Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eye Candy

This is a Springfield Armory M6 Scout.

It is not mine, I found the image on the interwebs.

I am not writing commentary about it at this time, just wanted to familiarize you with the concept for the present.

Dewey, I still need that parachute cord...

I know I've gotta update...

On my trip down to Austin, I realized it's time to update my '70s-centric musical tastes.

Or at least rotate the CDs in my car stereo changer.

It seems (this will come as no surprise to Todd the Blogger) my playlist is a bit Eagles/Henley focused. Submitted for your approval:
  • Disc 1 -Distillation of the best of Fleetwood Mac Live (1980) on one disc
  • Disc 2 - My own mix of Don Henley's best solo work (no Eagles' tunes)
  • Disc 3 - Common Threads: Country artists performing top Eagles' tunes
  • Disc 4 - Disc One of Long Road Out of Eden
  • Disc 5 - My compliation of Jackson Browne's best works
  • Disc 6 - Hotel California, remastered

I guess if I could fit it all on one 8-track tape, I'd be right at home in a 1978 Datsun.

Maybe this weekend I'll put in some new newer CDs.

Urban Outhouse - Art is where you find it

I may not be able to definitively answer the perennial question "Does a bear...", but I can say with confidence that, if he does, he'd likely appreciate the good Samaritan who thoughtfully left an extra roll of TP on a convenient tree limb.

The photo is also illustrative of the uniquely Austin ethos. This facility is located near the Texas Rowing Center, right across the street from the Austin High School athletic fields.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Have I gone batty?

I mentioned in the earlier post that I'd spent last week in Austin. You know, the State capital. As in "Keep Austin Weird", which I think replaced the slogan "Steers & Queers - No Place But Austin". I guess the latter bumper sticker wasn't politically correct or something.


Anyway, after settling into my hotel room Monday evening, and watching Jon & Kate for the first time (only for 15 minutes) only to find they're getting off their marriage-go-round (and who isn't these days?), I headed downtown to check out the kayak rentals on Town Lake. After checking the hours and prices, it was too late to check out a paddlecraft, but I was able to head over to the Austin American Statesman parking lot to catch the evening flight of the bats. Even though I've seen them before, it's always impressive, though not so much to go back on successive evenings.

Tuesday afternoon I was able to get back to my hotel and change into swim trunks and water shoes and got down to the Texas Rowing Center just south of Austin High School, where for a measly ten bucks and my driver's license, the kayak of my choice would be all mine for an hour. Not wanting a sit-on model, I picked a sleek tourer [sit-in], and eased my 6'1" frame into the cockpit.


I might mention that I haven't kayaked in about 30 years or so. Canoeing, yes, but kayaking, no. The sleek tourer was, shall we say, not so roll stable, and I surely didn't want to ignominiously swamp my boat (OK, the Rowing Center's boat) in front of other paddlers and joggers. So before even pushing off from the dock, I traded it for a recreational model, wider and a bit shorter. Very yaw prone, but stable. Being Kansas-born, "I set a course for winds of fortune", and proceeded eastward, towards downtown.

Within a hundred yards or so, I'd gotten the footpegs adjusted and started working on a sort of cadence to travel more or less in a straight line. My goal was to see if I could make it to Congress Avenue, but I was facing a moderate headwind. As I continued, I realized that Lamar was a more realistic goal, and believed that the wind I'd been facing would be my friend on the return trip.


After turning around at one of the bridge supports, I'd rowed a couple hundred yards before realizing the breeze had calmed. Oh, great! No help there. Not to mention that I was now rowing against the current. A mild current, but against it nonetheless. I was beginning to be concerned I wouldn't get my rental back in time, or that I might give out, but I came up with a plan to paddle earnestly for two minutes, then three minutes casually, repeating this cycle about five times.

Sure enough, I made it back to the dock with a few minutes to spare, and a pretty good sweat.

I slept very well that night.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Back in the blogging chair...

Lately I've had several posts rattling around, including one about Father's Day, but since I was in our Republic's State capital all last week, I didn't get a chance to get any written.

Even though I've spent more than half my life west of 360, last Sunday was only the second time I'd been to Burger's Lake. One of the churches I attend was having a single fathers' celebration, complete with a hot dog and hamburger lunch, so I signed up to take my three kids.

Unfortunately, I read the confirmation email wrong, and ended up at BL on Sunday, not Saturday. Luckily, the admissions lady offered me a discount (not as good as getting in free, but at that point it was better than turning around and going home), so we made a day of it at the park.

There's something nostalgic about a place like Burger's Lake that you don't find at Hurricane Harbor or NRH20. We all had a great time, and were pretty tired by the time we left.

Of course, I should mention that I had dreams in Spanish that night, and after showering the next morning, checked myself in the mirror for tattoos...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Snakes on a Bridge

Shortly before 10:00 last night, #1 son calls, telling me to come down to the park. Oh yeah, and bring some iced tea and a tape measure.


Nonetheless, I complied, possibly out of some macabre sense of curiosity. Something told me to also grab the camera. Arriving at the park, I found my son and some of his friends, with a new friend:

Stretched out, the snake honestly reached 72 inches.

I'm not as enthusiastic about this as the fish fishing (with catch and release). If the snake's not bothering me, I'm pretty much inclined to leave him alone.

This evening I had a business dinner in Dallas near Inwood & Forest. On the way home, waiting for the light at the SH 114 service road and Southlake Boulevard at about 9:30, I looked over to the grassy area between the frontage road and the highway below to see a tall, skinny dog.

Hey, that's not a dog, it's a coyote. And there's another one!

I rolled down the window and whistled at them, only about 6-7 feet from my car. They paid no mind, and scampered behind the car and across the service road toward one of the medical plaza buildings. I would've taken a picture, but my cellphone camera doesn't have a flash and my digital was at home.

As the light turned green for my turn lane, I had to move on. Though not a wildlife biologist, I'm told coyotes are monogamous. Maybe it's anthromorphism, the Joe Nichols song that was playing, or I'm just getting soft in my old age, but I felt a bit sad thinking of them being so close to civilization, and the likelihood that one or both would be run over, shot, or captured.

I hope they got away...

Hate me if you want to...

This song is better than its video.

The 'Coexist' sticker on the guitar case sort of strikes me as 'hippie-dippy'.

Indy Car Van @ TMS

Kind of like Wayne Campbell when he found out Aerosmith were in his mother's kitchen nook, I was a bit weirded out when my mother told me the Penske people decided to drive her minivan into Victory Lane for a photo-op for one of the Speedway charities.

Mom & Dad were out there to receive food for Metroport Meals on Wheels, to distribute to shut-ins in several North Texas communities.

I wonder if the trade-in on a Chrysler minivan goes up if you can prove it was driven by a race-car driver?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fishers of...Fish?

We've often heard of being "fishers of men" (Matt 4:19, Mark 1-17), but here are a pair of just plain fishers of fish. After breakfast yesterday, my oldest announced he was going fishing, and my daughter wanted to tag along using some commercial bait and some leftover scraps of ham (I had to stay behind to clean up the kitchen).

An hour-and-a-half later, they returned with these pictures - the pescados were released.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The World Gone Mad

I've said it before - I think the world seems to be on, to paraphrase AC/DC, the Highway to Hell.

A blogger I follow, but have not met, memorialized actor David Carradine, who died in Bangkok earlier this week. Recent evidence suggests the death was by misadventure connected with the practice of autoerotic asphyxiation. If that's an unfamiliar term to you, well, there's google and wiki. Having no personal experience with the practice, it would also be unfamiliar to me but for having seen the association in obituaries of teens. It surprised me that a 72 year old man, married, no less, might engage in such an activity. In fairness, I must acknowledge that, in the actor's death, it's still speculative at this point.

What's not speculative is that our culture obsesses with all things sexual. In the past 2 weeks, I think I've seen three or four prime time network dramas (I think a couple of them were CSI franchises) that had some form of plotline involving deviant sex, and I don't even have cable. And although I enjoyed Saturday Night Live in the early days, I'm reluctant to watch it these days because I don't think the current fare is appropriate for my kids. The supermarket newsrack is no better - all the mainstream women's magazines seem to feature monthly DIY lessons for mind-blowing sex with whoever happens to be handy: husbands (if you must), co-workers, FWBs, strangers. Have we reached such a pinnacle on Maslow's pyramid that all we can do is think about how to stimulate our nether regions?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not repressed. From junior-high school on, I've told more than a few slightly ribald or bawdy stories. And I enjoy enjoyed sex when I was married. As is not uncommon with husbands, would've enjoyed greater frequency, but never ventured outside of the marriage to satiate those wants. It's fair to say that I have a much better perspective, now, of how the daily grind of raising kids impacts a woman's libido. But, enough digression.

As I see it, we're devolving. Rapidly. Makes me wonder how anyone can not believe in a higher power or Intelligent Design, inasmuch as evidence suggests that there is decay from highly organized/ordered states to disarray, not the happy coincidence of tadpoles developing into homo sapiens. I think the term is 'entropy', which I first heard on Star Trek, even though I'm no Trekkie. It appears we're on the fast track to anarchy.

Is there any hope that we can climb out from our cultural cess-pit? I hope so, but am not encouraged by what I see. As a Christian, I am convinced that there is a path out of the wilderness. However, there's nothing preventing even non-believers from raising the moral code - I know a good many non-spiritual people who are extremely moral. If there's any spine left among men and women of good character, it's incumbent on us (I hope I can include myself amongst) to set standards of conduct for our children to follow - and lead by example.

I pray for Mr. Carradine's family, that if his death was as suggested, they not be subjected to ridicule and torment.

OK, enough pontification. I'll climb down off my box of Duz now - Hey look, there's a salad plate in the box!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Earlier Post, Explained

A couple of posts back was a random jumble of bulleted items, under the rubric "Did You Know?". Most of it was nonsense, which should have been self-evident.

What wasn't evident was, why would someone post such a thing? The premise of the post came about as a challenge.

Earlier in the day I had shown a copy of the extended ASCII table to my friend and colleague, Todd the Blogger, who asked me, "What the heck is that?"

I explained that it was my source of special characters, specifically the "²" (squared exponent) that I use when referring to fellow blogger Don D as D². Not yet quite impressed, Mr. Blogger said he'd simply assumed I had a "special" keyboard. I think there was a harmonic overtone in his suggestion implying I'd ridden on the short bus in childhood.

Nonetheless, he asked "Can I have a copy of that?"

A while later, in my office, he said "I don't think you could use more than about five of those in a blog post." Like the Southwest Airlines commercial, that statement, to me, was tantamount to "It's On!"

So, the resulting gibberish, using way more than five special characters, I think proved my point.

Oh yeah, and the next morning, I did give him his own copy. We'll see if he puts it to good use in his blog.

Manly Footwear

This is for Jarhead, an illustration of footwear that no one will call gay.

Actually our office declared "jeans Friday" for today - it feels kind of like free dress day in parochial school.

Thanks to Todd the Blogger (also wearing boots today) for the use of his cellphone to email this picture.

And thanks to Merle Haggard...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hot Weather Ahead

OK, so we got a cool spell this first week in June. But Pete tells us it's gonna get hot.

So, since this may be the last time for awhile, I'm heading outdoors to sleep tonight, just like last night.

Hey there's Orion!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cool! No, really cool!

I owe a debt of gratitude to my Dad tonight for coming over earlier in the evening with a canister of R-22 and a manifold gauge set to top off my A/C that was not quite getting the job done this past weekend. Of course, after I took the bonnet off the compressor to get it ready, I noticed that I needed to wash the coils down, which I promptly did after it was charged. Any readers know where a layperson can get R-22, in case I need to replenish his supply?

I don't have any problem charging car A/C systems with R-12 (finally gave away my last two or three cans last year, since I don't have any more vehicles with that refrigerant) or R-134, but have to admit, I'm not trained on using the manifold gauges. Am also wondering what's the difference in R-134 lubricants - I've seen two different ones at the Wal-Mart? Are they compatible? Anyone out there know?

Anyway, thanks Dad, it'll be a lot easier to fall asleep tonight.

Did you know?

• That your faithful blogger once lived in Österreich, and as junior high student, could navigate the entire city of Wien by Straßenbahn?

• Æsop's Fables are still some of the best stories to teach to children?

• An Ångström is a smaller unit of measure than a µm?

• Œdipus would feel right at home in the 'hood?

• It's a good idea to always keep your résumé updated, just in case?

• That ¡Feliz Cumpleaños! means Happy Birthday in English?

• Tonight's forecast low temperature is 69°F, ±2°?

• You never see any 5 & 10¢ stores anymore?

• ¼ + ½ = ¾ ? (OK, everyone past the 4th grade knows that)

• Today's exchange rate was £0.6051 per $U.S.? And ¥95.9597? €0.7039?

• In chapter 151 of the Texas Tax Code, §151.0048 Real Property Service, ¶ (c) defines contractors?

• Pythagoras determined his famous theorem that a² + b² = c² almost 2½ millennia ago?

• The heading on the Bill of Rights says: Congreƒs of the United States?

• The Jarhead Manifesto™ is probably not really trademarked?

• That Suzuki V-Strom motorcycles are really über cool?

• One inch³ = 16.39 cm³?

• The Springfield Armory M6 Scout was actually manufactured by Česká Zbrojovka (CZ)?

• A † through the heart will kill a vampire? (You'll have to ask El Chupacabra about zombies.)

• Mönica Lewinsky now runs a business designing purses? (OK, I took artistic license with that one...)

Alright, enough silliness for one evening.