Sunday, June 29, 2014

Scattershooting 06-29-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

Monday was my youngest son Matt's birthday. It seems like just yesterday he looked like this. He's a tad bigger now, 20 years later. Happy Birthday Son!


Sure is fun to watch Adrian play every day.

I'm feeling rather buff, well dressed and even kinda handsome. It's all relative, I went to Walmart this morning. There's always a sight or two.

Don't hear this Beatles song very often. It's a good one. No Reply -

Well this sux. I really wanted to ride the the big metal roller coaster in these thunderstorms. Apparently Six Flags is closed because it is flooded.
Vanderbilt and the SEC win the College World Series. That's a sweep of the CWS for the SEC. Florida won the softball version a couple of weeks ago. Congrats Vandy & the SEC.

I had recorded Robin and Marian a couple of weeks ago on TCM and finally watched it. I sort of remembered the movie when it came out in 1976 and liked it. You know what, I still like it. How can you go wrong, it starred Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn and had Robert Shaw as the bad guy Sheriff of Nottingham. Little John, Will Scarlet & Friar Tuck were there too. Everybody a couple of years past their prime. Sad ending but very enjoyable. This is not Sean in a Bond film or Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Here it is Sunday again. That means it's time for #SongSunday. I'm going to bet most of you haven't heard this song in 20+ years. The group didn't stay on top long and only had two hits (a 2 hit wonder) but this is a damn good song. From the Beau Brummels, Laugh Laugh.

I am also going to post the other Beau Brummels hit. Another good song you probably haven't heard in forever, Just a Little

Here is a cartoon that fits in with #SongSunday.

How is your team doing? It is about the halfway point of the baseball season. I root for three teams and two out of three ain't good. My teams are the Rangers, Rays and Braves. The Rays have the worst record in the American League and the Rangers are only two wins better. Atlanta does have a slim lead in the NL East. I don't hold out much hope for the Rays or Rangers this season. Wait til next year. Hopefully the Braves can hold on.



Friday, June 27, 2014

Gator's Cajun Grill

Here is a review of the fairly new Gator's Cafe in Colleyville. On Thursday, 6/26, my son and I went to Gator's for dinner. We discovered upon arrival that it was Thirsty Thursday and Happy Hour all day. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I assume drinks, wine and beer were sold at a lower than normal price. Thirsty Thursday should in no way be confused with Throwback Thursday, #TBT.

Gator's is a Cajun themed restaurant located on highway 121 between Hall-Johnson and Glade. It is in the building next to La Hacienda Ranch. This particular location has seen numerous incarnations over the years. None have been overly popular or successful. This iteration is owned by longtime restaurateur Johnny Ragland who also owns J.R.'s Steak & Grill just up the road. The space has a dining area with tables and booths, a bar in the middle, some bar tables and an outside deck adjacent to the bar area. The dining area is nothing special but OK. There are eight to ten TVs in the dining room and more in the bar area. There was also a live singer/guitarist performing in the bar. He sounded OK, but thankfully was barely audible in the dinning area. I like to have conversations with my meals.

My son and I are both fans of Cajun & Creole cuisine so we were anxious to try this place. Matt had the shrimp etouffee and I had the blackened red fish. Both were delicious and despite large portions there were no doggy bags this day.
Shrimp Etouffee

The etouffee filled a large round plate with plenty of good size shrimp and some sausage all in a thickened sauce. Matt did add a little Tabasco sauce. The blackened red fish was a large, flaky, tender fillet that was topped with shrimp creole that also included sausage slices. The blackening spices and sauce were both very flavorful. The server warned me when I ordered the red fish that it was spicy. It didn't disappoint. We like our food spicy, but I can see where this dish might be a little too spicy for some. Our entrees were also served with a cornbread muffin that had real corn kernels.
Blackened Red Fish with Shrimp Creole

Now the bad news. The service was less than stellar. Our waitress came shortly after we were seated and took our drink order. Then she disappeared. Matt commented that they must be brewing the beer. Finally another server came by to ask what our drink orders were. She delivered them in a couple of minutes and took our meal orders. To our surprise, our dinners came out fairly quickly but were delivered by yet another server. The waitress who took our meal order came by a minute later to ask how the food was. I was still chewing my first bite. Several minutes later our original server came by to ask how we were doing and to offer excuses about forgetting us. She was busy. Then we were again forgotten for the rest of our meal. Eventually our initial server came by and I asked for the check. Luckily we weren't in a hurry because that step took a long time too. When the waitress came back with the credit card receipt she didn't have a pen. My son pointed out that the waiter taking the order for the table next to us had an apron full of pens. Our server grabbed one and we were able to complete the transaction and be on our way. I noticed that this pattern did not just apply to us. Other tables around us wound up having multiple servers. The booth next to us had one drink delivered by the bartender. I hate having a team of people serving me and in this case that team not doing a very good job.

We are not talking about a huge place that was jam packed. Half of the dining area was empty. So, what's the problem? Did we draw an incompetent waitress? Are they understaffed? Do they have a bad system? Is it bad management? The answer is probably yes to all of the above.

The summation: Food good to very good. Atmosphere OK. Service needs much work.

I may go back when I get a Cajun craving but certainly not when I'm in a hurry. Maybe I'll try lunch some day.  


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Android ART vs Dalvik

Quickly, my take on Android's (Google) runtime ART vs Dalvik. This is not a bits & bytes scientific analysis, just my impressions. I just upgraded a Nexus 7 (2013) to Android 4.4.4. On that note, I think Google took their time on rolling out the OTA updates to Nexus devices.

I will confess that I am an old school big iron dinosaur. As such, I am prejudiced toward ahead of time compiled executables vs just in time compilers. Admittedly part of that prejudice is because back in the day it took several minutes to hours to compile a program. Even low level assembler code took time to assemble and link. There was no way we would compile or assemble our code every time we wanted to execute it. I realize that languages, compilers, hardware and everything else have changed. Still, in my view it has to be better and faster to invoke an executable module rather than code that has to go through a compile step before the device knows what to do with it. I also assumed that already compiled programs would be smaller than code that still needed compiling. I have not checked this.

So, what's my take on ART vs Dalvik? I switched to ART months ago. I switched for the reason mentioned above plus I tend, and like, to try new stuff. I almost immediately noticed that it took longer to install or update apps. That is not a big deal. Unless you are updating several apps and need the full resources of your device immediately. I have noticed that when upgrading Android OS that it takes much longer for the "optimizing apps" step. I've gone through two upgrades since switching to ART. This too is not a big deal. How often do you upgrade Android releases?

The one thing that bothers me is that, at least at this point, the ART option does not seem any faster at run time. Maybe this is because ART is not as mature as Dalvik. It doesn't seem to matter though since Google is slowly eliminating Dalvik, so ART better get better.

I will always try the new stuff and will usually let my prejudices/experience prevail. With the technology we have now, already compiled should always beat not yet compiled. Unfortunately the difference is negligible or non existent at this point. At least to old human eyes on a Nexus 7 (2013).

I'd be interested in hearing from real world folks who have gone through this change. Any significant improvements or degradation with ART?


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Scattershooting 06-22-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Tony Gwynn (RIP)

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

We just lost Tony Gwynn today (6/16). One of the best hitters of his generation and a good guy. Only 54 years old. RIP.

Funny. Casey Kasem not afraid to make fun of himself. RIP Casey. Remembering the great Casey Kasem with this classic Top Ten from 1993

It's about time. I predict this new emoji will get a lot of use. Coming soon to a computing device near you.

USA wins their first match in the World Cup against Ghana 2-1. It got exciting in the last 10 minutes. 

This is ridiculous. Just saw an ad on TV for Axe Messy Look paste. Apparently it is stylish to have messy hair but you need a product to achieve that look. It must work, the guy in the commercial got the hot babe as soon as he put this goop in his hair.

Two HOF guys. RIP Tony. Remembering Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn with this special Top Ten list from 2007.

I always suspected that was what was upstairs.

The times we live in -

Funny -

The defending softball champion WGTR unveiled their new 2014 jerseys Wednesday. More colorful but same great logo. Same results as the old shirts, they crushed the opposition.

It's #TBT again. Here are some photos from spring of 2004. Dad was in the hospital and for a while we thought we were going to lose him. My oldest son and his family, including their couple month old son, flew in to see Grandpa/Great Grandpa. Dad pulled through and lived two more years. This is the only photo of the four generations of the Holmes Boys. There is now another great grandchild but Dad died before he was born. Uncle Matt loved his new nephew. RIP Dad.

 Perfectly clear -

It was drive-in night on Thursday. Jimmy Buffett and all the local Parrot Heads were at the Coyote Drive-in tonight in Ft. Worth. The concert was broadcast live to 80 other drive-ins around the country. Very cool.

The Frogs have croaked. TCU is eliminated from the College World Series with a 6-4 lose to Mississippi. Still, a great season. 

Better than a carrier pidgin -

Thought I'd switch to pastels for the summer - 

Know the feeling?

For ‪#‎SongSunday‬ this week we have a great duet. A beautiful love song by Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville, two of the best voices of our generation. This video from 1989 caused some flap because it depicted a black/white relationship. Unfortunately Linda can no longer sing because of Parkinson's. Aaron is still going strong at 73. "Don't Know Much", but
I know I like this song.  

The USA team snatched a tie from the jaws of victory. In the World Cup match against Portugal they get a 2-2 tie. Portugal scored with about a minute left in the game. USA still in good shape to advance.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Matt's Rancho Martinez - Review

Here's a quick review of Matt's Rancho Martinez, a new restaurant in Colleyville. It's located in the shopping center at the southeast corner of Glade and Colleyville Blvd. (Hwy 26). It is next to the soon to be opened Whole Food Market. A very good spot. This location has been open for a few weeks.

Matt's is a small family owned chain. This is their third store with a fourth scheduled to open this summer. As you may have guessed, Matt's is primarily a Tex-Mex restaurant but there are a few twists on the menu.

My son, Matt (no affiliation), and I went there for a fairly early dinner on Father's Day. We had about a five minute wait for a table. The restaurant has a large dining area, smaller dining room that can probably be used for private affairs, a full bar with seating at the bar plus a few tables and a covered patio. All together there are probably approximately 35-40 tables. The kitchen is visible through a large glass wall. It's all hard surfaces with exposed ducts and lights hanging from an unfinished black ceiling. While it wasn't too loud on our visit, I suspect the main dining area could get a little noisy. 

One of the things that stood out from the minute we walked in was how much staff the place had. There were four people at the host/hostess stand. Once seated we noticed a whole battalion of servers, bus boys, kitchen help and management. Matt (my son, not the owner) did a quick count and figured that no server had more than about three tables. Most of the help was very young. In spite of this apparent service overkill, our waiter was not overly attentive. About average, but not exceptional.

On to the main attraction, the food. There were the required complimentary tortilla chips and salsa which were served as soon as we sat down. The chips were fresh and seemed homemade. The salsa was medium consistency with good flavor and a little heat.   

Matt had the Bob Style Chicken Fried Steak (CFS). That's a CFS topped with chile con queso, sour cream and fresh guacamole, refried beans and rice sides. According to my certified CFS connoisseur son, it was delicious. Minimal breading, good toppings and fork tender. His knife was never used. Now CFS is not a typical Tex-Mex menu staple but it is a Texas delicacy. Somehow Matt's became semi-famous for them. Besides the Bob style, they also have three other variations including the standard Texas style with cream gravy and Texas toast. 

I had the spinach and mushroom enchiladas topped with tomatillo sauce and Monterrey Jack cheese, charro beans and rice for sides. This too was delicious. The enchiladas were made with fresh, bright green, spinach and mushrooms. No canned stuff. The rice was good and the charro beans were very good. These were the best spinach enchiladas I've had since Via Real in Irving. The charro beans were not overcooked and the onion, peppers and herbs in the broth were all fresh. My only minor gripe was that the waiter put my plate on the table backwards. My main item enchiladas were on the far side of the plate and the bowl of charro beans was on the near side. The plate was piping hot and not easy to turn around. That is a sign of an inexperienced and/or nonchalant server. Is it a law, at least in Texas, that Mexican restaurants have to serve food on dangerously hot plates? 

Most of the entrees are between $10 and $15, lunches are $7 to $8. Reasonable prices for a full services, nice restaurant. For all you geezers, the senior discount allows ordering off the lunch menu all day. If you are in the neighborhood, Matt's would be a good choice. The menu is large and diverse so every palate should be able to find something to their liking. There is a kid's menu too and it's family friendly. The full bar has drink specialties and several beers on tap to keep the adults satisfied.

Matt's is Billy recommended. I plan on returning again to work my way through the menu. Maybe I'll see you there.  


Monday, June 16, 2014

Scattershooting 06-15-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Don Zimmer (RIP)

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

The Texas Republican party officially endorses "Reparative Therapy" to "fix" Gays. Too bad there isn't a cure for these bigoted homophobic Republicans.

Who comes up with this stuff? I bought a few things at Target today. When I checked the receipt I noticed that the taxable subtotal was less than the total merchandise subtotal. In Texas food and medicine/health stuff isn't sales taxed, but I didn't think I bought any of those items (beer is not food in the eyes of the tax collector). Turns out Coppertone Stick 55 SPF is a Health Item. OK, but I also bought Coppertone Spray 30 SPF. So is it the stick part or the SPF# part that makes one a health item and the other taxable? Saved me 36¢.

We did it, we have left our mark. We created permanent litter. None of that sissy biodegradable trash, industrial strength enduring junk. This is way better than all that crap art, architecture and engineering our ancestors left for us. We made f*%&king plastic rocks.

Just watched Dave Chappelle on the Letterman show (6/10). Both Dave's did a good job. It was good to see Chappelle on TV. His show on Comedy Central was one of the funniest shows ever.

Play Ball! Well boys and girls, it's opening night (6/11) for the always exciting Hurst Wednesday Night Softball season. The "We Got The Runs" defend their title. Will they have another perfect 10-0 season under the tutelage of manager Matt Holmes? Let the games begin. The guys won the first game so they are off to a good start.

For all you Jacksonville Jaguars fans or anybody else. On Tuesday's The Colbert Report, Stephen did a very funny bit about the Jaguars and the new stadium modification. It starts at around 9:00 into the show.

I had a great find last night (6/11) for #TBT. Buried among a hodgepodge of photos in a shoe box was a manilla envelope with 15 professional pictures of my parent's wedding. I don't remember ever seeing these before. My folks were married in 1939 and remained married and together until my Mom's death in 2002. Here are three of the photos. I miss them both.

Perfect. This is what we do in this country.
The College World Series started on Sayurday (6/14). My local TCU team is in it. Since all the Florida teams flamed out, maybe the Frogs can pick up some Sunshine State supporters. Their first game is Sunday.


In celebration of Father's Day, here is a photo of my Dad reading to me when I was barely two years old. It looks like a Little Golden Book. It must have sunk in because I still love books and reading. It doesn't seem like it, but he has has been gone for eight years. Happy Day Dad. RIP.

For #SongSunday - here's one from 1963 written and sung by the great Barbara Lewis. This song made it to #3 on the Billboard Top 100 Chart. Hello Stranger
How long has it been?
It seems like a mighty long time
shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby, ooh

Great Father's Day. My son Matt took me to Matt's for dinner. Great new place in Colleyville. Good food and service. Billy & Matt recommended. Now we are watching NBA playoffs and College World Series. Conversation, sports, food, beverages and time together, perfect. Thanks Matt.