Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Moment of Silence: Thanksgiving Weekend

I went to the Texas Panhandle to visit my parents for Thanksgiving.  If you can imagine, poor Gar driving a small car with three teenage girls, then you can imagine the highlight of my trip.

When we left Dallas at 9 AM, it was a balmy 80 degrees.  When we arrived in Amarillo, it was already down to 65.  Amarillo, however, wasn’t our final resting place.  We had to cruise south down Interstate 27 for a few miles to get to Canyon.

The aforementioned three teenagers stayed with me Tuesday night so we could get an early start on Wednesday.  Can I get a show of hands from anyone who has experienced Texas Highway 287?  It must be in the top 5 list of most boring highways ever constructed by the highway building folks.  God bless ‘em.

Luckily this time around I did have my trusty XM Satellite Radio to protect me from the 60 mile stretch of rode where the only FM signal comes from the Mariachi Baptist Country Revival Farm Report Clinic From Hell (complete with occasional static).

Thanksgiving morning in Canyon it was almost 20 degrees.  I think 17 was the low.  To have started off in the upper 70’s on Wednesday and be brought into the 20’s on Thursday, I almost stayed in bed.  I thought Hell had frozen over anyway so all kinds of cool things were about to be coming my way.

My dad showed me how to make Tiger Juice.  Apparently he learned it from watching some cooking show (I secretly worry about him).  Best I can tell, it’s a mix of 50/50 mayonnaise and horseradish.  Wednesday night we had it on potato chips.   Friday I had it on a roast beef sandwich.  Sometime this week, I’ll attempt to make my own.

I helped my dad make the turkey.  It’s probably the last time that will happen.  Luckily he made brisket too.  But that, to me, is what Thanksgiving is all about.  It’s not the food, but the fun.  My dad and I had fun laughing at the little pop-up thermometer in the turkey that wouldn’t pop while my mother’s complaints about our ineptness reached a fevered pitch.  We burnt the dressing that Mom made because it was in the same pan as the turkey with the pop-up thermometer that wouldn’t pop. 

On Friday we rested.  On Saturday we removed the dealership sticker from the back of my car.  Another thing cool about my dad is his inability to be bored and to think of fun and interesting projects.  There has been no other time than Saturday that so much fun has been had by any two people in removing a dealership tag from the back of a car.  I threatened to take pictures, but was afraid it would ruin the moment.

You have to envision a blow dryer which has been rewired and taped together with electrical tape (it quit working and my dad “fixed” it).  At least 3 sets of extension cords that have also been taped together (mostly with electrical tape) and leading into the house.  And a father and son standing behind a new car trying to heat up the glue on a dealership tag with a hair dryer so they can remove it.  I’ll wait while you formulate your imaginations.

We got the thing removed and I was quite proud.  We even used WD-40 and  a smattering of paper towels to clean up the vestiges of super duper double sided tape (yes, it hadn’t been glued at all).

On Sunday, we drove back home (well I drove back home and the 3 teenagers slept).  There were signs everywhere that warned of high fire danger.  Just south of Vernon we did see smoke and smell the cleansing smell of burning grass.

I was home by 5 and watched the second DVD of Lost season 6.  I’m sad to be home alone.  Sometimes I like being alone.  Today, I don’t.  Therefore, I’d appreciate you all spending a moment of silence in appreciation of my lonely self.  I’ll be here all week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Procrastination Strikes Again

Just found out today that the Ruthie Foster concert on January 7th has been sold out and I never got around to buying tickets.  I'm sure that 50% of the tickets were sold to people hoping to finally meet the infamous Gar so maybe Ruthie will take pity on my poor poor procrastinating soul and find me a ticket.

So, Ruthie, if you can get me a ticket, click here for submission information.

Okay, that was a sly trick to get people to click on coolness.  I have a friendly relative trying to do some artistic website authoring thing.  If you click on my little picture to the right or here, there are email instructions.  Really.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Solo Cruises

CarnivalI just purchased a Carnival cruise ticket out of Galveston.  Actually, it’s quite impossible to purchase a ticket so technically I purchased 2 tickets.  However, I know no one who wants to go with me who’ll put up with sharing a queen sized bed so I suspect I’ll be going  alone.

I’m kind of wondering if there’s a market for escorts who’d like a cruise.  I suppose I could call around to the local escort services and see if any of their ladies are interested.  How odd would that be?

image Anyway, if you are female, not scared of sharing a bed with a strange man, don’t stink, are mildly entertaining and attractive let me know.  Oh yeah, you also have to be free from 12/11 to 12/16.  We’ll leave early in the morning on December 11th and I’ll have you home by 5 on December 16.  I may even be able to get them to give me two twin sized beds…

Maybe I should come up with a downloadable application.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

John Butler Trio

If you haven't been paying attention, last weekend I went to see Vallejo and discovered The Dirty River Boys.

I usually try to keep my concert appearances down to about once a month.  However, I have just discovered that John Butler Trio is going to be at The House of Blues Friday night (11/19).

Should I stay or should I go?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rocky Horror, Randy, Amber & Hat Tricks…

Guess what I did this weekend?  I did things that were best photo documented and I didn’t take any pictures!  They say a picture is worth a thousand words so to give my weekend justice I’d have to write about 100,000 words.  Don’t panic.  It’s not going to happen.  In fact I’m going to give you the summary and depending on the lack of comments I’ll probably opt to leave you questionless folks in a state of hopeless query.

On Friday, Randy (R.K. Milholland) of Something Positive invited us all out to the Lakewood Theater to watch a shadowcast of Rocky Horror show presented by Amber Does Dallas and guest starring R.K. Milholland.  He did the inviting.  I love his quotes.  The one at the bottom of the “invitation” comic was one of my favorites.

The show wasn’t scheduled to start until midnight.  I went to Humperdinks for happy hour.   They have their own menu of craft brewed beers on tap.  It’s a good place for happy hour.  Our waitress’s name was Katy and she was a good sport at playing along with my sign guessing shenanigans.  She’s a Capricorn.  Her boyfriend’s an Aquarius so it was only natural that she was willing to tolerate my Aquarian mind games.

I’ve never participated in a Rocky Horror show.  We had one veteran slut who offered to go with us and show us virgins the ropes.  I invited a friend or two and had to ask her (the veteran slut) how to dress.  She recommended various costumes for the guys (the crazier the better) and apparently women must dress like sluts.  Fun was had by all and I have no pictures.  The Shadowcast by Amber Does Dallas was wonderful.  It’s definitely something I recommend and will probably do again sometime.  Lots and lots of open minded fun loving people with a range of ages and lifestyles sharing a common goal. 

I was glad Randy invited me and I did get to talk to him briefly after the show.  I wish he wasn’t so busy, because just from my brief talk with him I could tell that he and I would be very dangerous playing mind-f*ck games with people at a bar.  Of course, I guess we have to spread the wealth a little bit.  If you get too much of that kind of thing at one table or in one vicinity, dangerous reactions could occur which may cause dire personal injury or irreparable mental harm.  I exaggerate a little bit.  Some people who read my blog may actually have been there.

Saturday found me at Hat Tricks again.  I’ll give you time to go read that.  I’ll wait here until you get back.  You’ll take note of my obvious overuse of the word shenanigans.  Which is funny because I can’t even spell it correctly without the aid of a spell checker.

Vallejo was going to be there.  They were going to open up for Cas Haley.  You can watch the Vallejo video at the other shenanigans link.  I noticed AJ was drinking and I saw him have at least one shot.  I don’t know if that had any impact on his performance, but I’ve been watching these guys ever chance I get for the last 15 years or so and it was one of the best shows I’ve seen them do.  It was, at least, in the top 5.

The Dirty River BoysBefore Vallejo came on and before the show was officially scheduled to start, they had a band called The Dirty River Boys come on and put on a pre-show.  I was glad we arrived early!  They hail from El Paso, TX and if you haven’t seen them yet, you are kind of missing out.  I’m pretty picky on the types of music I enjoy well enough to write about, and these guys were surprisingly good!  A video hardly does them justice, but it gives you an idea.  They remind me of Bonepony (one of my all time faves).

Dirty River Boys

Vallejo put on such a good show that Cas Haley was a bit of a disappointment.  He sings really good.  I like reggae music.  But after a while, I think you need some kind of chemical enhancement to keep listening to it without falling asleep.  Two hours of reggae makes me sleepy.

The Dallas Cowboys won on Sunday.  I actually watched the football game in its entirety.  So many rare things I accomplished over the weekend.

When I separated from my spouse back in April I decided that the only way I was going to survive would be to surround myself with friends.  I’ve made many new friends since then and enhanced some friendships I already had.  Just so people don’t ask me if I’m still separated, the divorce was final in August.  I blogged about it somewhere.  Slight tangent.  I thought if I met enough people and kept myself busy I’d get over it.  The last few weeks I’ve realized I still miss her.  We did so much together that I find myself thinking, “Man, she would like this!”  But she’s not there.  Apparently, it’s going to take time for me to get over this and once you hit the age of 40, it seems that time is something you don’t like spending.  One of my friends told me I just need to relax and take it easy for 6 months.  He might have mentioned fasting and self-reflection.  Another of my friends said I need to get into a semi serious relationship so I can see what I want (or don’t want).  I’ve decided I don’t know what I’m doing, but it’s going to be a blast!  And I’ll apologize now for any collateral damage.  It’s not intentional.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Paris: The Experience

I arrived in Paris Saturday evening.  I learned later that there had been strikes on Saturday.  Likely causing my having to stand in line for a cab.

Sunday I was planning to spend the day learning how the Metro system worked.  I paid an excess amount of euro’s to get wireless Internet in my hotel room.  I used my relatively new Android based MyTouch 3g Slide to download maps of Paris and schedules for the public transportation system.  It’s kind of amazing to me that 10 years ago I didn’t even own a cell phone and now I can’t live without it.

It turned out to be about a 20 minute walk from my hotel to the nearest Metro station.  I could have taken a bus, but I am not fond of being cramped into small places with a bunch of sniffling sneezing people that I can’t understand.  At the Metro station I bought a 5 day tourist pass which would allow me to take any form of public transportation I needed to within Paris (what they call zones 1, 2 and 3).

image I took the Metro 13 down to Les Invalides.  The Metro stations are pretty much all underground.  There are no guard rails keeping you from falling down in the tracks and I didn’t see any way back up if you did fall.  The crowds of people waiting to get on the trains made me nervous about this situation.  But, I obviously didn’t fall.

Since, this was my first time in Paris, I picked out the Eiffel Tower in theimage distance and just started walking towards it.  It was an obvious landmark to help keep my bearings as I explored a new city.

A friend of mine from England picked me up while I was exploring the area underneath the tower.  It was my first time to ride in a car where the controls were on the wrong side, which is the right side, of the car.

imageWe went for a drive up to  Charles de Gaulle airport where we stopped for a late lunch and then I had to figure out how to get back to my hotel.  The airport was in zone 4 or 5.  It was a fun drive though.  Bob showed me several little interesting sites in Paris that are not necessarily listed on the tourist maps (like where the hookers hang out).

I spent most of Monday at a cemetery.  The Cimetière du Père Lachaise.  It was rather surreal.  I got lost several times.  It’s like a labyrinth of sepulchers.  I think if you go to Paris, you need to go see it.  I don’t know that I’d ever want to see it again, but it was rather incredible.  I went and saw where Jim Morrison is supposedly buried.

I took lots of pictures…

 IMAG0099 IMAG0101 IMAG0104 Picture 015 Picture 027

Picture 079 I also walked to the Louvre.  They had an interesting outdoor art exhibit going on.  After spending time at the Eiffel Tower and various other towers, I was starting to understand why they call it, “The City of Love”.

They had an interesting piece of architecture resembling aPicture 072 broken American flag.  I’m not real sure what the intent was, but I thought it looked real cool.  That’s my best vocabulary of the day, “real cool”.  My kids thought maybe it was done because the French don’t like America.  It’s an interesting take on it.  I wonder what everyone else thought…

Tuesday was “cruise day”.  I took the river boats all day.  It was nice and relaxing.  After the cruises were over I set out to find the Statue of Liberty.  It’s on the end of a man made island.  I had literally given up on finding the darn thing when I decided to explore this stair case in the middle of a bridge.  I thought it odd to have stairs coming down the side of a bridge at it’s apex over the water.  So, being the curious person I am, I decided to investigate.

It led to a walking trail which I later learned to be part of a man made island.  As I approached the trails end, I decided to go up the next set of stairs to get back up to street level.  This is what I saw… It almost brought a tear to my eye.


Picture 103 image

I finished up Tuesday with a bottle of wine at an Italian food place underneath the EiffelPicture 114 Tower followed by some miraculous attempts to take night time photos without a flash or a tripod.  I spent a lot of time Picture 113precariously balancing my little pocket camera on fence posts…

I should note, at this point, that I never ventured into any buildings.  I realize I could have paid some bucks and went up the elevators in the Tower, but I’ve done stuff like that before.  I pay the money, get to the top of the tower, say, “Wow.  Breathtaking,” and then try and figure out how to get back down.

I also decided that if I set foot inside any museums I’d probably spend my entire 4 days indoors.  So, I just looked in from the outside.

On Wednesday I had no real plan so I just went walking.  As I walked I discovered an interesting way to discreetly take pictures with my cell phone so I decided to make Wednesday the day of the people. 


As I  was walking along I also saw a McDonalds so I had to stop in.  I’ve now eaten at McDonalds in Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan and Paris.   image


You can see all my pictures here:

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gay Paree: The Arrival

I think it’s about time I quit procrastinating and get this thing written before I forget what happened.  I’ve been home from Paris for almost 2 weeks now.  If you’ve been following my various other shenanigans in Europe, this may be a bit of a let down.  I didn’t really do anything “exciting” in Paris.  I took a lot of pictures and I made a few observations.  I’m torn between making this an opinionated piece or a story.  I’ve kind of decided to do both in a most random fashion.


I took a 3 hour train ride from Karlsruhe to Paris.  A friend of mine lives near Karlsruhe and I went and helped throw a birthday party for his wife.  Okay.  That’s not entirely true.  They threw the party.  I just observed.  Karlsruhe and the surrounding cities are in the black forest area of Germany (Schwarz Wald).  It’s very pretty.  He actually lives in Neuenbürg (I believe).  As you can see, I’m not always 100% sure of the facts.  I think it snowed ten inches the day after I left.

He warned me about the strikes happening in France, but I decided to risk it anyway.  I arrived at the Gare de l’Est train station in Paris at about 8:30 PM.  It was dark and cold so I decided to forego my rule of attempting to take public transportation and just went to the cab line.  It’s the first time in my life I’ve had to wait in line for a cab.  Someone told me later that it was because of the strike (that I had to wait in line).

There were already some interesting people in line.  A quite attractive woman stood right in front of me.  While standing in line I saw movement to my left and a person in a “hoodie” approaching my location…

I didn’t think much of it, but then they started whispering to me in French.  I thought it was a guy at first, but when I looked up I realized it was a woman.  She wasn’t entirely unattractive, but she had that piercing through the bridge of her nose and those things always make me mentally wince.  I don’t know why.  Okay, I do know why.  I told her I don’t speak French and she translated to English, but not very good.  She wanted money for something.  I couldn’t determine if she was going to give me favors for a euro of if she wanted a euro for drugs or if she wanted a euro for food.  I chose to pretend I didn’t have any euro’s.  It was kind of disconcerting thinking, You know, if I met this person in a bar I’d offer to buy her a drink and here she is begging for money.  At least I think she was begging.  It’s probably good I ignored.

After she left I saw a man, a woman and a woman with a walker cruising down the roadway.  They proceeded to go to the front of the cab line.  I’m thinking this is just some kind of French law.  If you need assistance walking then you go to the front of the line.  I’m not real sure about all this, but it was my first observance of inconsiderate French people and considerate French people and a puzzling mystery.  The group of 3 went to the front of the line and waited for the next cab. 

The next cab arrived and these 3 people had so many bags that they couldn’t get them all in the cab.  The lady with the walker was already sitting in the back of the cab so chaos ensued.  The man in the party of 3 proceeded to have a heated discussion with the cab driver.  Not able to speak French, but just observing the gyrations and the situation I surmised that the cabby was telling him that there was no way he could get all their luggage in the trunk so they’d have to wait for a larger cab.  Being that the handicapped woman was already sitting in the back of the cab, she was not budging.  Her butt was apparently permanently welded to the seat of the cab that wasn’t big enough for the luggage.

Finally, the guy got out of the cab and removed half the luggage and let the two ladies have the cab (the handicapped lady and the other lady).  As soon as he got out (about ten minutes after the fiasco began), a van cab pulled up that could have easily transported them all.  I accidentally laughed.  The good looking lady in front of me turned around and smiled at me.  I have that affect on people.  Then the most incredible thing happened.

The two ladies pulled away in their cab and the lone man took the van cab by himself.  If I had been able to speak French I would have muttered “stupid inconsiderate moron” loud enough for him to hear.  I had been waiting for about 20 minutes at that point.

Finally, it was my turn for a cab.  I knew I was quite a ways from my hotel and I was kind of worried that he’d tell me he couldn’t go that far or something.  I had the hotel address and I just gave it to him while trying to explain I didn’t speak French.  He got the idea and took me away.  I’m fairly certain he really spoke very little English.  I know French people have the reputation of not speaking English because they don’t want to.  But, I don’t see how he could have sat there straight faced as I told him all my good English jokes if he was pretending not to understand.

photo - Median ChâtillonThe hotel I picked was Hotel Median Chatillon.  I picked it because of the price and because it was close to a Metro station.  I knew I could walk to the Metro station and quickly get to downtown Paris where all the touristy stuff is.  When you select a hotel on the Internet and book it, they never tell you that the entire road in front of the hotel is under construction.  It made for a very unpleasant environment, but since I had already paid for the week with a non-refundable pre pay kind of thing.  I was stuck.image

The bed was the hardest bed I’ve ever “attempted” to sleep on.