Friday, January 26, 2007

Not In the News Friday (NITNF)

NITNF will usually be a bit of trivia that I found interesting and thought you would like. It may be IR-related and it might not -- but should always be fun...or at least fascinating.

This week's focus will be on the amazingly talented interracial married couple known in music simply as Tuck and Patti!

Tuck Andress and Patti Cathcart - a couple that have been making music together for over 25 years and who released ten albums flavoured with jazz, pop, rhythm and blues, gospel, folk, rock and Brazilian genres since 1988 as a duo.

Patti hails from San Francisco and knew from the age of six that she wanted to be a singer. She started to sing in church, directed choirs by the age of 10 and received voice lessons in high school. As she was raised in the Bay Area in the 60s she was influenced by all the styles of music going on and places like The Fillmore were second home to her - even Bill Graham watched out for her. Patti jammed with hundreds of musicians during that time and learned how to improvise in any style. Some might remember that Patti was one of the founding members of Kingfish - featuring Bobby Weir, Matthew Kelly, Dave Torbert, Barry Flast among others.

In 1970 Tuck enrolled in Stanford where he would later major in music and played in several rock and jazz bands at the same time. He even went to Los Angeles to play in bands and took the guitar position for the Sonny and Cher TV show for some time - but decided to leave the L.A. scene before it could swallow him. Instead he headed to the Bay Area where he would play in top 40, soul and rock bands or practice and listen to music 8 to sometimes 14 hours a day.

In 1978 Tuck was playing in a band Patti came to audition for. Once they met they immediately knew they had found their musical soulmate (and partner in life). Since the band didn't happen Tuck and Patti decided to work as a duo and their instant success in the Bay Area proved that their formula that every song had to speak and be played from their hearts worked. Ten years later they would release their first CD "Tears of Joy" and the rest is history as they say. Tuck & Patti have become a well known act worldwide - especially in Europe and Japan.

Source: Tuck And Patti (Artist profile from

Tuck and Patti's Official Website
(includes photos, links, blogs from Tuck and Patti and a very informative FAQ about the duo)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Being Together

The above picture is beautiful. With its lush scenery, amazing natural light and colors, it typifies what I find incredible about the beginning or the end of a day. And yet, it doesn't come close to how incredible it feels to wake up next to the same woman whom I've loved for nearly 15 years now. To know that she is the one I'm married to, committed to, who has given me two precious children and has dedicated herself to me for the rest of her life. To know that her feelings for me are as genuine, as powerful as my feelings for her. To know that, even though there will be different kinds of emotional, physical and spiritual trials in our relationship, we have pledged to make it through, with the help of the Lord.

I am truly grateful for the loved ones in my life and I never want to take them or their love for granted. I know that tomorrow is not promised, so I want to give my praises today. I'm proud of my wife and I'm proud of my family. This is our family, we made it together. We are interracial and we are also...completely normal.

Have a great weekend!

Best Wishes,

Friday, January 19, 2007

Not In The News Friday (NITNF)

NITNF will usually be a bit of trivia that I found interesting and thought you would like. It may be IR-related and it might not -- but should always be fun...or at least fascinating.

This week, don't let the above picture fool you. Although the comic book character of Steel is pretty cool and was a great new character for DC Comics circa 1993 with "The Death of Superman" (which wasn't really the death of Superman, since he didn't stay dead...but hey, that worked for Spock, too). But you will see that the above graphic is indeed appropriate when I tell you the tale of "My Son's Epic Battle Against The Icy Stairs of Doom!"

Okay, maybe it wasn't exactly an "epic battle" worthy of the history books and song and legend but I do think it is a fitting finale to the Winter Storm Warning week. My sons got home from school yesterday and braved the Icy Stairs of Doom to get into our apartment. Aside from nearly slipping on one bit of see-through ice, they did fine. No injuries, no actual slips.

So my oldest son then took it upon himself to get my hammer, descend to the bottom of the stairs and proceed to demolish the remaining ice from each of the 16 stairs...until none remained.

My son is 11 years old. No one prompted him to do this. He just did it! I think he wanted to be rid of the ice and I think he really wanted to do something to protect the rest of us. Plus, while I imagine that it was hard (and messy), it was probably pretty fun to take a hammer to concrete and ice! So, both my wife and I thanked him for his valiant efforts.

That ice never stood a chance!

Best Wishes,

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Back To A Semblance Of Normalcy

Yesterday, we were finally able to de-ice most of the van and drive it a bit. After about 90 minutes, we cleared the ice from windshield in the front, all the side windows, the tires and most of the back. It took one more round to free the remainder of the back window. I actually managed to scrape/cut my right hand on ice to create a minor ouch factor for the rest of the day. Anyway, we drove to the grocery store, where we ran into one of our bandmates, got some supplies and headed back.

Today, most of the school systems, including ours, opened a couple of hours late (to coincide with the ending of the Winter Storm Warning). I asked my wife to wait a couple of hours to go into work so we could make sure we got our kids down the Icy Stairs of Doom in one piece. After that, my wife dropped me off at work on the way to her job and all is well.

Things are still icy in places but it is manageable and most of Austin is trying to get back into the groove of things (ice...road...groove...Austin=music town -- er, nevermind).

Best Wishes,

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

More Pictures From Ice Central

Just a few more photos from around the neighborhood. Click on any of them to enlarge them to full-size.

A frozen flower garden, up close.

Same flower garden, but a wider view.

A nearby sidewalk, partially iced over.

The treacherous ice stairs. I'll be happy when these thaw (probably tomorrow).

Most everyone in our apartment complex stayed in today. Good for them!

Best Wishes,
Iced In, With A Side Of Snow

Everyone's still home, icebound. As you can see, my family is in good spirits (click on the above picture to enlarge it to full-size. And you can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them). When you see our van, below, you'll see why we've been in no rush to go anywhere.

This is the back windshield of the van. This is at least 1/4" thick ice. I put warm water on it this morning and it didn't even make a dent in it!

This is the front windshield, which got even more ice and sleet. The driver's side door lock was frozen as well.

Even the tires had a layer of ice!

If you click on this picture, you'll see a better view of the snow. We haven't really had any accumulations of snow but to get it at all in Austin is very rare, so we enjoy it when it happens.

Well, I said when I had some pictures, I'd share. These are from about one hour ago. Enjoy!

Best Wishes,

Monday, January 15, 2007

Having A Winter Blast

Well, as predicted, my wife stayed home from work today because of the winter-like weather. The bottom half of the stairs to our apartment were (and are) treacherous, to say the least, and our van is covered in about 1/4" of ice. We ran the engine for about 5 minutes today, just to keep the vehicle active and not too cold for too long, but we didn't drive anywhere. We couldn't have if we'd wanted to; the windshield wipers were frozen in place by the ice on both windshields.

We did take a walk together down to a nearby convenience store late in the afternoon. That was before the latest round of sleet happened. It was nice to get out for a little bit but we did have to be very careful. Most of the streets looked okay but parts of sidewalks and almost all the grass had a layer of ice over it. I feel bad for all the people who had car accidents or fell down or had other ice-related accidents today.

They say we could get 1" - 3" inches of snow overnight and another 1/4" to 1/2" of ice. It's a good thing I have some leave built up at work because I think I'll probably have to use some of it tomorrow. I love my job but I'm not going to endanger my life or my vehicle just to get there. We'll just have to see what happens.

We've been following the weather closely, since it's been slower to move through the area than expected. The Winter Weather Warning has been extended to Wednesday at noon now. Schools in the area have been closed, which was predictable.

I'll blog more when I know more. There really hasn't been that much to photograph yet but if we get snow accumulations, I'll be sure to snap some pix!

Best Wishes,
Nothing Like A Winter Weather Warning...

Well, this is Texas...and the weather is one of the least predictable things about this state, usually. Today, it's not that unpredictable. As you can see in the radar image, there's a hugs line of icy weather that's practically on top of us at the moment. With ice accumulations of 1/4" to 1/2" expected by morning and the fact that Central Texans do not know how to drive in these conditions (they can barely handle rain), I would say tomorrow will be a good day to stay indoors and play games, cook and watch movies...that is, assuming we have power.

I have Mondays off and the kids have the day off tomorrow for MLK Day. My wife would normally work but given the likely deteriorated road conditions, the job will probably understand if she plays it safe and stays home. We've had ice and even tidbits of snow, but this could be a storm the likes of which Austin hasn't seen in maybe 20 years! I'm not worried, really. We should be okay if we stay in and take it easy. I'm more concerned for those who brave the icy roads because, even if you're a great driver, someone else might not be.

Have a nice MLK Day and stay warm and safe, wherever you are!

Best Wishes,

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saturday Sage Wisdom

I read this quote in an all-races forum and had to relay it here, for a couple of reasons:

One, because I liked it; and
Two, because whether you agree with it or not, there is an aspect to it that is true.

When you think about it no two people are alike so we are all from mixed marriages.

I know, I know, not everyone's parents were married when they were born, but the point is still a good one. And considering that there is no such thing as a person who is 100% any ethnicity or "race," we are all mixed somewhere in our DNA, even if it was 15 generations ago.

Best Wishes,

Friday, January 12, 2007

Not In The News Friday (NITNF)

NITNF will usually be a bit of trivia that I found interesting and thought you would like. It may be IR-related and it might not -- but should always be fun...or at least fascinating.

This week, we have a real treat: This website is run by an interracial married couple, Paul (who is a White American) and Hitomi (who is Japanese). They are dedicated to teaching people the Japanese language and culture via their website and downloadable podcasts.

My wife has been very interested in all things Japanese, which is how she came across their site. I have found it a fascinating experience as well, although I'm not as fast at learning languages as I am at fixing computers...alas...but I am trying!

Back to Their podcasts are both informative and fun. Their website also contains lots of trivia, pictures (they have some cute kids), videos, a blog and forum -- as well as the podcasts. Check them out today!

Best Wishes,

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Double Dose Of Cuteness!

Don't raise your ears too much --

-- but it's time for some hot doggin' -- er, Cold Doggin'...

Um, Cute Overload let the dogs out, that's all I can say!
Back Up And Running

Well, it took a couple of days but the home pc is back up and running again with a new 200 GB hard drive (the drive that died was an 80 GB drive). Fortunately, we had backed up the vast majority of our files on another computer, so the main inconvenience was just reinstalling the Operating System (OS) and the software and the ridiculous number of Windows Updates. (60+ updates for Windows XP -- geez!)

So, life slowly gets back to normal. Sometimes, it's good to be a geek.

Best Wishes,

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Long Way To Go...

On Saturday night, the hard drive on our beloved main home computer, well, died. Yesterday was one of my days off, so I thought I'd ride the bus over to the computer store and get a replacement hard drive.

I got to the bus stop at about 9:15am. A few minutes later, a Hispanic young man walked up and sat down at the other bus stop bench about 10 feet away. A few minutes later, a Black woman who I'd seen a couple of days earlier at the same bus stop walked up. Since we'd spoken before, I said "Good morning." She looked at me with an odd glare and walked back in the other direction and waited about 20 feet away from the Hispanic young man. Weird but whatever, right?

Several minutes after that, a young Black woman walked up and stood about 10 feet on the other side of the bus stop. And a couple of minutes after that, a Black man walked up and started a conversation with the young Black woman.

Now, maybe I'm being oversensitive, but seeing a scene of complete volunteer racial social segregation at a bus stop, of all places, was sort of surreal. I did not feel personally discriminated against for my race but it was an odd experience.

Is it possible that those two people already knew each other? Sure, but it didn't look like it. There wasn't a look of familiarity between them, it just looked like they were passing time till the bus came.

I think it is sad that some people feel that they must place that much physical space and social distance between themselves and someone of another race -- or that the only thing necessary for a person to feel comfortable enough to strike up a conversation with another person is the color of their skin.

I've had plenty of days where I wait at the bus stop and people of different races stand next to each other, even if noone talks (although usually at least one person will) this wasn't an everyday experience. It's just odd that there are enough people being socially indoctrinated to this kind of behavior that it's possible at all.

Best Wishes,

Saturday, January 06, 2007

There's Not A Not In The News Friday (NITNF) This Week

Mea Culpa by ~ginaNL on deviantART

My apologies but there's a couple of things that are occupying my attention this week. And while everyone in my family is just fine, myself included, between work and some of the things that are on my mind, I've just had to let this slide this week. I'd rather not have it seem forced, I prefer to have fun with it. I hope you understand.

NITNF will return next week!

Best Wishes,

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Start 2007 With A Dose Of Cuteness...

...and nothing says "cuteness" like Cute Overload!

Here's to more cuteness in 2007!

Best Wishes,
Happy New Year and Happy 4th Anniversary, IR Haven!

Garfield is Copyright © 2007 PAWS, Inc. All rights reserved.

Well, IR Haven officially started on January 10, 2003 but we'll just be happy and celebrate the whole month, okay?

We had a great New Years Eve 2006 and New Years Day 2007. As we have done for the last 10 years, we brought in the New Year at church. There's something very special about bringing in a new year with prayer, reviewing one's life over the previous year and seeing if there's anything that could be done better now, and asking for help with that. It's also wonderful to be together and worshipping with people you know, love, trust and respect.

On New Years Day, we went over to the in-laws and had fun conversation, played board games, endured television football, played a DVD and devoured some really good food! I have not had good chitterlings (also known as "chitlins") in years! And with chalula (hot) sauce (mm-MMMmmmmmm!)? That's the stuff!!!

We also had roasted chicken with homemade dressing, blackeyed peas, rice, fresh-baked rolls and more! I got full not once, but twice with all that food...and it was worth it. We all had a great time hanging out with family on a lazy, cold (for Texas) day and didn't leave till dark. I am very grateful that I feel very loved and appreciated by my in-laws, especially being in an interracial marriage.

Well, that's all for now. Take care!

Best Wishes,