Lies-to-be for 2005

  • Get back to exercising 3 or 4 times a week like I used to do a few years ago.
  • Eat better / eat out less often.
  • Lose about 20 pounds (should be drop-dead easy if I take care of the first two…).
  • Take boatloads of pictures with my new Digital Rebel. Try to fool others into thinking I know what I’m doing.
  • Finish redecorating the kitchen.
  • Landscape the backyard.
  • Tell my sweetie—every single day—that I love her. (OK, so I’ll at least be accomplishing one of my goals for 2005…).

Thunderbird 1.0

This has somehow managed to escape my attention for an entire week now, but here it is, better late than never: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 is now available.

Thunderbird is a combination e-mail/newsgroup reader, brought to you by the same folks that also give you the stellar Firefox browser. Same benefits, too—free, multi-platform, fast, safe, and secure.

Like Firefox (née Firebird), I’ve been using Thunderbird since its early pre-release days (the 0.5 version, I believe, was my earliest foray into T’bird), and while not (yet) perfect, it should easily satisfy the vast majority of users. And with no Outlook-releated viruses to boot.

Get it now. You’ll thank yourself soon enough. And your friends—the ones in your Outlook address book—will probably thank you even sooner.

Burning down the house

OK, so Friday night, my sweetie and I went to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert at the Hangar (a.k.a., American Airlines Center in Dallas). It’s our third time seeing them, so we pretty much knew what to expect from the show, and they didn’t disappoint. (It should be noted that each time they’ve played here, it’s been in progressively larger venues, from the now-defunct Bronco Bowl to NextStage to the AAC.)

The first half of the show went as it always does, with TSO playing out the story told on their Christmas Eve & Other Stories album. About halfway through the segment comes “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24”, always a crowd favorite. For the uninitiated, the song is set in the war-torn lands of… well, Sarajevo, and the song is typically accompanied by the rumbling of guns and the muted wails of sirens. Very mood-setting. Well, as the song started up, sure enough, you could hear the background sounds, and right on cue, the emergency lights and alarms in AAC started blinking and chirping. Now that’s what I call setting the mood.

Only problem was that the fire alarms weren’t part of the show—and to emphasize this, the automated recording was the clincher: “An emergency condition has been detected. Please proceed to the nearest exit…” Most of the crowd was quite confused, and I’d bet the majority of them still thought it was part of the show. But when the house lights came on and the ushers started pointing people towards the doors, we all got the hint.

Fortunately, not two minutes later, the alarms stopped, and an announcement came on saying that it was all a false alarm. As Al Pitrelli put it from on stage (the band never left the stage during all this): “Oops.” A few minutes later, everyone was reseated, and the band picked up from the exact moment they left off.

After that, it was your usual TSO show. Which is to say, awesome.

Amusingly, after one number that involved a bunch of flames and other assorted pyrotechnics, Pitrelli remarked, “You know, a fire alarm goes off because somebody was smoking in the bathroom. But we do all this, and not a peep. Go figure.”

And as has apparently become their tradition after their Dallas show, TSO announced they would be available after the show to sign autographs and such. (They did this last year, and we—and the band—stayed til almost 1:00 in the morning.) Based on what we’ve heard, they don’t do this at all of their shows (for example, they didn’t do it in Houston last year), but if the stories are to be believed, the Dallas show is usually one of their bigger shows of their tour.

As Pitrelli put it, they sure have come a long way from the Bronco Bowl.

Just like the good ol’ days

22nd-ranked Texas A&M (7-4) has accepted an invitation to play in the 2005 SBC Cotton Bowl against #15 Tennessee (9-3). It’s the Aggies’ first trip back to Dallas since the ’98 Cotton Bowl and caps an amazing turnaround from last year’s 4-8 season.

I—and most others—had assumed A&M was headed to the Holiday Bowl, but the Aggies earned the Cotton Bowl invite instead by virtue of Texas (whose whining and begging and pleading apparently paid off) unexpectedly scoring a BCS berth. Hey, whatever—nothing’s perfect. A&M’s in the Cotton Bowl—that’s all that matters.

Why am I so pumped about the Aggies making it to the Cotton Bowl? (The BCS will come a-callin’ for A&M soon enough. I can wait.) Well, guess who lives in the Dallas area? The question now becomes: HOW DO I GO ABOUT SCORING ME SOME GOOD SEATS??!? Time to call in some favors…

Follow-up (Dec 06, 2004): I now have two tickets for the game. I love my friends.