Saturday, December 29, 2007

Holiday Odds and Ends pt. 2

Can you believe in all the years that I have lived in Austin I had never visited the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue until this past Christmas?

Some 10 years ago my X and a bunch of friends and I stumbled up and down the grassy knoll near Town Lake (now called Lady Bird Lake) trying to find this thing. We were drunk verging on hung over and had been dancing into the wee hours of the morning hence the excursion was not a success. I think we all eventually collapsed under the bridge and tried to blend in with the transient population that night--never mind the plethora of PVC leather and velvet we wore.

In retrospect, I have no idea how we missed it because the thing is huge. My brother waned a pic with good ole Stevie (in case you're a poor soul who doesn't know who he is, Stevie Ray Vaughn, a TX boy, was one of the greatest blues guitarists who ever lived, an inspiration to many rock gods and unfortunately had his life cut short after a tragic helicopter accident after a show in 1990)so Christmas morning, the family set out to Lady Bird Lake on a mission to get the photo and because none of us were drunk (perhaps a tad greasy in the stomach from breakfast at IHOP, but certainly not drunk) we succeeded!

It was a beautiful Christmas day with blue skies, cool crisp winds and bright sun out. A lot of people were walking up and down the lake (which is really a river...too complicated to go into) with their dogs or kids. A lot of other people were paying their respects to Stevie...Apparently the statue is one of the most visited landmarks in Austin, TX next to the capitol building and the UT Tower where Charles Whitman shot down a bunch of students back in the 50's. Anyhow, mom wanted a pic with Stevie too. Here she is snuggling with him:

So of course I had to take a pic too. I asked him to make me a rock god and maybe rub off some of that stage persona onto little ole me. I also asked him if I could have a pony:

(as T just pointed out a second ago, if he made me a rock god, I could easily afford my own pony, so why bother asking for one?)

On the way back to the car, T spotted some beautiful black swans in the lake and I took it as a good omen:

Christmas Eve dinner was lovely. Instead of going with a fancy schmancy roasted goose or ham or turkey...I decided to go with store bought tamales this year with guacamole, rice, beans and a big salad since I wasn't in the mood to cook an elaborate meal. Mom make curry empanadas that went really well with everything. As always, Jbro helped me in the kitchen as T took photos:

My best friend Shawn was in town and joined us for dinner. Of course no get together in my household is complete without a good ole fashioned jam session after the meal. Since I bought my brother a new Vox tube amp for Christmas we just had to try it out to make sure it sounded right and all. (For the record, he's getting a stick of gum for his birthday since I spoiled him and went over budget....he's my brother. He's talented. He deserves good gear so I don't mind...)

I think Shawn had a good time:

Brown Dog enjoyed the music as well:

Momma was dancing:

Shawn's looking pretty hot here:

Family pic:

And of course one with my best friend:

So, we've got a New Year's party coming up and then a few more days off. Unfortunately, I've been doing contract work a good bit during the break. However, I haven't been so busy that I haven't been able to socialize. Lots of friends in town. Lots of parties. Lots of food and lots of music. Till then, enjoy images of my brother doing a lyrical jazz routine to Benny Bennassi:

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays 2007! and the new Speakers

If you're not offended....Merry Christmas!

Amazingly, it only took 2 takes to get this photo. Etouffee and Brown Dog are just so easy going!

Now onto the materialistic post. This is the big ticket item we got for ourselves this year:

New Speakers and Sub Woofer
T and I got this for ourselves because the old speakers which we inhereted from my dad died about 4 months back. Let me tell you, I about to shrivel up and die without my music. We found a pair at Fry's on sale and for holiday promo, it came with a sub-woofer. JBro, who came down for the holidays, came over and helped optimize the output (The way I had things initially set up caused the sweet spot to somehow converge near the refrigerator...not bad, for me at least, but certainly not idea for everyone else).

We discovered something amusing though. Being somewhat hasty, T and I just rant into Fry's and purchased the best thing we could afford that sounded good (in the store) without giving much though to the fact that our house is only 2000 sq feet...that is to say we bought speakers which a weee bit too powerful. Sure, across a massive electronics warehouse this is fine, but you lug those puppies into the home and we suddenly have club Chang-Fricke' going here. The columns themselves are about my height. What's even funnier though is that if you even turn up the sub-woofer a notch, the floor shakes so much it causes the CD player to skip.

Anyhow, we're fiddling with it still. For classical music it's just okay. Not enough mid range. Josh Groban and Joshua Bell sound somewhat decent although perhaps several hundred feet away up on stage. Trent sounds like he breathing down your neck while The Kings of Convenience and Abra Moore are serenading you on the couch. Benny Bennassi is rumbling inside of you. Hands down the set up is best for dance and techno music at the moment.

My brother and I spent many hours swapping out CDs and listening to much late last night. It was a lovely bonding session. I have a feeling T's ears were driving him mad but hey...they're new stereo speakers!

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Nine Inch Nails: Y34RZ3R3M1X3D (Year Zero Remixed)

Look, if you read this blog with any sort of consistency, you'd know that Shawn and I basically worship the ground Trent walks on. We're Nail-heads. We're in our 30's. NIN was the soundtrack of our young adult lives. NIN is just getting better and better. That's my opionion and I'm sticking to it. We're not even talking about the free downloads, Garageband files, interactive games and general connectivity to the fans here...

So instead of going on and on about how wonderful this official remix album is and type up a quasi-intellectual analysis on its virtues, just listen to the Mp3s and come to your own conclusion, 'kay? Cause really, I'm fucking tired this time of year (if I get another ABEND call from work, I'm going to shoot someone) and I'd rather just spend some quiet time listening to this album than trying to connect with the virtual world right now.

Listen to:
"My Violent Heart" (Pirate Robot Midget)
"Great Destroyer" (Mod Wheel Mood Remix)
"Another Version of the Truth" (Kronos Quartet and Enrique Gonzalez Muller)

Nine Inch Nails Official Website
Remix Nin (cool remix site with downloadable toolset to mangle/enhance tracks by Nine Inch Nails)
Buy Year Zero Remixed at Amazon

On a slightly different note, enjoy:

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