Friday, April 30, 2010

Headin' down to Austin with a buddy of mine tonight.

The plan is to head down there, find a good meal somewhere, and then see if we can get a couple of cheap tickets to see Van Morrison at the Bass Hall. We thought about getting tickets a long time ago, but they were goin' for an astronomical sum, so we declined. Then Morrison cancelled the gig and rescheduled.

When we heard the concert was on again, we figured it'd be a cool date night, with Glenn and his wife and Denise and I. Well, nether of the women want to stand outside the Bass and surf scalpers, so it'll just be Glenn and I. If it turns out that we can't get tickets to see Van the Man for like $40 (we're committed to spending no more than that), we will have many other options.

The same evening, down at Stubb's BBQ, these folks are playing. The show is sold out, but we'll see about that.

Meanwhile, down at the Paramount, this guy will be playing.

And down at Gruene Hall, near New Braunsfels, these guys will be putting on a show.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's dozens of other musicians playin' here and there in town... The Live Music Capitol of the world??? Or so they say. We should have a great time.

Y'all see if you can roust one up too. Cheers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Here are the rules for Bullshit Bingo.

1. Before Obama's next televised speech, print-out the above
bingo card
2. While he reads his teleprompter out-loud, check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrases.
3. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout


Monday, April 26, 2010

Denise and I went to see ZZ Top last night in Austin.

Or really, in Bee Caves, west of Austin. The old Backyard, where we saw lots of fun concerts, has been move3d to a new plot of land, north of the old site. This was the inaugural concert at the new site, so it was kind of a big deal.

Of course, before we headed for bee Caves, we headed down to North Austin and enjoyed a meal at our favorite Tex-Mex place, Pappasito's. I won't bore you with the details, but you can get the gist of it all by casting your longing gaze on my Brochette Shrimp. Plump, succulent wonders, stuffed with cheese and a slice of pepper, wrapped in bacon and grilled. Then dipped in a white wine and butter sauce that's so sinfully good it could make the Pope wanna suck a... Er, never mind.

After finishing our meal, we headed out on 71 towards Bee Caves. Then it was just a short stop at a local Mikky D's to get final directions (No, I didn't look it up on the web. Where the hell is the fun in that?), and we were there. And we weren't alone ether. The traffic goin' into the place was the big giveaway. "Uh, honey, I think we found the place." The web site says they have plenty of parking. Uh, yea, if you get there early. Be warned.

The lead-up band, Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights, came on at 8PM, while the sun was still up. There was a nice breeze blowing, cooling us off, but it would have been nice if they'd let some of us old folks bring in folding chairs.

Jonathan Tyler and his band put on a decent show. There's a huge Black Crowes vibe goin' on there, and I mean that in the best way. It'll be interesting so see them mature in time. After they finished, there was a half hour or so between shows. I spent most of that time in line to get our second round of drinks.

Then, as I got back to Denise, ZZ Top came on stage and began their show.

As I stood back on the lawn with Denise, it seemed the boys were starting out slow. Almost on slow motion. maybe it was the fact that they're just starting out on this new tour. I think this was their third show so far this tour. Who knows. It was probably just me.

However, when I moved closer down to the stage, to get some better pictures, the pace of the show quickened. The guys seemed to begin to have some fun, bustin' into some of the old routines, with Gibbons and Dusty Hill groovin' in sync with the beat.

They went through the whole range of the fan favorites, and tossed in some old blues tunes just for fun. In the end, they closed with Viva Las Vegas, La Grange and Tush. It was wonderful!

If you guys ever get the chance, check out these three old dudes from Texas. You won't be disappointed. Cheers.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Had another surprise yesterday morning, down in Florence.

The kids had an "off campus lunch day", which means they get and extra hour to go somewhere else and eat, and I get to bug out early. My third period class was canceled and I got to jet out of there at 10AM. Visions of the Dairy Mart were dancing in my head. So I set off for San Saba and decided to take a few more pictures of Bluebonnets along the way.

Of course, to help pass the time, and because I can, I lit up a good cigar while the miles flashed by.

This is a great representation of what you'd see if you made my drive to work these days. Lots and lots of pretty blue flowers spread out along the road.

There are also red (Indian Paintbrush) and yellow (Buttercups) flowers mixed in, but the Bluebonnets are most folks favorite.

After about an hour and ten minutes, I find myself in beautiful downtown San Saba. Note the Texas state flags flying from poles along the road. We're pretty patriotic around here, ya see.

Of course, you can even see one flying from a pole in front of the county courthouse... Until you look closer that is.

Turns out that's not the Lone Star flag. Someone has raised the Stars and Bars in front of the San Saba county court house.

Yep, the first (of three) Confederate national flags, circa 1861? Not sure, because I haven't asked anyone, but I'd bet there's some unreconstructed folks in San Saba county. Wonder what they think of the President?

Don't know about you, but I think the good old Stars and Stripes would look better up there, and the Lone Star beside it. Not below it! Beside it. Yea, I understand the sentiment. I don't necessarily concur. But I understand.

Anyway, would you believe? The friggin' Dairy Mart was closed. They had a sign up sayin' they'd be closed Tuesday through Thursday, but be back open Friday. Sheeeeit! What sort of business closes in mid week, for cryin' out loud? Small towns!

So I went to the spot that's become my other hang out in town, besides the Rylander public library.

I went to the Our Place diner and ordered a bacon cheeseburger on rye. next best thing to the Jalapeno Sourdough. You know. I had a hankerin'.

Today, all I had to do was go back down to Florence and sit through the three classes. Denise had to go onto the base today to give a presentation, but she couldn't find her auto insurance card from 2010. So she got a friend out at work to drive her onto the base and then gave me a call to come and pick her up.

After I picked her up we visited around the CTC office there on base and then I took my wowman to eat lunch at a food court down the way from the main gate.

We chose Captain D's, and I spent a while in line droolin' over all the fried goodness.

In the end, Denise chose the fish sandwich, but I had to have to big plate. Denise looked up at me and said "You know we're gonna go eat dinner later with your mom?" I looked down at her, smiled and said "Do you know who you're talkin' to?"

I'm an EATING MACHINE, and everyone knows it. They gave me two extra entrees to go with it... I chose extra hush puppies and bread. It were goooood!

Yea, I know, it's gonna kill me some day, eatin' like this. But hell, I figure I don't really care. I just wanna have fun while it lasts.

Tonight, as usual, we're gonna go out to Temple and eat with Mom. Then, by the time the rain clears up on Sunday (please God), we're gonna go down to the Back Yard in Bee Caves, West of Austin, and see ZZ-Top. It should be fun.

So, y'all have a great weekend, and we'll talk after. I'll have good pictures and video. Cheers!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

PS... Here's some video to show you why I loved It Might Get Loud so much.

Let's begin with Jack White in the movie's intro. Apparently this thing he's making is called a Diddley Bow. Enjoy.

Finally, look at the instant reaction on the part of Edge and White when this riff get's going.

Brilliant! Cheers.

Pfffft! Oh, excuuuuuuuuuuse me!

Click on this poster a few times to enjoy
the full glory of it. Cheers.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Who says you need to buy a guitar?

Rented some flicks over the weekend... Sherlock Homes, The Blind Side, and a great documentary called It Might Get Loud.

Sherlock Holmes turned out to be great, but you've got to let it build on you. Plus, it helps a LOT if you're a huge Robert Downey Jr. fan. I've enjoyed just about everything he's dome, from Weird Science, to his first "Oh shit, did you see him in that" role in Less Than Zero, to the amazing job he did in Restoration.

OK, he's one of those stars that basically plays the same character in every roll. But I don't care. Like most of the great actors from the old days... Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart and John Wayne, if you like the personae they've created, you don't mind if they give it to you over and over again. You even look forward to it.

Anyway, I loved the film. I hope they make another one.

Next we watched The Blind Side. Loved it. It wasn't a tear jerker, but it was a great story. I have a hard time tellin' why Sandra Bullock got an Academy award for her performance, but that's a whole nother thing. It's a great story, and a wonderful true life drama.

To me though, the stand out flick we rented was It Might Get Loud. This is a documentary put out about a year ago about three rock and roll guitar players and their different approaches to the art. Jack White, The Edge, and Jimmy Page all provide insights into how they came to the guitar and how they've found their particular paths to greatness with the instrument.

It's amazing to see the completely different relationships these three artists have with their instruments. White almost discounts the guitar all together. He talks about never wanting to be a guitar player, but how fate seemed to through them together. In fact, the film begins with him nailing a few electric parts onto a board, stringing wire over a coke bottle and making a glorious noise. He then looks up, a wry grin on his face, takes a drag on his cigarette and says "Who says you need to buy a guitar?"

The Edge comes across as almost more of a technological virtuoso than a guitar player. He goes to great lengths to downplay the instrument while he demonstrates how much can be done to warp the simple sounds he makes with the huge panel of nobs and peddles.

The master artist on the show was, of course, Jimmy Page. Page came across as the most distant personality, and yet the most reverent about the instrument. He spoke of it lovingly, as if it were a woman, and talked about the orgasmic effect it can have on the listener.

At one point, as he stands up and begins to play the lead intro to "Whole Lotta Love", the other two smile and stare fascinated at Page's hands. The Edge even gets up and steps closer, so he can see exactly how Page makes that glorious iconic noise we all grew up with.

There are even a few scenes where Page plays records, showing a few of his early influences. The sight of Jimmy Page doing Air Guitar to an old Blues LP is enough to excuse the rest of us from doing it forever. Apparently it's a natural response, maybe some form or tourette's. When the music moves us... Really moves our soul, we need to connect ourselves to it. Be in there and become one with it.

Anyway, if you love the guitar, or spent any time in the last 40 years playin' air guitar with the headphones on, you need to rent this film. if you're like me, and you love the music, you'll really love It Might Get Loud.

Check it out. Cheers.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fun stuff

Check out this first kids facial expressions.

And watch for the look on this kids face when she gives him the guitar.

Love it. Keepin' the love goin', one generation to another.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Funny how things work out.

I was depressed as hell last Wednesday afternoon. Feelin' low, as you read in the last post. I wanna thank my friends for their comments. Your words do have a healing effect. I feel the love.

Like I said, when I was sittin' there in the library, posting that stuff to the blog, I was feelin' as low as a rats ass. After getting out of my late class at the jail in San Saba, I called my wowman to see if she wanted to go watch me play pool in my Wednesday night league. She usually declines, but this time she didn't. I could tell from the tone of her voice that something was up, but I didn't say anything. I picked her up at my house and we headed over to the US Club.

Long story short, we had a wonderful time. She finally got to experience some of the fun of hanging out with Dave and the guys. She rooted for me as I won my match against a guy who was rated better than me. I played really well, and then she gave me a celebratory victory smooch after I won. It was great.

I guess the only good thing about a fight is the makin' up after. It turned out that she'd seen the earlier post, and was surprised when I invited her to come to watch me play. It was a sweet end to what had been a shitty day. Another hurdle cleared.

The good times continued into Thursday. It turned out the English teacher down in Florence had taken my second period Juniors on a field trip, so I just sat back and played on the computer for a while. Then, it turned out the school had a thing scheduled where the Seniors were taking 8th graders around, showing them the high school. So my day was easy. One of the other teachers, seeing that I only had a few kids for third period, told me I should give them to her and get the hell out of there. It didn't take me more than a few seconds to agree.

Next thing you know I'm zippin' down the road to San Saba, with visions of the Dairy Mart in my mind and a good cigar burnin' in my teeth.

I decided, since I had time to screw around, why not play with the camera.

It was a good cigar too. lasted me the whole way to Saba.

I made sure the cruise was set to just a hair (Bruno?) above the speed limit. I'm tryin' to be good. Too many pricks out there with radar, and too many points pilin' up. And don't mind the Check Engine light. It's just the busted gage in the gas tank. Too many extra clicks of the handle when I fill up. Do take note of the miles. These trips to Saba are pilin' 'em up quick.

The real reason for the camera was to finally capture some pictures of the Bluebonnets that I get to enjoy along the road to Saba.

We got a lot of rain late last year and early this year, so the wild flowers are poppin' up all over the place.

I usually don't have time to stop, having just enough time to get from Florence to Saba in time for my noon classes. One of these weekends, soon, Denise and I will to a Hill Country drive. They tell me the flowers around Llano are amazing.

The other reason for the camera was to capture the amazing Jalapeno Sourdough bread Bacon Cheeseburger in all it's glory.

Yep. The best thing about gettin' out of Florence early is a chance to go to the Dairy Mart and enjoy one of these rare treats.

Today was another easy morning in Florence. I took roll, visited with friends and watched a few episodes of Clone Wars on the laptop.

I bought the DVD set of the first season at Wally World last weekend. I love the world George Lucas created for the movies, but I never get a chance to watch any of it on TV, so these are all new to me. Excellent.

Now, after posting this, I'm gonna get out the vacuum cleaner and try to spruce this place up a bit. A buddy of mine, Dave Waters, is bringing his girlfriend over at 6PM and the four of us are gonna go out to Applebee's for dinner. I can taste those BBQ ribs now. Mmmmm, good. And we've never met his new woman, so it's gonna be interesting on many levels.

The regular Friday night dinner with Mom is postponed to Saturday. Maybe I can get the girls to do to Dynasty, seein' as how it's my turn to pay. Anyway, the drizzly rain we're having has freed me up from the drudgery of yard work, so it might just be a nice, restful weekend.

So I'm feelin' better. I guess I'm richer than I realized in that moment. Rich in friends and lucky that they are willing to share their wisdom with me. I'm still figurin' this shit out, so I guess I need all the help I can get. I hope you guys are feelin' good and have a good, restful weekend too. Cheers.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I feel like shit today...

For reasons I won't go into. Suffice to say, I feel like I'm facing choices, roads, none of whom I want to take. Nether of the two obvious options that seem to be staring up at me are acceptable to me. So, I guess I'll just take the shit that's being tossed, duck and cover, like always, and soldier on, even though it leaves me feeling castrated and empty. It's just the only way I know how to do things. A life's training is a fast train' to try to jump from.

Oh, I guess I'm just tired right now. I got about three hours of sleep last night. Got up at 6:45 to shower, dress and head to work, and won't get back home tonight till after pool league play is over, maybe by 11:30 PM.

I don't think life is supposed to be like this, or is it? I don't know. I only know my heart. It's just about the only thing I have control over any more. But then even that is proving to be an illusion.

You know how, when you're reeling through the ups and downs of a relationship, the old music you've heard a million times can suddenly sound new and brilliantly clear to you? It's like they're talking directly to you? I was walkin' through a store a while back and heard this one again.

I almost started ballin' right there in Dillard's. It surprised the hell out of me. I made sure no one saw the emotions in my face. Then I'd have to explain the feelings. God knows what that would lead to? Certainly not a resolution. That's nowhere in sight.

Sometimes I think I was better off sittin' in my room and lettin' life pass me by, but that's just silly. I'd never go back there. That life almost destroyed my soul. The memories of that time make this pain easier to bare, but the baring of it... it's tedious in the EXTREME.

So indulge me in a little musical interlude, to restore and fuel my soul for the rest of the day.

OK, I guess I feel a bit better. Anyway, back to work. The library's closing. Cheers!

Monday, April 12, 2010

We sent the Brits off to Minnesota this morning...

At the butt crack of dawn. Really. We were so deep in the crack the sun couldn't even shine in on us. There was also a thick fog, thicker than any I'd seen in a long time. I hesitated to say something about London weather, seein' how these folks are from up north. Yorkshire.

Their plane was gonna start boarding at 6:30, for a 7AM take-off, so we had to get up at 5 to get them there on time to get their luggage stowed and through security. It was a tearful departure. Which is to say that Denise and Carolyn teared up. Denise always gets very emotional at these times. I think she'd give her right arm to be closer to her family. But the job is in Killeen. And I guess me bein' here is a factor too.

Sunday was a relaxed day. We all slept in (well I did anyway), and then the girls produced a wonderful breakfast. You can see Martin here, fiddling with his silverware, waiting for his omelet.

Pretty damn good fare. We enjoyed a ham and cheese omelet with bacon, fried taters and buttered sourdough toast on the side. There were also cinamon rolls. It was all wonderful.

After that we relaxed some more. I went over to my house to see to the cats and pick up provisions. Meanwhile, the Brits were watching the Masters, rooting for yet another Brit.

Later in the evening we all piled into Denise's car and headed for Wal Mart. These Brits LOVE Wal Mart. Not sure why. Too much stuff to wade through I guess.

I took a shot of this Barbie Mustang GT convertible and sent the shot to Denise's daughter Lynn. I've been threatenin' to get it for her baby daughter Payton. Let it sit in a box till the kid's grown into it. Wadda ya think?

Anyway, after the shopping spree, we all went out to have dinner at the Outback Steakhouse. We all ordered steaks, and Carolyn and I enjoyed the special, with two little lobster tails on the side. Each one amounted to about two bites of lobster for me, but once you dipped them in the butter sauce, it was well worth it. Anyway, Martin and Carolyn were paying, so what the hell.

So, they're off now. We'll miss them, but we'll see them again. They're gonna spend this week in Minnesota, with some of Denise's old inlaws, and then they fly back to Old Ambion at the end of the week. Here's hopin' all their travels are easy and they get home safe and sound.

Of course, I'm back to work, sittin' here in the library in San Saba, between classes. It's already been a long day. I can't wait to hit the pillow this evening. Y'all be good and we'll talk again soon. Cheers!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Having lots of fun with the Brits.

We took mom to Cotton Patch yesterday afternoon. It was great food and a great time, even though mom insisted on payin'. I didn't want to let her, but what can ya do? I can't stop her from doin' What she wants. We'll pay her back when we get the chance.

We're all havin' a great time, and we'll miss Martin and Carolyn when they fly to Minnesota Monday afternoon.

Right now, Denise and Carolyn have gone to Temple to get mom and go to the mall. I'm postin' this while Martin plays with my big TV. Then we're gonna go to a pool hall and he's gonna school me some more.

Y'all have a good weekend. Cheers.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

We had a great meal for Easter.

Denise cooked for everyone, for me, her brother and sister-in-law. My mom was supposed to come, but woke up feeling puny and ended up begging off.

Martin and I went to play pool in the afternoon, leaving Denise and Carolyn there to prepare the feast.

By the time we got back, around 4PM, not only was the food ready, but Denise had whipped up a batch of her Southern Comfort Punch.

The first course was a round of Yorkshire Puddings, with punch to wash them down.

I have a hell of a time, causing hoots of British outrage when I ask for butter on my biscuits. It's like I'm insulting their national dish. They're not bad, but I'd rather have a cornbread muffin with butter and jalapenos. But that's just me. I guess I'm a heathen.

The main spread was wonderful... Spiral cut ham, fried and mashed taters, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cut green beans.

I LOVE a spiral cut pig, and had at least two GOOD helpings, making sure to dip my fork full into the syrup that collected in the bottom of the pan. Mmmmmm, good.

The carnage was horrific, but the leftovers are still being picked over. I've been having big healthy ham and cheese sandwiches for breakfast all week, and will continue to do so as long as it lasts.

Monday night, the four of us went to my regular pool hall and the girls sat and entertained them selves while Martin and I played a few hours worth of games. He usually beats me, but I enjoy the education, and now and then I get to win.

Tonight is my pool night, when I play on the team. I'll head home from here, from San Saba, when I get out of class at 8PM. I'll change into some shorts and then we'll all head to the club.

Like i said, Martin is a pro. He always schools me when he comes. Maybe, with all this practice, tonight's match will end better than last weeks did. Sheeesh, it was awful.

The Brits will be here until Monday, when they fly to Minnesota to see some other folks. Then, the end of next week, they'll fly home to the land of cold and wet weather. It's been great to see them again.

Anyway, I'm off. Cheers.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I've always loved Easter.

It was all the cool movies they'd always put on during the holiday. Movies like...

The Robe...

Quo Vadis...

Ben Hur...

And The Greatest Story Ever Told.

It may sound a bit perverse, but I always wanted to watch these movie to see the Romans, rather than the religion. I've been fascinated by the Romans ever since I can remember.

I never got much of a religious education, outside what I picked up in these movies. I told a friend once that when it came to the Bible, I didn't know very much, unless it appeared at some time in a movie starring Victor Mature.

Oh yea that reminds me. This was always one of my favorites when I was little.

What? You've never seen it? Well here's a great review.

Yep, I loves me some sword and sandal bloodshed. Always have.

So, you have a happy Easter, and I'll be lookin' for some cool movies on TCM. We'll be having a big feed here today. Denise has her brother and sister-in-law over from the Mother Country. She's gonna cook a spiral cut ham and lots of other stuff. I'll go over to Temple and get mom, and then take her back when the feed is over. I hope you guys have a great day, and celebrate it in your own way. I'll be lookin' for Roman on telly, and an after dinner tipple. Cheers!