39 Things Never Said In Bellville, Texas

Got this as an email tonight, figured I’d post it here, so you all know where I’m from:

39. I’ll take Shakespeare for 1000, Alex.
38. Duct tape won’t fix that.
37. Lisa Marie was lucky to catch Michael.
36. Come to think of it, I’ll have a Heineken.
35. We don’t keep firearms in this house.
34. Has anybody seen the sideburns trimmer?
33. You can’t feed that to the dog.
32. I thought Graceland was tacky.
31. No kids in the back of the pickup, it’s just not safe.
30. Wrasslin’s fake.
29. Honey, did you mail that donation to Greenpeace ?
28. We’re vegetarians.
27. Do you think my gut is too big?
26. I’ll have grapefruit and grapes instead of biscuits and gravy.
25. Honey, we don’t need another dog.
24. Who’s Richard Petty?
23. Give me the small bag of pork rinds.
22. Too many deer heads detract from the decor.
21. Spittin is such a nasty habit.
20. I just couldn’t find a thing at Walmart today.
19. Trim the fat off that steak.
18. Cappuccino tastes better than espresso.
17. The tires on that truck are too big.
16. I’ll have the arugula and radicchio salad.
15. I’ve got it all on the C drive.
14. Unsweetened tea tastes better.
13. Would you like your salmon poached or broiled?
12. My fiance, Bobbie Jo, is registered at Tiffany’s.
11. I’ve got two cases of Zima for the Super Bowl.
10. Little Debbie snack cakes have too many fat grams.
09. Checkmate.
08. She’s too young to be wearing a bikini.
07. Does the salad bar have bean sprouts?
06. Hey, here’s an episode of “Hee Haw” that we haven’t seen.
05. I don’t have a favorite college team.
04. Be sure to bring my salad dressing on the side.
03. I believe you cooked those green beans too long.
02. Those shorts ought to be a little longer, Darla.
01. Nope, no more for me. I’m drivin tonight.

Back in Highschool

Watch this video from Google Video:

redneck urfing

Totally reminds me of something my buddy Josh and I would have done back in highschool. And probably isn’t that different from some of the stuff Brad Patak did in highschool in Ennis to hear his buddies talk.

Austin County Fair 2005

On Wednesday night of this past week, Christine and Jack drove to Bellville for the Austin County Fair.

Oh my gosh, did they have fun.

They stayed with Grandma, and got to spend a lot of time playing with Ella and Aunt Shadel.

On Thursday morning, they all got up, and headed to down the road to the Austin County Fair Parade. They found their spot on the side of Highway 159 near Mrs. Payton, Jennifer, and their bunch of kids, and settled in to watch the parade. They were also sitting next to Mrs. Hueni and Brian was there (Haven’t seen them in forever and I’m sorry I missed them).

The parade started, and soon, there were firetrucks and ambulances from all of the towns in the county driving through town, making all sorts of racket. There were a few bands, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts paraded through town. The fair queen candidates rode in on a trailer, as did all mannner of cheerleaders and mascots.

The kiddos were getting tired towards the end of the parade and ended up falling asleep in their strollers.

On Thursday evening, the family got dressed up and headed to the fairgrounds. The saw the opening of the rodeo, and met some goats, and pigs, and cows, and other animals, before heading over to the carousel for some fun. (The animals scared Ella just a little).

Christine finally got to meet Dixie Haverlah, who babysits Ella for Aunt Shadel and Uncle Evan. They all had lots of fun on the carousel.

Jack got to taste ice-cream at the fair for the first time ever… bad mommy… she gave in to temptation…

Ella and Jack got some whirly light toys and had lots of fun playing with them, before eventually heading home. On the way out of the fair, Christine plopped Jack on a tractor. Jack was totally in command of his element.

Now that you’ve looked at all of those photos, here’s a quick video from the Fair photos and videos that Christine shot:

See all of the photos from the Fair in this gallery.

On Friday, they all headed towards the pumpkin patch in Sealy to take photos with all of the pumpkins. Evan told them that there were plenty of pumpkins out, but the Great Pumpkin must have liberated them all, because when Peggy met the girls and kids there, there weren’t but two pumpkins left…

So they took lots of photos with the two pumpkins that were there, and then Aunt Peggy and Christine drove back to Austin.

Sounds like they all had lots of fun at the Fair this year… I’m gonna have to make sure I go next year.

September 2005 Zeitgeist

Here’s the top search queries that brought traffic to this website in September:

September 2005 Zeitgeist

Try searching for those terms on Google… see where englers.org ranks for yourself… heh…

Close to Home

I just spent an hour watching the pilot episode of Close to Home on CBS, and I’ve gotta say “wow!”

The CBS website is sadly lacking in any detail about the show, and future episodes, which is sort of sad, but, the show totally rocks. It’s a crime drama about a new-mom/lawyer and how she deals with the cases that she’s given while also balancing her new-mom status with her profession… which totally appeals to me.

Close to HomeFrom the CBS website:

CLOSE TO HOME is a legal drama that tears away the facade of suburbia to reveal that sometimes quiet and tranquil streets can hide the darkest of crimes. Annabeth Chase (Jennifer Finnigan) is a young, aggressive prosecutor with a perfect conviction record who tries the cases that come out of her own neighborhood. Returning to work after having her first child, Annabeth is ready to take on the most difficult cases, fueled by her passion to protect her community and her family. Challenging Annabeth’s legal strategies is her new boss, Maureen Scofield (Kimberly Elise), a no-nonsense lawyer not afraid to push her hard. Leading the team is Steve Sharpe (John Carroll Lynch), who is one of Annabeth’s biggest supporters but is concerned about how her cases will play in the media. Annabeth’s husband, Jack (Christian Kane), is devoted to their family and is a rock for her to lean on when the challenges of her job start to infringe on their home life.

If you enjoy legal dramas, ie. CSI, Cold Case, etc…, and have a new baby in the family, or are expecting one, I’d totally recommend you watch the next episode… I’m programming our DVR to record the series right now. Too bad it has to compete with Boston Legal for viewers… I’d really like to see it succeed in the future.

It definitely hits “close to home” for this family.

The Red Wagon Movie

Here’s a few video clips we shot of Jack’s first tour around the front yard in his little red wagon (we’re going to get a lot of fun outta’ that there wagon!)

You need to download Quicktime 7 to watch this movie folks. I’ve changed the encoding settings on how I encode movies, because the new codecs from Apple really make a movie look sooo much better… sorry, you’re gonna have to upgrade folks. Macintosh users click here, and Windows users click here. Download Quicktime 7, install it, and come back here to watch the movie:

Rolling in the Wagon

Bonus points for anyone that leaves a comment with the name of the singer of the song the movie is set to.

Buddies on the River

On Friday night (ok, I guess it was technically Sunday morning) Chase Brown flew in from Rochester, New York. I picked him up at the airport. Funnily, I also ran into Jason and Leah Eggenburger (two of our fish from A&M) while waiting for Chase at the airport.

James Rodriguez and his girlfriend Janice drove up from Houston, and got here about the same time Chase did.

We rendezvoused at the house, I let them in, we drank a beer on the back porch, and we went to bed.

We were all planning to hit the Guadalupe river on Saturday, but the weather was horrible… it’d been raining for 3 days, and when we woke up on Saturday, it was pouring. Dub called me around 8:15 and said the river trip was off, so we should just meet him at the River Road Ice House.

Saturday morning, we had breakfast tacos from Mi Madres, then Rudy Gaytan and Will Ketchen showed up, and we all hung out, catching up with each other, meeting Jack, and having a good time. Then we headed to New Braunsfels to meet up with Dub and his Fiancee, Marci.

Phill Becker beat us to New Braunsfels (he was coming from State College, PA, by way of San Antonio). We got to New Braunsfels around 1:45 or so, and met up with Jen and Mack Avery in the parking lot before heading into the RRIH. Scott Wideman showed up not long after us. Last to arrive was Mike Elmquist and his wife Carol.

Around 3:00, Dub decided it was safe to float the river, so we hit it, and boy did we. I haven’t hit the river like that since our old trips to the Guadalupe in college.

Let’s see. We lost about a case of beer on the river, I gashed my hand open really good. Dub tackled Phil and scraped up his back real good. Marci (Dub’s financee at the time) fell off the truck that took us back to the parking lot from the river (not good when you’re getting married the next day). Phill bruised his foot. James whined about being sore the next day… all in all, a good trip (and yes, someone almost got arrested, but I won’t say who here publicly).

After the river, Dub took care of his ailing fiancee, and the rest of us headed to the New Braunsfels Smokehouse to eat. And eat did we, and catch up with each other. Scott’s girlfriend Sarah met us there, and we tried to meet up with Chip and Cristy there, but it was 9:00pm and they’d taken their kiddo back to the hotel to sleep.

Steve Wiley, his wife and daughter – Melissa and Abigail, and Phill came back to our house in Austin after dinner, and we all tried to get to sleep without waking Jack. Steve, James and Phill stayed out on the front porch talking all night, while I went to bed.

On Sunday we got up to head to the wedding, which I’ll write more about in the next update.

More photos of Saturday here.

Father’s Day Weekend 2005

This past weekend was awesome. It was the best weekend it could be, especially for a first Father’s Day.

Evan and Ella came to visit us in Austin while Shadel visited some friends in Galveston for a bachelorette party.

Evan and Ella arrived around 11:30 on Saturday morning, and we all loaded up and drove out to the lake house. Greg and Cheri’s family were still visiting, and they’d invited us out to swim with them. We figured why the hell not? What else do you do with two babies all weekend, right? It’s not like you can take them a movie or a museum to keep them busy, can you? That, and spending time with Cheri and Greg and the kids and in-laws and grandparents is always fun… the pool was a bonus.

Cheri had lots of fixin’s for lunch ready for us when we got there, so we ate lunch and the jumped in the pool. I got sunburned (stupid me forgot to put on sunscreen again). Ella and Jack loved the pool. Just loved it. Matthew, Paige and Patrick loved having Jack and Ella around to play with, and I’m sure the feeling was mutual.

Jack did a little kick-boarding with a little help from Daddy. Ella danced on the pool patio to the tunes of Pat Green. Patrick showed us how good he was at pushing off of me to swim across the pool. Cool dude Mathew watered his mommy with a watering pail. Paige and Patrick learned a new trick with the floats (they’d jump off the side of the pool onto one of the floats to skim across the pool). All in all, we had a great time at the pool, hanging out with family.

When we got home from swimming, we fed Jack and Ella at the table, then gave them a bath in the big tub together… too much fun!

Evan and I headed up to Home Depot (with Ella) and bought some supplies for the little building going in out back. (Ugh… didn’t realize wires were that expensive). Christine headed to Babies-R-Us with Jack and bought a high-chair and a big baby gate for the entrance to the dining room, and some outlet covers (before, after).

Saturday evening, I cooked T-bone steaks for Evan. They were pretty good steaks, though I cooked them just a tad too long, or rather over a tad too hot fire… “But, John, charred edges on a steak are the only way to eat them!” you’re saying? I hear ya, but I couldn’t done a little better job. Ella told us that the peas and carrots were good (she ate half of both of the peas and carrots off our plates).

We watched Last of the Mohicans on Saturday night, then started to watch Troy, but Evan couldn’t hang, so we went to bed.

Sunday, we unpacked the stuff from Home Depot after playing with the kids for a little while… then Evan and Ella left to get home for Father’s Day activities with Shadel.

Jack and I hung out together (after a much needed nap) and talked Father/Son stuff. I gave Jack some advice about life, which he took pretty well. Christine went to HEB to buy some stuff to make dinner with.

When Christine got home, we opened presents. Jack got me two cool shirts that I’ll wear a lot this summer I’m sure. Christine bought me a good DVD. Then I put Jack to sleep (he fell asleep in my arms he was so tired after reading his book for the night which was too cool … he hasn’t fallen asleep in my arms in a good 4-5 months).

Then Christine made us dinner. She made Crawfish Etoufee from a recipe, and it was goood! Ummm!

Best Father’s Day Weekend I’ve ever had. Glad I got to spend it with my brother and niece too.

Lots more photos here.

F-F-F-R-E-E-E-E-S-E, Freese and Nichols

Christine hasn’t worked for the past 6 months or so, but we stay in touch with all of her friends from work quite a bit, so when Erin Taylor asked if they could borrow our video camera to make a movie at the office, I couldn’t say no.

Little did I know that Freese and Nichols won an award for one of the best offices to work at in Central Texas. They were asked to make a video showing how much spirit they had. Erin brought the raw footage over tonight, and we edited it, and here’s the result:


Click the image to watch the movie.

Bajo el cielo de Mexico

or …

“Beneath the Sky of Mexico” …

That’s where your humble narrator found himself last Friday night through Monday morning. We spent our Memorial day weekend in Mexico. Not in some crummy border town where the rest of you that can claim to have been to Mexico have been, but rather deep in Central Mexico, up in the mountains, in a picturesque little town that’s barely been touched by the tourism industry.

Christine and I found ourselves surrounded by friends and family this past weekend and it was truly an amazing weekend. We left little Jack at home with his Godparents on Friday morning, and headed south (after a short trip north to Dallas of course).

We flew into Guanajuato, Mexico (by way of the airport in Leon) with Mary (Christine’s mom), Marc and Cyndi (our good friends from Austin), and Larry and Terry (Cyndi’s mom and dad), as well as a host of other friends that were all heading down to Jennifer Hill’s (friends of the Kamps) wedding to Daniel Hernandez. At the airport in Leon, I ordered a taxi for seven, and paid $40 for a van without airconditioning to take us to Guanajuato. Nothing like paying $40 to drive through smoke from fires in the fields and exhaust from a third world country’s lack of emission standards in 90 degree weather…

On the drive into Guanajuato, the air got moderately cleaner, and the scenery got much better. The town is built in the mountains, and is an old Spanish colonial mining town. The main road into town turns into a tunnel that we exited right next to our hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Luna near the Temple of San Diego in the “touristy” part of town.

As soon as we arrived at the hotel, we ran into lots of old friends. After we stored our bags in our rooms, we started enjoying cervezas. I was partial to Indio, a local brew in central Mexico, while Marc stuck to Victoria. The girls stuck to Sol and Pacifica (which is another of my favorites).

We spent four glorious days in Mexico, mainly walking from shop to shop, or restaurant to restaurant, or visiting one of the local sights.

We went to the Museo Mummificado while in Guanajuato, which is a museum of mummies that were created naturally in the dry crpyts that were built into the side of the moutains. It was freaky. I’ve seen enough dead naked people now to never need to see a mummy again.

We visited the church at the top of the mountain near the Vallencia mines. It’s amazing how beautfiful the churches in Guanajuato are, combined with the fact that the populace that actually visits them is so extremely poor. The altars in this particular church, or rather the three walls at the top chancel and to the sides of the transept were covered in gold. The entire wall on all three sides. Covered in gold. Surrounded by extreme poverty.

Also interesting about the churches in Guanajuato: Jesus is depicted in a much more brutal fashion than we’re accustomed to here in the states. He’s very bloody and looks like He’s in more pain than I’ve seen Him in in most popular depictions. We sort of hypothesized that the reason for this is that there is so much more suffering in Mexico, that this is done so the local populace sees how much suffering He went through, whereas in America, if you can’t eat dinner at a good restaurant you think your life is in shambles, so all you need to see is that Jesus ate at McDonald’s too, so your life isn’t that bad. In Mexico He’s all cut up and bloody, and very dehydrated looking, so the fact that you have little money isn’t a bid deal.

We walked through the Mercado Hidalgo, which is in an old train station that was supposedly designed by Eifel (yes, the one and only). It was a working market, not like the ones you might visit in a border town that’s set up for tourists… nope. While this market had touristy crap in it, it also had lots of raw meat and vegetables, and smelled pretty strongly.

We rode the tram up to Papila… a statue of the idian that guarded the town (or something like that… I honestly don’t remember). The view of the city from up there was gorgeous… We got some great photos up there.

We attended the rehersal dinner for the wedding we were there to attend on Friday night at a woderful restaurant in the San Javier part of town. The conversations were lots of fun, and the food was great.

The wedding was held in a small chapel at the Hacienda Guanajuato (a state park now), which as I understand it the groom’s brother got permission from the Governor of Guanajuato to allow the wedding to take place there. The bride was gorgeous. The groom was handsome. All of the guests were in good moods. We witnessed the wedding ceremony, which was special, as the officiant was the groom’s brother. He threw in plenty of personal stories and wished the bride and groom well, while he spoke in spanish and english for the benefits of both families and the many friends in attendance.

The reception was a lot of fun, held in an open garden at the top of a hill, just up from the wedding chapel. The mariachi band was amazing as they played their way into the reception leading the bride and groom. We ate a fine meal and drank good beer and wine while meeting new friends and conversing with friends of old. We danced a little (some people danced a lot) and even got Mary out on the dance floor with us (after a few shots of Tequila I hear … Mr. Hill, the bride’s father, claims to have seen Mary putting back the Tequila, though I can neither confirm nor deny his claim).

Christine and I closed down the wedding, then stayed up late into the night talking with friends and enjoying the cool moutain air (we did that many nights, usually sleeping until 10am or later each morning).

All of our photos from the trip are here, and photos from the wedding specifically are here.

Stay tuned for more… I bought a website and we’ll be putting more Guanajuato information and pictures up there soon, I’m sure.

update: The title of this entry comes from a movie made in 1937. I picked this title because Mark used the title I was wanting to use: Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and since it was a movie title, I figured I’d find another movie title for this entry.