11 September 2009

We've moved

About two weeks ago Carrie and I decided to pack up our bags and move… back to Austin.

Our new house is a little larger and has a great view off of the back deck and we get to avoid the toll roads when driving to and from work.

01 January 2009

2008 Year in Review

It's been several months since I have written anything on this blog so I decided to give a recap of the the past year. There were big changes in my life in 2008. It started off very well when not more than two days into January my second niece, Natalie, was born. Here she is at around eleven months old.
Natalie Wankerl

Carrie's friend Wendy came down to visit with us for an extended weekend in early January. She and Carrie both got to see me for the first time without my orthodontic braces. It sure did feel good to get them removed. I had them on for about two and one half years (I was told it would only take twenty-two months).

Peabody Drive house

After spending way too long fixing up and getting it ready, I put my house at Peabody Drive up for sale in February. It only took three days before I got an offer on it at the full asking price which was wonderful. Almost all of my stuff had either been sold or moved into Carrie's house.

Not much happened in March (at least according to my calendar from which I'm referencing for all these events) but I think it's safe to say that we were doing a lot of planning for our upcoming wedding.

Kerlmax logo

On April 1st I started up my software company, Kerlmax LLC. I had been wanting to sell Mac software on the side to bring in some additional income. I'd love to be my own boss and do it full time but I think it's safe to say I'm nowhere close to that point. For one, marketing isn't one of my strong suits; unfortunately procrastination is. I'm also juggling this at home on the side while building my relationship with Carrie. When I was single I didn't mind staying up late working on the computer. I've had to drastically cut back on that but I'm sure Carrie will tell you I could take it even further.

Before my big day, I took a road trip to New Orleans for my bachelor party with a great group of guys. They had even put together a slideshow of pictures to reminisce about before going out for the last time on Bourbon Street as a single man. Luckily I weaseled out of wearing the typical checklist shirt.

Carrie and Isaac Wankerl wedding

The pinnacle of the year was of course on May 3rd when Carrie and I wed each other in Austin. She was such a beautiful bride and I even teared up watching her walk down the aisle towards me. The weather was very cooperative for our outdoor wedding. My only regret is that we didn't mic up the preacher; almost no one in the audience heard him. Oh and I probably should have gone to bed a little sooner the night before instead of partying with friends and family so late after the rehearsal dinner.

Jamaican honeymoon

After tying the knot, we spent about a week at the Couples Resort in Negril, Jamaica. It was my first time to the Caribbean and Carrie's first outside of the USA (except for a few Mexican border towns). We had a wonderful time of relaxation, touring, and sipping on daiquiris on the beach. It is definitely a place that we want to revisit in the future.

Ronnie with Carrie and her parentsCarrie and Ronnie

Camping at McKinney FallsCamping at McKinney Falls

In June, Carrie's nephew Ronnie made his annual summer trip to Texas. I missed the Schlitterbahn trip since they went while I was at work, but I did get to show him a colony of Mexican Free-tailed bats. We also attempted to go camping at McKinney Falls State Park, but our old dog Buddy just couldn't take the sweltering heat so we packed up at around 1 am and drove home. Quite the opposite problem from when the temperature dropped down into the 30s the previous time Carrie, the dogs, and I camped there. After growing increasingly concerned about the reliability and maintenance costs of my Jetta, I bought myself a Camry. It's been a great car so far although I sometimes miss a manual transmission.

Carrie with her cousin Ben and wife Laura

In July we took a short trip to Wisconsin to visit Carrie's relatives and attend her cousin Ben's wedding. It was really enjoyable seeing her grandparents' farm and a little bit of Madison too. After coming back home, we threw our second annual luau party at the house. The girls did a really good job with the themed food which was delicious. On the 26th, I started a new batch of beer with my friend Lee filming the process for a documentary. It was all going so well until we found out that his video camera's CCD was malfunctioning. We'll just have to film another time. Not all was lost though because many said my Irish red ale was my best yet.

Sharpshooter icon

August was fairly uneventful but I did get lots of work for Kerlmax done. That led up to my September release of Sharpshooter. I also picked up a one day pass and went to the Austin City Limits Festival for the first time to see Flyleaf, Blues Traveler, and Foo Fighters.

Oktoberfest in FredericksburgSeattle Space Needle

Seattle Pike Place Fish Co.Cousin Hamil and Jerry Cooper, me, mom, Sharon and Josef

We went to our first Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg and had a good time but I was surprised it wasn't a bigger event. The selection of German beers was excellent but the food we got wasn't nearly as good as New Braunfels' Wurstfest. Then we took a trip to Seattle to visit with our good friend Mike. The weather great (relatively speaking) and we got to do touristy things and have Mike show us around Kirkland and some other spots. My mom also came down to visit us in Texas for her birthday and a wedding. We had a nice dinner with her cousin Hamil out at the Oasis.

Austin Traffic icon

After Apple released newly update portables, I picked up a MacBook because I was lacking an Intel-based Mac which is required for iPhone development. That led to me releasing Austin Traffic for the iPhone. Now if I could just come up with a good idea that doesn't severely limit my market I might be on to some nice extra income! Carrie and I got to host our first Thanksgiving dinner with her parents, brother, and his girlfriend. I had wanted to cook a turkey in my smoker, but it was cold enough outside that I didn't think my equipment would be able to sustain the proper cooking temperatures. We just baked turkey loaves instead and they turned out great.

Brothers at Big Ed's Pizza

In December we took a trip to my hometown in Tennessee. We visited Dollywood, shopped at an outlet mall, and of course ate at Big Ed's Pizza for my brother Josef's birthday. We got back on Christmas Eve and drove up to Carrie's parents' house in Kempner which is only about an hour away. I got a lot of golf equipment for Christmas so one of my New Years resolutions is going to have to be improving my score.

All in all I had a wonderful time in 2008 and look forward to what the new year will bring.

30 August 2008

Austin Traffic updated

My company Kerlmax just updated its Austin Traffic iPhone web app. You can read about the changes on the Kerlmax Blog.

24 August 2008

Austin Traffic optimized for iPhones

My company Kerlmax has a just released its first product! It is a free iPhone web application titled Austin Traffic.

The app lists known traffic incidents on Austin's roadways and groups them by some of the major thoroughfares (well, the ones that I often use). It's a work in progress. I plan to update the generic icons, show the time of the incidents, and format them a little better.

If you travel through Austin a lot I hope that you find this web app helpful. Even though it's designed for the iPhone, it still works with desktop browsers (although it might not look as nice in Firefox and Internet Explorer).

07 August 2008

Coming soon…

I've been working on a side project for a while and it's almost ready to be revealed.

I have started up a small business named Kerlmax to sell Mac software. I wanted to finish this a long time ago but got distracted by several things (a big one being the wedding). Running a one man shop has required a lot of work and that's just to get it started!

I'll post more details later.

The Jetta has retired

About a month ago (can you tell I'm catching up on my posts?) I decided it was time for a new car. My Volkswagen Jetta's track never was never great and after nine years, I was ready to part with it before I needed to pump even more money into it for repairs. Enumerating all of its issues could be the subject for several posts and I'd rather not think about them anymore. My family has had a lot of Toyotas and they have all been very reliable. The Toyota Camry was at the top of my list for the Jetta's replacement and that's what I ended up getting.

I purchased the Camry from a dealership in South Austin which is close to my office. They gave me a insultingly low trade-in offer for the Jetta so I decided that I would sell it myself through craigslist. On the day that my new car was ready, I had driven into work and left my Jetta in the office building's parking garage overnight as I got a ride from a friend to the dealership. The next day as I was walking through the garage, I looked over at my old car from a distance and noticed the window looked like it was down. I almost kept walking in to work but it was just too odd that I would have forgotten to roll up the windows and I started walking over to the car. After getting a little closer I saw broken glass on the ground. Someone had broken the passenger side window and stolen the radio! I was glad that I had already taken everything out of the car to sell it but pissed off that this had happened. All I could think of was how difficult it would be to sell in its current condition. It turns out it didn't really matter that much. I put an ad on craigslist late at night and by the next day I had about 30 inquiries or offers for the car. So by that weekend I had sold the Jetta without needing to fix the window or replace the window. What a relief.

So far the Camry has been wonderful. There is one issue where the leather on the door panel is bubbling out as if they didn't apply enough glue to the backside but I plan on getting that fixed soon. Other than that, I'm really happy with the purchase but I do sometimes miss the standard transmission of the Jetta.

The Bats of Round Rock

It's fairly well known that Austin has a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that live under the Congress Avenue bridge. What you may not know, and I didn't either until about a year ago, is that there is a bridge in Round Rock with its own bat colony. At Interstate 35 and McNeil Road, just south of the Highway 620 exit, you can watch the bats emerge just before dusk.

On June 11th, Carrie, our nephew Ronnie, and I spent about forty-five minutes waiting for the bats to emerge from the bridge. I thought they were going to come out sooner but luckily we had a football to throw around and pass the time. It was truly an amazing site seeing so many bats flying through the sky. You can view more pictures of the bats here.

02 June 2008


We got back from our honeymoon over two weeks ago, but I just now put some pictures online.

Here are a few of them. You can see a lot more at the link above.

06 May 2008

Our Wedding

Saturday May 3rd, 2008 was one of the best days of my life. Carrie and I were married amongst family and friends. She looked absolutely gorgeous!

I will post more about the wedding when I have time. Right now we're packing a few more items for the honeymoon in Jamaica.

10 April 2008

The valet broke my car

Last night I tried out the Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão here in Austin. I was running a little late and didn't want to fool around with searching for parking so I dropped my car off with the valet. As I was walking away from the car, I hear a loud crack. When I turned around, the valet still had the car door open, a terrified look on his face, and part of my door handle in his hand!

I gave him a really stern stare for a few moments before I started laughing. About a week ago when closing my car door, part of the plastic broke, but just on one side of the handle. Since then, I've been very careful not to pull on the handle because I didn't want to break the other side. Unfortunately I failed to mention this issue to the valet. The guy was pretty sorry it happened, but I suspect he got a good laugh out of it after I was gone. I know I kept chuckling for a while. My poor car. Something is always wrong with it.

As for the restaurant, it was very delicious. They have about fifteen different types of meat that they bring around to the tables for you to try. My favorites were the Picanha and Fraldinha. Next time I will try Estância Churrascaria as I was told the quality was just as good and it's a little bit cheaper in price.