Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Going Green

So I've mentioned that I try to live a non-toxic/earth-friendly life. It's not easy, nor am I as strict as I should be. It's not necessarily an organic life, just one that doesn't threaten to kill me with synthetics or chemicals before I get really gray and wrinkly. Plus I have a wife that doesn't exactly see eye-to-eye with me. So here's a breakdown of what I try to do on an inconsistent basis.

  • Recycling: I've gotten recycling down to a basic habit now, to the point where it's almost obsessive. I save all the packaging from drive-thrus, like the bags, and even the plastic lids and straws of the drinks. Not to mention the paper wrapper of the straws. It's amazing once you see all the recyclable stuff that you nonchalantly throw away out of habit what kind of impact we humans can make if we change just a few of our discarding habits. I also take the top part of each pizza box off so I can put it in the recycle bin, since Fort Worth won't accept the dirty part of the pizza box. Since I buy coffee by the pound at Central Market, they give you a wax-lined bag, so I empty that out, shake it to get all the bits out, and put it in the blue bin. Even all plastic bags/packaging gets saved so I can take it to Kroger once a month. Even cereal bags, after I do a quick rinse and dry. Seriously, take a quick glance inside your trash can. I bet at least 25% of its contents are recyclable, but you just never gave a second thought about it. Toilet paper rolls, magazines, empty toothbrush boxes, empty makeup containers, etc, all are recyclable if you just rinse them out. And to save water on that, I put those in the sink after I'm done washing my pots and pans after cooking.
My wife came up with a great idea on how to help us manage our recyclables/trash
situation. We have two trash cans, one white and one green. The green one is the recycle
can, and I reuse the bag that goes in it. I've gone through maybe three (recycled) trash
bags in three months. The trash can uses a biodegradeable bag from Natural Value, so I
don't feel bad about putting "plastic bags" back in the environment.

  • I use those reusable bags to go grocery shopping. I like to go shopping for different things at Target, Central Market, Sprouts and Kroger. My wife hates making multiple trips, so I just go with her to Target to get her stuff and maybe a few things I know I can't get anywhere else or cheaper. Bottled water, while bad in concept, is a good thing to get there. I know, I should just get my own reusable bottle and refill it with tap water, but my wife hates the taste of tap water here. I won't get her to change of that front. So if we at least recycle everything in that case of water, it's ok, right? At Sprouts and Kroger they give you a 5-cent credit for each bag you bring in. So I go to Central Market to get my toiletries and frozen fruit and organic milk and organic coffee (french roast, yum...)since it's a Texas company, and Sprouts for my cleaning supplies and whatever I can't find at CM. Then Kroger to recycle my plastic, and for cheap wine and beer.
  • Cleaning: I use a few products for multiple applications. For cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom, I use Holy Cow products. The surface cleaner is a good way to get rid of easy messes, but the concentrated cleaner is the real workhorse, getting rid of oven scum, that burnt stuff you get on the stove, and even soap scum in the bathroom. I don't really have to scrub, but if I do, I usually get some Biokleen Soy Scrub for the job, especially in the porcelain sink we have. It's great! It also works very well in the toilet, shower and sinks. For glass, it's the Holy Cow glass cleaner, which is infinitely better than Windex and it doesn't have that awful smell! It gets that mess off my bathroom mirrors in just the first wipe after a minute of soaking, and that's great! Also works great on my inside part of my car's windows. Another note about the Holy Cow cleaners: they do great on stains on carpet and fabrics. I had a stain on my upholstery of my car (near the windshield, next to the steering wheel), and after a couple of squirts and sitting time, it wiped off with only a trace of the stain left! Another application and it was gone! For dishes, I use Biokleen's Dishwashing Liquid and Automatic Dishwasher Detergent. The soap is good, but I seem to need more of it than my previous Dawn. And powder for the dishwasher is very good; I don't even need to completely fill the dispensers for it to be effective, plus it smells great! All of these products are non-toxic AND biodegradeable, which is awesome. Once a month I'll disinfect with Clorox's kitchen sanitizer, but then quickly follow it with Holy Cow. Oh, and for intemittent touch ups, baking soda and vinegar are great! I've used that combo to clean my kitchen sink. Just sprinkle some soda in there, brush with your dish brush, sprinkle some vinegar to get that fizz action, and wipe and rinse! Works great! Lemons work great, too!
  • Laundry: I use three main products: Ecover's Delicate Wash for my dark clothing and delicates. Biokleen's Laundry Liquid for the rest, with the Oxygen Bleach for whites and extra dirty items. Finally, I use Penguin Sport Wash for my golf shirts, athletic shorts and other tech fabrics. All of these are biodegradeable and safe for marine life. I do not use fabric softener. Instead, I use about 1/2 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle, and those dryer balls in the dryer. Softener as we know it, like Bounce or Downy, add toxic waxes, chemicals and bonding agents to our fabrics and skin. I don't have a problem with static, except in one of our blankets, but it's polyester, so of course it's clingy. The vinegar works great to get rid of residue left by the detergents, so all you get is a clean garment that still smells great.
  • Self: For the shower, I use Dr. Bronner's Magic soap, both liquid and bar. The liquid is for the poof, and the bar is for my pits and other stuff. I use the Peppermint scent. It is very concentrated, so much that I only need about 8 drops to use for the entire shower, which is way less than when I used Dial for Men. I've had my bottle almost three months, and I need to get a new one by next week. And that's only the 16oz. size! It's non-toxic and made with organic oils. But here's the kicker: It's great for CLEANING, too! I use it to mop my floors, and it works great! Seriously! I can also use it as a shampoo if in a pinch. Read the bottle, and while it may creep you out at times, it gives different possible uses for the soap. Many people on different message boards come up with great uses all the time, so the possibilities are endless! I also use Lily of the Desert's Aloe 80 Daily Shampoo, which I chose because it's a Texas company! I used to use Whole Foods' mint wash and shampoos, but after reading that they were laced with 1,4 dioxane, I decided to spend a bit more money for my safety. Dr. Bronner's soap and the Aloe 80 Shampoo are great products, but I wish the soap would do a better job of keeping my skin moisturized. Oh well, that's why I use Lily of the Desert's Aloe 80 Lavender Lotion. For my face, I've used Jason's Red Elements for oily skin, but I can't find it anymore, so I've been trying Aubrey Organics' oily skin facewash, but I don't like it; it doesn't lather, and it's too creamy for my taste, so I don't feel as if I'm getting clean. I do use a face scrub by Queen Helene to counteract that, and it's as good as my former staple from Clinique for Men. I still use Clinique for Men's aloe shave gel and aftershave, as well as a daily moisturizer, but once I'm out of those, I'm getting new stuff from Jason and Alba. For toothpase, I've turned to Tom's of Maine's Spearmint Whole Care paste. It works great, and smells great, too! I also use their waxed, unscented floss, as well. Oh, back to shaving, I use the Preserve Double Razor, which is made from a recycled plastic handle and is recyclable. It's not as good as my old Mach 4 Turbo, but I deal with it, and it's a lot cheaper! For deodorant, I use a mix of Arm & Hammer's unscented anti-perspirant (just two strokes for protection), then follow up with Jason's Tea Tree deodorant for scent goodness. And for my hair, I use Davines No. 2 Mat Moulding Gesso for Wizards, which is a non-shiny paste that does wonders for my style, plus even though it's not all-natural, it is non-toxic. Oh, and I take "Navy" showers, which means I turn off the water during my soaping, shampooing, etc., and only turn it on to rinse. Saves me a few gallons a day, I'd guess.
  • Everything else: Well, I don't use lights. I maybe have one lamp on if it's night time, but Jennifer seems to think that we live in the dark, so she likes things bright. She turns on lights all the time, even in the bathroom, where we have a huge window that lets in plenty of light. Oh well, I guess we just offset each other. We do use CFLs for all our lighting, except in the kitchen where we have those floodlights but I don't use them. I just use our CFL-equipped dining room lights instead. I can't use ceiling fans because Jennifer doesn't like the way they whip her hair in her face, so unfortunately we use a lot of A/C. Good thing it's cooler now. I drive slower now to save on fuel, and turn off my car when waiting for a train or at the drive-thru. I go out the front door instead of the garage to avoid using the garage door opener.
I'm sure I can think of many other things that I do in my daily habits that help the earth in their own little way, but I can't remember right now. I'm sure some of this (or all of it) seems excessive and expensive, but I don't buy much product; it's really pretty plentiful, especially the shower soap and grooming products. And with the Biokleen stuff, yeah, it's more expensive, but it's concentrated, and the laundry liquid is very concentrated. It says 64 loads, but I keep count and I'm on #65 with about 5 more loads left in the bottle!

Ok, I'm done.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Our contract with Sprint is up. We're on a family plan with 700 minutes plus data plus text (with limits) for about $130/mo. But since I'm not in an office all day and can't get free wi-fi where I spend most of my time, it's time to upgrade to a smartphone. Sprint has offered me the new customer deals on phones, plus free shipping, no upgrade charge, and an unlimited family data plan for the same price. Pretty good. I think I'm going to use T-Mobile as leverage to get Sprint to offer a better deal on phones. Since Jennifer has a computer at work that she can check her mail on, and I don't, she doesn't need a smartphone, but she likes sending pictures back and forth, so we need a data plan for her. My only sticking point is that the reception in Jen's office is crappy. No one can get service in there, but her co-worker's phone can at least get enough signal to receive calls, although he has to go out to the hall to answer. He's on Verizon, and the other band director is on AT&T, same deal. So no one really wins the reception battle.

I'm looking at the BlackBerry Curve 8330, which by all accounts is awesome. But I'm concerned about its browser. There's been many a time when I've been out and about and realized I forgot to set TiVo to record something. The beauty of TiVo (at least one thing) is that you can schedule recordings online. But rumor has it that the browser in the BlackBerry is awful, and I'm afraid it may not render TiVo's site well enough to allow me to schedule. I can do it on the iPhone, which is great, but AT&T isn't an option due to the expense of the iPhone's data plan, plus activation fee and hassle of new accounts and stuff. I've also started looking at the Instinct, but I had a Samsung phone before and it sucked major balls. Now, it wasn't near the level of the Instinct, but I get the feeling that Samsung phones aren't the best quality. So if I want to stay on Sprint and get a good smartphone, the Curve is for me.

The only problem now is actually getting to demo one. Jen and I went into the Sprint store tonight, but their Curve didn't have the browser activated, and the Instinct was slow. Plus they were about to close, so I'll try again tomorrow.

On another note, this Saturday marks the last day of drumline. Kind of sad, really, given the amount of time and work these kids have invested. Hopefully it will pay off for them. They compete in the Lone Star Drumline Contest hosted by Marcus HS at Lewisville's stadium. It's a great contest and many top groups from around the state attend. It's the only time every year these kids get credit for what they're doing. Sure, all the marching band contests are fun, but there's no real Percussion category like there is at DCI. The book is good and the kids have been doing this show for almost four months now. The only problem is that they have new drill (without the band, the old drill wouldn't work well), and I hope it doesn't affect their hands. Rehearsals have been like pulling teeth this week, but they insisted back in August that they wanted to do this, so we're holding them accountable. They got fourth last year in their class, which is very respectable considering the groups they were against. So wish us luck! We're taking both JV and Varsity lines, so it's going to be a LONG day. Show up at 8:30, JV performs at noon-ish, back at 1, Varsity shows up at 2, leave at 6, perform at 9ish, home by midnite. Long day.

And don't get me started on not being able to golf this weekend. :(

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So it's been a while. Sue me. I've been on Facebook too much to really care about this thing, and besides, a LOT has happened since March of 2007. We moved out of our rent house, got screwed on the deposit, and moved into a one bedroom apartment in Keller to save money for a house. Moved out of said apartment in August and into our house in N. FW/Keller! I'm still teaching percussion lessons and assisting with the Keller High School band program. I really am loving life right now.

I'm also still very much an avid golfer. I've improved greatly in this year and a half since my last post, and even upgraded some (all) of my equipment. I've broken 90 twice and am now a consistent sub-100 player. Nice.

Another thing that's changed is my purchasing/eating/consuming habits. I try to go organic now whenever possible, but with my crazy schedule, I always end up gaining weight in the fall. Now that marching band/drumline is about over I can start getting home at a decent hour to cook more often. I also use non-toxic cleaning supplies (Bio-Kleen and Holy Cow), laundry (Bio-Kleen), and toiletries (Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap, Tom's of Maine toothpaste, Aubrey Organics facewash or JASON facewah, JASON deodorant in conjunction with Arm & Hammer unscented anti-perspirant). But my favorite thing in the world with my new habits is organic coffee and milk. Yum. More on that in another post.

Promise. Really.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

What's been happening?

Since I last posted, I've done a few things here and there. I went golfing with a few friends at Plantation Golf Club in Frisco. At first it was just ok, but the back nine won me over. Every hole is between houses in an upper middle class neighborhood built in the late 80's, so the course is kind of aging. The front nine had fairways that weren't in pristine shape, and the greens weren't too nice, either. Not what I expected from an EAGL-managed facility. But as we went on, the quality increased, and I ended up happy. Favorite holes were #10, #11, and #13, which I nearly aced by a foot (the ball kept rolling towards the hole, but got stopped by an unfixed ball mark. That's why I fix all of mine). Sank the birdie putt, though.

Then Spring Break came, and I took Jennifer to Longview, came back that night for Planation, hung out with the guys, then went back to Longview for Sunday night. The next day we went to Little Rock to visit the Clinton Presidential Library. I'll give all the details about that trip on MySpace.

As far as golf, didn't get much done over the break. Jen started insisting that I play too much, so I let the foot off the gas a bit. Went on Thursday afternoon, though, after the boring first games of the tourney. All my usuals were booked, so I went to Rockwood, which I wrote about here, and it was pretty much wide open. Called my buddy Casey, a Marine stationed at NAS-Ft. Worth, and he met me up there. We were teamed up with a Navy guy from Oklahoma, and he was pretty cool. I didn't do very well that afternoon, so we just drank beer and went for broke on each hole.

But then Jen wanted to see an old friend who was on her way across the country, and she was going to stay in Longview. So she made me take her. I insisted that since I was doing that I was going to play golf, eat, watch UT, then we'll go home. That worked out. So we got there, ate lunch, and she dropped me off at Wood Hollow, which I wrote about here. I did much better this time, with a 109. I know, that still sucks, but compared to like 130-140, I'd say I'm improving. Best hole was #2, where I smoked the tee shot about 200 yards, and then hit a nice approach to the green with a 3-iron, but was still about 60 yards short. A nice PW shot put me in position for par, and wouldn't you know it? I two-putted. So pissed. But it went that way all day, which is better for me considering how I was playing only six months ago.

Oh, I took my driver out of my bag, and it'll stay in my garage for at least another month. Gonna try to get some good swings and distance with my woods until then, and once I feel ready, I'll put the driver back in. I'm hoping for an eventual 240-yard drive with my 3-wood. We'll see.

Hoping for Iron Horse this week with a coupon, then Fossil Creek this weekend with another coupon. I'd also like to try Lost Creek with a free round I got at the North Texas Golf Expo, which sucked. All that hype for what amounted to five real golf vendors and 15 casino, resort and hotel booths. Rip-off. But I got some coupons...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Finally played at Mansfield National Monday afternoon, and made some pretty good shots. Only hit par on one hole, the par-3 #12. Favorite hole was #8, a par-4. The total cost was $27, which is any day after 2pm. Good deal if you ask me.

Also played today at Fossil Creek with Jennifer's co-worker, David. I actually did really well. Par'd the first hole we played, #3, since we skipped the first two, due to the first two being taken up and it was 4:30. So par on 3, then kept hitting good shots. I was on a roll. Overall my best round yet, but didn't keep the scorecard. My favorite hole, #6, was great. Had a great drive using my 3-wood, then my second shot was an easy 6-iron above the wall, but I hit it too hard, and ended up past the green inside a sandless bunker. A nice chip put me on the green, and I putt it in for par. Best time on that hole yet. Overall, a nice round!

Trying to plant the seed for some decent clubs. I've been playing with some pawn shop specials I got in Longview last April, and they suck. They're knockoff custom clubs, "Turbo Power HKI". Googled them, and they turned out to be some generic clubs that are "similar" to some Cleveland clubs, but they aren't, believe me. I need clubs with a wider sole to ease up my ground shots, and my long irons are unbelievably difficult to hit. I'm just now, a year later, getting to the point where I can confidently hit my 3-iron, but I'm nowhere near the distance I should be getting with those numbers. I have a 6-iron Ping G2, and it's my favorite. I can hit that thing about 120 yards confidently and consistently, 140 with some oomph and wind. But those sets are expensive. So I'm looking around online, and it seems that the Nike NDS are the ones for me. Unless I go to a real shop and they recommend something different, that's what I've got my eye on. Golfsmith has 'em on sale for $249, and I'm going to start calling around for used sets. I'm also scouting out pawn shops for decent sets, but it's really hard for a lefty to find decent used clubs. Any suggestions on clubs?

So I think I'm done for the week, and may not be able to play until Sunday afternoon, if Jen will let me. Thinking about going to Cross Timbers in Azle, since they have a cheap special going on, and I think that I can do better there this time around.

Have fun out there.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Golfing is fun. Frustrating, but fun. I started last March, when Brett came down to Lake Jackson over Spring Break. Been hooked ever since. I only started to get really into it during the summer, but once the fall came around, I've been absolutely addicted. I had a period of about five months where I improved at a really great pace, so much so that I was feeling awesome about my chances for the tour. But it seems that I've slowed my improvement somewhat since Thanksgiving. As of tonight, here are all the courses I've played, with links if available.

Freeport Municipal Golf Course, Freeport, TX - (4x) Crappy course, breeding ground for mosquitos, but I'd play it again, since it was the first course I've ever played. You know, if I ever go back...

Wood Hollow Golf Club, (10+x) Longview, TX - Decent public course in Longview. I hit it almost every time I'm in town visiting Jen's family. The front nine is great for people who slice and hook, but the back nine is straight, where you need to be accurate. Cart paths could be better, but for as cheap as it is, I'll deal.

Alpine Target Golf Center, Divine Nine Par-3, Longview, TX - (4x) Fun, lighted par-3 course. Not the best-kept course, but it's decent for the price. Favorite part is the practice area where you can hit out of different bunkers onto various-sloped greens, along with a nice driving range. The course can challenge you if you're not a straight shooter out of the box, but otherwise it'll build your confidence. Plus it's great to go to for an evening respite from the heat in summer.

Alpine Golf Course, Longview, TX - (2x) Crappy course as well, but it's FUN. Cart paths might as well be non-existent, the greens are in horrible shape, the fairways may as well be rough, blah blah. But the layout is challenging. The holes are crammed in there at times, so be careful and be sure you're ready to shout "Fore!" While you're there, see if you can make it over the lake at #10 without a wood. Number 6 is probably the most fun, with a nice dog to left, and a ridiculous slope in the middle of the green. Aim long on that one. Also the home of my first chip-in for par on #10. And my first sub-100 game. Yeah, I suck.

The Golf Club at Fossil Creek, Ft. Worth, TX - (8x) MY FAVORITE COURSE. Had my first birdie there, two in the same day, actually. Favorite hole is #6, which has a ridiculously short tee-off fairway, which then immediately dogs right. Your second shot, if your drive doesn't end up in a tree, is a tough choice: Lay up in front of a creek or go for the green which is elevated and above a 25-ft rock wall. Awesome. I usually hit the green in three. Then I like #10, which is a ridiculous par-3, but 160 yards from the whites, over a HUGE lake. Yeah, I'm only successful about 25%. All in all, this course can kick your ass, but if you play it enough, you'll enjoy it and end up learning how to play it. Favorite yet.

Sky Creek Ranch, Keller, TX - (1x) Most expensive course I've been too, and I shouldn't have gone there so soon. Went in September, when I was way bad. Would like to go back, but need to improve a bit more. Very tough, but wide open on about half the holes. The big deal is all the creeks on the side. I'm going to try it again when I'm better in the summer.

Meadowbrook Municipal Golf Course, Ft. Worth, TX - (1x) Decent muni, but I wasn't able to finish. Got dark. Part of the Fort Worth Golf family. Decent rates.

Rockwood Municipal Golf Course, Ft. Worth, TX - (1x) Another FW muni, I liked this course. They had beavers in the water! You could tell they need maintenance work on the fairways and greens, but I could tell why some locals have this as their hangout. Best feature of this one is #18, where a short fairway leads to a creek and an elevated green surrounded by low-hanging trees. It's a par-4, but don't be disappointed by a bogey. You'll feel you've earned it.

Chester W. Ditto Golf Course, Arlington, TX - (1x) Once of the Big A's munis, I played this with Scott. Liked it a lot! They're working on the layout and cart paths, and a lot of care is going into the renovation. The new section is still choppy in the fairways, but they still play well. Watch out for the holes along the road; the fairways are straight, but narrow and lined with low trees.

Lake Park Golf Club, Lewisville, TX - (1x) Decent links-style course, plays fairly forgiving. Just make sure your ears are up for errant tee shots on adjacent holes. They're crammed in there. Nice looking back nine, which backs up to Lake Lewisville and a retaining wall. I wasn't very successful at this course, but I might try again.

Lake Park Executive Golf Course, Lewisville, TX - (4x) This is another lighted par-3 course, and it's a lot of fun. It's one of my faves, probably number 3 on my list. It has two par-4 holes, and I had my first par on number 4. They charge for nine, but it you want to go again, you're supposed to pay half-price for the second time. I never do. They never say anything. Favorites are #2 where you have to hit a 6 or 7 iron short or you'll end up on the road, and #4, the par-4, which dogs left, which is great for my slice. Great place to go if you get off of work late.

Iron Horse Golf Course, North Richland Hills, TX - (3x) Built in 1989, it's aged ok. But a nice course nonetheless, with a good layout. It's broken up into three areas, and the middle area, with #1-2, 9, 16-18, are crammed in there. It's the course you see as you're driving on 820 in NRH, and #2 is the one everybody drools over. Given a good drive, your 2nd shot has a tough choice: layup in front of the creek, or go for it with a long fairway iron shot to the elevated green, which has a difficult down-slope to throw your ball into the creek. Another fave is #6. No particular reason. Usually a slow pace of play, so go if you have a lot of time. Not a place for a fast round. Nice staff, and the train theme is pretty cool.

Indian Creek Golf Club, Carrollton, TX - (1x) Played this course this week with Scott, and had a good time, despite the gusty wind and slow players in front of us. Lots of winding fairways, sloping greens and enough creek hazards to quench your thirst. Went with a coupon, but still expensive. Cart girls are nice, staff was nice. Beer's expensive, though...I'd go again with a discount.

Cross Timbers Golf Club, Azle, TX - (1x) Country course, but decent. Low trees around the fairways, and there are plenty of doglegs. Very hilly as well, which can work with you or against you. Best part is they're cheap. Great value!

Willow Springs Golf Club, Haslet, TX - (1x) Another country course, but not as nice as Cross Timbers. Interesting fact here: They have two greens, one for winter, another for summer. Hate it. So confusing when looking off the tees. Also, the cart paths aren't in the best condition, and some greens were rough when I went there in December. Should be ok by now. Would probably try to give them a second chance once the time change comes around. But I didn't have the best experience, due to the poor greens and confusing layout.

Westdale Hills Golf Course, Euless, TX - (1x) Yet another par-3, this one tries to be nice. It isn't. Nestled in between a master-planned apartment community, the area was built around the late 70's-early 80's. The apartments are about 5 complexes, and the course has three lakes around which it's built. To make it seem nicer, they keep it trimmed, but it doesn't really help. It's actually in bad shape. The fairways are wavy, the greens are no better, and you have to walk it. Hills all over the place, and it's a bitch to walk. #4 and #5 are really hard because the holes are over water and the tees are angled. Weird. Don't know if I'd go there again, unless I can take a cart or at least a pull cart. But it was only $8. And it feels weird hitting tee shots near someone's apartment porch...

Riverside Golf Club, Grand Prairie, TX - (1x) Nice course, links-style. Well-kept, very nice greens. Challenging slopes, layout and tee placement. I just don't like it. Don't know why exactly; could be because it's so open that the wind is on play everywhere. Or it's noisy due to aircraft, freeway and bird traffic. I just didn't like it. Played decently, but some holes were just slow because of the difficulties, and the back nine wasn't as nice as the front. Oh well.

So I belong to a rewards club for golf, Golf Rewards. It's really a golf course management company that owns a lot of the DFW courses I've played. Since Fossil Creek is in there, I get points each time I play a round there. When I reach a certain level at each course, I get a free round. In addition, each 10th round with my card earns me a free one. So that's why I play Fossil Creek, Lake Park and Iron Horse a lot. Next time I'm at Fossil, it's free!

I'd like to try Mansfield National next, maybe this weekend. It's supposed to be really nice, and it's really cheap after 2pm, even on weekends. And it's part of my program.

I'll try to keep you guys posted on here about my golf hits/misses.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Hello from Keller!

I'm all settled in here, where the traffic sucks balls and the heat is dry. Of course, I much prefer this heat to the thick-as-peanut-butter air we had back in Brazoria County. We live out on the furthest edge of the Mid Cities, about one mile east of I-35W. In order for us to get anywhere of import, we have to bypass all the residential areas. We should have done more research before we decided on a house, but that's why we rented instead of buying a house. Now we know. When we're ready, we'll thinking about North Richland Hills or Hurst, which are closer to Dallas and easier to get to.

I'm teaching two percussion sections right now, at Keller HS and Highland Park HS in Dallas. Keller is more advanced, since their program is more established, and HP has a new director that is already whipping them into shape versus what they've had going on in previous years. That's all I'm comfortable discussing right now. The drive to HP sucks in the morning, and it sucks in the afternoon. The sun is in my eyes to and fro.

I've already been to a Rangers game, and let me tell you, the experience there doesn't even compare to Minute Maid. First off, parking is atrocious, since it's just lots and fields. In Houston, since the park is downtown, you can easily get in and out via all the streets, and parking on the street isn't so bad; the distance may be far, but you've got stuff to look at on the way, whereas in Arlington all you see is a tiny ballpark that can't get big enough soon enough. Perspective, you know? The Rangers won that night, but it was so damn hot and the sun was in our eyes that Brett and I just got up and walked around, had a beer, and found a porch to stand in to watch the rest. Good game, though.

I've found my sports radio station: 1310 The Ticket. I was surprised that I don't like ESPN 103.3 up here; for some reason I can't get into the local shows. I do listen to Mike and Mike on ESPN in the early mornings, but if I'm in the car after 9, I'm listening to The Ticket ("The" is capitalized for some reason). At noon it's back to Dan Patrick on ESPN, then at 3 it's back to 1310. The guys on that "Hardline" show at 3 are hilarious and much less grating than Galloway and Co. Plus all the lingo they use make me feel like I'm talking with my college buddies. Good times.

We like shopping at Super Target, even though it's further (or farther) and harder to get to than Wally World. The quality of the food (even generic) just seems nicer and better. Plus we don't have the barefoot-baby-in-a-diaper-with-no-shirt-on-and-a-Kool-Aid-mustache factor at Super Target. Plus the meat is better, since they carry Laura's Beef, which I'm in love with.

We've gotten our fill of the restaurant/foodery scene already, and it's been cooking at home for a while now to save money and keep the scene fresh for when we're making money again and we want to dine out later. But my favorite thing so far has been the hot dogs at Quick Trip: 99 cents and WAY better than any dog I've had at any baseball game. The coffee isn't as good as Buc-ee's, but that's ok; I'll manage.

That's about it for now. Hi Banjo. Anonymous: You suck.