Dreux's Engagement
September 28th, 2005 | View Post

Dreux and Amy about 1 hour after getting engaged

The Rolex on Amy's arm

Well, it's been coming for years now - that Dreux and Amy would wind up getting married that is. I can recall back to the first time that I met Amy at a party. Though it WAS my birthday, the party was technically not a birthday party, but rather just a get-together that Crockett, Evan, and Dreux were having at their house.

I'm not sure if I was drunk or not, but I vividly recall telling Amy how much Dreux had been talking about her - even though it was only the first time I had found out Dreux was even dating someone. She seemed mildly impressed that he had spoken so much about her, but at the time, I don't think I knew she was a doctor and probably assumed I could out smart her. In hindsight, I'm sure she knew I was full of shit.

Anyway, I asked both Amy and Dreux to give me their own stories that landed them engaged. Dreux sent me his in two installments.

The Tale - Part I (Considering Marriage)

The Dreux version of how he and Amy got engaged.

Amy and I have been dating for quite some time, mostly long distance. I was in Austin and she was in medical school 79 miles away in San Antonio. At the end of medical school and 2.5 years of dating me, she accepted a residency in Austin so we could live in the same city. I bought a house around the same time that she was moving to Austin, so we thought, "What the hell? We'll live in sin and see where it gets us."

A year went by living in our small 1950's house. Late spring - early summer of '05 - things became a little more serious. We had discussed engagement rings and how impractical they were. As a doctor, Amy would not be able to wear the ring very often because she wears gloves when treating patients. Taking on and off the ring is a recipe for loosing it. Also if you know Amy, then you know she does not wear rings or jewelry unless it's a special occasion. Me, personally I think the diamond market is a scam. What are diamonds really? They're just a clear hard piece of rock that people only value because of clever marketing. The only piece of jewelry I own is a hoop that is pierced in the cartilage of my ear. I don't even wear a watch. I tell time by a mobile phone that fits nicely in my pocket, but I digress.

I was trying to figure out what to get Amy as an engagement gift. Amy tends to hold on to anything that she gets as a gift, even if it gets broken. Her brother once gave her this campy wall clock for her birthday. The clock broke and she did not want to toss it because her brother gave it to her. When I asked her brother if he would be offended if she got rid of it, he did not even remember that he gave it to her. Moral of the story: don't give her something that will got out of style, wear out, or an electronic that will be archaic in 5 years.

Rule #1: It had to be something that lasts a lifetime.

I was half-way considering getting a painting, a nice piece by an artist Amy and I liked. But then she would not be able to show off the painting to her friends when she told them she was engaged. Her conversations would go something like this:
Amy: I'm engaged!!!
Amy's friend: (jumping up and down screaming) Really, I'm excited. Where's the ring?
Amy: Oh he didn't get me a ring. I got a painting. It is hanging in the living room you should come by a see it sometime.
Amy's friend: (visibly less excited) Oh, that's interesting.

Rule #2: It has to be something mobile, so she can show it off.

I was talking to my friend Dave about the issue and he suggested a watch, a nice watch, like a Rolex. I thought it was a good idea. Amy currently wore a watch. Doctors usually do, they've got to time you heart beat somehow, or call someone's time of death. This was an excellent idea. Rolex watches last for forever, it is something that can be shown off, and it was something Amy could wear all the time. I liked the idea because a watch was utilitarian.

The Tale - Part II (The Proposal)

In the late spring - early summer of 2005 - Amy asked "Can we get a new showerhead?" Of course I said "Sure, we can get a new showerhead." This went on for another month during which Amy would periodically ask about a showerhead. Now Amy's birthday is September 27th, and so when she asked for a showerhead, our conversations would go a little something like this:
Amy: When are we going to get a new showerhead?
Dreux: Maybe you will get one for your birthday.
Amy: I don't want a showerhead for my birthday.
Dreux: A showerhead is a great birthday present.
Amy: I'm going to buy a showerhead and install it so you can't get me one for my birthday.
Dreux: But I already got you a showerhead it is in my box.
Amy: What box?
Dreux: The box where I store stuff of yours that I don't like and if you don't notice it is gone, in six months I get rid of it.
Amy: You don't have box, do you?
Dreux: Maybe I do.

This went on all summer long - Amy always threatening to call my bluff of getting her a showerhead for her birthday by getting one and installing it. It never happened. When September finally came around she started to ask what she was getting for her birthday. She always wants hints on her gifts and I have a history of not playing this game right. She asks me what her gift is and the first time I say, "I'm not going to tell you." But then she proceeds to ask and eventually after the 5th time I just tell her what she is getting. Then she says I was not supposed to tell her and that I've ruined the surprise. I always tell her if she wanted to be surprised she should not ask. So in September 2005, I employed a new tactic. Every time she asked I would say, "You know what you are getting, a showerhead." Amy would always reply "I'm going to be very disappointed if I get a showerhead for my birthday."

I planned to propose on her birthday. The week before her birthday I was going to be in the China for business, before I left, I ordered the watch. The salesman at the jewelry store assured me it would be in when I got back, and before Amy's birthday. My buddy Emerson knew my plan to propose and while I was in China, Amy and he went out to dinner one night. Amy was asking him for hints at what I was getting her. All Emerson would say was ?"It is something you have wanted for a long time."

I came home September 24th the same day hurricane Rita hit landfall in East Texas and West Louisiana. When I went to the jewelry store on Monday I was told that due to hurricane Rita, deliveries were delayed. The watch was not coming in until Wednesday, the day after Amy's birthday.

New plan. I needed to get her something so I was not empty handed on her birthday. That morning Amy mentioned that some of her bras were wore out and she needed new ones. After visiting the jewelry store I went to Victoria's Secret and got a gift certificate. Monday night I met Amy's dad for a beer at a restaurant near his work so I could ask for Amy's hand in marriage. I'm not a traditionalist, but Amy's parents are to some degree, and I felt it was the right thing to do. When I asked, his response was "Good, It's about time." We both laughed and he told me about when he and Amy's mom, Linda, went to Linda's parents place to tell them they were getting married.

Tuesday morning came and Amy woke up. I wished her a happy birthday. She asked when she was getting her present and I told her tonight at her parents place. During my lunch hour I went to Home Depot and picked out a top of the line showerhead.

That evening I met Amy at her parents place with my pink Victoria's Secret bag complete with a showerhead and gift certificate inside. I handed Amy the bag and the conversation went something like this:

Amy: A Showerhead?? I can't believe you got me a showerhead?
Dreux: There is a gift certificate too. You said you needed new bras.
Amy: Dreux!! (looking over at her mom)
Dreux: Your mom knows you wear bras. You don't like your birthday gift? (acting hurt)
Amy: No, no I like it, thank you. (trying to act not disappointed)
Dreux: That is a top of the line showerhead, and very aesthetically pleasing.
Amy: Yes it is a very good showerhead.

Amy's mom who was watching knew that the watch was late and this was a fake gift, but still could not help feel sorry for me. This was a feeling I appreciated though misplaced as I was enjoying this back and forth and acting hurt. And then as if on cue, Amy's brother, Scott, and his girlfriend, Kathy, showed up and asked what I gave Amy.

Kathy: What did Dreux give you?
Amy: A showerhead.
Dreux: A top-of-the-line showerhead.
Kathy: Cool.
Scott: That's cool.
Kathy: I want a showerhead.
Dreux: (to Amy) See, the showerhead is a good gift.

We went to dinner that night with her parents and on the ride over.

Amy: Did you tell Emerson what you were getting me?
Dreux: Yeah he knew, why?
Amy: It was just not what I was expecting.
Dreux: What you don't like the showerhead? Scott and Kathy like the showerhead. It is a very good showerhead.
Amy: No I like the showerhead, it is just not what I expected.

While I went and picked up the watch on Wednesday, Amy's friends at work asked what I had given her for her birthday. Amy had to reply "A showerhead." That sparked a male-bashing session with broad generalizations that men don't know how to give gifts or how to shop for gifts, and telling of tales of fathers giving mothers microwaves or vacuum cleaners. That night was Amy's birthday dinner with friends [at Trudys North]. When Amy got home she asked if we could delay the friend birthday dinner to another night. She had a presentation on Friday and the attending wanted to go over it Thursday and she had not done anything for the presentation yet.

Dreux: Well we could delay the dinner, but if we do I can't give you this. (handing Amy a gift wrapped box.)
Amy: What is this?
Dreux: Open it and find out.
Amy opens the box to show a very nice Rolex watch.
Dreux: Amy, will you marry me?
Amy: Of course I will.

Then I related the whole story of how the watch was not in on time and how I thought it would be fun to get her a showerhead. That night we had a great time with friends at dinner. Amy's friends at work had to eat their words the next day.

There you have it folks, the long twisted tale of how Amy and I got engaged from Dreux's point of view. I could not be happier on how it turned out and I'm glad we have a nice tale to tell.


Pat - 10/20/05 - 02:32:19 PM
Did he ever tell you about the doll he set on fire?

The Other Cajun - 10/20/05 - 03:07:40 PM
"Every dog has his day"
My congratulations to you and my condolences to Amy. Amy: Please have that watch appraised. I hear through the grape vine that Druex took a quick flight to NYC and bought a couple of "Lolex's" in Chinatown....

Lauren, Joe and Noah - 10/21/05 - 09:46:47 PM
"Watch Boy"
If you need a watch boy, we have one who can do it for real cheap. If you do employ him, he will require workman's comp, and health insurance. Also, make sure the watch is water-proof, cause he drools a lot! It's nice to hear your story. It's a little long, but good, so long as Amy is happy. Don't forget to get the watch insured (they're only covered in theft under a Homeowner's policy for $500!)
Your beloved friends,
The Cadilacs

Kim - 11/29/05 - 03:58:31 PM
"Congrats to Dreux and Amy"
Congratulations on your engagement! Dreux, Amy is a keeper because I would've bopped you over the head with my "top of the line" showerhead! :-)
Hurricane Rita
September 22nd, 2005 | View Post

The shelves at HEB almost entirely bare despite the fact that we're several hundred miles inland with no major bodies of water around
To anyone not familiar with hurricane Rita, as of this writing she is a category 4 hurricane anticipated to make landfall sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning, September 23rd - September 24th, 2005, around the southeastern region of Texas.

After noticing how the general scenary of my town has changed in the past few days, I just wanted to make a few notes as to what I have seen regarding the much feared hurricane. I guess it's not a surprise that after the damage caused by hurricane Katrina, people would be more than willing to evacuate from Galveston, Houston, and the surrounding cities. For Austinites, however, the influx is showing.

My H.E.B. Experience

When I walked into H.E.B. (the local grocery store) just the other day, I can't say that I was entirely shocked, but rather just annoyed at what I was seeing. It looked as if people were preparing for the apocalypse or something equally as exciting. Of course, unlike the rest of the crowd, my only intention was to purchase my usual groceries. Imagine how much more annoyed I became when I found I couldn't get my Gatorade, bread, water, and milk, just to name a few.

As exciting as it was to see H.E.B. in this state of complete chaos, I was disappointed not being able to get the foods that I am accustomed to getting. Yes, one could call it selfishness given the recent state of things in the south-central states, but that wouldn't change the fact that I was still thirsty. I think I was more so just annoyed that people felt the need to stock up as if they're going to be stranded for weeks to come. Perhaps I am not the best person to make this call, but it seems unlikely that Austin, a city 200 miles inland, would be devastated by a hurricane.

Cars lined up to the street for gas in anticipation of the hurricane
The Gas Rush

Much like I have seen before, when chaos strikes, we first make sure that our cars are filled to the top. I am still not entirely certain if this is because we fear the worst and think that we'll need to evacuate at moments notice, or if it's just that we are all futures brokers at heart and predict the price will make a significant increase. Whatever the case may be, the local gas stations have been swamped and many have even managed to run out of gas.
September 20th, 2005 | View Post
I'd seen dozens of people do this sort of thing before and had wanted to make my own version of it. So after growing my beard out for about two months, I thought it would be fun to create a little stop-animation of the shaving process (thus run it backwards to have it grow).

I had a semi-formal affair to attend and really needed to shave for the event. Unfortunately it just so happened that my camera broke the day before and so I was kind of between a rock and a hard place with my little artistic experiment. The best I could do was to use my old video camera to capture basic clips and then grab stills from those video clips.

I'll admit it's definitely not the type of final product I had in mind (nor nearly the best I am certain I'm capable of producing), but it sufficed. If you look closely, you'll notice there are two little marks on the wall. These were actually nails that I used to align my head between for each shot. I had intended to remove them all, but never actually did since the images were so weak to begin with.

The images used to construct this can be found here: Build-A-Kev
Planetary Photoshopping
September 10th, 2005 | View Post
Every once in awhile I get the idea to try and draw something from scratch in Photoshop. This planet is what resulted.

Some distant planet out in space with a swarm of nebulae gases

Dreux's Tale of Jury Duty
August 19th, 2005 | View Post
Crockett and I were hanging out with Dreux the other day and he told us all about his experience with jury duty here in Travis county. We were surprised that he was picked for the case at all, being a logical engineer and all, but he was. His reward was sitting and listening to 5 days of civil trial.

The Suit

The lawsuit came from what is no doubt an upsetting tale, but in my opinion, was frivilous all the same. Essentially, an F-550 work truck was making a left turn at a stop light (crossing a highway in his turning lane). Mind you, he was actually the second car waiting for the green left arrow. As the arrow turned green (thus giving him the right of way), the car in front of him went through the intersection and he proceeded to so the same. Perpindicular to his car and coming from the left at about 55 MPH or so was another car. The driver ran the red light and the right side of her car smashed into the large grill bumper of the F-550 severely injuring her passenger and backseat daughter in a carseat. So much in fact, that life-flight was needed at the scene.

The woman's daughter suffered severe head trauma and will apparently never be the same again. To a lesser extent, this was apparently also true of the passenger. Oddly enough, the lawsuit actually came from the injured child's father, and from the mother of the passenger. They (the plaintiffs) were seeking a claim of negligence on behalf of the F-550 turning left claiming that he has a responsibility to ensure no cars are coming (even if he has the right of way). For that, they attempted to justify he was 20% at fault and were seeking to award $10,000,000 in damages (which results in $2,000,000 after factoring his negligent part).

Long story short, Dreux and the 11 other members of the jury found in favor of the defendant and therefore awarded no damages to the plaintiff. It seems that one of the largest points made was that by the time she ran the light, all lights had been red for two seconds, the defendant's light had been green for 8 seconds, and the woman driver's light had been red for 10 seconds! Not to mention, her light had been yellow for 6 seconds prior to it turning red.

How One is Selected for Jury Duty

There was some confusion amongst us trying to decide how one is selected for jury duty. It seems that some of us believe it comes from registering to vote, others believe it's merely having a license. It seems to vary from state to state and possibly county to county, but here are the rules for Travis County.

The jury wheel, which is the list of potential jurors, comes from three lists:
* all registered voters in Travis County
* all registered voters from neighboring counties that reside within Austin city limits
* all persons in Travis County with either a Texas driver's license or a Department of Public Safety identification card

Each year, the Voter lists and DPS lists are merged by matching the names as best as is possible to minimize duplications. The merged list is given to the Travis County district clerk. The district clerk, county clerk, and sheriff then meet to 'reconstitute' the jury wheel by replacing the old list with the new one. Jury summonses are sent from the jury wheel on a random basis.

About 120,000 to 150,000 summonses are sent each year.

To read more about this, visit http://www.co.travis.tx.us/district_clerk/jury/A1.asp.

Same Gnome 2.8.0+ Custom Image Pack 0.1
July 24th, 2005 | View Post

A look at the different pix maps.

This is just a pretty simple image pack that I put together for the popular open-source game, Same Gnome. The top left image is the default pixmap for the game, and the other three images are custom pixmaps that I made. Included in the tarball are: rotating_pills.png (topright), three_lens_flares.png (bottomleft), and mexican_numbers.png (bottomright). I cannot guarantee that they will work with all versions of Same Gnome, but were designed to work with v2.8.0.

Included Pixmaps
  • Rotating Pills
  • Mexican Numbers
  • Three Lens Flare
While the Mexican Numbers and the Rotating Pills themes were meant to be graphically appealing, the Three Lens Flares pixmap was simply designed to allow the user to more easily see what particular color appears most in the game (thus allowing for higher scores - or so was the idea).

How to use

Read your Same Gnome help section on 'Creating Scenarios'. Simply unTar/GZip the file and copy the .PNGs into your /usr/share/pixmaps/same-gnome/ directory (note: directory may be slightly different depending on your Linux distribution.)

Download them directly from:

Tar/GZ: same-gnome-pixmaps0.1.tar.gz (110,354 bytes)
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