Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Item 1...
It's called TACT , for targeting aggressive cars and trucks , and it works like this :
2 cops are driving around the city in a city bus ( an empty city bus ) looking for asshole drivers. They spot one and radio to a nearby patrol car who gives the asshole a ticket.Apparently , each bus operation has 10 officers involved , 2 buses , 20 cops , one day nets 24 tickets.
A huge waste of money and resources in my opinion.

Item 2...
The "No Refusal" weekend. during 4th of July weekend , if you get pulled over and are suspected of driving under the influence and refuse a breathalyzer test , a warrant is immediately issued and you are taken to a mobile lab where a contract phlebotomist draws your blood...and you have no say in the matter.
Driving under the influence is not good , but this is fucking police state shit.
Someone needs to challenge this new thing the APD is doing , surely , there's some rights violation(s) that could be argued here.

Our nanny state status continues to grow unchecked.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I wish I could claim that title as my own , but I can't. It's a line from an Iron and Wine song . But it sums this life thing up nicely.
It occurred to me on my way home from seeing Wen how special we all are and I had this idea about why these re connects keep happening.
They are reminders of ties . Ties carry weight - but it's worth it , that weight amounts to your character.
This weekend I :
Hung out with Annabelle ( 25 years...15 of those married )
Hung out with Bill and Al and Carlos ( known them for 30 + years )
Saw Wendy ( 36 !! years )
Talked to Carolyn on the phone (ditto...and my first wife , which is to say the first woman I loved enough to marry...and while we failed at it miserably , she is a great friend now )
Talked to Mark on the phone ( 27 years )
Hung out with dogs..Theo ( 14 years ) , Irene ( 9 years ) and Layla ( 3 months...but the clock is ticking )
And while not technically the weekend ... dropped in on Billy boy at his job on Thursday. ( 35 + years )
Talked to Jon on skype with our new headset ( 30 + years )
Left an absolutely hilarious message on Joel's phone ( 16 years )
I need to call Special K ( 6 virtual years :) ).
Had new friends over for dinner ( 8 weeks )...the clock is ticking.
everyone compliments me on my physical appearance ... and that's cool , but what they're really seeing is inside.
I will never be complete , but this is damned close.
I usually leave the sentimentality shit to Billy boy , but I just had to say...

In a land far away (but still here in Austin) this was the hospital at Bergstrom AFB , now the base is an airport , and the hospital is now the Hilton. When I was a boy , this was where I would be taken when I was sick.
Back around that time , this was my girlfriend . Who is staying at the airport Hilton with her family.
It's funny how these kinds of re connections keep happening to me . Wendy and I have a unique history , BF & GF off and on , but always friends. And more alike than we would ever admit. The image that's burned into my brain of her is an old yearbook photo and no matter how old we get to be we will always look like this to my memory... nice kids huh?
Her mom was there too , she had no clue who I was , but after introductions , remembered my name . After about an hour or so , she remembered who I was and it was a very funny moment.
I had forgotten that Wendy's mom was english...and it was nice to hear the accent again.
And it was nice to see Wendy and meet her family (part of it anyway).
Time marches on but we still look pretty damn good I think.
Another want I can check off my list.
Too old for 20 hour days
Yesterday I was up at 5 am, worked 7 to 3 and then stayed up past 1 am this morning. It was fun, at least the part of the day after I got off work, but I sure am tired today. I had trouble doing this sort of thing when I was a teenager and could sleep until noon the next day. It's even harder 30 years later when no matter how hard I try, I can't stay in bed past 8 am. So I won't be rigging up the shade cloth experiment for the squash plants and I'm probably not going out to buy that hard drive I need for my computer nor will I use my 30% off coupon at Borders that expires today and forget doing any laundry. Instead, I think I will be sitting back with a cold glass of sparkling water and doing a whole lot of nothing since it's back to work again tomorrow. This only one day off routine is getting old, but this time it will be worth it since I will have both Saturday and Sunday off this upcoming weekend. Woot!

I haven't bought any new music in a long time , so yesterday I got the new Iron and Wine CD - Around the well.
Here is a great cover of New Order's Love Vigilantes...

...with our rifles and grenades and some help from god.
I think of our brave men and women overseas and in conflict and wish them god speed.

Sweet italian sausage and three cheese tortellini.

On skewers with pineapple and sweet onion...brushed with vodka sauce.

Grill till done...

Fucking awesome...h/t to Annabelle for finding the inspiration for this recipe.

The grrrls enjoyed the porch time and our guests , as did we. It was a very nice evening.

Saturday, June 27, 2009




I drive a similar route during the work week , and at loop 360 and Bee Caves I see the same 2 older guys with signs proclaiming veteran status and homelessness and god bless.
They are older men with knee braces.
Today there was a different guy there...whose sign proclaimed he was ashamed to admit he lost his job , had a family and needed help...and oh yeah , god bless...
These guys could be legit , I don't know for sure , but it seems odd to me that territory is staked out and seemingly shared.Time share intersections...interesting.
There's this other guy back up the road at Walsh Tarleton and loop 360 who has a sign that says he needs money for a bus ticket home....I have one small problem with this...he's been at this corner for almost 2 months. You could bum enough money for a one way ticket to anywhere from this intersection in 4 hours...something is amiss.
I'm beginning to think that standing on the side of the road with a pathetic face and equally pathetic sign is the new cottage industry here.
I miss the guy at Manchaca and Ben White who had a sign that read "3 dollars short of a 12 pack"...at least he was being honest.

Friday, June 26, 2009



Thursday, June 25, 2009


This is our porch thermometer at like somewhere around the 7ish PM mark...It's in the fucking shade...

I made beef fajitas with grilled onion tonight...squeezed a lime on them and a bit of the guisada magic dust...nice. That's San Marcos green sauce on the finished plate . It rules.


It would appear that Micheal Jackson is taking a dirt nap tonight...RIP nigga...say what you want about him , his influence on popular culture cannot be denied . And the sad trajectory of his life should not be ignored.
Farrah Fawcett also spun off this mortal coil today...damn , you can't punch it to a 30 year old poster of a dead pop icon. So I took mine down...just kidding ... she was never my type for celebro-masturbation fantasies . But my poster of Bea Arthur will reign supreme :P
Hot, hot, hot
Been a long run of 100+ degree days. This year is actually an improvement over last year, but it still seems too hot, too soon to someone who has lived here all her life. My mom has lived here even longer than I have and agrees that it's a bit of a mind-fuck. Both of us are having a hard time remembering that it's the month of June even though we see calendars and dates every day. Somehow our weather memory keeps overriding those dates and categories that we humans place on time and seasons and we keep thinking it's a least a month later in the year. And it doesn't matter that we spend our time inside in the air-conditioning. We still have that lethargic lull in the middle of the day, the need for a siesta and the desire to do things in the late, late evening instead of getting to bed early.

I've mentioned this before, but we didn't have air-conditioning when I was a kid. We didn't really need it since it literally wasn't as hot at as is now. I don't mean hot as in temperatures measured by the weather service. Although if I look, I wouldn't be surprised to see that it was 10 degrees cooler 40 years ago. No, what I mean is it wasn't as hot at my parent's house - we were still on the outskirts of town at that time so it was much cooler than in the city proper and you could actually have breeze blowing through even on a calm day - you don't get that there anymore. However, it would get to be unbearably hot in August. That was expected and so we'd pack up and go camping for those three weeks or so. This wasn't just my parent's ritual, but also their brothers & sisters as well so the camping trips were always a bit of a family reunion. One year we even went to Mexico (!) and camped out in the middle of nowhere at an abandoned lake resort. That sounds adventurous now, but it was even more so back then. Anyway, there was a point to all this discourse that I've now forgotten and I have to run off to work. Perhaps I was just trying to figure out why my weather memory and instincts are much stronger than any damn calendar. Because that calender might say June, but my body says August.

Monday, June 22, 2009


It's just been so hot.
I haven't had the energy to take the grrls for walks the last couple of days , yesterday I didn't even go outside. I preferred the cool and dark of the bedroom and TV and dogs.
Today when I got home , I got the usual greeting from the dogs , except for Layla. Now Layla jumps , but today she was jumping up to face level with me.
So tonight we went for a longer than usual after dinner stroll.
I think it was good for all of us...even though , by the time we got back at 8:45 I was sweating like I was pool side at 2:00...and it's only June.
I've got this weird thing in my vulcan crotch on my right hand that I initially thought was a chemical burn...
I'm sensitive to the stabilizing chemical in chlorine tablets ( cyanuric acid ) and prolonged exposure makes my hands break out in little itchy blisters unless I'm careful to rinse off between stops. Anyway...the more I look at it , the more it looks like a spider bite...I think.
Mostly it itches and I keep thinking of "Mary Jane rotten crotch" for some reason.
Kyle and I exchanged Father's day greetings yesterday , and you know what ? That's pretty fucking cool.
We're planning a camping trip for August , just me and him and Sean...should be fun.
There must be water , and shade . I'm leaning towards McKinney Falls . It's close and has very nice camp sites.
Heat index tomorow and for the rest of the week 103 to 105...hoo whee!
Kudos to my boss
I signed in to work at 7:00 am this morning as scheduled because well, that's just how I am. I was hoping that when my boss came in later this morning and saw my email about the very important thing I needed to do today he would let me have rest of the day off. And he did! So I got the very important thing taken care of and now Rob and I can sleep just a little easier tonight.

Another nice event this morning was that one of my patty pan squash plants had a bloom on it. It's a male flower, but a bloom nonetheless. I was beginning to think I'd get nothing off this plant because it only gets a little bit of sun now. Looks like there is hope for some patty pans after all.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Squash and work update
I have harvested five squash off the plants so far this year. That one batch of squash, cooked with onion and seasoned with nothing but a little butter, salt and pepper, was the most delicious squash that I have tasted in a very long time. And it wasn't just because I knew that I grew it - it really did have amazing flavor. The 100 degree heat is here now and I suspect between that and the squash borers we may not see any more fruit. I did another BT injection on the plants on Monday, but it doesn't seem to have worked as well this time. Ah well, I still consider the squash planting to be a great success and next year, I'll be wiser and maybe do even better.

Work has been a real pain in the ass, but at least it's been a pain in the ass at home and not the office. Working at home really does make it easier. One good thing that has come out of this was that I discovered just how much I really do know about this kind of stuff. I don't have any formal training or certifications, but have been doing this sort of support in one form or another for over 20 years, even if it wasn't my official job title. I started poking around on the internet looking at the certifcations that are available, thinking that might be a ticket out of this current job, and I found couple of practice tests. While I certainly have plenty more that I could learn, I do manage to pass the practice tests for some of the certifications right now. But I pass those just barely and running out and taking a test tomorrow isn't something I'd want to do since the tests are too expensive to take a chance on it. It will take me some time anyway to save up the money to pay for certification testing and I figure I can spend that time studying. Maybe in a month or two, I'll have some initials after my name that will look good on a resume.

Speaking of studying, I got a good laugh last night as I was reviewing a CCNA web-based course that had a demo available for a chapter on the OSI model. As luck would have it, this is one part of the test that I don't need to study, but I watched it anyway to get a feel for the type of study materials this company offers. It was lecture based with slides and rather boring (hopefully just because I know this stuff already.) Anyway, the instructor kept referring to sending to "the other side" when talking about sending information to another computer and each time I'd get a visual of that psychic that used to have a show that would come on late at night. It was one of those shows that I'd kind of half-watch while half-asleep because I knew if I got out of bed to turn the TV off then I'd wake up too much to fall back asleep. I don't remember the guy's name, but he was always helping people from the audience talk to dead family members on "the other side". So being bored, I kept thinking of the sending computer as being in the here and now and the other computer being off there on "the other side" and that meant it was in the ether (as in, the heavens) so then the ethernet cable was, of course, the ether-net! Haha! Okay, maybe you have to be in my head for it to be funny.

Anyway, I need to run to bed. I don't know what my boss was thinking to schedule me at 7:00 am on a Monday morning. That only gave me one day off (today) and I haven't worked at 7:00 am in years. Gah! And I have something very, very important to do tomorrow (my normal day off) so I might just have to work an hour or two, then clock out and let them put me on probation for the absence.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


For Asian...
Shredded carrots , baby shrimp , sweet onion , peanuts and shoots in canola oil and hoison sauce...
And then throw in some pork tenderloin in hoison and garlic with minced onion... Throw it all in a bowel with some udon rice noodles and toss it around some...
Then get in the pool...
Put your arm around a succulent...I love this picture , I get to see the real thing everyday...

Theo joined us on the porch tonight - jamming out to Testament and Exodus.
I know :P

I've been making up songs since I was 10 and writing them down or ticking them away to memory since I was 12.
In 39 years I think I've written a few decent ones - some from my 20's I still play - but mostly they have been turds.
I have never even come close to writing the epic song.
In case you're confused about what makes an epic...here's my top 5 , in no particular order...
Cortez the killer...NY & Crazy Horse
Kashmir...Led Zeppelin
Naked as we came...Iron & Wine
Space station # 5...Montrose...
Completely arbitrary and off the cuff and would probably be different ( With the exception of Cortez ) every 2 hours...too many songs , limited storage.
So I try to write the epic song...it has to be out there...hidden in something I see or do or come across in my everyday life.
Maybe someday...

Thursday, June 18, 2009


A friend of mine told me years ago that his mom would make chili cheese dogs in the oven...

It's been so hot these last couple of days that I am just drained when I get home and the thought of throwing together something so easy was appealing to me , plus , we really like chili cheese dogs.


How hot you ask ? A steady stream of sweat running off the brim off my cap for most of the day - or to be blunt , hot like 2 rats fucking inside a wool sock in August.
Speaking of rats...I found a dead one in a skimmer yesterday. I initially thought it was a baby possum and felt sad for it until I realized it was a rat and then I was like...awesome! Another dead fucking rat. There can never be enough dead rats as far as I'm concerned.
I got it out of the skimmer with the end of my brush and tried to carry it away by it's tail , but the skin came off and all I was left with was rat tail skin between my thumb and index finger...eeewwww.
Bon Appetite'...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I was at the hoighty toity HEB in Westlake Hills on my way home from work this afternoon to get something for dinner. At my neighborhood HEB...the third world as we like to call it , I can get big packages of pork carnitas really cheap. At this HEB , there was none in sight , but I got a package of oddly cut pork tenderloin for under 6 bucks...7 meal for 2 size pieces...amazing. Just because the cut was less than pleasing to the eye , the top end of pork cuts for cheap.
I got some jonagold apple (big , juicy reds),some 1416 sweet onion and some honeydew melon chunks and busted out the kabob skewers once again and sparked up the grill.

... turns out a very nice combination of flavors...


Some customers provide their own chemicals because they think they are saving money. One of my customers who does this was out of chlorine tablets today and I left a note on my door hanger that they needed to get some.
That customer called me this evening and asked where the previous pool guy was ,asked when they should get the tabs , welcomed me and said that the pool looks great and I was doing a great job. Wow...It made me smile. The drowned , bloated toad I found in their skimmer earlier today did not.


The creek by the house...Soon to be ruined by another development...unless it can bounce back again.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Taters and onions....:) And drenched in butter brown gravy...BOO - YAA !

Sunday, June 14, 2009

While I wasn't looking
I consider the squash experiment a success now that I have harvested 3 lovely squash off the plants. I may not get much more than that given that squash borers moved in while I was busy setting up my home office and not paying attention. I'll try another BT injection on the yellow squash vines, but one of the patty-pan plants is beyond hope. Actually, none of the patty pan plants are doing well, even without squash borers because their mound is now shaded most of the day. On my existing yellow squash plants I can easily tell the difference in how much sun each one gets during the day. The plant that sees shade earlier in the day is half the size of the of the one in the most sun and this more shaded plant has yet to produce any squash, though it may be that it's just growing much slower and hasn't reached maturity.

The shade pattern in our front yard has definately changed from when I first mapped it out about five years ago. I hadn't thought about how much the neighbor's trees have grown since then and so at first I was surprised. Then it hit me and I said, "Duh!" I'm wondering though, if the shade might actually be an advantage in a few more weeks when things really heat up around here. Only way to find out is to try and, as I've mention before, seeds are cheap.

I'm sending Rob out later today for black plastic to put down on the grassy area that I was unable to weed because the bermuda grass has a very tight hold on the area. A month covered in the heat might do the trick even though the roots go very deep. And there are still things that can be planted here at the end of July including, much to my surprise, carrots! I would have thought July and August were WAY too hot for carrots to take hold. We have an old rubbermaid tub that I'm thinking about using for a raised bed (after cutting the bottom out) which would be the perfect height for carrots.

I'm very glad I started gardening again this year. I been having a rough time and no matter how down I might be feeling, I can walk out, look at my squash plants and get a smile on my face. And that's even when the plants aren't doing well. It appears that gardening is good for the soul.

I love the woods at dawn...

Saturday, June 13, 2009


The itch got the best of me today so I went and got something I've been thinking about for some time...Some praying hands.
In bones! He did a fantastic job. Told me the neck was sensitive and I could "tap out" if I needed a break. I almost fell asleep.Tap out...Please.
I think I've graduated to "very scary looking" status...HA!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Two firsts

First day working at home went pretty good technology-wise. I did have a problem with calls dropping in the early morning, but then it cleared up. Phone quality could be better, but it's no worse than it is at the office. The dogs were not happy about being locked up in the bedroom this morning and there was much whining and complaining from the Grrrls, but they setteled down after lunch (nap time, I suspect.)

Back to back calls all day isn't much different at home than it is in the office - it's still exhausting, but lunch time is a huge improvement and not having to drive to and from the office is a big plus. It was very hot outside today and since I have no air-conditioning in my car and the driver's window doesn't roll down, I got to avoid the usual baked-potato syndrome on the way home.

The other first is shown below - first squash from the garden!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Thanks Dallas - Fort Worth. I'm currently surrounded by 3 very jumpy dogs . It seems none of the pack likes thunder and lightning very much.
The pools I cleaned today are fucked , the pools on my route tomorrow are fucked as well.
Oh well.
I was at a "vacation clean" on my last stop today...what a nightmare. Not really , but it was suffering from a serious case of mustard algae . I lit it up and treated , but this rain will likely undo most of my efforts. It's a shame to have so much money that you can pay someone to make sure you come home from your vacation to a clean pool , only to have mother nature put you in your place.
I hope you didn't go to Vegas.
I could go on to bore you with how the security gate at the back of this "vacation clean" spit me out at an HEB or , how I shopped there and saw my electrician buddy George . Or maybe the amazing walk the Grrrls and I had , the night sky perforated with lightning on our way home.Or how Layla loves to have a bath...
But no...I cooked some more amazing shit.

I'm making carne guisada enchiladas with scallions , beef tips and green chiles with sour cream and cheese enchiladas with queso and scallions...
The beef , in 2 table spoons of canola oil with the magic carne guisada seasoning....
...add scallions and chiles and cook on a low heat until it cries "Sangro de Christo"! or until tender.
Mix up the cheese enchi junk...monterey jack sauce and scallions.Cheese enchiladas are fucking boring to me...
Until you do this to them...smack that bitch up with some queso !
The guisada enchis are a bit more complex , M/J cheese and sour cream just so across the top...
And here you have it...
I just accidently stepped on Theo's foot and he didn't wig out . Thunder is mightier than me...go figure :P
Overnight office space
I start working from home tomorrow, but I'm not exactly prepared since it wasn't supposed to happen for another month. I've been promised that I could work from home for well over a year and when I was told this morning to start tomorrow, well, I just couldn't say, "No, not right now." There are a couple of problems. My desktop needs a hard drive and I haven't been able to replace it due to budget issues. I also have to work on Saturdays (Sundays as well if I want enough hours to pay the bills) and I can't exactly ban Rob from the main part of the house on his days off. We have an extra bedroom that we don't use for anything other than storage and I had planned on working in that room to set up an office in a couple of weeks. But a couple of weeks isn't tomorrow so I've had to jury-rig a temporary solution for tomorrow which involves working at my regular desk in the main part of the house using my laptop. My ancient laptop really isn't up to the task, but if I'm careful I should be able to make it work. Rob will be out of the house cleaning pools most of the day and I can shut the dogs up in our bedroom (they shouldn't mind too much - they can snooze on our bed all day.) I've also cleared a spot in the extra bedroom where I can set up a makeshift desk for Saturday and Sunday, but I'm too pooped tonight to finish that - have to move in a table, move the router and run cables. I'll do that tomorrow night to be ready for Saturday. But despite the mad scramble, I still say WOO-HOO! Working from home at last!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Layla : "Zilker Park really rules
"! Irene: "Shut up bitch"...
Ping Pong!

I found the grounds crew graveyard tonight...some really interesting stuff in the middle of a clearing , in the middle of the woods...
On my way home ( driving on Bluebonnet ) I got a really strong karma vibe and realized I was headed to Mark's old place - in a pool truck - like I had done so many times before. It's funny how memories stay with you...this is a good one.
I'm not a fan of most of the bicyclists in Austin...they are generally shitty arrogant people...but this dude adds to the mix with a chinese character tattoo on his calf...I'm not fluent in chinese , but I think this translates to "dick head".