Wednesday, December 31, 2003

During the last couple of years, I have been living in my past as I write Chasing the Sun, fictionalizing my time in Japan. Today, I learned something that took me even further back in time.

One of the benefits of living in a small town is knowing a lot of people.

When I was elementary school there was a lady in the lunch room who, to me, was the symbol of lunch. Mrs. Kuhlman was one of the cooks in the lunch room. I learned today that she passed away.

She lived around the corner from us, and when I would go back to work from lunch, I would often see her watering her yard. Every time I saw her, I was reminded of those elementary school days.

I hope she is working in the cafeteria in the sky, and having a great time.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

The New Prohibition

And so it begins! The Toronto Star recently ran an article report the high cost of drinking to business. "Estimates suggest sick time related to drinking costs the British economy about $4.4 billion, the Australian economy $5 billion and the American economy a staggering $197 billion (all figures Canadian) — roughly equivalent to the previous night's bar tab."

This is the same argument they used about smoking.

The war on alcohol has begun!

Monday, December 15, 2003

I really don't want to do this

The Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce recently redid their website. Some B&B owners have complained that their hits have fallen because of the redesign. Donna, my boss, suggested I be involved in the process of fixing the problem. So I am on a Chamber committee looking into the concerns. Yee ha.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003


(10) Here's something to darken your day. From the people who brought you Ruby Ridge and Waco, the director of the ATF is stepping down to become head of the anti-piracy unit of the RIAA. Expect the tanks to roll soon!

Monday, December 08, 2003



Revenge is so sweet!

I once got into an arguement with a NORML geek once about the effects of smoking. His position was that marijuana smoking was not harmful and therfore should be legalized; but tobacco smoking was harmful and should be banned. He didn't want to suffer through second hand smoke. My position was that if smoking one dried leaf was harmful then smoking another dried leaf was harmful as well. I pointed out that cigarette smoke, according to the Surgeon General's warning said "Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide." I suggested that marijuana smoke contained carbon monoxide, since carbon monoxide is a by product of combustion. His response, "There are no studies that show that marijuana smoking is harmful!"


Here's why I'm laughing. A study has concluded that moderate pot smokers have reduced lung capacity, and have fewer cancer preventing antioxidant levels.

Now all those pot smoking anti-tobacco zealots have to quit smoking! BWAH! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

No. I am not bitter and I don't hold a grudge.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Why Excise Taxes to Stop Behavior are a Bad Idea

A news story out of Austin reveals that a public policy wonk has decided that raising the excise taxes on cigarettes in Texas to $1.41 per pack (from $.41 per pack) will "reduce smokers, cut health care costs and help finance public schools" by generating $986 million in new revenues.

Bull! It will reduce smokers. Sure there will be a short-term gain in revenues, but if the number of smokers decrease, then the revenues will too.

The Centers for Disease Control released a study that concluded a 10% increase in excise taxes results in a corresponding 10% decrease in consumption.

Meanwhile, the State of Texas has been using its share of the tobacco settlement to fund anti-smoking programs, and these programs have been fairly successful. According to the State of Texas Fiscal Size Up 2002-2003 in 1998 the State collected $623.6 million in excise taxes. In 2003, the expected revenues are $562.6 million. That is a 10% decrease in revenues. A new study by the CDC, trumpets the fact that anti-smoking programs work!

The CDC recommends stiff tax increases, and increased funding for anti-smoking programs.

So here we have a guy that says raising cigarette taxes will reduce public health care costs and fund public schools! Wow! What a great tax!

There is a group called Trust for a Smoke Free Texas who advocate this plan to raise revenue, even though they want this revenue source to dry up! On the page that has a report on this latest tax proposal they show a woman carrying a tray with a bottle of beer and an empty glass. What are they going to go after next, I wonder?

The only way this tax increase will work is if every Texas resident is required to buy a pack of cigarettes every month!

Friday, December 05, 2003

I Hate the RIAA Part 2

A Federal judge has approved a settlement in a case against several record companies for price gouging. Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music Distribution, Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Corp., Universal Music Group and Bertelsmann Music Group, plus a couple of retailers, settled the suit without admitting fault. The same judge had earlier approved a $143 million settlement in a related lawsuit that found these companies conspired to fix music prices! And the RIAA wants me to believe that the recording industry is an innocent victim of crime? After their members colluded to fix prices? HA!

I haven't been able to find out the amount of this settlement. But I bet I know how they intend to pay for it!

The RIAA has just unleashed their latest wave of lawsuits, including an elderly couple who don't even own or operate a computer. (Their son-in-law added internet access to their cable bill while living with them to avoid a surcharge for another bill to the same address.) The RIAA has settled with about 220 users, at about $5000 each (on average by my math), for a total of $110,000. Anything to keep that cash stream flowing, I guess.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

My Latest Great Idea

Okay. You people reading this regularly (both of you) have not been doing your jobs! I asked for donations to my PayPal Account and no one has responded. I even provided you with a list of worthy examples I am following and still nothing!

Today, inspired by the story Lynn Wagner, I am announcing that I will be collecting pennies! Not any specific pennies, mind you, but any penny I can get my grubby mitts on. I want to collect one million pennies. That's right! You read correctly. One million pennies! (I thought about collecting quarters, but I didn't think you guys would help me with that.)

Here's all you need to do: Give me your pennies! Box 'em up and ship 'em to me. Hell! Send 'em COD if you want! I don't care. I want your pennies! I will add a graphic to help you track my progress.

Thanks in advance!

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Thanksgiving with the Turners

Yesterday, we went to Voss and visited the Turners in their house. Sam and Mary Jo and Darrell and Leslie were there, with all five kids.

I have to go on record and say that the new house is very nice. Compared to their old house, which was 800 square feet, Darrell said, this is a monster.

Sam, Darrell, Rodney and I went for a short walk across the back of the property, reminiscing about all the fun the five of us (including Gary) had. As we neared the fenceline, in a pile of wood, Darrell, a trained law enforcement officer, discovered a little plastic leg.

He quickly went into investigative mode, strung up some yellow tape, and found more plastic body parts. We collected the peices together and were shocked to learn the fate of Darrell's Six Million Dollar Man action figure. On his chest were three or four .22 caliber bullet holes in what Darrell called a very tight pattern. After he was shot, he had been dismembered in a hideous fashion. The body parts were stashed where someone else had stashed the head of a Depression-era doll, complete with painted face. Darrell concluded that the culprit was either him, Sam, or Gary. Investigations are still pending.

Sam and Grant, and Darrell and Cassidy. When's lunch?

Katie's shoulder, Bailey, Garrett, and Amanda

Friday, November 28, 2003

The Problem with the Left and with the Right

Why does the Left act so much like the Right when it comes to smoking (and alcohol ads, and fast food, and Christmas decorations)?

A recent article in the New York Post reported that the city's health department searched Players Club and found, in the manager's office, three stacked, clean ashtrays. That's it. No cigar or cigarette butts. No matches. No lighters. And no ashes, either.

The club removed all the ashtrays when New York passed its smoking ban in public places. The health department had received a tip that "smoking was occurring in that office." The club now faces a fine from $200 to $2000 as a result of these clean ashtrays simply being on the property. In New York City, ashtrays are like WMDs (see below).

In a related story, Rich Lowry, a conservative columnist, defended beer ads in his latest column. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (Who have also gone after Chinese food, movie theater popcorn, and ice cream. They also created the scale where food is rated on artery clogging fat in Big Mac units.) is backing a sports advertising ban because beer ads are aimed a college students, causing them to binge drink. They reached this conclusion despite the results of a study that said college students rank their parents' and friends' influence over TV ads, and that Neilsen rating data indicates that 87% of college sports veiwers are over the age of 21.

They have also sued the Smithsonian Institute to have Bud Light logos removed from a famous aerobatic plane (hanging in the museum) that was actually sponsered by Anheuser-Busch! Apparently, every kid who sees that plane will then rush out to buy a case of Bud Light.

They are also behind KFC's recent actions in pulling their most recent ads for their chicken, suggesting that eating their chicken, as part of a balanced diet, was nutritious. (Admittedly, when I saw those ads, I wondered if KFC was pulling my leg.) Their hook? Listing the carbs in KFC chicken. Apparently, only beer companies can compete in the carb category; fast food places can't. But I would be willing to bet that eating at KFC is better for you than eating at McDonald's, Burger King, or Wendy's.

The Right, meanwhile, is doing everything it can to stop gay marriages. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has introduced the Federal Marriage Amendment which would define marriage as something that only a man and woman can do, and eliminate "domestic partner" benefits, like insurance.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court recently ruled: "The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens." Unsurprisingly, the Right is having apoplexy.

The Left cannot understand why they Right is thinking about boycotting Massachussets, the same way the Left boycotted Arizona for not creating a holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr., and Colorado for not recognizing Gay marriages.

Apparently, only the Left can boycott states.

In the Early 90s, Rush Limbaugh did some ads for Florida Orange juice. The Left went into full body spasms of rage, and mounted a protest that eventually resulted in Rush being fired from the ad campaign. In the early days of the Iraq war, Danny Glover was doing ads for MCI's Neighborhood. When his views opposing the war were made public, the Right deluged MCI with their righteous indignation, and Glover was replaced. Some Leftist pundit mourned, "So much for Freedom of Speech."

Apparently, only the Left can shill someone's products without their political opinions being a factor.

My conclusion, the Left and the Right are equally intolerant. They both seem the be afraid that someone, somewhere, might be having fun, and it must be stopped. H. L. Mencken called that Puritanism.

Welcome to the new Puritan Age!

Friday, November 14, 2003

Steve's Response

I tweaked the site a bit. I looked at it in Netscape, and the outer frames had overlapped the center frame, rendering it unreadable. I found a template that I could adapt that worked in Netscape. I asked Steve to check out the site, and he disagreed with my view of the conflict in Iraq. He wrote a great letter that I am reposting here, with his permission. I have edited it a bit, again with Steve's permission. disrespect, Everyone has the right to their opinion and here is mine.

I completely disagree on Iraq. I guess the world was going to wait until Saddam got Nukes or until it was too late. Of course the rebuilding isn't going well, but [he] had to go, by any means necessary. I won't see it otherwise and yes I will go over there, say the word, when do I leave? Live in fear or take out an asshole?

Yeah, Yeah, we created him, we funded him in the Afghan war blah, blah....but are we going to do something about it or let him torture people/genocide and pretend it wasn't going on?

I look at it like we are cleaning up our own mess. I wanted to have a party when I heard about Usay and Uday, [the] assholes got what they deserved!

My company's travel agent has a husband over there, in the same hotel that was recently bombed. He is a General and I told her this, (she is against the war too): "Ok, you don't have to agree, but what is the best thing now? 'Ooops sorry we made a mistake, bye' or exactly what Dubya said, 'WE ARE NOT LEAVING!'

I would much rather have a President make a decision and stick with it than change his mind like he did ugly . . .interns. I voted for him and I agree.

Fuck Al Gore, I worked on the last Clinton/Gore Whore campaign and was not a Republican until after I saw how the Democrats run things. I base my opinion on experience with liberal politicians (Carville, Steponafugus, Morris etc. yup I met and spoke to all of them) and the fact that this is STILL the most efficient war campaign in modern history.

Oh yeah one more thing, FUCK FRANCE! Worthless, cowards, almost German speaking bastards! --

Like Steve, I voted for Bush. (Actually I voted against Tipper Gore, who started the whole censorship thing on records.) Steve said we could argue the case all month and our boys won't come home. He's right, of course.

Yeah, we'll disagree on Iraq. But that's cool. If everyone thought the same way, we'd be living in the Middle East and enlisting in Al Qaeda.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The War in Iraq is Wrong

Before you read any further, I want you all to know that I am down with supporting the troops. 'Kay? But I disagree that going into Iraq was the right thing to do.

A perfect example of why it was wrong occured on Wednesday in Goose Creek, South Carolina. The Pricipal of Stratford High school, George McCrackin, called in a police raid on Friday because of continual problems. On Wednesday November 7, members of the Goose Creek Police entered the schoool and held students at gunpoint while they checked for drugs.

They found nothing.

The ACLU is furious, and is threatening to sue.

Principal McCrackin did exactly what Dubya did in Irag: He had reports of illegal activity. He sent on armed forces. He found nothing.

McCrackin needs to study President Bush's actions after the Iraq war ended and learn the proper way to handle the press.

In related news, FBI agents successfully used the Patriot Act to close a strip club. No terrorists were suspected, just naked breasts. Welcome to Ashcroft's America.

Also, US occupying forces in Iraq have set a deadline for the provisional government to come up with a constitution. I respectfully submit that we send them our constitution. We aren't using it anymore.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Bible Study

I took this picture while Dad was reading the bible before going to bed. I used a lot of zoom, a tripod and the night setting on my digicam.

Monday, November 03, 2003

(3) I have compiled the first five chapters of my comic "Chasing the Sun" into an Adobe Acrobat file for those folks who would like an ebook version of my online comic. I am selling it for $9.95, including shipping. If you, for whatever reason, would like a copy, I will send it to you on a CD-Rom, if you click on this link. Christmas is coming!

I saw Becky Sloan (nee Holt) today. She had been at one of the B&Bs Gästehaus Schmidt represents. When she came in I knew she looked familiar, but when she asked if I was Jeff Holt I got scared. The bill collectors had found me! Then she told me who she was and it was like a light switch being turned on in my head! The Sloan family had a long weekend and took a trip to Fredericksburg, and were on their way back home, via Pedernales Falls State Park.

She had me go out to their car and say hello to Jon, her husband, and her two kids. Great family. We should see them more often!

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Oktoberfest 2003

Well, Oktoberfest is over, and I think I have finally caught up on my sleep. I don't know what's worse: working all weekend, or just getting a day off on weekends.

We sure missed Gary. I drafted Rodney to take over his supervisor shifts, but we all still had to work from 10 am to midnight on Saturday night.

This year, I vowed that I would not serve one customer, what with the severity of the DWI and liability laws, but on a couple of shifts, we didn't have enough people show up. Plus, we had a hell of a time keeping the volunteers from serving more than two beers per customer. I had to tell one guy five freaking times!

I tried working on Chasing the Sun, but it has been raining all day. I can't seem to draw when the sky is gray and dreary. It only seems to work when it's a nice day outside. I'll try to work on it tomorrow.

Nick Benneck, one of the Oktoberfest beer supervisors. He and Gary compared motorcycle stories.

I am a degenerate. She was hot. My camera had a zoom lens. Voila!

Larry Garner and "Spriggles" Enderlin enjoy Sunday afternoon. It's

almost over!

Spriggles thought he would send Gary a message!

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

How not to make Gumbo

I am burning the last of my vacation days. Smell the smoke?

You probably can. This morning, dad strolled by and mentioned that he had okra ready for gumbo. I had told him I would cook some gumbo for him. Anyway, as he strolled back through my room, he mentioned that I needed to make hot sauce, since we had so many peppers.

So my first vacation day had been planned. I made hot sauce before lunch, and after lunch, I tried gumbo.

I used our smallest cast iron skillet. It's about 10 inches, with so much baked onto the sides that it looks like my face in high school. Bumps everywhere!

After getting all the ingredients together, I prepared to make my roux. "Time to start bouncing on the bed!" I announced. (only Rodney and Donn will get that. And anyone else who has attended the New Orleans Cooking School. If you ever get a chance to visit N'awlins, take the class and say hello to Kevin!)

So I started my roux. As I started stiring the flour and oil, I started wondering why I ever let Rodney make the roux when we make gumbo together. I quickly learned that I make a better gumbo sous chef than a gumbo chef.

As the roux assumed the proper color, all hell broke loose. The pimply outsides of the skillet caught fire!

As I tried to put the outside fire out, I noticed the roux was beginning to burn! Oh! Shit!

With one hand I dumped the veggies into the soup pot, and quickly dumped the rapidly burning roux on top. Then, the inside of the skillet caught on fire. Now the smoke alarm was demanding my attention.

I put the skillet in the sink and splashed water around it, then put the water in it. Congratulating myself for my quick thinking, I stirred my gumbo, and noticed that the brown roux was STILL COOKING itself so I stirred frantically, then, prematurely dumped the stock into the pot, and wisked like my life depended on it.

I spent the next hour scooping out the big black nuggets of charred flour.

Next time gumbo is made in this house, I'm gonna be the sous chef.

Friday, September 12, 2003

I Hate the RIAA

The RIAA just settled one of its lawsuits with a 12 year-old girl they accused of being an egregious file swapper. Her mom paid $2000, apologized and was made to stand in the corner for an hour to have the lawsuit dropped.

The RIAA is a lobbying organization that keeps Congress from looking at the price fixing that the record companies engage in. Now, however, they have become a de facto law enforcement organization. Only this organization is not restrained by the Bill of Rights. But that's okay, if the Patriot Act II is passed, we won't be using that anyway.

The RIAA says that file swappers are causing a slump in record sales. This slump apparently began long before Napster, but has gotten steadly worse over the last few years. They are convinced that if KaZaa and Napster weren't around, you and I would be shelling good money after bad for standardized pop rock the industry has been churning out for years.

Another reason for the decline in record sales in the consolidation of the broadcasting industry under the roof of Clear Channel Communications. Congress, in its infinite wisdom, deregulated the industry a few years ago. Apparently, companies could only own one radio station in any market. Today, Clear Channel can, and often does, own all the radio stations in any market. All of their programming comes from headquarters, no local DJs anymore to play songs popular in the region. Instead, it's the same playlist all across the country for each radio station in any genre.

"Last year, the Future of Music Coalition, or FMC, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group that studies the impact of technology and politics on musicians and popular culture, found that two corporations alone, Clear Channel and Viacom, earn 45 percent of the industry�s revenues and control stations that draw 42 percent of listeners.

"In June, the Federal Communications Commission opened the way for further consolidation, voting to let a media company own up to eight radio stations in a single listening area," says an article on MSNBC News.

Two companies control almost 50% of the market! Teddy Roosevelt must be spinning in his grave.

Since Internet radio was killed by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, Only big companies can create Internet Radio stations.

Combine centralized playlists and bland record company output and you have stagnant sales.

Sure, some people use KaZaa to get free music. But a lot of swappers I know downloaded albumns and listened to them. If they didn't like it they deleted it. If they liked it, they would go and buy the CD. KaZaa and Napster were ways to find out if an album only had one good song. I've got a thousand cassettes with only one good song.

The RIAA doesn't get it. People want to download songs, and they will pay for it. ITunes recently downloaded its ten millionth song at 99 cents a pop! But the RIAA, and the recording industry, doesn't like that business model. They would rather you drop $20 for the latest Britany/Christina/Jessica/J Lo/Madonna CD than let you download what songs you like. How many do they want us to buy? (Now if they could get Britany, Madonna and Christia to do the nasty and put it on a CD, well. . .) It would be okay if the money went to the artist, but it doesn't. The money goes tot he record company. I read somewhere that an artist receives less than buck from every CD sold. That's why they tour. To make money there. The recording industry has never been on the artist's side. If they were, why did so many top selling 50s artist die broke?

So i am boycotting the RIAA and the record companies that support them. I won't use KaZaa either. I'll get my music from the people who need the money: the artists. I'll go to the artists' websites and purchase the CDs directly from them.

Join me. The water's fine! And besides, you'll discover a wider variety of music than is being released by the big guys and played on the radio.

Read Orson Scott Card's take on this whole thing.

Leo LaPorte of Tech TV chimes in.

And here's how NOT to get sued by the RIAA from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Another redesign

I am doing another redesign. I thought I would do this page in the style of the front page. I will be incorporating the photos into the column on the right. Let me know what you think.

I'm not sure how long the redesign will last, since it looks like I'm going to have to hand coded everything on the page. Hmm. I got some thinking to do.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

I did a minor redesign of the page. I have uploaded so many pictures that I was running out of space on my Yahoo! server. So I resized some pictures to fit the column on the left, and deleted the larger pictures. If you want copies of them, just let me know. I also deleted my photo page, and put in some of the photos on the archive page.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

The Virginia Holts

Sean, who is stationed in Norfolk, VA, had Steve and Donn pick him up for a Labor Day visit. Steve wrote me and said that Sean suggested they meet at Hooters, and Steve marvelled at how great minds think alike. I reminded Steve that he was fond of telling stories about Hooters, so Sean probably thought that was the only restaurant Steve was familiar with.

Steve also told me that once Donn found out where they were meeting, Donn asked to come along.

Steve had Brazillian ju jitsu tournament that weekend. Sean got to watch for a while. Click here to see the results. Scroll down the list a bit.

Donn called on Tuesday to tell us they had a good time and to let us know that they were amazed at how well behaved Sean was. He even made a good impression on Rachel, Steve's fiancee. I hate to tell her that he's better behaved than Rodney and me.

Sean and Rachel inspect the work in Donn's new home. Photo by Donn Holt.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Trip to Dallas

Over the weekend we went to Denton and Frisco to see family. Mom, Dad and I went up there on highway 16. Dad drove until Comanche. Then I drove to Sam's house in Denton. It took about 4 1/2 hours, and was a pleasant drive until we got to Granbury.

It's not Granbury's fault exactly, it's just that we passed several dozen Home Depots, and Super Wal-Marts. Between these huge islands of commerce were twice as many strip centers with Barnes and Nobles, pain-free dentists, insurance agents, Chinese restaurants and liquor stores and the back of large parking lots. Along the road were Chilis, Outback Steakhouse, McDonalds, Whataburgers, Arbys, KFCs, and convenience stores.

Honestly, you can't tell Granbury apart from the outskirts of San Antonio. The stores and the layouts are the same.


Anyway, we had a good time visiting with Sam and MJ and their kids, (see pictures at left) and Bob and Ann who had come up to visit too.

Sam and Garret at play


Grant on Ann's lap

Since there isn't a lot of room at Sam's house, we spent the night at a Best Western around the corner. What a great motel! They had big beds, big rooms and were easy to get to.

Sunday, we went to see Johnny and William in Frisco. The area between Frisco and Denton is subdivision land, with each development trying to build a bigger club house. What was really funny was that the first development advertised homes from the 90s. The second from the $100s, the next from the $110s. We wondered how high the bidding would go. "Live here! We're more expensive than them!" It's a perfect symbol of the way we Americans like to consume conspicuously.

Frisco reminded me of Wells Branch Parkway in Austin, where I lived a few years ago. The housing developments were shrouded in tall fences, and sat conveniently behind all the commercial lots that lined the main street. As Bill Bryson wrote, "We used to build civilization. Now we build shopping malls." Behind the strip centers, the houses had brick fronts, shallow front yards, wood siding in the back with shallow backyards, and chimneys encased in wood. It also looked like the subdivisions going up around Nueva Vista golf course in Midland. Or like the ones going up on the outskirts of Austin. Or the ones I have seen in Virginia. It's like there is no more originality in home design.


Actually, William and Johnny's house was all brick, and larger than some of the ones I had been looking at from the street. As we drove through the neighborhood, watching the weekend yard warriors working over their lawns, I was reminded of the Monkees song "Pleasant Valley Sunday."

Pleasant Valley Sunday Lyrics:

The local rock group down the street

Is trying hard to learn their song

To serenade the weekend squire, who just came out to mow his lawn

Another pleasant valley sunday

Charcoal burning everywhere

Rows of houses that are all the same

And no one seems to care

See Mrs. Gray she’s proud today

because her roses are in bloom

See Mr. Green he’s so serene,

he’s got a t.v. in every room

Another pleasant valley sunday

Here in status symbol land

Mothers complain about how hard life is

And the kids just don’t understand

Creature comfort goals

They only numb my soul and make it hard for me to see

My thoughts all seem to stray, to places far away

I need a change of scenery

Ta ta ta...

Another pleasant valley sunday

Charcoal burning everywhere

Another pleasant valley sunday

Here in status symbol land

Another pleasant valley sunday...

You know, when I brought that up, I was thinking about the line of people mowing lawns, tending gardens and barbecueing. Reading the lyrics, I realize it perfectly describes my feelings about the Urban Sprawl that is threatening to make Texas one big city. And here I thought the Monkees were a kids' band.

We left Johnnie's at 2:30 pm and headed home down I-35. Travel was fine through Dallas. But once we got out of town, I realized I-35 was nothing more that a long ribbon of cars heading south. A couple of times we crested hills and could see miles down the road. There was no break in the traffic.

There were brake lights, though. Seven or eight times between Hillsboro and Temple, traffic would come to a complete stop for no reason. Then everyone would race off at 75 mph until the next time traffic stopped. I had originally planned to go to Georgetown and cut across through Burnet to get home, but by the time we got to Temple, I altered the plan and we cut across to Lampasas.

We stopped at Rodney's house at about 6:30 pm. I'm sure they are insulted by how little time we spent there. But we knew if we went in, we would use the bathrooms, have something to drink, watch some TV and we wouldn't have left until much later. So we chatted in the yard for a minute, then jumped back into the car and hauled ass home. We got in at about 8 pm.

I made myself a promise as I drifted off to sleep Sunday night. I would NEVER drive I-35 again!

Sunday, July 20, 2003


Last night, dad and I worked at Night in Old Fredericksburg. It is July's excuse for the city to fleece the tourists on Market Square. We had fun, since we only had to work for three hours. Then we came home and got under the air conditioning. I won't have that option come Oktoberfest.

Friday, July 18, 2003

I am officialy pissed off, now. I just got off the phone with Chevron. They told me I was behind on my bill. Patiently, I explained to the lady who all but called me a deadbeat that two weeks ago, a gentleman from Chevron called and told me the same thing. I told him that I had paid online. I said I don't remember getting an online confirmation, and asked him if the payment went through. He said, "Well, now that your mention it, it has. I don't know why you are on this list. Never mind. You next payment is due July 25th." I asked him five times if he was sure. Absolutely, he said. You are caught up.

Now this little chickee is saying the guy lied. I told her I would send her the payment, but she better damn well get her f-ing website fixed because I made the payment on the 20th and it was confirmed on the 6th or so. She then informed me that because I was late, they had put a temporary hold on my account. I replied, "Well naturally they did. I did exactly what the last caller said and now I am being punished for it. Well, you've taught me one thing! Never beleive what anyone from Chevron says." Then I hung up as she was saying something else. Bitch!

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Woe is me

My van is starting to get old. It's lost it's voice. There's a short in the power switch on the radio, so it doesn't turn on. The power windows on the driver's side is slowly going out. And every once in a while, the air conditioning decides to stop. So my thoughts are, reluctantly, turning to buying a new car

I have a couple of problems, however. First, I cannot save money. If I have it, I have to spend it. And second, if I don't have it, I have to borrow it. As a consequence, I have no money now, and I will have no money in the future. As Gary says, "C,mon, Lotto!"

Monday, June 16, 2003

One whole month crammed into one entry

My computer has developed this nasty habit of crashing every few minutes. I have had it since 1997 or 1998, and I am afraid it is getting old. I bought an MP3 player on Ebay and I installed the software to load the player. Everytime I started it, the program would lock up and I had to use the old "three finger salute" (CTRL+ALT+DEL)! Followed up with a more traditional, and appropriate, single finger salute. (I HATE Windows. A pox on Bill Gates for releasing the most bug ridden, fragile, piece of crap software!)

Today I wandered over to the Dell website and started looking around. I found a few computers I liked. Now all I got to do is come up with the money. C'mon Lotto!

Sean will be coming home on leave this week, and will stop by over theweekend for some golf.

And I will close today's installment with another request that you check out my Chasing the Sun website. I have just finished drawing the 100th page! I have never had a comic project go past 40 pages, much less 100. Four chapters down! Only 20 to go!

Monday, May 26, 2003

Memorial Day

We finally finished the too breif family reunion that we had when Sean came home for a visit. I have created an album of photos here. The pictures have been saved for the Web, so the quality ain't so great. If you want the "good" pictures, let me know.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Sorry, Pete!

I owe an apology to Pete Townsend. I have made a lot of jokes at his expense the last few months. And then I went to Wal-Mart today.

I got in line behind a gorgeous brunette who was a head shorter than me. She was wearing a black top, white shorts, and who cares what else. Let me tell you that her legs were fabulous! Her quads curved seductively to her knees, while her calf muscle delicatly sloped to her ankles.

As she opened her wallet to pay for her purchase, I spotted her driver's license. (It was below her breasts. I couldn't help but notice.) Dammit! She was under 21! As Jimmy Carter said, I lusted in my heart, and that's why I must apologze to Pete Townsend. Of course, I didn't give her my credit card and call it research.

Saturday, May 03, 2003


I bought a smoker pit today. I tried to buy it at Wal-Mart, but they only had one that they had put on lay away for someone else. So dad and I drove to Kerrville and stopped at Lowe's and bought one.

We spent the early afternoon putting it together, and then we turned to Dad's latest toy, a 7 foot tall windmill. I don't know why he got one. The only time the wind blows around here is when a storm blows in.

Friday, May 02, 2003


Luckenbach is having a motorcycle rally this weekend. Don't get your hopes up. It's not going to be real bikers. Just lawyers and doctors from Houston and Dallas who trailer their bikes down. Poser bikers, really.

Poser bikers are really annoying. They spend thousands of dollars on the proper outfits: Harley jeans, Harley boots, Harley socks, Harley wallets, Harley belts, Harley shirts, Harley dew rags, and, no doubt, Harley motorcycle trailers to go behind their SUVs. I bet they even have Harley cell phones, pagers, and answering machines. Then, they come to Fredericksburg, demand the nicest place for the cheapest price and bitch because we don't do cartwheels for them.

Bah! Tourists!

Friday, April 25, 2003

Golf day

Dad and I played golf today. We went to Buckhorn in Comfort. The course was really well-kept, and was beautiful. This is what Texas Golf should be; fairly cool weather, lush greens, smooth fairways and a great course.

I am thinking about starting yet another website: my golf experiences, photos and scores. But I am not sure revealing my scores would be flattering. Something to think about.

Proof that the golf gods don't like me. To be honest, I had aimed to the left of the hole, but c'mon!

Monday, April 14, 2003

Sue came down this weekend with her grandkids, Kelsey and Kyle. I had to work, so they had to do all their stuff without me. They went to a drive-through zoo and to some park near the river. Didn't ask too much.

I am proud of myself. I have managed to draw two pages of my comic book every day off I have had since February. I am about to finish chapter three and I can barely wait to get on to chapters four. Keep checking for more updates!

Monday, March 31, 2003

Gary and Amy

Yet another quick cold front and yet another bout of allergies. I think I'm allergic to Northers.

Gary came for a visit before he shipped out to the Middle East. Dad and I picked him up in San Antonio where he announced that he and Amy were getting married on Saturday. Amy had arranged everything, and so about 4 pm on Saturday afternoon, they were married at the Gillespie County Court House. Gary wore his desert uniform, and the JP was so choked up he told Gary that the wedding was on him. Mom decided to make them a wedding cake and have a little celebration when they got back.

The nest day, we drove on the Willow City Loop to see the bluebonnets.

Gary and Amy's Wedding cake.

Cutting the cake.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Beer Speech

I gave my speech at Los Patios today. I hope I didn't bore the poor guys. There was just so much to talk about and so little time.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Spring Break Trip

We just got back from a quick trip to Houston. Our first stop was in Shiner, were we toured the brewery. It was quite interesting, and like other factory tours taken in the last few years, included only a couple of stops: the brewing room and a gallery above the bottling line. No photos were allowed inside, darnnit!

Proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. The Shiner Brewery.

Then we drove to Katy and visited Forbidden
. Texas Highways did an article about them recently, and I thought it would be fun to see. I never expected we would make it the goal of a trip.

On Saturday, we went to La Grange and stopped at Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Park. From there we went to the Bob Bullock Museum in Austin, and then, finally, home. Once again, there are photos.

The old Kreische Brewery.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

More Ice

(26) We have had an ice and freezing rain storm the last couple of days, and white is everywhere. There is a heat wave on, it is almost 25 degrees. We haven't had cable for three days, and I have finally gotten Time-Warner to beleive that I am smart enough to change the channels correctly. Hopefully, I can watch Star Trek tonight.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Golf day

Dad and I played golf at Packsaddle Country Club. Let's just say that if I had been bowling, I would've been proud of the score. I would have been the butt of all the jokes at the alley, but I would have been proud of the score.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Chasing the Sun Website

Okay, folks! LISTEN UP!

In an effort to keep pace with Rodney's array of personal websites, I have created another one!

My new site is an effort to cash in on the comic book I have been working on since 11/2001. Called Chasing the Sun, it is a fictional account of my stay in Japan. In other words, only the first five pages actually happened. I have opened a small store on the site as well. Buy lots of things! Daddy needs a new pair of shoes!

Saturday, February 08, 2003


A panoramic photo of our neighborhood.

It has been almost ten years since snow was able to stick in the Hill Country. That was about 12 years since the previous time. So check out the pictures on the right!

The San Antonio (where no snow fell) news stations reported that people got up in the wee hours of the morning and drove their kids out into the Hill Country so they could show them what snow looked like. These were, no doubt, the same people who had called us eleven days ago to cancel their reservations because they didn't want to drive in the snow. I hate customers.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

RIP Columbia

In January of 1986, I was doing something completely frivolous in my room when Mom called and asked, "Did your hear about the Challenger exploding?"

I asked, expecting a joke, "No, what about the Challanger exploding?"

"No. Really. It blew up."

I spent the next day in a fog, counting the flags flying at half staff.

On 9/11 I was far from home, and had other things on my mind.

Today, I was at work, doing something slightly less frivolous when I learned about Columbia.

Seven heroes died today. But we can't let their deaths stop our exploration of space. In an age where our country seems to be ruching headlong into war, the peaceful exploration of space must continue.

Of course, I watched the news. The Austin stations were quick to point out that there were Austin ties to the tragedy. Just like 9/11, they were eager to connect the horror to the city. After Challenger, they did the same thing. When Clinton was impeached, they found an Austin resident who was an intern. I hate the Austin news stations for that. It's like, "The World Trade Center has fallen. Let's talk to a Central Texan who walked by it a decade ago."

Sunday, January 26, 2003

The Speech - Aborted

I went Los Patios to give my speech on Wednesday and found out that the breakfast was the 29th, instead. Naturally, I can't get off then, so the speech ain't gonna happen. The retirement center was neat. The staff was friendly and the dining room itself was really nice. If I could afford the rent, I would consider living there.

We had a cold spell blow through Friday, and Saturday my allergies had flared up again. I took massive amounts of medicine to stop the snot fountain in my head.

Well, I am going to get ready to watch the commercials during the Super Bowl. It's gotta be a bit of a downer for the players to know that for all their work all season long, tomorrow everyone's gonna be talking about the Pepsi ad.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

I'm Getting Better!

While most of the symptoms of my recent bout with allergies have disappeared, my sinuses continue to flow. I hope the snot machine in my head ceases production soon.

Sean called us today. He and some buddies went to New Orleans. He called looking for me. He wanted to know where the French Quarter was. I was at work, but mom tried to direct him to the debauchery that is N'Awlins.

I have agreed to give a speech about the history of Texas breweries to a men's breakfast at a retirement community in San Antonio. I have worried about what to tell these folks. I hope I inform them and entertain them. I'm not nervous right now. I imagine I won't be able to sleep on Tuesday night. Check back on Thursday to see how things went.

Monday, January 06, 2003

Not a Happy New Year

(6) For the last few days, I have been sufferring from allergies, or a cold, or something, that made me feel like crap: Bouts of dizziness, followed by drowsiness, followed by marathon nose blowing sessions, and all accompanied by a fever.

It all started on 1/1. I attribute it to karma. On New Years Eve, Debbie came into the office and as we chatted, I mentioned golf, and she mentioned that Larry would like to play, and wondered if I was free on New Years Day. I shrugged and said "Sure." I called Larry, who had me call the golf course and set a tee time. I started practicing my swing in my mind as I left the office. I got into my van, started the engine and realized that I had promised to cook dinner on New Years Day, and that Sean was coming over to eat it. Fuck! I got home and called Larry and told him that I was a moron. He said something about "We all make mistakes" but I still felt like dirt.

I had several beers while watching the festivities. On New Years Day I thought I had a hangover. You know: bouts of dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and fever.But I cowboy-ed up and cooked dinner.

We waited for Sean. What we didn't realize was that he was on Marine time. When we said "come over for dinner (the noon meal)" in Texan, he heard "come over for dinner (the evening meal)" in Marine. He showed up about 4 pm.

Fully sated from my noon meal, I had begun to realize that my desire to surgically attach my butt in my chair had another source. By the time Sean had used up all the guilt I had filled him with to show up (he hadn't planned to, originally), I had used all my energy. After he left to party with his buddies, I crashed.

The next day at work, I was worthless. And I still had two more days until a day off. I came home and crashed. On Friday, I slugged about in bed as long as I could. Then after work, I came home and crashed. I went in on Saturday and tried to work. But I kept thinking about how much richer I would have been if only I had bought stock in Kleenex. I also thought about how much water the snot factory in my head was costing me.Then Hunter Scott, one of the homeowners called, and asked me what beer I had been buying lately. (He called for another reason and our conversation turned to beer. It's not like people call me to find out what I'm drinking. I swear.) I told him I hadn't had one in about four days. For me, that's a record! I went home at 3 pm, and crashed.

On Sunday, I decided on a treatment plan of Vicks Sinex and the homeopathic cold medicine Zicam. Everytime I blew my nose, I shot some stuff up there to dry things out. Then I put some Zicam up there to clear things. Today, my plan seems to have worked. I still had the fever, but I killed fewer trees by wiping my nose, though I still have the occassional watery eyes as I make the pre-sneeze face.