From Twitter 04-29-2010

17:15:11: This week's featured shop is Crafty Baby Hope. All sorts of jewelry and polymer clay items. Thursday's pick of the day http://ow.ly/1DnfO

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From Twitter 04-28-2010

17:15:28: This week's featured shop is Crafty Baby Hope. All sorts of jewelry and polymer clay items. Wednesday's pick of the day http://ow.ly/1DneB
17:17:57: Wow! This is just a beautiful shade of blue: http://ht.ly/1E6bf @madmoravian #artfire (via @vabeachquilter) Blue Maple Burl Cigar pen

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ArtFire: Spotlight Shop: Kaotic Krafter

From Twitter 04-27-2010

17:15:09: This week's featured shop is Crafty Baby Hope. All sorts of jewelry and polymer clay items. Tuesday's pick of the day http://ow.ly/1Dncc
17:50:54: @renegade500 What doesn't Supertramp improve?
20:11:33: Minor woodworking done. 5 cup salad ready for tomorrow's pot luck.

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Commuting bikes

I'm working on finding a commuting bike for when my company completes the new building currently under construction.  It will be about a 5 mile commute from home to office and then 5 more back home. I'll need to get some lights, helmet, saddle bags and toolkit at least, in addition to the bike itself.  The two bikes I'm considering are the Jamis Coda Sport and the Cannondale Quick 4

Here's a listing of the stats reported on the web pages for the bikes:

    C * Frame Quick, mech formed, 6061 alloy
    J * Frame - Reynolds 520 double-butted chromoly main tubes, extended head tube with reinforced collars, double tapered cromo stays, forged dropouts with eyelets

    C * Fork Ultra X All-Conditions Carbon
    J * Fork - Chromoly unicrown, bulge butted steerer, low-rider carrier braze-ons, forged dropouts with double eyelets
    C * Headset VP semi-integrated threadless, 30 mm top cover

    J * Headset - Ritchey LB A headset, 1 1/8”
    C * Rims Cannondale C3 w/machined sidewall, 32 hole
    J * Wheels - Alex ID-19 alloy double-wall rims, 32H, with Shimano Road 2200 hubs, 14g stainless steel spokes

    C * Hubs Shimano HB-RM40 front, FH-RM30 rear
    C * Spokes 15g stainless steel

    C * Tires Kenda Kwick Trax, 700 X 32c
    J * Tires  - Vittoria Zaffiro, 700 x 28c

    C * Pedals VP platform w/sole-friendly alloy cage
    J * Pedals  - Full alloy platform

    C * Crank Shimano FC-M341, 48/38/28
    J * Crankset - FSA Dyna Drive Triple, 48/36/26T, 170mm (15-17”), 175mm (19-23”).

    C * BottomBracket TH cartridge
    C * Chain KMC Z72 8-speed
    J * Chain - KMC Z9000

    C * RearCogs Shimano CS-HG40, 11-32
    C * FrontDerailleur Shimano Alivio
    C * RearDerailleur SRAM X-5
    J * Derailleurs - Shimano Deore M590 rear and Deore M590 bottom-pull front

    C * Shifter SRAM X-5 trigger
    J * Shiftlevers - Shimano Deore M590 Rapidfire Plus, 27-speed

    C * Handlebar Cannondale C3, 20mm rise, 600mm wide
    J * Handlebar - Jamis flat bar, 6061 T-6 alloy, 10D bend x 580mm

    C * Stem Cannondale XC3 1 1/8", 31.8 mm
    J * Stem - NVO Components adjustable threadless system (ATS) aluminum stem, TM-3, 90mm (15”), 105mm (17-19”), 115mm (21-23”)

    C * Brakes Tektro TK-B18 linear pull w/cartridge pad
    C * BrakeLevers Tektro 3-finger w/Kraton insert
    J * Brakeset  - Tektro direct-pull brakes with front power modulator and Tektro alloy levers

    C * Saddle Cannondale Quick Ergo Performance
    J * Saddle - Selle San Marco Elba

    C * Seatpost Cannondale C4 Alloy
    J * Seat Post - Suspension, 45mm travel, 350mm x 27.2mm (260mm on 15”) , alloy clamp with QR seatpin

    C * Sizes S, M, L, X, J
    J * Sizes M: 15”, 17”, 19”, 21”, 23”

    C * Extras Montague "CLIX" Front QR, rack mounts

I think it'll come down to the first bike to fit me, as I'm going to test the limits of the sizes of any bikes I try.  At 6'5", I'm not going to have a huge number of options.

The first one I'm going to try is the Coda Sport.  3rd Coast Bikes, in Seabrook, ordered one for me.  I'm just waiting for it to arrive.

From Twitter 04-26-2010

17:30:02: This week's featured shop is Crafty Baby Hope. All sorts of jewelry and polymer clay items. Monday's pick of the day http://ow.ly/1DnaN
18:17:51: Pen of the Day: Gran Torino in Desert Ironwood: http://bit.ly/cbjMYw . Reply to me in 24 hours for 20% off this pen.

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Discreet assignations

As K. and I were going to be last night, she spotted a truck behaving a little strangely.  It turned around in our driveway and then parked across the street.  It sat there a few minutes before she mentioned it to me.

I took a handy dandy flashlight and did a look see.

The occupant had the accessories in the truck on, but I could not get any good details.

A few minutes later, a teen aged girl came walking down the street.  She made some comment to me that I didn't quite catch and then climbed into the truck.  There seemed to be a minor flurry of activity in the truck before it drove off.

My guess is this neighbor girl was sneaking out of her house to go off with her boyfriend for a while.  I did not stay up to see if/when the couple returned.

Weekend update


My niece was in town for the day, so I skipped aikido so that the family could go out to eat together.  We spent a long time trying to get the niece to choose the restaurant, but she wouldn't do it.  We ended up a Franca's (fabulous as always) and then stopped by a bubble tea spot for after dinner drinks.  Not bad, but I chose not to partake of bubbles and just had tea.


Into town to pick up some more wood for the entertainment center.  I was way off on the amount I purchased last time for some reason.
Stopped by Woodcraft to use a coupon and pick up some miscellaneous pen supplies
Dinner at Joe's and early to bed


Breakfast with the in-laws, as the electricity went out.  All of their appliances are electric.  Some of ours are gas, so we could cook.
Yard work
Pen turning
Preliminary layout work for the entertainment center
Baseball on TV

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 04/24/10

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Brad.

Ukemi: Full warm-up, no big falls.

The Walk: Once.

Releases: With Brad


We got to work with Brad on Ude Gaeshi for an extended period of time for the first time.  He really picked up on it nicely by the end of the afternoon.  He's still uncertain about being able to keep up with a falling uke when he's got uke in an arm lock.  That'll change with time.

At the end of the session, Trey and I worked on Oshi Taoshi and Gyakugamae ate in the kneeling section of Koryu Dai San.  We spent about 45 minutes on this stuff.

Tim also had me do a couple of seconds of Jo work.  Apparently that'll be a part of my next demonstration.

Aftermath: None of note. 

Artfire: Featured shop: Crafty Baby Hope

Crafty Baby Hope. does a lot of jewelry and polymer clay work.  Here are just a few items:


From Twitter 04-24-2010

09:10:07: Swirl Jewels is this week's featured shop on artfire. She's got a bunch of neat bracelets and necklaces. Check out: http://ow.ly/1Ad9J
18:00:24: @renegade500 As long as you don't have to resort to Macauley Caulkin's tactics, I think you're ahead.
18:22:23: My bottle stopper for today: http://bit.ly/aSYh7Z Reply to me in the next 24 hours for 20% off of this item.

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From Twitter 04-23-2010

09:10:12: Swirl Jewels is this week's featured shop on artfire. She's got a bunch of neat bracelets and necklaces. Check out: http://ow.ly/1Ad7s
18:02:16: @ConneryBeagle It's always good to play with long, lost friends!
22:32:02: My item for the Coolibah Burl Cigar pen. gorgeous figuring: http://bit.ly/bmmdXu

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RapidCart for jYOUlry on artfire

RapidCart for my shop on artfire

From Twitter 04-22-2010

09:10:11: Swirl Jewels is this week's featured shop on artfire. She's got a bunch of neat bracelets and necklaces. Check out: http://ow.ly/1Ad43

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From Twitter 04-21-2010

09:10:06: Swirl Jewels is this week's featured shop on artfire. She's got a bunch of neat bracelets and necklaces. Check out: http://ow.ly/1Ad5F

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Power outage

We lost power this morning around 3 am.  Prior to that, apparently, one of my dogs (Jack) got sick between my feet. 

I slept through it all.

K. woke me up a bit later to shut down my computer.  The UPS it was attached to was operating on only battery power and was beeping to let us know that fact.  Beeping items are not one of Tank's favorite things, so I had to gracefully shutdown the computer and power off the UPS to shut up the beeping.

Apparently, the power came on again about an hour later.  I slept through that, too.

Artfire: Featured Shop: Swirl Jewels

She's a relatively new member of the guild, and she's got some pretty nice stuff.  Visit her here.

Volleyball, 0-3

Another fruitless night on the volleyball court.  It's kind of redundant to say we were playing the second best team in the league.  We're the worst, so does it really matter?

Still, a fun night on the court.  I didn't have enough time to stretch properly, so I'm as little sore today.

From Twitter 04-20-2010

09:45:11: Switl Jewels is this week's featured shop on artfire. She's got a bunch of neat bracelets and necklaces. Check this out:...

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From Twitter 04-19-2010

09:45:03: Swirl Jewels is the shop of the week. She's got some really nice necklaces and bracelets. Check out this neat item: http://ow.ly/1AcUD
19:06:12: Sarah Clemens will have art work at Armadillocon 32!

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Weekend update




Maas Nursery for a Myers Lemon tree
Third Coast Bikes to have them order me one of  these-----

to try out for size and fit after it comes in
Alpha Bowl for some bowling supplies
Durango's for dinner
D&D until 3 am


Lunch with the in-laws
Company picnic at the local Main Event where K and I bowled, ate and played video games for 3 hours.  Fun times!

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 04/17/10

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Brad.

Ukemi: Full warm-up, no big falls.

The Walk: None.

Releases: None.


We got to work with Brad on Oshi Taoshi for an extended period of time for the first time.  He really picked up on it nicely by the end of the afternoon.

At the end of the session, Trey and I worked on Oshi Taoshi in the kneeling section of Koryu Dai San.  Brad sat around and watched us so that he could compare what we're doing with what he's doing.  The techniques are as similar as they can be given the standing versus kneeling positions.

Aftermath: None of note.  My knee is doing ok.  Trey's starting to get a taste of what kneework's like.  He appears to be suffering more than I do.  My issue is just with getting stretched out for all of this work.  His appears to be the actual movement.

Aikido Friday Night - 04/16/10

Aikidokas: Tim, and Trey.

Ukemi: Full warm-up, no big falls.

The Walk: None.

Releases: None.


Since there were just two of us, we worked on a lot of things.  Trey got to work on some items from Koryu Dai San: Mae Otoshi , Ushiro Waza Mae Otoshi , Ushiro Waza Tentai Kote Hineri , Mune Tori Kata Gatame.  We've skipped Kote Kajiki at the moment.

I did a little work on Koryu Dai Yon, with a couple of the releases and then did some work on some of the knife defenses.  I also did a little work on the Tanto Dori sections of Koryu Dai San No Kata.

It was nice to get to explore and just try things out, playing with off-balances, entries, etc.  It was a nice evening.

Aftermath: None of note.  We had a couple of visitors.  One did some work with KG in the past, the other one did not say much.


From Twitter 04-17-2010

07:00:09: Boutique Karma is the featured shop this week. A hint of winter in Spring with this coffee cuff. http://ow.ly/1xCLf
08:52:44: Kittens get worried when you hoot like an owl at them.

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Box Elder items

A while back, a commenter was interested in seeing some Box Elder items I've done.  Better late than never.

From Twitter 04-16-2010

07:00:16: Boutique Karma is the featured shop this week. Come for the lover of the classics. Check out this coffee cozy http://ow.ly/1xCJM
21:23:27: Yon Kata work and some work with Trey on San Kata at aikido. A couple of visitors as well.
22:35:17: Newly added : Gran Torino in Rhodium and Blue Maple Burl : http://bit.ly/9zWyeR

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Lunching out: Mario's

Not much has changed at Mario's in the past few decades.  Supposedly the lunch buffet is a new re-addition to their menu.  That's what I had.  Admittedly, you're not going to get the freshest food on the buffet, depending on when you waddle up to the line and when they've added new stuff to it.  The salad was good, the pizza was just ok.

The buffet is definitely just a pizza buffet.  The last time I went to Mario's, the buffet was a full Italian extravaganza.  I might come back to try something from the menu.

Mario's is neck-and-neck with Angelo's at the moment.  Frenchie's is head-and-shoulders above them both.

Lunching out: Angelo's Pizza & Pasta

They've got a nice, comfortable place and it was fairly busy, but....  I had the Penne Nicola and an iced tea.  The Penne was not that flavorful, but the chicken was ok.  I made fairly liberal use of the parmesan and crushed red peppers.  I might try this place again, since Franca's is not open for lunch.

Volleyball, 0-3

Futility rears its ugly head.  We even had a ringer on our team from one of the powerhouse teams.  But, playing the top team in the league, it did not help.  Still a fun set of games, I got some decent serves going.

We'll get 'em next week.  Or next season.  Or .......

From Twitter 04-15-2010

07:00:19: Boutique Karma is the featured shop this week. A bright John Deere mug insulator: http://ow.ly/1xCIe

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From Twitter 04-14-2010

07:00:16: Boutique Karma is the featured shop this week. Check out this kid's crayon caddy. http://ow.ly/1xCHl
11:57:35: Looking for flat bar commuter bike current options: Giant, Raleigh, Cannondale, Gary Fisher. Rec's or other suggestions?
20:20:48: Artists at this year's Armadillocon: Cat Conrad, Brandy Stark, Tomi Welch, Daniel Cortopassi. So far.
21:32:34: Gran Torino pen in Blue Maple Burl ready for photo shoot.

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From Twitter 04-13-2010

07:00:14: Boutique Karma is the featured shop this week. Check out this neat coaster set. http://ow.ly/1xCFQ

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From Twitter 04-12-2010

17:55:12: @kaysea14 I don't know, but I'm glad it went. It's a lot less scary form the backside than the frontside.
19:54:09: A Baron rollerball pen made out of Afzelia Burl! http://bit.ly/aSojkQ
19:55:53: A Cubano style pen turned out of Desert Ironwood with black titanium and platinum-plated hardware. http://bit.ly/bCpWcn

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Artfire: Featured shop: Boutique Karma

This week's featured shop is Boutique Karma:  check out this interesting set of coasters:


Weekend update




Dropped some stuff off at the city Spring Sparkle event
Dropped some stuff off at Pearland's Recycling Center
Out looking for a new bike
Dinner at Durango's
Work on some pens in the shop and computer


Movie and dinner with K, in-laws, mom and sister to celebrate some birthdays.
More work on getting pens ready to upload to artfire

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 04/11/10

Aikidokas: Tim, and Trey.

Ukemi: Full warm-up, no big falls.

The Walk: None.

Releases: None.


Trey and I did some work on Ju Nana Hon Kata, the first 17.  I was horrible.  I knew I would be.  It's been a year since I've really done any work on them.  Trey had some issues as well, so I wasn't alone in my horribleness.

We did a little playing with Owaza Ju Pon, and some Koryu Dai San standing: some of the techniques we did on Friday night. 

We then did a some work on the second technique of the kneeling Koryu Dai San, Gyakugamae Ate.  It's one of my favorite techniques, uke attempts a hammer strike to the temple, but before he even gets close, tori angles into him and across uke's shoulder, causing him to fall over.  We played with angles and timing.  Trey got one really soft and effective rep in.  I can't wait for more.

Aftermath: None of note.

Aikido Friday Night - 04/09/10

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Sal.

Ukemi: Full warm-up, no big falls.

The Walk: Only once.

Releases: None.


We all worked on Sal and getting him some more time working on Shomen-ate and the Aigamae-ate. We had some minor breakthroughs and he is progressing.  He's going to get a lot more attention now that Trey and I are done for a bit.

Trey and I did some work on the first few of Koryu Dai San for him.

Aftermath: None of note.

From Twitter 04-11-2010

18:43:40: Get this custom photo pendant necklace with $10 off: http://ow.ly/1x4eL use coupon: CLEARANCE @jYoulry
18:44:47: 9 new pens photo'd and ready for upload to artfire.

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From Twitter 04-10-2010

23:16:28: 8 new pens ready for their glamour shots and then upload to artfire. Maybe in the morning.

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From Twitter 04-09-2010

07:05:06: Featured shop on artfire this week: jYOUlry. She's got a bunch of custom items: http://ow.ly/1uUCf and just the image: http://ow.ly/1uUCI
22:29:32: @ConneryBeagle BAWH!!!!
22:30:36: Knee still bugging me from demo. Feels like rug burn inside my knee.

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From Twitter 04-08-2010

07:05:08: Featured shop on artfire this week: jYOUlry: Check out the neat items: http://ow.ly/1uUAT and just the image : http://ow.ly/1uUBb

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Weekend update


K. had the day off, so I took a day off as well
Spent the morning geocaching at Jack Brooks Park
Crashed for a couple of hours
Dinner at Pappas Bros. Steak House


Geocaching downtown
Astros baseball game
A stop at Woodcraft on the way home


Some time in the shop
Grilled out
Dinner with the in-laws.

Volleyball, 2-1

We actually won a match!  Lost the first game, but won the other two.  One of our guys served well at the beginning of the second game and gave us a 6 point lead.  The team we played was previously 9-6.  I'm sure we lsot to them 0-3 the last time we played them.

From Twitter 04-07-2010

07:00:14: Featured shop this week on artfire : jYOUlry. Check out the neat items she's got. Here's the page http://ow.ly/1uUzy and here's just...

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From Twitter 04-06-2010

07:00:11: Featured shop on artfire this week: jYOUlry. Check out the neat pieces she has:
http://ow.ly/1uUya and just the image http://ow.ly/1uUyG

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From Twitter 04-05-2010

18:46:24: Videos from my Nidan demonstration
http://bit.ly/cSMs9K and a short outtake....
19:05:05: RT @vabeachquilter: We have a new featured guild shop: jYOUlry ... check out this custom order bracelet : http://ow. ... (via @jYOUlry)

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A couple of pictures from my little bluebonnet patch.  I'll try to get some better ones later.

Astros - preseason vs. Toronto

The Astros  looked a bit like the Keystone Kops on Saturday.  It may have been the angle.  The plays I saw that looked troublesome were along the right field line and our seats were along the left field line.  I certainly hope they improve.

I also have a beef with the concessions folks.  I wanted the bratwurst, which came on the "Tour of the Majors" platter (i.e., with fries).  The sign said it was $8.75.  They wanted to charge $10.75, but settled on $9.75.  I should have walked away at that point and refused to pay anything over the posted price, but I was feeling biddable.

I hope they straighten out their pricing issue.

Geocaching - 4/2 and 4/3

We managed to get out geocaching this past weekend.  We took Jasck and Tank out for some park time to Jack Brooks Park.  While there we managed to find 6 caches in the nursery rhyme series.

Saturday, we did some urban caching before going to the Astros game.  Lots of muggles around so we weren't 100% successful.  Still a good time walking and talking about Houston and various memories.

Artfire: featured shop: jYOUlry

She offers innumerable items that can be customized with your favorite picture.  Giver her a look: jYOUlry

Demonstration videos

Here's my full demonstration video.

And here's a little highlight

From Twitter 04-04-2010

09:56:53: Lemon pound cake out of the oven. Blood orange yeast rolls rising.
10:05:05: @Spielmadchen I hope the Astros improve. They looked like the Keystone Kops at times yesterday.
14:08:09: @kaysea14 Here's the recipe for the pound cake: http://bit.ly/cqR9tX. I'll have to work on getting the roll recipe in.
17:49:48: Dinner of steak, fresh from the garden spinach, rolls, fruit salad. Dessert later: pound cake, strawberries, whipped cream.
18:05:02: Folks taking pictures of their kids in my bluebonnet patch. Sweet! That's why I plant them each year.

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From Twitter 04-03-2010

09:45:27: Fabulous meal last night. More details later in my blog. Also, geocaching and a sale in my ArtFire shop. WooHoo!
19:43:54: Gorgeous day today. Geocaching downtown, Astros baseball game, walk in the park with the dogs. Serious sun burn. Ouch.
19:44:58: Got a sale in my artfire shop today. WooHoo!

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A fabulous night out

My company gives out gift cards every quarter to employees with perfect attendance.  I've chosen to receive gift cards to Pappa's restaurants over the past while.  We don't often go to Pappa's restaurants as they're often too noisy.  They do, however, have an upscale restaurant that is a little quieter.  So, we've saved up the gift cards for a while.

We finally arranged out schedule so that we were able to use them last night.  We had $295 worth of cards.  We expected to drink a bit and didn't want to be concerned about DWI, so we called a cab for the trip to and from.

We got to the restaurant and were promptly seated.  It was obvious we were ahead of the power curve as it was fairly empty.  After perusing the menu a bit, we placed our order.  Kim had the salmon filet, while I had the Kobe Beef Ribeye.  Kim ordered the asparagus as a side and I got the au gratin potatoes.  We both ordered the Shrimp Bisque for our soup/salad. 

We decided on a bottle of Pinot to go with the meal.  I don't remember the vintage, unfortunately, or the vineyard.  I know it began with a B and was Australian.

Shortly after placing our order, the manager came over and talked to us as we'd mentioned my allergy to crab while ordering.  He wanted to make certain there was no allergy to any other shellfish as the bisque had other shellfish stock in it.

Our entrees were fabulous.  The Kobe beef was very impressive and the salmon was quite nice.  Kim's asparagus was good, but I found the au gratin potatoes to be a little overwhelming with a strong flavor of nutmeg.  That might have been a side flavor of the cheese, I'm not certain.

We'd saved some room for dessert and order their pecan pie.  It was very, very good.  An interesting presentation.  The pie itself was mostly the usual custard consistency of a normal pecan pie.  It was then covered in a spirited caramel pecan sauce with a nice portion of ice cream.

To go along with the dessert, we ordered some single malt scotch.  Kim had an 18 year old Glenmorangie, while I had a 30 year old Gordon and MacPhail.  The 30 year old was definitely much softer on the nose, but the 18 year old had an interesting fruity finish.

The meal was fabulous, but we did spend all of our gift cards, plus a little more to cover the tip.  We also spend a good amount on the cab rides.  I don't expect we'll do anything like this in the foreseeable future.  But it was nice to do.


From Twitter 04-01-2010

17:23:40: Armadillocon32 art show information sent out today via: web page, email, snail mail. http://bit.ly/cFgf5X

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From Twitter 03-31-2010

18:49:51: A neat idea for parents for their kids: http://bit.ly/amroF1 available at this shop on artfire :http://bit.ly/dtBaQf
19:33:16: @Spielmadchen Going to the Astros on Saturday. Crawford Box seats.

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