Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Last of the Christmas Shopping

It's the most wonderful time of the year. It's also the most stressful time of the year too! People come out in full force looking for gifts. As usual I waited until the week prior to get in gear. I decided to spend the morning at Baybrook Mall in Friendswood, TX.

We started the morning with a stop at Denny's for breakfast. While enjoying my cholesterol laden fried eggs I noticed a kid by himself. After asking the staff I learned his parents left him there to stand in the line for the new Jordan tennis shoes.

You've got to be kidding me! I've dealt with the Jordan shoe crowd before. Let's just say there is something wrong with these people who value a cheap, street subculture status symbol over the well being of their fellow man. Yet that particular group place little value on life anyway.

Whomever parked way out in the drive lane like this is ignorant!

The mall was packed! The line to see Santa resembled a hip, new down town club except the line was filled with kids and parents. Does this mean if I have kids someday I'll have to sit in this line?

The mandatory Starbucks break!

We finished our day at Bass Pro Shop. I can enjoy an hour or so here on a normal day. That day I was already exhausted and just needed to lay down. On the plus side I did finish my shopping!

Friday, December 23, 2011

(Before) Christmas in a Jamaican Terminal

While watching one of my favorite movies of all time (Club Paradise)a distant memory returned. It was about two weeks before Christmas in 2008 and I was on my second cruise. The ship stopped in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We probably spent about an hour waiting inside the terminal. As I waited I heard reggae Christmas music coming from the roof. "It's the right time for some reggae...." that it was. This is an experience I'd like to repeat. One year I'd like to take a cruise the week of Christmas and spend the most magical day of the year in a Caribbean paradise.

Friday, December 2, 2011

An Evening at Nonmacher's BBQ!

I had passed by this place hundreds of times and paid it scant notice until this news story broke. A friend of mine also saw the article and wanted to eat there. So I met them. My first impression was how small the place was then I remembered the place was built in 1979 when Mason and Kingsland was "out in the country." I have to say that was the best sweet tea and potato salad I've ever had! We got there about 10 minutes until closing but they were kind enough to let us stay and eat in. Afterward I met Mr. Nonmacher and asked him what was this area like when he opened his joint. He said it was prairie and you could hear the wind and coyotes howl. It's hard for me to imagine Mason and Kingsland being far removed from the metropolis. Back then, this was the proverbial out in the country, roadside BBQ joint known by all the locals. He also mentioned that the tables and chairs are all the original 1979 furniture (the chairs he made in his garage). The walls are full of relics from decades past, pictures of moments long faded into history, and people who are long gone. Inevitably the poster discussion came up. The poster was made by some guys (with some help from beer of course) 30 years ago over at Westheimer and Hwy 6 (which was also rural back then). As a matter of fact one of the men in that poster saw the news story and came up there and introduced himself. He was asked about the "Iranian" in the picture to reveal the man is Italian. That's the closest to Iranian those fellows could muster. At the time American citizens were being held hostage in Iran. So naturally Iran was not well thought of, especially "around these here parts." Any rational person looking at that poster needs to take history into account when taking the poster into context. However in this age of over burdened political correctness all it took was one person to get offended and go cry about it. Apparently this is the type of person that gets offended and rather instead of boycotting the establishment he feels his hurt feelings entitles him to bully Mr. Nonmacher (whom isn't the type that doesn't handle threats very well) into removing the poster or to suffer the penalty for having failed to do so. While the identity of the crybaby is unknown, his friend Hasani plays the old "fight against ignorance and hatred" while acting like a fool himself. Apparently Hasani feels he shouldn't be offended while offending those of us who feel people can express themselves however they want. If they are offended, then go elsewhere as Mr. Nonmacher politely states. He even mentioned his business neighbor is Middle Eastern and jokingly asked to borrow the poster to increase his business. Mr. Nonmacher is not the bigot that crybabies like Hasani and his friend would have you believe. Mr. Nonmacher is a long time business man who has been in the same place for decades and would gladly give his neighbor the shirt off his back if it would help. I thanked him and the lady (I'm guessing she was his wife) for treating us and sharing us stories of times past.

An Evening with Peter (Part II)

An Evening with Peter

For the fourth time in my life I was afforded the opportunity to see Peter Murphy live (twice solo twice with Bauhaus). As expected I danced, drank, and enjoyed myself throughout the show. However the memorable moment came after the show. I was with a group of friends who like to hang out afterward in hopes of being able to meet and get pictures taken with the artists and have been successful many times. While we sat outside watching downtown Houston winding down on a Monday night Peter Murphy walks out. He is swarmed by about a dozen people. He was kind enough to take pictures with my friends. I wanted one too, but don't want to be a bother to anyone. I get up as he heads towards his bus. I'm not going to stop him so I turn and my friend takes a picture of me with him in the background. I figure that's about as good as I'm going to get but it would be the only picture of me with someone famous. Next thing I know I feel some one's arm around me and see him standing next to me! I smile as my friends quickly snap two pictures before he politely says his goodbyes and gets on his bus an on his road and we go down ours.

Snakes in the Bureaucratic Office

An Indian snake charmer claims the tax office is demanding bribes from him so in protest he dumps a bunch of cobras in the office. Aside from the poisonous horde slithering around I compared the Indian tax office with my local tax office. I noticed there is practically no office equipment. No computers, no printers, nothing to write with. Even the chair is hand made (and torn as seen in the last segment). Now compare a tax office here with all the somewhat modern office equipment and amenities (like restrooms and air conditioning) and what conclusion can we draw? Tax offices everywhere are inept, bumbling, and cause a lot of anger and grief.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Black Friday Morning

I debated partaking in my first Black Friday experience. One look at the parking lot prior to midnight helped me decide against it. It looked more like refugees fleeing a hurricane. Instead I went in the morning where I found mostly empty shelves and left behind trash.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Hook Up

After the brief visit with my old Apache friend we wound up in one of the bars just outside of the boardwalk. I can't remember the name. I'm guessing this is considered packed for a Friday night. My companion pointed out this particular couple. The woman was clearly drunk already. She couldn't stand up straight. She was there looking for a hook up and found the man in the chair. We watched as she would get slightly out of reach forcing him to lean forward and wrap his arms around her. Whatever he whispered in her ear couldn't have been that funny because her drunk laugh topped the jukebox. Then came a slow, country ballad. Our hook up pair danced like pregnant mules right at the bar. We left soon after this so whether or they went home together is beyond me.

Meet the Gunship

While on a recent outing to Kemah I was surprised to see an old friend. I was face to face with an AH-64 Apache Gunship. In case you're wondering what a gunship is, just think of it as a heavily armed helicopter designed solely for combat. Back as a preteen one of my favorite computer games (on a Commodore 64, how's that for old school) was Microsoft's Gunship. It was a combat game where you flew one of these bad boys in your choice of Vietnam, Western Europe (again how's that for old school), and can't remember where else. I spent many happy hours playing this game and blowing sh** up! This bad boy has a 30mm cannon underneath that is aimed with a turn of the pilot's head. The wings can be equipped with air-to-ground missiles and air-to-air missiles. So I said hello to my old friend, took a picture of it, and went on. Great to see him again!

Watching a Game on Sunday

After a day at the Renaissance Festival my friend wanted to catch the Texans game. I'm not a sports fan but don't mind sports gatherings accompanied by food and beer. I can't remember how we decided but we wound up at Buffalo Wild Wings where we grabbed a spot by the bar. The memorable moment was the older couple at the table next to us. The woman left and returned with a magazine. She shouted at the waitress that Jessica Simpson was pregnant. The older woman was actually upset about it. Her husband (I'm assuming) sighed and shook his head. He could care less as did I (especially since neither of us had anything to do with her pregnancy). Yet she treated it as major news. Oh, and the Texans won!


A couple of months ago I wound up at MyBar on Hwy 6. I've passed by this place hundreds of times but never stopped in until an after movie date brought me here. It was a slow night as evidenced by only a handful of people present. They were an older, more redneck type which brought to mind the legendary, rural, roadside juke where everyone knew everyone. That thought quickly disappeared when someone set the jukebox to play club and rap music then I remembered I was still in the middle of metropolis!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Renaissance Festival Videos

Welcome to the Texas Renaissance Festival

A Day at the Renaissance Festival

It's been 2 years since I was at the Renaissance Festival. I know it's a big tourist and commercial trap. That's not why I go. I enjoy the festive, laid back atmosphere. Not to mention it reinforces my theory that no matter how one gets, people still like to dress up and play. I prefer the Greek agora for the yummy gyro plates and I will have a glass or few of the mead wine. Fair warning if you buy a CD from the gypsy dancers make sure you have exact change. The girl promised me she would return with change yet she never did. Good thing I'm not going to make a fuss over $3! Regardless I enjoy a day out in the woods in such a festive atmosphere.