Category Archives: Kerrville

Clean laundry and civil discourse – Satanist style

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Going to a coin laundry with the RV’s an entirely different experience compared to the various times in my life when I considered hanging around watching clothes tumble something akin to hell.  Just knowing there’s a fridge out there with cold tea, milk, or ice water at a reasonable price helps.  A comfy place to stretch out, a selection of books half-read.  Lawn chair if I want to use it.

But before I decide which way I’m going to enjoy my laundrying I look the place over.  Sometimes it’s worth the hard chair to allow surreptitiously watching the people sharing the place. 

So this time I carried my stuff inside, tossed it into a washer near the front door, and casually allowed my eyes to look everyone over while I walked to the back for quarters.  Sauntered back to the machine.  Several lower-financial-drawer women, several younger couples, and a few old guys.  Mostly ignoring one another.

But I noticed a scrawny old guy wearing a Vietnam War Veteran cap watching me as I fed quarters into the machine.   So when I finished I took a chair as far from him as I could get but still see my machine.  Guy’s wearing Vietnam War Veteran caps aren’t part of my repertoire of wanna-get-acquainted.

I watched him out of the corner of my eye while I pretended to do the ‘bored-people scan’, opened my book, read a page, put it down.  Twigged to the fact nobody in the place would meet his eye, and he was trying to get eye contact.  I figured, “Oh jeeze, this guy’s been here enough so everyone wants to avoid the nuisance he makes of himself.”

But he was focusing more attention on me, working up to saying something, or coming over nearer where I was sitting.  I groaned and stood up, stretching, to go out to the RV, head off anything he was thinking.  Too late.

I turned to the door and he caught my eye.  “Hey!  You’re a lefty!”

Um.  Yeah.”  Hell.  How’d he happen to notice that?  Whoopteedoo conversation starter.  He got up and headed to the door with me.

It’s been a chore, hasn’t it?”  Two of us standing in the shade of the overhang.  Me fidgeting to break loose and sprint for the RV.

What has?”

Going through life left-handed.”

Not when I could find a woman willing to sleep on the right side.”  Figured I might as well clarify my sexual preferences in case that was what was coming down the pike.

A few minutes later it came out he was a supply clerk in DaNang during the Vietnam fracas.  Tough gig.  Whoopteedoo.  “So what the hell’s the hat all about?”

“It’s because of my religion.  People around here don’t like me because of it, so I try to put my best foot forward.  Vietnam Vet buys me an edge.”

I shook my head, remembered getting cornered by the guy preaching Urantia outside the library in Grants, New Mexico.  Wanted to be my new best friend.  Real pain in the ass I never broke free of as long as I lived in Grants, always encountering him. 

I could either brush the guy off even though he was hungry for talk, or I could grit my teeth, be polite, and hear what he wanted to tell me.  Turned out he’s a Satanist.

Whaaa?  A Satan worshiper?”

No.  We don’t worship Satan.  That’s just something Christian preachers claim we do.”

At least I don’t have a dog in THAT fight.  “Well, hell.  Better than being an atheist, I reckons.”  I really didn’t want to hear this crap.  “Nice talking to you, but I need to take a nap.”

I left him standing in the shade, careful not to look back.

Old Jules

Tequila sunrise

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Old Ms. Niaid managed to off Brother Rattler without any consequences evidently, so she’s going to have to find something else to flesh out her life experience, I reckons. Her long hair’s growing back from the sheep shearing when the hot weather hit, and it’s filling up with beggar’s lice and grass burrs, which might serve to fend off whatever’s around here dangerous to aging bachelorette felines.

Ms. Tabby, on the other hand, has a nose and front-of-her-face of the usual Tabby-summertime variety. Can’t keep her nose out of cactus, or out of the business of something capable of adding color and romance to an otherwise nondescript Tabby face. I’m thinking when we get out of here she might turn out to be a regular-looking cat.

I decided yesterday I’m going to add mothballs to that storage building to get those rattlers out where they can enjoy life instead of bickering and snarling inside that dark storage building. Can’t tell when someone’s going to want something else out of there and the anxiety level trying to find it ain’t worth not stepping on a snake some night going from the RV to the cabin to check my email.

Today I’m going to nurse the Escape Route V 2.51 into Kerrville on three tires on back and have the two blown ones replace with respectable 10 ply exceptions to the rule. Provided the spare on the ground right-rear doesn’t decide to blow the plan. I’ll try to take back roads and get the roadwork done early before the pavement gets too hot.

Keith emailed me a while back he’s planning to be in New Mexico late August or September, and I’m going to tentatively plan on getting out to visit while he’s in the area. Hopefully by then everything will be settled out here and I’ll be able to think of out-there as home for a while.

Maybe get me a nice little piece of ocean-side ground on the east, or west coast of New Mexico, once all the damned ice goes away and raises sea-level to a reasonable altitude. 4000′ mean sea level might be about right. Maybe the cats and I will open a little bait shop on the west coast near where Arizona used to be. Or maybe rig a surfboard and hang ten mornings after we pray the sun up.

I figure the west coast will probably be less jam packed with Arizonians than the east coast will be with Texans because those Texans already all go to New Mexico deliberately to ski and gamble at Ruidoso and Angel Fire. Arizonians and Californians never go to New Mexico deliberately unless they’re just going through it to get somewhere else.

By the time they wake up and discover they’re living in a salt-water swimming hole I’ll have things nailed down on all the corners, wave to them as they swim to shore, or ride in on their bass boats. Sell them some bait, maybe.

Big plans for the future here.

Old Jules

The Brother of Invention

Humane gunfighters

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Life’s so full of happy surprises here it took me a while to remember to be surprised when I awakened warm, still parked where once chickens scratched and pecked on mornings such as this.  Then I remembered what it was I ought to be surprised about – that I’d expected this post to be made on a fast WIFI connection somewhere out where it’s probably colder than it is here.  Which is plenty cold enough to satisfy the needs of the feline population, I’m informed.

I thought it was the money situation keeping the delays coming hot and heavy, but when I managed yesterday after the temperature dropped to 20 degrees F, to get the propane heater working in the RV, I knew a new reality had dropped in to flex its muscles.  That heater had to be why the Universe kicked in to impose good sense into my activities.

I don’t know how I fixed it.  Maybe just pulling things apart and putting them back together, tapping on things, testing, and taking them apart again was what did it.  Or maybe it was my genius brother, Invention.

So this morning I woke someplace warm for the first cold morning in at least a couple of years.  I hope today I’ll be changing the oil on the RV, wrapping up a couple of other details, and try to round up the cats to hit the road before the end of the week.

But it’s not easy to feel much dissatisfaction with life when there’s warm out there to be had.  I’m going to have to kick myself with some determination to impose a sense of urgency into my intentions.

But I’ve digressed.  I’d planned to tell you about that truck I saw parked in front of the Humane Society Thrift Shop new construction area.

Can’t recall now what I was going to say about it.

Instead, here’s wishing all of you plenty of warm.

Old Jules

Calamari Gumbo Over Saffron Rice

Hi readers.  Grocery stores always make my mouth water, but I actually got started thinking about calamari at the tire store.  Wandered over to the Chici Pizza Buffet, Senior Special $5, while I waited for them to mount and balance my new tire.  Thought an uncomfortable amount of pizza might rid my mind of calamari.

Went to the AutoZone for brake pads, found a pair for $10 and change, mind still in orbit around calamari.  Bent down for a look under the car to check out the oil leak as a precaution.  Going up the hill the lower clearance because of the donut sized spare caused a rock to puncture the oil pan, so I was keeping an eye on it.

That oil pan leak’s going to be a blessing until I can lift the car and whittle a wooden plug to stick in the hole.  Keeps me from having to change the oil.  I’ll just add oil, top it off as it goes down.  Voila.  Automatic oil change constant.

Anyway, went to the HEB and bought a few essentials, actually went by the fish department to have a look at the calamari, thinking actually seeing it might help rid my mind of it.  But it didn’t.

Meanwhile, I was over on the isle for bread and tortillas and a guy with a hand-carry basket walked up pretending he didn’t know his wife as she studied a shelf, took a big chuck roast out of his hand carry basket and stuck it in her backpack.  Looked me right in the eye.  Snake eyes.

His wife, kid in her shopping cart, edged to get around me.

“Hey man!  Let me show you something!  You like to barbeque?”

He gave me a what-the-hell look while I reached inside her backpack and took out the roast.  “See this crap?”  I held the roast out to him.  “Shoplifting meat is a felony in Texas.  They’ll barbeque her if they catch her.”

Asshole!”  He mumbled and turned back toward the meat section.

You going to stick around and take care of the kid, hotshot?”  I stayed on his heels.  “While she’s doing time you going to change the diapers?”

He ignored me, kept walking.

Screw it.

I cashed out and headed home.  Still thinking about calamari.  Calamari over saffron rice.  When I arrived I checked the freezer, but there wasn’t any calamari in there.  Must have used the last of it sometime before Y2K.  And I’ve been trying to cut down on my saffron intake.  Since around Y2K, as I recall.  Coincidence Coordinator thing.

Old Jules

Spang Blew It!

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Having a running vehicle I can just brush the cats off of, scare the chickens out from underneath and drive somewhere is surprisingly uplifting.  Not having to borrow Little Red wouldn’t seem to the disinterested observer to be that big a deal, but it is.

Got me feeling uppidy in ways I’m going to need to treat with circumspection and discipline so’s I don’t run myself dry buying gasoline for trips I wouldn’t have made in a borrowed machine.  But damn it feels good anyway.

Those trips to TimeWarpVille [Junction, Texas] trying to get something they’d accept at the courthouse as valid to transfer the title, trips to Kerrville trying to chase down the guy who sold it to me would have been frustrating teeth-grinding to me most of my life.  But they were pure joy, driving along looking at the country, looking at whatever, ignoring the 100+ F. wind blowing through the windows in favor of the freedom it represented.

So yesterday I thought of a reason to drive into Harper.  The day before I’d noticed a piece of the right front tire peeled back on the side, probably something on the driveway flipped up and cut it.  So I was being careful, occupying 30-35 MPH when it blew.  Got her stopped without ruining the rim.

Sweated blood and bullets getting the car up on the jack.  Crumpled a piece of the underbody before I found the secret, unlikely place the top of the jack has to go to lift it.  Discovered the spare is a wheelbarrow tire, which was under-inflated, but left part of an inch of inflated tire between the rim and the ground.  Inched that money-maker home at 2.5 miles per hour.

Gave me time to shoot gratitude affirmations for it all out to the Universe and Old Sol.  Because that blowout’s a major blessing.

When I pulled the tire off the brake disk rotor was exposed to me, badly eaten because there was nothing much like a pad.  Bare metal just grinding pleasant rings into the rotor.  A lot of people would probably replace that rotor, but I think I’ll try just buying pads.  No reason to get extreme, over-react, do anything dramatic. 

But if that tire hadn’t blown I’d never have noticed I had problem needed immediate attention, not to put off until the next Social Security pension check arrives to provide me a something for nothing entitlement [as these Texans are fond of calling it].

So today I’m going into Kerrville and buy me a spanking new tire, buy a set of brake pads, and even let the guys who sell me the tire put the new one on the ground.

Christmas.  It just don’t get much better than this.

Old Jules

Quid Pro Quo Chainsaw-wise

The old Poulan chainsaw’s always done me a good job of work until the priming bubble burst:  For Want of a Nail – Something Worth Knowing Chainsaw-wiseI eventually found a replacement at a place a few miles out Highway 27, midway to Center Point.  Double M Equipment Service.

I installed the primer bulb, but no joy.  It wasn’t sucking gas.  I pulled things apart enough to see the fuel line had become brittle and a piece of it was broken off inside the gas tank.   The whole thing appeared to be iffy, and I honestly didn’t want to spend any of my frustrations messing with it.  I need those frustrations for other things.

So I decided to put that saw into a place where they did that sort of thing, let them do it.  Never put a chainsaw in a shop before, but it’s the experience I’m after this lifetime.  I ain’t in this for the money.

So I went back to Double M Equipment Service, midway to Center Point on Highway 27, spang walked in and whistled to myself until the lady looked up from something important she was doing.  [Fans, Compromises and Drowning in Over-My-Head Math].

I could tell right away I was imposing on her, but I explained about my saw and she handed me a piece of paper for me to write it down, which I considered prudent.  She handed me a tag with a number on it.  “Be sure you put your phone number on there.  I’ll call you when it’s ready.”

I couldn’t remember my phone number, so I wrote down what might, but probably wasn’t Gale’s number.

How long you reckon it’s going to be?  I only get into town every couple of weeks.  I’ll just swing by and check.”

“No.  It’s running two-and-a-half weeks, average.  I’ll call you as soon as it’s ready.”

“I’m a hard man to get on the phone.  I’ll just call or stop by next time I’m in town.”

“No.  I’ll call you when it’s ready.”

This friendly lady was Lisa, according to the business card.  Mark and Lisa, it said.  Double M Equipment Service.  Lisa.

Three weeks later I stopped in, asked about it and Lisa advised me it wasn’t ready yet, but she’d call when it was.  “Eh?”  My hand behind my ear.  “I’m sort of hard of hearing.  Can’t hear the phone ring.

Two weeks later I stopped by again.  This time it wasn’t ready, but it was next on the list, friendly Lisa explained.  Next week it wasn’t ready again, she didn’t know why. 

Heck, maybe I’m getting the time passage mixed up.  It went in around April 17.  At least that’s when I mentioned it on the blog post.

Anyway, after X number of trips by there and X number of weeks without a chainsaw, I stopped in and friendly Lisa said it was ready.  $65 US.  Called Mark from the back and he brought it up.  “I replaced that gas cap for you so you don’t have to take it off with a wrench anymore.”

The cap’s slotted so’s a screwdriver can be fitted in perpendicular for taking it off.  Never had a problem with it.  Guess Mark never noticed that feature.

Anyway, I got the saw home, found it still doesn’t prime, but if a person pulls the recoil starter long enough mostly it will eventually start.  Runs a few minutes, long enough to cut down a cedar as thick as your bicep before it runs dry of gas.  At which time a person does the whole process again.

$65 US.  Double M Equipment Service, Highway 27 E & Laurel Way, Kerrville, Texas.  Mark and Lisa.

Tell ‘em I said hello.

But I’ve digressed.

What I wanted to tell you about in this post is that when I was picking up that chainsaw I asked Lisa whether there was a good cafe anywhere nearby.  She told me about a good hamburger joint just beyond the crossroads in Center Point.

Good place, decent price.  Middling better than average hamburger.

I’m obliged knowing about it.

Old Jules

Erosion by Time

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.  It’s raining again this morning and all that erosion mitigation I’ve been doing is in the slow process of sealing itself with floating cedar leaves, beginning to back up water and drop the silt burden.

There’s a timely, subtle irony in this.  While that miniscule effort directed at reversing erosion by time begins doing its job, my old friend Gale, [who owns this place] pictured above climbing a mountain in 1998 is in the intensive care unit of the Kerrville hospital.  He’s been there almost a week now, them searching for a different sort of erosion.

He was carrying a high temperature for an old man when he finally went to a medico, who sent him to Emergency.  In ICU they found he had pneumonia, a blood infection, and didn’t know what-all else.  Yesterday they finally discovered a massive kidney stone.  Today they’ll be doing surgery to remove it and hopefully he’ll begin the long climb to recovery.

I’ve been spoiled by good health and mostly robust physical condition.  I suppose, even though I’ve known he had a lot of aches, pains and vehicular problems, I still think of him as that young man of almost 60, climbing that mountain, or maybe younger.  I’ve probably been harder on him, less understanding of his limitations than I should have been as I watched him not doing a lot of things he knew he should, or I thought he should.

But it’s time I recognized he’s not as young as me anymore, that he’s grown to be an old man while I watched, not noticing.  Happened too slowly, I suppose, maybe like watching a kid grow up.

I’ve got to learn to show more respect and patience for old people.

Old Jules

Culinary Risk Taking – MSG – Root Hog or Die

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Socorro, New Mexico, isn’t long on good restaurants.  But during the several years I lived there, I had a favorite restaurant, and a favorite menu item.  The place was owned and operated by an elderly Chinese man with whom I was on friendly, bantering terms. 

This lasted until the discovery that MSG in food causes my blood pressure to skyrocket.  A few times per week I’d sit myself down, they’d bring the usual, and a couple of hours later my pulse would be visible almost anywhere a blood vessel showed.  This was accompanied by a pounding in my head, maybe audible, maybe only seemingly so.

After I figured out the connection between my favorite food item and the blood pressure problem I attempted to discuss it with the owner, though we had a language barrier.   The result was an outburst of anger and indignation.  I didn’t know yet the MSG was the cause.  Just that particular menu item.

I solved the problem by eating elsewhere, but eventually learned that Chinese restaurants, particularly, lean heavily on adding MSG to their foods, and that a surprisingly large number of people have reactions to it similar to mine. 

I also began watching the labels on food I bought to prepare at home.  What I discovered was that a person sensitive to MSG had best carry a magnifying glass in his pocket and read those labels carefully.  Almost everything a person might buy in a can is loaded with it, but especially soups and soup-bases.  If a label slips past and gets inside the vehicle it notifies the owner by the rods knocking.

But I was going to say, I love oriental food, and I was in town yesterday, so I clenched my teeth and decided it was a day for risk-taking.  There’s an Oriental buffet I’d never tried, so I pulled in.  I tried asking whether they had MSG in their food, but it was clear she didn’t understand me.  So I went root hog or die.

The food was mediocre, but I didn’t die.  I took a couple of extra blood pressure pills when the pounding in my head started, and by the time I got home my blood pressure was so low I didn’t have any business being alive.

I found myself wondering why the FDA cops who faint and revive themselves over one-in-a-billion risks to human health otherwise haven’t jumped on this like ugly on a monkey.

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules: 

Historical Events Duplicated Today?

Old Jules, does any time in history correspond to what’s going on within the US today?

Wobblehead Extensions, Crowfoots and Mayan Ruins in Georgia

Good morning readers. I’m grateful you’re here reading this cold morning.

Every time we think we’ve got things figured out and can make pronouncements to one another without fear of someone making a counter-pronouncement back at us with any danger of validity this seems to happen.  Some smarty-pants academian digs around where he’s got no business being and spang finds something to cut us off at the knees.

In this instance it’s fairly solid physical evidence a Mayan city once thrived in the otherwise non-Mayan and feet-implanted-in-the-ground US state of Georgia.  The offending pointee-headed guy with the cheek to find it doesn’t even have the courtesy to be a US academian who can be bludgeoned by grant money and sneers from his peers to shut the hell up about it and not go around shaking and rattling previous pronouncements.

1,100-year-old Mayan ruins found in North Georgia http://tinyurl.com/d5gwjpq

When evidence began to turn up of Mayan connections to the Georgia site, South African archeologist Johannes Loubser brought teams to the site who took soil samples and analyzed pottery shards which dated the site and indicated that it had been inhabited for many decades approximately 1000 years ago. The people who settled there were known as Itza Maya, a word that carried over into the Cherokee language of the region.

The city that is being uncovered there is believed to have been called Yupaha, which Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto searched for unsuccessfully in 1540. So far, archeologists have unearthed “at least 154 stone masonry walls for agricultural terraces, plus evidence of a sophisticated irrigation system and ruins of several other stone structures.” Much more may still be hidden underground.

A good level-headed other good US scholar took a more level-headed approach to the finds:

UPDATE: Raw Story contacted another UGA Scientist, Dr. B. T. Thomas of the Department of Environmental Science, who indicated that, while it is unlikely that the Mayan people migrated en masse from Central America to settle in what is now the United States, he refused to characterize Thornton’s conclusions as “wrong,” stating that it is entirely possible that some Mayans and their descendants migrated north, bringing Mayan building and agricultural techniques to the Southeastern U.S. as they integrated with the existing indigenous people there.

He didn’t go on to say what needs saying.  Namely that the South African guy needs to go home and  tend his own affairs.  There’s plenty of digging to be done in Africa and plenty of good US academians capable of handling any digging needs doing here.  And most especially the South African guy needs to be kept away from the copper artifacts found in Florida and Georgia in other mounds that bear a strong similarity to Aztec artifacts in Mexico.

We don’t need any guys running around in pickup trucks drinking beer and talking about Mayan calendars.  Things are already complicated enough.

Which brings me to crowfoots and wobblehead extensions.  I borrowed Little Red yesterday and went into Kerrville.  I spent a goodly while hanging around in the AutoZone store picking the brains of guys in bib overalls with grease under their fingernails.

Those wobblehead extensions offer a new lease on life for the hope of getting the starter off the Communist Toyota.  The crowfoots might be helpful getting the new one back on.  Not pictured here, but also new to  the anti-Japanese engineering arsenal is a mirror that swivels at the end of a telescoping handle for looking into places nobody ever intended them to be looked into.

Old Jules

Two Big Events in One Day!

Wow.  I must be living right.

First, at the Hospice Thrift Store in Kerrville I found these gloves with no fingertips for $1.50.  When it’s cold in this cabin I go to 18 layers of longjohns and sweatsuits, Sorel snowboots and innovative headgear.  But my fingers stiffen until I can only use the computer with a lot of mistakes.

I’m thinking those gloves are going to fix that one.

But on arriving back home and tuning the computer to this frequency I found to my delight that Michael had explained the solution to another one I’ve been scratching my head over longer than I care to admit.

Thank you Michael.

Old Jules