How was my trip up to New England, you ask? Well, let's time travel back to Friday evening, just after we touched down in Boston.
The trip was for work; all four of us from the Austin office had come up for the company bbq. For Friday night, we had nothing to do so we decided to get adventurous and somewhere in the vast megapolis that is the Boston area.
After numerous wrong turns and run red rights, we finally found ourselves at this little pizza place. I'll be charitable and say that this place had five tables. All of these tables were taken. Most were inside of the restaurant, but a couple were out on the patio of the restaurant. A quartet of older ladies sat at those tables, and it was clear that they were finishing up their meal.
We're no dummies; we spotted the telltale signs of a nearly-finished dinner date and we started loitering around the tables. We'd all been traveling for a while now, so we were just standing around, talking and zoning out. In the midst of all of this, one of the older ladies gets up from the table and heads back into the restaurant. Her hands are full with some napkins and whatnot, and like I said, we were all zoning out after the travel, so she had to do a bit of shuffling to open the door.
As soon as she did that, one of the other ladies at her table looks over with absolute venom and shouts, "You don't help a woman open the door? You're clueless, Jack!" Had murder been legal, she would've massacred all of us right there with plastic flatware.
The best part of this whole thing is that there was other dude milling about, and all of us Austin folk just assumed she knew him, that the dude was named Jack, and that she was giving him a hard time. We didn't say anything or even shrug, we just continued to watch for that open table. Eventually, "Jack" walked away without any further interaction from the screaming meanie.
In the act of waiting, someone brought up the idea that hey, maybe that lady had been bitching us out? Great debate ensued. Do people really just scream at perfect strangers like that in a civilized society? Is this a New England welcome ritual, right up there with pelted with rotting lobsters? After a while, I found myself back in the restaurant with "Jack" and he leaned over and said, "Wow, she really tore you guys a new one, huh?"
The trip went up from there, fortunately. Still, there's nothing like that Yankee hospitality.
If there's some sort of widescale tickle-fight in the streets of Austin this weekend, don't call me. Ordinarily, I would want to know about this, participate, and, perhaps, keep score, but this weekend, I'll be in Boston for work. People of Boston, you know the score so keep me involved.
I'm going up to the northeast for our company bbq. This is going to be pretty interesting for me because I haven't met a lot of the people I work with. The company is based in Boston and my group is in Austin, and so, while I spend several hours each day talking to the Boston folks, I haven't actually met many of them.
Should I be concerned about this? I mean, what if they think I smell bad? Personal odor can't be adequately conveyed through a video conference and I'm worried that one faulty container of deoderant on a hot Saturday afternoon might ruin my whole career. The smart thing here is probably to fall into a mud pit as soon as I hit the bbq, thus giving me a good excuse for any strange smells.
One unfortunate aspect of the trip is that, once again, I will be driving around the streets of Massachusetts. Last time I did this, I racked up over $300 in toll violations. Almost all of that was charged inappropriately due to the jackasses at Alamo Rental Car; I think I got out of it with only a $60 fine, but I'm not entirely that ended up at the right place. There's a very good chance that, upon landing, a Massachusetts Turnpike Authority sniper shoots my eyeballs out.
If that does occur, don't mourn me. I will have died doing what I loved: gypping toll roads.
Finally, I'm one of those morons on Twitter now. Follow me at http://twitter.com/codypo.
I took a little trip last night to musical heaven. For the first time in roughly one billion years, Tom Waits was playing a show here in Texas that I could attend. Let's not talk about the cost of the tickets. Let's not discuss that the show was in Houston, not Austin. Let us not even mention that the show was on a Sunday night, ended at 11 PM, and that some of us had to be at work on time the next morning. Let us only discuss the pure rocking, and the fact that Dean Zyvarb and I were on the fifth row.
I couldn't find any actual media of the show, but here's him doing one of my favorite songs on Letterman:
I'd get more into it, but I'm pretty worn out from the drive back. Let me only say this: it was a great night to be a seller of pork pie hats in the Houston-area.
Back from Mexico! I return with spirits high and pockets empty. I also return with lots of dirty clothes, pictures to upload, email to catch up on. Allow me to finish that first and then, in my next entry, I will tell you how I waged a watery battle with giant manta rays in the Yucatan.
Disclaimer: I don't know if I can really call it a "battle". I did see giant manta rays in the water in Mexico, but I didn't really punch, kick, or poke them, as I stayed a few feet away at all times. That might not constitute a physical battle, but what about a battle of wills?
The manta rays were trying to lure me into the water through their exceptional size, closeness to their shore, and bribes to our waiter, who kept telling me how safe they were. It almost worked, manta rays; you very nearly lured me into splish-splashing right up next to you. I was even in the water close to you, maybe 8 feet away, and then I remembered a little something about manta rays.
Didn't you, the giant manta ray specie, kill Steve Irwin a couple of years back? While I do hope I eventually die in a strange and unusual fashion, I just couldn't take the risk that you'd give me the Crocodile Hunter treatment and then I'd be forced to spend the rest of eternity with that guy.
He seems like an alright guy and all, but I could only hear about the birthing habits of the komodo dragon for so long.
In retrospect, yes, it was a magnificent, enthralling battle of wills and I was victorious.
If you've been clicking around Goulash lately, and who hasn't, you'll notice that I broke the comments when I upgraded Movable Type, my blogging software. Wait, did I just say I broke the comments? I don't seem to recall checking the "Destroy my comments" checkbox nor do I remember getting my database loaded on Mad Dog and then suckerpunching it out in a convenience store parking lot.
I didn't do anything at all, in fact! It just stopped working! I'm one of those "software gentlemen" and I agree that software is completely confusing and scary. I think that whenever I sit down to a computer, some sort of super-concentrated entropy pocket surrounds me and the machine, and then crap just goes nuts. How I've avoided the triggering of some sort of Skynet/Wargames combo scenario thus far is an utter surprise.
Official Friend of Cody Wayne Maxwell Powell, Brendan Atkins, contributed to the birth of an enjoyable new podcast. The show: the Children's Hour of Knowledge. The last show illustrates this axiom of humor that states all profanity is twice is funny when it gets bleeped.
I've got this crazy scheme in mind that may lead to a podcast of my own here in several months. Imagine a show featuring me, without any money or real coherent thought behind it. Think... goulash spoken into a microphone. The site that's tolerated by tens of people could then be listened to by ones of people! My creative team is still drawing the plans up; any news will be announced here first, of course.
Friday morning, I'm taking this party to Mexico for a little bit of that summer vacation. How do I get into the mood for such a trip? First, I drink a fair amount of Tecate. Second, I crank up the Juan Gabriel. (In glacing at Juan's wikipedia page, I couldn't help but find the following tremendous quote: "If you are handsome, young-hearted, and inspired, there will always be someone to call you gay." Dude, I KNOW.)
When I was growing up, my sister and I used to go on these tubing trips with my dad, my uncle, and some of their friends. We'd stay at my dad's friend's house in San Antonio, and every morning, he'd crank up this live Juan Gabriel album. It was deafening and, compounding the problem, the album was approximately 16 hours long. It just went on and on, and after a couple of years of this, I had a near-encyclopedic knowledge of Juan's live catalogue. Recently, I've been trying to find this one particular song off of there, both for old time's sake and because, well, it's really catchy.
After an unhealthy amount of time spent on YouTube with Mr. Gabriel, I am proud to announce that I found that damn song. Ladies and gentlemen, experience Hasta Que Te Conoci.
In case you're doubting the 16 hour performance I mentioned earlier, notice that this particular rendition is 9 minutes and 28 seconds, and I'm pretty sure it's the abbreviated version.
The Mexico spirit is now at an all-time high.
The beast behind Goulash is a piece of software called Movable Type, and I realized today that I hadn't upgraded it in, oh, five years or so. If there's one thing I'm not, it's antiquated and so I am commencing the great Goulash upgrade. In the event I blow this thing up and completely wipe out the archives, consider yourself invited to come over to my house and listen to me talk for five minutes (or three paragraphs) until I get it fixed again.
Hey-o, here's some big news: Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee. I'll admit, I like this. Obama is inspiring, I dig some of his stances, and most importantly, his last name isn't Bush or Clinton.
As individuals, I have nothing against the Bushes or the Clintons; I just can't hear about them anymore. Let's call this the Brangelina Syndrome. Apparently a large section of the population finds the doings of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie absolutely fascinating. The internet, tv, magazines, and holograms alike are all awash with rumors about the two of them, their vacations on Mars, and the armless Haitian babies they've adopted.
That's good for some folks, but bad for me because... I don't give a rat's ass. Maybe at one point I gave 1/12 of a rat's ass (an asslet), but the years of media attention have transformed my slight interest into a fierce dislike. Stop demanding attention from me, Bushes and Clintons! (Note the former line does not apply to George Clinton.)
I'm not much of a policy wonk; I get excited over the personalities involved in an election. Could the election of 2008 be any better for me? Barack Hussein Obama versus John McCain, internationally recognized old coot and bad ass. Will that be enough for me not to pencil in my traditional crazy third-party vote? We shall see.
For the past several days, I've been pretty worked up about the new Indiana Jones movie. First, as a longtime fan of both treasure and bullwhips, I've always loved Indiana Jones. If I got to be one fictional character for a weekend, he's probably the top choice. Unfortunately, I don't know about this George Lucas character; he's done well for himself lately in desecrating childhood heroes of mine. Whenever I'd think about this movie, I'd get excited about all of the possibilities and then I'd remember the great, swooping mane of Lucas and quickly want to wet myself.
I put all of this past me yesterday and actually saw the film in question. My verdict? I enjoyed it thoroughly. I didn't enjoy it so much that my firstborn will be named Crystal Skull Powell, but at the same time, I'll certainly buy it when it comes out. The ending was a shade too weird for me, but it still finishes a strong third between the Last Crusade, which is excellent, and Temple of Doom, which I haven't seen in over 20 years because it scared the pee out of me back then.
One of the weird things about growing is revisiting really strong experiences. When I was little, I couldn't stand jalapenos because they were just too hot. Now, I eat them regularly and carry them in my pocket for good luck. Back then, I hated jumping into cold swimming pools and now, I've come to hate lukewarm bodies of water. Something tells me that, after all of these years, Temple of Doom will still scare the pee out of me.