Friday, May 28, 2010

Something Stupid.

So I did something stupid the other day.

Let me back up a little bit. In my entire life, I have never been afraid of snakes. I was that kid who ran towards the horrified scream of “SNAKE!” I brought them into the house. I played with them. I poked them with sticks. I alarmed my mother.

This has been my history. I never intentionally picked up a poisonous snake (cause that would be stupid) and was pretty confident in my snake identification. It’s been fairly simple to ID them since I’ve only seen a handful of different snakes in person, most of which have been easily identifiable. Mistakes can be made though.

For Example....

I did something stupid the other day. I was in my home, minding my own business, preparing to shave. I shave in the evening instead of the morning, but that’s not important for the purposes of this story. So I was shoeless (since shoes are non-essential to the shaving process) and shirtless (since shirts are counter-productive to the shaving process) and just about to apply the foam when my wife said my parents had just called and were in the driveway.

Normally I put on a shirt before I go outside (sorry ladies), but since it was just my parents (who have seen me shirtless on an occasion or two, including birth) I went out sans shirt. I got halfway to them when I spotted my next door neighbor crossing the yard to see what was going on as well. I’m now feeling a bit awkward about the semi-nudity, but pressed on.

My parents told me there was a snake at the end of their driveway, so I headed across to their house (yes... I live practically next door to my parents) to take a look. It was just starting to get dark at this point, so perhaps I can blame bad lighting for what followed.

There he (or she) was. I rapidly identified (or so I thought) the snake as a Rat snake. I have handled tons of rat snakes in my lifetime and without a second thought I stooped down and made a lightning fast (because I am lightning fast) ninja grab for the snakes neck to pick him up.

The snake was also ninja fast.

I did get him by the neck and picked him up, but somewhere in the process he turned his head at a very un-rat-snake-like speed and got me on the hand. No fang sinkage or anything like that. Just a very light scratch, but there was blood. The snake then proceeded to freak out. I have never before seen a snake struggle with the intensity this one displayed. Apparently he had a great deal to live for. The snake also did something else at this point I had never experienced. He “musked” me. For the non snake people reading this, I am going to share some information with you. Some snakes are capable of putting out a horrible stink as a defense mechanism when they are threatened, similar to what a skunk does. So what happened was that I got snake skunked. Real bad.

At this point of the story, I am holding a snake approximately 3 feet long and thrashing wildly who has bitten me and skunked me. At this point I am also realizing two things.

1. This is not a rat snake.
2. I don’t know what kind of snake this is.

Now, it is important to remember that my mother, father, and next door neighbor are nearby and my very unhappy wife has just joined them. So I confidently assure them the snake is non poisonous and nothing to worry about. My dad wants to kill the snake. Normally I am opposed to killing non-poisonous snakes and prefer to release them out in a field. Non-poisonous snakes are good and help keep the rodent population under control. I decided this snake had to die though. I did this for two reasons.

1. Internally I wasn’t so sure this was not a poisonous snake, in spite of my confident proclamation.
2. If it was a poisonous snake, I was going to need the snake’s corpse to take to the ER with me so they could administer the correct antivenin for my bite.

I tossed the snake on the ground for my father to run over with his Bronco. That’s right. My father’s preferred method of snakicide is death by Bronco. The snake hit the ground and started running for it. Slithering actually, and at a speed I had never seen a snake move. This added to my anxiety and helped confirm my realization that I had no idea what in the world this quite athletic snake was.

My father rolled over the snake. Backed up, and rolled over the snake again.

This is the point of the story where the snake died.

Bye snake.

I did not tell my parents the snake bit me on the hand because my mother would have spent the next 10 hours researching snakes, snake bites, and would have repeatedly told me to go to the hospital. I also kept the info to myself so my neighbor would not know I was the kind of idiot who would pick up a snake without knowing what kind of snake it was. So I said my shirtless goodbyes and retreated into my house with my wife. When I told her, she was ready to take my head off upon finding out about the bite.

She was quite angry indeed.

Please remember that I also smelled horrible due to the snake musk all over my arms. I cleaned the wound and took a shower. I had to scrub the fool out of my arms for a long time to remove the smell. It was quite strong.

To make a long story short (I know....much too late), the snake bite caused no lasting problems. I eventually was able to identify the snake, though it took me about 24 hours to accurately do so. I am happy to report it was not the dreaded and feared water moccasin it greatly resembled. It turns out I was nipped by a Blotched Water Snake, famous for it’s rapid biting and musky defense.

The moral of the story-
I promised my wife that I will never again pick up a snake. This will be hard to follow as the memory fades, but there for about a half hour I was in a state of real terror. The terror was greatly magnified when I googled Snake Bites.

On a side note. Don’t google snake bites. It’s really not the kind of information you want to see.

So... As north Texas seems to be over run by snakes recently, remember the lesson I learned. Don’t pick up snakes you don’t know while half naked next to your mother. Or maybe just don’t pick up snakes at all. Either way.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Top 5 Restaurants in the Metroplex

Well, this is going to be a quite controversial blog posting. I am going to give you the top 5 places to eat around the Metroplex. These are personal favorites, so they will only reflect places I have personally eaten and enjoyed. They are unquestionably the best places to eat. I defy you to name someplace better.

1. Tin Star (any location)
Tin Star is hands down my favorite place to eat in the universe. I get the Two Taco Plate and normally select the Steak and Avocado Taco and the Crispy Chicken Club Taco. I have also tried the Traditional Steak and Traditional Pork tacos, both of which were also excellent. I have aspirations to try other tacos as well, but I have yet to grow tired of my favorites. The two taco plate comes with Black Beans and Rice which are both good and healthy. The Chips / Salsa bar is a nice feature as well and the red salsa is my personal all-time favorite salsa. I wash the meal down with water and enjoy all this for $8.11. What a bargain. If you are looking to woo me, Tin Star is the way to go.

2. Napoli (in Rockwall)
I specify in Rockwall because I have not eaten at the other Napolis, which were offshoots from the original restaurant in Rockwall. Napoli was originally called Bella Italian Ristaraunte and opened back in the mid 90’s. They have since expanded and remodeled and renamed the place, but it still run by the same people and has the same incredible food. I usually get a calzone with no ricotta cheese and add in some additional toppings. Canadian bacon often makes an appearance. The prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is pleasant. They also have excellent pizza and my wife especially enjoys an item called the Zikri Special (with a possible Zikri misspelling). I don’t always eat Italian food, but when I do, I choose Napoli.

3. Don Pepes
This out of the way Mexican restaurant is located on Arapaho Road, just west of Coit in Richardson. This is the place to go for chicken enchiladas. They also have very good chicken fajitas and if you go at lunch time, the prices are delightfully low. I haven’t been in a while since I no longer live in Richardson and because Tin Star stole my heart, but every time I go I am very happy with the results.

4. Nemo’s
Nemo’s is a tiny hole in the wall sandwich shop in Irving, TX. It’s on the corner of Grauwyler and Irving Heights, just a bit west of Loop 12. They make the most amazing hot sandwiches in the world. They come in 8” or 16” increments and have some sort of dressing on them that helps the earth continue turning on its axis. I highly recommend you pick up a sub there at some point in your life.

5. Big State
This old fashioned soda shop is on the square in downtown Irving, located on the corner of Irving Blvd and some downtown cross street I don’t remember the name of. It’s a pharmacy with a soda shop in the back. I haven’t been there in a couple of years, so I’m hoping it’s still open. This is where you can get the best Milkshake in Texas. They make the milkshake by hand instead of just pulling a lever on a machine. They bring you the milkshake in a glass and bring the rest of the shake in the metal whatchamacallit it was mixed in, so when you drain the glass you can pour in the rest of your shake. Lot’s of shake for your money. The food is pretty good as well and is pretty much standard grill type fair. Good burgers and fries. Incidentally, french fries are excellent when dipped in a milkshake.

So there you have it. Enjoy your food responsibly and keep your napkin in your lap. It doesn’t pay to take chances.


Monday, May 17, 2010

The Little Things

So life only gets more hectic as time goes by. In these times of great hecticity (work with me) it is important to enjoy some of the nice moments as they come along.

Recently, I have enjoyed the following things:

1. My son sitting in front of me on the lawnmower in a big straw cowboy hat.
2. Red Bell Pepper in anything and everything it can possibly go in.
3. Tin Star Tacos, anytime I can justify paying to eat out.
4. Riding a bicycle.
5. Date Night with Allison.
6. My daughter’s report card.
7. Having Fajitas at Shannon’s house.

What have you enjoyed recently?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A round of Applause!

Let’s hear it for the city of Dallas! A round of applause if you will for this once fair city! Not only has the city managed to lose the most famous football team in the world to another city and managed to entirely kill the arts and music culture that was once so rich in its formerly renowned Deep Ellum area, Dallas has also managed to prove completely useless in its emergency response services. Let me expound.
I had a car accident on Sunday. Nothing too major. No personal injuries. No other vehicles involved. However, my car was undrivable, stuck on an overpass in the downtown Mixmaster with my wife and two children inside. Naturally, I dialed 911 before taking any other action in order to ensure the safety of my family. I was told that the police and a tow truck were on their way. Much relieved, I moved on to calling my auto insurance company and reporting things from there.
Long story short.... Two hours go by with the Dallas Police still as a no-show. Two Hours!!! I limped down the overpass on my broken wheel arm to the tiny shoulder. I ended up having to get my insurance company to arrange for the tow truck that never came from Dallas. My father in law came and picked up my family and took them home so they didn’t sit on the highway for more than half an hour. Two Hours! I’m going to go out on a limb and say that they probably would not have shown up had I stuck around for another 10 hours.
So, for all you criminals out there – Dallas is your target city! You have at least two hours to stage a get away, and possibly longer. I recommend calling 911 on yourself as you start the criminal activity, just so you can set your watch.