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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.

Hello.

My name is Wayne.

 

And I’m a bbqaholic.

That right there is 1.5 lbs of extra moist brisket, 4 St. Louis pork ribs, a cup of potato salad and a bottle of coca-cola from a local BBQ place called Rudy’s BBQ.  Add it all up and you get one happy Texan.

My relationship with BBQ started back in 1994.  Most people who knew me, knew me as a picky eater.  Heck, most people who know me NOW would say I’m still quite the picky eater.  No chinese food, very few veggies, eat the same four or five basic kinds of meal every week… you get the idea.

Back then, I “didn’t like” BBQ.  I would see people order it, or crave it, or just eat it every once in a while and I always passed.  I would say “no thanks” and smile all the way to my tasty cheeseburger, pizza or lasagna.  I guess I just didn’t like the smell; I didn’t understand why there was so much sauce (ketchup is all *I* needed to make food better).

Our first born, Caitlin, came about in 1994.  With a new mouth to feed came a dwindling checking account, and I could no longer afford to eat out so much during lunch.  Sometimes I brought my lunch, but mostly I looked for cheap food.  I was working downtown at the time, and it wasn’t easy to find cheap food downtown.

One day, I noticed my windshield had an advertisement stuck to it.  This was common practice back then… probably still is now, but I frequently became annoyed at the intrusive manner.  A white flapping piece of paper, it looked to be hand-drawn and copied over and over too many times, so much that it lost some of it’s detail.

I picked it up as I always did, despite the underlying annoyance factor.  It advertised something called a “Chopped Beef Sandwich” for $0.99 at a place called House Park.

Now, at the time, I didn’t know that “chopped beef” was some sort of code for BBQ – all I saw was “sandwich”, “$0.99″ and “some place called something something that had $1 sandwiches”.  It’s not like I had a choice.

I took the address into my mind and knew that it was within walking distance, so I decided to trek it on over, gleeful that I had found a lunch place with $1 sandwiches.  Heck, maybe I’d get TWO.

Once I found the place, my heart sank a little.  As my eyes breathed in the sight, I noticed the full name of the place — it’s name wasn’t just House Park.  It was House Park BBQ.  Ugh.  BBQ.  It was a little podunk hole in the wall that looked ancient.  I soon found out it had been there since the 40′s.   It had a few picnic tables out front and was tiny.  I thought more than twice about forgetting the $1 sandwiches and turning back, but it was hot and I was hungry.

Who knows? maybe they had something else for $1.

After going in I noticed one long ordering counter, behind which were two guys – one working the customers, condiments, orders, etc and one working a huge oven or smoker or whatever BBQ is made in.  The smell, I realized as I became more and more hungry, wasn’t all that bad.  If fact, it was quite enticing.

I went up, showed my coupon thingy and the guy spoke backward “chop beef!’.  He took the paper and asked if I wanted anything else.  I asked for a coke, paid less than $2 total and got my plate with this new huge alien sandwich and an empty styrofoam cup for the fountain drink.

Since I love me some coke, I knew at least I’d be satiated by a bunch of refills.  I took a seat inside and inspected this foreign food sitting in front of me.  I wondered if it was inspecting me, too.  Was I worthy to be it’s consumer?

The whole thing was warm… borderline hot, even.  The chopped beef had sent it’s heat through both buns, which were soft and gave into my fingers.  I was a sucker for soft bread so I was beginning to like the experience.

I took a bite.

I’ve been an AT&T customer for a long time.  A looooong time.  Even back when I had the Telegraph Rollover plan.  I’ve been with them so long, I still have support for my two-cans-with-a-string phone.

Because of this, I’m very familiar with dropped calls.

I have enjoyed Verizon’s “There’s a Map for That” commercials showing the horrible, despicable and downright truthful discrepancies between the Verizon 3G network and the AT&T 3G network

Heh.  There’s even a lawsuit as reported by ZDNet.  The story Sam Diaz wrote is pretty funny and interesting.

Now, when it comes down to it, I really don’t care much about the Verizon map because 99.9% of the time, I’m in one of the dark blue AT&T parts.  Austin is pretty well saturated with 3G coverage, and it wasn’t long ago when I had a BlackBerry 8700C phone, and it only supported EDGE anyway.  Now that I’m on the iPhone 3GS, 3G coverage is more important to me, but in general I’m pretty happy with it.

Except in this one place.

This ONE, solitary intersection. 

This ONE AREA where I drive every day to and from work. 

THIS SPECIFIC DOT ON THE MAP WHERE I DROP MY CALL NO MATTER WHAT.

Yes, I’m sore about it.  A little.

I had heard that you can report to your cell provider dropped calls or problem areas, and if they have enough reports, they’ll investigate.  Who knows, they might actually DO something to fix it.

So I called in, waded through the options to figure out which one would help (hint: it’s zero, then zero again) and talked to the nice lady.  She did say that yes, I can report it and confirmed what I had heard.  So I reported it.  She let me know that she checked on the map and there was a transition point right there where calls would switch towers, and “sometimes calls drop when switching towers.”

Thanx for letting me know.

I also submitted the following email to their support team to hopefully hit home a little more.

This issue is not related to my specific phone, but I couldn’t find the option in the drop down. This issue involves dropped calls at a specific intersection. The intersection is Anderson Mill road and Millwright Parkway in Austin, TX, 78750. I’ve driven in this area for 20+ years, and ever since I’ve been with AT&T (8+ years), coverage at this intersection is spotty and usually results in dropped calls. It does this with my iPhone (3G), blackberry 8700C(edge), motorola RAZR, and the various phones I’ve had over the years. Since I drive this every day to and from work, I can count on a dropped call at that intersection.  It is very annoying. I’d love it if it could be tweaked to not drop calls every time.

YOUR MISSION, should you choose to accept it, is to also contact AT&T and let them know calls drop at this intersection all the time.  If you’re not in the Austin area, just say you were talking to Wayne and got dropped, and it annoyed you greatly.  If you’re not an AT&T customer, tell them you’d consider becoming a customer if they fixed that intersection.  You can contact them at http://www.att.com/wireless/contact-us/ or call 800-331-0500.

With our loud Internet voice, we can bring change!

This message will self-destruct in 10 seconds.

(more…)

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.

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)

Happy

There are many things that cause happiness to swell inside me.  Here is one of those things:

davestin dave from blogography in austin

Dave from Blogography is going to have an Austin Event!  Now I gotta get prepared.  My list so far includes, in no particular order:


Not Happy

Then there are the things that DO NOT cause me to swell up with happiness.

One of those things are insane required sexual harassment courses that assume everyone reads at a 3rd grade level

The thing is blinking in red at me and YELLING (do you see the exclamation mark, or is that just my imagination?) to slow down because I took 56 minutes doing what would be optimal to do in 60 minutes.

So us speed readers end up writing blog entries on the side in between slides. This causes me to appear more “normal” to the training-bot.

Whew. 

Question: why doesn’t it berate me for being SLOWER than Optimal?  Why are the overachievers the only one who get the negative feedback?

Someday it’s going to use the embedded camera in the computer and notice me rolling my eyes, yawning and calling my coworkers my beyotch (especially the HOT chick down the hall) and then flash a picture of some nice boobs at me, and the camera will notice my eyes looking at the picture, and then automatically file a complaint electronically.  Isn’t technology grand?

I’ve participated in an online Guitar Hero tournament once, but I’ve never done a REAL Guitar Hero tournament.  Tonight is my chance.

guitar hero tournament

They take entries for levels in Medium, Hard and Expert – I’m competing in the Hard category.  Winner of Expert gets an iPhone, Hard gets an Apple Touch and Medium gets an iPod.  Since the game is GH3, which I’ve played MAYBE a total of 3-4 hours since I got it, I’m not comfortable playing Expert. If it was GH2, I might consider it.  Having the iPhone as bait doesn’t help my decision, but I’m just not there yet on GH3.

Wish me luck!

Interesting tidbits about the tournament:

  • The first few rounds are random selections from all songs, setlist and bonus tracks
  • The semi-finals and championship songs will be selected by event staff (I predict crowd-pleasers such Stevie Ray Vaughn, Aerosmith, Metallica, Eric Johnson instead of the mostly-unknown crap that’s on GH3)
  • It’s sponsored by a church
  • The event staff can bump people up or down a level to prevent sandbagging (I’m hoping this doesn’t happen to me because some of these songs I can nail 99% but others I can barely get through)
  • Caitlin (my 13yr old) and I are extremely disappointed that only 21 and over is allowed – I’m sure she can wipe most of the folks who would be there.  She’s spent a LOT of time with GH3 and has already finished expert on it, even getting 100% on a few of them (yeah, I know!)
  • I’m very glad that they do not require costumes.
January
3
2008
11:17 am
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I really, and I mean REALLY like light traffic days.

Today marked the re-beginning of the school year, so it’s time to get the kids up early and, when possible, take Caitlin to school.  Jaden rides the bus to and from, and Caitlin can also, but she highly prefers to get to school 1 to 1.5 hours early to do her middle school stuff – who knows.  Friends, Band, some extra credit with the teachers – it’s her time, and I’m glad she has it.

But man oh man the drive actually, the drive isn’t so bad but it’s the traffic.

austin commute

The blue line indicates my normal commute.  If I’m feeling especially frisky, I might take the toll road because although it’s longer, it’s always empty and I can go super freaky fast.

The red line indicates the drive to work when taking Caitlin to school.  It’s about 26 miles for the full trip.

Now to the point – on normal traffic days, I leave the house around 7:10 after Jaden gets on the bus.  If I take Caitlin to school I don’t get to work until 8:30 or 8:45.

Today, I got to work before 8.

And when I got to work and looked at my blackberry and saw the time, I could only think – “man, that’s 30-45 minutes of my day gone, every time I do this, due to traffic.” 

While I do maximize and enjoy the drive time for the most part – be it listening to talk radio, or an audiobook, or making phone calls and getting started on the day, checking voicemail, etc – it’s still half an hour.  Nonetheless, Caitlin says she really enjoys the time at school, plus we get that 20-25 mins together in the car on the way, and while we don’t solve world hunger or discover the cure for cancer, we get our alone time and that’s always important for a dad of a teenage daughter.

One really nice recent change is the location of the crosswalk in front of their school.  Take a look at this anatomically correct diagram:

smart crosswalk locations

The blue line is me driving to the school, as indicated by the yellow arrows.  The line that we used to have on the first yellow arrow (under the letters “ff” in traffic) was easily 20-30 cars deep every day for turning right.  Then I drop off Caitlin and have to come back and then turn left, and again waiting in about 20-30 cars worth of traffic.

The crossing guard USED to be where the #1 red line is shown.  Yes, that meant that all this traffic had to stop every other minute for all the kiddos crossing the street.  And then we had to stop AGAIN when we turned left out of the area.

Somebody was smart and moved the crosswalk to where the #2 red line is shown.  There is probably 5% as much traffic on this part of the intersection, but all the people can still walk where they need to go.  This seemed to cut down on 10 minutes of waiting just by itself.

I want to do a Miller commercial.  “Thank you, Mr Crosswalk Location Planning Guy.  You save a ton of people a few minutes a day, and someday you’ll get it back and be able to spend it retiring in Jamaica.”

Voting is on my mind because, well, I voted yesterday (yay me!).  So today I hear about these red-light cameras that our City Council is going to be considering.

red light cameras

Argh.  Red Light Cameras coming to Austin.  At least, they probably are.

Now, THIS is something that should be put to the public as a vote.  There is absolutely no incentive for the City Council to do what “the people” want.  In fact, as far as they’re concerned, the red light cameras mean the following things:

  • More revenue for the City
  • No impact to them personally (I’m sure they’re exempt from the tickets, or there’s some system that would stop them from getting it)
  • More control
  • Nobody votes, really, so it’s not like people will actually remember this the next time their term comes up.

Since when do politicians NOT choose something that gives them more money and more control?

From my perspective, this move means the following TO ME:

  • A platform for more control by the Government later on.

Sure, NOW they just want to do speeding tickets.  But don’t you think more intrusions are going to come, maybe 5, 7 years down the road?  What’s to stop them from doing the following?

  • Excuse me, is that a beer you’re drinking?
  • Your inspection sticker is expired, maybe we should fine you now since we have you on camera. 
  • Hey, that looks like a joint you’re smoking!
  • That car seat doesn’t look buckled in…
  • Your car has been spotted with 13 Mexicans, so we’ll assume they’re all illegal. 
  • Your seat belt isn’t on, MISTER!
  • Hmm, you’re normally across town at this time of day, but here you are downtown.  Why is that?  And who is that you’re with?  We’ve never logged you with that person before.
  • You look stressed, like maybe you killed your wife.  We haven’t seen her on any cameras for the last 3 days.  Where is she?  Is everything ok?

Why isn’t this up for a vote?

Did you know that Austin’s bloggers rock? 

austin high tech terms

I set twitter to “track austin” which means it’ll notify me of any “tweets” that contain the word “Austin”.  It’s another one of those cool things twitter can do – keep up to date on specific topics, cities, things, people, etc.  I choose to get it sent to my AIM client instead of a ton of SMS messages, so it’s pretty passive.

I’ve seen some interesting stuff so far.  Here’s a little screenshot of what it looks like from AIM (Trillian)

twitter aim trillian blog listing 

As you can see from the topmost tweet – one of the items that popped up was a blog entry posting about Austin’s bloggers from a local blogger named Alex Jones.  (Note to self: check out twitterwherethat sounds cool)

The article points to a Wired article about a new report from Scarborough about how Austin leads the pack in terms of percentage of people who read or write blogs.  We’re #1!  With 15% of residents either writing or commenting on blogs, Austin shows it’s got the technologically-enabled folks.  That number really does seem high when I think about it – that’s 1 in 6, right?  I would have thought half of that as the maximum to expect, so I’m pleasantly surprised.

I wish the report gave more detail on how many people they surveyed, what the responses were like, what the questions were, etc.  I just inherently distrust surveys that don’t disclose EVERYTHING.  Anything can be twisted and would rather have the facts so I can twist them myself.

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