One of my gaming buddies, Mike P., had a performance at a bar. So I skipped game night and went down to watch him play the guitar with his brother. This is in a rather seedy part of town. But I guess you take what opportunities are given to you.
According to this, the title of the show was “Dan Coyle, solo acoustic & another band.” Apparently another musician was visiting Austin and booked this night to play. He then posted something on Craigslist for other performers to join him. Two others did (Mike was one of them). Since we were only interested in Mike, we arrived a little late. The bar was almost empty. Only a few tables were occupied. But what really surprised me was that one of my yoga teachers, Sapphire Bell was playing! I didn’t even suspect her other side since she never played, sang, or even talked about it during the yoga class. I did find a video of her playing in 2004, so you can get an idea of what she sounded like. She was pretty good! And she even has a CD out.
Mike was good and had one amusing song about his younger brother…
Well, I broke down and bought a replacement camera to my Canon EOS 20D. Normally, the series naming convention is x0D. And the latest in the series is the 50D. However, it seems Canon has introduced a new line of cameras that fits between the 50D and the 1D Mark III. The Canon 7D.
This also got me in the mood of inputting all of my camera related purchases into an XML document. And, out of curiosity, I totaled it all up. Sesh, I have spent more than a luxury vehicle…
One of the first places I went to take pictures with it was downtown on Ladybird Lake along Auditorium Shores. It’s such a shame, but I don’t get down here very often. And I have never taken pictures of this famous skyline. The bridge is South 1st Street and I am south of the river.
We played a new Wallace game that I received recently. It is another train-themed game. This time, about delivering cheese (and stone and passengers). The interesting mechanic in this game is the fact that you pay for your links every round. So you need to sell off your links to one of the two major train corporations. Which will cause you to inch your way across the map. You bid for token with different abilities. These will be used to buy engines for a round, build in certain spots, and sell your train tracks back. So you need to be able to get a variety in order to do what you plan.
With a new method of cooking beans, I needed to raise them up a level. One of the things that I like about Rudy’s beans is the extra flavor they add to a bowl of plain, frozen vegetables. So I decided to try adding some meat to the picture. And I went with an unknown meat as well: two and a half pounds of ox tails. I knew that I need to braise the beef to turn the tough connective tissue, collagen, into gelatin. Since I was already cooking the beans in a low oven, I had the perfect environment to braise.
The first step was to brown the meat in a dutch oven. I then poured water half way up the meat, covered the pot, and put it into a 250 degree oven for two hours and forty-five minutes. After that, I added the rinsed beans and placed them back into the oven for an hour and a half. Then removed them and placed them in the refrigerator to cool down.
The first thing that I noticed after removing them from the refrigerator, was that there no condensation on the top of the container. I first that that the layer of fat might have been responsible. But when I scraped off the solidified fat, I noticed that the rest of the liquid was jelly-like. Apparently, there was no free water to condense.
For the next time, I am going to try a vegetarian version. I would add apples for the pectin, a little bit of molasses, liquid smoke, smoked paprika, and chipotle.
We played at Wilco today. The original plan was Old Settler’s Park, but we didn’t know that the 2009 Outlaw Trail Cycling Tour was going on today and that the entire park would be closed. Fortunately, Wilco is close.
I also had a good first throw on hole 3. For some reason, this is a hard throw for me around a large wall of brush.
After the round, we ate at Fuddruckers. Nick brought his three metal briefcases of poker chips with him which was actually the game of Dominion.
It’s been far too long since I have visited the family. So I coordinated a good time a couple of month ago and hoped that no hurricanes would show up then. Which none did! In fact, I escaped some cold and rainy weather in Austin while South Florida was warm and sunny.
I was supposed to fly out on the 6th of October, but fate intervened. I had just got into my car and started the trip down to the airport when I received an automated call from American Airlines informing me that my flight had been canceled. So I pulled over into a parking lot and called AA. Since I was on the last flight to WPB, I had no choice but to schedule for the next day. And, thankfully, Super Shuttle rescheduled with no charge as well.
Since I was vacationing, during my birthday, I decided to splurge in the car rental. I picked the “large” version of the car on the web. And, when I arrived, the agent talked me into the Dodge Challenger. Which looks awesome. It is definitely a homage to the 70’s muscle car. However, I did not like how the car handled or drove. It is a really large car. It feels like you are driving a super-sized Cadillac. The handling is not tight and the acceleration was weak. But I was still glad that I tried it out…
I spent my vacation visiting family and friends, going to the beach, and eating at Cuban restaurants.
My Mom got a new dog.
My Dad has five dogs now. Good luck trying to get them all into the same frame. Two are new and, sadly, one has inoperable cancer.
My grandma is still going strong. Although I suspect that she trades off height for vigor.
So is my Aunt Jill.
I was happy to see Sean again and finally meet Bunny. Too bad my friends are all spread out over Florida.
The beach was awesome. Every day was warm and sunny.
I swam a lot. Which is a lot more difficult in the ocean. You have to deal with waves and jellyfish. Which freak me out when I smack into one of them with my arms. Thankfully, they weren’t the stinging kind.