Barnburner at Cougar Field

We saw a very short Baseball game with good friends this afternoon. The UH Cougars demolished the Marshall Herd 15-1 in just over two hours. The game was stopped at the seventh-inning stretch. I heard someone behind me call it the “mercy rule.” If a team is more than ten runs ahead after seven innings they call it a day. I was so busy trying to score all the Cougar runs in my scorebook that there was no time to pull out the camera until they all shook hands at the end.

The weather was sunny and warm with puffy white clouds. It was a perfect day for Baseball and the right team won.

Dallas trip

We had fun on the Belle & Sebastian trip, although it really screwed up my sleep/work/yoga schedule for the rest of the week. Saw a beautiful sunset in a huge sky as we approached Dallas. The Granada Theatre was in an excellent location with restaurants and bars all around. We parked right next to the band’s bus and walked down the road to a Salvadoran restaurant but I can’t for the life of me remember the name. When we got back to the theatre the opening band, the New Pornographers, was in full swing. They were a lot better than their name implied. The only trouble was that there were no seats in the theatre. We just stood in the mass of people. And the place was sold out. B&S seem to have quite a following in the U.S. I saw quite a few fans wearing kilts! We did manage to creep closer and closer to the front as people left for the bar at the back and our view improved gradually. The New Pornographers played for a while longer, and then cleared the stage. The Belle & Sebastian crew took about 45 minutes to get the equipment organized. We didn’t want to relinquish our spot so stood there. Trust me, all you under-30s, it’s not easy to stand that long when you’re over 30. By the time B&S came on we were drooping. They put on a good show — there are seven of them, incidentally, not two. We stayed for about ten songs and then called it a night.

We arrived home at 2:45 a.m. I got to drive Cyril for the first time as John was falling asleep at the wheel with 80 miles still to go. Man, what a huge car!

But . . . it was worth the trip. I got to hear Belle & Sebastian, even if it was for only two-thirds of the show.

Velvet paws! Velvet paws!

Last Friday we went to a tiny theatre and saw the A.D. Players in George Bernard Shaw’s Androcles and the Lion. I haven’t read or seen any Shaw plays since I was a teenager. It’s amazing how different they seem twenty years later. Oh . . . okay . . . thirty. Oh . . . okay . . .

Anyway, it was a very good production and, in spite of the serious subject matter (persecution of the Christians), the actors kept me laughing throughout. Of course, my favourite actor was Jan van Amerongen, who didn’t actually have a speaking part as he played the lion. Androcles was also well played by a Mr. Lee Walker (I think). Oh, what the heck . . . they were all good!

Redeye's bad guys

We’ve just finished watching a movie called Redeye — a black and white thriller that takes place on an aeroplane. The bad guys are wanting to kill the head of Homeland Security. It was one of those movies when you forget to breathe.

John complains about most movies these days. His biggest gripe is that the terrorists are always white racist males — a prime example being Sum of All Fears when the Muslim extremists in the book became neo-Nazis in the movie. He refused to go and see that one, even though Tom Clancy is one of his favourite writers.

Well well well, guess what! Redeye’s bad guys were Arabs. We didn’t see much of them but they definitely had Middle Eastern accents. I remarked on this rather smugly as the credits rolled.

John’s response? “Yes, but you had to listen carefully.”

Cotton gin trip

Cyril took us to Burton (Population 358) last weekend. We’ve driven past the town many times on trips to Austin, but have never had time to stop and see the Cotton Gin Museum. Have you ever tried to extract the seeds from a lump of cotton? How many of you know how a cotton gin works? It had come up so many times in my History and Economics classes, but I could never fathom how anything could pull those seeds out.

We were the only visitors to the museum and got a personalized guided tour — first (historical details) by the lady in the shop, and then (mechanical details) by one of the local residents. The cotton gin in Burton is no longer an income producing gin, but it does get started up once a year for the Cotton Gin Festival.

So now I know all about cotton gins. And any Habershons who visit me in Houston will be taken to Burton. It’s worth the trip. Don’t worry, though, I’ll take you to the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory on the way back. That’s also worth a visit.

Oh, by the way, “gin” is short for “engine.” I never knew that, either.

Cruise wrap

I never did finish off the cruise report. If you looked at the pictures, they tell the story. The ship let us off three days in a row to explore Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. In Montego Bay we took a bus tour with a comedic tour guide. She showed us the sights and dropped us off at a beach resort where we swam in a beautiful warm blue sea and enjoyed a complimentary lunch and drink. On the way back to the ship she dropped us in the town for half an hour where we were hounded by street hawkers. It was weird, as every shop sold exactly the same things. We bought Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee. It’s the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.

As the above tour cost us $74 apiece, we decided to go it alone in Grand Cayman, and took a $4 bus trip to the beach the next day. When we were completely roasted and burnt we took a bus back to the town for a late lunch. The locals didn’t bother us at all.

We were quite tired the next day and decided to go into Cozumel for a couple of hours and just stay in the town. It was pretty bad. We could not walk five feet without being harrassed by shopkeepers wanting to sell us stuff. Around 11 a.m. we escaped to the upper deck of a restaurant and ordered margaritas and guacamole. Happy to escape, we raised our glasses. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a three-guitar band appeared wanting to serenade us. I got the giggles. Badly.

It was good to get back to the ship. The ship was the best part of the cruise. Looking back on it two weeks later, I’d say that it will be a while before we take another one. Perhaps we’d do it with family. It had more of a party atmosphere than we needed. We had fun in the casino. There were $5 blackjack tables and the age limit was 18. John arrived in Galveston $500 up.

The Carnival Conquest sailed again the same day we disembarked in Galveston. When it returned last Sunday it brought 22 Cuban refugees with it. I also heard that it arrived late because it had to return to Cozumel for a medical emergency. We obviously picked a good week.

Select-ugh-Size

There’s only one kind of paper towel (that’s “kitchen roll” to you, Habs) allowed in our house, and that’s Bounty. John likes them plain white. I like the ones with cat prints. We go through an awful lot of them; in fact, we’re quite wasteful when it comes to Bounty towels.

But if there’s one model of Bounty I can’t stand, it’s the Select-a-Size. The perforations are closer together, so when you pull one off the roll you only get half a sheet. It’s really annoying. I bought a pack of 24 by mistake two weeks ago, and I hate them.

When Select-a-Size first appeared I thought I’d bought a defective roll, and wrote to Procter & Gamble to complain. It was a good exercise as it was the first letter I’d ever written using Microsoft Word. It took me three hours to format and print the darn thing. P&G must have thought I was an idiot, because they never wrote back or sent me a coupon for a free roll. Don’t blame ’em.

Is there anyone out there who likes Select-a-Size?