Beer and Probability

I took up a friend on joining her at a West Galveston beach house this past weekend.  I used the opportunity to get down there a little early and check out the Board Game Island and to ride my bike around the town and the sea wall.  Board Game Island is a cafe a few blocks off the Strand that has many board games for its visitors to borrow while there.

I had a nice sandwich while there, though they were out of bacon, what’s up with that?  They also serve beer and coffee.  The beer selection was a bit minimal, and the St. Arnold Weedwacker was server almost room temperature in the bottle (likely due to the face that the waitress was quite young an unfamiliar with beer – though she did know to offer some that weren’t listed in the menu.) Continue reading Beer and Probability

Spring’s a Sprung

Despite some of our late spring cool blasts that have dropped our weather into the 50s at points through April, spring has arrived in Houston.  It was a fabulously beautiful day today, and this weekend is packed to the brim with events.


There was one major event on saturday that I’ll be missing.  It’s a crawfish boil at a friend’s house in the Northern Heights (above 20th street). I love crawfish, and it’s an easy bike, but my social calendar was already booked when it showed up.  Also being missed, there’s a Day of Derby going on at Houston Indoor Sports. Continue reading Spring’s a Sprung

Houston NFL

Oilers AFL LogoI’ve always enjoyed sports.  Participating and watching.  Drama can be found in every step (and yet TNT “We Know Drama” doesn’t show sports).  I, of course, grew up loving the Columbia Blue “Love ya Blue” Houston Oilers.

As I’ve aged, and the number of hours in a day seems continually less available, many of my interests have had to make way for others.  Most of the sporting teams I have followed have become more of a background interest.  On top of that, either my perception or reality has come to give me the view that many professional athletes are whiney spoiled asses.  (More so in basketball than football.)  This has tended to push my interest down to college sports over professional.

In 1994 I moved to Calgary.  At the time Bud Adams was trolling for a new stadium; the City was in an economic lull and saying “no”.  It was foregone, it seemed to me at the time and obviously in retrospect, that the Oilers would leave.  As it was, Canada didn’t have much coverage of the NFL and I just started ignoring the league entirely that year.

The next two years I spent in Washington and didn’t pay too much attention to the NFL except when I spent a sunday with friends.  I did attend one Redskins home game with my good friend Bill Cavender which was an awesome experience.

Texans LogoBack in Houston years later I rode my bicycle downtown for the NFL Franchise mascot announcement.  My preference of Toros was passed by for the Texans.  I went to several early year (sometimes preseason) Texans games.  I remember being deafened at one of the first games there.  I’ve enjoyed some tailgating there (something always lacking at an Oilers game).  But I’ve never scheduled my fall sundays according to the Texans’ schedule.

Now, after almost a decade, today is the Texans’ first playoff game.  To say the least: this city is excited!  I no longer have even a television I can watch live sports on.  So, I will be joining some friends at a sports bar a short 5-block bicycle ride away in the ‘hood.

Go Texans.

Live Music: It’s Been a While

Despite the fact that I’ve been working across the street from the Continental Club for six months, and now own a store at the same place, I haven’t seen a lot of live music recently.

I’ve been out for Molly & the Ringwalds (work), and for Peter & James and Light Rock Express, which tend to be for socializing. I have seen a few shows, or parts of them, but it seems like it’s been since forever since I’ve gone out specifically to see live music.

Last night there was a three band CD release show at Rudyard’s: I Am Mesmer, Kelly Doyle, and Hillary Sloan.

I’ve seen Hillary many times, but not recently; I’ve been meaning to see Mesmer, and I didn’t know who Kelly Doyle was (until I read the pre-show write-up).

The large number of music related people in the audience told me I had picked the right place to be that night.

I was hanging out with TG who was testing her memory on how many names in attendance she could remember. She got several dozen.

Hillary Sloan started out and her material was very similar to the stuff I was familiar with, her band was good, she seemed perhaps a bit tired and self conscious about her performance, which seemed odd.

Kelly Doyle I recognized for his guitar playing with Clouseaux. He mentioned this was the first time he had fronted a band. Most of the songs were instrumental, with jazz, Eastern European, and pseudo-Asian influences. Odd time signatures were de riguer, but the music was fun and playful.

I Am Mesmer is an amalgamation 7-piece that smashes a lot of styles together. I have a hard time imagining a band like this forming anywhere else (maybe NYC). Two percussionists, banjo leading the band (when not playing the saw), two drastically different styled guitar players that blended well together.

I totally imagined this band filling the SXSW Continental Club Saturday morning slot after Allen Hill. It would be awesome.

Anyway it was nice to have a casual night out, see some friends I hadn’t in a while, and see some great and varied live music.

Bill’s iPod Spends a Night on the Town

As most people know, I don’t have a cell phone.  You people don’t call me as it is; you don’t need more access to me.  When I head out the door, I do usually take me iPod Touch with me.  If you’re unfamiliar with those, they are just like the iPhone but with no phone (or, currently, camera).

So, Friday night I took my iPod with me as usual.  I was running a little late because my Motorola DSL modem purchased last year after Ike killed my last modem died an early death.  I took my bicycle out as I usually do.  I ride the bicycle for a variety of reasons: i need the exercise, it’s really not that far from the Heights to Montrose or Midtown, parking is never an issue.

My first stop, and as late as a few hours earlier my only planned stop, was at Anvil.  A relatively new bar in the Montrose area, it specializes in mixed drinks.  So, that’s what I had.  Of course riding your bike a few miles will build up a thirst, and liquor drinks aren’t necessarily ideal for that.  I should have asked for some water as well, but they were already slammed with the happy hour + birthday wishes for Romy crowd, and I didn’t.

But I did enjoy some great drinks: Scofflaw, which was quite tasty with rye wiskey; Blood & Sand, another too easy to drink this time centered around Scotch; i tried to slow myself up with a Gimlet but that didn’t quite work; then finally the Corn ‘n Oil with blackstrap rum was a sipper.  The Anvil has free wi-fi as most of Houston does.  It’s locked, but the password is free for asking.  My iPod enjoyed checking it’s email and twittering a few times.

The intersection of friends with Romy is interesting, and I got to chat with Tracey, Renee, Lindsey (whom I hadn’t seen in years), Katie, C. Matusow who had a new twitter account, and briefly said hi to Hillary G, and quite a few others.  I succeeded in exiting for under $30, which was amazing.  Just before I’d left the house I noticed that Jack Schultz commented that Sean Refer was playing at the West Alabama Ice House.  So, I extended my evening and headed there.

I ran into Ron, who poured me some of his Irish Wiskey, saying he owed me for hosting an excellent Christmas party.  I ordered a Pine Bark and ran into Tracy V, and sat and talked to her.

West Alabama Ice House doesn’t have a wi-fi of it’s own, but it’s surrounded by dense residence and businesses, so there is usually an open signal there.  Soon, my iPod chirped at me with some new email.  I scanned it and saw a message from Tricia that it was Ken Wall’s birthday at the Continental.  So, though I had not planned to head there, I couldn’t miss that.

I locked up the bike out front, and went in to say hi to Ken, Bob, Adam, and quite a few others.  The Light Rock Express was playing outside, another band inside, and apparently Ken was picking up the bar tab.  Even Becky and Steve W. road tripped from Austin.

My iPod always feels lonely at the Continental Club because they are sans wi-fi.  I was a few blocks down the road when I realized I didn’t have it in my breast pocket.  I turned around and looked a few places with no luck.  I headed off again also without one of the keys I needed, but knowing how to bypass the apartment “security” gate.

In the morning I realized I may have dropped the iPod in the bushes while leaning over to unlock the bike.  I went back to check for it, but it was not there.

However, when I got home there was a message from Tom M. who lived in midtown that he had found it on his morning walk, 6 blocks from where I dropped it.  My iPod had also sent an email to Dana about an hour before Tom found it.  A little after noon I met up with Tom and retrieved my tired iPod and took it home to recharge him, with only a few more character scratches to show for it.