Thursday, November 30, 2006

More Snowy Night.

The fact that it's snowing here is pretty crazy in itself. Growing up in Houston, I saw snow one or two times, period, and by "snow" I mean "a few flakes." It seems that up here in DFW, though, there's typically at least one or two days per winter where we see some real snow fall. Of course, by "real" snow, I mean it's thick in the sky, although we never see any accumulation on the ground like up north. Here is a crappy picture I just took outside:

That's geniune white-stuff on the ground in Texas. A rare sight!
And for your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of my little (or not so little any more) puppy playing with his friend, Bevo the Longhorn.

What a fine racing stripe my puppy has. He can totally kick your puppy's ass, too. :)


A painting from this snowy night...this is actually much larger than most of my other paintings, which I'd say average 12x20". This one is 24x36".

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New Smashing Pumpkins?

In the latest Rolling Stone, there is a picture of Billy Corgan and Pete Townsend playing guitar together, and the caption read “Billy Corgan took a break from recording the new Smashing Pumpkins album…” and that’s all I needed to see. New Smashing Pumpkins album!? YES!!!!!!

I have vague memories of first acquiring “Siamese Dream” back when it came out, but I believe I was at Sunday School, of all things, and an older headbanger-type cranked it up for me during a break. As “Cherub Rock” began, I was immediately enthralled:

Drum roll x 2.
Cue the guitars.
Cue the bass.
Cue the light drums.
Cue the CRASH!!!

It really didn’t matter what I heard afterward, because I was already sold. The fact that the album turned out to be one of my favorites of all time only added to the legend. I became borderline obsessed with it. In 6th grade, my friend Chris and I would sit in our rooms listening to the album over and over again, trying to figure out what Billy Corgan was saying (Remember, this is before the internet gave us lyrics at the tip of our fingers). I became so obsessed with knowing what he was saying that I answered a “send $5 to (address) to join the fan club and get lyrics.” I put $5 cash in an envelope and sent it out into the void for “Siamese Dream” lyrics.

4 months later I got the lyrics in the mail and was euphoric. Chris and I pored through them – it was like finding the Holy Grail. I memorized them and listened to “Siamese Dream” another 4,000 times (I’m having slight déjà vu at this moment, because I think I may have written about this before, but can’t specifically remember. Moving on…).

Fast-forward to this morning, listening to “Machina – The Machines of God” in my car on the way to work. To me, its scatterbrained nature symbolizes the scattering of the band in different directions, although it has enough high points to require ownership, particularly “I of the Mourning,” which must be their most underrated song since I’ve never seen a word written about it, but it’s one of their best. It’s a song about Corgan pleading for direction in his music – at least that’s the way I interpret it. In the grand finale, he asks the “radio” (or us) – “What is it you want to change?” – I want Smashing Pumpkins to come out with a new album, and apparently it’s going to happen soon.

In the meantime, if you don’t have “Siamese Dream” in particular, I suggest you pick it up and start letting it soak in. After a few thousand more listens, you may start to appreciate it as much as I do.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


-It's 5:30 CST and already dark outside. I'm not a big fan of short days. Although, for as pasty white as I am, it's a sort of respite against my typical 14 layers of sunscreen necessary to prevent burning.

-Miles is getting bigger every day - it's amazing to watch. He was approximately 20 lbs when we got him, and now he's about 35. Right now I weigh 170, and if I were growing at his rate I'd be almost 300 lbs in a month. It would take a lot of protein powder for me to hit that number. Instead of a couple shakes per day, I'd have to go with a couple jugs.

-Album recommendation: Deadsy, Phantasmagore. It's amazing. If you've never heard Deadsy, I'd use the following words to describe their music: slow, grinding, goth, gentle, morbid, and crunchy. But those words probably leave you with the impression that they are some sort of death-metal outfit, which is not the case. It's more along the lines of using Halloween as a facade for good rock songs.

-If you haven't been learning to cook over here, you've been missing out. Man, I eat well. Today I had one of my top 5, a Mediterranean dish, for lunch. A month or so ago Monika was awarded for her efforts with a trophy for the "Best Chef Ever in the History of the Universe" Award. I'm not sure that fully captures how well she cooks, though. You have to experience it to believe it.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sour Apple.

//Begin rant.

Today is the only day of the year that Apple discounts computers. Going with that Black Friday momentum, Monika decided today she was finally going to buy her desired Apple Laptop. It turns out that Apple, like Acura, sells their products fully loaded, with just a couple tweaks available, which is a good thing. Thus Monika decided she wanted to buy the standard Apple Notebook with one change - the memory upgrade. The online store indicated that the shipping time would be about 3 weeks, so she called the Apple store to see if we could pick the computer up today.

Monika: "Hi - I'm looking for (details of standard laptop) with one change - the memory upgrade. Two Gigs instead of one. Do you all sell those in the store?"

Steve (or whatever the hell his name was): "Oh yeah, we have tons of those."

Monika and I drive 40 miles to the Apple store in Southlake since there are none in Fort Worth. We arrive at the store and are helped by a nice girl who seems perplexed. Predictably, they have none of the laptop we are looking for in stock. Steve finally comes out, like the pimply Simpson's character you imagined, and says, "oh, yeah, uh, we don't have the computer with the memory upgrade. I didn't know you guys wanted that...uh, I guess I should have asked." This coming from the same person who we specifically asked only one question - whether they have the computer with the memory upgrade. Doesn't seem that difficult, does it?

Anyway, Apple has great products and the salespeople in their stores are usually really helpful. But this guy was a moron who wasted a lot of our time and pissed us off.

We'll see if Monika still ends up buying that laptop...

//End rant.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

The Turkey Trot 5K is now behind me, so that's an extra ~300 calories of food I can fit in my belly on this fine day. I hope you all have a fine Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Shiny Objects.

“Scatterbrain” makes a lot of sense for my blog title, because I’m easily distracted. Just now I was sifting through e-mails trying to figure out my “to do” list, and came across a message reminding me to pay my tuition for my last Mini of school. Suddenly I received an IM from a coworker about something I’ve already forgotten and only now, two hours later, remembered to pay my tuition. But that was only because I came across a reminder I had placed in a different location. Had I simply deleted the first e-mail and forgotten to pay it, it might have been lost in the void forever. And then I wouldn’t receive my diploma, and that would be bad.

These instances happen to me all the time, though. The best is watching TV. I’ll be watching a program which segues into commercials, so I’ll flip the channel to something else to avoid watching said commercials. Then suddenly, I’ll forget what I was watching. What was it?! I was really enjoying whatever that was. I think.

What was my point here?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

So Much Music, So Little Time.

When I have spare moments, I often cruise over to metacritic or and read critics’ and commoners’ album reviews. One thing that always blows me away is the immediacy with which people can crank out album reviews. “I just bought this album 3 hours ago, and it has been in my stereo NON-STOP! Five stars!!!” Whenever I pick up a new album, it takes me a long time to process it. Of course, I usually gather together preliminary thoughts, but they are more like mental notes about what I thought about the album when I first got it. Time, and many listens, is the only real test to figure out how an album stands over time.

So, I recently picked up the latest from 30 Seconds to Mars since a friend swore I’d like it. I can tell you my initial impression is good, and like one reviewer on Amazon said (something along these lines) “scientists have discovered a new form of entertainer – the actor turned musician who doesn’t suck.” That’s Jared Leto, and he can actually wail. I found some YouTube live performances that were impressive. The music is a bit “overdone” for me at this point, but it’s growing on me.

In the meantime I’d like to recommend Hum – “You’d Prefer and Astronaut” to appease you. If you like Radiohead – “Pablo Honey” you will love it. Casual, dream-like lyrics, hard guitars – it’s a bit mesmerizing, but in a good way.

I plan to pick up the new And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead on the way home. If you don’t already own their “Source Tags and Codes,” buy it – now.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Family Portait, 11/11/06.

An Ugly Game.

From Stewart Mandel,'s college football writer:

"Obviously, losing QB Colt McCoy in the first quarter hurt Texas –- but it didn't cause the 'Horns to give up 45 points."

Amen, brother. Despite using our backup QB for the vast majority of the game, we still put up 42 points, which should be enough to win almost any football game. It's a shame our secondary is so beat up right now (almost all our starters have an injury of some sort). Hopefully we can pull it together for the last few games of the season.

Otherwise, congrats to the K-State fans. I'm glad to see you guys turning it around.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Totally "Lost."

I won’t rehash what’s been going on this season because those of you who watch it are enamored with it like me, and those of you who don’t will fall asleep. So, for now, let me just say this: I have read and truly believe that the writers know exactly what’s going on with every dynamic plot line. And if they really do, we’re going to get one of the most satisfying payoffs in the history of television when we find out. However, please read this as me shaking my fist, with a really intimidating look on my face, with some huge friends of mine that can totally beat you up standing next to me, saying you BETTER know what’s going on with all these plot lines! I found this list on a message board, and just seeing all these compiled into one place is a reminder of how insane the revelation will have to be to explain all this in one fell swoop:

“Polar Bears, Smoke Monsters, Giant ships in the middle of an island, A 4 Toed Statue, Abandoned Science projects, magical food that drops from the sky, mysterious island hallucinations, Murder, Death, Torture, Kidnapping, Separation from family and friends, lack of nicotine, Amnesia, a mysterious “sickness”, Syringes, planes full of Heroin, Hot air balloons, Army training, Imprisonment, Electric shocks, forced labor, etc”

I want a revelation that’s Twin Peaks satisfying. For those of you who were obsessed with TP like me, you may remember the moment we found out who “Bob” was. I kid you not, I almost shat my pants at that moment, and consider it the bar when it comes to shocking revelations. Close followers – Sixth Sense satisfying. Usual Suspects satisfying.

I plead to you, dear Lost writers. I don’t know how long you intend to build up the disposition, but whenever you reach that point where you feel it’s logical to stop dangling the carrot, let us have it! Don’t give it to us in pieces. I want to be smacked silly. I want to feel the need to re-watch every episode of this freaking show that night.

And whatever you do, don’t wait too long before get to said revelation either. You keep getting juicier and juicier, and I’m not going anywhere, but if we reach the end of season 3 next year without a jaw-dropper, I’m going to be fairly disgruntled. Besides, if you guys are as smart as I hope you are, you’ll have at least 2 more season’s worth of material after the revelation just tying up all the character explanations and the grand “escape” from the island (and yes, that’s in quotes for a reason).

Lost Wednesday: I think we’re going to find out something huge. Nay, we pretty much have to since the show will take a break ‘till next February or so while ABC shows “Groundhog Day,” so they’ll need to lock us in for a few months. I have one side-comment/question for anyone in the meantime, though – have any of the “Others” legitimately killed any of the islanders yet? Because I sure can’t think of any instances…

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Half 2006.

This morning was the long-awaited conclusion to the Half trifecta. In case you've never heard the significance of the number 3 here, it's that Monika and I have now run a Half as a dating, engaged, and married couple. Now that the knees have taken a severe beating for 3 years in a row, it's time for sweet, sweet retirement, until I predictable return to the running scene a while in the future. But don't hold your breath.

This morning's run was sponsored in part by my friend Chanan, a running god who towed the line throughout the race today and was actually willing to increase his usual mile time by half or so (seriously) to motivate me to keep going. I'm quasi-sorry to report that I won't be showing you pictures later demonstrating my token "look of agony;" I believe the only photo-op has me and Chanan smiling briefly before I returned to feeling horrendous. This year's time was somewhere in the ballpark of 2:23, or 11:20-minute miles (guessing).

That's about all I have right now, as my brain is feeling about as tired and beaten-down as my body.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"The Black Parade"

Go buy this new album by My Chemical Romance. It's fantastic. It's received a few comparisons to Green Day's "American Idiot" since they share producers, and TBP is also a "rock opera" of sorts. However, MCR's version is much more "fictional," shall I say.

Let me put it this way: TBP is so good that one song features my most hated grammar error of all time, but I still like the song. "Teenagers" is one of the most flagrantly catchy, fist-pumping songs I've heard in years (and the godawful error is "they could care less").

Go buy it!

Ah, Politics.

Just when I thought there was no way the Dems could screw up the elections this year, John Kerry makes a bone-headed remark (telling students that if they don't get educated they'll get "stuck in Iraq") that manages to insult all our troops and give the Reps a second wind to point out how smug the Dems are, all in one fell swoop.

Congratulations, Senator Kerry. You screwed it up!

At the same time, I can't help but find the whole thing quite comical and overblown. The remark, in itself, was supposed to be a jab at the president, implying that he's a bonehead that got us into a situation we can't get out of. So of course, as usual, Kerry's strategy was to point and complain, rather than offer a solution himself.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if we had someone legitimately "wacky" in office like a Ross Perot - someone who has zero "political filter" and shoots from the hip, no matter how insane it is. Imagine this:

Perot: "Listen kids, you better get yourself educated or you're going to be stuck in Iraq."
The Media: "Oh my God! Did he really just say that?!"
Perot: "Damn straight, you sonsabitches! I'm a businessman, not a politician! I'm not here to cater to your whiny-asses, I'm here to make us all rich! Now shut the hell up and get me some whiskey!"
The Media: Speechless!

It's kind of like when our president was asked about his drug use, and instead of making up a bunch of nonsense like Clinton, he basically implied that he used to smoke crack on a regular basis - the details are fuzzy - but whatever he said, it worked because the media were legitimately stumped. It's the backpedaling that gets you in trouble, people!