Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Recognizing Price Sensitivity at ACLFest

Today, I get an email from today hawking their t-shirts for $20: "Did you miss your chance for Festival gear? Want to add to your ACL merch collection?"

If you visit Waterloo Records this week, you will see that underneath the $7.99 price tag of many of the t-shirts is a $20 price tag. They were selling their t-shirts next to the ACLFest t-shirts. The most plausible explanation is that the ACLFest people made the Waterloo folks sell the Waterloo shirts for $20 so as not to cut into their business. Twenty dollars looks a lot more expensive when sitting next to 8 dollars. However, I would guess that folks buying at ACLFest have more disposable income than the average visitor to Waterloo, so Waterloo could profitably offer a different price to ACLFest attendees.

I enjoyed the music.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Austin City Limits Festival

Friday was a good day to be at ACLFest.

Since there were too many people last year, the number of tickets available was cut by 10,000. 3-day passes sold out quick and until Wednesday, they were being scooped up off of craigslist for the original price plus $50.

A funny thing happened. People tuned into their idiot boxes and started cancelling their ACLFest plans. On Thursday, it was obvious that people were dumping their tickets on craigslist generally for $25 below price as they stormed and emptied the grocery stores of water and bread and gas stations of gas. As we walked down Barton Springs toward the entrance gate on Friday, it was very strange to see the surplus of discounted tickets being sold(reverse-scalped?).

I camped out at the Cingular stage all day long. Steve Earle reminded us that there was an anti-war rally in Washington on Saturday. Robert E. Keen did a nice set but did not play the front porch song. John Prine was my favorite as he played his acoustic guitar as the sun went down behind him. It very easy going. Just the cathartic experience I needed. Lyle Lovett closed. As is typical, he said in his humble way that he was honored to be able to play at ACLFest with the likes of Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams and John Prine. He then introduced Robert E. Keen and they sang a down tempo version of the front porch song together. Nice.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


RSS Feed for Rita

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown

Clarence lit up ACLFest last year at age 80. It appears he was on his back way to Austin from Louisiana when he had a heart attack three days ago.

Musician Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown Dies

Saturday, September 10, 2005


The finer things

I don't understand the appeal of the antiques road show. I don't understand much at all about the finer things of life. Of course, there's an exception to every rule. I do have a weak spot for a good chess set. I know what I like when I see it. Nothing else much matters, but the chess pieces have to be exactly right.


Contract On America

Unbefuckinglievable...I nearly fell out of my seat.

Bush Cronies to Mop Up Katrina

Does the phrase stand-down order come to mind? The magnitude of this disaster could have been reduced with some preventative measures. Just like the medical industry, prevention gets in the way of profit. Congratulations, HAL shareholders!

Friday, September 09, 2005


I heart conversation

Sometimes it is easy to underestimate the authoritarian nature of school. If your English teacher demands that you write in a certain way, you don't have a choice in the matter. Maybe because of the underlying absurdity, I have always been able to recall the first time that an English teacher delivered the mandate to me that all writing must be in the third person. (I have the same lucent recollection of the absurd mandate my college government professor gave regarding the necessity of straight ticket voting. Of course, in both instances I figured I just didn't understand)

Well, our English teachers were wrong and it creeps me out to no end how the sum total of all the subtle manipulations of school can suck the curiosity out of its victims. Here's a nice summary.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


The Hidden Value of Business Cards

I haven't read too many business books but the ones I have read have emphasized that startup companies shouldn't skimp on business cards. The well-regarded and generally intelligent authors claim that because a business card is part of the first impression, you should take care to make sure that it looks very professional.

In my humble opinion, business cards are almost worthless. I have collected hundreds of business cards and I have never needed to dig one out. I generally know whether I want to keep in touch with someone I have met. If I do, it is worth the investment of my time to take out a pen and write down contact information. That action expresses my genuine interest in the other person.

Back in the mid-90's, a lot of man-years of research effort were spent on an internet protocol called RSVP. The focus of the research was answering the question "How do you reserve Internet bandwidth to meet the needs of a bandwidth intensive application like video-conferencing?" Maybe around 1999, I learned that RSVP was serving the exact opposite purpose for which it was intended. The main Fortune 500 clients that wanted to use RSVP didn't want it so that they could protect real-time applications like video-conferencing but so that they could prevent those bandwidth hogs from stealing the bandwidth away from more important things like email and web traffic.

Business cards seem to serve a similar unintended purpose as RSVP. They are not quite worthless. For someone you never intend to contact again, they serve as a polite acknowledgement without expending the effort of writing down contact information.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Keith Olbermann

says it all.

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