June 2003 Archives

it's hard to be patient

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Ok, I really want a new TV. Specifically, I really want this TV. It would round out my home theater perfectly, and would let me move my old TV into our bedroom.

It's a pretty new model, and the price reflects it. But I have a 10% off coupon that coincides with 24 month interest free financing at Best Buy this weekend. I know I can wait a few months and the price will probably drop as HDTV continues to gain ground and more comparable models come out. If I pay less for the TV, then I have more to spend on other toys, like the progressive scan DVD player I'll need. But even if the price drops $500, it's about the same monthly payment if I can only get 18 months interest free. $500 is still $500, though.

What it boils down to is this: there are several logical reasons to wait, but none of them are as gratifying as getting a new TV tomorrow.

The Comal River is trying to kill me

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I love tubing. I try to go once a year. It's becoming painfully obvious that tubing does not love me, however. From now on I'm sticking to the Guadalupe.

The first time I floated the Comal was the summer of 1994, with a HOBY alumni reunion. We rented from the Ole Mill Stream near Landa Park. Everything was going great until we reached the dam at the end of the Prince Solms tube chute. I'd seen several people float over the dam and it looked like a good way to finish the chute experience. Nope. I went over sideways, the waterfall hit the side of my tube, and I capsized to the right, bashing my head against the side of the dam. I nearly lost my sunglasses and was dizzy for about the next half-hour.

My next trip was during the summer of '97. A group of us met in Austin at Sarah and Michelle's apartment in order to caravan to New Braunfels. While I suffered no physical damage this time around, my sense of schedule and organization suffered a great deal. I think about six hours passed from when we first met until we got into the river. During that time we:

  • Finally caught up with part the group of Aggies from College Station that said they'd meet us "somewhere along I-35 in San Marcos" rather than choosing a designated rendezvous in advance
  • Waited about 20 minutes on a farm-to-market road south of San Marcos for the rest of the Aggies that decided they just had to go outlet shopping that morning
  • Sent a recovery party for the part of our group that had decided we were leaving from Gruene rather than the Ole Mill Stream
  • Upon their return, sent said party on a search for tubes, as we had taken so long to get together that Ole Mill Stream had run out
  • Sent another group on a beer/cooler run
Despite all of this, I had a great time once we finally got into the water.

Last weekend, we returned to the river as part of Robyn and Nick's wedding day festivities. Texas Tubes picked all of us up from the hotel, which eliminated most of the problems of the prior trip. Their employees repeatedly warned us not to go over the dam. I needed no extra discouraging. Portaging around the falls went smoothly for me, but Josephine managed to miss her tube completely when re-entering the water. About 30 minutes later, I got out of the water to throw away some trash. Mary Alice had floated ahead about 30 feet, so I thought I'd get a running start at my tube to gain some momentum. Sometime during my half-twist to land in a normal tubing position, I misjudged the distance to my tube and overshot by about a foot. Not too bad, just enough to overbalance, backflip into the water, and smack the back of my head against the rocks at the bottom of the river. The bleeding stopped by the next morning, but I still have a pretty good sized knot up there.

Perhaps the taste of blood has appeased the river gods that are apparently upset with me, but I'm not going to chance it. Odds are they're going for a limb next time.

Firebowl Cafe

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Ok, either a lot of people are hunting for a review of Firebowl Cafe or they really like my fortune cookie comments.

Here's both.

"You will be called upon to help a friend in trouble."

Well, Brian Raley called the other day with some photo gallery questions. And Brian Piasecki was laptop shopping last night and was asking my advice. But I don't think either one counts as trouble. But if that was it, that's the kind of trouble I can handle.

Now, the review.

I love Firebowl Cafe. We always go to the one on Brodie, as the one in Round Rock is about 45 minutes too far to drive when we're hungry. The last time we Mary Alice and I went was Monday night. I had the Vermicelli Singapore, which was good but needed a little more spice. Usually I get the Pad Thai, which is outstanding. Mary Alice goes for the Garden Chicken most of the time. I also like their Crab Rangoons, but not as much as the ones at Fu Lai (William Cannon & Hwy 71).

Try it and come back and tell me what you think!