Usually drunken.

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Sea Town, Here I Come!

Mar 22, 2009, 10:22 pm by Zach

space needleI'm going to Seattle tomorrow morning. I'm going to be getting a physical for a job I hope to get. Don't ask me why I have to go to Seattle to get the physical--that's just what my travel orders state. Getting asked to get a physical means I'm quite a bit closer to landing my dream job, provided that I pass the physical and that at least one other person does not pass the physical, which may be the case, since they don't ask you to get it unless someone else failed or is disqualified.

Even though I'm only going to be there for a few days and it'll be mostly sitting in a doctor's office, I'm pretty excited. The only other time I was in Seattle was a far-too-long layover in the Sea-Tac airport in the middle of the night with nothing to eat but fast food. This time I might get a little time to see the city.

I'm also stoked about getting a three day extension on spring break. I need a rest from SXSW!

2 great finds on saturday night

Jan 5, 2009, 1:49 pm by John

This past saturday night i got the pleasure of find 2 things that i love. a new band and a new music hall. i call it a music hall, though it is basically a long skinny store with a bar down the length of 1 wall.

the band is "Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers" and the music hall is "the continental club" in downtown houston.

mr. stiverson and i have had many conversations about what various bands were lacking. i think, he will correct me if i'm wrong, we've decided that most bands need a double bass, an steel guitar, or a fiddle. add in the drums and you have "Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers." I don't believe i had ever seen a country band that lacked an electric guitar but these guys didn't need one.

To add to the great band, who all knew how to play their instruments well, Miss leslie is a singer song writer, which is always the best. they did, however, cover some songs including johnny bush's "green snakes on the ceiling" and some patsy cline. they were definitely a texas swing band much like "asleep at the wheel." this makes their songs more difficult to dance to but perfect for just having a drink with some friends and listening to. despite this, there were several couples dancing in the small area in front of the stage.

the other great part of the evening was going to "the continental club." this place looks straight out of the 1960s, complete with shlitz in a can and lonestar on tap! i knew this place was going to be good when i walked in and saw that neon light fixtures, not neon light beer signs or any of that jazz, but actual fixtures made up the lighting of the whole place. to top it off they had some locals in the back with fresh cajun food. i didn't have any but looked and smelled delicious.

i had a very pleasant evening listening to some texas swing in one of the places, it appeared, where it was born. be sure to look up "miss leslie" and "the continental club," they won't disappoint.

Edit: I originally posted that the band had an electric guitar. It is actually a steel guitar. It's not easy to mix them up and I don't know what I was thinking. The band consisted of a steel guitar, double bass, fiddle and drums! Most excellent!

i'm camexrealian

Oct 13, 2008, 4:48 pm by Lew

if only. . .What countries can one move to and reasonably become a citizen? i have heard people say you can become canadian fairly easily. you only need to buy a little land, visit that land once-a year-for four year, then viola you can be a citizen. so that's not so hard. but really who wants to move to canada? i am sure it is nice for a bit, but I imagine anyone saying "i'm from canada!" with any pride. i realized i could become israeli without too much trouble thanks to israel's "law of return" which let's you claim jewness and become israeli if you have so much as seen an episode of seinfeld. i have heard israel is like california and hawai'i rolled into one (with a dash of suicide bombings). but really i can't imagine being israeli being any more fun than canadian. i can't think of any other countries that let you get citizenship without a lifetime of difficulty. Can I become mexican? if you sneak into mexico do they care? if you move to another country do you still have to pay taxes in the usa? i originally thought about this as a joke in the case of a palin presidency. now i am just thinking it would be cool to get as many citizenships as you can. it makes you that much more free. and that is more fun. it would be okay to say i am mexican.

Downtown Bryan

Oct 13, 2008, 10:07 am by John

This past weekend I had the opportunity, thanks to Mr. Stiverson, to visit 2 establishments in Downtown Bryan. This was my 3rd trip to the heart of Bryan and I am disappointed that I didn't go more often. Previously, when I had thought about Bryan, I thought of a slightly run down area with low income families and rickety houses from the 70's. After living in Bryan for 3 years my opinion hadn't changed. I started to see the light with my first trips to downtown. I had heard good things about Caffe Capri and decided to take my girl friend for dinner. While we were walking around downtown waiting for a table to clear I noticed the String and Horn Shoppe. Since I dabble in the fiddle I grabbed a good friend who plays the banjo and bought a few music books.

It was probably another year before I made my way back this past weekend. I asked Mr. Stiverson if he would like to get some breakfast before we headed out for the football game and he said he had just the spot. So we headed to Los Nortenos.

I had heard great things about this place but had never visited. Maybe because of my preconcieved ideas that Downtown Bryan was run down or that it was "too far." Maybe I thought that it was all down hill since Robert Keen sang about. I'm not sure, but I wish I had visited sooner. I was instructed that "1 breakfast taco would be plenty," but I was skeptical. When the waitress brought out my plate, my jaw dropped. I was staring at a breakfast taco like none other. I finished, maybe, 2/3 of it and I enjoyed every bite. The best part came at the check-out counter. $5.19! What a deal.

After the Aggie football team ran out of time against Kansas State we decided it was time for a pick-me-up. "To the Corner of Time!" Once again, this was an establishment I had heard of but had never visited. I heard that they had real soda jerks and made Dublin Dr. Pepper starting with just the syrup. This sounded ideal after a long hot football game. So we headed up there where I met my sister, her boyfriend, and my dance partner. It was amazing! The coldest, tastiest, freshest Dr. Pepper I had ever had. Delicous! And with a warm brownie I was in heaven. Good food, good drink, and good friends. Could it get any better!?

I'd like to conclude by asking you to make sure to get over to Downtown Bryan just to walk around. Step into the small shops and look around. You never know what you might find or who you might meet. It makes me wish more places were like this. friendly people, smiles, and howdys. the way texas should be.

Chapter 5: The Rattlesnake

Sep 22, 2008, 9:55 am by Trey

It is a good thing rattles give you a little warniIt's around 6:00pm now, still Friday September 20th, and I had 2 movements at this particular moment. A vocal movement of many loud profanities and a finger movement that happened to be resting on the trigger of my shotgun. Talk about stuff that gives you the heebie-jeebies. I had been crashing and rummaging around in the damn bushes all morning and all afternoon not paying near as much attention as I should have been apparently, and all that time this 6 foot rattle snake was creeping around!? Oh hell no... All I have to say is thank you evolution for slappin' rattlers on those mean sons-a-bitches. It does appear though that between the battle of big sharp pointy teeth and a holy 12-gauge shotgun, the shotgun is the suits trump. The snake had (and I repeat had) 16 rattlers on it, one for each time it sheds. btw, rattlesnakes shed once a year... Wow.

The catch

Chapter 6: Sticks and Stones

Sep 22, 2008, 9:55 am by Trey

Sticks and stones have never broken my bones, but shit fire gun butts sure can. This is mainly my dads’ fault however, maybe if he would replace his 90-year-old gun case that doesn't zip up the back anymore my little toe wouldn't have the blues. His truck is fairly tall, I'd say it stands probably 5 foot to the top of the bed, so as I was lifting his gun out, I lifted it probably about 7 foot into the air as I had to clear various other items that were sharing bed space; at this point his gun then slides out of the case and basically plummets to the earth butt down and crashes into not my foot, but just my damn little toe. It hurt and I was cussing.
My shoulder is really f'ing sore from the butt as well, but that's just an unfortunate byproduct of a really kick ass weekend.
The End.

Hurricane Ike: Part I - The Refugee

Sep 12, 2008, 6:10 pm by John

This story starts two weeks ago. I was talking to my girl friend, who lives in College Station, and I decided that I wanted to come into town on a Thursday night so that I could get out to my favorite local establishment, The Texas Hall of Fame. I then decided that a great time to do this would be the weekend that the Aggies didn't have a football game (the weekend of September 13th). This would be great because I could spend time with my friends and not have to throw out a day of relaxation to tail gating, lots of walking, and 3 to 4 hours of standing. Though I do enjoy all of the things in the previous sentence, I'm sure everyone can agree that it is nice when you can have a weekend to just hang out. Plus, without a football game the city would be much less crowded.

I first met Ike about two weeks ago when he first showed up. His brother Gustav was around scaring everyone in New Orleans. I always suspected that this guy, Ike, could be trouble. Sure enough, he wasn't a partier like his brother Gustav, so he skipped over New Orleans and headed for Houston. By the time we knew, approximately, where Ike would be travelling, I had already arranged with my boss, to take vacation days on September 11th and 12th. I needed to register my new truck and run some other errands before getting up to College Station on Thursday for a fun night of dancing. I awoke on Thursday morning, at 7am, approximately an hour and a half later than normal, and found out that mandatory evacuations were in place for Galveston. Thanks Ike....

With errands to run I got to work. Since I would have to deal with local government, while registering my truck, I assumed this would eat up the majority of my day. But to my suprise, no one is interested in registering vehicles when a hurricane is 2 days out and everyone is leaving the city!! Victory! So I registered my truck, and now $1200 less rich I got home at around 9:30am. At this point I remembered that I had a softball game with my work team at 6:00pm Thursday night...ugh. What would I do with 9 hours of free time? Anti-love bugging my truck took the top spot.

I knew that a hurricane was coming but my nice, new, shiny truck had love bugs on it. The front of my truck looked like a psycho-killer/porn flick. So as I wash the front of my truck, because the whole thing would be getting a bath in 48 hours, I noticed that my neighbor, the conductor imfamous "Eduardo Freak Out" was once again boarding up his house. I felt that maybe this time my priorities were slightly mixed up...

Around 11am I found out that my softball game was cancelled and I was free to go to College Station. I packed up my things, a couple Gatorades, pretzels, and my weather radio and hit the road. Suprisingly 290 was not overly crowded and my trip took just over an hour. I was now "safely" in College Station with lots of other evacuees. I hung out with my girl friend in the afternoon and prepared for my night at the before mentioned local dancehall. I had a great time, and now I sit at 6pm on Friday, groceries secured in the fridge, truck parked far away from trees, waiting for my new buddy Ike to come on up to BCS. It's overcast and the wind is picking up. I'm really not too worried but better safe than sorry. Bring on a night of DVD's and unhealthy snacks! To be continued...

Finally Home

Aug 22, 2008, 12:35 pm by Paul Stiverson

Well I’m finally back from California, I’ve been in Texas since late Sunday night, but I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to make a post about it until I really got home. Last night was Thursday and—as usual—we went to the hall. The very minute I walked in there and saw all my friends all the homesickness I had been feeling went right away.

There were a few changes at the hall, first they did some remodeling in the shadow box area (both sides have been done now). Next, they hired a new DJ, the old DJ, Ron, is now the manager. At first I thought the new DJ was going to be a problem—he was playing a bit more Nashville country than I would have liked—but when I approached him with my concerns he was receptive and fixed the problem. He also played an impressive number of waltzes which is an entirely welcome change. They are also taking out the platform at the center of the dancefloor, good riddance as far as I’m concerned, I hate all the showboating bullshit that goes on up there. However it was quite helpful to have the raised platform for dance lessons, oh well. Overall it was a pretty awesome night though, good to see the old crew (sans John).

Trip report: California to Texas

Aug 19, 2008, 12:47 am by Paul Stiverson

In my previous post I mentioned that I would likely start the long drive on Monday, i.e. today, but that was before I found out that my travel partner, Mallory, had little desire to visit San Francisco. Once I learned this fact we decided to skip town a bit early. We also decided that it would be cool to see the Grand Canyon, and that doing so would only add a couple hours to the trip. Well I’m happy to report that I am safely back in Texas, and that the Grand Canyon is pretty awesome. Presently I’m in McKinney, TX and I will be back in CS tomorrow by mid-day.

Press Shops «Part 2»

Aug 15, 2008, 12:51 pm by Paul Stiverson

8 thousand dollar bibleYesterday I completed my tour of letterpress shops in San Francisco by visiting the Arion Press—there are about 5 other shops in the area, but there were time constraints to be dealt with. I took the train into town, which drops off at the North-East corner of San Francisco, and the shop is in The Presidio, which is in the South-West corner. I had a long way to go and a short time to get there (an hour); thankfully a helpful bus driver intervened and told me how to get there using the wonders of the San Francisco Municipal Transit System—branded simply as The Muni. I jumped on bus 47, then I got on the 1, then I walked a couple blocks. I was a bit late for the tour, but the guide delayed things for me. The gentleman leading the tour was a bit older, I think he was a man of some import around the press (maybe the head dude, I’m not sure). Anyhow, he started by describing what the press (the business, not the machine) does, which is to commission artwork to accompany classic literary works, then typeset them beautifully along with the artwork, print them, bind them, and sell them to collectors (note this is all done by hand, so the limited edition books end up being quite beautiful, if expensive). They typically do 3–4 books a year with a run of no more than 500, oftentimes a much smaller run.

The fellow then took us down to where the magic happens, the print room. The printer had just finished a run on a page (two pages actually) of Don Quixote; he described the machines, and told us why they weren’t using the larger presses for this particular job (I think it would have been terribly appropriate for them to be printing with a Windmill, but instead they were using a Cylinder). He also had some proofs of the accompanying artwork We were shown the extensive collection of irreplaceable type, and their type warehouse. Next stop was the type foundry, where they actually cast the little metal sorts and arrange them into pages. This is the part that is truly rare, there are very few active type foundries left in the world. They let us take an ornamental sort, and then we moved to the binding room, where two cute gals were working like slaves making boxes that Quixote would eventually find his way into (fine books typically come in a box so they don’t fall open on the shelf). There were stacks of unbound books that were in various stages of completion: folded pages, sewn, formed, etc. He showed us the device that sews the edges of the book together and described the way books are mass produced noting, and how they sometimes hand sew the leaves.

We then returned upstairs and perused their collection. In the tradition of Gutenburg they printed a two volume bible (pictured at right) which looks beautiful but carries a price tag of seven-thousand dollars, you can add a grand to that if you want it bound. Another interesting work is a take on Waiting for Godot pictured below.

This tour was awesome, and it further cemented my desire to get into letterpress in any way possible.
Go Dough

Press Shops

Aug 13, 2008, 8:05 pm by Paul Stiverson

After the criticism I received from a previous post I decided that there were a few locations that I would like to see before I leave town. So today I set out to visit a couple letterpress shops in San Francisco, these are print shops that utilize more traditional methods than a local Kinko’s—Gutenburg would actually recognize what is going on in these shops (for the most part)—and the difference shows in the product.

My first destination was One Heart Press, which is conveniently located just a couple blocks from the CalTrain station. I met with Val, who was nice enough to show me the (admittedly small) shop. She told me a bit about the business, showed me a beautiful portfolio of work, described for me their set up. They typically don’t use too much traditional movable type, they instead use custom plates to make impressions. This allows them to use robust graphics and reduce the amount of type (the individual metal characters) they have to keep, they do keep some large wooden sorts on hand in the event they are needed. I eventually got to see their Heidelburg Windmill in action (they weren’t printing anything just lubing the machine up for the day’s printing) which was really impressive. Imagine a one ton piece of equipment that is capable of printing 5000 impressions an hour with pinpoint accuracy (feeding the new sheet, inking the type surface, pressing the page, and depositing it in hopper) all without the benefit of electronics, and all running off of a single fly wheel. An engineering masterpiece.

My next stop was the Hello!Lucky shop, I didn’t stay as long there, but I did see that they used much the same technique as the previous shop. I got to see a Heidelburg Cylinder Press in action, another beautifully engineered piece of equipment. This shop specialized in fun and colorful cards (birthday, thank you, christmas, etc.), and they kept a staff of designers to keep them coming.

The printers at both shops suggested that I go tour Arion Press, which still does hand typesetting to produce limited edition books and what have you, and they have a fully functioning type foundry to make all the little characters (or sorts as they are called in the biz. Fun Fact: The saying “All out of sorts” is a typography term, so is “Mind your pees and queues”). Thankfully they give tours every Thursday, so I’ll be able to make one. Expect another typography post tomorrow.

Mark’s Wedding

Aug 11, 2008, 11:20 am by Paul Stiverson

This past weekend I travelled to Dallas for Mark’s (a fellow contributor to this bloog) wedding, and boy howdy, it was a blast.

The Rehearsal Dinner

Everybody meets up at the church and we proceed to have a pretty elaborate rehearsal for the wedding… rather than just remember where we were supposed to stand we put pins in the carpet to mark our locations. The planner did a really great job at being prepared, but sometimes it is best to just step back and let the magic happen. On an interesting side-note, I got matched up with the best looking bridesmaid. One thing that struck me as kinda odd was that the bride didn’t participate in the rehearsal at all, she was there, but she just sat there in the pew. Apparently the planner wanted her to shoot from the hip on the big day. Anyway, after the rehearsal we all went to dinner at a ridiculous restaurant in Dallas (I can’t remember the name, Mark?). We get there and the first thing they do is start pouring us some pretty damn tasty wine, so far so good. The food they delivered was abso-fucking-lutely amazing, but unfortunately I was seated across the table from one of the less good looking bridesmaids (thanks Mark). Then came the gift giving part. Mark had everybody in the room leaking like a sieve with his emotionally charged descriptions of his relationship with everybody in the room (thanks Mark).

Post Rehearsal Dinner Drunkfest

After the rehearsal dinner we all retired to the hotel (which Mark’s parents were gracious enough to provide for us) and promptly got fucked up and retold some old corps stories. The fellow with whom I was sharing a room ended up getting a little too drunk though, and the night ended with him wandering around the room naked looking for his cellphone/underwear (well it really ended with me leaving the room after he started vomiting, but that isn’t as funny as the drunken nakedness).

Pre-Wedding Shenanigans

About an hour and fifteen minutes before we were supposed to be at the church (for preparations and pictures and shit) we decided to make a trip down to the amusement center which was conveniently located directly adjacent to the hotel to ride some go-carts. I have to admit that I wasn’t too keen on the plan, but I went so as not to be a wet-blanket. This was the right decision, I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun. Needless to say we were all about 15 minutes late to the church, and the groom was about 30 minutes late; no biggie.

Wedding Boringness

Once we are all there and dressed we commence the waiting around part of the day. We all sat around for at least 30 minutes waiting for the photographer to show up, and after the elderly couple with the camera and weird umbrella thing showed up we all wanted to kill them. They were easily the most irritating people within a two-mile radius.

The wedding went off without a hitch; credit should go to the thorough preparation by the wedding planner I’m sure.

Immediately after the wedding there were more pictures to be taken. If I had a crowbar I would have taken to each of those camera toting dorks with a fury that cannot be adequately described.


The reception was pretty awesome (I submit that Jim and Jamie’s was still awesomer but that is neither here nor there). At one point the DJ brought the entire wedding party out on the dance floor to do a wedding party dance, this was the definition of a poorly executed great idea. First problem, the dance floor was about two sizes too small for the number of people on it. Second problem, the song that was selected was entirely too fast (3rd gear and seventeen, but Aaron Watson). Third problem, I’m a natural showoff. Those three things equal my dance parter and me in a compromising position on the ground, goddamn I’m a loose cannon sometimes. Oh well, nobody got hurt, but it did so happen that the cameraman got the whole incident on film (thanks Mark, I expect you to edit that out (and put it on youtube or some shit)).

Those who know me best are aware that I love to waltz, this being the case I bugged the crap out of Mark (before the wedding) to make sure that the DJ played some waltzes, and then I bugged the crap out of the DJ to play some waltzes. Unfortunately only one waltz was played, and it was only for the married couples. I asked the DJ to spin another and he said, “Sure thing chief, the next song will be a waltz”. As it happened the next song was “The Chair”, by George Strait; at the time I thought, hmm not a waltz, but a good song never-the-less. I went back and bugged the DJ, “I though you were going to play a waltz”, the person behind the booth replied “‘The Chair’ is a waltz”. I was once again reaching for my crowbar. A lesson for the rest of you: when hiring a DJ bring along a boom-box and ask them to classify a few songs by the type of dance that is to be done to them, if they can’t determine what a waltz is then hire somebody else. This wasn’t a huge deal, but I didn’t get to waltz with Mandy or Mallory.

Post Reception Drunkfest

After the reception we all retired to the hotel once again, and we got drunk(er) once again; but this time we had some intelligence and we went back to the go-carts, it was slightly less fun this time because the place was a bit more crowded, but still pretty damn fun.

Finally a decent seat, oh wait.

Aug 11, 2008, 10:18 am by Paul Stiverson

Preface: I’m writing this from American Airlines flight 1396, nonstop service from SFO to DFW. I’m on my way to Mark’s wedding.

I think I found the best and worst seat on the Macdonald Douglas Super 80, I have all the legroom an adult human could need—a full foot of space between my knees and the wall in front of me. However, to make up for the lack of tray table in front of me they gave us a seat with a build in tray table (think of the desks in a big lecture hall), this means that the width of the seat was reduced slightly, and that the armrests are not movable. This poses a problem for the large framed individual, the Asian fellow next to me doesn't appear to be in duress, but I’m a bit cramped. This seat happens to be located directly behind the flight attendants’ station—toward the rear of the aircraft—and the S80 just so happens to have twin rear mounted engines. Basically this row of seats (and the one directly behind us) is crammed between two massive turbine engines rotating at ungodly speeds; it is quite loud back here. So loud in fact that I have my iPod turned up to nearly full blast, I’m probably above OSHA regulation aural safety levels here, I anticipate that Mark will have to speak up a bit when he picks me up.

I took advantage of the TSA’s relaxation of their liquids policy by bringing on some Whiskey (Gentleman Jack) that I was fortunate to find in quantities of less than 3 ounces (90ml). I had just finished up my second 50ml bottle when the flight attendent told me that I wasn't allowed to consume alcohol that they hadn’t served me. Apparently it’s bar rules up here. Anyway, I appologized, she said it was no problem. Even though I know better know I’m still pulling this every time, it is a pretty good racket. My polite appology also bought us some favor with the nice lady because she brought me a delicious cup of ice cream, I’m not sure if she was just trying to make the other passengers jealous, or if we are like the ghetto first class, but it was pretty nice.


Aug 5, 2008, 10:29 am by Paul Stiverson

Well, my time in California is winding down (thank goodness). My last day of work is Wednesday, the sixth, on the seventh I fly to Dallas for (my fellow blooger) Mark’s wedding. Here comes the twist, on the tenth I fly back to San Francisco. [I drove here, and I don’t much want to leave my car in the Bay Area.] Then I wait, you see Mallory is flying in to the Bay Area to make the drive back to Texas with me, it will be nice to not be alone with my thoughts for 28 more hours—it gets scary in there. The problem is that Mal flies in on the 15th, leaving me with 5 unscheduled days in South Bay, this shouldn’t be a big problem though, I made it though the three unscheduled days at the start of summer right, and now I know the area, piece of cake.

There is a pretty kick-ass bookstore about two miles from the base, and they have a frequent readers card sort of thing going on. They track your purchases on this little paper card, and when you buy 10 books they give you a book of the average value (of the 10 purchased books) for free. Last night I realized that I had a half full card (and a lot of upcoming free time) so I finished out the card and got my free book. Six new books I now have resting on my desk. I figure I should be able to knock one (and maybe a half) out during all the flying parts, leaving me 5 or so to read during the 5 unscheduled days. The books are as follows.

As I sit here I see 15 books I’ve read already (and three I couldn’t stand to read one more freaking page of), it has been a good literary summer.

Let's keep this short

Jul 17, 2008, 3:02 pm by Jon

Poasting from New Mexico *stop*
Sitting in Sante Fe cafe *stop*
Laptop battery almo

fags and their birds

Typography gal

Jun 30, 2008, 12:38 pm by Paul Stiverson

various ampersandsYesterday, shortly after my previous post, I ventured into the Virgin Megastore on Market and Ellis to find Helvetica—a documentary about typography. As it happened, the film was there, tucked behind some other DVD; I grabbed it and perused the rest of the DVDs. When it came time to check out I glanced at the counter and saw a clipboard, and the right-hand side of the top page was covered with ampersands (right, image not mine) of varying sizes and styles.

“Who is the ampersand fan”, I enquired.

“I am”, replied the lovely young lady with the lip ring behind the counter.

I asked if she was just a ampersand fan or if she was a designer, she said the latter, and I suggested a blog for her to check out, Mandership. I was immediately attracted, but thought it would be in bad taste to hit on her—being in her workplace and all, also I happened to be in the store with a co-worker (female).

Shortly after leaving the store the female co-worker said, “I’m surprised you didn’t ask her out”. At that point I said (audibly) “Fuck, I should have.” After eating I returned to the store to do just that in my mealy-mouthed way; so who knows, maybe we’ll hang out sometime.

It was a truly rare experience, I’ve never met—in person—another person who was enamored with typography (who knew the history of the ampersand). If her sleuthing skills are sharp she might just read this post (I hope you enjoyed it).

Gay Pride Parade

Jun 29, 2008, 3:56 pm by Paul Stiverson

I'm posting from an apple store in San Francisco (using an iPod touch). I just got done watching the gay pride parade, it was pretty kick ass. It was nice to see so many people out to support the gay folks.

Palo Alto, Stanford visited by Interns

Jun 8, 2008, 11:23 pm by Paul Stiverson

Today we went to downtown Palo Alto (a city near where I’m living). We went and had lunch and just walked around for the most part. After we finished up there we headed onto the Stanford campus—which is in Palo Alto—to see what it is about. There happens to be a pretty nice museum there with a permanent display of statues by Auguste Rodin including The Thinker, Adam, Eve, and The Gates of Hell. They were awesome, but my favorite was The Kiss—it was amazing to see. One thing I noticed about Rodin’s work is the scaling, a great deal of the characters were larger than life, but their feet were enormous, they totally didn’t scale with the subject, but that’s cool, it was probably a limitation of the medium… make the feet and legs too small and the heavy as shit marble (which they very well could have been re-sculpted in at some point in time) could collapse. The majority of the statues were reproductions—of course—and were bronze (which made me think of a Tom Goes to the Mayor episode).

A San Francisco Treat

Jun 2, 2008, 12:39 am by Paul Stiverson

Some fellow interns and I went to San Francisco today. We drove out to Mountain view, about a mile, and took the train out to the city. The train was packed due to the Giants game, but we made it without incident. The CalTrains line ends on Fourth street, about 5 blocks from the heart of downtown, and on the way downtown we stopped for lunch at the Fourth Street Bar and Deli. We finally made it Fourth and Market and we quickly realized that we had no idea where anything was, so we went to a Walgreens and bought a map. We weren’t far from the Museum of Modern Art so that was our first stop. Luckily we were there on some kinda family day so admission was free. After browsing that we hit up the Comic Art Museum, but it was almost closing time so we only got 30 minutes in there, but we got in for half price because of the hour… yes Mark there was a Captain America board or two.

Next, we hiked up the road a ways and caught a Cable Car toward the Fisherman’s Wharf. Riding on the Cable Car was really cool, I feel stupid saying it, but it’s true. Everything on them is manual, at the turnarounds the operators get out and physically rotate the car then push it back onto the main track (so it can engage the cable), on the main track the driver is pulling levers like a madman to engage the cable or apply the brakes, all the while the backman is communicating with the frontman using a bell. The hills that these things have to climb are freaking serious too.

Once we hit the end of the line we decided it was time for some dinner so we found a resturaunt, Mood—Thai, Sushi, and more. I had Green Curry with Beef, it was amazing. Then we hit the Wharf and got a good look at the bay. The whole day it was quite cold, around 55ºF, but near the bay it was about 5º cooler and much windier, thus we decided it was time to call it a day. When we got to the other turnaround we found a really long line (to get on the Cable Car) so we decided to hike up the hill to the next stop in hopes of finding a spot to stand. Damn, that hill was fucking steep, but by the third stop we were able to catch a car. This time I was holding on around the perimeter (even cooler than before). We walked back to the train station and caught our ride back to Moffett, happy to find that my car hadn’t been towed.

Trip Itinerary, a retrospect.

May 26, 2008, 1:46 am by Paul Stiverson

On Thursday I took a short lunch and took off from work a little early, I went back to the dorm and packed all the stuff I had set out into my backpack, grabbed my book, and was southbound on the 101 by 5:15. Unfortunately I was on the 101 at 5:15 which meant I was mostly sitting still; it took over an hour to drive the 30 miles required to make it to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Now my flight to DFW was scheduled to leave at 7:10, so I was a bit nervous while navigating the labyrinth of overpasses leading into the airport but finally found a parking space in section E22 and after hastily grabbing my backpack, shoes, and book I started running (that’s right, running) to the check-in desk. I made it to the check in desk by 6:30 and thankfully there was no line, not even a hint of a line… I was the only person. I got my boarding pass and head to security—there were a few people in the security line, but no worries it seemed to be moving pretty quickly and my flight hadn’t even started boarding yet. About the time I took off my shoes and tossed them in the grey bucket/tray thing I realize that I had left my book (Dreams From My Father) setting at the checkout line. I thought it would be a terrible tragedy to miss my flight on account of a paperback (no matter how engaging it is) so I chalked it up as a loss. I get chosen for a random security check, thankfully I left my bomb in my other backpack… close call. I throw my shoes back on (I didn’t bother to tie them) and head for my gate, stopping briefly on the way to see if the newsstand has any interesting books. After looking at the shelf full of Dean Koontz novels I decide that I can make the 3 hour flight without a book.

After boarding the plane I met a lovely young couple who were flying home to visit their families. The two were from Dallas, but had been living in the Bay Area for a few years. Really nice folks. The flight went smoothly—we left, and arrived on time. Mark was waiting for me, and we proceeded back to his house for the night.

In the morning we all got up and started getting our shit together for the drive to Bellville. I asked if we could stop on the way at a bookstore so I could pick up a new copy of Dreams From My Father, Mark obliged. The trip went smoothly, putting us in Bellville and at the church with enough time to change before the rehearsal dinner got underway. At the rehearsal I got to meet the bride’s two little brothers—who were serving as junior groomsmen—good kids. The rehearsal dinner itself was quite nice, we had mexican food which was quite delicious. Also, Andrew, the groom, presented us with our Groomsmen gifts, a slick Kershaw knife, which I had to leave in Texas because I wasn’t going to check any luggage on the return flight. During the dinner I was reminded of a story which I then told, and will eventually share here—“The Beanhole”. After the rehearsal dinner many of us retired to the hotel in Brenham to share a few beers and many laughs, Steven was kind enough to open his room to me for the night.

The day of the wedding we all congregated at the church to get ready, we took some pictures before everything got underway. Then the big moment was upon us. The bride’s mother misplaced the groom’s ring so we had to stall for a minute, the ring was eventually found, but not until after the ceremony—another groomsman volunteered his for the actual exchange.

At the reception I got to see most of my fish buddies, including one who had recently gotten back from Korea. Jenny was kind enough to make the trip down to be my date. Dancing ensued. After the reception I retired to The Woodlands with Mark and company to bed down for the night.

The following afternoon (today, mind you), Mark’s mom gave me a ride to Bush Intercontinental for my connecting flight to DFW. About halfway to IAH I realized that I had left my book (Dreams From My Father) sitting on her counter, I declined her invitation to turn around and get it, deciding that Mark could mail it to me along with my knife. I entered IAH at approximately 12:40 with plenty of time to catch my 2:05 flight, I knew little of the ordeal that awaited me on the other side of that security station. I stopped at a book shop in IAH and bought a book, Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk, then made my way to the gate in time to find that my flight had been delayed by half an hour. Eventually we board and make our way to DFW, a short flight. In DFW I check the departure screen to see that my intended connection is in the final stages or boarding, and in a different terminal; I make my way to the skylink and head toward gate D22 (from C18). Upon arrival I find that I have missed flight 39 and must try to board another flight. I make my way to gate A13 where I am able to get a ticket for the next outgoing flight. The plane that I should be boarding arrives and the passengers disembark, we all start to line up for the ensuing boarding frenzy, but are told that boarding will be delayed for mechanical reasons. We all take our seats. About an hour later the flight attendant comes back on the line and tells us that the flight has been cancelled, but not to worry, there are other flights leaving town and we will all have a place on one of them. After four hours in DFW I am finally boarding a plane to SFO where I will find that my book has disappeared into somebody else’s possession (not in the lost and found) and that I had parked in short term parking, I payed the $113 to get my car out of hawk and drove back to the dorm in the cold and uninviting 55º California night.

New New Roommate

May 22, 2008, 10:42 am by Paul Stiverson

Following the debacle with my old new roommate I was assigned a new roommate, he is the fellow I mentioned in the post “New Friends,” Marco, from Italy. We have been hanging out a bit and he seems really cool. I am glad to have him as my roommate, as I would not want to live with some of the other folks I’ve met, they would get on my nerves.

This evening I will be flying to Texas (visiting the old country, as it were) for my buddy Andrew’s wedding, should my plane crash before I get over Texas it is all of y’alls responsibility to band together and drive to the crash-site and drag my charred remains back to Texas—immediately, I don’t want to have even cooled off from the inferno. In fact that goes for the entire time I’m out of state, if I die, get my dead ass back to Texas at once.

Finally here

May 12, 2008, 5:44 pm by Paul Stiverson

28 hours of driving and I am finally to my destination—I’ve actually been here since about noon (PST) but I’ve just now found a place with internet. To be exact on my location, I am staying and working in Moffett Field, which is located at the south end of the San Francisco Bay (just north of Mountain View, which is where I am now eating some delicious Chinese food). When I got to Moffett I went into the place where I was supposed to check in only to find that I would be staying in—what is essentially—a hotel so as it turns out I didn’t need to bring any bedding and the like because there was fully made bed waiting for me. Guess I should have done some research before I left. I am pretty happy with the room, but I haven’t met my roommate yet, he doesn’t come in until the 21st, and I don’t get any internet in the room until my internship officially starts on the 15th.

The weather is anything but frightful, about 70º and sunny, there is a nice cool breeze blowing too. As for the last leg of the drive: it was pretty sweet, I passed about 50 miles of orchards and a dairy farm or two.

Oh yeah, I haven’t secured a PO Box just yet, but it is on the agenda for tomorrow.

For those interested, the total milage was 1891 miles.

Second day of Driving

May 12, 2008, 5:22 pm by Paul Stiverson

Foreword: This post was written at 1:17AM CST on May 12th. I drove another 13 hours or so and stopped in at a Motel 6 off of I-5.

The drive today was long, but not too bad overall. There was a truck driving, one of those car carriers, and it had a sweet looking wrecked Ferrari, it was totally demolished… there was no way the driver could have survived that wreck though. Also, I saw two carnival trucks. There was a bit of delay in Phoenix (Phoenix isn’t spelled the way it should be) because of some construction. I discovered that the mountainous desert landscape is really quite beautiful. In my last post I mentioned that it took 2 tanks of gas to get out of Texas, well it took 1.5 tanks to make it through New Mexico and Arizona (combined). As I rolled through southern California I went through a windfarm and thought I was going to be blown off the road. I got lost in Los Angeles so I stopped and got a map, and as it turned out I wasn’t that lost. Once I found my way to I-5 I was astounded by the views, it was amazing. I thoroughly suggest you traverse it sometime. Once you get past the mountainy part there is a long boring flat part, but fortunately there was an In-and-Out Burger before I undertook the flat part between Bakersfield and San Francisco. The burger was good, but it was no Whataburger. I’m about 100 miles Southwest of San Francisco and it is windy as all hell, and the Motel 6 doesn’t have any internet (contrary to their advertisement).

Upon proofreading this post I realize that it is pretty weak in the prose department, but as Ani says, “Ten hours of driving will make your mind kinda numb.” So back the fuck off.

First day of driving

May 11, 2008, 12:12 am by Paul Stiverson

I left College Station at approximately 10:20 CST and stopped in at a Best Western in Silver City, NM at 11:30 CST. It took two tanks of gas just to make it out of Texas, but the views in the Hill Country and West Texas were awesome. Tomorrow I’ll get up and do the same damn thing. I took some pictures on the way, I’ll post them on Monday when I arrive in California.

Last night in town

May 11, 2008, 12:02 am by Paul Stiverson

Foreword: this post was written on Saturday, May 10th at 12:30AM, but due to a lack of internet connectivity it wasn’t posted till now. Tonight marked my last night in College Station for the next few months, and for the first time I have truly realized that my friends are really great. All of the people (save a few) who I consider myself really good friends with came out to the Lakeside Icehouse for a Doug Moreland show. [Two who couldn’t make it were predisposed with graduating and watching the other one graduate.] It was the best sendoff to the wild blue yonder I could ask for. Keep checking in for [hopefully frequent] updates from California.


May 7, 2008, 1:17 am by Paul Stiverson

On Monday I rented a storage unit to keep all my crap in while I’m in California, and that was the first time that I caught a grasp of the magnitude of this move. Even though it is only for the summer it is easily the biggest upheaval of my life. I’m really excited to make the move, but at the same time I’m quite apprehensive about my living situation, and the job requirements.

Anybody want to come visit me over the summer?

Driving School

Apr 25, 2008, 11:30 pm by Paul Stiverson

Today I was driving to Ingleside (where my parents live) and it became obvious that there are a whole bunch of people out there who never learned how to drive at driving school. They learned that they are supposed to keep the yellow line on the left and the white on the right, but they missed all the nuance and subtlety of driving. I’m sure that none of my readers fall into this class of ignorant drivers, but just for posterity I’m going to outline a few of the largely unlearned rules of the road.

Feel free to comment with any rules you feel should be added, if there is interest I will expand this to a page of its own.

The quote of the day comes from Mandy today: “Jack Ingram’s a dunderhead.”

This Weekend

Mar 23, 2008, 12:25 am by Paul Stiverson

Some friends and I planned a backpacking trip to Bastrop State Park for this weekend, but we didn’t do too much forward planning so we didn’t know that there were only about 10 miles of trail. Upon realizing that we had covered the entire park we decided to call it a weekend and head home. It was a good trip but altogether unnecessary to stay a second night since we had already seen everything the park had to offer. Coming home was a good idea because it gave me the option of going to see Doug Moreland at the Lakeside Icehouse (formerly The Hook). It was a great show as usual and I want to share some lyrics from one of his older songs, Prayers and Wishes.

Superstitious mind is haunting me
I know prayers and wishes are two different things
I’m a God-fearing man but I do believe
Wish for what you want, but pray for what you need
And the confusion of the issue is
I know not whether to, pray or wish for you

It is also quite lucky that we came home early since I forgot that I had exams to grade. I still haven’t graded them because they are locked up in the ENPH building and I can’t get to them.

Delicious Beer

Mar 15, 2008, 12:07 pm by Paul Stiverson

picture of Shiner 99Some friends and I drove down to Shiner, Texas yesterday to visit the brewery. As usual it was pretty kickass, but there was some unexpected goodness; Shiner released their 99th anniversary brew recently so I was able to get a taste. It is freaking fantastic. I picked myself up a case while I was down in Shiner, and the packaging is nearly as awesome as the beer (image at right, click it for a bigger picture). I really hope they keep this anniversary brew thing going after the centennial.

On a related note I spent most of the day either in a car or drinking. During some of the drinking part there was dominos to be played, and delicious summer sausage to be eaten (that’s what she said). Altogether it was a pretty amazing day.

Good News

Mar 7, 2008, 11:53 am by Paul Stiverson

More like super awesome news really, I’ve been offered an internship in sunny California. I’ll be spending 12 weeks in central California researching at the University of California in Santa Cruz, the project I’ll be working on is a NASA Ames sponsored project… so prestigious++. This is the first time visiting, let alone living on, the west coast, I’m looking forward to spending some time in the outdoors up there where it won’t be so ridiculously hot. I’ll be coming back to Texas twice during the internship for weddings so I won’t be jonesin’ for Texas too bad.

I hate Houston

Nov 24, 2007, 12:40 pm by Paul Stiverson

I was driving to (South-East) Houston on the morning of Thanksgiving—which, in and of itself is pretty bad—just following the directions I got online. I exit I-45 and turn right on Monroe Rd. as directed, the next step of the directions was “Continue on Winkler Street, 1.1mi”. I see that the road splits to the right and the sign says “Winkler Street”, I think to my self, “This must be what they meant” (poor assumption). I turn down the road and a mile later I see an on-ramp to I-45 and I think “Nope, don't want to be there” so I turn onto the nearest street (it just so happened that my lane was requiring me to do so). Now I’m on Broadway, I drive down a ways seeing if I can pick out any street names that might help me get my bearings… nothing, and I approach the 610 loop so I figure I ought to turn around and head back to I-45. On my way back west I see a Policeman and think, “Hey, it would totally be appropriate to ask this dude for directions, after all his job is to ‘Serve and Protect’, right?” I stop, and he seems to be unfamiliar with: a) where we are, and b) where I’m going, but he suggests that I head up to I-45, take a left, and keep searching for S. Richey Street, so I do. I get to I-45, turn left, putz around looking intently for my target, only to find that my lane once again spills me onto FUCKING BROADWAY, I’ve come full circle. I now stop completely and wait for some of my family members to find me, and right in this moment, as if by fate, the person I most wanted to talk to in the world calls me.

Even with being lost somewhere between “Over the river”, and “Through the woods”, in a place I hate, right then, my day was perfect.

So, as it turns out the street I originally turned on after exiting I-45 (Monroe Street), that was actually called Winkler Street once you crossed under I-45. And that street that was called Winkler (the one I veered right on), that was only built to confuse and mis-direct logical non-Houstonites. I hate Houston.

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