Monday, August 31, 2009

Fridays feed, and football.

Last Friday was a fun day. First off, the "Eagle shit", as my old pappy used to say. The bank, which was holding onto most of the money I'd deposited a week earlier from the sale of my land, finally let loose of the funds and my checking account balance went through the roof. So that was one reason to celebrate. I'd already set up the online bill pay to disburse about 2/3rds of the funds to various folks (the money goes out today), so it won't be in there long. But until then, I'm rich beotch!

So when Denise and I headed over to Temple to pick up the other two women in my life, I was determined to begin the celebration by treating everyone to dinner. There was one more reason to celebrate the day, but since my sister doesn't want to appear in this blog, we won't go there.

So we loaded everyone into Denise's Camry and headed to BJ's Brewhouse, in Temple. It's one of our favorite places to eat in town, but we hadn't been there in a long time. I left the ladies in front of the place and went on to park. By the time I joined them they'd already been lead on in to a table. We ordered drinks and appetizers. Mom and sis had top shelf margaritas, Denise had a Shandy, and I went for the Harvest Hefeweizen (their home-made wheat beer).

For appetizers, we had the Santa Fe Spring Rolls (crispy spring rolls filled with tender chicken, black beans, fire-roasted red peppers, cilantro, sweet corn, jalapeños and Monterey jack cheese, served with our Santa Fe dressing and avocado cream sauce, then garnished with green onions, fresh red peppers and red cabbage), and Tater Skins (shredded jack and cheddar cheeses melted over lightly fried potato skins, topped with Applewood smoked bacon bits and green onions, served with sour cream dip and ranch dressing).

For dinner, Sis chose the Fish and Chips platter (fillets of Pacific cod dipped in our special light batter made with Brewhouse Blonde beer, then deep fried to a golden brown, served with your choice of crispythin or wedge-cut seasoned fries, tartar sauce and malt vinegar), Mom chose the Cuban Burger (a half-pound burger served sandwich-style topped with oven-roasted ham, Swiss cheese, crispy dill pickles, dijonnaise and mustard).

Denise chose the Parmesan Crusted Chicken (marinated chicken breasts coated with Parmesan cheese and crunchy Panko breadcrumbs, lightly pounded and pan fried to a golden brown, served with white cheddar mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli and topped with a lemon Chardonnay butter sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil and Parmesan cheese), and I went for the Sourdough bacon Cheeseburger (a juicy Angus burger served on Parmesan grilled sourdough bread with tomatoes, pickles, lettuce and 1000 Island dressing). "Very messy but very good!" they say, "available with Applewood smoked bacon and cheddar cheese."

It was all good, and it was great to be able to get us all together and have a good time without it ending badly. I couldn't get any pictures because my sister reacts violently to anyone trying to take her picture, and I'm not supposed to even be mentioning her here, so I'll stop.

After dinner, Denise and I drove down to Florence to watch the first football game of the season.

About a half dozen of my students are on this team (in purple). They were going up against the Bruceville-Eddy Eagles.

We got there at half-time, in time to watch the two schools bands take the field.

It was an exciting game. The score was something like 24 to 10 (Florence winning) when we got there, and it was 36 to 20 by the time it all ended.

There was a brief moment there in the fourth quarter when the tide looked like it was shifting. But just as the Eagles started to move the ball down the field, an interception killed their chances. But they did a decent job. Hell, their JV team got beat by something like 40 to zip the day before, so this was much better.

This Friday the Florence Buffaloes go to Crawford, Texas, George W's vacation home. But we'll probably avoid the drive and opt for a local game in Academy, where I used to take dad all the time. It'll be fun.

Anyway, that was Friday. The rest of the weekend was placid by comparison, but that's another post. Cheers!

Friday, August 28, 2009


(pronounced /rɨˈsɪdɨvɪzəm/; from recidive + ism, from Latin recidīvus "recurring", from re- "back" + cadō "I fall"). Technically, "the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after they have either experienced negative consequences of that behavior, or have been treated or trained to extinguish that behavior. It is also known as the percentage of former prisoners who are rearrested."

A little while back, a prisoner in one of my classes in San Saba saw a poster on a bulletin board as he was walking into class. He says "Recidivism, that's a new one." He'd never heard the term before.

The poster illustrates the reduced rates of recidivism as prisoners get more education. The more school they get, the less likely they are to come back to jail. That's why I get paid to come out there and do my job, and why the high school classes are held out there too. The state wants each prisoner to at least get their GED before they get out, if not more.

But this dude had never heard the term before. So he asked me what it meant. I said "Well, it when some looser keeps gettin' busted for the same shit, over and over, and spends all their life in jail."

One of the other prisoners says "Looser?" I said"Uh, yea. How would you describe such a person? I mean, most of us do stupid shit now and then, but we manage to stay out of the slammer. Folks who just keep comin' back over and over... how would you describe it?"

I try to bring this kind of shit up now and then. It's fun, while I'm lecturing on something like the Enlightenment, the Great Awakening, to drift into a discussion about destiny and fate. When we talk about Manifest Destiny, I tell them that God is not in the real estate business. But I tell them that people and countries make their own fate, and that if a nation like ours decides it will one day stretch from "sea to shining sea", chances are it will achieve that destiny.

If a person decides they will be a success, they keep working at it until they succeed. They don't let anything get in their way. Similarly, if someone decides, for whatever reason, that they can't be successful, chances are they won't be. They'll decide "it wasn't in the cards", because that takes all the pressure off their own shoulders for not doing what they were capable of doing.

We decide, ether by our actions or our inaction, what our fate will be. Nothing is written. That's just a cop out invented ether by rich people back in the day who wanted to believe that God had made them rich, or by people who are weak and would rather think that they are leaves, blown about in the wind, and have no power over their own lives.

Thing is, some people are lucky. They're socialized to have the confidence to believe in themselves and trust their own decisions, or they somehow rise above the crap they're being taught to see the truth of their own potential. Or they just get pissed off and are too stubborn to let some bastard stop them from doing what they want to do.

One way or the other, I try to insinuate to these guys that their story isn't over, and that they can DECIDE not to come back to San Saba when they get out. We get down and dirty now and then. It's fun. Gives me the feeling that maybe I might have an impact. Get some guy to think about things, and maybe make a few different choices.

One of the guys drew a picture of me while I was lecturing the other day. Looks damn good, accept for the Nikes. I don't wear friggin' Nikes. Don't know where that came from, but everything else is spot on.

That's how I sit at the desk: feet propped up, relaxed, spinnin' the story off the top of my head. Every now and then I have to grab one of their books to make reference to something, but not too often. I've been doin' this shit for about twenty years now, so it mostly spills out of my head with very little prompting.

As far as the finger is concerned, we were talking about the Spanish/American War and Foreign Policy that day. I was talking about how we seem to have a love/hate relationship with the rest of the world, and have for a very long time.

We want everyone to love us, and can't understand when they don't. We want to exploit much of the world for our own profit and comfort, and then we expect them to love us for the charity we give out from time to time, the help we've given and the lives we've lost.

So we drift, as a nation, from wanting to be fully engaged in the world and wanting to flip everyone off and go home. And yea, I flipped everyone off to illustrate my point. It works. Gets a few laughs and makes the moment memorable. The high school kids in Florence love it when I do stuff like that.

Oh, and as far as recidivism is concerned... Yea, I started working down in Florence again this last Monday, and guess what I stopped and had for breakfast the first day?

Thing is, after two months off, those corn dogs tasted greasy as hell. Really nasty. So I didn't go back. I've been having frozen egg rolls or chicken fajita wraps all week. Even made myself a sandwich for lunch one day. You know, tryin' to be good. Tryin' to practice what I preach. It ain't easy, but nobody ever said it was. If the easy thing is so bad for ya, why not have the integrity to try the hard thing?

Aside from all that, it's Friday again. High school football starts tonight. We plan to head over to Temple and take mom out to eat, and then we'll head down to Florence to watch my kids play Bruceville-Eddy. The JV kids beat their JV team yesterday by something like 40 to nothing, so it might be an interesting game. Maybe Bruceville-Eddy's saved all their good players for the Varsity team. Ya think?

Otherwise, we plan to have a relaxing weekend. I hope you guys do to. We all deserve it. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You know, I wish they'd let you bring a paint ball gun to an outdoor concert.

I was really wishin' I had one with me last Friday night. It would have come in very handy.

Denise and I drove up to Speegleville last Friday to see Al Green, Cas Haley and a local group called Pride and Joy.

If you click on this shot to enlarge it, look at the folks in the bottom left. You see that midget chick standing there in white pants, and her bald fucktard boyfriend there in the blue chair to her right?Well, more about them later.

The concert was held in a big rodeo arena behind the Hog Creek Icehouse. They have a stage set up out behind the place, and put up these dividers between the high dollar seating (those white folding chairs) and the General Admission area where you're expected to bring your own folding chair. Of course, my folding chairs have foot rests, so we were a hell of a lot more comfortable out there than we'd a been cooped up in that pen.

We got there, parked, exchanged our tickets for paper bracelets and took our chairs in to set them up in front of the stage. I was pissed at one point when I realized that I could have brought in a few cigars and enjoyed them, but hey wouldn't let me go back to the car to get them once we'd gotten into the venue. We'd thought we were arriving late, but it tuned out that we got there just as Pride and Joy started their set.

The band is made up of a father and two sons, Tony, John and Chris Castaneda, who've been playing together for about a decade. They play a lot of gigs around Texas, and based on what I heard, they could easily wow a crowd just about anywhere.

They played for about an hour, with their set mostly consisting of their own original, Blues/Rock style of music. Chris, the lead guitar player, is a real talent. According to his bio, his influences include people like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, and both Albert and B.B. King. And let me tell you, you could hear it all in his playing.

In the end the band played a hand full of covers, including a long, Bluesy version of a Michael Jackson number, The Way You Make Me Feel. Considering that the crowd was mostly there to see Al Green, that M.J. number went over pretty well, and their Bluesy rendition was new and interesting.

After getting our chairs set up I went to find refreshments. I had the idea that I'd go into the Icehouse and get some of that good food I posted about last week, but apparently the kitchen is closed during concert nights. What's worse, they hadn't fixed their taps since we'd been there last. I tell ya, that doesn't encourage me to want to return any time soon.

I went back out to get a few beers and a can of soda, but they didn't have cups outside. So I had to go into the bar to get a cup. Tedious! Of course, I needed one so my wowman could mix herself a Shandy. We settled on BBQ sandwiches, chips and a Budweiser. In the end, the BBQ sandwiches were a bit of a mess to eat, but they were quite good. And the beer was cold. That's about all I can say about them. An hour or so later I went back for some Nachos. Now THOSE were great. The cheese sauce was wonderful, with big chunks of tomato and pepper in it.

After eating we sat back and relaxed, listening to the guys on the stage. You can see in this shot that we were sitting in a huge sand box, making every walk back to the beer table like a stroll on a shifting beach. I tell ya, was gettin' some good exercise!

As the sun went down behind the stage we discovered that we had some folks sitting in front of us who loved to jump up and break into their own special dance. By "special" I mean Special Needs. Yea, I'm talkin' about the midget chick and dumbass. Thing is, they were right in line between us and the stage. That's when I started thinkin' about how much fun I could have had with that paint ball gun.

Between the asshat in the flowery shirt and his midget girlfriend, and the three guys behind them who stood up at one point and decided to have a lengthy conversation with a passer by, and the fat assed chick and her guy who were sitting right in front of us, I was steamin'. And what the hell is the deal with people who pay good money to go listen to music and then sit and talk through it all? Shit! People just wouldn't shut the hell up. RUDE!

By the time the sun was going down, Cas Haley and his band Woodbelly came up on stage. The music only got better as they took us through a long set of acoustic and electric Soul and Reggae.

This guy can sing his ass off, and his band is wonderful. Here's an example of what you'd see if you could come to one of their concerts.

If they ever come to a venue near you, I'd recommend you go see them. It was wonderful to sit back in that folding camp chair and take in the tunes. The stars were out and there was a nice, coolish breeze blowin'. But now and then, I'd start to want to use that paint ball gun again.

You know, those two, the goofy dude and his midget friend, would get up and have to flail around some more. I mean, obviously she wasn't the problem. I could barely see the top of her little head. But her boyfriend, with his arms outstretched and his tongue out, with that wide, goofy grin on his face... I mean, I'm not against folks havin' a good time. I was just wishin' they'd friggin' boogy down to the other side of the friggin' sand box and stay the hell out from in front of me!

By about 10PM, Al Green was coming out to a huge applause by the crowd. There was a long lead in, with his band coming up first and lots of smoke and music. Then Green made his entrance and began to sing and toss roses to the women in the audience.

At one point the cops thought they had to stand in to keep the women from jumping up on stage. It was hilarious. He had moves like James Brown, and he can still belt out those tunes. He and his band put on a wonderful show, and the audience loved it.

After an hour and a half of great old tunes, including a few Gospel numbers, Green ended the show with a long rendition of his hit Love and Happiness. With that, the show ended, Green left the stage while his band continued to play. After a while the band trailed off and the lights went up.

I folded our chairs and Denise and I walked back out through the sand to my car. We got home by about midnight, stopping at a Whataburger for a few Taquitos. I could have done with some better food at the venue, and some nicer beer, and i could have done without the sand and the tedious, chatty people in the way. But all in all, it was a great evening.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Missouri and home.

Ok, so I drove north from West Memphis on I-55, with a new excitement in my mind. I was on my way to Jackson Missouri, to finally meet my buddy Bruno (not his real name) and his lovely wife. I called them to tell them I was on my way as soon as I left Paul and Judy at the Cracker Barrel and told them that I'd call again when I got close.

The drive was expected to take me at least two and a half hours, but it seemed like I got there in no time at all. I tell ya, I'm a drivin' fool. The cigar smoke was waftin' and the tunes were thumpin', just like always. I guess I shift into autopilot, just groovin' and checkin' out the scenery.

When I got there I took exit 99, drove northwest into town and made the call. I think Bruno was really surprised that I'd made it so fast. We agreed that, in stead of trying to follow his verbal instructions, I'd just stop at a little gas station/stop-n-rob down the way and they'd drive out to get me.

I parked, went in for a pit stop and to get a drink, and was chillin' there for just a short while when their SUV eased up and I recognized that grin and those glasses. There ain't nobody that looks like this boy.

I got behind them and followed them to the farm, which turned out to be an easy drive just up the road a bit. When I got there all I could think was how much the place looked like my grandparent's old farm house in Heidenheimer, just southeast of Temple.

Assuming you've clicked on the site link, that railroad track shot was taken on the crossing that's about 100 yards from where my grandparents farm house used to stand. And the bank was a general store in my childhood, where I used to go and chat with the old man who ran the place. All golden memories.

That old house was the only thing I knew as home while I was growing up in the Air Force and being shoved from one place to another. The smells of pairs from the tree just outside the back door, my grandmother burning the trash in a 50 gallon drum, and the smell of my grandfathers chewing tobacco, all stream through my mind as I look at this picture.

Dammit if I'm not gonna burst into tears just writin' about it. I miss those folks, and that place. It's all gone now, having fallen apart and been bulldozed many years after my grandparents died and my mother and her sisters sold the place. But it'll always stand there in my mind.

That's all I could think of as I drove up under those tall trees and parked in the shade by Bruno's place. I got out and looked around and told him that the place was really nice. But he just gave me a look, like he didn't believe me or thought I was just bein' polite. Shit man, if I didn't have Denise with me now I'd go out to San Saba and buy myself something that looked just like it and be happy as a hog in shit. Seriously!

Now, as you've read before before, I'd have to make a few changes. I'd have to build on a cool porch. Porch time is critical! And I'd have to spread some sort of tick and/or chigger killin' shit around, because those things are a huge friggin' pain in the ass, and I think you've been raisin' 'em there for some time, my brutha. Having said all that, the time I spent out there was wonderful, sittin' in the cool shade, gettin' to know my friends a little better. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Here's a shot of their dog. The name escapes me (Bruno, you'll have to fill in some details in the comments).

This pooch belongs to Bruno's neighbor, a farmer who lives down to road. It's one of those dogs he's always talked about that spends most of it's time with them (one of the ones that's left), but then goes home when the owner drives by in the evening. In fact, I got a taste of that while I was there. A red truck drove by as we were sitting there and this little dude took off like a rocket.

Then the owner came back and turned into Bruno's drive and we all sat there talkin' for a bit. Sure enough, the dog came back. But as soon as this guy drove off, the dog shot off again too.

At some point I decided to pull the same surprise on Bruno that I'd pulled on Paul. The helmet and AR-15 came out of the trunk and there was laughter all around as Bruno struck the pose.

That is, he tried to strike the old pose, with the rifle on his hip, as the memories were probably flashing through his mind. I loved it. As with Paul, I was hopin' we might get to bust a few caps in the yard, but there's too many folks livin' around their farm these days. As Bruno says, there's too much humanity these days, crowding out the country, for their liking. There's no direction to shoot where they don't have to worry about maybe hittin' some squatter. So the gun went back into the case, the clip into the bag and the case into the trunk. But there'll be another time.

After talkin' and gettin' to know one another for a while, Bruno eased himself into the passenger seat of my car and we drove out to his friends (the Doctor's) little museum. I'm tellin' ya, I've NEVER seen anything that big in my car with me before. It was WEIRD, like walkin' up next to someone in a store line that's taller than I am. That kinda thing just doesn't happen every day, you know?

I drove us back to town and up to the doctors office where Bruno's buddy keeps his gear. If you've been reading his blog like the rest of us, then you've seen some of this stuff before. The man's apparently got a shit load of money to play with.

This is some sort of naval gun from the 1800s. The dude's got a few of them.

And this, according to a good friend of mine who knows these things, is a Union Army cannon from the Civil War.

It's cool as hell, but I think the guy needs to put the thing indoors if he's gonna spend this kind of money on a relic. If that wooden gun carriage is the real thing and not a reproduction, then it's REALLY a shame that it's been left outside to slowly deteriorate. Not to mention the rust on the metal.

Of all the tanks and APCs, my favorite piece in the collection was easily the Paladin, M109 self propelled howitzer.

These things kick ass! I see them here on Ft. Hood from time to time, and can even hear them firing their guns out in the field north of town. The newest version, the M109A6, the one we see around here, looks very similar to this one. I loves it!

Once we ran through the displays and I got some great shots, we headed back to Bruno's place to relax back in the yard with some cigars and some diet soda. At some point there I took my phone out of my pocket and dialed Paul's number. I told him I would when I got to Bruno's place. He answered, but I was amazed to find them still on the road back to Harriman. I was sure they'd be home by then. I handed the phone to Bruno and the two spoke for a time.

Eventually I got a chance to walk around and get a few shots of their house. Bruno says it's an old school house, about 100 years old. As we walked around he showed me some of the leftover evidence of the history of the place. These beautiful flowers caught my eye really quick.

There were a few more out by the USGS marker that sits in his yard. He says you can dial up his place in your GPS and the numbers on this dial will take you right to his driveway. Of course, you might get shot doin' somethin' like that, so don't try it. Word of advice... Call first. Fair warning.

I was amazed at the size of this tree, which stands in front of a thicket in his back yard, just on the other side of his shed. This picture doesn't really do it justice. It's friggin' HUGE. It looks like you could turn it into one hell of a tree house, or deer blind.

Of course, there's a lot of gear strewn about by the shed, including this old tractor. You know Bruno and his tractors. I'd bet if it could talk (it and the rest of the stuff in the yard), it could tell us some interesting stories. That shed remains a mystery too. Next time I come we'll have to spend some time in there. It could just be that Shed Time might just be ol' Bruno's version of Paul's Porch Time.

By then I was really starting to feel torn. I was getting more and more anxious to get on the road, knowing I had a long drive ahead of me. But I just didn't want to go. It'd taken me too long to get to Missouri. I'd been wanting to come and visit my buddy for a long time. It seemed a shame to go so soon after finally arriving. But I had to go, so I used the flat top of the tractor as a base and took a parting shot of everyone.

I love the way this one turned out. After taking a few pictures I made my apologies and told them it was time for me to head out. There was a strange emotion in me then. I felt like there was something unsaid. Everything had just gone by so fast. I told them I'd come back some time and we'd spend more time in the yard. We'd smoke a few more cigars and maybe drink some beers. I got back into the car and waved as I rolled out.

I wish like hell now that I'd been quicker on the draw. About an hour later, as I was driving back south on I-55, I thought that I should have taken them out to eat. We could have gone back into town and spent a few more hours there. But I just didn't think of it in time. I was thinking about the long drive home. Denise was waiting on me, and I was too worried about how long I'd be able to drive before needing to stop and sleep.

As it turned out, of course, I drove straight through. I got back to West Memphis and I-40 by about 8PM (left Bruno's at about 5:30), Little Rock and I-30 by 10:30, and Texarkana by about midnight. I called Denise a few times along the way, reassuring her that I was fine and that I'd stop if I got tired. But the adrenaline was pumpin, the cigar smoke was waftin' through the crack in the sunroof, and the tunes were blarin as I rolled along. I stopped once in Mt Vernon, Texas for a 6" Subway sandwich, to drain the lizard and gas up.

By 3AM I was driving into Dallas, above, and heading south on I-35. By 5:30 Saturday morning I was slippin' into the house, out of my clothes and into bed. I found Denise asleep with one light on. Apparently she doesn't like to sleep in the dark while I'm gone. I slid into bed and woke her up with a few gentle kisses. She rolled over into my arms and the rest is all a blurr.

I do remember laying there, stretching, thinking that it must have only been a few minutes ago that I'd been in Dallas, and maybe ten minutes ago that I'd been in Memphis. Time simply had no meaning as I lay there. The whole week had gone by too fast. I wanted it all back in that moment. I wanted to roll the tape back and do it all again. There was a sadness then, in remembering and thinking how long it will be before we all get to do it again. But then the tiredness finally hit me. I rolled over and the lights went out. Next thing I remember Denise is waking me up Saturday afternoon at about 1:30, tellin' me that breakfast was ready. Bacon and eggs, and cornbread biscuts! Mmmm, it's good to be home.

Later that day we sat out on my porch and surveyed the situation. The weeds hadn't grown too tall in two weeks. of course, that's the only good thing about a drought.

Sitting there, thinking about the dry Texas heat and how cool and wet the weather had been in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, I looked up to check the temperatures on my thermostat. When I looked up, I saw we had a visitor.

What a pretty surprise, and what a way to bring the story to an end.

But then, there's really no end to the story. Hell, I've still got pictures from the Air Force Museum that I haven't touched, and there'll be other road trips in the future. I get a warm feeling in my heart from that. There's a sweet comfort that comes from good friends, and the knowledge that they'll always be there. We've got lots of good times to come. Stay tuned, and maybe you'll get to come along for the ride.

So, here's a big hug to all of Denise's family! To her daughters and son-in-law, for the good time we had in Kentucky. To my big brother Paul and his lovely wife Judy, and all of their family, for the great time they always show me in Tennessee. Here's to Chuck, for the Body Shot, and the drinks that wouldn't stop, and for bein' such a great buddy. Y'all need to come down to Austin and we'll do it again. And to my little/big brother Bruno and his lovely wife. Next time brother, we'll spend more time together. Do somethin' about them damn chiggers though. Shit! Cheers!

PS: I looked up as I finished this post and it was 5:10, making me late to get back to the prison. So I had to wrap it up and go. On the way to work I realized I'd neglected to include Pat and his wife in the list of folks I was thanking for joining us in having a wonderful trip. Sorry buddy. It was great to see you again and to meet your wonderful wife. I hope we get to do it again, maybe on Paul's porch. Cheers again!

Friday, August 21, 2009

What's been goin' on, and friday stuff.

So, the last few weeks have been busy. I started working at San Saba again right after coming back from the road trip, and started teaching on Ft, Hood again this week. The dual credit classes at Florence High School begin Monday, so I'll have eight classes goin' at the same time. That's my usual load, so it's no big deal. But after bein' off from everyone for five weeks, the transition back to a full load has been tiring.

To make matters worse, we've been dealin' with a crapped out fridge for about a week and a half. The freezer is frosting up and keeping the fridge side from cooling. I had a guy come last Saturday and replace something in there... the defrost sensor, or something, but the friggin' thing is still busted. The freezer is still frosting up and the fridge just won't cool. Someone is scheduled to come back tomorrow morning and check it again. Lets hope this time the bastard fixes it.

Since the fridge has...

Son of a BITCH! The Sears folks just called and told me the service folks are NOT working weekends in this area any more and won't come tomorrow. I'm now rescheduled till next Friday! Thing is, I never called Sears. I called Maytag, and they gave me a number for another service company. So now I'm on hold with them. If I have to wait another fuckin' week to get this thing fixed I might as well turn it off, ditch all the food and beer and shoot holes in the blasted thing. Then maybe shoot the repairman who wasted all my fuckin' time last Saturday! SHIT!

Anyway, since the fridge was going out we decided to try to eat as much of the food in the freezer as we could to keep from wasting it. We're talkin' binge here.

Shit! Shit, shit, shit! Now these folks are tellin' me their one dude doesn't come out here on weekends any more and they don't have anyone else, so I'm back to next Friday. Shit! If it wasn't for the fact that this is warranty work from the last failed attempt to fix things I'd just find someone else to work on it. Where's my fuckin' gun?

OK, serenity now... Serenity now. It just don't matter. Put the gun down. Pfew, that was close. Like I was sayin', beginning of the week we decided to finally cook stuff like this frozen Turkey that'd been in the freezer for months.

It turned out really good. My wowman's got skills. The dressing wasn't the same as the home made cornbread dressing mom makes, but it was still really good. The taters and peas were good too. It was all good.

Like I said, I started working on the base this week. As I was getting in the car to drive over to class Tuesday, this dude thundered up and turned into the Burger King drive-through across the way.

Wwwuuuh! I wanna tel ya, there's nothin' like that rumble. I wants one SO BAD!

When I got home in the evening at about 10:15, Denise told me that she'd been by to see a friend of hers, a German lady, and that she'd had a present for us. We'd gone over to her place a few months ago to celebrate her getting her Masters Degree, and we'd done some drinking. You know, a celebratory piss up by the pool. Anyway, she had these sample bottles of German brandy that were kick ass. That inspired me to tell her about the fig flavored vodka/brandy that we'd tried a few years ago at Terlingua.

Kliner Feigling. Well, the next time her relatives flew over from Germany, guess what the brought?

Mmmmm, I wanna tell ya, this stuff is goooood! We tossed back a few after breakin' it open. I've gotta be careful with it though. God knows when we'll see another bottle.

So, tonight is gonna be a fun night. Denise and I have tickets to see AL Green in Waco, or really at a cool little place southwest of Waco.

It's called the Hog Creek Ice House.

It looks like an old Honky Tonk that someone has recently put some money into. Bottom line, the place is nice, the food is excellent, and the prices are reasonable.

It's set up inside with a large area for eating, but you can shove all these little tables aside and make way for Dancing if the stage (far left back of this shot) is hoppin'.

We decided to try their tater wedges as an appetizer. They're called Hog Fries on the menu, and come with grated cheese, bacon bits, jalapenos, cilantro and sour cream. We both agreed they could have been warmer, with the cheese melted a bit more before the sour cream was slathered on, but they were great, and we'd definitely order them again.

For dinner Denise went for the Patty Melt: A half pound burger with grilled onions and Swiss cheese on a toasted, grilled slab of Texas toast. She had seasoned fries on the side and a Shandy. And yes, we got that look again from the waitress when she heard that Denise was gonna put 7-Up in her beer.

I went for the Hog Burger: A half pound bacon cheeseburger with both Swiss and American cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes and jalapenos, with chipotle mayo. I also chose the seasoned fries, and a Shiner Bock... straight up, thank you very much.

When I went up to the bar to get the tickets for tonight, I was amazed at the cool antler chandeliers, and the general look of the place, but they disappointed me with both the small number of pulls and the fact that their pulls were busted that day. I would have preferred my beer off tap. The place does LOOK cool though. It's got potential, but lets try to spend a bit less time on style and produce a higher level of substance, thank you very much.

We'll head up there tonight and try to eat dinner again before the show. It's gonna be outside in the back, in a big rodeo arena. The tickets are general admission, so we'll bring nice folding chairs and beer cozies. And my camera will be at hand, as usual. There'll be two bands on the stage before Green gets up there, including this guy. His name is Cas Haley.

I'm SO excited to see that guy. I loves me some Reggae. The other band, Pride and Joy, supposedly does a pretty good SRV imitation, so how bad could the evening be? The groove should be on by the time Big Al arrives. Here's a taste.

One last thing. I finally had the closing on my land Thursday morning. I sold my seventeen acres of rocky slope. It feels weird not to be a land owner after all these years, but it was necessary to pay my bills and move my life forward. I'll finally be able to get out from under the weight of that stress and feel rally free, for the first time in a long time.

Oh, I'll find some new land to buy somewhere.This time with tall trees and grass where I can build myself a house with one of those cool porches and a killer view, like Paul and Judy have. Maybe on a river or lake. We'll see. It's all possible now. Everything is possible. Cheers folks!