Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

As of New Year's Day I will stop contributing to Life in the Banana Patch, my other blog. About as many people read that one as this one. I am making some money off ads on Wort's Going On Here?, my homebrewing blog, and on my Fredericksburg Texas events blog Fredericksburg Texas Info. I will move some of my ongoing rants here, so things will get a bit more political, but it shouldn't be too much of a change.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Reunion request

To my Virginia cousins:

If anyone plans a drive to the Reunion in Talpa, Texas, please bring me a case of Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout. It's been two years since I had one, and I am suffering withdrawals.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

See I told you so

I have written repeatedly that raising excise taxes to regulate behavior is a bad idea. You can use those taxes as a revenue stream or you can use those taxes to stop the behavior. You can't do both things.

Recently, the State of Texas raised excise taxes on cigarettes to $1 a pack to help fund education. The state reported that cigarette sales didn't decline as quickly as anti-smoking advocates had hoped, and had generated $244 million more than predicted.

What do the neo-prohibitionists say? The cigarette tax is a solid revenue stream and some of the income should fund cessation programs.

That the solid revenue stream should be pared down? Eventually, there will only be one or two smokers in the world, and they will be expected to fund education, smoking cessation programs, and children's health insurance. That way, no one else has to pay for it.

The only way that kind of tax will work to fund every desirable government program is if the government requires that everyone buy cigarettes. And if you want to criminalize tobacco and legalize marijuana, you are an idiot. It's not about the health risk. It's about someone else's morality.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Everywhere Texas

My friend Stacey called this coolest thing she had seen lately.

I miss my motorcycle.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mail Route

The tree on the right is waaay to big for the painting. I didn't see it when I was painting, though. The only clear idea I had when I started was to paint the house. And the mailbox. And I do like the trees in the background.

A friend told me it was surreal. Childlike. "Like a Marc Chagall in training," she said. She meant it in a good way, I'm sure.

I should've sketched it out first.

Oh well, it's just paint.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Let's Bring 'Em Home 2007

One of my favorite sites is Ernie's House of Whoop Ass. It's a funny site with raunchy humor and links to naked women. What's not to love?

Every year, Ernie sponsors Let's Bring 'Em Home, a non-profit charity that buys tickets for our soldiers who want to spend Christmas at home. I try to contribute every year. If you have a few bucks to spare, please think about it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Winter Evergreens

With the last cold snap, I had the urge to paint a winter scene.

In order to simplify your daily routine, you may comment using one of the numbers below:

1. OMFG! You're soooo talented!
2. That's cool. (Get it?)
3. Meh. Let me know when you do a good one.
4. Would you please stop publishing this crap!
5. Thank goodness I have a firewall.


On Sunday we celebrated Joanne's, Jeanne's, Sean's, and Dad's birthdays. I made Alton Brown's Rib recipe. Cael and Maryann don't get along too well. They are both at the "Mine!" stage, which does create some conflict. Cael had just fussed about Maryanne sitting in the chair, so great-grandpa put him in the recliner.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bolt from the Blue

Far too many years ago to be remembered distinctly, I was an exchange student at Nagasaki Wesleyan Junior College (now University). Recently, I have been in contact with Bob, the snazzy dresser on the left in the back row, and Seiji, one of the Japanese students.

Saturday night, I got a email from Tasha, the one in the exact middle of the front row. And suddenly, all those memories came back in a rush.

We caught up a bit, and Tasha suggested a reunion in 2009. I could be cool with that. We just have to find everyone else. So, from left to right: Front Row: Sharon Greenland, Athens, TN; Michelle Jackson, Kerrville, TX; Tasha; Patty Hester (I think.), Athens, TN; Judy Ann Ariola (I think), Baguio, Phillipines. Back Row: Bob; John Stolen, Le Mars, IA; and some slob. Not pictured: Marissa Colby, from somewhere in New York.

If you are in this picture, post a comment. If you know someone in the picture and can help hook us up, post a comment. Or email me at jeffholt at yahoo dot com.

Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Birds

Taken at 7 pm on Main Street with the moon rising. The black birds have been thick and noisy lately. Are we sure Alfred Hitchcock is dead?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Recipe Collection

Sunday, I started gathering recipes for the 2008 Holt Reunion. But before we get too far along, Gary and I need to know the likes and dislikes of everyone. For instance: Rodney doesn't like celery, mom doesn't like mushrooms, Dad's not a fan of cucumber, Sam despises onions, and I believe raw tomatoes are Satan's turds. (They are both red. Coincidence? I think not.) Also, some like sweet tea, some like unsweetened, some don't like tea at all.

The recipe I added seems to be easy enough to accommodate most people. Make one with onions, one without. Bob and I don't like okra, so Rodney's just going to have to make his gumbo without onions or okra. Life's tough, Rod. Deal with it.

So post your daikirai (Japanese for "most hated) foods in the comments, or email 'em to me, or post them in the shared document up on Google.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fine Dining in Valera, Texas

No. That is not an oxymoron.

Rancho Loma is upscale dining in what owner Robert Williamson says "could be in France, Italy, California - that's how this place makes you feel. It's like taking a little vacation."

If you are so inclined to visit, you will need to make reservations on their website. They are only open Friday and Saturday. People often travel 200 miles to have dinner there. But bring your own wine.

If that doesn't appeal to you, there is always Coleman's Dairy Queen.

Me? I'm gonna be at Eola School.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I got my Linux computer only a few days before leaving for Vail. I didn't have enough time to figure out all the workings of the computer. I took some DVDs to watch while I was in my hotel room, only to learn that Linux doesn't do DVDs well. Most DVDs are encrypted, and the producers make a lot of money licensing the encryption, and Linux, as a rule, doesn't pay for that sort of stuff.

I tried a lot of programs, finally finding VLC. It seems to be the only thing that lets Linux play DVDs with menus.

If only I'd had a couple more days before leaving for Vail, I could have figured all this out in advance, rather than figuring it out when I came home. Of course, that begs the question, why didn't I figure it out on the road?

Oh yeah! I also figured out how to connect to the wireless network!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

View from my room

I could live here in the summer. Saturday night they mentioned the "S" word: there was a chance for snow at the peaks. That would get me out of here until the thaw. At 6 am, it's 40° and the high will be in the 70s. Tomorrow, we will leave Vail about noon and drive to the airport in Denver, turn in the rental car, and leave Denver about 5 pm. United expects the plane to land about 8 pm, and I should be home about 10 pm tomorrow night. Then I have to go to work at 7 am on Thursday to open. And the up side, It's my long weekend, and I won't go back to work till Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Sean and Joanne brought the boys over for lunch on Sunday. New photos!

Monday, September 03, 2007

The new toy

Dell shipped my laptop on the 30th. It arrived on the 31st. So far, I'm impressed. The wireless card works perfectly, it just won't connect to the network at home. I don't know why. I might need expert help. It sees the network, it just won't connect. I'm currently configuring everything, which takes some time.

So I take back every evil thought I have had about Dell.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Now if I can only be at the house when DHL delivers

I got an email from Dell yesterday telling me that my new computer had shipped. I assumed that it would be coming from Austin, but instead it's coming from Nashville. It left Nashville at 10 am yesterday, and arrived in Waco last night a 8 pm. As we speak it is on a truck speeding towards Fredericksburg. I might just have enough time to configure it before my business trip to Vail. IF someone is at the house when DHL shows up.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Quick visit to Midland

I just got back from visiting cousin Gary, and we discussed the reunion, among other things. We decided to finalize the menu in February or March, and Rodney's gumbo night looks threatened. Too many okra-phobes, myself included.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sean got a job

Sean called and said he finally got a job. He started Monday at Boeing in San Antonio, at Kelly. He says he'll be working on Air Force planes for $25 an hour. Good pay if you can get. They bought a house in Helotes and will be moving in a couple of weeks. He did add that the house is not near the creek that flooded when Tropical Storm Erin came to town.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Email from Dell

I got an email from Dell this morning. Don't get your hopes up, it was Spam.



School starts next week. They should have run this ad in June if they expected anyone to take a new laptop with them on the first day of school.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Where's my computer Part II

To update: Dell informed in the late afternoon of 8/17 that there was a delay shipping my computer. The shipment has been delayed to 8/28, with an estimated delivery between 9/3-6. Since I leave town on 9/6 for a week, allow me to guess when the damn thing will be delivered.

Yesterday, someone named Debbie posted a comment to my previous post on this issue claiming to be from Dell, and saying they would look into it. So early yesterday morning I sent Debbie an email telling her the order number.

So far, nothing.

I am not going to jump on the "I hate Dell" or "Dell is Evil" bandwagons. Any business is going to have people with problems with their policies and service. Our office has used Dell products for years without problems. I recognize that someone has to make the computer, and that takes time. I also recognize that manufacturers are often at the mercy of their suppliers, and there could be any number of reasons for the delay.

Doesn't make the anticipation stop, though.

Update: at 12:30 pm today, I got this reply from Debbie at Dell, "Sorry for the disappointment. Let me know if there is anything I can do."

Um, let me know if I will get it before I leave on my business trip?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Reunion Quilt

On Saturday, we went to Kerrville to Hometown Crafts. I got a big canvas, 'cause I have an idea, and I want to see if it will fit on a big canvas. Mom got some fabric—Red bandanna, white, and blue bandanna like—for a reunion quilt. She's planning to a panel for everyone, including Grandad Roger, and Grandma Claudia. She's planning to give the quilt away in a drawing. Everyone who attends, including the kids. This of course favors Sam's family, since they are ever expanding. (I kid because I love.)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I was getting tired of mountains, so I decided to paint a seascape. I made the clouds on the right too dark, and the foam on the wave is also too dark. Other than that, I like it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Where's my Laptop?

Ordered a month ago, Dell tells me they will ship my laptop today. I assume it's coming from Austin, so I may get it Monday or Tuesday, although they estimate delivery anytime between 8/22-24.

I have been on pins and needles the last week and a half wanting to get my grubby little mitts on the darn thing.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Jeff's Texas Seasoning Mix

Have you ever seen Emeril's seasoning mix in the store? Or Chef Paul Prudhomme's seasoning mix? Have you ever noticed they are smiling? That's because they are making a mint on that stuff! I actually have to wonder why anyone buys Emeril's Essence. The recipe is here! Why go to the store and buy it in a bottle when you can buy the ingredients and make it yourself? Chef Paul's? Well, not as easy to Google™, but if you look hard enough, you can find his poultry seasoning, which, by the way, is killer.

Since I consider myself something of a chef, or, at least, a hack cook, I have come up with a somewhat spicy seasoning mix. Please note that I am releasing this recipe under a creative commons license. You may not use this recipe for commercial purposes, but you may modify it as long as you allow others to do the same. Yeah. Stupid and geeky, I know.

Jeff's Texas Seasoning

3 tbs sweet paprika

2 tbs hot paprika

2 1/2 tbs salt

2 tbs garlic powder

2 tbs onion powder

4 tsp ground pepper

4 tsp cilantro

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp chipotle powder

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp jalapeno powder

Mix all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. Use as seasoning or as a rub.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Reunion News

Okely Dokely, folks. I know we're still 50 weeks away from the reunion. I'm trying to do as much now as possible, so I can be lazy then. Call me selfish.

I have added a couple of links to the right: A link to the Centennial Lodge, and a link to a map to What-a-Burger in Brownwood for any former Texas residents having withdrawal symptoms.

More to come!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Back to Colorado

I leave SA at 8:30 am (yes, I got to pick the departure time) on 9/6 and fly to Denver. I'll arrive about 11 am local time. Then I'll get a rental car and drive to Vail. (Stopping at Idaho Springs, Keystone, Dillon and Frisco to visit some brewpubs before stopping in Vail.) The boss is flying in on Sunday, and I get to pick them up at the Denver airport (woohoo) and take them back to Vail. Then Sunday Monday and Tuesday I'll be on foot. Hope I can find a bar in Vail. Then back to Denver on 9/12 for the flight home.

Last time I was in the air around this time, the Twin Towers fell. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Cael's Snack

Great-Grandpa Jerry gave Cael a cookie. As soon as great-grandma tried to take the photo, the hand whipped up to obscure his face.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Aidan and Cousin Gary

We've decided that Cael will be the silent but deadly type. Aidan, on the other hand, is pretty chatty. Gary came to visit and Aidan just talked and talked and talked. I guess it's true: Gary knows everyone.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I bought a new computer

Dear Bill Gates,

Like a lemming rushing to the sea, I have purchased a Dell laptop with Ubuntu Linux preinstalled. I'll be able to surf the web, write letters, watch movies on DVD, and burn cds.

I'm not leaving the Windows fold entirely, Bill, but you'll be seeing me a lot less.

Shh! Don't cry, Bill. It's your own fault. I had to register my copy of Windows XP to prove I bought it, and still, every time I get an update, I have to prove I didn't steal it all over again. And I've been faithful to you, Bill, that's the sad part. I've always used genuine Windows software, and sstill you treat me like a whore.

See you around, Bill.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Our Former L'il Leatherneck

Sean, Joanne and the boys made it home from South Carolina on the 11th. They paid us an impromptu visit, which I forgot to photograph. Cael was full of vinegar, getting into everything, and Aidan was vocal. He must have been performing a running commentary on Cael's antics. He also wanted to sit up, and since he can't do it himself, he wanted us to hold him up.

Sean is still looking for work. He has applications in at Mooney, in Kerrville, and at a couple of places in San Antonio. Joanne has found a job, leaving Sean at home to babysit!

More pictures the next time they stop by.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sunrise Reflection

I started off wanting to paint a different sky and a mountain. That turned out okay. The foreground, not so much.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


For not being much of a joiner, I have joined San Antonio Association of Zymurgists, a home brewing club, and three Linux user groups: one each in Austin, San Antonio, and the Highland Lakes area. SAAZ will be the only club that I will attend meetings, but still. . .

Friday, July 20, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Blind as a. . .

I picked up my specs. They're no line bifocals and it's a bitch. I don't need them with the computer, so I probably won't be wearing them too much during the day. I've worn 'em for about 15 minutes. I took 'em off to do something on the computer and my eyes hurt.

But when I do wear them, the walls look like they're breathing!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Coming Storm

Since it has been so stormy here lately, I thought I would try to paint a storm.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A short, sad story

Last week, I went to the DPS office to renew my driver's license. I haven't had to go for a while because I am a model citizen and had been able to renew through the mail. Apparently, the cut off age for that is 45, because this time I actually had to go down to the office.

The lady behind the counter takes my license and asks, "Are you wearing contacts?"

"No. Why?"

"Your license has a corrective lenses restriction," She replied.

"Really? I though that had been taken off." I hadn't worn my glasses since I was 19 or 20, and I had passed all my eye tests. Whenever I look at my license I only saw the "M" for motorcycle. Turns out, they'd moved the corrective lenses thing to another line. The bastards.

"Let's check your vision," she says.

"Sure," I said cockily, strolling over to the little box that looked like Spock's hooded viewer on the bridge of the Enterprise. This'll be a snap, I think.

"Read line five," she said.

I peer into the viewer, and see four groups of four numbers. The first two look like a string of 8s. The third looks like it has a 3 and a 5 in it. The last string is a solid gray bar. Apparently that wasn't the correct answer, because she told me to bring my glasses and try another day.

So on Monday I show up with my glasses and she makes me read line number 4! Hell! I had been able to read that line on Friday without my glasses! I guess, if you're wearing glass you don't have to see as well as someone who isn't. And I had already made a reservation for a new eye exam. (Everyone is getting tired of holding my books and magazines four feet from my eyes to read.)

Forty-five sucks.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Triple Falls

I was thinking about Lewis and Clark, and remembering the stories of the first Europeans to enter Yellowstone, and I got the idea for this painting.

Or, after having to give away my paintings with big mountains and large waterfalls, I decided to paint a big mountain and a big waterfall. You decide which story is better.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Date is set

Ann Turner and I set the date for the Reunion. Mark your calendars. Mark your kids' calendars. If applicable, mark your grandkids' calendars. The reunion will be 7/31 to 8/2 at Centennial Lodge just outside of Valera.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The winner is: Centennial!

With Ann Turner's recent news, and in the absence of any other input, I have decided that the Roger Holt family reunion will be held at Centennial Lodge, in historic, and bustling, Talpa, Texas!

Gary and I will be getting together later in the year to visit with the proprietors and arrange everything. Please check your date books. We're aiming for July, but anytime will do. Let me know when is best for you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Purple Mountain Range Redux

This should look familiar. I have painted it before. But these 18x24" canvases make everything look better.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sunday's effort

While Gary visited a buddy of his who showed up in town, I spent a couple of hours painting. Gary peeked over my shoulder and said, "I want that!" (I didn't have the heart to tell him he still had to take a painting home with him. None of this "Next time I'll take this one" crap.) So I have been instructed to name this one "Sold to Gary."

Happy Memorial Day!

I went with Gary to the National Cemetery in San Antonio on Sunday. He wanted to visit the graves of some of his Afghanistan buddies. One had contracted an illness an died suddenly. The other, Clint, was killed by an IED. It was touching to see Gary kiss the head stone.

I haven't mentioned lately that I am proud to be Gary's cousin. And I'm proud of his service to our country in Bosnia and in Afghanistan.

Indiana Turner

Friday, May 25, 2007

Vacation time

Since Sean is coming in next week and Gary's coming for a visit this weekend, i am taking a week off, beginning at 9 am this morning. I just have to go in and open, then It's the Life of Riley.

We had 5 inches of rain last night, and another storm is on the way. I know you're not supposed to curse the rain, but could I have a day off with sunshine, please? Right now, the forecast calls for rain through next week.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fredericksburg okay with everyone?

Ann Holt suggested we have the reunion in San Antonio, and I countered by suggesting Fredericksburg, TX. For the record, I don't mind meeting somewhere in the middle between TorC, NM and Fredericksburg, VA. Leslie suggested Pigeon forge because that gives the kids something to do. Fredericksburg is only an hour from Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. There is a B&B that's in our service that can accommodate 25 people. It's called Runnymede Country Inn. It's at the edge of town. There's a pool for the kids. It's near the Golf Course for the middle kids, and it's only a couple of miles to the shops on Main Street for the older kids. Since we're thinking about July, the third weekend in July is chock full of events: Night in Old Fredericksburg on Marktplatz, Parimutuel horseracing at the fairgrounds (right across the road), and Trade Days at Sunday Farms. Here's a link to this year's events you can look at. And for Gary, Steve and me, there's a brewpub on Main Street! For anyone who is interest, Sea World and Fiesta Texas, as well as the sights in San Antonio and Austin are a day trip away.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Website

Since I have become addicted to painting and using the Bob Ross DVDs I bought, I wondered if anyone had a definitive index to the Joy of Painting shows online.

No one did.

So I started a list of what paintings were in what series, and collected in which Joy of Painting compilation. Today, I introduce The Bob Ross, Joy of Painting Fan Site!

Like I didn't have enough to do.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ocean Breeze

I felt like painting a seascape. I just bought a box of 18x24 inch canvases on eBay, and this is the second large painting. I like using the larger canvases. The paintings seem to look better. It could just be me, though.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Desert Scene

Another gorgeous day lured me out onto the back porch where I painted this desert scene. Bob call his version Southwest Serenity. Mine is more prosaic.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Memorandum: To Whom it may Concern

I have instituted a new policy at the house: Anyone who comes to visit must take a painting when they leave. If the backlog continues, I may require weekly visits from everyone, or everyone to take multiple paintings. How does this affect you, you ask? Well, if you come to visit, you will leave with a painting. I have already informed Sean of the new rule, and since he's been in SC so long, he will have to take three. Maybe four. It depends on how much I paint before he gets here.

If the situation worsens, you will be required to bring a trailer when you visit.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this new policy.

The Management

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Down to the Pasture

I kept waiting for sunshine yesterday. It never came. This morning I decided to paint come Heck or High Water. Dad suggested the title.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Roger Holt Family Reunion

This post is intended for every member of the Roger Holt family. So listen up!

It's high time we all got together. Everyone! All of Roger's kids. And their kids, and their grandkids, and even their great-grandkids. If I do the math right, that's 38 people.

The question is: Where do we get together? I thought about somewhere in the middle: halfway between Truth or Consesequences, NM, and Fredericksburg, VA. A quick glance at a map puts that somewhere between Little Rock, AR, and Memphis, TN. Ann Holt even suggested on a beach somewhere. Any suggestions?

The next question: When?

Since the reunion would require some driving, flying or hitching, I was thinking that it should last at least two days, and maybe as many as four. Dad has said he wouldn't be able to go until July and he would have to go back to work in the middle of August.

If you have any ideas, please post them in Comments so everyone can see them and discuss.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Deep Forest Pond

One should never tour a sausage factory, because somehow, the sausage won't ever be the same. In the same way, I really shouldn't tell you that the background trees should have been a darker green to separate them from the ones in the foreground.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Springtime Waterfall

All right! Enough of the baby pictures and reunion nonsense! Let's get back to showing off!