Friday, December 28

Changes in Tower

A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the Fresno Bee that said Lauck's Bakery would be closing at the beginning of the year. This was right on the heels of the drug store that shares the same parking lot closing its doors and also "M" shutting down not too long ago as well. The reasons that were cited were increased rent prices, even though rent in Tower is lower than most other places in Fresno, without the increased customer base to support it.

Although it is unfortunate to see businesses fail, I honestly wasn't a fan of any of those establishments. I appreciate that Lauck's is an icon in the Tower District and has been there for many years but I was never impressed with their product. I went in there a few times to pick up something to bring to staff meetings and found a very limited selection and the quality was standard but not exceptional. I know some people love that place but its appeal is more nostalgic to me at least. We also went to M once for dinner and again everything was decent but nothing I would tell my friends about (had you not all been there with me).

So with some of the old blood packing up and leaving there is ample opportunity for new establishments to take their places. I have always said that I would love it if there was a sushi place in Tower and the Laucks article mentioned that a sushi restaurant would be going in and just today I saw the sign for it coming soon across from Starbucks. It seems like if they do a decent job with the restaurant it would be a popular destination. I know I will be looking forward to trying it in the near future.

There are other opportunities for new developments in this area though that could make the Tower District a very successful area. Business development has always been intriguing to me as well as the entrepreneurial spirit associated with it so I look forward to seeing what indeed comes to fruition.

Austin is a very entrepreneurial city with a great deal of independently owned establishments that usually have a quirky edge to them. I know I talk a lot about how cool Austin is but it really is pretty great. One of my favorite things to do there was to go to the Alamo DraftHouse. I very possibly could have described this place to you before so if I did I apologize but I am going to talk about it again because I think the Tower Theater would be a great place to use a similar concept. Basically they took an old run down theater downtown, ripped out every other row of seats and in their place put a narrow table top that stretches the length of the row. When you get there there is a menu in front of you and once you decide what you want you write it down and the waiter/waitress will come pick it up and within the first 15 minutes of the movie starting you have your food. We are not talking about popcorn and whoppers either the menu has appetizers, burgers and fries, pizza, salads etc. and the food is actually pretty good. They play regular movies but have a lot of themed shows that they do as well. For example I went to the R. Kelly Sing-a-long and they played the entire trapped in the closet series complete with commentary from a couple of comedians who hosted the show as well as some of his old music videos that they just rip. They play a ton of old movies that aren't classics but horrible funny, they have mini film festivals, there was an 80's prom theme show where they showed Pretty in Pink and everyone dressed up in 80s prom attire and my favorite thing they do is a live version of Mystery Science Theater where they take popular old movies (like The Lost Boys) and again have commentary the entire time from comedians who sit up front. Oh yeah and did I mention they serve alcohol too??

I see the Tower Theater being right next to an available restaurant and I get all a tingle. If I knew anything about starting a business I would think it would go over pretty well. I wouldn't even know where to start. Hopefully though other people do and they will bring that knowledge to the area and get something creative, fun and successful to the most unique and arguably the best neighborhood in Fresno.

(Is anyone even still reading??)

Wednesday, December 26

How well did you pay attention in 2007?

MSN has a quiz of the major news events in 2007. Some of the questions are very specific and some stories I don't remember hearing at all but I took it and got 58% correct. Think you can do better? Yeah you are probably right.

Here is the link if you want to test your knowledge and show me up.

Adios Christmas!

Christmas at the Wilson household is a little more laid back then most. We don't do the big family thing or really have any Christmas traditions that we adhere to. My family (and by family I mean my parents, sister and myself) is really low key and casual. Most of the day is spent in sweat pants and on the couch while my dad flips the channels from Sci Fi to whatever sporting events are on and back, usually watching 4 programs at once, none of which anyone else wants to watch. My mom makes a coffee cake and we have oranges for breakfast and thats when the present handing out begins.
Inevitaly my mom forgets whose presents belong to whom (she doesnt always use tags)and we end up opening a gift of someone elses. My dad fancies himself a comedic poet and a gift from him is typically accompanied by one of these poems. This year my gift from him was all clothing items to keep me warm since I am always complaining about being cold. He actually did a really good job with both the poem and the gift. The big gift though was a washer and dryer that is going to be installed on Saturday. I don't think I could be more excited about this, I am all a tingle.
This is the second year in a row that we havent had my sister home for the holidays though and I miss her a lot. Now that she is married she has to split time between the two families and she just got a new job and has done a lot of traveling this year for her wedding/honeymoon so she couldn't come out. My sister and I are really close and definitely have that unique sibling bond. I just always have more fun when she is around and no one else can understand frustrations with the family like your sister can.
It was a good Christmas and I am grateful for all that I have, but I am glad that it is over for this year. I hope everyone else had a good Christmas as well. Cheers!

Friday, December 21

The Company Christmas Party

Normally, I am not a big fan of forced gatherings. Getting together with people you hardly know and engaging in monotonous small talk while watching the clock for when you have put in the appropriate amount of time before you can leave just doesn't appeal to me. Last year I had only been working here for about a month before the Christmas Party and it was exactly what I described above, a loathsome event. This year though things are different.

For one we are having the party at the office and not a restaurant so it won't be taking up time away from work and actually shortens my work week by half a day (woo hoo) Also, Tennessee is BBQ'ing and he doesn't mess around. There are 3 smokers and 2 BBQ and he is making tri tip, herb chicken, ribs, and chicken jalapeno sausage. The smell coming through the office right now is excruciating. BBQ is easily my favorite thing to eat and I already weaseled a sample out of him and oh sugar (as my grandma would say) it is heaven. There is a place near Austin that makes the best BBQ I have ever tasted and this rivals even that. The sides aren't that great but who has room for sides with all of that meat! Also I have gotten to know almost everyone a lot more this year so the conversations and interactions aren't as awkward.

So cheers to a Christmas office party that doesn't totally suck!

Fridays Horoscope

Embrace the fact that your company is so desirable to others right now --party on! Your social circles are growing, even as they rotate and get a little mixed up. There's enough stability to keep your mind from exploding, but enough change to keep the rest of you from getting bored.

Well this one is certianly more interesting then yesterdays! It is a dangerous thing to tell this girl to "party on" but hell if I am so desirable to be around, who am I to revoke the privilege of my company to others? This is a good ego boost horoscope so I will take it:)

Thursday, December 20

Thursdays Horoscope

Listen carefully to what others have to say today, Kasey. You might be so caught up in your own way of doing things, and are so accustomed to working on your own that you forget that you have a whole team of people whose input could greatly enrich your work. If someone disagrees with your approach to a project, don't go on the defensive. Know that they have your best interests in mind, and that what they are offering is truly constructive criticism. You would be wise to listen.

This is pretty general and applies to anyone who works so it will be nearly impossible to have this not apply. What a yawn of a horoscope though, bleh.

Wednesdays Horoscope

You have a lot to celebrate, Kasey! Things have been going well for you at work, and there have been significant changes in your living environment. Maybe you have recently added onto your house, or even moved! With all the commotion, you may have been neglecting your partner. Being in an especially amorous mood, it is in your best interest to make this significant other feel special and loved!

Yup, turns out to be completely irrelevant. I can't even make something work there.

Overall Outcome: Horoscope wrong

Wednesday, December 19

Best Quotes of the Year

Yes, it is the time of year where lists and rankings come out to remind us of what has happened over the course of 2007. I had forgotten some of these quotations but had a good laugh at some of them. To see the full list click here, otherwise here are a few of my favorite:

"Don't tase me bro!"

"In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country."

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and Iraq and everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for us."

"That's some nappy-headed hos there"

Good times! (Thats me, not a top quote of 2007 in case you were wondering)

Wednesdays Horoscope

You have a lot to celebrate, Kasey! Things have been going well for you at work, and there have been significant changes in your living environment. Maybe you have recently added onto your house, or even moved! With all the commotion, you may have been neglecting your partner. Being in an especially amorous mood, it is in your best interest to make this significant other feel special and loved!

Hmmm, already not seeing the relevance to Wednesdays horoscope. Although things have been going well at work, there have been no significant changes in my living environment. I am getting a washer and dryer installed Saturday (hell fucking yes) but that doesn't so much apply today. As far as neglecting a partner, not so much applicable but I will try to make anyone significant in my life special and loved today, after all it is in my best interest. Hugs for everyone tonight!

Tuesdays Outcome

A couple of things were supposed to happen Tuesday according to my horoscope. First, I was supposed to make an investment. I invested in my spring footwear collection by buying three pairs of shoes online. I don't need a horoscope to tell me to buy shoes, I can do just fine with that on my own, but if I am trying to make my horoscope fit, that's how I would have to do it.

Second, I was supposed to get some money in the mail. Unfortunately I did not find any checks in my mail yesterday. I did however get something else in the mail yesterday that I ordered that can arguably be better than money since I had been looking forward to getting it. Again though, not so much fitting my horoscope unless I am very liberal.

Finally, I was supposed to have some great dreams last night and if I did, I don't remember them so that didn't work out for me.

Overall I had a good day yesterday but it didn't quite fit with what my horoscope predicted.

Tuesday, December 18

Just admit it, they are cute

Sooo little:

Bed time for bonzos:

A well balanced kitty:

Tuesdays Horoscope

Today you feel there's nothing you cannot accomplish, Kasey! If you have been thinking about making an investment, such as in a chunk of stock or a piece of property, this would be an ideal day to do so. Any money you may be expecting will likely come in the mail today. The night could bring vivid and interesting dreams, rounding out this most satisfying day.

Right on, this is a killer horoscope and I don't really have to do anything. Obviously not so much at a place in my life where a major financial investment is possible so I can disregard that, but I will take money in the mail and vivid interesting dreams and a most satisfying day! Hopefully I wont dream about someone telling me to move my car so squirrels can eat off of it but if I do, I will be sure to find out for Ed why I should do this.

UPDATE: Well I have to say, so far my day is going pretty well. I absolutely love this weather and although it normally makes me want to curl up in bed and sleep the day away, I am feeling pretty energized. As far making an investment, I think I fulfilled that by purchasing 3 new pairs of shoes online:) They were on clearance at Steve Madden (one of my absolute favorite shoe lines that makes me tingle just looking at them and dont even get me started about how it feels to slide them on) and 2 of them are definitely more of a spring/summer shoe so clearly this is an investment in my future footwear. Can't wait to check the mail!

Mondays Outcome, Pandoras Box?

As I strived to abide by my astrology guide for Monday I was looking for something to do to get me outside of my comfort zone. I decided I would test the waters by being more social at the gym and striking up a conversation with someone there.

I know I have talked about this before but to just give everyone the background on what my gym is like, the average age of the people that go there is approximately 40 and probably 80% female. When I am there I have my ipod on the entire time and keep to myself. Most everyone else who comes in will chat with another gym member at some point and most of them seem to be on a first name basis. I am there to workout and not to socialize, plus I really don't have much in common with any of them. I realize that this probably makes me seem unfriendly and overly serious to other gym members and since my mom goes there too she can back up that perception (thanks mom). SO I should probably be more friendly and I decided to give it a shot.

There were only 4 people there when I arrived, two were working with trainers so they were out because I didn't want to interrupt and the other two were doing cardio. I decided to say something to a lady that I hadn't seen in awhile since I could ask where she had been the past few weeks. I was uncomfortable to ask though because who knows, a family member could have been really ill or some tragedy could have occurred and that's why she hasn't been around. I couldn't think of anything else to say though so I went with it. Turns out she had shoulder surgery and it was her first day back in 6 weeks.

Everything was going fine until I realized that this was the same lady that weeks ago talked my ear off about her damn cat even though I had my headphones on and I was working out at the time. Shit, I started a conversation with the inappropriate talker who cant take a hint. So I stood there and listened to how her shoulder was feeling and how when it rains her arthritis acts up and she aches all over so it is hard to get to the gym yada yada yada. About 5-7 minutes into it there was a brief pause and I quickly said, "well have a good workout" and walked away.

I fear that I have given her the green light to chat me up every time she sees me which could be a problem. I hate small talk, I am bad at it and I may now have to be more engaged in it at the place I love to go most, the gym (I know how lame it is that I love the gym so much but I really do). Although I felt good that I was friendly and may now perceived as being less cold and aloof to at least her, I certainly hope that chatting with her is not a daily experience. Say hello sure but if I have to hear more about her cat or her aching bones and it takes away from my workout, I am not going to be happy.

Day 1 Overall Outcome: Positive in the moment, but perceivably problematic in the future.

Monday, December 17

Horoscope for Monday

(Read the previous post first otherwise you will be confused)

The fastest way to learn something new about yourself is by exploring something that is unknown to you. This could be something universally intimidating, like skydiving, but it could also be something that is harmless to many, but still a big question mark for you. It can be a hard thing to accept the fact that you could try something and not succeed at it right away. Check your ego at the door and dive into learning something new about your capabilities.

Don't think I will be trying skydiving today (someday though) so I will have to explore something else that is unknown to me. Hmmm.

UPDATE: I went to Olive Garden and had the Apricot Tuscan Chicken for lunch. It was good and I enjoyed it but it certainly wasn't too far outside my comfort zone. I will be going to the gym later and I am thinking that I could start a conversation with someone there. I usually get to the gym, put my ipod on and do my thing and hardly even look up at anyone. I have been going there for almost a year and I see the same people there everytime I go but I never talk to any of them. Initiating a conversation with a stranger is something I hardly ever do because it can make me uncomfortable and I feel awkward. I think that might be my mission for the day.

I like Mikes idea of learning something about my family history as well, but I think I will save that for sometime over christmas when we are all together.

Astrology and Me

Last night I had a conversation with my friend Chris about horoscopes, numerology, tarot cards etc and how some people allow and seek out advice from these sources in hopes to improve their lives in some way. Neither of us are believers in the accuracy of astrology, but for people who truly truly believe in that kind of thing is it neccesarily a detriment to their lives? Horoscopes are not going to give out bad advice. They wont instruct you to quit your job, walk out on your family, or steal because that would be obviously be too specific and negligent. However since horoscopes are written in generalities so the most amount of people can apply them to their lives, some people might actually find that they do improve their lives even if it is a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts.

That brings me to the experiment. For one week I am going to read my horoscope first thing in the morning and operate throughout the day with that horoscope in mind. So if it says to be assertive at work or to spend more time at home, then thats what I am going to do. At the end of the week we will see how my week of life influenced by astrology has gone. I don't expect anything will change, but I thought it might at least be funny to read about. So I will post my horoscope in the morning and if anyone has any suggestions as to how I should abide by it please leave me a suggestion in the comments.

So first thing first, I was born on August 5th so my sign is Leo. According to, a Leo is:
Leo is symbolized by the Lion. Leos are stubborn yet impulsive and also showy, dramatic and sometimes vain. Leos have a sunny demeanor and love to be the center of loved ones' adoration. The worst thing someone can do to a Leo is accuse them of bad intentions. Displaying behavior that makes them think you don't appreciate them runs a close second. These happy, jovial people become mighty hurt when others don't see them for their noble intentions.Loyal, and sometimes rather traditional, Leos are, after all, a fixed sign. They'll hold on to situations and people for a very long time before they give up. There is an unmistakable idealism to Leo's view of the world and the people in it. Often, Leos have a very noble inner code that they answer to. Although on the surface, Leos appear rather confident, they can actually be some of the most humble souls around. They are the first to blame themselves when something goes wrong. Once again, it's the Leonine self-importance at work, and this characteristic works in unexpected ways. Instead of being the conceited, self-absorbed show-offs of reputation, they are usually very self-aware, self-conscious, and, yes, even humble.

This can go on for a long time so here is more if you are interested: Leo.

Some of that rings true to me, some does not but I will let anyone who knows me make that call for themselves.

With that in mind, my next post will be my horoscope for today and I will update it it probably throughout the day or at the very least tonight so you can see how I applied it.

I asked the magic 8 ball, Will my astrology experiment go well this week? The answer: Definitely.

Thursday, December 13

Orange Blossom Junction

There is a restaraunt that I have always wanted to go to, but it is in Exter so it isn't exactly convenient so I havent been. It is the Orange Blossom Junction and from what I have heard and seen on their website it isn't your run of the mill establishment (which it shouldnt be if I am going to drive all of the way to Exter to go to it). The food is supposed to be excellent (check out the menu) and they have daily specials (like Ribeye Steak with Raspberry Glaze and Bleu Cheese, oh my!) and a large drink menu. But besides the food and drink they have a lot of live performances from blues artists and guitarists which reminds a lot of Austin.

I really want to get a little mini road trip together sometime and check it out, if anyone would possibly be interested let me know! (Ed you could write a review!)

Wednesday, December 12

Even if you are Russian, don't try to drink a liter of vodka

Sometimes we overestimate how much we can safely drink. Usually we figure it out when it is too late and we are puking over a toilet (or in a bush) and we wake up with a horrible hangover. I found out after taking 10 shots of pepermint schnapps in about an 1-2 hour period of time. It wasn't pretty, from what I can remember and what I was told at least.
Taking it to a whole new level though, in Berlin a man tested his threshold and is lucky to have even woken up after he chugged an entire liter of vodka when they told him he couldn't take it on a plane. An entire liter of vodka-at one time! Police said that when he was told that he either had to throw it away or check it, he chugged the bottle down — and was quickly unable to stand or otherwise function, police said.
I wonder if when airport personnel saw him starting to chug if they tried to stop him or just stood there in disbelief, watching the train wreck unfold. Oh those Germans!

(Maybe this will be my new thing, posting about the stupidity of others)

Monday, December 10

Sometimes a New Perspective Can Be Benefical

Over Thanksgiving I was talking to a family friend Charley Ford, who also happens to be my old 6th grade teacher and volleyball coach. He was without a doubt my most influential teacher and I have always had a great deal of respect for him. When he was my teacher we had to read these books on values. Each of these books had a topic like "persistence", "integrity", "attitude", "responsibility" etc. There were probably about 15-20 of them and we had to write a report about how they apply to our lives after we were done with each book. This is something that has always stayed with me and we still have chats about these types of things even today.

Well over Thanksgiving he gave me a book to read, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People". Having read a great deal of self help books when I was in grad school that focused on organizational effectiveness I didn't really have any high ideals of how this may benefit me. I gave it a shot though and although there is no ground-breaking completely new information, it has been helping me to take a closer look at my own paradigms and how I approach the world.

Where I have seen the most relevance is in my job. I have a horrible attitude when it comes to work, blaming frequently and pawning my unhappiness off on other people. This may not be my dream job but it is the job that I have now so why be miserable when I can change my attitude instead of just reacting negatively. It may not solve all of my problems but maybe it will prevent me from being so negative and at times feeling sorry for myself for no good reason. I have always thought of myself as a happy person but if I die tomorrow, I dont know if thats what people would say about me. That makes me sad, so I am going to work on it.

(And no this does not mean sarcastic, smart ass Kasey is going anywhere, she will definitely still be around-I just want to change the way I react when things don't go my way so I dont let it effect me as much as it does now)

Friday, December 7

My post for the first week in December

This week I have found myself in a somewhat melancholy state of mind that I can't seem to snap out of. Thats partly why I haven't been posting, I have been thinking a lot about myself and my life and it doesn't leave much room to think about what to post.

My mom had to have a cat scan this week because she has been experiencing vertigo and it is just a percaution and probably nothing but it scared me to think about. Both of my grandparents died when they were around the age my parents are now, a bit unsettling.

I have also been experiencing a medical issue of my own that I will be going in on Monday to have some more tests run on. It is something I have had to go thru before and also a few years ago so I am not overly concerned but it will be nice when it is behind me and I know it isn't something serious. I tend to internalize things and I prefer to deal with things on my own so actually posting about it is hard for me to do, but I also thought it would explain my somewhat detached behavior as of late. I know I am being vague but it isn't something I want to talk about in detail at the moment.

So anyway, thats whats new with me. I am generally a-ok, but just have some things in the back of my mind I am dealing with. I am confident everything will turn out fine though. Isn't this the magical holiday season after all? ;)