June 30, 2005

Wednesday Night Dinner

Filed under: Events,Friends,Music,Places — Cory @ 2:16 am

A few months ago when Chris was in town a bunch of people showed up at Rebar to hang out and catch up with him. I ended up talking with his friend Isaac quite a bit that night, and I remembered that he mentioned something about Wednesday Night Dinner. That was all I had heard about it until last night.

Chris is back in town this week, and he got a bunch of people together at Gruene Hall last night for the live DVD that Two Tons of Steel was recording. Isaac was there again and was telling us the story behind the WND. Apparently some people in Austin started the original Wednesday Night Dinner as a way to meet friends of friends, enjoy music, art, and of course, good food. Isaac started up the WND thing in San Antonio earlier this year, and last night he invited us to come over. Everyone brings something: food, drinks, supplies, or if you are Brett, cigarettes. Music is also a big part of the night, so he suggested that I come prepared to play something.

Lately I’ve been trying to make an effort to meet more people outside of work, so this sounded like a good opportunity. After work I stopped and bought some red beans & rice mix and a jalapeno smoked sausage, headed home and cooked it up. I showed up at their place around 9 (when things were supposed to get started) with the beans, my guitar, and my mandolin. Pretty much everyone was there by the time I arrived, which was great because I only knew like 3 or 4 people to begin with. Immediately it was time to eat, and let me just say how great it was to see some real food on the table. Green bean casserole, another type of bean casserole, and about 6 or 7 other types of casseroles (it was casserole night, if you didn’t pick that up). I ate a plateful of casserole and loved it. I topped it off with some sort of Oreo and whipped cream dessert, at Richard‘s recommendation. Whoa, it was all good.

Once the eating slowed down it was time for music. There were several guitar players there, so I grabbed my mandolin and handed my guitar to someone else. We played some Gourds songs (El Paso, Gin and Juice, and Ants on the Melon, of course), Friend of the Devil, and a few other things for about 20 minutes or so until some of the other musicians wanted to play stuff from other genres. That was cool too, because I wanted to hang out with people anyway. The rest of the guys continued to play on and off for the next 3+ hours, and it was fantastic. I really enjoyed just sitting back and listening to the music.

I guess around 20 people showed up this week, maybe more, but overall it was a great night. I hope to attend the WND as often as possible from now on, it’s just the type of social gathering I like: laid back with good food, good music and good people.

• • •

June 28, 2005

The Fanatical CORE Team

Filed under: Friends — Cory @ 1:33 am

Last fall the CORE team won the Rackspace Fanatical Award for the improvements we made to the company’s internal software. We took a picture for it back then, but it was pretty bad. Now that the company is at the new office building, there is a dedicated wall with pictures of those who have won the Fanatical Award. A couple weeks ago we were asked to pose for another picture so that it could go on the wall. Fortunately we had a few days notice, so a few of us decided that we would dress up a little bit that day for the occasion. Unfortunately, only Will and I remembered to do this, but the pictured turned out fairly nice anyway.

• • •

June 24, 2005

Broken Dreams – Eleven Hundred Springs

Filed under: Events,Music — Cory @ 10:33 am

Over the past few months I have become a big fan of Eleven Hundred Springs, one of Texas’ great young country bands. I bought their newest release, Bandwagon, several months ago at one of their shows at Floore’s Country Store. It’s now one of the best CD’s I own. I also bought their No Stranger To The Blues CD and I like it as well.

So a couple weeks ago I was in my truck flipping through the radio stations when I landed on KNBT. A song was playing and a female was singing and then it went to a pedal steel solo, I immediately recognized the style as Aaron Wynne’s. A couple seconds later I heard Matt Hillyer’s voice and knew then that it was an Eleven Hundred Spring’s song that I had never heard. As it turns out, it was a song from the Broken Dreams CD that they recorded with Kim Pendleton. I’ve since bought the CD, and although there are only 5 songs on the CD, it is extremely good. “Depends On You” is one of those songs that will get stuck in your head and be there all day, which is great because it is terrific. It’s definitely worth the $7.

Matt and the boys will be playing at Floore’s on Friday, July 8th. I’ll be there for sure. The following day they are inviting everyone to float down the Guadalupe with them, if the weather is nice I may head out there for that as well.

• • •

June 23, 2005

Strengths Finder

Filed under: Books,General — Cory @ 3:38 pm

Shortly after starting at Rackspace I was introduced to StrengthsFinder. StrengthsFinder is a tool to help you identify talent areas where you are strongest. It’s been almost 2 years since I first did this, so I decided to take it again today to see if my strengths had shifted any. Of the top 5, 4 were the same from the original results:

People strong in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.

People strong in the Command theme have presence. They can take control of a situation and make decisions.

People strong in the Self-Assurance theme feel confident in their ability to manage their own lives. They possess an inner compass that gives them confidence that their decisions are right.

People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.

People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.

Previously I had Activator in place of Strategic, but I think I like the new one better anyway.

StrenthsFinder requires a code, so if you want to take it you will need to get a copy of either Now, Discover Your Strengths or How Full Is Your Bucket?.

• • •

June 22, 2005

Red Hat Thinks I Am Cool

Filed under: Technology — Cory @ 11:35 pm

Today I took the RHCE certification test for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. A few weeks ago I had taken an excellent week long preparation course for the test, so I felt pretty good about the subject matter. I was wondering how my brain would work on only 4.5 hours of sleep, but actually, I wonder how my brain works anyway, so today was no different.

I really enjoy taking tests for some reason. I think it is because it’s a timed challenge with a known correct result. I love anything that is timed, it puts the pressure on me and that’s when my brain jumps into gear.

Anyway, I passed the test so now I feel justified in demanding a $50k raise at work.

• • •

Neko Case at Antone’s, Austin

Filed under: Friends,Music — Cory @ 10:46 pm

Last night I traveled to Austin with Pepper and Ethan to see Neko Case at Antones. I had never seen her before, but had heard a lot of her music on KSYM and at Pepper and Ethan’s house. The show was scheduled to start at 8:30, with doors opening at 8:00. As it turned out, we had two extra tickets, so we got there a few minutes before 8:00 so that we could sell our extra tickets. After entering we found out that Neko was not going on until 11:00, and that there was an opening act going on at 10:00. Soooo, we had a few hours on our hands.

We walked down to Waterloo Records and looked around there for a while. I decided to buy Mofro’s Lochloosa CD, after all, it is on Chris’s approved live music list.

After leaving Waterloo we walked over to an Asian restuarant for dinner, then headed back to Antone’s for the opening act. This may or may not have been a good idea because the dude simply could not sing. And he was weird. His drummer and keyboard players were excellent, so he had that going in his favor. Anyway, before he began playing his second-to-last song he mumbled something about a young girl asking to sing with him, and that she had never performed before. So this normal looking girl goes on stage and in the middle of the song begins to sing, I couldn’t believe it, this girl had an amazing voice! She stayed on stage for his last song as well, and that’s when I realized that it wasn’t just any girl, it was Neko!

When Neko and her band came on stage we were all ready, and the venue was almost full. It’s really awesome to hear something so original and unique. Neko has this great voice that is both extremely powerful and lofty, it’s pretty hard to imagine. If you have never heard her you should head over to amazon.com and listen to some samples of her music. The show was terrific and lasted about an hour and a half, during which I was able to record video for two songs. I don’t know the names of either of the songs, but she preceded one by saying that it was a story her grandmother told her, and the other is apparently a Hank Williams song. Here are the videos: Grandma’s Story (65MB), Hank Williams song (48MB, missing the last 20-25 seconds of the song). If anyone can help me identify either of these two songs I would appreciate it. After the show Neko signed a poster for Pepper, and we got a picture of them together. It was an excellent evening overall, and I can’t wait for Neko to perform in this area again.

We left Austin about 12:45, which put me at home a little after 2am, and I was asleep by 2:30. Just enough time for 4.5 hours of sleep to power me through the RHCE exam the next day at work. ;)

• • •

June 17, 2005

Mitch Hedberg, Comedian

Filed under: People — Cory @ 9:56 am

A couple weeks ago I came across a page of jokes and quotes from Mitch Hedberg. I remember Strunk talking about how funny this guy was, but I don’t think I ever really saw or heard enough of his comedy to appreciate it. Sadly, Mitch died earlier this year at 39 years old. Here are a few lines from the genius:

  • “I think foosball is a combination of soccer and shish kebobs.”
  • “I tried to walk into Target, but I missed. Damn.”
  • “I would imagine if you understood Morse code, a tap dancer would drive you crazy.”
  • “When someone hands you a flier, it’s like they’re saying, ‘Here, you throw this away.’”
  • “Once I saw this wino who was eating grapes, and I said, ‘Dude, you have to wait.’”

Strunk says that the Mitch Hedberg DVD is hilarious, so I may have to pick that up as well.

• • •

Two Ton Tuesday, Gruene Hall

Filed under: Friends,Music — Cory @ 1:46 am

Tuesday night I drove up to Gruene Hall for my first Two Ton Tuesday of the year. Two Tons of Steel is a really awesome band, and I appreciate them more every time I see them play. On Tuesday they started playing around 8:00 or shortly thereafter, and played until after 11:30 with only one break of 20 minutes around 10:00. It’s amazing, especially considering how high-energy their performances are anyway.

I watched the show for a little over an hour, during which they played my favorite Two Ton song, “You Know” which is on their Transparent CD. After an hour or so I headed over to the CD/shirt/merchandise table to see what was available, and as I was standing there I heard someone call out my name. I turned and looked out the door and standing there were Edwin, Annalie, Dirk and Annie. Apparently they were up there to celebrate Annie’s birthday along with Brett and some other rackers and friends. I stayed outside and chatted with everyone until almost midnight and then headed home. I hope to make it to as many Two Ton Tuesdays as I can this summer, I just love being at Gruene Hall.

• • •

June 14, 2005

Relaxation for Beginners

Filed under: Books,General — Cory @ 12:13 am

Yet another really frustrating day at work, but at least now there is light at the end of the tunnel.

After leaving the office around 6:30 I decided that I seriously needed to relax this evening. Here’s my list of ingredients for a relaxing evening:

  • a good cigar
  • good food
  • a good beer
  • a good book, and
  • a good porch

So, my first stop was Club Humidor at the Quarry. I ended up with an Ashton Heritage Puro Sol, at the recommendation of the shopkeeper.

Food was next on the list. Although I love a good ThunderCloud sub, tonight I wanted something more. I decided on The Barn Door, a place close to my apartment that I’ve been once before. I really like their crabcakes, so that’s what I ordered again tonight. As it turns out, that’s exactly what I wanted.

The next stop was Central Market to pick out an appropriate beer for the evening. They have a tremendous selection of beers, but I ended up with an old favorite from New Orleans: Dixie Beer. I know a lot of people do not consider it good beer, but for some reason I’ve liked it ever since I lived in the Big Easy.

After I was finished spending money for the day I headed home. I took a beer and the cigar out to the front porch, along with a book I had been wanting to finish: Being There, by Jerzy Kosinski. The weather was absolutely perfect, the street was quiet, the book was funny, the beer and cigar were exactly what I needed, and an hour and a half later I was healed.

And now, it’s time for sleep…

…so that I can get ready to do it all again tomorrow.

• • •

June 13, 2005

High Fil-ooten Foosball

Filed under: General — Cory @ 10:55 am

Brett just pointed out the Opus Eleven Forty foosball table. That is a work of art! I sent an email to them to get an idea of how expensive it is, but I imagine it costs more than I would ever want to spend on a table like that.

Rich people these days…

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