Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mountain Lions

For years people in the rural areas around San Antonio have reported seeing alligators, black panthers, and the chupacabra.
And for just as long the suburbanites, city folk, and reporters have dismissed the claims as bullshit.
Drunken rednecks.

A few weeks ago an alligator was found blocking a highway and had to be "helped" across by TPW rangers and sheriff's deputies.
Days later, the same one got aggressive near some homes and was shot to death.

Now this--mountain lion sightings around some large nature parks on the northwest side. (A black panther is just a mountain lion of a different color).

Seems to me that the drunk rednecks have been right all along, but then I always believed them.
Animals are shy and secretive, so isolated individuals are rarely seen due to the law of averages alone.
And the success of conservation efforts means that their populations are growing and they need to expand into new/old territories.

But when are they going to re-open the park?
Nobody is hunting the lion, and with the incredible numbers of deer in the area it's not going to leave on it's own anytime soon.
Are they waiting until it isn't seen for X-weeks?
Who's to see it if we aren't allowed in the park?
Are we just going to guess when the park is miraculously safe again?

Just warn visitors, and recommend they make a lot of noise and carry weapons for protection.
If we just give the park to the lion, believe me, it'll take it.

I don't want to see it hurt or killed, but some kind of logical action needs to be taken besides just wishing it'll go away.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Real Money?

At the grocery store the other day I got this Canadian quarter in my change.
I always look at my quarters to see if I got a new one for my US Mint State Quarter Series collection, and was very surprised to see an elk and a queen.
Years of living in upstate New York made me see hoser coins as "different, but the same" since almost everyone treated them like US coins except for vending machines.

I've been in Texas for a long-ass time now and I can't even remember the last time I got one of these, so I proudly showed it off to my very Texan GF.
Her response cracked me up: "Take it back and get real money!!"

I said "hell no" because I knew another Zzakk's Garage post was in my hand.

The funniest part is that posing coins for photography can be a bitch, and I was having a little trouble until I remembered that Canadian quarters have enough steel in them (you cheap bastards) to stick to a magnet, so I just leaned it against a small block of alnico and I was in business.

Real money indeed--I'm keeping this quarter for all the memories and laughs it brought me.
Can't buy that shit with gold.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I've been known to drink Budweiser on occasion, although I prefer Miller products these days.
It never occurred to me to mix it with Clamato™.
Beer isn't all that great tasting to begin with, but what kind of sick bastard thought that it could be improved by tomato juice and fucking clam squeezings?

They should sell this in pharmacies to induce vomiting.

And once again, having a camera with me at all times pays off, even a crappy phone camera.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jury Doody

When last we spoke, I was in the middle of jury duty, and during a walk while on break I got bird poop in my hair:

The main problem was that the court is in a little shopping center building, and had only one bathroom per sex.
One small bathroom, only big enough for a single person at a time.
With a line of people waiting their turn.

No way am I standing in a line with bird crap on me, so what am I going to do?

Thinking fast, I decide to continue on my walk to the park, and quickly found a fast-food restaurant napkin on the side of the road. This got the worst of the poop out of my hair, but not nearly enough.
So I headed for the park restroom shown above, and made use of the sink and paper towels to clean myself up.
But this left me with another problem, namely jacked-up hair and me without a comb.

As I pondered my latest predicament, I realized that time was running short and I had better be on my way back to court. As I neared the pavilion shown here I noticed a woman setting up for a party.
A big party, with several kiddie pools full of iced beverages.
And that's when the final solution occurred to me.

Zzakk: "Excuse me, would you happen to have a plastic fork to spare?"
Lady: "What do you need a fork for?"
Zzakk: "A bird crapped in my hair and I have jury duty in a few minutes and don't have a comb."
Lady: "Smart! Here you are."
Zzakk: "Bless you."

This is the fork.

I ended up on a jury, we found the defendant guilty, and we assessed a $50 fine.
The prosecutor wanted $100, but he was boring.
Case Closed.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Jury Duty

Back in the month of May I received a summons for jury duty.
Since I'm the luckiest guy in the world it wasn't for the big courts downtown with parking hassles, a long drive, and trials that might take weeks.
Mine was for the little Justice Of The Peace court two miles from my home, next to Arby's™, with 6-member juries deciding evictions, tickets and truancy cases among other small matters.
The court is in a suburban shopping center, and everyone who worked there (clerks, bailiffs, constables, judges) was refreshingly unpretentious and fun to be around.
It was a mellow experience compared to downtown.
Kind of Andy Griffith Show in a way.

After a jury got picked that didn't include me we were excused for 90 minutes.
I decided to take a walk to a local park around the corner to kill some time.
(The little pine tree photo with the wild clouds was shot in this park, BTW)

I hadn't gone far when I felt a 'splat' on top of my head.
The photo above points to where the bird was, and the 'splat' graphic indicates the approximate location of my shitty hair.

To be continued

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Don't Take My Word For It

I just went out and shot the drainage ditch from the previous post again with my phone camera.
Getting the same angle and distance from memory didn't quite work out, but it's close enough.
This is what it usually looks like.

Wherever a ditch crosses a low road, barricades go up to protect the stupid from themselves.
The catchy motto is Turn Around, Don't Drown! but every year a bunch of morons try to drive through rushing water and get swept away to their deaths.
If you go around a barricade--even if successful--there's a fine of a few hundred dollars.
If you have to get rescued by the fire department, you pay the fine AND pay for the rescue.
I think sterilization should be added, to protect the quality of the gene pool.
Sadly, it's probably too late for that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rain Much?

After the newspapers pointed out last week that it had already rained for forty days (and/or forty nights) straight I realized that Texas has gotten all biblical on me again.
Never mind the hardcore New Testament thumpers we have, the rains have brought us back to the days of Noah.
In Austin there have been arks built, but only for same-sex critters.

I had to cut the grass exactly three times last year because of the drought.
In 2007 I have cut it almost every week since early March, and have only gotten a break when it rained so much the sun never showed for weeks at a time which kept the insane growth in check.
It looks fucking great, but enough already!

Here's the drainage ditch that handles the runoff from our neighborhood, shot out the passenger window as I stopped my car on the bridge.
Normally ten feet wide at best and a little more during a good storm, here it's running at least 80 feet across.
Shit, we have rivers around here that don't carry a tenth of this flow most of the year.

Don't even get me started about the bugs.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Attack Of The Killer Snails

Run, Grandpa, Run! The snails are coming right for you!
Shit, it's too late.