Monday, September 26, 2005

Hippies and Rednecks Unite

I've been on a "US Tour" for work and have visited five universities in the past two weeks (Wisconisin, Cornell, MIT, Michigan, Arizona). Whew, that's a lot of travel! It's a bit exhausting, but the nice thing about my job is that I can fit in some fun in between cities. I spent last weekend in the big state of Texas for the Austin City Limits music festival ( I almost canceled my trip due to Hurricane Rita. It was all over the news that Austin was out of gas and water due to the massive amounts of people fleeing from Houston. The meterologists had escalated the storm to a level 5 (it turned out to be only a level 1) and my travel agent called to see if I wanted to change my plans due to the possiblity of diverting flights into and out of Austin making it difficult to leave. Hmm...what to do? I decided to take a chance and went ahead with my plans. I met up with current and old co-workers so it was kind of like a reunion. ACL is a three day concert extravaganza held in Zilker Park consisting of 8 different stages to suit all genres, as well as food and art booths galore. It was awesome. I'd never seen so many people in one place in my entire life. Apparently AMD is trying to move to the Barton Springs area of Austin which is considered "sacred" - natural cold springs. There were lots of "Keep Austin Weird" people protesting, wearing anti-AMD shirts at the concert, while watching their favorite bands play on the AMD sponsored stage. It was rather amusing. Some of the bands we saw included: Death Cab for Cutie, Jet, Oasis, Wilco, Franz Ferdinand, Coldplay. They all sounded amazing. The Gallagher brothers of Oasis got into a couple fights which was quite entertaining. They played a lot of their old stuff which was great. I'm not a huge fan of Coldplay (the headliner), but they really put on a good show as well. Chris Martin was very engaging with the crowd and at one point he climbed up onto some scaffolding so he could get a better look at the audience. They played for an hour and a half and I recognized almost every song. I was highly impressed. The only downfall was the heat (100s) and humidity. And the dust. It was rather disgusting how dirty were were at the end of the night. I felt like that Pigpen character from Peanuts. On the last day of the festival, it had gotten so dusty that people starting walking around with bandanas or painting masks around their noses and mouths. I'll keep that in mind for next year. The mass exodus at the end was a little overwhelming, just imagine 65,000 people (many of them highly intoxicated) trying to get out out of a narrow opening. Morbid thoughts started going through my head mostly involving the possiblity of getting trampled. ACL rocked, I'm definitely going back again next year!!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Spectacular Stainless Steel

If you have been checking my blog at all over the past month or so, you probably have come to the conclusion that I'm either working on a huge fabulous upgrade or I'm lazy and have been doing nothing at all. The truth is that work has me traveling a lot and I haven't had much time to focus on home improvement projects lately. The people at Home Depot miss me, I just know it. I was able to visit my favorite store last weekend and successfully made a couple purchases. I bought a new dishwasher and fridge (stainless steel of course!), both made by GE and Energy Star rated. The new appliances will cost less than $40 each in energy bills per year to operate...I wonder how much of an improvement that is from the original 1983 models. See Jeff testing out the new fridge below (note that we have multiple uses for the vegetable crisper drawer).

After the installation guys left, I decided it was time to try and put in the beautiful new Kohler kitchen faucet (model: Forte brushed nickel w/pull out spray head) that my friend Sharmy sent me as a housewarming gift. I thought it would be best to read the instructions first since I would be messing around with the plumbing under the kitchen sink. It didn't sound that difficult, maybe a total of 10 steps or so. I made it to the first step - shutting off the water supply and then I had to call in Jeff. I'm so lucky to have a handy roommate, his mom taught him well! Jeff got under the sink to loosen the old leaky faucet which had rusted all the way through to the sink itself. It was quite nasty as you can see:

The kitchen is now one step closer to being finished. I'm still contemplating on whether or not to paint the walls and cabinets. I might also get a new stove/microwave combo; although my current one is growing on me, it's quite retro looking don't you think?