Monday, July 28, 2008

More Hobo Camp

The Donnington group, in association with the Sandal Brothers brings you Hobo Camp 3...

I just can't help myself. I have the day off and have some time on my hands. I have posted a pic taken moments ago of the neighbor hobo camp. Not sure if further commentary required.


Saturday morning, went for a dog walk and when I returned, I detected the faint odor of death in the house. I noticed it again on Sunday and then again, even stronger, this morning. It was in every room. Usually when an animal dies in the attic, the odor is isolated. What could be hitting every room?

The air conditioning system. Sure enough, when I opened the front garage to my house where the unit is kept, I could smell a dead rat before the door was unlocked. There was a dead rat under the stand the A.C. unit rests on. Flies were around. It gave me the willies (no offense to my poker buddy from South of the border-what the hell, he doesn't read this.)

I grabbed an empty beer box from the main garage and nudged the rat into it. I knew the perfect place to discard the body: in the field behind the hobo camp.

I took the box and the doggie pooper scooper I retrieved from the shed (to scoot the rat into the beer box) with me and crossed the street. I approached the fence line (keep in mind I am not dumping the rat in the hobo camp, but in the lot right behind it) and noticed that two girls working at Bird's Barbershop were outside on a smoke break and had an unencumbered view of my activities.

Thinking fast, I quickly turned the beer box upside down, dumping the rat to the ground on the other side of the fence and then began picking up a beer bottle and a discarded radiator hose I found on the curb adjacent to the dump spot with the pooper scooper.

Instead of a rat dumping polluter, I was an eco-warrier picking up debris on the roadside and I doubt those barbershop birds saw through an otherwise transpicuous charade.

The odor is now gone and I can relax for the rest of the day. That's how I am spending my day off.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


source unknown

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sign of Trouble

An alert reader snapped this photo while on vacation in Colorado. Thanks to Missy G. of San Angelo Texas.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

There's gonna be a whipping when she gets home

Worth the view just to gaze at her mama's ass at the end.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekend Observations

These are very simple observations that I feel compelled to relate:

  • Herradura Reposado is DELICIOUS Tequila. Jose Cuervo Especial when tasted after drinking 6 shots of the aforementioned Herradura Reposado taste like, well, Mescal. AWFUL!!! You know those bed comforters you buy at Target in the big zipped up plastic bag? Well imagine that you take one of those bags, add gallons of water in a cauldron and melt the plastic and pour the reduction into a bottle. That is the end result of the Jose Cuervo tequila. Keep in mind this is coming from a guy who squirted 3 year old toothpaste into a bottle of and rubbing alcohol just to get drunk last Labor Day and that was better than the Cuervo.
  • Louis Armstrong can't sing. Let me rephrase that. He can't sing very well (save your emails about John Prine and Tom Waits, I like both of them.) In fact his voice causes tremors in my nervous system. I have known that for 35 years, but this weekend I snapped. I enjoy listening to XM 73 (Sinatra station) on the weekends and they play big band as well as 40's crooner up through 60's hep cat swing music. I really like the music on that station except for Louis Armsrong and a couple of other artists that are played so infrequently I can't remember their names. Now, when he comes on the radio, I can't react fast enough to turn the station.
  • I may be over reaching here, but I just think Mad Men might be better that The Wire. Alert the Stuff White People Like crowd. I saw that series (Season 1) when it first rolled out a year ago and then they had a "marathon" viewing this weekend and I marvelled at how well those episodes held up to a 2nd viewing. Just outstanding! (Maybe I will be quoted next week from this blog on AMC channel.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ads for Lads

Today's picture is a Kohler magazine advert from 1947 that ran in Life and Look magazines. The older guy looks like he could be the next door neighbor peaking in a window. I would imagine such an ad today would be found in 'speciality' periodicals or the front cover of some lurid pulp fiction gem found at your 24 hour news venues.

Yeah, this pic could be on the front of the book and the back of the book jacket could be picture of an empty bathroom with discolored ichor pooling at the base of the tub.


I was hanging out at Loren's house prior to the Bastille Day party mentioned in the previous entry and saw a picture of Radiohead on the cover of a magazine. That magazine was Rolling Stone. I have scimmed through perhaps two issues of that rag in the past 15 years.

(screed deleted)

I had considered writing about how awful that magazine has become and making snarky references to Move On Org, but that would be tiresome, so I won't. That's not what I do here at Happy Ranch blog. I would rather provide uplifting images to brighten the day of any troll or lurker who ventures by.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bonne Jour de Bastille!

Had another good weekend. I attended a Bastille Day party yesterday (one day early) at Lisa's house. You might recall a picture of Luke taken there at the Memorial Day party. Luke and Taz didn't go this time, however. Loren went with me instead.

Once again, it was an absolute blast. The same people were there from the Memorial Day party and they all remembered me (fondly, I might add.) Many Frenchies were in attendance. They are much more of a merrier people than portrayed on television (Hogan's Heroe's e.g.).

There were a couple of new faces, too. One guy, Marques, was very funny and we talked for quite a while. He is here on a temporary visa and can't get steady work. But he does make money standing in police lineups downtown. They pay $63.50 for each lineup you stand in. He was trying to get me to do it, but I dunno. I could see something go terribly wrong if I were to stand in. He said there's nothing to worry about. He's already been picked out of the lineup twice. That just means the witness was not reliable, I was told.

I might have to think twice about this. Maybe on the weekends? It could be fun. Wow, I have just about talked myself into doing this. If I do, you will be sure to hear about it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sorted for E's & Wizz (redux)

If you happened to make it to Emo's last night for Peter Murphy, then yeah, you saw me get kicked out for crowd surfing. Since when did Emo's become a strong arm camp?

I have a friend who was kicked out of a Kings of Leon show in Seattle for pulling another girl's hair. At least I didn't hurt anyone.

I ended up sitting outside on the curb listening to the rest of the show. Peter still has a great voice.

On another musical note, I have been listening to a lot of Pulp this year. I know, I know, I am late to the game on this one. I actually bought downloaded "Different Class" five years ago and then I started listening to their "Essentials" playlist at work on my iTouch and have really latched onto them and am extrapolating what I would have felt had I been listening to them when they were releasing their albums.

This is just a perfect Brit pop song, 'Do You Remember the First Time?'.

Other outstanding acts that I have been late in learning about in the past include Wedding Present, Stone Roses and George Jones.


I have received more than few inquiries on Troy, my lawn mower borrowing neighbor. I'm not sure why. Yes, he's a piece of work, but you see those kind of guy's down on the Drag (Austin reference) or 6th Street.

He's like a hobo with a full time job. Case in point, here are a couple of pictures of his back yard. Does that not look like a hobo camp?

This is right across the street from me. Here is a picture of my place taken from the hobo camp. I will never receive any awards from the neighborhood association for yard of the month, but I keep things tidy and respectable (please ignore the couch on the patio.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Peter Murphy Tonight

He's playing at Emo's. Tickets are $15!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Shuttle Bus Days

I went out for another dog walk this evening and had another encounter. We were midway through our walk heading north on Shoalcreek when I noticed a woman putting a sewing machine in the back of her car. She smiled as we walked past and I then recognized her from my UT shuttle bus driving days. She rode my bus 3 times a week for a decade. I drove the Enfield route from the mid 80's to the mid 90's and she always got off at the turnaround every MWF. Her son also drove the UT Shuttle

I stopped to chat with her briefly (yes it was her) and we continued on our way. On the way back home, I started reminiscing about my days as a driver. I had put much of that chapter of my life out of my mind (though I have the occasional nightmare where I am driving the bus from the first passenger seat and I can't control the steering as I smash into car after car.)

I was a different person (sort of) back then. I was wild and care free, absolutely living in the moment. There were numerous occasions of dalliances with the fairer sex in the back of an otherwise deserted bus parked at the turnaround (while on break, usually.) Girls seemed crazier back then.

It won't be useful to reveal any of their names they know who they were and two of them live within a mile of me to this day. I am not bragging, that's just the way it was back then. Many of the drivers would congregate in the bus terminal employee parking lot and smoke a joint before picking up their keys and folders to the buses at the beginning of each work day.

There are quite a few stories I won't begin to tell, but I can relate one. Back in August of '86, my friend Leslie graduated UT with a Sociology degree. We were very close back then and she talked me into driving her and her roommate Tracy around the Enfield route with a cooler stocked with champagne and beer. This was a rare Saturday route as it was during second summer session finals. They lived right on the route and were waiting on me outside their front door with a cooler when I pulled up just after I began my afternoon shift.

The cooler was stocked with the aforementioned champagne, orange juice and a 12 pack of Busch. The UT shuttle buses back then were the orange and white Blue Birds that had stereos so we put in a cassette and drank and drove around campus and out to the turnaround near Lake Austin Blvd and back again and again. After a couple of laps, I called my roommates to come join us and soon we were all in good spirits cruising around my route. I don't think 3 passengers got onboard during my 4.5 hour shift.

I dug out a photo of the event and absolutely have no idea who took this. It was probably a passenger I knew. Anyway, from left to right (Kevin Cooper, Jim Casto, me without beard, Tracy Truesdale and Leslie with Kevin's brother Stuart in the doorway.) This wouldn't go on today. I have crazier stories, but those will NOT be published!

AUG '86

Monday, July 7, 2008

Girl With the Taffeta Hair Ribbon

I just returned from another dog walk in our neighborhood. We average 4 per week and they are 2 to 3 miles in length. We used to do much more, but Luke's arthritis has begun limiting our duration and frequency.

For the third time in ten days, we encountered a woman walking her dog that wanted to know if my two dogs would like to say hello to her dog or dogs. I always acquiesce, being the good neighbor.

The woman I met this evening had a nice looking 6 month old pup. We introduced our dogs by name but neither of us gave our own name. It might have been a mistake as she was a fine looking woman, roughly in her mid 30's and no wedding ring.

I sized her up pretty quickly. She was either a recent divorcee or widow. She didn't have any kids and funneled her affection into her dog, Gus. I'm sure I'll see her again, and next time I'll be ready!

I had a good weekend. I slept a lot. Also, I hung out with Maribeth on the 4th of July. We found a geocache or two, went to a lake party and then dinner. Good times. Yesterday was my birthday and I met my poker buddies for drinks and snacks at Opal Divines. I slept a lot, too. Oh yeah, i mentioned that. That's a good thing, because I usually don't.

Oh, I almost forgot. You won't guess who I ran into this afternoon. I saw Jill (from the Happy Hour Encounter blog entry) this afternoon.

At lunch today, Robin and I drove to Target to pick up household provisions (dog food and envelopes for me.) We go to check out (separately) and the check out girl is looking at me kind of funny. She seemed embarrassed at first and then a little angry. Finally she blurts out "You don't remember me do you?!?!" As she was saying that my recollection returned.

Neither of us could remember each other's names. I had to go back to the journal entry where we parted on less that stellar terms. She was cordial at the counter and I didn't even bother with small talk, though I did say goodbye.

That was funny, because when I first met her, I was worried that she would be disappointed that I wasn't a CEO somewhere. And there she is working as a Target cashier.

I believe that story would make O. Henry proud.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Cripple at COMDEX

Judging by my emails, I gather that a large percentage of my readers have attended a trade show or convention of some type in their past either as part of their job or as a hobbyist/purist.

I attended my first trade show, COMDEX, back in 1985, as a guest of my mentor, Dr. Sutter. At the time, I was new to computers, at least the computers we all know today. I had taken a couple of programming classes in FORTRAN back in the late 70's, but the personal computer was just really beginning to make its way into everyday life in the mid 80's.

The photo below is a picture of me taken at the Lotus booth by Dr. Sutter. I had a beard back then. And let me pre-emptively nip the inevitable emails in the bud by stating we had separate rooms at the MGM Grand. Its now Bally's, I think. (Click on image for better resolution.)

I remember engaging in a heated argument with the guy in the wheelchair. He was continually blocking my way at the different booths or cutting me off as I wandered from vendor to vendor.

I don't know if he was doing it on purpose or not, but I finally snapped and yelled at him as I spun him around to face me. I want to say the people around me broke out in applause, but that would probably be revisionist thinking.

Dr. Sutter was horrified, of course, and his taciturn comportment on the flight back to Austin signaled to me that I had better get a new mentor.

That story is for a future entry.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Burger Time!

Growing up in Midland Texas in the 60's had its advantages. It was very easy to make friends and believe it or not, there was plenty to do if you were a young boy with lots of energy.

Midland is where I first started eating out at fast food restaurants. Dairy Queen and Burger Chef were the two main venues for most of the time I lived there. Burger Chef is no more as they closed their last restaurant down in 1996.

On the West Coast, In-N-Out Burger is a very popular chain and it reminds me a lot of Burger Chef, though I suspect In and Out Burger is considered more hip than Burger Chef ever was.

Not too different...

This is a 100 patty burger made at In-N-Out Burger. More details can be found here.

And, Burger Time was one of my favorite video games in the early 80's.