Hello there! 

I know, it's been a while.  Where have I been?  In Austin.  And Vegas.  What have I been up to?  Oh you know, stuff.   How have I been?  Well...call me!  We can talk!

K, glad we're caught up.  Let me tell you about the rest of my summer.  The theme: Visitors!

I've had, and will still have many visitors this summer!  Let me tell you about them!

Visit #1
My friend Colleen came in to visit!  It was super awesome.  We did all the things!  We saw my friend's orchestra in the park, we had Amy's Ice Cream (which is so much better than Cold Stone. I know sacrilege right? right.), and we had breakfast tacos, and barbecue....Rudy's!  And we saw a concert with The Head and the Heart, and so much more!

At one point in our trip, we weren't too sure what to do next!  I started throwing out ideas.  It happened something like this?

Me: So we could play laser tag, go to Pinballz, go to a mall, go swimming, get a tour of the capitol, go see..

Colleen: BRANDON.  I just realized something: Austin is the capital of Texas!

Me: ...uhhhh....yes?

Colleen: BRANDON.  Do you realize what this means? 

Me. ...uhh..you like history?

Colleen: BRANDON.  It's my goal to see all 50 state capitol buildings!  I mean, I was already excited to see you and see Austin, but now, I'm like, really excited, I get to see a new capitol building!

So we did.  And it was awesome!  We got a tour and it was full of history and Texas pride.  She was particularly excited about seeing the portraits of the past Texas governors and their epic mustaches.

Visit #2
My friend Christine was moving to Dallas for the summer, and she stopped in Austin with our friend Mari!  Since I had work those days, we didn't do a whole lot together.  Box wine.  And Chuy's. And Rudy's.  And Amy's.  Here's what the box wine had to say:

Our song

It was great to see them again!

Visit #3
Christine came down for a weekend this time!  And boy we had a mission: The Blue Hole!

It's a little swimming hole in a small town called Wimberley just maybe 35 minutes southwest of Austin.  My friend Dan came over, we had some breakfast tacos, and we realized it might rain.  Also, we realized Wimberley sounded really British, and there must be a Sheriff of Wimberley (like Nottingham)....right?  Well, we called ahead, the weather seemed clear, and so we headed down.

When we got to the swimming hole, right away, literally, there was a Sheriff's car there!  THE SHERIFF OF WIMBERLEY!!!  Ok, we thought it was really hilarious and awesome.  Whatever.  It was a nice swimming hole, with swing ropes and shade.  And then we went to a hole in the wall BBQ place, eating morbidly delicious meat.  It was a nice adventure!

Visit #4
Christine came down again for another weekend!  And she brought our friend Kirsten! Hurray!!!
This time, we saw another Master Pancake: Fight Club!  Um, yeah, it was awesome.  We also went swimming in Barton Springs, where the water is really cold (68F all year), went to Pinballz, and hit up 6th Street for some cool bars and dancing and music!  When we came back that night (with our ritual kimchi fries), before I opened my door, I noticed there was a lizard on my door!  I was spazzing a little, but good thing my friends were with me; Christine took care of it!  My hero!!

Visit #5
Labor day!  So, I went to go see Lawless with some friends.  It was kinda super bloody.  But I liked it.  Anyway, when I got home, I went to my door, I recalled the two weeks prior about Christine and the lizard.  I thought, I should check my door, just in case.  I glanced up and around; nothing, but I chuckled, thinking of my friends.  I opened the door, went in, closed the door, turned on the lightsOHF**K! 

A lizard.

It spazzed the piss out and scampered right under my kitchen counter.  Here's what it looked like:

  Now let me show you a picture of my dad:

Saint Paul

Oh wait.  That's a saint.  Well, close enough. I called my dad instantly, because I was spazzing so many curse words, and I needed to calm down.  But he was super patient, tell me to go slowly, how it could be worse, and what I needed to do.  My dad is awesome.

Anyway.  It was in the freakin' corner. I needed to move it...or coerce it to move itself.  So, I banged on the wall near it with a Swiffer, you know, like you do.

It moved away from the corner such that I could trap it against the wall with the Tupperware.  Success!  After mustering my courage and my Dad encouraging me, I slammed the container on the wall and OH GOD IT'S POOR TAIL

Since I have +4 Dexterity, I quickly moved it such that it was no longer snagged, and it was trapped!

Then after another 5 minutes of my dad coaching me through techniques on how to get it to stay in after I get it actually off the wall, I scraped him off, he fell in, then I half ass closed the lid on the thing, and screamed while running towards my front door and:

 I slammed the door, locked it, and wheezed with success.

Visitor #6
This weekend, my friend Mike is flying in from Chicago!!! And Christine will be joining us for her fourth time in Austin!  Hurray!

Visitor #7
In November, my long time friend Chrissy is coming into town with her brother!!

Visitor #8
Who knows?? :)

Anyway, that's some stuff I've been up to.  Thanks for reading!


11 Months

The school year is about to end.  Taxes are finished.  Summer's coming. 

And I've almost been here an entire year.

I can't believe it.

I figured I'd post...since it's been like almost 2 months.  To be quite frank and nonspecific, I've been revamping my life.  My spiritual life has been basically non-existent, full of questions and doubt.  Pretty sure that's ok.  That's what others/my wisdom tells me.  Was kinda withdrawing from people, just playing games and staying inside.  Changing that though.  Playing racquetball more, dieting, losing weight!  Got some good stuff done at work for the past few months, still have a ton to learn.  Went home for a friend's wedding, was really awesome.  Sat next to a kid who loves Pokemon on the airplane....while I was wearing MY Pokemon shirt.  Sometimes I'm feeling a little trapped being alone so much, but I'm doing what I can do empower myself not to get too down about it.  I have dance parties by myself once in a while.  Still wondering what my purpose or goal in life is.  Really not sure...

And I got a lot of people who want to come visit Austin...YEAH!

Life has started to become a major grind.  Wake up...eat...go to work....come home...eat.....game...sleep....repeat.  I'm trying hard to vary it up, but it's really hard when I'm drained from work (and diet and exercise), and I live alone.  I don't know how people are so content with it.  I've definitely had some cool adventures: hiking in the greenbelt, my friend's wedding, a cooking competition with friends, etc.  I just don't know what I really want in life yet.  And that's not really good posting material...is it?   I'll let you know when I figure out more about what I'm doing with my life, because I'm not even sure yet.


My New Ride

I did it.  I bought a car.  It was an awful experience.  I stress when I explain it, so I'm not even gonna draw funny pictures to highlight the mundane, drawn-out, horrendous process that is buying and financing a car.

Anyway...just wanted to share, that a 2010 Hyundai Elantra is now what I'm driving!  Goodbye Ophelia...and say hello to...

Cordelia, The Lustrum Falcon

2 hours later when the sun decided to actually shine.

See, you can plug your IPod down there :)
Well...another goal down!  Really don't know what else to say, except that I hope this lasts me forever, because I never want to buy another car again...

Also, I <3 racquetball.  And my Crock Pot.  And Star Wars.  And my friends.  And my parents.  And my family. 


Computers, Cars, and Community

Writing this post makes me feel good, because I'm actually doing what I said I'd be doing.  Example; not posting very often.  As unexciting as that may be, looking back and seeing that you've done what you set out to accomplish makes me feel really good.

As another example, see my last post; I set out to build a computer, and I did!

My friend David helped me make it, as this was my first time, but dang son, it's nice!  And this is just a snapshot of some of one of the games (Star Wars: The Old Republic) my computer can do:

My character: Bryker Rickriver, Bounty Hunter, Republic's Most Wanted

Next on my goal list: acquire a new car!  I've thought about if I actually need one, and I think it's a wise decision.  I keep pouring money into this one, and it's not going anywhere.  I'm also afraid of the car breaking down because of all the repairs I regularly delay putting into it.  So I think in the spirit safety and financial wisdom, it's time to make my first grown-up purchase!

Actually, yesterday I took my first test drive of a car ever.  So get this; I pull into the dealership, and I'm on the phone when I get out of my car, right?  I'm like 20 feet from the door into the dealership, standing there while I finish my phone conversation before I go in.

My brain: "Oh, so exciting, time to be assertive!"

But apparently, they stop at nothing, not even social norms.

My brain: "Oh crap I'm alone and he's already coming at me!  Must try to look..imposing..."
My brain: "OH S*** HELP"

Apparently, looking imposing and having a fake phone conversation louder right next to me is a great way to sell cars.  I still don't know if he was mocking me or trying to be funny, but whatever it was, it made me feel like a helpless puppy in the rain.  Good thing my friend came, otherwise I probably would have bought a 2005 Dodge Stratus for $53,000.

But yeah, I got to test drive a Nissan Versa!  It was pretty neato, but I think it's too small.  Since I'm still really not sure what I want and what's the wisest decision, I'm going to look around a bit more.

Some other random thoughts:
-I have a Crock Pot now!!!  It rocks.
-I get to play racquetball like, all the time!  Hurray!
-I like my friends in FUSE.  Here's a picture of a bunch of us!


 Well, that's that I guess.  I'm growin' up fast...


Happy New Year!

Happy new year!

Well, I'm back!  And man a lot has changed for me!

As I wrote before, I moved.  I now live alone; both S and G are no longer in Texas currently.  I had a bunch of my friends from church help me move, and man they are awesome.  Moving was a breeze with their help, and although I still have some unpacking to do, I'm mostly settled in.

And let me tell you, the place is nice.  I'm feeling lazy right now, so I have no pictures.  But there's new carpet, nice appliances, a garden tub, crest molding....it's a very nice place.  And on site, there's a volleyball court, tennis courts, a pool....and...a racquetball court.  I've already played on it like 5 times.  I feel like I'm living like a rich man.  Kinda feel bad about it, heh.  But hey, I'm getting much more regular exercise now!

But living alone is weird.  I get pretty lonely quickly.  I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  It's nice having a place of my own to manage however I want.  But I don't like being alone a lot.  I think I need another month to decide.

Well...I don't think I'm going to post too regularly on here.  I've been getting settled into some good routines in my life, so I don't think there's much blog-worthy very regularly anymore. Get up, make breakfast, make lunch, work, get back, make dinner, be a bum or go to small group.  All good things, but unless this is my journal, I don't want to put up the nitty gritty details of my life here.  But when some bigger things happen, I might come here to write about them.  Here's a list of things I plan on this year:
  • Buy a new car
  • Build my first new computer
  • Go to ACL
...yeah, that's not much.  But, just a forecast of what's to come.  Thanks for reading and being with me for my first seven months in Austin :)

P.S. Also...people I know from Illinois are moving to Austin soon!  YAY!

P.P.S. I just tried some Chicago style deep dish pizza at a restaurant here in Austin.  I now feel like Austin can be home :D


Fun with Friends, Fun with Family

Well, these past two weeks have been really fun.  Let's get to it.

Alcohol and Adults in an Arcade = Absolutely Acceptable in Austin
Man, alliteration is too easy.  Anyway, last Friday, the one before Black Friday, I went with a friend to this place called Pinballz.  Basically, it's an arcade with a lot of pinball machines.  Pinball machines for Sherlock Holmes, X-Files, Frankenstein, Batman, Playboy (yeah, weird, I know)...and some other non pinball games, too.  Normally when I go to arcades with my friends from back home, they're filled with 10-year-olds. And some teenagers. And we're kinda creepy, being the 20-somethings that we are.  But...in Austin...well, look at the title!

That's right.  It's a BYOB arcade.  And on that Friday night, it was filled with buzzed 20-somethings and 30-somethings playing a bunch of arcade games.  We fit right in.  So awesome.  They got cupholders everywhere!  I know where I'm hanging out Friday nights from now on...

Church Camping
The next day, I also went camping with some friends from church.  That was a lot of fun.  Camping is definitely different down here.  For one, there's a burn ban, so that was the first camping experience I had without fire.  Kind of weird, but I enjoyed not being all smokey the next day.  Also, instead of just dense forests, there were less dense forests with a lot of open fields too.  One of those fields was also a dried up lake.  The drought has been pretty intense lately, apparently.

On Wednesday, my friend helped me make my desk at work a standing desk.  We'll see how that works out.

Family Time in San Antonio
...And then my mom came in!

We headed right to San Antonio, where my mom's husband's son and daughter-in-law live. We spent from Wednesday to Saturday there.  Here's a list of some things we did there:
  • Watched a lot of TV
  • Nothing
  • Had Thanksgiving dinner with their family
  • Nothing
  • Had breakfast made for me by my mom
  • Nothing
  • Ate a delicious Mexican meal downtown
  • Nothing
  • Saw the Mexican markets downtown
As you can see, I did a lot of nothing.  By which I mean, I did a lot of sitting on the couch watching TV, being lazy hanging with my mom.  It was kinda nice.

On Saturday, we headed back to Austin.  On the way, we hit Rudy's.  I've not talked about this place before on this blog, but it is great. It's a barbecue place with all kinds of meats.  Sausage, brisket, ribs, etc etc.  And they have creamed corn, and..you know what?  It's so amazing, I really can't describe it.  So, if you ever come to Austin, go to Rudy's.  And don't even think about complaining that you can't eat at a gas station.

Back in Austin
Also, our car stopped to get me some new kitchen supplies for my new apartment.  Then, when we got to Austin, our car stopped at Hey Cupcake!, a trailer with, well, cupcakes.  It's really neat; you can get them with a Whipper Snapper, which means they inject whipped cream into the middle of the cupcake!  Tell me that's not cool, I dare you.  They're freakin' good cupcakes, too.

When we met back at my apartment, the other car apparently went and got me a new flatscreen TV for my new apartment as a Christmas gift.   You know, like you do. So, thanks mom and company :)

After my place, we went to...Master Pancake!

Ok, seriously, if you're reading this and you don't know what Master Pancake is, read my past posts about it or search it.  Because Master Pancake is amazing.

This was to celebrate "Hanksgiving".  It was awesome.  I can't even really describe it...but do you know how many scenes in movies Tom Hanks pees in?!  Everyone knows about Forrestt Gump, "I gotta pee", and then he does.  If you've seen The Green Mile, you know half the movie is about Tom Hanks's character not being able to pee.  In Castaway, remember when he pees into the ocean?  No?  Well, he does.  Then there's this movie called Money Pit, and he pees in a forest in there too.  No more, right? Wrong.

Remember when Rosie O'Donnell actually was getting famous for something other than just being famous?  That thing called acting?  Yeah, A League of Their Own.  The flick about the women's baseball team.  Well, a drunken Tom Hanks stumbles into the women's bathroom and pees for ....you know what?

This explains everything.

Anyway, it was great, hilarious, and I tell you again, if you come to Austin, we need to see one of those shows together.  Trust me. :)

Anyway, we got back, my mom cleaned my entire kitchen (thanks again), and then left the next morning! 

Sorry I was so lazy on this post.  So much happens, it's hard to sum up.  But yeah, that's my last few weeks.  Now, it's going to be some time before I write back here. I gotta move soon, and then I'm going to Chicago for Christmas time.  I'll write more once I get more settled into my new place in January...so, until next year!  Have a Merry Christmas!!


Comic Con Austin 2011

Saturday started off really boring.  Peaceful, nice, but boring.  After getting up at 8am and doing errands and chores, I decided to hunker down and resort to playing video games for the rest of the day. 

But then destiny called.

I got a call from my friend from church, and he asked me if I was still interested in going to Comic Con.  I had decided not to go up to this point in order to save money, because I've dumped so much money on moving costs and the flight home for Christmas.  However, he mentioned that another one of our mutual friends had an...extra ticket. For free.

I instantly realized my fate for that Saturday.  My Cyclops gear, completely untouched from Halloween, was quickly put in order.  We met up, ate some Whataburger (really delicious), fixed up our costumes, and walked to the con. 

As we were walking in, I started feeling self-conscious of my costume.  I knew it wasn't con-quality, and I commented that I'll probably run into a much better looking Cyclops.  Literally, within 10 minutes:

Go figure.

 It was still pretty cool though.  I mean, the fact that I had a costume was awesome.  People kept wanting to take pictures of me and my friend, even though our costumes had absolutely nothing to do with each other.  I felt like a freakin' celebrity!

Speaking of celebrities...you remember the bratty girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?  You know, "I want it now!" Veruca Salt?  Yeah.

We got to meet her!!

I also got to meet Peter Mayhew, the guy who played Chewbacca.  It was really cool talking to him, asking him about his favorite scenes (the Mos Eisley Cantina in episode 4), if he still keeps in touch with all the other actors (yes), and stuff.  Sorry, no pic though!  But trust me...he's huge!!

And then I met one of the lead artists for Star Wars Galaxies and Star Wars: The Old Republic.  And then he signed a REALLY nice print for me.  For free.

That's the Star Destroyer from SWG!!

At this point, I was just geeking out.

Level 85 Geek

Speaking of World of Warcraft references...

A quest giver.

For those of you who never played WoW, people who had quests for you to do had yellow exclamation points above their heads, like above.  I passed her, did a double take, and came back to her.

I asked her, "Do you have a quest for me?"

I expected her to giggle, and say something like, "Yeah, I've been getting that all day.."


She immediately opens her bag, takes out a piece of paper, and hands it to me, very seriously. It's a full on quest, just like the real game.  The quest?

Click to read easier.

I knew the drill. Apparently, so did she.

Also, have you ever played Street Fighter?  If so, you might remember a weird character named Zangief.

Only semi disturbing.

Well, here you go folks.

Actually disturbing.  Click to enlarge for more disturbing.

There was so much more there, but these were definitely the highlights.  I think I'm one of those people...you know...those Con-people. Oh jeez.

Man I wish every weekend was this cool.  Trust me, it's not.  Well, have a good week!

P.S.  Phat lootz. Magnet.

Mom, remember we used to make these?  How come we couldn't make cool ones... :(