Archive for October, 2011


HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

CHUCKY!

Thanks to Jenny, Diana & Crystal for carving an awesome jack-o-lantern!!!!

Happy Halloween!!!

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The Dead Keep Walking!!!

THE WALKING DEAD HAS JUST BEEN RENEWED FOR A THIRD SEASON!!! 

According to AMC, the show’s second season episodes have been breaking records for a drama series on basic cable capturing 7.3 million viewers for their season premiere, capturing more viewers than any other show’s telecast in basic cable history!

The following is a recap of Episode 2:  “BLOODLETTING”

After the end of the premiere episode and the cliff-hanger of Carl being shot, I couldn’t wait for this next episode!  Makes me realize that a good drama series’ storyline makes you wish that each episode was longer than one hour.

The episode starts off with a flashback of the day that sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes is shot (season 1).  His partner Shane drives up to the school where Rick’s wife Lori is about to pick up their son Carl.  She is talking to another mother about her and Rick’s problems, just as Rick was talking to Shane in his car in the first episode of the series.  Shane seems genuinely concerned but I kind of sensed that it was more focused on Lori than Rick.  This makes me wonder about these two…was there something going on between Shane & Lori before the zombie apocalypse?  Maybe.  Carl gets out of school and Lori hugs him tight as he sobs after hearing about his dad.

Cut to:  Rick carrying Carl, bleeding and dying from a gunshot wound, through a field.  They are followed by Shane and the man that shot Carl, Otis.

Otis

* Otis is played by a great character actor, Pruitt Taylor Vince…who played

Malcolm Rivers in Identity

Otis is taking them to the house where he is staying.  The house is on a farm owned by Hershel Greene.  Otis and his girlfriend are staying with Hershel, Hershel’s wife and daughter, Maggie.  They take them in and begin trying to treat Carl’s gunshot wound.

Hershel realizes that there are six bullet fragments inside Carl and attempts to get them out…Carl wakes up!  The kid is screaming with a strange man’s fingers digging around inside his abdomen and eventually he passes out.

Hershel attempting to remove bullet fragments from Carl

Rick and Carl are the same blood type, so Rick readily donates blood to help his son, who has lost a lot a blood.  Hershel gets Carl stabilized but informs Rick that in order to get to the remaining 5 bullet fragments, he needs to put Carl under and operate…but he doesn’t have the equipment to do so.

Otis realizes that there is probably medical equipment at the nearby high school, which was set up for a time as a FEMA shelter.  Rick wants to go with Otis to the high school, but Shane can’t let him leave Carl’s side.  The kid not only needs more blood transfusions, he may take a turn for the worst and die with Rick not being there.  Rick agrees to stay and sends Otis and Shane to get the medical equipment that Hershel needs to save his son’s life.

As they are leaving, Rick gives Otis his handgun for protection.  Of course, Otis still has the gun that he shot Rick’s son with…for protection.

Rick needs help in getting word to Lori and bringing her to the farmhouse.  No problem…Maggie’s got a horse!  Good thing too, because meanwhile Andrea finds herself oblivious to a zombie in the woods until it’s almost too late.

Zombie sneaking up on Andrea in the woods

Maggie to the rescue!

Most of the others, including Rick’s wife Lori, are still in the woods searching for Sophia.  Oh, yeah….she’s still lost!   Andrea is about to be a zombie’s dinner when Maggie rides up and uses the zombie’s head for batting practice.  She finds Lori, holsters her Louisville Slugger and takes off with Lori towards the farmhouse.

Meanwhile…Dale and T-Dog are still on the highway waiting outside the Winnebago.  During their conversation, Dale begins to realize that something is wrong with T-Dog…T-Dog begins talking to Dale about how he feels that the “rednecks” that they are traveling with view he and Dale  as the weakest of the group and have purposefully left them behind.  He even suggests that they get in the Winnebago and take off!

Dale and T-Dog

Dale checks his forehead and then his cut.  I KNEW IT!!!  T-Dog’s injury (cut) in the season premiere seemed too severe to be okay with just a little tape job.  (Thank you writers!)  T-Dog has developed a severe infection from slashing his forearm on a ragged piece of metal and has developed a fever and needs antibiotics.  I guess this is the cause of T-Dog’s crazy-talk.

Soon, Darryl, Glenn, Andrea & Carol return to the highway and Darryl offers T-Dog some antibiotics from his stash of his brother Merle’s drugs.  Apparently Darryl’s brother, Merle, needed these drugs for his frequent bouts of “the clap”.

Lori makes it to the farmhouse and takes control of the situation…not only convincing Rick to stay put when Rick wants to head off to find Shane, Otis and the medical equipment, but she begins grilling Hershel about his medical background.  Which I guess is a good thing because we find out that Hershel is actually a vet…no not war veteran, Lori….a veterinarian!  Well, in the days of the zombie apocalypse, I guess an animal doc is better than no doc at all.

Otis and Shane finally make it to the high school as night approaches….

Except there’s one little problem….well, if you call a pep-rally of flesh-eating zombies in the parking lot a little problem…

They use the old “throw-a-flare-distract the zombies” trick and are able to get into the medical trailer.  The problem is that a zombie’s attention span is not very long, so when Otis and Shane have the medical equipment that they need and go back outside….the zombies are done playing “Look at The Pretty Little Light” and are again searching for food.  The zombies chase Shane and Otis to the high school, where Shane shoots out a glass door to get inside a locked foyer, pulling a flimsy fence closed and locking it with a just-as-flimsy bolt.

* I could be wrong, but in watching the promos for the next episode, I see a lot of Shane…but little of Otis.  Does Otis sacrifice himself so that Shane can get the medical equipment back to save Carl’s life?   Ya think?

I’ve been meaning to post these pics since the weekend of the gala, but didn’t have the chance until now.

Every fall the Cibolo Nature Center holds their annual fundraising gala.  We participate every year in their “Taste of The Hill Country” portion of the gala, which means that we are invited (along with about twenty other restaurants) to set up a table and serve food and/or beverages to about 400 guests at the gala.

We served Espresso Brisket Sliders, Tequila Spiked Popcorn, Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates & sweets from Bear Moon Bakery & Cafe.  The gala had others that were providing wine and beer for the evening, so we served up a couple of fresh, shaken “mocktails” (no alcohol):  Honey Spiced Mocktail & Berry Basil Soda.

Moscow Mules!!!

So we decided to get together after work and make some Moscow Mules.  A Moscow Mule is a simple cocktail that was created in the 1950’s.  The traditional glassware for the Moscow Mule is a copper mug, but a Collins glass can also be used.  Thanks to EBAY and an antique store down the street, we had enough copper mugs for all.

Getting all the ingredients ready for the Moscow Mule

This simple recipe that we used was:

  • 1 1/2 oz Vodka (we used Absolut Citron)
  • 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Ginger Beer

We experimented and upped the Vodka to 2 oz and tried two different Ginger Beers (one canned – Gosling’s …and one bottled – Fever Tree).  Some thought Gosling’s to be a milder Ginger Beer and Fever Tree to have more of a ginger “bite”.

Jenny adding Absolut Citron to begin the Moscow Mule

Jenny adding fresh squeezed lime juice to the Moscow Mule

Adding ginger beer to the Moscow Mule

We tried an alternative version of this recipe in Austin at Peche, called a Texas Mule.  In this version, the bartender muddled fresh jalapeno in a mixing glass with the lime juice and vodka, shook with ice, then strained into a glass over ice.  Jenny wanted to try this version as well.

Straining our attempt at a "Texas Mule"

I think that a few of us liked this version the best.  The jalapeno and ginger beer seemed to marry perfectly.

Our finished "Texas Mule"

It was definitely a great evening of creating some refreshing, delicious drinks!!!

Tuesday we attended another Mixology 101 class through Tipsy Tech in Austin, Texas.  This particular session focused on vermouths, aperitifs, digestifs and ABSINTHE!

Absinthe fountain and sugar cubes

We are learning a lot during the course of these sessions and (even better) we are given the chance to taste different spirits and cocktails for discussion and to give our opinions on each one.  This week was no exception and we sampled:

  • Negroni
  • St. Germaine Cocktail
  • and, of course, Absinthe

We tried three different brands of Absinthe:

We had the chance to louche our Absinthe, which is the process (ritual) of adding ice cold water to a clear anise based spirit (Absinthe) causing it to release its essential herbal oils, making it cloudy.  In our case, one of our class sponsors, (Graham from Tenneyson) brought a few fountains to class Tuesday night.  You have the option to louche your Absinthe with or without sugar cubes.  If you decide to include sugar cubes, a traditional (slotted) spoon is used to allowed the water to drip through.

Process of louching Absinthe

Of course, Absinthe will become cloudy if you add only ice cold water as well.

Louching (a little too fast) without the sugarcube

It was a night of interesting flavor and although we did not see The Green Fairy,

The Green Fairy

…it was still a great night!!!

San Antonio Oktoberfest 2011

Jenny and I went to Oktoberfest this Saturday night at:

Beethoven Mannerchor Halle Und Garten

It was a great evening of music, lots of people having fun

Crowd at Oktoberfest 2011

German food,

Reuben, German Potato Salad & Spaten Oktoberfest beer

Strudel at Oktoberfest 2011

Kartoffelpuffer - Potato Pancake with Applesauce

(Didn’t get a picture of it before I dug in but we also had bratwurst and sauerkraut.)

…and (of course) BEER!!!

Jenny at Oktoberferst 2011

Steve at Oktoberfest 2011

Jenny & Steve with Oktoberfest 2011 MC Tobias Klingelhoefer * "Prost!"

We enjoyed great beer including Warsteiner Oktoberfest & Dunkel, and Spaten Oktoberfest as well as music by the San Antonio Accordion Club, Beethoven Kinderchor, The Beethoven Concert Band with director Al Tapia and The Lamplighters, big band dance orchestra.  The Fire on The Mountain Cloggers also performed.  There was great people watching also and many people wore their German garbs:

As the night wore on more toasts were made and more beers were ordered.

Free Tickets at San Antonio Oktoberfest 2011

While standing in line for one of the last potato pancakes of the two weekend festival, a man walked up and gave the person in front of me (Jessica) about $20.00 in free tickets as he was leaving!   Rounds on her!!!

It was a great evening and I will definitely make plans to go back next year.  I’m not sure about the lederhosen, but I will think about bringing my own stein!

Jenny & Steve at San Antonio Oktoberfest 2011

Now that Breaking Bad has started their break, I’m pleased that a guilty pleasure of mine is back:  The Walking Dead.

Season 2 started last night.  The draw of this show for me, besides the George Romero-esque “band of survivors against zombies”  story line, is that these characters are in some real drama.  Maybe that’s why it’s been nominated for an Emmy, Golden Globe &  Writers’ Guild of America award.  Take the zombies out of it ( no, don’t… but if you did), and it still might be a great show about survivors of some type of apocalypse.  I just hope that I continue to enjoy this show now that they’ve axed the show runner/developer, Frank Darabont.  This post will be a recap of the premiere episode, “What Lies Ahead”.

Here we go:

The group of survivors have left the rubble of the CDC and decide to hit the road.  However, while driving theycome across a traffic jam of cars. It’s not really clear what all these people in these cars have died from….suicide, maybe some kind of chemical agent used by the government early on to try to kill the zombies, or just plain FEAR.  As they are winding through the parking lot of cars on the highway, Dale’s Winnebago blows a hose.  Naturally.  Leaving them stranded…but wait, with all the cars on the highway, they are practically in an Auto Zone parking lot.

The gang must now begin scavenging for things in the cars on the highway:  car parts, water, and in Carol’s case:  a new outfit.  Out of practically nowhere,  a herd of zombies stagger up.  I know the show has called the zombies, “walkers”,  but a LOT of them RUN, so I’m calling them zombies!  The group have no choice but to quickly hide under the cars.

Andrea is in the Winnebago (cleaning her gun) and hides in the bathroom when she notices the zombie herd passing by.  A rather smart (or hungry) zombie enters the Winnebago, possibly wanting to raid the refrigerator.  He finds nothing worth eating and is about to leave.  Andrea, now hiding in the bathroom, has to remain quiet for fifteen more seconds and she’ll be in the clear…she makes it to ten, and then almost drops her dismantled gun that she has been cleaning, making a noise.  The zombie hears her and turns around as if to say, “I thought someone might be in that bathroom”.

The zombie tries to go into the bathroom and Andrea FREAKS OUT as she has her feet braced against the door, trying to keep it closed.  She should have just said, “Um, someone’s in here!”  Dale is hiding on the roof of his Winnebago and hands Andrea a screwdriver through the skylight.

The zombie, who obviously can not hold it any longer, breaks into the bathroom…Andrea screams…then stabs the zombie in the eye with the screwdriver. AWESOME!

Watch the scene here.

Andrea must have used the abandoned water delivery truck in the road to take a shower, because she is very clean in the next scene.

T-Dog cuts his arm on a ragged piece of metal on one of the cars while he is hiding and loses A LOT of blood, looks very close to dying, but is saved when Darryl hides him under a dead body as the zombies pass by.  Definitely not something his brother, Merle, would do!

Later T-Dog has a nice, neat bandage on and doesn’t seem the worse for wear.  The group think they’re in the clear but as they begin to emerge from under the cars a couple of zombies who have, apparently, been bringing up the rear, stagger up.  One of them sees  Carol’s daughter Sophia and goes after her.

Sophia runs off into the woods to escape the zombies and Rick runs after her.  He helps her escape, but loses track of her after leading the zombies on a wild-brains-chase as a decoy so Sophia can get away.  The group now have to find Sophia.

The group comes across a tent.  Inside is a person who has obviously “checked out”, with a pistol by his side, and the bottom half of his face blown off.  He wears a button that reads “There’s No Excuse For Domestic Violence”.  Huh?  Is this to hint at to why Sophia’s creepy (now dead) dad Ed Peletier “deserved” to die? Maybe.

The group splits up and Darryl and Rick come across a zombie.  They kill him and notice that he has recently eaten.  Apparently the zombie forgot to use a toothpick or brush his teeth after feasting and has some kind of food stuck in his teeth.  Is it Sophia?  Only one way to find out!  They cut him open to make sure that Sophia is not inside.

Don’t really know what this thing has eaten but it doesn’t seem to be Sophia.  So she’s apparently still lost.  How far did she run?  How big are these “woods”?  She’s obviously a kid from the city, because we country kids knew how to explore woods and still be home by dark.

Carl, Rick’s son, asks if he can help search for Sophia by going back out into the woods with Rick and Shane.  They head out and as I glance at the clock, I realize that the episode is almost over.  Are they going to find Sophia?  What’s up?

Well…Carl is enamored by a deer in the woods and tries to approach it,

Oh, wait, that’s not it….

…only to be shot along with the deer!  The End!  WoW!   WHAT!?!!  I appreciate the fact that this episode (and last season as well) has left me with questions to be answered.  What happened to Morgan & his son?  Is Morgan’s dead zombie wife still staggering up to that house?  What did Jenner whisper to Rick at the CDC?  WHO SHOT CARL?!?!

Can’t wait for the next episode!!

They Built This City

Okay, so last week ABC  News published an article about Rolling Stone magazine’s online poll  that named “We Built This City” by Starship as the worst song of the 80’s.  There was a complete top ten list on their blog.

I wish to focus on their number one pick.


 I had the chance to see Starship (along with Night Ranger) on their 1985 tour.  This was when Night Ranger was promoting their new album 7 Wishes and singing their hits from, Midnight Madness and Dawn Patrol (“You Can Still Rock in America”,” When You Close Your Eyes”, among others and encoring with” Sister Christian” and “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”).   Starship was promoting Knee Deep In The Hoopla.

Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship have gone through band name changes and band member changes throughout their time together (mid 1960’s – present), but the band members in the 80’s were already in their mid 30’s to 40’s and were playing more pop, synthesizer based songs.  This was fine with me, because I wasn’t a big teen rocker anyway.  It was the 80’s remember.  Let’s just say that John Hughes had a lot to do with my music choices as a teen.

I couldn’t remember the exact date of the concert, but Stone City Attractions has it as Thursday, October 24, 1985.

Found a review of the concert from the Houston show at the Houston Chronicle archives.  I really don’t remember much of the concert (because I was so young) but I do remember that I was probably the only person in the Convention Center Arena that bought a Starship tshirt instead of a Night Ranger tshirt.  Um, yeah, told you I wasn’t much of a rocker in the 80’s.

Even though Rolling Stone’s online readers considered “We Built This City” as the worst song of the 80’s in their poll, I’ve come to realize that way back then, I experienced something pretty cool.

Check it out.  Starship (no longer able to call themselves “Jefferson” Anything due to a lawsuit by a former member) was an iconic band.  However, I was too young to appreciate it.  Also, they came into my consciousness after their psychedelic rock years,  when they were already playing more pop and had lost most of their original members.  But Grace Slick had such an intense voice, is a rock and roll icon and has been a trail blazer for modern rock women.  Check out White Rabbit or Somebody to Love if you don’t believe me.

You can watch Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane sing White Rabbit at Woodstock here.

Jefferson Airplane is a band that is thought of by many when they think about/remember/imagine “the summer of love”.  According to blogcritics.org, they played the three big music festivals of the 1960’s:  Monterey, Altamont, & Woodstock and they were on the June 28, 1968 cover of LIFE magazine.

AND they were eventually inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

So I figure if they want to claim that they built this city…who am I to disagree?  Also, according to the information from the Houston Chronicle archives, Starship played White Rabbit during their encore during their 1985 tour.

Okay, so maybe I don’t remember much of that night all those years ago,  but I can say that I was there in the Convention Center Arena in San Antonio, Texas on Thursday, October 24, 1985 listening to rock legend Grace Slick sing “White Rabbit”.

MY MIND IS OFFICIALLY BLOWN!

Great Weekend Stay-Cation

Thanks to some great friends, I enjoyed an awesome birthday weekend “stay-cation”.  It began with a stop at Stonewerks Big Rock Grill at The Rim, but because the Longhorns were having an “off” day and were basically getting creamed by OU (final score 55-17) we moved on to catch a movie that afternoon.  Wish I had visited Rotten Tomatoes before we picked a movie because they gave Dream House a 7% on their tomatometer!!!  Wow!  The only saving grace was that the movie theater had a bar, so we were able to drink while watching this “movie”.

Staying at the (fyi: their website plays music) Westin La Cantera Resort was really a treat. (Thanks Bill!!)  That afternoon seemed like a good time to hit the hot tub (and drink a little more).  Then we all enjoyed a great evening with dinner at Brannon’s Cafe in the hotel and an evening at Steinheimer’s Bar.  This  included watching a little  Texas Rangers baseball (despite a rain delay they won 3-2), live music by Johnny P. and The Wiseguys and a little lot of drinking.  One of the interesting drinks  that I tried that night was The Jeffrey Bloody Mary:  Absolut Vodka, basil, house made clear tomato juice shaken  served over red tomato ice.

The Jeffrey Bloody Mary at Steinheimer's

The Jeffrey Bloody Mary at Steinheimer's Bar

Add in a mojito, a martini and lots of beer…and you’ve got a great birthday night!!!  To top it all off, we finally ended up getting a lot of rain!!!

Awesome birthday!

That nervous energy, excitement and thrill of an opening night.  It could be the opening of an art gallery, a sporting event or a movie.  It could be the first night of a new restaurant you are opening or a grand opening you are attending.  You could be an actor or an audience member on opening night, just before the curtain rises on a new production.

The house gets quiet.  The lights go out.  You wait for the opening of the curtain, the first note of music, the first words that will begin the story.  There is electricity in the air and a vibe that is difficult to put into words.

 It’s the feeling of butterflies in your stomach.  It’s that kick of adrenaline.  It’s the joy of experiencing something for the first time that can make your head spin.  I think that we need more of these times in our life.  Wouldn’t it be nice to experience something every day that gave you that feeling?  On a daily basis?  That might be nice, but a little too much to ask for.

Of course, even the most mundane day can be one to celebrate and remember.  It could be a conversation that you had with an old friend, the way the sky looked both beautiful and eerily unreal, finishing a book you’ve been trying to get to all year or just sitting outside with your eyes closed enjoying some nice weather.  Maybe it’s enough to wish for days in which we learn or see something new.  All I know for sure is that I would love more days to feel like opening night.