Smoke free Austin

A smoking ban was passed in Austin on Saturday with 52 percent. The Live Music Capital of the World won’t be the same. Bars and nightclubs will suffer. The nightlife will become cookie cutter and boring. The prohibition has been revisited.

Austin is now sterile.

Smoking is bad. Now that no one can smoke in bars and nightclubs, no one should be able to drive either. “Keep Austin Weird” bumper stickers should be replaced with “Make Austin Like Every Other City”.

Elise and I drove to my parents’ house on Friday evening to stay for the weekend. Voting was held in Austin on Saturday. The Saturday before Mother’s Day. I thought that was convenient. Austin is the home of one of the largest universities in the country. All of those students (who frequent bars and nightclubs) probably traveled out of town to visit mom and weren’t able to vote. Coincidence? submission that wasn\’t quite thought through

It’s this time of year until September that I get a swarm of activity over at Along with all of the sad victim stories, I get many entertaining stupid questions.

Sender’s Name: Kym
Sender’s Email: [email protected]
Message: can someone please tell me other than pets dying, what is so bad about hartz products? i adopted a cat a few months after my miscarriage, so he is my baby now. i just took him to the vet yesterday and found he had fleas. we also have a kitten at home so we got hartz flea treatment. this is the first time i have seen or heard anything about the hartz products. so i would appreciate any information. thanks

Getting fat

I left work early today because Elise and I wanted to make it to mom & dad’s house early. I left work hungry. I wanted something quick. I drove by the Subway in Marble Falls. As I drove by and looked through the windows, I could see that the store was packed. I don’t like eating in the car so I opted out of getting a to go order. I don’t like eating alone near other people so I wasn’t going to eat in the store. And from previous dine-ins I know there is an employee whose job it is to wipe the front door handle. That’s all he does. He wears his open top Subway tennis hat and stands at the front door. When the door handle is clean, he stands there, back against the door and eyes dining patrons. That drives me nuts.

So I drove past Subway and found myself in line at Whataburger. It’s going on 1:30 p.m. and I’m really hungry. The signs and banners tell me that I need to order a #5 Value Meal. A Whataburger with bacon, cheese and jalapenos. I order my lunch.

“Do you want to ‘Value Size’ your meal, sir?”


I was handed my receipt, order number stanchion and my Value Size 32 oz. plastic cup. I filled my cup with ice and Dr. Pepper. I strategically found my booth that would allow me to eat without making eye contact with strangers and my food was brought to me shortly thereafter.

I ate at Schlotzsky’s earlier this week. When your food is ready, you hear a voice that says “Number 125, your order is ready.”

You have to physically get out of your booth and fetch your lunch from the counter. Not at Whataburger. You flop your ass onto a plastic bench and someone brings your 1200 calories to you and says thank you.

I devoured my hamburger. I like Whataburger because it makes me think of Texas fast food. Hot hamburgers with mustard (not mayo) and a jalapeno slice in every bite. Yummmm.

I ate all of my fries too. I remember being a kid and fries used to come in a tiny paper sack. Not now. My Value Size Whataburger fries came in a mini popcorn tub.

I didn’t need to eat all of my fries, but I did. It was my obligation as an American consumer. I watched myself eat those fries. The angel spoke. The devil spoke. The devil won. Fancy catsup and all.

I made my way back to Austin with a belly ache. I immediately remembered John’s post on the movie “Supersize Me”. I decided to rent the movie on the way home.

We made it to mom & dad’s this evening, chatted for a while and I put “Supersize Me” in. Mom & dad went to bed early. Elise and I watched the whole movie plus the extra footage. What really stood out in my mind from the movie was the part about addictions. Fast food addictions and bad eating are prevalent and most of us are victims. I’m a victim now and I can acknowledge the addiction. Just this week I’ve eaten fast food three times. Schlotzsky’s on Tuesday, Margarita’s (a local spot in Marble Falls) on Thursday and Whataburger today. I haven’t stepped on a scale in a while but I’d be willing to bet anything that I’ve gained a few pounds.

After the movie I mentioned to Elise that I understand that addiction. I’ve thought about this for a few years now. Two years ago I decided to exercise more. I started Tae Kwon Do again and started riding my bicycle to work. Tae Kwon Do has been great but the best part was riding my bike eight miles a day. Since our bicycles were stolen and consolidating offices in Marble Falls, I don’t get enough exercise. I really miss the daily exercise and I can see how that has significantly affected my diet. When you’re physically stagnant and eating crap, you tend to crave stagnancy and consume crap for nourishment. Saturated fats and sugars provide a rush – just like riding a bicycle.

I’m going to hone the angel and hop on the bike… err, buy a bike.

First Flambe

I put a frozen salmon filet in the fridge on Sunday night to thaw. I decided to cook it last night because I didn’t want it to go bad (we’re going to mom & dad’s for Mother’s Day this weekend). I didn’t want a plain sauteed piece of fish so I decided to make a sauce.

I threw some mango, purple onion, chicken stock, blah blah blah into a pan. It didn’t smell all that great. I decided to throw in a couple shots of triple sec and tilt my pan over the gas flame. Boom. Flambe.

Sauce tasted like shit but fire is fun as all hell.

Hmmm... sauce

Re-introduced to spyware

This is a funny story…

I have a 30GB USB 2.0 external drive. I also have a 120GB USB 2.0 external drive. My 30GB drive is FAT32 formatted. My 120GB drive was NTFS formatted. I reformatted the 120 to be FAT32 (so my iBook could write to it, hence this story). I was left with five separate partitions. I don’t need five partitions.

So I cheated… I downloaded a Partition Magic 8 torrent file on Elise’s laptop. Think Firefox is immune to spyware? Think again. As I type this (on my iBook) I’m watching pop up after pop up after pop up on the Windows machine. There are four new application icons on her desktop. This is horrible.

Even an ‘experienced’ computer user will be bamboozled when trying to use ‘Add/Remove Programs’ from the control panel.

I thought this question was funny: Are you sure you don’t want to remove this software? Yes. No. If you’re like most Windows users, you’ll click ‘yes’ out of habit. Sneaky bastards.

So the moral of the story is: don’t steal software by means of torrent files. The safer route would be to pick up a prostitute wearing a Redhat miniskirt and carrying a laptop bag.

However, I don’t want to spend $70 for Partition Magic when it would take me ten minutes to merge multiple partitions and I’m not a regular disk partitioner…

Hmmm… all this BS just to back-up my iBook’s hard drive.

But I still love technology.”

Caesar salad

This one was e-mailed to me from mom (I added a few ingredients and changed the preparation) By the way, I love Central Market’s Caesar dressing:

This is a good recipe. Try it!! It may be just as good as Central Market’s.

    1/4 cup kalamata olives
    5 cloves garlic
    4 anchovy fillets
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1 large egg yolk
    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    2 heads romaine lettuce
    1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese or
    2 1/2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler plus more for garnish

    1. Place garlic, anchovy fillets, olives and salt in a blender; add pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and egg yolk. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while mixing.

    2. Cut or tear the romaine leaves into bite size pieces. Add the croutons, romaine, and cheese to the bowl and toss well. Garnish with extra grated cheese if desired. Serve immediately.

House & bike shopping

I left work early on Friday and met with the guys at OnRamp for one of the final times to go over the migration of Wellness Works’ client websites. I came home and trimmed the bushes on the side of the house. Riley and I sat on the driveway and watched the pink and baby blue sunset in the west. While waiting for Elise to get home from work, I made a great eggplant lasagna. I played a little Halo 2 until Elise came home. We ate, watched TV and went to bed.

On Saturday we woke up to the sound of pouring rain. That was at 6 a.m. I thought “screw that” and fell back to sleep until around 9. Elise went to her Weight Watchers meeting and I drove over to donate some clothes to Goodwill and then to Bicycle Sport Shop where I was quickly and easily sold on a 2005 Specialized Hardrock Sport mountain bike. I played the “I have to consult my wife” card. I wanted to pick up the bike right then, take it home and ride it all day but curbed the impulse buy.

I met Elise back at the house and John, Christine and Jack showed up shortly after with lunch. John and Christine stopped at Central Market and picked up salads, sandwiches and beer and we all sat down for a great lunch. John and I went to the Barton Creek Apple store so John could try to swap out his Airport Express and have the old iBook serviced. The wait to see a ‘Genious’ was 3 hours. We left with Airport Express and iBook in hand. We went to Central Market and picked up ingredients for a deep sauteed coconut shrimp with a rich cream sauce that consisted of lime, cilantro, garlic, ginger, Amstel Light and butter.

While we were out, the girls were pricing houses in Circle C. We’ve been working on getting John and Christine to move to our neighborhood.

Elise and Christine tried to put Jack down for bed in our guest bedroom. Jack raised holy hell – so they had to hit the road so Jack could sleep in his bed at his house.

Later in the night Doug and Marcia came over for a visit. The Paul’s were in Austin from North Carolina because Doug has been interviewing all week with a local law firm. Hopefully they’ll be moving back down in January.

We got up early this morning and went for breakfast at The Big Kolache. The kolaches were okay. We agreed that Lone Star Kolaches is better. After breakfast we drove downtown to browse the 2005 Pecan Street Festival. We were in search of art for the house and after a few passes, we agreed on a watercolor print of the Tavern by Mary Doerr. The Tavern is where Elise and I had our first date.

The Tavern

After a couple hours of browsing we drove over to Tommy’s so we could check out the clubhouse where Elise will be catering Tommy’s graduation party the weekend after next.

We left Tommy’s and went to Academy to shop bikes for Elise. Then to Bicycle Sport Shop on 183. Then down south to find that Cothron’s is now closed. We finally headed home and Elise went to shop more houses for John and Christine. While she was house shopping, I made a great coffee rubbed smoked pork loin.

Hill Country Blend Rubbed Smoked Pork Loin

I rubbed a porkloin with a HEB Hill Country blend coffee, San Antonio chile powder and chipotles and slow smoked it on the grill with apple wood chips.

Side: sauteed onions, green bell peppers and eggplant with a rosemary infusion. Chile & roasted garlic mashed potatoes.