Monthly Archives: July 2006

Good Samaritan

I was out for my usual Sunday bike ride when I ran into problems. My rear tire started feeling “squirley”. However, I ignored the warning signs and truged on. And then I started to feel the bumps from the road and I knew it was loosing air pressure. Since I was at the halfway point, I had no choice now but to try and make it home. Unfortuantely, it went flat soon after that. And I started walking home. I made it to 1460 and Westinghouse and headed South.

Thankfully, someone stopped and offered me a ride! It was a couple who saw me while driving north and turned around to stop. And they could not be more inconvenienced. They were on their way to Church, they had groceries in the back of the Surburban, and they had a sleeping child in the car. But they stopped to help me. And I really appreciated it. We had to struggle to fit the bike in the back but we finally made it.

While we drove to my home, we talked. And I learned that the husband was a biker and had an experience where there was a crash of many bikers (one with a broken jaw) and noone stopped to help. I also learned that they lived south-east of Hutto but went to church in Georgetown (quite the commute).

It was a little depressing when I was walking down the road and a pickup truck beeped at me as it passed. I was as far as possible against the edge of the road (when I would be a little further out when biking). So I didn’t think that was the problem. I wonder why they did it… My guess is that its that car equivalent of the Simpson’s bully “ha ha” laugh.

Disc Golf 07/29/2006

Tomato plant?

At Cat Hollow park, I noticed this tomatoey looking plant hanging on for dear life next to hole 2. Could it be a wild tomato plant? I will keep track of it and see if any of the fruit survives…

Hole 6 approach

On hole 6, I had my best approach shot so far. Close enough to putt… When you drive from the tree you have a small area with trees on either side of the tee box. You have to then angle the disc high over a clump of trees to the right. The disc should then fall back to the course (in front of a very large oak — you guessed it — tree).

Jon throws far

Jon had a pretty far drive on hole 18. The goal is located next to the road and is protected by two lines of trees. There is a small hole for a path, but not much else. When Jon threw it, he knew it was going far. We didn’t believe how far it went until we found it on the street! Wow!

For lunch we went to Extreme Pizza. John and Adam were going to Tim’s to play games. Jon and I were going home. But then John suggested we play Tichu over at Tim’s. And that was enough to convice both Jon and myself to play!

Adam calls Grand Tichu

And wow did the opposing team have problems today. Their first four Tichu and GrandTichu calls were reasonable. But we were able to set them. Then they started calling desperation Grand Tichu calls. Jon pretty much forced Adam to call it when he picks up his cards. And Adam did not have any luck in getting control cards. See my above hand when Adam called the second to the last Grand Tichu call? Easily settable…

The scorecard for a game of Tichu

GT or T bet made or lost

This team scored more points than the other or one twoed

GT/T Team #1 GT/T GT/T Team #2 GT/T
MarkH & JohnG Jon & AdamR
    -90 T-
    -170 T-
  270   GT+
  T- 40  
T+ 510     -110 GT-
    -275 GT-
  775     -475 GT-

Disc Golf 07/28/2006

Found License and Bank Card

During our game of disc golf at Old Settler’s Park, we came across a license and bank card sitting right next to the tee for hole 8. It must have dropped out of someone’s bag earlier. I picked them up and took them home. I tried looking up the address online, but was unsuccessful with Google’s maps and Mapquest. So, I tried calling, but no one was home. I ended up putting them in an envelope and mailing them. Hopefully, the post office knows where that address and they will arrive.


John tries to ignore me as he putts… He keeps making me move farther away whenever he throws the disc… I must have strong mojo…

Game Day 07/27/2006

Game #1


Tonight was Smart-Mike’s last day in Austin. He is on a quest to become smarter by going back to CMU for some amount of years. I wish him luck in his endeavour. Too bad he is leaving, Tichu will become harder to play…

We started out with Antike. We had six people which is a good number for Antike. Everyone knew the rules and played quickly… well, everyone but Smart-Mike who did a lot of Ashley-Rollmaning…

I was pretty much left alone during the game. At one point, John decided to attack one of my cities. He was getting squeezed by Mike, Adam, and Marty. So he decided to venture into my territory. Unfortunately, he did not have quite enough to take over the city he wanted. I spent a while kicking him back out.

Mike was agressive and took a risky expansion strategy which paid off for him at the end. He was able to win the game. We did a new rules variation where if you have researched all of the technology, you can get a victory point (choose from any card). Chapel was mean and took the card I was going after… hehe… oh well.

Game #2

Credit Mobilier

Mike Chapel brought a new game for us to try out called Credit Mobilier. The production values are pretty low and look like pre-schoolers designed and built it. It is a somewhat quick dice game about trying to make money by moving goods from one side of the board to the other. The fatal flaw in this game is the five dice. These dice determine what actions you are allowed. If you roll horribly, you are hosed. And if you continue to roll badly, you really hate playing this game. There is a general fund (colored purple) and 4 company funds (colored red, blue, green, and yellow). For each share that you purchase, you get payed off a dollar from the company coffers. Due to the setup of the board, some shares look more promising than others, so you try and purchase their shares. But you must roll the color of the company on one of the five dice. Are you starting to see the dice problem? When you build track (again having rolled the color) or move goods along a track (rolled of course), money is deposited into the different company coffers. If you are lucky enough to own shares in a company, you will want to initiate a payout. But you have to roll the color of the company AND an orange color (adding to the general rolling problems).

I don’t think that I would recommend this game to anyone. But I thank Mike for having taken one for the team and purchasing this game for me to try out…


Paris is sexier link via

The oil we eat link via

BOB is a hybrid home of the future link via

The most complicated Chinese character link via

Flamosapien link via

Converting a Canon EF Lens into an Astro Short APO link via

Human space invaders link via

When a turrent fires link via

Electronic Dice link via

Valve’s Portal link via

The Big Lebowski – F_cking Short Version (NSFW, unless you work at HBO) link via

The sidewalk SUV link via

A porch and flowering meadow, 6 floors up link via

Tender is the Loin I

Tonight, I cooked a 1″ thick cut of beef tenderloin. I was inspired by the Good Eats show Tender Is The Loin I. In it, Alton buys a P.S.M.O. (“Peeled”, as in of extra fat, and “Side Meat On”) of vacuum packed, wet aged, beef tenderloin. I checked and Costco has them for around $85. I haven’t bought one yet. After all, that is a lot of meat. So, I just bought one steak at H.E.B.. And then cooked it acording to his recipie.

What was surprising was just how big of a fire ball the 1/6 cup of Hennessy V.S. Cognac produced. I turned off the flame. Poured the alcohol in. And lit it with a stick lighter. And looked up in awe at the huge ball of fire. It seemed to be going up the cupboards and reaching the ceiling. Of course, the fire alarm that went off was not helping matters. When it finally settled down, I poured in 1/2 cup heavy cream and started to look around. Fortunately, there didn’t seem to be any damage. And I do have a new fire extinguisher.

Next time, I will skip lighting the thing on fire…

Disc Golf 07/22/2006

Williamson County Disc Golf Course sign #1
Williamson County Disc Golf Course sign #2

We played at a newly built course today on Sam Bass road and Chandler road. Williamson County built a big park out here. The disc golf course was hard to find (I had to wave down a park employee). And it is a pay-per-use course ($1 a day or $40 a year). Hrm… I’m not so happy about that. I think that the rest of the park was built from our tax dollars, so why charge for disc golf? Supposedly this course will be well maintained. We shall see…


This group is starting to grow too large! Three strangers joined the mailing list and they played today. Also, Doug played again after a 6 month haitus. And we started really late. John showed up late from construction delays around Ikea. Curt showed up even later. And Steph and Nick showed up much later. We finished an hour later than usual. Sigh.

Delayed 4th of July Fireworks

Fireworks #1

On the 4th, I was in no mood to take pictures of fireworks. It was also raining. So I was happy to learn that the fireworks were going on today. I didn’t read about it in the paper or see it on the television. But, in a lucky coincidence, I saw them setting up for fireworks when I played disc golf.

Fireworks #3

So after Pilates, I ran back home and grabbed my camer gear. I stopped by Taco Bell for some quick food and headed to the park. People were already streaming in. I forgot my lawn chair, but was able to use a cloth tarp that I carry in my truck. I walked over to the hill that is part of hole 14 and set up. And the fireworks started right away. Perfect timing! Although I had to rush around to finish setting up.

During the show, I played around with the aperature setting. I was using a tripod and a remote shutter control. I guessed at the timing. The LCD screen would inform me of what the shot looked like. It is surprising just how much light a 2.8 apterature will let in. For the same time as a f/22 stop picture that looks like pitch black background, the f/2.8 will look like early dawn.

After the show, I decided to hang out and watch Curious George from across the street. At that distance, the movie screen was the size of my 17″ TV set. And the sound was a decent volume. It took an hour before the traffic jam had cleared. Which is when I headed home.

Disc Golf 07/21/2006

Orange fencing

Today, I went to play disc golf at Old Settler’s park and was in for a surprise. There were trucks parked in the shade where hole 18 is! When I went over to investigate, I was told that they were getting ready for fireworks tonight. And they told me that my truck would be towed if left there (I would be leaving after 90 minutes and well before 9pm) and we couldn’t play disc golf on this side. They had also fenced off the area on this side of the lake. This meant that holes 1,2 and 3 were out of action.

We started off at hole 4. Hole 5 was missing again (it seems that they use that field for parking for the fireworks). On hole 9, I got my disc stuck high in the tree. John and I spent a while throwing rocks and bottles at it in an attempt to knock it down. It was stuck pretty well. But it finally dropped! I was determined not to loose another disc so quickly!

news 8 truck

We aborted after finishing hole 13. It was really hot out and I wanted to stop by the Mexican ice cream store for some cold fruit water before Pilates.

Apparently, fireworks is a news-worthy event…