in a leafy neighborhood here, camping out on lawn chairs as they waited for the doors to open.


Many voters, interviewed as they were leaving the polls, revealed a heavy preference for Mr. Obama. “He just basically gave me what I wanted – change,” said Jacoshia Ray, 29, a processing assistant. “He’s going to make a change where change is needed.”

Josh Boyer, 36, a librarian, said he was in college when Bill Clinton took office in 1992, and was initially enthusiastic about his presidency. He voted for Mr. Obama, he said, partially out of distaste for the Clintons. “I just found the whole Clinton administration disappointing,” Mr. Boyer said, after casting a vote for Mr. Obama. “So I’m ready for something else.”

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Pop Song Chill Unit With Smoke

Fuck the shortened radio version of this one. Give me eight minutes or nothing. With video, please.

Question of the Day: What's your favorite song with a "cold" theme or feel?

konagod creativity at work

Now that the new roof is on the house it has become obvious that painting the exterior is essential. New windows have also been ordered and that will just magnify the need for paint even more.

I have been stressing about the tunnels in each bathroom which frame the skylights. The paint is peeling and they need to be scraped and repainted. I don't have a ladder high enough to get into either one. So I figure if I'm going to hire someone to paint the exterior of the house, they might as well do those as well.

And I have a vaulted ceiling in the den with a ridiculously high wall I also cannot paint without an extraordinarily tall ladder. So I'm going to have those folks take care of that wall as well. Then I can handle the rest.

So... konagod loves nothing more than picking out paint colors while doing tequila shots. Hasn't failed me yet. But the choice I just presented txrad for the den elicited this response from him:

"This is not a circus house."

OK, so the color I had selected was for the really high wall -- it needs something to draw attention to the height, and the other walls would be more muted. The room is also north-facing and rather dark.

And the color I picked out may have been a bit too orange. I'll keep working on it.

I want to make a bold statement. For further reference, see The Den Project and tell me that room isn't screaming for something vibrant.

It also needs flooring but I'll get to that later.

Monday Bonus Tot

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Scattergories Meme

Found via The Disgruntled Chemist. It seems a fitting way to end the weekend. The rules are that all the answers have to start with the same letter as does your first name.

1. What is your name? Winfred
2. A four-letter word: wish
3. A vehicle: wagon
4. A city: Walla Walla
5. A boy's name: William
6. A girl's name: Winifred
7. Alcoholic drink: wine*
8. An occupation: writer
9. Something you wear: wetsuit
10. A celebrity: Wim Wenders (ok, he's a director but directors can also be celebs.)
11. A food: wiener
12. Something found in a bathroom: water, ideally.
13. Reason for being late: washing up
14. Something you shout: WHAT!
15. An animal: wombat
16. A body part: waist (I had a hard time thinking of anything and was going to say wiener.)

Like it? Do it.

*Wine sounds good. I'm going to open a bottle now.

Vinyl Rocks!

It's been a long while since I've had the turntable set up and functional. I totally forgot how amazing it reproduces what's hidden in those little grooves. And this is only with a pair of Yamaha headphones I've had since college which makes them at least 25 years old.

So I grabbed an album off the shelf and am giving it a spin as I write this. Only took about 5 seconds before I got chills. MP3 can't compete.

Morrison Hotel

Vinyl: the audio equivalent of comfort food.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Kona's Saturday Night Austin Tour

Another random Austin-related YouTube video. This one kind of makes me ill to watch -- I keep thinking I'm going to rear-end someone. And it would have been nice if the person who shot this video had either cleaned their window or mounted the camera on the top of the car.

Anyway, about a minute into the clip is a cruise down 6th Street and if you pause the video at exactly 1:33 you'll see a palm tree on the right hand side of the picture. That's on the grounds of the agency where I used to work.

From that point forward is the route I used to take from work to get to the Hwy 290 freeway down South Lamar as opposed to dealing with the nightmare known as Loop 1.

And now for the scenic route up Loop 360 through west Austin... for those of you who haven't vomited in your lap already, this one seems to pick up where the other one ended. Yes, many people in Austin really do drive this way.

It gets really fun around 2:55 when the driver exits 360 and gets on Bee Caves Road heading back into Austin. I took that route recently. Wheeeee!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008

That Bag In The Background Is Four Pounds of Pinto Beans

After getting a new roof (new pictures!) put on the house today, I wanted to celebrate with a new beer. I can't imagine why I picked this one:

Kona Longboard Lager. It's OK. I doubt I'll buy it again even though it's OK. I just expected better.

I really miss the good doc.

Another reason I don't take kindly to people bad-mouthing hard-working Mexicans. It takes some balls to get on a white man's house and start ripping his roof off. You better know what you are doing, and do it well. With confidence.

I'm impressed.

So tear down that fucking fence on the border. OK? Cause it's been a long time since I've seen a white man at my house doing any manual labor. Besides myself of course.

I Am Loving The Roof

I'll be writing a rather large check at the end of the day for this, but I have a hunch it's worth it.

More pictures at Black Soap.

By the way, that thump...thumpthumpthump has been going on ALL day.

Miami Police Bust Up The Evil Green Menace

Let's give a round of applause to the Miami Police who arrested more than 50 people in a crackdown on marijuana "grow houses." Miami residents must be feeling safer already.
Dubbed "Operation D-Day" more than 100 Miami Dade police officers, along with state and federal agents, raided 50 grow houses across the county.

During the day long blitz, officers arrested 49 people and confiscated more than 2-thousand marijuana plants along with 17-hundred pounds of marijuana which had a street value of nearly $7-million.

They also confiscated 8 firearms, a bullet proof vest and $113,600 in cash.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Miami Dade has the highest number of "grow houses" in the state; so many are popping up across the state that agents have had to double the number of raids they conduct each year.

In 2007, federal and state agents along with local law enforcement raided one thousand suspected "grow houses"; the year before that only 510 drug houses were found.

I'm not sure how much that operation cost, but it's nice to know violent crime and other non-violent crime in Miami is so low that police have little else to do besides raid homes growing weed. And real drug use such as cocaine and methamphetamines, not to mention prescription drug abuse, are on the back burner in importance. And $113,000 in cash counts for something!

No raid is complete without bragging about the "street value" of the "drugs" which are seized. The street value is only that high because the weeds are illegal and growers are constantly under threat of raids. The actual value of 2,100 marijuana plants would be a mere fraction of that. But it makes for some real sensational news reporting. As the reporter in the WFOR clip says, "seven..MILLION..dollars." Whooo-hooo!

WFOR Miami news video.