A Busy Week Ahead . . .

Today was another easy one, with a first stop at the office to drop off some parts that had come in, and some Christmas stuff for Jennifer and Dr. Heimlich’s wife.

Then it was on over to Texas Huddle once again for lunch.

We both started with salads,

Texas Huddle Salad 20221204

and then Jan decided to get the Chicken Tenders this time.

Texas Huddle Chicken Tenders 20221204

She said they were really good.

I stuck with the same wings that I had last time.

Texas Huddle Wings 20221204

And as usual, Juana, our regular server, took great care of us.

It’s a busy week ahead.

Tomorrow afternoon I’ve got my 1 year evaluation after my Cervical Spine Fusion last November. Probably I’m going to set up a consult with my neurosurgeon to talk about a possible lumbar fusion down the road.

Then on Tuesday we got our monthly Alvin Opry Group get-together at Saltgrass Steakhouse, though we’ll be short a couple of people due to Christmas stuff interfering.

Following up on the Opry theme, Friday night is the Christmas Show at the Alvin Opry. And some old friends are going to be there. Really looking forward to it.

Finally, on Saturday the Three Acre Truck Park is having their Christmas Market.

Busy, Busy, Busy.     

Finishing up, I don’t know if this is Amazing, or Spooky, or Scary!

Or all three.

A while back, I posted this photo from Jan’s Senior Year in 1966.

Jan 1966 B&W

So of course I had to colorize it.

Jan 1966

Then I did this.

And this.

The site that lets you do this is My Heritage. It’s primarily a Genealogy site, along with DNA testing. But it also has some neat video features.

Thanks for our new friend Melinda King to turning me on to this.

Check it out.


Thought for the Day:

Trust the Experts, they say.

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers” – Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943


December 4, 2010

Linden Trees and Light Shows . . .

This morning got off to an early start when Jan and I left the lake house about 9:15 to drive back down to Fischer to pick up our friend Gina so she could meet up with everyone in Fredericksburg for lunch and get in some Landon time.

We got to Gina’s about 10:30, and then turned right around and headed for Fredericksburg, a little over an hour away.

When we got to Der Lindenbaum, our favorite German restaurant, the rest of the family was waiting at a table for us. We had a great meal of Weinerschnitzel, Jaeger Schnitzel, Bratwurst, German potato salad, sauerkraut, and their fantastic red cabbage.

It seems like we sat around talking all afternoon, but by 1:30 we were back on the road after a great meal. After dropping Gina off, I got back to the lake house about 4:30 just in time for a nap with my head on Jan’s lap. Just heavenly.

We thought we were going to see the Christmas Boat Parade on the lake along with some fireworks, but no lights, no boat, no fireworks. Apparently we were told the wrong date.

About 6 pm we headed out for dinner at Highlander Inn, a really good local buffet restaurant. Then after the meal, we walked next door to see Burnet’s Christmas Lights along Hamilton Creek. And this time Landon stayed awake and was fascinated by all the lights.

Lowell and Landon

We got back to the house about 7:30 and settled in for the night.

Once again Chris and Piper played HALO on the Xbox for a while and then we watched our favorite Christmas movie “A Christmas Story”.

“Ralphie, you’ll shoot your eye out with that thing”

Tomorrow will end our short vacation here in the Texas Hill Country, and we’ll head back to Houston about 10 am or so, probably stopping off for lunch at Rudy’s Country BBQ in Austin on the way.

So more tomorrow from Dickinson Bayou.


December 4, 2012

Naked at Hooters . . .

For the first time since we got back to Houston, I did pretty much nothing today. No clients, no errands, no nothing. Just goofing off all day.

We did get a lot of rain off and on during the day which, along with the overcast skies, kept the temperature down which was nice.

Finally about 4:30 we headed up to the Hooters in Seabrook for supper. And luckily for me, it was Sexy Santa Tuesday, so the scenery was even better than normal. Gives a whole new meaning to who’s naughty or nice.

I always order my Hooters’ wings “naked”, which means there is no breading on the wings. Not only do I like the resulting crispy skin better, it saves a lot on calories. In this case, 10 “naked” wings have 660 calories, while regular wings have 1750 calories. A big difference!

I also order “all drums” instead of a mixture of drums and flappers. I just like them better.

Whenever we eat at Hooters I always remember my first visit to one. Somewhere around 2000, while I was working in Tech Support at the University of Houston – Clear Lake, we were eating at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood one night with Chris, Linda, and Piper. Piper, who was about 7 at the time, was eating onion rings, and holding one up, said, “These are good, but not as good as the ones at Hooters.”

Well, that brought the conversation to a grinding halt. What was our 7 year old granddaughter doing at Hooters? Turns out that she and her father sometimes had lunch there. She also said they had really good chicken wings.

Now we had never been there, so about a week later we all met at Hooters for dinner. I was surprised to see how many other families were there with kids too. In fact they had a whole line of highchairs lined up against the wall.

We’d been there about 15 minutes when from across the dining room I hear “Greg!”, and then a few seconds later I was getting a big hug from behind and a big kiss on the top of my bald head from a Hooters girl. Of course Jan was very interested in this, and I could feel the cold wind coming my way from her direction.

But before I could really react, the girl said, “Cindy, come here! It’s Greg”. And soon I was getting another hug and kiss. By now it was getting down right frigid.

So I figured my marriage was probably over. But then I finally figured out who the two young ladies were.

It was Jennifer, and of course, Cindy, both students at the university where I worked. Jennifer was finishing up her Masters Degree in Business, and a few weeks before she had come to me one night (I normally worked the night shift there) with a defective ZIP disk.

With tears in her eyes she told me it held the only final copy of her Masters Thesis that had to be handed in a couple of days from now. From her description, I told her it sounded like her disk was suffering from the infamous “Click of Death”, and said that I had a ZIP drive that I had modified that might be able to read her disk. I told her that I would have to take it home, and that she should check back with me the next night.

Luckily, I was able to recover the data and transfer it to a CD for more permanent storage. That got me a big hug and a tearful thank you for her the next night.

Cindy, on the other hand, was getting ready to take her CPA exam, and the hard drive in her Toshiba laptop had died, taking all of her study materials with it. And when her friend Jennifer heard about Cindy’s problem, she sent her to me.

I asked her the name of the folders she needed recovered and took the laptop home with me. I was able to recover the data from her dead drive by using the old “freezer” trick. This is where you place the bad drive in the freezer for about an hour and then plug it into the computer as a slave drive, and then power up.

If you’re lucky you will be able to get data off the drive until it warms up. After that, it’s rinse and repeat, until you’ve got everything you need. And luckily for Cindy, it worked this time too.

As the girls explained this to Jan, I could detect a distinct warming in the atmosphere.

Luckily for me.

So remember the next time you’re at Hooters, your “dumb blonde” waitress may be better educated than you are.

But Jan still got some revenge. After we left Hooters, we stopped off at Kroger’s for a few things. As we were walking around the store, I noticed people looking at me and smiling.

Figuring it wasn’t my good looks and sparkling personality, I checked my zipper. By then I noticed that Jan had a sly smile too. Finally she told me to go to the restroom and check the mirror.

And there on the top of my gleaming, bald head was the reminder of my Hooters’ hello – two large, bright-red lipstick prints.


December 4, 2013

Picky, Picky, Picky . . .

Jan and I headed up to Webster about 10am to pick up our truck from Brock’s Car Care after they finished the repairs. We wanted to do it early since we needed to get the rental car back to Enterprise before noon.

And I will be really glad to turn in this Hyundai Elantra. It is undoubtedly the most uncomfortable car I have ever driven. I like the handling and response, but the seats are sheer torture. The seat backs are curved so that you’re supposed to sit back into them. But my shoulders are wider than the seat edges so that I’m either sitting across the front edges, or I’m sitting sideways half in and half out of the seat. On top of that, the seat backs don’t have a lot of padding so they’re not very comfortable anyway.

Plus there is a large bar code sticker on the bottom rear of the driver’s window that hovers right in my peripheral vision making me think there’s a car right beside me.

Yeah, I know, picky, picky, picky.

Like most trips to the mechanic they found some other things that needed fixing. So, all told, I got two new front hubs, new tie rods, a four wheel alignment, a rear brake job, including rotors and pads, a new battery, and of course, the obligatory lube and oil change.

Then after dropping off the rental car we headed up to King Food for a lunch of Chicken in Hot Garlic with Fresh Jalapenos. Mmmm Good!

After lunch we drove over to the car wash to get 3 months of encrusted caliche dust off the truck. We can actually see what color it is now. Then heading for home, we stopped off at Kroger’s for a few things, and a couple of lattes from the in-store Starbuck’s.

Getting back to the rig, I started to unpack some things from the truck. The main thing I wanted to get out was the fabric top for our Coleman canopy. It was raining when we packed it away in a large garbage bag for the trip back to Houston and I wanted to get it open and dried out before it mildewed. I draped it across the truck for a while and the wind dried it out pretty quickly. Then I did the same thing for the tarp that we used for a windbreak on the gate.

I wanted to get all this done because the weather is getting ready to turn crappy. Today’s high was 80 but tomorrow night’s low is supposed to be 47. Then Friday’s high is forecast to be 52 and rainy.


December 4, 2014

Turkey Redux . . .

If it’s Thursday, it’s Turkey and Dressing . . . at least at Cracker Barrel.

For our family Thanksgiving Dinner last Thursday, our son Chris whipped up a batch of his great Seafood Gumbo, which we all really enjoyed, but Jan is always jonesin’ for Turkey and Dressing. So much in fact, that we stopped off at the Conroe Cracker Barrel and picked up a Turkey and ‘Dressing’ Thanksgiving Dinner for her to have the next day while she was house/dog sitting for Chris, Linda, and Piper over Thanksgiving weekend.

But, ‘Dressing’ is in quotes because Jan didn’t get any with her Cracker Barrel take-off. She got the Turkey, she got the Ham, and she got the veggies, biscuits, and pumpkin streusel dessert, but no dressing.

Today was her day to make up for it. So about 3:30 we drove down to the next exit to have a Turkey and Dressing lupper at Cracker Barrel. And this time she made sure she got her Dressing

Finishing up at CB, we drove on down to the Wal-Mart to pick up some stuff, before finally heading home for the night. All in all, a very nice day.

I’ve had some more time to play with the Arduino computer kit, and have been working through the hardware/software projects. The hardware stuff is pretty basic, I.e., this circuit varies the flash rate for the LED by turning the potentiometer, but I’m more interested in the software programming part.

Arduino Breadboard

So what I do is go in and rewrite the software for each project to make it do different things, learning as I go. Always fun.

I’ve been reading a couple of good books lately, both by the the same author, Steve Lehto. The first one is the story of the development of the rocket belt or jet pack. And there’s even a murder in this story. Even better, you can read this one free with Kindle Unlimited. A really interesting story.

The Great American Jet Pack: The Quest for the Ultimate Individual Lift Device

The next book is the behind-the-scenes story of Chrysler’s decades-long project to develop a viable turbine-powered family automobile. And despite what you may have read or heard, they did. Able to burn just about any fuel, from gasoline, diesel, and kerosene, to jet fuel, tequila, and perfume, the last version proved to be as good, or even better than anything on the road at the time. In fact 50 test cars were loaned out for 3 month periods to over 200 ordinary families that put more than a million miles on the cars.

Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation

CTCfront34

63turbinb

As it turns out the US Government pretty much killed the turbine car, but not deliberately, and probably not for the reason you might think.

A very good book, and a great read.


December 4, 2015

All Pumpkin, All The Time . . .

We spent last night at Brandi’s since it didn’t make sense to make the 90 minute trip back to Conroe and get home after 10pm.

Jan was up about 6:30 so she could ride along with Lowell and Landon at his school drop-off. This way Jan could scope out Landon’s school delivery system for next Friday’s repeat. Apparently there is a pretty involved, computerized procedure for dropping off kids at his school, all controlled with iPads.

This let me sleep in to around 9am. Yay!

Brandi was feeling a little better this morning, but still nowhere near up to snuff. Hopefully this bug will pass for her as quickly as it did for Lowell and Landon.

Jan and I headed back to the rig around 10am, with a bunch of stops along the way. First up was the Kroger’s for gas at $1.58, nice for us now, but not boding well for any gate guarding next year.

Then it was Tractor Supply Company for a few things, before we ended up at Chuy’s for lunch. Although we’ve never eaten at this one, we’ve eaten at several others around Houston, and it’s always good.

As usual we both got the Mexi-Cobb salad, with their Creamy Jalapeno dressing

Chuy's Salad

Besides being delicious, it’s big enough that we both had half left over for supper tonight.

After lunch we headed over to Katy Mills Mall area for some shopping. Our first stop was Tuesday Morning, Jan’s favorite Christmas card boutique. They always have high-end cards at deep discounts, so it’s her go-to place every year.

Next up was the Bath & Body Works store in the mall itself to pick up some gifts-to-be, while I had a nice little nap in the car. And with that taken care of, we headed back toward Conroe.

Getting into the area, we made a short stop at the Kroger’s for a few things, and along the way Jan came across her new pumpkin love,

Pumpkin Whipped Cream

Kroger’s New Pumpkin Flavored Whipped Cream

So now she can have Pumpkin Whipped Cream in her coffee that’s flavored with CoffeeMate Pumpkin Spice Creamer. I guess I’ll have to get her some of that Pumpkin Spice Flavored Coffee, so she can go all the way with it.

All Pumpkin, All The Time.

Getting back to the rig a little before 2pm, we both ended up taking a nap before we got back to catching up by binge-watching TV shows.

We can’t really watch all the new TV shows while we’re on a Gate, so we just record everything on our DVR and then start catching up later.

So far we’ve done Big Bang Theory, and we’re almost done with iZombie. Then there’s Grimm, Once Upon A Time, Fargo, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Major Crimes, Castle, etc. So we’ve a few to go.

About 6 we checked in with Brandi, and found her somewhat on the mend, feeling better, but still not great. So, hopefully by tomorrow.

We’ve got a busy week coming up. Sunday we move over to the Colorado River Thousand Trails for two weeks. Then Tuesday  we’ll come back to Brandi’s where we’re getting together with Chris, Linda, and Piper, to take in the Zoo Lights, the Christmas Lights Spectacular at the Houston Zoo.

Then I’ll come back to the rig that night while Jan stays at Brandi’s. This will give me the couple of days I need to complete all my plumbing projects, I.e. toilet ball and seal replacement, lavatory faucet replacement, and cutting into the wall looking for my shower leak.

Then I’ll come back to Brandi’s Thursday night, Friday morning to do a repeat of Landon’s school drop-off while Brandi’s having her sinus surgery.

Then we’ll kill some time until the late afternoon when we’ll meet some friends in Pasadena for dinner and the Pasadena Opry Christmas Show.

So, a really busy week. So much for being retired and just kicking back.


December 4, 2016

Don’t Do It !

Today was my last day (for now) at the Moczygemba gate. I say ‘for now’ because it seems like I keep cycling back thru these gates over and over. But the next time at this one, I hope it’s not pouring down rain. Because in this guard shark, when it’s pouring down outside, it’s also pouring down inside.

Well not as much pouring, as running out on the steel desk top and then waterfalling off onto the floor. It comes out from under the metal box hold the surveillance camera electronics on the left side of the table top.

I’m still not sure where the water was coming in. It wasn’t running down the wall, or coming in around the nearby window. But it was enough that I went through a roll of paper towels, and a stack of the towels from the potty trailer. But I still had to regularly sweep the pooling water out the door.

We only had eleven trucks in the gate today, most coming in between 6:30 and 7:30am. Supposedly they’re going to start fracking on Wednesday so today was just a lot of prep work to get ready.

If you use Google Chrome, and sometimes even if you don’t, you may be surfing the web and suddenly you this.

Urgent Chrome Update

DON’T DO IT!

As Adm. Ackbar says,”It’s a trap!

In most cases it will not let you back up or get out of it, so just close the tab and move on. If you’ve already done this update, then you’re infected. You can find instructions online to rid yourself of the virus.

Wrapping up, there’s a new infection running through the Android/Google world that you need to check for.

Using an Android device, go here and enter your Google account email address.

https://gooligan.checkpoint.com

This will tell you if yours is one of the 1 million+ accounts that have been breached. Normally you will only have a problem with this if you’ve downloaded Android software apps outside the Google Play Store. But check it anyway just to be sure.

Let’s be safe out there.


December 4, 2017

It’s Probably Eyetalian . . .

Work today was pretty  slow with nothing much going on, so I just took care of a few loose ends, and printed up some new ‘FRAGILE’ labels for our shipments.

Or you may pronounce it ‘FRA JIL E’. It’s probably Eyetalian.

I did discover a problem this weekend that could have been catastrophic under the right (or wrong) circumstances. We were set up to use iDrive’s Linux Server Backup Service on our webserver Or at least I thought we were.

When I finally got a replacement password from iDrive this weekend, I logged in and found that our service had lapsed 3 weeks ago, due to non-payment. The credit card on file with them had expired and they had been sending notices to the previous IT guy’s email account, which I still don’t have access to. (or ‘to which I still don’t have access’, in case you’re one of those dangling prep people)

So I went ahead and paid the bill, $374.62, for 2.5TB of backup storage to get things going again. Glad I caught it before things went  south.

Jan and I finally got through all the slides, ending up with about 180 slides to possibly have digitized. We’ll make another pass to look at them again before we make a final decision.

Some of the slides are from a family vacation we took out west the summer of 1964 when I was 15. One thing that was hard to believe were photos of us driving on four lane freeways in LA with only 3 cars ahead of us.

Another that was amazing was the fact that the adult General Admission to Disneyland was $1.60. No, that’s no a typo. Or for $4.95 you could get a 15 ride ticket book, that included your General Admission. Oh, and parking was a quarter.

The other thing is the fact that we visited places I don’t remember visiting, Virginia City, NV for one.  We were going through the slides and suddenly a slide showing this building popped up.

Virginia City School House

I thought I remembered it from Virginia City when Jan and I visited there in 2013. And I was right. It’s the Fourth Ward School. Then a little later we came across a ‘Welcome to Virginia City‘ sign. So I guess we were there and I just forgot it.

Finally, presaging last weeks, The Big Bang Theory, a guy in Wales threw away an old laptop HD in 2013, forgetting that it contained 7,500 Bitcoins, worth about $4 million at that time. He had mined them in 2009, saving the HD when he trashed the laptop, figuring the Bitcoin price would rise. But then over the years he forgot about it and the HD got trashed as well.

Now it’s worth $108 million. Ouch


December 4, 2018

I Feel Left Out . . .

About 1:30 Jan and I headed out for lunch and some more. Since it’s been a while we drove over to Los Ramirez right off FM646 on FM517. One thing that was interesting was watching a lady paint the Christmas decorations on the restaurant windows.

She was just setting up when we got there, and by the time we left she was finishing up all six windows. She started by going down the row of windows doing all the basic shapes of candy canes, wreaths, trees, bells, etc. Then, with the first panels now dry, she went back to the start adding in the details, and then did it again. She did a really great job in less than an hour. But unfortunately, after all this buildup, I can’t show you because I forgot to get any photos. Sorry.

Maybe I can run by there tomorrow.

Next up were stops at WalMart for more stuff, and then the next door Sam’s Club for the prescription that I couldn’t get this past Sunday. While I was there I asked about the problem with the Sam’s Club app.

You can use the WalMart app to scan your prescription bottle to automate your refills. But when you use the Sam’s Club version of the app and scan your prescription, it doesn’t read the prescription number, but instead just enters the store number. You can still enter the number manually so it will work that way.

The pharmacy tech said that several other people had mentioned the problem, but that their IT department said it worked fine. When I asked if anyone had actually checked it themselves, she hesitated and then said, “No.”

So, opening my bag I pulled out the bottle and scanned with the Sam’s app. And it came up with ‘0470200’ which is their store number.

“Oh.”, was her reply. “I guess we’ll call them again.”

On the gas price front, last Saturday Sam’s Club had regular for $1.79, at least according to Gas Buddy. At the same time Costco was still at $1.84. However today both Costco and Sam’s were at $1.81.

Don’t know what happened, but $1.81 is still nice. In fact as we were later leaving the Costco, Jan asked if I was going to fill up.

“No, it’ll just be cheaper later in the week.”

Tomorrow Jan starts her eye drop’s routine, two different ones several times a day, in prep for her cataract surgery Thursday morning, with a checkup on Friday afternoon.

Then her right eye next week.


December 4, 2020

P0442 . . .

On the way home today,  I stopped off at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts to pick up a new gas cap for our Jeep. I’ve been getting an occasional (every 4 or 5 days, or so) Check Engine Light and when I checked the code with my phone I got a P0442 error code. This translates to a small leak in the Evaporator Emission Control System.

And the most obvious fault is a loose or faulty gas cap. So after I retightened the cap several times and the error came back, so I got a new cap this afternoon and then cleared the code, again with my phone.

And now we wait.

As to how I read and clear engine codes using my phone, I use this OBDII Bluetooth adapter,

Torque OBDII adapter

OBD2 Bluetooth Diagnostic Scan Tool, Mini OBDII Scanner-Check Engine Light Code Reader

And even better the adapter is only about $12. Much cheaper and more versatile than a standard code reader.

It plugs into the OBDII Diagnostic Port under your dash. Then you just use the free Torque Android app to interrogate your engine computer and display a lot of details with screens like this.

Torque Display

And for only $4.95 you can upgrade to the Torque Pro version which gives you a lot more options, including CO2 emissions and Horsepower/Torque readings.

Check it out!


December 4, 2021

Happily Ensconced In Texarkana . . .

I had hoped we’d be on the road this morning by 8-8:30ish. Well I guess 8:31 qualifies as ‘ish’.

It was foggy as we left the rig, which morphed into rain spritzes by the time we turned onto US59N just south of downtown Houston. But it cleared up fairly quickly and we had a smooth trip up to Nacogdoches, pretty much the halfway point on our trip.

There we used the facilities, got coffee and gas, and swapped drivers, Jan taking over for most of the rest of the way. Then I took over again about 50 miles out.

We got into Texarkana about 2:15, and headed over have lunch so that once checked into the hotel, we wouldn’t have to leave again. We had heard good things about Naaman’s BBQ, which as luck would have it, was right across the street from our Wyndham Gardens hotel.

And the ‘good things’ were correct.

We both got the small two meat plate, with ribs and brisket.

NaaMan's BBQ 2 Meat Plate

The ribs were great, and the brisket was cut-with-a-fork tender.

And we just had to finish up by splitting a piece of their Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake,

NaaMan's BBQ Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake

The place is decorated in a little bit of everything, from ‘50’s diners,

NaaMan's BBQ Dining Room 1

to a fancy dining room,

NaaMan's BBQ Dining Room 2

And the ceiling covered in Christmas Balls was really something.

NaaMan's BBQ Dining Room 3

And now we know where we eating next Saturday when we come back through here on the way home.

Tomorrow: Branson

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