Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Daily Deer... In Full Color Video!

I've been experimenting with my new deer camera recently.  Instead of setting the camera on still pictures, I've collected some video.  What could be more entertaining than video of little deers eating corn?

Well deer fights, of course!


And here is something a little more tame.  Enjoy.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

We're Expecting...

I know, I know.  I've all but abandoned this blog and it has been well over a month since the last post, but instead of a quick check-in about the tasty barbecue we had last night (it really was good, a place called Tracy's in the small town of Moore, southwest of Devine), this is really important and good news.

Daughter Roxanne and her husband Tyler are expecting a little baby.  Eva and I knew - we could just tell and in fact, the day they made the big announcement via Facetime to both Tyler's parents and us, we were sort of like, "Yep, knew it, told ya" and such.  I know, you'd think we could be doing backflips if only to share in all the excitement with the other grandparents, but like I said, we just knew.  Not to say that we aren't thrilled, because we are.

Roxanne has this little app on her phone that gives her information about the baby.  So at one point, she was referring to the baby as Jasmine, because it is the size of  a piece of rice.  Then she was calling it Raisin or Blueberry or something along those lines.  I think the current name is Nibblet. 
And, here is a picture to add to the family photo album. I've never really been good at picking out the parts of these pictures but it looks cute all the same.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lunch Report: Mark's Outing or Fatty's...

Some guys at work told me about this place in San Antonio not too far from the Alamodome on the east side of town.  Hearing their descriptions of juicy burgers and freshly made onion rings, I knew this was a place I'd need to try for myself.  So after a morning of yard work, Eva and I took the trip into SA and found ourselves at Fatty's Burger which is also named Mark's Outing
You can read the back story on their web page, but rest assured, Fatty Burger makes sense.
Inside the old building, things are cool, clean and comfortable.  A friendly staff and atmosphere (free WiFi) made the reasonable wait for our food seem short.  And when the baskets of burgers came out, we were both oohing and awing at the sights and smells.
Eva ordered the Fatty Burger special which included seasoned fries and a drink.  The grilled bun seemed sweet like the Hawaiian buns you can get at HEB, and boy were they good.   Everything was fresh, including the burger patty.  This meal alone will fill you up, promise.
Of course, I always want more, so I opted for what they call the Breakfast burger.  Think half-pound bacon cheeseburger with and egg on top.  More like Breakfast of Champions Burger!  I hate when you have to ask for mayo on a burger.  Not to worry; it was slathered on with extreme prejudice!  This is one of the best burgers I've had in a long time.  In fact, I'll be needing to return to try some of the others like the BBQ Burger that has brisket on top of the beef, or the Jalapeno burger.  You know that will be good.

Let's not forget the importance of good onion rings.  These were perfect, beer battered and beautiful.  I'm pretty sure I'll need to schedule an appointment with the cardiologist - that's how good they were.
Don't take my word for it, check this place out and decide for yourself.  I'm pretty sure you'll agree with me, Fatty's is a Tasty Treat!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Weekend Report: Raccoons, Deer, Movies, Burgers and Explosions...

It is hard not to find raccoons to be the cutest little creatures, right?  I mean, if you wanted to design a cuddly little stuffed animal for a child, I think the color and cuteness of a raccoon wouldn't be a bad design, as long as you didn't include the knife sharp nails.  I think it's that they are so lovably cute that our dog Gracie just wants to play with them.  Or at least stand at the base of the tree and bark and bark and bark, hoping that her dog language will translate into the raccoon equivalent of, "Won't you come down the tree and be friends?"

When we started noticing the cat's food bowl was constantly empty, we suspected that "Grandpa Cat", so named because our granddaughter calls him that, was sneaking around and eating it.  Little Kitty doesn't seem to mind him, but he won't come to me and let me pet him or hold him, and like the raccoons, he runs up a tree the minute Gracie tries to be friends.  Anyway, I decided to put the deer camera down by the cat food, and see if we could solve the mystery.
 And there you have it.  Not one raccoon, but a family!  Aren't they just adorable? It may not be clear from the photo, but I can tell you there is a big fat mama and 3 little ones.    If you notice the time stamp, this visit is around 3 30 in the morning.  What a coincidence that Gracie has been waking me up in the middle of the night and wanting to go outside.

So after seeing the evidence, I figured out that I needed to bring the cat food in at night.  I know, you'd think I would have figured this out after the time I caught the raccoon in the garage before we converted it to a man cave.  But, since bringing the food in at night, I thought the raccoons would go down the street and steal from the neighbors (which it turns out, they do anyway).

Last night we were getting ready for bed and I thought I would let Gracie go out one last time.  When I opened the door, she pushed the outer storm door open and right there in front of us was all four raccoons finishing up the last few kibbles of cat food.  I ran out after the dog and of course, the raccoons took off running.  The three little ones scurried up the first tree and the mama went to the second tree with Gracie close on her tail.  That thing made the ugliest hissing sound which scared me more than Gracie.

While Eva searched for our flashlight, I grabbed the .22 and slipped on my shoes so I could get Gracie back in.  I saw the big one in the tree but wanted to get Gracie in the house, lest I shoot the raccoon and have it drop down and now have to deal with the dog wanting to lick a dead critter.

By the time I came back outside ready to go all Rambo on the raccoons, they had taken advantage of the opening and scurried away.  I'll be honest, I'm not a hunter (not that I'm opposed hunting, at all), and the idea of shooting these critters doesn't appeal to me in the least, but I'm pretty sure the cuteness has run its course.  That cat does not seem to care about the raccoons.  In fact during all the commotion, she just sat there watching with little interest.  But the idea of Gracie getting ahold of one of these guys (or one of them getting ahold of her) does not interest me at all.

Eva wants me to sit outside like a sniper in hiding tonight, then start picking them off when they come back.  I think I may just bring the cat food in earlier.   And keep the gun close by.

(Meanwhile, country folk everywhere are laughing hysterically saying, What a dumbass.)
On Friday night, we had a bunch of folks from the office come by to eat some burgers and dogs, and pop off some fireworks.  At some point, a few folks decided to make a huge sparkler bomb with lots of sparklers and some electrical tape.  Kids, don't try this at home.
video
The result was a big boom!  Like shake the yard and rattle the windows type of boom.  If only we could put this technology to use against the raccoon problem.
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We caught up on a few movies Saturday.  Admission with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.  I caught the first 10 minutes and slept through everything until about the last 20 minutes.  That was a nice little movie.  We also watched This is the End with all the popular comedians.  Lots of good laughs but really, really stupid.  I'd recommend it for people who have no real taste in movies.  Oh, on Friday night we sat out in the man cave and watched The Purge.  That was a good one. 
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 Today we ran out for a quick burger at a place I saw mentioned in a Facebook group.  The place is called Monster Burger located just north of SW Military on Pleasanton Road. 
The menu is made up of burgers and such named after your scarier things.  So you have your Chupacabra, your Dracula, La Llorna and the like.  As a bonus, they were playing AMC's Walking Dead marathon on the TV.  What's not to like?
The place is definitely classified as a hole-in-the wall, and seriously, don't let the looks from the outside stop you from going in.  The folks there were as friendly as could be. 

Eva had the Chupacabra which is the basic burger.  You'll notice the fresh lettuce, and fixings and the seasoned fries that come with it.  The hand packed patties are moist and delicious, the toasted buns fresh and soft.
I went with La Cucuy which comes with salami, some sort of sausage and avocado.  Very juicy and very good.  I subbed the fries for onion rings, and while they were good, they probably had come frozen versus made fresh in the kitchen.  You can't have everything.  This idea of adding additional meats onto the burgers is something that originates in Mexico, so says the cook whose father concocted the burger menu.  I would have never thought of having fried salami with my burger, but it was great.
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Hey, since I'm here anyway and it seems like I've been slacking off on blogging the past few months, what say I leave you with some deer pictures.
This little guy has really been sticking around here for a few weeks.  The other day, I walked outside and he was up close to our porch but as soon as he saw me he was off like a shot and over the fence where he promptly stood there and looked at me.  I think he is thirsty since he was close to the water hose.
 This is his ear.
 He's just been hanging out.
 
 And this is what it looks like when a little reindeer starts to get his horns.  They look so soft and felty.  I know some people really dislike the deer but I'll take the cute deer over the cute raccoons.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lunch Report: Timbo's and Pearl Brewery Farmer's Market...

We met friends Saturday morning at the Pearl Brewery Farmer's Market to walk around, enjoy the friendly atmosphere, grab some coffee at Local, and even take a short lap along the River Walk to see Carlos Cortez' Grotto.  In spite of driving through some heavy rain between Lytle and San Antonio, the morning was spectacular with very much appreciated cool breezes to keep us from melting in the sun.
Before lunch, a few pictures of the Farmers Market in case you still haven't made it down.  This was a nice little band performing some fun songs that had little kids and a few adults dancing in the street.
The market itself is geared toward folks looking to buy organic foods.  Lots of hipsters, lots of people with well behaved dogs, and lots of things to see if you enjoy people watching.
Local Coffee is a favorite of my son and though I'm just a regular coffee drinker, I can tell you it was more than a step above what you get at your convenience store.  Quick service, dapper baristas and no more expensive than Starbucks.
The section of RiverWalk near the Pearl is a great walk with lots of nice views.  Under the Newell Street bridge is The Grotto.  Just go see it and look.  Pretty cool.
Lots of cute birds and such inhabit the area and they have done a remarkable job with the landscaping.  It is all good.
We had to rest my knees for a minute in front of La Gloria before walking across the market to Timbo's.
So the story behind Timbo's is that he started working at Little Hipp's just out of high school and made his way from barback to manager before the place closed in 2002.  With all that experience, Timbo went into business for himself and brought with him a lot of the spirit and menu from Little Hipp's, and you are up to date.
This is one that has been on our to-do list for years, but frankly, timing was just never good.  Today, we were at the Pearl and parked directly across the street so there was no more excuses.
Inside, we loved the place.  It's that old atmosphere you'd find if you were out on the road and came upon an old ice house or roadside burger place.  And there is beer!
The bacon cheeseburger I got featured really good bacon, the kind that holds together on the burger then crumbles, almost melts in your mouth. 
The burger patties themselves seemed to be of the frozen variety, but grilled up right and complimentary of a well dressed burger.  Buns were soft and fresh, and grilled as you would expect.
When served, they give you the standard lettuce, onions and pickles on the burger and make mustard, mayo and ketchup available on the side.  The chilled mayo containers are perfect for mixing up a little dipping sauce for the tots and fries.
For our table of five, we got a large basket mixed with tots and fries.  Honestly, just go with the tots.  The fries are bad, but nobody likes fries when tots are available.

Overall we had a good experience with Timbo's.  It's one of those places that I'd be happy to enjoy again if I'm in the area.  We got there at noon when they opened and honestly, I was surprised at the lack of other customers (one couple came in during the full hour we were there), especially given the traffic at the Farmer's Market just across the street.  On the other hand, I'm guessing that the majority of the people who attend the organic food farmers market aren't the Timbo's type.

Mark another one off our list of places to visit!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Still Here, Just Busy...

I got an e-mail from a concerned reader who saw that I had not posted in a while so I thought I better take a moment to jot down a few notes, lest the remaining handful of you think something is wrong.  Honestly, I've just been busy - lots of work, lots of activity and that just equates to less time posting pictures of lunch and the cute deer that wander around here. But thanks for asking.

In no particular order, the following are a bunch of different things I've been doing to keep myself entertained.

When we first moved out here, I had made up my mind that I would not wait a long time before getting to know neighbors or participating in our HOA activities.  And in fact, we know all of our immediate neighbors, have phone numbers, e-mails and are friends on FaceBook, which really allows everyone to keep up on one another.  It is funny how if there is a strange vehicle driving slowly by (which happens a lot since people are looking to buy land), the whole street goes on alert.

The other thing we did was start attending the association meetings each month.  Disappointing in that, we were usually the only ones to attend, though, who really goes to HOA meetings, anyway?  Well, long story short, after joining the board last year, I took over as president, not because I wanted to but because nobody else was willing to do it.  Believe me, there is nothing prestigious or exciting about it, and frankly, the people who are on the board with me are all wanting the same thing I want - maintain the property values of the neighborhood and avoid having to raise the fees every year.

When I was just a member of the board, there was very little to do.  There is only one meeting a month, and after that, really nothing.  Being the president changed everything.  As the point of contact for the property management company, I get e-mails almost daily, and sometimes, a dozen e-mails needing some sort of approval or wanting to address a problem.  Certainly not a full time job, but the pace is much closer to what it was when I was on the board in my old association.

The real down side is the lack of communication from other members.  We live in an e-mail world, and honestly, between my cell phone and computer, I check my e-mail 10 times a day if not more.  But even then, if you only check your e-mail every few days, wouldn't it make sense to respond to e-mails asking for your input?  So my new tactic is that I add words like, "No replies are assumed to be consent" and things like that.  Anyway, that's one thing that has kept me busy.

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Have you seen that FB is really taking over for Craig's List when it come to buying and selling stuff?  We've joined several online garage sale type groups local to the area.  We got rid of a treadmill, a grill, and a bunch of other little odds and ends that you might have a garage sale for, but with this, there is no sitting out in the hot sun to do it.  Eva has also purchased a few things and last week when she wanted to rent a bounce castle, we found a local person right away and that worked out well.

So this ties into a little project I've been working on.  As many of you know, I have had an ongoing project for about 7 years to scan in old photos.  Well, I also have these old home videos that I have been trying to get moved to the computer.  The VHS tapes I took care of buy buying one of those VCR's that has the DVD recorder on it.  But, I also had two different types of video cameras, one a 8mm type and another in the MiniDV format.  The problem is, I don;t have those cheap cameras anymore but I still have the tapes!
A long while back, I purchased this piece of crap from a pawn shop for $35.  The reason is, people on E-Bay know that people are trying to find these and they want $75-$150 for something that you don't know will work or not.  Well, my $35 was wasted and pawn shops never give you money back on electronics.
Several weeks ago, I found this beauty in perfect condition.  It is a Sony AF8 system complete with case, manuals, 2 batteries and all the original parts.  And it works.  I paid $10 and it more than made up for the $35 I lost at the pawn shop.  Bottom line, I've got my 8mm tapes taken care of and hell, I may just sell this baby for $100.  Or I may keep it because I love it.
My next dilemma:  The MiniDV which look like this.  I put an add on some of the local FB garage sale pages and basically, the people who have these don't want to sell them, but instead want me to help them convert their videos!
 A lady who lives nearby is looking to see if we can work a trade where I use her camera to convert my tapes, then I lend her my Dazzle (which lets you connect the AV cables to your USB) so she can do hers.  We'll see how that works out.

Oh, and speaking of those online groups, there is one called La Pulga de San Antonio which is actually really funny.   I suspect a lot of the items for sale are stolen, which is not funny, but some of the comments that people leave just crack me up.  One lady created much drama when she accused a person who came to her house to get free clothing items of stealing her husband Air Jordans from the back porch.  It got really West Side rather quickly when the accused lady jumped in and started defending herself.  Eventually, the two ladies worked out their dispute, but not before much folly was made by the people leaving various comments and pictures and such.  Good times.

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Our air conditioning situation.  So with the completion of the Man Cave, we really hadn't put it through its paces in terms of having more than Eva and I sitting out there watching a movie.  A week or two ago, we had a big party for my daughter and she invited quite a few folks over for a cookout, the aforementioned bounce castle, and such.  Well, naturally, some folks gravitated to the Man Cave to do some Karaoke. 

What I found as the afternoon dragged on was that, with the constant opening and closing of the door for people to go in, grab beers or sodas and leave, the air conditioner was just not keeping up.  I knew this would be a problem, to be honest.  What I really wanted was to have a company come in and install a small central unit, but that was cost prohibitive.  And, it just so happened that we had a window unit sitting in a box in the shed.

Well yesterday, we were at Lowe's and based upon the recommendations of other folks who have them, we bought one of those roll around units.  And honestly, right now, we are thinking about taking it back.  All the reviews say that this thing can cool down a room really quickly, but last night we installed it and let it go for a few hours and it never got below 78, and really, stayed closer to 80.  That is unsatisfactory.

We seriously insulated the hell out of the Man Cave, so it shouldn't be that the room is too hot.  But who knows.  I'm open to suggestions.
Oh, and speaking of the party.  This was a birthday cake our friend Shannon made for the event.  Roxanne always loved the Little Mermaid, so this was a real treat for a 26 year-old.

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I should post something about food, right?  Yesterday we were out running errands and happened to be over on Bandera stopping in at a few garden centers there.  Anyway, we thought, we ought to go eat at Beef O'Brady's since they opened one on Bandera, and we liked it when we went to ones in Brandon and Panama City Beach.

Well, I guess not.  Looks like the one here in San Antonio didn't make it because it was gone.  The sign on the street is still there, but the restaurant was gone.

Instead, we slipped in to Babe's in Helotes.  I wouldn't say Babe's is my favorite, but they certainly are a reliable choice every once in a while.  I like the basket of mixed onion rings and fries.
Eva had the chili cheeseburger and I had the bacon cheeseburger.  It hit the spot! 

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The other day I was mowing the yard, minding my own buisness, then the next thing you know...
This happens.  Yikes!  Turns out that I need to replace the bearings in the front wheels.  In the mean time, I put the wheel back on, got a new clip from the hardware store and was back in action before too long.

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 My son bought tickets for us to go see one of the Spurs playoff games against the Clippers Blazers at the AT&T center.  Since he paid for the tickets, I paid for parking, snacks and beer.  I'm not sure which of us got the better end of the deal.  Seriously, $9.50 for a beer?  
It really was a good time - the crowd is great and the energy that you just don't see on TV is pretty exciting.  
But all in all, I think that basketball is a game much better viewed on TV in front of the big screen.  In fact, that's our plan for tonight.  

Hopefully this catches you up if you were missing out on what's happening out here.  More when I get a chance!