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November 28, 2011

the weekend after the turkey...

I know many people enjoy the holiday weekend watching football and relaxing.  we had work to do.  kat wants her '72 bmw 2002 back and I just can't get it done by myself. 

 1972 bmw 2002 polaris

I'd spent small chunks of time removing what I could, trim, bumpers etc.

stripping the paint from a vintage bmw 2002

I needed a block of time to sand and prime the steel before it started to rust.  a few hours a day would've taken me a long time.  once we had bare steel, it is a race to get the primer on.  we sanded half a car per day (took two days for the two of us to strip it down to bare metal)

bare metal paint job vintage bmw 2002 1972

bare steel!

vintage bmw prepped for paint

and by sunday afternoon we had the primer sprayed. 

vintage bmw 2002 primer

enjoying turkey leftovers

kat did get to enjoy her turkey leftovers for lunch friday and saturday.  I enjoyed the dressing.  I start making the stock a week before the holiday and I collect many baguettes etc to make the bread crumbs/chunks myself.  I used about a lb of fresh shitake mushrooms, golden raisins and bartlet pear and a bit of duck prosciutto.  the earthiness of the mushrooms, richness of the stock soaked bread and brightness of the fruit is a real pleasure to eat.  YUM!  my favorite part of thanksgiving. 

dim sum daikon radish cake law bok gow

we finally made a successful chinese radish cake!  it was delicious!  we substituted fresh shitake for dried and used a bit of the duck prosciutto.

also called law bock gow.  recipes vary greatly so we improvised.  here is a link for an example of the work involved

sunday morning at higland lanes bowling austin

kat wants us to start bowling.  sunday morning at highland lanes is our new routine.  they have a deal from 7AM-noon, $7 all you can bowl includes shoe rental.  and since I have my own ball (and my name is Wes when I use it)... we roll.

bowling austin

paul schuster bowling

my ball has only two holes, is 16 lb but I'm gonna make it work.  or wes will... I bowled an 86, that is an improvement.

highland lanes austin bowling alley

sunday was cold and windy, we enjoyed a cheap ($18) lunch at new oriental market, a korean cafeteria and grocery.

new oriental market scallion kimchi  pancake

so far, the kimchi and scallion pancake (top) is our favorite item they offer, $8.  the other two dishes are $5 each, including tax and each comes with soup that was hot, spicy and sour. 

leftover thanksgiving wine

we enjoyed the leftover thanksgiving wine sunday eve with indian food.  the 2008 Portal (pronounced poor-tall) spanish wine was showing better on sunday than on thursday.  this wine benefits greatly from a lengthy breathing period or decanting.  learned something new!

blutrack arrives at austin modhouse amh

we had ordred this 18 ft double lane diecast-car racing track for thanksgiving.  we thought it would be fun to race while the turkey fried...  it didn't show up on time.  after ten days in transit, it arrived saturday.  we ran out and each bought a hotwheels car.  sunday eve we raced!

blutrack hotwheels racing diecast cars

the feast of fried turkey

it was a holiday of success and failure, of overcoming obstacles and not dwelling on the mishaps, ups and downs....  sort of like life.  a well fed life.

the first failure, the turkey injector.  I tried to get as much flavor into the bird as possible.  we were missing the fitting that connects the needle to the tube.  most of it landed outside the bird. 

men drinking beer on thanksgiving day 

I fired up the turkey frying oil in the afternoon, I was on schedule.  but something didn't seem right.  the flame was pitiful.  it was a new propane cylinder...  we all double and tripple checked that the valves were fully open...   these two started doing math after timing a 5 degree temperature rise.  I didn't need to wait till they arrived at an estimated 375 degree arrival time, I went with my gut feeling; it would never be hot enough in within the allotted time with that flame.

women in the kitchen austin thanksgiving

the girls were inside finishing up the cooking and prep work, kids playing.

austin girls prep brussel sprouts

heating the turkey oil inside

I made the executive decision to use the indoor burner to get the oil up to temp.  I knew we couldn't drop the turkey indoors, but I needed big BTU to heat the oil faster.  and while that was heating, Bill kept messing with the propane valves and safety features and whatever had been stuck, became unstuck and the big BTU flame returned.  BILL SAVED THE TURKEY!  and somehow I lost track of time while all this was going on. 

austin cajun fried turkey

the oil quickly made it to 380 degree, we cut the flame off (don't want to be on youtube as another dumbass thanksgiving day fried turkey disaster)  and I slowly lowered the bird...  it sizzled and sputtered as it fried away, fry bird, fry away!

austin fried turkey drop

and nearly 40 minutes later (12.5 lb bird) the bird was floating.  we removed it and let it sit a while.

 carve that fried turkey

I think we were supposed to let it continue to fry a bit longer, the skin did not get as crispy as kat usually likes.  it was cooked all the way through, nobody went to the ER, but it could've been better

thanksgiving pork loin

I don't really care for turkey, I had a back up protein.  three pork loins with chipotle cream gravy.

thanksgiving feast austin

I was happy with my leek and cashew soup with sweet potato chip on top.  my roasted red pepper soup reduced too much and became thick and salty.  I floated basil infused greek yogurt on top to cut the saltiness. 

kids ate first.  while we ate, they showered us with paper airplanes from the second floor.  each had a note on it, "WE WANT PIE".  we agreed to serve pie, after, they each made a list of five unique things they are thankful for.  they made quick work of assembling thanks.


 austin kids are thankful and want pie

they did a great job with the lists, I think they enjoyed it. 

kids love pie

pie was served.

november fireplace austin modern

weather was just cool enough to enjoy a roaring fire.


and then it was done.

austin modhouse empty

everybody went home.

morbier and naxos honey

and he came back for a second attack on the cheese plate, the morbier and naxos honey will do that.  got to get every bit!

November 21, 2011

will you take my picture?

I had the studio lights out to take some pics of the orange van (I listed it for sale as we can't keep two vans at the moment).  #2 son saw the lights and asked, "will you take my picture?"  how could I refuse?  then he went to the steps and JUMPED.  we took JUMP pics for halloween, so I guess he figures every photo shoot is a JUMP shoot.

little boy blue jumps down

I put the camera down to adjust the lighting and he said "ok, I will take your picture".  I was a little nervous b/c a canon 5d mark II is a heavy camera.  paul schuster portrait

he did it!



#2 son had his own photo idea...

see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

monkey see, monkey do, #2 had to do it too...

see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

a couple pics of the orange van... 

orange vintage econoline van


1965 econoline

65 econoline cargo van


#1 son would like to play you a song (his piano recital below)....



horse-play around wimberley

 bel canto farms horse feathers

I escorted the daughter and a friend to a day of the horsey lifestyle.  they received an english style riding lesson and horse care lesson from bel canto farms near wimberley

blue hair girl bel canto farms wimberley

the daughter was happy to be riding the white horse.  but somebody later suggested it may not be safe, so she was paired with a much more docile horse.

 english riding lesson wimberley bel canto farms

fitted with boots and helmets, they assisted with saddling and bridling. 

reluctant horse at bel canto farms wimberley


trail ride wimberley bel canto farms

I've never really liked horses.  they're much larger and smarter than I am.  but the horse above, blue...  we were quick friends.  very gentle and seemed to enjoy human contact.  his eyes followed my every move.  I trusted him with my daughter. 

horse riding lesson in tx hill country

the girls had time with a trainer to become familiar with their horse.  and some instruction in "english style" riding.

english style horse riding lesson austin

english riding lesson at bel canto farms wimberley

horse trail ride wimberley bel canto farms


the trail ride was short but nice.  a few obstacles etc.  it was near meal time and the girls had to work to keep them from snacking on grass.

blue at bel canto farms wimberley


hammer at bel canto farms trail ride


hammer the horse at bel canto

horse grooming lesson at be canto farms wimberley

bel canto farms, wimberley driftwood texas

atlas the big black horse

LOOP project at the zidell house

zidell house, taylor, tx LOOP project 2011 


a few years back I stumbled on a very cool midcentury modern home listed for sale, it was in Taylor TX. 


too far from our current situation to consider as a residence for ourselves, I couldn't get the place out of my mind.  I tried to come up with a reasonable scheme/excuse to somehow buy the place.  there was genuine concern that an unsympathetic builder would buy it for the land, scrape the house. 

as luck would have it, it found the right owner, who is also a photographer

with all the ideas and schemes I had for what could be done with the 6 acres, I couldn't have done a better job.  the owner has an annual party, this year it was a benefit for the bastrop fire victims.  UT architecture students exhibit build projects, a stage with some really great bands, BMX and skateboard half-pipe and dirt course....  and BBQ too.

bmx half-pipe zidell house loop project

bmx girl on dirt track zidell house taylor tx loop project

it was great to see bmx-chicks in the mix

growler uncle billy's zidell house loop project

loop project zidell house geodesic orb

cardboard construction loop project

interactive cardboard construction events and fun.

leslie sisson of the wooden birds LOOP

leslie sisson (of the wooden birds) sounded great.

chinese checkers loop project

large format chinese checkers (above)

loop project taylor tx zidell

like getting inside a marshmallow

 loop project stage in the bamboo forest of zidell house

the bamboo is THICK.  a notch was cut out for a stage.  they auctioned a whole roast pig, but we were too shy to bid, and we don't have space for a whole pig.  somebody offered $20 for the ribs and it was done.

texas playboys baseball roast pig at zidell house loop project


whole roast pig at zidell house texas playboys

I only had $10 cash, I told brent (owner) that we'd buy some of the pig if possible.  he introduced us to another guy to settle the deal, a few minutes later that guy said we had to go find brent (again) and make a deal with him....  we came home porkless. 

bark skin seat

kat really enjoyed watching mother falcon set up.  she found a nice bark seat.  that is the dirt bmx track in the background

mother falcon play zidell house loop project

they played three songs and it started to rain.  can't complain about rain. 

November 14, 2011

time travel, dallas 1986... starck club

whenever I meet folks from dallas, the starck is sort of a dividing line.  either you participated, or you missed it.  similar to previous generations and all the folks who went to woodstock, or claimed to.

it was july 19 1986, I had plans to see the cure at the bronco bowl.  I had spent the past seven years in northwest louisiana, and I was quite nervous about visiting/going out in dallas.  where I came from, there was not a lot of tolerance and most people thought alike.  we were shocked to find that dallas was not like that at all, they seemed to be celebrating diversity, and mostly, they had better music.  back in NW louisiana, we had been hassled by a few "friends" for the music we had started to listen to, that had started to define and separate us (new order, the cure, the smiths).  a friend had suggested, if you go out in dallas, go to the starck.  we did, and we went home with a new outlook.  we realized we were living in the wrong place and something had to give.

there was usually a line to get in, people happy to pay $10 cover charge (a lot in 80's $).  entry was often granted based on the outrageousness/glamorousness of the attendant.  better yet, to be on the guest list or get "comp'd" (free entry).  we didn't have much for $ back in those days, so we eagerly pursued the guest list, comp and admit two passes.  there has been a lot written about the starck club, most of it true.  MDMA was legal, abundant and open (like ordering a drink from the bar).  people danced... everywhere and anywhere, on the stairs, on coffee tables, in the unisex bathrooms... 

the place was designed by phillipe starck, the most elegant glamorous place I'd ever seen, still.  precursor to the ultra lounge movement, his club design was modern, minimalist and clean.  regular folk often danced along side with celebrities.  I once went to an after party hosted by DIO after meeting him at starck...really.

 anyhow...  before I give up too much.  this past weekend, a group of original folks from the starck club; managers, bartenders, door personnel and patrons, got together for a reunion.  there is a documentary in the works from starck days, I'm sure it will fill in the blanks... let's just say that placed left a large impact on the lives of its patrons.  the ones that survived.  I'm sort of at a loss for words here, good thing they interviewed me for the movie...  or maybe not...

starck club dallas 11-11-11 ghost bar

 starck reunion 11-11-11 ghost bar w dallas

the gathering took place at the ghost bar, 33rd floor of the W hotel dallas.

starck club reunion ghost bar dallas

there was drinking and dancing....

dallas skyline from ghostbar w


paul schuster and wife dallas

bonnie starck club dallas

bonnie was my GF, she used to work the door at the starck.  (1990 pic below)

bonnie starck club dallas


scardello cheese shop dallas oak lawn

you know we had to sample some of the best D has to offer.  it wasn't easy.  from what I could gather from yelp, Dallas does not have the same adventursome eating spirit we appreciate here in austin.  I played it safe, scardello's cheese shop near oak lawn and lemmon.  I used to live about a block from this intersection, my old apartment has been replaced with condos (as most everything since I was there 15 years ago, uptown has really increased its density)

scardello cheese shop dallas

I would've loved this place back then.  great cheese selection, wine by the glass and a friendly knowledgeable staff.

scardello cheese plate and wine oak lawn dallas

the cheese plate "set up" (the nuts and fruit and bread) is $5, cheese and meat is market price (by the lb.)

der scharfe maxx cheese

that der scharfe maxx was GOOD! 

the meddlesome moth:

meddlesome moth bone marrow

I will say that we were surprised at the portion size and low price of eating in dallas compared to austin.  I pledged to try the bone marrow, and it was delicious, $9

pork belly at meddlesome moth

kat loves pork belly.  the portion you see on her plate is only one third of what was served, but easily what passes as a full single portion in austin.  the price was only $12! 

great belgian beer selection at meddlesome moth dallas

the meddlesome moth is listed as a gastropub, good food and good beer.  they have an amazing selection of belgian beers on draught.  beer prices were also very resonable.  we liked this place, a lot.

E.A.S.T. (east austin studio tour)

we spent saturday and sunday visiting the studios of friends.  mark meyer (austin modhouse architect), susannah blanton, sharon kyle kuhn, chris levack and the other guys at splinter.

hawkeye metal lathe splinter group

hawkeye makes bobbles splinter group hawkeye makes brass bobbles on the metal lathe for our kids, this is her third year to get a bobble.

chris levack splinter group fencing austin

chris levack has been making fence sections from wood scraps and, has just finished the new austin skate park of his design.

TOO treachery of others

we caught the Treacher of Others playing both days.


starck club shirt bowling dude

yep, I have my own two hole bowling ball with custom bag and all.  more on that in the future.

highland lanes austin

highland lanes, $7 per person all you can bowl from 7-noon sunday. 


November 07, 2011

fall back time change in the texas hill country

we took full advantage of the perfect weather this past weekend, visited our wimberley place and the wimberley market days.

when pigs fry wimberley market days pork rinds

one of the popular vendors "when pigs fry", has fresh made spicy pork rinds.  she sells out every time.  go there first or they'll be gone

made by JKB products


marble lady at wimberley trade days

kids like the marble stand.

market days now has an "icehouse" with bratwurst and draft beer.  it was another popular market days destination.

cabin sweeper

kat cleaned up our cabins near market days and I ran over to our cabin on the blanco we are fixing up.  the concrete floor had a real rough broom finish and we are planning to put VCT down on the first floor.  I applied a skim coat of resurfacer.concrete resurfacer

eichler in the blanco river

eichler and I went down to enjoy the river for a few minutes before heading back to town (wimberley)  (BIG PIC HERE)

fall colors on the blanco river near fischer tx

beautiful fall colors.  (bigger version link)

patio dining at the leaning pear wimberley

some friends came down from austin to join us for dinner at the leaning pear.

111 River Road
Wimberley, Texas 78676
(512) 847-7327 (PEAR)
$8 corkage at leaning pear wimberley
the $8 corkage fee is a good fit with us, we like to bring our own.
brazin from lodi
we especially enjoyed the BRAZIN from Lodi (a great place for zin)
kids on electronic devices
we get two separate tables, so the older kids can do their own thing.  they all behaved really well, thanks to technology.
paul schuster and wife
the food was good, real good...
 Pecan Crusted Black Drum w/ Spicy Sweet Potato Puree & Montesino Farm Haricot Verts
 Pecan Crusted Black Drum w/ Spicy Sweet Potato Puree & Montesino Farm Haricot Verts
they only serve dinner two nights a week, and they close at 8 pm!  by 7pm, they had already run out of some of the specials.  our server suggested that we can call ahead next time to have the kitchen hold specials for us.  they made it up to us by offering some free dessert.
leaning pear wimberley
leaning pear dessert panna cotta
lp fueled camp fire
we closed the evening back at our off grid camp.  the kids roasted marshmallows over an LP fueled camp fire (burn ban prohibits wood fires)
wimberley offgrid cabins
wimberley solar powered cabin
some people like the fall back time change, so they can sleep in.  it doesn't work that way for me, I end up waking up at 5:30am to sit and wait for 6:30am to catch up with me. 
we stopped in dripping springs on the way back to austin the next day.  stuffed our faces at domingo's mexican grill
domingo's mexican grill dripping springs
the menudo was good, but a bit salty.  the chicken mole enchiladas were fantastic, the tacos al pastor were also good (below).
tacos al pastor at domingo's in dripping springs tx
margarona or coronarita
we finally tried a margarona/coronarita.  I think I'll skip the corona next time.  the mexican martini was better.
I had to rush back to austin and escort #2 son to another preschool birthday party.  this time we partied at the austin children's museum.
austin children's museum dinosaur
those kids went crazy in that joint!  "TRAIN, TRAIN!  CHOO-CHOO TRAIN COMING!"
then, I had to rush home (AMH), friends were coming over with a bottle of RIDGE and I needed to make a suitable meal to accompany it.
pan seared salmon at amh austin modhouse
I did ok.  pan seared salmon, oven roasted brussel sprouts, garlic and herb cheese toast, herb salad greens with house made blue cheese dressing.

November 01, 2011

halloween eve, trick or treat...

neighbors  host a really nice halloween party.  it's a great way to start the evening, good food, drinks and the kids just LOVE to run and play in their yard (actual grass and flat land are somewhat rare in west lake hills)

west lake hills lawn and flat land

walked home and caught the low fall sun hitting the face of the house.  LOVE this time of year. 

fall sunset on austin modhouse west lake hills tx


quick costume photo shoot:

jedi levitation costume austin

an unedited jedi jump pic below

halloween jedi jump

#2 son refused to get into his costume, "I DON'T WANNA BE A WOLF!!! OK?!  i DON'T WANT TO WEAR A WOLF COSTUME!"  I could see there was no getting around it.  but then he insisted on having his picture taken, he started putting himself into each frame.  I managed to convince him to put on a luchador mask for pictures.

kick ass luchador

nino luchador austin westlake


 ass-kickin' luchador boot comin at ya!

whatch out for that boot!  comin' at ya!

haloween jump

then he refused the mask and decided to wear a headband he'd made at school.

chell portal costume halloween


the daughter has been obsessed with all things portal.  she makes portal drawings, listens to music from the game, has a portal app on her iphone etc.  we helped her with her costume but she'd given up any hopes of a portal gun.  I surprised her with my effort on halloween day.  #2 son was convinced I'd made a real portal gun, especially when the sun went down and I stuck a blue glow stick in the barrel and it had a blue glow.  he kept asking to hold it.

portal chell costume

we painted the barrel black after the photo shoot.  then she was fully satisfied with it.

portal costume

kat came home and figured out #2 just needed some food.  we'd been so busy we forgot to feed him.  she then sweet talked him into his costume!

 where the wild things are costume max


chell portal portal2 costume halloween

there is no real trick/treat action on our street.  we head over to lost creek and meet up w/ friends.  it's a really nice neighborhood with just enough density and kids living there to make it the perfect trick/treat experience.

aperture science portal gun prop chell costume

max costume where the wild things are austin

after trick or treating... he got to hold the portal gun.

max where the wild things are with a blue portal gun

"can I shoot a bluuuue portal, and then, aaaa ORange portal?"

not going to let go of the blue portal gun

he was not gonna to let go of that portal gun, so happy with it.  being able to hold it was better than the treats collected.

kick ass luchador austin mexican wrestler mask

bigger boot action