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October 31, 2012

Halloween Hiding

Well, waited until the last minute but I think I finally came up with something to do for Halloween. I think I'm going to turn off all the lights and hope that no one has the audacity to hit the doorbell. With that said I will make a nod to the holiday and watch Shawn Of The Dead. That's about as much zombie as I can handle lol

October 30, 2012

BIG Sucker!!!

Man, everything IS bigger in Texas, including the deer! I can't imagine any other place where a deer this size will eat out of your hand. Well, at least not outside of a petting zoo...

Test

October 28, 2012

The 1950

I never thought I'd see this in person. Guess there really is a first time for everything. By the way, this is a totally wild deer. She has this gang that she runs with but apparently she's the brains of the outfit

October 27, 2012

Early Voting

So far today's been a pretty good day I guess. Went up to the dealership and got my sun visor replaced. My awesome girlfriend found out the thing was under a recall which was an awesome thing for me since letting Toyota pay for it is a darn sight better than the alternative. The downside was that I had to spend two hours of my life up there and that I let them up-sell me to an overpriced oil change.

I also got voting out of the way a few days early. I've gotta admit, it felt good dropping the hammer on that voting machine. I have a sneaking suspicion that its going to be an incredibly tight, to the end kind of race. It's got me wondering...the last time we had a super-close election we came out of the experience with the 'hanging chad' meme. Since we apparently have moved over to electronic voting machines it sort of makes me wonder what type of related controversy we'll get this cycle if it comes down to that. On a related, yet funnier note, I almost ended up getting "disenfranchised" at my polling place. From what I could tell someone in the processing chain got a little carried away at the keyboard and added a consonant to my name. Got a little antsy when the lady doing the in-processing couldn't find me on the rolls. Thankfully, with the assistance of a valid ID and a very helpful lady who reminded me of my grandmother I got hooked up and did my patriotic duty. While all this was going on I couldn't help wonder what the OSCE/UN observers certain parties have invited into the process would have made of the whole process. One could only hope they'd take notes and carry it back to their home countries

October 26, 2012

Tin Roof

Typically my lunch siesta consists of going out and sitting in my car for an hour, just to get some peace and quiet. Today I almost didn't make it back in time. We had a surprise storm blow and it dumped quite a bit of rain on my location. The thing that almost got me was the rain hitting the metal roof covering our parking area. Soooo relaxing... On the upside, I stepped in a big puddle walking back to the office. Nothing like the shock of suddenly wet feet to snap you out of the post-lunch lethargy, right?

October 24, 2012

Avian Nemesis

I'm fortunate enough to have covered parking where I work which I utilize daily. Apparently I'm not the only species to have realized its a great place to park it. I walked outside to leave this evening and there were about a half-dozen pigeons eyeing me the entire way as I went to my car. I seriously don't know what their deal was seeing that they were basically unreachable being twenty feet over my head. Once I got to my car I realized where the suspicious glances were coming from. Thanks to the little birdies the entire lower third of my windshield looked like it was coated in a pretty even coating of vanilla milkshake. Totally nasty. I'm contemplating getting a cat trap and snagging one of the strays that run around my neighborhood. The way I see it that's a win-win. The cats get a dietary change of pace and no more poo on my car! Voila!

The Master Of Disguise

I finished reading this book this weekend. Like most in its genre it doesn't give away any secrets but it does present an interesting view of the infrastructure required by a successful intelligence agency. I, for one, hadn't really thought of forgery and Hollywood style makeup as being key weapons in a spy's arsenal but having read this book it does make sense.

October 21, 2012

Domino Dominator

Last night was a lot of fun. I introduced my niece to the game of dominoes. Had absolutely no idea she'd get into it as much as she did. Took her a few minutes to get the hang of it but once she did we ended up playing for almost two hours solid. The most entertaining thing about it was watching her sort of light up in a way as she got the hang of it. I'll tell ya, it was intense but I was also impressed that she was a good sport once I started catching up with her. Being a magnanimous winner isn't a personality trait I'd associate with being six years old. Then again, that's not a personality trait I associate with adults, come to think of it. In the interest of full perspective she still ended up beating me seven games to four.

I guess the funniest thing about the whole evening was her little brother. That little goofball has the attention span of a...actually it's just about non-existent. He had to go outside and check on Kitty Boots every fifteen or twenty minutes. I've known that kid forever and it still cracks me up that he's such a cat person but absolutely terrified of my dog. Maybe it's cause the cat doesn't outweigh him by a solid thirty pounds. Anyways, I couldn't help laughing out loud when he showed me this feather that the cat "gave" him. Totally one of those things you had to see to fully understand but imagine a sleep-deprived three year old hopped up on cake and sprite totally torqued up with excitement and you can just almost get a sense of the hilarity

October 18, 2012

Nemesis

This afternoon sure kicked my butt. No, everything went well other than the fact I just totally disappointed myself. There's this one person that just gets under my skin. I wouldn't call him my "nemesis" or anything that dramatic. He just has one of those extremely over-confident individuals whose mere appearance sparks more than a little annoyance. Well, the guy cornered me and launched into the standard insincere spiel which I won't rehash here. I guess I was in a unique head space cause I gave it right back to him, which will more than likely totally come back to bite me in the butt considering the type of luck I tend to have. Oh well, the good thing about the situation is that I'm not the only people miffed at this particular individual and the other folks who're my compatriots have a lot more stroke than he or I. Anyways, nothing I can do about it now. That bridge was burnt several hours ago...(though it did feel kinda satisfying to stand up to him)

October 17, 2012

Meeting

Man, had a meeting tonight and seriously, I am just about worn down to the bone. It's funny how you just get going on adrenaline and its pumping so hard that three hours go by before you even realize the time has passed. I guess the other reason it went so quickly is that it was also a huge stress dump. You work on a project for months and its nice to show off your work and get some validation.

Haywire

My nutshell opinion of this movie is its a ripoff of the Bourne franchise with the exception of a female lead and a musical score that doesn't remotely begin to accentuate the tension you'd expect. It's really hard to describe it as anything other than a continual, unceasingly jarring, sonic distraction that really seems intended to fill in the vast gaps in dialogue.

On a positive note, and unlike the Bourne franchise, this flick has an A-list supporting cast and they all get their vignettes. And I think they all manage to successfully pull them off. Oh, I really like Antonio Bandera's look. It's totally not what you'd expect and I'll just leave it at that.

Anyways, I've got about thirty minutes left on it. Not really expecting a surprise ending or anything but I'll post an update.

Here's the IMDB link if you want to check it out
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1506999/

October 10, 2012

World War Two Tank Question

Been watching this series about World War Two. On several of the episodes they showed armored warfare in the Pacific. I was wondering if those tanks had air conditioning. It would seem to make sense for them to have some sort of system along that line from an efficiency perspective if nothing else. Seems like a crew wouldn't be able to fight long in what would amount to a Dutch oven in those temperatures. Anyways, I'm away from a computer so I can't google it and wouldn't know what search terms to use if I were. If you know the answer feel free to contact me.

Something Borrowed

I thought today was going to be a bit more 'interesting' than I typically enjoy when I got to the office and realized I had left my dress coat back at the house. Normally that would be a non-issue but it took on a bit more significance since I had one of my bi-monthly meetings this afternoon. I usually keep one on hand at my office, to avoid this type of situation, but the standby was getting a bit mungy so it got a trip to the launderer. Good thing my coworker El Turco Loco had one and didn't mind loaning it to me, otherwise I'd have been up a creek.

On a related note, I'm glad the group I presented to is a laid-back group of individuals. My recommendation said approval and the powerpoint said something else. I was pretty grateful that they didn't go too far past a little good-natured, and well earned teasing and that my assistant director wasn't there.

October 8, 2012

Snake Hunting

Call me crazy but it doesn't seem like it would be a good sign to get an email from your safety/risk mitigation manager telling you how he killed a 6'6" inch long rattlesnake. With a bow and arrow. At night.

The positive? Doing it from the back of a pickup truck.

Could you imagine coming up to something like that on foot? I can and now I'm probably going to have some really interesting dreams tonight.

October 6, 2012

Halloween Briefing

I'm a big fan of knowing what to expect in advance, and big holidays are no exception, so it was nice talking to my nephew earlier this evening. I'll be honest, he was with his grandma helping her put together her Halloween goodie bags so his focus wasn't really on talking with his favorite uncle. I guess he was really more interested in scoring sweets off her. That's the only reason I could come up with why I could only understand about every seventh word. He was focused, that's for sure. He barely even flinched when I told him I was going to make it interesting for him and hide in the bushes and jump out at him when he was walking around. Can't say that impressed him too much though he did slow his roll a little bit. Yeah, I know that probably wasn't too nice but I wouldn't be much of an uncle if I didn't mess around with him a little, right? Anyways, I'm going to see him and his sister tomorrow night so I'll definitely have to ask him what they're going to be dressing up as. Should be hilarious.

Outs

Well, the conference is almost over, waiting for my ride to get done with a driving tour, and then we'll be heading home. I'm by no means someone who enjoys these sorts of things. I like going to the sessions and all that but the 'social' aspect of it isn't my cup of tea. Well, that's not exactly true. I caught up with a former coworker from years back. The last time I talked with him he and his wife had just had their first kid and between then and now they popped out their second. That was kinda cool.

They're sort of basic observations I have every time I come to one of these things but a couple of things stood out to me. The first is how you can tell the difference between consultants and folks working in the public sector. The main difference is in the clothing. The public side seems to wear a lot more khaki than the other guys. I also got a charge out of listening to some kids talk about projects they worked on in school and how they'd do things once they graduated and found a job. It was all I could do to restrain myself from leaning in and totally demolishing their fantasies. I think they'll learn pretty quickly that discovering the 'art of the possible' will temper any aspiration to grandeur they may have.

Now I get to wait while my chauffeur takes a tour around town. She has an iPhone for navigation but I'm not putting much faith in that. Just hoping she doesn't get totally lost cause I really want to go home.

The Roscoe Whisperer

My mom and dad went over to the house tonight to check the situation and the pup. I just happened to call them while they were there and I could hear the hound doing his 'rub my ears' moan/groan. It was too cute listening to him but it was a little too high volume since I could barely hear my mom over the background noise. Oh, and it did make me feel a little twinge of jealousy. He never carries on like that with me.

October 4, 2012

Conference, Day One

Well, the first day was pretty good. I attended a couple of decent presentations. The first one was by a UT prof and graduate student on the topic of 'megaregional' planning. I am definitely going to be doing some additional reading on the topic but at first glance it doesn't seem that useful, at least not in my particular role as a municipal planner. We can't even seem to get planning at the county level so it seems to be a bit ambitious going much beyond that. I do think the concept, as presented, makes a lot of sense in one regard. I think getting stakeholders around the table and talking is probably the most important aspect of this concept. You have so many issues that are broad enough that no particular level of government or NGO can address them. But if you get everyone reading off the same page of music then possibly they can act collectively to address the issues they're facing.

The other session I went to involved the role of urban planners in natural gas production. I don't recall all the particulars but I thought it interesting that the cities represented addressed it through the Specific Use Permit process. That's kind of an arcane zoning term but suffice it to says that allows the implementation of conditions to address the negative impacts there. Gas operations take a really heavy toll on the road systems leading in and out of a well due to the weight of each truck and the number of trips in and out of the site. One of the panelist's cities has the capability to implement a cost sharing agreement with the well operators.

Anyways, that's just the nutshell version. I'll probably be posting more once I get home and have a chance to do a little web surfing on the topics

October 1, 2012

Cloudy

I saw this hovering over the ramp I take to get on the freeway as I was leaving the office today. Honestly, a sight like this is almost always guaranteed to get my heart pumping. Mainly cause we get about 290 days of absolute blue sky weather and folks around here (myself included) forget how to drive in it. Luckily I missed having to drive through the worst of it. It had already gone west of the freeway. Then again, it sure does make sitting outside nice and pleasant ;-)