August 14th, 2001


Austin Lounge Lizards

This evening, we went to see the Austin Lounge Lizards in concert. Whee! We had much fun.

The Lizards were in fine form, as usual. They started with their bluegrass cover of Pink Floyd's "Brain Damage" and went on from there.

They played lots of great songs, and almost all of my favorites. They played Lori's favorite, "Jesus Loves Me (But He Can't Stand You)."

I got to talk with Conrad a bit before the show, and he confirmed that the song "Old Blevins" was named after the "Old Blevins Road" exit on I-35 between Austin and Dallas.

Songs I can remember, in a vague attempt at the order in which they were played:
Brain Damage
Hey Little Minivan
Jesus Loves Me (But He Can't Stand You)
Forty Years Old and I'm Livin' in My MOm's Garage
Stupid Texas Song
Paint Me on Velvet
Hot Tubs of Tears
That Godforsaken Hellhole I Call Home
The Grunge Song
We Are In Control
Rasputin's HMO
The Dogs, They Really Miss You
A Hundred Miles of Dry
Shallow End of the Gene Pool
Pizza on the Ground
Rock and Roll Lawyer
Highway Cafe of the Damned
Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs
Hillbillies in a Haunted House

They just looked like they were having so much fun as they played!

We ended up buying the two CDs of theirs that we didn't have and getting them autographed.

One unfortunate addendum: at the concert, I broke the hematite ring I wear. I do have a spare, since I've broken them enough that I know I need spares, but still it's a bit unfortunate.
  • Current Music
    Ella Fitzgerald, "A Tisket, a Tasket"

More Lizards

The Austin Lounge Lizards' song "1984 Blues" is mighty fine.

"Mr. Thought Policeman, I don't wanna do no wrong..."
  • Current Music
    Austin Lounge Lizards, "1984 Blues"

What I really want to do

Willie asks, "What would your profession be if money and training were no object?"

It's a tough question for me.

I think, really, there's a good chance that I would be a computer programmer as I am now.

I tend to be really outstanding (if I do say so myself) at "tactical" problem-solving, but not so good at "strategic" problem-solving. To put this into more coherent terms, I am really good at solving really thorny problems with making our code jump through hoops, but not so good at deciding, "We should build a program to do X." (Or "We should try to achieve this research goal", when I was a grad student.) Perhaps some day I will be better at that level.

So right now, it suits me to a T to be a senior code-wrangler without being the one who decides what applications to develop. I get the feeling of being very very good at what I do, and that's really what I crave from work and life.

As a digression, there are lots of professions for which I'd like to have the skills to do the job well, but probably wouldn't want to have that job even if I had the skills. This list includes:
Event Coordinator
  • Current Music
    Austin Lounge Lizards, "Pflugerville"


Today, I woke up at around 7:30 (significantly earlier than my usual time) to go to the bathroom. I felt a bit underslept, but I decided to get up and try to get productive instead of returning to bed.

I wasn't wholly productive, but I made it in to work by 9:30, which is an hour earlier than I usually get in.

At work, I followed the advice from the MIT grad student's guide that I rarely follow, "Don't read e-mail when you first get into the office. Start with a bit of work, and it'll shape your whole day."

It did indeed shape my day. I plunged into work with vigor, and I had finished my current task (making this program produce its output in XML) by noon. Then I went on to download Xalan and coax it to compile with g++ under AIX, and started work on integrating the current versions of Xerces and Xalan with our toolkit on Windows.

My momentum did flag a bit through the day; it especially flagged each time I finished one project. But it was still a very productive day.

I left about 5:30, because I was feeling tired and no longer productive.

But because the weather was beautiful and cooler than it has been, I decided to go home and do some digging on the drainpipe. (I credit Sean's inspirational words for nudging me over the course of a couple of weeks to at least try the digging myself. I bought the extension cord I needed to light my work and went home and attacked the job.

It was hot, dirty, tiring work. The ceiling of the crawl space was low enough that I couldn't stand up, and I couldn't really put my weight into the tools. Every few moments I had to take a break to try to find a more comfortable position for my legs.

But I finally found a groove with the pitchfork that seemed to work pretty well. By the time I left off for a shower before dinner, I had dug down to the drainpipe for a distance of about seven feet or so. I was pleased; this was a worthy hunk of progress for a few hours of labor.

This part was mostly just digging; there's another part of the task that involves moving a fairly big pile of rubble and laths. I don't know if that will be harder or easier.

I've learned the following things about this drainpipe task:
* This pipe has been replaced before. I found pieces of old pipe lying around.
* There have been two extensions on this side of the house. This explains the odd "window to nowhere" in the basement.
* There were two different places where water from the drainpipe had eroded earth away instead of proceeding out as it was supposed to. In addition, there was another place where I uncovered the drainpipe and found a big visible hole--but this place hadn't been eroded. I don't quite know what's going on there.
* A pitchfork is really a good tool for this task.

Man, I'm tired. It took me a long time to get up the oomph to write tonight's entries.
  • Current Music
    Austin Lounge Lizards, "Kool Whip"