Dave

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Strange in WHMC Report: What the Hell?

I had a routine appointment at the hospital today and came upon this little gem parked in front of me. Look, if you ask my wife, she'll tell you that my office is a pig sty, so I have no room to call anyone out on their lack of tidiness. But c'mon people!This car has all the signs of a serious pack rat. I fully expected to smell dead bodies hidden in the trunk, what with it loaded down with some enormous weight, but with the wind, I couldn't sniff out any crime worth reporting.This person obviously drives alone - no possible place for a passenger to call shotgun...And there surely won't be any shenanigans taking place in the back seat of this car either!

Strange...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

GNWatch Report: My Notes - Great Turnout!

I'll be honest with you - I didn't even take notes so this may be a bit sketchy. Several of my neighbors joined my wife and I along with Block Captains, concerned residents, board directors and folks from other neighborhood associations to listen to a great presentation from the City of San Antonio Parks Police Department.Several people told me they had head counts of 40 or more people not including the assembled police and representative from District 6.
Kudos to Chief Steven Baum and his officers for answering the tough questions from several irate residents who are simply fed up with the ongoing taggers in our area. He didn't have any miracle answers but he gave us what we needed; the truth. The truth is, he has one officer (for our area) that patrols a huge area that includes OP Schnabel and Friedrick Wilderness Parks. When they catch the little taggers (and they do catch them), the court system is not set up to hang the taggers or their parents. I know it is a tough pill to swallow, but if I understand it correctly, we will not be blindfolding taggers and executing them with a cigarette in their mouth and a bullet to their head, as much as many residents would like.So, what can we do? First, we have to take ownership of this problem. I need every resident of San Antonio to purchase a disposable camera and keep it in your car. Put down your cell phone and start watching for taggers. As Chief Baum said, "These taggers are not Houdini". The tagging is taking place, often in broad daylight but we simply aren't tuned into our surroundings as we drive down the street talking on the phone, listening to talk radio and trying to remember if we were on our way to the HEB or to the liquor store!We have to focus on our surroundings, and if we see some little bastard tagging, take pictures and call the police. 207-SAPD is the non-emergency number. Get a description of the kid, the location you are at and call them.But you know all that. We had some great questions and comments and complaints from the crowd. Unfortunately, many of them in my opinion were based on the frustration of the situation. Ask the questions you want - that is why we are all there, but it doesn't help to complain to the police about the lack of action in the courts, right? I talked to Chief Baum and he told me that he gets the frustration and often, he is happy to simply provide a forum to let people vent.So now what? I was happy to see that Mr. Sean Fitzgibbons from District 6 Council member Delicia Herrera made it to the meeting to listen to our concerns and answer questions. I think it would be an awesome idea to call or send e-mail to Ms. Herrera's office and let her know of the appreciation, and of our continued concerns. Squeaky wheel and oil theory.

I'll send some more notes and comments to the Block Captains and the people at the meeting who left me their e-mail addresses but the bottom line is - we had a pretty good meeting to get people thinking about the problem. Now, let's see if we can parlay the excitement into some action.

Wanna learn more about the A-Team? E-mail me. Wanna join the watch? E-mail me!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Reminder: GNWatch Meeting 27 Feb 08

If you get bored and got nothing to do tomorrow evening, Wednesday the 27th of February, why don't you take a little jaunt down to the Lodge of the Great Northwest at 8809 Timberwilde in The Five Oh, and join us at 7:30PM to hear Chief Steven Baum and a few of his folks from the San Antonio Park Police. They'll be telling us what they know about Oscar Perez Memorial Park and the happenings in the world of vandalism and tagging, and what they are doing to address the problem.

I have invited our city council member, Delicia Herrera, but have not heard from her or her staff; but hold out hope that she might send a representative to listen in on the meeting.

If none of that interests you but you need some cookies and coffee, come on down!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jackpot!

My wife and I have made a few trips to Las Vegas, not because we are gamblers of any aptitude, but because it is a fun place to go. It has been several years since our last visit and each time I hear stories of people wanting to legalize gambling in Texas, I'm all for it. Again, I say that as a non-gambler.

I do believe it is worth the dollar you could spend once or twice a week to have the momentary fantasy of playing the state Lotto and actually winning a Bazillillon dollars, but I only believe that is true if you can restrain yourself from fantasizing your paycheck away. And that is the primary reason people seem opposed to allowing gambling here.

I just think it is somewhat awkward that the people who decide whether or not we can increase our tourist trade by opening casinos, are the same people who have depended on the state lottery to subsidize schools so they can spend your tax dollars on other pork projects. But I digress...

I say we are not gamblers but we are not opposed to designated a small amount of disposable income to simply throw it into the wind on the very unlikely chance that we could win something bright and shiny, like a quarter or a watch.
So my wife is always going to this little convenience store that is also a Post Office to mail packages to our daughter, and we found this little machine that really was fun. If you think of a slot machine in that, if you put in a quarter (or an electronic bet) you get a play and when the mechanical thing is done, you either win something or lose. In our case, you lose. This little machine lets you throw in your money, but here you can see first hand how you are going to lose your money. There are two shelves that move back and forth. You toss your quarter into the slot and as it lands on the first moving shelf, it takes up space which in turn, moves the existing quarters. If one or more quarters on the first shelf are pushed onto the second shelf, the same thing happens; more room is needed and when a quarter or a prize on the second shelf falls, it goes into a little chute, and you win it!

Yes, I know; you are not ever going to win as much money as you put into it. But the same is true about the state lottery. I know this to be true. But I'm cool with that.

Tree Trimming Report: Timber(Your Street Here)...

People in The Five-Oh will get it. You see, all the streets in my neighborhood start with Timber. So, the play on cutting trees and Timber, but I have used it to also, coincidently to make a play on the street names? Never mind.

What with my failing knees and increasing girth, my wife agreed that it would be in our best interests if I did not shimmy up the trees in our yard and attempt to balance myself while manning a chainsaw.
But, we needed a good trimming and a friend recommended Manuel and the folks over at River City Tree Services to come and hook us up. My front yard was looking pretty shaggy so I was expecting to pay an arm and a leg or two, but we got a great price and were happy with the solid work.These guys got up and cleaned out all the moss balls and shooters from our many scrub oaks. Can you imagine me screwing around up in these trees? Maybe when I was 12.At lunch, they busted out a picnic, then got right back on the job. You gotta appreciate a crew that won't go out and get liquored up then climb your trees and cut all the wrong branches!When it was all said and done, my wife and I and the neighbors agreed, it was a much needed and well done job. You can call Manuel at 725-1116, but hurry; my neighbors are all lined up to get their tress done next.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

River Walk Construction Update: Actual Walk...

Since my wife and I were downtown for the Houston Street Market & Fair on Saturday, I took a drive by the River Walk area under construction near my office.These pictures are taken from the bridge on McCullough near St Mary's. It has been several weeks since my last update, and wow - things are happening.We have actual sidewalk visible. I can actually imagine happy tourists and drunk Alamo Bowl fans stumbling along this very space. I can't wait!

Garcia Park: A Little Church...

We were on our way downtown and it just so happened that our path took us off the highway and onto N. Laredo and Salado streets where there is a little publicized park called Garcia Park. My wife asked me to pull in so we could take a few pictures of the historic church that sits on this property. Her great-grandmother used to take the ol' horse and buggy to say a prayer or two at this little chapel, back in the day.

I can't imagine how many times I have driven right by here and not even noticed the place. My wife claims that recently, some guy crashed his car into the back of the church, but I hadn't read about it on Strange in SA, so I can't confirm it.Anyway, the place is very small, a single room church with enough pews to get in, say a prayer, light a candle, and get out. Be quick.The chapel is quite nice looking inside the small sanctuary, but I had to stay outside while my wife braved the furnace inside long enough to say a prayer. I suppose only old people visit, because with the heater on, it had to be 85 degrees in the small room.This little church is recorded in the national registry. Here is your proof.Outside, the church/park caretaker was busily dealing with wild animals.

Lunch Report: Schilo's...

Bust out the Tasty Treats; I finally made it downtown to eat at Schilo's Delicatessen on Commerce Street.

If you have read this blog for the occasional reviews of places my wife and I eat, you know that I have a thing for a good Reuben Sandwich. I can't even explain why I like Reuben's, since I don't think I had one before the age of forty, but since the first one while on a trip to DC, I can't seem to stop wanting to find, the best one.

Schilo's has been in San Antonio since the early 1900's, and continues to be a favorite amongst people who recommend a place for lunch downtown.

Since we were attending the Houston Street Market & Fair anyway, we thought we would skip the funnel cakes and Margaritas and instead enjoy some sandwiches and root beer.
I love the interior of the place. I could see this being a good place to film a scene in a movie. We chose to sit in a booth, but the tables were easily movable so you could accommodate a couple or a family.I ordered up a root beer and I have to tell you, it was awesome. I don't really go for sodas, usually opting for an unsweetened iced tea, but I had heard that the root beer at Schilo's is a definite must. It was great. Don't drink it too fast though, only one refill comes with a purchase.

Naturally, I ordered the Reuben and opted to try the hot potato salad. Not hot as in spicy, but hot as in they serve it to you hot.
I was so eager to eat the Reuben, but I took my time and ate the potato salad so I would not try the sandwich in a state of hunger. I had never experienced it this way. It was very good, but I'm gonna try the cold tater salad on the next visit. My Reuben was simply awesome. They do not skimp on size; it was a full meal for sure. The sandwich came cut in halves, and having tempered my appetite with the hot potato salad, I was ready to taste the Reuben in a way that a sophisticated wine connoisseur might inspect a solid bottle of T-Bird 2007. I simply inhaled the first half of the Reuben and quite nearly lost consciousness.

Having regained my composure, I proceeded to slowly and methodically enjoy every bite of the second half, occasionally stopping to sip from the root beer mug before me.
Meanwhile, my wife had ordered up the Club sandwich, and as much as I was enjoying my sandwich, she was equally pleased with hers. The Club has some sort of thick bacon on it that really gave it a great taste. Yes, I ate some of her sandwich too. I don't know if they use Hellman's or some special home made mayo, but it was creamy and tasty.The service was top notch. Our order was in and out and considering the place was pretty full, we expected a long wait. We didn't partake in any of the dessert, but imagine one of the pies in the deli case covered with ice cream! Good food, good atmosphere. Eeee-yum from my wife, and an easy Tasty Treat from me. What should we try next time? Tell me about it.

Trip Report: Houston Street Market & Fair...

I had heard about this little event that takes place once a month in San Antonio called the Houston Street Market & Fair, and thought my wife and I ought to take a little investigative trip downtown to see what all the hullabaloo was about. We went, had a grand old time, and I present to you the pictures we took.This event takes place the last Saturday of every month along a portion of Houston Street and extends to in front of the Alamo. Think of it as a place for the city and the the county to set up informative booths for the purpose of educating citizens, then, combine that with performers doing things like singing or doing some reenacting of old times, and then add in a mix of vendor booths so you can purchase stuff, or pretend that this is a mini-Fiesta, and get a few beers or Margaritas to chase down some funnel cakes and flautas, and you've got yourself the Houston Street Market & Fair.The price was right - free. We paid $7.00 for parking on the next street over, and walked around, enjoyed the sights, took pictures and such, then (what else would you expect) went to eat.Oh, and were you aware that the COSA now has an official mascot for Code Compliance? I had no idea until I met up with, The Enforcer. I suddenly had the urge to mow my yard and get the truck on blocks off the front of our lawn after seeing this spirited fella.

Here is an interesting tidbit. Have you ever heard that expression about "Getting hit by a bus"? You know, people tell you to plan for your family or train co-workers to do your job because you never know, you could step off a curb and get hit by a bus. Then what?
So my wife pointed out this little seal placed in concrete above a sewer drain on Commerce Street. She tells me I ought to take a picture of it. I have to tell you that when I am downtown looking for things to look at, I am often just in my own little world. So, I stepped off the curb into the street, pointed the camera at this little disk and took the picture, then stepped back up unto the sidewalk. As I looked up to continue walking, this huge tour bus was maybe three feet away from me and the driver gave me the official look of, "You sir, are a complete and utter dumbass, and they have a saying for people like you and it involves getting hit by a bus."

Those were his exact words, (had he said them), given to me with his grumpy bus driver look. Do you suppose he sees this type of thing often? My question is, why didn't he blast me with the horn so I could have had a heart attack and fallen beneath his tires? Who knows?

Oh, the seal was some sort of warning not to pour oil down the drain. Geeze, I hope we didn't spend a lot of money on that. A person could get killed.
Okay, I'm sure you have either been to the Alamo or at least seen it via Pee Wee's Big Adventure. The basement is a must see. What you not have seen was a bunch of actors recreating life around the Alamo back during the times that it was getting famous.Sure enough, as part of the HSM&F, they had a bunch of period actors living it up amongst the tourists and locals. Good stuff. Feeling somewhat cheated, what with me having a special moment with "The Enforcer", my wife took a moment to pose with some of San Antonio's finest. I like to see a large police presence downtown. They do a good job during Fiesta, so handling the small and well behaved crowd here was not even worthy of a good tasering. Good times, either way.

Did you get a chance to do anything fun this weekend? Tell me about it, or leave a comment.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Grill Report: Fried Fish...

My wife had some fish and shrimp ready for me to cook up tonight, so I used my grill outside. I'm not sure I have ever even used the little side burner before.I threw on a pan of oil, used my special breading device I purchased for a few bucks out at the Bass Pro Shop the one time we went there, and it was on!Meanwhile, as the fish got cooked, I tossed a few specially marinated skewers of shrimp onto the grill.Good eats all around. If I find any leftovers in the morning, I'll whip up some grits and have at it. As my dad would say, Lawzy!

About Your Host

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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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