Dave

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dinner Report: Bill Miller's, Germs, and Washing Hands...

I don't think I have actually ever done a report on eating at Bill Miller's, but I may have mentioned the fact that I enjoy it quite a bit. Make no mistake, I think Bill Miller's is a San Antonio institution, and even if you can find better brisket or a better piece of fried chicken somewhere else, I'd say it is hard to find a place that is consistent from one side of town to the next like our friend Bill.

So tonight when my wife reported that she had already had a late lunch with our daughter, I decided I would take a short trip down the street and grab one of my favorites, the Baked Potato and Salad special. I think the price is $3.89 and you get a baked potato, and ... well, a salad. But the baked potato is big and it comes with a cup full of bacon bits, sour cream, cheese, and butter. I'm telling you, if there are any health benefits from eating a baked potato, they are surely lost when I pile on the entire bowl of fixin's. The salad is always good.

And tonight was no different. I ordered the aforementioned vittles and as usual, I got myself an unsweetened iced tea. And this is what I'd like to talk about.

At least a month or so ago, I had a tiny little infection in my eye and as we all know, these things get spread when you don't wash your hands. I'd like to think I'm a fairly clean person, but in light of the situation, my wife armed me with bottles of Purell and gave me Clorox towelettes to take to work to wipe things down. My wife used to be one of those certified food handling specialists, so you can imagine she is pretty up on trying to keep things sanitary.

Since the eye infection, I think I have become obsessed with this issue and even now more than ever, feel the urge to compulsively rub Purell on my hands. But it gets worse. I have always been more than a bit creeped-out by hotel rooms and all the disturbing germs that the previous occupants leave behind, but I try to put it out of my mind. I have found that your best bet for a good night's sleep in a hotel is to wipe down things with Clorox wipes, slather Purell over the remote control and the phone, and lubricate yourself internally with enough beer that whatever you ingest while breathing at night, it will be killed by the time it hits your stomach. I haven't died yet.

So, recently, I have decided that when I go to restaurants, I am really interested in what the people do with their hands and hair and faces and clothing while they are making my food. Forget some guy spitting on my burger - at least he can get fired for that, so he is less likely to do it. I know; not really, but humor me. I'm just worried about some guy going to take a dump, not adhering to the clearly posted sign in the bathroom ordering him to wash up, and coming back and fondling my plastic spoon.

So today, as I was waiting for my baked potato and salad and unsweetened iced tea, I casually observed the smooth operation of Bill Miller's staff as they easily handled a rush of dinner time patrons, I noticed two shorter employees emptying the big bucket of tea from one of those 5-gallon paint buckets into the tea dispenser. I don't think it occurred to them that because they were shorter, when they gripped the inside rim of the bucket and tilted it, my freshly brewed unsweetened tea was going to casually graze their fingers up to the knuckles.

And then, I started to look at the girl gathering up some cups for tea. Why bother to use a scoop to scoop up the ice into the cup if you are holding the cup with your fingers on the inside? I mean seriously, why not just reach your hand into the bucket, grab some cubes and throw them in the cup? Oh, and while you are at it, since you have already soiled my cup, no need to handle the drink lid by the edges, I'm happy to have your thumb prints on the inside of the lid. Perhaps the medical examiner will be able to identify you when they do a CSI of my dinner table.

I don't mean to pick on Bill Miller's because, like I say, the food is great, it is consistent and my baked potato and salad was outstanding - Tasty Treats all around, but in light of the fact that there is a crazy nationwide outbreak of this hard to kill bacteria, do you think we could ask our food service workers and especially hospital workers to bust out an occasional Purell dispenser and use it?

A few of the blogs that I often read have noted the recent passing of a blogger called Dr . Syn. I wasn't really familiar with him, but his story is an incredible reminder to us all to be mindful of these germs. You can read about him here, but the gist of it is that the poor guy ran into a door, gave himself one heck of a black eye and ended up in the hospital. It became infected to the point that they had to remove his eye. This is no Halloween joke. After that, the infection was so bad they had to put him into a coma, and shortly after, he died of a heart attack. Poor guy.

So, Bill Millers doesn't get blamed for the death of Dr. Syn, but for heavens sake, let's be mindful of the fact that these germs are often passed from one person to the next, simply because they forgot to wash their hands.

Enjoy your dinner and enjoy all that candy that strangers are passing out to your kids tonight. I'd recommend you use some Clorox wipes on the wrappers and perhaps eat each piece of candy with a shot of tequila.

Unfortunate Name Report: Cocula Mexican Restaurant

I know this is quite immature of me, but just the other day, I had cause to drive down S. Flores until it turned into Roosevelt Ave on San Antonio's South Side. Purely by chance, I encountered something that surely, even today 12 year-olds might still find humorous. Cocula Jalisco Mexican Restaurant.

What do you suppose their lunch special is, The Big Chorizo?

Feel free to leave your equally immature comments. I think I'll go send a quick e-mail to Council-woman Diane Cibrian; If Boobie Rock is too much for her, this Cocula thing has got to go.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Lunch Report: Guillermo's Deli...

Let me cut right to the chase: Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm! Guillermo's Deli located in the back of the YMCA off of St Mary's downtown served up quite a Tasty Treat for the lunch special today.

I was attending a class at my office downtown and a co-worker suggested we grab a sandwich at Guillermo's as it would be a quick meal giving us plenty of time to eat and be back before the class started again.

I initially had reservations because the place is located at the YMCA - I try to eat healthy, but I'm not looking to go Vegan or anything like that, nor do I want to feel obligated to do some chin-ups or work up a sweat before I'm allowed to eat.
But, never fear, there was no such requirement.

I ordered up Tony's Special, which today was a sandwich on focaccia bread, (I had the ham, my co-worker had turkey) and a bow-tie pasta salad with fresh spinach (they also had the pasta with ham).


When we first walked in, I wasn't sure if the place was even open since we were the only two customers. But by the time we ordered and got our baskets, the place filled with other people.

There was a minor issue with the drink situation. Guillermo's has several versions of tea labeled to identify the value of anti-oxidants and green tea and such. I finally settled on the fresh lemonade which was remarkably tasty.
The pasta salad was simply perfect. Served cold, the pasta was cooked just right. The tomatoes were cut in such a way that they blended in with the spinach, onions and other ingredients. The selection of seasonings and I assume olive oil worked very well. I sat there and ate the pasta before I even took a bite of the sandwich.
And then it was heaven. I know, quite an accolade for a sandwich, but if you can imagine not wanting it to end, just because it was so good. The lunch filled me up for sure, but I suspect that had the sandwich been three times as big as it was, I would have sat there like a pig and devoured it, all the more reason they probably put this place in a gym.Guillermo's also serves pizza and other stuff, but seriously, try the focaccia bread ham sandwich. Maximum Tasty Treats!

River Walk Construction Report: More progress...

Working at my downtown office today, I figured it would be worth a picture or two of the progress taking place on the River Walk extension near McCullough St. I just posted an update last week and honestly, you can tell quite a bit of work is taking place.Things are really taking shape. You can see the walls coming right along.Here, it all looks pretty clean. And work was continuing as far down as I could see from the bridge.On the opposite side of the bridge going toward the existing River Walk, a cement truck is delivering more river walk!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Morality Report: Indecent in 78250?

Disclaimer:
I won't cuss, but a at least two of the pictures I'm going to post here contain potentially objectionable material. One picture contains a bumper sticker that includes a foul word (Fuck) and the other contains a picture of a penis drawn on the back of a person's vehicle window. The penis is not well drawn, but it is clear to most observers that it is in fact intended to be a penis.

If you are offended by either of these things, you should not read further, as the pictures I have described and will post below may offend you.


Likewise, if you are offended by a building that has a sign on the outside that says "Boobie Rock", even though I won't be posting a picture of the building or the sign, you may wish to move along because I have a paragraph or two which will discuss said building.

I am not normally driven to get beyond restaurant reviews, day trips or discussions of funny things I saw at the HEB, but I hope you can indulge me for just a moment as I bring up something that has bothered me recently. I promise, I will try to be sensitive in my descriptions of things I have seen in public.

In recent weeks, there has been discussion amongst the San Antonio city council and specifically, with the council lady from District 8 named Diane Cibrian about a business trying to open up on I-10 at Huebner in a building formerly occupied by a club called Hooligans. Her concern is no doubt for the children of the community who might ride their bikes along the highway and be offended by a building facade. Heaven forbid one of these children was hit by an 18-wheeler doing 70 MPH. But they might live to walk amongst the rest of us at a mall where they would see the open displays of Victoria's Secret or worse, Lane Bryant.

I would have let this go because people far smarter and wittier than I can come up with a million points as to why this whole idea is so ridiculous. Forget the fact that on the opposite side of I-10 is All Stars, another Gentleman's club that has operated without apparent concern by children on bicycles for years.

But for the last several months, San Antonio has been adorned with some billboards for a morning radio show called Lisle and Hahn. These two guys have owned the number one spot on radio for the most part, for as long as I have lived in SA, though I haven't always listened to them.

Frankly, during the years that I drove my kids to school,
I didn't want to have to explain any potential double entendres that might come from Lisle and Hahn or back then, Drex, so our drive consisted of wholesome news reports and Viagra commercials from WOAI and KTSA. But like many parents my age, as soon as the kids were safely in school, I was back on the FM band listening to those heathens give commentary of the latest events.

Some people have written letters and complained about this latest billboard, showing John Lisle and Steve Hahn on their knees, next to the legs and boots of some gal with a headline: 15 Years of Morning Domination. The writers claim that they have to explain to their kids why the two bad men are on their knees or why a lady would be wearing boots. Seriously.

I took the picture for the clouds, but you can click on it to see what I'm talking about.

To the point: I am honestly having a hard time following these busy-bodies who seem to go out of their way to be offended by things that they think their kids will be offended by. My kids survived years of rides to school listening to "conservative talk radio" advertisements for the aforementioned boner medicine, and worse, something called Enzyte advertised by a guy named Bob who seemed to be happy all the time. They never questioned me about it nor, as far as I know, tried to purchase any of it, just because it was being pushed by "conservative talk radio".

If you are driving down I-10 at 70 MPH, do you honestly think your kid will notice the Boobie Rock building any more or less than the pre-exisiting All Stars building? And if his or her frame of reference that "Boobie" is a naughty word, who do you suppose should be to blame? You? Talk radio?

So yesterday, I drove my son to the airport and as we exited onto Airport Blvd, I pulled in behind this fashionable family vehicle. I'm sorry, I didn't have my council-person's number, so I had to take matters into my own hands.
I took a picture of what I saw. I never said a word. When my son realized what I was taking a picture of, he seemed to giggle under his breath, but not so much at what I was taking a picture of, but the fact that his immature 43 year old father found it humorous.And on my way home from the airport, I was driving north on Bandera Road - yes, even the people of Leon Valley are subject to harsh words - and I spotted this little display.
It wasn't the Lisle and Hahn bumper sticker that caught my eye as much as the sticker above it. Should we outlaw tow trucks too, or simply re-zone them off the highway?

The fact is, you can boycott and complain and get upset all you want over things you find offensive, and I say, good for you. But in the end, after you have made an ass of yourself over really insignificant things, some idiot is going to offend you even more with his bumper sticker or his radio commercial.

I'll take a Boobie Rock building that I don't have to ever step foot into over a Viva Viagra TV commercial any day of the week.

Ms. Cibrian: Get a life.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Strange in 78250: Who Needs a Mega-Church?

Here in 78250, we don't require one of those big ol' mega-church deals like they got up in Stone Oak. Nope, no need for off-duty police to direct traffic as we get an earful of fire and brimstone.

In fact, we don't have to even park and get out of the car. We got our own street corner preacher who can yell at you to repent if you happen to slip through the light just after it turns red.

This guy may not live in The Dominion, but I can tell you this, he is good at what he does.

I've seen him preach here from time to time.
He doesn't seem to take donations (hence, the lack of the Hagee-like Dominion domicile), but he is always quick with a smile. Some people who need a good saving will get quite a crazed stare from him.

Strange how he seems to know...

Lunch Report: Headlines at Gilberts...

My wife and I are big fans of Jay Leno's Headlines on Monday nights after his monologue. If you aren't familiar with it, he basically shows newspaper clippings or advertisements with misspelled words or inadvertent double-entendre's.

So today, my wife and her mom along with a freind went over to the Marbach and Loop 410 area to eat lunch at Gilbert's Authentic Mexican Food. My wife reports that the owner was very nice and the food was acceptable (She says, "2 Tasty Treats"), and they had an enjoyable time, but the highlight of the event was what she captured on her cell phone camera.
See if you can pick out the headlines: I don't mean to poke fun at the guy, in fact, even with the use of spell check, I get the occasional friendly e-mail telling me that I used the wrong use of a word (you know; they're, their , there), but I just found this to be a hoot. So if you find some Headline's around SA (or wherever you are at) send them to Jay or at least send them to me!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Vegan Dog Report: Panda and Celery...

Every once in a while, Pet Parents do some really humiliating things to their poor pet children.

Writing that actually made me cringe.

We don't consider ourselves "Pet Parents" and I find it ridiculous that people pack up Scruffy and take him with them shopping at PetSmart. Please people; leave Scruffy at home so he can chew on your furniture and soil your carpets like normal animals do.

But even if we are just normal dog owners, we still tend to do goofy things that no dog should have to endure.

For instance, there was the time my wife bought a little doggy sweater from a garage sale and she forced Panda to wear it. Just look at the sheer embarrassment on her face. Thankfully, she doesn't attend school, or all the other dogs would have hounded her relentlessly. Hounded, I say.

So I was quietly sitting in my office catching up on a few blogs when suddenly, my wife was calling my daughter,
long distance no less, so she could listen to the crunching sound that a little defenseless dog makes when you try to force her into being a vegan.

I must confess that celery does make a rather crunchy sound, especially when a little dog is going to town to consume any evidence that might take away from her credibility as a hunter of squirrels and cats.

*Attention PETA: No pets or parents were harmed in the making of this Blog entry.

River Walk Construction Report: Update...

This afternoon I had to run downtown San Antonio to fill out a travel voucher for my recent trip to Dayton. So, why not a few happy snaps of the River Walk progress.
This is one from the bridge at McCullough facing east. In previous posts, I have taken the picture from this side. But today, I decided to walk across the street...
And this is facing west toward downtown. You can actually see part of the sidewalk going in on the right side.I think we have a while to go before this part of the river will be ready for walking...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Arts & Crafts Report: The Military Wreath...

My wife had seen an advertisement from the USO and got the idea to convert a bunch of leftover ribbons and patches and stuff that I had tucked away in an old Ziplock bag into something festive for the holiday season. And why not do it close to Veterans Day?

So, if you have someone who has served who you would like to remember in a festive way, try this:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Strange in 78250: Yard Sale...

There is always something strange to do in 78250.

This weekend, some guy named Hugh is having a yard sale.

Hope to see you there!

(Just to be safe, come after 9 but before 12).


Thursday, October 18, 2007

GNW CIA Meeting Report: My Notes...

My wife and I made the short trip down the street to attend the meeting of the Great Northwest Community Improvement Association board of directors this evening. Herewith my notes for the portion of the meeting we stayed for. Frankly, while I know it is important, I don't have any interest in the bickering over the budget as long as the assessment doesn't go up; so we only stayed for the fun part - all the bickering about everything else.

I don't think it is said often enough and by enough residents, so let me say once again, to the members of the board of directors; thank you for your service to our community. Your volunteerism is appreciated, even if I don't always agree with the way you do things.

Following the standard opening, which by the way sounded great on the new sound system that is partially installed, several residents had signed up to speak.

Former Director Joe Martinez asked the board why meeting notes could not be assembled and e-mailed to the board of directors to allow them to be reviewed, thereby speeding up the adoption of minutes. As it turned out, according to Chair Lee Besing, this was in fact done. Mr Martinez also queried as to why security didn't maintain mileage logs on the security vehicles so it would show trends of whether or not the staff was consistently patrolling. As it turns out, Mr. Besing reported, they do check mileage and in fact a new security staff member was let go after only a few shifts when the mileage didn't reflect what was expected.

Moving on, a resident named Joy requested that the tennis courts be upgraded and repaired. I think her interest caught everybody off guard because just a few weeks (or maybe it has been months) ago some people questioned if anybody even uses the tennis courts. Director Guy Pucci asked the lady how often she used the court. She quickly responded that she doesn't use it as much since the court is in great disrepair, however, she would use it several times a week if it were in good shape. Mr. Besing opined that perhaps we could consider going from four courts down to two courts to save money but still make them available.

Another resident named Sandra agreed with Joy and expanded on her concern about the repair of the tennis courts. She said she used to always use the tennis courts but had not been able to in recent years due to the poor upkeep, bad lighting, and unusable backboard. Further, she pointed out that they never seemed to be swept and that trash was often overflowing in the cans.

Director Richard Garcia asked that any residents interested in tennis should please make their feelings known to the board, perhaps in the form of e-mails, letters to the board or even letters to the editor of Passages. Quite frankly, a few people out of the thousands that live in the GNW are not going to be able to sway the board into spending the close to $225K that one bidder suggested it would cost to put things into working order.

So, if you are a resident who wants to play tennis or you feel that the tennis courts add value to your home and the association, you really need to speak up. The GNW Homepage has links to the board of directors and to Passages. Let them know how you feel. And if you'd like to make your case for or against the expense to keep up the courts, tell me about it. I'd like to know your thoughts.

Following the residents comments, the meeting was called to order and a few items were added as new business.

Next, Mr. Chuck Christian representing a potential new business in the area came to provide an informative briefing on the plans to request rezoning of property near the Great Northwest. Near the open field at the intersection of Culebra and Village Park and beside what is a Daycare Center and a big cell tower (directly across the street from the Valero Corner Store). The property is currently zoned as C2 which means they can build retail stores there. What his client is asking is to zone the property as C2S which will allow the use for commercial soccer fields. The idea is to build a regulation sized soccer field and then a smaller kiddie sized soccer field, a retail store for soccer related products, and a concession stand. Mr Christian was not briefing the board to ask for permission, but as a way to proactively be a good neighbor.
Based upon the experience of our own GNW soccer fields and the parking situation every weekend, several directors and audience members questioned the plan for parking. The drawing showed about 30 parking spaces. That won't cut it for sure, but the good news is, the space would be yet another place to give kids and young adults a place to keep them occupied when they aren't tagging up the skate park. I wish the guy luck in his venture. If you have questions about the rezoning efforts, they will be approaching the zoning board on 6 November. If you would like to contact Mr. Christian e-mail me and I'll give you his number.

Next came the adopting of meeting minutes from past meetings. Director Sigrid Long (having received the minutes in advance via e-mail) found several problem areas that she requested to be corrected. During a flurry of comments and complaints amongst the directors and occasional rolled eyes and laughter in the audience of residents and staff, I overheard a discussion about signs being posted in the GNW facilities that indicated no use of foul language was permitted. I didn't fully understand what was being said, but what I gathered was that the board had adopted a plan to post signage reminding residents that on GNW grounds, that no cussing was allowed. WTF?

I guess. But I highly suspect that the people who would take their kids to a soccer game or swimming, then cuss it up, are not very likely to adhere to a few signs. Just a guess.

Rec Director Stephanie gave some updates on pool costs, the positive outcome of the masquerade party and reminded folks of the pending Halloween Party. They do need some volunteers if you'd like to help out.

Director Long announced that former Board Chair Kathy Callahan has agreed to coordinate the GNW Scholarship Committee. Kudos to her.

Vice Chair Janet Doherty had a concern that the GNW Garden Club was turned away from using the office Xerox machine. It turns out it was simply a misunderstanding regarding codes and such, and with only minor infighting amongst the board, it was moved and approved that the garden club could make copies.

I'm very pleased to report that the meeting was well attended (compared to times my wife and I were the only two residents in the audience). It is good fun and I encourage everyone to get out and meet the neighbors. We seem to meet new people every time we attend and it is not only nice to get to know others, but it is nice to learn how fellow residents perceive the actions of the board etc etc.

But, as I said earlier, I just don't have the stomach for the budget process, so my wife and I left at the break.

If you attended the meeting and I got anything incorrect, please leave a comment and set me straight. Likewise, if you stayed for the budget discussions and want to fill us in on it, please either e-mail me or use the little comment button below.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Trip Report: Dayton to Chicago to SA - Almost...

I have a long history of insomnia and this is compounded when I travel. Late is never an option, so like a lot of people, I tend to wake up every twenty minutes looking at the clock to make sure I haven't overslept. Not likely.

This morning was no different so by 3:30am, I was flipping through channels on the TV in my room trying to find something besides an infomercial. By 4am, I was up, checking e-mail and it occurred to me to use Google Maps to locate a place near the Dayton Airport to put gas in the rental car and grab a bite to eat. Turns out that Dayton has the Waffle House, so by 6:15am or so, I was on my way.

If you aren't familiar with the chain, they are a staple of the south (and apparently the north, too). A 24 hour place to grab breakfast or a steak. Maybe not as classy as your Denny's or IHOP, but certainly a lot better service.
I opted to sit at the counter and order two eggs over-easy, some grits and an order of bacon. My breakfast normally consists of fruit and yogurt, so this was definitely a splurge.
I love me some grits and these were nice and sticky with just a dollop of butter added for good measure. Some people throw in cheese and such, but I didn't want to push the cholesterol envelope.The two ladies working had quite an operation going. One lady was running the grill while the waitress bounced from customer to customer, filling coffee cups and taking orders. In some places, the waitress takes the order and either the ticket is passed to the cook or it goes into some sort of computer so the cook can see what to cook next. Not these ladies. The waitress seemed to be calling out partial orders so as to keep the timing of the food worked to have everything finish at once. As she was calling out the egg order for one customer, she was calling out my bacon order. That sounds easy enough, but then she started going into serious Waffle House lingo, and the lady doing the cooking never even as much as looked up or nodded. She simply took in the various menu items coming her way and threw down the food on to the grill as it was called out. The surprising thing was, the food all seemed to end up on the correct plates.

The Waffle House contained a variety of characters, all of them addressed as Honey, Sweety, or Sugar. Most of them seemed to be regulars, although I guess since I was also referred to as "Sweety" and "Honey", they may have been in for their first time as well.

I love a place quick on the coffee refill and tipped accordingly. As I finished up, the waitress asked me if I'd like to take a cup of coffee to go and I did. No charge.

So, I went across the street to fill up the rental car, and even though it was still dark, it occurred to me that the fog on the road was really thick. There was some road construction so I had to take a really round-about detour in order to get back on to I-70 West. The detour took me way off through some sort of industrial area and the further I went the worse the fog got. Accordingly, the folks on the radio were reporting school delays of two hours and more.

Suddenly, my idea of not trying to go back to sleep wasn't seeming to be such a great idea. I was already at least an hour and a half early for my flight (Dayton is a really small airport - you can get your luggage checked and be at the gate in 5 to ten minutes), and no doubt, the flight departure would be delayed.
Sure enough, my 9am departure for Chicago was going to be closer to 10am.
While I was waiting in the airport, I found a seat near a power outlet; for those of you who have a laptop with a crappy battery, you can appreciate such a find. Several seats away from me, an older lady was seated reading a book when all of a sudden, the relatively quiet airport, only occasionally interrupted with TSA announcements, was disrupted by a man with one of those Bluetooth style phones. For some reason, you have to yell into the air in order for the Bluetooth device to pick up what you are saying - or at least that seemed to be this guy's situation.

I have no issue with people having private conversations in public, as long as I'm not involved or they aren't interrupting a movie or something. I am also not so easily offended that the occasional slip of a profanity for emphasis in a conversation will cause me to blush. But this guy was suddenly ridiculous.

He seemed pretty upset that someone was trying to screw him and his company over, and he was more than F'ing mad about it. Enough F'ing mad that he was screaming into the air for everyone in Dayton to hear. I looked up to assure myself that there wasn't another person near him that he could be yelling at, but sure enough, it was just him and that Bluetooth device. What an ass. He was oblivious to the fact that everyone in the terminal had turned to watch him walk circles into the carpeted floor as his arms and hands flailed about his body.
When the older lady put up her book and walked away from the area, I felt almost tempted to get up and ask the guy to chill out, but I opted not to. Instead, I had visions of the older lady flipping the guy off. When the guy abruptly ended his call, and saw several people looking at him, I think he got the point and slunk away to the men's room.

Well, apparently not. By the time the flight was ready to depart Dayton, Mr. Potty Mouth had already launched into a new tirade via his cellular phone and Bluetooth device. Of course, he left his luggage and laptop in the care of some disinterested guy sitting near him so he could move about, all the better to rant and gesticulate wildly. Some people must gesticulate wildly as they talk, simply because Gesticulate is such a funny word.

It was obvious by the time the aircraft doors closed (and thusly, Mr. I'm a Big Ass With a Tiny Phone had to end his call) that I would miss my connecting flight to San Antonio. I knew this because my flight in Chicago was departing as we were still learning about the safety features of of our regional jet.
Once in Chicago, I got my flight changed, called my wife and then called work. Then I decided to walk around the terminal I was in to figure how best to kill a three and a half hour delay. ((Oh, in case you were wondering, in the picture above, the man in the bottom right was not in fact urinating)). I did walk around looking for a a wall outlet that I might use for my laptop. The one I did find seemed to be perfect; located in an empty row of seats and waiting just for me. Unfortunately, there was no power to it. When I put my laptop back into the bag, I noticed at least three other computer users giving me the Ha Ha look as they had no doubt tried the plug themselves, or were smart enough to own a battery for they're laptops that worked for more than ten minutes at a shot. Bastards.
As I continued walking about the terminal, I noticed that Chicago was pretty darn smart. They actually have some specific seating areas with individual outlets for people to plug in laptops, cell phones, PDAs and such. Of course they were mostly occupied.Next up, what I do best of course, eat. By now my breakfast was just a memory and I found a Chili's Too in the terminal. Chili's Too is like a regular Chili's, but with lots of small tables to accommodate people traveling alone or with one other person. In other words, they can pack a lot of customers in there without having huge tables holding only a single person.

Smartly, they don't put electrical outlets in the booths, or someone like me would spend the next three hours there asking for occasional refills of Iced Tea.
Instead, I was forced to bust out paper and pen to Blog the old fashioned way, but with much worse penmanship.
I had my standard Chili's fare of a house salad with Ranch and a bowl of chili. When a man sat down at the table adjacent to mine, he asked how the chili was and I told him "consistent". That's the good thing about Chili's. If you like it, then for the most part, wherever you happen to be, you'll be happy with it.I finished in Chili's and made my way back to a row of the seats with power. Kudos to Chicago O'Hare. This really should be the standard. I did notice this little kiosk that had a series of cell phone power cords hanging out of it.

Basically, you find the cord that fits your phone, swipe your credit card and pay about $6.00 a minute to charge your phone. Hmm, at some point, I'm looking for a pay phone if it comes to that.

But luckily, they gave up the laptop power for free and I appreciate it. Oh, and Internet for a small fee, hence my ability to Blog from Chicago about my flight home, before I even get there.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Trip Report: Dayton...

I had to make a short run up to Dayton but should be in place ready for note taking duties at the GNWCIA meeting Thursday evening. I hope to see you there!
This is what it looks like high above the US. It could be over Texas or Ohio or anywhere in between to be honest, I wasn't really paying attention when I took the picture.But for those of you with no idea what Ohio looks like from the air, this is it. Lots of farmland, and really, lots of beautiful homes and farms.
I lived in Dayton when I was a kid - 4th through 6th grade. So, I took a drive through the old neighborhood I lived in called Page Manor. All of the homes were leveled years ago, and now, it has been rebuilt with new base housing. In fact, this picture (above) is a side view of where I used to live. What is now clearly the backyard of several homes was actually the front yard of our home.
And this is the school I attended, Page Manor Elementary. Now, it seems to be some sort of community center. But it does look as though it has been renovated since 1975!
When I was a kid, my parents would take us to the Wright Brother's Memorial. Yes, first flight may have been at Kittyhawk, but Dayton is where the Wright Brothers made bikes and built planes.In the winter, we would sled down this hill when it snowed. It seemed a lot steeper at the time.
I'm staying at a place called Hope Hotel. It is named to honor Bob Hope for all of his service to the USO.I had dinner in Paky's Sports Bar. Paky was the name Bob Hope used as a boxing name. Yes, he actually boxed!

I saw some old retired guys visiting Dayton to see the Air Force Museum. One of the men was having some onion rings that looked really, really good.
So I got an order and some chicken wings that were on special. But, little did I know, they had shared the rings between three of them.
Holy Crap! There were enough onion rings for a group. And the wings were, well, a little tough, and the honey was pooling! I couldn't finish half of it all, but I'd have taken the onion rings in my luggage if I thought they would make it. They get the full Tasty Treat score, but I'll skip the wings next time.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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