Monday, May 29, 2006

The Lebowski Fest Wrap-up

I know, it's taking me forever to get this posted, but I'm finally doing it. Here's the details on Lebowski Fest.

Friday night we went to the kick-off party and watched the bands. As I mentioned earlier I was clever enough to leave my camera at the hotel for this event. We finally went back to the Omni and picked it up before we hit the Dizzy Rooster.

This is Ben, Jace, me, David, and Shawn about to down our first shot of the evening. We had already been drinking, but were still functional at this point. We laughed, we drank, we did more shots.

This is us towards the end of the night. Too many White Russiand and Jager Bombs had passed through my lips, and I wasn't doing too well at this point. David almost got in a fight on the two block walk back to the hotel, and I think we did some other stuff, but I pretty much have no memory after walking back through the entrance to the hotel.

Unfortunately, the camera does have a memory. There are a couple much more detailed pictures of me unloading the PF Changs we had for dinner, but I thought I'd spare you that. I don't know what all went on once we got back to the hotel, but everyone was just stupid drunk.

I think Ben and Jace were rather proud of themselves for not yakking and passing out, but they were still just as hungover the next day.

I was the first one to pass out, but David wasn't far behind me.

He got clowned too after he threw up on himself and passed out. It makes me feel so much better that I wasn't the only one.

So Saturday we headed to Highland Lanes for the festival. It was sold out.

Big Lew Abernathy, who was the inspiration for John Goodman's character "Walter," calls somebody out for being "over the line!"

It took a while, but we finally got a lane.

Ben outrolled me the first game, but I managed to get him the second one.

I spent some time chatting with Big Lew. He said he was actually a private detective back when the film was written and that it was kind of based on the adventures he'd had with a studio exec. He said he'd never even met the guy who supposedly inspired "The Dude." Apparently the Cohen brothers pulled the characters from various places. I asked him if he was really as intense as John Goodman made his character out to be. He said, at the time, yes he was, but that he's mellowed a lot since then. I also asked him if he really pulled his gun out in the bowling alley, and he said no, that was a bit of a fabrication ... it actually happened in the parking lot. He was a real nice guy and more than happy to chat with everyone. I think he was really enjoying signing autographs and taking pictures.

The costume contest was by far the biggest event of the weekend. Some people went all out. It was hard to even get a view of the stage.

These were the contest winners. I think the nihlist was the best by far. He even had real giant scissors. (But I have to note that the winning Maude was a TOTAL hottie.)

I stopped to pose with one girl who had dressed up like The Dude's landlord when he was performing his quintet.

This girl also had a one-of-a-kind costume as she was the only one who decided to dress up like the nihlist's girlfriend that gave up her toe.

These two guys had a major advantage in the costume contest seeing as how you can't really look much more like Walter and The Dude unless you're John Goodman and Jeff Bridges.

All in all, it was a fun weekend. I need to get my poster framed, so I can hang it in my office. Maybe we'll go to the next one, but drink less and bowl more.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lebowski Fest

So we took off to Austin Friday for Lebowski Fest. I LOVE the movie The Big Lebowski. It's one of my top five favorites -- probably my favorite comedy of all time. Anyway, I'd heard about these festivals where all the fans get together and bowl, but they were always in far off areas of the country. Then I heard about one in Austin, so I figured, what the hell, we'll go check it out.

Friday night was the kick-off party at Maggie Mae's. Everyone had on their homemade t-shirts with funny sayings from the movie, and some of the people were already dressed as their favorite characters. I have no pictures of this because I stupidly left my camera sitting in the hotel room. The night kicked off with The Recliners doing a set of their Richard Cheese-style lounge music. It was pretty entertaining, and the singer got blitzed on white russians during the set, so after this amazingly loungy modified version of the Billy Idol tune "Nice Day for a White Russian," the singer actually stage dove. He hit the ground hard. It was hilarious.

The next band was called Autobahn. They dressed like the fictional German band did in the movie, and sang Technopop songs that simply repeated lyrics like "Cut off your Johnson," over and over. Their music was pretty bad, but their schtick was pretty good. They spoke in the German accents all night and kept saying how great it was to be in Dallas, go Aggies. Then they'd talk about how they liked Texas, but it wasn't as nice as Oklahoma, etc. It was pretty funny.

The last band of the night was The Yuppie Pricks. I don't really remember their music. I'd had a half dozen beers and several white russians by this point. It was generic sounding punk I think. They all wore matching white 1970s-style tennis outfits with headbands. The singer had a wooden tennis racket and a ball. After one song he said, "You sir were not cheering," and served a ball into the crowd at the guy. That was pretty funny. Ben says that during their last song he also took off his pants and was parading around in a leopard print thong, but I thankfully missed that.

We ditched out on the party after that, and went over to The Dizzy Rooster where people just kept putting bull blasters in my hand, and I just kept drinking. We stopped by the hotel and picked up the camera at this point, so I do have pictures of this. Once we walked back into the hotel I have no recollection of anything until I woke up ridiculously hungover Saturday morning and found all my clothes and my suitcase soaking wet in a bathtub full of vomit. Luckily Ben and Jace took enough pictures of David and myself throwing up that it's very easy to reconstruct what happened.

Apparently I crawled out of bed and across the floor, grabbed my bag and started hurling into it. I guess I was just looking for a container, I don't know. The reason all my clothes were in the tub was that Ben tried to wash them all out. He's a good brother, and no, I'm not going to post any of those pictures. I still can't believe I did that, but at least I found a container. Apparently David was just walking across the room and suddenly barfed down the front of himself.

I'll pick up the story on Saturday morning tomorrow night. I've got to get to bed.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I'm back

California was exhausting, but the big meeting went really well. I think the right people were impressed, and that all the employees had a good time. I'm glad to be home though. However, I would like to know what's causing that horrific stench in the garage because it's starting to permeate into the laundry room? Ben and Jace, what did you do?!!!

The show happened on Sunday. I wasn't sure it would until it actually did. However, I am now a professional musician. I should have practiced more because nerves were really killing me, and playing on a new, unfamiliar guitar didn't help. I'm going to put in some time tomorrow and Saturday to make this weekend better. Hopefully I'll have more people coming out.

I had dinner with Leigh tonight. That was a nice welcome back to Houston. Now it's off to bed for work tomorrow.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

An amazing weekend so far

Well, Friday morning I show up to work still having the horrible sinus infection/ear infection, so my boss forced me to go to the doctor. He said he wasn't taking me to California in that condition. Anyway, they gave me some antibiotics and some other stuff to clear the fluid off my eardrums. I'm feeling so much better now. I also haven't smoked or drank at all since I really do need to get well, so it's probably the healthiest weekend I've had in the last 5 years of my life.

I worked all Friday afternoon getting power point presentations ready for our execs, and then got my new recruiting banner finished and to the printers. Ben actually mowed the lawn for me Friday night. I was AMAZED. Thanks Ben.

I've just been taking it easy, spending time with some new friends, and playing my new guitar. However, the whole weekend culminates today at 3:00 when I play at The Boat on FM 1960. It's the first time I've ever attempted a 4-hour solo set. Hopefully I'll have plenty of songs, but some are just so much better with a band behind me. I wish I at least had a bass player or something. Oh well, it's a step forward I need to take. Plus, if I'm the only one playing I don't have to split the cash with anyone else.

Tomorrow morning we leave for a week in California. Hopefully it will be as fun as the last trip. I mean, it's work, but we have a pretty good time.

If you're bored this afternoon come see me play.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I visit the OTC

Originally uploaded by ffacker.
I went to the Offshore Technology Conference today. There were thousands of people there with giant, two-story booths that featured neat little cafes and observation decks. However, I found it utterly boring and majorly dissapointing. What's fun about engineering displays? I mean, if the Caterpillar booth actually let me dig something up with a bulldozer or the Baker Hughes booth let you drill through the floor looking for oil, I might be more impressed. It was so boring. It was a good experience though because now I remember why I'm a writer, not an engineer.

Oh yeah, that picture is from Sunday's beach trip. I know, I'm the best photographer ever. However, I can't decide if I like that kite in the picture or if I'm mad at the kid who was flying the kite for ruining my composition. One thing is for sure, Ben can jump high.

I came home tonight and played guitar for hours. My fingertips are killing me. I'm addicted to the song "Over my Head" by The Fray. I really want to have it memorized by my show on Sunday, so I can play it.

I wanted to go to open mic so bad tonight, but I'm too tired. Plus, Jace needed help with his resume, so I stayed home and did that. Maybe I'll play Fountainhead tomorrow night. It would be a good trial run for Sunday with the new guitar.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Meet my new baby!

Originally uploaded by ffacker.
I didn't think this week could be longer than last week, but it's getting there fast. I'm so sore from attempting to make that mile-long ocean swim on Sunday. Then my sinuses are going crazy again. It's not fun. I came home from work Monday night and turned on TV to watch Scrubs. I thought it was already Tuesday. Oh well, I'll live.

Today has been just a fun day of spending money. At work, they let me go to Wolf Camera and get a new Pro Digital SLR outfit. I got a Nikon D70s with a SB800 TTL flash and 28-105mm lens. It's pretty sweet. I've been playing with it tonight, but I get to really try it out tomorrow at the Offshore Technology Conference. I can't wait.

Then tonight I finally splurged and made the purchase I've wanted to make since 8th grade. I bought a Takamine acoustic/electric guitar. I was torn between the Tak and a Martin, but I just couldn't see spending another $800 for the Martin when it had a veneer top. I mean, it sounded great, but it wasn't quite a "true" Martin. It was the budget Martin. (Budget at $1500 -- the high-end Martins are WAY out of my league.) Anyway, I'm all set with my new jumbo acoustic/electric. Just pray there's no rain on Sunday, so my gig at The Boat will go off without a hitch.

That's pretty much all my news. OTC tomorrow. Design work Thursday and Friday. Then Monday I'm off to California again for another big meeting.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Improv at the Beach

Originally uploaded by ffacker.
So Ben and I went to the crawfish boil at UofH, and yes, the crawfish were great. And yes, the beer was free. But, everybody was old and it was all families there. It was kind of lame. So after we ate, we decided to go to the beach. We drove down to Galveston, stopped into Walmart for swimsuits and towels, and then hit East Beach. I popped the Escape into 4x4 mode and took on some sand dunes. Then we decided to try and swim the entire length of East Beach. That didn't happen. Distance swimming in the ocean is brutal. We only made it about a quarter of the way.

By the way, you know there's an obesity epidemic in America when Walmart only has two medium and one small swimsuit in stock. The rest were Ls, XLs, XXLs, and XXXLs. I knew we'd just have to buy whatever swimsuits were available since we were doing this on a whim, but my suit was seriously ridiculous. I had my choice between the flowers and a big Mexican flag, so I chose the flowers.

Of course, when we got to the beach we found all those people buying the XXL swimsuits. Not a pretty sight, but still a fun day.