Jan. 19, 2011, 11:43 a.m. by Paul Stiverson
Howdy everybody, I’m sure my tiny group of readers has dwindled since it has been so damned long since I’ve posted anything. Sorry about that, just ran out of stuff to talk about I guess. Anyhow I’ll post a little update about life right now, and I think I’ve some things to say again so expect upcoming updates.
To begin things, I finished my Master’s Degree many moons ago (I’m a master of science. Take that, Bitches). I had [posted](http://thismatters.net/ramblings/comment.php?post_id=277) that I wanted to work on a Ph.D., but I’ve abandoned that plan due to lack of research interests. I’ve been filling my days with tutoring, and my evenings with dancing. I’m going out on a limb and focusing my efforts on being a professional ballroom dancer. My [teacher](http://susansballroomdance.com/dance/) has taken me under her wing, and has been formally grooming me to teach and dance as a career. I’m happy to announce that I’m now available to teach as an associate of [Susan’s Ballroom Dance](http://susansballroomdance.com/dance/), if you want some lessons you can [get in touch](http://thismatters.net/contact/) and we can schedule a lesson.
As a happy result of focusing so intently on dancing I lost 75 pounds in the last year. I still have a bit to go before I start building a permanent wardrobe, but I’m extremely happy with my results thus far.
In other news, I was [arrested](http://www.theeagle.com/police/Police--Siblings-grew-pot-in-CS-home) for aggravated gardening. I’ll probably tell the story more completely in the near future. The case has been resolved: my charge was pled down to a misdemeanor and I’m serving 2 years of probation, paying $2000 in fines, and serving 200 hours of community service. Justice served. For community service I’m going to try to start a dance program at a local community center, barring that I’ll do whatever they ask of me. If you are sympathetic to the cause then you can [donate](http://thismatters.net/contact/) to my fines and legal defense fund, I’ll choreograph you a dance in return. I’ll probably have a series of posts relating to the joys of community supervision. One of the terms of probation is that I cannot consume alcohol, or enter the premises of any establishment that profits primarily from the sale of alcohol (What alcohol has to do with pot is beyond me, but I’m hardly in a position to dictate the rules). The upside being that I now have a good reason for turning down invitations to bars, sorry folks I never liked them anyway save for the dancing.
Barring any major catastrophe my probation will end December 17, 2012.
On Matters Washingtonia
May 25, 2009, 6:49 p.m. by Sam
As many of you may already know, I recently moved to Seattle. While I certainly miss Texas--especially the food--Seattle is a pretty nice place to live. The weather is mild and not quite the depressing constant rain that we've all undoubtedly heard so much about. The people are polite on the surface and I can go grocery shopping, get drunk, and eat great Thai food without ever leaving a few block radius of my apartment.
One thing stands out, however. The Northwest is home to many, many microbreweries. Alas, I can find lots of great IPAs made locally. This post is not about great IPAs. This post, gentlemen, is about Rainier beer: Washington's version of Lone Star. Note the white, red and gold color scheme. It tastes about like Lone Star, but not as good. Although I have yet to see it sold in bottles, I'm told that their bottle caps contain the same kind of puzzles found on Lone Star caps. [This guy](http://www.geocities.com/shabber_1/rainier.html) has an archive of solutions. Whether Rainier was made in the image of Lone Star, the contrary, or the two are products of convergent evolution, I'm not sure. That would require about 10 more minutes of searching and I'm due to a Memorial Day BBQ* soon.
*There will be a grill, but whether or not Northwesterners actually know their asses from their elbows when it comes to BBQ remains to be seen.
May 25, 2009, 11:27 a.m. by Paul Stiverson
### Sprint’s Now Network
### Ketel One Vodka
[Ketel One’s](http://ketelone.com/) new ad campaign which is appearing on Hulu features a bunch of manly men (think people acting like Barney from _How I Met Your Mother_) purporting that drinking other vodkas is not manly because they come in “Delicately painted perfume bottles.” They end the ad by saying “Gentlemen, this is vodka”, while at the bottom of the screen they flash “DISTILLED FROM WHEAT. 40% ALC/VOL”. Yeah, real manly, vodka distilled from wheat, why don’t you ‘real men’ try drinking some real vodka made from potatoes.
Party like a Texas-Country Star
April 8, 2009, 10:08 a.m. by Paul Stiverson
I have a clear memory of the following, but should the accuracy of any of the following come into question my fellow blogger, John, can be contacted for corroboration: he was there and reliably sober.
For those who are unaware, an event by the name of [Chilifest](http://chilifest.org) occurred last weekend. Chilifest is a fairly large 2-day Texas-Country music festival, probably about 12 bands played, 70,000 fans watched, and each of them averaged about a 24 pack of beer. It’s a pretty big deal for this area, this year I elected to stay home and not get irreparably sunburned, and I’m certain I didn’t miss too terribly much. A fair number of local businesses try very hard to cash in on the obvious cash cow that is Chilifest, and [The Hall](http://texashalloffame.net) is no exception. Each year they throw an after-party to ensnare the group of people that didn’t quite get enough excitement—or that hate their livers a little more than most. This year The Hall brought in a great act, [The Doug Moreland Show](http://dougmoreland.com/band.htm). The show was outstanding, but poorly attended because about three quarters of the standard demographic for the hall had collapsed from exhaustion at this point. This post is not about Chilifest, The Hall, or The Dough Moreland Show, but rather the events that unfolded after the after-party. The names have not been changed: fuck the innocent.
### The Doug Moreland Show
Doug Moreland is probably one of my favorite Texas Country Acts, John, my fellow blogger, is also a fan. As you may know from reading this blog John lives in Houston, but he comes in whenever there is something cool happening, and the night in question was no exception. When he comes to town he stays with a common friend and dance partner, Mallory: an energetic, outgoing, and generally pretty fun gal, who joined us on this magical night. During Doug’s show we notice a small entourage in a nearby area, and one of us recognizes that [Stoney Larue](http://stoneylarue.com), a fairly prominent character on the Texas-Country scene, and his band are that entourage. Occasionally we would see them perk up their ears as John and Mallory would start putting on their Jitterbug routine, and we agreed that it was pretty cool that the performers were enjoying our performances.
After Doug finished up the show we resolved that it was time to go home, John went to close the bar-tab, I went to greet Doug and his band, and Mallory vanished like a fart in the wind. When John and I approach the empty table we both notice a distinct absence of Mallory and set out to find her, I find that she left her phone at the table leaving us incommunicado. I track down one of the other girls in our party and get her to check the bathrooms, no Mal is forthcoming, at this point I am a little worried. I asked the bartender, he has no idea. I decide that she must have gone out to the car, not there; at this point I realize that John is now missing too, I am very worried. The last place that hasn’t been checked is Stoney Larue’s tour bus, which is sitting in the parking lot.
### The Tour Bus
I snatch open the door to the bus and poke my head in to see Mal and Stoney’s bass player, Jesse, siting on the couch chatting, they notice me and invite me in where I find John sitting on the opposite couch. At this point my phone buzzes at me with a new text message from John: “In stoney’s bus” (1:50AM). Gee, thanks for the update. I sit next to John and we start in with some mindless banter. Stoney and his band are sponsored by Shiner, so Jesse offered us each a beer which we gladly accepted. There was general coolness going on as some of Doug’s band-mates and Doug himself came and went from the bus, aslo a couple groupie-type girls came on the bus and started pouring (horribly mixed) shots. Eventually Stoney himself emerged from the bowels of the bus and joined us.
There was a disposable pan on the counter that held about half a brisket—apparently donated by a fan—that Stoney was intermittently munching on and offering to the 6 of us on the bus (it is not an exaggeration when I say this is the best 2AM brisket I have ever had). At some point Stoney inexplicably took off his shirt (I think one of the groupie-type girls asked to see his tattoos or something stereotypical like that). While getting some more brisket Stoney impales the whole thing with the knife holds it up while making a pirate noise, it was pretty hilarious, but you could tell he was doing it to please himself (he was not looking at us, but rather the darkened window which was giving a small reflection). We continued talking about nonsense for a while; Stoney disappeared and re-emerged still topless but with a guitar. Now, I am not really a fan of Stoney’s music, I like it but I’m not going to go out of my way to hear it, but when he turned down the lights on the bus and started jamming out I really enjoyed it. It doesn’t come out in his stage shows, but Stoney is fairly talented on the guitar.
### The Brisket
Toward the end of Stoney’s solo jam he hits the wrong fret and everybody’s ear cringe, Jesse calls him out and the two of them start joshing with each other, Jesse takes off his shirt and they—while on all fours—start circling each other like dogs trying to sniff each others asses. The pair stand up—in the process Jesse’s pants fell down, and, not one to be outdone, Stoney loses his pants too. Stoney grabs the brisket and throws it at Jesse, hitting him solidly on the chest and falling to the ground. Jesse laughs it off and hugs Stoney, the both of them are now greased up, and Stoney picks up the brisket. I though he was going to put it back in the pan, but he has a different idea: throw it at the mirror (you can see the mirror in question in the picture at the top of the post, pre brisket stain). Stoney picks up the brisket a third time, I thought one of the other people in the room was going to get a brisket to the chest, but instead he takes a bite, tearing it like a lion. One of the groupie-type girls thought this was pretty gross considering the circumstances, but everybody else saw no problem with the consumption and Stoney held it in front of everybody (one at a time) to allow us to tear a chunk off with our faces. Shortly after partaking in the brisket, Stoney passed around the salsa (which can also be seen in the image above) for everybody to take a swig from, only Stoney, Jesse, John and I were manly enough to drink it though. Also John, then later Mallory licked the brisket spot on the mirror.
Soon after the brisket incident everybody calmed down and we parted ways at about 4AM. Waking up the next morning I realized that it was not all a dream because of the chunk of brisket that was on my glasses. I can honestly say that this night was one of the strangest and most unexpected events of my life, and walking away from it I will forever be a Stoney Larue fan.
you're definitely doing it way wrong
Feb. 27, 2009, 6:06 p.m. by Trey
to kind of lighten up the mood of the blog for a change; i came across this motivational poster while i was being bored on the internet today.
it pertains in two ways:
a. you're doing it wrong
b. i like chickens
it made me giggle, thoughts?
2 great finds on saturday night
Jan. 5, 2009, 1:49 p.m. by John
This past saturday night i got the pleasure of find 2 things that i love. a new band and a new music hall. i call it a music hall, though it is basically a long skinny store with a bar down the length of 1 wall.
the band is "Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers" and the music hall is "the continental club" in downtown houston.
mr. stiverson and i have had many conversations about what various bands were lacking. i think, he will correct me if i'm wrong, we've decided that most bands need a double bass, an steel guitar, or a fiddle. add in the drums and you have "Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers." I don't believe i had ever seen a country band that lacked an electric guitar but these guys didn't need one.
To add to the great band, who all knew how to play their instruments well, Miss leslie is a singer song writer, which is always the best. they did, however, cover some songs including johnny bush's "green snakes on the ceiling" and some patsy cline. they were definitely a texas swing band much like "asleep at the wheel." this makes their songs more difficult to dance to but perfect for just having a drink with some friends and listening to. despite this, there were several couples dancing in the small area in front of the stage.
the other great part of the evening was going to "the continental club." this place looks straight out of the 1960s, complete with shlitz in a can and lonestar on tap! i knew this place was going to be good when i walked in and saw that neon light fixtures, not neon light beer signs or any of that jazz, but actual fixtures made up the lighting of the whole place. to top it off they had some locals in the back with fresh cajun food. i didn't have any but looked and smelled delicious.
i had a very pleasant evening listening to some texas swing in one of the places, it appeared, where it was born. be sure to look up "miss leslie" and "the continental club," they won't disappoint.
Edit: I originally posted that the band had an electric guitar. It is actually a steel guitar. It's not easy to mix them up and I don't know what I was thinking. The band consisted of a steel guitar, double bass, fiddle and drums! Most excellent!
faith in austin restored
Dec. 1, 2008, 9:46 p.m. by Sam
I think it's pretty well known that I have mixed feelings on Austin. On the one hand, it's got a lot of fun things to do, but on the other, it's filled with trustafarians, hipster scum, and lots and lots of posers.
This weekend, however, my opinion started to change. I've been going to the Longbranch Inn (on E. 11th and Lydia, for those who live around here) lately. It's a nice little dive close to my house and it's quickly becoming my regular neighborhood bar. There's only one row of tables parallel to one long wall, so when it's not dead inside, you usually have to sit next to other groups of people if you want to sit down. This Saturday night, a friend and I went, and sure enough, there were only two available seats--right next to a couple.
We asked if we could sit down and they kindly obliged. It turns out they were on their first date and had met online. It quickly became obvious that they were not too into one another and were all too glad to have some other people to chat with to break the monotony. We had a really good time chatting with these strangers and I'm even still in touch with one of them.
Later that night, the friend and I went to Creekside (on 6th and Red River), which has a great back deck. Standing around, sipping our Lone Stars and smoking our Camels, another couple approached us out of the blue and chatted us up. We didn't chat for long, but they were very friendly.
I don't know if it was something in the air or if people were still riding a Thanksgiving high, but this was the first time I've seen such displays of friendliness in Austin. If things continue in this manner, I think I'll stick around a little longer.
Chapter 1: WTF Wednesday
Sept. 22, 2008, 9:56 a.m. by Trey
Today is Wednesday September 17th. My emotions are basically riding the batman roller coaster and have been all week. As of now however they are in the apex of the tightest and most intense length of track. Tomorrow is Thursday, the day before the day I have been waiting for my entire life, no exaggeration. Good bull. Tomorrow is Thursday, the night I have dedicated to drinking and 'shooting the shit' with some of my close friends. Good bull. Tomorrow is Thursday, and I have a test in one of my online classes (bad idea btw) around 11:00am. Bad bull. But it is Wednesday, WTF Wednesday to be exact (so says the texas hall of fame), and I am waiting for jenny to come and pick me up to go for a night of drinking, dancing, and pool at our beloved honky tonk.
The night was a different kind of fun than I am used to while attending any kind of event at the hall; it was incredibly relaxing. They did however, both fortunately and unfortunately, kick us out around midnight because we accounted for 2 of the 7 people in the entire place.
Aug. 25, 2008, 1:02 p.m. by John
I made it up to College Station this past weekend and had a great time. All of my friends, who are still in school, are back in town and I got to see quite a few of them. Two of these people are contributers to this blog and we went out to our favorite hangout, the texas hall of fame, on saturday evening.
Highspeed Hayride was on the bill and they weren't bad at all. most of their songs sounded very similar but they were pretty good and they played covers well. they are a band that plays some purely country songs but even these have a rock influence. Anyway, after 3 lonestars, part of a pitcher of shiner, and several swigs from 2 young ladies' whiskey and cokes, i was feeling pretty good. just to point of slight dance floor stumbling but not even close to "oh crap i need to go to the bathr....". i was sitting in my chair, right off of the floor, slouching quite a bit, listening to the middle of some song i don't remember with the stage lights change colors from blue, to yellow, to pink and back to blue again. it was at this point, that i realized that i had been in this exact situation many times before and it was like Déjà vu all over again. there have been several times listening to this type of band, with this much alcohol in my system, that i begin to think about all of the concerts i had seen here and all of the people i had met and all the good times i've had. it was relaxing and surreal and amazing all at the same time. maybe it's just that i've graduated and realized that my good times at the hall may be fewer and further between, but it was one of my favorite nights surrounded by most of the people that made those memories happen.
Aug. 22, 2008, 12:35 p.m. by Paul Stiverson
Well I’m finally back from California, I’ve been in Texas since late Sunday night, but I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to make a post about it until I really got home. Last night was Thursday and—as usual—we went to the hall. The very minute I walked in there and saw all my friends all the homesickness I had been feeling went right away.
There were a few changes at the hall, first they did some remodeling in the shadow box area (both sides have been done now). Next, they hired a new DJ, the old DJ, Ron, is now the manager. At first I thought the new DJ was going to be a problem—he was playing a bit more Nashville country than I would have liked—but when I approached him with my concerns he was receptive and fixed the problem. He also played an impressive number of waltzes which is an entirely welcome change. They are also taking out the platform at the center of the dancefloor, good riddance as far as I’m concerned, I hate all the showboating bullshit that goes on up there. However it was quite helpful to have the raised platform for dance lessons, oh well. Overall it was a pretty awesome night though, good to see the old crew (sans John).