Happy Halloween everyone! Like my costume? I wanted one of those really big fros, so I'd look like one of the dudes from Earth Wind and Fire from back in the day. But I think this one really makes me look like Jeff Lynn. I loves it though. Just gonna try to stay away from any open flames.
Denise and I voted today. Felt really good. Lookin' forward to Tuesday. Whoever wins, this process is a great thing and I feel proud to go out and put my mark on the paper. I hope McCain wins, but if he doesn't, well, we'll live through it. Presidents come and go. The process is really what's important. We lived through Carter didn't we, and then had the joy of living through the Reagan years. I loved voting for that man. Maybe we'll have to live through an Obama, another Carter, to get another Reagan some day.
Denise and I are about to go to a Halloween party. We're both cookin' some food to take along. It's another mad dash. I seem to have less and less time to devote to this blog, and that's only gonna get worse when I start goin' to San Saba on Monday. Be patient with me. Maybe, after I get my gun safe I'll plunk some money down on a new lap top and try to Blog from the road. We'll see.
Anyway, have a great weekend. My kolaches just came out of the oven. I'll show you the pictures from Florida in a few days. Cheers.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
"Don't even think about trying to outrun the cops in Lazio, Italy, unless you can do 204 mph because the boys in blue are rollin' in a 560-horsepower Lamborghini Gallardo that'll do 203.
The Italian automaker today handed Antonio Manganelli, head of the Italian State Police, the keys to a Gallardo LP560 "Polizia" model that makes the Dodge Charger and Carbon E7 police cars look like a Crown More.. Vic on its last legs. No word where Manganelli is now, but somehow we suspect the 30 officers personally trained by Lamborghini's test drivers will be waiting quite awhile for their turn behind the wheel.
The Gallardo Polizia is chock-full of high-tech equipment, not the least of which is that sweet 5.2-liter V10. It'll propel the Gallardo Polizia to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, making it just the thing for chasing down criminals or making a run for espresso and zeppole. We've got more pix and video...
You might think this is nothing more than a shameless PR stunt by Lamborghini, but this is the third car Sant'Agata has given Italy's finest. The Gallardo in the motor pool of Rome's police department has racked up an impressive 87,000 in four years, and the odometer on the 2005 Gallardo in the Bologna PD fleet just turned over 62,000 miles. "Aside from regular servicing, neither of the super sports cars has required major repairs," Lamborghini boasts.
The latest Polizia model is chock-full of high-tech gear, including a video camera and GPS unit that will determine exactly how fast you were going when Geovanny Law finally stopped you. But our favorite features are the refrigerated cooler for transporting donor organs and the heart defibrillator behind the passenger seat -- although we suspect that's there for the first cop who tries to chase down an F430 Scuderia on the Autostrada."
Posted by FHB at 8:00 AM
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Got back from Florida last night. Had a great time. I’ll post pictures later. Spent two days at the pool and hot tub, getting tanned, smokin’ good cigars and drinkin’ Yuengling off the tap. Sweet!
Picked up the new AC-DC and Metallica CDs at Wal Mart (these Brits LOVE to wander through Wally World), and the new “directors cut” AC-DC DVD. Watched the DVD with Denise’s brother’s in-laws, who are both head bangers from way back. We had a blast with it. They also told me about a few bands I hadn’t heard of before, so I’ve got some new stuff to look up.
The San Saba thing has been postponed for a week. The email came out Friday, while I was in Florida. Clicked on it when we got home last night and found out. They’re taking the place off lock-down today, but they’re gonna use this week to finish the semester that was interrupted when the cell phone drama erupted. So I’ll start my classes next Monday, and then I’ll have to show up there on a few Fridays to make up this week we’ll miss. No sweat. The semester will still end at the same time, so the holidays won’t be screwed up.
Even so, as the title of this post says, today is the day I officially become a full-time teacher with the college. I’ve been working towards this for 18 years, since March of 1990, so it means something to me. I’m now officially high toned, paid promptly every two weeks, no matter what. My first fat check should hit the bank the middle of next month. Plan is to use it to buy a HUGE new gun safe.
Part-timers don’t get paid if they’re not workin’, so I used to have to go 6 to 8 weeks now and then between paydays. Over extended holidays, like Christmas, I’d have to teach a mini term in order to keep the checks comin’. Otherwise I’d have to cash a credit card check to make a mortgage payment, or pay the light bill. In the last few years I got in the habit of blowing off the summer mini term in August so I could take these road trips and see folks. It cost me, but ya gotta have priorities. Now it’s no longer an issue. Feels good. Really good.
Having to deal with those issues, I used to cuss the full-time guys when they’d teach those mini terms and take money out of the pocket of some part-timer when they really didn’t need to. I usually didn’t have to worry about it. They didn’t take classes away from me. I was always in demand. It was the principle of the thing that pissed me off. They didn’t need the money, but there were other folks who did.
I was on the schedule to teach another Mini term this December, before I got this new job. Last week, when the secretary asked me if I was still interested in teaching this Christmas, I told her no. I told her to let some part-time dude have it. I don’t need it any more. The extra money would be nice, but ya gotta walk the walk. Anyway, as I see it, one of the best perks of the job is not HAVING to teach on holidays. I've got a choice now. Why not enjoy it?
So, I’ll have the pictures from Florida in a while. Maybe later today. You’ll like them. Cool yer jets until then. Cheers!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Anyway, that's most of my news. Mom is puny, suffering from a cold. I've been calling her each day to make sure she's OK, and I took soup over there Tuesday afternoon. I took my crock pot over and set it up with my version of chicken noodle soup and turned it on. By the time my classes were half over in the evening she was diggin' into it and lovin' it.
My sister drove off to Colorado Wednesday, on her way to a job interview. Please God, let this woman get that job in Colorado, find the capacity to live a normal life, and get the FUCK out of my wallet. Please God! Can I get an Amen?
That's it. I'll see y'all later. Have a great weekend. Cheers!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
You know, some sort of lozenge shaped Japanese car with a silly thing on the muffler to make it sound bad. Only makes 'em sound silly, like a kid with playin' cards pinned to the frame of his bike, only he's goin' 60 miles an hour.
My eyes were drawn to the bumper, where he'd placed some sort of Asian calligraphy. You know, you see that a lot these days.
Only, with a closer look...
I found I could easily decipher the foreign images. Yea. It's pretty clear what he's talkin' about. Universal language, I guess.
Monday, October 20, 2008
We went to get Mom Friday night and all had a great time at the buffet. The generals chicken and shrimp fried rice were in rare form. Do I need to show ya the picture again? Oh hell, why not.
It was a great time. Denise had another Shandy, while Mom and I stuck with the unsweetened tea. Two heaping plates of this stuff and I was good to go. Mom loves it too, but also loves the green beans and broccoli beef that Denise goes for.
After dinner we took Mom back home and then headed down I-35 to Jerrell, and then West across country to Florence. I always enjoy that drive.
With cooler temperatures, like the ones we're enjoying now, and the sun roof open and a nice cigar burnin', it's a fun time. It's a nice country drive, with lots of good twists and turns. Fun in daylight, but even more exciting at night, when deer love to jump out in your way at the last second. And city folk like to think livin' the country is boring. Ha!
We got to Florence about 30 minutes into the game, and my kids had already put 6 points up on the scoreboard. We took an old army poncho liner to sit on and cover up with, and took our seats about half way up on the stands.
The kids were playin' their hearts out, but the task was beyond their skill level. The Jerrell Cougars were just a much better team, with a much better quarterback and receiver and a MUCH better kicker.
Within' a very short space of time the Cougars had put a few scores on the board, and it only got worse from there.
The action on the field was augmented by the action on the sidelines. This buffalo dude was doin' flips and rolls, havin' a hell of a time. It was hilarious to see the cheer leaders hoist him/her onto their thighs and have him/her lead a cheer. I'll have to find out who wears the buffalo outfit. They deserve a hand.
It turned out that the sad performance by Florence came close to setting the stage for the whole weekend. If it weren't for the fact that UT has a winning team this year I'd have to swear off football all together.
There was one high point in the high school game though. This kid, on the left, number 48, who is one of the few on the team who isn't in my class, intercepted a ball way down on the 9 or ten yard line and ran it back all the way for a Florence touchdown. It was spectacular, but it failed to turn the tide of the game and the Buffaloes ended up goin' down to the Cougars, 32 to 12.
After their fate became inevitable, as the stands started to empty, Denise and I headed out. We stopped at Blockbuster to rent a few flicks for the weekend and then headed home.
Saturday was a typical sleep-in. I think we rolled out of the sack by about noon, and then spent a few hours sittin' in front of the TV watchin' movies.
At about 3:30 I headed over to Cove to watch my buddy Dave Waters do his Civil War reenactor thing. My camera was dead by then, from takin' pictures all night at the football game, so I didn't even bother takin' it with me. Wish I had though. Those dudes looked so cool in those outfits.
They had about fifteen or twenty guys on horseback, as ether union or confederate cavalry, meanwhile Dave and his buddies were in the grass and the bushes, blastin' away with their black powder rifles. They even had a few cannon goin' off now and then. Startled the shit out of me once. I guess I was to busy payin' attention to the action to notice that they were about to cut loose.
It was all very cool, and reminded me of the days when I was a kid and we used to form up into opposing armies and spend all day getting killed and then getting up and getting killed again. Some of these old dudes have obviously been doin' this stuff since then. Their deaths are about as dramatic as mine used to be. Kinda makes me want to join up, but it wouldn't be as much fun to play war at 48. Too damn much marchin' and sweatin' in the sun.
Saturday evening Denise and I decided to have another pizza and beer night. We called in the pizza order to the place here in town that arguably sells the best pies, and then I went to pick it up. I have the best beer in town right here in my fridge, so why settle for less?
You can see her "shandy" there on the left, and my Yuengling, and then a heaping fist full of pizza. We ordered a large double decker with pepperoni, ham, sausage and mushrooms. Mmmm, that's good stuff. It's even good cold, for breakfast the next day.
Like I said, thank got UT has a great team this year, or I might be forced to give up watching football for a while. The Cowboys sure as hell didn't make me proud. By the time we rolled out of bed Sunday they were already loosing by about three or four touchdowns. Sad. Pathetic. Reminded me of that cluster fuck I watched in Florence Friday night.
Bein' a Packers fan, Denise gives me endless shit when the 'boys play like this. So, with them playin' the way they've been playin', and given their upcoming schedule, it's probably gonna be a long season. But that's OK. I've been a fan long enough to know that eventually they will get their shit together, and when they do, and their stuffin' the ball down the throats of perennial enemies like the Eagles and Packers, I'll be the one doin' the happy dance and she'll be cussin'.
Anyway, the rest of Sunday is another story. We'll talk about that later. Cheers!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Unbelievable! You see that fat thing do that pull-up? It's amazing, the stuff they've come up with. Too bad they don't have a bunch of little RC paratroopers to drop out the back, or one of those Bunker Buster bombs with a parachute attached. BOOM! Now THAT'd be really cool to see.
Of course, me bein' who I am, I'm thinkin' about settin' up a little RC SAM site out at the local park where the nerds congregate with their expensive toys. A little daisy pattern RC SA-2 site, complete with little RC AAA... Arsoft of course. I'm not bloodthirsty or anything. Does that make me a nerd too?
Yea, I'm a nerd. Full blown! For instance, one of my students came into class with his new I-Phone the other day, showing me one of it's settings. He punches a few buttons on the screen and the thing starts to make Light Saber noises. He waves it around in the air and I just about shit myself. Gotta get me one of them!
Of course, it's Friday, so you know what we'll be doin' later. Denise and I will head over to Temple to get mom. Turns out they're gonna let me have Chinese food again today. Woohoo! After that Denise and I will drive down to Florence and watch another football game. Should be chilly, so we'll take some blankets to snuggle under. I'll try not to get us arrested. No promises.
There's been another blow-up with mom and sis in the last few days. Sis has a job interview in Colorado next Friday. Wants mom and I to both pony up a bunch of money to pay for her trip. She's gonna get what she needs, but not all she wants. I just pray to GOD that she manages to get that job and hold on to it. Please God! That would go a LONG way towards solvin' a lot of problems for everyone.
I turned in my grades from this last semester today and posted them on the web. My boss asked me if I'd be cool with helping him with on some administrative stuff. Something about grades in some online classes being held out in the Far East somewhere. I told him, "Whatever I can do." God knows what that's gonna be all about, but I'll do whatever I need to do. Always good to be seen by the boss as helpful and dependable. Something my sister needs to learn!
I also sat through about three hours of Sexual Harassment training on the main campus today. What a huge friggin' waste of time. Basically, "here's the stuff you shouldn't do because you might get fired for it". Useful knowledge, but insulting too. I mean, in most cases, it's just rudeness or stupidity, or bigotry that gets people in trouble. If your momma raised you right you probably already know what not to do to someone else in the job, or anywhere else. Beyond that, it's just some dude tryin' to get laid, and I still think that's legal, or should be. Eye of the beholder.
Anyway, think of me, slidin' up to the buffet and shovelin' up a pile of the general's chicken. Mmmm, good! Later. Cheers!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
See what happens when some contractor gets his hands on seemingly endless bags of the taxpayers money.
They come up with something really cool and starwarsy...
When all the troops need is a fuckin' mule! I mean, I think I'd shit myself if I saw somethin' like that comin' at me in the woods, but It's not like we HAVE to build one because the Russians might get there first and we can't be left behind. How much does a fuckin' mule cost? Please people, wake the fuck up!
Went to get my hair cut Friday. It's always fun to see my cousin Pat. She's a peach. We made plans to all get together some Friday night and eat dinner. That means her, her husband John, our uncle Punk and his wife. I can't wait to get all these folks together with Mom. It'll be fun.
After I got sheared, Denise and I were headed north from Salado to Temple to get my dry cleanin' and she asked me if I wanted to go get Chinese food. My nipples got hard instantly!
It was her turn to pick so I was expectin' to have to wait another week for the good stuff. But she thought, since we were over there already, what the hell. I think, secretly, she was also thinkin' about the great green beans, broccoli beef and eggrolls she likes there at Dynasty.
So we headed over to my favorite Chinese food place in Temple and had a great time. The food was wonderful. You've seen this stuff enough, I'm just gonna show you the best shot I've got. The generals chicken, shrimp fried rice and an eggroll. Wonderful! Denise ordered herself a "Shandy" there for the first time, so we had to explain what it was to yet another waiter. I stuck with unsweetened tea.
After dinner we headed over to the mall and ended up getting right in to see "Body Of Lies". We missed the previews and crap, but who cares.
The flick was excellent. You should all go out and see it. It basically purports to look critically at how we run spy ops in the middle east. The message is a potent one, but I'm not sure if it's a completely accurate one. Best line in the movie? "In the words of the great Sam Snead, 'If you're not thinkin' about pussy, you're not concentratin'.'"
After the flick we stopped at Dairy Queen for a Blizzard and then headed home. We stopped briefly at HEB in Killeen for kibbles, and then spent the rest of the evening at home, relaxing.
Saturday morning, we slept in. In the early afternoon we hit Jack-in-the-box for breakfast. Two Supreme Croissants and hush puppies, thank you. Then we drove to Florence so we could discover how long it's gonna take me to get from there to San Saba four days a week. On the way we picked up coffee for her and diet Mtn Dew for me. Breakfast of champions.
It turned out to be a fun drive through the country. Mostly nice roads with 70mph speed limits. It took about an hour and ten minutes to get us to the parking lot of the prison. We did one turn through the place, with a bunch of dudes in white pajamas checkin' us out from behind a tall fence. I told Denise they could probably smell her. Then we jetted out of there. My new students. Such a joy.
We wandered around the area for a while, checkin' it out. It claims to be the pecan capital of the state, and sure enough, we saw LOTS of pecan trees and stores sellin' the stuff. I ended up gettin' a bag. We drove back to Lampassas, where Denise picked up a Mum plant from a roadside store, and then we headed west to Kempner.
We had plans to stop and eat at a great little German place there called the Brick Oven. but we got there too early, so we drove around, lookin' at houses.
Kempner could eventually be a nice place to relocate, being closer to my job in San Saba and only about 20 minutes from her job in Killeen. We've got no plans to move any time soon, but when the time comes, Kempner will probably be the shpott.
After a wonderful meal at the Oven, we drove back to the house and spent the rest of the weekend relaxin'. I flipped through the DVD folder Saturday night till I found a few things Denise hadn't seen, and then we sat back to watch them. Se loved Behind Enemy Lines, but didn't like The Freshman. No accounting for taste there on the second one. I love it.
Sunday was a late sleep-in, followed by a lazy all day lay around in front of the TV. We watched the Texans pull it out in the end, and then watched the Cowboys choke. We'd found out about the Longhorns burnin' up Oklahoma Saturday, causing both of us to want to try to find tickets to a college game.
We ended up havin' that beer and pizza dinner Sunday night, with the pie provided by a local Pizza Hut (Our much better, normal place wasn't answerin' the phone) and the beer provided by my fridge. Last thing we did was watch Iron Man. Love that flick.
Anyway, that was it. I had Monday off, while Denise had to go back to work. I slept in, worked on a few posts, watched Tony Bourdain wander through the world, enjoyed a great lunch with the little woman, and then spent a little time workin' in the yard. I made some of those Kolaches for her so she could take them back to work and hand them out to her folks. They love 'em.
During lunch we found out that Tony Romo has busted his little pinky finger, so the Cowboys are probably fucked for the next few weeks. We'll see.
Dinner was pork chops and taters. It turned out good. Fillin'. Baked 'em in a pan, wrapped up in foil, with butter, all sorts of spices, and some beer, at about 250 for about 4 hours. Yummy! After that we watched Iron Man and then hit the sack.
Well, that was it. I give finals today. One more semester over. My last full semester on Ft. Hood. Hood begins again next week and San Saba begins the 27th. More about that later. Cheers!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
I was gonna post the last bit of it here, to show you a bit of what they saw, but some prick has blocked those videos from being posted. So click on this, and then this, and you'll see a little of what they saw. I'm sure you've all seen it before. It's very moving stuff.
I thought of those Virginians, marching across an open field a mile long, climbing over the fence at the sunken road and reforming their lines under withering fire. Pressing their hats tightly on their heads, down over their eyes so they couldn't see what was coming, they leaned in to the oncoming rifle and canister fire as if they were walking into a hail storm. It tears my heart out to think of the courage of those men, and the tragedy of it all. The tragedy of any loss, with honest people driven to such lengths by the guide of their own moral compass.
As I lectured, as Booth walked up the stairs to the presidential box in Ford's Theater, looking through the hole in the door, seeking out his victim, I felt myself starting to tear up again. When he opened the door and stepped forward to fire that tragic shot I though I was gonna lose it. I guess, the more you know about these things, the more you see the implications, the more you can find yourself feeling the emotion of the moment. I can really get myself goin', to the point of thinking how sweet it would've been to meet Booth in that dark corridor in front of the door to Lincoln's box.
Imagine me (I'm told I fill a doorway), a dark shadow at the other end of the corridor, and the look on his face as he sees me there, where he wasn't expecting anyone to be. We step together in the shadows and I drive a shiv through his ribs, once and then again. I whisper somethin' in his ear, like "Where the hell do you think you're goin', mother fucker?" Take his pistol and butcher knife as souvenirs and while he still gasped for breath from his punctured lungs I'd take his scalp too.
After that I'd walk back down those stairs, The audience ignoring me, watching the play, enjoying the very moment of uproarious laughter that Booth used to mask his attack on Lincoln. I'd walk out and over to the pub where he'd just been drinking, waiting for his moment. I'd ask for a whiskey, toss his scalp on the bar and propose a loud toast to the president. Maybe history would've been different after that. Who knows?
Anyway, I guess I'm a sentimental fool, but I'm gonna really miss teaching these soldiers every day. I'll still have them in class two nights a week, but the friggin' jail birds in San Saba every day will probably inspire completely different feelings. I don't think I'll bring up shivs and stuff at all. Eh, I'll get used to it.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Well, here we go again. This one's gonna be short though. Mom's puny, so the dinner tonight will be a Pizza and Beer thing with just Denise and I. We'll head over to Salado so I can get a haircut, drop off my laundry to get pressed in Temple and then head back over here to see a movie. This new thing with Leonardo DiCaprio looks cool. Body of Lies. After that we'll go get some great pie from a wonderful little place here and bring it home. I have better beer here than they sell there, so we'll sit on the couch in our shorts and have a better time.
By the way, speaking of flicks, we saw Miracle At St. Anna a few weeks ago and it was WONDERFUL! You all need to go see it. It's by Spike Lee, so you know it's got a message, but I didn't see anything in there that wasn't true to the way things used to be. Lots of great twists and turns. You'll love it. Check it out.
I went through the paperwork to become a full time Prof at work yesterday and it's gonna be smooth. I'm gonna have to chance to opt out of the Texas teachers retirement system and play with my own fund, but I'm VERY hesitant to do it. My boss and a few of my friends have done that and they all use the same money man, so I can let him do the playin' too. But I'm gonna wait and see how he deals with this current unpleasantness before I make the jump. I have till February, so there's no rush.
This is gonna be a three day weekend, so we'll be relaxing and taking it easy. One thing we plan to do is head down to Florence and do a road trip out to San Saba. I need to find out how long it's gonna take me to get there from my morning classes. There a question in at least a few minds about weather I can make it from Florence between 10:45 and noon. We'll find out for sure, and take the time to check the town out. It's supposed to be really pretty, and a huge hub of pecan growers. I LOVES me some pecans!
Anyway, all is well here. I hope all is well there. So have a great weekend and we'll chat later. Cheers!
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Home made peach ice cream and fried chicken! Woohooo! I almost feel bad for ya, never havin' really experienced this meal. You poor things. Deprived!
The routine is driven into my DNA. We've been doin' this ever since before I can remember. Ever since the day when we used to crank it by hand, one person crankin' while another sat on top to steady the can. My talents shifted from sittin' to crankin' by about the age of 8 or 10.
Mom's shifted from one kind of fryer to another, and is never quite satisfied with what she does. I guess that's the sign of a good cook. A perfectionist. Of course, we never complain!
With the four of us eating now, Mom's got to fry up enough white meat (top batch) for three. The girls all prefer the breast. Yep, that bottom plate us just for me. Mmmm, I loves me some dark meat! No, I didn't eat it all in one sitting. I got to take a bag of it home. Finished it off a few days later.
I said the four of us... This was the first time since daddy died that we gathered for this feast. My mother, sister, Denise and I. It's the first time I can remember when Dad wasn't around to share the legs and thighs with me. He was missed, but we didn't linger on it too much.
My "job", if you can call it that, is to show up on time (critical!), bring a bag of ice (large bag), and get the ice cream machine goin'.
Easy peasy! Just make sure you ad enough rock salt and keep the ice topped off. When the machine finally grinds to a halt, presto!
In the end, I open the container and serve out the glasses of home made peach ice cream.
Mom always gets the first plate. White meat only. Dad used to get the second, but this time I gave it to sis. Denise came third, and I was fourth. I was ready, just in case Denise got bent out of shape at being third in line. I would have told her "Hey, the sweetest ice cream is always at the bottom of the bin, but you can go sooner if you want". But she didn't say anything. She ain't like that.
Anyway, she was busy herself. I'd said something when we got there, maybe whimpering a bit, about her getting the blender out and whippin' up some strawberry daiquiris to go with the food.
She's REALLY good at this sort of thing. Loves Mom's blender and loves to play with it.
So, as I dished out the goods at one end of the counter, she was pouring glasses of this sweet goodness at the other.
So, do you think we overdid it? Hmmm???
Well, maybe. But time has gone by and we wanted to have a family day. I try not to get into a dark mood about it, but these days will end some time, inevitably, and I don't want to waste any opportunities. I guess dad's passing has made me, us, think that we shouldn't put anything off any more.
One of the thoughts that comes to me now and then, torturing me, is the idea that being the youngest person in my family, I'm gonna have to sit back and watch everyone in my extended family die. Everyone that means something to me. I can make the chicken, and I can probably make the ice cream, but none of it will taste the same then. Anyway, putting it all together will probably be too painful. So I don't piss around any more. We take the time to enjoy one another while we can. I guess, having been so stupid, having missed out on so much, I'm determined to squeeze the most out of whatever's left.
That's what the Friday dinners and the busy weekends are all about. We were plannin' another tomorrow, but Mom has a cold. I'm slowly gettin' over mine, but now she'd puny, so she called me today and told me that Friday was off. It's a bummer, but we'll probably go over some time over the three day weekend and see her. She says she's got a roast, so there'll be more food shots next week. What the hell would you do if I didn't put my gluttony on display? Go on a diet? Pffft!
Anyway, you guys take care and we'll talk again tomorrow. Cheers!
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
We had a great time with Mom last Friday. In fact, the whole night was excellent.
It started with driving over to Temple to get Mom and takin’ her to BJ’s Brewhouse.
It was her turn to choose, and pay, and she chose BJ’s. This Friday is Denise’s turn, and then the next Friday it’ll be my turn again. Everyone knows where I’ll wanna go. No mystery there at all.
We started with our traditional appetizers; Tater Skins and Southwest Spring Rolls. Mom was really excited to get these spring rolls again. Her mouth was watering, just thinkin’ about these little tid bits.
We’ve been to this place enough now that we’ve found out what we like and don’t like. This time, we quickly decided on our main course. Denise chose the Fish ‘n Chips, while both Mom and I decided to order the New Orleans Jambalaya.
Now and then, Denise likes to try something that purports to me “British” on a menu. She’s become something of an authority when it comes to the restaurants that provide authentic tasting fare from her home country. She says that the Fish ‘N Chips at BJ’s is usually pretty good. She loved the stuff the serve at the Cotton Patch too.
The Jambalaya is wonderful. We're talkin' blackened chicken, shrimp and Chicken-Andouille sausage, sautéed with bell peppers, onions and tomatoes in a spicy sauce. Served over rice pilaf and topped with green onions. It’s HOT and spicy, just the way I like it. I was in the mood for something that would clear the sinuses and make my head sweat. I wasn’t disappointed.
Mom loved it too. Where do you think I learned to love spicy food? Even so, it turned out she couldn’t finish hers, so guess what happened?
Yep, we traded plates and I took one for the team. Mmmm, sweet misery!
After that Denise and I drove mom home and headed over to over to Academy to enjoy another high school football game.
It turned out that last Friday was Academy's Homecoming game, and the bleachers were packed beyond capacity.
We looked in vain for seats in the stands, and then decided to go sit with the visiting team. They turned out to be from Lexington, a little town about 50 miles East of Austin. Seems like a hell of a long way to go for a game, but there you go.
The game was a close one, with both teams playin' hard, but Academy ended up on top, something like 21 to 15.
After that we drove back up to Temple and headed for O'Briens. You remember that great little pub I told you about a while back? I'd learned from looking at their web site that this dude, Chris Lopez, was gonna be playing there that evening at 10PM, it turned out that we got there about 30 minutes into his set.
We saw this guy the first time at a Blues festival in Marble Falls. He was playin' this blisterin' guitar, doin' covers of Stevie Ray Vaughan tunes in the back room of a little house, just off the main square.
I was blown away by his talent then, but we were pooped from attending a chili cook-off in Johnson City, and didn't have the stamina to stay.
I was jazzed then, checking out the list of upcoming shows set to appear at O'Brians and see Chris on the schedule.
Looking back, it seems that he's a regular there, so I'll look forward to seeing him there again.
As we walked in and payed the $5 cover charge, and ordered drinks, I realized he was playin' a great Smashing Pumpkins tune called "Hummer". I couldn't believe it! I LOVE that tune.
One dude in the audience was lovin' it too. He jumped up and stared doin' that manic hippie dance. You know, the one that makes you look like a mental patient who's wandered away from the home and off your meds. It was like he was tryin' to get a Mosh Pit started. It didn't last long though. Wrong vibe for the pub.
We found a little table just to the side of the stage and sat down, drinks in hand, and spent the next hour and a half in rapture. At least I was havin' a great time. I think Denise was mostly puttin' up with the noise for my benefit. His sound was maybe a little too loud for her, but now and then he'd play a Hendrix tune, or something by the Beatles, and I could tell she was enjoyin' it. Then he'd bust into something by Alice In Chains, or Rage Against The Machine, and I could tell she was thinkin' it was a little much. I couldn't believe the groups range, and how tight they were, shifting from one tune to the other with nary a mishap.
About 30 minutes into it the band took a break. His sound guy turned on some other great tunes and our waitress brought over our second round. I took a cigar out of my pocket and lit up, and had the camera set up to take a few shots when the band got goin' again.
We stayed till about midnight. I would have stayed for the whole show, but I'd had enough to drink by then and I could tell Denise was ready to go. It'd been a very long day. I handed her the keys and dropped some cash in his little bucket as we headed out. He thanked me as we left. It was wonderful. I can't wait for him to come back.
The rest of the weekend was a lazy haze of sleeping in and taking meds for some friggin' post nasal crud that I picked up that Friday. Mom came over to my place Saturday and brought dinner to us, and then we all met back at her place Sunday for the Cowboys and home made peach ice cream and fried chicken, but more about that later.
Yea, I'm spoiled. What about it? Cheers!
Monday, October 06, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
This'll be short. I got the full-time job in San Saba, and they want me to start drivin' out there four days a week on the 27th of October. My work load on Ft. Hood will be cut from five classes to two, but I'll still be drivin' to Florence every morinin' and teachin' at the high school.
This means regular pay checks every two weeks from now on, with extra money on top of that for teaching the AP classes in Florence and the two nights on Ft. Hood. Busy as hell, but no more classes than I'm teaching now. Important thing is, I'll make enough extra money to begin paying off my credit cards. That's big. It's worth all the driving to do that.
I'll be takin' mom and Denise to eat tonight. probably BJ's in Temple. Then maybe a football game. My Florence kids are playin' in Rogers tonight. Then, hopefully, we'll go to a pub in Temple called O'Briens to see Chris Lopez.
The rest of the weekend will be yard work and relaxing. You guys chill, kick back and we'll talk later. Cheers!
Thursday, October 02, 2008
We woke up Sunday mornin' at about 10:30, with the maid bangin' on the door to see if we wanted the room cleaned. Even though we told them "No!", and put the "FUCK OFF" sign up on the door, they kept comin' back every twenty minutes or so and bangin', askin' us the same stupid question. You know how hard it is to get a good snuggle in with some bitch bangin' on the door? Please! I mean, if you want us to fuckin' leave, don't tell us that we've got till noon to get out. Sheeeiiitt!
All I knew where the stories my folks told me about growin' up there in the country during the depression, riding horses to school and swimming in the creeks, making the place seem idyllic. Combine that with the feelings I had for my Grandparents farm outside Temple, which I knew to be a magical place we only rarely visited, and you've got a great panoramic setting for a child's imagination.
They were all New Left liberals, and they all hated LBJ, condemning him for Vietnam while they worshipping John F. Kennedy. They also told me that Truman and Eisenhower were bad presidents. I knew instinctively that much of what they said represented their own bias, and learned from that to think for myself and ignore what they told me. I think history has proven them wrong.At least the modern conventional wisdom looks at Truman, IKE and LBJ with a much kinder light.
So, we parked in the same parking garage and were back in the center of the action by about 3:30. I knew getting there that I was gonna be torn over which act we were gonna see. It turned out though, we got to see and hear both acts.... Simultaneously.
The first two artists on the schedule for Sunday were two more folks that Mushy had turned me on to. The guy in that picture above is an interesting Australian Artist named Xavier Rudd. The first time I heard this guys music was during one of those cessions out on Mushy's back porch. With us rejoicing in one another's company, cigars burnin' and a cold beer in hand, this tune came wafting through his speaker system.
He plays a Didgeridoo, a traditional Aboriginal Australian instrument (those three long tubes there on the left), while playing a fat, Weissenborn guitar that's laying in his lap. He's known as a one-man-band, but as you can see here, he has a drummer these days. I was surprised in the end to hear him close his show with an old Neil Young tune, "Rockin' In The Free World." The crowd ate it up.
While Rudd made beautiful music under the cover of the WaMu stage (here's a map), Joe Bonamssa was playing stunning guitar licks with his band over at the Austin Ventures stage, about 100 yards or so away.
Yea, you could hear both at the same time, but that's something that goes with this sort of concert venue. For the most part there wasn't much bleed-over, but now and then there was, as I mentioned in the last post. Robert Plant complained about it on stage.
I was fascinated to see Rudd play, but the sound of Bonamassa's guitar drew me away and I found myself standing in his audience, taking in his brilliant talent. A child prodigy, Bonamassa was mastering Stevie Ray Vaughan tunes at the age of seven, and touring with B.B. King at twelve. At the close of his show he started playing a Cream tune, which turned into a Led Zeppelin tune, and then back into the same Cream tune. I was blown completely away.
After that show we returned to the WaMu pavilion and watched the first fifteen minutes or so of Shooter Jennings' set. the son of legendary outlaw artist Weylon Jennings, Shooter put on a pretty great country rock show.
I wanted to stay longer, but we had to beat feet to get back up to the AMD stage to see one of the bands that drew me to this festival in the first place.
Aside from the Black Keys and the Foo Fighters, the main draw for me to this gig was a chance to see The Raconteurs in concert. I'll never forget, sitting in this chair one night in 2007 and watching a webcast of a little concert given at a studio to celebrate the release of the White Stripes latest record. The guy with the guitar, makin' a lot of the noise on that stage was one half of that band, Jack White. My buddy Mushy had told me about the show and we emailed one another back and forth while we both watched it.
To be truthful, I wasn't really impressed at first. The sound was too raw. But then they closed with a rendition of Dolly Parton's old tune "Jolene" that simply blew me away. About a year later Mushy dropped a morsel on me in another email, tellin' me that Jack White's other group, The Raconteurs also made some cool music. I didn't even know they existed. I checked them out on YouTube and the next thing I knew I was goin' to the local store and pickin' up their second, latest CD, "Counselors of the lonely". Listening to it in the car, I was happy to find that I liked this other sound that Jack White was making, along with Jack Lawrence (bass), Brendon Benson (guitar), and Patrick Keeler (drums). When I finally got to the last tune on the Cd, I was left stammering. The lyrics, the power of the imagery, it was brilliant. Here, have a taste.
See what I mean? Now here's the irony about that. The band only had an hour to play Sunday night. They played about a dozen cuts from their two studio albums, including blazing versions of "Blue Veins" and "Broken Boy Soldier", from their first album, but they didn't play "Carolina Drama". I couldn't FUCKIN' believe it when they quit and I didn't get to hear that one live!
Still, hearing them play was easily the highlight of the day. I can't wait to get the chance to see them in another venue where they can play for more than an hour, and maybe I'll get to hear all the tunes I like.
As they ended their set, everyone began the march down to the other end of the park to get set up to see the headlining band of the day, The Foo Fighters. It was truly like a medieval army on the march.
When they came out on the stage the crowd went nuts.
I like a lot of the stuff they do, and especially love the covers that they do. These guys can play ANYTHING! They recently did a wonderful tribute spacial on TV or The Who. We got a little taste of that when they performed "Young Man Blues" here at the ACL. It was amazing.
The problem we had here was the group of drunks who were standing in front of us, yelling and talking all through the gig. Those pricks wouldn't shut up. I felt like I was in my high school class and wanted to tell them to shut the hell up. I tell ya, give me pot heads any time over drunks.
By the way, there was a decent amount of sweet smoke wafting around. At one point Denise looked up at me and asked me what the "sickly sweet smell" was. I told her "Baby, That's Ganja!"
About four songs from the end of the show, tired of the drunks and remembering Saturday nights friggin' Bataan Death March back to the bus, I asked Denise if she wanted to go. We ended up getting into the line right out the gate, and we were back at the car and on our way North on I-35 before we knew it.
We stopped at a Denny's on the way home and got a bite to eat, and we were back in the sack by 12:30. The next day we were both hackin' and coughin' from the dust, and Denise was so sick from the greasy food at Denny's that she stayed home from work. Later Monday night she asked me if it might have been an allergic reaction to the "weed and feed". I was like, "Huh?", thinkin' she meant the poison I'd put out on the yard a week earlier. And then it hit me. "No baby, it wasn't the weed." I laughed my ass off.
All in all, it was a hot, tiring, dusty festival, but it was well worth it. If you find yourself in Austin next September, see if you can check it out. Cheers.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Sorry it's taken so long for me to put this out, but I've been busy with classes and tryin'' to get all these pictures fixed. You can go to the FlickR site here and check them all out. Now, I figure to do this justice I need to split it into two posts. One for Saturday and another for Sunday. So, here goes...
Denise and I woke up about 9:30 Saturday mornin' and then rolled around till about 10. We wanted to get to Austin, to Pappasito’s, by about noon, but all the layin’ around got us there late. Still, when we got there, the food and drinks were wonderful. The spicy queso, chips and salsa were as good as they always are, and those brochette shrimp, slathered in butter and white wine sauce, just melted in my mouth.
We stuffed ourselves to an unprecedented degree, not having the luxury this time of being able to take the leftovers home. We were gonna be heading to the ACL Festival from the restaurant, so we had to consume it all! As I predicted before, two beers off the tap for me, and two strawberry margaritas for the lady. Chicken enchiladas all around. One beef for me, but the chicken was better.
After that we went and checked into our hotel room at the Ramada. It’s right near the restaurant, on the other side of I-35. The room was nice. We stayed there just long enough to unload the bags and then headed out to find Republic Square. 4th and Guadalupe, in down town Austin. That’s where you get on the shuttle bus that takes you to the Festival. We found a parking garage right on the square and paid $10 to park there all day. Well worth the money for the convenience of not having to walk your ass off to get to the car when you come back after the gig. believe me, you've done enough walkin' by then.
The whole thing was amazingly well organized. You walked in a line with other folks at the park, with the line moving very fast, and got on a shuttle bus that took you on about a ten or fifteen minute ride, dropping you off right in front of the show.
Then you’re on your own. Denise had asked me what kind of shoes she should wear, never having been to one of these things before. I told her to be sure and wear good walking shoes. When she asked me if we were gonna be carrying folding chairs I told her that we wouldn’t need them. I told her that the festival was gonna be held in a nice park, with green grass, so we could just sit on the grass. A blanket would do.
Sheeeeiiiitttt! I forgot where I was. Yep, Texas in September, with no friggin’ rain for months. We’re talkin’ brown, dead grass. We’re talkin’ dust everywhere and hard ground. As we were grabbin’ stuff out of the trunk we discovered that there was one folding chair in there in it’s bag. Denise wanted it so I decided to lug it.
Later I was wishin’ I’d lugged two. Having said that though, I was also envyin’ guys I saw who didn’t have any crap to carry. Ideal thing would be to just carry money and a small camera. But then there’s the water, the blanket, the spare batteries and card for the camera, the t-shirts you buy, etc. etc. etc.
I told Denise some time Sunday afternoon that what we really needed was a friggin’ Sherpa. Some happy little dude who’d lug a ton of shit for ya so you could relax. Don’t we all need that in our life, now and then?
The crowds were amazing. They usually have something like 65,000 people showing up for this thing. We planned to get there in time to see this guy…
Robert earl Keen. He’s a local singer/song writer who has a large local following. He’s written lots of songs that you’ve probably heard other musicians singing. After that John Fogerty took the stage.
His music was wonderful to hear.
He played all the classic CCR stuff, plus a few others. Thing is, I couldn't stop thinkin' why and old geezer like that would dye his hair dark, takin' all the grey out. As if he could fool anyone with that old face and all those wrinkles. Looks like someones granddaddy with a wig on.
He came out in a hurry, as all these bands did. In the festival setting, each band has only a limited amount of time to play. Fogerty came out and told the crowd "We've only got an hour, so let's get to it!" Meanwhile, I notice all those folks who were able to take seats up at the side of the stage. You can see them there on the upper left of the picture. There were folks up there for every act that played on this stage (the AMD stage), including Fogerty, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, and The Raconteurs on Sunday.
I started wonderin' whose dick I was gonna have to suck to get a seat up there. Then I remembered a story Mushy told me about gettin' to sit up on stage at an Allman Brothers concert. He got passes from someone at work who was a relative of someone in the band. I guess it's always cool to know someone.
After Fogerty quit we shifted position down the hill to the north, where the Black Keys were gonna go on stage at the AT&T Blue Room stage.
This is one of the bands that my buddy Mushy's turned me onto in the last year or so. I have to say that at first, it was a hard sell. I wasn't much into the raw sound that these two dudes from Akron, Ohio put out.
You look up on the stage and all you see is just a drum and guitar, with the drummer, Patrick Carney, beatin' out a steady rythm and the guitar player, Dan Auerbach, blarin' out amazing riffs and puttin' out these amazing, soulful blues lyrics. That's it. His voice sounds like one you'd expect in a much older Blues artist.
Well, once you see them live, you'll be hooked, as I am. Here's a taste. Someone taped this at the show and uploaded it to YouTube after the show. Enjoy.
Excellent, stuff, I wanna tell ya. In 45 minute set, they played Thickfreakness, Set You Free, 10 A.M. Automatic, Psychotic Girl, Stack Shot Billy, Busted, I'm Glad, Strange Times, Your Touch, and I Got Mine.
Again though, the problem was they only had 45 minutes to play. It seemed like it was over before it started! That REALLY sucked, but it went with the territory. They flashed the news on the monitors later that they were gonna play and Aftershow at Stubbs BBQ Sunday night. I thought about it, but we were both pooped from all that walkin' around, and Denise isn't really a fan of the Keys, so we blew it off. Would'a been cool, but I'll see them again some day.
As the Keys show ended we all drifted back up the hill to the AMD stage to see Alison Krauss and Robert Plant.
These folks put out a great show too, but once again, the festival setting got in the way of things.
As they were taking the stage at our end of Zilker Park, Beck was taking the stage at the other AT&T stage, at the other end of the park. While the two venues were far enough apart during the day, at night the sound carried, and while Krauss and Plant gave a great, if abbreviated show, there was always the sound of what seemed to be a train going over a trestle down at the other end of the park. At one point, after backing up Krauss as she sang "Down to the River to Pray", Plant said something about how "Usually that's a beautiful song to hear", or something like that. Their show was MUCH more suited to the Nokia Theater in Grand Prairie, where we saw them a few months ago.
After their headlining show ended we took about 20 minutes to peruse t-shirts and used the shitter, and then we walked out the gate to get in line to get back on the shuttle to Republic Park. That's when the evening lost it's luster. We had to walk almost all the way down Barton Creek Road to get to the END of the line for the shuttle, and then walk all the way back up to get to the friggin' bus.
I wanna tell ya, that was exhausting and frustrating. The way was clogged with people who were ether walking home or riding bikes, and when we reached the end of the line and could get in it and walk the other way, it was as if we were salmon swimming up stream against the tide. We made it back to the park, and found out how handy it was to be parked right there in that garage, just in front of the elevator. before we knew it we were back in out hotel room, unwinding with a few adult beverages and checkin' out the TV channels. Soon we were both sawin' logs, determined to get a good nights sleep and sleep in before the next day of the festival.
Denise told me I was lucky I'd gotten the hotel room, because if we'd a driven home that night she wouldn't be back the next day. In the end though, while Sunday was maybe a bit hotter, the music was much better, and in the end she was glad she'd come with me. But more about that later. Cheers.