Saturday, September 23, 2006

Meet the newest member of our family

This is Gabby.

I got suckered in to falling for this little one while at the Pet store today looking for a pet door for our other one. We've been talking about another cat for a while and so, this happened. She was adopted from Paw Match and was rescued from a kill shelter 1 day before she was to be put down. Her brother and sister were adopted yesterday. I didn't mean to end up with a girl but voila. She cuddled. I melted. She meowed, I said how much. And thus, we have a baby, who looks amazingly like our other one, except less stripes. Sigh. I'm such a sucker for kittens.

They said she was 3months but she looks so tiny. She's spayed though and has had all her shots. plus we have 2 free vet visits. Yay. Cost was about what a vet visit would be and the money goes back to rescuing more little ones so that's a happy thing. Good karma and all. She's only eating wet food right now but I plan to mix soon and get her on dry as wet poo stinks. Plus dry is easier to leave out.

She's extremely playful and a huge talker, thus the Gabby. It's the name given but I like it and it fits here. Oh my does she meow. Right now I'm in our guest room as we have to keep the two separate and this one is not happy being left alone. We gave her a nice setup and everything but she cried and I can't deal with that. so i'm spending the night.

Pumpkin is currently sitting outside the door. She's not exactly thrilled with the newcomer but she doesn't hate her. No fluffed up tail or yowl. Just hiss, growl, and the going after the kitten. poor Gabby just rolls over and surrenders. So we have to keep them apart. We've done some supervised visits but Pumpkin does not like it. Gabby is fine. She loves roaming. Gabby is encroaching on Pumpkin's territory and punk does not like it one bit. Any advice to help them get along would be so wonderful.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

House Pictures

Ok, as promised, here are pics of the house. Doesn't look like two stories from the front really. It's a great house. Well, except for the ceiling lights dying today in the living room. We'll figure it out eventually, the joys of owning a house. Anyway, here they are.

Front of the house. The tree provides great shade. Four bedrooms, big kitchen, living room, 2 baths, 1 converted garage. Yeah, more than enough room for us and then some.

Different view of the front of the house. Yeah, that last right window used to be a garage but was converted into a room. It's not bad, but I wouldn't mind a garage. But hey, an extra room.
My beautiful kitchen. It's so lovely. There's a huge black fridge on the right now, next to the cabinets. Yeah, I know, doesn't match the other white appliances but it's nice having something that you don't have to clean constantly. Sink is some sort of PVC that looks porcelein. It rocks.
The cement slab. Oh yeah. There's a basketball pole but no hoop. We might use the slab for a party area or a gazebo or something like that. Right now it's full of the boy's plants.

Back of the house. Lovely French doors that go to the kitchen and the other door goes to the laundry room and then straight to the converted garage.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Austin City Limitis Festival

Guster- Total college band but good show.
Gnarls Barkley- Interesting. Funky outfits. Fun to watch. Had a lot of fun.
Los Lonely Boys- Great jam show, fun to watch
Van Morrison- sound was iffy but a good show all around. He's getting upthere. Easy decision over John Mayer (who I heard was fantastic) who plays in Austin all the time. I mean when do you hear him ever touring?

The Shins- Meh.
Ben Kweller- What a trooper. He started late because he got a double nose bleed. Speculation is either too much nose candy or allergies. Or maybe even a combo of both. Last I heard, he had a broken nose somehow. Ouch. Anyway, he was still bleeding when he got to the stage. He splattered all over hisguitar and used several towels to wipe up. He tried using a tampon to plug his nose but it fell out- expanded too much. His last song was a piano song and you could see the drops on the white keys. He had to stop after 5 songs as he had lost quite a bit of blood and it was more serious than anything. But he tried, and we gave him credit for that.
Aimee Mann
The String Cheese Incident- Fantastic performance, wacky cow suit. Just afun show.
Willie Nelson- Ah Willie. He's back to playing guitar after surgery for carpal tunnel. He's just amazing. Plus he sang 2 new songs, which is a rarity. Willie was where it was at.
What we missed: The Raconteurs, Massive Attack, TV on the Radio, Nada Surf. Not enough time to see everything. We would have gone to the Raconteurs but we wanted to see String Cheese and also get in for a good spot for Willie. We were pretty close up.

Randy Rogers Band- Really great show. One to watch for bigger and better things.
Jack Ingram- Caught part of it before heading to Ween.
Ween- Good performance. Hadn't really heard much of their music but I enjoyed their performance.
Part of Matisiyahu- Still don't understand his appeal. Jewish rap set to
reggae music? Not my style really. But the crowd did love him and he came out with his baby afterwards.
The Flaming Lips- Oh my god. What a show. They should have been the closingact. Just amazing. The set was colorful and fun. Band members dressed as Superheroes (Captain America, Spaceghost, Batman, Wonder Woman). To one side of the stage they had dancing Santas; on the other, dancing Aliens that looked a bit like elves. A giant, blow-up spaceman, alien, and Santa Claus. The lead singer started off the show in a giant bubble, being passed among the crowd to the sounds of the finale to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. Then once out of the bubble, air cannons started shooting confetti and string into the crowd, along with a few rolls of toilet paper. They also launched giant balloons. Crowd participation was an absolute must. The lead singer also made fun of Ben Kweller a bit. He poured fake blood all over his face
and played a song with it dripping down and asked for tampons and all. Just great. It was just a fantastic and inspirational show. They should have closed the festival. (Chose this over Ben Harper. Clearly the better choice. G Love and Special Sauce was playing in the interim at another stage but we had a good spot and didn't want to give it up. Space was at a premium and if you got a decent spot, you camped and spread your stuff out.)
Tom Petty- What can I say? It was Tom Petty. He still puts on a great show. His set was interrupted by rain- it poured and threatened to thunder and lightening, but that stayed off in the distance. Thankfully, I had come prepared with an umbrella and a rain jacket. People were using chairs, tarps, blankets, whatever they could find to keep them somewhat dry. You weren't going to stay dry at all, but it was better than nothing. He came back on when the rain stopped, but they had turned the sound down. It was hard to hear so the crowd was much more subdued than before the rain delay. During "Learning to Fly" the crowd singalong was very quiet. We just
wanted to hear Tom. It really came on during the encore though. I guess they said
to hell with the noise issues and just let it flow. It was a great show and a great weekend.

The experience- a crazy crowd. 60,000 people. Zilker park is huge and it feels like it's in the middle of nowhere, when you're really in downtown. The skyline makes the perfect background and it's easy to imagine how the Rolling Stones are going to look like when they play in October.
There were 7 stages. Everything was scheduled to the minute, so once one performer on a nearby stage stopped, the performer on the other stage would start. You didn't go over your time limit. They would cut you off. It was really well-scheduled. The 2 main schedules were on opposite ends of the park. This helped as they usually had simultaneous performances. You're not going to see everything though. No way. If you want to see shows one right after another, be prepared to miss the beginning of sets. It's easier to just pass by, listen for a song, and head on to the next show and set up. There's usually an hour in between sets on the main stages, 40 minutes
for the smaller ones.
You were allowed to bring a backpack, 2 unopened water bottles, a soft sided cooler with ice, collapsible chairs, and basics like sunscreen, painkillers, tissue and stuff like that. No outside food or drinks, but a lot got snuck in anyway by the 3 day pass holders. They searched the ticket holders more. They just glanced at my pack. You could get away with bringing in re-used water bottles by filling them up and not drinking out of them until you got through the gates. They did have several water stations where people could fill up their nalgenes and camelbacks.
Food- can't bring any in, or at least look like it. You can sneak it but be crafty by hiding it in chairs or under ice in coolers, or wrapped in a blanket. Just be ready to throw it out if caught. There is an area for food, and there are many different vendors with lots of choices, the cheapest being $3 and the most expensive at $8. Just remember that there will be lines at main meal times. We made the mistake of going around 5:30pm before String Cheese. Took us 45 minutes to get bratwurst. Forget about going from vendor to vendor. You pick a line and you stay. (Wurst was really good though. Got a decent amount for your money.) I managed to go get food before Flaming Lips in half an hour. 1 person navigating the crowds without
gear is easy. It was quick getting out, a lot harder getting in.
It was HOT. Not as hot as last year, but HOT. Mid 90s hot. That meant lotsof sunscreen and few clothes. I still got sunburned with all my SPF 40 but that's par for the course for me. (I have tan lines on my tan lines.) Towels to wipe off the sweat were pretty much mandatory and they had misting areas for a quick cool-down. You could also use your umbrella for shade, which many people did.
Once you trek to the stage for whatever performance, you weave through the camped masses to find your own little patch of grass. People stake out their spots and it's hard to get in and out without stepping on anyone or anything. Just go through and apologize a lot as you go by people and you should be ok. Ask before stepping on a blanket, some people got a little too protective. Don't just step on people and walk off. (That happened a lot more than I care to think about. Ouch.) Once you find a spot you can deal with, spread out your blankets and/or chairs and sit. Make your space. People will crowd and walk through your area. You can try to stop the flow but it's nearly impossible. Just relax. You're there. Now if you need to get up and leave your spot for any reason, take a careful look at your surroundings. Lots of large groups bring flags so they can be easily seen inthe crowd. It's a good idea to try to situate yourself next to one so you can at least have an idea of where you are trying to get to. If you bring a flag, be creative. You need to stand out. Saw too many Mexican flags(seriously, I think I saw 5, too many.) but saw a lot of fun ones like a jalepeno, huge black mustache, fleur de lys, Whataburger flag, British
flag, things like that. You want to stand out. Think about bringing some glow sticks to put on at night because it's hard to see your flags in the dark. Also, in front of the sound booth, each area is divided in 2 so remember which side you are on. So, if you leave, it's much easier to get out than it is to get back in. Going out, you see your destination and it doesn't seem as crowded. Coming back, you are fighting everyone that is moving in closer looking for their spot. Plus you are also fighting those already established. Be polite. It's doable but not very fun. Most people are friendly though and will smile and make small talk. We acknowledged the fact that it takes 20 minutes to go a few feet. Seriously. If you want to be up front, get there early and don't plan on moving all day.
Bring only what you need. We brought 2 backpacks the first day that were stuffed. By Sunday, we brought chairs because it was better. Next time, we're doing 1 backpack and chairs. No cooler. It would have been nice and much better to sneak beer in with, (tear a bit of lining and stick the beer in there. Helps if it's the same brand being sold.) but it's not necessary.
There are tons of tricks, just be careful.
As for smoking, do what you want. Everyone was smoking and out in the open. Saw lots of pipes and jounts. Brazen but accepted. Just be cool, share, and be careful.
It's totally worth it and can't wait for next year.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Update and all that

So we bought a house. It's ours. We're homeowners. I still can't believe it. It's such a weird feeling. We closed August 28. It was insane. We didn't know when we were closing until 2 hours before. I was a ball of stress. I hadn't slept or eaten well in days. Ugh. Stupid loan company hadn't gotten all the papers in time. Every thing was signed off on and everything was fine but they hadn't processed it in time, even though they had 3 freakin' days. I mean sheesh people. But they finally sent it over and we signed out lives away.
So we started moving that night. We brought a load of stuff over and spent the night. We've been moving ever since. Brought the cat over the next night. Oh my god, was she ever traumatized. First of all, she hates car rides and they usually mean the vet. So so she was freaked out to the max, poor thing. She was a mess. Took her over a week to adjust. She's ok now.
So anyway, we moved. Until Sunday, everything was just boxes and a general mess. We moved ourselves and that is something we will never ever do again. Next time we pay someone. That was exhausting. But we managed to organize this weekend and now the house looks like an actual house. It's amazing. And all this space. I do love owning a house.
More later when I'm not sick and have actual energy.