Monday, October 30, 2006

Code Monkey

I just got home from Book People, which is truly the best bookstore in Austin (and perhaps I could say in all of Texas, but can’t since I haven’t visited each bookstore in Texas). It’s huge, about 40,000 square feet and it has everything you could possibly want in a bookstore from the large array of books --> beautiful jewelry --> unique gifts --> some awesome toys. There’s a nice coffee house to relax and enjoy your new favorite book. Don’t forget there’s some little nooks and crannies to hide out in and do some good reading.

Another bonus – it’s right off of 6th and Lamar which is right across the street from Austin’s yummiest Ice Cream establishment, Amy’s Ice Cream. You all know I love me some ice cream. Heavenly.

The reason I went to Book People tonight is because John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton made a stop in Austin (the final stop) during their tour. How lucky are we ladies and gents! John Hodgman is hilarious and you can see him on the Daily Show. He’s a great writer from New York. He did a book signing for his new book, The Areas of My Expertise, and was so friendly in person. He just didn’t do the “sign-n-go” thing. He actually would shake your hand, give you a hug, take a photo – pretty much anything you wanted.

He was very sweet and asked me my first and middle name. He signed it like this:

To Jennefer Leee (he said he had to put three Es in my middle name although there only two) – maybe to keep it consistent with the 3 Es that are in my first name? He asked if I spelled it like that my whole life. I said, “Yes, it’s that way on my birth certificate.” He just gave a nice smile and nodded. Then he scratched out his name in the book and rewrote his name in the book like this:

John Hodgman

Maybe he liked the color of the marker or really liked writing his name.

Then he drew the H in Sunrays sign like this:

Then at the very bottom he wrote this:

The main main main reason I went there was because Jonathan Coulton was going to be there too! He’s a great songwriter and writes the funniest lyrics. He’s 10x funnier in person. I had him sign his CD and when he asked my name, I said, “Jennefer” and he replied, “Did you get my email I sent to you?” He remembered me! We’ll it was only a few days ago – but still pretty cool he remembered.

He signed it like this:

Jennefer: All E’s! Awesome! Then scribble scrabble his signature.

Best part of the evening. I asked him how much was his CD and he said, “Ten Dollars.” I said, “Do you take credit cards because I don’t have cash on me.” He smiled and then said, “I can take a check and there’s no tax.” *winks* “The government’s not getting of this!” Too funny.

Again, everyone check him out and get his music!

Nite all…

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Jack n’ Jill Tournament

Next weekend will be the Jack n’ Jill Doubles Qualifier for the Vegas tournament in April. If you are not familiar with the term Jack n’ Jill in a pool tournament, it a really cool event where you play scotch doubles in your matches (alternating shots) and the team must consist of one male and one female. The tournament caps the combine skill level of both players at 10 to keep the playing field even.

We are competing next Saturday, November 4th at Slick Willies Central. I need to go practice at that location before next weekend to get familiar with their tables. Our team played there last year and avidly recall their pockets being tight and the tables being kinda fast.

Travis and I are going to play as a team this qualifier. If you folks don’t know Travis, he’s a fantastic shot. Last week he played our opponent's toughest play who is ranked the highest skill level (7) and beat him 4 games with only 7 innings. We were wow’d! He’s a 6 and I’m a 4, so we can play together since we are not over the cap.

Also, Christy (our secret weapon) on the team moved up to a 5! She’s a spectacular shot! She is definitely tough to beat on the table. Moby, a buddy of ours, calls her a double edge sword when she’s playing. *smiles*

Congrats Christy and making all of of us look great. Double WOW!

I’m going to segway into the next part of the story. This weekend, there’s a Jack N’ Jill poker tournament in Halifax. Here’s the format:


Saturday, October 28, 2006 the Jack and Jill No Limit Texas Hold Em Tournament will take place. This tournament starts at 10 am with registration beginning at 8:30 am. Entry fee is $100 + $10 administrative fee. Up to 80 teams will compete for a prize pool valued at up to $8,000 featuring a first place prize of up to $2,800!

Each team must be comprised of a male and female, who will alternate playing. The female team member will play the odd number blind levels and the male team mate will play the even number blind levels. Registration is on a "First Come First Serve" basis at the promotions booth or through teleservices at 1-888-642-6376. Once 80 seats have been filled a wait list will be generated.

Geez, why can’t I be in Canada? Actually, this would be perfect idea to bring up to our league operators, Betty and Grady. Not sure if they would approve it since gambling is not legal in Austin. *ahem* Wait. The perfect event...A combined billiard and poker Jack n' Jill tournament. What could possibly be better than that?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Double w00t! JC is comin' to town!

Jonathan Coulton is such a great song writer and musician that is different from the normal musician. He's hilarious! He is touring with John Hodgman on his paperback tour and hitting Austin this Monday, October 30th at Book People. I'm not sure if he will be playing any songs, but it would be an honor just to meet the guy. I think it's set for 7:00pm, and I don't get off of work until 8:00pm. That just means I gotta zoom zoom zoom over to downtown. I'll call ahead and see if they are still there.

I love two of his songs:
  1. A Gambler's Prayer
  2. A Laptop Like You


I was perusing around and found this really powerful AMV with the coolest gal around, Battle Angel Alita. AMV is an anime music video that is created from a variety of scenes from an anime movie(s) or series set to a song. This one was compiled from 3 different animes:

Battle Angel Alita, Escaflowne & X/1999

Completely surprise to find this video with this song - it's perfect. I must give kudos to Luis J. Hernandez of LJ Productions -- I'm impressed that he chose this song. It's beautiful and sync'd perfectly with the Battle Angel OVAs.

It's a powerful love song about leaving this world. Not being afraid, letting the person you love know you are going to be ok (as much as it will hurt them to have to let you go). Also knowing that the person you are leaving will meet you again in a better world. It's about always being with someone in spirit. I love every word of it.

Artist: Evanescence
Song Title: My Last Breath

Check the video out: Angel's Last Breath

That it? or Dat it?

I will never eat at the Taco Cabana on Burnet Road again. I was craving chicken fajita tacos, so decided to go out and pick up a couple. I pull up to the speaker and I hear, "You ready?" I say, "Can I please have two chicken fajita tacos with cheese and..." Before I could continue, I hear, "That it?"

I then say, "I would also like a medium diet coke and..." Then I hear the notorious, "That it?" Maybe she said, "dat it?"

Ok, no that is not it. If I was finished I would say, "Thank you and that will be all tonight." I then I wonder if she is going to say anything else besides, "That it?"

So here's my new mission at that moment. I am going to get her to say something else. I figured she can't keep saying that. So I continue to order a small side of queso. Before I could finish, she said, "That it?".

Alright, I have decided that she thinks I am taking up too much of her time. Not sure why - there are no cars ahead of my or behind why the rush to cut me off. Fast food is pretty low in cost, so the obvious thing for restaurants to increase revenue is to upsell. Add a dessert, upsell a large drink, add a side, etc.

But no, I just get the ol' "That it?"

For a brief moment, the devil part of Jennefer came out and wanted to just keep ordering items just to hear the infamous "That it?" Yea, see how many times I could get her to say that. But no, the angel part said, "Don't do that Jen!"

I realize that I don't want to give my money to a company that thinks I'm a burden for them doing their job. I'd rather go somewhere that wants the business and is in the business to do their job. I then say, "Please cancel my order." She then says, "OK!"

I thought about asking for a manager, but I didn't want this to turn into a big ordeal. I was hungry and wanted to find something to eat. Jack in the Box is right next door to Taco Cabana, so I drive a few hundred feet to their drive through.

As I pull up, I hear, "Thank you for choosing Jack in the Box, this is Gerardo, may I please take your order?" Wow, Wow, Wow -- this was music to my ears. I look at the menu and I see a new burger called the Sirloin Burger. I decide to try it because it looks quite tasty from the picture. I order one and Gerardo says, "Would you like the individual burger or the combo?". Just for him asking, I say, "The combo please with a diet coke." He replies, "Great, Is there anything else for tonight?" I reply, "No thank you, that will be all." He proceeds to tell me the total and I drive up. As I pull up to the window, he smiles and tells me the total again. He said, "We are making your fries now, so it will be just a minute." Another great example of customer service. My bad experience of going through a drive through turned into a great experience. I'll definitely go back to that unit.

BTW: The New Sirloin Burger is yummy - gotta try it. It's great!

BTW II: In the future with technology and all, I think it would be grand to be able to pull up to a touch screen interface and just enter the items you want. Maybe even have a login in screen with your password where you could order any of your previous orders. For myself, I usually order the same combo each time I go to a fast food restaurant. It would be cool if I could just get the 'usual'. There would be the optional 'HELP' button if the customer needed assistance. Pull around to the corner and your food is given to you. Bam, done.

Monday, October 23, 2006

BSG - You gotta watch it.

First group pictures are from Episode 6, Season 3: Torn
Second group pictures are from Episode 5, Season 3: Collaborators

If you are looking for an unbelievable series, Battlestar Galactica is a must. It's the best sci-fi TV ever. Not because it's merely great science fiction, it's great TV.

It's in it's 3rd season, but you can always catch up with the past season by purchasing the 2 past season's sets. You can also download the shows from iTunes if you don't have cable and don't have the time to go out and buy the DVD sets. It airs on the Sci-Fi channel at 9:00pm.
Be good. Spread the word.

Little and Big

Last Friday I went to a long overdue dinner with one of my dearest girlfriends. She was the first person I met in Austin and we’ve been friends ever since. Her name is Trinidad, and we all call her Trini for short. She’s cute as can be, extremely hard working and has the strongest endurance of any female I know.

She has a gorgeous and talented daughter with the coolest name, Jennefer. Trini named Jennefer after me (which was an honor itself) and we’ve always referred to me as ‘Big Jennefer’ and her, ‘Little Jennefer’.

As we were eating our dinners, Trini’s cell phone rang and it was little Jennefer. Little Jennefer asked her mom what she was doing and her mom replied, “I’m eating dinner with Big Jennefer at Trudy’s.” Little Jen on the other end of the phone said, “Oh Mom, can I come too since Big Jennefer’s there?!”

I wonder when she'll quit calling me Big Jennefer or if that has some other implication that I need to lose a few pounds. Anyway...let's continue.

Trini said, “Jennefer, you can’t leave your friend’s birthday party. You can go with us another time.” Trini said Jen was just silent.

Little Jen has so much spirit every time we get to see each other. I don’t spend nearly the time I should with little Jen, so she really gets excited when the opportunity is there. It’s difficult for us to go out on a regular basis since her mom works all the time and my schedule is usually whacked – those that know me know what I mean.

I wanted to write a little bit about little Jen, so you can just realize how wonderful she is and the person she has grown up to be (now 13 years old).

The top ten best experiences I’ve had with little Jennefer:

1. The day she was born – beautiful, healthy girl with a head full of dark hair. Precious.
2. The first time she said, “You are Big Jenfer and I am little Jenfer.”
3. Watching Jennefer play soccer for the first time. O my – that girl’s got talent. She can control that soccer ball like there’s an invisible string attached to it!
4. Jennefer’s black and white photo shoot at the Botanical Gardens. She’s a true gem to take photos of – a natural.
5. The day her mom ask me to be Jennefer’s Godmother.
6. The first time she invited me to her church.
7. Her helping me at Town Lake Animal Center. I was a volunteer on the photo team and I needed help one Saturday with the photos. She was a great photo partner – thanks Jen!
8. The day she starting wearing “cute” girly clothes – she’s always wore tomboy clothes (heh, I was the same way).
9. The day she helped me pick out my first Christmas Tree in Austin and helped decorate it.
10. The day she asked me to help plan her Quinceanera (Sweet 15). I’m looking forward to being a part of this.

It’s been amazing to see her grow up over the years and now she’s a teenager! I’m wondering if she’ll go through the rebellious teenager years – I don’t think she will. I think she’ll excel more and more everyday. It’s funny – every time I see her, she’s always got a new story that fascinates me. I love to listen to her and ask her opinion on her decisions. If I had a daughter, I’d definitely want a clone of her.

I’m proud of little Jen. *Big hug*

Note: I’m always making quirky things – the above image is an animated version of little Jennefer. It's a close resemblance of what she looks like! See, told ya she's a doll.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

froot 'kók`teyl

Dear Mr. Willliam Cruess:

This has absolutely nothing to do with Pool, Poker or Anime, but just as important in my mind. Growing up, there were a few things that were just the greatest things to eat in my world. I'll list them in order of priority:

1. Grilled Cheese
2. Lucky Charms
3. Fruit Cocktail
4. Jello with Fruit Cocktail
5. Hamburger Helper
6. Manwich
7. Macaroni and Cheese
8. Ice Cream
9. Pop Ice
10. Red Grapes (seedless)

In the present, I would still be completely content with living off of the above items. Heh, In fact, that's still pretty much what I consume. Good times.

Here comes the story. Friday I was longing for fruit cocktail, a beautiful mixture of peaches, pears, pineapples, grapes, pears and cherries (although there are never enough cherries) - more than I ever have. I hadn't been feeling well the past few days, so my appetite was pretty non existant, but it started coming back that night. I didn't want anything but fruit cocktail - the only thing that will satisfy me. I went to HEB on my quest to get a few cans. As I'm looking for the cans, I notice the 106oz can that is 6lbs. O my! I think I'm in heaven -- I'm not at Sam's or Costco, but HEB and they have this gargantuan can!! I quickly grab it and travel my way to the checkout line with my one can of Fruit Cocktail. It's 6 lbs (which felt like 15 lbs because I have no energy), but so worth it in my mind.

I drive home with my head pounding and about to fall asleep at the wheel. I put the can on the counter, pull out the faithful ol' can opener and guess what? It won't open the can!! It's one of those cheap hand can openers and it just bends. Ok, here's the issue...I haven't eaten much in the past two days and my heart was set on this. Ok, no problem - look for solution #2. I grab a knife and hammer and try and repeatedly pound holes in the can. Um, this is not happening either - not working. Now I have a few punctures on the lid, and 10 minutes later come to grips that it's not working. A drill might work, but I have no drill. I could drive up to the local Walmart to buy a heavy duty can opener, but by this time I'm too exhausted to drive and in pajamas. No energy to get dressed and drive up there - sad, eh? But true.

How did people open cans before the can openers were invented (can openers were invented about 50 years after canned items). Just like I attempted to do...with a hammer and a chisel (but i subsituted a knife). No chisel. Not prepared.

So what's for dinner? I've got ice cream (with chocolate syrup and whipped cream) for dinner and for dessert, Lucky Charms. That's dinner - you can't go wrong with that.

BTW: Are you wondering who Mr. Cruess is? Yep, Founder of Fruit Cocktail. Obviously he was a good man. *smiles*

Monday, October 09, 2006

Gothic I am

I've always been told I'm kinda gothic - black clothes, black hair, black everything. I'm guessing playing pool in the dark is not out of the question. Just gotta get me these glow in the dark balls. It's a kit that you can use to transform your current table into some major fun. It comes with:

A complete Aramith glow-in-the-dark phenolic ball set, reflective cushion tube with metallic springs, glowing cue rings, glowing break spots, and glow-in-the-dark rail sights. Also need to get blacklight to get the full effect. Rack em'!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

dis-uh-peer (verb)

Sometimes I wish I was a magician. Now that would be power.

It's great to just disappear, grab a suitcase, switch the answering machine on and just go somewhere else. - Dido Armstrong

All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else. - Buddha

By 2009, computers will disappear. Displays will be written directly onto our retinas by devices in our eyeglasses and contact lenses. - Ray Kurzweil

Oh man. If I had magic powers... I would hope that I would use them for good. I think I would. But I would do something pretty trivial like making traffic disappear. - Nick Stahl

Sometimes I just disappear to a white room in Spain or Italy or France. I don't need any conveniences or anything fancy, I need quiet and no clutter. - Jeanette Winterson

My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here. - Jim Henson