The Black Dahlia

I wasn’t looking for too much in The Black Dahlia. But I forgot how much I like hard-boiled detective stories no matter what the plot, characters, or whatever. While there’s plenty of film noir leitmotifs in films now-a-days, there’s not that many that happen in the 30’s and 40’s.

Along those lines, there’s a fun spattering of hard-boiled words in the first half of the movie, and then they seem to drop out. Either that, or you just used to ’em.

The movie itself? Well, sure, it’s just fine, esp. for a book-to-movie. I haven’t read the book, but book-to-movies usually suck after getting 300+ pages crammed into 90 minutes. In fact, this movie manages to jam about 3 plot-lines into itself without getting too tired.

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A Fall Preview

Something crazy has happened this week in Austin: it’s in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. It’s not dog-ass hot! Yesterday and today have been great: I’ve had the windows open, the doors open, and had that cool breeze coming in all day long.

Let’s see how long it lasts.

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Texas at Half-mast

Ann Richards

Ann Richards, the politician of my youth died today. By that, I mean that she was the first politician that I was aware of and thought about beyond being spoon-fed that role.

More importantly, she was the last Democrat we had in my state until the Red Rash took over and people went all crazy. Still more importantly, she was a Texan without being an asshole. Those two things were magically separated for a long time, but now the silver-footed, Connecticut Yankee has fucked it up for us Texans, and, really, America.

While I was at UT, I had the privilege to attend a small session Ann Richards had with several students. She gave incredibly inspiration advice that boiled down to the Golden Rule, which seems like the thing we’ve lost in Texas-thought. Bemoaning aside, she also gave a piece of advice that I think of often.

As she was wrapping up, around 10 she said, “well, it’s been nice talking with ya’ll. But, it’s getting late, and trust me: nothing important gets discussed after 10.”

So, here’s to Ann Richards’ spirit living on. Watching the old clips of her evokes that old feeling of Texas pride: the reputation of being the most open, polite, purely-kind, but strong and confident people you’ll come across.

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[ Podcast] Episode 66 – Countdown to Gravitas

In this episode, Charles and Coté storm back after a 3 week summer hiatus and unveil the ambitious D&R “Countdown to Gravitas” campaign. Also discussed: MVC architectures and Half-Life 2. True to D&R style, I’m guest-posting this episode to the D&R feed, but since I don’t have access to Cote’s CMS, I’m manually editing the rss xml by hand. Apologies for any cock-ups.

This episode edited by Charles.

When House Painting Attacks!

Kim and I have been out for sometime (a week and a few days) repairing and painting the house. Painting an old house (built in 1949) is a lot of work. As they say in these parts, “it’s a real piece.”

If the many previous owners were lazy (check), there’re so many layers of paint that you have to literally scrape off the paint to even out the surface. Plus, there’s all sorts of rotten and crap-wood to replace.

Other problems included:

  • A circular saw with a loose-wonky blade, so it didn’t work very well until I tightened it. Chalk that up as dumb on me.
  • Replacing a wood panel with a heavy-as-hell Hardipanel. This thing weighed a shit-load and almost killed Kim and I several times. Next time I’m buying wood. Fuck that silcate crap, good as it may be.
  • It turned out that we have a roof under a roof. We’re always finding whacky stuff in our old house from past owners and remodelings. This time, while fixing some rotten trim, I discovered that there’s a whole ‘nuther roof over our kitchen/dining room addition under the “current” roof. WTF, dude?

Working in 3-D

Despite all of that, I kind of like working on the house. Even though it can suck minute-by-minute, overall it’s rewarding. I’ve worked mostly in the “non-physical” (programming and now analysis and consulting) for most of my life, so it’s a nice switch-up to work in 3-D. Even the heat isn’t so bad once you get over the hump of how fucking hot it is in the Texas summer.


Here are some pictoral highlights:

Putting in insulation where new panel will go.

Here’s the color we’ll use.

Sanding Madness!

Stripped House

Spraying on Kilz! primer, the official primer of ZombieCon 2007 (That jokes Kilz me! Kilz…Kilz!).

The Wagner spray gun. This thing is picky on how it works and clogs up easy where-in it kinds of post-bark spits out pant and makes a loud dying-robot sound.


And, yes, as you can tell from the above pictures, we’re not done yet. Half the house is primered, so there’s plenty more painting. Plus trim!

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