Sunday, May 31, 2009

Puppies and Bison?

A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from my Mom's cousin. He does lots of genealogical research, and he had found that one of his ancestors (it's on his father's side, so it's not one of my direct ancestors) moved in the mid 1800s from Kentucky to a place in Texas not too far from where I live. He told me the name of the cemetery where the grandson of this person was buried, so I thought I would go take a look to see if I could find whether any more of his family members were buried there as well. It was an interesting excursion. I spent a couple of hours wandering around the cemetery, and although I didn't find any more of the family members I was looking for, I did see some things I never expected to see.

This truck was in front of me for most of the trip. I liked that the dog seemed to be having fun, but I didn't like that there was nothing to keep the dog from flying off the truck if it had to stop suddenly.

The funny part was that the dog would turn to bark at vehicles that passed the truck.

On one property bordering the cemetery there were puppies! They went nuts when they saw me.

I wanted to take one home, but since it looks like they are purebreds I probably couldn't afford one. That one on the left was staring me down, I think he was trying some kind of mind control trick.

Look at the all-white one!

Then on another next door property there were bison!

They're in the process of shedding their winter coats.

It fascinates me to think about how bison roamed this area in great numbers until the mid-1800s when they were hunted almost to extinction.

To me there's something majestic about them. I guess they have that aura of the Old West about them.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Flight of the Conchords

A couple of weeks ago I went to see a band that I have been really wanting to see for a little over a year now – Flight of the Conchords. I missed seeing them last year when I was in DC for the Radiohead show because I didn’t know they were in town until it was sold out, and I didn’t want to pay the high scalper prices I saw. Anyway, I was very happy when I found out that the Conchords were coming to Dallas on their current tour.

I really wanted to bring my camera because my seat was in the 5th row, right in the center. Camera rules at concerts are so schizo – the venue’s website said “no cameras”, but there was a PA announcement outside the venue that cameras without detachable lenses were allowed. Some places don’t care, and camera phones are used just about everywhere (I don’t have one). I brought mine along to see if I could get it in, but the lady at the door wasn’t having it. She told me without hesitation that my camera wouldn’t be allowed. Seeing as how I decided she was the one most likely to let me in, I didn’t try at the other entrances and I took it back to my car. So, the outside photo below is the only one I took. Boring!

The comedy at this show started early. The older man who scanned my ticket saw the Charlie Brown T-shirt I was wearing and said “I haven’t seen a Snoopy costume in years.”

The place was pretty packed. I was surprised to find out that the show was a sellout. I guess I didn’t know that FOTC appealed to so many people.

The opening act was Eugene Mirman, who plays the landlord on the FOTC TV show. He did a bit of standup, and it was pretty funny. He ended by telling a great bit about his experience with Delta losing his luggage, the capper of which is that he used the money they gave him to buy a bunch of postcards with a hilarious rant that he wrote on them. He hands them out at shows for people to send to Delta. I snagged a couple, and you can see scanned images below. I was a little disappointed that Kristen Schaal, who plays Mel on the show, didn’t appear on this stop.

After Eugene left the stage, the boys came out with their robot heads on and played “Too Many Dicks On The Dance Floor”. They put on a great show. Bret & Jemaine are ace comedians (if it isn’t obvious from their show & their songs). They did a great deal of between-song banter that was just as funny as their songs, and it also displayed their improv chops as they riffed on current events or some of the people in the audience. I love their deadpan and dry sense of humor. The crowd was really into everything – they laughed a lot. It felt a little weird that everyone was sitting down for most of the show up until the encore.

Beyond being comedians they are really good musicians too. Only one other musician joined them on stage. Nigel the cello player, or “The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra”, came out after the third or fourth song. Bret played the drums on “Mutha’uckas”, but other than that it was mostly guitar and cello. They played a lot of songs that were new to me, because I haven’t seen season 2 of the show yet . The vocals were quite good and matched up with the records very well, with some nice little improvs thrown in now and then. One song that they didn’t play that I missed was “Robots”, but overall I was pleased with the setlist. Some of the highlights for me were “Hurt Feelings”, “The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)”, “I Told You I was Freekie”, “Not Crying”, “Think About It”, “Hiphopopotamus vs.Rhymenoceros”, “Albi The Racist Dragon”, and “Bowie”. The show was about 2 hours overall including the two one-song encores. Of course I would’ve been happy if they had played 3 hours or more, but I didn’t feel ripped off at all.

If you’re into the Conchords their live show is well worth seeing.

Too Many Dicks On The Dance Floor
Hurt Feelings
The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)
Carol Brown
I Told You I was Freekie
Foux du Fafa
Mutha ‘uckas
Business Time
Not Crying
Busdriver Song
Epileptic Dog
Think About It
Hiphopopotamus vs.Rhymenoceros
We’re Both In Love With a Sexy Lady
Albi The Racist Dragon

Encore 1:
Encore 2:
Demon Woman

Click on photos to view larger.

Front of Eugene's postcard

Back of postcard (worth a read!)

I found some videos on Youtube:

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

'Cue A Palooza Fest, Part III

And now I present the exciting conclusion to the blog series that no one seems to care about, 'Cue A Palooza Fest!

Part III:

Finally, on the way out of town Monday morning I planned to hit Black’s Barbecue and then Kreuz again for brisket and some sausage to go. I arrived at Black’s around 11 and it seemed like I was the first person there. They have a good selection of sides and dessert too, but I decided to just go for meat and one yeast roll. I got my by-now usual quarter pound of brisket, and I decided to try the jalapeno cheese sausage for a little change up.

The brisket at Black’s was very moist. It had smoky flavor, but it wasn’t quite as richly flavored to me as the other places. The jalapeno cheese sausage was a bit disappointing. It didn’t have much heat to it, the casing was a bit tough, and the meat was fairly loosely packed. It was also greasier than the Kreuz sausage.

My final stop was Kreuz again so I could try their brisket. I ordered my quarter pound as well as 5 cold sausage links to go (for midnight snacks when I got home). Unlike the other places, the brisket in this case was fairly thick, so my quarter pound ended up being one slice rather than 2 or 3, although the slice was also cut fairly thick. This was definitely the juiciest of the briskets that I tried. It was pretty good, but didn’t have quite the depth of smokiness as Smitty’s. It also had a large band of unchewable fat (believe me, I tried) in the middle. The upper part was also much more fat-marbled than the other briskets I had, and it was more the chewy than melty kind.

I’m not big fan of chewy fat in meat. Maybe I’m more of a beef shoulder kinda guy? Shoulder is a less fatty cut of meat. Obviously the issue there is making sure that it doesn’t end up dried out and tough. The only place I had shoulder was at Kreuz, and it was quite good. Next time (oh yes, there will be a next time) I’m thinking I may do more investigation each joint’s shoulder offerings.

So, bottom line? There’s some damn good ‘cue in Lockhart. I don’t know what the secret is. Maybe it’s the wood. Maybe it’s just a concentration of people with the skills and inclination to do it right. Whatever it is, me likey.

Read Part I

Read Part II

To see any of the photos larger, click on the image.

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