Category Archives: Personal

Grand Cayman bound

Just got done with Vancoooooover.

Washing clothes.

Re-packing.

Now headed out to the Grand Cayman Islands!

Take a guess as why one would go to the Cayman’s:

1.) Illegal drug money deposits
2.) Tax shelters
3.) Friends wedding
4.) Money laundering

Look what Wikipedia says about The Cayman Islands:

“The territory is a major world offshore financial centre.”

HA!  Should be fun :-)

Nev Be In Vancoooooover

That’s probably the worst representation of saying, “I’ll be in Vancouver till July 5th” ever!

So if I’m slower than normal at answering email you’ll know why!

Playing with BIG Amps!

A few months back I started learning how to play blues and jazz scales better to perform at a close friends wedding with my brother.

I picked up basic bass scales quickly thanks to some cool iPhone apps, and now we’re performing at the wedding TOMORROW!

It’s at one of those enormous Houston museums, so our little amplifiers won’t cut it…so we rented some big-boy equipment for the job.

Here’s a random little jam we tried out in our parents house:

Notice the GIGANTIC bass amplifier (we weren’t using it in this video) and the massive guitar amp I’m sitting on.  The amps sound so cool, wish I could steal em!

P.S. You might also notice my brother is just slightly better than me at guitar ;-)

I’m a dirty rotten thief

So a few days ago I “accidentally” stole someone’s bike here in Austin…

The first & last time I blatantly stole something was in 2002 when I was buying a bag of Whopper’s candy at the University of Texas convenience store before a class, and the line was gargantuan.

Running extremely short on time, I sneakily walked out with the 85 cent bag.  I felt terrible.  After the class finished, I went back to the convenience store, checked out and paid for another bag of Whoppers, then put the bag of candy back in it’s original place in the store.

Net harm to the store = ZERO.

Weight it had on my conscience = IMMENSE.

An $0.85 bag of Whoppers nearly crushed me, so I was horrified I had actually stolen a bike.

…and it was a NICE bike which someone obviously put a lot of work into.  It was a “woody” looking bike with a custom paint job, hand-made wood-lined rims, reinforced and upgraded parts, and a gigantic lock chain that just screamed, “THIS BIKE IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO ME…PLEASE DON’T STEAL IT.

It was Friday evening and me and friends were at a fun tech meetup, seeing old friends and making new ones, then we all left to have a pre-party at my place (which is conveniently located Downtown).

We were all drinking and went out to a big club known for cool people and fun dancing.

Sometime around 2am (when all the bars/clubs here close), I was under the impression the club was giving away a bike.  There happened to be a nice bicycle in one of the rooms of the club that looked like it was being “presented”…and someone told me it was a promotional bike they were giving away (I have no idea why I thought or believed this…I’m presuming alcohol played “a small” factor).

On a lark, I decided it’d be funny if I got the “promotional bike” outside the club and started riding around on it….well, I accomplished that goal!

Then I saw my friends walking home and got distracted, so I went with them (still riding the bike).  We walked three blocks back to my place where my roommate asked, “Ummm…where’d you get this bike??”

I explained it was a promotional bike giveaway, and I “accidentally” rode it home (I never meant to ride it more than a block away).  I somehow didn’t feel that guilty since it was going to be given away anyway.

I put the bike in my closet for the time being (we were about to have a small after party), and finally saw it under proper lighting:

My roommate exclaimed, “This is SOMEONE’S bike….it looks used and even has a lock on it.”

I couldn’t really argue these obvious statements, and quickly realized I was some douchebag who just stole a bike!

…a petty little thief I was.

I woke up extra-early the next morning and searched for the owner through Twitter (maybe someone Tweeted “my bike got stolen from Barbarella” or something along those lines)  and through the bike model number etc.   I then posted this in the Lost & Found section of Craigslist to find the owner:

No responses, so around 3pm I rode my own bike past the club where my stupidity occurred (for fear of being spotted on the stolen bike), and found some guys inside working on the club.

I asked, “Did someone here get a bike stolen last night?”

Them: “YES!  One of our guys got his bike jacked…like a wooden-looking bike.”  <– (said sort of angrily)

Me: “Well….I HAVE IT!”

Them: (suspiciously) “What do you mean you have it?”

Me: “Last night I was walking back to my place, and some guy walking by me said, “Here man, have a bike…I jacked it from Barbarella” and then ran off!”

Them: “That’s crazy….must’ve been some crack head or something.”

Me: “It might have been” <– masking the guilt in my voice.

Me: “Well, give me 5 minutes and I’ll ride it over!”

Them: “Oh man, thank you soooo much!  That’s a really good thing you did, he’ll be so happy to see it.”

I left sort of laughing how I stole the bike in the first place, yet am the hero for giving it back!

Here’s me right before I rode it back:

I rolled up with the bike, and was welcomed like a savior.  They even gave me a personal day-time tour of the club, showed me how they made their new 1920’s-style room, invited me to an event that night (free of charge for their hero of course) and apparently they had a closet full of…soups…(??)…they were trying to get rid of and offered me all of it.

They even started pouring me some scotch to toast the return of the bike (I declined simply because I didn’t want to be drunk at 3pm)!

So I walked out of the club glad THEY DIDN’T BEAT ME UP for stealing a bike….. and with two cans of soup :-)

I’d really like to think I learned something from this incident, but I was actually REWARDED for stealing then returning something.

So the moral of this story is: Steal a bike and get free drinks and soup!

My Number 1 Fan

I’ve been no stranger to people not liking me online (normal person + ability to anonymously comment = jackass), but generally in person I ain’t so bad (or so I think…)

I randomly remembered this hilarious exchange I had over Facebook with a newly met acquaintance in 2007 (not sure why I never posted it on my blog back then).

Her scathing words made me laugh so hard I printed it out and posted it on my wall at the time.  I also forward to some friends and it “went viral” within our friend circle!

Just so I don’t forget about my #1 fan in the future, I’m memorializing it here:

I won’t use her actual name in the text of this post (being nice so her name doesn’t come up in search results), so we’ll call her ManPoop (that’s what her name sounds like spelled backwards).

After a fun dinner meetup we were all at, some friends told me “ManPoop REALLY hates you…what did you do?”  I had no idea, and the only interaction we had was at the same table as 10 other people.  I quickly found her boring and hard to talk to, so we hardly even spoke one-on-one.  I dismissed any thought of ManPoop until I was later told she so thoroughly hated my guts.

Since this was a family friend of a friend…I decided a quick little message would clear the air (otherwise I wouldn’t have cared at all).  I wasn’t prepared for such a well thought out message.  This verbal diatribe reminds me of those online commentors that bad-mouth everything someone does…when all they have to do is stop reading.

I still laugh every time I see this :-)

After the holidays, and I’m still not a lard-o

Previously when I would “try and eat well” it would always be destroyed over the holidays.

So this year I decided to think about this in advance and solve it…and it worked beautifully!

There was a Zoroastrian Congress in Houston over the holidays where all my friends and family would be.  It took place at a hotel, which ensured I’d be eating out all the time and have plenty of chances and excuses to eat like crap.

It’s easy to think, “It’s the holiday, I’ll just indulge a little”….but I KNOW the end result is being sluggish, feeling fatter and finding it hard to wake up etc…

So for the weeks prior to the holiday I began tracking my meals like I did during the 6-pack experiment.  I didn’t necessarily give up ANYTHING…I simply ate good, not bad.

I made an old piece of cardboard into a “tracking chart” starting two weeks before Christmas.  Everyday I was to write down everything I ate on a little sheet of paper (which I carry in my pocket), then post it on the board at night:

In around two weeks the chart was full:

I actually filled up BOTH sides of the cardboard, for 20 full days of tracking:

It’s amazing how just being conscious of how much you’ve eaten for the day keeps you on track.

Here were some of my eating habits during my hotel stay:

  • I’d keep fruit in my room, or eat it wherever I could (I stole a bunch from the gym at the hotel).
  • I’d get the vegetarian meals at hotel-catered events because they would generally have more veggies..not just a big piece of meat and little else.
  • Tea or water instead of sodas.
  • I still drank alcohol, but would account for it and compensate by eating fewer calories earlier.
  • Worked out on a normal schedule.
  • I wouldn’t “skip” dessert…but rather I’d “pass up foods that don’t add nutrition”.

Since I was eating so well, the tightly packed schedule during the holidays was much easier.  I could wake up easier, recover from drinking much quicker, and just in general feel good instead of weighed down….all by simply writing down what I ate!

It’s Gettin Hot In Here

Last night…
Dec 24th around 7:30 pm:

I was having a pre-christmas dinner with my family.  Out of the corner of my eye I spy (that rhymes) an EXTREMELY bright flash along with the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard in my life.  It rattled the house and kept rumbling for a long time.

Immediately I knew that lightning had struck somewhere right next to us.  It seemed like our backyard.  We didn’t think too much of it.

Fast forward to roughly 12:45am at night (Early Christmas morning on the 25th):
We look out the window to see an “orange glow” behind one of our palm trees in the backyard.  A little curiosity sent us to the backyard to see that a house right across the street (from our backyard) was fully on FIRE!

I climbed on my fence to get a better view, and I could see some emergency crew just arrived.  I saw an emergency crew guy going to knock on the door of the neighbors house to warn them, but then he started running full speed, and in one completely awesome move he did a flying jump kick which violently burst open the door and ran inside screaming for everyone to evacuate!  It was pretty damn awesome.

At this point the flames were sometimes blowing 4 to 5 stories high in the strong winds.  Fortunately it had rained earlier so no other houses were seriously damaged.

Here’s shortly after they had most of it extinguished:

That giant cherry-picker thing was cool to watch:

Funny enough, the fire was started at 7:30pm by lightning, but ended up finally catching momentum after midnight.  Apparently:

  • 7:30om The lightning struck the house and started a fire in the attic.
  • The owner put out the small fire and thought everything was cool (pun intended).
  • Small embers kept burning, and started gaining strength.
  • By 12:45am (Christmas morning) the house was fully engulfed in flames.

By the time the fire was put out, the house was completely gone.  Yes, the brick face of the wall looks nearly unscathed in the pictures, but a side-view of the house shows it’s pretty much 100% hollowed out.

There’s some sort of moral to this story, but I’m not clever enough to figure it out.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Brookstone Boogie Board Awesomeness

While pretending to buy something at Brookstone from the mall (I really just wanted to sit in those sweet massage chairs)!

….I saw they carried this little thing called the Boogie Board.  It’s essentially an LCD writing tablet.  But it’s not a computer screen…in fact it uses zero power except when erasing the slate.

It does nothing but let you write on it, then erase. I played with it from one second and immediately knew I would be buying it!

I always carry around one these standard journals for keeping my notes:

…but this little board allows me to graph out temporary thoughts, doodle, or just things I don’t need to keep written down. When I DO happen to write something on it that matters, I snap a picture of it with my phone.  It’s crude, but it works.

No color options, no spot eraser, and you can even use your fingernail to write (or any make-shift stylus like a pen cap).

I often jot on it in the mornings.  Even though I always plan my to-do lists the night before, I tend to jot down a few random thoughts on this when I wake up…just to get the day started.

…but mostly I use it to doodle! I learned how to draw these weird house-looking-things from Commander Mark when I was in elementary school:

The erasing feature is really neat….and I can see this concept being developed into many other neato products.  All you do is push a button, and the LCD screen “wipes” like this:

I bought the Brookstone Boogie Board a little before the Christmas rush for $19.99…but now everywhere I look they’re $39.99.  Guess they got popular QUICK!