Monday, June 25, 2012

Rabbit Scares Woman in Jenkins Park!

Little harmless rabbit scares woman and fat baby in Jenkins Park, Baytown, Texas
My bride and I were walking our doggies at Jenkins Park the other day and we saw a young woman pushing a stroller coming toward us. A rabbit ran across the trail in front of her. She didn't see it and I asked her if she "saw that rabbit"? She said, "What?" and turned and at a trot, ran off pushing the stroller. I wonder what she would have done if a chupacabra had ran across in front of her...
 As she was running off, I yelled, "ITS RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!!" I laughed for 5 minutes.
  The back two wheels broke off the stroller and she snatched that kid out of there, like Craig Biggio on a hot grounder and little rocks were flying up behind her as she ran out of sight screaming. Craziest thing I've ever seen.
Baytown Bert was only trying to helpthe fat baby and scared woman.
 I snatched up the wheels and took after her, catching her with her 62 lb toddler quite easily, but she thought I was the rabbit and kicked it into overdrive, spraying me with painful pebbles. One of them lodged in my right nostril and I finally dug it out 5 minutes ago.
 She was running so fast, she ran right out of her shoes and as I ran past, I reached down real low like and scooped them up at a full gallop, hardly missing a step and that's when that durned rabbit passed me and headed up the trail toward that screaming woman and that fat baby.
 My dear departed Dad once taught his four sons how to catch a running rabbit and I did everything I could to get close enough to make the maneuver. It zigged to the right, I did too. It darted left, I was right on it. The fat baby saw us coming, as the woman was all in and had slowed considerably. The gordo baby began to bellar like a little torito and this somehow gave the woman what she needed and in a shot that would make Otis Thorp proud, she hurled that fat baby through the window of her Cadillac Escalade and jumping in behind the wheel...
The woman pushing the fat baby gave it everything she had...
 She laid a strip of rubber so thick, she was on the rims before she hit Raccoon drive. The resulting sparks ignited the rubber and that danged rabbit burst into flames before my very eyes. It took one incredible leap, ricocheted off the sewer lift station and disappeared below the surface of Cary Bayou. I pulled up short of the tennis courts and shook my head. If I would have only brought my camera!  When I got back to my Jeep, my bride asked me how it turned out and all I could say was...
  "Would you like a pair of neon red running shoes,  size 14?"

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Baytown Bert's a Crying Cache Adventure



Baytown Bert's a Crying cache

Nebulus703, Geohiker, & BryanWilpitz
  5Ersker wrote: Baytown Bert arranged a group effort to make this find. He called our group "Team Flirting with Disaster" I believe there were about 8 of us. This is my second effort to be at the GZ (at least I think I was at the GZ, not sure because this is the one where my GPS/Smartphone died) Log was signed, as a Team. So glad to get this one off my DNF list. Few pic's to post later.
Team Flirting with disaster walking back after 3 hours of brush busting
Baytown Bert wrote: We mashed up as a team of x-perts today, calling ourselves Team Flirting With disaster and made a valiant attack on ground zero with only about 300 scratches and possibly 200 chiggers (Yest to see results). Only one speckled King snake was stepped on. I must confess, I cried the whole time I was looking for the cache. CO met us afterward to gloat. Curse you Jason Gipson and your heinous cache!
MSeivers09 shows off his battle scars

Nebulus703 wrote: The hike to this cache from A Cache To Cry Over was actually not too bad. We made find pretty easily too. However, the whole journey of getting these two caches was pretty intense. Thanks for the fun!
Speckled King Snake was actually stepped on, but slithered off unharmed
Bryanwilpitz wrote: Had a great time finding this one with local geocachers. This one is getting a fav.
Geohiker wrote: Thanks to thacatfish for putting out this fun cache.  Met up with Baytown Bert and gang for a team effort to find the two caches in these woods.  Looking forward to the next adventure.
Nebulus703 climbs 15 feet up in a tree to get cache: GC3BK37
Aaron Barbee wrote: Continuing on from (GC3BK37) A Cache to Cry Over we made our way out to this cache; the reason we came out to this god-forsaken place.

The trek wasn't so bad really.  We found a nice channel down the woods where we could walk upright.  After about another 30 minutes we were at the new GZ and quickly signing the log.  This one didn't involve any human ladders, corpses (not for lack of trying from what I see from the previous logs), or booby-traps.  hehehehehe  I said booby.  [;)]

We made our way towards the pipeline for a nice stroll in the scorching sun.  And, after about 20 minutes we were at the house we started from with a smiling CO to greet us and make sure there were no (or maybe hoping there WERE) casualties.

Thanks for a good one!  Definitely gets a favorite point!

Bryan Wilpitz, Cache owner Jason Gipson (thacatfish), and Aaron Barbee
 Ersky wrote: Of course with our group "Flirting with Disaster" we were assured to find this cache, but it was a large task. TFTC!
.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

GC3B8ZZ Geocache: Baytown Bert's A Crying

GC3B8ZZ Geocache Hell?  You decide.

A group of us intrepid geocachers are going after these two caches next Saturday: Read what one fellow experienced just the other day: 
Blindzman wrote: Well I guess I should write a log for y'all to laugh at. My wife, son, daughter and me met up with CacheControl at about 9:00am on the trail and were separated at about 9:15am (mistake number 1) The first cache we went to was "A cache to cry over", it is in the same woods as this one. When y'all do it you will understand how much extra is involved in that cache. When we left there we were only .51miles from "BB's a crying". We thought it wasn't going to be that big of a deal. 
Well it took us at least 1.5 hours to get between them. The real problems was on the way out, it was only about .73 miles from the cache to parking so we started off & that hike took us almost 2.5 hours. Well between the two caches I knew I was not in that bad of shape but I also knew I was not in the best of shape either, we almost turned around but figured we did not want to give up. About half way out I realized how bad of shape I really was in and how dehydrated I really was with about .25 left on the way out. 
I honestly did not think I was going to make my way out the last .15, both my legs were cramped straight and I looked like double peg leg walking, it was on nothing but pure drive and will power. We finally came out of the woods at 2:30 directly in front of the parking and I fell down under the water spigot at the house and laid there for about 10 mins with ants covering me and really did not care because I was cooling off. 
Well from there it just got worst. 
The home owner finally found me and had me come into a breeze way to get out of the sun. While there I had them cut my pants off from the knees down. While out of the trail I had taken my outer shirt off and was in my undershirt, well that ripped off and I put my main shirt back on. CacheControl showed up and suggested we call 911 so I listened and when they showed up they started me on an I.V. 
CacheControl and Blindzman at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital in Baytown, texas
By the time we got to the hospital I felt so much better and refused to be admitted and went outside to wait on my family to show up. After about 10 mins the ambulance driver offered me her phone and my wife did not pick up so he suggested she may be in the ER waiting room so I walk in there with my cut off shorts no shoes and no shirt with my ripped under shirt hanging from my waist and the nurse were looking at me like they were fixing to call 911 on me again but for a completely different reason and my family thankfully was in there and off we went. 
Well thacatfish, and Geogeex showed up to check on me and after about 10 mins of sitting in the parking lot we headed home. I guess I have to say TFTC but don't know if we will ever reattempt this one again and we at least got the smiley. For all of y'all thinking of going after this one make sure you DOUBLE the amount of water you think you should bring.
.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Jim McDonnel Represents Baytown Texas

Presenting pictures at the WTB Command at Fort Hood.
 Local pencil artist Jim McDonnel recently left his home in Baytown Texas and traveled to Fort Hood, near Killeen Texas to present the commanding general of the post with an original pencil drawing of a US combat soldier in full battle dress.  Jim is a staunch advocate for Wheelers for the Wounded also.  You may read more about this fine Baytown artist here.
This is Jim and Mike Thornton. He is a Navy Seal and Medal of Honor recipient.
He was a member of Seal Team One and a founder of Seal Team six.

WFTW banner at Fort Hood.
Jim McDonnel with Command soldiers of Fort Hood


Friday, June 08, 2012

Art League of Baytown - Face Off


I was back up at the Art League of Baytown today working on their computer print capabilities and adjusting a few file protocols and I took time to admire the many masks that Art league members and local students submitted for their first ever "Face Off" competition.  I photographed a few of them to show everyone how amazing they are.  Some are even for sale, but you must hurry to see or buy one, as the exhibit will be coming down very soon.
Susan Urban showed me her 3rd place winning entry "Chakra"


These two were made using the Raku Process
 

This one is my personal favorite. 2nd place Billie Brinkley "Tree Spirit: Seasons Change
I loved this one too!  Billie Brinkley "See Spot Run"
 

This is one of many made from a gourd.  Darla Hines "Relic Dancer"
Totally loved this one by Liz Caldwell!  "Its Coming"
The first place winner by "SAINT MARK" and "HOGGO" by Marsha Landers

Art League of Baytown is at 110 West Texas Avenue close to Roosters.
.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Art League of Baytown - New PC!

A week or so ago, I got a phone call from the Art League of Baytown (I'm a member in dubious standing) to give them 911 emergency service on their dead PC.  I threw down my plate of bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp and pork & beans, kicked over a 6-pack of tepid Bear Whiz Beer, and hopped like a rabbit out to my awesome Jeep Wrangler Cosmic Blue 4-door rig, aptly named "tha Choppa"

I remember flooring it, as I am also a technical adviser for the club and Susan Urban sounded near tears.
Nefarious Art League member Baytown Bert and the esteemed Artist Susan Urban
"BB, we just gots to have this thing up and running or we can't cipher our Quickens (or something, I can't remember my own emergencies, let alone someone elses)," she blurted in my ear as I drove over.

"Ma'am...ma'am... MA'AM!  SUSAN!  Settle down.  I will either fix it, or I will bluff my way through."  I distinctly remember vowing and I sounded pretty danged confidant too, even to myself.

Arriving on the scene, I can still remember looking at the machine.  It was a Tandy TRS-80, if I recall.  It was covered in little paint-covered fingerprints and I could tell the artists had been all over it.

Holding back a loud guffaw, I proclaimed they needed a new machine, seeing how this one was originally purchased something like 40 years ago.  It was Ben Franklin's last contribution.

"Well..."  Susan said, obviously impressed.  "If you say so."

"Dang tootin'"  I said.  I call em like I see em."  Then she told me Gary Erwin had tried to fix it and I just rolled my eyes.  "Oh geeze... Gary wasn't even born when this computer was introduced."

I scribbled the name of a new Dell model out that folks are having success with and tossed it smugly on the desk.  "Just give me a call Missy when the new machine comes in and I'll saunter over and fix it right, with the "Quickens and all", and I walked out feeling smarmy.
Bobby Sutphin teaching a water painting class today.
 Well, the call came in today, just as I was shoveling a thick slab of jalapeno boudain between the cheek and gums and I - being a connoisseur of French cuisine (and very hungry), swallowed it without chewing.  Gulping down a scalding hot very black cup of chicory-laced French Market coffee and donning a minimum of clothing (as you can see above, Jane Lee is there and she's always impressed by my tactless attempts of covering myself), I darted out the door.
Baytown Sun Reporter and artist Jane Lee

The beautiful Bobby Sutphin was teaching a class and I'll be darned if I didn't receive a standing ovation when I came in.  Even the veteran Baytown Sun normally unflappable reporter Jane Lee gave up a couple hoorays, as she was moved to a flood of tears.  I was seriously humbled and probably to top Jane and impress me,  Susan Urban literally ran around clapping her hands.

I was danged impressed, but tried not to show it, so I announced I had to "do my wizardry computer crap and all," and I shut the door behind me, threatening immolation (them, not me) if I was disturbed. 

Well, isn't that what all IT professionals do?  To be honest, I'm not an IT professional.  I am a computer savant.  That's what I had printed on my business card.

Anyway, I took about an hour nap, letting the boudain settle, then with 3 shakes of a mouse cord, I did the magic we PC gurus do.  Stepping out of the room, I feigned total exhaustion and Susan and Bobbie helped me out to my Jeep.  I heard Jane tell the others "He puts his heart into his work, like us artists, but with more feeling." As soon as I went around the corner in my Jeep, I got a very smug look on my face and cackled loudly and went to find a geocache, hidden over by Lee College (GC3F1K5).  Oh the life!
 .

High Noon Gun Range Crosby Texas

High Noon Gun Range Crosby Texas



My bride and I made a visit to the High Noon Gun Range in Crosby Texas last week for the first time and bow howdy, the place is first class. Baytown does not have a public range since Mr. Turner shut down Turner's gun range behind Mobay, now Bayer and it is danged difficult to find a place close by to pop a few caps.  My previous experience with a local gun range in Pasadena has left much to be desired.  High Noon is expanding the range to 12 lanes and it is $12 per hour per person to shoot - no limit on the number of firearms.  At the current cost of ammunition, I don't know how anyone can afford to shoot for more than an hour anyway.  My .44 costs me a dollar every time I pull the trigger.
My bride and I were shooting to two firearms.  Her Kahr E9 - 9 mm and my Charter Arms Bulldog Pug in .44 Special.  this is basically the same revolver David Berkowitz, more commonly known as the Son of Sam killer used.  The Charter Arms Bulldog Pug has a short barrel and at one time was referred to as a Saturday Night Special, but at 30 feet, I could easily put four out of five shots in the head of the target.  This revolver incidentally only holds five cartridges.
My Bride shooting the Kahr E9 9mm and I shoot the Charter Arms .44 Special.  
My five foot three inch Bride easily handled the large caliber .44 Special.  Both of us wore ear plugs and ear muffs to dampen the massive noise, which can ruin a person's hearing.  Before we fired, we reviewed proper muzzle control and she loaded the magazines herself.  We met our friend Aaron Burton also, but I failed to get a photo of him.

I returned a day later with Daniel Blackford to complete the shooting requirement portion of my Concealed Handgun License renewal.  He can be reached by email for classes at dblackford001 AT gmail.com or by his Facebook account.

Daniel Blackford and I pose for a photo at my Concealed Handgun License test.





Both days of shooting we observed conventional gun range safety, which is paramount for everyone on the range.  In this photo, I am wearing the Center for Disease Control's official Zombie Task Force shirt.
Daniel Blackford is an Ex-Secret Service agent under President Bill Clinton and a certified Concealed Handgun Permit Instructor.  He is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the law and concealed carry.
 My favorite gun shop in Baytown is Magnum Firearms in Baytown on the corner of North main Street and Park Street.  They will be getting a web page soon, but for now, here is their Facebook page.  I believe in supporting local Mom and Pop businesses as much as possible.
.

Fun In The Sun Baytown Texas

My bride and I loaded up my awesome 2011 Cosmos Blue Jeep JKU Sport and our doggies for a day of adventure and headed east on I-10 for Anahuac, Texas - which spell check identified as Nahuatl, which I suspect was the original language over there.  I know it is in Channelview.  We stopped at the entrance to the Wallisville Lake Project to grab a geocache (GC36NMH), but it was in pieces.  I logged it as a find and alerted the cache owners, TxDwight and TxJoAnn56.

We briefly perused the fruit stand at I-10 and FM563, but decided we would buy from the other stand at High Island, later in the day.  We decided to make another stop at the Jackson Cemetery in Anahuac, as there is a geocache there also, called "Thriller" (GC33KBD). 
My bride is a descendant of the Barbers and the Barrows and we found a goodly number of gravestones of a branch of the Barrow family.

While I searched for the tiny geocache we let the dogs explore and my bride looked for kin folk's grave stones.  If you are interested in learning about geocaching, the Baytown area has over 300 "caches" hidden and the number is growing every day.  It's a wonderful family and kid-friendly activity and will take you to obscure parks, cemetery's and generally get a person off the couch.
A branch of the Barrow Family are buried at the Jackson Cemetery in Anahuac, Texas

When we returned home, I went on the Internet to ancestry.com and could not link these folks with my wife's side of the family.  She is a direct descendant of Daniel Barrow and Ruby Amanda Barber and not this line. I photographed the headstones and submitted the pictures on findagrave.com for those who research this kind of stuff.  Its actually very popular and my brother TJ Bustem and sister Connie Byrd are heavily involved.
I call my Jeep Wrangler "tha Choppa" as it takes me anywhere I want to go, like a helicopter. "Get to the Choppa!"
We headed for a hike and a drive through the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge to see if we could see some gators, but it was already very hot and we were unsuccessful. If you want to see wildlife, I advise going 60 miles south to Brazos Bend State Park instead.
At the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, we walked the boardwalk.


The last time I was down on this beach and what is left of SH-87, was about 10 years ago with the Baytown Chapter of the TX4X4 Cyber Club, now defunct, with the Boyd brothers, Bruce and Marshal.  Bruce was the President of our chapter and was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident on SH-146 in late 2003.  I haven't seen Marshal in a long time, although I talked to Bruce's wife the other day.  We led a group of over 120 Jeeps and 4-wheel drive trucks to Sabine Pass over the destroyed road.  The man at the fruit stand remembered the event.  I turned leadership of the whole club, which I founded, over to someone else and it is now called TX4WD.
The 25 mile stretch of road-beach between High Island and Sabine Pass.
The tide was in, along with a heavy stinky kelp deposit, which ran for miles.  The coastline is replete with trash and plastic and looks terrible, but this stretch of the coastline has never been pretty to me and others.  Hurricane Ike rearranged it considerably and the state has cut an alternate path inland, which due to the debris and oil-laden sand on the coast, forced us up onto it.  It's still very much a 4-wheel drive trail though, so beware if you think you can do it in your Zephyr.  We had a Chevy truck follow us for about 4 slow miles before they finally decided it was too risky and turned back.  Charles Goss and I rescued a man and his truck here one time who had been stuck for 18 hours.
Just for fun I drove up on a fallen log.
If I was going to "wheel" this beach, I would have aired my tires down and disconnected my sway-bars, but we were the Lone Ranger out here and it is never a good idea to wheel alone.  There are still plenty of obstacles, logs, giant chunks of asphalt, boggy quicksand, and debris to "crawl" over though - just don't do it alone.  My next beach run will be down south to Matagorda and 30 miles of pretty danged good beach.  The best though are North and South Padre Island.  I call this stretch of beach we are on, HISP.  High Island to Sabine Pass and it is pretty much boring and ugly, but in Texas, where most everything is private property, a person has to go to what is available if they want to test their machines against the terrain.

Customer service is not what it used to be

I was called by a local business today to pay for a maintenance service on my in-ground pool. My debit card on file had expired. ...