December 31, 2005

Pass the Bowl...please

I was reading a posting on a message board from a girl named Biff the other day and she was talking about how she hates the way that football rules her TV between Christmas and Early January due to bowl time... to which I mentioned that there really is only one real championship game.. the Rose Bowl..and all others are really just "sorry-you're-not-one-of-the-two-best-teams-but-here's-a-game-for-you-so-you-don't-feel-bad" bowls.

Well... among other things, she had one piece of wisdom I thought was a jewel...and I totally agree with. Now.. suspend your knowledge of college football completely and just go with logic.

Her great point? Bowl games should only be named after things that fit in a bowl.

If this were true.. only a few of the 28 games this year could be broadcast... Since you can't put a city in a bowl...the New Orleans, Las Vegas, Houston, Motor City, and Music City bowls would be gone. We'd say aloha to Hawaii too. Gone would be the Product-endorsement bowls of GMAC, Champs Sports, Insight, MPC Computers, Meineke, and Capital One.

I'm missing a few.. but the only bowl games that would fit the criteria would be the Emerald, Peach, Cotton, Sugar, Orange, and Rose... These would be the can-put-in-a-Bowl games.

It seems like a valid point to me.
I also think only things served in a bowl should be eaten while watching bowl games.... cereal, chili, soup, chips, pho.... but that's bordering on silly.

That said.. Happy New Year.

December 29, 2005

Deadline oriented...

It's almost New Years and I'm on deadline for the January issue of INsite Magazine. We've got a great issue coming up (I'm the managing editor, by the way)... TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls on the cover since their A&E show is kicking off in January... a cool column from Chuck from 101X, an interview with Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets fame, an interview with Big Boi of Outkast fame, and a bunch of other things... stressful...yes... rewarding, hell yeah.

On a personal note, I'm falling apart. My ear still isn't back to normal from flying home last Friday (I was congested so I had slight pain..if you can call screwdrivers to my ears slight pain), I woke up at 3:00a.m. with a Charlie Horse. What a name... charlie horse... Who is Charlie and why has he let his horse attack my leg?

I looked it up..
Charley horse is a colloquial name for a sudden, painful leg cramp, likened to the kick of a horse. The cramp can occur in the thigh or the arch of the foot, but most often affects the calf muscle. The term comes from American baseball slang of the 1880s, possibly from the pitcher Charley "Old Hoss" Radbourne who is said to have suffered from them. Another story mentions a horse named Charley that used to work at Comiskey Park, the Chicago White Sox' ballpark in Chicago.
Source: Google Search

So.. 2005 is almost over.... I need a bananana and one of those ear-wax removal cones to celebrate. Is this where I admit that I'm getting old?

At least I've got my music....
*pops in Every Time I Die's Gutter Phenomenon*

December 28, 2005

How You Can Improve My Commute...

I get annoyed in traffic rather easily these days. I thought I'd come up with a simple list of things to help me out... actually they are to help you out when being on the same road as me. Feel free to thank me later.

I'm speaking directly to the folks between San Marcos, TX and Austin, TX.. but this may apply to you as well.

Here we go:

- Turn signals are your friend. Use them to signal that you are about to come into my lane or get out of it.

- If you are going slower than me, please move to the center or right lane. The left lane is for passing. I intend to use it as such.

- I don't care who you are talking to... if you're not in the slow lane turn off the phone and drive. I used to say you should hang-up and drive, but I've even seen cops using cell phones, so it's not a reality that people are going to hang up. The least you can do (and I emphasize least) is get into the right lane and out of people's way that are concentrating on driving...not finding out what Suzie is going to wear to the Rose Bowl. I'm going to venture to say she's wearing something Burnt Orange.

- If you move over from the left lane to let me pass, don't speed up and jump back in front of me. This happened this morning. Some dimwad in a white Chevy Truck moved over (without signaling) and then gunned it in the middle lane only to jump back over (without signaling) and tailgate the guy in front of me. He proceeded to tailgate folks all the way to Austin from Kyle... I got there at the same time as him. Idiot.

- If you are driving a BMW or a Lexus... you are just another car on the road to me, please don't be stereotypical and drive like an idiot.

- Please assess how fast cars around you are going. If you're in the left lane you should be going faster than the two other lanes. If a car comes up behind you and you can move over, please do so.

- If you are driving fast, and there is a car in front of you in the left lane..give it about 20 seconds before you pass on the right... be fair.

- If you aren't moving over and the car starts to make a move to pass you on the right (after giving you ample time to move over..I'd say 20 seconds...) don't pick that time to move over, you're just being an ass now.

- DON'T PASS ON THE RIGHT! The left lane is for passing. Pass on the left. This isn't a race..and you can cause my untimely death by driving like an idiot. Remember this IS all about me.

- Let's have one exception...If the car in front of you isn't moving, even though they've had ample room for 20 seconds... you can pass on the right... but get back into the left as soon as possible...and don't see it as an invitation to play highway "Frogger."

- Don't read the newspaper or a magazine or a report while driving. That's just scary.

So if you follow these simple suggestions, I'll have a much nicer commute to work. At the end of the day it IS all about me, you know.

December 26, 2005


Twas the night after Christmas and all through the house
We searched for bargains... we searched with our spouse...
The shelves of WalMart and Target were bare
Because the hardcore shoppers had already been there.

So we picked up some stuff for next year's Christmas... garland with lights in it to line the fence... 125' should do it... I hope. A stocking for the little girl. Wrapping paper... stuff like that... the things that are magically only worth half of what they were worth 48 hours ago.

I always think about celebrating Christmas in January since everything will be chraper.. but then I'd appear cheap.. which I am.. but not that cheap.

Ate at CiCi's since I had the hankerin' for peperoni/jalapeƱo and my wife wanted BBQ... and I found out there's a roving gang of tagging cows... When I went to the bathroom, I noticed something scrawled on the wall.. upon further review, I'm pretty sure it was "512 Moooooo." Damn bad cows.

I'm on deadline for INsite Magazine.. I've got a few stories yet to edit, but after-Christmas shopping has rendered my mind semi-useless.

We've almost gotten everything washed from our trip to Ohio.. and hopefully soon the box with our presents will show up. (Instead of contending with 4 suitcases + carry-on luggage + daughter + box of Christmas Gifts from Ohio we decided to send it via mail to us... the best $41 you can spend if you ask me.. and I know you would.

Well, I've got to write one more CD review before I go to bed... and it's a CD I've listened to for a few months so it should be easy. The South Austin Jug Band's Dark and Weary World.

Happy Monday. I go back to work tomorrow..hopefully I'll find out I don't have to look for work on Friday.

December 25, 2005

Ho Ho Ho...

I drove around my neighborhood this evening looking at Christmas lights. Impressive. I kept thinking.. are these folks in it for the season... for the meaning... for the thrill of family... or for the need to outdo the neighbor?

You know.. the guy who buys a Land Rover when the neighbor obn the left comes home with a Rav 4... which is traded in on an H3 (and a second mortgage) when the neighbor on the right buys a Land Rover...

How much of life is spent trying to make the neighbors think you're perfect? I see a lot of that during this season. People putting their best foot forward and hiding the bitter truth...

I should blog about going to church last night and my 20 month old getting communion for the first time.. and opening presents this morning and the look of love my wife gives me and I return... but that is just one point of who I am.. I'm also the guy who got into an argument with his wife while looking at Christmas lights on Christmas night... don't even know what it was about.. I know I tried to direct her to park somewhere..I was misunderstood.. and next thing I know I was trying to keep from screaming at the top of my lungs at her... For a women who I love so passionately with all of my heart..we sure know how to push each other's buttons.

So I drove around and looked at lights by myself for an hour...listening to Christmas music... and taking photos of the cool houses.. their all just boxes and everyone decorates their boxes differently. Each has a story to tell and a fresh coat of paint and pretty lights are just outward appearances... who knows what's going on inside.

Well.. it is Christmas. Jesus was born today. Hooray.
I need to spend less time putting up lights and more time filling the house with love.
Merry Christmas.

December 24, 2005

Favorite Christmas Movies/Specials?

We were all snuggled on the couch watching Ruldolph saves Christmas or something like that (I fell asleep, honestly).. so it's 1 and a half hours until Christmas.. I thought it'd make a neat blog to see who watches what for Christmas... do you have a favorite Christmas program?

My favorite is Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977).


Originally a special for HBO, this Jim Henson production (he also directed) was one of the first real forays into the more realistic, less vaudevillian direction for the Muppets. It also included Frank Oz (Muppeteer), Paul Williams (songs), and Jerry Juhl (script), some of the Muppet Show's usual suspects. Emmet Otter and his jug band are trying out in the local talent show, but they face fierce competition from a gang of toughs, the Riverbottom Gang and their rock band. Perhaps the most notable thing is the creation of a sense of poverty and want that suffuses the little production. Even Emmet's mother, who sacrifices her washtub to further Emmet's cause, gets in the act. Fine Christmas viewing for all ages. --Keith Simanton

So... what was/is your favorite?
Merry Christmas to all and to all...

December 23, 2005

Friday.. back in Austin!

It was a wonderful trip to Ohio... but I'm sure glad to be sitting at my own desk in Kyle, TX right now typing this. I'm too tired to really type much.. but wanted to say that there are three very happy and very tired folks in my house right now who had one of the best, most memorable Christmasas ever (yes, I realize tomorrow is Christmas Eve) and I've got the photos to boot. As my daughter and wife prayed a little bit ago (I was going through the mail and missed it... "Good night Grandma D, Papa, Great Grandma Soja, Great D, Great Papa, Ross, Nick, Uncle Tom, Aunt Peg, Christy, John, Sofia, Uncle Bob, Aunt Ethel, The Other Great Uncle John, Tom and Sherry at the B&B, all of the folks we met on the trip... the young man on Christmas leave from the Army visiting his parents and family in Austin and San Antonio...

Merry Christmas to all.. and to all a good night.

.... What is Papa doing right now?

December 21, 2005

Wednesday..takin' off

We're leaving the Bed and Breakfast... found out the owners (The Hughes') have a 13 year-old son... so he now has a Quartershackle and Meyvn shirt and an Austin Indie Alliance CD compilation... since he'll appreciate them all.. see.. even on vacation I like to spread the word of good Austin music.

As I type this.. I hear our Christmas CD playing in the background.. we gave the Hughes' a copy.. they are good people.. and their Bed and Breakfast is awesome... highly recommended.

Anyhow.. we're checking out in a few minutes.. so I'm going to take my new Hughes Inn Bed and Breakfast t-shirt and take my family's happy selves to Loundonville for Christmas in Ohio.. part II.

Don't think I'll have computer acccess there.. so... Until next time.
Ho Ho Ho..

December 20, 2005

Tuesday Wrap-up

Today was a good day... We had breakfast.. got dressed up to take a family photo (me, my wife, daughter.. my mom and dad, sister, her husband and their daughter and my grandmother... nine folks in jeans and long-sleeve white shirts posing for the camera... and the photographer got it done..and done well and quickly (mor about him at the end...).

We went to a place for lunch and I had a fried bologna sandwich.. we're talking a slab of bologna that was like a half-inch thick. It sounds disgusting but DAMN... tasted good.

I got to hang with my 6-month-old neice a little more... what a cute amazing baby. My 20-month-old got a bit jealous when my wife was holding her... it was annoyingly great.

Got to hang out with my grandma for a little while. She's in assisted living and she's advancing with an Alzheimers-like she has trouble remembering things that happened yesterday... but she can tell you exactly what happened to her 20 years ago. I love talking to her about the "old days" and joking with her. I've been told not to joke with her... but she knows I'm joking and we have loads of fun.. when I opened up a box of cookies from Wal-Mart and told her she better eat one since I spent all morning baking them... and I'd have made a cake too if I didn't have to fly the plane to get here... Me and Grandma understand each other. I know she's going to have to ask me the same question 5 times.. and I'm going to act like it's the first time I heard it each time.. because it is no fault of hers tha she doesn't remember. I also know that if I make something funny.. or answer something in a way that she wasn't expecting.. it may stick.

In other news I've done most of the editing for the January issue of INsite... we've got some awesome stories for January... inluding a great feature on the TXRD Lone Star Rollergirls... which you'll see on A&E and the covver of Rolling Stone (and INsite) soon... Pretty pumped about that!

OK.. as with last night.. my daughter is sleeping and I better close out...

So...If you're ever in Van Wert Ohio, and need a photo taken... visit this place first - Memory Lane Studio. The photographer, Gary Lane (hence the name) is an extremely nice person, takes fantastic shots, and gets it all done quickly and for a fair price. His stuff is digital.. so we took the shots...went and had lunch and went back and saw the "proofs" within an hour. Fantastic. We also talked I think I know the next one I'm getting... yeah.

December 19, 2005

B&B WyFi

So, I'm sitting at a Bed and Breakfast in Ohio and I break out my computer to do some work... viola! I've got a wireless connection. So.. I'll blog about my day.

Went to bed last night about midnight...and got up at 4:00 in order to get everything and everyone (wife and 20 month old) onto a plane at 7:00a.m. flying out from Austin to end up in Columbus... We decided not to buy a ticket for the little one.. and Thank God she fell asleep just after we departed Dallas on our way to Columbus.. everything with the trip went smooth.

I did, however wake up this morning with a cold.. so I'm so stuffed up right now it's amazing... and I'm pretty sure I know now what it would feel like to have screwdrivers shoved into my ears...from the pressure I felt while the plane was making its descent into Columbus... but other than that.. life is peachy.

I met my six-month-old neice for the first time (she lives in Boston).. and I got to hold her for a good half-hour... She is amazing..beautiful...such a joy. Everything I would ever hope for in a neice...

Saw my Grandma, Great-Aunt and Uncle.. Sister, Brother-in-law, neice, and parents.. good times.

Well, it's like 11:00p.m. Ohio time and since my daughter's asleep I should be too.

December 18, 2005

Getting Ready

Leaving.. on a jet plane..

We step on a plane tomorrow morning.. so I'm going to have to be a bad Holidalies poster (I'm not sure if anyone actually reads my posts anyhow... If you're out there... do me a favor.. leave me a comment...

I'll provide a topic...
If you had to recommend one musician to me, who would it be?
There... discuss..

Talk to you on Friday.

If you're in the market for Christmas gift ideas... I did a story in the December issue of INsite that was a holiday gift guide of totally Austin things.. Feel free to go to my homepage and peruse... (Click on the banner below)

Sean Claes photo

December 17, 2005

First Day of Vacation

Today is my first day of vacation and I woke up at 5:45a.m.

At least I can get about 2 hours of freelance work done before my daughter gets up.
I hear her taking to herself right now..

Anyhow....I'm Methodist.. so I celebrate Christmas. So, I'm going to wish you a Merry Christmas. If you don't celebrate Christmas.. please don't take offense. If someone wished me a Happy Kwanzaa or Hanukkah I wouldn't get pissed.

So.. if Christmas offends you.. I'll take a cue from Kinky Friedman...
"May the God of your choice bless you."

Kinky t-shirt

Happy Saturday. I need a haircut.

December 16, 2005

Et Tu Cappuccino?

I'm in a good mood. I'm going to let this all flow off my back..but here's a small summary of my last 2 days...

Background: My full-time job is a grant position. We're a 5 year grant that just finished it's 6th year (it's complicated)... on December 31, 2005 that grant ends a 3 month no-cost extension. We're competing for a new 5 year scope-of-work...and the "winner" hasn't been announced yet. We're all hopeful.. but the prospect of being jobless in 2006 has people a little on edge...

Wednesday morning: We had a meeting of all staff members on the grant on which I work. We were told the status of the proposal (which we turned in 3 months ago) that would mean we have another 5 years of work... the status was.. there was no news yet.

30 minutes after that meeting: The Big boss of the institution where I work came by and dropped off the "letter" that let me know that if we don't get the new monies, there's no money available to keep me employed.

Noon Wednesday: I head home because my 20 month-old is sick (sent home from daycare on Monday) and my wife and I are splitting days so we can both work a little...

Thursday: I get a second letter detailing my severance package... I joked with the CEO asking him if it was my Christmas bonus. I'm not sure if he thought it funny or not, but I got a nervous chuckle out of him.

Thursday afternoon: Had meeting with the CEO and HR to discuss the "implications surrounding my employment" and went over all the scenerios...
1. If we get the grant, life is good and I have work
2. If we don't hear about the grant by the 1st of January, they may keep a few people around to see if a decesion can be made in a week or two.
3. If we get an answer and we didn't win... I'm suddenly only employed for 10 hours a week (I work 1/4 time on another grant position) and in order to receive my severance package I must work the part-time for a month while they find a suitable replacement.
4. Enter your own scenerio here... my other one consists of spending $1 and making millions.

Thursday late afternoon: Amongst all of this, Me and my family are flying to Ohio for a week starting Monday so I thought I'd better make sure all is in line for that..I booked the tickets on in September. I find out my flight number if suddenly flying into Boston not Columbus..and doesn't originate out of Austin like it should. 30 minutes on the phone with the airline straightens everything out... and I found out by booking early I saved a penny! That's right.. the price of the flight, had I booked it yesterday would have cost a whole penny more. Who says booking early doesn't pay?

Thursday night: my daughter has decided that it's not too early to enter into her terrible twos... and refuses to go to sleep.. so we get to listen to the sounds of a child SCREAMING for about 30-45 minutes until she gets tired of screaming and falls asleep. Ohio is going to be fun with this new development.

Friday: I stop to get gas this morning and pick up the Exxon Bengal Traders cappuccino... I don't like it as much as the generic gas-station cappuccino... it's a bit watery...

Friday at work: We have our Holiday party today (I'd call it a Christmas party... but it's not very PC to do so in this day and age)..and we do a gift exchange amongst our staff members (I orginized it..yea) so I was carrying a big box for the person I bought for.. and my coffee... and a bag of other stuff. Well.. I spilled hot cappuccino all over my shirt.

Damn... et tu cappuccino?

So.. if anyone is looking for a cappuccino-soaked Communuications Specialist in Austin, Texas... here I am.
Happy Friday.

P.S. (Happened after My original blog):
I got the coolest ornament at the office ornament exchange.. It was White Elephant.. and I was the #12 of 14.... so I got to take the one I wanted... then lost it.. then picked another one (which wasn't as cool as the original one I had) but then a co-worker took that one.. so I got the one I wanted back.. and ended up keeping's an Indian Paintbrish wildflower done in clay on a barbed wire

....then I dropped it... and it broke.

So... it needs superglue but it's a winner.

December 15, 2005

Remembering Those Who Passed in 2005

Thinking back on 2005, I thought I’d compile a list of some of the celebrities who passed away this year. This is by no means a full list, but just a few names and some thoughts about them.

I thank God for giving us this talent and have to understand that God knows what he’s doing by taking them from this earth. Anyhow… here are a few folks I’m thinking about today.

1/23 - Johnny Carson, comedian ("The Tonight Show") age 79 (emphysema)
January 2005 seems so long ago.. I remember reading about Johnny Carson’s death and thinking I was glad he retired in 1992 and was able to maintain a life of semi-privacy for about 13 years. He will always be the host of the Tonight Show in my mind.

2/10 - Arthur Miller, playwright, age 89 (Heart Failure).
When I was in college I directed and played “Biff” in a Laredo Community College version of his “Death of a Salesman.” That said, I saw real actors perform it on stage after that and I knew if I ever met Arthur Miller I’d have to apologize for destroying his play on a small border-town stage.

3/30 - Mitch Hedberg, comedian, age 37 (Heart Failure)
I was completely dissatisfied with the new pool of comedians that could pick up the gauntlet that George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Bill Hicks and Eddie Murphy laid down in the 1980s ad 1990s… until I saw Mitch Hedburg one night on TV. He is a talent that was taken from us before he need to be taken (much like Bill Hicks).

4/29 - Hasil Adkins, Rockabilly One Man Band
While getting into Scott H. Biram.. I was introduced to Hasil Adkins.
His biography says it best: “Hasil (pronounced Hassil ) Adkins has played true lonesome country, hopped up blues, and boogie woogie rockabilly nonstop since 1949. He’s written more than 7,000 songs and can play all of them plus over 2,000 covers from memory! Hasil’s got the rhythm of a speeding freight train, a ready sense of humor, and soul that will find soft spots in even the hardest heart. “ (

8/16 Vassar Carlton Clements
“On August 16th 2005 at 7:20 am Nashville time, the angels in heaven stopped singing for a moment, as they heard the most beautiful music approaching from a distance - the high lonesome sound of Vassar Clements' fiddle.” - (
Vassar Clements is bluegrass music. I had a chance to see him play at The Old Settlers Music Festival a few times… and got to meet him as well. Gentle soul, wonderful musician, and amazing talent. He’s known as the “Father of Hillbilly Jazz.”

10/24 Rosa Parks, "the mother of civil rights" in America, age 92
Fifty years ago (12/1) Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus and therefore made a world of difference. I didn’t witness as much hate as my parents and my daughter won’t witness as much hate as I have because of the act of this brave woman.

11/13 - Eddie Guerrero, WWE wrestler, age 38 (Heart Failure)
The 5’9” 220 lb. Former WWE Champion and Lucha Libre wrestler (he wrestled under a mask as Mascara Magica) died of heart failure in November. He actually published his own Autobiography – “Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story” which he talks about his past drug and alcohol addictions and how he arose from the ashes to regain his WWE belt..

11/24 – Pat Morita, actor, age 73 (Natural Causes)…
Mr. Miyagi and Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi will be missed. Little known fact, he was a stand-up comedian before starting his acting career.

12/10 - Richard Pryor, comedian, age 65
Richard Pryor lived a hard, hard life. He was one of the funniest comedians around… and a damn fine actor. Who else could take trying to commit suicide in a cocaine-induced frenzy (June 1980) and use it in his act…and make it funny? He wrote with Mel Brooks, was The Wizard of Oz in The Wiz and was in David Lynch’s Lost Highway. His 1982 stand-up release Live on the Sunset Strip is legendary. Richard Pryor is legendary.

If you’ve lost a loved one… may God be with you and may your loved one rest in peace knowing that they are remembered.

December 14, 2005

Christmas CD... Disc 2 (The harder stuff)

I blogged about our family Christmas CD on Monday... but I also put together another CD for a Christmas CD swap I got into via one of the sites I sometimes visit, the "Knock It Down Music Community" -

I chose to put together a more hard rock/metal album for this one. Mind you.. I own all of the CDs of the people you see on both lists. I'm all over the board when it comes to music..there's not much I don't like (unless it starts with Celine or ends with Spears).

Anyhow... here's the list. It gets heavier as the disc goes on. As always... if you like what you read.. Google them and buy their stuff. It's seanclaesDOTcom approved.

1. 105 - Guy Forsyth
OK, this isn't heavy, but it's a fairly heavy subject. It's like "Crossroads 2005." Awesome song by one of the more underrated Austin singer/songwriters.

2. Down On Me- Jackyl
Yeah... a feel good 1990s rocker by the band that utilizes a chainsaw as an instrument.

3. Hold It Together - Nooner
Nooner is about to release a new album in February. Their debut album was chosen to be distributed nationally by Target as a special promotional thing and they sold like 30k of them. Awesome for a little 'ol Do-It-Yourself band out of Austin.

4. Whisky (Live Austin 1/04) - Scott H Biram
This was recorded live by a buddy of mine in 2004 when Biram opened for Hank Williams III. Great track.

5. I'm The Man (Uncensored) - Anthrax
Yeah... Anthrax just released their Anthology entitled No Hit Wonders. Rock on.

6. Do It For The Kids - Velvet Revolver
One of my favorite interviews I've ever done was when I had the dubious honor of talking with Duff McKagan from Velvet Revolver. Amazing story he told... it's a wonder this band is still alive..and we're all happier for it. (Read the interview here)

7. Riot - Freebleeder
I got this little Freebleeder pin last year at SXSW and decided to put it on my trenchcoat. It happened to be really cold the day I went to see these guys live for the first I was wearing my jacket. The drummer and singer both bought me shots for wearing the pin... I was quite warm after that. And I realized the truth behind their mantra to "Keep Austin Drunk." They rock.

8. Black And Blue - Brand New Sin
Brand New Sin opened for Scum of the Earth a few months back. They were the stars of the night.... Old-school Metallica feel to them... Hope they make it. They deserve to be there.

9. Damaged Goods - Shrapnel
Another Austin band... I'd not heard of these folks when I saw them on stage at The Backroom in November. They were damn good and damn tight.

10. The Devil Made Me Do It - Scum Of The Earth
Riggs, the guitarist from Rob Zombie's band, is pretty much SOTE. I interviewed him in 2004 and saw him play in 2005. (Read the interview here)

11. Power Of Fear - Meyvn
Anthemic rock the style of Iron Maiden, Dio, and Dokken. Interesting stuff. Oh, and they're Austinites too.

12. The Answer - Gizmachi
Saw these guys on Ozzfest in 2005. Good music, but what amazed me most was the fact that the lead singer looks like what I would look like has I taken a different path and played metal instead of writing about it... at least I see it.

13. The New Black - Every Time I Die
I interviewed these guys at Ozzfest 2004. One of the funniest interviews I've ever conducted. Backstage at Ozzfest is an interesting place to be.

14. New Friend Request - Evergreen Terrace
I got this CD a few months ago. To me this is what KISS' Paul Stanley would have sounded like had he headed a hardcore band.

15. Blind Eye Halo - Soilwork
One of 2 Swedish metal bands on this CD. Soilwork played 2nd stage at Ozzfest. Melodic Death Metal. Good stuff.

16. Something Inside of Me - Wicked Wisdom
It is so few times that you encounter a female who sings for a hardcore metal band. Even fewer do it well. Wicked Wisdom does just that.. and it doesn't hurt that the lead singer is Jada Pinkett-Smith.

17. My Sweet Shadow - In Flames
The other Swedesh Metal Band on the disc. I'm finishing up an interview with them for a January 2006 article. They release a new album on February 7, 2006... and play in San Antonio on February 6.

18. The Way, The Truth The Life - Brotherhood
A San Antonio hardcore band that reminded me of some of the bands I used to catch in Laredo when I was in high school. They bring it to the stage too... Laredo was such a cool place for music...but it was all in people's backyards. San Antonio has trumped Laredo again... moving something into a money-making arena... (Other examples... Laredo has the Rio Grande/San Antonio has the Riverwalk, Laredo has an amazing amount of tejano and conjunto singers/San Antonio is known as the birthplace of Tejano)

19. She's Gonna Blow - Broken Teeth
The lead singer of Dangerous Toys (remember them back in the 80s and 90s?) fronts this AC/DCesque straight-up rock band. Awesome.

20 Snowblind - Diamond Darrell
"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott recorded a song as a tribute to Ace Ferehley. Not sure where I got this song or how, but Abbott has been gone for a year now and he is still missed every day. (For those not in the know, he was murdered onstage during a Damageplan concert on December 8, 2004.)

December 13, 2005

Houston Texans Fans?

If you're a Houston Texan fan... all apologies. I just thought these were funny.

Q. How do the Texans count to 10?                                        
A. 0-1, 0-2, 0-3, 0-4, 0-5, 0-6, 0-7, 0-8, 0-9, 0-10            
Q. What do the Texans & Billy Graham have in common?                      
A. They both can make 60,000 people stand up & yell "Jesus Christ"!      
Q. How do you keep a Texan out of your yard?                              
A. Put up goal posts                                                      
Q. Where do you go in Texas in case of a tornado?                        
A. To Reliant Stadium - there's never a touchdown there!                  
Q. What do you call a Texan with a Super Bowl ring?                      
A. A thief                                                                
Q. Why doesn't Austin have a professional football team?                  
A. Because Houston would want one                                        
Q. What's the difference between the Texans and a dollar bill?            
A. You can still get four quarters out of a dollar                        
Q. How many Texans does it take to win a Superbowl?                      
A. Nobody knows!                                                          
Q. What do the Texans and possums have in common?                        
A. Both play dead at home and get killed on the road

Happy Tuesday all. My daughter is sick today so I'm trying to squeeze an 8 hour workday into 4...

December 12, 2005

Christmas CD time....

For those who don't know, my wife and I have "released" a Christmas CD every year since 2000. It's a BoysenClaes Production. We make about 50 copies and give them to family and friends. I know about 3 people that actually appreciate it... I don't know if anyone else really cares. All I know is music is such a big part of our life that it just seems natural to do this every year. Many of these artists are out of Austin..some are national's a taste of one side of our musical tastes.

Anyhow.. this is our CD this year. The theme is "Songs of Home and Love"

If any of these artists intrigue you, Google them... buy a CD by them... go out and see them in concert... support good music.

Almost Home - The Greencards:
This is a nice instrumental ditty to get things going from the Overseas-to-Austin-to Nashville band who is featured in the December issue of INsite (See story here). The Greencards are who we saw on Father's Day 2004... my first father's day.

Too Big Love - Susan Gibson:
My wife and I have seen Susan Gibson a number of times. Wonderful song..wonderful singer/songwriter.

Makes Me Happy - Matt White Band:
The first time I heard this song I thought of my wife. The Matt White Band has a cool John Mayer sound to them. Highly recommend looking them up.

Stick Around - Reckless Kelly:
Kind of a dark and haunting sound. When I intervieewed Cody Braun he mentioned it was his favorite song on the album... mine too. (Read my interview here)

Beat Of Your Heart - Cory Morrow:
I really dig Cory Morrow's new album... Nothing Left To Hide. This song is an upbeat love song.... When I interviewed Morrow earlier this year, I asked him about this song.. he said "This one was about a girl I knew. It was my way of helping her get though some things she had been going through. Trying to help her realize that life is full of all kinds of heartaches. Some people can hide them really well, but you can't hide them from everybody. You just have to find the happiness and love wherever you can." (Read the whole interview here).

Let Me In To Your Heart - Mary Chapin Carpenter:
What can you say about Mary Chapin Carpenter? She is an amazing talent who deserves to be on everyone's CD player at least once a month.

Sweet Butterfly - Stanley Smith:
I was interviewing Seela for a story on Torch (song later on this list) and she asked it I wanted to go see this guy play a free Tuesday happy hour show at The Elephant Room in Austin. Sure... I walked into a fairly empty room save for this amazing man sitting there effortlessly belting out some of the most amazing music. Go see Stanley Smith every Tuesday for free... it'll change your attitude.

Better Together - Jack Johnson:
One of the few "national" acts that I really get into. Maybe because it's unconventional and he kind of just does his own thing. He also has a wonderful way with words...

Walk On - Ruthie Foster:
This is a live version released on her Stages last year. If you've never seen Foster in concert... or heard her on a recording... you've been depriving yourself.

Another Year's Gone By - Hootie & The Blowfish:
What? Hootie and The Blowfish? Why? Well.. let me tell you. Looking For Lucky was released this year and if you like Bluegrass and Gospel... this album will tip your scales... This ain't your 1990s Hootie (well.. it is.. but 15 years later and a lot of maturing happened). (Read my interview with Darius Rucker here)

Sanctuary - Eliza Gilkyson w/Will Taylor and Strings Attached:
Beautiful voice and beautiful music.

What A Friend We Have In Jesus- Amy Grant:
Every Christmas album should have some good christian music. Amy Grant is fantastic on this track.

Look At You Girl - Chris LeDoux:
LeDoux, who passed away in March 2005 due to complications from liver cancer, was a pro rodeo rider...and an amazing singer/songwriter who amassed 36 albums full of songs about "real cowboys" in his time. He could also write a compelling love song, as this song shows.

Sabor A Mi - Los Lobos:
Los Lobos is one of the best. "Sabor A Mi" shows a little of their traditional Spanish music ability (from their Just Another Band From East L.A. which should be required listening for everyone).

I Do The Same For You - Charlie Sexton:
Sexton just came back and released an album late this year. It's great slow, creeping, singer/songwriter stuff.

Backroads - Brandon Rhyder:
My wife says this song tells the gospel truth. We caught Brandon Rhyder playing a cool "song swap" thing with Susan Gibson and Walt Wilkins earlier this year in San Marcos. He was just as impressive as the other two.. and that says a lot.

Modelo - Mike Mcclure Band:
Mike McClure has a way of getting inside my head and writing love songs that are just the left of center... this is a love song that reminds me of growing up in Laredo... "At the end of the day it don't matter what you say, she'll be standing by my side."

Wild At Heart - Edwin McCain:
A song about someone who tries to do too much.. that's being pulled in more than one direction... hey.. It's working so far.

You Came A Long Way From St. Louis - Torch:
A fun jazzy song on here because it's a fun jazzy song. Again.. a song from an artist I interviewed in the last 12 months. Talk about shameless self-promotion - (The interview is here).

Lizards On The Tree -Full Service:
Full Service is an Austin-based band that I think released 3 CDs last year. I've heard 2.. and they were both fantastic. The 3rd was released a week or so ago.. I'm getting it sent to me. This song mentioned peanut butter and jelly... if that's not love I don't know what is.

Happy Birthday Marle - Red Stick Ramblers:
Old Settler's music Festival - April 22, 2005. My daughter turned 1 the day before. The Red Stick Ramblers were cool enough to sing her Happy Birthday from Stage. A kick-ass guy by the name of Wayne was recording the show and got me a copy. Wow. people rock.

Feliz Navidad - Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers:

We just saw Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers last night at Gruene Hall (See photos here). They are amazing. I don't know where this version of Feliz Navidad came from... but I like it and it seems an apt way to end the CD.

If you read this far... hope you enjoyed. If I know you, you can get the musical version soon.

December 11, 2005

Local Authors and Photographers of whom I've become aware

I've recently found out about a few folks in town who have published books and calendars. I thought I'd do a little name dropping since I found their products interesting... most of these can be found as part of INsite Magazine's "The 2005 INsite Totally Austin Gift Guide" which is currently on stands in Austin and online - (

Austinite Richard Reynolds ( recently released two
wonderful books of photography. In Texas Then and Now he expertly and amazingly “reshoots” historic Texas photos from around the state from the same location and angle they were originally shot. In Wild Texas Reynolds captures the natural beauty of our State.

Austin photographers donated their talent and local musicians donated their time and shed their clothing for Naked, a 2006 Calendar put together by Spike Gillespie ( to benefit the Willie Graham/Legg Perthes Fund. The fund is named for Jon Dee Graham’s son, and benefits the family to help pay for medical bills. The musicians include the likes of Guy Forsyth, Tosca, Eliza Gilkyson, Matt The Electrician, and Patricia Vaughan.

Photographer Jack M. Puryear ( employs a method known as Photo-Assemblage (taking numerous photos and assembling them as a panoramic photo) to provide beautiful images of our city including the lakes, nightlife, Capitol, and bridges for his amazing Austin, Texas 2006 Calendar. Pick up your copy at The University Coop (2246 Guadalupe). Poster prints also available.

Coloring Outside the Lines – In this interesting memoir, author Aimee Cooper ( shares some of the experiences she had as an active member of the Los Angeles punk rock scene in 1980s. Find this at Book People,
Border’s (10225 Research Blvd), and Waterloo Records (600 N Lamar Blvd).

In Beyond the Cayenne Wall author Shaila Abdullah ( presents a collection of short stories about the struggles that many women from South Asia go through to find individualism in a traditional society.

December 10, 2005

Thank you Bobcats

So, my Bobcats lost last night in overtime. I know many folks are going to spend today being a harsh critic towards some of the decisions that were made in last nights game.. but not me.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Bobcats Football Program. This was the same thing I cursed a few short years ago. I thought the name change (from Southwest Texas State University to Texas State University - San Marcos) was all about the football program... I blamed many of the changes to my Alma Mater I disagreed with on the football program. I pulled all support to my Alma Mater (except for towards The University Star... the school newspaper which I used to be on staff) becuase of the name change...which I attributed mostly to the football program.. which, until this year, had less than satisfactory seasons.

This year was different though. The Bobcats had a stellar season. They did it with heart. They bellieved in each other. They did it without the "big gun" head coach that was brought in. They established themselves with a passing game. They got within a game of being the top 1-AA team in america.

I consider myself a Bobcats fan now. I may not be a fan of the new name of the university. I wore my "Don't Mess With Southwest Texas" shirt last night while watching the game on ESPN2. But, I can say that I am a Bobcats fan now.

We'll get them next year.
Eat 'Em up Cats.
- Sean Claes, Class of 1999

December 9, 2005

I was on TV..I hear/Cappuccino/Bobcats

As per yesterday's p.s. Kinky Friedman went and turned in his Declaration of Intent form at the Secretary of State's office, and I was there. I work a few blocks from 10th and Brazos so it was just a 5 minute walk during lunch. Being the amazing journalist I am... I snapped a few shots (click on photo at the end of this paragraph to go to my Photo page). Then being the fan I am I had to get a photo with him. I didn't realize that cameras were still rolling... I hear I ended up posing with "The Kinkster" on the news last night. Not sure which channel.. I was having dinner with a friend during the 6:00p.m. hour and falling asleep by 10:00p.m. so I missed watching. I guess that's about 30 seconds less of my 15 minutes of fame Warhol claims we all have.

Kinky Friedman
EDIT: I'm on News 8 every 1/2 hour or something I hear)

Anywhoo.. let's find a topic to cover...
I'm addicted to gas station cappicuiccino. I told myself I'd never eat or drink anything I couldn't say or spell.. but here we are.. cappicuicinno..capicucino.. hell.. let's face it, gas station cappuccino is just glorified hot chocolate with coffee flavoring that only costs a buck for 20 ounces so it relly isn't the real deal.

I've tried the real thing. I paid about $3.75 for a 12ounce Starattle's Bestbuck cappicuccino once. I couldn't believe how horrible it was. Now I've tried the latte..and that's much better.. but still $2.75 more than a gas station variety.

I'm not bashing the "corporate coffee" I've tried local coffeeshops as well. I've realized my palate isn't sophisticated enough to enjoy fancy coffee... just like I prefer a fried to sushi, beer to mixed, and bread to biscotti. Nothing against all of these things, but I'm just not into them. I won't pretend to like them and I'm not afraid to be the only one in a crowd of mojitos drinking a Coors Light.

Anyhow.. I drink gas station cappuccino about 3 times a week. I like it. I guess that was the point of that last little rant. Happy Friday everyone.

p.s. See my Alma Mater on ESPN2 tonight!
If you're not actually going to the game (in San Marcos at Bobcat Stadium) you can at least watch as the Texas State University - San Marcos Bobcats play Northern Iowa in the NCAA Division I-AA semifinals at 7:00p.m. (central)

I'm still not OK with the name change for the record (The Southwest Texas State University Bobcats have a much better ring to it) but I've got to give respect to the coaching staff that turned the Bobcats into a force to be rekoned with in football this year.

I'll be watching from the warmth of my own home (Apparently I'm a fair weather fan and it's not fair weather).
If you're in San Marcos and don't have a ticket to the show, there's a viewing party at Lucy's on the Square's Barfish Lounge.

December 8, 2005

Holidailies #1 (A Day Late)

So I signed up to do this holidailies thing ( and I should be posting something that is a diary/blog/funny/whatever every day until Christmas. Today's sponsor on Holidailies is Theynow - the They Might Be Giants Podcast... ironic. I was there yesterday. I just forgot to post a blog yesterday hence I'm a day late... and if I had money I'm sure a dollar short. Sorry..

Anyhow... here we go the first day for me is the second day for the Holidalies thing... established.

Who am I? I'm Sean Claes. I'm a husband, daddy, freelance entertainment writer, photographer, humor columnist, and editor of INsite magazine in Austin, Texas. That should cover it... I'm probably going to be all over the board with this I just kind of shoot off abot whatever interests me at a given moment.

Yesterday was my wife's birthday. I finally was able to give her a cool present I was waiting to give her for a long time. During my daughter's first year of life, I took a photo of her with a sign that said how many weeks old she the end of each week. I loaded all of those into a gallery and ordered a 16" x 20" poster that is "The First 52 Weeks." I framed it and had it sitting in her office when she walked in yesterday. She loved it.

Today I woke up to a frozen tundra. I thought I was going to break my truck door at 6:15a.m. when I got in to start getting to work by 7:00a.m. It took a good amount of time to get the truck warmed up and ice to start to melt. It occured to me that I didn't have an ice scraper. I'm in Central Texas... why would I need one of those? Well.. I'm here to tell you, a blank CD works wonders. It's got hundreds of uses...
I thought I'd come up with a little list I came up with while I was typing right now...The top 10 unconventional uses for a blank CD...You could use a CD from a band you hate.. but I won't go down that road.

Top 10 Unconventional Uses for a Blank CD
1. Coaster
2. Ice Scraper
3. As an SOS sun deflector device
4. wallpaper
5. alternative to rings at the ring toss
6. Mini-frisbee
7. To make cool Elton John-essque glasses
8. High-tech Christmas Ornaments
9. Plates for hors d overs at parties
10. To Level a table

There you have it.
Feel free to add more.
Talk to you tomorrow.

p.s. I got to work at 7:15 only to get a voice message that told me I didn't have to be there until 10. That's what I get for not checking my work voice-mail remotely.

p.s.s. (From Kinky Friedman's Web site) On Thursday, Dec. 8th, Kinky Friedman will officially begin his quest for the Governor’s mansion when he walks into the Secretary of State’s office and submits his Declaration of Intent form as an independent candidate for governor. If elected, Kinky will go down in history as the first Independent governor in Texas since Sam Houston held the office 146 years ago. We invite all supporters in the Austin area to spend their lunch break with Kinky and his campaign at a pre-filing rally on the steps of the Secretary of State’s office. It’ll be cold, it’ll be blustery, it’ll be a day for the history books. So come out at noon to 208 10th Street in downtown Austin. 

December 4, 2005

December 2005 Issue of INsite Magazine Out

Repost of my "From the Editor" letter within the December 2005 Issue of INsite Magazine, which is now on stands..and online. Click logo to visit homepage.

As I look back on this year, I realize I’ve been incredibly lucky. Lucky to be the editor of an awesome entertainment magazine the likes of INsite, and lucky that I get to stand on the fringe of this city’s entertainment scene and talk with so many artists and musicians and Austin originals. I truly hope you enjoy this magazine as much as I love helping it get to you (with the help of the awesome Publisher, kick-ass Advertising folks and all of the amazing contributors you see in the staff box below).

Before I get any sappier, let’s talk about the December issue of INsite. We’ve brought you some sweet capitol city Entertainment this month.

In music, The Greencards come home for KGSR and the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar and PONG headlines the KOOP Birthday Party. In movies Allen Covert is Grandma’s Boy, Sienna Miller talks shop, and the Austin Movie Show helps you decide what to see. We also have a feature about local folks Tito’s Handmade Vodka and The Alamo Draft House. See what INsite saw last month in INsite Hindsite and find out why UT is awesome in out sports section.

This month’s INsite also features a Gift Guide of Austin Originals. We gathered some of the coolest gifts that were created by folks in town. All of the items are available online and most have places in town to stop in and buy. Be sure to take a look, you could even win a gift from us to you… because we love you.

Oh, and a quick apology to David “Metal Dave” Glessner and the fine folks in the Austin American-Statesman’s Marketing Department (where I worked for a stint in 1999… Hi Walter) for not asking permission to use the phrase “Rocks Like Slayer” without his written permission in last month’s “From The Editor.” I did, however, have Tom Araya’s verbal permission to use it.

So, Happy Holidays each in your own way.

Sean Claes
Editor, INsite

December 1, 2005

Maria's Taco Xpress/Alejandro Escovedo TONIGHT

Repost from Steve Power of Texas Radio
We are having a special event, "Bringing Back the Arms of Maria", tonight, Thursday Dec 1st. - 7:00 to 9:00 PM  to replace the vandalized arms on the statue above Maria's Taco Xpress on South Lamar.- featuring  Alejandro Escovido, Sara Hickman, Steve Power with Texas Radio, & others. We start off the show @ 7:00 PM sharp & play till 7:30.  This event is to restore a South Austin landmark and has been plugged by  KLBJ, Jody Denberg @ KGSR, and various other Austin radio and TV so we expect a real good turn out and a great time!
All the best,