Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Man's Man.

So this past week Jill said that she noticed our brakes were grinding just a tad. This was not the greatest of all news. Although I've probably had less than my fair share of car problems (I think Steve somehow got my share) and this didn't seem to be a major malfunction, I still felt a tad miffed about my responsibility of getting this fixed. This might have had something to do with the fact that I feel about as comfortable walking into an autoparts store to pick up some brake pads as I do walking into the grocery store to pick up some maxi pads. I, like many other males whose responsibility it is to maintain the family automobile, am a car-idiot. Like any other car-idiot, I solicited the help of someone less stupid than me.

Upon asking my boss, Chris, if he knew a reliable place in town to get my brake pads fixed, he informed me that it was a simple procedure and that he would take a look at it on Saturday. So I went to Autozone, waited in line next to a 300 pound, goateed feller with a fish hook in his hat (now here's a guy who could buy the super plus tampax and look you straight in the eyes!), got my brake pads, and went to Chris's well-equiped garage. I think that was only time in my life when I actually hoped that there was something wrong with my brake pads. The last thing I wanted was for my boss to inform me that I was a complete idiot and that I should go return my brake pads (I figured if I went back to Autozone my odds of meeting ol' Fish Hook Hat were pretty good). But lucky for me, my brake pads were worn down and needed to be replaced. So after Chris and his 11 year old daughter finished replacing my brake pads I went home and thought of some way that I could repay them. After some thought I decided to continue my day of masculine activities and make Chris some of my famous brownies.

As I looked over the recipe I thought back on an experience I'd had several weeks prior. We were having dinner over at another couple's house and we were in charge of dessert. Naturally I wanted to make my famous brownies, but I didn't have the recipe. I called my parents and my dad (Doug) promptly gave me the recipe. I starting gathering the necessary ingredients for the dough, just as I had done dozens of times before, when I noticed that it called for 2 cups of butter. While cramming 4 cubes of butter into a bowl I vocally expressed some doubt as to whether this was the correct amount of butter. I tried calling my dad again to double check the recipe, but he didn't answer. I then proceeded to call all the females in my family (the only others who rival my brownie prowess) to double check. None of them had the recipe on hand or seemed too sure as to the correct amount of butter, just that every time they make the brownies they always think "man, that's a lot of butter." So after talking it over some more I mustered up enough confidence to proceed. I will now attach the email I sent out the following day.

"Hey, I just thought I warn you that even though the Thayer's famous favorite brownie recipe calls for a lot of butter, the quantity of butter should not make your brownie dough runny. At first the decreased viscosity of the dough will probably be blamed on the low elevation or the different brand of flour, all very interesting arguments. However, in the end, if you don't catch yourself in time and you decide to bake your brownie mix that contains not 1, or 2, or 3, but 4 STICKS of butter and bring those brownies over to your neighbor's house and have their 2 year old eat them, I suggest the following course of action. #1, don't panic, the brownies should come out aesthetically fine. #2, never reveal the true amount of butter, although after the brownie greases its way down your friend's throat the question may arise. And #3, promptly rename your dessert, Baked Chocolate Butter.
Thank you"

I made sure when making the brownies for Chris that I used two cubes and not two cups of butter.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gigantaornithophobia (Fear of big birds)

Howdy! I figure after about a week or so since my last post I owe it to my adoring fan(s) (I love you Stuv) to add another one. This last weekend the wife, the bug, and myself took a little trip to the city so great that it almost redeems Texas. That city is of course San Antonio. In my opinion, it's the most beautiful mountainless city in the US. It is important that I include "mountainless" as a qualifier because I have been recently told that Cheyenne, Wyoming is absolutely gorgeous. We took a tour along the beautiful Riverwalk. It had almost a European feel to it. We also went to the Guinness Book of World Records Museum, which ironically enough is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most overpriced museum on earth. We also went to the Alamo. It's some famous brick barn. I think Johnny Appleseed died there or something. For our sleeping accomdations we chose the luxorious America's Best Value Inn a few miles outside of downtown. We tried checking into a hotel closer to downtown, but they said they were all booked. One kind hotel guy pointed us to a "less expensive place that keeps its rooms clean." Jill didn't want to stay there though. She has this weird phobia of staying in one-story motels with barbed wire chain link fences and barred windows. It was either that or her fear of sleeping across the street from a graveyard (all 100% true!). Whatever the reason we decided to go a tad further outside of town.

Speaking of phobias, on the following day we decided to go the Wildlife Reserve to take a safari Texas style. It was actually a lot of fun. I also found out something about myself. I have Gigantaornithophobia, or fear of man-sized birds. This is well documented in the attached video (Perhaps you could check the severity of my psychological condition Steve). I think this all goes back to the Big Bird movie I used to watch as a kid. There was this evil bird, whose name escapes me but I will refer to as Roger, that was after Big Bird and it scared the crap out of me! I honestly have a vivid picture of Roger’s face in my mind. There's this scene where Big Bird hides in this haystack to avoid being caught and probably tortured by Roger. Now that I think about it, this may have something to do with my fear of haystacks as well. I mean, if friggin Big Bird can hide in a haystack there's no telling what's lurking in there! At any rate, a great weekend of discovery all around.


Monday, July 2, 2007

A new species found at the Texas State Aquarium

With the promise of dolphins, gators, blowfish, and for some reason birds, the Texas State Aquarium seemed the perfect choice for a fun filled weekend activity. I charged my camera batteries extra long to ensure that my mighty Pentax Optio 30 would be ready in a moment's notice to capture that perfect shot of many an elusive aquatic beast. As we started our tour of the aquarium I was mildly impressed as we saw crabs, seahorses, clown fish, and the like. The neon jellyfish were actually quite impressive. As we watched the dolphin, diver, and bird shows (why again is there a bird show at an aquarium?) I let the lame, child-directed commentary pass over me knowing that I was putting up with it only for my daughter's sake... of course my daughter is only 10 weeks old... That probably explains why she didn't get along with the other kids very well last week at Chuck E. Cheese (If I served crappy pizza I would probably avoid the word "chuck" in my company name). I think maybe I should ease up on the fathering.
At any rate, back to the aquarium. So after all the shows (technically in between the dolphins and the birds) the sad realization began to set in that I would probably not come away with the rare picture of wildlife that I was looking for. But then, all of the sudden, that realization came to a screeching halt.
My heart jumped up into my throat and then slowly sank to my stomach. There it was. The rare species that I had longed for. I made sure not to make any quick movements as not to alarm it. I had seen plenty of episodes of Planet Earth and felt well trained for this moment. I took three quick pictures hoping to capture the perfect angle. Here is a rare look at a young Texas Mullet Whitetail. I'd say judging by it's movements and craving for blue slushees that it's a male and by the length of the tail he's got to be between 10-12 years old. One of the true wonders of Texas wildlife. Oh yea, we also saw a paraplegic turtle that was hit by a boat propeller. The awesome video is attached.