Stately

Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Monday mumblings

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


Lots of ground to cover today. I had very little sleep last night, so perhaps I should call this entry Incoherent Ramblings and be done with it. Last night was not my usual Sunday inability to fall asleep. I was quite tired and more than ready to crash, and I tried. Believe me, I tried. Events conspired against me. The mistake of the evening was only taking one Lactaid with the pizza last night. I won't go into the digestive details, but let's just say that I'm amazed that Paul didn't go sleep in the living room.

I finally got to sleep and dreamt that there was gunfire in the alley. You think the cops would show up and put a stop to it? No, because when I woke up to a completely darkened bedroom I realized that I'd been hearing thunder and the power was out. It would not do to oversleep on the first day back from Spring Break, so I got out of bed and set the alarm on my iPaq so I wouldn't oversleep. Then I tried to get back to sleep. Hah! This is the time when all the worries set in: What if the power wasn't back on by 7:00? How would I get coffee? How would I get the news? Could I find a transistor radio? It's amazing how we become dependent on these things. We have a camp stove and a coffee pot. Problem one solved. Chris' new MP3 player has a radio built in, and that would do if I couldn't find my AM/FM Walkman that usually resides on the bar in the kitchen so I can listen to Cowboys games. The news was important because I had no way of knowing if this outage was confined to a few blocks or not. Would school be in session? Delayed? I decided I'd deal with that when the time came. And I knew where to find flashlights and candles if I needed them. With all that settled I decided I could get back to sleep.

Click.

The power came back on, along with the realization that the battery backup in the clock radio had died. So I turned on the iPaq and set the clock and the alarm. Oh. And the fish tank pump probably needed to be primed. So I dragged my body out of bed again and plodded down the hall. I got the pump started and decided to set the coffee pot clock and timer so we'd at least have hot coffee. As I set the clocks to my cell phone, I realized that I'd set my clock radio wrong, which meant fumbling with the buttons one more time by the light of the iPaq.

Do you think I could get back to sleep? Not easily, at least. I suppose it was about 3:30 by the time I drifted off, and I did my usual wake up at 6:30 routine. I guess someone's battery backup worked. Dang. I could have stood another half hour of deep sleep.

So here I am pumping coffee down my throat so I can get some work done. Perhaps I should just go with the IV. It's be quicker.

So we're back from Austin. That almost turned into a fiasco for me as well. Chris drove part of the way down, racking up one more hour of heavy traffic due to wrecks and the perpetual construction along I-35. We decided to head to downtown early and get dinner at Fadó, an Irish pub/restaurant on Fourth Street. Any establishment downtown that serves alcohol bans anyone under the age of 21 after either 7 or 8 in the evening - even when accompanied by a parent. That's okay, but boy were we bummed the night we went downtown after watching the bats to discover that we couldn't get into any restaurant.

After the meal I brought out my camera to take a shot of Chris and discovered that the battery was missing. It was, I remembered, sitting on the desk. A fat lot of good that was going to do. I'd been all primed to walk downtown and get some really good pictures. Fortunately, Paul remembered that there was a Fry's in town, so we headed out there and picked up a battery. Even more fortunate was that the price on the battery had dropped by about 60% since I'd bought my camera last summer. Much rejoicing.

Saturday was Chris's bowling tournament. We sat through six games and then headed out to Antonio's:

The holy grail, er, margarita!

It looks as though Zoot has set alight the margarita-shaped beacon again!

Then we headed downtown and shot many pictures. Today's Picture o' the day will be from that batch. The rest are in our Photo gallery; click on the Austin_06 folder to view.

And to make matters even more frustrating, I discovered that I'd left my CF card reader at home. I brought my multi-card reader that accepts everything but CF cards, but that was no help. So I had to be content with looking over the pictures on the camera screen until we got home.

Sunday we headed home and I made the mistake of trying to get my Asp.Net 2.0 pages working again. No luck. I'm not sure if it's a configuration issue at the server or pilot error, so I sent a query to support to rule out the former. It probably is pilot error. See? A non-geek explanation.

Austin is an interesting city. It's our state capitol, but don't let that fool you: It's an oasis of blue in a very red state. In fact it's so blue that some jokingly call it the People's Republic of Austin. Politics aside, Austin is a very funky place. It is home to UT Austin and numerous other colleges and universities, which is probably the reason for both the liberal and funky nature of the place. Downtown is always hopping. Unlike Dallas which is simply dead at night, downtown Austin is awash in neon and filled with pedestrians. This weekend was especially busy as it's the opening weekend of the SXSW Festival, a month-long event featuring films, music, and theatre.

Should you make it to Austin, a trip downtown is a must for the architecture and the night life. You can't take the kids into most restaurants other than Starbucks at night, but you can take in the ambience via a horse-drawn carriage. The capitol building is also a must-see. It's modeled after the US capitol building, but is on a smaller scale. The adjacent park is a popular spot for local residents on weekends. You should at least take a drive through the UT campus. The clock tower is open for tourists again, and the LBJ Library is worth a visit. I understand that UT also houses some of Conan Doyle's papers. Wouldn't those be interesting to look at?

I want to talk some more about writing, but I've nattered on long enough. I need to get another infusion of caffeine and then get some work done for a client. I'll post the picture first, though. More later - if I can stay awake!

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Filed under: Life   Technology   Pictures      
3/13/2006 6:40:00 AM
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