Monday, April 29, 2013

Chet Atkins - I Still Write Your Name in the Snow

I just heard this song for the first time and it cracked me up.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A screen shot related to the previous post

That little green blip is a "cheat" that is part of the ZDoom program.  It's like a sight.  I don't think I would use it much, because most of my combat was so close-range that trying to sight with it would have only slowed me down.

By the way, although I don't really do gun-blogging here anymore, I think I can go ahead and mention last week's range activities.  It had been quite a long time since the last time I went out shooting.  My dad was on vacation so I had to go to his house last Saturday to put out some range cubes for his cattle, and my son and I set up some coke cans around his tank, using the dam as a backstop, and we did some shooting.

My son is 12 years old.  He had previously done a lot of BB gun shooting and a little .22 rifle shooting when he was in Boy Scouts.  I took four guns this time:  a Single Six (.22 revolver), my grandpa's old Winchester slide-action .22 rifle, a single-shot .410, and a Model 28 S&W .357 magnum revolver (6-inch barrel model).

He performed quite well with the .22 rifle, fairly well with the Single Six since he hadn't reallly shot a handgun before, and I let him blaze away with several rounds in the .410 just for kicks.  When I was gathering up my ammo for this excursion, I grabbed a box of gun show reloads which had a bunch of ammo loose in the box as well as a plastic bag of cartridges.  I thought that the loose ammo was .38 Special and the bagged ammo was .357.  I was planning on having him shoot the .38 stuff first, and then if he handled it fairly well, go ahead and let him step up to the .357.

Well, I didn't look at the ammo closely enough and it turned out that it was all .357.  But, it was stuff that had been reloaded just for target practice and wasn't particularly powerful for .357 ammo.  However, it was most definitely still at .357 level and far above .38.

So I went over all the stuff about how he should hold it and all that stuff to help him minimize and control the recoil.  The first couple of shots he took a few steps backward because the recoil startled him a little.  So I asked him if he wanted to go back to the .22 and he said, "No!  I want to keep shooting this.  I like the way it kicks."  So I ended up letting him run 4 or 5 cylinders worth through it.  When he finally decided it was making his hand hurt too much, we went back to the .22s and sat on the tank dam shooting turtles for a while.

I have had people tell me that they won't shoot a .357 because it kicks too much.  I have always considered this to be nonsense.  If my skinny 12-year-old can handle one, then I think anyone should be able to unless they have some kind of actual physical disability.

It was all great fun.  Today after I hunted down my cleaning kit, I ran him through cleaning both the handguns.  I decided to leave the long guns for another day.  They'll keep.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I don't know if this should make me proud or not

My son is a Doomer.  I think it's kinda cool that kids can still be fascinated by a game as old as Doom, but then it was and is one of the greatest games of all time.  I had installed Doom 2 for him to play, but I had misplaced my Doom (original) CD.

The other day I found it, when I was looking for something else, of course.

So I installed it for him, and also handed him a CD that I bought many years ago that has lots of pwads* on it.  He fired one up and I immediately noticed that he wasn't going to get any armor.  I warned him about that.  "I know," he said, as if this were obvious, "it's called Blood Red, Daddy."

He proceeded to blast his way through on HMP (Hurt Me Plenty, or the third level of difficulty) and finished with 147% health.  Good grief.  I don't think I could have ever done that well.

P.S.  If you ever want to fire Doom up on a modern computer, download a tool called ZDoom.  It will make the game run as smoothly as if you were on a fast old DOS machine.

*In Doom parlance, a pwad is a wad** that was created by a player, not by ID Games.

**A wad is a file that contains all the information for a certain level or levels.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Javelinas in San Antonio.

I didn't take the picture below.  This was from a co-worker/friend of mine who is a Field Service Representative, which is a fancy euphemistic way of saying he's one of the guys who turns off people's water when they don't pay their bill, and then turns it back on again when they do.  He was on Yucca Valley just south of Medina Base Road when, down in the brush behind Aspen Valley he saw "a half dozen or so" javelinas.  Here's a still photo he took of one of them with his phone.

He also took some video but his ISP wouldn't let him email it because it was over 25 MB and when he tried to upload it to his Picasa web album it got stuck in some sort of weird Picasa limbo where he--and only he--can view it but he can't share it or do anything else with it.  So, no video unless he figures something out.

Anyway, I know javelina are very common south of here but this is the first time I've ever heard of any being actually inside San Antonio (inside Loop 410).  So don't be too quick to blame your neighbor's dog or the coyotes on rummaging through your garbage.  It might be javelinas.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Checkered garter snake

This is a checkered garter snake.  This was a snake I had never seen until I started this job; they just don't live out here in the sandhills where I grew up, although I have on rare occasions seen the Texas garter snake out here.

This one was unusual in that it had just begun the shedding process.  It had only its head clear and the rest of its body was still covered by the old skin.  I tried to get a good shot of its head, but it didn't cooperate with me.  So its coloration is usually more vivid than this.  It's so dull looking because that's all the old skin that it was about to get rid of.

I've seen dozens of these things hiding in meter boxes.  I'm not one of those people who is irrationally afraid of snakes, but I must say that I used the digital zoom on this one because he was really peeved at my uncovering him.  He zeroed in on me and kept pivoting around so that he could face me instead of just trying to get away like they usually do, and when I did finally flip the lid back on the box, it struck at my hook, which is a first for my encounters with this kind of snake.

The picture below was taken by accident because I touched the "take a picture" button before I meant to.  But it did get a good shot of my Roadrunner, one glove and hook.  I have to take off the glove to use my new phone because touch screens don't work with gloves.  The Roadrunner is soon to be gone; we are going to be getting new devices within the next few weeks.  They haven't told us which one yet, but I'm hoping for a model made by Itron.  It looks like this.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Found a movie I've been looking for

When I was a kid, my family went to the movies every now and then--I never go now, although my kids have gone a few times with friends or the church youth group.  This was back when Disney was still making innocent, fun, kid-friendly movies under the Buena Vista banner, like Hot Lead and Cold Feet,  The Apple Dumpling Gang, Where the Red Fern Grows, Escape to Witch Moutain, The Biscuit Eater, etc.

Once my mom even took my sister and I--or possibly both my sisters, I don't remember if the youngest was born yet--to the theater in Nixon to see a double feature of Old Yeller followed by Mary Poppins.  That was back when Nixon still had a theater.

Anyway, there was this one movie we saw that was most definitely not a Disney nor a Buena Vista movie.  It was a movie about Bigfoot.  Now, I (of course) just loved this movie.  I was fascinated by mysterious creatures from birth, probably.  What makes me wonder now why we ever went to see this movie is because my dad empatically doesn't believe in any of that nonsense.  But he took us all to see it anyway.  Years went by and I tried to track this movie down so I could watch it again, but it was not until just last year that I spent some time combing through Wikipedia and until I finally weeded out all the chaff and figured out which movie it was.  It's called Sasquatch:  The Legend of Bigfoot.

I don't know if it can legitimately be called a "documentary," but I think it's fair to say it is documentary style.  It had a lot of parts that were still scary to me as a 13-year-old in 1977, and scared the snot out of both of my sisters (who were 5 and 9 at the time).  I think it might possibly be the scariest G-rated movie I ever saw.  I bring this up now because I was just catching up on posts at Cryptomundo and found that they have posted an interview with the director of this movie.

I think that any exposure I had to the Bigfoot phenomenon before this movie was probably limited to an episode of In Search Of and maybe a book or two from the junior high library.  I remember that after we got back home that night, I sneaked up outside of my sisters' bedroom and mimicked the sound that the Bigfoot made in the movie, which started them screaming.  I was sternly reprimanded by my dad, but I could tell he was holding back laughter the whole time and I didn't really get in trouble for it.

I am happy to report that Netflix has this movie on DVD, packaged in a 3-for-1 with two other movies that look to be just B-grade "horror" flicks.  So I'm looking forward to seeing it again.

They also have The Biscuit Eater on DVD.  This one was from 1972, when I was only 8, and man I just loved that movie.  I'm sure if there had been VCRs back then I would have begged my parents for a tape of that movie just so I could watch it over and over again.  In fact, they have quite a few of these Buena Vista releases from the olden days.  I don't think I'll ever need to see Hot Lead and Cold Feet again, though.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Since I have mentioned/complained about it so many times, here is my cycle 11 route, 4165.  It clocks in at 4.13 miles--about 50 that are not in alleys and about 400 that are.  Also there are 5 or 6 more meters that I drive to.  This is my worst foot route.  The start/end dots are covered up by the 3 mile marker.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A work picture

For people from San Antonio, this needs no explanation.  For the rest of you, there used to be this horrific intersection of state highway 281 with Loop 1604.  It was two major highways that came together with just a plain old stoplight intersection--a holdover from the days when people were still getting used to horseless carriages.  A while back they began construction to turn this into an actual interstate highway-style interchange, and have been progressing remarkably fast (the usual S.A. rule of travel is:  the shortest distance between two points is under construction).  People drive through here now just for the sheer exhilaration of not having to sit in line at a stoplight for 35 minutes.  I took this photo through my work truck's window from the very top of the interchange today.  Just don't tell anyone I was taking pictures while driving.

That long highway fading into the distance is 281, facing south.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Not a good day today.  This is my usual cycle 8, which normally is a pretty good route.  Smooth terrain, all fronts, no dogs.  This route is officially sequenced so that it begins and ends right at Rhapsody and what on this map is inexplicably called "River Path."  There are no such signs on this street.  Pretty weird, but not unusual for Google Maps.  All signs call it San Pedro.  Anyway, I quit doing this route by the official sequence a long time ago, because I didn't like having to park in someone's parking lot on Rhapsody.  So I have been parking at Stardream and "River Path."  Since, like almost all foot routes, this route is circular (it ends where it begins), you can start anywhere and eventually get back to your starting point.

I realized last summer that I could park at the community swimming pool--the intersection of Fantasia and Reverie--and this would make me come back to my truck halfway through the route and then again when I finished, because you cross that intersection twice coming from two different directions.  I did this during the summer so that I could take a Gatorade break at the halfway point.  Since summer is coming up again, I thought I'd do it this way again just to make sure I knew what I was doing, because I might eventually completely resequence it so that it "officially" begins and ends here.  Also, I figured if it cooled off by the time I got back to my truck the first time, I would be able to grab my jacket.

But it started raining.  Only a 20% chance of rain, but I should have known this meant I was going to get absolutely hammered.  I stopped and took shelter several times going down Fantasia toward "River Path," and as I was heading back down Stardream, the norther hit.  So, I was wet, and now I had frigid 30 mph winds hitting me.  I started running from meter to meter, but pretty soon I realized this wasn't going to help.

When I got to Rhapsody and Rendezvous I diverted from the route and skipped all of the West Rhapsody stuff and actually ran from where that 1 mile mark is all the way back to my truck.  Man, that was unpleasant.  I can walk quickly for hours and hours, but running kills me, partly because both of my ankles are messed up, probably from repetitive stress (the Achilles tendons are the problem).

When I got back to my truck, I fired it up and turned on the heater, put on my jacket and finished the rest of my coffee, which was still hot because I have a totally awesome Thermos travel mug that keeps coffee hot for hours.  Mine is black, and I got it at Wal-Mart, and if you think $20 is too much to pay for a travel mug, you probably have never had one that is actually leak-proof and keeps hot drinks hot.

So when the rain slacked off a little, I had to backtrack and do everything that was left, which was quite a lot.  It still rained and I got totally soaked, but eventually it stopped and by the time I finished I was mostly dry.  But I was still chilled and, as usual, working in a cold rain makes me really tired.  Also my legs are hurting (especially my right ankle) from running up that hill back to my truck.  When I finished all this, I went and got the stuff on W. Rhapsody that I had skipped earlier, which I didn't bother to track.  I still had to do my partial route, which I also didn't track because I decided--screw it, I'm just going to drive the whole thing.

Not a pleasant day.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Let's face it: neither of these guys is going to sing out of tune

I recently "liked" a FB page called "Marillion - The Fish Years."  Fish (a.k.a. Derek Dick) was the previous lead singer of the group who went solo in the late 80s.  Since "liking" this page I've seen some links that were interesting for a Marillion fan.

Here's one that may be of interest to my legions of readers who are fans of other bands as well.  In 1987 a Marillion concert was "crashed" by Bruce Dickinson, Nicko McBrain and Janick Gers of Iron Maiden; and Jimmy Bain of Dio and Rainbow.

One of the items resulting from this impromtu visit was this Joe Cocker style version of "A Little Help From My Friends," featuring a duet between Bruce Dickinson and Fish.

Early Roles of Famous Actors

I took a couple of days vacation just for kicks--I go back to work tomorrow--so I'm home having an early morning pipe and doing some recreational internet reading.  I thought this was an interesting list for movie/tv buffs:  32 Mind-Blowing Early Roles of Famous Actors at Cracked.

A few of these surprised me.  I knew several of them already.  I did not know that Denzel Washington was an unnamed thug killed by Paul Kersey in the original Death Wish.  But there are two others they could have included from that same movie.  Jeff Goldblum was one of the original trio who raped Kersey's daughter and murdered his wife.  Christopher Guest was a police officer who had a couple of significant lines right at the end of the movie.  Additional trivia, according to  Guest's first credited role was also as a police officer, in the movie The Hot Rock, which I've never heard of.

Sunday, April 07, 2013


Is it my imagination, or does Willie seem to be channeling Snoopy?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Cycle 4

I don't plan on doing this map thing forever.  I just want to get maps of my routes and get a good record of how far I walk on each one.  This is my regular cycle 4, which is a rough route.  By rough I mean the terrain is actually rough, uneven, so forth--and it's also very long.  Not many sidewalks, and where there are sidewalks they are broken and hazardous to walk on--and the meters are all over the place--you can't count on them being lined up.  Maybe one is right down by the street, maybe the next is way up in the yard close to the house.  It's a mess.

This one is done in two parts.  It's sequenced so that you park at Sabinas & Cincinnati and do that part that I drew in blue first, then you drive down and park at Cincinnati & Zarzamora and do all the red stuff.  Today I decided to do the worst part first, so I did the stuff in red, which is 6 miles long.  Then I did the other, smaller part, but the app didn't work right and for some reason it couldn't save or upload the map, so I didn't get a record of it and I'll have to do that part again, but I think it was around 1.5 miles.

This map might look a little strange because I had to stitch on that blue part.

It's sometimes an interesting area, and sometimes I see things that I think  Today I saw two ducks fighting.  At first I thought maybe they were attempting to "mate" but after a minute or so I decided that no, they were definitely fighting.

There are also lots of college students around here--there's at least one sorority house on this route, so there's sometimes some pleasant "scenery."  One time, that sorority house was holding some kind of barbecue fund raiser, and they had four different barbecues going all at once.  I could smell that stuff all over the place that day.  Having to smell food cooking when you're working is just torture.  It's almost impossible to do this route and not smell someone, somewhere, cooking frijoles.  One time the manager of a Mexican restaurant on this route gave me a free breakfast taco when she saw me outside.

This is one of the routes that I was put on when I was first hired, and have done it regularly since (regularly meaning almost every month, but not every month).  So when I first started, there were these two meters with a Cincinnati address, numbered A and B at the same address, and I couldn't find them.  Whoever had been doing that route before me had sequenced them where it appeared they should have belonged according to their address.  But I couldn't find them.  Since they were still fairly new meters, there was no location information available for them.  According to the address, they should have been somewhere on the north side of Cincinnati between Elmendorf and Alexander.  I walked all over that place and couldn't find them.  So eventually the guy who was our lead meter reader back then (he retired since then, and his replacements are worthless) went out and somehow found both of them.

It turned out that neither of them were anywhere near where it seemed they were supposed to be.  One of them is near the intersection of Vollum and Josephine Tobin, about 3-4 steps off into the grass toward the lake.  The only thing it services, as far as I can tell, is a water fountain.  The other one is somewhere on the other side of the lake.  So it wasn't even on the right route.  The other side of the lake, and yet it has the same address as the other one--neither of which are even close to Cincinnati Avenue.

Another thing that makes this route bad is the number of loose vicious and semi-vicious dogs on it.  There was one that kept jumping his fence and coming after me.  He's still there, but one time I threw a beer bottle at him and luckily whacked him right in the face with it.  Since then he never has jumped the fence.