Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Riding Off Into The Sunset

Sonia, Eddie and Gaspar are leaving Houston for Moscow this week. What better way to send them off than with a wild west party? Have fun in the East guys!

Go to the album to view these in a larger size.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Don't Mess With Texas

It may not be West, but it sure is Wild...
I have more pics, but the boss is probably going to want editorial control over some of the ones that feature her. I better wait until she has a chance to look at them, or else I'll be forced to run for the border.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Plane Rude

If I wasn't so tired, I could probably see it as a solution to the long standing physics problem. The irresistible force of Three Seat Bob is slowly but surely demonstrating what happens: The immovable object eventually bends outward from the waist up, half way into the aisle, where the cart can smash its entire arm instead of just the elbow. The second time someone brushes their bum past my face on the way to the toilet, I resist back, hard. The message slowly passes through the layers of fat and 10 minutes later Three Seat Bob notices, "Sorry man, this is all the room I have", he says.

It's been a long day, I'm grumpy, I want to get home and my usual good humor deserts me. I'd been doing okay up to now. I never said a word when he stated that "he'd warned them not to put him in a middle seat" like it's the airlines fault he doesn't fit. I ignored his complaint about how "the seats get smaller every year", because not so long ago I used to tell myself the same lie to excuse my own expanding waistline, but this is too much.

"No", I reply, "It's all the room you have, plus half the room I have".

Bob goes quiet for a second, I think he expected a sympathetic response, an ally in his war against the injustice of a $150 seat that doesn't comfortably fit his 300 pound frame, but if I was the wrong guy on the wrong day before I sat down, the smell of his armpit soaking into my shirt is not making me any happier.

"At least you have the aisle", he says, as if this is the logical conclusion to his need to take up half my seat. I laugh. Not a happy chuckle, more a wry snort, but a laugh all the same. He doesn't like that much either.

"I guess I'm not all that sorry then", he says.

"I guess you're not", I reply, redoubling my immovableness.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Still Geeky, After All These Years

There was no tape on my glasses, I didn't have a pocket protector full of pens, nothing. I was giving off no signs, as far as I knew. But as I walked up to the check-out at Best Buy last night, the registrar glanced my way, reached under the counter and handed me a copy of BioShock, before I said a word. How did he know? What gave me away? I'm cool, people! Not geeky! Cool!

(By the way, it's awesome. Heart-poundingly, skin-jumpingly, nervous-sweatingly, awesome)

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Dean Machine

Nikki and I did minimal Hurricane preparation this weekend. It's almost certain now that, barring an unprecedented turn north, Dean will make landfall a couple of hundred miles south of the border. Since it seems that weather systems steer many tropical storms into the same area, we decided to make sure we had everything we needed in case another one comes barreling through.

We still plan to shelter in place as long as we can and we made sure we had loads of torches and batteries, that the cars were full of petrol, that we had plenty of food and that we knew how to turn the gas supply for the house off. The grocery store was out of crates of water and I wasn't worried enough about Dean to pay the $18 the petrol station on the corner wanted. I will, however, remember that they tried that and should I ever need to go looting in future, they're first on my list.

My favourite resource for Hurricane information, the Houston Chronicle's SciGuy reckons we've got 5 or 6 more weeks to worry about and then we're in the clear for another year.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stop! Pepper Time!

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, 'Holy cow, that's a lot of peppers!'

You're right, it is. 17 to be exact. Add that to the 2 I picked the other day and subtract the fact that we usually use 2 or 3 per spicy meal and multiply by the thought that we only have a couple of spicy meals per week, tops, and you end up with an equation that sort of looks like:
(17p + 2p) - (3p * 2mw) = Holy cow, that's a lot of peppers!

Let's hope Mark comes through with his buddy Pierre's awesome spicy pepper sauce recipe.

No! Bad Google!

Don't go encouraging people to eat chickens on my website! We like chickens round here.Mmm, sounds tasty though.

Tropical Depression

Those two words don't really go together if you ask me. 'Tropical' conjures up images of palm trees and fruity rum cocktails and how can you be depressed about fruity rum cocktails?

Anyway, the depression formerly known as Tropical Storm Erin made landfall north of Corpus Christi and brought us a load of rain and some thunder:
Meanwhile the first Hurricane of the season, Dean, is going to enter the gulf tomorrow. We have a nice ridge of high pressure over us that should keep it South of us, it's probably going to whack the Yucatan and will hopefully then weaken to the point where it doesn't do much damage after that. Most models have it staying South of Houston, but maybe we'll stock up on cheese and water just in case.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I bought a new computer a couple of weeks ago, it had a $50 mail in rebate, which I filled in at the weekend. Stamps went up here, again, at some point, from 39c to 41c but we had some that just said "First Class", with no price on them and Nikki had mailed some stuff with them, so I figured they were still okay. I stuck the receipt and the big chunk of cardboard with the proof of purchase in the envelope and sent it off yesterday.

Got home today and my envelope is in the mailbox "Returned for 2c additional postage." Okay, no problem, but the envelope seems kind of thin. And easily opened. My receipt and proof of purchase is gone, all that's left is the rebate form. Some bugger's nicked my $50!

There's no-one in at the post office's 24 hour manned theft hotline, so I'm venting here instead. I'll be on the blower to them first thing in the morning. Not a happy bunny at the moment.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ah, That's Better

Man, last week dragged.

I blame spending the weekend before in Galveston. It was fun, but too much beer and sun, coupled with not enough sleep, is never going to set you up for a productive week. This past weekend, on the other hand, was perfect. Nikki cooked three delicious dinners in a row (Chicken Chasseur, Cod with lemon and parsley and a Shepherd's Pie), we stayed in and watched great movies (Last King of Scotland and Hot Fuzz) and had a few, but not too many drinks (Mandolina Pinot Grigio on Friday, Full Moon Pale Rye Ale among other beers on Saturday). A little bit of gardening, a lot of floating around in the pool, I think we left our place for a total of 4 hours between 7pm Friday and 8am Monday. I even managed to kill most, if not all, of the little blighters that were hanging around my pepper plant, with soap and water, so I think I'm still organic.

Friday, August 10, 2007

With Apologies to Bill S.

I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my inspiration, forgone all custom of blogging; and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the internet, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the web, look you, this brave fiber backbone, this majestical IP fretted with TCP, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.

Normal service will be resumed next week, hopefully.

Monday, August 6, 2007

In Support of Bear Grylls

There was a little controversy about my new hero. It seemed like nonsense when I read it, part and parcel of making a TV show spun around by professional mole hill to mountain-ers in an attempt to diminish the massive entertainment value many of us derived from the show. The man himself has responded on his blog and if his word is not good enough for you, then check out comments from the three supporters beneath his entry. Good enough for me, bring on more Man vs. Wild please.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Mile

Out of our last discussion, there was a question: How fast could I run a mile? Last night, in the pub, the question came up again, so, despite a little too much Belhaven Twisted Thistle last night and a donut this morning I decided to find out at lunchtime. The answer - I can run a mile in 8 minutes and 39 seconds.

It's not great, but it's not terrible. I was pretty pegged out by the end, but think I can go faster with a little less beer and fried food in me. If I were being chased by velociraptors, I could probably get under 7, but since they're, hopefully, extinct, I'll aim to get under 8. We'll see.

I know some of you are a bit too competitive for your own good, others amongst you run, a lot. Some of you probably looked at my time and thought, 'I'm going to beat that'. That's okay. This is not a gauntlet. It has not been thrown down, but if you do choose to pick it up anyway, let me know how you get on.