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May 31, 2011

summer is here and the people are out of control

school is out for summer 2011 

in a final burst of school parties and limo rides, summer arrived and we left town the same day.  went to pedernales falls state park.  they have lots of rules there, we might have broken a few of them.

pedernales falls may 2011

larger pic linked here

amh at pedernales

amh kids at pedernales 2011

dog off leash pedernales

yep, the old dog off the leash trick.

pedernales falls amh hike

many beautiful falls and pools to explore.

dog off leash at pedernales

larger version here

soldiers soak in pedernales river

my mom drove down to san antonio one morning, picked up a couple of soldiers, drove them up to pedernales and then drove them all the way back to base for evening formation.  they really appreciated the time off base and away from people.

flip flop recover pedernales river

this is part of the "no wading area".  but if you loose a flip-flop...  also don't want to litter.  and he'd looked a bit funny going back to base with a bare foot.

big rock pedernales

river rats pedernales

we usually spend the first part of the day hiking, before it gets too hot.  then we spend the afternoon soaking and hydrating in the river. 

lounging in the pedernales

the water level is low due to drought but the kids loved the plentiful shallow water areas.

runaway hat in the pedernales

I think there might be an exception to the "no swimming or wading" rule if it's a hat retrieval process. 

hat retriever

the retriever was a bit late on the effort, human got there first. 

betty in the river

green and orange themed camp

uh....yeah.  we like our camp site colorful. 

jalapeno margaritas

jalapeno margaritas!  I threw some fresh strawberry in for extra fun. 

army combat medic has first margarita experience

this soldier is from idaho, he'd never had a margarita. 

drinks of many color


park ranger pedernales

oh yeah, the park ranger had enough of us thumbing our noses at their "rules".  citations were issued for dogs off the leash.  it was while I snuck this pic, I had placed my iphone on the bumper of the truck, never to be seen again (so far).  it's ok, I picked up an iphone 4!  but I would like the pics I had just taken via the lost iphone.

fresh made salsa

kat making her much appreciated fresh salsa.

76 apache mesa orange white

our friends that often go camping with us have moved up from tent camping.  they found an 1976 apache mesa, a hard sided pop-up camper.  I called it the folding orange cottage (F.O.C.).  it collapses a bit like this....

apache mesa 1976 folding technique

apache mesa pop up

folding orange cottage

lowering the apache mesa popup

the folding and collapsing process took less than 15 minutes.

collapsed apache mesa camper

ready to roll and easily towed by a minivan.  they even have a/c in there!  we noted the F.O.C. has a similar color scheme as my 1965 econoline.

orange and white vintage van econoline

 I got most all the trims and bits back on.  used "Peep Mirrors".  I'd read they are too small to be safe.  so, I doubled up on my mirrors like the mods used to do with their scooters quadraphenia style. 

double peep mirrors

blind spot mirror peep econoline van 1965

applied a convex stick-on mirror to help with the blind spot issue.

we came home and our DSL modem/wifi promptly died after many years of service.  have not solved that problem yet...  posting a bit late via remote location.

May 23, 2011

gaga themed yelp party, frozen shoulder and school about to end

I really dislike lady gaga, but... I was happy to attend a lady gaga yelp elite party at oilcan harry's with these three pretty ladies.  and the vodka drinks were free, that helped too.

lady gaga face paint at the gay bar

I felt it was best I didn't participate in the face painting. 

drag show at oil can harry's

there was a drag show as well. 

 diving for dollars

paul schuster shoulder x-ray

"I want a Doctor, to take your picture, so I can look at you from inside as well"-The Vapors

that is my shoulder.  I am waiting for a call from the radiologist who will insert a giant needle into it, an attempt to thaw my "frozen shoulder".  or I can wait for it to free up on its own, usually 12-24 months...


The school events schedule is ramped up to maximum warp speed.  with three kids having school programs and parties etc...  anyhow, some pics below of #1 son's class singing some environmental songs.

trying to keep a bunch of boys still at this age is not a viable option. 

earthlings unite!

"earthlings unite!"

evening at eanes


early econoline 1965

the van paint is about done!  (BIG HERE), pic below is how I used photoshop to visualize the paint scheme.

early econoline paint scheme

a new soldier story

my brother has over 20 years of restaurant experience.  like many in the hospitality industry, he started low and kept at the lifestyle of late nights, living from fast $ and worked his way up.  he worked with some high profile names and eventually made the leap to restaurant owner. 


sounds like a dream come true...  but then the bubble burst; recession.  in an alarmingly brief period of time he went from owning "the best new restaurant in napa county", to just walking away.  with a wife and child to support and a new found distaste for the industry, he looked for a new way.  then he found that in the military.  signed up and shipped off to boot camp he did!

restaurateur turned soldier

made it through boot camp, I think he even enjoyed it.  then they shipped him to san antonio for EMT training.  we waited for him to pass his EMT test so they'd give him just a bit of freedom.  then, we all went down to treat him to some hospitality. 


la contessa restaurant

the breakfast buffet at hotel la contessa has everything a good breakfast should have.  I normally dislike the buffet format, but I really can't complain about theirs.

we were now a party of nine, made planning a bit more difficult, but mostly we just wanted to swim and relax as much as we could and still have the soldier back on base by evening formation.

rooftop view la contessa pool

 la contessa san antonio rooftop pool

roof top pool san antonio la contessa

he seems to be enjoying army life.  says it's much easier than the restaurant business.

#2 son is taking to the water like a duck

happy hour tapas at cork la contessa san antonioa

half price happy hour tapas at cork, the la contessa wine bar.

the riverwalk area is very touristy, we like to go exploring in the morning when most people are still sleeping.  tropical plants and water fountains make it a nice way to start the day. 

iphone photographer captures bird

bird of the san antonio riverwalk

mussels at la frite san antonio moules

mussels, belgian white beer and a few other offerings were enjoyed at La Frite.

blanche de bruxelle

the mercado was stressful.  three kids going in different directions...  I needed to sit down and change the pace.  we went to la margarita, got a table on the patio and ordered some micheladas.  it was nice!

micheladas disaster at la margarita

then the waitress stumbled out of the door behind me and our entire tray of micheladas raced down to the brick patio floor.  it was fantastic!

micheladas at mercado san antonio

they soon brought replacements and swept up all the glass created from four of these shattering at our feet.

he will soon be sent to a new base, and likely deployed.  so we will try to make the best of the time we have with him so near. 

bob the red cock got his pecker stuck in a straw

mercado has lots of cheap fun stuff.  like bob, the michelada drinking rooster.  don't get your pecker stuck in the straw bob!

flan at la margarita mercado

the flan was also good.



May 16, 2011

taking the melon juice out to the G'Raj

juicing the melon 

this is how I render watermelon juice, chop it up and give it a quick spin in the food processor or osterizer.  then I put it through a fine sieve to remove most of the pulp.  I filled the bottle half way up with the WM juice, squished a lime or two, then added vodka and bauchant (grand marnier like orange-flavoured liqueur).  no additional sweetener was used.

watermelon shaker magic

packed it up and went to G'Raj Mahal, an indian food joint in the hot new rainey street area.  the food is cooked in a trailer but you have table service like a regular restaurant.  they will also deliver to the bars in the area. 

happy melon time

and like most trailer food places, it's BYOB.  the wm shaker worked well with the really spicy food we selected.  I took real glasses and my own ice, plastic just didn't seem right.

g'raj mahal austin trailer food feast

I think this is the best indian food in austin, cheap too.  bill came in at less than $30 per couple (including tax and tip).  the only down side is eating off picnic ware.

vintage econoline van

I thought I was nearly done with the van paint and body.  I had tried to just use the black primer for my stripe, but we agreed it is too dark, not like the original silver I had intended.  and the hugger orange was just too red.  also, once the color was on I could see some dents that still needed attention.  so, a little more sanding and filling and a respray in a lighter shade of orange and a silver stripe over the black primer ... should be done this week.

we DID manage to get a brand new windshield installed.  the new glass makes a HUGE difference. 

not sharing the chips and salsa

went to Izzoz tacos new location.  just two blocks south from their old location.  food was the same.  #2 son took the chips and salsa to his own table.  told me to stay at my table....

lamb shank feast

we had one last cool weather blast blow through before the high summer temps wilt us all.  used the opportunity to have braised lamb shanks and some delicious red wine in the screened room. 

 garden grown tomato

the tomato and the basil were harvested from our garden.  looks like it'll be the best garden season yet, as long as the deer don't come raid us again.

next hot bar on rainey st austin

this old house on rainey street is a just another hot new bar waiting to happen. 

barton creek greenbelt 2011

we enjoyed a nice hike behind my mom's house on the barton creek greenbelt.

May 09, 2011

off-grid river rats and the mermaid

off grid party weekend camp 

we spent the weekend at our off grid place in wimberley, two nights, with friends.  this was the first time we'd stayed more than a single night and we were double the people.  I was happy that we never ran the batteries down and the composting toilet/bathroom seemed to take the extra load in stride. 

off-grid pillow fight

the kids were able to entertain themselves with no electronic assistance.  they played games, played with sticks and rocks and we even saw a spontaneous pillow fight erupt. 

view from top of mount baldy wimberley

climbed to the top of mount baldy.

inoz wimberley deck

had lunch at inoz.  the restaurant was completely unprepared for the crowd that came with it being a market days weekend.  we adjusted our plans and everybody was happy. 

straw fail

he got a bit wet with his unconventional straw method (note water pouring down his front).  it was no big deal as our next stop was the blanco river, right up the street from the restaurant.

blanco river wimberley

larger version here

wimberley blanco river rats

larger panoramic here

blanco river rats of wimberley

we observed a mermaid (just over kat's left shoulder) climb out of the water to bask on a boulder.

wimberley blanco river mermaid

paul schuster and wife kat

more off-grid party people arrive

and we had a third family join us saturday eve.  additional celebration was entirely justified.

cucumber cilantro rum cocktail

the mason jar contained a cilantro cucumber mixture that mixed with rum and ice.  it was herbalicious for sure. 

off-grid girls club

smoked pork butt sandwiches for dinner. 

wimberley donut

wimberley donut feeding frenzy for breakfast.

ostrich boy

you'd think this was some interrogation method.  but the boys seem to do that way more than necessary. 

wimberley bike gang

we started each morning with a group bike ride. 

brunch at kate's place wimberley

it was mother's day.  tradition dictates a nice brunch.  we obliged.  and we were once again rewarded with good food, friends and beverages. 

mother's day at kate's place wimberley

kids enjoyed root beer. 

 happy mother's day brunch at kate's place

ultimate bac and cheese at kate's place wimberley

kate's place issued a good "ultimate mac and cheese" and a fantastic quiche (below)

quiche at kate's place wimberley

later that day, after a good swim at home.  more mother's day feasting.

mother's day dinner at bistro88

took my mom (not pictured) to bistro88, a fancy asian place.

bistro 88 austin

food was good too!

dessert at bistro 88

the dessert was quickly dispatched by the hungry crew.

spoons posed to attack dessert at bistro 88

it was one more amazing weekend I won't soon forget.

mermaid in blanco river, wimberley texas

May 02, 2011

taking in the sunset at the oasis

 umbreallas at the oasis over lake travis

the oasis has been around for a long time.  the guy that owns it has become wealthy selling sunsets.  the complex he has out there has become so large it operates like a factory.  but the sun keeps setting so people keep going.  we went to redeem a groupon.

kat at the oasis lake travis

many levels of decks high above lake travis.

lake travis, texas

I can't really complain about the food or drinks.  the service was good.  ended up being a nice way to slow down after spending all day at eeyore's birthday. 

paul schuster and son at the oasis

big version here

on the deck at the oasis

masking the 1965 econoline

the perfectionist masking the body contour.

1965 econoline cargo van

paint scheme starting to be realized

airstream subfloor

new subfloor in the airstream, we have some camping trips on the calendar so I really need to get back on this project asap. 

run relay sports night westlake

the daughter participated in "sports night" at westlake high school stadium.  she is running a relay race in the pic above.

westlake stadium sports night

judges adding up the scores before they start announcing winners and handing out awards.

running a few laps westlake stadium

the daughter ran a few laps around her team while they waited.  it was cold and windy, it was late...  but she kept going.  they received "the sportsmanship award"  she came home with a GC to texas honey ham.  I'm not a fan of ham but I hear they have the best breakfast tacos in westlake!  looking fwd to that. 

eeyore's birthday 2011, the annual nsfw post


 happy birthday eeyore!

happy birthday eeyore 2011

they have a kid's area with easy games for the youngest in the crowd.

kid's area at eeyore's 2011

#2 son was good at getting the bean bag in the hole and won prizes!

prize winning luchadore baby at eeyore's

paul schuster and little bo-peep at eeyore's

I have a tradition of finding little bo-peep at eeyore's every year, except this year she has a new set of threads.  I guess she gave up on finding those sheep.

chicken and lentil curry at eeyore's

we found the food and beers to reasonably priced.  this was a huge bowl of chicken and lentil curry ($6) that and a pair of best wursts easily fed the family. 

happy birthday eeyore 2011! 

fireman's #4 beer was $4 a pint.  and these were real 16 oz pints.  most places charge more than that for a "pint glass" of it.  but if you have been paying attention to your glass pint glass, you may know that it only holds 14 oz.  that's right, you are being cheated 2 oz at a time from most pint glasses. 

 sack race at eeyore's birthday 2011

#1 son was anxious to compete in the sack race after last year's loss.  but, he didn't do well again.  he blamed the sack...  really. 

competetive sack race eeyore's

there is a lot going on in this pic, larger version here.  the older kid sack race was also very competitive.

drum circle at eeyore's 2011

good rhythyms from the drum circle

kiddue drum circle 2011 eeyore's

we had a small kid's drum circle, mostly old ford and airstream parts.

heckler at eeyore's

this scrappy dude in the black shirt had been heckling the renaissance festival type girl that ran the medieval sparring area.  he got her all worked up and she urged him to get in the ring with her.  "what?  I can't fight a GIRL!  that wouldn't be fair!", he taunted her.  she was getting frustrated and challenged him once again.  she had him step ahead of the line of kids who had been waiting to spar with her, confident he would soon be humiliated, but....

girl looses battle to gutterpunk heckler

within a few quick moves, he had her down in the dirt!  she got up, red in the face.  I thought she was gonna knock him down and clean the area with his face.  she took a few deep breaths and said "NEXT"  there were two boys in line in front of #1 son.  their parents quickly grabbed them by the collar and removed them, fearing the next opponent might bear the grunt of her anger.  #1 son stepped to the front of the line and proudly picked up his weapon.

#1 son spars with pissed off girl at eeyore's

I think he wanted to redeem his loss in the sack race.  our heckler that had just grounded our warrior girl was on the side, giving #1 son fight tips like. "she's got her weapon low, HIT HIGH!" 


#1 son went in for the kill and was so proud of himself.  she didn't put up a big effort, clearly shaken by the young punk still hassling her.  as #1 son took a moment to bask in the glory of victory, the heckler was off to the side squawking like a chicken, hands in his pits while flapping his elbows.  you can see she was not amused. 

unicycle flag football:

unicycle football at eeyore's 2011

I'm not a football fan, but how could I ignore a luchador unicyclist quarterback?

unicycle football cowboy

south austin body choir

south austin body choir doing some of their touchy-feely dance moves

I stumbled on a bit of feedback about pics from eeyore's.  some people don't like to see "big sloppy hippy titty".  this was a reference to pics seen online of a lady who had painted her jugs up to resemble bunny rabbits.  while I love that everybody feels comfortable and free as they are at eeyore's, I figured I'd highlight the younger crowd this year 

might be NSFW = Not Safe For Work. Used to describe Internet content generally inappropriate for the typical workplace, i.e., would not be acceptable in the presence of your boss and colleagues

sneaking a smoke at the edge.  smoking was banned this year due to risk of wild fires.

sequin girl

adam and eve at eeyore's

or lack of costume, a dab of paint will do.

peacock girl at eeyore's

this peacock girl had gone around shaking her feathers and making loud calls like "kaaawwww-kaw, kaw-kawwww!"  very convincing. 

sun and moon at eeyore's 2011

the sun and the moon at eeyores birthday

stoner microsoft paperclip

thing 1 and thing 2 eeyore's

winnie the pooh and crew at eeyore's

avatar at eeyore's

sock monkey at eeyore's

g-string hippie man at eeyore's birthday

bye bye from eeyore's