Custom Powered Pedal Board for Austin Hot Mods SXSW Exhibit

IMG_1290 Good evening Minions. I trust you’re up to no good. Tonight I present a collaborative project with my friend Chris from Austin Hot Mods: a custom powered pedal board for his South by Southwest exhibit.  Continue reading

Getting Stuff Done

 

The kids got swings for Christmas. The idea was to tie ropes from the giant oak tree out back and they would have hours of fun and so that’s what we did. I borrowed a ladder that wasn’t long enough, then used a wrench tied to the end of the rope and twirled the damn thing all afternoon until I finally got them in place. It was not a fun project at all, but it was worth it to see the smiles on my little minions’ faces.

Then came the squirrel.

I tied the swings up using rope passed through a slip knot, leaving about six inches on the short end to ensure the knots wouldn’t slip. Little did I know that some bastard squirrel was going to chew that rope off right at the knot and use it to make a nest. I saw him doing it and even tried to throw things at him but the branch was too damn high. He got away with the safety end of the rope and I’d been wondering if and when that knot was going to give ever since. It gave on Saturday as Bride swung on it, just a few minutes before the sink collapsed.

Well, since I’d already anticipated the thing breaking, I had a plan in place to get it back up. I went inside, grabbed my bow, then I taped a length of twine to an arrow and then shot that mofo over the branch. Damned if I was going to stand there trying to lob a flippin’ wrench straight up for a half-hour again.

It worked and now Spawn’s swing is fully operational once more.

That’s how we get stuff done around here.

 

How was your weekend?

Mine was 1/2 excellent and 50% pure suck. Here’s why.

On Saturday, a bunch of people from work came over and we had a big crawfish boil. Food and drinks were plentiful and everyone had a great time. They even helped clean up such that at the end of it all, Bride and I only had a few dishes and a couple little things here and there to pick up. Then everything suddenly went very, very wrong.

As I was scrubbing a particularly stubborn splotch of blood cheese off the bottom of the sink, there was a crunch sound followed by the sink collapsing into the cabinet below. Well, not completely, but enough to know that something was totally messed up.

Upon further investigation I discovered that whoever installed the sink merely used glue to mount it to the granite counter top, eschewing any of the clips or mounts or other things that might prevent a sink from collapsing into the cabinetry below.

So, 3/4 + 25% drunk and tired from a day of entertaining, I left it for the morning. But of course, it kept creeping into my mind, as in, “Ah man, what a nice day, such great friends, great food, and a killer buzz. Why do I feel so down? Oh, yeah. That…”

Sunday morning, Bride took Spawn to see a movie and I got to work. Luckily, I had help from my father-in-law. We spent the day cleaning and scraping old glue and silicone from the underside of the granite as well as building supports for the damn thing.

One thing I can say for the people who installed this thing, they at least sprung for the good glue. That stuff took FOREVER to remove. The bastards.

So, after half my day spent leaning over, cleaning old glue from the underside of the counter, and the other half spent inside the cabinet attempting to put screws into places that had an almost cosmic resistance to screws, my back got pretty torqued up and now I’m sitting on an ice pack.

How was your weekend?

Scary Movie Night: Tucker and Dale Versus Evil

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Hello there all my good and happy Minions. I trust you’ve all been plotting some mischief lately. Good. Well, when it comes to movies, I’m not always first to the party. My cinematic jaunts are generally reserved for superheroes and my Netflix is so jammed up with kid stuff we had to create a separate profile to search for anything else.

Recently I was stricken by plague and had an afternoon to catch up on some god old scary movies. One of them was Tucker and Dale Versus Evil. Continue reading

So you want to be in a band? (Part 1 of 6)

Artistic

 

(This series originally appeared at dumbwhitehusband.com)

Friday afternoon, around 5:30. I crack open the first beer of the weekend. The baby sits in her high-chair across the table. She flashes me a grin and waves her arms. She’s happy to see me. I make faces at her and she giggles. I’m happy to see her too. My phone buzzes and I pull it out of my pocket.

“Totally 80’s Party” at House of Blues Tonight at 9:30pm

I clear the message and take a sip of my beer.

In a few hours, my friends will take the stage at House of Blues; one of the most popular and respected venues in town. Tonight they will play to several hundred if not more than a thousand people. These days when they play, they sell out venues and command exorbitant fees. It wasn’t always this way.

My three-year-old comes in and asks if she can watch a movie. I set up her DVD for her and then grab one of my guitars and play around a little. I’m terribly out of practice. I strum a few clumsy chords before giving up and putting it away. The baby’s starting to get tired of being in her chair anyway and it’s time to start dinner. I take another sip of beer and think back.

Friday nights are a lot different than they used to be.

Part 1: So you want to be a rock and roll star…

There comes a time in every man’s life when he seriously contemplates one of two crazy ideas. The first of these is “I should open a bar!” And the second is “We should start a band!”

Luckily, I’ve never had enough startup capital to open a bar. But I did learn how to play the guitar in hopes it would get me attention from girls. Once you can strum a few chords, you’re really just one song away from riches, fame, groupies and world tours. And it doesn’t even have to be a good song. I learned a lot about how just how bad some really popular songs are because I was in a local cover band for several years. It was at the same time one of the greatest and most frustrating projects I have ever been a part of.

Thinking of pulling the old axe out of the closet and getting a few players together for some Saturday night beer money? Sit back and let me tell you all about it.

The whole thing started one night when I was having drinks with my friend Dez.  Dez had recently moved here from New Orleans where he had been part of a local party band called The Chixie Dix. NOLA was also a place where concepts like ‘party band’ existed because the people there like to party and have fun; unlike the people here. The idea we hatched that night was completely new for the Houston scene and would turn out to be an incredibly hard sell for a lot longer than we ever imagined it would be. Ironically, everybody now does what only we did then, so there’s that, but at the time we were pioneers. Pioneers who got weird looks all the time.

Dez and I enlisted my good friend T-Bag on bass, then set about advertising for players on Craigslist.

THUNDERPANTS HO!

Costumed party/cover band seeks lead guitarist and drummer for local bar gigs and private parties. Yes, you read that right: we wear silly costumes, have goofy nicknames, and play popular cover songs from the 70’s through to today’s biggest hits. Must be able to practice 2-4 times per week and have professional equipment. Songs we play include…

 

This is a pretty straightforward ad, but the people who read and respond to musician ads are pretty much crazy. I would get phone calls from people asking what kind of band we were, if I wanted to join their band, if we could supply drums, or if we wanted to buy drugs. This guy called me once and I couldn’t get to the phone in time so I called him back immediately and he bitched at me for calling so late on a weeknight. It was only 8 pm. Then, when a conversation would go well and I thought we might have an audition lined up, the subject of the costumes came up and people would flip out. “Uh, I didn’t know about the costumes. That’s a bit wild for my taste. Thanks anyway.”

So, the three of us played together, compiled a list of songs, and began to work on what we would eventually become.

Thunderpants

What happened next? Find out next time at scarydad.com

 

 

Scarydad Project: Wonder Woman Shield

 

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What happened was, a few months ago my daughter’s little friend across the street got some Ninja Turtle stuff for his birthday. Among other gear, he received two foam swords and some masks. When Spawn went over to play, she was handed a sword and a mask and told to get ready. Within a few seconds she was chasing him around the yard with his own sword. I was so proud! I decided then and there that she needed her own sword and shield set. One made of nice, high-quality materials; an heirloom piece, if you will, hand-carved by her Daddy.

Well, that idea lasted about 3 minutes. After Bride of Scarydad chased down our berserker warrior princess and made her apologize, it was decided that a pointed wooden stick was probably not the best toy to give a three-year-old.

I could think of no reason why she shouldn’t have a shield, though, and when it was decided that the theme of her birthday party was Wonder Woman, I suddenly had a project. Continue reading