Dave

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Fangled Devices: We Have the CrackBerry...

It isn't that we are complete morons or that we have never seen any sort of special technological innovations beyond the electronic drip coffee maker or the dishwasher with special Sani-Rinse feature; we stay up on these types of things and in fact...
We have the latest in special gadgets for the TV, like this convenient multi-device remote control.

But yesterday when we walked out of the Verizon Store with new BlackBerry Storm II's, both my wife and I felt less like brain surgeons and more like idiots.
I for one would like to point out that it was me who figured out to turn my wife's BlackBerry back on when she some how inadvertently turned it off. Of course, it was her who showed me how to actually answer the phone when it rang.

It isn't that everything is so complicated and tricky, the real truth is, I have a hard enough time typing on a regular keyboard. Now, they want me to compress it all down to a tiny little screen where, let's be honest, the single press of a finger covers at least three different possible letters.

And the worst part was, there was a feature somehow turned on that made the BlackBerry predict what it thought I was trying to type with my fat fingers. It refused, REFUSED to let me spell the last name of a person on my contact list. The person's last name starts with the letters KO. BlackBerry would prefer that the last name start with LI. Thankfully, my friends at the Internet helped me fix that little Predict function.

I see people casually picking up their BlackBerrys and other PDAs and they are able to calmly and casually pick up the phone, click a few buttons and then simply set the phone down and resume a conversation without missing a beat. I envy those people. My wife was literally on the phone getting step-by-step instructions from my son on how to download WeatherBug. Can you imagine us trying to text and drive? I just don't see it happening.

I want to be like the person who is able to pick up the phone, record video of a fat, awkwardly dressed middle-aged man at Wal Mart, and upload it to YouTube, and pick up a dozen eggs without the slightest effort. At least I suspect that is what people are doing each time I go into Wal Mart and the camera phones start popping up.

Who knows, in no time I'll be making blog entries from the BlackBerry. You'll be able to see pictures of greasy hamburgers and fried catfish nuggets even before they have been tossed down my gullet! It's 2010 my friends, and we have arrived!

I Love Technology!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Strange in Church: Is That a Nipple?

My wife shrieked in horror urgently summoning me to the living room where the 65 inch Mitsubishi was frozen in perfect High Definition on a large hairy teat. I immediately felt her pain.
Where the heck is Janet Jackson when KENS-5 decides to do a story on nekkid people at a Church?
It wasn't just any church, but the church located at the White Tails Nudist Resort in Virginia. Oh, and the Pastor of the church, he'll make you pray - for blindness! Seriously; is that a third nipple?
I know, it is all natural and really, I'm no prude. If people enjoy running nude amongst friends, who the heck am I to look down on a good time. My wife has a friend whose husband actually practices "naturism" at home. Needless to say, we have never popped in unexpectedly. But as long as you are discreet, why the big fuss? Eyes forward, that's what I say.
Of course, it must be sweeps week, or KENS-5 wouldn't have shown this little (ha ha ha) clip (hee hee hee) where you could actually see bouncing balls. Oh and the volley ball too. My wife had to rewind 8 times "just to be sure" she saw what she saw. Strange.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Random Photo Report: Twenty Dollar Dare...

It has been quite a while since I did a Random Photo Report and since I just don't have time for a real post, I thought I'd at least give you something to look at for a minute.

I have an ongoing project of scanning in the hard copy photographs that fill boxes of photo albums throughout the house. As I was going through yet another shoebox full of pictures taken over the years, tossed in no particular order, I stumbled upon a picture of my daughter, Roxanne winning $20 for climbing a tree in her First Holy Communion dress.
Hey, for $20, I'd put on a dress and climb a tree too. It just wouldn't be as pretty.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lunch Report: Maggiano's Little Italy...

I didn't really like Olive Garden all that much anyway. And since taking my wife to Maggiano's at The Rim last week, she has reported that she won't settle for Olive Garden for her Italian food needs.
We went in around 1:30 missing the major lunch rush and got a seat immediately which was a good start. If you haven't heard from others already, plan on spending a fair amount of time dining; these folks aren't in a rush to feed you and get you out of the place. And I mean that in a positive way. I am the type of person who wants to eat, get the bill, pay and get out, but the slower pace of things actually made for an enjoyable lunch where I wasn't ready to pass out from exhaustion the minute I finished eating. Perhaps the Europeans could teach us a thing or two.
Inside, Maggiano's is very nice. This is a chain restaurant but not in a shabby sort of way. It all looked very elegant and my wife fully expected to see Tony Soprano dining with one of his goomars, had the show not ended. It seems to me like a place you would want to get a little dressed up for, but certainly jeans and t-shirts were the norm for lunch the day we went.
Our waiter brought us some bread which was wonderful and gave us a while to consider the menu while he found us some iced tea. Kudos for keeping my glass filled every time it got to about the half-way mark. I like that in a waiter.
We can't pass up Calamari whenever we go to an Italian place, so we ordered up an appetizer to kick things off. I enjoyed the breading and really enjoyed the dipping sauce. I've had better Calamari, but this was fine. I just wish they offered a smaller portion. If I could get a plate about a third the size of that, it would be great for two people wanting just a little taste. Of course, not wanting to be wasteful, we ate all of it.
We got side salads and made the mistake of asking for Ranch dressing. Okay, that was sort of embarrassing. The waiter looked at us like we were bumpkins. Instead we had some sort of sweet honey Italian dressing that was just wonderful. In fairness, my wife was not as pleased with her salad because she felt like some of her lettuce was throw-away cuts. It all looked good to me. Had we been in a more private booth, I might have picked up my bowl and licked it clean. It was just that good.
I'm sure there are dozens of other dishes that we should have tried, but both of us immediately zeroed in on the lasagna, and we were glad we did. The sauce was simply out of this world good. It was actually sweeter than any sauce I have had and the waiter told us that they do add sugar. The portion was huge and in fact, given the amount of Calamari, bread and salad we consumed, it was no doubt we would be boxing up at least half the lasagna. Loaded with cheese, sausage, meat - all things I love, it was really wonderful, but the sauce made it that much better.
There was no way to even consider dessert, but then the waiter told us about the little sample sizes. We tried the cheese cake and some sort of apple crisp. Both were great.

Several neighbors and friends had told us about what a great place Maggiano's is and we concur completely. As we dined, we watched a group at a nearby table participating in the family style dinner. The gist of it is, you select a few items from each part of the menu - two appetizers, two salads, two entrees, two desserts, and then they bring you enough of it for everybody at the table. But you really need a minimum of four people to take advantage of it. Anyway, each time they would bring out the next course, for the folks we were spying on, we would lick our lips and stare at the food. We must have looked like regular stalkers.
The place is not inexpensive, but for a special occasion or just because you need to get some good Italian food, it is very much worth it. And again, don't be in a hurry. It isn't bad service when they are purposely pacing your meal. You'll enjoy the time and you'll agree that Maggiano's is a Tasty Treat.

Nothing Says Love Like...

On the day my wife and I took a drive out to Bigfoot (read about it here) we came home via Highway 16 through the town of Poteet. Just as we were getting into South San Antonio, we came upon bumper to bumper traffic in both directions, all leading to the Highway 16 Flea Mart.
Ah, yes. A romantic Valentine's Day outing. Nothing says love like a crowded Flea Market and sporting one's Sunday best.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Way We Were...

This is an awesome video put together by our HOA back in 1993. It was originally given to local Realtors so they could show potential home buyers.

Locals may recognize the voice on the video as Bob Salter, former KENS-5 and KSAT-12 anchor. I was told by a former board member familiar with the video that Mr. Salter used to land his airplane on a dirt runway nearby. I assume he has moved out of the hood, now that we don't have a private airstrip!

Anyway, for locals, this may be a nice nostalgic look at the recent past. For folks visiting from other parts, there is some interesting, though dated information about our city.




Hope you enjoy!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Trip Report: Bigfoot, TX...

My wife will no doubt brag to the ladies at work about how her loving husband took her for a romantic drive to Bigfoot, Texas on Sunday. Nothing says romance like a drive down the road to look at a town named after a guy with enormous extremities. I understand there is a town called Beer Belly, not too far from these parts, though we've not found a romantic holiday fitting for such a drive.

At any rate, we were actually on our way to HEB Plus from a visit to my mother-in-law's house when at the last moment, I turned toward Atascosa on Loop 1604 instead of toward Potranco.
Several small towns and several seriously scary back roads later, I recalled the fact that I had heard of, but had never been to a small spot on the map called Bigfoot. Amazingly, the British lady on Garmin knew exactly how to get there.
I've mentioned this before, but if you ever want to get really out in the middle of nowhere, it is only about a twenty minute drive from anywhere in San Antonio. You can drive for miles and see nothing but cows and the occasional passing truck with a driver offering a friendly wave, hand never leaving the top of his steering wheel. Even when the land appears dry and brown, there is something beautiful about looking out over the pastures and seeing a whole lot of nothing. If they could just get rid of all the snakes, scorpions, bugs, varmints, and mosquitoes; we'd move tomorrow.

I had this idea that Bigfoot Wallace was a character in the movie Lonesome Dove or perhaps one of the prequels or sequels, but I couldn't seem to find a quick reference to him via a cursory review of my Google.

What we do know is that William Alexander Anderson Wallace had some big-ass feet. And he told some tall tales.
The town itself is very small. There is a huge tree which splits the main road entering and thankfully, they have barrels protecting it from late night drivers. It has to be enormously dark out there once the sun goes down. Luckily, there is a fire department in case someone hits the tree.
Need to send a postcard? They have a post office. Seriously, I'm thinking of starting a blog called Bigfoot 78005. Okay, maybe not.
There is a small museum which is open the second Saturday of each month. I think I'd like to go back and just see what they might offer inside. Perhaps some old shoes.

Unfortunately, there was not a restaurant within the city limits so I don't have much more to report. Good drive; Ya ought to check it out sometime.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine Breakfast in 78250...

I thought it would be quite romantic to hit Jim's or Tink-a-Taco for a Valentine's Day breakfast but my wife wanted to avoid the crowds of so many lovebirds who probably had the same idea.
Proof that we actually do eat at home from time to time. Yes, those are heart shaped pancakes, and of course, those eggs and bacon strips are as heart-healthy as you will find. At least it wasn't all dipped in chocolate.

Enjoy your Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Report

Saturday we made our annual trip to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo to walk the grounds and shop the various booths set-up for the event. Of course, since we do this every year, I'm certain I have written about it before, so I'll just share a few items that stood out this time around and suggest you hit the Flickr Page for more pictures if you can't make it out to the rodeo yourself.
One of the highlights for us is going through the various lines to collect free samples. Really, this is like going to the HEB Plus, but doing it outside! And of course, the lines are a little longer.
These days professional rodeo riders actually wear helmets for safety and now, the sample tables have all lawyered-up and place warning signs on even the most obvious of samples. Seriously, how did our forefathers make it from the East Coast to California without all the warning labels?
As you walk around the grounds, you will see it packed wall to wall with people of all sizes, shapes and manner of dress, though mostly people are dressed with a ranch and cowboy theme. Of course, there was this one guy...
Oh, and this lady was just coming from a meeting of the local PETA group.
My wife alerted me to this horrific sight. Turns out Sponge Bob Square Crack is in training to be a plumber.
And when you really have an appetite for food... there are plenty of exciting food options. Fried Ice Cream, Chicken Fried Bacon? Yum!
But since Valentines Day is tomorrow, we stuck with something a little more traditional for the day; chocolate dipped strawberries.

Have you been able to get to the rodeo with all the crappy weather this week? We'd love to know if you saw anything worth sharing with the group. Use the comments button below and do tell!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dinner Report: The TRH Valentines Deal...

I got home from work this afternoon and my wife was ready for some steak. When I suggested we go to Ruby Tuesday, Cheddar's or Longhorn, she just gave me a look. You know she is a huge fan of the Texas Roadhouse, and I certainly don't mind their catfish, ribs and baked potatoes. So, we called ahead and made it there before any real traffic developed.

I'll skip all the rehash of the standard TRH fare since I've told you about the place and why we like it a few times before. But this weekend, they are running some sort of Valentines Special where you get an appetizer and two entrees for $29.95 or something like that.

We plan to hit the rodeo this weekend and I think it is safe to say we will not need to get the customary blossomed onion. You really can only take so much, and mark this day on your calendar: I think I am seriously done with the whole deep fried onion presented as a blossom. I'm gonna stick with onion rings, onion petals, and grilled onions. But the blossom just doesn't do it for me any more.
For my entree, I went with the ribs I was craving, and it happened to also come with a hunk of chicken slathered in barbecue sauce. Whatever. I love chicken but I learned a long time ago, TRH is not the best place to get it. The ribs are good though. I'm not on a diet or anything, but I ate the ribs, a few bites of the awesome house salad, and the aforementioned onion, and the rest went right into the Styrofoam box.
My wife went double on her normal steak. She usually goes for the 6 oz Sirloin but the entree tonight featured the 12 oz Fort Worth Ribeye. Our waitress 'Roni (she is only two syllables away) and I convinced her to try it medium instead of medium-well. As of tonight, I think we have another convert willing to eat steak the way it should be; not burnt to an unsatisfying crisp. It was seriously good. And of course I had some.






As we were winding down waiting for "two syllables" to make her way to our table with the check, we took a breather to watch some entertainment we had never seen before. It wasn't anyones birthday, they just decided to get a bunch of waitresses and start dancing to Travis Tritt. I guess.
When the waitress finally arrived with the check, I only looked at the total so I could figure a tip and just handed her my card. But then it donned on me that if dinner was $29.95, add in a few bucks for our drinks and some tax, how did it get to be $45.00 before the tip?

We asked a passing waitress to clarify the $29 special and before I could even think twice, a manager was over at the table making everything right. And I love that about TRH. We always have good food (don't order the chicken), and by far, more often than not we have outstanding service (okay, tonight wasn't that great), and we just feel comfortable with the place.

Tomorrow: Rodeo. My wife needs new boots and we need a new closet to store all the new boots she keeps buying.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Catching Up With February: Notes....

This has been a whirl-wind first few weeks of February and my lack of posts to the ol’ blog is just one of the byproducts of being busy with “other stuff”. My wife can testify that I have also missed quite a bit of our standard TV and movie watching as our DVR is beginning to groan under the pressure of shows in the queue.

Of course there is always time for LOST! All things must stop so we can follow the final season. If you aren’t a fan, you simply must go to NetFlix or Blockbuster or one of those places and get it from the very beginning. ‘Nuff said.

Did I mention before that we have been watching that show on ABC called Modern Family? I love it! And this is one that you can pick-up at any point in the season because each episode stands on its own. Give it a try.

Did you know that I am color blind? I can see colors but I have a version of color blindness where certain shades just don’t register. I never knew until the folks in the military told me. Hence, I could never get a job as a telephone repairman because the tiny wires with little stripes of colors don’t always register.

Aside from the wire thing there are no other real issues with it accept that I usually can’t tell if I’m wearing black pants or blue pants until I have been at work for a few hours. And then, I usually don’t make the connection until I have had some time to evaluate the shirt and tie I am wearing. Thankfully, my wife usually checks me out before I head off to work.

This week, a co-worker of mine walked in and he was wearing two completely different shoes. I mean, not even close. One was like a highly polished fancy dress shoe and the other was suede like a hiking boot. But they were both the same color of brown, or at least to my eyes they were. Have you ever done that? I’m thinking when he tied the laces he should have noticed the difference, but he said he was probably sleep walking when he got dressed. He isn’t a drinker, so I think it was an honest mistake.
I’m not a huge fan of House of Pizza, though I know many local readers enjoy it. Last week I attended a working lunch there and I shared a Muffuletta with another person. Wow! First off, we could have easily shared half. Keep that in mind if you order one. My only issue was that the olive spread seemed to be dominated by green olives and my preference is either all black olives or at least a combination of black and green. In spite of that, I would still order and enjoy the Muffuletta at HOP again. If you have never tried one, give it a shot.
In my first post of February, I made reference to a drunk or drugged lady driving down Culebra. Upon inspection of the picture and video I took (I know – feel free to remind me that when I drive and take pictures, I’m just as bad as a drunk or a cell phone user, to which I’ll disagree) there was nothing that would show just how blasted she was. Surely I was not the only person with 9-1-1 on my mind as drivers up and down the road seemed to part waters for her. Yikes!

On a lighter note… Are you familiar with the Schwan’s guy who drives around in a truck and delivers food directly to the house? I know, a bit spendy, but we have been buying ice cream and Buffalo wings from him for years. The other day, they had a special on a frozen pizza they are promoting. My wife bought some since they were half price. I’m just not a huge fan of frozen pizza. Even though DiGornos and Red Baron have a hefty price, I still don’t find them to be that great compared to Papa Murphy’s take home pizza.
Anyway, this Schwan’s pizza, pepperoni and sausage to be exact, was AWESOME. Sorry, I only have a picture of the box since I really expected it to be crappy. Truth is, the real thing looked way better than the photo on the box. Honestly, for a frozen pizza, it was a huge hit in our house. And for lunch the next day at work.

Have you ever purchased a CD thinking it was the actual artist but turned out to be some karaoke singers? Remember how they used to have something called D.O. Music? You know, that music they played in Doctors Offices that wasn't quite the real song, but close enough to get you to hum it. Which reminds me: Was "Feelings" done originally by Morris Albert or was he a cover version? Who knows?
Anyway, we we're standing in line at HEB when my wife saw a boxed set of 80's hits. I don;t care who your are, if you aren't in the mood for "Power of Love", "Heaven is a Place on Earth", and "If You Don't Know Me by Now", then you ain't rockin', baby! Of course, you would probably expect Huey Lewis, Belinda Carlisle, and Simply Red to be doing the singing. Yea, well the Countdown Singers are not a suitable substitute, even at a mere $8.00. Frisbee, anyone?

My son's best friend and a fixture in our family since the boys were in pre-Kinder at the Lackland AFB Daycare Center, Jack "The Lego Maniac", is leaving to become an officer in the US Army in a few days. We met him for a snack at Chili's just as a pre-goodbye. We're gonna miss him, but he'll do good things flying helicopters and such.
Jack and I both tried the new Pulled Pork Sammy. I love that they went all Memphis and offered it with the slaw on the bun, but honestly, the crappy bun made the entire thing a disappointment. The Shiner Bock BBQ sauce added a nice kick to the flavor, but it could have been oh so much better had we had a fresh bun. The whole thing gives me a hankerin' for Porky J's or Augies, not necessarily in that order.

And since it looks like for the time being my posts are going to be less than daily, I’d like to ask you to do two things: First, scroll down and take note of the archives. You can read all about the restaurants and the small town visits and the goofy things my wife and I have encountered over the last two years or so simply by clicking on the month of your choice.

And while you are scrolling down, won’t you check out some of the other Bloggers I have links to? There are some entertaining and interesting folks eager to share their stories with you. Some of them are folks right here in San Antonio and others are in faraway places like West Virginia! That’s what makes the Internet so cool; we are all neighbors.

See ya when I can.

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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