My friends, Darrell and Jen, came to Austin last Wednesday. Loyal blog readers may know Jen & Darrell for their combined dominance of my "Name This Person and Win". Jen is especially adept at naming-that-person-and-winning. She has mad skills. Mad skills.
Darrell and Jen are from Tucson. Darrell and I met in college. We were both RAs. We were both home brewers. We were both avid Arizona Wildcat athletics fans. Darrell and I have an impressive streak of traveling long distances to see our team lose. So far, we have watched our beloved Arizona Wildcats lose in:
Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
I am sure there are many more trips in our future... I just hope the Wildcats can win one. I am confident the problem is not Darrell and I being at the game. At least I hope that is not the problem.
Despite being a curse to our athletic team, Darrell met me in Austin last Wednesday evening. He was going to his cousin's wedding in Dallas and decided to fly into Austin first. He arrived late Wednesday. We ate Rudy's Bar-B-Q and drank beer on the porch until 1 AM.
The next morning, we went tubing. But this was not just any tubing trip. Darrell turned 34 years old on this tubing trip. Technically, he turned 34 the entire day... not just during the tubing trip. Nonetheless, we spent Darrell's birthday here:
The beautiful Comal River in New Braunfels, Texas. We rented tubes from Texas Tubes and floated the river with a cooler of beer.
Here is a picture of Darrell, Jen & I after the float and a few beers. Notice Jen & Darrell's official Ben Bartley Fan Club T-Shirts (a wedding gift from yours, truely):
I know you are super jealous of those bad-ass T-Shirts. I KNOW you are jealous. Or at least I like to tell myself that you are jealous of the Official Ben Bartley Fan Club T-Shirt.
After an awesome tubing trip, we dropped Megan off at her car in San Marcos (she had meetings back in Austin). Then Darrell, Jen & I headed to Lockhart, Texas. Why did we go to Lockhart, Texas? One reason:
Smitty's Bar-B-Q. Smitty's is consistently ranked in Texas Monthly's top 5 Bar-B-Q joints in Texas. Rightfully so. This was not so much a Bar-B-Q joint as it was a meat mecca.
Here is Darrell and Jen before we entered:
What do they serve at Smitty's? HOMEMADE WIENERS!!!
Do you think I would pass a sign that said, "HOMEMADE WIENERS!" and not put it in my blog. I am a 34 year old man, with the mind of a 12 year old boy. Yes, I giggled when I saw the sign. My first thought was, "If you're going to make wieners, you better make them at home."
The first place you go in Smitty's is to the meat counter. The meat counter is directly in front of the smokers. These are not fancy, industrial smokers with timers and thermostats. These smokers are like a giant chimney. Brick. Fire. Meat. If Smitty's is a cathedral, here is a picture of the alter:
Next up, it was time to order. I did not want to appear to be a rookie. I looked at the menu and confidently ordered: "A pound of ribs, a pound of fat, 3 hot rings".
They yelled out my order for the chef. I then sheepishly said, "This is my first time to Smitty's, was that a good first order? Did I miss anything?" The lady smiled and said, "you did just fine."
Indeed I did.
I can not begin to describe how happy this food made me.
Next stop: meatsville.
Vegetarians, I apologize for this next picture. Prepare for your visual hell. You may just want to scroll down past the next picture.
Here are three full people:
If you have not been to Smitty's, come see me. I will drive to Lockhart any day of the week and eat there with you. It is about 45 minutes from my house, straight down 183. This is not so much a restaurant as it is a religious-meat-experience. I can not describe it. We just have to go. God clearly loves Lockhart, Texas.
I was not only fascinated by Lockhart's Bar-B-Q. I was also taken by its architecture.
Here are some store fronts of downtown:
This is the Caldwell County Courthouse in downtown Lockhart:
After leaving Lockhart, we stopped by Central Market in Austin to pick-up Darrell's birthday cake:
No offense to the good people of Central Market, but compared to the Bar-B-Q, the cake just did not cut it. Next time I celebrate Darrell's birthday, forget the cake: I am getting him birthday Bar-B-Q. Ribs that spell out "Happy Birthday" on a pile of Brisket.
We capped the night by a walk around downtown Austin. Here are Darrell and Jen, silhouetted by the Texas Capitol at night.
It was a good trip. I was glad they came. I hope they come back. Screw that, I hope they move here.
In summary: meat is a religion in Lockhart, Darrell's birth took place on the Comal River, I ordered a pound of fat at Smitty's.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
So far, this has been an awesome week.
It started Sunday night with Megan's birthday party. We partied like rock stars. Here are some people who made it:
It continued with a visit from my friends, Darrell & Jen, from Tucson, Arizona. I will save that info for later.
In Summary: Megan's party rocked, Scott Chester loves lambs, Darrell & Jen stories - coming soon to a blog near you.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Megan's mom is coming to town this weekend. That is not her in the picture above. This is her in the picture below.
She is the one holding the glowing-eyed dog.
Megan's mom is coming to Austin for the first time in a couple of weeks. She flies in on Saturday and flies home on Monday. It should be a fun-filled weekend.
In Summary: Megan's mom is coming to Austin, she holds dogs with glowing eyes, fun is ahead of me.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
My buddy Schully was in Round Rock, TX, last night. He was scouting for the Hiroshima Carp. Schully is a friend of mine from Japan. Round Rock is a suburb of Austin and home to Dell computers. The Carp is a pro baseball team in Japan. I have explained enough in this paragraph. Time for a new one.
The guy in the picture above is not my friend Schully. This is:
Schully drank more back then. Now, he drinks less.
Schully was watching players from the Omaha Royals, a AAA team of my favorite team: the Kansas City Royals. We started talking about Saturday Night Live's digital shorts. One of my favorites is this one:
I did not know it, but this Digital Short is based on this scene from one of Megan's favorite shows, The O.C.:
Schully - you should move to Austin. If you do, I will buy you one soft serve ice cream.
In Summary: Round Rock is a suburb of Austin, Schully is a scout, move to Austin and I will buy you a soft serve ice cream cone.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Congratulations to my sister, Jodi, for finishing her PhD today. She sent a text message saying, "Done! Doctorfied!"
Jodi is 2 years younger than me. She finished her undergraduate degree 4 hours before I finished mine. She walked through her graduation at 9 AM... mine was 1 PM. She definitely flew through the Masters & PhD... basically, Jodi finished before I started trying.
Jodi had the unenviable task of being my little sister. Here are some facts that she may or may not want me to share with you:
- She played the baritone
- She once had a mullet (and I had one, too, thank you)
- She once pierced her nose
That is enough. My purpose of this blog is not to bring fashion skeletons & high school skeleton's from Jodi's closet. Plus, I know she knows things about me that I do not want publicly known... for example, I had 2 Cabbage Patch Kids. DAMN IT, I did it to myself!
The purpose of this blog entry is to celebrate my studious sister, Jodi.
Quick, Jodi, do something studious!
My sister holding a laptop, a clear sign of studious-ness.
Jodi - congratulations, I am super proud of you.
You are now a proud owner of a brand new, 2009 PhD!!! Hip hip...
In Summary: Jodi is my sister, I had Cabbage Patch Kids, laptops make people smart.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday evening marked the third annual Greaster celebration.
What is Greaster?
I found out via Google image search that it is Grease Meter Control Valve. I read the description here... but I am still confused.
Greaster is also the holiday I celebrate with friends on the Monday after Easter. Greaster has few traditions and fewer rules. One rule is that you must leave without saying good-bye. It is harder than it sounds. When it is time for you to depart, you stand-up and walk out. Another Greaster tradition: greasy food.
This year, Greaster was celebrated at the sacred gathering site of Waterloo Ice House on 38th and Lamar. Greaster was celebrated by the following good denizens of Austin:
To quote Scott Chester and many-a-lame-yearbook-caption, "A good time was had by all".
What do you have to say, PugPuggy?
Indeed. A very happy Greaster to all.
In Summary: Greaster is celebrated on the first Monday after Easter, Austin has denizens, PugPuggy wears ridiculous costumes for my entertainment.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Best... dog... ever.
PugPuggy, can you bring me a beer?
I don't want a kangaroo. I would rather have a beer.
What tricks can you do, PugPuggy?
Not, bad. Not bad at all. What else?
That is pretty good. What else can you do?
PugPuggy, don't stalk me.
PugPuggy, that is very creepy. Don't stare at me from a distance.
Ooooo, the silent stare, very creepy.
PugPuggy, why don't you come close to me.
Yes, too close. Your breath smells like you have been eating out of a dumpster.
In Summary: PugPuggy can not (yet) bring me a beer, her breath smells like a dumpster, the silent stare is the creepiest of all stares.