Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Only The Finest Entertainment...

Albatross over at Strange in San Antonio, a favorite daily read of mine, has the story from KENS-TV on a San Antonio mom winning the Miss Texas Pole Dance competition.  You'll want to read more about it here.
Interestingly, in a probably unrelated story, a co-worker of mine snapped this picture at one of the finer establishments in the Southwest Military Drive area.  
I trust the lady in the KENS-TV story is over qualified. Way over qualified.
 

(In case you can't see it, the sign reads: The bitches are gone. Now hiring dancers.)

 

And Then It Was Gone...

Just as a follow-up to the post from yesterday about the water tower...
This was the view this morning when I pulled in, and by noon, the whole thing was gone.
Those guys really work quick!

I suppose the real question is, why is the parking lot mostly empty when I leave work these days? 
  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Copper Thieves?

Nah, maybe not.  
I rolled into my parking spot at around 7:10 this morning, and this is what the water tower I have looked at most of the mornings of my adult life looked like - on its last day.
Just a little after 11AM when I was walking back to my office from a meeting in another building, this is what it looked like.  Wow!  

 And I stepped out a few more times during the day to take pictures.  Nobody could believe how fast these guys were moving.
 And finally, when I left work at 5:30 this afternoon, the demolition crew was still going at it.  Unbelievable.  Now what am I supposed to do if I get thirsty?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Talkative Creatures...

When I was 16 and had my first car, a Camaro that was pretty sweet (after lots of work and money), I had this really interesting thought run through my mind from time to time.  Wouldn't it be cool if you could take your car to a place where they would change your oil?  And at this oil changing place, what if all of the mechanics were women?

So, 30 years later, I went to get the oil changed and the fantasy came true.  All women.  Yea.  So, moving right along...

By now you know we have this spiffy little camera set up to catch creatures in the night.  So I had it set up again last night and found that there is some sort of issue with it.  A quick search of the Internet reveals other consumers have had similar problems with the SD card reading Full (and thus, not recording anything) when in fact, the card is not full.  On the agenda Saturday includes a trip to Academy.  I'll let you know how that little transaction goes.

One of the really appealing things we have found since moving out here is that people are all so darned friendly.  I don't mean that sarcastically, by the way.  An example is that we have had two recent issues with house related things.  The A/C was jacked up and my gut reaction was to contact the Home Warranty people that we contracted with when we purchased the house.  By chance, I also let the builder/seller know the situation just so he could be aware of the problem.  I'll skip all the details (avoiding lawsuits and such - about how useless the "home warranty" people are for the second straight home that I have had them with) and just tell you that the builder/seller sent out his A/C guy and promptly fixed our problem - even after the warranty people had sent another company out.  That is an example of local people being awesome.   

Contain your giddiness.

There is a time and a place for everything.  I love talking with people as long as it is by e-mail and does not involve actual face to face interaction and preferably does not include the use of phones either.

Out here, people want to talk face to face.  My wife loves that sort of thing.  Seriously, she could make friends at an execution.  We have found that everywhere we go in Lytle, Natalia or Devine, people are just naturally friendly.  Frankly, there should be a manual on taking friendly chatter too far.  The other day I pulled into the drive through at Bill Miller's to grab an Iced Tea refill (half and half) which, given the fact that there was only one car in front of me, should have taken about two minutes at the most.
 Long story short: Waitress at the window was way too chatty with the person in front of me.  I don't care if the lady was your third grade teacher, let's move along, can't we?  Just look at the picture I finally snapped after what seemed like an hour of hand gesturing with no real exchange of money or food product.  Is that a gang sign or is the lady deaf?  "C" is for Chicken.

Having refrained from blasting my horn and ramming the vehicle in front of me, when I finally pulled up for my iced tea refill, the chatty Cathy refused to relinquish my refillable tea mug until we had exchanged family histories.  The hell?
 We had niece's little daughter over today.  Her name is Mya and she is so cute.  She likes the little swing I put up out in the yard.  Thankfully, she is not as talkative as the Bill Miller's drive through lady.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crazy Flying Creatures!

Holy Crap!  That is the cleaned up version of what I said at 5:30 this morning when I started to open the back door to let the dogs out. 
Last evening, Eva kept asking me if I heard this strange sound. I hadn't.  This morning, the sight of what she had heard made it obvious;  there had been a locust outbreak of biblical proportions.
 Okay, perhaps I'm a bit over dramatic about these things, but at 5:30AM, with the ground covered and hundreds more flying around, I was not about to let the dogs out or venture out myself.  For a brief moment, I thought about calling in sick for work.

In the end, I turned off all the lights and let the dogs go out the front door where I kept a can of wasp spray and a broom handy.  There were no sudden attacks, so we went back in and waited for the sun to come up.

When I left for work, the only signs of life were the occasional flutter from one of the flying objects grasping for the last few breaths of life.  I have no idea where the rest of them flew off to.
This is a close-up.  We know for sure it is not a ringtail cat.  Any idea what these flying beasts could be?
In an unrelated incident, my wife has a new friend to go along with her collection of frogs living in her plants out front.  This is Jimmy the Cricket.  I'm not kidding when I say he is the size of a small dog.  A very small dog.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lurking Creatures....

So this past Father's Day, Eva got me one of those fancy cameras that hunters use to take pictures of deer so they can have a fond memory before they eat them.  I'm not looking to shoot anything, but I do like the idea of surveillance along the our border - er property line.

Anyway, after our first few days of moving the camera around to see what we could see, this is what we came up with.  Birds.  Birds like to drink water.  Lizards.  Lizards out here are huge.  Big enough to make the motion sensor on the camera start recording, but too camouflaged to notice in a small video.  Weird looking cat-like creatures.  There is a night scene of this little cat looking animal but it has a really long tail - at least as long as the cat's body, with rings around it.  Snakes.  Holy crap, there was a huge snake that seriously made me want to walk around with The Judge (if ya'  know what I mean).

So anyway, here it is for your viewing pleasure.  I hope to eventually have some good video of the deer that are somewhat camera shy.

PS: If you know what that weird cat-like thing is, leave a comment, won't you?  I need to make up some Chupacabras T-shirts!

Finally...

Rain.

(This is where I had planned to insert a picture of the weather radar showing rain all over south central Texas, but for some reason, Blogger would not cooperate.  So, imagine a map of south central Texas with colorful rain from south of Del Rio through San Antonio as far north as Austin and moving through to Houston, but most importantly, giving the Devine, Natalia, Lytle "metro area" a nice rinse.)

Much needed!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday Morning Notes...

Oh, my!  Has another week gone by where I didn't have a spare minute to report the latest?  I suppose so.  That doesn't mean that not a single thing of great importance has happened, mind you, and luckily, I try to keep my camera handy to catch things as they occur.
This is becoming a more and more common sight along the route I travel daily on I-35 south of San Antonio.  When you combine the extreme drought conditions (I don't think I have even dreamed about rain in months), combined with the non-stop train of trucks hauling goods south (and drugs north), you are bound to have a blow-out.  The hot tires or sparks of metal or something combustible takes place and the dry, brittle grass ignites.  At least I want to believe this is the case.  I would seriously hate to believe that we could have people so in comprehensively stupid that they would toss a cigarette butt out their car window without realizing how dangerous the act of littering along the highway could be.  Insert crying Indian (Native American) here.
In spite of the drought, farmers are still producing some veggies out here.  We pass several farms that offer their produce from little stands on their property and after repeated requests from my wife, I finally pulled into one such farm.  Yea, if you want to help with the pronunciation of Verstuyft, please do.
 We went in in the late afternoon and there was quite a crowd of folks picking out fresh corn, peppers, onions, green beans and more.  I'm not sure if these prices were cheaper than the HEB down the road in Lytle, but it was cool to see people out in the fields picking crops and have them end up in the bins for sale without much more processing.  
 Two things that caught my eye.  If you had a huge appetite for the venison, what else are you going to do with all the antlers?  The entire place was covered in the things.  
And of course, I'm a sucker for fancy mail boxes.  I suspect this one isn't used that much.
Am I the only person who sees a tubby fellow on a small motorcycle and immediately thinks of Chris Farley and David Spade?  Apparently not.  My wife broke into, "Fat guy in a little coat" when we saw this guy.
I was pulling into the parking lot at work the other day and spotted this little gem.  Naughty lady.

Speaking of naughty.  We usually keep the bedroom doors shut in the house so the big dog and little dog won't sneak in and make use of the beds while we are away.  At night, one of them sleeps under our bed (Panda, the little one) and the other (Gracie, the big one) sleeps with her head under the bed but the rest of her body immediately beneath where I might step if I get up in the middle of the night.  She lives dangerously.  Anyway, if we were to leave the other bedrooms open, I suspect these dogs would skip hiding under the bed and go snuggle up with pillows and such in the other rooms, causing my wife to lose her mind!
Last night, our nephew Diego stayed out here and of course, he was joined by Gracie for the evening.  Apparently, he slept through this late night action.  One of the many dog toys succumbed to a liposuction of sorts, and all the stuffing was gone by morning.
Guilty for sure, but which one?
Perhaps our best bet would be to mount a motion sensitive hunting camera in the room.  Our first attempt at catching something wild out in our back yard proved only somewhat successful.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Breakfast Report: La Palmera near Lytle...

 It only took us six months to track it down but as of this morning, we have found The go to place for breakfast tacos.  Located about a mile southwest of Lytle on Hiway 132, we had driven by La Palmera numerous times on our way to or from Natalia.  The parking lot is usually full, a good indication that a place is worth a stop, but until this morning, we had found excuses not to stop.  That is over now.
To be sure, everyone has their own idea of what makes a taco place good.  I have a few key points that have to be met.  Freshly rolled, home made flour tortillas, just off the burner are a must.  Bonus points if there is someones grandmother in the kitchen making them as you order.  Look at these beauties.  Oh sure they are totally unhealthy, but there are times in life when ya gotta treat yourself. 
As is my modus operandi when trying out a new taco place, I start first with the carne guisada topped with a generous helping of government cheese.  Much to the dismay of my wife, I reported then and and I will tell you now; this was the best carne guisada taco I have ever experienced - in my life.  Naturally, my wife's carne guisada runs a close second.  Naturally.   If you love CG w/cheese on a perfect flour tortilla, you can appreciate how the meat and cheese seemed to melt into my bite of the tortilla.  There was no fighting the meat, and amazingly, the taco was not emptying itself onto my plate as my eyes nearly rolled into the back of my head.  Thinking about it now is actually satisfying, knowing there is more where the last one came from.
My second taco is always the chorizo & egg.  One of the big problems that many taco places have is that they make up a huge order of chorizo & egg, then simply scoop it into a tortilla when one is ordered. You end up with hard, burnt chorizo and egg.   I'm guessing that at La Palmera, the meats are held separately and when an order comes in, the egg is cooked and the selected ingredient is folded in.  This allows for a fluffy, fresh, soft and hot taco.  To add to this, I think this chorizo was simply outstanding.  Once again, I am prepared to tell you that this chorizo and egg was quite possibly the best I have ever encountered.  Friends, I've had a taco or two, and I ain't kidding.  
The trifecta is complete only when I have engaged the country sausage and egg taco.  I'm guessing this was some Kielbasa sausage cut into random chunks and lightly cooked before being mixed with the aforementioned fluffy eggs.  Maybe not the best I have ever had, but certainly worth a repeat on my next visit.   
My wife had the potato and chorizo and agreed with me on the tastiness of this particular sausage.  I'm not sure if it is store bought, home made or just well prepared, but it is some good stuff. 
Our bill for five tacos, coffee, a Mexican Coke, and a small baggie of freshly made, melt in your mouth peanut brittle was about $12.00 and so well worth it.
We think there are a handful of good places to eat around these parts.  But the best breakfast tacos in our first six months of living out here can be found at La Palmera.  Seriously, a Tasty Treat.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lunch Report: The Cove in San Antonio...

SOL was an often used military term that indicated that your luck had run out.  On a trip downtown to meet friends at The Cove, we learned that SOL Food is Sustainable, Organic, and Local.  And, as luck would have it, I was in the mood for a sustainable, organic, local bison burger!
 We have been meaning to try The Cove, a restaurant that grew out of a combination laundromat and car wash on West Cypress near San Pedro.  In fact, the only reason we have driven right by it so many times and not stopped is that we have been on our way to another one of the many excellent joints in the area.  But when friends suggested a late Sunday afternoon lunch, we were all for it even if the truck didn't need a wash.
Inside the food ordering area, they have a pretty simple operation.  You look at the menu, order and pay, receive a number to take to your table and someone will track you down and bring the food.



We first took a seat inside the bar section where a live band was playing but quickly realized that catching up with friends would be better done in the outdoor eating area.  Plenty of space including kid-friendly play area seating and a special corner for smokers away from the food.
After we ate and in between bands, we went back inside the bar to cool down and chat.  It really is an interesting local and suspect the bar can become quite the hip place to be later in the evening.  Yes, that is a painting of a nekkid lady swimming behind the drums.  

But what about the burgers, you must be wondering.  Good stuff indeed.  The Cove is famous for their fish tacos.  In spite of that claim to fame, we still opted for the burgers.  

That guy on the Food Network proclaimed the Lamb Burger, the best he had ever had.  And according to our fellow diners, he was pretty accurate.  Sorry about the picture - you mostly see bun, but the presentation in person is very nice.  And look at the sweet potato fries.  Add the dipping sauce, and you'll appreciate them that much more.
Eva and I both enjoyed the bison burger, her opting for the sweet potato fries and me going with the traditional potatoes.  Yes, yes, it is all the fancy healthy stuff that might make you feel a little bit like a hippy or something, but what's wrong with delicious food being reasonably okay for you every once in a while?  In spite of the fact that we didn't leave the table feeling like we were one artery clogging closer to a heart attack, we still loved the bison burger.

Haven't been to The Cove yet? Y'ought to give 'em a try.  You'll be SOL - in a good way!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bullwinkle, is That You?...

We pulled into the parking lot at the H-E-B in Lytle yesterday afternoon to grab a much needed raspa from the guy who parks his trailer in the lot and offers cool relief from the hot desert wind.  It is not uncommon to see people parked in this lot, just sitting in their vehicles waiting to meet up with someone.  The HEB seems to be as good a public place as any out in these parts to hook up for that Craig's List transaction, so if the person claiming to want to sell you an old cell phone or gently used lawn mower turns out to be a thief wanting to steal your cash, there should be plenty of witnesses. And you can get a raspa while you wait.

There is no shortage of interesting characters or objects to see out here.  For example, when I happened to see a lady wearing low cut jeans and a shirt that was worn a bit too high on her back.  It wasn't the muffin top (standard in all of south central Texas) that caught my eye, but the intricate detail of the "tramp stamp" tattoo that adorned her lower back.  Oh wait, as I discreetly pointed the artwork out to my wife, that was not a tattoo, it was hair.  You would appreciate the fact that I did not include photos.
Anyway, there was a guy sitting in his truck apparently waiting to meet up with someone.  It looks like he had just finished with a little taxidermy action.  We actually drove up right next to the truck and could see that the exposed fur was real.  As my wife stood in line making friends with fellow raspa enthusiasts, a lady was telling her about the fact that there is an exotic game hunting ranch not far from here and also a guy that does taxidermy nearby.  That was one huge moose.