I’m bored. Which, of course, means that I’m going to be redesigning this site pretty soon.

If things kinda flake out over the next couple of days (or weeks or whatever), don’t be alarmed—I’m probably in the middle of uploading the new stuff.

You’ve been warned.

The secret to good health

This little bit has been floating around for a little while now, but seeing as how my sweetie and I are in the midst of New Year’s resolution diets at the moment, it’s become a bit more relevant to us…

Here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies.

  • The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  • The French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  • The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  • The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  • The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

(I knew I should have learned a second language…)

Let it snow…

…let it snow, let it what??

That’s right—it snowed yesterday in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Barely enough to coat the ground where I live (a little north of Dallas proper), but it snowed.

I lived in Texas from around 1970 to 1995 (when I moved to the Boston area), and I can remember less than a handful of times that it snowed. (Needless to say, I saw a crapload of snow living around Boston.) It’s quite possible that my memory is just being selective and/or sucks, but regardless, let’s just say it didn’t snow too often down in south central Texas. But since I moved back to Texas in 2000, it’s snowed at least three times where I’ve lived. Maybe the D/FW area has always received more snow—I don’t know—but it’s novel enough to me to warrant mentioning.

Or maybe I’m just easily entertained.

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish

Oh, about the pond…

Before we left town for the holidays, we knew our fish pond had a slow (or so we thought) leak somewhere, but we figured it would make it til we got back. I topped it off completely the day before we left… and when we returned eight days later, less than six inches of water remained in the pond for the 30 some-odd fish there. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the heavy rains that our area had received a couple of days earlier, we may have had a true disaster (read: a bunch of dead fish) on our hands. As it stood, I was able to refill the pond and save all the fishies. But we now had a fast leak on our hands.

And sure enough, within just a couple of days, the pond level was down about six inches or so, and we decided that enough was enough. We first scooped up about half a dozen fish that we wanted to keep for the time being. Next, we called up the family that used to live in our house before we bought it; the eldest son is the one who built the pond in the first place, and he came over the next day to take about two dozen of the fish for himself. We thought that was all of them (the fish), but about half a dozen “appeared” the next morning (they had apparently been hiding among the plants and muck at the bottom of the pond); we managed to snag them and then donated them to a local aquatic center.

So now we have a nearly empty pond, and we have to decide what to do with it. If we rebuild/restock it, we’re going to do it the right way (new liner, new pump and filter, etc., but that’s going to cost us a pretty penny. We’ll probably make a decision by the end of the coming weekend. In the meantime, we have a big bucket of fish spending the winter in our kitchen…

Happy New Year! (extended dance remix)

The Christmas holidays brought about our seasonal two-step: first down to Houston, then over to College Station.

We left for Houston on the Monday before Christmas, and I guess everyone had left town during the weekend because the drive down I-45 was absolutely painless and borderline lonely for that road. We did stop in Conroe on the way into town to coordinate (finally) with our wedding photographer (remember the wedding, back in, oh, May?) on getting our reprints done, and after that, it was off to my mom-in-law’s place for a few days.

Christmas Eve is when my sweetie and her family traditionally open presents, and just like the past two years, I was witness to a true spectacle involving her family and what appeared to be an infinite number of Christmas presents. Not that I’m complaining, mind you, for we made off with a tidy little haul for ourselves; it’s just that my family’s celebrations, at least after we got older, have always been considerably more low-key and on a much smaller scale. But I think I can get used to this. :-)

Thursday night was an all-around treat for me. We went into downtown to see a performance by The Flaming Idiots, a juggling and comedy performance team that used to play at the Texas Rennaisance Festival until a couple of years ago. My sweetie has seen them umpteen times, but I’d never seen them before, so it was great to finally see them after all she’s raved about them. But an even bigger treat was the surprise that my sweetie had cooked up for me—instead of going back to her mom’s place, she had booked us a room at the Crowne Plaza downtown for the night, so we ended up spending a wonderfully romantic holiday evening alone, just the two of us… ummm, watching TV in our room. Yeeeah, that’s it, watching TV, that’s what we did.

Saturday, we made the hour and a half drive down the road to College Station to spend a couple of days with my parents. (Actually, we got into town before they did, as they didn’t return from visiting my brother in Florida until later in the afternoon.) College Station is pretty much a ghost town when the school (Texas A&M) isn’t in session, so we just spent the time recharging our batteries before heading back to D/FW on New Year’s Eve (well, on the afternoon of NYE, actually). We did, however, managed to introduce my parents to the goodness that is Rockfish, who recently opened a branch in College Station. (In fact, there are now a number of pretty good restaurants in C.S. these days, as opposed to when I was still in school and Red Lobster constituted a “good restaurant”. But I digress.)

[Long aside: Back when I was still in grad school and my sweetie and I were just friends (no, really, we were just friends; it was until much later that the proverbial sparks started to fly), we spent a good deal of time at Alfred T. Hornback’s Professional Pool Emporium (I kid you not—that’s what the sign above the door says). Hornback’s was great for what it was—a blue-jeans-wearing, beer-fueled dive (and I mean “dive” in the good sense) with a bunch of pool tables. Plus we knew all the bartenders, who made sure we were always treated really well. What does this have to do with anything? Not much, except that Hornback’s contrasted with the other place we’d occasionally play pool at: Yesterday’s, your typical dark, smoky, wood-paneled pool hall. One nice thing about Yesterday’s was that it tried to sell itself as a slightly classier joint, meaning a minimal dress code was enforced (no T-shirts or shorts, that sort of thing) which tended to keep the just-graduated-from-high-school and kegger crowds away. It was a great place for when you wanted to just shoot pool (unlike Hornback’s, where the pool and the beer were pretty much inseparable, at least for me).

Well, we revisited Yesterday’s while we were in town—and I’m sad to report that… well, things haven’t quite gone to hell in a handbasket, but the handbasket’s at least open. Maybe the place is under new management, but the dress code restrictions are all but gone, and perhaps as a result, the place is/was overrun with the cut-off T-shirt/baggy jeans crowd, most of them barely out of high school (if that) by the look of things. Cursing and yelling and basically looking like shit. Fortunately, they cleared out for the most part as the evening went on, but it was still sad to have to realize that an old friend had essentially passed away. Next time, we’ll probably go to Hornback’s.]

We had decided before leaving town that we were going to spend New Year’s Eve alone together—just the two of us—and that’s exactly what we did. Since we’re not on the East Coast, it didn’t make sense to count down to the new year with Dick Clark in Times Square, so we waited until midnight local time, counting down the last few seconds via the clock on The Weather Channel (yes, it’s true—we’re officially sad) before trading kisses and glasses of pseudo-bubbly when the clock struck twelve in Texas. And then we went to bed.

Happy New Year! 2003: so far, so good…