7.20.2009
Housekeeping
This has been my blog home for my entire post-college life, and I don't want to abandon it, really. But transparency is king these days and being semi-anonymous on this site has gotten, ironically, confining. So come with me to my new blog home, which I will launch sometime later this week.

67 Degrees will stay parked right here, a home for all the crazy memories of Waco and Spartanburg and Houston and Austin and beyond. It's been a helluva ride, and it continues. It'll just continue somewhere else. Thanks for sticking around.

Also, it's been quite a Monday.


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7.06.2009
Weekend on the Water
Tim and Drew from the Mizzou days joined us for jour July 4th festivities this weekend, and it's safe to say no one was disappointed. Not only did we get a last minute invite to our friend Jimmy's lakehouse in the resort community of Horseshoe Bay, we reaped the benefits of Jimmy's years of culinary training in five-star restaurants. (The best baby back ribs ever.)

We came back to Austin to spend more time on the lake. Our friends Keith and Virginia happen to live in a lakeside pad that looks like it came straight out of MTV's Cribs. Took Keith's new pontoon boat on Lake Austin to watch the fireworks show amphibiously.

Some highlights:

-The endless effort to top each other with "that's what she said" responses
-Experimenting with numerous margaritas to find the perfect one
-The drunken midnight boat ride out to a dam, only to get stuck in a buoy and rescue ourselves
-Getting pulled over by boat cops but avoiding a ticket thanks to our foreknowledge of one of the officer's crush on Keith's friend Natalie
-Baby Sydney, the 17 month old who came with us to Horseshoe Bay
-All the awesome dogs... Saidee, Theo, Oscar
-Homemade biscuits and gravy
-Not really remembering details due to the aforementioned margarita experimentation
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6.24.2009
The Kind of Day That Makes A Gal Miss SC
What a bombshell.

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who became the butt of jokes for "disappearing" for five days, returned to the Palmetto State yesterday only to get caught lying about his whereabouts (hiking in Appalachia was the first explanation). The scrutiny forced him to admit he was actually in Argentina, cheating on his wife with a woman who lives there that he met eight years ago. You cannot make this stuff up.

But the personal adventures of SC leaders has kept things interesting for years. It was just three years ago when then-South Carolina Treasurer, Thomas Ravenel, who had a fondness for the the phrase "that's just how I roll", was federally indicted on charges of dealing cocaine and forced to resign. That's how he rolled.

Before that, we had Lt. Governor Andre Bauer and his racy antics. I say "racy" literally -- Bachelor Bauer, who's known around SC as a sometimes-freewheelin' ladies man, got caught speeding in his Beemer at more than 100 m.p.h but avoided any official reprimands by using the state radio installed in his state vehicle to talk troopers into letting him go. Shortly thereafter, he accidentally crashed his single engine plane into the woods of Upstate South Carolina.

The interesting twist in all of this is that the beneficiary of the Sanford scandal may just BE Andre Bauer. He's actually the one who South Carolinians would most expect to be having an illicit affair with an Argentinian woman.
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6.22.2009
Houston, We Have a Problem
Mr. Stiles's employer asked him to return to Houston after the legislative session ended. Neither of us thought that was very cool, especially considering it wouldn't have been much skin off their hides to let him stay in the paper's Austin bureau.

After dating for nearly four years separated by long car drives or thousand mile flights, we finally got a chance in January to share the same zip code. Then, Stiles' bosses wanted him back.

He went back today, as requested. But in a twist, he resigned. His four years at The Chronicle have allowed him to shine as a reporter, break stories that made people's lives better, and expose issues that allowed readers to better know their community. It's the mark of the man I love. But because we love each other, it's way past time for us to live our lives without the separation of time and distance.

After his final two weeks is over, we will begin an exciting journey together as journalists. But as they teach you in television, you gotta save some of the story for next time.
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6.08.2009
Brotherly Love
Just returned from a weekend jaunt to Philadelphia, home of the most historic room in the most historic square mile in America. (That's what our tour guide at Independence Hall told us, anyway.)

Six years after graduating from college, I went to visit my senior year roommate, Fiscus. We were joined by my matchmaker and BFF Sudeep, who has been generally disapproving of my ways since the day I met him.

We ate and drank our way around Philly, winding up at a place called Jim's for cheesesteaks. (My other New England friends sent suggestions ranging from Pat's to some random place in New Jersey, so next time we'll hit up a different locale.)

I really wanted to try a duck salad at a place called Standard Tap, but was talked out of it by, of course, my disapproving friend mentioned above.

Drinking may be my only disappointment - the alcoholic drinks lacked enough of that familiar taste of... alcohol. In the randomly sampled bars we tried, anyway. I suspect there is a reason Austin is consistently-ranked as the hardest drinking city in America... the bartenders generous pourers.

Since Stiles did not come, I was charged with finding him a Benjamin Franklin bobblehead doll. I failed. Sorry. Freedom isn't free. (I have no idea what that means, it just sounds nice.)
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5.26.2009
Memorable Moments of Chubfest 2009
The House descended into absurdity over the weekend as Democrats took the full time allotted to "chub", or talk-to-death, various minor bills. The chubfest resulted in all kinds of insane time-wasters on the floor that were just-serious-enough to be allowed. I started a list of memorable moments of random chubness, but please add your own favorite moments from the weekend.

-- Dunnam's demonstration of how to properly fold the Texas flag, before then being asked to mime it. "Hence you will find the properly folded official flag of the state of Texas..."

-- Al Edwards missing hat

-- The pun-off between Rob Eissler and Joe Pickett, culimating in the best possible pun of the weekend, "No man is an Eiland."

Another characteristic exchange:

"It's interesting that your water district has a MUD," said state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso. "Since you have a PUD, you have a PUD in a MUD.... or it could be a dud."

"Interestingly, it started with a HUD loan," said Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands.

-- The Saturday monarch butterfly back-and-forth, where state Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, is then questioned about perhaps having a monarch butterfly festival in Texas

--Voting down the bill making Grapevine the Christmas Capitol of Texas

--State Rep. Aaron Pena, D-Edinburg, using the extra time on his hands to get his name placard changed so it properly has the tilde above it

--Pena describing the quagmire as Pon Farr, perhaps the best metaphor for the weekend

--The childlike fight between state Reps Debbie Riddle, Charlie Howard, Dennis Bonnen and Tommy Merritt over Merritt's not-being-Republican-enough. "I am a member of the caucus," said Merritt. "You don't act like it", said Riddle. Charlie Howard was taping it all with his flipcam.

--Collectively confusing math: the various time calculations of "at this rate, this calendar will take...hours" to complete

--Activities to pass the time: Solitaire on the laptop, curling up under a fleece blanket and reading a book, carefully picking out the best candies from LHB's desk

--'Coffee goes with cream' comment by Senfronia Thompson

--All the side discussions of the various definitions of the word "chub"

--Any one of Kino Flores' near-meltdowns in the name of disabled veterans

Again, there are probably many that I missed, so please add your "most memorable moments" of Chubfest 09 in the comments.

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5.21.2009
The Things You Do for Love
The mayor of San Angelo, Texas resigned abruptly, not "to spend more time with family", as they often say, but "to spend more time with his lover in Mexico".
SAN ANGELO, Texas — The mayor of a West Texas city abruptly resigned Wednesday, picking love over his love of office.

J.W. Lown told the San Angelo Standard-Times in a telephone interview from Mexico that he was involved in a relationship with someone who does not have legal status in the United States.

"I don't want to give his name," Lown, 32, told the newspaper.

He said the man attended Angelo State University and their relationship started earlier this year.

Lown said he didn't want to take the oath of office knowing he was "aiding and assisting" someone who is not a U.S. citizen.

"We had to do the right thing and come to Mexico and wait in line for a visa," Lown said.
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