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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

It’s official.

Ren and I are going to Vegas for our birthdays this December. 

If I had the time and inclination, I’d photoshop our faces into this apropos movie poster.  I’m still trying to figure out which of us would be which actor. 

Both of us have birthdays in December, and we were chatting it up during pool league how we need to do another road trip. You know, like our TequilaCon 2009 road trip where we took video but I never made a DITL, er I mean RITL (Roadtrip In The Life) for it?  *THAT* kind of road trip.

Then it hit us that we should go to Vegas. 

Turns out there’s already a big blogger birthday bash going on during my actual birthday (Saturday the 12th), and there are a million or so bloggers going.  So after comparing flights, holiday vacation travel for the Halls (what I like to call Hall-iday travel), vacation time from work and hotel options, we made our plans.

Friday the 11th to Monday the 14th.   Join us!

What makes the accommodations especially cool is my RCI membership – we snagged an entire week at a resort for pretty cheap.  We’re not staying the whole week, but it ended up being cheaper than a hotel would have cost per night during the days we’ll be there, AND we get a full kitchen.

The blogger bash is going on at Planet Hollywood and place we chose to stay at is just a couple blocks from there.  Ren’s not on Facebook, but so far out of the 40+ people confirmed attending, I only recognize two faces, and one of them is mine.

attending

So I will finally be able to meet Adam. 

I wonder.  Is the blogosphere ready for us to meet?

Here’s the official (is it official? it LOOKS official) link and picture that includes the obligatory Elvis, coming from the folks I’ve never heard of at Room 704.  All I know about them is that they are women and drinking is somehow involved.  What more can you ask for?

This weekend marks the chosen celebratory and reminiscing-at-full-power events for my 20 year high school reunion.

For one, I think it’s amazing that technology has actually transformed enough for this level of planning to be done online. There’s a facebook page, website, and all sorts of opportunities to connect with friends of old.  I’m a reminiscing type of person, and experience great joy in skimming the list of fellow classmates in my class of ’89.

I liked High School a lot (I mention this because it seems a lot of people complain about their high school days), and while I enjoyed the classes, the Computer Club, learning great new things… Band was my absolute favorite part of High School.

jacket

In fact, the band breakfast is the only reunion activity I’m attending.

I’m not boycotting the rest of the reunion events or anything – I’m sure I’d probably have fun if I went.  I’d probably be more likely to attend if I was thinner, if it wasn’t so expensive, and if I wasn’t in the midst of a job change, moving my house, and some other big things going on.

Man I need to lose weight. 

It’s embarassing, you know?  Being what, 75 pounds heavier than when you exited your senior year?  I knew the reunion was coming up… it’s not like you have your 20 year reunion on some random year.  ALSO, I remembered back in January-ish that I was all like “hey, 20 year reunion is coming up this summer, so lose some weight, fatty!”  And so then I failed at that, and then come June or so, I found out the reunion wasn’t until OCTOBER so I was like “cool, now I can actually maybe lose some weight before then” and well I ate a lot of breakfast tacos instead.

I loved band so much.  Music, friendship, discipline, coordinating events, fundraisers.  It’s where I met my future wife (we just celebrated our 17th anniversary), learned the skills that got me into the Army Band, and paved the way for a love of music that helps define who I am.  My daughter is heavily involved in her high school band (drill instructor, is a strong leader, and earns high achievements), and I’m on the band booster board.  I’m still very close with a few ex-bandmates.

Band has shaped my life and for that I’m thankful.

*raises breakfast taco*

Here’s to being fit and healthy for my 30 year high school reunion.

June
23
2009
5:30 pm
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We’re on a decent sized property out where the country meets civilzation, and we’re used to lots of creatures coming across the plot.  Deer, skunks, snakes, bunnies, hogs, even coyotes.  Oh, and tarantulas

On the driveway from the road to our house in the back, I can count on one or two bunnies running across from left to right as I approach half-way.  It’s our little routine – I turn the corner, they squeal amongst themselves after noticing me, and then run from a fence corner across the driveway and into the trees on the right.  I always go real slow in that area because I know they’re gonna do their hippity-snippety.  It happens every single time.

bunnies

Deer frequently graze and sit with their blind stares for days at a time.  Usually in packs of 3-5, they seem like a family since they have all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes we walk out onto our deck with the dogs and they quickly look over, growl a bit and the deer seem startled, and then go back to what they’re doing.  Sometimes I try to walk towards them but then they pounce away.

But a few weeks ago, we started noticing a distinct lack of bunnies.  And no deer.  It was weird.  I take the dogs out for a walk and they have no bunnies to run out after.  There aren’t any deer to be startled by our ambulatory presence.  Bunnies and deer were a regular part of our existence and they were just gone.

Then we heard there was a cougar in the area.

Coyotes are one thing, but a cougar?

A few days later, we saw the following, right outside our front door:

footprint

That’s Caitlin’s hand for sizing.  I don’t know what that’s a print from, but it’s pretty darned big.

One night after pool, I saw a HUGE shadow leaping across our road as I drove, about 1/4 mile from our house.  It was right in front of me, and it made a gigantic image that made the entire road disappear.   I felt like it was from a movie.  It wasn’t tall like a deer.  It wasn’t small like a dog.  It was just creepy.  And fast.  Sleek.  Purposeful.  Scary.

About a week later, the bunnies came back.  Several deer were in our woods again.  Jaden was still around, as were the dogs. 

I guess we made it.

June
10
2009
12:55 pm
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When confronted with the title of this blog post, some people might think “oooh, that’s the Italian word for ‘beautiful’! Wayne is finally becoming multicultural!

Others might sound it out and think of an Austin Powers movie or two.


Get in mah bellah!

But after last night, I can say that when *I* hear “Bellah,” I will be thinking of Mickie Bellah Art

A few months ago, our family attended the Austin Psychic Fair.  We first saw Mickie’s art there at her booth and were fascinated by the Astrology Birth Chart Paintings.  However, what intrigued my wife even more was that Mickie hosted art classes where up to 4 students at a time could learn her techniques and just play around with making custom art. Mickie supplies the space, the canvases, the paint, supplies, prep and cleanup.  As a student, you just show up in clothes that can get a little dirty and start creating.

My wife and daughter went to 2 consecutive classes a month or two ago and really loved the experience.  They both strongly suggested I attend.  Clearly they see a budding artist within me.  Either that, or they hated it and wanted me to suffer along with them.  Fortunately, I can say that I’ve ruled out the latter.

Being someone who rarely passes up an opportunity for some easy blog fodder, I signed up. I also invited my mom along because A) she lives within walking distance to Mickie, B) they have the same massage therapist, C) they had the same hairstylist, and D) my mom is a great, wonderful and creative person to be around.

Mickie’s really great with enthusiasm, encouragement, tips and making sure you feel “open” enough to just be artful.  Always available with answers if you ask, she doesn’t proactively direct your actions, techniques, methods or even style.  We mixed our paints for a while.   I ended up watching Mickie do one, and watched two of the other students start on theirs before I decided to splash my first blobs of paint on my canvas and get to work.


WHALLART #1
click to embiggify

Not sure what i see in there.  You really need to enlarge it to see more, and of course there’s lots more detail in person.  I’m thinking maybe it was Dr Suess inspired (see the white Whosizit leaning out from the right?)

I went, undeterred, to create my second masterpiece:


WHALLART #2
click to embiggify

Now that I was getting the hang of it, I knocked out a few more:


WHALLART #3
click to embiggify


WHALLART #4
click to embiggify


WHALLART #5
click to embiggify

Other than looking like I had sniffed in a bunch of paints and sneezed them out, what do you see in them?

I finished out the session with this last piece:


WHALLART #6
click to embiggify

This concludes the first of two sessions – my mom and I go back again next month to do another six or so pieces.  Now that we have a little experience, I expect to make some art work that will be made available for sale.  I’m sure the prices will be reasonable; it’s not like I’m expecting to pay off the house with the income.  Maybe I can pay off a car or a timeshare or two, though.  You never know what people will pay for!

The family and I drove to Kerrville, TX over the weekend for a little get-together-party-thingy for my parents.  Austin’s beautiful and all, but Kerrville has some advantages I’d like to point out:

  1. It’s greener
  2. It’s hillier
  3. It’s slower

It’s only a 2hr drive from Austin and you go through Johnson City and Fredericksburg, both being laid-back country-type towns with their own distinctive flair.

kerrville

My parents were putting on a hair show for their customers and the evening highlight featured dancing, appetizers, bar and a little swing band called Harry and the Hightones

hightones

Let me tell you something – those Hightones sure can play.  The show and the evening party were held at the YO Ranch Resort, and it’s kind of a big thing in the area.  Probably the most memorable for the kids were seeing the huge bear, giraffe, deer and goats being shown off, taxidermy style.

I jokingly tried to convince my daughter that “oh, no, sweetie, no-one shot those animals – the person just happened upon them in the wild and decided to preserve their essence” but she was too smart.  She tried to explain to me the odds of someone happening upon a dead giraffe that wasn’t rotten or decayed and then figured out I was just joshing her.  Then I explained that yes, they were shot and it serves as an example to any wandering strangers to understand that ’round these parts, we know how to use a gun and you’d best behave yourselves.  *wink*

One of the things Kerrville is famous for is the Kerrville Folk Festival, and it’s coming up soon – May 21st through June 7.

kff

If you like folk music, that Festival is the one to go to.

I wish I’d have brought my camera for some of the scenes we passed along the road.  We’ll be going back again when we can to spend some quality time and just…. relax.

At some point Tuesday morning on the way to work, I started hearing some flapping sounds from my rear left tire.  The faster I went, the faster the flapping.  Flap-flap-flap.  I thought maybe I ran over some plastic bag or something that wrapped itself or connected to the tire and it was hitting the wheel well.  I wasn’t sure what it was.  

So it kept flapping.  As I stopped at a light, the flap-flap-flap would slow to a crawl and stop with me.  I peered into my drivers-side rear-view mirror to see if I could see anything.  I told the mirror to move via the little joystick doohicky and that didn’t help.

I looked over to a road neighbor or two on my left hand side to see if anyone noticed anything untoward on my car.  Nothing.  I stuck out my tongue at them for their non-help.

So I pulled over and looked. I even tried to time the flap-flap….flap such that whatever was flapping would be on top and be visible.  I didn’t see anything immediately and so I kept going because, well, I’m impatient sometimes.  GET ON TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH ALREADY!

Once I got to work, I checked more thoroughly and there was some hard round substance right there on the tire.  It felt like very hard gum and thought “wow, that’s weird”.  So I started picking at it and then realized… “That’s no moon.  That’s a Space Station.”

Now that I was coming full-face onto the realization that it was some kind of bolt or nail stuck in my tire, I thanked my lucky stars that the immediate visions I had of the tire exploding right there as I picked at the nail head and the bolt racing to my eyes or throat fortunately did NOT come true.  I didn’t even burst a jugular or anything!

So what did I do? I went on with my day.  I drove and drove… drove some more… probably drove 40 miles and then went to bed.  Ignoring problems frequently pays off in the short-term.

In my dreams…. Flap-flap-flap.  Always flapping.  Knowing that it’s probably gonna cost a ton of money to replace the tire and you know what? I’m not made of money.  So I slept on it some more and went into Lamb’s Tire and Auto the next morning on the way to work.

Fortunately (I’m a lucky person, did you know that?) I had bought Road Hazard on the tires so they fixed it up for free.  I was envisioning $200 a tire and you have to buy them in pairs, doncha know, and then they’d find some axle rose problem and I’d need a new trunk stabilizer and of course some “gasket” in the glove box was probably leaking fluid everywhere.

Nope.  I got out of there for $28 for the inspection I was overdue on and even got to keep the bolt as a souvenir.

So, wanna see the size of this thing?

What’s the largest thing ever caught in your tire?  Got any good flat tire stories I could use next time I need a good excuse, like when I’m trying to say why it took me six months to send Janna the book she won?  Or that I could give the other winners I’ve procrastinated on?

The ongoing love story between a 20% gay Blogebrity named Dave and a Texan named Wayne. Not exactly BlogBack Mountain, there still is an instance of Dave doing a striptease. And drinking.

And at least one soft piece that’s sure to bring a tear to your eye.



Davestin: Chronicles of Davia from whall on Vimeo.
(also on youtube for you iPhone users)

August
13
2008
10:49 am
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I have so many ideas of how to make this a cool, graphical multimedia and interesting blog post, but I just don’t have time.  So here’s a recap.

  1. On Monday we drove out to in the middle of nowhere (1.5hrs drive) to some relative’s land in Bastrop so we could see the Perseid meteor shower (tips on viewing) without all the light pollution, noise, etc.  We packed a nice picnic, 2 dogs, 3 kids, 3 flashlights, tons of drinks and left the house around 7:15pm.  We got on the land just after dark.
  2. Two of the kids were too freaked out by tall trees, tall grass, and honest-to-goodness-actual darkness, so we couldn’t stay.  Wife and I got about a 2 minute glimpse of the sky from out there and we could see millions of stars vs just the couple hundred you can see from the city.  Dangnabbit!   But what are you going to do? Force them to face their fears right that minute?  Nah.  So we went home. 
  3. Setting a family policy that kids can no longer watch Blair Witch Project, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or Friday the 13th movies.
  4. Got back home around 10:30pm so we went out on the trampoline and stare up for a while to see what we could see (that’s what the bear did).  Ended up seeing nada – lots of cloud cover and we just got tired looking.  And we were tired-looking.
  5. Last night (Tuesday), we watched Nim’s Island (awesome movie!) and then went back out on the trampoline.  We saw several satellites, MARS (pretty sure we saw it), and some airplanes.  And then I saw a HUGE shooting star over to the side and tried to tell the wife – “HEY LOOK!” but it was gone.

Take a look at this video if you want to see more about it – it has some really cool photos, great info, and tips on watching.  I think you can still see the shower tonight if you try.

Yeah, so well I lost.  It’s still on my mind.  I can’t believe I got shut out on my first try. 

Sure, both of us had some issues with the calibration of the wireless guitars on the HD setup, but at least it was a fair disadvantage.  It’s not like just one of us had a messed up guitar or something.

wayne bites the big one

Yup, the picture says it all – I bit the big one.

I was supposed to go on at 7:01 but they had a bunch of technical difficulties, so my match wasn’t until ~7:30 or so.  Most of the matches before us were easy decisions – one person getting 120,000 points and their opponent getting 40,000.  These folks just weren’t well matched up.  There was one match on Medium where one person got 45,500 and the other person got 45,800 – now THAT’S CLOSE!

My personal match was Pat Benetar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot, and after a rough start we ended up neck and neck, with me scoring 118k and him scoring 120k.

ARGH!  This is so frustrating!  I *know* I could beat him.  I kept thinking of a way back in – is there a second chance bracket?  Can I compete at Expert level instead?  Can I buy my way back in?  BEST TWO OUT OF THREE?!?!?! COME ON!

So, let’s focus on other things.

For one, there’s a lively discussion going on at my FairTax Calculator post

Secondly, there’s some evidence that the media is actually treating Hillary like a Republican – a Reuters photographer took and posted the following photo:

Usually the Democrats don’t get such treatment in the headlines.   But just as I wouldn’t want this kind of photo done of a Republican, I feel sorry for Hillary.  One wonders if the Obama campaign “had this photo done and leaked” like some charge the Clinton campaign of the photo of Obama in a turban.  Blah Blah Blah, Barack Hussein Obama, Hillary’s cheating, Obama has no experience, Hillary has 35 years, blah blah blah – it goes in one ear and out the other.

Lessee, what else.  Oh yeah – I’m going to an Astrological Retreat for the weekend.  For me personally, it means sleep, rest, playing and no kids, no work, no responsibilities other than getting the spouse to and from the conference.  This will be the first “retreat” of its kind for me in a long time.  So far, I plan on filling it with possibly playing with Vista and VMWare more and maybe catching up on blogs and playing around on the internet.  Maybe I’ll work on our taxes (given the FairTax being on my mind).

What do you think I should do with my much-needed time off?

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